The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Category: Announcements

The UMass Amherst Libraries announce the launch of Translat Library, a new journal based at UMass Amherst and published through ScholarWorks@UMassAmherst in collaboration with the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona in Spain. The journal is devoted to the literary culture of Europe from 1300 to 1600, with an emphasis on vernacular translations, the Romance letters, and the Latin tradition.

Translat Library stems from a long-term project led by a group of researchers based at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. The project, which has received funding from the Spanish government since 2006, culminated in 2018 with the publication of a monograph as well as a database on medieval Catalan translations (Translat is the medieval Catalan word for both ‘translation’ and ‘copy’).

Inspired by the sections of notes and manuscript excerpts that were common in 19th century journals, the journal aims to offer a venue for research based on archival and documentary work. It seeks to publish short articles documenting the identification of a manuscript or incunable, the source of a text, archival information on an author or work, the paratexts of a rare edition, the complete or excerpted edition of an unpublished text, and published but neglected text, among other topics.

Albert Lloret, Associate Professor and Director of Spanish and Catalan Studies at UMass Amherst, serves as general editor of the journal, together with Barcelona Professor Alejandro Coroleu. The Editorial Board is composed of a roster of scholars from the UK, Italy, Spain, and the U.S.

The W. E. B. Du Bois Center at UMass Amherst Libraries has been selected for the 2019 Best of Amherst Award in the Education Center category by the Amherst Award Program.

Each year, the Amherst Award Program identifies companies and places that they believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These nominees enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and community and help make the Amherst area a great place to live, work, and play.

The Amherst Award Program is an annual awards program established to honor the achievements and accomplishments of local businesses throughout the Amherst area. The organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations, and other business advertising and marketing groups. Its mission is to recognize the small business community's contributions to the U.S. economy.

The University of Massachusetts Amherst today announced the acquisition of the papers of Daniel Ellsberg, one of the nation’s foremost political activists and whistleblowers. Following a decade as a high-level government official, researcher and consultant, Ellsberg distributed the top-secret Pentagon Papers in 1971, exposing decades of deceit by American policymakers during the Vietnam War.

The life work of Ellsberg, 88, as documented in an extraordinary collection of papers, annotated books and photographs, will be managed and made available to scholars and the public by Special Collections and University Archives at the W.E.B. Du Bois Library at UMass Amherst. Ellsberg, who holds a Ph.D. in economics and remains active as a lecturer and writer, will join the university community as a Distinguished Researcher at the Du Bois Library and as a Distinguished Research Fellow at the university’s Political Economy Research Institute (PERI).

A sampling of the collection can be viewed here. Official news release here.

The UMass Amherst Libraries’ Digital Scholarship Center (DSC) is assisting Eric Poehler, associate professor of classics at UMass Amherst, in completing the Pompeii Artistic Landscape Project (PALP), for which he received a $245,000 grant from the Getty Foundation.

The project is an online resource of images documenting existing artwork, such as frescoes and mosaics, in Pompeii, Italy. Embedded within these images are various types of metadata—data that provides information about other data—that describe the artwork as well as their locations in Pompeii, allowing scholars to search the database more easily and study the pieces within their architectural contexts.

The DSC is supporting this project by reviewing more than 150,000 images provided by Pompeii in Pictures and adding the metadata to them from Linked Open Data (LOD) resourced: publicly available, standardized data and terminology that interlinks with other data on the web to make searching easier.

“Contributing to the Pompeii Artistic Landscape Project really builds on the Digital Scholarship Center’s expertise with images,” says Brian Shelburne, director of the DSC. “It also allows us to develop new skills that we will use to support future projects by our students and faculty.”

The UMass Amherst Libraries, along with the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) and the University of Nevada-Reno, were recently awarded a $241,845 National Leadership Project Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to fund the development of an immersion program to train faculty and instructors on how to integrate the use of makerspaces, dedicated spaces with technological resources and equipment for project-based collaboration, into their courses.

The impetus for designing such a program comes from the results of a previous IMLS grant-funded pilot study entitled “Maker Literacies and the Undergraduate Curriculum,” which explored the impacts of academic library makerspaces on undergraduate student learning. The UMass Amherst Libraries were chosen by UTA and the University of Nevada-Reno as one of four additional university partners to participate in that study because of the Libraries’ Digital Media Lab (DML), a cross-disciplinary makerspace in the W. E. B. Du Bois Library open to all UMass Amherst students, faculty, and staff, regardless of major or department.

The results of the pilot study demonstrated that academic makerspace instructors need training and support in order to collaborate successfully with faculty on designing makerspace lesson plans and assessing maker literacies. Developing the immersion program and making it openly accessible online would fill this need at both a community and national level with the potential to be built on and scaled as new makerspace practices emerge.

“This grant gives us resources to take what we learned about maker literacies and develop a curriculum for educators,” says Sarah Hutton, head of Student Success and Engagement for the Libraries. “We’re building a community of maker-educators across a wide spectrum that can continue to learn from and engage with each other.”

Sarah Hutton presenting at Creative Commons Global Summit. Photo courtesy of Sebastiaan ter Burg, CC BY 2.0.

UMass Amherst Libraries’ Sarah Hutton, head of undergraduate teaching and learning, and Lisa Di Valentino, law and public policy librarian, recently presented at the 2019 Creative Commons Global Summit in Lisbon, Portugal, where nearly 400 attendees gathered to discuss ways to make knowledge sharing more open and accessible.

Their topic, “Students’ Perception of Their Self-Efficacy in the Creation of Open Access Digital Learning Objects,” explored what students in Associate Professor Paul Musgrave’s Experimental Honors Course, Politics at the End of the World (POLSCI 390EW), thought about their own abilities to complete the class’s final group projects. Students were asked to create podcasts discussing political considerations in various “end of the world” scenarios, with the understanding that the projects would be made freely available online, including to students taking this course in the future.

“When you think about what typically motivates students to learn, grades are a common or typical concern,” says Hutton. “We wanted to look at other areas for motivation, such as knowing that their scholarship would be used to teach future students, that it would be freely available to scholars across the globe, and that other scholars could use and adapt it.”

Upon surveying the class, Hutton and Di Valentino discovered that, with those added factors propelling their work, students had “greater than 70 percent confidence in their capabilities across all categories,” including identifying key course concepts and applying them to their own research and conclusions.

Hutton, who learned about the course through the Commonwealth Honors College Curriculum Council, and Di Valentino were drawn to this project as an opportunity for the Libraries to work with, and learn from, Musgrave’s students. “This assignment clearly aligned with several facets of collaboration within the Libraries,” Hutton explains, “including digital media production for which we provide support in the Libraries’ Digital Media Lab; our advocacy for open access publishing, creative commons licensing; and teaching students about the importance of understanding their role in the global scholarship landscape.” Additionally, with her subject specialization in public policy, government, and legal studies, Di Valentino provided key instruction and support regarding attribution licensing and open scholarship tailored to the discipline of the course.

“The ultimate goal,” Di Valentino says, “is to support students both as learners and scholars.”

Final projects are available here for listening.

 

 Adam Quirós, Digital Media Lab Desk Supervisor at the UMass Amherst Libraries, recently won two Telly Awards for his films: gold in general-promotional for Profile of a Brewer: Wunderkammer Bier and bronze in craft-promotional for Making the Man Who Killed Hitler and then The Bigfoot.

Since 1979, the Telly Awards have honored "excellence in local, regional and cable television commercials with non-broadcast video and television programming added soon after. With the recent evolution and rise of digital video (web series, VR, 360 and beyond), the Telly Awards today also reflects and celebrates this exciting new era of the moving image on and offline.

The Telly Awards annually showcases the best work created within television and across video, for all screens. Receiving over 12,000 entries from all 50 states and 5 continents, Telly Award winners represent work from some of the most respected advertising agencies, television stations, production companies and publishers from around the world."

The UMass Amherst Libraries recently announced the recipients of the 2019 Open Education Initiative (OEI) grants. Ten UMass Amherst faculty members received funding for projects to revise or create open educational resources, or OER, defined as teaching materials released with open licenses that allow authors to retain the copyright to their work, while simultaneously granting others permission to revise, remix, and share it.

The Open Education Initiative at UMass Amherst aims to:

  • Lower the cost of college for students in order to contribute to their retention, progression, and graduation
  • Encourage the development of alternatives to high-cost textbooks by supporting the adoption, adaptation, or creation of OER
  • Provide support to faculty to implement these approaches
  • Encourage faculty to engage in new pedagogical models for classroom instruction 

Thanks to generous funding from the UMass Amherst Libraries and Office of the Provost, this year’s winners represent a broad range of disciplines across campus, including Jonathan Hulting-Cohen, Music and Dance, who plans to create an openly-licensed hybrid text/workbook for saxophone technique; Danielle Thomas, Spanish, who is compiling 10 years’ worth of teaching materials into an Advanced Spanish Grammar textbook; and Torrey Trust, Education, who will co-author a textbook with her Teaching and Learning with Technology (EDU 593A) students. Full list of winners here.

“We are seeing more faculty creating customizable teaching tools that are free for students and can also improve how students learn,” said Jeremy Smith, the Libraries’ Open Education & Research Services Librarian; “by utilizing or creating openly licensed teaching materials, instructors are removing a barrier to student success that high-cost textbooks often create.” OER are not appropriate for every class, but “as the number of newly-created OER has drastically increased over the past three years in a wide range of topics, it has become easier to find and customize material for common college courses,” adds Smith.

Now in its tenth cycle, the Open Education Initiative has generated a total savings of over $1.8 million for students in UMass Amherst classes that utilize OER or free Library materials. The Libraries partner with the Institute for Teaching Excellence and Faculty Development (TEFD), Instructional Innovation, and Provost’s Office to support these efforts.

UMass Amherst Libraries Support UC System’s Termination of Elsevier Contract

The UMass Amherst Libraries support the University of California (UC), as well as MIT, Temple University, Florida State University, and other U.S. and European universities who are working on transforming the way libraries license and provide access to scholarly content. We particularly applaud our colleagues in California who dared to take a strong stance in moving toward a more sustainable future. Our Libraries are joining others in stating support: University of Virginia, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and University of Minnesota.

The UC system terminated license negotiations with Elsevier earlier this year over an inability to come to consensus over a transformative agreement that would control runaway journal costs, favor Open Access, and benefit university faculty authors. UC developed a cost-neutral approach to moving journal licensing to a more sustainable, accessible, and open model. In February, after determining that they would not be able to reach an agreement with Elsevier, UC terminated license negotiations. In doing so, UC established a service continuity plan so that faculty, students, and researchers will still be able to obtain journal articles once they lose access to the over 2,500 journals that Elsevier publishes. 

Elsevier is the world’s largest scholarly publisher, reporting annual profit margins between 30 and 40 percent. Journal subscription costs have seen enormous increases over the last 20 years, significantly outpacing the growth in university library budgets. Libraries worldwide are looking for ways to reform the current scholarly publishing system in order to sustain future access to scholarly research outputs.

The UMass Amherst Libraries have a UMass system-wide license to Elsevier journals which will be up for renewal at the end of 2022. UMass librarians are working together to determine next steps in light of ongoing changes in the scholarly publishing landscape. Recent developments, like UC’s termination of negotiations with Elsevier, provide an opportunity for our libraries to reimagine the future. As mindful stewards of the financial resources that the University and State provide to the Libraries, we will seek innovative and creative ways to provide access to needed resources in the most affordable and accessible way possible.

Endorsed May 2, 2019 by the University Libraries Administration Team: Simon Neame, Dean of Libraries; Steve Bischof, Associate Dean for Library Technology; Leslie Button, Associate Dean for Research and Learning; Terry Carroll, Director for Administrative Services; Sally Krash, Associate Dean for Content and Discovery

The Mass Aggie Seed Library at the Science and Engineering Library, now open for seed borrowing and donation, houses a collection focusing on organic, open-pollinated, and heirloom vegetable and flower seeds, as well as a collection of books to educate the community about seed saving. Additionally, seed-saving tools will soon be available for loan to encourage and support seed-saving efforts.

The Seed Library is made possible through a generous grant from the UMass Amherst Sustainability, Innovation & Engagement Fund (SIEF).