February 23, 2007

GSA makes gift to last

The Graduate Student Association recently donated $2500 in reference books specifically intended to support graduate programs at TWU. Current and future library users are grateful to the GSA for their thoughtful gift in support of academic excellence. The books include works on Confucianism, literature, linguistics and philosophy.

From left to right Jeffrey Sommer (seated), GSA Executive Vice President; Robin Martin, GSA President; Ted Goshulak, TWU Librarian; Ida Fan, GSA Vice President of Finance; Liv Skulstad, GSA Representative to the Library Committee

February 22, 2007

Alloway Library is open during reading break

Whether you take a break from reading or for reading, Alloway Library will be open during Indpendent Study Week Feb 24 - March 3.

Monday - Thursdays 7:45 am - 11:00 pm
Friday 7:45 am - 6:00 pm
Saturday 10: 00 am - 6:00 pm
Closed Sunday Feb 25 and March 4.

Don't forget that if you are off campus during the break you can still renew your material online or call us at 604-513-2023. You can also stay up to date with due dates and requests by signing on to Library Elf

Students in ski gear ca 1970's TWU archives

February 21, 2007

AskAway takes off!

A month after its launch at Alloway Library, the virtual reference service, AskAway, is proving to be a hit with librarians and patrons. AskAway lets users chat with librarians in real time and allows a librarian to "take over" a patrons' computer so they can literally be on the same page even though they are not in the same place.

Statistics and feedback for the first month (Jan 15 to Feb 15) of Alloway Library's participation in AskAway show the following:
  • TWU participated in 98 AskAway sessions.
  • Alloway librarians served 9 TWU patrons, and 29 patrons from other post-secondary institutions.
  • Other schools served 60 TWU patrons

While it's too early to see any trends, a closer look a the stats show:

  • Not surprisingly, the larger BC post-secondary institutions garnered the lionĂ‚’s share of the volume. UBC, SFU & UVic accounted for almost 50% of all sessions.
  • A bit more surprising is that TWU accounted for 3.5% of the sessions. That may not seem very high, but puts us in league with BCIT, Langara, Malaspina (all newcomers to the service this semester, just like us.)
  • Other libraries served twice as many of our patrons (60 sessions) as we served patrons from other institutions (29 sessions), but then our staffing hours are lower too, due to our size.
Patron Feedback:
While every AskAway patron is invited to complete an online survey at the end of their session, only 10 surveys were received. However, all 10 indicated that the quality of service they received was either excellent (9) or very good (1). As well, all 10 patrons indicated they were "very likely" to use the service again.

"It is very helpful to have available to use especially when you are studying at
home and need help on general researchh questions. Also, I was really impressed
with the immediate response and great help one receives." Feedback comment.

One librarian's experience:
We need to applaud Alloway Librarian Rhonda Nicholls for all the many hours that she has contributed, including the busier shifts of all the ones TWU signed up for. She has received some very complimentary feedback from patron surveys. Among the people who Rhonda helped this month was mom with a three-month old baby on her lap. (Now that's a laptop!) As well as a University of Victoria student seeking help while in Europe. Rhonda says "I find it quite amazing how far-reaching this service is. Even though I'm not always helping TWU students, I feel it somehow brings the academic community closer. As part of that, I not only enjoy getting a window into the student's life, but also working in cyberspace with other colleagues...we are all getting to know one another! It can't help but raise awareness of TWU in the larger picture."

Rhonda is also quick to acknowledge her colleagues Bill Badke, Shirley Lee and Duncan Dixon, the other librarians here who complete Alloway Library's AskAway team. "We couldn't do it without them," she adds.

Help is here!
With reading break-- and finals-- looming, Alloway Library and the whole AskAway service is preparing for more chats. Until April 6th, AskAway is open Sundays through Thursdays from 10am -9 pm; Fridays and Saturdays 11am -5pm. If the service is closed you can email AskAway or Alloway Library's Info Desk. Visit Alloway Library's webpage for more details.

Contributed by Shirley Lee

February 15, 2007

21 nights at the opera?

Twenty one opera DVD's have been added to the collection! Here's a brief list, click on any title to see Alloway Library's catalogue record

By Guiseppe Verdi:

By Igor Stravinky

by Mozart


Also, not operas, but great music just the same: Europa-Konzert from Palermo and La Lagrime di San Pietro with the Hilliard Ensemble.

The loan period for DVDs is one week; TWU borrowers may check out 6 at a time.

Alloway Library selects Relais ILL to automate Interlibrary Loans

Relais International has been working with libraries to develop systems to assist in providing a full range of interlibrary loan and document delivery services, for almost 10 years. They recently issued the following announcement:

Two more BC libraries select Relais ILL & Access
For immediate release
January 15, 2007

"Trinity Western University located in Langley, British Columbia, and the University College of the Fraser Valley, Abbotsford, BC, have selected Relais ILL to automate their ILL and Document Delivery operations. The systems will include Relais Access web-based pages which includes the Relais Web Services software. Relais Access will interface with the library’s GODOT system for user-initiated requesting and follow-up.

GODOT is a Simon Fraser University Library developed, open source web-based software package which enables library patrons to view the library's holdings for that item, whether in electronic format or in print, as well as other library's holdings. This is combined with the ability to request documents not in the local collection via Interlibrary Loan. Several BC libraries are presently using the GODOT/Relais interface.

Clare MacKeigan, General Manager of Relais International, says “We are delighted that Trinity Western University has selected Relais International as their ILL and Document Delivery system vendor. They will be our sixth and seventh customers in BC and we hope that more libraries will join this diverse group”.

Relais International will host the system for Trinity Western University from our offices in Ottawa, Canada. The Relais ILL systems will be implemented by spring 2007.

Relais™ International Inc is based in Ottawa, Canada and has been selling systems to support interlibrary loan and document delivery services since 1996. Relais International (www.relais-intl.com) assists libraries in implementing intelligent and automated methods to support the delivery of documents. Relais products range from scanning stations through to fully integrated request management, scanning and delivery software suitable for a single library through to
a consortium."

February 14, 2007

New books arrive (to borrow and to buy)

A cart full of newly catalogued books has been put on the new book shelf beside the Information Desk on the main level of Alloway Library. You could be the first to check out one of these titles! (Remember that items in the catalogue with a "newly acquired" status are not the same as new books; you need to request "newly acquired" titles before borrowing. New books are ready to go.)

If you are in a buying mood, visit the sale shelf; another cart full of books has been added, this time with many titles on writing, rhetoric and linguistics as well as social sciences material. Hardcover items are just $1; softcover books only $.50.

February 08, 2007

SanDisk USB drives require tweaking for use on library computers

More and more Alloway Library users are plugging in flash drives to library computers to save and edit documents. In most cases it's easy to see the memory stick as a "Device with Removable Storage" on "My Computer" along with a letter to designate the drive.

However, some brands of USB flash drives are formatted so that when connected to a computer, they create two drives and this complicates accessing material stored on the flash drive. So far we have only identified the SanDisk device (in both cases it is the one with the retractable USB connector) that creates difficulties for use on library machines.

Hank Suderman, Alloway Library's support technician recommends: "If you have the SanDisk USB device marked "U3 Smart" then, in order to use it in the library, you must first delete ALL the files that are on the device. They are not needed in order to use this as a file storage device. Windows will still recognize it as a storage device. When all the files have been removed from the SanDisk device, you will be able to use them in the library. "

For more assistance with library computers talk to any of the librarians at the Information Desk.

February 07, 2007

Protecting the privacy of Alloway Library users

Privacy issues are important. Many Canadians are concerned that their private information is not very secure. Because of that insecurity both the federal and provincial governments have adopted the ten principles of the Canadian Standards Association's Privacy Code. Essentially the privacy standards require that organizations such as Alloway Library collect no more information than they need, use it only for carrying out their own business, make sure it is secure, not sell the information to anyone else, keep it only as long as they need it and dispose of it when they no longer need it.

With these precautions in mind, Alloway Library takes several steps to ensure that we respect personal privacy:
  1. We collect the bare minimum of personal information to transact our business with borrowers. We are collecting only what we need for personal identification, recording of transactions, and contact purposes.
  2. Those who work in the Library have access to the personal information and borrowing records of our users. However, this is private information, and is never discussed with other borrowers.
  3. When transactions are completed we "clear" the screen so that borrower information is no longer displayed. Screen savers are set to come on after 60 seconds. If borrowers want to see what is on 'their' screen we accommodate them, but screens normally face away from the public side of the counter.
  4. We also try to be discrete and confidential in our conversations with users by speaking quietly. We recognize that library users may not want their questions, their borrowing transactions, or their fines publicized. Although the circulation counter is a public area, we treat all transactions with the highest level of trust and privacy that we can offer.

The ten principles of the Canadian Standards Association's Privacy Code can be summarized as:

  1. Naming a privacy officer who is accountable for personal information.
  2. Identifying the reasons for / purposes of the data being collected..
  3. Gaining the consent of the individual regarding the collection of personal information.
  4. Establishing limitations on the amount and type of data collected.
  5. Establishing limitations on the use, disclosure and retention of data.
  6. Ensuring the accuracy of personal information.
  7. Providing safeguards and security of personal information.
  8. Being open and transparent with users regarding our privacy guidelines.
  9. Providing a user with ease of access to his / her personal information.
  10. Making challenges to compliance straightforward.

Contributed by Ron Braid, Assistant, Librarian & Alloway Library Privacy Officer

February 06, 2007

Question the sources

Will Sherman recently listed 33 Reasons Why Libraries and Librarians are Still Extremely Important at Degree Tutor. Here are four of his reasons why libraries and librarians are still extremely important to researchers in the age of Google.

20. [The] Wisdom of crowds is untrustworthy...The high visibility of certain viewpoints, analysis and even facts found online through social networking sites and wikis is engineered -ideally- to be the result of objective group consensus. Google's algorithm also hinges on this collective principle: rather than an in-house "expert" arbitrarily deciding what resource is the most authoritative, let the web decide. Sites with higher link popularity tend to rank higher in the search engines' [results]. The algorithm is based on the principle that group consensus reveals a better, more accurate analysis of reality than a single expert ever could.

The highly social nature of the web makes it highly susceptible to, for example, sensationalized, low-quality information with the sole merit of being popular. Libraries, in contrast, provide quality control... Only information that is carefully vetted is allowed in...Therefore, it is extremely important that libraries remain alive and well, as a counterpoint to the fragile populism of the web.

23. The internet is a mess...A library provides a clear, standardized set of easily retrievable resources... Despite improvements in search technology and the creation of amazingly comprehensive sites like Wikipedia, the internet is still, in many ways, a free-for-all...like an overpopulated Wild West. Many have confronted this chaos with grass-roots social networking sites or large, complex and highly successful efforts to organized information (Google, Wikipedia, et al). But despite these efforts, a morass of questionable pages still tends to be served up in many search results, and the credibility of each source accessed must inherently come into question.

Not that that's a bad thing. The oceans of information, uncertainty and spontaneity on the web can provide an exciting, enriching experience. But if you need to limit your search to logically indexed resources that have been published and then vetted by a professional staff, then the library is still your best bet.

24. The internet is subject to manipulation. As long as the bright minds behind Google are coming up with a better search algorithm, the bright minds of search engine optimizers will continue to crack it ... It is important for the user to keep in mind the limitations of Google. In many cases the search giant succeeds in serving up good information. But in many cases it still falls short.

In contrast, it is extremely hard to enter into libraries' indexes. Books, journals and other resources must be nothing less than high caliber, published material. If they're not, they simply don't get in.

Furthermore, the economic incentive to manipulate library collections is much less fierce than on the internet...Google alone is experiencing
incredible earnings through online advertising, not to mention everyone else positioning for a piece of the Internet pie...But libraries simply aren't facing this kind of pressure. Their way of providing information, therefore, will inherently be less influenced by corporate interests.

25. Libraries' collections employ a well-formulated system of citation. Books and journals found in libraries will have been published under rigorous guidelines of citation and accuracy and are thereby allowed into libraries' collections...These standards are simply not imposed on websites... With enough research, the accuracy of web resources often can be determined. But it's very time consuming. Libraries make research much more efficient.

Having quoted Will Sherman extensively here, it's important to point out that he's a guy who wrote an article on the internet; an article that was passed around and quoted on other library-oriented blogs and now you are reading it here.

But who is Will Sherman? Google is not much help. Is he the A&R manager for a record label? Defensive back for the LA Rams during the 1950's. Co-producer of a documentary on Chilean prison camps? Animal rights activitst? Alaksan attorney? A New York photographer? I can't tell you because the article I'm quoting from has no citations. The website where the article seems to have first appeared, Degree Tutor provides no information about itself.

So, are Sherman's ideas authoritative or popular? Who was his fact checker? Who stands behind his work? Does Degree Tutor gain advertising revenue when people reading Sherman's article click on links for the online schools it lists? And contrary to the impression he may give, it's important to recognize that not every book in every library is authorative, without error or published without regard to profit.

Regardless of Will Sherman's credentials or motives, his article raises questions that need to be asked as part of the research process.

Another campus library

Faithful readers know that our Alloway Library is not the only Alloway Library in the world. We are not the only library on campus either!

The Harvest Centre building is close to the athletic fields, Fosmark and the Northwest Building.

The CanIL Library on the second floor of the Canada institute of Linguistics Harvest Centre has a collection specializing in linguistics and includes religious studies materials and ethnographic materials as part of its core collection. If you're doing research in these areas you may find some unique material not held at Alloway Library -- or you may even find a copy of an item you need that is already checked out.

If you are on campus you can use CanIL Library's online catalogue Although CanIL Library's holdings are not listed in Alloway Library's catalogue, the "Other Libraries' Catalogue" link on Alloway Library's webpage links to the catalogue as well. (Currently, it can only be accessed from on-campus.)

The CanIL library circulates material to students, faculty and staff of TWU with a valid TWU ID card. Loan periods are 21 days for most materials. Library hours are 9-4:30 Monday- Friday. Call CanIL at 604-513-2129 for more information.