IMLS support will help public libraries serve as community hubs for citizen science

By Darlene Cavalier September 6th, 2017 at 9:59 am | Comment

Please note: If you run a project that requires participants to use low cost (under $300) tools not commonly found around the house (rain gauge, sensor, telescope, water testing kit, clip on magnifying lens, recording device, bulk printed materials, etc), and this lack of access to the tools is creating a barrier to entry for your would-be-participants, please email darlene@scistarter.com. Thanks to support from IMLS, we will soon begin to evaluate the characteristics of projects and tools relative to the interests and capacities of communities and librarians, to understand ideal factors for creating and sustaining citizen science toolkits in libraries and supporting libraries as community hubs for citizen science.  If you’d like your project and tools to be considered for this new program, please send me an email. Thank you.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services announced 49 grants to institutions totaling $10,216,923. The awards are made through the FY 2017 second cycle of the National Leadership Grants for Libraries Program and the Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program.

“We are delighted to announce today’s grant recipients whose projects are designed to have lasting benefits for the library and archives fields,” said IMLS Director Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew. “These grants highlight how IMLS helps steer the nation’s investments in libraries and ensure that librarians are equipped to provide citizens access to the information, resources, and services they want and need.”

National Leadership Grants for Libraries support projects that address challenges faced by the library and archives fields and that have the potential to advance library and archival practice with new tools, research findings, models, services, or alliances that can be widely replicated.

One of the funded projects (IMLS LG-95-17-0158-17) will support public libraries as community hubs for citizen science through a toolkit of citizen science resources by Arizona State University, in partnership with Arizona State Library, NISE Net, and SciStarter .

The team will develop a field-tested, replicable, low-cost toolkit of citizen science resources for public libraries. The project team of librarians, citizen science experts, informal STEM educators, practitioners, and scientists, will: 1) develop and evaluate citizen science toolkits that will be available for and through the public library partners; 2) create associated resources to train, support, and communicate with librarians and citizen scientists; and 3) work with stakeholders to create a plan to scale the model to interested libraries, statewide then nationally. The project will leverage SciStarter, an online community that brings together science researchers and citizen scientists, with a database of over 1,600 citizen science projects, several requiring tools and instruments that may be made more accessible through the new pilot lending libraries. Summative evaluation will assess the library staffs’ knowledge of citizen science, their capacities, and sense of self-efficacy in engaging patrons in citizen science activities, and will also measure the extent of patrons’ participation in citizen science as a result of the library programming.

Visit the IMLS website for more information about the National Leadership Grants for Libraries program.

Want to Help Shape the Future? Get Involved With Science—No Ph.D. Required. (Slate.com)

By Darlene Cavalier September 6th, 2017 at 9:24 am | Comment

Here’s an excerpt from a piece I coauthored with Jay Lloyd, my colleague at Arizona State University’s School for the Future of Innovation in Society.

D. CAVALIER & J. LLOYD
Want to Help Shape the Future? Get Involved With Science—No Ph.D. Required.

Imagining what the world will be like in a decade or two can feel like flipping through a catalog of dystopian visions rooted in today’s dismaying headlines. Will smartphones make our children depressed and lonely? Are we on the brink of making the world nearly uninhabitable for humans? Will hacking and cyberterrorism lead to real-world warfare? Can bioterrorists use precision gene-editing to kill millions of people? Will technological innovations produce mass unemployment?

That many of these anxieties are connected to scientific advances and technological breakthroughs is no coincidence. The forces of science and technology that drive large parts of today’s economy catalyze vast social changes. Innovations emerge from corporations, universities, and laboratories that are remote from most people’s everyday experiences. Understanding them often requires specialized knowledge and training. And while these innovations can be enormously beneficial, they often come with tradeoffs. For example, social media platforms offer greater connectedness, but they can also allow information to be weaponized as a tool of asymmetric warfare.

 It can sometimes feel like professional researchers and technologists are pushing us into a future that may not be one we envision for ourselves and our communities. Technological innovation can feel more like a natural disaster than the result of human decisions if youstruggle to make a living or deal with toxic electronics waste. We fear losing control, ceding our agency to algorithms and tech companies and research scientists.
One way to help alleviate some of the concerns is greater public involvement in scientific research and technological innovation—no Ph.D. required.  Read the full article here.

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The Sky is Falling! Or is It?

By Guest August 29th, 2017 at 7:04 pm | Comment

By Dolores Hill and Carl Hergenrother, Target Asteroids! Co-Leads Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, University of Arizona OSIRIS-REx Asteroid Sample Return Mission

Today’s amateur astronomers carry on long held traditions in citizen science by making valuable contributions in data collection and monitoring celestial objects of all kinds. They supplement work done by professional astronomers and fill gaps in our knowledge. Imagine being a modern-day Tycho Brahe who, in the late-1500s, measured positions of stars that were so accurate and reliable that Johannes Kepler used them to determine that the planets revolve around the sun in elliptical orbits! Imagine contributing to an asteroid data repository and assisting future space travelers; both robotic and human. Read the rest of this entry »

Sit, Shake, Citizen Science!

By Sarah Newman August 24th, 2017 at 4:00 pm | Comment

U.S. Air Force Photo/Senior Airman Christopher Griffin

 

If you have a cat or dog at home, chances are they love spending time with you. Now you have one more way to show them your love – with citizen science, just in time for National Dog Day on August 26! Below, we highlight projects you can do at home with your four-legged friends. Try them out and let us know what you think! Find more projects and events on SciStarter, to do now or bookmark for later.
 
Cheers!
The SciStarter Team

C-BARQ

C-BARQ_ Pixabay

You know your dog better than anyone. Help researchers at the University of Pennsylvania standardize how canine temperament and behavior are evaluated. Fill out a short survey about the way your dog behaves.

There’s also a survey for cats called Fe-BARQ.

Location: Global, online

Family Dog Project/Barkingvizsla

Family Dog Project

You can be a part of the largest dog research group in the world when you participate in the Family Dog Project.

Listen to dog and human sounds to determine emotions and help researchers better understand relationships between dogs and humans.

Location: Global, online

Canine Health Project

pxhere.com
Do you have a purebred dog? The Canine Health Project tracks individual statistics on purebred dogs such as height, weight, date of birth, genotype, and more.

Add your dog’s stats today!

Location: Global, online

Pets Can Do

Rhys Asplundh CC BY 2.0

Researchers at the University of Lincoln, England, are trying to better understand animal behavior, including how much animals understand, known as cognition.

Fill out a survey about your dog or cat to contribute to their research!

 
Location: Global, online

Cat Tracker

Cat Tracker Diet Study Collection
Cats have built a reputation on their mysteriousness. But you can learn more about the secret life of your cat with Cat
Tracker.Learn where your outdoor cat hangs out and what they eat (beyond the bowl) or study your cat’s personality with a quick survey!
 
Location: Global

Discover more summertime citizen science on the SciStarter calendar. Did you know your SciStarter dashboard helps you track your contributions to projects? Complete your profile to access free tools. Want even more citizen science? Check out SciStarter’s Project Finder! With 1100+ citizen science projects spanning every field of research, task and age group, there’s something for everyone!

Science Experiments for the Public during the Solar Eclipse

By Guest August 16th, 2017 at 1:15 pm | Comment

The two towers of the Schaeberle Camera and the rock wall at Jeur (India), with overlall height lowered by use of a pit for the plate-holder. Credit: Mary Lea Shane Archives

By Dr. Liz MacDonald, founder of Aurorasaurus and scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. This blog reposted from blog.aurorasaurus.org.

Over a century ago, American astronomer W.W. Campbell set up a 40 foot ‘Schaeberle camera’ in Jeur, India to take pictures and study various properties of the sun’s outermost layer called the corona during the 1898 total solar eclipse. To make sure no people or animals would tamper with the camera before the eclipse occurred, he found volunteers to guard the delicate equipment the evening before the experiment. Today, in 2017, volunteers called citizen scientists are again helping scientists make observations and learn more about the sun and Earth interaction. This time though, citizen scientists across the United States will have more direct involvement, actually collecting data by making their own observations and operating instruments. Read the rest of this entry »