News from the Field

David Free

Chicago Collections opens inaugural exhibition

Chicago Collections, a consortium of more than 20 libraries, archives, museums, and historical societies, opened its inaugural exhibition, Raw Material: Uncovering Chicago’s Historical Collections, on August 7, 2015, at the Chicago Public Library’s Harold Washington Library Center. Bringing together materials from member institutions, including the University of Illinois-Chicago, Northwestern University, Chicago Public Library, Chicago State University, DePaul University, Chicago History Museum, the Newberry Library, the Chicago Zoological Society, and others, this exhibition is the first public program presented by Chicago Collections in support of its vision “to increase public and scholarly interest in the study of the Chicago region’s rich history and culture.” A speaker series is planned for later this year in conjunction with the exhibition, including the inaugural lecture “Engaging Chicago,” an overview of the city’s history that will be given by author, scholar, and Chicago expert Dominic Pacyga (Columbia College Chicago) in October. Information about these and other Chicago Collections programs is available at Raw Material will be open to the public until November 15, 2015.

Seven Sisters launch College Women archive project

With the support of a one-year Foundations planning grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the seven women’s colleges once known as the “Seven Sisters” recently launched College Women: Documenting the History of Women in Higher Education. College Women brings together—for the first time online—digitized letters, diaries, scrapbooks, and photographs of women who attended the seven partner institutions: Barnard, Bryn Mawr, Mount Holyoke, Smith, Vassar, Wellesley, and Radcliffe (now the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University).

College Women is currently available in a beta version, featuring 300 items. The institutions will be expanding the content in the coming years as more historical documents are digitized and cataloged. The project also demonstrates the potential for creating new research opportunities for students and scholars when institutions collaborate on building digital collections. The archive is available at

FSU shares resources to improve services to library users with autism

Florida State University (FSU) professors are making it easier for people with autism to use the library through an online course designed to teach librarians the challenges individuals with the disorder are facing. Nancy Everhart, professor at the School of Information, and College of Communication and Information Associate Dean of Research Juliann Woods have partnered to make library patrons with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) more successful in the library setting through Project PALS.

Project PALS, which stands for Project Panhandle Autism Library Services, is an online course for librarians designed to teach the unique challenges and needs of individuals with ASD, regardless of age. The project is funded by a federal grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. FSU has made the course content freely available through the project website at

HBCU Library Alliance elects new board members

The Historically Black Colleges and University (HBCU) Library Alliance has announced two newly elected members and one newly reappointed member of the HBCU Library Alliance Board of Directors. Rinalda L. Farrar (Lincoln University) and Judith Rogers (University of the Virgin Islands) are newly elected board members, and Monika Rhue (Johnson C. Smith University) was elected to serve a second term. Elections were held in June for all members in good standing with the HBCU Library Alliance, and elected members serve three-year appointments.

The HBCU Library Alliance is a consortium that supports the collaboration of institutions dedicated to providing resources designed to strengthen the libraries and archives of Historically Black Colleges and Universities and their constituents. The purpose of the HBCU Alliance is to ensure excellence in HBCU Libraries and the development, coordination, and promotion of programs and activities to enhance member libraries. Learn more at

ARL selects 2015–17 Diversity Scholars

Members of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) Committee on Diversity and Leadership have selected 18 master of library and information science students to participate in the 2015–2017 Initiative to Recruit a Diverse Workforce as ARL diversity scholars.

Underwritten by ARL member libraries, the initiative offers numerous financial benefits to program participants as well as leadership development provided through the ARL Annual Leadership Symposium, a formal mentoring program, career placement assistance, and an ARL research library visit. More information, including a complete list of scholars, is available at–2017.

PlumX Suite now available

Plum Analytics recently launched the new PlumX Suite. The set of five products includes specific offerings that categorize and analyze research metrics for those that fund, perform, support, or publish research. Plum Analytics uses real-time information to provide insights into what is happening with research for users that need information on how research output is being used, interacted with, and talked about around the world for reporting and evaluation purposes, to help securing funding or for other reasons

The five products that comprise the PlumX Suite are PlumX Metrics, PlumX Dashboards, PlumX +Grants, Plum X Benchmarks, and PlumX Funding Opportunities. To find more information about the PlumX Suite, go to the Plum Analytics website at

Springer content now available on ReadCube

Springer has signed an agreement with the publishing technology company ReadCube to enhance and increase the discoverability of its journal articles, book chapters, and conference proceedings via ReadCube’s web, desktop, and mobile applications. More than 8 million scientific documents on SpringerLink have been indexed by ReadCube’s Discover service. All Springer journal articles, book chapters, and proceedings viewed within the ReadCube environment feature enhancements such as hyperlinked inline citations, annotation tools, clickable author names, integrated altmetrics, and direct access to supplemental content. To view an example of an interactive article, visit

Evolution of Flight digital archive from Gale

Providing students, faculty, and researchers a unique glimpse into the often hidden aspects of humankind’s conquest of the skies, Gale, a part of Cengage Learning, recently launched Evolution of Flight, 1784–1991, a new digital archive in its Smithsonian Collections Online series. The archive brings together more than 1 million pages of material in several languages from the National Air and Space Museum Archives, Smithsonian Institution Archives and the National Air and Space Museum Library, Smithsonian Libraries, including images, diaries, correspondence, scrapbooks, government documents, and other primary source materials.

Topics covered include the first theories and experiments of early flight, inventions, air races, the fighter pilot, African Americans and aviation, women and aviation, the evolution of aerial weaponry, navigational technology, landmark altitude and long-distance flights, Germany’s WWII jet program, the Cold War aviation race, and America’s current air fleet. More information is available at

New ACRL books cover classroom assessment, merging and closing libraries

ACRL announces the publication of Classroom Assessment Techniques for Librarians, by Cassandra Kvenild and Melissa Bowles-Terry, and Difficult Decisions: Closing and Merging Academic Libraries, edited by Sara Holder and Amber Butler Lannon.

Classroom Assessment Techniques for Librarians provides the tools librarians need to quickly and meaningfully assess student knowledge in the classroom. Kvenild and Bowles-Terry share 24 tried and true assessment tools, along with library-specific examples, to help librarians assess students’ ability to recall, analyze, and apply new knowledge. The assessment tools in Classroom Assessment Techniques for Librarians actively engage students by asking them to think, write, and reflect. Librarians can use results of these assessments as a starting point to define and measure information literacy learning outcomes, as well as to improve their teaching skills and instructional design.

This collection of assessment techniques can be adapted to multiple learning environments, including traditional one-shot library instruction, online instruction, and for-credit courses. Classroom Assessment Techniques for Librarians is essential reading for academic libraries participating in instruction activities, and will prove useful to school libraries with strong information literacy programs, as well as library and information school collections.

In response to factors such as the decline in circulation of print materials, cuts to library budgets, decreasing demand for in-person reference service, and the implementation of new service models as well as the increasing interdisciplinary nature of academic research—research libraries across North America are merging and consolidating library branches. Merging libraries is complex work for the librarians tasked with these projects. Not only do moving staff, collections, and services require careful planning and execution, there are also myriad stakeholder groups affected when a library closes, all of whom require individualized attention, consideration, and response.

Difficult Decisions explores library consolidation through commentary, research, and case studies written by librarians with experience navigating these events. Individual chapters address either the entire process of a consolidation or closure, multiple aspects of one or more experiences, or one aspect that is particularly important such as communicating with faculty or using data to make decisions about collections.

The book is a comprehensive resource for library administrators, librarians asked to assist with these challenging projects, and anyone working in a library undergoing a merger, and is appropriate for all types of academic libraries, as well as an instructive casebook for collections at schools of library and information science.

Classroom Assessment Techniques for Librarians and Difficult Decisions: Closing and Merging Academic Libraries are available for purchase in print, as an e-book, and as a print/e-book bundle through the ALA Online Store; in print and for Kindle through; and by telephone order at (866) 746-7252 in the United States or (770) 442-8633 for international customers.

ACRL Presents webcast- Academic Freedom in the Digital Age

In 1915, the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) issued its first statement on academic freedom. One hundred years later, how do these principles apply in the digital age? With social media firmly entrenched as a communication tool, faculty have many platforms for expression, and recent cases highlight the challenges of extending the traditional protections of academic freedom to the digital world.

Join the ACRL Professional Values Committee for an informative, free ACRL Presents webcast Academic Freedom in the Digital Age on Wednesday, September 30. A panel featuring Hans-Joerg Tiede of AUUP along with ACRL committee members will discuss the current state of academic freedom, with special attention to social media and electronic communications, and ACRL’s newly adopted Statement on Academic Freedom.

The webcast will also provide information on AAUP’s focus on academic freedom issues and intersections between AAUP and ACRL interests

The ACRL Presents program offers free occasional webcasts on issues of broad interest and importance to the academic and research library community. Free registration is now available at

Tech Bits …

Brought to you by the ACRL ULS Technology in University Libraries Committee

Quora is a free social networking site built around asking and answering questions. Users can sign in with their Facebook, Google, or Twitter account to see current questions and answers. Many users are authorities on the topics they answer questions about. It’s not uncommon to see questions answered by world-renowned experts and CEOs. These expert users make Quora a valuable tool for research, as it is possible to get detailed, knowledgeable answers to all sorts of questions. The site may also prove useful for students looking for personal histories to weave into papers. Last, but not least, answering people’s questions can be rewarding— and many universities have Quora “topics” where librarians can answer questions about their own institutions.

—Stewart Baker

Western Oregon University

… Quora

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