March 28, 2007

Room services at Alloway Library

Alloway Library provides study rooms for individuals or groups who need a distraction-free place to do academic research.

  • Rooms are equipped with a table and chairs and can seat groups of up to 8 people.
  • Independent Study Rooms, on the lower level, adjacent to the silent study area are ideal for individuals who need to work quietly alone.
  • Group Study Rooms are equipped with whiteboards and internet ports and are a great place to work on group projects or rehearse presentations.
  • Group Viewing Rooms have VCR and DVD players as well as whiteboards for groups that need to use media together. (Viewing stations on the upper level are also available for individuals.)
  • Room keys and whiteboard markers are checked out at the Reserve Counter for two hours at a time -- and are subject to fines if returned or renewed late!

Although Alloway Library's study rooms are frequently booked solid at this time of year, the rooms can be booked up to two weeks in advance at the Reserve Counter. So, plan ahead and study in an environment made for studying!

March 22, 2007

New role for new librarian

University Librarian, Ted Goshulak has announced that Duncan Dixon will be joining Alloway Library staff as our new Assistant Librarian, Reference & Information Literacy. After 17 years of teaching in Japan, three years in Zambia and having just completed his MLIS, Duncan will now move into his new role here in the TWU Library. Today's announcement marks a change in role for Duncan who has been working at the information desk since January.

We congratulate him as he works into his new position and role with us and the university at large.

March 12, 2007

Changes to renewal policy helps PYP students

Recognizing that education students doing their practicum are very busy and may need curriculum material for more than the standard 21-day loan period, Alloway Library, in consultation with the School of Education, has revised its policy for renewing items from the Curriculum Resource Collection to allow PYP students to renew curriculum items.

Student Greg Barker reading with two children during Outreach. -- ca 1981 TWU Archives

Previously, Curriculum Collection material was not renewable. The new policy, now in effect can be summarized as:
  • Curriculum Collection materials with an LT call number have a 3-week loan period.
  • This material may be renewed once for an additional 3 weeks by phone or at the Circulation Desk.
  • Online renewals are not available and requested material cannot be renewed.
  • All other Curriculum Collection resources are for In-library use only.
  • This policy is specifically intended to assist students in the Professional Year Program and may not be applicable to other borrowers.

March 10, 2007

Webpage changes make it easier to select article databases

Alloway Librarians have completed a major revision to the library's Article Index & Databases page.

At first glance, the page for each subject, ranging alphabetically from Anthropology to Theatre may look the same. A closer look, however, shows that within each subject heading, the various databases have been organized into three headings. The end result is a clearer answer to the question "Which index or database should I use?"

The first heading, "Start Here," lists the best databases for research in that subject area. Think of those resources as as the librarians' first choice for starting a research project.

Under the "Other Article Indexes" heading the librarians have listed....other article indexes! Often, these have a narrower, more specialized focus but may include indexes that have a broader or multi-disciplinary focus as well.

The third heading: "Other resources" are just that. Usually they are not article indexes but websites that are valuable to research in that field.

If, after trying the various options, you are still wondering which index or database to use, help is nearby. Call, click or visit the Alloway Library Information Desk for professional assistance from our librarians.

Alloway Entryway Update

Earlier this week, cubbyholes were installed in Alloway Library's vestibule to accommodate the many lunch bags and umbrellas that patrons leave outside the main part of the library. The end result is a tidier entryway and better facilities for our users, including those who are conscientious about keeping food and wet umbrellas away from books.

Student assistant Grace Zhang approves of the new cubbyholes

The installation of new furniture also brought Friedrich Peter's caligraphy from the outer vestibule into the lobby area where it encourages and inspires all who enter and leave the library in the liberating pursuit of truth.

The installation of the large painting meant that Risto Tammi's iron sculpture, "Bird", had to be moved. It now watches over the information desk.

March 05, 2007

Borrowing audio-visual media from Alloway Library

Six things you should know:
  • TWU students, staff and faculty may borrow media items.
  • The loan period is one week.
  • Material may be renewed (twice online plus one more by request.)
  • Overdue fines are $1/day for each item.
  • Limit of 6 titles out at one time. (Multiple items in one container count as 1 title.)
  • Non-TWU library users may borrow headphones for in-library use of media.
Student Mike Bodner studying 1987
TWU Archives

March 01, 2007

Sneeze a library?

Alloway Librarian Duncan Dixon spotted this news item from and envisages a future worst-case-scenario where a hand sanitizer could result in the loss of half of our collection!

Scientists: Data-storing bacteria could last thousands of years

by Lucas Mearian

February 27, 2007 (Computerworld) A Japanese university announced scientists there have developed a new technology that uses bacteria DNA as a medium for storing data long-term, even for thousands of years.

Keio University Institute for Advanced Biosciences and Keio University Shonan Fujisawa Campus announced the development of the new technology, which creates an artificial DNA that carries up to more than 100 bits of data within the genome sequence, according to the JCN Newswire.

The universities said they successfully encoded "e= mc2 1905!" -- Einstein's theory of relativity and the year he enunciated it -- on the common soil bacteria, Bacillius subtilis.

While the technology would most likely first be used to track medication, it could also be used to store text and images for many millennia, thwarting the longevity issues associated with today's disk and tape storage systems -- which only store data for up to 100 years in most cases.

The artificial DNA that carries the data to be preserved makes multiple copies of the DNA and inserts the original as well as identical copies into the bacterial genome sequence. The multiple copies work as backup files to counteract natural degradation of the preserved data, according to the newswire.

Bacteria have particularly compact DNA, which is passed down from generation to generation. The information stored in that DNA can also be passed on for long-term preservation of large data files, the scientists said.

Of course, there's always paper!