Filed under Library News: Events
Scarcity of information is a common frustration for historians. For students of 20th- and 21st century history, however, the opposite problem is also increasingly common — overwhelmed by a deluge of information, historians have begun to struggle with what is now understood as ‘big data’.
On Friday, September 30, 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., join Micki Kaufman, from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, for her presentation, Everything on Paper Will be Used Against Me: Quantifying Kissinger.
Kaufman will discuss how she is using digital research methods and data visualization techniques to study the Digital National Security Archive (DNSA)’s Kissinger Collections, which is comprised of 50,000 documents and includes approximately 18,000 meeting memoranda (‘memcons’) and teleconference transcripts (‘telcons’) detailing the former US National Security Advisor and Secretary of State’s correspondence during the period 1969-1977.
This event is hosted by the Lewis and Ruth Sherman Centre for Digital Scholarship located in Mills Library.
Micki Kaufman (MA CUNY, BA Columbia) is a fifth year Graduate Student Researcher in US history, Big Data, Visualization and Cultural Analytics at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (GC-CUNY). Micki’s current PhD dissertation, “‘Everything on Paper Will Be Used Against Me:’ Quantifying Kissinger,” researches diplomatic history using network and text analyses/visualizations of the National Security Archive’s Kissinger Collection. Micki is a former GC-CUNY Digital Fellow, former Project Manager of the CUNY Academic Commons and DHDebates sites, a three-time winner of the GC-CUNY’s Provost’s Digital Innovation Grant, and the recipient of ADHO/ACH’s 2015 Lisa Lena and Paul Fortier Prizes.
Filed under Library News: Alerts e-Resources Innis Mills Thode Web Resources
With the start of a new term upon us, the McMaster University Library is encouraging new and returning students to adopt stronger digital security practices.
Your MAC ID is your personal digital key to unlocking access to expensive databases and journals and other licensed content offered through the University Library.
Treat your MAC ID as you would treat your online banking:
- Use a strong MAC ID password.
- Never share your MAC ID password with anyone or any organization.
- Do not click on unfamiliar links or attachments in unsolicited emails, as they may be malicious attempts to steal your MAC ID password
- Report suspicious emails to UTS (UTS@mcmaster.ca)
Remain vigilant while computing. Keep your MAC ID password safe and secure.
Filed under Library News: Mills
Several areas of Mills Library will be unavailable on Thursday August 25th, as a precautionary safety measure while some very large crane work related to HVAC replacement is taking place just outside the building.
The following areas will be closed - no access will be permitted to:
1st floor: corridor leading to and including the main floor washrooms, the Connections Centre and Media Production Services. The west entrance doors will be locked.
2nd floor: the entire Administration wing (Business Office, Human Resources, Library Development, University Librarian's Office)
3rd floor: the corridor leading to and including the staff lounge, CAVS office, Community Room, staff washrooms and custodial lounge
4th floor: the corridor leading to and including the Quiet Study Space, the Grad Study Room, and three librarian offices
These areas will re-open on Friday August 26th.
We appreciate your patience while this work is being done.
McMaster University Library is pleased to offer a travel scholarship for one McMaster graduate student to attend OpenCon 2016 in Washington, DC from November 12-14, 2016. This conference is organized by SPARC, an international organization devoted to openness in research and education, and the Right to Research Coalition, a student arm of SPARC.
Now in its third year, OpenCon brings together early career researchers and scholars from around the world to learn about and advance Open Access (to research and scholarship), Open Data and Open Education. The program is designed to help participants build skills in key areas from raising institutional awareness about Open Access to working with community members on a national level.
The scholarship, valued at $1,500USD, will cover the cost of the successful candidate’s registration fee, flight and hotel (shared accommodation).
In return, the University Library asks that the successful candidate produce a short (800-1000 word) report on his/her experience at the conference with recommendations on how to advance the Open cause at McMaster. The candidate may also be asked to participate in activities related to International Open Access Week, Oct. 24-30, 2016.
To apply, complete the secure online application form. Applications will close on Tuesday, September 13, 2016.
For more information, please contact Olga Perkovic, Research and Advanced Studies Librarian.
Filed under Library News: Thode
Wondering what’s behind the construction hoarding in the lower level of Thode Library?
This fall, McMaster’s Faculty of Engineering and University Library will be launching a makerspace in Thode Library, a new interdisciplinary experiential learning space where the McMaster community can gather to create, invent and learn.
By providing access to tools, technology, expertise and social connections not otherwise easily accessible, the makerspace will offer students from all disciplines a hands-on opportunity to explore new technologies, learn technical skills and work collaboratively to transform their innovative and creative ideas into tangible prototypes.
The makerspace is expected to open in October. Stay tuned for updates.
In our ongoing efforts to strengthen security and improve access to our extensive library of licensed content, the University Library, in collaboration with the Health Sciences Library, is disabling the single barcode access, commonly used by Medportal users to access library e-resources, and replacing it with a MAC ID login.
This change will impact Medportal users who access the library's licensed content through MedPortal. As of August 15, 2016, Medportal users who click on links to the library's licensed content will be prompted to enter their MAC ID username and password.
These efforts, part of a larger plan started last year by the University Library and Health Sciences Library, aim to strengthen security, improve access, and comply with greater precision with content vendors' terms of service.
Filed under Library News: Archives & Research Collections
The family of award-winner writer and McMaster alumnus Gary Lautens with a column written by Lautens that was displayed for more than 30 years outside Honest Ed’s. Left to right: Jane (daughter); James (grandson, son of Stephen and Rhea); Richard (son); Stephen (son); Jackie (wife); Rhea (Stephen’s wife); Chelsea (daughter of Jane; currently a student at McMaster).
A piece of Toronto history has found a new home at McMaster.
A poster-sized column written by award winning journalist and McMaster alumnus Gary Lautens, which hung for more than 30 years outside iconic bargain retailer Honest Ed’s, will now be housed in McMaster’s William Ready Division of Archives and Research Collections.
The poster was presented to the Lautens family earlier this year by Honest Ed’s* owner David Mirvish. Lautens’ widow Jackie donated the poster to McMaster where it will be preserved as part of the Lautens archive.
Lautens, a noted humourist and Toronto Star columnist wrote the column, entitled, “Why can’t the Queen shop Honest Ed’s,” during a royal visit in the 1980s, suggesting that the Queen could liven up her Canadian tour by taking 30 minutes to shop at the famous discount store.
“It was a fun column, very tongue and cheek– Ed (Mirvish) was always about fun, so it obviously resonated with him,” says Jackie Lautens who adds that Mirvish and her late husband had a good personal relationship. “They could kid back and forth,” she says.
Jackie, along with a number of members of the Lautens family, recently delivered the poster to McMaster University Library where damage to the column– the result of decades of exposure to sun and moisture– is now being repaired in McMaster’s Preservation Lab.
“The poster is a wonderful addition to the Lautens archive,” says Wade Wyckoff, Associate University Librarian, Collections. “It captures the popular appeal and impact of Gary Lautens, a talented writer and distinguished alumnus. We’re very pleased that this iconic piece, for so long a fixture in Toronto, has come to McMaster as part of Gary’s archive.”
As a student, Lautens served as the editor of the Silhouette. After graduating from McMaster in 1950, he went on to work at the Hamilton Spectator, then the Toronto Star, where he won a National Newspaper Award for sports writing. As a humourist, Lautens wrote a regular column for the Toronto Star, authored several books, and was a two-time winner of the prestigious Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour.
The Lautens archive includes correspondence, newspaper columns, books, speeches, broadcast scripts, appointment calendars and notebooks, awards, personal and financial documents, photographs, interviews with Lautens, artwork and audio and video recordings.
*Honest Ed's is scheduled to close later this year.
Behind University Hall, there is a special tribute to Gary Lautens– a small monument that reads:
I like my life
I like my family
I like my job
I like my country
I liked my parents
I like where I was raised
I like where I went to school
No big complaints
Enjoyed the bumps
and the good times,
the good times more of course
This is written you see,
by a happy man
whose only regret is that
it has all gone much too fast.
Class of 1950
This monument to award-winning humorist and McMaster alumnus, Gary Lautens is located behind University Hall.
Filed under Library News: Archives & Research Collections
This year’s McMaster-ASECS fellow, Anna K. Sagal examines a White Orchid Phalenopsis in the McMaster Biology Greenhouse, a flower specimen prominently featured in a number of rare 18th century botanical textbooks written by early female botanists. Sagal has been examining these textbooks, which are housed in McMaster University Library’s William Ready Division of Archives and Research Collections, for the past month.
While examining a rare botanical textbook contained in McMaster’s William Ready Division of Archives and Research Collections, visiting scholar Anna K. Sagal made an unexpected discovery.
Pressed between the brittle pages of one of the textbooks written and used by early female botanists, she found a tiny golden flower, likely placed there more than 200 years ago– a tangible connection to the world of the 18th century and a symbol of women’s participation in one of the few fields of science open to them at the time– botany.
Sagal, who recently completed her PhD at Tufts University in Boston is this year’s recipient of the McMaster-ASECS fellowship,* a program that supports 18th century studies.
For the past month, Sagal has been poring over McMaster’s unique collection of 18th century English botanical textbooks, examining a number of works written and referenced by trailblazing women, early pioneers of female science education.
“This is science education for women by women,” says Sagal, “I’m interested in the role that scientific writing plays for women’s intellectual lives in a culture where women and science were often divorced from each other.”
According to Sagal, in the late 18th century, while many fields of science were still largely closed to women, botany was considered a “feminized science,” making it socially acceptable for women- who were culturally linked with nature and flowers- to participate in the practice of botany.
Unlike other fields of science like chemistry or astronomy, Sagal says botany was also comparatively accessible to women, requiring only simple, inexpensive equipment– like a magnifying glass– and access to a garden.
A number of female writers emerged at this time, publishing botanical textbooks aimed primarily at a feminine audience, but which turned out to have broader appeal.
“This is a rare moment when all of a sudden it’s OK for women to be publishing on this subject,” says Sagal. “You get male authors recommending these books and praising these female authors. These books also sold really well, they all went into multiple editions.”
Sagal says these textbooks, many of which are contained in McMaster’s collection, were quite different from works authored by men at the time. While they were scientifically accurate and contained the Latin terms associated with the Linnaean system of plant classification, they were written in a simplified, conversational style– sometimes taking the form of letters or dialogues– so they could be easily understood by female readers, many of whom didn’t know Latin.
And to keep costs low, they used fewer illustrations; instead providing detailed descriptions and encouraging aspiring botanists to take the textbooks into the field to identify plants and collect specimens, like the one discovered by Sagal.
Despite the popularity of these textbooks, she says many female authors nonetheless encountered strong cultural disapproval.
“These textbooks were being published by more liberal publishers– there was still broad social resistance to this,” she says. “There was an interesting tension at the time as to whether women were compromising their femininity by being too engaged with botany on a technical level. It took a lot of courage for these women to get these books published and then stand by their work as an intellectual authority.”
Sagal’s research at McMaster is contributing to her larger body of scholarship on women in scientific writing in the 18th century and the different genres in which scientific writing appears.
McMaster University Librarian Vivian Lewis says she’s pleased the collection is helping to support scholarly research like Sagal’s.
“The collection contains a diverse array of texts and materials that provide valuable insights into many aspects of life in the 18th century,” says Lewis. “It’s very gratifying that as this year’s McMaster-ASECS fellow, Anna has been able to make use of this unique collection to shed light on the some of the central social and cultural themes of the period.”
The materials consulted by Sagal include The Botanical Magazine, or Flower-Garden displayed (1787-1798), Botanical Dialogues (1797) by Maria Jackson, The British Garden (1799), by Charlotte Murray, and An Introduction to Botany (1796) by Priscilla Wakefield.
*The McMaster-ASECS fellowship is a month-long program administered annually by McMaster University Library and funded by McMaster’s Faculty of Humanities and the American Society for Eighteenth Century Studies (ASECS).
Sagal discovered this 200 year-old flower pressed between the pages of an 18th century botanical textbook. Aspiring female botanists,"were collecting, pressing and saving these specimens so they could then sit down and classify them. It’s evidence that people were using these in the way they were intended to be used, which is always a question coming up against historical texts,” says Sagal who discovered pressed flowers in a number of textbooks while conducting her research.
Filed under Library News: Maps, Data, GIS
Students from Arts and Science 3BB3: Technology and Society II work with map expert Gord Beck, Maps Specialist, Maps, Data, GIS (second from the right) on an experiential learning project featuring a number of the rare maps contained in McMaster’s Lloyd Reed Maps Collection.
Arts and Science students pore over a series of rare maps in McMaster’s Lloyd Reeds Maps Collection.
From a 300 year-old English county map, to an oversized map of the Franklin expedition, the students are learning that these artifacts are more than simply tools for navigation– each one tells a story about the period in which it was created.
Now, many of the insights revealed in these maps can be found in a digital display and experiential learning project created by students in Arts and Science 3BB3: Technology and Society II in collaboration with maps experts from McMaster University Library.
“For a long period of time, maps were the only way to get information about the spatial distribution of cities or see what rivers actually looked like, we couldn’t simply go to Google Earth,” says John Maclachlan, course instructor and Assistant Professor in the School of Geography and Earth Sciences.
“I wanted students to see how maps have changed over time,’ he says. “These maps are different from modern maps- they’re more artistic. They’re not always complete, but they give you different types of information.”
Maclachlan worked with library experts Jay Brodeur, Manager of the Maps, Data and GIS Department and Gord Beck, Maps Specialist, Maps, Data, GIS, to develop the project, which is now available online.
“We wanted to expose students to this incredible collection,” says Brodeur. “This project was a great way to get students into the Library and interacting with library materials. We also wanted to take the work they produced for this assignment and share that with the public. ”
“There’s a lot these maps can tell us,” says Beck “If you’re looking at a map of North America created 200 years ago by a European, how are they portraying the indigenous people in the illustrations around the edges of the map? How accurately are the maps drawn and what might that tell us about the degree of the scientific knowledge? “These maps can help students wrap their minds around culture and society at a given point in time.”
Students began by visiting the library to view a range of rare maps from McMaster’s extensive collection.
Students were asked to select a map and formulate three research questions. The map collections staff then connected students to a range of reference resources, which the students used to complete a research essay on their map.
Brodeur then incorporated the students’ work into the digital exhibit, which is now permanently accessible through the Library’s website, providing context and background information for members of the public or researchers seeking to learn more about these maps.
“I can lecture all day about the usefulness and history of maps, but for them to formulate their own questions and put their own identity on that work can be a very valuable experience for them,” says Maclachlan. “It’s nice that this isn’t just another project students put in their drawer, it’s out there, it’s being used and it’s useful information.”
Mack Gillies, a third year student in the Arts and Science program who contributed to the project agrees, adding that working hands-on with the map collection provided him with a unique learning experience.
“There’s a big difference when you can actually see the history and you can touch it, it makes learning that much more enriching,” says Gillies. “You can come in to the map library any time and examine any map you want. When you come to university you don’t realize how many learning opportunities there are, but this is a great resource.”
About 2000 students come to the map library each year to work on assignments, a number that continues to climb as library experts work with an increasing faculty members to develop experiential learning opportunities.
“The library has been changing over the past decade or so and moving from a place where the books are to where learning happens,” says Brodeur. “It’s important that we’re not just a repository of the University’s maps, but that were also a place with the expertise to structure students’ learning and develop activities where students can use our materials to learn in a different way.”
Distinguished Canadian author Austin Clarke passed away over the weekend. McMaster University Library’s William Ready Division of Archives and Research Collections is home to the author's extensive archives which, in addition to drafts, correspondence and photographs, also includes the manuscript for Clarke's Giller Prize-winning novel The Polished Hoe.
We were saddened to hear of the loss of this great talent,” says Vivian Lewis, University Librarian who says the Library enjoyed a relationship with Clarke that spanned more than three decades. “His work expressed a perspective that added much to Canadian literature. We hope that his remarkable archive, of which McMaster is the proud custodian, will help to preserve his legacy and continue to be used by future generations of students, scholars and aspiring authors as a source of learning and inspiration.
Born in Barbados on July 26, 1934, Clarke immigrated to Canada with his family in 1956. His interest in writing began early in life, and in the 1960s his short stories began to be published in Canadian and other periodicals.
Clarke's stories and novels are primarily centred around the plight of the immigrant West Indian in Canada, although his first two novels, The Survivors of the Crossing and Amongst Thistles and Thorns, take place in Barbados.
Clarke’s archive which contains material from between 1949-2013, consists of a number of manuscripts including a version of The Polished Hoe with the author’s hand-written revisions, manuscripts of his short stories, plays and poetry as well as a large number of tape recordings of interviews and programmes he recorded as a correspondent for the CBC, including a 1963 interview with Malcolm X.
In addition to winning the 2002 Scotia Bank Giller Prize for his novel The Polished Hoe, which also won the Trillium and Commonwealth prizes, Clarke was the inaugural recipient of The Rogers Communications Writers' Trust Fiction Prize for his semi-autobiographical novel The Origin of Waves, published in 1997.
McMaster is also home to the archives of Canadian literary talents Farley Mowat, Margaret Laurence, Pierre Berton, Matt Cohen, Sylvia Fraser and Peter C. Newman, as well as Canadian publishers McClelland and Stewart, Key Porter Books, Macmillan Canada and Clarke Irwin.