Category Archives: Resources

Mary Rader buying books in Pakistan.

Distinctive Collaboration in Pakistan

Book stall.
Book stall.

The mission of UT Libraries is to “advance teaching, fuel research and energize learning through expansive collections and digital content, innovative services, programs and partnerships to develop critical thinkers and global citizens that transforms lives.”  In recent years, our mission is fulfilled through a number of ongoing thematic “Purposeful Pathways” and short-term focused “Current Priorities.”  In this blogpost, I would like to highlight how my recent efforts in Pakistan demonstrate the realization of a number of our pathways and priorities, namely those related to collections of distinction, collaborative collection development programs, and visibility and impact in the global knowledge ecosystem.

I have written before about UT’s maturing South Asian Popular and Pulp Fiction Collection, both in terms of its growth and in terms its relationship to the national distributed collection for South Asian Studies as supported through the South Asian Cooperative Collection Development Workshops.  With my 2018 trip, I was able to expand the collection’s Pakistani imprints considerably.  For a number of years, we have been working to establish UT’s collection of novels by Ibne Safi as one of, if not the, largest in the world.  While in Pakistan, I was able to meet and work with Ali Kamran, the Managing Director of Sang-e-meel, one of our major vendors, to review and purchase both currently produced Ibne Safi titles as well as out-of-print editions–the former we were able to explore in his office itself, the latter we explored on foot in the second-hand markets of Lahore.  I am excited to receive the new additions soon and to add them to our collection, including that which is represented online and described in a compelling new exhibit by UT iSchool student Nicole Marino.

Speaking in Lahore.
Speaking in Lahore.

While in Lahore, I partnered with my colleague from Cornell University Libraries, Dr. Bronwen Bledsoe, to co-lead a workshop for librarians. The 2-day workshop was sponsored by the Lahore University of Management Sciences (most commonly known as ‘LUMS’) and by the American Institute of Pakistan Studies (known as ‘AIPS,’).  Entitled “Exploring Library Cooperation,” the workshop focused on themes of how to identify opportunities for and strategies to work across institutions to improve access to resources and services.

Librarians in Lahore.
Librarians in Lahore.

Approximately 30 librarians from across Lahore attended, including those from LUMS, Punjab University, Government College University, Kinnaird College for Women, and the Government of Punjab Research Wing.  While our opportunities for collaboration here in the U.S. are deeply embedded in our ongoing work (not only efforts such as the South Asia Cooperative Collection Development Workshops noted above but also structural support such as our robust InterLibrary Services), it was clear from our workshop that our colleagues in Lahore are also interested in working together.  For example, they shared details of their work to more fully describe and digitize their collections, to collectively petition funding agencies to advance their missions, and to continue developing professional networks and strategies for the common good.  I was impressed and inspired by their commitment and enthusiasm and am looking forward to growing these newly formed professional relationships long into the future.

UTL’s Director, Lorraine Haricombe, often cites this maxim: “Working alone, I can go fast, but working together, we can go farther.”  I am excited and committed to continuing to work in cooperative ways and have already seen how far it can take us—at least halfway around the world!

 

 

 

New UTL website

A New Arrival (It’s a Website!)

The Libraries have just released a new website, marking the first significant upgrade of the web portal in well over a decade.

The redesign is long overdue and represents a first attempt to comprehensively evaluate the site’s historical content, some of which is residual from early adoption of the internet by the General Libraries in the mid-late 1990s.

The website refresh has been under consideration for some time, but was urged along when the Senate of Student Councils made a detailed formal request for site improvements in January, 2016. Production of the new site began in February of this year, and was managed through an iterative, evolutionary project development process called Agile.

What’s new and improved:

  • Responsive design – the new site adjusts to the screen size of the user’s device.
  • Efficient browsing and search – clearer language for navigation, and a house-cleaning that cuts down on the bloat of a 6,000+ page site will make use of the site more efficient.
  • Homepage refresh – aligns with campus-wide standards to create consistency of user experience across the university web platform.
  • Updated location pages – consistency across the dedicated pages for branch locations will increase the ease of use while also allowing for customization of services and resources.
  • Expanded equipment pages – more information about creativity and productivity tools on hand for checkout or use onsite, with specs, access and availability information.
  • New “space” pages — specialized study, creativity and productivity spaces throughout the Libraries are now discoverable and browseable with information on capacity and availability.
  • Improved “Hours” interface – up-to-date information on location and service hours available in multiple locations to make planning a visit easier.
  • Sustainability – streamlined production process will result in constant improvements to the website based on user behavior and feedback.
  • Task-orientation – the new architecture focuses on helping users get work done more efficiently by increasing the integration of services, resources, spaces and expertise.

The new website will be available in parallel to the legacy site through the remainder of the fall semester, accessible via a pop-up at lib.utexas.edu, followed by a full launch with expanded features — including “unified search” — in early January.

Explore the new site and send us your feedback.

NOTE: On January 4th, 2018, the URL for the Libraries new website will change to www.lib.utexas.edu and contents of the existing site will be moved to legacy.lib.utexas.edu. Users will be able to reach pages from the old site with outdated links by changing “www” in the target URL “legacy.” This change will likely have some effects for online users and there are plans to frequently communicate about any changes that may impact user experience.