In 2013 – 2014, the library staff conducted a series of planning sessions that identified six strategic goals; the publication Strategic Directions 2014-2015 provides an outline of these goals. The Strategic Directions publication initiated conversations around campus to ensure the library’s strategy found widespread support from faculty, students and the administration. These wide-ranging conversations resulted in an additional goal aimed at enhancing data management and visual and quantitative literacy instruction.
- Expand library integration and participation in the curriculum and in student learning outcomes
- Collaborate with faculty and students in creating, designing, and maintaining research-oriented Digital Humanities initiatives
- Enhance library skills for data management and teaching visual and quantitative literacy (Added 2015)
- Develop digital and print collections that support the curriculum and independent learning
- Strengthen special collections in instruction, outreach, access, and preservation
- Enhance library technology for discovery and scholarly communication.
- Revitalize the lower levels of Leyburn to offer modern learning spaces as well as shelving for the collection
Progress towards Strategic Goals
Establishing these strategic goals has made a substantial change in the library’s workload and methods used to meet the changing research needs of students and faculty. The following pages outline the library’s progress towards fulfilling its goals from 2014 through course creation, curricular integration, assessment, outreach, innovation, collection maintenance, and physical improvements. The library’s progress creates a strong foundation for further work toward its overall mission: optimally collaborating with faculty to prepare students for life-long learning.
- Received an $800,000 Mellon Grant to expand the Digital Humanities Initiative
- Four Digital Humanities courses developed and taught or co-taught by library faculty
- Five disciplinary courses taught or co-taught by library faculty
- Nine faculty and student curated exhibits in the winter and spring of 2016
- Six faculty author talks sponsored by the library in 2015-16
The Library, the Curriculum, and Student Learning Outcomes
Credit Bearing Courses Taught/Co-taught by Library Faculty
Courses on digital humanities methodologies, resources, and tools:
DH 101: You Say You Want a Revolution: An Introduction to Digital Humanities (4) spring 2015
DH 110: Web Programming for Non-Programmers (4) winter 2016
DH 190: Digital Humanities Studio — Scholarly Text Encoding (1) winter 2015 and winter 2016
DH 190: Digital Humanities Studio — Digital History (1) fall 2015
Disciplinary Courses Taught or Co-taught by Library Faculty:
CSCI 111: Fundamentals of Programming (4) fall 2015
CSCI 317: Database Management (3) winter 2015
HIST 295: Seminar: Topics in History — Introduction to Public History (4) spring 2016
JOUR 190: Beyond Google and Wikipedia: Finding and Evaluating Information Sources in the Digital Age (1) winter 2016 (Grefe & Locy), fall 2015 (Grefe & Luecke), winter 2015 (Grefe & Locy), fall 2014 (Grefe & Richardson)
JOUR 295: Topics in Journalism and Mass Communications — Multimedia Storytelling Design (3) fall 2015
Instruction, Research, and Scholarly Communication
- Beginning in the fall of 2014, the library has used the HEDS Research Practices Survey to gather quantitative data on the information literacy skills of entering first year students. Completing the survey is not mandatory for students and the response rate has been low. To increase the participation rate, stations to complete the survey were located in the dining hall and other areas of the Elrod Commons as well as in the library. Food and other enticements were also used to increase participation. The first cohort of respondents are graduating in the spring of 2018, and a longitudinal assessment of how information literacy skills has developed between the first year and senior year will be conducted at that time.
- The librarians made 121 classroom presentations for 1,697 students in 2015-16 (up from 98 presentations to 1603 students in 2014-15).
- Coordinating Library Pedagogy
- Several members of the library faculty and staff developed Tiered Library Learning Outcomes to guide our instructional activities in a scaffolded manner. Based on the ACRL Information Literacy Framework, this tool helps teaching librarians to determine which learning outcomes are most appropriate for various class levels.
- In the summer of 2015, library faculty attended a one-day Pedagogy Retreat. Various participants presented projects they were working on and discussed ways to improve pedagogical technique. Candice Benjes-Small, Head of Information Literacy at Radford University, facilitated the retreat.
- Rebecca K. Miller (from Virginia Tech at the time) visited the library to discuss effective ways to teach the use of the new discovery layer, Summon.
- Regular instruction and liaison meetings were held to help library faculty and staff stay aware of new projects and trends in library instruction, both at W&L and beyond.
- The library developed several online videos outlining the basics of research, but they received limited viewership. Student feedback indicated a lack of interest in seeking this type of instruction. In its place, the library developed drop-in clinics, targeted workshops, and developed additional online guides.
- The library now routinely holds drop-in poster clinics before large poster sessions (for example, the summer research scholars and the spring festival). The library also developed online guides about preparing effective posters.
- Librarians also initiated sessions featuring in-depth strategies in library research for students writing honors theses and capstones. These social sessions focused on topics such as the role of an honors thesis or capstone in the scholarly ecosystem, how to identify the best multimedia formats for a project, and author rights.
- The library initiated collaborative projects with professors teaching Physics 114 and Geology 155 to help students develop “digital posters” to present their class research projects. This included in-class instruction, website creation and maintenance, the designing discipline appropriate peer-review rubrics, and the scheduling of project specific office hours.
- The library held its first in-class visual literacy workshops for Professor Kao’s ENGL 299 Seminar: The (M.) Butterfly Effect (fall 2015) and ENGL 240 Arthurian Legend (winter 2016). The in-class workshops included instruction on various visual literacy skills including finding, using, and citing images and situating images within their proper social, cultural, or historical context. The library continues to expand this instruction to other classes and departments.
- Librarians initiated a variety of library-sponsored events to increase contact with faculty and students, which are detailed below.
Events & Activities Connected to Scholarship, University Curriculum, and Student Life
- Jan 2016: “Aida Mitsuo Exhibit,” by the W&L Japanese Program
- Feb 2016: “A trip to Israel,” by Megan McLean (Director of Hillel) and students
- Mar 2016: “Photography Class Exhibit,” by Professor Bowden’s students in ARTS 220: Photography II
- Mar 21-27, 2016: “This is What We Die For”: Child Labor in Africa Photo Exhibition, by W&L’s student run Amnesty International group
- Feb – Mar 2016: “Mock Con in the Archives” @ Special Collections
- Apr 4 – May 6: “Poster Exhibit: A Journey Through Brownsburg, Virginia in 1860–An African-American History Presentation” by Professor Goluboff (Anthro/Soc)
- Apr 2016: “The Steward’s House: A History of Life on Washington and Lee’s Back Campus,”, by Donald A. Gaylord’s students in SOAN 230: Discovering W&L’s Origins Using Historical Archaeology
- May – July 2016: “Becoming a Physician: A look at 19th century Washington College alumni,” by Professor Judy Gibber’s students in Biology 195: History of Anatomy and Medical Education
- May-Aug 2016: “Ginsberg and Beat Fellows: Photographs 1969-1997” Exhibit, Co-curated with Professor Gordon Ball
Author Talks Series
- Deborah Miranda, Oct.7, 2015, Book: Raised by Humans: Poems
- Melissa Kerin, Nov. 5, 2015, Book: Art and Devotion at a Buddhist Temple in the Indian Himalaya
- Dominica Radulescu, Nov. 10, 2015, Book: Theater of War and Exile: Twelve Playwrights, Directors and Performers from Eastern Europe and Israel
- Stephen Lind, Jan. 27, 2016, Book: A Charlie Brown Religion: Exploring the Spiritual Life and Work of Charles M. Schulz
- David Bello, Feb. 16, 2016, Book: Across Forest, Steppe and Mountain: Environment, Identity, and Empire in Qing China’s Borderlands
- Lesley Wheeler & Chris Gavaler, March 15, 2016, Books: Radioland [Wheeler] & On the Origin of Superheroes: From the Big Bang to Action Comics no. 1 [Gavaler]
Academic Events and Poster Sessions in Leyburn
- Friday of Parent’s Weekend October 2014-2016: “Summer Student Research Poster Session” on Main Floor of Leyburn Library
- Several days in mid-March 2015 and 2016: “Financial Aid Work-Study Job Fair” on Main Floor of Leyburn Library
- February 15, 2016: “Dean’s Office Annual Fellowships Fair” on Main Floor of Leyburn Library
- March 29-31, 2016: “TechnoProjects Poster Session (Physics 114)” on Main Floor of Leyburn Library
- April 12, 2016: “Shepherd Poverty Program Poster Session” on Main Floor of Leyburn Library
- Last Day of Spring Term 2014, 2015, and 2016: “Spring Term Festival Poster Session” on Main Floor of Leyburn Library
Digital Humanities, Technology, and Scholarship
The library played an instrumental role in in developing a successful proposal for the $800,000 Mellon Digital Humanities grant awarded to W&L in 2015. Jeff Barry, Associate University Librarian, serves as co-director, and the library provides support, centralized meeting spaces and infrastructure for the grant’s initiatives.
The grant advances six major areas of undergraduate teaching and learning in the humanities and social sciences:
- A lab approach to courses. Six new courses were created and taught or co-taught by library faculty (Introduction to Digital Humanities, Web Programming for Non-Programmers, Digital History, Multimedia Storytelling Design, Scholarly Text Encoding, and Introduction to Public History). The grant also allowed for hiring a Mellon DH Fellow (post-doc) within the library to aid in developing this initiative.
- DH curricular development. Six professors received incentive grants for incorporating a significant DH component into their courses. The focus of these efforts in 2016-2017 will be on multimodal composition in the first-year writing program.
- DH summer research. In the summer of 2016, four faculty received stipends for incorporating DH methodologies into their research and funding was provided for up to three student assistants per faculty project.
- Mellon DH Undergraduate Fellows. The Digital Humanities Librarian initiated a pilot program in which students partner with library faculty to develop technology and project management skills relevant to their fields of study or personal interests. In addition to work on an independent project, students share their skills with peers, as guest speakers in courses, and in public presentations. Next year Washington and Lee will host the second meeting of the Undergraduate Network for Research in the Humanities, a student-run conference and network founded in part by W&L students.
- Collaboration with the University of Virginia. The multi-year collaboration with the University of Virginia Library Scholars’ Lab continues to evolve as UVA graduate students visit W&L to guest lecture in courses.
- Distinguished Speaker Series. An ongoing series of workshops and invited speakers on DH pedagogy and scholarship. Invited speakers included Sarah Bond (University of Iowa), Tom Keegan (University of Iowa), Jen Boyle (Coastal Carolina University), Amanda French (Virginia Tech) and Dian Jakacki (Bucknell University). Ten sessions were conducted in the last two years drawing 20 to 30 students and faculty to each.
Metadata, open-source, preservation, and standards
In recognizing the importance of data standards in digital scholarship, library and ITS staff started the Linked Open Data Working Group in 2016 as collaboration between the library and Information Technology Services. The first major project is preparing a Web-based index to the Shenandoah literary journal published by W&L.
The choice of systems and tools is an essential factor in the longevity and interoperability of digital projects. Since use of content management systems like WordPress and Omeka continues to grow, the library began a pilot project with Reclaim Hosting to outsource server administration currently managed by the library. In 2015, the University received a grant to participate in the Consortium on Digital Resources, sponsored by the Council of Independent Colleges. This grant provides for the use of the Artstor Shared Shelf platform for managing digital images.
Geospatial Data and geospatial Analysis
A two-hour workshop, Introduction to GIS for the Liberal Arts, offered in March 2014 provided an orientation to Geographic Information Systems and georeferencing. David Gist and Kelly Johnston, GIS Specialists at UVa, conducted the workshop.
The workshop led to the inclusion of GIS analysis in SOAN 266 Neighborhoods, Culture and Poverty, taught by Professor Jon Eastwood, with Carol Karsch, Library Data Specialist, teaching the lab sessions in the winter terms of 2015 and 2016. Professor Eastwood described the course:
The course is a hybrid of a traditional seminar and a research based lab. The seminar portion focuses on research by sociologists on “neighborhood effects.” In the lab, students carry out their own, loosely parallel, research on cities of their choosing. They use ArcMap to explore their city, to map it, to help make decisions about how to draw geographic boundaries across the neighborhoods they will compare, and related other tasks. They also use Stata to conduct statistical analysis (ANOVA, ANCOVA, and OLS regression) in order to test the theories about neighborhood effects that they have developed. Teaching the course has been both exhilarating and exhausting. It’s a highly innovative offering, and students in most universities do not have the opportunity to take a course quite like this. Without Carol, I do not think it would have been possible.
Crafting narratives through digital media continues to be a popular and significant assignment in a wide range of courses at W&L. In the last year, members of the Digital Humanities Action Team consulted with faculty members creating assignments with, to name a few, “Choose Your Own Adventure” websites, electronic literature, 3-D printing, digital collation, and iPad apps.
XML structured markup
Not only does XML and structured markup provide an entry into teaching students about the mechanics of the Web, it serves as a vehicle for developing close reading skills and refining information literacy skills. In DH 190: Scholarly Text Encoding, students must have a thorough understanding of XML, metadata, and manuscript culture to be able to create a digital edition. The librarian-faculty instructors of this course presented their work locally and at national conferences. After taking the class, two students went on to serve as research assistants for Professor McCormick’s XML-based digital edition project.
In order to promote faculty, staff, and student work created as members of the institution, the library has long had an online system in place to collect and display information about those publications. The initial system was rudimentary, lacking checks that ensured data integrity and without a means for deeper reporting and tracking. In 2015, the library converted the system to Bibapp, an open source, fully-featured publications database application. The new W&L Scholar system allows faculty, students and others to easily view and access faculty publications; 315 publications from 2014 and 2015 were added to the database. The project increases the profile of faculty research on campus.
Collections and Services for Learning & Research
The library added several noted digital collections through a two-year financing deal with Gale providing immediate access to the following databases and access to the underlining data for text analysis and data mining:
- Crime, Punishment, and Popular Culture 1790-1920. Supporting courses like Professor Horowitz’s Crime and Scandal, and Professor Senechal’s History of Violence, this database includes over two million primary documents from books, periodicals, manuscripts, and broadsheets. This resource was used to great advantage in Professor Sarah Horowitz’s history course Scandal, Crime, and Spectacle in the Nineteenth Century, and aided in the production of a text analysis course book by Assistant Professor and Mellon Digital Humanities Fellow Brandon Walsh.
- Slavery and Anti-Slavery: A Transnational Archive. Containing 5.4 million documents with a global perspective on the slave trade, the span of material include collections published in partnership with the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, the Amistad Research Center, the Bibliothèque nationale de France, the National Archives of the UK, and many others.
- 19th Century British Newspapers. With over two million newspaper pages including national and regional newspapers from 1800-1900, this collection serves as a great resource for introducing students to primary source articles The database reproduces the newspaper in its original form.
- The Economist Historical Archive. This venerable British magazine presents concise commentary and comprehensive analysis of global news every week. This database enables you to view, search, and browse every article and issue, dating back to 1843.
- The Times Literary Supplement Digital Archive. The Times Literary Supplement Historical Archive contains every page of every copy of the Times Literary Supplement published from 1902 to 2010.
- Eighteenth Century Collections Online Part II. An ambitious digitization project providing more than 180,000 titles and editions published between 1701 and 1800. Using Eighteenth Century Collections Online you can search the complete text of more than 33 million pages of material; in essence, every significant English and foreign-language title printed in the United Kingdom, along with thousands of important works from the Americas. (ECCO part one was purchased in 2005.)
Added JSTOR Arts & Sciences Archival Journal Collections
- Arts & Sciences XII: extends coverage in the social sciences, focusing on disciplines with high usage and broad appeal across all levels of higher education; education, law, and political science disciplines anchor the collection, and include journals from the American Bar Association, Brill, Lynn Reiner, and Springer
- Arts & Sciences XIII: Provides increased coverage in core humanities disciplines, with more than 60% of its content published outside of the United States; strengths include Christianity studies within the Religion discipline, as well as journals in non-Western philosophy.
- Arts & Sciences XIV: Devoted to the study of culture and communication, from civilization’s earliest traces to the growth and governance of peoples, and includes a cluster titles covering aspects of science, technology and STEM education; journals in the collection span 17 countries, 23 disciplines, and date back to 1839.
- Arts & Sciences XV: With extensive coverage in the humanities, social sciences, and sciences, it aims to encompass the best titles not previously included on JSTOR; along with 20 titles drawn from Mathematics & Statistics and 21 titles from the Jewish Studies collection, it includes 110 new-to-JSTOR titles that are historically significant and that have become seminal publications in their field
Demand-Driven Acquisition of E-Books
Since 2014, the library has employed a demand-driven model in which the cost of available e-books is based on actual use, rather than the traditional just-in-case model of purchasing books based on the expectation of use. This demand-driven model provides W&L with a pool of approximately 53,000 scholarly e-books, but the library only pays for the e-books that are used. In 2015-16, 615 books were used on short-term loans, and the program triggered 29 ebook purchases.
Next-generation integrated library system
Beginning in late 2015, librarians identified potential library systems that could replace the Millennium integrated library system (aka Annie). The Millennium system was installed in 2001 and is now nearing the end of software support. Following several vendor demonstrations in the spring of 2016, library staff worked with Information Technology Services staff to write a Request For Proposals to be released in September 2016. The goal is to have a new system operational by the end of 2017-18.
The library launched its first “web-scale discovery service,” Summon, in the fall of 2014. This single search interface unites print and electronic resources, providing users with a comprehensive view of library collections. Along with a new interface, the software includes mature tools for back-end management of electronic resources. Use of the discovery service has been steadily increasing each year.
|Year||# of visits||# of searches|
Special Collections and Archives
- Learning and research opportunities at W&L are facilitated through the unique materials available within Special Collections. The academic year 2015-2016 proved to be a watershed year in terms of student and faculty use of the collections. In summer 2016 five student summer research scholars used the collections on a daily basis as well as four faculty members conducting research for scholarly publications or presentations. The Digital Humanities program has contributed to this influx of researchers from the academic community but the traditional use of resources for family history research and general historical research (the Civil War remains a big draw as does material related to the history of WWI) continues stronger than ever. Assistance with cross-disciplinary curriculum development (History, Journalism, English, Anthropology/Sociology, Classics, Languages, etc.) is increasingly in demand as more professors discover the wealth of resources in Special Collections.
- Support for preservation continues to grow as alumni and friends learn of the opportunity to “adopt” rare books and documents for restoration. A systematic preservation needs survey of the collection must be conducted to develop a comprehensive preservation plan.
- Continued acquisition of rare and specialized material is needed to support W&L’s curriculum. Emphasis is placed on the addition of significant material related to regional, state and local history, literature, journalism, economics and accounting, early photography, sociology/anthropology, cartography, and book arts.
- Special Collections outreach efforts resulted in a significantly expanded presence in W&L classrooms, with more than triple the number of requests for guest lectures in 2015-2016 than in 2013. Likewise, the number of faculty using the collections has also increased dramatically, particularly in areas such as commerce and the sciences. More student researchers are using the collections to support their course work. Additionally, more outside groups are requesting programs, some from the academic community and others from civic groups associated with the community, at large (Rockbridge Historical Society, Rotary Club, Daughters of the American Revolution, Rockbridge Civil War Roundtable, etc.).
- The use of Special Collections this year has demonstrated how critical expansion of the public research space is. On most days, the Boatwright Room has been at capacity and there are few alternative workspaces for researchers when the Boatwright Room is used for classes or presentations.
- The library accumulated sufficient capital funding to install the long awaited additional compact shelving to relieve the overcrowding in the vault. Installation is set to begin in late July 2016. The shift of rare materials was completed in anticipation of the dismantling of the existing shelving and a lighting upgrade in the vault.
- Additional space for storage of materials “in process” and for receiving and unpacking is needed, as space is limited for employees to process and rehouse collections.
Enhancing Access to Collections and Developing Digital Collections
- The implementation of ArchivesSpace, an open source platform for the digital management of archival finding aids, has contributed significantly to enhancing the intellectual control of the collection. ArchivesSpace now contains records for more than 600 manuscript collections.
- In 2015-2016, 814 items were added to the Digital Archive. 1812 total records were viewed, and 235 files were downloaded. Major accomplishments of the year included the addition of 100 archaeology student papers to the Digital Archive; this is significant because researchers regularly seek access these papers. This year also marked the first time Rockbridge Historical Society materials were included in the Digital Archive.
- On July 1, 2015, the library began a one-year pilot project using the Archive-It Web crawling service offered by the Internet Archive. The primary goals were to capture the interactive web-based scholarship created by our students, important University administrative sites, and special projects such as the President’s Office Timeline of African Americans at W&L. While students have been creating websites as part of classes for years, the Digital Humanities initiative has increased the number of complicated projects that include interactive data visualizations, such as mapping, timelines, and 3D models over the last few years. In total, 105 websites were crawled and saved over the course of the year. The success of the project lead to the decision to continue the project beyond the pilot year. The ability to export Archive-It’s data into DSpace and make it accessible in the discovery service provides greater access to these sites.
The Library as a Learning Space
In response to the goals outlined in the Strategic Directions publication, the library has made strides towards modernizing the lower levels of Leyburn Library by focusing on renovation of learning spaces for students rather than storage of the print collection (as funding becomes available).
- Bound journals on lower level 1 were shifted and extra shelving removed in order to accommodate large tables for individual and group study. The tables were strategically placed near columns so that power outlets can be easily mounted to provide students with convenient access to electricity.
- VHS tapes were moved to lower level 1 in order to create space for academic poster sessions and other events on the main level of Leyburn.
- The library secured capital funding for new tables, chairs and white boards for classrooms 102 and 103 and group study spaces on floors 2 through 4 to make these spaces more conducive to learning.
- The library reduced physical footprint of the feature film DVD collection and added wheels to existing shelving, so collection may be moved to create additional space for events in Leyburn. The collection of documentary DVDs were placed on permanent reserve behind the Information Desk to increase the security of the collection.
- The library installed white boards in group study rooms and purchased Love Sac beanbags for the main floor in response to student requests.
- The collection on the 3rd floor of Telford was shifted to create additional floor space for study tables.
- The library added a display of recent science faculty publications.
- The library added whiteboards and Love Sac beanbags in response to student requests.
- The library completed the re-upholstery project of the chairs in Telford.