Category: For Faculty

Library Block in Moodle is Back!

You may have noticed when you login to Moodle 2 that there is a “Library Resources” block on the right side of the screen.

You can also add this block to your Moodle course(s); benefits include:

Library Resources Block in Moodle

  • Easy access to course reserves; library catalog, account, and databases; and other library services
  • If you have worked with me (or another subject librarian) to create a research guide for your course, students will have direct access to them
  • You can easily direct students to library resources without having to find and add additional links in Moodle

Try it out this semester and let us know how it works for you! Make sure to contact your subject librarian if you want your course research guide to link to the Library block in your Moodle course(s).

Adding the block to Moodle:

Once you login to Moodle 2, and switch to edit mode, scroll down the left column until you see a box for “Add a Block”.  Simply select “Library Resources” from the drop-down menu.  From there, you can move the box to anywhere on the page.


Library resources for course development

Below are opportunities to learn more about new library resources that can help you develop content for your future courses.

Webinar: Atkins Library Streaming Video Search

Atkins Library’s diverse collection of streaming videos is meant to assist students with research and learning and provide faculty with supplementary materials for teaching. The library has created a separate search site for our streaming videos to highlight the collection and give our users a one stop shop for discovery and access to these unique collections.

This webinar will provide an overview of the different streaming media collections the library offers, a demonstration of our new video search site, and tips and tricks to optimally use these videos for research and teaching.

Webinar hosted by the Center for Teaching and Learning

November 12 from 12:30-1:00 online
Register for the webinar and Browse the streaming video site

Workshop: Making the Most of Campus Access to

Learn how the special features of our campus subscription to The New York Times in Education can enrich your curriculum and help foster students’ critical thinking, civic engagement, and global awareness. Users will find a variety of topics covered in depth through breaking news articles, blogs, videos and interactive features, as well as case studies, critical thinking discussion prompts, and other teaching tools you can adapt for use in class. The workshop will introduce these features and offer suggestions for making the most of this resource in class activities and assignments.

Workshop hosted by the Center for Teaching and Learning

November 16 from 11:30-12:45 in Kennedy 221
Register for the workshop and Read about our campus subscription

Webinar: Atkins Library eTextbooks Program (recording)

Atkins Library understands the financial burden purchasing several textbooks for each semester can be for students. To help ease this burden, the Library has created the eTextbook program. This program allows professors to search the Library’s extensive list of unlimited user, DRM-free ebooks that are part of our collection, or could be purchased, for use as course adoption titles.

In this Webinar, you’ll find out about the program, see how to request these titles, and gain insight in how you can incorporate these titles in your classes. Andrew Harver, Department of Public Health Sciences, will also talk about his experience using the eTextbook program and using the library materials as part of his course readings.

Webinar was hosted by the Center for Teaching and Learning

Listen to 30-minute webinar recording by clicking on “Webinar Playback”
Search the eTextbook Database and Watch a quick video to learn how it works

Google Scholar button

ICYMI: You can now add the Google Scholar button to your Firefox or Chrome toolbar. If you are a frequent user of Google Scholar, you might enjoy this new add-on that integrates with your browser to easily search for articles referenced in your online reading (among other things).

Lookup scholarly articles as you browse the web.

This extension adds a browser button for easy access to Google Scholar from any web page. Click the Scholar button to:

– Find full text on the web or in your university library. Select the title of the paper on the page you’re reading, and click the Scholar button to find it.

– Transfer your query from web search to Scholar. Press the Scholar button to see top three results; click “full screen” in the lower left of the popup to see them all.

– Format references in widely used citation styles. Press the quote button in the popup to see a formatted reference and copy it into the paper you’re writing.

Library links work best when you’re on campus. To configure them for off-campus use, visit Google Scholar Settings at or simply click on the Settings icon from the new Google Scholar search in your toolbar, and click on “Library Links” to add/save university affiliations (ex. search for University of North Carolina at Charlotte and UNCC). Otherwise, you might be asked to pay for access to library materials that are included in library subscriptions.

Configure Google Scholar button to access Atkins Library resources


Data Series – Chapel Hill

Data Matter Course SeriesSponsored by the National Consortium for Data Science (NCDS), the Renaissance Computing Institute (RENCI), and the Odum Institute for Research in Social Science, the “Data Matters: Data Science Short Course Series” is a week-long series of classes for researchers, data analysts, and other individuals who wish to increase their skills in data studies and integrate data science methods into their research designs and skill sets. Scholars, analysts, and researchers from all disciplines and industries are welcome. Both one- and two-day courses will be offered; participants are welcome to register for one, two, or three classes.

The Data Matters Short Course Series is structured in three blocks: June 22-23, June 24, and June 25-26.The schedule for each day will run from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Three courses are offered concurrently in each block. You can choose just one course from each block. Courses are independent of each other; there is no predetermined sequence.

Courses will be offered on Information Visualization, R, Internet of Things Data, Data Curation, Data Sharing, Data Mining, Big Data and more. You can find course descriptions and the schedule at  Courses will be held at the Friday Center at UNC Chapel Hill.

UNC Charlotte is a member of NCDS (National Consortium for Data Science) and therefore you can register at the discounted rate.


Reading is Research: An Interview

Last semester, Instruction Coordinator for Atkins Library, Stephanie Otis, presented on her course collaboration with GIAS Instructor, Joyce Dalsheim.  Entitled Reading is Research, the presentation described a new way of thinking about the skills that students need to research, evaluate, synthesize, and communicate information, and how librarians can be more fully integrated into the classroom to help students through this process.  Recognizing that an essential component of research and writing is the ability to critically read, a skill often assumed and sometimes lacking in college-level students, Otis and Dalsheim worked together to address it in the classroom.  The following is an interview with Otis about the project.

How did the “reading is research” project begin?

Joyce came to me in 2012 with the idea for this project, since I was the librarian for Global, International, and Area Studies (GIAS). We found that we shared a common goal of helping students shift their perspective of research from a mechanical process of searching and gathering information to a critical approach to reading and thinking about information. Over the course of four semesters, we have continually updated and revised our strategies for integrating research instruction into Joyce’s 2000 and 3000 level courses. While she was looking to improve her students’ work and give them a set of lifelong skills, I was interested in the potential for the project to change the perception of the library and librarians among faculty and students.

How does this approach to working with a librarian differ from other models?

This approach requires deep collaboration and rethinking the emphasis of research instruction. It asks faculty to incorporate critical reading and thinking about sources throughout the semester, rather than simply requesting a demonstration of the databases from the librarian.  Librarians work with faculty to plan the syllabus, class meetings, and assignments/activities together. This approach allows librarians to share a different type of expertise and helps establish the library as an academic and curricular partner rather than an optional service.

How often did you, as the librarian, meet with the students during the semester?

I usually meet with the class 3-5 times during the semester. The first one or two sessions, we look at one of the class readings to go through the steps of reading for research. Later in the semester, we talk about searching for additional sources, and near the end of the semester we evaluate the students’ lists of sources for connections, relevance, and academic value. This semester, I will be grading an intermediate assignment for students (an annotated bibliography) between the third and fourth meetings.
What are some examples of exercises and activities that you used to help students learn how to critically read?

In one or two of the library sessions, we very closely consider one of the class readings, to identify major theory and main ideas, to connect to cited sources, and to think about how the author contributes to students’ understanding of major concepts and terms in the discipline. Throughout the semester, students keep a key terms journal, where they are adding quotes and notes from their readings to a “definition” of major concepts of the course. In an annotated bibliography assignment, the students have to write about how the source connects to others they have found, and why it is relevant to their work.

Do you think this model would work with other classes?

I think even the specifics of this model could be used with other classes. While it might translate most easily to other social science or theory-based classes, I can imagine many other applications with only minor modifications. The specifics of these class activities and assignments might not fit neatly in other classes, but we have seen that they inspire faculty to rethink some of the assignments in their classes as they shift the focus of their pedagogy.

2014 ICPSR Data Fair

The 2014 ICPSR Data Fair is open for registration!

Link to webinar registration page:  Webinars are FREE and registration is required.

The theme for this year’s fair is Powering Sustainable Data Access.  Webinars will be held October 6-9, 2014.

The call for public sharing/public access to scientific research data continues to grow. Initially there seemed to be little recognition of the need to finance public access to research data, but fortunately funding-sustained public access is making its way into the conversation.

For many years, ICPSR has hosted several public-access research data archives that are sustained by federal and foundation funding. ICPSR’s 2014 Data Fair will feature webinars about many of these archives and collections, including an introduction to the National Archive of Data on Arts and Culture; the R-DAS collection at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Data Archive; two Gates Foundation-funded collections at the Resource Center for Minority Data; an orientation to the National Addiction and HIV Data Archive Program; and a Q & A about the Gates Foundation-funded Measures of Effective Teaching Longitudinal Database.

You will find descriptions of these webinars in the Data Fair program. Other offerings will include a presentation about ICPSR’s current efforts to fund and achieve sustainable public-access data sharing models, including its newly launched collection known as openICPSR.

Also of note, ICPSR will launch the Data Fair with an orientation webinar focused on our membership archive – composed of a data collection and related teaching resources that have been sustained successfully for over 52 years. Membership matters, and this webinar titled, “Understanding ICPSR,” will provide members – and those exploring membership – with in-depth tours of ICPSR’s research data services education resources, and the benefits of membership.

We invite you to join us for one or all fourteen webinars airing October 6-9, 2014!

Recordings and slide decks (when available) will be placed on ICPSR’s YouTube Channel. Look for the playlist titled, “2014 Data Fair.”

Journal BrowZine

BrowZine “On Campus” Video from Third Iron on Vimeo.

BrowZine is a free app for your iPad or Android-based tablet that enables UNC Charlotte faculty, staff and students to browse, read and monitor many of Atkins Library’s scholarly journals. The app replicates the experience of browsing journals in the stacks, inspiring serendipitous discovery, as though the stacks were curated just for you.

BrowZine delivers top journals from publishers like Oxford, SAGE, Springer, Wiley and Elsevier and many more. Readers can locate journals by name or subject, then read a single issue or create a bookshelf to store favorite titles. The journals are identical to their print versions, including a table of contents and images, making it simple to browse and flip through the pages.

BrowZine’s interface is simple and intuitive so with little guidance, readers can start reading their journal of choice right away. Users have the option to personalize BrowZine and receive push notifications when new issues of favorite titles are published.

To start using BrowZine, search for it in the Apple App, Google Play or Amazon App store and download it for free. When initially launching BrowZine, select UNC Charlotte from the drop down list. Enter your UNCC login and password and then start exploring.


Get a full online tour of BrowZine at

Punch Historical Archive

Punch Historical Archive, 1841-1992

UNC Charlotte Atkins Library recently acquired access to the only digital archive of the humor and satire magazine, Punch.  The themes discussed could be useful for many classes on the social and political history of the 19th and 20th century.  Consider incorporating a primary source assignment that allows students to explore the archive during class or a library session.

From 1841 to 1992 Punch was the world’s most celebrated magazine of humour and satire. From its early years as a campaigner for social justice to its transformation into national icon, Punch played a central role in the formation of British identity – and how the rest of the world saw the British. The fully text searchable online archive of PunchPunch Historical Archive 18411992 ─ is available for scholars, students and the general researcher to explore. The archive is an unrivalled resource for researching and teaching 19th and 20th century political and social history on key themes such as World War I and World War II; Wars and Conflicts; Colonialism, Imperialism and End of Empire; Impact of New Technology and Modernity; Public Health, Conservation and Environmentalism; Social Change; and The Role of Women.”
Learn more about this collection and explore the digital archive. A link has also been added to the Databases tab on the library home page and the History Databases Guide.

What Do Librarians Do?

This week I leave for the annual conference of the American Library Association with an expected attendance of more than 25,000 people (yep, there are that many of us, plus the vendors).  At the conference, I will do as faculty do at conferences: attend committee meetings and presentations relevant to my work and interests, meet with vendors, and network and reconnect with my peers.  Sometimes when I tell faculty that I am presenting at a conference or working on research they nod but I imagine they secretly wonder what it is we do as librarians.  So this post is for you!

The fact that there is no typical week in the life of a subject librarian is exactly what I love about my job.  Some weeks are busier than others, and our work and schedules change throughout the semester.  While the responsibilities and expectations of subject librarians may vary by subject and institution, the following reflects many of the activities we are able and expected to engage in at work.  Click on the image below to get a glimpse of one of my weeks last semester.


classesLibrarians in the classroom.  Meeting with classes allows me to offer course-specific library instruction that engages students and faculty in a conversation about information, how it is produced, and how to effectively find, evaluate and use it.  This week reflects my efforts to fully integrate myself into the core History classes required of History majors, thereby contributing to the integration of information literacy instruction throughout the curriculum.

Meetings, meetings, meetings. Subject librarians serve on a variety of library and university-wide committees. Some of us also serve on committees for local, national and international library associations.  As faculty, we have expectations for service.  I currently serve on the Faculty Research Grants Committee, the Library Professional Activities Committee (as Chair), and two national library association committees.  I was also elected as Vice-Chair/Chair Elect of the Library Faculty.

research_consultsReference and research support. We regularly assist students and faculty with research.  This week I provided in-person research consultations for 9 students in four of my five assigned liaison areas, including History, Political Science, Latin American Studies, and Anthropology.  What my calendar from this week does not show are the e-mails I am responding to before and after these appointments.

Resources, resources, resources.  An important part of being a subject librarian is staying abreast of changes to the databases and other electronic resources and systems we use (and there are many); learning about new resources that become available, and evaluating their potential value for the library collection; and finally, evaluating the usage statistics for our current collections.  This work requires attending webinars and trainings related to library products (this week I attended two), meeting with vendors on-site or at library conferences, and collaborating with the other subject librarians, as well as the librarians and staff in Collection Development. I am also currently responsible for a monographs budget of more than $30,000.

Communication.  The time I spend communicating with my liaison departments; offering research consultations and library instruction; and keeping up with and sharing news and developments related to my work, my profession, and that of my liaison departments and the university, is part of the value I add to the library and to the university.

profdevProfessional development and research. Subject librarians at my university are faculty and therefore must be productive in the areas of research and professional development.  What, might you ask, do librarians research?  It really depends on their interests, but generally it contributes to the field of library and information science.  My research directly relates to my practices as a librarian which allows me to continually improve upon my skills and contribute to the profession more broadly.  Some of my research has been published in books (see College Libraries and Student Culture and Mobile Library Services: Best Practices) and other parts of my research have been presented at conferences (see Mapping History: Toward a Curriculum-Integrated Information Literacy Program).  I will next be presenting on new models of support for professional development in libraries at the upcoming Conference for Entrepreneurial Librarians.

Librarians and Magic


Zan Zig performing with rabbit and roses, including hat trick and levitation. 1899. Magic Poster Collection, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

In the Spring semester I received many e-mails from students who needed help with research, and several asked of me: “work your magic.”  My first reaction was, “Aw!!! They value what I do.”  Next, I thought, “Magic?! I wish.”  Research can be a complex, mysterious and messy process.  Students may think librarians have magic tricks up their sleeves (well, sometimes we do) but oftentimes helping students takes work and lots of time.  I worry when responding to student e-mails with suggestions that they think I just whipped up some magic answers.  I sometimes have to spend hours of searching to steer students in the right direction, or I have to reach out to my colleagues in the field.  If students think research is magically easy, they may not persist in their own searches when they do not succeed right away.

Behind the Magic: Librarians and Professors Reveal their Secrets for Successful Research

That title, or something to that effect, is my idea for a series of videos that would include interviews and other content from librarians, archivists, and professors that demystify the research process.  While I do get a kick out of hearing students call what I do “magic”, I want students to understand what goes into the research process, and a lengthy e-mail to them that explains what I do will not suffice.  This idea for a video series first came to me when I started working with students in a Historiography class.  Putting together a historiography can be a complex process and explaining the various methods students can use to find appropriate sources can be difficult to explain.  The same can be true for finding primary sources.  It would be great to collaborate with some History faculty on a series of videos that explain what it takes to do research in this field.  It could include interviews with historians and have them explain what process they went through to conduct their own professional research.  I could also see this working for political science students with finding data.  What I would most want to expose would be the messiness of research – a realistic portrait of what goes into the process (and not just how it should work but how it actually works), from Google, to librarians and other information networks, to library resources and beyond.  The more we talk about and share what we actually do, the better we can help students, and honestly, help each other as professionals.