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

Do you have enough chairs?

  We noticed an interesting trend in the Mendeley workshops you are running.  Not only are you running more events, but they also seem to be getting bigger!  (We wanted to start sending out chairs as merchandise to help you accommodate all those extra attendees, but the mailroom guys said “Nooooo.” Apparently, the mailroom isn’t big enough!)

We think this growth is brilliant and we wanted to share the numbers with you:

As of September 10, 2019, you have run 275 events with more than 17,000 attendees this year.  Sessions have an average of 63 attendees.  In all of 2018, we had 125 events with close to 7000 attendees.  The average was number of attendees 55.

Breaking it down by month, we see that there is a steady growth in the number of attendees per event.  In January 2019, the average event had 50 attendees and by September 2019, events had an average of 78 attendees.

What’s driving the growth? Librarians!  (We always knew we loved them.)  We had virtual coffees with a few librarian Advisors to find out how you run events.  While some of you are getting 200 people in a room for a class, most of you are doing a lot of one-on-one support through the reference desk but we are counting all the drop-in sessions as one event.

Lessons we learned:  Not all events look the same! Some are a traditional class, but some are more individual coaching sessions spread out over the entire semester. We love them all, so keep at it and let us know if you need a merchandise to support your drop-in sessions.

Regardless of the form your event takes, we are happy to support it.  To get merchandise and other support, register your event on the Mendeley Advisor Community page.

So it looks like maybe we don’t need more chairs yet, just bigger boxes to mail off all the merchandise!

 

 

Advisor of the month: Serge Kameni Leugoue

Editor’s note:  Serge helped welcome our 10,000th Advisor-generated user of 2019 in early June.

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

I am involved in animal sciences, particularly animal reproduction research. I came across this research field because of my will to improve livestock practice in sub-Saharan Africa and especially in Cameroon. As a matter of fact, livestock remains labour intensive, leading to poor yield and subsequent insufficiency in protein availability on market regardless of the hard work of farmers. Furthermore, they solely rely on natural mating which limits their profits. Despite being on increasing pressure to farm as cost effective as possible, and taking into account the rapid increasing of population, producers are facing a critical challenge which on my view can be tackled using assisted reproductive techniques. My background is biology, indeed I obtained my bachelor with a major in animal physiology at the University of Dschang, Cameroon. I started a master’s in plant pharmacology, but I rapidly switched to animal sciences and I moved to South Africa, to the University of Stellenbosch where I have refined my knowledge and lab practice in animal sciences close to Dr. Helet Lambretchs who gave me, in collaboration with Dr. Gilbert Ateufack from the University of Dschang, the opportunity to be part of the amazing voyage to the unknown reality that science allows to illuminate. I am a PhD student in animal sciences at the University of Dschang, Cameroon and my research project focuses on small ruminant’s assisted reproduction. Currently, I am on a research stay at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Italy, where we are working on the development of biodegradable food packaging.

Where do you do your research?

The research I am involved in requires me to be outside for sample collection and to be in the lab for analysis. I am at my ease in both sites, but I generally prefer to be outside because I can browse and appreciate the beautiful landscapes of Africa in miniature – Cameroon and breathe some fresh air.

How long have you been using Mendeley? 

I have been on Mendeley since 2015. Indeed, I was introduced to the software at the beginning of my master studies in South Africa by the librarian in charge of the Department of Animal Sciences at the University of Stellenbosch and have used it ever since. I want to say thanks again to Yusuf, the librarian, it has been of great help and it’s still the case.

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

Before Mendeley, I was using the MS Word reference. Of course, it wasn’t that efficient. I remembered one day that my system crashed, I lost all my resources and I had to rebuild it from the beginning.

Mendeley has drastically changed my research, now I am safe from losing my resources, I can access them anytime and anywhere, and I receive consistent suggestions of research papers – no need to browse the whole internet to stay updated. In addition, I can connect with others, find careers and funding opportunities.

Why did you decide to become an Advisor?

I am part of those who believe that right tools should be shared with others. For me, Mendeley is one of these excellent tools, that is the reason why I decided to become an Advisor and assist others to be more efficient by optimizing their research work with Mendeley.

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

Tu Youyou. She is the first Chinese woman to win a Nobel Prize in 2015 for her work in creating an anti-malaria drug that saved millions of lives in Asia and Africa. She relied on traditional Chinese medicine in her discovery of artemisinin and dihydroartemisinin, which have helped significantly improve the health of people living in tropical climates. She made me think of the year I worked in plant pharmacology.

What book are you reading at the moment and why?

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. Recently, I attended a training course in France where we discussed cell culture and of course Hela cells. I then dug a bit about the origin of those cells and I found that they were derived from the cancer cells of Henrietta Lacks. The title of this book is just fascinating “immortal life” it effectively highlights how we have been moved forward with research – opening novel perspectives.

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

Life is really an adventure and should not be taken as a long and calm stream. Whatever the challenge you meet, keep going, you won’t win anytime but do your best.

What is the best part about working in research?

Without hesitation, being at the forefront of pushing the world forward by trying to improve living conditions, bringing your own stone to the big building.

And the most challenging part about working in research?

Patience, nowadays being patient is not that a shared value, especially when working in a team, yet research that produce actionable results requires time, thus patience.

What is one Mendeley “ProTip” you have? 

Being able to import the resources straight to the appropriate folder of the library using the web plugin. It’s really time saving as you can import and tidy up everything at once. I think also being able to share your unpublished data is an important point as generally most of the research is not published, but at least you can share it with others.

Serge’s Biography :

I obtained my High School certificate with a major in mathematics and physics and I then jumped in to university where I received my Bachelor Degree in Animal Physiology from the University of Dschang, Cameroon in 2011. I received my Postgraduate Diploma in 2012 and I moved to the University of Stellenbosch in the Republic of South Africa for a one-year research stay. Back in Cameroon, I completed my MSc in 2015 in the same field as my bachelor. While being a full-time PhD student at the University Dschang in Cameroon, I am currently on a 6-month research stay at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia in Italy.

I am a member of the Cameroon Forum for Biological Sciences (CAFOBIOS).

I am a Mendeley Advisor!!!

I share a special interest for environment protection, so I am involved in several NGOs as United voices to Serve Forests and Environment (USFE) International, which is an organization that design and implement actions towards environment preservation.

I am an amateur chess player.

 

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

Advisor of the Month: Gustavo Bernardi Pereira, Federal University of Paraná, Brazil

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

Since my childhood, I have been passionate about learning how things work as well as any quirky stuff I can find. Because of this “quirky stuff” side, I ended up starting a bachelor in physics and maths. However, something was missing… the “how things work” side. So, I decided to change my degree to Industrial Engineering at Federal University of Parana.

In the meantime, I got a scholarship to study MEng. Manufacturing Engineering at the University of Warwick. Back to the quirky stuff… my project was called “Manufacture of functional polymer-composite materials for electromagnetic applications by extrusion”. Even though it was a challenging project, my supervisor at the time suggested I use a reference manager called “Mendeley”. As most of the students, I did not pay enough attention to her and made it without using it.

Back in Brazil I began a Masters in Process Mining. As soon as I started studying it, I realized that working only on the research itself would consume much more energy than I expected (as you often have to redo your work). At this point I decided to optimize my research process. And I decided to follow my former supervisor’s advice and start using Mendeley.

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

Usually I like to balance two environments: loud and talkative (to generate the ideas) and quiet and surrounded by nature (to organise the ideas).

How long have you been on Mendeley? 

I first heard about it in 2013. However, it was only in 2016 I started exploring its features and using them effectively.

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

I used to have a notepad file with a list of references, which I pasted in to the document at the end. When I found out what Mendeley could do for my research, I must confess I was bit sceptical in the beginning. As I started using it, the intuitive environment changed my mind and now I am very comfortable about swapping my notepad to Mendeley.

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

Seeing my Master’s peers struggling to finish a 6 page assignment because of the references brought my attention to simple problems around me. So I became an Advisor and since then I have been holding teaching sessions for many groups in the university.

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

Leonardo da Vinci is one researcher I would like to meet and work with. Possibly because of his broad range of skills in different areas.

What book are you reading at the moment and why?

Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely. The book talks about how decisions you assume are being made rationally sometimes are not really something you have a choice about.

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

Well… some people say it is possible to use a biological virus to improve computing power hahaha https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acsanm.8b01508

What is the best part about working in research?

Having your research used by someone else (to help someone, not to have citations) is the best part.

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

Dealing with egos, in my humble opinion, is the biggest challenge we have been facing in science as it jeopardises both the speed and the environment in which the research is made.

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

Unless your notepad file still can solve your problems, use Mendeley…. for the greater good.

 

Follow Gustavo on Mendeley

Find out more about the Mendeley Advisor Community

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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

Meet the team: Rachel Brennesholtz

Job title: Researcher Community Manager

Intro

I’m originally a New Yorker, but I’ve been living in Amsterdam for almost 4 years.  It’s a great city for me since I’m a pretty devoted cyclist.

When did you join Mendeley?

I’ve been with Elsevier since 2015, but started working with Mendeley in June 2018. Before taking over the Researcher Communities, I was running marketing for Pure and some of the funder solutions.

What do you love most about your job?

Definitely the Advisors.  I love seeing just how many people in different parts of the world are using Mendeley and hearing about all the ways you love it.

What book did you most recently read?

Whatever I picked up at the little free library in my neighborhood. My Dutch reading level isn’t great, so I read whatever I can find in English. I also read The Economist and National Geographic- not books, but still great reading.

What’s one thing you want people to know about Mendeley?

I’ve got two things (which might be cheating)…

  • Mendeley is so much more than a reference manager. The groups functionality is amazing and I would tell everyone to play around with Mendeley Data.
  • We, the team at Mendeley, love hearing about your research success! When Mendeley lovers send us pictures, we print them and hang them in the office to remind us that there is massive community of devoted users.   (You can send them to us at community@mendeley.com)

How would you explain your job to a stranger on a bus?

As the Researcher Community Manager, I’m ultimately responsible for the Mendeley Advisors and several other community programs at Elsevier.  I’m running a lot of the things behind the scenes, making sure the Advisor program is growing with you and that we are giving you the best tools.

What’s the most exciting part of your job?

Definitely meeting with the Advisors. I’ve had virtual coffees with many of you, and I love when Advisors drop by our office in Amsterdam and London.

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

The metro stop by my house has the longest escalator in Benelux!

 

Rachel explains what she loves about Mendeley in her #MyMendeley video

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Find out more about the Mendeley Advisor Community here