University News

Proposals Sought: Redesign & Integrate with OER

George Mason University - Wed, 03/09/2016 - 11:03

Mason 4-VA, in collaboration with the University Libraries and Mason Online, invites Mason faculty to submit a proposal for innovative redesign of a course that integrates digital (and accessible) materials. That is, you supplant expensive textbooks either with digital works that you create, or with existing digital content that is in the public domain, licensed Creative Commons, or available in databases to which the University Libraries subscribes. To that end, you are reducing the cost of instruction to students and improving learning outcomes.

Courses of particular interest are those that:

  • have high enrollment,
  • are required for majors,
  • count in the Mason Core, or
  • carry high textbook costs.

This initiative is a Mason 4-VA pilot project. Any Mason full-time instructional faculty who teach high demand, heavily populated courses are eligible to apply, as are adjunct faculty who are part of a team proposal. Competitive grants will be awarded ranging from $1500-$5000, depending on the nature of the work and the level of team collaboration. Proposals due: March 18, 2016. Award notification: April 4, 2016.

Library faculty are poised to assist you with locating quality OER content, as well as answering questions related to copyright and Creative Commons licensing of your own materials. Mason Publishing Group, a department of the University Libraries, is available to aid faculty in developing OER textbooks or workbooks as a part of this pilot project. Let us know how we may help you! Contact your subject librarian, Claudia Holland (, or John Warren (, Head, Mason Publishing.

Categories: University News

6 Ways Research Can Empower the Federal Workforce

American University News - Wed, 03/09/2016 - 00:00
With 2 million employees, how can government ensure the best available research is driving human resource and operation policies for this important sector?
Categories: University News

When You Wish Upon a Star

American University News - Wed, 03/09/2016 - 00:00
AU filmmakers chronicle the campaign to thwart a VA-based Disney theme park.
Categories: University News

Fenwick Grand Opening Week!

George Mason University - Tue, 03/08/2016 - 17:03

Join George Mason University Libraries in celebrating the new Fenwick Library addition.The highlight of the week’s events will be the Grand Opening Celebration on Thursday, March 31 at 4:30 p.m. in the Fenwick Library Atrium. You are cordially invited to attend! Join us and #CelebrateFenwick2016!

March 25-31 Exhibit: Mason Collections of Distinction
Special Collections Research Center and Fenwick Gallery
Floors 1 and 2, Fenwick Library

March 29, 2:30 p.m.
Mason Author Series
Book Discussion
Main Reading Room
Fenwick Library

This new series features the work of Mason scholars. Giorgio Ascoli, University Professor, Molecular Neuroscience Department and founding Director of the Center for Neural Informatics, Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study, is the inaugural author. Professor Ascoli will discuss his book, Trees of the Brain, Roots of the Mind. The Mason Author Series is sponsored by the George Mason University Bookstore. Light refreshments will be served.

March 30, 2 p.m.
2016 Fenwick Fellow Lecture
Main Reading Room
Fenwick Library

Colin Reagle, Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering, presents findings from his Fenwick Fellow research project, The Role of Renewables in George Mason’s Future Energy Portfolio. Light refreshments will be served.

March 31, 4:30 p.m.
Grand Opening Celebration
Fenwick Library Atrium

Join University President Ángel Cabrera, Rector Tom Davis, and Members of the George Mason University Board of Visitors at the Grand Opening Celebration of the new Fenwick Library. The Keynote Speaker is Brian Lamb, Founder and Chairman, Cable-Satellite Public Affairs Networks (C-SPAN). Light refreshments will be served.

Categories: University News

GW’s Expert Finder

The George Washington University - Tue, 03/08/2016 - 10:40
March 8, 2016

On Feb 1, GW’s Expert Finder launched.  Expert Finder is an implementation of VIVO, a researcher discovery platform.  The project is a collaboration between the Division of Information Technology and GW Libraries. As one of the software developers on the project, I want to take this opportunity to discuss some noteworthy aspects of our implementation. In particular, we have made some choices that emphasized rapidly deploying VIVO using a minimal amount of resources.

In any VIVO implementation, data is aggregated from a number of existing sources, including campus information systems, researcher information systems, and human resource systems.  At GW, the majority of our data comes from Banner, our campus information system, and Lyterati, a faculty management system.

With this sort of data, various quality issues are to be expected.  At GW, our data is no different.  Here are some examples:

  • My position is listed as “Uv Librarian FT” (a full-time librarian, I think) in “UN LIB TECH/RESEARCH SRVCS” (Gelman Library).
  • My alma mater, Amherst College, has entries for: Amherst College; Amherst College, Amherst, Massachusetts; Amherst College, Amherst, MA; and Amherst College, Amherst MA.  You can imagine how many variations there are for GW!
  • The full citation for a journal article is “The Contraceptive Mandate and Religious Liberty.  Pew Forum on Religion in Publick Life.  2013.”  Notice the misspelling and lack of co-authors, issue, volume, pages, and a DOI.

VIVO implementers employ a variety of strategies to mitigate data quality issues.  These strategies include:

  • Fixing the existing data source so that it produces cleaner data.
  • Creating a new data source.  For example, many VIVO implementers also implement Symplectic Elements to provide a reliable source for faculty publications.
  • Have researchers correct their own data either in the source system or directly in VIVO.
  • Data cleansing and normalization, both manually performed by a person and automated by software.

More than data cleansing and normalization, many VIVO implementers also perform data enhancement.  Data enhancement involves collecting additional data to improve upon the existing data.  So, for example, some institutions get a complete citation for journal articles by looking them up in Crossref or disambiguate article authorship using Harvard’s Disambiguation Engine.

For GW’s implementation, we have also employed some of these strategies to mitigate data quality issues.  In particular, we have:

  • Worked with our partners at Entigence to make changes to Lyterati that encourage cleaner data entry by faculty.
  • Placed a heavy emphasis on researchers correcting their own data in the source system.
  • Created an interface for non-faculty staff to enter some of their data.

Notably absent from this list is data cleansing, normalization, or enhancements.   Other than some minor fixes like the format of phone numbers, the data is loaded exactly as received from the source systems.  This is deliberate, as the project charter for Expert Finder specifically excludes “cleanup of data.”  The strategy of not performing data cleansing, normalization, or enhancements trades off a significant savings in resources (both for initial implementation and on an ongoing basis) for some data quality.

We use the strategy of suppressing some data in the VIVO interface to partially compensate for not cleaning or normalizing the data,.  In particular, we remove links and lists where the less clean data would be revealed and/or prevent VIVO from working properly.  So, for example, publications are listed on a researcher’s detail page, but the publications are not linked to the publication’s detail page.  Also, a user can get to the list of organizations, but the lists of people, research, and events has been removed.  This approach does a reasonable job of presenting the data for a researcher, but obviously at the expense of reduced functionality for discovery.
Also worth drawing attention to is our approach for non-faculty staff.  GW faculty publication, education, and funding is collected in Lyterati, but there is no existing system for non-faculty staff (like us librarians).  Rather than create a new system for this, we are asking non-faculty staff to create and populate ORCID records.  Using orcid2vivo, we then retrieve this information using ORCID’s API and load into VIVO.  The data from ORCID tends to be very high quality.  For an example of a researcher detail page with data from ORCID, see
These approaches have allowed GW to rollout our Expert Finder in a relatively short timeframe (about a year) with a minimal amount of resources (part of a project manager and business analyst and a fraction of 3 software developers and a sys admin).  We look forward to feedback from the GW community, as well as the opportunity to assess Expert Finder based on actual usage by users.  This will allow us to make adjustments as necessary so that Expert Finder can showcase the expertise at GW and enable collaboration.

Hashtag Activism Can Effect Real-World Change

American University News - Tue, 03/08/2016 - 00:00
New report explains the rise of #blacklivesmatter and uncovers how Twitter activism can help fight for racial justice.
Categories: University News

Alumnae Leaders Celebrated during Women’s History Month

American University News - Mon, 03/07/2016 - 00:00
In celebration of Women's History month, AU alumnae leaders (both past and present) are recognized.
Categories: University News

Mock Trial Teams Advance to National Competition

American University News - Mon, 03/07/2016 - 00:00
Two American University mock trial teams have advanced to national competition as a result of their performance at a regional tournament that the School of Public Affairs hosted for the first time in early February.
Categories: University News

DC Council Appoints AU’s Andrew Huff To Boxing & Wrestling Commission

American University News - Mon, 03/07/2016 - 00:00
AU Director of Community Relations Andrew Huff Joins DC Boxing & Wrestling Commission
Categories: University News

American University Game Students JOLT GDC

American University News - Fri, 03/04/2016 - 00:00
AU student talks about her experience at the GDC panel.
Categories: University News

Scientific American (University)

American University News - Fri, 03/04/2016 - 00:00
AU’s recent “big bang” of science-related happenings.
Categories: University News

Students Awarded for Community Service and Leadership

American University News - Fri, 03/04/2016 - 00:00
Three SOC students have won awards from the AU Honors and Scholars programs.
Categories: University News

SIS welcomes Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau March 11

American University News - Fri, 03/04/2016 - 00:00
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will speak at American University’s School of International Service at 10:30 a.m., Friday, March 11.
Categories: University News

“Managing Relations with an Increasingly Assertive Russia”: A Foreign Policy Discussion with Ambassador Thomas Pickering

American University News - Fri, 03/04/2016 - 00:00
Ambassador Thomas Pickering, Career Ambassador with the U.S. Foreign Service, visited the School of International Service (SIS) on March 1 for a discussion with Dean James Goldgeier about U.S. relations with Russia.
Categories: University News

Faculty Forum on Library Collections

The George Washington University - Thu, 03/03/2016 - 15:21
March 3, 2016

Thursday, March 24
2:00pm to 3:30pm
Gelman Library, Room 219

Under the combined effects of diminished university revenues and predatory inflation by publishers, academic libraries everywhere are facing serious financial constraints. Join us for a presentation and discussion of the GW Libraries' collection strategy, and learn more about how the Libraries use data in managing collections across the disciplines.

Spring Break Building Hours

The George Washington University - Thu, 03/03/2016 - 09:09
March 3, 2016

The weather may not feel like spring, but the calendar says it is Spring Break!  For those of you spending your break in the warm embrace of Gelman Library, please note our change in hours. The library will not be available for 24-hour study during Spring Break (March 12-19).


Friday, March 11
Close at 10pm

Saturday & Sunday, March 12 & 13

Monday-Friday, March 14-17

Saturday, March 19

Sunday, March 20
Open at 9am and 24-hour study resumes

#MySOC Election Contest Winners Announced

American University News - Thu, 03/03/2016 - 00:00
The New Hampshire primaries provided a great backdrop for the contest.
Categories: University News

Super Tuesday the Key to Predicting Campaign Outcomes?

American University News - Thu, 03/03/2016 - 00:00
To shed some light how primaries impact the race, The School of Public Affairs’ Jan Leighley, an expert in political behavior and voter turnout, weighs in.
Categories: University News

2016 AU Global Health Competition: Solving Real-World Problems

American University News - Thu, 03/03/2016 - 00:00
Developing new approaches to addressing non-communicable disease.
Categories: University News

A Full Docket for the Justice Programs Office

American University News - Wed, 03/02/2016 - 00:00
SPA's Justice Programs Office took on a robust autumn agenda under director Caroline Cooper.
Categories: University News