Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Bracken Library Hosts Successful Technology Showcase "Tech4U"

Bracken Library was privileged to host Tech4U, an information technology showcase of emerging media and other technologies that included Microsoft Surface,™ a robot, and Nintendo® Wii™ on October 23, 2008.

The event was sponsored by the Vice President’s Office for Information Technology, which includes Teleplex Services, University Computing Services, and the University Libraries.

Bracken Library was selected as the site for the Tech4U fair for many reasons, including the University Libraries’ rich dynamic research resources and cutting-edge technologies. The Libraries provide an environment conducive to student creativity, learning, and collaboration. Other factors included the Libraries’ focus on engaging students, committed professional and paraprofessional personnel, and Bracken Library’s centralized location on campus.

Dr. Arthur W. Hafner, Dean of University Libraries, said, “Bracken Library was a perfect setting for the technology showcase. It is the place on campus where large numbers of students and faculty interact with digital content, where they can explore emerging technologies and media formats. Examples include video editing and animation using intensive media computing, exploring educational simulations and gaming, Second Life, and utilizing a variety of Web 2.0 social networking utilities.”

More than 30 members of the University Libraries’ professional and paraprofessional personnel contributed to the success of the event by participating in planning, arranging the physical space, presenting sessions to demonstrate curriculum solutions, and other activities to increase student achievement.

Highlights of the showcase included the Microsoft Surface™ display that looks like an electronic coffee table and that offers new and interesting ways to interact with data. It was just one of 60 information booths showcasing technologies and interactive demonstrations during the day-long fair. During the Tech4U fair, 35 technology leaders and nationally recognized faculty from Ball State University presented seminars to show and discuss how interactive technologies affect and impact how people communicate, teach, learn, create and collaborate.

Philip C. Repp, Ball State’s Interim Vice President for Information Technology, stated, “I was impressed with the number of people and with the energy, excitement, and many positive comments generated by all of the exhibits and presentations.”

Mr. Repp added that the university has the reputation, faculty expertise, technical support, and industry partnerships that allow for the effective integration of technology and emerging media in higher education.

In addition to 22 commercial vendors, there were 28 tables consisting of four specific hubs located on the library’s first floor, most of which shared emerging technologies with educational applications.

The four hub areas included “The Digital Classroom,” “Digital Media/Art,” “Emerging Communications for Students,” and “Games and Development.”

The main presentations included:
- Justin Beck and Dan Peters, Blackboard Senior Solutions Engineers, “Blackboard Solutions in the Digital Classroom”
- Larry Johnson, CEO of New Media Consortium, “The Horizon Metatrends: What We’ve Learned from Five Years on the Horizon Project”
- Matt Hitts, Live@edu Specialist, “Emerging Communications for Students”
- Jonathan B. Huer along with other Ball State Digital Product Corps members, “Games and Development”

A sampling of the day’s mini-sessions included:
- An “Emerging Communications” series with a variety of information booths, such as the Google Apps where Ball State students learned about the launching of a service where they can merge their Ball State e-mail address with a Google Apps account
- Ball State Virtual Campus and Second Life Initiatives
- Digital Classroom Technology
- Digital Media/Art presentations
- Interactive and sensory exhibits customized for the Muncie Children’s Museum and a variety of projects and 3D demonstrations
- Technology Tips with the Libraries’ Technology Training Support Specialists
- University Libraries’ Emerging Media Initiatives, such as the Cardinal Scholar Institutional Repository, the Digital Media Repository, and Geographic Information Systems.

John B. Straw, University Libraries’ Assistant Dean for Digital Initiatives and Special Collections, said, “We appreciate the demonstrations that were presented by so many personnel from the University Libraries to help make Tech4U a success and Bracken Library a great venue for presenting emerging technologies and media.”

Bracken’s turnstiles recorded 5,281 people between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. during the Tech4U fair. The count was 692 over the daily average for the same time period on Tuesday and Wednesday.

To view a Tech4U Photo Galleria slide show, visit www.bsu.edu/library/tech4uphotos.

Applying Metrics to Measure Outcomes

by Dr. Arthur W. Hafner, Dean of Ball State University Libraries

The University Libraries are committed to providing a rich array of library and information services for students, faculty, staff, and others in the academic community. To measure our success toward achieving various objectives that are part of our strategic plan, we use metrics.

Some of these metrics include analyzing circulation, use of computer workstations, or the volume of desktop and laptop printing by customer segments — freshman, sophomore, junior, senior, graduate, staff, faculty. We also collect statistics on the number of persons who pass through our turnstiles.

The accompanying chart makes use of turnstile data that has been collected hourly and then aggregated into weekly, monthly, and annual tables. Such data helps to inform the library administration about staffing requirements for peak periods, among other uses.

The chart shows a bar graph of the university’s fiscal year enrollment during the periods from 2003-04 through a projection for 2008-09. It also shows a line graph of the Libraries’ turnstile count per capita. The per capita graph is an upward sloping line. The data points for it are calculated by dividing the annual turnstile count by its respective annual enrollment. For example, for 2008-09, the turnstile count is estimated at 1,350,000 and enrollment is 20,243. The Per Capita Turnstile Count is 66.7 [1,350,000/20,243 = 66.7], average visits per person enrolled.

Since 2003-04, the turnstile per capita count has increased each year. The values are {45.2, 55.5, 62.4, 65.0. 66.1, 66.7}.

The interpretation of the chart is that the University Libraries have successfully attracted more students each year through our programs, services, and collections. The result is that the average attendance per student has increased. Their repeat visits show that they value our resources, which impact their productivity and success.

Technology Training Support Services: Making an Impact

In the five years since its inception as a unit within the University Libraries, Technology Training Support Services (TTSS) has grown in scope. Today the unit offers individual faculty and staff consultations, faculty-requested student training, a comprehensive Web site, walk-in clinics, special projects, a newsletter, and an annual technology fair for faculty.

The unit’s core activities continue to be instructor-led workshops providing a myriad of technology sessions to faculty and staff, according to Yasemin Tunç, director.

Since 2003, there have been 2,804 technology training sessions. These have been held at Bracken Library. Attendance at these events stands at 9,710 faculty and staff, many of whom have attended multiple sessions.

Dr. Deborah A. Ceglowski, associate professor in the Department of Elementary Education, said that since joining the Ball State faculty this academic year she has had more training in technology than in her previous 13 years of higher education experience elsewhere. “That sets the stage for how Ball State Libraries is providing support and training to faculty members,” she said. “I appreciate what they do.”

Dr. Susan A. McDowell, associate professor in the Department of Biology, said that she has learned how to use her iLocker, create a blog, and develop interactive PowerPoint presentations, thanks in part to the training services of TTSS. “The training and support I have received has made it easy for me to provide high quality presentations in all of my classes,” she said.

Dr. McDowell reports that the skills that graduate and undergraduate students gained from attending a PowerPoint “how-to” session were valuable to them in making posters. This skill will allow them to participate more easily in poster sessions at local, regional, national, and international meetings.

The unit’s decisions about which training sessions to offer and when depend on changes and updates in technology. For example, during last spring semester with the introduction of Sitecore — the University’s new content management system — new sessions in that technology were offered.

Similarly, sessions for Microsoft Office 2007 became in demand as more departments began to use the MS 2007 productivity suite. Generally, the weeks prior to fall and spring semesters result in an increase in the number of sessions on Blackboard, Gradebook, inQsit, and PowerPoint. All sessions are offered frequently to accommodate the schedules of busy faculty and staff.

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French Revolution Pamphlets Available in the Digital Media Repository for Teaching, Learning, and Research

A collection of rare pamphlets from the French Revolution period is now available in digital format. Students, faculty, staff, and researchers globally may access these documents anytime from anywhere, 24/7/365. The French Revolution Pamphlet Collection can be found in the Ball State University Digital Media Repository, a project of the University Libraries, at http://libx.bsu.edu.

The collection contains pamphlets published from 1779 through 1815. Although the French Revolution occurred from 1789 to 1799, this collection documents the time leading up to the revolution through the Napoleonic Wars (1799-1815). Often privately printed due to newspaper censure by the French monarchy, the pamphlets were used to disseminate information and ideas concerning nationalism, citizenship, personal freedom, and social injustice.

The French Revolution Pamphlet Collection, which is housed in the Libraries’ Archives and Special Collections, was originally purchased from Mrs. Frances Reynolds in 1973. The University acquired it to assist an increasing number of history and French students in their research and studies. While it has served that purpose on several occasions since, the digital version will now make the collection available to a world-wide audience of students and researchers, anytime, anywhere. The collection will have new life for Ball State students and faculty who probably were not aware of this potentially research-rich resource.

The effects of the French Revolution were far-reaching and global. The resulting wars propelled Britain to global dominance. Many historians consider the French Revolution as the beginning of modern Europe. Much like the American Revolution, it was a movement of the masses. Since newspapers were heavily censored, the French revolutionaries turned to pamphlets to disseminate political discourse. Pamphlets became the most important tool for propaganda and political discourse.

The collection contains 544 pamphlets. Digitizing is continuing and the entire collection will ultimately be available in the Digital Media Repository. While the pamphlets are in French, an English title is provided as well as the French one. A link to a finding aid in English for the entire collection is available on the splash page. Our objective is to eventually provide a translation of each document.

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University Libraries: Involved in Conserving Paper, Recycling Efforts

The University Libraries’ scanning stations are busy humming as students scan papers and research materials and then save their documents to their 2 GB iLocker digital storage space (provided to all Ball State students, faculty, and staff.)

At the University Libraries, visitors are encouraged to help reduce waste and slash disposal costs by saving portable document files (PDFs) to computers and thumb drives instead of printing them. This initiative has been successful as more people become comfortable with both reading and writing on screen.

Additionally, students are asked to limit their printing to 30 pages per day and to place any waste paper or unwanted documents into any one of 25 recycling containers located in Bracken Library.

The University Libraries’ personnel routinely recycle photocopy and printer cartridges.

“We’re already in the habit of recycling paper. The discarded pages are turned into notepads and many staff use the back side of pages for printing,” said Susan G. Akers, Marketing Communications Manager.

Another recycling effort is to encourage students, faculty, and staff to leave magazines at a large magazine rack in Bracken’s lower level for others to enjoy.

Other conservation-minded measures include using equipment that features the Energy Star or other power management functionality to conserve electricity and by asking employees to turn-off their desktop computers and office lights when they leave for the day to conserve energy by thinking green.

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Ball State University Libraries’ Interlibrary Loan Services: Helping Others around the Country and World

Ball State University Libraries’ Interlibrary Loan Services reputation for quality service helps place it as the second highest academic lender of materials in Indiana, just behind Indiana University-Bloomington with respect to the number of items loaned to other libraries.

“We have loaned materials to people from Canada, Denmark, France, Japan, Lebanon, and Norway, to mention a few countries,” said Elaine S. Nelson, Interlibrary Loan Supervisor. “Over the past fiscal year, we have experienced an increase of about 1.8% in the number of borrowing requests from other libraries. For the same period, our borrowing from other libraries has increased by 15.6%.”

The installation of a Direct Request feature in February 2006 allows the automatic submission of a student or faculty member’s request to the libraries once certain criteria are met. This is a “transparent feature” so that when a person submits a request, it automatically forwards to a library that owns the item.

This means that Interlibrary Loan staff do not handle the request until the item physically arrives at the University Libraries, thereby reducing the time the requestor has to wait by about 1.8 days. ILLiad has proven to be an essential technology in helping our staff to service an increasing number of requests.

The unit receives many types of thank you letters, mostly by e-mail, in which people share their appreciation for Interlibrary Loan Services.

One customer wrote, “This is my first time to deal with Ball State, having heard David Letterman crow about it for years. It’s been wonderful doing business with you!”

Interlibrary Loan Services has supplied six articles to the Executive Office of the President of the United States over the past few years. The unit also finds materials for Ball State students and faculty. For example, a student recently needed a book for his research that unit personnel found and borrowed from a library in South Africa.

Through Interlibrary Loan Services, students and faculty may
- Obtain books, articles, videos, software, and music from other libraries
- Obtain materials listed as “Checked Out” in our online public catalog
- Obtain most requested materials in less than 10 days
- Access requested articles may have articles delivered online.

For more information, contact Elaine S. Nelson, the University Libraries’ Interlibrary Loan Supervisor, ENelson@bsu.edu, 765-285-1323.

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Native America at the Crossroads: Resources Celebrating Native American Heritage Month

Celebrate Native American Heritage Month and explore the multitude of resources available on Native American history by visiting the University Libraries’ Archives and Special Collections located on the second floor of Bracken Library.

The exhibit, Native America at the Crossroad: Resources Celebrating Native American Heritage Month, will be on display through December 31, 2008.

This exhibit is in collaboration with the Department of Anthropology, the University Libraries’ Geospatial Resources and Map Collection, and the Educational Resources Collections.

Items on exhibit include maps featuring Delaware County settlements along the White River and Native Americans of North America, photographs from the Miami Indian photo collection, documents from the Indian Reserves Collection, historical texts documenting Native Americans in the U.S., a copy of Richard Greene’s booklet on the Delaware Indians in Muncie, a rawhide rattle and peace pipe from Educational Resources Collections, and pottery sherds and arrowheads from the Department of Anthropology.

For more information, contact Lajmar D. Anderson, University Libraries’ Archives and Special Collections Supervisor, LDAnderson@bsu.edu, 765-285

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Librarians Speak to Oral History Association about Oral Histories in the Digital Age

Maren L. Read, Archivist for Manuscript Collections, and Amanda A. Hurford, Digital Initiatives Multimedia Developer, shared their experience and expertise on digital oral histories at the Oral History Association 2008 Annual Meeting held in Pittsburgh, Penn this past October. It drew oral historians, archivists, and librarians alike from around the United States and countries such as Great Britain, Finland, and Iraq.

The meeting featured a range of speakers addressing the theme of “Oral History in the Digital Age.” Read and Hurford presented as part of a panel discussion on organizing and using large oral history collections. Their paper, “Voices Representing Middletown: An Oral History Project for the Digital Age,” focused on the advantages of using a digital content management system, such as CONTENTdm, to present, store, and access digital oral history interviews and transcripts. The Middletown Digital Oral History Collections,
http://libx.bsu.edu/collection.php?CISOROOT=/MidOrHis, were showcased as part of Ball State University Libraries’ Digital Media Repository and as a model for using a digital content management system.

Their talk addressed how the system allows students and researchers to search for, obtain, and use digital oral histories more effectively — making use of digital age technologies, customizability, and the ability to access resources within the context of a larger digital library.

Attending the OHA Conference also provided them opportunities to learn how oral historians and information professionals are providing access to oral history collections online. Some of the sessions of particular interest were “Challenges of Digital Collections” and “Collecting, Sharing, and Teaching Oral History in the Digital Age.”

Issues such as copyright, transcribing digital oral histories, and providing access to clips of interviews versus full interviews were topics of lively discussion in many sessions.