Western Libraries - Spring 2013 Issue 2

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In this last issue of the academic year you’ll find an introductory piece by our new Dean of Libraries who has arrived, and is interested in hearing from you. Next we share with you a “sneak preview” of the next generation discovery layer - soon to replace our current catalog search box. The issue ends with a short piece about the Orbis-Cascade Alliance’s important role in many of the initiatives which support research and scholarship at WWU. Have a great summer!

  Something New!

A Message From the Incoming Dean of Libraries

By Mark I. Greenberg, Incoming Dean of Libraries

Mark Greenberg

June 1 marks my first official day as Dean of Libraries, but I have been hard at work in May getting to know the Library and University. It’s been an exciting and educational last several weeks.

From my first encounter with Western as an applicant for the Dean position, I was deeply impressed with its clear focus on undergraduate education, the quality of its students and faculty, the strength of its academic programs, and the many national accolades the University has received. As a centerpiece for teaching and learning on campus, the Library stood out to me for its excellent faculty and staff, research collections, and patron services.

Now “on board” at Western, I see how bright the future looks for the Libraries. Important groundwork already has been laid. Streamlined service points and a new Learning Commons Information Desk have improved efficiencies and engaged more students in peer-to-peer support. A robust reference and instruction program is improving information literacy and supporting the curriculum. The Learning Commons has grown in scope, and new furniture is on the way to facilitate more space for collaborative learning. Heritage Resources offers myriad collections to explore as well as exciting research opportunities.

Collaboration in the new-look Learning Commons

Western Libraries’ future lies in bringing multiple threads together – in building programs, services, and collections that are more than the sum of their parts. As Dean, I look forward to facilitating collaboration both within and outside the Libraries. Partnerships with faculty and staff are crucial to our success.

Please watch in the coming months for exciting initiatives to grow undergraduate research opportunities, new digital collections projects to support teaching and learning, and an expanded Learning Commons with greater reach and impact.

The Libraries seek to be both responsive and proactive – to meet Western’s needs but also to play a leadership role and to try new things. In all of these efforts, I encourage your input. I hope you will share your suggestions with me as the Libraries continue to strive to be a centerpiece for teaching and learning at the University.

  This Issue's Great Tip

The New Western Libraries Search

By Ryer Banta, Instructional Design Resident

Ryer Banta

Search better, search wider, save time and find the best!  

Ever wish that you could search the library for everything you need from one simple search box? We know you do because we’ve heard time and again, “Can’t we just have one box that searches everything? Like Google!” Well you are in luck, because this summer we are getting a new search system that lets you do just that. 

Our new system comes with an improved search engine that brings you better results from a wider range of collections. Maybe not everything but one search will pull together search results from the library catalog, Summit Borrowing, databases, open access repositories and much more. This means that you will have an easier time finding great materials for all your research needs.


This new system is also loaded with useful tools that help you refine your results and focus on getting exactly what you want. Plus, if you get stumped and need to branch out, our new system has tools for that too. Not only will you be able to search for books, journal articles, and more, all at the same time, but you will also be able to easily find and request materials from libraries beyond Western.

Switching to a new system is a massive undertaking and a huge change for us, but luckily Western Libraries is not alone in this transition. You may not know it, but Western Libraries is a member of the Orbis Cascade Alliance, which is a partnership between 37 academic libraries across Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. Summit, which allows you to get materials from other member libraries, is one of the Alliance’s collaborative efforts. Now the Alliance is working together to bring you this new system that will be shared between all member libraries. This new shared library system will allow us new opportunities to bring you the best service and collections possible.

All of this adds up to an amazing, new search experience that helps you find the best materials from Western and beyond. Spend less time searching and more time with what you find.

  Did You Know?

37 to 1: Alliance Libraries Moving to One Shared System

By Rick Osen, Interim Dean of Libraries

Rick Osen

Big changes are in store for the Western Washington University Libraries and its users. In June 2013, we'll migrate to a new and improved library system for finding books, articles, and more. The new search and discovery interface will make it easier for you to find information and research materials here at the Western Libraries and beyond.

This migration is part of a major cooperative effort of the Orbis Cascade Alliance, a consortium of 37 academic libraries across Oregon, Washington, and Idaho, of which the Western Libraries is a long-standing member. As a consortium, we share services, technologies, and collections. Many of you will know the Alliance through the robust resource sharing service known as Summit. Others may be aware of the Alliance’s ebook acquisition project that has added thousands of titles for all 37 institutions to share.

The move from 37 systems to a single shared library system is a hallmark of the consortium’s collaboration, and will open the door to further collaborative ventures in the future. By sharing one system, we'll improve the research experience for our students and faculty and better manage all of our resources. To give you an indication of the size of this system, when complete it will contain 8.8 million titles and over 26 million resources held within the 37 institutions.

The Western Libraries, along with the University of Washington Libraries, is among the first institutions within the consortium to move to this new environment. Other institutions will migrate to the shared system in cohorts over the next 18 months.  We're committed to providing the same excellent service throughout the implementation, and will appreciate your patience as we move to this more streamlined system.

You'll be hearing more about this exciting development as the launch date approaches and as implementation takes place. Meanwhile, if you have any questions or concerns, please contact Rick.Osen@wwu.edu.

Learn more about the New OneSearch!

Orbis Cascade Alliance

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