The Board Is Back!

thumbtacksThere is a Suggestion Board on Eisenhower Library's M Level, across from the elevators. This board used to be a treasure house of good questions/suggestions from you, and witty replies from a department head who tended the board as if it were a beautiful garden. Sadly, after she retired, the M Board gradually became neglected, as sometimes happens.

These days, of course, you can contact the library in many different ways:

But even if suggestion boards aren't needed as much as they used to be, it's still very satisfying to express yourself by writing (or drawing!) on a piece of paper, and seeing your note posted along with the answer. (The notes are anonymous, but YOU know it's yours.)

Please do write down your suggestions and put them in the M or C suggestion box (where we even supply attractive note paper). A suggestion board is one more way of communicating with us so that we can fix the problem, answer your question, or explore your suggestion.

There is also a suggestion board on C Level, should it be more convenient for you to write your thoughts there. (The C Board is currently showing a display of Gems from the Past. Over the years, you Hopkins students have demonstrated incredible skills in descriptive writing, creativity, and drawing. Bravo to all of you.)

Where Does Thanksgiving Grow?


Pumpkin Producers

If you’re soon to be headed “over the river and through the woods” one question you’ll likely ponder along the way is where does Thanksgiving come from? No, not the history of the holiday, but rather the source of the food on our holiday dinner table. Geographic information systems (GIS) have become an invaluable tool for mapping authoritative statistics and one of our Sheridan Libraries fall guests recently updated her Thanksgiving food map story.


Top Turkey States

Who would have guessed that Illinois is number one when it comes to pumpkins and that Minnesota is trying hard to beat out North Carolina as the nation’s turkey capital? Counting farms, planted acres, harvested volumes, and farm workers originated back in 1820 with the decennial census.  Over time the statistical gathering of crop and livestock numbers grew into our federal government’s Census of AgricultureNow published every year ending in 2 and 7, the latest Ag Census data is widely accessible for download, and GIS map making, via the Internet.

Keeping statistics up to date is always a challenge. In light of the recent bouts of Avian Flu that struck turkey growers, mappers might need to supplement the Census of Agriculture with survey data issued by the National Agricultural Statistical Service (NASS). For agriculture, the survey data doesn’t usually include geographic areas down to the county level. However, it offers more recent numbers for the biggest producing states.

For a full holiday plate, including dessert, check out librarian Linda’s Zellmer’s Thanksgiving Maps & Posters. Johns Hopkins users can work with the Thanksgiving dinner data (see maps above) via their ArcGIS desktop software or ArcGIS Online for Johns Hopkins. Happy Thanksgiving!

Student Book-Collecting Contest 2016

Student Book Collecting Contest 2016

The Sweren Student Book Collecting Contest is Open!

The Betty and Edgar Sweren Student Book Collecting Contest recognizes the love of books and the delight in shaping a thoughtful and focused book collection. All undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in a degree program at Johns Hopkins are eligible to enter.

Did we mention prizes?

The competition includes graduate and undergraduate divisions, with the following awards:

• $1,000 First Place • $500 Second Place • $250 Honorable Mention • A display of selected titles from the winning collections in Special Collections in the Brody Learning Commons

• A one-year honorary membership in the Friends of the Johns Hopkins Libraries.

Awards will be presented to the winners in the spring of 2016.


Each entry will be judged on the extent to which the items in the collection form a coherent pattern of inquiry and/or represent a well-defined field of interest. Additionally, consideration will be given to how well the collection reflects the student’s stated goals and interests.


1. Any student, undergraduate or graduate, enrolled in a degree program at the Johns Hopkins University is eligible to enter.

2. All items must be owned and collected by the student who enters the contest.

3. A collection need not consist of, or include, rare or valuable books. Paper-bound books may be included.

4. Although the focus is books, the collection may include other media that supports the collection.

5. Collections can be on any subject. Nonacademic subjects are welcome (past entries include Colonial America, Feminism, Running, Music, and more).

Application Information:

Each contestant must submit:

1.     A coversheet including the title of your collection

2.     A 2-3 page essay outlining:  The purpose of the collection, how you started the collection, how the collection was assembled, the items of greatest interest, and ideas for the collection’s future development.

3.     A bibliography of 20 or more items (maximum of 50) in the collection. Each item should be numbered, given a full bibliographic description, and briefly annotated as to its importance to the collection. Please use the Chicago Manual of Style.

4.     A wish list: A second bibliography listing up to 10 items that you would like to add to your collection, with brief annotation stating the reason for adding each item.

5.     Submit as one PDF document including your coversheet.

*Finalists may be asked to bring a portion of their book collection to the Milton S. Eisenhower Library for final judging. The winning entries will be displayed in the Brody Learning Commons. First place winners of the Sweren contest are also eligible to enter the 2016 National Collegiate Book Collecting Contest, sponsored by the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America (ABAA), the Fellowship of American Bibliophilic Societies (FABS), and the Center for the Book and the Rare Books and Special Collections Division of the Library of Congress.

The deadline to enter is Friday, February 19, 2016.

Last Year’s Sweren Student Book Collecting Contest Winning Entries:

1st Place, Undergraduate Category: Gillian Marie Waldo, "Everything You Can Imagine is Real." An introduction to graphic novels

1st Place (tie), Graduate Category: Jean-Olivier Richard, A Jesuit's Tree of Knowledge

1st Place (tie), Graduate Category: Justin Kyle Rivest, "Seeing Home From Abroad: The World along the Detroit River, 1670 to present

2nd Place, Graduate Category: Marina Escolano PovedaThe Library of Babel

2nd Place, Graduate Category: Shannon Alt, Volumes of Wonder: From Fairy Tales to Faraday

Submit all entries to:

Sweren Student Book Collecting Contest Dean’s Office/Milton S. Eisenhower Library Johns Hopkins University 3400 North Charles Street Baltimore, MD  21218 or via e-mail: or by fax: (410) 516-5080

Please direct any questions to Shellie Dolan at 410-516-8992 or

Medium Rare Books? You Mean You Eat Them?

Well, not exactly. We all know what "rare" books are, right? Generally any book produced before 1800, as well as books that have a particular value or, well, rarity. But that leaves scads of older books out in the cold, and susceptible to theft, deterioration and loss.

A new category of "special" books is growing in stature at many libraries--- "medium rare books." Books that don't quite make the grade for the rare book shelves, but that need protection for one reason or another.

What features do medium rare books have? They are usually 19th or early 20th century books, often with decorated bindings. Also books with plates, especially fold-out plates, or other full-page illustrations that might be tempting to thieves. As an example: the 1870 edition of Oliver Twist, with illustrations by George Cruikshank. Or a French edition of Don Quixote from 1850, illustrated by Tony Johannot. Paper from the 19th and early 20th centuries is notoriously bad and prone to brittleness, another reason to give these books extra protection.

You can still use these beauties of course, if you come across them in our catalog. They will have "Libraries Service Center - Use in Special Collections" as a location in the catalog record. Simply request them and then use them in the Special Collections reading room on M Level of the BLC.

Hopkins History Goes Online

Would you like to hear the former University Chaplain describe the time Joan Baez stayed at Levering Hall for a week in the 60s and performed at Shriver Hall? Maybe you're writing a paper on student activism and need to find examples of campus organizing in the 1970s.

1970_Yearbook-1 76You can learn about all these things and much more from the comfort of home, any time of the day, with our newly digitized University Archives collections! The University Archives has digitized the following resources that are available through JScholarship:

Johns Hopkins University Yearbooks (1889-2014)

Hopkins Oral History Collection (53 interviews, and still growing!)

Johns Hopkins University Circulars (1879-1934)

Johns Hopkins University Commencement Programs (1884-2014)

Johns Hopkins University News-Letter (select issues from 1961-1990, with the complete run coming soon)

In addition to providing insight into the evolution of Hopkins over time, these resources are also great places to see the student and university perspective on important historic events and topics, including major wars, civil rights, and higher education. If you’re looking to incorporate even more exciting primary sources into your research, visit the University Archives website to learn about the many Hopkins collections available to researchers.

Find Funding Opportunities with SciVal Funding and Grant Forward

MoneyPart of a researcher's work is finding funding to grow and sustain their research. New equipment, travel, and grad student stipends are supported by grant funding.

The library provides resources for discovery of funding sources. We have two databases that focus on grant opportunities.

SciVal Funding - Despite its name, SciVal Funding covers grants in all disciplines. U.S. funders include the National Endowment for the Humanities, Pew Charitable Trusts, and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, as well as the NIH, DoD, and DoE. Funders from Australia, Canada, the European Commission, India, Ireland, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, and the United Kingdom are covered as well. In order to get personal recommendations you’ll need to login and create a search profile. Your personal profile will be based on subject areas, keywords, or your publications.

Grant Forward - The Grant Forward database is compiled at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The database contains information on federal and non-federal funding opportunities in the sciences, social sciences, arts, and humanities. If you create an account, you can save searches and create a profile


Updating Peer Review

peerreviewPeer reviewed journals are the bedrock of the STEM scholarly publishing system. Peer review is the process that ensures an article's authors have used proper methods, cited previous work appropriately, and made logical and supported conclusions. There was even a Peer Review Week this fall.

The process of peer review is changing for several reasons:

Below are a few of the groups trying to improve peer review. If you're curious, have a chat with your librarian.

Shortening the Traditional Process

There is a concern that the peer review process takes too long. An editor makes a decision to send the article out for review, finds the reviewers, the review happens, comments are gathered and sent to the author, revision happens, resubmission... you get the picture. Lots of time can pass. A few groups are tightening up that process.

  • PLoS ONE was the first of a new kind of mega-journal that aims to publish articles that are methodologically and scientifically sound. Time is not spent on analyzing the importance of the article or the fit between journal and article. This cuts out the first part of the review process.
  • eLife shortens the review process by compiling revision requests from reviewers into one document and having only one reviewer examine resubmitted papers.

Peer Review Independent of Specific Journal

Instead of each journal wrangling their own set of peer reviewers and reviewing papers multiple times as they bounce around the system, a few groups are providing peer reviews that can be used by any journal.

  • At Rubriq the author pays for a review, then receives a report from 3 reviewers along with journal recommendations. The author can then revise the manuscript (or not) and submit the manuscript to a journal of their choice, including the Rubriq report as supplemental material if they wish.
  • Peerage of Science is supported by journals subscribing to their services. Reviewers have certain criteria to meet when they make their reviews, so their reviews are reviewed. This gives authors and journals a way to rate reviewers.  Once the reviews are done, articles are available to subscribing journals. Authors are able to make the reviews available to non-subscribing journals.

Post-Publication Peer Review

These groups post articles after they pass a set of minimum criteria. The peer review takes place online, in full view of readers.

Credit for Peer Reviewers

With the increasing number of research articles and journals available, there's an increasing need for peer reviewers. Given that researchers spend their own time reading and reviewing, there's an interest in giving peer reviewers credit for their work.

  • Publons assigns points for writing reviews of articles that are published. The reviews can be published, dependent on journal rules. Reviewers who write the most reviews receive awards and certificates. The idea is to 'reward' reviewers so that they do better work.
  • Other groups (F1000Research, ScienceOpen, among others) are giving peer reviewers the opportunity to sign their reviews, thus breaking the tradition of anonymous peer review.

I'm sure there are other peer review experimenters out there. Please leave a comment if you know of one.

Problem Sets and Solutions

You have homework due in calculus or orgo, but you're having trouble following the steps about how to solve certain kinds of problems.

The library has books full of worked problems and their solutions in many areas of science and engineering.

It's easy to find them:

  1. On the library home page, click in the catalog box
  2. In the SUBJECT line, put in these words: problems  exercises  [your topic here]
  3. Do the search

problems exercises calculus in SUBJECT

If you want only e-books, go to FORMAT (on the left), and chose ONLINE.

Some of the research guides, such as Engineering, and Math and Statistics, have a page called Problems and Solutions, which will tell you more.

To get you started, here are some searches for you:

If you need more help finding books of problems and their solutions, please contact your librarian.

Scary Movies = Halloween Fun!

The weather outside isn’t exactly frightful (that’s for another holiday), but many films in our library collection are! To get in the Halloween spirit this week, why not check out some DVDs?

What type of movie scares you the most? Ghost storiesHorror filmsThrillers? We have all sorts!

How do you feel about monsters? Witches? Zombies? Vampires? Werewolves? Serial killers? Space aliens and extraterrestrials? We’ve got the whole creepy crew just waiting for you!

And, let’s not forget some of the classics by Alfred Hitchcock and Stephen King.

If you’re looking for specific recommendations, I took a quick poll of other library staff and here are some personal favorites (in no particular order): The Shining, Carrie, The Exorcist, Nosferatu, 28 Days Later, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Orphanage, Les Yeux Sans Visage, The Andromeda Strain, and Jaws (dun-dun-DUN-dun).

Have a very scary Halloween!

I Ain’t Afraid of No Ghost: The Henry Ridgely Evans Story!

Way before NYPL had their own foray into ghost busting, Baltimore's own librarian-lawyer-journalist-mason-magic historian extraordinaire Henry Ridgely Evans (1861-1949) was on the scene. Ever interested in the paranormal (indeed, one newspaper account mentions that Evans "touched elbows and hobnobbed with spooks almost since infancy"), Evans embarked on a lifelong crusade to uncover fraud in the realms of slate writing, table rapping, and other pursuits by alleged spirit mediums. Evans also staged spirit photographs, and as seen in the accompanying image, he imbued them with quite a dramatic flair . . . though one wonders how effective a sword would be in combating the dastardly supernatural powers of his cloaked nemesis!

Evans, when not debunking jet-setting mediums, was also enchanted with magic and illusion and befriended the top prestidigitators of the day. Though he revealed the secrets to numerous tricks such as how to make a flying handkerchief, he nonetheless garnered a great deal of respect in the magic and occult communities, even receiving a medal of appreciation from the Society of Osiris, Magicians, Inc. in the 1930s!

While highly critical of spirit mediums, Evans believed that telepathy could prove real. He offered as proof an encounter he had while on a train to Baltimore. He claimed to have seen an old man with long white hair and long white beard standing in a pool of blood outside of a train depot. The next morning, Evans'  brother (who was not on the train) had a dream in which he witnessed the decapitation of an old man! It turns out that a man was in fact decapitated by train on the very route to Baltimore. Due to such a gory coincidence, Evans maintained that he telepathically transmitted his vision to his brother while they were both sleeping. Spooky! Scary!

Interested in learning more about our favorite member of  the Masonic bibliophiles? Then  you are in luck! The Sheridan Libraries own oodles of Evans' books, and our snazzy electronic databases are also chock full of  "Spooky" Evans' articles. The George Peabody Library in particular has an enticingly diabolical collection of his works -- they are all shelved on the dreaded sixth floor, in the darkest recesses of the library. MWHAHAHAHA!!!