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Library Instruction: A-Z Class List

Descriptions and resources for workshops offered by the Caltech Library. To register for a class, click on the class name. All classes held online via Zoom.

Welcome to Caltech Library's Workshop List!


All Caltech students, staff, and faculty are welcome to participate in Library workshops. JPL employees are also welcome.

Most workshops take place in the Sherman Fairchild Library (SFL) or Millikan 9th floor.  As of April 2020, workshops are taking place online using Zoom.

Participants are welcome to bring their own laptops to follow along. Some workshops may require laptops with specific installed software -- the registration page will indicate any requirements.


Business Resources

This class will focus on business research strategies and methods for finding information on companies and industries.

This class may be of interest to you if:

  • You are starting to apply for jobs and wonder what companies you might like to work for.
  • You have a job interview and want to find out more about a company and its industry.
  • You are planning to start your own business and want to do background research on the industry and companies within the industry.

CODA: If You Publish, You Need CaltechAUTHORS

Do you know what rights you retain to use and distribute your own publications?
Would you like to increase the visibility of your publications?

CaltechAUTHORS is part of CODA, Caltech’s Institutional Repository, and provides free access to articles written by, with, or in close association with Caltech professorial faculty. This class will cover how author postprints (author-formatted, post-peer reviewed and copy edited) can be quickly and easily uploaded and made available to a global audience.

More Resources:

Copyright Essentials: Managing Your Own Rights and Respecting Those of Others

This basic introduction covers the essential parts of US Copyright Law most relevant to Caltech students, faculty, and staff. Participants in this program will learn the following skills and methods:

  • Determine the copyright status of a work (yours and anyone else's)
  • Distinguish between what is "free to read" on the Internet and what is "Free to copy, share, modify, and redistribute"
  • Distinguish between public domain (no copyright protection) and publicly available but still copyrighted with some restrictions
  • Identify Caltech policies governing copyright ownership of your own works
  • Recognize the risks associated with using other people's copyrighted works without permission

This program is part of the Caltech Library's Author Carpentry initiative. In addition to the session offered through the Library Instruction calendar, it is available by request for any Caltech group of 6 or more.

Credit Where Due: Avoiding Publishing Disputes & Plagiarism

Reputation and recognition are essential rewards in academic and scholarly publishing. Giving credit where due is a matter of academic and professional integrity and responsible conduct of research. Publishers report that disputes and misunderstandings over who should be cited, acknowledged, or given joint authorship are a major source of controversies and retractions.   

In this program participants will compare the three most common practices for giving credit:

  • Citation
  • Acknowledgement:
  • Joint Authorship

Using a case study approach, participants will look at "real life" cases of plagiarism and publishing disputes to determine when and how to cite, acknowledge, or offer joint authorship to give credit to other contributor's work.

This program is part of the Caltech Library's Author Carpentry initiative. In addition to the session offered through the Library Instruction calendar, it is available by request for any Caltech group of 6 or more.

Crystallographic Resources

This session will introduce several crystallographic resources and databases available at Caltech. Larry Henling, MPS (Staff Crystallographer) will provide an introduction to using the Cambridge Structural Database (CSD), and along with Dr. Michael Takase (X-Ray Facility Director) will answer any questions about the CSD and using the facility. Examples of finding crystallographic data in both specialty databases (such as the ICSD) and general chemistry databases (such as SciFinder) will be also covered.

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Data Visualization 101

Want to improve your data visualizations? This workshop will cover how to choose the right chart type for your data and how good design choices will make your chart easier to understand. The workshop will focus on visualization best practices, independent of any specific visualization software. The workshop will consist of lecture and hands on activities.

Fair Use: Using Copyrighted Works without Permission or Payment

This basic introduction covers Fair Use -- an important limitation to copyright owners' rights - and how it can be a powerful tool for Caltech researchers, faculty, and students. The skills and methods learned in this session are:

  • Recognize the scope of Fair Use as defined in US Copyright Law and the opportunities it provides to use copyrighted works without permission in some circumstances
  • Distinguish between the Four Factors of Fair Use specified in US Copyright law and apply each one to real-life situations at Caltech
  • Perform a Fair Use analysis using the Fair Use Checklist
  • Recognize the existence of "Fair Use Codes of Best Practice" and how they can clarify when Fair Use is likely to apply
  • Identify the risks associated with using other people's copyrighted works under Fair Use, and the mitigating factors that reduce risk to Caltech users

This program is part of the Caltech Library's Author Carpentry initiative. In addition to the session offered through the Library Instruction calendar, it is available by request for any Caltech group of 6 or more.

Finding U.S. Maps Online

Are you looking for geological or topographic maps online? This class will show various websites where you can find free maps online used in the geological sciences. We’ll show colorful detailed geologic maps, as well as historical and current topographic maps for the United States. You will learn how to navigate these sites to find exactly what you are looking for. Highly recommended if you are new to the geological sciences, but all are welcome.

Getting Started with LaTeX Using Overleaf

This class is designed for beginning LaTeX users. Using the online collaborative LaTeX editor Overleaf, It will go over the basics of creating a document, formatting, inserting equations, images, and citations, and exporting as a PDF. 

Introduction to 3D Printing at the Caltech Library

Join us for an overview of 3D printing in the Caltech Library! The Caltech Library TechLab has several 3D printers and more technology to be added in the coming terms. This session will cover the basics of 3D printing, what machines the TechLab has available, an overview of the TechLab usage policies, and recommendations for printing software and other resources. There will also be a special presentation from a MAKEiT Design Engineer on how to think about designing parts to be 3D printed. Although appropriate for beginners, those who have already registered as TechLab users are highly encouraged to attend this presentation. Attendees are also are encouraged to bring your laptop as we will be covering software and settings that will help you get started in using the TechLab!

More resources:

Introduction to CaltechTHESIS for Caltech Staff

Do you work with graduate students who are working on their thesis?
Did you know that electronic copies of theses must be submitted to CaltechTHESIS as part of the PhD graduation requirement?
How often do you get questions about formatting, printing, or binding theses?
Do you maintain web pages that include information about theses?

This class is geared toward option coordinators or other Caltech staff who work with graduate students or their theses, but is open to anyone interested on campus. It will start with an overview of the CaltechTHESIS database (, cover the steps students need to take to deposit their thesis, and touch on intellectual property considerations and access. It will also discuss tips on using the information in the database to populate your web page more effectively.

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Introduction to QGIS

QGIS is an open-source geographic information system (GIS) software program that has been popular for many years now. In this introduction, you’ll get an overview of QGIS’s interface, see where to download spatial data, along with three examples of what you can do with QGIS. This class is for beginners using a GIS system, no previous knowledge of a GIS system is required. Highly recommended for first-year geology students, but all are welcome.

Introduction to Zotero

Are you writing a research paper or ready to start your thesis? Looking for an easy way to store, manage and search for bibliographic references? 'Introduction to Zotero' may be just the quick-start session you need. Zotero is an open-source community-developed bibliographic citation manager that has similar capability to EndNote. Demonstrations will include importing citations into Zotero from academic sources, preparing bibliographies, using word processor integration, cloud sharing functionality, and other topics as audience interest dictates (and as time allows).

iThenticate in a Nutshell

Caltech is offering iThenticate as service for campus Faculty, Post-Docs, and Graduate Students to check their own work for duplication with published sources in journals, books, theses, and on the web.

This workshop covers:

  • How to sign on to Caltech's iThenticate account
  • How to submit a research document to iThenticate for similarity checking
  • Best practices in interpreting Similarity Reports
  • Publisher and Funding agency use of iThenticate during the submission review process

Related resources:

Life Sciences Information Resources

This class will cover the basics of finding biology, biochemical, and other life science-related resources. PubMed and the NCBI interface, Web of Science, and other bio-related databases (including SciFinder and Reaxys) will be introduced, including general search strategies for finding articles and automatic notifications of new publications.

Manage Your Scholarly Identity & Reputation with ORCiD

ORCID logo

The Online Research Contributor identifier (ORCiD) is a new standard for accurately identifying an author or contributor over the fast-exploding Scholarly Web.

ORCiDs help to ensure that a given researcher gets credit for all her/his work; is not associated with works of someone with a similar name; and brings together all one's work in a single online dashboard under the researcher's control. If your name has variant spellings, or has been represented multiple ways, ORCiD makes sure that all your works, regardless of how the authorship line reads, are credited to you.

This overview focuses on how ORCiD can be a powerful tool for Caltech researchers, faculty, and students. The skills and methods learned in this session are:

  • Create an ORCiD for yourself and populate it with basic information
  • Experiment with the different privacy settings available for your ORCiD that allow you to expose or hide as much information as your wish
  • Discover the multiple tools available to enhance your ORCID record with your publications and other contributions
  • View examples of publishers, funding agencies, societies, and universities that have integrated ORCiD into their systems for the benefit of researchers reliant on those systems for accurate data and ease of data entry

This program is part of the Caltech Library's Author Carpentry initiative. In addition to the session offered through the Library Instruction calendar, it is available by request for any Caltech group of 6 or more.

Open Access Publishing: Possibilities, Peculiarities, and Predators

Image result for open access

This  overview session covers the essential aspects of Open Access Publishing -- what it is, why it can be beneficial for authors and readers, as well as the many models for OA publications and how to distinguish quality OA publications from "predatory" ones. The skills and methods gained in this session are:

  • Review the definition(s) of "Open Access" and their many interpretations depending on who you ask
  • Distinguish between key models for Open Access publishing: Gold, Green, Hybrid
  • Compare and contrast the various forms of Creative Commons licenses associated with OA publications and what can and can't be done with an OA publication
  • Identify and apply one or more techniques to discover a quality OA publication in your field
  • Examine a "predatory" journal to identify key indicators to look out for

This program is part of the Caltech Library's Author Carpentry initiative. In addition to the session offered through the Library Instruction calendar, it is available by request for any Caltech group of 6 or more.

Overview of Library Resources

This class will give a quick overview of Library services, collections, and databases. We’ll talk about Docuserve, CODA, finding print and ejournals, our locations and Open Access. Whether you’re new to campus or have been here for years this class will help you make use of all that the Library has to offer.

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Hannah Dvorak Carbone, from the Office of Technology Transfer and Corporate Partnerships, will present a review of the patenting process, including changes introduced by the America Invents Act of 2013. This will be followed by a Caltech Librarian presenting a brief overview of patent searching, locating English language patent equivalents, legal status issues, and current awareness techniques.

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Reproducible & Dynamic Reporting

This interactive and hands-on program from @AuthorCarpentry draws on open-source tools and open-science practices to create reproducible reports and dynamic documents using R Markdown and other R packages. R Markdown is an open, powerful and easy-to-use authoring syntax for combining text, code, figures and other document features needed for publication, presentations and websites. Researchers across the disciplines are shifting to this approach, allowing them to “author once” and output to many, and also to create fully open and reproducible reports for human and machine reading and reuse.

Participants will gain proficiency authoring professional research communications (research reports, slides and web pages) that interweave explanatory narrative, code, data and citations for human and computer use, taking authors step-by-step through a workflow using readily available applications and proven recipes.

By the program's end, participants will:

  • Identify the features of a reproducible and dynamic research communication that is fit to enter the scholarly record.
  • Recognize at least three models of “Future Papers” now in publication.
  • Describe the benefits of composing research reports with open authoring tools.
  • Demonstrate a text-based workflow for creating a paper that combines dynamic text, code and software.
  • Demonstrate an open-source workflow for automatically converting openly authored documents for publication, online posting and professional presentation.
  • Demonstrate use of the RStudio GUI platform for authoring and producing professional-quality research reports.

Research Data Management

This class will provide practical advice and best practices for researchers managing data files.  As it becomes easier to collect large amounts of digital data, determining how to describe and store the data becomes more important.  Appropriately stored files mean that both the original researcher and the broader scientific community can find and reuse the data in the future.  Data Management is increasingly required by research funding agencies and scholarly journals.  This class will provide easy-to-implement recommendations for:

  • File naming/organization
  • File selection
  • Storing TB-scale data
  • Open data repositories that support data sharing

The class will conclude with a live demonstration of the Caltech Research Data Repository.  This class is available on request.

More resources:

You and Your Thesis

Are you working on your thesis?
Did you know that electronic copies of theses must be submitted?
Are you aware of the formatting requirements for theses?

This class will give a brief overview of techniques useful in the production and publication of Caltech electronic theses, including tips on formatting and submitting, and will touch on intellectual property considerations and access.

More Resources: