Archive for the ‘Tips and Suggestions’ Category

Link your UCLA web project to Calisphere

Wednesday, March 18th, 2009

I just received this announcement from the California Digital Library, inviting University of California scholars to link their digital projects from CDL’s digital archive and gateway site, Calisphere.  Adding our web-based digital projects to Calisphere will undoubtedly increase their discoverability, so I encourage any UCLA scholars to submit their URLs to Calisphere.  If you have any questions about Calisphere or this invitation, I am happy to field them.  If you have copyright concerns related to putting your digital projects into Calisphere, I can help you think through those decisions as well.

Do you have a web site you’d like to share that has been created by a UC campus faculty member, librarian, or researcher?  Would you like to raise the visibility of a web site you’ve created?  Is it an online exhibit, curated collection, or thematically-based grouping of materials?  Does the web site feature resources such as photographs, maps, historical documents, current articles and research, multimedia, electronic books, or other online resources?Let us know!  We’d like to add it to Calisphere.


Calisphere, managed by the California Digital Library (CDL), provides public access to primary source materials and freely available UC-created web sites. Calisphere offers more than 150,000 digitized items—including photographs, documents, newspaper pages, political cartoons, works of art, diaries, transcribed oral histories, advertising, and other unique cultural artifacts—selected from the libraries, archives and museums of the UC campuses, and from cultural heritage organizations across California. Calisphere is also a gateway to UC-created web sites that reflect the diverse interests and scholarship of UC, including the humanities, social sciences, math, and science resources. To date, we have published citations to over 500 websites—and we’d like your help to expand our registry.

Who uses Calisphere?

Calisphere is freely available to the public and is used by a broad range of people including UC students, K-12 educators and the general public.  By incorporating UC sites in Calisphere, we increase their visibility and make them more broadly available.

Send Us Your URLs

Here’s how.

Happy holidays!

Tuesday, December 16th, 2008

For those of you who are teaching courses in Winter 2009, be sure to contact me to set up a library instruction session for your students.  An instruction session can be a general introduction to library resources, a session on academic integrity, a very targeted lesson on research methods for finding particular types of materials, or a show-and-tell of selected primary source materials.  I try to make all library instruction hands-on, interactive sessions.

For those of you who are taking classes rather than teaching them, why not suggest a library instruction session to your instructor?  You can also request individual or small group sessions with me or any subject specialist relevant to your area of study.  Just contact me or the appropriate librarian from the Humanities and Social Scientists Subject Specialist Page.

Can I use this text in my course pack?

Friday, September 5th, 2008

When I was teaching English and history courses during my grad school days, I always had this nagging question as I prepared my syllabi and reading lists:  Can I use this text in my course pack without needing to ask permission or worry about copyright infringement?  If you have similar questions as you prepare your own syllabi or as you consider using particular materials in your published research, I just came across this handy tool for figuring out whether something is copyrighted or in the public domain.  It’s the Digital Copyright Slider, put out by the American Library Association’s Office for Information Technology Policy.  Seems to me it would also be a useful tool for teaching students about copyright.

Of course, if you play with the slider, you will notice that the answer to the question “Is this work protected by copyright?” is either “No” or “Maybe.”  More information about the “Maybe” response is available if you click on the word “Maybe.”  For a lot of our educational purposes, Fair Use doctrine allows us to reproduce copyrighted works without seeking permission.  However, Fair Use is only really a set of guidelines for a risk assessment, not clear-cut legal protection for educators, and there have been recent efforts on the parts of some publishers to challenge educators’ rights to put copyrighted material in course packs.  

If you are reproducing something in a published format (in print or on the web), a “Maybe” could well turn out to be a “Yes, you do need to seek permission.”  

Complicated? Yes, but the slider makes it a lot easier to track.

Planning ahead for Fall

Thursday, August 7th, 2008

Campus is very quiet these days so I suspect that a good proportion of my target audience is vacationing.  But for those of you who are in town and already planning your classes for Fall Quarter, might I offer a suggestion?  Please consider sharing your syllabi or at least your reading lists with me, or the librarian with whom you work most closely.  (Click here to see a list of subject specialists and contact information.)  Doing so will: 1. help me ensure that the library has at least one copy of the materials your students will be reading, and 2. better enable me to build our literature collections in ways that complement the teaching and research done at UCLA.  Rest assured that I will not share your syllabi without permission.

Just as a reminder, if you are intending to put materials on reserve, there is an online Faculty Reserves Request form, for your convenience.

Graduate student library workshops – Fall 2007

Friday, September 21st, 2007

Graduate students!  Don’t miss these workshops offered jointly by the UCLA Library and the Graduate Writing Center:

New Graduate Student Library Orientation (50 mins) – Sept. 26, 2:00 p.m. or Sept. 27, noon.

The UCLA Library Webspace and Catalog (50 mins) – Sept. 28, 1:00 p.m. or Oct. 4, 11:00 a.m.

Finding Journal Articles Online (50 mins) – Oct. 17, 3:00 p.m.

Endnote (90 mins) – Oct. 11, 2:00 p.m. or Oct. 17, 11:00 a.m.

Citation and Academic Integrity Issues for Graduate Students (90 mins) – Oct. 25, 3:00 p.m.

“Don’t I Own My Own Work?”: Reading and Negotiating Publishers’ Contracts (120 mins) – Nov. 15, 3:00 p.m.

For details, click here. If you still have questions, let me know.

Announcements about electronic resources

Wednesday, September 19th, 2007

From time to time on this blog, I will be posting information about electronic resources relating to the fields of literature, comparative literature, and occasionally folklore.  Sometimes I will feature resources that we already have and may have had for quite some time, providing an overview of the resource and giving tips on how to make the most of it. An example of this might be Early English Books Online (EEBO) or Literature Online (LION). 

On other occasions I may announce a resource that I am thinking of acquiring or that the UC system may want to purchase collectively.  In these situations, I may announce a trial subscription or ask for your feedback on whether you think we ought to spend our limited funds on this particular resource.  When I do announce these trials or ask for feedback, I will try to remind you that a trial subscription does not guarantee that we will acquire the resource.  In fact, I may have to go further in cases where the resource is extremely expensive or being considered at the UC system-wide level:  I may need to tell you that even if you tell me that this resource is a “must-have,” we may not be able to acquire it if the vendor is not willing to negotiate the price to a range we can afford. 

If your strong opinions don’t guarantee a purchase in these cases, why do I solicit them in the first place?  As painful as it is to discover that I (or the UC system) cannot purchase a resource that is clearly desirable from the point of view of scholars, it does help me to know what you want so that I can keep my eyes out for opportunities to acquire it in the future or to seek out lower-cost (or open access!) resources that cover similar ground. It also gives me a stronger position from which to lobby the UC system for higher-cost resources.

I have been addressing electronic resources in this post, but I will also announce and feature print resources every so often. The issues surrounding the acquisition of print materials are somewhat different, so I will discuss them in a separate blog entry at some point.  Of course, do feel free to ask questions if they occur to you before I get around to blogging on them.

UCLA Library RSS feeds

Monday, September 10th, 2007

If you have visited the UCLA Library home page recently, you may have noticed an announcement regarding RSS feeds for recent acquisitions.  If you are unfamiliar with the concept of RSS feeds or have an idea what they are but have never used one, check out this short video called “RSS in Plain English.”

The Library RSS feeds are still a work-in-progress and deserve a few explanatory notes. The feeds currently available enable you to browse quickly through books and other materials that have recently been cataloged at UCLA Library. The feeds are categorized by subject area (e.g., Language and Literature) or discipline (e.g., Comparative Literature, English). Sounds great, no?  But here are things to keep in mind: These feeds are generated automatically from the library catalog. Because these are materials that have been recently cataloged, not all of them will look “new.” For example, because the Library hired a Middle Eastern languages cataloger not long ago, a backlog of Arabic language materials has begun showing up in a variety of disciplines and subject areas, causing one to wonder why the Literature Selector or Women’s Studies Selector is buying so much in Arabic. Or, in another instance, an older book that has gone missing may be replaced, thus leading to the appearance of a book from 1953 on the recent acquisitions feed.

Another wrinkle in the feedscape is that these feeds are configured on the basis of the Library of Congress Classification System. As most scholars in literature–and especially comparative literature–know, it is extremely difficult to put the work that we do in tidy boxes. The Library of Congress Classification System is not particularly good at providing easy ways to categorize interdisciplinary topics (and sometimes not very good with the more conventional topics, either). So when I sit down to create a feed for British literature, a field with established LC classes, the task is not so difficult; however, when I want to create a feed for comparative literature, I am left scratching my head. There is a very small LC sub-class devoted to comp lit (PN851-884), but surely that is not adequate for keeping comparativists up to speed on library acquisitions related to their work. What is not potentially within the purview of such interdisciplinary scholarship? One solution is to encourage interdisciplinary folks to subscribe to several feeds, and that is what I may need to recommend for the moment, until I am able to find a better solution.

So why bother with RSS feeds for recent acquisitions at all? Because–forgive my choice of metaphors–RSS feeds are one arrow in a quiver of methods to keep oneself informed. RSS feeds are best used for serendipitous encounters. You browse through the latest titles on your feed reader and if there is something interesting, great; if nothing catches your eye, you have only spent 30 seconds or so on it and can move on to something else. I use the feeds to increase the chances that I will encounter new books entering our library. And as I get to know you and your research interests, I will occasionally forward a serendipitous encounter your direction, either via this blog or straight to your individual inbox.

If any of you would like help setting up a feed reader, drop me a line. It only takes a minute, and once it is set up, it takes very little maintenance.

Gearing up for fall quarter

Friday, August 10th, 2007

It’s still the middle of summer and campus is quiet, but I suspect that some faculty members and graduate instructors in the English and Comparative Literature departments are starting to think about their courses for Fall 2007. Let me put in an early pitch to include library sessions in your syllabi. I am happy to speak to your classes about the research process, library resources, and/or intellectual property issues related to scholarly research and teaching.

And if you can’t bring yourself to start thinking about fall quarter yet, don’t worry–I’ll post more reminders as we approach the end of September.