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January 9, 2014

Past winners of Undergraduate Research Award on display in the Knight Library

The deadline to submit thesis and research projects for the Undergraduate Award is rapidly approaching, February 10th is only a month away! To provide a little inspiration, the UO Libraries have created an exhibit highlighting past winners. The exhibit is located in the flat cases in the north entrance of the night library. Past winners’ majors span from Environmental Studies to Anthropology and Music. Some of their projects are highlighted in the exhibit.

A team of nine students  in the Environmental Leadership program won in 2013 for their two studies titled “Monitoring Bee Pollination Services on Willamette Valley Vaccinium Farms” and “Pollinator Conservation Plan for the Berggren Demonstration Farm.” The students used library resources in their secondary research including elements of mapping, landscape design, applied ecology, environmental education, and riparian conservation.

Megan Brogan, an International Studies major, also won the award in 2013. Her thesis titled “An Environmental Anthropology: The Effect of the Yacyreta Dam on Communities in Misiones, Argentina, in Comparison to the Economic and Environmental Well-being of the Pilcomayo River Basin.” Her research relied heavily on the use of databases available at the library.

Phoebe Peterson, a History major studying in the Clark Honors College won in 2013 with her single term paper titled “No Man’s Land: A Herstory of Lesbian Intentional Communities in Southern Oregon as a Manifestation of the Pastoral Dream.” Phoebe utilized the expertise of librarians in Special Collections and University Archives to conduct her research on intentional communities.

Erik Erlandson, also a History major in the Clark Honors College won for his thesis, “Cattle Plague in NYC: The Untold Campaign of America’s First Board of Health, 1868.” This very impressive project won Erik the top prize of $1,500 in 2013. He utilized many librarians in Social Sciences and History, as well as in the Document Center and Microforms. An Abstract of Erik’s work can be found in the flat cases and the entire paper can be seen here:

The last project highlighted in the flat case display is from James Bean in the School of Music and Dance. James is a Music Composition major, his piece “Ground: For Four Players and Their Instruments” required over 600 hours spent on library computers utilizing music software that the library provides.

This is just a small sampling of the projects that have won the Undergraduate Research Award in the past. This award is a great chance to win money for work that you have already done. For more information on eligibility, evaluation criteria, and application materials, ask a librarian or visit

January 6, 2014

Tips for a New Term

The first week of a term always comes with a shock. On the trek up north from my hometown in southern California the temperature dropped 40˚, and I was reminded of the work that I had in front of me. Luckily, last term, I discovered a handful of library services that helped me tremendously in getting through the rough ten weeks of the term.

The front desk of the Knight is run by people who are eager to help, and provides students with services that go far beyond what one would expect from a library. Since I am focusing on video, the service that I found particularly helpful was the free one-hour headphone checkout that they offer. Just flash your ID card and you’ll be given large, padded headphones to use as you please for the next sixty minutes.

With my headphones in hand I make my way upstairs, and go back towards the Cinema Studies lab; an overlooked study spot with state of the art technology. Each computer comes equipped with a massive screen, the latest adobe suite, and a slew of other programs and accessories to help you get through a project. Don’t be alarmed by the title, the Cinema Studies Lab is available to all students. Just sign in with your name, date, and major, and you’re on your way.

When I’m working on a large paper that requires a lot of sources, I make sure that I utilize the Summit services that the University offers. Summit is a program that shares books and other resources with neighboring universities in the Pacific Northwest. Place your request online at the UO library website, and within 5 business days your book has arrived. This process is a lot faster than requesting that the university buy your material, and usually the amount of time given to check it out is longer.

Knowing about these services now, instead of late into the term, will help me relax while professors go over lengthy syllabi, and hopefully allow me to have a successful winter term.

December 6, 2013

Zines in The Special Collections Section

This past term my art professor gave us the assignment of making a “zine.” I had heard of zines before, but I had no idea how easy it was to put one of my own together. I illustrated several based off of a poem in a decidedly cartoon-y style, Xeroxed them at Kinko’s, and gave them to friends. The satisfaction of giving someone a real, tangible, thing was immediate and personal. I was hooked, and nearly every piece of paper that I could get my hands on after that I turned into a zine. I wanted to know more about zines, and zine culture so I did some research on the library database. I realized that a lot of the results for zines were in Special Collections; so I made my way up the marble staircase into the Special Collection’s Paulson Reading Room and asked to see their zine collection. I was given a large white box filled with zines each with its own voice and energy. Themes ranged from punk rock, to science fiction, to prison abolition. Feminists, anarchists, comic artists, and a whole range of radical intellectuals wrote and illustrated these zines. I was so happy to see that these zines were recognized as something that deserved to be among other scholarly articles. The ideas that these zines project go largely under-represented, and the fact that the library sees these other ideals as other equally viable perspectives is really important. Zines are made to have your voice heard by the public, and the library makes Zine artists’ voices heard by putting them out for public display.

November 11, 2013

Art in the Knight

Until recently I walked through the Knight Library unaware of what was surrounding me. Lining the walls of the library are several incredible pieces of art by local artists that, before now, I had never given a second glance. This past week Ed Teague gave an enlightening lecture on Art in the Knight library. I have fresh perspective while going through the security gate now that I know the name of the iron gate piece surrounding it is called “Transverse Wave Portal,” which represented by the piece’s structure and by the fact that it works by means of magnetism.

Art in the library is stuffed into corners, along office hallways,  and put behind help desks. One of my favorite pieces shown was a sculpture by an artist named Nancy Mee. The name of the sculpture is “Melpomene,” and it depicts a woman etched in a flat pane of glass, and in front of her is a large glass crystal formation, supported by steel bars. I was amazed by this piece in the slideshow, and stunned that I hadn’t taken notice of the piece before. “Melpomene” is placed on the first floor in the back wall; two smaller walls stick out and encase it. The sculpture is against a blue wall, with a top light. I wished the piece would be given proper lighting, and put against a white wall, that is how the artist intended for it to be presented, and it makes the piece appear more lucid and dreamy.

Ed Teague gave a rewarding lecture, that made me think differently about the Knight Library. Now, in every story I go up I see a piece that he talked about. It makes the art more beautiful when its put into context. The slideshow contained a painting depicting two men in an auto-shop, the men two looked graceful and elegant. It turns out the painter has a background in dance and often puts her subjects into dancer’s poses. Knowing all this about art in the Library has given me a new understanding of all the culture that is inside, and I am very glad to know about all of it.

By Derek Chesnut

June 10, 2013

To My Replacement- What it’s like to be a Student Marketing Assistant.

Caitlin Estes is a 2013 graduate, with a B.S. in Public Relations.

I worked as a Student Marketing Assistant in Knight Library from November 2012- June 2013. As a Public Relations student, this seemed like a great compliment to the internship I already had with Verve Northwest Communications (now merged into Turell Group, where I am delighted to say I’ll be working this summer), and it was. While working at the library I had a pretty wide variety of tasks, and I learned a lot about the UO library system as well as campus as a whole.

I was in charge of the UO Libraries Facebook and Twitter pages, posting announcements of upcoming events, reminding students of library services, and making time-relevant posts (“Best wishes on finals!” etc.). We started an Instagram account in February and I was the main photographer; photos that were shared to Facebook were some of our most popular posts.

Social media aside, one of my main tasks was delivering/posting event posters all over campus. Ranging from the Duck Store to the Global Scholars Hall, I saw parts of campus I’d never had reason to discover before and fell even more in love with this school. Willamette Hall just might be my favorite building on campus (behind Allen Hall, of course), and if you’ve never gone inside you ought to- it feels like walking in to a cathedral. There are sculptures scattered all through campus, and when flowers were blooming it was a joy to take posters out. I got lost plenty of times, but after a few expeditions of delivering posters I learned the most efficient route.

The library website has a news section announcing upcoming lectures, events, and other library news. I learned that public lectures can be really entertaining, and voluntarily went to a few that I learned about through this job. I highly recommend that every student tries to find a lecture or two that sounds interesting! You’ll like it more than you expect, and gain some new-to-you knowledge to share. Occasionally I wrote reviews of the events I attended, or I would simply produce a news item with information given to me ahead of time.

Every day I updated what content was on the news page to make sure old events weren’t still showing, and kept a record in a spreadsheet of when different types of news items were posted.

There were a number of other, smaller jobs in this position. In all I had a great time as a marketing assistant and I learned a lot about my own writing style, the UO, and our library system. I’d recommend this job to any student in the SOJC, although Public Relations students might be the best fit because of the social media aspect. I thoroughly enjoyed working here. Whoever takes my place will have fun in the position, learning all about the University of Oregon and its library system.

June 6, 2013

Spring Finals Week in the Knight Library

We’re approaching finals week of UO’s spring term and the Knight Library  is filled with studious energy. Here are three ways you can make the Knight Library work for you during this stress-inducing time:

  • Want to take a break? You can use the lockers located on the first, second, and third floors in the north stairwell. If you want to grab lunch with some friends or take a walk to clear your head, keep your stuff safe with these free lockers.
  • Have a question that can’t wait? Use the online chat tool to talk with a librarian in real-time. You can ask a question about research, citation, resources, or anything else that stands between you and finishing that paper! You can access this through the “chat now” icon at the top right of the UO Libraries homepage:
  • Follow the UO Libraries on Twitter. You’ll stay informed about the most relevant library hours and events.

Good luck!

May 19, 2013

GRAD Connect: Supporting UO Grad Students

I’m a second-year MBA student at the Lundquist Center for Entrepreneurship and I know that graduate students here at UO have unique study, teaching, and research needs.

Earlier this year, the UO Libraries hosted a brainstorming session called GRAD Connect in order to learn more about the needs and interests of graduate students. The libraries aim to improve services and targeted messaging for grad students, and this focus group allowed the UO libraries to gather a lot of valuable feedback. Recently, a report was released that summarized the results of the focus group. Here are a few highlights:

  • Graduate students identified a few categories for improvement: website, study space, relaxation space, access/hours, and help/orientation
  • The UO Libraries have assigned working groups to review suggestions and charged them to identify solutions
  • The UO Libraries has already implemented some of the GRAD Connect suggestions and is actively considering others

Here are some improvements that are currently underway as a result of the information gathered during GRAD Connect:

  • Another book-eye scanner will be ordered for the Knight Library
  •  There is a new microwave in the Science Library, near the entrance, for students to use
  •   A few laptop lock boxes have been ordered, which will be attached to tables on the 4th floor of Knight Library
  • …And many more!

GRAD Connect was a great success and the suggestions gathered during this process have already started to improve the lives of graduate students using the UO Libraries. Thanks to Nancy Slight-Gibney and everyone else who was involved in this project.

May 10, 2013

Popular Reading Discovery: Autobiography of Us

One of my favorite things about working at the Knight Library is the ability to browse the new Popular Reading Collection when I have a few spare moments.

I recently picked up a book from the collection for some relaxing weekend reading:

Autobiography of Us by Aria Beth Sloss: I read a review of this book in the New York Times and was intrigued. A novel published in early 2013, Autobiography of Us focuses on the coming-of-age stories of two Pasadena girls in the 1950s. The book takes the reader through the decades, as the two close friends grow older, confronting their fears and insecurities along the way.

I’d recommend this bittersweet novel, although it wasn’t my favorite. It has an interesting perspective on feminism and social change during the second half of the 20th century, although I felt like the story lacked a compelling protagonist. Thanks to the Popular Reading Collection for giving me access to this newly-published novel!


May 9, 2013

Borrow Any Book!

Can’t find a certain book or material that you’ve been desperately searching for? You can request books, DVDs and more through Summit and Interlibrary Loan. With these resources, the UO Community has on-site borrowing privileges at 32 academic libraries in 17 mid-western and western states.

As a graduate business student, I’ve  been meaning to read a number of popular books about business and entrepreneurship, such as The Lean Startup by Eric Ries and Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. Although the UO Libraries are investing in a new popular reading collection, these types of books can’t always be found in the UO Libraries catalog.

However, Summit and ILL solve this problem! You can simply visit this page for more information:

Originally published on 12/10/2012

April 24, 2013

Popular Reading!

popular readingReading for fun! It’s finally here. The UO Libraries’ has a new Popular Reading Collection, a selection of “fun reading” titles available for a 3-week, nonrenewable loan period to UO students, faculty, and staff. The collection is located in the South Reading Room on the second floor of the Knight Library. Look for the blue wall!

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