October 31, 2006

A Solid B

Ever since The Globe and Mail's University Report Card came out this week, the sound of academic spin has been heard across Canada. It's coming from campus administrators as each institution finds ways to account for low grades and brag about the high ones.

TWU was included among the 49 institutions graded and is rightfully proud for being at the top of the heap for it's 'A+' for Quality of Education. TWU also aced the Student-Faculty Interaction category and the Class Size category with an "A+" in each, and scored exceptionally well in the Quality of Teaching category and the Most Satisfied Students Category, with an "A" in each.

Here at Alloway Library we have been mulling over our own grades. We too are rightfully proud of our 'A-' in "Service Provided by Library Staff" and an 'A' for providing quiet study space --beating out the major institutions on the lower mainland, and elsewhere, in those categories. (Although, according the G&M's methodology: "Because sample sizes are significantly smaller when comparing one university to another, there may not be statistically significant differences separating universities that receive different letter grades, although their mean scores are different. ")

Our overall GPA, according to the TWU undergrads who responded to the Globe and Mail's survey, is 3.9, which is not quite a 'B+.' And there's the rub-- 'B' is a respectable mark, and 'B+' is satisfying, but it's not an 'A.'

Alloway Library's report card:
Availability of quiet study space A
Service provided by library staff A-
Online library resources B+
Library hours of operation B
Library Services B
Overall Library B
Availability of journals/articles/periodicals B
Total number of library holdings C+

With a mission to provide "excellent services and resources" and a commitment to excellence as a core value in pursuit of its mission, Alloway Library staff have been talking about the grades: "There's always room for improvement!" is a common comment, and most staffers would agree with a colleague who said, "I have a feeling that the lower grades on resources are at least in part linked to a lack of understanding of what we have available. We need to be rethinking how we educate our students about databases. As well, we absolutely must get going on revamping our website."

Watch for more responses to the report card here and in the library in the days and months to come.

October 30, 2006

New Books and Newly Acquired items

Alloway Library's New Books shelves are always a browser's delight and a good way to stay current with our growing collection. Last Thursday, six shelves of new books were put on display on the main level.

University Librarian Ted Goshulak presents TWU President Jonathan Raymond with Reasons For The Hope Within a book representing the Inauguration Collection at the Inaugural Chapel October 13, 2006

New books may be checked out and should not be confused with the "newly acquired" status for items in the catalogue. Place a request on a newly acquired item and it will be ready for you, usually by the next working day.

Books from the President Jonathan S. Raymond Inauguration Collection will begin to be processed by the library as they arrive over the next few weeks and months.

Nearly 50 of the 70 titles nominated by members of the TWU community have been donated by departments, groups or individuals in recognition of Jonathan Raymond's inauguration this fall. Contact the TWU Bookstore if you would like to see your name on a bookplate as part of this collection-- there is still time. Prices for currently unsponsored books range from just $12 for Killer Germs: Microbes and Diseases that Threaten Humanity by Barry E. Zimmerman all the way up to $9,610 for the 20 volume Microscopic Anatomy of Invertebrates by Frederick W. Harrison.

October 26, 2006

New material on the sale shelf

This week I added over twelve full shelves of books to Alloway Library's sale shelf. Included are 6 shelves of brand new material plus an assortment of paperback novels, and , including some nicely bound and illustrated German-language materials published before World War II. Hardcover items are just $1 and softcovers only $.50.

October 25, 2006

RefWorks rewritten

RefWorks is our amazing biographical manager that lets you download citations from catalogs, databases and the WWW, store them in folders, and use them in the production of research papers and bibliographies. Over the past couple of years our information page for RefWorks on the library web has become increasingly complex and difficult to navigate. Now a rewrite has put the information you need right at your finger-tips. See it at http://www.twu.ca/library/refworks.htm
Submitted by Bill Badke

October 23, 2006

AskAway coming to Alloway Library

Did you see the supplement focused on promoting library services in the Saturday October 21st editions of the Vancouver Sun, Prince George Citizen, Kamloops Daily News and Victoria Times Colonist and the Monday October 23rd edition of the Kelowna Daily Courier?

One of the stories features a new virtual reference service which Alloway Library will be joining in the New Year. AskAway will replace Ask a Librarian, Alloway Library's in-house virtual reference service.

According to the press release:

"VICTORIA – British Columbians will have better access to more information thanks to a new virtual reference library service called AskAway, Education Minister Shirley Bond and Advanced Education Minister Murray Coell announced today during the Libraries in Dialogue with Government conference.

“AskAway lets British Columbians get the information they need from a real librarian in real time using a simple live chat format – no matter where they live in the province,” said Bond. “By putting the knowledge and resources of librarians online, AskAway will help make B.C. the best educated, most literate jurisdiction in North America.”

The Province is partnering with public and post-secondary libraries to provide the AskAway virtual reference, which is available at www.askaway.org. The Province has provided $530,000 in start-up funding and will contribute $350,000 in ongoing annual funding. AskAway will be staffed by public and post-secondary librarians.

AskAway uses special software to connect 160 librarians from 46 public libraries to residents across the province. AskAway also connects 100 librarians from 20 post-secondary institutions. The academic librarians provide specialist resources for post-secondary students, including access to academic research databases.

“This information age has created a more focused, competitive world for post-secondary learners,” said Coell. “To thrive, our students need fast access to the real research and high quality information that AskAway librarians can provide, whether they are in Fort St. John or Vancouver.”

AskAway is a key component of the government’s election commitment to expand library access and services to British Columbians across the province. It also expands on a pilot project carried out by post-secondary institutions. Since the start of the pilot in late September, college and university librarians have fielded more than 800 questions on topics ranging from political figures of the past to psychology research papers.

B.C. has one of the highest rates of Internet connectivity in the country, with almost 70 per cent of residents having online access, either at home or through a local community centre. With AskAway, Internet users who can’t get to a library during regular business hours or live in remote areas will still be able to get the information they need.

“AskAway dramatically enhances access to the important service that librarians provide,” said Lawrence Lavender, president of the B.C. Library Trustees’ Association. “It puts expert help just a click away.” "

Watch for the AskAway launch at Alloway Library sometime in January, or give it a try 10am to 10pm Sunday through Thursday and 10am to 5pm Friday and Saturday.

October 22, 2006

Empty bottles add up for Mbale

Alloway Library is a bottle drop-off point for a TWU student initiative raising funds for a hospital in Mbale Uganda. We're happy to reports amazing news about the project!!

Heather Davies who is spearheading the project tells us "As for the bottles, we have been blessed out of our socks. This is the second week in a row we've had too many to handle.... but there are several students who have been helping sort and take the bottles in, and a couple of people volunteering trucks and vans. Right now we have about $220.00 from bottles and about $250.00 from donations, total just under $500.00. So it's not so little anymore! "

They cannot believe the amount of interest that this is generating. To put things in perspective, the library launched this campaign in April 2006 and raised just over $200 in three months

In Uganda it costs the equivalent of 6 empty pop cans to save a child with malaria from dying. One man’s trash is truly another man’s treasure.

Contributed by Janet Kreiter

October 19, 2006

Ten years of voluntary service

Alloway Library staff marked a special anniversay with Monica Weymer this week. Monica has been volunteering in the library since 1996 coming in weekly throughout the academic year to shelve material

During a special coffee-break celebration with the staff Monica was presented with a ten-year certificate from Trinity Western University as well as tokens of appreciation from library staff.

October 18, 2006


Sale material-- The used book sale shelf is quite full lately with new additions, including three-ring binders for $1 each.

Cabling project -- New Cat 5e cabling has been installed throughout the library to replace the aging CAT3 lines. Once the connections are complete, Alloway Library's computers should show improved perfomance.

Printer woes -- Alloway Library apologizes for recent printer outages and is working with the IT department to resolve the problem.

Librarian Ted Goshulak stacking Hollinger boxes filled with archival records ca 1988 TWU Archives

October 12, 2006

Library Elf -Treat or trick?

Library Elf is a neat web application that many people find helpful but,

Dobby the house elf from Warner Bros Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Source)

like its mythological namesake, also has the potential for harm. Library Elf will keep track of your due dates and email you when your due dates are approaching; it will even let you know if material you have requested is waiting for you. But many librarians warn that Library Elf may also compromise your privacy by making your library record accessible to others.
In a recent article in Library Journal Elizabeth Burns notes:
"The trade-off, of course, is privacy. Just as it's simple for a patron to create a (Library Elf) account, it is also easy for one user to log in as another, or for the email to be read by someone else. Patron privacy is very important to libraries and is protected by law.
... Libraries insist on subpoenas for releasing this information to third parties; libraries don't allow family members to pick up one another's holds. So why can Library ELF get this information?"

Ultimately, it's the patron who is asking to share his or her library account information with someone else-- in this case with an Elf. Library Elf's Privacy Policy states "Unless ordered by court order, we will not sell, rent, disclose or otherwise make available your email address or other personal information to any outside party. " They go on to warn however, "We would like to be able to tell you that the information you provide us is absolutely safe. Unfortunately, several well-publicized instances of computer security breaches make it impossible for anyone to be so confident. The most we can tell you is that we employ security safeguards to help protect your confidentiality."

Librarians concerned about patron privacy also discovered that how Library Elf users choose to receive notification may be the weakest aspect of the service. Burns writes:

"A final privacy risk is through RSS feeds. This was highlighted in 2005, when Mary Minow of the Law Library blog discovered that Library ELF users who had RSS feeds going to popular web aggregator Bloglines had inadvertently made public their borrowing information, even for private Blogline accounts.

Library ELF immediately addressed the issue. An update on the What's New page of the Library ELF web site explains that the way the RSS feed link was generated had been changed so that the email address would not be part of the feed. Once a user changes the Library ELF password, the RSS feed changes, too. This is not a panacea, though, and ELF notes that if this new RSS link were to be published, then others may be able to view your feed again.

Public RSS aggregators can treat RSS as public even if profiles have been marked private. The most secure solution is to unsubscribe from the ELF RSS feed and specify email delivery only. The FAQ section is even more blunt, naming Bloglines specifically as an RSS aggregator that treats RSS feeds as public even when a profile is private, owing to its shared database of feeds."

I have read Library Elf''s website statements carefully including the FAQ section. I also looked at how other libraries and librarians are responding to this application. Based on my research, I decided to use Library Elf for myself. Today, I logged into my Library Elf account and saw that in the past year, Elf has sent me 30 notices in advance of my due date (sad to say, it also sent me 18 overdue notices!) as well as 3 notes about requested items. Working in a library daily, it's a bit moot but it's clear to me that Elf is a useful tool for those who want to manage their library account.

I've recommended ELF to many who want someway to decrease fines or receive email notification (something Alloway Library is unable to provide effectively.) Their feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. But you need to investigate for yourself and decide if Library Elf is a trick or a treat.

October 10, 2006

Changes in the CINAHL database

EBSCOhost recently announced that Pre-CINAHL content has been successfully integrated into CINAHL with Full Text. As a result, they are removing Pre-CINAHL as a separate database in an effort to limit end-user confusion when selecting a database to search. Alloway Library users will be able to simply access all of Pre-CINAHL content through the CINAHL with Full Text database. Any links to Pre-CINAHL have been removed from Alloway Library's website, as they will no longer link to a separate database after the end of November 2006. (Source)

CINAHL® with Full Text provides indexing for 2,737 journals from the fields of nursing and allied health. The database contains more than one million records dating back to 1982. Offering complete coverage of English-language nursing journals and publications CINAHL with Full Text covers nursing, biomedicine, health sciences librarianship, alternative/complementary medicine, consumer health and 17 allied health disciplines. In addition, this database offers access to health care books, nursing dissertations, selected conference proceedings, standards of practice, educational software, audiovisuals and book chapters. Searchable cited references for more than 1,150 journals are also included. CINAHL with Full Text provides full text for 329 journals, plus legal cases, clinical innovations, critical paths, drug records, research instruments and clinical trials. PDF backfiles to 1982 are also included. (Source)

Photograph of Carla Stockberger sitting on the lawn in a nursing uniform [ca. 1988] TWU Archives

CINAHL stands for Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature. (Source)

Ten things libraries do well

Stephen Abram, in an online article titled Waiting for your cat to bark - Competing with Google and it's ilk writes:

What do libraries do well?
1. Libraries are nonpartisan. We cannot overemphasize this point. We are not unbiased. We are biased towards our communities’ needs. We’re biased towards quality information and safe environments. We are biased to user privacy. We share a common value system that focuses on protecting the record and empowering the user.
2. Libraries are all about community – workplaces, neighborhoods, research, and learning communities.
3. Libraries are about learning – schools, colleges, universities, and lifelong learning. We understand that learning happens in a magical way. It’s not just about reading, literacy, and providing access to and delivering “content.” It’s a much broader experience than that.
4. There is a difference between algorithmic ranking and filtering. Libraries filter – we select or provide the key tools for our users to select the best. In a world overwhelmed with information, this critical capability and talent trumps everything. I think this is the most salient insight from
Chris Anderson’s The Long Tail. Read it.
5. Librarians are strong protagonists in the economy of questions. Google is a protagonist in the economy of advertising. We both work with information as a key tool. Librarians excel at improving the quality of the question before it is asked. Google tries to guess at the question and deliver a best guess answer. Often this works. Sometimes is doesn’t.
6. “How?” and “Why?” are the tough questions that librarians use in interviewing techniques to get at the root needs. No computer is nearly ready to inform the search equation with the knowledge derived from a well-done research interview. We need to promote and develop new respect for these skills. Give unto Google what is Google’s. Give unto librarians what is the librarian’s.
7. The human quality of sense-making is a very special skill. It is about understanding context and delivering what is right for that context. Libraries excel at understanding context. We are challenged by making this work in a virtual world. We need to find new ways to introduce sense and context back into the virtual world - specialized search, pathfinders, interactions through virtual reference and IM, etc.
8. Libraries do “local” well. Whether we are the center of the campus, the school, or the community, we do local very well. Our challenge is to use the new technologies to extend our reach into the community – both physically and virtually. We need to go beyond our traditional “Outreach” initiatives and just do “Reach.”
9. Libraries do collections well. Things have changed, though. While we once bragged about collecting comprehensively, we now must move to collecting selectively to meet a need. It won’t be hard. Our core skills and competencies for developing collections, resource sharing, and connecting core collections to the world at large – through search and ILL – mark us as the first of the “g-locals.”
10. One weakness of the digital world was identified many decades ago by John Naisbitt in Megatrends (1982). The first trend was that high tech would drive a need for greater “high touch.” This should be known as our greatest strength – the personal human touch. Can we position this for the new age?

Read the full article and find out what libraries do poorly, according to Abram.

Or comment on this article and tell us what you think Alloway Library does well.

October 06, 2006

Pop cans save lives

Alloway Library is again partnering with TWU students by collecting clean refundable beverage containers to help the JOY hospice in Mbale, Uganda.

Photo: Dr Jan White left, attending a young patient

In the current Mars' Hill we read:

Pop cans save lives
Bringing medication to the poor in Uganda
By Heather Davies

I held a little baby girl in my arms, with wide black eyes and fragile skin as thin as paper covering her slender frame. She was dying of malnutrition because she couldn’t keep any food down. Due to her critical condition, the baby would need to be taken to Kampala, a trip that would cost the family a couple of month’s wages and some weeks away from home...

When I came back to Trinity Western University, Uganda felt a long way away. I’d spent every last cent on school; what could I give? I started collecting pop cans in my dorm and returning them for refund. The library staff heard what I was doing and offered to help me. Friends dropped off money and in the end I collected almost $400. It wasn’t much, but I sent it to the hospital in Uganda to pay for medications for those who couldn’t afford them.

This year I’m doing the same thing again. My passion is to help people in other countries who are suffering and dying because they simply don’t have the money to pay for medical treatment. ... The cost of six pop cans could provide minimal malaria treatment for a baby. A dollar a day could supply antiretroviral drugs to a mother with AIDS so she can live to raise her children. A Starbucks coffee could pay to treat two children dying of typhoid. Two bus tickets could pay for a blood transfusion for an adult.

It’s not hard to save bottles, walk instead of taking the bus, make my own coffee instead of buying Starbucks, or put aside a dollar a day, when I know that I am saving the lives of fellow human beings. After all, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, whatever you do for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you do for me.”

So I invite you to participate with me this year. There will be a bin in the library for your recyclables, or you can take them into the Langley Bottle Depot and donate the money to the TORN Project. If you wish, you can choose something to give up and save the money, put aside a set amount every week, or donate your tithe. The money will be sent to JOY Hospice and Clinic in Mbale, Uganda, where it will be used to buy medications for those who can’t afford them otherwise...

For more information or to help in other ways, email Heather.Davies at hotmail.com

Read the full Mars' Hill article)

October 05, 2006

New Art:21 Video

What goes on inside the minds of today’s most dynamic visual artists? How do they make the leap between insight and finished object? What inspires artists to break through the barriers of convention to arrive at new ways of seeing? These and other intriguing questions are explored in Season Three of “Art:21—Art in the Twenty-First Century.” Catalogued as Art in the twenty-first century: art 21. This unique PBS series focusses exclusively on contemporary art and the people who create it. Like the great biennial art exhibitions that regularly showcase current artistic activity, Art:21 returns to television every two years to profile working artists who build our living culture with each painting, sculpture, photograph or installation that they create.

As in previous seasons, each hour of Art:21 is organized around a unifying theme that helps audiences analyze, compare, contrast, and juxtapose the artists profiled. Power explores issues of violence, domination and control that pervade contemporary society. Memory delves into how an artist’s personal background, as well as our shared historical past, emerge in artistic expression. Structures profiles artists who investigate context and order in the organization of their art. Play reveals artists who fearlessly tap improvisation and games, spontaneity and mundane objects, to make art that is simultaneously whimsical and profound. (Source)

Art:21 is supported by an extensive website which includes previews, slide shows and supplementary materials. Alloway Library also has season one from 2001 and the companion book to the series.

October 03, 2006

Oxford English Dictionary now at online at www.twu.ca/library

Alloway library is pleased to announce the addition of an important new database to our array of resources available to our users. The premier dictionary of the English language, (and the world?) The Oxford English Dictionary Online can now be accessed using the Dictionary link (or New Databases) link on the library's webpage. (TWU logon is required for off-campus access)

The Oxford English Dictionary is the accepted authority on the evolution of the English language over the last millennium. It is an unsurpassed guide to the meaning, history, and pronunciation of over half a million words, both present and past. It traces the usage of words through 2.5 million quotations from a wide range of international English language sources, from classic literature and specialist periodicals to film scripts and cookery books.

The OED covers words from across the English-speaking world, from North America to South Africa, from Australia and New Zealand to the Caribbean. It also offers the best in etymological analysis and in listing of variant spellings, and it shows pronunciation using the International Phonetic Alphabet.

As the OED is a historical dictionary, its entry structure is very different from that of a dictionary of current English, in which only present-day senses are covered, and in which the most common meanings or senses are described first. For each word in the OED, the various groupings of senses are dealt with in chronological order according to the quotation evidence, i.e. the senses with the earliest quotations appear first, and the senses which have developed more recently appear further down the entry. In a complex entry with many strands, the development over time can be seen in a structure with several 'branches'. (Source)

The new Oxford English Dictionary Online, provides unparalleled access to the wealth of material contained in the acclaimed 20-volume Second Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary and the 3 volumes of Additions. Online publication also enables the "treasure house" of the English language to move with the times as never before possible.

With the OED online you can:
Search the equivalent of 23 volumes of information with speed and ease
Find a term when you know the meaning but have forgotten the word
Find words that have come into English via a particular language
Search for quotations from a specified year
Search for all quotations from a particular author and/or work
Display entries according to your needs - for the first time you can turn pronunciation, etymologies, variant spellings, and quotations on and off
Gain unique online access to at least 1,000 new and revised words each quarter
Compare revised entries with entries from the Second Edition to see how language has changed and how new scholarship has increased understanding of our linguistic and cultural heritage (Source)

One of the many cool features of this resource is the ability to sign up to receive the Word of the Day by email or RSS feed from OED!

October 02, 2006

New videos on Youth Mental Health Issues

A powerful, 3-part series on child and youth mental health sheds light on the current situation and offers practical tools to understanding the problems and knowing where to find solutions. Depressed kids don't just have a bad attitude--they have an illness. And the illness is treatable. Produced in BC by the Knowledge Network.

Anxiety motivates us to get things done, but for some people, anxiety is not a driver. For many children, anxiety disrupts everyday life, interfering with their ability to make friends or go to school. Through interviews with experts and three young people, Fighting their fears outlines the causes, symptoms and treatments for anxiety disorders and emphasizes the importance of early identification and intervention. In all of these stories there is hope. (Source)

Statistics reveal that depression in children and youth is on the rise. In fact, it has increased by one-third in the past 30 years. Untreated depression costs a teenager in many ways: lost eductional opportunities, lost social opportunities and lost time.Through the personal stories of three young people, Beyond the blues traces the journey of depression, from early signs and symptoms, to assessment, diagnosis and treatment. The documentary also helps shatter some stereotypes. (Source )

A MAP of the mind fields: Until recently a diagnosis of psychosis was seen as the end to normal life. With onset occurring most often in youth from 13 to 25, this serious mental health disorder often has tragic consequences when undiagnosed or improperly dealt with. Psychosis is a brain disorder where an individual experiences some loss of contact with reality. Symptoms include hallucinations, delusions, paranoia and disorganized thoughts and speech. Three people share their personal stories: Amanda, 16, Max, 12, and Tara, 18. (Source)