ACRL OnPoint Chat Archive May 13, 2009: Connecting with Grants and other Funding Sources

(11:00 am. Pacific | 12:00 p.m. Mountain | 1:00 p.m. Central | 2:00 p.m. Eastern)
Many campuses have access to databases of grant funding opportunities, but few provide instruction about how to search them effectively. Librarians, with their searching expertise, can play an important role, and build valuable campus connections at the same time. These databases, such as SPIN, IRIS, and Community of Science, are often funded by groups outside the library, such as the grants or research administration. Jody Kempf and Julie Kelly from the University of Minnesota will chat about their experience collaborating on a workshop with the Office of the Vice President for Research. Learn how your library could put this idea to work.

Transcript archive:

11:01 jonstahler Ok, everyone. My clock is showing 1PM, so let's get started. Welcome to today's free ACRL OnPoint chat on Connecting with Grants and other Funding Sources.

11:01 jonstahler We have two conveners for our chat today.

11:02 jonstahler Julie Kelly is a librarian on the St. Paul campus at the University of Minnesota. She is liaison to the departments of Applied Economics, Ecology, and Horticulture.

11:02 jonstahler She also serves as co-coordinator of the subject repository AgEcon Search, in her career she was a medical librarian.

11:02 jonstahler Jody Kempf is a librarian in the Physical Sciences and Engineering unit of the University of Minnesota Libraries.

11:02 grisrodrig grants specifically to help out with digitalization and institutional repositories for acad libs

11:02 jonstahler She coordinates instruction and outreach for her library. She was a chemistry and chemical engineering librarian earlier in her career.

11:03 jonstahler So without further ado, I'll let Julie and Jody get us started!

11:03 julieannkelly In answer to the Research Office question, YES! We developed our workshop in conjunciton with them

11:04 julieannkelly It all started years ago when someone asked us a searching question in one of the grants databases, which we had never seen before

11:05 Karen @ Vanderbilt University Library Will you share some of the grants databases with us, please?

11:05 JodyK We have 4 databases that we have focused on in the class, Community of Science, Iris, SPIN and Foundation Directory

11:05 julieannkelly Just a sec

11:05 FrancesM Hi, I am Frances from University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez, General Library

11:05 grisrodrig when does the chat archive become available for this chat session?

11:05 JodyK They are all databases that are funded either by the library or the OVPR's office

11:05 jonstahler grisrodrig: usually a day or two after the chat.

11:06 JodyK We found a real need amongst our researchers for some basic searching skills

11:06 JodyK Most of the databases are not very easy to use and require some of those basic skills that we librarians are so good at.

11:07 julieannkelly At ACRL we heard about a couple of new grants databases that will be available soon, one from Elsevier I believe

11:07 DavidS Is there a matrix for knowing when each tool is the best choice?

11:07 JodyK We have a link from the OVPR's office to the db that we point to.

11:08 julieannkelly We have one, but it doesn't always make the choice easier - they all cover multiple disciplines

11:08 JodyK It is the second window to the end in the box

11:09 JodyK That link also has the handouts that we have developed.

11:09 julieannkelly We tell folks that there is no best one for medicine or dance or physics - they should try searching on their particular topic and see what they find, which have overlap, etc.

11:09 Karen @ Vanderbilt University Library Are there specific tips for folks, such as myself who are completely unfamiliar with grants databases and searching

11:09 JodyK Are any of you offering any grants workshops for your faculty, staff and students?

11:10 grisrodrig i would eventually like to do this throough scholarly communication

11:10 Carol Rudisell I offer occasional workshops called "Research Funding Online"

11:10 julieannkelly Anyone can come to the workshops, but we found so much interest among grad students, we do ones specially focused for them

11:10 julieannkelly Carol, tell what you cover

11:10 Karen @ Vanderbilt University Library Do you have any online tutorials available that we can view?

11:11 julieannkelly We are just this summer working on an online version - it's overdue

11:11 Carol Rudisell Basically, search techniques for COS, Foundation Directory Online, and

11:11 Andrea How to do you keep up-to-date with the information on this topic? Or, where is a good place to start learning about this?

11:11 JodyK There are also a number of free resources available through the government which we point to through the OVPR's site.

11:11 julieannkelly Carol, ours is very similar

11:11 Carol Rudisell Like you, I find researchers are not especially good at searching.

11:12 Carol Rudisell They tend to get too specific.

11:12 JodyK The paid databases include the govt grants as well as grants available through organizations.

11:12 Carol Rudisell So, I try to emphasize language.

11:12 DavidS are these OpenURL compliant, so we can do a federated search against all of them at once?

11:12 julieannkelly Good point - the subject terms are very broad

11:12 Carol Rudisell Another main goal of the workshops is to insure that they know of the databases.

11:13 afiegen I look for free grant sources, our GR office has access to GrantSearch geared to academics

11:13 jonstahler Yikes! Sorry for that spam folks!

11:13 Carol Rudisell that's ok

11:13 julieannkelly Last time I had someone who did research on calcium channels, and that term got nothing - the write-ups of the opportunities are very general

11:13 JodyK Thanks for the suggestions afiegen

11:14 julieannkelly Yes, just knowing these databases exist is a big step for most of our attendees

11:14 Carol Rudisell I also try to get our researchers signed up on COS so they can begin receiving alerts.

11:14 JaquiA yes, we need info about free sources

11:14 afiegen What is COS?

11:14 JodyK we also try to point them toward setting up alerts.

11:14 grisrodrig wiil you be giving us a list of the free grant databases and the fee-based ones?

11:14 julieannkelly Community of Science, which is now owned by ProQuest

11:15 Carol Rudisell Time permitting, I also try to get them signed up for RFPs on the Foundation Center web site.

11:15 Andrea What is Iris and SPIN?

11:15 Carol Rudisell That is a free service.

11:15 JodyK If you follow the link you will find our list of databases that we promote

11:15 jonstahler Carol do you have a link for the Foundation Center web site?

11:16 Carol Rudisell

11:16 Carol Rudisell It requires free registration.

11:16 julieannkelly We haven't yet found a good, free comprehensive source for grant opportunities - there used to be TRAM out of Texas, but it's gone. Does anyone know of others?

11:16 JodyK Here is the link to our web page

11:17 Carol Rudisell No, I don't know of anything comprehensive either.

11:17 Carol Rudisell Do either of you use GuideStar?

11:17 julieannkelly Iris is out of Illinois,

11:17 julieannkelly No we don't use GuideStar, but I;ve heard of it - anyone know any details?

11:17 JodyK No, is Guidestar a free service?

11:17 Karen @ Vanderbilt University Library Any Tennessee sites high on your list?

11:18 Carol Rudisell It has a free component which seems to get smaller every year.

11:18 Carol Rudisell GuideStar picks up many of the public charities.

11:18 JodyK I am not familiar with anything specific to Tennessee, all of the db allow you to limit by location

11:18 Karen @ Vanderbilt University Library Thanks.

11:19 afiegen Yes we use Guidestar, more for access to non-profit 990 returns, but has articles, regs, and donor opportunities

11:19 JodyK Do any of your libraries subscribe to any of the paid db or is there an office on your campus that offers access to these databases?

11:19 julieannkelly SPIN is from InfoEd,'s the one we've had access to for many years.

11:19 Carol Rudisell How do you find that Iris and Spin compare to COS? Are all three necessary?

11:20 julieannkelly Our research office pays for COS, SPIN and IRIS, and the Libraries pays for Foundation Directory

11:20 Carol Rudisell The University of Delaware Library subscribes to COS Funding Opportunities and the Foundation Center databases.

11:20 Karen @ Vanderbilt University Library Ours pays for Foundation as well

11:20 julieannkelly None of the three search very well, COS is biggest, IRIS smallest.

11:21 Carol Rudisell COS used to be offered by our Research Office, but then they transferred it to the Library since we had the Foundation Directory.

11:21 JodyK Generally the db aren't that difficult to use if you are familiar with db searching,

11:21 Karen @ Vanderbilt University Library We just rececently acquired Foundation

11:21 DavidS I have heard of a few libraries switching from SPIN to COS ... is there any trend out there?

11:21 jonstahler What do the fee structures look like for these types of resources? Are they feasible for libraries with tight budgets?

11:22 JodyK Most of our users are familiar with the "google box" style searching so we need to familiarize them with the controlled vocabulary

11:22 Carol Rudisell Same here.

11:22 julieannkelly All three have a controlled vocab, which we INSIST people use, instead of the simple search. They look at us like we are total librarians, then we show them an extreme example, and say if you want grant money, you should be a thorough searcher!

11:23 Karen @ Vanderbilt University Library Ditto

11:23 afiegen I think one of the big questions is whether access to grant databases is a library budget or university graduate studies and research budget item with access sharing to both. Any thoughts on collaborative arrangements?

11:23 JodyK I would suspect that COS would be more comprehensive than SPIN and I imagine that would be attractive to libraries.

11:23 Carol Rudisell Collaboration is certainly good.

11:24 julieannkelly I known the Foundation Directory is expensive, and I've never talked money to our Research office, but they seem to think it's their job to pay those bills, and we don't argue

11:24 grisrodrig do campuses using fee based grant databases have it paid by many units or one single unit on campus?

11:24 JodyK Of course we are at a large research university which is probably a different situation from some of you.

11:25 punkgirl14 hey

11:25 Karen @ Vanderbilt University Library Within our library system, costs are generally shared by all of the libraries.

11:25 JodyK Have your libraries been involved in the grant seeking process up until now?

11:25 Carol Rudisell The Foundation Center also has consortial pricing that may help.

11:26 JodyK I imagine that some of you are also looking for grants for your libraries. We found that most of our staff was unfamiliar with these resources.

11:26 creid2 Do you know of any consortia who have negotiatied pricing?

11:26 Karen @ Vanderbilt University Library Jody, yes that is why I wanted to join the chat today.

11:26 Carol Rudisell NERL has

11:26 grisrodrig yes grants specifically for libraries

11:27 creid2 Who would be a contact at NERL?

11:27 Carol Rudisell Not sure, I'll check.

11:27 JodyK When we discovered how popular these workshops were we decided that all librarians should be familiar with these databases. We offered a version of the workshop for departments within the libraries.

11:28 DavidS are IMLS and Mellon grants for libraries covered by these tools?

11:28 JodyK Our external funding task force has set up alerts in each of the dbs and is sending out appropriate grant opportunities to the various departments.

11:29 JodyK yes at least some of the dbs cover IMLS and Mellon grants.

11:29 Carol Rudisell Here's one page from NERL site:

11:29 julieannkelly Some one asked about stimulus funding - that might be a great excuse to approach your Research Office about working together. They have asked us about adding more sessions to take care of all those grantseekers.

11:30 creid2 Our grants office has a snazzy online newsletter that is sent out to the campus with information about upcoming grant deadlines and they send e-mails direction to people who they think might be interested.

11:30 julieannkelly The databases are updated very frequently, and the e-mail alerts are very popular among researchers. SOme have grants administrators in their colleges or departmetns who funnel announceemnts to them, but not all.

11:30 creid2 Thanks for the NERL stie, Carol.

11:30 Carol Rudisell Which Univ. are you creid2>?

11:31 creid2 Augusta State University

11:32 DavidS Does any one library post most CLIR, IMLS, Mellon library-related grants so we can all see the same info without having to do rendundant work?

11:32 julieannkelly We actually had lots of grants administrators come to our sessions initially, which scared me! They were decent searchers, but wanted to know about all the resources, and it was when IRIS was new to us, so it was an excuse to promote the class.

11:32 Carol Rudisell Thought I'd share this URL about economic recovery funding:

11:33 JodyK That sounds like a great idea DavidS, I am not familiar with any library currently doing that, anyone else?

11:34 Carol Rudisell Take a look at this site from UNC:

11:35 Carol Rudisell I think it is put together by a librarian who works for the Research Office.

11:35 julieannkelly We happily offer to do special sessions for groups, and often go to their departments. Early on, we invited the liaison librarian from that area, but now that they are all trained, we do them together, or we just help.

11:36 Carol Rudisell That sounds like a great idea....

11:36 JodyK That gives us a chance to see where they are having problems and suggest better subject topic searches

11:36 julieannkelly Since we started this, we have had a much closer relationship with the Research Office, which is a good thing.

11:36 Carol Rudisell how receptive were the other librarians... initially, that is?

11:37 JodyK We give a brief introduction to what foundations are and how they differ from grants.

11:38 Karen @ Vanderbilt University Library Jody&Julie, did I miss your reply to my question regarding if you have online tutorials available?

11:38 julieannkelly At first the other librarians were a little reluctant, but we just sold it as searching help, which is one of our strengths. Now it's just a part of the liaison "toolkit".

11:38 julieannkelly Online tutorials coming soon! We plan to out the session in Moodle this summer.

11:38 afiegen What would a typical agenda be for intro grant search workshop? Are these geared to faculty and grad students only? Any one see an audience for UGs.

11:38 Karen @ Vanderbilt University Library Julie, thanks, sounds good.

11:38 JodyK We then give an overview of the foundation directory and give them a chance to try out their subjects. We wrap up with an introduction to alerts and give them a brief overview of how they work in some of the db.

11:39 JodyK they have been mostly attended by grad students and staff.

11:40 julieannkelly The online tutorials will be good for those who can't make the session, and for review. SPIN in particular can be a little cumberson, especially setting up an alert, and we can't do it in class because the U requires an OK before the account is activated.

11:40 Carol Rudisell What about faculty? Too busy?

11:40 JodyK We have had a few eager undergrads at the sessions but it doesn't seem to be of much interest to them

11:40 julieannkelly Too busy is a good guess. We don't see them in other workshops much, either

11:41 julieannkelly We hav quite a few international grad studnets who come

11:41 Carol Rudisell I've noticed that too....

11:41 Carol Rudisell and they seem to like COS Funding because you can search by citizenship.

11:41 julieannkelly The interantional students often ask about limiting searches to international students, and none of them do that very well

11:42 julieannkelly You're right, COS is best for that!

11:42 JodyK We make a point of suggesting that they can work with a faculty member to get grants so we suggest that they don't immediately limit their searches.

11:43 Carol Rudisell That's a good point.

11:43 JodyK We also encourage them to let their faculty and fellow students know about the workshops and resources. We hope we are reaching the faculty 2nd hand.

11:44 julieannkelly The interest from the Research Office came at a itme when a faculty survey had found that researchers felt well supported once they got grants, but not well supported in finding money. SO we were helping solve a real problem

11:44 JodyK Is anyone familiar with resources for international grants? It seems like COS has the largest number of grants in that area.

11:45 julieannkelly We've seen a big variety of disciplines represented in our classes - not just science folks.

11:45 Carol Rudisell COS seems to be the best source for int'l grants

11:46 julieannkelly We offer to do "house calls" for researchers, too, and we've done a few. Some people really like to try it on their computer, in their office

11:46 julieannkelly A few libraries have full time "grants librarians" - I know Michigan and Wisconsin do.

11:47 Carol Rudisell Have either of you used Web of Science as a way to identify grant sources?

11:47 Carol Rudisell They now offer searching by funding agency....

11:47 Carol Rudisell but I haven't yet decided if that will be helpful as a way to identify funding sources.

11:49 JodyK As Julie mentioned earlier we consider it a part of our liaison responsibilities. It helps to have a few "experts" on staff but the databases generally follow the same searching protocol as others with which we are familiar.

11:49 JodyK I haven't tried WOS for grants searching, it is a good question as to whether it would be a useful way to identify grant opportunities

11:50 JodyK I would imagine that the subject searching would be better than some of the specific grants dbs

11:50 Carol Rudisell Yes

11:50 Carol Rudisell But I worry about the lag time...

11:50 julieannkelly I do the alerts for the newsletter list from COS, SPIN and IRIS, and there is some overlap, but not total

11:50 JodyK True

11:50 Carol Rudisell in terms of the publishing cycle.

11:51 Carol Rudisell By the time an academic article gets published, the funder may have moved on to other interests.

11:52 julieannkelly It's somehow possible to bring COS alerts into RefWorks, but I haven't really worked on that much. It might help researchers keep them organized and searchable

11:52 Carol Rudisell Hmmm, that sounds very interesting.

11:52 JodyK Do your libraries have individuals responsible for finding appropriate grants for the libraries? Or help in writing the grants?

11:53 julieannkelly One thing we encourage people to do it to search the lists/databases of recently awarded grants - CRIS for ag and related, CRISP for health, and NSF has their own

11:53 Karen @ Vanderbilt University Library JodyK, our liaisons seek out and inform faculty re: grant opportunities.

11:53 Andrea Yes, the Library Dean has an assistant that works on grants (writing and finding)

11:53 DavidS Development and PR/Outreach folks often help with this.

11:53 Carol Rudisell I help with finding grants, but no help with grant writing...aside from showing researches the "how to" books.

11:53 JodyK We have more recently hired a staff person to help us with identifying and writing grants. I imagine that will be more common in these times.

11:53 Carol Rudisell Ditto for us...

11:54 Karen @ Vanderbilt University Library JodyK, yes I think so. I want to learn about seeking AND writing

11:54 Carol Rudisell our Research Office is taking the lead in helping with writing.

11:54 Carol Rudisell also the Graduate Student office.

11:54 julieannkelly Although we don't talk about grant writing, we have recently been invited to give a 5-minute overview of the databasess in the Research Office's grant writing workshops. And they plug our workshops, too, which is nice

11:55 Carol Rudisell ditto

11:55 JodyK Yes, the writing piece is more generally residing outside of the libraries. Although as we write more grants hopefully we'll be getting more inhouse expertise

11:55 Carol Rudisell I also have the Research Office give a 5 minute overview in our library workshops

11:55 beckynatti wanna chat

11:56 Karen @ Vanderbilt University Library Carol, that is an excellent idea.

11:56 Susan@UW-Milw. As Development Director I do research and write proposals for grants--primarily private foundations--for the library.

11:56 julieannkelly We have really appreciated the Research Ofice's work in promoting our workshops. They sent a note to the Director of grad studies for each department, and the workshops filled up in a flash

11:56 JodyK Any questions we haven't covered yet?

11:57 Carol Rudisell No, thanks, this has been helpful.

11:57 Carol Rudisell Thanks for sharing your website and ideas.

11:57 Andrea Thanks! Very interesting and helpful.

11:57 creid2 Thanks to ACRL for coordinating this.

11:57 JodyK great

11:57 afiegen Thanks so much, many more sources and strategies.

11:57 Karen @ Vanderbilt University Library Yes, thanks. I believe you said the archive will be up in 2-3 days, correct?

11:57 julieannkelly You can find our hadnouts at

11:57 loenglish Thanks!

11:57 dkinney Thanks, everyone, bye from nm.

11:58 jonstahler Jody and Julie - thank you so much for your time and efforts

11:58 julieannkelly You are welcome!

11:58 Karen @ Vanderbilt University Library Bye everyone, have a great afternoon!

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