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JSTOR Sustainabilty: Supporting Multidisciplinary Researchers


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In this talk, Alex Humphreys, Director of JSTOR Labs, discusses the development of a new JSTOR project focused on Sustainability. The project, which incorporates scholarly and policy literature from the environmental humanities and social sciences, is being designed with guidance from scholars and subject librarians across disciplines to help students and scholars better understand and navigate the growing corpus of interdisciplinary research in this field. The talk will include a discussion of the challenges in building a library of scholarly materials on Sustainability, a demonstration of some of the functionality that has been developed for the Sustainability project in collaboration with scholars, including a semantic index and a collection of topic pages, and an overview of the research and development methodology that we use in developing new functionality for JSTOR—a process that has enabled us to develop and test new features in as little as a week’s time. The talk may be of especial interest to conference attendees who teach undergraduate students, and to graduate students and early-stage scholars who are considering alternative-academic careers in publishing or technology.

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JSTOR Sustainabilty: Supporting Multidisciplinary Researchers

  2. 2. JSTOR is a not-for-profit digital library of academic journals, books, and primary sources. Ithaka S+R is a not-for-profit research and consulting service that helps academic, cultural, and publishing communities thrive in the digital environment. Portico is a not-for-profit preservation service for digital publications, including electronic journals, books, and historical collections. ITHAKA is a not-for-profit organization that helps the academic community use digital technologies to preserve the scholarly record and to advance research and teaching in sustainable ways.
  3. 3. JSTOR Labs works with partner publishers, libraries and labs to create tools for researchers, teachers and students that are immediately useful – and a little bit magical.
  4. 4. Sustainability is … “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” - UN Brundtland Commission “Our Common Future” report, 1987
  6. 6. Sustainability is inherently multidisciplinary A lot of academic research is focused on the single discipline it contributes to Researchers must discover and interpret research outside their core discipline THE CORE PROBLEM, IN ONE DIAGRAM
  7. 7. Sustainability is inherently multidisciplinary A lot of academic research is focused on the single discipline it contributes to Researchers must discover and interpret research outside their core discipline THE CORE PROBLEM, IN ONE DIAGRAM “When I’m looking into a new topic, I try my best to understand the story of it.”
  8. 8. Sustainability is inherently multidisciplinary A lot of academic research is focused on the single discipline it contributes to Researchers must discover and interpret research outside their core discipline THE CORE PROBLEM, IN ONE DIAGRAM How could JSTOR, with its broad corpus of scholarship, help?
  10. 10. Talk to users [need a pic of some sort here] Still taken from!labs_week-building_jstor_snap
  11. 11. What innovation looks like. Desirable Image source:
  12. 12. Iterayte. Iterrate. Itterate. Iterate. Iterate! (rapidly)
  13. 13. Iterayte. Iterrate. Itterate. Iterate. Iterate! (rapidly) Some ideas we tested but didn’t build: - Article Summary - Highlights - Why it Matters - Tweets about this article
  14. 14. OUR SOLUTION
  15. 15.
  16. 16. TOPICS • JSTOR Thesaurus: a controlled vocabulary w/ 48,000+ unique terms • Each term has: - parents/children - synonyms, preferred/non-preferred terms - rules by which it is applied to an article • Subject matter experts reviewed and extended the branches dealing with Sustainability • With their input, we created ~750 topic pages, ranging from acid rain to zoogeography
  17. 17. JSTOR Sustainability Topics!/vizhome/JSTORSustainabilityTopics/Story1
  18. 18. INFLUENTIAL ARTICLES • Developed in partnership with Jevin West and the U of Washington’s DataLab • Invented and core development completed in one week-long “flash build” • Incorporates Eigenfactor, a citation-network based impact measure developed by Carl Bergstrom and Jevin West “When I’m looking into a new topic, this tells me the key papers and people. This is the topic’s story, visualized.”
  19. 19. WHAT’S NEXT • Keep iteratiing iterating - on the site - on the topics • Incorporate into primary JSTOR site • Create new “Sustainability collection” for libraries, consisting of new-to-JSTOR journals and research reports • Explore the application of these ideas beyond Sustainability: - Security Studies - Human Rights - All of JSTOR…
  20. 20. THANK YOU Alex Humphreys Director, JSTOR Labs ITHAKA @abhumphreys
  22. 22. THE SUSTAINABILITY COLLECTION » A new curated multidisciplinary collection of 100 new-to-JSTOR journals drawn from more than 20 disciplines » Enhanced by research reports from over 40 leading think tanks around the world » Tested and built in partnership with librarians and scholars » Complemented by the strong base of content already in JSTOR – more than 200,000 articles from roughly 45 publications in the JSTOR Corpus that address various issues in sustainability » Enriched by specialized tools geared to the interdisciplinary research
  23. 23. TOPIC COVERAGE »Sustainable Business Practices »Environmental Engineering »Environmental Studies »Environmental Science »Environmental and Natural Resources Law »Energy Policy and Economics »Urban Planning and the Built Environment »Development Studies »Climatology and Atmospheric Science »Human Ecology »Green Energy »Transportation and Infrastructure »Land Conservation »Environmental History »Food Security »Agricultural Economics »Public Health and Population Studies »Water Management »Waste Management
  24. 24. CONTENT HIGHLIGHTS BY DISCIPLINE • Economics Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, University of Chicago Press American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural & Applied Economics Association • Architecture / Built Env. APT Bulletin, Association for Preservation Technology International CTBUH Journal, Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat Built Environment (1978-), Alexandrine Press • Public Health Journal of Public Health Policy Sustainability, Palgrave Macmillan Journals Environmental Health Perspectives, Brogan & Partners Occupational and Environmental Medicine, BMJ Publishing Group • Aquatic / Env. Sciences Journal, American Water Works Association Opflow, American Water Works Association Water Environment Research, Water Environment Federation Waterlines, Practical Action Publishing
  25. 25. CONTENT HIGHLIGHTS BY DISCIPLINE • Law Natural Resources & Environment, American Bar Association Carbon & Climate Law Review, Lexxion Verlagsgesellschaft mbH Ecology Law Quarterly, University of California, Berkeley Journal of Land Use & Environmental Law, Florida State University College of Law • Sociology Environmental Values, White Horse Press Nature and Culture, Berghahn Books Environment & Society, Berghahn Books • Urban Studies Urban Studies, Sage Publications, Ltd. Ekistics, Athens Center of Ekistics • Ecology Ecological Applications, Ecological Society of America Ecological Restoration, University of Wisconsin Press Human Ecology, Springer Science + Business Media Conservation Biology, Wiley Subscription Services, Inc.