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Exploring value of print in the digital age

ASU project aims to create new ways of engaging with library print collections.
ASU, MIT partnership to find sustainable solutions for the management of print.
ASU a trailblazer in preserving a library for the future.
March 14, 2017

ASU, MIT to develop new approaches to library print collections

ASU professor Devoney Looser is leading a group of students through the stacks of Hayden Library, in search of old books that bear traces of the past.

They’re looking for unique markings and remnants from previous owners — inscriptions, book plates, prize notices, marginalia and even letters — in American and British literature books that were printed before 1923 and are now out of copyright. 

The items found in the books, Looser said, provide important information about circulation and authorship, and are of interest to critics, historians and biographers.

“We’re finding fascinating stuff,” said Looser, a professor in the Department of English and organizer of ASU Book Traces, a project with ASU Library that aims to highlight the value of library print collections — as well as new ways of engaging with them — precisely at a time when many are being reduced in size.

“One of the clearest trends in academic libraries is the rethinking of print collections,” said Lorrie McAllister, who was recently appointed associate university librarian for collections and strategy at ASU Library, and is helping to facilitate projects such as Book Traces in addition to a new partnership with MIT on the future of academic library print collections.   

“Professor Looser’s project demonstrates that there is still interest and passion for the many technologies used in book design over many centuries, its utility and historical significance as a format and preservation mechanism, and the physicality of the medium as an engagement and research tool,” McAllister said.

The future of print

Exactly how libraries will be transformed by the digital age has yet to be answered — but it’s a question ASU Library is tackling with gusto.

The current reinvention of Arizona State University’s library system already has led to a suite of new services and facilities that were nearly unimaginable a decade ago — everything from makerspaces to a geospatial data lab — all providing inclusive support to a research community driven by innovation. 

Now, through the partnership with MIT and a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, ASU Library is looking at new approaches to the sustainable and meaningful management of library print collections in a landscape immersed in digital.

“Books on shelves are not a library until users approach and begin to use them.”

— Jim O'Donnell, university librarian at ASU

ASU’s Jim O’Donnell, university librarian and principal investigator on the grant, says this disruptive moment presents a key opportunity for ASU Library.

“Like many of our peers, ASU Library and MIT Libraries are forced to rethink and possibly reduce our open stack print collections due to an increasing reliance on digital services and in favor of added space for students to study and collaborate,” O’Donnell said. “Our charge, now, is to continue to deliver vital resources but in new ways in which they can make the greatest impact.”

Establishing a fresh philosophy about collection development is at the heart of the ASU-MIT partnership, formally kicking off this week on the ASU Tempe campus, where librarians, faculty and key participants in library architecture are gathering for a two-day, hands-on workshop to discuss major issues and new design strategies for the future of print.

The results will directly inform ASU and MIT plans for library renovations, as well as produce a whitepaper on the future of local print curation in academic libraries.

“Books on shelves are not a library until users approach and begin to use them,” said O’Donnell, who sees the shift in library design as a way to cultivate more intentionally designed collections that are socially embedded, use-inspired and community-driven.

Rather than thinking of large print collections as mountains to be gradually reduced in size, O’Donnell said, “we ought to think of those mountains as a resource to draw upon,” in an effort to create and develop more meaningful, “outside-the-box” collections that add value to the community, maximize student and faculty engagement, and are a point of pride for the university.

“There is an emerging emphasis on defining libraries not simply by what we have but how it can be used,” McAllister added. “We are really looking at how collections might best engage the diverse communities in which we live, study and work. To do this, we need to make information resources more visible and accessible than they are now.”

Print and digital working together

The ASU Book Traces event was inspired by a project at the University of Virginia to find, document and digitize unique copies of 19th- and early 20th-century books while they are still visible on library shelves. 

In addition to the valuing of the material objects found in the books, Looser and her students also want to make the knowledge of these objects digitally available, with help from ASU Library, by adding digital images of some of the most interesting items collected into the ASU Digital Repository.

“We want to open this information up to a wider audience and help make these items discoverable and accessible,” Looser said. “We are helping future historians.”

Having led two successful Book Traces events at ASU Library, Looser says the student response has been excellent, particularly with undergraduate students who typically have limited experience engaging with library collections.

“Students want to know when we’re going to do this again,” said Looser, who hopes to highlight the event in an exhibit at Hayden Library after its renovation. 

“I think it’s great to expose students to special collections, to show them how much interesting stuff is right here at the library and also all the things they can do with it.”

When it comes to the future of print, Looser believes there is reason to be optimistic.

“It’s important for anyone to understand that every medium was once a new medium,” she said. “I’m grateful for the intersection of print and digital and what that means for discovery and new research.”

Britt Lewis

Communications Specialist , ASU Library

 
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ASU honors alumni, staff innovators for Founders’ Day

This year's Founders' Day honors innovators who are helping shape the future.
March 14, 2017

Alumni Association's traditional event honors individuals who exemplify the spirit of the founders of the Territorial Normal School

Update: Friday, March 17

Even at the country’s most innovative university you can find innovation in places you might not expect.

Take Sun Devil Stadium, for example. Conceptually, stadiums haven’t changed all that much since the Romans built the Coliseum. But the future of Sun Devil Stadium may change the way we think about stadiums and their role in the community.

And when that happens, it will be in large part due to Jack Furst.

Thanks to Furst’s involvement as a lead donor on what will be called Sun Devil Stadium 365, more than $80 million has been raised toward the stadium reinvention project, which aims to create a “community union” to make use of the stadium every day of the year. For his contribution he was named ASU’s Philanthropist of the Year at a ceremony Thursday. 

Furst took the opportunity to focus on the future of Sun Devil Stadium 365.

“I’m so excited to be a part of this team and the work that we’ve done since 2014 to really rethink what you can do with a football stadium…” Furst told the crowd at the Arizona Biltmore Hotel. “We’re going to go where no other university has gone.”

Renovations on the stadium are underway and conceptualization and planning for the space is in place. Colleen Jennings-Roggensack, ASU’s vice president for cultural affairs and executive director of ASU Gammage, will manage Sun Devil Stadium 365 going forward, utilizing her years of work connecting ASU to the communities it serves.

Along with Furst, the following individuals were honored: ASU alumnus Michael Burns, for his role in building Lionsgate Entertainment Corp. into a multi-billion dollar global content leader; ASU faculty members Joshua LaBaer, for his groundbreaking work in the emerging field of personalized medicine; Manfred Laubichler, for his multi-faceted research in tracing the role of gene regulatory networks in development and evolution; and Sharon Hall, for her commitment to teaching, particularly as it relates to incorporating innovative pedagogical methods and championing the education of underrepresented groups in science.

Read the full preview story below the slideshow.

 

When renovations are complete, Sun Devil Stadium will be a year-round cultural hub for the surrounding community, and W. P. Carey School of Business alumnus Jack D. Furst can say he had a guiding hand in it.

Thanks to Furst’s involvement as a lead donor, more than $80 million has been raised toward the stadium reinvention project. His vision, leadership and philanthropy embody just the sort of character that ASU praises on Founders’ Day.

For fostering innovation, excellence and the evolution of Arizona State as the New American University, the ASU Alumni Association will honor Furst and other alumni, faculty and university supporters at its annual Founders’ Day Awards Dinner, which will take place at 6 p.m. March 16, at the Arizona Biltmore Resort and Spa.

Alissa Serignese, vice president of programs and constituent relations for the Alumni Association, said Furst and the others being honored “go above and beyond.”

“Furst is spearheading this effort and even enlisting others,” she said, “which is really unique.”

Along with Furst, the following individuals will be honored this year: ASU alumnus Michael Burns, for his role in building Lionsgate Entertainment Corp. into a multi-billion dollar global content leader; ASU faculty members Joshua LaBaer, for his groundbreaking work in the emerging field of personalized medicine; Manfred Laubichler, for his multi-faceted research in tracing the role of gene regulatory networks in development and evolution; and Sharon Hall, for her commitment to teaching, particularly as it relates to incorporating innovative pedagogical methods and championing the education of underrepresented groups in science.

The award ceremony has been a signature event for the university for decades, and calls attention to individuals who “exemplify the spirit of the founders of the Territorial Normal School of Arizona,” ASU’s predecessor institution, which received its charter from the Thirteenth Territorial Legislature on March 7, 1885.

“Founders’ Day is an opportunity to celebrate the best of the best as far as ASU alumni, faculty and philanthropists,” while also paying homage those who “put ASU on the map” in the first place, Serignese said. “If it wasn’t for those people, ASU would not exist.”

The celebration is also a chance to reflect on ASU’s history as an institution founded by and for the people of the community it serves. At Thursday’s dinner, ASU President Michael M. Crow will provide an update on the university, which has progressed with that intention in mind and expanded considerably.

When Hiram Bradford Farmer, John Samuel Armstrong, Charles Trumbull Hayden, Joseph Campbell, T.J. Butler, A.C. Baker and R.L. Long proposed the establishment of the Tempe Normal School in 1885, they envisioned a school that provided “instruction of persons ... in the art of teaching and in all the various branches that pertain to good common school education.” Under subsequent leaders in the more than hundred years that followed, ASU has become a highly regarded prototype of the New American University and a leading research institution.

The journey from simple schoolhouse to revered university is a testament to the vision, tenacity and hard work of its founders, leaders, faculty, students and alumni through the years, according to the alumni association.

“Without a doubt, ASU helped me achieve my dream,” Furst said.

Tickets to the Founders’ Day event are $150 for Alumni Association members at the Sparky, Maroon or Gold contribution levels and $200 for other alumni and guests. Table and corporate sponsorship opportunities are available. For additional information about Founders’ Day, or to RSVP, visit alumni.asu.edu/foundersday

The following individuals will be honored by the Alumni Association at the Founders’ Day event. (Read their full bios via the links below.)

Faculty Achievement Awards

Faculty Research Achievement Award
Joshua L. LaBaer
, interim executive director, Biodesign Institute at ASU; director, Biodesign Virginia G. Piper Center for Personalized Diagnostics; Virginia G. Piper Chair of Personalized Medicine; professor, School of Molecular Sciences; adjunct professor of medicine, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine.

LaBaer is being honored at Founders’ Day for his groundbreaking work in the emerging field of personalized medicine. His efforts involve the discovery and validation of biomarkers — unique molecular fingerprints of disease — that can provide early warning for those at risk of major illnesses, including cancer and diabetes. Much of his work concerns proteomics, a branch of biotechnology concerned with analyzing the structure, function and interactions of the proteins produced by the genes of cells, tissues or organisms. His research is recognized as extremely relevant and impactful for a number of chronic health conditions, with direct application from bench to bedside. 

Gitta Honegger, professor in ASU's Herberger Institute’s School of Theatre and F

Faculty Service Achievement Award
Manfred D. Laubichler
, distinguished sustainability scientist, Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability; President's Professor, School of Life Sciences, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; director, ASU-SFI Center for Biosocial Complex Systems; director, ASU-Leuphana Center for Global Sustainability and Cultural Transformation; director, Global Biosocial Complexity Initiative, associate director, Origins Project; professor, Santa Fe Institute.

Laubichler, a theoretical biologist and historian of science, is being honored for his service to Arizona State University and to his profession. Laubichler's multi-faceted research involves tracing the role of gene regulatory networks in development and evolution, as well as studying the conceptual structure of modern and historical biology. He also studies the theory of Complex Adaptive Systems, focusing on complexity as a unifying principle in the social and life sciences, including applications in biomedicine, sustainability and the study of innovations. He is recognized as a positive “disrupter” in his work, identifying scientific and intellectual trends years before others do and working with others in a transdisciplinary manner to translate these insights into use-inspired solutions and collaborations. 

portrait of woman

Faculty Teaching Achievement Award
Sharon J. Hall
, senior sustainability scientist, Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability; associate professor, School of Life Sciences, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Hall is being honored at Founders’ Day for her commitment to teaching, particularly as it relates to incorporating innovative pedagogical methods and championing the education of underrepresented groups in science. As an ecosystem scientist, she and her students are exploring the many ways that people are changing the natural world – and in turn how nature changes us. She shares the results of her work in the many courses she teaches to undergraduate and graduate students. The topics she explores with her students focus on the intersection of nature and society, ranging from classes on the conservation of biodiversity, to  courses on ecosystem ecology, “grand challenges” in environmental science, and peer mentoring for environmental majors.

Alumni Achievement Awards

portrait of michael burns

Alumni Achievement Award
Michael R. Burns
, ‘80 BS, vice chairman, Lionsgate Entertainment Corp.

Burns is being honored at Founders’ Day for his role in building Lionsgate into a multi-billion dollar global content leader. Since becoming vice chairman of Lionsgate in March 2000, he has played an integral role in building the company into a $6 billion operation with a reputation for innovation. He recently helped spearhead Lionsgate’s $4.4 billion acquisition of Starz, the biggest deal in the company’s history, as the studio continues to grow into a diversified global content platform.

portrait of Jack Furst

Philanthropist of the Year Award, presented by the ASU Foundation For A New American University
Jack D. Furst
, ‘81 BS, founder, Oak Stream Investors

Furst is being honored as the 2017 Founder's Day Philanthropist of the Year for his vision, leadership and philanthropy at Arizona State University. Due to his noteworthy and strategic involvement as a lead donor in the Sun Devil Stadium reinvention project, ASU has raised more than $80 million dollars toward that effort. In addition to enlisting others to support the project, Furst has contributed significantly to fulfill his passion and commitment to the role of athletics in higher education.

 

Top photo: Jack Furst accepts his Philanthropist of the Year award at the ASU Founders' Day dinner. Photo by Anya Magnuson/ASU Now