Survey says…

LQlogoWithText copyThe Libraries have fired up another round of the LibQUAL+ survey hoping to get some solid feedback on the quality of service around the branches.

This will be the eighth time we’ve randomly queried students and faculty about their perceptions of resources, collections, service, facilities and the like, and the program has been ramped up this year in order to generate higher response rates. We’ve scaled to the LibQUAL Lite version of the online survey to keep it short and simple; the current version takes about 5 minutes to complete, hitting on a smaller sample of the core questions.

We’re also trying to get in front of people with signage in conspicuous locations, and offering some carrots to the student participants in the way of automatic entry – upon completion of the survey – into drawings for one of two 16GB Apple iPads or an Amazon Kindle. How’s that for motivation?

Invitations to 4,800 current students and 1,200 faculty went out last week and the survey ends April 16, so if you’re here at the University of Texas and think you might have overlooked the initial solicitation, it might be worth taking a moment to check. This minute imposition is one of the primary ways we get real, quantifiable data directly from our users regarding the ways we can improve the Libraries for everyone, so let your voice be heard.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on TumblrShare on LinkedInEmail this to someonePrint this page

Faires revisits the Bard for fifth annual Nilsson

ceci_nest_pas_une_pipeThe David O. Nilsson Lecture in Contemporary Drama takes yet another wild turn this year with Austin Chronicle Arts Editor Robert Faires stepping in to reprise an excerpted version of his notable one-man take on Henry V.

The performance – titled “This is Not a Pipe” – will take place in the Capitol Room of the Blanton Museum of Art‘s Edgar A. Smith Building at 5:30 pm on Thursday, April 1. A reception will precede the event beginning at 4:30 pm.

The original version of Faires’s Henry played last summer at The Off Center Theater and garnered enthusiastic reviews for its combination of spare presentation and complex performance. Faires will pare down the previous version while attempting to further disrupt the partition between audience and actor in this modernist perspective on Shakespeare’s epic history play. Continue reading

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on TumblrShare on LinkedInEmail this to someonePrint this page

Mexican History in 365 days

1910In case you weren’t aware, 2010 marks two major anniversaries in the history of Mexico – the bicentennial of Mexican Independence and the centennial of the Revolution – and in recognition of those milestones, a number of events will be taking place around the university and in the Austin community. The Libraries are particularly attuned to the celebrations due to our oversight of the preeminent Benson Latin American Collection, so we’ll be keeping tabs on the goings-on about town. We’ll also be part of the celebration with the launch of the Benson’s exhibition – Frente a Frente: The Mexican People in Independence and Revolution, 1810–1910 – early this summer.

You can find a fairly comprehensive list of the university offerings at the College of Liberal Arts Mexico 2010 site, and a Mexico 2010 Austin Organizing Committee headed by Chair Teresa Lozano Long and Co-Chairs Dr. Victoria Rodriguez & Dr. Hector Morales is coordinating the Austin community events. The Ransom Center’s exhibition “¡Viva! Mexico’s Independence” is already open to visitors, so make time for a visit. And this Thursday (March 25), a pair of events worth noting are taking place in town – Mexican writer Héctor Aguilar Camín will talk about the history of Mexican politics and journalist/novelist Ángeles Mastretta will participate in a Q&A after a screening of the movie based on her 1985 novel Arráncame la vida. Find out more about these events from our friends at ShelfLife@Texas.

Feliz Aniversario, México!

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on TumblrShare on LinkedInEmail this to someonePrint this page

Science Study Break and Deborah Hay exhibit kick-start the home stretch

HAL 9000
HAL gets the once-over from Dr. Risto Miikkulainen in 2010's first Science Study Break "Machines Gone Wild"

As always seems the case, the Libraries are ratcheting up the post-Spring Break calendar with a slew of events.

After a brief hiatus, this week sees the return of the wildly popular Science Study Breaks series hosted by the Life Science Library. I won’t bother going into the background of this pop culture meets science program, but you can read about it in our most recent issue of the Libraries Newsletter.

At any rate, this first SSB of 2010 features Computer Science and Neuroscience faculty Dr. Risto Miikkulainen discussing “Machines Gone Wild” using Mr. Data from TNG and HAL 9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey as foils for discussion. The program gets underway at 6:30pm, Wednesday, March 24 in Wheeler Lecture Hall (4.102) in Robert Lee Moore Hall.

Also later this week, an exhibit of photos featuring post-modern dance maven Deborah Hay gets an opening reception at the Fine Arts Library. Twenty images Continue reading

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on TumblrShare on LinkedInEmail this to someonePrint this page

HRDI meets with Shoah Foundation

imageOn March 10-11, 2010 the UT Libraries Human Rights Documentation Initiative (HRDI) hosted a visit from the USC Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education (SFI).

Best known for its extensive archive of 52,000 Holocaust survivor testimonies, the USC SFI continues to expand its programming to include testimonies from genocide survivors worldwide. Dr. Stephen Smith, Executive Director, Sam Gustman, Chief Technology Officer, and Karen Jungblut, Director of Research and Documentation, met with members of the HRDI team to discuss opportunities for collaboration on their respective projects in Rwanda as well as best practices for digital preservation and metadata exchange. Continue reading

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on TumblrShare on LinkedInEmail this to someonePrint this page

Wanna buy an 8-track?

iStock_000010319628SmallA very timely article in the Chronicle of Higher Ed discussing endowment spending today. Do universities  “spend enough of their endowments for society’s benefit to justify the tax exemption they get”?  Senator Charles Grassley is pushing for legislation requiring universities to spend a minimum 5% of their endowment income annually. His solution is a one-size-fits-all answer to a complex situation that has evolved over many years.

The Libraries benefit from a modest but growing number of endowments.  But is our endowment portfolio big enough to continue to support the increasing costs of growing and maintaining world-class collections?  Not by a long shot.  Endowments for collection enhancement, electronic resources, and preservation activities play a key role in maintaining an academic library’s pivotal place in the lives of students, faculty, and researchers.

It isn’t all about the size of the endowment.  In the case of the Libraries, and for many other academic libraries in the US, the endowment’s specific spending guidelines can have a huge impact.  Continue reading

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on TumblrShare on LinkedInEmail this to someonePrint this page

Texas water researchers working with the Texas Digital Library

TDL.org stacked logoThis past month, the Texas Digital Library (TDL) and several prominent water researchers began the process of developing a new collaborative resource for sharing water data across the state of Texas. The Texas Water Digital Library (TWDL) will federate water research currently stored in dispersed databases and websites at various Texas universities. A model for the cooperative efforts of the Texas Digital Library, the TWDL will electronically harvest these resources from cooperating institutions (using a technology called OAI-ORE) and deposit them in a TDL-hosted DSpace repository. This federated repository will create a single place for researchers to search for water data from every part of the state: the Texas Water Digital Library. Continue reading

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on TumblrShare on LinkedInEmail this to someonePrint this page

Premiere of new Craycroft project employs Libraries collections

wall
Eighteen 8' tall wooden panels designed in the shape of the nine Montessori Grammar Symbols slide on tracks in front and behind one another. Each is painted with a colored chalkboard paint so that they can be written on during lessons.

We consider ourselves extremely lucky to be a mere stone’s throw from such great cultural institutions, and more so still when we get the opportunity to swim for a bit in their respective wakes.

As part of its ongoing series of installations by acclaimed contemporary artists called WorkSpace, the Blanton Museum of Art is featuring Brooklyn-based Anna Craycroft’s first in a series – The Union of Initiatives for Educational Assembly exploring the nexus of art and pedagogy.

The work, entitled Subject of Learning/Object of Study, uses over 500 books from the Libraries collections related to art education Continue reading

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on TumblrShare on LinkedInEmail this to someonePrint this page

A-B-C. Well, except in this case…

Mamet_Portrait_300dpi
David Mamet on set of "The Postman Always Rings Twice" (1981), 1980. David Mamet papers. Unknown photographer. Harry Ransom Center.

Our friends at the Harry Ransom Center just announced the opening of the David Mamet papers for scholarly research.

The archive covers his entire career, so it includes the source materials for all of his major plays (Glengarry Glen Ross, American Buffalo, Oleanna), as well as his screenwriting work (The Postman Always Rings Twice – the 1981 adaptation, The Untouchables, The Spanish Prisoner).

Find out more at Cultural Compass.



Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on TumblrShare on LinkedInEmail this to someonePrint this page

Michigan says goodbye to an old friend

card_catalogThis article on the departure of the legacy catalog at the University of Michigan recalls the renovations in Life Sciences Library here at the University of Texas, where card catalogs were removed to create space for new seminar rooms for the Undergraduate experience, as well as the removal of a large bank of card catalogs from the Perry-Castañeda Library almost three years ago.

The Michigan move also presages a similar development for those remaining catalog records at the PCL as the library responds to growing demands for student spaces.

Perhaps, though, we’ll follow our colleague Paul Courant’s lead and retain as an artifact a solitary catalog over which the students of tomorrow can ponder a more austere time.

Heath signature2

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on TumblrShare on LinkedInEmail this to someonePrint this page