Filed under Library News: Archives & Research Collections
John Dorsey (pictured), son of McMaster alumnus Lieutenant Robert (Bob) Dorsey, holds a “wee small tam” and a pair of woollen mittens sent home by his father- a gift to the son he would never meet. These items are now part of a special archive donated by the Dorsey family to McMaster University Library.
I stood beside a graveside and tears came to my eyes
Tears I didn’t know I had
For a man I didn’t know with the same last name
First time I stood beside my dad
I really wish that I had known him
Only 23 and gone
He never got off the beach in Normandy
But he left me to carry on.
These words were written by John Dorsey, lyrics to a song about his father, McMaster alumnus, Lieutenant Robert (Bob) Dorsey, who died in World War Two– a father he never met.
John, a teacher and a musician, wrote the song after visiting his father’s grave in France for the first time 30 years ago, a fitting tribute to his father, who by all accounts, shared his son’s love of music.
John was three months old when his father was killed in France on June 7, 1944– his life, and those of 19 others, claimed when a German aircraft strafed their position as they dug in on the beaches of Normandy.
“I never thought I had feelings for my dad because I never knew him, but when I was in France, I found myself standing beside the grave and crying,” says Dorsey. “You can’t escape these things- he’s part of me and I’m part of him, that’s why I wrote the song– I distilled my feelings into that.”
Bob Dorsey embarked for England in 1943, not knowing at the time that his wife Florence was expecting. But after hearing of his son’s birth, an excited Bob bought “a wee small tam,” and a set of tiny mittens, purchased while on leave in Scotland, and sent them home to Florence– a gift from a proud father to his son.
Now these items, along with a collection of photos, mementos and documents that shed light on Bob’s life, are part of an archive recently donated by the Dorsey family to McMaster University Library’s William Ready Division of Archives and Research Collections.
“(The collection) helped me to learn about who I came from– it helps me understand my dad,” says Dorsey who, over the years, heard stories about his father– about his outgoing and fun-loving nature, and how he would often lead his regiment in song, earning him the nickname, “Tommy Dorsey."
Included in the collection is a number of family photos, as well as a stack of publications known as the “The Rocket,” a regimental newspaper co-founded by Bob that was full of cartoons, jokes, editorials and news from the front– it was intended to be a source of information, but also to help boost morale among the troops.
“We are grateful to receive this generous gift from the Dorsey family,” says Wade Wyckoff, Associate University Librarian. “This collection contains unique materials that will serve as a valuable resource to scholars seeking to learn about the lives and experiences of Canadian soldiers during World War II. We are proud to preserve this collection and to make it available to future generations of scholars.”
The Dorsey archive is part of a special Library initiative inspired by McMaster’s World War II Honour Roll project, led by Dr. Charles M. Johnston (class of 1949), professor emeritus of history, with the support of McMaster’s Alumni Association.
As part of this online project, Johnston researched and wrote comprehensive biographies of the 35 McMaster alumni who died in World War II, the names of whom are listed on the Honour Roll plaques housed in Alumni Memorial Hall.*
Johnston’s biography of Bob Dorsey provides many details and insights into his life, military service and student activities, painting a picture of a man who, while at McMaster, was an active and enthusiastic member of the Chess Club and of McMaster’s Political Economy Club and who also exceled at numerous sports, winning both tennis and badminton championships as a varsity athlete, and dubbed “a leader on the field” by the Silhouette for his contributions to McMaster’s championship-winning soccer team.
Read Lt. Robert Dorsey’s biography written by Dr. Charles Johnston, part of McMaster’s WWII Honour Roll project.
“The Library’s archive project compliments the comprehensive and meaningful work of Dr. Johnston intended to bring to life the stories the McMaster alumni who served and died in the Second World War,” says Director of Alumni Advancement, Karen McQuigge. “The Library’s archive initiative will help deepen our understanding of the contributions, and sacrifices made by the McMaster graduates who didn’t returned home from that tragic conflict.”
* Alumni Memorial Hall was named in honour of McMaster’s fallen soldiers from World War I and World War II. Each year the names of these graduates are read aloud during McMaster’s annual Remembrance Day ceremony.
Filed under Library News: Mills
The Lewis & Ruth Sherman Centre for Digital Scholarship* has announced the recipients of the 2016/2017 Sherman Centre Graduate Fellowship.
The fellowships are awarded to emerging scholars who are interested in using digital tools, techniques and methods to advance their research.
"We received a number of high-caliber applications from graduate students across McMaster this year, which is indicative of the continued growth and interest in digital scholarship and the digital humanities on campus,” says Andrea Zeffiro, academic director of the Sherman Centre. “We look forward to working with these talented, innovative scholars and to seeing their imprint on the growing community of Sherman researchers.”
The fellows will each receive a $1500 stipend as well as workspace in the Centre for the coming academic year.
Learn more about this year’s Sherman Centre Graduate Fellows:
Mica Jorgenson, Doctoral Candidate in History
This Sherman Centre Fellowship project supplements my doctorate research on the environmental history of nineteenth century global gold rushes. My in-progress dissertation argues that international influences affected Canada’s relationship with nature during the industrialization of the primary resource industry. I use the Porcupine gold rush in northern Ontario as a case study to show how transnational forces can effect local environments. The current project is a flow map of people, goods, and ideas moving around the world between 1848 (the first gold rush in California) and 1909 (Porcupine). Using a database of moved objects compiled during primary research, the flow map project seeks to identify directional and thematic trends in overseas movements associated with the gold rush. The current project builds on previous mapping projects in which I overlaid historic maps onto modern satellite imagery to show changes in claim boundaries and waterways over time. By treating the gold rushes as linked international events, this work (and my dissertation as a whole) challenges the dominant trend in the historical discipline toward national research constrained by political borders. Learn more about Mica’s research.
Kelsey Leonard, Doctoral Candidate in Social Policy
This digital scholarship project will develop on an online toolkit, or data portal that consolidates available data on water security issues affecting Indigenous Nations in the Columbia River Basin (CRB) and Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Basin (GLSLB). Indigenous Nations are increasingly experiencing the effects ofclimate change and taking steps to adapt to current and future environmental risks. In response to ecological changes and altered human activities, First Nations in Canada and the United States are creating climate change adaptation programs for water security. The management of water resources by First Nations is inherently transboundary as those nations existed prior to modern border delineations. The digital scholarship project highlights First Nation strategies from the CRB and GLSLB to enhance equitable and responsible management of Indigenous water resources. Highlighting the Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) of First Nations and advancing innovation pathways through Indigenous mapping using story maps and geospatial data.
Samantha Stevens-Hall, Doctoral Candidate in History
The proposed project is a public access online database of primary source and supplementary materials in African intellectual history. The materials incorporated come from my archival work for my dissertation. This database would bring together these scattered sources into one easily accessible online resource. The database will initially have three portfolios of Uganda intellectuals from the period of transition to British colonial rule in Uganda in East Africa. These portfolios will be comprised of short biographies, no more than 500 words, written in an encyclopedic style and accompanied with a few excerpts from their written works, no more than five pages each. The excerpts will be selected to show the dynamic character and variety in their writing as a means to support the key arguments in my thesis that these men were multidimensional figures engaged in a vibrant culture of knowledge exchange and debate over representations of the past. Learn more about Samantha’s research
* The Sherman Centre, which is a part of McMaster University Library, provides consulting and technical support to faculty and graduate students with all levels of technological experience. The Sherman Centre consults on any stage or aspect of a digital scholarship, or pedagogical project to help determine the digital tools, techniques and methods that best suit the project, big or small.
Filed under Library News: Mills
With the help of the Lewis and Ruth Sherman Centre for Digital Scholarship, PhD student Melissa Marie (emmy) Legge, pictured here with therapy dog Boom, has built an electronic sensor package to help better understand the experiences of therapy dogs.
When Melissa Marie (emmy) Legge first started as a graduate fellow in the Lewis and Ruth Sherman Centre for Digital Scholarship* a little over a year ago, the McMaster student and PhD candidate in Social Work had no idea how a computer processor works, let alone how to program one.
Now, with help from the Sherman Centre, Legge has not only learned electronics and coding skills, but has used those skills to build a specialized sensor package, which has become a key part of Legge’s dissertation research.
“In Social Work we don’t really work with technology but there’s so much potential, especially in research,” says Legge who will use the sensor to gather data aimed at better understanding the experiences of therapy animals while they’re working.
Legge recently came to the Sherman Centre, located in Mills Library, to talk to the Daily News about this research and to demonstrate how the sensor works:
Tell me about your dissertation research
I grew up as an animal activist. I had always had pets and worked with animals and so I was really excited about the increasing popularity of that kind of social work, but once I got involved in it myself, I found that it was more complicated than I thought. Just because a dog is suited for therapy work, it doesn’t mean they’ll be comfortable in every environment– every dog is different.
I wanted to get an idea of what it’s like for the animals that do all this work for us. What do they see, or hear while they’re working? I wanted to find ways to collect both qualitative and quantitative date about the animal’s experience– hopefully the sensor will paint a picture of what the animal is experiencing.
What does the sensor package do?
I built the package using an Arduino– a little computer that you program and give instructions. It has a number of sensors plugged in. My package measures things like heart rate and breathing rates. But I also wanted to get more nuanced data, so there’s a sensor that measures the volume levels of the (ambient) noise, and a video camera mounted on a go-pro harness, which is great because you can see where the animal is looking, and because the animal’s head is in the shot, you can see whether their ears go up and down.
I’m also hoping to put a sensor on the tail because when dogs are happy they really express that physically.
You don’t have a technical background– how did you learn these skills?
I had never done anything like this– literally zero– before my fellowship. I had done basic programming in high school which is pretty obsolete now, but that was it.
I worked at the Sherman Centre and a makerspace in Toronto and I asked a lot of questions. I found that the first steps were the hardest in the learning process, but once I got going I found there were lots of resources available. People here in the Sherman Centre provided me with support, education and space to work. It’s so valuable to have a space where you can sit and make a mess and, if you get totally stuck, have people around to help. So many people here have a wealth of knowledge.
Anything you want to add?
I feel in so many ways that I didn’t understand what could be done in research with digital technologies before I started working in the Sherman Centre–I think not everyone in every discipline knows what’s out there. It’s been really exciting– I have more enthusiasm for research now after having been here for a year, it’s such a valuable resource.
* The Sherman Centre, which is a part of McMaster University Library, provides consulting and technical support to faculty and graduate students with all levels of technological experience. The Sherman Centre consults on any stage or aspect of a digital scholarship or pedagogical project to help determine the digital tools, techniques and methods that best suit the project, big or small.
Filed under Library News: Maps, Data, GIS
McMaster map expert, Gord Beck is featured, along with numerous maps from McMaster’s renowned World War One map collection, in the documentary Drawn to Victory: The Revolution of Mapping in World War One airing on Sunday Oct. 30 at 9:00 p.m. on CPAC.
Beck, a Map Specialist in McMaster University Library’s Maps, Data and GIS Department, served as a consultant, and also appears in the documentary, which focuses on Canada’s contribution to the evolution of aerial mapmaking and examines the impact of new mapping standards and techniques developed by the Allies during WW1.
McMaster’s Lloyd Reeds Maps Collection contains more than 1500 maps and 600 aerial photos from World War One, making it one of the largest WW1 map collections in Canada and the largest collection of digitized WW1 maps in the world.
Maps from the collection were used both in the documentary and to create educational resources for teachers including:
Drawn to Victory was sponsored by the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, Canadian Geographic Magazine, the Canadian Heritage Ministry and CPAC (Canadian Public Affairs Channel).
Filed under Library News: Archives & Research Collections
Renowned public intellectual Henry Giroux poses beside a photo of social critic, political activist and Nobel laureate Bertrand Russell, whom Giroux calls one of his “personal heroes.” The photo was taken in the Bertrand Russell Archive housed in McMaster University Library’s William Ready Division of Archives and Research Collections. Giroux recently donated his personal archive, which contains significant insights into his life and work, to the Division.
Henry Giroux believes it’s the job of a scholar to make a difference in the world.
“A writer should cause trouble,” says Giroux, a public intellectual, outspoken cultural critic, teacher and researcher who, through his prolific body of work, has brought scholarly ideas into the public realm and provoked societal debate on some of the most urgent social issues of the past 30 years.
“I was always willing to take risks,” he says. “Of course there are consequences to this, but I want to make an impact– I write and teach to make the world a better place."
Soon Giroux’s archive, which contains significant insights into his life and work, will be available to the scholarly community and the public.
Giroux, a Professor in McMaster’s Department of English and Cultural Studies and McMaster University Chair for Scholarship in the Public Interest, has donated his archive to McMaster University Library’s William Ready Division of Archives and Research Collections. The archive will be available for researchers to access later in 2017.
From his pioneering work as an educational and cultural theorist, to his writings on youth culture, media studies, race studies and the state of public and higher education in the United Sates, Giroux says the archive exemplifies what, over the years, has become the goal of his work- to bring debates on pressing social issues out of academia and into the public realm.
“The archive shows how I was responding to very specific periods and social problems in the political academic world,” he says. “What this offers to young scholars is both a trajectory and a process by which these subjects were engaged and it opens up the historical period in which I was writing. This is not just private work– this represents a mirror to the outside world at that particular time and how I moved from being strictly an academic writer to one who started writing more publicly.”
“I wanted to maintain the rigor of academic work while at the same time making it accessible to a variety of audiences,” adds Giroux who has written extensively for scholarly journals and for a number of public and popular venues including the Village Voice, The Progressive, Toronto Star, and The New York Times to online media such as Truthout, Tikkun, and CounterPunch.
The archive contains manuscripts and articles written, or edited by Giroux, as well as books from Giroux’s own library– complete with handwritten notes– that 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.
“In the tradition of great public intellectuals like Bertrand Russell, Henry’s work addresses complex social issues in an accessible way, seeking to elevate public discourse and affect social change,” says Vivian Lewis, McMaster University Librarian. “Henry is among the most influential cultural theorists in the world today whose work has inspired students, scholars and citizens alike– we are fortunate to house the archives of such a prolific and distinguished scholar.”
Giroux says universities and academics have a valuable role to play in what he calls the “creation of a critically aware citizenry” and hopes that the archive will provide both a model and incentive for academics to become “border crossers,” moving between the academic and public realms.
“I hope people will come away and learn something from it, and use it in their own work,” he says. “I hope that it’s not just dead time for them, that it collects in their head in a way that says, “Wow, this is the kind of model I’m interested in. This is what I want to do, I want to make an impact on the world.’”
Giroux 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.
Filed under Library News: Archives & Research Collections Events Innis Maps, Data, GIS Mills Thode
International Open Access Week is fast-approaching! Now in its 9th year, Open Access Week is an annual event that mobilizes researchers, students, teachers and librarians to discuss, evaluate and understand the importance of Open Access (OA). McMaster University Libraries invites you to a series of events scheduled from October 20 to 28. Check the Schedule at a Glance for an overview of the week's activities, or the Full Schedule for more detailed event information.
Open Access is a movement that supports the open dissemination of information, expanding participation in the scholarly conversation to a broader community. A variety of OA models now exist, provided by both dedicated OA publishers or repositories and commercial publishers. Increasingly, OA includes not only completed research but also research data and intermediate research products. Through its various forms, Open Access broadens the accessibility of research and research outcomes to those who may not have the institutional affiliations or individual subscriptions that continue to be required for access to much of the scholarly record.
This year’s theme, "Open in Action", encourages the individual to take concrete steps towards supporting OA. Everyone in the scholarly community has an active part in supporting the growth and development of Open Access research and scholarship. To see the different ways that you may support OA, visit the new Open Access Week Action Portal.
Interested in learning more? Join in the events hosted by McMaster University Libraries during Open Access Week!
Madeline Donnelly, Library Intern
Filed under Library News: Archives & Research Collections e-Resources Innis Maps, Data, GIS Mills New Books Thode
Every year, the McMaster libraries add tens of thousands of new books, e-books, journals, and online resources to the collection, spanning the wide range of subject areas that the libraries support.
It can be challenging for faculty and students to keep up as new items flow into the library each day, but there’s a tool built into the Library Catalogue to help everyone do just that.
Using the "New Items" feature on the Library website, users can see the most recent additions to McMaster library collections from the previous day, the last 5 days, or the last 30 days. Results can be narrowed further by format, author, topic, language, region, or time period. Users can place a hold on most books and other physical items to be notified when they arrive, and when the search looks just right, they can create a feed to their favorite reader and have results delivered automatically.
“The University Library is committed to supporting students and researchers with a wide variety of resources,” says Wade Wyckoff, Associate University Librarian. "We know that many of our faculty and students are interested in seeing new materials available for their research or studies. We hope that this feature will make that a little easier."
Filed under Library News: Events
The McMaster community and members of the public are invited to join McMaster's new Writer-in-Residence, Christine Pountney for a welcome reception and reading to take place at the Hamilton Public Library, Central Branch on Monday, September 26 2016 at 7p.m.
Pountney was recently named the Mabel Pugh Taylor Writer-in-Residence in partnership with McMaster's Department of English and Cultural Studies and the Hamilton Public Library (HPL).
She will divide her time equally between McMaster and HPL, consulting one-on-one with apprentice writers in the Hamilton community, and devoting approximately 60% of her time to her own writing, an important goal of the Residency program.
Christine Pountney will hold office hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays between September 2016 and April 2017. For the fall, her office hours will be at the Central Branch of the Hamilton Public Library on the third floor, and during the winter she will hold office hours at the Department of English and Cultural Studies at McMaster in Chester New Hall, room 312.
Please join us in welcoming Christine to McMaster:
When: Monday, September 26 2016 at 7pm,
Where: Hamilton Public Library, Central Branch|55 York Boulevard (Hamilton Room, Ground Floor)
To contact Christine, email email@example.com
Scientific discovery happens at McMaster every day in labs, in classrooms, in libraries, and in many other spaces on campus. It's true what they say, you really do learn something new every day.
Science Literacy Week (September 19-25) is a celebration of science taking place at universities across Canada. At McMaster, we're celebrating our love of science with the following events:
At Thode Library
Science Trivia and Daily Twitter Contest
When: September 19th-25th
Where: In person, on the main floor of Thode Library, and online at twitter.com/ThodeLibrary
Test your scientific knowledge with two fun trivia games, and find out if you know enough to win the (virtual) $1,000,000 prize, or how you stack up against the general public. Look for the arcade machine in the lobby of Thode Library.
Follow us on Twitter (@thodelibrary) to participate in our daily contest, for a chance to win some Library swag, plus general bragging rights, of course.
Lunchtime Events in Thode (all events start at 12:30pm)
Monday 19th Movie Screening: Disney’s Oceans
Journey into the depths of a wonderland filled with mystery, beauty and power. Oceans is a spectacular story, narrated by Pierce Brosnan, about remarkable creatures under the sea. It’s an unprecedented look at the lives of these elusive deep sea creatures through their own eyes. Incredible state-of-the-art underwater filmmaking will take your breath away as you migrate with whales, swim alongside a great white shark, and race with dolphins at play. Screening takes place in the soft seating lounge.
Tuesday 20th Reactor Lecture: Dr. Michael Egan on The Social History of Truth: How Science Became Science. (Talk takes place in the Reactor Café)
How do we know what we know? And how to we know it is true? What is expertise? And why do we value it? What is science? And what does it produce? Why do we trust science? And how is it that it has come to dominate our daily lives? Science is a function of society. The rules of who can do science, what and where truth comes from, and who has access to this specialized knowledge were composed over a centuries-long evolution. Valuing empirical knowledge over superstition may seem like a natural pursuit, but its practice is actually fairly recent and much more contested than we might imagine. This lecture aims to explore the cultural features of who could practice science and how their scientific method came to be ingrained as a method of forging consensus among scientists, and how their findings came to be adopted as truths to a more general public.
Wednesday 21st Lunch with TED
Join us for a public screening of Can You Believe Your Eyes? This TED Talk delves into magic tricks, optical illusions, death-defying defeats, digital lies. Believe it or not. Screening takes place in the soft seating lounge.
Thursday 22nd Movie Screening: Disney’s Earth
An epic story of adventure, starring some of the most magnificent and courageous creatures alive, awaits you in Earth. DisneyNature brings you a remarkable story, narrated by James Earl Jones, of three animal families on a journey across our planet – polar bears, elephants, and humpback whales. Screening takes place in the soft seating lounge.
Friday 23rd Lunch with TED
Join us for a public screening of, TED Talk, So You Think You Know … Science Myths Debunked! Simple ideas and big discoveries, battling bad science, why people believe weird things. Discover the truth. Screening takes place in the soft seating lounge.
Tour and View the LIVELab
When: September 20th; 12:30-1:30pm
Where: LIVELab, Room 202, 2nd floor of the Psychology Building
Located within the McMaster Institute for Music & the Mind (MIMM), the LIVE (Large Interactive Virtual Environment) Lab is a 106 seat research-based performance theatre and testing centre. The LIVELab is committed to developing a world class facility for the scientific study of music, sound, and movement and their importance in human development and human health.
When: September 21st Night Sky Viewing 7:45 pm
Where: Meet at the turning circle in front of Mary Keyes Residence
Note: These events are weather permitting. Check the Sidewalk Astronomy website in advance of the event for confirmation.
McMaster's Sidewalk Astronomy is a public outreach initiative that is run by the graduate students at McMaster's Department of Physics and Astronomy. We give the public of Hamilton, Ontario and the surrounding areas the unique opportunity to look through a powerful telescope at some of the brightest celestial objects in the sky. Everyone is welcomed to take a peek through the telescope.
The Astrophysics of Everyday Life at McMaster’s W.J. McCallion Planetarium
When: September 21st; two shows: 7:00pm and 8:15pm
Where: Located in the Burke Science Building (BSB), lower level, B149
$7 admission fee (cash only at door) – Reserve your ticket!
In our daily lives, we constantly experience physical phenomena. Driving a car, turning on a light, boiling water – physics is inescapable. But the fundamental laws that govern everyday life don’t stop there. On the scale of the Universe, these same equations have extraordinary consequences. In this show, we will take a tour of the night sky and see these principles in action. Just by looking in the right places, we’ll be able to see, for example, what it looks like when you turn on a light the size of our Solar System.
The Planetary Society’s McMaster Space Initiative Science Café
When: September 23rd; 5:30-7:30pm (doors open at 5:15pm)
Where: Bridges Café
Featuring four speakers from the scientific community at McMaster from different departments, a night of great talks about science (and of course space too!) – plus coffee, tea, and sweet treats! Open to all ages.
Gaze at the Stars
When: September 20th; 7pm
Where: Turner Park Branch
Note: Registration required – Please call (905)546-4790
Join John Gauvreau of the Hamilton Amateur Astronomers as he takes us on a virtual tour of the universe. Presented by: Hamilton Amateur Astronomers.
Let’s Talk Science
Join Let’s Talk Science at the Hamilton Public library (HPL) for exciting public science demonstrations with McMaster engineering students (ages: 5-12 years). Registration information can be found on the HPL website.
- September 21st, 1:30 P.M – Dundas Branch*
- September 22nd, 1:30 P.M – Locke Branch*
- September 24th, 2:00 P.M – Terryberry Branch*
* Registration Required
Learn more about all Science Literacy Week events taking place in the Hamilton community.
Over the summer, the Library funded the installation and upgrading of new and existing Wi-Fi access points in both Mills and Thode Libraries.
Working closely with University Technology Services, who helped optimize and fine tune the new network, early reviews strongly suggest that both buildings now boast the fastest and most stable Wi-Fi signals on campus.
The most notable improvement is the addition of McMaster’s first, public access 5GHz wireless network. Existing alongside of the current campus wide networks MacSecure and Eduroam, MacSecure-5 uses the 5GHz frequency for what promises to be faster data transfers, less congestion and reduced interference. The caveat is that in most cases, only newer phones, laptops, and tablets have the ability to “see” 5GHz signals.
Even if your technology cannot take advantage of the new MacSecure-5 network, the addition of over a dozen new access points and the improved configurations of existing access points ensures that current users of MacSecure and Eduroam networks will also reap the benefits of these technological updates.
These improvements are limited to Mills and Thode alone with no current plans for expansion. If you find yourself in these spaces, we encourage you to log in and find out for yourselves. Please let us know what you think!