Beginning Monday, April 23, access to Crerar Library’s Lower Level Bookstacks will be temporarily closed due to construction activity. Until the area reopens, Crerar staff will page any materials needed from the stacks. To request a book, use the “Can’t Find It” link on the Catalog page. Library staff will pull requested items the same weekday or by the morning of the next weekday.
You can also visit the Crerar Circulation desk for help during our normal hours, or contact circulation online with any questions.
The Library is now offering an improved Interlibrary Loan service that provides a streamlined way for UChicago faculty, students, and staff to request materials from a wide range of other libraries.
Previously, Library users had to decide among several services to obtain needed material:
BorrowDirect for obtaining material from the Ivy Plus libraries;
UBorrow for obtaining material from the Big Ten Academic Alliance libraries;
Traditional Interlibrary Loan for material held in other libraries; or,
Recall for University of Chicago Library copies already on loan.
Click the “Request via Interlibrary Loan” link on the FindIt! page to use the streamlined service.
Now you will use a single Interlibrary Loan service that automatically gets you what you want in the best and fastest way. Big Ten and Ivy Plus partners will continue to provide expedited delivery in roughly 4-5 days. Items will usually be obtained from other libraries, but local copies will still be recalled if needed material is not rapidly available via interlibrary loan.
Click the “FindIt!” button in other resources such as WorldCat and Articles Plus, and then click the “Interlibrary Loan” link.
There is no need to search UBorrow and BorrowDirect individually anymore to make a request, as the improved Interlibrary Loan service will do that for you. However, the UBorrow and BorrowDirect search pages are still available from the Library’s home page if you want to use them.
Posted onMarch 8, 2018byRebecca Starkey at the University of Chicago Library
Display of books about the Harry Potter series. Photo by Rebecca Starkey.
Do you need a little bit of magic during reading period and finals week? Take a break from studying by visiting our new display of Harry Potter materials on the 1st floor of Regenstein (near the Dissertation Office). This one-case display highlights just a few of the items available at the University of Chicago Library about the Harry Potter series, including translations, critical studies, and parodies.
“Kelp are habitat for hundreds—probably thousands of species: fishes, invertebrates, etcetera,” explained Cathy Pfister, Professor in University of Chicago’s Department of Ecology and Evolution. “They are a natural habitat, just like a coral reef, that is the only place where some animals survive.”
Concerns have been raised about downward trends in kelp’s abundance worldwide. Seeking more information about long-term changes in kelp abundance, Pfister discovered that the University of Chicago Library holds rare World War I-era maps showing the location of kelp forests in the Pacific Northwest. At her request, the Library’s Preservation staff digitized these maps, and Pfister and her collaborators compared the early 20th-century survey findings to aerial censuses of two canopy kelp species in Washington State waters from 1989 to 2015.
Surveying kelp beds in anticipation of World War I
The maps in the UChicago Library’s collection were made in anticipation of international conflict rather than global warming. In the early 1900s, the U.S. Department of Agriculture recognized a problem. The United States relied heavily on fertilizer to grow crops and support its burgeoning economy, yet a crucial ingredient for fertilizer — potash, a mixture of potassium and salts — was mined almost exclusively in Germany. German mines supplied nearly the entire world’s supply of potash, and at the time the U.S. used about a fifth of its output.
Seeking ways to ease this dependency—and possibly aware that potash is also an ingredient in gunpowder—the USDA commissioned several surveys of an alternative source of potash: kelp beds in the Pacific Northwest. The large, hardy seaweeds are a natural source of potassium, nitrogen, and salts, and kelp worldwide have been used historically as fertilizer. If kelp could be harvested and processed in large enough quantities, it could be a viable source of potash to offset German imports.
So, the USDA sent surveyors — including George Rigg, an ecologist from the University of Washington — to map the kelp beds along the coast of California, Oregon, Washington and Alaska. Rigg set out in a yacht with a 40-horsepower motor and mapped the Washington coastline in 1911-12.
One hundred and five years later, Pfister was made aware of the maps and was surprised to see a folio listed in the University of Chicago Library Catalog. With a few keystrokes, she had them retrieved by the robotic cranes in the Joe and Rika Mansueto Library’s automated storage and retrieval system. Delivered into her hands were large format maps bound inside 27 x 21-inch covers. Recognizing the value and fragility of the material, and wanting to use and archive digital copies of the maps for her analysis, Pfister contacted Preservation Librarian Sherry Byrne for help.
Conservation staff used Japanese paper to stabilize the brittle maps at the folds.
Conserving and digitizing the maps
The Library’s Preservation team was happy to digitize the extensive collection of maps from Alaska to California and had the expertise to do so without causing damage to the brittle, 100-year-old paper they were printed on. Especially large maps that had been folded to fit inside the book’s covers were starting to tear at the folds, so Library staff reinforced those sections of paper with Japanese tissue and wheat starch paste to keep the sections of the page from separating during handling. They then built a set-up to support the large volume while opening the folded maps for digitization. Photographer Michael Kenny and Head of Digitization Kathleen Arthur captured high-resolution images and posted PDFs that are now freely available to researchers worldwide through the Library Catalog.
“Library staff members with expertise in conservation and digitization are here to enable research that requires the digitization of print and other non-digital materials,” said Byrne. “We encourage faculty, students, and other researchers to contact us to discuss the possibility of digitizing materials in our collection.”
Professor Cathy Pfister points to a kelp map in the Library’s Digitization Laboratory. Image courtesy of The Forefront.
With digitized copies of the Library’s 1911-12 maps in hand and aerial censuses from the last 26 years, Pfister and colleagues at the Washington Department of Natural Resources were able to determine the persistence of kelp cover over the past century and compared kelp dynamics with likely environmental drivers such as local environmental variables and ocean indices for the region.
What they found is a relatively rare positive story when it comes to ecological studies in a time of accelerating climate change. The abundance of most modern kelp beds along the Washington coast has remained constant over the last century despite a seawater temperature increase of 0.72 degrees Celsius. The few exceptions are kelp beds closest to Puget Sound, Seattle and Tacoma.
“Kelp are a robust and resilient structure. You can see that in the data, as long as they have access to good water quality and waves flush through them, then they persist,” Pfister said.
Pfister and her team also studied the competition among kelp species in the area. While the kelp beds were persistent over the decades, their populations could fluctuate greatly from year to year. There are two dominant species — the annual bull kelp and the perennial giant kelp — and they fluctuated similarly, meaning that if one was abundant in a given year, so was the other. And good years, it turns out, are associated with colder seawater temperatures, an unfortunate preference for kelp as ocean temperatures continue to rise.
The Library and research on climate change and ecological history
“As ecologists, we’re realizing that libraries and museums have incredible archival information about how our ecosystems used to look before we really were recording it very well,” said Pfister. “So instances like this where there was an expedition that really quantified how much kelp was there are incredibly important in helping us to understand where we’ve been in these ecosystems and potentially where we’re going as the climate changes.”
The Library has a wide variety of materials that may be useful to scientists exploring ecological history, including reports, maps, and data on ecological communities and environments that have changed or disappeared due to urbanization, climate change, and other forces. One particularly well-known collection of 4500 American Environmental Photographs was created between 1891 and 1936 by UChicago faculty members and students and is fully digitized and available online. The Library’s extraordinary Map Collection is well described and discoverable in the Library Catalog, and additional maps can be found in books and other materials. For research assistance in this area, contact us at Ask a Science Librarian.
A new guide is now available for Molecular Engineering: http://guides.lib.uchicago.edu/molecular. This guide shows how to find the most useful information resources and services available for molecular engineering. It includes links to article databases that focus on engineering, information about how to access resources easily from off campus, and document delivery options for book chapters and articles not available electronically.
We also offer research guides for all major disciplines in the sciences and guides for Digital Scholarship issues including:
Video recordings from the 5th biennial Kathleen A. Zar Symposium, “Open Data: Science, Health, Community” are now available online. The symposium featured speakers from Mozilla, the National Library of Medicine, the City of Chicago and more, who provided insight into open data projects and initiatives which have an impact on science, health, or community.
This project has been funded in part with Federal funds from the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, under Grant Number 1UG4LMO12312346-01 with the University of Iowa.
A digitized page from Fermi’s Notebook D14,”Numerical Calculations,” from November 12, 1943, to May 27, 1944. (Fermi, Enrico. Collection, [Box 42, Folder 3], Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library.)
Posted onOctober 26, 2017byBrenda L. Johnson, Library Director and University Librarian at the University of Chicago Library
The Changing Nature of Scholarship
The advent of digital technology has opened up new horizons that have inspired scholars to transform the nature of their scholarship. From the rapid analysis of a human genome to the sharing of social science data sets to data mining vast quantities of text—scholars are continually developing new digital approaches to creating, analyzing, and sharing their research.
Brenda L. Johnson, Library Director and University Librarian (Photo by John Zich)
While digital scholarship activity among the University of Chicago faculty is growing, this new kind of scholarship comes with a challenge. Researchers must master a dizzying array of computational tools and techniques, they must think about how to manage their data in ways that can be used by other researchers, and they must find solutions for archiving and sharing their data that meet the increasingly stringent requirements of funding agencies. As faculty and students increasingly incorporate computational and algorithmic methods (e.g., text mining, network analysis, GIS and geo-spatial mapping, image analysis, data analysis) into their research process, they are looking for partners to provide the technical and human resources necessary to support their research activities, foster innovation, and facilitate cross-divisional collaboration.
Digital scholarship encompasses all parts of this new life cycle of digital research, from the changing ways in which scholars collect and analyze data to their increased interest in new techniques for preserving and sharing that data. The Library is a natural hub for the exchange of ideas and the home of a great deal of expertise on archiving and sharing information. Accordingly, we are preparing to enhance our offerings and collaborations with faculty in each segment of this life cycle.
Envisioning a Center for Digital Scholarship at the University of Chicago Library
Faculty tell us that “a substantial barrier to the adoption of computational and digital methods at the University of Chicago has been the isolation of faculty members from colleagues who are experimenting with similar techniques. . . . A physical space designated for such inquiry could help bridge this knowledge gap by providing an environment in which to explore the application of these techniques, receive hands-on training through tutorials or workshops, and benefit from informal collaboration with colleagues in other disciplines.”
To meet this need, I am pleased to announce that we are beginning the work of launching a Center for Digital Scholarship at the Library, which will become a new nexus for intellectual energy and growth, providing a space that will support state-of-the-art technologies and services that facilitate the exploration of new methodologies, the analysis of complex data, the visualization of theoretical relationships, and the sharing of research results.
Establishing such a transformative center at the Library will require identifying high priority needs and thinking creatively about how to resource those needs. Thanks to the generosity of Robert, AM’64, and Carolyn Nelson, AM’64, PhD’67, we will soon be able to hire a Director for the Center for Digital Scholarship (CDS) who will develop a strategic vision, begin to build services, and coordinate with existing library staff. Our new CDS Director will jumpstart the process and position us to pursue additional funding to support a full suite of services. I am grateful to the Nelsons for their early support of the Library’s digital scholarship initiatives.
We are now beginning a search for this Director and look forward to having this position filled in the coming months. As the Center develops over time, we expect that we will be able to facilitate a wide range of activities. Possibilities fall into three categories.
Scholarly Exploration and Collaboration. A combination of intellectual programming (symposia to host international scholars, tutorials, brown-bag presentations, workshops, faculty lectures), services (project consultation, data archiving), and technology (scanning equipment, workstations equipped with GIS and other specialized software) will make the Center a hub that brings faculty, students, and scholars together in ways that spark interactions and facilitate cross-divisional collaborations.
Graduate and Undergraduate Training. Faculty turn to the Library as a partner to supplement classroom instruction with workshops, targeted training, and onsite training by embedded librarians who can teach the skills necessary for students to succeed. In addition to supporting initiatives across campus to develop courses and programs that integrate new computational methods and theories into a wide range of disciplines, the Library has partnered with UChicagoGrad to provide fundamental digital scholarship skills needed by graduate students to become the next generation of leaders in academia, industry, nonprofits, and government.
The OCHRE database allows users to view photographs of artifacts (here, Ras Shamra tablets) alongside associated machine-readable data such as descriptions, epigraphs, interpretive information, transliterations, and translations.
Project Incubation and Execution. The Center for Digital Scholarship will provide services, such as project consultations, data acquisition and conversion, workshops in tools and techniques, and core technical infrastructure. Researchers would benefit from guidance on strategies for organizing and executing digital project work and from assistance by staff with the experience and networks that can facilitate project components that are new to the researcher. Examples of such projects are the Library’s collaboration with Chicago Booth’s Richard Hornbeck on the location and digitization of 19th-century manufacturing data and with the Oriental Institute’s David Schloen on the OCHRE database system.
I look forward to being joined by the new Director of the Center for Digital Scholarship, who will collaborate with colleagues within the Library and across campus to develop a vision for the Center and plan for the rollout of services critical to digital research and teaching projects of many kinds.
Posted onOctober 26, 2017byRachel Rosenberg at the University of Chicago Library
Social scientists, humanists, and business faculty work with Library experts
Professor Hornbeck (center) discusses the digitization process for the Census of Manufacturers with Head of Digitization Kathleen Arthur (right) and Preservation Librarian Sherry Byrne. (Photo by Eddie Quinones)
Social scientists, humanists, and business faculty across the University of Chicago campus are rapidly adopting and inventing new digital tools and techniques. Whether they seek to analyze 19th-century American manufacturing, the ruins of the ancient walled city of Sam’al, or the transmission history of Hamlet, UChicago scholars and students are employing new digital approaches to gathering, analyzing, preserving and sharing their data and scholarly findings. As they do so, Library staff members with expertise in everything from digitization to GIS to digital data curation and archiving are developing innovative ways to collaborate with faculty to advance digital scholarship.
Gathering and digitizing data from the Census of Manufacturers
The U.S. Census of Manufacturers has the potential to be an internationally recognized resource, Professor of Economics Richard Hornbeck explains—as important for academic research as the census data on individuals available currently through IPUMs and Ancestry.com. Conducted every decade from 1850 to 1900, the Census of Manufacturers gathered firm names, product types, production quantities, and values for every establishment producing more than $500 worth of manufactured goods. Census takers also collected input data on capital stock, raw materials, power source, wages, and employment. If combined into a machine-readable format in one accessible location, the complete census data would become a powerful tool for understanding 19th-century manufacturing across the United States and in specific regions.
And yet, up to this point, the establishment-level data has never been accessible to researchers in one location. The Census Bureau has compiled and published county-level and county-by-industry summaries, but the firm-level data has been scattered across the country in different archives, libraries, and historical societies, in formats ranging from original handwritten records to microfilmed copies. That will change for data from 1850 to 1880, thanks to a collaborative digitization effort now underway, led by Professor Hornbeck, who has enlisted a team of professional and student research assistants, as well as Sherry Byrne, Preservation Librarian; Kathleen Arthur, Head of Digitization; Emily Treptow, Business and Economics Librarian for Instruction and Outreach; and Elisabeth Long, Associate University Librarian for IT and Digital Scholarship.
The project began in 2016. Early on, Hornbeck approached Treptow, Byrne, and Arthur with questions about how to digitize microfilm, including more than 100 rolls that Vanderbilt Professor Emeritus Jeremy Atack had been storing in his basement and more than 90 rolls located at a dozen archives, libraries, and historical societies across the country from the New Hampshire State Archives to the University of Arkansas and the Center for Research Libraries.
Although Hornbeck and research professional Julius Luettge located most of the microfilm themselves, the trusted relationships that the University of Chicago Library has established with other research institutions enabled Byrne to borrow and oversee the digitization of items that would not have been released to an individual researcher.
The Library’s experts have also advised on numerous matters along the way, such as how to create high-quality scans of manuscript materials and good metadata. “A project of this nature could easily be overwhelming,” Hornbeck said. “It’s great to have library professionals watching over this.”
Other faculty members pursuing complex digitization projects like this one are invited to contact the Library to discuss the possibility of collaborating. “Researchers benefit from guidance from Library staff on strategies for organizing and executing digital project work,” explained Long. “We can facilitate project components that are new to researchers.” Such cooperation has left Professor Hornbeck with more time to focus on analyzing his data. He is currently working with Martin Rotemberg at NYU to examine the substantial growth in American manufacturing from 1850 to 1880 and to estimate how the expanding railroad network impacted manufacturing productivity.
UChicago faculty, students, and staff working on the digitization of the U.S. Census of Manufacturers include, from left, Preservation Librarian Sherry Byrne, undergraduate research assistants Anselm Jia and Guozhen (Gordon) Ji, research professional Andrea Cerrato, Professor of Economics and Neubauer Family Faculty Fellow Richard Hornbeck, research professional Will Cockriel, undergraduate research assistants Gyeom Kim and David Ardila, and Head of Digitization Kathleen Arthur. (Photo by Eddie Quinones)
Taylor Hixson describes her job as “helping anyone who is new to the field of GIS.” Brought on board as the Resident Librarian for Geographic Information Systems in Fall 2016, she helps faculty and students find data sources and advises faculty on how they can organize, preserve, and share their geographic data with others: for instance, by creating metadata, by depositing data in the University’s digital repository, Knowledge@UChicago; and by making data accessible through the Big Ten Academic Alliance Geoportal at geo.btaa.org.
Hixson maintains office hours in the Maps Collection in Regenstein Library, offers GIS workshops throughout the academic year, and assists individuals by appointment. She also provides customized training for students in particular classes upon faculty request.
Last year, Susan Burns, Associate Professor of Japanese History, East Asian Languages and Civilizations, and the College, contacted Hixson as she was planning the GIS components of a course on Edo/Tokyo: Society and the City in Japan. Burns’s class attracted everyone from first-year College students to second-year graduate students, who entered with diverse backgrounds in Arc-GIS and historical research methods. Hixson was able to provide training for students at all levels.
After each of four class periods devoted to introducing basic Arc skills, Hixson held review sessions for students who wanted more help. She also worked individually with students on using the Esri Story Map platform for their final projects, mapping everything from schools to bathhouses to public protests. “Many students expressed to me how grateful they were for Taylor’s help, and of course, I am as well,” Burns said.
Hixson’s first year at the Library has proven that there is demand for GIS Services from faculty and students across schools and divisions. The demonstration of this need has confirmed the Library’s decision to hire a GIS and Maps Librarian who will continue to develop the Library’s GIS program.
OCHRE and the Library’s infrastructure for description, discovery, and archiving services
When archaeologist David Schloen and database specialist Sandra Schloen began working to create OCHRE—the Online Cultural and Historical Research Environment at the Oriental Institute—they knew they wanted to design a customized user interface to record, integrate, analyze, publish, and preserve texts from the Ancient Near East, including some of the most difficult ancient languages to model in a database environment. To fulfill their vision, they needed a partner who could provide an infrastructure that would power their project.
The map view interface in OCHRE, showing Tell Keisan excavation locations. (Courtesy of Miller Prosser)
The Schloens turned to Charles Blair, Director of the Digital Library Development Center, and ever since he has led the Library team that hosts OCHRE’s high-performance database system as it has grown to support roughly 30 projects in fields from philology to archaeology to history. Each has its own framework for organizing data that is tailored to the needs of the project. One project currently underway, Critical Editions for Digital Analysis and Research (CEDAR), will provide a single software environment where scholars can trace textual variants and explore the transmission of major literary traditions. Initial test cases will be the first eleven chapters of the Book of Genesis, the Sumerian copies of the Gilgamesh Epic, and the various early printings of Shakespeare’s Hamlet.
Blair and a Library Unix systems administrator, Fred Seaton, maintain the OCHRE database server and advise on archival procedures for the curation of project data. “Deeply rooted in the library tradition, Charles has a watchful eye on the future and is committed to helping the OCHRE Data Service devise and implement strategies to ensure the long-term viability and accessibility of our data,” said David Schloen, Professor of Near Eastern Archaeology.
“Charles and the Library are natural partners for the Schloens on the OCHRE Data Service because we all share a commitment to providing services and features that satisfy the full cycle of data management,” explained Long. Blair had already led the Library team that built an infrastructure to support Library databases such as the University of Chicago Photographic Archive and the Special Collections Finding Aids, and other University projects such as the Project for American and French Research on the Treasury of the French Language (ARTFL) and a collection of digital images for teaching, LUNA.
“OCHRE was able to leverage our existing infrastructure for description, discovery, and archiving services, and we would be happy to provide the same type of service to other University of Chicago faculty and staff who have their own development teams but need an infrastructure for their interface,” explained Blair.
The OCHRE database allows users to view photographs of artifacts (here, Ras Shamra tablets) alongside associated machine-readable data such as descriptions, epigraphs, interpretive information, transliterations, and translations.
New librarians exploring new frontiers
The Library is taking numerous steps to expand its staff expertise and its work in digital scholarship in the coming months and years. Library Director and University Librarian Brenda Johnson recently announced the imminent launch of a Center for Digital Scholarship at the Library. In addition to hiring a Director for this new Center and a GIS and Maps Librarian, the Library is preparing to hire a Social Sciences Data Librarian, a Scholarly Communication Librarian, and a Biomedical Data Librarian who will increase the Library’s capacity to provide innovative digital research and teaching services. The Library is also proposing with the Energy Policy Institute at UChicago to bring on board a two-year Council on Library and Information Resources Postdoctoral Fellow who would focus on building the understanding and infrastructure necessary for managing data critical to the study of energy, environmental science, and climate change.
One of the services open to UChicago faculty in every field is Knowledge@UChicago, a digital repository that preserves and shares the scholarly, creative, and administrative assets of the University. Faculty are encouraged to deposit their scholarly articles and small data sets at this time, and plans will soon be made to expand the repository’s capacity when the new Scholarly Communication Librarian joins the Library. Visit knowledge.uchicago.edu for more information.
The computers have dual, high-resolution monitors and 32 GB RAM. Box Sync is also available on these computers for users to connect and save data between the desktop software and Box, which provides UChicago users with unlimited storage space.
Additional technology in the Map Collection includes a large format and a flatbed scanner, a microform reader, and data resources from China Data Center and Geolytics.
GIS software and support is also available in Crerar Library, where the library’s computers have ArcGIS Desktop, ArcGIS Pro, GeoDa, QGIS, and Google Earth Pro as well as a connection to vLab.
For questions about these computers or how the library supports GIS and spatial data, contact Resident Librarian for GIS Taylor Hixson (firstname.lastname@example.org), or visit her in the Map Collection during walk-in GIS office hours Monday-Thursday from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. during the academic quarters.
Consult the library’s research guides for more information about getting started with GIS and finding spatial data and maps.