Thursday, July 21, 2016

When online resources were not online

Throwback Thursday:  Data Storage

Before the Cloud, before remote servers, before log-in authentication, the beginning of all digital data storage was the Floppy Disc.  These allowed data to be digitized and stored and retrieved via PC. Many digital library resources initially relied on series of floppy discs, usually run on or loaded on a dedicated computer or sometimes kiosk.

These are 5 1/4 and 3 1/2 discs that supported the Library's Subscription to Westlaw, which supported the College's Legal Studies programs.  These discs would be dispatched to the Library in the mail and made available to eligible students in the Library on a dedicated computer.  Additional discs would be send periodically with updates.

The 5 1/4 inch disc was introduced in 1976 to replace the even larger 8 inch floppy.  The original discs (circular magnetic storage mediums) did not have the plastic sleeve seen here, but dust and dirt impaired performance.

Game-boys of a certain age will remember the first computer games were also delivered in this format (like Zork).

In 1980, the 3 1/2  was introduced to address durability problems with the 5 1/4 disc, including insoluble problems with dirt.  

And the rest of the story?  

"By the early 1990s, the increasing size of software meant that many programs were distributed on sets of floppies. Toward the end of the 1990s, software distribution gradually switched to CD-ROM, and higher-density backup formats were introduced (e.g. the Iomega Zip disk). With the arrival of mass Internet access, cheap Ethernet and USB keys, the floppy was no longer necessary for data transfer either, and the floppy disk was essentially superseded."

The Library's online resources for legal research (and all other research) is now available completely online, accessible from on- or off-campus, 24-7-325.  

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Library in Bloom (or Selfie Sticks in Action)

YOUR Alexandria Campus Library is home to a beautiful collection of plants. One of the star members of YOUR Library garden is a two story tall(!) flowering cactus (cereus peruvianus) that has been in the library longer than any current staff or faculty member. Librarian Anne Anderson and Reference Specialist Melanie Medina set off to capture one of the beautiful blooms that popped up on YOUR giant cereus peruvianus. The task was a tricky one - the cactus is over 35 feet tall; both blooms were above the second floor railing; and, both blooms were wedged between the cactus and the window. YOUR Library staff is here to help you find and use all of the appropriate tools to solve any of your academic problems, and this task was no different. First, we set out in search of a selfie stick.

Just like research, the adventure did not go exactly as planned...

Anne and Melanie figured out the selfie stick!
They don't teach you this in library school.
Even with some support from Melanie,
our cereus peruvianus could not master the selfie.

What we really wanted to show you, was that once per year, YOUR cereus peruvianus sports one or two beautiful blooms that look like this:

Whether you just inherited your first houseplant, you want to understand how plants grow, or you want to see beautiful illustrations of unusual flowers, YOUR library has lots of great titles to help you discover all that plants have to offer.

SB419 .M314 2015
QK711.2 .C425 201
QK98.3 .N48x 2014

Want to learn more about plant life cycles, anatomy, morphology, taxonomy, and evolution? Enroll in Biology 110 General Botany (4 cr.) on the Alexandria Campus in the spring!

Friday, June 03, 2016

National Donut Day

FREE donuts and coffee in the Library today in honor of National Donut Day:

  • The Salvation Army started National Donut Day during the Great Depression as a way to raise funds and bring awareness to The Salvation Army’s social service programs.
  • National Donut Day commemorates the “donut lassies,” female Salvation Army volunteers who provided writing supplies, stamps, clothes-mending and home-cooked meals, and of course, donuts, for soldiers on the front lines.
  • Approximately 250 Salvation Army volunteers provided assistance to American soldiers in France starting in 1917 during WWI.
  • With limited resources, these treats were fried, only seven at a time. The Salvation Army’s Ensign Margaret Sheldon and Adjutant Helen Purviance cleverly thought of frying donuts in soldiers’ helmets.
  • Tuesday, May 31, 2016

    Congratulations to Paul Chapman and Jane Maddan!

    *Student Organization Co-Advisors of the Year*

    Paul Chapman and Jane Madden

    Though the De-Stress for Success Club is only one year young, the club already stands out offering a variety of events to support the Alexandria Campus throughout the academic year. YOUR Alexandria Campus Collection Development Librarian, Paul Chapman, and YOUR Circulation Services Supervisor, Jane Maddan, were honored as 2015-2016 Student Organization Co-Advisors of the Year.
    Congratulations Paul and Jane!

    Thursday, May 26, 2016

    Planting the Grass, the reboot

    After our successful experiment growing wild celery in the Library in 2015, Library staff leapt into action again to Save the Bay, participating in a second round of Grasses for the Masses.

    You can help restore the health of the Chesapeake Bay and Virginia's rivers by participating in CBF's Grasses for the Masses program.
    Participants in the program grow wild celery (Vallisneria americana), a type of underwater grass, in a simple grow-out system in their homes for 10-12 weeks. After 10-12 weeks of grow-out, participants will gather to plant their grasses in select local rivers to bolster grass populations and help restore the Bay.
    Library Specialist and Grass Maven Michelle Jerney-Davis tended the Library grass in a large black plastic tub in the reading room (main maintenance was algae removal and maintaining appropriate water levels and temperature.  Apparently the grass likes to be warm) and then traveled to the Potomac River to transplant our crop:

    Michelle had some special assistants:

    New home for the Library grass:

    Thursday, May 19, 2016

    Harry Potter

    In 1997, British author J. K. Rowling introduced the world to Harry Potter and a literary phenomenon was born. Millions of readers have followed Harry to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry where he discovers his heritage, encounters new plants and animals, and perfects his magical abilities. Although a fantasy story, the magic in the Harry Potter books is partially based on Renaissance traditions that played an important role in the development of Western science, including alchemy, astrology, and natural philosophy. Incorporating the work of several 15th- and 16th-century thinkers, the seven-part series examines important ethical topics such as the desire for knowledge, the effects of prejudice, and the responsibility that comes with power. This exhibition, using materials from the National Library of Medicine, explores Harry Potter's world and its roots in Renaissance magic, science, and medicine.

    The boy wizard visited NOVA, navigating the broomstick to the Medical Education Campus, the Woodbridge Campus, and so on to Alexandria, where he was received with raptures by the resident Potter-heads.

    (yes, the items pictured above were indeed donated from the personal collections of Library staff).

    Or, get your learning outcomes on and take ENG245 with Professor Mike Amey:

    ENG 245 - Major English Writers
    3.00 cr
    Sixteen Week - Regular Academic Session
    2:00PM - 3:15PM
    Michael Amey
    This course uses J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter novels in conjunction with literary theory and cultural criticism to explore issues of race, class, gender and power.

    Wednesday, May 18, 2016

    Summer Semester begins

    Classes resumed on Monday 16 May following NOVA's successful 50th Commencement Exercised at Jiffy Lube Live on the 14th.

    Library hours for the summer are:

    Monday - Thursday: 8.30am - 9.00pm
    Friday: 8.30am - 5.00pm
    Saturday, Sunday:  Closed

    Why not check out an escapist film:

    Before Sunrise AV PN1997 .B35786x 2010
    Before Sunset  AV PN1997.2 .B446742786x 2004
    Before Midnight  AV PN1997.2 .B446742653x 2013

    Or a graduation-theme film:

    Ferris Bueller's Day Off  AV PN1997 .F4177573x 2006
    The Graduate  AV PS3573.E195 G73 1999
    St Elmo's Fire  AV PN1997 .S135456x 2001
    Good Will Hunting.  AV PN1997 .G62 2011