Celebrating Excellence in Communication Award winners!

Please join me in congratulating the WCOM 206 Excellence in Communication Award winner for Winter/Summer 2022, Gabriel Lacroix, and Fall 2022, Sophie Allard. Their papers were chosen as the best among their peers across all sections of the Communication in Engineering course. Well done!

The full text of their papers have been added to the McGill Library repository, eScholarship.

Costs and Effectiveness of Roof Based Urban Heat Island Mitigation Strategies

by Gabriel Lacroix

The temperature of cities during summer keeps increasing due to climate change and the urban heat island phenomenon. These temperatures lead to increased mortality rates, discomfort, energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to deteriorating air quality. To alleviate the effects of this phenomenon, many effective mitigation strategies have been developed. In the highly urbanized areas where the urban heat island is the most problematic, roof area is abundant, making mitigation strategies like green roofs and cool roofs attractive. This paper compares the effectiveness of green and cool roofs at mitigating the urban heat island effect by evaluating the temperature reductions they provide, the lifecycle costs associated with them, and the added benefits from implementing them. This comparison found that green and cool roofs provide similar temperature reductions with cool roofs being more cost-effective and green roofs providing valuable added benefits.

Comparative Analysis of Carbon Capture Systems for Fossil Fuel-Fired Power Plants

by Sophie Allard

Power generation through the combustion of fossil fuels produces most of the world’s electricity; however, this results in considerable carbon dioxide emissions and harmful environmental effects. As global energy demands continue to rise, researchers have begun investigating strategies to mitigate emissions by fossil fuel-fired power plants and carbon capture and storage has emerged as a feasible and effective method of doing so. This paper provides a comparative analysis of three methods of carbon capture: post-combustion, pre-combustion and oxy-combustion capture. Post-combustion capture refers to the process of separating carbon dioxide from the flue gas produced by combustion through absorption in a solvent. Pre-combustion capture involves removing the CO2 from the fuel prior to combustion through a series of isolated reactions, leaving pure hydrogen to be burned for power generation. Oxy-combustion capture involves the combustion of fossil fuels in an environment of pure oxygen, such that the flue gas produced can easily be condensed to isolate the CO2. While these three systems are effective emission reduction strategies, pre-combustion capture is associated with the highest efficiency. However, given the high cost of implementing and running pre-combustion and oxy-combustion capture systems in coal or natural gas-fired power plants, post-combustion capture was determined to be the best solution, based on practicability, efficiency and economic feasibility. Through the employment of carbon capture, the emissions from fossil fuel-fired power plants could be significantly reduced in order to mitigate the alarming effects of climate change.

Eliminate the Wait, with Waitz!

Waitz on phone

Not only is the Schulich Library open for business and has it just finished celebrating its grand reopening earlier this week, but now the Waitz system is up and running in the library! Some of you may already be familiar with Waitz from the McLennan-Redpath Library Complex where it’s been in place since 2020 (with a little pause called Covid-19 that put the service on hold while the libraries were closed). What you might not know is that Waitz was founded by university students in 2018 who were tired of the crowds in their campus library at UC San Diego. The Waitz system is now being used in other types of locations like gyms, campus buildings and companies. You’ll find more information here on the company, which is now called Occuspace.

So how does it work? There are sensors on each floor that capture radio signals from Bluetooth and WiFi in the area to estimate how many people there are in the spaces. There is no personally identifiable information stored in the system and the information Waitz gathers is 80-95% accurate. You’ll find lots more details about how Waitz works at McGill Library here.

And how do you use it? You can simply go to the McGill Waitz page for real-time data on how busy it is in Schulich Library or you can download the app here: https://waitz.io/. Pro tip: the 1st floor (otherwise known as the basement) in Schulich Library is almost always a good bet. Now you know all you need to know before you go!

Schulich Library Re-opening Celebration!

After four years of renovations and improvements, it’s time to celebrate the re-opening of the Schulich Library of Physical Sciences, Life Sciences, and Engineering! Come join the party on Monday, October 30th starting at 10:45am.

  • Don’t miss out as special guests will be giving talks on the 4th floor between 11:00 and 11:30am.
  • Learn more about Schulich’s history, services, spaces, and collections by visiting various information kiosks on floors 2 to 5.
  • Take in some beautiful live music as you wander through the building.
  • After checking out the updated spaces in the Library, head out to the FDA lobby for some free snacks!

We are excited to be able to welcome the community back to the improved Schulich Library and hope to see you on Oct 30th!

Flick the switch. It’s time for Science Literacy Week @ McGill!

Science Literacy comes to McGill, September 18-22.

The Science Literacy Week theme this year is energy, and we have a high-powered lineup of events. It is our ninth year participating in this Canada-wide initiative, spreading our enthusiasm for science with tours, workshops, drop-ins, and talks.

Register for a workshop: You can crochet a mini sun keychain, learn the art of explaining science to non-specialists, explore LaTeX with Overleaf, take a beginner or intermediate Excel workshop, gain experience finding and understanding Canadian datasets, and follow an introduction to research data management. New this year is a workshop at the Geographic Information Centre on working with satellite and drone images at McGill, and Science for the People Canada is joining us for Science Literacy Week with a workshop on repair as culture.

Register for a tour: Do you know about the temperature sensors around McGill? Take a tour of climate sensors on campus and learn about Montreal’s urban heat island effect. You can also learn about medical simulations with a tour of the Steinberg Centre for Simulation and Interactive Learning, or explore our physics collections with a tour of the Rutherford Museum and McPherson Collection with curator, Professor J. Barrette.

Drop-in: Stop by and explore science history treasures in McGill’s Rare Books & Special Collections on the Thursday of Science Literacy Week, or take advantage of the daily drop-in times for the Osler Library of the History of Medicine (11am-1pm).

Take in an exhibit: There will be an exhibit, The Rise & Influence of Medicine in the Islamic World, comprising two complementary displays, one at the Islamic Studies Library and other at the Osler Library. The exhibition will be accessible during each respective library’s opening hours until December 22.

Dr Joe Schwarcz is also returning this year with a lecture on Sense, Nonsense, and Science, and Dr. Christie Rowe is going to tell us what every Montrealer should know about earthquakes.

Visit the Science Literacy Week Library guide to see our full calendar of events!

New look for CAS SciFinder-n

Screenshot of the new launch page.

There is a brand new look and feel to the main search page of the SciFinder-n database from CAS, a division of the American Chemical Society. The results pages from searches in CAS SciFinder-n have not been impacted by the change.

An interesting addition to the main page is easy access to the CAS Lexicon, where you can work on your strategy ahead of time by searching the indexing terms for concepts, chemical classes, and taxonomic vocabulary.

CAS Lexicon available from the launch page

If you have never registered to use CAS SciFinder-n, visit the Library’s CAS SciFinder Discovery Platform guide for details. You can also stay up-to-date on database changes by visiting the “What’s New?” section of their website.

The help pages for searching in CAS SciFinder-n have all been updated, but if you have any questions about the database please do not hesitate to ask (email April).

WCOM 206 Award Winners

Excellence in

Written Communication

The latest winners of the WCOM 206 Excellence in Written Communication Award have been announced. Please join me in congratulating Paolo Fiorilli, Theodore Glavas, and Timothy Adams!

These undergraduate engineering students have excelled among their peers. Their winning papers have been added to our digital repository, eScholarship@McGill, and made freely available to the world. Take a look at the abstracts below and follow the title links to read the full text.

Winter/Summer 2020

Paolo Fiorilli – Analysis of Alternative Insulating Gases to Replace SF6 in Electric Power Equipment

SF6 gas is an excellent electrical insulator that has been widely used in the power industry for decades, but its status as a powerful greenhouse gas has led to increasing pressure to find an alternative. The objective of this paper is to compare the properties of two novel replacement insulators, Novec 4710 and Novec 5110, and show that Novec 5110 is marginally superior in warm climates. The analysis will be performed using three criteria: electrical properties, assessed through dielectric strength and using boiling point to determine suitable operating temperatures, toxicity, evaluating mainly the median lethal dose and operational exposure limit, and environmental impact, established through the gas’ global warming potential. The analysis will show that for climates where the temperature does not fall below 0, Novec 5110 is the ideal choice because it results in a 99.996% reduction in warming potential and is the safest substance to handle. It is therefore recommended that Novec 5110 be adopted for insulating purposes in warm climates, while Novec 4710 is an excellent second choice with better insulating potential and a lower environmental impact relative to SF6 that is more suitable for colder regions.

Winter/Summer 2021

Theodore Glavas – Future Data Storage Mediums for High-Capacity Solutions

The amount of data produced by humanity each day is set on an exponential trend. As data production increases, the demand for data storage also grows. Current storage technologies cannot keep up with the extreme rate of growth, so new approaches to data storage must be considered. Quartz glass optical storage, holographic storage and DNA storage are three promising technologies that may become widely used in the future. The crucial factors necessary for these storage technologies to succeed are their storage density, transfer speed and commerciality. As of now, quartz glass optical storage leads the way as the most promising solution for large volume, low access data storage. However, research into DNA sequencing from other unrelated fields could make DNA archival storage more appealing than quartz glass in the longer run.

Fall 2021

Timothy Adams – Stability of Transtibial Socket Suspension Systems for Clinical Recommendation

Most currently available transtibial prosthesis socket suspension systems do not adequately secure the prosthetic to the residual limb. This leads to impaired biomechanical functionality, prosthesis control, and harm to the residual limb skin. Hence, it is imperative that the optimal suspension system is determined to mitigate these effects. It is concluded that out of three suspension systems, the vacuum-assisted suspension is the optimal solution as opposed to the suction and pin-lock suspension systems. It is shown that the vacuum-assisted suspension yields the minimum amount of pistoning, the second highest negative distal interface pressure during the swing phase of the gait cycle, and the minimal amount of residual limb volume loss. Although the pin-lock suspension has a greater negative distal interface pressure, the system tightly squeezes the residual limb in the process. This indicates that the vacuum-assisted suspension is a superior solution in this respect as it produces a marginally lesser amount of pressure without bringing about residual limb skin issues.

Save Page Now

If you are citing something from a web page, it is always a good idea to make a copy of it. Maybe save it as a PDF for your files. The lifespan of a web page is surprising short. It can be changed or even deleted, leaving little evidence behind.

A better idea might be to save the web page at the date and time of access into the Wayback Machine. The page, and outlinks, can be captured and added to Internet Archive, providing a link to how it appeared at the time. There is the added benefit of being able to compare the page at a later date to see any changes.

Internet Archive is one of the largest digital libraries in the world. They began with the Wayback Machine but it is now just one of the ways that they are preserving our digital history and making knowledge accessible to everyone.

Be sure to sign in after creating a free account, in order to see all of the save options available from the Wayback Machine.

Science Literacy Week, 2022

We have been participating in this Canada-wide celebration of science since 2015, but this year really is special. We could not be more enthusiastic about welcoming you to our McGill events, some virtual and others in-person. The theme of this year’s Science Literacy Week, taking place September 19-25, is Mathematics. It is such a wonderfully broad theme that, together with our campus partners, we were able to organize an array of learning opportunities for you.

I thought that I would break it down day by day with a few insights, but first there are two exhibits that have already launched and that you can check out right away. There is a Math / Music exhibit at the Marvin Duchow Music Library with materials from their collection that demonstrate the rich connections between the two disciplines. There is also a Mathematics Redpath Book Display, both physical (in the Humanities and Social Sciences Library) and virtual for some interesting reading material.


Monday

  • Stats-wise (12-1pm; in person): I was a student of Professor Rhonda Amsel during my undergrad at McGill (last century!) and she truly is a wonderful educator. I cannot wait to hear her talk about the ‘why’ of statistics. This presentation is for everyone.
  • Introduction to Working with Data in Excel (2-4pm; virtual): This is hands-on experience for the absolute beginner.

Tuesday

  • The Art of Explaining Science to Non-Specialists (12-1pm; virtual): Who better to introduce this important skillset than Science Communication Specialist at the Office of Science Education, Diane Dechief? I promise that this will be one hour well spent.
  • Plant Walk and Harvest (12-1pm; in person): The folks at Redpath Museum have been huge supporters of Science Literacy Week since the beginning. There are limited spots available for this McGill garden tour.
  • Intro to LaTeX (2-3pm; virtual): Get some LaTeX practice using the free online editor, Overleaf.

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday


That’s it so far. I’m sorry for all of the exclamation marks (it’s exciting). Register today for a workshop, or join us for one of the drop-ins. I hope to see you around 🙂

Voting with your feet: choosing which publishers deserve your time

Picture from above of black shoes and bottom of black pants standing on black asphalt, with two white arrows painted on the asphalt just above the feet, one arrow pointing diagonally up and the other pointing diagonally down
Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Written by guest contributor Jessica Lange

Academic publishing relies on the voluntary participation of scholars to contribute as peer reviewers and editors. Editors typically look after reviewing initial submissions to a journal, finding peer reviewers, and reviewing the final submission for acceptance. Peer reviewers serve an equally important role, assessing a scholarly work for its validity, impact, and relevance to the field.  

Researchers choose to serve as editors and peer reviewers to contribute back to the scholarly community and advance research. This is also considered part of the “job” of an academic for the purposes of tenure and promotion. However, as precarious academic positions are on the rise, this underlying principle is being reconsidered. Even for academics with a full-time position, the squeeze of increasing administrative responsibilities alongside a heavier valuing of research in tenure and promotion, has led some to make strategic choices about where to devote their energies.  

Despite the importance of these roles to the scientific community, many people outside academia are surprised to learn that neither peer reviewers nor editors receive compensation for their work. Given that large, commercial publishers post hefty profit margins and may have questionable privacy practices, researchers are starting to wonder if these corporations should benefit from their voluntary labour and scholarly expertise.  

If the above applies to you, I’d recommend the KU Leuven framework based on the Fair Open Access Alliance. When evaluating a publication for editorial or peer review duties, ask if : 

“The supplier of the infrastructure for scholarly communication has a transparent ownership structure, and is not profit-driven and accountable to shareholders, but mission-driven and accountable to the academic community (e.g. an editorial board or scholarly society).” (Fair Open Access) 

This framework privileges “scholar-led” operations, those run and led by academics themselves, supported in many cases by universities, societies, libraries, or associations. For example, the McGill Library hosted journal Seismica, a free-to-authors and readers open access journal, launched in specific response to the for-profit nature of scientific publishing in their discipline.  

How can I assess a journal?  

Journals will typically post this kind of information in their “About” page. Review their website to see if they are published by a commercial publisher (e.g., Wiley, Elsevier etc.), a non-profit (e.g., Cambridge University Press, University of Toronto Press etc.), or independently supported by a university, library, or association. Does the journal provide a mission statement? What is the publisher’s mission and goals? If the journal charges article processing charges, are they transparent about the fees (if applicable)? 

What else would you add for consideration?  

Additional resources

Jessica Lange is the Scholarly Communications Librarian at McGill University. In this role, she provides services to the campus community in the areas of open access, publishing, author rights, and open educational resources (OERs). She also manages McGill’s open access repository eScholarship and its scholarly publishing program. Her research interests include scholarly publishing and open access.  

MyResearch

Advertisement for MyResearch graduate seminar series with the message, start your journey here.

Welcome to the Schulich Library summer edition of the MyResearch workshop series, restricted to McGill graduate and postdoctoral students. Choose the series that is designed for you, whether you are in health and biological sciences or physical sciences and engineering.

Register for each of the Zoom workshops in this series below.


MyResearch – Research Foundations

Take your research to the next level. Learn about the extensive library services that can support you throughout your research. Identify key resources you will need for your research, and learn advanced search strategies and techniques. Learn how to stay up to date on your topic by creating effective alerts.


MyResearch – EndNote Essentials

Find out how to build your personal database of references using EndNote. Learn how to organize the references in groups, produce bibliographies, attach files to your references, insert bibliographic citations in your papers in your chosen style, and more.


MyResearch – Getting Your Research Out

Your article is written – now what? Learn about important issues and trends in scholarly publishing such as Open Access and predatory publishing. Gain practical tips on identifying where you can publish and understand the role of citation analysis tools and metrics (such as impact factor and h-index). Learn about different scholarly profiles and their impact on your presence as a researcher. 


We hope that you will join us!