Library News

Shining a light on the Hamilton region’s aspiring writers

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Filed under Library News:  Events
Mabel Pugh Taylor Writer-in-Residence Christine Pountney and 11 aspiring authors from the McMaster and Hamilton communities gave readings of their work at a recent event hosted by McMaster University Library.

Mabel Pugh Taylor Writer-in-Residence Christine Pountney and 11 aspiring authors from the McMaster and Hamilton communities gave readings of their work at a recent event hosted by McMaster University Library.

Aspiring writers who have been working one-on-one with McMaster’s Writer-in-Residence gathered recently to give readings of their work –  some reading publicly for the first time – at a special event hosted by McMaster University Library.

The event was intended to showcase the work of novice authors from the McMaster community and from the Hamilton region who have spent the past several months honing their craft with the guidance of Christine Pounteny, the 2016-17 Mabel Pugh Taylor Writer-in-Residence, a program co-sponsored by McMaster’s Department of English and Cultural Studies and the Hamilton Public Library, (HPL).

12 writers, including Pounteny, read before an audience of friends and family, faculty, and community partners who gathered for the event, which was held in partnership with McMaster’s Department of English and Cultural Studies and HPL. The writers were accompanied by guitarist Niranjan Gundu who created the musical soundscape for each reading.

“McMaster University Library is honoured to be involved with the Writer-in-Residence program as a testament to our support for Canadian literature,” says Vivian Lewis, McMaster University Librarian who spoke at the event. “Capturing the power of the written word is something we feel very passionate about. We are pleased to showcase these apprentice authors and provide them with a platform to share their work publicly.”

During her residency, Pountney split her time between campus and the Central Branch of the HPL, holding more than 150 consultations with apprentice authors in both locations to provide mentorship and feedback, or simply talk about the writing process.

“Working with Christine was a Godsend for me,” says aspiring Burlington author Charlene Walker Arnold who read her work during the event. “She is such a professional and she looks at your work with true interest. It’s so wonderful that there’s a program with someone like her to help beginner writers.”

Now in its eighteenth year, the Writer-in Residence program is made possible through a generous contribution by the Taylor family and by funds from the Faculty of Humanities and the Canada Council for the Arts.

A number of acclaimed Canadian authors have served as McMaster’s Writers-in-Residence including Lawrence Hill, author of the Book of Negros, and André Alexis who recently won CBC’s Canada Reads competition for his book Fifteen Dogs, which he was working on during his residency.

Christine Pountney will continue to hold hours at McMaster on Tuesdays and Thursdays, in CNH 312 until the end of April 2017. 

To contact Christine, email englwir@mcmaster.ca.


Rolling out the red carpet for the McMaster 24 Hour Film festival

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Filed under Library News:  Lyons New Media Centre
Team Orange Monkey took top honours at the 24 Hour Film Festival hosted by McMaster University Library’s Lyons New Media Centre for their film, ‘The Guy From Hamilton who Stole my Mail.’

Team Orange Monkey took top honours at the 24 Hour Film Festival hosted by McMaster University Library’s Lyons New Media Centre for their film, ‘The Guy From Hamilton who Stole my Mail.’

Teams of budding filmmakers were recently honoured at the annual McMaster 24 Hour Film Festival gala event, hosted by McMaster University Library’s Lyons New Media Centre.

McMaster students, staff and faculty gathered in Togo Salmon Hall to screen the top nine festival entries and to vote electronically for their favourite films and performances.

View all nine films screened at the McMaster 24 Hour Film Festival

The festival challenged McMaster students, alumni, as well as high school students to create a five-minute film in 24 hours using three elements; a randomly assigned prop (something Canadian), a line of dialogue (“So, how does it feel?” from the 1999 Canadian film, eXistenZ) and a location (behind something).

Team Orange Monkey took top honours with their film, The Guy From Hamilton who Stole my Mail:

Known Caller by Team Pyramid Pictures and A Snowball’s Chance by Team Blue Bombers – both films created by teams of high school students – took second and third place respectively.

The ‘Best Performance Award’ went to Team Flux with their film, The Waiting Room.

To help teams prepare for the competition, the Lyons New Media Centre provided participants with access to mentorship, as well as film production resources.

*The Lyons New Media Centre, located in Mills Library, is a media space for the innovative creation and use of new and traditional media in teaching, learning and research at McMaster.

Team Pyramid Pictures, made up of high school students from Ancaster, were named the runners up for their film, ‘Known Caller.’

Team Pyramid Pictures, made up of high school students from Ancaster, were named the runners up for their film, ‘Known Caller.’

Team Blue Bombers, made up of high school students from London, Ontario, placed third in the competition for their film, ‘A Snowball’s Chance.’

Team Blue Bombers, made up of high school students from London, Ontario, placed third in the competition for their film, ‘A Snowball’s Chance.’


Thode Makerspace: Informal Launch, April 18

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Filed under Library News:  Events Thode

Join the McMaster University Library  and Faculty of Engineering for the informal launch of the Thode Makerspace, a new experiential learning space in which people with shared interests, especially in computing or technology, can gather to work on projects while sharing ideas, equipment, and knowledge.

The makerspace – open to students, faculty and staff from all disciplines –offers a hands-on opportunity to develop new technologies, learn technical skills, and work in collaborative teams by providing access to tools, technology, expertise, and social connections.

When: Tuesday April 18, 2017, from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

Where: H.G. Thode Library of Science and Engineering, lower level

Please RSVP by Wednesday April 12, 2017 to mcleane@mcmaster.ca, or by phone, (905)525-9140, ext. 27099.

The Thode Makerspace is a partnership between McMaster University Library and McMaster’s Faculty of Engineering.

Those Makerspace Invitation


Discover more with the Library’s new catalogue

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Filed under Library News:  Alerts Innis Mills Thode

The University Library and Health Sciences Library will have a new library services platform in place starting in September.

A library services platform, or LSP, supports the Libraries’ catalogue, circulation, user accounts, and the acquisition and management of library collections.

The decision to move from the current system to Innovative Interfaces’ Sierra and Encore Duet platform was made following a competitive search process. Work to migrate the Libraries to the new system is underway and will be completed in August.

Sierra and Encore will provide a number of advantages to the McMaster community, chief among them an integrated search that makes access to full-text journal content easier and more direct. You can also expect faster response times and streamlined access to your library account from the new interface.

There are a few steps that members of the McMaster community will need to take to prepare:

  • Any lists that you have created in your user account must be exported and saved outside of the current system if you wish to keep them. Unfortunately, these will not migrate to the new system.
  • Links to the library catalogue that you may have bookmarked or embedded in Avenue2Learn will need to be updated after the new catalogue is in place. Links directly to online content (e.g., journal articles, e-books, databases) will not be affected.
  • Any screenshots or video of the library catalogue that may be included in your instructional materials will need to be updated.

Checkouts, holds, and requests for items to be recalled will migrate to the new system as part of the Libraries’ work with the vendor.

We will share more details on how to prepare as the transition date gets closer. If you have questions in the meantime, please feel free to contact us and we will provide the best answer that we can with our current understanding of the new system; we’re learning too, and our own knowledge of specific details is still evolving. Finally, we appreciate your patience and support as we work through these changes.


What if Socrates had a Twitter account?

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Filed under Library News:  Events

When Library intern Madeline Donnelly thinks about intellectual freedom, she thinks of Galileo, Socrates and Semmelweis, and the repercussions they faced for radical ideas that challenged established norms.

To help understand their situations in the context of modern times and technology, Donnelly asked herself:

What if Galileo had a Twitter account when he published a Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems?

What if Semmelweis was on Facebook when he revealed the benefits of hand-washing on patient mortality?

What if Socrates did all his Socratic questioning on Twitter?

This week is Freedom to Read Week in Canada. Organized by the Freedom of Expression Committee of the Book and Periodical Council, FRW is an annual event that encourages Canadians to think about and reaffirm their commitment to intellectual freedom, which is guaranteed them under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Let’s celebrate our freedom to think, read, write and share.

Watch videos created by Madeline:


Henry Giroux: “Collective opposition is no longer an option, it’s a necessity”

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Filed under Library News:  Archives & Research Collections
More than 150 students, colleagues, friends, and alumni gathered at the University Club to celebrate the donation of Henry Giroux’s archive to McMaster University Library and to hear him talk about the state of democracy in the age of Donald Trump.

More than 150 students, colleagues, friends, and alumni gathered at the University Club to celebrate the donation of Henry Giroux’s archive to McMaster University Library and to hear him talk about the state of democracy in the age of Donald Trump.

“Collective opposition is no longer an option, it’s a necessity.”

This was the impassioned call-to-action made by Henry Giroux, director of the McMaster Centre for Scholarship in the Public Interest and Professor in McMaster’s Department of English and Cultural Studies.

He made the comments during a recent lecture in which he described what he calls the “vindictive chaos” of politics in the United States, comparing Trump’s America to the dystopian worlds of George Orwell’s 1984 and Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World.

“The body of democracy is on life support and the wounds now being inflicted upon it are alarming. This certainly raises questions about what role educational institutions should take in the face of impending tyranny,” says Giroux. “At the heart of such efforts is the question of what education should accomplish in a democracy under siege.”

The talk was part of a special event hosted by McMaster University Library in celebration of Giroux, who recently donated his personal archives to the Library’s William Ready Division of Archives and Research Collections.

More than 150 students, colleagues, friends, and alumni gathered at the University Club to pay tribute to Giroux, a public intellectual, prolific writer and world-renowned educational and cultural theorist, who has spent the last 30 years provoking societal debate on some of society’s most pressing and controversial issues.

Giroux’s archive – which contains significant insights into his life and work as a scholar and public intellectual – includes manuscripts and articles written or edited by Giroux, as well as books from Giroux’s own library that have informed his work.

The collection also contains personal correspondence, including letters from influential philosopher, educator and social theorist, Paulo Friere – a colleague and mentor to Giroux – as well as a number of the many awards Giroux has received throughout his career.

“Henry’s archive contains the research materials that have formed the foundation of his published work,” says Vivian Lewis, McMaster University Librarian. “The collection is revealing of Henry’s incredible life as a public intellectual and, as such, will be of invaluable importance to the researchers, critics, editors, and students from around the world who will visit the archive.”

Giroux has written extensively about youth culture, media studies, race studies and the state of public and higher education in the United Sates.

He has authored, or co-authored 63 books, written several hundred scholarly articles, delivered more than 250 public lectures, been a regular contributor to print, television and radio news media outlets, and is the most cited Canadian academic working in any area of Humanities research.

The Giroux archive will be available for researchers to access later this year.

Watch Henry Giroux's lecture, "Trump’s America: Rethinking Orwell’s 1984 and Huxley’s Brave New World":


Workshop offers McMaster students a crash course in electronics

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Filed under Library News:  Mills
These are some of the materials used by Arts & Science and iSci students to build small electronic devices during 'Electronics for the Rest of Us,' a recent workshop hosted by McMaster Library's Sherman Centre for Digital Scholarship, that introduced students to simple circuitry and coding.

These are some of the materials used by Arts & Science and iSci students to build small electronic devices during 'Electronics for the Rest of Us,' a recent workshop hosted by McMaster Library's Sherman Centre for Digital Scholarship, that introduced students to simple circuitry and coding.

From smartphones and computers to video game consoles and TVs, most of us couldn’t imagine life without these complex electronic devices, but do you know how they work?

While you may not be building your own laptop anytime soon, believe it or not, learning how a circuit works – and even building your own electronic device – can be simpler and less time-consuming than you think.

This was the case for a group of students from McMaster’s Arts & Science and Integrated Science (iSci) programs who recently spent three days learning the basics of electronics at a workshop held by the experts at McMaster University Library’s Lewis and Ruth Sherman Centre for Digital Scholarship.

“I think for a lot of students, they perceive working with circuits, or computer code to be something that has a really long learning curve that they just don’t have the time to get into because it takes a substantial time investment,” says Jay Brodeur, Manager of McMaster Library’s Maps, Data and GIS Department, who led the workshop. “But what we’ve found is that with the right kind of introduction, they can get going on this and working on their own projects in a matter of hours.”

Electronics for the Rest of Us, introduces students to “physical” or “minimal” computing, a form of computing that uses simple circuitry and coding to build small, relatively straightforward electronic devices.

Using a microcomputer called an Arduino, students learn how to build their own circuits as well as how to write simple computer code to sends instructions to their device.

“Their first task was to build a circuit with an LED light and make it blink,” says Brodeur. “Then we told them to change the rate at which the LED blinks. To do this, they had to modify the code to make the device work. This helped them understand how these two things work together.”

Brodeur says by the final day of the workshop, students were working independently to create devices that performed a range of tasks, from reacting to noise levels to sensing changes in light.

“I found the workshop to be nothing short of amazing,” says Abbey Hudecki, a third year student in McMaster’s Arts & Science program who says she started the workshop with no knowledge of electronics and ended up building a device that not only sensed the room’s temperature and sound levels, but responded by lighting LEDs and playing music.

“The highlight for me was the last day of the course when we had free time to create pretty much whatever we wanted to.  By then, I had enough understanding to actually make things on my own,” she says.  “I would strongly encourage students to take this course, since there’s always someone there to help, and it can completely change your attitude towards electronics for the better.”

Electronics for the Rest of Us is offered each term and is open to students from all Faculties.

Students in Electronics for the Rest of Us built circuits that, among other things, made an LED light blink:

via GIPHY


NFB films now available

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Filed under Library News:  e-Resources
National Film Board Education

The National Film Board's collection of streaming videos is now available for classroom use!

The National Film Board's collection of streaming videos is now available for classroom use!  If you enjoy watching movies, this is the resource for you.

The Library has recently licensed the NFB's CAMPUS collection, providing online access to more than 3,000 features, documentaries, and animated films in English and French.  The CAMPUS subscription allows McMaster faculty and students to incorporate these films directly into classes.  You can access additional features, including custom playlists, by creating a personal account from the library site.  And of course, you can watch these movies at any time, on campus or at home.

The NFB complements our second major streaming resource, Criterion on Demand, making a wide array of films available for educational use.  Each film can be accessed from the library catalogue.

Happy watching!

 

 

 


Virtual museum tells poignant stories of survival and resistance during World War II

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Filed under Library News:  Archives & Research Collections
Screen shot of the Madeleine and Monty Levy Virtual Museum of the Holocaust and the Resistance.

The newly re-designed Madeleine and Monte Levy Virtual Museum of the Holocaust and the Resistance uses moving personal accounts and other primary sources to help scholars and the public better understand the Holocaust and resistance movements of World War II.

“The most indelible memory I have is the moment of arrival in the camp at Ravensbrück. As a child, I always had a sort of childish picture of how I imagined hell and, suddenly, there it was. An arched iron gate opens upwards, clanging and grating. Red lights of some sort. Night. And there we are, entering a black abyss. Pushed and shoved, we fall over each other. I had the feeling that we were descending into hell.”

This story, recounted by Holocaust survivor Irena Matusiak, is just one of the many poignant narratives contained in a recently re-designed and expanded online exhibit dedicated to helping scholars and the public better understand the Holocaust and resistance movements of World War II.

Using passages from concentration camp letters, first-hand accounts, videos, images, and explanatory text, the Madeleine and Monte Levy Virtual Museum of the Holocaust and the Resistance places the Holocaust and underground resistance movements in the larger context of World War II and documents the often devastating and tragic experiences of the people who lived during this time.

The display, developed by scholars and librarians at McMaster University Library, incorporates items from the extensive World War II collections housed in the Library’s William Ready Division of Archives and Research Collections.

Across five modules, the Virtual Museum explores a number of themes including life in the concentration camps and prisons, the Jewish resistance as well as the resistance movements in France and Poland, Nazi culture, the war effort in Germany, and Allied and German propaganda from 1933 to 1945.

The site also includes oral history interviews with Holocaust survivors. These clips, extracted from the USC Shoah Foundation Institute’s Visual History Archive,* add to the powerful, first-hand accounts contained in the exhibit’s static documents.

“The Madeleine and Monte Levy Virtual Museum of the Holocaust and the Resistance weaves together a range of primary source materials with historical narrative that helps us continue to shed light on these years of upheaval, destruction, and genocide,” says Wade Wyckoff, Associate University Librarian. “It shows both the depths of the tragedy and the strength and perseverance of the many who resisted and survived. We are proud that through our collections and expertise, we can help preserve and share these important stories.”

McMaster University Library began collecting materials related to the Holocaust and the Resistance in 2008 after acquiring a large collection of books, posters, newspapers, Nazi propaganda materials and letters–including 2000 letters to and from prisoners in concentration camps–from noted collector, Michel Brisebois.

Over the past decade, the collection has continued to grow with several additional donations from Brisebois and others, as well as an ongoing effort to purchase books and documents on the subject.

The Virtual Museum was created with the scholarly contributions of post-doctoral fellows Noah Shenker and Ekaterina Neklyudova and librarian Myron Groover.

The site was created in part with funding from Madeleine and Monte Levy.

* The full Visual History Archive database of more than 54,000 eyewitness testimonies to the Holocaust and other instances of genocide from around the world is available to McMaster students, faculty and staff, and to visitors in the campus libraries.


500 year-old book paints a vivid portrait of life in the 12th Century

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Filed under Library News:  Archives & Research Collections
McMaster University Library has acquired a rare, centuries-old travelogue that recounts the journey of Benjamin of Tudela, a Jewish merchant whose fantastic journey to Asia predated — by a hundred years — the famous travels of Marco Polo.

McMaster University Library has acquired a rare, centuries-old travelogue that recounts the journey of Benjamin of Tudela, a Jewish merchant whose fantastic journey to Asia predated — by a hundred years — the famous travels of Marco Polo.

At first glance, the book in Myron Groover’s hands appears small and unassuming. But contained within the plain, nondescript cover is a centuries-old text– a rare travelogue that paints a unique and vivid picture of life in the 12th Century.

Recently acquired by McMaster University Library, the text is the first Latin translation of The Travels of Benjamin Tudela, a travelogue originally written in Hebrew by Benjamin of Tudela, a Jewish merchant from Zaragoza in Andalus, now southern Spain.

The book recounts Benjamin’s 13-year journey which, from 1160 to 1173, took him throughout the Mediterranean, the Middle East, and Asia — along many of the same routes that Marco Polo would famously traverse more than a hundred years later.

“It’s a significant travelogue — it’s the accuracy of the detail that really makes this stand out,” says Groover, Archives and Rare Books Librarian at McMaster University Library, who adds that this is one of only a few surviving first hand travelogues from the time.

“Benjamin is a good ethnographer and this is one of our most trustworthy and sophisticated narrative sources for the history and the customs of the places he visited during this time period. It’s a compassionate description that seems to be informed by the people he was writing about — it’s clear he spent time with them and interacted with them.”

Groover says Benjamin, who likely embarked on his journey to develop mercantile contacts, wrote valuable accounts of the people and places he visited, including uncommonly accurate accounts of the vibrant and thriving Jewish communities he encountered, as well as detailed descriptions of powerful and influential urban centres like Baghdad and Constantinople.

“Benjamin is more or less the last person to describe these places to us,” says Groover who explains that Constantinople– the centre of the Byzantine Empire­– was burned to the ground in 1204 during the Fourth Crusade, and Baghdad– the cultural capital of the Muslim world– was sacked by the Mongols within 100 years of Benjamin’s narrative.

Groover says although most of the travelogue contains detailed and verifiable information, the exact extent of Benjamin’s voyage is still the subject of debate.

“It’s a bit hard to assess what he says about his eastward journey,” says Groover. “His descriptions of Persia, China, southwestern India and Sri Lanka become increasingly fantastic, but they still serve as a valuable source on how these fabled lands seemed to the imaginations of people living in 12th-century Europe,” he says.

In 1575 – three centuries after Benjamin’s original Hebrew travelogue was written –the text was translated into Latin by Arias Montanus, a Jesuit priest and delegate to the Council of Trent. This translation quickly became a best seller.

“It was a smash success,” says Groover. “It went through several print runs in reasonably rapid succession. People were very keen to read this– most people knew of Marco Polo’s chronicle, but this was written much earlier and is, in many cases, more accurate.”

McMaster University Library’s William Ready Division of Archives and Research Collections acquired the book this fall. Groover calls it a “fantastic humanist artifact,” and says it complements McMaster strong collection of books from the renaissance period, as well as the Division’s growing collection of Judaic texts.

“This is a very rare and significant book,” says Groover. “As far as we know, it’s the only one held by a public institution in Canada. We are so pleased that we were able to acquire this book and that we can now can share it with the scholarly community and the public.


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