Monthly Archives: August 2013

On the Move: DVDs and Reference Collection Location Changes

The Library tends to feel a little empty in the summer, so the cadets are always a welcome sight when they return…But that is not to say we haven’t been busy! While the students were away, the staff has been working on relocating some of our collections. Aside from the giant move to Bartlett Hall North that the Special Collections & Archive division just completed, there are also two smaller projects worth noting.

The DVD collection has been moved away from the compact shelving area on the second floor and now resides in the same location as the periodicals on the northeast side of the second floor. You will find the DVDs on the same shelving unit as the journals – they begin where the journals end – around mid-range. The low shelving here will make selecting a DVD much easier for everyone!

 Another change – still a work in progress – has been the integration of most of our Reference books into the general circulating collection. These titles are discoverable in the catalog and will now be available for borrowing. The books that will remain in the Reference collection are temporarily housed in the northwest corner of the second floor. The intent of incorporating Reference books into the general collection is to increase the accessibility of these materials – while freeing up some much needed space for a Library redesign project that is in the works.

So, we offer a big “Welcome Back!” to all our patrons and invite you stop by the Library to see these changes for yourself!

 

Library Launches New Resource Discovery Tool: Scout

Scout is a new way to find and discover library resources relevant to your academic research. Beginning 30 August, Scout replaces our catalog search on the library home page as the primary tool for accessing library resources. Our catalog is not going away, but will now be incorporated into Scout, a much more powerful way to find material most useful to you across multiple information sources. Here are some particulars:

  • What is Scout? Scout is a tool for information discovery that indexes many resources like our catalog, databases, and digital collections together allowing one search to be executed across all of these services. Researchers will no longer have to search databases individually for content.
  • What material is in Scout? The USMA Library catalog, ebooks, licensed databases and digital collections like JSTOR and EBSCO, many discipline-specific databases and collections, government documents, and more.
  • How can Scout help me? Scout gives you a wide view over many different library resources to find the most relevant material to your search. It also will allow you to refine your search by adjusting the types of information it retrieves based on whatever criteria you want. Do you only want materials published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals since 2000? That is very easy to define. Would you like to set a saved search in the system and be notified whenever new material is added that matches your search criteria? That is also very simple to do. Scout can always be on the lookout for you.
  • How do I use Scout? Just use the search box on the library home page: http://www.usma.edu/library.
  • How can I get to the library catalog? The catalog is in Scout, so you can access it through that service. The catalog itself is also still available at http://library.usma.edu.

Full documentation is available by clicking the small blue question mark just to the right of the Scout search box. More assistance is also available at the library reference desk or through your library liaison. We welcome comments and questions on Scout and how to use it to make your research both more complete and easier to do.

Scout to Go Live

The final changes have been made to go ahead and launch our new discovery service Scout. Our current plan is that the change to the library home page will go live late tonight and will be announced on the blog and by email to cadets, faculty, and staff. We do not anticipate any difficulties other than the difference in search behavior on the home page. Users will no longer default to the library catalog, but will execute their search in Scout (which includes the catalog).

Thanks to our teams who have been working to bring this up.  Coder-extraordinaire Justin has done a great job wrangling another system into something workable. Christine has helped guide our overall process all the way through from our wishlist to vendor selection, to implementation. David and MPD have worked content integration (with more to come). Our communications team (Celeste, Christine, Heather, Justin, Karen, and Suzanne) have also been very helpful in walking through the look and user experience. Many folks throughout the library, especially in IGD, have also tested the system.

This is a great step forward for us in improving access to our resources. Thanks to everyone for bringing it to fruition.

Week in Review – 23 August 2013

Special Collections and Archives Consolidation Move is Complete

After more than three weeks of moving, we are very pleased that the great library collection shuffle of 2013 has drawn to a close, reuniting all Special Collections and Archives materials under one roof in Central Area for the first time since 1989. In addition, all general collection materials are now housed in Jefferson Hall. This significant undertaking came to successful conclusion thanks to our Special Collections & Archives staff who orchestrated a multi-phase project plan to shuffle materials in an out of three different facilities, and to our moving partners Clancy Moving Systems of Patterson, New York.

This move was originally scheduled to happen one year ago following the renovation of the old library space. The project plan had called for Special Collections and Archives to reoccupy a large section of the fourth floor and fourth floor mezzanine. That space would include collection storage, patron reading space, and staff office and workspaces. In the summer of 2011, the original plan was altered due to space constraints required for academic instruction. When Bartlett Hall North (the old library) came back online in January 2012, the library space was repurposed to support temporary classrooms in the collection space, and as office/meeting space for science department staff and faculty. This arrangement was scheduled to continue through full completion of the Bartlett Hall renovation in 2016.

Efforts to remodel the Visitor’s Center intervened however, and made it imperative that we relocate all our materials stored in the Library Annex (Visitor’s Center) to other locations. After considering remote off-site storage, and other temporary arrangements, we made the decision to move ahead with the consolidation into the collection spaces of Bartlett Hall North this summer.

We now have much easier access to all research materials, and will now also be able to expedite work to review little-used materials from the general collection that were held in the Library Annex. Overall, this is a big step forward for our collections as they are now in the permanent homes.

The moving work however is not quite complete. While our collections are now properly situated, we have not yet taken occupancy of our research and staff office spaces in Bartlett Hall North. Those rooms will continue to be used for science faculty and staff until the Bartlett Hall renovation project is complete in 2016. Until then, researchers will continue to use the reading room on the third floor of Jefferson Hall.

With the move complete, we are beginning to reestablish services for Special Collections & Archives. We expect full service to resume by early September. We plan to provide an opportunity for all library staff to tour the new spaces during our September staff meeting and will look forward to the much better access to our materials.

USMA Library Events

The events below will likely affect USMA Library and Jefferson Hall operations in the coming week.

Date USMA O/DEAN USMA Library Jefferson Hall Hours
Friday
23 August 2013
 Ring Weekend Week in Review 0700-1630
Saturday
24 August 2013
Ring Weekend Soccer Ring Ceremony 0900-1700
Sunday
25 August 2013
1100-2245
Monday
26 August 2013
0700-2245
Tuesday
27 August 2013
Division Heads Philosophy Forum 0700-2245
Wednesday
28 August 2013
 Dean’s Staff Meeting 0700-2245
Thursday
29 August 2013
0700-2245
Friday
30 August 2013
Beat Morgan State / Class of 1988 Reunion 0700-1530

USMA Library Metrics

USMA Library tracks a number of key statistics to measure service levels. These are their stories …

22JUL-28JUL 29JUL-4AUG 5AUG-11AUG 12AUG-18AUG
Access Services
Items Charged Out 432 232 221
Gate Count N/A N/A N/A N/A
Administrative Services
DV Tours 0 0 0 0
Significant Events Hosted 0 0 0 2
Events/Meetings Attended 0 15 18 22
Information Gateway
Reference Questions 5 7 8 8
Library Instruction Sessions 0 0 0 0
Cadets Attending Sessions 0 0 0 0
Materials Processing
Items Added – Books 74 16 17 26
Items Added – Digital 0 0 0 0
Items Added – GovDocs 11 112 62 35
Items Added – Other 2 0 0 40
Continuing Resource Check-Ins 89 109 152 58
Special Collections & Archives
Reference Inquiries 0 0 0 0
Research Visits < 1 hour 0 0 0 0
Research Visits < 1 day 0 0 0 0
Research Visits > 1 day 0 0 0 0
Instruction Sessions 0 0 0 0
Cadets Taught 0 0 0 0
Systems Management
Library Home Page Visits 866 818 822 1,589
LibGuides Visits 266 231 184 247
Digital Collections Visits 203 117 105 114
Facebook Visits 13 8 16 19
Public Printer Prints 13 25 0 6,448
Public Printer Copies 61 4 0 75
Public Printer Scans 27 20 4 14

Food for Thought

A few quotations from the past week about libraries, information, technology, and the future

  • “On the surface, Facebook provides an invaluable resource for fulfilling the basic human need for social connection,” social psychologist Ethan Kross told The Telegraph. ”But rather than enhance well-being, we found that Facebook use predicts the opposite result – it undermines it.” In other words, the more people used Facebook, the more miserable they grew.” – Study: Facebook is making users miserable – Yahoo! News
  • “While it’s not commonly discussed on the Hill, the government actually stands to make an enormous profit on the president’s new federal student-loan system, an estimated $184 billion over 10 years, a boondoggle paid for by hyperinflated tuition costs and fueled by a government-sponsored predatory-lending program that makes even the most ruthless private credit-card company seem like a “Save the Panda” charity. Why is this happening? The answer lies in a sociopathic marriage of private-sector greed and government force that will make you shake your head in wonder at the way modern America sucks blood out of its young.” – The College-Loan Scandal: Matt Taibbi on the Ripping Off of Young America | Politics News | Rolling Stone
  • “Remember the get-to-know-me chat of a first date or that final (good or bad) conversation with someone you knew for years? Chances are, as time has passed, your memory of those moments has changed. Did you nervously twitch and inarticulately explain your love when you asked your spouse to marry you? Or, as you recall it, did you gracefully ask for her hand, as charming as Cary Grant? Thanks to our near-endless access to digital recording devices, the less-than-Hollywood version of you will be immortalized on the home computer, or stored for generations in some digital computing cloud.” – What’s Lost When Everything Is Recorded – NYTimes.com
  • “The job I’m trying to get now requires me to know how to operate a computer,” said Elmer Griffin, 70, a retired truck driver from Bessemer, Ala., who was recently rejected for a job at an auto-parts store because he was unable to use the computer to check the inventory. “I wish I knew how, I really do. People don’t even want to talk to you if you don’t know how to use the Internet.” – Most of U.S. Is Wired, but Millions Aren’t Plugged In – NYTimes.com
  • “The proportions of American undergraduates who received federal financial aid (57 percent) or at least some form of financial aid (71 percent) in 2011-12 both rose considerably from 2007-8, when the proportions were 47 percent and 66 percent, respectively, a new federal report shows.” – Majority of Students Now Have Federal Aid, U.S. Study Shows | Inside Higher Ed
  • “I had an interesting conversation with a faculty member last week that went something like this: “Brian, I want you to know that it’s getting harder for me to get students to use the library— especially the databases— anything beyond three clicks is just too many.” In some disciplines this would not really shock me, but it was a historian. This is someone who is passionate about the library. This is someone who advocates for primary resources and through research. This is someone—who from what I can tell—is a very sophisticated database user. If our super users are frustrated with database interfaces – what does that mean? Many of us spend a lot of time promoting library resources to students, but if faculty stop encouraging (or requiring) usage—what then?” – The-3-Click-Dilemma: are library databases nearing the tipping point of obsolescence? – The Ubiquitous Librarian – The Chronicle of Higher Education
  • “Even in the Internet age, when data sources like Twitter posts and Google search queries are supposed to tip us off to outbreaks as they happen, one restrictive government can still put the whole world in danger by clamming up. That’s because the most important factor in controlling epidemics isn’t the quality of our medicine. It’s the quality of our information.” – Censorship Doesn’t Just Stifle Speech — It Can Spread Disease | Wired Opinion | Wired.com

Excerpted from Infoneer Pulse, a digital commonplace book curated by Christopher Barth.

“We have come to dedicate…” Remembering and Memorializing the Battle of Gettysburg

An annotated bibliography prepared by Laura Mosher, Reference & Liaison Librarian

 

19th Maine Infantry Monument – Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
Photo by Laura Mosher

We’ve just passed the 150th Anniversary of one of the most memorable battles of the Civil War, one that took place from July 1 through 3 of 1863, in and around a small town in south central Pennsylvania. The Battle of Gettysburg has fascinated historians, Civil War buffs, and pretty much everyone else almost from the day it ended – recall that President Lincoln gave his now-famous Gettysburg Address not even five months after the battle, at the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery in Gettysburg on November 19, 1863. Since then, Gettysburg and the battle that occurred there have been the subject of countless books, memorials, songs, and even the subject of discussion in a popular sitcom, the Big Bang Theory:

The scene opens with our geeky gang seated at a table in the Cheesecake Factory, moving various condiment containers across the tabletop to signify the movements of soldiers at Gettysburg.

Sheldon: Alright, I’m moving my infantry division, augmented by a battalion of orcs from Lord of the Rings; we flank the Tennessee Volunteers and the North once again wins the Battle of Gettysburg!

Howard: Not so fast! Remember, the South still has two infantry divisions…plus: Superman and Godzilla!

Leonard: No, no, no…the orcs are magic – Superman is vulnerable to magic! Not to mention, you already lost Godzilla to the Illinois Cavalry and Hulk!

Rajesh: Why don’t you just have Robert E. Lee charge the line with Shiva and Ganesh?

Howard: Shiva and Ganesh??!! The Hindu gods against the entire Union Army??!!

Leonard: …and orcs!

Rajesh: Excuse me! Ganesh is the remover of obstacles and Shiva is the Destroyer. When the smoke clears, Abraham Lincoln will be speaking Hindi and drinking mint juleps.

What is it about the Civil War, and the Battle of Gettysburg in particular, that holds such interest for so many? In an attempt to understand some of that fascination, I joined a staff ride held by the Department of History a few years ago and got a chance to walk the same hills and fields that were the site of the significant engagements during the battle. We spent our morning visiting the scenes of Day 1 battles northwest of Gettysburg (McPherson Ridge & Woods – where Gen John Reynolds was mortally wounded; the railroad cut; Oak Ridge and Oak Hill; Barlow’s Knoll) and the afternoon retracing the battles of Day 2 (Devil’s Den & the Slaughter Pen; Little Round Top; the Wheatfield; the Peach Orchard; Cemetery Ridge/Hill; Culp’s Hill). On our final day in Gettysburg, we took the part of a Confederate unit and re-enacted Pickett’s Charge from Seminary Ridge to Cemetery Ridge, under imagined “fire” from Union forces on Round Top and Little Round Top most of the way. While walking the battlefields of Gettysburg gave me a sense of the enormity of the events of 150 years ago, it was difficult to truly comprehend that over the course of three days in and around that small Pennsylvania town, there were some 51,000 casualties (dead, wounded, and missing or captured). Even more difficult was finding a way to understand the effect of that damage and loss on a town of only 2,500 people.  It was an enlightening experience, especially since it has helped me with historical insights that allow me to better assist our cadets as they did the research and writing about the Civil War that their classes here require. 

One of the aspects of Gettysburg that made a lasting impression on me was the way the entire area has become a memorial: every battlefield has markers, statues, and plaques that pay tribute to the units who fought there, the soldiers who died or performed heroic deeds there, and the meaning of each engagement for the battle and sometimes even for the overall conflict between the North and South. This was fascinating to me, and I have been seeking out scholarship and commentary on this aspect of the Battle of Gettysburg ever since. Below, I’ll share the most engaging books I have found in my research, which, instead of focusing on the logistics of battle, the command decisions, and the outcomes of engagements, look at how we as a culture understand and memorialize, appropriate and re-interpret, and continue to be riveted by the “turning point” of the Civil War, the Battle of Gettysburg.

Before delving into the memorial aspect of Gettysburg, it’s appropriate to suggest a few significant books about the battle itself. If you are looking for a book or series of books to acquaint you with the Battle of Gettysburg, you can’t go wrong by consulting these classics in the field: Stephen W. Sears’s Gettysburg, Harry W. Pfanz’s Gettysburg: the First Day and Gettysburg: the Second Day, and Gettysburg: Day Three by Jeffry D. Wert. These books give an overview of the events that took place 150 years ago, each in their own way. Sears’s book covers the entire battle, including a portion of the campaign building up to the encounter in south central Pennsylvania, and is considered an authoritative history which delves into the events of those days in July 1863 in exhaustive detail. Pfanz, a former historian at Gettysburg National Military Park, presents a deeply researched and detailed tactical description of the first day’s fighting in Gettysburg: the First Day, drawing on published and archival sources to present his analysis of the events. His Gettysburg: the Second Day (which he actually wrote first!) is considered by some to be the most complete account of the actions of July 2, 1863 in print, giving a detailed account of the second day’s combat along with a thorough analysis of the decisions and events that took place that day. Finally, Wert’s Gettysburg: Day Three, portrays the last day of the battle, relying heavily on letters, diaries, and other primary sources, taking the reader through Pickett’s Charge and into the evening of July 3rd, providing a coda to the three days of the battle.

If you’re planning a trip to Gettysburg, and are looking for a detailed guide to bring the events of those three summer days to life, check out the Guide to the Battle of Gettysburg, edited by Jay Luvaas, Harold W. Nelson and Leonard Fullenkamp, with maps by Steven Stanley. The Guide is part of the series “The U.S. Army War College Guides to Civil War Battles,” and it’s clearly written by authors with more than a casual feel for their subject. Formatted with routes that match the stops of the battlefield auto tour created by the National Park Service and the Friends of the National Parks at Gettysburg, the Guide includes at every stop the words of the officers who led the men who fought there and reported on their actions and encounters, taken mostly from the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. You’ll get a nearly eyewitness account of the events – as you stand on the very ground where they took place. Guaranteed to give you shivers!

The first book I came across after I returned from the Staff Ride was The Colors of Courage: Gettysburg’s Forgotten History: Immigrants, Women and African Americans in the Civil War’s Defining Battle, by Margaret S. Creighton. In her book, Ms. Creighton explores how these three disparate groups of Gettysburg residents were affected by their participation in or response to the conflicts that surrounded them. This book gave me an introduction to several aspects of the battle that are not generally covered in other literature I have encountered about Gettysburg.

Lincoln delivered his Gettysburg Address on November 19, 1863, and there seem to be an endless number of books that describe, parse, and evaluate one of the most famous speeches given over the course of America’s recorded history. Lincoln at Gettysburg : the words that remade America, by Gary Wills, and Lincoln’s sword : the presidency and the power of words by Douglas L. Wilson are only two. Wills won the Pulitzer for his examination of both the address and Lincoln in the context of the time period and the President’s cultural and historical knowledge, while the strength of Wilson’s book lies in the insights he gained during his painstaking work transcribing Lincoln’s most famous writings for the Library of Congress, and his detailed recounting of the revisions and refinements Lincoln made to many of his notable speeches, the Gettysburg Address included.

A more introspective examination of the Gettysburg Address – part memoir, part observation, part analysis – has been written by Kent Gramm, in his book November: Lincoln’s Elegy at Gettysburg. Written seemingly day to day as he spent the month of November in Gettysburg, searching for the exact place where Lincoln delivered his address, Gramm’s book ranges far and wide through Novembers throughout history, examining events both famous and deeply personal, in a search for the ultimate meaning and lasting significance of the Gettysburg Address.

When it comes to the monuments and markers on the battlefield, Gettysburg: Sentinels of Stone, by Timothy T. Isbell, is a great place to start. In beautifully composed photographs of memorials throughout Gettysburg, accompanied by text that describes the battles fought by the units or individuals commemorated by the pictured monuments, Isbell’s book provides a gorgeous tour of the commemorations placed at various battlefields and a snapshot of what happened at each memorable place.

During the 1890s, five Civil War battle sites were established as Civil War National Military Parks: Chickamauga-Chattanooga, Antietam, Shiloh, Gettysburg, and Vicksburg. In his book The Golden Age of Battlefield Preservation: The decade of the 1890s and the Establishment of America’s First Five Military Parks, Timothy B. Smith recounts the process of turning these sites of great conflict into places that were preserved and interpreted. With an introduction that addresses why that particular decade was the right time for these efforts – incorporating the status of the war’s veterans, the end of Reconstruction, and the concept of reconciliation – Smith goes on to describe the establishment of the Gettysburg National Military Park and each of the other parks in great detail. If your interest in this topic extends to some of those other battlefields, you’re in luck, for Smith has also given us A Chickamauga Memorial: The Establishment of America’s First Civil War National Military Park and This Great Battlefield of Shiloh: History, Memory, and the Establishment of a Civil War National Military Park.

Specific to Gettysburg, Jim Weeks’s Gettysburg: Memory, Market, and an American Shrine is a fascinating study of how Gettysburg has been, from just after the battle to the present day, a tourist site, a business, a memorial, and a reflection of how Americans remember and commemorate significant historic events through changing times. Surveying how the battlefields of Gettysburg have variously been treated as curiosities, hallowed ground, locations for re-enactments of battles, and ultimately revelatory of what we prioritize at different times as we pay respect to our past, Weeks’s book is well worth a read for anyone captivated by the Battle of Gettysburg.

In These Honored Dead: How the Story of Gettysburg Shaped American Memory, Thomas A. Desjardin examines the many ways in which Americans have participated in understanding, telling, crafting and reinventing the story of the Battle of Gettysburg since the battle ended. Desjardin brings his knowledge of the battlefields and his historian’s expertise to bear on the cultural and societal constructs that have created – and continue to create – a narrative of Gettysburg that tells us sometimes more about ourselves than about the actual battles that took place there 150 years ago.

Moving a little farther afield from Gettysburg, but keeping to the theme of commemoration and memory, my research has led to me to several books that address important aspects of honoring the Civil War dead. For anyone interested in the concept of reconciliation between the States after the war, and the influence of memorialization on reconciling the North and South, Honoring the Civil War Dead: Commemoration and the Problem of Reconciliation, written by John R. Neff, is a must-read. Neff contends that the ways in which the North and South commemorated the thousands of lives lost during the war served not only to honor those who died, but to emphasize the differences in the ways each side interpreted the war and understood the meaning of the conflict as a whole. He describes how both sides engaged in myth-making during their memorial efforts, leading to two very different views of a “united” America.

Since we’re in the midst of observations of the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War, logic would lead us to believe that there was a Centennial observation at the time of the 100th Anniversary. For those of us not around during those years, Robert J. Cook’s Troubled Commemoration: The American Civil War Centennial, 1961-1965, can give us some insight into what it was like, 50 years ago, to observe that anniversary. Against the backdrop of the Cold War and the Civil Rights movement, efforts to observe the centennial of the Civil War were complicated by each side’s historical memory of the war and its aftermath, the injustices of racism, and the growing activism of the day. Cook recounts the differences between the North and South, the difficulties inherent in finding a common ground while each part of the country tried to observe the anniversary in a way meaningful to its dominant culture, and sets the commemoration into the events taking place not just in the United States but around the world during that era.

These are but a few of the many books we have here in the USMA Library that address how we as Americans have memorialized the Battle of Gettysburg.  I hope that the books I’ve described have introduced an aspect of the Battle of Gettysburg that inspires further investigation, and in that spirit, I’ll conclude with a few recommendations that don’t involve books!  Everyone should make a visit to Gettysburg, and here are a few links to places on the web where more information about both the park in general and the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg commemoration can be found. First, visit the National Park Service website: http://www.nps.gov/gett/planyourvisit/150th-anniversary-index.htm and their special 150th Anniversary page: http://www.nps.gov/gett/planyourvisit/150th-anniversary-index.htm, and next, the website of the Gettysburg Foundation: http://www.gettysburgfoundation.org/101. Although the events of the actual anniversary weekend are over, at both of these websites you’ll find links to event guides, walks and tours, and information that you can use at any time when visiting or learning about the Battle of Gettysburg.

Since photography serves, even today, as both a documentary and memorial method of sorts, I highly recommend visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s “Photography of the Civil War” exhibit. Although we’re getting close to the end of its run (the last day is September 2), it’s well worth a visit.  Showcasing more than 200 images from both the Metropolitan Museum’s collections and private owners, the exhibit catalogs the evolving role of the camera during the Civil War. Check out information on the exhibit here: http://www.metmuseum.org/exhibitions/listings/2013/photography-and-the-american-civil-war. While there, you can view another exhibit (running concurrently), “The Civil War and American Art,” an examination of how major paintings by American artists responded to the Civil War and its aftermath.

Before you go to the exhibit, or to Gettysburg itself, I invite you to come in and take a look at our collection of books about Gettysburg, to get ready for your travels! 

 

Cadet Printers – New Instructions

ALL,

Please be aware that as of today at 1500 the instructions to the printer have changed. The HP (cadet) printers had to be moved onto a different server which means EVERYONE must remap to the printers.

Updated instructions are availabe in the IGD shared documents folder (click here) and copies are on the ref desk.

This will resolve the plebe connection problems and allow all classes of cadets to print to the HPs.

Week in Review – 16 August 2013

Jefferson Hall is 5 (and #6)!

This month marks the fifth anniversary of the opening of Jefferson Hall Library and Learning Center (the primary home of USMA Library) in August 2008. There is much evidence that this facility has had a significant and positive impact on cadets and their academic work over the last five years, and we are very grateful for and appreciative of the support shown for the library program by the Academy through the construction of such a good facility for academic study.

One way we know the facility works well for cadets is they have said so directly. The Princeton Review releases annual rankings of libraries as rated by students. The 2013 rankings were just released with Jefferson Hall ranked #6 nationally. This continues a string of years where we have placed in the top 10 slots (at varying levels). While nothing is ever perfect about a building of this size, it is clear that the mix of collaborative and solitary spaces resonates with how cadets want and need to study today. The “place” of the library is one of the three central pillars of our mission statement. We are fortunate to have a facility that meets our mission as well as Jefferson Hall does.

This year we look forward to continuing to make Jefferson Hall an even better place for the community to engage with ideas, knowledge, and each other.

Library Transitions to (Sort of) Regular Academic Operations

Monday will see the beginning of the Fall 2013 semester. Here is a brief look at the transitions for the USMA Library:

  • With the lifting of the mandatory furlough days, we will resume normal reference service and will resume regular operating hours on Sundays (1100-2245). We will continue to have slightly reduced hours on Fridays (0700-1630) and Saturdays (0900-1700) until we are able to complete several hiring actions to bring staff back up to normal operating levels.
  • Our move of Special Collections and Archives will finish on Monday, 19 August. Access to the collections by researchers will resume soon as we finalize getting everything in place.
  • Our new Discovery Service named Scout will be launching in the next few weeks. This will be an easy new way for users to search across our resources to find the most relevant and useful material.
  • For the movie buffs, our DVD collection has moved to open shelving on the second floor where our current periodicals used to be. They have been moved off of compact shelving and so are much easier to access.

USMA Library Events

The events below will likely affect USMA Library and Jefferson Hall operations in the coming week.

Date USMA O/DEAN USMA Library Jefferson Hall Hours
Friday
16 August 2013
Week in Review 0700-1630
Saturday
17 August 2013
 Acceptance Day CLOSED
Sunday
18 August 2013
1500-2245
Monday
19 August 2013
First Day of Classes 0700-2245
Tuesday
20 August 2013
Division Heads 0700-2245
Wednesday
21 August 2013
0700-2245
Thursday
22 August 2013
 Dean’s Staff Meeting 0700-2245
Friday
23 August 2013
Ring Weekend Week in Review 0700-1630

USMA Library Metrics

USMA Library tracks a number of key statistics to measure service levels. These are their stories …

15JUL-21JUL 22JUL-28JUL 29JUL-4AUG 5AUG-11AUG
Access Services
Items Charged Out 140 432 232 221
Gate Count N/A N/A N/A N/A
Administrative Services
DV Tours 0 0 0 0
Significant Events Hosted 1 0 0 0
Events/Meetings Attended 20 0 15 18
Information Gateway
Reference Questions 7
Library Instruction Sessions 0
Cadets Attending Sessions 0
Materials Processing
Items Added – Books 49 74 16 17
Items Added – Digital 986 0 0 0
Items Added – GovDocs 94 11 112 62
Items Added – Other 47 2 0 0
Continuing Resource Check-Ins 85 89 109 152
Special Collections & Archives
Reference Inquiries 0 0 0 0
Research Visits < 1 hour 0 0 0 0
Research Visits < 1 day 0 0 0 0
Research Visits > 1 day 0 0 0 0
Instruction Sessions 0 0 0 0
Cadets Taught 0 0 0 0
Systems Management
Library Home Page Visits 852 866 818 822
LibGuides Visits 254 266 231 184
Digital Collections Visits 248 203 117 105
Facebook Visits 9 13 8 16
Public Printer Prints 1 13 25 0
Public Printer Copies 66 61 4 0
Public Printer Scans 36 27 20 4

Food for Thought

A few quotations from the past week about libraries, information, technology, and the future

  • “If you already have advice to give, you’re not listening. If you already know how this story turns out, you’re not listening…And if you already have your counterattack planned, you’re not listening…make sure that really listening is your only agenda item at that moment if you want to build trust, develop relationships, solve problems, create collaboration, and demonstrate your leadership.” – 3 ways to become a better listener
  • “According to figures published by a major tech provider, the Internet carries 1,826 Petabytes of information per day. In its foreign intelligence mission, NSA touches about 1.6% of that. However, of the 1.6% of the data, only 0.025% is actually selected for review. The net effect is that NSA analysts look at 0.00004% of the world’s traffic in conducting their mission — that’s less than one part in a million. Put another way, if a standard basketball court represented the global communications environment, NSA’s total collection would be represented by an area smaller than a dime on that basketball court.” – NSA claims it ‘touches’ only 1.6 percent of Internet traffic | Politics and Law – CNET News
  • “In all, the 415,000 square feet facility boasts 1.4 million moving image collection items, 3.5 million sound recording items and 2,000 vaults of storage. Its oldest film is one from Thomas Edison that dates back to 1891. As enormous as the campus is, it’s possible that it will all one day be accessible on a thumbdrive. “That’s a vision that could come true,” said Lukow, although he admits it won’t happen in our lifetime. He adds that digitization has been a massive net plus for the Library’s effort to archive America’s output, but it’s not without its problems.” – Library of Congress acts as America’s hard drive – Patrick Gavin – POLITICO.com
  • “While email can sometimes be a quick and convenient way to gauge interest or disseminate information, it’s often not the best tool for the job, he said. About 20% of the time, we’re using email correctly—leveraging it to communicate across time zones or answer a well-defined question. But 80% of email traffic is ‘waste,’ he said—stuff that’s useless or really requires a phone call or face-to-face discussion.” – Why 80% of your emails are a total waste
  • “I believe a first-class college education will continue to consist of a cutting-edge experience at a first-class university,” Powers says in the report. “Nevertheless, rapidly advancing technology is changing virtually every aspect of our lives, and education is no exception. …We need to lead change in higher education, both for ourselves and for the future.” – U. of Texas president wants faculty input on future of online education | Inside Higher Ed
  • “We really tried to make it pretty close to what actually happens in the lectures, we found that lo and behold, the students who multitasked performed much worse on the final test and those who were seated around peers who were multitasking also performed much worse on the final test,” said Sana. “So you might not be multitasking but if you have a clear view of someone else who is multitasking, your performance is still going to be impaired.” – Students’ use of laptops in class lowers grades: Canadian study – The Globe and Mail
  • “In another case, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which has authority over some NSA operations, did not learn about a new collection method until it had been in operation for many months. The court ruled it unconstitutional.” – NSA broke privacy rules thousands of times per year, audit finds – The Washington Post

Excerpted from Infoneer Pulse, a digital commonplace book curated by Christopher Barth.

USMA Library Launches New Website

You may have noticed that the Library website is sporting a new look lately.  The change occurred after the Library was directed to join the Academy’s unified web presence.  While still a work in progress, the site is focused on our patrons and offers improved accessibility to the Library’s many resources and services. Our new homepage can be found at http://www.usma.edu/library.  Don’t forget to update your bookmarks!

To help individualize the user’s experience, the site was divided into three main categories: About, Discover and Services.  Some of the pages on the new site should be especially helpful to cadets and faculty who have more specific needs than other USMA patrons. There are also new pages for alumni and visitors to view that will help answer questions about Library access and visiting.

 A few changes worth mentioning:

  •   Our daily hours are now prominently displayed on the homepage (questions about hours of operations are among those most commonly asked). 
  •  The site provides new links to the library news blog and social media sites – don’t forget to “Like Us” on Facebook!
  •  There are new library skills Research Guides that give instruction on topics such as: Evaluating Sources, Primary Sources, Theses and Dissertations, Statistics and Data, and Citation Management – all essential information for a student’s academic success.
  •  We have added a “Get Help” tab displayed on the on the far right of each page. Users can select from our different support options by choosing: Right Now (call or visit), Make an Appointment, Viewing a Tutorial, or visiting the Frequently Asked Questions page.

Another change on the horizon will be the addition of a new search tool (called a discovery layer in the world of libraries) that allows patrons to search across all of the library resources in a single search box. This will mean no more searching each database individually! The discovery layer will enable users to search across the breadth of the library collections, including our databases, catalog and digital resources, and will return results in a single list.  Watch for more information and our new search tool to arrive in the coming weeks!

The Library is working hard to bring improvements to the website, and there are many new features to explore. The best way to discover them is to visit the website and see for yourself!