2017 Stories of Impact from the Deep Blue Document Repository

by Charles Watkinson on January 18, 2018

The Deep Blue document repository provides worldwide, free access to some of the best research U-M has to offer. As part of Michigan Publishing (the publishing division of the U-M Library) it provides a trusted hosting option for University of Michigan faculty members and graduate students who wish to make their work discoverable and citable over the long term. In 2017 the 115,000 items in Deep Blue documents were downloaded 10.8 million times.

As Deep Blue coordinator Jim Ottaviani notes, “it’s difficult to know what will have an impact, of course, which is why Deep Blue seeks out and hosts the broadest possible range of work done at the University.” Thanks to the efforts of the Library’s collection managers and liaison librarians, this includes offering published articles that would be difficult (and costly) for the average person to read. “Initial sequencing and analysis of the human genome”  by Lander, E. S.; Linton, L. M.; Birren, B. et al. originally appeared in Nature in 2001, and since we were able to add it to Deep Blue in 2009 it’s consistently been among our most downloaded papers.

That isn’t too surprising—it’s about a high profile topic and was published in a famous commercial academic journal. But much of the work we host is original to Deep Blue, such as the 2104 UMTRI report “A survey of public opinion about autonomous and self-driving vehicles in the U.S., the U.K., and Australia” by Schoettle and Sivak. This also has broad appeal, and not only in academia. Technical reports about transportation topics are generally popular, of course, since the world looks to Michigan for expertise in this area.

SeanNumbers-Ofala” by the Mathematics Teaching and Learning to Teach group in the School of Education is a video from a third grade mathematics class in Michigan showing 10 minutes of a longer discussion about even and odd numbers. Judging by its title and content it’s not something you’d expect to garner much interest, but year in and year out it is among the most popular items we offer…and it’s not even the video from Deborah Ball’s School of Education group the New York Times linked to in its 2010 Sunday Magazine article “Building a Better Teacher.” That video (which also has a cryptic name: “BetsyProof-Start“) enjoyed a burst of interest when the article appeared, and is still frequently viewed, but it’s SeanNumbers-Ofala that continues to have legs.

Other examples, such as Nola Pender’s “Health Promotion Model” materials (which she made available in Deep Blue’s Nursing School collection under a Creative Commons license), appear regularly on our list of most frequently downloaded items, but again, on a case-by-case basis it’s impossible to know if any given deposit will strike a chord with someone.

Stepping back, though, we find that taken as a group our dissertations and theses are the most sought after material Deep Blue delivers. They are a constantly evolving reflection of the diverse research interests of our faculty and the quality of work they and their students do, work that interests and influences people all over the world.

From previously published work to scholarship and materials available nowhere else that empower and underly future discoveries, Deep Blue is an important component of how the Library supports U-M’s research mission.

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