UGL Study Spaces

We are halfway though the semester and midterms are here! Yes, not many people are excited about having to turn in papers, projects, and study for midterm exams. It can be very overwhelming and sometimes your dorm room or apartment is not the best place to study and get work done. Don’t you worry, the UGL has a couple of suggestions for some great study places. Not only are there a variety of spaces, but there is something for everyone’s project needs.

The group rooms on the upper level of the UGL

The group rooms on the upper level of the UGL

First, we have the study group rooms, located on the upper level of the UGL. For group projects the group rooms are a great fit. There is an enclosed space, large table, and a TV screen where you can hook up your own laptop. Here you will be able to work and interact with your classmates.

Edit video or sound on these computers!  Photo Courtesy of the Media Commons

Edit video or sound on these computers! Photo Courtesy of the Media Commons

Also on the upper level, we have the computer spaces in the Media Commons. If you need specific software, the UGL has iMacs on the upper level. These computers have a lot of programs for all your project needs. For video editing, sound editing, building databases, the Media Commons has got you covered. Visit this page of the Media Commons for a detailed list of the software and programs. All your work can be done here!

Computers on the lower level of the UGL

Computers on the lower level of the UGL

Some of us need complete silence to do our work in peace. Lucky for you, the lower level of the UGL is the quiet level of the library. You can have the convenience of a computer in a quiet zone and in a semi-private space. As you arrive in the lower level, the computers are located near the entrance, close to the Media Collection.

Lower Level Tables and Carrels. Photo courtesy of the Media Commons

Lower Level Tables and Carrels. Photo courtesy of the Media Commons

For those who do not need a computer or already have a laptop, the lower level tables and carrels are perfect. The tables are perfect for laying out your notebooks, textbooks, gel pens, and other study necessities. You can find these tables all around the lower level of the UGL.

For more privacy, the carrels are a great place to study, They are just the perfect size for a textbook, notebooks, or laptop. This perfect space for one person allows you to fully concentrate on your work and projects. Like the tables mentioned above, the carrels are located all around the UGL on the lower level.

For study tips, be sure to check out our Pinterest board!  Where is your favorite study space? Tell us below in the comments.

 

 

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UGL 101: New Loanable Technology

We’re one week into the new semester and you’re probably surprised that your professor has assigned projects (or not, if you’re lucky). The UGL’s Loanable Technology desk has all kinds of items to help you out. Yes, at your disposable, you have digital cameras, sound recorders, tripods, and other exciting things. This semester, we have a couple of new items.

Logitech Speakers. Courtesy of UGL Media Commons

Logitech Speakers. Courtesy of UGL Media Commons

Logitech Speakers are a great tool for a presentation or for your own personal use. You now have the convenience to carry around these speakers in your backpack.

Portable Canon Scanner. Photo Courtesy of UGL Media Commons

Portable Canon Scanner. Photo Courtesy of UGL Media Commons

Be sure to check out our portable, yes, portable Canon scanners. Now you have the convenience of a scanner at your fingertips. Guess what is also great? These scanners are compatible with both Mac and PC.

Nintendo 3DS. Photo courtesy of UGL Media Commons

Nintendo 3DS XL. Photo courtesy of UGL Media Commons

The Nintendo 3DS XL handheld gaming consoles are another treat that we have. Everyone needs a little study break, so why not have fun with this cool new item?

Wii U. Photo Courtesy of The Conmunity via Flirckr Commons

Wii U. Photo Courtesy of The Conmunity via Flickr Commons

Last, but certainly not least, we have the new Wii U and PS4 for our gaming center. When you imaged libraries, this isn’t what you had in mind, was it? These consoles are great for when you’re on the go. These consoles will be located in the gaming area of the UGL (right next to the Media Commons).

If you are curious about the loanable technology available, drop by the Loanable Technology desk to ask more questions. What’s your favorite technology item and why? Tell us in the comments below!

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Welcome back UGL’ers!

It’s great to be back at UIUC, is it not? We’ve all missed our friends and our study sessions at the UGL. It’s a new year, and of course, a new semester. Most of you are familiar with the Undergraduate Library (spending those late nights working on a paper due the next day), but for those of you who are new, our library has a lot to offer you.

Undergraduate Library. Photo Courtesy of Kosheahan via Flickr Commons.

Undergraduate Library. Photo Courtesy of Kosheahan via Flickr Commons.

For research help, check out the Consultation Corner on the upper level. Here you will find a desk with librarians who will help you with your research needs. You will also find the Writers Workshop, if you need help with writing an essay and the Partners Desk.

We have a loanable technology desk, right around the corner of the circulation desk (located on the upper level). Loanable technology such as laptops, iPhone chargers, cameras, sound recorders, and much more, are available for checkout. So, if you need some equipment for a class project, or want to work on your photography skills, come to the loanable technology desk!

The Undergraduate Library has two levels, the upper level and the lower level. The upper level is where the circulation desk is located, as well as computers and the printing stations. This is also the level that has study group rooms. If you have a group project and need a space, be sure to make your reservation on DIBS.

The lower level is the quiet level, so if you need a space where you need silence, the lower level is where it’s at. This level also has our media collection. Be sure to check out our DVD selection, music, and books on CD.

We have a lot to offer, so if you have any questions, ask! We’re here to help you succeed. What are you looking forward to the most this semester? Leave a comment below.

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Your tools for finals

Finals week is officially here. Yes, it’s a stressful time, but here at the UGL, we like to make your life easier. The UGL has a lot of resources to offer. These tools can make your life so much easier. So, sit back while we share all of the cool things at the UGL.

Are you in need of a calculator or flashdrive? Forgot them at home? No worries, come by the Loanable Technology desk at the UGL. This desk is located around the corner of the circulation desk on the upper level of the UGL. We have macbook chargers, iPhone charges, Chromebook laptops, and much for students to check out.

Loanable Technology at the UGL. Photo courtesy of the UGL Media Commons

Loanable Technology at the UGL. Photo courtesy of the UGL Media Commons

If you have any group projects to finish, be sure to reserve a group room, available on the upper level of the UGL. Looking to book for one person or five? Doesn’t matter, our group room reservation system, DIBS, is here to help.

Students working in a group room. Photo courtesy of the Undergraduate Library.

Students working in a group room. Photo courtesy of the Undergraduate Library.

If you need a bit of information on a certain topic, but don’t know where to start, subject guides are your friends. Browse the subject guides available on hundreds of topics like computer crime and hacking, student loan debt, women in the media, and much more.

If you don’t know how to…don’t worry, the UGL has the How Do I? pages. Inside this fabulous resource, we have pages on how to get started on your research, finding sources, evaluating sources, citing sources, and class pages. (CMN 101/111, ESL 112/115, and LAS 100).

Do you have a paper that’s due soon? Need someone to take a look over it? The Writers Workshop is here to help. They are located in the consultation corner on the upper level of the UGL. Be sure to go to them with all your writing needs.

The Media Commons gaming center. Photo courtesy of the UGL Media Commons

The Media Commons gaming center. Photo courtesy of the UGL Media Commons

Finals are stressful and take a lot out of you. Make sure you’re taking care of yourself. That can be by eating healthy, exercising, or taking breaks in between studying. The UGL Media Commons has a gaming center. Come on over and play some video games with your friends. If video games aren’t your thing, go downstairs and check out the media collection. Treat yourself after finals by binge watching Dexter or Gilmore Girls, whatever floats your boat.

Good luck with finals and as always, the UGL is rooting for you.

 

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ACM GameBuilders Event at UGL

The University of Illinois has a wide range of organizations and clubs that allow students to nurture their talents and explore their interests. One of these groups, Gamebuilders from the University of Illinois chapter of the Association of Computer Machinery, will be showcasing their work Tuesday November 11th, from 7 to 9 PM in the UGL. The event will take place in the gaming area of the Media Commons. Students from ACM Gamebuilders will be on hand at the event to demonstrate over 25 games that they have created. It should be an informative and a fun look into the art and craftsmanship that went into producing these games. If you’re not able to make it to the event, you can still check out the groups work, as the UGL will have a computer running the games until the end of the semester.

GameBuilders focuses on creating and developing computer video games. This involves a wide range of activities and processes, including programming, visual asset creation, sound and music authoring, as well as game design. The group also provides education on game development and mentoring for interested students who are new to game development. If you’re interested, GameBuilders meets every Tuesday evening from 7 to 8 in Room 3403 of the Siebel Center.

 

The following are some of the games that students from GameBuilders have created.

 Flagfight

 

Flagfight is a capture the flag game created by Luke Puchner-Hardman and Ryan Norby for the 2013 Global Student Game Developer Competition.

 

Cat-astrophe

 

A turn-based tower defense game created by Luke Puchner-Hardman for the Fall 2013 Gamebuild-a-Thon.

 

Dystheism 

 

This game is a 3D block-based puzzle game that features a number of abilities used to solve puzzles (ex: breaking blocks, throwing fireballs). Created by Jack LaSota.

 

Mineralz

 

Mineralz is a 3D tower defense game where you control a robotic dragon that is tasked with defending a crater against a horde of robotic enemies. Created by Ryan Norby, Luke Puchner-Hardman, Eric Christianson, Danny Sapato, and Rafael Rego Drumond.

 

If reading about these student-created games whetted your appetite for gaming, you’re in luck! The UGL has a large collection of modern videogames (including Xbox One and Playstation 4 titles), which can be either used in the UGL at the gaming center or checked out to play at home.The UGL also has a vintage gaming collection that is being preserved for classroom instruction and research use. We’re always adding new titles to our collection, so be sure to keep an eye out for new releases and old favorites.

What are your favorite independently developed games? Any favorite games of 2014 so far? Let us know in the comments.

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Spotlight on: The Green Screen Room at the UGL

There are many cool services and resources offered here at the UGL. You have the writer’s workshop, the research desk (which operates Monday-Thursday from 1-5) and the cool DVD’s and books located on the lower level of the UGL. As you can tell, you have a lot of options, but did you also that the UGL has a video studio room? (a.k.a “green screen room”) The room is part of the UGL’s media commons and offers students, staff, and faculty the opportunity to use professional equipment in a video production studio.

Video Production Room. Photo Courtesy of the UGL Media Commons

Video Production Room. Photo Courtesy of the UGL Media Commons

For those who are curious and who want to know more about this room, we will take you inside this high tech room. The video studio has much of the professional equipment needed for hi-tech projects. Among the equipment includes:

Six Lowell Fluorescent Lights, 2 Nikon DSLR cameras (D7100 and  D600) with several lenses, Wireless Lavalier Microphones, a green screen, iMac, other equipment, and coming soon, a Global Truss Lighting Grid.

How does one get to use this room?  The room is only available by appointment, so the student, staff, or faculty must fill out a reservation form. This form can be found at the Media Commons’ website, here.

Once you make a reservation, you will come into the UGL and go to the circulation desk and let them know you have a reservation.

video production studio

There is a limit of 4 people, but the new coming lighting grid will allow for 8-10 people total.

A staff member from the Media Commons will explain the basics on how to use the camera and lights. If you need more assistance on editing, you can make an appointment with the Media Commons staff member.

The only thing that students are asked to bring is an external hard drive and a their own SD cards. Not bad, right? Everything else is provided for you.

Be sure to be on the lookout for more blogs featuring the great resources that the UGL has to offer. What projects could you do using the Video Production room? Comment below!

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A Day in the Life: Jake

Have you ever wondered what a librarian’s job looks like?  Or what exactly the faculty and staff members at the Undergraduate Library do during the day? We’d like to give you a behind-the-scenes look at the inner workings of the UGL in our new blog series “A Day in the Life.”

Due to high student use of the Media Commons and the recent media attention of the sound booth, we thought we would introduce you to Jake, our Media Commons Technology Support Specialist.

 

Jake is responsible for connecting students, staff, and faculty at UIUC to all the technology the Media Commons has to offer. When he isn’t working at his desk, you can find him all over the UGL, teaching students how to effectively use technology to create, edit, and produce quality digital media. Whether you want to use high end media editing software, need help shooting a video project in front of the green screen in the video production studio, or want to record a podcast in the sound booth, Jake is your guy.
Jake has a fancy-ass computer.

Need help? Ask Jake.

The best part about working in the Media Commons, Jake says, is that it offers everyone–undergraduate students, graduate students, faculty, and staff– the opportunity to create their own digital media on professional-quality technology.
Recently, Jake has been working hard to move, test, and set up the equipment in the sound booth to get it up and running for you. When asked about his favorite technology in the Media Commons, Jake replied that he is pretty pumped about the sound booth set- up and is excited to collaborate with students to take their audio projects to a higher level.
Jake’s passion for audio recording carries over into his work outside of the Undergraduate Library. Check out what Jake does on the weekends by visiting UrbanaBasement.com, a web series highlighting the live music scene in the Champaign-Urbana area.

 

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UGL 101: New Sound Booth

Hey UGL-ers, it’s time we addressed the elephant in the room. And by elephant, we mean the huge metal structure that has taken over a corner of the lower level this past year. We would like to officially introduce you to the newest member of the Media Commons collection–the sound booth!

Large metal structure = professional quality sound booth.

Like the video production room on the upper level, the sound booth is a space for students, faculty, and staff to create high-quality digital media projects. Need an interview to complete a class project? Want to record your latest podcast? As a UIUC student, the sound booth is available to you! (QB looks forward to using the sound booth to record the answers to all your questions.)

In order to use the sound booth, you will need to contact the Media Commons at mediacommons@illinois.edu in advance to book a reservation. Whether you want to reserve time in the sound booth, ask advice on recording equipment, or just find out more information, the Media Commons staff is here to help! Don’t forget to check out our loanable technology page for any additional equipment you might need, from cameras to microphones or voice recorders.

Now, to answer one final question. We know all too well how difficult the doors at the UGL can be to open, not to mention fitting large pieces of unbending metal through. So, just how did the UGL manage to construct the sound booth in the lower lever?

Huge crane lowering a section of the sound booth into the UGL courtyard

The things we do for you!

That’s how.

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Pushing Buttons

Looking for yet more ways to have fun this summer? Of course you are. And, of course, the UGL is here to help. We’ve got video games and everything you need to play them, so why not indulge in a gaming marathon before the fall semester starts and your life gets crazy again?

Image of Mario jumping

I’m somewhere in the UGL, eternally jumping! Come find me!

You can always come in and browse the shelves in our media collection to pick out a game, but if you want to see what we have from the comfort of your own home (or see everything we offer, not just what’s currently on the shelf and not checked out) you can also search for video games using the catalog. If you’re comfortable using the Classic Catalog, then we have a  partial list of games for each console linked from the Games and Consoles page. If you’d rather use the VuFind catalog, here are some ways you can search in there.

To see basically every video game ever, go to the catalog and do a search for ‘Video Game,’ selecting ‘Subject’ from the drop-down menu next to the search box. The results this gives you will contain all our video games, but it will also contain books and movies about video games (like this one!).  So, to make sure you get only video games, use the limiters on the right-hand side of the screen to choose ‘Software/Computer File’ as the format. This will take out all those books and give you only games – about 1,700 of them!

If you don’t want to look at all 1,700 results – say, you only want to look at games that we have for a certain console – there’s a way to do that, too. First, decide what console you’re looking for, type that into the search bar, and select ‘Keyword’ as your search criteria. Then hit the ‘Find’ button.

The search box is on the main catalog interface.

If you want to find computer games, ‘PC Games’ is a good search term to use. Don’t worry, it’ll bring up Mac games, too.

Then, like you did before, select ‘Software/Computer File’ as your format to remove any books or non-video game objects from the results.

The format limiter is on the right-hand side of the screen under "narrow your search"

If you DO want books about video games, pick ‘Books’ instead.

You can check video games out for up to a week and play them on your own devices at home, but we also have several handheld consoles available for one-week loans – you can check out the UGL’s Loanable Tech page to check on their availability. And if you want to play a game on a platform you don’t own, remember that we have several available (with all their associated controllers) in our gaming space as part of the Media Commons! Bring all your friends and have a good time. While you’re there, check out the new display showing off selections from our vintage gaming collection – if you don’t go anywhere else this summer, you can always travel down memory lane.

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Write it, shoot it, create it

There are lot of changes happening right now. (Spring! Is it finally here to stay?) In the UGL, we’ve launched our Media Commons. As part of our mission to support collaborative research and learning through technology, the Media Commons features a brand new video production studio. (You may have already heard all about it in the Daily Illini.)

The video production studio has lots of equipment, including a green screen.

The new video production studio in the UGL

In this former classroom space, together with CITES, we’ve been hard at work acquiring professional equipment and setting up a space for all your video production needs. Take a gander at some of the equipment available to you in the awesome new space:

  • Green screen
  • Pro-level lights, like the Lowel Fluo-Tec Studio 450 Phase-Dimmable Fluorescent Fixture, a professional fluorescent light fixture (We’ve included all the bells and whistles, so you can up the intensity or trim the spill. If that sounds fancy, it’s because it is.)
  • Cameras & tripods
  • Mics, including wireless mics, desktop mics, shotgun mics, and voice-over mics
  • Speakers, like the AV 40 Active 2-Way Desktop Monitor Speakers, which are ideal for smaller spaces (like our production studio) and are shielded for use near video monitors
  • The Mackie 1202-VLZ3 12-Channel Compact Mixer, which has 12 line inputs and 4 mic preamps

This all sounds great, you say? Well, then all you need to know is how to get access to this sweet setup. It is available for anyone who wants to use it. (Yes—that means you!) You have to reserve the space ahead of time and complete an orientation on the space and all its goodies. Email the Media Commons team at mediacommons@illinois.edu to get started. Check our website or the Media Commons Facebook page for updates, and we’ll also bring you updates about the Media Commons here at your friendly neighborhood UGL blog.

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