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Open Textbooks

October 24-30 is Open Access Week

College textbooks are incredibly expensive, costing US students an average of $1,298 a year!* In fact, textbook prices increased 82% between 2003 and 2013, approximately triple the rate of inflation in overall consumer prices (CPI) during the same time (27%).**

What happens when textbooks cost this much? Students take out more loans, they take fewer courses, or they simply don’t buy the textbook. In a national study, 65% of students report not purchasing a textbook because of its high price.***

For a growing number of instructors and students, open textbooks have great appeal because they are digital, openly-licensed works made available for free online. With quality always a concern, the UT Libraries investigated a number of open textbook organizations and found the Open Textbook Library, a project of the Open Textbook Network (OTN). The Open Textbook Library identifies reputable publishers, presents peer-reviews of open textbooks, and lists available titles, complete with the book and any supplemental materials, on their site. Additionally, data gathered by the OTN demonstrate that nine early OTN members reported a $1.5 million savings in textbook costs to students, with most of the savings realized in the past year.

The Open Textbook Library identifies reputable publishers, presents peer-reviews of open textbooks, and lists available titles, complete with the book and supplemental materials.

At least one UT course is already utilizing an open textbook. Students in Physics 221 and 222 are assigned College Physics, an OpenStax textbook by Dr. Paul Peter Urone from Cal State and Dr. Roger Hinricks of SUNY Oswego. New copies of other college-level introductory Physics textbooks range from $150 to $350.

UT recently joined the Open Textbook Network (OTN) to contribute to the development and use of open textbooks. Other members include The Ohio State University, Purdue University, the University of Washington, and Virginia Tech.

In April, representatives of the OTN will be on campus to lead a workshop on open textbooks. If you would like to receive more information about this workshop as plans develop, please contact Rachel Caldwell, scholarly communication and publishing librarian.


* According to The College Board.
** Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition and the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
*** See Fixing the Broken Textbook Market.


For more information:

Contact Rachel Caldwell, scholarly communication and publishing librarian ( or 865-974-6107).

See our guide on Open Textbooks.

Publish in Open Access Journals—Think, Check, then Submit

October 24-30 is Open Access Week

If you’re a researcher, you may have run into this situation before: You need an article and it isn’t available through UT Libraries’ subscriptions, so you wait a couple of days to get a copy through interlibrary loan. But what happens if you aren’t affiliated with a large university? Maybe you have a family member who needs information on clinical trials. Maybe you’re an amateur archaeologist, or gardener, or health nut, and scholarly articles would help with your hobbies and improve your wellbeing. People in these situations don’t wait for access, they simply can’t access most peer-reviewed research published in subscription-funded journals.

Improving access is one reason to publish openly, and it’s a driving force behind the University’s Open Publishing Support Fund (OPSF).

The OPSF helps faculty and graduate students pay the article processing fees that many open access journals charge instead of subscriptions.

The OPSF is co-sponsored by the Office of Research and Engagement and the University Libraries, with funds available on a first-come, first-served basis.

But what about problems with open access (OA)?

In August, the Federal Trade Commission filed a complaint against the OA publisher OMICS because their journal articles receive little to no peer-review and their editorial boards are largely fictitious.

The Chronicle of Higher Education, higher education blogs, and other news outlets have given attention to several problematic OA publishers, labeling them “predatory” publishers.

Thankfully, identifying good publishing practices within the OA sphere has gotten easier, due to the efforts of Lars Bjørnshauge, formerly of Lund University, and several publishers and library and information science organizations. Their work led to the 7-criteria Think-Check-Submit checklist, which helps authors determine if a journal follows good publishing practices. Perhaps most time-efficient is criteria #7:

Check if the journal is listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), a list of journals who meet baseline criteria for good publishing practices, or if the publisher is a member of the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA).

“Evaluating publishers is of the utmost importance in maintaining your professional integrity,” says Rachel Caldwell, scholarly communication and publishing librarian at UT Libraries. “This is important not only for article submissions, but whenever you’re approached by a publisher.

If you’re asked to serve as a peer-reviewer, use the Think-Check-Submit checklist to review the journal first.

If you’re asked to write a chapter for a monograph, talk to your librarian about the publisher before you agree. Make sure you know something about their reputation.”

Librarians do not approve all OSPF applications. The OPSF eligibility guidelines are informed by the Committee on Publication Ethics and their work with the DOAJ and OASPA. Caldwell says that several OPSF applications have been rejected because the applicants asked for funding to publish in OMICS journals. The journals were not listed in DOAJ and OMICS is not a member of OASPA; therefore, the application did not meet OPSF eligibility guidelines.

“Librarians are aware of the wide range of quality within OA journals, because there is a range of quality among all journals, OA or not,” says Caldwell. She tells researchers that thinking about who might want to read their work is a valuable consideration. When authors want to publish openly to reach the broadest possible audience, there are resources available to help them make informed publishing decisions.

For more information:

Contact Rachel Caldwell, scholarly communication and publishing librarian ( or 865-974-6107).

See our Scholarly Publishing Toolkit.

Training Day at the Library, 10/27: SAGE Research Methods

sage_researchmethodsSAGE Publishing creates many research tools tailored to the needs of university students and faculty. SAGE Research Methods databases include resources that can help graduate students design their research, including sample case studies that reveal how research methods are chosen and practice datasets to help investigators hone their data analysis skills. Research Methods databases are equally useful to faculty who want to teach research design. Watch a video about SAGE Research Methods.


Teaching Research Methods and Advising Student Researchers (for faculty, librarians, and staff)

  • 9:40 – 10:55 a.m., Hodges Room 127
  • 2:10 – 3:25 p.m., Hodges Room 127
  • SAGE Research Methods has content to cover the full research methods and statistics curriculum, plus a number of built-in tools to help faculty incorporate content into their courses or to work with students they are advising. In this workshop, you will learn how to create and share custom Reading Lists for courses or individual students, use case studies to frame class discussions or help students choose the appropriate methods for their project, find sample datasets to use as classroom assignments or exam questions that are already optimized for student use, and effectively incorporate into your courses video content showing research in action. You will also see a sneak peek of Project Planner, a new tool coming to the SAGE Research Methods platform in 2017 that will guide researchers step-by-step through the research process with hand-selected instructional content.

    Research Methods Survival Skills (for graduate students)

  • 11:10 a.m. – 12:25 p.m., Hodges Room 127
  • 3:40 – 4:55 p.m.. Hodges Room 127
  • Get the tips and tricks you need to survive the graduate school experience, culminating in your thesis or dissertation. Representatives from SAGE Publishing will share resources to get you all the way from choosing a topic you can live with for a few years to a successful defense in front of your committee. In this workshop, you will learn about:

    • Video to help narrow your topic selection
    • Content to get you successfully through the literature review
    • Research case studies to aid in methods selection
    • Sample data to hone your analytical techniques before analyzing your own data
    • Advice on forming and working with your committee
    • Writing tips
    • Presentation skills to help you nail the defense

    National Book Award Finalist Angela Flournoy at Writers in the Library, Oct. 24

    flournoy22015 National Book Award finalist Angela Flournoy will read from her work on Monday, October 24, at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, as part of the Writers in the Library series.

    The reading will be in the Hodges Library auditorium at 7 p.m. It is free and open to the public.

    A National Book Foundation “5 Under 35” Honoree for 2015, Angela Flournoy is the author of the celebrated debut novel, The Turner House, which tells the story of an African American family confronting the loss of their home and their familial bonds amid the blight and decline of contemporary Detroit. The Turner House was a New York Times notable book of the year, a finalist for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction and an NAACP Image Award. Flournoy’s fiction has appeared in The Paris Review, and she has written for The New York Times, The New Republic, The Los Angeles Times, and elsewhere.

    A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Flournoy received her undergraduate degree from the University of Southern California. She has taught at the University of Iowa, The New School, and Columbia University. Currently she is the Rona Jaffe Foundation Fellow at the New York Public Library Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers.

    In addition to the public reading, there will be a Q&A for students at 3 p.m. in 1210 McClung Tower, also on October 24. Both of these events are co-sponsored by UT’s Ready For The World Initiative.


    Writers in the Library is sponsored by the UT Libraries and the Creative Writing Program in association with the John C. Hodges Better English Fund. For more information contact Erin Elizabeth Smith, Jack E. Reese Writer-in-Residence at the UT Libraries, at

    Visit for a complete schedule of Writers in the Library readings for the 2016-2017 academic year.

    Twitter: utklibwriters

    Lunch & Learn: Discussion on Intersectionality, Oct. 19

    ll_smallThe UT Libraries Diversity Committee hosts a series of lunchtime discussions to facilitate comfortable dialogue about diversity and inclusion. Lunch and Learn invites students and other members of the campus community to talk openly but respectfully about complex issues that impact their lives and their campus experience.

    Intersectionality: From Scholarship to Action
    Noon – 1 p.m., Wed., October 19, 605 Hodges Library
    Patrick Grzanka, Assistant Professor of Psychology
    Nora Berenstain, Assistant Professor of Philosophy

    The directors of the Intersectionality Community of Scholars at UT will facilitate a conversation about the origins of intersectionality theory in U.S. Black feminism, current directions in the field, and the relationship between interdisciplinary scholarship, activism, and social justice.

    Conversation on the Future of Research Libraries on Oct. 10

    The University Libraries will host a “conversation” on the future of research libraries on Monday, October 10. The Libraries’ guests will be the directors of two graduate programs in library and information science, Sandy Yee and Diane Kelly. Dean of Libraries Steve Smith will moderate the event. The campus community is invited to join the conversation in 605 Hodges Library, 10-11:30 a.m. A small reception will follow the conversation.
    Yee is dean of libraries and director of the School of Library and Information Science at Wayne State University. Kelly is the new director of the School of Information Sciences at UT Knoxville.
    Before assuming her current leadership role at Wayne State, Yee held a variety of leadership positions elsewhere, including Eastern Michigan University, where among many other accomplishments she raised more than $40 million for the construction of the Bruce T. Halle Library. She has been a leader in the profession both nationally and internationally, holding numerous appointed and elected positions in ALA, ACRL, ARL, the Michigan Library Association, and the Friends of the Detroit Public Library. In 2008, she was elected to the board of OCLC. Yee earned her doctorate from the University of Michigan and her MLS and BA from Western Michigan University.
    Before joining the faculty at UT, Kelly was professor of Information Science at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. An expert in user evaluation of information systems, Kelly has been active in many professional and scholarly organizations, including the Association of Computing Machinery and the Association of Information Science and Technology. Her research and service have been recognized with numerous awards, including the Karen Spärck Jones Award from the British Computer Society, the Research Award from ASIS&T, and the Outstanding Teacher Award from UNC. She earned her doctorate and her MLS at Rutgers University and her BA from the University of Alabama.
    The program is part of the “Dean’s Leadership Series,” which brings library leaders to campus about once a semester for a conversation on research libraries or related topics. The conversation format is intended to encourage more engagement than a presentation style allows. The program will start with a few general questions for our guests, and then we will invite the audience to join in for an engaging exchange around the broad but critical topic of the future of research libraries. 
    All are invited to attend and participate in this event.

    Webinar 10/7: Gale Researcher; Artemis Primary Sources

    Log-in to a webinar on Friday, October 7, from 12:25 to 1:55 p.m., to learn about the Libraries’ new databases.

    Gale Researcher helps students identify and link to relevant, authoritative sources. Introductory essays, peer-reviewed articles, and streamed video are organized by subject areas typical to the undergraduate curriculum.

    Artemis Primary Sources gives researchers access to wide-ranging archival materials. Sources include databases on sexuality and gender, indigenous peoples of North America, declassified U.S. documents, the Associated Press archives, and many, many historical newspapers. The online interface (Digital Humanities Sandbox) facilitates data mining and textual analytics.

    The webinar is hosted by Gale Cengage Learning.

    Webinar: Gale Researcher and Artemis Primary Sources Webinar
    When: Friday, October 7, 12:25 – 1:55 p.m.
    Access Link:
    Audio Connection Phone Number: 1-877-325-5019
    Conference Code Number: 836 819 5957

    If you have questions, please contact Corey Halaychik, or 974-9314.

    Tawnysha Greene and Kristi Maxwell at Writers in the Library on October 3

    greenemaxwellNovelist Tawnysha Greene and poet Kristi Maxwell will read from their work at the University of Tennessee on Monday, October 3, 2016. The event is part of the university’s Writers in the Library reading series. The public is invited to this free reading at 7 p.m. in the Lindsay Young Auditorium of UT’s John C. Hodges Library.

    Tawnysha Greene received her PhD from the University of Tennessee where she currently teaches fiction and poetry writing. Her work has appeared in PANK, Bellingham Review, and Weave Magazine. Her first novel, A House Made of Stars, was released from Burlesque Press in 2015.

    Also an alumna of the University of Tennessee, Kristi Maxwell’s most recent books of poems include That Our Eyes Be Rigged and PLAN/K. She is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Louisville. 

    Visit for a complete schedule of Writers in the Library readings for the 2016-2017 academic year.


    Writers in the Library is sponsored by the UT Libraries and the Creative Writing Program in association with the John C. Hodges Better English Fund. For more information contact Erin Elizabeth Smith, Jack E. Reese Writer-in-Residence at the UT Libraries, at

    Twitter: utklibwriters

    Pendergrass Open House October 4


    Feeling anxious about upcoming exams? Need to take a break, relax, and unwind?  Want to learn more about what the library has to offer?

    Stop by Pendergrass Library Tuesday, October 4th at 6pm for an open house and de-stress event.  Come and enjoy:

    • Free pizza
    • Cuddles with a therapy dog
    • Games
    • Coloring
    • A chance to meet some of the Pendergrass staff

    No RSVP is needed.  Bring your friends or club members.  We hope to see you there!

    Training Day at the Library, 9/27: Gale Researcher; Digital Humanities Sandbox

    Learn to use the Libraries’ incredible new suite of digital products. Gale Researcher helps students identify and link to relevant, authoritative sources. Digital Humanities Sandbox facilitates data mining and textual analytics. Gale Cengage Learning will offer a full day of free training sessions on Tuesday, September 27. The training should be of interest to everyone from freshmen to full professors.


    gdc-webDigital Humanities Sandbox
    (focused on Artemis Primary Sources)
    11:10 am – 12:25 pm, Hodges Room 127
    3:40 – 4:55 pm, Hodges Room 127

    With the University Libraries’ addition of millions of pages of new archive collections, Artemis Primary Sources provides innumerable research opportunities within the digital humanities. This session will highlight the newest content, while exploring navigation and textual analysis tools like Term Cluster and Term Frequency. Come with your questions and ideas to share with others involved in the digital humanities at the university, and you’ll walk away with strategies for uncovering new paths of research.

    glrs-webGale Researcher for Students
    12:55 – 1:55 pm, Hodges Room 127
    2:10 – 3.25 pm, Hodges Room 127

    Is your instructor asking you to use scholarly sources? Do you have a research assignment looming over you this semester? Are you overloaded with information, or pushing off a project because you’re just not sure where to start? Save time, get started, and uncover something cool with Gale Researcher. Gale Researcher is a new resource, available to all UT Knoxville students, that provides a simple path to peer-reviewed content within American Literature, Criminal Justice, Economics, Political Science, Psychology, and U.S. History. Information is not only searchable but also aligned to subjects taught within courses so that finding relevant, authoritative sources is as quick and easy as possible. Join this session for steps to access Gale Researcher 24/7, time-saving tips for citing and managing the sources, and further tricks to using Gale Researcher to simplify your semester.

    The UT Libraries recently purchased a complete package of Gale Cengage Learning’s primary source collections, giving UT users perpetual access to databases containing millions of pages of archival materials — roughly 600 years of monographs, manuscripts, historical newspapers, and more. The package deal includes the Digital Humanities Sandbox and a one-year trial of Gale Researcher.

    If you have questions, please contact Corey Halaychik, or 974-9314.

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