College Colloquium Guides

Each fall our librarians put together amazing web pages for each College Colloquium freshman class to customize library resources and services.  The topics vary from class to class, and represents the interests of the faculty instructor who teaches the course.  We’d like to highlight some of these library guides (click here to view all 27 of our library college colloquium guides).

 

Harry Potter and the Ethics of Difference

Harry Potter is undoubtedly a cultural phenomenon which all stemmed from that original magical series. Part of what makes this book series so interesting is that it addresses social (un)justice through the eyes of the main character Harry Potter (HP), through his interactions with the cruel Dursley family in the Muggle world, to his dealings with classroom bullying, and a corrupt wizarding government. This Harry Potter-themed course investigates the social hierarchy of the wizarding world and how it overlaps with the real world.

Our librarians had a lot of fun pulling together useful and fun resources to support this course.  References to HP are woven throughout this resource, such as a Harry Potter name generator, unofficial HP recipes and cookbooks, popular mobile games (e.g. Wizards Unite and Hogwarts Mysteries), related books (e.g. The Psychology of Harry Potter, and Legilimens–the spell that allows wizards to see into another person’s mind), quotes from the characters (“It matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be,” Albus Dumbledore, Goblet of Fire), HP-inspired conceptual art (from Van Gogh styles to stain glass and anime art styles), and ideas for pumpkin carving.  Even the tabbed pages are labelled with well-known spells from this classic series!

 

Asia in Oregon 

This colloquium explores the experiences of people of Asian heritage who call Oregon home and examines Asian influences on the land and culture of the state.  One of the fun aspects of this class are the field trips to local archives to experience first-hand (primary) sources in Archives and Special Collections.

The library guide for this course highlights a nice selection of Asian-related books (e.g. Encyclopedia of Japanese American History, and Roots and Reflections: South Asians in the Pacific Northwest) and films, including feature films (e.g. Snow Falling on Cedars), Asian-American documentaries (e.g. Between Two Worlds: The Hmong Shaman in America), and Oregon-based documentaries (e.g. 7,500 Miles to Redemption). The guide also features resources from our Archives including Willamette’s newspaper The Collegian, The Campus Photograph Collection (2,700+ photos of Willamette’s campus), The Willamette Scene (alumni publication), the Wallulah (Willamette yearbook), and the Germaine Louise Fuller Papers which offers the designs for Willamette’s Japanese Garden.  Willamette also has a long and rich history with the Tokyo International University of America (TIUA), and the library has the archival collections for TIUA (1973-2016) and the Barry Duell TIU collection (1975-2015).

 

Games: Design, Strategy, Philosophy, & Society

Games come in an almost endless array of strategies, goals, designs, etc. In this colloquium, students create their own games as a final project.  During the semester, they learn to play a variety of games, some classic games and many that students probably haven’t even heard of that push boundaries of design and play experience.

The guide for this course features a small selection of cool, board game-related books from our collection, such as Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals, Games and Decision Making, and The Mathematics of Games and Gambling.  Some articles from the Academic Search Premier database have been highlighted (e.g. Manipulation in Board Game Interactions: Being a Sporting Player; and Using the Board Game Borel to illustrate probability calculations).  The “Trivial Pursuit Fun Stuff” page highlights a website that lists Board Games by Decade as well as Collectible Games between 1900-1950.

 

Hidden Bodies of Art

Art of the human body goes back several millennia, even prehistorically such as the caves of Lascaux, France. Each culture expresses their values, beliefs and conventions through their artistic renditions of the human body, such as the Renaissance depictions of the highly idealized body or sometimes the complete absence of the body as is often the case in abstract art.

Since the human body is a classic area of study, there are many outstanding books and encyclopedias on or related to this topic, some of which are included in the library guide for this college colloquium and include The Grove Encyclopedia of Classical Art and Architecture, Michelangelo and the Reinvention of the Human Body, and Despotic Bodies and Transgressive Bodies.  There is a useful list of Library of Congress general call numbers (classifications) which allows users to browse our book collection. This guide also lists films from our collection: Feature films (e.g. Warm Bodies), Documentaries (e.g. Cave of Forgotten Dreams), Related Arts films (e.g. Against the Odds: the Artists of the Harlem Renaissance), and Foreign Language films (e.g. The Skin I Live In). All of our colloquium guides include a list of helpful databases to use when looking for articles, a page for interlibrary loan explaining how to request materials not available at Willamette, and a citation style guide appropriate to the class.

Knitting Culture

There is a lot that goes into knitting, from the procurement of materials to the end product. Students really learn how to knit in this class as well as examine the impact and value of knitting through a multidisciplinary approach of history, fashion, politics, science, psychology, and philosophy.

This library guide has cleverly used a knitting theme; its tabbed pages use knitting terminology (e.g. “purlwise” for books, “whipstick” for articles, and “frogging” for fun stuff).  Also, instead of the standard Facebook logo, a knitted blue letter “F” is used, and a knitted stocking cap with an American flag is included with the course description. The page for books offers some wonderful titles from our collection such as Knitting School: the Complete Guide to Becoming a Confident Knitter, Crochet One-Skein Wonders: 101 Projects from Crocheters Around the World, and The Close Knit Circle: American Knitters Today.  Some of the fun things listed on the Frogging page are YouTube videos of how to turn wool into yarn by hand, and how to change yarn colors.  Local yarn and fabric shops are lists (Teaselwick Wools), as well as popular thread-themed games (Unravel and Run Sackboy! Run!), and the highly rated Ravelry.com website for knitters and crocheters which provides free patterns and tips.

 


Capturing WU’s Scholarly Output

Guest post written by Bill Kelm, Hatfield Library Systems Librarian

Everyone knows that the library collects books, journals, and DVDs, but did you know that we also collect some of the scholarly output of Willamette’s students, faculty and staff? The library maintains the Academic Commons, a virtual clearinghouse for student research and digital scholarship at Willamette University. The Commons represents an evolving set of services and digital collections that are a resource for Willamette faculty and students and for members of the extended community. Some of the collections are open to the public but others are limited to current WU students, faculty and staff.

Students can also access past print theses in the Archives as well.

Student research ranges from senior theses, publications, grant projects, performances, films, journals, and online exhibits. Highlights include the Senior Thesis Collections and the Willamette Sports Law Journal.  Some collections like the law journal are open to the public and indexed in the library catalog.  Most of the theses collections are restricted to current Willamette University users; over thirty departments have theses collections in the Commons.  Faculty in some departments require students to submit their senior thesis to the Academic Commons and other departments identify outstanding theses and recommend those student researchers submit their theses to the Commons.

Reviewing some of the theses other students have submitted in the past can be a great way for current students to get a sense of what a senior thesis in their major might look like and what kinds of subjects might make appropriate topics. A number of departments have decided to scan their past theses as well; the Biology Department probably has the largest collection with some theses going to back the 1940’s and 50’s.

Submitting a thesis is not the same as adding a new post to Facebook so when students submit their works, the documents will not automatically appear in the Academic Commons.  All of our librarians monitor the incoming theses in their specific subject areas. They work to ensure the accuracy of the the metadata (subjects, abstracts, etc.) before they officially release the paper into the Academic Commons. The level or quality of the work found in the Commons can vary greatly.  As mentioned previously, some departments add only what they consider honors work and others add all the theses written by their students.

The library is also encouraging Willamette faculty to publish in Open Access journals. When faculty do this, the library can then add their work to the Common’s Faculty Publications section for that department. Open Access Journals LogoRight now four departments have Faculty Publications in the Academic Commons. While many faculty might want to make sure they are getting their papers in ResearchGate or Academia, we want to make sure we can legally capture their research in Willamette’s Academic Commons.  Many of the publisher agreements that faculty sign only allow pre-print copies of their work to be placed in local digital repositories.

Take some time to checkout the Academic Commons.  Students, if you do not see your major or department represented, let us know and we will be happy to check with faculty in that department. Faculty, let us know if you want your department included in the ever expanding and increasingly important Academic Commons.


Collaborative Research

By Michael Spalti

Collaborative research at a college or university takes many forms. More common in the sciences and social sciences than the arts and humanities, collaborative research nevertheless happens in and across every discipline and creates possibilities not available to the individual researcher.

This is true by definition of research projects that use digital media and techniques to compliment or replace traditional research publishing.  These digital projects typically involve time and expertise beyond the capability or interest of a single researcher — whether that researcher is a faculty member, a student, or a librarian.  Envisioning the research project and managing the learning curve of design, data gathering, interpretation, and implementation is not easy. That may explain why these projects are somewhat rare.

So why bother? I think the answer is that digital collaborative research creates significant and unique outcomes for the people involved and those who experience the end result.

Let’s focus on benefits to the student researcher. A liberal arts education is not about technical wizardry in a single field, and to the extent that creating “digital” research becomes an end in itself there’s potential for distraction. But it’s also clear that one’s ability to create and wisely use digital products is a vital part of being educated in today’s society. Prior experience working on digital projects may also enhance one’s ability to find meaningful employment once out of school. 

Research projects that involve students, faculty, librarians, archivists, or museum curators are a good way to explore digital tools and techniques within the context of a great liberal arts education.  More can often be achieved working collaboratively than working solo in a single semester. By definition, the product is not entirely your own, but you learn from instructors and mentors and create something that will last beyond graduation. 

One of the things we could do better as an institution is document your work. Academic transcripts don’t tell the full story.  For example, if a student works on an archival collection in the library’s Digital Production Lab, that contribution should be documented and described. This happens in some cases, for some research projects, but not always.  If you were to complete an online course on a popular learning platform (like Coursera, EdX, or Udacity) you could document that accomplishment on something like LinkedIn. We should make it possible to do the same for all collaborative research projects, whether completed for academic credit, through an internship, or on-campus employment.

Note: The image below, entitled “Alchemical Tree, Pseudo-Lull,” is taken from Salvador Dali’s Alchimie des Philosophes. The image is part of an exhibit created by Michelle Atherton (’15) in collaboration with Professor Abigail Sussik and the Hallie Ford Museum of Art curator Jonathan Bucci.


Is Google the Right Database for You?

By Gary Klein

When you are researching something for a class assignment, and have to restrict your search to only articles that were published in peer-reviewed, academic, and scholarly journals, is turning to Google the best way to find those sorts of articles? Turning to Google is certainly a quick way to find stuff, but is it a good place to find academic or scholarly research?

Google is great when you want to know what time the newest blockbuster movie starts at the mall, to locate the nearest cash machine, or to find a good recipe to make chestnut stuffing on Thanksgiving Day.

But there are a lot of academic research topics where Google just does not deliver relevant results.  The quick response time that you enjoy after hitting the “enter” key is lost when you have to scan through hundreds of results that totally miss the mark.  A mismatched search phrase can waste a lot of your time downloading, reading, and evaluating results before you reject an entry and check the next citation offered by Google.

One of the big things that Google lacks is context. For example, Google does not currently ask which type of depression you mean.  Instead, Google will offer you 122 million web pages, followed by a dictionary entry explaining only two ways that depression can be used as a noun in the English language (see example at https://tinyurl.com/y8rjgyvh).

If you turned to Wikipedia to begin your research, you will find 6 major types of depression (see example at https://tinyurl.com/lscmyg2).

6 Major Types of Depression via Wikipedia 
Biology – Physiology Reduction in a biological variable or the function of an organ.
Earth Science – Geology Land form sunken or depressed below the surrounding area.
Earth Science – Meterology Area of low atmospheric pressure characterized by rain and unstable weather.
Economics Sustained, long-term downturn in economic activity in one or more economies.
Exercise Science Anatomical term of motion, refers to downward movement, the opposite of elevation.
Physiology State of low mood and aversion to activity.

On the other hand, by turning to a subject-oriented database that compliments a research assignment, you would save time.  You start working with a database that is focused on academic journals, which are peer-reviewed, and provide scholarly research in your field of inquiry.

Below are examples of results you might find when turning to the Hatfield Library’s website and using a library guide for Economics:

 

The Hatfield Library also has tools to help you find databases for specific types of documents. Did you know that we have special databases that focus primarily on book reviews, or images, or statistics?

If you tackle a research topic that does not fit well within our academic departments or document types, another route is to ask one of our librarians to help. One responsibility of librarians is to help match people with the right database. We provide instant messaging chat service on many of the library’s web pages and databases. We also provide contact options to reach subject specific librarians on all of our LibGuides.

“When you are looking for information…
Turn to a librarian first,
And it will be the last place that you go to!”

The Hatfield Library employs full-time professional librarians that you can meet with in person, talk with over the phone, chat with via instant messenger, or contact via email. Our subject librarians can schedule an appointment to meet with you, or you can get help from the librarian on duty at the Reference Desk.

With over 200 databases, we know the volume of potential resources is daunting, but we’re here to help you. And that is something that you cannot get from Google nor from Wikipedia!