Annual Report 2015

photo of Larry Alford, Chief Librarian with new library staff

Annual Report 2015 is published by the University of Toronto Libraries.

EDITORIAL TEAM Laura Anderson · Jesse Carliner · Lisa Gayhart · Maureen Morin · Margaret Wall (Editor)

DESIGNER Maureen Morin

PHOTOGRAPHY Paul Armstrong · Gordon Belray · Robert Carter · Michael James O’Brien

ROBARTS COMMON RENDERING Diamond + Schmitt Architects

COVER IMAGES, CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT Skully, the resident skeleton in the Gerstein Science Information Centre, promotes a botanical exhibition (photo: Jaime Lynn Clifton-Ross); staff from the University of Toronto Scarborough Library meet with Marc Lalonde of the Libraries’ Information Technology Services department during development of the new library website (photo: Lisa Gayhart); in a new twist on book face photos that appear in social media, Copyright Outreach Librarian Nelly Cancilla strikes a pose for UTL's Instagram account (photo: Lillian Rigling); an illuminated 3D model of Robarts Library, showing the Robarts Common (photo: Laura Anderson); a rare Chinese film from the collections of the Richard Charles Lee Canada-Hong Kong Library (photo: Johnny Guatto).

Above: Chief Librarian Larry Alford, centre, with some new members of the library staff.
 

Photo description: Photo of Larry Alford, Chief Librarian of the University of Torono Libraries with new library staff.

© 2015 University of Toronto Libraries

 

Photo of Chief Librarian Larry AlfordWhen you think about the modern academic library what comes to mind? If you were to walk in to one of our 44 libraries today you might encounter any of the following scenes:

  • First-year students navigating the newly redesigned library homepage while our web design experts observe and make note of sticking points so we can adjust and provide the very best user experience.
  • Our Digital Preservation Librarian using the forensic skills he learned reviving computer games from his childhood to tease out data from old floppy disks cared for by our Archives and Records Management Services as part of an author’s collection of archival papers.
  • Librarians helping graduate students plan for the collection, organization, storage, retrieval and long-term preservation of the data generated during their research.
  • Library administrators poring over architectural drawings for the new Robarts Common—a 1,200+ seat student centre for which we will be breaking ground later this year.
  • Librarians and library IT staff working with a faculty member to ingest her publications and research data sets into our TSpace research repository, which will preserve them in perpetuity and make them available to anyone, anywhere through a Google search.

Digital forensics, UX, research data management, open access—these trendy sounding terms describe some of the scenarios above but they are more than passing trends. The Libraries continue to evolve at the cutting edge of scholarly and technological innovations. We are meeting our scholars’ expectations that they will encounter more than just space and academic resources when they walk through our doors or visit us online. We are continually developing new services in consultation with our community so that we can remain vital partners in supporting teaching, learning and research at the University of Toronto.

I hope you will enjoy reading more about the projects described above within these pages.

As always, I welcome your ideas and input.

With best regards, 

Larry P. Alford
Chief Librarian
chieflibrarian@utoronto.ca

 

Locked within what some may think of as the detritus of modern society—old laptops, mysterious external hard drives, discarded SD cards—lies an inaccessible treasure trove of forgotten data, future discoveries and invaluable memories. As the rapid pace of technology leaves a mountainous amount of data in its wake, a new breed of librarians and information professionals are developing innovative methods to ensure the long-term access to and preservation of born digital data from the last 20 years.
photo of Steve Marks

Steve Marks, Digital Preservation Librarian in the Information Technology Services department, is leading this digital archeological mission for the University of Toronto Libraries. Employing a variety of digital forensic techniques and tools, he recovers important data created and stored in outdated formats without disturbing crucial metadata that tells the story of where the data was created and when it was last accessed. Once recovered, he preserves the material in a manner that ensures long-term sustainability and access for historians and researchers. [Photo description: FRED reveals the contents of an obsolete hard drive to Steve Marks. Another computer in Steve's collection gets ready to read the contents of an old Macintosh floppy diskette.]

photo of Steve Marks with FREDRecently an author donated a personal computer and collection of floppy disks along with her papers to the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, leaving archivist Natalya Rattan with a significant modern problem to solve. How could she access and preserve the important files within when the computer's hardware and software had long been replaced by newer versions? Hoping to make the entirety of this author’s papers accessible to future researchers, Natalya contacted Steve. Through the use of data recovery tools, disk imaging software and historical computing emulation, they were able to gain access to the information stored on the aging floppies (which were formatted in a way unusable by modern computers), evaluate their contents and transfer them to a medium more suited to long-term storage.

While we work to recover and preserve older formats, we are simultaneously calculating how to outpace the inevitable obsolescence of newer ones. University of Toronto librarians use a Forensic Recovery of Evidence Device (FRED)—the same tool that police departments and security agencies use to recover data—to capture information stored on modern hard drives. For example, when the Libraries receive personal computers along with an author's archival papers, FRED allows us to view files on the computer in their original context. Seeing how the files are organized, along with their timestamps and other contextual information, provides a fuller picture of the researcher’s workflow than would be possible with just the files themselves. It also allows us to identify and redact personal information stored on these machines—helping to ensure that access to their historical material need not compromise the privacy of the donating parties.

Photo description: Steve attaches an obsolete hard drive to FRED.]

 

photo of library staff planning websiteThe library’s web team recently spent over a year talking to U of T students, staff and faculty about their research and information needs. The result is a new mobile-friendly website that makes performing your research, discovering our collections and accessing our many services easier no matter what device you’re using.

Our community asked us to create:

  • A single search that combines catalogue, article, research guide and library web page results
  • Simplified navigation with sub-headings to make our web content more discoverable
  • More featured content to help our rich collections shine
  • A direct connection to the library through easily accessible library hours and locations, event listings and access to research assistance

 

Website users (and non-users) assessed additions and refinements through formal usability testing, as well as less structured methods such as feedback gathered through social media. The library’s web team produced a website driven by our real-world users.

We are committed to equitable access to all of our digital spaces, so the new library website is accessible to Level AA standards, as defined by the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. This includes making the site compatible with assistive technologies, such as screen readers, as well as ensuring content is clear and understandable to a wide variety of users.

Photo description: Staff from across the library system plan the new library website.

 

Banting and Best dog chartWhen Banting and Best revolutionized the treatment of diabetes with their discovery of insulin in the 1920s, they carefully recorded their progress in paper lab books which remain accessible in original form and through digital surrogates. Today, academic inquiry is more likely to be recorded digitally and result in a volume of data exponentially larger than in the days when paper and pencil were the primary means of documenting findings. This digital scholarship revolution is creating new preservation and curation challenges for libraries.

UTL is tackling these challenges by developing pathways for preserving research data for future use. This spring, librarians from the UTL Research Data Management Working Group developed a Graduate Professional Skills (GPS) course to help students create an effective management plan for the data that is generated during their scholarship. The course was filled to capacity and was offered a second time with the same result. The popularity of the course comes as no surprise as scholars regularly consult the libraries for advice on how to approach research data management planning, which requires the deliberate collection, organization, storage, retrieval and preservation of data over its entire life cycle to ensure its availability for reuse over time and in the face of changing technology.

We are building this and other educational and technical services in partnership with the larger higher education community to ensure university scholars are embracing the full potential of digital scholarship, while at the same time making sure their discovery will be available to future generations in the same way that old lab books are today.

Photo description: Banting and Best chart showing sugar levels in blood and urine for dog 410. From The Discovery and Early Development of Insulin digital collection.

Full House at the Fisher Library

book in the Judaic Treasures displayThis past academic year, the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library marked a milestone in its history when it welcomed a record number of visitors, due in part to interest in two extraordinary exhibitions. ‘As it is Written: Judaic Treasures from the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library’ attracted the largest crowds ever to the Fisher Library for a single exhibit. Curated by librarian Barry Walfish, ‘Judaic Treasures’ showcased items such as rare Constantinople imprints, Biblical manuscripts and works of Jewish law and liturgy spanning from the tenth century onward. The 2014 summer exhibit ‘Vesalius at 500’ commemorated the birth of Andreas Vesalius, who is considered the father of modern anatomy. Featured was a rare author-annotated copy of Vesalius’s De humani corporis fabrica, a work of historic significance in the field of medicine for its magnificent illustrations. The stunning exhibit catalogue, written by librarian Philip Oldfield and designed by Stan Bevington of Coach House Press, received a 2015 Katharine Kyes Leab and Daniel J. Leab American Book Prices Current Exhibition Catalogue Award.

Photo description: Part of a display in the Judaic Treasures exhibition.

 

Film Screening Among Top 5 Toronto Events

 

other event highlightsIn partnership with the Department of History and the Sexual and Gender Diversity Office, UTL hosted a screening and panel discussion of ‘Paris is Burning’ to mark the twenty-fifth anniversary of the landmark documentary. Rated one of the top five free events in Toronto at the time by blogTO, the screening generated so much interest that it was moved to a larger venue to accommodate the anticipated crowds.

Photo descriptions: Photograph of Helen Sawyer Hogg, astronomer and first female president of several astronomical organizations. Above right: Calvin Gotlieb, distinguished Professor Emeritus in Computer Science at the University of Toronto, with a photograph of himself in the Gerstein Science Information Centre. Bottom right: Poster for ‘Paris is Burning’ film screening and panel.

 

Gerstein Photo Exhibition Honours Faculty Contributions to Science

 

instagram logosA new display of 30 photographs that highlight the contributions of U of T faculty members in science and medicine now graces the walls of the Gerstein Science Information Centre Reading Room. Drawn from the U of T Archives, the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, the Hospital for Sick Children Archives and the collections of the grandson of Dr. John G. FitzGerald, the photos are inspiring the next generation of scientists who study under the watchful eyes of these historic greats. Visit @uoftlibraries for other library highlights.

 

photo of the scholarly communications teamPioneering research is taking place right now at the University of Toronto. New discoveries made here will change lives and, because of a new Tri-Agency Open Access Policy, everyone will now have access to federally funded research results—knowledge that would simply have been inaccessible beyond the academy in the past.

The new Tri-Campus Open Access Policy, which came into effect on May 1, 2015, requires recipients of National Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) or Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) grants to make peer-reviewed journal publications arising from their research freely accessible within 12 months of publication.

Under the new policy, which both authors more freedom and increases access to research, faculty may publish their research in the journal of their choice and then deposit their final, peer-reviewed manuscript into an institutional or disciplinary repository that will make the manuscript freely accessible. The Libraries are playing a key role in disseminating the scholarly output of our faculty through our secure institutional research repository, TSpace. Because TSpace results are highly ranked in search engines like Google this will provide broad public access. The policy also allows faculty to publish their research in a journal that offers open access within a maximum of 12 months.

The Libraries have long been engaged in conversation with faculty and stakeholders in the publishing community about new models of scholarly communication, including the development of sustainable models of open access. We continue to work closely with faculty to provide advice and assistance about journal selection, repository selection and submission, and obtaining copyright clearance from publishers to help them comply with the policy.

Photo description: Mariya Maistrovskaya, Institutional Repositories Librarian, Rita Vine, Head of Faculty and Student Engagement, and Bobby Glushko, Head of the Scholarly Communications and Copyright Office, work together to support faculty in their scholarly publishing endeavours.

 

photo of Houman Behzadi with Ksenya KiebuzinskA significant percentage of the Libraries’ collections budget is now devoted to electronic resources, including electronic journals, databases and streaming content. Even so, about 150,000 new print titles are added to the shelves each year. Bringing these resources to students and faculty involves the work of a large, interdisciplinary team of librarians and technicians who apply their scholarly, technical, copyright and other specialized expertise to behind-the-scenes processes which facilitate acquisitions, discovery and access.

 

Photo description: Houman Behzadi (left) with Ksenya Kiebuzinski, Slavic Studies Librarian, Collection Development Department. Kiebuzinski selects Central-East European monographs for the Music Library.

Music Collection Development Librarian Houman Behzadi, who splits his time between the Faculty of Music Library and the 44-library system’s central Collection Development department, is one player on this interdisciplinary team. Using the deep subject knowledge he gained through graduate degrees and diplomas in music and information science, he selects sound recordings, music scores and scholarly publications—in the areas of musicology and music education, for example—for the library.

Behzadi conducts this work using both new and long-standing techniques. For example, when UTL acquired Medici.tv this year—a collection of concerts, operas, ballets, documentaries, master classes, educational films and artist profiles—he began by studying the resource to determine the research value for U of T. He negotiated the cost with the publisher, which hinges on a variety of factors including the number of students at an institution and how many can simultaneously use the resource. The Libraries’ Digital Collections Librarian, Weijing Yuan, negotiated the licensing terms to assure the maximum use rights for our community of scholars. Behzadi then worked with the Information Technology Services department to make the resource available for streaming via our servers. As with all e-resources, ongoing maintenance is required after the initial purchase, as new items are added to databases by publishers, for example.

photo of the data centreFor print collections, a significant component of the work Behzadi and his colleagues conduct on a day-to-day basis involves working with vendors who, based on criteria developed by the UTL selectors, send hundreds of thousands of books to the library each year from mainstream publishers, where they are individually evaluated by librarians before they are added to the collection. Streamlining the collection process from major publishers allows librarians to spend more time carefully researching and collecting niche titles from small publishers, even travelling internationally to purchase rare, local material that would otherwise not be available to U of T researchers. This attention to detail is part of what makes UTL’s collections truly world class.

Photo description: Inside the University of Toronto Libraries’ Data Centre.

 

photo of hand-written logbookBetween May 1, 2014 and April 30, 2015, the Libraries received support from many donors in the form of cash and gifts in kind. The following lists donors of $500 or more. The University of Toronto Libraries are very grateful for their generosity, and for the contributions of all donors of funds and collections. For the list of donors to the Libraries within the Boundless Campaign, please visit http://www.library.utoronto.ca/support.

Photo description: The generosity of our donors enables us to add to our collections items of great import, such as midshipman Alan G. Hotham’s hand-written logbook compiled while serving on H. M. S. Blake and Cleopatra beginning in 1892.

 

CASH DONORS FROM MAY 1, 2014 TO APRIL 30, 2015

Note: Deceased donors are indicated by italics

100,000–1,000,000

Janet Dewan | The Estate of Leon Katz | The Estate of George B. Kiddell | Mark L. Pathy | Joan R. Randall | Linda M. Schuyler | F. Michael and Virginia Walsh

25,000–99,000

Marie Korey

500–24,999

Jeffrey Balmer | Harry Barrett | Donna Bennett | Graham S. Bradshaw | Robert C. Brandeis | Ian and Wendy Brown | Jennifer S. H. Brown | Peter S. Brown | Michael Burgess | Philip H. Byer | Barry Joseph Morley Callaghan | Elspeth Cameron | Robert Campbell | Kwok Nee Chang | Maxine Charlesworth | Elio Gabriel Costa | Linda Dobbs | Sharon Abron Drache | Rhianna Edwards | Patrick Emmenegger | Sharyn and Hershell Ezrin | Jan Figurski | Beth Follett | Janet Fong | Bathsheba Garnett | John K. Grande | Maureen Scott Harris | George F. Hawken | John Higginbotham | Marshall J. L. Hryciuk | Christopher Hull | Leslie V. Jones | Kaoru Kamimura | William and Hiroko Keith | Danryeong Kim | HyunSuk Kim | Marie Korey | Linda F. Kowal | Margaret J. Kowal | David Laidler | Simon Langlois | Katherine A. M. Lochnan | Jessie MacKenzie | Elizabeth Ann Oliver (Malone) | Alberto Manguel | Laura Marks | Malka Marom | Kathleen E. McCrone | Donald McLeod | John T. McLeod | Goldie Morgentaler | Karen A. Mulhallen | Richard J. Pearson | Joan R. Randall | Dean Reynolds | Julie Rekai Rickerd | Bianca de la Roche | Pat Rogal | Edward N. Rutherford | F. Michah Rynor | John G. Slater | Beverley Slopen | Sam Solecki | Peter H. Solomon | Carl Spiess | John D. Stanley and Helmut Reichenbacher | Craig Stephenson | S. Sutcliffe | George Swede | Richard Teleky | Joy E. Tyndall | Lynda M. Usher | Mary F. Williamson | Joanna C. Wilson | Joan Winearls | King H. Wong | Ian Young | 5 anonymous donors

 

GIFTS-IN-KIND DONORS FROM MAY 1, 2014 TO APRIL 30, 2015

100,000–1,000,000

Ronald Cohen | Andrew Donato | Ronald G. Peters | Eric N. Robertson | F. Michael and Virginia Walsh | Yap Films Inc. | 1 anonymous donor

25,000–99,999

William Barker | Giles V. S. Blunt | Neville Bodsworth | Adam Crabtree | Nancy Hannah | William Johnston | David Mason and Debra Dearlove | John and Myrna Metcalf | Barbara Welch | Sybil Williamson | 2 anonymous donors

500–24,999

Jeffrey Balmer | Harry Barrett | Donna Bennett | Graham S. Bradshaw | Robert C. Brandeis | Ian and Wendy Brown | Jennifer S. H. Brown | Peter S. Brown | Michael Burgess | Philip H. Byer | Barry Joseph Morley Callaghan | Elspeth Cameron | Robert Campbell | Kwok Nee Chang | Maxine Charlesworth | Elio Gabriel Costa | Linda Dobbs | Sharon Abron Drache | Rhianna Edwards | Patrick Emmenegger | Sharyn and Hershell Ezrin | Jan Figurski | Beth Follett | Janet Fong | Bathsheba Garnett | John K. Grande | Maureen Scott Harris | George F. Hawken | John Higginbotham | Marshall J. L. Hryciuk | Christopher Hull | Leslie V. Jones | Kaoru Kamimura | William and Hiroko Keith | Danryeong Kim | HyunSuk Kim | Marie Korey | Linda F. Kowal | Margaret J. Kowal | David Laidler | Simon Langlois | Katherine A. M. Lochnan | Jessie MacKenzie | Elizabeth Ann Oliver (Malone) | Alberto Manguel | Laura Marks | Malka Marom | Kathleen E. McCrone | Donald McLeod | John T. McLeod | Goldie Morgentaler | Karen A. Mulhallen | Richard J. Pearson | Joan R. Randall | Dean Reynolds | Julie Rekai Rickerd | Bianca de la Roche | Pat Rogal | Edward N. Rutherford | F. Michah Rynor | John G. Slater | Beverley Slopen | Sam Solecki | Peter H. Solomon | Carl Spiess | John D. Stanley and Helmut Reichenbacher | Craig Stephenson | S. Sutcliffe | George Swede | Richard Teleky | Joy E. Tyndall | Lynda M. Usher | Mary F. Williamson | Joanna C. Wilson | Joan Winearls | King H. Wong | Ian Young | 5 anonymous donors

 

Questions or Comments?

Your feedback is important to us. Please contact:
Megan Campbell
Director of Advancement, U of T Libraries
mea.campbell@utoronto.ca
416.978.7644

 

photo of Donald Coxeter

 

Library Financials

Collections: $31,823,250
Salaries and Wages: $40,196,004
Benefits: $9,527,256
Other Expenses: $14,508,617
Total: $96,055,127

Collections

Print books: 12,011,924
Digital books: 1,905,362
Journal titles: 160,000+
Archival material: - +29,793 m

Traffic

Questions answered: 397,034
Items circulated: 2,081,393
Library instruction sessions: 1,838
Library instruction participants: 41,406
Research guide views: 951,151
FAQ queries: 78,583
Visits to Robarts Library per day: up to 18,000

Photo description: University of Toronto Professor Emeritus Harold Scott MacDonald “Donald” Coxeter (date unknown). Coxeter was considered a leading mathematician and the greatest geometer of the 20th century. He is best known among mathematicians for discovering how shapes will behave in higher dimensions—now known as Coxeter groups and Coxeter diagrams. In 1936 he accepted a position at the University of Toronto, where he taught geometry and continued his research until his death in 2003. Image from the collections of the University of Toronto Archives and Records Management Services (UTARMS). Biographical information from the Harold Scott Macdonald Coxeter Fonds, UTARMS.