The ‘new Burma’

March 27, 2013

Cornellians can visit Burma without ever leaving Ithaca through a new photography exhibit in Mann Library.

Award-winning author Naomi Duguid and photojournalist Amanda Schwengel are the featured photographers in the exhibit; Duguid’s work specializes in food and agriculture and food as an aspect of culture, and Schwengel’s focuses on the conservation of culture in everyday environments.

There be dragons

March 19, 2013

Dragon Day 2013 will live on in infamy on the website for Olin and Uris Libraries.

Three library staff members — Carla DeMello, Lance Heidig and Susette Newberry — took photographs of the festivities with the library buildings in the background and used them as backgrounds for the website.

Hit “refresh” to see all eight images — and, while you’re visiting the site, sign up for a workshop, request new materials and check out the constantly updated number of available laptops.

24/7 tutorials

March 7, 2013

Have you ever wished for a personal IT helpdesk, standing at the ready any time you had a question about using Outlook or Dreamweaver?

You’re in luck: Through the library’s website, Cornell students, faculty and staff can watch tutorials from Books24x7. The streaming videos are usually between three and five minutes long. Look under “Browse Topics” on the right side of the page.

They cover topics in frequently used software, including Microsoft Office applications, Adobe programs, mobile devices, operating systems, browsers, apps and more. And the topics get very granular, with tutorials on such subjects as configuring email on an iPhone, handling calculations in Excel and sorting bookmarks in Firefox.

Colder than Ithaca

February 21, 2013

Celebrate winter’s chill with a display in Olin Library of landscapes colder than Ithaca: Iceland and the far North Atlantic.

Two concurrent exhibitions on display through late March offer a glimpse of the vast range of Old Norse-Icelandic studies:

  • Góð bók er gulli betri” (“A Good Book Is More Valuable Than Gold”) focuses on reading and scholarship from the Fiske Icelandic Collection – one of the most important repositories for the study of the Nordic world during the Viking Age as well as modern Iceland. Two exhibition cases are located across from the circulation desk on Olin’s main floor.
  • World of the West Norse” contemplates the rapid expansion of the Norse presence in Europe during the Middle Ages, which marked one of the great cultural shifts in European history. This display of maps, illustrations and captions is located directly outside Olin’s Department of Maps and Media in Olin Library, down the stairs from the café.




Union ephemera

February 12, 2013

A blackball box, a hoodwink and other glimpses of union-related history from the Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives are on display in Catherwood Library.

Known in the archives world as “realia” – 3-D objects from real life – the Kheel selections span the 1800s to the 1970s.

Highlights from the exhibition include:

A wooden blackball box, or communal ballot box; a leather hoodwink used as a blindfold in initiation rituals; a switch lock used on railroads to direct trains; a seal press for the Molders Union No. 107 of Auburn, N.Y.; badges displaying ranks and positions of railroad employees; a watch fob from a railroad uniform; and mourning badges worn in remembrance of co-workers.

Also displayed are the lyrics of a 1975 song, “Look for the Union Label,” sung by the International Ladies’ Garment Workers Union Chorus, which urged Americans to buy union-made products:

Look for the union label
when you are buying that coat, dress or blouse.
Remember somewhere our union’s sewing,
our wages going to feed the kids, and run the house.
We work hard, but who’s complaining?
Thanks to the I.L.G. we’re paying our way!
So always look for the union label, it says we’re able to make it in the U.S.A.!

 — Mary Catt, ILR School

Ask the RMC

February 6, 2013

Life just got a little easier for Cornellians heading to the library’s Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections (RMC), which inaugurated a new online registration and request system this semester. It allows anyone planning to visit RMC – Cornell’s principal repository of rare books, manuscripts and archival materials, located in the depths of Kroch Library – to do most of the work of getting materials online, instead of having to fill out request slips by hand.

The vast collections of RMC, ranging from ancient cuneiforms to visual iconography from President Barack Obama’s first campaign, are open to everyone in the Cornell community (and around the globe), as long as they register online. Using the new system, patrons can place requests from the RMC reference room or fill them out off-site ahead of time.

The new system also improves RMC’s ability to host classes and exhibitions, process reproduction orders and analyze how best to improve access to collections. Feedback is welcome.

‘Eternity’s Sunrise’

January 29, 2013

A new piece of art is gracing the study space in Mann Library.

“Eternity’s Sunrise” is a brushed aluminum mobile created by Ithaca artist Werner Sun in memory of Nan Hyland, a librarian at Mann Library, whose dedicated service to education and scholarship at Cornell touched the work and lives of many in the Cornell community and beyond.

While installing the mobile just before the start of the semester, Sun noted that inspiration for this gently dynamic, softly twirling sculptural piece came from a poem by William Blake that was among Hyland’s favorites.

Support for the new artwork came from Hyland’s friends, family and colleagues, who remember her hard work and love of music and art in all its forms.

The mobile is on permanent display in the Manelski Reading Room on Mann’s second floor, between the Deans Room and the Mann Gallery.

See a clip of the mobile in action.

A better Bissett

January 22, 2013

One of the most popular study spaces in Mann Library has gotten a technology upgrade and a major makeover.

The Bissett Collaborative Center, on the library’s second floor, has been updated to include four high-end collaborative work stations with space for eight people. Beanbag chairs, mobile white boards and more make the space ideal for group work, and students can reserve spaces online.

The transformation of the Bissett center emerged from the work of librarians, information technology staff and AV specialists who chose the best ideas and technological products to include in the suite of study tools and services students can find at the library. Design and environmental analysis students Gilad Meron ’12 and Sara Lesage ’12 provided consulting services, documenting how the space was used and recommending improvements that would best fit student needs and preferences.

The Bissett center was established in memory of Kenneth J. Bissett ’89, a CALS student killed in the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the bombing.

Images of Barack

January 17, 2013

Just in time for Barack Obama’s second Inauguration Day, the library is putting historic materials from the president’s first inauguration online.

In 2008, as part of its extensive collection of political Americana, the library’s Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections began building a collection of publicity and memorabilia documenting Obama’s campaign and election.

In 2011, the library began working with Travis Gosa, assistant professor of Africana studies, to digitize the materials through the Grants Program for Digital Collections.

Gosa noted that the campaign materials show strategies meant to unify a divided nation around the charismatic image of Obama. “It will allow researchers to observe the social and political changes that have occurred in the time between the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections,” he said.

The library has begun to compile a digital catalog and index of those materials online. They provide a unique visual iconography of the election of America’s first black president, offering a teaching and research resource for understanding modern campaign strategies, political mobilization and the representation of American politics through various media markets.

Take a day on, not a day off

January 15, 2013

Had the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. lived, he would have turned 84 years old Jan. 15. In celebration of his birthday, the federal government created the MLK Day of Service to encourage Americans to “take a day on, not a day off” and spur volunteers to action in memory of King’s life.

At Cornell, Africana librarian Eric Acree created the MLK LibGuide to help people learn more about King’s legacy. It includes relevant primary sources and a rare video clip from a 1967 interview with King on the civil rights movement. It begins, “I make my decisions on the basis of my moral commitment.”