Department Blog

Physical Sciences & Engineering Library

Teaching with Wikipedia workshop

March 3rd, 2015 by Phoebe Ayers

Teaching with Wikipedia workshop
Friday March 13, 2-3pm
165 Shields Library (Shields Library Instruction Lab)

Students use Wikipedia — but have you ever thought of asking them to contribute content to Wikipedia? In this short workshop, LiAnna Davis and Jami Mathewson from the Wiki Education Foundation will explain best practices for using Wikipedia as a teaching tool. In contributing content to Wikipedia, students gain skills in media literacy, fact-based writing, research, collaboration, and critical thinking. You’ll learn how Wiki Ed can support you and your students in this innovative service learning assignment.

Questions? Please contact Phoebe Ayers,, 752-9948

The UC Open Access Policy and what it means for you

October 10th, 2014 by Phoebe Ayers

UC Open Access Policy Learn More

The UC Open Access Policy ( or was passed by the UC Academic Senate on July 24, 2013, and is going into effect for all UC campuses, including UC Davis, on November 1, 2014. The policy grants UC faculty the right to make their articles freely available to the public by depositing a pre-publication copy in an open access repository. What does this policy mean for faculty at UC Davis?

Come to this talk by Catherine Mitchell of the California Digital Library (CDL), who will describe the tools and services that CDL is developing to support the policy, and Dr. Robert Powell of Chemical Engineering, who will give background on the policy and its passage through the UC Senate.  Afterwards a Q&A panel will be held with the speakers, UC Davis librarians and open access researchers to answer questions and discuss the implications of the policy and open access.

This talk is being held during Open Access Week 2014, an annual international event to raise awareness about open access issues.

  • Catherine Mitchell and Dr. Robert Powell on the UC OA policy: talk and discussion
  • Wednesday, October 22, 2014
  • Shields Library, Nelle Branch Room, 2nd floor (at the far end of the main reading room)
  • 1:30-3:00pm

Questions? Contact Phoebe Ayers,



August 29th, 2014 by Phoebe Ayers

Here is a good link to various resources, including webcam feeds, to follow the two volcanic eruptions that happened recently: Bárðarbunga in Iceland and Mount Tavurvur in Papua New Guinea. An overview news story about both eruptions from NPR is here, and a story from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation about Mt. Tavurur is here.

For Iceland, you can follow volcano news through the Icelandic national broadcasting agency in English here. For Tavurvur, there is an overview page and link to news here. You can also follow global volcano reports through this site from the Smithsonian and USGS. Here is a Q&A from National Geographic about Icelandic volcanoes.

Want to know more about volcanoes in general? See the Volcanoes page of the Geology LibGuide for reference books and databases.

Earthquake resources

August 25th, 2014 by Phoebe Ayers

The USGS has a page with scientific information about the magnitude 6.0 earthquake that hit the Napa area this weekend. You may also want to use their “Did You Feel It?” service to report if you felt the earthquake; this helps build a “community intensity map” of impact.

If you want to know more about earthquakes in California in general, see the USGS California Earthquake page, and for library resources visit the Earthquakes section of the Geology Libguide to find databases for articles, reference works, and the contact information of the Geology librarian.

Professor John Rundle from Geology gave a TV interview on the history and the science of the quake, which you can see here.

Wikipedia events at the UC Davis libraries

May 2nd, 2014 by Phoebe Ayers

During May, the UC Davis library is hosting three Wikipedia-related events.

On May 8 from 3:30-5:00pm in the Shields Library Instruction Lab, there will be a workshop on how to teach with Wikipedia. Dozens of faculty around the country have used Wikipedia to teach skills like media literacy and expository writing with the world’s largest encyclopedia. Join UC Davis librarian Phoebe Ayers to explore how these assignments work, and what some of the benefits and pitfalls are.

And, on May 16 and May 23rd from 1:00-3:00pm in the Shields Library Instruction Lab, the library will host two “edit-a-thons” — drop-in events that are opportunities to learn how to edit Wikipedia and work with others to improve articles. Everyone is welcome at all three events; find out more at:


Today is IEEE day

October 1st, 2013 by Phoebe Ayers

IEEE Day is a member-driven, global event held on the first Tuesday of October. Now in its fourth year, IEEE Day celebrates the anniversary of the first time IEEE members gathered to share their technical ideas — in 1884. There is a map of events happening all around the world.

UC Davis Libraries subscribes to the IEEE digital library: IEEE XPlore, and UC Davis has a student IEEE chapter.

Of interest to local IEEE members, two IEEE global contests are coming up:

26 October: IEEEXtreme 24-hour Global Programming Competition: “Think you can code? Prove it .” IEEEXtreme is a global challenge in which teams of IEEE Student members, supported by an IEEE Student Branch, advised and proctored by an IEEE member, compete in a 24-hour time span against each other to solve a set of programming problems.

1 November (deadline): Smarter Planet Challenge, cosponsored with IBM. This competition requires an interdisciplinary team approach to developing and implementing solutions to real world challenges.

Also launching today and co-sponsored by IEEE — test drive the new Formula Hybrid website, highlighting its first-time mentoring arrangement with automotive professionals from major OEMs:


Off-campus Access to Library Resources (new VPN Client)

September 18th, 2013 by Cory Craig

Current UC Davis students, faculty and staff can access licensed library resources from off-campus using one of the three options below.  As of 9/19 a new VPN Client is available.


*Web VPN:   Easiest option.  Allows you to log in to the VPN without installing software, but only the browser window you used to log in can access online resources.   To log in to the Web VPN, click the “Use the VPN” link on the library webpages (left side), or go to  Enter your UC Davis login ID and passphrase (Kerberos login).    Known issues/problems with Web VPN.


*Client VPN:   Most comprehensive option.  New as of Fall 2013.  Requires installation of software.  All browser windows are able to access online resources (but is not currently working for all browsers).  For information and installation instructions, click the “Use the VPN” link,  or see:


*Proxy Server:   Use if neither the Web VPN or Client VPN will work for you.  Requires one time alteration of your browser settings, then logging each time you wish to use it.  For information see:


If you have questions or problems accessing online resources from off-campus, please contact a Library Reference desk.

Link to VPN:

Link to VPN Help:

SciFinder: Trouble Logging On?

July 22nd, 2013 by Cory Craig

If you are having trouble logging on to SciFinder, and use a bookmark to access the database —
try going straight to the SciFinder link:

Bookmarks likely contain extra code which might not work with the new interface which appeared in late June.
If you need to register for a SciFinder account, see the UC Davis SciFinder page.

Coming May 29th…Open Access Presentation by the Publisher of PeerJ

May 9th, 2013 by Phoebe Ayers

What’s All the Fuss About Open Access? What Do I Need to Know, and How Does it Benefit Me?

Join us for a presentation by Pete Binfield (previously the Publisher of PLoS One, and now the Publisher and Co-Founder of PeerJ) as he provides an overview of the current landscape of  Open Access publications; highlights some of the more innovative models that are being tested in the marketplace; talks about items such as article level metrics and open peer review, and shows how these new developments can benefit you as both a researcher and author.

  • Date:  May 29, 2013
  • Time: 3-4 pm
  • Place: 1065 Kemper Hall

Hosted by UC Davis Library.  Contact:

Amy Studer, Health & Life Science Librarian    |    (530) 752-1678


Howard, J. (2013, April 29). Asking authors to buy memberships for open accessChronicle of Higher Education.

VanNoorden, R. (2013, March 27).  Open access:  The true cost of science publishingNature News, 495(7442).

UC Davis Library Blog entry about PeerJ:  March 1, 2013

Join us for Open Access Week 2012 events

October 8th, 2012 by Phoebe Ayers

Open Access Week, a global event now entering its sixth year, is an opportunity to discuss and learn about the potential benefits of open access publishing. As the UC community debates open access mandates, faces federal data sharing requirements, and along with the rest of the worldwide research and academic community debates how to work with an ever-increasing amount of scholarly information, Open Access Week is more relevant and important than ever.

Please join the UC Davis Library in celebrating Open Access Week 2012 with three special events:

Open data and open access:  expert panel discussion
Four experts — MacKenzie Smith (UCD University Librarian), Jonathan Eisen (UCD Professor and PLoS Biology editor), Timothy Vollmer (Creative Commons) and Carly Strasser (DataOne and California Digital Library) will debate the merits of open access and open data and discuss recent developments in scholarly publishing and sharing data. Come with your questions for what promises to be a lively, cutting-edge discussion!
Wednesday, October 24 at 11:30am-1:00p
Nelle Branch room, 2nd floor Shields Library map

Data Management for Researchers: Organizing, Describing, and Sharing your Data
This workshop, presented by Carly Strasser, will introduce researchers to basic data management principles and demonstrate tools you can use to organize and share data. Not sure whether you should be publishing your data, or how to get started? Come to this workshop!
Wednesday, October 24, 2:00 – 3:00 PM
Library Instruction Lab, 1st floor Shields Library map

Should You Publish in Open Access Journals?
This session will include a short introduction to OA publishing, followed by a facilitated audience discussion on the pros and cons of publishing in open access journals, led by Michael Rogawski M.D., Professor of Neurology. Bring your questions and come ready to participate!
Monday, October 22, 3:00 – 4:00 PM
Education Building Room 1204, UC Davis Medical Center Sacramento Campus map

Questions or RSVPs? Contact Phoebe Ayers at or 530-752-9948 (main campus), or Raquel Abad at or 916-734‑3870 (Sacramento).