Scholars Commons

Introducing FSU Libraries eTextbooks Search

Lindsey Wharton, Michael Pritchard, Finley Talley

As we welcome the start of 2021 Summer C, FSU Libraries are proud to announce the launch of our eTextbooks in the Classroom portal!

FSU Libraries’ new eTextbook program identifies currently available eBook titles assigned as required course materials. Instructors and students are able to search by course code, instructor, or book title to see if required course materials are available online through the Libraries. Since its implementation, this project has identified 848 total titles in Spring 2021 and 343 titles in Summer 2021 available through the Libraries’ existing licenses. In these two semesters, the total potential student savings is $1,941,369. 

A screenshot of the eTextbook Search portal on the Library website.

This initiative was inspired by ongoing student feedback about the high cost of course materials. The Libraries’ eTextbook program builds upon our current Course Reserves service and bolsters advocacy for the program as part of the broader Libraries’ Open & Affordable Textbook Initiative.

$1,941,369 United States Dollars

Here is a message of support from a student whose textbook was identified as currently licensed by the Libraries:

It’s well known that textbooks can be an onerous additional cost for those pursuing any degree, so it was a welcome and extremely helpful surprise when my professor announced that the library had added an electronic version of the course textbook. This happened two semesters in a row, and the savings across those semesters was close to $200 just for two classes. The ease of access is also a huge benefit that I was very grateful for.

FSU Libraries eResources expand the amount of materials available for higher-level coursework and complements other open educational resources. Furthermore, this program provides a crucial opportunity to support student success by ensuring equitable access to teaching and learning materials. Our eResources work to benefit our FSU community by…

Positively impacting student success & engaged learning

20 out of 28 instructors from studies between 2015 and 2018 reported that learning outcomes improved with open textbooks. FSU Alternative Textbook Grant recipient Vanessa Dennen, Professor of Instructional Systems & Learning Technologies, recently published results from her customized OER project in which students offered positive feedback because the OER were customized to meet their needs and received accurate, relevant, and focused learning materials. This OER and eTextbook integration in the classroom meets these same learning outcomes by providing students and instructors access to paid information that is covered by FSU Libraries.

Ensuring an affordable FSU education for all students regardless of socioeconomic status.

 A ground-breaking study from the University of Georgia found that drop, fail and withdrawal rates (DFW) decreased significantly for low income (Federal Pell Grant Recipients) and part-time students when Open Educational Resources (OER) were used in courses. There was a 53.12% increase in average course grade and a 29.54% decrease in DFW rates for students who were not enrolled full-time. The average final grades of self-identified non-white students in the study were higher with OER and their DFW rates were lower.

Allowing instructors to incorporate perspectives that prepare students to live and work in a diverse and global society.

Open Educational Resources support a diverse community of learners including those with accessibility needs and multicultural perspectives and active student participation with materials. Sixty-four percent of faculty members in studies between 2015 and 2018 reported that using OER facilitated meeting diverse learners’ needs and sixty-eight percent perceived greater student satisfaction with the learning experience when using OER.

We look forward to growing our eTextbook program as part of our larger affordability initiative to reduce barriers to information access and reduce the cost of higher education.

If you are interested in adopting a library-licensed or open eBook to replace your traditional textbook, please reach out to Lindsey Wharton or learn more at our eTextbook Information for Instructors.

Congratulations Graduates!

Every spring semester the Libraries hosts a reception celebrating our part-time student employees and honoring those who are graduating. This year we decided to post a blog about our students and celebrate our graduating seniors.

On behalf of Gale Etschmaier, Dean of University Libraries, “I want to thank you personally for your service to the Libraries. Without our part-time employees, we would be unable to provide the level of support that students and faculty at FSU want and need. You’ve been an integral part of this important effort and I hope you’ll remember your time at FSU’s Libraries as a happy and productive part of your FSU experience.”

Congratulations Graduates! All your friends and colleagues in the Libraries are proud of your accomplishment, and excited for you as you take the next big step in your life. At the same time, we will miss you!

We celebrate you! Read on for words of celebration on behalf of their supervisors.

Amy Bissonnette

Supervisor: Nikki Morse 

“Amy has worked in the Outreach and Engagement unit for 3 years, leading the book display project for the majority of that time. She’s done amazing displays including Blind Date with Book and has also helped run dynamic events for undergraduate students. She kept our team laughing and was always available to lend a hand when someone needed it! Amy is graduating and moving on to the University of Connecticut Law School where she will be pursuing her Juris Doctorate.”

Bianca Devaney

Supervisor: Shaundra Lee 

“Bianca has worked at Dirac since Fall 2018. She’s been one of our most reliable, stalwart employees. Besides working the circulation desk, she collaborated with other library staff to compose a literature review on Public and Academic Library partnerships related to STEM education. In addition to crushing work, the double-major in Criminology and Psychology has interned at the Leon County Public Defender’s Office, volunteered with various community organizations and will graduate Summa Cum Laude. Her future includes law school and the occasional turkey leg.”

Claire Haraminac

Supervisor: Shaundra Lee

“Claire has worked at Dirac since 2019. She’s a great worker at the library while managing her psychology course work and several research projects in campus labs. Her future plans include becoming a licensed clinical psychologist with a focus on children while mixing in travel with family and friends.”

Hannah Menendez

Supervisor: Liz Dunne

Hannah has been an amazing Reference Associate from the second she joined the team! She is an outstanding information professional whose compassion and commitment to teaching and learning have benefited all those around her. Aside from her incredible research skills and wealth of library-related knowledge, she is an absolute joy to work with and simply put, just a really very kind and cool human. With her talent, I have no doubt she will become a Rockstar librarian in no time! Congratulations on your graduation!

Isabella (Bella) Jaramillo

Supervisor: Nikki Morse

“Bella has been a part of the Outreach and Engagement team for almost two years and started her journey with us helping out with Orientation in 2019. Since then she’s been a driving force on our team, running events and helping usher in partnerships around campus. Her passion for the environment and social justice has also helped build our team into all-around activists! Bella is moving on to Georgetown to pursue their MS in Environmental Metrology and Policy- she will be missed!”

Makenna Sebastian

Supervisor: Shaundra Lee

“Kenna has only worked at Dirac Science since August of 2020, but it seems like she’s been here much longer. She has been not only excellent on the desk but has been the lead on several on-desk projects. And this is all while earning Dean’s list-worthy marks in Biomedical Engineering and being involved in Habitat for Humanity. Kenna plans to work in the medical field and travel.”

Eilish Power

Supervisor: Mimi Bilodeau

“Eilish is an incredible employee and has flawlessly stepped into the role of peer leader this year. We congratulate this rock star on her degree and amazing work at her internship.”

Ayoola Gayle

Supervisor: Rachel Smart

“Ayoola has worked with me for three years on an Open Access outreach initiative directed towards faculty and researchers on campus. She’s done amazing work and is very excited about her plans beyond undergrad and the traveling it may entail. I wish her all the best!

Paxton Welton

Supervisor: Nick Ruhs

“Paxton has been an awesome member of the FSU STEM Libraries team this year as the Research Data Services Assistant. She has played a key role in our engagement efforts with undergraduate students in the STEM disciplines around research data services. After graduation, Paxton plans to continue her education by enrolling in graduate school to get her Masters in Accounting! Congratulations Paxton!”

Shania Maharaj

Supervisor: Eddie Powell

“Shania is an incredibly intelligent individual who has a bright future ahead of her. With her strong work ethic and professionalism she has been a wonderful member of the FSU libraries team

Library Insiders: Loanable Materials & Resources

By: Breannah Brooks

The library was always a place that I was used to. Growing up, my dad and I would go to the library every week to check out new books, so that we could read together and learn new things. However, as I got older, reading just became something that did not interest me as much. We always tend to correlate the library with reading, but this is not always the case. Walking onto FSU’s campus, the first thing that caught my eye was the Starbucks logo inside of Strozier. This made me come to the library more and learn new things about what it had to offer, other than just books. 

My freshman year in college, I found myself using the library more than intended. Not only trying a new Starbucks drink from Tik Tok everytime I went, but being glued to the computers to complete my assignments. It was for my economics class, where we had to play “Second Life” for a grade. I had come to the library before, but it wasn’t for long periods of time; probably to just print and go. However, doing my assignments helped me realize what the library really was, and how much of a benefit it could really be. 

One of the most important and useful things for me was the materials that you could check out. Being that I was already in the library to use the computer for my Second Life assignment- it should already give some insight as to how broken my computer already was. Soon it broke completely, which was an essential item for a college student. I soon learned that the library had macbooks for checkout, which I used until I was able to get a new computer. You could also check out things like cameras, chargers and ever headphone pieces. While being in the library, I also noticed that there were big areas of study rooms that also contained white boards for dry erase. You could also check out those materials too if you needed! 

Everything that I needed was at the library. If I didn’t have something, or left it in my residence hall and did not want to walk all the way across campus to get it, I could find it there. The library became like a second home to me, not only because of the materials that were available, but the atmosphere itself. It became a place I could depend on for my studies and success as a first generation student here at Florida State. 

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.

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Library Insiders: Late-Night Tutoring

By: Bella Jaramillo

When I was in high school, I took an introductory chemistry class. The subject matter seemed easy enough and I knew that if I ever had to take science classes in college, I’d be more than okay. I was totally wrong.

I never anticipated how difficult some of my core classes would be. Fall semester of my sophomore year at FSU, I had to take chemistry. Though this was an introductory class, I felt like I had missed a plethora of information and needed some serious help understanding the basics. I began to ask around if anyone knew any tutors. I was constantly practicing and studying on my own, but to no avail. The information was just too complex for me to understand on my own. 

It was through a friend that I learned about the tutoring services that Strozier and Dirac libraries offer. I showed up one day with my textbook in hand and notebook in the other and found that there were a few students from my class taking advantage of the tutoring sessions offered too. During my first session, I was able to understand information I once believed to be too difficult to understand. I began making a habit out of attending tutoring once or twice a week (depending on the subject that week) and managed to succeed in what I consider to be one of the most difficult courses of my collegiate career. 

The library currently offers tutoring in chemistry, math, and physics, and we’re open five nights a week – Sunday through Thursday from 8pm to midnight. Specific classes we offer tutoring for are listed on the subject pages I linked in the previous sentence. FSU students can visit this page for the link to join the Zoom room, and TCC/FAMU students can email lib-tutoring@fsu.edu for a direct link to join the active sessions. No appointment is needed for any of the subjects.

Research Data Services: Vital data skills for future career and academic growth

By: Paxton Welton and Nick Ruhs

Introduction 

Welcome to our second post in the Get Data Lit! blog series. This post is inspired by the theme of Love Data Week (Feb. 8-12), “Data: Building a Better Future.” Here we will focus on the research data services provided by FSU Libraries and how utilizing these valuable services can have positive effects on your future research, learning, and career prospects.  While the focus of this post is primary undergraduate students, much of the information we provide below is useful for students at any stage of their academic careers.

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Supporting Students Through Open and Affordable Course Materials

As we move forward to the semester ahead of fully online classes and the educational community responds to COVID-19, you may be receiving emails from vendors offering limited-time free access to their tools and platforms. We encourage instructors to explore open textbook or library-licensed e-book textbook alternatives during this transition to online teaching, which are always free or affordable. 

Please remember that students may be experiencing greater financial stress than usual if they’re not able to work due to the coronavirus. You might want to consider investing your time in trying resources and tools that will continue to be free to you and your students after the crisis is over. These options will increase first-day access to required course materials and save students time and money during this stressful time. According to our 2017 survey, 72% of FSU students do not purchase textbooks due to cost and 93% prefer a free online textbook over a traditional print option. 

Subject librarians are available to work with instructors to locate open or already licensed content in order to save students money and ease the pedagogical burdens of the current situation. If you are interested in adopting a library e-book for your course, please consult your subject librarian so we can check on the resource license as not all of our e-books are available for multi user simultaneous usage. 

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From Guilia Forsythe, Flickr

Open Educational Resources & Open Textbooks 

Open educational resources (OER) are freely-accessible, openly licensed textbooks, media, and other digital assets that are useful for teaching and learning. OER can be reused, customized, and widely shared by others. Many courses at FSU already utilize open textbooks including CHM1045. Our top suggestions for open textbooks include:

  • Openstax: Peer-reviewed, open textbooks on introductory topics. Students can buy print copies. See their blog post on Teaching online with OpenStax to support emerging social distancing requirements. OpenStax has quiz banks, slides, and other ancillaries freely available for instructors who sign up with them. OpenStax Allies offer competitively-priced homework platforms that work with OpenStax books, and many of them are waiving costs right now.
  • Open Textbook Library : Read peer reviews and access open textbooks being used across the world.
  • OER Commons: Public library of open educational resources wit platform for content authoring & remixing.
  • BC Campus OpenEd: Search for quality open textbooks offered in a variety of digital formats.
  •  Lumen Learning: Offers a wide array of open content that you can access for free. Their Waymaker and OHM modules are low-cost homework platforms that can be integrated with Canvas

Don’t use a standalone textbook? Many instructors chose to use a mix of open resources to support their curriculum instead of just one open textbook. Sources include TED Talks, online news articles from publications such as The Guardian, government information such as cdc.gov, and other high-quality information available online. Some instructors also use Open Scholarly Monographs as educational resources in their course, which carry the same open licenses.

  • Mason MetaFinder: Search engine that includes a variety of open materials for those looking to mix content and recently added 1.4 million + books from the Internet Archive’s National Emergency Library.
  • OASIS: Search tool for open content from 97 different sources and contains 385,629 records of textbooks, modules, videos, podcasts, primary resources and more.

Library-licensed E-books, Articles, and Online Resources for the Classroom 

Library-licensed material expands the amount of materials available for higher-level coursework and complements other OER materials. Many faculty at FSU have opted to adopt e-books, journal articles, videos, images, and other digital resources from our collection. If you are interested in browsing our immense online collection for course materials, here are a couple of our search tools:

OneSearch: Search through many resources at once using our OneSearch tool. Whether you are looking for an e-book or searching broadly by subject or keyword, OneSearch is a great place to start your searching. OneSearch is also a good place to find items by citation – just paste the citation right into the search box.

Databases A-Z List: If you know which database you are looking for, use this list to find the specific database by title.

Databases by Subject List: Our subject librarians have selected the top databases for each subject in this list, helping identify the top resources for each subject.

Journal Search: This tool allows you to find journals by title or subject.

Streaming Media: Showing films in online courses requires some additional planning. We are happy to share that FSU Libraries provide access to multiple video platforms. If you are interested in using our streaming media resources in your online courses, please check out our Streaming Media in Your Course guide for tips on finding streaming resources and streaming models that best suit your course material needs.

FSU Libraries is committed to developing open and affordable solutions that will ease the burden of textbook costs. Affordable course materials are going to be more important to students than ever. Find out more about FSU Libraries Open and Affordable Textbook Initiative.

If interested in exploring open and affordable options for your course, please contact Camille Thomas at cthomas5@fsu.edu or Lindsey Wharton at lwharton@fsu.edu.

Open Access Week 2018

There is a systemic problem in scholarly publishing that disadvantages academic authors, their institutions, the global research community, and the general public. The problem stems from the subscription-based model of scholarly publishing, whereby publishers place academic journal articles behind paywalls so that anyone who can’t pay can’t read them.

Open Access (OA) is a movement based on the argument that this situation is fundamentally unethical, and that the fruits of academic endeavor should be freely available to everyone. OA archiving and publishing are the two main strategies for accomplishing this goal, and they promise to benefit both the global research community and individual authors, moving published research into the open and thereby broadening its readership and generating more citations. OA is also fast becoming a requirement for recipients of research funding, as many public and private funding agencies have enacted public access policies to make the results of funded research accessible to all.

Open Access Week, Oct. 22-28, is an opportunity for the global research community to learn more about this important movement and the many ongoing efforts to make it the new norm in research and scholarship. To celebrate the occasion, FSU Libraries is hosting two screenings of Paywall: The Business of Scholarship, a documentary film that focuses on the need for open access to research and questions the rationale behind the $25.2 billion annual revenues of for-profit academic publishers. We hope you’ll join us at one of the screenings to enjoy some free popcorn and learn more about OA and how it can benefit you as a student, teacher, or researcher:

  • 12:00-1:30 PM, Scholars Commons Instruction Room, Strozier Library
  • 4:00-5:30 PM, Dirac Conference Room, Dirac Library

In addition, we’d also like to take this opportunity to highlight some important ways that the Libraries support the FSU community in taking action to advance openness in research and education:

So, what can you do to advance the cause of OA through your own research and teaching?

For more information, see our research guides on Open Access Publishing and the Open Textbook Movement , or contact Devin Soper, Scholarly Communications Librarian at FSU Libraries’ Office of Digital Research & Scholarship. And don’t forget to follow the conversation on Twitter! #OAweekFSU

Additional Study Rooms for Students

FSU Libraries is expanding the circulation of individual study room keys for students this semester! With their overall popularity throughout the last academic year (2017-18) and an-ever growing wait list, we have added more rooms to accommodate students. These study rooms are intended for individual, quiet study, available exclusively to graduate students. They are located on the second floor, and you may use the room as a temporary office space where you may leave your research materials throughout your booking time of two weeks. When you check out one of these keys, you are given a key to your assigned room, which is indicated on the key tag.

You may request one of these rooms by filling out the Graduate Student Individual Extended Time Study Room form. You will receive a confirmation email regarding the status of your reservation, but please be mindful that you may be placed on a wait list if there are no vacant rooms. Once you are approved for checking out a key, you may go to the circulation desk at any time and check it out with your FSU ID.

If you are looking for an individual study room for a shorter booking, we also have keys for 4 hour checkout. These are available at the circulation desk on a first-come, first-serve basis.  

If you have any questions or concerns about a key reservation, please contact either Jasmine Spitler (jspitler@fsu.edu) or Jeff Hipsher (jhipsher@fsu.edu).

Written By: Jasmine Spitler

GUEST BLOG: Gaining work experience in Strozier.

Margaret Bell, undergraduate student and data analyst for FSU Libraries, provided insight into her experience working in data assessment.

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Margaret Bell, Bottom Left

As a senior undergraduate student at Florida State University, I’ve become very aware of the different opportunities to be pursued on both on and off campus. This awareness, however, took me years to develop – and had I not had a job on campus, I’m sure it would have taken a lot longer. With so many people to compete with for on-campus jobs, I remember being afraid that I would graduate with zero professional experience to put on my résumé – something that seemed a little too risky especially when considering that I had no idea of what I wanted to do post graduation. Although I’m still unsure of my path at this time, I was fortunate enough to secure a position in Strozier’s assessment department by the end of my sophomore year. Members of the assessment department are responsible for collecting and analyzing data related to FSU libraries (among many other things), so as a double-major in Psychology and Editing, Writing & Media, I certainly hadn’t foreseen “Data Analyst” being my first job title.

After a period of training and adjusting to my schedule, I quickly came to see the benefits of working in Strozier. This job has been an opportunity to learn more about the resources that FSU Libraries offers students, faculty, and staff. Not just offering a physical space for learning and studying, the libraries have also compiled an invaluable online source full of useful information. Working in assessment and having to update the assessment Facts & Figures page has allowed me plenty of time to become very familiar with the Libraries’ website – something I recommend that all students do.

As this was my first time having a regular part-time job, I came in with a few worries; mostly that I would have a difficult time juggling work with classes and other extracurriculars. However, I was pleased to discover an emphasis on school coming first. This allowed me to comfortably work around my other responsibilities while also being able to supplement my FSU experience with exposure to working in a professional environment. For that reason plus the availability of many different job positions, I would absolutely advise job-seeking students to consider working for FSU Libraries.

Enrichment related to my academic and professionally-related experience aside, working in the library has added so much to my time at FSU just in terms of the wonderful people I’ve met. The assessment team – including my amazing boss Kirsten Kinsley, mentor Elizabeth Yuu (a recent graduate with a Master’s in Biostatistics who also happens to be my idol), and awesome undergraduate peers Rachael Straley and Jake Tompkins – have made the latter half of my college experience better than I ever could’ve asked for. So if there’s one thing I’d recommend to future students, it’s to not take the library for granted.