Category Archives: Uncategorized

Thank You and Farewell

Dear friends and colleagues,

As you may have heard, I have accepted a new position as university librarian and dean at University of Minnesota Libraries, effective February 28. My last day at the University of Houston will be February 14.

It has been an honor to serve as UH Libraries dean and Elizabeth D. Rockwell chair for the past four and a half years. Since my arrival in Houston in 2015, we’ve made incredible strides forward at the Libraries, and I know my colleagues will continue this momentum. From the opening of the Health Sciences Library and the Digital Research Commons to the launch of the open educational resources program, the expansion of Special Collections, the enhancement of research services, and the implementation of a new discovery platform, UH Libraries has and will continue to advance student success, knowledge creation and preservation, and globally competitive research.

The UH Libraries will have strong leadership at the helm. Marilyn Myers, associate dean for academic and research services, has accepted the position of interim dean as a national search for a new dean begins. Thank you to President Khator and Provost Short for being such wonderful leaders and mentors, to my associate deans and to all of my wonderful UH colleagues, to my Dean’s Campaign Cabinet, and to my good friends across the University and beyond for your excellent work and collegiality and friendship. UH is truly a special place, and I’m very grateful and proud to have been a part of this incredible institution.

Please keep in touch and Go Coogs!

A Special Thank You to Deborah M. Colton

None of us achieve anything alone. We’d like to highlight the UH Libraries Campaign Committee and Dean’s Cabinet member Deborah Colton, who played an integral part in helping us obtain the Dorothy Hood Archives. We can’t thank Deborah enough, but we can tell you how she helped make this acquisition a reality.

Deborah has been serving on the UH Libraries Campaign Committee and Dean’s Cabinet since 2016 with a focus on the Performing and Visual Arts Research Collection. Since Deborah has been serving in this capacity, she has introduced many art leaders and artists to UH Libraries Special Collections. For example, she curated and organized the “Houston Foundations Exhibitions and Panels” at Deborah Colton Gallery which initiated the placement of the Patricia Covo Johnson and Lucas Johnson papers being pledged to UH Special Collections, and now the Dorothy Hood papers and archives. 

Deborah has been supporting Dorothy Hood’s work since 2013 when she and her husband Bill became early sponsors of the pending Dorothy Hood exhibit at the Art Museum of South Texas (AMST). Thereafter, as a patron of Hood and the museum, Deborah attained a large complimentary booth at the 2015 Houston Fine Arts Fair for the AMST to reintroduce Dorothy Hood’s work to the Houston community for their pending exhibition. The following year, Deborah Colton Gallery featured Hood’s work at their Houston Fine Arts Fair booth and then in their solo exhibition of Hood’s works, which was the first solo exhibition of Hood’s work since the 1990s. This all supported the AMST with the promotion of their The Color of Being/El Color del Ser: Dorothy Hood 1918 to 2000 exhibition, including Deborah hosting the Museum’s Donors and Lenders Houston Reception at Deborah Colton Gallery in March 2016, prior to the opening.

Deborah, who is a long-term believer in Hood’s work and vision, felt strongly that her papers and journals should come back to Houston and be housed at the University of Houston. She approached the director of AMST Joe Schenk (now retired) about this during one of her trips to Corpus Christi in 2016 when she was helping with various aspects of promotion for their Hood show and after she generously agreed to be a member of the UH Libraries Campaign Committee and Dean’s Cabinet member supporting the Performing and Visual Arts Research Collection. By May 2017 Joe Schenk agreed to visit UH Special Collections’ archives, after which Deborah hosted a dinner for other Hood patrons and supporters.

It was a long journey of bringing the archives to the University and Deborah stayed involved, advising the Libraries until the Hood archives and journals were delivered to the University of Houston. Thanks to Deborah’s commitment to Hood and our other important Houston artists, our Performing and Visual Arts Research Collection continues to grow.

Deborah continues to support Dorothy Hood’s work locally, nationally and internationally, and will be featuring Hood’s works in a major exhibition overseas in the coming year. We look forward to welcoming scholars who want to work with the Dorothy Hood Archives. We thank Deborah for her long-term commitment to making Houston an arts destination and for her belief and support of our UH Libraries mission and vision.

Deborah’s advocacy for Houston as an arts destination and of our desire to preserve and make accessible the archives of artists and art leaders is inspiring and I am so grateful for Deborah Colton and Deborah Colton Gallery for their leadership, guidance, and support.

A Thanksgiving Message

As we near the end of the fall semester and the campus is buzzing with students preparing for finals, I’m reminded of why I have much to be grateful for. I want to extend my sincere thanks to each of you for everything you do to make University of Houston Libraries an excellent place to work, learn, and discover.

The fulfillment of our mission of advancing student success, knowledge creation and preservation, and globally competitive research happens through you. It’s how we seek continual improvement of our spaces, services, and resources to facilitate students’ academic achievements. It’s how we preserve and make accessible unique collections that serve research and scholarship. Your partnership and collaboration is what enriches us and expands our impact.

Next week, the MD Anderson Library will host two of our most popular student-centered events: Finals Mania, a nighttime pancake breakfast served in the library, and Paws and Relax, with Faithful Paws therapy dogs providing students with a fun and stress-relieving study break. These fun end-of-semester events help us celebrate our students and recognize all of the hard work they’ve accomplished throughout their academic careers.

I am honored to be a part of the UH family, and proud to work alongside such dedicated students, staff, and faculty. I wish you and your family and friends a happy and safe Thanksgiving.

Open Access Week 2019

This week is Open Access Week, where those of us who support efforts to “democratize access to knowledge, accelerate discovery, and increase the return on our investment in research and education,” highlight initiatives that we’re employing to openly share our research outputs. The University of Houston Libraries is hosting several programs and services in support of “Open.”

Open Educational Resources (OER) are learning materials assigned by faculty members and used by students that can replace for-profit textbooks. At the University of Houston, faculty members throughout the university are embracing the use of OER and the University Libraries provides support for this transition through our Alternative Textbooks Incentive Program. Last year, this program saved students more than $750,000. Thanks to a $100,000 anonymous gift towards OER, we will be able to expand our OER program. Helping make college more affordable for our students is a goal that we wholeheartedly embrace. For instance, we have licensed a publishing platform for faculty members who want to create their own OER textbook, which enables them to create learning materials tailored to their specific curricular needs.

The Libraries has created a repository, Cougar ROAR, where researchers can deposit their scholarship and make it available to all who wish to read it, thus expanding the reach of their research. We also just announced the Assisted Institutional Repository Submissions Service whereby faculty can send us a copy of their CV and we will check the copyright status of their articles, and if it’s possible, add a copy of their article to Cougar ROAR.

Open Access to research continues to gain traction on the national and international stage. More and more funders are requiring the submission of an openly available version of the research they fund. For example, the Gates Foundation and the Wellcome Trust require funded researchers to publish their articles in open access journals. Many US federal science-funding agencies like NIH require researchers to deposit a copy of their final manuscript or article into a designated open access repository. Many universities, such as Harvard and the University of California, ask faculty to deposit a version of their research in their institutional repository (like Cougar ROAR).

You may have seen me write about this before, but I will never forget that my brother could not access journal articles relating to lung transplants without either paying for it or, in his case, getting some assistance from his big sister. How many others had to make health care decisions without having access to information, who didn’t have a librarian sister that worked at a major research library? The impact of access to research can transform and save lives. Please join me in supporting and celebrating Open Access Week.

Welcome to the Fall 2019 Semester

Dear Coogs,

Welcome to the University of Houston! As we embark on the fall 2019 semester, the energy of the campus reminds me of why it is such a privilege to be part of this dynamic institution.

During this past year, University of Houston Libraries has seen many developments in the services and resources that we offer that are designed to foster student success and research support. A few recent successes of which I am most proud include the second faculty cohort of the Alternative Textbook Incentive Program, which awards UH instructors who have implemented an open or alternative textbook in a summer, fall, or spring 2020 course in order for you to have free textbooks or learning materials for your classes; the new partnership between Shell Deer Park and UH Libraries to bring the plant’s archives into the Energy & Sustainability Research Collection that will help those students and faculty who are studying the energy industry; and the launch of an enhanced search platform that offers a streamlined interface for locating research materials.

I want to extend a big welcome to those of you who are new to the University, and to our returning Coogs, welcome back! UH Libraries comprises the M.D. Anderson Library, the Music Library, Architecture, Design and Art Library, and Health Sciences Library and our Libraries employees, collections and spaces are designed to help you achieve your goals.

Best wishes for a very successful semester and Go Coogs!

– Dean of Libraries Lisa German

Open Education

Open Education Week is a global movement to raise awareness and demonstrate the impact of open education. Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) defines open education as “resources, tools and practices that are free of legal, financial and technical barriers and can be fully used, shared and adapted in the digital environment.” University of Houston Libraries fully supports the use of open educational resources (OER) and providing open access to scholarship.

Together with the UH Office of the Provost, we are moving the OER initiative forward. In the past year, we have hired an open educational resources coordinator to lead the planning, implementation, and assessment of the UH OER program. We have created the Alternative Textbook Incentive Program (ATIP) to incentivize faculty members who adopt, adapt, or create an open textbook for use in their courses. We want to mitigate the high costs of textbooks for students as much as possible; the estimated first-round savings from the ATIP program is approximately $200,000. We are also conducting a survey to learn more about UH faculty who are using OER but are not involved with the ATIP program.

We have created a new repository for UH scholarship, Cougar Research Open Access Repositories (ROAR), which provides safe, long-term storage for data and scholarship produced by the UH community and allows it to be widely available to researchers around the world. With our faculty’s continued support and engagement, we can create and provide more services that benefit our students and scholars.

UH Alternative Textbook Incentive Program

I’m pleased to announce that we are now accepting applications for the UH Alternative Textbook Incentive Program. As part of the University’s initiative to help mitigate the high cost of textbooks for students, the incentive program will award UH instructors who adopt, modify, or create an open or alternative textbook in their courses.

Instructors of record for a Summer 2019, Fall 2019 or Spring 2020 course are encouraged to apply to the UH Alternative Textbook Incentive Program by March 29, 2019. Awards of between $500 and $2500 will be made based on the estimated financial impact for students, type of alternative textbook project, and overall feasibility of the proposal.

Open educational resources (OER) offer an alternative to the problem of expensive textbooks for students. According to a recent survey conducted by the UH Student Government Association, over 37% of respondents have not purchased a required textbook due to the cost. By shifting to freely accessible and openly licensed teaching and learning tools, including textbooks, more students will have access to course materials, allowing them to be prepared for class on the first day, stay enrolled in the course, and perform better on course assignments.

I encourage you to attend one of our upcoming OER drop-in consultations to learn about the benefits of alternative textbooks and how you can get started on offering an alternative textbook for your course. Ariana Santiago, open educational resources coordinator, will be available in the Faculty Cafe during these hours and by appointment to discuss implementing open textbooks in the classroom and the support provided through the incentive program.

Please contact us at oer@uh.edu for more information.

Welcome to the Spring 2019 Semester

Dear New and Returning Coogs,

Welcome to the University of Houston Libraries! We are here to help you have a successful semester. From assistance with your research to finding the right study space to checking out laptops and everything in between, you will see that there is so much available for you at UH Libraries.

To those of you who are new to the university, we’re so glad you’re here.  The UH Libraries comprises the M.D. Anderson Library, the Music Library, Architecture, Design and Art Library, and Health Sciences Library. Make sure to visit any of our libraries for events, resources, collections, and spaces designed to help you achieve your goals. And for those of you who are returning, you’ll find what you need among our world-class resources.

We are here for you. Please follow University of Houston Libraries on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to stay up-to-date, and do reach out with any questions or concerns. Best wishes for a very successful semester and again, welcome to the University of Houston.

#GivingTuesday

Tuesday, November 27, 2018 is #GivingTuesday, a day of giving fueled by the power of social media, collaboration, and generosity. University of Houston Libraries joins the University’s special one-day campaign, #GivingCoogsDay, in concert with the global movement of giving.

Did you know that library use has a positive impact on student success? Your gifts allow us to introduce new spaces, create new services, and purchase resources that meet the ever-expanding needs of our community. It is the mission of UH Libraries to advance student success, knowledge creation and preservation, and globally competitive research, and #GivingTuesday is your opportunity to help us empower and transform the lives of our students, faculty, and campus community.

Charitable giving is personal; it expresses your deepest values and reflects your vision of the world and yourself. UH Libraries offers various opportunities for you to make a gift where it matters most to you. You may choose to give toward the Library Excellence Fund, a Library Endowment, Special Collections, Campaign Priorities, or as a commemoration to a loved one. I encourage you to browse and learn more about our many giving opportunities.

Help us spread the word about UH Libraries, #GivingTuesday and #GivingCoogsDay: after you’ve made your gift, share the news on social media and tag us in your posts with @UHoustonLib!

On behalf of the University of Houston Libraries, thank you for your support! Go Coogs!

UH Libraries Research Services

Dear Colleagues,

How is your semester going? We at UH Libraries are thrilled to be your partners in teaching and research excellence! UH Libraries includes the MD Anderson Library, the William R. Jenkins Architecture, Design, and Art Library, the Music Library, and the new Health Sciences Library. You’ll find subject experts, specialized collections, and a wealth of services at each of our branches.

This month’s focus in our WHAT WHERE HOW library awareness campaign is on research services. UH Libraries has expanded its offerings in the research lifecycle, providing support in planning, conducting, and communicating research. With UH Libraries’ services, you can identify sources of data, including proprietary datasets; access data analysis and visualization software; and share your research data with broader audiences via Cougar ROAR and other repositories, to name but a few of our many options.

How can you make the most of all that UH Libraries provides in research support? Start with our Research Support menu and connect with our research experts.

If you haven’t done so, I’d like to invite you to take our quick services survey to tell us what’s most important to you. Your feedback will help us create and improve faculty-focused services.

Thank you for your partnership!