Get library help with innovative ways to communicate your research

Apr 16, 2021 · Abbey Elder

The University Library helps researchers get access to articles, books, and other materials needed to complete research projects. Did you know that the library can help you complete and publish your work in innovative ways, too? We’ve outlined a few examples for brainstorming how you can benefit from library services.

1. Put an image on that data

When sharing data add a “cover image” to make it stand out. Use an existing image from your dataset (DataShare will automatically use the first image file as a cover image or generate one from a PDF) or make an image that represents the subject matter of the data. Not all data repositories support cover images, but you can use them in other applications: try adding one to a tweet or on your website with a link to data, for example. Already published on DataShare? Update your data set with a new cover image. Not sure what to put on the cover image? We can help. 

2. Don’t want to write that paper? Make it a digital project instead

Digital projects not only showcase skills, they also allow others to easily engage with your research. Bonus, it’s more interesting to create than your standard paper or journal article. If you have a project you’d like to make digital, contact Digital Scholarship & Initiatives. We can help translate your research into a website, podcast, or other digital object that features your work in an engaging way.

3. Highlight the breadth of your work by sharing your course materials 

It can be easy to forget that course materials are a type of scholarship. Do these aspects of our research live outside of the classroom? They can! Share your course materials (lecture slides, syllabi, lesson plans, and more) in the Open Educational Resources collection in the ISU Digital Repository. Share your work—all of it—to give your peers a more complete picture of your research and scholarship. 

4. Integrate digital collections into your research 

The Library’s new Digital Collections platform is streamlined, user friendly, and provides various options for integrating content into your research. Create multimodal narratives, dynamically embed content, or crawl the collections’ data streams! If you’re unsure how to use the platform, one of our librarians would be happy to help. You can come to us with a specific idea for working with digital content, or simply ask, “how do I integrate digital collections into my research?” Our open-source platform provides more opportunities for experimentation. Let’s test something!

For information about these and other services available through the University Library Open Scholarship Services and Digital Scholarship & Initiatives departments, visit and