Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Borrow an Activity Lending Kit at the Library!

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Finals are approaching and we know it can be difficult to make time for the gym or to commit to an exercise class when you have a busy student schedule that is always changing. Physical activity is an effective and healthy tool to manage stress and UAlberta’s Healthy Campus Unit and LiveWell have partnered with University of Alberta Libraries to bring you Physical Activity Lending Kits! These kits contain various at home workout equipment that can serve as a free and accessible alternative to heading out the gym.

Each kit contains:

  • Skipping rope - Did you know that jumping rope at 120 revolutions per minute for 10 minutes is equivalent to jogging for 30 minutes?!
  • Resistance bands - These are a great tool for static and dynamic stretching as well as bone and muscle development.
  • Pedometer - Did you know that walking is Canada’s most popular form of physical activity? Research has found a link between walking and lower prevalence of depression and a lower BMI.
  • Gliding discs - These are a great way to engage your core muscles so that your pelvis, hips, lower back, and abdomen all work in harmony.
  • Exercise cards - These cards will provide you with information on how to use the items in the kit.

According to the National College Health Assessment (2013), stress, anxiety, and sleep are the top three factors affecting academic performance for U of A students. Research shows that physical activity has been able to lessen the effects of these factors and improve mental health.

These kits contain various at home workout equipment to help you take a study break and manage your stress throughout the school year. Drop by one of the U of A libraries to borrow one today, and Unwind Your Mind!

Monday, November 28, 2016

Celebrate Graduate Student Research! Fall 2016 Convocation ETDs now available in ERA: Education and Research Archive

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Twice a year the Library releases some very special digital works into the world: University of Alberta graduates’ theses and dissertations! Congratulations to all these graduate students and their supervisors who have convocated in Fall 2016 for all your hard work and perseverance. Over 600 electronic theses and dissertations became available openly on the web on November 15! We would like to celebrate this event by highlighting the value of the unique and important collection of electronic theses and dissertations at University of Alberta Libraries.

The University of Alberta Libraries has always taken its responsibility to preserve theses and dissertations very seriously, as we hold the ‘last copy’ of all of these works whether in paper format of the past or today’s electronic format. As long-term stewards of these unique and precious works, we do everything we can to ensure their long-term survival.

Fall 2016 theses now available in ERAFor us, these theses also represent a revolution in open access. Theses used to be accessible only by special request. These works, representing the culmination of many years of graduate student research, and often containing important, original, and cutting edge discoveries, were challenging for other researchers to access, or were only available through subscription electronic databases. Now electronic theses are available openly on the web - a change that has taken place at virtually every major research institution around the world.

In 2009 UAL partnered with the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research to develop the policy and infrastructure necessary to offer students the choice of submitting a traditional paper thesis submitting their thesis electronically. Over 90% of students immediately chose the digital open access option, immediately exceeding all our expectations. In April 2014, FGSR finalized a policy that requires all theses are submitted electronically.

Today, theses are openly shared and preserved digitally in ERA: Education and Research Archive, the University of Alberta’s institutional repository. We’ve also shared over 15,000 digitized theses in ERA, for a total of over 19,000 digital theses available online for the use of researchers, practitioners, legislators, students, and proud families of our grad students worldwide. Of course, we also continue to care for and preserve those theses in print format that are in our collection which are held at the Book and Record Depository - these can be requested and accessed at the Bruce Peel Special Collections Library.

Although we don’t have time to read every thesis in our collection, we do see many thesis titles!

Of particular interest this round is Dr. Tracy Bear’s dissertation - Dr. Bear received the Governor General’s Gold Medal, which is an award that recognizes the doctoral graduate who achieves the highest academic standing/cumulative scholarly achievement at the University of Alberta. You can read Dr. Bear’s dissertation, Power in My Blood: Corporeal Sovereignty through the Praxis of an Indigenous Eroticanalysis, available in ERA at this link.

Reconciling Edmonton Exhibit at the Coutts Library

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University of Alberta students and staff now have the chance to experience the Reconciliation Edmonton project on campus until December 23rd.

The project features seven historic photographs from the City of Edmonton Archives, the Provincial Archives of Alberta, the City of Edmonton and the Aboriginal Multi-Media Society. The photos have been incorporated with artwork and poetry demonstrating reconciliation building in the region from the time of the signing of Treaty 6, which was 140 years ago.

RISE - Reconciliation in Solidarity Edmonton co-founder Miranda Jimmy collaborated with Danielle Metcalf-Chenail, former historian Laureate for the City of Edmonton, Jennie Vegt, former Artist in Residence of the City of Edmonton and  Anna Marie Sewell, former Poet Laureate in Residence for the City of Edmonton. Reconciliation Edmonton is a project funded by Edmonton Heritage Council.

Currently on display at the H.T. Coutts Education and Physical Education Library, Reconciling Edmonton encourages viewers to share their own reflections on reconciliation in the guestbook or on social media by using the hashtag #ReconcilingYEG.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Support Staff Shine in Showcase

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On November 9, 2016 the University of Alberta Libraries staff enjoyed a learning and development showcase featuring some of our talented support staff. The showcase was well attended and the presentations were very engaging.

We heard from:
  • Elisabet Ingibergsson (Bibliothèque Saint Jean): Semaine de lecture - Read IN Week Community Collaboration
  • Hanne Pearce (Humanities and Social Sciences Library): Design, Promotions, Photography
  • Alicia Odeen (Special Collections & Archives) : Archives Transition: Advocacy and a New System
  • Zachary Schoenberger (Bibliographic Services): Practical Applications of Metadata
  • Chris Bateman (Science and Technology Library): 3D Printing & Equipment Lending

Elisabet Ingibergsson of Bibliothèque Saint Jean presented about partnering with local French immersion elementary school classes to bring them to the library for Read IN Week (October 3 - 9, 2016). This year’s theme was One World, Many Voices. Elisabet coordinated all aspects of this event, including recruiting participants, speaking with school principals, facilitating information sessions for students and teachers, and then confirming participation and creating the day’s itinerary. The day was a success with 112 children participating and the event created a great opportunity for public relations and visibility for the bibliothèque. 


Hanne Pearce has taken a lead role in designing promotional materials for the UAlberta Libraries over the past several years. In addition to her primary role as a Public Services Assistant, Hanne has unique expertise in photography and  print and digital promotions and she uses these skills to “share the stuff we do!” She primarily designs her work in Adobe Creative Cloud and keeps on top of best practices by paying attention to her environment, often finding inspiration in unusual places (like the bus stop)! She’s passionate about public outreach and how great design can help UAlberta Libraries connect with their users.

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Alicia Odeen gave us a sneak peek into the complex processes behind managing and digitizing the library’s archival collection, which has over 9 linear kilometers of materials and about 400,000 photographs.  In September of 2017, this collection will move from BARD to the new RCRF.  Alicia emphasized that this new location - which will have in-house digitization and new retrieval processes - will help raise awareness of our extensive archival holdings. Archives staff at the new facility will continue to collect, organize, preserve, and provide access to university records of enduring value. 

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Zachary Schoenberger began working with the Métis National Council after a Métis genealogy website created by Dr. Frank Tough was suddenly lost when their server was taken offline. The website helped Métis Nations research and create their family tree. Zachary used a variety of tools to recover the data into its original structure. He used OpenRefine, a pattern recognition software, to “split-apply-combine” the data, a common practice in metadata work. He then used R, another software, to import and export the recovered data. This work will support ongoing research by the Dr. Tough and the Métis Nations.

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Chris Bateman highlighted his role in the provision of the popular 3D printing service offered at Cameron Library. This service a partnership between the Libraries and the Faculty of Science’s Hackerspace and usually receives around 10 requests a week for different 3D printing projects from students and faculty. Once a project is received, it is a very hands on process for Chris and his Cameron service desk colleagues who use three different softwares to ensure the design is complete and ready for printing. The process requires technological prowess and attention to detail. The outcome of 3D printing projects are often innovative objects used for research, experiments, and creative projects - all made of plant-based materials.

Thank you to all of the presenters for sharing their expertise!

Friday, November 18, 2016

Research and Collections Resource Facility Update

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There have been several exciting developments in the planning and building of the Research and Collections Resource Facility (RCRF) that is currently under construction. First and foremost, the Libraries’ RCRF Planning Team has added two new members; Kyle Ouellette is the new Project Coordinator and Meredith Bratland is our new Strategic Communications Manager.  And, check out some of the recent photos from the site.

Staff at our Book and Record Depository (BARD) have been working with a LEAN process consultant over the past year to review and improve workflows and processes in preparation for the move into the RCRF.  CJ de Jong, our Access Services Coordinator, reports that this has resulted in changes to our book returns process, a reorganized bin system for deliveries to our NEOS partner libraries, tackling maps storage, the elimination of unnecessary supplies and shelving, and updated workflows.  Moving forward, we’re fortunate to have Kyle Ouellette, our new Project Coordinator, as a resource trained in LEAN Six Sigma processes. One of his first tasks will be to assist with workflows related to digitization in the RCRF.

A Request for Proposal is open for the RCRF’s new cherry pickers and wire guidance systems.  These pickers are used to shelve and retrieve books from the storage facility, which will have 30 foot high shelving.  The deadline for proposals is November 22, 2016.

Our Materials Preservation Working Group is making progress on meeting the operational requirements to maintain our Movable Cultural Property (MCP) Program Category A designation.  They are diligently working to develop new work processes, procedures, and policies that fully satisfy MCP standards for housing, handling, and securing Canadian cultural property, archives, and library materials in the RCRF.  The team is currently exploring sensor options to collect data on the temperature and humidity of the facility for materials preservation. An Emergency Response Plan is also in the works, and the group will identify and set standards for relevant training for RCRF staff who will need to learn new work processes for improved collections preservation and security.

Visit the RCRF web page for more information and updates.

Your comments and feedback about the progress is welcome and will be shared - let us know what you think!