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Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Telepresence Robot Collaboration with University of Bologna

Waldo Library is entering the second semester of collaboration with the Communication and Social Robotics Labs, experimenting with telepresence robots in Waldo Library.

"We are in the middle of a research study in which we are gathering library faculty, staff, and students' attitudes toward using telepresence robot technology." said Pat Vander Meer, a librarian who has been working closely with the robot.

Recently, the robot reached beyond Western Michigan University to the University of Bologna, where a PhD candidate is conducting research on academic libraries development in institutions of higher education and research. Lynn Kleinveldt is a faculty librarian in Applied Sciences and Health & Wellness Sciences at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology in Cape Town, South Africa. She is pursuing a PhD in Philosophy, Science, Cognition, and Semiotics at the University of Bologna, Italy, the oldest university in Europe.

Kleinveldt was excited to have the opportunity to experiment with robotics in a library setting. After a brief training by an IT student assistant, she drove the robot and interacted with students as well as a tour group that came to visit the library. “It was a great experience to tour the library using the robot and explore how international collaboration can enhance reference services for the benefit of users. This innovative initiative extends information and research support beyond the boundaries of its parent institutions,” said Kleinveldt.

Kleinveldt on the telepresence robot, with a tour group in Waldo Library.
She also stated, “the aim is not to replace the academic librarian with robotics, but that this technology complements the new role of the librarian. Through robot technology, academic librarians can now extend their services and expertise from virtually anywhere.”

May Chang, Associate Dean for Libraries IT, said, “This is a good example of University Libraries’ global engagement. Social robotics such as the telepresence robot enabled us to communicate and interact at a level not possible with the telephone or video chat.”

The robot is used on weekends to greet tour groups, and weekend test drives of the robot will continue in the Spring 2016 semester.

Read more about the Communication and Social Robotics Labs work with University Libraries.

Certificate of Appreciation, CEAS and IoT Lab

May Chang, Associate Dean for Libraries IT, was recently awarded a Certificate of Appreciation in recognition of outstanding service to students in the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences (CEAS) and for supporting the implementation of the Embedded Systems (ES) Venture (see article.)

“I am honored to receive the award and enjoy working with CEAS faculty and students on services and applications for the Libraries.  We will continue to work with all colleges to support student success at WMU.”

Chang worked with Dr. Al-Fuqaha to set up the Internet of Things (IoT) Lab in Waldo Library to enable the development of embedded systems and applications for real world clients, the first of which is Stryker. This spring, the ES Venture set up shop in Waldo Library, with students developing applications in the IoT Lab on the first floor.

Pieces that will  be incorporated into the 
IoT in the Embedded Systems Venture.

“In addition, a number of our IT student assistants are from CEAS and they do a tremendous job supporting technology resources and services in the Libraries. This is also good real world work experience for them. Some are also working on developing innovative technology based applications and services for the Libraries including an interactive kiosk, Internet of Things infrastructure, and programming in-house applications.”

Look forward to more information about the innovative work that students are doing in collaboration with the Learning and Discovery Commons in the Embedded Systems Venture.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Flint Water Crisis Guide to Information

There is now a guide on the WMU library website with information surrounding the Flint Michigan Water Crisis. 

It is located The guide links to resources related to the crisis, and includes news articles, environmental justice, govt info, laws and regulations, and science and health issues from authoritative sources put together by our science librarian.

As anyone discusses the issue and has questions about the Flint Water Crisis or water resources in general, this new guide is a good resource to use. There are many links in each section as you use the blue links bar near the 'Flint' heading. As University Libraries is a Federal Depository Library much more information is available through our Government Documents Dept.
(269) 387-5208, or 'Ask a Librarian' for more information.