Unburied Treasure: Discovering ARTstor Collections

treasuremapWhile on an expedition through the ARTstor Digital Library's more than 1.9 million arts and humanities related images, you might use ARTstor’s robust search and filtering functionality to hunt for specific images or works of art. Alternatively, you might choose to set your course for the many phenomenal collections housed in ARTstor from institutions around the world. From the Barnes Foundation to the Berlin State Museums (Staatliche Museen zu Berlin), high quality images from noteworthy institutions are available for your adventures in teaching and study. You can navigate to the full list of Collections from the ARTstor Digital Library’s home page.

Not sure where to start your browsing voyage? How about with the QTVR Panoramas of World Architecture from Columbia University. QuickTime Virtual Reality (QTVR) files allow viewers to experience 360 degree panoramas. ARTstor and Columbia University have teamed up to provide almost 1,900 QTVR panoramas of architectural spaces in Bolivia, England, France, Greece, Italy, Japan, Peru, Turkey, and the United States. Not only does such an experience contribute to our sense of awe and wonder, but it also aides in the study and teaching of historic monuments. Understanding the functionality and scale of an architectural space is often difficult through still images alone. While a QTVR file is no stand in for the Pantheon in Rome or Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, it can certainly augment a viewer’s understanding of the space and what it would be like to travel to that spot. (Note: The VRC does not recommend Google Chrome when accessing QTVR files.)

Still on the ARTstor Collections page? Don’t forget to explore the JHU Visual Resources Collection, now available in ARTstor. The Collections page includes ARTstor collections, as well as Shared Shelf Institutional Collections where you’ll find the JHU Visual Resources Collection. Visit the Visual Resources Collection guide for more information about accessing the JHU Visual Resources Collection, and please do contact the VRC at vrc@jhu.edu with any questions about ARTstor or VRC services. For even more ways to find images, see the Images page on the library's Art History guide, and see the Finding Images guide.

The Value of Gaming in Higher Education

Guest blogger: Macie Hall, from the CER's Innovative Instructor.

A recent article in the Educause Review might be of interest to readers thinking about the value of gaming in the curriculum. [See also The Innovative Instructor May 13, 2014 post What is Gamification and Why Use It in Teaching?Taking Serious Games Seriously in Education by Kristen Dicerbo, July 20, 2015, examines the value that games provide: “Games can serve as a means of not just developing domain-specific knowledge and skills but also identity and values key to professional functioning. The data from games enable understanding how students approach and solve problems, as well as estimating their progress on a learning trajectory.”

Video game controller on a table, back-lit.DiCerbo, Principal Research Scientist at Pearson’s Center for Learning Science & Technology, notes that while educational gamification first focused on engaging students in the curriculum, it was “…found that games align themselves well with theories of learning in many other ways.” The use of games in the classroom can provide “…tighter ties to research-based learning progressions, better links to elements of professionalization, and better design for assessment.”

The article highlights two games, Mars Generation One: Argubot Academy (designed for middle and high school students) and Nephrotex (17-19 year olds). Argubot Academy intends “to teach and assess skills of argumentation, including identifying evidence of different types, matching claims to evidence to form arguments, and evaluating claim and evidence links in others’ arguments.” Nephrotex provides “a semester-long experience in which players assume roles as interns in a fictitious bioengineering firm.” The games archive data while being used so that faculty and students can receive relevant progress reports.

The two games exemplify two approaches. The first is gamification that helps students develop and hone basic skills needed for a course or discipline (the art of developing an argument in the case of Argubot Academy). The second is a simulation situation that enables students to gain a broader understanding of a particular domain. DiCerbo discusses these two approaches in the sections Games and Learning Progressions and Games and Professionalization. The latter can be particularly useful for freshmen new to a discipline who are lost in the weeds of foundation courses that may not appear have any direct application to the major they have chosen. DiCerbo cites evidence that situational games can provide students with a view of what work in the profession might entail and the impetus to persist through the introductory phase of core courses.

“Apart from learning skills and knowledge of a domain, becoming a professional in a given area involves developing an identity, for example as an engineer, a psychologist, or a biologist. Novices must come to understand the beliefs that people in a given profession hold and assimilate those into their own belief structures. Commercial games have long employed the concepts of identity, allowing players to build avatars, join guilds, and form teams, all around specific combinations of knowledge and skill. Instead of building identities as wizards, can we use games to build identities more applicable to the real world?”

The article also covers the assessment opportunities that games can offer. The possibility of “invisible assessment” that comes from analysis of student interaction with the game, and that doesn’t interrupt the learning is intriguing.

DiCerbo concludes with three questions instructors should ask about games:

  • What is the model of learning embodied in the game? What skills are needed for success in the game, and how are they sequenced in the game? Does that match known, research-based learning trajectories?
  • Can you clearly identify cognitive and non-cognitive skills and attributes targeted in the game?
  • Do reporting functions in the game link player actions to estimates of knowledge, skill, or ability?

Gaming has gained a lot of traction in the past few years. This article provides both evidence and incentive for you to think about how you might bring this pedagogical method “into play” in your classroom.

Artificial Languages, Universal Languages

Esperanto. Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) https://www.flickr.com/photos/foobarbaz/6967534104/in/photolist-bBGr9m-59FAVL-4MP7tL-3zKPv-7mEr4d-2zHowq-JyQWM-2ikw6n-7LTEAv-5eYYXM-xtSwv-cZk68u-2Nb6w-aafjVz-aH9z9-drufUS-59Bofi-8TzwbW-JyQW4-JyQVt-JyQUM-2P2p3-7nVTEM-8u4Huz-amPhT6-6fmP3p-6fr16A-6Wxvik-aKWcZ8-2ipPCS-48wEJ2-am9NLx-amPhXD-amS833-amPhLe-amS7XC-amS7UU-8u7P1w-6ojJT1-6KiT8M-ecLdRD-q3T2W-kwok-pMP8k-aafjX8-K59gF-4ELHDM-ayeUX9-7n7AUC-59FAEwAn undergrad recently asked me about Lojban.

Those in computer science and related fields have probably heard of Lojban (a constructed language, formerly known as Loglan). And most of us have heard of Esperanto (a "universal" language), and other "constructed" languages such as R'lyehian and, of course, Klingon.

Are there a lot of artificial languages? (They’re also referred to as “planned,” “invented,” “made-up,” and probably a few other terms as well.) Yes, indeed there are.

I started my exploration with The Dictionary of Made-up Languages (2011).  The introduction tells us that there are more than 100 “made-up” languages; for the scope of this book, the author focused only on those that are written and/or spoken, leaving out sign languages and computer languages.

I loved Appendix A: Works, Language Creators, and the Languages Associated with Them (p. 273), which lists many favorite languages of us fantasy and science fiction fans, including

How *should* we refer to these languages? Our JHU catalog shows that there's been a lot of interest in languages that "everyone" can speak, and somewhat less interest in the kind of languages that we're discussing here:

Klingon. Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) https://www.flickr.com/photos/airforceone/3434565251/in/photolist-6ev3Ag-63j4wg-7dWmj3-8kBK18-y2pu2w-y2psVo-cL5YNu-4YJXjq-4PL2bQ-8zPn5g-8z4T3D-6gBZfQ-54Esiw-buN2wq-ngK4g-8kBzQ4-fbwnKn-4tULr3-6JzEER-dEq9xh-2UXrec-8kEMFE-58XTGW-8kByY8-8kBCWT-4EQvR-7dUQFS-8kBxrP-8kBwye-9MtxE1-748EZA-fvNC6i-33vYdv-33Aw37-9D6KzP-9vw5Lu-4CLqjz-34THfm-8kBFN6-2Zq3Co-8kERQy-53GGXj-5Rz4uc-99yuZe-8kETAf-39jdCx-6rStud-8kBDTz-BTDEU-58s8HX

nuqjatlh? Klingon

However, other catalogs such as the Library of Congress and WorldCat show quite a few more books about artificial and imaginary languages.

Google’s N-Gram Viewer shows that “invented,” “planned,” and “made-up” were never popular, and “constructed” had tiny blips in the mid-1850s, 1930, and the mid-1940s. “Artificial language” has always been around and was at its highest use in the mid-1960s.

As shown, the much more popular term has always been -- at least since 1800 -- “universal language.” Unlike languages spoken by fictional groups, or entities who don't usually speak (at least that we know of), like the animals in Animal Farm, a universal language is spoken by everyone (whomever that may be). The universal language could also be used for communicating in a group who all have different primary languages (as Esperanto was used in Philip Jose Farmer's vast and imaginative Riverworld series [use Borrow Direct for these]).

On your next study break, wander down to D Level -- on the BLUE shelves, in the P120.I53 section, browse through Encyclopedia of Fictional and Fantastic Languages or Lunatic Lovers of Language: Imaginary Languages and Their Inventors.

Try it yourself, or see what other "conlangers" are doing.

Thank You!

EDES blog post screen shotSo much for our New Year's Resolution about procrastination (don't judge!).

Here's our New Year's video and a salute to all the people --- students, faculty, staff, alumni, friends, parents, and you, gentle reader --- who help make the Sheridan Libraries and University Museums so essential to the intellectual, cultural, and social life of our community.

Thank you, and Happy New Year!

Hoop Dreams: Struggles and Redemption in Basketball Films

BasketballDreamsIt may still be football season, but basketball is starting to heat up.  There aren't quite as many movies out there about basketball as there are about football, but the Libraries does have a few to tide you over until Space Jam 2 is allegedly released in 2017 (fingers crossed!).

Hoosiers is a must-see for any basketball fan - it has the whole shebang: an underdog sports team, a coach seeking redemption, and a small town with little else to do besides pay too much attention to the high school basketball team. It's loosely based on the 1954 Milan High School Indiana state championship team, so you get a small dose of history with this one as well.

If you want a little more of real-life stories set around the same time period, and just down the road from Milan High School, there's Something to Cheer About: Oscar Robertson and the Crispus Attucks TigersThis documentary explores the Crispus Attucks High School Basketball team and their 1955 State Championship win - marking the first time in the U.S. that an all-black team won a state title.

Other documentaries feature the stories of the Harlem Globetrotters in The Team that Changed the World, LeBron James in More than a Game, the Roosevelt Roughriders in The Heart of the Game, and aspiring young players in Hoop Dreams.

Survey and Gift Cards: Your New Year’s Resolution

MSEL is resolved hinnovationscycleelp you with all aspects of your research. We provide many services and resources, including:

We also know that your research work has changed in the last few years, with products like Google Scholar, Papers, ResearchGate, Evernote, and many others letting you store, recall, disseminate, and interact with your data and information in new and (usually) easier ways.

Help us to help you. Please take the 101 Innovations in Scholarly Communication survey so that we know what tools JHU researchers prefer to use and we can optimize our resources for your workflow.

If that's not incentive enough, join us in the BLC Daily Grind cafe on Thursday, Jan. 21, between 10:00 and 11:30 am to talk with a librarian about these tools. The first 20 graduate students and faculty who arrive and take the survey will receive a $5 Daily Grind gift card. (We'll provide laptops or you can bring your own.)

Teaching (and Learning) with Data

teachingwithdata.orgDeveloping statistical and quantitative literacy allows us to understand the numbers thrown at us on a daily basis, whether they are from the New York Times, the Census Bureau, or a research article. In elementary and secondary school, students develop necessary skills to understand mathematical principles, but in college they learn more about how social and behavioral phenomena are measured and interpreted. One could almost think about it as word problems on steroids (see what I did there?). In other words, there are many ways things can be measured resulting in different answers depending on which combination of variables you choose to analyze.

Teaching with data can be a bit of a challenge depending on the approach. There is nothing wrong with faculty and graduate students using their own datasets that they’ve collected. After all, they understand all the ins and outs of the data, and they know for sure about its quality. However, there are a lot of high quality datasets out there in the world that can be used for teaching. Some data repositories such as ICPSR have created tools to teach with, and there have been collaborative endeavors such as the National Numeracy Network to assist instructors with a quantitative literacy curriculum.

If you’re interested in teaching with data, or would just like to explore some exercises on your own to build your own skills, the Data and Statistics Guide has an entire tab devoted to Teaching with Data.

Magical Moments for Teachers

The art of teaching keeps changing. At Hopkins, as at many other schools, our students work in labs, have flipped classrooms, use clickers and other "active learning" methods, attend lectures, and have a wide variety of assignments and projects that help them learn about a subject.

8700093610_0c8cbddf19_zHow do all of those who design lessons, who grade papers, who judge design teams -- all of those who teach -- know when the lesson has really "clicked" with the students?

Some of my favorite books and movies are those which describe these "magic moments" in teaching.


  • Teacher Man -- Angela's Ashes author Frank McCourt taught English at a vocational high school in Brooklyn. He constantly struggled to get his students interested in writing, but all they did was forge imaginative excuse notes to get out of having to turn in homework. One day, it hit him: have the students use their writing talents to create excuse notes for historical figures, like Al Capone or Eve (of "Adam and...")! The students loved this!
  • To Sir, with Love -- Maybe you're familiar with the wonderful movie starring Sidney Poitier or the hit song of the same name. The magic came gradually, as Poitier's character realized that the curriculum for these high school seniors in London is a complete waste of their time; instead, he uses their remaining school days to lead discussions about about real life.
  • Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance -- During a motorcycle trip across America, a former writing instructor reflects on his complicated life. One of his "magic" teaching moments was born from frustration: an assignment was to choose a building in town and write a one-page paper about it. When one student insisted that she couldn't think of anything to write, he finally said, "write about the opera house across the street! Start with the upper left brick!" She turned in a 5,000-word paper, saying that his advice to focus was the key.


  • The Blind Side -- This story about Michael Oher, who was homeless as a boy and his struggles to get through high school, was nominated for an Academy Award in 2009. To get a GPA high enough to graduate, Michael must write about a story or poem on a list from his teacher. None of the choices inspired him until his adoptive father began reciting The Charge of the Light Brigade; that poem spoke to Michael and he wrote a thoughtful essay that persuaded his teacher that he deserved to pass.
  • Dead Poets Society -- It's impossible to describe Robin Williams' magnificent performance as a teacher at a boys' school who opens his students' eyes to the living presence that great literature can have in their lives. Unforgettable film.
  • Mr. Holland's Opus -- The students in class were bored and Mr. Holland was frustrated; how could he reach them? One day he started pounding out their music on the old piano in the classroom, demonstrating that the chords that Bach used were the same ones in the crazy modern music the students were listening to now!
  • Sister Act 2 (request this from Friedheim through the catalog) -- During their boring music class, these high school students ignore the teacher and just talk to each other and sing songs. How can the teacher (played by the hilarious Whoopi Goldberg) get all of them through this class? "I just figured it out -- I'm going to make you into a choir!"

Enjoy these books and films, and thank everyone you learn from!






Five (Library) New Year’s Resolutions You CAN Keep

New Year's resolutions are notoriously hard to keep. Here are 5 we can help you with!

  • Find out who your liaison librarian is. Whether you're a grad student and need to meet the librarian for your department, or an undergrad writing a paper on a particular subject, there is a librarian who is assigned to you.
  • Set up your Interlibrary Loan account. Find a book we don't own, or an article in a journal we don't have? You can request nearly anything from our Interlibrary Loan department. And all you need to do is click on the Request Form and register.
  • Configure your laptop to use in the library, for research and for printing.
  • Start to follow MSEL on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Start using RefWorks to organize your research.

Now you'll have time for those exercise classes and cooking all those healthy meals!

Sidney Mintz & Claude Levi-Strauss: Remembering when one titan of Anthropology encountered another

SidneyMintzI was saddened to learn about the recent death of Professor Sidney Mintz. Professor Mintz’s towering stature in the field of anthropology was equally matched by his humility, as I learned first-hand when I worked with Professor Mintz to finalize the transfer of his archives to the Sheridan Libraries in 2011. Professor Mintz charmed me with his modesty as he marveled that a research institution the stature of Hopkins would want to document his career—not fully understanding that collections like Professor Mintz’s are exactly what make Hopkins great! For more reminiscing about Professor Mintz’s singular contributions to the anthropology field and the deep personal relationships he forged along the way, I’ll direct you to social media, where heartfelt tributes to Mintz continue to stream in as more of his colleagues, friends, and admirers learn of his passing.

In the course of processing Professor Mintz’s archives in 2012, our student assistant (a PhD student in Anthropology) uncovered many a gem, not least of which was a file Professor Mintz kept of his correspondence with Claude Levi-Strauss, the heralded anthropologist whom Mintz invited to campus to a give a Commemoration Day talk in 1978. I’m reproducing selections of this file here (including a draft bearing Levi-Strauss’s handwritten edits and annotations) to provide a window into Mintz’s efforts to make this historic event come to fruition.

The archival finding aid for the Sidney W. Mintz papers is located here, or you can search our catalog to find other resources related to one of JHU’s most celebrated faculty members.