Supporting Citizen Science in Libraries

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Bobb, Michael
Pellack, Lorraine
Schares, Eric
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Research Projects
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Reference and Instruction
Subject librarians in the Reference & Instruction Division select books, journals, and other information resources for the Library's collections; provide general and specialized reference services; and provide instruction in the use of libraries and information. The Associate Dean for Reference & Instruction administers Library 160, a required, undergraduate course that helps students identify, locate, and use information resources in a variety of formats
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University Library
The University Library provides and promotes discovery tools, trusted informational resources, and information literacy skills as a vital campus partner in ensuring that the university will lead the world in advancing the land-grant ideals of putting science, technology and human creativity to work. In doing so, the Library equips faculty, staff and students to create, share and apply knowledge in addressing the challenges of the 21st century. The University Library features a collection of over 2.6 million volumes, with strengths in biological and physical sciences and technology.
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Citizen Science (CS) projects depend on volunteers for data collection, and are often associated with universities and research organizations. Common CS projects include bird sightings, water quality efforts, and astronomy. We hypothesized that academic libraries (ALs) of land-grant universities would have more support for CS than non-land grant universities because of their inherent mission of public education rooted in science and engineering. We first searched the library guides of all Carnegie-designated R1 universities to see if there was a dedicated research guide on the topic, and we also noted if there was a “shout-out” to CS projects on guides that were not entirely dedicated to CS. Of the 116 R1 universities in the United States, 7% had a dedicated guide. Of the land-grant universities, 11% had dedicated research guides, whereas only 5% of the non-land grant universities had research guides on CS. Taking shout-outs of CS projects into account as well as dedicated research guides, 26% of land-grant universities met this criteria, compared to 16% of non-land grant R1’s. Additionally, public R1 universities in this study supported CS at a rate of 21%, compared to 14% of private R1 universities. Our poster not only explores this data visually, but will also share data and information on existing projects and organizations devoted to CS and will offer a brief analysis of the existing literature on starting and promoting CS projects. This poster will encourage more libraries to provide wider support for amateur STEM participation via CS projects.


This is a poster presented at ALA Annual Conference (2018). Posted with permission.

Mon Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2018