Join more than 6,000 other friends, book lovers, alumni, and faculty who recognize that the influence of a great research library reaches beyond the university it serves to the many communities of which it is a part.
Library Associates receive complimentary copies of the quarterly newsletter Bene Legere, as well as invitations to special occasions at the Library. For more information on the Library Associates program, please write or telephone: The Library Development Office, Room 131 Doe Library, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-6000; telephone (510) 642-9377. Or, check our website.
Library Prize for Undergraduate Research
The Library Prize for Undergraduate Research (www.lib.berkeley.edu/researchprize), established by the University Library in 2003, recognizes excellence in undergraduate research projects demonstrating sophisticated use of the library, its resources, and collections. Prize winners for 2004 exemplify the high quality research that undergraduates accomplish on this campus. Whether through the use of archival manuscripts, electronic journals, declassified government documents, electronic databases or well-worn books-each student emphasizes the critical role that the library plays in developing their appreciation for research and the thrill of discovery.
Some 50 undergraduates submitted applications this year. Research projects came from courses taught in departments across campus-from history to molecular & cell biology, from peace & conflict studies to landscape architecture, from French to women's studies. The judges were truly impressed by the quality of research and the extraordinary level of library research skills evidenced within these projects.
Starting with archival research in The Bancroft Library, Susan expanded her research to several other archival collections through site visits, use of digital collections, interlibrary loans, and Freedom of Information Act requests. She found this research to be inspiring and wrote: "Beginning this project, I had not known the thrill of historical research; originally, history had only entailed the memorization of names and dates…. My experience has inspired me to do more archival research after I graduate…"
In support of this "highly original and ground-breaking" thesis, Lecturer Patricia Lin adds "…Susan was hooked on research. Each week she would come to my office hours excitedly telling my about her recent find, the connections she had made, and where she intended to search next…. Thanks to her thesis, Susan has become an individual with an unending thirst for research. To put it bluntly, she has caught the 'research bug.'"
In support of Andrew's application, Graduate Student Instructor Kevin Adams observed: "Andrew imaginatively employs traditional printed sources-the kind many undergraduates skim or ignore entirely-to convincingly argue for a reinterpretation of Wilson's rhetoric…. The written result … speaks eloquently to his ability to synthesize a wide array of sources…"
Michael characterized his library research from a scientific perspective, noting: "As an enzyme for catalyzing these connections, library resources served as my scientific laboratory where experiments were played out in journal collections and hundreds of PubMed searches."
His advisor, Lecturer David Presti supported this interesting approach: "Michael's paper is a novel scientific theory developed solely through the use of library materials, suggesting that future scientific research can benefit from this type of approach…. Michael's new ideas … will form the basis for a variety of future scientific experimental work."
Graduate Student Instructor Vimalin Rujivacharakul praised Gary Ku's research effort: "Mr. Ku's unusual depth of library research allowed him to discuss the historiographical context of Trajan's Market from several disciplinary perspectives…. With such insightful discussion and comprehensive analyses, Mr. Ku's paper sheds new light on the field."
Sara found that her research provided important information but also raised serious questions: "After reading the opinions of other modern scholars, I was unsatisfied by their findings and I realized that I needed to find the answers from primary sources myself…. Successful research entails striking a delicate balance between strict methodology and random discovery, between critical analysis and individual argumentation, and finally between detailed inquiries and overarching frameworks."
Her advisor, Professor Elizabeth Honig, remarked on Sara's self-sufficiency: "I have never had a student who seemed so naturally to possess the logic of research. Sara always seems to know what direction her inquiries need to go in and what materials will help her get to where she wants to go."
Radha applied her library research skills to reach beyond the expected results: "…My previous library research gave me the tools to effectively conduct fieldwork on the topic of reconciliation in Rwanda, and also gave me the means to evaluate my primary research findings…. I quickly learned which authors I could trust and why. I learned to look for biases in academic writing, in my interviews, and in other primary sources."
Her advisor, Lecturer Patricia Lin, observed: "It was through this primary and secondary literature that she was first able to discern the existence of the problem that the monopoly of Rwandan-government discourse had on the process of reconciliation…. At the highest level, she has shown how the strengths of the UC Berkeley library resources, print and electronic, can be partnered with original field research to produce a top notch product."
The ability to navigate the physical and digital labyrinth of Berkeley's many libraries and collections is a daunting task for the experienced academic scholar. Cal undergraduates proved themselves ready, willing, and able to meet this challenge. In addition to certificates, winners received cash prizes, of $750 awards in the lower division competition and $1,000 in the upper division.