How Oregon State’s library is leading the digital revolution.

Michael Boock
Michael Boock

When Oregon State became the first university to join Flickr Commons, a public domain photo archive, word traveled fast on social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook. And the buzz was positive. Likewise, the library faculty is the world’s first to pass an open-access mandate for their own scholarly work. And its open-source search tool, LibraryFind, is the first of its kind in the nation.

Clearly, Oregon State University is right out in front of the digital information revolution.

“The driving idea at OSU Libraries is to make information retrievable wherever people are searching,” says Michael Boock, head of Digital Access Services for OSU Libraries. “Our goal is to make all of our collections findable through the Internet.”

The idea that everyone from an OSU student working on a term paper to a cattle rancher in Central Oregon to a schoolgirl in central Africa can access its collections via the Internet is something Oregon State wants to celebrate. And that zeal for open access — especially universal access to taxpayer-funded research — will be visible all over campus. During Open Access Week, experts from OSU Libraries will be staffing “traveling tables” to answer questions about implications for author rights, peer review and traditional academic publishing models. Mid-week, a panel of experts from OSU and University of Oregon will talk about each of their groundbreaking efforts to make an entire unit’s research output freely available online upon publication.

Capping off the week’s events is a presentation by nationally known public-domain advocate Carl Malamud. As the founder of public.resource.org, Malamud is an impassioned champion of making all publicly funded information — including databases, court decisions and research findings — free and easily accessed by anyone.

“Research is the raw material of innovation, creating a wealth of business opportunities,” says Malamud, noting that government information is a form of essential infrastructure, right along with highways and electrical grids. What he terms the “Internet wave of transformation” will, he insists, help ensure the health of a democracy that is indeed of, by and for the people.

Oregon State is embodying that idea. Another innovation is that all OSU master’s theses and doctoral dissertations are submitted electronically to the university’s own ScholarsArchive. Last year, the online graduate papers were downloaded 100 times each, on average. In contrast, paper versions typically are checked out from the library rarely, if ever. In just three years, grad-student studies that would otherwise have languished on library shelves have been downloaded nearly a half-million times.

OSU also joined 17 other U.S. research universities in a letter to Congress earlier this month, encouraging passage of bipartisan federal legislation (the Federal Research Public Access Act) to guarantee speedy public access to research findings funded by agencies such as the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy. The National Institutes of Health already requires public access to its funded research projects.

Boock sums up the push this way: “We want to put the content where the people are.”

Finance intern Paul Heim will be blogging about living and working in London.

To read about Paul Heim’s internship and day-to-day experiences in London, read his blog, From Oregon to the U.K.

Paul Heim
Paul Heim

The last thing Paul Heim wants from his college experience is to sleepwalk through it. For the junior finance major, really being in college means getting involved in his campus community. And he has. Heim was the vice president of regulations for the Interfraternity Council at OSU. He’s been the finance director for ASOSU, and a member of the selective Oregon State Investment Group, which manages $1 million dollars for the OSU Foundation.

“I want to have the best college experience ever,” says Heim. “That’s why I’ve gotten so involved. My goal is to do so much more than just go to class and graduate,” Heim says. “I would credit becoming an involved student and leader on campus with Greek life and my fraternity, Lambda Chi Alpha. When you live with 60 other motivated people, it pushes you to become more engaged in and out of the classroom.”

Part of Heim’s experience also means taking his studies beyond OSU’s campus in Corvallis, and even beyond the U.S. Heim, a Portland native, is currently working as a finance intern at St. James Place in London, a wealth management firm for high net worth clients that is in the heart of the city’s historic financial district.

“I’m so excited about this opportunity. I will be working directly with clients in asset management, alternative funds, and corporate and institutional finance,” Heim says. “I think it helped them see my value that I had so much hands-on experience managing money, especially in a university setting.”

After reaching out to dozens of U.S. companies for internships, all of which said they cut their programs due to the recession, Heim found St. James Place through the agency University of Dreams. During his time in the city, Heim is living in Nido Place, international housing in central London.

And the job is exactly what he was looking for. “I was interested in a purely financial experience. I didn’t want to get into the marketing end of things, cold-calling people or working in sales. I wanted to protect people’s money and grow their wealth.”

After he finishes his internship in August, Heim will spend a semester studying international finance at Lund University, at the southernmost tip of Sweden, through the Arthur Stonehill Study Abroad Program through the College of Business. The semester will earn Heim an international business option when he graduates at the end of next year.

“I’m really looking forward to experiencing the culture. I’m looking forward to how challenging I know the courses will be in Sweden,” Heim says.

In the future, Heim plans on graduating and working in a smaller financial firm somewhere in the Pacific Northwest, particularly Portland, whose culture he loves. And Heim, an avid journal writer, hopes to gather his chronicle of college experiences into a book and publish it in the future.

While he is in London, Heim will be keeping a blog about his work, day-to-day experiences and travels.

Marco Clark traveled to southwest China to study the effects of dam construction.

Marco Clark
Marco Clark

Marco Clark’s expedition to the Nu River Valley in southwestern China was off to a difficult start. Checkpoints lined the highway, blocking access to villages near the Nu, where there are plans to construct as many as thirteen dams. Even though Clark needed to get to the villages to do his research, he was reluctant to approach the checkpoints.

This challenge came as no surprise to Clark; his prior experiences in China had taught him to expect the unexpected. Still, he was nervous about the sensitivity of his research topic: human behavior in the face of an immediate environmental threat. But Clark continued to trek — mostly by bus or foot — approximately 230 miles up the Nu River Valley in search of an accessible village.

Clark’s research is associated with a cross-disciplinary project at OSU that unites the departments of Biological and Ecological Engineering, Anthropology, and Geosciences in order to examine the social, economic and ecological effects of dams on the Nu and Upper Mekong Rivers in China. Currently, China is the international leader in dam construction, and the project is being developed with the intent of assisting China in their quest for renewable energy. Clark’s interviews with villagers and political leaders will provide a better understanding of the effects of dam construction on people and the environment.

As an undergraduate studying political science at OSU, Clark developed an interest in human behavior. “I wanted to study how people feel about their environment and how they respond when that environment is threatened,” Clark says. Clark had visited China three times while pursuing an International Degree and was inspired to return. Currently in his second year of graduate study in anthropology, Clark was able to conduct more fieldwork in China with the help of a generous grant from the Institute for Water and Watersheds (IWW).

“Marco has done a great job of treading lightly and making good relationships,” says Bryan Tilt, Clark’s academic adviser and assistant professor of anthropology. “He was able to create connections in the area of his fieldwork through his excellent people skills.”

Clark improvised as he neared the Tibetan border, hiking two hours from the main road until he happened upon a privately owned dam under the support of the provincial government. The dam, near the village Dimaluo, was still undergoing construction when Clark came upon it. “The community was very removed and felt more secure,” Clark says. “It felt like a suitable place to be.” Dimaluo was where Clark would conduct his research.

While in Dimaluo, Clark was greeted warmly by the community. He formed a lasting friendship with a man named Aluo, who invited Clark into his home to stay with his family. Aluo assisted Clark with his interviews in exchange for English instruction and help translating for foreign guests.

Clark hopes that his research will help other scientists and policymakers better understand the potential impacts of dam construction, including the displacement and resettlement of villagers.

Clark is still deciding what to do after he receives his degree from OSU in 2009. He is thinking of pursuing a Ph.D. in order to teach and continue researching at a university. He is also thinking of continuing developmental work for either a governmental or non-governmental organization.

“Both of these paths will keep me involved in research in developing countries,” Clark says. “By completing assessments on the needs of small communities I hope to continue to help improve others’ quality of life.”

Anna Putnam uses nanotechnology to create a revolutionary battery.

Anna Putnam is on the edge of innovation with nanotechnology
Anna Putnam is on the edge of innovation with nanotechnology

Undergrad Anna Putnam is squirming. The interviewer has touched a raw nerve in the chemical engineering major. “You’re digging deeply into my life,” she says, shifting in her chair. Her confession comes with reluctance: “My first term at OSU, I struggled in math.” Pressed, she admits the worst: “I got a C in vector calculus.”

For the University Honors College student who had breezed through Advanced Placement calculus and chemistry at Oregon’s Clackamas High School, a grade of “average” was a jarring wake-up call. “Before I got to the university,” the 2005 senior class valedictorian explains, “I never had to study very hard.”

In the three years since that rude awakening, nothing less than an A has darkened Putnam’s grade report. She has gone on to collect scholarships like most students collect songs on their iPods. The American Engineering Association Scholarship from Intel and OSU’s Presidential Scholarship are among them.

Now, Putnam has advanced from the front of the class to the front edge of innovation, where chemical engineering meets nanoscience and “drop-on-demand” printing technologies.

Read more about Anna Putnam and her undergraduate research in the Summer 2008 issue of Terra.

When Keith Frost couldn’t find the quality of barbecue sauce he wanted, he decided to try his own hand at it.

Keith Frost started a business searching for better sauce
Keith Frost started a business searching for better sauce

Keith Frost, a consummate griller, was frustrated with run-of-the-mill barbeque sauces. Mere “spiced-up versions of ketchup” he complains. So began his quest for the quintessential sauce.

The backyard hobby soon became an obsession. Using fresh Oregon produce — sweet onions from Hermiston, garlic from Klamath Falls, plums from the Willamette Valley — the Rogue Valley native was soon serving up platters of ribs glazed with his Sweet Honey & Garlic BBQ Sauce, salmon marinated in Plum-Ginger Teriyaki Sauce, and T-bones garnished with Not-So-Hot Garlic Pepper Sauce.

“If you create a sauce with patience,” says the OSU graduate student, “you can add layers and complexity to the foods you eat.”

Once he enrolled in OSU’s Austin Entrepreneurship Program, Frost gained the business skills to parlay his culinary discoveries into a start-up. The Southern Oregon Sauce & Spice Co. got a big boost when it won seed funds from the Portland OSU Business Roundtable in 2005.

“Our sales have exceeded expectations,” says Frost, who at 33 is what OSU President Ed Ray calls an OTA (“older than average”) student. “We’re in eight stores, our Web traffic is off the charts, and we’re gaining traction.”

A graduate (summa cum laude) in agriculture with minors in animal science and business, Frost finds the time not only to run his start-up but also to pursue a master’s degree in agricultural education. “Ag-ed is natural fit for me,” says Frost. “My company is focused on ‘value-added agricultural products,’ and the Ag-ed program places special emphasis on leadership development and communication — two skills essential in the classroom or the boardroom.”

Like any talented entrepreneur, Frost is constantly pushing the envelope — expanding the customer base, growing the product line, envisioning the possible. A sugar-free line of sauces is one concept under development. New spices, too, are being rolled out.

“Now we’re looking for an angel investor to help us grow through this next phase,” Frost says. His goal? To sell 10,000 bottles of sauce before 2010.


Austin Entrepreneurship Program

Agricultural Education Program

You may not know Mike Rich by name, but chances are you’ve seen his work.

Mike Rich wrote the script for "Finding Forrester" and "The Rookie"
Mike Rich wrote the script for "Finding Forrester" and "The Rookie"

Mike Rich was working as a news reporter at a Portland radio station in the mid-1990s when he decided to turn his dream of writing a screenplay into reality.

Setting aside a couple of free hours each day, he wrote “Finding Forrester,” a story that delves into the relationship between an inner-city teen and a reclusive writer.

After unproductive attempts to contact agents, production companies and studios, Rich entered the play in the Nicholl Fellowship competition sponsored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

“The first letter I received said congratulations, you’re a quarter-finalist. That was validation. It put me in the top 220 of 4,500 entrants,” he says. “That’s where I thought it would end. Then came a letter saying I was a semi-finalist and then a finalist and finally one of five fellows.”

After that, interest developed quickly. Columbia purchased the script and Sean Connery agreed to play Forrester. At that point, Rich “thought they would just go off and make the movie.” He was wrong. Six rewrites later, it was shot.

Over the past eight years, the OSU College of Business alumnus has followed “Finding Forester” with “The Rookie,” “Radio” and “Miracle,” all successful movies.

“I always start with character. The audience needs to care about the people,” Rich says.

In “Miracle,” the story of the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team’s historic upset of the Soviet Union, “you want to get the audience to the point where they don’t care that they know how it’s going to end. They want to see how it gets there.”

Look for more from Rich. “Manhunt,” an adaptation of a historical thriller about the search for John Wilkes Booth, is being filmed; “Invincible,” the story of Philadelphia Eagles fan Vince Papale, a bartender who tried out for the team as a kicker and made it, is set for release later this year; and “Nativity,” a story leading up to the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, has been purchased by New Line Cinema.

Despite all this activity, Rich keeps his life in perspective. He lives in Beaverton, Ore., with his wife and three children. “My son plays high school football,” he says. “I catch every game I can. When it’s done, it’s done, and you don’t get another chance.”

Finding Forrester

The Rookie

Radio

Terry Reese is helping libraries move into the electronic age — and winning awards for it.

Terry Reese is the OSU Libraries digital production unit head
Terry Reese is the OSU Libraries digital production unit head

When OSU’s Terry Reese was named a Mover & Shaker by Library Journal, was featured in the magazine, and then picked up a major award from the American Library Association, people in the library profession weren’t particularly surprised.

That’s because Reese, the OSU Libraries digital production unit head, is known throughout the library world for his skills in developing applications that save staff time in performing tasks within a library’s online catalogs and services.

His Open Source applications are freely available to any library and are used in libraries worldwide. Most notable is his improvement upon the Library of Congress’s MARC editing system, which has more than 50,000 users.

“I do a lot of work with other libraries,” Reese says. “I write software that they use and then I end up doing a lot of consulting with them on projects they’re using the software for.” It’s not unusual for him to get 100 questions in a week from his various program users.

He offers consultant work pro-bono as a service to the library community, and he is frequently called upon to make presentations at various library and information technology meetings.

Last summer he worked with librarians in Lahore, Pakistan, to get their first library conference set up, and he has worked with UNICEF on a project in Africa. “A hospital in a small village in Kenya had a medical library that needed to be migrated to a new system,” he says. “We had to send data back and forth for a half year but we finally got it done.”

Reese is now working on building a metasearch program to bring all library resources into a single interface. “We have commercial software for that, but it doesn’t work as well as we’d like,” he says.

And, with all the demands on his time, he still finds time to bicycle to work each day from his home in Independence, Ore., 25 miles from the campus.

Terry Reese Web page

Library Journal 2005 Movers & Shakers awards

Library Journal article about Terry Reese

OSU’s Institute for Natural Resources offers a place for Oregonians with diverse opinions to freely explore–and perhaps resolve–environmental challenges.

Gail Achterman is the executive director of the Institute for Natural Resources
Gail Achterman is the executive director of the Institute for Natural Resources

When the executive director of the Oregon Garden in Silverton wanted help with a new initiative that used plant materials to solve environmental problems, he turned to the Institute for Natural Resources.

When Oregon’s governor wanted an unbiased scientific evaluation of a federal report that could affect coastal communities and marine resources, he asked the Institute for Natural Resources for help.

And when managers of the Tillamook and Clatsop state forests wanted to review their salmon strategy, they sought assistance from the Institute for Natural Resources.

“I see the INR as having several important roles,” says James Brown, natural resources advisor for Gov. Ted Kulongoski. “It can get people together to talk about difficult issues and try to find pathways to good public policy. It can collect, store, and provide access to data about natural resources. And it can conduct unbiased research for policy makers.”

All of that falls into the lap of Gail Achterman, the executive director of the INR.

“One of our primary goals with the INR is to bring people together, and sometimes we have to do that literally,” Achterman says. “We’re having a series of monthly dinner meetings in Portland to bring together policy leaders, scientists, private industry, anyone who might be able to help address some of the tough natural resource issues that we face. We get people who rarely meet each other in the same room, let them talk and trade ideas about what needs to be done, how we might solve some of these problems.”

Achterman and other experts say there is no shortage of problems the institute might tackle. They have already brainstormed a list of 70 to 80 potential projects, such as ways to promote business development and the state’s economy in an environmentally sensitive way or do a better job of environmental restoration without unnecessary government regulations.

Institute for Natural Resources website

INR reports

Alan Mui and his partners, Howie Price, Brian Gin, and Chris Allen, developed an affordable web-based surveillance system.

Alan Mui and his partners, Howie Price, Brian Gin, and Chris Allen
Alan Mui and his partners, Howie Price, Brian Gin, and Chris Allen

“Put 285 students in Weatherford Hall–all of whom have an interest in starting their own business–and I can guarantee that you will see some innovative concepts come through.”

That observation by Ilene Kleinsorge, OSU’s College of Business dean, is getting its first full test with the opening this fall of the renovated Weatherford Hall as a residence hall and laboratory for students in the new Austin Entrepreneurship Program.

One of the first businesses to come out of the program was established by Alan Mui, an engineering major who graduated in June before having an opportunity to live in the residence hall.

The new business started with a project in OSU professor Justin Craig’s class. Mui and Howie Price, a business major, were assigned to develop a feasibility plan on an entrepreneurial idea. They discovered not only that they worked well together, but that there was a real demand for their product, an Internet surveillance system. Mui came up with the idea while trying to help his father set up a low-cost security system for the family’s business, the Republic Cafe together, and sometimes we have to do that literally,” Achterman says. “We’re having a series of monthly dinner meetings in Portland to bring together policy leaders, scientists, private industry, anyone who might be able to help address some of the tough natural resource issues that we face. We get people who rarely meet each other in the same room, let them talk and trade ideas about what needs to be done, how we might solve some of these problems.”

Achterman and other experts say there is no shortage of problems the institute might tackle. They have already brainstormed a list of 70 to 80 potential projects, such as ways to promote business development and the state’s economy in an environmentally sensitive way or do a better job of environmental restoration without unnecessary government regulations.

Institute for Natural Resources website

INR reports

Kent Abel is working on a process that will allow him to look through steel and nonmetallic pipes.

Kent Abel is working on x-ray vision to see through steel
Kent Abel is working on x-ray vision to see through steel

He’s not faster than a speeding bullet.

He can’t leap tall buildings in a single bound.

But Kent Abel is working on seeing through steel.

As part of his research on the flow of bubbly material through pipes, Abel is using powerful neutron beams from OSU’s nuclear reactor to get the 3-dimensional images he needs to investigate high pressure and high temperature processes in thick steel pipes.

And Abel, who is working toward a Ph.D. in nuclear engineering, finds himself at the cutting edge of research in the area of finding industrial applications for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology.

Working with faculty members in nuclear engineering, Abel has found a new use for the huge MRI machines normally found in hospitals. He is using them to obtain concentrations and velocity profiles for a variety of gas-liquid flows that are typical of industrial fluid processes that take place in PVC and other nonmetallic pipes.

“Nobody else is using an MRI to do this,” Abel says. “We’re able to obtain an incredible amount of information on complex flows with the single touch of a button.”

Because there is a variety of research that could be done with an MRI, the College of Engineering is working with various other colleges on campus to obtain an MRI at OSU. “It’s very exciting,” Abel says.

Engineering newsletter article on Abel’s research