More Citizen Science!

Citizen Science Month may have ended, but citizen science continues! Join NASA and the Citizen Science Association for the first CitSciCon, online on May 21-22, 2021. Attend informative sessions and learn about citizen science projects sponsored by NASA.

  • Identify new planets, exoplanets, or comets
  • Paint images of coral reefs
  • Map penguin populations
  • And more!

Visit NASA’s page at SciStarter ( to register for events and learn more about projects.

Citizen Science Month

April is Citizen Science Month, and here in Rodgers Library we’re excited about all the events and projects that are coming our way in the next several weeks.

But what is citizen science, you ask?  It’s simply the opportunity for regular citizens–like you and me, our friends and families–to contribute to real scientific research.  That could mean collecting data, analyzing video, or even playing games on your phone.

A great place to get a look at the full range of projects is  SciStarter brings together thousands of science research projects and millions of citizen scientists, resulting in a space where everyone can explore their scientific interests and make a contribution.

Since April is Citizen Science Month, there are activities for every day, so check out the calendar!

A few upcoming online events:

Thursday, April 8, 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm
Participate in Citizen Science
Relaxed, hands-on session led by Boston College Libraries

Saturday, April 10, 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Get Started with Citizen Science
Learn about citizen science and see two demos of actual projects; led by SciStarter and volunteers from Verizon

Monday, April 12, 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Turn Your Curiosity into Impact with SciStarter & OLLI at ASU
Another session where you can learn about citizen science and see demos of projects

Other sessions offer interviews, panels, demos of projects, and more!

Welcome to Citizen Science Month!

Finding Citations to Non-indexed Resources in Web of Science

The Clarivate Analytics Web of Science database ( has a powerful Cited Reference Search that is useful for discovering records that have cited a particular publication. A typical use case that I have used many times is to start with a known article and discover references that cite that article.

Recently, while reading a few articles [1,2], I happened upon a use case I had not thought to try in a Web of Science Cited Reference Search; that is, searching for citations to non-indexed items like theses, databases, or software applications. For example, many software applications or web resources may not have a formal publication associated with it and so researchers may cite the application name or a website URL where the application can be accessed.

This was intriguing as I regularly use a cheminformatics toolkit, RDKit, that does not yet have a formal publication describing the software. Some experimentation and searching for “RDKit” in the Cited Reference Search, revealed that reference index matches to RDKit vary greatly and can appear within the Cited Author, Cited Work, or Title fields. Here are few examples to illustrate this, where the Cited Author is the first column, Cited Work the second column, and Cited Title the third column:

‘RDKit’ | ‘OP SOURC CHEM’ | ‘ ’

‘RDKit’ | ‘OP SOURC CHEM’ | ‘ URL:

‘Landrum, G.’ | ‘RDKIT’ | ‘ URL:

‘[Anonymous]’ | ‘ OP SOURC CHEM’ | ‘RDKit:…URL:

We can search each of these fields separately [3], select the candidates of interest, and then remove any duplicates to find all citations to RDKit. Here is a summary of what I found for ‘RDKit’:

Cited Author Search: 51 relevant variations, with 160 citing articles.

Cited Work Search: 7 relevant variations, with 13 citing articles

Cited Title Search: 15 relevant variations, with 33 citing articles

A quick sort of the combined titles revealed 6 duplicates, so in total, we found 200 RDKit citations via the Web of Science Cited Reference Search. That’s pretty cool. There are certainly many limitations with this method which I have not explored yet, but overall, I think it will be useful when trying to find non-indexed resources through citation searching.



[3] Note I did not limit to a particular index, so this includes the Science Citation Index Expanded as well as others.

Rodgers Library Reopening

Library tables with chairs spaced for social distancing

Rodgers Library is taking first steps toward reopening for our users. From June 30 to July 2, Rodgers Library will be open in the afternoons from 1:00 pm to 4:30 pm. From July 6 to the end of Summer II (July 31), Rodgers Library will be open from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm.

Visitors to the library during Summer II will immediately notice changes. Access will be limited to UA faculty, staff, and students, and visitors much swipe their Action card at the door to enter. Visitors much wear a mask at all times and observe social distancing by staying 6′ from other persons.

The second floor of Rodgers is currently closed, as is the Scholars’ Station; visitors are invited to use the learning commons area on the first floor. Many of the computers have been disabled to create 6′ of separation between users. Likewise, only one user may be seated at each study table. Group study rooms are closed. The library will not be circulating equipment such as laptops. The circulation desk has been reconfigured to be accessed from the lobby area.

Staff are present and ready to assist users. Visitors are encouraged to ask for help at the circulation desk. Hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes (e.g., for wiping computer keyboards) are available at the circulation desk. It’s our goal to create an environment where you may use library resources safely.

Welcome back to Rodgers!

Schedule for Summer II
June 30 – July 2: 1:00 pm – 4:30 pm
July 6 – July 31: 9:00 am – 4:30 pm

We’re here for you!

The Rodgers Library building might be closed, but our enormous collection of electronic journals, ebooks, and databases is still available to you at any location 24/7 through the website at  Likewise, our science and engineering librarians and staff are working from home to continue to provide support for your teaching, learning, and research.

For a quick response, you can send a question to the University Libraries’ chat service at  You can also submit a question by email using that site, or you can contact one of the Rodgers librarians directly.

  • Mangala Krishnamurthy,
  • Lance Simpson,
  • Vin Scalfani (on sabbatical until May 1)

For guides to using databases and information sources, see

For the most up-to-date information regarding University Libraries’ resources and services, see our library guide at

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us for assistance!

Be safe and be well!


3D Tech Fair at Rodgers Library

Rodgers Library is holding a 3D Tech Fair on Thursday, October 24 from 11 am – 1 pm to showcase the 3D technology available to library users. 

All students, faculty and staff are invited to attend the Rodgers Library 3D Tech Fair on Thursday, October 24, 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 pm.  Learn more about Oculus Rift, structure sensor, 3D printing and scanning, and 3D stereoscopic vision.  

During the Tech Fair you can try out the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, take a look at the professional-grade 3D printers, etc. You can also sign up to get 3D printing training at Rodgers Library. For more details about the training and 3D printing, visit Makerspaces Guide.

Welcome to Newest Rodgers Librarian

Please welcome Lance Simpson, who recently joined the library faculty as Research and Instructional Services Librarian in Rodgers Library.

Lance Simpson comes to us from Tuscaloosa Public Library. He holds a BA in English and Spanish from Berry College, and earned his MLIS from The University of Alabama. For the past several years, Lance has worked with makerspaces and learning labs in public libraries to create mentor-led, STEM learning environments for teens. He is passionate about developing student-led learning spaces as a compliment to academic instruction, and providing opportunities for students to share their research.

As the liaison to the College of Engineering and to the Department of Biological Sciences, Lance is available to faculty and students to assist with research consultations and library instruction sessions for classes. Please contact Lance by email at, or by phone at 348-2108.

Machine-readable Data and The International Year of the Periodic Table 2019

2019 marks the 150th anniversary of the Periodic Table. The United Nations General Assembly and UNESCO have proclaimed 2019 as the International Year of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements (#IYPT2019). There are many activities, projects, and celebrations planned this year promoting the Periodic Table of Elements listed on the IYPT2019 website:

You may also be interested in reading some of our print and electronic books related to the Periodic Table: Scout Search for TI(periodic table).

At Rodgers Library, we have been interested in interacting with machine-readable periodic table data. As such, we were excited to learn that the U.S. National Library of Medicine recently released an interactive PubChem Periodic Table of Elements that allows both human and machine access to the underlying data. For example, here is a variety of associated element property data in machine-readable JSON format from the PubChem Periodic Table of Elements:

JSON data can be processed using scientific software and/or programming languages. We have created an example tutorial using MATLAB code. In the tutorial, we download the PubChem machine-readable periodic table JSON data and assemble a table of element names and corresponding International Chemical Identifiers (InChIs). We then create plots of Melting Point/Boiling Point vs. Atomic Number. Check out the MATLAB Live Notebook below, you are free to use and adapt the code as desired:

Plot of Temperature (Celsius) of Melting/Boiling Point versus Atomic Number.
Plot of Temperature (Celsius) of Melting/Boiling Point versus Atomic Number.

Enjoy, and have fun with the Periodic Table of the Elements!

Fair Use Fundamentals

We’re celebrating Fair Use Week! We’ve been defining fair use as an exception to the copyright law that allows us to use copyrighted materials without the permission of the copyright holder, within certain limits. You might be wondering what those limits are! Check out the infographic below to see just what is involved in determining whether something is fair use and learn about the four factors that are used to make that decision. Then join us in the celebration!

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Access to UA Libraries journals from within a PubMed Record

Using PubMed just got easier. We have linked our electronic journals within PubMed, allowing you to access content even faster. Look for the Alabama Script “A” logo under the full text links within a PubMed record. Then, follow this link and you will be immediately directed to access options for the article.

To use the full text linking feature, access PubMed from our library databases page or directly at the following link:

Screenshot of PubMed article abstract

The Doctor – A Painting

A picture is worth a thousand words

Sir Luke Fildes 1887 Oil painting “The Doctor” is one of the iconic medical paintings.  It is an image used frequently to portray the qualities of a good care giver and to reflect a point of view about medicine and medical care.

A good read for all those aspiring to study and work in medical and nursing fields.


Painting of a doctor looking at child sleeping with man in the background watching doctor

The Doctor exhibited 1891 Sir Luke Fildes 1843-1927

Presented by Sir Henry Tate 1894 .

Image released under Creative Commons CC-BY-NC-ND (3.0 Unported)

On Scientific Facts, Copyright, and Fair Use

Scientific and other facts are excluded from copyright protection [1]. As such, for scientific facts, we do not generally need to worry about whether Fair Use applies. While facts are not copyrighted, they are often buried within copyrighted documents such as published journal articles. Content within journal articles that are not clearly facts may then be copyrighted and/or open to debate about reuse of this content via Fair Use.

Some examples of facts in scientific journal articles are the melting point of gold, the chemical structure of Vincristine, or the bond dissociation energy of a carbon-hydrogen bond. Reuse of these facts does not require any permission, even if they were originally published in a copyrighted document. You can reuse this type of data in your own work. You will, however, want to give proper attribution and cite the original resource, so that other researchers know the origin of the data. Some exceptions exist as it is often acceptable to not cite well-known facts (e.g. at sea-level, water boils at 100 °C).

In contrast, any descriptions, explanations, figures, and illustrations are generally protected by copyright in journal articles. To reuse this material, you will need to ask permission from the copyright holder or determine if Fair Use applies [1, 2].

A few years ago, I asked two scientists, who are experts in data reuse, if scientific photographic images count as facts. So for example, a microscope image of a cell, or a nanometer length scale image of a material’s microstructure. One scientist replied “no, these images are not facts because they are a photograph, and photographs can be copyrighted.”  The other scientist replied “it depends on how good your lawyer is!”

Happy Fair Use Week!


[1] Copyright Basics from the US Copyright Office,

[2] Code of Best Practices in Fair Use,

Take a Journey in Science Kicks off February 2nd at Rodgers Library

What:  A series of lightning talks on high-interest topics in science/medicine/nursing that shape our understanding of the world.

Who:  Presentations by preeminent UA STEM and Nursing faculty

When:  Every Tuesday  during the month of February, 2016 (dates and times in table below)

Where:  Rodgers Library for Science and Engineering (1st floor outside Nightingale Room)

Audience: All UA students.  Faculty welcome too.

How long:  10 minutes or less, plus Q&A

Sponsor:  Rodgers Library for Science and Engineering

Schedule of presentations
Speaker Title of Talk Date/Day/Time
Dr. Graham McDougall, Capstone College of Nursing What is Chemo Brain? Tuesday February 2nd 2:00-2:15 PM


Dr. Norma Cuellar, Capstone College of Nursing Alternative Medicine as an Intervention for Restless Legs Syndrome


Tuesday February 9th  2:00-2:15 PM


Dr. John Vincent , Department of Chemistry What makes an element essential to the human diet or makes it a drug?: Chromium


Thursday February 18th 1:30- 1:45 PM


Dr. Asma Hatoum-Aslan, Department of Biological Sciences The Enemy of my Enemy is my Friend:  Enlisting Bacterial Viruses to Combat Drug-Resistant Infections  Thursday February 25th 2:00-2:15 PM


Join the fun and learn about science Contact:  Arian Abdulla , or Mangala Krishnamurthy

Tip 11: Library Polices

Tip 11:  Library Polices.   Like any large organization the UA Libraries has a set of policies that govern library use.  Policies provide guidance and even answer specific questions.  A few examples:  For how long can faculty check out a book? How does the Library Annex operate?  How do I donate books to the library?  How does interlibrary loan service work?  What does the Code of Conduct say to users?  What is acceptable use of computing resources?

Go to Polices.

Chess for STEM at Rodgers Library

Chess sets will be coming to Rodgers Library soon. LET THE GAMES BEGIN

It is well documented that chess is a powerful tool for developing high order thinking skills, creativity, and memory. Access to a chess set and board will provide students an alternate leisure activity during study breaks while they are in Rodgers Library. Students can enjoy the social and intellectual atmosphere it offers. It could reduce stress around exam time and help increase concentration in studies.

Rodgers Library for Science & Engineering is looking forward to this outreach effort in creating a welcoming, intellectual, and informal atmosphere for students.

• Chess table and two stools will be placed in the soft seating area
• One portable mega-size floor set available for students to check out and use in the lobby or outside in front of the building

Master Databases and Learn About Research Tools

Librarians at Rodgers Library for Science & Engineering are offering spring classes.  Is it that time of the year to start a literature review for your papers/projects? The ability to scan the literature efficiently and identify useful resources is vital.  You can learn how to apply principles of analysis to identify unbiased and valid studies.

The following classes are offered several times during the semester for your convenience:
1. Introduction to Science & Engineering Information Resources
2. Chemical & Biological Information resources
3. Physics & Astronomy Information Resources
4. Mathematics Information Resources
5. Web of Science Database
6. PubMed (Cover Systematic Review, Integrated Literature Review)
7. RefWorks
8. Introduction to Scientific Writing
9. Scientific Presentations
10. 3D Printing Training Session

For questions regarding the classes, contact Vincent F. Scalfani,
If the above classes are not what you are looking for, suggest one or request the one you want and we will be glad to assist. Contact one of the subject specialists at Rodgers anytime:
John Sandy

UA Arboretum- A Place to Learn About Trees and Shrubs

The UA Arboretum is a wonderful place to learn about and enjoy trees and shrubs.

Located on a 60-acre site near the Tuscaloosa Veterans Hospital, the UA Arboretum is “a safe haven where the University grows and protects rare, old and endangered species of both native and exotic plants,” says Mary Jo Modica, arboretum horticulturist.

The UA Arboretum is a part of the College of Arts and Sciences, operated by the Department of Biological Sciences, and the bulk of UA students who use the arboretum in their studies are from the biological sciences. Each semester a few interns work at the arboretum with Modica and caretaker Ken Robinson. But the arboretum also is popular with students focusing on writing, geology, geography and art.

 Tuscaloosa residents also enjoy the arboretum. Visitors can choose from offers greenhouses filled with exotic plants, and two miles of trails for walking among shade trees, wildflowers, a large collection of Southern azaleas and a variety of gardens, from the whimsical children’s garden to a community garden dedicated to promoting the popularity of sustainable, local food crops.

 Modica welcomes faculty and staff use of the UA Arboretum.

Submitted by Cathy Butler
Dialog Editor