Tag Archives: UvA-Library

Opening academic year

2 Sep

CW cube
Next to the groups of students I already had the pleasure to welcome to Library skills workshops (among others, during the UvA Master’s Introduction on August 22), I got last week two more signs of the approaching new academic year, which has officially started today:

– the Communication Cube Calendar, functioning as well as a countdown to the move of the departments of the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (and the Library with them) from the present location in the centre of Amsterdam to the Roeterseiland campus in July 2014.

– the 3rd revised printing of the academic skills guide for Sociology (Sociologie als ambacht, ‘sociology as a craft’), to which I have been contributing with a chapter on the ‘bibliotheek’ from the first edition two years ago.

3e editie Sociologie als ambacht


Sakai and the UvA: abbreviate… and tremble!

4 Jun

hardin and sakaiLike many other academic institutions in the Netherlands and abroad, the University of Amsterdam is currently developing better practice and guidelines with regard to research data management (take a look at the website of the British Digital Curation Centre for an example of relevant high-quality information source).

Being the topic not only quite new to most of us library professionals but, at first sight, rather technical stuff as well, I am just the more grateful that colleagues Janneke Staaks en Mariëtte van Selm invited me to give a speech (and therefore to learn more) on the UvA’s Sakai-based research data management tools at last week D-Day Sociaal Wetenschappelijke Informatie, with Sociaal Wetenschappelijke Informatie, i.e. SWI, standing for Social Sciences Information and referring to the eponymous work group of the Royal Dutch Association of Information Professionals, the KNVI). And where UvA, needless to say, stands for Universiteit van Amsterdam and Sakai…

GOTCHA! It’s abbreviations, I realised while working at my speech, that often make me uneasy, both as a general rule, but all the more so if I’m dealing with any ICT-related topic of the information profession (research data management included): acronyms superfluously help increase the imperviousness of the technical jargon. They are available “in all sizes and shapes”, devised with or without associations to literary characters or historical figures, to natural phenomena or (unintentionally) foreign words with completely, and sometimes amusingly ambiguous, different meanings.

Here follow some of the abbreviations I came across while setting my speech, having omitted the ones not strictly related to RDM Research Data Management: Chef CompreHensive collaborativE Framework, Jasig Java in Administration Special Interest Group, Fedora Flexible Extensible Digital Object Repository Architecture, VRE Virtual Research Environment, VLE Virtual Learning Environment, Fluor Functionele Laagdrempelige UvA Communities Onderzoeksdata Repository (or Easily accessible functional UvA Communities research data repository), CARDS Controlled Access to Research Data Stored Securely, DANS Data Archiving and Networked Services. A nice overview for me to fall back on in the future.

As for Sakai: inspired, just as ‘Chef’ above, by the Japanese television cooking show Iron Chef, it originally was meant also as acronym for Synchronized Architecture for Knowledge Acquisition Infrastructure… «too big a mouthful!», stated Joseph Hardin, one of Sakai’s initiators, in his welcome speech at the 2005 Sakai Conference. «It is just a nice word. We like the sound»… Hiroyuki Sakai being one of Iron Chef‘s contestants (it’s him and Hardin in the photo above, taken from the afore mentioned 2005 Conference speech powerpoint).

As for the Venetian photo below (found here), being uva the Italian word for grapes, and me utterly in love with Venice, the Passageway of the University of Amsterdam was too big a temptation to resist for ending this post!


E-books : the revenge

16 May

After an absence from my blog which has been longer than I expected or wished for, I take the liberty of an associative cinematographic title to address briefly again (see the ‘first episode’ from december 2010) the topic of how to use e-books.

Supplier Dawsonera‘s lately renovated website has namely given me the opportunity for rewriting the demo I made in 2010 to help users getting familiar with (Dawsonera’s) digital books.

Having the slides’ number dropped from eighteen in 2010 to eleven today, I guess this must say something about my powerpoint/summarizing skills and/or about Dawsonera’s improved interface: gladly I do leave the arduous verdict to posterity («Ai posteri l’ardua sentenza»), to quote from 19th Century Italian writer Alessandro Manzoni’s ode Il cinque maggio (May the Fifth, vv. 31-32), by which I’m also able to end the post with books whereas I started with movies.

P.S.: next to what the demo explains, access restrictions to e-books are possible off-campus. If you are UvA-student or staff, please check the UvA-library site for information on off-campus access.

Off-campus access easier at the UvA

11 Mar

As from last 8th March UvA-students and staff do no longer need a client software (UvAvpn) to access e-journals and databases off-campus: when opening a database or an e-journal via the Library website, Catalogue or CataloguePlus, all you need to do is log in with your UvAnetID. Only one login will be needed per browser session.

When using Google Scholar, please adjust the settings beforehand by (searching and) selecting the link to University of Amsterdam (see screenshot), and thereafter access any available e-journal article via the UvA-linker.

GS settings UvA

P.S.: UvAvpn remains available (more information here). For any question regarding the new off campus access, please contact UBAcoach.

Olympic Games (1): race, sport… and how to define a search topic

9 Aug

Last Sunday evening while watching the men’s 100m final at the Olympic Games, I realised how perfectly normal it is anno 2012 to enjoy such an Olympic final with exclusively black athletes competing in it. Just think – to name the most notorious case – about the commotion caused by the participation and particularly by the successes of American Jesse Owens at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin.

Yet, wait a moment: is it really “perfectly normal” by now? How do race and sport relate to each other, not only during major international competitions, but in everyday life as well, at sport schools and clubs? Is there any literature on the topic?

A simple search run in the catalogue of the UvA-Library with search terms ‘sport’ and ‘race’ retrieves 13 titles. Sport and challenges to racism from 2010 is full-text online at Palgrave (on-campus, yet see here to gain off-campus access as UvA-student or -employee), while both the recent Sport: race, ethnicity and identity: building global understanding (2012) and Race, sport and the American dream , from 2007, are available at the Bushuis Library.

These books can give us some inspiration if we wish to turn our curiosity into a search topic. We may think of a geographical limit, as suggested by the book over the ‘American dream’ or – speaking of the Netherlands – by a chapter in the e-book: Thinking ‘Race’ and Ethnicity in (Dutch) Sports Policy and Research.

Other possibilities to focus the topic are the type of sport (basket, cricket, football) and the period (nazi Germany, apartheid South Africa). And what about the (social) actors involved, when race and sport matter? Professional athletes or amateurs, sports journalists, the International Olympic Comittee, hooligans, local sport clubs?

Should you want to learn more on how to define a search topic and find scholarly literature, then you might be interested in the Library Skills workshops offered by the UvA-Library: take a look here for the course schedule (both English and Dutch classes are offered).

P.S.: this post is the translation of the Dutch text I delivered for today’s weekly ‘column’ that UBA-coach (the Information Service of the UvA-Library) publishes on its Facebook profile.

Photo: FAMU athlete Robert Hayes practices running on the track – Tallahassee, Florida, 1962. State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory. FAMU is the Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University.

Children’s literacy: advertising, information, sexual

21 Jun

The RSS-feeds I am subscribed to usually give me inspiration when choosing a topic to blog on. This post is no exception to the rule, yet the latest cover page of UvA-Hva students’ weekly Folia Magazine (see picture) – and the article it actually refers to – provided extra input.

To start with, the magazine made me think of an article title in The Guardian I blogged on last year with regard to (needless to say) information literacy, and which could be restated in the case of Folia Magazine as «A case of never letting the topic spoil a good headline».

What the Dutch do better than the Americans («Wij doen het beter dan de Amerikanen») has namely nothing to do with fellatio, but with sexual awareness and education – in other terms (to make the case for this post), sexual literacy – such as this might be developed in young people by reading teen magazines. This is the topic of Suchi Joshi‘s dissertation, reviewed on pages 6-8 of Folia Magazine, and entitled «Adolescent sexual socialization and teen magazines: a cross-national study between the United States and the Netherlands» (defended June 7th; promoters: professor Patty Valkenburg, Spinoza Laureate 2011, and professor Jochen Peter).

To know more about Joshi’s research, you can read her interview on the site of CcaM, the Center for research on children, adolescents and the Media, which is part of ASCoR, the UvA Amsterdam School of Communication Research, and whose research focuses on the role and influence of media use in children’s and adolescents’ lives.

Esther Rozendaal is not only another CcaM researcher, but also one whose PhD thesis has been lately awarded the 2012 Dissertation Award by the ICA, International Communication Association. Entitled «Advertising literacy and children’s susceptibility to advertising», Rozendaal’s thesis explores the development and role of advertising literacy in children’s lives, contributing pivotal insights on how advertising-related knowledge is connected to children’s advertising susceptibility.

Sections of Rozendaal’s publication are available online at UvA-DARE, the Digital Academic Repository of the University of Amsterdam, while a (complete) print copy can be borrowed at the UvA-Bushuis library. By the way: as far as libraries are concerned, it is information literacy what we most care about:

«To be information literate, a person must be able to recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information» (ACRL’s Presidential Committee on Information Literacy: Final Report).

«Developing lifelong learners is central to the mission of higher education institutions. By ensuring that individuals have the intellectual abilities of reasoning and critical thinking, and by helping them construct a framework for learning how to learn, colleges and universities provide the foundation for continued growth throughout their careers, as well as in their roles as informed citizens and members of communities. Information literacy is a key component of, and contributor to, lifelong learning» (Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education).

Photo’s from CcaM-site.

Amsterdam Social Science (& the UvA-Library)

24 Apr

Amsterdam Social Science is the open access quarterly published by students of the Graduate School of Social Sciences at the University of Amsterdam and at the Graduate School of Social Sciences at the VU University. The peer-reviewed articles and essays are written by MA and PhD students with «the aim to interest students for each other’s work and to give young researchers a free and independent platform to present and discuss their findings». Published last month, the latest issue addresses such different topics as:
– the representations of women, whether as terrorists, popular figures in present-day Indonesian cinema or character in Disney’s “The Little Mermaid”;
migration seen by international students;
war in Africa;

The variety of subjects dealt with in the journal gives an excellent opportunity to have a quick look at what the UvA-Library collections have to offer with regard to:

women and their representations; among the titles to be found by searching the Library catalogue (All fields= wom*n AND All fields= representation OR image), there is the scholarly book
Women, advertising and representation: beyond familiar paradigms, published by the Hampton Press in 2010;

– as for international students and migration, two e-books by Palgrave (2011) – Global Migration, Ethnicity and Britishness and Student Mobilities, Migration and the Internationalization of Higher Education – are retrieved by the following catalogue search query: (Subject= students OR All fields= “international students”) AND (Subject= migration OR Subject= migrants);

– when searching for ‘war’ AND ‘Africa’ (both terms as Subject), the catalogue will retrieve 21 titles, among which the 2011 Polity book War & conflict in Africa;

Kosovo (catalogue searched for Subject= Kosovo), namely the NATO military intervention of 1999, is dealt with in A Critical Humanitarian Intervention Approach, a Palgrave e-book of 2011.

Should you want to learn more about searching for literature, whether in the UvA-Library catalogue or elsewhere, or about using search operators (brackets, quotation marks, asterisk, AND/OR etc.) take a look at the UvA-Library homepage, both for online demo’s or for asking the librarians (UBAcoach).

Book covers from Google books.