Welcome back to campus!

We hope the new quarter finds you recharged from the holiday and motivated to begin this next set of classes. The work load might seem light at the beginning, but a little extra work now can pay off later. Here are a few tips to help you succeed academically:

1) Review your syllabi early and make sure you have access to the books on your reading list. Visit the library catalog to see if the books you need for your classes are available at the SPU Library or through Summit Borrowing.

2) Choose research topics early and begin building your works cited or bibliography lists now. It can take time to find, read and synthesize the research on your subject.

3) Store your resource information online using RefWorks by clicking on the Cite/Export link in the item’s record. From there, you can also generate your bibliography using the full list of items you have stored or a selection from that list.

4) Stumped on ideas for research papers? Visit the library’s reference desk early in the quarter and ask to speak with the liaison librarian responsible for your discipline. While all reference librarians are trained to help you find the resources you need, you can receive invaluable assistance from the librarian who supports your subject area.

Best of luck to you as you navigate through the high waters of academia! Also, if you are a Twitter user, don’t forget to keep up-to-date on snow closures and holiday hours by following us @TheSPULibrary – where you may see a new side of the library.

How do I find full text for ERIC (Education Resources Information Center) documents?

In early August, 2012 ERIC database administrators discovered that sensitive personally identifiable information appeared in some full text documents contained in the ERIC database collection. Specifically, social security numbers and other highly sensitive information were found in multiple documents and in a way that could not easily be isolated. For that reason, they had to temporarily disable access to many full text documents (text from the ERIC website).  While the ERIC staff is seeking to restore access to documents as soon as possible, it may take a while. In the meantime, the SPU library has developed the following steps to locate the full text of ERIC documents:

  1. Check the item record in the ERIC database for potential external links to the full text.
  2. Check the web using Google Scholar or other search engines by typing the title of the article (in quotes) and the author’s last name into the search box.
  3. If the item is book-length, use the SPU WorldCat catalog on the library homepage to see if a print copy can be acquired in the SPU library, SUMMIT, or through Interlibrary Loan.
  4. Most ERIC EDxxxxxx documents with a date between 1966-2004 are available on microfiche which SPU owns. To acquire a reprint of a microfiche document, fill out the Microfilm Reprint Request form.  Please include the ERIC document number (EDxxxxxx) in the comments section of the form.
  5. If the document is not available online, or on fiche, and is published after 2004:
    1. Attempt to email the author.  Some authors are willing to send researchers a copy of their document.  The ERIC database item record sometimes includes author information.
    2. Use the ERIC Request a PDF form to ask ERIC to prioritize the release of the document.

-Cynthia Strong/ Librarian for Education and Business


I receive many archives questions via telephone call, but this was definitely one of the most interesting. The woman on the other end of the line described her question: a family history search had turned up a family member name in a US census from the 1920s. This family member, George, had been a young boy, elementary age, at the time of the census, and the census taker had registered him as being an “inmate” at Seattle Pacific College. What could that possibly mean?

In the early part of the 20th century, teacher training was done at “Normal Schools,” and part of that training involved, as it does today, practice teaching on actual students. In current times, teachers-in-training go to elementary or secondary schools to do this practice teaching, but in the early part of last century, many Normal Schools had their own elementary schools attached, so that the trainee teachers wouldn’t have to go far to find students to practice on. Seattle Pacific’s Normal School (the forerunner to today’s School of Education) had its own small elementary school, which was also a boarding school. The students there would come from far away and live on campus during the school year.

Perhaps you, knowing this, can see why young George would be at Seattle Pacific College. He was one of the boarding students in the Normal School’s Elementary Department. A search of the SPC Catalog from the year in question revealed his name on a list of students in the Normal School Elementary Class, along with those of his classmates and the full-time teacher who taught the students when they weren’t being “practiced on” by the Normal School Trainee Teachers.

What about the term “inmate,” though? Think of the poor census taker, faced with a group of elementary aged boys and girls living at a college! He probably had no good term to use to classify them, and had to pick from a list of less-than-perfect words to describe the students. While some of the implications of the term “inmate” are unfortunate, it does get at the fact that the children lived on the campus, which is really all the census needed to know.

I sent a set of scans from the SPC catalog to the researcher, including George’s name on the class list, some information about the Normal School, including tuition and room and board rates, and a photograph of the building the elementary students had classes in. Another mystery solved by the archives!

To read more about the history of teacher training at SPC, read Clint Kelly’s Response article regarding the subject.

-Adrienne Meier/University Archivist

Revolving Book Displays

On a table next to the main level computers, you’ll find a collection of books focusing on a theme. Many times, the theme relates to current events or items of relevance to our campus community. Displays vary widely in topics. Over the past year, displays have included works on Politics and Social Media; movies on DVD and the books they are based on; works by local authors or about Seattle and environs; works on Lent and Easter; and many others. The November 2012 display contains books relating to Politics and Social Media. While some of the items on the table are printed books, there are also QR codes to ebooks in our catalog on the same topic. In addition, a full list of all display items is available. You can check any of these items out for a normal four week checkout period.

While this display routinely changes throughout the year, it is not our only revolving display. If you are searching in the online catalog and the item you find has a status of “New Book Shelf,” you will find it on a bookcase by the stairwell. These are recently added items to our collection, all published within the last few years, and ranging in subject. Like the thematic display table, any items on the New Book Shelf can be checked out for four weeks.

Don’t hesitate to drop by the library and view our revolving displays. We love to see these books checked out. If you see an item of interest and are unsure about the loaning policies, ask at the reference desk or inquire at the circulation desk.

-Melody Steiner/Access Services Technician

Explore the Library’s Tech Desk

The Tech Desk, on the library’s Lower Level, is a place dedicated for students to discover, create, and share their digital scholarship.

Tech Desk staff are available to support the technology available including software and tools. For example, check out video cameras, iPads, MacBook Pros (in-library use only), learn to scan your documents digitally, and use Adobe Design Premium CS6, AutoCAD, Office, or a number of other software and tools.

Situated on the north side, the Tech Desk space is surrounded by large windows providing beautiful views of greenery and natural light. There are large collaborative work tables featuring computers with dual-monitors. Comfortable chairs and coffee tables provide a space for reading or studying with a notebook computer. On the east side there are additional computers dedicated for individual work.

We invite you to visit the Tech Desk to check out a video camera to capture movement, an microphone to record sounds, and a MacBook Pro to put it all together in iMovie. At any time during the planning or creation of the project Tech Desk, staff are on hand for a one-on-one appointment or for drop-in questions, offering such help as teaching how to use iMovie or showing how to integrate various forms of media into the final project.

We are happy to provide a wide range of technological support for your digital projects. If we don’t know the answer, we will research possible solutions. We invite you to stop by and use the space, ask a question, or check out equipment. More information is available on our website. Additionally, our knowledge base provides online solutions for common questions and detailed information about the variety of tech tools available.

-Ryan Ingersoll/Library Technology Services Coordinator