Faculty at WSU are invited to explore open educational resources (OER) and apply for funding to adapt or create them for their own courses.
March’s Faculty-Led Workshops will feature pertinent OER information and perspectives. Many WSU faculty members are employing OER and other textbook alternatives, with great success. They often report higher levels of engagement and positive feedback from students after switching to low-cost or no-cost digital learning materials. “Transitioning your course to use Open Educational Resources (OER)” will be held on March 5 and “Navigating the OER Environment” will be held on March 6. Registration and further details are available on the Learning Innovations website under Faculty Led Workshops.
The workshops will serve as a primer for the Affordable Learning Grant applications, which are due March 18, 2019. The grants range from $1,500 to $4,500 and are designed to offset the time and expense required to develop and/or implement high quality, freely available digital material in classes.
Proposal submission is open to all current faculty members and instructors. The grants were developed in response to student concerns about course material costs. Funding is provided by the Office of the President and grants are intended to support transitioning away from expensive commercial textbooks and instead explore new curricular strategies that employ the use of freely available digital course material of equivalent or higher quality.
Visit provost.wsu.edu/open-education-resources for more information on OER and the many resources available.
—Story by Todd Mordhorst
Illustrations from the WSU Veterinary History Collection are on display now through summer session at the Animal Health Library in Wegner Hall 170, part of the twice‑yearly “Art in the Library” program.
“We hope that in some small way, the exhibit might bring greater student awareness of the collection, greater faculty awareness of the process and work behind these large historical collections, and greater public awareness of the need for preservation in times of natural disaster,” said Suzanne Fricke, WSU animal health sciences librarian.
“Art in the Library” exhibits feature animal-themed works, typically with a connection to the WSU College of Veterinary Medicine. For more information, visit the WSU Veterinary Medicine news website.
Five centuries of veterinary history
In 1978, shortly after a fire threatened his home in Santa Barbara, Calif., Dr. J. Fred Smithcors began donating his extensive collection of some 1,200 printed books, pamphlets, manuscripts and ephemera to WSU. Today, the WSU Veterinary History Collection consists of almost 1,900 items dating from the 16th to the 20th century.
Considered one of the finest collections devoted to the history of veterinary medicine, the WSU collection contains such landmark works as “Anatomia del Cavallo” (1707) by Carlo Ruini, considered the father of equine anatomy; Andrew Snape’s “Anatomy of an Horse” (1683); and George Stubbs’ folio, “The Anatomy of the Horse” (1766). Smithcors also collected the earliest American imprints on veterinary topics, including multiple editions of “The Citizen and Countryman’s Experienced Farrier” (1764, 1797, 1803 and 1839).
Smithcors’ wife, Ann, counts among her favorites in the collection a book her husband wrote: “Evolution of the Veterinary Art,” published in 1957. It is a narrative account of veterinary practices through 1850.
“This really tells the story of veterinary medicine in a very readable way,” she said. “You do not need to be in the profession to enjoy learning about the early years.”
For those who visit the exhibit, Ann said she hopes they will take away “a new enthusiasm for the profession, excitement about what huge contributions veterinarians have made both to human and animal health, and a desire to explore more by visiting WSU Manuscripts, Archives and Special Collections and handling some of these antiquarian books, which were so lovingly collected over the years.”
First veterinary history course
In 1955, while on the faculty of Michigan State University, Smithcors developed the first course in veterinary history to be taught at any school or college of veterinary medicine in the United States. As a visiting professor to the Pullman campus, he lectured on veterinary history every fall from 1978 until 1998.
“I always remember Dr. Smithcors stopping in the then Veterinary Medical/Pharmacy Library to chat during his annual visits,” said Vicki Croft, retired head of the WSU Animal Health Library. “He was such a gentleman and so knowledgeable and committed to the study of veterinary history and its importance to modern‑day DVM students.”
Smithcors published more than 100 articles in professional journals on topics ranging from endocrinology to history, edited definitive texts in large animal medicine and surgery, and authored several books on veterinary history.
He was founder and first president of the American Veterinary Medical History Society (AVMHS), which honored him by creating the Smithcors History of Veterinary Medicine Symposium in 2013. The AVMHS also sponsors an annual essay contest in Smithcors’ name, open to all DVM students currently enrolled in veterinary colleges in the United States, Canada and West Indies.
—Story by Nella Letizia
In her 1957 book “All But My Life,” Holocaust survivor and human rights activist Gerda Weissmann Klein wrote, “The part of my formative years over which fate cast such a large shadow imposes an enormous burden and is not fully sorted out even now. No manual for survival was ever handed to me, nor were any self‑help books available. Yet somehow I made my way, grappling with feelings that would let me reconcile difficult memories with hope for the future, and balancing pain with joy, death with life, loss with gain, tragedy with happiness.”
Klein’s book and some 400 others are part of a personal collection of Holocaust literature recently donated to WSU by alumnus Lawrence Seeborg (’62 Economics). For 50 years, Seeborg sought histories and first‑person accounts from Jewish survivors to build his collection.
“Every story is different,” he said. “There was a lot of luck involved in who survived the camps, but also a lot of determination. I’ve always been interested in the human nature aspects of the Holocaust and how people adapt to very difficult circumstances. I also had a great deal of empathy for the survivors’ plight.”
In honor of International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Jan. 27, WSU Libraries has created an exhibit, “Voices from the Holocaust: Personal Narratives in the Seeborg Holocaust Collection,” in the Terrell Library exhibit case. The exhibit runs through Feb. 3.
Learning from Holocaust survivors
Seeborg began collecting Holocaust literature after seeing the movie version of “The Diary of Anne Frank” in 1959. Then in 1983, he attended the American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors in Washington, D.C., where he met several survivors in person. Seeborg also learned of plans to build the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. The museum was completed in 1993, and Seeborg attended the opening.
“The museum’s bookstore was an important source for books being added to my collection,” he said.
Several years later, Seeborg read Serge Klarsfeld’s book “French Children of the Holocaust,” published in 1996. The book contains the names and photographs of more than 2,500 French children who died in the gas chambers at Auschwitz.
“This book reinforced my efforts to collect first‑person accounts about the Holocaust,” Seeborg said. “It is difficult to look at the hundreds of French children in this book who were transported to their deaths by the Nazis in World War II.”
Collection donated in father’s honor
Seeborg said he donated the collection to his alma mater in honor of his father, Edward. It also adds to WSU Libraries’ existing collection of Holocaust materials; most of Seeborg’s books are new to the Libraries.
“I’ve had these books in my collection 30 to 40 years,” he said. “These are people talking to me. I wanted these books to be kept together. There is a lot of satisfaction knowing that they will be.”
Among the titles Seeborg considers noteworthy is Klein’s “All But My Life.” In it, Klein details the loss of her parents and brother, her own incarceration in a series of labor camps, and the 350‑mile death march she survived before being liberated at the end of the war. Of the 4,000 women forced to march by the Nazis, only 150 lived.
“This is an important book in the literature of the Holocaust,” Seeborg said. “Klein devoted her life to educating others about the Holocaust when she resettled in the United States after World War II.”
—Story by Nella Letizia
Soon to be 100 years old, the Washington State Fight Song is the Cougar Nation’s familiar and much‑loved anthem. A new exhibit at WSU’s Manuscripts, Archives and Special Collections celebrates the iconic song as well as the two women who wrote it.
“When you think about the things that make WSU unique, the fight song is certainly one of them,” said Mark O’English, university archivist and exhibit curator. “It has gained a place in popular culture and been used as wakeup music for space shuttle astronauts.”
“Win the Day for Crimson and Gray: Celebrating a Century of the Fight Song” opens with a reception from 3–4:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 17, at MASC in Terrell Library. The exhibit is open for viewing during MASC’s regular hours, 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m., Monday–Friday, and will remain up through the final full week of April.
As the patriotic fervor from World War I began to subside, students at Washington State College found themselves uninspired by the songs associated with their school, according to O’English. Two senior students, Zella Melcher of Spokane, Wash., and Phyllis Sayles of Lapwai, Idaho, took on the task of writing new music to energize the student body.
Melcher was an active, outgoing soprano, the only woman in the glee club and one of a small group of women who had organized the campus’s new music honorary, Mu Phi Epsilon. Among the first recruits into that group was Sayles, a transfer student and pianist from Northwestern University, where she’d compiled a book of that school’s fight songs. For WSC’s song, Melcher wrote the words and Sayles the music.
“They debuted their creation to great acclaim on Feb. 20, 1919, at a student body meeting, and one century later their Fight Songstill inspires WSU students,” O’English said. “While other songs are affiliated with the university, notably ‘Crimson and Gray Girl,’ ‘All Hail to Washington State,’ ‘Old Wazzu’ or even Andy Grammer’s ‘Back Home,’ the Fight Song has been the campus’s pre‑eminent song from day one.”
Clif Stratton knows the difference library instruction makes for his students. For more than five years, he has brought students in his “Roots of Contemporary Issues” class to Terrell Library to meet with Corey Johnson, WSU’s instruction and assessment librarian. Johnson teaches the students how to find suitable primary and secondary sources for their research assignments, a skill the students will need for the remainder of their academic careers at WSU.
“Corey deals in concrete examples in his demonstrations of how to use databases,” said Stratton, assistant clinical professor in the Department of History and assistant director of the “Roots of Contemporary Issues” program. “This approach has been instrumental in helping model for students when to place limits and what kinds of limits to place on their searches in order to return the most relevant materials.”
“The demos have also been critical in helping students to realize the value of good search term combinations, to understand the differences in types of sources, to avoid the pitfall of assuming that everything in the catalog called a book is actually a scholarly study of their topic, and to embrace trial and error in the search process as a way to hone one’s skills,” he said.
After the demonstrations, Stratton and Johnson allow for work time in the library, where students can immediately apply what Johnson has taught to their specific research topics. They can pull the sources they’ve just located, as well as any other subject-relevant sources.
“The proximity of the demos to work time allows students to leave the class session with a sense that they’ve not simply received information and instructions but have had the chance to successfully apply that information to their projects,” Stratton said. “They tend to be much more confident in their ability to repeat the steps ahead of the research assignment due dates.”
Benefits backed by study
The Greater Western Library Alliance conducted a study in the 2014‑15 school year of 1,725 freshman‑level courses and 25,327 students at 12 research universities, including WSU. The study sought to determine what effect library instruction participation and specific library instruction teaching methods have on student retention and other measures of academic success.
The study revealed that for eight of the 12 universities, attendance in library training classes is highly associated with student retention. In terms of academic success, students who receive library instruction can be expected to complete 1.8 more credit hours per academic year and earn 0.02 points higher in their first‑year GPA than those who did not attend training.
At WSU, there was a positive correlation between having participated in library instruction and a higher retention rate, as well as earning 1.4 more first‑year credit hours.
“Librarians understand there are many factors that are at play in facilitating academic success, but it is also clear that participating in library instruction is one of the central ways students develop the information literacy skills needed to have a successful undergraduate experience,” Johnson said.
Helping students overcome library anxiety
Erica England, first‑year experience librarian, noted that many first‑year students, whether traditional freshmen or transfer students, lack the necessary skills that are imperative to successfully perform the level of research required in higher education.
“Unfortunately many of these same students are also coming to us with library anxiety — a fear of not only the library itself, but also of librarians, and this is one hurdle that we must overcome as soon as possible,” England said.
All library instruction programming should be fun as well as informative and educational, England said. To this end, she has incorporated such tools as escape rooms and sensationalized sample search topics to make the library instruction sessions more engaging.
“Library instruction should also be designed to meet students where their needs are,” England said. Students receive necessary foundational research skills that subject-specific librarians can then build on when they are in their core discipline classes.
“It’s also extremely important for students to see the strong partnerships that have been developed with teaching faculty across campus,” she said. “This helps students see the value in the library and makes forming connections with them so much easier.”
Extension of classwork
English instructor Megan Hall is one of the teaching faculty who has partnered with England for library instruction sessions. Hall schedules two or three sessions each semester for her English 101 students and said they have had a very positive experience.
“I view the instruction sessions at the library as an extension of our classwork, so I try to scaffold my coursework in a way that students are at a place in their current writing projects where the sessions are immediately relevant and productive for them,” she said.
During England’s sessions, students engage with research tools and concepts in hands‑on activities designed to help students identify, find and evaluate credible sources and effective search terms.
“These are invaluable skills not only for English 101, but also for the academic writing and research that students will complete during the rest of their degree work,” Hall said.
Hall has also witnessed how students move from being reserved at first to being more at ease and confident in their research skills.
“I think that scheduling several library sessions during the semester helps students learn how to take advantage of the resources they have available to them on campus,” she said. “Many students have not spent time in the library beyond campus tours, so getting them into the library and talking with librarians is such a valuable experience. I’ve had many students tell me that after our library sessions, they felt comfortable returning to the library on their own and asking for help with their research projects.”
—Story by Nella Letizia
WSU Libraries are seeking student, faculty and staff volunteers to participate in one-hour focus groups for the redesign of the libraries’ website.
The focus groups will take place at 11 a.m. on Jan. 9, 3 p.m. on Jan. 10 and noon on Jan. 11 at the Holland and Terrell Libraries. All participants will receive $15 credited to their WSU account upon completion.
Please contact core services librarian Blake Galbreath (email@example.com) by Jan. 7 to sign up.
To prevent another round of cuts to WSU Libraries’ journals subscriptions, WSU President Kirk Schulz and WSU Provost Dan Bernardo recently designated an additional $150,000 to the libraries’ budget.
This is the second consecutive year the president and provost have allocated additional money to the libraries’ journal fund, with $500,000 designated in 2017.
Like other academic libraries around the U.S. and world, WSU Libraries face the daunting task of maintaining academic journal subscriptions for faculty, staff and students, amid rising inflation costs from publishers. The result is yearly cuts to journal packages and diminishing title offerings.
“In terms of saving our journal budget, we’re long past cutting out any easily shed titles,” said WSU Libraries Dean Jay Starratt. “At this point, any journal we propose cutting has been used or cited by WSU researchers, or are publications in which WSU researchers have published in.
“We are truly grateful for this funding by the president and provost, not only because we have the means to keep our academic journal packages for another year, but also because for the first time in 30 years, we have moved up in Association of Research Libraries rankings as a result of not cutting titles,” Starratt added.
Long history of cancellations
According to Joel Cummings, head of collection development, up until the past two years, the WSU Libraries had nearly annual journal cancellations since about 1992. The libraries today subscribe to large journal packages and databases, which have the advantage of offering more variety, but without the ability to pick which titles get bundled.
In general, prices for these packages go up about 6 percent per year on average, Cummings said. Even with stable funding, WSU Libraries fell behind.
“It is encouraging to gain ground in this area,” Starratt noted. “The materials budget is improving, finally allowing us to match our achievements and excellence in information literacy instruction and the Center for Digital Scholarship and Curation, which has brought in more than $2 million in grant funds.”
Open access repositories
One avenue for ensuring that information is accessible in a more equitable way, even to groups that can’t afford high subscription costs to access journals, is publishing work in an open access repository, according to Talea Anderson, WSU scholarly communications librarian.
“I think open access repositories can provide visibility to a variety of research and educational materials, some of which hasn’t traditionally had a home in academic publications, like datasets, theses and supplementary materials,” Anderson said. “For some disciplines that thrive on rapid dissemination of information, open access repositories can also be really useful for conveying information quickly.”
Open to WSU researchers, the university’s Research Exchange promotes the preservation and sharing of scholarship produced at WSU. All faculty members, staff, students and affiliates can share their research in any digital format, including articles, book chapters, working papers, technical reports, conference presentations, datasets, images, media and more.
WSU librarian Trevor Bond has been selected by the Washington State Historical Society as the recipient of the 2018 Charles Gates Memorial Award for his article “Documenting Missionaries and Indians: The Archive of Myron Eells.”
The award recognizes “the most significant achievement among all articles published in the Pacific Northwest Quarterly.” He will be honored at the annual meeting of the Washington State Historical Society on Saturday, Sept. 22.
The article begins with an engaging twist: “Writing in his diary in 1898 from the rain-drenched Skokomish Reservation in western Washington, the missionary Myron Eells made a confession. “Have finished copying the journal of Rev. H. H. Spalding from 1839 to 1843, for Prof. F. G. Young of the Oregon State University. I have, I acknowledge, omitted a few pages which speak of some of the troubles of the missions, which had better never see the light.”
Bond is the head librarian for Manuscripts, Archives and Special Collections in Terrell Library, and the associate dean for digital initiatives and special collections.
The full article can be found as a PDF on the WSU Libraries website.
Retired WSU librarians Vicki Croft and Marilyn Von Seggern recently received honors from the Medical Library Association and the American Library Association.
Croft, former head of the WSU Animal Health Library, shared MLA’s Erich Meyerhoff Prize with Susanne K. Whitaker, retired veterinary librarian at Cornell University, for best unpublished essay on the history of medicine and the allied sciences written by a health sciences librarian.
Croft and Whitaker co-authored “The Role of Accreditation on the Evolution of United States and Canadian Veterinary School Libraries in the Late 19th and 20th Centuries.” Their paper, which incorporated materials from WSU’s Manuscripts, Archives and Special Collections, was chosen for the Meyerhoff prize for its originality and relevance to the topic of accreditation standards for veterinary medical libraries.
Von Seggern, former WSU government documents librarian, earned the Bernadine Abbott Hoduski Founders Award from the ALA’s Government Documents Roundtable (GODORT) for significant contributions to the field of state, international, local or federal documents. The award recognizes those whose contributions have benefited not only the individual’s institution but also the profession.
Von Seggern was active in the Northwest Government Information Network and served as WSU’s representative to the Technical Report Archive and Image Library from 2010 until her retirement in 2017. Marilyn also made wide-ranging contributions to GODORT, across at least six committees and all three task forces. One highlight was her work on the State Databases Project for Washington, which she maintained with thoroughness and meticulous detail.