Library Shop Classes

Library shop classes? Of course!

The Sheridan Libraries offer many tools to help you with your library research. While you can always stop at the Reference Consultation Office and Information Desk on M-level, use our Ask a Librarian service, or contact your liaison librarian with any questions you may have, we also offer a host of workshops about tools and processes to help your research and teaching.

Our Library Instruction & Outreach track offers workshops about literature research, scholarly metrics, annotated bibliographies, using citation managers, and other topics. Many are online, some are in-person.

Special Collections provides seminars and lectures based upon the rare and archival materials they care for. Presenters include JHU researchers and guest lecturers.

Is data more your thing? Then you'll want to check out the Research Data Management series of workshops. They cover best practices in data management and sharing, as well as other interesting topics.

We hope you'll take advantage of these opportunities. Please let us know if there are other topics you'd like to learn about.

Pop-up Mapathon for Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico Hurricane Disaster Relief Mapathon 

Thursday, October 5, 2017
3:00-5:30 p.m.
Great Hall, Levering 

The Johns Hopkins University Sheridan Libraries has organized a pop-up mapathon to offer immediate support to on-the-ground relief efforts in Puerto Rico.

In response to humanitarian crises caused by the recent hurricanes, people around the world are contributing to the OpenStreetMap(OSM) to aid in disaster relief. Puerto Rico is particularly in need of mapping.

Grab your laptop and join staff from our Data Services group to learn how to use the tools provided by OSM and contribute to this critical effort.

No previous mapping experience or knowledge of the area is required. Come any time within the session that you are available. Pizza will be provided for participants.

Please register

Hugh Hawkins Fellow Tiffany Brocke on Researching the History of Abortion in Baltimore

“I carry. I deliver. I raise. And I do it by myself.”

This impassioned declaration was part of the story of Kathy S., a Baltimore woman who wrote about her experience getting an abortion in a 1972 issue of the Baltimore Women’s Liberation newsletter. Her abortion was an awakening for her, the beginning of the rest of her life, but in the decades before Roe v. Wade, abortion had different meanings for different people in Baltimore. This summer, I set out to uncover how women in Baltimore accessed abortion care before it was legalized nationwide, and how physicians influenced that care.

Photo: Hugh Hawkins Fellow Tiffany Brocke (second from left) with archivists Phoebe Evans Letocha, Jennifer Kinniff, and Andy Harrison at the Chesney Medical Archives.

Hugh Hawkins Fellow Tiffany Brocke (second from left) with archivists Phoebe Evans Letocha, Jennifer Kinniff, and Andy Harrison at the Chesney Medical Archives.

I’m Tiffany Brocke, a rising second year Johns Hopkins medical student. I’m writing this history of abortion in Baltimore between 1945 and 1973 as part of a Scholarly Concentration in the History of Medicine for fulfillment of my M.D. The Johns Hopkins Hospital being my new professional home, I wondered: How did “the Hopkins” create, challenge, or ignore issues in abortion access for white and African American Baltimore women?

I had curiosity, but I didn’t know what to do with it. Before 1973, when abortions went well they left little trace. Luckily for me, historians are good at finding traces. In addition to my mentors in the Department of History of Medicine (s/o to Drs. Mary Fissell and Graham Mooney!), I’ve had the pleasure of collaborating with archivists and activists from all over Baltimore. I work with collections in a different library every day - ten so far, including the Library of Congress, the Maryland State Archives, and the Alan Mason Chesney Medical Archives right here at Hopkins. Books of legal code, underground newspapers, medical journals, meeting minutes, speeches, memos - you name it, I’ve read it.

I’ll admit, I was not expecting to have quite as much fun doing this research as I have been. But picture this: you want answers, and - unprecedented - Google has nothing for you. So you start digging. You have to get creative in thinking about who might have been a stakeholder in the issue. You have to send emails, track down where those stakeholders sent their records when they retired fifty years ago. You get to meet new people, lean on their expertise, leaf through boxes of the day-to-day goings-on of people who lived and loved more than fifty years ago. And then, amazing! Treasures like this, from a speech by Irvin Cushner, a Hopkins obstetrician/gynecologist:

“In the department of obstetrics at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, during the 1950s and early 1960s, the annual number of abortions performed ranged between zero and four. Yet it was well-known that, while small numbers of abortions were being done in hospitals on predominantly upper- and middle-class patients with few deaths, large numbers of abortions were being done in clandestine, out of hospital facilities on predominantly middle- or lower-class patients, with many deaths.”

Before, we knew nothing; suddenly now, we know that a few women could access safe hospital abortions during the crackdown on abortion in the 1950s, but that many more women accessed unsafe abortions. Now we know there was a class divide, and using what else we know about the history of Baltimore, we can propose that there may have been a racial divide as well, in which white women had better access to safe abortion care than African American women. Now we know that there was a gestalt understanding, at least among ob-gyns at Hopkins at the time, that these were problems. And now we know there were “many deaths,” and that means there will be records, so we need to track down annual reports from the Baltimore City Health Department, and maybe some newspaper articles and obituaries, and maybe inquests from the Office of the Chief Medical
Examiner. So much to be done! See how much fun this is?

None of this would be possible without the support of the Hugh Hawkins Research Fellowships for the Study of Hopkins History. I hope that when completed, my project will shed light on an important piece of the long relationship between the Johns Hopkins Hospital and the larger Baltimore community. I hope too that it will offer examples of the power that physicians can exert to influence positive social change, and call upon doctors today to consider social justice within the purview of their practice. Finally, and most importantly, the history of abortion is a long series of tragedies and triumphs. I hope that this story can honor some of the women who worked, cried, bled, and died in search of reproductive health care in Baltimore.

Interested in applying for a Summer 2018 Hugh Hawkins fellowship? Watch for our announcement of the application deadline this fall, and read more about the program here.

Pretty Sure You Didn’t Know This About Hopkins

Student testing VR equipment in Johns Hopkins robotics lab

JHU Laboratory for Computational Sensing and Robotics

You’re probably familiar with a lot of the JHU offices and centers; maybe you have visited the Office of Multicultural Affairs, checked equipment out of the Digital Media Center, or joined some of the more than 300 student organizations and clubs.

JHU has lots and lots of offices and centers and institutes and initiatives, such as those for water, guitar, cities, and robotics.

Here are a few more:

Guitar stringsYou SOPHOMORES may know about the Center for Student Success, but don’t miss the activities especially for your Second-year Experience.

You MUSICIANS and DANCERS may not realize that there are practice rooms at the Mattin Center. Do you need drums, piano, or a mirror? We’ve got those.

You DO know about the Center for Health, Education, and Wellness (CHEW), but it’s always worth repeating.  Read the links on the left to see just a few of the ways that the center can help you. CHEW is the part of the student health center that works on promoting good health. For YOU.

Colorful Wizard of Oz cakePerhaps most important: your library has parties. Don't miss:


Lunch Bags and Laptops: Workshops About ORCID and Metrics

The Library is launching a new workshop series titled Lunch Bags and Laptops. The goal is to offer you a hands-on chance to examine different aspects of scholarly publishing. The first workshop will help you uniquely identify yourself as an author. The second will walk you through the different metrics and altmetrics that are available.

You'll need to bring your lunch and your laptop; the library will provide beverages and cookies. Register for each workshop below.

Researcher Identification: Best Practices to Identify You
Lunch Bags & Laptops Occasional Series
Tuesday, Oct 10, Noon – 1pm, MSEL Hamburger Room

Learn how to identify yourself consistently so that others can identify you, your papers, books, grants, and institutional affiliations. ORCID will play a big part in this, but it’s not the only thing you need to pay attention to.

Counting Coup: Metrics, Altmetrics, and You
Lunch Bags & Laptops Occasional Series
Thursday, Nov 16, Noon – 1pm, MSEL Hamburger Room

H index, Impact Factor, and Altmetrics: What do these scores mean? Bring your lunch and laptop for a tour of the numbers associated with scholarly publishing. Reliable sources of information about this will be provided.

Bibliomania Exhibition Reception – October 1st at the George Peabody Library

Opening Reception & Curators' Talk for
"Bibliomania: 150 Years of Collecting Rare Books
at the George Peabody Library"

Sunday, October 1, 2017
3 p.m. reception, 4 p.m. program
George Peabody Library

This event is free by advance registration only.
Register now! or email Valet parking will be available.

Join the Sheridan Libraries to celebrate the opening of Bibliomania: 150 Years of Collecting Rare Books at the George Peabody Library. This extraordinary new exhibition presents many of the richest and rarest fruits of George Peabody's early intellectual and bibliophilic aspirations.

Exhibition viewing, wine, and light hors d'oeuvres will be followed by remarks by Dean Winston Tabb and the exhibition's curators—Earle Havens, the Nancy H. Hall Curator of Rare Books and Manuscripts, and Neil Weijer, Council on Library and Information Resources Post-Doctoral Fellow.

Suite of 19 portfolio illustrations of the imperial gardens at Bishu Shanzhuang, the Beijing summer palace of the Qianlong emperor of China, hand-colored prints on rice paper, ca. 1765.

Over the past 150 years the Peabody Library has captured, through its rare book and manuscript collections, America’s deepest desires and vaulting ambitions to bring the history of the world and ideas to the City of Baltimore. Bibliomania presents many of the richest and rarest fruits of George Peabody's early intellectual and bibliophilic aspirations, from the collection the library opened with in 1866 to the massive cast-iron expansion in 1878, which transformed the library into the glorious “Cathedral of Books” that it continues as today.

The exhibition is accompanied by an illustrated catalogue, with essays by Earle Havens, Christopher Geekie, and Neil Weijer.

The exhibition is on view through January 31, 2018 and admission is free. The Exhibit Gallery is open 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 10 a.m.–3 p.m. Friday, and 10 a.m.–1 p.m. Saturday.

Meet the New Artstor, now with more than 2 Million Images!

Artstor, the digital image database of more than two million images, spent the summer giving itself a complete makeover. The new platform now has a completely different look with many changed functionalities.

New features include:

  • a full screen IIIF* image viewer with side-by-side comparison mode
  • simplified image group sharing
  • enhanced advanced search
  • increased web accessibility for users with disabilities
  • improved mobile friendliness


Click here to read more about the changes to Artstor. Want a fast look at the basics for navigating the new Artstor? Download the VRC's Artstor at JHU Quickstart Guide.

Visit the VRC’s libguide or email for help using the new Artstor. We also offer in-class presentations on using Artstor and finding images for class assignments. Always feel free to drop by the VRC in Gilman Hall 181 Monday through Friday 9-5; visitors are welcome.

*IIIF, pronounced Triple-I-F, stands for International Image Interoperability Framework. Visit the IIIF FAQ page for more information.

Global Communist Media at your Fingertips

Heat map of communist films for the eastern hemisphere. Any of those circles pique your curiosity?

A new e-resource, Socialism on Film: The Cold War and International Propaganda, brings a treasure trove of film to your fingertips. Digitized, captioned, and made searchable by Adam Matthew, Socialism on Film included documentaries, newsreels, and feature films spanning the early 20th century through the 1980s. British communist Stanley Forman collected the films which then became the ETV-Plato Films collection at the British Film Institute.

Global in scope, the films represent the world of Soviet, Chinese, Vietnamese, East European, and Latin American filmmakers. Interested in films from or depicting a particular region? You can use the interactive map feature to browse films by country, even by city, while also filtering by genre, era, or sub-collection. The sub-collections are thematic and include: The Holocaust and War Crimes; Nuclear War and Peace Movements; and Revolution in Cuba and Latin America, among others.

An interactive timeline lets you scan for interesting events or hone in on films from a moment in time that intrigues you.

In addition to the map, Socialism on Film includes an interactive chronology which embeds video clips from select films in entries noting key events from the Cold War period.

Due to their content, it is worth noting that many of the films are difficult. These bear warnings for the viewer to alert them to such elements. For example, the 1981 film, Women Speak up for Peace, from the USSR bears the warning: “features images of starving, injured and dead children.”

For students and scholars of history, politics, international relations, film, anthropology, or various area studies this collection is a veritable trove of potential sources.

The Baltimore “Redlining” Map: Ranking Neighborhoods

For those studying Baltimore’s social, economic, and redevelopment history, one of the most frequently referenced maps in our collection is the Residential Security Map of Baltimore Md.

Published in 1937 by the Federal Home Owners’ Loan Corporation (HOLC), this map is often called the Baltimore redlining map.  In drafting the map, cartographers used the colors red, yellow, blue, and green to “grade” Baltimore neighborhoods based on potential risk factors for residential mortgage lenders.  Areas shown in red, “Fourth Grade” or “D”, were consider the highest risk areas.  In the narrative documents associated with the map, the risk factors for the lowest grades, “D” and “C”, include terminology that often evokes racial overtones.

“The fourth grade or D areas represent those neighborhoods in which the things that are now taking place in the C neighborhoods, have already happened. They are characterized by detrimental influences in a pronounced degree, undesirable population or an infiltration of it. Low percentage of home ownership, very poor maintenance and often vandalism prevail. Unstable incomes of the people and difficult collections are usually prevalent. The areas are broader than the so-called slum districts. Some mortgage lenders may refuse to make loans in these neighborhoods and others will lend only on a conservative basis.”

During the depression, the HOLC produced Residential Security Maps for over 150 U.S. cities.  Yet most of these maps were never widely distributed and few are found in library map collections.  One of the earliest scholarly looks at HOLC maps was by Amy Hiller as she focused on the City of Philadelphia in “Redlining and the Homeowners’ Loan Corporation."

Screenshot of Mapping Inequality landing page.

Mapping Inequality Landing Page. (August 2017)

Later works, including contributions by Johns Hopkins History Professor Nathan Connolly, can be found on the website “Mapping InEquality: Redlining in New Deal America.”  This fabulous site serves as a gateway to the widest array of georeferenced Residential Security maps along with images of archived HOLC neighborhood assessments.  1930 and 1940 population figures on race and foreign-born are also included along with a clever tool that highlights grading and density outward from the city centers.  The subscription, database PolicyMap also recently added a new section called Historic Lending Boundaries incorporating HOLC content.

The Sheridan Libraries copies of printed Baltimore Residential Security maps came about via our search of the HOLC records at the U.S. National Achieves (Record Group 195, Box 106).  Since 2008 we have made high quality digital scans of this Baltimore map freely available for viewing and download via JScholarship, our institutional repository.  Also included in our collection is a draft version of the map prepared in 1936.   For Johns Hopkins GIS users, a georeferenced copy of the map is also available via ArcGIS Online for Johns Hopkins.  It is good to see our library’s copies so widely used and referenced in other sources.

For more information, contact Jim Gillispie, GIS Librarian and Curator of Maps, 410-516-4816.

Be Fierce! Apply to Be a Freshman Fellow!

2016-2017 JHU Freshman Fellows

2016-2017 JHU Freshman Fellows

Special Collections is accepting applications for Freshman Fellows, a one-year fellowship exclusively for first-year students.   The program is designed to introduce students to the joys, challenges, and thrills involved in conducting research with primary sources. Limited to just four undergraduates, Freshman Fellows provides its scholars with support by pairing each fellow with a mentor who will guide them through every step of the research process. Successful students will also receive a stipend of $1,000 in honor of their research!

Why should you apply?  Because you will get to do original research with awesome rare things, be mentored by curatorial staff, and never be at a loss for small talk when folks back home inevitably ask how you like studying at Hopkins.  In fact, your family will start hiding from you, taking turns eating turkey and pumpkin pie in closets as a way to consume their Thanksgiving dinners in peace.  “Why did you ask our dear so-and-so about Freshman Fellows,” your family and friends will exclaim! “All we wanted was a meal with no mention at all about the top-quality education at Hopkins,  the incredible depths of its Special Collections,  and the absolute support students receive from librarians, curators, and archivists,” they all sign in unison.

That’s right! Such potential family drama can be yours if you apply to be a Freshman Fellow! Fortunately for you, the application process is a breeze. All you need to do is write a 750-word essay on why you would like to be in the program and what you would like to research.  If you are at a total loss as to what to explore, then fear not.  Special Collections mentors have created nine different themed collections for you to discover, with topics ranging from communicating with the supernatural world to exploring various chapters in the secret history of Johns Hopkins University.  If you still need further inspiration to apply, then definitely take a gander at the projects undertaken by last year’s Freshman Fellows! They traced the development of student housing at Hopkins, had intense words with Hamlet, explored the relationship between fashion and feminism in the nineteenth-century, and translated early modern Latin texts.

Due to popular demand, we are extending the deadline to 11:59PM on Sunday, October 1!  Send your applications or any questions you have about the program to me, your liaison to the curious world of Special Collections. I am waiting with bated breath for your applications. Apply before I get a case of the vapors!