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Posts tagged: NCSU Libraries

Jun 08 2014

Don’t Just Read . . .

Looking for an opportunity to discuss the latest popular books with some of the smartest people around (your friends and North Carolina State University’s most engaged scholars)?

NCSU Libraries and Wake County Public Libraries teamed up to make that easy with READ SMART, a series of informal discussions moderated by members of NC State’s faculty.

READ SMART is free and open to the public and is sponsored by Friends of the Library of North Carolina State University. All discussions are held at the Cameron Village Regional Library, 1930 Clark Avenue, Raleigh, NC 27605. For more information, please call 919-513-3481.

Read Smart will be taking a summer vacation in June and July but join us in August for our next program.

Upcoming programs:

Thursday, August 21 at 7:00 p.m.

Join us for a book discussion of the bestseller Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt by Michael Lewis. Moderated by Dr. Eileen Taylor, CPA, CFE, associate professor of accounting at NC State. About the book: Four years after his #1 bestseller The Big Short, Michael Lewis returns to Wall Street to report on a high-tech predator stalking the equity markets.

Flash Boys cover
Thursday, September 11 at 7:00 p.m.

Join us for a book discussion of Cooked, the newest bestseller by Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma. Moderated by Dr. Keith Harris, assistant professor of Food, Bioprocessing & Nutrition Sciences at NC State. About the book: The more we watch food on television, the less food we actually prepare and cook. Michael Pollan’s new book is a clarion-call for the virtues and values of proper cooking – an essential, defining human activity which sits at the heart of our cultures, shapes family life and is in itself hugely enjoyable.

Thursday, October 23 at 7:00 p.m.

Join us for a book discussion of The Maid’s Version, a short novel by Daniel Woodrell, author of Winter’s Bone. Moderated by Dr.Marc K. Dudley, associate professor of English at NC State.

About the book:

In 1929, an explosion at a dance hall in a Missouri town killed 42 people. Who was to blame? Alma Dunahew, whose scandalous younger sister was among the dead, believes she knows the answer – and that its roots lie in a dangerous love affair. But no one will listen to a woman from the wrong side of the tracks.  It is only decades later that her grandson listens to her account and unearths the sorry truth. “Exquisite . . . a pleasure to read.” The New York Times

Aug 21 2013

What’s that great new space on the second floor of the D. H. Hill Library?

Looking for a comfortable, light-filled place to study in D. H. Hill?  One with modern, comfortable furniture and color bursts that create a Hunt Library vibe?

New spaces to study at D. H. Hill

Students are finding some new favorite spots to study and collaborate at D. H. Hill Library.

This colorful new lounge on the 2nd floor takes its cue from the modern, funky vibe at the Hunt Library.

Check out the new lounge on the second floor of the D. H. Hill Library’s south tower.

Moving 1.5 million books into the bookBot at Hunt last year opened up much-needed space in our original main library, and we’re using it—as resources become available—to create more study and technology spaces in the D. H. Hill Library.  Instead of generic book shelves, the area next to the Unity Lab on the second floor is now a bright, energizing area with fifty seats for individual or group work.  Enjoy it!

And in the north tower of the second floor, you’ll also find fifty new seats (though the furniture is a bit older) in spaces where we’ve been able to take out bookshelves and place more tables and chairs that let you spread out and get your work done.

Coming soon—the Visualization Studio

The D. H. Hill Library was the testbed for many of the pioneering technologies now in the new Hunt Library.  And, as funding becomes available, we hope to continue to equip the D. H. Hill Library with many more of the state-of-the-art tools that have brought international recognition to the new library.

The new Visualization Studio will open later this Fall.

The Visualization Studio, for which funding was awarded last spring in a competitive, university-wide process, is the next step toward realizing that goal.  Located behind the bright yellow wall in the new second-floor lounge, this new room—scheduled to open by late September—will give you twelve projectors that let you display on all four sides of the room at once.  This immersive 360-degree view makes it easy to gather in groups and explore data that becomes all the more powerful when it’s experienced rather than read off a spreadsheet.  In the Visualization Studio:

·         Students will have a powerful way to work together on group projects, to boost their presentations to new levels, or to study complex ideas and phenomena at a large scale, seeing them spread out around the room.

·         Professors can conduct interactive classes and engaging seminars that surround their students in images, documents, movie clips, and data visualizations.

·         Researchers will be able to work collaboratively to develop grant applications, collectively review code, or analyze large maps, imagery, or detailed documents—or to give dramatic presentations of their results to their sponsoring agencies.

Apr 11 2013

US Navy unveils Mariner Skills Simulator at the Hunt Library

The Navy’s newest advanced Mariner Skills Simulator was officially unveiled on April 3, with the midshipmen of the NC State University Naval ROTC at the helm.

Aug 15 2012

Bound for the bookBot!

Our books are on the move!

We have begun the process of loading 1.5 million items into the bookBot robotic retrieval system in the new James B. Hunt Jr. Library. To celebrate this huge milestone toward opening the new library in January 2013, we enlisted almost a dozen NC State all stars for an Olympic-themed relay to carry the first book over to Centennial Campus.

See how many of the NC State champions you can recognize as they carry the “torch” in the “3000m bookBot Relay.”

You can find out more about the book move at the Bound for the bookBot site.

Sep 08 2011

The NCSU Libraries Virtual Learning Commons

We’ll give you a five-minute mind tickle. Daily.

We’ve been told that at least one reason the D. H. Hill Learning Commons is so crowded is because of the conversations that take place here every day. Sometimes about classes and work, sometimes about your tech toys, sometimes about politics or the job market, or just some stimulating gossip—most always something interesting. The conversations that happen when a group of bright people get together and talk.

So let’s share a bit of that conversation with the rest of the world—our virtual Learning Commons. The Libraries Facebook page pulls the most intellectually stimulating, quirky, interesting, Wolfpackish things we find out on the Web and puts them together for your stimulation (most picked by NC State students, btw).  Like us; join the conversation; get five minutes of brain candy a day.

Aug 18 2011

Fabulous Faculty – Dr. Rob Dunn

Picture of Rob Dunn

Professor Rob Dunn

book coverJoin us for our first Fabulous Faculty talk of the semester:

Fabulous Faculty – Dr. Rob Dunn
Tuesday, August 30 at 4:00 p.m.
Assembly Room, 2nd floor, East Wing, D. H. Hill Library

Dunn, a professor of biology at NC State, will read from and discuss his new book The Wild Life of Our Bodies. The book explores the how the influence of wild species—including parasites, bacteria, and predators—underpin humanity’s ability to thrive and prosper. Booklist says the work is, ““Nothing less than an every-person’s handbook for understanding life, great and small, on planet Earth.”

Rob Dunn is an assistant professor of biology at NC State University whose writing has appeared in Scientific American, Smithsonian Magazine, National Geographic and other magazines. His first book, Every Living Thing, was awarded the National Outdoor Book Award for natural history writing.

Books will be available on-site for purchase and signing. This program is free and open to the public and light refreshments will be served. The NCSU Libraries Fabulous Faculty Series is made possible by a grant from the Tom Russell Charitable Foundation, Inc. For more information, contact 919-513-3481 or

Jun 16 2011

NCSU Libraries Brings Photographic History of NC State to the iPad

WolfWalk for iPadMedia Contact:
David Hiscoe
, NCSU Libraries,  (919) 513-3425

Drawing on a strong legacy of using mobile devices to open up the treasures of the university’s Special Collections Research Center to the widest possible audience, the NCSU Libraries has expanded its popular WolfWalk tool and made it available as an iPad app.

Initially launched in 2010 for mobile devices, WolfWalk: A Photographic History of NC State now turns the iPad into a virtual time and space portal. The iPad version of WolfWalk makes it easy for students, alumni, and other friends of North Carolina State University to steep themselves in the school’s heritage, regardless of where they happen to be at the moment.

Earlier versions of WolfWalk capitalized on the location awareness of today’s mobile devices to allow users to give themselves a self-guided historical walk through NC State’s campus. As users stroll around the grounds, their mobile devices detect their current locations and then draw on the mountains of material in the University Archives to deliver a tour of nearby buildings and other historically interesting locations.  The new iPad version provides a deeper, more immersive experience by taking advantage of the more expansive electronic canvas provided by the iPad.

WolfWalk for iPadThe iPad’s large, backlit screen quite literally widens (and heightens) the visual possibilities for mobile users. So WolfWalk has added two new sections—“Decades” and “Themes”—to explore over a thousand luminous photographic moments held by the University Archives in the NCSU Libraries’ Special Collections Research Center.

Decades organizes classic Wolfpack scenes by time periods, making it possible, for instance, to track the return of the thousands of veterans who entered NC State in the late 1940s or the glorious basketball eras of the 50s and 60s. Themes allows users to browse through historical photographs of student life, campus events, and Wolfpack athletics over the past 125 years.

“The University Archives and our Special Collections Research Center are two of the great treasures of NC State University,” explains Susan K. Nutter, vice provost and director of the NCSU Libraries.  “I love the idea that now it’s even easier for NC State’s friends to use them and to enjoy these riches. And the technological adroitness we have gained by pushing our own expertise forward will be invaluable in the near future as we leverage mobile services to make the new James B. Hunt Jr. Library one of the most technologically advanced learning spaces in the country.”

The iPad version of WolfWalk is available as a free download from the App Store.

May 11 2011

You Can Take It with You: Building a Mobile Library

It’s difficult to walk across the NC State campus (like any other campus these days) without noticing that most students are more likely to be toting a smartphone in their hands than a book (though there are plenty of those in the backpacks). What may elude a passing glance at NC State though is that the students who are busy texting are probably also on the internet reading their course reserves or checking the line at the D. H. Hill Library coffee shop. The NCSU Libraries has long been a technology incubator for the university and for academic libraries in general, and we see another huge opportunity in these new mobile behaviors. We expect, in fact, that mobile computing—like the laptop a decade ago—is beginning to dramatically reshape how libraries serve the academic community.

Here’s some “why’s”—and our early steps in thinking through the “how’s”:

The Environment

“More than half of respondents (51.2%) owned an Internet-capable handheld device and another 12% planned to purchase one in the next 12 months.” (The ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology, 2009, EDUCAUSE Center for Applied Research)

“Users of the mobile web now go online more frequently using their handheld devices than they did as recently as last year. More than half of all mobile internet users go online from their handheld devices on a daily basis.” (Aaron Smith, Mobile Access 2010, Pew Internet & American Life Project)

The Drivers

We are in the middle of immense changes to the information context in which study and research occur:

  • Today’s students live in a blended world of the virtual and the physical—the natural state of things for them is to expect learning to happen in this blended context.
  • They expect to be able to learn and research anytime, anyplace.
  • Seemingly inevitable market forces are reducing the costs, increasing the power, and ensuring the ubiquity of mobile computing.
  • Today’s students see collaborative research and study as the norm. Online social networking is a given in their lives. They expect easy and “natural” ways to collaborate and stay in touch.
  • Location awareness is built into most newer devices, opening up interesting possibilities for more targeted, personal, and timely services.
  • Broad applications of augmented reality are becoming more technologically and economically possible.

NCSU Libraries Mobile Implementations

For some time, we’ve believed that mobile technologies are ready and waiting for libraries to start coupling library information and services to the blended lives of students, graduate students, and faculty. These mobile services connect physical and digital library experiences, helping students make the best use of the library as a place for research, study, and collaboration regardless of where the students (or the research materials, for that matter) are physically located.

We have three “first steps” up and running:

NCSU Libraries Mobile (

NCSU Libraries Mobile ( our key principle that great mobile services are not just a rehash of the traditional website, NCSU Libraries Mobile was launched in 2009 to provide a carefully selected menu of library services that lend themselves to use on mobile platforms.

While they’re on the bus to campus (or anyplace else), library patrons can now:

  • search the catalog.
  • find peer-reviewed articles.
  • locate available computers in the libraries.
  • use GroupFinder and Study Room Reservations to locate groups of study mates or reserve collaborative space.
  • ask for real-time help from a librarian.
  • interact with several other library services.

For more information, see

WolfWalk (

WolfWalk ( WolfWalk is a mobile application (available in the iPhone App Store and on the web) that uses location information provided by mobile devices to deliver historical content from the University Archives in the Libraries’ Special Collections, updated as users walk across campus. Users can give themselves an interesting tour through NC State’s past by pulling out their mobile devices, strolling through the grounds, and being fed a constant stream of photos and other historical info about the buildings and places they are passing.

This application is an initial step into an emerging category of mobile services known as “augmented reality.” By augmenting the experience of looking at sites on campus using images and text from the Libraries’ archives, we can enhance the campus with a historical context that far exceeds what you can find on the commemorative plaques that tag interesting places around the school.

This augmented experience is enabled by the increasing sophistication of mobile devices, and it’s an excellent example of using new technology to enable us to provide fundamentally new methods for people to discover and access our collections.

For more information, see

4-H & NC State: Leading Together (

4-H & NC State: Leading Together ( & NC State: Leading Together is the Spring 2011 exhibit in the D. H. Hill Library’s exhibit hall. For the first time, the Libraries has developed a mobile web supplement to the exhibit that provides access to images from the Libraries’ Special Collections that are related to the exhibit’s themes. The mobile supplement is embedded in the exhibit with placards that display a short URL as well as a graphical code, called a QR code, that the device’s camera can detect with specialized software that automatically directs the device’s browser to the relevant page of the mobile site.

In the future, we hope to build more of these specialized, easy to develop, mobile web applications that enhance temporary exhibits, tours, and events, making use of and shedding light on particular aspects of our digital collections.

This project demonstrates one way that mobile devices can connect physical spaces and the web.

For more information, see

Guiding Principles

We have learned to ask ourselves two broad questions, which are useful in a variety of project scenarios, before we start work on a new mobile initiative.

1) What value does the “mobile” aspect of the project add to the user experience with a library service or collection?

Ubiquitous services have value only if these new channels meet the user at a point of need. It is possible that mobile-optimized library services would not add much value in certain library contexts, despite the proliferation of mobile services in the broader information landscape. Projects built on the shifting grounds of emerging technologies can stay focused by continually checking that they are providing unique value to the user.

2 ) Are we pursuing these new opportunities in a sustainable way?

The mobile user experience is evolving rapidly. From a technological perspective, the current state-of-the-art in mobile computing will become commonplace in only a few years, at the most. The balance of costs and benefits of the various technologies with which mobile services can be developed is also rapidly changing and user expectations of what it means to interact with a mobile service will continue to change.

This shifting landscape creates a plethora of new opportunities, but also raises significant challenges from a sustainability perspective. Library organizations that are considering a mobile initiative should be prepared to approach it as an ongoing learning experience punctuated by incremental improvements rather than a clearly defined problem area to solve all at once. Neglecting to take a long view on this opportunity will result in mobile projects that quickly become irrelevant.

Potential Future Directions

It is difficult to predict how mobile computing use will evolve over the next few years. The commercial success of the Apple and Android app stores suggests a future of many specialized mobile applications in many different domains. As mobile device platforms mature to include new hardware and software capabilities, mobile application developers are likely to continue to exploit this technology to create new user experiences in a mobile context. What are some future directions for specialized mobile applications in the library domain?

Mobilizing the library staff

Mobile library applications have primarily focused on library patrons as the end user. Perhaps we should also do a 180 turn and explore how mobile computing can help library staff improve the services they provide to library users. Is it worthwhile to examine, for instance, whether existing library staff workflows can be enhanced through local adaptation of mobile technology?  Why not use mobile devices as data collection tools when we take on the next large-scale book relocation projects.  Or unchain our reference librarians from the desk to provide the freedom to rove through the building, armed with mobile devices.

Making the space mobile-friendly

On many college and university campuses, the physical library space plays an important role as a learning environment outside the classroom. Many students use library spaces for individual and group study. It is common for students use library computer resources to produce content for coursework. How should library spaces evolve to support mobile enhanced learning?  Examples could include lending mobile devices, improving access to electrical outlets to support power needs, and providing spaces for students to share work that is stored or produced on mobile devices.

Making “finding” easier

The proliferation of location-based services on mobile devices has introduced new ways of finding information that leverages the user’s current location as input. Is there is an opportunity for libraries to promote their services and collections in a location-aware way?  On a local scale, location-based technology could be used to improve the navigation of large or complex library spaces. Mobile geolocation can also be used to enhance discovery and use of digital library collections with meaningful geographic attributes, such as photographs of historical events or architectural objects.


Recent advances in mobile computing have revolutionized how people access, interpret and share information. The long-term implications of the mobile revolution for libraries and higher education are yet to be determined. Libraries have an opportunity to be innovators in this space if they are willing to experiment with adapting mobile technology to serve local needs. Perhaps we should heed the advice of computer scientist Alan Kay: “The best way to predict the future is to invent it.”

Want to talk further?

Mobile service development at NC State Libraries is a broadly collaborative effort involving many contributors. Contact us if you’d like to talk through your next steps in the mobile library space or find out what we’re working on now. We’re happy to answer your questions or put you in touch with someone else who can.

Tito Sierra
Associate Head, Digital Library Initiatives

Jason Casden
Digital Technologies Development Librarian

Cory Lown
Digital Technologies Development Librarian

Mar 04 2011

And the Winners Are. . .

If you weren’t in Witherspoon last Sunday night, you not only missed the red carpet, the drama of the competition, and a considerable amount of profiling by the emerging NC State film elite—you missed seeing the winning films for this year’s Campus Moviefest.

Here’s your chance to catch up on the best of the best five-minute productions from this year’s offerings:

Best Picture: The Revolutionary

Best Comedy: Panda Bear Affair

Best Drama: Walkman

Most Popular: So We’ve Got a Guy . . .

Best Actor: Charlie Allen (The Revolutionary)

Best Actress: Rhonda Bennetone (Damn the Clock)

The Campus MovieFest—the world’s largest student film festival—loans all-comers all the equipment they need to make a short film in one week. This year NC State fielded almost 120 teams to take on the challenge. If you didn’t, you should have. And you’ll have another chance next year when MovieFest returns. The competition on campus is sponsored by the Union Activities Board, University Housing, IRC, DELTA, WolfTV, and the NCSU Libraries.

You can watch all Wolfpack entries on the MovieFest NC State pages.

Mar 02 2011

DELTA Summer Institute-Apply Now

Apply now for the 13th Annual Teaching and Learning with Technology Summer Institute for Faculty at D. H. Hill Library from May 16-20, 2011.

The Summer Institute is a program for NC State faculty interested in web-enhanced or online instruction. The program includes 20 hours of workshops, plus lunchtime seminars and optional lab sessions, spread over one week.

  • DELTA Summer InstituteLearn new ways to teach using technology
  • Develop camaraderie with like-minded colleagues
  • Hear experienced lunchtime speakers

Apply to Summer Institute.The application period ends March 31, 2011