March 4 – Spring 2015 Majors Dinner

SAS PFP 2014 DinnerWe welcome undergraduate students to join our March 4 Majors Dinner (register now!) here at the Weigle Information Commons. The Commons thrives on student voices. We learn from your experiences, your ideas and your comments. So please share!

We’ll be talking about the Hoesley Digital Literacy Fellows Program (open to current sophomores and juniors) and the Seltzer Family Digital Media Awards (open to current first-years, sophomores and juniors). We’ll also discuss our Ready, Set, Succeed series and our Senior Research Spotlight and highlight ways to share your voice through Spring 2015 activities at the two Commons.

Fair Use and Vampires

In honor of Fair Use week, this week, I wanted to respond to a blog that quoted one of my posts recently. In the article, the author, Anthony Hogg, discusses some takedown notices he received and the ensuing legal battles. He also makes an important point: “Fair use is an invaluable safeguard against over-protective and malicious complainants. It’s not just useful for articles like Erin’s ‘Seeking Vampires in London,’ it’s beneficial for all writers, journalists, artists, teachers and students.”

Case in point, take a look at this picture:

From Jason Edmiston

This is a drawing used in one of the PennWIC blog’s own posts. Clearly it is a fair use, mashing up various monsters and in this particular instance used to advertise Halloween programming at WIC. If one had to ask the permission of the Stoker and Shelley estates, or Universal Pictures, this kind of picture would never be created. Additionally, PennWIC’s mashup contest, or even the phenomenon of mashups themselves, would be equally impossible.

Fundamentally, fair use is an essential safety valve protecting our ability to free speech. As Rebecca Tushnet says in Copy this Essay “Sometimes a copy is just a copy; other times it is vitally important speech.”

One of the great advantages of the internet is the open and free commentary that it allows. I am gratified that Anthony Hogg, a person whose work I would likely never encounter in my work as an academic librarian, was able to find my work about fair use helpful and that he was able to quote my work (utilizing fair use) in order to make a point about his particular situation. Though fair use may not be a stake in the heart of copyright, nor should it be, it should remain an important tool for all people who need to use it for the purposes of “criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research” on an open internet and within a free society.

Happy Fair Use Week to all!

For more information:

Fair Use Week –

Copyright Office –

Penn Copyright Guide on Fair Use –

Stanford Fair Use Site –

3D Printing at the Education Commons!

The Education Commons has just acquired a few 3D printers! We have one 5th generation Makerbot, and 2 Makerbot Minis. We’ve been testing the printers and our procedures over the past week, and the printers will open for campus use on Monday, February 16. We’re excited about offering the printers for all Penn students, faculty and staff. Penn’s campus has a number of 3D printers already, including the School of Engineering’s AddLab. The printers at the Biomedical Library and here at the EC are open for any use you might be interested in.

Makerbot Replicator

Continue reading 3D Printing at the Education Commons!

New NVivo Resources

NVivo logoDemand for NVivo has grown quite a bit in recent years. We find it is a great tool for analyzing video and audio interviews, surveys, journal articles and even tweets. We first wrote about NVivo in 2012, and our lit review post from 2013 is in the top-five list with over 2,000 views. In 2014, we wrote about Charlene Wong’s research and Rosie Frasso’s teaching with NVivo. Lately, we receive requests each week for NVivo training, and then we really miss Shimrit Keddem, our former presenter who created our wonderful NVivo guide.

We’re glad to announce that staff from QSR International, the makers of NVivo, will present a NVivo for Literature Reviews webinar just for Penn on February 19 – register now!

QSR will also hold a two-day fee-based hands-on workshop here at Penn on March 9 and 10. Since Penn Libraries is hosting the workshop, QSR has provided a few complimentary seats. (To be considered for one of them, please complete our online form.)

Hoesley and Seltzer Programs: Apply now!

We are accepting applications from undergraduate students for the Hoesley Digital Literacy Program and the Seltzer Family Digital Media Awards through March 16.

We accept a cohort of about 15 students each year to the Hoesley program. We welcome applications from all current sophomores and juniors. The program aims to demystify technology, provide hands-on training and a website building project, and foster career connections. You can browse related blog posts.

We select five to six students each year to receive Seltzer awards. Each student has the ability to purchase $1,000 worth of equipment (both hardware and software) for use on an academic project for one year with a faculty supervisor. At the end of the year, the equipment is made available to all of campus through our equipment lending program. You can browse related blog posts here.

Please feel free to stop by to ask us questions about the two programs and join us on March 4 for our Spring SAS Majors Dinner.HoesleyPoster2015

Voice-over PowerPoint for Beginning Japanese

sec001Back in November, some of us WIC staff members found ourselves listening intently to a room full of Japanese speakers in Goldstein Electronic Classroom for an entire day. No, we weren’t there to learn beginning Japanese. Rather, we were teaching students in JPAN 011 how to use voice-over PowerPoint to present themselves and their interests in a new final video project for the class. Although we’ve assisted many other classes with video projects, this was the first large-scale language class we’ve supported working solely with voice-over in PowerPoint. It was a great success for all involved!

Continue reading Voice-over PowerPoint for Beginning Japanese

‘R’ from a Design Perspective

RStudio-BallHi! I’m Oforiwaa Pee Agyei-Boakye. I’ve been an intern at the Weigle Information Commons since last fall but this is my first blog post. So far, the internship has been exciting as my involvement with educational technology at the Weigle Information Commons connects with my work at the School of Design. The Weigle Information Commons and the Vitale Digital Media Lab support students with their visuals (which is of grave importance to me as a designer) and assist students with up-to-date statistical software programs.

Coming from the School of Design, specifically the City and Regional Planning department, I have explored software including PhotoShop, Illustrator, AutoCad, Indesign, ArcGIS, and R for my projects. Although projects in the School of Design sound like they may be only visual, we engage with statistical data analysis as well.

Over the years, data analysis has evolved through various stages as the volume of data has increased. Technology kept pace with that and developed R; in fact, most data analytics have switched from Excel to R. R is a free open source statistical program with a steep learning curve, and it is getting increasingly popular. It has Mac, Windows and Linux operating system versions. Students and professionals whose work involves lots of data use it extensively. An advantage of R is the fact that it can be used to do increasingly complex models.

In city planning, R is mostly used for data correlation, regression modeling and logit modeling. I used it in my Quantitative Methods classes, Introduction to Transportation Planning last fall, and currently am using it for a Planning by Numbers class this spring. A basic familiarity with descriptive and inferential statistics helps to make better and more effective use of R.

City Planners use it to assess planning and urban policy data in order to address a planning problem or question. Applications of R in City Planning include: (i) analyzing population, economic, and settlement patterns across Metropolitan and Statistical Areas; (ii) understanding the determinants of housing and real estate prices; (iii) understanding mortgage foreclosure patterns; (iv) identifying the characteristics that explain travel behavior and mode choice; (v) identifying the factors contributing to Presidential election wins; and (vi) understanding the determinants of homelessness by metro area.

For example, to analyze Philadelphia housing, rental and real estate demand, R studio will be used to analyze housing and census data. Housing census datasets such as how many Philadelphia residents live more than one person per room, how many structures are dilapidated, or what rent prices run these days, can predict that.

R used to analyze average number of trips across counties in Philadelphia Delaware Region for the various income groups.
R used to analyze average number of trips across counties in Philadelphia – Delaware Region for various income groups.

The R language is not easy to learn initially, but once you grasp it data analysis is simple. R also integrates nicely with other visual design programs that WIC provides assistance with – from poster creation to PhotoShop and Illustrator, and general help in the Media Lab. The Commons can help with R software support (see library guide!), and custom workshops – or stop by to see our statistics tutor, Doug Allen, for specific questions on Tuesdays and Wednesdays this semester. Be on the lookout for more about R at the Commons this semester!