Skip to main content
Drexel Library Libraries Home Button Drexel Health Sciences Search Services Get Help About

What difference does a library make in student retention, faculty grants and research, or enrollment decisions? As institutions of higher education are challenged to show fiscal responsibility in the face of increasing tuition and student debt loads, academic libraries are developing new metrics to better explain their value to the academic community. For years, libraries have added anecdotal evidence of their value such as success stories and positive feedback to annually submitted quantitative metrics of the size of collections, physical spaces, budgets and staffs. Now, libraries are challenged to show how they more directly support the missions and strategies of their institutions.

On Wednesday, July 23, 2014 Drexel’s Libraries invited library leadership from the 52 greater Philadelphia colleges and universities to join in a discussion about assessment activities and strategies by which librarians have addressed these challenges. . In total 21 individuals attended, representing 17 institutions. The idea for the half-day program emerged from informal conversations while welcoming a professional colleague to town, Nancy Turner, Assessment Librarian at Temple University Library. Acknowledging that Drexel and Temple librarians are not alone in working to identify evidence about library effectiveness and impact, we thought that extending our exploration to librarians from other campus settings would be beneficial. We also suggested bringing colleagues working on this challenge from elsewhere on campus. Two of Drexel’s Institutional Research Office experts joined the assembled librarians, adding valuable insights about statistical analyses and ways such issues as contributors to student retention are examined.

The meeting, held at the Library Learning Terrace, was organized to stimulate small group discussions and broader reflections by all present. Librarians recounted success and struggles with exploring ways of measuring a library’s impact on key university metrics, such as measuring building usage and correlating it with student retention for example. Many participants expressed enthusiasm for the event and welcome continuing to share discussions around library assessment.

Those interested in Drexel’s library efforts should contact John Wiggins, director of library services and quality improvement at Members of the Drexel community are also invited and encouraged to take the Libraries ongoing feedback survey at

On Monday, July 21, 2014, the Libraries welcomed Christine Liu as administrative coordinator in the Libraries Administrative Office. Christine’s position will provide a high level of support for the administrative and financial operations of the Libraries.

Christine recently relocated to Philadelphia after spending much of her professional career in Arizona. Her professional background is in the non-profit sector.

No one is born with the ability to find, retrieve, analyze and use information. This set of “information literacy” skills distinguishes an educated person, as the ability to read did 100 years ago. Information literacy is associated with critical thinking, based on the assumption that information is an essential ingredient to be thoughtful, inquisitive and responsibly critical.

“Ultimately, information literate people are those who have learned how to learn. They know how to learn because they know how knowledge is organized, how to find information, and how to use information in such a way that others can learn from them. They are people prepared for lifelong learning, because they can always find the information needed for any task or decision at hand [1].”

The extent of information literacy among a nation’s citizenry is a concern around the world. Its absence threatens democracy and economic growth, when the embarrassment of information riches hides the resulting challenge to differentiate fact from fiction or data signals from noise.

This week approximately 25,000 librarians are returning to work from our largest annual conference. Thousands of them are professionals who have dedicated their careers to address the challenges of helping people become information literate, whether through their academic education or self-directed learning by reading and visiting public libraries. Reference work became recognized as a formal responsibility of librarians in the 1870s, and it was not until a hundred years later that the profession first created a section to recognize and enable work around bibliographic instruction. During the same time, the phrase ‘information literacy’ appeared in print in the 1974 report written for the National Commission on Libraries and Information Science . Currently, the Association of College and Research Libraries is updating the Information Literacy Standards for Higher Education.

At Drexel information literacy is recognized among the DSLPs as a core student learning priority. It is being mapped across the curriculum and perceptions of how well students master this competency is surveyed among Co-Op employers and faculty. Librarians partner with faculty and staff to provide information navigation and evaluation techniques and training exercises to apply skills in their studies. We are revisiting how librarians might best contribute our expertise in understanding structures to organize knowledge, tracking the dissemination of scholarly communications, and observing the struggles to navigate the information landscape of young and seasoned researchers. Many faculty, librarians and staff are tackling the difficult challenge to assess this student competency and raise awareness not to confuse an ability to find information through a mobile device from effective utilization of information in crafting arguments or solving tasks. Our collective challenge is to raise the bar around preparing and confirming that Drexel Dragons are equipped with information literacy not just as a way to complete college assignments, but to be inspired with a passion to master and continually approach this 21st century survival skill as a “habit of mind” after they leave campus. In the coming months, our monthly newsletter In Circulation will share topics around the Libraries contribution to student information literacy development.

Danuta A. Nitecki
PhD Dean of Libraries


[1] Paul G. Zurkowski (Nov 1974). "The Information Service Environment: Relationships and Priorities. Related Paper No.5.". National Commission on Libraries and Information Science. Retrieved October 28, 2012.

A recent graduate of the College of Computing and Informatics, Lisa Kruczek spent her last term working as an intern in the University Archives. There, she processed the papers of William Walsh Hagerty, who served as the President of the University from 1963 - 1984. Before Lisa completed her internship with the Libraries, I had a chance to sit down with her to talk about the exhibit and her experience in the Libraries.

Q: Tell me a little bit about the work on the W. W. Hagerty papers in the University Archives? What did you learn?
This was the largest collection I've processed up to now, so it took me some time to decide on how it would be arranged. The exhibit that I needed to create was always in the back of my mind, so examining the materials without taking too much time was important. Working with the records, utilizing the proper methods in arranging and describing and using Archivist's Toolkit were all beneficial for my training.

Q: What made you want to work with the Archives?
Needless to say, since it's my recent alma mater, I'm interested in the history of Drexel. When the opportunity of processing a collection and creating an exhibit was offered to me, I was thrilled.

Q: Tell me a little bit about why you chose to work in Archival studies?
I've always been interested in history and research, and as I learned more about archival studies I realized how I enjoyed the many facets of the job. There's always something new to be working on, whether its outreach (like the exhibit), preservation, arrangement and description, there's a lot to keep you busy. That variety keeps it interesting and fresh.

Q: What is your dream job?
I have a background in video and film production, so I enjoy working with audiovisual materials. I'd love to be an audiovisual archivist, but I also am interested in the digital side of archival work. I've had a lot of experience with scanning and metadata and here at Drexel, I got to do some digital records accessioning which I found very interesting.

Q: Before you started working on the exhibition, you arranged and described President Hagerty’s records of office. How did the idea for the current exhibit on President Hagerty evolve (or not) as you processed those materials?
As I went through the collection, I always had the exhibit in mind. Normally, we process at the folder level. So I could learn as much about his administration as possible, it was closer to item level for this collection. I found his speeches very illuminating, he had very strong ideas about certain topics. For example, he believed strongly in continuing education. There are two news clippings in the exhibit about his idea to have 35 hour work weeks, and to use the other 5 hours a week for enrichment. Dr. Hagerty felt it would be a benefit to the individual and the company. He was ahead of his time in many ways.

Q: What was the most interesting thing you learned about Drexel or President Hagerty while you were pulling together the exhibit?
I suppose the transformation that took place in the 21 years he was president of Drexel. When you think about it, it was a time of change in society as well, 1963-1984, so it makes sense. But the school could have remained stagnant, he really was behind a metamorphosis of the university that seems to be still evolving.

Q: What are some of the highlights of Hagerty’s tenure?
There's so much! The growth of the campus, it grew from 10 to nearly 40 acres. He separated the Engineering and Science Colleges into their own distinct colleges as well starting the Humanities program. The name change from Drexel Institute of Technology to Drexel University happened in 1970 under Hagerty's administration. Of course, probably the most well known highlight would be the directive that freshman had to purchase computers for the first time. The fact that they were MacIntosh was prophetic too, considering how successful the company would become. They took a chance choosing them and it paid off, at least with publicity!

Q: The exhibit is displayed and organized very nicely -- what inspired you?
I had the idea to create sections that reflected the transitions that took place during his tenure; the growth of Drexel, the transformation that took place and the engagement Hagerty had with organizations and students. When processing the collection, I enjoyed reading his speeches and was inspired by many of his ideas. So I decided to include two quotes for each table of the exhibit that corresponded with the theme of the table. I wanted to add color as well, and happily Drexel has a palette of complimentary colors to the blue and gold of the logo, so I incorporated those as well.

Q: You’ve recently graduated from Drexel’s College of Computing and Informatics. How did the experience working at Drexel Libraries complement your studies?
I found it especially helpful since it gave me hands-on experience working with a large collection. There isn't too much real world training in the curricula, so I've found it imperative to get as much experience as I can. Creating the exhibit from the collection was really useful because it made me look at the materials in a different way than if I was just describing them for access.

What is the impact of research, scholarly publications, creative expressions or instruction taking place at Drexel? What story do faculty achievements tell about the institution?

Drexel’s evolving Faculty Portfolios program will soon be able to provide snapshots of the academic pursuits at Drexel including the global reach of research, diversity of art exhibits or patents, and rankings of citations to publications authored by Drexel faculty. Currently, with completed profiles for only about 12% of the faculty in the system, analysis of data in Faculty Portfolios show details that Drexel faculty published a mere 4,600 articles, applied for less than 100 patents and taught nearly 8,000 undergraduate level courses.

But this story is certainly not complete – we need you to add your profile information to the Faculty Portfolios database! We know that much more is happening at Drexel. Get started in four easy steps at For questions, contact your library liaison or Beth Ten Have, Director of Academic Partnerships at

As learning behaviors and student schedules change, the Libraries continually review the open hours of our locations and the availability of services offered. For summer 2014, the Libraries have adjusted the open hours for several locations – Hahnemann & W. W. Hagerty Libraries will close slightly earlier on Friday and Saturday evenings and Hahnemann Library will now open a little earlier on weekdays.

In addition, the Libraries has adjusted the hours for reference services beginning on July 1, 2014. Throughout the summer, the Libraries will no longer provide on-demand consultations with reference librarians during the evenings and on weekends. Reference librarians will be available Monday – Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and by appointment.

The Libraries will collect usage data and patron feedback throughout the summer to determine the real impact of these changes. This information will help support decisions about hours and services for the fall term. For current information about scheduled openings of the Libraries facilities visit the Libraries' website at

The Libraries shared in the excitement as several library student workers and staff joined the Drexel alumni community at the commencement ceremonies. In total, four library staff members and five student workers earned their degrees.

The Libraries congratulates the following individuals and thanks them for their contributions in helping to make the Libraries, its information resources, environments and services available and supportive of the Drexel community.

Laura Chance (Reserves)
Amanda Decker (Student Worker - 4 years)
Alexa Forney (Student Worker - 4 years)
Dominque Gnatowski (Student Worker - 1 year)
Emily Missner (Academic Partnerships)
Katherine Montgomery Lewis (Resource Sharing)
William Paterson (EResources)
Josh Smith (End User Tech Support)
Kevin Smith (Student Worker - 4 years)
Tony Yu (Student Worker - 4 years)

On Monday, June 9, 2014, the Libraries’ welcomed Abby Adamczyk as Liaison Librarian for Life Sciences. Abby is the Libraries’ primary liaison to the CoAS departments of Biology, Chemistry, and BEES (Biodiversity, Earth & Environmental Science) and will join the Libraries’ liaison team for the College of Medicine. As a liaison librarian, she will partner with faculty and students to foster the high levels of research and information skills required in life sciences research and scholarship and to develop greater awareness of research data management practices and trends in scholarly communications.

Prior to joining Drexel, Abby was Research Librarian at the Eccles Health Sciences Library of the University of Utah. From 2006 -2011 she was a research technologist at McKusick-Nathans Institute of Johns Hopkins University where she participated in genetics research of autism and other disorders. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, an MLIS with Health Resources & Services concentration from the University of Pittsburgh and is a member of the Academy of Health Information Professionals.

Abby’s office is located in W. W. Hagerty Library.

Liaison librarian for engineering, Jay Bhatt, was awarded the Learning Partner Award from the School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems on Saturday, June 14, 2014. The award was given during the 2014 commencement and honors celebration which focused on ‘interdisciplinary frontiers.'

The Learning Partners Award honors a member of the Drexel community who has enhanced faculty and students within The School in their interdisciplinary learning and played a key role in their success in the classroom, laboratory or research projects.

As the Libraries' liaison for both the School of Biomedical Engineering and the College of Engineering, Jay Bhatt iartners with a high number of students and faculty to teach information literacy skills, provide up-to-date engineering resources and engage in research.

Other award recipients included Elisabeth Van Bockstaele, PhD, founding dean of the DUCOM School of Biomedical Sciences and Professional Studies and Donna DeCarolis, PhD, dean of the Close School of Entrepreneurship for their partnership work in the frontiers of biomedical services and entrepreneurship.

What's Happening? The Libraries' Articles & More discovery tool will get a new look, new features, and enhanced usability.

When? During the week of June 16th.

Articles & More? What's that? Accessible from the home pages of the Libraries' Main and Health Sciences web sites, the Articles & More search is a broad, multidisciplinary tool that searches in-depth across the Libraries' print and electronic collections to find journal articles, newspaper articles, books, and dissertations. Articles & More is an implementation of the Summon Search Service which is being upgraded to version 2.0. 

What Will It Mean? Increased readability through a simpler layout that reduces visual clutter and improved search with features that enhance results and provide new ways to explore resources.

Click image to see a full-size version
Click to see full size screenshot

Design Improvement Highlights

  • Easier Scanning: The Summon tool now expands to the full width of your browser window, which when combined with a cleaner design and minimized text makes it easier to navigate and scan results for the right resource.
  • Facet and Filter Improvements: The options for limiting searches by criteria such as peer-review status, content type, date, have been made easier to read and the popular discipline facet has been moved higher on the page while lower use facets have been minimized.

Click image to see a full-size version

  • Additional Information About Resources: To learn more about a search result while scanning the page simply hover over it with your mouse to see more information and options for citing, emailing, requesting, or reading the item online. 

Click image to see a full-size version

  • No More Pagination: Rather than having to click through pages of results to find the right item, search results will scroll infinitely, a feature familiar to Facebook users. 

Search Improvement Highlights

  • Content Spotlighting: To make scholarly materials easier to identify and interact with, search results for content types such as newspaper articles and images will be grouped separately from journal and book content. 

Click image to see a full-size version


  • Enhanced Search Queries: When search terms match predetermined topics, search queries will be expanded based on those synonyms to provide a fuller set of results. As an example, a search on "heart attack" will also bring back results for "myocardial infarction."

Click image to see a full-size version


  • Topic Exploration: The right hand column in search results includes additional information to aid with your search. Search topics that match entries in authoritative sources like Credo Reference and Encyclopedia Britannica will generate a summary of the topic. Additionally, a list of related topics will be generated that can be used to refactor a search. 

Click image to see a full-size version


Features To Come

The Libraries' will be replacing its current Research Guides later in the summer. When we do we will be able to expose content from Research and Subject Guides in Summon. Guides will show up in search results, and the topic area on the right will include suggested librarians based on subject area as well as recommended research guides. 

Try it Out for Yourself! 

You can preview the new version at:


Copyright © 2014 Drexel University  |   Privacy Policy

Powered by Drupal Druplicon icon