New Data Services Workshops Announced for Spring 2020

The Digital Scholarship Team will be hosting a series of workshops this semester based on the upcoming publication of the 2020 census.

Digital Scholarship is happy to announce a series of 6 data-related workshops throughout Spring 2020. As the 2020 census will be launched on April 1st, our workshops are designed to increase awareness and understanding of the importance of the census, building data skills of using, managing and visualizing census data and other data sources. We hope you can join us! All events will be held in the Digital Studio (O’Neill Library 205). Please register for each event using the corresponding link.

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A Quick Reflection on ARL and ARL-Ignatian as Intertwined Paths to Excellence.

Tom Wall, University Librarian, reflects on how Boston College Libraries fit both in the world of Research Libraries and the world of Jesuit Universities.

Boston College Libraries belong to the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), which includes the largest research and academic libraries in the United States and Canada. The organization meets twice a year and has a variety of programs, committees and initiatives that allow for conversations on like experiences, best practices, trends and planning relevant to all areas of academic and research libraries. ARL provides value, and BC benefits from our involvement.

The only other two Catholic ARL institutions are Georgetown and Notre Dame, and of course only Georgetown identifies as Jesuit. We also belong to several other library and professionally relevant organizations, but for the purposes of this reflection I am only focusing on ARL, but not actually on the ARL above.

I recently experienced the transformative Ignatian Colleagues Program (ICP), and found myself reflecting on issues and concerns specific to the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU) with colleagues across all academic areas, and these conversations were rewarding in ways I that are outside of ARL’s scope. The ICP colleagues were inherently caring, without ego and understood the importance of both cura personalis (care for the entire person) and cura apostolica (care for the work). The ICP folks are, to a person, committed to following their hearts, souls and imaginations to make our students and institutions the best they can be. The overall 18 month program led to a collective experience that demonstrated the value of communal discernment unique to AJCU institutions.

Pivoting back to ARL, issues raised at meetings provide some opportunity for conversation, but local nuance and ambitious personalities can obfuscate meaningful takeaways, at least to my mind. Moreover, most ARL attendees are sitting directors (like me); I have been increasingly sending our Associate University Librarians (AULs), and frankly see the AULs as the ones closest to many of the issues discussed at the ARL meetings.

BC Libraries are committed to contributing to and engaging with the ARL. But in terms of our organizational culture I would like to suggest that we are also Ignatian; we can use the ARL letters as a mnemonic device and as a community aspire to always being Attentive, Reflective and Loving in all matters related to our professionalism, our Boston College community, and greater concerns and challenges that come with everyday life.

So while we are certainly an ARL Library and all that entails, we are fundamentally grounded in the Ignatian ARL as well. These ARL-isms are not mutually exclusive either, particularly with regards to topics that revolve around complex social justice matters. We can do our best work when we are attentive, reflective and loving to all groups, especially those on the margins in a damaged world, by paying close attention to equity, diversity and inclusion, without losing our deep service commitment to library excellence. I would maintain that Boston College has the opportunity to always be driven to doing better in these areas because of a shared ongoing commitment to practicing librarianship within an institution that also practices community discernment. Having a leadership role surrounded by amazing people that understand both ARLs evokes gratitude, humility and promise.

Try Our Full Text Finder

We’re testing a feature on our beta website to make it easier to get to full text using library search.

We’re testing a feature on our beta website to make it easier to get to full text using library search.

Copy and paste a DOI (what’s this) or a citation/reference into the search box, and if we can find a match, you’ll get a prominent link to download it in one click.

Screenshot detail of BC Libraries home-page showing yellow text box link: "Looking for an article? Try our beta site!" above the main search bar.

To use it, click the yellow button above the search bar linking to the new beta site.

More information (and a link for feedback!) is available on the beta site itself.

Who’s Who at BC Libraries: Weitao Liu

Introducing Weitao Liu, Philosophy & English ‘20, and O’Neill Library Digital Studio student assistant.

Class year

Undergraduate, Class of 2020.


I am double-majoring Philosophy and English and double-minoring Music and Economics. Since I am a senior in the honors program housed in the Philosophy department, I am writing a thesis on time, drawing ideas mostly from Kant, Hegel, and Freud.


I am from Wuhan, a city in the People’s Republic of China, and I went to high school in Columbia, South Carolina, so that would count as my second hometown.

Student Assistant Weitao Liu at the O’Neill Library Digital Studio service desk.

What is your role at Boston College Libraries?

I work in the digital studio in O’Neill Library as a student assistant. Duties primarily consist of troubleshooting software issues that patrons may have, taking reservations for workstations and spaces, and maintaining the normal function of printers and other accessories.

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The Impact Factor

Journal Impact Factor, one of several frequently-used metrics of a journal’s influence, measures how often articles in a journal are cited. It’s a proprietary measure published by Journal Citation Reports, and in Web of Science. Sally Wyman, Head of Collection Development and Research Services, explains several strategies for finding Impact Factor scores.

Many of us have heard the phrase, some of us with dread, “Journal Impact Factor,” or JIF (or, even, IF). This is a commonly-used measure of perceived influence of journals in the social sciences and sciences. Despite some controversy over the value of this measurement, it is widely known and used.

Calculation of the Impact Factor of the journal Nature, as displayed in Journal Citation Reports. 2018 Journal Impact Factor = 73952/1,717 = 43.070
Calculation of the Impact Factor of the journal Nature, as displayed in Journal Citation Reports.

Here is the underlying equation:

JIF (2018) = # Citations in 2018 to items published in 2016 and 2017/
                    # Citable items in 2016 and 2017

You may often see the JIF/IF advertised on the homepages of journals. If it’s high, it tends to be easy to find on that page. You can also find a link to a pop-up (“View Journal Impact”) on any Web of Science article entry.

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