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UNC libraries to open three research hubs

Davis Library is one of three University libraries that hosts a research hub, which Judy Panitch, director of library communications, said will be the ideal place for students to perform cutting-edge research.

“(The Research Hub) is serving as kind of a point for campus researchers for trying new technology,” said Joe Williams, director of public services for UNC libraries.

On Thursday, Davis will host a grand opening event, which will be hands-on and give students the opportunity to use 3-D printers that are being brought over from the Kenan Science Library Research Huband take pictures in front of the Eiffel Tower and Mount Everest using the Liquid Galaxy.

The Liquid Galaxy is made up of screens in a half circle that show images from Google Earth. Users can enter a location and look at it from various angles. The setup of the screens makes the user feel as if he or she is in the location.

Panitch said the Research Hub is funded through the library budget and is mostly a reorganization of library services. It brings together pieces that had been at the University before, but now are all housed in one place. Many of the computers were already owned by the library and were repurposed and updated with new software. Some of the hubs’ furniture was moved from other library locations.

Technologies at the Research Hub are available to the entire University community and allow for many different research techniques.

“Researchers can mean anyone in the Carolina community,” said Jill Sexton, head of digital research services.

Those visiting the Research Hub can use new software on the computers to compile large sets of data and research census information. There are also cubes that can be reserved for study groups and meetings.

The hub focuses on geographic services, data management, data visualization and related topics, such as Geographic Information Systems .

“When you think about how many things can be attached to a map, that’s GIS,” Panitch said.

Researchers can look at changes in landscape, population, urban development and trends. Panitch said the hub is meeting the needs of researchers on campus.

The Research Hub also partnered with the Howard W. Odum Institute for Research in Social Science , which is now located in Davis.

“They are campus experts in statistical data,” Panitch said.

Davis Library is not the only location for a Research Hub on campus. There are hubs located at the Kenan Science Library and the Health Sciences Library.

“The interesting aspect is the partnering,” said Anne Dudley, spokeswoman for the Health Sciences Library. “It is all under the research hub umbrella. This is a one stop shop for researchers.”

“This is very exciting. We take really seriously the many ways we can support research at UNC across all disciplines,” Panitch said.?

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