This Spring, St. Mary’s archivist, Kent Randell, will be teaching MUST 390, Introduction to Archives & Information Science. This brand new, 2 credit seminar offers interested St. Mary’s students a glimpse into the world of archives, libraries, and other aspects within information science. Kent has an exciting line-up of guest instructors who are all experts in their respective fields. It’s a rare but wonderful opportunity for students interested in a career in libraries or archives.
As you may have already noticed, the Library website, like the rest of the St. Mary’s College website, has a new look! Over the past few months the librarians and the amazing Web Services team have been working hard to create website for the Library, Archives, and Media Center that are
- easy to use
- attractive to view
- and responsive, meaning you can view and interact with the site effectively regardless of the size of your screen.
We know that most people come to our Library’s website to access research resources, so we’ve featured OneSearch and all of our research tools like the catalog, ejournals, databases, and interlibrary loan prominently on the Library’s homepage. Our menu options stayed the same (About, Services, Research), so most of our information is in familiar places. We’re also starting to feature different, lesser known library items in our In the Collection feature. Take a look! You just might find your new favorite journal, book, or database.
I know some of you may be asking yourselves: Why the change? Why so drastic?
The biggest push for this dramatic change is in the responsive nature of our new library website. As I mentioned above, this means that you’ll be able to access the library website from any device–laptop, tablet, smartphone, etc.–and have the display be optimized for your screen. No more zooming in or excessive scrolling. Our old library website layout didn’t meet responsive web guidelines, so we used this change as an opportunity to make some big changes.
We’re excited about our new website and we hope you are too!
Crafting Conundrums: Puzzles and Patterns for the Bead Crochet Artist is a new book from CRC Press featuring the stunning bead jewelry designs of St. Mary’s mathematics professor Dr. Susan Goldstine.
Drawing from her love of math, crochet, jewelry-making and puzzles, Dr. Goldstine and co-author Dr. Ellie Baker have put together a book designed for crafters, puzzle lovers, and pattern designers.
You can find Crafting Conundrums in the stacks on the 2nd floor of the Library.
Published by the American Mathematical Society, MathSciNet is a searchable electronic database that contains reviews, abstracts and bibliographic information for literature in mathematics. It contains over 3 million items and is pretty much THE disciplinary research tool (along with ArXiv) in mathematics. It’s now celebrating its 75th year of publication. Needless to say, that’s a lot of math over the years.
The mathematical journal Involve features research that, at a minimum, contains one-third student authorship. It’s aim is to “showcase and encourage high-quality mathematical research involving students from all academic levels.” Published by Mathematical Sciences Publishers, Involve is an Open Access journal, which means all articles are available to read and download for free on the journal website.
A very disturbing discovery has been made. The software used by the St. Mary’s library, University System of Maryland and Affiliated Institutions (USMAI) libraries, and countless other academic and public libraries to lend ebooks is knowingly violating users’ privacy.
As documented in Ars Technica, Adobe Digital Editions tracks and compiles data on which ebooks users download and read, and exactly what each user does with those books. Worse yet, Adobe is sending that information to its servers in plain text, using unencrypted channels, so just about anyone could access that information. Nate Hoffelder of The Digital Reader made the discovery on October 6, 2014, but the violation is believed to have started with the release of Adobe Digital Editions 4.0 in early September.
How it works
Adobe Digital Editions is used by many libraries as a PDF reader for ebook lending to control the digital rights management (DRM) on all borrowed ebooks. This software is essentially what “returns” a borrowed ebook when the loan expires by removing it from a borrower’s computer. Most ebook publishers require a DRM as part of the licensing or sales agreement to ensure intellectual property rights are not violated by end users.
Librarians are furious. As you may recall from when Edward Snowden leaked the NSA’s secrets, librarians value their patrons’ privacy and take every possible precaution to ensure privacy is maintained. The American Library Association (ALA) has issued this statement and the Library and Information Technology Association (LITA) has published this blog post in reaction to the news. Quoted from the ALA statement:
In response to ALA’s request for information, Adobe reports they “expect an update to be available no later than the week of October 20” in terms of transmission of reader data.
Here at St. Mary’s, we will be keeping a close eye on the situation.
Adobe made available a software update on Friday, October 24th which includes an encryption mechanism so all user data gathered by and sent to Adobe’s servers is no longer transmitted in plain text. ADE users can download the update (and read Adobe’s privacy statement) here. The American Library Association issued a statement on October 27, 2014 and Nate Hoffelder of The Digital Reader published an update on the privacy breach on October 23rd.
The annual library book sale is next week, October 7-8. We will be selling books on Tuesday and Wednesday from 9-4, rain or shine outside the entrance to the library. We have books in a range of subjects and movies on DVD. (Sorry, we have no VHS tapes.) This year’s featured collections include mid-20th century popular fiction and cookbooks.
Book Prices are $0.50 for paperbacks and $1.00 for hardcovers.
Library Summer Reading 2014 was a huge success. Not only were there seventy-eight reviews submitted and five readers winning the bag of swag for submitting 10 or more reviews; the mix of books reviewed were the most diverse since library summer reading began. There is something for everyone from beach reads to bestsellers, mysteries, non-fiction, comics & graphic novels and all the dystopias you could want.
And then there are the movies. We have our share of books-to-film including Dark Places, Divergent, The Fault in Our Stars and Beautiful Ruins. Read a review of California, the book Stephan Colbert made famous or Margaret Atwood’s classic, The Handmaid’s Tale (do yourself a favor and skip the film.) Looking for a laugh? Try Hyperbole and a Half or The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.
Guest Blog Post (2 of 3) written by
Taylor Schafer, SMCM ‘2015, Sullivan Scholar, Summer 2014
This summer, aside from my internship in the Archives, I have been conducting interviews with alumni for my St. Mary’s Project–some of which I have chosen to transcribe and donate to the SlackWater collection. My SMP interviews have proven to be a great training ground for my oral history interviews, especially when it comes to understanding exactly what it is that oral history interviews do: they gauge people’s memory about a certain time, place, or event. This concept seems simple and straightforward, however, the hidden complexity of memory becomes more apparent when you ask 40 people the relatively same set of questions. My SMP interviews have all focused on the same thing: the 7 Wonders of St. Mary’s. (Church Point, the Hidden Grave, the Garden of Remembrance, Freedom of Conscience Statue, St. John’s Pond, the Bell Tower, and the Shoe Tree.)
One particular example from my interviews got me thinking about how people recall their memories. I was interviewing a 1974 graduate of the College who had mentioned that one year for St. Patrick’s Day, he and some friends had dyed St. John’s Pond bright green using the same environmentally-friendly dye that is often used to track currents in bodies of water. Several other alumni from that same era vividly recalled the same incident happening as well. There were a few alumni, however, who not only could not recall such a prank occurring but they also assured me that something like that would not have happened back then. Whether it was because of the newer surge of environmental awareness of the 1970s or the fact that they claimed they would have remembered such a visible prank, the strongly opposing answers surprised me.
But this instance made me realize that the information I’ve received about the various landmarks and traditions of campus has heavily relied on how people remember their time at St. Mary’s. While some people had vivid memories of this certain specific occurrence, others relied on their characterizations of their St. Mary’s experience to explain their absence of memory. In other words, it seems like the attitudes and values of the interviewees shape their concrete memories. For example, one alum characterized St. Mary’s students in the 1970s as environmentally conscious, meaning they would not have engaged in such behavior as to dye the pond green for a laugh or to celebrate a holiday. Other alums recall them being very connected to the campus and student life, therefore they would not have missed such an occurrence. This phenomenon occurred several times throughout my interviews, which was an important lesson for me to have learned while learning to conduct oral histories. This is not just specific to St. Mary’s either; it can be applied to any oral history project.
Next week, for the last of three Blog posts, I will write about interviewing former college presidents Joe Urgo and J. Margaret “Maggie” O’Brien. This post will also have a link to the interview transcripts.
September is Library Card Sign-up Month and here in St. Mary’s county we celebrate with a library card sign-up swap. For two weeks in September the college library and the public library have a registration swap. Students, faculty and staff at SMCM can sign up for a library card for the St. Mary’s Public Library on campus at the library circulation desk. St. Mary’s County residents can sign up for a SMCM library card at their local branch library.
What do you get with a public library card? Access to COSMOS the gateway to the libraries of Calvert, Charles and St. Mary’s counties print and online materials. That’s a lot of popular reading material, newly released movies and online tools like Mángo Languages. Now you can practice Spanish from your bedroom with a St. Mary’s County Public Library Card.