Working with Chicago Data (part 1)

We are still talking a lot of data at North Park – in particular Chicago data. So I’m going to start getting my hands dirty working with this data to build capacity for future partnerships with faculty and students. So here is the first in what I hope to be many installments of the “Working with Chicago Data” series.

Mapping Chicago’s Grocery Stores

First step: Download data from the Chicago Data Portal ( I’m using the Grocery Store 2013 dataset for this example.

Grocery Stores – 2013

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The data itself seems pretty clean and well formatted. I’m going to use Tableau for this example because that’s the tool I’m learning right now. I opened Tableau and imported the spreadsheet from the Chicago Data Portal. I ended up creating 4 different visualizations based on this data.

The first is a map of grocery store locations. It uses the latitude and longitude from the dataset to create points. Pretty standard and vanilla.

These next map is much more interesting. It takes into account the size of the store (measured in square footage) and codes that as size and color. Larger stores have larger, darker circles.

The last two maps were just variations on the second map. One version filtered out “small stores” that were less than 10,000 square feet. The other filtered out stores with the work “liquor” in the title. On a technical levels, these filters were easy to apply. However, I’m completely aware of the cultural assumptions I’m bringing to bear here. When I (white, affluent, middle class) think about a grocery store I think about a large store that doesn’t have the word “liquor” in the title.

That’s that! It was pretty easy to get this data and put it to use in the form of a map. I used Tableau here but I could also use Excel (with the power map add) or a more specialized tool like ArcGIS.

In terms of next steps or extensions:

  1. It would be interesting to compare results using a different tool. Might be good to showcase the basic steps for using each tool.
  2. It would be very interesting to add neighborhood boundaries and/or other information such as demographic information and/or economic status. I’ll have to look at ways to incorporate this data.
  3. It would also be very interesting to combine this data with user feedback like Yelp reviews.

Google Scholar Tutorial

As a way to document and share my work, I wanted to post this short online tutorial I made about using Google Scholar and the Brandel Library.  I manage the data feeds (from SFX and now from EBSCO) that make these library links possible but I also feel like I needed to do more to make these connections apparent to our users. There are a number of reasons for this:

  • First, I love Google Scholar and I find it very useful for known item searching. Given students and faculty another tool seems very helpful.
  • Second, given the movement toward Open Access, I think “open” tools like Google Scholar do a better job searching that “gray” content that traditional databases struggle with.
  • Lastly, the connections between Google Scholar and the Library are seamless and relatively transparent – which are good things! – some faculty believe that everything is “on Google Scholar” without realizing that the library is providing many of those links. So I think this is an opportunity to demonstrate value and market the library.

The tutorial making process at North Park is really quite nice – we have a dedicated terminal with a high quality microphone and specialized programs like Audacity and Camtasia that make it easy to create high quality tutorials. I’ve done several and am definitely getting better at using these tools – though I still don’t love the sound of my voice!

Tools for Data Analysis

In addition to providing the raw data to our campus community, I think the library can take a leadership role in providing the tools and expertise to mine this data into something usable and useful. However, many of the tools that are used to transform data are highly specialized and have a pretty steep learning curve. So I’m going to work to provide an overview of the tools available and focus on those that would be useful in the context of undergraduate education. Continue reading “Tools for Data Analysis”

Review: “Library-as-Publisher: Capacity Building for the Library Publishing Subfield”

I’ve been tasked with creating a “Roadmap to Digital Publishing” for the Brandel Library. I’ll post the draft of the “roadmap” I develop later on, but right now I’m in the research phase of the project and wanted to document the sources I’m reading. I could include this as a bibliography in the other post, but this is happening chronologically first and I thought it would be pretty interesting to document. So here is goes!

Library-as-Publisher: Capacity Building for the Library Publishing Subfield

Katherine Skinner, Sarah Lippincott, Julie Speer, Tyler Walters
Volume 17, Issue 2: Education and Training for 21st Century Publishers, Spring 2014 DOI:

Although this article focused more on the professional developement needs of library staff to take on publishing activities, it also provided a very good overview and definition of the library publishing efforts and section on “Core Knowledge and Skills for 21st Century Publishers” could provide a helpful guide.


This article borrows the following definition from the “Library Publishing Coalition” ( that defines library publishing as:

the set of activities led by college and university libraries to support the creation, dissemination, and curation of scholarly, creative, and/or educational works.

This relatively basic definition seems like a good shared starting point and distinguishing library publishing form other forms of digital humanities work.

Knowledge and Skills

The list of core knowledge and skills identified in this article proved to be very helpful as well. Here is a summary of that section – with my summarizing comments in the form of questions:

  1. Scholarly Publishing Context – what is happening in the world of academic publishing?
  2. Academic Context – why is the role of the library within the larger institution? to publish something unique? enhance the institutional brand?
  3. Soft Skills – who do you need to build relationships with? What political connections need to be forged?
  4. Business Planning and Management – what is your business plan? who is your audience?
  5. Technology and Workflows for Production, Distribution, and Preservation – do you have the technology and workflow to publish (and care for) everything you want to publish? For text, audiovisual, datasets, interactive things, etc.
  6. Editorial and Acquisitions – can you get and edit the stuff you want to publish?

Overall, this was a very helpful article. The two sections I’ve highlighted were particularly relevant – even as I read the article from an “institutional roadmap” when the original article was written in terms of professional skills and development. The Notes section as provided to be quick valuable in highlighting other relevant sources and authorities.

Copyright and Faculty Guidance

My library just fielded a question from the Nursing department who, after reading this article from the Chronicle of Higher Education, wanted to know our policy for posting articles and chapters into our Learning Management System (LMS).

While I was drafting a response in private, I thought it would be good to summarize that article and then post my response here for future updating and public re-use.


The article is commentary on the Georgia State University lawsuit where three publishers – Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press, and Sage Publications – challenged the Georgia State University’s policy that allowed faculty members to upload excerpts from books into their LMS. Thankfully, the court has decided that the vast majority (70/75) of these uses were “Fair Use” and therefore legal under the law.

But, as the article points out, the issue at stake is not just the Georgia State University uses but to clarify (perhaps define?) the legal limits of copyright and fair use as it related to academic libraries. So the case is not limited to those three published and that one university, the results are much more far-reaching.

The publishers’ request for a very broad injunction is not really a surprise. The plaintiffs always intended for the GSU case to establish a precedent that publishers could use to persuade colleges to pay for digital licenses from a company they work with, the Copyright Clearance Center.

So, like the author of this commentary from the Chronicle of Higher Education and likely most academic librarians, I am rooting for GSU in this case and hope that it established precedent that ensures a broad definition of fair use and does not impose time consuming record keeping to track the fair use of copyrighted material.

So, given my thoughts, how should I respond to the faculty inquiry about our policy regarding fair use. I think it’s an opportunity to both establish the broad playing field, underscore the ramifications of this decision, and invite further conversation.

Response to Faculty Inquiry

Thanks for reaching out with a question about copyright and fair use as it relates to articles and book chapters in an academic setting. This is clearly an important and heavily contested issue – one that really precludes a simple policy or rule – so I’m happy to provide some background and some safe best practices and then invite further conversation.

Best Practices for Licensed Content

In general, if you are using electronic resources licensed by the Brandel Library, we encourage you to provide permalinks to the library’s subscription into Moodle. Two main reasons for this policy:

  1. This is almost always a permitted use within our license agreements. Some database license agreements allow articles to be uploaded directly into a LMS but other licenses expressly forbid this. This prevents this level of confusion and creates a better experience for students and faculty.
  2. Linking back to the publisher provides the library with vital statistics. Linking this way ensures that we can make collection development decisions that reflect accurate usage – posting a PDF in Moodle prevents the library from tracking usage and impairs our ability to use data to make collection development decisions.

Fair Uses for Non-Licensed Content

This gets slightly more thorny with non-licensed content such as print book chapters, articles from print journals, or articles not available through the library’s online resources. Assuming that such materials are under copyright – which is a safe assumption unless it was published before 1923 or published with a Creative Commons license of some kind – the only legal option to consider is Fair Use.

The US legal code (Section 107 of the Copyright Act) defines four factors to consider with fair use:

  1. the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
  2. the nature of the copyrighted work;
  3. the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
  4. the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

Given that we are a university, the purpose and character of the use is educational and therefore the first factor will almost always support fair use. However, all educational uses are not permitted – copying an entire book and distributing it to a class would not be a fair use – and therefore all four factors should be considered.

The Georgia State University ruling seems to indicate that the courts view that using a single chapter from a book as fair use but that multiple chapters from a single book is problematic. However, posting a PDF of a scholarly article in Moodle would be problematic and would likely not quality as a fair use of that material. We are working on building up our electronic reserve capabilities here in the library and should be able to provide more robust services in this area soon.

The Future

I will conclude by underscoring a few things:

One issue at stake in the GSU case is how extensive our institutional record keeping needs to be in this area. The publishers want to require extensive recording keeping that GSU (and most schools) would view as very burdensome and a hindrance to fair use.

The proposed injunction would also require university personnel to confirm that every excerpt uploaded to course websites met the fair-use criteria and to keep track of information about the book, which parts were used, the number of total pages, the sources that were consulted to determine whether digital permissions were available, the date of the investigation, the number of students enrolled in the course, and the name of the professor. The university would have to maintain those records for three years.

North Park does not currently require any record keeping and entrusts faculty members to make informed decisions about fair use. The library will continue to follow this case and inform the campus if our record keeping policies need to change.

Second, one reason that fair use is so fuzzy and unclear is that there have not been many cases that have tested the limits of fair use as it related to academic institutions. As an academic library, we want to rigorous defend the rights of authors and content creators by respecting fair use and honoring our licensing agreements with the publishers we work with. On the other hand, we also want to claim the full expression of fair use afforded to us in the law.

“Information-Seeking Behavior of Pastoral Clergy” – Review

A while back, I wondered about the Information Habits of Religious Leaders. Well, I was able to research this topic a bit and decided to post my analysis of one article here. Here is the article I read for the assignment

Wicks, Donald A. “The Information-Seeking Behavior of Pastoral Clergy: A Study of the Interaction of Their Work Worlds and Work Roles.” Library & Information Science Research 21, no. 2 (1999): 205–26. doi:10.1016/S0740-8188(99)00003-1.

I was very pleased to learn that there is a lot of scholarship on this topic and I look forward to reading more in the future!

CC image from Flickr -
CC image from Flickr –


For this assignment, I decided to explore the information habits of clergy and read the article “The Information-Seeking Behavior of Pastoral Clergy: A Study of the Interaction of Their Work Worlds and Work Roles” by Donald A. Wicks. This study used mailed surveys and structured interviews. The surveys were mailed to 989 participants spanning six denominational bodies in southern Ontario. These religious groups – Roman Catholic, United Church of Christ, Anglican, Presbyterian, Baptist, and Pentecostal – were selected because they represent the largest denominations in the province and because they span the religious spectrum.[1] The 38.2% response rate provided a confidence interval of 95% with a reliability of +/- 4%. Structured interviews with 20 of the potential respondents – selected randomly from the range of the groups represented – were conducted to “add depth and richness to the survey data.”[2]

Within the general field of information studies, this study’s theoretical approach was to combine social network theories with the role theories and determine how the interaction of those fields influenced information behaviors. Social network theory was defined as “the boundaries that may influence information seeking” and this study identified three ‘pastoral worlds,’ namely: the theological world, the denominational world, and the congregational world.[3] Various role theories assert that within a given populations, information behaviors vary based on task. In this study, Wicks identified three work roles – preaching, caregiving, and administrating – and indeed found that clergy information behaviors differed based on pastoral role.

This, in fact, was the study’s most general finding, that “pastoral clergy tended to use different types of sources in different roles and that certain combinations of pastoral worlds and roles influenced…information-seeking behaviors.”[4] Wicks, however, continues by exploring how each social world – theological, denominational, congregational – intersected with each work role – preaching, caregiving, and administrating – and introduces language of ‘open’ and ‘closed’ to describe this relationship. If information-seeking for a given role was governed by the social world, Wicks described that relationship as ‘closed’ and if information-seeking behaviors were not restricted by the social world, Wicks described that as ‘open.’[5] For example, considering theological worlds and the preaching role, Wicks found that both liberal and conservative clergy tended to seeking information within a closed system whereas moderate clergy were more open to using resources from different theological worlds. In terms of the denominational world, Wicks demonstrated the denominational influences varied based on pastoral task, concluding that “denominational world does not influence information-seeking behavior when the minister is performing the preacher role” but that denominational world has a mixed influence when a pastor is in a caregiving role.[6] Lastly, Wicks found that the congregational social world has relatively little influence on any of the pastoral roles; that the theological position of the pastor and the denominational world had a much stronger influence on all pastoral roles.

Overall, the theoretical approach of combining social network theories and role theory yielded a wealth of actionable information. In general, the findings of this study imply that information systems and services should designed with particular pastoral roles in mind. For example, information systems designed to support preaching should be different than systems designed to support caregiving and administration. Furthermore, these findings indicate that information systems and services should take a diverse approach by providing access to information objects through a range of means and modes. Additionally, because information systems and services do not exist outside of social networks but are often embedded within theological or denominational frameworks, these systems should be aware of the theological polarization Wicks discovered and how it affects their organizational mission. Wick’s overall conclusion, that “we must understand the context of the user, including the role being performed and the social network of the individual,” restates his main theoretical framework and provides a solid paradigm to explore additional questions about the information-seeking behaviors of clergy.

[1] Wicks, “The Information-Seeking Behavior of Pastoral Clergy,” 209.

[2] Ibid., 210.

[3] Ibid., 206.

[4] Ibid., 205.

[5] Ibid., 209.

[6] Ibid., 213.

Review/Notes – “Analyzing and Selecting the Best Discovery Solution for Your Users and Organization(s)”

Brian C. Gray presenting Analyzing and Selecting the Best Discovery Solution for Your Users and Organization(s). Library website:

How to make a decision? Gray worked with OHIOLink and started with a list of specifications as well as how all the user audiences would work with each service. Wanted the search to be comprehensive, not federated, able to be embedded in other library resources, and ease of maintenance. Gray worked with a small group of people and focused on making decisions quickly.

What are the challenges? All the products are very different. Very different. Librarians and average library user have very different expectations and viewpoints. Hard to answer the question – “what is this tool searching?” – because of the complexities in the index. Thinks about the diversity of users – can you provide customized tools for different communities? Discovery process changes rapidly – perhaps too fast for librarians to manage. How difficult is it to change and maintain our holdings? Have someone that works with all users, someone with cataloging/metadata expertise, IT and webmaster, financial agent.

Advice: Take advantage of trials. Make sure staffing is sufficient. Don’t take too long in making the decision. Do local inventories: processes, technology, expertise, time, and financial resources. Define your local goals! Gray’s goals included: drive usage to certain resources, increase resource usage, change user behaviors, help people brainstorm ideas, speed up research, challenge the “google mindset,” change library instruction, reduce the number of access points, provide a common tool, what’s your long term plan, what’s your level of commitment? Beyond goals, prioritize things. Things like: user needs, local customizations, addition costs, what level of control do you have, multilingual interface, user customization options, how does it work with backend management tools, usage statistics, facets customization, what level of support do you require, can you add local content?

Create a list of specifications; list them and then score them (yes/no or a numeric scale) and what are the “must have” features. Gray has a collection of great rubrics for evaluating discovery services.

Don’t take forever to implement – start in beta and make changes accordingly. You won’t be perfect, it will get better. Work with the vendors and take full advantage of their skills. Expect constant change.