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Posted on: October 8, 2018
TUEx Returns to Western Libraries
Have you ever had a frustrating time navigating a website? Maybe the site didn’t make sense and you couldn’t find what you needed? Western Libraries is trying to avoid those problems by improving our website users’ experiences through usability and design testing. And you can help us!
On Tuesdays between noon and 2:00 p.m., we are inviting volunteers to run through some short exercises designed to inform the Libraries on the learnability, effectiveness, and efficiency of various online resources. We need input from students, staff, and faculty, and if you can give us 5 to 10 minutes of your time, you can help us improve your (and everyone’s!) library experience. Think of it as fine-tuning. Our table will be near the Hacherl Research & Writing Studio on the second floor of Haggard Hall, next to the “TUEx User Experience Tuesdays” sign.
Read more: Join us for TUEx: User Experience Tuesdays
Posted on: June 28, 2018
Films on the Kanopy Platform Available for Request
In winter 2017, the Western Libraries began a pilot program to provide access to over 20,000 films on the Kanopy streaming platform. Films were free to the Western community until the fourth view, at which point they were automatically purchased for one year at a flat fee.
Over the 18 months that the Libraries piloted this patron-driven acquisition (PDA) approach, Western users watched more than 6,000 hours of content from more than 3,000 unique films, and triggered the purchase of over 200 titles. While the expansive access provided by the Kanopy PDA program has been valuable to our users, the financial impact and unpredictability of these unmediated film purchases has put a strain on the Libraries’ limited resource access budget. In order to pace spending and better steward university funds, the Libraries will be switching from the unmediated PDA model to a mediated, request-driven approach.
Effective July 1, Western faculty, staff, and students will be able to request Kanopy films for purchase (similar to the Libraries’ current practice of accepting book and DVD purchase requests). As before, Kanopy films will be discoverable via OneSearch, which will then direct users to an online request form. The Libraries will accept requests from faculty, staff, and students until the budget for each quarter has been expended. Because funding is limited, requests will be evaluated based on their relevance to specific coursework.
This new approach to Kanopy films is part of a broader library effort to revise and clarify media acquisition policies and guidelines. A summary of these policies and guidelines is available on the Libraries’ website.
 One Kanopy “view” was equivalent to watching thirty seconds of a film.
Posted on: April 3, 2018
Partnership Results in New Service for Students with Disabilities
Beginning spring 2018, Western Washington University students, staff, and faculty will have a new service available to them. SensusAccess is a conversion service that makes documents searchable and accessible for individuals who use text-to-speech technology. This service allows users to convert inaccessible documents, such as course readings or assignments, into accessible versions at any time. You can learn more about and begin using this service by going here: https://access.wwu.edu/sensus.
In order to access documents used in everyday life, such as syllabi or admissions paperwork, individuals with specific kinds of disabilities may need to employ text-to-speech technology to read the document. However, the document first needs to be formatted to ensure that the assistive technology can read and deliver a coherent report of its contents to the person with a disability.
Historically, all requests for document conversion for accessibility purposes had to go through Western’s disAbility Resources for Students. But now with SensusAccess, students, staff, and faculty can create accessible versions of their documents as needed. Typical conversion rates vary due to a variety of factors but the usual turnaround time is less than 24 hours -- and the service is free for Western users! SensusAccess is intended as a self-service solution and complements existing accessibility services at Western.
Everyone at Western is encouraged to use this service when creating or reformatting educational or informational documents. Here are a few examples of how SensusAccess can be used:
● Faculty and Instructors: When you assign course readings that are formatted as scanned articles or PDFs, you can create an accessible version using SensusAccess. You can also learn more about PDF accessibility principles here: https://wp.wwu.edu/webtech/accessible-pdf/ and available training here: https://access.wwu.edu/.
● Staff: When you create informational documents, or if you need to convert an existing document into an accessible version, you can e-mail the newly accessible document to the student or colleague upon the completed conversion.
● Students: If you ever need an accessible version of your course materials, you may use the SensusAccess service.
Prospective users should know that SensusAccess is perfect for documents under thirty pages or so. However, if there are print-impaired individuals who require the conversion of large texts into accessible versions, these individuals should contact the disAbility Resources for Students office for assistance and support [insert hyperlink: http://www.wwu.edu/drs/contact.shtml]
SensusAccess services at Western are made possible through an innovative partnership between Western Libraries, Web Communication Technologies (WebTech), and the disAbility Resources for Students office. SensusAccess is one example of several University-wide efforts dedicated to improving accessibility at Western in order to co-create an inclusive educational environment by providing a new tool to address a common problem. For more information, please see: Western Digital Accessibility.
Read more: New SensusAccess Service Now Available
Posted on: September 27, 2017
Graduate Students Utilize Archival & Primary Source Materials
A new cohort of Environmental Education graduate students visited Western’s campus earlier this month and spent time working with archival and primary source collections at the Center for Pacific Northwest Studies (CPNWS), a unit of Western Libraries’ broader division of Heritage Resources. CPNWS staff pulled together a selection of materials representing various perspectives of place – including environmental, economic, recreational, and indigenous views – for students to explore and analyze.
In the Archives Building Research Room, students divided into groups and reviewed the maps, photographs, pamphlets, letters, and other materials, considering issues related to the construction of cultural and regional identity, the evolution of policy, perceptions of concepts such as “conservation” and “wilderness,” and the significance of place names in determining cultural values.
The class concluded with a discussion about how students and educators can use primary source materials to explore the relationship between how meaning is constructed, how cultural values are expressed, the impact this can have on policy and information creation, and how this in turn affects our own assumptions about both people and place.
If you would like to learn more about the materials in Heritage Resources and at the CPNWS, arrange a class visit, or find out about how Western Libraries can support your teaching and learning needs, please contact us at Library.Communications@wwu.edu.
Read more: Grad Students Visit CPNWS
Posted on: September 18, 2017
Expanded Access to Digital Content Now Available Online
Western Washington University now has perpetual, full-text, electronic access to Early English Books Online, the U.S. Serials Set 1 Digital Collections, and an assortment of newspapers, all of which were previously only available via microforms at Western Libraries.
In an effort to improve access to research collections, Western Washington University recently purchased perpetual, full-text, electronic access to Early English Books Online, the U.S. Serials Set, and an assortment of heavily used newspapers -- much of which was previously available only on microfilm in the Western Libraries.
Enhanced access to this content now permits patrons to search and read these materials online at any time. Access is provided as fully searchable full-page views.
The decision to purchase perpetual electronic access to these resources and to reduce the microfilm footprint advances Western’s plans to relocate disAbility Resources for Students and Veteran’s Services from Old Main into the first floor of Wilson Library. This larger, modern, highly visible location will increase the quality and capacity of services provided to students and faculty. The plan also offers the Libraries the opportunity to relocate the Map Collection from the Wilson Library first floor to a more visible location on the second floor and to improve adjoining learning spaces.
The new digital content currently includes:
- Early English Books Online, 1473-1700 with enhanced (subject searching) individual catalog records (130,000 titles from 200 libraries)
- Globe and Mail, 1844-2014
- Los Angeles Times, 1881-1993
- New York Daily Times, 1851-1857
- New York Times, 1857-2014
- Times Digital Archive, 1785-1985
- U.S. Serial Set 1 Digital Collection, 1789-1969
- Wall Street Journal, 1889-2000
- Washington Post, 1877-2000
To access this new content, search for your title in OneSearch or visit: http://libguides.wwu.edu/az.php?a=all. (Remember to “Sign in for Full Access.”)
Read more: Expanded Online Access Now Available