April, 2016 LITS Newsletter


The Reveal… in the style of University Archives and Special Collections

Contributed by DebbieLee Landi

‌The members of University Archives and Special Collections collaborate on instruction not only with each other but also with Heidi Syler and faculty from the College and the School of Theology.  This year, we shared guest lectures and bibliographic instruction with more than twenty-five classes, integrating the resources of University Archives and Special Collections to enrich teaching and learning.  This semester, one of the most labor-intensive, fascinating, and rewarding class projects was revealed in the Lytle Reading Room during Scholarship Sewanee.  The final project for the students of Kelly Whitmer’s course, “Monsters, Marvels, and Museums” was to create a wunderkammer or cabinet of curiosities.  These cabinets are the precursors of today’s museums, originating during the Renaissance to emphasize acquisition and display and typically belonging to a wealthy, well-connected individual.  The photos of the cabinets highlight some of the marvelous pieces in our Museum and Permanent Collections, with selections from our map and rare book collections.  


Films for Faculty

Contributed by Pat Dover

In early May LITS hosted a lunch and information/discussion session with faculty about using films in their classes. Ten faculty members from various academic disciplines attended, along with staff members Penny Cowan, Misty Isbell, Pat Dover, and Courtnay Zeitler from Collections Management, Michael Ostrowski from Technology Access and Support, and Vicki Sells and Tim Garner.

Pat Dover began the meeting by presenting a short talk about the streaming films that the Library makes available. She gave an overview of the various film packages from different providers and what each of them contained. She then explained some of the tools and features that the film platforms offer, and demonstrated how to find films by either searching in the library catalog or going directly to individual platforms to browse and/or search. In addition, her talk included cost and usage data for the various film packages.
Included in the presentation was information about the pilot project for streaming feature films we did this past spring semester with Swank Digital Campus. We had licensed a bundle of 25 films chosen by three faculty members for their classes. The films were viewed over 500 times. We hope to expand the Swank option to all faculty for the fall semester. 

Penny Cowan also shared information with the faculty attendees about the VHS replacement project and the use of DVDs and Blu-rays in conjunction with our streaming services. Some of the professors shared their experiences with using streaming films, and others asked questions about the use of certain rooms on campus to show films and expressed concerns about some of the projectors. We were able to find out which award winning films they wanted us to purchase, and we were advised to collect more South American films.  Faculty members also talked about the reasons for offering group showings of films versus individual viewings based on what they were doing with the films – analyzing scenes for content, recognizing cinematic characteristics, etc. Chris McDonough from Classics, noted that his students had a better understanding of the film scenes because they could replay clips so easily through the Swank Digital Campus.


A Formula for Success

Contributed by Heidi Syler

What do you get when you start with one very energetic student and library enthusiast majoring in Psychology (junior Loren Ketelsen) and add to that a librarian (Heidi Syler) interested in understanding and encouraging student use of the library?  When you mix in collaboration, planning, research, and discussions, and blend it all up through an independent study topped with faculty support (Dr. Helen Bateman) the resulting treat is a project we care about and enjoyed working on.

As an enthusiastic library user who spends time almost every day in the duPont Library, Loren was curious about how other students use study spaces in libraries and spend their time here. She proposed that we might find out if students who frequented the library and were familiar with library resources would have higher grade point averages (GPA) than students who did not spend much time here.

After researching other studies that focused on library use and study spaces, we developed a survey to gather information about how students and their library use along with basic information, including their GPAs. Because we were performing a study with human subjects, we had to be clear about all aspects of our plan, procedure, participants, and privacy to gain the approval of the Institutional Review Board (IRB) on campus. This also helped to focus our planning for the short time available to do research in a semester.

Our survey asked multiple questions designed to find out how frequently a student visited the library and to determine the ideal qualities of their favorite study spaces in the building.  We also tried to gauge their familiarity with library services like research help and resources such as databases.

During three busy weeks in March and April, 2016, we asked students in the library to take our survey on paper. We are so grateful that each of the 91 students answered most of our 29 questions, giving us around 2,639 pieces of data to be analyzed!  We had primarily multiple choice answers that were simpler to work with, but also open-ended questions that gave us many interesting insights.

This question, “What other resources or options would you like to have available in the duPont library?” yielded a variety of answers like, “more private study rooms,” “more librarians,” “Chick-fil-A,” and frequently, “more outlets.”

Using the statistics program, SPSS, we input all of the data from the surveys, then had it analyzed for notable correlations. We focused on the original intents of Loren’s proposal, which was to: “examine how individuals utilize physical spaces in the library, if they study in groups or individually, and lastly, how students use library services such as reference librarians to support their research papers. We aim to show that if a student spends time studying in the library, knows how to use all the duPont library resources, and they are comfortable with the physical layout of the library then they will be likely to have a high grade point average.”  We found a slight positive correlation between GPA and library use and a positive two-tailed significance between students who have a carrel and also get research help from a librarian.

We presented these results on a poster in the Scholarship Sewanee forum sponsored by the Office of Undergraduate Research, and were extremely surprised and delighted to find out that the judges awarded us third prize in the Behavioral and Social Sciences category! We didn’t quite realize that we were competing! 

Within the confines of a semester, and a limited familiarity with the SPSS statistics program, we were only able to scratch the surface of what the data could tell us.  We may not have found the exact formula for academic success, but we have learned a great deal about students in the library that can have an impact on improvements for students and future plans for library services and spaces.


New Reporting Tool Coming Soon

Contributed by Erin Cassell

After a thorough search, Sewanee has chosen Argos as our new reporting tool on campus. Argos will replace our current tool, EPM11 (also referred to as Brio and Hyperion). EPM11 is the tool the we currently use report data out of Banner; Argos will do the same.

Argos is a great reporting tool that will bring not only new technology and flexibility, but also a library of pre-made reports submitted by other institutions that use Banner. The system is completely web-based and is compatible with Macs and PCs. It can also be used with other systems for reporting, as well.

The migration from EPM11 to Argos will take some time; however, the system should be available soon. Sewanee has thousands of reports that need to be review, culled, and then migrated. Planning is beginning now and more information will be available soon. If you have any questions, please contact Kerline Lorantine at kerline.lorantin@sewanee.edu.


Purpose-Built Conference Spaces

Contributed by Michael Ostrowski

For those who have the need to use a purpose-built conferencing space, Sewanee has three options available to you:

The ATC Conference Room (accommodates 10 persons) is our one facility that accommodates both traditional videoconferencing and the now, much more common softcodec (read: Skype, GoToMeeting) mode of conferencing. The centerpiece of this room is something called a MondoPad which consists of a 55" touch-screen PC as well as the necessary hardware and software necessary for videoconferencing. The room also sports the traditional speakerphone for telephone-only conference calls.

As for duPont G26, also known as the Videoconferencing Classroom (accommodates 30 persons), recently referred to by one of the crew as looking like a "training room from a 1960s spy movie," we have a more elaborate setup with moveable "Node" desks. Because the furniture is moveable, microphones are built into the ceiling. A telephone call can be made through a touch-screen on the classroom lectern--and you will never see an actual telephone in the room. There are two cameras to capture the action if you desire to have a Skype or GoToMeeting. Like most University classrooms, a Mac Mini is built into the lectern to run this and the usual suite of productivity software, typically projecting images upon the front wall of the room with a high definition projector.

McClurg 206 (accommodates 45 persons) is similar in function to duPont G26 in that it provides a Mac Mini in the lectern with a single camera at the front of the room and a multimedia projector. Because this room is reconfigurable with moveable tables, we have wireless gooseneck microphones that we set out on tables as needed for meeting attendees. An easy to use touch-screen, identical to the one in duPont G26, turns on the projector, dials the telephone, switches between the Mac Mini and any laptop connected to the lectern and controls audio levels in the room.

Next time you need to schedule an audio or videoconference, please contact Technology Access & Support for a brief orientation to one of these rooms and we will be happy to "test drive" them with you so that you are comfortable with their features and controls.