Cunningham Memorial Library | Your Campus Living Room
[approved by Library Steering Group, January 28, 2002]
Indiana State University Library strives to become an innovative and creative partner in advancing the teaching, research, and service missions of the University. The Library will accomplish this by:
- Providing a learning environment in which users of all abilities and backgrounds feel welcome and secure
- Partnering with faculty to ensure all students become skilled in discovering and analyzing information as they progress through their academic careers
- Promoting interdisciplinary collaboration in the creation of knowledge
- Working with other libraries and agencies to preserve the intellectual content of information resources regardless of physical format
- Using new technologies and methods to enhance access to information resources
- Systematically collecting data to measure user satisfaction so that services, processes, programs, and resources can be continuously improved
- Continually updating the skill sets of the staff in order to offer new resources and services
~~~~~Perhaps the Library’s vision may be better illustrated through a vignette~~~~~
History Professor Dr. Angela Baroque is developing a course on Socialism in America. She consults with Librarian Cyberius Lieber about this course. Lieber has worked with a team of library staff to digitize photographs, slides, sound recordings, text and microfilm related to Eugene V. Debs. Part of their work included creating metadata tags, assigning subject headings and thesaurus terms, writing abstracts and descriptions for particular items. The Library has also consulted with technology specialists about storing these objects on both the Library's bank of servers, as well as secured servers at the Library of Congress. The staff members are excited about their work. The Library Staff Development Team has ensured that their skills are continually updated.
There is plenty of bandwidth available for such projects, especially after the university upgraded the telecommunications network using wireless access points, broadband compression and decompression technologies, secured servers for high-speed intranet applications, and connections to Internet II. During the discussions, Lieber reminds Dr. Baroque that the Eugene V. Debs papers have been digitized and are on the Library's web site. "What other digital resources might be available?" asks Dr. Baroque.
Lieber suggests that they use the interactive, two-way communication capability available through their desktops to consult with Professor Bagley, an archivist at a nearby liberal arts college. The "real time" conversation also included Dr. Gibbons, a political scientist with a research interest in HUAC (House Un-American Activities Committee). Gibbons has compiled a unique data set on the socio-economic factors of the members of the Committee and those who appeared before the Committee.
Working together the four begin creating new information resources that will provide an enriched learning environment for Dr. Baroque's students and also allow Dr. Gibbons to modify his seminar on Joseph McCarthy. Professor Bagley was able to uncover some analog records of Debs' presidential election stump speeches, as well as McCarthy's addresses and the minutes from the meetings of the House Un-American Activities Committee. These were converted after copyright and property rights issues were clarified. Working together with the members of the Library's Digital Project Team, the faculty members realized that each had skills and abilities that complemented each other's knowledge, creativity and abilities. The work progressed quickly and smoothly. The Learning Studio in the Library had all of the necessary hardware and software to quickly scan, store, brand, tag, index, and compress (without loss of clarity) these original objects. Once they are cataloged and copyrighted, they are loaded onto the Library's web server and made available free of charge.
Dr. Baroque encourages her students to consult with Cyberius Lieber (and other members of the Library's Digital Project Team), to create new digital objects and resources for their end-of-term projects. At the end of each academic year, a panel of graduate faculty and students reviews all of the objects developed by faculty, staff and students. Those with merit are preserved, codified, archived, and refreshed. Their creators are rewarded monetarily and become members of the University's Virtual Hall of Scholars.
Student Corinthia Scholastica is one of Dr. Baroque's students. She has agreed to meet the members of her group at the Library café to discuss their digital project before going to the Library's Learning Studio. They enjoy working in a soundproof studio where they can listen to their own music while they collaborate.
The Library hasn't always been so easy to navigate. When Corinthia's older brother attended ISU just four years ago, students complained of not being able to find materials and of being confused about how to find reliable information. Her brother had been upset that he had received a failing grade on a research paper because his professor said he had used only Internet sources and no peer-reviewed journals. Corinthia has never had this problem. In her freshman year, her English instructor required everyone to use several online tutorials prepared by Library staff, which explained the differences between types of publications and how to evaluate sources. The tutorials made creative use of graphics and were easy to understand and even humorous. Since that time Corinthia has used additional tutorials illustrating how to use specialized databases. Many class web sites link to Library tutorials.
Even though Corinthia wouldn't be without her cell phone/Personal Digital Assistant, she also appreciates the efforts the Library has made to preserve the book as artifact. The Library has collaborated with the Library of Congress to provide older titles for its paper deacidification project. "It seems like fewer publishers are producing books in print format," Corinthia muses. "Sometimes all the digital information in the world can't replace the touch and smell of a really good book."
As a history major, Corinthia regularly meets face-to-face and electronically with the librarian who serves as the liaison to the History Department for suggestions on both print and electronic sources for her projects. Dr. Baroque had told her early in her junior year, "Librarian Lieber should become one of your best friends." Lieber has encouraged Corinthia to join a student library committee and told her that many of the improvements the Library made over the last few years are the result of feedback and suggestions from students.
Cyberius Lieber has been on the Library faculty for fifteen
In addition to his work with history and political science faculty, he
serves as a member of the Library Service Improvement Team that solicits
feedback from users. The Library participates in a joint national effort
among university libraries to track service quality using standard
instruments such as quantifiable surveys, many of which are administered
online and as part of courses. Using such data and other means, the
sets benchmarks with other libraries of a similar size and mission. By
tracking data over several years, the Library can demonstrate that it is
meeting its strategic goals and those of the University.