Thursday, March 29, 2007

Having Problems Accessing Our Website?

I took a call this evening from a patron who has been having trouble getting into our website. Following last weekend's server updates, we have had some problems accessing the university website this week ( and those should now be resolved. Tonight's question had to do specifically with accessing databases from a computer they don't always use to get into our website. Here are a few things that you may want to try if you're experiencing these problems:
  • Clear your browser cache. Sometimes your browser history may have an old cookie stored that could be interfering with your ability to access our databases. Clearing your browser's saved web pages, cookies and history may alleviate this problem.
  • Check to see if other web sites are working properly. It's simply the nature of the business that some ISP's will not always work correctly. Sometimes this only affects certain websites. If you're experiencing problems getting into our home page at, try some other sites that you normally visit on the web. Your service may be temporarily flaky.
  • If you get a specific error message in your browser, please make a note of it and let us know exactly what you're seeing on your end. In a few cases, these notes can help us diagnose the problem.
As always, be sure to call us at (205) 665-6100 with any of these problems. We're not always able to immediately figure out what's going on but we'll do our very best to try.

The Library and Faculty Research

An interesting comment turned up recently in the LibQual+ survey:

Non support of faculty research in library budget is unacceptable.

This is something we hear from time to time from faculty, particularly faculty who are newer to the University, and it is a comment that concerns us greatly. Of course, we do everything we can within our resources to support faculty research. Research is an important component of the requirements faculty must meet for tenure and promotion. Faculty research is also an important part of the teaching mission of the university. A faculty member who is not engaged in the research of his or her discipline is going to be challenged to teach students effectively.

That being said, however, we cannot support faculty research at the same level that a large research library does. Carmichael Library's mission is to support the University's curriculum. (Our mission statement can be found here:

Supporting faculty research is part of that of our mission, but it is not our primary focus. With limited resources, difficult choices have to be made. If we are evaluating a book for purchase, a journal title for subscription, or a database for licensing, we have to consider the audience that resource will serve. We will generally select those resources that we feel will be useful to both students and faculty. Since we cannot get everything our faculty need, we try to use services like Interlibrary Loan and consortial agreements to find what they need in a timely way.

I will gladly meet with any individual faculty memeber to discuss his or her particular research concerns.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Springtime in Montevallo

The spring is always a beautiful time to be in Montevallo. We thought you might enjoy these shots, taken by our own Amanda Melcher over last week's Spring Break.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Catalog Service Restored

Our apologies to those of you who may have been trying to access our catalog on Friday or Saturday. We had a planned power outage to the building on Friday. This also affected our servers and the university website. As I write, the catalog is again up and running.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Now in Central Search: E-mail and Save Your Results

Central Search has new features to help you with your research. Included in the latest batch of updates:
  • "Marked List" - Enables the easy selection and management of citations. This new feature keeps a running tally of records selected at the top of the page and allows you to move through the result set. In addition, the export process has changed: you'll now see check boxes next to the citations, allowing you to select records for export while viewing the results list.
  • Export/Save - Includes several options: 1-click Export to RefWorks; export in format compatible with ProCite and EndNote; save as HTML; or save as Plain Text.
  • Email - Provides ability to email citations in a variety of useful formats, from a form within the Central Search interface.
Please call or e-mail us with any questions you may have about these new features!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Montevallo Literary Festival

Be sure to sign up for the Montevallo Literary Festival, April 13th and 14th. Readings scheduled throughout both days are free and open to the public. This year's writers include: Catherine Bowman, Wendy Bruce, Kirk Curnutt, Peter Donahue, John Dufresne, Jim Gilbert, Ellen Gilcrhist, Jennifer Horne, Rich Lyons, Don Noble, John O’Keefe, Michele Reese, Brad Vice, and Philip and Sandra Williams. To see the schedule of events, click here.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Upcoming Vacca Lecture on March 28th: Russia Under Putin

Please consider attending the next lecture from our visiting professor on "Russia Under Putin." Vacca Scholar Dmitry Goncharov will again share his unique insights with the UM community:
The 2000 election of a former KGB officer as President marked a new period in the history of Post-Soviet Russia. Since then Russian politics have undergone significant changes which has put an end to democratization of 90’s and moved the country to the ranks of unfree polities. The presentation will address details of this transformation and discuss current developments on the eve of parliamentary and presidential elections in Russia.
Dr. Goncharov will speak in Comer Hall, Room 208 on Wednesday, March 28th at 4:30 PM.

On another note, big congratulations go to the Falcons after their efforts versus Eckard College last night. Marcus Kennedy's near-half court buzzer-beater caps off the 19th consecutive victory for the Falcon men. This marks the second year that the team has advanced to the Elite Eight in NCAA Division II competition. Be sure to follow the team all the way on the Falcon athletics home page.

Electronic Resources or Print Resources

Here are two LibQual+ comments posted on March 13:

It would be more than nice if the library could make more "FULL TEXT" articles available within the online scholarly journals. Thank you...

There is too much emphasis on electronic journals and hardly any on keeping the books up-to-date

Two very different opinions!

We try to find the appropriate balance between electronic and print resources in each discipline. We work closely with the faculty in each department to make the best use of the funds we have available for both. Our goal is to make available to you the resources you need in your studies in the most appropriate format.

Which journals are available in full text, however, depends on the journal's publisher. Some elect not to allow for any full text access through a database, some elect to allow that access only through specific databases, and others place an embargo of up to a year before articles are available online. And these decisions change frequently. Again, we work with the faculty to review our current resources and to determine if there are others that would better serve them and their students.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Electronic Resources & Budget

Here's a LibQual+ comment we received over the weekend:

I appreciate having more electronic journals; however, I worry that book budgets are being cut to pay for them. It might be worth forming a committee of library admin, staff and users to try to come up with a better approach. There seems to be some redundancy in databases, as well as too much focus on basic reference databases containing novice information. This makes it difficult to give students expertise. Can the library complement these basic databases with more specialist databases?

Paying for our electronic resources is a tough issue. Over the last several years, the demand for electronic resources has increased, as has the cost of these materials. At the same time, the library's budget for all materials (print, online, and multimedia) has remained at the same level. We try to find a reasonable balance between building our print collection and providing access to electronic resources. I've talked with the Library Committee about this, and I am looking at ways we can change our budget allocation process to address these and related concerns better. So far, I haven't found any good solution -- other than requesting additional funds for library materials.

On the database question, most of the general reference databases (Academic Search Premier, InfoTrac OneFile, MasterFile Premier) come to us through the Alabama Virtual Library. The AVL is funded by the Alabama Legislature, and we do not have to pay for these databases. This frees up money that we can use to license more specialized databases such as LION and the MLA Bibliography. Without the AVL, there is no way we'd be able to afford to offer the variety of databases we have. We're always trying to make sure we have the databases our students and faculty need, and we welcome any suggestions for additions. These additions, however, will come at a cost -- which brings us back to the concern discussed above.

Thanks again to all who have taken the time to respond to LibQual+ and to give use their comments.

Friday, March 09, 2007

LibQual+ up and running!

The biennial LibQual+ is off to a great start. Sixty-five people responded on the first day of the survey, which I believe sets a record for us for initial response. Thanks to all who made comments telling us how much you appreciate the library staff and our services. I'll share all of your comments with the library staff.

I want to respond to some comments that were made on LibQual+ Day 1:

1. There is not a lot of resources for mass communication in the actual library. There are research journals avaiable online, but nothing at the library. There should be a mass communcation section just like there is a music and lit. There could be documentaries, historcial broadcasting and jouirnalism information.

Hmmm. I wonder what this person has been looking for? We don't have a separate section for mass communication (or for music and literature, for that matter). The Library of Congress call number system, however, does pull literature and music resources together better than some other disciplines. Mass Com resources get divided into several call number ranges. What is really happening here, I think, is that the library catalog isn't directing this person as well as it could. We're continuing to explore ways to make the catalog more user friendly.

2. JSTOR would be such a HUGE asset and help

We're hoping to be able to addd JSTOR before the 2007/2008 academic year. Stay tuned!

3. The library could use new computers on the first floor area. Some of the keyboards have letter keys that do not work or that have the letters worn off of them.

We're plannning to update some of these computers over the summer, and will replace all of them as quickly as we can.

4. While I think all the other library resources are great and very well organized, the music scores section is kind of a disaster and very difficult to navigate. If that were more organized my life (and the lives of other music majors) would be much easier. =)

We know the scores are in bad shape, and we're plugging away at getting them better organized. What you may not realize is that every time a score gets checked out, we send it back to our Catalogers so that it can be officially cataloged. We are also working with the Music Department faculty to identify scores that need to be replaced. It's a slow process, and we know it's frustrating. If you're having difficulty locating a score, ask one of the Librarians for help. Jason Cooper, our Technical Services Librarian, is particularly knowledgeable in this area.

Stay tuned for additional comments from LibQual+!