Digital Social Justice: Editing Wikipedia with Your Students

The Office of Academic Innovation and the University Library invite PSU instructors to a workshop on developing assignments using Wikipedia.

Discover how Wikipedia can be a catalyst for creating engaging research projects in this interactive, half-day workshop where you will learn how to…

  • Discuss the context and implications of Wikipedia demographics with your students
  • Identify bias in Wikipedia editing and publishing
  • Use Wikipedia in your assignment creation
  • Design assignments that are authentic and espouse Open Educational Practices
  • Edit Wikipedia with your students

Wednesday, April 18
8:30 am to Noon
Office of Academic Innovation, SMSU

A light breakfast will be provided. Please bring your laptop.

Register for this free workshop.

Origins of Modern Middle East Studies: Scholarly and Travel Writing Before 1900

Illustration from a sketch of the ruins at Tadmor (Palmyra, Syria) by author Emily Beaufort Smythe (1861).

Middle East Studies in the West is informed by centuries of intellectual exchange which includes seminal works by Middle Eastern historians, language and cultural studies developed by European scholars, and popular travel writing, including works by women who toured Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, and Turkey in the 19th century. The Library’s exhibit, richly annotated by PSU alumnus and Middle East historian Gary Leiser, presents examples of works that contributed to the development of Middle East Studies in Europe, England, and the United States.

“Orientalism” in Academia and Printing

Map from Moeurs et usages des Turcs (1747).

French scholars coined the term “Orientalism” in the 18th century to describe the European scholarly study of the geographical region in which Arabic, Turkish, and Persian were spoken. For Europeans, this region began at the Eastern Mediterranean and, by extension, where the Christian and Islamic worlds met.

Detail from the Psalms printed in Arabic and Latin by Francois Savary de Breves (1614).

Initially, Orientalism focused on translation, acquisition of scientific knowledge, and support of Christian missionary activities, but new approaches to texts and history broadened the field after the Renaissance. The first books were printed in Arabic in the 16th century, and many Western scholars sought to consult (and publish) important Arabic works in the original.  European universities promoted Middle Eastern studies by establishing chairs of Arabic.

As European commercial and diplomatic relations with the Ottoman Empire and the Middle East in general expanded during the 18th and 19th centuries, study of the region developed as well and became increasingly secular, incorporating natural and cultural studies drawn from field research in addition to works on languages and religion. The exhibit features a printing of the first book set in Arabic type at Oxford (by the university’s first chair of Arabic), an edition of the Psalms in Arabic and Latin printed in France in 1614, and several examples of important works in printed Arabic written by Middle Eastern historians from the medieval era to the 18th century.

Egyptology and Travel Literature

Letter to James Cooley from George Gliddon (1842).

In the 19th century, travel literature from the East gained popularity with the Western public. The new field of Egyptology also inspired tourism and spurred book sales. Popular Egyptologists in the exhibit include women like Amelia Edwards, whose journey up the Nile in 1873-4 inspired her life’s work of professional study and preservation of Egyptian antiquities, and Americans James Cooley and George R. Gliddon, who came to blows in New York City over Gliddon’s scathing refutation of Cooley’s poor scholarship and mockery of the American consulate in Egypt in 1842.

The materials selected for this exhibit are part of Special Collections’ Middle East Studies Collection, which originated with the founding of PSU’s Middle East Studies Center in 1959. The dynamism of the MESC made Portland State almost synonymous with Middle East Studies in the 1960s and 70s, especially with instruction in Arabic. As one of the ten federal depositories receiving materials from Egypt after 1961, the PSU Library built one of the best Arabic collections in the western U.S.

This essay is drawn in part from a sketch of the history of Middle East studies by historians Gary Leiser and John Mandaville. Portland State University Library Special Collections thanks the Tarbell Family Foundation for supporting the ongoing development of the Middle East Studies collection.

New Database: PolicyMap Online Mapping & Reporting Tool

PolicyMap is a web-based, online mapping and reporting tool that offers data on U.S. demographics, real estate, health, jobs, education, and more. The program allows users to make maps, tables, and reports from an extensive collection of datasets.

While some features of PolicyMap are available for free, the Library’s paid subscription and site license mean you have access to more data, including proprietary data, as well as powerful mapping, reporting, and analytical tools.

When you access PolicyMap through the Library website, you can use PolicyMap to do the following:

  • Make maps
  • Upload your own address-level data
  • Download data
  • Create market reports
  • Find areas that meet up to three criteria
  • Share your data and interactive maps with others

PolicyMap includes datasets from approximately one hundred public and proprietary sources. Some of the proprietary data sources (not available in the free version) including the following:

  • Home sales data
  • Locations of non-profit organizations
  • School district ratings and performance

The PolicyMap Data Directory details their complete list of public and proprietary data sources.

PolicyMap offers several tutorials and guides to help users learn and finesse the tools and features. For even more detail, the PolicyMap Primer provides a complete overview of all the PolicyMap features and functions.

If you have questions about PolicyMap, please ask a librarian.


Latin American Comics at PSU Library

The Portland State Library is expanding our comics and graphic novels collection! We have added 82 new comics by Latin American and Spanish authors, now available for anyone to borrow and enjoy.

Learn about Comics and Graphic Novels from Latin America

Most readers are familiar with American comics and Japanese manga. Many superhero characters are so familiar they are household names, and the stories are so epic that they span multiple decades. Yet the rich cultural and literary traditions of comics and graphic novels from other regions around the world remains relatively neglected by scholars.

Cover of Gabo : memorias de una vida mágica
Gabo: memorias de una vida mágica

Latin America has a rich comics publishing tradition. Each region and country brings a unique perspective on comics and graphic novels, and comics are particularly popular in Mexico. Readers and scholars alike can examine regional cultures and influences through storytelling in Latin American comics and graphic novels. 

These contemporary works give insight into visual rhetoric, philosophy, and comics publishing in another part of the globe. Examine the unique artwork in Turista Accidental, where the intentionally messy style expresses the discomfort of traveling. See a biography of Gabriel García Márquez unfold using colors in Gabo: memorias de una vida mágica. Finally, explore the Falklands War through nine different stories in Malvinas: El sur, el mar, el frío.

Comics Studies at Portland State

Portland is particularly well-known as a “Comics City,” and the home of famous comics artists, authors, scholars, and publishers. The Comics Studies program at PSU draws from this vibrant community in its mission to teach students about comics history, theory, and practice through engagement with top-notch scholars, the best professionals in the business, and cutting-edge publishers.

Cover of Malvinas, er sur, el mar, el frío
Malvinas: el sur, el mar, el frío

Associate Professor and Comics Studies Director Susan Kirtley says, “Although it is still very new, the Comics Studies program at PSU has been very successful thus far. Graduates of the program are getting jobs in the industry and pursuing additional graduate studies. The PSU Library has been a wonderful partner in supporting our students in their studies, providing amazing resources unavailable anywhere else.”

These new additions further enhance the library’s commitment to supporting the study of comics at PSU. Researchers can now compare comics unique to Spanish-speaking regions to other comics around the world. The PSU Library’s expanded comics collection is another milestone as we continue to support our students.

More information:
Comics Studies Program
Dark Horse Comics at PSU Library

Sign Up for Your SelectedWorks Profile

Emblem for PDXScholar, the University Repository: Share, Preserve, Discover, Maximize Impact

SelectedWorks is a system for you to create a personalized web page showcasing your scholarship. PSU-affiliated authors are eligible for SelectedWorks profiles when adding works to PDXScholar.

Any PSU Faculty, staff, or student who has given a presentation or authored a publication is eligible to create a SelectedWorks profile; the service is a feature of PDXScholar, the University repository of PSU scholarship.

Get Started:

  1. Create an Account, or Reset your Password
    • Enter your email, and complete the form.
    • If Library staff have already set up your account, use the password reset option.
  2. Customize Your Profile
    • Select the About tab and add biographical information.
    • Be aware that only the completed sections will be displayed.
    • Important: Check the box to affiliate your profile with PSU.
  3. Add and Manage Works
    • Select the Works tab, and then Add Work.
    • Options:
      • Upload a File
        Choose this option if you are certain there are no copyright restrictions. If you are not sure, please email your file to Our team will check copyright terms and add your file to PDXScholar, then import it to SelectedWorks or add a link if copyright prevents upload.
      • Add a Link
        Use the DOI when possible, or link to the publisher’s website. Linking to the Library website is another option.
      • Add Metadata
        This option allows you to add the citation, or link or upload a file.
      • Import Works
        This option pulls works from PDXScholar into your SelectedWorks profile.
    • Important: Select Manage Categories to organize your works, change headings, and customize the display order of your works.
  4. Manage Your Account
    • Select the your name in the upper right, then Account Settings.
      • Change your password.
      • Make your profile public, or hide your profile.
  5. Reporting Tools
    • Select your name in the upper right, then Author Dashboard.
      • You will see a readership distribution map and download statistics.

Email Digital Initiatives Staff to find out more:

Library Workshop: Manage Citations with Zotero and Mendeley

Citation management software allows you to download citations and articles from various websites and databases, electronically store and organize the citations, annotate and highlight articles, and format the citations for your paper and bibliography. This workshop covers the advantages and disadvantages of Zotero and Mendeley, helping you decide which one is right for you.

This winter term librarian Michael Bowman is offering this workshop at two times:

  • Tuesday, January 30, 4-5:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday, February 7, 4-5:30 p.m.

Both workshops are located in Room 160 near the elevators on the Library’s first floor.

Learn more about Library workshops.

“Does the Library have my textbook?”

We know students want to save money on their textbooks. The Library does have some textbooks, but not all of them. We might have your textbook on reserve or in our regular collection.


Here’s how to find out if we have your textbook:

PSU Library Course Reserves

Instructors sometimes place textbooks and other course readings on reserve in the Library. We have both paper reserves (physical textbooks, for example) and electronic reserves (online articles and eBooks). Did your instructor place your textbook and course readings on reserve?

PSU Library Stacks & Summit Libraries

PSU Library may own a copy of a textbook but your instructor has not placed it on reserve. You may borrow this book from the Library.

If PSU Library doesn’t have the book, it may be available at a Summit library. You can request books from Summit and, if available, they usually arrive at the PSU Library Circulation Desk within a few days. You may borrow Summit books for six weeks.

Not at the Library?

PSU Bookstore is your first stop for textbook purchases.

Still have questions? Please Ask a Librarian for help.

Note: we are unable to request textbooks through Interlibrary Loan.

Tom Bielavitz Named Interim Dean

The Office of Academic Affairs and the University Library welcome Tom Bielavitz as Interim Dean of the PSU Library.


Tom Bielavitz, most recently Assistant University Librarian for Administrative Services, Planning and Digital Initiatives, is recognized by his colleagues as a capable leader with a wealth of experience at Portland State that will enable him to continue the important work underway at the Library. He received his received MLIS from Drexel University and began his library career in 1993, first working in Blackwell’s Book Services distribution center in Blackwood, NJ, and then in its US Headquarters in Lake Oswego, OR. He joined the Portland State University Library faculty in 2006.

Marilyn Moody

The Library thanks Dean Marilyn Moody for her five and half years of service at Portland State. According to Interim Provost Margaret Everett, “Marilyn has made numerous contributions to the library and as a member of the academic leadership team. Her leadership on open educational resources and efforts to lower the cost of instructional materials for our students has positioned PSU as a leader in the state on this important issue. I will miss working with her and wish her all the best in the future.”