The News @ Western Libraries ---> Library Wide
Posted on: Monday, May 11, 2015 - 1:40pm
Acting Consul General Dorj Bayarkhuu from the Mongolian Consulate of San Francisco formally presented the Order of Altan Gadas (the Order of the Polar Star) on behalf of the president of Mongolia to Wayne Richter of Western Libraries on May 6, 2015.
This award is the highest state honor given by the president of Mongolia to a foreign national in recognition of individuals who have provided exceptional assistance to Mongolia. Past recipients include Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, John McCain, and retired Western Washington University professor Henry Schwarz.
The quality and accessibility of the extraordinary Mongolian Studies Collection at Western Libraries is a result of the generosity of scholars such as Schwarz, Nicholas Poppe and John C. Street, and the valuable work of Wayne Richter. Richter is a nationally recognized expert in the creation and editing of bibliographic records for materials written in Mongolian and related languages, and he is the only cataloger in the United States who routinely creates national name authority records – work which involves considerable research in a field with only limited bibliographic and biographic resources.
Richter is an expert in the highly technical aspects of “MARC” encoding and the representation of non-Roman alphabet foreign language materials in online library catalogs. Using a grant from the U.S. Department of Education, ‘Strengthening Mongolian Language Resources in the United States’ in the early 1990’s, his work with bibliographic records allowed libraries worldwide to discover and request access to resources in the Mongolian Studies Collection at Western.
While noted for his great capacity for learning languages, including Mongolian, Uighur and Kazakh, Richter’s passion for the languages and cultures of Central Asia resulted from his undergraduate studies at Western, when he participated in one of the earliest “Western in Mongolia” summer programs. He later attended a Mongolian language course at Inner Mongolia University and then quickly transitioned from learning to teaching, introducing a credit course at Western in “Written Mongolian.”
His work in the highly specialized area of national standards for the Romanization of Mongolian and related languages has been recognized during his contacts with the Library of Congress, and the Committee on East Asian Libraries of the Association for Asian Studies. He has either developed or assisted in the development of Library of Congress standards for the Romanization of many languages and scripts, such as the Mongolian script, Uighur, Manchu, and Tod/Oirat/Old Kalmyk Romanization tables.
Richter also served as a consultant on the Unicode standards for Mongolian script for the International Standards Organization (ISO), which involved the encoding of Mongolian script for use in computer systems, a project made particularly complicated by the many disparities between modern pronunciation and traditional spellings encoded in Mongol script. Additionally, Richter developed some of the first fonts that allowed the display of Mongolian scripts on personal computers.
Richter has actively reached out to people who are interested in Mongolia and its cultures and languages, participates in meetings of the Asian Studies on the Pacific Coast, and is in regular contact with Mongolian scholars and librarians from other institutions who use Western’s collections. He regularly coordinates and leads tours of the Libraries’ Mongolian Studies Collection for a wide variety of individuals and groups, including Mongolian ambassadors to the U.S., U.S. Ambassadors to Mongolia, and many visiting scholars. Richter’s work to make resources available to scholars worldwide will impact Mongolian studies for decades to come.
Posted on: Tuesday, May 5, 2015 - 3:19pm
Western CEDAR: Sharing with the World
One need only glance at the “Faculty Notes” page of Western Today to get a sense of the depth and range of research, scholarship, and creative works that Western’s faculty are producing. Western CEDAR, Western Washington University’s institutional repository (IR), is one way Western can share these innovative and engaging outputs with the world. Part of a global movement promoting open access to scholarship and creative works, Western CEDAR is a service of Western Libraries, in partnership with the Graduate School, Office of the Provost, and Office of Research and Sponsored Programs.
Since its launch last fall, CEDAR’s implementation team has been working diligently with Western faculty and staff to both create SelectedWorks pages and also add content to the repository that will help make the scholarly and creative work of Western’s community accessible to everyone.
“So much is made about the teaching-learning mission of the university. But I’m constantly amazed at the quality and quantity of academic scholarship that is produced at Western. This allows us, in one place, to begin to tell the story of the university’s collective efforts to engage in the production of new knowledge, and to share that broadly,” explained Dr. Francisco Rios, Dean of Woodring College of Education.
CEDAR’s Selected Works feature allows faculty from Western to share their work and expand their readership. Articles published in peer-reviewed journals that are added to CEDAR are search engine optimized for maximum exposure, meaning they have the potential to receive increased readership beyond the discipline-specific journal in which they were first published.
While one of the goals of CEDAR is to make scholarship available and accessible to anyone in the world, a local benefit of using SelectedWorks is that it provides scholars at Western an opportunity to discover what their colleagues here at Western are researching and creating. Elementary Education Professor Joy Wiggins explained how CEDAR helps connect faculty across the university, enabling them to recognize how their work intersects with other disciplines.
"My research intersects with anthropology, sociology, psychology and even political science, and it just makes sense for me to seek research outside of education...We tend to stay encapsulated in our disciplines and respective departments because we are so busy just teaching, attending to service and squeezing in our writing that we sometimes forget to look up from our desks and seek other like-minded folks from different disciplines that bring a whole new, fresh insight to our work. That’s what’s so exciting to me. CEDAR is one way to connect us," said Wiggins.
Faculty who create SelectedWorks pages can showcase their scholarly and creative works by displaying them in a customized format organized according to the categories they decide to highlight, (such as: areas of research and expertise, awards and honors, publications, bibliographies, Curriculum Vitae, or lists of links to additional information). SelectedWorks pages also allow scholars to easily cultivate their own network of followers by inviting contacts to join their announcement network, or follow them via RSS feed or email.
Environmental Sciences Professor Robin Matthews’ SelectedWorks page includes something entirely unique since she is the author of the very first book ever published in CEDAR, a taxonomy guide to local algae that includes hundreds of high resolution color images. The book can be downloaded electronically to a computer or mobile device, and it was created with active links which make it easy to use.
“Putting the book on CEDAR solved a huge problem I was facing: how to make the book accessible to students and other professionals at a low or no cost and without loss of quality. Printing this type of book would be prohibitively expensive, assuming I could even find a publisher interested in the project,” explained Matthews.
Not only was Matthews able to create something she uses in her own teaching, she has also connected with others outside of the United States who have told her that her book has helped them in teaching their students algal taxonomy. Currently, publications from Western Washington University's faculty, staff and students, including Western's Masters Thesis Collection, are being downloaded by people from all over the world. CEDAR's website includes a dynamic map that begins with the previous days' downloads before switching to real-time activity, so you can see for yourself the global impact of the work being done at Western.
“Ultimately, this is about providing access to the broadest range of one’s scholarship to as many people as possible. As an educational institution, we have a commitment and obligation to generate new knowledge. But that knowledge, to have impact, needs to be shared with as many others as possible. And others need to be able to access that knowledge,” said Rios.
Cedar’s implementation team at Western Libraries is available to assist you in if you are interested in creating a SelectedWorks page to showcase your work, or if you have any questions about Western CEDAR. Please contact Western Libraries Scholarly Communication Librarian, Jenny.Oleen@wwu.edu or Western CEDAR Manager Kim.Marsicek@wwu.edu for more information.
Posted on: Friday, April 10, 2015 - 1:54pm
Topic(s): Feature Stories
What do fly fishing and Western Libraries have in common? You might be surprised at the connections between these two seemingly incongruous things!
Professor Paul Piper, who is also Western Libraries librarian for Special Collections, is teaching a Library 320 Class this quarter, “Fly Fishing in American Literature and Culture.” This class explores both the sport and art of ﬂy ﬁshing in American literature and culture, and considers the implications of fly ﬁshing as a cultural phenomenon on gender, race, and environmental concerns by utilizing the ﬂy ﬁshing collection in Special Collections.
After a student in the class mentioned that he had never actually done any fly fishing and thought he could benefit from understanding something of the physical experience, Piper spoke with two professors who are also sitting in and contributing to the class, Woodring College of Education Human Services Professor Dr. Stan Goto, and Huxley College Environmental Sciences Professor Dr. Leo Bodensteiner, about arranging a time for students to experience what it feels like to cast a flyrod.
One sunny Thursday afternoon presented itself as the perfect opportunity for the class to engage in some experiential learning activities to help enrich their classroom experiences. Here are some photos of students gathered together on the lawn in from of Old Main first learning some tips from Bodensteiner, and then practicing their casting skills.
“The students seemed thrilled by the kinesthetic experience of holding and handling a fly rod. In subsequent discussion they talked about how it made the conceptual more real. Several students said they wanted to further pursue it," said Piper.
To see more pictures from Thursday's class, check out the Libraries Facebook page. To learn more about Western Libraries fly fishing collections, which includes: books, periodicals, manuscripts, photographs, artworks, audio and video personal interviews and histories, and fly fishing artifacts such as rods, reels, flies, and fly tying materials, contact: Heritage.Resources@wwu.edu.
Posted on: Monday, March 9, 2015 - 10:32am
Western Libraries and the Learning Commons are pleased to announce the merger of Research Consultation and the Writing Center into the Research-Writing Studio, which will integrate academic support in a vibrant learning environment staffed by research consultants and writing assistants.
The merger will be accomplished beginning with the relocation of Research Consultation and the Writing Center to Haggard Hall East behind the Student Technology Center (STC).
University faculty have repeatedly identified the development of student research and writing skills as an important role of the Libraries. The Research-Writing Studio, funded exclusively by private donation, will feature flexible furnishings and mobile technologies to facilitate scholarly work and support for core academic literacies such as researching, reading, and writing. Students can work on their academic projects individually, with peers, or with consultants.
Featuring innovative pedagogies important to student learning, the Research-Writing Studio will integrate support for academic work, and scholars who use the Studio can receive feedback while they practice their craft. Research consultants and writing assistants will offer incremental, strategy-based consultations while students work individually or collaboratively within the space.
Over the next few months, you may notice Studio-related changes in the Library. In addition to the relocation of Research Consultation and the Writing Center to Haggard Hall East, the oversize collection will be relocated to the Wilson Library, and the reference collection will move from Wilson to Haggard 2. Although no major construction is planned, some infrastructure improvements to electrical and lighting will occur over the summer.
For more details on implementation plans, please contact Andrea.Peterson@wwu.edu.
Posted on: Monday, February 23, 2015 - 1:21pm
It's no secret, especially among Western Washington University faculty, that access to academic resources is critical to the university's ongoing excellence. In a time when budgets are tight and costs are increasing, it's especially important to find other ways to ensure academic work can continue unabated. That's one reason that Western Libraries recently hired Mike Olson to be director of Scholarly Resources and Collection Services.
In the new position, Olson oversees scholarly communications and leads and administers collection development and services at Western Libraries. Providing leadership for the selection and management of collections, he also coordinates the development and promotion of sustainable models of scholarly communication by working closely with library leadership, staff and external stakeholders to advance other digital initiatives.
History Professor Amanda Eurich, who served on the search committee that recommended Olson’s hire, said she was struck by his experience and his qualifications.
"Mike was on the top of my list when I received the applicant files because of the years of experience he had in collection development," she said. "But even more importantly, he is a committed scholar, engaged in the process of research and writing. Because of this, I felt that he would truly understand faculty investment in library resources."
As an academic librarian at a number of institutions, including both Harvard University and UCLA, Olson has been actively involved with scholarly communication and resource access for more than 25 years. Additionally, because he is also an accomplished scholar, he personally understands the importance of securing access to materials that support writing and research needs.
"I know firsthand the user’s joy and exhilaration when academic libraries get it right, and the pain and frustration when they don’t," Olson said. "I think Western Libraries does so many things right, and we want to improve whenever we can."
The cost of journal and database subscriptions rise about 4 to 6 percent each year, and the budget allocated to pay for them can't keep up.
But by negotiating better subscription terms, favoring open access models of scholarly communication and regularly reviewing and adjusting current subscriptions lists, there are things the Libraries can do institutionally to strengthen purchasing power and provide greater access to resources, Olson said.
“The acquisitions budget has always been a big problem, especially for people in fields like history, who rely heavily on the library for their research," said History Professor Peter Diehl. "There are journals that are needed, especially those in other languages, which get cut because of a lack of funds. The cost of academic monographs keeps going up but the budget to acquire them does not.”
Eurich agreed. While being a member of a consortium such as the Orbis Cascade Alliance has many benefits, she said, sometimes faculty and students just need to grab a book right away.
“You could say the library is our lab,” she said. “It is still important to have works on the shelf. We consider ourselves a writing-intensive discipline. Our students are conversant with Summit, but they still sometimes need immediate access to books and other resources.”
In addition to his experience and expertise, Olson’s personality and open communication style lend themselves well to facing the challenges that lie ahead. Diehl, who has a friendship with Olson dating back to when they first met as graduate students at UCLA over 30 years ago, spoke highly of Olson’s excellent interpersonal skills.
“He works so well with other people, and that’s a real asset. He has successful experience, both with collection development and with people,” Diehl said. “And, on a personal note, he gives me someone to watch football games with!”
Olson explained that he has a personal interest in sports, movies, and music.
“I’m curious about many other things as well, so that has been useful in my career as a collection development librarian, and when talking with people in higher education. As a native Seattleite and an alum of the University of Washington, I really feel right at home here at Western,” said Olson.
Olson emphasized that he is always pleased to meet with faculty to discuss the Libraries’ scholarly resources, and that he wants to encourage anyone interested in these issues to contact him. He intends to spend the upcoming year meeting with faculty independently and in small groups to learn more about how they currently use the Libraries’ resources, and their needs and priorities for the future. These meetings will feed directly into the creation of a “Resource Access Plan,” which will be fully developed this time next year. In looking forward, Olson spoke about the importance of increasing access to information by finding ways to remove barriers to content and scholarship.
“I want to enable Western’s students, faculty, staff, and administrators to work more effectively. Also, I want to ensure that our library resources are highly useful and highly-used. I really have one goal, and everything else fits within it: to collaborate campus-wide on rational and transparent ways to provide access to scholarly resources for the Western community,” said Olson.
Mike Olson can be contacted by phone (360) 650-4320 or via email Mike.Olson@wwu.edu.