Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Libraries’ Support a Teaching, Learning, and Research Environment

Our librarians and paraprofessional personnel are committed to providing consistently gracious service to our students and faculty through our Roll Out the Red personal commitments of great care and through the Libraries’ many programs, services, and rich collections that are a strategic part of each student’s academic achievement and success plan.

Bracken Library supports immersive learning by being open Sunday nights through Thursday nights until 3 a.m. On Fridays, we open at 7 a.m. and close at 9 p.m. with Saturday hours from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Altogether, we provide 120.5 hours per week, which ranks us high among all U.S. libraries that support late hours.

Housed in modern and spacious facilities, our libraries provide students with access to rich resource collections of print and digital resources and assets. Our librarians help students with research projects and they also help find resources not owned by Ball State that are necessary for research, including obtaining print and digital items through interlibrary loan services.

Bracken Library offers public access to over 460 PC workstations and 20 Macs. These computers provide students and faculty with access to all of the common software used in courses across campus. Large format scanners are available at various locations for free use.

Bracken offers students a variety of spaces for collaborative group projects and individual study. The facility is wireless throughout. There are group study rooms that accommodate from 4 to 18 persons, videoconferencing rooms that support classroom instruction, and the Bookmark Café providing access to sandwiches, coffees, teas, and other beverages.

Laptops and other technologies are available for checkout. High volume laser printers offer free printing for students and faculty. All public workstations provide USB and audio cables at the desktop for alternative printing, storage, retrieval, as well as for listening to audio files and viewing video formats.

I personally invite students and faculty to check out the University Libraries as a destination for research, learning, and friends. The Libraries offer students and faculty access to personnel for research assistance, collections for discovery and exploration of ideas, and technology for learning, classroom assignment enhancements, and experimentation.

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Videos of First Division Veterans Now Accessible

Students, faculty, and other researchers worldwide now have 24/7 access to videotaped interviews with veterans of the United States Army’s First Infantry Division, commonly known as the “Big Red One.” Forty high definition videos, along with transcripts, comprise the Cantigny First Division Oral Histories Collection in the Ball State University Digital Media Repository,
http://libx.bsu.edu, a project of the University Libraries.

The interviews were conducted by Ball State history students Chris Reidy, Steven Brown, and Rachel (Fulton) Coleman under the supervision of history professors Dr. Michael W. Doyle and Dr. David Ulbrich (now at Ohio University) as part of a project funded by the Chicago-based McCormick Foundation with administrative support from the staff of the First Division Museum. The goal of the project was to preserve the memories of First Division soldiers who have served around the globe since World War II. The interviews focus on veterans currently residing in Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky.

The University Teleplex Services videotaped the interviews and digitized them. Ball State University Libraries’ personnel transcribed the interviews so that they can be read and viewed simultaneously.

According to Professor Doyle in a press release about the project, “Even the youngest veterans who saw action in Operation Desert Storm are now approaching their 40s. We do not want to let these soldiers’ stories go unrecorded.”

He said that the Cantigny First Division Oral History Project was intended to do for newer generations what Ken Burns did for the World War II veterans.

You can learn more about the grant project by viewing the Conversations Across Generations: The Cantigny First Division Oral History Project video by Chris Reidy available on the collection splash page in the Digital Media Repository.

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National Road Program to be Presented at Library Friends Annual Dinner

Movers and Stakers: Stories Along the Indiana National Road will be the topic of the E. Bruce Kirkham Lecture given by Nancy B. Carlson, Associate Professor of Telecommunications, at the annual dinner of the Friends of the Alexander M. Bracken Library, April 1, 2009. Mrs. Carlson will talk about and show clips from her upcoming documentary on the National Road, U.S. 40, in Indiana.

The Library Friends annual dinner will be held in the Ball State Alumni Center. A reception begins at 6 p.m., followed by dinner at 6:30 p.m., and then a brief business meeting followed by the Kirkham Lecture.

For more information on the dinner or joining the Friends of the Alexander M. Bracken Library, contact John B. Straw, executive secretary of the Friends and Assistant Dean for Digital Initiatives and Special Collections, JStraw@bsu.edu, 765-285-5078.

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Archetype: Future Designers Inspired by the Past on Exhibit in Bracken Library

Starting April 6 through June 15, 2009, students and faculty, along with Muncie community members and visitors, are invited to view the University Libraries' exhibit which will showcase student artwork inspired by pop culture and the expressive graphic style of the '60s.

The exhibit titled Archetype: Future Designers Inspired by the Past will be on display in Bracken Library on the second floor area of Archives and Special Collections. This exhibit is in collaboration with Associate Professors Christine Satory and Sam Minor, Department of Art, and junior visual communication majors.

The exhibition is meant to allow students to display their artwork to inform and educate. Items to be featured from the Archives and Special Collections will be student publications, poetry, highlights from Robert Kennedy’s 1968 Muncie visit, and graphic design from the '60s.

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Finale® Music Notation Software Added on Selected Music Collection Computers

Four Windows-based and three Mac Pro computers now provide students and faculty with access to Finale® music notation software which allows them to compose, arrange, and notate their music.

Dr. Eleanor F. Trawick, Associate Professor of Music and Coordinator of Music Theory and Composition, said that students use Finale® to edit and hear a computer-generated playback of their music, a feature that helps them to make adjustments to their work. They can also print engraver-quality sheet music.

“Having Finale® available in the library will be extremely helpful for students” said Professor Trawick.

Several midi interface keyboards with high-quality headphones are available for checkout at the Music Collection counter. Staff are available to help students, faculty, and staff who wish to use the program.

For more information, contact Amy L. Edmonds, Ball State University’s Music Librarian, ALEdmonds@bsu.edu,

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University Libraries Initiate an Events Calendar by Applying Google Apps Calendar and HTML

To improve customer service and user experiences, the University Libraries recently introduced a Web-based events calendar for activities in Bracken Library.

The events calendar makes it easier for students, faculty, and visitors to find a meeting, locate an event, or learn what is happening in Bracken Library.

To develop the events calendar, we applied the powerful Google Apps Calendar program and some Web development experience. Our new directional application was online in less than 48 hours, and it already has proven to be successful. View it at www.bsu.edu/libraries/events

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Ball State’s Music Librarian Presents Poster Session about Interlibrary Loan of Music CDs

This past February 15-21, 2009, over 500 music librarians and exhibitors from around the world attended the 78th Annual Music Library Association Conference in Chicago. Ball State’s music librarian, Amy L. Edmonds presented a poster session with examples of the secure packaging used by Ball State’s Interlibrary Loan Services’ personnel to protect music CDs in transit when sharing them with other libraries.

The University Libraries began lending music CDs in July, 2007. Since that time, we have not had any breakage during transit despite the fragile nature of CDs and their jewel cases. This potential breakage is one of the reasons often given by many libraries for not lending CDs.

Many persons who saw Amy’s poster session commented that they were considering loaning their CDs and that this exhibit, Amy’s data, and actually viewing the packing materials, were helpful to them in considering their decision.

Amy studied the approximate 18-month period between late May 2007 and mid-November, 2008 during which time Amy determined that the University Libraries had loaned 380 music CDs to other libraries and borrowed 2,071 music CDs for use by Ball State students and faculty.

Other facts that Music Library Association conference attendees found interesting included:

- Only about 3% of libraries around the country lend CDs.
- Classical music was the most frequently borrowed category of music from Ball State, followed by popular music from before 1990.
- The protective cases we use cost $1.44 each and are reusable.
- We own about 15,900 CDs.
- In the past two years, only one CD booklet has been lost by an interlibrary loan borrower and no CDs have been returned damaged.

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Web. 2.0: My Library @ BSU

Ball State University Libraries are a great place for conducting research, working on assignments and papers, or finding a quiet place to study. The Libraries offer a vast array of top-quality resources to support student research in all subject areas. In today’s user-customizable, Web 2.0 environment, students need library resources to be organized around their needs for gathering information based on their classes. The University Libraries now offer an online tool that allows them to accomplish just that: My Library @ BSU.

My Library @ BSU is a customizable library Web portal page for students, inspired by iGoogle and MyYahoo. It is designed to create a one-stop shop for students who are seeking resources tailored to the courses they are taking.

When users first log on to the My Library @ BSU,
http://libix.bsu.edu/mylibrary, they are invited to select three subject areas that match the courses they are currently taking. Once selected, My Library creates a personalized library Web portal page with tabs for each subject, plus a customizable “My Stuff” tab.

Each subject tab contains a short list of links to specialized information resources, such as subscription databases and other e-resources in a given area. The “My Stuff” tab is customizable, allowing users to add links to other electronic resources such as RSS feeds (news feeds, blogs, etc.), library quick-search modules, and widgets of all kinds from sites such as Widgetbox, www.widgetbox.com. Future modules may include subject-relevant RSS feeds, summary of the user’s library account, and an “assignment calculator.” Tabs can be added and deleted as needed.

This release is a “beta” version of My Library, and we are seeking feedback on the usefulness of this tool. Students and faculty with a valid Ball State user ID and password are invited to create their own My Library @ BSU page, peruse the site, then send us feedback via the BSU Libraries Web Lab, www.bsu.edu/libraries/weblab/index.htm#mylibrary. A demo login will soon be available for those outside BSU who are interested.

For more information, contact Roy “Todd” Vandenbark, University Libraries’ Part-time Temporary Special Project Developer, RTVandenbark@bsu.edu, 765-285-8032.