Top 10 Most Used Databases

Did you know that you can access more than 700 research databases through FSU Libraries? What is your favorite database? And what databases do your peers or professors use? When Google Scholar appears to be everyone’s go-to, why do you need to use research databases? Let’s talk about it.

Hello, my name is Kyung Kim. I am one of the Social Science Librarians working at FSU Libraries. An important part of my job is to inform the faculty and students about where to search for and access the literature they need for their assignments, learning, instructions, or research. I checked the stats and found the top 10 most popular databases on the Libraries’ Database A-Z page from October 2021 to September 2022- here’s what I found!

Top 10 Most Used Databases

Given the often seemingly endless hours you put into finding relevant articles or books for your research, knowing the pros and cons of the research databases and when to use which would enhance the quality of your academic life. Here are some quick tips on the top 10 databases!

Quick Tips! The Pros & Cons of the Most Used Databases

JSTOR is a good place to access peer-reviewed journal articles or books in the humanities and social sciences, but be aware that it often does not provide access to the most current issues. If you are looking for the latest research findings or the most recent publications on a topic, do not settle with JSTOR. See if the recent issues of the journal are available through the Libraries; if not, we recommend you use our Interlibrary Loan service to get the articles for free.

A multi-subject database, the Academic Search Complete is a good starting place if you do not know where to search, and the goal of your search is to select a few good ones by checking the breadth and not the depth of the literature on the topic.

If you are looking for the most cited papers or hot papers on a certain topic or in a subject area published in reputable, cream-of-the-crop scholarly journals, the Web of Science is your go-to. This premium database is also great for identifying a bibliographic network of who cites whom, but the search interface is not too intuitive. Besides, if you are an Arts and Humanities major, this might not be the database your professors use highly.

Do you want to search multiple databases all at once? This so-called “federated search” is available at the EBSCOhost and ProQuest Databases. EBSCO and ProQuest are two of the leading providers of academic research databases where you can search scholarly articles, eBooks, images, reports, etc., from Anthropology to Zoology. Through the FSU Libraries’ EBSCOhost database, you can search 86 databases simultaneously, and at the ProQuest Databases, 92 databases. Use these databases when you are in the mode of searching for everything, everywhere, all at once.

But why bother when you only need articles or books published in your subject areas? The Top 10 List shows that FSU researchers tend to search the APA PsycInfo for psychology literature; the PubMed (NLM) for biomedical literature; the Business Source Complete for business, and the ERIC (ProQuest) for education.

Not on the Top 10 List, but the Social Science Premium Collection database is something social science dissertation or thesis writers might want to try. There you can search 55 databases in various social science fields simultaneously. The Libraries subscribe to many other specialized databases for the university community. Having free access to rich scholarly content through subscription databases is one of the privileges of FSU members!

So, when in doubt, ask your subject librarian to learn where to search first, what search terms to use, and how to get and organize the materials you need! The librarian might also give you time-saving tips, such as when to use extra caution in evaluating certain sources and how to take full advantage of Google Scholar as a springboard to discover hidden gems in the library databases. You can request a one-on-one research consultation with librarians and meet them online or in person.

Good luck and happy searching!

This blog post was written by Kyung Kim, Social Sciences Librarian at FSU Libraries.





 

FSU Libraries Welcomes International Scholars

FSU Libraries Welcome International Scholars Video (YouTube)

November is International Education Month at FSU!

Florida State University hosts over 2,000 international students from more than 130 countries. FSU Libraries seeks to serve all of the university’s international students and faculty and make them feel welcome. FSU Libraries’ International Scholar Special Interest Group strives to provide customized services and assistance for international students. We understand their unique challenges in and contributions to succeed in American classrooms and are eager to support them in their scholarly and instructional goals.

The welcome video above highlights FSU Libraries’ services and features interviews from international students expressing how they have used the Libraries at Florida State University. Here are some of their thoughts:

“You have access to any and every material you could possibly imagine or think of for your research”

Pietro Pesce (Graduate Instructor)

” It has such a diverse community in here, and it will welcome you like your family.”

Gizem Solmaz (Graduate Assistant)

This welcome video would not have been possible without the Center for Global Engagement (CGE), who recruited the international scholars featured in the video, as well as GEOSET, which produced it. We would also like to thank the following international scholars for appearing in the video: Doreen Addo-Yobo, Amy Ni, Pietro Pesce, Thais Pedrete, Gizem Solmaz, Masahiro Fukuda, Amber Noor Mustafa, Fatma Dossa, and Samy Simon. This video is hosted by the FSU Libraries’ International Scholar Special Interest Group.

Further Resources

International students interested in research are encouraged to visit Academic Research: Guide for International Students.

Events on campus and beyond for International Education Month can be found at FSU GLOBE.

Parties interested in international scholarship can reach out to the International Scholars Special Interest Group Co-Chairs, Kyung Kim kkim4@fsu.edu or Nick Ruhs nruhs@fsu.edu.

This post was written by Lisa Play, Library Instruction Specialist at FSU Libraries.

When Social Movements Collide: Open Access for Climate Justice

You’ve heard of climate change, but how familiar are you with the term climate justice? It’s the topic of the week since it’s the theme of International Open Access Week 2022, an occasion for challenging each other to raise awareness and take action on climate justice through the open and interdisciplinary sharing of data and resources. 

With hurricanes, heat waves, and forest fires appearing more regularly in our news cycle, you’ve undoubtedly noticed that the discussion of our changing climate is becoming a bigger part of our lives. As we better understand the enormous threat that climate change poses to our planet, we more desperately than ever need to also have a grasp on climate justice–the aspiration to have all people, regardless of personal or community characteristics, treated fairly when it comes to protection, risks, policies, and decision-making around the impacts of climate change. In other words, when it comes to our environment and the changes happening globally, we must strive to consider everyone, understand how they’ll be impacted differently, and make decisions fairly.

While the term may be new to some, in reality calls for climate justice have been ongoing for decades. In fact, climate justice was born out of the environmental justice movement and is related to other calls to treat people more equitably such as movements for racial or social justice. Why is this so important? We know from past catastrophes that people’s level of vulnerability can vary widely based on their personal circumstances or their community’s demographics. This is one aspect of climate change where data and Open Access become very important; we need the open sharing of knowledge in order to address this important social and environmental issue and ensure justice for all. But, who has access?  

Free, immediate, online access to the results of scholarly research on climate change and how various demographics and geographies are impacted would be a powerful tool to aid and equip the communities most at risk. Removing barriers to accessing climate research would also enable faster communication and better engagement of both the general public and policymakers on related societal issues. Instead of data being individually owned and only available to those who can afford to access it, the general public would have the right to use scientific research results as needed. The best examples of this have been projects attempting to map overburdened, at-risk communities by incorporating a wide range of data, going beyond looking at risk from a one dimensional geographical perspective. 

For example, check out the Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool. Start by putting in the zip code of your hometown, and use it to have a look at the environmental and economic conditions of various communities. Then try exploring the area around FSU to familiarize yourself with the communities nearby and see how their issues compare to those in your hometown. 

Such tools are a great visual way to represent the combination of so much data. Use them as inspiration for starting conversations about climate change and/or justice. Climate Justice demands cross disciplinary collaboration, so campus forums like the Open Scholars Project could also serve as incubators for the climate action needed in our region and beyond. Through open information exchange and collaboration, we can create resources for understanding the needs of communities as well as non-human environments by evaluating their vulnerability to the impacts of climate change. Join together with your neighbors, campus groups, or local organizations to consider how best to take action to improve the resilience of communities where you live, study, work, or play. Whether that means volunteering, marching, donating, or joining, we need everyone’s contribution to make our communities more just and resilient in the face of climate change.


For more information about how the FSU Libraries supports open access, please visit our Research and Publishing web page here.


Author Bio: Mila S. Turner is the Social Science Data & Research Librarian at FSU Libraries and a broadly trained environmental sociologist. Her research spans diverse areas including how social inequalities intersect with environmental justice, racial equity, and natural disasters. Her thought leadership has been featured in The Hill, World War Zero, Quad Magazine, and more. 

Who Has Access? The New OSTP Memo’s Rippling Effects on Publicly Funded Research

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) made groundbreaking progress at the end of August when they released a memorandum that updated their policy guidance to specify that data and results coming from taxpayer-supported research must be made immediately available and accessible to the public at no cost. OSTP also issued directions for agencies to update their public access policies and data sharing plans as soon as possible to make publications and the research they host publicly accessible, without an embargo or cost and in machine-readable formats to enable their full use and reuse.  

So what does this truly mean for students and researchers?

For many students, OSTP and any of the memorandums that have been released prior to the latest one (which many are calling the Nelson Memo as it was issued by Dr. Alondra Nelson, currently the acting director of the OSTP,) is mostly a foreign subject. What is OSTP and why does it matter? As a Graduate Student myself, I was surprised to learn about the strides taken by the government agency leading up to the release of this memorandum, and the historical struggle to achieve an open science framework that works for the masses and which aims to combat discrimination and structural inequalities inherent in the funding and publishing disadvantages experienced by underserved backgrounds and minorities, as well as  early-career researchers. 

Like many students at universities, it is easy to take the access we have to library resources, journals, and repositories for granted, especially when they meet our immediate needs. But looking at the world around us and the integration of advancing technology into everyday life and society, it is clear we live in a data driven world, making the availability and access of information a premium. Metadata, or data that describes other data, has become one of the most important concepts in the field of information, as it allows researchers to organize the data from their research or from other projects in a way that is meaningful and often cross-disciplinary in its application. This means that data can have unintended benefits and relevance to other researchers to inform their own work, assuming that they are able to access that data. With the Nelson Memo, access to publicly funded research has been defined and recognized as a right to the public. 

Until now there have been clear barriers set in place to promote the interests of academic journals and publishing, and while some of these will still exist even after all of the federal grant-making agencies release their plans for new policy implementation, this advancement toward open access establishes a clear standard moving forward. It sets the United States apart in this respect as global leaders of change in the field of open science. Prior to the Nelson memorandum’s release, Plan S, served as the global standard for open access policy guidance. It mandated that access to publications that have been produced through research grants must be immediately open and fully accessible without being monetized in any form, setting the stage for the standard that OSTP wanted to mirror and build upon.

“cOAlition S”, a consortium of national research agencies and funders from twelve European countries developed around the implementation of Plan S, has come out in support of the newest memorandum and OSTP. More broadly calling the guidance “fully aligned with the open access policies of many forward looking universities and research agencies who have implemented Plan S”, also acknowledging its correlation with the recent UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science, which was adopted by the General Conference of UNESCO at its 41st session last November. Plan S realizes that we have the necessary elements and collective ability to produce digital content as well as public goods that can be shared to help shape the vision of a large connected community that makes up one body, rather than smaller disjointed organs that mirror each other because they cannot see what the other does. All of that is to say, essentially these paywalls of entry to access research act as hurdles that deny the very nature of science as a tool to better understand and help humanity as a whole.

Globally, we saw the power of open science at work in combating the COVID-19 pandemic and bringing the scientific community together, as commercial journals and governments were forced to alter their typical subscription based structure in favor of providing temporary open access to COVID-19 and monkeypox related research data. This allowed for the development of a vaccine and ensured that the common masses had the most credible data driven information to inform their health-based choices and medical practice. Countries across the globe spend billions of dollars on research and experimental development. The United States is no different, with estimates conducted by National Science Foundation (NSF) totalling nearly $667 Billion dollars for the year 2019 alone, continuing to grow in size each of the following years. The expectation would be that the government funding the research would have ownership of the data collected and analyzed, however in the current copyright structure agreement, publicly funded research is often turned over to commercial journals. 

One of the largest concerns catalyzed by the newest memo is understanding how the policy changes will affect the viability of the current subscription model when considering the important role journals play in supporting research, such as peer reviews. Publishers were more circumspect about the changes, designating some amount of skepticism towards the question of how the shift to full open access would be funded. To alleviate this issue researchers can now use research grants and funds to support the publication components of the new policies put forth by OSTP. On the other side of the argument, students stand to benefit from open access journals in terms of the widened levels of exposure that their research will receive with entry points to view such articles increasing exponentially. In addition, libraries across the country suffer from the subscription based model with journals and are not in a position to subscribe to every single research journal that exists. FSU Libraries subscribes to several journals and databases to provide access for its students, but an increase in publicly funded and published research can only append the framework of available research, data, and information that student communities here and at other universities will have access to. Looking forward towards the future, this relationship with academic journals and publishing must continue to evolve and change.  

Ideally, community owned and managed public knowledge infrastructure seems to be the long term solution, but how do we get there? Creative Commons, a non-profit organization and international network devoted to open access and broadening the scope of educational as well as creative works to be made available for others to build upon and share with legal protections, believes we must work on the progression of “open licensing to ensure open re-use rights”. I believe that if we want to move beyond access and towards improved sharing of the information and data we collect, produce, and use, we must begin following these steps and supporting organizations, like Creative Commons or the ​Subcommittee on Open Science, as well as continue to expand who contributes to new knowledge. Most importantly we must stay informed with the latest policy updates and changes, guiding researchers to success from different backgrounds and at all levels of experience.

Committed to the development of open science, Florida State University Libraries is devoted to the free exchange and access of information on a global scale for the good of people everywhere. This change in policy not only reinforces our mission, but also prioritizes the need for comprehensive support and resources to support the students and research that our institution hosts. We are thrilled to continue to work alongside our researchers, offering a wide array of different services and workshops to navigate through these policy changes, as they openly share and provide increased access to their work. We will continue to develop upon this foundation and explore more ways we can champion open science at Florida State University and beyond. 

For more information about how the FSU Libraries supports open access, please visit our Research and Publishing web page here.

For more specific details or information on the Nelson Memo, please see the White House OSTP announcement, here.

Author Bio: Liam Wirsansky is a second-year MSI student at Florida State University and the STEM Libraries Graduate Assistant at FSU’s Dirac Library. He currently serves as the President and Artistic Director of White Mouse Theatre Productions at FSU and acts as the Director of Research and Development for the Rosenstrasse Foundation. Liam loves the academic outlet that research has provided him as well as the opportunity to educate and assist students in the development of their information literacy skills.

References

Ambrose, M. (2022, September 1). US moves to make federally funded research free upon publication. Physics Today. Retrieved from https://physicstoday.scitation.org/do/10.1063/PT.6.2.20220901a/full/

Anderson, R. (2022, August 28). A new OSTP memo: Some initial observations and questions. The Scholarly Kitchen. Retrieved from https://scholarlykitchen.sspnet.org/2022/08/29/a-new-ostp-memo-some-initial-observations-and-questions/

Elder, A., & O’Donnell, M. (2022, September 7). New White House OSTP memo requires federally funded research be immediately open. Iowa State University Libraries. Retrieved from https://www.lib.iastate.edu/news/new-white-house-ostp-memo-requires-federally-funded-research-be-immediately-open-%C2%A0

Green, C. (2022, August 30). A big win for Open access: United States mandates all publicly funded research be freely available with no embargo. Creative Commons. Retrieved from https://creativecommons.org/2022/08/26/a-big-win-for-open-access/

Plan S. (2022, August 26). cOAlition S welcomes the updated Open Access policy guidance from the White House Office of Science Technology and Policy. Retrieved from https://www.coalition-s.org/coalition-s-welcomes-the-updated-open-access-policy-guidance-from-the-white-house-office-of-science-technology-and-policy/

SPARC. (2022, August 25). Fact sheet: White House OSTP memo on ensuring free, immediate, and equitable access to federally funded research. Retrieved from https://sparcopen.org/our-work/2022-updated-ostp-policy-guidance/fact-sheet-white-house-ostp-memo-on-ensuring-free-immediate-and-equitable-access-to-federally-funded-research/

Stebbins, M. (2013, February 22). Expanding public access to the results of federally funded research. National Archives and Records Administration. Retrieved from https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/blog/2013/02/22/expanding-public-access-results-federally-funded-research

Thurston, A. (2022, September 7). Will new white house open access rules impact researchers? The Brink – Pioneering Research for Boston University. Retrieved from https://www.bu.edu/articles/2022/impact-of-new-white-house-open-access-rules-on-researchers/UNESCO. (2021, November 24). UNESCO recommendation on Open science. Retrieved from https://en.unesco.org/science-sustainable-future/open-science/recommendation

Meet the Social Sciences Librarian for Education & Psychology

As a Social Science Librarian, I address the research, instructional, and collection needs of faculty and students. Most members in my department—Social Sciences, Arts, and Humanities (SSAH)—focus on specific subject areas. I focus on the areas of Education and Psychology!

I provide patrons with assistance on their research journey. This includes navigating databases on our library website, finding credible sources, performing citation chaining, and completing deductive and inductive searches. I love conducting research, and I am always excited to learn about others’ research. My research interests focus on systematic instructional design and organizational change. So, I have a lot of fun helping students in Education and Psychology with their specific research topics. It is a great way for me to learn more about current research in those areas.

I also teach dozens of instructional sessions every year. These sessions often focus on navigating the library website, writing correct APA citations, using citation management software, and locating relevant sources. I am a fan of active learning, and I provide students with an engaging learning environment where they learn by researching their desired topics. I find this creates a motivating learning environment and promotes retention!

Collection development is one of the responsibilities of librarians in SSAH. We keep the collection up to date with impactful research on current topics. Additionally, we concentrate on current trends in the field of librarianship and guarantee that our collection practices are beneficial to the research community. There are a lot of online students in Education and Psychology. I focus on purchasing online books and journals so our students and faculty can access the materials anywhere at any time.

I am always excited to chat about research and librarianship. Please feel free to contact me if you need any help!

This blog post was written by Jeff Phillips, Social Sciences Librarian at FSU Libraries.

How We Redesigned the Library Website

After months of development and user testing, we recently launched the updated Florida State University Libraries website. Intuitively organized, easier to navigate, and more user-friendly, our refreshed site offers an improved experience for accessing our library resources and services. Interested in how our team planned and implemented these changes? Learn more about how we designed and measured our improvements based on user feedback. We encourage you to complete this brief survey on the new site and look forward to your feedback.

Planning & Establishing Goals

Due to an upgrade requirement (Drupal 7 was nearing end-of-life, requiring an upgrade to Drupal 9), the website needed to be migrated to a new infrastructure. This upgrade provided an opportunity to “refresh” the website to improve user experience and advance our interface to best meet the needs of the FSU community. A small Website Refresh Working Group proposed the redesign as a Libraries’ strategic initiative with four phases: feedback gathering & user testing, content review, design & testing, and infrastructure upgrade and implementation.

FSU Libraries Purpose Statement: The FSU Libraries website seeks to provide low-barrier access to library collections and services in order to support the teaching, learning, and research activities of Florida State University as well as effective and meaningful engagement with library staff, services, and tools.

Based on the purpose statement above, our group developed (and iteratively revised) the following goals for the redesign:

  • Improve frontend experience / more efficient tools and workflows for internal content creation & editing
  • Improve pages for language / less jargon ( with user-focused content), accuracy, and clarity
  • Reduce barriers for tasks our users most want to accomplish
  • Simplify/streamline navigation & search systems (with mobile, touch-screen in mind)
  • Seamless integration of services, resources
  • Explore design principles to improve website consistency and aesthetic

Usability Testing

Our users’ input was an essential part of our website refresh. Our Refresh User Experience (UX) group, made up of librarians and staff from all over the library, sat down to discuss what was important to them and their departments when updating our website. Gathering ideas and tasks for users to try, we then interviewed our patrons about the many facets of the new (and old) website. Providing Amazon gift cards for incentives, the UX group tested over 25 users (a mix of undergrad, staff, and faculty), exposing many underlying problems with navigation, content, and accessibility. Users were asked to show us how they found materials, booked study rooms, located tutoring, and what they thought about the new look of the website (as just as a few examples). This information was very important for making decisions about the flow and feel of the new website. 

Some interesting takeaways from the testing include:

  • The old room booking system was clunky and difficult to use: Switching to a simpler (and accessible) system streamlined the entire process.
  • Walls of text made information on the old website harder to find: Using a standardized system of nested headings helped users find information at a glance, and made the website more accessible, as well.
  • Users may prefer FAQs to search or chat help: Patrons went to our FAQs for information on everything from noise complaints to late fines. Keeping these up-to-date and embedded in the new website were key.

User testing is all about making small, inclusive, and reasonable changes and testing again and again, so we’ll be repeating this process every semester into the foreseeable future. You can find more information about our user testing process and results here.

Gathering Feedback

We began our efforts in gathering feedback internally with a library employee survey in December 2021, assessing employee experiences and frustrations with the past website. Using this initial data, we planned internal department open forums, completed in February 2022. Not only did this assist us in identifying website issues, but the open dialogue allowed our website team to establish strong channels of communication and working relationships. The data coding (seen in this spreadsheet in the Open Forums tab) presented the following takeaways for our team to consider:

  • Limitations of the content editor workflow and process
  • Inconsistency in design
  • Inaccurate information
  • Issues with library jargon
  • Lack of service presentation

We supplemented the internal feedback with two other forms of data: analysis from our Ask Us chat and email virtual reference service transcripts, as well as entries from our website suggestion form. Based on these sources, we identified the following issues and barriers:

This data analysis, along with conducting an informal library website comparison, as well as a review of the past three years of our Web Advisory Group work, was critical in efficiently and effectively planning our website redesign to best meet the changing needs of our users.

Content Review

As we continued with the backend work to upgrade the infrastructure, including a feature review in Github, a Content Review Group embarked on the content review stage of the redesign process, in order to review our website content with the goal of assessing and improving our overall content for clarity, accuracy, voice & jargon, and design, as well as determining “ownership” of pages. We reviewed content with the website purpose and user goals in mind, developed the workflow to score each page to determine what should be moved, improved and retired. The review process involved:

  1. Developing scope of content and architecture review (based on main goals and purpose of the website)
  2. Reviewing content groups
  3. Using Google Analytics to create a list of highly trafficked, medium traffic, low traffic, or no traffic pages
  4. Auditing content (move, improve, retire) based on criteria; identify duplicate content
  5. Developing a list of pages to be retired, improved, or moved, as well as recommendations

In order to keep the scope of our review manageable, we did not asses our LibGuides, tutorials, digital collections, blog posts, social media, or associated applications. After hours of sprints, our group scored the top 500 pages of our website, which we documented on this spreadsheet. This work also directly lent itself to planning the new structure of our internal, cross-divisional website and online application work where we are reimagining our Web Advisory Group as a more engaging and proactive Website Coordinating Committee.

Reconsidering the Information Architecture & Navigation

Redesigning the website allowed the team to reconsider the information architecture of the library website. In short, information architecture (or IA) is the creation and organization of the structure and hierarchy of the website and its components in an intuitive and scalable way. Much like cleaning and organizing a house, this meant going through all of our content on the old site and putting it away into drawers (categories or patterns) in a way that makes it easy to get to later. This process is one of the key foundations of good UX, since a good IA helps users form their own mental model of the site without too much effort. As humans, we love to organize information, so when we go to a website our brain starts keeping track of where we are in relation to the home page and the other pages we’ve visited and how they’re all related. Our new architecture seems to be a success: we’ve heard from both students and librarians that the new site is “more intuitive” and “easy to navigate”. You can see our information architecture drafts and brainstorming here.

Based on the results of the content review stage, our team began to move content over, utilizing our improved information architecture and implementing a more intuitive navigation. We built the site from a true user-perspective, as opposed to organizing our content around our internal structure and workflows. This method guided users based on what users’ needed or sought from the website. While high-scoring content required a straight-forward move, some of our moderate- or low-scoring content required a full rethinking or redesign, providing the Website Refresh Working Group an opportunity to collaborate with stakeholders around the Libraries to improve pages and navigation. We developed the navigation and the menus based on our information architecture as we worked through the content move, creating a seamless user experience that represented the relationship and hierarchy of content and better connected our resources and services.

Designing the New Site

The last stages of the redesign process were the new website design and content move. The new site needed to align with the FSU Web Style Guidelines and Resources. We installed the Strata Three design into our Drupal 9 framework. Our next step was establishing goals for the design and feel of the redesign to ensure visual consistency. We established style parameters that allowed for content editor flexibility. Some of the past issues identified with our website design included inconsistent use of icons, line weight, and colors, non-stock images, and generally varying visual elements that were not cohesive throughout the site. A uniform color scheme was established and template page layouts were developed for different page types. Furthermore, we implemented a mobile first design strategy. All of our design improvements were optimized for mobile experience with responsive design features. All of these standards will be reflected in our Web Style Guide for internal content editors.

Redesign in Action

As we prepped to launch the redesigned site, we held internal open forums with library staff, announced the changes via campus-wide announcements, and encouraged feedback through a brief survey, making iterative changes as needed. New features and changes from our current website are based on user feedback, content assessment, and usage data. They include:

  • A streamlined homepage with quick access to OneSearch and popular links
  • An updated information architecture for improved navigation
  • Seamless integration of resources and services with redesigned pages for popular services
  • A ‘Getting Started’ page to guide you through our many services and information resources
  • Improved accessibility for a better website experience for all
  • Responsive design across the entire library website
  • Updated and simplified content throughout the site
  • An upgraded architecture and improved experience for content editors

We hope you are enjoying our refreshed site as the enhanced online experience to discover all of Florida State University Libraries’ collections and resources. As we move forward, we plan to continue our assessment and measure success through fewer reported website issues and improving success rate or task-completion in iterative user testing. We encourage you to complete this brief survey on the new site and look forward to your feedback!

A Look Back on Our Add-Your-Art Tapestry Event

This fall semester opened with a bang! At FSU Libraries, we welcomed hundreds of students to engage with our resources and help them start the semester strong. Beginning on August 23rd, we hosted the Add-Your-Art Tapestry event where students could stop by either Strozier or Dirac libraries and contribute their own designs to our paper tapestry. More perks from the event included free t-shirts, candy, phone wallets, and stickers for students to enjoy! The week culminated in the installation of the tapestry inside Strozier nearby the new Scholar Support desk. Student Engagement Specialist, Emily McClellan played a great role in getting this wonderful event together. Let’s take a look at what she did!

Starting as an idea from Engagement Assistant Jaidyn Smith, the events were coordinated by McClellan. From the start of the summer, McClellan’s first task was to create the design of the entire tapestry. With help from former Engagement Assistant Ashanti Grace, they were able to create a piece of art open for students to color in images and fill in spaces with their own creative designs.

Once printed and ready, it was time to collaborate with other campus organizations. McClellan reached out to WelcomeFSU—an organization that helps connect new students to FSU resources and introduce them to the campus during the first few weeks of school—and was able to get campus-wide promotion for this event. Through social media and multiple FSU-related websites, the Add-Your-Art Tapestry event received massive amounts of interest from current and new students. In the days nearing the event, McClellan and Alaina Faulkner (the Libraries’ Student Engagement Associate) tended to the nitty-gritty: creating the signage for the events, collaborating with Strozier and Dirac library staff for tables and chairs, purchasing coloring supplies, and creating schedules for the employees that would help run the event.

Through everyone’s hard work, the event was able to launch with a large turnout! Over 100 students engaged with the event over the course of a week and created a dazzling display of creativity and camaraderie. We appreciate all of the work put in by our staff and collaborators that made this event shine! Here are some pictures from the event:

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Check out this article written by the FSView for more info on this awesome event!

To find current and future events at FSU Libraries, check out our events calendar here. Curious to hear more about what FSU Libraries is about? Read more about us on our newly-renovated website.

This blog post was written by Jasmine George, Student Engagement Assistant at FSU Libraries.

Meet the Visual & Performing Arts Librarian

Leah Sherman

As the Visual & Performing Arts Librarian at Florida State University something I say often is that no two days are ever the same. And how could they be? I am the liaison to all six departments within the FSU College of Fine Arts (Art, Art Education, Art History, Dance, Interior Design, Theatre) as well as the FSU Master Craftsman Studio, the FSU Museum of Fine Arts in Tallahassee, and the Ringling Museum in Sarasota. For these programs, I am responsible for all things arts-related such as collection development and management, library instruction, and reference. In this work, I’m always learning something new, and that’s one thing I really love about my job!

While my academic background lies in Art History, I am constantly inspired by the variety of arts topics I see throughout each semester. In the same week, I can go from acquiring forthcoming publications in medieval art history to working one-on-one with Dance majors researching the evolution of breakdancing. I might also be collaborating with our Special Collections & Archives Division to purchase rare materials like artist books and illuminated manuscript facsimiles, or even consulting on a digital scholarship project like the creation of the Open Access arts journal, Athanor.

Probably the biggest project I’ve been working on lately is the formation of FSU Libraries’ Art in the Library program. This new initiative is all about bringing the visual and performing arts into the library for the benefit of the entire Florida State community. We are a student-centered program that aims to highlight the work of artists across our campus, regardless of their major or professional aspirations.

Over time, Art in the Library programming will include student art exhibitions, pop-up performances, hands-on art-making experiences, and hopefully so much more! One project we recently finished was the reinstallation of Karl Zerbe prints on the 2nd floor of Strozier Library. Also, starting this month you can catch our first student art exhibition People I Know by Art Education graduate student William Rowe at Dirac Science Library.

If you are an artist interested in exhibiting with FSU Libraries: applications for the spring 2023 semester are being accepted now through September 30, and all the information about our exhibition program and future deadlines can be found on our website.

Found works of Karl Zerbe

Finally, when I’m not working with the Fine Arts community at FSU, I am active in several professional organizations. The Art Libraries Society of North America (ARLIS/NA) and its Southeast Chapter (ARLIS/SE) are two groups that have been very influential in my development as an arts librarian. These organizations have given me amazing opportunities to advance my scholarship through conference presentations and publications, grow my leadership skills by serving on committees and in executive roles, and connect with colleagues and mentors from around the world. Besides my work in the physical library, I have personally found that my ability to contribute to and shape my field of arts librarianship through such professional service is extremely rewarding.

This blog post was written by Leah Sherman, Visual & Performing Arts Librarian at FSU Libraries.

Meet the Government Information Specialist

My name is Priscilla Hunt and I am the Government Information Specialist for Florida State University Libraries. I first became involved with Strozier Library as a student here on campus desperately in need of class materials and resources.  As I became more familiar with the library, I took a student position working at the circulation desk and assisting the Associate Dean of Research & Learning Services, and then later on a staff position where I currently reside. 

As the Government Information Specialist, I handle a wide variety of tasks such as collection development of government resources from local, state, federal, and international levels. Additionally,  I help manage the government information portion of the library website, create physical and digital displays, engage in consultations with the public, and supervise Federal Work Study students. The last of which became the recipient of the 2022 FSU Mores Award

My two most recent projects include participation in  a team effort to create a research guide on gun violence, and FSU’s “The Human Library Project.” It is our goal that the research guide on gun violence will help to facilitate conversation, teaching, and scholarship on controversial social issues such as gun violence as well as serve as a valuable resource for data and key information. Meanwhile, The Human Library Project will include individuals of various backgrounds that make themselves readily available to scholars on campus, as a human “book” to be checked out and interviewed as a means of exploring diversity through open minded conversation. The goal of the Human Library Project is to provide a safe space for our scholars to gain perspective and understanding of individuals with unique experiences and stories, while promoting the library as the hub of the intellectual community. 

To tell you a little more about myself I’d say that I have a passion for helping people, and I like to see people reach their full potential whenever possible. I believe that we all benefit when we take the time to learn from one another and that when one of us succeeds, we all do.  So, should you ever find yourself in Strozier in need of assistance, please feel free to find me and I will do my best to help! 

This blog post was written by Priscilla Hunt, Government Information Specialist at FSU Libraries.

Art in the Library: 10 Questions with William Rowe

William Rowe

FSU Libraries’ Art in the Library Committee organizes visual and performing arts programming in its spaces to enrich the library as an aesthetic and academic environment. A major part of this program includes exhibiting artwork drawn from the FSU student body on a semester-long basis.

William Rowe is a current graduate student in the FSU Department of Art Education. Rowe graduated with a BFA in Art at Florida State. People I Know, featuring a collection of recent paintings by Rowe, is on view at Dirac Science Library during the Fall 2022 semester. Leah Sherman, Visual & Performing Arts Librarian, and Art in the Library Chair had the privilege of interviewing Rowe about the exhibit. Below is the full interview.

FSU Libraries (FSU): Tell us about this show- give our readers a brief introduction to the work you are exhibiting with us this semester.

William Rowe (WR): These paintings all portray people who are personally close to me or they are self-portraits. Each work depicts a specific moment in time with the sitter, capturing the atmosphere of that moment. In the portraits of others that are included in People I Know, each of the subjects is a very close friend and or is my partner.

(FSU): What is your favorite work in this show? Tell us a little more about the story behind it.

(WR): Bedroom: I finished this one very quickly – just an hour or two – so it has painterly or messy energy. This aesthetic is satisfying to paint; it gives a nice, intimate vibe through its abstract atmosphere.
Staircase: Unlike Bedroom, this one took a long time. It was not a happy accident. It is gratifying in its own way, though, after putting many hours into its creation.

(FSU): What does your artwork represent about you? What message do you want to send out into the world through your art?

(WR): My paintings say that I like to paint and they say a lot about who I care about, as revealed in their subject matter. Each work carries a lot of the artist’s emotions, thoughts, and feelings projected onto the subjects. The goal with a lot of these works is to capture a feeling – an authentic moment in the painterly medium. Clear renderings of a moment, not fabricated narratives. These works are meant to show a real person in a real moment.

(FSU): How does being a student impact your creative process?

(WR): I made a lot of this work while in the BFA program – being a student pushed me to make more work. I find less opportunity now in grad school and have painted less in recent years. However, I have found a lot of creative time in the breaks between semesters.

(FSU): Is research part of your art-making process? If so, could you give us an idea of what that process is like? Where do you do research before you start making? Are there any specific kinds of information that are critical to your work?

(WR): My version of research is constantly looking at artists I like – not only following historical movements but also artists working right now. When painting I also work from photographic references. I often capture moments in photographs to revisit later in my paintings.

(FSU): Who are your biggest artistic influences?

(WR): Salman Toor is one painter working today that I admire. His work is abstract and not very realistic. The theme of many of his paintings speaks to his background as being Middle Eastern, queer, and an immigrant. He creates very complicated, complex narratives that center on these themes.
Henri Toulouse-Lautrec is a historical painter I am inspired by, especially his color palette and painterly style. I also enjoy his screen-printing and have done some screen-printing of my own as well.

(FSU): Do you have a preferred medium to work in?

(WR): Acrylic paint for sure, but I have done some work in oil. Overall I enjoy acrylic more because I find it better to work with, as a more flexible medium. I like working in gauche as well.

(FSU): How does art-making fit into your day-to-day life?

(WR): While I don’t paint for my current graduate degree, I work at Painting with a Twist and that gives me a lot of opportunity to paint outside of school. It’s a hands-on job where I practice copying and teaching. I also have my eye out for inspiration on a daily basis and I am frequently taking photos to return to later.

(FSU): What is your dream project or collaboration?

(WR): I would love to be part of a larger exhibition or project just dedicated to portraiture. I have exhibited before but not as often with many other painters, especially with painters more in dialogue with my own work around portraiture.

(FSU): Where can our readers learn more about you and your work?

(WR): Find more from William Rowe on Instagram @windforder

Are you an artist or a group of artists looking to exhibit your work? Interested in sharing your art with the FSU Community? Have a curated exhibit you’re ready to share? Submit an exhibition proposal for the spring semester by Sep 30, 2022. This semester the Art in Library Committee is accepting proposals to exhibit at the Dirac Science Library, on the main floor in the hallway surrounding the central stairwell and elevators. This space is viewed by hundreds of students, staff, and faculty a day and can accommodate 10-15 hanging works depending on the size. For more information and to submit your exhibition proposal, visit this link.