Monday, April 29, 2013

New Happiness Board for May

We use the flipside of our library rules board in the lobby as a happiness board. The happiness board is a place to display funny, cheerful, and interesting images, cartoons, and thoughts.

Now that spring has finally sprung, the latest version of the happiness board acknowledges how close the end of semester is - and with that, graduation and summer. Objects in calendar are closer than they appear, indeed!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Digital Public Library of America

The newest of the new in cultural online materials is the Digital Public Library of America. The beta version went live just last week, on April 18, 2013.

The site brings together a wealth of already digitized material from America’s libraries, archives, and museums into a freely accessible portal. Millions of items have already been added: photographs, manuscripts, books, sounds, moving images, and more. Regional collections are linked to make them available throughout the U.S. For instance, content from a few major institutional collections (like Harvard University and the National Archive) are included.

The data included is also as open as possible. Specific restrictions notwithstanding, the materials are available for bulk download, and the DPLA code is available as open source for users to develop their own discovery tools and apps.

And that is just the beginning! There are already seven digital exhibitions and two discovery apps available. The DPLA is also collaborating with Europeana, the multi-lingual online collection of millions of digitized items from European museums, libraries, archives and multi-media collections. And besides public domain materials, the DPLA is working to make in-copyright items available (see John Palfrey's article in the April 15, 2013, issue of Libray Journal).

Monday, April 22, 2013

April 22, 2013 - Earth Day

Earth Day 2013 Display
Originally uploaded by Pesky Library
The first Earth Day, on April 22, 1970, activated 20 million Americans from all walks of life and is widely credited with launching the modern environmental movement. The passage of the landmark Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act and many other groundbreaking environmental laws soon followed.

Growing out of the first Earth Day, Earth Day Network (EDN) works with over 22,000 partners in 192 countries to broaden, diversify and mobilize the environmental movement. More than 1 billion people now participate in Earth Day activities each year, making it the largest civic observance in the world.

We hope you saw the Do the Math! movie on campus last night and were inspired by it. You can also visit the Earth Day 2013 website, or our library display, for more inspiration and ideas!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Common Book Day Approaches Fast

Dennis Lehane Display
Originally uploaded by Pesky Library
This spring's common book author is Dennis Lehane. Mr. Lehane is the author of noted novels such as Mystic River, Gone Baby Gone, and Shutter Island. He is also an award winning short story writer. He will visit the campus next Tuesday, April 23rd.

You have just under a week to visit the library to take a look at the display we created with Mr. Lehane's works. Or get your copy of the common book, Live by Night, either in the library (shelved at FIC LEH) or the book store.

Monday, April 15, 2013

News Haiku by The New York Times

Do you read The New York Times regularly? What about their new haiku?

The New York Times started a Tumblr blog for their haiku. These three-line poems are found on the newspaper's home page with the help of an algorithm. Jacob Harris, the senior software architect at The New York Times, describes the project:

"[The algorithm] periodically checks the New York Times home page for newly published articles. Then it scans each sentence looking for potential haikus by using an electronic dictionary containing syllable counts. We started with a basic rhyming lexicon, but over time we've added syllable counts for words like 'Rihanna' or 'terroir' to keep pace with the broad vocabulary of The Times."

"Not every haiku our computer finds is a good one. The algorithm discards some potential poems if they are awkwardly constructed and it does not scan articles covering sensitive topics. Furthermore, the machine has no aesthetic sense. It can't distinguish between an elegant verse and a plodding one. But, when it does stumble across something beautiful or funny or just a gem of a haiku, human journalists select it and post it on this blog."

Read more at The Times haiku blog!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Two Free Culture Resources Online

The search giant Google has stepped into the cultural arena with two online services. The Cultural Institute "helps preserve and promote culture online." In a similar vein, the Art Project highlights almost 50,000 works of art.

You can browse the Art Project by artist, artwork, or art collection, or search and refine your search results by medium. Details of each work of art are provided, along with links to other works by the same artist. In addition, you can browse partial collections of the participating institutions - an impressive number of renowned institutions worldwide have signed up so far. You can also see the works of art in their current indoor location, much like the Google Maps street view.

The Cultural Institute's site is filled with imagery. You can read background info and original manuscripts, view photos, graphs, and maps, plus watch videos. According to Google, they want to have a "visually rich and interactive online experience for telling cultural stories in new ways." For example, you can find artifacts and events by era, project (theme, more or less), or Google's collaborative partner. Search results can be refined by source, event, place, person, media, or date, and arranged by relevance or age. A subproject called the World Wonders Project enables the exploration ancient, modern, and natural wonders, like the Great Barrier Reef or Pompei.

We have only begun to play around with both services, but so far we're very impressed with them. Happy exploration!

Monday, April 08, 2013

Audio Books Guide Now Available!

Lately, some students have been requesting audio books. We try to provide help to students of all learning styles. If you have a need to listen to your book, please stop by the circulation desk or see Ms. Allen in the Learning Center so we can help you. We also made a brief audio book guide on our research guides site. Links to outside audio book resources are also provided in this guide.

Also note that all Massachusetts State residents can sign up for a Boston Public Library eCard via the web! Just follow the prompts on the registration form and your eCard number will be emailed to you. (Use the school's address if you are an out-of-state or foreign boarder.)

BPL eCards are virtual library cards that allow users immediate entry to all of Boston Public Library's remotely-accessible electronic resources, including magazine databases, downloadable audio, video, eBooks, and music.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Naturalist and Illustrator: Maria Sibylla Merian

Maria Sibylla Merian, 1647-1717, was a naturalist and illustrator. She was born in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, to an etcher and book publisher father. After her marriage and the birth of her first daughter, she began methodically to explore and paint nature.

From early on, she was interested in insects. Her first objects of illustration were silkworms and caterpillars. Merian's work had a significant influence on the development of entomology.

On April 02, 2013, Google marked the 366th anniversary of Merian's birth with a Google Doodle. Read more on Maria Sibylla Merian in the book Our Hidden Heritage: Five Centuries of Women Artists by Eleanor Tufts (shelved at 709 TUF), or visit the display in the lobby!

Monday, April 01, 2013

Latest Reviews: April 2013

Drowned Cities
Originally uploaded by Pesky Library

Below you can find links to reviews of just some of the books recently read by our staff. Why not look in our LibraryThing collection for both fiction and non-fiction to read.

The latest reviews in our "virtual collection" include 172 Hours on the Moon by Johan Harstad, and The Drowned Cities by Paolo Bacigalupi.
You can always find even more reviews through our LibraryThing profile.