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Streamlined Summit Requesting

Posted on: Monday, January 12, 2015 - 8:44am

Topic(s): Resources, Summit, Updates

Streamlined Summit Requesting through OneSearch

Content from the thirty-seven libraries within the Orbis Cascade Alliance is now fully integrated through the single search interface of OneSearch, and as a result of this integration, the Alliance will roll out enhancements to the Summit requesting process on January 20, 2015.  Some of the benefits of these enhancements are that patrons will experience fewer authentication requests, and they will be able to track their Summit request items in their “MyAccount” feature.


OneSearch is Western’s search interface that retrieves results from databases and catalogs found in academic libraries across the Pacific Northwest. In OneSearch, all content available to Western students, staff, and faculty is immediately accessible, and all other content from the neighboring thirty-six institutions can be requested and quickly delivered. The full integration of the Summit catalog into the OneSearch interface will create new opportunities for enhancements and improvements that will benefit those who use these library services.  


New OneSearch Interface Coming Soon

In related news, Western Libraries is seeking feedback on changes to the current OneSearch interface. The proposed interface will be accessible from the Western Libraries website as a beta version beginning January 20, 2015. The new interface offers a streamlined display of menu options and search results, in addition to a built-in “Chat with a Librarian” feature. It also includes enhanced search options and a more intuitive way to search multiple databases simultaneously.

Western Libraries is seeking feedback on this proposed interface and will be hosting a series of Focus Group sessions on the following dates in Haggard Hall 233:

New OneSearch Interface Focus Groups

  • Tuesday, January 20, 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.
  • Monday, January 26, 11:00 a.m. to Noon
  • Friday, February 13, 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
  • Tuesday, February 17, 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
  • Thursday, February 19, 11:00 a.m. to Noon


If you would like more information about these developments or if you have any questions, please contact Rebecca Marrall, Chair of the OneSearch Management Team, at , or go to:

Partners in Teaching and Learning

Posted on: Tuesday, November 25, 2014 - 7:55am

Topic(s): Feature Story, Resources, Updates

The instruction plan for Western Libraries Heritage Resources articulates the goal of ensuring that Western students “are able to find, understand, and interpret a wide variety of research sources in various contexts throughout their lives.” With that in mind, Heritage Resources staff work closely with instructors to meet specific course needs and learning objectives by providing access to a wealth of materials that can enhance, enrich, and enliven research in nearly any subject area.


For example, this past August, a new cohort of Environmental Education graduate students visited Western’s campus and spent time working with archival and primary source materials at the Center for Pacific Northwest Studies (CPNWS).  As part of the M.Ed Residency program partnership between the North Cascades Institute (NCI) and Western’s Huxley College of the Environment, these students live at the Environmental Learning Center located in the North Cascades National Park for one year, during which time they are able to immerse themselves in place-based pedagogy.


At the heart of place-based education is the recognition that experiential community-based learning enhances a student’s educational experience by treating the local community as one of the primary sources for teaching and learning. The mission of the CPNWS is to “enhance public and scholarly understanding of the region’s past and present,” and this natural programmatic alignment led Huxley faculty and Heritage Resources staff to recognize an opportunity for collaboration.


In preparation for the on-site visit, Heritage Resources staff arranged a selection of original and archival materials representative of various perspectives of place - including environmental, economic, recreational, and indigenous views - for students to review and analyze. In the Archives Building Research Room, students divided into groups and reviewed the maps, photographs, pamphlets, letters, and other materials. Together they considered 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. Course instructor and NCI Graduate Program Coordinator Joshua Porter posed several challenging questions, which led to lively and interactive class discussions.


Different resources on each table give you insight in terms of both the media and the policy – How does the creation of information determine the ‘value’ of whatever is being discussed? What is the leverage you have if you are creating these maps? What is your leverage in terms of conveying to the world what matters, what has value, what has meaning?” asked Porter.


Several students questioned what could be the implications for the cultural heritage of a place when traditional native names were removed and replaced with new names. Others pointed out how some of the maps were defined in terms of resource extraction rather than conservation. When looking at the photographs, some students observed how having access to archival materials like these gave them a glimpse into the lives of people from the past, bringing them closer despite the passage of time and changes in cultural contexts. Often these glimpses inspired unexpected insights and additional questions.


“Although there was a lack of reciprocity in terms of resource extraction, it’s also impossible to miss the level of intimacy between the people and the land in these photographs, even if the conservation policy was lacking at that time. It would be so interesting to talk to these people. The photographs capture historical moments as opposed to all of the moments of everyday life. Another mode of inquiry would also be interesting to pursue,said student Liz Blackman.


After this observation, Roz Koester, Assistant Archivist for Outreach and Instruction for Heritage Resources, was quick to mention the oral histories that are also contained at the CPNWS, and invited Blackman to return if she would like to further explore those personal narratives. Koester explained that oral histories offer an opportunity to hear from the people we are interested in first-hand and in their own words. She also mentioned that sometimes people will begin their research with certain expectations about what they are going to find, but often their perspectives will alter as a result of the information they encounter.


“Exploring these types of complexities is part of the beauty of working with primary sources. You can come to these materials with a bias and that is where you start your inquiry, but the records that are here can present an opportunity to challenge that bias. Original, archival, primary source research offers us insight that can make us challenge our own assumptions, our own points of view. You might be led in a completely different direction than what you originally intended. As archivists, it’s the critical analysis piece that we really want people to get out of this experience,” explained Koester.


The class concluded with Porter leading a discussion about how students and educators can benefit in utilizing the materials offered by Heritage Resources 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. Porter also pointed out that as environmental educators, the students should remember that no matter where they go once they have completed graduate school, they can use archival and primary source materials to benefit their future teaching and learning practices.


“Moving forward, I really encourage all of us to continue to do research here, but also to keep in mind what resources there are in every community that we enter into in the future, how to sleuth out those resources and how, as educators, we can uses these sources,” stated Porter.


Heritage Resources is a division of Western Libraries which includes the Center for Pacific Northwest Studies, Special Collections, and the University Archives & Records Management. Together the three programs provide for responsible stewardship of unique and archival materials in support of teaching, learning, and research. If you’d like to learn more about the Heritage Resources Instruction Program, or are interested in discussing how Heritage Resources can support your teaching and learning needs, please contact or phone (360) 650-6621.

Display Cases Available

Posted on: Thursday, November 20, 2014 - 10:13am

Topic(s): Exhibits - Art or Displays, Resources, Updates

Western Libraries provides access to display cases to departments and organizations at Western as part of its service to the academic community.  Exhibit cases are available to any Western-affiliated organization, and may be reserved for one to two months. 

Exhibits in the Libraries are created to direct attention to the materials, services, and aims of the Libraries, or to reflect the aims, goals, and services of departments and organizations at Western.  Past exhibits have included examples from the Children’s Literature Conference, the Students for Sustainable Water Associated Students club and their water bottle recycling program, and the Transportation Services promotion of the “May is Bike Month” campaign.  The Libraries’ exhibit cases are also an excellent forum for showcasing student work. 

If you are interested in making a request for a display, please make your reservation by submitting the online application form at least one month before the date you wish to begin your exhibit. Request approval is subject to case availability. For more information about current exhibits or exhibit policies, see the Display Case Exhibits web page

2014-2015 Heritage Resources Speaker Series

Posted on: Friday, October 24, 2014 - 1:45pm

Topic(s): Event - Library Sponsored


Western Libraries Heritage Resources was pleased to host its first annual Speaker Series during the 2014-2015 academic year. The program featured scholars who have used Heritage Resources collections significantly in their research.

2014-2015 Heritage Resources Speaker Series Line-Up:

  • Wednesday, November 12th at 4:00 p.m. in Special Collections: Sylvia Tag, WWU Librarian and Associate Professor/Curator of the Children’s Literature Interdisciplinary Collection. What are the aims, ideals, and desires that we impart upon our children and youth? Tag's presentation will explore this question by examining the language, illustration, and composition of early readers, primers, and historical textbooks dating from 1866-1973.
  • Wednesday, December 3rd at 4:00 p.m. at the Goltz-Murray Archives Building: Helen Morgan Parmett, WWU Communication Studies Professor and 2013-2014 James W. Scott Research Fellow, will discuss how KVOS - Bellingham's first radio and television station - helped constitute a sense of "local" identity and culture in the 1930s-1970s.
  • Tuesday, January 13th at the Goltz-Murray Archives Building: Michael Vendiola, doctoral student in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at the University of Washington, will present on his research related to the College of Ethnic Studies at Western Washington State College (now WWU).
  • Tuesday, February 3rd at 4:00 p.m. in Special Collections: Seth Norman, Pulitzer-nominated author and renowned fly fisherman, will disucss the art and craft of writing about fly fishing.
  • Tuesday, April 7th at 4:00 p.m. in Special Collections: Sandra Kroupa, Book Arts and Rare Book curator at the University of Washington Special Collections, will examine how artists' books are received when they are viewed in person versus as visual images or through exhibition.
  • Tuesday, May 5th at 4:00 p.m. in the Wilson 4 Central Reading Room: Ron Judd, Seattle Times reporter and WWU Journalism Instructor, will explore the history and context surrounding a mid-1930s "Red Scare" in Bellingham and how it potentially impacted the campaign to remove Western Washington College of Education (now WWU) President Charles H. Fisher from office.

An announcement about the 2015-2016 Heritage Resources Speaker Series will be made in late-summer.

Heritage Resources is a division of Western Libraries which includes the Center for Pacific Northwest Studies, Special Collections, and the University Archives & Records Management. Together these programs provide for responsible stewardship of unique and archival materials in support of teaching, learning, and research.





Sustainability Wall Grand Opening

Posted on: Thursday, June 5, 2014 - 1:55pm

Topic(s): Feature Story, Resources, Updates

Last week marked the grand opening of the new Wilson Library Sustainability Wall.  A collaborative project between Western Libraries, the Office of Sustainability and the AS Environmental Center, this wall provides Western with a central and public location where the campus community can find out about environmental and sustainability events.  The Sustainability Wall is located near the north entrance to the Wilson Library between Zoe’s bagels and the Tutoring Center.  The wall which previously just held a water fountain, an unused radiator, and an AED station (which was relocated around the corner), now incorporates a non-electric water bottle refill station, a Western Sustainability calendar, an environmental and sustainability bulletin board, and a bookshelf highlighting various sustainability themes throughout the academic year. 

The idea for the wall came from a team composed of two students from the Students for Sustainable Water (SSW) club, and two Western Libraries staff.  Together, they submitted a Green Energy Fee Grant Program proposal to install a water bottle refilling station and educational kiosk in the Wilson Library to educate campus on the use of reusable water bottles as well as general information on sustainability at Western.   “Western's commitment towards the environment and sustainability is strongly ingrained in our campus culture, but up until this point it's been difficult to find an accessible resource for students to get involved and stay engaged. I'm excited for ‘The Sustainability Wall’ to be that hub of information, located in the heart of resources at WWU: the Wilson Library,” said Carolyn Bowie, student lead on the project.  The proposal was funded in the spring of 2013 and installation was completed in the spring quarter of this year. 

The project team is excited about the opportunity to educate campus on the value of Lake Whatcom as a water resource.  A sign above the water bottle refill station includes a stunning aerial photograph of Lake Whatcom and provides information on the value and issues with Lake Whatcom. Both of the student team members were also involved in the campaign to remove water bottle usage from campus.  “This project also serves the need of students to fill their water bottles on campus, especially after our recent victory in ending bottled water sales. I've heard that employees at Zoe's are already directing students to make use of the newly installed refill station!” said Bowie.

The Green Energy Fee (GEF) Grant Program exists to promote experiential learning opportunities and sustainable practices at Western Washington University.  The GEF is funded by Western students, managed by the Office of Sustainability, and grants are chosen by the Green Energy Fee Committee, composed of students, staff, and faculty representatives. 

For more information on the Green Energy Fee Grant Program, visit 

(This press release was written by and courtesy of Regan Clover, Green Energy Fee Grant Program Coordinator, Office of Sustainability. Photo by Patrick Schmidt; featured in photo are GEF Team Members Rob Lopresti, Clarissa Mansfield, Gerald Kitsis and Carolyn Bowie).


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