Library News

Learn about 3D printing

Submitted by libaskeyd on
Filed under Library News:  Events
Close-up view of Ultimaker 2 print head in action

3D printing is easy once one learns a few basics.

The Lewis & Ruth Sherman Centre for Digital Scholarship in Mills Library is launching its first 90-minute Introduction to 3D Printing course. Come learn the basic elements of 3D printing hardware and how to create successful print jobs. More details and registration available at Eventbrite. There are only a few spots left, but don't despair if it's full; we will be offering the course again in the near future.

Canadians more upbeat than US neighbours, at least on Twitter

Submitted by libbalche on
Filed under Library News:  Mills
A word cloud of American tweets, left, versus those tweeted from Canada. Some of the strongest language has been blurred out.

A word cloud of American tweets, left, versus those tweeted from Canada. Some of the strongest language has been blurred out.

We watch the same TV shows, listen to the same music and wear the same clothes. But when it comes to what we say on Twitter, Canadians and Americans could hardly be more different.

After analyzing millions of tweets, McMaster linguists have found that Canadians tend to be a pretty polite, happy bunch of tweeters.

They also found that our neighbours’ tweets tend to be a little more, uh, raunchy.

PhD Candidates Daniel Schmidtke and Bryor Snefjella compiled more than three million geo-tagged tweets from February to October 2015. They then deleted words such as “a”, “the” and “to” and looked at what was left over.

Disproportionately “Canadian words” included “great”, “amazing”, “beautiful” and “favourite”. “Habs” and “Leafs” were both prevalent, as were “Raptors” and “Jays”. Ditto for “hockey” and “eh”.

And the most disproportionately “American words”? Well, most can’t be printed here, but they include a host of curse words, off-colour slang and even a racial slur.

Some of the less colourful, but just as negative words include “hate”, “hell”, “tired”, “hurt” and “annoying”.

“We could see the difference between the two countries’ tweets as soon as we created a word cloud of the findings,” says Schmidtke, who conducted the research in McMaster Library’s Lewis and Ruth Sherman Centre for Digital Scholarship.

In the news:

The polite Canadian is no stereotype. Tweets prove this (Huffington Post)

Study shows Canadians are more polite than Americans on Twitter (Global News)

Canadians really are nicer than Americans...on Twitter (MetroNews Canada)

Finally! Science proves that Canadians are way more polite than Americans (Vox)

The pair is among the first researchers to use the social network to study geo-linguistic differences between neighbouring countries where English is the primary language spoken.

They also analyzed tweets from England and Scotland and found less surprising differences in the way people in those countries share their thoughts.

For instance, English tweeters tended to use the word “small”, while those in Scotland used the word “wee”.

Those in England used the word “good” where those in Scotland wrote “gid”.

The researchers also found that the “lexical border”, where language is the most similar, has crept north of the actual border between England and Scotland.

“It suggests that the English way of writing and saying things is spreading into Scotland,” says Schmidtke.

Schmidtke and Snefjella work in linguist Victor Kuperman’s lab, where researchers are mining the web for findings that could impact everything from government policy to how we understand our global neighbours.

“People exchange massive quantities of language and information every second of the day, and that big data is right there waiting to be analyzed,” says Kuperman.

Printsmart - lowest rates on campus!

Submitted by libpottier on
Filed under Library News:  Alerts

Effective January 4, 2016 printing/copying/scanning rates have dropped! Printsmart now offers the lowest rates on campus!

Black & White - single sided copies/prints - 6 cents page

Colour - single sided copies/prints - 25 cents per page

Scans - 4 cents per page

Complete details can be found on the Printsmart Price list page.


Thank You: The Toy & Food Drive was a Success!

Submitted by libpenfold on
Filed under Library News:  Events Innis Mills Thode

The Frances McCrone Toy and Food Drive, hosted by McMaster Libraries has just finished yet another successful year. We wish to sincerely thank everyone from both across and off campus who made donations of gifts, food, pet items, and monetary donations to make this year’s drive a huge success! A special thank you to Library staff and students who assisted with the drive this year to help make this possible! All donations go to city residents in need through the downtown Hamilton branch of the Salvation Army, a tradition dating back almost 40 years. The representatives at the Salvation Army are very appreciative of our donations and send their warm, heartfelt thanks to all.

Once again, a big thank you to all, and our best wishes for a very Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy holiday season!

The Toy Drive Committee (and all our helpers)

Postcards provide glimpse of Canada's wintery past

Submitted by libbalche on
Filed under Library News:  Mills
This image, part of a collection of postcards from McMaster’s archives, hearkens back to a time when traveling by dog sled was the most efficient way to move across Canada’s wintery terrain.

This image, part of a collection of postcards from McMaster’s archives, hearkens back to a time when traveling by dog sled was the most efficient way to move across Canada’s wintery terrain.

There was a time when Canadian winters were so harsh that snowstorms, quite literally, stopped trains in their tracks and when, in many parts of the country, travel through the icy landscape was almost impossible except by dog sled.

These scenes are just some of the images contained in a series of postcards that provide a snapshot of what winter in Canada was like over a century ago.

The images are part of a collection of postcards housed in McMaster University Library’s William Ready Division of Archives and Research Collections and depict classic scenes of winter in Canada from harvesting ice out of the bay in Hamilton to a game of shinny being played on a pond in Lachute, Quebec.

"Harvesting the ice crop on the bay, Hamilton Ontario."
"Harvesting the ice crop on the bay, Hamilton Ontario."

The images belong to a collection of roughly 4,000 postcards donated to McMaster University Library in 2008. In addition to these wintery scenes, the collection also contains images from all seasons, depicting attractions, events and portraits of everyday life in small towns and major cities across Canada, as well as a number of images from the United States and around the world.

Help describe these postcards: the McMaster Postcard Project

Because of the volume of images in this collection, McMaster University Library has launched The McMaster Postcard Project, a crowdsourcing campaign that is seeking help from the public to identify and describe these postcards to make it easier for researchers to search for and find the materials online.

Learn more about the McMaster Postcard Project

“Crowdsourcing has been used to sift through large amounts of scientific image data, but the archival community is still getting their feet wet,” says Bridget Whittle, Library Assistant, Archives and Research Collections, who also is helping to spearhead this initiative, “This is a great way for the community, collectors, and people all over the world to look at them and help provide access to researchers.”

According to Whittle, the McMaster Postcard Project has received over 12,700 submissions since its launch earlier this fall.

View some of the winter-themed postcards contained in the collection


Library Survey: Priorities for Undescribed Collections

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

McMaster University Library is inviting faculty and graduate students to participate in a survey related to “hidden collections,” undescribed materials that currently can’t be found by students or researchers.

Library staff are working to describe these items and invite McMaster faculty and graduate students to provide input on which subject areas contained in these materials would be most useful to open for teaching and research.

On the survey site, participants will be presented with pairs of random and unrelated collections and asked to select one. As the polling progresses, the most selected items float to the top of the results, the least selected toward the bottom.

Users can vote multiple times. The presentation of options will continue in an endless cycle, so users can stop whenever they choose; there’s no pre-set endpoint.

Participate in the survey

Late night study begins Dec. 7th

Submitted by libcolgoni on
Filed under Library News:  Alerts

McMaster Library is there for you as we enter exam season. Innis, Mills, and Thode Library all offer options for late-night studying, so you have a place to go whenever you have the urge to study. Remember, we have learning zones for the different kinds of studying you need to do, including quiet and silent areas in each library. Read on to find out what your options are for each library.

Thode Library

  • Thode Library will be open 24/7 from December 7th to December 21st

  • The Reactor Café will be open December 7th-21st 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 

  • Mills 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) will be open 24/7 until December 21st.

  • 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 Library 

New this term, Innis will remain open until 3am Mondays through Thursdays. All of Innis Library will be designated as a Quiet Late Night Study Area during this time. Innis will move to extended hours for Fridays and Saturdays (10:30am to 5:45 pm) and Sundays from 1pm to 7:45pm.

Good luck on your exams!

Library Toy & Food Drive Nov. 23-Dec. 18

Submitted by libplessla on
Filed under Library News:  Events Innis Mills Thode
Frances McCrone Toy & Food Drive

The Libraries’ 39th annual Frances McCrone Toy & Food Drive will be held Nov. 23—Dec. 18, in support of the Salvation Army’s Christmas Toy Bureau.

Toys for girls and boys up to the age of 16, non-perishable food items, gift certificates/cards for teens, and items for family pets are needed. Over the years, the McMaster community has supported this cause generously. Your continued support is very much appreciated!

Why not start a toy-drive in your office, residence or department? Donations can be dropped off at a collection box at your nearest campus library (Mills, Innis, Thode or the Health Sciences Library).

Looking for ideas? Infants and toddlers might like:

  • toys
  • books
  • games
  • craft kits
  • colouring books, crayons and/or markers
  • building blocks
  • puzzles
  • dolls, popular Barbie(s), action characters/figures and accessories
  • gift certificates for toy stores

Older children might like

  • sports items, equipment, accessories
  • model kits
  • make-up, hair essentials and accessories
  • gift certificates/cards (movie passes, video & music stores, shopping malls)
  • electronics (MP3 players, etc.).

Inquiries should be directed to Eden McLean (x27099) at Mills Memorial Library.


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

Submitted by libbalche on
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

More information can be found at Questions can be sent to


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