Western Libraries News

Sharing Research Through Conversations

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.

 

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Library Resource Access FAQs

New information about Western's Taskforce on Sustainable Access to Scholarly Resources for Teaching, Learning, and Research

 

A new FAQ webpage with answers to questions related to Western’s Taskforce on Sustainable Access to Scholarly Resources is now accessible online.

 

 As mentioned in the current issue of Western Libraries’ quarterly newsletter 3Things, a new task force has recently formed to tackle the library resources budget deficits facing Western.

 

Task force members have been appointed by the Faculty Senate, and bring a diversity of perspectives based upon their teaching and research expertise and experiences. Members were selected from different colleges and academic disciplines throughout Western in order to represent the University at large.

 

Together the task force members will work to recommend to the Libraries broad principles and criteria for use when reducing or adding scholarly resources to the Libraries collections in support of faculty and students’ teaching, learning, and research needs.  

 

To learn more about the taskforce, please see the new FAQ webpage here: http://library.wwu.edu/sustainable-access, or contact Western Libraries Director of Scholarly Resources & Collection Services Mike Olson,  (Mike.Olson@wwu.edu).

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Heritage Resources Newsletter

The 2015-2016 Fall/Winter issue of Heritage Highlights is now available! In this issue, we explore various forms of writing for, about and by children, as evidenced in the collections of Western Libraries Heritage Resources. Featured holdings include songbooks and sports booklets from Western's days as a normal school for teachers, the papers of noted children's author and illustrator Doris Burn, and rare items in the Poetry for Children and Teens collection.

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.

Image: rare item from the Poetry for Children and Teens collection, housed in Special Collections.

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Open Access News

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.

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Digitization of Artists' Works

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.

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Special Collection Donated to Western

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.

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Undergraduate Research Award Winners

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:

 

 

 

Andrew Hoffman

Title: Computational Chemistry in Rational Material Design for Organic Photovoltaics

Mentor:  Tim Kowalczyk, Assistant Professor, Chemistry

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Corena Sharp

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

 

 

 

 

 

Ashley Weyers

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!

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Student Celebration 2015

Western Libraries Celebrates its Student Employees 

This past Friday May 29, 2015, staff, faculty, and students from Western Libraries  gathered in the Reading Room for the Libraries' annual student celebration held in recognition of our wonderful, hard-working, and amazing student employees who help make the library all that it is each and every day. We were also honored to be joined by members of the Hearsey family, who helped us celebrate and recognize the twelve recipients of the Herb and Beth Hearsey Scholarship.  

 

Every year, Western Libraries chooses one student employee from among the graduating seniors who has distinguished themselves from their peers by demonstrating unusual imagination, interest, and capability in providing outstanding service. This year’s Mabel Zoe Excellence in Student Service Award was presented to beloved student employee Kali Legg in recognition of the numerous ways she has provided outstanding service as a Learning Commons Liaison, a Writing Center Assistant, and a Research-Writing Assistant.

 

Graduating seniors were also recognized for their dedication and hard work while student supervisors spoke about their seniors’ unique contributions to the Libraries as well as the students’ aspirations and hopes for their lives following graduation.

In addition to the speeches and award presentations, the celebration also included dinner, cake, quite a bit of laughter, lots of hugs (and maybe even a few tears), before concluding with the much-loved tradition of the gift basket give-away.

Always a special night for us at Western Libraries, we wanted to share with you some images from that memorable evening, and take this opportunity to thank all of our students once again for all they do and all they are.

The Herb and Beth Hearsey Scholarship is awarded annually to current full-time students who demonstrate merit on the basis of their scholarship applications and letters of reference. Awardees must also be student employees at Western Libraries for a minimum of 8 hours a week for at least one quarter prior to applying. Herb Hearsey was a reference librarian in Wilson Library in 1941 who was charged with developing an effective program of library instruction for students, and in 1995, he and his wife Beth Hearsey established an endowment to ensure that future generations of library student assistants are recognized for their important work.

 

In 1998, Miriam Snow Mathes, a professor of library science at Western, established an endowment to fund both the Western Libraries annual student recognition event and also the Mabel Zoe Wilson Excellence in Student Service Award. The first Western Libraries Student Celebration was held in 1999, and have been held annually every spring since then. 

 

For more photos from this special evening, see Western Libraries' Facebook page.

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Libraries' Role in Publishing

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.

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Wayne Richter Receives Prestigious Award

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.

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