Updates

Usability Study Participants Wanted

Posted on: Monday, February 1, 2016 - 9:03am

Topic(s): Updates

Western Libraries Usability Activity

Western Libraries Usability & Design Working Group is currently evaluating how the Library website organizes information about services and materials – and we would love your input! We are seeking participants for a brief usability exercise; the purpose of this exercise is to identify new ways to organize information and services on our website. Undergraduate students, graduate students, faculty, and staff are invited to participate. This activity shouldn’t take longer than 10-15 minutes.
 
Description & Purpose: Through an electronic sorting exercise, participant responses will help Western Libraries identify new ways to organize information and services on our website.
 
Duration: The activity shouldn't take longer than 10 to 15 minutes to complete.
 
Intended Audience: Undergraduates, graduates, faculty, and staff from outside of the Libraries are invited to participate.
 
Questions about the usability study? Please contact us via our website, or call Rebecca Marrall, Discovery Services Librarian (360-650-4493).
 
Ready to get started? You can participate in the study now.
 

Studio Growth & Success

Posted on: Wednesday, January 6, 2016 - 3:55pm

Topic(s): Feature Stories, Resources, Updates

Increased Use & Future Growth of the Research-Writing Studio

The Research-Writing Studio at Western Libraries experienced record-breaking usage throughout fall quarter 2015, recording at least 7,500 visits, over 10 times higher than the number of visits received by the Writing Center at its former site. These numbers are all the more impressive given early concerns that students would not be able to find the new Research-Writing Studio after the Writing Center and Research Consultation merged services and re-located to Haggard Hall last spring.

 

“After nearly 30 years with the Writing Center, I thought I would get misty-eyed about leaving my Writing Center identity behind. But no such thing. At no time in my history here have I seen students this engaged, forming community, taking charge of the space and their learning,” explained Roberta Kjesrud, the studio’s director of writing.

 

Fully staffed by a mix of both professional and student staff members who offer expertise to support the student research and writing experience, there are typically between one and four research and writing Studio Assistants available at any given time during the hours the Studio is open.  Involving student studio staff in the teaching and learning process also has its own benefits.

 

“One of the great things about having student staff as Studio Assistants is the unique perspective they bring.  They know what it’s like to take the courses and complete the types of assignments that we often see represented in the Studio, and they’ve struggled with the same academic and personal challenges that students using the Studio face,” explained Kelly Helms, the Studio’s assistant director of writing. “They also know what strategies and feedback are most helpful to students, and this peer-based teaching and learning environment builds a community of scholars that would not possible without our dedicated student staff.”

 

Centrally located on the second floor of Haggard Hall in a very bright and open space, the inviting atmosphere of the Studio offers students a dedicated place for writing and for obtaining research and writing assistance. Students are encouraged to collaborate with each other, with Studio staff, or to work on their own.  The studio is designed to support students at all levels and across all disciplines.

 

“The research and writing process is almost always intertwined,”  said Gabe Gossett, Head of Research Consultation and part of the studio leadership team. "Where at one moment a researcher is trying to make sense of the ideas they are trying to explore in writing, at another moment a writer is looking for sources that speak to the topic they want to write about. [The studio approach] offers as-needed support to build towards learning outcomes that will ultimately leave students better able to take charge of their own inquiry process, with on-hand support to make it possible.”  

 

The Studio’s immediate and extraordinary reception by students, faculty, and university administrators, makes abundantly clear the importance and value of this project, and Western Libraries is pleased to share the exciting news that the final phase of the Research-Writing Studio project has been fully funded thanks to the tremendous generosity of donors Cindy, Don, and Adam Hacherl.

 

Cindy Hacherl is an alumna of Western and a graduate of the English Department with long-standing connections to Western. Together, the Hacherls are passionately committed to making the vision of the Research-Writing Studio a reality, and they recognize the benefit of this project for both current and future students.  

 

Not only did the Hacherls make possible the creation of a collaborative workshop space in Haggard Hall 222 and the Studio’s current transformation, but their ongoing generosity mean that the full vision of the Studio project can be completed.  This last phase will expand the Studio toward the building’s entryway, increasing both its visibility and capacity. New furniture, access to electricity and technology, glass and acoustical accents, and clear signage will also contribute to the completion of this expanded area.

 

Additionally, just as the Libraries face unprecedented demand for collaborative and individual work spaces, so too have they received increased requests for class workshops. Students using the Studio on their own regularly request that their professor schedule a formal workshop, and professors who do, routinely encourage new students to connect with the Studio staff for follow-up work. Since individual work and workshops are mutually reinforcing, there is a clear need for a second workshop and group instruction space. Plans call for creating an inviting, glass-enclosed teaching space with moveable tables and chairs and an instructor’s station with A/V equipment. Having this additional space will better equip the Studio staff to help meet the needs of students engaging in research and writing work.

 

University faculty have repeatedly identified the development of student research and writing skills as an important role of the Libraries. Integrating the practices of research and writing is one way Western Libraries and the Learning Commons are working together to address this identified need, and it is through the generosity of the Hacherl family that the Research-Writing Studio will continue to grow in strength and ability to positively impact students engaged in research and writing here at Western.


Open Access News

Posted on: Friday, November 20, 2015 - 3:01pm

Topic(s): Resources, Updates

Open Access News @WWU: Western CEDAR Updates

Western Washington University launched its Institutional Repository known as  Western CEDAR  in the fall of 2014. Part of a global movement promoting open access to scholarship and creative works, Western CEDAR is a service of Western Libraries, in partnership with Western's Graduate School, Office of the Provost, and Office of Research and Sponsored Programs.

During the past year, content in Western CEDAR has grown to include 108 faculty research pages, 26 departmental pages, 441 theses, 111 Scholars Week poster sessions, and the 2014 Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference. By the end of this past October, scholarship contained in CEDAR had been downloaded worldwide over 65,000 times.

 

Western Libraries has taken an active leadership role in managing CEDAR day-to-day, teaching interested faculty, staff, and students about the software’s many capabilities, and educating them on their intellectual property rights and responsibilities. Western CEDAR advances the University’s commitment to enriching academic inquiry and strengthening communities by sharing the expertise and creativity of its students, faculty, and staff worldwide via the Web.

 

Recently the Institute for Watershed Studies (IWS) collaborated with Western Libraries to add their collection to CEDAR. The IWS supports research on freshwater lakes, streams and wetlands, including Lake Whatcom, which is the primary drinking water source for the City of Bellingham and parts of Whatcom County.

The City of Bellingham and Western have worked together on investigations of the water quality in Lake Whatcom since the early 1960s. Beginning in the 1980s, a monitoring program was developed by the City and the IWS to provide long-term water quality data for the lake and its tributaries. Having the IWS collection in Western CEDAR means that this information is now accessible for anyone to search, find, and use.

 

This past summer, back issues of the interdisciplinary peer-reviewed Journal of Educational Controversy were also added to the repository. The next issue is scheduled for publication directly in CEDAR sometime this fall, and will include an article which examines the benefits, pitfalls, and sustainability of open access publishing.

 

For more information about Western CEDAR, contact Scholarly Communications Librarian Jenny Oleen or Western CEDAR Manager, Kim Marsicek.


Digitization of Artists' Works

Posted on: Friday, October 30, 2015 - 3:15pm

Topic(s): Updates

Washington Rural Heritage Grant Award 

Thanks to a $5,000 Washington Rural Heritage Grant,  Western Libraries will be digitizing the correspondence, photographs, sketches, and papers of three prominent Pacific Northwest artists: Guy Anderson, Charles Stokes and Louis Mideke. 

 

Once digitized, this content will be added to Heritage Resources’ digital collections, as well as the Washington Rural Heritage website, making these materials publicly available for use in research, teaching and private study.

 

Julia Sapin, chair of Western’s Art department, noted the significance of obtaining the Anderson materials.

 

“Guy Anderson was a leading figure in the Northwest School of painting and drew attention to this region through his form of abstract expressionism,” Sapin said. “It is a boon to our library’s collection to have this esteemed gift among its offerings, and Western students, as well as students and scholars from across the country, will be able to make use of this resource and increase their understanding of Anderson’s practice and community.”

 

Western Libraries Heritage Resources is partnering on the project with the Museum of Northwest Art in LaConner and the LaConner Public Library System. Washington Rural Heritage is a collaborative digitization program headquartered at the Washington State Library that brings together unique local history materials from libraries, museums and the private collections of citizens across Washington State.


Special Collection Donated to Western

Posted on: Tuesday, August 11, 2015 - 4:00pm

Topic(s): Feature Stories, Updates

New Collection Features Doris Burn Artwork & Manuscripts

Siblings Skye, Lisa, and Mark Burn introduce Librarian Sylvia Tag to a portfolio of Doris Burn's drawings that now form part of the collection donated to Western Libraries.

 

Western Libraries has received a new collection of materials from noted children’s author and illustrator Doris Burn. A long-time resident of the San Juan Islands, Doris (Wernstedt ) Burn authored and illustrated the 1965 classic Andrew Henry’s Meadow, which won the Washington Governor’s Art Award. Burn also wrote The Summerfolk and The Tale of Lazy Lizard Canyon, and served as illustrator for a range of children’s works that are included in and documented through this donation.

 

Examples of some of the books and materials that are now part of the new collection.

 

The collection is a gift from the Burn family to Western Washington University via the Doris Burn Legacy LLC, and contains first-edition copies of children’s works written or illustrated by Burn, manuscripts and original artwork prepared for titles including Andrew Henry’s Meadow, and a number of unpublished and hitherto unseen manuscripts and drawings.

 

“This donation allows us to preserve the work and legacy of a noted children’s author and illustrator,” said Archivist Ruth Steele. “These materials are an important addition to the unique and rare collections held by Western Libraries.”

 

Skye, Lisa, and Mark Burn share memories of their mother's work with librarian Sylvia Tag and Archivist Ruth Steele.

 

These materials help document the cultural and artistic history of the Pacific Northwest region and were created by an artist and writer who sought specifically to engage with the needs, interests, and creativity of a younger audience. Burn’s work continues to speak to readers of all ages, and since her death in 2011, Andrew Henry’s Meadow has been reissued by Penguin’s Philomel Books. The title has also been published and is presently available in translation in Korea, China and Japan.

 

The collection of materials from the Burn family will be preserved and made available for research and use through Western Libraries Heritage Resources, in association with the Children’s Literature Interdisciplinary Collection, and is a valuable addition to the Libraries’ holdings. The Libraries promotes active use of these holdings by faculty, staff and students and also welcomes community members who may be interested in exploring these and other collections.


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