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Hacking for the library

Hackathon12 hours. 1 room. More than 100 students: software engineers, web developers, graphic designers, marketers. We were happy to see so many library student assistants among the hackers in Bonderson, and would like to thank all of you for attending.

“The Hackathon is a fantastic example of Cal Poly’s hands-on, Learn-By-Doing philosophy. I enjoyed collaborating with students from other disciplines, such as Computer Science and AgBusiness. It gave me the valuable opportunity to learn from my peers and get a glimpse into their fields of expertise. It’s great to see students take their education into their own hands and build something that impacts the world around them.” says Natalie Rich, library student assistant in Digital Scholorship Services.

 

Library Challenges

3 out of 23 teams worked on library challenges that were introduced by web designer Conny Liegl and college librarian Brett Bodemer, who attended the event as spectators. We were looking for creative solutions for the fraternity/sorority check-in binders on the first floor, exploring new ways to find each other in the library, and innovative ways to find books better.

Find your books

Andrew Wang, working in Library Information Technology, was one of three developers on the Poly Book Tracker Team that won the library challenge. He heard about the hackathon in my Mobile Development class: “I wanted to experience building an app from scratch and challenge myself if I could do it in 12 hours.” The team developed an Android app that allows users to enter a call number and locates the book on an indoors map, so it is easy for visitors to find their materials across the library’s five floors. “We wanted to create an app that will allow students at Cal Poly to easily find books at the library.  So we decided to make an app to show students where in the library the book is located.  Making this search for books easier for students was our primary reasoning in developing the app.”

The team received an overwhelming applause when presenting their development, and won four $50 gift cards: “In order to have more devices to test our apps with, we plan to buy a Nexus 7 tablet.”

Track your hours

Another strong team of five designers, developers and marketers won second price in the overall category: Team RobLog developed an app to make it easy for fraternity and sorority members to sign in and out to track their study hours at the library. The app also allows users to compare their study hours with other houses. “We wanted to focus on both the members of the organization as well as the scholarship chair would have a good way to receive and update library hour information. We know everyone likes a friendly competition, so we added that aspect as well.” says Jessie Pease, an active member of Cal Poly’s Greek Life.

See you in 2015

Matt Rice, Design Team student assistant, sees the hackathon experience as an addition to regular classes at Cal Poly: “The hackathon was a great opportunity to really gauge my skills as a designer, as well as a team member, and most importantly was an incredible learning experience that pushed me in a way that a traditional class cannot. I would encourage anyone with pertinent skills of any level to participate in a hackathon if they get the chance.”

Kennedy Library would like to thank Lorraine Donegan, professor in Graphic Communication, who has organized the 2014 hackathon with a strong team of volunteers and in collaboration with industry sponsors. She is planning the next hackathon event in Winter 2015. We can’t wait to challenge students again, and see the amazing results of their hard work.

Reimagining our library is a collaborative campus process

During their second visit to campus in February the architectural firm Shepley Bulfinch met again with the Cal Poly community to listen closely to our needs and explore ideas for reimagining Kennedy Library.

The architectural team met separately with the steering committee, building program committee, staff, faculty, academic partners and students. It was a full day!

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Kennedy Library wishes you good luck registering for Spring Quarter!

From the University Archives Photograph Collection

The good-old days registering for classes pre-PASS (From the University Archives Photograph Collection)

 

Jack of all trades: Revealing history in Special Collections and Archives

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Indenture transferring the ownership of patent to Steele Bros., Abbott, and Jack, 1881 (Jack Family Papers, Special Collections, California Polytechnic State University, 014_spc_000018)

Derrick Usher is a communication studies major (Fall ’14) completing an internship in Special Collections and Archives. He is working on a project to organize the papers of the Jack Family of San Luis Obispo.

This is the second in a series of blog posts in which he shares his experiences processing the Jack Family Papers and some of the stories that he uncovers.

R.E. Jack: The Entrepreneur

Over the past few weeks I have inventoried thirty-two years of the Jack Family Papers, spanning from 1861-1893. The majority of the papers consist of receipts, business correspondence, and a series of documents regarding Nellie and R.E. Jack’s  property and land taxes. While I know R.E. Jack and his extended family were prominent in California I had no idea the magnitude of their landholdings.
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A century’s-worth of family history

Derrick Usher is a communication studies major (Fall ’14) completing an internship in Special Collections and Archives. He is working on a project to organize the papers of the Jack Family of San Luis Obispo.

This is the first in a series of blog posts in which he shares his experiences processing the Jack Family Papers and some of the stories that he uncovers. Read more

Want Not, by Jonathan Miles

Anyone who can embroider a letter of complaint into a great tragicomic novel is worth following, in my book. So when I heard that Jonathan Miles (author of Dear American Airlines) had a new one out, my page turning finger started to itch. Read more

Exploring Social Explorer, a workshop

Have you ever wondered if you can view U.S. census data? What about data from past years? If you can view it in a user-friendly, easily accessible way? Well look no further than Social Explorer. This database is an easy to use tool that helps you visualize census data by placing it on top of a map.

On February 20, Russ White, GIS coordinator here at Kennedy Library, led a workshop for Social Explorer where we learned how to use this unique tool.

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