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.
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:
More than 150 students, colleagues, friends, and alumni gathered at the University Club to celebrate the donation of Henry Giroux’s archive to McMaster University Library and to hear him talk about the state of democracy in the age of Donald Trump.
“Collective opposition is no longer an option, it’s a necessity.”
This was the impassioned call-to-action made by Henry Giroux, director of the McMaster Centre for Scholarship in the Public Interest and Professor in McMaster’s Department of English and Cultural Studies.
He made the comments during a recent lecture in which he described what he calls the “vindictive chaos” of politics in the United States, comparing Trump’s America to the dystopian worlds of George Orwell’s 1984 and Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World.
“The body of democracy is on life support and the wounds now being inflicted upon it are alarming. This certainly raises questions about what role educational institutions should take in the face of impending tyranny,” says Giroux. “At the heart of such efforts is the question of what education should accomplish in a democracy under siege.”
The talk was part of a special event hosted by McMaster University Library in celebration of Giroux, who recently donated his personal archives to the Library’s William Ready Division of Archives and Research Collections.
More than 150 students, colleagues, friends, and alumni gathered at the University Club to pay tribute to Giroux, a public intellectual, prolific writer and world-renowned educational and cultural theorist, who has spent the last 30 years provoking societal debate on some of society’s most pressing and controversial issues.
Giroux’s archive – which contains significant insights into his life and work as a scholar and public intellectual – includes manuscripts and articles written or edited by Giroux, as well as books from Giroux’s own library that have informed his work.
The collection also contains personal correspondence, including letters from influential philosopher, educator and social theorist, Paulo Friere – a colleague and mentor to Giroux – as well as a number of the many awards Giroux has received throughout his career.
“Henry’s archive contains the research materials that have formed the foundation of his published work,” says Vivian Lewis, McMaster University Librarian. “The collection is revealing of Henry’s incredible life as a public intellectual and, as such, will be of invaluable importance to the researchers, critics, editors, and students from around the world who will visit the archive.”
Giroux has written extensively about youth culture, media studies, race studies and the state of public and higher education in the United Sates.
He has authored, or co-authored 63 books, written several hundred scholarly articles, delivered more than 250 public lectures, been a regular contributor to print, television and radio news media outlets, and is the most cited Canadian academic working in any area of Humanities research.
The Giroux archive will be available for researchers to access later this year.
Filed under Library News: Mills
These are some of the materials used by Arts & Science and iSci students to build small electronic devices during 'Electronics for the Rest of Us,' a recent workshop hosted by McMaster Library's Sherman Centre for Digital Scholarship, that introduced students to simple circuitry and coding.
From smartphones and computers to video game consoles and TVs, most of us couldn’t imagine life without these complex electronic devices, but do you know how they work?
While you may not be building your own laptop anytime soon, believe it or not, learning how a circuit works – and even building your own electronic device – can be simpler and less time-consuming than you think.
This was the case for a group of students from McMaster’s Arts & Science and Integrated Science (iSci) programs who recently spent three days learning the basics of electronics at a workshop held by the experts at McMaster University Library’s Lewis and Ruth Sherman Centre for Digital Scholarship.
“I think for a lot of students, they perceive working with circuits, or computer code to be something that has a really long learning curve that they just don’t have the time to get into because it takes a substantial time investment,” says Jay Brodeur, Manager of McMaster Library’s Maps, Data and GIS Department, who led the workshop. “But what we’ve found is that with the right kind of introduction, they can get going on this and working on their own projects in a matter of hours.”
Electronics for the Rest of Us, introduces students to “physical” or “minimal” computing, a form of computing that uses simple circuitry and coding to build small, relatively straightforward electronic devices.
Using a microcomputer called an Arduino, students learn how to build their own circuits as well as how to write simple computer code to sends instructions to their device.
“Their first task was to build a circuit with an LED light and make it blink,” says Brodeur. “Then we told them to change the rate at which the LED blinks. To do this, they had to modify the code to make the device work. This helped them understand how these two things work together.”
Brodeur says by the final day of the workshop, students were working independently to create devices that performed a range of tasks, from reacting to noise levels to sensing changes in light.
“I found the workshop to be nothing short of amazing,” says Abbey Hudecki, a third year student in McMaster’s Arts & Science program who says she started the workshop with no knowledge of electronics and ended up building a device that not only sensed the room’s temperature and sound levels, but responded by lighting LEDs and playing music.
“The highlight for me was the last day of the course when we had free time to create pretty much whatever we wanted to. By then, I had enough understanding to actually make things on my own,” she says. “I would strongly encourage students to take this course, since there’s always someone there to help, and it can completely change your attitude towards electronics for the better.”
Electronics for the Rest of Us is offered each term and is open to students from all Faculties.
Students in Electronics for the Rest of Us built circuits that, among other things, made an LED light blink:
Filed under Library News: e-Resources
The National Film Board's collection of streaming videos is now available for classroom use! If you enjoy watching movies, this is the resource for you.
The Library has recently licensed the NFB's CAMPUS collection, providing online access to more than 3,000 features, documentaries, and animated films in English and French. The CAMPUS subscription allows McMaster faculty and students to incorporate these films directly into classes. You can access additional features, including custom playlists, by creating a personal account from the library site. And of course, you can watch these movies at any time, on campus or at home.
The NFB complements our second major streaming resource, Criterion on Demand, making a wide array of films available for educational use. Each film can be accessed from the library catalogue.
The newly re-designed Madeleine and Monte Levy Virtual Museum of the Holocaust and the Resistance uses moving personal accounts and other primary sources to help scholars and the public better understand the Holocaust and resistance movements of World War II.
“The most indelible memory I have is the moment of arrival in the camp at Ravensbrück. As a child, I always had a sort of childish picture of how I imagined hell and, suddenly, there it was. An arched iron gate opens upwards, clanging and grating. Red lights of some sort. Night. And there we are, entering a black abyss. Pushed and shoved, we fall over each other. I had the feeling that we were descending into hell.”
This story, recounted by Holocaust survivor Irena Matusiak, is just one of the many poignant narratives contained in a recently re-designed and expanded online exhibit dedicated to helping scholars and the public better understand the Holocaust and resistance movements of World War II.
Using passages from concentration camp letters, first-hand accounts, videos, images, and explanatory text, the Madeleine and Monte Levy Virtual Museum of the Holocaust and the Resistance places the Holocaust and underground resistance movements in the larger context of World War II and documents the often devastating and tragic experiences of the people who lived during this time.
The display, developed by scholars and librarians at McMaster University Library, incorporates items from the extensive World War II collections housed in the Library’s William Ready Division of Archives and Research Collections.
Across five modules, the Virtual Museum explores a number of themes including life in the concentration camps and prisons, the Jewish resistance as well as the resistance movements in France and Poland, Nazi culture, the war effort in Germany, and Allied and German propaganda from 1933 to 1945.
The site also includes oral history interviews with Holocaust survivors. These clips, extracted from the USC Shoah Foundation Institute’s Visual History Archive,* add to the powerful, first-hand accounts contained in the exhibit’s static documents.
“The Madeleine and Monte Levy Virtual Museum of the Holocaust and the Resistance weaves together a range of primary source materials with historical narrative that helps us continue to shed light on these years of upheaval, destruction, and genocide,” says Wade Wyckoff, Associate University Librarian. “It shows both the depths of the tragedy and the strength and perseverance of the many who resisted and survived. We are proud that through our collections and expertise, we can help preserve and share these important stories.”
McMaster University Library began collecting materials related to the Holocaust and the Resistance in 2008 after acquiring a large collection of books, posters, newspapers, Nazi propaganda materials and letters–including 2000 letters to and from prisoners in concentration camps–from noted collector, Michel Brisebois.
Over the past decade, the collection has continued to grow with several additional donations from Brisebois and others, as well as an ongoing effort to purchase books and documents on the subject.
The Virtual Museum was created with the scholarly contributions of post-doctoral fellows Noah Shenker and Ekaterina Neklyudova and librarian Myron Groover.
The site was created in part with funding from Madeleine and Monte Levy.
* The full Visual History Archive database of more than 54,000 eyewitness testimonies to the Holocaust and other instances of genocide from around the world is available to McMaster students, faculty and staff, and to visitors in the campus libraries.
McMaster University Library has acquired a rare, centuries-old travelogue that recounts the journey of Benjamin of Tudela, a Jewish merchant whose fantastic journey to Asia predated — by a hundred years — the famous travels of Marco Polo.
At first glance, the book in Myron Groover’s hands appears small and unassuming. But contained within the plain, nondescript cover is a centuries-old text– a rare travelogue that paints a unique and vivid picture of life in the 12th Century.
Recently acquired by McMaster University Library, the text is the first Latin translation of The Travels of Benjamin Tudela, a travelogue originally written in Hebrew by Benjamin of Tudela, a Jewish merchant from Zaragoza in Andalus, now southern Spain.
The book recounts Benjamin’s 13-year journey which, from 1160 to 1173, took him throughout the Mediterranean, the Middle East, and Asia — along many of the same routes that Marco Polo would famously traverse more than a hundred years later.
“It’s a significant travelogue — it’s the accuracy of the detail that really makes this stand out,” says Groover, Archives and Rare Books Librarian at McMaster University Library, who adds that this is one of only a few surviving first hand travelogues from the time.
“Benjamin is a good ethnographer and this is one of our most trustworthy and sophisticated narrative sources for the history and the customs of the places he visited during this time period. It’s a compassionate description that seems to be informed by the people he was writing about — it’s clear he spent time with them and interacted with them.”
Groover says Benjamin, who likely embarked on his journey to develop mercantile contacts, wrote valuable accounts of the people and places he visited, including uncommonly accurate accounts of the vibrant and thriving Jewish communities he encountered, as well as detailed descriptions of powerful and influential urban centres like Baghdad and Constantinople.
“Benjamin is more or less the last person to describe these places to us,” says Groover who explains that Constantinople– the centre of the Byzantine Empire– was burned to the ground in 1204 during the Fourth Crusade, and Baghdad– the cultural capital of the Muslim world– was sacked by the Mongols within 100 years of Benjamin’s narrative.
Groover says although most of the travelogue contains detailed and verifiable information, the exact extent of Benjamin’s voyage is still the subject of debate.
“It’s a bit hard to assess what he says about his eastward journey,” says Groover. “His descriptions of Persia, China, southwestern India and Sri Lanka become increasingly fantastic, but they still serve as a valuable source on how these fabled lands seemed to the imaginations of people living in 12th-century Europe,” he says.
In 1575 – three centuries after Benjamin’s original Hebrew travelogue was written –the text was translated into Latin by Arias Montanus, a Jesuit priest and delegate to the Council of Trent. This translation quickly became a best seller.
“It was a smash success,” says Groover. “It went through several print runs in reasonably rapid succession. People were very keen to read this– most people knew of Marco Polo’s chronicle, but this was written much earlier and is, in many cases, more accurate.”
McMaster University Library’s William Ready Division of Archives and Research Collections acquired the book this fall. Groover calls it a “fantastic humanist artifact,” and says it complements McMaster strong collection of books from the renaissance period, as well as the Division’s growing collection of Judaic texts.
“This is a very rare and significant book,” says Groover. “As far as we know, it’s the only one held by a public institution in Canada. We are so pleased that we were able to acquire this book and that we can now can share it with the scholarly community and the public.”
Filed under Library News: Archives & Research Collections
In 1946, 13,000 Hamilton workers went on strike– the largest in the city’s history. A new graphic novel explores this tumultuous time with the help of materials from McMaster’s archives and maps collections. Image from: Showdown!: Making Modern Unions by Rob Kristofferson and Simon Orpana, (Between the Lines, 2016). Used with permission.
The year is 1946. 13,000 Hamilton workers are on strike. Once quiet neighbourhoods in the city’s east end are now teeming with striking workers carrying picket signs, fighting for a better life.
It was the largest strike in Hamilton’s history and now this tumultuous time has been recreated in, Showdown! Making Modern Unions, written by Rob Kristofferson and Simon Orpana, a graphic novel created with the help of materials from McMaster’s archives and maps collections.
“It is important to remember the rights and society that people fought so hard for during the 20th century,” says Kristofferson, co-author and associate professor, History and Society, Culture & Environment at Wilfred Laurier University*. “In Canada, one of the epicentres of these struggles—a pivotal point that galvanized the structures that workers had been fighting for decades—happened in Hamilton.”
On July 15, 1946, thousands of Stelco steelworkers, many of whom were veterans recently returned from World War II, walked out on their jobs, demanding, among other things, a 40-hour workweek, higher wages and better benefits. It wasn’t long before they were joined by workers from Firestone, Westinghouse, and The Hamilton Spectator and by mid-summer, nearly 20 per cent of the city's industrial workforce was on strike.
To help tell the story of this seminal event in Hamilton’s history, Kristofferson and Orpana turned to McMaster’s William Ready Division of Archives and Research Collections and Lloyd Reeds Maps Collection, which together, house extensive labour studies collections and historical maps from the period.
"In searching for photographic references and other means of telling this story in a graphic format, I spent a lot of time in the McMaster archives, which was a treasure trove of material that helped to bring this event from seventy years ago alive in a material way,” says Orpana, an artist and scholar who co-authored and illustrated the novel.**
From photographs and newspaper articles, to transcripts of radio broadcasts and letters, Kristofferson and Orpana used a wide range of materials, including first-hand accounts of the strike from the Library’s United Steelworkers Local 1005, Westinghouse Canada, United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers collections, and using the archives of Pat Kelly – the public relations specialist hired by Stelco during the strike.
Rick Stapleton, Archives and Research Collections Librarian at McMaster, guided Orpana through the extensive collections of archive materials.
“The documents and materials provide evidence of what actually occurred at the time,” says Stapleton. “Simon actually wrote the archives department right into the book by portraying our reading room and items from our collection—the book very literally displays the importance of archives in the writing of history.”
Kristofferson and Orpana also worked with Gord Beck, Map Specialist in McMaster’s Maps, Data and GIS department, to learn more about the setting of the strike and the communities in which it took place.
“Simon and I looked at a wide range of materials from old road maps and city neighbourhood plans to aerial photographs and fire insurance plans from the 1940s,” he says. “They were necessary for him to be able to visualize the narratives coming from the eyewitness accounts and to be able to accurately place the people and events. The neighbourhood and fire insurance plans are so detailed, in fact, that they show the footprint of every building, whether it be house, store or factory.”
McMaster University Library is home to a number of archival collections that document the history of organized labour, many with a Hamilton connection– collections that Associate University Librarian Wade Wyckoff says can shed light on our collective past.
“Connecting students, researchers and the community-at-large with our unique collections is an important part of the Library’s mission,” says Wade Wyckoff, Associate University Librarian. “Rob and Simon’s work highlights the creative ways in which both archives and geographic resources can be used. I’m very pleased that we could contribute to this new telling of an important story that continues to resonate in our community and had lasting impacts well beyond Hamilton.”
Visit http://archives.mcmaster.ca to search archival and manuscript material held at the William Ready Division of Archives and Research Collections.
McMaster’s digital collection of archives, maps and rare books can be accessed and explored by students and researchers worldwide.
Photos from McMaster's labour studies collections inspired the illustrations for Showdown!: Making Modern Unions. See below:
Filed under Library News: Mills
Mike Galang, a first year PhD student in the Department of Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour attended OpenCon, an international conference on Open Access after he was named this year’s recipient of McMaster University Library’s OpenCon Travel Scholarship.
It wasn’t long ago that Mike Galang, a first year PhD student in the Department of Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour, was learning the basics of Open Access, a global movement to make scholarly articles publicly available online, free of financial or legal barriers.
But after attending OpenCon 2016, an international conference on Open Access (OA), not only has Galang become a passionate advocate for OA publishing of scholarly articles, he’s looking for ways to spread the word and engage with other graduate students on this important issue.
Galang attended the conference, which brings together early career researchers and scholars from around the world to learn about and advance OA, Open Data and Open Education, after he was awarded McMaster University Library’s OpenCon Travel Scholarship.
Galang spoke to the Daily News about his experience at OpenCon, held recently in Washington D.C., and about how he hopes to start a dialogue on Open Access with other students at McMaster:
Why were you interested in attending the OpenCon conference?
I wanted to go to Washington D.C. so I could talk to people and have meaningful discussions to both broaden my understanding about these issues and also understand what I could do when I got back to McMaster.
Why do you think Open Access is important?
OA is important for a number of reasons. A lot of public money goes into scholarly research and, right now, the public can’t always access that research. Plus, the rising cost of subscription fees means that smaller universities around the country may not have access to certain journals.
Learn more about Open Access at McMaster
It’s also a broader socio-political issue in that knowledge is localized in certain countries in North America, Europe, Australia, and countries like Japan, but if you’re doing research in Africa, or South America– places that don’t have access to the same breadth of scholarly journals because of lack of funding or other reasons– then you’re missing out. You never know who the next big researcher is going to be, so we need to broaden the net.
The entire OA movement is important because it brings the culture of scientific discovery back to its roots of sharing, which is better for the scientific community as a whole. OA is about fostering the spirit of collaboration and openness to ultimately accelerate the pace of discovery and reduce false discovery, which can only be achieved with transparency and collaboration.
What did you learn from OpenCon?
It showed me there are a lot of people advocating for this– that you’re part of a team and what you do can lead to real impact. I enjoyed hearing from people who went to OpenCon for the first time a few years ago and now they’re coming back and saying, “here’s what I did. Here’s what I accomplished.” In two or three years, I want to be there talking to someone like me saying, “Here’s what I’ve done to support OA over the past few years.”
How do you think your work will change now that you understand more about Open Access?
I plan on choosing OA options as much as I can. If we look at a journal and see that the OA fee is too high, I want to try to find a way to make the research publicly available by posting a manuscript version which belongs to us– or publish the research in an open access journal.
Also, having a good data management plan is important. Knowing where my data is stored so, in ten years, if someone asks me for data from a paper I publish now, I can go back and find it. These are small things, but it’s just good practice.
What are your next steps?
I’ve found that there are a good number of students interested in these issues, but the problem is we never talk to each other except during Open Access Week. So I’ve been talking to another student about starting a club here at McMaster– creating a structure where we can talk about the things students here have done to move forward on OA.
Ultimately, this is about conversations and I think having this formal club is a good way to have these conversations because now we’ll have a place where students who are interested can come by.
What would you say to students thinking of applying for the Library's OpenCon Travel Scholarship next year?
It was a really great experience. For any students thinking of applying next year, I say that even if you don’t think you have the best understanding of OA right now, but you’re interested in these issues and want to take action, you should still go for it and apply. The first thing they said to us at OpenCon was, “If this is your first year, you probably feel like an imposter, look at all these people who know what they’re talking about.” But you’re not alone. You go to that conference because you want to learn, not because you know everything.
McMaster 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. Food or drink, anyone?
Vending machines with snacks and beverages are now available and being stocked in Mills, Innis and Thode libraries.
4. Spark your curiosity and creativity at Lyons New Media Centre
From knitting and colouring, to Google cardboard VR glasses and BB-8 robot, Lyons New Media Centre has items available to book and use. While some items can only be used within LNMC, some can be signed out for up to 24 hours. Click here for more information.
5. Innis Library De-Stress Zone
Take a break in the Innis Library De-Stress Zone, which includes a range of activities and treats to help you decompress including colouring materials, puzzles, cookies, apples and library bingo (with prizes).
6. Thode Library Stress Busters
Visit Thode Library throughout the exam period and de-stress with puzzles, colouring and games.
7. Just add a cute dog
Liam the Library dog is a certified therapy dog who loves attention from students! Visit with Liam on December 15. 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.
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. Campus Bike Library
Don't get stuck by the bus schedule! Borrow a bike from the Campus Bike Library instead. There are ten bikes available on campus – five by Mills and five by Thode – as well as helmets and bike lights to borrow, similar to borrowing a book. Bikes can be borrowed for 48 hours at the Service Desk on the first floor of Mills or Thode with your library card, and renewed through your online library account. Click here for more information.
Quiet study can be found in the following spaces:
- 6th floor of Mills Library
- Area on 4th floor of Mills Library
- 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
Library Hours for the exam period are as follows:
- Staring December 10, Mills Library will be open from 8:00 a.m. -10:45 p.m. The Learning Commons will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
- From December 8–21, Thode Library will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week; The Reactor Cafe will be open from 10:00 a.m.– 11:30 p.m.
- Starting December 9, Innis Library will be open from 8:30 a.m. – 2:45 a.m., Mon–Thurs, 8:30 a.m. to 10:45 p.m. on Friday, Sat. 10:30 a.m. – 5:45 p.m., Sun. 1:00 p.m.– 7:45pm