Temple Libraries Celebrate 3 Million Volumes

November 13, Paley Library Lecture Hall-Temple University Libraries celebrated 3 million volumes, a testament to the rich and growing collections available to Temple scholars, students and researchers.

At the ceremony on Thursday, the 13th, the Libraries’ Board of Visitors Chair Estelle Alexander, Dean of University Libraries Larry P. Alford, Provost Lisa Staiano-Coico, and Special Collections Department head Tom Whitehead unveiled the ceremonial book to a crowd of over nearly 200 at the celebration in Paley Library. Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, Teresa Scott Soufas; Dean of the School of Communications and Theater, Concetta M. Stewart; and the head of the Theater Department, Roberta Sloan, also participated in the day’s activities.

The acquisition, Shakespeare’s The Tragedie of Hamlet Prince of Denmarke, is “a stunning example of 20th century fine printing,” according to Alford. The book was issued by the Cranach Press in 1930, edited by J. Dover Wilson, contains illustrations by Edward Gordon Craig and was printed by Count Harry Kessler. Whitehead worked with a number of departments across Temple to acquire this fine edition, which supports so many disciplines across campus.

Festivities also featured the opening of a new exhibit on the history of fine printing curated by Whitehead. For the occasion Whitehead and Brian D. Stilwell wrote the Libraries’ first large scholarly exhibition catalog: Fine Printing and Typography of Five and One-Half Centuries.

Actors Ross Beschler, as Hamlet, and Whitney Nielson, as Ophelia, performed the famed Hamlet scene, “To Be or Not To Be,” to the delight of the crowd. The Libraries had consulted with the Theater Department on the selection of the book, which further demonstrates Temple’s strong commitment to the arts. The text of Hamlet is not just a singularly great work of theater, but the commentary and illustrations in our 3- millionth edition serve as a primary source for theater history and design.

After the ceremony, a keynote lecture was given by Harvard University’s Marjorie Garber, one of the nation’s foremost and versatile scholars. Garber’s talk A Tale of Three Hamlets focused specifically on the book of the day, the “Cranach Hamlet.” Dr. Garber’s lecture was co-sponsored by the Center for the Humanities at Temple.

In addition to the 3 million volumes, the Libraries hold 10 million images; more than 50,000 print and online subscriptions; 35,000 linear feet of manuscripts; and a rich collection of sound and video recordings, along with growing media holdings. Thanks to all involved in making the Libraries’ 3 Millionth Volume Celebration so special.

Exploring Race in Contemporary Judaism

On October 6, 2008, The Institute for the Study of Race and Social Thought at Temple University held its Second Annual Symposium on Race and Judaism in the Paley Library Lecture Hall. The program was entitled Exploring Race in Contemporary Judaism: A Symposium on Jewish Diversity [click here for PDF of flyer].

Before the symposium began, Professor Lewis Gordon, director of The Institute for the Study of Race and Social Thought, sat down with three of the presenters, Edith Bruder, Avishai Mekonen, and Shari Rothfarb Mekonen to discuss their work. Edith Bruder has written a book entitled The Black Jews of Africa: History, Religion, Identity and her symposium presentation was entitled “African Judaism: Ancient Myths and Modern Phenomena”. Avishai Mekonen and Shari Rothfarb Mekonen screened and discussed their work-in-progress documentary, 400 Miles to Freedom, a “film [which] explores racial and ethnic diversity in Judaism through the story of Avishai Mekonen, whose disappearance in Sudan as a boy launches a quest that leads him to other African, Asian and Latino Jews in Israel and in the U.S.” John L. Jackson, who also presented at the symposium (“The Bodied Politic: Ethnobiology, Anti-Religiosity and the Reckoning of Black Hebrewism”) was not present for this recording (but we hope to record an interview with him at a later date).

 (mp3, 22 MB).

iTunes U link (for downloads)

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Open Access Journals

Beginning in the 1980s but accelerating over the last decade, libraries have been unable to keep pace with the skyrocketing costs of scholarly journals. For both private and publicly-supported research universities the publication “circle” looks something like this: 1) scholar obtains money to conduct research, perhaps through government grants or internal, tuition-supported funding; 2) scholar conducts and then publishes research in peer-reviewed journal; 3) university library “buys back” scholarly research from for-profit or societal journal publishers. The problem? Academic libraries, whose budgets sometimes do not even take inflation into account from year to year, can no longer afford to buy journal titles, especially in the sciences. Did you know, for example, that the annual $19,396 paid by Brown University Library for the journal Nuclear Physics A & B, matches the price of a “new midsize car” (Brown University’s George Street Journal).

Libraries and others who care about open access to scholarly information are fighting back. “SPARC, the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, is an international alliance of academic and research libraries working to correct imbalances in the scholarly publishing system… It’s pragmatic focus is to stimulate the emergence of new scholarly communications models that expand the dissemination of scholarly research and reduce financial pressures on libraries” (About SPARC). The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) is another such initiative. DOAJ defines open access journals as ones that “use a funding model that does not charge readers or their institutions for access” (About DOAJ). Explore DOAJ’s list of 110 scholarly, open access journals in history. 

Who benefits from these initiatives? In my view scholars, libraries, small and even large publishers benefit when research is made readily available to industry and the public at large. Think about it this way: It is reasonable to expect that the public will be more willing to support research that is readily available, and that the impact of this research will be greater and longer lasting.

Perhaps the greatest challenge facing the open access community is scholars’ fear that publishing in open access journals will not advance careers or lead to tenure. After all, academic journals were created in the first place, in part, to promote the careers of authors. Scholars are also often concerned with a journal’s impact factor. Despite these concerns, however, new information technologies and initiatives such as SPARC and DOAJ are here to stay. Consider the benefits of open access today!

Researcher Rights, Obligations & the NIH

On April 7, 2008 a new reporting requirement goes into effect that affects researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Principal investigators must ensure that electronic versions of any peer-reviewed manuscripts arising from NIH funding and accepted for publication on or after April 7, 2008 are deposited in PubMed Central (PMC), NIH’s digital archive of biomedical and life sciences journal literature. Specifics:

  • The manuscript must be made publicly available no later than 12 months after the official date of publication.
  • Beginning May 25, 2008 researchers submitting an application, proposal, or progress report to NIH must include the PMC or NIH Manuscript Submission reference number when citing applicable articles that arise from their NIH funded research.

The policy applies to you if your peer-reviewed article meets the following criteria:

  • Directly funded by an NIH grant or cooperative agreement active in FY2008 (October 1, 2007-September 30, 2008)
  • Directly funded by a contract signed on or after April 7, 2008
  • Directly funded by the NIH Intramural Program
  • If NIH pays your salary

Important information on researcher rights:

  • Some publishers will deposit your manuscript for you: they are listed here.
  • Before you sign a publication agreement or similar copyright transfer agreement, make sure that the agreement allows the article to be submitted to NIH in accordance with the Public Access Policy.

The NIH estimates approximately 80,000 published articles arise yearly from NIH funds. Temple University researchers are one group of investigators who contribute to this scholarship, and as per the NIH, were awarded 119 research grants totalling $42,157,757 in 2006. Additional Information:

-Katherine Szigeti, Science Librarian

More Scholarly Communications Outreach Is Needed

recent study by the University of California’s Office of Scholarly Communicationprovides interesting insights into faculty perspectives and behavior on a range of issues within the scholarly communications arena. The study examines UC faculty members’ sense of the overall health of scholarly communication systems and their perspectives on tenure and promotion processes, copyright, alternative forms of publication, and key services that the University does or could supply (including those of eScholarship publishing). With 1,118 respondents the study is one of the largest surveys of faculty attitudes and behaviors regarding scholarly communication.

Some key findings from the report include:

*Faculty are strongly interested in issues related to scholarly communication.

*Faculty generally conform to conventional behavior in scholarly publication, albeit with significant progress on several fronts.

*The current tenure and promotion system impedes changes in faculty behavior.

*Faculty tend to see scholarly communication problems as affecting others but not themselves.

*The disconnect between attitude and behavior is acute with regard to copyright.

*Scholars are aware of alternative forms of dissemination but are concerned about preserving their current publishing outlet.

*Scholars are concerned that changes in the system might undermine the quality of scholarship.

*Outreach on scholarly communications issues and services has not yet reached the majority of faculty.

While the librarians at the Temple University Libraries acknowledge all these listed issues as important findings, we are particularly interested in the final one that concerns outreach on scholarly communications. As the study indicates, we need to do more to create awareness about these issues. The study found a striking lack of faculty knowledge about the potential for change in the scholarly communications system. One of our priorities is to create greater awareness about these issues among the Temple University faculty and the larger campus community. To that end we will be working to share information about challenges and change in the scholarly communications system, and promote activities and initiatives that we can undertake as an institution to create change.

Read the report and get more information about it.

Steven J. Bell
Associate University Librarian for Research and Instructional Services

Seven Things about Wikipedia

What more do you need to know about Wikipedia? It’s the sometimes controversial online encyclopedia of the people, and its content dwarfs that of conventional encyclopedias. What we also know is that college students all too often rely on Wikipedia entries without fully evaluating the accuracy of the content. Then perhaps there is something new to learn – how to leverage Wikipedia as an instructional technology to better equip students to read and gather information with a critical eye. To help educators and librarians to better understand the issues related to the use of Wikipedia by students, EDUCAUSE has focused the latest addition to the “Seven Things You Should Know” series on Wikipedia (pdf). The series introduces web and learning technologies and identifies how they might be best used for better pedagogy. The new Wikipedia document identifies how it can be used in this way:

In higher education, wikis have been put to use in courses ranging from humanities to science to business. With Wikipedia, students can take part in a collaborative process of creating and revising content in a global context, moving the opportunities for learning beyond the walls of the classroom or the university. An important part of academic training is seeing how knowledge is created and understanding that it is dynamic, evolving over time based on the contributions of many individuals.

Rather than banning the use of Wikipedia, faculty and librarians are working together to develop creative assignments and research exercises that engage students in the information creation process by having them create or edit Wikipedia pages. Through these learning experiences students come to understand that anyone can add to or edit Wikipedia and what the consequences are for those who base important decisions on this information. Faculty who would like to further explore how Wikipedia can be used to help students become more effective researchers should contact their Temple University Libraries subject specialist to begin the discussion. –Steven Bell

Blockson Curator Candidates: CVs and presentations

Three candidates for the position of Curator of the Blockson African American Collection have been invited to campus for interviews. You are cordially invited to attend each candidate’s public presentation on The Future of Special Collections: What is Special About Special Collections and Archives, from10:45 a.m. – 12:00 noon in the Paley Library Lecture Hall (ground floor) on the following days. Click on each candidate’s name to view a curriculum vitae (in pdf format).

May 18 Dr. W. Marvin Dulaney
May 31 Kimberly Camp
June 4 Dr. Diane Turner

For more information about the search, consult the following Temple Timesarticles.

October 20, 2006
December 20, 2006

— Carol Lang

Library Prize Info Sessions

Library Prize for Undergraduate Research Information Sessions.

The Library Prize for Undergraduate Research was established to encourage the use of Library resources, to enhance the development of library research techniques, and to honor the best research projects produced each year by Temple University undergraduate students.

The deadline for submissions for this year’s Prize is April 6, 2007. Please come to one of these four info sessions with your questions and for information about the submission process and requirements.

Location: Paley Library Mezzanine, room 130

Tuesday, March 13
12 noon – 1 p.m.

Wednesday, March 21
12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Wednesday, March 28
2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Tuesday, April 3
11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

For more information, click here.

–Gretchen Sneff


AT&T agrees to net neutrality for two years

Net neutrality is the principle that companies providing access to the Internet cannot discriminate between customers. For instance, consumers get the exact same service from their homes as ExxonMobil, Wal-Mart, Microsoft, HBO, Disney, and Dreamworks. Telecom companies claim that they cannot build the advanced Internet of the future unless they are able to charge extra for premium access. Net Neutrality advocates argue that the Internet was originally developed and built with taxpayer monies and should be seen as a public utility and that it has become, in essence, the public square of the twenty-first century. A multi-tiered system of access would not only limit free speech but also limit important new technologies. What would have happened if YouTube, MySpace, and Flikr had had to pay for premium service? What about the blogosphere?

In order to win approval for its $85 billion merger with BellSouth, AT&T has agreed to observe net neutrality for two years, a window of opportunity for advocates to lobby Congress for a law enshrining net neutrality as a guiding principle of the Internet. It will also put pressure on other telecom companies to follow AT&T’s lead. See: AT&T-BellSouth deal called “breakthrough” for consumers.

Below are some podcasts and web sites concerning net neutrality that you might find interesting.

Video from Save the Internet Coalition

Commercial from the Cable and Telecommunications Association

Don’t Regulate coalition that includes AT&T and BellSouth

Robert McChesney on COPE Bill working its way through Congress (on Democracy Now, May 8, 2006)

NetCompetition.org coalition that includes AT&T, BellSouth, and other cable and telecommunications firms
—Fred Rowland