The UVA Library’s collections include more than 5 million print books, nearly 1,000 databases, and 150,000 videos, and new materials are added each day. An easy way to keep track of new arrivals is through the Library’s New Resources guide, which is maintained by Media Collections Librarian Leigh Rockey. We spoke with Rockey about what it’s like to oversee so many items, the Library’s new Inclusive Collections guide, the “Wild West” of video streaming, and her favorite databases to explore.
New books and new videos are added to the New Resources guide via an RSS feed that pulls data from Virgo, the Library’s online catalog. “The RSS feed updates every day, but only posts 20 things at a time,” Rockey said. For a more detailed overview, readers can toggle to the New Books by Call Number tab in the guide to peruse thousands of new books, with the ability to drill down to individual Library of Congress call numbers to see the 20 items populated in each by the RSS feed that day.
Rockey updates the guide’s new databases listings manually when she is informed of new additions by the Library’s Resource Acquisition & Description team. The Collections Management team works with subject liaisons, who in turn consult UVA faculty members, to help determine which databases are necessary and worth buying. “If you want to know the scope of our collections, you just look at the curriculum, basically,” Rockey said. “What we collect follows what UVA studies and teaches.” The New Resources guide lists every new database the Library has acquired since January of 2022 (and it will start a fresh list in January 2023).
Of the 2022 database offerings, Rockey is particularly excited about the Oxford Academic database, the home for Oxford University Press’s research books and journals and a host of other Oxford online scholarship. “Oxford had a bunch of different sites, but now they’ve kind of mushed them together, and you can access them through this one portal, Oxford Academic,” Rockey said. “I think of it as ‘one ring to rule them all.’” [See below for five more of Rockey’s favorite databases.]
In addition to the New Resources guide, Rockey also maintains the Inclusive Collections guide, which lists databases, journals, books, external websites, and audiovisual media pertaining to African American Studies, American Indian Studies, Asian/Pacific American Studies, Disability Studies, Gender and Sexuality, and Latinx Studies. “We’ve been extremely mindful of diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts in the collections. We want to make systemic changes,” Rockey said. Creating the Inclusive Collections was a big job, and the Library hired Chaeyeon Kim, a graduate student in the School of Commerce, to assist with itemizing and data visualization. The Inclusive Collections guide, which includes vibrant images of most of the resources, research guides curated by UVA librarians, and staff book picks, launched in January. Rockey updates it at least once a month.
As the Library’s Media Collections Librarian, Rockey specializes in video collections and has witnessed a sea change since starting her position in 2014. “That was right when streaming became the Wild West,” she said. “We used to collect any and all DVDs requested, as cost was not an issue. Today, we’re not buying very many DVDs; instead we have tens of thousands of streaming videos and all these different streaming portals and databases. There’s been a complete shift in collecting.” Librarians face a challenge when it comes to original content produced by streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and HBO Max. “They have no institutional licensing available at all. None,” Rockey said. “And unless they put it out on DVD, we cannot acquire it for our collections or for professors to use in courses. There is a movement among librarians to push CEOs of streaming services to make their content available.” Even with these challenges, the Video and Media Resources site was the Library’s most-viewed guide for the past fiscal year, with more than 34,000 visits. Rockey speculates its popularity may be linked to the site’s helpful list of free streaming video sites on the internet.
With her years of experience on the Collections Management team, Rockey has explored most databases the Library has to offer, as she enters them manually into the New Resources guide. Here are five of her favorites, perfect for researchers, film-lovers, and those looking for a little inspiration:
London Low Life
Rockey’s review: When you want to know the seedy (true) stories of Victorian London.
Plus maps, penny fiction, “fast literature,” lots of illustrations with titles like, “A Guide to All the Flash Cribs of the Metropolis, 1844,” and buckets more.
Rockey’s review: When you want to educate yourself about an issue.
It contains in-depth coverage of health, social trends, criminal justice, international affairs, education, the environment, technology and the economy. Each report is researched and written by a seasoned journalist, footnoted and professionally fact checked. The consistent, reader-friendly organization provides researchers with an introductory overview, which poses and addresses relevant questions; a background and chronology on the topic; an assessment of the current situation; tables and maps; a pro/con debate by representatives of opposing positions; and bibliographies of key sources.
Rockey’s review: When you want to watch a feature film.
It’s not the only database with feature films, but it’s mostly fun movies.
National Theatre Collection (UK)
Rockey’s review: When you want to watch a video of an awesome play from the National Theatre in London.
Fannie Lou Hamer: Papers of a Civil Rights Activist, Political Activist, and Woman
Rockey’s review: When you want to be inspired.
The Fannie Lou Hamer papers contain more than 3,000 pieces of correspondence plus financial records, programs, photographs, newspaper articles, invitations, and other printed items. The papers are arranged in the following series: Personal, Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, Freedom Farms Corporation, Delta Ministry, Mississippians United to Elect Negro Candidates, Delta Opportunities Corporation, and Collected Materials.