Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Share the Space - Help Make the Library Comfortable

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The University of Alberta Libraries is introducing a sharing campaign called "Share the Space" to remind everyone using library spaces to be mindful and courteous of others using the library. Sharing is at the heart of what we do in the library, as the collection and spaces are here for all to use. The library has a community expectations policy that includes the expectation that library users will "respect the comfort and safety of fellow library users and library staff." To ensure that everyone enjoys their library experience we ask for you to consider these key aspects when you spend time in the library:

Clean Up Your Garbage
In most areas of the libraries you are welcome to bring your food and drinks with you. Feel free to grab a coffee or bring snacks for your study session. Just remember to take away any garbage with you and ensure you leave behind a clean space for the next user.

Be Careful of Strong Scents
For some people strong scents or perfumes can cause serious physiological side-effects, such as headaches. Avoid using scented lotions or perfumes when you plan on spending time in the library.

Mind the Library Noise Zones
Many new users to the libraries may be unaware that each of our campus libraries has "Noise Zones" that indicate what level of conversation and sound is acceptable. Library users need our spaces for various purposes, some need a space to meet and plan group projects with classmates while others need a place to focus in quiet. Check out the library noise zones directory for your favourite library and be mindful of what type of activities your are doing in silent or quiet zones. The libraries also have numerous group study rooms you can book with your ccid and password for group meetings or study sessions.

Share the Space
The libraries provides study spaces and computer spaces for our community and many students rely on our computers to complete their school work. We discourage the 'claiming' of spaces by leaving behind belongings when leaving to go get food or to attend class. Make sure to take all your belongings with you when leaving the library. Also, many libraries now have laptop tables for those with laptops - avoid occupying a desktop computer seat if you are not using the computer.

Finally, we encourage library users to let us know if they find they are experiencing an issue that affects their comfort and use of the library. You can always mention issues to library staff at library service desks or contact us via our chat service at ASK US on the website.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Remembering the World Wars

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The University of Alberta Libraries have several collections focused on the World Wars. Trench Journals and Unit Magazines of the First World War features rare magazines published by every type of military and support service unit, from every involved nation. Trench journals allowed men and women engaged in all aspects of World War I to share their thoughts and experiences.

Canadian titles include:

Flanders Fields.png
The First World War is a collection of primary source materials organized by themes of Personal Experiences, Propaganda and Recruitment, and Visual Perspectives and Narratives. Canadian content includes materials from Mills Memorial Library’s First World War Collections at McMaster University such as personal collections, albums, photographs, trench journals, sheet music, visual sources and trench maps. Also included is material from the Vera Brittain Archive, a collection of her wartime diaries and letters and a heavily annotated first version of her celebrated autobiography Testament of Youth.

The First World War collection also includes the sheet music for In Flanders’ Fields, the famous war poem written by Canadian Lieut. Col. John D. McCrae and set to music by Alfred Hiles Bergen.

World War II: U.S. Documents on Planning, Operations, Intelligence, Axis War Crimes, and Refugees features primary source materials including Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Map Room Files, Records of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Records of the War Department Operations Division, U.S. Navy Action and Operational Reports, Records of the Office of War Information, Papers of the War Refugee Board, and Top Secret Studies on U.S. Communications Intelligence during World War II. The collection includes government documents, maps, reports and memoranda reflecting Canada’s participation in the war.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Students Needed: Help Us Improve Our Website

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The UAlberta Libraries are conducting usability testing on our website, library.ualberta.ca. We are looking for students (undergrad, graduate, PhD) to record their interactions with the site. The session will take about 60 minutes to complete.

By participating in this website usability study, you will receive $25 in ONECard cash. To apply, please complete this form and you will be contacted if selected.

Welcome COMPASS: The Student Anthropology Journal of Alberta

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On October 16, we welcomed a brand new publication into the world! COMPASS: The Student Anthropology Journal of Alberta published its inaugural issue, featuring articles from undergraduate, MA, and PhD research of students at the University of Alberta, MacEwan University, and the University of British Columbia, spanning topics as diverse as investigating the possibility of celiac disease in Ancient Rome, to using fossils to identify the origin of stone tools in southern Alberta.

We interviewed the Editors-in-Chief of COMPASS, Katherine Bishop and Victoria van der Haas, both PhD Candidates in Anthropology at the University of Alberta, about the value of student journals.


Why do you think student journals are important?

Victoria: For me, students journals are important for two reasons: experience and learning. This goes for the writers as well as the people behind the journal. It allows students to explore and share research is a non-threatening environment, which is so important for their growth and development in academia. In addition, it also provides them with a bit of exposure.

Katherine: I love working with student journals; they provide so many different opportunities. As an author you learn how to work with feedback. You get a taste for publication in a low-stakes environment and get a final product that looks impressive on a resume. It allows you to grow as a researcher and experience one of the processes that professionals in our field must go through as part of their careers. As a reviewer it will also improve your writing, reading, and ability to give constructive feedback.

What have you learned from your work on student journals?

Katherine: I have had the chance to work with three student journals at three different universities. My role has changed from an author to a reviewer and copyeditor, and more recently, an editor in chief for COMPASS. Each role brings different challenges but it has been incredible to see what I have learned with each experience and even more impressive to see how I have used this experience in my own academic and professional endeavours. I can genuinely say that over the last six years I have become a better writer because of my involvement with student journals. I have also become a better reader. Depending on your role with a journal you are looking for different things: grammar, style, referencing, formatting, etc. Each role requires you to read or review a paper differently, which changes how you approach reading for research. Now that I am an editor in chief I have experienced how to manage a team and work with the process through a new electronic forum which has been a lot of fun.

Victoria: The most important thing I learned is just how much work actually goes into putting together a journal. It seemed like a very straightforward process, but there were more steps involved than I initially assumed. It taught me the importance of time management.

What advice would you give to students who are interested in starting or volunteering for a student journal?

Victoria: Make sure you commit and you have the time to do it. As interesting and exciting as it is to start such an endeavour, you must realize nothing will happen if you don't put in the work. It will take time to review a paper, send it back to the author(s), review it again, copy-edit, etc. COMPASS started a year ago, but only now are we able to put out our first issue. Teamwork matters!

Katherine: If you have the time and are interested in becoming a better writer, editor, and reader of different works – just do it! The UofA’s campus is an incredible environment to help you get involved and succeed with your initiatives. There are lots of different student journals on campus that are always looking for people to help them. If there isn’t one that relates to your research, consider starting your own. That is what happened with COMPASS. We reached out to our department’s library liaison and he soon put us in contact with Sonya Betz, Digital Initiatives Projects Librarian. Not only that, but by contacting other student journals we were able to see what did or did not work for them. The Journal community is very supportive and a great resource.

Anything else you want to say about journal publishing?

Katherine: Work with people that you enjoy. People who have similar work ethics, goals, and understandings. My Co-Editor has been a huge help during stressful times throughout our project. Being on the same page about what we wanted to accomplish, how, and recognizing that this was a “for fun” volunteer initiative went a long way for our continued success together.

Victoria: Enjoy what you do. Everything will be a lot easier if you treat it as a fun side-project, not a job. As a student you'll always have a million things going on, so you need to make sure this isn't just another "chore".

In addition to COMPASS, the UofA Libraries supports several actively publishing student journals through its open access journal publishing service, including:
For more information about the Libraries’ free open access journal hosting service, please contact Sonya Betz, Digital Initiatives Projects Librarian (sonya.betz@ualberta.ca).

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Spotlight on OER

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Our friends at the Centre for Teaching and Learning are celebrating Open Access Week too! We asked them to share this guest post on Open Educational Resources for today's OAWeek post.

Spotlight on OER

Krysta McNutt, OER Project Manager, Centre for Teaching and Learning

OER (open educational resources) are teaching and learning materials that allow free use and reuse, without charge. OER often have a Creative Commons license that states specifically how the material may be used, reused, adapted, and shared.

OER can unlock freedom and creativity in the classroom. Instructors are exploring the use of OER to reduce textbook costs, customize activities and assignments, increase engagement with learning materials, and even co-create resources with students. Adapting and sharing OER also builds community among educators and scaffolds collaborative practice.

Using OER in place of a textbook or other proprietary learning material opens the door for student agency in how they consume this material (for example, students may re-format the content in a way that is more palatable to their learning preference), and the opportunity for instructors to facilitate activities such as non-disposable assignments.
The true power of open comes not from a resource being free of cost but rather from the freedoms to reuse, retain, redistribute, revise, and remix content. These freedoms empower both students and faculty while widening access and supporting the democratization of education. (Jhangiani).
Using OER allows educators to customize content to increase relevancy and ensure inclusivity. By sharing educational material “in the open” with open licensing, the impact reaches beyond students at the University of Alberta by increasing accessibility and availability to informal and lifelong learners.
David Wiley’s 5Rs are frequently cited as defining traits of OER.
Credit: Image by BC campus, CC-BY 4.0

Wiley states: “Open educational resources are defined as “any copyrightable work that is licensed in a manner that provides users with free and perpetual permission to engage in the 5R activities”.

Open Licensing your educational content is one way instructors can get started with OER. AASUA members retain the copyright in the course materials they create and assign an OER-compatible licence. The copyright status on your work does not change when a standard open licence is assigned, such as Creative Commons.

1. Choose a licence
2. Mark the work with the CC icon
3. Link icon to licence deed (e.g. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
4. Include a statement.


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Revising and remixing content is the key to OER. By revising and remixing educational materials, instructors can customize and tailor their instructional materials to meet their students’ needs. By requiring students to revise and remix this content as assignments, instructors can create unique learning experiences, encourage discussion, debate, and uncover new perspectives.

Finding OER

Three common methods to discover OER is through the Creative Commons, BCcampus, or OER Commons websites. However, these are just three of many other ways.

The chart below can be helpful in determining what and how a selected OER may be used. For example, if you select a resource which carries a CC-BY-SA license, you may engage in all 5Rs but you must revise and remix the resource only with content which is also of the same license (CC-BY-SA).

Credit: Image “Wiley’s 5Rs and Creative Commons Licensing” by Krysta McNutt, CC-BY 4.0 (to view the full version, click here)
Taking the First Step

If you’re interested in exploring OER further, whether it is to adapt existing work, adopt it into your course, or create new content, the Libraries and CTL are here to help!

Your Subject Librarian can be a great starting point. You may also want to check out the CTL Open Education page and consider booking a consultation, read more on the open education movement on the UA Libraries Open Education libguide, or join the UofA OE Interest Group.

Upcoming Workshops

  • Speedy Intro to Open Education (webinar) October 27, 2017, 9:00am - 10:00am
  • Finding, Creating, and Using OER (CTL) November 7, 2017, 12:00pm - 1:00pm

Further Information

McNutt, K., Wakaruk, A. (2017), “Speedy Intro to Open Education”, Centre for Teaching and Learning, University of Alberta, October 24, 2017, https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1uwU_vRxUXMAdS3nqtVAm4Ffg-gqjMdM98Oc_F0iCiDs/view

Wiley, David. “Defining the "Open" in Open Content and Open Educational Resources.” Iterating toward open, https://opencontent.org/definition/