Library News

Stress-sensing headset helps students train brains

Submitted by libplessla on
Filed under Library News:  Mills
Student Maxine Gravina demonstrates the Muse headset in the Graduate Students Lounge at Mills Library.

Student Maxine Gravina demonstrates the Muse headset in the Graduate Students Lounge at Mills Library.

McMaster students have a new tool to help them learn to manage stress.

Muse headsets, designed to help train the mind to focus, will soon be available for loan at Mills Library.

The brain-sensing headband wirelessly sends users’ brain signals to their phone or tablet, where it interacts with a mobile app.

The sights and sounds of the app change according to real-time readings of brain states.

When neural signals indicate a busy, unfocussed mind, storm clouds approach with noisy winds. When neural signals indicate that the users’ brain is in a state of focus and increased attentiveness, users are rewarded with the sounds of waves gently lapping the shore and birds quietly chirping.

Through this high-tech neuro-biofeedback system, users can learn to control their brain states to be focused and attentive, both while using the Muse and in other situations.

“My lab started a research collaboration with InteraXon [makers of the headsets] last year, so I know the science behind mindfulness training, and I’ve seen myself how useful the Muse is in reducing stress,” says Allison Sekuler, professor of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour and Associate Vice-President and Dean of Graduate Studies.

“I used the Muse myself last term to help me through the most stressful time I’ve had in years – writing three complex research grants at the same time. It really drove home the fact that sometimes you can work better by working less, taking a break to re-focus. The Muse was so helpful to me, that I wanted to provide it as a resource for students now, during what is one of their most stressful times, and throughout the year so students can manage their stress better in general,” says Sekuler.

Because libraries are the student hub, especially during exam time, and can be accessed by any member of the university community, housing the Muses in McMaster’s libraries seemed a natural fit.

McMaster’s School of Graduate Studies purchased the Muses. They will be available to all students, faculty, and staff at the Library Services Desk on the 1st floor of Mills Library in the coming days.

Open Journal Systems Training Workshop at McMaster University

Submitted by libmirceag on
Filed under Library News:  Events Mills

McMaster University Library and the Ontario Council of University Libraries (OCUL) Publishing-Hosting Community invite you to a free Open Journal Systems Training Workshop on May 13 and 14.

Wed. May 13 - 9:30 am - 4:00 pm - Getting started with OJS: what's under the hood? This session will focus on basic OJS journal functions including managing users, journal setup, customization, statistics and reports and plugins.

Thurs. May 14 - 9:30 am - 4:00 pm - Keep your journal running smoothly: editorial workflow with OJS. This session will highlight journal editing functions including submissions, review process, editing and production, managing issues and making changes after publication.

The full program is available here. Participants may register for either one or both days. Attendance is capped at 25 each day. Lunch and refreshments are included. Please indicate any dietary restrictions by emailing

Please register by Wednesday, May 6, 2015:

Please share this information with anyone who may be interested.


Top six NEW online resources to check out at the library

Submitted by libbalche on
Filed under Library News:  e-Resources

Each month, the McMaster University libraries add thousands of new items to its collections.

Resources range from online films, research handbooks, archival sources, and many e-books! 

The following six new resources are just a sample of the many, many materials available to McMaster faculty, staff and students.

Criterion Pictures

This massive collection of over 1500 feature films  - from The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1919) to such recent releases as The Hunger Games and The Artist – is now available for online streaming or 48-hour download.  

Criterion’s goal is to provide easy access to educationally relevant feature films.  Although not every title from their extensive DVD catalogue is online, they have a great selection of mainstream Hollywood films, documentaries, foreign films, and independent productions available for immediate viewing.  All films are licensed for teaching, research, or private viewing, but public screening or use at events is prohibited.

 Indigenous Peoples: North America

Pulling from a range of Canadian and American institutions, this database provides insight into the cultural, political and social history of Native Peoples from the seventeenth into the twentieth century.  It includes original manuscripts, photographs, book collections, newspapers from various First Nations and related organizations, Bibles, dictionaries, and primers, allowing exploration of the intersection of Indigenous and European histories and systems of knowledge through original sources.

SAGE Research Methods Online

Planning a research project?  Wondering which qualitative, quantitative, or mixed method to use?  SAGE Research Methods includes articles, reference handbooks and full books to help you define your research questions, select approaches, collect and analyze data, and publish the findings.  From questionnaire construction or cohort research, to specific statistical tests, to broader guidance on dissertation completion or academic career management, SAGE Research Methods has what you need.

Business Expert Press E-books

Looking for concise, practical business books – online?  Business Expert Press provides accessible, issues-based works by professors or academic thought leaders who build on their real-world business experience.  Focus areas include marketing and management, the economic, financial, legal, and analytical aspects of business, and such special topics as innovation, ethics, and internationalization.  Titles are specifically designed for studies in advanced business and management.   

Artemis Primary Sources 

A new face on some old resources!  Artemis, from Gale, allows you to easily search across a number of primary source databases, including Eighteenth Century Collections Online, 19th Century newspapers from the U.K. and U.S., select 19th century journals, and the Times (London) Digital Archive.  Uniquely, Artemis also links to titles from Early English Books Online, covering 1473-1700, letting you reach into seven centuries of history from a single starting point. 

IMF E-Library

Yes, we have data.  And reports, working papers, and e-books.  The IMF E-Library provide information and perspective on the economics and finances of the world’s countries, with coverage of macroeconomics, globalization, development, trade and aid, technical assistance, demographics, emerging markets, policy advice, poverty reduction, and much more.  The library’s new collection of over 14,000 reports adds to the familiar statistical databases, International Financial Statistics (IFS), Balance of Payments Statistics (BPS), Government Finance Statistics (GFS) and Direction of Trade Statistics (DOT), providing context to the numbers.

Exploring Digital Scholarship: Library Speaker Series

Submitted by libbalche on
Filed under Library News:  Events Mills

Join McMaster University Library’s Lewis and Ruth Sherman Centre for Digital Scholarship on Friday April 24 for “Seeding Digital Scholarship” the third and final event in the Library’s 2015 speaker series.

McMaster faculty and staff are invited to take part in a day of planning (& playing!) through a series of workshops designed to provide participants with ways to incorporate big and small digital scholarship activities into student learning.

Workshops include:

Electronics for the Rest of Us, 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
An Arduino & makerspace workshop for librarians, faculty, chairs, & deans

Modular Digital Scholarship, 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Strategies and adaptable templates from practitioners at McMaster and Brock University

Trends in Digital Scholarship Centres, 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Guest speakers Joan Lippincott (Coalition for Networked Information) and Harriette Hemmasi (Brown University) on recent research and activities in North America and beyond.

Event details:
Friday April 24 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Where: The Sherman Centre for Digital Scholarship, 1st floor of Mills Library


Contact Paige Morgan for more information.

Need a study break? Visit the“De-stress Zone" at Innis Library

Submitted by libbalche on
Filed under Library News:  Events Innis

April can be a stressful time for students who spend hours finishing major assignments and preparing for final exams.

Innis Library’s “De-stress Zone” has lots of activities to help students unwind during this busy time:

  • Visit with Liam, a SPCA certified therapy dog on April 14 and 17, from 2-3 p.m.  UPDATE: Back by popular demand! Liam makes another appearance at Innis on April 20 from 2-3 p.m.
  • Take a few moments to meditate, nap, or just relax in our comfortable chairs
  • Doodle at our “Art Station”
  • Work on a Sudoku, a crossword or other puzzles
  • Browse our selection of popular magazines

We will also be running daily contests to win Library swag.  Follow us @innisbizlib for any updates.

Poster of Liam, a certified therapy dog.

Celebrating the work of a Canadian literary icon

Submitted by libbalche on
Filed under Library News:  Archives & Research Collections Events
This image depicts some of the texts, manuscripts, photos and artwork that are contained in the Farley Mowat archive.

“He was Canada’s best story-teller.”

That’s how Anna Porter, co-founder and publisher of Key Porter books, recalled the late Farley Mowat at a recent reception that paid tribute to the work and life of one Canada’s most distinctive and iconic writers.

The event highlighted Mowat’s extensive personal and literary archives, housed in McMaster University Library’s William Ready Division of Archives and Research Collections.

“He was a very serious, thoughtful writer with a commitment to honing methods of telling stories that were designed to grab reader’s attention,” said Porter, also a long-time personal friend of Mowat.

Mowat was best-known for his literary depictions of the Canadian arctic, famously recounted in Canadian classics such as “Never Cry Wolf” and “People of the Deer.”

Mowat first began depositing his archives in 1970, while sill in the prime of his writing career.

Over the past 45 years, the collection has grown significantly, and is now made up of 350 boxes of textual records, manuscripts, research materials, correspondence, financial documents, photographs, maps, audio reels and videocassettes and more materials still to come.

“It is my great honour to join in this celebration of the life and work of Farley Mowat – one of Canada’s great storytellers and, one of the true iconic figures of this country and its fine literary traditions,” says Vivian Lewis, McMaster University Librarian. “He challenged us as a society and as a reading public. McMaster University Library is proud to be the custodian of his rich archive.”

In attendance was Farley’s widow Claire Mowat, a writer and visual artist in her own right who has also donated her archives to McMaster.

McMaster is  home to the archives of a number of Canadian literary talents including Margaret Laurence, Pierre Berton, Matt Cohen, Austin Clarke, Sylvia Fraser and Peter C. Newman, as well as Canadian publishers McClelland and Stewart, Key Porter Books, Macmillan Canada and Clarke Irwin.

“I applaud the work of the library in recent years building the archival collection. The Mowat archive is a very significant addition to that, which I think will open all kinds of possibilities for research and teaching in the years to come,” says McMaster President Patrick Deane.

Read the Hamilton Spectator article featuring Farley Mowat's archives.

Image of Hamilton Spectator article featuring the Farley Mowat archives.

Now Available for Research in the Division of Archives and Research Collections!

Submitted by libplessla on
Filed under Library News:  Archives & Research Collections

Listed below are highlights of new collections of archives and books that have been described and catalogued over the past year.



  • Pierre Berton.  The 16th accrual of the archives of one of Canada’s most popular writers, including a story written by the 12-year-old Pierre Berton, dozens of letters written to his wife in the 1940s, copies of The Pipeline, a hand-produced newsletter written and illustrated by Berton in Yukon, 1939-40, and much more.  Donated by Janet Berton
  • Austin Clarke.  The 9th accrual of the novelist’s archive, including manuscripts of his Giller prize winning The Polished Hoe.  Acquired from Austin Clarke.
  • David Freeman.  The archive of the award winning playwright, who, upon arriving at McMaster University in 1966, became the first university student in Canada who suffered from cerebral palsy.  Bequest of David Freeman.
  • Pauline Johnson.  The latest accrual of the archive of the renowned Mohawk poet consists of 2 letters from Johnson to one Charlotte Jones, 1881-82. Purchase.
  • Edward Lacey. The 2nd accrual of the archive of the author of the first gay-identified book of poetry published in Canada.  Donated by Fraser Sutherland. 
  • Eugene MacNamara.  The 5th accrual of the Canadian writer.
  • Wilson McDonald.  The 4th and 5th accruals of the collection relating to the Canadian poet.  Donated by Elizabeth Ramsay Shanahan (4th) and Don Bailey (5th).
  • Susan Musgrave.  The 9th accrual of the Canadian poet’s archive.  Donated by Susan Musgrave.
  • Stephen Reid.  The 4th accrual of the Canadian writer’s archive, including further manuscripts written while in prison. Donated by Stephen Reid.
  • Hugo Sonnenschein (Sonka) A collection relating to the controversial Czech poet better known as “Sonka”.  Donated by his son, Ian D. Spenser.
  • Fraser SutherlandThe 2nd accrual of the Canadian writer’s archive includes extensive correspondence with several other Canadian writers, as well as manuscripts and other material. Donated by Fraser Sutherland. 
  • Writers Union of Canada.  The 10th accrual of the archives of the union that represents most Canadian writers. Donated by the Writers Union.

Bertrand Russell Archives

  • A unique copy of Russell’s Introduction to Mathematical Philosophy (1919).  It is the copy that Russell sent to the governor of Brixton Prison--he wrote the book while incarcerated there in 1918—complete with a tongue-in-cheek inscription.
  • Trinity Boat Club, 1890, Senior Trial Eights Trophy Cup. This pewter trophy lists the names of the members of both teams, including Russell as the cox on one of them.

Small Press and Book Art

  • Gerard Brender à Brandis.  The 3rd accrual of the renowned artist, featuring prints, drawings and other material.  Donated by Gerard Brender à Brandis.
  • Locks’ Press.  The 2nd accrual of the Kingston based small press, featuring books, pamphlets, broadsides and other material.  Donated by Fred and Margaret Lock.

First Nations

  • First Nations Collection.  The collection consists of material relating to land claims of the Potawatomi in Canada and the United States, a photograph of Six Nations chiefs ca. 1887, and a notice of sale of lands on Manitoulin Island, Sheguiandah, Bidwell and Billings, 1866.  This is a collection we plan to develop further in the coming years.

Peace and Social Activism

  • Canadian Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament3rd accrual of this archive includes correspondence and other documents from the early 1960s..  Donated by Stig Harvor.
  • ETAN (East Timor Alert Network).  A large and significant archive of the Canadian group that lobbied for human rights and self-determination for East Timor during its occupation by Indonesia in the 1980s and 1990s. Donated by David Webster.
  • Peace Brigades International. The 10th accrual relates to PBI Columbia.  Donated by Peace Brigades International.
  • Revolutionary Marxist Group.  The second accrual of the archive of this Canadian communist group includes material from the 1970s.  Donated by Ken Hiebert via the University of British Columbia Library.

First World War

  • Gordon William Parkinson. A poignant First World War archive made up of over 100 letters written by Private Parkinson to his family, many of them from the Western front where he was killed in September, 1918.  Most of the archive was donated by Parkinson’s niece, Catherine Cook, with additional material donated by Robert Parkinson.


  • Boris Brott.  The 3rd and 4th accruals of the archive of the renowned Hamilton based conductor.  Donated by Boris Brott.

Businessman and Naturalist

  • Harold Carl Nunn.  Diaries and correspondence of the businessman who was pioneer in North America of pre-fabricated homes and the naturalist who served as Chairman of the Federation of Ontario Naturalists.  Donated by Henry Carl Nunn’s grandchildren, Lucinda and Carl Bray.

McMaster related

  • Anthropology.  Includes a small archive of Department founder Richard Slobodin, as well as significant field notes and other documents of anthropologists James E. Anderson, Everett Case, Rutherford Smith and Frank and Alfred Wood.  The Slobodin material was donated by the Department.  The other material was donated by the estate of William Noble.


  • John Connell.  A collection of the works of the British writer and books relating to British and Israeli history and politics.
  • Alain Goldschlager.  We have completed the cataloguing of this collection relating to the Holocaust.  Donated by Alain Goldschlager.
  • Macmillan Canada. Further imprints of the Canadian publisher.
  • Klaus Pringsheim. Further books and music scores donated by the former McMaster professor and son of the German composer and conductor of the same name.  Donated by Klaus Pringsheim.
  • Robert Sawyer.  We have begun cataloguing the works of the well known Canadian science fiction writer.  Donated by Robert Sawyer.
  • Oliver Woods & Frank Waters.  A collection of the works assembled by the British journalists on topics including British politics and imperialism, British Africa, and the Caribbean.
  • Poem of the Month. Over 40 broadsides produced in the 1970s containing signed original poems by W.H. Auden, Robert Graves, Seamus Heaney, Philip Larkin, C. Day Lewis, Stephen Spender and many others.  Donated by Bernadette Ryan. 


Late Night Studying in the Libraries

Submitted by libpottier on
Filed under Library News:  Alerts Innis Mills Learning Commons Mills Thode
Late night hours image

This year you will once again have lots of options when it comes to late night studying during exams.

Thode Library will be open 24/7 from April 7th to April29th. The Reactor Café will be open April 8th-28th from 10am to 11:30pm. Don't forget there is an ATM to Thode so you will have easy access to cash for use at the café and the vending machines.

The lower level of Thode is the Quietest Study Area in the building. In addition there is a small Silent Study room on the lower level.

Mills Library moves to extended hours next week – the main library will be open 8am to 10:45pm, 7 days per week.

The Mills Learning Commons (2nd floor) is open 24/7 until April 29th.

The entire 6th floor of Mills is designated as a Silent Study Area and we will do our best to patrol this area. Feel free to send an email to or use the online form if students in the area are not respecting the Silent Study guidelines (no talking, no socializing, no cell phones, no music). A large area on the 4th floor is designated as a Quiet Study Area. During exams, all seating areas on the upper floors (3rd – 5th) are considered Quiet Study Areas and will be signed as such.

Innis will also move to extended hours next week – Monday to Friday 8:30am to 10:45pm / Saturday 10:30am to 5:45 pm / Sunday 1pm to 7:45pm.

You will find more information on the various study spaces available in our libraries here.

All libraries have bookable Group Study Rooms. Please remember that these are to be used by groups of 2 or more, and cannot be booked for more than 2 consecutive hours by one group. The library reserves the right to remove bookings which do not follow these guidelines. Food and beverage vending machines in all libraries will be stocked daily during exams. Good luck on your exams!

194,000 new items and counting

Submitted by libbalche on
Filed under Library News:  Innis Mills Thode
Using the “New Items” feature on the Library website, users can see the most recent additions to McMaster library collections from the previous day, the last 5 days, or the last 30 days. Results can be narrowed further by format, author, topic, language, region, or time period.

194,000 new items were added to McMaster library collections last year alone.

Each month, McMaster libraries add thousands of new books, e-books, videos, journals, and other e-resources on a range of diverse subjects to the library catalogue.

Now there’s an online tool to help students and researchers keep up-to-date on the many new materials added each day.

Using the “New Items” feature on the Library website, users can see the most recent additions to McMaster library collections from the previous day, the last 5 days, or the last 30 days. Results can be narrowed further by format, author, topic, language, region, or time period. This feature also allows users to request new materials that are still on order and reserve them for pick-up.

“The University Library is committed to supporting students and researchers with a wide variety of resources,” says Wade Wyckoff, Associate University Librarian. “We know that many of our faculty and students are interested in keeping up with new materials available for their research or studies.  We hope that this feature will help them find the right resources for their needs.”

The Countdown is on! RefWorks to be phased out this August

Submitted by libbalche on
Filed under Library News:  Alerts Innis Mills Thode

RefWorks Countdown Clock


August 15, 2015

RefWorks, McMaster’s citation management tool, is being phased out and all users are reminded to migrate their references before it’s too late.

As of August 15, 2015, McMaster faculty, students and staff will no longer have access to their RefWorks accounts.*

To help ease this transition, McMaster University Library has created a list of citation management alternatives. Users are encouraged to begin the process of exploring their options and migrating their references from RefWorks into another software tool.

Users can also purchase an individual subscription to RefWorks, however, this option may not be available for long. RefWorks recently announced that it is ending support for personal/individual accounts..

For more information contact Ines Perkovic, McMaster’s RefWorks coordinator.

*McMaster’s RefWorks license was negotiated as part of the Ontario Council of University Libraries (OCUL) consortia. Earlier this year, OCUL announced that its members had opted not to renew this product, resulting in the phase-out of RefWorks at a number of universities across the province.



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