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 our December Advisor of the Month!

Congratulations and thank you to Andy Tattersall!

Andy TattersallAndy is an Information Specialist at The University of Sheffield and has a background in journalism and Information Management. He started using Mendeley in 2009 and became an Advisor in June 2010.

He created a series of videos called Minute Mendeley (it “sadly breaks trades descriptions as the videos are all about two minutes long,” he said) which are available on the University of Sheffield’s  iTunesU  profile.

How Mendeley influences his research

How it affected me was more about how I saw technology was changing, it was one of those tools that sold itself really easily. I loved the organic approach of it all from how it developed to react to user’s needs.

How Andy helps spread the word

In lots of ways, firstly about 4 years ago teaching clinicians research skills and then through formal teaching in various faculties, my own department at the School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR), in the iSchool and our English Department. I’ve run several workshops for colleagues as well. Over the last 4 years I would say myself and my colleagues have taught well in excess of a 1000 students and staff and it has always been well-received.

I’ve written about it in blogs and also as an article for the MmIT journal titled: References, Collections, Corrections and Mendeley back in 2011.

How did you get into research?

I never really see myself as a researcher to be honest, I do research but it’s not really core to what I do. The research I am interested in is looking at information science and literacy and how technologies and people work together. I’m very interested in the Web and Social Media and how academics and students share and manage information as part of their own work. My degrees were both at the University of Sheffield, a BA in Journalism and an MSc in Information Management – I really think they dovetail together really nicely.

How long have you been on Mendeley?

I’ve been using Mendeley since early 2009 I think, I blogged about it here in October of that year.

What were you using prior to Mendeley?

What little reference management I did do was with Reference Manager, something all of our students used. I realised that Mendeley serviced their needs far better, and the needs of some of my colleagues.

How does Mendeley influence your research?

How it affected me was more about how I saw technology was changing, it was one of those tools that sold itself really easily. I loved the organic approach of it all from how it developed to react to user’s needs.

Why did you decide to become an Advisor?

Because I saw it had real potential and that I wanted to be at the cusp of this technology change as I could it would benefit myself and the people I support – I wasn’t wrong.

What book are you reading at the moment and why?

Strangely I always read two books at a time – one for bed and one on my commute. The current ones are both quite depressing, my train one is, ‘Everything Now: Communication, Persuasion and Control: How the instant society is shaping what we think’ by Steve McKevitt and the bedside one is pretty grim, titled ‘One Soldier’s War in Chechnya’ by Arkady Babchenko. I know, cheery.

Any fun fact people might be surprised to learn about you?

I spent six years as a pirate radio DJ.

What is the best part about being a researcher?

When I’m doing it, being able to explore and test ideas and in turn hopefully improve my own and others’ ways of working.

And the worse?

Just not having the time to do the above.

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

That it will not only help you discover research but help others discover yours.

Just a geek who landed the hot girl – a short story on joining a startup

That's not me, it's Chris, but you get the idea.

Childhood Mathematica
There was an early experience in first grade when the makings of a geek made an appearance. Somehow, I had managed to perfect the art of making papier-mâché frogs faster (and at higher quality) than anyone else in the class, including the teacher. The teacher then had me demonstrating for the entire class how to make this particular craftwork.

How I perfected the art shall remain my trade secret, but what’s important is little did I know that the path I had set out upon because of that single activity would take me to where I am at today. From that incident, I learned that I was capable of doing things no one else could, or in cases such as papier-mâché frogs, what no one else sanely wanted to do.

By second grade I was still determined to be the best at whatever ridiculous class activity was occurring. Only this time I got duped into doing math. By first semester’s end I had plowed through not only the second grade textbook, but the third grade as well and was just cracking the fourth grade textbook. I then decided to become a mathematician. Read More »

William Gunn joins Mendeley as Community Liaison

Hurray! William Gunn has joined us as Community Liaison! Ricardo Vidal became our first Community Liaison two weeks ago, so with William we have now doubled the brains and talent behind our outreach efforts. William has just completed his Ph.D. on adult stem cells and bone biology at Tulane University. On his blog Synthesis, he has also been writing about open science and social research software. Here’s the story (re-posted from Synthesis) on how he came to join us, in his own words:

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'Taft in a wet t-shirt contest is the key image here.Reference managers and I have a long history. All the way back in 2004, when I was writing my first paper, my workflow went something like this:

“I need to cite Drs. A, B, and C here. Now, where did I put that paper from Dr. A?” I’d search through various folders of PDFs, organized according to a series of evolving categorization schemes and rifle through ambiguously labeled folders in my desk drawers, pulling out things I knew I’d need handy later. If I found the exact paper I was looking for, I’d then open Reference Manager (v6, I think) and enter the citation details, each in their respective fields. Finding the article, I’d select it and add it to the group of papers I was accumulating.

If it didn’t find it, I’d then go to Pubmed and search for the paper, again entering each citation detail in its field, and then do the required clicking to get the .ris file, download that, then import that into Reference Manager. Then I’d move the reference from the “imported files” library to my library, clicking away the 4 or 5 confirmation dialogs that occurred during this process. On to the next one, which I wouldn’t be able to find a copy of, and would have to search Pubmed for, whereupon I’d find more recent papers from that author, if I was searching by author, or other relevant papers from other authors, if I was searching by subject. Not wanting to cite outdated info, I’d click through from Pubmed to my school’s online catalog, re-enter the search details to find the article in my library’s system, browse through the system until I found a link to the paper online, download the PDF and .ris file (if available), or actually get off my ass and go to the library to make a copy of the paper.

As I was reading the new paper from the Dr. B, I’d find some interesting new assertion, follow that trail for a bit to see how good the evidence was, get distracted by a new idea relevant to an experiment I wanted to do, and emerge a couple hours later with an experiment partially planned and wanting to re-structure the outline for my introduction to incorporate the new perspective I had achieved. Of course, I’d want to check that I wouldn’t be raising the ire of a likely reviewer of the paper by not citing the person who first came up with the idea, so I’d have some background reading to do on a couple of likely reviewers. The whole process, from the endless clicking away of confirmation prompts to the fairly specific Pubmed searches which nonetheless pulled up thousands of results, many of which I wasn’t yet aware, made for extraordinarily slow going. It was XKCD’s wikipedia problem writ large.Read More »