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February 18, 2011

National Commission Formed to Bolster Humanities and Social Sciences

By Jennifer Howard
From Chronicle of Higher Education, The

The American Academy of Arts and Sciences unveiled on Thursday a new national commission on the arts and humanities. Its charge: to come up with recommendations on what Congress, universities, businesses, and individuals can do "to maintain national excellence in humanities and social-scientific scholarship and education, and to achieve long-term national goals for our intellectual and economic well-being," the academy said in a statement.

The commission, which will be led by Richard H. Brodhead, president of Duke University, and John W. Rowe, chief executive officer of Exelon, was formed in response to a request from four members of Congress: Sen. Lamar Alexander, a Republican of Tennessee; Sen. Mark R. Warner, a Democrat of Virginia; Rep. Thomas E. Petri, a Republican of Wisconsin; and Rep. David E. Price, a Democrat of North Carolina.

Its members include high-profile figures in the arts, business, and law such as the filmmakers George Lucas and Ken Burns, the musician Emmylou Harris, and the former associate justice of the Supreme Court David H. Souter. Prominent scholars and academic leaders on the commission include Kwame Anthony Appiah, a professor of philosophy at Princeton University, and Annette Gordon Reed, a professor of law at Harvard University, along with the presidents of Cornell, Harvard, New York, and Stanford Universities and of the University of Notre Dame. The commission expects to come up with recommendations and prepare a report over the next 18 to 24 months, the co-chairs said in a conference call with reporters on Thursday.

Read more.

Related Article: Yanked from the Margin, from Inside Higher Ed

February 17, 2011

Selling a Book by Its Cover

By Penelope Green
From New York Times, The

IT took Thatcher Wine a year to amass 2,000 well-preserved white vellum and cream-colored leatherbound books for a “gentleman’s library” in the Northern California estate of a private equity manager. Perfectly matched sets of books bound in antique vellum, a pale leather made from goat or sheep skin, are an elusive quarry, especially if they all have to be in English, said Mr. Wine, a former Internet entrepreneur who now creates custom book collections and decorative “book solutions,” as he puts it, in his Boulder, Colo., warehouse.

“German is easy — it’s easy to find a complete set of vellum Goethe in the original German,” he said. But Mr. Wine had to search long and hard to find clean copies of authors like Thackeray, Galsworthy and Conrad. For this client was after more than pretty bindings: he wanted the option of being able to read his books.

The young Upper East Side client of Jenny Fischbach, a design partner at Cullman & Kravis Inc., the tony Manhattan decorating firm, was similarly inclined. She wanted literary classics mixed with art books for a silver-inflected art library. So Mr. Wine chose works by Kate Chopin, Jane Austen and Robert Browning and wrapped them in matte silver paper, to match the silver hardware in the room.

Not all of Mr. Wine’s clients, who include hotel designers and high-end builders, are so fastidious about content. For the spa in Philippe Starck’s Icon Brickell, the icy glass condo tower in Miami, he was asked to wrap 1,500 books in blank white paper, without titles, to provide a “textural accent” to the space. He chose mass-market hardcovers that flood the used book outlets — titles by John Grisham and Danielle Steel, or biographies of Michael Jackson, he said — because they are cheap, clean and a nice, generous size.

Read more. You can also find this article in library's LexisNexis database.

February 16, 2011

Maxwell Library is featured in an Wicked Local Article

Maxwell library is featured in an article entitled "Bridgewater and Raynham share community-wide read: Book about molasses flood of 1919 mentions Bridgewater."

Bridgewater — One Book One Community members said readers should really be able to stick with the spring selection.

The book is Stephen Puleo’s “Dark Tide” and tells the riveting true tale of the “Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919.”

“It’s a fabulous read,” said committee member Pam Hayes-Bohanan.

“You can’t put it down,” said committee member Gloria Moran.

They said the book has it all: suspense, heroes, bad guys, politics, a disaster and even a Bridgewater connection, but committee members are keeping mum about how the town figures in.

“Check out the book and find out,” said committee member Evelyn DeLutis.

And this time around it will actually be “one book two communities.” For the first time, Raynham will be joining Bridgewater in the One Book One Community selection, DeLutis said.

Read more.

The library has four copies of “Dark Tide”, and one copy of “Joshua’s Song” (YA fiction). The article also mentions the kickoff “molasses cookie” contest. We will have the entry forms at the Reference Desk, once Sue McCombe has the final version ready. Questions can be directed to Sue McCombe at x2510.

Library School Scholarships

50 Spectrum Scholars available — apply by March 8

Established in 1997, by ALA members, the Spectrum Scholarship Program has become one of the most important drivers of diversity in the library profession. The program strives to recruit and award scholarships to students from five under-represented groups: American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian, Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino or Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander for graduate programs in library and information studies. To date over 680 masters level Spectrum Scholarships have been awarded. Former Spectrum scholars now serve on ALA Council and numerous professional committees; head branches and departments of public and academic libraries; work in and manage law, medical, and special libraries; lead efforts to explore and integrate new technologies; and find numerous ways to give back to
the profession.

More information on the Spectrum Scholarship application can be found on the ALA website at

February 15, 2011

Will Ebooks Jeopardize the Book Industry’s Carbon Reduction Goals?

By Raz Godelnik
From TriplePundit

The shift towards ebooks is having a significant influence on every part of the book industry, from publishers working to reinvent their value proposition to brick and mortar bookstores fighting for their future.

But what about the carbon footprint of the book industry? Does this shift represent an opportunity for the industry given the growing number of books sold without even one tree falling down? Or, maybe it is also a potential risk as ebooks can actually hurt the efforts of the industry to reduce its footprint? Well, apparently it can be both.

In April 2009 the Book Industry Environmental Council (disclosure: Eco-Libris is a member of BIEC) announced a goal of reducing the U.S. book industry’s greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2020 (from a 2006 baseline), with the intent of achieving an 80% reduction by 2050. When the announcement was made, ebooks had less than 5% market share and weren’t considered to have a significant impact on the industry’s carbon footprint. In 2020 the picture will loom very different – some predict that ebooks will represent then as much as 50% of the market (some estimates go even higher), which means that every second book sold in 2020 will be an electronic one.

Read more.

February 10, 2011

Database Trial: Research Starters - Education

The Library has a trial of Research Starters- Education from EBSCO for the month of February.

Research Starters - Education provides students with overview information on topics relevant to their studies. This resource includes comprehensive summaries of discipline-specific topics and assists students in locating sources for advanced research. Articles average 3,000 words, providing concise, in-depth content.The Research Starters - Education articles are sorted among twenty-four categories, each of which contains between ten and thirty-five article topics: Among the categories are Early Childhood Education, Special Education, Physical Education, Service Learning, Curriculum Organization, History of Education, Teaching Methods, Technology in Education, Testing & Evaluation, Educational Psychology, and Multicultural Education.

Research Starters – Education is designed to be searched with relevant subject databases. When searches are conducted in Academic Search Premier or Education Research Complete, relevant Research Starters are displayed on the right side of the screen of search results lists. For example, the search results for “drug education” in Education Research Complete displayed 3 Research Starters: Random Drug Testing in Schools; Performance Enhancing Drugs, and Drug & Alcohol Prevention Programs

Click here to start the trial. You can also find this link on the library's home page at

Please evaluate this resource for content, ease of use, and suitability to support student and faculty teaching and research needs. Send your comments to Kendra St. Aubin at by March 4, 2011.

GeoPlatform - Gulf Response

From Choice Review

[Visited Sep'10] GeoPlatform - Gulf Response, developed by partnering agencies of the Federal Geographic Data Committee, is a free, interactive tool that provides "near-real time information about the response effort." The site uses a Web-based GIS platform, the Environmental Response Management Application, developed by NOAA and the University of New Hampshire's Coastal Response Research Center. The goal of Gulf Response is to provide a comprehensive source for spill information for responders at federal, state, and local levels as well as the general public and community leaders.

Gulf Response has a clean landing page and includes a video tutorial on how to use the interactive map. The map allows users to place an array of different layers at one time, revealing an evolving picture of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster and the ongoing environmental and fisheries response. Layer categories include Resource Management, Bioresources, Sampling, and more. Photos taken by the Shoreline Cleanup Assessment Team can be linked to the map and viewed by selecting the place marks on the map. Additional information can be viewed by selecting the information icon in the upper-left corner and then clicking on that area of the map or the map symbol of interest. Quick clickable tools also help users measure area and distance on the map. Navigation is fairly intuitive. However, one should not select too many layers at one time, because the map can become quite cluttered very quickly. An exceptional resource for anyone interested in learning about the disaster off the Gulf Coast. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All libraries. -- W. Weston, San Diego State University

February 9, 2011

Understanding Current Causes of Women’s Underrepresentation in Science

By Stephen J. Ceci and Wendy M. Williams

In The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences


Explanations for women's underrepresentation in math-intensive fields of science often focus on sex discrimination in grant and manuscript reviewing, interviewing, and hiring. Claims that women scientists suffer discrimination in these arenas rest on a set of studies undergirding policies and programs aimed at remediation. More recent and robust empiricism, however, fails to support assertions of discrimination in these domains. To better understand women's underrepresentation in math-intensive fields and its causes, we reprise claims of discrimination and their evidentiary bases. Based on a review of the past 20 y of data, we suggest that some of these claims are no longer valid and, if uncritically accepted as current causes of women's lack of progress, can delay or prevent understanding of contemporary determinants of women's underrepresentation. We conclude that differential gendered outcomes in the real world result from differences in resources attributable to choices, whether free or constrained, and that such choices could be influenced and better informed through education if resources were so directed. Thus, the ongoing focus on sex discrimination in reviewing, interviewing, and hiring represents costly, misplaced effort: Society is engaged in the present in solving problems of the past, rather than in addressing meaningful limitations deterring women's participation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics careers today. Addressing today's causes of underrepresentation requires focusing on education and policy changes that will make institutions responsive to differing biological realities of the sexes. Finally, we suggest potential avenues of intervention to increase gender fairness that accord with current, as opposed to historical, findings.

Full article

February 8, 2011

Six Steps for Checking Your Facebook Privacy

By Brian Croxall
From The Chronicle of Higher Education

Last semester, I began teaching a new workshop in Emory’s library called “Facebook, Privacy, and Online Identity.” The goal of the workshop was to help students become aware of how much they share on Facebook and to help them make conscious decisions about what they would share. I know that students, as well as almost everyone on the planet, have become more aware of The Social Network’s privacy issues due their policy changes in late 2009 and early 2010, as well as the media coverage that these changes drew. For this reason, I expected that the workshops would draw a large number of students. I was wrong. Over a total of four workshops, I had a total of four students come through.

I’m working on doing better marketing for this semester’s workshops, but I was pleased to see that all four of the students who attended the workshops were flabbergasted at how much information they had been allowing others to see about them. Each of them believed that they had locked their profiles down to make it impossible for a stranger to see anything about them. By the end of the workshop they had modified their privacy settings to produce the results they wanted, and we had covered concepts such as who’s in a “network” and what a “friend of a friend” is, two topics the students, it became apparent, didn’t really understand.

Read full article.

Jules Verne, French Science Fiction Pioneer, Marked with Google Doodle

by Ben Quinn

Jules Verne, author of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and Around the World in 80 Days, celebrated with logo that mimics submarine portholes

Fondly regarded as the father of science fiction, who foresaw a range of technological innovations long before their arrival, Jules Verne can probably be forgiven for failing to predict the internet.

Or, for that matter, that his life would one day be honoured by Google's latest doodle, which went live on Tuesday to mark the French author's 183rd birthday.

In honour of Verne's most famous novel, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, the new doodle takes the form of the portholes of a submarine.

A lever on one side can be manipulated to plunge the submarine deeper into the sea, which appears to be populated by various forms of sea life.

Born in Brittany in 1828, Verne is credited with forecasting a range of scientific developments, from deep sea exploration to space travel and the moon landings.

As well as 20,000 Leagues, which tells the story of Captain Nemo and his submarine Nautilus, Verne wrote A Journey to the Centre of the Earth and Around the World in Eighty Days.

However, perhaps the work most salient in the context of Google's appropriation of Verne's memory is Paris in the Twentieth Century, which was originally rejected by Verne's publisher and only made it into mass print form in 1994.

A dystopian tale, the book centred on 16-year-old Michel Dufrénoy, who graduates in literature and the classics but finds they have been forgotten in a futuristic society that has been taken over by business and technology.

Whether the ironies of the story were appreciated by those at the controls of the increasingly powerful internet giant is unclear.

At the very least, the latest doodle is the continuation of something of a literary theme. Recent doodles have been inspired by Robert Burns, Jane Austen and Oscar Wilde.

February 4, 2011

Writers’ Bootcamp: Using Audio to Write

By Billie Hara
From The Chronicle of Higher Education

We have written it before: writing is hard work. At no time is writing any harder than it is when the product of the writing is “high stakes.” Maybe a job depends on the writing, a promotion, or a diploma. It’s during these stressful times that we hope all of our training, concentration, and skill will get us through the process of producing texts. Sometimes, it does. Other times, it doesn’t.

A confession: when I took my comprehensive exams for the Ph.D., I knew that I understood the material, but I was afraid of the exam setting. My exam structure was such that I had three questions, one each day over a three-day time period, and I had five hours each day to answer that day’s question. I could have no notes or books with me. It was a daunting task. Like most people taking these kinds of exams, I wanted to “wow” my committee by my command of the exhaustive material and to impress them with my beautiful prose. And yes, I added that kind of pressure to myself in an already pressurized situation.

Read the full article.

February 3, 2011

Egypt: Background and U.S. Relations

Jeremy M. Sharp
Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs
From CRS

This report provides an overview of U.S.-Egyptian relations, Egyptian politics, and U.S. foreign aid to Egypt. Major public unrest transpiring in Egypt and elsewhere in the Arab world in late January 2011 raises challenging policy questions for the United States government and the 112th Congress. U.S. policy toward Egypt has long been framed as an investment in regional stability, built primarily on long-running military cooperation and sustaining the March 1979 Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty. Successive U.S. Administrations have viewed Egypt’s government as a moderating influence in the Middle East. At the same time, there have been increasing U.S. calls for Egypt to democratize. In recent years, congressional views of U.S.-Egyptian relations have varied. Many lawmakers have viewed Egypt as a stabilizing regional force, but some members have argued for the United States to pressure Egypt’s government to implement political reforms, improve human rights, and take a more active role in reducing Arab-Israeli tensions. Those concerns, in addition to economic frustration, are now driving the most significant public unrest in Egypt in a generation. The Obama Administration has called on the Egyptian government to respect the basic rights of protestors and has expressed concern about violence.

Full Report

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