Tuesday, October 21, 2008

New Video Shares Student Testimony

This past summer, Alexander Newman, a graduate student in Ball State’s organizational communication program, told me he loved Bracken Library so much that if there were beds at the facility, he’d live here!

The timing of our conversation could not have been better because I was looking for a student to help with a promotional video for the Libraries. I asked Alexander to think about how he would sum up his view of the University Libraries in 30 seconds or so, and since he was captain of Ball State’s award-winning debate team, I knew he had excellent communication skills and could do this.

We asked Alex Amira, the University Libraries’ Part-time Temporary Desktop Computer Technician, to videotape the public service announcement. See this 50-second production at www.bsu.edu/library/librarynews/videos.

Alexander’s presentation engages the viewer and shares his enthusiasm for the University Libraries’ resources and services through his words and testimony.

Using Testimonials in Marketing

Letting satisfied library users share their stories helps the library to “tell the tale” and builds credibility and trust within a promotional message. A testimonial or endorsement consists of a written or spoken statement, sometimes from a public figure and sometimes from a private citizen.

The value of a testimonial is that it “grabs” the listener or encourages the person to listen. Adding a testimonial to your library’s Web site is an economical, powerful way to inform others about the value of the academic library’s services, programs, and collections.

While your library may already have developed a tagline or catchy slogan to promote services, it is worthwhile to think of creative ways to use a satisfied user’s personal recommendation. It is an excellent way to promote the library to that person’s peer group.

Some helpful tips for developing a testimonial video spot are the following:

Rehearse the comments several times and be sure the volunteer is relaxed in front of the camera. There can be several takes before you capture the essence of the message, so practice beforehand. (Of course, editing can be done afterward for a polished production).
The best comments are in the customer’s voice, so it is best to tweak their script instead of handing them your script.
Having your volunteer’s full name on the screen even momentarily adds credibility to the production.
Be sure to obtain a signed video or photograph release form for your files.

For more information, contact Susan G. Akers, Marketing Communications Manager, SAkers@bsu.edu, 765-285-5031.

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Ball State Libraries Promote Undergraduate Research Culture

Ball State University Libraries’ programs, services, and rich collections of digital and print resources provide a productive environment to nurture and advance an undergraduate research culture that supports immersive learning experiences for Ball State students.

We continually seek ways to enhance students’ undergraduate educational experiences for learning and discovery a focus of the University’s objective to provide immersive learning opportunities that meld content, skills, societal need, and students’ interests into an intense, real-world transformative experience. Development of an undergraduate research agenda is a valuable tool and opportunity for the University Libraries to support students’ academic plans and immersive experiences at Ball State as they prepare to advance to graduate study and/or to succeed in the workforce. They will develop and enhance problem-solving skills, improve communication skills, and learn to work collaboratively.

Selective examples of how the University Libraries advance and promote an undergraduate research culture that assists in promoting immersive learning include:
• Access to an ever expanding universe of sophisticated digital information resources
• Global resources available 24/7/365 at student and faculty desktops
• Accessibility to the latest computer technology to support classroom learning, research projects, and utilization of emerging technologies
• Physical environment that promotes collaborative and individual learning
• Expert librarians who provide help and guidance to students and faculty for research projects

In June, 2006, the Educational Testing Service (ETS) published a research paper, "A Culture of Evidence: Postsecondary Assessment and Learning Outcomes." It identifies four dimensions of student learning:

• Workplace readiness and general education skills
• Content knowledge/discipline-specific knowledge and skills
• “Soft skills," or non-cognitive skills such as teamwork, communication, and creativity and
Student engagement.

The University Libraries greatly assist Ball State students in these four dimensions of student learning by means of dynamic research resources, cutting-edge technologies, an environment conducive to student creativity and collaboration, and committed professional and paraprofessional personnel.

Our technologies and classroom-critical electronic academic databases and the array of educational resources greatly conserves our students’ research time while also providing them with rich and relevant resources for added depth and specificity for their research. Convenient access to excellent computer technology and productivity software allows students opportunities to conduct sophisticated analyses, synthesize research, and create high-quality work.

Specific examples of these resources and tools provided by the University Libraries in support of workplace readiness, knowledge and skills development, soft skills enhancement, cooperative learning, and student engagement for creating an undergraduate research culture and augmenting immersive learning include:

• 363 public access computers, including 19 Mac systems, that are available 120.5 hours each week for student use
• Flatbed scanners, film scanners, digital video cameras, and circulating laptops available to support student research projects
• FindIt@BSU, an open URL link resolver technology that links database citations to full-text articles from almost 13,500 e-journals and to interlibrary loan services
• Software available on public access computers to support research including statistical packages such as SPSS, Minitab, and Fathom; design programs Adobe InDesign, Printshop, and Illustrator; and video processing applications Adobe Premier, Sony Vegas, and Final Cut Studio
• More than 105,000 digital objects in the Libraries’ Digital Media Repository that include scholarly journals, audio and video files, newspapers, photographs, maps, and much more
• Subscriptions to over 200 excellent academic databases, including Academic Search Premier, JSTOR, Lexis Nexis, and Web of Science to provide students and faculty with point-and-click access to millions of full-text journal articles and scholarly citations as well as thousands of e-books, newspapers, and digital images for research and learning
• SerialsSolution’s 360Search, a federated search utility that allows students to search multiple electronic collections of e-resources simultaneously and present results in an organized results set
• Free public printing from the University Libraries’ desktops or individual’s laptops
• Nearly 844,000 books, 276,000 print journal volumes, and 231,500 microforms to support research and learning
• Expert librarians who help students by providing in-person and personal research and reference assistance as well as answer questions, provide guidance, and share their expertise both in person and through Live Chat.

Librarians also provide instruction in a variety of formats, including sessions tailored to meet the individual needs of academic classes In addition to facilitating easy access to the University Libraries’ resources and tools that serve to strengthen Ball State’s undergraduate students’ research and immersive learning experiences, the ETS paper emphasizes the importance of students’ developing their “soft skills” for communication, creativity, and collaboration.

To accomplish this, the University Libraries strive to create an environment of community conducive to collaboration and creativity for students. For example, the popular Bookmark Café @ Bracken Library is a place where our students can grab a cup of coffee or tea, a variety of snacks, and meet to talk with friends or colleagues. In addition, the Libraries offer other gathering spaces with comfortable furniture where students can watch world news or other television programming, and where they can chat and discuss issues of all types with each other.

Ball State University Libraries take a progressive, mission-driven approach to re-imagining the academic library as a hub for scholarship, collaboration, and networking. The conceptualization of the University Libraries as “a destination for research, learning, and friends” demonstrates our on-going commitment to creating and sustaining an undergraduate research culture as a vital part of immersive learning experiences and cooperative learning supported by the Libraries’ rich collections, excellent services, and advanced technologies.

For more information, contact Dr. Arthur W. Hafner, Dean of Ball State University Libraries, AHafner@bsu.edu, 765-285-5277.

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Election Resources Available in the Geospatial Resources and Map Collection

Tuesday, November 4, 2008, is Election Day in all 50 states and the District of Columbia for president of the United States and many other offices. Maps are an ideal tool for illustrating information and statistics about elections. The widely-used "blue states and red states" explanation of states' party affiliations has become a cultural phrase made popular by an election map from the 2000 presidential election.

The University Libraries’ Geospatial Resources and Map Collection (GRMC) houses many maps, atlases, and other resources about elections. These maps are both current and historical. Maps depicting newly-drawn Congressional districts, maps showing election results, and maps of local election precincts are available for research in the GRMC.

One of the most popular election maps is National Atlas of the United States of America: Presidential Elections, 1789-2000. This map, published by the federal government, shows how each state voted in every presidential election since 1789. “Red” states are depicted as Democratic Party states and “blue” states as Republican Party. It features a larger map of the election results of the controversial 2000 election. The main map displays the popular vote by county; an inset map shows the results of the electoral vote. Indiana presents an interesting study in cultural history on the map: Indiana has voted for the Republican Party candidate in all but four presidential elections since 1896.

The Atlas Collection provides excellent election resources. Atlas of American Politics, 1960-2000 features several maps about elections, including voter turnout. Readers can use the atlas to find maps illustrating important events such as the impeachment vote of President Bill Clinton and topics such as the environment, capital punishment, abortion, and the number of women serving in state legislatures. The Atlas Collection also includes election resources from other countries, including the first elections in Kosovo and Poland.

Students, faculty, and others can now access a new study guide, Cartographic Resources for Political Science and Election Research, at www.bsu.edu/library/mediapdfpoliscienceresourcesguide.pdf.

For more information contact Melissa S. Gentry, University Libraries’ Map Collections Assistant, MGentry@bsu.edu, 765-285-1097.

Ball State Libraries' Displays Promote Collection

Ball State University Libraries’ collections contain resources that touch on every topic imaginable. The challenge for librarians is how to expose students, faculty, and community members to the breadth of the collections in a way that captures their interests and imagination without diverting them from their primary research needs.

On some level, this is the same dilemma faced by retail storeowners who must market a large inventory to consumers who are often focused only on a specific purchase.

While a library is far different from a commercial business, the University Libraries have seen positive benefits from developing eye-catching displays similar to retailers. Visitors to the main lobby can browse from a table of books and media chosen by librarians on topics relevant to the season or corresponding to commemorations designated by Congress or others.

For example, a recent display acknowledged the start of the semester with a collection of items on developing good study skills. Banned Books Week, sponsored by the American Library Association, prompted an array of notable books receiving challenges, such as The Catcher in the Rye and To Kill a Mockingbird. Of increasingly timely interest is Bracken Library’s current display of resources on elections and issues which the candidates are discussing.

Library users are often seen thumbing through titles, and the presence of empty book holders confirms that titles make their way into stacks of items being checked out.

In addition, the Libraries’ specialized collections regularly draw attention to materials in their areas by mounting topic-specific displays. The Architecture Library is currently featuring titles on sustainability in architecture, landscape architecture, and urban planning. The Educational Resources Collections are featuring colorful exhibitions of 3-D realia in addition to books of interest to young students. Spooky topics are in vogue as Halloween approaches.

Attractive posters and book jackets are displayed elsewhere in the University Libraries and prompt requests for items. Throughout, the approach is to appeal to students and faculty where they are – pausing to meet a classmate, waiting for the elevator, passing through the halls – and draws attention to topics and resources that might be of interest. It is a low-key method that has successfully garnered results and positive comments.

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Steinbeck Lecture Series to Feature Dr. Barbara Heavilin

Dr. Barbara A. Heavilin, co-founder and co-editor of the Steinbeck Review, will deliver this year’s Steinbeck Lecture on October 30, 2008, at 7:30 p.m. in Bracken Library’s Forum Room, BL-225. Her topic is John Steinbeck as Mr. American Spectator.

Dr. Heavilin is Associate Professor of English at Taylor University. She has published numerous articles and books on Nobel Prize-winning author John Steinbeck, including The Critical Response to John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath and John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath: A Reference Guide. She has served as editor of the Steinbeck Yearbook series. Her latest book, A John Steinbeck Reader: Essays in Honor of Stephen A. George, will be published by Scarecrow Press this fall.

The Steinbeck Lecture Series was founded by Dr. and Mrs. Tetsumaro Hayashi in honor of Dr. Richard W. and Mrs. Dorothy Burkhardt and Dr. John J and Mrs. Angeline R. Pruis, whose generosity has helped Ball State University to recognize internationally prominent Steinbeck scholars and educators for 30 years. Dr. Hayashi is a noted Steinbeck scholar and past president of the Steinbeck Society of America, and the founder of the Steinbeck Research Institute at Ball State University.

The Steinbeck Lecture is free and open to the public. For more information, contact John B. Straw, JStraw@bsu.edu, 765-285-5078 or Dr. Robert Habich, RHabich@bsu.edu, 765-285-8407.

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Garnett Mystery Collection Opens for Circulation at Bracken Library

Visitors to Bracken Library’s first floor East will find a new resource – the Garnett Mystery Collection. The collection came to the University Libraries from Ball State’s Women’s Studies Program, to which it was donated in 1999. Transferring the collection to the University Libraries furthers the goals of the donor by offering greater public exposure to many female writers.

“Classic” works by Ellis Peters, Ngaio Marsh, P.D. James, Dorothy Gilman will be found in the collection alongside the more contemporary views of Donna Andrews, Laura Childs, Susan Wittig Albert, Laurie King, and others. The focus is on titles published in the United States since the 1970s.

The collection should appeal to students of relevant academic disciplines as well as casual readers in search of a good “whodunit.”

“There are literally hundreds of titles I didn’t know existed. There should be plenty to keep me happy through the winter,” said Cheryl Shull, a mystery buff.

Over 2,400 titles have been cataloged so far with about 600 titles in process. Paperback editions are receiving durable bindings. The Advanced Search mode in CardCat is also an excellent way to search the collection – choose “Garnett Mystery Collection, Bracken 1-East” from the drop-down box of locations.

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Love of History Leads to Career Choice as Archivist

Brian Knowles, University Libraries’ Part-time Temporary Assistant Archivist, remembers watching public television programming with his grandmother and one of the memorable documentaries he viewed was about World War II. The program sparked a lifelong interest in history. This passion propelled him to obtain a dual degree in historic preservation and history from Southeast Missouri State University.

While a civilian, Brian worked as an intern at the Archives at the Marine Corps Base Quantico, located in Quantico, Virginia, which is about 35 miles south of Washington D.C. While there, he assisted researchers, accessioned documents and materials, and helped organize Command Chronologies for transition to the National Archives and Records Administration.

The highlight of his internship was processing and digitally scanning World War II photograph albums. Within those albums were rare photographs of the American flags raised at various sites on Iwo Jima in 1945. Other photographs show the daily life in and out of combat as Marines served on Okinawa and Iwo Jima.

Brian’s appreciation and passion for history led him to serve as a volunteer at the Cape River Girardeau Heritage Museum, Cape Girardeau, Missouri, and at Trial of Tears State Park, Jackson, Missouri. With almost seven years of service with the U.S. Marines Corps Reserve, Brian has trained throughout the U.S. and was activated for deployment to Iraq in 2004 for one year.

Dr. Arthur W. Hafner, Dean of University Libraries, said, “We are glad Brian is at Ball State University Libraries while he is earning a master’s degree in history because he is bringing us his considerable experience working with archival materials and knowledge of historic preservation.”

Brian is currently working on projects in the College of Architecture and Planning’s Drawings and Documents Archive where he utilizes his archive experience and educational background in historic preservation. One significant project is adding architectural renderings and drawings of the Joseph Cezar Collection to the archive’s database. Cezar was an illustrious architect, from the 1930s into the 1970s, who worked extensively in Indiana, designing offices, buildings, churches, and houses.

In the future, Brian’s vocational objective is to apply the experience and new skills gained while working in the Ball State University Libraries to a career in the Archives at the Marine Corps Base Quantico.

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Ball State University’s Institutional Repository Promotes the University’s Intellectual Capital

Cardinal Scholar, Ball State University’s institutional repository, serves as a digital drop box for students, faculty, and staff to preserve their scholarly achievements. In keeping with the entrepreneurial spirit on which Ball State is founded, Cardinal Scholar also strives to highlight the intellectual capital generated by student and faculty researchers. By documenting the official and business-related output of Ball State administrators, the repository also serves an important collection development function by capturing the institutional history and memory of the University.

The addition of presentations, data sets, papers, compositions, performances, and exhibits from the campus community fosters a unique environment for idea exchange and publication distribution. Additionally, Cardinal Scholar creates a digital space for administrators to preserve and provide access to electronic records such as technical reports, documentation, meeting minutes, annual reports, and manuals.

Students and faculty benefit from Cardinal Scholar in the following ways:

• The repository provides a persistent URL to deposited items, providing a stable link for everything from electronic portfolios to Web browser book marks.
• Cardinal Scholar is an easy way for depositors to document and historicize their intellectual or administrative contributions to Ball State University in a secure electronic environment that is committed to a digital preservation schedule.
• As Ball State University’s institutional repository is indexed by Google and other search engines, researchers outside of the University are able to find and access materials deposited in Cardinal Scholar.

Premiering in January 2008, Cardinal Scholar now contains over 150 deposits. To promote and increase the use of Cardinal Scholar, the University Libraries are embarking on a campaign to promote the institutional repository to student groups, administrators, and faculty around campus. The University Libraries offer one-on-one and group instruction sessions and consultations for Cardinal Scholar.

To learn more, contact Carolyn F. Runyon, Archivist for Digital Development and University Records, CFRunyon@bsu.edu, 765-285-5078.

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