USA Library as a Federal Depository Library
Serving Mobile for 40 Years

depository graphicA LOT HAS happened over the last 40 years. A president was impeached and another came close. The Challenger exploded. The Twin Towers fell. Katrina hit. Americans have experienced a wide range of events and the documentation of these events, in one form or another, can be found in the University Library Government Documents collection.

Appointed in 1968 as a Federal Depository Library for the 1st Congressional District, the Government Documents Department today receives 70% of all the material the Government Printing Office sends out to members of the Federal Depository Library Pflyer with bill of rights in everyday wordsrogram.

Our 40th Anniversary will be celebrated during the week of September 15th through September 19th, 2008. The event will kick-off with two contests. The first contest will be to recite the Preamble to the Constitution or list the Bill of Rights. Those who can successfully recall this information will get a free copy of the United States Constitution. The second contest will test your knowledge of events from the year 1968 or the Constitution. If you answer all ten questions correctly, your name will be placed in a drawing for one of five prizes.

In addition to the contests, we will have speakers and workshops for everyone to enjoy. Paula Webb and Beverly Rossini will have workshops on Services for Senior Citizens(9/15) and College Students(9/19). Vicki Tate will offer two workshops: Statistical Resources for Student Research(9/16) and Drug Education(9/18). Special speakers for the event include Commissioner Nodine who will talk about “Citizenship and the Constitution” (9/15) and Dr. Brannon Denning of Samford University who will speak on “Alabama and American Constitutional Law.”(9/17)

Finally, in honor of our 40th Anniversary with the Federal Depository Library Program, there will be a Reception in the Map Area of the Government Documents Department.((9/17) The public is invited to come, eat cake and enjoy the festivities. Dr. Richard Wood, Dean of Library Services, will present the 40th Anniversary Certificate issued by the Government Printing Office to Vicki Tate, USA’s Government Documents Librarian. Check the Events Calendar for more info.

Access to Backfiles for 69 Wiley Journals

The University Library is pleased to announce that we are now providing access to the Wiley Biotechnology, Biochemistry, and Biophysics Backfiles, Business and Management Backfiles, and Psychology Backfiles. The Biotechnology, Biochemistry, and Biophysics collection includes the backfiles of 16 journals, the Business and Management collection includes the backfiles of 33 journals, and the Psychology collection includes the backfiles of 20 journals.Usually access is from year of first issue, some beginning as far back as the 1950s. This is a significant increase as for most of the Wiley journals we only had access back to 1997.graphic stating that Blackwell Synergy merged with WileyIncluded are journals on chemical engineering, cell biochemistry, biospectroscopy, finance, human resource management, marketing, cognitive psychology, child abuse, social psychology, and much more. The Library has been providing access to the Earth and Environmental Sciences Backfiles since last Fall.

Sage Deep Backfiles

The University Library recently subscribed to the Sage Deep Backfiles package. We had earlier subscribed to Sage Premier which provided access from 1999 to the most current issues of over 400 journals in the areas of business, sociology, criminology, psychology and education, Sage graphicamong others. With the purchase of the Deep Backfiles, we've extended electronic access to the full-text of these journals back to volume 1, issue 1 of each title.

Communicating with your Librarians

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We always welcome your suggestions and questions. On our homepage there are several links available that you can use to contact us.

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Change & the Relevancy of Academic Libraries Today

Library futurists as far back as the 1970s predicted that technological advances would not only displace more and more print resources (particularly in scientific, technical, and medical fields), but also devalue the role of academic librarians and libraries. Such predictions have not held true.

New scholarly titles are still being published in the tens of thousands every year in all disciplines as demonstrated by ongoing faculty book requests for library collections. However, the importance of print journal subscriptions has been declining as publishers and other vendors over the years have steadily increased the number of general and specialized databases they license to libraries. USA currently lists 172 databases on the University Library's webpage. While it is true that USA students and faculty are borrowing fewer and fewer library books, and using bound journals or microfilm even less, our libraries have flourished in terms of construction, renovation, and other activities and programs.

Why? Some analysts might argue that it is because the definitions of “library use” and “the library” have been modified to include off-site. Only in the narrowest of views, are academic libraries physical buildings. "Library use” is no longer reflected by the number physical objects borrowed from the library or taken off the shphoto of a stack of bookselves. Broader but valid definitions must also be based on counts such as the number of database searches, instructional sessions, and reference questions answered through email and chat.

The role of the academic library and librarian is perhaps even more vital today than ever before, but the job descriptions of librarians and library staff have changed dramatically since the 1970s. For example, USA Libraries employ a variety of specialists to ensure that our automated cataloging, circulation, serials management, and copying/printing systems operate smoothly and transparently. Hiring criteria have never been so different in terms of the skills, knowledge, flexibility, and problem-solving abilities needed by library personnel at all levels of library operations from cataloging and circulation to reference, systems, and management.

An overwhelming array of information resources available to students, for instance, makes library instruction by professional librarians more vital than ever before. Many of the Libraries’ instructional efforts are devoted to developing online tours, tutorials, and instruction modules because it would be a mistake to believe that freshmen arrive with the information literacy skills needed to be successful in their library research, or that the students learn how to conduct effective database searches on their own. Ellen Wilson, for instance, devotes many hours to developing appropriate tools for the Freshmen Seminar program. Many students seem surprised to learn that most information they find through the Internet will not be accepted as authoritative sources in research papers. Academic librarians here are often the bearers of such bad news, but they help students at the reference desk locate the scholarly articles and the data they need, as well as cite it properly.

Thus, as technology, budgets, policies, procedures—even the definition of the library—have changed over the decades, the need for highly competent, flexible, problem-solving, and dedicated librarians and library staff has become even more essential. At the USA Libraries, we are passionate about providing quality information services and resources and have, at the same time, tried to maintain a state of-the art computer and telecommunications infrastructure because network speed and capacity are critical to the success of students and faculty. The overall mission of the libraries and the role of librarians and library staff at USA, nonetheless, has not fundamentally changed over the decades. Our efforts have always focused on providing the information resources and the library services needed by USA students and faculty.

Email Overdue--and Courtesy--Notices

Starting this summer the Circulation Department has been sending overdue notices through the University email system. One benefit of this system is our ability to send an alert to the borrower a week before the book is due. Click here for a pdf flyer with more information about this change.

FYI, WorldCat (or an article needed to better balance the columns)

So many websites, so very little time. Websites that save you time and effort are gold.
If the USA Libraries do not have the book you need and you don't have time for InterLibrary Loan, what to do? Want to see if Mobile Public or another nearby library has it? Use WorldCat. WorldCat is the web version of the biggest co-operative catalog in the world, 100 million records or so, submitted by libraries all over the world. Search for the item you want. Select the record. Enter your zipcode and find out how far to the nearest library that owns it. Link directly to that library's catalog to get a call # and to see if it is checked out. Aren't libraries grand!

PETAL Gets Bigger, Better Space

In order to meet the needs of the USA faculty, PETAL has moved to a location on the third floor of the University Library that was remodeled to house offices, a classroom area, and a computer lab.

PETAL Classroom photoDr. Richard Wood, Dean of University Libraries, and Doug Wilcox, Assistant Dean, worked tirelessly to make sure everything turned out just right, and the project was generously funded by Dr. Covey.

The main classroom area accommodates up to twenty-five people and has the flexibility for several different seating configurations. The computer lab area has six computer workstations available for faculty, administrators, and graduate assistants. The space also has a lounge area containing the PETAL book collection and offices for the PETAL staff. For more info and pictures click here.

All regular PETAL activities (i.e., Brown Bag Lunches, Technology Workshops, and New Faculty Seminars) will be held in this new space. We hope to see you at one of our events soon! See our webpage for details.

PETAL eNewsletter for August

Preserving Mobile History through Photographs

ON May 19, the Archives submitted a grant to the National Endowment for the Humanities. The Archives is seeking a $5,000 grant under the NEH's Preservation Assistance Grants for Smaller Institutions, which would cover the cost of having a conservator come to the Archives to survey two photographic collections: the Wilson C. Burton and and Wilbur F. Palmer photographic collections. Based on the conservator's conclusions, the Archives will in turn submit a grant to the NEH under their Preservation and Access program to have the collections stablized, organized, described, and disseminated.

The Wilson C. Burton collection contains some 90,000 primarily black and white negatives, which date from just after the Second World War to of downtown mobile in the 50s maybe Burton had a studio in the downtown Hammel's Department Store until moving to his Florida Street address many years later. While much of his collection consists of portraits, there are many historically significant images, like a graduation picture of Vivian Malone, who, along with James Hood, desegregated the University of Alabama. Of particular interest are the images that depict an anti-Vietnam War rally on the campus of Bishop State Junior College.

The Wilbur F. Palmer collection contains approximately 145,000 negatives, 20 percent of which are color, dating from 1958, when Palmer opened his first studio, to 1973, and from 1980 to 1990. Again, portraiture or other such commercial work makes up much of the collection, but includes a memorial march that took place after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., photos of the Greater Gulf State Fair from 1968 through 1980 and many of the city's architecture, waterways, and of the mobile waterfront

While the Archives has, over the years, been able to minimally process the Palmer collection, nothing to date has been done with the Burton collection. We hope that the NEH grant will be successful and allow us to finally offer these images to the people of Mobile.

"Our Journal List" Changes

If you have clicked on "Our Journal List" link on the Library's homepage in the last two weeks, you will have seen a new interface. We have changed from TDNet to Serials Solutions. These are companies which provide what we call "link resolvers." If you have a citation to a journal one listing in Serial Solutionsarticle, but not the full text, you can enter the journal title here to find out if a database contains the journal and the years it is full-text (or link to our catalog record to detect it in our print collection.) Clicking on the database name will take you to the journal within that database, at which point you can follow your citation info to the actual article.

Sometimes when searching a database, you will find "Link to Full Text" at the bottom of a citation. Clicking on this invokes the same link resolver which, with patience your part, connects you to the article in a different database.

Sounds easy! Unfortunately the "resolver" doesn't always work as expected, especially with change-over kinks not yet ironed out. Always call the Reference Desk (460-7025) if you stumble on a kink. We can offer solace and get you to the right place.

Immersion '08 and
Other Noteworthy Out-of-BodyLibrary Experiences

Ellen Wilson, our newest reference/instructional technology librarian, was selected to attend the ACRL (Association of College and Resgraphic logo for Information Literacyearch Libraries) National Immersion Program 2008 this summer in San Diego. It is designed to enhance the teaching skills of academic librarians from the U.S. and Canada in a concentrated one-week session. Not only was she selected to attend the highly selective program, but received a scholarship from the ACRL to cover some of her expenses and was granted USA faculty developmencartoon image of ellen wilsont money for the rest. For a week at the end of July, Ellen immersed herself, with 60 other attendees and five master instruction librarians, in learning styles and theories, creative teaching ideas, presentation technologies, learning outcomes, assessment as learning discussion and student-centered teaching techniques. Ellen says that, in addition to coming away with actual authentic assignments for the Freshman Seminar here, she gained confidence as a teacher, and now knows that she is not "just a librarian," but a true educator.

Librarians' Professional Activity--or Acronym Delight:

Ellen is currently secretary of the Alabama Association of College and Research Libraries (AACRL) and demonstrated a computer application called LibX toolbar at the Alabama Library Association (ALLA) in April.

Vera Finley is Member-at-Large for the College and University and Special Libraries Division (CUS) of the ALLA, as well as a member of its Executive Board.

Dennis Guion is a member of both the ALLA Education Committee and its Intellectual Freedom Committee.

Paul Haschak had an article entitled "The 'Platinum Route' to Open Access: A Case Study of E-JASL; The Electronic Journal of Academic (E-JASL) and Special Librarianship" published in Information Research, the October 2007 issue. He edited and published 3 issues of E-JASL as well as attending the 27th Annual Charleston Conference in November and peer-reviewing 5 manuscripts for The Southeastern Librarian.

Muriel Nero was elected Secretary/Treasurer of Technical Services & Systems Round Table (TSSRT) of the ALLA.

Amy Prendergast will have a bibliographic essay published in the October 2008 issue of Choice entitled "Scientific Biography in the United States." She is also a Member-at-Large for the Organization and Bylaws Committee of CUS of ALLA.

Angela Rand was hired to be USA's Baldwin County librarian.

Vicki Tate, in addition to being 2007-2008 Chair of the Faculty Senate, has published an article in Library Journal titled "Notable Government Documents 2007." She attended the ALA Convention in Anaheim as the Government Documents Round Table (GODORT) past Chair of the Web Archives Task Force, Archivist, and the Federal Document Selector for the Notable Documents Panel. She also moderates the GOVDOC-L listserv.

Kathy Wheeler is co-chair of the national ACRL's Science and Technology Section, Subject and Bibliographic Access to S & T Materials and is also the Newsletter editor for the AACRL.

Richard Wood attended the EDUCAUSE Conference on Technology and the Future of Libraries in Orlando, the Texas Computer Education Association Convention in Austin in February, the Academic Library Advancement and Development Network Conference in Austin in June. He also attended two NAAL (Network of Alabama Academic Libraries) meetings in the state and served as the Chair of its executive committee. He was a member of a SACS accreditation team for LSU Health Sciences Center in Shreveport and also served as publisher for an online electronic book by Kirk Lodes called American Soccer Guide.


photo of three award winnersDuring National Library Week this April, the University Library presented its “Excellence in Librarianship Award” to Jan Sauer. Jan has been with the University Library since 1992 as the Instructional Services Librarian where she has been instrumental in expanding the instruction program. This past year she and her husband, David, authored the chapter “Critics on August Wilson” in Cambridge Companion to August Wilson. She has organized several webinars on a variety of professional topics, such as Library 2.0 and Web 2.0, for faculty and staff.  She also held a training session on Alabama Virtual Library (AVL) for Mobile County Public School media specialists.  She updated the design of the library homepage and prepared the photo tour and online tutorials and library assignments.  She has developed and taught sessions for Writing Outreach, Student Athletes, Japanese ESL, Medical Upward Bound, Writing Across the Curriculum, Alabama Rehabilitation Services, but is most often found doing library instruction sessions for EH 102 and for classes throughout the curriculum requiring library research .

The University Library also took time during National Library Week to honor two of our library staff members with the “Staff Appreciation Award”, in recognition of their outstanding service to the library.  Mrs. Bea Thompson, LTA I in Collection Management, was cited for her willingness to help anyone that needed it and for her positive attitude.  Mr. Trevor Elmore, LTA I in the Reference Dept., was recognized as the “go-to guy” for his department.  If something needed to be done, then Trevor did it.  Both Bea and Trevor are much appreciated for all of their hard work they have given to the library during this past year.