research

New Northeastern Commons Coordinator to Help Develop Online Community

Meg McMahon smilingin front of some plantsEarlier this month, Northeastern University Library welcomed Meg McMahon (they/she) as the inaugural Northeastern Commons Coordinator. In this new position, Meg will work to help shape the Northeastern Commons into a vibrant online community for users across the Northeastern campuses. Northeastern Commons is still in its initial creation stage, so most of Meg’s first months will be working with campus stakeholders to create a roadmap for its creation. To give an idea of what Northeastern Commons might be, here is a small list of its possible functionalities:
  • A platform where professors will be able to create classroom groups and sites for students to collaborate on class projects.
  • A platform where all users will be able to self-create campus interest groups to collaborate on similar research interests across departments and titles, leading to great interdisciplinary research.
  • A platform with a searchable directory of research happening at Northeastern, where if a research interest is searched, a list of people, groups, and articles would be yielded.
Most importantly, Northeastern Commons will be an online hub for students, faculty, researchers, and others to collaborate across the Northeastern Global Campuses while learning together. Meg completed her MS in Information Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in May 2020. There, they worked in multiple library departments, including the research and instruction department, the makerspace, and the user experience department. A unifying thread across her work was collaboration with others on creating programming or services that focused on user/student/research needs. They strongly believe that user experience, critical pedagogy, and accessibility should be a focus when creating any platform in higher education and plan to focus on all three while helping shape the Northeastern Commons. Being a born-and-raised Wisconsinite, Meg went to the University of Wisconsin at Madison and graduate with a BS in Art Education and Communication Arts—Communication Science and Rhetorical Studies. When she is not working, you can find her sewing her own clothes, rating movies on Letterboxd, attempting to roller skate, and shamelessly scrolling through Tiktok.

Music Online Databases Expand Access to Recordings and Scores

Echoes of Love Around the World album cover

Echoes of Love Around the World. Recorded January 1, 2019. ARC, 2019, Streaming Audio.

The Music Online database has long provided access to streaming recordings, scores, and scholarly information from the Jazz Library, Smithsonian Global Sound, Garland Encyclopedia of World Music, and Classical Scores collections. New content has recently been added to this repertoire. You may search each database separately or across the entire Music Online platform.

American Music is a history database that has songs by and about Native Americans, miners, immigrants, slaves, children, pioneers, and cowboys. Included are the songs of the Civil Rights movement, political campaigns, Prohibition, the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, anti-war protests, and more.

Classical Music Library includes more than 76,000 albums from the Medieval period through current times. This database is an excellent complement to the library’s Naxos and Database of Recorded American Music collections.

Classical Scores Library now contains Volumes 2-4, in addition to Volume 1. These scores provide a reliable and authoritative source for scores of the classical canon, as well as a resource for the discovery of lesser-known contemporary works. It includes full, study, piano, and vocal scores.

Contemporary World Music delivers the sounds of all regions from every continent. The database contains important genres such as reggae, worldbeat, neo-traditional world fusion, Balkanic jazz, African film, Bollywood, Arab swing and jazz, and other genres such as traditional music like Indian classical, fado, flamenco, klezmer, zydeco, gospel, gagaku, and more.

Popular Music Library contains a wide range of popular music from around the world, including hundreds of thousands of tracks from major genres in pop music, including alternative, country, electronic, hip-hop, metal, punk, new age, R&B, reggae, rock, soundtracks, and many more.

For more information about other library streaming media collections, check out the Streaming Media guide.

 

Using the LibKey Nomad Browser Extension to Simplify Off-Campus Access

Have you ever found yourself on an academic site that you think you should be able to use but are unable to see the material? Accessing Northeastern’s licensed resources while off-campus can be complicated for students, faculty, and staff. Especially right now, when so many researchers are studying or working from home, sites that you may have had automatic access to while on campus may not be as readily available.

Using links from Scholar OneSearch or the Databases A-Z list is the best way to ensure seamless off-campus access, but sometimes you may find your way to an academic article through another avenue and may not be sure if Northeastern users have licensed access or not. The LibKey Nomad browser extension can help to bridge these gaps and either establish access to third-party platforms or provide alternate options for the content.

To use LibKey Nomad, visit thirdiron.com/downloadnomad and choose your browser. Upon installation, you’ll be prompted to choose Northeastern University from a drop-down list of organizations:

LibKey Nomad screenshot

After this one-time selection, if Nomad can establish access when browsing a site that hosts academic articles or e-books, Nomad will display a “Download PDF” button in the bottom left-hand corner of the page which will link directly to a PDF of the material:

LibKey article screenshot

If Nomad can’t establish access, it will instead show an “Access Options” button which will link you to the citation in Scholar OneSearch to check for other potential modes of access or offer a link to request the item through interlibrary loan:

LibKey screenshot PDF

Please note that not all resources will work with Nomad, particularly single magazine websites such as the Economist, Foreign Policy, or the Wall Street Journal. Check the Databases A-Z list for a proxied link if you believe Northeastern has access to a resource or ask the library for assistance. LibKey Nomad is currently compatible with Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Brave, and Vivaldi browsers.

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.

The main page of the PIVOT database guides users on how to search for the latest funding and publishing opportunities for researchers.

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.

This interactive tool breaks down how much funding is available for various fields or topics.

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

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!