Monday, April 14, 2014

Reflection on Archiving Irish History

This semester, students in Robert Barone's HIST 411/511 seminar have been studying the History of Ireland and have created a digital archive of items pertaining to Ireland's history. The final result is an Omeka site, The History of Ireland, which features pictures, videos, primary source documents, and other items related to the political and social life of Ireland.


Students from the class will present their digital exhibits in the J.A. Brown Room in the Carmichael library tomorrow, April 15 from 6-7 PM. The presentation will also include a roundtable discussion on the process of digitizing historical objects and creating digital history exhibits with Omeka. Some of the questions we'll consider include:
  • What is the value of doing Digital History as opposed to doing traditional forms of historical research? 
  • What kind of research did you do to create items on the Omeka archive? How did it compare to the historical research you've done? 
  • What are some difficulties you had with completing the Omeka project? What do you wish we could've done differently? 
  • What other or future uses do you see a tool like Omeka serving? Can you think of any examples on campus? 
 If you're interested in digital history methods and and would like to know more about this process, please join us for the discussion. Anyone is welcome to attend. Light refreshments served.

Friday, April 04, 2014

Resources on Finding and Growing Local Food

Photo by Stephanie Lamphere. Creative Commons license.

Spring is now here and with it, the opportunity to grow your own food or to buy foods that are produced in your own community. The last few years have seen a sharp increase of interest in locally grown food and in the development of community gardens. The Community Garden Coalition for Birmingham lists over 30 community, church-, and school-affiliated gardens. Separately, the state Farmers Market Authority counts eight farmers markets in Shelby County, including one in Montevallo.

Montevallo boasts two community gardens, both founded in 2010. Montevallo Seed to Table offers educational programs on growing healthy food. The university's Organic Community Garden was founded as a project of the UM Environmental Club and produces thousands of pounds of food annually. Much of this produce is donated to Shelby Emergency Assistance.

Last year, I endeavored to collect my own list of area farms and community gardens. Since so many of these have a presence in Facebook, I used the social network's Interest List feature to collect them in one place. You can get to my List here: Birmingham Area Local Food and Produce.

In addition to supporting community gardening, the university's Summer Harvest course is an interdisciplinary offering designed to teach students about the basic issues of food insecurity, food distribution, and food equality. You can learn more about this course at the university's Environmental Studies course page.

Carmichael Library holds several books and videos on producing local food. You can view a sample of them here: Resources on Finding and Growing Local Food. In addition to information on growing food in your backyard, this list includes some coverage of the food industry and the debate on organic versus genetically-modified foods.

Lastly, the Carmichael Library has supported classroom learning on a variety of topics in the environmental sciences. One example of our efforts is Andrew Battista's Environmental Studies Research Guide.

Are you planning a food garden this spring? Let us know in the comments and keep in touch. We'd love to know what you're growing and what works for you!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Winners of the Nook giveaway!

Jerrie Rochester on left, Faith Vines on right.
During Fall semester, Carmichael Library distributed a survey about eBook usage and preferences. Survey participants had the opportunity to enter their email addresses for a chance to win a NOOK, generously donated by the University of Montevallo Barnes & Noble.

Our two winners were UM student Faith Vines and UM staff person Jerrie Rochester.  Congratulations Jerrie and Faith and thanks to the UM community for your feedback!!

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Temporary Outage of WorldCat Local and Other Systems

At around 11:00 a.m. this morning we were notified that our WorldCat Local catalog was not working. We discovered shortly thereafter that other OCLC systems were down. As I write, WorldCat Local is again up and running, but we want to point our students and faculty to some alternative methods of searching as the restoration of OCLC services is currently ongoing.

For book searches: Our Classic Catalog remains available. You can search by title, author, Library of Congress subject, or simply do a keyword search. This system can also be used to find DVDs, scores, and other materials within the library building.

For article and journal searches: The overwhelming majority of our databases are not affected by this system outage and can be searched as they normally are. OCLC Firstsearch, CAMIO, and select other databases may be temporarily down. Our complete databases A-Z list is available on our website.

For Interlibrary Loan requests: Our ILLiad system for Interlibrary Loan has so far not been affected by this outage.

For research assistance: We remain available via phone, text, and social media. Check our Ask a Librarian page for the many ways to reach us and get assistance with your projects.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Still Need Spring Break Plans? Join Us

We're almost one month away from Spring Break. If you don't have any plans yet and are interested in serving other people, consider joining the 2014 Office of Service Learning and Sustainability Alternative Spring Break experience. This year we'll be traveling to Escambia County, AL to team up with BamaCovered, a grassroots healthcare advocacy group. The trip will take place during the week of March 24-28. We currently have about 5 spots left. If you're interested, please sign up here.

About the Trip 


Escambia County, AL is the second-most highly uninsured county in the state. According to the most recent American Community Survey 5-year estimate, 21.9 percent of its population does not have access to health care. The work we will do in partnership with Bama Covered will help hundreds of people find access to coverage under the provisions of the 2010 Affordable Care Act.

Trip Details
  • Availability: The trip is open to ten students on a first come, first served basis. To apply for the trip, please fill out this form.
  • Cost: $250 per student. A deposit of $50 is due by March 3 and the full payment is due by March 14. Dates: We will leave Montevallo early on the morning of Monday, March 24 and return in the late afternoon of Friday, March 28. 
  • Agenda: During the first three days, we will be facilitating access to health care in Escambia County, AL. Then, we will retreat to a beachfront property in Pensacola, FL for a time of reflection upon our service. 
  • What’s included: Your trip fee includes transportation, lodging in Escambia County and Pensacola, and meals on the trip. You will need a small amount of money for miscellaneous meals and personal expenses. 
  • Expectations: Our Alternative Spring Break trip will be a time of service, fun, learning, and reflection. You will be asked to complete a training session in preparation for the trip, and there will be several reflective exercises on our journey. The first training session is February 25, and anyone is welcome to attend.
  • Leaders: Andrew Battista and Lauren Wallis of the Carmichael Library will lead our trip.