Library News

Celebrating the ‘treasures’ in McMaster’s maps collection

Submitted by libbalche on
Filed under Library News:  Events Maps, Data, GIS
Gord Beck, Maps Specialist at Mills Library, explains the significance of one of the many rare and unique maps on display at a recent event celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Lloyd Reeds Maps Collection.

Gord Beck, Maps Specialist at Mills Library, explains the significance of one of the many rare and unique maps on display at a recent event celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Lloyd Reeds Maps Collection.

Shortly after arriving at McMaster in 1948, geography professor, Lloyd George Reeds, who would one day be regarded as one of the ‘founding fathers’ of Canadian geography, began looking for space to house his growing collection of maps.

At that time, he settled for an old temporary building on campus, described by one observer as a ‘war-time hut,’ but he dreamed of one day creating a physical space that would contain and preserve his maps for the purposes of teaching and research.

In 1965, Reeds’ dream was finally realized and the Lloyd Reeds Maps Collection, as it would later become known, opened its doors.*

Members of the McMaster community gathered recently in Mills Library, which currently houses the collection, to mark the 50th anniversary of this important milestone and to celebrate the unique and extensive materials that now make up the collection.

“For 50 years, the Lloyd Reeds Maps Collection has been providing students and faculty with hand-on access to these rich research and teaching tools,” says Dale Askey, Associate University Librarian. “As we look ahead, perhaps to the next 50 years, we look forward to acquiring more unique pieces, as well as finding new ways to connect scholars, both at McMaster and around the globe, with these treasures.”

1486 reproduction of a second century map by Ptolemy of the British Isles.
This 1486 reproduction of a map by Ptolemy depicting the British Isles is one of the many maps contained in the Lloyd Reeds Maps Collection.  

The collection, which originally contained Reeds’ personal maps including maps on the agricultural geography of Southern Ontario, has grown significantly over the years, and now consists of more than 130,000 sheet maps, 18,000 air photos, 3,000 atlases, and many more materials.

“We have something for everyone,” says Gord Beck, Maps Specialist, Mills Library. “We have everything from historical maps that inform cultural studies, to hydrographic and aeronautic charts. Then, of course, we have many maps created for military purposes; the great WWI and WWII collections, as well as maps from the Napoleonic era and earlier.”

Many rarely seen, hidden gems were on the display at the event, including the oldest map in the collection, a 1486 reproduction of a map by Ptolemy of the British Isles.

Over the years, the collection has become a valuable resource for teaching and learning. According to Jay Brodeur, Manager- Maps, Data, GIS, about 2000 undergraduates from a number of disciplines come into the space each year to work hands-on with the materials.

The collection is also being made available to scholars around the world. In the last five years, 7000 maps have been scanned and are available through the Library’s Digital Archive, attracting thousands of users annually.

“The collection and the staff have established themselves as leaders nationally in the area of map digitalization,” says Brodeur. “Through the process of scanning these maps, describing them and making them available online, we are able to change the way users interact with the materials. Instead of people coming to McMaster, we are increasingly able to bring our collection to students and researchers from around the world.”

*It was in 1965 that administration of the Lloyd Reeds Maps Collection was officially handed over to McMaster University Library.


McMaster opts out of Access Copyright license

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Filed under Library News:  Alerts Innis Mills Thode

McMaster University is one of several Canadian universities ending its licence agreement with Access Copyright, a copyright collective that provides licences to make copies from print and digital works such as books, magazines, newspapers and journals.

McMaster’s current licence expires on December 31, 2015. The final decision was made by the Provost and Vice-President Academic, in consultation with McMaster’s Copyright Advisory Group, legal counsel, the University Library and other McMaster stakeholders.

The University will continue its commitment to copyright compliance, which is an ongoing legal duty and an integral component of academic integrity. Over the coming weeks, more information will be released around newly developed internal resources which will become available to assist staff and faculty with clearing necessary copyright permissions, to ensure all are aware of their rights and responsibilities under the University’s Fair Dealing Policy and the Copyright Modernization Act (Bill C-11). 

It is particularly important that instructors preparing coursepacks for the Winter 2016 term submit their coursepack as soon as possible, since it may take longer to obtain copyright permissions during this transition period.

To ensure your coursepack is available for the first week of class, please aim to submit your material by December 1st to Linda Colarusso at mailto:colarus@mcmaster.ca.

More information can be found at http://copyright.mcmaster.ca. Questions can be sent to copyright@mcmaster.ca.


'I promised him I'd come back and I have to keep my promise'

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Filed under Library News:  Archives & Research Collections
McMaster alumnus Major Stuart Ivison served as a chaplain in the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry during WWII. His son, Don recently donated his father's war archives to McMaster University Library, saying he hopes the archive, will convey, 'ideas of true patriotism and loyalty.'

McMaster alumnus Major Stuart Ivison served as a chaplain in the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry during WWII. His son, Don recently donated his father's war archives to McMaster University Library, saying he hopes the archive, will convey, 'ideas of true patriotism and loyalty.'

“I promised him I’d come back and I have to keep my promise.”

This was the vow of a young Canadian soldier returning to the battlefield to search for his missing friend who had been wounded days earlier during the Allied advance through Italy in October 1944.

Accompanying the soldier was Major Stuart Ivison who recounted the story in one of the many letters he sent home from the front:

 “We reached the muddy banks, still heavily mined, and had no way of getting over. The youngster pleaded to be able to be allowed to swim over and make a thorough search…so I let him go and watched as he swam across the rushing, dirty stream, and sloshed around on the mud flats on the other side.

At last he found his friend, dead from his wound…. When he came back, I wrapped my raincoat around him and took him back to his Company. Tomorrow, I take a party down to recover the body and there will be engineers with us to sweep a path through the minefields.

 I don’t suppose this is particularly good reading, but I thought the boy’s devotion was worth putting down. At any rate, it certainly impressed me.”

Ivison was a witness to many such tragedies of war, though he never fired a shot in battle.

From 1941 to 1945, Ivison, a Baptist minister and McMaster alumnus, served as a chaplain in the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry and documented his experiences in detail through letters, maps, photos and other materials, creating a unique archive which Stuart’s son, Don, has now donated to McMaster University Library’s William Ready Division of Archives and Research Collections, where it will soon be available for research and study.

Photo of Marjorie and Stuart Ivison
Major Stuart Ivison with his wife Marjorie whose letters to her husband during WWII are part of the recently donated archive.

“My mother kept all his letters in a shoe box for many years,” says Don Ivison. “After she died, we set them aside and only recently opened the box to look at them. They are numerous and they provide a special kind of insight about WWII.”

As a child, Don Ivison recalls waiting for the mailman daily with his brothers David and Duncan for letters from oversees which chronicled his father’s experiences and the experiences of his fellow servicemen as they fought their way through Europe.

“He became a great admirer of the common soldiers and their sacrificial devotion to the war effort,” says Don Ivison. “He, of course, was a non-combatant. But he saw the daily exposure of the troops to the difficult and often brutal events around them. He never failed to express his admiration and respect for them.”

The archive contains a number of materials including letters written by Ivison’s wife, Marjorie that painted a picture of family life on the home front, and a series of pocket maps illustrating his regiment’s journey through Italy, France, Holland and finally Germany.

The archive also reveals Ivison’s deeply personal connection to the men in his regiment. As a chaplain, he saw that they were cared for both in life and death. He comforted the wounded and was entrusted with letters, money and other precious items by soldiers preparing for the worst. It also fell to him to identify the dead, see that they were properly buried, and ensure that their graves were registered.

“This collection is remarkably complete and provides a window on the war from a very unique perspective,” says Vivian Lewis, McMaster University Librarian. “This collection will be a valuable resource for those seeking to gain a deeper understanding of World War II. We are grateful to receive this generous gift and proud to be the custodians of such a meaningful and rich archive.”

 Read the full text of Major Ivison’s letter from October 29, 1944


And the winner is...

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Filed under Library News:  Events Lyons New Media Centre
McMaster students Glenesha Grant, Xueqin Lin and Rosa Luo took top honours with their film, “Lessons with Mr. T2 “ at the fourth annual McMaster 24 Hour Film Festival.<a href="http://library.mcmaster.ca/lyons/3dprinting">The Lyons New Media Centre</a> rolled out the red carpet for the fourth annual <a href="http://www.m24.ca/">McMaster 24 Hour Film Festival</a> gala event.  McMaster students, alumni, staff and faculty gathered at the <a href="http://www.artgalleryofhamilton.com/">Art Gallery of Hamilton</a>

McMaster students Glenesha Grant, Xueqin Lin and Rosa Luo took top honours with their film, “Lessons with Mr. T squared" at the fourth annual McMaster 24 Hour Film Festival.

The Lyons New Media Centre rolled out the red carpet for the fourth annual McMaster 24 Hour Film Festival gala event.

McMaster students, alumni, staff and faculty gathered at the Art Gallery of Hamilton to screen the top nine festival entries and to announce the winning films as selected by a jury of industry specialists.

The festival challenged McMaster students and alumni, as well as students from Westdale High School, to create a five-minute film over a 24-hour period using three elements; a randomly assigned prop (A twist tie), a line of dialogue (“Hey. What’s your name? What do I call you?” from Mad Max: Fury Road) and a location (beside a vending machine).

Glenesha Grant, Xueqin Lin and Rosa Luo took top honours at the festival with their film, Lessons with Mr. T2, which was also received the Audience Choice Award. “Masked,” a film submitted by a team from Westdale High School, tied for third place.

To help teams prepare for the competition, the Lyons New Media Centre* created online workshops and provided participants with access to mentors, as well as production equipment and 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.

View all films

View the winning film, Lessons with Mr. T2, below:


Open Access Week 2015

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Filed under Library News:  Mills

Imagine you could access any scholarly article or use any existing data set in the world, online and free of cost or access barriers.

From October 19-23, join McMaster University Library for Open Access Week and learn more about how McMaster and other institutions, organizations and agencies across the globe are working to make this vision a reality.

Open access is a worldwide movement to make scholarly research more freely available for the benefit of researchers, institutions and society as a whole.

For researchers, open access can result in greater use and impact of their work, leading to wider dissemination of their findings and potentially more citations.

Institutions and funding agencies around the world are adopting open access policies that encourage researchers to make their work freely available online in an open access journal or repository.

McMaster University Library has developed a week of programming to help the McMaster community learn more about the evolving world of open access and to provide opportunities to participate in this global movement.

See schedule of events

Learn more about open access at McMaster

McMaster supports international declaration on open access

New online tools to help researchers comply with Tri-Agency policy on open access


Quiet Late Night Study @ Innis: Starting Oct. 19

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Filed under Library News:  Innis

Innis Quiet Late Night Study, Monday to Thursday, 11pm to 3amCan’t study in the Mills Learning Commons at night because it’s just too loud? Too much going on there? Hard to focus?

Try the new Quiet Late Night Study service being piloted at the Innis Library for the rest of this term.

Starting Monday October 19th, quiet studying will be available at the Innis Library, located in KTH (Kenneth Taylor Hall)-108, Monday to Thursday from 11:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m., until the end of the final exam period.

Students will have access to the main study space area, the Silent Study room and the bookable Group Study Rooms. No Research Help or other library services will be available during these late night hours.

Use of this space will be monitored and those not being respectful of this new designation will be asked to find study space elsewhere on campus, including the Mills Learning Commons (2nd floor).

A couple of housekeeping notes ...

  • there are no washrooms in the Innis library; please use the washroom on the 1st floor of the DeGroote School of Business (just off the main lobby), or on the lower level of KTH
  • we would also ask for your cooperation in getting garbage into the provided containers to help keep this space clean during the late night hours

Not sure where Innis Library is located? We have created some videos and links to help get you there from several locations on campus.

We hope you find this new late night study space useful!  Feel free to send comments, suggestions to library@mcmaster.ca


Library announces travel scholarship winner

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Filed under Library News:  Mills

Zack Batist, a graduate student in Anthropology who recently completed his Master’s thesis, knows first–hand the value of data. Now he wants to learn more about how to make scholarly data more freely accessible online to researchers around the world.

Batist is the 2015 recipient of the McMaster University Library’s OpenCon Travel Scholarship.

The scholarship, valued at $2500 US, will provide funding for Batist to attend OpenCon,* an annual three-day conference dedicated to exploring “open access,” a global movement aimed at making scholarly publications and data more freely available for the benefit of researchers, institutions and society as a whole.

“I have an interest in open access and open data and the way in which it broadens the applications of research for scholars who wouldn’t typically have access to it,” says Batist. “I’d like to learn how to apply open data principles, as well as how to advocate for open access and help people understand the benefits of it.”

Batist will attend the OpenCon conference in Brussels, Belgium from November 14-16. He will then share share his knowledge with the campus community including graduate students, faculty, library staff and others involved in the research enterprise, to encourage the development of initiatives and better inform the McMaster community about open access issues.

“Open access is a growing trend in scholarly research,” says McMaster University Librarian Vivian Lewis. “We are pleased to provide Zack with the opportunity to hear from international experts on open access and to learn more about how we, at McMaster, can encourage researchers to make scholarly journals and data more readily accessible to the global research community.”

Institutions and funding agencies around the world are adopting open access policies that encourage researchers to make their work freely available online in an open access journal or repository. Learn more about open access at McMaster.

*OpenCon is intended to inspire the next generation of scholars to change how research outputs are shared through open access, open data and open educational resources. 


Access Denied! What Is Open Access and Why Is It Important?

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Filed under Library News:  Events

Open Access Week 2015 is upon us! Now in its 8th year, Open Access Week (Oct. 19-25) is an annual event that promotes Open Access (OA) in scholarship and research. McMaster University Libraries, along with other libraries and institutions around the world, are organizing and offering a week of activities and opportunities to participate in this global movement. See the library’s Schedule of Events for Oct. 19-23. 

Open Access removes the “paywall”—the need to pay for access—to research output and, increasingly, to research data, allowing researchers to more easily disseminate their own work as well as access other people’s scholarly work. The diagram below helps to illustrate the benefits of Open Access.

The Benefits of Open Access

Image used under a CC-BY licence. Created by Danny Kingsley & Sarah Brown. Image Source.

Open Access to academic research continues to generate some misconceptions. Below are two common myths about OA.

Myth #1: Open Access journals are low-impact and low-quality.

False! OA journals have grown in reputation, quality, and number among a wide range of disciplines. Highly-regarded publishers of OA literature such as Public Library of Science (PLOS) and BioMed Central, have also helped to increase the support for OA as more researchers and scholars are becoming frustrated with paywalls and limitations for distributing their own research.

Myth #2: Open Access journals are not peer-reviewed.

False! The peer-review process in OA journals is conducted in the same way as peer-reviewed journals from traditional publishers.

For more myths, see the following articles:
“Open Access: Six Myths to Put to Rest”  (The Guardian)
“Dispelling Myths about Open Access”  (MIT Libraries)

Open Access is now more important than ever to the scholarly community as journal fees are becoming unsustainable to subscribers, such as libraries, thus creating barriers for the dissemination of and access to important research. To learn more about these and other issues related to OA, please see the websites below and consider participating in Open Access Week 2015!

Explore McMaster University Library’s Open Access Webpage

Search MacSphere McMaster’s Institutional Repository

Find more information and resources:
OOO Canada
Open Access Week
Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC)

Elise Tung, Instruction and Research Librarian (Intern)
Emily Tyschenko, Digitization and Archives Librarian (Intern)


24 Hour Film Festival Gala Event- Fri. Oct. 9

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Filed under Library News:  Mills

Celebrate McMaster’s budding filmmakers at the 4th annual McMaster 24 Hour Film Festival Awards Gala. The 24 Hour Film Festival challenges McMaster students and alumni to create a five-minute movie in just 24 hours using three randomly assigned elements; a prop, a line of dialogue and a location.  Now you’re invited to come and find out which films made the cut! The winning films will be announced at the gala event, hosted by the Lyons New Media Centre, which includes a public screening of the top ten films, complete with popcorn. The top films will be screened and judged by industry specialists. Audience members will have the chance to vote for the "Audience Choice" award.

When: Friday October 9 @ 6:30p.m.

Where: The Hamilton Art Gallery

Tickets are $5.00 and can be purchased here.

View the winning films from the 2014 competition.


Five years later, students still ‘blown away’ by Lyons New Media Centre

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Filed under Library News:  Lyons New Media Centre
“This Centre is truly a space designed for the digital generation," said McMaster University Librarian Vivian Lewis at a recent event to mark the 5th anniversary of the Lyons New Media Centre.

"This Centre is truly a space designed for the digital generation," said McMaster University Librarian Vivian Lewis at a recent event to mark the 5th anniversary of the Lyons New Media Centre.

According to University Librarian Vivian Lewis, when the Lyons New Media Centre opened its door five years ago, no oneknew exactly what direction it would take.

Instead, staff were asked to listen to students and faculty and shape services to meet their needs. And that’s just what they did.

Five years, a 3D printer, a video game room, and countless pieces of media production technology later, the space has become a hub for learning and creativity.

This week, Library staff and students gathered to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the Lyons New Media Centre.

“This Centre is truly a space designed for the digital generation--a generation that doesn’t just want to view media, but to create it,” says Lewis.

The Centre was created in 2010 with the support of the Office of the Provost, McMaster University Library, the Faculty of Humanities and through a generous gift made by Margaret and Ed Lyons.

“I would like to thank Margaret and Ed Lyons for their vision in helping to create the extraordinary centre that we’re celebrating today--a place of learning and of fun and a place where new ideas come to life.” says Lewis.

The space is open to students from all Faculties and includes video and audio editing workstations, two edit suites, a consultation room, a video gaming room, a classroom with a green screen, a service desk and also provides students with access to the latest media production software.

Lewis says these services have made the space one of the most popular areas of the library. Jason Lau, a third year multimedia student, agrees and says he was “blown away” when he first discovered the Lyons New Media Centre.

“I didn’t realize there was a space like this on campus where students could learn new technology and just be creative,” says Lau. “Technology is such a big part of the learning experience. We’re expected to be more creative with our work and make slideshows, power point and videos. So the fact that someone took the time to really invest in the future of our learning experiences has really had an impact.”

The Lyons New Media Centre is located on the 4th floor of the Mills Library.


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