Friday, September 18, 2009

University Libraries’ Public Catalog Connects to Google Books

The University Libraries have launched an exciting new discovery tool that increases the scope of desktop, point-and-click digital information delivery through the University Libraries, offering Ball State’s students and faculty a more robust and integrated virtual library experience.

This powerful new feature connects CardCat (the University Libraries online catalog) records to digital copies of books found in the expansive Google Book Search Project (GBSP). Now students and faculty performing research in CardCat can read excerpts or even the full-text of books by clicking on the Google Preview button or using the embedded Google Book’s reader located at the bottom of the record.

According to Dr. Arthur W. Hafner, Dean of University Libraries, “This innovative new application developed by our librarians greatly expands the volume of resources that the Libraries offer to Ball State students and faculty to achieve their educational and research objectives.”

The GBSP, a massive book digitization project begun in 2004, now includes nearly seven million books available through agreements with authors, publishers, and civic, academic, and special libraries. Through Google’s private contracts, library partnerships, and a pending legal settlement with authors, nearly 70% of the seven million books in GBSP are available for limited preview or full-text viewing. Limited previews of books are offered when a book is still in copyright. In this case, rights holders decide how much of the book will be made available online. Full-text viewing is available when a book is considered to be in the public domain, typically titles published before 1923.

While not all books in CardCat have a counterpart in Google Books, Google Preview greatly enhances the value of the Libraries’ catalog as a research portal for those items that have a link, creating a more engaging experience for the user. In addition to providing book covers, when available, students and faculty realize the real value of the service since they are able to browse or read books from their desktop. Researchers can evaluate a resource from the desktop and make informed research selections before visiting the Libraries’ stacks.

The University Libraries are fully invested in information-delivery innovations that help students and faculty discover the rich resources offered through our broad print and digital collections.

The launch of the Google Book Search Preview within the Libraries’ CardCat is just one more way in which the Libraries support teaching, learning, and research through the continual expansion of information access, redefining education and research in an environment of seamless knowledge discovery and increased digital integration.

For more information, contact Matthew C. Shaw, Collections Development Librarian,, 765-285-1302.

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Students and Faculty Return to See New Carpeting on Bracken Library’s First Floor

Students and faculty returning to the Ball State campus this fall discovered a few changes to one of their favorite destinations, Bracken Library. The most obvious was the newly completed replacement of the carpet on Bracken’s first floor and on the steps of its well-known spiral staircase.

Bracken’s new carpet is a welcome aesthetic improvement, chosen to match the permanent features of the building such as the concrete walls, brick, and oak. No matter what colors may adorn Bracken’s walls in the future, the woven carpet will match its surroundings, and its pattern will likely disguise wear from traffic patterns and will lessen any noticeable soiling.

Georgia Direct Carpet, Inc., Richmond, Indiana, installed the carpet, which was manufactured by Karastan Commercial Carpets, Inc. Part of the process of installing over 4,500 square yards of new carpet also included taking up the old carpet, some sections of which were over fifteen years old. Following removal, the old carpet was recycled or sent to a clean burn facility.

Installing carpet is a huge job that required a lot of planning, organization, and teamwork. Libraries’ personnel from various units within the Libraries were involved, including Book Stacks Management, Access Services, Support Services, and Information Services, along with team members from University Facilities and Dixie DeWitt from the Dean of Libraries’ Office. Tasks included moving several dozen ranges of books and periodicals from one end of the first floor to the other and then back. One book stack might take as many as eight people to push along using a range mover that was used to lift the stacks. Moving also involved the physical removal of thousands of boxes of microform, moving cabinets, and then the replacing the cabinets and replacing of all of the microform.

Another Libraries’ unit that was involved was Library Information Technology Services since they had to disconnect and reconnect over 150 public computer stations, nine printers and print release stations, and four scanners. There were hundreds of cables, cords, and plugs involved in moving the workstations. To minimize disruption to students and faculty, temporary computer access was added to stations on other floors, along with temporary scanning stations and moving of computer tables. After the new carpeting was in place, everything had to be set up again. As Kirk M. VanOoteghem, Lead Microcomputer/Systems/Network Analyst at the University Libraries, noted, “Taking machines out was the easy part. Putting them back together was much more time consuming because of having to measure out the proper cable lengths for network and power, having to tie up cables and lock down equipment, and getting the right machines back into the right locations.”

Along the way, Kirk and his team replaced all computers on Bracken’s first floor east and reimaged computers on first floor west. Added to that, they set up temporary office space in study rooms for several employees to work while their spaces and work areas were being carpeted, as well as a temporary circulation desk with mobile equipment while the main circulation counter area was being re-carpeted.

To keep everyone updated on the progress of the carpeting project, Reference Librarian Sean Walton made regular entries to the Libraries’ Facebook page . If you are on Facebook and want to be a fan of the University Libraries, just search Facebook for “Ball State University Libraries.” Photos can be found here.

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Friday, September 11, 2009

University Libraries Continue Offering Free Printing Services, within Limits

Beginning on the first day of fall semester classes, the University Libraries announced that we would continue to offer students and faculty “free” printing. A difference from past years is that users are limited to 1,000 “free pages” per semester. A page is the printing of one side of one sheet of paper.

When a person using our printing services reaches the 1,000 free pages limit, an electronic tally is kept and a charge of 5¢ per exposure over 1,000 is charged through the Bursar’s Office at the end of the semester.

Students and faculty may check personal print balances 24/7 by using the Check Print Balance link on the Libraries’ homepage, shown in the left column, Similarly, there is a link prominently displayed at the bottom right of the Student Virtual Library page, The balance displayed is current through the previous day at midnight. Users with guest accounts can print up to 20 pages per day.

The 1,000 page “free” printing service is based upon data collected in the 2009-2010 time frame from 6.2 million pages printed by students and faculty. Of this printing, 97% fell under the 1,000 “free” page base. Allowing 1,000 pages may help to curb some past abuse of our printing service. Last spring semester, for example, ten students together printed 101,417 pages, with one of the students printing 54,279 pages.

Analysis of last fall’s printing data, published in the May 2009 issue of The Library Insider, revealed that seniors printed an average (mean) of 278 pages each, with 79.2% of senior students using the service. At the same time, graduate students printed an average of 446 pages each, with 62.8% of BSU’s graduate students using the service. Other classes of students printed fewer pages, on average. Word documents accounted for 36.4% of the printing, followed by PDFs (20.9%), PowerPoints (14.7%), and non-BSU Web pages (11.1%).

The University Libraries also provide students and faculty with access to more than 380 computer workstations, including 18 Mac units. The Libraries have 10 high-quality, fast laser printers that print documents from those workstations as well as wirelessly processed documents from personal laptops.

Bracken Library is open 120.5 hours weekly, with longer hours immediately before and during final exams. Between July 1, 2008 and June 30, 2009, Bracken was open 357 days to support academic achievement, research, and learning.

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Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Helen B. and Martin D. Schwartz Special Collections and Digital Complex Dedication Held in Bracken Library

The Helen B. and Martin D. Schwartz Special Collections and Digital Complex on the first floor of the Alexander M. Bracken Library was dedicated at 11:00 a.m. on August 17, 2009. The 30-minute ceremony included remarks from Ball State President Jo Ann Gora, Vice President for Information Technology Phil Repp, Dean of University Libraries Arthur Hafner, and Mr. Martin Schwartz.
The event was attended by Schwartz family members and friends and members of the Libraries and University administrations. Following the dedication ceremony, which included a short tribute video recognizing the Schwartz family for their long history of support of Ball State University and especially the University Libraries, guests toured the facility to see demonstrations of the technology and resources available in the areas of the Digital Complex.
The Schwartz Digital Complex is an innovative, collaborative, and interactive learning and teaching environment dedicated to serving the educational advancement of Ball State University students. This technology-rich facility in Bracken Library was made possible by a generous gift from Martin Schwartz in honor of his late wife, Helen.
In her remarks, President Gora said, “None of this would have been possible without the vision and philanthropic support of Helen B. and Martin D. Schwartz.” According to Vice President Phil Repp, the Schwartz Digital Complex will be “Ball State’s connection to the world, as well as the world’s connection to our unique collections, the kind of collections that Helen and Martin worked so hard to recognize and preserve.”
The Schwartz Digital Complex will provide a space that digitally connects students and faculty to the numerous digital media assets and special collections available through the University Libraries. It will be a place for students and faculty to reach across the globe to better understand the stories and customs of world cultures through digital media.
While making available the University Libraries’ rich array of digital media assets and special collections, the Complex also will provide access to media from around the world — a digital “newsstand” that provides access to international media, broadcasts, podcasts, and multimedia. It will be a global gallery that provides students and faculty with a media-rich gateway to connect visually and aurally to the artifacts that form the world’s cultures and societies. The Complex will also serve as an innovative and flexible space for fostering an undergraduate research culture.
The official opening of the Schwartz Digital Complex will be on September 17 as part of the first in a five-part series of Tech4U events sponsored by Information Technology and hosted in Bracken Library. The September 17 event will run from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and is open to the public.
Copies of the DVD of the dedication ceremony and tribute video are available for viewing in Archives and Special Collections, and will soon be available on the University Libraries’ Web site,
For more information, contact John B. Straw, Assistant Dean for Digital Initiatives and Special Collections,, 765-285-5078.

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