Western Libraries - Spring 2012 Issue 1

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Welcome to our fifth issue of 3 Things! Included you’ll find information about 4 librarians who will be speaking in May as part of the Western Libraries' series, "Redefining the Academic Library." Additionally, this issue offers a great tip about working with two of our Learning Commons partners to hammer out an awesome research paper and you can read about the Western Front digitization project currently underway.

  Something New!

4 "Rock Star" Librarians Speak at Western

By Frank Haulgren 

This May the Western Libraries will present a series of talks by "rock star" librarians about the challenges and opportunities academic libraries face in the 21st century called Redefining the Academic Library. All of their talks are open to everyone in the campus community and will take place Wednesdays at 4pm, in Wilson 164 - Library Presentation Room.

Here's a listing of who these library movers and shakers are:

Doug WayMay 2: Doug Way, of Michigan's Grand Valley State University, will be talking about how library collections are changing and how those changes are altering the role of librarians in the university. Grand Valley is the 2012 winner of the prestigious ACRL Excellence in Academic Libraries award.

John PopkoMay 9: John Popko, of Seattle University, will be talking about the transformation of academic library space from predominantly stacks spaces into a vibrant learning center. John spent 10 years working towards the creation of SU's world-class transformative academic facility - the Lemieux and McGoldrick Learning Commons.

John HelmerMay 16: John Helmer of the Orbis-Cascade Alliance (the people who bring us Summit!) will speak about how libraries in the Alliance have set the bar across the country for vision, innovation and collaboration. Mr. Helmer is the winner of the 2012 Hugh C. Atkinson Award for outstanding accomplishment in library automation and management.

Betsy WilsonMay 23: Dean of the University of Washington Libraries, Betsy Wilson, will talk about the new and evolving roles for librarians and libraries within the 21st century university. Ms. Wilson was the 2007 Academic / Research Librarian of the Year and the UW Libraries received the 2004 ACRL Excellence in Academic Libraries award for its extensive renovation and reinvention of library space and mission. 

Don't worry if you can't make it. All of the presentations will be recorded and made available for viewing as part of an interactive forum through the Western Libraries' website. You'll be able to watch and engage in a conversation about the ideas presented.

  This Issue's Great Tip

Learning Commons Partners to the Rescue

By Elizabeth Stephan & Roberta Kjesrud 

Elizabeth Stephan

So, you have a research paper to write. This time, you’re going to start early, but when you try a Google Scholar search for a couple of topics you have in mind, you either find a bajillion articles or stuff that is only tangentially related to what you need - basically, you’re stumped.

Roberta Kjesrud

Stop and ask yourself a few questions: Is your topic causing the problem? Is it the assignment? Is it Google? Maybe it’s a little of all three.

The Learning Commons can help you work out all of these issues. Really!

Located on the second floors of Haggard and Wilson, the Writing Center and the Reference Desk - two of the Learning Commons partners - can help you with developing a topic and a research plan.

At the Writing Center: Here’s where you get strategies to analyze your assignment and figure out what your professors really want. You can also get strategies for turning your topic into a focused inquiry question and a working hunch so you won’t have to try searching through a bajillion sources - or so you can find applicable ones.

Students at the Writing Center
Writing Assistants help students in the Writing Center

Once you have a draft, writing assistants can help you decide how to revise by giving you response, either in person or online.

The Writing Center is across from Zoe’s Bagels on Wilson 2 West. Phone: 360-650-3219. Email: Writing.Center@wwu.edu.

At the Reference Desk: Once you have a focused inquiry question, then what? Librarians can help you develop a research plan. They can help you navigate the ever-changing world of research materials, from choosing the right source to developing a solid research strategy.

Librarians are available in their offices and at the Reference Desk on Haggard 2, next to the Student Tech Center.

  Did You Know?

Western Front Historical Collection Goes Digital

By Peter Smith, Head of Special Collections 

There has always been a student newspaper at Western since the university began in 1899. Now the historic issues of the paper, from 1899 to 2009 are going on the Internet. The project began when Marian Alexander, Head of Special Collections emeritus, began planning to digitize the Western Front, for better access and preservation. With generous donations from Cindy (1984 Western alum) and Don Hacherl and Bert Halprin (1971 Western alum), the plan became a reality. Cindy and Bert both worked for the Western Front as students.

The Western Front has had different names in the past, including, "The Normal Messenger," "The Northwest Viking," and "The WW Collegian." The original issues made of newsprint are aged and brittle. The bound volumes were cut apart so that individual sheets could be scanned. Now a library team, including Tamara Belts, Lesley Lowery, and Sandy Celec are enhancing the digitized images of the paper with names, dates, tags, and other information to provide better access to the content.

Sandy Celec indexing the student newspaper collection
Sandy Celec indexing the student newspaper collection

Instead of turning pages hoping to find something, readers can search the collection using names, topics (basketball, for example), a date, or other keywords to locate articles, or browse the issues in chronological order. 

The Western Washington University Student Newspaper collection is a work in progress, and not all years are finished. The collection will be completed sometime this summer providing an intimate look at campus life, events, and the people of Western for over a hundred years. 

Visit the collection online at: http://content.wwu.edu/cdm-wfront/ or find it listed under Digital Collections on the library home page.

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