UT Libraries and data storage needs for the future

storage_imageAs more and more information goes digital, the questions around the storage of all this data grow ever more important. UT Libraries is working on that question through its participation in a key university-wide initiative: the ITS Central Data Storage project committee. As the Associate Director for Digital Initiatives, I represent UT Libraries on this committee, which is working to cost-effectively expand centralized data storage services for the whole campus.

First, a little background on digital storage: In 1991 the cost of a megabyte was about $13.00 and the largest drive you could buy held about 270 megabytes. Since then we have seen the cost of a megabyte decline steadily up till today when the average consumer can now purchase 1,058,576 megabytes (aka 1 terabyte) for $99.00, reducing the cost of 1 megabyte of storage to less than a penny.

So, how many megabytes does UT buy every year? Continue reading

A Memorable Study Break—POSTPONED

Brain

This Science Study Break has been postponed. Check back in the coming days for new details. Apologies for any inconvenience.

The Life Science Library has upped the pace of its notable Science Study Break (SSB) series in order to add to a “memorable” Research Week.

Tomorrow night (4/13), SSB welcomes Dr. Alison Preston from the Center for Learning and Memory to discuss how our brains form and recall memories working from film references in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Memento, and from television’s “Dollhouse.”

The fun takes place at 6pm in Painter Hall, 4.42, and, as always, features lively discussion and light snacks.

Science Study Break uses entertainment education to examine the reality and fantasy portrayed as fact in science-themed television and movies. Programs feature expert university faculty presenting brief lectures and engaging in informal discussions with attendees.

Libraries’ Fair returns

research-week-POSTER-2010_smAfter a successful turn last year, the Libraries are bringing back the Libraries’ Fair on the plaza at the Perry-Castañeda Library as its contribution to Research Week 2010.

The ten campus branches of the University of Texas Libraries will converge at the PCL to provide a one-stop shop for students to drop by and learn about resources and services available to them across the campus. Staff from the libraries will be on hand to answer questions, and booths will feature games for prizes and food provided by Cornucopia Popcorn Creations and Prufrock’s Java City.

The Fair saw great success in its first installment last year, attracting roughly one thousand attendees and generating increased awareness for services and study space around campus. Again this year, the Fair has been scheduled to coincide with the Longhorn Research Bazaar across the street at Gregory Gym, providing students the chance to get information about undergraduate research opportunities at the university, as well as the resources behind that research, all within the distance of a stone’s throw.

Research Week is a campus-wide celebration of undergraduate research and creative activity. It unites existing programs, events and activities that showcase undergraduate research and creative activity and highlights the many research opportunities available to students.

Become a Disease Detective

disease_square_smThe two-day Disease Detective Conference on Global Disease Eradication kicks off today in the Texas Union.  The conference features public health experts and researchers along with representative from schools of public health speaking about issues in the field and opportunities for careers in public health.

Tuesday and early Wednesday events are limited to faculty and advisors, but Wednesday at noon, the conference opens up to students starting with a free kick-off luncheon. Dr. Dean A. Henderson, author of Smallpox: the Death of a Disease, talks about his career in global health for the keynote speech at 5:00 p.m.   Continue reading

¡A Viva Voz! gets funky with Ocote Soul Sounds

Ocote Soul Sounds members Adrian Quesada (white shirt) and Marti
Ocote Soul Sounds members Adrian Quesada and Martin Perna. Photo courtesy Ocote Soul Sounds.

¡Baile!

The Benson Latin American Collection is going to be “coconut rock” central next Thursday (4/8) when Austin-born psychedelic Afro-Latin funk band Ocote Soul Sounds throw down the beats as part of the eighth annual ¡A Viva Voz!

Featuring the bandleaders of Grupo Fantasma and Antibalas – Adrian Quesada and Martin Perna, respectively – Ocote Soul Sounds has been described as “sounding like a sun kissed Brazilian soundtrack from the ’70s.”

¡A Viva Voz! kicks off  at 7pm with a lite reception and presentation by dj t-kay of KOOP 91.7 fm before the band starts to jam and those so inclined shake it up on the dance floor.

Continue reading

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.

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

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!

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

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