Tag Archives: Library Kiosk

Parker Solar Probe named after UChicago physicist

space probe

Rendering of Parker Solar Probe. Credits: Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory

NASA has named its latest mission, the Parker Solar Probe, after UChicago physicist Eugene Parker, the S. Chandrasekhar Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in Physics.

According to the NASA website, the probe is “about the size of a small car and will travel directly into the Sun’s atmosphere about 4 million miles from the star’s surface. The primary science goals for the mission are to trace how energy and heat move through the solar corona and to explore what accelerates the solar wind as well as solar energetic particles. The mission will revolutionize our understanding of the Sun, where changing conditions can spread out into the solar system, affecting Earth and other worlds.”

Read one of Parker’s books or articles to learn more about his work.  Learn more about Parker and listen to him discuss his research on solar wind on the UChicago News site.

And on a related note, a large addition to the papers of Nobel laureate Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar are now available for research in the Special Collections Research Center.

June Pachuta Farris, Bibliographer for Slavic and East European Studies, 1947-2018

June Pachuta Farris was valued and recognized by scholars and librarians throughout the world for her expertise as a bibliographer in Slavic and East European Studies and for the generosity she demonstrated throughout her decades of service to the profession.  She died on July 27 after a short illness at age 70.

June Pachuta Farris
(Photo by John Zich)

June served the University of Chicago for more than three decades, most recently holding the title of Bibliographer for Slavic and East European Studies and General Linguistics.  “We are deeply saddened by June’s passing,” said Brenda Johnson, Library Director and University Librarian at the University of Chicago.  “June was a dedicated librarian who built one of the finest Slavic and East European Studies collections in the world.  She was a wonderful colleague, both to us at Chicago and to the Slavic librarian community.”

In 2012, the Association for Women in Slavic Studies (AWSS), an affiliate of the Association for Slavic, East European & Eurasian Studies (ASEEES), recognized June with its Outstanding Achievement Award. “The entire profession has been enriched by June’s unassuming yet dedicated commitment to helping scholars wherever they work—whether formally, through her many published bibliographies on subjects as diverse as Dostoevsky and Czech and Slovak émigrés, or informally through her willingness to respond to countless queries from individuals,” the Association noted.  June was widely known for her quarterly and annual “Current Bibliography on Women and Gender in Russia and Eastern Europe,” which began appearing in the AWSS newsletter in 1999.  She also collaborated with Irina Livezeanu, Christine Worobec, and Mary Zirin, on a two-volume publication, Women and Gender in Central and Eastern Europe, Russia, and Eurasia: A Comprehensive Bibliography (2007), considered an invaluable resource in the field. Earlier this year, June learned that she is to be further recognized by the ASEEES at its December meeting as the 2018 recipient of the Distinguished Service Award from its Committee on Libraries and Information Resources.

June earned a BA in Russian and French from Case Western Reserve University; an MA in Russian Language and Literature from Ohio State University, writing a thesis on “The Concepts of Metaphysical Rebellion and Freedom in Dostoevsky and Camus,” and an MA in Library Science from University of Denver.  She served as Slavic Reference Librarian and Assistant Professor of Library Administration at the University of Illinois, before coming to Chicago in 1986.

June spoke French, Russian, and Czech fluently and was conversant with most Slavic languages as well as Greek.  She also had a great love of musical theater and had memorized all the lyrics to a large number of shows, both old and new.

Sandra Levy, Associate Slavic Librarian, who worked closely with June for the 28 years since she was hired at Chicago in 1989, first met June even earlier, in the 1970s, when Sandra was a graduate student visiting the University of Illinois, where June was beginning her library career.  June began answering reference questions and mentoring Sandra even then.  “It’s who she was,” Sandra said.  “It wasn’t just that she was a mentor to me—she was a mentor to everyone.”  Sandra has received an outpouring of tributes from Slavic librarians who shared this experience: “June would tackle each and every reference question as if it were the most important question in the world.”

Colleagues are invited to send tributes and stories about June and her impact to junefarrismemories@lib.uchicago.edu.  These will be collected, shared with June’s family, and deposited in the University Archives.

The John F. Kennedy Assassination Collection: New database from HeinOnline

HeinOnline has recently added the John F. Kennedy Assassination Collection. For those of you who have always wondered about the grassy knoll, but never had the time, energy, or resources to delve into the conspiracy theories, conflicting statements, and governmental records surrounding the assassination of John F. Kennedy, this collection offers all U.S. government documents relating to the assassination, including state and local law enforcement materials. The President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992 directed the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to create the collection and provided that release of the documents begin in 2017, 25 years after the law was enacted. In October, 2017, the first set of 50,000 documents were released. 18,000 more documents were released and added to the database in April of 2018, and further documents will be added until the last set, which is scheduled to be declassified in 2021.

HeinOnline has organized and indexed the documents to make them easy for scholars to research. Approximately 58% of the documents from NARA came from the CIA, and another 37% from the FBI, according to the Data Visualization Charts that introduce the collection. HeinOnline has added to the documents a collection of books, hearings, scholarly articles, and other related works, to create a database that promises to be a rich resource for scholarship for years to come.

 

Meet new GIS and Maps Librarian Cecilia Smith

Cecilia Smith joined the Library as the GIS and Maps Librarian.  Cecilia comes to the University of Chicago from Texas A&M University where she was the Geospatial Librarian, Clinical Assistant Professor at the Evans Library. At Evans Library, Cecilia developed the GIS program, including services, spaces, and support.

Cecilia Smith

Cecilia Smith, GIS and Maps Librarian

Cecilia has an M.A. and Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Illinois at Chicago, an M.S. in GIS and Spatial Analysis in Archaeology, with honors, from the University College London and a B.A in Archaeology, Boston University.

Barbara Kern interviewed Cecilia to find out how she plans to work with faculty and students, and what she sees as emerging trends in GIS and Map Libraries.

Cecilia can be reached at ceciliasmith@uchicago.edu, 773-702-8761, Regenstein Library Room 371.

Q: What originally got you interested in Maps?

A: I became interested in maps when I realized how powerful they are—a map can show the shifting boundaries of the Roman Empire, explain the progression of a cholera outbreak, or get you safely home from your hike. They give you the ability to see the world and manage to do it using a single piece of paper.

Q: What originally got you interested in GIS?

A: I learned about geographic information systems (GIS) as an undergraduate researching the development of Mediterranean residences of the Bronze Age. It was a challenge to organize the many variables related to the structures’ location, orientation, and layout. GIS solved my need for a geographic database, and turned out to be so much more. I quickly developed an interest in using the technology to help with spatial analyses and to create visualizations of research results.

Q:  How have you worked with faculty at Texas A&M?

A: I worked with faculty at Texas A&M in three ways: collaborating on research, providing consultation on GIS related projects, and sharing resource information with their classes. The Early Modern Shipwreck project (http://modernshipwrecks.com/) is a good example of one of my collaborations with faculty in which I provided geospatial expertise.

Q: How will you work with faculty and students in your role?

A: I will focus on providing services and resources that enable faculty and students to discover, explore, visualize, and curate geospatial information. Geospatial information can take different forms, such as traditional paper maps or GIS files. I will offer consultations and workshops on how to work with different data types.

Q: If you could summarize your PhD research in a few sentences, what would you say?

A: My PhD research focused on changes to indigenous Philippine economies during Spanish colonization. I used GIS technology to analyze archaeological survey and excavation data in the Bacong Municipality of Negros Oriental. I found that the rugged geography of the study area significantly contributed to the indigenous populations’ ability to thrive while Spanish forces focused their resources on more accessible ports.

Q: You previously lived in Chicago.  What do you enjoy most about the city?

A: It’s hard to choose just one thing! I love the great food and the lakefront. One of my favorite places is the Lincoln Park Conservatory. I was also a researcher at the Field Museum, so Museum Campus is a favorite, too.

Postcard Collection of Colonial Korea goes live online

A teacher and his students

교사와 학생 (Kyosa wa haksaeng / A teacher and his students). Saga Prefectural Nagoya Castle Museum, Japan (1900-1906).

The Postcard Collection of Colonial Korea is now available online. This Collection includes 8,000 postcard images depicting the cultural, industrial, and technological status of Korea from the first half of the 20th century. The Collection is a valuable visual resource for Korean studies at the University and will be a significant primary source for research.

About the collection

Decoration of marriage

신부와 혼례상 (Sinbu wa hollyesang / Decoration of marriage). Busan Museum, Korea.

The Postcard Collection of Colonial Korea includes items created between 1900 and 1945 in Korea or abroad. It is organized into three sub-collections:

  • Busan Museum Collection
  • Saga Prefecture Nagoya Castle Museum Collection
  • Other images in 日本地理風俗大系 and 日本地理大系

With the introduction of photography and the ease of printing in the Western world, the popularity of photo postcards developed quickly in the late 19th century. The emergence of imperialism as a global trend led to a rapid increase in cultural curiosity about colonies which was helped with the production of postcards containing colonial landscapes. As travel became a new consumer culture for the public, buying and selling photo postcards as souvenirs became commonplace, and collecting photo postcards emerged as a new hobby.

With the Japanese advancement in Korea, images of Korea and Koreans were mass produced for Japanese photo shops and souvenir shops in the form of photo albums and postcards. The photo postcards of Korea were made in sets of eight under the name Chosŏn Customs that were continually reproduced during the colonial period. These photo postcards can be broadly classified according to the nature of the photos, such as governance and administration postcards, customs postcards, tourist postcards, and promotional postcards. Each set depicts specific content such as customs, tourism, cities, architecture, people, and statistics.

The South Great Gate in Seoul, Korea

남대문 (Namdaemun / The South Great Gate in Seoul, Korea). Saga Prefectural Nagoya Castle Museum, Japan (1933-1945).

The Collection is valuable for its visual images of the cultural, industrial and technological side of Korea during the first half of the 20th century. Also, the first entity to produce photo postcards of colonial Korea was Japan, so the image of Korea portrayed in these late-modern photo postcards is not entirely free from imperialist and colonialist views. Imperial Japan created a specific representation of Korea through selectively chosen images that were presented as a careful overall reflection of the late Chosŏn period.

Creating the online collection

Seven institutions in North America—University of Chicago, Columbia, Harvard, University of Michigan, Duke, University of Toronto, and UCLA—acquired a copy of the scanned images of the Collection from a South Korean publisher in 2010. The seven institutions then formed a working group and collaboratively worked on metadata development, creating Korean Romanization, verifying Chinese and Japanese characters and adding English keyword search terms for each of the 8,000 postcards.

The University of Chicago’s copy of the Collection is currently stored at the LUNA program in the Visual Resources Center.

Special thanks to Bridget Madden, Associate Director at the Visual Resources Center for handling non-roman characters for the duration of this project and to Nanju Kwon, Korea Foundation Visiting Librarian Intern (2016-2017), who reviewed and corrected each of the 8,000 entries for verification.

For more information, please contact Jee-Young Park, Korean Studies Librarian.

The Governor-General of Korea Library and other buildings

조선총독부도서관 등 (Chosŏn Ch’ongdokpu tosŏgwan / The Governor-General of Korea Library and other buildings). Busan Museum, Korea.

New Indian Database: SCC Online

The D’Angelo Law Library has subscribed to SCC Online. SCC Online has Indian Supreme Court and state High Court case law, pre-independence case law, central and state statutes, bills in Parliament, government policy documents, and reports of committees and commissions.

SCC Online is available to the entire University of Chicago community. Access is by IP address, but not anonymous–you must register and sign in with your uchicago email address, in the blank below the IP Access tab.

We welcome comments on SCC Online, how useful and user friendly you find it, and how it compares with our other Indian law database, Manupatra.

Large addition to papers of Nobel laureate Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar now available for research

The Special Collections Research Center’s collection of Nobel Prize-winning astrophysicist Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar‘s personal papers has more than doubled in size. Organization of the additional material has recently been completed by archivist Allyson Smally, and a new guide to the collection is available online.

The newly-opened portion of the collection contains writings – including handwritten notes and drafts – personal and professional correspondence, and a significant number of photographs. The additional material is described in the Addenda portion of the online guide.

A notebook from Chandrasekhar’s first year at Cambridge University, later dedicated to his wife Lalitha. Chandrasekhar, Subrahmanyan. Papers, Box 208, Folder 5, Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library.

Chandra and Lalitha, 1940
Chandrasekhar, Subrahmanyan. Papers, Box 255, Folder 47, Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library.

Congratulatory letter from University of Chicago President Hanna Holborn Gray, 1983. Chandrasekhar, Subrahmanyan. Papers, Box 194, Folder 2, Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library.

Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar (1910-1995) was a faculty member at the University of Chicago for nearly 60 years. He made significant contributions to theoretical astrophysics, and is best known for his mathematical theory of black holes.

Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar pictured in 1936. University of Chicago Photographic Archive, apf6-01301, Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library.

War, Trauma, Memory

Soldier in front of flag on cover of the Anzac Book

Cover, The Anzac Book. 1916. Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.

Exhibition Dates: April 30 – August 31, 2018
Location: Special Collections Research Center Exhibition Gallery, 1100 East 57th Street, Chicago, IL

It seems an understatement to note that war is traumatic to those who experience it in any way, shape or form. The pieces in this exhibition reflect their creators’ experiences in wars from the 16th century through the present day. Each was published or made public by their creators; by that action the creator invites us into the captured moment. We see, not a moment of trauma itself but a time after that moment, whether that be seconds or years. In this exhibition, the trauma of war is represented by that very absence of trauma, through the experience creators share with viewers, listeners or readers.

Here, photographs by soldiers or journalists at the scene share space with expressions of the effect of war created at a greater remove. Events are recounted at a personal, intimate level as in portraits of families or on a grand scale: the destruction of Dresden. Over time, images retain their power but may no longer serve the purpose for which they were made. For example, some of the items were created to be propaganda and here are displayed as art or as a curiosity. At times an overt intent of the creator or bias of the image is evident, and at others we need to remind ourselves that creators may have emotions hidden even from themselves. With images of war, in particular, the observer’s relationships to the conflict will affect the ways in which the object is understood. How many recall the stakes of the 30 Years War?

Drawing of soldiers

Jean Louis Forain. Le Poilu psychologue, [1918]. Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.

Anchoring the exhibition is Francisco Goya’s Los desastres de la guerra, a book of prints etched in the early 19th century, left unpublished until 1863 for fear of censorship. The suite of plates Goya created in response to suffering he witnessed during the Napoleonic wars is considered to contain the first eyewitness images of war reporting. The book is opened to Plate 44 “Yo lo vi” (I saw it).

Indeed “Yo lo vi”: the images, sculpture, poetry, and music here are haunted by the very absence of violence and the persistence of memory.

Hours: Mondays through Fridays, 9 a.m. – 4:45 p.m., and, when University of Chicago classes are in session, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 9 a.m. – 5:45 p.m.

Free and open to the public.

Yo lo vi

Francisco Goya. Plate 44, “Yo lo vi,” Los desastres de la guerra, 1893. Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.

Related Event

In the Wake of the Bombs: Germany, 1945

May 14, 5 p.m.
Regenstein Library, Room 122

Professor Françoise Meltzer will speak about the book she is currently completing on the bombing of Germany in World War II: Through a Lens, Darkly. The talk is based on a series of photographs of the ruins taken by her mother in 1945.

Meltzer is the Edward Carson Waller Distinguished Service Professor in the Humanities, Professor in the Divinity School and the College, and Chair of Comparative Literature.

Cost: Free

Use of Images and Media Contact

Images from the exhibition included on this page are available for download by members of the media and are reserved for editorial use in connection with University of Chicago Library exhibitions, programs, or related news.

For more information, contact Rachel Rosenberg at ra-rosenberg@uchicago.edu or 773-834-1519.

Streamlined Interlibrary Loan request process combines UBorrow, BorrowDirect and Recall in one service

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.

To use the new Interlibrary Loan service:

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.

Handing a student a book at Eckhart Library

Library digitizes maps for study of kelp in a changing climate

“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.

Research findings

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 study by Pfister, Helen D. Berry, and Thomas Mumford, “The dynamics of Kelp Forests in the Northeast Pacific Ocean and the relationship with environmental drivers,” was published Dec. 18, 2017, in the Journal of Ecology.

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.