Advisor of the month: Merceline Obwaya

 

Merceline is a Library Assistant at the Kenyatta University Post Modern Library. Merceline grew up in a small village called Nyansara in Kisii County, Kenya. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Library and Information Science from Kenyatta University in December, 2014. She is passionate about providing timely and quality services to the community she serves.

 

How did you get into your field?
I love reading, but that’s not the reason I became a librarian. I love connecting people with the information they need to change their lives for the better. I love the hunt and the power of having the right information at the right time and teaching others to gain the skills too. I chose to pursue a degree in Library and information Science to accomplish all these through serving library/ information centres’ clients. I joined Kenyatta University Post Modern Library a few months after graduating and it has been exciting serving the University Community. It is amazing to work in a library!

Where do you do work the best?
In a relaxed and clean environment with people who are committed to their work and are self-driven.

How long have you used Mendeley?
I was first introduced to Mendeley in 2015 by my supervisor, who is currently the Deputy University librarian at Kenyatta University. Thanks Mr. Thuku!

What were you using prior to Mendeley and how does Mendeley influence your research?
Microsoft Word citations & bibliography. Mendeley is a one-stop solution when it comes to research. It makes referencing and citation so easier, allows one to read the saved PDF documents, make notes and add comments and even search the web catalog for more related reference documents and suggests more articles for further reading. It is an amazing tool.

Why did you decide to become an Advisor, and how are you involved with the program?
When I joined Kenyatta University, I realized most of the users I served had issues with citation and referencing. I took the challenge to learn more about Mendeley, so that I can help them rather than giving them several referrals to the reference experts. I joined the Librarian certification program in 2017 and I learnt and sharpened my skills in using Mendeley. I am involved in the library Information Literacy training sessions and one of the key issues addressed in the trainings is use of the reference management tools. I am the Mendeley expert in my library! I train the students and staff how Mendeley can make their research more enjoyable and easier.

What researcher would you like to work with or meet, dead or alive?
No one in particular, but I wish to meet the Mendeley team. They have done so much to make referencing such an easier task, providing all the support and resources needed by the users to learn more about Mendeley. The people behind this magic.

What book are you reading at the moment?
In addition to the many articles I read while working, I am currently reading “Doors of opportunity: issues in personal development and achievement” by Sebuye Livingstone.

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned this week?
Learning is a continuous process. There is always something new to learn each day.

What is the best part about working in research?
Always learning to solve problems scholars face to make their research life better and interesting.

And the most challenging part about working in research?
When people assume that as an information professional you know everything, and that you can solve all the challenges they face in the research world.

What is one Mendeley “ProTip” you have?
All the Mendeley features are just where I exactly need them. The new Mendeley web importer is an amazing development! I can now save the subscribed articles without going through the long process of downloading them to my desktop folders first.

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Interested in becoming a Mendeley Advisor yourself? Find out more about the Advisor Community here

Advisor of the month: Virginia Ballance

Virginia BallanceVirginia Ballance is the Nursing and Health Sciences Librarian at the University of The Bahamas. She works in the Hilda Bowen Library at the nursing school campus in downtown Nassau Bahamas.

How did you get into your field?
I loved studying and working in the library while I was at university and after graduate school studies sort of moved seamlessly into librarianship.

Where do you do work best?
In the library.

How long have you been using Mendeley?
I set up an account several years ago mostly to try it out. Last year the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research suggested I offer a workshop on reference management – we selected Mendeley because of the great features.

What were you using prior to Mendeley?
Years ago I used EndNote but in recent years, embarrassed to say, I wasn’t using anything…

Why did you decide to become an Advisor?
The Mendeley Advisor programme encouraged me to really learn to use the product and exploit all its features as well as providing me with the training materials (presentations that could be customized, posters and certificates) needed to run a workshop. Being an Advisor puts you in contact with a fabulous group of Mendeley users all over the world to share experiences using Mendeley. There are other great benefits such as having a larger account size and greater number of Mendeley groups.

Which researcher would you most like to work with, dead or alive?
Hard question – to be honest, I really enjoy working with the students and faculty here at the University of The Bahamas.

What book are you reading at the moment?
Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari and about 10 other books…

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned this week?
I discovered Google Crisis Maps. This is a special project which gives access to satellite images and maps specifically for emergency situations. I was amazed to see details of the extent of the devastation on the two islands in the Bahamas that were hit by Hurricane Dorian on September 1, 2019. https://www.google.org/crisismap/weather_and_events

What’s the best part about working in research?
Seeing your name in print! Getting cited!

And the most challenging part about working in research?
Procrastination. Making time in the day or the week to work on writing especially when there are so many distractions.

What’s the one thing you want people to know about Mendeley?
It can make your scholarly writing so much easier…

Do you have any advice for young researchers?
Absolutely – be brave, go to conferences, present your ideas, network, work with your colleagues, and let the librarians in your institution know what you are working on.

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Watch Virginia give advice on the best methods and tools to effectively collect, organize and retrieve a personal knowledge base as part of Elsevier’s recent Build My Knowledge webinar

Interested in becoming a Mendeley Advisor yourself? Find out more about the Advisor Community here

Advisor of the Month: Robin Pertz; science librarian, NASA Glenn Research Center

How did you get into your field and what is your research story?

I started at a library in Gahanna, Ohio (Columbus Metropolitan Library) as a homework help center coordinator. As a former middle school science teacher seeking a new venue for my talents it was the library where my passion for teaching and my enthusiasm for learning collided. It was there I was encouraged to go to grad school where I earned my MLIS from Kent State. During my last semester at KSU I was assigned a project in which I interviewed the manager of the library at NASA Glenn. In a twist of fate, I was asked to complete my practicum, a culminating experience at a place I pined over as a child growing up in the Cleveland area. NASA was always a dream of mine. So it happened that a position became open while I was there and one thing led to another, the rest is history! Never in my wildest dreams would I have ever thought I’d be the science librarian at NASA.

Where do you do your research/work the best? What kind of environment suits you?

My best work is done in the morning, outside of my building at a picnic table. With the sound of wind tunnels and jet engines in the background with a cup of tea out of my NASA mug is when I’m doing my best work!

How long have you used Mendeley for? 

I have been on Mendeley since January 2017, I was actually the first person to “graduate” from the librarian certification program!

What were you using prior to Mendeley and how does Mendeley influence your research?

I was using NOTHING! Mendeley helps me save time and lean my research process. Saving me time, therefore saving the government time!

Why did you decide to become an Advisor and how are you involved with the program?

I guess it goes back to the need for teaching and learning. You can take a teacher out of a classroom but you can’t take the classroom out of the teacher. I host all of our Mendeley demos here at our lab and encourage folks to lean their research process as well!

What researcher would you like to work with or meet, dead or alive?

After having been afforded the opportunity to have lunch with legend astronauts and personal heroes like Jim Lovell, Fred Haise, Walt Cunningham, and Frank Borman…I cannot answer this question. I’ve already met some of the most wonderful humans that ever walked this earth and who have been to space.

 What book are you reading at the moment?

Secret time. I’m the librarian that doesn’t read as much as “most” librarians. I go through so much research everyday all day long that by the end of the day I’d rather go to the gym, go for a walk or work in the garden.

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned this week?

That someone actually wants to play football for the Cleveland Browns. Welcome to Cleveland OBJ.

What is the best part about working in research?

Seeing things grow from the ground up. I’ll get a research request, 8 months later see NEW research published that used the research that I found and culled together months ago!

And the most challenging part about working in research?

The misconception that I know everything that NASA publishes because I’m the librarian. (a humorous challenge)

What is one Mendeley “ProTip” you have?

Using the “search” feature to find research that spans across multiple disciplines of research that I’ve saved over the years. That is usually my starting point to a new research project.

Biography

Robin grew up in the Cleveland, Ohio area. Always wanting to be a teacher she ventured to central Ohio for her undergraduate degree in middle childhood education. While in college she was a supervisor of summer day camps for kids. After college graduation she stuck around central Ohio and was teaching until finding her love of libraries with the Columbus Metropolitan Library. It was there where she was encouraged to attend grad school where she could advance her career and passion for libraries and learning. Fate would have it that she landed an experience at the NASA Glenn Research Center where all her passions would collide into the perfect dream job! As the science librarian for one of 3 research centers that NASA has, her day to day is filled with many typical librarian tasks like cataloging, collection maintenance, promotion and outreach as well as citation verification, in depth research and reference. Robin also hosts various demos and workshops for the NASA Glenn staff of 1,500. As NASA celebrates the 50th anniversary of the iconic Moon landing and the 60th anniversary of the Agency she hopes to be around to see many more anniversaries in the future and not for one moment takes for granted the esteem that comes for working with someone of the brightest people and most iconic Agencies in the world.

You can follow Robin’s Mendeley profile here

Shameless plugs…

https://www.instagram.com/tv/BlT1z7PghHU/

Follow me on twitter @glennlibrary

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Find out more about the Mendeley Advisor Community here

Mendeley advisor of the month: Eko Sumartono, SP., M.Sc

Eko

Eko Sumartono is a researcher at the Department of Agribusiness, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Bengkulu. Eko was born to a family of teachers and farmers: “Our life was very simple at that time. I was born in a city full of history, and a long coastal area, namely Bengkulu, Indonesia. Beginning in 1999, I migrated to the City of Education in Java, namely the Special Region of Yogyakarta. From this city I know a lot of variety and knowledge. I continued with the College in one of the Agribusiness Study Programs, Faculty of Agriculture, Muhammadiyah University of Yogyakarta. It took me four years to graduate with a good title of GPA 3.26. As long as I go to school in Yogyakarta, with a hobby in agriculture, I manage a small shop by peddling modern-style dishes. Furthermore, I also work part-time by managing the menu of agricultural products to be healthy and inexpensive food for other students.”
Eko completed a Masters of Agribusiness Management (on Tobacco Research) at Gadjah Mada University, and in 2015 he took his existing theoretical and practical knowledge and started teaching in one of the Agribusiness Programs in the Department of Social Economics, University of Bengkulu. “Mendeley really helps me, and I can transmit the benefits and functions of this Mendeley tool in order to progress my research with friends of research collaboration in Indonesia and abroad.”

What motivates you in your work?

“I found that one of the visions of the university where I work is to become a world-class university in 2025, so my way to improve the knowledge and standard of living of others is by providing the best convenience for them to share my knowledge. This is what calls me to be a part of it by using Mendeley tools. I believe that our country needs a better place for its citizens. Through this role, I can be part of this very valuable mission.

What sort of work environment suits you best?

“I used to work in several types of work environment, and I enjoyed new things from each of these conditions. I can say that actually I don’t have a particular preference about the work environment. I just like working with people who are highly committed to doing extraordinary things and have responsibility for their work.”

What’s been your experience of using Mendeley?

“I learned about Mendeley just six months ago with friends at Indonesian Journal Volunteers. At that time I was taught to use these tools by Supriyono, M.Sc and then I learned from various friends until I also had to study and I also had to pass on a little knowledge that I had.”

What researcher would you like to work with or meet, dead or alive?

“Researchers who have the concept of the future and life without looking back from the background.”

What book are you reading at the moment?

“”The Earth of Mankind”. In this book, Minke also experienced an inner conflict about his views on education and its influence in changing human degrees. Interestingly, this book combines Indonesian history and romance that is integrated in a harmonious story.”

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned this week?

“Learning to share time is all important, and sharing is beautiful.”

 

You can find out more about Mendeley at www.mendeley.com

Mendeley advisor of the month: Sunday Linus Makama (DVM, MFS, PhD, ERT)

makamaSunday Makama is a researcher with interest in Food and Environmental Health and safety, and currently works at the National Veterinary Research Institute (NVRI), Vom, Nigeria. He is a Chief Veterinary Research Officer (CVRO), Toxicology in the Biochemistry Division of the NVRI. He has researched into various aspects of Emerging Food borne viruses, Food and Environmental Toxicology, Nanotechnology, Ethnoveterinary medicine, and Antimicrobial and other chemical residues. Before his current position, Sunday has worked as a private Veterinary practitioner, then as a Sales and Technical representative of an Agro-allied Company. His research works were conducted in several institutions at different times including the Netherlands Food Safety Institute (RIKILT) and Wageningen University and Research (WUR), the Netherlands Institute for Public Health and Environment (RIVM) and Alterra, the Institute for Environmental Research, WUR.

Sunday holds a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree from the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria. He also holds a Master’s degree in Food Safety (MFS) and a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree in toxicology from the Wageningen University and Research, The Netherlands. Sunday is also a certified European Registered Toxicologist (ERT).

How did you get into your field and what is your research story?

Towards the end of my Bachelors program in Veterinary College, I contemplated what I wanted to do with my Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree. Clinical practice, especially surgery fascinated me; so did issues of food safety and security as well as public health and environmental health and safety. I love finding answers to very intriguing questions, especially those that have significant impact on public health and environment. The research field provided a good opportunity to be involved in all these interests in a meaningful way. Afterall, multidisciplinarity is the spice of both fundamental and applied research. Now when I realized research and development was going to be the core of my career path, I wanted to be involved in doing something novel. The emerging (or re-emerging) fields in science like emerging technologies (nanotechnology) and emerging infectious diseases therefore, became my primary interests.

Where do you do your research/work the best? What kind of environment suits you?

A nice, clean and comfortable environment with lots of nature and a soft music (including those from nature) is a perfect setting for me. The only addition would be some tea.

How long have you been on Mendeley? 

Officially, I have been on Mendeley since January 2015

What were you using prior to Mendeley and how does Mendeley influence your research?

I used EndNote mostly and once in a while the Microsoft Word citations & bibliography. Mendeley has now become my main reference manager and with so much interactive and simple user interface, it is safe to say Mendeley plays a significant role in my research.

Why did you decide to become an Advisor and how are you involved with the program?

Working in a research environment with the inherent requirement of dissemination of your findings means lots of reading and writing. Finding a tool that is well amenable to your reading, writing and networking needs is a great relief that it will be inconceivable to ignore such an excellent support. Now, when you find a helpful tool that has aided your research work, it is only proper to share the good news. Being a passionate advocate for sharing of useful knowledge and seeing the enormous need around me, I decided to contribute my quota by transferring Mendeley knowledge to those that need it; and what a blessing it has been! I could liken my experience to that of the three Samaritan lepers (in Biblical times) who found food in the time Samaria was under siege and told themselves, “we do not well!” by not sharing the good news.

What researcher would you like to work with or meet, dead or alive?

Hmmm… that’s a tough one. I think it will be Prof. dr. Marcel H. Zwietering of Wageningen University.

What book are you reading at the moment and why?

I am actually reading two books:

  1. Why Nations Fail by Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson
  2. The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason (Read it several times).

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned this week?

The fastest person does not necessarily win the race.

What is the best part about working in research?

Getting to work in a multidisciplinary environment and overcoming the challenges of deciphering the unknown.

And the worst/most challenging part about working in research?

The weight of responsibility laid upon you by the fact that many depend on your findings to guide sometimes very critical decisions and policies.

What is the one thing you want people to know about Mendeley?

Mendeley is a sweet medley; a researcher’s best friend.

Mendeley Advisor of the Month: Chandrashekhar Vithal

Chandrashekhar is currently working as a University Librarian at AURO University, Surat, Gujarat, India. Prior to this he was associated with TEEAL-Cornell University project ((The Essential Electronic Agriculture Library.)  He was involved in implementing the project and provided training programs in Nepal, Bangladesh and India. He has been working in libraries for over three decades and has conducted over 40 training programs on Database search techniques, managing citations using reference management tools, especially  Mendeley as a user since 2015.

How did you get into your field and what is your research story?

I still remember the days of my tenure with the Department of Atomic Energy, assisting the scientist in developing a bibliography on Gyroscopes, which was a game changer in my professional career. Since then I have been assisting people in developing referencing and bibliography lists. Three decades of experience is huge and now I am involved in providing training sessions on referencing tools, and other library promotion programs.

Where do you do your research/work the best? What kind of environment suits you?

My preference sounds strange; people prefer silence, I love to be surrounded by people. I enjoy working with people, maybe my job demands that!

How long have you been on Mendeley?

Honestly, I was not very familiar with Mendeley until 2015, when I started working for TEEAL (The Essential Electronic Agriculture Library) a project at Cornell University. As a coordinator for South Asia, I have been involved in conducting training sessions on TEEAL for students, scholars, and Faculty. In addition, I conducted training sessions on reference management using Mendeley.

What were you using prior to Mendeley and how does Mendeley influence your research?

I am fortunate in the sense that with three decades in the profession I have witnessed technological interventions in libraries. For my master’s dissertation work I still remember I used to record all my references on bibliographic cards, which is tedious and time-consuming. Mendeley is like a divine gift to all researchers enabling referencing with one click and saving time.

Why did you decide to become an Advisor and how are your involved with the program?

Sharing information to all is in the DNA of librarians! TEEAL-Cornell Project has given me the opportunity of conducting training programs for academia which I have enjoyed throughly. I am happy to say that over 40 training programs on Mendeley have been conducted in Nepal, Bangladesh, and India.

What researcher would you like to work with or meet, dead or alive?

For me, the invention of radio transistor is something like a miracle! In my childhood days, I used to wonder how this small radio transistor transmitted music!! I really wanted to meet Guglielmo Marconi who is an all time favorite scientist for me.

What book are your reading at the moment and why?

There are too many to list! But currently, I am reading “Life’s Amazing Secrets: How to find balance and purpose” by Gaur Gopal Das. The book explains how to conquer your daily battles, align yourself with your purpose and win at life.

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned this week?

People are still not aware of referencing tools available to them, I noticed this during my recent training program on Mendeley.

What is the best part about working in research?

Research and learning are a never-ending process both contribute a lot to empower society.

And the worst/most challenging part about working in research?                              

The sense of invention, collaboration, learning from others is the best thing about research and the worst is when the outcome/findings of research is sometimes challenging.

What is the one thing you want people to know about Mendeley?

Mmmmm…. That’s a tricky question to answer! Mendeley as a whole has several features to make the life of a researcher easy.  For me the “Watch Folder” option is really handy for anyone and helps in building my library.

Mendeley Advisor of the Month: Narendra Kumar

narendra

Narendra Kumar is an Assistant Professor at The Institute of Technology Gopeshwar, Uttarakhand (India). He teaches Technical Communication. He is also enrolled as a PhD student at The Language and Cognition Lab, Indian Institute of Technology Ropar (India). He obtained his M.A degree in Linguistics from Banaras Hindu University Varanasi (India). Kumar’s research work focuses on the Neurophysiological correlates of semantic prediction during language comprehension.

How did you get into your field and what is your research story?

 The question ‘how the human brain knows, what it knows?’ has always intrigued me. Here when I say the term ‘know’, I specifically mean ‘information’, not in the sense of knowledge as a whole in human beings. It is quite apparent that the prime carrier of information is natural language. In our everyday life, we comprehend a sentence so easily and smoothly that no one questions how the human brain processes various linguistic information viz. phonological morphological, syntactic, semantic, pragmatic etc. of every word in milliseconds. I started my PhD in 2013 to explore similar questions on the basis of electrophysiological (Event-Related Potentials) evidence from Hindi, a split-ergative and verb-final language. My research is focused on investigating the processing of semantic information during on-line language comprehension of Hindi sentences. The neurophysiological studies on processing syntactic information in typologically different languages have exhibited substantial differences. So, my research work aims to explore if the processing of semantic information also exhibits neurophysiological differences cross-linguistically.

Where do you do your research/work the best? What kind of environment suits you?

I love to work in the lab or the library. I need a peaceful environment to work dedicatedly. Indeed, I enjoy working in a creative and challenging environment where I can push myself beyond the comfort zone to learn new things.

How long have you been on Mendeley? 

I have been using Mendeley since October 2014. I learnt about Mendeley when I was learning inserting Bibliography in LaTeX from the youtube channel of Chandra Has.

What were you using prior to Mendeley and how does Mendeley influence your research?

In the first year of my PhD, I used Endnote but didn’t feel comfortable using it, within few months I came across Mendeley. After using Mendeley once, I realized it was a one-stop solution to organize every research activity. Infact, Mendeley saved a lot of time which I used to waste in renaming and keeping PDF files in different directories according to their use.  Mendeley organizes all these PDF files in a library format and helps to retrieve them easily. Apart from citation and reference writing, I use Mendeley as a tool for reading as its PDF viewer allows me to highlight texts, adding notes and tags which has helped me keeping notes organized in the article itself. Moreover, I love two other features of Mendeley the most, they are Mendeley Web Plugin and the suggestion of article based on the documents in my library.

Why did you decide to become an Advisor and how are you involved with the program?

 I believe in the philosophy of sharing and spreading of knowledge and information, as mentioned in the following Sanskrit shlok (couplet):

अपूर्व: कोऽपि कोशोऽयं विद्यते तव भारति !

व्ययतो वृद्धिमायाति क्षयमायाति सञ्चयात् ॥ (सुभाषितानि)

[Translation: O Bharati (Goddess of learning)! This indescribable treasure of yours is unique – by expending it grows and by hoarding it diminishes! – Subhashitani (Sanskrit: dated back 5000BC)]

Once realised Mendeleys importance for a research student, I started sharing its features with my PhD pursuing friends. Within a few months of joining Mendeley, I attended a Mendeley event in a nearby institute and as a result decided to become an advisor to organize workshops myself. I have organized a number of workshops in my institute and nearby institutes.

What researcher would you like to work with or meet, dead or alive?

In today’s world every linguist has a dream to meet Noam Chomsky at least once. He is a living legend as the “father of modern linguistics” and one of the “makers of twentieth century” (London Times 1970). In addition, I would like to meet Steven Pinker (Harvard University), Marta Kutas (University of California-SD), Angela Friederici (MPI, Leipzig), Peter Hagoort (MPI, Nijmegen), David Poeppel (NYU) and Ray Jackendoff (Tufts University) whose works have contributed a lot to the discussion of language, mind and brain.

What book are you reading at the moment and why?

These days I am reading two books Neurosemantics (2016) by Plebe & Cruz and Enlightenment Now by Steven Pinker.

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned this week?

This week, I reviewed research articles based on the prediction approach of language comprehension. Prediction is one of the essential attribute of language comprehension system, yet researchers do not agree on what prediction is or what constitutes evidence for it.

What is the best part about working in research?

As a researcher, I have started believing in the philosophy of Albert Einstein: “The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don’t know.” What I like the most about working in research is that one can enjoy his/her whole life as a student/learner where there is always something new to learn and new problems to solve.

And the worst/most challenging part about working in research?

The most frustrating thing for a researcher is when you do not get the results as expected after spending months/years on a problem. In such case also, supervisors/PIs don’t look at your hard work/labour, instead they start criticizing your potentials and working styles.

What is the one thing you want people to know about Mendeley?

Mendeley is the best on-stop solution for all research activities. Every academician/researcher should use Mendeley as it makes the life of a researcher organized and smooth.


Biography in Brief

Narendra Kumar is an Assistant Professor at Institute of Technology Gopeshwar, Uttarakhand (India). He teaches Technical Communication to the students of B.Tech. Along with he is also enrolled as a PhD student at Language and Cognition Lab, Indian Institute of Technology Ropar (India). He obtained his M.A degree in Linguistics from Banaras Hindu University Varanasi (India). Kumar’s research work focuses on the Neurophysiological correlates of semantic prediction during language comprehension.