Library

Using PIVOT to Find Funding and Publishing Homes for Your Research

When it comes to finding research funding and publishing opportunities, PIVOT is a valuable resource to make the search a little easier. Interdisciplinary and current, PIVOT provides a variety of ways to access information about grants and calls for papers, and to identify potential research collaborators. The red bar at the top of the page allows users to search by Profiles of successfully funded research; browse and keyword search functions for publishing opportunities is under Papers Invited; and the Awards link provides details about awarded grants, researchers, and sponsors.

[caption id="attachment_275530" align="aligncenter" width="300"] The main page of the PIVOT database guides users on how to search for the latest funding and publishing opportunities for researchers.[/caption]

For new users to PIVOT, a good place to start would be to check out the menu options under Funding Discovery.

The tabs to the right of Funding Discovery allow you to search by text, sponsor, or keyword, and the latter provides a broad alphabetical listing of research topics.

For those that would rather see available resources in their particular research interest and check other related research subjects, users can explore an interactive feature that displays the scope of all available funding within the database. Click on the Funding Discovery link, then Take a Tour and browse by keyword to see how much money is available by research topic.

[caption id="attachment_275531" align="aligncenter" width="300"] This interactive tool breaks down how much funding is available for various fields or topics.[/caption]

As always, if you have any questions about using PIVOT, or any other library resources, contact your subject librarian.

Affordable course materials: reducing costs and promoting student success

We all remember textbooks. Memories of those big chunky books organized into chapters and sections, with tons of figures and charts explaining everything there is to know about a discipline. We stayed glued to them throughout each semester for the assigned activities and exercises they included. We studied them front-to-back for midterms and final exams.

From Anthropology to Zoology, textbooks are still used heavily. They are written by experts, reviewed by experts, and published by reputable academic publishers and other media companies—they are reliable. The problem is that prices have risen sharply, students in turn are paying more and must often turn to alternatives or choose different paths in the curriculum if none can be found.

Multiple studies have broken down the rise in the price of textbooks. A study concluded early in the last decade showed that between 2002 and 2012 the price of textbooks increased 82%. Another looked at 2006-2016 and found an 88% increase. More studies are underway. As the price of textbooks rises students are spending more; in the 2018-2019 academic year, students spent over $1200 a year on average on course materials, mostly textbooks.

When students can’t afford new textbooks, they have no alternatives but to pool funds to share books, rent, or purchase used copies, or use a copy on reserve at the library. Sometimes the only option is to purchase a new copy of a required textbook when the book includes accompanying online content in the form of activities, quizzes, or other coursework—a used or shared copy is of no use. Given these factors, in various surveys students have reported making decisions on which courses to enroll in based on what the required textbook(s) will cost.

It is no wonder there is a growing movement to utilize free/open educational content, and Northeastern University Library is on the front lines. Working with faculty and partners across the institution, librarians are helping faculty discover, evaluate, and integrate freely available textbooks and other Open Educational Resources (OERs), many of which are authored and reviewed by experts. In the case of Biology, multiple faculty members discontinued use of costly textbooks in favor of freely accessible, open texts: students enrolled in various Biology courses have saved over 100K since the summer of 2018. In related work, librarians are working to ensure faculty know how to maximize use of library-subscribed content such as online journal articles and e-books through dynamic reading-list creation tools and other services.

The library is actively presenting, creating partnerships, and raising awareness about the issues students face, and the options faculty have for finding and integrating alternatives and utilizing existing library content. Savings will continue to grow as the library works with more departments. The library is proud to be a part of this important movement.

For more information, visit the Affordable Course Materials guide.

Interlibrary Loan in the Time of COVID-19

When Snell Library shuttered its physical doors on Tuesday, March 17, staff were able to rely on robust online services and resources already utilized for our rapidly growing online programming and global campuses and communities, while also confronted with how to adapt those services that are more traditionally in-person and associated with the library as a physical place.

This is especially true in the Resource Sharing (Interlibrary Loan) department. While a sizeable portion of our services are already offered electronically, the building closure, and the closures of most of our partner institutions across the globe, has disrupted access to physical resources such as books and media, as well as the ability to scan physical items only available in print (such as chapters from older books and articles from older volumes of journals). Fortunately, the foundation of Resource Sharing is cooperative and symbiotic by nature, and the community has responded quickly and collaboratively.

Institutions across the country are halting fees associated with interlibrary loan (ILL) requests, and informal requests are being filled more efficiently via listservs. Service providers such as OCLC and Atlas Systems (WorldCat/WorldShare and ILLiad, respectively) have worked around the clock to implement new procedures to adjust due dates, adapt expectations, and simplify workflows for library staff members and patrons newly working from home. RapidILL quickly established a COVID-19 lending pod of willing member institutions; Northeastern is one of 174 participating libraries who are providing article and chapter requests to over 150 non-Rapid institutions across the world, free-of-charge. And perhaps the most promising development is the long-due approach to lending ebooks via interlibrary loan.

Like the music, film, and television industries, book publishers and providers have been slow to the idea sharing ebooks. Public libraries have had success with ebook lending using platforms like Overdrive and Hoopla, while academic libraries buy access directly from vendors such as Ebsco and ProQuest.

The main hurdles in ebook lending via ILL, however, come down to licensing and platform capability: libraries’ licensing for ebook access are typically limited to institutional affiliates and not licensed to share outside the institution. And one of ILL’s most-used management softwares, ILLiad, was not designed to handle either large file sizes, or DRM-protected content. While libraries are fierce advocates for freely sharing licensed (and purchased!) content, the owners of said content have generally offered a collective shrug or cited the potential of lost revenue.

There is no time like the present. Prior to and in response to COVID-19, both the Internet Archive and HathiTrust have been proponents of both Controlled Digital Lending and Fair Use copyright laws in the sharing of full ebooks, and consortia and institutions across the world are continuing to negotiate ILL permissions into their licensing. Through the impressive negotiating of Virginia’s Viva Consortium and OCLC’s compilation of a pilot group of lending institutions who are able to loan ebooks, however limited or specific their offerings, the Northeastern University Library has already had success borrowing full ebooks in ILL. While limited to specific institutions, through specific licensing agreements, and even down to specific books, the tide is changing as the sharing of ebooks through interlibrary loan becomes a reality.

The Resource Sharing department encourages our patrons to continue to submit any desired requests, and we will try our hardest to acquire and fulfill them. Please keep the following in mind:

  • Until the library reopens, physical loans are still prohibited. Due dates for existing ILL loans have been extended and accrued fines will be cleared. Please hold on to them until further notice.
  • Full book requests are possible, but they must exist as ebooks; this may limit access to older or rarer texts. We cannot guarantee fulfillment (and at this point, chances are low) but are willing to try and are hoping the possibilities will continue to expand.
  • We ask that you please consider the ethical implications of requesting articles and book chapters that are only available in print, and so require on-site scanning by our lending partners. We are willing to try, but appreciate your patience and willingness to wait when possible.
  • The physical processing of items (both loans and returns) will be following the guidelines currently being developed by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

For more information about accessing resources during the COVID-19 pandemic, visit our resilience page.

Please feel free to contact us at ill@northeastern.edu and stay safe and healthy!

Beyond the Reading Room: Access the Northeastern University Archives and Special Collections Online

It’s easy to think of an archives as being bound to one space: a reading room. However the organizational, descriptive, and educational work of the archivists at the Northeastern University Archives and Special Collections goes well beyond the reading room. There are many resources available so that your archival goals can be met no matter where you are.

Even though we cannot take you through a physical tour of the Archives, we have a series of webinars that introduce you to the Archives and how to work with us, highlight our Asian American and African American digital collections, and teach you how to navigate a finding aid. Find our recorded webinars here and watch the library calendar for more webinars coming this summer!

Experiential learning with the Archives and Special Collections doesn’t stop when you can’t visit the reading room. Instead it shifts to engaged digital pedagogy with our over 64,000 digitized archival records. We are able to hold remote class sessions introducing you to Latinx history in Boston, using archival visual resources, telling stories informed by archival material, and more. Learn how to schedule a class session or workshop and view some of our class examples on our newly published Teaching with Archives Program page.

Want to learn more about our variety of digitized collections? Visit some of our CERES exhibit portals where you can view online exhibits and browse collections’ records in context. Find our collection sites with exhibits and contextual resources below: 

Have a question about Boston history or using Archives? Our reference services are still open and available by contacting archives@northeastern.edu or filling out this form to contact us here.

We look forward to working with you beyond the reading room to continue activating the history of Greater Boston and Northeastern through the use of our records. 

 

Access to Kanopy limited during summer

Beginning in May, Northeastern University Library will be reducing full access to Kanopy videos. From April 27 through August 24, Kanopy will be a mediated library service and access will be limited to instructional use and research support for faculty and students. Films that are already triggered (licensed because of usage for one year) will appear on the site and in Scholar OneSearch, but other films will have to be requested. 

If you have films you know you will use in teaching and research this summer from the Kanopy collection, please notify Erin Beach (e.beach@northeastern.edu) or Amy Lewontin (a.lewontin@northeastern.edu) and we will ensure that the films are activated in ample time for the summer sessions.  You can also use the request form on the Kanopy site after April 27, and if you identify that the film is for class use, we will expedite the activation.  Please note that this can take a day or two so be sure to build in adequate lead-time. 

If you live in the Boston area and wish to use Kanopy outside of academic use, the Boston Public Library offers Kanopy for free, and one can watch four films a month, once you obtain an e-card. More information is available here.

Thanks for your understanding of this necessary cost-saving effort and please let us know if you have any questions.