Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Cameron Library Staff @ The Shack Makerspace this July

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This July you will see some familar faces in the Faculty of Science and the Physics Department's Science Hardware Space: The Shack* (The Shack) as the Cameron Library Public Service Assistants (PSAs) will be covering The Shack's staff vacation leaves. The Shack is located at L2-136 in the Centennial Centre for Interdisciplinary Science Building - pop by and say "Hello!"

The open hours are Monday to Friday 1:30 - 3:30 PM for the month of July.

the shack space

the shack banner

But why would staff from the library be staffing a 3D printing makerspace? 

Back in winter term 2016, The Shack partnered with Cameron Library to provide 3D printing at the library. In this unique partnership, The Shack services the five 3D printers that are housed in Cameron Library when advanced technical issues arise. In turn The Cameron Library PSAs underwent training in evaluating 3D models and executing the models prints. Together, its been a productive match!

Over the past two years, Cameron Library PSAs have worked with the University of Alberta community on their 3D modeling and printing. This has resulted in an award winning library service for the campus community.

When The Shack's staff vacations looked like they would have to have the Makerspace close for a whole month they turned to the Cameron Library for help. For the month of July you will see PSAs from Cameron Library staffing The Shack.

library staff with 3d printer
library staff being fun in the shack

In addition the MachinaX printers, the Cameron Library PSAs will be learning more about The Shack's other 3D printers Prusia and Makerbot. 

close up of 3d printer
MachinaX printer named Zac Efron in The Shack
Prusia printer photo
Prusia printer named Beatrix Kiddo, ABS filament  is available for use on this printer

Makerbot Printer photo
Makerbot printer named Peter Bot in The Shack

* The Science Hardware Space: The Shack website is currently down (July 17, 2018) please contact Cameron Library if you have any questions 

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

UAL Service Excellence Nominee - Jupiter Project Implementation Team

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This is a new yearly series on the blog to focus on UAlberta Libraries staff who were nominated for a Service Excellence award. Over the next couple of weeks, we will share the nominees and winners of 2018. Nominees were put forward by fellow staff members and then winners were chosen by an internal committee of peers.

UAL Service Excellence Awards

Jupiter Project Implementation Team

UAL Service Excellence Team Nominee

Submitted by: Peter Binkley

The Digital Initiatives Area Leads would like to nominate the Jupiter project implementation team for the exceptional service contributions they made to this complex, lengthy, and challenging project.

The Jupiter project (2017-2018) redeveloped ERA and created a new open source application, called Jupiter, that UAL will rely on for future digital projects. For the duration of this project, the Jupiter team has worked diligently and tenaciously to solve what often seemed to be unsolvable problems. Their work to advocate for and establish best practices for user testing, project management and application deployment, high standards of documentation and code quality, and processes to help with team collaboration and communication has reaped some tremendous rewards, not just for the users of ERA, but in improving how we do our work each and every day.

Early in the project, the implementation team bravely and articulately voiced concerns about our direction. They also recommended concrete changes we could make in our plans to address the risks and obstacles that they had identified. As a result, we dramatically rethought the way we were carrying out this project. Their insistence on using accessible design, well-written and documented code, good project management principles and team communication practices will reap benefits for our entire team well into the future. Additionally, end users will enjoy greatly improved online services as we continue to develop new applications applying these principles.

Through close collaboration with each other and extensive experimentation, research and creative problem-solving, the members of the Jupiter team have developed a number of exciting innovations which will benefit both internal and external UAL users in many ways. For example, the dev and sys admin groups worked together to create a new environment for testing and demonstrating work-in-progress that lets us more quickly test features with end users, and check that everything is working as expected. They also implemented automated processes that greatly reduce the amount of time people in ITS and DI have to spend manually testing and monitoring different parts of the code. Team members from the metadata group drove the creation of a migration process that makes innovative use of tools to make our metadata more consistent and easier to access for testing. They worked closely with other teams to establish shared documentation to help prevent issues we had experienced in past projects when shared data was inconsistent. These improvements have been widely adopted by other projects in DI and will be used and improved on into the future.

The entire team has been deeply committed to the principles of this project from its inception, and their leadership in finding better ways for us to do our work has inspired and invigorated our ongoing work. They have been advocates for better and more accessible design, sustainability in our practices, and are always seeking to improve in how we communicate, collaborate and do our day to day work.

Team Members:

 Jeff Antoniuk, Matt Barnett, Piyapong Charoenwattana, Tricia Jenkins, Shane Murnaghan, Alex Strilets, Chris Want, Henry Zhang, Tai-chun Lee, Neil MacGregor, Beau Sapach, Danoosh Davoodi,
Mariana Paredes-Olea, Zach Schoenberger, Natasha Nunn.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

UAL Service Excellence Nominee - Humanities and Social Science Public Service Team

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This is a new yearly series on the blog to focus on UAlberta Libraries staff who were nominated for a Service Excellence award. Over the next couple of weeks, we will share the nominees and winners of 2018. Nominees were put forward by fellow staff members and then winners were chosen by an internal committee of peers.

UAL Service Awards

Humanities and Social Science Public Service Team

UAL Service Excellence Team Nominee

Submitted by: Virginia Pow

Why is the Public Service Team at HSS so awesome? Because of the team’s amazing ability to work together and problem-solve together. The core of the team are our 9 Public Service Assistants, who’s esprit-de-corps allows them to accomplish anything they set their minds to, and contributes to a positive workplace for everyone at HSS. Whether it is finding solutions for users, working on student engagement, supporting Librarians, or seamlessly implementing equipment lending services, the team is united in their mission of providing excellent service and creating a welcoming and inclusive environments at HSS and Weir. An environment, which they successfully maintained through the HSS first floor renovation in 2016 and after, as users adapted to the new space. They are committed to ongoing learning both as individuals and as a group. For example they challenged each other to undertake and complete the Indigenous Canada MOOC, and they continually seek learning opportunities and share them with each other.

As a team, HSS PSAs literally work from dawn until dark seven days a week to make library collections, services, and facilities friendly and accessible. The PSA team combines knowledge, professionalism, and caring for library users. When students don’t know what a microfilm is or how to use it for their research, when they have no idea how to start their English assignment, when their paper is due in 10 minutes and the printer just won’t print, the HSS PSAs are there to collaborate on solutions and ease academic and library anxiety with understanding and humour. They advocate on behalf of students to their supervisors, bringing concerns and suggesting improvements.

The core team of PSAs knows their key role within the public service infrastructure, and they are such a strong team that they are able to expand to include Indigenous Interns, SLIS Collaborative Students, Weir Student Employees, Librarians, and Practicum students throughout the cycle of the academic year. While continuing to provide excellent service and engaging in successful student outreach, they are constantly training new colleagues, leading by example, and inviting student employees to contribute to student engagement projects. While service often begins with them, the PSAs know they are part of a wider service landscape: they collaborate with and refer to Subject Librarians, Access Services, Bib Services and ITS colleagues, ONECard, IST, Protective Services, and beyond.

Equipment lending is a service that has been so well loved by students and the only way this could have occurred was because of the efforts and work behind the scenes of the PSA team.  However, it was only seamless for the students - the countless hours and time the team put in to make it work has been well noted by their HSS colleagues. This team works hard to successfully make an above-and-beyond level of care and service feel easy and seamless for users, whose experience always remains their top priority. Being the first point of contact is a huge responsibility and the HSS team does so with grace and a smile.

Team Members:

Amy Southgate, Bernard Offengenden, Carmen Loconte, Denise Irwin, Hanne Pearce, Jamie Spivak, Noelle Fraser, Shawna Manchakowsky, Ursula Pilmeier.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Five Ways Browzine Will Revitalize Your E-Journal Experience

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Have you tried Browzine yet? If not, you’re missing out on a fantastic way to stay up-to-date on all your favourite journals wherever you have a network connection. Best of all, Browzine offers free apps for a plethora of desktop and mobile devices, meaning all current University of Alberta students, faculty and staff can take advantage of all Browzine has to offer. Here’s five more reasons you should be using Browzine:

  • Looking for an article on a particular subject? Or, planning on sitting back with the latest issue of your favourite journal? Browzine’s simple bookshelf interface gives you the ability to view single articles and full issues of journals. 

  • Curious about what other journals are available in your area of interests? You can browse an incredible array of journals available through UAlberta libraries and open access publishers using Browzine. 

  • Do you eagerly await the release of the latest issues of your favourite titles? You can save your favs to your personal bookshelf and get alerts when new issues are published. 

  • Headed somewhere where there’s no internet access? You can save articles to your mobile device for offline viewing. 

  • Discover an article that complements your research? You can easily export the article’s reference data into the reference manager of your choice. 

Not convinced of the benefits of Browzine? Check out this article on how Browzine can be a useful tool for researchers.

UAL Service Excellence Nominee - Jeff Papineau

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This is a new yearly series on the blog to focus on UAlberta Libraries staff who were nominated for a Service Excellence award. Over the next couple of weeks, we will share the nominees and winners of 2018. Nominees were put forward by fellow staff members and then winners were chosen by an internal committee of peers.

UAL Service Excellence Awards

Jeff Papineau

Individual UAL Service Excellence Nominee

Submitted by: Robert Desmarais

I am nominating Jeff Papineau for a UAL Service Excellence Award for his extraordinary contribution to Bruce Peel Special Collections in all matters relating to service excellence. Jeff consistently demonstrates leadership and initiative in the unit, especially on public service matters that impact our researchers.

A shining example of Jeff’s demonstrated excellent service to library patrons is his recent handling of a researcher visit that resulted in a cash donation to the Peel library. Gary Kurutz, retired Director of the Special Collections Branch of the California State Library in Sacramento, recently contacted Jeff to follow up on an earlier visit he made to the Peel library to consult Klondike materials for his forthcoming bibliography to be published by the Book Club of California. Gary asked if it would be possible to get the measurements of a title page and scan of a rare dust jacket for his bibliography. Jeff immediately obliged but he also showed great initiative by informing Gary of some recent acquisitions from the library’s uncatalogued backlog that Gary had never seen or heard of before.

Gary was incredulous that Jeff would take it upon himself to go above and beyond his expectations to provide important new sources for his bibliography. In a follow-up letter addressed to me, Gary expressed his appreciation with high praise for Jeff and a promise to make a cash donation to the library:
“Dear Robert, Enclosed is a donation in honor of the extraordinary service of Jeff Papineau of your staff. Jeff has always answered my requests with utmost professionalism and efficiency. He has made my research on writing a descriptive bibliography on the Klondike and Alaska gold rushes so much easier. In undertaking this project, I have now visited twenty-six research libraries and archives, and without doubt, Jeff has exceeded in service all the other institutions in responsiveness. The Peel Special Collections Library is most fortunate to have him” (Gary F. Kurutz, letter dated 10 December 2017).  
In every interaction with library patrons, Jeff demonstrates that service is a top priority. A further example of Jeff’s commitment to excellent service is his dedication to the ongoing and increasingly complicated effort to assist Peel curators with exhibition projects. Jeff’s excellent service to support curator Helen Cheung and her research for a forthcoming exhibition on Chinese merchants in Western Canada deserves special commendation. Helen wrote that Jeff’s efforts are especially praiseworthy because he always goes the extra mile to help:

As a guest curator of Bruce Peel Special Collections, I wish to express my heartfelt appreciation for the outstanding support service that I received and continue to receive from Jeff Papineau as I prepare for an exhibition scheduled to be held in 2021. I am impressed by his professionalism and appreciate that he always provides service promptly and with a big smile. He often goes beyond his call of duty to accommodate special service requests from me, the donors, and the Chinese community such as locating more recent and uncatalogued archival materials on short notice. Sometimes he will take the initiative to make suggestions so that services can be delivered to us more efficiently. I believe that he is a great asset to the Peel library and all its users (Helen Cheung, email dated 25 May 2018). 
The impact of Jeff’s contribution to Helen’s exhibition work is remarkable. Jeff cares deeply about his public service work and he takes great pride in his role as an ambassador of the Peel library.