News & Blog

UCF Libraries Announces Changes to Legal Research Offerings

The UCF Libraries’ legal research offerings are transitioning. As of July 1, 2024, UCF no longer has access to Westlaw Campus. The campus subscription to this legal and news resource was previously granted by the UCF Technology Fees for Legal Studies and discontinued when the Tech Fee funds ceased.

Fortunately, the Library offers Nexis Uni, a robust legal, business and news resource used by most academic institutions. Should you need assistance in finding information such as case laws, law reviews, legal encyclopedias, or international news, please schedule an appointment with Rich Gause, Liaison Librarian for Legal Studies.

If you are taking a Legal Studies course, please contact your instructor to determine whether you may access a resource licensed exclusively by and for courses in Legal Studies.

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Exhibit: 18th Annual Student Book Arts Competition

The 18th Annual Student Book Arts Competition Exhibit is now on display at the John C. Hitt Library’s 5th floor. The Student Book Arts Competition, sponsored by UCF Libraries Special Collections & University Archives, has been supporting student artist books since 2005. This year, the competition invited students to submit artist books created during the academic calendar year 2023-2024. 

Each year, one student receives a purchase prize for their submission, and the winning book art becomes part of the permanent Book Arts & Typography Collection at UCF Special Collections & University Archives. Book Arts Guild of Central Florida Public Relations and book arts educator David Nees from Mount Dora, Florida, was our guest judge. The 18th Annual Student Book Arts Competition awarded two students for their artist books, “How to Scam with Water Heaters” by Sean Logan and “Angels’ Number Cards” by Rebecca Tirado Ahearn. Both students exemplified the creativity and craftsmanship of book arts. Congratulations to Sean and Rebecca! The winning artist books will be on display until August 2024.

Student Sean Logan Holding Their Artist Book
Sean Logan with artist book “How to Scam with Water Heaters” at Special Collections & University Archives.
Celebrate UCF Libraries. Interim Department Head Curriculum Materials Center. Peggy Nuhn

Announcing the Interim Head of the Curriculum Materials Center

The UCF Libraries is pleased to announce that Peggy Nuhn will be assuming the role of Interim Head of the Curriculum Materials Center (CMC) Library, effective Tuesday, May 14, 2024. Additionally, she will also be the subject librarian for Early Childhood Education, Education, and Elementary Education. 

Peggy brings extensive experience in libraries, including a background in children and young adult programming, instruction, and collection development. Currently, Peggy teaches information literacy and provides research support to both UCF and Seminole State College, Sanford/Lake Mary students and faculty. With her wealth of knowledge and experience, we are confident that Peggy will excel in this interim role. 

Congratulations, Peggy, on this new interim position. 

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Celebrating Accessibility in the Libraries

In recognition of Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) on May 16th, the UCF Libraries is highlighting its commitment to providing an inclusive environment with services and resources for all users, including those with disabilities. 

The purpose of GAAD is to raise awareness about digital access and inclusion for the over one billion people worldwide with disabilities and impairments. Digital accessibility enables those with disabilities to independently access and interact with digital applications and content. 

The UCF Libraries offer a range of accessibility services: 

  • Document Delivery Assistance: Patrons with sensory or physical disabilities can request assistance in retrieving materials from our shelves. 
  • Access to Digital Books via HathiTrust: For those unable to use printed materials, digital versions of books are available through HathiTrust. 
  • Service Animal Accommodations: We adhere to policies regarding service animals and emotional support animals. 
  • Assistive Technology Workstations: Specialized software and equipment are available on many of our workstations. 
  • Support for STARS (Libraries’ Institutional Repository): Assistance when submitting digital scholarship and more. 
  • Wheelchair Accessible Study Rooms: Providing accessible study spaces. 
  • WCAG-Compliant Website: Our website adheres to Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 AA. standards. 

Our commitment extends beyond the library walls. We continue to work closely with campus partners like Student Accessibility Services and the Office of Institutional Equity to meet the latest accessibility guidelines, including the new Department of Justice rules requiring WCAG 2.1 AA compliance which applies to all web content and mobile applications. 

Rachel Vacek, Associate Dean for Technology and Digital Strategies, has experience working with and advocating for accessibility at previous institutions. She has been a driving force in changing the culture since arriving at the UCF Libraries in August 2023. 

“We need a more holistic and focused effort on accessibility and universal design within the Libraries, taking an accessibility-first approach looking across both physical and virtual needs. This reflects our dedication to continue making the Libraries the most inclusive and welcoming space for everyone on campus,” said Vacek. 

Other efforts in the Libraries include having employees on the UCF Council on Accessibility, providing accessible instruction and workplace accommodations, and advocating for vendor products to be accessible. The Libraries are also active in the Library Accessibility Alliance. 

In April 2022, an accessibility task force was created in response to the University’s Digital Accessibility Policy. Vacek has since transitioned the task force to a committee signifying the Libraries’ long-term commitment to accessibility and universal design, underscoring that accessibility is a continuous journey rather than a finite task. 

The UCF Libraries strive to support all users and we welcome your questions in-person at one of the service desks or by email at Review our full list of accessibility services on our website for more detailed information. 

Open Ed Live Event

UCF’s Inaugural Open Ed Live Event Showcased Faculty Support for Open Education 

UCF’s inaugural Open Ed Live event was held online earlier this year and brought together higher ed teaching faculty, librarians, and instructional designers to explore the boundless opportunities of open education. The event was hosted online by the Division of Digital Learning along with members of UCF Libraries, UCF Bookstore, and the UCF Office of the Provost and Academic Affairs. 

Recordings and files from Open Ed Live are now available in STARS, UCF’s institutional repository hosted by the UCF Libraries. 

The presentations illustrate how much open education has evolved in a relatively short time. Highlights from these sessions include thoughtful discussions on artificial intelligence, balancing open initiatives with inclusive access programs, and a panel of students who actively advocated for open educational resources (OER) at UCF. While textbook affordability remains one of the key appeals of OER, what is striking about these presentations is the progression of OER from the realm of affordability into open scholarship and pedagogy.   

John Venecek, UCF Humanities Librarian, shares his perspective:  

My first foray into OER was a decade ago when there was still a lot of skepticism about open access (OA). Most instructors were reluctant to abandon traditional textbooks in favor of something as nebulous as an OER. One of the few exceptions was Dr. Christian Beck (English) who worked with a team of librarians and instructional designers to create an open anthology for his Medieval Literature course. This anthology, which we made freely available to students, has been a resounding success. Since the project launched in 2016, the anthology has been used in dozens of classes reaching hundreds of students while saving them thousands of dollars.  

Since that initial project, I have worked on several similar ventures, including the design of an open course entitled Strategies for Conducting Literary Research with Dr. Barry Mauer (English). The more I have delved into OER, the more my focus has shifted from the principles of equity and access, which remain important, to exploring innovative approaches to employing the OER model as a form of student engagement, inclusive pedagogy, digital storytelling, and social justice.  

As former UCF colleague CJ Ivory states in the description of her book, Using Open Educational Resources to Promote Social Justice, “OER have the potential to celebrate research done by marginalized populations in the context of their own communities, to amplify the voices of those who have the knowledge but have been excluded from formal prestige networks, and to engage students as co-creators of learning content that is relevant and respectful of their cultural contexts” (Ivory & Pashia, 2022). I have begun implementing these ideas by creating courses that encourage students to play a more an active role as co-creators. In so doing, OER are uniquely positioned to highlight varying perspectives, amplify marginalized voices, promote integrative learning, and emphasize empathy as a research skill.  

Some of the same campus units that organized the Open Ed Live event are available to help UCF faculty explore and adopt OER. To learn more about OER, see the library guide on OER. For faculty with questions or specific support needs, please submit a response to the OER Contact Form

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