Scholarly Communication

Introducing the New Northeastern Commons

Commons Redesign
The library is happy to announce that the Northeastern Commons is relaunching with a new look. The Northeastern Commons is an online platform where Northeastern University students, faculty, staff, and the outside community can come together to share ideas, explore common interests, foster creativity, and expand interdisciplinary thinking.

Screenshot of the Northeastern Commons website

The redesign was led by Northeastern Commons Coordinator Meg McMahon, with help from Web Developer Jeanine Rodriguez and Digital Accessibility and User Experience Assistant Vanessa Lee. As a team, they re-built the platform with a user-first approach and a focus on digital accessibility of the platform.

Using a variety of methods, including stakeholder and user listening sessions, the team focused on how the current platform was functioning. They took the data gathered during those sessions and created an affinity diagram of user needs for the rebuild. From this network of user needs, they turned to considering system requirements for the platform. Rodriguez pitched the idea of using the BuddyBoss Platform as the codebase because of the overlap between user needs and the features of that specific WordPress plugin.

During the build, Lee conducted an accessibility audit of the BuddyBoss platform, including browser checking, screen reader testing, and mobile testing, which Rodriguez then used as a roadmap for changes to the initial codebase. McMahon worked on user testing and internal testing of the platform to ensure users would be able to use the platform easily. Any issues found during the testing were added to the list of changes to make to the codebase.

Currently, the Commons team is still working on accessibility updates to the platform and feature updates and will continue to do so as the work on the Commons continues.

Commons Features
The Northeastern Commons runs on profile and group-based networking. That means users will be able to post, share, and create from their own individual profiles and within groups, which are the primary method of collaboration on the Commons.

Users who set up a user profile can share their research interests, publications, projects, talks, and press. Adding this information to a Commons profile makes it easier for other users to find people with similar research interests, which can lead to greater collaboration between Commons users.

Group collaboration on the Commons is unique based on choice and the subsequent use of those features. Furthermore, there is privacy built into the group design. Visibility of the group depends on the privacy setting of the group: public, private, or hidden. Public groups can be joined or viewed by anyone, whether they are signed into the platform or not. Private groups can be seen on the platform, but members must request or be invited to join. Hidden groups are only visible to those invited to join. Every group regardless of privacy status has the same features, which are:

Feed
The feed for groups is the activity feed. Activity can be an update from the organizers of the group, a notification when someone joins the group, a document added to the document table, and any action a member does within the group. Members of the group can also comment on the activity, leading to greater collaboration within the feed.

The feed acts as a living record of the progress and conversation the group is having and is searchable by keyword, which leads to greater discoverability of previous conversations.

Members
The members tab is a list of all the members of the group. Users will be able to search for members here, message them, and request a Commons connection, which is like friending on the platform.

Documents
The documents tab is a place for the group to upload documents that are relevant to the whole group. The file structure uses folders to sort and separate out documents.

Discussions
The discussions tab is a place where group members can create discussion board topics and reply to others’ discussion board topics. These can be subscribed to for easy access through a user’s profile.

Send Messages
This tab can be used to send a message to all group members using private messaging. It can also be used to send a message to only a few group members the message creator selects.

Subgroups
This tab appears if the parent group has subgroups within it. Subgroups function the same way that a parent group does; it is just nested within the parent group and does not show up in the group search.

Zoom
This tab is used to keep a running list of Zoom meetings for the group. If the organizers of the group choose to have the meeting recorded in the cloud, the meeting itself is accessible within the group.

Calendar
The calendar is a tab where organizers can create a list of group events which can be viewable in many different calendar forms. This feature must be specifically requested for a group using the Northeastern Commons Consultation form.

Static Pages
This is where a group can request to have a static HTML page within their group tabs. Group organizers will be able to add whatever they want to that page and continually update it based on their needs. This feature must be specifically requested for a group using the Northeastern Commons Consultation form.

Next Step for the Commons
Going forward, the Northeastern Commons will continue to utilize user needs assessments to grow and build further functionalities, leaning on the collective knowledge and desires of current group organizers and users.

For more information on the Commons, visit northeasterncommons.org or contact Meg McMahon at m.mcmahon@northeastern.edu.

3 Minute Thesis with GWISE: October 16th

Exciting news! We’ve been working with GWISE to bring the 3 Minute Thesis competition to Snell Library this year.

Infographic for Northeastern's 3 Minute Thesis competition on Tuesday, Oct. 16th, 11 am - 1 pm, 90 Snell Library  

3MT challenges graduate students to distill their work for a non-technical audience, using just 3 minutes and a single PowerPoint slide

Check out this video of competitor Maria Gibbs from Notre Dame to see an example of a winning 3MT talk.

Prizes this year include gift cards, a guest appearance on the What’s New podcast, and credit in the 3D Printing Studio – not to mention bragging rights!

The deadline to present has passed, but you can still attend and cheer on the presenters.  More details in the graphic above and at the RSVP link.

Open Access Week is 10 Years Old!

The theme of this year’s International Open Access Week, “Open in order to…”, highlights the multitude of reasons why Open Access is important to researchers, students, funders, patients, and everyone else who benefits from increased sharing of knowledge. This year marks the 10th celebration of International Open Access Week, held during the last full week of October to advocate for fewer barriers between people and the information they need. At Snell Library, we support Open Access in lots of ways. In 2016, our staff adopted an open access policy for our published research and presentations – you can find them in our Digital Repository Service. These materials have been viewed almost 2,000 times and have been downloaded by readers more than 1,000 times! If you’re a researcher at Northeastern and would like to get started using the DRS to make your work more accessible to readers around the world, it’s easy. Also of interest to researchers: we’ve recently updated the page on our website about Open Access, and it now includes a list of publishers that offer Northeastern-affiliated authors a discount on the article processing charges for publishing open-access with them. Snell Library also supports Open Access journal publishing on campus through Open Journal Systems (OJS). We currently work with four journals being published at Northeastern – including NU Writing, which recently moved over to our OJS system from the platform it was previously using. NU Writing just released their first issue using OJS! And, we support Open Access publishing and sharing through our memberships in initiatives such as the Digital Commonwealth, the Digital Public Library of AmericaHathiTrustKnowledge Unlatched, and SCOAP³. In October 2008, we celebrated the first international Open Access Day at Snell Library. Since then, as the Open Access movement has grown, we’ve expanded our programming as well – first, with Open Access Week, and then in the past two years with Open Access Month in October. This year, we’re expanding the concept even more – we want to highlight openness in research, teaching, scholarship, and creativity throughout the academic year. After all, at this point, open access is something that we should be acknowledging as an established facet of the scholarly ecosystem, rather than a special topic that only gets attention once a year. So, stay tuned for open access–related news and events to come. Banner image and poster openly licensed by SPARC, CC BY 4.0

Welcome to our Wikipedia Visiting Scholar!

We’re thrilled to announce that Rosie Stephenson-Goodknight will be joining us as our first Wikipedia Visiting Scholar! Rosie is a prolific and experienced Wikipedian (User:Rosiestep), and founder or co-founder of projects such as WikiProject Women Writers, Women in Red, WikiWomen’s User Group, and more. She’s also on the Board of Directors for Wikimedia District of Columbia and on the Editorial Board of The Signpost, one of the longest-running publications covering English Wikipedia and Wikimedia at large. Wikipedia’s Visiting Scholar program, “connecting experienced Wikipedians with academic institutions to improve Wikipedia,” includes Wikipedians and hosts across the United States. Visiting Scholars join institutions of higher education as remote partners, and improve articles in subject areas suggested by that institution. There is no compensation to the Visiting Scholar beyond remote access. Rosie’s focus for the Visiting Scholar position here at Northeastern, supported by scholars in the Women Writers Project as well as our reference librarians, will be women and writing before 1900. This might encompass topics such as early women’s writing, women and the book trade, women and education, women as readers, women writers of well-known works, and many more. Women Writers Project staff will support Rosie’s work through activities such as helping Rosie develop lists of women or works that need coverage in Wikipedia, pointing her towards specialty sources in the history of women writers, or helping to track down particularly difficult bibliographic or biographic information. Rosie will join Northeastern as a remote community member with access to library resources, from March to December 2017. We’re looking forward to seeing her work and learning more about how we can help her in that work. Stay tuned to watch this project grow!

October is Open Access Month!

Open Access Month header

 

In October the Library celebrates Open Access Month—a time to highlight the importance of making research and information more accessible without cost. Events throughout the month will showcase many ways in which people here at Northeastern and around the world are working to make Open Access a reality, including projects in which you can participate! 

Open Access Month: Schedule of Events

Download a PDF schedule!   Zotero in 30 Minutes Tuesday, October 4, 2:00-2:30 DSC Media Lounge Learn about using Zotero, one of the most well-known free, open source citation management tools, to organize your research. Track and gather all of your research in one place and automatically format citations and bibliographies—bring your laptop to get started right away. DH Open Office Hours Wednesday, October 5, 12:30-1:30 DSC Media Lounge Understanding copyright and fair use in the Digital Humanities will be the focus of this week’s regularly scheduled DH Open Office Hours. Citizen Science in Action with Zooniverse Thursday, October 6, 4:00-7:00 DSC Media Lounge Want to see how easy it is to contribute to citizen science research?  Drop in for a hack-a-thon style session and work with us on a Zooniverse project!  No prior experience is necessary. We’ll provide guidance (and pizza!), just bring a laptop or tablet to participate. More info available here! Refreshments will be served. Wikipedia Edit-a-thon Wednesday, October 12, 4:00-7:00 DSC Media Lounge Join us to improve Wikipedia’s coverage of under-represented groups in Massachusetts and U.S. history. This hack-a-thon style session will focus on editing and updating Wikipedia pages in a group setting. You do not need any prior experience with Wikipedia to participate. We’ll provide guidance, just bring a laptop or tablet to participate. Refreshments will be served. Managing Your Research Output for STEM Graduate Students Thursday, October 13, 11:00-12:00 422 SL Learn how and why to share your conference posters, presentation slides, codebase, and other products of your graduate research. Bring your questions about author rights, copyright, theses/dissertations, and anything else relevant to managing your output! We’ll provide info on resources available for you at the Library and elsewhere on campus. DSG/NULab Fall Welcome Event Monday, October 17, 3:00-6:30 90 SL Join the DSG and NULab at 3:00 for a keynote by Dan Cohen, Founding Executive Director of the Digital Public Library of America. This event will also feature lightning talks by Northeastern students, staff, and faculty about their recent work in digital scholarship, from 4:00-5:15. It will end with an informal reception where you can continue the conversation with area colleagues. Because space is limited, please register at bit.ly/DSGNULab2016 by October 10. Refreshments will be served. Decoding the Dragon Wednesday, October 19, 12:00-2:00 DSC Seminar Space Learn to read Northeastern University’s only medieval manuscript with faculty member Erika Boeckeler. Write Gothic letters with quills, tweet using medieval texting (aka abbreviationes), get a parchment souvenir and a Gothic henna tattoo. Level up through activities to become a “scribe” and contribute original research that will integrate into the manuscript’s website. We’ll provide guidance (and pizza!), just bring a laptop or tablet to participate. Refreshments will be served. Sourcing Multimedia for Your Course Thursday, October 20, 10:30-12:00 140 SL The Internet offers a variety of public domain and Creative Commons images, movies, and documents that may be used to support teaching and learning. Learn strategies for finding relevant media and crediting the media appropriately. Hosted by Academic Technology Services Creating Interactive Open Educational Resources Friday, October 21, 1:00-3:00 140 SL This course will show you the basics of using Storyline to create interactive educational resources. You’ll learn how to incorporate open source multimedia, create your own text, audio, and image content, and create interactive features. Finally, we’ll discuss options for publishing on the web and posting to open educational resource aggregator sites. Hosted by Academic Technology Services Storing and Sharing Files Using the Digital Repository Service Monday, October 24, 2:00-3:00 DSC Media Lounge Did you know the library can help you preserve your project and research materials, while also making those materials accessible on the web? This session will introduce faculty, staff, and students to the Digital Repository Service, the library’s trusted resource for storing digital materials created or acquired by the Northeastern community. Data Management Plans and the DRS Tuesday, October 25, 12:30-1:30 DSC Media Lounge How can you effectively share and preserve research data while fulfilling grant requirements?  This session will describe the library’s support for research data management, including the DMPTool as an option to generate data management plans, and the Digital Repository Service as an option for preserving and sharing research data. Refreshments will be served. Film Screening & Discussion: The Internet’s Own Boy Tuesday, October 25, 4:00-6:00 90 SL Join us for a screening of a special one-hour edit of this documentary about programmer and Internet activist Aaron Swartz. An audience-guided discussion will follow the film. Refreshments will be served. Archival Collections Transcribe-a-thon Wednesday, October 26, 4:00-7:00 DSC Media Lounge Digitized collections of manuscripts and ephemera need help from human eyes to be more useful to readers and researchers. We’ll highlight several major archives where anyone can participate in transcribing digitized materials online and get you started on some of these fascinating projects, which range from historical restaurant menus to explorers’ logbooks to anthropologists’ field notes. Drop in at any point during the session and bring a laptop or tablet to participate. More info available here! Refreshments will be served. Hypothes.is in 30 Minutes Friday, October 28, 11:00-11:30 DSC Media Lounge We’ll go over the basics of how to use this open-source annotation tool in your research and teaching! For more information and to sign up for an account in advance, visit hypothes.is.