New Academic Publishing Guide

April 29 2021, by Bruce Gilbert

Are you a Drake faculty member or other researcher who needs some help with any part of the publishing process? Cowles Library is here to help!

We have a new resource available for those looking for help finding a journal that will publish your research (and what their expectations are), tools for citing information in your paper, Journal Impact Factor, and beyond. We also have a link to Cabells Journalytics, a tool that provides provides complete contact and publication information and quality metrics for over 11,000 journals.

So please take a look! If you have any questions or comments, as always, contact us at:

How to find newspapers on Nexis Uni (formerly Lexis-Nexis)

April 14 2020, by Bruce Gilbert

Newspapers from your hometown or specific regions can be hard to find. Cowles Library provides “Nexis Uni” which has thousands of newspapers from around the county and the world. It isn’t always easy to “drill down” to one particular title, so we’ve provided the following short video.

Kanopy Access Changes

January 7 2020, by Andrew Welch

Kanopy logoEffective February 1, 2020, Cowles Library will begin mediating requests for streaming films on the Kanopy platform, and priority will be given to films requested for course use. This is a change from the more direct click-and-play access model the library has used since adopting Kanopy in fall 2017.

The model will continue to allow click-and-play access to already-licensed films until their license expiration date, and will allow new licensing requests only for course-related films.

A Difficult Decision

Increasing costs of the service led to our decision to adopt this new model. Knowing how popular this service is with our faculty and students, we struggled with this decision. We understand that click-and-play access is more convenient than mediated requests, and we do not enjoy placing restrictions on popular resources. The service’s growing popularity, however, has nearly doubled our annual expenditure for Kanopy films in the last year.

Kanopy’s Pricing Model

Unlike familiar streaming video platforms like Netflix and Hulu, which use a flat-rate subscription fee, Kanopy’s business model is based on the number of views per title, and four views of any film results in a charge to Cowles Library of $150 for a one-year license. This model is, unfortunately, unsustainable for the library as Kanopy becomes more popular and annual costs become unpredictable.

Many other libraries that use Kanopy are struggling with this same issue, as this Film Quarterly article illustrates.

Requesting Films

  • If you have used a Kanopy film for a course and are concerned about the license expiration, contact the library at
  • If you find an unlicensed Kanopy film you would like to use for a course, complete the request form on the Kanopy website as early as possible. In the message area, please let us know when you intend to use the film. The request form looks like this:
Example of the Kanopy request form
  • If you intend to use a film for a course, but it does not need to be streamed (e.g., you’ll show it in class vs. having students watch it on their own), contact the library at to see if we can find a DVD or Blu-ray version that may be less expensive.

Kanopy License Expirations

Here is a current list of Kanopy and Swank films the library has licensed. If you do not see a film listed here, it means that we do not own a license or our license has expired.

Drake Librarian Selected as SPARC Open Education Leadership Fellow

October 22 2019, by Teri Koch

Drake Librarian Selected as SPARC Open Education Leadership Fellow

Teri Koch, Collection Development Coordinator & Professor of Librarianship at Cowles Library, has been selected as a fellow in the SPARC Open Education Leadership Program, a two-semester intensive professional development program to build a comprehensive understanding of the open education space coupled with practical know-how to lead successful open education initiatives that benefit students, especially Open Educational Resources (OER). Teri is one of 27 fellows selected from a competitive application pool for the program’s 2019-2020 cohort.

Cowles Library Dean, Gillian Gremmels says: “Cowles Library is committed to supporting and expanding open education on campus. We are proud that Teri has been selected for this program, and believe that her work will benefit students at Drake.”

About her participation, Teri says: “My goal for participating in the SPARC Open Education Leadership Program is to enhance my own knowledge about OER practices and pedagogies so that I can become a more effective advocate for open education at Drake. I’d like to learn who is currently utilizing OER in their classes, who would like to do so, and what barriers they face. I am working to expand awareness and create training opportunities for those wishing to explore either the adoption or creation of OER.” To help her understand the current status of OER at Drake, Teri is asking faculty who are using or are considering using OER in their courses to fill out a short form

In recent years, librarians at Cowles Library have worked to make textbook access more affordable for students in the following ways: 

  • Presented about textbook alternatives at the 2014 & 2015 Drake Learning Symposium to encourage faculty to adopt materials already licensed via the library as textbook alternatives
  • Created a research guide to help provide information to faculty looking to adopt and/or create open access textbooks
  • Worked with individual faculty to find electronic versions of textbooks appropriate for use in their courses.
  • Worked with Drake Online Programs to provide unlimited-use electronic textbooks to online learners whenever they are available.. 
  • Over the past several years, purchased more than 70,000 eBooks on the SpringerLink platform. These eBooks can be downloaded in full as PDF files at no charge, and most titles offer the option to purchase a softcover printed version for $24.99.

“Academic libraries sit at the intersection of faculty, students, and high-quality resources, and therefore are essential partners in advancing open education on campus,” said Nicole Allen, Director of Open Education for SPARC. “A large part of what makes our program successful is the unique and valuable perspective each participant brings to it, and a vibrant community of practice develops amongst the cohort. We are proud to have Teri among our 2019-2020 class.”

Cowles Library is a member of SPARC, which is a global coalition dedicated to making Open the default in research and education.

Wall Street Journal – Now Available at Drake

July 9 2019, by Bruce Gilbert

The Wall Street Journal is now available to all students, staff, and faculty at Drake University! Once you’ve signed up, you can access it directly from their web page, and once you’ve logged in, you can access it from anywhere.

Signing up is easy! First, make sure you’re logged in to Drake web email or to Then use this link: , using your Drake email as username and set up your password. That’s it! Once you have your account set up, you can also download and configure their app (see below).

Have an existing WSJ account? Look for a pop up directly under the email address box that says, “Already have an account? Sign in here.” That will enable you to reactivate your account under the Drake-sponsored membership.

This subscription gives you access to the last four years of WSJ content; if you want to access backfiles, you can search issues back to 1984 using this interface.

App authentication: Go to Profile > Log in, and enter your Drake credentials (email and password). After logging in, you have the choice to verify email or continue to WSJ (see below). It’s best to click “Send Verification” otherwise it will pester you each time you log in.

Having other issues? Call us at 271-2111 OR email:

Library Liaison meeting – Apr 2019

April 12 2019, by Bruce Gilbert

Below are some of the links (plus agenda and slides) from the April 11th, 2019 Library Liaison meeting.

Main takeaways

1) Please contact or  if you’re interested in exploring “textbook alternatives” for one or more of your classes. See below for more details.

2) Journal Watchlist: The journals that are not highlighted will be canceled unless usage improves. (See link, below)

3) We discussed the University of California’s decision to drop their “Big Deal” package with Elsevier and push for Open Access (OA) alternatives with the support of their faculty. We need to continue to be aware of and push back against publishers who employ “super-inflationary” price increases each year, and the effect it has on our declining budget. Publishers such as Clarivate Analytics (Web of Science)  and McGraw Hill (Access Pharmacy) are two examples. Cowles Library is currently in a “Big Deal” with Elsevier, and we have negotiated favorable terms in that contract.

Ithaka Survey:
Excellent response rate (49% of full-time faculty completed the survey), and we’re very thankful to those who took the time to complete it!

The library is analyzing the data to find opportunities to improve existing services and develop strategies and partnerships for new services.

The library will reach out to liaisons in the coming months as we develop more detailed proposals for these opportunities.

Links of general interest:

“Watchlist” of lesser-used journals and databases:

Cowles Library’s “Textbook alternative” website:

Where to find an “Open textbook”:

Open “learning object” repository (texts, syllabi, games, simulations, etc.):

Detailed meeting materials:

Issues in Scholarly Communication: Is Elsevier’s “Big Deal” a good deal for Drake?

April 11 2019, by Teri Koch

By Rod Henshaw, Teri Koch and Laura Krossner.

This is the first of several postings that will address the significant developments within scholarly publishing and communication.  Our purpose with these blog posts is threefold: 1) identity the major recent developments; 2) examine how do these relate to our collections and services, and 3) identify emerging scholarly publishing trends, especially emerging alternative constructs to the current system. We invite feedback and dialogue!

There are a couple of macro-factors to consider as we go forward.  First is the reality that the rate of change is speeding up.   In science fiction there is a term—the singularity—in which the pace of technological change rapidly accelerates (with both positive and negative consequences).  We are approaching, if we haven’t already entered into, an analogous situation with scholarly publishing. Second, within any fluid change environment, there will be a variety of factors to consider.  The number of players in the scholarly publishing environment is large, including, but not limited to: the research processes, faculty needs, publishers, scholarly societies, libraries, technology, governmental policy, open access, and the current financial climate for higher education.  These various players are going to be in different states of evolution, responding as needed with their individual service needs and business models. One of the primary challenges as this change goes forward is making the best decisions for service at any given time. 

For this first blog we want to address The Big Deal and why it’s getting to be an even bigger deal.  And what approach we are taking for the time being.

Most of you are aware that the University of California system recently declined to renew their big package deal with Elsevier.

This development has garnered a lot of press coverage beyond the library field and on into the academic and general press at large.  This UC decision has led to strong support – with support statements coming from other institutions – including Iowa State.

Clearly, the UC action has emboldened other major systems and institutions to review their current deals, to take a harder line with negotiations, and to potentially not review package contracts.  Here is a summary from SPARC regarding Big Deal activities:

Below we review our current approach – especially with Elsevier, and why for the time being this approach makes the best sense for us – recognizing that this may change drastically when the contract is up for renewal.

First of all, you may ask what is a “Big Deal”? Why would a library subscribe to one? A Big Deal in the sense of libraries is where an institution subscribes to a large package of journals in a publisher’s collection, often at a substantial discount off the individual list price, rather than subscribing to only the titles the institution really wants/uses.  It is usually a better deal to get the whole package than it is to subscribe to needed titles individually. Libraries can offer access to more titles, and publishers can get their lesser-used titles into the subscription package in order to boost their subscription numbers.  Think of it like your cable package. You may only want CNN and ESPN, but you end up with a bunch of other channels that you may not really want or use.  

One of the most important functions of the library is to provide access to the learning resources needed by Drake students, faculty, and staff. Obviously, with budget constraints, we cannot provide subscription access to all needed and desired content. Therefore, we aim to try to provide access to the most used resources in the most cost-effective manner possible. In recent years, this has entailed the library “breaking-up” most of the Big Deal packages offered by vendors, and instead subscribing to the most-used journal titles on an individual basis. We then purchase individual articles on an “as needed” basis through a document delivery vendor, primarily GetItNow. The cost is usually in the vicinity of $24-48 per article. This model makes sense as long as the cost of articles purchased as needed does not exceed the cost of the subscription.

Up until recently, for the vendor Elsevier, this model made the most sense. We subscribed to approximately $24,000 of Elsevier journals, and we let users download additional content on an as-needed basis via GetItNow, which the library then pays for on a monthly basis. What has changed in recent years is the skyrocketing use of GetItNow, and the library’s associated costs.

Beginning FY18, our document delivery costs began to grow each month as more patrons were downloading Elsevier articles for their research.  This was problematic for numerous reasons: first, we had already budgeted a certain amount for expected document delivery costs, and suddenly we were in the red on that budget line.  We had to scramble to come up with the funds to pay for these invoices by cutting into the book budget and staff development budget.  Second, it also became impossible to predict the cost of the monthly GetItNow invoice. This lack of budget certainty was a huge problem.  Finally, it no longer made fiscal sense to rely on document delivery.  The yearly cost of Elsevier’s Big Deal package (called the Freedom Collection) ended up being less than what we were paying buying content per article via GetItNow.

Via careful contract negotiation, Cowles Library was able to obtain favorable contract terms for the Elsevier Freedom Collection.  We signed a 5-year contract with capped inflation rates, which also includes a “budget-out” clause.  This means if our budget situation becomes so dire we are unable to pay our contracted invoice amount, we can get out of the contract with no penalties.  We also managed to negotiate access to expanded backfiles: a standard Freedom Collection offers the current year of a journal’s content plus a 4-year rolling backfile (for instance, this year we’d have access to 2019 and the 4 previous years, 2015-2018; next year, we’d have access to 2020 and 2016-2019, etc.).  Our collection gives us 1995-present content, with no rolling backfile.  Each year that we continue to pay for Elsevier content, we maintain our holdings access back to 1995.

Finally, our contract ended up costing us less than had anticipated.  It is our most expensive single resource expense (north of $100,000), but the amount of content we get access to (over 2300 journals and 23,000 books), plus now having predictable budget lines and the ability to pay less for the same content we were getting before, makes this instance of a Big Deal a great value for Drake University.

Below are the most requested GetItNow journals now included in our Freedom Collection subscription:

  • Social Science & Medicine
  • Computers in Human Behavior
  • Research in Developmental Disabilities
  • The Leadership Quarterly
  • Drug and Alcohol Dependence
  • Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology
  • Psychiatry Research

In future posts we plan to address some of the other major developments in scholarly communication, and how they may impact us. Please feel free to provide feedback.

Complete the Faculty Survey to help the library

October 25 2018, by Andrew Welch

Ithaka S+R logoOn Thursday, October 25th, all Drake faculty received an invitation from Provost Mattison to participate in Drake University’s version of the Ithaka Faculty Survey, an important study of the impact of digital technologies on research, teaching, and publishing. Survey responses will help to direct the initiatives of Cowles Library’s continuous improvement plan and inform campus planning and decision-making with respect to research and teaching resources.

The survey seeks faculty perspective on a range of topics, including how faculty engage with and perceive the library. In particular, this survey will help the library gain insight into how our faculty members teach and conduct research in a rapidly changing and increasingly digital environment.

We know you are very busy and probably suffering from survey fatigue, but please consider giving the library 20-25 minutes of your time to take this survey. You do not need to complete the survey in one sitting. Any progress is automatically saved, and you can pick up where you left off. You will need to refer to Provost Mattison’s October 25th email message for the survey link.

General information about the National Ithaka Faculty Survey can be found at the Ithaka S+R website. Please direct any questions to the Cowles Library Planning & Assessment Committee,

Thank you!

Expanded Elsevier content available!

September 14 2018, by Bruce Gilbert

Drake University’s Cowles Library is pleased to announce that we now provide access to the
majority of content on Elsesvier’s ScienceDirect platform. This includes journals, as well as
books. Elsevier offers high-quality, peer-reviewed and highly-cited content in the life sciences,
physical sciences, health sciences, and social sciences.

Access here:

To make sure you see content to which we subscribe, click on the “Access type: Subscribed and
complimentary.” You can also limit your search to journals, books, handbooks, reference
works, and/or book series.

Drake University now has access from 1995-present for a majority of the journal titles hosted
on Elsevier’s ScienceDirect platform (called: Freedom Collection 2018).  The only titles that are
excluded from our agreement are the third-party titles they are not allowed to license (Lancet,
Neuron, American Journal of Medicine, etc.).  Many of the third-party titles will still be available
to patrons via Get-It-Now (Document Delivery).

In addition, we now have access to all book content on Elsevier’s ScienceDirect platform, called the “All-Access” collection.  This collection includes books, book series, encyclopedias, handbooks, and major reference works. See below.

APA Style Central

December 1 2017, by Teri Koch

Writing a term paper or even getting ready to submit for publication? APA Style Central assists all levels of researchers (undergraduates, graduates, faculty, and beyond) in the research and writing process. It offers many tools to help facilitate the writing and research process in compliance with the APA style.

Tools include:

  • quick e-guides
  • substantive video tutorials
  • self-quizzes
  • sample research papers
  • tables & figures
  • over 150 sample references
  • 19 full-text psychology related reference books
  • a writing and collaboration tool
  • a manuscript matcher to identify journal candidates for publication


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