University News

What Are You Doing This Summer?

American University News - Tue, 07/12/2016 - 00:00
Office of Campus Life staff share what they are working on while on campus, and their summer plans away from the office.
Categories: University News

Faculty Orientation to Library Services & Classroom Technology

The George Washington University - Mon, 07/11/2016 - 13:42
July 11, 2016

Learn how to manage your courses in Blackboard, how to use digital technology in your classroom, and how the libraries can support your and your students' research. Meet research & instruction librarians, as well as experts from GW's Instructional Technology Lab and Academic Technologies. This orientation is appropriate for all faculty, adjunct faculty, and teaching assistants.

There are two sessions to choose from:

Thursday, September 1, 6-7pm
Friday, September 7, 2:30pm-3:30pm

These orientations fill up early so please RSVP to reserve your preferred session. Please email librarian Ann Brown with questions.

Be sure to check out our research guide, "Library Resources for Teaching and Research Support" for more information, and feel free to contact a librarian to schedule a one-on-one research consultation at any point during the semester.

Kogod Students Attend the VSCPA Leaders’ Institute

American University News - Mon, 07/11/2016 - 00:00
The weekend of June 17-18, 2016, a group of seven Kogod students attended the Virginia Society of Certified Public Accountants (VSCPA) Leaders’ Institute.
Categories: University News

SOC Shines at National Capital Emmys

American University News - Fri, 07/08/2016 - 00:00
American University film students Murugi Thande and Vanina Harel were honored at the National Capital Area Emmys.
Categories: University News

Alumna praises online programs at SIS

American University News - Fri, 07/08/2016 - 00:00
Emily Ham, SIS/MA ’15, set foot on American University’s campus for the first time as the School of International Service’s graduate student commencement speaker in May 2015. Read more about Emily's experience in the program.
Categories: University News

The New Imperial Presidency

American University News - Fri, 07/08/2016 - 00:00
SPA professor looks at the expansion of presidential power since 9/11.
Categories: University News

Marketing, Applied

American University News - Thu, 07/07/2016 - 00:00
“The knowledge I’ve gained personally and professionally in the program is so key,” Lamperti says. “Its commitment to applied, practice-based learning was exactly what I needed.”
Categories: University News

Apply Now for the Kiev Judaica Collection Research Fellowship

The George Washington University - Fri, 07/01/2016 - 10:22
July 1, 2016

The Special Collections Research Center is pleased to invite applications to the biennial Kiev Judaica Collection Fellowship Program for the 2016-2017 academic year. 

The fellowship program supports short-term research and writing at the I. Edward Kiev Judaica Collection, housed in the Kiev Room of the Gelman Library. Applicants for the fellowship program must be conducting research in the field of 18th-20th century Jewish history, Hebrew literature, Jewish art or Hebrew booklore. Candidates may come from a variety of disciplines including, but not limited to, Graphic Arts, History, Religion, Comparative Literature, Bibliography or any relevant area of Judaic Studies. 

The Kiev Judaica Collection Research Fellowship will award  

  • $1,500 to one graduate or post-graduate researcher, academic or independent scholar.
  • $750 to one undergraduate student at GWU in the final years of matriculation (Junior or Senior year status).

For more information or to apply, please download a fellowship application. Please contact Shelly Buring, curatorial assistant, with questions. The deadline for submission of applications is July 31, 2016.

The I. Edward Kiev Judaica Collection was established in 1996 by Dr. Ari and Phyllis Kiev with the donation of the private library of Dr. Kiev’s father, Rabbi I. Edward Kiev (1905-1975), one of the preeminent Judaica librarians of the 20th century. In 1998, the Kiev Room was dedicated to house the collection – along with supplementary collections of Jewish graphic art, archives, printed and recorded music, ephemera, artifacts and ritual objects - and to provide a reading room for researchers. 

Start Smart with a Graduate Student Library Orientation

The George Washington University - Fri, 07/01/2016 - 08:34
July 1, 2016

Get to know the powerful tools and unique resources your Libraries have for graduate students. Learn about library spaces and services, and discover resources specific to your discipline. This orientation will provide a great overview of how to use the library and make sure you are ready for that first research project.

There are six sessions to choose from:

Thursday, August 18, 5-6pm
Friday, August 19, 11:30am-12:30pm
Thursday, August 25, 4-5pm
Friday, August 26, 11:30am-12:30pm, 2-3pm, and 3-4pm

These orientations fill up early so please RSVP to reserve your preferred session.

Be sure to check out our research guide, "What Graduate Students Need to Know " for more information, and feel free to contact a librarian to schedule a one-on-one research consultation at any point during the semester.

Are you living in a filter bubble? Web searching, privacy, objectivity, and GW Libraries search.

The George Washington University - Thu, 06/30/2016 - 15:20
June 30, 2016Dan Kerchner

This past spring, four of us here at GW Libraries had the privilege of attending the 2016 Code4Lib conference, featuring a wide variety of talks and discussions relevant to anyone interested in technology in libraries, archives, and museums.


The closing keynote was given by Gabriel Weinberg, the CEO and Founder of DuckDuckGo.   If you're not familiar with DuckDuckGo, it's a search engine committed to not tracking you.


Tracking Your searches:  Good and Bad


When you search using Google or other engines that track you, there's the obvious privacy issue around the company recording of all of your searches, but there's another aspect (let's refrain from judging it for the moment) which is that it affects the results of your search.  Sometimes you may actually want that, but sometimes you don't.   But let's first see when and why this happens.


You and I May Get Different Search Results


I'm going to use Google as an example, but this could apply to Bing, Yahoo, and other popular search engines as well.


Search engines that track you incorporate several factors into determining which results you see.  If you're logged in to Google and haven't turned off the personalization settings, to the extent they can be turned off, then Google bases your results, and their rankings, on your previous searches (and possibly other information it knows about you from terms in your email, etc.) to try to present you with results it thinks you're likely to want and to click on.  Other factors it takes into account include your location based on your IP address.


When you're hungry and want to quickly find something to eat nearby that you might like, you might want results that are localized and perhaps even take into account what it knows about your preferences.   But when you're doing research for a paper, you may simply want the most objetive, consistent search results possible.


Here's an example:   A Google search on "Obama" yielded slightly different results when I was not logged in to a Google account, versus when I was logged in to my (personal) Google account.  The top news links were different:  NBC, BBC, ABC, versus NBC, CBS, BBC; and a New York Times link was ranked considerably higher when not logged in, versus logged in:





One result of personalized results is the phenomenon referred to as the "filter bubble," a concept coined by Eli Pariser in his 2011 book.  A filter bubble means that you're presented with results that tend to further reinforce your existing preferences, beliefs, and opinions.  There is some controversy around the extent of the effets of this, but it has been a topic more in the forefront lately, particularly when it comes to social media and how platforms such as Facebook and Twitter determine which news items to prioritize in your feed.

Privacy, Tracking, Personalization and Other Search Engine "Features"


Let's check Wikipedia to get a rough sense of which search engines employ tracking, share information with third parties, and which don't:


From as of June 30, 2016:



Is the knowledge that your information might be shared with third parties, and that the search engine might be at least attempting to modify your browser settings ("browser hijacking"), worth the tradeoff of the benefits you derive from using those search engines?  That's a personal choice, but it might be worth your while to try out a variety of search engines, paying attention to which track and which don't track.


Can't I just use Incognito Mode?


Incognito Mode seems to be somewhat misunderstood by many people.  Incognito Mode is a browser feature that refrains from saving your browsing history and cookies in the browser itself, but if you're logged into Yahoo, Google, etc. within the incognito-mode window, they're still saving your searches on their side, and results may still incorporate your location and/or IP address.


Trackless Search Engines


One solution to concerns about privacy and objectivity is to consider using a search engine which doesn't track you.  One of these is DuckDuckGo, which we mentioned earlier.


Libraries and Privacy


GW Libraries follow in the long-held library tradition of respecting and protecting patrons' privacy as well as providing objective search results when you use our research tools:


  • We won't share your circulation records, and records of electronic materials that you accessed.

  • We don't track you!  When you search through the library web search interfaces, you will get the same results as anyone else in the GW Community, and the GW search engine is not tracking or saving anything about you.   We wrote it, and the code that runs it is open source, so you can see it for yourself on github!

  • And last but not least, you won't get advertisements!


The only factor that can change your search results is whether you're using the GW Libraries search interface from an on- or off-campus IP address.  This is because some of the resources, usually resources that GW pays to provide, are available to you as a member of the GW community, but not to the general public.


We do anonymously log search queries that come through the "All" tab (fondly known as the "Bento" search).   The queries are anonymous; they are not associated with any user or even an IP address.  We use these to better learn about our users are searching for - particularly the most popular searches - and we use what we learn to improve the research tools we provide.


Here's an example of a view that we as GW Libraries staff can see.  Note that there's no information about who submitted each search:



More on the GW Libraries "All" search in a future blog post!


The Bottom Line


If you're using a search engine to try to survey and locate web content for research purposes, you probably want the most objective results and rankings possible, un-influenced by your personal search history and possibly even un-influenced by your location.   Educate yourself about search engine choices so that you can make a thoughtful choice about which one to use.


Some further reading:


GW Libraries' "How Do I?" page on using Google Scholar:

The Library Freedom Project, working to protect digital privacy and freedom in libraries:

Google's privacy policies

More about DuckDuckGo:



VISION Magazine 2016 Now Available in Print & Online

The George Washington University - Thu, 06/30/2016 - 08:08
June 30, 2016

We are proud to announce that the annual magazine of the GW Libraries, VISION, is now available in print and online.  

In this edition, we explore how the GW Libraries contribute to student and faculty scholarship through collaborations to create new software, build databases, perform statistical analyses, create 3-D models, manage and visualize their research data, and more. You can also find out how showcasing faculty scholarship, using the power of crowdsourcing to understand history, and providing a 24/7 "amazing space for students" are all part of the daily work of the GW Libraries.  

Growing a Global Perspective

American University News - Thu, 06/30/2016 - 00:00
For Ayomide Oluleye, JD/MBA '17, pursuing two degrees at once is all about broadening his perspective.
Categories: University News

Death in America’s Shadows

American University News - Tue, 06/28/2016 - 00:00
Two SOC professors are making a documentary on capital punishment.
Categories: University News

Mastering the Haiku of Filmmaking

American University News - Thu, 06/23/2016 - 00:00
Agamemnon to Alexander the Great: Stogner produces immersive media for exhibition celebrating 5,000 years of Greek culture.
Categories: University News

Gelman & Eckles Closed for Independence Day

The George Washington University - Wed, 06/22/2016 - 10:50
June 22, 2016

Gelman and Eckles Libraries will be closed on Sunday, July 3 and Monday, July 4 to celebrate the Independence Day holiday.

Gelman will reopen at 7 a.m. on Tuesday, July 5. Eckles will reopen at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, July 5.

Can Writing a New Constitution Improve Democracy?

American University News - Wed, 06/22/2016 - 00:00
A constitution does not necessarily lead to more democracy, but it could if a country is willing to involve citizens of all types and backgrounds, in crafting it early on.
Categories: University News

Top Documentary Festival a Showcase for American University Faculty

American University News - Wed, 06/22/2016 - 00:00
The School of Communication is well-integrated into this week's prestigious AFI DOCS film festival, hosted by the American Film Institute.
Categories: University News

SIS Alumni Relations Office receives award for career development program

American University News - Wed, 06/22/2016 - 00:00
The SIS Alumni Relations Office has received a CASE Gold award for its innovative new career development program.
Categories: University News

Action plan signed on women’s economic empowerment

American University News - Tue, 06/21/2016 - 00:00
An AU delegation representing the U.S.-Pakistan Women's Council witnessed the signing of an MOU Action Plan regarding women's economic empowerment and entrepreneurship. This article first appeared in "Dawn".
Categories: University News

2016 Kogod Made in America Auto Index

American University News - Mon, 06/20/2016 - 00:00
Three GM Cars Top the 2016 Kogod Made in America Auto Index
Categories: University News