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Western CEDAR’s Global Impact

Posted on: Tuesday, February 17, 2015 - 1:18pm

Topic(s):

Did you know that publications from WWU’s faculty, staff, and students, including Western’s Masters Thesis Collection, are being downloaded by people from all over the world? Western CEDAR brings together articles, conference papers, presentations, and book publications, making them accessible to readers who come from locations both near and far to us here in Bellingham. Western CEDAR’s website now includes a dynamic map that shows activity beginning with the previous days’ downloads before switching to real-time activity, so you can see for yourself the global impact of the work we are doing here at Western.


Western CEDAR, part of an innovative global movement promoting open access to scholarship and creative works, is a service of Western Libraries, in partnership with the Graduate School, Office of the Provost, and Office of Research and Sponsored Programs. CEDAR advances Western Washington University’s commitment to enriching academic inquiry and strengthening communities by sharing the expertise and creativity of its students, faculty, and staff.


Sustainability in the Library

Posted on: Thursday, February 12, 2015 - 11:15am

Topic(s): Feature Story, Updates

On February 5th, the Tutoring Center and the Map Collection, both housed in Wilson Library, were awarded "Sustainable Office Certification." The Sustainable Office Certification program is offered through Western's Office of Sustainability, and participation in the program creates opportunities for departments and offices here at Western to protect the environment, conserve resources, and promote safety and health through the measurement and recognition of sustainable practices that are adopted in the workplace. 

The Map Collection was first inspired to pursue Sustainable Office Certification after both Western Libraries Circulation Services and the Teaching-Learning Academy (TLA) achieved certification. The recent certification of both the Tutoring Center and the Map Collection has subsequently inspired other Learning Commons partners and library departments to also consider participating in this program. 

"I would love it if we could take a look at certification for all of the areas of the library and Learning Commons in both Wilson Library and Haggard Hall. It would be great if we could come together and do this in a unified way, and perhaps even become a model for other buildings on campus to work towards," said Map Collection Manager, Dennis Matthews.

There are resources and toolkits available online through the Office of Sustainability for anyone who is interested in participating in this program. Matthews explained that the certification process is very straightforward, and that the checklist helps participants become more aware of easily-adoptable small actions which turn into natural habits.

In using the checklist, Map Collection staff were able to recognize sustainable practices they had already adopted, as well as identify new practices that could easily be implemented.

"There were some things already done for us, like the lights in the Map Collection already being connected to motion sensors, but there were other things we realized we could implement easily, like printing double-sided, turning off our monitors, little things like that. Carol Berry in the Office of Sustainability was really helpful, as were the TLA students who also advised us," stated Matthews.

Other operational practices in the Map Collection include recycling, using compostable materials, and "up-cycling" maps that would otherwise have been discarded. Maps that are not needed in the Map Collection are first offered to other libraries located both regionally and globally, and then leftover maps are given away to the public. Students at Western have been particularly innovative with these maps, using them for decoration, wrapping paper, and even art projects. Several years ago, a student and artist named Emma Nestvold transformed some of these maps into beautiful works of art that were on display in one of the library art galleries.

While there are a number of benefits to participating in the Sustainable Office Certification Program, one of the positive outcomes that many people may not expect is that participation in the program can also help instill a sense of meaning, purpose, and connection in the everyday actions and routines that make up our daily work-lives.

"When you participate in this program, you not only become more aware of your environment, but also of how your actions affect and connect you to others. It helps you build a sense of community because you feel like you are working towards something a little bit bigger than yourself," stated Matthews.

To learn more about the Sustainable Office Certification Program, see: http://www.wwu.edu/sustain/programs/soc/success-stories/. To learn more about the Map Collection, see the Map Collection library guide, and don't miss the upcoming Open House Event on Wednesday, February 18th from 2 to 4pm in the Map Collection, Wilson Library 170!


New Titles List!

Posted on: Wednesday, January 21, 2015 - 11:58am

Topic(s): Resources, Updates

Every month, hundreds of new titles are added to the Western Libraries’ collections. There are new books, CDs, scores, videos, maps, lots of online content, and more. Most are purchased because a faculty member or student has requested them. But how can you keep track of what new resources have been added?

Announcing the New Titles Lists! You can now review the Libraries’ lists of new resources. The lists are created once a month, so reviewing them doesn’t take much time. And the lists are sorted by Library of Congress call number, so all the resources in a given discipline are easily findable in each list. Don’t know what the Library of Congress call number is for the topics you’re interested in? Check here!

We know you’re busy, so sign up to have an email reminder sent to you whenever a new set of lists becomes available. The New Titles web page is located at <http://www.library.wwu.edu/newtitles>. We are currently creating six lists each month – one each for newly acquired Books, Videos, CDs, Scores, Maps and Electronic Resources. Good luck with your teaching and research, and we welcome your feedback!


OneSearch Beta Interface

Posted on: Thursday, January 15, 2015 - 2:10pm

Topic(s): Updates

The OneSearch Management Team at Western Libraries is actively seeking faculty, staff, and student feedback on a beta OneSearch interface, which was created in response to feedback gathered throughout the last eighteen months.

This beta interface aims to streamline search experiences and to improve the general usability of OneSearch.


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 Heritage.Resources@wwu.edu or phone (360) 650-6621.


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