Archive for February, 2014

Wikipedia as a research tool?

February 24, 2014

Your instructors have undoubtedly stressed that Wikipedia is not an academic source, so you can’t cite it as such in your research paper. All that is true—Wikipedia clearly doesn’t pass the CRAAP test as a peer-reviewed, academic research source.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t use it at all. Wikipedia can be a great starting point for general information as you familiarize yourself with your research topic. There are also many links in most Wikipedia entries that will send you in many other directions to related subjects, experts, and fields of study as you explore your topic and formulate your ideas.

It’s also a great source for different keywords on your topic. Keywords are the words you enter in any search field to get results. To state the obvious, the results you get out of a search are only as good as the keywords you put in. Wikipedia can show you which words and phrases are commonly used in a specific field, and using those terms and keywords when you search will allow you to “speak the language” of that subject and get you better results. For example, a read of the Wikipedia entry for Social Media yields myriad other related terms, like consumer-generated media, social networking, digital media, content marketing, social media activism, online presence management, and many more, that become useful keyword lingo.

So while Wikipedia is most definitely not an academic source it can still be a useful research tool. Try integrating it into your next project. And if you’ve discovered other uses for Wikipedia in your own research, leave a comment and let us know. Happy researching!

Welcome to the Brave New World: Tracking your Altmetrics

February 18, 2014

A great question came my way last week from a faculty member looking to track the impact of a recently published, award winning article. With all the different ways people discuss and engage with scholarship, its is easy to see why academics would want to know all the ways their work is being engaged with, and not just how many times an article is being cited.

This beyond-traditional means of measurement is called Altmetricsand it acknowledges how scholars have an impact far beyond how many times a given article has appeared in someone else’s References list.  How about how often the article/author has been mentioned on Twitter? Or how many people have saved the article in Zotero, Mendeley, or CiteULike?  What about the number of times your conference slides were viewed on SlideShare?

All of these (and more!) contribute to the impact of your scholarly work- but it may seem daunting to check them all on a regular basis.  Certainly, you can set up alerts and track them individually- but- and I’m sure you know where I’m heading!- why not try an aggregator?

ImpactStory does just that- it aggregates your reach across websites. By bringing together your mentions from a variety of sources, it gives you a more complete picture of how your scholarship is contributing to the conversation in your field.

Come and see me if you’d like to chat more about this- we’re interested in how we can best support Faculty Scholarship at Red Deer College!

Notable New Videos in the Library

February 14, 2014

Looking for a quality documentary to watch in class or at home? Each year, the American Library Association (ALA) Video Round Table puts together a list of outstanding programs released in the last two years. From this year’s 34 nominees, 15 were chosen for the 2014 list of Notable Videos for Adults. These are films that the ALA believes make “a significant contribution to the world of video”. Here’s the full list. 

And here are the 8 Notable Videos that were added to the library’s collection this week. For now, you’ll find them on the New Books display, across from the Circulation desk.

Ai WeiWei: Never Sorry (2012) 91 minutes.  Profiles Chinese dissident artist Ai WeiWei and his mission to draw attention to political oppression in China. 

Brooklyn Castle (2012) 101 minutes.  Public school kids and educators overcome economic challenges to compete in national chess championships

The Gatekeepers (2013) 101 minutes. A glimpse into machinations of Israel’s counter-terrorism operations through unprecedented interviews with six former leaders of Shin Bet. 

The House I Live In (2013) 108 minutes.  Lays bare the social consequences of America’s failed war on drugs.Image

How to Survive a Plague (2013) 109 minutes. Members of ACT UP fight to provide lifesaving drugs to their community and raise awareness during the outbreak of HIV/AIDS.Lays bare the social consequences of America’s failed war on drugs.

Invisible War (2012) 98 minutes. An expose about sexual assault in the military and the system that perpetuates it.

Kumare (2013) 84 minutes. By posing as a guru, the filmmaker explores the common longing for spiritual guidance.

A Place at the Table (2013) 84 minutes. An exploration of America’s food insecurity and its negative impact on the nation’s most vulnerable.


Artstor Digital Library: 2013 in Review

February 10, 2014

Artstor home

Key technology improvements implemented in 2013 by ARTstor for the benefit of RDC students and instructors:

…you can export image groups of up to 150 images as PowerPoint presentations, and you can also download batches of up to 150 JPG files from image groups in a zip file.

Watch our short video to learn more.

…doubled the maximum number of images that can be exported or downloaded in a 120-day period from 1,000 to 2,000.

…dropped Java, making your experience in the Digital Library safer.

…launched the Selected Monuments project, with images, related artworks, and teaching materials for significant works of art as identified in the Advanced Placement Art History curriculum. It’s a wealth of information on important works from around the globe and across time periods.

…introduced the Teaching with Artstor discussion list, a forum where you can share ideas about teaching and where your questions can be addressed.