Library News

New Thode Makerspace a place to play, collaborate and innovate

Submitted by libbalche on
Filed under Library News:  Thode
 The newly launched Thode Makerspace, a partnership between McMaster University Library and McMaster’s Faculty of Engineering, will have a range of both high and low tech equipment avaialbe for use by students from all Faculties including 3D printers like the one pictured here.

 The newly launched Thode Makerspace, a partnership between McMaster University Library and McMaster’s Faculty of Engineering, will have a range of both high and low tech equipment available for use by students from all Faculties including 3D printers like the one pictured here.

Aspiring innovators from all Faculties have a new experiential learning space on campus where they can create, collaborate, and experiment with a range of technologies.

The newly launched Thode Makerspace, a partnership between McMaster University Library and the Faculty of Engineering, offers students, faculty and staff from all disciplines a space to learn technical skills, develop new technologies and work collaboratively, while sharing ideas, equipment and knowledge.

Located on the lower level of Thode Library, the Makerspace provides access to a variety of high and low-tech tools and technologies as well as hands-on workshops and training for all skill levels. The facility will also connect students to experts and mentors at McMaster’s start-up incubator and entrepreneurship initiative, The Forge.

McMaster University Librarian, Vivian Lewis says she hopes the Makerspace will serve as a place for learning and experimentation, where students share knowledge and work collaboratively across disciplines.

“I think this Makerspace is quite extraordinary,” says Lewis. “We tend to think of makerspaces as high-tech machine shops, spaces for technological experimentation and idea prototyping, but this is also a place where students from all parts of campus can come together to learn and to build – a space where humanities students can partner with students from science or business or social sciences. It’s intended to be a truly interdisciplinary space.”

“Innovation happens when Engineers collide and collaborate with people from other disciplines,” says Ishwar K. Puri, Dean of McMaster’s Faculty of Engineering. “Over the past few years we’ve really invested in building collision spaces like the Makerspace. You need community spaces where people can come and create and work on problems in an interdisciplinary way. That’s the kind of vibrant atmosphere we want to provide for students.”

The Makerspace will offer a range of equipment including 3D printers, a variety of hand tools, components for building electronic circuitry, a drill press, grinders, soldering stations, a laser cutter and even a chip setter that will enable students to make computer chips. Going forward, equipment will added based on needs identified by the students using the space.

The facility will be open to students on a drop-in basis and will be available to groups on campus who need a space to work on technology-based projects. Programming will include talks by Hamilton start-up entrepreneurs organized in partnership with The Forge, as well as other skills development activities and networking opportunities for students.

Colin McDonald, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Director of Engineering I, helped to design the Makerspace and has already brought students into the facility to “play.”

“We need spaces where students can tinker and to be exposed to things that they might not otherwise get to be exposed to,” says McDonald. “A space like this gets students thinking and brainstorming out of the classroom. It takes students who have a common way of thinking amongst their peers and gets them thinking a little bit differently. When people who think differently collaborate, you get more innovative solutions. That’s one of the big benefits of a space like this.”

Visit the Makerspace website for more information.

The newly launched Thode Makerspace offers students, faculty and staff from all disciplines a space to learn technical skills, develop new technologies and work collaboratively, while sharing ideas, equipment and knowledge.

The newly launched Thode Makerspace offers students, faculty and staff from all disciplines a space to learn technical skills, develop new technologies and work collaboratively, while sharing ideas, equipment and knowledge.


Two repositories offer open access options for researchers

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Filed under Library News:  Mills

SocArXiv, a new subject repository, is giving social science researchers a place to publish pre-print versions of their articles.

Run by researchers, this non-profit, open access, repository is one option that enables authors to make their publications available to everyone.

By posting pre-prints* in SocArXiv, authors can benefit from feedback before final publication. They can also benefit from wider and more timely readership of their research and the potential for future collaborations. By hosting a pre-print of journal publications, SocArXiv allows readers to access social science scholarship without paywalls.

Another open access option available to researchers is MacSphere, McMaster’s institutional repository. MacSphere includes pre-prints, post-prints and final versions of journal articles as allowed by the publishers. With the exception of McMaster theses, which students may embargo for up to one year, the content in MacSphere is fully open for everyone to access and read. The repository infrastructure allows the metadata in MacSphere to be fully searchable using search engines such as Google Scholar.

Uploading a post-print or a final version of an article to MacSphere may allow authors who have been granted public, federal funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) or the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), on or after May 1, 2015, to comply with the Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publications.

To make a submission in SocArXiv, click here

To make a submission in MacSphere, click here

SocArXiv and MacSphere are two of many online repositories which are available for author self-archiving of journal articles and other published works. Make your research known and post your article in an open repository today!

If you have any questions about SocArXiv, please contact Tina Fetner, Sociology Department, tina.fetner@mcmaster.ca

If you have any questions about MacSphere, please send an email to the Office of Scholarly Communication, scom@mcmaster.ca

*Most publishers allow article pre-prints to be made open access. To be sure, an author can search the SHERPA/RoMEO database to determine a publisher’s open access policies for self-archiving.

SocARXIV, a social sciences open access repository, logo

MacSphere logo


New student art display offers unique views of Hamilton

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Filed under Library News:  Maps, Data, GIS

Students in New Directions in Painting and Drawing (ART 3PD3) looked at fire insurance maps, like the one pictured here (left), in McMaster University Library’s Lloyd Reed Map Collection to find inspiration for a series of paintings (one of which is pictured right) featured in an exhibit of student art now on display in the President’s Corridor.

A new exhibit created by McMaster Studio Art students is using dramatic vantage points, unique source materials, and a range of mediums to explore Hamilton through art.

The works are part of Hamilton: The View from Here, a collection of abstract art now on display in the President’s Corridor, part of the course work of students from three different Studio Arts classes and inspired by the urban, industrial and natural landscapes of Hamilton.

“The overarching theme is Hamilton – the idea of looking at the city as a starting point for making art and thinking about art as being connected to where you are,” says Judy Major-Girardin, Associate Professor in McMaster School of the Arts and course instructor for all three classes.

Students in Book Arts (ART 3BA3) and Environmentally Responsible Art (ART 2ER3) went up the Stelco Tower, Hamilton’s second tallest building, to get a 360 degree, bird’s eye view of the entire Hamilton region. From the 20th floor, students created small, fold-out books and small paintings that captured a range of views of the city, from distant landscapes to the urban cityscape below.

The exhibit also includes a series of 4 ft. by 4 ft. paintings of Hamilton informed by maps from McMaster University Library’s Lloyd Reeds Map Collection. Students in New Directions in Painting and Drawing (ART 3PD3) visited the collection, located in Mills Library, where Map Specialist, Gord Beck talked to them about the elements of map-making – an art form in its own right – and brought out a wide selection of maps ranging from centuries-old rare maps to aerial photos. Students also looked at maps specific to Hamilton including soil maps and fire insurance maps.

“I’ve worked in the Map Collection twenty years now but continue to be amazed at the range of uses our maps are applied to,” says Beck. “I’m especially grateful to innovative professors like Judy—without them, many non-geography students overlook what we have to offer them.”

Beck adds that he was “blown away” by how much content he found identifiable in these abstract works. “I shouldn’t have been so surprised—after all, cartography speaks the same language of colours and symbols, just with a different accent,” he says.

The largest and most complex piece in the exhibit is a 4 ft. by 8 ft. map of Hamilton made entirely of felt, a recently added medium for the Studio Art program.  22 students in Major-Girardin’s second year Environmentally Responsible Art class each worked on a small section of the map. The pieces were then stitched together to create a cohesive whole.

4 ft. by 8 ft. map of Hamilton made entirely of felt, was created by 22 students in Major-Girardin’s second year Environmentally Responsible Art class. The materials used to create the map were provided through a generous donation by Alyx Fitzhenry, part of a gift to support the introduction of fibre arts into McMaster’s Studio Arts program.

The materials used to create the map were provided through a generous donation by Alyx Fitzhenry, part of a gift to support the introduction of fibre arts into McMaster’s Studio Arts program.

“There’s a variety of experiences embodies in the work in this exhibit,” says Major-Girardin. “There’s so much in our environment and on campus that we can tap into that can invigorate and enhance student learning.  Artists tend to work in isolated mind-spaces most of the time, but what is of value in this exhibit is that there were opportunities to learn from other people and to share. Sometimes you have to shake things up a bit to make that happen.”

The works will be on display in the President’s Corridor until the end of August.


McMaster map helping commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge

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Filed under Library News:  Maps, Data, GIS
A map from McMaster’s WWI collection is serving as the background for a special exhibit now on display Canadian National Vimy Memorial in France. The exhibit features 3D reproductions of military crests and insignias carved by Canadian soldiers into the walls of the underground tunnels where they waited for the Battle of Vimy Ridge to begin.  Exhibit images Copyright CANADIGM 2016. Used with permission.

A map from McMaster’s WWI collection is serving as the background for a special exhibit now on display at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial in France. The exhibit features 3D reproductions of military crests and insignias carved by Canadian soldiers into the walls of the underground tunnels where they waited for the Battle of Vimy Ridge to begin.  Exhibit images Copyright CANADIGM 2016. Used with permission.

On Easter Monday, 1917, four Canadian divisions stormed Vimy Ridge.

100 years later, a map from McMaster’s WWI map collection is part of Souterrain Impressions,  a special exhibit now on display at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial in France created to commemorate those who fought in the Battle of Vimy Ridge.

The map, a trench map of the area surrounding Vimy Ridge, is providing the backdrop for the exhibit, which features 3D reproductions of military crests and insignias carved by Canadian soldiers into the wall of an underground tunnel where they waited – some for weeks on end – for the Battle of Vimy Ridge to begin.

The carvings – which can still be found in the tunnel, ten meters below ground – were captured using laser image scanners, then reproduced using 3D printers and other processes. The exhibit is made up of a series of displays that contain reproductions of these carvings as well as a number of drawings that were also found on the wall of the tunnel.

“The map is used as the background for each display. It ties the entire exhibit together and that was key for us,” says Zenon Andrusyszyn, Executive Director of the Canadian Historical Document and Imaging Group (CANADIGM), the organization that created the exhibit.  “When you look at the map, you get a sense of the area and how complicated it all was. It’s a really nice connection between the individuals we’re featuring in the exhibit and the actual battle”

The map is dated February, 1917 – just two months before the battle – and according to Gord Beck,  Map Specialist in McMaster University Library’s Lloyd Reed Map Collection, provides the most accurate picture available of what the area looked like at the time.

“This map shows exactly what the configuration of the trenches was just before battle,” says Beck. “It shows where the tunnel entrances and exits were, it shows where the barbed wire was, the machine gun posts, where the enemy guns were. Anybody studying the map at the time would have been able to see all that detail.”

Beck says McMaster’s collection of WWI trench maps and WWI aerial photographs are among the best in the world, adding that what makes the collection unique is that the maps have been digitized and are available to researchers online through the Library’s Digital Archive.

“No other university has a WWI map collection like we have,” he says. “Because we invested a lot of time and effort into digitization early on, McMaster has become the main presence on the web when it comes to WWI maps and aerial photographs.”

In fact, Andrusyszyn says it was after finding the map online that he contacted McMaster to inquire about including it in the exhibit.

“I’m glad McMaster has these maps, because it’s very difficult to get a hold of these things,” he says. “The fact the McMaster has a collection this good is fabulous – it’s really critical to doing any kind of work like this.”

Souterrain Impressions is currently on display in the newly opened Visitors Education Centre at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial in France. The exhibit has also traveled to London (ON), Montreal and New Brunswick as well as the Canadian Embassy in Washington DC.


10 ways McMaster libraries can help you get exam-ready

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Filed under Library News:  Innis Mills Thode
blurred image of students walking quickly through the lobby of Mills Library.

McMaster University Library has countless resources to help students at any time of year, but during the exam period when stress levels soar and students are studying feverishly, Mills, Innis and Thode Libraries have lots of services that can help make this hectic time a bit easier.

1. Trouble focusing? There's an app for that!

Relax, learn to manage your stress, and improve your ability to focus with Muse brain-sensing headbands. Using seven sensors to detect and measure brain activity and Bluetooth to send this information to the free Muse app, the headbands provide a one-of-a-kind interactive meditating experience. Muse provides feedback on your meditation by translating your brain signals into the sights and sounds of wind, which are stormy when the mind is active and settled when the mind is calm. The app reports on your session and progress, adjusts your goals, and challenges you to remain calm for increasing lengths of time. Visit the Library Services Desk in Mills, Thode or Innis Libraries to borrow the headbands for up to a week.

2. Forgot your headphones?

You’re all set up for an intense study session at the library, and realize that you forgot your headphones! You can still enjoy your favourite study playlist by borrowing headphones for four hours at a time from the Service Desk in Mills, Innis or Thode Libraries with your library card.

3. Banish stress at the Lyons New Media Centre 

What could be more relaxing than origami? Visit the desk at the Lyons New Media Centre for fun and creative ways to relieve your stress. Ask for origami paper and start folding away. Check out some pencil crayons and grab a colouring sheet. Handicrafts more your style? Sign out some yarn and needles and knit for a spell.

4. Food or drink, anyone?

Vending machines with snacks and beverages are now available and being stocked in Mills, Innis and Thode libraries.

5. Just add a cute dog

Liam the Library dog is a certified therapy dog who loves attention from students! Visit with Liam on April 20. Liam will be in Innis Library at 11:00 – 11:30, Mills Library from 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m., and Thode Library from 3:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

6. Innis Library De-Stress Zone 

Take a break in the Innis Library De-Stress Zone, which includes range of activities and treats to help you decompress including colouring materials, puzzles, cookies and apples. Be sure to participate in our contest to win a prize!

7. Thode Library Stress Busters 

Visit Thode Library throughout the exam period and de-stress with puzzles, colouring and games.

8. Past Exams

The Library has a range of past exams from Humanities, Social Sciences, Business, Commerce Engineering and Science courses that can help you be more prepared. Find exams here.

9. Read...for fun!

Need a break from study notes and text books? Visit the Hamilton Public Library Open Library, located next to the Mills Services desk.  The Open Library is a donated collection of popular reads and magazines from Hamilton Public Library.  Students are welcome to select a book to read. No need to bring the book back, it’s yours to keep or to share.

10. Ssshh!!

Quiet study can be found in the following spaces:

  • 6th floor of Mills Library – silent study
  • Area on 4th floor of Mills Library (down the ramp on the west side)
  • All areas on 3rd and 4th floors of Mills Library
  • Silent late night study in Innis Library, Mon-Thurs, 11:00 p.m. – 2:45 a.m.
  • Lower level of Thode Library, as well as a small silent study room also in the lower level
  • NEW THIS TERM –Quiet study in Mills Connections Centre, 1st floor (evenings and weekends)

Find out more information about study spaces in McMaster libraries.

Library Hours for the exam period are as follows:

  • Staring April 7, Mills Library will be open Monday to Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 10:45 p.m., Saturday 10:30 a.m. to 10:45 p.m., Sunday noon to 10:45 p.m. The Learning Commons will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • From April 7 –April 26, Thode Library will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week; The Reactor Cafe will be open from 10:00 a.m.– 11:00 p.m.
  • Starting April 7, Innis Library will be open from 8:30 a.m. – 2:45 a.m., Mon–Thurs, Friday 8:30 a.m. - 10:45 p.m., Sat. 10:30 a.m. – 5:45 p.m., Sun. 1:00 p.m.– 7:45pm

The Libraries will also be open extended hours on Good Friday.


Shining a light on the Hamilton region’s aspiring writers

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Filed under Library News:  Events
Mabel Pugh Taylor Writer-in-Residence Christine Pountney and 11 aspiring authors from the McMaster and Hamilton communities gave readings of their work at a recent event hosted by McMaster University Library.

Mabel Pugh Taylor Writer-in-Residence Christine Pountney and 11 aspiring authors from the McMaster and Hamilton communities gave readings of their work at a recent event hosted by McMaster University Library.

Aspiring writers who have been working one-on-one with McMaster’s Writer-in-Residence gathered recently to give readings of their work –  some reading publicly for the first time – at a special event hosted by McMaster University Library.

The event was intended to showcase the work of novice authors from the McMaster community and from the Hamilton region who have spent the past several months honing their craft with the guidance of Christine Pounteny, the 2016-17 Mabel Pugh Taylor Writer-in-Residence, a program co-sponsored by McMaster’s Department of English and Cultural Studies and the Hamilton Public Library, (HPL).

12 writers, including Pounteny, read before an audience of friends and family, faculty, and community partners who gathered for the event, which was held in partnership with McMaster’s Department of English and Cultural Studies and HPL. The writers were accompanied by guitarist Niranjan Gundu who created the musical soundscape for each reading.

“McMaster University Library is honoured to be involved with the Writer-in-Residence program as a testament to our support for Canadian literature,” says Vivian Lewis, McMaster University Librarian who spoke at the event. “Capturing the power of the written word is something we feel very passionate about. We are pleased to showcase these apprentice authors and provide them with a platform to share their work publicly.”

During her residency, Pountney split her time between campus and the Central Branch of the HPL, holding more than 150 consultations with apprentice authors in both locations to provide mentorship and feedback, or simply talk about the writing process.

“Working with Christine was a Godsend for me,” says aspiring Burlington author Charlene Walker Arnold who read her work during the event. “She is such a professional and she looks at your work with true interest. It’s so wonderful that there’s a program with someone like her to help beginner writers.”

Now in its eighteenth year, the Writer-in Residence program is made possible through a generous contribution by the Taylor family and by funds from the Faculty of Humanities and the Canada Council for the Arts.

A number of acclaimed Canadian authors have served as McMaster’s Writers-in-Residence including Lawrence Hill, author of the Book of Negros, and André Alexis who recently won CBC’s Canada Reads competition for his book Fifteen Dogs, which he was working on during his residency.

Christine Pountney will continue to hold hours at McMaster on Tuesdays and Thursdays, in CNH 312 until the end of April 2017. 

To contact Christine, email englwir@mcmaster.ca.


Rolling out the red carpet for the McMaster 24 Hour Film festival

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Filed under Library News:  Lyons New Media Centre
Team Orange Monkey took top honours at the 24 Hour Film Festival hosted by McMaster University Library’s Lyons New Media Centre for their film, ‘The Guy From Hamilton who Stole my Mail.’

Team Orange Monkey took top honours at the 24 Hour Film Festival hosted by McMaster University Library’s Lyons New Media Centre for their film, ‘The Guy From Hamilton who Stole my Mail.’

Teams of budding filmmakers were recently honoured at the annual McMaster 24 Hour Film Festival gala event, hosted by McMaster University Library’s Lyons New Media Centre.

McMaster students, staff and faculty gathered in Togo Salmon Hall to screen the top nine festival entries and to vote electronically for their favourite films and performances.

View all nine films screened at the McMaster 24 Hour Film Festival

The festival challenged McMaster students, alumni, as well as high school students to create a five-minute film in 24 hours using three elements; a randomly assigned prop (something Canadian), a line of dialogue (“So, how does it feel?” from the 1999 Canadian film, eXistenZ) and a location (behind something).

Team Orange Monkey took top honours with their film, The Guy From Hamilton who Stole my Mail:

Known Caller by Team Pyramid Pictures and A Snowball’s Chance by Team Blue Bombers – both films created by teams of high school students – took second and third place respectively.

The ‘Best Performance Award’ went to Team Flux with their film, The Waiting Room.

To help teams prepare for the competition, the Lyons New Media Centre provided participants with access to mentorship, as well as film production resources.

*The Lyons New Media Centre, located in Mills Library, is a media space for the innovative creation and use of new and traditional media in teaching, learning and research at McMaster.

Team Pyramid Pictures, made up of high school students from Ancaster, were named the runners up for their film, ‘Known Caller.’

Team Pyramid Pictures, made up of high school students from Ancaster, were named the runners up for their film, ‘Known Caller.’

Team Blue Bombers, made up of high school students from London, Ontario, placed third in the competition for their film, ‘A Snowball’s Chance.’

Team Blue Bombers, made up of high school students from London, Ontario, placed third in the competition for their film, ‘A Snowball’s Chance.’


Thode Makerspace: Informal Launch, April 18

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Filed under Library News:  Events Thode

Join the McMaster University Library  and Faculty of Engineering for the informal launch of the Thode Makerspace, a new experiential learning space in which people with shared interests, especially in computing or technology, can gather to work on projects while sharing ideas, equipment, and knowledge.

The makerspace – open to students, faculty and staff from all disciplines –offers a hands-on opportunity to develop new technologies, learn technical skills, and work in collaborative teams by providing access to tools, technology, expertise, and social connections.

When: Tuesday April 18, 2017, from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

Where: H.G. Thode Library of Science and Engineering, lower level

Please RSVP by Wednesday April 12, 2017 to mcleane@mcmaster.ca, or by phone, (905)525-9140, ext. 27099.

The Thode Makerspace is a partnership between McMaster University Library and McMaster’s Faculty of Engineering.

Those Makerspace Invitation


Discover more with the Library’s new catalogue

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Filed under Library News:  Alerts Innis Mills Thode

The University Library and Health Sciences Library will have a new library services platform in place starting in September.

A library services platform, or LSP, supports the Libraries’ catalogue, circulation, user accounts, and the acquisition and management of library collections.

The decision to move from the current system to Innovative Interfaces’ Sierra and Encore Duet platform was made following a competitive search process. Work to migrate the Libraries to the new system is underway and will be completed in August.

Sierra and Encore will provide a number of advantages to the McMaster community, chief among them an integrated search that makes access to full-text journal content easier and more direct. You can also expect faster response times and streamlined access to your library account from the new interface.

There are a few steps that members of the McMaster community will need to take to prepare:

  • Any lists that you have created in your user account must be exported and saved outside of the current system if you wish to keep them. Unfortunately, these will not migrate to the new system.
  • Links to the library catalogue that you may have bookmarked or embedded in Avenue2Learn will need to be updated after the new catalogue is in place. Links directly to online content (e.g., journal articles, e-books, databases) will not be affected.
  • Any screenshots or video of the library catalogue that may be included in your instructional materials will need to be updated.

Checkouts, holds, and requests for items to be recalled will migrate to the new system as part of the Libraries’ work with the vendor.

We will share more details on how to prepare as the transition date gets closer. If you have questions in the meantime, please feel free to contact us and we will provide the best answer that we can with our current understanding of the new system; we’re learning too, and our own knowledge of specific details is still evolving. Finally, we appreciate your patience and support as we work through these changes.


What if Socrates had a Twitter account?

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Filed under Library News:  Events

When Library intern Madeline Donnelly thinks about intellectual freedom, she thinks of Galileo, Socrates and Semmelweis, and the repercussions they faced for radical ideas that challenged established norms.

To help understand their situations in the context of modern times and technology, Donnelly asked herself:

What if Galileo had a Twitter account when he published a Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems?

What if Semmelweis was on Facebook when he revealed the benefits of hand-washing on patient mortality?

What if Socrates did all his Socratic questioning on Twitter?

This week is Freedom to Read Week in Canada. Organized by the Freedom of Expression Committee of the Book and Periodical Council, FRW is an annual event that encourages Canadians to think about and reaffirm their commitment to intellectual freedom, which is guaranteed them under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Let’s celebrate our freedom to think, read, write and share.

Watch videos created by Madeline:


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