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Posted on: Tuesday, December 8, 2015 - 2:13pm
Conversations in Common - Introduction to Research
When Western students have the opportunity to engage in meaningful research that they later share with others, they not only learn valuable research skills, but they also enrich the university community by allowing others to benefit from the results of their work.
Recognizing the multiple benefits of creating such opportunities for sharing, Research and Instruction Librarian Peter Smith has turned the final day of his Library 201 “Introduction to Research Strategies” course into a poster exhibition during which students present their research findings as part of a “Conversations in Common” event hosted in the Learning Commons.
Students in Smith’s class selected their own unique subjects to explore, which they then researched in stages, applying their individual questions to the scholarly literature and traveling from inquiry to thesis.
Learning Commons Coordinator Shevell Thibou commented on how much she enjoyed working with the Library 201 students during the Learning Commons sponsored Research-Writing workshops that she facilitated as part of this course. She noted that often students began with an assumption which ultimately evolved into something quite different from their original conception.
“What was also great about this is that often students would end up wanting to know even more about their topics as their perspectives changed because of their research,” said Thibou. “Watching them demonstrate that initiative and create opportunities to learn even more, to move beyond not just where they started but also where they left off with their research project was really exciting.”
Smith noted how expanding the students’ possible audience beyond the confines of the classroom affected their research and scholarship experiences.
“The students know they have to create something for an audience that is different than their instructor,” explained Smith. “The whole idea is to create a ‘public’ exhibit, which changes their whole approach. I have seen students become more engaged with tackling their research when they know they have to not only construct a poster based on their findings, but also be able to stand by it and explain it to someone who may know nothing at all about their topic.”
Research topics varied widely, including subjects taken from current events, educational, social, or environmental issues. Some students selected their research topics based on their personal interests or career aspirations.
For example, Felicity Shomer chose to examine the effect of Theatre Arts programs on high school students with special needs, and during her research she discovered multiple positive impacts to implementing such programs, in addition to learning how to integrate some of these practices into the classroom. She remarked that this information will help her as she pursues her “dream job” of teaching theatre to students with special needs.
With each recurrence the Library 201 poster exhibit has increased in popularity among Library and Learning Commons faculty and staff who often come away from the sessions having learned something new themselves, and who have begun to look forward to this event as an opportunity to learn directly from students.
“Getting an opportunity to learn from our own students here at Western, to listen to them engage thoughtfully and enthusiastically about their work, really demonstrates how the teaching and learning experience is so dynamic and interactive,” said Thibou. “I am also really glad we have a program like ‘Conversations in Common’ to serve as a venue for students, faculty, and staff to connect with each other and as part of the teaching and learning experience.”
Conversations in Common is an initiative sponsored by Western Libraries and the Learning Commons to create opportunities for people to engage in informal dialogue and learn more about various resources and programs at Western. For more information about this event or about the “Conversations in Common” program, contact: Shevell.Thibou@wwu.edu.
Read more: Sharing Research Through Conversations
Posted on: Friday, November 20, 2015 - 3:01pm
Open Access News @WWU: Western CEDAR Updates
Western Washington University launched its Institutional Repository known as Western CEDAR in the fall of 2014. Part of a global movement promoting open access to scholarship and creative works, Western CEDAR is a service of Western Libraries, in partnership with Western's Graduate School, Office of the Provost, and Office of Research and Sponsored Programs.
During the past year, content in Western CEDAR has grown to include 108 faculty research pages, 26 departmental pages, 441 theses, 111 Scholars Week poster sessions, and the 2014 Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference. By the end of this past October, scholarship contained in CEDAR had been downloaded worldwide over 65,000 times.
Western Libraries has taken an active leadership role in managing CEDAR day-to-day, teaching interested faculty, staff, and students about the software’s many capabilities, and educating them on their intellectual property rights and responsibilities. Western CEDAR advances the University’s commitment to enriching academic inquiry and strengthening communities by sharing the expertise and creativity of its students, faculty, and staff worldwide via the Web.
Recently the Institute for Watershed Studies (IWS) collaborated with Western Libraries to add their collection to CEDAR. The IWS supports research on freshwater lakes, streams and wetlands, including Lake Whatcom, which is the primary drinking water source for the City of Bellingham and parts of Whatcom County.
The City of Bellingham and Western have worked together on investigations of the water quality in Lake Whatcom since the early 1960s. Beginning in the 1980s, a monitoring program was developed by the City and the IWS to provide long-term water quality data for the lake and its tributaries. Having the IWS collection in Western CEDAR means that this information is now accessible for anyone to search, find, and use.
This past summer, back issues of the interdisciplinary peer-reviewed Journal of Educational Controversy were also added to the repository. The next issue is scheduled for publication directly in CEDAR sometime this fall, and will include an article which examines the benefits, pitfalls, and sustainability of open access publishing.
For more information about Western CEDAR, contact Scholarly Communications Librarian Jenny Oleen or Western CEDAR Manager, Kim Marsicek.
Read more: Open Access News
Posted on: Friday, October 30, 2015 - 3:15pm
Washington Rural Heritage Grant Award
Thanks to a $5,000 Washington Rural Heritage Grant, Western Libraries will be digitizing the correspondence, photographs, sketches, and papers of three prominent Pacific Northwest artists: Guy Anderson, Charles Stokes and Louis Mideke.
Once digitized, this content will be added to Heritage Resources’ digital collections, as well as the Washington Rural Heritage website, making these materials publicly available for use in research, teaching and private study.
Julia Sapin, chair of Western’s Art department, noted the significance of obtaining the Anderson materials.
“Guy Anderson was a leading figure in the Northwest School of painting and drew attention to this region through his form of abstract expressionism,” Sapin said. “It is a boon to our library’s collection to have this esteemed gift among its offerings, and Western students, as well as students and scholars from across the country, will be able to make use of this resource and increase their understanding of Anderson’s practice and community.”
Western Libraries Heritage Resources is partnering on the project with the Museum of Northwest Art in LaConner and the LaConner Public Library System. Washington Rural Heritage is a collaborative digitization program headquartered at the Washington State Library that brings together unique local history materials from libraries, museums and the private collections of citizens across Washington State.
Read more: Digitization of Artists' Works
Posted on: Tuesday, August 11, 2015 - 4:00pm
New Collection Features Doris Burn Artwork & Manuscripts
Siblings Skye, Lisa, and Mark Burn introduce Librarian Sylvia Tag to a portfolio of Doris Burn's drawings that now form part of the collection donated to Western Libraries.
Western Libraries has received a new collection of materials from noted children’s author and illustrator Doris Burn. A long-time resident of the San Juan Islands, Doris (Wernstedt ) Burn authored and illustrated the 1965 classic Andrew Henry’s Meadow, which won the Washington Governor’s Art Award. Burn also wrote The Summerfolk and The Tale of Lazy Lizard Canyon, and served as illustrator for a range of children’s works that are included in and documented through this donation.
Examples of some of the books and materials that are now part of the new collection.
The collection is a gift from the Burn family to Western Washington University via the Doris Burn Legacy LLC, and contains first-edition copies of children’s works written or illustrated by Burn, manuscripts and original artwork prepared for titles including Andrew Henry’s Meadow, and a number of unpublished and hitherto unseen manuscripts and drawings.
“This donation allows us to preserve the work and legacy of a noted children’s author and illustrator,” said Archivist Ruth Steele. “These materials are an important addition to the unique and rare collections held by Western Libraries.”
Skye, Lisa, and Mark Burn share memories of their mother's work with librarian Sylvia Tag and Archivist Ruth Steele.
These materials help document the cultural and artistic history of the Pacific Northwest region and were created by an artist and writer who sought specifically to engage with the needs, interests, and creativity of a younger audience. Burn’s work continues to speak to readers of all ages, and since her death in 2011, Andrew Henry’s Meadow has been reissued by Penguin’s Philomel Books. The title has also been published and is presently available in translation in Korea, China and Japan.
The collection of materials from the Burn family will be preserved and made available for research and use through Western Libraries Heritage Resources, in association with the Children’s Literature Interdisciplinary Collection, and is a valuable addition to the Libraries’ holdings. The Libraries promotes active use of these holdings by faculty, staff and students and also welcomes community members who may be interested in exploring these and other collections.
Read more: Special Collection Donated to Western
Posted on: Monday, June 8, 2015 - 2:51pm
Western Libraries Undergraduate Research Award Winners for 2015 Announced!
Winners of the Western Libraries Undergraduate Research Award were honored at a small reception held in Western Libraries Special Collections on Friday, June 5, 2015, during which Dean of Libraries Mark Greenberg publicly recognized each student for their work and presented the awardees with their award certificates. Also in attendance were members of the 2015 Undergraduate Research Award review committee, friends and family members of each of the award-winning students, and the students’ faculty mentors.
Western Libraries Undergraduate Research Award is given annually to three Western Washington University undergraduate students in recognition of their excellence and originality in creating research papers for courses taught across the colleges based on significant inquiry using library resources and collections. Each winner of the Western Libraries Undergraduate Research Award receives a certificate, a cash award of $500.00, and publication of their prize-winning paper in Western CEDAR, Western Washington University’s institutional repository.
Award applicants must demonstrate outstanding library research in the writing of their research papers, and winners are selected by an award review committee consisting of a variety of faculty members from Western Libraries and other disciplines at Western. Members of the 2015 award review committee included: Jeanne Armstrong (Libraries), Javier Berzal de Dios (Art), Amanda Eurich (History), Margaret Fast (Western Libraries), and Jeff Purdue (Western Libraries).
The three 2014-2015 winners listed below with their paper titles and faculty mentors are:
Title: Computational Chemistry in Rational Material Design for Organic Photovoltaics
Mentor: Tim Kowalczyk, Assistant Professor, Chemistry
Title: Responding to Sex Workers’ Rights as Workers’ Rights: Reducing Sex Trafficking in the Dominican Republic
Mentor: Babafemi Akinrinade, Associate Professor of Human Rights, Fairhaven College
Title: Taking Back Birth: Alternative Birth Professionals Empowering Women in Childbirth
Mentor: Jen Lois, Professor of Sociology
Congratulations to these three remarkable students for all of their accomplishments!
Read more: Undergraduate Research Award Winners
Posted on: Wednesday, June 3, 2015 - 1:52pm
Topic(s): Feature Stories
Rebecca Marrall & ALA 2015 Emerging Leaders Project: Libraries' Role in Publishing
Western Washington University’s Rebecca Marrall was recently selected as one of the American Library Association's (ALA) 2015 Emerging Leaders. According to the American Libraries magazine, the Emerging Leaders program recognizes the “library world’s rising stars” by annually selecting 50 of the “best and brightest” library professionals and paraprofessionals with fewer than five years of library experience to participate in project-planning groups and serve in leadership roles in their profession.
“It’s an incredible honor to participate in this program,” said Marrall. “I was one of only two people selected from the Pacific Northwest region, and the topic I get to explore with my project group is timely, fun, exciting, and challenging.”
Marrall’s project is sponsored by RUSA (Reference & User Services Association), and in addition to Marrall, the team consists of four other Emerging Leaders. Since January 2015, the team has collaborated online and across time zones to explore their project topic: an examination of the role of libraries in the publishing cycle. Marrall explained that although their project title was originally “Library as Publisher,” as the team delved deeper into the research process, it became clear that libraries engage in a wide range of publishing-related activities.
“Once we began working, we discovered that the phrase ‘Library as Publisher’ was actually too limiting because it did not fully address all the roles that libraries fulfill in the publishing cycle,” said Marrall.
The Emerging Leaders team started their work by conducting an environmental scan to create a snapshot of how a variety of different libraries (including public, government, academic, or archival libraries) have been participating in the publishing process. Whether through supporting author research and content creation, publishing both printed and online content, disseminating and curating publications, or promoting best practices by educating content creators about both Open Access and copyright, libraries have become increasingly involved in the publishing process.
“We identified four main aspects of the publishing cycle and realized that many libraries have some sort of role in this cycle. The ubiquity of libraries’ publishing activities is quite profound,” said Marrall.
According to Marrall and her team members, the four service areas where libraries play a role in publishing are: education and instruction; development and editing; product design and production; and marketing and dissemination. Marrall and her team members also conducted a national survey among library professionals about their information needs and library publishing services. The team intends to host a poster session about the Emerging Leaders experience at an upcoming national conference, and then will also share both the results of the national survey and the environmental scan with the Reference & User Services Association Board, who will use the information to determine future directions within the organization. Marrall explained how this project not only provides an opportunity to share information with libraries on a national level, but that it will also be useful locally here at Western.
“I definitely see some overlap with some of the work my Emerging Leaders team is doing and with the work we are doing here at Western Libraries; the findings thus far are certainly relevant to things like CEDAR,” stated Marrall, referring to Western’s institutional repository. “This really is an evolving phenomenon. The 21st-century library is not merely a storehouse for information. It doesn’t mean libraries no longer have that role; rather, it means that libraries have expanded to include so much more.”
Marrall and her team members plan to present their findings to RUSA by July 10, 2015, and then hope to share their results with a wider audience shortly thereafter.
For more information about this project, contact Rebecca.Marrall@wwu.edu.
Rebecca M. Marrall is the Discovery Services Librarian at Western Libraries. In addition to participating in credit instruction and in the Research-Writing Studio, she leads the Resource Discovery Unit and chairs the OneSearch Management Team (the latter being the Libraries catalog interface management working group). After graduating with her MLISc from the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa in 2010, Marrall accepted the Diversity Resident Librarian position at Western Libraries. Research interests include: diversity and inclusion practices in LIS settings, library instruction, and user experiences.
Read more: Libraries' Role in Publishing
Posted on: Monday, May 11, 2015 - 1:40pm
Acting Consul General Dorj Bayarkhuu from the Mongolian Consulate of San Francisco formally presented the Order of Altan Gadas (the Order of the Polar Star) on behalf of the president of Mongolia to Wayne Richter of Western Libraries on May 6, 2015.
This award is the highest state honor given by the president of Mongolia to a foreign national in recognition of individuals who have provided exceptional assistance to Mongolia. Past recipients include Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, John McCain, and retired Western Washington University professor Henry Schwarz.
The quality and accessibility of the extraordinary Mongolian Studies Collection at Western Libraries is a result of the generosity of scholars such as Schwarz, Nicholas Poppe and John C. Street, and the valuable work of Wayne Richter. Richter is a nationally recognized expert in the creation and editing of bibliographic records for materials written in Mongolian and related languages, and he is the only cataloger in the United States who routinely creates national name authority records – work which involves considerable research in a field with only limited bibliographic and biographic resources.
Richter is an expert in the highly technical aspects of “MARC” encoding and the representation of non-Roman alphabet foreign language materials in online library catalogs. Using a grant from the U.S. Department of Education, ‘Strengthening Mongolian Language Resources in the United States’ in the early 1990’s, his work with bibliographic records allowed libraries worldwide to discover and request access to resources in the Mongolian Studies Collection at Western.
While noted for his great capacity for learning languages, including Mongolian, Uighur and Kazakh, Richter’s passion for the languages and cultures of Central Asia resulted from his undergraduate studies at Western, when he participated in one of the earliest “Western in Mongolia” summer programs. He later attended a Mongolian language course at Inner Mongolia University and then quickly transitioned from learning to teaching, introducing a credit course at Western in “Written Mongolian.”
His work in the highly specialized area of national standards for the Romanization of Mongolian and related languages has been recognized during his contacts with the Library of Congress, and the Committee on East Asian Libraries of the Association for Asian Studies. He has either developed or assisted in the development of Library of Congress standards for the Romanization of many languages and scripts, such as the Mongolian script, Uighur, Manchu, and Tod/Oirat/Old Kalmyk Romanization tables.
Richter also served as a consultant on the Unicode standards for Mongolian script for the International Standards Organization (ISO), which involved the encoding of Mongolian script for use in computer systems, a project made particularly complicated by the many disparities between modern pronunciation and traditional spellings encoded in Mongol script. Additionally, Richter developed some of the first fonts that allowed the display of Mongolian scripts on personal computers.
Richter has actively reached out to people who are interested in Mongolia and its cultures and languages, participates in meetings of the Asian Studies on the Pacific Coast, and is in regular contact with Mongolian scholars and librarians from other institutions who use Western’s collections. He regularly coordinates and leads tours of the Libraries’ Mongolian Studies Collection for a wide variety of individuals and groups, including Mongolian ambassadors to the U.S., U.S. Ambassadors to Mongolia, and many visiting scholars. Richter’s work to make resources available to scholars worldwide will impact Mongolian studies for decades to come.
Read more: Wayne Richter Receives Prestigious Award
Posted on: Tuesday, May 5, 2015 - 3:19pm
Western CEDAR: Sharing with the World
One need only glance at the “Faculty Notes” page of Western Today to get a sense of the depth and range of research, scholarship, and creative works that Western’s faculty are producing. Western CEDAR, Western Washington University’s institutional repository (IR), is one way Western can share these innovative and engaging outputs with the world. Part of a global movement promoting open access to scholarship and creative works, Western CEDAR is a service of Western Libraries, in partnership with the Graduate School, Office of the Provost, and Office of Research and Sponsored Programs.
Since its launch last fall, CEDAR’s implementation team has been working diligently with Western faculty and staff to both create SelectedWorks pages and also add content to the repository that will help make the scholarly and creative work of Western’s community accessible to everyone.
“So much is made about the teaching-learning mission of the university. But I’m constantly amazed at the quality and quantity of academic scholarship that is produced at Western. This allows us, in one place, to begin to tell the story of the university’s collective efforts to engage in the production of new knowledge, and to share that broadly,” explained Dr. Francisco Rios, Dean of Woodring College of Education.
CEDAR’s Selected Works feature allows faculty from Western to share their work and expand their readership. Articles published in peer-reviewed journals that are added to CEDAR are search engine optimized for maximum exposure, meaning they have the potential to receive increased readership beyond the discipline-specific journal in which they were first published.
While one of the goals of CEDAR is to make scholarship available and accessible to anyone in the world, a local benefit of using SelectedWorks is that it provides scholars at Western an opportunity to discover what their colleagues here at Western are researching and creating. Elementary Education Professor Joy Wiggins explained how CEDAR helps connect faculty across the university, enabling them to recognize how their work intersects with other disciplines.
"My research intersects with anthropology, sociology, psychology and even political science, and it just makes sense for me to seek research outside of education...We tend to stay encapsulated in our disciplines and respective departments because we are so busy just teaching, attending to service and squeezing in our writing that we sometimes forget to look up from our desks and seek other like-minded folks from different disciplines that bring a whole new, fresh insight to our work. That’s what’s so exciting to me. CEDAR is one way to connect us," said Wiggins.
Faculty who create SelectedWorks pages can showcase their scholarly and creative works by displaying them in a customized format organized according to the categories they decide to highlight, (such as: areas of research and expertise, awards and honors, publications, bibliographies, Curriculum Vitae, or lists of links to additional information). SelectedWorks pages also allow scholars to easily cultivate their own network of followers by inviting contacts to join their announcement network, or follow them via RSS feed or email.
Environmental Sciences Professor Robin Matthews’ SelectedWorks page includes something entirely unique since she is the author of the very first book ever published in CEDAR, a taxonomy guide to local algae that includes hundreds of high resolution color images. The book can be downloaded electronically to a computer or mobile device, and it was created with active links which make it easy to use.
“Putting the book on CEDAR solved a huge problem I was facing: how to make the book accessible to students and other professionals at a low or no cost and without loss of quality. Printing this type of book would be prohibitively expensive, assuming I could even find a publisher interested in the project,” explained Matthews.
Not only was Matthews able to create something she uses in her own teaching, she has also connected with others outside of the United States who have told her that her book has helped them in teaching their students algal taxonomy. Currently, publications from Western Washington University's faculty, staff and students, including Western's Masters Thesis Collection, are being downloaded by people from all over the world. CEDAR's website includes a dynamic map that begins with the previous days' downloads before switching to real-time activity, so you can see for yourself the global impact of the work being done at Western.
“Ultimately, this is about providing access to the broadest range of one’s scholarship to as many people as possible. As an educational institution, we have a commitment and obligation to generate new knowledge. But that knowledge, to have impact, needs to be shared with as many others as possible. And others need to be able to access that knowledge,” said Rios.
Cedar’s implementation team at Western Libraries is available to assist you in if you are interested in creating a SelectedWorks page to showcase your work, or if you have any questions about Western CEDAR. Please contact Western Libraries Scholarly Communication Librarian, Jenny.Oleen@wwu.edu or Western CEDAR Manager Kim.Marsicek@wwu.edu for more information.
Read more: Sharing with the World - Western CEDAR
Posted on: Friday, April 10, 2015 - 1:54pm
Topic(s): Feature Stories
What do fly fishing and Western Libraries have in common? You might be surprised at the connections between these two seemingly incongruous things!
Professor Paul Piper, who is also Western Libraries librarian for Special Collections, is teaching a Library 320 Class this quarter, “Fly Fishing in American Literature and Culture.” This class explores both the sport and art of ﬂy ﬁshing in American literature and culture, and considers the implications of fly ﬁshing as a cultural phenomenon on gender, race, and environmental concerns by utilizing the ﬂy ﬁshing collection in Special Collections.
After a student in the class mentioned that he had never actually done any fly fishing and thought he could benefit from understanding something of the physical experience, Piper spoke with two professors who are also sitting in and contributing to the class, Woodring College of Education Human Services Professor Dr. Stan Goto, and Huxley College Environmental Sciences Professor Dr. Leo Bodensteiner, about arranging a time for students to experience what it feels like to cast a flyrod.
One sunny Thursday afternoon presented itself as the perfect opportunity for the class to engage in some experiential learning activities to help enrich their classroom experiences. Here are some photos of students gathered together on the lawn in from of Old Main first learning some tips from Bodensteiner, and then practicing their casting skills.
“The students seemed thrilled by the kinesthetic experience of holding and handling a fly rod. In subsequent discussion they talked about how it made the conceptual more real. Several students said they wanted to further pursue it," said Piper.
To see more pictures from Thursday's class, check out the Libraries Facebook page. To learn more about Western Libraries fly fishing collections, which includes: books, periodicals, manuscripts, photographs, artworks, audio and video personal interviews and histories, and fly fishing artifacts such as rods, reels, flies, and fly tying materials, contact: Heritage.Resources@wwu.edu.
Read more: Fly Fishing @Western Libraries
Posted on: Monday, March 9, 2015 - 10:32am
Western Libraries and the Learning Commons are pleased to announce the merger of Research Consultation and the Writing Center into the Research-Writing Studio, which will integrate academic support in a vibrant learning environment staffed by research consultants and writing assistants.
The merger will be accomplished beginning with the relocation of Research Consultation and the Writing Center to Haggard Hall East behind the Student Technology Center (STC).
University faculty have repeatedly identified the development of student research and writing skills as an important role of the Libraries. The Research-Writing Studio, funded exclusively by private donation, will feature flexible furnishings and mobile technologies to facilitate scholarly work and support for core academic literacies such as researching, reading, and writing. Students can work on their academic projects individually, with peers, or with consultants.
Featuring innovative pedagogies important to student learning, the Research-Writing Studio will integrate support for academic work, and scholars who use the Studio can receive feedback while they practice their craft. Research consultants and writing assistants will offer incremental, strategy-based consultations while students work individually or collaboratively within the space.
Over the next few months, you may notice Studio-related changes in the Library. In addition to the relocation of Research Consultation and the Writing Center to Haggard Hall East, the oversize collection will be relocated to the Wilson Library, and the reference collection will move from Wilson to Haggard 2. Although no major construction is planned, some infrastructure improvements to electrical and lighting will occur over the summer.
For more details on implementation plans, please contact Andrea.Peterson@wwu.edu.
Read more: New Research-Writing Studio