The Library Channel: news, events, announcements

The Library Channel

Feb 19, 2019 ·

If you’ve ever wondered who to root for in a hypothetical battle between a giraffe and a fossil baboon, well, you’re not alone.

Each spring, thousands of people from around the world descend upon the ASU Library website in search of information about the more than 60 mammal species selected to compete in fictional battles against one another, as part of the annual NCAA-inspired tournament known as March Mammal Madness.

Using their knowledge of natural science, participants make their predictions bracket-style, and their curiosities loom large.

Could a quokka defeat an Irish elk?

What are the fighting behaviors of a leopard?

Is the preferred habitat of a jerboa a deciding factor?

When it comes to making informed bracket selections regarding battling mammals, ASU librarian Anali Perry says there’s a method to this madness.

Perry is the lead author of what is currently the ASU Library’s second-most viewed library guide: the March Mammal Madness Library Guide, a one-stop shop of information in support of the tournament, which was created in 2013 by Katie Hinde, an associate professor in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change.

Hinde says the guide has made a huge impact in maximizing the learning outcomes of the tournament.

Replete with teaching materials, research databases and player rules, Perry's guide is 100 percent accessible to the public, and now serves as an official tournament resource to a growing number of educators (and their students) who have incorporated March Mammal Madness into their science curriculum. 

“The guide is a stable and consistent location for information about the tournament, and provides a list of freely available, librarian-recommended resources to help folks do their research for filling out their brackets,” said Perry, a scholarly communication librarian, who specializes in open access and open education.

Here, Perry discusses the increasing popularity of March Mammal Madness and the library guide, and why the ASU Library is one of the tournament's biggest supporters.

Question: As a librarian, how did you get involved with March Mammal Madness?

Answer: I discovered the tournament in 2016 and became a huge fan, even though I'd never before participated in choosing any sort of bracket, basketball or otherwise. As I watched the tournament unfold, I was so impressed by the narrative that is woven by the team – on Twitter of all things – and I could see the level of engagement that the fans brought to the game.

The tournament's narrators often reference scientific articles to support their facts, and they provide links to the full text. As a scholarly communication librarian, I am always aware of how few people actually have access to those articles. I wanted to find a way to highlight this lack of access, look for open access versions of articles, and also recommend ways to connect folks to good resources other than just googling. I worked with a team of librarians to compile a list of recommended resources that would help March Mammal Madness fans research their bracket picks, and have gradually added more content and information over the years.

The library is a huge supporter of this tournament, and March Mammal Madness is a great way to highlight the resources, services and knowledge that libraries provide. We love answering reference questions about the tournament and getting the opportunity to showcase some of our newer services, like filming the 2017 Wild Card Battle video in our mkrstudio.

Q: How has the library guide responded to the growing popularity of the tournament?

A: The tournament has grown in scope, particularly in what it provides in the way of resources to educators. While the official site continues to be Katie's blog, the library guide allows more flexibility and organization of information, which makes it easier for folks to navigate and find what they need. One of the great features of the library guide is that we can get statistics on how many people are using it over specific periods of time, and we can see which links are being used. We use this information to help us refine what resources we recommend and how we can best present information about the tournament. When the library guide was released in 2017, it received nearly 19,000 views. The popularity of the guide grew exponentially in 2018 with over 90,000 views in just 6 weeks. 

Q: This year's bracket drops March 4. Can you offer some librarian advice for filling it out?

A: I always recommend using reliable resources when doing your research. Google and Wikipedia can be good places to start, but it can be harder to find the tournament-critical information you need to make informed picks.

My best piece of advice is to be aware of a creature's home habitat and where the encounters will take place. In the first rounds, the battle is in the native environment of the higher seeded species, which really impacts the results. As we learned last year, no matter how awesome a giant octopus is, it doesn't do so well in freshwater. Most importantly, though, I recommend you fully commit to your choice for champion, no matter how improbable, and enjoy the ride. It's almost as much fun to win as it is to have a completely busted bracket, which is what normally happens to me.

The March Mammal Madness bracket will become available for download on March 4, with the first battle scheduled to begin March 11. You can follow the tournament on Twitter at @2019MMMletsgo.  

Feb 12, 2019 ·

Do you love the Grand Canyon National Park? 

This month, the ASU Library will bring together scholars, explorers, geographers and the general public to examine the complex and fascinating history of the Grand Canyon National Park, all told through maps. 

"It's almost inconceivable," said Matt Toro, director of the ASU Library's Map and Geospatial Hub, in a recent episode of Science Friday, which aired nationally Friday, Feb. 8. "Even if you're on the rim, you can't see the whole thing. The tolls that allow us to see the canyon in its entirety are maps."

Toro is at the helm of the Mapping Grand Canyon Conference, coming to the ASU Tempe campus for two days beginning Thursday, Feb. 28 through Friday, March 1. The conference will explore the art, science and practice of Grand Canyon cartography. 

Watch and listen to Toro discuss the variety of styles and technical aspects of the library's large collection of maps. 


Feb 05, 2019 ·

A new lunchtime workshop series offered by the ASU Library aims to enhance graduate students' scholarly activities.

From citation management to copyright and fair-use considerations, the Graduate Scholars' Toolkit Workshop series offers ASU grad students hourlong introductions to a variety of tools to help them succeed in their work.

The library is also surveying graduate students to learn what areas and tools they would like to learn more about in order to expand the offerings of the series.

Upcoming workshops:

Manage Your Research from Start to Finish with OSF
Wednesday, Feb. 13
Learn how to store and selectively share data and projects with colleagues and team members through the use of a free, open-source web platform, the Open Science Framework (OSF). 

Copyright, Fair Use and Your Dissertation
Tuesday, Feb. 26
Learn how to navigate copyright and fair-use considerations for your dissertation or thesis. Whether you’ve only begun thinking about your dissertation subject, you’re just starting to write or you’re getting ready to submit, this workshop will help you figure out what you can use, what rights you have and what it means to share your dissertation online.

Citation Management for Graduate Students
Wednesday, March 13
Learn why you should use a citation manager, where to find citations in the library catalog and elsewhere, and how to organize and then use your citations as you research and write. Following an overview of citation management, we will discuss the different citation managers available to ASU graduate students (Zotero, Mendeley and EndNote) and some of their features.

GIS Data and Software: Breaking the Ice
Tuesday, March 26
Gain hands-on experience working with different types of geospatial datasets using two popular geographic information system (GIS) software platforms: ArcGIS Pro (licensed) and QGIS (open-source). Emphasis will be placed on foundational topics, such as data import, basic geoprocessing operations and map production/geovisualization. 

Tell us what workshops you'd like to see offered in the fall 2019 semester by taking the survey.

Jan 30, 2019 ·

ASU Library is pleased to announce that four ASU students have been selected to attend three days of seminars and research at the Newberry Library in Chicago this spring:

Scott Cady, English, graduate student

Michael McVeigh, English, graduate student

John Payton, History, undergraduate student

Zaellotius Wilson, Art History, graduate student

The students will receive up to $1200 in funds to travel and stay in Chicago over spring break, March 4-8, 2019, while attending sessions on primary sources in Renaissance, Medieval, and Indigenous studies with Dr. Seonaid Valiant, Curator for Latin American Studies for ASU Library. 

“Working in an archive requires certain skills,” said Valiant. “This opportunity is aimed at giving ASU students more experience in doing scholarly work, contextualizing a document and working with primary sources, mostly colonial materials.”

The committee for Travel Funding to the Newberry Library selected the students’ applications from a competitive pool in December. 

Jan 04, 2019 ·

The work of ASU archaeologists has been in the spotlight, thanks to the Phoenix Art Museum’s current exhibition Teotihuacan: City of Water, City of Fire and its related programming.

Arizona State University’s presence at Teotihuacan, one of the largest cities in the ancient world and the most visited archaeological site in Mexico, began in the 1980s and continues today, according to Seonaid Valiant, curator for Latin American Studies at the ASU Library, who has curated a new exhibit documenting this significant relationship using materials from ASU Library and archaeology collections.

"Teotihuacan is a historically significant site because since the time it was built, it has been in use as either a political or religious site," Valiant told KJZZ reporter Matthew Casey in a story published Dec. 19, 2018.

The exhibit, ASU at Teotihuacan, on display at Noble Library through January 30, visually documents ASU’s working archaeological lab in San Juan Teotihuacan and highlights the archival papers of late ASU professor George Cowgill in the ASU Archives. 

A closing reception for the exhibit is scheduled for 3:30 to 4:30 p.m., January 22, at Noble Library.

Question: How long have archaeologists been working at the site of Teotihuacan?

Valiant: Unofficial excavations and looting began at Teotihuacan as early as the 1860s. The Mexican government took over the site and began official excavations in 1906. They prepared the ancient city so that it could serve as a showcase during the 1910 centennial celebrations. For example, the society of the International Congress of Americanists were given a tour of the site in September of 1910. The tour was followed by a state dinner, held in a local cave, hosted by President Porfirio Díaz. Excavations have continued at the site, off and on, since the early 20th century.

Q: How long has ASU had a presence at Teotihuacan?

Valiant: As a graduate student from Brandeis University, George Cowgill started working with René Millon at Teotihuacan in the 1960s on the Teotihuacan Mapping Project. Cowgill officially joined Arizona State University as a professor of archaeology in 1989 and continued working at Teotihuacan until the 2000s.

Cowgill excavated at the Pyramid of the Feathered Serpent, and he examined artifacts collected from the entire surface area of Teotihuacan. Cowgill’s documentation of these collections provided the first large archaeological database and systematic analysis of this material.

Following Cowgill’s move to ASU, he continued as the custodian of the research lab at Teotihuacan, and it became the center for multiple excavations. The addition of a second story to the lab in 1992 allows for the storage of the several million artifacts, many of which were collected by the Teotihuacan Mapping Project. Furthermore, the lab trains students from both the United States and Mexico and provides a home base for researchers working at Teotihuacan.

Q: What is ASU doing at Teotihuacan currently?

Valiant: ASU’s work at Teotihuacan continues today. Michael E. Smith, who has been the director of the lab since 2015, has taken on the task of organizing and publishing the data collected by René Millon that, although not previously published, continue to be relevant.

A student of George Cowgill, Saburo Sugiyama is associated with both ASU and Aichi Prefectural University in Japan and has excavated at the Pyramid of the Sun, the Pyramid of the Moon, and the Pyramid of the Feathered Serpent in addition to smaller structures. He is currently excavating at the Plaza of the Columns at Teotihuacan in collaboration with Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History.

Q: What is on display in the Noble Library?

Valiant: On exhibit in the Noble library are photographs of the lab, maps and negatives created by René Millon, reproductions of the maps and graphs by George Cowgill, as well as a few small artifacts from the site. The exhibit highlights the ”work in progress” as archaeologists do their day-to-day analysis. The documents that they create and leave behind then become the primary sources for the next set of researchers.

Valiant is the author of Ornamental Nationalism: Archaeology and Antiquities in Mexico, 1876-1911.

Dec 20, 2018 ·

As part of its Future of Print initiative, ASU Library has joined forces with students from Barrett, The Honors College to identify and share books for students to read and explore. These books, selected by the Barrett Student Ambassadors, make up some of their favorite and most inspiring reads.

Students are invited to stop by the bookshelf in the Burning B Café to participate in a “take one, leave one” reading experience – a practice growing in popularity worldwide as a way to encourage reading and foster a sense of community.

In order to participate, students can take a book that interest them – yes, to keep – and leave a book that they would like to share with others. The Barrett Ambassadors have chosen to theme this display after the beloved Harry Potter series and are eager to see how their classmates will respond.

To learn more about how the Future of Print is working to develop active print collections at ASU campuses, please visit This project is funded, in part, by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the ASU Library.

Dec 19, 2018 · Events

A new book display coming to Hayden Library in January 2019 will explore the unique and bizarre objects that people collect – everything from Mickey Mouse memorabilia to Star Wars action figures.

The latest from The Future of Print initiative, “Collecting Collections” will be on display through February with the goal of highlighting the interests and hobbies that fuel the act of collecting and examining the collecting practices of museums and libraries.

Visitors of the bookstore-style display are invited to discover and develop their own critical perspectives on practices of collecting, as they gain a deeper understanding of library collections.  

“Collecting Collections” is part of a series of experimental projects exploring new ways to encourage engagement with ASU Library print collections.

Read more: ASU Library writing the next chapter in the ‘Future of Print’

The Future of the Arizona State University Library Print Collection: A Collaborative and Data-Driven Approach to Stack Design and Curation project is funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. For more information, visit

Nov 27, 2018 ·

Portions of the Grand Canyon gained protection as a United States national park in 1919. A century later, we are celebrating 100 years of Grand Canyon National Park history. 

As the national park marks its centennial, the ASU Library Map and Geospatial Hub invites you to explore the region's mapping history, which dates back over 150 years, as part of our Mapping Grand Canyon Conference, set to take place on the ASU Tempe campus, Feb. 28-March 1, 2019. 

Free and open to all, the conference promises a full two-day program of map-based storytelling, transdisciplinary thinking, demonstrations of state-of-the-art geospatial and cartographic techniques and engaging hands-on activities. (Check out the conference presenters.)

Questions? Contact Matt Toro, Director of the Map and Geospatial Hub.




Nov 26, 2018 · Events

An extremely rare, first-edition copy of a 17th-century literary work by one of the world’s most fascinating female writers has found a home at Arizona State University.

The writer is Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz (circa 1651-1695), the premiere poet of the Americas, a celebrity in her day and now considered an early feminist, who joined a convent in order to devote her life to the study of science, philosophy, writing and art.

The book, or booklet, is "Neptuno alegórico," an essay commissioned by the archbishop of New Spain, or Mexico, in 1680, documenting the arrival of the new Spanish viceroy.

In the essay, Sor Juana describes an arch that was used for the viceroy's procession into Mexico City and the classical artwork that decorated it. The booklet was printed unbound and in limited number to be given as gifts.

Just two known original copies exist.

“This is a rare ephemeral document that is now the anchor of our colonial Latin American collection at ASU Library,” said Seonaid Valiant, curator for Latin American studies at the ASU Library. “The piece is well-known, often included in collections of Sor Juana’s writing, and lets us study a unique style of printing.”

Sor Juana’s essay depicts the new viceroy as Neptune, emerging from the sea, a display of the breadth of her classical knowledge, says Valiant.

“She was self-educated and knew all the great classical scholars. Because we have the first edition, we get to see the essay before her corrections were incorporated in the third edition,” said Valiant. “It’s a fascinating document.”

An American individual

Nothing about Sor Juana’s life is ordinary.

She built one of the largest personal libraries in the Americas, learned how to read by the age of 3, and declined many a marriage proposal, ultimately becoming a nun in an effort to continue her self-directed scholarship.

Born in New Spain, she joined the Order of Saint Jerome, or Hieronymites, in order to further cultivate her intellectual life, which at the time was not reserved for women.

“She entered a convent in order to be a scholar, slowly showing that her writing could be a benefit to God,” said Valiant. “She cared deeply about the quality and purpose of her life, and vocalizing this made her an American individual. Sor Juana uses the word ‘I’: She tells us, ‘I have ambition. I have needs.’ She is one of the first Americans to say this.” 

By the time Sor Juana wrote "Neptuno alegórico," her literary accomplishments were becoming better known throughout Spain and New Spain.

Emil Volek, a professor in the School of International Letters and Cultures at ASU, says the acquisition of the booklet is significant, in part, because it had helped cement her career as a writer. 

“It was this booklet that launched her secular career,” said Volek, the author of several critical writings about Sor Juana’s work. “It will stimulate research already done on her at ASU and will further strengthen the national standing of ASU as a powerhouse and a well of knowledge.”

Valiant, who facilitated the acquisition, is working to grow the Latin American collection at ASU Library, which was established in the 1970s to support faculty and graduate students doing work in this period.

“These earlier books are harder to find, but it is important to have them at hand in order to study the content as well as the history of the book,” she said.

University Librarian Jim O’Donnell, a classics professor in ASU's School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies, said Sor Juana’s "Neptuno" is “so rare, so special, so fascinating … it’s the kind of library acquisition that gives its readers gooseflesh.”

Readers of Sor Juana can experience the booklet — gooseflesh and all — by requesting an appointment with Kathy Krzys, the library's curator for rare books and manuscripts.

Nov 26, 2018 ·


Your paper is due at midnight. Your roommate just got dumped and needs to talk it out. And the status of your group project is a mystery to all.

Don’t worry. You’ve got this.  




Here are 5 reasons why:

  1. ASU librarians. Helping you succeed is not just a thing they’re good at – it’s in their job description. Let them help you. They want to help you. It’s why they’re here.
  1. Online help.  Your questions about citations, keywords and research databases already have answers, and you can find them on our FAQs page, where librarians are also available for online chat. Relax – if you have a connection to the internet, there is hope.
  1. Group study rooms. Maybe it’s time to figure out what’s going on with your group project. Several types of group study spaces are available at our libraries to support those necessary conversations and collaborations. Gather your group and get it done.
  1. Quiet and silent study. No signs of your roommate quieting down any time soon. Have no fear – ASU Library quiet and silent study is a thing, and it’s here for you. It’s a magical place where devices go silent and your thoughts thank you.
  1. Counseling. Not a library service, but a great resource nonetheless, offered to ASU students who may be feeling like they need to talk to someone. You’re not alone. Also, you may want to suggest it to your roommate.

Relax, take a breath. You’ve got this.