Monday, January 5, 2015

Case Study No. 1753: Leah McGlynn

How to Find your Way In The Stacks
Use this Instructional Video to help you find your way through the Stacks of Ohio University's Alden Library. And laugh a little while you do it.

Tags: Lost in the Stacks Final library of congress ohio university
Added: 3 years ago
From: Cleverland
Views: 110

[scene opens with a male student entering the stacks area of Alden Library, as he stops and looks around]
BILLY: Economics ... Um, "Macroeconomics in Micronesia."
[cut to another shot of the student (still mumbling to himself) as he wanders around the shelves]
BILLY: Macroeconomics ... Man, these--
[he stops and stomps his foot, then puts a hand to his forehead (as if in pain)]
BILLY: Oh my god, these call numbers are just so confusing!
[he continues looking around blindly]
BILLY: Is this some sort of foreign language? I mean ... Oh my god, do I have to know some sort of mathematical formula?
[he stops and starts reading off one of the shelves]
BILLY: "One eight three eight ... One eight five?"
[he looks around]
BILLY: "P"s and "F"s ... Are we in ... I don't even ... There's just ... Where do I start?!
[he heads down one of the aisles]
BILLY: Aw man!
[he disappears off camera, then almost immediately emerges and walks down another aisle (sighing heavily to himself)]
[he suddenly appears walking out from behind a different bookshelf on the other side of the room (as if he is "magically" being teleporting through an enchanted maze of bookshelves)]
[the student then appears from behind another bookshelf, as he sprints down another aisle and out of sight]
[he appears from behind yet another bookshelf and shambles down another aisle, then cut to a closeup shot of the student on the verge of a nervous breakdown]
BILLY: Economics! I just need to find the economics department! Where do I even go?!
[he grabs at his hair in frustration]
BILLY: All these numbers and letters and call numbers ... Where do I start?! Where do I start!
[he starts to cry and runs off camera, then cut to him walking down another aisle, when he stops at the sound of a book falling to the ground from off camera]
BILLY: Shh! This is a library!
[he shakes his head and mumbles under his breath]
BILLY: Gosh ...
[he continues walking down the aisle, when another unseen book can be heard falling to the ground (louder this time), causing him to stop again]
BILLY: Okay, this is getting creepy ...
[he starts to tip toe down the aisle, when the sound of another book falling causes him to stop and jerk his head to the side]
[he reaches the end of the aisle, and (seeing nothing suspicious) throws his hands up in frustration ... until he hears the sound of another falling book to his right, so he turns towards the "East Wing" sign and sees a lone blue book sitting on a table]
BILLY: What is that?
[the sound of more falling books can be heard coming from off camera, but he continues to (cautiously) walk towards the table]
BILLY: Hello?
[cut to a shot of the table (as the camera "zooms" to make it appear as if the hallway is suddenly becoming longer and the book is getting farther away), then back to the student]
BILLY: Is someone here? Hello?
[he finally reaches the table, and stares at the book]
BILLY: Is this some sort of sign from the American Library Association, telling me I should learn the Library of Congress system in order to find the materials I need?
[he pauses, then gets a worried look on his face]
BILLY: Or is it some sort of radioactive book from the future, and I shouldn't open it?
[he takes a deep breath]
BILLY: Oh well ... I'm gonna try it out.
[cut to a shot of the student reaching for the book and gently opening the cover, when a "lightning bolt" emerges and throws him backwards]
BILLY: Whoa!
[he lands on the floor]
BILLY: Oh my gosh ...
[he picks himself up and starts walking towards the book again]
BILLY: What the heck?
[cut to a shot of the student picking up the book and holding it in front of him]
BILLY: Let's see what this book has to offer!
[he walks off, then cut to the student finding a table in another part of the library, as he sits down and begins reading ... except he almost immediately falls asleep]
[the scene fades to black, then cut to a shot of the book open on the table (as a superimposed image of the student sleeping "floats" around the book before disappearing into its pages]
[the scene fades to black again, then cut to black-and-white footage of the student walking through the stacks with a big smile on his face (as music starts playing that sounds like it belongs in a 1950s educational film)]
LEAH: [in voice over] Are you lost?
[the student stops, then puts both hands on his hips and nods (while still smiling broadly)]
LEAH: [in voice over] Do you need help locating materials for your paper that you put off until the last second?
[still smiling, the student shrugs his shoulders in a "What are you gonna do?" fashion]
LEAH: [in voice over] Well, you've come to the right place!
[the student's smile gets even bigger]
LEAH: [in voice over] Vernon R. Alden Library at Ohio University has endless amounts of information at the fingertips of its patrons ...
[the student walks closer to the camera, then rubs his chin as if listening intently]
LEAH: [in voice over] With each floor being larger than a football field, and over one million books ...
[the student's jaw drops]
LEAH: [in voice over] It's no surprise that people are having trouble, and are overwhelmed with the enormity of this section.
[the student nods his head, then "Lost in the Stacks: How to Find Your Way" appears on screen]
[cut to the student sitting in a chair, holding a notepad and pencil]
LEAH: [in voice over] Now that we've begun our program, you're probably wondering what the term "stacks" is referring to ...
[the student nods his head]
LEAH: [in voice over] "General stacks" is a term in the library world that describes the area where most of the books are located.
[various shots of the bookshelves are shown]
LEAH: [in voice over] The books are arranged by subject and author, using a call number located in the spine of the book ... What's a call number?
[cut back to the student, who gets a goofy look on his face and shrugs his shoulders]
LEAH: [in voice over] Well, let me show you!
[the left-hand portion of the screen turns black (and the student reacts as if he can see it happening right next to him), as "PN - General Subject" appears]
LEAH: [in voice over] Here we have a call number broken down to its smaller parts ...
[the student (sensing that this may be too complicated for him) turns to the camera with a comically exaggerated look of fear on his face]
LEAH: [in voice over] "PN", which is also the general subject ...
[the student seems to calm down, as he looks back towards the left-hand portion of the screen (where "1995.3 - Specific Subject" appears beneath the first line)]
LEAH: [in voice over] The "Nineteen Ninety Five Point Three" is the specific subject ...
[the student (seemingly starting to get it) nods his head, as "S457 - Author's Last Name" appears beneath the previous lines]
LEAH: [in voice over] "S Four Five Seven," that's the author's last name beginning with "S" ...
[the student nods again and rubs his chin, as "2006 - Publishing Date" appears beneath the previous lines]
LEAH: [in voice over] Two Thousand Six, publishing date ...
["c. 3 - Copy Number" appears beneath the previous lines]
LEAH: [in voice over] And then "C Dot Three" is indicating the copy number.
[the student begins scribbling in his notepad]
LEAH: [in voice over] This is not always standard, but if an institution has more than one copy, it'll show you.
[the student nods his head, then cut to a computer screen showing the Ohio University Libraries website]
LEAH: [in voice over] Now, the call number can be located by using ALICE, the library's online catalog.
[the "ALICE Online Catalog" link is clicked, as the library's OPAC is displayed]
LEAH: [in voice over] This program is on the library's homepage. Just type in a keyword ... say, the subject the assignment is on--
[the person types "global economics" into the search box and clicks "Search"]
LEAH: [in voice over] And relevant materials will show up on the screen]
[the results page appears ("1154 results found"), as the person clicks on the first link ("Small Economics and Global Economics" by J. Ram Pillarisetti)]
LEAH: [in voice over] Now that you have the call number, the hard part is finding it ... On the ALICE page, it will show the location of the book. In the stacks, the location will be "Alden Sixth Floor" or "Alden Seventh Floor."
[the person highlights the call number ("HC59.3 .S56 2008")]
LEAH: [in voice over] The easiest way to locate materials to keep ... is to keep in mind that the call numbers are arranged alphabetically.
[cut back to the student, where the left-hand portion of the screen again turns black, as "The Sixth Floor is A - LT" appears]
LEAH: [in voice over] The sixth floor consists of "A" through "LT" ...
[the student starts writing in his notepad again, as "The Seventh Floor is P - Z" appears beneath the first line]
LEAH: [in voice over] And the seventh floor consists of "P" through "Z."
[as the student continues writing, the left-hand portion grows until the entire screen turns black]
LEAH: [in voice over] The Library of Congress subjects are arranged alphabetically, so here is the breakdown ...
[a chart of the Library of Congress classification system is shown]
LEAH: [in voice over] "A", general works. "B", philosophy, psychology, and religion. And so on ... all the way "A" through "Z"!
[cut back to the student]
LEAH: [in voice over] So Billy, if you were looking for a book with the call number starting with "D", where would it be?
[the student rubs his chin, as if really thinking it over]
BILLY: [pause] On the fifth floor?
LEAH: [in voice over] No, not the fifth floor!
[he scratches his chin, thinking it over some more]
BILLY: On the sixth floor!
LEAH: [in voice over] Yes!
[he smiles and gives a thumbs up to the camera, as a floor plan for the library appears on the screen next to him]
LEAH: [in voice over] After learning which floor to find the materials, we can learn where on the floor these materials are located!
[the student nods his head]
LEAH: [in voice over] The alphabet starts on each floor in the east wing ...
[the left-hand portion of the screen turns black again (covering the floor plan), as "6th Floor: East Wing A - DR" appears]
LEAH: [in voice over] Then does a clockwise circle from there.
[the student gets a confused look on his face, as he uses his pencil to "draw" a circle in the air]
LEAH: [in voice over] East wing, on the sixth floor, "A" through "DR."
[the student smiles (as if he now understands), as "South Wing DS - F" appears beneath the first line]
LEAH: [in voice over] South wing, "DS" through "F."
[the student gets a goofy grin on his face (while continuing to draw shapes in the air), as "West Wing G - HT" appears beneath the previous lines]
LEAH: [in voice over] West wing, "G" to "HT."
["North Wing HV - LT" appears beneath the previous lines]
LEAH: [in voice over] North wing, "HV" to "LT."
[the student nods his head, as "7th Floor: East Wing P - PN" appears beneath the previous lines]
LEAH: [in voice over] On the seventh floor, the east wing is "P" to "PN."
[the student strokes his chin (seemingly digesting all of new this information), as "South Wing PQ - PT" appears beneath the previous lines]
LEAH: [in voice over] South wing, "PQ" to "PT."
[the student starts writing in his notepad again, as "West Wing Q - QR" appears beneath the previous lines]
LEAH: [in voice over] West wing, "Q" to "QR."
[the student nods his head, as "North Wing R - ZA" appears beneath the previous lines]
LEAH: [in voice over] North wing, "R" to "ZA."
[the student starts writing in his notepad again]
LEAH: [in voice over] Now Billy, what's your assignment on?
BILLY: I need at least one book on macroeconomics in Micronesia ...
[he rolls his eyes and shrugs his shoulders]
LEAH: [in voice over] Okay ...
[cut to the floor plan]
LEAH: [in voice over] Well, economics is located on the west wing, in the "H" section.
[cut back to the student]
BILLY: Okay, thank you for helping! I feel much more comfortable finding a book now that I know the system!
LEAH: [in voice over] Ha ha ha, not a problem, Billy! Just be sure to use ALICE to narrow down your search ...
BILLY: I won't forget! Good old ALICE ...
[the footage suddenly starts repeating the student saying the word "ALICE" (zooming in and slowing down the footage each time) before the screen cuts to black]
[cut to color footage of the student once again sleeping in the library, as he wakes up and lifts his head out of the book]
BILLY: Wow, what a weird dream ...
[he rubs his eyes and shakes his head, then suddenly gets a look of excitement on his face]
BILLY: But I know where to find my book! All I gotta do is search ALICE! I'll just use the system!
[he closes the book and gets up, then cut to the student typing at one of the computer terminals]
[cut to the student in the stacks, looking around one of the top shelves]
BILLY: Should be here somewhere. "HC" ...
[he looks down and scans one of the lower shelves]
BILLY: "Five nine" ...
[he pulls out a copy of "Global Economic Prospects"]
BILLY: Right here! This is exactly the book I was looking for!
[he opens the book and starts reading]
BILLY: Excellent!
[he closes the book, then rubs his chin and stares off into the distance]
BILLY: Now ... I wonder if there's anywhere good I could study around here?
[the scene fades to white]

Student's Favorite Places to Study ...

"I need a window, so East or West wing on the 6th floor."
- Tylana P.

"I like the study cubbies, there are less distractions."
- Keith R.

"I like the study tables in the East Wing of Stacks' 6th floor."
- Dave H.

Brian Sparker

Created By
Leah McGlynn

For Ohio University Libraries

Youtube dot com slash AldenLibrary



Alden Library's website is packed with tools and resources that are useful for both students and staff, though you may not be aware of how to fully utilize each and every one. To help you better make use of the tools available (and find the ones that you may not have known about), Alden Library created a YouTube channel page full of "how to" videos and research tips.

* "How to Find Your Way Through the Stacks": Use this informational video, made by the LAMP Scholar Intern Leah McGlynn, to help locate materials as needed in the Stacks at Ohio University's Alden Library. This video includes information on ALICE, the online catalog and how to read call numbers. Also, Check out Brian Sparker's other work at

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