Monthly Archives: March 2016

Designing an Institutional Repository

Please take our survey! Designing an Institutional Repository

The library is currently researching the scope of born-digital and physical items needing digitization on campus for inclusion in a digital institutional repository. 

According to the Association of Research Libraries, “a university-based institutional repository is a set of services that a university offers to the members of its community for the management and dissemination of digital materials created by the institution and its community members. It is most essentially an organizational commitment to the stewardship of these digital materials, including [their] long-term preservation.”

A digital institutional repository will offer an online archive of Stonehill’s scholarly works (student and faculty) along with other College records (I.e. minutes, reports, newsletters, publications)  that allow easier access to the community. 

The purpose of this survey is to identify the types of documents being created and used by the Stonehill Community (faculty, staff and students) and the programs being used to generate and store those documents.  Remember the “Think Outside the Bottle Campaign?”  What about last year’s SURE research posters?  Have your classes done outstanding research?  Where is that data?  The digital institutional repository will be a place to store and access the above types of information and much more. 


Please take a few minutes to answer our survey.  The survey will close on April 4, 2016.

Come chat with us! Reference Chat Services on the Library Website

Did you know you can chat with our Reference Librarians? If you’re off-campus or don’t want to leave the comfort of your dorm, you can still get research assistance from the Library using our chat feature. This feature is available on our Contact Us page, as well as from any of our LibGuides and the Library tab in MyHill.

On the Contact Us page, you’ll see a box that reads, “Welcome to LibChat!” when a librarian is available. Reference Hours are 2pm-10pm Sunday, 10am-10pm Monday-Thursday, and 9am-5pm Friday. Holiday exceptions are listed on our hours webpage. 

If we are offline, you can still enter your question and search our KnowledgeBase to see if your question has been previously asked and answered!

Need more help? You can also visit LibCal to book a one-on-one in-person research appointment.


Library Study RoomsThere are 13 Group Study Rooms in the Library and they are under increasingly high demand. Some students have asked to be allowed to book the rooms in advance using an online system. On March 14th, 2016, we are starting a pilot program using 5 of the Group Study Rooms which can now be booked in advance using the online calendar system 25Live. The remaining 8 rooms will continue to be administered as they have in the past and will be available for walk-up use or booked in advance, by calling or stopping by the Circulation Desk. As always, group study rooms are primarily for group use and individuals may use rooms only when groups are not using them.

The pilot program will run through the end of the spring semester and then we will assess the various likes, dislikes, successes or frustrations of the program before we determine if it will continue or expand for Fall 2016.

Visit the page “Book a Group Study Room” for more information. To book a study room, log into myHill and click on the “Library” tab. There you will find a link to book a room in the “General Library Services” box.

HARI: A New Way to Research

4520018121_806712ef8f_oIn person webinar: join colleagues in the Library DisCo at 11:30am on 3/14.

This webinar will open at 11:30am on Monday, March 14th. To access the webinar at this time, click on the link; a download of “Zoom_launcher.exe” should start automatically. On a Windows computer, click on the downloaded file in your browser, then click “Run.”  On a Mac, you will be prompted to download a .zip file of the Zoom Launcher.  Once that is saved, double-click on the .zip file and then double-click “ZoomusLauncher” to install.  The webinar room will be live at 11:30am on Monday.

We are in the process of implementing a new, patents pending inference engine for Stanford in collaboration with a Silicon Valley start-up that is a completely new way to extract meaning and knowledge across multiple sources.  In effect this discovery environment produces inferential semantic relationships among millions of digital documents (articles, books, websites, — any digital  text really) in a wide and expanding range of subject and genres with clear links to the documents if licensed and to information about the documents enabling purchase on demand, potentially a pay-per-view option.

The method, Hyper-Association of Related Inferences (HARI has been developed by an Italian mathematician named Ruggero Grammatica, a friend. The technology combines machine learning, natural language processing, and a succession of algorithms. HARI ingests enormous amounts of ie-texts efficiently, then uses algorithms to determine relationships among concepts, providing a tool for browsing or discovery. (This is at least a thousand times more difficult to put into words than to grasp when you see a demonstration.)  There is an instantiation that has ingested and analyzed 22+ million Medline entries, though more interesting and extensive results arise when full texts are analyzed.

One way to think of it:
Google provides specific answers to specific queries. It’s like a library, such as the library of Congress, in which, instead of gaining access to the stacks, you write down the name of a book, give it to a librarian, and are then given the book for which you asked and only that book.

HARI, by contrast, is like browsing in library stacks. One will find specific information that was sought, but other connections among related concepts will be exposed, and some, perhaps many, of those will be unexpected.

The HARI engine is based on NLP, AI, and custom algorithms that allow the processing of huge amounts of text based information and the extraction of concepts (not keywords).  The concepts are then correlated and identify relationships and inferences on the chosen topic, ultimately revealing the full texts containing the concepts.  It is a semantically based process that can be “tuned” by the end user both in the front end of a search and once results are obtained.

This complements our existing list and link type of search engine tools that academic users, both students and faculty, typically use today. HARI returns a more in-depth, visual result from each search.   At any moment the user can explore any of the concepts displayed and new streams of correlations are presented suggesting new paths of investigation.  And through use of the links, a researcher might be directed to licensed source documents or to a pay per view interface.  The benefits to publishers would be substantial; we wish to engage with you and others to elaborate and extend HARI dramatically.  The benefits to students and professors as well as many other professionals who make use of information resources hiding in thickets of content are also dramatic.


Step Back Into the Nineteenth Century With Our Print Journal Collection

New York ReviewUnbeknown to many Stonehill students, the library has an extensive collection of nineteenth century journals on the second floor of MacPhaidin. Despite impressiveness of this extensive collection, many students do not access the journals. Several teachers have worked to incorporate the journals into their classes in an effort to share these fascinating resources.

Professor Gracombe in the English department loves including the journals in her courses on Victorian literature. She says: “Discovering the library’s large collection of Victorian journals was like finding a completely unexpected, completely amazing portal to the past. It is extremely unusual for a college of Stonehill’s size to have such a diverse collection of periodicals.” The library offers over seventy titles of journals on literature, science, art and many more topics. The periodicals range between the 1800s and 1900s and spanning across the United States as well as Great Britain. Mac Phaidin provides full runs of many of these journals to give students and faculty the complete experience of the journal. Every Saturday, for example, was a literary magazine, published in Boston between 1866 and 1874; this magazine includes publications by renowned authors like Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins. The library provides every copy of this journal to its patrons.

In a digital age, the draw to only using electronic resources is strong and print resources can often go overlooked. However, physical copies of artifacts cannot be taken for granted when scholars are looking for true historical context. Professor Gracombe notes, “I’ve found that having students explore the actual copies of Victorian texts allows them to experience the texture of Victorian writing, literally and figuratively. They see what the original nineteenth-century readers would have seen, including the way articles were juxtaposed with poems, ads, and cartoons.” While electronic resources are helpful when searching for specific terms or questions, the exploration of these journals is best done with the prints themselves. Discovery of different images and articles would not be possible without dedicating the time to leafing through the collection.

Professor Gracombe has taken the search a step further, allowing her students to create their own archived work from the periodicals. In the “Fictions of Englishness” course, students explore the journals from England, in an effort to expand their understanding of “Englishness” in a historical context. The students in this course explore, research, and analyze small pieces of the journals.  Rather than simply handing in an essay of the analysis, students add their work to an online forum created by Professor Gracombe called “Archive of Englishness”. This forum adds to the resources provided by Stonehill for future students in an effort to add to the information provided by the journals themselves.