Friday, December 11, 2009

Public Access to Federally Funded Research

The Obama administration has created a "Policy Forum on Public Access to Federally Funded Research". Right now, they are in the implementation stage. If you have an opinion on the following, go ahead and put in your two cents.
"One of our nation's most important assets is the trove of data produced by federally funded scientists and published in scholarly journals. The question that this Forum will address is: To what extent and under what circumstances should such research articles—funded by taxpayers but with value added by scholarly publishers—be made freely available on the Internet?

The Forum is set to run through Jan. 7, 2010, during which time we will focus sequentially on three broad themes (you can access the full schedule here). In the first phase of this forum (Dec. 10th-20th) we want to focus on the topic of Implementation.

Thanks to Mickey Shafer for noting.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Are you cooking or baking during the holiday season?

Celebrating Books and More: "Cooking for the Holidays."

Come to Penrose Library and view our December 2009 display: Holiday Cooking: All the cookbooks you need for meals and treats during the holiday season. You may view the suggested reading list by clicking on Cooking for the Holidays (MS-Word document).

If you don't find anything of interest in the list provided above, you could also do a search through our catalog to find even more books on holiday cookery.

Penrose Library Hours: In case you were wonderin'

For the month of December, the Penrose Library will be open the following times:
  • Mondays - Thursdays: 8AM-8PM
  • Fridays: 8AM-5PM
  • Saturdays-Sundays: 1PM-5PM
With the following exceptions:
  • The University of Denver and Penrose will close at Noon on Friday, December 18th.
  • The Penrose Library will close at 4:30 PM on December 24.
  • The University of Denver and the Penrose Library will be closed from 12/25/2009-1/2/2010.
See the hours page for more detail.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

RiffTrax Area in Penrose

Check out the small RiffTrax collection of DVDs in Penrose. Here are the steps:
  1. Borrow the DVD from Penrose.
  2. Download the Rifftrax.
  3. Sync them up.
  4. Laugh hysterically.
Bonus: Check out their "Shorts".

Some of the DVD we still have are: The Sixth Sense, Star Wars I, The Little Shop of Horrors, Matrix Revolutions, and many others.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Build a Trebuchet Contest with Legos

In connection with the Genghis Khan exhibit at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, "the Museum wants you to build a mechanical siege weapon out of Lego building blocks—seriously!" On January 16th, they will host a competition to see whose trebuchet throws an object the farthest. All team entries must be received no later than Thursday, January 7, at 5:00 p.m. Take a look at their entry form and contest rules.

Monday, November 30, 2009

"Trailblazing" is blazing a trail...

Trailblazing is "an interactive timeline for everybody with an interest in science. Compiled by scientists, science communicators and historians – and co-ordinated by Professor Michael Thompson FRS – it celebrates three and a half centuries of scientific endeavour and has been launched to commemorate the Royal Society’s 350th anniversary in 2010."

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Roomba Pac-Man

This is what our academic friends to the northwest of Denver are doing...
The Research and Engineering Center for Unmanned Vehicles (RECUV) at the University of Colorado at Boulder has been developing software that helps robots form ad-hoc networks and distribute cooperative control of their operations. Some of the individuals at RECUV decided to create a cool demo on their own time to show off what their software can do.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

IEEE Xplore new interface soon

IEEE Xplore will be coming out with a new interface in February, 2010. If you are interested in learning a little bit more, take a look at the the following -- "Experience the New IEEE Xplore Digital Library."

Penrose Library Liaison Newsletter

Here is the new issue of the newsletter (PDF). In this issue:
  • Services: page 1
  • Instruction and Research: pages 2-4
  • Collections: pages 4-5
  • Library News: page 6

Library Exhibit — "Blazing the Trail"

The exhibit Blazing the Trail: Denver’s Jewish Pioneers, curated by Beck Archivist Jeanne Abrams, was installed today on the main level of the library. This exhibit contains objects and reproduced images from the Beck Archive here at Penrose. It has been on display at the Singer Gallery of the Mizel Arts and Culture Center and will be at Penrose through the winter.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Murder in the Stacks

Student Services (Housing and Residential Education, Late Night at DU and the First & Second Year Experience) and the Penrose Library are sponsoring an event in the library -- Murder in the Stacks: A Vampire Mystery. Come solve the mystery in Penrose on November 5th at 6:00pm. To sign up your team, please contact DUIT at 1-2245 or Each team should have about 5-6 students.

Prizes include: pizza, DU Hockey tickets, vampire books, DU sports gear, and much, much more!

After the mystery is solved, there will be a party with snacks and prizes, then everyone is invited to head over to Davis Auditorium to watch the thriller V for Vendetta.

Hope to see you there.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Happy Open Access Week!

This week is "Open Access Week".
About the OA movement

Open Access is a growing international movement that uses the Internet to throw open the locked doors that once hid knowledge. It encourages the unrestricted sharing of research results with everyone, everywhere, for the advancement and enjoyment of science and society.

Open Access is the principle that all research should be freely accessible online, immediately after publication, and it’s gaining ever more momentum around the world as research funders and policy makers throw their weight behind it.

The Open Access philosophy was firmly articulated in 2002, when the Budapest Open Access Initiative was introduced. It quickly took root in the scientific and medical communities because it offered an alternative route to research literature that was frequently closed off behind costly subscription barriers.

Now Open Access is on a roll. Recent Funder Mandates — including that of the U.S. National Institutes of Health (the world’s largest research funder), which now requires that all their funded research be placed in an openly accessible database, and Harvard University — have further strengthened the prospects for Open Access to all research.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Scientific American is under new management

For now, Penrose will keep a subscription to Scientific American, even though the price went up 750% in one year (2009 to 2010). Nature Publishing Group is now the publisher, and they really jacked the price up on it. I will be watching print use of this in 2010. We do have electronic access to the magazine as well.

For more information, take a look at this article in the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Scientific American is probably the nation's most venerable source of science news written for a general audience. The Nature group, which took over the magazine this year, proposes to charge $299 for a 2010 print subscription-up from $39.95-and as much as $1,500 for an annual license for online access-up from $1,000 - depending on how big the institution is.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Former Chancellor Dan Ritchie takes a rap...

Former DU Chancellor Dan Ritchie raps about a new blog at the DCPA. He makes "it hip and funny so the kids will like it!"

Thanks to Let's Go DU for finding this.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

2009 Sparky Awards

The third annual Sparky Awards invite contestants to submit videos of two minutes or less that imaginatively portray the benefits of the open, legal exchange of information. The contest is well suited for adoption as a class assignment as well as an opportunity to promote library services, including media services or the information commons, where students can edit video, browse media, work collaboratively, and learn about copyright and balancing features such as fair use. Colleges and universities across North America are hosting local versions of the Sparky Awards to get maximum benefit from the third-annual installment of the contest. Other institutions everywhere are promoting international entries through

The organizers of the popular Sparky Awards, a contest that recognizes the best new short videos on the value of information sharing, have announced that Pat Aufderheide, Director of the Center for Social Media and professor at American University, and Ben Moskowitz, organizer of the Open Video Alliance and co-founder of the Berkeley Students for Free Culture chapter, will help select the winners of the 2009 international contest. These additions to the judges’ panel reflect how vital the open sharing of information is to both students and faculty, and that the Sparky Awards is a unique forum to bring together stakeholders from across campus to the discussion on access to research.

The contest is sponsored by SPARC.

Smithsonian Education Online Conference on Climate Change

The "Smithsonian Education Online Conference on Climate Change" is three-day, free, education online conference taking place September 29 through October 1, 2009.

"Climate Change" sessions will be of special interest to educators, entire classrooms of engaged students, and to the general public. Throughout the conference, participants will explore Smithsonian research and collections related to the evidence, impact, and response to climate change. Alongside Smithsonian scientists and curators, you will look at the issues surrounding climate change from the perspectives of science, history, and art.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Internet and Civic Engagement

This is the title of a new report that just came out from the Pew Internet and American Life Project. It should be noted that the report doesn't even include Twitter or comment on how social media was used at the end of the presidential campaign in October/November of 2008. Happy reading.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

American Institute of Physics UniPHY

This is a literature-based professional social networking site for physical science researchers.
The site allows physicists, engineers, and other scientists to directly connect with and explore their professional contacts and to identify researchers with the expertise needed for future collaborations.

AIP UniPHY, powered by Collexis High Definition Search, enables fast, accurate and extraordinary knowledge retrieval and discovery, and empowers individuals to search for and identify documents, researchers, trends, and new discoveries more quickly, precisely –- and thoroughly –- than ever before. AIP UniPHY provides intuitive interfaces through which researchers can network and share data –- all with the goal of advancing physics research worldwide.
This press release also has more info on the product.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

50 Millionth Unique Chemical Substance is indexed

Here is the new substance. It is (5Z)-5-[(5-Fluoro-2-hydroxyphenyl)methylene]-2-(4-methyl-1-piperazinyl)-4(5H)-thiazolone.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

An updated version of LibX is now ready

The new verison of LibX (version 1.5.8) makes Encore the default method for searching the catalog. Encore provides a new and improved interface to search the Peak Catalog with keywords.

If you don't already have LibX installed on your computer, click here to install it for Firefox or click here to install it for Internet Explorer. If you already have LibX, just update the install when Firefox or IE prompt you to do so.

This webpage provides more details about what LibX does.

Monday, August 3, 2009

SciFinder e-seminars

Want to learn more about how to use SciFinder (Chemical Abstracts) Software better? Take a seminar at

Monday, July 27, 2009

Penrose is now on Friendfeed

We now have a Penrose Library Friendfeed account. This way, we can keep all of our social networking feeds linked through one source, and you can leave comments. Go ahead and check it out.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Need an e-book? We've got 'em by the truck load.

We provide access to hundreds of thousands of e-books. Here are some of the vendors that provide e-books. This includes a lot of stuff that you can't find in Google Books!

Focusing on science and technology
General e-book collections (current)
General e-book collections (history)

Friday, July 10, 2009

Penrose in the National News

Penrose got covered in the Washington Times, and a number of other local sources, too.
Washington Times, July 8 — It’s one thing for college students to glean information online or from a textbook. It’s quite another to read or even hold actual material that played a part in history. Students at the University of Denver soon will be able to check out actual documents linked to the assassination plot against Adolf Hitler as well as papers associated with the Nuremberg trials, thanks to a just-donated trove of materials from California resident Andrea Sears-Van Nest.
Here are some other sources that cover the same topic.

Finding the history left behind in boxes (Channel 9 News)
Holocaust history revealed in family letters (The Denver Post)
Intimate Collection Given To University Of Denver (Channel 7 News)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Please don't copy that floppy

Please don't kill commerce on the Internet. Don't copy that floppy.

Thanks to the Next Web for lettimg me know about this classic video... There is a sequel coming out this summer/fall, too.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

New LibX edition for Penrose

If you upgrade to the new version of Firefox 3.5, you may also need to get a new version of the LibX toolbar for Firefox as well. What the heck is LibX? Go here to find out more about this great tool. Some Recent reports show that version 3.5 is really fast, and it has HTML 5.0 support.

Here is the new edition for IE 7.0 or 8.0.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Mobile Page for Penrose

Added a link to the Penrose mobile page to the "Cool Tools" page. It is just in beta format right now, and it might not look so good on some cell phones, but it should look ok on iPhones, iPod Touches, and some blackberries. Go ahead and bookmark this on your cell phone. Once we have an official mobile page, we will create a redirect.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

New TED talk from Clay Shirky

This is a great new TED talk from Clay Shirky, author of Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations. He has a deep understanding of how the media is transforming, and how that is effecting the world's political structure.

Friday, June 5, 2009

DU has a YouTube video site

Just learned that DU has a YouTube Channel. Here is one of the 25+ videos -- "Built for Learning".

Monday, June 1, 2009

Another good article -- Tenure and the Future of the University

Science, May 29, 2009:
Vol. 324. no. 5931, pp. 1147 - 1148
Education Forum

Tenure and the Future of the University

(Here is the link for non-DU people.)
by Dan Clawson
"The fundamental rationale for the tenure system has been to promote the long-term development of new ideas and to challenge students' thinking. Proponents argued more than 60 years ago that tenure is needed to provide faculty the freedom to pursue long-term risky research agendas and to challenge conventional wisdom (1). Those arguments are still being made today (2) and are still valid. However, a 30-year trend toward privatization is creating a pseudo–market environment within public universities that marginalizes the tenure system. A pseudo–market environment is one in which no actual market is possible, but market-like mechanisms (such as benchmarking and rankings based on research dollars, student evaluations, or similar attributes) are used to approximate a market."
The article goes on to explain the advantages and disadvantages of the tenure system. In the end, the author says that universities shouldn't treat themselves as businesses, but as centers of "knowledge where students are educated (not just trained)."

Friday, May 22, 2009

Great Article -- The importance of stupidity in scientific research

The author, Martin A. Schwartz, does a great job of explaining the importance of being scientifically curious and humble.

From Journal of Cell Science 121, 1771 (2008). "The importance of stupidity in scientific research."
"For almost all of us, one of the reasons that we liked science in high school and college is that we were good at it. That can't be the only reason – fascination with understanding the physical world and an emotional need to discover new things has to enter into it too. But high-school and college science means taking courses, and doing well in courses means getting the right answers on tests. If you know those answers, you do well and get to feel smart.

A Ph.D., in which you have to do a research project, is a whole different thing. For me, it was a daunting task. How could I possibly frame the questions that would lead to significant discoveries; design and interpret an experiment so that the conclusions were absolutely convincing; foresee difficulties and see ways around them, or, failing that, solve them when they occurred? My Ph.D. project was somewhat interdisciplinary and, for a while, whenever I ran into a problem, I pestered the faculty in my department who were experts in the various disciplines that I needed. I remember the day when Henry Taube (who won the Nobel Prize two years later) told me he didn't know how to solve the problem I was having in his area. I was a third-year graduate student and I figured that Taube knew about 1000 times more than I did (conservative estimate). If he didn't have the answer, nobody did."

Thanks to @timoreilly via twitter for noting in his feed.

Friday, May 15, 2009

"The Power of Place on Campus"

This is an interesting article in the Chronicle Review -- The Power of Place on Campus. What locations do you think are special places on the DU campus? (Thanks go to Rudy Leon at UIUC for telling me about the article.)
Colleges and universities should never underestimate the power of special, transformational, and even sacred spaces on their campuses....

So how do we create sacred spaces?

In fact they already exist all over campus — but they must be recognized, maintained, and supported. Commuter campuses can also identify and create their own transformational spaces, but administrators must first envision their campus constituencies as "thought communities" — academic villages and places of enculturation.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Over a million records with URLs

Penrose Library now has over 1,000,000 records with URLs in our catalog. We tagged the book (Computers and Education: E-Learning from Theory to Practice) which broke the barrier using the subject tag "millionth url". This is one of the new Springer ebooks -- we have about 3,800 records from SpringerLink. Over 1,000 of them are journals, and the other 2,800 are ebooks.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Scholarly Communication and Open Access Resources

This is a presentation that I gave at the three Library Liaison Advisory Group (LLAG) meetings, May 12-13, 2009.

I also created a research guide to go along with this presentation.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Liaison Connection newsletter is now out

The newsletter for the Library Liaison Advisory Group (LLAG) is now available for your reading pleasure.

The Human Flu

The H1N1 virus has certainly been in the news lately. However, there is a little known new virus that has hit the local Denver community -- the Human Flu. It is a particularly virulent strain that effects farm animals, particularly those of the Suidae family. To protect these animals from the Human Virus, the CDC recommends that they wear surgical masks over their mouths (or snouts) to protect them. Please see the accompanying visual that demonstrates how the mask should be worn.

Thanks to Erin for taking the picture. Here is more info about the sculpture. The mask was provided by an unknown patron. Once the picture was taken, we then removed the mask from the piece of art.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Choice magazine needs reviewers

This publication (Choice) is asking for more reviewers. If you would like to write short reviews and get free books, this is the place. Go here if you would like to review new academic books in your subject area.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Survey of your SciFinder Scholar Connection Method

Please fill out this survey by April 30th.

The University of Denver Provides access to the Chemical Abstracts Service with two "seats" for the database. Right now, one seat is allocated to the client-server software, and the other seat is allocated to the web-server method of access. However, we would like to know if we should continue with this arrangement. Please let us know how you currently access SciFinder Scholar, and how you would like us to proceed.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

FIRST Competition this weekend

The Colorado Regional FIRST Competition (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) will be held at DU this weekend, March 26th-28th. I am really looking forward to seeing some of the robots in the event.

They have several good videos showing what you might see this weekend.

One of the 48 teams (give or take) that is competing is the "University of Denver & Standing Ovations for All & Ricks Center Middle School" team.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Senior finds error in supercollider algorithm

A physics undergraduate student at Princeton discovered a discrepancy between her predictions and scientific results at the LHC. Essentially, double images were coming out of the system, so she and her professors recommended an algorithm to remove the double images.
Xiaohang Quan ’09 was working on her senior thesis when she found a miscalculation in the hardware of the world’s largest particle accelerator.

Quan... traveled to Geneva, Switzerland, last week with physics professors Christopher Tully GS ’98, Jim Olsen and Daniel Marlow for the annual meeting of the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN).

Friday, March 20, 2009

Open science is good for researchers

One of my blogger friends, Bora Zivkovic, did a presentation (see the video) at the Columbia University Libraries Scholarly Communications Program on February 19, 2009.
Open science refers to information-sharing among researchers and encompasses a number of initiatives to remove access barriers to data and published papers, and to use digital technology to more efficiently disseminate research results. Advocates for this approach argue that openly sharing information among researchers is fundamental to good science, speeds the progress of research, and increases recognition of researchers. Panelists: Jean-Claude Bradley, Associate Professor of Chemistry and Coordinator of E-Learning for the School of Arts and Sciences at Drexel University; Barry Canton, founder of Gingko BioWorks and the OpenWetWare wiki, an online community of life science researchers committed to open science that has over 5,300 users; Bora Zivkovic, Online Discussion Expert for the Public Library of Science (PLoS) and author of 'A Blog Around the Clock.'

Friday, March 13, 2009

The NIH public access policy will persist

This is very good news for Open Access proponents.
"Washington, D.C. – March 12, 2009 – President Obama yesterday signed into law the 2009 Consolidated Appropriations Act, which includes a provision making the National Institutes’ of Health (NIH) Public Access Policy permanent. The NIH Revised Policy on Enhancing Public Access requires eligible NIH-funded researchers to deposit electronic copies of their peerreviewed manuscripts into the National Library of Medicine’s online archive, PubMed Central (PMC). Full texts of the articles are made publicly available and searchable online in PMC no later than 12 months after publication in a journal.

The NIH policy was previously implemented with a provision that was subject to annual renewal. Since the implementation of the revised policy the percentage of eligible manuscripts deposited into PMC has increased significantly, with over 3,000 new manuscripts being deposited each month. The PubMed Central database is a part of a valuable set of public database resources at the NIH, which are accessed by more than 2 million users each day."
For more information, go to the Alliance for Taxpayer Access website.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Obama Reverses Bush's Embryonic Stem Cell Ban

From the Denver Post this morning -- "President Barack Obama this morning overturned a Bush administration ban on using federal funds for embryonic stem cell research and signed an order intended to restore 'scientific integrity to government decision making.'"

About time...

Monday, February 16, 2009

Thursday, February 12, 2009

International Year of Astronomy and Galileo birthday celebration

The year 2009 represents the 400th anniversary since Galileo Galilei first aimed the then new telescope toward the heavens and discovered craters on the moon, the satellites of Jupiter, phases of Venus and even Uranus and Neptune. The UN has declared 2009 to be the International Year of Astronomy ["IYA"].

Astronomers at the University of Denver's historic Chamberlin Observatory are planning an IYA and Galileo birthday party on Sunday February 15th, 2009 starting at 2pm, to celebrate his contributions to astronomy. Celebrities, on hand to explain the importance will be:
In addition, we plan to unveil a pair of large-size color prints of galaxies obtained with the Hubble Space Telescope, provided by NASA, as part of a national program including only 3 other sites in Colorado (Denver Museum, Boulder and Montrose). These dazzling square yard poster prints of of the spiral galaxy Messier 101 combine the views from three NASA space telescopes into an amazing composite. It’s like seeing with your eyes, night vision goggles, and X-ray vision all at once!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Darwin's Birthday Celebration

Charles Darwin would have been 200 years old on February 12th, had he lived this long. I will be celebrating his birthday at the University of Colorado Denver, Anschutz Medical Campus, Health Sciences Library.

From the Darwin Day website -- "Darwin Day is a global celebration of science and reason held on or around Feb. 12, the birthday anniversary of evolutionary biologist Charles Darwin. This year marks the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin's birth."

What did you do to celebrate?

Friday, February 6, 2009

Wiley InterScience Maintenance , February 7th.

"This message is to alert you of an interruption in the online service for Wiley InterScience." Due to site maintenance, access may be significantly interrupted from 7:00am till 7:00pm on Saturday, February 7th, 2009.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Penrose Now Has a Twitter Account

We now have a Twitter account (

Why do we have this? It is an easy way for us to send updates and announcements to our "followers". It is a good way for students, staff and faculty to get Penrose Library news on their cell phones (or any other twitter-enabled device). While we could use something like this for receiving reference questions, we plan to use this more for short outgoing communications. We plan to use another chat service for short reference/research questions in the near future, but we are not ready to implement that yet.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Death by Black Hole

This is a great video of Neil DeGrasse Tyson.

Reminds me of another book from Dr. Philip Plait -- Death From the Skies!

Springer E-book Package

The Springer e-book package has now been turned on. This means that we can now access the full text of the Lecture Notes in Mathematics (LNM), Lecture Notes in Computer Science (LNCS), and lots of other book series' going back to 1997.

For regular monographic works, we have their English language titles from 2005-present. For example, here are some of the 2009 titles we can access. (Ignore the book if it doesn't have little green box next to it.) We will add records to Peak for the individual titles as soon as we can.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Sciencexpress is now active

Our new subscription to Sciencexpress is now active.

"Sciencexpress is a weekly pre-publication service that provides electronic publication of selected Science papers in advance of print. This service provides rapid electronic publication of selected Research Articles and Perspectives that have recently been accepted for publication in Science. Each week we select several papers for online publication in PDF format within two weeks of acceptance. For authors, it is a chance to get their peer-reviewed results in front of the scientific community as much as four to six weeks before they would otherwise appear in print. For readers, it is an opportunity to connect with these pre-published articles immediately."