Open Conversation with Library Dean Paul Courant

Join us next Tuesday, July 9th from 1 – 2:30 pm in the Hatcher Gallery to hear University Librarian and Dean of Libraries, Paul Courant, discuss academic libraries and the impacts of digitization.paulcourant

During Mr. Courant’s tenure as Dean of Libraries (he was previously University Provost and Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs) he famously oversaw the agreement with Google Books to digitize works in partnership with HathiTrust. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the recently established (and for me, eagerly awaited) Digital Public Library of America.

This will be a fascinating insight into MLibrary as well as broader national (and international) trends toward digitization and federated searching. We hope to see you there!

University of Michigan Visualization Report

A little while ago I attended a brown bag session at MLibrary that is part of the summer series titled, I Don’t Think That Means What You Think It Means (+1 for The Princess Bride reference) on visualization. For me it was particularly interesting because it elucidated that there is not a standard accepted definition for what exactly constitutes visualization. That brown bag was where I

Screen Shot 2013-06-11 at 9.38.39 AM

first learned about U of M’s Future of Visualization committee, which undertook a campus-wide survey last March to suss out what visualization activities were going on across campus, what resources were being utilized, and where the gaps are.

The committee has just released a report detailing the findings of the survey – you can read the whole report here.

The report includes an overview of visualization activities across the University of Michigan by pulling information from over 1,100 campus respondents. There is an entire section dedicated to clinical visualization (p. 9), as well as its impact on teaching and learning (p. 8) – two areas I am deeply passionate about.

Judging by the survey results – we’re doing decently well:

78% percent of those using U-M resources [are] satis[fied] … This high satisfaction rate among those using U-M resources is reassuring and a testament to the Michigan Advantage. (p. 11)

The survey also asked which U-M resources participants had used over the previous 2 years (p. 11):

  • Undisclosed resource – 15%
  • UM3D Lab – 13%
  • FLUX – 9%
  • SAND Lab – 6%

The low percentages lead the committee to conclude that “more work needs to be done in promoting existing resources on campus to increase utilization.” 

Another interesting finding what to what end the visualization is used, and when in the process visualization is integrated. I’ve snipped those relevant tables for your convenience below (both from p. 11 of the report):

Screen Shot 2013-06-10 at 6.48.16 PMScreen Shot 2013-06-10 at 6.48.30 PM

I think this report very clearly highlights an opportunity for campus libraries, with solid information from what our constituents are seeking:

The … campus survey showed an inverse relationship between specific technologies and how familiar participants were with it. This lack of familiarity with technology offered at the University of Michigan was echoed in requests for additional skill building and learning opportunities with 87% looking for workshops, 86% wanting online training, and 86% seeking access to staff consultants. Does this mean an individual is guaranteed to use a particular resource if they learn more about it? Not necessarily. However, the survey results show that some technologies are poorly understood and under-utilized while those that are well understood are viewed as highly valuable. The survey also reported that there is a strong desire by the U-M community to learn more and gain access to technical expertise. (p. 13 – emphasis mine)

An entire section of the report (3c – Perspectives, starting on page 14) includes paragraphs from faculty and researchers from a variety of disciplines across campus, and are particularly enlightening. This report is an interesting and worthwhile read for anyone looking to dive into visualization – whether to utilize it for your own work, or to help others explore it in an instructional capacity.

Copyright Camp 2013: Who Owns Research Data, and Who Cares?

CopyCamp web image 4-13_1


You can now watch Michael Carroll’s keynote here (the audio becomes much better ~1 minute in). Now back to your regularly posted blog:

Join the University of Michigan Library and Open.Michigan for a community conversation that explores how copyright impacts our professional lives. “Copyright Camp 2013: Who owns research data, and who cares?” takes place Thursday, June 20, 1:00-5:00pm in the Hatcher Library.

The keynote presenter is Michael Carroll, Professor of Law and Director of the Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property at American University’s Washington College of Law and founding board member of Creative Commons. Carroll’s talk is entitled “Sharing and Hoarding Research Data: Copyright, New Federal Funding Requirements and More.”

Copyright Camp will also feature a series of breakout sessions, facilitated by U-M community members, to further examine data and copyright issues relevant to our institution. You are encouraged to bring your questions, experiences, and ideas to the discussion.

Copyright Camp is free, but please register. We hope to see you there!


Copyright Camp 2013 is cosponsored by Advanced Research Computing at U-M (ARC), the Open.Michigan initiative in the Office of Enabling Technologies at the Medical School, the Office of Research and Sponsored ProjectsInteruniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR), and Information and Technology Services (ITS).

Synergies between Libraries and Development Departments: A ULA 2nd Year Project Retrospective

As part of the University Library Associates program, all ULAs complete a second year project, typically outside of their “home” library. Frequently, ULAs choose to explore another area of the library, or a different library on campus – but I elected to work with the Office of University Development (OUD) in an effort to forge stronger links between my previous professional experience as an institutional gifts officer at the California Academy of Sciences and my MSI degree by exploring the intersection between libraries and development departments.

New York Public Library, 1915 from the Copyright Office Collections via Shorpy

New York Public Library, 1915 from the Copyright Office Collections via Shorpy

Project Overview

I was working with OUD’s Foundation Relations division to create content for their new information portal for faculty, (which requires a UMich log-in). My goal was to create foundation profiles that would synthesize large amounts of information and clarify the foundation’s interests and application process to decrease the barriers to faculty application.

The Process

ULA 2nd yr process

I pulled together information from a variety of sources, including internal research from Development, publicly available foundation funding activities, and coverage of limited submissions/managed foundation from the Office of Research and Sponsored Projects. I also utilized library resources such as Foundation Directory Online and the Chronicle of Philanthropy, as well as scouring the foundations’ web presence through their sites and social media accounts.

I would then synthesize this massive amount of information into a concise and palatable web profile tailored toward faculty researchers who might be asking themselves, “Does my research align with Foundation X’s mission, and could we be a funding match?


A collaboration between librarians and development officers seems both natural and fruitful. There is a trove of information out there, and synthesizing it can certainly be aided by development’s expert knowledge of the funding relationships and a librarian’s capacity for effective information organization. My supervisor likened the process to the resource pyramid for evidence-based medicine:

Evidence-Based Medicine (EBM) Resources. Dartmouth Biomedical Libraries. 2008. 6 Apr. 2012.

Evidence-Based Medicine (EBM) Resources. Dartmouth Biomedical Libraries. 2008. 6 Apr. 2012.

And when I thought about the process for actually creating these foundation profiles, it became clear to me that I too was elaborating on building blocks of knowledge about specific funders, and using each new building block to inform the next, so I came up with a development evidence pyramid:

Development evidence pyramid

I also was able to draw useful parallels from both my coursework at the School of Information and my professional experience as a University Library Associate:

  • Understanding your audience is paramount: information has to be timely & relevant
  • Iterate: Fail quickly and improve work based on feedback.
  • Awareness is crucial: a resource is pointless if no one knows about it.

TL;DR: Are you a faculty member (or do you work with faculty members) and are seeking funding? Explore this resource!!

And, if you have the time, swing by the Hatcher Gallery today from 10 am to noon – the other ULAs and I will be presenting on our projects!

UMHS, UM Med School, & MLibrary Collaborate to Publish New Book

Read Susan Topol’s full story on the collaboration here.

Book authors autograph copies of ICD Connection at the Young ICD Connection Conference in September, 2012. Image courtesy of Ashley McFarland.

Book authors autograph copies of ICD Connection at the Young ICD Connection Conference in September, 2012. Image courtesy of Ashley McFarland.

From the article:

ICD Connection: Living with an Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator is a collection of stories that describe what it’s like to live with an ICD—a device that is implanted under the skin to treat life-threatening heart rhythms that can lead to sudden cardiac arrest. The ICD Connection book contains chapters written by ICD patients, family members, and caregivers, and provides perspectives from various ages and backgrounds.

A Mixed Model for Publishing
The project also demonstrated how open and traditional publishing could coincide as a mixed model. [Jasna] Markovac [Senior Advisor for Publishing at the University of Michigan Medical School], who also works closely with Open.Michigan, a U-M initiative that encourages and supports the open sharing of educational resources and research, suggested using a Creative Commons license for the book. [Author Helen] McFarland was glad to support the open sharing philosophy and explains, “I wanted my book to have the broadest impact and reach the largest audience possible, using the open license facilitates this.”

Now Available on Amazon and Open.Michigan
Because it is openly licensed, the complete ICD Connection book, as well as individual chapters, may be downloaded by anyone from the Open.Michigan collection and freely shared with others. It is also available for purchase on Amazon, and an ebook version for the Kindle will be released soon. Since it was made available on Open.Michigan, the complete book was downloaded over 150 times; in addition, individual chapters have been downloaded over 70 times. Fifty copies of the book have been sold on Amazon.

Finals have you stressed? Dogs are at MLibrary!

It’s that time of the semester – deadlines and project just seem incessant and our computers become our ever-present companions. Thankfully, MLibrary has several events this week that can help alleviate the stress for a bit!

Norman Ying, from The Noun Project, CC BY 3.0

Norman Ying, from The Noun Project, CC BY 3.0

Dogs will be visiting the Shapiro Undergraduate Library this week at the following times:

  • Wednesday, April 24, 1 – 4 p.m.
  • Thursday, April 25, 5 – 7 p.m.
  • Friday, April 26, 1 – 4 p.m.

If you spend most of your time on North Campus, fear not, there are dogs for you too! Hurry though, their schedule is a bit different,  so they’re only around this week today at 2pm at the first floor atrium of the Duderstadt Center.

Attention Educators: The Connected Learning Environment Event, Friday March 15!

On Friday, March 15th the University of Michigan is hosting a campus-wide kick-off event for the Connected Learning Environment Series at the Hatcher Graduate Library Gallery tomorrow focusing on a discussion about connected learning environments, considering ways to create, manage, and investigate the outcomes in these spaces.

Friday, March 15, 2013
Noon – 4 pm
Refreshments provided
Hatcher Graduate Library Gallery (Room 100)

What is a connected learning environment? From a 2013 report from the Digital Media and Learning Research Hub in Irvine, CA, it is a “design model [that] builds on this approach by focusing on supports and mechanisms for building environments that connect learning across the spheres of interests, peer culture, and academic life.

The event will kick off discussing the 2013 report as well as one successful interdisciplinary and technology-enabled environment, Design Lab 1 in the Duderstadt Center, will be presented along with several themes emerging from the findings.

See the full agenda here (with full abstracts available) and register for the event here.

The Connected Learning Environment Series is sponsored by MLibrary and by the Collaborative Domain Group, a cross disciplinary team of faculty and administrators across the university.

For additional information contact the Series organizers at:

Check it out: The Emergent Research Conversation Series

The next talk in this new series from the University of Michigan Library will take place this coming Monday, February 25, 2013, from 10 am – 11:30 am in the Hatcher Graduate Library Gallery Lab.

Alex DaSilva from the Department of Biologic and Materials Science, and the Headache & Orofacial Pain Effort (HOPE) with the U of M School of Dentistry, will be speaking on innovations in chronic pain disorders. Particularly, he will focus on information gathering and data exploration impacting the development of mobile apps – for example, fMRI data collected during migraines. He will also discuss the soon-to-be-released PainTrek mobile app – which was developed to facilitate tracking, analyzing, and discussing pain via a “paint your pain” interface in where users “can easily enter the intensity and area of pain by simply dragging over a 3D head.” Dr. DaSilva will discuss his research processes and field questions from the audience.


Refreshments will also be served.

Dr. DaSilva’s talk is part of a monthly series that delves into research occurring on the U of M campus – for upcoming events through the winter semester, click here. You can follow the conversation on Twitter via the official account, @UMLibRes, or the hashtag #MLibRes.

Taubman Health Sciences Library Director to become Associate University Librarian

From the University Record:

By Mary Morris –

Jane Blumenthal, director of the Taubman Health Sciences Library (THL) since 2006, has been promoted to associate university librarian.  

Jane Blumenthal

Jane Blumenthal

“Jane, in addition to her extraordinary leadership of the THL, is a vital participant in policy and budgeting issues that affect the library as a whole, and her new title reflects that,” says Paul N. Courant, university librarian and dean of libraries.

Among Blumenthal’s many accomplishments, Courant cites the successful integration of the collections and services of the former public health and dentistry libraries to establish the Taubman Health Sciences Library; the establishment of a research and informatics unit; the creation of new service models to meet the evolving needs of health-sciences students and researchers; and the development of an active outreach program to improve access to high quality health information.  

Before coming to U-M, Blumenthal served as assistant manager at the National Cancer Institute-Frederick Cancer Research Facility; library director at the American Medical Association, Washington Office; and assistant dean for knowledge management and director of the Dahlgren Memorial Library at Georgetown University. She currently serves as president of the Medical Library Association.


A hearty round of congratulations to Jane!