Trials, Betas and Tools

Book a Room pilot for group studies begins Jan. 7

Group study sign for new room booking system.

If you see this sign on the door of a room, you can book it on behalf of your group using the new Book a Room system.

Student groups looking for a place to work together on problem sets or to cram for that daunting midterm exam should find the task a bit easier this quarter, thanks to the Library’s new Book a Room system. The online system, currently in a pilot phase, allows UChicago students, faculty, and staff to view available group studies and to book a room in advance, on behalf of two or more users.

By introducing a room booking system, the Library hopes to make it easier for groups to find spaces to study and work together collaboratively, in keeping with its commitment to creating and sustaining an environment supportive of scholarship. While the Library has long offered spaces designated for collaborative work, students have reported difficulty in knowing when and where they can find an available room. The new system will make doing so a much simpler task and will, for the first time, allow groups to book a room in advance.

How it Works

Book a Room allows groups to reserve a room up to 7 days in advance for up to 2 hours per day. Groups may choose from among 16 group studies in Regenstein and 7 group studies in Crerar. In addition, Regenstein’s 5 library classrooms, which are intended primarily for formal instruction, may be booked by groups outside of regular teaching hours (after 10 p.m. Monday through Friday and all day Saturday and Sunday).

Example of the Book a Room grid displaying available rooms

The Book a Room display. Available timeslots are green; booked timeslots are blue. Group names are listed under “Confirmed Bookings” on the left.

Only current UChicago students, faculty, and staff may book rooms, though other groups are welcome to use rooms on a first come, first served basis as long as the room has not been booked. Groups who have booked a room need to bring a confirmation email as proof of their booking in order to ask another group to vacate a room.

The Book a Room system is available online via any Internet browser and via mobile devices. In addition to booking rooms, users can view information about each room, including seating capacity, amenities, and location, as well as photos of the rooms and maps of their locations. Group names are also displayed, allowing users to find a room their group has already booked.

For more information, see How to Book a Room and the Library’s Policies on Room Use .

A group study in Crerar Library

One of the many group studies bookable by groups using the new Book a Room system.

Pilot Phase

The Library is currently offering Book a Room as a pilot during Winter and Spring Quarters 2013. Library staff will review use of the system and solicit feedback from users to evaluate the service going forward.

To see what rooms are available, visit Book a Room at

LibX 2.0 is now available

An updated version of LibX has been released. LibX is a search add-on for Chrome and Firefox. It allows you to search Lens, the Library Catalog, the Ejournals Database or Articles Plus, simply by clicking a button on your browser’s toolbar. It can also be configured to search these tools through your browser’s context menu.

A new feature of LibX 2.0 is a link from the New York Times web site to our LexisNexis subscription. LibX recognizes when you are on a page on the New York Times web site and provides a link to read the article in LexisNexis.

LibX also works with other web sites to provide links to the Library. Books on will display an icon that allows you to search for a book in the Library Catalog. ISBNs will show brief information about a book and also allow you to search for the book in the Library Catalog.

Go to the LibX download page to get the add-on. You can try the add-on out before installing it by clicking on the Demo tab on the download page.

More information can be found on our LibX Guide.

BMJ Case Reports trial

BMJ Case Reports logoTry BMJ Case Reports, which “publishes cases in all disciplines so that healthcare professionals, researchers, and others can easily find clinically important information on common and rare conditions. All articles are peer reviewed and copy edited before publication.”

The trial runs until March 31, 2012.  Please send your feedback to Christa Modschiedler, Biomedical Bibliographer.


Natural Standard trial

Natural Standard logoTry Natural Standard, an online resource that provides evidence-based information about complementary and alternative therapies, diets, exercise and nutrition.  Send your feedback to Christa Modschiedler, Biomedical Bibliographer.

Natural Standard is an international research collaboration that aggregates and synthesizes complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) data.  It provides evidence-based, peer-reviewed, decision-support tools and assigns grades that reflect the level of available scientific data for or against the use of each therapy for a specific medical condition.

The trial runs until March 11, 2012.


Friday Fun:!

Want to check up on your great-grandmother?  Do it now, during the Library’s trial access to the new Library Edition of, the premier database for genealogical research.  See for access.  The trial goes until March 9.

From the description:

“Ancestry Library Edition is a new genealogy research tool created for the library market and provides patrons instant access to a wide range of unique resources for genealogical and historical research. With more than 1.5 billion names in over 4,000 databases, Ancestry Library Edition includes records from the United States Census; military records; court, land and probate records; vital and church records; directories; passenger lists and more! These collections are continuously expanding, with new content added every business day.”

I looked first for my Swedish immigrant grandfather and found census records for 1880 and 1910, and a couple of possibilities for ships’ passenger lists. Then I looked for my great-great-greataunt “Grandma Haypenny”, noted for her political flexibility (her first husband was a Union captain and her second husband a Confederate colonel).  I found her in the 1910 census living in Idaho, with her son, and was able to trace her back to Indiana in 1860 through the 1860 census.  The database does wonders with variant spellings, common in older records, and approximate years, offering searches like “Was active in­­­ (yr.)” in locations as specific as a particular town and as general as a state.  Results are returned in html, with links to images of the original records.  Enjoy!

Paley Center for Media iCollection trial

The Library is considering purchasing the following resource:

Paley Center for Media iCollection

University of Chicago faculty, students, and staff may make use of this resouce during the trial period February 1 – February 28, 2012, and are invited to provide feedback on whether it is a useful resource for their research, teaching and learning.

Users will need to enter the following to log on:

Password: uchicago1

The Paley Center for Media iCollection provides access to over 15,000 hours of television and radio programming for research and educational purposes.

Database trial: MEMO 1: Pioneer Orientalists

University users have trial access to the Brill database:  MEMO 1 Pioneer Orientalists until March 16th at the following URL:

Leiden University Library has a world-famous research collection of Middle Eastern Manuscripts. Its core collection consists of volumes brought together by, among others, the Leiden Orientalists Joseph Justus Scaliger (d. 1609) and Jacobus Golius (d. 1667). Included in the Scaliger collection are about a dozen manuscripts which belonged to Franciscus Raphelengius (d. 1597). These collections consist of extremely rare, sometimes unique, manuscripts.

Brill and Leiden University Library have joined forces to digitize the Arabic manuscripts from three of the library’s core collections, now published online under the title Pioneer Orientalists: The Manuscript Collections of Scaliger, Raphelengius and Golius from the Leiden University Library. The publication consists of 267 Arabic manuscripts in 303 volumes, amounting to 109.517 pages, in full-color, images.

Key Features:

  • These are the oldest core collections of one of Europe’s top repositories of Oriental manuscripts;
  • Originally collected by Franciscus Raphelengius (d. 1597), Joseph Justus Scaliger (d. 1609), and Jacobus Golius (d. 1667);
  • 30 manuscripts were restored as part of this project;
  • Filmed on site at the Leiden University Library;
  • Almost 110.000 high-resolution scans in full colour of unique and rare Arabic manuscripts;
  • The collection includes two manuscript scrolls, each c. 5 meters long;
  • Downloadable files;
  • Metadata in English per individual text (also for miscellanies); and
  • References to Brockelmann’s GAL.

Database trial: Anthropology Online

Anthropology Online,  a new database from Alexander Street Press, is available to University users on a trial basis until March 10. 

Alexander Street Anthropology is a comprehensive resource for the study of human culture and behavior. Featuring cross-searchable access to the acclaimed Ethnographic Video Online and Anthropology Online collections, Alexander Street Anthropology provides anthropologists, sociologists and cultural historians with an expansive and multifaceted survey of the discipline. Researchers can explore a wide range of materials—from documentaries and field notes to written ethnographies and reference works.

Thematic areas include: family and race, material culture, language and culture, kinesthetics, body language, food and foraging, cooking, economic systems, social stratification and status, caste systems and slavery, male and female roles, kinship and families, political organization, conflict and conflict resolution, religion and magic, music and the arts, culture and personality, marriage, gender, and family roles.

Text yourself titles and call numbers from Lens

Texting from Lens
You can now send title and call number information directly to your mobile phone from Lens and take it with you into the stacks. Here’s how:

  1. Use Lens to search for titles in the collection.
  2. Click on a title to display the full record.
  3. On the right side of the screen, click on “Send as text message”.
  4. If there are multiple copies at different locations, select the one you want to send.
  5. Enter the phone number (no spaces or punctuation) and select the phone’s service provider to send a SMS (Short Message Service) text message containing the call number, title, and location.

This new feature of Lens was developed by Library staff based on feedback from our users.

Trial access to PrivCo

Trial access is available to PrivCo, a source of private company information. PrivCo has private company financials and revenues, information on private M&A deals and deal multiples, private firm valuations, venture capital fundings, private equity deals, private and family ownership breakdowns, bankruptcies, restructurings, and more. The trial runs until November 30.

Access PrivCo.

Please send comments to Jeffry Archer.