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TEEAL Wraps Up

This past March, The Essential Electronic Agricultural Library project at Mann Library released the latest and final upgrade to its iconic “Library in a Box,” a digital collection of top-quality life sciences journals produced for agricultural research and teaching institutions in developing countries around the world since 1999. This release marked both the 20-year anniversary of the TEEAL project and the onset of sunset operations to bring the project to a formal close. With the wrap-up, TEEAL’s partners are shifting towards the use of AGORA (Access to Global Online Research in Agriculture), a large online database of agricultural science developed by an international consortium known as Research4Life—and Mann Library is celebrating the fruitful conclusion of a landmark Cornell initiative in purpose-driven scholarship for human well-being around the world.

 

TEEAL computer with CDs and the mini-computer
The original TEEAL containing 172 CDs vs. TEEAL today, a palm-sized Mini-ITX computer

Supported by the Rockefeller Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and other funders, TEEAL has been stewarded over the past two decades by a dedicated project staff under the leadership of three Mann Library Directors—Jan Olsen (1987-1999), Janet McCue (1999-2008) and Mary Ochs (2008-present). During this time, the project evolved dramatically. In 1999, the inaugural “Library in a Box” that was shipped to TEEAL’s very first subscriber, the University of Zimbabwe, was made up of two large towers containing 172 compact discs storing a collection of articles from about 100 agricultural life science journals. Today, a palm-sized yet powerful Mini-ITX computer running Ubuntu provides access to a fully searchable collection comprised of over 600,000 articles in more than 500 high-research journals issued by over 100 publishers. TEEAL’s scope too has expanded significantly since inception to keep up with the increasingly interdisciplinary approach to solving problems in food and fiber production: In addition to agriculture, it now also covers fifteen related life science fields.

 

For the project’s final phase, TEEAL staff have been working with colleagues at Research4Life to ensure that researchers in partner institutions across the world can successfully move from retrieving journal articles from TEEAL’s “Box” to accessing materials online. Recent surveys and correspondence have confirmed that more and more TEEAL subscribers are able to make successful use of online resources thanks to increasingly reliable internet capabilities at their home institutions and AGORA’s widening availability. But the project has also been taking into account those institutions where internet infrastructure is more underdeveloped. With our colleagues at the Information Training and Outreach Centre for Africa (ITOCA), we identified a significant subset of subscribing institutions eligible to receive free final TEEAL upgrades. These partners—190 institutions in 58 countries where, geography and institutional need still pose significant obstacles to high-speed internet access for now—will be able to count on a fully subsidized and updated TEEAL collection and hardware to help bridge their eventual full transition to using online resources. Notes current Mann director Mary Ochs, “TEEAL proved wonderfully effective in using a self-contained digital library to connect agricultural researchers at our partner institutions to the highest quality life sciences information and data available. As the past two decades have seen more robust internet infrastructures established in many countries of the developing world, we are happy to now be moving forward with our partners into the even more promising future of accessible information made possible by fully online resources like AGORA.”

 

Users access TEEAlL from computer
TEEAL subscribers are able to make successful use of online resources thanks to increasingly reliable internet capabilities at their home institutions

By the project’s final close, TEEAL will have provided final upgrades to about 230 institutions. The response received from these partners thus far has been inspiring. Evelyn Anambo, the College of Veterinary Science (CAVS) Librarian at the University of Nairobi (Kenya), wrote that TEEAL has been “a gem to our users.” Dr. Jean Mbomba of the Faculté des Sciences Agronomiques et Vétérinaires (FSAV)) at Loyola University of Congo in the Democratic Republic of Congo let TEEAL staff know that the new fully-subsidized TEEAL machine has been particularly timely. It will help meet the growing demand for access to teaching and research materials that came with the recent merger of several different institutes to form the new Faculté. And in the words of Ugandan agricultural librarian Onan Mulumba, who witnessed TEEAL’s full “CD tower to mini-computer” evolution at the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences of Makerere University:

 

“We shall always be grateful to Cornell University’s Albert R. Mann Library (and the entire staff), to ITOCA, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The TEEAL project has really contributed a lot to academic and Research triumph at Makerere University. The office where I am sitting right now has a collection of hundreds of TEEAL compact disks, the initial form through which TEEAL was instituted. I will always remember TEEAL every time I look at them and [the] current database.”

What’s New on 2nd? (or, Some Recent Space Improvements @ Mann)

Have a Skype interview or web conference coming up? We’re happy to tell you that our Interview Room, recently moved to the 2nd floor of Mann Library, next to the Gallery,is now available to help you make it go smoothly. Available for private one-on-one or small group video-conferences, the room comes with a large LCD and some sound-proofing. Just bring your laptop, connect to the LCD, close the door, and you’re ready to go! The Interview Room can be booked up to 90 days in advance for two hours at a time.

 

The 2nd floor has some other new features this semester as well:

  • We’ve seen how popular the counter-height study tables are in the library, so we’ve added a few more along the 2nd floor atrium windows for studying. Or reading. Or just taking in the view of that airy atrium space!
  • And we’re really happy to announce our new De-Stress Zone in a newly reconfigured space next to the atrium as well. When you’re next in the library, be sure to check out the comfortable rocking chairs, puzzle table, and group seating we’ve added to this area—for you to relax, eat, and visit with friends.. We get it – college is hard, and sometimes you need to unwind!

Design Thinking for Life

This year the Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management partnered with Mann Library once again for the Dyson Summer Reading Project.  Over the summer months, incoming Dyson freshmen read “Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life” by authors Bill Burnett and Dave Evans, who together co-founded the Life Design Lab at Stanford University. “Designing Your Life” teaches readers to approach their lives and careers from a design thinking frame of mind. Through iterative design exercises and processes, including reflection and evaluation, the book empowers readers to determine what is most important to them in a career and how to achieve their life goals. As part of the Reading Project, incoming Dyson School freshmen and other members of the Cornell University community participated in workshops that discussed the book’s themes and engaged students in hands-on exercises aimed at stimulating the application of design principles to forming holistic life goals and strategies for achieving them. The Dyson Summer Reading Project culminated on September 12th with a popular lecture and book signing by co-author Dave Evans.

 

Designing your Life at Cornell PosterThe Library collaborated actively with the Dyson School to help encourage engagement with the book and its insights within the Cornell community. Demand for the reserve copies of “Designing Your Life” available at both Mann Library and the Catherwood Library ran high throughout the summer months. As the semester opened, an interactive display on Mann’s first floor invited students to share some of their own ideas about finding a rewarding work-play-health-love balance while at Cornell, and to browse a cross-disciplinary selection of books on design-thinking applied to different settings—from business management and career planning to teaching and coaching.

 

And in the spirit of making the Reading Project as widely accessible as possible — across Cornell and beyond — Mann created an online guide to help connect virtual visitors to a broad set of resources in design thinking and career development.

 

This is the second year that Mann Library has contributed to the Dyson School Reading Project. In the fall of 2018, the Library created a library guide for that year’s featured book, “Behold the Dreamers” by Imbolo Mbue.

We’ve Got You Covered: Research & Instructions Services Update

This fall, Mann has implemented some exciting changes that will allow us to better meet the needs of our users. We have streamlined our services and moved to a team-based approach so we can be more responsive to the instruction and research support requests that faculty and students send our way. Specific changes involve the following:

Instruction

Faculty needing assistance with course-related instruction will now be using the instruction request form on the Mann Library website. After you submit a request, a member of our instruction team will follow up with you. Course-related instruction can cover many topics, ranging from a broad overview of library resources to an in-depth and critical evaluation of a news source. We can help your students understand the changing information landscape and become more critical consumers of information. In addition to classroom instruction, you can also use the form to request help with:

  • Designing assignments that leverage library resources
  • Creating online resource guides designed to support specific courses or subjects

Research support

If you need help with scholarly research, please schedule an appointment through our research support request form, and a member of one of our research support teams will get back to you within one business day. Our research consultations are in-depth, customized, one-on-one meetings where we can provide assistance with:

  • Developing complex search strategies
  • Finding literature, supporting evidence, data, and statistics
  • Utilizing a citation management software (i.e., Zotero, EndNote, Mendeley) to organize references

Other consultation services

Hoping for some help with GIS, using the mannUfactory makerspace, data management, systematic reviews, or another library service? Visit our Consultation Services webpage for information on the help you can get from librarians and other experts here at Mann or elsewhere in the Cornell library system.

 

Not sure where to start? Please don’t hesitate to reach out to our outreach team at mann_outreach@cornell.edu with any questions or concerns. One way or the other, we’ve got you covered!

New Faces @ Mann – Fall 2019 Edition

Mann Library has welcomed two new staff members in the past year. We are pleased to introduce you to:

 

Karina Hagelin, Outreach & Instruction Librarian

Karina Hagelin, Outreach & Instruction Librarian

Karina graduated from the University of Maryland with a BA in American Studies and an MLS in Library and Information Science last year with a thesis on “Gossip as a Site of Resistance: Information-Sharing Strategies Among Survivors of Sexual Violence.” While there, they were a digitization assistant at the Hornbake Library Digitization Center, president of the iDiversity organization, active on student councils, and the library and office manager for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Equity Center. They also helped organize the Conference on Inclusion and Diversity in Library and Information Science at the University of Maryland and the Radical Libraries, Archives and Museums track at the Allied Media conference. Karina is the Cornell Library Diversity Fellow, and is party of the Library’s Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging Council. Karina is also part of the Mann Instruction Team and is doing outreach and instruction for the mannUfactory makerspace.

 

Shayla Harrington, Access Services & ILL Manager

Shayla Harrington, Access Services & ILL ManagerShayla Harrington is Mann’s new Mann Access Services & Inter-Library Loan (ILL) Manager. In this role, she oversees the day-to-day operations and directly supervises the staff in the Access Services and ILL departments. She also represents Mann Access Services on various Cornell University Library-wide committees. Shayla has a B.S. in Elementary Education from Nyack College and her NY State teacher certification. She comes to Mann from Olin-Kroch-Uris (OKU) Libraries where most recently she worked as a Reference Assistant and Lead Student Supervisor. Prior to that, Shayla was an Access Services Late Night Supervisor for OKU Libraries from November 2014 – October 2017.

Welcome Aboard!

What’s new in the mannUfactory?

What do you imagine creating this year? The mannUfactory makerspace is in full swing for the fall and we have some new stuff this semester!

  • Website: Our website has gotten a facelift and is now more accessible!
  • Laser cutter: We now have a laser cutter if you need to engrave or cut materials like paper, wood, fabric, or glass. Make custom cards and art, wooden nametags, lacy fabric, etched glasses and more!
  • Workshops: Learn how to use tools like the new laser cutter or get an intro to 3D printing, virtual reality, or sewing and more. Also drop by one of our new Women, Trans, and Femmes Makers Nights or Stop, Drop, Create one-on-one help sessions to work on your latest project!

And as always, if you want to schedule a group instruction session, have an idea or suggestion, or need to ask a question or get more information, please contact us at makerspace@cornell.edu.

New IT Consulting Desk Now Open @ Mann

Life saver and laptop iconNeed some help setting up your computer for Net-Print? Using Zoom? Accessing a cloud-based application through Cornell? Getting set up to use Cornell’s virtual private network (VPN) service? Making sure your devices are secure? Or anything else computing-related?

The new IT Consulting Desk now open in the Consultation Area on Mann’s first floor is a great place to start.

As of Thursday, August 29th, Cornell Information Technology (aka CIT) will be staffing this new service point @ Mann Library from 9:30 a.m – 1:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday for the regular Fall 2019 semester. This desk complements the new IT Service Desk that also recently opened in B40 Olin Library. You will get computing-related help at both service points on a walk-in basis. Depending on demand over the course of the Fall semester, CIT will continue their Consultation Desk at Mann Library into the Spring semester as well.

For more info on the full range of services offered by IT@Cornell, visit their website homepage or their overview of email contacts.

Important E-journal Access Update for Cornell Researchers

Earlier this year, Cornell University Library began implementing an important change in the Library’s subscription to some electronic journals. The goal of this adjustment is to achieve greater fiscal sustainability in library spending on journal subscriptions while still meeting the needs of all Cornell scholars. What does this adjustment mean for Cornell researchers using electronic journals? Here’s what you need to know:

  • The way Cornell University Library is subscribing to journals published by Wiley for 2019 has changed. The package of Wiley journals that Cornell Library subscribes to has been fine-tuned to include the most frequently used journals. Lower use journals are no longer part of our subscription package.
  • If a Cornell user needs an article in a journal for which the Library has no current subscription, the Library will still be able to acquire the article “on demand” with a 2-3 business day turn-around time. There is no fee for this service. Patrons should follow the steps outlined at Interlibrary Loan to make an article request. (If you have made Interlibrary Loan requests on the Cornell Library website below, you can jump straight to the request form ).
  • What about journal articles published before 2019? The Cornell Library has perpetual access rights to every issue of all Wiley journals published from 2016-2018, and, through our previous subscription agreements, to many of those published before 2016. Additionally, we can scan articles on demand from our print journal collection.
  • For next calendar year, it may be possible to re-subscribe to some journals that have been dropped from the Library’s subscription package with Wiley. We encourage Cornell researchers to ask a librarian for help in getting access to Wiley-published journals and to give us feedback on any particular journal titles where lack of subscription hinders your work.

For more information about the issues and needs being addressed with these changes in the Library’s subscription packages, and about the Library’s process for making them, please visit . You are also welcome to contact Mann Library Director, Mary Ochs.

What Are We Reading This Summer?

Mann Library iconWho picks up a 704 page tome on the art and science of a 19th century German marine biologist for some summer leisure reading? Well, we have to admit, that would be Michael Cook, the indefatigable Head of Collection Development and Preservation at Mann Library. We are a life sciences library after all.

 

As summer set in on campus, we asked Mann Library staff to share what book(s) they’d be been spending time with over the (at least in theory!) more languid hot weather weeks of the season. And while Michael’s pick is certainly a serious (and seriously gorgeous) life sciences doozy, in gathering together all the reading suggestions submitted so far, we’ve learned that our Mann colleagues are actually fairly eclectic in their reading tastes, ranging from Norse mythology to modern Russian literature and from biotech science fiction to some refreshing thinking on being an activist for healing and happiness. What about you? If you find yourself with a spare moment on Cornell’s upper campus, do drop by the library to check out the small book display of staff-recommended titles that we’re putting up for the 2nd half of the Cornell summer break next Monday. And if you feel so inclined, don’t be shy about letting us know of any good summer reads you might recommend too—we’d love to include them in our display as well!

 

What are Mann Library staff reading this summer? Here’s a list of select titles:

アキラ/ AKIRAŌtomo Katsuhiro“Set in a dystopian future, AKIRA’s brutal and chaotic story popularized the cyberpunk genre and influenced several other famous series.” – Jimmy M.
Are We Not Men? We Are DEVO!Jade Dellinger“As a de-evolved DJ and musician I’m a lifelong fan of these brilliant absurdists. The most authoritative book on DEVO.” – Michael C.
The Art and Science of Ernst Haeckel Gigantic book of total eye candy. Most stunning biological artwork ever. I bought my own copy – hey, it’s Taschen!” – Michael C.
AutonomousAnnalee Newitz“A Biotech and AI sci-fi novel with a pertinent question: Is freedom possible in a culture where everything, even people, can be owned?” – Chris J.
Bug Music: How Insects Gave us Rhythm and NoiseDavid Rothenberg“A lovely angle on one of the best features of late summer nights” – Eveline F.
Capitalist Realism: Is There No AlternativeMark Fisher“Fisher addresses the quote that ‘it is easier to imagine an end to the world than an end to capitalism’ (quote attributed to Jameson & Zizek).” – Daisy W.
Dirt Work: An Education in the WoodsChristine Byl“I am just starting this book, but one reviewer said, “a must read for anyone who’s worked in the dirt,” which I did for my first couple jobs” – Mary O.
Don’t Make Me Pull Over: An Informal History of the Family Road TripRichard Ratay“An informative and humorous look at family car trips in the U.S. interspersed with historical perspective on how the interstate highway system, fast food restaurants and hotel chains factored into the mix. Will bring back memories for anyone who has ever shared a back seat in a station wagon with siblings in the pre-seat belt era!” – Mel J.
The Murder of Nikolai Vavilov: the Story of Stalin’s Persecution of one of the Great Scientists of the Twentieth CenturyPeter Pringle“A case study of the suppression of science, sadly a story that seems to repeat itself. Vavilov is my hero.” – Michael C.
Nature’s Ghosts: Confronting Extinction from the Age of Jefferson to the Age of Ecology,Mark Barrows“The topic has an urgent edge to it, but Barrow’s elegant prose makes this a rewarding read as well.” – Eveline F.
Norse MythologyNeil Gaiman“An excellent introduction to Norse Mythology based off of the Prose Edda by Snorri Sturluson. Great for anyone interested in Norse mythology or planning a trip to Iceland!” – Ryan T.
Pleasure Activism: The Politics of Feeling Goodadrienne maree brown“Can the political be pleasurable? brown explores the politics of healing and happiness, rethinking the ground rules of activism.” – Karina H.
Rock, Paper, Scissors, and Other StoriesMaxim Osipov“Osipov is a cardiologist whose lyrical stories involve medicine, crime, art, and the joys and frustrations of provincial Russian life.” – Matt K.
SevenevesNeal Stephenson“One day, the Moon suddenly shattered into pieces. Humanity now has a very interesting problem on its hands.” – Jimmy M.
SeverenceLing Ma“Beautiful descriptions of NYC and China, apocalypse, coming-of-adulthood in the early aughts – and more! Ling Ma is a Cornell grad.” – Kate G-K.
The Solitary TwinHarry Mathews“What do you want from a book? … To stand on the threshold of the unfamiliar, the inevitably familiar viewed unfamiliarly …” – Keith Jenkins
Stalingrad: The Fateful Siege: 1942-1943Antony Beevor“Well told, well researched story of the horrific clash of two madmen. Incredible heroism by people in a bad situation.” – Michael C.
The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After WarmingDavid Wallace-Wells“An extremely urgent analysis of climate catastrophe that addresses not just science but climate change’s social and everyday impacts.” – Daisy W.

New Course: Navigating Today’s Information Chaos

In 1987, a weekday edition of the New York Times contained more written information than the average person was likely to encounter in a lifetime in seventeenth-century England. Imagine what we could say about the amount of information we encounter in our daily lives today–if you can! For a citizenry to be constructively engaged, it must be well-informed. Yet, as more information floods the information landscape, worrisome material also spreads, often quickly. What puts some information into the “worrisome quality” category? What makes it valuable? A new course led by librarian Ashley Shea, Head of Instruction Initiatives at Mann Library, aims to help students master these questions for a lifetime of success as critical thinkers, professionals and citizens.

 

This new 1-credit course will equip students with the skills needed to navigate today’s vast sea of (dis)information. By analyzing different information platforms, students will develop a nuanced, critical approach to finding, evaluating and using information responsibly in the digital age. Will meet on Fridays, 11:15 am – 12:05 pm.

 

1200, or “Information Chaos: Navigating Today’s Information Landscape,” will cover the theoretical, methodological and practical concepts and skills needed to understand and evaluate today’s vast information landscape. The course will focus primarily on information systems in the U.S., although several prominent examples of international information systems will also be included. At the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Compare various information types that exist and articulate the value(s) and problems(s) of each;
  • Recognize the structural and ideological differences between various information systems (I.e., News sites, academic databases, federal repositories, etc.) that produce and disseminate information;
  • Translate complex research questions into a search strategy with appropriate search tools and platforms;
  • Apply various assessment tools to evaluate the credibility of information;
  • Utilize citation management software to organize information conceptually and thoughtfully;
  • Demonstrate understanding of attribution by properly citing the work of others.

Most of the readings and videos for this class will be open education resources (OERs) that are openly licensed and freely available online. In addition to assessing the quality of information available to researchers today, the topic of access to information will be an important component of this class. By making materials that are freely available to anyone regardless of location or means central to class assignments, the course will underscore this point.

 

As a 1 credit course, ALS 1200 will involve a final assignment: Students will be charged with creating an infographic that profiles a chosen information platform to effectively communicate its key features (scope, scale, history, financing, verifiability, transparency) for a broad but robust assessment of its quality as an information resource. We look forward to seeing what they come up with as newly minted pathfinders on the information frontier!

 

Visit ALS 1200 information & registration