December 17, 2009

Holiday closures and downtime

Alloway Library will be closed for the Christmas break. Our last day of service is Wednesday December 23 and operations will resume on Monday January 4, 2010. View our hours online for more details.

On December 29th the University Data Center will experience downtime due to required scheduled maintenance of the Fire Suppression system. The date was selected in order to minimize impact to the users of the various systems provided by the University.

Among the services affected will be all websites hosted on campus including Alloway Library's web-based services such as the catalogue, databases and InterLibrary Loan services.

The maintenance is scheduled to last only a couple of hours and we expect to have all systems functional and back online by early afternoon on the same day.

December 16, 2009

Napoleon returns to library after 60 years

I love theses long-overdue stories because they always have a happy ending for the library and the tardy patron.
From the Toledo Blade December 9, 2009. By Janet Romaker:
It was sometime in 1949. The patron perhaps was a teenager, in a hurry to get home with research materials for a homework assignment on Napoleon Bonaparte. In his haste - or hers, - he failed to check out a famous biography of Napoleon, written by Emil Ludwig.
For 60 some years the patron cradled Napoleon with care. He protected it when he moved from his home in Toledo, Ohio. But as decades passed, the 707-page book weighed heavier and heavier.

Ah yes, the burden of guilt. "Carrying guilt for 60 years is a terrible thing," the patron wrote in a letter addressed to "Dear Librarian, I removed this book from your stacks in 1949 and did not check it out. I apologize. It's an excellent book and in good condition," the patron wrote, signing off with "Sorry, An ex-Toledoan."

Meanwhile, library staff continue to weave whodunit theories. They know that the book was mailed with a Beverly Hills, Calif., ZIP code on its cancellation mark. They wonder, what triggered the return 60 years later? Maybe he's gravely ill, and the letter is a "death-bed confession." Or perhaps he figured it's as good a time as any. Well, actually, if that's the case, he's a smidge early. National Return the Borrowed Books Week won't be held again until March.

Currently, fines at Toledo Public Library are a modest .20/day but after 60 years that totals to over $4300. This item however was stolen and could have landed the patron in court and expelled from the library. Toledo however is not pursuing the matter. Rhonda Sewell, spokesman for the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library, looks on it as a sign of the spirit of the holiday - someone doing a good thing, someone righting a wrong. No matter how long it takes.
It's never too late to return lost or stolen books to Alloway Library.

December 15, 2009

Santa says "Read"

A special visitor stopped by Alloway Library last week. After delivering candy canes to all the good boys and girls studying hard for finals, he picked out some books from the library's Christmas Collection display on the main level. Santa told us he expects to have some quiet time during the Christmas break to read and listen to some great music.

Don't be shy- ask!

Don't be embarrassed to ask Alloway Librarians for help, that's what we are here for.

According to a Survey of American College Students by Primary Research Group about 20% of students miss out on getting valuable help in using library resources for one bad reason or another.

Just under 10% of the students in the sample said that asking the reference librarian a question was a little embarrassing and that consequently they tried to figure things out for themselves.

Another 10% said that the reference librarians seem busy and that they would be pestering them by asking them for assistance.

Alloway Librarians are are never too busy to help with your library-related questions! To chat or email, just contact us! Or visit in-person. You can be sure that your inquiries are always treated with professional discretion.Alloway Librarians Sylvia Stopforth, Duncan Dixon, Ron Braid and Bill Badke.

December 14, 2009

A widget to search all of Nature

Nature Publishing Group (NPG) now offers a new way to search the platform via OpenSearch. One handy way to interface with OpenSearch is via a simple but powerful desktop widget designed for searching research articles and news items on The easy-to-use tool uses keyword searches or other searches and covers material published from 1869 to the present day for the entire database.

Available for both Mac and PC, the widgets allow users to search without visiting the website. Searches are put together and sent by the widget, and results can be browsed with links back to the relevant article on The widgets are available for download at Apple Downloads and Yahoo! Widgets Gallery.

This 4-minute clip provides a useful overview of the new tool. OpenSearch is the latest example of NPG's drive to improve availability and maximize usability for the research and information communities.

December 12, 2009

Another pair of Companions

The TWU Graduate Students Association has generously provide funding for another two Cambridge Companions to Philosophy, Religion and Culture e-books series:
are now available for access via Alloway Library's catalogue.

The library has nearly 130 titles in this series, in online and print formats.

December 09, 2009

Tiger Woods: Bookseller?

U.K. physics professor John Gribbin has seen sales of his book, Get a Grip on Physics, spike after a photo showed the book on the floor of golfer Tiger Woods' wrecked car.

December 08, 2009

Tiny Library Never Closes

They lost their bookmobile, and then their phone booth, but the folks of a Somerset village found a way to gain a library by converting the phone booth into a 24-hour citizen-supported book exchange.
Read more here.

December 05, 2009

What will you put in yours?

Alloway Library book bags make great gifts and great gift bags.
Strong, stylish and just $3 (taxes included) at Alloway Library.

What will you put in yours?

December 03, 2009

Publishers pursue profits online

Two recent news stories tell us that we can expect a digital shakeup and a monetary shakedown in the way we access popular magazines and newspapers as publishers find ways to increase revenues and adapt to a digital age.

According to a New York Times story, major magazine publishers including Hearst, Time Inc. and Conde Nast plan to launch an iTunes style newsstand to sell digital versions of their magazines. The new venture would, in theory, make it easy to buy print and electronic copies of publications like The New Yorker, Sports Illustrated, Esquire and Good Housekeeping from a single Web site.

“It’s increasingly clear that finding the right digital business model is crucial for the future of our business,” said Ann Moore, the Time Inc. chairwoman. The alliance of competing publishers would develop software standards for magazine viewing on iPhones, BlackBerrys, e-book readers and other platforms.

The magazine industry has been generally slow in experimenting with digital products, but they have shown more interest this year in extending the print experience and audience. This month Condé Nast became one of the first publishers to repurpose an entire magazine issue for the iPhone, selling a copy of GQ as an application for $2.99.

And the TimesOnline reports that Google will allow publishers to set a limit on the number of free news articles people can read through search queries and Google News. The move follows claims from some media figures that the Google is profiting from online news provided by newspaper groups.

The Google First Click Free program has, until now, allowed users to read any story on newspaper websites, including content that is subscription only, provided they search through Google. Now users who click on more than five articles in a day may be routed to payment or registration pages of publishers using the program.

Google will also begin crawling, indexing and treating as free any preview pages — such as the headline and first few paragraphs of a news story — from those websites that charge to access their content. Based on Google’s ranking algorithms, the result could be that “free” content may rank higher in search results than fee-based content. "That is not a decision we make based on whether or not it's free. It's simply based on the popularity of the content with users and other sites that link to it.” Josh Cohen, Google's senior business product manager, said.

Google’s concessions come in the wake of continued discussions and moves within media companies and publishers on how to charge for content on their websites.

At Alloway Library, we continue to subscribe to a selection of popular magazines, newspapers, and scholarly journals you can read in the library, or online – for free.

December 01, 2009

The library of the future to be built in Denmark

So, if everything goes according to Google's plan and every book ever written will soon be digitized, what's the point of a physical library?

In Aarhaus, Denmark, Mediaspace – the library of the future – may provide the answer. Since year 2000, all library systems in Denmark are required to collect and communicate a wide range of other media than the book – CDs, DVDs and even software for computers.

Mediaspace is set to be the physical embodiment of a goal to give Danish citizens a place to connect with every conceivable form of media – and more importantly, with each other. It will host rock concerts, lectures and multimedia exhibits. There will be flexible learning spaces. It will be the city's online information exchange, with librarians functioning more like new world navigators and people connectors.

Responding recently to the concept of Mediaspace, Rolf Hapel, director of Aarhus's public libraries, said, "The library has never been just about books."

The 30,000 square metre MediaSpace will be the largest public library in Scandanavia.

With files from The Star)

November 30, 2009

The Google Books issue summarized

Maybe you've heard a bit about Google's plan to digitize all the world's books. It's a massive project, with widespread implications. CBC news has prepared an informative backgrounder that includes milestones in the history of the project as well as concerns for reader, issues for authors, publishers and researchers.

November 28, 2009

Long live the Library!

“Let’s face it: the library, as a place, is dead,” said Suzanne E. Thorin, dean of libraries at Syracuse University. “Kaput. Finito. And we need to move on to a new concept of what the academic library is.” Thorin was participating in a debate at the 2009 Educause Conference in Denver this month

Richard E. Luce, director of university libraries at Emory University, countered that just because libraries are transitioning from print to online does not mean they will cease to be libraries.“The issue is really about library as place, whether you need the bricks and mortar,” Luce said. “So let’s look at that.”

The history of libraries, he said, has been marked by evolution: They were founded as places where materials were collected and stored. Then they shifted their focus toward connecting clients with resources. Then, with the addition of creature comforts such as coffee shops, they became "experience" centered, effectively rendering student unions obsolete. Today, libraries are defined more by what they do than what they look like.

“Now, in the fourth generation, we’re really seeing the library as a place to connect, collaborate, learn, and really synthesize all four of those roles together,” said Luce. “How do you do that without bricks and mortar?The library still is, and will continue to be, the centerpiece of a campus," Luce said. It's a place "to interact with one another — to talk, to collaborate, to think, to communicate, to be with one another."

While new technologies might be replacing print collections they are not replacing librarians — whose roles as research guides have become more even important as available resources have multiplied. For librarians, the number of directional and simple questions has dropped, because of the tools provided to make answering those questions easy. On the other hand, the number of more difficult, research-oriented questions, has grown as the complexity of the tools to provide answers to those questions has become more intense.

Thorin and Luce agreed that while the functions and appearance of libraries will likely change, nobody’s about to tear them down just because they have fewer books and more social spaces.

“Maybe the whole idea of ‘Is the library, as a place, dead or not,’ maybe this is a red herring,” Thorin said. “…Maybe the question is, ‘Who knows what the library means anymore?’ ”

Adapted from an article in: Inside higher Education by Steve Kolowich

November 25, 2009

Alloway Library's Christmas Collection

We went looking for Christmas...
And lo, using a keywords search in the Alloway Library catalogue we found over 300 results* and put the best ones on display on the main level for you to borrow.

There are picture books, DVDs and CDs with works by St Augustine, Charles Dickens, Dr Seuss and Bing Crosby to name just a few. From sermons, songs and stories to social commentaries and biblical commentaries; crafts and customs; history, astronomy, biology, business and psychology; the subject headings are a clue to how Christmas influences so many aspects of our life.
  • Books checked out or renewed between December 3 and 13 will be due January 4, 2010.
  • Media items checked out or renewed between December 17 and 23 will be due January 4, 2010.
  • Remember, you can renew online at, or contact circulation staff to request a renewal. (Some exceptions may apply.)
*A keyword search doesn’t find everything. More resources were found using subject specific searches such as Jesus Christ—nativity or Advent or Santa Claus

November 12, 2009

Celebrating Archives Week 2009!

In honour of Archives Week 2009 (November 16 to 20) the Archives Association of British Columbia has announced improvements to, a searchable portal where you can access descriptions of archival materials throughout the province. As the gateway to British Columbia's past, MemoryBC provides access to more than 11,500 descriptions of the archival material preserved in 180 repositories throughout BC.

Archival repositories, such as the TWU Archives and Special Collections preserve records, papers, photographs and other types of historical information created by people and organizations over time. Repositories make these materials available to the public to access, research and enjoy.
Researchers can use to conduct full-text search for persons/organizations and repositories in the database

MemoryBC's updated website interface provides improved access to BC’s documentary heritage via the Internet. It also provides AABC member institutions, including TWU Archives, with the opportunity to participate in a new provincial catalogue of archival descriptions.

November 10, 2009

HELP! (and how to find it)

"I need at least six peer-reviewed articles, but I don’t know where to start." Sound familiar?

Asking for help isn’t always easy. Sometimes we feel it's something we should already know. Or worse yet, it’s something we’ve already asked about, but have forgotten how to do.

TWU's Alloway library offers help that fits your style and comfort level. We have the more traditional types of reference – face-to-face for those who love the personal human touch, e-mail for the neo-traditionalists, and chat for those who live online. These are available by coming in, or through the links on the left hand side of the library home page.

But sometimes we’re working late at night and can’t wait for a librarian to wake up. Fortunately, the library also has a less well-known form of help -- a set of flash tutorials linked from this page

The tutorials cover a range of topics, including how to:

  • do research (click on the graphic above)
  • use the library’s online catalogue
  • cite your sources.

Other tutorials show how to use databases linked to specific disciplines such as:

  • Communications
  • Education
  • Nursing
  • Psychology
  • Religious Studies

Many of them have PDF versions for those prefer to work from a print copy. Have a look at them and if you still have questions, contact a librarian.

November 09, 2009

Souvenir of the Berlin Wall

Recent news stories tell us that November marks the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Alloway Library has a unique reminder of the Iron Curtain on display: a plaque showing pieces of the wall and illustrating the lethal security zone that kept Germans in the communist east separated from their countrymen in the west.

The plaque was given to the library by former faculty member Robert Thompson. It commemorates November 9 1989, when the East Germans were permitted to cross into the west.

It is normally in a librarian's office, but will be viewable on the Main Level near the checkout counter for the next few days.

November 06, 2009

Keeping the lights on for you

Now that Alloway Library has been connected to a natural gas-powered generator we are ready for the storms of winter. Electricians completed work this week that will keep all the computers and lighting on the main level functioning if there is a general power failure. The back-up power supply will also keep the library's servers and security systems functioning.

Recognizing the importance of the library to academic success and the way that "power failure season" often coincides with the end of the term, connection to a generator has long been on the library's wish list. It was even included in our successful application for a federal Knowledge Infrastructure Program grant.

Your library; your world. Now more than ever!

When the next power failure occurs we can expect a momentary blackout and then lights and computers will come back on within a few moments. Because the upper and lower levels are not connected to the alternate power supply library staff may evaluate safety conditions and close those areas if necessary.

November 04, 2009

Why rent what you've already got?

Deep Dyve bills itself as the largest online rental service for scientific, technical and medical research with 30 million articles from thousands of authoritative journals. Deep Dyve “rents” articles—which means users can view content without ownership rights or printing capabilities—for as little as 99 cents for 24 hours. Users can also subscribe for monthly passes.

Currently the site has 30 million articles from various peer-reviewed journals. According to an article in The Wired Campus, William Park, chief executive of Deep Dyve, says the model will not only allow more people to read articles they might otherwise not see, but will actually encourage users to purchase more content from journals.

That sounds like great news but... as an Alloway Library patron you already have full access to over thirteen thousand electronic academic journals for free through the library's Article indexes and databases and TWU Journal list. You can copy, print and save the articles; and the library also has professional staff available in person and online to help you understand how to use the resources.

October 23, 2009

High Marks for Alloway Library

The Globe and Mail's annual University Report Card was released today and once again TWU is at the top of the class.

Alloway Library received high satisfaction marks from the TWU students surveyed. In fact, our users gave us an A for Satisfaction with Library Staff placing us among the top ten out of some 60 institutions across Canada and the only BC library to receive that mark.

We received an A- for Overall Library Satisfaction which puts us in the top tier among BC libraries and ahead of two major lower mainland institutions. The high mark also sets us above the cross-Canada average among our peers in the "Very Small Schools" category.

We are also proud to be among the top BC libraries for providing satisfactory study space. Even when we are in the middle tier, with an A- for online resources or a B for holdings, we find ourselves in good company with our colleagues at UBC, SFU and UNBC among others.

Compared to previous years' Report Card, Alloway Library improved in 4 categories and held onto our high marks in the other two.

Alloway Library's 2009 Report Card
Satisfaction with Library Staff A
Overall Library Satisfaction A-
Satisfaction with the availability of study space A-
Satisfaction with Online Library Resources A-
Satisfaction with Library Hours of Operation B
Satisfaction with Total Library Holdings B
We are grateful for the positive support from our users and look forward to meeting the high expectations set for us.

October 22, 2009

Two more Companions thanks to TWU Grad Students

Alloway Library now has 127 titles in the Cambridge Companions to Philosophy, Religion and Culture series of e-books thanks to generous funding from the TWU Graduate Student Association.

Two new titles have recently been catalogued and can be accessed via the Library's catalogue.
(TWU login may be required to view the contents of these items.)

October 21, 2009

Prime Minister " just a curious researcher"

Someone in the Prime Minister's Office clearly "gets it" about libraries. Prime Minister Stephen Harper was at the Toronto Public Library to hand out a $3M cheque for renovations to the main branch reference library and he recalled his own experiences in the library:
...And a special thank-you to Toronto’s chief librarian, Jane Pyper, and all the staff here at the Toronto Reference Library for hosting us this morning. I have spent many an hour here, both for work and relaxation, and it is wonderful to be back.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Toronto Chief Librarian Jane Pyper at the announcement of $3 million for renovations to the Toronto Reference Library. InsideToronto photo by David Nickle

Ladies and gentlemen, as you all know, digital technology is transforming how we access and use information. The vessels that have traditionally preserved knowledge are changing. Yet, the importance of our libraries as physical places where people gather to learn hasn’t diminished ...The statistics are clear, in the digital age, our libraries aren’t just surviving, they are thriving!

On any given day, scores of visitors as varied as academics, students, new Canadians, retirees, or just curious researchers like myself, can be found searching the stacks and browsing the digital collections

Much has changed, however, since I first came to this library as a student in 1977. For one thing, Toronto’s population has grown...What’s more, changes in technology have transformed how we use our libraries. To meet these challenges an ambitious revitalization effort is needed. Or as any librarian here might put it, renovations to the Reference Library are…long overdue!
Read the complete speech

October 20, 2009

New Oxford References Online

Alloway Library's latest update to Oxford Reference Online has a wealth of new content, including four new titles, expanding our breadth and depth of coverage to include:
(TWU Log-in may be required)
We also have three new Oxford Reference Online editions packed to the brim with trustworthy and fascinating information, including the latest and most up-to-date incarnations of the world-renowned and highly respected Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, and The Oxford Companion to English Literature. The third new edition is are A Dictionary of Modern and Contemporary Art (formerly A Dictionary of Twentieth Century Art)

October 16, 2009

Some things don't last

Ivor Tossell writes about the demise of GeoCities in the Globe and Mail recently. Here are a few of his thoughts about the limitations of storing data on the web:
Lately, there's been so much discussion about the permanence of information – especially the embarrassing kind – that we have overlooked the fact that it can also disappear. At a time when we're throwing all kinds of data and memories onto free websites, the unplugging of GeoCities is a blunt reminder that the future can bring unwelcome surprises.

If it sounds improbable that everything you've piled into Facebook might evaporate in just 10 years, then consider: One of the biggest websites of the late 1990s is about to get deleted. At the end of October, Yahoo will pull the plug on GeoCities, the service that more than 1 million people used to set up web pages. On Oct. 27, the whole thing will simply cease to exist.

It bring to light some truths about data that are easily overlooked. Websites are like buildings: you can't just abandon them indefinitely and expect them to keep working. For one thing, that electronic storage isn't free. Storing files requires media that degrade and computers that fail and power that needs paying for.

Read the full article

Libraries have a long record of storing data on sheets of paper in large buildings and sharing that data with users. Their enduring service to scholarship relies on the support of the communities they serve.

October 15, 2009

What are you doing for Canadian Library Support Staff Day?

Circle October 16, on your calendar; it's Canadian Library Support Staff Day!

In proclaiming the day, Canadian Library Association President, John Teskey says, "Let’s celebrate our colleagues’ important contributions to academic libraries!"

Some of the 30 individuals who form Alloway Library's support staff

"All great libraries depend on their support staff, working both behind the scenes and at the forefront to help libraries grow and serve their users. In our changing environment we need to ensure that we celebrate the skill of our support staff. Support staff are critical to any library’s success. October is Canadian Library Month and Friday, October 16, 2009 will be recognized as Canadian Library Support Staff Day. The purpose of the day is to show deep appreciation and recognition for the work of Library Technicians, Library Assistants, Library Clerks and all other support staff members who perform daily miracles in our Canadian public, private, government, academic and corporate libraries."

Hallmark has not yet unveiled a line of greeting cards to mark the day.

October 10, 2009

Antique, Rare and Collectible Book Sale at Alloway Library

Until Sunday October 18, Alloway Library presents a unique collection of some 100 antique, rare and collectible titles for sale that will appeal to both the discerning collector as well as the budget-minded bibliophile.

Nearly half of the 100 titles are priced under $10 including many finely illustrated volumes dating as early as 1839. The oldest item, A compleat collection of farewell sermons, preached by Mr. Calamy, et al. dates to 1663 and is priced at $1000. Also in that price range are each of the two volumes from John Theophilus Desaguliers’ A Course Of Experimental Philosophy, published in 1745.

  • All prices are firm.
  • The sale ends October 18, 2009.
  • Items not sold will be consigned to Better World Books.
  • All proceeds support Alloway Library

October 09, 2009

You probably won't catch H1N1 from a library book

TWU Campus Doctor, Derek Hitchman, passed on this information from the Public Health Agency of Canada in response to concerns raised by Alloway Library Staff.

Q. How long does the H1N1 Flu virus live outside of the body?

A. The virus can live outside the body on hard surfaces, such as stainless steel and plastic, for 24-48 hours and on soft surfaces, such as cloth, paper, and tissues for less than 8-12 hours; however, it can only infect a person for up to 2-8 hours after being deposited on hard surfaces, and for up to a few minutes after being deposited on soft surfaces.

October 08, 2009

October is Canadian Library Month

This month, libraries across the country celebrate Canadian Library Month. This year’s theme of Your Library: Your World supports the important role that libraries play in our lives.

There are approximately 23,000 librarians and library clerks working in over 22,000 libraries in Canada. Libraries are key partners in supporting literacy and are leaders in providing access to information to all users regardless of age, gender, race, religion, social status, language or location.

College and university libraries are vital to learners, faculty and researchers. Academic library professionals provide expert reference assistance at point of need, whether in-person, through online chat or other electronic means and work cooperatively with faculty to assist students in developing the information literacy skills critical to success.
  • Over 6,500 academic library employees in Canada contribute to the overall vitality of college and university education in Canada.
  • Universities perform more than 1/3 of all research in Canada with the support of extensive library collections of 120 million items to meet research needs.
Libraries are centres for life-long learning and directly impact the lives of Canadians each and every day. They are information and community centres where people learn, engage, discover and connect. Libraries are where students learn critical thinking and literacy skills, businesses research the marketplace, readers pick up the latest bestsellers, and children are supported in their love of reading.

Now more than ever, libraries are helping people find their way in a large and increasingly
complex world by connecting them with employment resources, providing them with access to
an affordable means of entertainment, and assisting them in acquiring skills that will allow them
to compete in the current economy.

Need research help? AskAway!

Need help? AskAway!
AskAway is designed to help college and university students in British Columbia with their research for term papers, assignments and other academic projects. Library staff are available to chat in real-time and help you
  • find library and online resources on your topic
  • answer questions about your library
  • suggest research strategies
It's easy to use, simply start here and AskAway!

AskAway hours of service:
Sunday - Thursday 10 am - 9pm
Friday & Saturday 11 am - 5 pm
Closed Statutory holidays and after Dec11th.

October 06, 2009

We're back to normal!

Dear Alloway Library Patron,

As you may know, we recently experienced a hard drive failure that affected our catalogue and circulation functions for several days. We recognize that this affected library users greatly and apologize for the inconvenience this caused. We are grateful for the patience and understanding of our patrons and thankful for the tireless efforts of TWU IT support staff and our own library team to restore all services.

We want you to know that we have carefully reviewed and updated our circulation records to include over 3000 items borrowed or returned during our system-down time as well as processed all renewal requests received by email, telephone or in-person.. We also made adjustments to ensure that no overdue fines are assessed for the any of the days when our online renewal services were unavailable. As well, we have waived the fines on all overdue items returned during the system-down period.

We invite you to log into “My Account” at to review your current record and advise us of any discrepancies.

We look forward to assisting you with your research needs in the coming weeks.

G-G celebrates Canadian Library Month

Message from Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean

There is nothing quite as stimulating as a book to delve into the fascinating world of history, knowledge or fiction. As we celebrate Canadian Library Month, let us give ourselves over to this wonderful adventure.

Libraries open the door to new books and old favourites; they keep us informed with the most up-to-date resources. They are places of encounters and cultural exchange; places of learning that offer leading edge technology to meet the needs of members and the demands of the time. Accessible to all citizens, these bastions of knowledge play an essential role in our society. Veritable treasure troves, libraries bring us happiness and the means with which to thrive.

I warmly...wish each and every one of you many long, enchanting hours spent with a good book.

October 05, 2009

Flu facts from reliable sources

Here's your chance to be informed about the flu, before you feel too sick to do anything about it. EBSCO has launched a free evidence-based influenza information portal.

Due to Pandemic H1N1 Influenza (formerly known as Swine Flu) and concerns about the 2009/2010 flu season, the EBSCO Publishing Medical and Nursing editors of DynaMed™, Nursing Reference Center™ (NRC) and Patient Education Reference Center™ (PERC) have made key influenza information from these resources freely available to Alloway Library and health care providers worldwide.

The resource includes information for clinicians and nurses as well as patient information in English, Arabic and Chinese and 14 other languages.

The For Patients section includes the latest information on Pandemic H1N1 and Seasonal Influenza. These patient topics take advantage of the same evidence-based methodology and literature surveillance process as the topics written for healthcare providers. The resources are written specifically for patients, their families, co-workers, parents and teachers—anyone interested in learning more about the various strains of the flu or what to do it they or someone they know is diagnosed.

The patient education information provides non-medical professionals with current, easy to understand articles about Pandemic H1N1 and Seasonal Flu. The information may also be used by physicians and nurses as patient handouts.

The EBSCO editorial teams will continue to monitor information and update these resources as needed throughout the upcoming flu season.

October 03, 2009

Nearly 400 e-books added to the catalogue.

Alloway Library added 397 new NetLibrary eBooks to the catalogue in September. The collection of titles was purchased with funds from ACTS through the Christian Library Consortia and cover a very broad range of religious studies topics. Publication dates for these works range from 2003 - 2009 and they come from major academic presses. In some cases Alloway Library now has paper and electronic formats of the same title.

To give an idea of the content here are a few of the titles with links to the catalogue. (To view the eBooks TWU login may be required.)
For a complete list of all 397 titles email me.

October 02, 2009

Media functions added to workstations

Does listening to music help you work better?

TWU students using any of 14 of Alloway Library's public workstations can now access the media player options on the computers. TWU Information Technology staff have enabled the playback of audio and video discs. Users will need to use headphones, available from the Reserve counter, or bring their own earbuds or headsets.

Alloway Library policy states that workstations are for academic uses only, so don't bring popcorn and make sure that you have a solid academic rationale for watching "He' just not that into you" in the library.

October 01, 2009

It was 40 years ago...

... happy birthday dear Internet...!

Depending on how the birth of an all-pervasive technolgy is determined, it was either September 2, 1969 ,when two computers at UCLA were networked, or October 29, when the first email between the two computers was sent. According to an ABC news story, "The message was supposed to be "login" but computer scientist Leonard Kleinrock was only able to type "lo" before the system crashed."

Will Google Books "get it right"?

Last week we summarized some of Geoffrey Nunberg concerns about Google Books' shortcomings. His key point is that Google failed to realize the value of the information about the publication itself: the date, author and subject matter classification (the metadata.) To the casual Googler or reader, this metadata is of little concern it's enough to quickly look up in a book to find out when a event occurred, or simply type into Google "kennedy assassination dallas" But serious researchers always consider their sources. Libraries facilitate that work by making the metadata accessible in their catalogues and by providing authoritative sources in books and other online resources.

In his conclusion, Nunberg, a linguist, and professor at the School of Information at the university of California at Berkeley draws attention to the way libraries and the Internet complete one another and why he remains optimistic about Google Books.
a lot of the initial problems are due to Google's slightly clueless fumbling as it tried master a domain that turned out to be a lot more complex than the company first realized. It's clear that Google designed the system without giving much thought to the need for reliable metadata. In fact, Google's great achievement as a Web search engine was to demonstrate how easy it could be to locate useful information without attending to metadata ... But books aren't simply vehicles for communicating information, and managing a vast library collection requires different skills, approaches, and data than those that enabled Google to dominate Web searching.
Whether or not the needs of scholars are a priority, the company doesn't want Google's book search to become a running scholarly joke...If recent history teaches us anything, it's that Google is a very quick study.
(Geoffrey Nunberg. The Chronicle of Higher Education; Aug 31, 2009)

September 29, 2009

During our system down time

It’s still possible to use Alloway Library resources while technicians continue to restore our system after a major hardware failure. Librarians are able to assist all patrons to find the resources they need and material can be checked out as always. To renew material contact the circulation staff. Visit our contacts page if you need further assistance.

University Librarian Ted Goshulak states "I know that this whole experience is taxing on all of us." As TWU Information Technology staff work to bring the library's database back online Library staff are evaluating the ongoing situation in order to make recommendations to key decision makers about the very real and widespread impact that loss of library services can have on key stakeholders including students, faculty, library staff, and other library users on and off campus.

As to the big question of when will we be back online, the best guess is still "days."

Before computers, we relied on the card catalogue. Photo from TWU Archives

Alloway Library staff appreciate our patrons’ patience and cooperation during this challenging time.

September 25, 2009

A mishmash wrapped in a muddle?

Geoffrey Nunberg thinks Google's book search could be a disaster for scholars. In a recent article in The Chronicle for Higher Education he cites serious problems with the way Google extracts a book's metadata which diminish the utility of Google's great book project.
What if you may be interested in books simply as records of the language as it was used in various periods or genres. With the vast collection of published books at hand, you can track the way “happiness” replaced “felicity” in the 17th century, quantify the rise and fall of propaganda or industrial democracy over the course of the 20th century, or pluck out all the Victorian novels that contain the phrase "gentle reader." But to pose those questions, you need reliable metadata about dates and categories, which is why it's so disappointing that Google book search's metadata are a train wreck: a mishmash wrapped in a muddle wrapped in a mess.
Nunberg gives numerous examples of metadata errors such as wrong publication dates (for example, a Bob Dylan biography published in 1899 and 29 references to Barack Obama in books published before he was ever born.) He also points out serious classification errors such as "an edition of Moby Dick is labeled Computers; The Cat Lover's Book of Fascinating Facts falls under Technology & Engineering."

While Google blames the errors on libraries and publishers who supply the books for the scanning project Nunberg points out that it's not libraries supplying bad information and probably not the publishers either. Google is using book seller classifications instead of more rigorous library classifications. No librarian or bookseller would classify a Mae West biography under Religion, even if the biography's subtitle is "An icon in black and white" he notes

The real problem writes Nunberg is that "Google has taken a group of the world's great research collections and returned them in the form of a suburban-mall bookstore."

And some of the metadata is just plain sloppy. Two examples Nunberg found are:
  • Moby Dick: or the White Wall
  • The Mosaic Navigator: The Essential Guide to the Internet Interface, dated 1939 and attributed to Sigmund Freud and Katherine Jones
Google has responded and pledged to fix errors as they are reported. Nunberg clearly states why Google needs to "get it right."
No competitor will be able to come after it on the same scale. Nor is technology going to lower the cost of entry. Scanning will always be an expensive, labor-intensive project. Of course, 50 or 100 years from now control of the collection may pass from Google to somebody else—Elsevier, Unesco, Wal-Mart. But it's safe to assume that the digitized books that scholars will be working with then will be the very same ones that are sitting on Google's servers today, augmented by the millions of titles published in the interim.
The scope of the project means that Google has "the responsibility of making its collections an adequate resource for scholarly research. That means, at a minimum, licensing the catalogs of the Library of Congress and OCLC Online Computer Library Center and incorporating them into the search engine so that users can get accurate results when they search on various combinations of dates, keywords, subject headings, and the like."

Next, we'll summarize Nunberg's conclusions and his reasons for being optimistic about Google Book Search

September 15, 2009

Who are Alloway Library's Man Bookers?

Here's a complete list of titles that form Alloway Library's Man Booker display:
Some may be already checked out, but you can find the item in our catalogue and request it. Or check out material from the display.

1969 Shortlist Muriel Spark The Public Image
1970 Winner Bernice Rubens The Elected Member
1971 Winner V S Naipaul In a Free State
1971 Shortlist Elizabeth Taylor Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont
1971 Shortlist Mordecai Richler St Urbain’s Horseman
1972 Winner John Berger G.
1973 Winner J G Farrell The Siege of Krishnapur
1974 Shortlist Stanley Middleton Holiday
1974 Winner Nadine Gordimer The Conservationist
1975 Winner Ruth Prawer Jhabvala Heat and Dust
1976 Winner David Storey Saville
1977 Winner Paul Scott Staying On
1978 Winner Iris Murdoch The Sea, the Sea
1979 Shortlist V S Naipaul A Bend in the River
1979 Winner Penelope Fitzgerald Offshore
1980 Winner William Golding Rites of Passage
1981 Winner Salman Rushdie Midnight’s Children
1982 Winner Thomas Keneally Schindler’s Ark
1983 Winner J M Coetzee Life & Times of Michael K
1984 Shortlist J G Ballard Empire of the Sun
1984 Winner Anita Brookner Hotel du Lac
1985 Winner Keri Hulme The Bone People
1986 Shortlist Margaret Atwood The Handmaid’s Tale
1986 Shortlist Robertson Davies What’s Bred in the Bone
1987 Winner Penelope Lively Moon Tiger
1988 Winner Peter Carey Oscar and Lucinda
1988 Shortlist Salman Rushdie The Satanic Verses
1988 Shortlist Bruce Chatwin Utz
1989 Shortlist Margaret Atwood Cat’s Eye
1989 Winner Kazuo Ishiguro The Remains of the Day
1990 Winner A S Byatt Possession
1990 Shortlist Mordecai Richler Solomon Gursky Was Here
1991 Shortlist Rohinton Mistry Such a Long Journey
1991 Winner Ben Okri The Famished Road
1992 Shortlist Barry Unsworth Sacred Hunger
1992 Winner Michael Ondaatje The English Patient
1993 Winner Roddy Doyle Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha
1993 Shortlist Carol Shields The Stone Diaries
1994 Winner James Kelman How Late It Was, How Late
1995 Winner Pat Barker The Ghost Road
1996 Shortlist Rohinton Mistry A Fine Balance
1996 Shortlist Margaret Atwood Alias Grace
1996 Winner Graham Swift Last Orders
1997 Winner Arundhati Roy The God of Small Things
1998 Winner Ian McEwan Amsterdam
1999 Winner J M Coetzee Disgrace
2000 Winner Margaret Atwood The Blind Assassin
2001 Shortlist Ian McEwan Atonement
2001 Winner Peter Carey True History of the Kelly Gang
2002 Shortlist Rohinton Mistry Family Matters
2002 Winner Yann Martel Life of Pi
2002 Shortlist Carol Shields Unless
2003 Shortlist Margaret Atwood Oryx and Crake
2003 Winner DBC Pierre Vernon God Little
2004 Winner Alan Hollinghurst The Line of Beauty
2005 Winner John Banville The Sea
2006 Winner Kiran Desai The Inheritance of Loss
2007 Winner Anne Enright The Gathering
2008 Winner Aravind Adiga The White Tiger

September 14, 2009

The Man Bookers at Alloway Library

No "The Man Bookers" is not the name of a TV reality show. This month at Alloway Library we have mounted a special display of nearly sixty titles from our collection of Man Booker Prize winners. And so, we invite you to visit Alloway Library and check out a Man Booker!

For 40 years, the Man Booker Prize has been promoting the finest in fiction by rewarding the very best novel of the year written by a citizen of the English Commonwealth or the Republic of Ireland.

Alloway Library has a near-complete collection of Booker winners dating back to 1970. Our collection also includes many titles from the Booker shortlists for various years and even some movie versions of winning and shortlisted works

The winner of the Man Booker Prize receives £50,000 and both the winner and the shortlisted authors are guaranteed a worldwide readership plus a dramatic increase in book sales. Many winning works have been adapted for film and television.

Any full-length novel, written by a citizen of the Commonwealth or the Republic of Ireland and published this year, is eligible for the prize. The novel must be an original work in English (not a translation) and must not be self-published.

To maintain the consistent excellence of the prize, the Man Booker judges are selected from the finest critics, writers and academics

Man Group plc has sponsored the Man Booker prize since 2002.Man is a world-leading alternative investment management business. The Booker Prize Foundation (BPF) is a registered charity reponsible for its organisation and operation.

The winner of the Man Booker Prize 2009 will be announced on 6 October 2009.

September 10, 2009

"We complete each other..."

We are pretty busy gearing up for the new academic year so we'll just borrow one more strip from the folks at Unshelved... and then we'll start posting some news about our own Alloway Library. (Click on the image to see the full strip)

September 02, 2009

The net, the web and the grapevine...

Merv and Dewey, those delightful scamps from Unshelved remind us once again that just because it's on the net doesn't mean it's true. Alloway Library has authoritative sources, both on our academic databases and in those papery things we call books. (Click on the image to see the full strip)

Talk to an Alloway Librarian about using authoritative sources for your next paper.

August 28, 2009

AEMAC calls for student and faculty support

Late last month we reported on the looming closure of AEMAC, the Advanced Educational Media Acquisition Centre. AEMAC is funded by the British Columbia Ministry of Advanced Education and Labour Market Development to provide efficient and cost-effective purchasing of media and other instructional resources, as well as coordinate educational software and public performance licensing, on behalf of the post-secondary institutions in BC, including TWU.
AEMAC negotiates the Maple license for mathematics and computer science departments and supplies programs to BC Apprenticeship programs for a variety of trades.

A review of Alloway Library's transactions with AEMAC reveals that the closure will have a big impact on TWU students and faculty and the growth of our media collection.

In the past 3 years Alloway Library has purchased 55 of the 66 programs made available through AEMAC. (Some were not purchased due to a spending freeze; only 3 out of the 11 not-purchased titles pertained to topics outside TWU curricula.)

It would have cost TWU over $24,000 to obtain those programs from distributors. Through the work of AEMAC, we paid just over $4,000 for those programs in DVD format (and, for some titles, also as streaming video.)

AEMAC has also negotiated public performance licences for feature films which permit TWU instructors and student groups to use media in the classroom and elsewhere on campus. Without AEMAC’s advocacy we might expect to pay about $1.20 per full-time student (FTE) to legally show a feature film on campus. If AEMAC is closed, TWU would need to earmark some $10,000 in its annual budget in order to maintain our current levels of acquisitions and performance licencing.

Few of the 26 BC post secondary institutions served by AEMAC have “extra money” to add to their budgets. The closure of AEMAC means fewer resources for advanced education in BC.

AEMAC staff are lobbying the government to rescind the closure. Assured that citizen input has a big impact, they are calling on faculty and students to raise their voices in support of this cost-saving resource for BC's higher learning institutions.

Here are some key people to you can contact in support of AEMAC:
  • The Premier, Honourable Gordon Campbell
  • Dr. Moira Stillwell, The Minister of Advanced Education and Labour Market Development,
  • Robin Ciceri, Deputy Minister of ALMD,
  • Susan B. Brown, Director, Policy Branch of Ministry of Advanced Education,
  • Dr. David Ross, President, Langara College,