The Library Channel: news, events, announcements

The Library Channel

Mar 20, 2019 ·

While there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, the seventh-largest killer in the world, citizens around the world will attempt to get closer to one on Citizen Science Day

It is estimated that just two hours of participation by each person on Saturday, April 13 will accelerate Alzheimer’s research being carried out at Cornell University by one year.

On Citizen Science Day, everyone, everywhere can directly impact Alzheimer’s research simply by participating in the day’s Megathon activity – stall catching – an activity that will support research exploring a connection between the disease and clogged blood vessels in the brain, known as “stalls.”

By reducing the number of stalls, the lab at Cornell was able to restore memory and reduce Alzheimer’s symptoms in mice. Citizen scientists (volunteers) will assist the research by identifying when they see these stalls occur. 

Those wanting to participate can do so from any of these four ASU campus locations:

Citizen science is described as a collaborative process between scientists and the general public to spur the collection of data. Using crowdsourcing, citizen scientists are able to make a real scientific impact simply by their numbers. Anyone can be a citizen scientist, given the right tools, guidance and collaboration. 

Interested in participating in Citizen Science Day?
Show up at any of the four ASU locations on Saturday, April 13. 

Need more information?
Contact Britt Lewis at

Mar 04, 2019 ·

ASU students now have a new way to connect with the library – by texting 480-525-9826.  

The new text messaging service is offered as part of the ASU Library Ask-a-Librarian chat service.  

Simple, directional questions work best:  

How late is the library open?  

Does the library have this film?  

When are my books due? 

Answers are sent through text.

The Ask-a-Librarian service gives the ASU community remote access to support through a variety of channels, including email, online chat and now text messaging. Students can also connect with library collections through Ask an Archivist. 

Questions about texting? Email Stephen Arougheti, Operations Supervisor for the ASU Library, at, or visit


Feb 27, 2019 ·

Earl Arkinson (Chippewa Cree) was raised with the Native American Church his whole life.  

“When my mother was carrying me, I consumed the holy sacrament Peyote,” said Arkinson, who will discuss the history of the Native American Church as the guest speaker for the annual Simon Ortiz RED INK Indigenous Speaker Series, happening March 12-13 on the ASU Tempe campus. 

With his vast knowledge of Native American religion and culture, Arkinson served three terms as President of the Native American Church of North America. 

“I am also a Roadman for our way of life,” he said. 

Underscoring Indigenous American experiences and perspectives, the RED INK series, sponsored by the Labriola National American Indian Data Center, a unit of the ASU Library, seeks to create and celebrate knowledge that evolves from an inclusive Indigenous worldview and that is applicable to all walks of life. 

The series is led by Henry Quintero, the editor of RED INK and an assistant professor in the Department of English at ASU.  

Quintero’s research focuses on Native American Church music, better known as “Peyote music.” 

“Peyote music is a philosophical, musical and literary system that dates back older than any of the Abrahamic traditions, and belongs to a larger tradition of indigenous plant medicines that we utilize to navigate the human experience,” says Quintero, who is affiliated with American Indian Studies. “It’s like any other glorious representation of everything in our human experience. It’s a way of understanding interrelations with what’s around us – our earth, our families, other human beings.” 

In Peyote ceremonies, the tipi plays a foundational role, from the way it’s constructed to the stories that are embedded and the relationships interwoven. 

“Anyone can take a pill, anyone can take a drug,” Quintero says. “When it truly becomes a medicine, from an Indigenous perspective, is when it integrates with your life, beliefs and culture. In this way, the tipi is a kind of ‘cultural container,’ a way of utilizing time, place and space with plant medicines to facilitate the best outcome." 

All are welcome inside the tipi, where Arkinson will discuss the history of the Native American Church, from 3 to 4:20 p.m., March 12-13.

In addition to the afternoon talks, all are welcome to enjoy refreshments on Wednesday, March 13 from 4:30 to 6 p.m., in room 117 of Ross-Blakely Hall.

Feb 25, 2019 ·

With the ease of digital publishing, comes the Herculean effort of digital preservation. 

When pages of content get removed quickly from federal government websites, like those belonging to the EPA or to the White House, access to that information is left hanging in the balance.

“The systems that we previously relied on to provide long-term access to public information did not carry over to the digital era, and now our challenge is to develop the infrastructure that is needed so that we don’t lose this entire era of history,” said Shari Laster, head of Open Stack Collections for the ASU Library.

Laster is a co-editor of an environmental scan report addressing national concerns over the preservation of government information.  

For journalists, policymakers, historians, and others who rely on public information to fuel their work, gaps of government data and information present major obstacles, and ultimately limit our collective ability to conduct analyses and hold the government accountable.   

In honor of Endangered Data Week, Laster discusses the challenges and opportunities of providing access to federal information and the work she is carrying out as part of the steering committee for the PEGI Project (Preservation of Electronic Government Information), comprised of eight librarians representing six academic research institutions, including Arizona State University.

Question: What is the report you worked on and why was it needed?

Answer: Researched and written by Sarah K. Lippincott, the environmental scan report, which was completed with funding from participating institutions including ASU Library, describes an incredibly complex environment of how government information is made available, and how it’s collected, described, and preserved for future access both by government entities and non-government entities. A lot of work is happening but very little of it is coordinated, and through our work in the PEGI Project we became convinced of the need for an environmental scan. Commissioning the research and writing of this report was an opportunity to improve cooperation and alignment where it’s possible. If we can know more about the information ecosystem and the work we’re all doing, then we can better identify where the gaps are and what efforts are needed.  

Q: Why is born-digital government information so difficult to preserve?

A: There are a few reasons. The first is that the systems that are currently in place to capture this content are collectively inadequate to the challenges at hand. Information disseminated by the government online is inherently fragile – content can change, it can go missing – and we need new systems in place that can be effective in capturing it. There’s also just a lot of content. While the public is exposed to greater quantities of information than ever before, it's become a huge challenge to collect and preserve due to the vastness of what's out there.

There is also less awareness about the importance of these efforts. Everything that shows up on federal government websites is public information, but not all of it is considered as a permanent record for the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to maintain for the long term. Some of it is collected by the U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) or the Library of Congress, but a lot of it not for various reasons. With the current piecemeal way that this content is preserved, the historical record is fragmented and not all that complete, and access to that record is increasingly difficult to navigate.  

Q: Has this issue of access to federal information become more urgent?

A: The issue has been especially high profile since the beginning of the Trump administration. While the PEGI Project pre-dates the 2016 election, there was a lot of public attention and concern in the months immediately after the election. In 2017 we saw many new efforts that emerged, both in research communities and from libraries and cultural heritage institutions.   

Q: Access to information is maybe something we take for granted given the abundance of it these days. How should we be thinking about access in the long term?

A: The more that information is only available online, the more vulnerable it becomes because it’s easy to change what’s available to the public. It’s an enormous investment in resources and labor to determine what is worth collecting and preserving for long-term access, but that access is essential for future research and analysis. For example, journalists rely on long-term access to information to see how the public record has changed over time. There are also researchers and historians who are going to be looking for documentary evidence and will need as complete a record as is possible. It’s difficult to know what information will be historically valuable, but we must take a long view when it comes to preservation.     

Q: How is ASU connected to this work?

A: Arizona State University has always been invested in this work. The ASU Library was designated as a Federal Depository Library in 1944 as a way to provide the public direct access to government documents – reports, statistics, studies and other materials produced by federal agencies – and this commitment has grown over time. For example, ASU Library is one of only a few institutions that collects and provides access to public information from the State of Arizona. Access to open digital content is a part of the ASU Library’s goal to deliver “everything for everyone, everywhere.”  By supporting the PEGI Project, ASU is investing in information access not only for today but also for future generations – for researchers, journalists and interested members of the public that will need to rely on the collections of libraries and archives to understand and hold governments accountable, and to learn from the past so we don’t repeat it.

Feb 19, 2019 ·

If you’ve ever wondered who to root for in a hypothetical battle between a giraffe and a fossil baboon, well, you’re not alone.

Each spring, thousands of people from around the world descend upon the ASU Library website in search of information about the more than 60 mammal species selected to compete in fictional battles against one another, as part of the annual NCAA-inspired tournament known as March Mammal Madness.

Using their knowledge of natural science, participants make their predictions bracket-style, and their curiosities loom large.

Could a quokka defeat an Irish elk?

What are the fighting behaviors of a leopard?

Is the preferred habitat of a jerboa a deciding factor?

When it comes to making informed bracket selections regarding battling mammals, ASU librarian Anali Perry says there’s a method to this madness.

Perry is the lead author of what is currently the ASU Library’s second-most viewed library guide: the March Mammal Madness Library Guide, a one-stop shop of information in support of the tournament, which was created in 2013 by Katie Hinde, an associate professor in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change.

Hinde says the guide has made a huge impact in maximizing the learning outcomes of the tournament.

Replete with teaching materials, research databases and player rules, Perry's guide is 100 percent accessible to the public, and now serves as an official tournament resource to a growing number of educators (and their students) who have incorporated March Mammal Madness into their science curriculum. 

“The guide is a stable and consistent location for information about the tournament, and provides a list of freely available, librarian-recommended resources to help folks do their research for filling out their brackets,” said Perry, a scholarly communication librarian, who specializes in open access and open education.

Here, Perry discusses the increasing popularity of March Mammal Madness and the library guide, and why the ASU Library is one of the tournament's biggest supporters.

Question: As a librarian, how did you get involved with March Mammal Madness?

Answer: I discovered the tournament in 2016 and became a huge fan, even though I'd never before participated in choosing any sort of bracket, basketball or otherwise. As I watched the tournament unfold, I was so impressed by the narrative that is woven by the team – on Twitter of all things – and I could see the level of engagement that the fans brought to the game.

The tournament's narrators often reference scientific articles to support their facts, and they provide links to the full text. As a scholarly communication librarian, I am always aware of how few people actually have access to those articles. I wanted to find a way to highlight this lack of access, look for open access versions of articles, and also recommend ways to connect folks to good resources other than just googling. I worked with a team of librarians to compile a list of recommended resources that would help March Mammal Madness fans research their bracket picks, and have gradually added more content and information over the years.

The library is a huge supporter of this tournament, and March Mammal Madness is a great way to highlight the resources, services and knowledge that libraries provide. We love answering reference questions about the tournament and getting the opportunity to showcase some of our newer services, like filming the 2017 Wild Card Battle video in our mkrstudio.

Q: How has the library guide responded to the growing popularity of the tournament?

A: The tournament has grown in scope, particularly in what it provides in the way of resources to educators. While the official site continues to be Katie's blog, the library guide allows more flexibility and organization of information, which makes it easier for folks to navigate and find what they need. One of the great features of the library guide is that we can get statistics on how many people are using it over specific periods of time, and we can see which links are being used. We use this information to help us refine what resources we recommend and how we can best present information about the tournament. When the library guide was released in 2017, it received nearly 19,000 views. The popularity of the guide grew exponentially in 2018 with over 90,000 views in just 6 weeks. 

Q: This year's bracket drops March 4. Can you offer some librarian advice for filling it out?

A: I always recommend using reliable resources when doing your research. Google and Wikipedia can be good places to start, but it can be harder to find the tournament-critical information you need to make informed picks.

My best piece of advice is to be aware of a creature's home habitat and where the encounters will take place. In the first rounds, the battle is in the native environment of the higher seeded species, which really impacts the results. As we learned last year, no matter how awesome a giant octopus is, it doesn't do so well in freshwater. Most importantly, though, I recommend you fully commit to your choice for champion, no matter how improbable, and enjoy the ride. It's almost as much fun to win as it is to have a completely busted bracket, which is what normally happens to me.

The March Mammal Madness bracket will become available for download on March 4, with the first battle scheduled to begin March 11. You can follow the tournament on Twitter at @2019MMMletsgo.  

Feb 12, 2019 ·

Do you love the Grand Canyon National Park? 

This month, the ASU Library will bring together scholars, explorers, geographers and the general public to examine the complex and fascinating history of the Grand Canyon National Park, all told through maps. 

"It's almost inconceivable," said Matt Toro, director of the ASU Library's Map and Geospatial Hub, in a recent episode of Science Friday, which aired nationally Friday, Feb. 8. "Even if you're on the rim, you can't see the whole thing. The tolls that allow us to see the canyon in its entirety are maps."

Toro is at the helm of the Mapping Grand Canyon Conference, coming to the ASU Tempe campus for two days beginning Thursday, Feb. 28 through Friday, March 1. The conference will explore the art, science and practice of Grand Canyon cartography. 

Watch and listen to Toro discuss the variety of styles and technical aspects of the library's large collection of maps. 


Feb 05, 2019 ·

A new lunchtime workshop series offered by the ASU Library aims to enhance graduate students' scholarly activities.

From citation management to copyright and fair-use considerations, the Graduate Scholars' Toolkit Workshop series offers ASU grad students hourlong introductions to a variety of tools to help them succeed in their work.

The library is also surveying graduate students to learn what areas and tools they would like to learn more about in order to expand the offerings of the series.

Upcoming workshops:

Manage Your Research from Start to Finish with OSF
Wednesday, Feb. 13
Learn how to store and selectively share data and projects with colleagues and team members through the use of a free, open-source web platform, the Open Science Framework (OSF). 

Copyright, Fair Use and Your Dissertation
Tuesday, Feb. 26
Learn how to navigate copyright and fair-use considerations for your dissertation or thesis. Whether you’ve only begun thinking about your dissertation subject, you’re just starting to write or you’re getting ready to submit, this workshop will help you figure out what you can use, what rights you have and what it means to share your dissertation online.

Citation Management for Graduate Students
Wednesday, March 13
Learn why you should use a citation manager, where to find citations in the library catalog and elsewhere, and how to organize and then use your citations as you research and write. Following an overview of citation management, we will discuss the different citation managers available to ASU graduate students (Zotero, Mendeley and EndNote) and some of their features.

GIS Data and Software: Breaking the Ice
Tuesday, March 26
Gain hands-on experience working with different types of geospatial datasets using two popular geographic information system (GIS) software platforms: ArcGIS Pro (licensed) and QGIS (open-source). Emphasis will be placed on foundational topics, such as data import, basic geoprocessing operations and map production/geovisualization. 

Tell us what workshops you'd like to see offered in the fall 2019 semester by taking the survey.

Jan 30, 2019 ·

ASU Library is pleased to announce that four ASU students have been selected to attend three days of seminars and research at the Newberry Library in Chicago this spring:

Scott Cady, English, graduate student

Michael McVeigh, English, graduate student

John Payton, History, undergraduate student

Zaellotius Wilson, Art History, graduate student

The students will receive up to $1200 in funds to travel and stay in Chicago over spring break, March 4-8, 2019, while attending sessions on primary sources in Renaissance, Medieval, and Indigenous studies with Dr. Seonaid Valiant, Curator for Latin American Studies for ASU Library. 

“Working in an archive requires certain skills,” said Valiant. “This opportunity is aimed at giving ASU students more experience in doing scholarly work, contextualizing a document and working with primary sources, mostly colonial materials.”

The committee for Travel Funding to the Newberry Library selected the students’ applications from a competitive pool in December. 

Jan 04, 2019 ·

The work of ASU archaeologists has been in the spotlight, thanks to the Phoenix Art Museum’s current exhibition Teotihuacan: City of Water, City of Fire and its related programming.

Arizona State University’s presence at Teotihuacan, one of the largest cities in the ancient world and the most visited archaeological site in Mexico, began in the 1980s and continues today, according to Seonaid Valiant, curator for Latin American Studies at the ASU Library, who has curated a new exhibit documenting this significant relationship using materials from ASU Library and archaeology collections.

"Teotihuacan is a historically significant site because since the time it was built, it has been in use as either a political or religious site," Valiant told KJZZ reporter Matthew Casey in a story published Dec. 19, 2018.

The exhibit, ASU at Teotihuacan, on display at Noble Library through January 30, visually documents ASU’s working archaeological lab in San Juan Teotihuacan and highlights the archival papers of late ASU professor George Cowgill in the ASU Archives. 

A closing reception for the exhibit is scheduled for 3:30 to 4:30 p.m., January 22, at Noble Library.

Question: How long have archaeologists been working at the site of Teotihuacan?

Valiant: Unofficial excavations and looting began at Teotihuacan as early as the 1860s. The Mexican government took over the site and began official excavations in 1906. They prepared the ancient city so that it could serve as a showcase during the 1910 centennial celebrations. For example, the society of the International Congress of Americanists were given a tour of the site in September of 1910. The tour was followed by a state dinner, held in a local cave, hosted by President Porfirio Díaz. Excavations have continued at the site, off and on, since the early 20th century.

Q: How long has ASU had a presence at Teotihuacan?

Valiant: As a graduate student from Brandeis University, George Cowgill started working with René Millon at Teotihuacan in the 1960s on the Teotihuacan Mapping Project. Cowgill officially joined Arizona State University as a professor of archaeology in 1989 and continued working at Teotihuacan until the 2000s.

Cowgill excavated at the Pyramid of the Feathered Serpent, and he examined artifacts collected from the entire surface area of Teotihuacan. Cowgill’s documentation of these collections provided the first large archaeological database and systematic analysis of this material.

Following Cowgill’s move to ASU, he continued as the custodian of the research lab at Teotihuacan, and it became the center for multiple excavations. The addition of a second story to the lab in 1992 allows for the storage of the several million artifacts, many of which were collected by the Teotihuacan Mapping Project. Furthermore, the lab trains students from both the United States and Mexico and provides a home base for researchers working at Teotihuacan.

Q: What is ASU doing at Teotihuacan currently?

Valiant: ASU’s work at Teotihuacan continues today. Michael E. Smith, who has been the director of the lab since 2015, has taken on the task of organizing and publishing the data collected by René Millon that, although not previously published, continue to be relevant.

A student of George Cowgill, Saburo Sugiyama is associated with both ASU and Aichi Prefectural University in Japan and has excavated at the Pyramid of the Sun, the Pyramid of the Moon, and the Pyramid of the Feathered Serpent in addition to smaller structures. He is currently excavating at the Plaza of the Columns at Teotihuacan in collaboration with Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History.

Q: What is on display in the Noble Library?

Valiant: On exhibit in the Noble library are photographs of the lab, maps and negatives created by René Millon, reproductions of the maps and graphs by George Cowgill, as well as a few small artifacts from the site. The exhibit highlights the ”work in progress” as archaeologists do their day-to-day analysis. The documents that they create and leave behind then become the primary sources for the next set of researchers.

Valiant is the author of Ornamental Nationalism: Archaeology and Antiquities in Mexico, 1876-1911.

Dec 20, 2018 ·

As part of its Future of Print initiative, ASU Library has joined forces with students from Barrett, The Honors College to identify and share books for students to read and explore. These books, selected by the Barrett Student Ambassadors, make up some of their favorite and most inspiring reads.

Students are invited to stop by the bookshelf in the Burning B Café to participate in a “take one, leave one” reading experience – a practice growing in popularity worldwide as a way to encourage reading and foster a sense of community.

In order to participate, students can take a book that interest them – yes, to keep – and leave a book that they would like to share with others. The Barrett Ambassadors have chosen to theme this display after the beloved Harry Potter series and are eager to see how their classmates will respond.

To learn more about how the Future of Print is working to develop active print collections at ASU campuses, please visit This project is funded, in part, by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the ASU Library.