Research Roundup—Fall 2022
Librarians at the University of Oregon work hard to provide research support for students and faculty members. From supporting undergraduate students on class projects to providing instruction in data management tools to being embedded in study abroad programs, UO librarians support research in exciting, though sometimes less visible ways. This fall term, we are spotlighting four research projects our librarians have been supporting.
Building Data Literacy
Research Data Management and Reproducibility Librarian Gabriele Hayden spends part of her time as a research and data specialist working on the Oregon Theater Project. She created a system that organizes data collected by students enrolled in the Cinema Studies 335: Exhibition and Audience class. The goal of this project is to capture the history of Oregon’s movie theaters. Students are required to research and write a profile on any Oregon theater of their choosing. These profiles focus on theaters specifically from the silent movie era and include information about owners, number of seats, location, and what kinds of movies were shown there.
Hayden takes the data from the project and transforms it into spreadsheets anyone can use to do further research on cinema history, the history of Oregon businesses, or related topics. This allows students in Cinema Studies 335 to share their information in two usable formats—one, for readers to explore on the project’s website and a second that makes the data easily usable for scholars or researchers—including undergraduate researchers—to conduct new research.
Additionally, Hayden; Elizabeth Peterson, digital scholarship librarian; and Michael Aronson, cinema studies associate professor, are currently working on publishing a paper that describes this data set and encourages others to use it. They are working to get it published and printed this upcoming January.
Bringing Scientific History to Life in London
Annie Zeidman-Karpinski, the Kenneth M. and Kenda H. Singer science librarian, was the first-ever UO librarian to be embedded on a Global Oregon Education study abroad program. In summer 2022 she traveled “across the pond” to London, England, where she joined the STEM in London study abroad faculty as a research resource. The program included two classes, Commentary Issues in Science: Life—or Sailing Through Chaos on Quantum Mechanics and Reacting to the Past, which encouraged students to explore the vast possibilities of scientific discoveries.
In the Commentary Issues in Science class, students had to complete a ‘Scientist Spotlight’ about a British scientist in their field and present their findings to their classmates. They were asked to find information about the scientists’ personal history and their contributions to quantum biology. Annie assisted the students in finding various sources and biographical information needed to complete this project. In the Reacting to the Past course, students dove deep into British history. They were assigned an important figure from Europe’s history and had to take on this role while giving a speech to the class. Students were restricted to using only the information that their characters knew at that time, so Annie helped them navigate time-specific primary and other sources to ensure their speeches were historically accurate.
Zeidman-Karpinski also held weekly meetings with students she called ‘Tea and Tattle’ during which the students were able to partake in research with her directly at the Imperial College Library, The British Library, and the Wellcome Trust Library.
Documenting Oral and Cultural Traditions
Digital Scholarship Librarian Kate Thornhill is currently working on The Healers Project, a collaborative research effort that tells the stories of Afro-Indigenous Healers in the Dominican Republic, Cuba, the Pacific Northwest, and Puerto Rico. This digital humanities project archives and preserves both the interviews of healers and photographs of their gathering grounds, whether that be their own kitchens or a national forest, to document their oral and cultural traditions.
Thornhill works to ensure this project is built sustainably, so this research and information will be findable, accessible, and retrievable for years to come. She also sets professional standards for archiving this material. This means she asks ethical questions regarding who owns the data, what people are allowed to do with it, and who can access it. This framework guides the digital treatment she applies to her work.
This project has been especially fulfilling for Thornhill because it has allowed her to be part of something that amplifies and uplifts the voices of Afro-Indigenous communities. “This [project] is for the healers and their communities because these are untold stories and stories that are not prioritized,” Thornhill said.
Viewing Data from 400 Feet Up
Dean Walton, Nancy Cunningham, and Kathy Stroud are currently providing research support for the Sustainable City Year Program (SCYP). The program is entirely based on a partnership between the UO’s Sustainable Cities Institute and a city in Oregon. UO classes are paired with the selected city of that year, and students, faculty, city officials, and community members work together to identify and accomplish various developmental goals. The city of Sisters has been selected as the focus of this year's project.
Spatial Data and Government Documents Librarian Kathy Stroud and Library Branch Director Nancy Cunningham have been creating library guides to help students collect data about Sisters effectively and efficiently. These guides include aerial photography of the city, local government documents, census data, planning documents, and more. The pair also taught a class session on how to navigate these guides so students can successfully utilize this information.
Lorry I. Lokey Science and Technology Outreach Librarian Dean Walton, who is also a certified drone pilot, has been teaching students how to take images of Sisters using drones. This in-field data collection allows students to see the city's current state. Walton has shown them how to use these photographs to create 3D models of the area, which will then inform the recommendations for improvements they’ll be able to make.
The resources and support offered by Walton, Cunningham, and Stroud help create scaffolding for students working on the Sustainable Cities project. It allows them to get a deeper understanding and view of the city, so they can decide where they want to take the project through the year.
—By Kate Lloyd, communications assistant, UO Libraries