Pucker Up

Science Study Break returns this Wednesday (weather permitting) with a special Valentine’s installment of the program.

The popular edutainment series hosted by the Life Science Library features noted researcher Sheril Kirshenbaum at the lectern discussing the biological impetus for kissing. Kirshenbaum’s book The Science of Kissing: What Our Lips Are Telling Us has helped to drive a recent public interest in philematology.

Takes place in Garrison Hall, Room 0.102, southeast of the Tower at Inner Campus Dr. & 22nd St. Refreshments(cake!) and lip balm will be provided. Free and open to the public.

Sponsored by the University Federal Credit Union.

Tip Jars in the Library?

We all know the cliche, “a picture is worth a thousand words”, so in age of YouTube and TwitterLibrary Instruction Services decided that collapsing our text-heavy web pages into succinct and visually stimulating comics and videos would help bridge new media, instruction-on-demand, and quick reference for our time-strapped undergraduates.

The idea for these short light-hearted videos evolved over time to incorporate comics instead of actor librarians; we’re slightly camera shy here and creating comic alto-egos mean we’ll never have a bad hair day. Staff in Library Instruction Services scripted the vignettes, and our Library Assistant and resident-artist Elise Nacca and Graduate Research Assistant Krystal Wyatt-Baxter used a free version of Bitstrips to create characters and dialogue incorporating the scripted scenarios.

Since their release in September 2010, the Tip Jar posts have covered topics such as how to use Google Scholar, narrowing a topic and placing it in context , finding E-Books and more.

Creating this digital content means that it’s easily distributed and re-purposed depending on student and staff needs. For instance, Tip Jar instructional videos are integrated with a collection of videos created by students from our 2009 Library Video Contest to be used in the Undergraduate Studies First-year Interest Group program as a way to introduce the students to library services in a fun and flexible way. We’ve also included these videos within our online research guides for course-integrated instruction or during a reference exchange over our Ask A Librarian chat service.

The posts run every other Monday on our News For Undergraduates Blog, which also incorporates events, resources, and items of interest for the University of Texas undergrad community. Stop by and get a tip from us!

Cindy Fisher is the First-year Experience Librarian, Library Instruction Services.


“The Past is Never Dead.”

Here’s some great news from our colleagues across campus.

The History Department has just launched an informative, interactive history web site. Not Even Past provides current historical writing for a popular audience. For history buffs who want reading recommendations and short, interesting, digestible stories every day, the website offers text, audio, and video histories on subjects that span the globe. The site is designed for anyone who is interested in history, from an avid reader of history to a history film aficionado.

The content and “picks” are written by the department’s 60-person faculty with additional input from the graduate students. Notevenpast.org is rich with book and film recommendations, video interviews, podcasts, online commentary, and even virtual classes (free) every semester.

The History Department’s new site is one-of-a-kind – no other university or institution offers a similar resource. Not Even Past will be identified with the individuals in the History Department at UT, giving readers a personalized experience of great history writing as well as promoting the strengths of the department and the University of Texas. Not Even Past also differs from other History department sites in its stylish visual design and its cutting-edge user-friendly functionality.

And just in case you want to follow up on the current reading recommendations from Not Even Past, they’re all part of the collections at PCL (and currently available).

American slavery, American freedom : the ordeal of colonial Virginia / Edmund S. Morgan.

Disowning slavery : gradual emancipation and “race” in New England, 1780-1860 / Joanne Pope Melish.

Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass, an American slave / written by himself with related documents ; edited with an introduction by David W. Blight.

Supporting teaching, learning and research

There are several ways for alumni and friends to show their pride and support for the University of Texas at Austin. No matter what ranking the Longhorn football team has, there are still several Top Tens on campus. One of which is the University of Texas Libraries.

When you support UT Libraries you are making a direct contribution to the core mission of our University…teaching, learning and research. Contributions, especially in a time of declining state revenue, ensure that current and future students have the books, journals and scholarly research available to them that former generations of students had.

The University of Texas Libraries is where information lives! We encourage you to support one of the top information resources in Texas.

Here are three ways to help provide books, journals and other needed resources for our students and faculty.

1) Join our We ❤ UT Libraries initiative.
2) Adopt your favorite book.
3) Become a Literary Longhorn with a $5,000 annual contribution and enjoy exclusive dinners with distinguished authors and faculty in one of our historic reading rooms; and invitations to tour national and international library collections and archives. Contact Gregory Perrin for detailed information.

There are no great universities without great libraries! Support UT Libraries today!

International Human Rights Day, Our Role (Updated)

It’s International Human Rights Day, and in the spirit of it, the Libraries can share news of its part in the opening of a new resource for the study of human rights.

Thanks in large part to the generous philanthropy of the Bridgeway Foundation in Houston, the Libraries established the Human Rights Documentation Initiative (HRDI) in 2008, its initial charge to preserve digitally the records of human rights abuses in the Rwandan Genocide.

Though HRDI’s mission has expanded in scope since that time – it has since established projects with the Free Burma Rangers and the Texas After Violence Project, and is currently negotiating new plans in Latin America – the project to collect, preserve and make accessible the Rwandan records has continued with itinerant staff constantly moving between Austin and Kigali, the site of the Kigali Memorial Centre where the fragile and sometimes anachronistic materials were being held.

Today, the project reaches a milestone with the inauguration of the Genocide Archive of Rwanda, a new and comprehensive repository for information related to the genocide. The physical archive housed on-site at the at the Kigali Genocide Memorial facility in Kigali will contain the original audiovisual, documentary and photographic materials in a secure, controlled environment. The digital archive will eventually contain copies of all audiovisual recordings and scans of all known documents and photographs will be accessible to researchers through a cross-referenced system that allows key word searches, first on-site and ultimately online. The Kigali Genocide Memorial will maintain network infrastructure, servers, and digitization and storage equipment for the digital archive, and a copy will also reside with the University of Texas Libraries.

Find more information about the project and the Libraries’ participation here.

You can see a featured interview video from the Archive here.

HRDI Archivist T-Kay Sangwand sat down for a reporter from National Public Radio’s Weekend Edition to talk about our role in the project. You can hear the interview and view some images from the Archive here.

Back to the Drawing Board…

We’re in the thick of it again with the looming end of the semester and the approaching zero-hour for projects and exams driving long nights and early mornings around the Libraries.

That also signals the return of whiteboard art, the spontaneous creative fits resulting from a combination of stress, anxiety, exhaustion and some small degree of relief that the end – be it affirmative or not – is nigh.

You can view a slide show of the finer examples of this phenomenon captured by our own Frank Meaker at the University’s Know website or at the Libraries Flickr page.

BONUS STACKS DISCOVERY:

A student “settles in for the long haul” on 5th floor of the PCL.

Kerr’s Name Here

He may have retired from the Libraries recently, but that hasn’t led Tim Kerr to slow his pace even a step. And since his wife Beth is still plugging away as Theater and Dance Librarian at the Fine Arts Library, we like to occasionally check in and see what he’s up to.

Turns out that in addition to continuing work on his art, Tim has also been working on a book about his art.

Your Name Here includes images of his activism art – paintings, sketches and multimedia endeavors – with handwritten commentary. It also comes with a cassette (yep) of some of Tim’s favorite musical creations.

The book is available (free preview) from Austin’s own Monofonus Press, just in time for the holidays.

Then and Now at Architecture and Planning

Throughout its 100-year history, the Architecture & Planning Library has been an integral part of the School of Architecture, providing services and collections for information and inspiration.  In tandem with the School, the library has grown and changed to meet the needs of its users—students, faculty, scholars, and the community.

A new exhibit – Then and Now: The Library of the School of Architecture – gives an overview of the library’s history as it developed from a faculty collection, to an established library in 1912, and then how it moved along with the School to its new locations.  Featured are interesting examples of how services and collections have expanded and stories about how people have contributed to their library and archive.

The exhibition – on view in Architecture & Planning Library Reading Room in Battle Hall through March, 2011 – is being held in conjunction with the School of Architecture’s centennial celebration 100: Traces & Trajectories exhibition.

Producing a centennial exhibit is a momentous occasion.  The challenge proves that some things never change: it reflects the efforts of an expert staff, dedicated students, the tireless hours of our volunteers, including co-curator Sarah Cleary.

All items on exhibit are from the vast collections of the Architecture and Planning Library and its Alexander Architectural Archive, as well as images courtesy of the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History.

Enjoy the School of Architecture Exhibits and Events Flickr slideshow.

Beth Dodd is Head Librarian for the Architecture & Planning Library at The University of Texas at Austin.