Tag Archives: Law Kiosk

New center fuses media arts, data, and design

A rendering of people workign together in the MADD Center

A rendering of the Media Arts, Data and Design Center, a new collaborative space in the John Crerar Library at the University of Chicago. (Illustration courtesy of Payette Architects )

Partnership across UChicago explores intersection of technology, creativity, and research

The boundaries between art, design, science, and technology are disappearing in a digital world. Today, artists use algorithms, scientists rely on visualization and designers are often focused on helping people navigate new technologies.

At the University of Chicago, the disciplines come together at the Media Arts, Data, and Design (MADD) Center, creating a new collaborative space for experimentation, discovery and impact. The MADD Center will support work by faculty, other academic appointees, students, staff, and community partners through cutting-edge technologies. The 20,000-square-foot center in the John Crerar Library opens February 25.

“Design, as a field, now encompasses the sum of human interactions with the devices, environments, and communities that shape daily life,” said David J. Levin, Senior Advisor to the Provost for Arts. “The MADD Center gives the University of Chicago a space to address these radical changes, assess their wide-ranging consequences, and comprehend the ways that perception, sensation, and experience are being transformed.”

At the MADD Center, there are opportunities to create, study, and learn about critical technologies driving both culture and science, including video games, virtual and augmented reality, data visualization, and digital fabrication. The MADD Center brings together the College, Division of Humanities, Division of Physical Sciences, UChicago Arts and the UChicago Library.

The MADD Center will host five resource labs:

  • An expanded Computer Science Instructional Labs, providing hardware and software for training and education;
  • The Hack Arts Lab, an open-access digital fabrication, prototyping, and visualization facility;
  • The new Weston Game Lab, offering expanded resources for the study, play, and development of analog, electronic, virtual and online games;
  • The Research Computing Center Visualization Lab in the Crerar Library’s Kathleen A. Zar Room, providing new data visualization technology; and,
  • The UChicago Library’s new GIS Hub, enabling geospatial research and learning activities by providing access to geographical information systems software and hardware and an expert GIS and maps librarian who offers consultations and training.

At the MADD Center, classroom and studio spaces support the teaching of Media Arts and Design and Media Aesthetics in the College, electronic music in partnership with CHIME Studios in the Department of Music, and virtual reality and other media courses as part of the new Media Arts and Design minor in Cinema and Media Studies.  In addition, the MADD Center will provide new opportunities for further collaboration with the Logan Center for the Arts, the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and many others.

“I am excited about the new opportunities students and faculty in the College and the Humanities will have to work with colleagues in computer science and other areas as we continue to develop new courses in Media Arts and Design and support the many interests of our students and faculty in this area,” said Christopher Wild, Deputy Dean of the College and Humanities Division.

Collaboration Across Creative Forms

The open floorplan and close proximity of MADD Center labs is designed to create opportunities for crossovers and collaboration. Students designing a new board game can create prototypes on the 3D printers at the Hack Arts Lab, while researchers working with the GIS Hub might reveal new insights by visualizing their data on Research Computing Center resources. The MADD Center is located near the new Department of Computer Science offices and laboratories, a science librarians’ research and teaching suite, and the Library’s collections and study spaces at a renovated Crerar Library, creating new, interdisciplinary opportunities across divisions.

“As our world becomes increasingly digital, designers and artists need to become more engaged with technology and technologists need to become more fluent with design, media and the arts,” said Michael J. Franklin, Liew Family Chair of Computer Science. “By co-locating a critical mass of tech-savvy students and faculty with diverse skills and interests across these varied domains, we will facilitate robust dialogue and collaboration as our disciplines continue to co-evolve.”

People working in the Weston Game Lab

The Weston Game Lab will provide a vibrant new space at UChicago for the research and design of games. (Illustration courtesy of Payette Architects)

Gaming, UChicago-Style

The MADD Center is envisioned as a place for a group of students dissecting the structure of a classic Nintendo game, or sketching out the visual design for a new card game that teaches high school students about teen pregnancy. A cornerstone of the new center, the Weston Game Lab will provide a vibrant new space at UChicago for the research and design of the world’s fastest growing cultural and aesthetic form: games.

The Weston Game Lab is supported by a gift from Dr. Shellwyn Weston and Bradford Weston, JD’77. Within the Lab, students, faculty, and staff will collaborate on the research and development of games that produce social impact or experiment with form. Participants will also be able to research the history of games from technical and theoretical perspectives with the Library’s collection of video games and the Logan Center’s collection of consoles, attend workshops that afford new development skills, and organize collaborative groups for game-based experiments.

“Video games in recent years have become an immensely popular medium and multi-billion dollar industry,” said Patrick Jagoda, Associate Professor of English and Cinema & Media Studies and director of the Weston Game Lab. “For cultural, psychological, and sociopolitical reasons, we need rigorous academic study, across both humanistic and social scientific disciplines. I’m interested in growing a culture of thoughtful, ethical, and experimental game design for ends other than entertainment that includes interdisciplinary teams of faculty, staff, and students. I think the University of Chicago can really shine in this space.”

Get to know Connie Fleischer, Research Services Librarian

As a continuation of the D’Angelo Interview Series that we began last year, Scott Vanderlin took a moment to catch up with our Research Services Librarian, Connie Fleischer. Connie shares highlights of her career to this point at the University of Chicago, her day-to-day life, and her interests outside of law librarianship.

How long have you been at the D’Angelo Law Library? 

I began working at the D’Angelo Law Library in 1992 as the Reference/Government Documents Librarian. My title now is Research Services Librarian. Obviously, the information landscape has changed dramatically. The work I do (helping our patrons) is basically the same, just using different tools. It is an extremely exciting and interesting time to be a law librarian. While keeping up with technology is a huge challenge, I have found it fascinating to see how legal research platforms continue to evolve.

In the time you’ve worked in the law library, what is the most memorable event you’ve attended?

In general, working with our amazing students and faculty over the years has been a privilege. They go on to do remarkable things! One example is the time I was pregnant with my oldest son at the same time Michelle Obama was pregnant with Malia. I would run into Barack Obama, then a Senior Lecturer at the Law School, in the Law School Café. We would exchange pleasantries about the excitement of expecting a new baby. Now those babies are in college! I was sorry to miss his most recent visit to the Law School but am looking forward to the opening of the new Obama Presidential Library.

What activities consume most of your time as a law librarian?

In addition to staffing the reference desk, I spend considerable time working with law students (as well as students in other divisions/departments on campus) on their research (for an SRP, faculty RA, or clinic work, etc.). I serve as member of the HathiTrust User Support team, which has been an amazing opportunity to learn about digital libraries.

What new services or changes to the D’Angelo Law Library are you most excited about?

The new scanner that the Library just acquired is straight out of The Jetsons! Located in the Reserve Room, it is free to UChicago patrons. Also, I couldn’t be more excited about all of the outreach (ie. Café D’Angelo/ this newsletter) that my colleague, Scott Vanderlin,  is doing to promote the vast services/people resources that the D’Angelo Law Library has to offer.

[editor’s note: duh.]

What is your favorite aspect of working with students?

Our students are so incredibly bright and intellectually curious. I love introducing them to new resources or tools that help them do their work more efficiently

What are some of your interests outside of law libraries?

I enjoy spending time with my family, playing tennis with friends, and attending estate sales.

Cert Denied Cases Now on ProQuest Supreme Court Insight

ProQuest Supreme Court Insight now includes petitions for writ of certiorari for cert denied cases, as well as for argued cases. Dockets and petition-stage briefs are also included for these cases. Coverage is from 1975 to the2017-18 term. Petitions for cert denied cases filed in forma pauperis are not present.

Cert petitions from the Supreme Court’s current term are available from the Supreme Court web site, through their Docket Search.

New developments for Knowledge@UChicago, the University’s institutional repository

The University of Chicago Library is enhancing Knowledge@UChicagothe University’s institutional repository for faculty and student research, in order to better meet growing needs and interests around data sharing and preservation, open access, and reproducible research results. In mid-December, visitors to Knowledge@UChicago will encounter a new, user-friendly interface for sharing and accessing research. Improved capabilities for data and software preservation will follow over the winter quarter.

Launched in 2016, Knowledge@UChicago is an open access repository for sharing and preserving scholarly work created by faculty, students, and staff. It currently serves as a home for UChicago faculty and students’ digital research publications such as articles, book chapters, conference materials, and a small number of datasets, and for dissertations and theses by students who choose to make them open to the public. UChicago faculty and students in divisions and departments that range from the Physical Sciences Division to the School of Social Service Administration to the Humanities Division have already contributed publications and datasets to Knowledge@UChicago.

With the support of capital funding, the Library is migrating the repository to the TIND digital platform. TIND is based on the open source software Invenio, originally developed at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, to manage its own digital outputs.

This new system will offer more features for handling research data in addition to traditional research publications, and will provide greater flexibility for future customization and integration with researchers’ workflows. The first phase of the project will migrate existing content to the new system by the end of December 2018. The second phase, beginning in January, will add new features that better support research data and software preservation, including richer metadata for data deposits and integration with GitHub.

This move will improve the infrastructure available to our University community to make their data available for reuse, new discoveries, and replication. It will also support researchers as they meet requirements for data sharing from funders and publishers, The new developments to the institutional repository are accompanied by additional library data services, including assistance with data acquisition and transformation, data analysis, and data management. We encourage UChicago faculty, students, and staff to contact the Library at knowledge@lib.uchicago.edu to discuss your data management and sharing requirements and to begin depositing scholarly works. Librarians are available for consultations and instructional sessions on the repository for departments and groups on campus.

Knowledge@UChicago is managed and supported by the Library, in collaboration with IT Services at the University of Chicago.

New database trials: Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) Daily Reports and 20th Century Global Perspectives collections

This University of Chicago Library trial is available from November 21, 2018January 12, 2019. It consists of ten different databases:

Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) Daily Reports

The FBIS Daily Reports are U.S. government publications that include translations of news from around the world (Africa, Asia, Australia/Oceania, Caribbean, Europe, Middle East/Near East, North America, South America). The FBIS Daily Reports also include translations of foreign law in English translation if included in the news sources covered.

The Readex FBIS database covers 1941-1996.

From the Readex description of the database:

“As the United States’ principal historical record of political open source intelligence for more than half a century, the Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) Daily Report is an indispensable source for insights into decades of turbulent world history. The original mission of the FBIS was to monitor, record, transcribe and translate intercepted radio broadcasts from foreign governments, official news services, and clandestine broadcasts from occupied territories. Accordingly, it provides a wealth of information from all countries outside of the U.S.—from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe….

…FBIS Daily Reports, 1941-1996 constitutes a one-of-a-kind archive of transcripts of foreign broadcasts and news that provides fascinating insight into the second half of the 20th century. Many of these materials are firsthand reports of events as they occurred. Digitized from original paper copy and high-quality microfilm, this definitive online collection features full-text transcripts from Africa, Asia and the Pacific, China, Eastern and Western Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and the Soviet Union. Fully searchable for the first time, this unique digital collection features individual bibliographic records for each report and highlighted events to assist researchers.

Continue reading x

Meet new Social Sciences Data Librarian and Sociology Librarian Elizabeth Foster

Elizabeth Foster joined the Library as the Social Sciences Data Librarian and Sociology Librarian.  Elizabeth comes to Chicago from Georgetown University Library where she was the Public Policy and Social Sciences Librarian, providing reference, research and outreach services, workshops and orientations, as well as developing collections in several subject areas.  Elizabeth has a Masters of Information Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with a minor in Sociology from Kenyon College in Gambier, OH.

Elizabeth Foster

Elizabeth Foster (Photo by John Zich)

Barbara Kern interviewed Elizabeth to find out how she plans to work with faculty and students.

Elizabeth can be reached at ehfoster@uchicago.edu, 773-702-8699, and Regenstein Library Room 261.

Q: How did you become interested in social sciences data?

A: I’ve always been someone who wants to know the details. Data allows you to see information at a really granular level. Throughout my career, I’ve worked with a lot of library users who want to research contemporary social problems. Data lets them take a look behind the scenes and develop their own conclusions.

Q: What are the greatest opportunities and challenges in working with research data?

A: Research data is available in a variety of formats—print, online, and disks—and none of it is consolidated in one place; it is easy to miss something valuable if you don’t know where to look. There’s an opportunity to make data discovery more seamless. In addition, the process of organizing, preserving, and sharing data and research workflows can be complicated. There are a lot of great tools that can help researchers open up their data, methods, and findings to new audiences.

Q:  What are some of the highlights of your work with the sociology faculty and students at Georgetown University?

A: I worked closely with two sociology faculty members to provide instruction to their students. In their sophomore year, they would come to the library and get an introduction to social sciences literature. In their senior year, they would return to learn more about research skills and subsequently apply them to their thesis projects. It was a great chance to work with students throughout multiple courses and help them produce original research.

Q: How will you work with social sciences faculty and students at University of Chicago in your new role?

A: I will help social sciences faculty and students discover, evaluate, and use datasets and other information resources. I will also help researchers manage and share their original data using various tools and technologies, such as the DMPTool and Knowledge@UChicago. I plan to offer consultations and workshops on data topics and social sciences resources.

Q: What was a particularly interesting project you have worked on with social sciences data?

A: I helped a student find information in Factiva to update a World Bank dataset on food price riots. We followed the authors’ methodology and found sources so she could tag them with prescribed codes and add them to the dataset.

Q: What is your favorite thing about the city of Chicago so far?

A: I love the lakefront. I grew up near Lake Erie and it is great to have access to a lakefront again. I also enjoy the museums, the food scene, and the architecture.

Expanding services for faculty in a changing environment

Brenda L. Johnson

Brenda L. Johnson, Library Director and University Librarian (Photo by John Zich)

Today’s scholarly environment presents an increasing array of challenges and opportunities for faculty and graduate students. New funding agency requirements call on researchers to present advance plans for openly sharing and preserving their data.  Researchers are seeking ways to obtain data in new formats, to visualize information in new ways, and to rescue and share data for new purposes.  Across disciplines, researchers are constantly challenged to find and adopt new tools and techniques. The Library is meeting this challenge by launching new initiatives, developing cutting-edge skills among our librarians, and bringing on new staff members who can assist researchers in this changing scholarly environment.

Stacie Williams

Stacie Williams, Center for Digital Scholarship Director

The Library’s new Center for Digital Scholarship (CDS) will be an umbrella for many of these services, facilitating the analysis of complex data, the visualization of theoretical relationships, the preservation of core research, and the sharing of research results. Stacie Williams, who joined the Library in August as the inaugural CDS Director, brings experience working with researchers in her previous position managing the Freedman Center for Digital Scholarship at Case Western Reserve University. Williams is working with subject librarians and faculty to identify priorities for establishing new spaces, technical infrastructure, and services that meet research and teaching needs.  Following are some of the key areas in which initiatives are already underway.

Data preservation and sharing

Nora Mattern

Nora Mattern, Scholarly Communications Librarian

The Library is expanding Knowledge@UChicago, the University’s digital institutional research repository, to better support the needs of data preservation. Led by new Scholarly Communications Librarian Nora Mattern, the Library is migrating Knowledge@UChicago to a new platform that was initially developed at CERN to support high energy physics. The new Knowledge@UChicago will launch in January and will provide funder-compliant solutions for researchers to share and preserve their code, data, and research results.  Mattern also provides consultations on good data management practices, writing data management plans, and copyright.

The Library is also partnering with the Energy Policy Institute at Chicago (EPIC) to host a Council on Library and Information Resources Postdoctoral Fellow in Energy Economics Data Curation, Ana Trisovic. Trisovic is focusing on the particular challenges EPIC faculty face in collecting and preserving energy data, which is often available only from private industry or difficult-to-use government websites. She will be building a clearinghouse for EPIC’s data to facilitate discovery and reuse, as well as developing solutions for preserving and sharing the code that researchers use to analyze their data. Trisovic will use the skills she gained earning a PhD in Computer Science and her experience developing similar preservation solutions at CERN, applying them to the field of energy economics.

Data acquisition and use

Kristin Martin

Kristin Martin, Director of Technical Services

The challenge of acquiring data for research is shared by many disciplines. For example, the Library subscribes to thousands of electronic books and journals, but researchers interested in data mining these texts cannot easily do so using the vendor’s PDFs, which are intended for individual reading. Kristin Martin, the Library’s Director of Technical Services, excels at working with publishers to provide alternative access that is optimized for data mining.  The Library’s subject specialists can work with faculty across the disciplines and with Martin to seek such alternative access.

Elizabeth Foster

Elizabeth Foster, Social Sciences Data Librarian

Elizabeth Foster, the Library’s new Social Sciences Data Librarian, can take this one step further, not only helping researchers find and acquire relevant data, but also helping them transform that data, for example, by formatting it to match the requirements of a particular tool.  Foster will offer workshops and will be developing data analysis consultation services, with a focus on using R and Stata.

Geospatial analysis

Cecilia Smith

Cecilia Smith, GIS and Maps Librarian

Faculty in many disciplines are exploring the ways spatial and temporal analysis and visualization can be used to gain new insights into their data. Cecilia Smith, the Library’s new GIS and Maps Librarian, can consult on the use of GIS information and geospatial tools to analyze and visualize trends in data from mapping the shifts in the border of the Roman Empire over time, to plotting the incidence of traffic accidents in relation to red light cameras, to mapping the impact of environmental factors on health outcomes, and more.  Read “Opening a GIS Hub at Crerar Library” for more information.

At-risk data and data rescue

Sarah G. Wenzel

Sarah G. Wenzel, Bibliographer for the Literatures of Europe and the Americas

Researchers interested in documenting historical trends are often stymied when early data are in analog formats not conducive to data analysis.  Heritage data–such as weather data and astronomical observations–are often the only evidence remaining of ephemeral or disappearing phenomena.  The Library is currently partnering with the Humanities Division to ensure that the UChicago Digital Media Archive’s linguistic and ethnomusicology recordings made by former faculty are converted from fragile magnetic tape to a digital form that can be used by researchers today. We are also working with the Ivy Plus Libraries on a web archiving project. Sarah G. Wenzel, Bibliographer for the Literatures of Europe and the Americas, co-developed a proposal with a colleague at Columbia University to create a digital archive of comics and artists’ websites.  Currently, more than 150 websites are being actively archived by this project and can be found at archive-it.org/collections/10181.

The expert and talented staff members of the Library are committed to expanding services that meet faculty needs in this changing environment. We look forward to working with you and encourage you to visit our Center for Digital Scholarship web page and to contact your subject specialist, Stacie Williams, or Elisabeth Long, Associate University Librarian for Information Technology and Digital Scholarship, to discuss your research needs.

Opening a GIS Hub at Crerar Library

Location is important. Tracking the movement of contagious disease helps contain its spread. Demographic geography influences access to financial and retail services. Virtualized medieval cities provide opportunities to explore the contexts of historical events. Each of these phenomena can be studied with GIS.

GIS and Maps Librarian and students with map of Chicago on monitor

GIS and Maps Librarian Cecilia Smith (center) discusses mapping tools and resources with (from left) students Paul Gilbert, II, College ’20, and Emil Sohlberg, College ’20. (Photo by Joel Wintermantle)

Geographic information systems, or GIS, is used to analyze locational information across disciplines such as public health, environmental science, sociology, economics, policy, history, and many more. Faculty and students are increasingly integrating GIS into their research, and opportunities to learn the technology are growing at the University of Chicago.

Thanks to a generous gift from the Kathleen and Howard Zar Science Library Fund and support from the Library Council, the University of Chicago Library is developing a GIS Hub at the John Crerar Library to enable geospatial research and learning activities on campus. The Hub will be located in Crerar’s Kathleen A. Zar Room, named in honor of the late director of the science libraries. Brenda Johnson, Library Director and University Librarian, sees the new Hub as critical to supporting research on campus. “The GIS Hub at the Library will provide faculty, students and staff from every discipline at UChicago with access to important technology and resources and, very importantly, the ability to consult with a GIS Librarian with expert knowledge,” she said.

Eight workstations in the Hub will offer GIS software, including QGIS, GeoDa, and ArcGIS. Large, high-resolution monitors will allow detailed visualization work. The GIS Hub will facilitate individual and collaborative work. Instructional technology will also provide a venue for geospatial workshops and demonstrations.

As the new GIS and Maps Librarian, I will support faculty and students through consultations on gathering and exploring geospatial data, spatial literacy, and visualizing geographic information.  I will also offer workshops on working with GIS data and getting started with the software. At Chicago, I will build on my recent experience as a Clinical Assistant Professor and the Geospatial Librarian at Texas A&M University Libraries, where I collaborated on research projects with faculty from geography, sociology, anthropology, history, urban planning, and ecosystem science. The Early Modern Shipwreck project at modernshipwrecks.com is a good example of one of my collaborations with faculty where I provided geospatial expertise.

The GIS Hub opens to the campus community in Fall 2018, located with the new Media Arts, Data, and Design Center on the first floor of the newly renovated Crerar Library. The Media Arts, Data and Design Center will open in early Winter Quarter.  This co-location is an exciting opportunity for faculty and students to access technological and maker resources for interdisciplinary research and learning.

For questions regarding GIS resources at the Library, please contact me at ceciliasmith@uchicago.edu.

Law resources for University faculty

The D’Angelo Law Library subscribes to dozens of legal databases with historical and current law and scholarly commentary to support the University of Chicago community. Legal research tools thought of as primarily for the Law School are useful for a variety of scholarship and teaching in other disciplines.

ProQuest’s Legislative Insight, Regulatory Insight and Supreme Court Insight offer efficient and comprehensive ways of exploring legal sources.  Legislative Insight organizes the legislative history of each enacted federal law.  You can search by the popular name of the statute (e.g., Americans with Disabilities Act), by citation or keyword.  Results include committee hearings and reports, congressional debates and votes, and executive signing statements.  Regulatory Insight  connects researchers with federal regulations created pursuant to congressional authority.  Supreme Court Insight, which includes opinions, dockets, oral arguments, and briefs from cases from 1975 to 2017, also facilitates understanding the judicial process.

History of Supreme Court Nominations - Volume 23 on Elena Kagan

From Hein Online’s History of Supreme Court Nominations – Volume 23 on Elena Kagan

Another core legal resource, HeinOnline, is a treasure trove, from complete back files of academic law journals to historical collections of state and territorial laws to the Pentagon Papers.  Included among the collections are Gun Regulation and Legislation in America and Slavery in America and the World: History, Culture & Law.  HeinOnline has an impressive range: the English Reports, Full Reprint begins with 1220 while the History of Supreme Court Nominations concludes with Justice Elena Kagan.

Searching for “law” in the Library’s database finder tool produces 284 hits, from the American Civil Liberties Union Papers, 1912-1995 to WorldTradeLaw.net.  Explore!

For questions about using legal resources, Ask a Law Librarian.

Archives of two giants of economics

Gifts of the papers of George Stigler and Harry G. Johnson will expand our understanding of economics at Chicago

George Stigler in front of Rosenwald Hall and a headshot of Harry Johnson

George Stigler (left) and Harry G. Johnson (right). Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.

The University of Chicago is world renowned for the “Chicago School of Economics” and the 30 Nobel laureates in economic sciences who have been UChicago faculty members, students, or researchers. Yet, among historians of economics, definitions of the “Chicago School” continue to be debated.  Three recent gifts to the University of Chicago Library—the papers of Nobel laureate George Stigler, PhD’38, the papers of international trade expert Harry G. Johnson, and funding to organize the Johnson papers and create an online finding aid—will expand scholars’ understanding of the many ways Chicago has shaped the field of economics.

The University of Chicago Library is home to collections of more than 30 economists and 21 Nobel laureates, including seven Nobel Prize-winning economists:  Gary Becker, Ronald Coase, Robert Fogel, Milton Friedman, Merton Miller, Theodore Schultz, and George Stigler.   “These three generous new gifts will enable scholars to explore the history of economics in new ways,” said Brenda Johnson, Library Director and University Librarian.  “They strengthen our University Archives and demonstrate the Library’s ongoing commitment to being a vital center of University of Chicago history and the home of Nobel Prize winners’ research.”

Nobel laureate George Stigler’s papers

Draft of Nobel Prize speech, "The Process and Progress of Economics" with edits

Draft of Nobel Prize speech, with black handwritten edits by George Stigler and red printing by Stephen Stigler, November 29, 1982. Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.

Frequently thought of as one of the leaders of the “Chicago School,” George Stigler came to the University of Chicago as a graduate student in 1933, received his PhD in 1938 and returned to Chicago as a professor from 1958 until his death in 1991.  He was awarded the 1982 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences “for his seminal studies of industrial structures, functioning of markets and causes and effects of public regulation” and was hailed by the Journal of Law and Economics as “a towering figure in the history of law and economics” and the first to win a Nobel Prize for work in the field.

Stigler is widely known for developing the “Economic Theory of Regulation,” which argues that political and economic interest groups use the coercive and regulatory powers of government to shape laws and regulations that benefit them.  He also shaped the education of a generation of undergraduates as the author of The Theory of Price, a textbook on free market economics that places its subject in historical context.  He initiated the study of the economics of information as a field, arguing that knowledge is costly to acquire and that consumers and businesses therefore must make decisions about how much information to acquire, as they do with goods and services.

Handwritten letter from Milton Friedman to George Stigler

Letter from Milton Friedman to George Stigler, August 23, 1946. Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.

George Stigler’s son Stephen M. Stigler also became a faculty member at University of Chicago.  Currently the Ernest DeWitt Burton Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Statistics and the College and member of the Committee on Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science, Stephen donated his father’s papers to the University of Chicago Library, where they are available for research in the Special Collections Research Center.  A long-time supporter of the Library, chair of the faculty Board of the Library from 1986 to 1989, and chair of the University of Chicago Library Society from 2011 to 2014, Stephen said the papers clearly belonged here: “I never had a thought that they’d go anywhere else because the University of Chicago was such an important part of my father’s life.”

The papers include 70 linear feet of research and teaching materials, correspondence with economists such as Milton Friedman, photographs, and ephemera. Stephen Stigler anticipates that scholars may be particularly interested in some of the short, unpublished pieces that explore economic issues and, in some cases, politics.  “He was very interested in politics—not politics as something to push forward, but he thought when people voted a certain way or acted a certain way politically, they were furthering their own interests, and that’s not always obvious from what they did,” Stephen explained.  “People sometimes do what could at first glance look foolish, and you wonder why they did it, but if you study it enough, you can find that there is a rational story you can tell to explain what they’re doing.  You learn a lot about human behavior in the process.”

International trade expert Harry G. Johnson’s papers

Harry Johnson with others seated around a table with plates and cups

Harry G. Johnson (second from left). Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.

A contemporary of George Stigler’s, Harry G. Johnson came to the University of Chicago in 1959, holding the Charles F. Grey Distinguished Service Professorship in the economics department from 1969 until his death in 1977. He was extraordinarily prolific, writing 19 books and 500 scholarly papers and editing 24 volumes before his early death due to a stroke at age 53.  Focusing primarily on international economics and economic theory, he played a leading role in the development of the Heckscher-Ohlin model of international trade.  He was known for articulating the connections between the ideas of major postwar economic innovators and, according to biographer D. E. Moggridge, defined the vital issues that “set the profession’s agenda for a generation.”  An influential editor of the Review of Economic Studies, the Journal of Political Economy, the Manchester School, and Economica, Johnson was considered so important to the field that Nobel laureate James Tobin called the third quarter of the 20th century “the age of Johnson.”

A large group of people standing on a staircase, including Harry G. Johnson

Attendees at the International Economic Association South-East Asia Refresher Course in Economics, Singapore July – September 1956, Nanyang Siang Pau Photo Graphic Department. Harry Johnson (first row, far right). Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.

Professor Johnson’s papers were donated to the University of Chicago Library by his children, Karen Johnson and Ragnar Johnson.  The 100 linear feet of materials include research and teaching papers, correspondence, and photographs. An additional gift, from David Levy, AM’70, PhD’79, will support the in-depth work of organizing the papers into an archival collection that will be ready for research. Additionally, an online finding aid, or guide, to the organized papers will provide a clear understanding of the contents of the collection.  “The power of the University Archives can’t be fully appreciated without finding aids,” said David Levy, a professor at George Mason University specializing in economics and the history of economic thought.

Professor Levy recalls his UChicago graduate school days enthusiastically. George Stigler served as the chair of his thesis committee, and Johnson acted as an additional reader.  “Every time I would talk to Harry, he would remind me that his first article was on David Ricardo, and my dissertation was on David Ricardo,” he said. Levy was particularly proud when, after a painful meeting with the committee, Johnson showed confidence in him by citing a paper he wrote in The Two-Sector Model of General Equilibrium.

Folded newspaper showing article on "The consequences of Keynes" on top of folder

Harry G. Johnson, “The Consequences of Keynes,” Times Literary Supplement, February 7, 1975. Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.

Levy expects his gift will help future scholars better understand Johnson and his impact.  “Harry is one of the most important teachers at Chicago, but he’s not considered ‘Chicago School,’ which is actually sort of a problem for the history of ideas.  He’s not noted for free market advocacy,” Levy said. “Harry helped make the distinction between Keynes and Keynesians. He would combat myths wherever he saw them.  From my point of view, that’s his greatest contribution.”

A conference on “The Legacy of Chicago Economics” held at the University of Chicago in 2015 made it clear that the common perception of the “so-called Chicago School” has changed over time. At its origins in the 1930s, economics at the University of Chicago was not focused on promoting a single point of view or ideology, but rather about “finding an approach to studying economics.”  The gifts that make the archives of George Stigler and Harry G. Johnson part of the Library’s collections have the potential to change future researchers’ understandings of what the “Chicago School” was and how the University of Chicago—in the broadest sense—influences the future of economics.