News from the Dean

News from the Dean

Mark I. Greenberg, Dean of Libraries

Happy New Year. I hope you had a wonderful winter break and are excited for the start of 2017. As we begin Winter Quarter, I want to share information about important activities underway in the Western Libraries as well as recent accomplishments.

The Libraries launched an improved website during the break. The extensive time and effort over the past year to develop the new site was well spent. Many students, faculty, and staff rely on the website as their primary point of contact for information about and access to library collections and services. The redesign process partnered Libraries faculty and staff with Western’s WebTech group and University Communications & Marketing. In order to build a website that meets the needs of the Libraries diverse user groups, the development team deployed web usability best practices, solicited extensive user feedback, and conducted focused usability sessions with representative library patrons. The Libraries made a beta version of the website available during fall quarter and received helpful comments over several months. In order to improve the user experience, the web redesign team worked hard to make the new website more user centered and easier to discover services, collections, and spaces. The redesign also highlights library communication channels like phone, chat, and email; improves navigation within the website; and offers improved usability on mobile devices. Your continued feedback is on the redesign and associated functionality is both encouraged and appreciated.

In June 2016, the Libraries released a list of subscription cancellations, effective January 1, 2017. The list emerged from an eight-month-long process to reduce journal subscription expenses and balance the budget. Escalating subscription prices and a flat library resources budget required cuts of $230,000 for this year academic and will require further cuts next year as prices continue to rise. A Senate Library Committee task force established cancellation criteria and outlined a process to solicit faculty feedback. Faculty across the university reviewed 3,614 journal titles and requested 579 for retention. Following intensive negotiations with journal vendors, Western was able to retain 278 of the 3,614 faculty-reviewed titles and ultimately was forced to cancel 3,336. In making the difficult decision to discontinue specific journal titles, the Libraries sought to maximize its buying power with each vendor, to retain high use journals when possible, and to limit disruption to faculty, staff, and students. Where subscriptions are discontinued, the Libraries has an excellent track record providing content in a timely manner via interlibrary loan or purchase-on-demand. In fact, less than 1 percent of requested articles last calendar year could not be filled by the journal publisher or a lending library. To aid in locating content not owned or licensed by Western, the Libraries added a + Summit + Articles + More tab to OneSearch. Searching + More provides bibliographic information about scholarly resources the Western Libraries can provide via Inter-Library Loan. To learn more about the subscription reduction review process or the effected journals, please visit the Subscriptions Reduction Review web site or contact Collection Services.

The Libraries (in partnership with the Graduate School, Office of the Provost, and Office of Research and Sponsored Programs) is pleased to provide Western CEDAR. The online Institutional Repository advances Western’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. Since its launch just over two years ago, content in CEDAR has grown to include 119 individual faculty research pages located in the SelectedWorks Author Gallery, 28 departmental pages, 11 monographs, numerous Office of Survey Research reports, 539 theses, 2015 and 2016 Scholars Week poster sessions, the 2014 Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference, the Journal of Educational Controversy, and the new Huxley College of the Environment journal Summit to Salish Sea: Inquiries and Essays. At the end of October 2016, just over 3,300 documents contained in CEDAR had been downloaded worldwide 154,028 times. All campus units are invited to disseminate reports, papers, datasets, conference proceedings, and the like. People interested in open access publishing can manage the editorial process and publish the final product. The Libraries has taken an active leadership role in managing CEDAR day to day, helping faculty, staff, and students with the software’s many capabilities, and educating authors on their intellectual property rights and responsibilities. To learn more about CEDAR and how to get involved, don’t hesitate to contact Scholarly Communications Librarian Jenny Oleen or CEDAR Project Manager Kim Marsicek.

In addition to developments in the Libraries’ virtual space, exciting physical changes have transformed the second floor of Haggard Hall. The Hacherl Research & Writing Studio, which integrates academic support for research, writing, and reading literacies in a vibrant learning environment staffed by experts, is nearing completion. The third and final phase of the project – a glass-walled workshop and group project area – will be finished early in winter quarter. Barely a year old, the Studio welcomed 19,500 students to the space in fall quarter – a figure almost as high as total visitations for all of last academic year. Students come to use the flexible furnishings and mobile technologies, to work on academic projects by themselves or with others, and to seek academic support from the Studio’s expert staff. The Libraries is grateful to Cindy, Don, and Adam Hacherl for the generous financial support that made the new Studio possible.

In close proximity to the Studio, the Digital Media Center (DMC) meets growing demand for the integration of visual literacies into Western’s curriculum. The modern, million-dollar capital project was designed with input from faculty in five colleges and consists of a fully equipped sound stage, control room, and editing lab to support media production and post-production projects. Under the management of Academic Technology in partnership with the Western Libraries, the DMC consolidates teaching and learning resources related to new media and serves as a program partner in the Learning Commons. To learn more about the DMC’s many exciting opportunities for teaching and learning, please contact DMC Manager Deran Browne or digital medial librarian Jeff Purdue.

As always, I encourage you to stop by to see me in Haggard Hall 231 or to send me an email if there is anything I can do to improve the Libraries.


Mark I. Greenberg
Dean of Libraries
January 2017