UNT Known for Making Information Accessible in the Digital Age

During a visit to her small East Texas hometown, Cathy Hartman, associate dean for the University of North Texas Libraries, was surprised to learn from a fellow restaurant customer that he had seen the 1924 teaching contract of her aunt, Pearl Vinson. The document, preserved online on UNT’s Portal to Texas History, stated that Vinson would teach for seven months at Cross Roads Elementary in Cass County, receiving $85 per month.

The teaching contract is more than just history for Hartman’s family. It’s an example of the primary source materials from libraries, museums, archives and private donors that provide portal users with glimpses of past life in Texas.

“Unless you could travel all over the state, you wouldn’t be able to see all of these items, especially since some of the smaller libraries’ and museums’ collections aren’t widely publicized. Even if they had the content on their websites, chances are it wouldn’t show up in the first 100 pages of a search engine hit list,” Hartman says. “But the portal, which has more than 6 million visitors per year, is indexed by Google and all other search engines. Its content is generally at the top of the results page.”

To learn more, please see the full article: UNT Known for Making Information Accessible in the Digital Age.

Fire Museum of Texas Patch Collection

Among the digitized physical objects in the Portal is a collection of uniform patches from city and volunteer fire departments all over the state of Texas.  Selected from the larger collection at the Fire Museum of Texas these colorful patches help to tell the history of fire service in the state.

--submitted by Nancy Reis, Communications Specialist, Digital Libraries Division

University Libraries is Shifting Materials

The University Libraries are shifting materials in Willis Library and Eagle Commons Library (ECL) during the spring and summer semesters of 2014.

  • April 15 update: The T, S, and R collections are now located on the third floor of Willis Library. The locations in the library catalog are being updated.
  • April 2 update: The T (Technology), S (Agriculture), and R (Medicine) collections are being moved from ECL to Willis Library Third Floor. The J (Political Science) and K (Law) collections are being moved from Willis Library Third Floor to ECL.
  • March 31 update: The Abstracts & Indexes, Business Reference, Tax Library, and Docs Reference materials are being moved this week from the Willis Library Third Floor to Eagle Commons Library. The bound journals on the Lower Level continue to be moved toward the southwest corner (formerly CMC Kits).
  • March 27 update: The U (Military Science), V (Naval Science), and Z (Bibliography) collections have been moved from the Willis Library Third Floor south side to the north side (formerly Government Documents Collection).
  • March 21 update: The bound journals in Willis Library are currently located on the Lower Level. Journals published before 2009 will be sent to Remote Storage. Volumes may be requested through the Online Holds service. Articles may be requested through ILLiad.
  • March 18 update: The Curriculum Materials Collection (CMC) kits are currently being moved from the Willis Library Lower Level to the Second Floor reshelving area across from the LibTACO offices.
  • Over spring break (March 10 - 16) the Texas Documents collection and the majority of the United States Government Documents collection was moved from the third floor of Willis Library to the Eagle Commons Library.
  • Through the later part of spring, the remaining Government Documents collection will also be moved to ECL.
  • Once the Government Documents collection has moved, collections including law, political science, geography, and business will also move to the ECL.
  • Over the next few months, collections including technology, agriculture, medicine, and science will be moved from ECL to Willis Library and a complete shift of collections on Willis second & third floors will occur. Most, if not all materials on the second floor of Willis Library will be moving to the third floor.

If you have questions about the shifting process or need help with a collection item, please contact the Eagle Commons Library, Government Documents, Willis Library Services Desk (940-565-2413) or the Government Documents Service Desk (940-565-2870).
 
We will continue to update this page with any additional information during the semester.

Publishing Models and Open Access

SCOAP3

Two catalysts of the advent of open access include decreasing library budgets and increasing publisher fees. Consequently, publishers and libraries are experimenting with various fee and payment models to better serve their respective customers. One horizon library payment model is called the Sponsoring Consortium for Open Access Publishing in Particle Physics (SCOAP3). SCOAP3 consists of a consortium of libraries, funding agencies, and research centers located in over two-dozen countries that are aggregating funds to pay publisher costs to enable selective High-Energy Physics journals to become available via gold open access. Subsequently, publishers of these journals offer lower subscription fees to the contributors who help subsidize the SCOAP3 endeavor. Further, the articles published in these High-Energy Physics Journals are licensed with a CC-BY Creative Commons license, and thus this license alerts potential users that these articles may be further distributed, tweaked, used for commercial or non-commercial purposes, used for any educational endeavor (making paper or digital copies for students…), or for any other purpose as long as proper attribution is given. Articles that are published using SCOAP3 funds are also placed into the SCOAP3 Repository, which creates even greater reliable access to valid information.

Cengage and McGraw Hill

Publishers are also experimenting with new conduits of offering educational information. I recently attended a luncheon sponsored by Cengage Learning at the University of North Texas Center for Learning Enhancement, Assessment, and Redesign (CLEAR). At this luncheon, Cengage introduced a couple of products to meet the changing needs of students. In displaying this new product, Cengage cited research that claimed many students simply cannot afford to purchase expensive print textbooks, and even if text books are purchased, students rarely read the content inside. Therefore, Cengage is experimenting with an interactive digital interface that offers some text, interfaces similar to Second Life where students can construct items, digital venues in which students may participate in augmented reality science labs, and digital locations where students may interact with other students online.

I attended another luncheon with CLEAR that was sponsored by McGraw Hill. McGraw Hill also is experimenting with interactive digital content called McGraw Hill Connect that is subject specific and that can be implemented for one or two academic periods. Such content offers interactive videos, audio, and text; and is offered in lieu of print textbooks. It additionally proffers periodic reviews and quizzes to help students ensure they know materials before taking an exam, and the quizzes also assist professors in remaining cognizant of student progress.

Which is the better approach?

These separate approaches do not equally meet the needs of information seekers. SCOAP3, although a gold open access platform, is an innovative way to help users effectively locate needed information. Although a truly green open access platform is preferred, SCOAP3 provides an acceptable compromise that helps create a wider dissemination of High-Energy Physics information, especially with each article being deposited into the SCOAP3 Repository. Also, by using Creative Commons licenses, potential users are immediately cognizant that they may use this content for most any purpose as long as they give proper attribution to the author.

Although the Cengage and McGraw Hill approaches are both interesting, neither method really encourages the widespread dissemination of needed information. Realizing this publisher created content is not paid for by a consortium such as SCOAP3, the only individuals who can view this content are those registered in a specific class at UNT, and those registered students must have a password to view and interact with the content. The Cengage and McGraw Hill content also are not licensed with a Creative Commons license, which further prevents the widespread flow of dissemination. Additionally, an interesting note brought up by a representative at CLEAR is that currently less than one percent of the students at UNT purchase digital content at the UNT bookstore. If students’ materials are offered via digital venues, a large majority of UNT students supposedly choose not to purchase it. The publishers at the luncheon countered this statistic and suggested that a majority of students nation-wide are not purchasing print content either. It seems to me, both pieces of evidence that suggest students are not purchasing course required content (whether print or digital) support the creation of more green open access platforms that deliver students gratis, easily located, valid and reliable information. This is the type of access for which the Coalition of Open Access Policy Institutions (COAPI) continues to advocate, and I think it is the type of access we all should continue to demand. Perhaps if such content were more readily available, then regardless of the format, students would be more likely to use the content and better their educational opportunities.

The Study Now Open

UNT Libraries have brewed up an eclectic and cozy new place for students, staff and faculty to recharge, relax, and refuel in Willis Library. The Study, which replaces the Cyber Café, is conveniently located in just inside the front doors of Willis. It features a coffee bar, new menu items and ample space for studying or socializing.

Hours:

  • Monday - Thursday — 7:00 am - 12:00 am
  • Friday — 7:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • Saturday — Closed
  • Sunday — 12:00 pm - 12:00 am