What We Talked About: The Fall 2012 Music Library Student Advisory Group

Meeting once a quarter, the Music Library Student Advisory Group (MLSAG) is made up of undergraduate and graduate students who offer feedback on Music Library spaces, technology, services, and collections.  The goal of the MLSAG is to work with students to make certain the Music Library is meeting their needs.  To join the MLSAG, email Verletta Kern at vkern at uw.edu.

Below, find the meeting notes from our Fall 2012 meeting.

Music Library Student Advisory Group Meeting Notes



I.  Variations Grant Project Update

Verletta thanked the group for their letters of support for the Variations grant project.  Variations is an open source streaming music software created by Indiana University.  It allows for sound recordings in a Music Library collection to be made available off-campus to enrolled students, faculty and staff.  It also has the ability to make scans of music scores available with the recording so you can listen and read the score together.  The UW applied for a grant with University of Oregon, Reed College, and Western Oregon University to pilot the Variations software.  We’ll receive funding in February and work on set up and testing throughout the year.  We’ll pilot using Variations with online reserves for a few select courses starting in fall 2013.  This would not have been possible without your support so thank you!


II.  What technology would you like to see in the Music Library?

  • Verletta brought up the idea of a group viewing station where students could watch operas and work on papers together.  The advisory group thought this would be helpful for student studies.  Ideas for placement ranged from replacing the two standing computer upstairs with the station to replacing some of the viewing equipment downstairs with a group work station
  • Compact shelving upstairs and downstairs—Verletta thought this may be a floor load issue but would check [This is a floor load issue and would not be possible in the Music Library]*
  • Music resources study center
  • Sibelius software would also be nice to have on the computer workstations downstairs [The Music Library will continue to monitor the status of Sibelius and re-evaluate in Spring if it appears that the market for the software has stabilized]
  • Audio software would also be nice to have in the Music Library [The Music Library would like more information on what type of software would be most desirable.  In the meantime, the Sound Studio located in Odegaard Library might be a good solution] 

The Music Library will move forward with an STF proposal to fund a computer and large screen monitor that may be used for group viewing/listening of recordings and group work on papers and presentations.


III.  FirstSearch Usability Testing

The UW Music Library has an exciting opportunity to be involved in testing the new version of FirstSearch’s WorldCat.   The company is looking for music graduate students to test out the new interface and offer feedback.  Three music graduate students volunteered to be part of the group that will give feedback on the new product.


III.  Feedback on the new BookScan Station

  • Scanning is really helpful but doesn’t work as well if you want to make a single copy of an item
  • Location of the printer in relation to the BookScan Station:
    • Students would LOVE to have a printer placed next to the BookScan Station
    • Students did not feel that the upstairs or downstairs printers should be relocated next to BookScan Station as they are well-used in their current location
    • It would be nice to have printer next to the BookScan Station but student would rather not have one there if it means relocating an existing printer

[The Music Library will keep print stations where they are currently located and explore the possibility of obtaining an additional printer.]


IV.  Feedback on the improvements upstairs

  • All students in attendance were new students and unable to comment on the change
  • Move the white board table so that they aren’t over the plugs in the floor.  Right now the white board tables are turning into charging stations as a result of being right over the plugs. Consider switching the regular tables and the white board tables.  [The Music Library will keep tables in their current location due to concerns about glare if the white board table was moved closer to the window.]


V.  Student feedback on the Music Library in general.  What has worked well?  What could use some improvement?

  • Printer has been a serious issue for Music Library students this quarter.  Verletta explained that we have worked closely with the DAWG prints folks to remedy these issues.  We think they are worked out now but please let us know immediately if you continue to run into printing issues!
  • Could the policy on the USB keyboards be changed so that they could be taken out of the library?  It would be nice to use them but the space in the lab is too tight and uncomfortable to make using them their efficient.  [We have changed our policy!  USB keyboards may now be checked out and taken out of the library for up to three days.]
  • Getting things from other places has been a challenge.  One student ran into trouble borrowing a DVD from another library.  Let the Music Library staff know if this is an issue for you and we can look into it!
  • It would be really nice to be able to check the CDs/DVD out and have the ability to take them out of the library.  One student came from a library where students were able to take recordings out to listen to for up to 2 days and if they were late, students would get substantial fines which discouraged them from stealing or holding onto media materials.  [CDs/DVDs are made library use only to accommodate the music faculty’s desire to have items readily available for teaching.  There are also many rare recordings owned by the Music Library that could not be replaced if they were not returned.  The Music Library will bring up this topic with faculty members of the Music Library’s Faculty Advisory Committee during their spring meeting.]
  • It would be helpful to have recordings from faculty recitals available at the Music Library.  One student and her faculty member wanted to listen to a 2007 School of Music recording and had to request it be sent over.  There should be a shelf in the library devoted to faculty recordings.  [Unfortunately space constraints limit our ability to have all of these recordings on-hand in the library.  Our hope is to explore Variations as a solution to make these recordings available digitally on-site and through UW Net ID off-site.]
  • Student ran into issues with a book or score saying it was upstairs but really being downstairs.  Verletta told the students we would look into this.  [We are currently running lists to verify that locations are showing correctly in the library catalog.]
  • Students would like better signage for what is located upstairs and downstairs.  Perhaps signs that hang from the ceiling downwards?  The call numbers on the ends of shelves are hard to read.  [We are exploring options for better signage that would hang from the ceiling.]
  • One student had trouble searching for the Complete Works of Schubert in the library catalog.  The current (UW only catalog) is very old and seems out-dated.  Students generally prefer to use UW WorldCat.  Verletta mentioned students can ask staff if they aren’t finding things in the catalog.  Staff are always happy to help.  Verletta also shared that a new online catalog with lots of updated features will be coming, possibly later this summer.
  • Students find streaming lists for classes clunky and prefer to use Spotify instead.  One student mentioned trouble with incorrect pieces being linked to the streaming reserves for her course.  The professor was taking notes on the incorrect pieces and would send a full list of corrections to the streaming reserves folks at the end of the quarter.  Verletta mentioned that she hoped Variations would help resolve this issue as faculty could create their own play lists of materials for their courses and wouldn’t have to rely fully on the library as the middleman.
  • Students really like the self-service reserves upstairs.
  • Checking books out downstairs is clunky.  Students would prefer to send downstairs books upstairs to check out instead of interrupting downstairs staff to check out materials.
  • Add another power strip upstairs.  You can never have too many power strips.  [We have ordered and additional power strip.]
  • Students love having the large tables upstairs to spread out.


VI.  Suggestion box feedback

  • Forms seem fine
  • Students liked that questions are responded to via the blog but thought some of the questions should not be written word for word (ex. Student angry about printing).  Instead, condense the comment for posting.
  • Suggestion boxes are hard to fine.  Make them pink so they stand out.

VII.  Other feedback

  • Publicize the Music Library blog more!  Have the student advisors send a reminder to students about the blog quarterly.  Give student a sense of what they will find in the blog and that their questions will be answered there.  Get faculty to promote the blog.  [We will start working with the advisors to promote the blog beginning this (winter) quarter.]
  • Make a Music Library Xtranormal video similar to the chat reference video.
  • Invite DXArts students to join the Student Advisory Group.  [We will invite DXArts students to join the group.]
  • Get faculty to promote the Student Advisory Group

*Note: Italicized items in brackets indicate the Music Library’s response.


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