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SWOSU Libraries Enable Research for Students and Faculty

SWOSU Libraries

SWOSU Libraries on the Weatherford and Sayre remote locationes have many great resources to support research. Assisting a recent SWOSU class project led by Dr. Jeremy Evert (middle) were Phillip Fitzsimmons (left) and Jason Dupree. Fitzsimmons is head of reference and digitization, and Dupree is director of libraries.

Southwestern Oklahoma State University’s Al Harris Library (Weatherford) and McMahan Library (Sayre) have a great history with research, especially research by students.

Dr. Jeremy Evert, assistant professor in computer at SWOSU, said people often think about libraries as the great spaces for deep thoughts and, of course, so many books full of information, but SWOSU Libraries provides technology and digital services that are key to communicating in a digital age. SWOSU Libraries provide vital support for research publications.

SWOSU has invested in BePress, a publishing service that provides hosting for projects. Through the Digital Commons platform, the library can accept a variety of publications from researchers across campus and provide permanent links in return. SWOSU Digital Commons has been used to host a number of research activities, including on-campus journals, podcasts, student research posters and technical papers. The Digital Commons site keeps track of how many times the material has been viewed, as well as where the material is being downloaded. Such information aids researchers in documenting the broad impact of their research.

Through the Digital Commons service, SWOSU Libraries have been a part of some very exciting projects. One example is SWOSU computer science student Aditi Shrestha, who landed an internship after an Oklahoma City business owner discovered her research through Digital Commons.

Shrestha enrolled in Software Engineering in the spring of 2018.  The class requirements called for regular podcast recordings to communicate the progress of class projects. Evert, professor of the course, encouraged Shrestha to apply for an internship with the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder (CO) and then asked Shrestha to talk about being selected for the internship during one of the project updates.

Hector Lucas, a SWOSU communications major, recorded and edited all project update interviews and then posted them online. An OKC business was searching for students with programming experience and came across the recordings. The business worked with Evert to contact Shrestha, and she spent the summer of 2019 completing an internship in Oklahoma City.

"It was a great honor to have one of our students selected for an internship at a national center,” Evert said. “Working with Hector on the podcasts was a treat. Aditi getting a job in OKC was icing on the cake. SWOSU Libraries digital services played a vital role in connecting us to the rest of the world."

Evert said a key ingredient for the success of the SWOSU Libraries’ publishing service is Phillip Fitzsimmons. Fitzsimmons regularly works with students and faculty across campus to help archive their work. He has been invited to present at conferences about supporting research and was invited by BePress to do a webinar instructing other librarians from around the world about how to help campuses engage researchers.

SWOSU Libraries have many other great resources to support research. Doug Reichmann manages the Media Studio, which is where Shrestha and Lucas recorded their podcasts. The digital media studio has video and audio recording equipment, software and tools required to edit recordings, and a green screen studio. Students can check-out media equipment at the front desk of the Al Harris Library for class projects or personal use.

SWOSU Libraries play a vital role in research on the campus. The digital services enable researchers to share their work to the world.