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Author: Sara

Library Budgets in the News

Earlier this week, the news broke that Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN) is reviewing 2,500 journals and looking for cost savings where possible. The response has been an outcry from the professoriate at MUN. We thought this was a good opportunity to discuss the collections budget at Ryerson.

Can we anticipate similar activities at Ryerson?

Yes, we can. Academic libraries across the country are enduring a budget crisis. The librarians at Ryerson have been diligently undertaking analysis of our collections to determine where we can find maximum savings with minimal effect on the community. Liaisons are working directly with their departments to keep faculty informed of developments that may affect them. If you are concerned about journals or databases specific to your area, please contact your liaison librarian.

Why are collections being targeted in budget reduction scenarios?

Along with all other departments on campus, the library has had to reduce its base budget for eight consecutive years. Sustaining journal subscriptions on an annual basis requires base funding. Given that our subscription costs have a standard inflation rate of 5-10% per year, this alone has created a difficult situation. Coupled with the historic low of the Canadian dollar – like MUN, the vast majority of our subscriptions are billed in US dollars – we find ourselves in an unprecedented situation, and must make difficult decisions. We simply cannot maintain our current levels of spending within the confines of our reduced budget allocation. Unless the Canadian dollar recovers, we can continue to expect the loss of access to some resources.

How can we maintain our reputation if we don’t have access to the latest research?  

Librarians are working hard to ensure that we are not sacrificing core journals. We also provide access to top-notch document delivery services, sometimes providing access to PDF articles held by other university libraries in your email in under 48 hours. In some cases, we are maintaining access to a journal via an aggregator database with embargoed access. These embargo periods are set by the publishers and are not within our control. We encourage faculty who may be on editorial boards address this issue and advocate for an end to embargoes and turn toward more progressive Open Access policies.

What can I do to prevent further cuts to the library budget?

Advocacy is key. As publishers reap profit margins of upwards of 40%, academic libraries simply cannot keep pace with the cost of subscriptions – and nor should we. As viable Open Access models emerge, we must band together and be forces for change. The Tri-Council agency has demonstrated leadership in this area with their new Open Access policy. This is the beginning of a sea change – we must be part of it and see the opportunity that has been presented in challenging circumstances.

Further reading:

Academic publishers reap huge profits as libraries go broke– CBC news, June 15, 2015

Academic publishers make Murdoch look like a socialist” – Guardian, August 29, 2011


Corrections made December 14, 2015:

  • Clarification that MUN is reviewing journals for cancellation but has not undertaken any cancellations as of this post.
  • Turnaround time for Document Delivery journals can be as quick as 48 hours.

Introducing Ryerson Library’s Open Access Wall of Fame

Ryerson Library is very proud to announce the inaugural inductees for the Library’s Open Access Wall of Fame!

The Wall of Fame honours researchers who have demonstrated a commitment to ensuring their research is open and available to all. Our aim is to acknowledge and support those who consider open access avenues when publishing their work. Open Access material is scholarly work that is made legally available with no restrictions so the anyone can access the full text.

This year’s inaugural inductees are Dr Harald Bauder and Dr Enza Gucciardi.

Portrait of Dr Harald BauderDr Bauder is the Academic Director of the Ryerson Centre for Immigration & Settlement and a graduate Professor in Immigration & Settlement Studies and the Department of Geography. Dr Bauder has been a long-time supporter of Open Access publishing, participating as both as writer and an editor. He was the editor of the journal ACME: An International e-Journal for Critical Geographies  for nearly a decade and also served as editor of the open-access book publisher Praxis (e)Press. Through Praxis (e)Press, Dr Bauder published the textbook Critical Geographies: A Collection of Readings with Salvatore Engel-di Mauro. In addition, as the inaugural Academic Director of the Ryerson Centre for Immigration and Settlement (RCIS), Dr Bauder founded and edited the open-access RCIS Discussion Paper Series and the RCIS Research Briefs. Other Open Access publication venues include Comparative Migration Studies, the CERIS Working Paper Series, and popular media, such as Open Democracy. For more information about Dr Bauder’s work, including links to his publications, please see his faculty page.

E. Guacciardi (2)Dr Gucciardi is an Associate Professor in the School of Nutrition and an Affiliate Scientist with the Toronto General Hospital Research Institute. She has written over a dozen publicly-accessible manuscripts on diabetes research. On the subject of open access, she writes:

I feel that everyone should have equitable access to publicly-funded research. Many libraries cannot purchase all of the journals available, particularly in less developed countries; thus, open access material helps to support research at all institutions worldwide. I also believe that publishing in open access journals will help attain a higher level of impact from greater numbers of citations. Ultimately, if all research is moved out from behind paywalls, our work can inspire broader collaboration, proliferate more research and potentially have greater benefits on society globally.

For more information about Dr Gucciardi’s work, including selected publications, please see her website.

Congratulations to Dr Bauder and Dr Gucciardi! Ryerson Library is honoured to have you as our first Open Access Wall of Fame inductees.

Celebrate Aboriginal History Month with RULA!

bigaboriginallogoJune is National Aboriginal History Month!

The Library has been working hard to expand our collection of resources related to the first nations people of North America, including 100 DVDs. You can also check out the Library’s new Aboriginal Research portal to find books, articles, and community resources on aboriginal topics.

There are also dozens of events happening around the city to celebrate National Aboriginal History Month – check out this list from Muskrat Magazine as well as these Toronto Public Library events, taking place at branches across the city.

Mother’s Day… by the Numbers

Did you know that there were 9.8 million mothers in Canada (including biological, adoptive and stepmothers) in 2011?  Check out Statistics Canada’s Mother’s Day in Canada for more information about this special day… by the numbers.

For more information about data and statistics resources available at the Library, contact or visit the Library’s data pages.


Thank You to Our Wonderful Student Employees!

On April 14th, Ryerson Library hosted the annual Student Staff Appreciation Party and recognized our Student Employee of the Year Award recipient. The Student Employee of the Year Award recognizes students who have achieved excellence in their work environment, and the winners receive an award as well as a cash gift.  Again this year, the selection committee had a difficult time choosing just one recipient, and ultimately recognized two Ryerson students: Carlene Jacob, and Andres Hernandez.



This event also recognized graduating student employees Andres Hernandez, Mehak Saini, Marjan Hajipour, Bertha Lee, and Slimane Bakelli, who each selected a book to be added to the Library collection.

Congratulations and best of luck in the future!


New Resource: Oxford Bibliographies Online – Cinema & Media Studies

The Library is pleased to provide access to Oxford Bibliographies Online – Cinema & Media Studies. The bibliographies are a carefully organized, thoroughly peer-reviewed account of the most important books, articles, and websites relating to cinema and media studies.

Connect to Oxford Bibiographies Online – Cinema and Media Studies



Oxford Bibliographies Online (OBO) is an entirely new research tool for the social sciences and humanities. A scholar-curated library of discipline-based subject modules, OBO is designed to help busy researchers find reliable sources of information in half the time by directing them to exactly the right chapter, book, website, archive, or data set they need for their research. Each entry is a selective guided tour through the key literature on a topic, receives multiple peer-reviews as well as Editorial Board approval, and is designed to facilitate a research experience with no dead ends. All citations are linked through to your collection via OpenURL, full-text via DOIs, or to the web via links to OCLC, WorldCat, and Google Books, allowing users to locate quickly full-text content directly from OBO. OBO is the ultimate collection development tool for librarians and time saving tool for students and researchers.

With Captioning, Everything is Awesome

That GIF above wouldn’t mean much without those captions. So you can imagine how frustrating it would be to watch an entire video with the sound off – especially if it’s mandatory viewing for your class. This is a situation that we’re working hard to prevent for students across our campus.

The Ontario Council of University Libraries (OCUL) has recently published the ROAM report on how we can increase accessibility to our media collections. As a member of OCUL, the Ryerson Library is committed to making classroom materials accessible. We work with students, faculty and Academic Accommodation Support to caption videos and online video clips. We’ve also taught ourselves how to caption with free software like YouTube and Amara.

So if you’re a student, staff or faculty member interested in making videos, please caption! We’ll give you some advice on how to get started. Contact us on how to caption to make your content more awesome!

For more information, please check out our captioning program.

Learn More About the Library’s Aboriginal Research Portal!

bigaboriginallogoOn March 17th, the Toronto Metropolitan University Library & Archives and Ryerson Aboriginal Student Services are hosting a workshop on the Library’s new Aboriginal Research Portal. Created by Jamie Morin, RASS Peer Supporter, the Research Portal contains great resources on aboriginal topics and traditional knowledge. We’d like to show you the portal and how you can use it to conduct research for your assignments. We also invite the community to help build and expand the Research Portal. We would love to hear your feedback and gather some advice on taking the Portal to the next level!

You can check out the Portal here.

Food will be provided and there will be a draw for Tim Horton’s gift cards.

An Evening to Learn More about the Library’s Aboriginal Research Portal

When: March 17th
Where: POD 250
Time: 5:30pm-7:30pm

No need to RSVP!



Kelly Dermody is a Librarian for Accessibility Services & E-Learning at Ryerson Library and Archives.

Jamie Lee Morin is a 4th year student at Toronto Metropolitan University, studying English, French, and Aboriginal Knowledges and Experiences. She currently works at Ryerson Aboriginal Student Services as a peer supporter. During the summer of 2014 she collaborated with Kelly Dermody to create the new Aboriginal Studies Portal. She is Metis, with her community based in Maniwaki, Quebec.

One Week in the DME!

The Library’s Digital Media Experience Lab (the DME) opened on Monday and it’s been full of students ever since.

The DME is a library resource that aims to support student learning both within the classroom and as an extracurricular pursuit through workshops, peer tutoring, and one-on-one instruction. The goal of the DME is to help Ryerson students learn basic and advanced technology skill-sets while exposing them to new and emerging tech.

Wide shot of the DME during opening week

To introduce students to the DME, the team set up a “tech petting zoo” for the first-week kickoff. A Makey-Makey fruit piano and playable birds, a 3D printer in the midst of being built, and an Oculus Rift virtual reality headset drew crowds into the lab’s beautiful space on the 3rd floor of the Student Learning Centre.

Several students have already become DME regulars, lending their enthusiasm and expertise to help build the 3D printer, create new configurations for the Makey-Makeys, and set up new virtual reality experiences by connecting the Oculus Rift to a Leap Motion controller. On Thursday, the students taught Ryerson Chief Librarian Madeleine Lefebvre how to play chess using the system.

Photo of Ryerson Chief Librarian Madeleine Lefebvre using the Oculus Rift

As more equipment continues to arrive, we fully expect that the space will continue to evolve to meet the needs of our creative, experimental, dedicated students!

Collage of students in the DME

Celebrate Fair Dealing Week!

Why are we celebrating this week – especially in Canada?

Fair dealing defines important users rights allowed by Canadian laws. These user rights give Canadian citizens the ability to use fair dealing as an exception to the exclusive rights of copyright holders to control the copying and distributing of their content. This exclusive right means that, other than an insubstantial amount of a work, the work can’t be copied without the permission of the copyright holder. User’s rights in the form of fair dealing mean that some copying is allowed without permission – for certain purposes and for short amounts of a work. Luckily for students and educators some of the copying of works that we do in our learning and teaching are covered by fair dealing. For example fair dealing purposes include private study, research, criticism, review and education. Much of what students and educators do on a daily basis would be really really hard without this user’s right. Student and faculty ability to do effective research, use content in criticism and papers, teach and share information would be seriously inhibited if most uses had to always have permission be granted when someone was only copying a short excerpt. Fair dealing is really important because it allows a freer flow of information to happen in an educational setting – it promotes learning and scholarship. So celebrate Fair Dealing – it is a user’s right that Canadians should use, not lose.