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Posted on: March 15, 2019
Western Libraries Undergraduate Research Award
Western Libraries is currently accepting applications for the 2018-2019 Western Libraries Undergraduate Research Award. This year, we are expanding the submission period to allow eligible students to submit work completed during the spring and summer quarters of the previous year. Each Undergraduate Research Award winner receives $500.00 and publication in Western CEDAR, Western’s institutional repository.
For the past five years, awards have been given annually to students who demonstrate outstanding library research in the writing of papers for college credit courses that were taught at Western during either fall or winter quarters of the current academic year. With the new expanded submission period, you can now enter research projects that you completed in the spring and summer of 2018, as long as you will be enrolled as a student at Western during the spring of 2019.
Now in its sixth year, the Libraries Undergraduate Research Award has grown to honor research from an array of disciplines. In the past, awards have been given to student research in the areas of Chemistry, Economics, Journalism, and Linguistics and Community Health. We encourage students to apply and faculty to consider nominating one of their outstanding students.
If you are a student who would like to apply for this award, or a faculty member who wishes to nominate a student, please see the full award guidelines and details here.
Applications are due by April 16, 2019. This year, the Libraries Undergraduate Research Award winners will be announced on May 14, 2019, the first day of Westerns Scholars Week. Questions? Contact us here.
Read more: Library Seeks Undergraduate Submissions
Posted on: December 7, 2018
New OneSearch Interface Enhancements
The latest version of the OneSearch catalog at Western Libraries was released on January 4, 2019. As announced during spring 2018, this latest version will replace the existing OneSearch interface and offers some improvements to how information is displayed within the library catalog. Additionally, changes to the appearance of various navigation options should improve patrons’ experience using the catalog.
OneSearch is a shared catalog that searches library holdings at Western Washington University and at 37 neighboring Orbis Cascade Alliance-member libraries throughout the Pacific Northwest. Students, staff, and faculty affiliated with any of these institutions have access to materials from all member libraries, and having a shared catalog makes this access possible.
A beta version of the latest OneSearch catalog has been available to the university community at Western since the beginning of spring quarter 2018. Since that time, Western Libraries has been gathering and incorporating feedback about the new interface and has shared the results of this user testing in several reports.
In all testing efforts, participants who used the new interface reported that the new catalog was more attractive and more user-friendly than the existing version. The test results also showed that users were better able to complete basic tasks (such as conducting a keyword search and navigating search results) in the new catalog.
The OneSearch upgrade will not compromise existing functionality and will not change the capabilities that currently exist. In other words, everything library users are used to doing should still be available, and it might even be easier than before!
The Libraries will make sure to communicate via the Libraries’ website any service interruptions, should they occur. Additionally, all systems will be tested to ensure that library operations can continue uninterrupted.
Read more: OneSearch New Interface Jan. 4
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