Nov 1 Workshop: Manage Citations with Zotero and Mendeley

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""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.

Join librarian Michael Bowman for this workshop on Wednesday, November 1, from 4:00 – 5:30 p.m., in Library Room 160 (near the elevators on the first floor).


Guest Post: Beyond My Classroom

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Lina Gomaa, a Senior Arabic Instructor in the Department of World Languages and Literatures, authored the open access textbook From MSA to CA: A Beginner’s Guide for Transitioning into Colloquial Arabic in PDXScholar. We asked her to write about her experiences writing and using an open textbook.

Beyond My Classroom

Lina Gomaa
Department of World Languages and Literatures

“Open in order to increase the impact of my scholarship and to provide a facilitating role that gives the students a lead in their learning process without the hurdles of cost or lack of resource availability.”

The idea of having open access to textbooks in undergraduate settings seems unreal. It is no news that textbook costs have exhausted university students financially and added an unnecessary obstacle for their access to learning. I know, as an instructor of Arabic at a public university, I have a role to play in lowering the costs for my students, even as small as requesting reference books in the library for students to borrow, choosing more affordable textbook options, referring to online resources, and creating handouts. All help in lowering some of the costs, but taking it a step further, I got the chance through the PDXOpen textbook grant, a Portland State University Library funded program, to write an open textbook for learning colloquial Arabic.

PDXOpen encourages faculty to publish high-quality textbooks designed specifically for their courses, that are free to students at our university and to anyone throughout the world. I took the plunge and in April 2015 applied for a grant to write my first book. I went from initial idea to final publication of the book in 9 months. While this a short period of time, providing quick access of my book to my students was very important to me. Throughout the publishing process, I worked closely with my colleagues in the Department of World Languages and Literatures, the Arabic section, to ensure that I was producing a high-quality book.

With the encouragement and support from the Library, the project allowed me to tailor a book for the very specific needs of my PSU students of Arabic. Speaking colloquial Arabic is no easy task, and this book utilizes what PSU students know from studying Modern Standard Arabic to speak colloquial Arabic. Little did I know that the book I wrote will be used globally by various individuals and institutions to help satisfy some of their language needs. The book has been downloaded since its publishing online in over 30 countries over 690 times till the publishing of this article. In fact, I was in a state of disbelief when my Italian colleague said that in Italy some of the faculty at the Inistero Della Pubblica Instruzione, Universita ‘E Ricera are using the book to help in their work with the Arab speaking refugees. At that moment, I realized that with an e-book, the world is the audience, and what it can do is limitless.

Guest Post: Open Access Publishing and Contributions to Knowledge

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Jackson Voelkel is a Master of Urban Studies student in the Nohad A. Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning. Last year Jackson received an award from the Library’s Open Access Article Processing Charge Fund to support publication of his article “Towards Systematic Prediction of Urban Heat Islands” in the journal Climate. Jackson’s work with Professor Vivek Shandas has already hit the media, garnering mentions in Street Roots and OPB. Because Jackson’s research is published open access, everyone, even those who do not pay costly subscriptions to academic journals, can read and benefit from his work. Way to go, Jackson! Following are Jackson’s thoughts on why he chose to publish in an open access journal.

Open Access Publishing and Contributions to Knowledge

Jackson Voelkel
Master of Urban Studies Candidate, Nohad A. Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning

A heat map from “Towards Systematic Prediction of Urban Heat Islands: Grounding Measurements, Assessing Modeling Techniques,” the article authored by Jackson Voelkel and Vivek Shandas

Graduate students work hard. We spend our days ingesting the knowledge of others–their knowledge was built upon those who came before them until the beginning of humanity. This can be an intimidating reflection when our days end and long nights of synthesizing our own thoughts begin. I believe the most difficult part of graduate school is not metabolizing thousands of pages of books and journals, but in finding something new and important to say in light of all of the important ideas that have come before you. From time to time, you find a gap in previous knowledge–this is a rare opportunity to validate your hard work. The act of writing about your new ideas is far less difficult than formulating your ideas, yet the hurdles you must leap begin to change: you have entered the highly monetized world of academic publishing. Though libraries offer fantastic resources in the form of journal subscriptions (made available to their members), they cannot offer everything. You will find yourself on the precipice of the single fact you wish to know to support your claims only to be blocked by a paywall asking for $39.95 in order to read it. Whether it is a publisher restricting access to this knowledge or a scholar being complacent in such a dissemination model, knowledge is becoming a product. Open publishing can help us course-correct the monied nature of research and support scientific discourse by making knowledge available to more people, giving scholars (and their ideas) greater exposure, and fostering research that is built upon the non-monetary value of a study.

Though many researchers belong to a library (whether through a university or public institution), there are many people in the world who don’t. This consolidates knowledge in the hands of those who have been fortunate enough to position themselves in a place where knowledge is highly accessible. In doing so, a wedge is driven further in the gap between the knowledge ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots.’ I would never make a claim that the monetization of academic research is fully to blame for the current anti-science and anti-education undertones becoming more prolific in our society; however, I see the free dissemination of knowledge as a potential way to help alleviate some of the negative sentiment. In a sense, open access publishing allows for a (slight) leveling of the ‘knowledge playing field.’ Lofty ideas aside, there is a very real and grounded reason to allow open access to research: as many universities rely on public funds (and public grants to conduct their research), taxpayers have a right to read the knowledge synthesized with the help of their taxes.

Researchers also have strong, practical reasons to favor open access publication: exposure. Any time your research is placed behind a paywall, the chances that others may read it drop. If less people are reading your work, then you have a smaller share in the conversation–you are not being heard. Though, selfishly, this is a critical blow to one’s ego, it also hurts your ability to assert yourself as an expert in your field (maybe, even, hurting your chances of a successful career in academia). Only good can come to a researcher at an individual level if more people are reading their work (unless, of course, you are a dishonest Andrew Wakefield type of researcher). Beyond the individual benefits and self-interest, however, lies a more fundamental and altruistic reason to have your research be more visible: contribution. Contribution to the discussions in your field, contribution to the work of those that came before and will come after you–contribution to the overall body of knowledge that got you to point where you could think of something new. These contributions exists in closed-access publishing, yes, but I hold that is in a more pure, less-monied form: a form that is open in order to build the body of knowledge and science.

Library Celebrates Open Access Week

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How would you finish this sentence?

Open in order to…

""This week, October 23rd-29th, marks the 8th International Open Access Week, a week dedicated to learning about open access and sharing what we already know. Open access to information means the ability to get immediate access to research, data, and other resources without licensing and cost restrictions.

Why? Open access to research can increase its exposure and impact. Open access means the public at large can access the latest research findings and data. Open access educational resources allow students to save money on textbooks and other course materials. They also allow instructors to customize textbooks and other course-related material for their courses.

Portland State Library is proud to support and engage in open access with a variety of initiatives:  

This week around the library building, on our website, and via our social media channels you’ll see open access highlights from the Library and around campus. See our Open Access & Public Access web page for more information about open access at Portland State University Library.


Congratulations to Michael Bowman, Emily Ford, and Art Hendricks!

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PSU Librarians Promoted

Congratulations to recently promoted librarians at Portland State University Library! Michael Bowman and Art Hendricks were promoted to full professor, while Emily Ford received tenure and a promotion to associate professor.

Michael Bowman

Michael Bowman, promoted to Professor, joined the PSU Library faculty in 1992 as the Engineering Librarian. Over 25 years, he has taken on many additional responsibilities, including as liaison to the physical sciences and Comic Studies. Michael is now serving as Assistant University Librarian.

Art Hendricks

Reference Services Manager Art Hendricks joined the PSU Library faculty in 1996 as Assistant Systems Librarian. He currently supervises two full-time staff and several part-time librarians. Art is the library liaison to Conflict Resolution, Philosophy, Speech & Hearing, Music, and Theatre/Dance. Art also volunteers with Answerland, the state-wide virtual reference service. Art was promoted to Professor.

Emily Ford

Urban and Public Affairs Librarian Emily Ford was promoted to Associate Professor with Indefinite Tenure. Emily worked at PSU Library in part-time and interim capacities before moving into her current position in 2012. Emily serves Political Science, Public Administration, Criminology & Criminal Justice, Urban Studies & Planning, and the OHSU-PSU Joint School of Public Health. She particularly enjoys working with students.

Congratulations to Michael, Art, and Emily!

Michael Bowman
Michael Bowman
Art Hendricks
Art Hendricks
Emily Ford
Emily Ford

Library Publishes Four New Open Textbooks

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Portland State University Library is pleased to announce the publication of four new open textbooks authored by PSU faculty for PSU courses. Open access textbooks are digital and freely available on the web for students at PSU and beyond. The newly-published textbooks were written by faculty in the Department of World Languages & Literatures, the School of Business, the Department of Chemistry, and the Intensive English Language Program.

""Histoires d’Avenirs: Science-fiction pour le cours de français niveaux intermédiaire et avancé
By Annabelle Dolidon and Stéphanie Roulon, World Languages & Literatures

Histoires d’Avenirs is a textbook based on nine French science fiction short stories. It is designed for intermediate and advanced learners of French as well as native speakers interested in deepening their knowledge of French science fiction.

This textbook will be used in third-year and fourth-year French literature classes.

""Beginning Japanese for Professionals: Book 2
By Emiko Konomi, School of Business

This is the second book in a three book series. Book 2 is designed for beginning learners who want to learn basic Japanese for the purpose of living and working in Japan. Unlike textbooks written primarily for students whose content largely centers on student life, this book focuses more on social and professional life beyond school.

This textbook will be used in the Master of International Management program.

""How to Be a Successful Organic Chemist
By Alexander H. Sandtorv, Chemistry

This text is a clear and practical introduction to safety, chemical handling, organic chemistry techniques, and lab reports, an introductory text for undergraduates taking organic chemistry teaching labs.

This textbook will be used in Organic Chemistry labs.

""Communication Beginnings: An Introductory Listening and Speaking Text for English Language Learners
By Della Abrahams, Intensive English Language Programm

This textbook is designed for beginning-intermediate English language learners. It  includes an audio component that consists of recorded conversations of native and non-native English speakers, as well as links to additional listening resources on the web.

This textbook will be used in IELP Listening and Speaking classes.

These newly-published textbooks are part of a group of 18 open textbooks authored by faculty at Portland State University and published by Portland State University Library. PSU Library funds faculty authorship of open textbooks with the help of generous donor support, as part of our goal to reduce the cost of higher education for Portland State students.

As of spring 2017, PSU students saved more than $120,000 through open textbooks authored by PSU faculty. Portland State University open textbooks have been downloaded more than 28,000 times all over the world.

Browse the complete collection of open textbooks at Portland State University Library

Library & OIT Improve Wireless Access in Library

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Over the past several months, PSU Library and the Office of Information Technology (OIT) collaborated to improve the wireless network in the Library. The goal of the project was to maximize wireless coverage and capacity on the library’s busiest floors (the first, second, and third floors), while also replacing the oldest wireless hardware still in use. 

We added 23 new wireless access points to the first, second, and third floors, and moved 36 others. As a result, coverage and wireless capacity are significantly improved, now supporting up to 440 more devices simultaneously (a 32% increase in maximum capacity!) on these floors alone.

Throughout the library, wireless coverage should now be more uniform, with blanket coverage on the first, second, and third floors.

Thanks to the Library and OIT staff who worked on this project!

The images below show the wireless heat map of the third floor before and after the project. The green means limited wireless coverage; orange means strong coverage. 

Heat map of wireless coverage on the third floor before installation of additional access points
Heat map of wireless coverage on the third floor after this upgrade project


Branford’s Bean Open for Fall Term

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The coffee shop in the Library, Branford’s Bean, has re-opened just in time for fall term, after a mini-renovation this summer.

""Here is the posted schedule for Branford’s Bean for fall term:

  • Monday – Thursday: 7:30 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.
  • Friday: 7:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
  • Saturday: 10:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
  • Sunday: Noon – 11 p.m.

Branford’s Bean offers Stumptown Coffee, tea, soda, on-the-go sandwiches, fruit, pastries, and more.

Please see the PSU Eats website for the latest schedule.

Welcome Back, Students!

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Getting Started at the Library

Ask a Librarian

The Library has many resources to make your fall term a success. Ask a Librarian if you have any questions!

Find building hours on our website.

Equipment Checkout

Borrow equipment and technology including mobile device chargers, headphones, graphing calculators, laptops, and iPads from the 1st floor Circulation Desk.

More Information:
iPad, Laptop & Equipment Checkout
Library Services for Students

Quiet Floors and Study Rooms

Do you need a quiet place to study? The basement, 4th, and 5th floors are designated quiet floors.

Study rooms are available throughout the Library for a space to study, practice a presentation, or work on a group project. A special family study room is available for students with children. Reserve a study room online, and check out keys from the 1st floor Circulation Desk.

More Information:
Study Spaces & Computers

Textbooks and Course Reserves

The Library has many textbooks available for checkout. Search the Library Catalog to see if we have your textbook in Reserves, located behind the 1st floor Circulation Desk, or on the shelves.

More Information:
Course Reserves
Library Catalog

Computer Labs

The Library has computer labs on the 1st and 2nd floors. Both labs have PC and Mac computers, wheelchair accessible stations, scanners, and color printers. Research kiosks are located throughout the Library building. Use kiosks to quickly print your paper with web print, search the Library catalog, and access and search Library databases.

More Information:
Computer Labs

Research Help

ask a librarian imageReference Desk

Get help with your research at the Library Research Center on the 2nd floor. Reference Librarians will assist you with all stages of your research including brainstorming topics, finding articles, citing your sources, and more. You can get research help in person or 24/7 online.

More Information:
Ask a Librarian

Writing Center Outpost and Learning Center

The 2nd floor is also home to the Writing Center Outpost and Learning Center. The Writing Center Outpost will help you with your paper at any stage of the writing process from 9 a.m. to noon weekdays, and the Learning Center will help you with tutoring, study skills, and many other services.

More Information:
Writing Center Outpost
Learning Center

Upcoming Library Workshops

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.

Dates Offered
10/24/2017 4:00 – 5:30 p.m.
11/1/2017 4:00 – 5:30 p.m.

More Information: