Research and Teaching Spotlight: Carla Cesare, Amy Miller and Patrick Owen

by Lauren Wahman

UCBA Library’s Faculty Lightning Talks showcase faculty research and share different aspects of the research process. This year, we’re revisiting UCBA presenters, Carla Cesare, Amy Miller, and Patrick Owen, for an update on their research projects.  

Carla Cesare | Art & Visual Communication
Networks of Design: Women at Work 

Amy Miller & Patrick Owen | Biology
Multifaceted Research Experiences for Undergraduates in Integrative Biology Using the Rusty Crayfish 

Find out about Carla and Amy and Patrick’s research project updates via Sway or use the visual link: 

screenshot of Sway post graphic

Research and Teaching Spotlight: Heather Vilvens and Linda Wunderley

by Lauren Wahman

UCBA Library’s Faculty Lightning Talks showcase faculty research and share different aspects of the research process. This year, we’re revisiting UCBA presenters, Heather Vilvens and Linda Wunderley, for an up

date on their research projects.  

Heather Vilvens| Allied Health
Creating Effective Safe Sleep Messaging 

Linda Wunderley | Business & Economics
Changing Leaders Mindsets 

Find out about Heather and Linda’s research project updates via Sway or use the visual link: 

Research and Teaching Spotlight in Sway

Resources for Faculty Research

by Lauren Wahman

scrabble tiles spell out the word research

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Whether it’s discipline-specific, creative, or a classroom-based research project, we’re getting you started with a newly redesigned Faculty Research Guide. To help with specific research needs, schedule an online research consultation with your department’s library faculty liaison. Or, find research-focused online workshops through the UC Libraries Calendar and the Faculty Enrichment Center’s Program Calendar.  Finally, watch for a special 4th Annual Faculty Research Lightning Talks blog post in the spring that will showcase faculty scholarship. 

Faculty Research Lightning Talks: Meet Linda Wunderley

The UCBA Library’s 3rd Annual Faculty Research Lightning Talks on March 10, 2020 featured four presenters and their discipline-based research projects via short, 15 minute presentations. In our  Meet the Presenters series, each presenter shares some insights into their research project.

Linda Wunderley | Assistant Professor, Adjunct | Business & Economics
Presentation: The Real Truth About What Determines Our Professional Performance

Linda Wunderley presents her research.

Linda Wunderley discusses her research.

Research Project
Today’s frenetic pace of market change and stressful organizational environments have the business world struggling with not only redesigning their professional development efforts to address this new normal, but also attempting to understand why past practices have repeatedly proven so ineffective! At the same time, Neuroscience research may have uncovered a critical correlation (between an individual’s significant life experiences and their repetitive thoughts, feelings and behavior) which could provide the very insight and direction needed for a professional development reinvention. But empirical data specific to the business world is needed. This research study is attempting to provide that data.

collage of famous people in a powerpoint slide

A slide from Linda Wunderley’s The Real Truth About What Determines Our Professional Performance presentation. Source: Linda Wunderley

What excites you most about your research?
Top management across the U.S. today, as well as the likes of Deloitte and McKinsey, report little or no behavior change on the part of the ‘trained’ or the ‘coached.’ But the need for improved soft skills such as better communication, persuasion, team building and creativity is huge and growing. This research could provide the empirical data for a potential sea change in our approach to such Professional Development.

What are your next steps with your research?
Continue to recruit participants to increase sample size.

Past Publication

Wunderley, L. J., Reddy, W.B. & Dember, W.N. (2006). Optimism and Pessimism in Business LeadersJournal of Applied Social Psychology. 28 (9) 751-760.

Additional Resources
* Library copy currently unavailable to request at this time

  • *Dweck, C. S. (2007). Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. New York: Random Books.
  • Chamorro-Premuzic, T. (2017). The Talent Delusion: Why Data, Not Intuition, Is the Key to Unlocking Human Potential. Great Britain: Piatkus
  • Felitti, V. J. (1998). Relationship of Childhood Abuse and Household Dysfunction to Many of the Leading Causes of Death in Adults: The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study. American Journal of Preventative Medicine. 14, 4, 245-258.
  • Kellerman, B. (2012). The End of Leadership. New York: HarperCollins.
  • *Lipton, B. (2005). The Biology of Belief: Unleashing the Power of Consciousness, Matter & Miracles. Carlsbad, CA: Hay House Publishers.
  • Merzenich, M. (2013). Soft-Wired: How the New Science of Brain Plasticity Can Change Your Life.

San Francisco: Parnassus Publishing.


By Lauren Wahman

Faculty Research Lightning Talks: Meet Chris Gulgas

The UCBA Library’s 3rd Annual Faculty Research Lightning Talks on March 10, 2020 featured four presenters and their discipline-based research projects via short, 15 minute presentations. In our Meet the Presenters series, each presenter shares some insights into their research project. 

Chris Gulgas| Associate Professor of Chemistry| ChemistryDepartment
Presentation: A Student Discovery Involving a Chemical that Changes Color Leads to a New Organic Laboratory Experiment

Chris Gulgas giving a presentation

Chris Gulgas discusses his research.


Research Project
A new organic laboratory experiment was designed and developed based upon the independent research of two undergraduate students investigating solvatochromism.  Bromothymol blue was found to exhibit a significant red shift across a series of solvents.  An organic laboratory experiment was then created to allow students to discover this effect as a class using UV-Vis absorption spectroscopy.  Students built skills in recognizing functional groups and intermolecular interactions as well as analyzing data trends.  The undergraduate research process, design of the experiment and results from the first year of implementation into the curriculum were presented. 

Gulgas powerpoint slide

A slide from Chris’ A Student Discovery Involving a Chemical that Changes Color Leads to a New Organic Laboratory Experiment presentation. 

What excites you most about your research?
I am most excited about student-driven discovery that can be developed into something useful for learning.  Students were able to identify an unpublished property of a substance we had on hand, using equipment on hand.  This discovery turned into an experiment for all organic laboratory students to benefit from in learning about solvent properties and the nature of light. 

What are your next steps with your research?
I’d like to identify another compound that exhibits similar behavior for comparison and reinforcement. 

Additional Resources 

Reichardt, Christian (1994). Solvatochromic Dyes as Solvent Polarity Indicators. Chemical Reviews. 94 (8). 2319-2358. 


 by Lauren Wahman

UCBA Faculty Share Research at 3rd Annual Lightning Talks

The UCBA Library hosted the 3rd Annual Faculty Research Lightning Talks on Tuesday March 10.  This year’s event showcased four presenters and their discipline-based research projects via short, 15 minute presentations.  UCBA facultystaff, and students enjoyed refreshments, learned about research outside of their disciplines, and asked thoughtful questions during the Q&A’s. 

Through the end of spring semester, we’ll highlight the presenters via individual posts in our first Meet the Presenters blog series! 

lightning talk presenters

L-R: Carla Cesare, Linda Wunderley, David Freeman, Chris Gulgas


Carla Cesare| Assistant Professor| Art & Visual Communication
Networks of Design: Women at Work 

David Freeman| Associate Professor| Math, Physics & Computer Science
Geometry from Symmetry 

Chris Gulgas| Associate Professor| Chemistry
Student Discovery Involving a Chemical that Changes Color Leads to a New Organic Laboratory Experiment 

Linda Wunderley| Assistant Professor, Adjunct| Business & Economics
The Real Truth About What Determines Our Professional Performance 


by Lauren Wahman

A needle in a PDF haystack

One of my research areas is examining the role of recordkeeping and documentation in environmental regulations. A research tactic I frequently use is to sift through hundreds of PDFs at once. Large numbers of PDFs are posted on many environmental regulatory websites, but there isn’t a lot of information about what’s in them or how big they are, or where the juicy stuff is. If this sounds daunting – well, it is! But I’ve come up with a few tricks to help me sort out what is useful and what isn’t.

Step 1: Download

The first thing is figuring out how to download a zillion PDFs at once. For this, I recommend getting a bulk downloader add-on for your browser (here is an example). This will scan through every URL on a page that ends with .pdf, which indicates that the URL is likely a downloadable PDF. A bulk downloader prevents the need from clicking on every single link, which can be a lot when you’re on a page with dozens of PDFs like this one from the Mine Safety and Health Administration.

Step 2: Text Recognition

Once you download all the files you want, I like to place them into a dedicated folder. This is because even though theoretically most government agency PDFs should have optical character recognition (OCR), the actual practice is very inconsistent. OCRed text is critical for PDF searching because it allows you to do a keyword search within a single file or across multiple files at once. Currently, there is not widely-available OCR functionality for cursive or handwriting, just typeface.

Adobe Acrobat has a useful function (under Tools > Text Recognition > In Multiple Files) where you can run the OCR function across everything in a specific folder. This can take a while, but at least there is a progress bar that’ll show you how long it takes – which could be a while, considering that many government environmental regulation records can be a hundred pages for each file. Using the Adobe Acrobat tool also allows you to keep or modify original file names. I like to downsample the files to 600 dpi – it takes longer than the lower dpi measures, but I think it enables better keyword searches later on.






Step 3: Dig into the PDF files!

There is a free software program called PDF-XChange Viewer, which you can use to do keyword searches over large amounts of PDFs. You can also run a similar search within Adobe Acrobat, but I find that the searching takes far longer and the results are presented less tidily than with PDF-XChange Viewer. Supposedly you can also run batch OCR with this program, but I haven’t tried it.

The example demonstrates how I wanted to find PDFs from coal mine inspection safety reports that mention the word “map.” The results show me that of the dozens of documents I searched in my dedicated folder, there were 187 hits for the word “map” across 14 of the documents. I can get an idea from the left-hand preview pane what the keyword is like in context, and then click on that to see the actual PDF in the right-hand window.

This step helps me pull out the PDFs that I need to analyze more deeply, thus saving me the headache of opening up every single PDF in case it might have something of interest.

UCBA Faculty Research Lightning Talks

by Lauren Wahman

These short presentations will showcase faculty research and share different aspects of the research process.

Thursday, March 28 from 2:00-3:00 pm
Muntz Hall 117

Ruth Benander
Barriers and Supports: A Qualitative and Quantitative Analysis of Student Perceptions in Comp and Comm Courses

Amy Miller & Patrick Owen
Blending Ecological, Microbiological, and Molecular Techniques to Create Multifaceted Undergraduate Research Projects

Ornaith O’Dowd 
The Ethics of Microaggressions

The New Deal in the Archives

Survey of Federal Archives project (Ohio History Connection)

With the Green New Deal in the news, there is renewed interest in President Franklin Roosevelt’s original New Deal. The New Deal was a series of federal programs meant to combat the major issues of the Depression, including soil loss, stabilizing the banking system, and providing jobs and relief for the unemployed. One of the famous programs of the New Deal was the Works Progress Administration, popularly known as the WPA. The WPA was responsible for constructing many of the significant buildings, roads, and infrastructure that the American public still uses. But the WPA also employed many writers, musicians, playwrights, artists, historians, clerks, and other unemployed white-collar professionals.

One of the most comprehensive, but least known programs to come out of the WPA was the Historical Records Survey. Originally envisioned by American archivist TR Schellenberg, it was expanded into a workable program by Luther Evans, who would go on to become the Librarian of Congress and UNESCO director. The Historical Records Survey had two major programs: a survey of federal records located in offices outside of the Washington DC area, and a survey of state and local records. During its initial operation, the Historical Records Survey was part of the Federal Writers Project, which was known for producing travel guides for 48 states and many large cities, as well as compiling narratives of ex-slaves.

The Historical Records Survey lasted between 1935 and 1943. Its largest achievement was surveying county records – of the 3,066 counties in existence at the time of the survey, fieldwork was completed for 90% of them. WPA workers carried out the field work by going to county courts and administrative agencies to determine what kinds of records existed, where they were located, and a short description of the records. The field work also generated significant information about the history of the states and their counties. In some areas, municipal records surveys were also completed, such as for the city of Cleveland. Although there had been some attempts to survey America’s local and state records before (mainly through the efforts of the American Historical Association’s Public Archives Commission), the WPA Historical Records Survey was a significant advance in trying to establish a comprehensive picture of the overall condition of America’s public records.

Unfortunately like many worthy archival projects, the Historical Records Survey had some significant setbacks. Only 20% of county inventories were published. At least 27 county inventories were published in the state of Ohio, including for major counties such as Cuyahoga, Franklin, Hamilton, Lucas, and Summit. In the guide to the Hamilton County records, the introduction stated there would be a guide issued for every county. Perhaps the suspension of the Historical Records Survey in 1943 ended the publication of these guides. The remaining records from the Historical Records Survey of Ohio can be found at the Ohio History Connection and the Western Reserve Historical Society.

In fact, the fate of the multitude of records generated by the field workers of Historical Records Survey across the country varied wildly. Many of the records ended up in universities and state and local historical societies. But in some cases, they did not and in fact met a fairly tragic fate – when archivist and National Archives employee Leonard Rapport went searching for Maine’s Historical Records Survey field records in the 1970s, he eventually found that they had been dumped into a bay.

If you would like to learn more about the Historical Records Survey, I recommend Loretta Hefner’s 1980 guide to the unpublished records of the Historical Records Survey, and Sargent Child and Dorothy Holmes’ inventory of publications associated with the Survey (Z1223.Z7 C52, ARB Reference). For additional study, Marguerite Bloxom’s guide Pickaxe and Pencil contains an extensive bibliography arranged by WPA program.

Blockchain and Ohio law


Blockchain by Frühstück from the Noun Project

In my capacity as the University’s Records Manager, I’m on a statewide group called the Ohio Electronic Records Committee (Ohio ERC). Ohio ERC consist of professionals from Ohio’s public entities (including archivists, record managers, IT professionals, lawyers) who have an interest in electronic records. We meet quarterly, and produce resources of interest to other public employees, such as best practices tip sheets based on Ohio-specific concerns and annual workshops. It’s a great way to stay up to date with what’s happening within state government, since what is decided in Columbus can impact records management at UC.

At our last meeting, the topic of blockchain in state government came up. It turns out that there was legislation in the last General Assembly concerning blockchain. You can see information about the bill here. Blockchain is a distributed digital ledger system that is protected through cryptographic measures, and which records all changes, transactions, and modifications to the file or object in question. Blockchain’s most famous implementation is the cryptocurrency, Bitcoin. While there is a lot of tech futurist excitement about blockchain, many others caution blockchain suffers from a lack of uniform standards, and others criticize the technology’s voracious energy usage. The reason blockchain is associated with high levels of energy use is because significant computing resources are used to generate its cryptographic verification. As a result, “bitcoin mining” tends to take place in areas with the cheapest electricity. For some time, this included places with extremely cheap coal-generated electricity like China, but this may be changing as renewable sources of cheap power come online.
During the meeting, we took a look at the full text of the bill (SB 300). Something that jumped out to many of us in the room was the definition of blockchain. The bill defined it in the following manner:
“Blockchain technology” means distributed ledger technology that uses a distributed, decentralized, shared, and replicated ledger, which may be public or private, permissioned or permissionless, or driven by tokenized crypto economics or tokenless. The data on the ledger is protected with cryptography, is immutable and auditable, and provides an uncensored truth.”
As I read this, something seemed a little off – the language seemed a little too bombastic to be written by state legislators, which made me think it was likely a form of model legislation. So I did some searching, and found that indeed, the phrase “uncensored truth” was part of similar legislation introduced in at least two other states, including Arizona and Tennessee. In other words, SB300 was model legislation, though it still isn’t clear who is shopping this around to state legislators. In 2018, eighteen states had some kind of legislative activity related to blockchain.
As it turns out, SB 300 was not passed, however language pertaining to blockchain (minus some of the colorful descriptions like “uncensored truth”) was part of another bill and is now part of the Ohio Revised Code (i.e. state law). It is in the section pertaining to commercial code and electronic transactions:
“(G) “Electronic record” means a record created, generated, sent, communicated, received, or stored by electronic means. A record or contract that is secured through blockchain technology is considered to be in an electronic form and to be an electronic record.
(H) “Electronic signature” means an electronic sound, symbol, or process attached to or logically associated with a record and executed or adopted by a person with the intent to sign the record . A signature that is secured through blockchain technology is considered to be in an electronic form and to be an electronic signature.”
Incidentally, earlier this month, a top aide of Governor Kasich (who recently left office due to term-limits) reportedly left state government “to work for a Cleveland tech company that’s developing ways to use blockchain to store and record government records.” It seems likely that we’re going to start hearing a lot more about blockchain in Ohio soon.