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Archive | March, 2015

Collections Librarians: Wilder School

Wilder School

VCU Libraries uses a team approach to serve schools and units. Outreach librarians, who support research, curricular and information literacy, work side-by-side with collection librarians who advise schools and faculty on materials and acquisitions to support teaching, research as well as new course and degree development.

In 2014, Pattie Sobczak joined the VCU Libraries faculty as the collections librarian for the Wilder School. Posted recently, a position for a Public Affairs Research Librarian is expected to be a part of the team in the 2015-16 academic year.

In the meantime, the Wilder School is being assisted by these professionals. In addition to Sobczak, liaisons are:

Image: L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs

Emerging Leaders Program: Leadership education

Emerging Leaders Program

Leadership education is fast becoming an area of focus at VCU. Opportunities abound for those interested in leadership education. The newly established Emerging Leaders Program (ELP) is for students in the Honors College while the VCU Leaders Engaging in Advanced Discovery (LEAD) program places sophomores and higher-level students in a two-year immersive leadership curriculum in addition to their chosen field of study.

At the graduate level, the M.Ed. /M.B.A. Dual Degree Program in the Center for Sports Leadership includes curriculum that, while not specifically targeted on leadership education, delves into the subject matter of leadership research. One example is the course Organizational Leadership and Project Team Management (MGMT 541). Students engaged in research for this class would need access to leadership education resources. In addition, a leadership-focused Ph.D. program is in the approval process. This new program will provide mid-level executives with the knowledge and skills that will enable them to excel in the formulation and implementation of policy as leaders in public, private and non-profit sector organizations.

Along with these programs, VCU offers 15 new courses in leadership education. Seven are in undergraduate programs and eight are in the proposed doctoral progam.

To support this new emphasis on leadership education at VCU at all academic levels, VCU Libraries is now building a “Collection of Distinction for Leadership Education.” From Warren Bennis to Peter Senge, from Ronald Heifetz to Margaret Wheatley, the collection brims with works by leaders in the field.

“This collection will include the seminal literature of leadership education including journals, books and ebooks,” says Pattie Sobczak. As the Business and Public Affairs Collections Librarian, she is responsible for organizing the collection and making decisions and purchases. Since leadership crosses all disciplines, this collection will support leadership education at all levels of scholarship and across the spectrum of disciplines.

Have suggestions or questions for Dr. Sobczak as she works on the collection? Contact her at or (804) 828-2729.

Image: VCU Honors College

Virtual Realities: Video game resources

Virtual Realities

More than 183 million people (57 percent of the population) in the United States play video games at least one hour daily. With so much time spent online, how can we separate virtual from real? What does scholarship about gaming reveal about the marketplace, leadership, teamwork and  entrepreneurship? Virtual worlds not only connected with reality but also inform and shape how we function daily. From earning mayoral status in Foursquare to discovering new football moves online, persistent virtual worlds influence our thoughts and behaviors in many ways.

According to researchers Jesse Schell and Jane McGonigal, young people will spend more than 10,000 hours online before they are 21. This equals the amount of time they are in class in grades five through 12. In addition, in their book “Got Game,” John Beck and Mitchell Wade argue that the brains of people who grow up playing games are wired differently from those not exposed to gaming from an early age.

“Gamification”–the use of game-like properties in non-game settings–engages people in activities that offer opportunities to earn and collect points and use those points for privileges. Examples are frequent-flier programs and retail store loyalty cards.  Also, the game “Re-Mission” was designed to attract teenagers with cancer who are now in remission. They play and earn points but the real outcome is to continually remind players about the importance of taking their medicine, even as they are feeling better. There are numerous other examples of gamification as ways to deliver information and influence behavior. Educators and employers have a unique opportunity to engage those who are comfortable in the digital space.

VCU’s Business and Collections Librarian Pattie Sobczak has expertise in gaming and virtual works as they connect to business and real world challenges. Available to consult with faculty who want to integrate gaming materials into curriculum, she writes and presents widely on the topic. Her doctoral dissertation in a program on human and organizational systems was on Ephemeral leadership in the workplace and in on-line gaming. Her doctoral dissertation in a program on human and organizational systems was on leadership in the workplace and in online gaming. See her presentation at a recent Digital Pragmata workshop.

Her recommendations for reading to inspire teaching and further research are:

The Gamification of Learning and Instruction: Game-based Methods and Strategies for Training and Education

The Gamification Revolution: How Leaders Leverage Game Mechanics to Crush the Competition
HF5414 .Z53 2013

The Gamification of Learning and Instruction Fieldbook: Ideas into Practice

Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World
GV1201.38 .M34 2011

Gamification in Education and Business

Creating E-Learning Games with Unity: Develop Your Own 3D E-Learning Game Using Gamification, Systems Design, and Gameplay

A Gamified Collaborative Course in Entrepreneurship: Focus on Objectives and Tools 
Computers in Human Behavior

Gamifying Learning Experiences: Practical Implications and Outcomes
Computers & Education

Motivational Effects and Age Differences of Gamification in Product Advertising
The Journal of Consumer Marketing

Gamification, Social Networks and Sustainable Environments
International Journal of Interactive Multimedia and Artificial Intelligence

By Sue Robinson, director of communication and public relations. For more information about this resource or others

Image: Creative Commons

Flickr Commons: VCU digital special and archival collections

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VCU Libraries has been named as the 100th institution to take part in Flickr’s The Commons, an online project that seeks to share hidden treasures from the world’s public photography archives.

As part of The Commons, VCU Libraries’ digital special and archival image collections that have no known copyright restrictions will be discoverable through the photo-sharing website Flickr, as well as through search tools that pull public domain images without known copyright restrictions for us and reuse.
“It’s pretty significant,” said Lauren Work, digital collections librarian. “VCU Libraries will be joining an international group of institutions with the goal to increase public access to image collections that have no known copyright restrictions, which connects directly to our educational mission.”
Joining The Commons will greatly increase the discoverability and potential use of VCU Libraries’ image collections. It will also allow the public to share their knowledge of the images, potentially enriching the collections with comments and tags.
“Flickr has millions of registered users, and various search tools pull content from Flickr Commons,” Work said. “These factors greatly expand the potential for the use of our collections.”
VCU Libraries is starting out with these four collections to introduce itself to The Commons and to reflect  the diversity of its collections.
The initial collections will include:
·    Jackson Ward Historic District, a series of photographs documenting Richmond’s historic Jackson Ward neighborhood.

·    Rarely Seen Richmond, a collection of over 600 postcard images of Richmond, most dating from 1900 through 1930.

·    PS Magazine, the Preventive Maintenance Monthly, an Army publication on preventive maintenance that features the artwork of comics artist Will Eisner, who served as the magazine’s artistic director from its inception in 1951 through 1972.

·    Baist Atlas of Richmond, Va. (1889), a digitized version of “The Atlas of the City of Richmond” that was compiled and published in 1889 and serves as a valuable resource for researchers and others interested in Richmond’s urban archeology, architectural history and historic preservation.

·    The Newlyweds and Their Baby, which was the first American family newspaper strip. It was created in 1904 by George McManus and published in New York World, and centered around an elegant young couple and their baby Snookums.

Work said VCU Libraries intends to add other existing digital collections, as well as future collections that have no known copyright restrictions.

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Image: Joe’s Dope Sheet (Issue 052 1957 page024_page025), Flickr Commons

Baist Atlas: 19th century digitized map


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Researchers and others interested in the history and architecture of Richmond can now explore the city as it was at the end of the 19th century, thanks to a newly digitized map from 1889 that Virginia Commonwealth University Libraries has posted online and made fully interactive.

The map is from the “Atlas of the City of Richmond,” which was published in 1889 by the Philadelphia firm of George William Baist. The original Baist Atlas is made up of 20 panels, each 18 1/2 inches tall and 28 inches wide, mapping all areas of Richmond, including parts of Henrico and Chesterfield counties, as well part of as what was then the city of Manchester on Richmond’s Southside.

VCU Libraries spent several years preserving and restoring the fragile map held by James Branch Cabell Library Special Collections and Archives and photographing and digitizing the entire atlas. Over the past several months, the VCU Libraries web team also built an interactive website that allows users to explore the city’s urban archaeology and architectural history.

“It’s a learning tool, a way to explore Richmond, a way for people to do research on different parts of the city, and, due to the fact that it is in the public domain, to use in ways we haven’t even thought of yet,” said Lauren Work, digital collections librarian with VCU Libraries.

The interactive Baist Atlas site features an in-depth contextual exploration of each area of the city, information on various points of interest located within each panel, a number of historical illustrations and photographs from other VCU digital collections, and a street index.

The entirety of the map is juxtaposed over the modern Richmond map in Google Maps, showing both how the Richmond area was outlined by Baist and how Richmond has changed, grown and evolved. Geospatial data used to create the modern day map overlay is also available for download and use.

“We’ve created a whole new way for people to interact with the map,” Work said. “It’s also fully downloadable so people can use it on their own. We also see this as a nice segue into other VCU Library special collections – because you can click through and keep exploring other VCU digital collections.”

For example, a visitor might be interested in exploring the Jackson Ward neighborhood. The website shows several points of interest, such as the Richmond Almshouse, which was built in 1860 to 1861 as a refuge for the city’s poor, and Ebenezer Baptist Church, which was built in 1873 and replaced the original church and was the city’s first public school for African-American children.

Images of the points of interest link to VCU Libraries’ Jackson Ward Historic District collection of photos documenting the historic neighborhood, as well as its Richmond Commission of Architectural Review Slide Collection of more than 7,000 color photographs of Richmond.

The overlaid maps also show how Richmond’s urban planning significantly impacted Jackson Ward.

“There are buildings that are still there, but a lot have disappeared,” Work said. “You can really see the impact of modern day Richmond – for example, you can see [Interstate] 95 coming in through Jackson Ward – and a lot of other things that weren’t there before.”

John Kneebone, Ph.D., chair of the Department of History in the College of Humanities and Sciences, said Baist Atlas project holds interest “because it reminds us that the landscape is evidence of our history, too, and in Richmond one can certainly read the past on the landscape.”

Kneebone added that “the site uses images from existing image collections that VCU Libraries digitized and made available some time ago, but now the images are connected with their locations on the map, making those collections even more useful for teaching and for study.”

The Baist Atlas links with several digital collections held by VCU Libraries, including its Rarely Seen Richmond collection of more than 600 vintage postcards of Richmond from the early-20th century, and Richmond Illustrated Imprints, a new collection of illustrations and photos from books published in the late 1800s and early 1900s to sell Richmond as a destination.

“VCU Libraries has rich and diverse special collections, and the interactive 1889 Baist Atlas is only the beginning of the type of research and digital resources these collections can provide to our community,” Work said.

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By Brian McNeil, public relations specialist

Image: Outline & index map Richmond and vicinity, Baist Atlas