Thursday, January 17, 2019

Associate Professor Leslie Delserone to Serve as Editor-in-Chief for Journal of Agricultural & Food Information

University Libraries’ Associate Professor Leslie Delserone was recently appointed as Editor-in-Chief for the Journal of Agricultural & Food Information(JAFI), published quarterly by Taylor and Francis. Serendipitously, JAFI was the journal in which Leslie published her first peer-reviewed article as a librarian, "Tracking ‘Organic’ Agricultural Research in the U.S 1970-1989: What Federal, Legislative, and Selected USDA-sponsored Documents Reveal". Leslie formerly served on the journal’s editorial board, and for seven years as editor of its “Society of the Quarter” column. Her tenure begins officially with volume 20 in 2019, although she’s been acting editor-in-chief since October 2018.  

The Journal of Agricultural & Food Information began in 1993 and emphasized research and practice in agricultural librarianship. Today, its expanded scope covers “the interface between information science and the fields of agriculture, food, and nutrition.” 

Contributing authors are librarians and many other information specialists, including those working in extension, agricultural education, and with government agencies. One of the appealing aspects to this role for Leslie is the educational component, working with writers to improve submitted manuscripts through the constructive criticism of double-blind peer-review. The book reviews and quarterly columns, although not peer-reviewed, are a great opportunity for early professionals to develop their writing skills and build a publication record.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Erica DeFrain Co-Leads Research with Students Exploring Physical Spaces

Dr. Erica DeFrain, Assistant Professor at University Libraries, and Dr. Miyoung Hong, Assistant Professor of Interior Design, have teamed up with six Undergraduate Creative Activities and Research Experience (UCARE) students from the College of Architecture to study the use of informal learning spaces across the University of Nebraska - Lincoln campus. This mixed-methods, interdisciplinary research study will compare students’ learning needs and behaviors at Love Library, the Nebraska Union, the College of Business, and the College of Nursing. The project is an extension of an earlier study conducted by DeFrain and Hong, and funded by the UNL Research Council’s Maude Hammond Fling Faculty Research Fellowship, that focused on the Adele Hall Learning Commons. DeFrain said, “In that study we learned what was important about the Adele Hall Learning Commons, but needed to understand the ‘pull’ factors for other similar spaces on campus. Conducting this comparative analysis will help us to identify the unique attributes for each of the sites, and understand how to best support the students who use them and their learning needs.”

For their investigation, DeFrain and Hong are combining observation, survey, and focus group methods to gather qualitative and quantitative data from each of the sites. The survey instrument, designed according to the American Institute of Architect’s Post-Occupancy Evaluation best practices, asks students to assess the physical design aspects, such as spatial design, furnishings, and indoor environmental quality (IEQ), reflect on their own productivity and needs, and provide standard demographic data. During Fall 2018, the UCARE students focused on the College of Business and Love Library South, documenting 120 hours of observations and gathering over 300 student surveys from the two sites. Beginning in January 2019, they will switch to collecting these data from the College of Nursing and the Nebraska Union.

DeFrain said, “The people who create and oversee informal learning spaces have their own intentions for them, and it’s enlightening to see how students are actually matching or mismatching those intentions. For example, many of our campus spaces are being built to support active, collaborative learning, but when we asked students what they were working on in those spaces, they most often were there for independent study, and our observational data support that.”

The project has provided numerous opportunities to share and discuss findings, and DeFrain and Hong are excited to continue their research collaboration once this study concludes. They presented a poster on the first stage of the research at the 2018 International Association of University Libraries conference in Oslo, Norway; will present full findings at the 2019 Architecture Research Centers Consortium conference in Toronto, Canada; and aim to submit an article for review by the end of this year. The UCARE students will also share their work at the 2019 UNL Spring Research Fair, and are hopeful their proposals for the National Council for Undergraduate Research will be accepted for presentation at next spring’s conference in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Nebraska Libraries' Partnership Highlights 50th Anniversary Merger

Unveiling Ceremony at UNO, 1968
The online exhibit "All Together Now: The 50th Anniversary of the University of Nebraska System Merger, 1968-2018" chronicles the creation of the University of Nebraska system. The success of the 1968 merger of the University of Nebraska with the Municipal University of Omaha lead to the creation of the University of Nebraska Medical Center. In 1991, Kearney State College merged with the University of Nebraska. "All Together Now" highlights the administrative and civic process through photographs, university publications, video, oral histories and objects. 

"All Together Now" highlights the first collaborative exhibit curated by archivists and librarians from across the University of Nebraska system and is a work of the University of Nebraska Consortium of Libraries (UNCL) Archives and Special Collections Working Group. UNCL formed in the late 1970s to facilitate informal and formal cooperation and collaboration among the libraries of the different University of Nebraska campuses. 

“This exhibit provides a great opportunity to discover more about our collections and to collaborate with peers across campuses. It provides a valuable way to showcase one aspect of archival work,” said Mary Ellen Ducey, University Archivist and Special Collections Librarian at University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries. “It also demonstrates how important it is for archives to capture stories about the university as they happen, so our view in the future includes both the official record and the experience of those who lived through it.” 

Angela Kroeger, Metadata Coordinator at University of Nebraska at Omaha, adds, “This partnership was a major shift for higher education in Nebraska, resulting in greater opportunities for growth and partnerships in Omaha and Lincoln--and, joining in 1991, Kearney as well. Each university within the system has different strengths and specialties, allowing the University of Nebraska system to fill more educational niches within Nebraska than any of the campuses could support alone.” 

UNCL leads the University of Nebraska libraries to create and sustain a rich, supportive, and diverse knowledge environment that furthers teaching, learning, and research through the sharing of collections, expertise, and programs. Each campus preserves the unique history of the University of Nebraska and offers unique collections that support the research needs of each campus and interests of the state of Nebraska. Our reading rooms are open to the public.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Joan Latta Konecky Taught Over 1,200 Students in Life Sciences This Semester

University Libraries’ Associate Professor Joan Latta Konecky taught over 1,200 Life 120 & 121 students in just a two-week period this fall. This includes classroom teaching and an online tutorial. This reflects an increase of more than 15% of reported students receiving library instruction over last spring and the trend is expected to continue. Additionally, the course specific library guide Joan created as a resource for the course is one of the most viewed course guides with over 14,000 views during the 2017-18 academic year. It continues to be one of the Libraries’ most heavily used guides. Fundamentals of Biology I (LIFE 120) and II (LIFE 121) are the required classes in the introductory sequence for all life sciences majors across campus. Kiyomi Deards and Dana W. R. Boden assisted Joan and met with four sections of course recitations.

Students pursuing careers in the biological sciences and as health professionals take both LIFE 120 and LIFE 121. As part of the class lecture in LIFE 121, Joan helps students understand the importance of data visualization to ensure that as researchers they will summarize and communicate their findings in a visual format.

Students also learn about information seeking behavior and how to evaluate their results with search strategies that emphasize the importance of key concepts and scholarly communications as the focus. Ultimately, students prepare to become effective researchers and understand that in finding research they learn what is known, what is unknown and where they will need to search next.

Joan said, "understanding the culture of research communication is part of the lifestyle of a scientist: learning how to search for, evaluate and use research information is what transforms a freshman into a budding scientist who develops their own graduate research agenda, and ultimately becomes a practicing scientist, whether in the lab, teaching or out in the field."

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Suping Lu Filmed for Nanjing Massacre Documentary Film Series

Suping Lu, University Libraries’ Professor completed his eleventh book on the Nanjing Massacre. Occurring in Nanjing, China in 1937-38, the massacre was in the former capital of Jiangsu Province. Suping was recently interviewed on camera to be included in one program in a series of documentary films Jiangsu TV produces. This film commemorates the massacre and airs in December only on the Jiangsu network in China with a tentative global release at a later date.
“I enjoy sharing my research and expertise through visual media, in this case television. Usually, I share my expertise through the written word and in communication with students in the classroom.”
During his interview, Suping shared details about the vital role American missionaries played working together with German businessmen to establish a safety zone in the city. They provided shelter, food and protection for the refugees against Japanese atrocities. In addition, five American and British journalists first reported the Nanjing Massacre and four American doctors and nurses worked at the University of Nanking Hospital, the only hospital open to the public.

Suping grew up in a small city just 40 miles East of Nanjing. Prior to his employment at the University Libraries in 1994, Suping’s knowledge of the massacre was minimal. On a museum visit with his father, a brief exhibit near the end of the museum offered his first glimpse into the massacre. Suping attended college in Nanjing and began to study the massacre in 1997. In 1999, he visited the Yale Divinity School Library where descendants of the American missionaries in China had donated essential materials from Nanjing. Because of Suping’s extensive research of these materials, he is now a distinguished scholar of the Nanjing massacre.

Essential to Suping’s successful research for American diplomatic documents is one man, Milton O. Gustafson. Suping met Gustafson at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. As a department of states archives expert, Gustafson was critical to Suping’s ability to access these classified documents. Since the documents were not listed under the name of the massacre or by their authors, Gustafson declassified the documents and offered guidance in locating them.  Coincidentally, Gustafson was a 1969 graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

In 2000, while on staff for the University Libraries, Suping secured a grant to conduct further research at the National Library in China and returned home to visit both Nanjing and Beijing. During the following years, he secured more grants to conduct additional research on this subject in London, Paris and Berlin.

Suping learned English at an early age so he could become an oil painter. When Suping isn’t researching, he spends his time creating art including the above 2017 self-portrait.

Suping Lu is the author of They Were in Nanjing: The Nanjing Massacre Witnessed by American and British Nationals (2004), and the editor of Terror in Minnie Vautrin’s Nanjing: Diaries and Correspondence, 1937-38 (2008) and A Mission under Duress: The Nanjing Massacre and Post-Massacre Social Conditions Documented by American Diplomats (2010).