Locating, Accessing & Citing Peer Reviewed Science Articles

Whoa September, the month that flies the fastest in the world of higher ed professionals, when new students and faculty arrive, gentle learning management system reminders get sent, and unpredictable foibles of technology arise. For me, it is also the month of many one shot sessions. icon-clock-o

Over the last year, I’ve been paying closer attention to how I manage my time, energy, and attention span to make better decisions at work. From using canned responses to quickly respond to common technology questions, to making Trello cards with instructional design to-dos, it’s helped me free up valuable brain space to do bigger experiments with my teaching. I’ve also allowed myself to give into the ‘why not factor’ and challenge my perfectionism in the name of experimentation.  icon-thumbs-up

Over the summer, a working group within my department called Curricular Connections began creating tutorials to use in First Year Seminars to enable our liaisons do the following:

icon-arrow-right Share learning goals

icon-arrow-right  Blend instruction sessions to make time for engaged face to face time

icon-arrow-right Flip sessions completely

The tutorials proved to be an essential proof-of-concept for me such that I was inspired to create one of my own. Enter flipping the basic library session for a foundations class in the sciences.

Over the last three years, I’ve been invited to come into a foundations course in the interdisciplinary Environmental Studies department. This class in particular focuses on science research and methods. The goal of my short(ish) sessions is to introduce students to peer-reviewed materials in science, how to access them using Science Direct and Web of Science and how to cite them using Ecological Society of America style. Generally, this process takes about thirty minutes and I do some to no assessment. This is not a recipe for quality instruction or learning outcomes. Over the last two years, I’ve felt stymied by this class and following the completion of our tutorials in Curricular Connections, I realized I could do something very similar to completely flip this thirty minute session into a thirty minute assignment AND collect some data.

In the spirit of minimally viable products, I quickly moved to build a tutorial in Google Forms to be used within two weeks of deciding flip (in consultation with the faculty member). Two colleagues gave invaluable feedback as I made some revisions and finally linked to the tutorials in the course site in Moodle. I’ve been collecting responses steadily since then.

It’s perhaps too soon to tell how successful this experiment has been, but there’s a proof-of-concept that I am already thinking about how to improve. Below is a link to the Master Tutorial that I hope you will consider using.

Creative Commons License
I Need a Peer Review Article STAT (Science) by Caro Pinto is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1mDrSB28zJf8xBaYzP9EvBroUwbGww7790uiUlDBh2tg/edit?usp=sharing.

Reclaiming my Attention

At the start of the year, I saw this tweet:

Since adopting a password manager in 2013, I’ve become more aware of all the accounts I’ve accumulated over the years and this tweet motivated me to evaluate whether or not I want to keep them. I installed a Chrome extension that shows you how to delete accounts that expedited the process of removing obvious choices.  Soon after, I appraised my workflows, social networks, and applications. I eliminated more accounts namely Evernote, bitly, and Haiku Deck. Today, I am using fewer apps than I was in January: #winning.

I also read that tweet as a call to reclaim my attention. The fabulous podcast Note to Self recently discussed information overload and it really resonated with me. I often feel anxious that I am missing an essential conversation on Twitter or did not catch the must-read news article about the presidential election. I used to pride myself in my multitasking abilities, but now realize multitasking has led me to feel burned out and overloaded.

So, I decided to reclaim my attention.

I took the #infomagical challenge and deleted a number of apps from my phone (heyyy Facebook & Twitter) and gave my homescreen the Marie Kondo treatment. Looking at my phone feels less overwhelming.

It's my #infomagical phone

I also limited the number of icons that I see on the dock of my computer. I installed a Chrome extension to limit time spent on Facebook and Instagram. Rather than checking Twitter and Facebook for the latest articles in The New York Times or The Atlantic, I subscribed to newsletters that appear in my inbox every morning. The newsletters ensure I will see the articles I need to read. Now, I have a pleasant morning routine of drinking coffee and reading my newsletters. I don’t feel like I am chasing content like a hungry wolf anymore. Per #infomagical, I set information goals for myself; my morning routine and social network boundary help me meet them while maintaining my mental sanity.

Silicon Valley wants your attention; attention is a valuable currency that can translate into favorable stock prices. Social networks want new users to expand growth; they want you to log in, to click links, to view ads. They want you to feel FOMO; inflaming it with email updates and telling you what you’ve missed since you last logged into the sites. ‘Pay attention to me!’

Digital fluency, for me, is not just about mastery of tools; digital fluency is also the ability to set boundaries with those tools to meet your information needs and not Silicon Valley’s.



The Little Things

Hi Internet. It’s been a while since I’ve written anything on my site and I wanted to say hello. I’m just sharing some of the little things that my work days a little easier.  With so many to-do lists and priorities to juggle, one can succumb to the OVERWHELM. Over the least year, I’ve discovered a few things that are helping me manage ALL THE THINGS.

Everything I need on the Internet is already there:

I work at a Google Apps campus, so Chrome is my primary browser. There are a variety of websites I know I will visit daily. Rather than think about when to open them, I managed my preferences in Chrome to start a particular set of pages to open when I fire up my browser in the morning. It saves me some brain RAM and keystrokes.

Write that email you will send 10 times only once:

On a Google Apps campus, we use Gmail.  I write lots of email and many times, I write the same email multiple times. Over a year ago, I enabled the canned responses lab in Gmail. Canned responses allows me to insert text into communications I am composing without much added effort. Once a year, I review all of my canned responses in Gmail and update them to include new links or improve the information I convey in some way. I worried for a long time if I told the internet that I use canned responses, people would think that my email correspondence robotic or impersonal. I don’t feel that way anymore. I write emails with common procedures and information once and add personal touches and flourishes each time I share that information.

I don’t remember any of my passwords:

Two years ago, I started using Dashlane as my password manager. There are many of them. Here’s a chart from PC Magazine and here’s LifeHacker’s Top Five.  Dashlane has a nice interface; it acts as a digital wallet with all of my online purchases neatly cataloged, and there’s a Safari extension on iOS that provides the same autofill happiness laptop.  I pay for premium features, but that’s worth it to me to have a seamless experience across laptop, tablet, and iPhone. Dashlane allows me to generate strong passwords that I do not need to remember.



J-Term: Team Engagement Developers

“Personalized virtual communities for teaching and research are primed to be one of the next big things for librarians and academia. It’s part of the transition we face from content providers to engagement developers.” -Brian Matthews

I thought about this post in the Chronicle excerpted above when I was organizing content for the J-Term course I co-taught this month with the awesome Shaun Trujillo.

Our course, Media Archaeology, Digital Humanities & The Archives, experimented with a humanities lab, a concept/practice I’ve long wanted to explore. As a libarchivist/instructional technologist, I work towards meaningful integration of technology into teaching contexts. Digital projects require skills and relationships not often available in traditional humanities seminars. This is not to say that the content embedded in digital projects isn’t essential; Shaun and I are not swept up by ‘pixel dust;’ we committed to thinking about media and artifacts both conceptually and practically.

The Humanities Lab is not new. In the introduction to the recently published book, Comparative Textual Media: Transforming the Humanities in the Postprint Era, Hayles and Pressman talk about “a major development in integrating a media framework into humanities disciplines is the advent of the Humanities Lab. Among the early pioneers was Jeffrey Schnapp. When he was at Stanford University, he envisioned the Humanities Lab as providing space for collaborative work on large project that he calls the ”Big Humanities“ (by analogy with ”Big Science“)…Humanities Labs also lead the way in offering new models of pedagogy.” (xvi)

There are many rewards and opportunities for these types of classroom experiences, extending the tradition lecture and seminar into hands-on-digital projects. Hayles and Pressman offer a wonderful example from Duke University art history course. In our case, we did hands on work appraising digital photos, took apart an iMac, used software from 2001, and ran programs on a C–64.


As librarians, working with digital forensics and new media, our role as content providers is given, but our role as engagement developers is an emerging one. In order for complex assignments and experiences to be scaled undergraduate classrooms, faculty, librarians, and technologists need to team up to make these projects sustainable realities. Librarians are primed to collaborate meaningfully in these teams not just as “content providers but as engagement developers.” I am excited to continue collaborating with Shaun as we refine and extend our work together on media archaeology and digital forensics in the future.

Dream Team Reunited (@caropinto & @_datalore_ 4-eva)

Now that the holidays are over, I am excited to turn my attention to the January Term class I am co- teaching with Shaun Trujillo. Shaun is the Digital Collections & Metadata Lead in the Digital Assets & Preservation Department at Mount Holyoke College. Last spring, when I co-taught the Introduction to Digital Humanities Class at Hampshire College with Jim Wald, Shaun joined us for an exciting guest lecture. We had so much fun collaborating that we decided to teach together again this winter.

We collaboratively developed the syllabus over the last few months. We met in person to discuss our vision for the course, draft learning objectives, and brainstorm lab possibilities. We exchanged a number of links over email and Twitter, too. After many Twitter exchanges, we decided that we should make a hashtag (#mhcmediaarc) to better facilitate current issues and readings with our students in real time.

So, readers, if you see can’t-miss articles about media archeology, digital humanities, women in technology, neat coding how-tos, Git resources, other media studies materials, please feel free to share them with us using our hashtag: #mhcmediaarc

And, if you have any 5.5 floppy disks, we’d love to have them.

More to come: class starts Tuesday 7 January in the Media Lab at Mount Holyoke College.