The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Category: Announcements

The UMass Amherst Libraries are pleased to coordinate efforts for the Pioneer Valley’s participation in the fifth annual international City Nature Challenge (CNC). The Challenge consists of a submission period from April 24-27, 2020, during which participants observe and submit pictures of wild plants, animals, and fungi using the free mobile app iNaturalist, and a crowdsource-based identification period from April 28-May 3, 2020. Results of the Challenge will be announced on May 4.

According to the CNC website, the Challenge was started in 2016 by citizen science teams at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco “as a fun way to capitalize on their home cities’ friendly rivalry and hold a citizen science event around urban biodiversity.” Additionally, the wildlife information gathered during the Challenge “gives scientists, educators, urban planners, and policymakers insight into the biodiversity of urban locales throughout the world.” Last year, more than 963,000 observations were made.

Recently, Challenge organizers released a statement saying “In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have made some modifications to the City Nature Challenge to help keep our organizers and participants safe. Firstly, this year’s CNC is no longer a competition. Instead, we want to embrace the healing power of nature and encourage the collaborative aspect of the CNC. This will allow people to safely document biodiversity in whatever way they can, even from the safety of their own homes if necessary. We urge all participants to carefully follow public health guidelines provided by your local governments, as they are changing in real-time. Individual safety and public health are our utmost priority. Please refer to our COVID-19 FAQ page for more information.”

This year marks the first year that the Pioneer Valley is officially participating. Melanie Radik, librarian in the Science and Engineering Library, is spearheading organization efforts with an information guide and virtual workshops for interested participants.

UMass Amherst Libraries, members of the All-Campus Makerspace, Institute for Applied Life Sciences (IALS) and multiple faculty and students from Engineering and the Life Sciences began working together in mid-March to establish UMass Amherst COVID-19 Response Teams including those to coordinate resources to fabricate supplemental personal protective equipment (PPE) to support medical staff on the frontlines of the COVID-19 battle. 

From the Libraries, Sarah Hutton, Head of Student Success and Engagement; Steve Acquah, Digital Media Lab Coordinator and Adjunct Associate Professor of Chemistry; and Dennis Spencer, 3D Printing Services Supervisor are three of the more than 80 faculty and staff now working across disciplines and centers at UMass Amherst, using Microsoft Teams to share information and designs approved by the medical community to fabricate items such as frames for plastic face shields.

“We know of earlier efforts looking at producing materials by people who want to help,” explains Hutton. “University efforts first centered around making sure we were bringing the best science to bear on designs, and consulting with the NIH and health care professionals, before we started prototyping and producing.”

Even though the Libraries’ physical buildings are closed, staff from the Libraries’ Digital Media Lab have been printing component parts (visors, clips, and hinged clips) for face shields on Makerbot and Ultimaker printers, and are providing prototypes for a ventilator splitting-mechanism that could help alleviate the anticipated shortage of ventilators. 

The Science and Engineering Library team supported a nationwide medical librarian collaborative research initiative to contribute to a critical open-access collection of pertinent research, face shield designs and reviews, and patents. This face shield prototype diagnostic collection, created by Hutton, is actively utilized by the team at UMass Amherst, and has also attracted other institutions regionally and nationally to draw from the collected expertise to help support other localized fabrication efforts.

Peter Reinhart, Founding Director for UMass’s Institute of Applied Sciences, Frank Sup, Associate Professor, and Meghan Huber, Assistant Professor both of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, have been spearheading a number of the UMass Amherst COVID-19 Response Teams across campus and in local communities. Dave Follette, IALS Advanced Digital Design and Fabrication and Device Characterization Core Facilities Director, has been collaborating closely with Spencer to design printable face shield component parts that will best fit the need for the rapid production and distribution of safe equipment to those in need.  

Joined by Campus Makerspace Director Shira Epstein, Environmental Conservation and Public Policy Professor Charlie Schweik, Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Assistant Professor Meghan Huber, and many dedicated researchers, engineers, and students across campus, the goal of collaborators is to leverage UMass’s resources to expand the production and distribution of essential PPE into local hospitals and other essential service areas in our communities to help continue flattening the curve.

Irma McClaurin, PhD G’93, MFA G’73 was recently awarded a $15,000 Historical Archives Grant from the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, Inc. The funds are for the development of the Irma McClaurin Black Feminist Archive in Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA), University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries.

The Irma McClaurin Black Feminist Archive (BFA) was established in 2016, when Dr. McClaurin was recognized as a University of Massachusetts Amherst “Distinguished Alumni.” A former UMass Amherst employee, McClaurin worked in Transfer Admissions and as Assistant Dean in the College of Arts and Sciences from 1977-1991.  

The BFA is interdisciplinary and already includes the collections of several important activists and scholars, such as Black feminist anthropologist Carolyn Martin Shaw and the late Lawrence Paros ’55, an Alternative Education advocate and educator. The grant will cover expenses associated with transporting materials and preparing them to be deposited in the Archive.

The Black Feminist Archive will be part of SCUA's efforts to document social change and will join its actively used collections that include the papers of W. E. B. Du Bois, for whom UMass Amherst’s main library building is named, Horace Mann Bond, Daniel Ellsberg, Judi Chamberlin, and Brother David Steindl-Rast.

The Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, Inc. Historical Archives Program “promotes the preservation of the history of anthropology by assisting senior scholars (or their heirs) with the expense of preparing their personal research collections for archival deposit.”

The UMass Amherst Libraries announce the publication of Radicalize the Hive, an openly licensed textbook authored and assembled by Angela Roell, Stockbridge School of Agriculture, and Aisha Russell, Editor and Project Manager. This textbook has a Creative Commons license, making it a free and openly available resource for anyone to use, share, and remix.

Radicalize the Hive, a collection of stories from the field and resources for new and intermediate beekeepers interwoven with the author’s experience as a beekeeper over the last decade, centers stories of community-engaged beekeeping, marginalized voices, people of color, queer, trans, and gender variant beekeepers and bee seekers. “When I began this book, I was curious about who is working with bees in less ‘conventional’ ways and what practices we’re using to engage new beekeepers in ‘right’ relationship with honey bees,” says Roell.

This first iteration of the book is being released as a “reader version.” The authors welcome comments, ideas, and input from the public. A final version will be published on April 4, 2020.  

The announcement of the textbook’s publication coincides with Open Education Week from March 2-6, 2020, an Open Education Global initiative highlighting that “by providing free and open access to education and knowledge, open education helps create a world to support learning.”

Radicalize the Hive, as well as other openly licensed books, is available online or for download via Open Books Library, a catalog of open access books published by the UMass Amherst Libraries. The catalog is hosted on Pressbooks, an open source Wordpress plugin that allows for easy reading on the web as well as PDF and eBook downloads for offline reading.

The textbook was developed with funds from the Open Education Initiative, an annual effort of the Libraries’ Office of Scholarly Communication and the Office of the Provost to increase the number of low- or no-cost openly licensed teaching materials on campus.

Jan. 21-May 7
Science and Engineering Library, Lederle GRC Lowrise

Closing Reception
Wed., Apr. 22, 2-4 p.m.

The UMass Amherst Libraries are collaborating with the Institute for Applied Life Sciences (IALS) to present “IALS Showcase: Where Art Meets Science” through May 7, in the Science and Engineering Library, Lederle GRC Lowrise, UMass Amherst. A closing reception for the campus community will take place on Wednesday, April 22, 2-4 p.m.

The showcase features information about the work of the Institute, including its research, services, summer internship program, and ongoing collaborations. Artwork and materials on display illustrate the work of the Institute’s Centers: Bioactive Delivery, Personalized Health Monitoring, and Models to Medicine, as well as the 30+ shared resource facilities-UMass Core Facilities. New items will be added throughout the semester.

The showcase will incorporate a research image competition for images affiliated with the Institute. The competition is open to all UMass Amherst students, staff, and faculty; awards will be distributed at the closing reception.

Additionally, the exhibit will highlight a collaboration with Building Bridges Worker Artists to create science-themed artwork.

Several pop-up sessions in conjunction with the exhibit will also take place throughout the semester; check the IALS website for updates.

Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) at the University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries announces new annual fellowships, linking and supporting scholars working with material in SCUA’s collections. For the first time, fellowships are being offered for graduate students, early career professionals, and independent scholars interested in the spiritual dimensions of social change; the history of work, labor, and industry; and the value of human life. These new fellowships join the well-established W. E. B. Du Bois Research Fellowship and expand the breadth of subjects for researchers to delve into during short-term residential research appointments.

The Brother David Steindl-Rast Fellowship supports research that engages with the spiritual dimensions of social change. Steindl-Rast, a Benedictine monk, scholar, writer, and social activist, has shared messages of peace, interfaith dialogue, social justice, and environmental stewardship worldwide for more than 50 years.

Eligibility: Graduate students and early career professionals (within five years of receipt of a PhD). Independent scholars and those outside of academia are strongly encouraged to apply.

Kenneth R. Feinberg Fellowships: Two annual fellowshipssupport research that touches on the theme of the value of human life or otherwise resonates with the legacy of Kenneth R. Feinberg. One of the most prominent and dedicated attorneys of our time, Feinberg has assumed the role of mediator in a number of high-profile complex legal disputes, often in the aftermath of public tragedies. Frequently these cases necessitate determining compensation to victims and survivors and also confronting the very question of the value of human life.

Eligibility: Graduate students and early career professionals (within five years of receipt of a PhD).

The John William Bennett Fellowship supports research in and writing on the history of labor, work, and industry, honoring the legacy of labor historian and activist John William Bennett. A labor historian, Bennett ’52 researched the history of the labor movement since his days as an undergraduate at UMass Amherst. A born collector, he began accumulating memorabilia associated with unions, drawn to their potential as a visual record of labor iconography and self-representation.

Eligibility: Graduate students and early career professionals (within five years of receipt of a PhD). Proposals by labor historians without academic affiliation will also be considered.

The Esperantic Studies Foundation Fellowship supports research in the history and culture of planned languages, with a strong emphasis on Esperanto and the Esperanto movement.

Eligibility: Graduate students and early career professionals (within five years of receipt of a PhD).

The Du Bois Research Fellowships are managed by SCUA’s partner, the W. E. B. Du Bois Center. For information and to apply, visit the Du Bois Center’s website.

Application Process

The 2020 Fellowship Application is due on March 6, 2020; awards will be announced on April 1. Fellows will be selected according to the scholarly merit of their proposal as judged by the committee of reviewers; demonstrated need to use SCUA’s holdings; and fit to the particular fellowship program.

SCUA uses a single, online-only application process for all fellowship programs. A completed applicant’s packet must include:

  • A brief biographical statement of not more than 350 words with a description of your larger research agenda to be used for publicity purposes
  • An overview of the proposed project not to exceed three pages
  • A current resume or CV
  • One confidential letter of reference

The UMass Amherst Libraries are partnering with the Center for Educational Assessment at the College of Education to publish Practical Assessment, Research, and Evaluation (PARE) through ScholarWorks@UMassAmherst, the digital repository for the scholarly output for the campus. Established as an open access journal in 1999 by Lawrence Rudner and William Schafer, PARE will remain open access with no article processing charges for authors. Volumes 1 through 24 have been migrated to ScholarWorks, and new issues will be published starting in January, 2020.

PARE is an online journal that provides access to refereed articles that can have a positive impact on assessment, research, and evaluation. PARE is committed to promoting fairness and equity in educational and psychological measurement and evaluation. Its editors are seeking papers that foster and support the development of high quality, inclusive assessments and assessment practices.

April Zenisky, associate research professor and director of computer-based testing initiatives for the Center for Educational Assessment, and Lisa Keller, associate professor and assistant director of the Center for Educational Assessment, will be the new co-editors.

One unique feature of PARE is that graduate students in the Research in Educational Measurement and Psychometrics program in the College of Education will be included in the peer review process; their names will be listed in the graduate student editorial board upon receiving journal review certification by Zenisky and Keller. Each journal submission will then be reviewed by one of these students as well as two or more professionals, drawn from either the editorial board or ad hoc reviewers.

The UMass Amherst Libraries are committed to supporting our colleagues at other institutions and to working with them to transform the way libraries license and provide access to scholarly content. The Libraries’ Office of Scholarly Communications is a leading advocate for changes in the scholarly communications process, spearheading the adoption by UMass Faculty Senate of the University Open Access Policy in 2016.  

The UMass Amherst Libraries are pleased to endorse the MIT Framework for Publisher Contracts, a set of principles to guide library engagement with vendors and publishers, with the goal of advancing an open, equitable, and accessible scholarly ecosystem. The UMass Amherst Libraries are fully engaged in this process and espouse many of the principles set forth in the MIT Framework.  

UMass Amherst Libraries will continue to work with our national and international colleagues as well as vendors, publishers, and learned societies, to create and advocate for change in the scholarly communications system. As mindful stewards of the financial resources entrusted to us by the campus and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, we will seek innovative and creative ways to provide access to needed resources in the most affordable and accessible way possible. 

Endorsed October 21, 2019 by the University Libraries Administration Team: Simon Neame, Dean of Libraries; Steve Bischof, Associate Dean for Library Technology; Leslie Button, Associate Dean for Research and Learning; Terry Carroll, Director for Administrative Services; Sally Krash, Associate Dean for Content and Discovery; Carol Connare, Director of Communication; and Marilyn Billings, Advisor to the Dean of Libraries on Scholarly Communication.


The UMass Amherst Libraries announce the launch of Translat Library, a new journal based at UMass Amherst and published through ScholarWorks@UMassAmherst in collaboration with the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona in Spain. The journal is devoted to the literary culture of Europe from 1300 to 1600, with an emphasis on vernacular translations, the Romance letters, and the Latin tradition.

Translat Library stems from a long-term project led by a group of researchers based at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. The project, which has received funding from the Spanish government since 2006, culminated in 2018 with the publication of a monograph as well as a database on medieval Catalan translations (Translat is the medieval Catalan word for both ‘translation’ and ‘copy’).

Inspired by the sections of notes and manuscript excerpts that were common in 19th century journals, the journal aims to offer a venue for research based on archival and documentary work. It seeks to publish short articles documenting the identification of a manuscript or incunable, the source of a text, archival information on an author or work, the paratexts of a rare edition, the complete or excerpted edition of an unpublished text, and published but neglected text, among other topics.

Albert Lloret, Associate Professor and Director of Spanish and Catalan Studies at UMass Amherst, serves as general editor of the journal, together with Barcelona Professor Alejandro Coroleu. The Editorial Board is composed of a roster of scholars from the UK, Italy, Spain, and the U.S.

The W. E. B. Du Bois Center at UMass Amherst Libraries has been selected for the 2019 Best of Amherst Award in the Education Center category by the Amherst Award Program.

Each year, the Amherst Award Program identifies companies and places that they believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These nominees enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and community and help make the Amherst area a great place to live, work, and play.

The Amherst Award Program is an annual awards program established to honor the achievements and accomplishments of local businesses throughout the Amherst area. The organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations, and other business advertising and marketing groups. Its mission is to recognize the small business community's contributions to the U.S. economy.