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Library Student Resource Group: Minutes April 16 2008

Library Student Resource Group

April 16, 2008

Present: Hannah Chung, Ben Esparza (proxy for Dan Kimerling), Katie Jones, Michael Jurczak, Bridget Madden, Monica Mercado, Larisa Reznik, Fran Spaltro, Han Xiao,
Judi Nadler, Meghan Hammond, Jim Vaughan, Sem Sutter, Rachel Rosenberg, John Kimbrough

Welcome to Ellen Bryan, the Head of the Dissertation Office, who joined us for this meeting.

The minutes from our previous meeting were approved.

Updates and Follow-ups from Previous Meeting

Electronic Submittals of Dissertations

(a discussion led by Ellen)

Ellen introduced the Dissertation Office, a close-to-final stop on the journey to a PhD. The Dissertation Office helps students properly format and submit their dissertations (it doesn't do subject help or copyediting). Previously housed in the Admin building, in 2001 the Dissertation Office merged with the Library's Reference and Business Information Center.

The University mandates all dissertations be submitted to the Dissertation Office and to ProQuest. At present the Office requires 2 complete paper copies on archival-quality acid-free paper. Supplemental materials may be provided in electronic format. Because the final submission must be in paper, the Office also needs to see drafts in paper—because many formatting problems arise during printing.

We would like to automate the submission process by accepting electronic submissions. Instead of requiring the student to submit a paper copy, we would take an electronic submission + a charge that covers the cost of printing one copy, for binding and storage in the Library. Many of our peer institutions accept electronic copies, and some (including Northwestern) require electronic submissions.

While LSRG members felt it was important to retain the option of paper submissions, there was broad consensus among the LSRG for offering electronic submission as an alternative. PhD candidates could thus choose from two options:

Many implementation details remain to be worked out: file sizes, acceptable formats, ensuring electronic submissions are "final" (not available later amendation), etc. Next steps would include a broad survey of graduate students to gauge acceptance for electronic submissions, and working with University administrative officials to develop a tenable submittal path.

The Library will figure out ways to survey students about this change, and if everyone is positive, take to University Administration about this.

Library Communications

(discussion led by Rachel)

Rachel asked LSRG to identify Library offerings that were in need of greater publicity. [Note: as Rachel did, I've grouped comments by topic. -JWK]

New acquisitions

(Monica) It would be nice to be informed about newly exposed archival materials, because these are often rich sources for research. Perhaps we could get the word out about the SCRC blog, on which many of these materials are advertised.

Collections and electronic resources in your discipline

(Han) A lot of my fellow students don't seem to know about online journals.

(Michael and Katie) We know a list of all the journals in our disciplines exists, but we don't know where it lives. It would be nice to have an easily consulted list of journals in our discipline, to quickly ascertain what the Library has online access to, what must be ordered, etc.


(Hannah) It'd be helpful to know about non-DLL resources and libraries, since Law tends to be pretty insular.


(Hannah) in Law, very few people actually use print resources. Hardly anyone seems to check books out: it would be helpful if the Law librarians could inform us about "beyond Westlaw and Lexis." The reps for Lexis and Westlaw are very aggressive about promoting their products (and implying you don't really need to use anything beside their database), and it's hard to look beyound the "big two."

(Ben) Electronic resources are great, but navigating to them and finding the best resource is very difficult. The staff at the Reference Desk can be helpful, but you need to know to ask, and not everyone is willing to ask.

(Meghan) Perhaps some online tutorials, that wouldn't feel as intimidating as asking a librarian?

(Larisa and Fran): more technology training, especially EndNote, so that we can take advantage of software at the start of our research rather than at the end.

(Larisa): more training on advanced search techniques and syntax would be helpful.

Support for Instruction

(Fran) Most people aren't aware of the many things the Library offers to support teaching and instruction -- as Rachel pointed out, everything from physical support (space) to materials to staff (e.g., bibliographers). Maybe dovetail something with the Center for Teaching and Learning?

Expertise of Librarians

(Larisa) Although everyone at the Reference Desk is very enthusiastic about helping you, they have different levels of expertise. The librarian working may not know any more than you do about the subject, and have to spend a lot of time re-familiarizing themselves with databases or resources outside of their speciality.

(Fran) I had no idea, until I had a RefWorks session with Rebecca, that I could go to a librarian and get computer help, technology training, and so on.

(Meghan and Katie) It's hard to know who "your" bibliographer is -- some seem much better about promoting themselves and their services than others.

(Hannah) How much searching should I do on my own before asking a reference librarian? It's hard to know how specific a question needs to be, at what stage in the research process to involve a librarian, and so on.

News from the Library

Almost all LSRG members preferred to receive Library communications via email. When sending email, we'd rather have frequent short emails (one topic), rather than an infrequent long email listing several topics. Some members wanted the content in the message (if short), others wanted links, provided that the HTML didn't munge everything up.

Publicity for the new Sondheim exhibit in SCRC is good.

Next Meeting

Our next meeting will be Thursday, May 29, at 4:30 p.m. Between now and then, please be thinking about membership recommendations (anyone you think should be on LSRG?) and future topics.