Archive for February, 2012

UCLA Library Receives Major Gift for Project Focused on Ephemeral Media of the Middle East

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

Facebook posts, tweets, photos among resources to be digitized, preserved

 The UCLA Library has received a grant of $3.4 million from the Arcadia Fund to launch an initiative to digitize, preserve and provide broad public access to print items, images, and multimedia and social networking resources produced in the Middle East. 

 Increasingly, the day-to-day reality of current events in the Middle East is documented not in the pages of printed newspapers but through Facebook postings, tweets, smart phone photos and other informal ephemeral media. The new International Digitizing Ephemera Project will focus on collecting this documentation, organizing it and making it available, together with digitized versions of relevant print items, to offer primary sources that students and scholars can utilize and build upon in instruction and research. 

 Over the past several years, the pace of political and cultural change in the Middle East has been breathtaking, and this initiative will enable us to capture and provide access to non-traditional documentation of these earthshaking events.  The UCLA Library is deeply grateful to Arcadia for its exemplary generosity and for sharing our vision of the importance of this region and these new research materials.

 The UCLA Library will collaborate with three international partners on the five-year project. One of the partners, the National Library of Israel (NLI), has already been identified; the two remaining ones will be chosen by the project director and advisory board. 

 NLI has developed a three-year initiative to oversee the digitization of approximately 150,000 printed ephemera items, including posters, leaflets, tickets, postcards, and broadsheets from throughout Israel’s history.  In collaboration with the UCLA Library, NLI will make these items available online to an international audience of scholars, researchers and those interested in Israeli culture and history.

 The dynamic pace of events and change in Israel’s relatively short history, coupled with the plethora of cultures, religions and nationalities that comprise Israel’s heterogeneous population, make the collecting, digitizing and preserving of printed ephemera particularly crucial as a tool for research and a bridge to cross-cultural understanding.  The day-to-day reality of current events is increasingly documented not in the pages of printed newspapers but in informal ephemeral media.  The collection will be integrated digitally from source materials in libraries, archives and other collections throughout Israel, and will seek to represent its diverse population to the greatest extent possible: Jewish, Christian and Muslim religious communities, the ultra-orthodox Jewish community, Arab Israeli and Druze populations, as well as immigrant communities such as Ethiopians, whose cultural heritage is at particular risk of disappearing without record.

 The project is expected to offer a model that other institutions can adopt for collaborative international preservation and access activities. In the long term, the UCLA Library also hopes to expand it to other areas of the world, such as eastern Africa, Central Asia, Southeast Asia, the Pacific Islands and Central America, where traditional documentation of events and communities is lacking and researchers must rely on ephemeral primary sources.

 Arcadia is the charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin. Since its inception in 2001, Arcadia has awarded grants in excess of $200 million. Arcadia works to protect endangered culture and nature. Arcadia has made several major donations to the UCLA Library, the most recent being a $5 million, five-year gift to support transformative change in developing, preserving and making collections accessible.

UCLA Young Research Library renovations completed; usage levels have doubled

Friday, February 24th, 2012

The UCLA Library completed renovations to the major public spaces in the Charles E. Young Research Library in fall 2011, and the new facilities have proven to be extremely popular with UCLA students, faculty and visitors.  During the fall quarter, over 195,000 people visited the library, more than double the number during the same period the year before.

 The renovations focused on the first floor and lower level of this classic Mid-century Modern building, designed by A. Quincy Jones and Frederick E. Emmons. The executive architect for the project was the global interdisciplinary design firm Perkins and Will, with Eva Maddox Branded Environments. 

 “Guided by the themes of discovery, journey and collaboration, we developed these new spaces to support pedagogy and research, both now and into the future,” said UCLA University Librarian Gary E. Strong. “Academic research libraries are no longer defined by their physical collections, and this redesign reshapes our collection access, services and facilities to support our users throughout their academic and professional careers.”

 The Young Research Library provides research-level collections, services and facilities for graduate students and faculty in the humanities and social sciences. It was constructed in two phases; the first opened in 1964 and the second in 1971.

 In accordance with University of California policy, the renovations adhere to green building principles established by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) national rating system. The building is expected to achieve the status of LEED Gold (Commercial Interiors 2.0) once the U.S. Green Building Council completes its review of the library’s documentation.

 About the library’s new spaces

 An open, collaborative research commons offers 22 flexible, technology-enabled “pods” in which students and faculty can utilize library resources, conduct research and work with one another. Holding up to 10 users, each pod contains a large LCD monitor operated by a laptop. Also part of the commons are 15 group-study rooms, a classroom and a laptop lending desk. The research commons has been very popular with both instructors and students, accommodating everything from instructional sessions to office hours to project demonstrations.

 Created in conjunction with the UCLA Center for Digital Humanities, an adjacent space houses the Laboratory for Digital Cultural Heritage. In this area, which is equipped with a large-screen rear-projection system and specialized workstations, courses are taught in UCLA’s undergraduate digital humanities minor and graduate certificate program. In keeping with the open nature of the larger research commons, all activities in this space can be viewed by those walking by, fueling serendipitous discovery and information exchange. 

 An expansive, glass-enclosed reading room supports quiet study and research while still offering views of activities in surrounding spaces. Frequently used print reference materials are housed in this room, and seating is available at both large tables and in individual lounge chairs. Librarians staff a service desk, where they answer quick reference questions and provide in-depth assistance with sophisticated research inquiries, with an adjacent consultation area for meetings with larger groups.

 The library’s conference center has been expanded to add a spacious, technology-equipped conference room. In its first few months, this new space has accommodated conferences, film screenings and large group meetings. Together with the existing presentation room, boardroom and parlor, the conference center now offers a large, flexible suite in which to present expanded programming.

 The first floor also contains an open gallery adjacent to the front entrance, which currently houses an exhibit of unique and rare special collections materials related to Charles Dickens. A second enclosed exhibit gallery will showcase UCLA Library treasures on long-term display. Two lounges and a popular coffee bar complete the new first-floor spaces.

 On the library’s lower level, former staff work space has been opened up to create a spacious, light-filled study commons framed by views onto the green berm that surrounds the building. The commons accommodates more than 100 users at tables and in individual chairs. Open stacks house newspapers and unbound periodicals, and self-service cabinets contain frequently used microformat materials and maps.

 Adjacent to the study commons, the entrance into the Department of Special Collections has been opened up. Full-length glass doors offer passers-by a view of the department’s lobby and exhibit area, inviting them to come in and see what’s on view.

 Large-format electronic signage at the building entrance and throughout the first floor and lower level also supports the renovation’s themes of discovery, journey and collaboration. With content varying by location, the signage communicates timely information, such as hours and events, showcases digital collections and new acquisitions, and honors donors.

Introducing the Code of Best Practices Now Up on YouTube

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

“Introducing the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Academic and Research Libraries” is now posted to UCLA’s Youtube channel. 

 Part 1:

 Part 2:

More than 125 people attended this kick-off session on February 3 at the UCLA Library.  Presented by Peter Jaszi, Professor of Law, American University Washington College of Law and Brandon Butler, Director of Public Policy Initiatives, Association of Research Libraries, the presentation provides a context and background for the Code and outlines the eight principles each with described with limitations and enhancements.

The code can be accessed at: