FSU Libraries News

FSU’s Interlibrary Loan Department

Are you a patron in need of material that isn’t available at FSU Libraries? If so, their Interlibrary Loan Department has got you covered!

FSU Libraries Interlibrary Loan Department provides the service of giving patrons of the Libraries access to request articles, books and other materials owned by another library or from other outside sources. Through the FSU Libraries Interlibrary Loan services, there are three ways for patrons to get the material they need: using the FSU Catalog, UBorrow, or Interlibrary Loan (ILLiad). FSU Libraries asks for patrons to check the catalog before requesting material from outside sources to see if they have them or not. For a faster delivery of print books from colleges and universities in Florida, patrons can search through UBorrow, an unmediated interlibrary loan service. ILLiad is used to request material from libraries around the world.

Lindsey Eckert, an assistant professor in FSU’s English Department, was able to get access to a copy of Rowden’s A Biographical Sketch of the Most Distinguished Writers of Ancient and Modern Times that she requested from Emory University. Although there were some issues encountered during the process, the endless support of the FSU ILL Department helped her tremendously.


FSU observes Open Access Week 2020 and celebrates a year of action

Happy Open Access Week! Open Access Week (Oct. 19 -25, 2020) is a time to celebrate open access, raise awareness and observe the work done to support OA year-round. The core principle of open access is that all published scholarship and research should be accessible to the general public. Those new to open access can learn more in this video from PhD Comics:  https://youtu.be/L5rVH1KGBCY.

The Open Access Week theme for 2020 is Taking Action to Build Structural Equity and Inclusion

Universities around the world are supporting this principle in different ways. The Libraries’ Office of Digital Research and Scholarship created an anti-racism action plan, conducted research on the experiences of marginalized scholars and students interacting with open, and added cultural competency in teaching modules to the Canvas course for Alternative Textbook Grant recipients. Of course, this is only a start to building structural equity and inclusion into local open infrastructure at FSU.

This past year, Florida State has shown commitment to the principle of open access through several actions:

  1. Reinstating the Alternative Textbook Grant Program to support open and affordable materials, especially as students and instructors contend with remote courses and financial uncertainty.
  2. Continuing the Open Access Fund and developing the ‘Open Scholars Project’ to support an informal yet active community of practice around open access at FSU. Coming this spring!
  3. Hosting the Fall 2020 Road Scholars virtual event Friday, November 13, in partnership with the Road Scholars Committee, Faculty Senate, and the Office of Faculty Development and Advancement:

The annual FSU Road Scholars speaker series welcomes distinguished scholars from institutions within the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) to FSU during weeks that coincide with ACC athletic events. The Fall 2020 virtual event Friday, November 13 from 3:00pm – 4:30pm EST will feature Micah Vandegrift, Open Knowledge Librarian at North Carolina State University. He will be speaking about his project as a Fulbright-Schuman Research Fellow, titled “Open Scholarship Policies and Technologies: The European Research Library as a Model for Advancing Global Scholarly Communication”. The event will include an hour lecture and additional time for questions. Register here: https://fla.st/3nNEkat

Trust Students, Suspect Algorithms

A Deep Dive into the Dubious Claims of Online Test Proctoring

By Adam Beauchamp

When universities across the United States reacted to the coronavirus pandemic by shifting to remote instruction last spring, many of us quickly adopted new technologies to keep our courses running. Now, as we prepare for another semester of remote instruction, we have an opportunity to reassess these tools and ask ourselves if they still meet our educational needs and comport with our values. In this time of heightened stress and trauma, I suggest that we abandon technologies or practices that create an adversarial relationship between teachers and students. These include plagiarism detection software, technologies that track students’ movements, and classroom policies that privilege compliance over learning, what Jeffrey Moro refers to colorfully and astutely as “cop shit.”


Library Tutoring is on Zoom

The Strozier Library Learning District late-night tutoring has moved online. Due to the recent closure of the FSU campus, we’re now on Zoom! The Learning District is still providing students tutoring on all the usual subjects and operating during our regularly scheduled times, but students can now ask us questions from their own living rooms.

Attention, Students! We’re still here to help!

What is Zoom?

Zoom is an online video conferencing application, and most FSU courses have switched to Zoom lectures and classes. This application also allows the Learning District tutors the chance to chat with students and help subjects in real time no matter where each person is located.

If you need assistance figuring out Zoom, start with this page of FSU’s Information Technology Services site or Zoom’s official help center.

How can I find FSU Zoom tutoring?

From the main tutoring home page, details on hours and how to connect to our tutors are on the Online Tutoring page. During active hours, you can also reach most of our tutors directly by visiting this page for the Zoom link.

What subjects are being tutoring?

The Learning District offers chemistry, math, and physics. We also have our Expanded Subjects tutoring which covers economics, English, and other humanities.

What time is tutoring?

Zoom tutoring for STEM subjects is available Sunday-Wednesday from 8:00 p.m. EST to midnight EST.

Other subjects may be available between 6:00 p.m. EST and midnight EST, Sunday through Thursday, but specific hours vary by tutor, so check the calendar on this page for details.

FSU Libraries’ Celebrates Newly-Tenured Faculty

On April 22, 2019, newly-tenured FSU faculty celebrated their accomplishments during a reception at the President’s house. Each year, FSU Libraries honor the achievements of newly-tenured faculty by selecting an item for the collection in their name. These items are on display the celebration event, with a paragraph describing why each particular item was selected and its significance.

To view the list of faculty and their explanation of the books or materials they hand-picked to be purchased and book plated in their honor, click here.

Why and How Libraries Should Use Student Data: Two Perspectives

Why (and How) libraries should use student data to measure the relationship between library services, spaces, etc., on student outcomes.

In this conversation, two librarians at FSU share their perspectives and experiences on student data. Why should we use student data? Why shouldn’t we use student data? Below, read Adam Beauchamp and Kirsten Kinsley’s take on student data.

By Adam Beauchamp, Humanities Librarian

“How” should libraries use student data to measure the relationship between library services, spaces, etc., on student outcomes?

In short, very carefully. 

There are two questions, one methodological and one ethical, that I ask myself when considering the use of student data in library assessment. First, do these data actually measure the outcome I want to assess? Second, does the potential benefit to students from using data this way offset the potential harm to students’ privacy or intellectual freedom? 

Libraries collect a lot of transactional data in the course of normal operations, and it is tempting to use these data to demonstrate the library’s value. But the mistake I see often in the library literature is that librarians conflate a student’s simple use of the library with the broadest (and most flawed) measure of student learning: GPA. A high GPA may be indicative of a student who does well in general on tests and class assignments, but GPA doesn’t tell you what or how a student has learned. 

Similarly, counts of library transactions like checking out a book, attending a workshop, clicking on an electronic journal article, or passing through library turnstiles do not tell you how, or even if, those transactions resulted in student learning. In the first example, did our student read the book, fully understand its thesis, and successfully incorporate those ideas into her own thinking and writing? Did she even select an appropriate book for the assignment in the first place? None of these questions are answered by circulation statistics. Asked another way, if learning did not take place in this scenario, is it the fault of the library? If the library cannot be held liable for the student who checks out a book and doesn’t learn, can the library take credit for the same transaction leading to a positive outcome without justifying how?

If library transactional data alone are insufficient measures of student learning, one response is to collect more, better student data. How can we know if the student above learned from checking out a book? Perhaps if we had her entire search history and records of every other book and journal article she had looked at, we could then hypothesize about whether or not she had deployed a logical search strategy and had selected the “right” book for the assignment. But now we have a serious ethical problem. Is it appropriate for libraries to conduct this kind of surveillance of our users? If the student finds out we are scrutinizing her every keyword and mouse click, would she think twice about searching for or reading materials on certain subjects? Are we sharing these data with her professor, who might deduct points for “irrelevant” searches or checking out the “wrong” books? Have we gotten any closer to discovering how the student is or isn’t learning such that we could alter our practices to benefit her and other students?  

In the ALA Code of Ethics we are called to offer the highest quality service, but we cannot let pursuit of that value cause us to trample on our equally important mission to support intellectual freedom, fight censorship (including self-censorship), and protect library users’ right to privacy and confidentiality. Therefore, we must think very carefully before using student data in an effort to connect library use in all its forms to student learning outcomes. We must be sure that such use of student data is a valid measure of the outcome we wish to assess, and that the potential benefits to students outweighs the potential harms to students’ privacy and intellectual freedom at the center of our professional ethics.

By Kirsten Kinsley, Assessment Librarian

My position is for purposes of modeling Critical Thinking and Healthy Discussion–the value of the month and to start the conversation on big data and student privacy:

An example of the data we collect on students:

We collect data on a number of library services, outreach, spaces, and resources/collections as demonstrated by the data inventory completed in the fall. One of the datasets assessment collects is card swipe data for Dirac and Strozier.  From this data we can determine who uses the library, how frequently, and for how long. The data includes student EMPLIDS, a nine digit code identifier that serves to connect individual student user card swipes with the Office of Institutional Research Business Intelligence (BI) data warehouse.  The BI system is used to pull any number of variables about each student who enters the library. Some of the student variables include: major, year of study or status, semester or overall GPA, retention, class load, whether they are an athlete, a part of Greek Life, or a veteran, etc. We pull demographic variables such as age, sex, race, and pre-college variables, such high school GPA, SAT/ACT scores and Pell grant recipients.

We include all these variables about individual students and examine them in the aggregate because theories and research in higher education conclude that a lot goes into what makes a student successful in college and there are many ways to measure that.  Some point to pre-college variables, such as SAT/ACT scores, as factors that contribute to success. Other studies have shown that collegiate engagement in programs like CARE, living-learning communities, athletics or studying abroad play a role in student success. Using statistics, we can also tease out the relationship between library usage and student success.

In order to be thorough, analysis includes as many factors as we can by holding some variables constant (such as high school GPA, which can have a hidden effect on student library usage) while measuring whether something like first year retention rates may be affected by library usage.  We do this knowing that we cannot account for all variables, such as personal motivation.

You might ask, “How do we know that it is not something about a student’s good study habits and not in using the library space itself that makes them successful?”  In other words, good students self-select to go to the library. This is self-selection bias and for this we apply statistical techniques like precision matching to mitigate it. One way to do that is by creating a comparison group by matching each library user’s demographics and characteristics with a non-library user. For example: A student who visits the library physical space is matched with a non-library using student on characteristics like ethnicity, age, year of study, major, high school GPA, SAT score, etc.  What is being compared is the differences of frequency of library visits between them and to estimate the effects it has on first year retention rates. From this a comparison group of library users with a matched group of non-library users is created. We can apply this technique to measure whether the library user group has a statistically significant higher semester-to-semester retention rate.

All the student data that we collect are anonymized and analyzed in the aggregate.  We do not want to know about a particular students’ library participation, but we do want to know what trends there are that relate to library usage in general.  Aside from library spaces, we know that the library provides many important services, configurations of spaces, and resources that help our users. So measuring the impact of as many library variables together as we can will build our case that the library makes a difference. Since this process involves a lot of datasets, we need a secure and safe data warehouse to store it.

Why should we use all that student data do this?: To show that libraries play a role in student success.

To compete for campus funding:

If we don’t hold ourselves accountable and demonstrate our value and impact on student, faculty, and staff success, who can we count on to advocate for us on campus? Others campus divisions and stakeholders , such as the Academic Center for Excellence (ACE) and the Division of Student Affairs are and will be vying for dollars by showing evidence of their contributions. [Look at Goal IV & V of the Strategic Plan: Student Success and the focus of those Goals includes student advising initiatives]. FSU’s operating budget includes E&G Funds (44.36%) and the Libraries share a portion the E&G budget with other campus stakeholders. Of those funds, 11.80% comes from tuition and fees, and the remaining 32.56%  percent comes from state support.


The Board of Governors (BOG) oversees the distribution of some large sources of funding: Preeminence funding,  Performance-based funding, and National Ranking Enhancements that are distributed to the eleven schools in the State University System (SUS). At FSU, “performance funding currently accounts for approximately 22% of all Education & General (E&G) dollars, the principal source of university operating funds” (Daly PowerPoint 2019) and is based on metrics. Metrics that libraries can contribute to include: four year graduation rate, academic progress rate (2nd year retention with GPA above 2.0), and others. Another source of income that is getting more and more competitive is Preeminence funding. Of the $20 million recurring funds for the SUS–FSU’s portion is $6.1 million.


ACRL’s Value of Academic Libraries Initiative (2010) was strongly supported with IMLS grant funding projects and programming and continues to be a driving force for the impetus to conduct this research that demonstrates Value and Impact. Currently, they offer grants for up to $3000 for libraries who want to conduct research to demonstrate value.

While funding is not the only reason we should measure our impact on student success, it is clearly a compelling reason.

So, how do we measure the Libraries’ impact on student success, while also honoring our values?

  1. Foster partnerships: By partnering with other campus colleges and departments as we have successfully done in the past and by utilizing high standards of research practice and methodologies, we raise awareness across campus that the library makes a difference in the lives of students, faculty, and staff.  
  2. Adhering to research standards: We ask questions and let the data speak, not the other way around as in data trolling or dredging. For quantitative research we frame our questions supported with theories tested in higher education [for example, for students we could use Astin’s Theory of Student Involvement (1984) or Tinto’s Institutional Departure Model (1975, 1993)]. We don’t give the data to third parties. We do it to show them the value of students’ tuition or tax dollars. We can do all this while still honoring our professional values (e.g., ALA Code of Ethics),
  3. Model good data stewardship: We can be a role model for not only how we adhere to good research practice, but by being transparent to library users that we collect their information to improve their services, spaces, and collections in the aggregate. We adhere to stringent privacy considerations and make sure we are in alignment with campus data governance. We are good data stewards by maintaining high standards of data management practices and protocols–such as how we store, secure, and de-identify data. We do this using the same research standards and protocols of the university.  We develop a privacy statement and a way for users to opt out of library research should they want to.


We need to be proactive about demonstrating impact and value to the institution and advocate to stakeholders our value.  Aside from competition for campus funds, we need to hold ourselves accountable to measure that what we do matters. If any part of this institution is capable of measuring impact and value with care and consideration of its users, it is the Libraries. Our values and concerns will keep us balanced between contributing evidence-based data and the practices of privacy, and keeping what we measure within the bounds of reason. Let’s not leave it up to the vendors to decide the granularity of data we seek, but let us ask the questions, within the bounds of our values, and conduct sound research practice in good faith knowing that there will never be data that give us certainty and definitive answers, only a compass to point the way.

Note: References provided for my assertions provided upon request.

FSU Libraries Announce Alternative Textbook Grant Recipients

FSU Libraries is proud to announce the winners of our 2018-2019 round of Alternative Textbook Grants. The grant program, launched by the Libraries in November 2016, awards successful applicants with $1,000 to support the adoption or creation of open or library-licensed course materials that are available at no cost to students. These high-quality materials are written by experts and peer-reviewed, ensuring a level of intellectual and instructional rigor on par with expensive commercial equivalents.

Applications were evaluated based on criteria balancing the estimated savings to students, the openness of the proposed materials, and the likelihood of the materials being adopted by other courses at FSU.

Based on projected enrollment figures for the courses in question, the instructors participating in this round of the program are expected to save FSU students up to $167,800 by Fall 2019, and the total projected savings across all grant recipients since the program’s inception are expected to exceed $437,000.

Congratulations to this year’s winners! For more information about the open education movement and related initiatives at FSU, see our research guide on OER, or contact Devin Soper, Director of FSU Libraries’ Office of Digital Research & Scholarship.


2018-2019 Grant Recipients

John Bandzuh is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Geography. His research interests include health geography, political ecology, and vector-borne diseases. This is Bandzuh’s second alternative textbook grant. With his first grant, he used library-licensed journal articles in GEO4930 “Geography of Wine”. This year he plans to adopt an open textbook in his Summer 2019 World Geography course.

Kathleen Burnett is the F. William Summers Professor in the School of Information. Her research interests include Social Informatics, Gender, Race, and Ethnicity and IT, and Information Ethics. Dr. Burnett plans to author chapters for her own open textbook and incorporate online resources and videos in her Fall and Spring offerings of IDS2144 “Information Ethics in the 21st Century”.

Austin Bush is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Geography. His research interests include GIS, remote sensing, and spatial analysis. In lieu of a traditional textbook, he plans to use online mapping applications, scholarly articles, and videos in the Summer 2019 offering of GIS3015 “Map Analysis”.

Rob Duarte is a Professor in the Department of Art, co-director of the Facility for Arts Research, and Director of REBOOT Laboratory. Professor Duarte will adopt an open textbook for the new course “Interactive Art II: Electronic Objects” in Fall 2019. In the future, he plans to write his own companion to the text focusing on physical computing and electronic art.

Raphael Kampmann is an Assistant Professor in the department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the FSU-FAMU College of Engineering. His research interests include multi-axial failure behavior of concrete, construction materials, and destructive test methods. In place of a textbook, Dr. Kampmann will create his own course materials in the 2019-2020 offerings of EGM3512 “Engineering Mechanics”.

Jessica Malo is an adjunct professor of Arabic and Film Studies in the Department of Modern Languages and Linguistics. Malo recently returned from a year of teaching English as a second language in Lebanon and published her first work of Arabic poetry “لو مشى معي قرص الشمس” (If the Disk of Sun Would Walk With Me). She will adopt an open textbook on Middle Eastern history and Culture in upcoming offerings of IDS3450 “Through an Arabic Lens: The Intersection of Film and Culture”.

Lisa Munson is Teaching Faculty in the Department of Sociology. She studies social inequality and social justice, particularly public sociology – applying sociological knowledge to promote social justice in the community. Dr. Munson was also one of the 2018 Alternative Textbook Grant recipients for a Sociology course taught in Florence in which she used an open textbook. With this grant, she will use an open textbook and journal articles in the Summer 2019 offering of SYP4570 “Deviance and Social Control”.

Alysia Roehrig is an Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Psychology & Learning Systems. Dr. Roehrig’s research interests focus on issues related to effective teaching, particularly exploring the successes of students labeled at risk for school failure. She will use chapters from two open textbooks on research methods in the Summer 2019 online offering of EDF5481 “Methods of Educational Research”.

Zoe Schroder is Ph.D. student in the Department of Geography. Some of her research interests include meteorology, climatology, and severe weather patterns. In place of a textbook, Schroder will incorporate government climate reports and journal articles in the Summer 2019 offering of GEO4251 “Geography of Climate Change and Storms”.

Michael Shatruk is a Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. His lab researches photo-switchable molecular materials, intermetallic magnets for magnetic refrigeration and electric vehicles, and low-dimensional magnetic materials such as spin-frustrated 2D magnets and nanomagnets. Dr. Shatruk received two grants this academic year to support the adoption and creation of open course materials. With a grant from International Programs, he will adopt an open textbook for CHM1020 at the Valencia study center this summer. With funding from the Libraries, he and his colleagues will develop an open-access online laboratory manual for a new undergraduate Materials Chemistry laboratory course offered in Spring 2020.

International Programs Grant Recipients

Lydia Hanks is an Associate Professor in the Dedman School of Hospitality. Dr. Hanks’ teaching areas include hospitality accounting, lodging operations, and service management. She will use an open textbook in the Summer 2019 offering of HFT2716 “International Travel and Culture” in Florence, Italy.

Cynthia Johnson is Specialized Teaching Faculty in the Dedman School of Hospitality. Her teaching areas include introductory hospitality, internationals tourism, and club and golf course management. She will adopt an open access textbook and other alternative resources in the Summer 2019 offerings of HFT3240 “Managing Service Organizations” and HFT 2716 “International Travel and Culture” in Nice, France.

Patrick Merle is an Associate Professor in the School of Communication and Director of the Integrated Marketing Program. His teaching interests include International Public Relations, Political Communication, and Public Relations Techniques. Dr. Merle will adopt open textbooks in PUR4400 “Crisis Communication” offered in Summer 2019 in Florence, Italy.

Anthony Rhine is a Professor in the School of Theatre and Director of the Theatre Management program. Dr. Rhine teaches courses on Audience Development and Arts Marketing, Project Management, and Resource Management. He will use an open textbook and a library licensed e-book in the Summer 2019 offering of MAN3240 “Organizational Behavior” at the Valencia study center.

Jimmy Yu is an Associate Professor of Chinese Buddhism in the Department of Religion. He teaches courses in Chinese religious traditions, with an emphasis in Buddhism and Daoism. Dr. Yu will use library-licensed e-books and articles in the Summer 2019 offering of REL3340 “Buddhist Tradition” at the London study center.