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WSU Library System News

News & Updates in the Libraries

University Libraries release custom app for Google Glass

October 22nd, 2014

The Wayne State University Libraries recently completed their first custom app for Google Glass called “Wayne State Campus Explorer,” a discovery app that allows users to wander the campus while getting information on the places around them. As the user draws closer to a location, the app displays other information like building hours and other points of interest. Currently, all of the libraries are plotted in the app as well as major campus buildings.

Earlier this year, the Libraries began experimenting with Google Glass, a wearable computer with an augmented reality visual display. The computer frame comes with or without lenses and displays information in a prism projector located just above the right eye. It has the ability to take photos and HD video and allows the user to access the internet, weather, Google Hangouts, email, news and integration of specific apps. Users can use voice commands to initiate Google Glass or access a touchpad located on the side of the Glass, allowing users to control the device by swiping through a timeline-like interface on the screen.

“This is just the first step in experimenting with what the Glass can do,” said Elliot Polak, Wayne State University Libraries Assistant Director for Discovery and Innovation. “There are limitless applications not only for the libraries but for all areas of the university.”

Polak and his team are already looking into further developing the app to have more library-specific mapping and wayfinding abilities. The app has potential to guide a user directly to a book in the stacks that he or she is searching for. The app could send alerts to users when they get close to a new feature or special collection that the library would like to highlight. Patrons could walk up to a room to discover when the room can be reserved and make the reservation from the Glass. Someone could walk by a library and check to see if there are any computers available for use.

“We’re really interested in what people would like the Glass to do to enhance their Wayne State Library and campus experience,” said Polak. “Those ideas will drive us in developing further applications.”

In addition to use in the library, Google Glass can be a valuable tool in the classroom. Instead of looking down at notes or a screen, faculty can use Google Glass to read their notes from the display while maintaining eye contact with the classroom. In distance education, instructors could give real-time video tours of campus, virtual field trips and other applications where a distance student would benefit from being embedded in the experience. Google Glass also has the ability to provide real-time language translation of foreign texts both visually and through audio. The capability of voice translations also allow users to speak to others in their native languages. At the campus level, the Google Glass can be an asset to orienting new students and employees as they take tours of campus. Without having to look down at a smartphone, Google Glass offers a safer alternative by allowing users to keep their heads up and aware of their surroundings.

Undergraduate Library will be CLOSED on Saturday, October 25

October 21st, 2014

Due to unscheduled maintenance, the Undergraduate Library will be closed on Saturday, October 25. The building will reopen on Sunday, October 26 at 11 a.m. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Open Access Week film screening: “The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz,” October 24

October 1st, 2014

As part of Open Access Week 2014, the Wayne State University Libraries will be hosting a screening of the 2014 documentary, “The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz,” on Friday, October 24 at 11 a.m. in the Kresge Auditorium inside of the Purdy/Kresge Library. Directed by Brian Knappenberger, the film follows the story of programming prodigy and information activist Aaron Swartz.

As a teenager, Aaron Swartz was a computer-programming prodigy with an unquenchable thirst for knowledge. After emerging as a pioneer of Internet activism, education, and politics, he was indicted on multiple federal charges in 2011 and 2012, setting off a complex chain of events that left the Internet community reeling. Shortly thereafter, at the age of 26, Swartz was found dead of an apparent suicide in his Brooklyn apartment. His family, friends, and supporters immediately blamed the prosecutors of the case, who aimed to put him in jail for 35 years and brand him a convicted felon for life. Swartz was persecuted for the very rights and freedoms for which he stood, and that ultimately broke him.

Weaving together home video footage and anecdotal interviews from his closest confidants, Brian Knappenberger creates a dynamic portrait of a precocious boy who grew up to lead the Internet community into a new age of data sharing and free speech.

Help the Wayne State University Libraries create a tool that will revolutionize self-publishing! Your feedback may help us move forward

October 1st, 2014

Help the Wayne State University Libraries create an innovative new tool that will revolutionize self-publishing! We’re embarking on a new project called the Publishing Preparation Alchemist (PPA) that aims to take away the daunting process of self-publishing. PPA will be a Turbo Tax-style application that will help self publishers put together their content, create metadata and package it into a file structure suitable for software and mobile devices. Instead of worrying about formatting and assembly, this tool will allow authors to concentrate more on their creative vision and empower them to easily share their creations with the world.

If you think this is a great idea that should come to fruition, help us get the funding to make it happen. The Knight Foundation is sponsoring “The Knight News Challenge,” an open contest that funds innovative projects. Groups and individuals from around the world submit their ideas and can be awarded funding amounts of $1000 to $1 million. The Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts.

Your feedback will help clarify and better refine our project. As a writer, what is the most difficult part of self-publishing your work? Would an all-in-one app change the way you plan your writing/publishing process? Get involved by applauding us or leaving a comment at

School of Library and Information Science assistant professor part of research team awarded $1.8 million

September 26th, 2014

SLIS Assistant Professor Deborah Charbonneau is part of a research team that was recently awarded funding from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality for the project “eHealth Activity among African American and White Cancer Survivors.”

The research team, led by Dr. Hayley Thompson at the Karmanos Cancer Institute and Wayne State University School of Medicine, will receive $1.8 million to study eHealth activities among cancer survivors with the goal of improving survivorship planning and care. The population-based study of racially diverse cancer survivors will identify determinants of eHealth activity in this group, provide deep insight into the role of eHealth in survivors’ overall personal health information management and ultimately inform user-centered design of eHealth tools optimized for survivors.

Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read, September 21−27, 2014

September 23rd, 2014

Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Typically held during the last week of September, it highlights the value of free and open access to information. Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community –- librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types –- in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.

The Wayne State University Libraries are taking part in Banned Books Week through a detailed guide. Check out the links for more information!

Banned Books tab:

Interactive Timeline of Banned Books:

10 Most Challenged Books of 2013:

Banned or Challenged Classics:

UGL hosts traveling NASA exhibit “Here, There, Everywhere” through September

September 11th, 2014

Beginning September 8 and running through the end of the month, the David Adamany Undergraduate Library will be hosting “Here, There, Everywhere,” a traveling NASA exhibit that illustrates how familiar phenomena on Earth and across the Universe are connected by basic physical laws.

The main feature behind this Here, There, Everywhere (HTE) is a series of spectacular visual comparisons that span from the human scale on Earth to some of the largest structures in the cosmos. The panels in each of the exhibit topics give examples, with explanatory text, of the same physical process occurring on vastly different scales.

There are six subjects in the HTE exhibit. The topics covered in the exhibit include shadows, wind, electric discharge, bow waves, lensing, and the collisional excitation of atoms.

“Our daily experiences reveal much about how our world works, and thinking about everyday examples helps form our basic understanding of physics,” said Patrick Slane, an astrophysicist involved with the project. “This exhibit will help show that these laws of physics have universal relevance.”

HTE was conceived, designed and generated by a team at the Chandra X-ray Center, which is part of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusettes. The Chandra X-ray Observatory is NASA’s flagship mission for X-ray astronomy and one of the “Great Observatories” along with the Hubble Space Telescope, the Spitzer Space Telescope, and the now de-orbited Compton Gamma Ray Observatory.

For more information about the exhibit, visit

Detroit artist Gilda Snowden dead at 60

September 9th, 2014

Taken from the Metro Times:

Detroit artist Gilda Snowden has died due to a sudden heart failure, according to her family. She was 60.

A post on Snowden’s Facebook account today broke the news:

Hello everyone, our family would like to inform you that as of this morning, Gilda passed away at Receiving Hospital due to sudden heart failure. We are just as shocked and confused as you are, and would greatly appreciate it if you gave us a little while to gather ourselves and make preparations. We are all immensely grateful for your condolences and well wishes, and we will make sure to keep you posted. Thank you again, we are blessed to have such a caring and loving community around us.

A graduate of Cass Tech High school, Snowden majored in fashion design. She started at Wayne State University in 1972 as a sociology major, but switched to art by the end of her four years. She earned her BFA in Advertising Design and Painting, MA in Painting, and MFA in Painting from Wayne State University by 1979, and started teaching for the university that same year. By 1985, she was a professor at the College for Creative Studies, where she was still employed at the time of her death.

Snowden worked primarily as an abstract painter, heavily inspired by artists of the Cass Corridor scene. Though her medium changed throughout the years, she loved the immediacy of paint — always working on the floor, and never with an easel. “I want them to be layered, gritty, grungy, beautiful,” she told us regarding her work.

She says that she chose to paint because of its speed. “I want to see answers immediately,” she told us.

Snowden was the subject of a retrospective at Artwork Oakland University Art Gallery in late 2013.

She was interviewed in 2011 for the Cass Corridor Documentation Project, a collaboration between the WSU Libraries and University Art Collection. In tribute, her oral history is presented here in audio and text formats:

Wayne State Shiffman Medical Library director appointed to National Library of Medicine Board of Regents

September 2nd, 2014

The Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Sylvia Mathews Burwell, recently appointed Sandra Martin, director of Wayne State University’s Shiffman Medical Library to the Board of Regents of the National Library of Medicine (NLM). The appointment runs through August 2018.

“The Wayne State Libraries are proud that the NLM and the Secretary of Health and Human Services have recognized Sandra Martin’s deep knowledge and expertise in medical librarianship,” said Sandra Yee, dean of the Wayne State University Libraries.

“We are pleased that through Sandra’s leadership on the board, the Wayne State Libraries will make a significant contribution to the health information available to the nation’s citizens.”

A life-long Detroiter, Martin received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Wayne State University. Prior to her position as director of Shiffman Medical Library, she served as the assistant director of Shiffman and supervisor of library and A/V services at Harper Hospital in Detroit. Throughout her career Martin has held committee positions at local, state, regional and national levels, including the Medical Library Association, Association of Academic Health Science Libraries and the National Library of Medicine.

The NLM Board of Regents meets three times per year to advise, consult with and make recommendations to the HHS Secretary, the director of the NIH and the director of the NLM. The Board provides input on matters regarding library materials collected, services provided and research conducted by the NLM, including research and development done at the National Center for Biotechnology Information, which maintains PubMed, MedlinePlus, genome databases and many other resources heavily used by scientists throughout the world. The Board also reviews and makes recommendations about grant applications, bioinformatics training programs and contracts funded by the Library.

Part of the National Institutes of Health, the National Library of Medicine in Bethesda, Maryland, is the world’s largest biomedical library. As a developer of electronic information services, it delivers trillions of bytes of data to millions of users every day.

The Wayne State University Library System consists of the university’s six libraries: The David Adamany Undergraduate Library, the Purdy/Kresge Library, the Shiffman Medical Library, the Arthur Neef Law Library, the Science and Engineering Library, and the Reuther Library and the School for Library and Information Science.

Wayne State University is a premier institution offering more than 350 academic programs through 13 schools and colleges to nearly 28,000 students.

PrintCity 2014: The Artist’s Hand: Connecting Printmakers with Library Special Collections, Saturday September 27

August 26th, 2014

As part of the Print City Mid-America Print Council 2014 conference, stop by the Undergraduate Library to see “The Artist’s Hand: Connecting Printmakers with Library Special Collections.”

Saturday, September 27
11:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.
3rd floor Special Collections Room
David Adamany Undergraduate Library
Wayne State University

Members of the Wayne State University Libraries’ Special Collections Team will be on hand to assist visitors in viewing our display of treasures from our collections, selected to inspire printmakers and artists interested in print culture.

Don’t leave Detroit without seeing the 1821 hand colored engraving The Key to the Noble Game of the Swan!

*This display will be open to the public*