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UW Libraries’ updated Arctic and Northern Studies guide

Photo credit: Dan Mandeville.

March 23, 2020

UW Libraries has updated the Arctic and Northern Studies Guide to become one of the most comprehensive databases on the Arctic in the country.

Several years ago, UW librarians Siôn Romaine, Canadian Studies librarian, Maureen Nolan, Fisheries-Oceanography librarian, and Dan Mandeville, Nordic Studies and Linguistics librarian, built UW’s first Arctic and Northern Studies Research Guide, to include search engines, databases and Canadian Arctic policy documents. This winter Dan Mandeville, designated librarian for the 2020 Task Force on the Arctic, added new content and developed a course guide focused on sea ice change, Arctic Sea Ice and International Policy. The guide was instrumental to this year’s Arctic-focused Task Force, giving students access to countless resources and documents to assist with their policy work.

The revised Arctic and Northern Studies Guide now includes maps and atlases, films and media, news and blogs, Arctic organizations, a listing of all Arctic foreign policies including those by Indigenous organizations, and a section on Indigenous Affairs in the Arctic.

Dan shares more about the development of the guide below:

It was my great pleasure to work with Nadine Fabbi and Michelle Koutnik for their section of the 2020 Donald C. Hellmann Task Force focused on sea ice and international policy in the Arctic. The University Libraries supports the Task Force every year with specialized online research guides and targeted intensive research workshops, usually in the first week of winter quarter. Subject librarians are assigned to each section depending on the topic and build up a collection of resources and research tips—usually over the winter break. They present these to students in an interactive team-building research workshop, typically on the second day the class meets, allowing them to start their research in a collaborative and informed way, knowledgeable of the critical resources and services the Libraries offers in supporting a project requiring research.

Having worked with Arctic-related Task Force sections before, in my role as Nordic Studies Librarian, I jumped at the opportunity to do so again. On a personal note, my own senior capstone project (B.A., Scandinavian Area Studies, University of Washington 2002) involved Inuit language policy in Greenland, and with strong personal ties to Canada, it was especially interesting and informative to look at Inuit experience and policy in Canada.

It had been a few years since the last time the Libraries worked with an Arctic section, so the existing guide was a bit outdated. It also needed a revamped organization scheme, considering the complex and interdisciplinary nature of Arctic studies. I got started with what I thought would be just a few tweaks, but ended up being a significant renovation.

The guide now provides access to databases and e-journals relevant to Arctic studies, as well as maps, data, and policy documents. It includes tips for locating resources related to Arctic studies and refers users to various Arctic stakeholders producing reports and other information of interest to Arctic studies. Of special note are the direct links to Arctic policy documents, and the resources related to Indigenous affairs in the Arctic. Nadine Fabbi and Michelle Koutnik were excellent partners in creating this guide: Nadine’s intimate knowledge of Arctic policy and Michelle’s scientific research background are extensive and it was a unique challenge to take such a complex topic and settle on a way to organize the information for users with diverse needs. Thanks to their collaboration, the Libraries’ Arctic Studies guide now represents a concise yet comprehensive access point to Arctic researchers at the University of Washington and beyond.

Dan Mandeville is the University of Washington’s librarian for Nordic studies and linguistics, serving as the University Libraries’ subject expert in those areas. A native Washingtonian from the Kitsap Peninsula, Dan came to the UW as an undergraduate in 1997, studying abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark, for one year and earning a double B.A. in Scandinavian Area Studies and Linguistics (2002). Dan has been a UW librarian since earning his Master of Library and Information Science degree in 2012 and appreciates the variety in his work with students and faculty.