Monday, January 25, 2010

Bracken Library Will Host Marathon Screening of Ken Burns’ The War

Bracken Library will host a two-day marathon showing of The War, a film by Ken Burns, on January 30-31, 2010, as part of the Muncie Public Library/Ball State Public History Program’s upcoming speakers series, “America and the World in the 1940s.” The film is fifteen hours long and was six years in the making.

Dr. Michael Doyle is the Academic Advisor for Adult Programming at Muncie Public Library. After making the decision to show the film to the public, he began looking for a place that had high student traffic, was conveniently accessible for Muncie community members, and comfortable for viewing such a long presentation. Bracken Library’s room 104 was the perfect choice. Dr. Doyle said, “I am always looking to foster more town and gown relationships for Ball State.”

With Bracken Library being so well-known by both students and community members, Doyle imagines that many people will find it convenient to slip in and slip out, as desired.

“World War II is a perennial subject of fascination,” says Dr. Doyle, since it touched everyone’s lives, whether soldiering in the European or Pacific Theaters or staying on the home front growing victory gardens, working in assembly plants, or watching loved ones go off to war. Doyle notes that through the years, many veterans of the war have not been talkative about their experiences in the war, which “enhances its mystique” for so many family members of all ages, from college students on up.

Dr. Doyle says that the Ken Burns film is the first in our generation to interweave the European, Pacific, and home front activities, rather than treat them separately. It “gives a sense of what it was like to be alive in the 1940s, when you did not know what would happen from one day to the next.” The film also pays special attention to the affect of the war on and the involvement of African Americans, Asian Americans, Native Americans, and Hispanic Americans.

When The War originally aired on PBS in September 2007, many local PBS stations were given the opportunity to develop related
programming. For WIPB, Ball State personnel directed and produced the Telly-winning Echoes of War, a live 60-minute interactive educational program (, which Ken Burns introduced and closed. Because of Burns’ involvement in 2007, he personally made the decision that his production company, Florentine Films, would waive the usual public screening fee for this upcoming 2010 showing of The War at Bracken Library.

The marathon screening of Ken Burns’ The War will take place in Bracken Library’s room 104 over the weekend of January 30-31, 2010, from 10:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M. both days. The War was directed and produced by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick.

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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Libraries’ Circulation Notices Sent to Students and Faculty by e-Mail Only

In an important time- and cost-savings initiative, the University Libraries are now using e-mail as the primary means of communicating with students, faculty, and staff about circulation services. This initiative was implemented by using the SirsiDynix API and built-in reporting features of the Symphony integrated library management system.

Dr. Hafner, Dean of University Libraries, said, “This action will eliminate about 90% of the average daily volume of mailed notices. And it will reduce paper, printer supplies, postage costs, and personnel time required to produce and process the notices.”

For many years, the University Libraries have sent electronic circulation notices for due date reminders, overdue notices, hold pickup alerts, recalls, and billing notifications. The Libraries duplicated most of these types of notices by also sending a printed letter through the mail.

With this change, the Libraries will send a duplicate notice only for recalls and overdue reserve item checkouts, both cases where there is a demonstrated high demand for an item. Otherwise, the only persons who will receive a letter through the mail about a borrowing transaction are those for whom the University Libraries have no e-mail address on file, mostly Indiana resident library cardholders who are not affiliated with Ball State.

Ball State students, faculty, and staff receive circulation notices at the e-mail address on file, which is their official Ball State account. To set up a Ball State e-mail forward to another account, visit the Ball State Email Support Console at

For more information, contact James W. Hammons, Head of Library Technologies,, 765-285-8032.

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Friday, January 08, 2010

University Libraries Collaborate to Make Friends Memorial Church Records Available in Digital Media Repository

When Muncie’s Friends Memorial Church celebrated their centennial in 2008 by removing the contents of a time capsule placed in the cornerstone of their building in 1908, they found an unpleasant surprise. Water had seeped in through a hole in the metal container holding the historical objects carefully placed there a hundred years before. Many of the items were damaged, mildewed, or moldy. Some seemed beyond repair or salvage.

Mrs. Pat Barnett and other members of the congregation contacted John Straw in the University Libraries’ Archives and Special Collections to see what might be done to preserve these valuable relics of the church’s past. John Straw and Maren L. Read, Archivist for Manuscript Collections, paid a visit to inspect the items and provide professional advice. The result was a collaborative project between the Friends Memorial Church and the University Libraries to digitize the contents of the time capsule and make them available in the Digital Media Repository ( The same was done for other items in the church’s archives and for materials in the Libraries’ Archives and Special Collections about the history of the church.

The Friends Memorial Church Collection is now available online at the following address: Items in the digital collection include photographs, a handwritten church roster from 1906, the building contract, histories, directories, reports, and issues of the Muncie Evening Press and the Muncie Evening Star with articles and photographs about the church. The water damage done to the items is apparent in several of the digital images.

The Friends congregation held their first meeting in 1876. The first meetings were in a private home north of the Courthouse Square and later in a public hall above retail rooms across from the old Delaware County Courthouse in the 100 block of North High Street. The first church building was erected at Mulberry and Seymour streets in 1903, and the current church was built in 1908.

The Libraries’ collaboration with the Friends Memorial Church will continue as more items from their archives are digitized and made available over time.
For more information on the Digital Media Repository, contact John B. Straw, Assistant Dean for Digital Initiatives and Special Collections,, 765-285-5078.

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Monday, January 04, 2010

University Libraries’ Online Catalog CardCat Gets New Look and Feel

Ball State University students, faculty, staff, and guests using CardCat, the University Libraries’ online catalog, will notice a new look and feel to the catalog at the start of Spring Semester. James W. Hammons, Head of Library Technologies, unveiled the redesigned catalog at a presentation for Libraries’ personnel on Thursday, December 17, 2009.

Major highlights of the new interface include these:

• Bookmarking of any page and easily viewing permanent links. Before, because each CardCat session has a different URL, users could not reliably bookmark items or search results. This new feature allows users to add bookmarks with a single mouse click or to view a persistent link to items or search results.

• Permanent Lists, for logged-in users. Users now have the ability to create, modify, and view lists of items without losing the lists after ending a CardCat session. Users can create several different lists. Temporary lists will still be available as well, for both logged-in and guest users.

• A new look and feel to the My Account section. Checkouts, holds, and bookings will display on different tabs, include links to item details, and feature sortable columns.

Throughout CardCat, users will notice a more streamlined look and feel, with text links replacing images, and design elements featured in other University Libraries’ services. Many customizations that the Libraries have added to CardCat will also appear in the new version, such as links to GoogleBooks and HathiTrust.

CardCat is the Libraries’ implementation of SirsiDynix’s e-Library, which replaces SirsiDynix’s iLink. Jim Hammons expects to put the new version of CardCat into production during the last week of December 2009. In addition to James W. Hammons, Katie M. Bohnert (in her previous position as Library Technologies Support Analyst), and Robert L. Seaton, Web Development Analyst, contributed to this project.

For more information, contact James W. Hammons, Head of Library Technologies,, 765-285-8032.

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