Collaborative Research

By Michael Spalti

Collaborative research at a college or university takes many forms. More common in the sciences and social sciences than the arts and humanities, collaborative research nevertheless happens in and across every discipline and creates possibilities not available to the individual researcher.

This is true by definition of research projects that use digital media and techniques to compliment or replace traditional research publishing.  These digital projects typically involve time and expertise beyond the capability or interest of a single researcher — whether that researcher is a faculty member, a student, or a librarian.  Envisioning the research project and managing the learning curve of design, data gathering, interpretation, and implementation is not easy. That may explain why these projects are somewhat rare.

So why bother? I think the answer is that digital collaborative research creates significant and unique outcomes for the people involved and those who experience the end result.

Let’s focus on benefits to the student researcher. A liberal arts education is not about technical wizardry in a single field, and to the extent that creating “digital” research becomes an end in itself there’s potential for distraction. But it’s also clear that one’s ability to create and wisely use digital products is a vital part of being educated in today’s society. Prior experience working on digital projects may also enhance one’s ability to find meaningful employment once out of school. 

Research projects that involve students, faculty, librarians, archivists, or museum curators are a good way to explore digital tools and techniques within the context of a great liberal arts education.  More can often be achieved working collaboratively than working solo in a single semester. By definition, the product is not entirely your own, but you learn from instructors and mentors and create something that will last beyond graduation. 

One of the things we could do better as an institution is document your work. Academic transcripts don’t tell the full story.  For example, if a student works on an archival collection in the library’s Digital Production Lab, that contribution should be documented and described. This happens in some cases, for some research projects, but not always.  If you were to complete an online course on a popular learning platform (like Coursera, EdX, or Udacity) you could document that accomplishment on something like LinkedIn. We should make it possible to do the same for all collaborative research projects, whether completed for academic credit, through an internship, or on-campus employment.

Note: The image below, entitled “Alchemical Tree, Pseudo-Lull,” is taken from Salvador Dali’s Alchimie des Philosophes. The image is part of an exhibit created by Michelle Atherton (’15) in collaboration with Professor Abigail Sussik and the Hallie Ford Museum of Art curator Jonathan Bucci.

Faculty Works Display

The 2018 Faculty Works Display is now on exhibit on the first floor of the library.  We encourage you to come browse the many articles written by faculty, explore what they have been researching recently, and discover more about their interests.  We also have a selection of art works from our art faculty, as well as creative productions by faculty from our Theatre Department.  These will all be on display throughout the end of the semester.

For comments and questions about this display, please contact Charity Braceros-Simon (

MOHL Research Awards

If you are a student and have written and researched an excellent paper, why not submit your paper for consideration for the MOHL Research Award?  Sponsored by the Hatfield Library, this award recognizes and rewards Willamette undergraduate students in any discipline who demonstrate outstanding research using library and information resources in writing a paper. Up to two awards of $500 each are available.

Student papers written in the sophomore or junior year as part of regular class work are eligible to be considered for this award. The paper must be 7 pages or more in length and written in the current academic year (fall 2017/spring 2018). Papers done as a senior project but in the junior year are excluded.

Papers need to be submitted by the last day of finals May 8, 2018 at 5:00 pm. The faculty mentor who worked with the student during the production of the paper is asked to submit a statement of support and a copy of the assignment.  Faculty, please encourage your best student writers/researchers to apply!

For complete details and instructions see:


Hallie Ford Literary Series: Jennifer Cognard-Black

Please join us for the final event of the Spring 2018 Hallie Ford Literary Series, a reading with Jennifer Cognard-Black this Tuesday, April 10th at 5:30 p.m. in the Hatfield Room (2nd floor of the Hatfield Library). This event is free and open to the public.

Jennifer Cognard-Black is a Professor of English at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. Her specialties are Anglo-American women novelists, fiction writing, and the literatures of food. A Fulbright scholar to Slovenia as well as the Norton T. Dodge Award for Creative and Scholarly Achievement, Cognard-Black’s books include Narrative in the Professional Age (Routledge 2004); Kindred Hands (Iowa UP 2006); a writing textbook, Advancing Rhetoric (Kendall/Hunt 2006); an anthology of food fictions, culinary poems, and recipe recollections, Books that Cook: The Making of a Literary Meal (NYUP 2014); and a collection of essays by women writers about their everyday contraptions, From Curlers to Chainsaws: Women and Their Machines (MSUP 2016).

Cognard-Black is a dynamic, accomplished writer of both scholarly and creative work. Of her process, she says, “When I write creatively, I put things together. I synthesize disparate parts of what constitutes the human: a salamander in the bathroom, the bouncy chorus of an overplayed song, loss, love, death, delight, or a broken bone at age three. Like the synthesis of an exquisite, yet simple, dish—that divine combination, say, of April asparagus, crispy fingerling potatoes, rosemary, olive oil, and an over-easy egg—a well-crafted short story or essay should become more than the sum of its parts. Such writing should be absolutely of this world yet also, always, otherworldly: a combination that defies easy explanation and that brings both pleasure and awe.”

Praise for the works of Jennifer Cognard-Black:

“The anthology From Curlers to Chainsaws: Women and Their Machines, features essays examining women’s relationships with a wide range of tools: from tractor to typewriter, sewing machine to microphone, radio to prosthetic leg. The book offers a timely focus, during an era when cell phones, laptops, and fitness trackers can feel like extensions of our very selves. Edited by Joyce Dyer, Jennifer Cognard-Black, and Elizabeth MacLeod Walls, the anthology focuses on machines in use from the early 20th century through today. It offers historical context for contemporary discussions about how today’s technologies shape our lives—the ways we think, the relationships we have, and the identities we adopt—and it provides insight into how these machines connect with the experiences of women, including daughters and mothers.” — Heather Mcentarfer, Literary Mama

“What is particularly innovative about Books that Cook is the way in which the book calls upon the reader to bring these recipes to life: “When a food is shared and eaten, the reader actually embodies the text . . . the reader’s own body is altered as a result of reading and eating this text. In a very real sense, then, a recipe reader becomes that recipe: she breathes it, her heart beats it, and thus the text is known both by the mind and by the body” (2). However, to “embody the text” does not require chronological linearity. Instead, the reader is encouraged to “sample” the poetics, prose, and recipes based on their unique position and ‘taste.’” –Lila A. Sharif, American Studies

“In Kindred Hands Jennifer Cognard-Black and Elizabeth MacLeod Walls have compiled an extraordinarily useful and lively collection of letters by major British and American literary women from Harriet Beecher Stowe to Jessie Redmon Fauset. Energetic, imaginative, analytic, and keenly committed to their art, all these authors muse on the muse—and often with vivid candor on their own experiences of art and life—in writings that will be fascinating not only to the professional scholar but also to what Virginia Woolf called ‘the common reader.’”—Sandra M. Gilbert, coeditor, The Norton Anthology of Literature by Women

For more on Jennifer Cognard-Black, please visit her author’s site at

Questions about the event, please direct to: Danielle Deulen at

Frankenstein Talk

You’re invited to attend the 2018 Humanities Seminar lecture on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein on Thursday, April 5th, at 4:30pm in the Hatfield Room.

Title: “Frankenstein’s Poetry”

Presenter: Dr. Forest Pyle (University of Oregon)

Abstract: Dr. Forest Pyle (University of Oregon) will deliver the 2018 Humanities Seminar lecture on Mary Shelley’s book entitled Frankenstein.  This talk will also commemorate the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s “hideous progeny.”

Dr. Pyle’s work explores the problems and possibilities posed by aesthetic experience, particularly in the context of Romantic and post-Romantic literature. His first book examined the ideological workings and implications of the Romantic concept of the imagination from Wordsworth and Coleridge through George Eliot. He is presently completing a book manuscript on something he calls a “radical aestheticism,” the term that he believes best describes the nature of a recurring event in certain of the most powerful and resonant texts of the British Romantic literary tradition. He is interested in the various forms and effects of this aesthetic radicalization in a strain of Romanticism that extends from Percy Shelley and Keats through Dickinson, Hopkins, and Dante Rossetti through Wilde.

Contact Information

Name: Stephanie DeGooyer

Phone: 503-370-6248


Tessa Conroy Talk

You are all invited to a lecture by Tessa Conroy, an economist whose research is focused on women-owned businesses and other trends in entrepreneurship. Her work has been featured in both state and national media, including recently on Wisconsin Public Radio/Television.

Title: “Do as I Do: An Application of Discrete Choice with Social Interactions to Entrepreneurship”

Presenter: Dr. Tessa Conroy

Time & Location: Monday, March 19th, at 4:15pm in the Hatfield Room.

Abstract: Dr. Tessa Conroy is jointly appointed to the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Center for Community and Economic Development with University of Wisconsin-Extension. She earned her PhD in Economics from Colorado State University in 2014.  Her research and outreach focus on regional economic growth and development with particular emphasis on small business dynamics.   Her research on women-owned businesses, job creation, entrepreneurship, and labor market trends have been featured in both state and national media, including recently on Wisconsin Public Radio/Television.  Refreshments will be provided.

Sponsored by the Economics Department.

Contact Information

Name: Tabitha Knight

Phone: 503-370-6232


Vietnam Revolution & War Lecture

Please join us Tuesday, March 20th, at 4:15 p.m. in the Hatfield Room for a guest lecture sponsored by the Center for Asian Studies.

Presenter: Tuong Vu, Professor of Political Science and Director of Asian Studies at the University of Oregon Tuong-Vu

Title: Vietnam Revolution & War

Abstract: Tuong Vu is a Professor of Political Science and Director of Asian Studies at the University of Oregon.  He has held visiting appointments at Princeton University and the National University of Singapore and has taught at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA.  Vu’s research concerns the comparative politics of state formation, development, nationalism, and revolutions, with a particular focus on East Asia.

His latest book, Vietnam’s Communist Revolution: The Power and Limits of Ideology (Cambridge University Press, 2017), focuses on the evolving worldview of Vietnamese revolutionaries and shows the depth and resilience of the commitment to communist utopia in their foreign policy.  The book challenges the conventional understanding of the Vietnam War and the Vietnamese revolution.

This event is sponsored by the Center for Asian Studies.  For more information contact Greg Felker (  This event is free and open to the public.  Refreshments are provided.

Is Google the Right Database for You?

By Gary Klein

When you are researching something for a class assignment, and have to restrict your search to only articles that were published in peer-reviewed, academic, and scholarly journals, is turning to Google the best way to find those sorts of articles? Turning to Google is certainly a quick way to find stuff, but is it a good place to find academic or scholarly research?

Google is great when you want to know what time the newest blockbuster movie starts at the mall, to locate the nearest cash machine, or to find a good recipe to make chestnut stuffing on Thanksgiving Day.

But there are a lot of academic research topics where Google just does not deliver relevant results.  The quick response time that you enjoy after hitting the “enter” key is lost when you have to scan through hundreds of results that totally miss the mark.  A mismatched search phrase can waste a lot of your time downloading, reading, and evaluating results before you reject an entry and check the next citation offered by Google.

One of the big things that Google lacks is context. For example, Google does not currently ask which type of depression you mean.  Instead, Google will offer you 122 million web pages, followed by a dictionary entry explaining only two ways that depression can be used as a noun in the English language (see example at

If you turned to Wikipedia to begin your research, you will find 6 major types of depression (see example at

6 Major Types of Depression via Wikipedia 
Biology – Physiology Reduction in a biological variable or the function of an organ.
Earth Science – Geology Land form sunken or depressed below the surrounding area.
Earth Science – Meterology Area of low atmospheric pressure characterized by rain and unstable weather.
Economics Sustained, long-term downturn in economic activity in one or more economies.
Exercise Science Anatomical term of motion, refers to downward movement, the opposite of elevation.
Physiology State of low mood and aversion to activity.

On the other hand, by turning to a subject-oriented database that compliments a research assignment, you would save time.  You start working with a database that is focused on academic journals, which are peer-reviewed, and provide scholarly research in your field of inquiry.

Below are examples of results you might find when turning to the Hatfield Library’s website and using a library guide for Economics:


The Hatfield Library also has tools to help you find databases for specific types of documents. Did you know that we have special databases that focus primarily on book reviews, or images, or statistics?

If you tackle a research topic that does not fit well within our academic departments or document types, another route is to ask one of our librarians to help. One responsibility of librarians is to help match people with the right database. We provide instant messaging chat service on many of the library’s web pages and databases. We also provide contact options to reach subject specific librarians on all of our LibGuides.

“When you are looking for information…
Turn to a librarian first,
And it will be the last place that you go to!”

The Hatfield Library employs full-time professional librarians that you can meet with in person, talk with over the phone, chat with via instant messenger, or contact via email. Our subject librarians can schedule an appointment to meet with you, or you can get help from the librarian on duty at the Reference Desk.

With over 200 databases, we know the volume of potential resources is daunting, but we’re here to help you. And that is something that you cannot get from Google nor from Wikipedia!

Featuring Scopus

Scopus is one of those research gems that many people skip over because they don’t know what it is and how it can be helpful.  If you’re dealing with the life, social, physical, or health sciences, this should be one of the first resources to check.

The sheer size Scopus is impressive; it covers over 22,000 journals, 150,000 books, and conference materials for a combined 69 million records.  It features smart tools to track, analyze, and visualize the world’s research.

There are five types of quality measures for each title: the h-index, CiteScore, SJR (SCImago Journal Rank), SNIP (Source Normalized Impact per Paper), and the relatively new PlumX Metrics (which measures usage, captures, mentions, social media, and citations).  Below are two examples of how search results can be automatically analyzed and viewed in Scopus.

Scopus is easy to navigate, and the ability to search both forward and backward from a particular citation is very helpful.  Searching forward refers to the ability to follow who has cited an article.  Searching backward refers to the ability to view the references in a source’s bibliography.

Because there is such a broad range of research fields covered in Scopus, the nature of this database is multidisciplinary and allows researcher to easily search outside of his/her discipline.  Many of the references of specific records are hyperlinked, in addition to any citing literature that is also hyperlinked.

To access Scopus, visit


Note: Scopus logo is from the Central European University Library web site.

Ambassador James P. Zumwalt

Please join the Center for Asian Studies for a lecture Friday, March 2nd, at 11:20 a.m. in the Hatfield Room.

Title: “Goodwill and the Alliance: U.S. Japan Cooperation during and after March 11th.”

Presenter: Ambassador James P. Zumwalt James Zumwalt

Abstract: On March 11, 2011, a 9.0-magnitude earthquake struck Japan off the coast of Tohoku followed by a devastating tsunami that killed nearly 20,000 people including two Americans. It was the largest earthquake on record to hit Japan and triggered the meltdown of two nuclear reactors in Fukushima. In the days and weeks following the disaster, the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo mobilized U.S. government operations and resources provided to the Japanese government while the U.S. military coordinated massive humanitarian aid and disaster relief operations dubbed, Operation Tomodachi (i.e. “friend” in Japanese). This support has generated significant goodwill between the two countries and reinforced the importance of the U.S.-Japan alliance.

As part of its newest outreach series on U.S.-Japan relations, The Alliance Working in America, Sasakawa USA is co-sponsoring a special lecture at Willamette University to discuss U.S.-Japan cooperation in the aftermath of Japan’s March 11 Great Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami. The lecture will feature Sasakawa USA CEO, Ambassador James P. Zumwalt, who was the Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo at the time of the crisis. He will discuss his role and the U.S. government’s response following the disaster, the importance of the U.S.-Japan alliance to American interests, and the future of U.S.-Japan cooperation.

About Sasakawa Peace Foundation USA
Sasakawa Peace Foundation USA is an independent American non-profit, non-partisan institution in Washington, D.C. devoted to research, analysis, and better understanding of U.S.-Japan relations. Through research and education programs, Sasakawa USA facilitates people-to-people exchange and dialogue between American and Japanese policymakers, influential citizens, and the broader public.

Contact Information:
Name: Miho Fujiwara
Phone: 503-370-6015