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LibWire: Updates

News from York College Library

Open Science


The Changing Role of Academic Librarians in the Era of Open Science


Librarianship is a profession that is both very old and very modern. Intrinsically linked to literacy and knowledge, our profession has epitomized civilization and culture for centuries. Yet librarianship is very dynamic, too. Few other professions have been so deeply influenced by the development of new technologies and have resurrected and reinvented themselves accordingly. Libraries – especially academic libraries – have always been at the forefront of human progress, with their role shifting from providing access to scholarly literature toward assisting researchers in its creation.  Under the Open Science framework, academic libraries have to adapt and expand their services to a new research and educational paradigm.

open science logo

Open Science is often described as a multifaceted notion encompassing open access to publications, open research data, open source software, open collaboration, open peer review, open notebooks, open educational resources, open monographs, citizen science, or research crowdfunding in order to remove barriers in the sharing of scientific research output and raw data[1]. No doubt the Open Science movement is an effort to make scientific data a public good in contrast to the expansion of intellectual property rights over knowledge. Therefore, Open Science is more of a social and cultural phenomenon aiming to recover the founding principles of scientific research rather than an alternative form of knowledge exchange. Open access and open data are the two components with the biggest impact on academic library services and operations under the Open Science model. In this  context,  academic librarians have to take on  new roles. In addition to libarians’ traditional role of providing access to primary and secondary resources, librarians can also maximize the research and educational potential of digital technologies and strive to provide open access to faculty creative works and data sets in institutional repositories.  Academic institutions choose different approaches to ensure  support for Open Science, but in all instances the academic librarians are entitled to play a central role by providing leadership, information services, research data management services, and even collaborating in research projects in their institutions. Academic librarians are enablers, promoters, mediators, and educators. They can offer guidance andtraining,  not only in the exploratory stage of research, but also in providing metadata and other research data management services, hosting data in repositories and ensuring their long-term curation and preservation. In order to support open data driven research, academic librarians have re-invented themselves by expanding traditional library services and adopting new data science roles. This requires them  to expand their qualifications beyond library science and subject degrees toward information technologies, data science, and data curation or e-science. Librarians have to acquire new knowledge and master new skills because the curation of digital resources differs from that of traditional materials. These processes have led to a deep transformation in librarians themselves, making them more technologically savvy, data oriented and active participants in the research process.

—Stefka Tzanova, Assistant Professor & Science Librarian


[1] Foster. (2017). What is Open Science? Introduction.  Retrieved from

Identifying Peer Reviewed Journals


Is This Journal Peer Reviewed? Using EBSCO to Find Out


Since EBSCO databases contain a variety of sources – popular magazines, newspapers, academic journals, and peer reviewed academic journals – they are also a fairly easy way to check to see if a journal is peer reviewed.  Each database has a “Publications” link in the upper left corner of the top toolbar, which contains information about the source publications that are indexed in that particular database.  For example, here’s the link in EBSCO’s Academic Search Complete database:


screenshot of ebscohost searching publications interface academic search complete


If one checks the record for the ABA Journal in Academic Search Complete, one finds that the “peer reviewed” field in the EBSCO record says “no”:

screenshot of ebscohost publication details for ABA journal


If one checks the record for the Reference Librarian in EBSCO’s Library & Information Science Source, one finds that the “peer reviewed” field in the record says “yes”:

screenshot of ebscohost publication details for reference librarian


The Library also provides access to The Serials Directory database from EBSCO, which unfortunately does not contain information on every publication contained in the various EBSCO databases – so it can still be useful to check the individual subject databases, especially if the title that one is checking is not listed in The Serials Directory.  For example, the Columbia Journalism Review is not listed in The Serials Directory, but it is listed under “Publications” in Academic Search Complete – although it is a widely respected and important source, it is not peer reviewed.  For some reason, although The Serials Directory will say if a journal is peer reviewed, it doesn’t explicitly say that a publication is not peer reviewed – rather, The Serials Directory just omits the peer reviewed field altogether if the title is not peer reviewed.

If one has a valid library card from the New York Public Library, one can also access Ulrichsweb, which provides detailed information on over 300,000 periodicals, including whether or not a title is peer reviewed.


—John A. Drobnicki, Professor & Acquisitions Librarian



Information Technology Update


York College Library's IT Project Deployment


laptops file folders

Thanks to a successful collaboration with the Information Technology department, Buildings & Grounds department, and support from the Student Government Association there were several improvement projects completed in York College Library throughout the 2018-2019 school year.  These projects included significantly expanding the number of computers available to students, the addition of an online reservation system, and an update and reconfiguration of the Copy Center to make it more user-friendly. 

Throughout the Fall 2018 term, 42 new computer workstations were added to the 2nd floor, 38 were added to the 3rd floor, and 20 Surface Pro Tablets were added to the existing pool of laptops that are available for students to check-out from the Circulation & Reserve desk.  The Center for Students with Disabilities arranged for four additional CCTV’s, which can increase print size and change background colors, to be made available. 

In the Spring 2019 term, CardinalReserve, the much anticipated online reservation system was launched.  York students can now reserve a computer workstation or a group study room up to seven days in advance and ensure that the resources they need will be available when they come to the library.  With their network credentials, students can make reservations on or off-campus using a smartphone, computer, tablet, or by visiting the Circulation & Reserve desk where a newly installed kiosk has been made available.  Circulation Staff are readily available to help navigating use of the kiosk and answer questions about use of CardinalReserve, as well as to check-out keys for when group study rooms have been reserved.  The CardinalReserve system also provides a live map indicating which computer workstations are available for immediate use.   

copiers printers scanners york college libraryDue to the very high demand and use of scanners, three additional scanners were added to the Copy Center.  Students can use these scanners to send digitized content in a variety of formats to their email, upload to a Google Docs account, save to a USB drive, or send to a smartphone. The addition of these scanners required a creative reconfiguration of the space which already saw a high amount of traffic.  IT staff and the library’s IT coordinator worked collaboratively to give this area a much needed make-over; copiers, print release stations, color printers, and scanners were all relocated each to their own zones organized in a way that is much easier to navigate.

These updates to and expansion of library services for students would not have been possible without the hard work, vision, and dedication of Mr. Greg Vega of the Information Technology Department, Mr. Mahamed Hanif the Electrician Supervisor from Buildings & Grounds, Mr. Jahed Sarwar the Library’s IT Coordinator, and the Student Government Association.      

—Mohammed J. Sarwar, Systems Administrator

Circulation Policy Update


Tablet Circulation Policy


The library is delighted to provide tablets for loan to York students. The Surface Pro tablets are available for current York students only, since the funding for the tablets was provided for by the York Student Government Association, which is funded by York student fees. 

The Surface Pro tablets run Windows 10, and include the following applications:

  • Microsoft Word 2016;
  • Microsoft Excel 2016;
  • Microsoft PowerPoint 2016;
  • Microsoft Publisher 2016;
  • Microsoft Access 2016;
  • Media player (with speakers);
  • Notepad;
  • Calculator;
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader;
  • Microsoft Edge;
  • Google Chrome;
  • Internet Explorer; and
  • Firefox.

The tablets are loaned out for two hours at a time, with the option to renew once. If a tablet is returned late, the borrower will be fined at a rate of $0.25/minute or $15.00/hour; the replacement cost is $1,200.00. Before checking out the tablet, the student must fill out a form to agree to take care of the tablet, return it on time, and accept responsibility for any fines if the tablet is returned late. 

—Professor Scott Sheidlower, Head of Circulation

Plant Revitalization Project


Plant Revitalization Project: Looking Lush & Leafy in the Library


tropical plants in library‚ÄčMillennials have been blamed for killing a lot of industries[1] (razors, weddings, casual dining, golf, mayonnaise), but definitely not houseplants[2]. Maybe it’s that Instagram aesthetic[3]; maybe they’re just filling a void in their hearts[4] where kids or homeownership[5] would be. Whatever the reason, millennials really love plants[6]. Even NASA supports the idea that common houseplants can have a beneficial effect on air quality[7], and other research suggests that indoor plants can possibly help alleviate the effects of Sick Building Syndrome[8].

York College Library may not have an active renovations budget, but we do have an abundance of lush tropical plants. Over the years, the library’s plants have mostly thrived—and sometimes just barely survived through periods of neglect. As part of an effort to improve our space and indoor environment, we have recommitted to taking care of our leafy friends, and—under the care of Travis Hilton—they are truly flourishing. Notably, the peace lilies (Spathiphyllum) have been flowering happily since January, the Ming aralia (Polyscias fruticosa) has put out numerous lacy leaves, and the philodendron tree (Philodendron bipinnatifidum) keeps sending out new fronds and self-propagating baby plants along the base of its trunk. 

Behind the scenes, we are tending to fresh cuttings and new clones of our existing specimens in order to increase the spread of indoor plants throughout the library. We like to think our collection of library plants can lead to cleaner indoor air, help boost idea generation, enhance problem-solving skills, and improve the overall ambience of our shared space. 

peace lily by windowphilodendron and peace lily in library

The library staff will be taking care of these plants so please don't water them or feed them any snacks, but we hope you will enjoy their appearance throughout York Library.‚Äč


—Meredith Powers, Instructor & Eresources Librarian

[1] Taylor, K. (2019, February 1). Millennials and their spending habits are wreaking havoc on these 18 industries. Retrieved from

[2] Boyle, M. (2019, April 11). The One Thing Millennials Haven’t Killed Is Houseplants. Retrieved from

[3] Tolentino, J. (2019, April 18). The Leafy Love Affair Between Millennials and Houseplants. Retrieved from

[4] Ramanathan, L. (2017, September 7). Millennials are filling their homes — and the void in their hearts — with houseplants. Retrieved from

[5] Boone, L. (2018, July 24). They don’t own homes. They don't have kids. Why millennials are plant addicts. Retrieved from

[6] Hoffower, H. (2019, April 12). Millennials really love plants. Retrieved from

[7] Wolverton, B. C., Johnson, A., & Bounds, K. (1989). Interior landscape plants for indoor air pollution abatement. Retrieved from

[8] Torpy, F. (2013, July 10). Sick Building Syndrome: how indoor plants can help clear the air. Retrieved from




Cataloging Update


Not Just Cataloging


The Cataloging Department had a busy time last year and we expect more of the same for the coming year. In order to prepare Aleph records for a smooth migration to the next library services platform (LSP), the CUNY Office of Library Services (OLS) launched a series of Aleph catalog optimization projects. Thanks to the efforts of Ms. Rose Dunne and Mr. Lesly Previl, as well as the Circulation and Reserve Department, we have already accomplished five of the eight major projects: “Local Fields for Clean-up,” “Collection Code and Circulation Policy Synchronization,” “Duplicate Holding Records,” “Printed & Electronic Records,” and “Items without Collection Codes.”

Ms. Dunne is an Administrative Assistant and mainly responsible for processing COUTTS shelf-ready books and donations that have been cataloged. Mr. Previl is a CUNY Office Assistant and taking care of serials’ check-in and check-out. This year, he is actively engaged himself in professional development provided by CUNY Human Resources or OLS. They worked together closely and went downstairs and upstairs a few times, verifying book call numbers, titles and years against corresponding information on the list in their hands, checking every possible location and identifying those books that were recorded as LOST (LO) or LOST/PAID (LP) in the system. They discovered more than one hundred LO and LP books! Those books could be deleted from the library system because they were considered as “lost books.” Currently, the cataloging department is working on reviewing “Suppressed Records.” A successful migration will not mean an end of our story. Continuous effort will be required to make sure that our work is meeting the new LSP’s needs and fulfilling its mission in the future.

As one of the Library Association of City University of New York (LACUNY) Professional Development Travel Grant recipients, I attended 2019 American Library Association (ALA) Midwinter Conference on January 25th-29th in Seattle. This was my first time to travel to the west coast. Although the ALA Midwinter Conference is held for committees to get together to handle internal business and prepare for the summer annual conference, it still offers very interesting programs. I attended ten of them, covering topics from meeting patrons’ needs to innovation in education. I am very grateful to the support that LACUNY provided to its members, which indeed helps update my knowledge in today’s fast changing world.

—Junli Diao, Assistant Professor, Cataloging & Serials