The University of Houston Libraries was recognized for outstanding work in four categories of the 2016 UH Brand Champion Awards, which celebrates the best in UH branding and style implementation.
Writing – External Long Copy
Dana Rooks: A Retrospective
Feature story that appeared in the spring 2015 UH Libraries newsletter
Video – Cinematography
UH Libraries: 2016
Video created for Libraries recruitment, marketing, and development
Video – Editing
UH in 4
Video created by Libraries Office of Communications for the Office of the Provost
Video – Use of Brand
UH Libraries: 2016
Video created for Libraries recruitment, marketing, and development
University of Houston Libraries has advanced to number 65 in the newly released rankings from the Association of Research Libraries (ARL). The move represents a 12-point change from the previous year’s ranking of 77.
The 2014-15 ARL Investment Index places UH Libraries in the top 35 public US research libraries. The list indicates data provided by 114 colleges and universities based on dollars spent for total library expenditures, salaries and wages of professional staff, library materials expenditures and the number of professional plus support staff.
“I am so pleased that the University of Houston Libraries has moved up, and moved up significantly in the ARL rankings,” said Lisa German, dean of the UH Libraries and Elizabeth D. Rockwell chair. “Because the rankings are based upon expenditures, this advancement is a reflection of the tremendous support that we have received from the University of Houston, particularly from the Office of the Provost. With your support, and with our new Strategic Plan in front of us, we will continue to move onward and upward on behalf of the UH community.”
Vinson will add collection development, outreach, and digital projects to her existing duties of preservation and cataloging the department’s vast AV collection, which comprises over 20,000 individual items. The KUHT Collection, having been built under the guidance of university archivist Mary Manning, currently encompasses over 2000 films and over 12,000 video assets, preserving the broadcast and production history of the nation’s first education, non-profit television station.
Please tell us about your experience with the AV archive.
I’ve been identifying the huge scope of formats that are included in the collection, some of which are at high risk of not being able to be played back and digitized. Beyond that, I’ve been facilitating digitization projects for the KUHT Collection and for AV items within other collections. Most have been driven by patron demand. We digitized 115 KUHT films from the 1950s-70s, which will be available at the UH Digital Library soon.
All of the formats are unique. We had one format called one-inch video, an open reel tape that can only be played back on a specific type of machine that isn’t produced anymore, and for machines that do still exist, there are no repair professionals to replace the playback heads. They’re extremely expensive and rare and beyond that the video itself is breaking down because those formats emerged in the 60s. The biggest things we’re fighting against are mechanical obsolescence of playback equipment and physical degradation of the assets. The challenge with video as opposed to film is that you can hold it up to a light and you can tell what’s on the film, but with video, you’re relying only on the label. It’s difficult to make preservation decisions if the labeling isn’t good. You can’t determine the value of the item.
What is your favorite item in the KUHT Collection?
My very favorite KUHT program that we have is a show called “People Are Taught to be Different.” It was produced by KUHT and Texas Southern University starting in 1956. It was created, written and narrated by professor Henry Allen Bullock. He wanted to do an instructional course on how human experience is the same for all, regardless of race. The series was groundbreaking at the time; the University of Houston was still essentially segregated, as was much of the South, and this show was distributed through the National Education Television network all over the country with an African American cast discussing the universality of emotion. There were twelve episodes produced and we have three of them that were digitized. The stories are told through interpretive dance and are very innovative and beautiful.
University of Houston Libraries Special Collections’ Mary Manning was recently elected to the board of the Houston History Alliance (HHA), an organization that serves as a resource for Houston’s existing historical, preservation, and educational institutions. Manning’s association with HHA has complemented and enriched her role as university archivist and curator of the Performing and Visual Arts Collections.
“Our University certainly has played an important role in the history of Houston,” Manning said. “I’m particularly fascinated by the history of the arts, especially music. I love the city and want to promote its history while sharing my appreciation for its past.”
In preparation for the new health sciences library to be open in 2017, the print collection of books and bound journals located at the Weston A. Pettey Optometry Library will be moved to the MD Anderson Library. The collection will be fully searchable in the catalog, and users are encouraged to locate books using the online catalog search and request feature. There will be a daily courier service between libraries when these materials are needed. Items can be sent to any branch library or delivered directly to departmental mailboxes for faculty of academic departments with no branch library. Alternately, users may access the collection in the basement of the MD Anderson Library. For more information, contact the Optometry Library at 713.743.1910.
At the end of the Fall 2016 semester, the staff and services of the Optometry Library will move to the Doctors of Texas State Optical Alumni Education Center, Room 186 Auditorium, on the first floor of the University of Houston College of Optometry (located in the recently constructed Health and Biomedical Sciences Building 1). While the Optometry Library is in its temporary location, it will continue to provide full library services to the faculty, staff, and students of the UH College of Optometry. The space will include reserve materials, a computer lab, study spaces, models, and microscopes.
The new health sciences library will be located on the second floor of the forthcoming Health and Biomedical Sciences Building 2. In addition to optometry, the library will serve other programs including pharmacy, graduate nursing, and new health professions programs such as physical therapy. Features of the new library include four study rooms with large, flat screen monitors that can be connected to laptops, a conference room, a classroom, and both group and quiet study spaces. Resources such as computers, microscopes, white boards, and anatomical models will be available. While the library will house course reserves, only a small print collection will be located there.
From the Texas Digital Library website:
The Texas Digital Library (TDL) will launch a new data repository service in Fall 2016 for the benefit of faculty, students, and staff and its member institutions. The data repository is an implementation of Dataverse, an open source data repository platform developed at and used by Harvard University. The Dataverse software platform allows researchers to publish, cite, and preserve their research data.
The TDL Dataverse Implementation Working Group needs your help to name the new TDL data repository. Help us to do this great new service justice by giving it a name that conveys its contributions to Texas researchers and libraries.
Entries will be reviewed by the TDL Dataverse Implementation Working Group and the contributor of the winning name will receive a $50 Amazon gift card.
For more information about the data repository, see the following information sheets:
The department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the MD Anderson Library at the University of Houston are partnering to develop an exciting new makerspace. The goals of this collaboration are to advance student success, foster entrepreneurial spirit, and rekindle the culture of learning through tinkering and invention.
The makerspace, to be centrally located on the first floor of the MD Anderson Library within the Learning Commons, will offer a highly accessible and specially equipped area for building objects and devices combined with a social culture of knowledge sharing and collaboration. All students on the UH campus, regardless of their college or department, are encouraged to explore the space and all that it offers.
Low-power electronics, embedded computing, signal processing, sensors and low-power actuators, and the emerging field called the Internet of Things will be the focus of the MD Anderson Library makerspace. While electronic devices and computers pervade our world, the science and engineering behind them tend to hide in plain sight of their users; particularly K-12 students, their parents, and national policy makers. Electronics and computers have been miniaturized down to the nanoscale, commoditized, deeply embedded, and hidden within a wide range of consumer products. Smartphones pack an unprecedented suite of sensing, imaging, computing, and communication capabilities that were unthinkable not long ago. Yet, the younger generation is at risk of growing up oblivious to the sciences of the digital world even as they remain the most ardent users. Electronics and computing form the valuable science behind our modern world and must be made visible to the next generation of inventors.
Kits consisting of electronic and small mechanical parts, cables, books, and electronic learning materials to help students build meaningful projects will be available through the makerspace. Students will be able to experiment with these kits in the library makerspace or check them out for use elsewhere. The library will also provide a set of basic electronics test and measurement tools, for example, oscilloscopes, digital multi-testers, function generators, logic analyzers, and controlled power supplies, along with instruction manuals.
The new makerspace will open in the MD Anderson Library Learning Commons in the Fall 2016 semester.
Who is your favorite librarian at the University of Houston Libraries?
Nominate an outstanding UH librarian for the 2016 I Love My Librarian Award. Nominations are open through September 19.
The award, coordinated by Carnegie Corporation of New York, The New York Public Library, The New York Times and the American Library Association, recognizes the transformative power of librarians and libraries. UH Libraries users and supporters are encouraged to submit recommendations for exceptional UH librarians who have made a positive impact on the university or in the community.
Up to 10 winners will receive a $5,000 cash award and a $500 travel stipend to attend a ceremony in their honor at Carnegie Corporation of New York on November 30, 2016.
The University of Houston Libraries welcomes Daniel Pshock, the new user experience and web content strategy coordinator in Web Services.
Please describe your role at UH Libraries and talk about some of your professional goals and/or research areas.
I balance my time between user research, experience design, and content strategy. Working in the Web Services department, this means conducting research on user expectations and needs for the library’s website and web systems, as well as running assessments to evaluate how well our website meets those needs. My goals include making library interactions more enjoyable overall by designing web systems that are accessible, easy-to-use, and attractive. The library’s digital space is essentially its largest branch location — my ultimate goal is making it a location people want to visit.
Please share a bit about your background and interests. How do these inspire and shape your approach as a librarian?
My background is in human-computer interaction (HCI) and user experience (UX) design — I have a bachelor’s and master’s in information science both with an HCI focus from the School of Information & Library Science at UNC-Chapel Hill. I got interested in UX in undergrad and took all the courses on it that I could fit into my schedule and had a few UX roles as a student. It wasn’t until I was already in graduate school that I considered applying my skills to the library world. There are real design issues in libraries today, particularly in library search experience and in creating a “guiding hand” as users traverse large collections, and these sorts of challenges led to my interest in librarianship. My professional ethos of user advocacy, meaning putting user needs first, is behind my entire approach as a librarian. Luckily, librarians all over the world have been user advocates for centuries, whether they know it or not, so I’m easily among like minds at UH Libraries.
Please describe your first impressions of the University of Houston.
UH is slightly larger than my alma mater, so I was first struck by the size of the campus and the student body. The diversity of the UH community (and of Houston in general) was also something I was never aware of until I first traveled here and got familiar with the area. There are no cities of Houston’s caliber in my home state of North Carolina either, so there are really no university systems analogous to the UH system. It’s been very interesting seeing how UH operates in that regard and learning where it fits into higher education in Texas in general.
Please discuss the role that UX plays in student success.
For most UX designers, there are a handful of metrics used to measure performance: sales, sign-ups, conversions, etc. Working for a library that serves a large academic community means student success, and indeed the research success of anybody on our campus, is the most important metric for the work I do. Providing a strong user experience means ensuring everything about a system is designed to allow users to complete tasks and reach their goals — everything from the layout of user interfaces to the words you read on a screen or a sign. All of these factors in the library contribute to the success of students in their work and studies, and its how I measure the quality of the designs or strategies I produce.
What is your favorite book/movie/cuisine/hobby?
Book: A Death in the Family by James Agee
Movie: 101 Dalmatians
Cuisine: Anything with peanut butter
Hobby: Drawing and painting
Andrea Malone, librarian of modern and classical languages, and ethnic studies at the University of Houston Libraries, has been appointed as a reviewer on the Library Science Peer Review Committee for the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program.
Malone joins other experts who represent a range of specializations and institutions in evaluating applications for the 2017-18 academic year.
Director of Communications