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Among the many resource and services Purdue University Libraries and School of Information Studies (PULSIS) offers student and faculty researchers are more than 600 databases. For years, staff in the Roland G. Parrish Library of Management and Economics have offered the “Database of the Month” feature to help business researchers navigate these rich resources.

To help humanities’ and social sciences’ researchers, on Sept. 26, staff in the Humanities, Social Sciences, and Education (HSSE) Library launched a similar series, the HSSE Library “Featured Databases” tutorials. This ongoing series will cover a wide array of disciplines.

According to Library Assistant Ann O’Donnell, the series will post on the fourth Thursday of every month (with the exception of December and May). Each series installment is a new video tutorial that provides a brief introduction to the basic features of one of the PULSIS specialized subscription databases.

The first featured database is ProQuest Research Library, which provides one-stop access to more than 4,000 periodicals.

“ProQuest Research Library is one of the broadest, most inclusive general reference databases ProQuest has to offer,” O’Donnell explained. “Users can search in a highly respected, diversified mix of scholarly journals, trade publications, and magazines that cover more than 150 academic disciplines,” she added.

O’Donnell said the goal of these tutorials is to highlight the various resources available through the Purdue Libraries and School of Information Studies and to give users additional tools to help them with their research and studies.

“We understand with a collection of more than 600 databases, finding the best resource and understanding how to navigate that resource can be difficult. These tutorials will help patrons with that process,” she noted.

The databases featured every month are selected by faculty in the HSSE Library, but O’Donnell said they are open to suggestions from the faculty in these subject areas.

If you have questions or suggestions for possible databases to feature, contact O’Donnell at hsselib@purdue.edu.

Benefits of Open AccessPurdue University Libraries and School of Information Studies will kick off International Open Access Week (October 21-27) with the announcement of the Leadership in Open Access Award from Purdue University Libraries and School of Information Studies (PULSIS) and Purdue University Office of the Provost.

During the week, PULSIS and the Purdue University Press (PUP) will also host a panel discussion, three Open Access information installations on campus, and an Open Access content campaign via the PULSIS website and PULSIS and PUP social media.

From 10:30 a.m.-noon Tuesday, Oct. 22 PULSIS and PUP are sponsoring the panel discussion, “What Open Access Means to You.” Purdue University Press Director Justin Race will serve as moderator of the panel discussion, which will be held in Stewart Center, room 202. Panelists include:

  • Kris Bross, associate dean for research and creative endeavors, Purdue Honors College;
  • Gaurav Chopra, assistant professor, Purdue Department of Chemistry;
  • Michael Witt, interim associate dean for research, associate professor, and head of the Distributed Data Curation Center, PULSIS; and
  • Wayne Wright, Barbara I. Cook Chair of Literacy and Language and associate dean for research, graduate programs, and faculty development, Purdue College of Education.

Leadership Award and Information Installations

According to Dean of Purdue Libraries and School of Information Studies Beth McNeil, the Leadership in Open Access Award recognizes an individual (or individuals) at Purdue University who make an exceptional commitment to broadening the reach of scholarship by making publicly funded research freely accessible online through Purdue e-Pubs repository.

What Is Purdue e-Pubs?In addition, Scholarly Publishing Specialist Nina Collins will be available via three Open Access “information installations” on campus that week, including:

  • 1-4 p.m. Monday, Oct. 21, Horticulture Building (HORT), room 217;
  • 9 a.m.-noon Wednesday, Oct. 23, Knoy Hall of Technology (KNOY), KNOY Lobby; and
  • noon-3 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 24, Mechanical Engineering, Railside Station area.

The PULSIS and PUP content campaign will feature blog and social media posts about the benefits of Open Access. Blog post authors include:

  • Darcy Bullock, Lyles Family Professor of Civil Engineering and Director of the Joint Transportation Research Program;
  • Sandi Caldrone, data repository outreach specialist, Purdue University Research Repository (PURR);
  • Erla Heyns, head, Humanities, Social Science, Education, and Business (HSSEB) Division and associate professor, PULSIS;
  • Senay Purzer, director of assessment research at the INSPIRE Institute for Pre-college Engineering Research and associate professor, School of Engineering; and
  • Beth McNeil, dean, PULSIS.

For more information, contact Collins at nkcollin@purdue.edu.

About Open Access Week

Open Access Week, a global event now entering its eleventh year, is an opportunity for the academic and research community to continue to learn about the potential benefits of Open Access, to share what they have learned with colleagues, and to help inspire wider participation in helping to make Open Access a new norm in scholarship and research. Learn more about Open Access Week at www.openaccessweek.org.

Matt Hannah, Purdue University Libraries and School of Information Studies

Dr. Matt Hannah

Developing and advancing Purdue University’s Digital Humanities (DH) initiative — an important and growing area in digital scholarship — is among the many duties of Matt Hannah, assistant professor of DH in Purdue University Libraries and School of Information Studies (PULSIS).

Hannah, who arrived at Purdue in March 2018, has been busily laying the foundation for an ongoing and robust discussion about DH and digital scholarship across campus. He has designed and delivered a wide range of DH workshops, taught digital humanities courses, contributed to digital scholarship projects and efforts on campus and beyond, and has established the DH Studio in the Humanities, Social Sciences, and Education (HSSE) Library.

What: Digital Humanities Studio Open House
When: 3-6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 14
Where: Stewart Center 153 (inside the HSSE Library)

Dr. Kathleen Fitzpatrick

Dr. Kathleen Fitzpatrick

To celebrate this growing and vibrant DH initiative, PULSIS will host an open house to launch the DH Studio from 3-6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 14. The DH Studio is located in Stewart Center, room 153 (on the first floor of HSSE Library).

The event will feature remarks by Kathleen Fitzpatrick, director of DH and a professor of English at Michigan State University, as well as opening remarks by Dean of Purdue Libraries and School of Information Studies Beth McNeil and Erla Heyns, head of of the HSSEB (humanities, social sciences, education, and business), div. of PULSIS.

“Kathleen Fitzpatrick has been instrumental in developing the DH center at MSU,” Hannah noted. “We are delighted to have her help us officially launch our own DH Studio, a space dedicated to providing a hub for digital scholarship in the humanities and social sciences at Purdue.”

Prior to joining MSU, Fitzpatrick served as an associate executive director and director of scholarly communication of the Modern Language Association (MLA), where she was managing editor of MLA publications. She has also held an appointment as a visiting research professor of English at New York University and visiting professor of media studies at Coventry University. She is the author of “Generous Thinking: A Radical Approach to Saving the University” (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2019) and “Planned Obsolescence: Publishing, Technology, and the Future of the Academy” (NYU Press, 2011).

ILS 695,"Introducing Digital Humanities" course, Spring 2019, Purdue University.

Dr. Matt Hannah, assistant professor of digital humanities in the Purdue Libraries and School of Information Studies, with members of his ILS 695, “Introducing Digital Humanities,” course, Spring 2019, at Purdue University.

Fitzpatrick is the project director of Humanities Commons, an open-access, open-source network serving more than 10,000 scholars and practitioners in the humanities. She co-founded the digital scholarly network MediaCommons, where she led experiments in open peer review and other innovations in scholarly publishing. She serves on the editorial or advisory boards of various publications and projects, including the Open Library of the Humanities, Luminos, the Open Annotation Collaboration, and PressForward. She also currently serves as the chair of the board of directors of the Council on Library and Information Resources.

At 7:30 p.m. (Oct. 14) in the Lawson Computer Science Building, room 1142, Fitzpatrick will deliver the lecture, “Generous Thinking: a Radical Approach to Saving the University,” which is sponsored by the Purdue Dept. of English. Her evening lecture is co-sponsored by the Purdue Dept. of Political Science, the Purdue American Studies Program, Purdue School of Languages and Cultures, as well as the Office of the Provost, the Purdue Teaching Academy, and the American Association of University Professors (AAUP).

For more information, contact Hannah at hannah8@purdue.edu.

From highlighting the Midwest’s rich agricultural history, to celebrating it’s natural beauty, Purdue University Press publishes books that give an oft-overlooked part of the country a deserving look.

Check out select titles below, and get 30% off when you order directly from our website using discount code PURDUE30.



Memories of Life on the Farm: Through the Lens of Pioneer Photographer J. C. Allen


Frederick Whitford and Neal Harmeyer

The front cover of a book, a small boy holding a puppy is pictured

Memories of Life on the Farm


Purdue University Press’s newest book in Agriculture, Memories of Life on the Farm gives readers a look at early 20th century Indiana agriculture, its people, and communities through the photography of John Calvin Allen.

Allen’s photographs also document clothing styles, home furnishings, and the items people thought important as they went about their daily lives. Looking closely at tractors, livestock, wagons, planters, sprayers harvesting equipment, and crops gives one a sense of the changing and fast-paced world of agriculture at that time. This volume contains over 900 picturesque images, most never-before-seen, of men, women, and children working on the farm, which remain powerful reminders of life in rural America at the turn of the twentieth century.

If you like this book you may also be interested in Enriching the Hoosier Farm Family: A Photo History of Indiana’s Early County Extension Agents.


Scattering the Seeds of Knowledge: The Words and Works of Indiana’s
Pioneer County Extension Agents

Frederick Whitford


Scattering the Seeds of Knowledge chronicles the tales of the first county Extension agents, from 1912 to 1939. Their story brings readers back to a day when Extension was little more than words on paper, when county agents traveled the muddy back roads, stopping at each farm, introducing themselves to the farmer and his family.

Their story is a history lesson on what agriculture was like at the turn of the twentieth century, and a lesson to us all about how patient outreach and dedicated engagement—backed by proven science from university research—reshaped and modernized Indiana agriculture.

Learn more about Fred Whitford and his other books for Purdue University Press. 


A Place Called Turkey Run: A Celebration of Indiana Second State Park in Photographs and Words


Daniel P. Shepardson


A Place Called Turkey Run captures the majesty and mystique of Indiana’s second state park in text and hundreds of full-color images.

This book is published to honor the natural heritage of the land it describes, in celebration of Turkey Run’s hundredth anniversary as an Indiana State Park.

If you’re interested in this book, you may be interested in Photographing Turkey Run: A Guide to Nature Photography, which contains tips and techniques designed to provide a basic understanding of how to photograph nature and improve one’s photography skills.


American Agriculture; revised edition: A Brief History

R. Douglas Hurt


This brief history of American agriculture, from the prehistoric period through the twentieth century, is written for anyone coming to this subject for the first time.

The author offers a provocative look at a history that has been shaped by the best and worst of human nature, and provides the background essential for understanding the complexity of American agricultural history, from the transition to commercial agriculture during the colonial period to the failure of government policy following World War II.



 Other titles:

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A 2017 Library Scholars Grant recipient, Jennifer Kaufmann-Buhler, assistant professor of design history in Purdue University’s Department of Art and Design (College of Liberal Arts) presented the results of her archival research on March 8, 2018, in the Purdue Memorial Union. Professor Kaufmann-Buhler conducted her research at the Manuscripts and Archives Library of Yale University in New Haven.

A 2017 Library Scholars Grant recipient, Jennifer Kaufmann-Buhler, assistant professor of design history in Purdue University’s Department of Art and Design (College of Liberal Arts) presented the results of her archival research in 2018. Professor Kaufmann-Buhler conducted her research at the Manuscripts and Archives Library of Yale University.

Purdue University Libraries and School of Information Studies will once again sponsor the Library Scholars Grant Program in 2019-20. The grant-award program supports access to unique collections of information found around the country and the world, and untenured tenure-track faculty members and associate professors tenured effective July 1, 2017, or later, from the Purdue West Lafayette, Fort Wayne, IUPUI, and Northwest campuses, and the Statewide Technology Program are eligible. Awards of up to $5,000 will be made for this purpose, with grant-supported activities to be completed by December 31, 2020.

Applicants are required to have a conversation with a librarian, who must write a letter of support for a proposal. Applicants who are members of Libraries and School of Information Studies’ faculty must consult with their supervisors regarding the time and effort involved in the activities reflected in the proposal and include a letter of support from a supervisor/FRC.

All proposals must be submitted by email to Libraries Administration, libinfo@purdue.edu, with the Subject: Library Scholars Grant, no later than 5 p.m., Friday, November 8, 2019.

Additional information about eligibility and submission guidelines is available at www.lib.purdue.edu/scholars/.

For questions about the Library Scholars Grant Program, contact Michael Witt, interim associate dean for research, at mwitt@purdue.edu.

We talked with Alla Ivanchikova to discuss the author’s upcoming book, contemporary cultural production on Afghanistan, and the way this cultural production serves as a litmus test for a producer’s political and geopolitical beliefs.

Ivanchikova’s book, Imagining Afghanistan: Global Fiction and Film of the 9/11 Warsexamines how Afghanistan has been imagined in literary and visual texts that were published after the 9/11 attacks and the subsequent U.S.-led invasion.



Q: Could you give a brief description of your book?

Alla Ivanchikova: The two decades of the 9/11 wars have seen a production of thousands of titles on Afghanistan, and the book tries to make sense of what has transpired in this corpus of works. I argue that Afghanistan serves as a mirror upon which contemporary cultural producers project their values and beliefs, as well as their presumptions and biases.


Alla Ivanchikova (photo provided by author)

Q: What are some of the most common ways this projection manifests?

Ivanchikova: The most obvious one is the belief in benevolent humanitarianism. Since the end of the Cold War, humanitarianism has become the only mode through which we were able to imagine relating to distant others and to their suffering. It was a direct consequence of the collapse of the socialist bloc. Humanitarianism replaced the relation of comradeship or solidarity as being on the same side of a common struggle, which defined the era of anticolonial liberation movements, of which many were left-leaning. Afghanistan is a case study in the humanitarian imaginary: the two cultural products that came to stand for Afghanistan are the Afghan Girl from the National Geographic cover and Khaled Hosseini’s bestseller The Kite Runner. Both give us striking, unforgettable images of suffering children on behalf of which we are compelled to intervene. The less obvious way in which this projection manifests is the anticommunist imaginary, still pervasive in the NATO-centric contexts and my book unpacks the distortions and mirages it creates.


Q: In the introduction to the book, you reference Afghanistan being referred to as a “dim object” prior to the 9/11 attacks. More specifically, “it emitted no light, attracted no attention, and the eyes of the world were not on it”. Do you think this absence of a cultural presence made it easier for these post 9/11 cultural producers to project Afghanistan in their own light?

Ivanchikova: Afghanistan’s cultural invisibility between 1989 (Soviet withdrawal) and 2001 reflects how cultural production is tied to geopolitics. The era between 1989-2001 was one when the Afghan state suffered a complete collapse and people’s suffering was the most intense, but hardly any works have been produced during this time period. So it’s not the intensity of suffering that determines the production of humanitarian images, but geopolitics, and humanitarian images and stories are used, again and again, to justify military interventions. You are right, however, in suggesting that after 2001, there was a sense that Afghanistan was somehow “rediscovered,” and was an unmapped territory. This resonated with many writers who were invested in neo-imperial fantasies of “wild” Afghanistan.


Q: What motivated you to take on this subject?

Ivanchikova: The conflict in Afghanistan spans the entire course of my life. I grew up in the USSR during the Soviet-Afghan war. My early adulthood in the US was dominated by the crisis of 9/11 and the foreign wars that followed. In both cases, the true nature of these conflicts has been largely withheld from the public. I wanted to investigate. As a cultural studies scholar, I did my investigation mostly through analyzing cultural texts—fiction, memoirs, graphic novels, and film. I discovered that Afghanistan poses very specific representational difficulties: whoever writes on it, has to struggle with how to articulate various aspects of its past: its socialist history, the invasion by the Soviet Union, the role of the US in the fuming the flames of the “Afghan” jihad, and the failures of the US-led intervention that followed the Taliban ouster. Immediately and inevitably, one finds herself in the domain of not only history, but ideology.


Ivanchikova’s new book “Imagining Afghanistan: Global Fiction and Film of the 9/11 Wars”


Q: So given the nature of Afghanistan, it’s very hard to cover while maintaining the appearance of being ideologically neutral, or without espousing some kind of ideology?

Ivanchikova: Yes, that’s correct. Afghanistan serves as a litmus test of a sort, either revealing your political and geopolitical positioning, or revealing your confusion as to how to position yourself. In my book, I don’t argue for objectivity, however, but insist on the value of having many different stories. Unfortunately, the first wave of writing and screening Afghanistan, between 2001 and 2009, produced texts that told only one type of a story—the story of Afghanistan as a relic of soviet barbarity, to be saved by the West’s helping hand. This was in line with the official US view, as articulated by Donald Rumsfeld, for example. There was particular investment in, and fascination with, the figure of the suffering Afghan woman.


Q: Why is this problematic?

Ivanchikova: It is important to remember that the crisis suffered by Afghan women was a direct consequence of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan (a socialist state that championed women’s rights) being defeated by ultra-patriarchal radical Islamist groups supported by the Reagan administration. This is an uncomfortable story to tell in NATO-centric contexts, because instead of making the reader/spectator feel good about liberating Afghan women, it implicates them into the very scene of crisis. So barely anyone wants to tell this story. But these stories needs to be told for any work of transnational reconciliation to begin. The other story that needs to be told is one of the Afghan effort to build socialism. Afghanistan suffers from the same problem that affects the entirely of the former second world: the absence of a language in which to talk about the defeated socialist projects in the aftermath of the Cold War’s end. We need more stories that bring into view the Afghan revolutionary subject—women and men who dreamt of and fought for economic and social equality and fought for the revolution rather than against it. We have tons of books that romanticize anti-statist (patriarchal) insurgency in Afghanistan—men who fought against communists. How many stories do we have that feature Afghan revolutionary women? Almost none. Ultimately, it is this very erasure of Afghan revolutionary history that results in a humanitarian capture of Afghanistan’s present.


Q: Where do you feel a person would find the most accurate representation of Afghanistan in contemporary culture?

Ivanchikova: I especially like Nadeem Aslam’s work as he tries to unpack the multiple layers of Afghan history present simultaneously in a landscape, like a palimpsest. In my book, I talk about his two novels: The Wasted Vigil and The Blind Man’s Garden. I also recommend Qais Akbar Omar’s memoir, In a Fort of Nine Towers. It is a very accessible, didactic work by a survivor of the civil war era—precisely the era during which Afghanistan became a dim object. It has particular relevance for the current moment: by describing what it meant to have lived through the destruction of Kabul as it was captured by the warring jihadist groups in 1992, the memoir gives us a glimpse into what it means to have survived the sieges of Fallujah, Mosul, Palmira, Raqqa, or Aleppo in the twenty-first century.



Get 30% off Imagining Afghanistan when you order through our website and use the discount code PURDUE30.

New Career Research Portal

September 10th, 2019

The Career Research Portal contains resources organized to help guide you through the career research process whether you’re browsing job postings, preparing for an important interview, or negotiating a job offer. Resources include career event and career fair information, career planning guides, relocation resources, information on diversity and employment abroad, job/internship boards, interview resources, and employer and company research.

Link: You can access the Career Research Portal at www.career.lib.purdue.edu, or from the CCO’s webpage, under the Students menu.

Tutorial: Watch our tutorial on Getting Started with the Career Research Portal for details on how to use the Career Resource Portal.

Please contact parrlib@purdue.edu with any comments or questions.

Matt Hannah, Purdue University Libraries and School of Information Studies

Matt Hannah

Purdue Libraries and School of Information Studies Assistant Professor of Digital Humanities Matt Hannah has been busily laying the foundation for an ongoing and robust discussion about digital humanities (DH) and to advance digital scholarship overall at Purdue. Since he started at Purdue in March 2018, he has put together and delivered many DH workshops and contributed to many digital scholarship projects and efforts on campus, and is developing a DH Studio in the Humanities, Social Sciences, and Education (HSSE) Library.

Recently, he also launched the Digital Interest Group at Purdue, which will meet monthly. Group members will discuss key scholarship ideas, projects, and concepts in DH, computational social sciences, Critical Data Studies, science and technology studies, digital history, data science, and more. The first meeting is set for 1 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 11; visit http://bit.ly/dhigpurdue to sign up for the group (location to TBD). According to Hannah (who goes by @TinkeringHuman on Twitter), the group will also tinker with various methodologies and tools, write and share code, and discuss digital projects.

“We imagine this interest group will become a hub for anyone at Purdue interested in digital scholarship broadly conceived,” he noted.

In addition to advancing DH at Purdue, Hannah will advance DH internationally, as he has recently accepted a fellowship as a Fulbright Specialist with a few institutions in Morocco to set up a DH boot camp for digital scholars there.

Below, Hannah shares more about his upcoming fellowship and the DH work he will be doing in Morocco over the next three years.

Q. How did you come to know about this opportunity?

Assistant Professor of Digital Humanities at Purdue University Libraries and School of Information Studies Matt Hannah works in the programming language R in his office in the DH Studio located in the HSSE Library. In the spring of 2019, offered a text analysis workshop series using R.

Assistant Professor of Digital Humanities at Purdue University Libraries and School of Information Studies Matt Hannah works in the programming language R in his office in the DH Studio located in the HSSE Library. In the spring of 2019, he offered a text analysis workshop series using R.

Hannah: Because of the work we’ve been doing in Digital Humanities at Purdue, I was contacted by Dr. Stacy Holden, an associate professor of history at Purdue, who specializes in the Middle East. She has been working in Morocco for many years, and she’s currently there on a Fulbright fellowship. She articulated an interest in Digital Humanities among faculty and staff she’s collaborated with in Morocco and suggested I apply for a Fulbright Specialist fellowship to organize intensive Digital Humanities workshops to be conducted over several days. I then worked with Dr. Christopher Lukasic to prepare an application, and, for a time, we weren’t sure whether our idea would be successful.

Q. You mentioned you will work with individuals in institutions in Morocco to set up a Digital Humanities boot camp. Tell me more about this project and/or projects. What will they entail?

Hannah: Fulbright Specialists serve shorter terms, generally around a particular project in which an expert in the field may be paired with an overseas institution to collaborate. Through Dr. Holden’s contacts in Morocco, I’ve been in communication with colleagues at Abdelmalek Essaadi University in Tétouan and Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane to arrange week-long intensive Digital Humanities workshops. These workshops will cover the range of possible tools and methods so participants will gain a wide ranging set of skills in DH by the end of the week. In addition, I will coordinate with faculty and staff to consult on existing projects and initiatives.

Q. What do you hope to achieve with your boot camps?

Hannah: I am hoping to develop great relationships with Moroccan digital humanists and develop a strong network of international collaboration around the topic of digital scholarship. In addition, I plan to consult with faculty working on DH projects and lend assistance where I can. Finally, I hope to develop an intensive curriculum that I can teach at other universities around the world. I’m grateful to Fulbright for making such international relationships possible.

Q. What is the timeline for your boot camps over the next three years? Any collaborators you want to recognize, share information about?

Hannah: I’d love to visit other universities in Morocco to conduct similar workshops. Often, Digital Humanities gets discussed as though it were only an Anglo-American phenomenon, when we know scholars around the world are doing dynamic and exciting work. I also hope to develop this boot camp series into an offering I can teach at other international universities and colleges, as well as offer to interested parties at Purdue.

Q. Any other information that will be important to include that isn’t touched on the questions above?

Hannah: One key aspect of the Fulbright role is to gain knowledge from my hosts. I’m very much looking forward to discovering what Digital Humanities looks like in the Moroccan context and, through a process of collaboration, to expand my own scholarly horizons through the sustained conversations made possible by the Fulbright program.

For more information about DH at Purdue, contact Hannah at hannah8@purdue.edu.

Every year, Purdue University Libraries and School of Information Studies hosts the Purdue GIS (Geographic Information Systems) Day Conference. During it, Purdue students demonstrate how they have applied GIS in their individual areas of study and research. Nicole Kong, PULSIS associate professor and GIS specialist at Purdue, heads up the conference, along with a team of collaborators from across Purdue, all who are involved in GIS work in some way. This year, the Purdue GIS Day Conference is set for Thursday, Nov. 7 in Stewart Center. (More information about research and project submission deadlines is available at lib.purdue.edu/gis/gisday/gisday_2019_college_program.)

Nicole Kong, associate professor and GIS specialist, Purdue University Libraries and School of Information Studies

Nicole Kong, associate professor and GIS specialist, Purdue University Libraries and School of Information Studies

In addition to planning the Purdue GIS Day Conference and her teaching duties, Kong serves as a principal investigator (PI) or co-PI for various GIS and data-science research projects at Purdue. Recently, she was awarded funding in Purdue’s Integrative Data Science Initiative (IDSI) for the project, “Integrating Geospatial Information Across Disciplines.” In addition, she is co-PI for two more GIS-related projects, both which were recently funded through U.S. government agencies. The projects include:

  • 2019 – 2020: “Leveraging Soil Explorer for Soils and Ecological Training.” USDA (U.S. Dept. of Agriculture), NRCS (Natural Resource Conservation Service), Soil Science Collaborative Research Proposals Notice of Funding Opportunity (NFO). PI: D. Schulze (agronomy) and co-PI J. Ackerson (agronomy): $52,295.49.
  • 2018 – 2019: “IndianaView Program Development and Operations for the State of Indiana.” AmericaView program, U.S. Geological Survey. Co-PI, with L. Biehl, (ITaP), J. Shan (civil engineering): $23,000.

Kong’s important work on the two government-funded research projects has implications for soil research, conservation efforts, and the training of soil scientists, as well as remotely sensed data collections that contribute to the AmericaView project. Data from this project can help inform national and international economic, environmental, social, health, and geopolitical decisions.

“The AmericaView Consortium is charged with helping each state overcome these difficulties and helps the university, secondary-education, and public sectors in each state identify, develop, and distribute the kinds of applications each state needs most. In light of our nation’s current focus on achieving a secure and stable digital infrastructure, never has this task been more relevant,” Kong explained.

Below, Kong provides more background about both projects and how the research in both contributes to soil mapping across the globe, as well as the mapping, monitoring, and management of natural and environmental resources.

Q. How did the “Leveraging Soil Explorer for Soils and Ecological Training” project come about and how will you and your team use the grant funds?

Kong: This project was developed based upon the success of our previous award of “Integrating Spatial Education Experience (Isee)” funded by NRCS. In the previous award, we successfully collaborated with several other states to develop soil property maps for education purposes.

In this project, we will further develop the soil maps for the conterminous U.S., Alaska, Hawaii, and U.S. territories, as well as provide training materials about how to use the new maps to improve soil and ecology training. Part of the funds will be used for Purdue Libraries and School of Information Studies to assist in creating and sharing the maps, as well as for GIS server improvement.

Q. Who else is involved with “Leveraging Soil Explorer for Soils and Ecological Training” project?
Kong: This project is led by Dr. Darrell Schulze in the agronomy department. Dr. Jason Ackerson and I are co-PIs on the project.

Q. How will the data you gather be used in the future?
Kong: Detailed soil surveys across U.S. have been conducted and well documented by the Soil Survey Geographic Database (SSURGO). This database contains very rich information about soil properties, but often requires extensive knowledge in related fields to understand. On the other hand, maps are models of our world that allow us to make sense of a space that is too large and too complex for us to comprehend in any other way. Digital maps are inherently scalable and can show both the details and the overview seamlessly. Soil maps can help researchers to understand how soils and soil properties are distributed across landscapes at various scales. They can be critical resources for training scientists in the disciplines of soil science, ecology, agronomy, geology, and other natural sciences. The results of the maps will be delivered via SoilExplorer webpage, as well as the Soil Explorer apps for iOS and Android devices. Learning materials, workshops and webinars will also be delivered to the trainers.

Q. Any other information important to include about this project?
Kong: Managing, sharing, and leveraging geospatial information generated by Purdue researchers is an essential part of the GIS team’s mission. With the similar research methods, we have also collaborated in soil mapping projects in Kenya and Peru. Using spatial information as a way to teach soil properties has been a success in many classrooms through our studies.

Q. What is the purpose of the “IndianaView Program Development and Operations for the State of Indiana” project and who is involved?
Kong: The purpose of IndianaView is to promote sharing and use of public domain remotely sensed image data for education, research, and outreach across universities, colleges, K-12 educators, and state and local governments in Indiana. It is part of the larger grant, AmericaView, funded by the U.S. Geological Survey. This project is a collaboration among Mr. Larry Biehl (ITaP), Dr. Jie Shan (civil engineering), and me.

Q. What are you hoping to accomplish with the project? How will the data you gather be used in the future?
Kong: Within this project, we will continue to develop the IndianaView Consortium, which currently includes 15 institutions. We will select and support undergraduate and graduate student scholarships, as well as mini-grant opportunities for the consortiums members for research, education, or outreach. In addition, we have also planned activities for K-12 outreach, presenting at local or regional conferences, and teaching in undergraduate and graduate classrooms. (More information is available at www.indianaview.org.)

Q. What is AmericaView and why is it important?
Kong: AmericaView is a nationwide partnership of remote sensing scientists who support the use of Landsat and other public domain remotely sensed data through applied research, K-12, and higher education. The need for AmericaView has been building for more than 30 years. Since the early 1970s, the federal government and private sector have spent billions of dollars on satellite-based earth observing systems and have worked with the research community to identify, develop, and distribute real-world applications for mapping, monitoring, and managing natural and environmental resources. Unfortunately, while the potential uses of the technology have been widely recognized, development and distribution of real-world applications have persistently been tough issues for both the federal government and the academic research community. The AmericaView Consortium is charged with helping each state overcome these difficulties and helps the university, secondary-education, and public sectors in each state identify, develop, and distribute the kinds of applications each state needs most.

More information about GIS resources via the Purdue Libraries and School of Information Studies is available at www.lib.purdue.edu/gis.

Margaret Phillips, Purdue University Libraries and School of Information Studies

Margaret Phillips, Purdue University Libraries and School of Information Studies, teaching at Pusan National University in South Korea, July 2019.

Through the IMPACT (Instruction Matters: Purdue Academic Course Transformation) program and the pronounced presence of the Wilmeth Active Learning Center (WALC) at the heart of campus, it is possible that many students at Purdue University take for granted their courses based on the active learning instructional method. Even though Purdue students may not always recognize their enhanced learning based on this approach, academia does. Last October, The Chronicle of Higher Education published “How Purdue Professors Are Building More Active and Engaged Classrooms,” and the publication’s editorial staff recognized Purdue’s IMPACT program as a 2018 Innovator of encouraging innovation in teaching.

Purdue University Libraries and School of Information Studies (PULSIS) faculty and staff were driving forces behind the concept of and the development of the WALC, as well as have been integral in IMPACT at Purdue.

It is no surprise, then, that one of our own is taking this instructional method “on the road” (or over the ocean), so to speak, and engaging South Korean mechanical engineering graduate students in ways they have not before experienced. In mid-July, PULSIS Assistant Professor Margaret Phillips co-taught the course “Professional Development and Life-Long Information Strategies for Engineering Research” at Pusan National University (PNU). She was invited by Takashi Hibiki, a Purdue nuclear engineering emeritus faculty member, who originally co-developed and co-taught the course with her at Purdue.

Margaret Phillips, Purdue University Libraries and School of Information Studies

Mechanical engineering graduate students in the short course “Professional Development and Life-Long Information Strategies for Engineering Research.”

“Many students this summer commented they had not experienced a course like this before and told us they know it’s going to be extremely useful in their future engineering careers,” Phillips noted. “The students were eager to learn the course material, and they were extremely patient as they participated in active learning lessons, a departure from what they are used to, because nearly all of their courses are taught in a direct instruction format,” she added.

Per the course evaluation, 100 percent of students who responded said, “Yes, I would recommend this course to other engineering graduate students.” In addition, the students respondents gave the overall course a median rating of “5-Excellent,” and both instructors (Phillips and Hibiki) received median ratings of “5-Excellent” (N=30; scale – 5-Excellent, 4-Good, 3-Fair, 2-Poor, 1-Very Poor).

As a result, Pusan National University officials invited Phillips to be an adjunct professor of mechanical engineering at PNU.

In the Q&A below, Phillips shares more of the story about her teaching experience in South Korea.

Margaret Phillips, Purdue University Libraries and School of Information Studies

Professor Phillips said the “Professional Development and Life-Long Information Strategies for Engineering Research” course goals related to information literacy include: 1). develop knowledge and skills that sustain lifelong learning, particularly the abilities to discover, access, evaluate, use, and manage information; and 2). present information clearly, effectively, and ethically.

Q: How did this opportunity come about?

Phillips: I was invited by an emeritus faculty member in nuclear engineering, Dr. Takashi Hibiki, to co-develop and co-teach this course. When Takashi was at Purdue, we co-taught a similar nuclear engineering graduate course for two semesters, NUCL 580 (“Essential Communication Skills for Nuclear Engineering”). We used that content, as well as content from a graduate course I co-teach with Dave Zwicky (PULSIS) in ILS 595 (“Information Strategies for Science, Technology, and Engineering Research”) as a basis for the course. Dr. Hibiki has a close relationship with a faculty member in the School of Mechanical Engineering at PNU (Dr. Jae Jun Jeong), who is in charge of the nuclear engineering program (the nuclear engineering program is housed within their school of mechanical engineering). (Dr. Jeong was a visiting scientist at Purdue in the School of Nuclear Engineering in 2006-07.)

Dr. Hibiki described the Purdue course (NUCL 580) we co-taught to Dr. Jeong, and he was very interested in having a shortened version of this course offered at PNU for students in their School of Mechanical Engineering (ME).

Dr. Jeong worked hard to secure approval and funding, and he formally invited us to teach the short course. This was the first time a one-week short course had been offered in their school. Dr. Jeong also promoted the course to graduate students in the School of ME, and he encouraged other faculty members in the school to do so, as well.

This was the first time I had ever taught a shortened version of this course, and it was also the first time I had taught the content to non-Purdue students. This required making the course less “Purdue-centric” and more focused on life-long learning.

Q. Tell me about the course design: How did you design it with your co-instructor? What kinds of information does it have for mechanical engineering students, and what are the learning outcomes for the students in this course?

Phillips: We used the two previous courses mentioned as a basis for the course design. We encouraged Dr. Jeong to review the course schedules for the two courses mentioned and select the topics he felt were most needed and relevant for the students. We then used his selections to develop the course.

Professor Phillips (left) and Hibiki (far right) pose with one of the students who earned a course certificate in the course “Professional Development and Life-Long Information Strategies for Engineering Research” at Pusan National University (PNU) last July.

Professors Phillips (left) and Hibiki (far right) pose with one of the students who earned a course certificate in the short course “Professional Development and Life-Long Information Strategies for Engineering Research” at Pusan National University (PNU) last July.

The course goals related to information literacy include: 1). develop knowledge and skills that sustain lifelong learning, particularly the abilities to discover, access, evaluate, use, and manage information; and 2). present information clearly, effectively, and ethically.

Topics covered included: searching for information, citation management, technical standards, being an engineering scholar, scholarly publishing, copyright, avoiding plagiarism, conducting reviews, making technical presentations, and data-management basics.

Q. How many graduate students were in your course?
Phillips: We had 42 mechanical engineering graduate students enrolled and 35 students earned certificates from their school for taking the course. To earn the certificate, students had to participate in at least 12 of the 15 hours of class. Many of the students were from Korea, but several were international students from various countries (e.g., India, United Arab Emirates, and Italy). All of the students were on summer break, and while they each had the opportunity to earn a certificate, the course was not required and formal course credit was not awarded for their participation.

As an adjunct instructor, how will you contribute to instruction in the mechanical engineering program at PNU?
Phillips: My adjunct instructor appointment is for two years. As part of the plan, the course will be taught in person at Pusan National University at least one more time during that time frame, and my appointment will be considered for renewal at the end of two years. The faculty at Pusan prefer an in-person offering of the course, rather than online.

Purdue University Libraries and School of Information Studies Assistant Professor Margaret Phillips also serves as an engineering information specialist at Purdue University. Her liaison areas include nuclear engineering, engineering technology, technical standards, and industrial engineering.