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Favorite Library sections of new Social Sciences faculty

Which sections of the library do faculty members enjoy the most? The fall issue of Dialogo, the University of Chicago Social Sciences Division magazine, introduced its new faculty members in interviews that included this question.  The answers give us some insight into their diverse influences and suggest the vital role that the Library plays in faculty research and teaching.

Joel Isaac

Joel Isaac, John U. Nef Committee on Social Thought, Associate Professor

Joel Isaac is a historian focused on social and political thought in the United States and how the Cold War shaped political ideologies. His current research examines the revival of 18th-century categories of political and moral thought in the 20th century through more modern idioms: neoclassical economics, analytical philosophy, decision theory, and empirical political science. His first book, Working Knowledge: Making the Human Sciences from Parsons to Kuhn (Harvard, 2012), was awarded the Gladstone Prize by the Royal Historical Society in 2012.

Isaac’s favorite section of the Library: “The Special Collections Research Center in the Regenstein Library.  Before I came to Chicago, I made some pilgrimages across the Atlantic (from Cambridge, UK) to use the SCRC.  Now its riches are on tap whenever I need them.  I confess I get a special charge from reading the papers of former UChicago faculty who have deposited their papers in the archives of the SCRC.  It’s a thrill to see the University through their eyes.”

Destin Jenkins

Destin Jenkins, Department of History, Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellow (2017-2018), Neubauer Family Assistant Professor of History (7/1/2018-)

Destin Jenkins’s research as a historian centers on the linkages between the American state, capitalism, racial inequality, and the built environment in the 20th century. His forthcoming book, tentatively titled “Bonded Metropolis: Debt, Redevelopment, and Racial Inequality in Postwar San Francisco,” argues that the practices of municipal debt finance redistributed wealth upwards, reinscribed racial inequality, and became a constraint on democratic state power.

Jenkins’s favorite sections of the Library: “Regenstein Library is phenomenal. My favorite section is arranged by call number, E.185. From small pamphlets proposing solutions to the ills of late 1960s ghetto life to thick volumes dealing with black employment, most of the material in this section deals with the political economy of black life. The most interesting book I’ve found is a 1919-1920 report, “Colored Women as Industrial Workers in Philadelphia.” It’s been especially interesting reading the report alongside W.E.B. Du Bois’s The Philadelphia Negro (1899). When Du Bois wrapped up this comprehensive study, at once sociological and a moral and political reflection on race and human civilization, he concluded that Philadelphia’s black women were largely confined to work as domestic workers. As elsewhere, World War I had thoroughly transformed the labor market. In Philadelphia black women arguably helped to facilitate industrial development, and, as track repair workers, inspectors, and porters, helped to maintain the city’s physical infrastructure. The Consumers League of Eastern Pennsylvania saw these opportunities as creating “a new day” for black women. I am looking forward to discussing this pamphlet and exploring the conditions under which black women toiled with students in my fall course, ‘Histories of Racial Capitalism.’”

Headshot of Ryan Jobson

Ryan Jobson

Ryan Jobson, Department of Anthropology, Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellow (2017-2019), Neubauer Family Assistant Professor of Anthropology (7/1/2019-)

Ryan Jobson is a social scientist and Caribbean cultural critic. His research and teaching engage issues of energy and extractive resource development, technology and infrastructure, states and sovereignty, and histories of racial capitalism in the colonial and postcolonial Americas. His first book manuscript, “Deepwater Futures: Sovereignty at Risk in a Caribbean Petrostate,” is an ethnographic study of fossil fuel industries and postcolonial state building in Trinidad and Tobago. A second research project will comprise a historical ethnography of oil and bauxite development in Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana.

Jobson’s favorite sections of the Library: “As a scholar of the Caribbean, I enjoy exploring texts and materials produced in and about the region. I am particularly fascinated by original documents from the 18th and 19th century that I stumble upon in the stacks. On one of my first trips to the Reg, I was surprised to find a collection of late 19th century photographs of the Pitch Lake in Trinidad—the largest global reserve of natural bitumen asphalt. I later discovered that the photographs were donated to the university by the Barber Asphalt Co. on the occasion of the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago. The gift coincided with efforts to structurally improve the roadways throughout the city, many of which were paved with Trinidad Lake Asphalt including Michigan Avenue and Jackson Boulevard. In my courses, I draw on anecdotes like this to demonstrate the enduring connections between places like Chicago and the Caribbean. Evidence of these connections often lurks in corners of the library or on the pavement beneath our feet.”

Headshot of Alexander Torgovitsky

Alexander Torgovitsky

Alexander Torgovitsky, Department of Economics, Assistant Professor

Alexander Torgovitsky’s research is focused on developing new methods for causal inference and counterfactual analysis with economic data. His recent work has focused on developing tools for detecting and measuring state dependency (“stigma” effects) in unemployment dynamics. Other recent work has provided tools for extrapolating inferences from studies of small research populations to larger groups, with implications for understanding behavior and for policy making.

Torgovitsky’s favorite section of the Library: “I enjoy the student-run coffee shop (Ex Libris). The coffee is great, and I like the way many of the facilities at UChicago are run by students, unlike at many other private universities. It reminds me of my undergraduate institution, and I think it helps foster a strong sense of academic community.”

Alice Goff, Department of History, Assistant Professor

Headshot of Alice Goff

Alice Goff

Alice Goff is a historian of modern German cultural and intellectual life. Her work focuses on the relationships between material objects and political thought in the 18th and 19th centuries. Goff’s current research traces the history of artworks caught up in the looting, iconoclasm, and shifting boundaries of German states during the French Revolution and Napoleonic wars and the consequences of their displacement for German political, religious, and intellectual practice at the beginning of the 19th century.

Goff’s favorite section of the Library: “For browsing, I most enjoy the folios or oversized sections of the library. No matter the call number, the folio shelves always have something monumental and strange to offer: the most lavish exhibition catalogues, the most beautiful atlases, the most unwieldy information, though unfortunately also the most cumbersome to get back to the office.”

Headshot of Mikhail Golosov

Mikhail Golosov

Mikhail Golosov, Department of Economics, Homer J. Livingston Professor in Economics and the College

Mikhail Golosov is an economist specializing in macroeconomics, public finance and political economy. His research explores economic theories related to wars over resources, tax systems, and strategic communication. He is an associate editor of Econometrica and the Review of Economic Studies.

Golov’s favorite sections of the Library: “I like to read social science books that are not directly related to economicssociology, history, philosophy—so I often gravitate towards those sections of the library. Researchers in those disciplines study human society, just like economists do, but often have a very different perspective. I find that I can learn from that a fair bit. Steven Pinker’s book The Blank Slate was one of the most fascinating books I read recently.”

Headshot of Peter Hull

Peter Hull

Peter Hull, Department of Economics, Assistant Professor

Economist Peter Hull develops novel statistical techniques to answer policy questions in education and health care. Currently a Post-Doctoral Researcher at Microsoft Research, he will come to the University of Chicago campus as a Becker Friedman Institute Research Fellow in 2018, and will join the Department of Economics faculty in the summer of 2019.

Hull’s favorite genres: “Apart from econometrics textbooks (only somewhat kidding), I’m torn between biography and science fiction. At their best, both genres amaze me in their ability to illustrate a set of foreign ideas, places, and times, all through a strong narrative structure; if only more academic papers had that ability! Recently I’ve been addicted to Robert Caro’s The Power Broker and five-volume biography of Lyndon Johnson, while every winter am excited to crack open Gardner Dozois’ most recent Year’s Best Science Fiction short story anthology.”

Read more about new 2017 Social Sciences Division faculty members in Dialogo.

The Black Metropolis Research Consortium connects researchers, archives, and communities

The BMRC moves to the Library, updates its summer fellowship program, and welcomes a new executive director

The Black Metropolis Research Consortium (BMRC) has settled into its new Library home. Housed at the University of Chicago, the 12-year-old BMRC is a consortium of more than 20 libraries, universities, and other archival institutions that hold materials documenting African American and African diasporic culture, history, and politics, with a specific focus on materials relating to Chicago. In the summer of 2016, the BMRC moved from the Provost’s office to the University of Chicago Library, where shared goals of community engagement and facilitating access to research collections have created a dynamic partnership.

Summer Short-term Fellowship Program

Left to right, first row: Ashlie Sandoval (Fellow), Ruby Mendenhall (Fellow), LaVerne Gray (Fellow), Anita Mechler (BMRC Project Manager/Archivist), Sonja Williams (Fellow); Second row: Steven Adams (BMRC Board Chair), James West (Fellow), Misty De Berry (Fellow), Leroy Kennedy (BMRC Board Trustee Emeritus), Douglas Williams (Fellow). (Photo by Jean Lachat)

The BMRC’s flagship Summer Short-term Fellowship Program, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, engages doctoral candidates, postdoctoral scholars, artists, writers, and public historians from the United States and Europe to better formulate new historical narratives of Chicago’s African American past based on research collections housed at BMRC member institutions. It offers one-month Chicago-based residential fellowships to scholars chosen through an international competition. Starting in 2015, the BMRC introduced a cohort model, soliciting proposals on a few specific subjects in order to foster a community-focused environment for the Fellows and to increase interaction among those working on related subjects. This year’s focus was Design, Urban Design, and Architecture and drew scholars from institutions as close to home as Northwestern and the University of Chicago and as far away as Berkeley, Howard, and the University of Birmingham. From the evolution of food deserts to the impact of public housing architecture on communities, the BMRC 2017 Summer Fellows delved into Chicago-area archives for insight into the history of Chicago’s African American community.

In addition to creating opportunities for scholars and artists to conduct primary research in Chicago-based archival repositories, the goal of the Summer Short-term Research Fellowship Program is to engage the local Chicago community in the history of their city. Therefore, Fellows are asked to present their preliminary findings at one of several evening events at venues across the city. In 2017, presentation events were hosted at the Chicago History Museum, the Carruthers Center for Inner City Studies at Northeastern Illinois University, the Union League Club of Chicago, and the Stony Island Arts Bank of the Rebuild Foundation. Topics such as “Staging Equity: The Evolution of Carceral Architecture in African American Communities in Chicago” and “Chiseling, Welding, and Painting: A Chicago Landscape’s Casting of a Black Artist” drew audiences of roughly 50 people each and provided an opportunity for lively discussion.

New Executive Director Andrea Jackson

Photograph of Andrea Jackson, Executive Director of the Black Metropolis Research Consortium

Andrea Jackson

In September, the Library welcomed Andrea Jackson as the new executive director for the BMRC. Jackson comes from the Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library, where she received a 2016 Library Leadership Award. She has experience acquiring, preserving, and making accessible the historical legacy and records of African Americans and has experience with a broad range of constituencies that will inform the development of engaging programs. This background will be invaluable as the BMRC undertakes a strategic planning process to map out future goals and initiatives.

Introducing Scott Vanderlin, new Student Services Librarian

Scott Vanderlin joined the D’Angelo Law Library on September 5 as our new Student Services Librarian. Prior to coming to the University of Chicago, Scott worked at the Chicago-Kent College of Law Library and also served as a Reference Associate and taught first year legal research for three years at the Pritzker Legal Research Center at Northwestern University School of Law.

Todd Ito, Head of Instruction and Outreach, interviewed Scott to find out how he plans to work with faculty and students, how he became a law librarian, and about his love for craft beer, indiepop, and artisanal candles.Photo of Scott Vanderlin

What were you doing before you came to the University of Chicago?

For the past 6 years, I worked at Chicago-Kent College of Law as a reference librarian and then briefly as the Associate Director for Research and Instructional Services. Pretty much just hanging out.

What’s your favorite thing about being a law librarian?

I’d be lying if I said that the glory wasn’t nice, but honestly I just really like being able to help students out with an aspect of law school that is not always the easiest or most exciting. And, every day I get to learn about new areas of the law and interesting research that is being done by scholars all around me. So, law librarianship is both intellectually and personally satisfying for me.

What originally got you interested in law libraries?

Most of the things that led me to this career probably happened subconsciously, and over a number of years. When I did make the decision to actually pursue law librarianship, however, it was towards the beginning of my 3L year, and I was slowly realizing that while everyone else couldn’t wait to graduate, all I wanted to do was keep reading, learning, researching, writing, etc. Basically, my favorite things about law school were the things that a lot of my classmates couldn’t wait to be done with. At the same time, I went to law school with the conscious, if vague, idea that I wanted to use my education to help people. I assumed that the “where” and “how” of helping people would become clearer as I learned more about the law, and I guess that while I was slowly backing away from the idea of traditional legal practice, I bumped into the thing I was supposed to be doing all along.

tl;dr: I like law school, doing research, and helping people.

Do you have any advice for law students from when you were a law school student?

I mean, yeah. Tons. Fiercely protect the things about you that make you unique–being different is the best possible thing you can be. BUT, also learn to adapt to the people around you when the situation calls for it–a lot of life is a game, so learn to enjoy it and figure out how to play it well. Look at your professors’ past exams. Don’t take your health for granted–you’re not invincible. Call your parents–they miss you. Nurture your closest friendships–you’ll need them, and neglect can be a tough thing to undo. Learn how to handle criticism. Figure out a study routine that works for you and don’t be intimidated if it’s not the same as someone else’s. Read books for pleasure. Make use of CALI lessons. Travel as often as you get a chance. Learn how to be completely fine on your own–then find somebody who makes you not want to be. Ask librarians for help.

What are some of your interests outside of law libraries?

Craft beer, fantasy football, candle making, reading, indiepop, personal finance, listening to podcasts, sleeping.

What’s the best thing you read, watched, or listened to recently?

Read

Listened to

Duh.

 

Deadline extended to apply for the Library Student Advisory Group

Student studying in Mansueto Library

Mansueto Library (Photo by Tom Rossiter)

The University of Chicago Library is looking for student representatives from the following schools and divisions to serve on the Library Student Advisory Group:

  • College (Class of 2021 Only)
  • Biological Sciences Division
  • Chicago Booth School of Business
  • Harris School of Public Policy Studies
  • Institute for Molecular Engineering
  • Physical Sciences Division
  • Pritzker School of Medicine
  • School of Social Service Administration
  • Social Sciences Division

The Library Student Advisory Group (LSAG) serves as a formal channel of communication between students and the Library administration. The LSAG discusses matters related to all six campus libraries, including its collections, spaces, and services, along with the present and future needs of the student community. The Library Student Advisory Group meets two times a quarter and representatives serve two-year terms.

Interested students should complete the online application by Friday, October 20.

For more information about the Library Student Advisory Group, or the application process, please contact:

Rebecca Starkey
Librarian for College Instruction & Outreach
Gender Studies and Library Science
rstarkey@uchicago.edu

Lyonette Louis-Jacques among award-winning authors

Lyonette Louis-Jacques (photo)Lyonette Louis-Jacques, Foreign and International Law Librarian at the D’Angelo Law Library, was among the authors who were recently awarded the Reynolds and Flores Publication Award for their “Mexican Law and Legal Research” guide. The award, named after the authors of the Foreign Law Guide, a core foreign law research source, recognizes members of the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) Foreign, Comparative & International Law Special Interest Section (FCIL-SIS) who have created a publication that “enhances the professional knowledge and capabilities of law librarians.” Louis-Jacques shares this award with her co-authors Bianca T. Anderson, Marisol Floren-Romero, Julienne E. Grant, Jootaek Lee, Teresa M. Miguel-Stearns, Jonathan Pratter, and Sergio Stone.

The guide was recently published in March 2016 in Volume 35, Issue 1, of the Legal Reference Services Quarterly. It covers all types of primary sources of law and secondary legal literature, including international agreements, state gazettes, law journals, textbooks, and monographs. Additionally, it filled a gap in the literature: it contains an extensive bibliography of secondary literature in English on Mexican law and legal research, which is not found in other research guides or treatises on Mexican law and legal research. Since its publication, it has received approximately 500 views and over 200 SSRN downloads.

Diane Dallis joins UChicago as Associate University Librarian for Research and Learning

Diane Dallis joined the University of Chicago Library on May 10 as Associate University Librarian for Research and Learning.  Diane was most recently the Associate Dean for Library Academic Services at Indiana University and will bring to Chicago extensive experience in transforming reference services, building new programs and spaces that support research and learning, and creative use of assessment to evaluate the effectiveness of operations and to understand the role the library plays in faculty and student success.

Diane Dallis

Diane Dallis, Associate University Librarian for Research and Learning

At Indiana University Ms. Dallis worked closely with the Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning, the University Information Technology Services, the Associate Vice Provost for Research in Arts & Humanities, and the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education to collaboratively develop new programs including support for new research technologies, scholarly publishing, and research and learning skills.  Ms. Dallis oversaw the development of a Learning Commons that provided students a more learner-centered environment with access to the tools, systems, and support needed to turn information into knowledge. Ms. Dallis also led the creation of a Scholars’ Commons that supports cutting edge research by providing easy access to experts and technology for every stage of a researcher’s scholarship from curiosity to discovery to publication, including consultation services in areas such as GIS, text mining, visualization, intellectual property, data management, digitization, metadata, and project management.

At the University of Chicago Library, Ms. Dallis oversees Humanities, Social Sciences, Area Studies, Special Collections, East Asia, and the Sciences, ensuring a coherent and responsive information and service environment for the highly interdisciplinary research and teaching needs of the campus.  Ms. Dallis will bring to the position both her experience at Indiana University, and her strong record of national leadership in the field, including serving as chair of the Public Services Big Heads group and the Big Ten Academic Alliance Public Services Discussion Group.

Library residency program expands

The University of Chicago Library’s residency program has expanded in its second year to include two new librarians with expertise in user experience assessment and geographic information systems. The residency program builds Library staff expertise in new and rapidly developing areas of librarianship by bringing top recent graduates to Chicago for two-year residencies. These two new positions were made possible in part by special supporters Howard Zar and Library Visiting Committee members, as well as donors to the Library Annual Fund.

Emma Boettcher

Emma Boettcher, User Experience Library Resident

Emma Boettcher has joined the Library as User Experience Library Resident. Boettcher will be coordinating user research to support the improvement of the Library’s public website, intranet, and discovery tools. She joins us from the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill, where she earned her MS in Information Science. During her graduate studies, Boettcher completed an Assessment and User Experience Internship at Duke University and brings experience with usability testing methods and web analytics to the Library.

Taylor Hixson

Taylor Hixson, GIS Library Resident

Taylor Hixson is the new GIS Library Resident.  Hixson will assess the GIS needs of UChicago faculty, students, and staff, develop geospatial technology training, assist users with information discovery and data curation, and provide related research support. She recently completed her MS in Information Sciences at the University of Tennessee–Knoxville, where she specialized in geographic information.  As a graduate student, Taylor worked as a Virtual Foreign Service Intern on a humanitarian aid mapping project and completed a practicum for the Department of Energy Office of Scientific and Technical Information assisting with data curation projects.

Apply for the Library Student Advisory Group

Mansueto Library at sunset

Mansueto Library (Photo by Tom Rossiter)

Applications due October 23, 2016.

The Library Student Advisory Group serves as a formal channel of communication between students and the Library administration. The group assists in making specific recommendations to improve the Library and considers proposals for future changes in services. The Library Student Advisory Group meets two times a quarter and representatives serve two-year terms.

We are looking for student representatives from the College (Class of 2020) and from each of the Graduate Divisions and Professional Schools.

Please complete our online application by October 23, 2016.

For more information about the Library Student Advisory Group, or the application process, please contact:

Rebecca Starkey
Librarian for College Instruction & Outreach
773-702-4484
rstarkey@uchicago.edu

 

Meet new Geographic Information Systems Librarian Taylor Hixson

taylor-hixson2Taylor Hixson has joined the University of Chicago Library as the new Resident Librarian for Geographic Information Systems.

Taylor has an M.S. degree in Information Sciences from the University of Tennessee and B.S. in Mass Communications from Middle Tennessee State University.

Barbara Kern interviewed Taylor about her experiences and plans for her work at UChicago.

Q: Taylor, what originally got you interested in GIS?

When I was an undergraduate studying journalism I took a data journalism class, and I remember a class assignment where I had to use Google Fusion tables to map addresses. I was really impressed with how creating a simple, interactive map could add another level to the news and storytelling.

Q:  How have you worked with researchers at the University of Tennessee–Knoxville or elsewhere with GIS?

When I was at UT I was always trying to incorporate more GIS or spatial information into projects I worked on. For example, when I worked on an ecology database project there I ensured all records I worked on were accurately georeferenced in the metadata, and when I was doing a practicum with Department of Energy contractors, I spent a lot of time compiling variations on place names for better database searching.

Additionally, when I was at UT, the university became a partner with the Department of State’s new Diplomacy Lab initiative. Through that I worked on a team with several other students and a faculty member to create a report and an interactive map for State and humanitarian agencies to use.

 Q: You worked for the Department of State as a Virtual Foreign Service Intern on a humanitarian aid mapping project.  Tell us about that.

Working as a VSFS intern was a great experience. I volunteered for a year with other students from across the country on different humanitarian mapping projects for the Officer of the Geographer’s MapGive program. I learned a lot about working collaboratively on geographic information projects and how to help others learn about gateways into GIS through simple citizen mapping projects such as editing OpenStreetMap.

VSFS helped me gain more practical experience and connections without having to spend time abroad or in D.C. I highly recommend that UChicago students in the College or graduate and professional programs consider  participating in VSFS–especially in one of the many mapping and GIS internships.

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

I intend to collaborate with students and faculty across the divisions at UChicago. It is my goal to host workshops for faculty and students or to provide classroom instruction to introduce concepts of GIS and resources UChicago has available, whether that is access to online tools, databases, or research centers.

Overall, I want to be a central resource for anyone on campus needing a launch pad for GIS, from those getting started with GIS, who want to find books or learn some introductory tools, to more advanced researchers, who want to create geospatial metadata or have questions about publishing scholarly literature in the top GIS journals.

Q: What are the key challenges or trends in GIS for researchers and librarians?

For librarians, I think a key challenge is always the findability of data. Findability has gotten better with the federal government’s efforts through geoplatform.gov and metadata standards, but the novice GIS user who starts at Google may be overwhelmed with how to search for data, what data formats to find, and where to find them.

For both researchers and librarians, usability and accessibility of interactive maps on the web is a big challenge. For example, not everyone is making their maps compliant for users with screen readers and other adaptive technology even if the option to incorporate web accessibility is readily available through the mapping application.

I also think that understanding the value and reliability of data collected is another challenge for researchers and librarians to continue to consider.

GIS in the digital humanities is another trend, and one that I do not see going away. It is enabling researchers in the humanities to carve their niche by performing a type of analysis that may have never been done before and changing, challenging, or reinforcing previous research findings.

Q: Are you ready to face a Chicago winter?

I already bought a parka and snow boots, so in some ways, yes, but mentally, I’ll probably never be ready.

Judith Wright wins AALL’s highest award

Judith rectangular

Judith Wright, former Associate Dean of Library and Information Services at the D’Angelo Law Library, received the Marion Gould Gallagher Distinguished Service Award at the American Association of Law Libraries Annual Meeting in Chicago this week. The award recognizes extended and sustained service to law librarianship and exemplary service to the Association. During her 40-year career, Judith worked tirelessly to advance collaborative work and leadership in the law librarian community, while directing the D’Angelo Law Library with grace and formidable administrative skills. D’Angelo Law Library’s status as one of the premier law research libraries in the United States is a testament to her dedicated stewardship.