Friday, November 10, 2006

Improved Technology for Students, Faculty, Staff

Shortly before the beginning of Fall Semester 2006, the University Libraries began to replace 120 of the 345 public PCs with new units. The workstations that were replaced are located on the first floor of Bracken Library and in the Architecture and Science Health Science Libraries. These new units are faster, offering more virtual memory and a faster clock speed.

The PCs that were replaced are being deployed to the second, third, and fourth floors to replace PCs that are less powerful. The result is that the University Libraries can now offer more software options and faster computers for students and other customers who are using these technology assets.

The following programs are now available in these locations: AutoCAD2007, Studio 8, and the Adobe Creative Suite CS2 package.

Because of recent infrastructure upgrades, all of the University Libraries’ public PCs are now connected to the Ethernet, rather than wireless. Through hardwire connections, customers will find improved network connectivity providing for moving large files and rich media between the client computer and network resources. This is especially important for access to streaming and other assets on the Internet that are easier to access because of the recent increases to 245 megabits of Internet bandwidth available to on-campus computers.

Find It @ BSU Services Continues to Grow
Several noteworthy enhancements have been applied to the Find It @ BSU service from the University Libraries. In October, 4,400 full-text resources from the University libraries subscription to Lexis/Nexis database were added to the Find It @ BSU service. Among the valuable content in Lexis/Nexis is the full-text of The New York Times. Many other electronic resources cite The New York Times, but few include the full-text.

Podcasting in Education

Podcasts can be used as an effective educational tool for teaching and learning. The University Libraries assist faculty and staff with their needs through its offerings of minicourses on creating podcasts.

The term podcasting is a combination of two words, iPod and broadcasting.  Contrary to popular belief, students need not own an iPod to listen to pod casts. This is because podcasts are audio MP3 files, and anyone who has an MP3 player on their PC, Mac, or any mobile MP3 device can listen to podcasts. 

Podcasting was developed out of the idea and success of radio shows and has grown in popularity with the availability of MP3 players along with the increased use of the Internet. The term podcast, like radio, can mean both the content and the method of delivery. Unlike radio, however, podcasts use the subscription model using a podcatcher. A podcatcher is software that allows you to subscribe to your favorite podcasts using an RSS feed. Similar to subscribing to a magazine and having it delivered regularly to read at a convenient time, one subscribes to desired podcasts through aggregators or feed readers such as iTunes. New content is delivered or “fed” automatically to the user’s computer so that the
person can then listen at his/her convenience.

Podcasts, blogs, and other content delivery methods, such as Blackboard, can be used to supplement classroom instruction and provide students with easy access to course materials. Whether it is to prepare for a class ahead of time or to review materials after class, podcasts can be helpful tools for student success.
The University Libraries’ Technology Training Support Services unit offers courses to introduce faculty to podcasting and other instructional technologies.

New Books, Bestsellers Available at Bracken

The University Libraries lease a collection of 600 ever changing titles to provide students, faculty, staff, and resident affiliates opportunities to read fiction and non-fiction that is popular across the country.

Circulation data for last fiscal year (2005-2006) show that there were 4,988 circulations, of which 73.1% were for fiction titles. The bestsellers collection is acquired through a leasing program. By leasing titles, the University Libraries are able to provide access to high-demand titles that change frequently. At any given time, the collection includes about 75% of the bestseller titles on national lists.

Hilde Calvert, Head of Collections Development, says that the most popular items are fiction books, biographies, and political personalities.

University Libraries’ Workshop and Assistance Connects Researchers to Data for Project

Two Ball State researchers are using services from the Libraries’ Geospatial Center and Map Collection (GCMC) to collaborate geographic datasets for their research project to learn more about the living and working experiences of former patients at Central State Hospital.

David Perkins, Ph.D., Department of Psychological Science, and Josh Raines, a graduate assistant in the Social Science Research Center, will use the versatile and powerful tools available by geographic information systems (GIS) to obtain special data which will help them research community conditions faced by former hospital inpatients.

More than 100 former patients are living at various locations in Marion County since the closure of the Indianapolis hospital. The researchers hypothesize that those individuals should live in neighborhoods distributed at random among the residential districts of a city rather than being clustered or

“The benefit of using GIS in this project is the way it adds systematic spatial and geographic details to the description and understanding of former inpatients' experiences of living in the community,” said Josh. “We were pleased that everything we needed seemed to be available at Ball State, including technical assistance from the University Libraries.”

Dr. Perkins learned about the SAVI website and its capabilities during a workshop called, “GIS Data: Finding Reliable GIS Data on the Web,” which was held by Angie Gibson, GIS Specialist in the University Library’s Geospatial Center and Map Collection. After the researchers attended the GIS workshop, they contacted Angie at various times for assistanceduring the research project.

The two researchers geocoded a list of former patients’ addresses, along with United States census indicators and information from the Social Assets and Vulnerabilities Indicators, Angie helped them during the geocoding process and showed them how to join the geocoded address points to the census tract layer to establish census tract numbers for all the address points.

Geocoding is a GIS operation for converting street addresses into spatial data that can be displayed as features on a map, usually by referencing address information from a street segment data layer.

Other spatial variables, such as crime rates, accessibility of parks, libraries and other community resources, can be added to the database. This geographic information will be combined with other data on the persons in recovery, including psychiatric services they were receiving, whether they were working, and ratings of recovery made by their primary therapists and will examine how the particular census tracts compare with Marion County as a whole in terms of social disorganization, transience, and the percentage of persons having disabilities.

Ball State University Libraries Make Finding Chamber Music Easier

When students and faculty ask “What music do you have for a woodwind quintet?” or “How do I find music with a saxophone?” locating the answer is easy and convenient by using the University Libraries’ new Chamber Music Media Finder.

This powerful research tool re-packages information into a user-friendly interface. Students, faculty, and staff can find music written for one to nine instruments. The Media Finder provides quick access to printed music, recordings, or both.

“Searching the online catalog for music can be tricky for people because of the specialized vocabulary sometimes involved,” said Keith Cochran, Music Librarian. “This new media finder is a tremendous tool for accessing notated and recorded instrumental music for smaller ensembles.”

In the past year, over 65,000 people have visited the Media Finders’ home page,

This newest locator brings the total number of Media Finders to nine.

The idea for creating the Chamber Music Media Finder arose after the Libraries’ Music Collection’s staff noticed that questions on finding music for specific instrumentation were increasingly frequent, along with a few respondents’ comments on our recent LibQual+ survey, which revealed that musicians sometimes had trouble locating music for their instruments.

“Creating the Chamber Music Media Finder was an ambitious undertaking because so many parameters of an item’s catalog record had to be evaluated in constructing the finder,” according to Sue Weiland, Cataloging and Metadata Services Librarian (Music Emphasis).

Keith and Sue agreed the project was well worth the effort because of the benefits it provides to students and faculty whether or not they are musicians.

Creating the Chamber Music Media Finder was made possible through the insight and efforts of colleagues Kelley McGrath, Cataloging and Metadata Services Librarian (A-V Emphasis), Katie Bohnert, Library Enterprise Services and Systems Support Analyst, James Hammons, Head of Library Enterprise Services and Systems, and Aaron Brocken, Music Collection Night Supervisor.

Student Filmmakers Collection Added to DMR

The latest addition to the Digital Media Repository provides access to films written, produced, directed, performed, filmed, and
edited entirely by Ball State students. The Ball State Student Filmmakers Collection is now available at

The first installment in The Ball State Student Filmmakers Collection includes 10 award-winning student films from “Hands Across McKinley,” an interdisciplinary project to develop digital video production at Ball State.

The program, unlike any other in the country, draws together five academic departments from three colleges and provides an immersive student experience that has yielded several thousand hours of student engagement. The results of the project earned an Academy Award at the 32nd Annual Student Academy Award ceremony. Funding for the project was provided by the Center for Media Design

Trillian Basic 3 Messenger Client Now Part of University Libraries’ Virtual Services

The Trillian Basic 3 messenger client is a fundamental tool in the University Libraries’ virtual library toolkit. This software, created by Cerulean Studios, is a third-party messaging client that provides IM services to the major messaging services including AOL Instant Messaging (AIM), Yahoo! Messenger, MSN Messenger (now Windows Live Messenger), IRC, and mIRC.

Trillian Basic is available for download from various sites on the Internet. CNET’s reports more than 30,327,000 free downloads of Trillian 3.1 since February 2005.

To test its functionality, I have been using Trillian Basic for several months and find it very useful. Contacts can be grouped in various configurations and contact status information is indicated by various icons. Trillian Basic also provides links to email accounts associated with your screen names. This is worthwhile software for IM users to add to their toolkit.

Ball State University Libraries Offer Access to the Homeland Security Digital Library Suite

The Ball State University Libraries recently established access to the Homeland Security Digital Library (HSDL), a resource free to federal, state, local government, and educational institutions. This addition is representative of the University Libraries’ continual efforts to identify and make available to students and faculty some of the Web’s best free resources for teaching, learning, and research.

Begun in 2002, the HSDL was created through the partnership of the Naval Postgraduate School's Center for Homeland Defense and Security and the now U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The online library seeks to preserve the current debate surrounding the development of policy and programs to protect national security and American interests abroad.

As such, the digital library serves as a virtual archive of official documents related to national security and includes the various iterations of documents, allowing users to trace the development of a policy, program, etc.

The HSDL is not available to the general public; however, the University Libraries applied for special institutional access because of the integration of homeland security and emergency management topics into various disciplines.

The 9/11 terrorist attack on the United States has reverberating cultural and educational impact, and the applications of the HSDL collection for teaching and learning are broad and interdisciplinary creating multidimensional and meaningful opportunities for curricular and classroom connection with contemporary issues in security, emergency preparedness and management, and disaster response.

The University Libraries’ continuing commitment is to deliver excellent, relevant online resources to the students and faculty. The HSDL assumes a unique place in University Libraries’ digital collections and provides incomparable government-sponsored, primary source information equipping students and faculty with authoritative and up-to-date content. To visit the Homeland Security Digital Library, click on this URL:

Communicating our Mission through the Tagline

Ball State University Libraries
A destination for research, learning, and friends

Three years ago, Dean of University Libraries, Dr. Arthur W. Hafner, revealed the Libraries’ strategic communications plan to position the University Libraries in the minds of its constituents as the place for research, learning, and classroom support.

Not long afterwards, the Libraries’ mission statement, was simplified to A destination for research, learning, and friends, a clear statement in support of the University’s mission of teaching, scholarship, public service. The statement proved so strong and memorable in the minds of students and faculty that it became the University Libraries’ tagline, identifying the Libraries’ brand message and making clear our value proposition.

According to Adler Consulting Company, an Internet marketing solutions firm, organizations best influence their brand by clearly communicating what they do.

Our librarians and paraprofessional personnel continue to build the University Libraries’ brand by conducting surveys, SWOT analyses of units within the Libraries, soliciting suggestions from customers, carefully analyzing LibQual+ survey results, seeking input from the Student Government Association, talking informally with students and faculty, and using various unobtrusive research methods.

Some of the strategies that the University Libraries have implemented or strengthened to support the brand include:

* librarians and paraprofessional personnel to help students with research projects and assignments
* comfortable, friendly atmosphere for students, faculty, staff
* access to great print and digital collections
* excellent technology and access to all of the common software used on campus
* spaces for collaborative and individual learning, research, and study

By managing the Libraries’ brand, we are able to increase the Libraries’ role in the academic life of the campus, making the University Libraries second only to the classroom for discovery and learning.

Renovation to Educational Resources Center’s e-Classrooms Proves Popular

Changes have taken place in Bracken Library’s Educational Resources: painting and re-carpeting, replacement of old-style desk-chairs with reconfigurable seating, adding of recessed lighting, and the hanging of an electric projection screen.

Other upgrades include a high-speed teacher PC workstation, data projector, document projection camera, DVD player, wireless microphone, VIS access, and video conferencing capability. As with all of the University Libraries, the classrooms support wireless connectivity for students using laptops as part of the learning process.

Faculty from a variety of areas such as English, Sociology, Psychology, Teachers College, and Honors College use the classrooms for individual class sessions.

University Libraries Developing a Digital Commons Web Page

In late October 2006, the Dean of University Libraries formed the Working Group to Develop a Digital Commons. The vision for the Digital Commons is a utility that facilitates content acquisition and access management of digital resources and that is accessible on the Libraries’ Web page.

The Digital Common’s design includes the following
elements, some of which may be expanded or contracted as the Working Group continues building a working prototype:

Digital Media Repository e-Journals e-Books
World Wide Web Resources e-Theses and e-Dissertations
BSU Institutional Repository Ball State University Virtual Press
Virtual Reference Resources Articles, Databases
Digital Video Collections

Persons interested in seeing the development of the graphical interface can view the URL below, keeping in mind that activated links are samples only and that various teams will build the secondary-level pages as the project progresses:

Bracken Library Hosts Variety of Student-related Activities During October and November

The University Libraries hosted the Student Government Association (SGA) for its weekly meeting held on October 18, 2006 in the Forum Room. Eighty people attended.

“We were excited to bring the meeting to a central place,” said Michele Faroh, Legislative Secretary of Student Senate and Secretary of the Executive Slate, Team Lisec.

Michele said that Bracken’s central location on campus was ideal and that another advantage to holding the meeting at Bracken was the opportunity to raise awareness about SGA to students who were in Bracken.

Artwork on Display at Bracken Library
The display cases on Bracken’s First Floor house a unique art exhibit where students have integrated digital media and traditional materials to explore symmetry.
Students in Prof. Barbara Giorgio’s Foundations 101 class began the project by using Adobe Photoshop to create snowflake, butterfly, and Rorschach designs. Then they replicated their computer-generated designs by using materials such as beads, feathers, buttons, seeds, copper, cloth, and even stained glass.
“The students were enthused to display their artwork at Bracken,” Prof. Giorgio said. “There is a sense of pride in creating art and knowing others are able to view it.”

Bracken Library Visitors See a Sneak Preview of Thoroughly Modern Millie

Twenty talented students from Ball State’s Department of Theatre and Dance captivated Library visitors in a sneak preview performance of the award-winning production, Thoroughly Modern Millie, on Thursday, November 9, 2006 in Bracken.

Students, faculty, and staff were captivated as they stopped to watch the half-hour performance led by Terra Mackintosh in the title role. Professor Bill Jenkins, Department Chair and director of the production, said the play is a prototypical Broadway musical and reports that the cast of characters are ‘terrifically fun.’ Through the University Libraries’ Bracken Matinee Musicales programming, a variety of performances are presented throughout the year in Bracken’s Lobby to help spirit fine arts appreciation. Most performances are recorded and available for viewing,