Libraries’ Resources Stimulate Student Research and Creative Activity Expo

On April 11, 2013, Ohio University held its annual Student Research and Creative Activity Expo supported by the Vernon R. and Marion Alden endowment fund. As Ohio University President Roderick J. McDavis explained, the expo focuses on innovation, creativity and inspiration and allows students to utilize university funding to take off with their research endeavors. The Ohio University Libraries and it staff showed their continued support, as it has in past years.

Around 2,000 visitors attended the event, which hosted over 600 participants and 140 judges representing nearly every discipline and all education levels from undergraduate through doctoral fellow. Because participation requires preparation, students turned to the resources at Ohio University Libraries for research.

Ruth Adikorley, graduate student in apparel textiles and merchandising, studied the collapse of the textile industry in Ghana. With the help of Chris Guder, reference and instruction librarian, Adikorley was able to find the appropriate resources to start off her research.

Each year, the Libraries’ presented its own awards to participants: one undergraduate award, one graduate award, one librarian’s choice award and one Library-connection award.

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Ashley Morhardt, a third year doctoral student in Biological Sciences/Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, discusses her project “Brain Reconstruction and Evolution in Dinosaurs” with the Scott Seaman, dean of the Libraries, after receiving the Libraries’ Graduate Award at the 2013 Student Expo. The event was held in the Ohio University Convocation Center on April 11, 2013. (Photo By Tyler Stabile/ Ohio University Libraries)

Ashley Morhardt, recipient of the Libraries’ Graduate Award and doctoral student in Biological Sciences, showcased her research on “Brain Reconstruction and Evolution in Dinosaurs.” Morhardt used the anatomy of living dinosaur relatives, like birds, alligators and crocodiles, to understand the brain cavity and regions of dinosaurs in order to make digital recreations of the prehistoric brains.

“There’s a lot of obscure literature out there, some of which is in German, so you have these very rare documents that nobody else can get access to but our Library,” Morhart explains. “I swear, I don’t know how many times I have requested a book through Interlibrary Loan or used the resources available through OhioLINK to do translations with the translation software that’s available.”

Although she’s feels that the language translation resources are probably not endangered, Morhardt urges the Libraries to always keep those resources for research because of their accuracy, speed, and quality of information.

In 2012, Jeff Shane, Southeast Asian reference librarian, helped Morhardt operate microfilm to look at articles published through two publications that she was having trouble tracking down using Internet resources. This type of one-on-one interaction with librarians was a highlight of Morhardt’s experience with the Libraries.

“I had an instance where I requested a source on Interlibrary Loan and while that was in the process of being completed, in the mean time, I got e-mails of papers that were more recent and more informative,” Morhardt explained. “So that personal attention really impressed me.”

Among the 600 plus students who participated in the Student Expo, it is unclear how many of them accessed Ohio University Libraries’ resources. From those students who did, however, it is clear that their hunts for information were made easier with the help of the Libraries and its staff.

List of the Libraries’ Award Winners:

• Undergraduate Award: Eden Kincaid (Environmental & Plant Biology): “The Architecture of Ecology: Systems Design for a Sustainable Landscape”
• Graduate Award: Ashley Morhardt (Biological Sciences/Ecology & Evolutionary Biology): “Brain Reconstruction and Evolution in Dinosaurs”
• Library-Connection Award: Eric Burke (History): “Burnished Rows of Steel: The Evolution of Unit Cohesion and Self-Identity in Civil War Regiments”
• Librarian’s Choice Award: Katelyn Schlosser (Child & Family Studies): “Snapshot: Photographic Research Through a Child Life Lens”.