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Subscription Cancellations and Securing Access to Information

Posted on: January 18, 2020

Topic(s): Updates, Resources

Subscription Cancellations and Securing Access to Information

Over the next six months, the Western Libraries will be engaging the university in important conversations about our collective mission, the information landscape, and the implications for library subscriptions. The vision of our university calls on each of us to advance the ideals of exploration, critical thinking, connection, and creativity. Collectively, we seek to provide a transformational educational experience for our students, grounded in innovative scholarship, research, and creative activity; as well as justice and equity in our policies, practices, and impacts. 

Photo of a stack of magazines with their spines facing out. In this spirit, Western Libraries continues to move forward in new directions, favoring broad access to information over more traditional models of ownership, challenging the narrative that knowledge can be owned, and seeking ways to keep information open to the community where it can best serve the greater good. We are not alone in these efforts: libraries around the world are pushing for a more sustainable, open, and just approach to information, and the current moment represents an opportunity for all of us. 

In the short-term, university conversations about access to information will center necessarily around subscription reductions. Due to the combination of a flat library collections budget and inflation on subscriptions, the Western Libraries anticipates a subscriptions budget shortfall of more than $300K in FY 2020-21, and $80K in subsequent years. This immediate pressure requires that we reduce Western’s subscriptions in favor of a more agile, access-based approach. Read more about our process for tackling this challenge and reducing subscriptions on the Western Libraries Subscription Task Force webpage.  

In the long-term, the proliferation of journal titles, rising costs of library subscriptions, and for-profit journal landscape require a more forward-looking conversation about scholarly publishing. Western has the opportunity to be part of these important discussions; read more about Open Access and the future of scholarly communications on the Task Force webpage.

Throughout the next six months, the Task Force will strive to work transparently and consultatively, and will continue to communicate updates via the Task Force webpage, the Library News and Western Today, department chairs and faculty governance, leadership groups like the AS Board and the Graduate Student Advisory Council, all-faculty emails, and the Libraries’ subject teams

We appreciate your feedback and look forward to a robust conversation about the future of publishing, scholarly communication, and library subscriptions. Remember: Western is not alone in this struggle. Universities across the country and around the world are grappling with unsustainable subscription pricing and engaging in serious conversations about the future of scholarly publishing. We hope that Western will be part of those conversations, as well.

For more information on how the Libraries manages subscriptions, consult the Subscription Management Glossary and FAQ. For more information on Open Access and the scholarly publishing ecosystem, review the SPARC Open Access page, which includes a downloadable Open Access fact sheet.


Read more: Subscription Cancellations and Securing Access to Information


Western’s Multimedia Archives Based Electronic Library (MABEL) Now Available!

Posted on: June 26, 2019

Topic(s): Updates, Resources

Western’s Multimedia Archives Based Electronic Library (MABEL) Now Available

On June 25, 2019, the beta version of Western’s Multimedia Archives Based Electronic Library (MABEL) will be available to the university community. This central repository will allow for the discovery, sharing, and preservation of Western's digital assets, which includes images, video and sound recordings, and textual documents.

Screenshot image of MABEL's landing page header; text that reads: MABEL: Multimedia Archives Based Electronic Library; placed over a search box with options to browse the collections or browse by format.

MABEL was developed to provide access to digital content in support of communications, research, and teaching & learning activities at Western, while also allowing for the responsible stewardship of unique materials and valuable digital assets created or managed by Western.

 

What’s the difference between Western CEDAR and MABEL? 

Western CEDAR provides open access to scholarship and creative works produced by the Western community, making the research, scholarship, and creative works of WWU faculty, staff, and students easily discoverable to anyone in the world. 

These two platforms have separate purposes and different kinds of content, and can be used together in complementary ways to support the wide array of teaching, learning, and research activities at Western. 

Screenshot from MABEL's landing page that lists the "Browse by Format" options, which include image, video, audio, newspaper, and text.

Content in MABEL can be used to support and enable:

  • Academic and scholarly research
  • Primary source instruction
  • Preservation of digital assets
  • Marketing & outreach activities

 

Western employees who work with digital assets on behalf of their organizational units will be able to use MABEL to manage and share those assets. Although access permissions for content in this platform will vary, members of the larger university community (employees, students, and beyond), will also be able to use MABEL for search and discovery of public-facing collections. 

MABEL is the result of an intensive, multi-year cross-campus university partnership involving numerous stakeholders, content creators, archivists, and library professionals.

Black and White photo of Mabel Zoe WilsonThe name MABEL is in part an homage to Mabel Zoe Wilson, Western's first full-time librarian and the namesake of the Wilson Library building, which is still part of Western Libraries’ main complex. Mabel Zoe Wilson served as librarian from 1902-1945. Tasked with creating a library from virtually nothing, she worked through four decades to grow, catalog, and organize the collections, initiate services, and teach students effective library use.

Work to improve and further develop MABEL will continue throughout the summer as a team of web developers and content experts will make additional improvements. The goal is to replace the beta version with the launch of an improved version in the fall of 2019.  

  • How to find MABEL: You may visit MABEL here: https://mabel.wwu.edu/
  • Content Contributors: If you are a member of Western’s University Community, and you are interested in hosting your unit’s content in MABEL, please email grp.mabel.training@wwu.edu  to learn more. 
  •  Interested in helping us improve the display and function of MABEL? Contact us.

Read more: Western’s Multimedia Archives Based Electronic Library (MABEL) Now Available!


New SensusAccess Service Now Available

Posted on: April 3, 2018

Topic(s): Updates, Resources

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


Grad Students Visit CPNWS

Posted on: September 27, 2017

Topic(s): Updates, Resources

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


Expanded Online Access Now Available

Posted on: September 18, 2017

Topic(s): Updates, Resources

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