IRis, Northeastern’s Digital Archive, Reaches Milestone: 1 Million Downloads!

When the Northeastern University Libraries launched IRis in 2006, the idea of an “institutional repository” was still fairly new. Universities were starting repositories to share their intellectual and administrative output – faculty-authored articles, dissertations and theses, student-run publications, university-created reports, and other documents. Seven years later, many more colleges and universities around the world have digital repositories of open access materials created by their faculty, students, and staff. These repositories often also host open-access journals and other publications – at Northeastern, IRis has hosted the Annals of Environmental Science since 2007, and also provides access to faculty-authored and -edited books. IRis began with only a few collections in 2006, but has grown exponentially since then. Today, IRis contains over 6,000 items, and as of Tuesday, October 15, 2013, these items have been downloaded one million times! Although it’s not possible to determine which one item received the lucky one-millionth download, we know that on that day, 649 items were downloaded 1147 times. Here’s a breakdown of the types of materials downloaded that day: Here are top downloads in each category, for October 15, 2013: As you can see, slightly more than half of the items downloaded were dissertations or master’s theses. An important contributor to the growth of IRis has been the university’s transition to an Electronic Thesis and Dissertation (ETD) program in the 2007-2008 academic year – instead of depositing print copies of dissertations and master’s theses in the library’s archives, graduate students now submit their ETDs to ProQuest and an open-access copy is made available through IRis. Both undergraduate and graduate research output is very popular in IRis – in fact, almost every month our most highly accessed collection is the Honors Junior/Senior Projects! In the coming months, we will be expanding on the success of IRis with DRS – Northeastern University’s Digital Repository Service. The DRS will offer even more functionality for users and depositors, such as more flexible sharing options, the ability to manage permissions, and options for curated and noncurated collections.

NU Professor Highlights Latin American Jewish Art and Poetry

Northeastern Spanish and Latin American literature professor Stephen Sadow worked with his Argentinian colleagues to create a collection of fourteen “artist’s books” that feature poems and artwork of the Jewish communities in Latin America. Sadow selected 14 poems, and then assigned each one to a Jewish artist from Latin America. The artists were asked to create a unique piece of artwork to match their interpretation of the poem they were assigned. The poems focus on a range of themes: Jewish identity, mysticism, Old Testament themes, the Holocaust, and the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community in Argentina, among others. In addition to this poetry compilation, Sadow also recently completed an “open source” anthology that features the work of 13 Latin American Jewish poets from the 1960s to the present. This anthology, and many of his other works, can be found in IRis, Northeastern University Libraries’ digital archive! For more information read the recent NU News article on Professor Sadow’s work.

Snell's Corbett Presents at ACRL Annual Conference

Snell Library’s Scholarly Communication Librarian, Hillary Corbett, presented a poster at the Annual Conference of the Association of College and Research Libraries in Philadelphia at the end of March. Hillary’s presentation demonstrated how the power of Google Analytics helps her to market an important library service: IRis, our institutional repository.  She has used Google Analytics to study how the research created at Northeastern is used and cited by writers and scholars around the globe.  This helps make a persuasive case for all you Northeastern researchers to archive your work in IRis! The poster is available here in IRis, along with thousands of other papers, presentations, and documents by Northeastern researchers. Ten other librarians from Snell also attended the conference, including Dean Will Wakeling, pictured above with Hillary Corbett in the exhibit hall at the Philadelphia Convention Center.

Snell Represents at Research & Scholarship Expo

Congratulations to two Snell Library staff: Maria Carpenter, Director of Advancement & Marketing, and Hillary Corbett, Scholarly Communication Librarian, who presented their research at yesterday’s Research & Scholarship Expo. Maria presented her work, “Cheerleader, Opportunity Seeker, and Master Strategist: ARL Directors as Entrepreneurial Leaders,” which examines how entrepreneurial leadership can be used to generate income, build new partnerships, and improve services. This study examines how library directors who are members of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) define and engage in entrepreneurial leadership and suggests how entrepreneurial leadership can improve finances, foster innovation, and build prestige. Hillary presented the library’s vision for its researcher support services in her work titled, “Digital Solutions and Services to Support Research at the Northeastern University Libraries.” It describes Northeastern Libraries’ early project implementations and explores opportunities for future development and collaboration of its suite of researcher support services. The full suite of services discussed includes IRis (Northeastern’s Digital Archives), Digital Repository Service, and Data Curation Services. To see the full schedule of events and to read about other student, staff, and faculty research visit the Northeastern Research & Scholarship Expo website. You can also read today’s NU News which spotlights work from two Northeastern students.

“Profiling” a Popular Honors Project in IRis

From time to time, I like to feature an object in IRis, our digital archive of research and scholarship at Northeastern, that’s been getting a lot of hits. I get a weekly report e-mailed to me of the most frequently accessed content in IRis, and there’s one honors project that’s been appearing near the top of that weekly list for quite a while now. “Profiling Pros and Cons: An Evaluation of Contemporary Criminal Profiling Methods” was submitted by Theresa M. Young in fulfillment of the Honors Program’s Junior/Senior Project requirement in 2006. In the past year, it’s been accessed 546 times, making it the second most-accessed document in IRis! We use Google Analytics to track usage of both the library website and IRis, and there’s a lot of fascinating information to be found in those metrics. For example, almost 81% of visitors found Theresa’s project through Google searches; the most commonly searched phrase that brought them to her project was “criminal profiling pros and cons,” where it’s the top result. Although the majority of visitors came from the United States, people in a total of 18 countries accessed Theresa’s project. I found it particularly noteworthy that of the 5 visits from Iraq, 3 of them came via the Department of Defense. Is Theresa’s research having an impact on criminal justice in Iraq? Regardless of how it’s being used, the popularity and relevance of her work, both in the US and around the world, is undeniable. (After graduating from Northeastern in 2006, Theresa Young went on to law school at the University of Richmond. While there, she served as Executive Editor of the Richmond Journal of Law and the Public Interest.)