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Outreach & Discovery

Women of Bristol Exhibition

by Heidi Benedict, University Archivist


Women of Bristol Exhibition
Rogers Free Library Entrance Gallery
April 1 through April 30, 2017

The Women of Bristol Exhibition is the first ever exhibit-oriented collaboration between nearly all of Bristol’s historic, arts, and cultural institutions. Contributors include Blithewold Mansion, Gardens & Arboretum, The Bristol Historical & Preservation Society, Coggeshall Farm Museum, First Congregational Church, Herreshoff Marine Museum, Linden Place Mansion, Rogers Free Library and Roger Williams University Library.


The exhibition focuses on several important women from Bristol living between 1795 and 1995 — Maria Rogers, Theodora DeWolf Colt, Izannah Walker, Abby D. Munro, Alice Bell Morgan, Marjorie Randolph Van Wickle Lyon, Jane Nelle and Alice DeWolf Pardee. Although not from Bristol, Amelia Simmons, author of the first American cookbook, is also included in the exhibit. The exhibition brings together a unique collection of objects, including cooking and sailing implements, artwork, photographs, books and other written material.


The exhibit opens in the Rogers Free Library entrance gallery at 525 Hope Street on April 1 and will be available for viewing during library hours until April 30. It is free and open to the public.

Library Announces 2017 OER Faculty Fellows


By Lindsey Gumb, Instructional Technology Librarian


The University Library, in collaboration with the Center for Scholarship, Assessment, Learning, Teaching and Technology (CSALT2) is excited to announce this year’s accepted participants for the 2017 OER Faculty Fellows program.  After last year’s successful pilot, we knew we needed to offer this opportunity again to our faculty, and here are the individuals who have stepped up to the challenge:


Paula Bailey – Mathematics

Bob Dermody – Architecture

Peter Hahn – Business

Chantelle Messier – Writing

Heather Miceli – CORE

Kathy Micken – Business

Janine Weisman – Journalism


The Fellows are asked to take a course in which they traditionally assign a textbook and to instead collaborate with a librarian and instructional designer during the summer to identify openly licensed resources that will ideally address two factors: they’ll be free (or low cost) for the student, and they’ll also offer the instructor an opportunity to better address student learning outcomes by implementing new pedagogies.  The process of locating and evaluating quality OER can be difficult at times, especially when faculty are looking for resources in disciplines that are not fully represented in the OER community.  These challenges can also be wonderful opportunities for faculty members to author new resources, which can then be openly licensed and shared with others.  OER is all about sharing – whether you are the consumer or creator!

The other vital piece to this program is assessment.  It’s a wonderful thing to be able to save students money on textbook costs, but we are also extremely interested in how OER impacts student learning.  Our Fellows will work with CSALT2 to create an assessment plan to help them track student engagement with the OER content, and determine what kind of impact it has had on learning.  At the end of the Fall 2017 semester, Fellows will be expected to share their results in a scholarly manner by developing a conference presentation and/or manuscript for publication.

If you are a faculty or staff member interested in learning more about OER on your own, please contact librarian Lindsey Gumb to be directed to a new self-paced tutorial.


Image: https://maricopa.instructure.com/courses/805732


OCLC WMS Implementation

by John Fobert, Electronic Resources Librarian

In July 2016, the library announced our migration to a new integrated library system called OCLC WorldShare Management.  At that time, work began on implementing a new interface to search our holdings as well as on the transfer of records from our previous library system to WMS.  In December, we completed migration of bibliographic and patron records to the new system.

Although we have successfully migrated our records, the technical services staff is only now getting a chance to work with the new system.  The staff is excited to finally be able to place and receive orders in WMS.  The serials department is anxious to use the dynamic invoicing tool which will allow us to track cost per usage for electronic resources in order to better inform our purchasing decisions.  The License Manager will automatically harvest usage statistics directly from vendors eliminating the need for staff intervention.  Cataloging of materials will now be initiated at the point of order and orders can be placed electronically using Edifact technology, an industry standard.

WMS allows for a much more streamlined workflow than our previous library system.  For that reason, a consultant from OCLC will be visiting the library in May to discuss how to create greater efficiencies in our procedures, allowing staff to pursue a wider range of tasks.  It is hoped that these behind the scenes changes will measurably improve the library’s ability to serve the University community.

There is No Such Thing as Educational Use

By Lindsey Gumb, Instructional Technology Librarian


It’s a common misconception that when a resource (e.g. an article, image, video, audio clip, etc.) is used in an educational setting that copyright restrictions dissolve entirely because “it’s educational use.”  I hate to be the bearer of bad news to all of you who may be guilty of casually letting this phrase roll off your tongue, but there is no such thing as educational use.  Really, I’m not lying: it’s not a real thing.  There is, however, Fair Use, which does in fact come into

play quite often in educational settings, granting educators and students alike leniency in many situations.  Let’s take a closer look.

Fair Use, or Section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Act is a subjective portion of the law which allows us to take and use portions of copyrighted works without obtaining the permission of the copyright holder, if and only if we use them for purposes such as criticism, commentary, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research.    To determine whether or not a use is considered fair or not, one must look at four different factors:


  • the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
  • the nature of the copyrighted work;
  • the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
  • the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

To give a relevant example in higher education, let’s look at a situation that surfaces often on many campuses, including Roger Williams:

Q: “I want to upload a PDF article I found in an RWU library database to Bridges for my students to read before our next class discussion.  Is this fair use?”


A: Here’s my motto: when in doubt, link out.   Instead of uploading the PDF to Bridges, simply copy and paste the permalink to the article for your students to access themselves.  You might argue that since Bridges requires a student to login it should be fine (and the courts may now agree with you), however, you are reproducing and distributing copies of copyrighted material without the explicit permission of the copyright holder by uploading the document.  By providing a link, the student is required to enter their library credentials to access the article, and if they choose, they can download it for their own personal study (and you hope they do), which is considered Fair Use.


The above example frustrates educators to no end; they feel that because the resource in question is used in an educational setting and for an educational purpose it should be okay to upload it without contacting the copyright holder (in this case, a publisher).  However, if we go back to the four factors listed above, you’ll note that number three mentions something about how much of the work (in this case, the article) one uses without obtaining said permission.  Reproducing and distributing a whole article does not favor fair use, but potentially a smaller portion would be okay.  Keep in mind, however, that the courts believe “intent to infringe is not needed to find copyright infringement.  Intent or knowledge is not an element of infringement, and thus even an innocent infringer is liable for infringement” (ARL).  If you’re unsure whether the use is fair or not, consult with legal counsel.

Because fair use is so subjective, in higher education we are often forced to choose between using the material we wish to use in the classroom and using subpar resources that don’t exactly fit our needs but have no copyright restrictions.  After reading the above Q&A, one can start to realize how frustrating working with copyright can be.

To end this article on a positive note, there is a lot of dialogue happening

in the academic and scholarly communities lately as advocates press Congress for a revision of the law to reflect the drastic change in technology and resource sharing capabilities that we have access to today as creators and consumers.  Most notably, Harvard University is hosting its 4th annual Fair Use Week from February 22 -26 both virtually and on the Cambridge campus.  Be sure to check it out!


Credit: Fair Use icon courtesy of Harvard University Library and copyright image courtesy OnlineColleges.net

New York Times Online is now available to the University community compliments of the RWU Library

By John Fobert, Electronic Resources Librarian



The library is proud to announce that it has been able to negotiate New York Times Online subscriptions for the University community.

Students will particularly enjoy the convenience of being able to access the latest issues of the New York Times as well as historical content back to 1851.  They will have a well written, researched and curated source of news at their fingertips.  The library hopes a resource with such relevancy to current events will spark discussion outside of the classroom thereby creating a more informed student body.

Faculty can enjoy the ease of incorporating current content into their courses as well as being able to access the New York Times in Education product.  The New York Times in Education product allows faculty to develop general instructional strategies based on learning outcomes. Students can also use this product to develop co-curricular activities when they are on-campus.

The NYT Online can be used for much more than just searching articles or reading today’s news.  Users can subscribe to newsletters such as The Edit where articles are matched to academic majors.  News alerts can be sent to mobile devices based on personal interests and needs.  There is a treasure trove of videos, photography, and other multi-media resources available.  Users can even save recipes from the food section to their own recipe box.

Sign up today!  If you need additional help or have questions, please contact the Library Information desk at 254-3375 or John Fobert, Electronic Resources Librarian at 245-3374.

To access you free subscription, see the instructions at http://rwu.libguides.com/NYTOnline

High-stakes Texts: Lowering the cost of textbooks to save Rhode Islander’s Money

By Lindsey Gumb, Instructional Technology Librarian

On September 27th Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo challenged the state’s institutions of higher education to save students $5 million over the next five years by replacing traditional (and expensive) textbooks with openly licensed (free) ones. Roger Williams University, along with 6 other colleges in the state have pledged to collaborate and engage with their respective faculty members to identify appropriate open textbooks to participate in this initiative.  As a part of this collaboration, a Steering Committee consisting of one librarian from each participating institution has been formed to provide guidance, learn from one another and to develop assessments along the way.  Instructional Technology Librarian, Lindsey Gumb, is representing RWU on the committee and is excited to marry the Governor’s initiative with the current partnerships the library has made on campus with the Open Educational Resources movement.

Developing and Implementing Affordable Excellence with OER

Kelly Donnell from the School of Education, Lindsey Gumb from the University Library and Linda Beith from the Center for Scholarship, Assessment, Learning, Teaching & Technology co-presented at the New England Faculty Development Consortium’s Annual Fall Conference on November 18, 2016 at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA. The theme of the conference was Civic Engagement and Service Learning.

The trio’s interactive, 55-minute presentation was entitled: Developing and Implementing Affordable Excellence with OER. The focus was on the use of Open Educational Resources (OER) for both K-12 and higher education institutions to provide meaningful access to effective technology, current, high-quality texts, and Common Core State Standard resources. RWU’s OER Fellows program was introduced with examples of projects underway and OER collections under development.

A Day in Washington D.C. – Advocating for Hamid Babaei

By Adrienne Wooster ‘19



The day before the presidential election, Professor Adam Braver, Grace Napoli, and I traveled to Washington D.C. to advocate for Hamid Babaei on behalf of the RWU Scholars at Risk Advocacy Seminar. Babaei, a former Ph.D. student at the University of Liege in Belgium, was arrested in 2013 by the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence for his refusal to spy on fellow students. Since his initial incarceration at Iran’s notorious Evin Prison and his transfer to Rajai Shahr Prison, Babaei’s mental and physical health have been in serious decline. Furthermore, the charges against him of “communicating with a hostile government” and “acts against national security” are alarmingly ambiguous to all of those in the human rights community. Despite the politically charged atmosphere in our nation’s capital, our concerns were humanitarian, not political. We met with both Democrat and Republican Representatives to raise awareness of Babaei’s case. The purpose of our trip was to gather a sufficient amount of information to further our advocacy efforts.

Our first meeting of the day was with Congressman Lee Zeldin. As we walked to the Longworth building, the quintessential autumn day seemed oddly desolate. The colossal hallways leading to Zeldin’s office were deserted other than the occasional intern briskly passing by. An ominous sense of foreboding was undeniable. This aside, our meeting with Zeldin was relatively successful. With genuine concern, he suggested that we research whether there are any prisoners of conscience with U.S. citizenship at Rajai Shahr prison. He speculated that presenting Congress with Babaei’s case along with the cases of incarcerated U.S. citizens might motivate action. This advice was echoed by April Wells, an aide to New York Senator Gillibrand’s office. Additionally, Wells advised that we find Iranian groups in either New York City or California with detailed knowledge of Iran’s legal process who might be willing to help Babaei.

Around noon, the silence of the city was broken by the bustling of the lunchtime rush hour. As we walked through the Metro, it seemed as if every fragment of passing conversation was about the upcoming election. Street vendors displayed apparel, reading “I’m With Her” and “Make America Great Again.” Newspapers displayed big pictures of the two candidates, under passionate and bolded titles. The nervous barrage of political festivities made me realize the profound value of humanitarian work. While the polarity between parties seemed to be pulling people apart, we continued on our way, trying to better the life of an individual – politics aside.


Our meetings with the Lantos Commission and Scott Busby of the U.S. State Department were most inspiring. At the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, we met with Senior Democrat Fellow, Kimberley Stanton. Stanton advised that we work with Scholars at Risk to assemble an application regarding Hamid Babaei for the Defending Freedom Project, which aims to protect the intellectual and religious freedom of individuals across the globe by pairing them with a member of Congress. At the State Department, Busby, the Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, recommended that because of Babaei’s health concerns, we pursue a medical furlough.

There is much humanitarian work to be done during this socially and politically tumultuous time. It was heartening to see concern expressed during our meetings about Hamid Babaei by both Republicans and Democrats. In a world where fear and ignorance are abundant, it is crucial that empathy and common ground be found over issues of basic human rights. Despite what the future may hold, the RWU Scholars at Risk Advocacy Seminar students will continue our humanitarian efforts, defending intellectual freedom and expression.

From The Archives: The Fulton/Howe Collection: November

By Heidi Benedict, University Archives


The Archives would like to share a newly discovered item from the Fulton/Howe Collection. We have found many unpublished writings, including diaries, school work, commonplace books and copy books written by several family members. Marshall N. Fulton’s father, William Jewett Fulton, Sr., wrote this piece on the history of political parties. Unfortunately, the remainder of the document has not yet been found, but we do have additional notes he prepared on the subject.


I’d also like to highlight some significant family events that happened in November:


  • Herbert Marshall Howe and Mary W. Fell were married on November 28, 1871. Howe established Ferrycliffe Farm in 1877.
  • Mary W. Fell’s father, Joseph Gillingham Fell, was born on November 14, 1816.
  • William Jewett Fulton Sr. died on November 14, 1919.
  • Mary Howe DeWolf Fulton died on November 27, 2006.


For more from this collection: click here

Biennial Library Assessment Conference Held

By John Schlinke, Architecture/Art Librarian

How do you effectively measure a library?  Every other year since 2006 the Library Assessment Conference (LAC) has brought people together who are engaged in answering this question.  Sponsored by the Association of Research Libraries and the University of Washington, this year’s conference was held in Arlington, VA at the end of October.  Approximately 640 people attended to discuss and debate the many ways that librarians and others seek to assess the varied aspects of libraries.

Some traditional library data like book counts, gate counts, checkouts, and others have long been used as professional assessment measures.  These important data focus on measures of quantity and use but they can only provide part of a complete picture.  Responsibilities of current academic libraries typically include library instruction, exhibits and programming, research support, development of local collections, community outreach, digitization, preservation, and many others.  As libraries’ responsibilities have evolved, assessment practices have also needed to evolve in order to measure library effectiveness.

To accurately measure an academic library is to assess all of its facets and see how those measures correlate with achieving the goals of the institution with which it is associated.  Assessment across the spectrum of library responsibilities requires a critical eye to select appropriate measurements, a variety of data collection methods (quantitative and qualitative), and a variety of data analysis techniques.  The Library Assessment Conference provided an opportunity to see concrete examples of how libraries are doing this work, as well as how they are presenting their findings to their communities in ways that are understandable and approachable.

After preparation and editing, the proceedings of the 2016 conference will be made be available via the Library Assessment Conference website.  In the meantime, the proceedings of the five previous conferences are currently available on the site.