Renovation Feedback Aids Architects in Planning 

""In February, the Library circulated a survey to gather input from students, faculty, and Library patrons about the future of Alderman Library. Data collected through the survey, along with feedback from the eight in-person sessions with HBRA architects, will help guide the architects as they create materials to be presented to the Board of Visitors later this year.

Individual survey results remain confidential, but a wide variety of input was received. Out of 150 survey responses, most comments focused around seven central keywords: book, study, research, collection, quiet, stacks, and journal.

As we’ve seen through the in-person sessions with the architects, there are a variety of visions from students, faculty, staff, and community members about the ideal future for Alderman Library. Many take the position that maximizing in-person access to book browsing should be the Library’s top priority. Many agree with this notion, while adding that study spaces, table tops, and lockable carrels are also a key concern for those who wish to do work on Grounds.

In addition to study spaces and access to library materials, quite a few respondents commented that they liked having a cafe nearby, and appreciated extended Library hours. Navigability, clear designation of “quiet” spaces, natural light, and comfortable seating also repeatedly surfaced as users submitted thoughts about their ideal Library experience.

Survey results have been shared with HBRA Architects and are being incorporated into ongoing planning.

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UVA Today Article Highlights 3D Printing in Scholars’ Lab

Library masters of 3D scanning and printing, Will Rourk and Ammon Shepherd of Scholar’s Lab, are featured prominently in the UVA Today article “Meet the Makers”—a survey of makerspaces that form a network across the Grounds of the University.

Library projects highlighted in the article include a replica of William Faulkner’s pipe that was discovered in the pocket of the jacket he left here on his last visit to UVA before his death in 1962, and Princess Leia’s thermal detonator from the Star Wars films. The Lab’s mission to preserve and share data with other makers means that museum visitors with impaired vision may now touch objects and feel their texture and shape.

For more about 3D printing in Scholars’ Lab and other locations at UVA, read the article “Meet the Makers” (UVA Today 3/28/2018).

Some Special Collections Flat Files will be Unavailable in Spring 2018

Beginning April 2, 2018, some large-sized items will be temporarily unavailable from the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library. Some maps, posters, large broadsides, genealogical charts, galleys, panoramic photographs, and architectural drawings will be moved off-site while new moveable carriages are installed to replace the old flat-file cabinets. The new carriages will double the library’s holding capacity for the large items.

There isn’t a set end-date for the project. Until the project does end, please submit a reference request with a list of the items, and a staff member will inform you of the status of the materials you are hoping to view.

Please read the Special Collections blog post “Researcher Alert: Flat Files Will Close for Move in April” to find out more.

As Clemons Library Closes for the Summer, other Libraries Work to Lessen Impact

Clemons Library is closing this summer for an HVAC upgrade. The good news is that the Clemons collection will remain available. DVDs will stay in the building, protected from the heat and humidity by a stand alone AC and dehumidifier. They will be available via Virgo request; the books will move to closed stacks in Alderman, also available by request. The Robertson Media Center will move service to Scholar’s Lab on the 4th floor of Alderman, and Clemons Reserves will move to Brown Science and Engineering Library—Fine Arts video reserves will move to the Fiske Kimball Fine Arts Library.

However, when Clemons reopens its doors in August 2018, the 1st floor will remain closed for the installation of high density shelving in preparation for 2019 when it will be Clemons’ turn to take in a large part of Alderman’s collection during the library’s renovation.

Installing the new shelves that run on tracks to pack as many books as possible into the 1st floor area will leave study space for about 370 people; the makeover also means there will be sprinklers for fire suppression, remodeled restrooms, and a raised floor, allowing the Library to add more electrical outlets near the tables. Most important, the Alderman books will stay on the central Grounds—close to staff, faculty, and students.

Fortunately, the Library can help users cope with the inconvenience. A virtual browsing enhancement in Virgo gives library users a more complete browsing experience than was possible in the past. Users today can look up a title in Virgo, click a virtual shelf-browse icon, and see all the books in that call number range, not just in one library but many—Alderman, Clemons, Fine Arts, Special Collections, and the Ivy Stacks remote shelving and retrieval unit, as well as electronic books.

Likewise, finding a convenient place to study is not the challenge it used to be. The Library has created an interactive map that lets you Explore Study Spaces at UVA. You can survey images of the locations, click an image to get a description, find out when it’s available, grab your computer and go.

Brown Science & Engineering Library will be home to Print Reserves for the summer 2018 semester. The library’s east wing has graceful niches for quiet study.

There’s no doubt that the work on Clemons’ 1st floor poses challenges for both staff and library users, so please feel free to communicate your ideas, thoughts, and concerns about service to a Library subject liaison, or Ask a Librarian and let the staff know how the Library can help you.

“From Latent Data to Active Knowledge Making”—an Interview with Brenda Gunn

On March 10th, Associate University Librarian for Special Collections and Preservation, Brenda Gunn, joined husband-and-wife team Geof Huth and Karen Trivette for a far-ranging discussion on their podcast An Archivist’s Tale.

The interview covered how Gunn’s mentor David Gracy and a life-long passion for history led her into the profession; how she’s helped advance the profession with her participation in the Society of American Archivists, the SAA Foundation, and the Academy of Certified Archivists; and how her appreciation for “knowledge making” has led to plans for the Treasure Room of the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library.

Listen to the entire podcast.

Alderman Inventory—Plans for Renovation are Making the Library a Better Place Today

While the bricks-and-mortar phase of Alderman renovation won’t be for a while yet, the necessity of relocating the stacks before the work starts has created an opportunity for a project that many library staffers have long wished for—finding books that have been missing in action since the catalog went from cards and auto-generated IDs to computer records and barcodes in 1996. The inventory project to account for all 1,850,000 items in Alderman’s print collection (excluding things like maps and microforms) means the public will be better served with an up-to-date catalog, and that decisions being made now about Alderman’s future will be based on accurate information.A triage team of library staff is out combing the stacks for worst-case preservation problems, and a team of contract workers from Backstage Library Works is following section by section, cleaning books, meticulously matching books to records, supplying records for books in the stacks that aren’t in the catalog, and attaching barcodes to the missing titles. Mismatched titles and call numbers are flagged for special attention and routed to library Cataloging staff and former staff who have been hired as temps to bring their skills to the project. When errors have been corrected, books are sent to the 4th floor sorting area for re-shelving. If any need repair, they go to Preservation.

Circulation is posting alerts at Alderman’s 4th floor desk about current stacks inventory zones, which remain open to the public for browsing and for checking out books. The Inventory crews are glad to accommodate anyone who needs to retrieve an item; and although titles that have been pulled for special attention cannot be recalled, people who need items can place an Interlibrary Loan request—just be sure to note that the UVA copy is unavailable.

Actual renovation of Alderman Library space is not imminent, but a renovation of Alderman’s collection is going forward. Titles that had been invisible are appearing perhaps for the first time in VIRGO. And when the books return from their temporary homes after Alderman’s been transformed, the library’s stacks and catalog will be in as good a shape as the building.

Unpaywall and OAButton Add-ons Put Open Access Research at your Fingertips

Worried about the cost of doing research when the online article you need is protected by a paywall? You’ll be glad to learn you may not have to pay for that article after all. Unpaywall and Open Access Button are add-ons you can install to your browser that will search for free copies of paywalled articles. Both services are fast, free, and legal! And please find out more about the University’s own scholarly repository for theses and dissertations, data sets, and other online content by visiting the Library’s Libra page.

After installing Unpaywall, any research you find online will be searched to see if Unpaywall has a free copy. If so, you’ll see a green tab with an unlocked symbol. Just click the tab, and read. Skip the paywall on millions of peer-reviewed journal articles.

Unpaywall “harvests” millions of research papers available for free from thousands of legal institutional repositories: government and university web servers, scholarly societies, authors who have uploaded papers with the expressed permission of publishers, and even publishers themselves—all legally available to use in your own research. Unpaywall will never harvest from sources of dubious legality; and they handle requests with complete confidentiality and won’t track your browsing history.

The  Open Access Button add-on works in a way similar to Unpaywall, but with the additional feature, that if OAButton isn’t able to locate a freely-available, authorized, full-text version of an article, it will contact the author on your behalf, and ask for a copy. You’ll need to provide your email address.

But before OAButton creates a request to the author, it checks to see if an article is not already legally available somewhere else. Sources include all of the aggregated repositories in the world!

When an article or dataset isn’t available, OAButton asks the authors to share it, and helps authors to share fast, legally, and widely so that not only you get access—everyone does, forever! The end result is no more paywalls and the data you need at your fingertips.

Requests made through OAButton’s system are public, so they’ll motivate authors and hold them accountable. OAButton believes that since Research is publicly funded, it should be shared. Articles are stored in Zenodo and data in the Open Science Framework for safe keeping.

Fair Use promotes creation of new knowledge

Click to see accessible PDF infographicA new infographic from the Association of Research Libraries illustrates how Fair Use enables new knowledge to be created and shared. Download the full infographic (PDF). 

Want more? Check this out from The Taper, UVA Library’s Copyright and Information Policy blog: “How Is an App Like a Player Piano? And Does That Help the Fair Use Case for Software Preservation?” (March 1, 2018)

New 3D printing facilities at the Library!

3D-printed objects like small skyscrapers, an octopus, and a person's nameThe Robertson Media Center (RMC) in Clemons Library has opened a new 3D printing space, open to all members of the UVA community.

The 3D Printing Studio is equipped with seven 3D printers (three Makerbot replicator plus, two Ultimaker 3, and two Taz 6) and six desktop computers. The service is open and free to all patrons of the University, regardless of skill level or field of study.

A glass wall showing workspaces, computers, and equipment in a room

The Clemons 3D printing studio is located on third floor of Clemons library.

The studio open every week from Monday to Friday from 3pm to 9pm.  Initial training is required prior to reserving and using the 3D Printing Studio for the first time—sign up for a training here.

Want more info? Ask at the Robertson Media Center front desk or email

Not enough printing for you? Good news—there’s more!

In addition to the new RMC studio, the Library also offers 3D printing technology through the Scholars’ Lab! Find out more about the Makerspace and check the 3D printing calendar for availability.

Library Hosts Workshops for Endangered Data Week, February 26–March 1

The UVA Library is hosting a number of events as part of Endangered Data Week 2018 (February 26–March 2), a collaborative effort, coordinated across campuses, nonprofits, libraries, citizen science initiatives, and cultural heritage institutions, (1) to shed light on public datasets that are in danger of being deleted, repressed, mishandled, or lost; (2) to promote public and open data, working toward greater accessibility; and (3) to build a culture of data consciousness, increasing appreciation for and the ability to use data within the larger community.

Research Data Services is available year-round with a variety of data-related services, including discovery and acquisition of datasets, statistical support and data analytics consulting, research software support, and consulting on data-related issues, including research data management. We also offer a rich variety of workshops throughout the academic year. We are happy to answer any questions you might have; just send us an email at

Below is the current list of events we are hosting at UVA for Endangered Data Week. No reservations are required, so please join us if you can!

  • Introduction to R (Clay Ford)—Monday, February 26, 10:00 a.m.–noon, in Alderman Library, Room 421. For the absolute beginner, this workshop provides a gentle introduction to R—an open-source software environment and programming language designed specifically for statistical analysis—and RStudio, a free integrated development environment (IDE) that makes using and learning R much easier. Learn how to import data, do basic data manipulation, create graphics, and perform basic statistical analyses.
  • Data Sharing and Public Health Emergencies (Daniel Mietchen)—Monday, February 26, 3:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m., in Alderman Library, Room 421. Data sharing is a relatively new facet of public health emergency responses, but increasingly helps improve emergency response by providing complete and up-to-date information. Find out more about the potential impact of preserving and sharing data.
  • ArcGIS Online: Story Maps (Drew Macqueen)—Tuesday, February 27, 10:00 a.m.–11:00 a.m., in Alderman Library, Room 421. Whether telling a story, giving a tour, or comparing historic maps, ESRI Story Maps are easy-to-use applications that create polished presentations. ArcGIS Online sessions assume participants have no previous experience using GIS. Sessions will be hands-on with step-by-step tutorials and expert assistance.
  • Basics of Version Control with Git (Ammon Shepherd)—Tuesday, February 27, 1:00 p.m.–2:00 p.m., in Alderman Library, Room 421. An overview of how to use Git and GitHub to version your documents (word processing and coding document or any type of files). This is a workshop for absolute beginners. No experience is required.
  • Introduction to Libra Data (Dataverse at UVA) (Sherry Lake)—Wednesday, February 28, 1:00 p.m.–2:00 p.m., in Brown Library, Room 133. Overview and demonstration session on Libra Data, available for UVA researchers to publish and share data. Libra Data is for final, publishable research. Benefits of using Libra Data include: Increased visibility and impact of your research data, Safe management of your data, Fulfillment of journal and grant mandates, and Valuable research time saved. Read more about the benefits and the full Library announcement.
  • Introduction to the City of Charlottesville’s Open Data Portal (Steve Hawkes, Mark Simpson and Nathan Day)—Wednesday, February 28, 2:30 p.m.–3:30 p.m., in Alderman Library, Room 421. The objective of Open Data is to eliminate burdens to access data created or managed by government agencies, while respecting privacy and sensitivity concerns. It enables entrepreneurs, academics, community groups, other learning communities, developers, and interested citizens to use data in creative applications. The City of Charlottesville’s Open Data Portal houses machine-readable data, that can be downloaded and manipulated. The data includes crime statistics, traffic, demographics, real estate and environmental data. Members of the Open Data Advisory Group, a citizen stakeholder group, will introduce the Open Data hub and portal, and then Nathan Day will lead us in a dive into some of the data available from the portal. Please bring a laptop so you can dive into the data as well.
  • Introduction to DocNow (Jeremy Boggs)—Thursday, March 1, 2:00 p.m.–3:00 p.m., in Alderman Library, Room 421. Join us for an introduction to DocNow, a tool and community developed around supporting the ethical collection, use, and preservation of social media content. Scholars’ Lab staff will be on hand to provide a brief introduction to the tool, a discussion of data collection, and a consideration of the complex, often fraught, stories that can be told through social media data. All skill levels are welcome and encouraged to attend.

Within the UVA Library, these events are being hosted by Research Data Services and the Scholars’ Lab with support from the Data Science Institute at UVA. You can also view the events we hosted in 2017, for the first Endangered Data Week.

For more information about other Endangered Data Week events around the country and around the world, please visit the Endangered Data Week website.