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Owen Library Open for Extended Hours During Dead, Finals Weeks

Owen Science and Engineering Library will be open from 7:30 a.m. Friday, Dec. 8, until 9:45 p.m. Friday, Dec. 15, to accommodate WSU student study schedules during the last two weeks of the fall semester.

Owen joins Holland and Terrell Libraries in keeping their doors open for extended hours during dead and finals weeks. In 2013, Holland and Terrell began offering 24/7 coverage, a decision that has been popular with university students since.

ASWSU at-large senator Angel Soria Alvarado met with WSU Libraries dean Jay Starratt and associate dean Beth Blakesley to request the longer operation hours for Owen Library. Library administrators agreed to the extension as a pilot.

“This change puts Owen Library more closely in line with Holland and Terrell Libraries’ extended hours,” Starratt said. “We try to be responsive to our students’ requests. ASWSU and GPSA have both been very generous with their support of the libraries.”

Baseball Superstitions: Just in Time for Halloween, World Series

This Halloween coincides with baseball’s World Series between the Houston Astros and the Los Angeles Dodgers, and what would the holiday or the game be without its superstitions?

Boston Red Sox player Babe Ruth in 1918. Photo by National Photo Company [public domain], courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Baseball players are among the most superstitious of professional athletes, with myriad rituals and routines to keep a winning streak alive or to pull a struggling team out of a slump. In 171 years of the sport’s existence, the list of do’s and don’ts covers everything from what to eat before a game to not washing your socks after the game is over.

And it’s not only the players who are a bit jittery. Just ask some of the fans of the Toronto Blue Jays and the Houston Astros if there’s such a thing as a Taylor Swift curse. New York Yankees fans recently revealed their favorite game-day superstitions, including Brad McLoughlin, who presses his girlfriend’s belly button to help his favorite team win.

In the spirit of bringing good luck to those celebrating Halloween and the World Series this week, a certain WSU Libraries’ patron dug into the stacks and online resources for why America’s pastime has so many wacky (and sometimes stinky) superstitions.

Why so superstitious?

In an April 1998 article for the peer-reviewed journal World & I, writer Jack Connelly described one of baseball’s most superstitious players, Tampa Bay Devil Ray third baseman Wade Boggs, one of the rare ball players to reach 3,000 career hits.

Active from his 1982 MLB debut with the Boston Red Sox to his final appearance in 1999 with the Devil Rays, Boggs credited his hitting achievements to his pregame habit of eating chicken, which his wife made. He followed strict timelines for waking every morning, leaving his house and running sprints. The numbers 7 and 17 held special significance for Boggs; in fact, he signed a contract for $717,000 in 1984. He also drew the letters for the Hebrew word chai, or “life,” every time he stepped in the batter’s box.

Boggs is by no means the first to compulsively stick to such extreme habits. Baseball seems to have always drawn such behaviors from its players. But why?

“One answer is that it’s older than other major American sports and is enmeshed in folklore,” Connelly wrote. “The early player was generally uneducated and quick to embrace any possible remedy for poor fielding or a batting average that matched his weight. Putting a lady’s hair ribbon under his cap or a rabbit’s foot in his pocket seemed as sensible as, say, working to improve his fielding or batting style. Players kept photographs, four-leaf clovers, a box of crickets, even frilly women’s underwear in their lockers.”

Another answer may be baseball’s slow pace compared to other professional sports, said writer Zack Hample during a 2015 interview with Canada AM – CTV Television out of Toronto. “It just lends itself to having your brain do weird things. So, while basketball and football have constant action back and forth and they’re smashing each other, in baseball you have 10 or 20 seconds between each pitch to sit there. And you know, funny things happen mentally.”

The curse of the Bambino

Curses and superstitions go hand in hand, especially in baseball. One need only remember the Black Sox scandal in which eight players of the 1919 Chicago White Sox team agreed to throw the World Series game against the Cincinnati Reds. After that, the White Sox would not win a World Series until 2005. Joseph L. Price explores this topic in his book, “Rounding the Bases: Baseball and Religion in America.”

“In baseball, the culture of curses thrives because of the larger system of superstitions from which it draws its energy and support,” Price wrote. “Belief in curses identifies a cosmic cause for failure, thus absolving players for their ineptitude and fans for their lack of faith or dutiful support. Belief in curses also cuts the sainted players some slack.”

Like the White Sox, the Boston Red Sox enjoyed early success in baseball’s beginning years, winning five of the first 15 World Series, including the 1918 World Series against the Chicago Cubs. Then Red Sox owner Harry Frazee did the unthinkable, selling Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees in 1920 to help finance a Broadway musical. The Fenway Fates were not amused. The Red Sox would not win another World Series until 2004, breaking their curse one year before the White Sox.

Still, did the power of curses and superstitions on the collective consciousness of ball players in part fuel their evolving mastery of the game? Some say that superstition does help performance. Steven Streeter, in the book “Baseball and Philosophy: Thinking Outside the Batter’s Box,” wrote, “Attention to baseball superstition brings awareness and precise concentration, and these qualities produce quantifiable results.”

Coug ball players are superstitious too

Superstitions are part of Cougar baseball players’ lives as well. Left-handed pitcher Dylan Orlando, a freshman out of Las Vegas, has several, including not stepping on the foul line when taking the field to play defense.

Another superstition is the rally hat. Flipping the hat inside out when the team is down in the last inning is supposed to bring good luck or start a rally.

But Orlando’s last superstition is shared by his teammates: Stay in your own seat when the Cougars are scoring a lot of runs, or else it will bring bad luck.

“Baseball has so many superstitions because it is a game of failure,” Orlando said. “It’s the only game where most of the time you are going to get out or fail. In this case, superstition is present because we have to find ways to ensure continued success.”

—Story by Nella Letizia

Exhibit Documents Montana Dog’s Life, Illness, Recovery at WSU Vet Teaching Hospital

For 10 years, photographer Lauren Grabelle and her Weimaraner, Sugar, were always on the move. In New Jersey, Grabelle entered Sugar in lure coursing, agility and flyball, sports geared toward burning off Sugar’s seemingly boundless energy.

Montana photographer Lauren Grabelle and her 12 ½ year old Weimaraner, Sugar. Photo by Lauren Grabelle.

Once settled in Bigfork, Mont., the pair hiked daily in the forests around their home. Grabelle once calculated that they had walked or hiked more than 10,000 miles together over the years.

More than her hiking partner, Sugar is the subject of many of Grabelle’s photographs, a co-creator of Grabelle’s artistic expression. So when Sugar’s back legs became paralyzed in the fall of 2015, Grabelle documented that odyssey too, which ultimately led them to the WSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital and Sugar’s full recovery.

An exhibit of Grabelle’s work, called “Sugar Rising,” opens on Thursday, Sept. 7, at the WSU Animal Health Library and runs through January, part of the WSU “Art in the Library” program. An opening reception is planned from 4-6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 7, in the Animal Health Library, Wegner Hall 170.

The twice-yearly “Art in the Library” exhibit features animal-themed works, typically from artists with a connection to the WSU College of Veterinary Medicine. For more information, visit

From big city to big country

Grabelle purchased Sugar from a Weimaraner breeder in 2005.

“Living in the suburbs of New Jersey, it’s hard to get out in nature, so I wanted to bring nature to me,” she said. “Weimaraners are very active, so the breeder made me promise to be active with Sugar for 10 years.”

From the moment Sugar arrived, Grabelle loved photographing the puppy. She entered photos of Sugar in a contest judged by William Wegman, the photographer who famously included his own Weimaraners in his whimsical images. Grabelle’s photos earned first and third place.

“The very first time I took photos of Sugar, it became a form of art,” Grabelle said.

In 2010, Grabelle moved to Bigfork on Montana’s Flathead Lake, the polar opposite of New Jersey’s hustle and bustle, to give Sugar more freedom and space to run. On daily explorations behind their home, Grabelle said “the relationship with Sugar and photography deepened.

“Your life is stripped down to a few elements, and that’s where creativity comes from,” she said. “Sugar and I live this kind of feral existence here.”

Unknown decline—and then an answer

Grabelle and Sugar continued their daily active lifestyle in Montana for five years until Sugar started to avoid hiking down the trails they used to walk on regularly. She also couldn’t bend her neck down to eat food from her bowl. A local vet diagnosed her with a form of arthritis common for aging dogs and prescribed medication. But Sugar’s stiffness and pain persisted, until the day she couldn’t move her back legs.

For two weeks, Grabelle carried Sugar everywhere, bought diapers for her, took Sugar to more vet appointments and had more X-rays taken to try and determine a cause for Sugar’s paralysis. One veterinarian suggested taking Sugar to the WSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital, six hours away. They managed to get a neurology appointment the day after Grabelle called the hospital.

Instead of another X-ray, WSU neurology intern Dr. Tom Jukier ordered an MRI, “the best test for spinal cord conditions,” he said. The test revealed not arthritis, but a bacterial infection of the spinal discs. Two days after starting antibiotics, Sugar was standing again.

“I love sharing this story with people,” Grabelle said. “I got lucky. With this technology, I got an answer that saved Sugar’s life.”

Today, Sugar walks with Grabelle on the trails again. And while the Weimaraner is slowing down with age, she’s still Grabelle’s muse.

“Creating art with Sugar is my therapy,” she said. “She connects me to the wilderness.”

NOTE: For another article about Sugar, go to To see Grabelle’s photographic work, go to

—Story by Nella Letizia

Cultural Preservation Initiative Wins Award

The Society of American Archivists has presented its Council Exemplary Service Award to the Sustainable Heritage Network, a project led by WSU for digital preservation of cultural heritage.

Kim Christen (left), Zuni Public Library’s Jennifer Lonjose (far right) and two community members discuss aspects of a photograph identification project in Zuni, N.M.

The SHN is managed by the Center for Digital Scholarship and Curation (CDSC) at WSU and works in partnership with the Association for Tribal Archives, Libraries and Museums to complement the work of indigenous peoples globally to preserve, share and manage cultural heritage and knowledge.

The network provides hands-on workshops, online tutorials and educational and networking resources for digital stewardship, with emphasis on ethical curation and culturally responsive methods. It is partly funded by the national Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Kim Christen, director of the Sustainable Heritage Network (SHN) and the CDSC, accepted the award at the archivist society’s annual meeting, July 26, in Portland, Ore.

“The Sustainable Heritage Network emphasizes a holistic and collaborative approach to digital stewardship, taking into account cultural, social and linguistic diversity at the core,” Christen said. “Working with Native American and First Nations librarians, archivists, museum specialists and community members, we have learned the value of creating practical, workable and culturally sustainable resources to aid in stewarding the invaluable materials that communities have in their care.

“In this way, sustainability is much larger than digitization of content,” she said. “It is about the care of community histories and belongings in ways that are most important to the stakeholders themselves.”

Since its launch in 2013, SHN has created thousands of unique resources in all aspects of digital stewardship and has hosted numerous in-person workshops in the United States and Canada at indigenous communities and tribal libraries, archives, museums and cultural centers, said Alex Merrill, SHN co-director and head of Systems and Technical Operations for WSU Libraries.

The work of the SHN and CDSC aligns with WSU’s Grand Challenges, a suite of research initiatives aimed at resolving large societal issues, including the advancement of opportunity and equity through cultural study and preservation. It furthers WSU’s Drive to 25 efforts by delivering innovative teaching and community outreach in fulfilling the university’s fundamental land-grant mission.

July 31: New WSU Libraries’ Research Database Goes Live

WSU Libraries will roll out a new research database to replace Lexis Nexis Academic on July 31. The new database, Nexis Uni, was designed with millennial students in mind, featuring personalization, collaboration and quick discovery components.


“Lexis Nexis Academic is one of the most heavily used databases that the WSU Libraries provide,” said Mary Gilles, WSU’s business and economics librarian. “Nexis Uni significantly increases user capabilities. It provides an intuitive interface, the ability to search across all content, personalization features such as alerts and saved searches, and a collaborative workspace with shared folders and annotated documents. Nexis Uni will greatly facilitate group projects for our students.”

Most of the content from Lexis Nexis Academic is moving to Nexis Uni, although a few source categories will not be available, Gilles said. Patrons will gain access to some new sources, however, such as expanded congressional materials, additional business sources, federal regulatory content and new international news sources.

“Overall, students can expect the same comprehensive news, business and legal information,” she said. “As the product progresses, there will be access to more sources than previously available in Lexis Nexis Academic.”

The new database was developed with feedback from college students, who were asked by the company to describe their ideal research experience. The prototype was tested with student focus groups as well.

To learn more about the new database, visit the library guide at

Former WSU Librarian Vicki Croft Elected MLA Fellow

Vicki F. Croft, retired head of the WSU Animal Health Library, has been elected a Fellow of the Medical Library Association, a nonprofit, educational organization with more than 4,000 health sciences information professional members and partners worldwide.


MLA Fellows are members elected by a board of directors for sustained and outstanding contributions to health sciences librarianship and to the advancement of the association’s purposes. The fellowship is one of MLA’s highest honors.

According to Croft’s nominators, she is a well-respected leader in medical librarianship with great passion and commitment to MLA for more than 40 years at the national, section and chapter levels. Additionally, Croft is well known on the international stage for her activities in the MLA International Cooperation Section and International Conference of Animal Health Information Specialists.

Croft has authored or coauthored numerous papers, conference papers, presentations and book chapters. Some of her most important contributions to MLA and veterinary medical librarianship have been in the preservation of its literature and the history of the Veterinary Medical Libraries Section. These efforts have spanned digitization projects, publications, oral histories and presentations.

Other evidence of Croft’s professional reputation includes recognition by the MLA Collection Development Section with the Daniel T. Richards Prize for the best published article on health sciences collection development in 2011. The coauthored article, published in the Journal of the Medical Library Association,outlined the basic list of veterinary serials. Croft has demonstrated continuous scholarly activity over several decades and has helped to develop veterinary medical librarianship everywhere.

Croft retired from the WSU Animal Health Library in 2014 after 38 years of service. For a more detailed article on Croft’s career, see the following WSU News article.

CDSC Receives $147,179 to Expand Native American Archive

WSU’s Center for Digital Scholarship and Curation (CDSC) recently received a $147,179 Digital Extension Grant from the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) to expand the Plateau Peoples’ Web Portal, a national archive of Native American cultural materials.


The portal is a collaboration between WSU and the Spokane Tribe of Indians, the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, the Coeur d’Alene Tribe of Indians, the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, the Nez Perce Tribe and the Yakama Nation. It is a gateway to Plateau peoples’ cultural materials held in multiple repositories, including WSU’s Manuscripts, Archives and Special Collections; the Northwest Museum of Art and Culture; the National Anthropological Archives; and the National Museum of the American Indian at the Smithsonian Institution.

Portal materials are chosen and curated by tribal representatives. Each item has one or more records associated with it, as well as added traditional knowledge and cultural narratives to enhance and enrich understanding to many audiences.

“We are excited for the years to come, continuing our partnerships with tribes in the Plateau region and multiple repositories to preserve and share knowledge in culturally appropriate ways,” said Kim Christen, the project’s principal investigator and a professor of digital technology and culture in WSU’s Department of English.

The ACLS awards are designed to advance humanistic scholarship by enhancing established digital projects and extending their reach to new communities of scholars. The program, now in its second year, is made possible by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

The CDSC, a joint center of the WSU Libraries and the WSU College of Arts and Sciences, promotes collaboration between community members, students, faculty and researchers on digital projects and scholarship that crosses academic boundaries and public/private distinctions. The CDSC provides support, outreach, training and access to digitization hardware and software and inspiration for meaningful and long-lasting partnerships.

The ACLS, a private, nonprofit federation of 74 national scholarly organizations, is the pre-eminent representative of American scholarship in the humanities and related social sciences. Advancing scholarship by awarding fellowships and strengthening relations among learned societies is central to ACLS’s work. This year, ACLS will award more than $20 million to more than 300 scholars across various humanistic disciplines.

Temporary Summit slowdown!

Summit requests placed between Friday, June 23, and Monday, July 3, 2017, may not be received until July 7 or the following week. See Circulation or Reference staff for Interlibrary Loan request options. We apologize for the inconvenience.

New WSU Course Reserves System Launches May 8

A new online course reserves system, ExLibris Leganto, will be made available to WSU faculty and students on Monday, May 8. The new system integrates directly into Blackboard without the need for secondary passwords, is mobile friendly and can be customized for better accessibility.


Leganto allows users to see physical and e-reserves for courses in one place and accommodates a variety of media types.

Instructors can incorporate citations directly from a database into a reading list and communicate online with students about resources and more. WSU librarians will use the system to support faculty in developing reading lists, handling copyright clearance and providing course materials more efficiently.

WSU Libraries held a live demonstration of Leganto on Jan. 5 and introduced a pilot of the system in select courses during the spring semester before rolling out Leganto to the entire campus.

“The ultimate goal of any course reserves management tool is to provide students with the best materials for their courses at the lowest cost, and to do so in an easy-to-use interface,” said Blake Galbreath, WSU Libraries’ core services librarian. “We believe that Leganto does a great job of accomplishing this.”

Sue Shipman, access services manager at the WSU Libraries, encourages faculty to make their course reserves early. “The sooner you turn in your reserves, the faster they will be available to your students,” she said.

To learn more about Leganto, visit

Help Test New Library Search Tool Before May 8 Launch

Users of WSU Libraries’ search function are invited to test and provide feedback on a new version before its official launch on Monday, May 8.


To test the new version, go to

The upgrade of Search It is part of a regional effort by the Orbis Cascade Alliance, a Pacific Northwest consortium of academic libraries of which WSU Libraries is a part.

Benefits of the new search tool include:

  • Mobile-friendly: Smoother navigation on smaller-screen mobile devices.
  • Citation trails: Additional bibliographic information about resource citations in other research.
  • More visible related readings: Recommended items related to a search result and the designation of an article as peer reviewed are better highlighted.
  • Cleaner design: Icon images and font changes improve how search results appear and make finding them easier.

Loaned and requested (Summit and interlibrary loan) items will automatically transfer to the new Search It interface. To learn more about the changes, visit the library guide at

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