The News @ Western Libraries ---> Feature Story
Posted on: Tuesday, May 5, 2015 - 3:19pm
One need only glance at the “Faculty Notes” page of Western Today to get a sense of the depth and range of research, scholarship, and creative works that Western’s faculty are producing. Western CEDAR, Western Washington University’s institutional repository (IR), is one way Western can share these innovative and engaging outputs with the world. Part of a global movement promoting open access to scholarship and creative works, Western CEDAR is a service of Western Libraries, in partnership with the Graduate School, Office of the Provost, and Office of Research and Sponsored Programs.
Since its launch last fall, CEDAR’s implementation team has been working diligently with Western faculty and staff to both create SelectedWorks pages and also add content to the repository that will help make the scholarly and creative work of Western’s community accessible to everyone.
“So much is made about the teaching-learning mission of the university. But I’m constantly amazed at the quality and quantity of academic scholarship that is produced at Western. This allows us, in one place, to begin to tell the story of the university’s collective efforts to engage in the production of new knowledge, and to share that broadly,” explained Dr. Francisco Rios, Dean of Woodring College of Education.
CEDAR’s Selected Works feature allows faculty from Western to share their work and expand their readership. Articles published in peer-reviewed journals that are added to CEDAR are search engine optimized for maximum exposure, meaning they have the potential to receive increased readership beyond the discipline-specific journal in which they were first published.
While one of the goals of CEDAR is to make scholarship available and accessible to anyone in the world, a local benefit of using SelectedWorks is that it provides scholars at Western an opportunity to discover what their colleagues here at Western are researching and creating. Elementary Education Professor Joy Wiggins explained how CEDAR helps connect faculty across the university, enabling them to recognize how their work intersects with other disciplines.
"My research intersects with anthropology, sociology, psychology and even political science, and it just makes sense for me to seek research outside of education...We tend to stay encapsulated in our disciplines and respective departments because we are so busy just teaching, attending to service and squeezing in our writing that we sometimes forget to look up from our desks and seek other like-minded folks from different disciplines that bring a whole new, fresh insight to our work. That’s what’s so exciting to me. CEDAR is one way to connect us," said Wiggins.
Faculty who create SelectedWorks pages can showcase their scholarly and creative works by displaying them in a customized format organized according to the categories they decide to highlight, (such as: areas of research and expertise, awards and honors, publications, bibliographies, Curriculum Vitae, or lists of links to additional information). SelectedWorks pages also allow scholars to easily cultivate their own network of followers by inviting contacts to join their announcement network, or follow them via RSS feed or email.
Environmental Sciences Professor Robin Matthews’ SelectedWorks page includes something entirely unique since she is the author of the very first book ever published in CEDAR, a taxonomy guide to local algae that includes hundreds of high resolution color images. The book can be downloaded electronically to a computer or mobile device, and it was created with active links which make it easy to use.
“Putting the book on CEDAR solved a huge problem I was facing: how to make the book accessible to students and other professionals at a low or no cost and without loss of quality. Printing this type of book would be prohibitively expensive, assuming I could even find a publisher interested in the project,” explained Matthews.
Not only was Matthews able to create something she uses in her own teaching, she has also connected with others outside of the United States who have told her that her book has helped them in teaching their students algal taxonomy. Currently, publications from Western Washington University's faculty, staff and students, including Western's Masters Thesis Collection, are being downloaded by people from all over the world. CEDAR's website includes a dynamic map that begins with the previous days' downloads before switching to real-time activity, so you can see for yourself the global impact of the work being done at Western.
“Ultimately, this is about providing access to the broadest range of one’s scholarship to as many people as possible. As an educational institution, we have a commitment and obligation to generate new knowledge. But that knowledge, to have impact, needs to be shared with as many others as possible. And others need to be able to access that knowledge,” said Rios.
Cedar’s implementation team at Western Libraries is available to assist you in if you are interested in creating a SelectedWorks page to showcase your work, or if you have any questions about Western CEDAR. Please contact Western Libraries Scholarly Communication Librarian, Jenny.Oleen@wwu.edu or Western CEDAR Manager Kim.Marsicek@wwu.edu for more information.
Posted on: Friday, April 10, 2015 - 1:54pm
Topic(s): Feature Story
What do fly fishing and Western Libraries have in common? You might be surprised at the connections between these two seemingly incongruous things!
Professor Paul Piper, who is also Western Libraries librarian for Special Collections, is teaching a Library 320 Class this quarter, “Fly Fishing in American Literature and Culture.” This class explores both the sport and art of ﬂy ﬁshing in American literature and culture, and considers the implications of fly ﬁshing as a cultural phenomenon on gender, race, and environmental concerns by utilizing the ﬂy ﬁshing collection in Special Collections.
After a student in the class mentioned that he had never actually done any fly fishing and thought he could benefit from understanding something of the physical experience, Piper spoke with two professors who are also sitting in and contributing to the class, Woodring College of Education Human Services Professor Dr. Stan Goto, and Huxley College Environmental Sciences Professor Dr. Leo Bodensteiner, about arranging a time for students to experience what it feels like to cast a flyrod.
One sunny Thursday afternoon presented itself as the perfect opportunity for the class to engage in some experiential learning activities to help enrich their classroom experiences. Here are some photos of students gathered together on the lawn in from of Old Main first learning some tips from Bodensteiner, and then practicing their casting skills.
“The students seemed thrilled by the kinesthetic experience of holding and handling a fly rod. In subsequent discussion they talked about how it made the conceptual more real. Several students said they wanted to further pursue it," said Piper.
To see more pictures from Thursday's class, check out the Libraries Facebook page. To learn more about Western Libraries fly fishing collections, which includes: books, periodicals, manuscripts, photographs, artworks, audio and video personal interviews and histories, and fly fishing artifacts such as rods, reels, flies, and fly tying materials, contact: Heritage.Resources@wwu.edu.
Posted on: Tuesday, March 10, 2015 - 11:01am
One of the advantages of being at Western is that we have daily opportunities to engage in the learning experience, which reminds us how integral teaching and learning is to all that we do.
On March 11, 20015 as part of a Learning Commons "Conversations in Common," students, staff, and faculty had the opportunity to learn from students in Peter Smith's "Introduction to Research Strategies" class, who generously hosted a poster session to showcase the results of their research. Here is just a small sample of some of the students and their posters from yesterday's session.
Each student in the class selected a unique subject to explore, which they then researched in stages, applying their individual questions to the scholarly literature and then traveling from inquiry to thesis. Research topics included civil disobedience, sports imagery, careers in Communications, alpine ecosystems, art therapy, media issues, and much, much more. Special thanks to Peter and his Library 201 class for sharing with all of us!
Posted on: Monday, February 23, 2015 - 1:21pm
It's no secret, especially among Western Washington University faculty, that access to academic resources is critical to the university's ongoing excellence. In a time when budgets are tight and costs are increasing, it's especially important to find other ways to ensure academic work can continue unabated. That's one reason that Western Libraries recently hired Mike Olson to be director of Scholarly Resources and Collection Services.
In the new position, Olson oversees scholarly communications and leads and administers collection development and services at Western Libraries. Providing leadership for the selection and management of collections, he also coordinates the development and promotion of sustainable models of scholarly communication by working closely with library leadership, staff and external stakeholders to advance other digital initiatives.
History Professor Amanda Eurich, who served on the search committee that recommended Olson’s hire, said she was struck by his experience and his qualifications.
"Mike was on the top of my list when I received the applicant files because of the years of experience he had in collection development," she said. "But even more importantly, he is a committed scholar, engaged in the process of research and writing. Because of this, I felt that he would truly understand faculty investment in library resources."
As an academic librarian at a number of institutions, including both Harvard University and UCLA, Olson has been actively involved with scholarly communication and resource access for more than 25 years. Additionally, because he is also an accomplished scholar, he personally understands the importance of securing access to materials that support writing and research needs.
"I know firsthand the user’s joy and exhilaration when academic libraries get it right, and the pain and frustration when they don’t," Olson said. "I think Western Libraries does so many things right, and we want to improve whenever we can."
The cost of journal and database subscriptions rise about 4 to 6 percent each year, and the budget allocated to pay for them can't keep up.
But by negotiating better subscription terms, favoring open access models of scholarly communication and regularly reviewing and adjusting current subscriptions lists, there are things the Libraries can do institutionally to strengthen purchasing power and provide greater access to resources, Olson said.
“The acquisitions budget has always been a big problem, especially for people in fields like history, who rely heavily on the library for their research," said History Professor Peter Diehl. "There are journals that are needed, especially those in other languages, which get cut because of a lack of funds. The cost of academic monographs keeps going up but the budget to acquire them does not.”
Eurich agreed. While being a member of a consortium such as the Orbis Cascade Alliance has many benefits, she said, sometimes faculty and students just need to grab a book right away.
“You could say the library is our lab,” she said. “It is still important to have works on the shelf. We consider ourselves a writing-intensive discipline. Our students are conversant with Summit, but they still sometimes need immediate access to books and other resources.”
In addition to his experience and expertise, Olson’s personality and open communication style lend themselves well to facing the challenges that lie ahead. Diehl, who has a friendship with Olson dating back to when they first met as graduate students at UCLA over 30 years ago, spoke highly of Olson’s excellent interpersonal skills.
“He works so well with other people, and that’s a real asset. He has successful experience, both with collection development and with people,” Diehl said. “And, on a personal note, he gives me someone to watch football games with!”
Olson explained that he has a personal interest in sports, movies, and music.
“I’m curious about many other things as well, so that has been useful in my career as a collection development librarian, and when talking with people in higher education. As a native Seattleite and an alum of the University of Washington, I really feel right at home here at Western,” said Olson.
Olson emphasized that he is always pleased to meet with faculty to discuss the Libraries’ scholarly resources, and that he wants to encourage anyone interested in these issues to contact him. He intends to spend the upcoming year meeting with faculty independently and in small groups to learn more about how they currently use the Libraries’ resources, and their needs and priorities for the future. These meetings will feed directly into the creation of a “Resource Access Plan,” which will be fully developed this time next year. In looking forward, Olson spoke about the importance of increasing access to information by finding ways to remove barriers to content and scholarship.
“I want to enable Western’s students, faculty, staff, and administrators to work more effectively. Also, I want to ensure that our library resources are highly useful and highly-used. I really have one goal, and everything else fits within it: to collaborate campus-wide on rational and transparent ways to provide access to scholarly resources for the Western community,” said Olson.
Mike Olson can be contacted by phone (360) 650-4320 or via email Mike.Olson@wwu.edu.
Posted on: Thursday, February 12, 2015 - 11:15am
On February 5th, the Tutoring Center and the Map Collection, both housed in Wilson Library, were awarded "Sustainable Office Certification." The Sustainable Office Certification program is offered through Western's Office of Sustainability, and participation in the program creates opportunities for departments and offices here at Western to protect the environment, conserve resources, and promote safety and health through the measurement and recognition of sustainable practices that are adopted in the workplace.
The Map Collection was first inspired to pursue Sustainable Office Certification after both Western Libraries Circulation Services and the Teaching-Learning Academy (TLA) achieved certification. The recent certification of both the Tutoring Center and the Map Collection has subsequently inspired other Learning Commons partners and library departments to also consider participating in this program.
"I would love it if we could take a look at certification for all of the areas of the library and Learning Commons in both Wilson Library and Haggard Hall. It would be great if we could come together and do this in a unified way, and perhaps even become a model for other buildings on campus to work towards," said Map Collection Manager, Dennis Matthews.
There are resources and toolkits available online through the Office of Sustainability for anyone who is interested in participating in this program. Matthews explained that the certification process is very straightforward, and that the checklist helps participants become more aware of easily-adoptable small actions which turn into natural habits.
In using the checklist, Map Collection staff were able to recognize sustainable practices they had already adopted, as well as identify new practices that could easily be implemented.
"There were some things already done for us, like the lights in the Map Collection already being connected to motion sensors, but there were other things we realized we could implement easily, like printing double-sided, turning off our monitors, little things like that. Carol Berry in the Office of Sustainability was really helpful, as were the TLA students who also advised us," stated Matthews.
Other operational practices in the Map Collection include recycling, using compostable materials, and "up-cycling" maps that would otherwise have been discarded. Maps that are not needed in the Map Collection are first offered to other libraries located both regionally and globally, and then leftover maps are given away to the public. Students at Western have been particularly innovative with these maps, using them for decoration, wrapping paper, and even art projects. Several years ago, a student and artist named Emma Nestvold transformed some of these maps into beautiful works of art that were on display in one of the library art galleries.
While there are a number of benefits to participating in the Sustainable Office Certification Program, one of the positive outcomes that many people may not expect is that participation in the program can also help instill a sense of meaning, purpose, and connection in the everyday actions and routines that make up our daily work-lives.
"When you participate in this program, you not only become more aware of your environment, but also of how your actions affect and connect you to others. It helps you build a sense of community because you feel like you are working towards something a little bit bigger than yourself," stated Matthews.
To learn more about the Sustainable Office Certification Program, see: http://www.wwu.edu/sustain/programs/soc/success-stories/. To learn more about the Map Collection, see the Map Collection library guide, and don't miss the upcoming Open House Event on Wednesday, February 18th from 2 to 4pm in the Map Collection, Wilson Library 170!