The verdict is in – and the winner of UBC Library’s latest iPod contest is Stephen Yoon, a fourth-year science student at UBC.

The contest, held during the fall 2009 semester, asked users to comment on a new and improved search tool that the Library is implementing. A beta version has been available on the Library’s homepage since September. Since then, we’ve invited comments from users to see how we could make the tool even better in locating materials across the Library system.

As an incentive, the Library offered an 8GB iPod Touch to the person who provided the best comments – and the lucky candidate turned out to be Stephen, who spends most of his days studying at Woodward Library.

He’s also taking some elective courses in music and arts, and he found the search tool to be highly helpful in finding resources outside of his regular discipline.

“The new website is easier to use,” he said. “It’s nice that it has different icons for audio and books. Also, when I only want the books from a certain location because I am nearby, I could simply click the location from the left sidebar,” he said.

“It’s nice that there’s an image of the cover so I could easy find the book I need. Lastly, I love the fact that I could select the books in a certain language. This new website is nice! Thank you.”

Thank you in return, Stephen – and congratulations!

cIRcleA couple of years ago, UBC Library’s Hilde Colenbrander challenged a student from the School of Library, Archival and Information Studies to determine the amount of Olympics-related research and teaching on the UBC Vancouver campus.

The resulting report was striking, as it highlighted all sorts of material from an array of departments and faculties: Education, Law, Economics, Political Science, Medicine, Geography/Urban Studies, Psychology, the School of Population and Public Health, to name a few. Graduate and undergraduate activities were included, as was a listing of UBC courses on the Olympics.

So there’s no doubt that a wealth of valuable Olympics-related work exists at UBC. But that leads to another issue: how can so many disparate items be made easily available in one spot?

Enter Tara Stephens, who joined the ranks of cIRcle – UBC’s online storehouse for the University’s teaching and research output – in October 2009. Stephens, who previously was a Reference Librarian for Humanities and Social Sciences, will focus on gathering as much of UBC’s Olympics material as possible to store in cIRcle. Contributions are voluntary; the goal is to make the content universally available and have the project serve as a long-term UBC legacy.

Stephens has been busy networking with the campus community and tracking Olympics/Paralympics-related events and people at UBC. She’s also struck up a great working relationship with the UBC 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Secretariat.

UBC Library launched cIRcle more than two years ago, and Colenbrander serves as its Co-ordinator. To date, the repository hosts more than 16,000 items and more material is added daily. The biggest proportion of submissions in cIRcle consists of theses and dissertations, but there are many other items, including webcasts and podcasts. cIRcle is also an “open access” repository, meaning that its contents are freely available to users around the world.

Its Olympics-inspired appointment is indeed opportune. In Place and Promise, UBC’s new strategic plan (, one of the action items under “Research Excellence” calls for the development of “a campus strategy for making UBC research accessible in digital repositories, especially open access repositories.” Given such support and cIRcle’s rapid growth, the effort to share UBC’s research and teaching legacies – Olympic and otherwise – with the world is well-underway.

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