Ask A Librarian

Fun Summer Film Course: Film and Media Literacy

Posted by
April 24th, 2009

Wanted: WVU students who love movies and like online courses

We have the class for you.

Film and Media Literacy (ULIB300 CRN53044) is taught online. The course is an eCampus course and does not meet in a classroom. Students watch films independently in the private viewing rooms in the Media Services Department of the Downtown Campus Library. These rooms have 42” plasma screens and high quality sound systems to deliver an optimal atmosphere for viewing films. Students also have the option to watch films at home if they rent them.

Here are some quotes from students that took the course:

“This was also one of my first web classes and I felt it was better than other web classes I have taken this semester.”

“I really enjoyed this course and would like to take more classes like this.”

“This was my favorite class throughout all of college.”

In this class, you will choose four of eight genres to study. The choices are: Blaxploitation, Slasher, Gangster, Westerns, Dark Comedy, the Films of Quentin Tarantino, Graphic Novel Adaptations, and World Cinema. You will then select two of the fours genres to focus further on and watch five more films that capture the development of those genres. Finally, you will research and choose a film from lists in your selected genres to critique for your final assignment. You will also study media literacy, film criticism and vocabulary, and film databases.

For more information and a complete film list visit the course web page at

Extended Hours Begin Sunday

Posted by
April 23rd, 2009

The Downtown Campus and Evansdale Libraries will open at 9 am on Sunday, April 26th, and remain open 24 hours for most of the next two weeks. See Library Hours for details.

Study hard.

Good luck and best wishes from librarians and library staff.

Libraries Select Info Literacy Participants

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
April 16th, 2009

It will be a busy summer for five faculty members selected to participate in a new information literacy initiative designed to help them enhance their courses. The chosen faculty will work closely with five librarians to design relevant information literacy learning outcomes for their course syllabi.

The WVU Libraries’ Information Literacy Course Enhancement Program, a collaborative effort between the Libraries and the Provost’s Office, is focused on fulfilling the University’s 2010 Plan,, for information literacy to become a curriculum component across all disciplines by 2010.

“We needed a way to show WVU what more can happen when librarians and faculty work together in the 21st century information environment,” said Carroll Wilkinson, WVU Libraries’ Director of Instruction and Information Literacy. “I am grateful to Dr. Martin and Dean O’Brien for making this project possible.”
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Tell the Libraries What You Think

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
April 12th, 2009

Consider it a virtual suggestion box for the WVU Libraries. In a few days, about 4,000 randomly selected students and faculty will receive an email requesting they participate in LibQUAL, an online survey taking place this month.

The WVU Libraries want input from students, faculty, and staff on the services and resources they currently provide and what offerings they should add. The survey, consisting of 45 multiple-choice questions and has room for comments, enables library users to share their frank opinions about all aspects of the Libraries.
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wvuScholar Research Repository Now Online

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
April 2nd, 2009

If information is today’s currency, wvuScholar is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

The recently launched research repository, a joint effort by the West Virginia University Libraries, the Office of Information Technology, and the Office of Academic Affairs and Research, brings together scholarly research from students and faculty and makes them accessible through one search engine.

“WvuScholar is a much better interface than we had before,” said John Hagen, Program Coordinator for the Institutional Repository. “It’s easier to search. You can search full-text, not just keywords.”

Migration of the old WVU eIDR system to the new Ex Libris “DigiTool” repository (IR) system began last fall. The collections include Electronic Theses and Dissertations (ETDs), Electronic undergraduate Honors Theses (EHTs) and the Electronic Scholarly Research Archives (ESRA), a faculty research portal.

Student-driven research has been an important part of the open access initiative. WVU became a pioneer in the field in 1998 when it required electronic submission of all master’s theses and doctoral dissertations. Undergraduate Honors College theses are now a graduation requirement as well.

The enhanced access to research posted online translates into many more eyes reading one’s work than would otherwise happen. An ETD is read thousands of times more than their printed counterparts. Over the past decade, the Libraries have recorded more than 10 million ETD downloads.

“The ETD initiative is a way for WVU to participate in discovering new methods of scholarly communication – how our faculty and student research is made available in today’s changing research environment,” said Frances O’Brien, Dean of the WVU Libraries. “Active communication among scholars and the public is an important part of our mission as a land grant university.”

To search the wvuScholar collections, go to

Enhance Your Course with Information Literacy

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
February 18th, 2009

An initiative between the WVU Libraries and the Provost’s Office will help up to five faculty members enhance their courses while earning a $3,000 stipend.

The WVU Libraries’ Information Literacy Course Enhancement Program is focused on integrating information literacy into the classroom. The University’s 2010 Plan,, states that information literacy will be a curriculum component across all disciplines by 2010.

Each of the selected participants will receive a summer stipend, or other relevant professional remuneration if 12-month faculty apply, and will work with the WVU Libraries’ Director of Instruction and Information Literacy and their librarian liaison to create discipline-specific active learning assignments that address information literacy concepts. The revised courses will be taught during the fall 2009 or spring 2010 semester.

Participants will also take part in a Showcase of Information Literacy Learning Progress Forum during the academic year.

To apply for the program, visit and click on WVU Information Literacy Course Enhancement Grants. For more information, contact Carroll Wilkinson, Director of Instruction and Information Literacy, at 293-0308 or

WVU Libraries Hit Milepost with Book Borrowing Service

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
January 26th, 2009

Throw some confetti and drop the balloons. The WVU Libraries have recently delivered the one-millionth book to be requested through the popular E-ZBorrow service.

“I was really excited when I learned we hit the milestone,” said Hilary Fredette, Head of Access Services for the Downtown Campus Library. “I knew that the one-millionth request was due at any time, but I didn’t think that WVU would be the library to get the request.”

The book, The City and the Pillar and Seven Early Stories by Gore Vidal, was requested by a University of Pittsburgh student.

E-ZBorrow is similar to Interlibrary Loan but offers some advantages. The service enables users to log onto a Web site themselves and simultaneously search the library holdings of more than 50 colleges and universities. After finding the desired title, users can then request the book be sent to a library on their campus.

The service was created by the Pennsylvania Academic Library Consortium Inc., or PALCI, a group of academic libraries with a reciprocal lending and borrowing agreement. WVU joined PALCI in 2004 and is among a handful of members outside of the Keystone State.

Talk about hitting the one-million mark began in August 2008 when the 900,000th request arrived, said Randy Jenkins, Manager of the Libraries’ Depository. It took just 20 weeks for the libraries in PALCI to fill 100,000 requests, which translates to 5,000 transactions a week.

The WVU Libraries contribute significantly to E-ZBorrow operations, receiving and filling about 300 requests a week.

WVU students and faculty also benefit greatly from this service. While the WVU Libraries have 1.6 million books, the agreement gives students access to combine collections totaling near 30 million. Last year, students and faculty here used E-ZBorrow to obtain about 15,000 books.

“The service is another user choice,” Libraries Dean Frances O’Brien said. “You could try to find the complete text of an out-of-copyright book online, you could purchase the book from Amazon or Alibris, you could plan a trip to Philadelphia to visit Penn’s Van Pelt Library, or you can try E-ZBorrow.”

Downtown Library Tutoring Hours Expanded

Posted by
January 13th, 2009

Students can get free help with chemistry, biology, math, physics, and statistics in the Downtown Campus Library Reference Department. Peer tutors from the Academic Resource Centers will be on hand from 7 pm until 11 pm every evening from Sunday through Thursday. You’ll find them in Room 1020 on the first floor.

The service is free and no appointments are necessary.

Tutors from the WVU Writing Center will be joining the schedule soon. Watch for the announcement of their hours.

Stay ahead of the game this semester. Take advantage of this free service.

Libraries Announce Upgrade to MountainLynx Online Catalog

Posted by
January 13th, 2009

The Libraries are pleased to announce an upgrade to the MountainLynx Library Catalog coming this spring. Users will find many enhancements and new features that will improve using the catalog of the Libraries’ holdings. Library catalog users can find out what books, journals, newspapers, microforms, and audiovisual materials the WVU Libraries own. MountainLynx contains holdings for all the WVU Libraries including the Downtown Campus, Evansdale, Health Sciences, and Law Libraries, and the West Virginia and Regional History Collection.

The coming redesigned user interface is clean, intuitive, and easy to navigate. Other features to look for include individual record displays that are more readable and distinct. The action buttons (Print, Export, and Add to List) are visually connected to the records they affect. Users can apply one or multiple filters to narrow the results by date, location, medium, or any of the other standard limiting options. With a default link to Google Book Search, users can view results with the enhanced features such as full text, book previews, cover thumbnails, etc. The easy-to-use “My Account” display offers a more complete picture of transactions and account information. It is now supported on the Firefox 2.0 Web browser.

MountainLynx will still be on the same platform and retain all the features of the old system, so experienced users should not have any trouble finding their way around. One change that users may need to take note of is that the choice named “Assisted Search” in the old system will be called “Advanced” in the new one. When the new system comes up, users will be able to try it out or use the old system until after Spring Break (March 16th) when the classic version will be taken down.