Thursday, March 27, 2008

Collaborative Exhibit at Bracken Library Focuses on History of Printed Word

The Ball State University Libraries and the Department of Art’s Visual Communications Program are jointly participating in a collaborative exhibit. Called Archetype: The Social Revolution of Writing, the exhibit runs through April 30, 2008.

Encompassing two floors at Bracken Library, the exhibit includes unique items from the Libraries’ Archives and Special Collections and artwork created by students under the guidance of Prof. Christine L. Satory. Student Casara K. Heaton helped to develop the concept of the exhibition and designed all of the print material.

“This is an example of an immersive learning experience as Casara was a full collaborator during the course of two semesters,” said Prof. Satory.

Students in Prof. Satory’s class created several multi-media works of art for the exhibit, which help to explore the various ways people have historically used symbols, typography, and the visual arts to communicate.

The University Libraries’ Archives and Special Collections included illuminated manuscripts, a page from the Gutenberg Bible, a double fore-edge painted book, an illustration by Salvador Dali from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, a chained lectern book from 1506, chapbooks, and hornbooks. Other popular items include an antique typewriter and an early Macintosh computer (circa 1987) complete with a small screen, printer, and mouse.

The Friends of the Alexander M. Bracken Library sponsored an evening program on March 18, 2008, to support the exhibit. Prof. Christine L. Satory and Philip J. Deloria, Archivist for Digital Projects and University Records, discussed the history and development of the printed word from cave paintings through the alphabets and the Gutenberg Press to the invention of the personal computer and the World Wide Web.

Prof. Satory and Philip discussed communication’s role as “… the glue that holds society together” and the disruptive nature of new communication technologies. They believe that people are becoming more visually oriented and less textually oriented.

The exhibit can be seen on Bracken Library’s first floor east and in wall display cases next to the Archives and Special Collections area on the second floor.

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Sustainability Planning at Ball State Libraries

Ball State University’s Strategic Plan 2007-2012 (Goal 4 and Objective F) calls for the University Council on the Environment, through its representative members, to create sustainability plans for each university unit. The University’s vision and commitment are summarized by its Sustainability Statement,

To begin planning and establishing guidelines to encourage sustainability initiatives within the University Libraries, the Dean of University Libraries recently appointed a Sustainability Committee. The initial four members are Dixie D. DeWitt, Bradley D. Faust, Suzanne S. Rice, and Sharon A. Roberts. At a later time, the Committee may expand to include more personnel.

The Sustainability Committee’s purpose is to promote awareness of sustainability initiatives among the Libraries’ personnel and to take positive steps to incorporate greater environmental awareness into the operations of the Libraries. These include steps for energy conservation, enhanced recycling, and conservation of natural resources.

The University Libraries have made efforts over the past several years to “think green.” Some of the actions we have already taken include:

· Encouraging double-sided copying to reduce use of paper
· Encouraging students to save files electronically as PDFs rather than print documents
· Installing new energy-saving florescent bulbs
· Installing sensors in rooms so lights are turned off when rooms are not in use
· Providing recycle containers on every floor
· Recycling of photocopy toner cartridges; recycling paper as scrap paper and note pads
· Requesting students to limit printing to 30 pages per day
· Setting thermostats at 72° throughout the Libraries
· Using equipment that features the Energy Star or other power management functionality to conserve electricity
· Using teleconferencing in lieu of travel
· Encouraging the Libraries’ personnel to carpool to work

We are committed to these initiatives and look forward to achieving higher levels of sustainability.

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Ball State's Bracken Library: The Place to go to Get Work Done

Bracken Library is commonly viewed by students as the place to go to successfully complete all types of projects and assignments.
Whether students want to study early or late, alone or together, whether they want multimedia tools or quiet space to just read or think about a project, we accommodate them. In addition to friendly librarians, we offer comfortable spaces for individual or group study and access to the best in print and digital collections. The hours are also great for busy students.

At the University Libraries, students have the latest and best technology, software, and equipment to create multimedia presentations, DVDs, podcasts, and blogs, just to name a few.

Students can scan images, create short videos, use geospatial datasets, and design creative projects. And technology specialists are never far away. Several hundred thousand digital resources are accessible through the Libraries’ digital media repositories and digital commons, including videos, photographs, and Web sites. These resources are also accessible to students and faculty from off-campus.

Technological tools are available for check out, including laptops, video and digital cameras, Web cams, and more. There are 350 public workstations that feature both Windows and Mac platforms, many with dual monitor configurations for multiple software applications.

The University Libraries merge 21st century digital resources with print collections and new media to provide all the common software used on campus to assist our students in achieving success.

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Ball State University Libraries' Emerging Media Technologies

The landscape of educational technology is constantly and quickly evolving, and the University Libraries are fully invested in adapting to the fast-paced emergence of new media in order to provide our students and faculty with state-of-the-art information channels into the rich resources and products provided and produced by the University Libraries.

As the information hub of the university, the Libraries are continually re-imagining our services and collections to discover new ways to serve as the integrated information nexus for teaching, learning, and research in a future that demands a robust, physical library with relevant collections, user-centered services, and cutting-edge technologies as well as a widely-accessible library without walls available 24/7/365 from virtual worlds, online classrooms, and computer desktops.

The University Libraries have maximized a number of emerging media formats and technologies designed to increase student and faculty opportunities for knowledge discovery, synthesis, and creation:

· Second Life — The Libraries are working in partnership with the Center for Middletown Studies to create virtual archives of text, photographs, audio, and video to be made available in Second Life. Ball State University is establishing a more substantive presence in Second Life, and the University Libraries continue to develop content and services for the expanded user population in the virtual world.
· Blogs/RSS Feeds — The Libraries currently maintain nine blogs/RSS feed publications designed to inform students and faculty about collections, services, and library programs.
· Intensive Multimedia Computing — The Libraries have installed a pod of high-performance PC and Mac stations that are equipped with specialized features and software applications for data analysis, gaming, video editing, and animation rendering. Software includes Adobe Production Premium Creative Suite 3, Adobe Design Premium Creative Suite 3, and Vegas Movie Studio Platinum 8.0, and more.
· e-Books — The Libraries provide access to over 10,000 electronic books, including hundreds of reference titles.
· e-Journals — The Libraries provide access to over 13,258 full-text e-journals and their archives, and nearly 200 academic databases; almost all of these resources are accessible from off-campus, too.
· Mobile Library Project — The Libraries developed and support an icon-based Web site for mobile devices such as BlackBerry and other small screen smart devices that allow users to search the Libraries’ catalog and access electronic journal content.
· Online Communities/Social Networking — The Libraries maintain profiles in Facebook and MySpace, providing updated blogs as well as links to the Libraries’ services, online tutorials, subject guides, and more.
· Video Audio Streaming — The Libraries offer video and audio streaming of several collections in the Digital Media Repository (DMR), including World War II films and Middletown oral histories. An upcoming project with the University’s Teleplex Services will include the addition of thousands of streaming videos to the DMR.
· Wireless Internet Access — Building on the University’s extensive wireless infrastructure, the Libraries offer free wireless printing as a corollary service for students and faculty.
· Interactive Tutorials — The Libraries’ Informational Services unit offers a number of interactive tutorials on library collections, services, databases, and technologies.

The University Libraries’ mission is to serve as a destination for research, learning, and friends. An essential part of fulfilling this objective is for the Libraries to provide a range of technologies through the adaptation and integration of new and evolving forms of multimedia communication and information dissemination.

For more information, contact Matthew C. Shaw, Ball State University Libraries’ Electronic Resources Librarian,, 765-285-1302.

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Goals for Ball State University Libraries' Digital Initiative

As the availability of digital content grows and expectations of the users of digital resources increase, the need for careful planning for the growth and development of the University Libraries’ digital initiatives is vital.

It is incumbent upon librarians, archivists, and information technology specialists involved in developing the digital future, or the Next Generation Digital, to build on achievements, continue current projects, and prepare strategies for accomplishing new and expanded initiatives.

The University Libraries’ digital initiative goals include:

· Providing global access to an ever-widening range of digital resources to enhance and enrich learning, teaching, and research
· Increasing the number and range of digital resources available for Ball State students and faculty
· Creating signature digital collections to meet the diverse needs and expectations of the Ball State community and scholars around the world
· Promoting and supporting the scholarly use of digital content by Ball State students and faculty

Libraries’ Current and Continuing Initiatives

Already, the University Libraries have come a long way in developing the digital resources to support these goals. Examples of current and continuing digital initiatives include:

· Cardinal Scholar: institutional repository to support the University’s research and publication distribution strategies by making faculty and student intellectual property globally accessible and searchable via the Internet
· Conferences: focusing on various aspects of digital activities, CONTENTdm, and initiatives dealing with issues relative to specific types of digital content (audio, video, newspapers, etc.)
· Digital Commons: providing access to thousands of digital resources, including signature collections of other institutions, videos, e-journals, Web sites, and other assets via the Internet
· Digital Media Repository: over 102,000 digital objects now accessible to support teaching, learning, and research
· Digitization Center and Mobile Digitization Unit: digital processing area and mobile digital equipment to allow off-site digitizing of materials from partner institutions
· e-Archives: providing access to the University’s records
· Grant-Funded Projects: Three Library Services and Technology Act digitization grants have been received; two LSTA grant applications have been sent out for this year; Institute of Museum and Library Services grant pending.
· Publications and Professional Outreach: articles in a forthcoming book on Digital Scholarship; conference presentations and papers on digital topics by University Libraries’ personnel
· University Libraries’ Second Life Project: ongoing development of Middletown Digital Library and Archives and a virtual interactive Middletown (Muncie) in the 1920s
· Virtual Press: digital online publishing of Ball State products by students, faculty, alumni, and others
· Workshops for librarians, archivists, and other information professionals on digital management topics

Exciting Future Directions for the Digital Initiatives

Plans for the future development of the University Libraries’ digital initiatives will include the expansion of these important activities. Future directions include development in the following areas:

· 3D Modeling and Data Capture: Second Life project; What Middletown Read project; 3D modeling to support instruction, simulation, and educational gaming
· Data Acquisition Technologies: expanding Cardinal Scholar as a data acquisition tool
· Development of Digital Media for Comodification of Cultural Heritage: transformation of cultural heritage artifacts into an educational commodity through digitization; packaging analog information and traditional paper-based documentation in digital format as a potential revenue generator
· Digital Visual and Oral History Project: expansion of this signature program for the University Libraries’ Digital Initiatives
· e-Learning Using Resources of the Digital Media Repository: online tutorials, lesson plans, workshops and other outreach activities to align digital resources with curriculum, academic disciplines, instruction, and classroom use
· Multimedia, Data Management and Archiving: acquisition and management of digital video in the Digital Media Repository
· Virtual Reality Applications: further development of Second Life and other virtual reality projects

For more information, contact John B. Straw, Ball State University Libraries’ Assistant Dean for Digital Initiatives and Special Collections,, 765-285-5078.

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Ball State University Libraries' Use of CONTENTdm for Repositories

by Arthur W. Hafner, Dean of University Libraries

The Ball State University Libraries currently manage two digital repository systems, the Ball State University Digital Media Repository (DMR) and Cardinal Scholar, the Ball State Institutional Repository.

The difference between the two is that Cardinal Scholar allows for direct deposit of Ball State-created digital assets by faculty and students while the DMR is mediated by professional librarians and includes digital assets created by Ball State community and non-University content providers through collaborative projects.

Our Digital Media Repository,, currently contains over 102,000 digital objects created by the University Libraries’ personnel, Ball State faculty and students, and community partners. It utilizes CONTENTdm to deliver digital images, Indiana Public Radio and local public television content, student-produced news video, oral history audio and transcriptions, World War II films, and 3D objects such as anatomical models and theater costumes. CONTENTdm has proven to be an excellent vehicle for the management of audio and video digital assets.

Cardinal Scholar,, is our institutional repository (IR) that supports the University’s research publishing distribution strategies by making faculty and student work globally accessible and electronically searchable. We use EPrints software for Cardinal Scholar.

When we were investigating IR solutions, we considered CONTENTdm as a potential platform because of our investment in the system. However, without major customization, there were key features that CONTENTdm did not handle well for our IR needs. For this reason, we chose EPrints. Features we like in EPrints include:

· Easy management of individual and group logons to self-deposit assets
· Grouping assets by academic unit
· Control of self-deposit process
· Built-in Web 2.0 features such as RSS

While it may have been possible to customize CONTENTdm to handle these and other features, we determined that the required time and personnel investment was not cost-effective because EPrints either included these features or would require less customization.

We are satisfied with both products for their respective solutions. Various Ball State academic units have consulted with the University Libraries to explore the use of EPrints for individual departmental applications in those cases where they wish to restrict access to selected digital assets.

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Jonathan Rose and Ray Boomhower to Speak at Bracken Library

The program Winston Churchill and the Literary History of Politics will be presented by Jonathan E. Rose, the William R. Kenan Professor of History at Drew University, on April 9, 2008 at 7:30 p.m. in Bracken Library’s Forum Room, BL-225.

This free program is jointly sponsored by the Friends of the Alexander M. Bracken Library and the Center for Middletown Studies, and it is open to the public.

The free program Robert F. Kennedy and the 1968 Indiana Primary will be presented by Ray E. Boomhower, Senior Editor, Indiana Historical Society Press, on April 21, 2008 at 7:30 p.m. in Bracken Library’s Forum Room, BL-225.
The free program is sponsored by the Friends of the Alexander M. Bracken Library.

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Jonathan Rose and Ray Boomhower to Speak at Bracken Library

The program Winston Churchill and the Literary History of Politics will be presented by Jonathan E. Rose, the William R. Kenan Professor of History at Drew University, on April 9, 2008 at 7:30 p.m. in Bracken Library’s Forum Room, BL-225.

This free program is jointly sponsored by the Friends of the Alexander M. Bracken Library and the Center for Middletown Studies, and it is open to the public.

The free program Robert F. Kennedy and the 1968 Indiana Primary will be presented by Ray E. Boomhower, Senior Editor, Indiana Historical Society Press, on April 21, 2008 at 7:30 p.m. in Bracken Library’s Forum Room, BL-225.
The free program is sponsored by the Friends of the Alexander M. Bracken Library.

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Update on Cardinal Scholar Institutional Repository

Cardinal Scholar, Ball State University’s institutional repository, serves as a place where students, faculty, staff, and both academic and administrative units can deposit their intellectual and creative works and have the content accessible to a worldwide audience.

The Cardinal Scholar system stands poised to become an important element of the Ball State University’s research publishing distribution strategies. The service premiered in January 2008.

Representatives of the University Libraries have met with several faculty groups and administrative units on campus to publicize and explain the benefits, features, and options that the repository provides.

Anyone interested in more information about Cardinal Scholar or who wishes to discuss use of Cardinal Scholar, please contact John B. Straw, Assistant Dean for Digital Initiatives and Special Collections,, 765-285-5078.

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Wednesday, March 05, 2008

New Web Site Simplifies Finding DVD/VHS Items from the University Libraries’ Collection

The University Libraries recently developed a Web site where students, faculty, staff, and other community members can search through over 16,500 DVD/VHS titles in the Libraries’ collections by 26 genres, title or date.

The online directory is due to the significant work of Robert L. Seaton, Web Developer, Caleb T. Mosier, student assistant, and Hank Gerhart, Statistical Data/Asset Control Specialist. They made creative use of Kelley C. McGrath’s Media Finders to search the Libraries’ online public catalogue, CardCat.

Since the Web site became available, it has become one of the Libraries’ Top 10 sites for hits, and circulation of both DVDs and VHS programs have greatly increased.

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Tuesday, March 04, 2008

University Libraries Partner in Grant to Develop Visual and Oral History Project

The Ball State University Libraries will be a partner in a $50,000 grant project funded by the Cantigny First Division Foundation to develop a visual and oral history project.

The focus of the project is to record and make available interviews with veterans who served in the First Division of the United States Army during World War II.

Ball State History professors Michael W. Doyle and David J. Ulbrich received the grant from the Cantigny Foundation to conduct the project.

Professors Doyle and Ulbrich will train and supervise a group of undergraduate history students in conducting the interviews. These sessions will be digitally videotaped by University Teleplex personnel. Transcripts will be prepared under the supervision of personnel in the University Libraries. The resources will be preserved in the University Libraries’ Archives and Special Collections and made accessible through the Libraries’ Digital Media Repository.

The University Libraries’ personnel who are part of this grant include Dr. Arthur W. Hafner, John B. Straw, James A. Bradley, Amanda A. Hurford, and Maren L. Read.

For more information, contact John B. Straw, Ball State University Libraries’ Assistant Dean for Digital Initiatives and Special Collections,, 765-285-5078.

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Enhanced Multimedia Computing Environment in Ball State University Libraries

Ball State University Libraries recently opened a multimedia computing environment in the Educational Resources Collections. This resource, which consists of five high-performance PCs, two iMACs, and software, are the newest addition to Bracken Library’s public information technology offering. In the future, more units will be added to the complex.

The multimedia workstations allow students, faculty, and staff to easily manipulate media such as video, audio, and 3D models, and they are perfect for intensive analyses of large data sets as those encountered in disciplines such as actuarial science, finance, marketing, and classes that require statistical data analyses.

The PCs offer the latest in graphics processing technology, allowing users to engage in cutting-edge simulation activity and video game offerings. What makes these computers high-performance workstations is that they include Intel Core 2 Quad Processors Q6600, 2GB RAM, 300GB hard drives, multiple USB and Firewire ports, 9-in-1 memory card readers, and 22” widescreen HD LCD monitors.

To complement the multimedia computing workstations, additional devices include two analog and three digital capture devices to transfer content from miniDV and other media onto the PC and iMAC workstations. Studio-quality Sony headphones are available to ensure a superior aural experience.

The capture devices and headphones are available for four-hour checkout with up to two online renewals. A Wacom tablet will be available for users to borrow to support accurate image editing work in this space.

Dr. Arthur W. Hafner, Dean of University Libraries, comments, “Providing our students easy access to high-performance computing equipment and also allowing them to borrow video cameras are examples of how the University Libraries are implementing programs and developing services to support student learning and classroom instruction. We want the University Libraries to be the place where students come after they leave the classroom to pursue their research, study individually or collaborate with other students on projects, and complete their assignments.”

PC Productivity Software
PC software installed on the PC workstations include Adobe Production Premium Creative Suite 3, with Premiere Pro CS3, Encore CS3, Soundbooth CS3, and After Effects CS3 programs
Adobe Design Premium Creative Suite 3 with Photoshop CS3, InDesign CS3, Illustrator CS3, and Flash CS3
Sony’s Vegas Movie Studio Platinum 8.0 that provides professional-level video editing and DVD authoring functionality
The open-source program Audacity with its audio editing functions
The 2007 Microsoft Office Suite

iMAC Productivity Software
iMAC software includesFinal Cut Studio 2 with Final Cut Pro 6 (video and film editing), Motion 3 (graphics and animation in 3D), Soundtrack Pro 2 (audio post-production), Color (color grading and finishing), Compressor 3 and DVD Studio Pro 4 (digital delivery in any format)
Adobe Creative Suite Production with After Effects (motion graphics and visual effects), Premiere (video capture/editing), Photoshop (2/3-D graphics editing), Flash (interactive content), Illustrator (vector graphics editing), Soundbooth (audio editing), and Encore (optical disk authoring)
The 2008 Microsoft Office Suite

For more information, contact Bradley C. Johnston, Educational Resources Collections’ Booking/Reserves Assistant,, 765-285-4368.

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University Libraries: A Destination for Research, Learning, and . . . Facebook Fans

Ball State University Libraries have a presence on Facebook with the potential to connect with more than 25,000 members in the Ball State University network, including students, faculty, staff, and alumni.

After only a month of being live, the University Libraries “fan” base is growing. With the cooperation of several personnel in the University Libraries, official event photos, announcements of Libraries’ events, newly acquired items, and other relevant news and information are available from Facebook.

Visit Ball State University Libraries in Facebook,

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Deborah M. Mix, Ph.D., Discusses Gertrude Stein and Contemporary American Women’s Writing

A reception and book discussion was held at Bracken Library on Friday, February 29 with Deborah M. Mix, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of English. Dr. Mix discussed her new book, A Vocabulary of Thinking, which positions American writer Gertrude Stein, a catalyst in the development of modern art and literature, as an inspiration to today’s experimental women writers. In her book, Dr. Mix explores Stein influenced modern writers, such as Harryette Mullen, Daphne Marlatt, Betsy Warland, Lyn Hejinian, and Theresa Hak Kyung Cha.
The Department of English and the University Libraries hosted the program.

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New Large Format Plotter and Printer Now in Geospatial Resources and Map Collection

The University Libraries’ Geospatial Resources and Map Collection (GRMC) recently acquired two new resources, an additional large-format plotter and a large-format laminator.

This equipment is available for use by students, faculty, staff, and personnel in academic and administrative areas to print large-format posters and have them (or other items) laminated.

The new plotter was added to keep up with the demand from students, faculty, and departments that use our plotting services. The newly acquired large-format plotter is a 42” HP 4500ps that complements our current 36” HP 10055cm.

Our new roll laminator accepts documents that are up to 42” wide. It is available for use by anyone in the Ball State community at a cost of $3 per linear foot.

All charges for using this equipment are processed through the user’s Bursar account. This is necessary because GRMC personnel do not handle cash, and checks are not accepted.

Plotter Printing Costs
Posters either 36” wide or 42” wide
Length of 36” and under $ 8
Length of 37” to 72” $10
Length of 73” to 108” $12

For more information, contact Angela S. Gibson, the University Libraries’ Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Specialist,, 765-285-1097.

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Managing and Accessing Electronic Journals at the Ball State University Libraries

Managing scholarly journal and magazine articles available in electronic format is a major activity in the University Libraries. To facilitate the management, tracking, and access to this important collection of academic content, in 2002 the University Libraries began a collaborative project with University Computing Services to create an electronic journal management system (EJMS). Today, this project serves as the data backbone of the Libraries’ public A to Z e-journals list,

Referred to internally as the Warren Database because the principal system designer was Warren D. Dawkins, then Head of Copy Cataloging, the University Libraries’ EJMS is a Microsoft Access/SQL Server-based system. The Microsoft Access frontend, hosted on a library file share, allows personnel in the Cataloging Services unit to access the data in the SQL Server via an Open Database Connectivity (ODBC) connection. The current configuration of the system presents several setup and access challenges for the University Libraries.

Under the administration of University Computing Services, the Warren Database is a closed system because it is very difficult to expand or integrate it with new technologies and services that improve discovery and access to e-journal content. The Libraries’ solution to this dilemma is to migrate the EJMS to an open platform that the Libraries’ technology staff can modify.

Phase I of the EJMS migration project consists of two parts. The first is to move the database from a SQL Server running on UCS systems to MySQL running on the University Libraries’ systems. The second part moves the MS Access frontend to dynamic Web forms. This work is taking place during spring 2008.

While Phase I work will not produce many visible outcomes for student and faculty users, this work sets the stage for integration with the Libraries’ SFX “Find It @ BSU” service, improved statistical and internal reporting of e-journal title data, and the addition of new data fields to the system to improve the public interface.

Additionally, the libraries plan to investigate ways to replicate the functionality of commercially-available Electronic Resources Management (ERM) systems. This work will further improve the management of our growing electronic collections.

Some potential areas of development include:
· Integration of title-level statistical reports available through ScholarlyStats, a subscription service that aggregates electronic journal usage statistics from a variety of major content platforms
· Improvement of indexing of e-journal titles and subjects for enhanced searching and sorting for the public A to Z interface
· unified list of all aggregator, subscription, and open access electronic journal titles available to Ball State students and faculty
· Creation of a seamless, automated workflow notification system to facilitate the management of e-journal information and expedite title additions, deletions, and edits to produce reliable and consistent access to electronic journals

Creation of the University Libraries’ new EJMS will support the goals and objectives established in the Information Technology Strategic Plan and the accompanying IT Action Plan by improving and expediting the growth of electronic collections and offering our students and faculty increased quality and opportunity for knowledge discovery and synthesis.

The University Libraries are diligently identifying ways to continue to enhance our collections and services to meet the growing and changing needs of Ball State University students and faculty. The Electronic Journal Management System is an important component of our sustained efforts to meet the information management challenges of evolving collections in digital formats and to provide our students and faculty with the very best support for classroom teaching, collaborative learning, and explorative research.

For mroe information, contact Bradley D. Faust, Assistant Dean for Library Information Technology Services at 765-285-8032 or Matthew C. Shaw, Electronic Resources Librarian, 765-285-1302.

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College Mentors for Kids Group Visits Bracken Library

On Monday, January 28, 2008, with the help of my Nancy Pearl librarian action figure, I had the privilege of escorting five first through fourth graders and their Ball State student mentors on a tour of Bracken Library. The action figure, with her "shushing" movement, helped us to remember to keep our voices at a normal level. Unlike the stereotypical hush and quiet of a librarian, I encouraged talking and interaction as we made our way through the bustle of Bracken that is always packed with students and faculty.

College Mentors for Kids, a non-profit program, which matches college students with primary school-aged children, emphasizes role-modeling, help with studies, and listening and talking together. The mentors strive to impress kids with the importance of education and going to college.

The idea to visit Bracken Library came from Christy E. Brewer, a Ball State student and College Mentor, who had earlier attended a library instruction session for her Social Work 220 class.

During our tour, the children asked challenging questions, such as “How much do all the books weigh?” “How much does this shelf weigh?” and even the quite scholarly, “How many books do you have on mythology?”

While I might not have had factual answers for all their questions, I was able to interact and share in a few giggles and discoveries with some questions of my own: “Does your school librarian help you find books?” “How many times do you think your school library could fit in this building?” One library tourist guessed that his school library would fit hundreds of times into Bracken.

Settling into a room on Bracken’s lower level in the Educational Resources Collections, I ended the tour with a discussion about what Ball State students were doing in the Library: studying, reading, using computers, and even eating! That it is okay to eat in Bracken Library was quite shocking to our visitors.

We took a look at some information materials like several youth books (“We have that book at my library, too,” I was informed by one young visitor) and even “college kid” reference books. The Encyclopedia of Ghosts and Spirits was especially intriguing to the young mythology buff. The group also got to see and touch items from our realia collection, including a doll in Nepali dress and a globe of the moon.

“Everyone really enjoyed the presentation and the tour of the library,” said Christy Brewer.

Community service is promoted within the College Mentors for Kids program, so the mentors and young students created bookmarks for library visitors. Perhaps in years to come, these same young people will find themselves in Bracken Library again, this time as college students themselves.

For information, contact Erin S. Gabrielson, Information Services Librarian,, 765-285-3325

Bracken Library Hosts Pledge Recital by Music Fraternities

On Thursday evening, January 17, 2008, the music fraternal organizations of Sigma Alpha Iota (ΣΑΙ) and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia (ΦΜΑ) performed their annual pledge recitals to a crowd of more than 70 people in Bracken Library’s lobby.

Both Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia and Sigma Alpha Iota fraternities are dedicated to the development, support and promotion of excellence in musical performance as well as service to the community.

The pledge recital provided an opportunity for undergraduate student musicians to demonstrate their diverse and remarkable talents. A variety of musical genre was presented through performances of unaccompanied solos and mixed ensembles in Bracken’s acoustically vibrant lobby. Pledge recitals are usually performed in one of the classrooms at the School of Music and are only heard by other fraternity members and invited guests.

“Bracken Library was the perfect venue for this recital. It gave the public a chance to enjoy a variety of musical styles, everything from classical violin to didgeridoo solo,” said Linda Putman, Muncie Alumnae Sigma Alpha Iota Chapter President. “It was a great opportunity to experience the fraternities in action.”

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