APL Technical Digest – Now 100% Online

cover_3303_low-resThe Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) built a craft for NASA that's been in space for a decade and passed Pluto last year. And remember the little "pill" that Senator and former astronaut John Glenn swallowed before he went into space the second time? That was mostly developed by APL. A few months ago, Fast Company named APL one of 10 most innovative companies in the world, mentioning the prosthetics program that developed a thought-controlled arm.

APL's Technical Digest, which started in 1961, documents APL's remarkable contributions to science and technology. Until recently, only about 20 years of the Digest were online. Now there are PDF’s of all of the articles from the very first issue, dated September-October 1961, through 1977 (volume 16). This means that all of the Digest's issues, from volume 1(1) until the present, are available online to everyone.

On the Digest's home page, there is a link to "Online Issues" and a link to "Other Back Issues."

The link to "Online Issues" gives PDF's of articles from October-December 1995 (vol. 16, issue 4) to the present.

The link to "Other Back Issues" gives PDF's of articles from

  • 1961, vol. 1(1) - 1977, vol. 16(4) (as the APL Technical Digest)
  • [there were no issues published during 1979 and 1980]
  • 1980, vol. 1(1) - 1995, vol. 16(3) (as the Johns Hopkins APL Technical Digest)

You can search the full text of the articles at "Online Issues" (October-December, 1995) simultaneously, using the search box on the journal's home page. Here are tips for searching, which definitely help. The older articles, from 1961 through 1995 (scroll down), cannot be searched.

Dr. Harry Charles is the current editor-in-chief of the Digest. He is the Group Supervisor and Program Manager of the APL Education Center, as well as the Chair of the  Applied Physics program in the Whiting School’s Engineering for Professionals (EPP) program. He and the rest of the editorial staff are looking forward to some special issues of the Digest in 2017, to commemorate the Laboratory's 75th anniversary.



Recycling Roundup

binsWith classes back in session, the library literally becomes a second home for many of you as a refuge from the heat. All that note taking, coffee drinking and draft revising produces a good deal of waste. Before you chuck those scraps in the garbage, the library offers many disposal methods that are far more sustainable.

  • Paper recycling – save single-sided jobs for scrap, and when you’re done with double-sided, we have receptacles on every floor by the stairs and in the print rooms; don’t forget about cardboard!
  • Comingled recycling – use these bins for most everything besides paper, including hard plastics, glass, and metal
  • Composting – these containers are for all food waste, and you can even throw in paper plates and cups, napkins, towels, and tissues. Did you know that all food and drink containers across campus (including Daily Grind cafe in Brody Learning commons) are compostable?
  • Battery recycling – located in the copy/print room on M-level of MSEL (pictured) and in the copy/print room in Brody Learning Commons. This is a safer way to dispose of your AAs, AAAs, Cs and Ds
  • Pen recycling – in the same locations, you can deposit any writing implement – pens, pencils, markers, and highlighters

batteries_pensWe’re especially pleased with the last two programs, which are the newest to our recycling suite. You might rightly wonder, “How can you recycle pens or markers?” The JHU Office of Sustainability connected us with a company that actually upcycles many items that would otherwise be landfill bound into useful consumer products like benches and purses. How cool!

Besides disposing of your waste in more responsible ways, how can you further support these so-called cradle to cradle products? As you begin holiday shopping, consider supporting local, independent businesses that carry such merchandise. Just think twice before reaching for that roll of wrapping paper!

But first things first, that final paper isn’t going to write itself. If you have a question about recycling or anything else, you know who to ask

John Staige Davis: Hopkins Alum and Pioneering WWI Plastic Surgeon

medical_Davis in Uniform1

John Staige Davis, 1917. From the National Library of Medicine.

Plastic surgery has become something we take for granted in modern medicine as an important tool for healing those injured in warfare, but that wasn’t always the case. In the early 20th century, Dr. John Staige Davis worked tirelessly to raise the profile of plastic surgery as a medical specialty. During the First World War, Davis served as a captain in the US Army Medical Corps and was part of a committee tasked with organizing plastic surgery units for the Army Medical Corps. With veterans returning home wounded and disfigured, Davis saw plastic surgery as a necessity in helping to restore normalcy to their lives. Though his practices were primitive when compared to the complex procedures that are routine today, Davis was a pioneer in his field and the first doctor in the United States to have a practice dedicated wholly to plastic surgery. Davis published the field’s first textbook, titled Plastic Surgery: Its Principles and Practices, in 1919.

A graduate of Yale University (1895) and Johns Hopkins School of Medicine (1899), Davis felt that if his book was useful “in bringing relief to any one of our wounded soldiers who require the aid of a plastic surgeon” then the effort he had put into it would be worth it. Davis’ legacy can be seen in plastic surgery programs for veterans like the American Society of Plastic Surgeons' Project C.A.R.E, a project dedicated to providing military personnel with free, high quality plastic surgery services as they adjust to civilian life. Today at Johns Hopkins, several divisions (including the School of Medicine, School of Engineering, and Applied Physics Laboratory) continue to pursue cutting edge research that will improve the care of veterans.

The Hopkins and the Great War exhibit (on display from September 2016 to January 2017) explores the impact of World War I on the Hopkins community. The section of the exhibit installed in MSE Library addresses the war’s effect on the Homewood campus. To learn more about World War I, plastic surgery and John Staige Davis’ efforts, visit the Hopkins and the Great War exhibit on display in the Welch Medical Library Building, or visit the comprehensive digital exhibit.

10 Tips for an Impressive Presentation

By guest blogger, Michelle Bedolla, a graduate student at Johns Hopkins University.


An Event Apart Design Conference, San Francisco, CA, December 2009 (Photo credit: Kris Krüg)

Presentations are big components of conferences, classes, and work. They allow you to spread your knowledge to a larger audience. All eyes and ears are on you when you are on stage.

This may seem like a daunting task, especially for novice presenters.

However, you do not need to fear the impending day of your presentation. Whether you have been a spectator for most of your life or want to improve your presentation skills for your next event, these 10 tips will help you prepare a presentation that will inform and awe your audience.

  1. Be a Visual

Your primary visual is yourself. You should be the focal point of your presentation. The audience should be focused on the details that you put forth. Use PowerPoint as a secondary visual to show pictures, charts, and data that add emphasis to your presentation.

  1. Be Your Audience’s Guide

An Event Apart Design Conference, December 2009, San Francisco, CA (Photo credit: Kris Krüg)

When you use PowerPoint, make sure that you cover the information that is on the slides. Do not bewilder your audience with unexplained slides. To avoid confusion, lead your audience through the data. The correlation between x and y is best understood when you describe the data.



  1. KISS and Tell

Use Keep it Short and Simple (KISS) to modify your presentation. Think like your audience. Would you prefer a prolonged presentation that covers more than necessary or a succinct presentation? You would choose the latter. Your audience deserves to receive a presentation that gets to the point and gives essential details.

  1. The Blue Banana

Use captivating details when necessary in your presentation. When telling a story, the color of the banana matters if it had been dropped in paint. Is the peel red, purple, or black? On the other hand, describing the peel’s color after it fell in water is inconsequential. Give your audience details that they will remember and associate with your presentation.

  1. Hands Over Here. Hands Over There. Hands All Over the Place
Op 1 juli 2016 vond bij het Nationaal Instituut voor Beeld en Geluid het AVA-net symposium plaats met als thema: bouwen aan een toekomstbestendig AV-archief.

The National Institute for Sound and Vision AVA grid symposium with the theme : Building a Future-Proof AV Archive, July 1, 2016. (Photo credit: Sebastiaan ter Burg)

You should know when to use your hands in presentations. Do not look like a maladroit marionette with your hands moving left, up, right, and down. You can still move your hands, but choose specific moments in your presentation to emphasize the significance of your speech.

  1. Moonlight as an Entertainer and Educator

Strive to be more like Bill Nye the Science Guy. Your presentation should leave your audience amused and enlightened. Entertaining allows your audience to be more interested in the information you present.

  1. It Really Happened

Take advantage of stories that occurred in real life. Your presentation will be more accessible to your audience, who will feel that the stories are a testimonial of your capabilities. Furthermore, if the story is told correctly, your audience will remember you as a real-life superhero.

  1. Tell me, O Muse

You can also use fictional storytelling to enhance your presentation. Think of a story as an analogy that likens your details to the captivating battles in a Dreamland. You can set yourself, or the company, as the hero who battles for the well being of Dreamland’s citizens, your stakeholders.

  1. Testing: One, Two, Three...

Make an effort to fix technical difficulties before the audience arrives. Some errors are inevitable, but if you fix the ones that you find, you have more likelihood of having a smooth presentation.

  1. Practice Makes Perfect

Cydcor Conference, 2013. (Photo credit: unknown)

Lastly, you should practice, practice some more, and practice again to effectively voice your presentation. A well-built presentation requires a speaker to use pauses, maintain eye contact, concisely entertain and educate the audience, and maintain a professional image. These skills are achieved through rehearsing and balancing your presentation to impresses your audience.

If you still want to learn more about how to prepare an awesome presentation, you can check out these books:

Also, feel free to contact your librarian for research assistance or resources for your presentation.







Walk Like a Librarian

walkingforfitnessWalking is not generally considered a sport. I beg to differ; walking has been part of my fitness routine for years.

Last year I decided to challenge myself and signed up for the Sierra Club One Day Hike. They offer two options: 50k or 100k. I chose the 50k. I ended up walking 50k (or 31.07 miles) from White's Ferry to Harper's Ferry in about 8 hours on April 30, 2016. Just under 300 people participated.

If this piques your interest, we have plenty of materials to help you get started and Walk Like an Egyptian? Maybe not. These materials will help you think about walking as a way to get fit.

A search for the subject fitness walking in Catalyst yields both online and print books. Learn how to train and get the best health benefits from your walking workouts.

Where to walk? The One Day Hike takes place on the C&O Canal Towpath between Georgetown and Harper's Ferry. The benefit of this is that it's flat. I do most of my weekend walking on the Torrey C. Brown Rail Trail. If you're interested in other rails to trails, we have an online book about the trails in the Mid Atlantic region.


Enigmatic Edgar

Edgar Allan Poe's death in Baltimore on October 7, 1849, ensured that the writer and the city would be forever linked. On October 7, 2016, come celebrate Poe’s life and legacy, and commemorate the anniversary of his death, at the George Peabody Library in Mt. Vernon. We’ll be screening The Raven, a film that reimagines Poe’s last days by putting him in pursuit of a serial killer who is copying the murders in his own tales. Showtime is 7 pm; this event is free and open to the public.


We’ll have the perfect spooky ambiance for our viewing: an exhibition of rare Poe materials. The Enigmatic Edgar A. Poe in Baltimore & Beyond features highlights from the Susan Jaffe Tane Collection of Edgar Allan Poe, one of the finest private collections of Poe materials in the world. Fragment of Poe’s coffin? Check. Lock of his hair, snipped at his demise? Check. Poe action figure? Check. And what else, you ask? How about:

  • “The Raven” manuscript, in Poe’s own hand, on loan from the Free Library of Philadelphia, plus several other Poe manuscripts and letters
  • Poe’s first published book of poems, one of only 12 known copies and “the most celebrated rarity in American literature”
  • the engagement ring that Poe gave to the woman who had been his teenage sweetheart
  • the story that launched Poe’s career as an author—“MS. Found in a Bottle”— published when he won a contest in The Baltimore Saturday Visiter
  • “The Tell-Tale Heart” and “The Fall of the House of Usher” as they first appeared to readers in magazines
  • the New-York Tribune obituary that ruined Poe’s reputation
  • comic book adaptations of Poe’s stories and international translations of his works

Plus many nineteenth-century editions of Poe’s works, beautiful illustrations, and contemporary homages.

While he is best known for his horror stories and the eerie poem “The Raven,” Edgar Allan Poe was actually a tireless experimenter. He is credited with inventing the literary genres of science fiction and detective fiction. He was an exacting literary critic and a prolific book reviewer. He wrote a book about mollusks (or… plagiarized it, depending on your point of view) and another in which he anticipated several key cosmological tenets. He published a story about hypnotizing a dead man that was republished as a factual account. Enigmatic Edgar takes you far beyond the Poe you already know.

The exhibition opens today, and is free and open to the public. It runs through Sunday, February 5, 2017 at the George Peabody Library, 17 E. Mount Vernon Place, Baltimore, MD 21202. The gallery is open Tuesdays through Thursdays 10 – 5, Fridays and Saturdays 10 – 3, and Sundays 10 – 1.

For more about the exhibition and additional film screenings, stay tuned to #EnigmaticEdgar.


Recent Growth of Preprint Servers

communicating scienceTo understand why preprint servers are different, let's start with a quick review of the article publishing process. (For a more entertaining review and explanation of preprint servers, click on the image below to watch a video from ASAPbio.) This example assumes your article is accepted by the first journal:

  • write your manuscript
  • submit to a journal
  • editor approves manuscript
  • peers review the manuscript and request revisions
  • revisions made and manuscript resubmitted
  • manuscript accepted
  • copy editing occurs
  • article published

This process can take a few months to over a year. And if your article is rejected by the first journal, you may have to go through the process again, at a second journal.

To speed up the communication of new findings, researchers can share their manuscripts before submitting them to a journal by posting them on preprint servers. Preprint is the term for a manuscript or paper that hasn't gone through the peer review process.

Preprint servers can be run by professional societies, universities, publishers, or funders. Many focus on a particular discipline, others are multidisciplinary. There's been a big push for moving academic papers from behind subscription paywalls and into places where everyone can read them. Federal funding agencies require articles and data to be publicly available at some point in the publication cycle.

Below are some of the disciplinary preprint servers, so you can take a look at what's freely available. If you're interested in publishing in one of these, you can talk with your librarian for more information.

Clueless about Chemistry? Me, too…

Doing research in Chemistry and have no idea where to begin? Please, come to the library’s Information Desk and ask to speak with the librarian on duty! But, here’s a secret: you can get a head-start by trying the sources on the Chemistry Research Guide. Just between you and me, it’s what I (a humanities librarian) use to answer Chem questions!

Now, don’t get me wrong, sometimes the databases on these guides are just plain tricky to use – and librarians can help you use them most efficiently. But, give it a go on your own first and see what you discover. You’ll likely get a good start.

What type of info might you need?

If you need to identify articles on a subject - use the Online Resources part of the guide.

If you need to know the properties of a particular chemical compound – check out Chemical Properties.

If you have a Chem Lab assignment – chances are, the answer lies in one of these sources.

So, when you’re in a research jam and don’t have time to meet with a librarian, explore the wonders of our research guides, for Chemistry or any field of study!

How Do We Learn?

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

One of the online educational news sources that CER staff follow is Tomorrow’s Professor, edited by Rick Reis, a professor in Mechanical Engineering at Stanford University.  Tomorrow’s Professor is a newsletter with twice weekly postings. covering a range of topics having to do with faculty development, including academic careers, the academy, research, graduate students and postdocs, and teaching and learning.

Close up view of university students in a lecture setting.A recent posting (#1495) was a reprint from Ralf St. Clair, “Engaged and Involved Learners,” chapter two from Creating Courses for Adults: Design for Learning, Copyright © 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. In it St. Clair poses the questions, how do we teach people to learn and how can we design education that will facilitate learning. To get at the answers, he examines how people learn. St. Clair discusses two groups of ideas on learning, behaviorism and sociocultural learning approaches.

Theories of behaviorism share the concept “…that all learning always produces a change in behavior.” It’s precision appeals to educators “…because our actions as educators have demonstrable results and the outcome is absolutely clear.” Behaviorism has provided educators with valuable tools for curricular development (i.e., backward design) and assessment. The perceived downsides are that its approaches can seem mechanistic, and that it may appear to discount learning without a defined outcome. And, behaviorism does not give much guidance for social aspects of learning.

Students watching demonstration of frog dissection.Another area of learning theory addresses those concerns. “Sociocultural learning approaches represent an attempt to understand the ways that people learn from others.” The key points are that “learning is always social,” communities of practice play a critical role, apprenticeship is an important model, learning is a dynamic process, and teaching should be flexible to accommodate differing applications. Problem-based learning (PBL) is an example of sociocultural learning.

St. Clair also mentions the theory of transformative learning. “In this model of adult learning, people possess schema, or ways of looking at the world, that help them make sense of what they see… .” When things change, the person experiences a “disorienting dilemma.” The only way to resolve the dilemma is “…to learn so that their world makes sense again.”

In this chapter, St. Clair proposes taking aspects of each of these ideas to create a new model for learning. “Such a model would have these beliefs at its core:

  • Learning is a social process conducted, either more or less directly, with other humans.
  • People begin to learn by trying peripheral activities, then take on more complex activities as they grow in confidence and see other people perform them.
  • Individuals will repeat actions that are associated with a reward, including the approval of peers.
  • Even if the aim of the learning is not behavioral, having an associated behavioral outcome can make it easier to communicate and assess.
  • People learn most, and most profoundly, when faced with a dilemma or need to understand something relevant to them.”

St. Clair goes on to describe what teachers need to do to support learning under this model. Using active learning exercises, scaffolding content, and encouraging student understanding and mastery are crucial concepts. He notes that this model allows students to have control over their learning, to build connections and move from simple to more complex ideas, and encourages collaboration.

Suggestions for adhering to the model are offered. St. Clair notes that “The primary role of educators is to create the relationships and the context that can bring about this type of engagement.” The article is well worth reading in its entirety.

Virtual Shelf Browse Feature in Catalyst

There's nothing quite like serendipitous discovery. I love going into the stacks to look for one book, and coming back with an armful of others that pique my interest. Don't have time to head to the library? You can Virtual Shelf Browse Buttonget that same feeling by using the Virtual Browse feature in Catalyst, and then request the books for later pick-up.

To access Virtual Shelf Browse, first find a book or other item on a topic of interest to you in Catalyst and click on the item's title to get to the detail page for that book.

If the book does appear in the Virtual Shelf Browse, it will have a button in the right-hand sidebar to view that book in the virtual stacks along with other books placed nearby.


Catalyst-VirtualBrowse1There are some things an online shelf browse can do that aren't possible in-person:

• You can use Virtual Shelf Browse from home or anywhere you have an Internet-connected device.

• Virtual Shelf Browse includes books from separate shelving locations in one single virtual stack: various locations within MSEL, as well as our off-site facility (Library Service Center), and other Hopkins library locations such as Welch, SAIS, and Friedheim.

• Books that are currently checked out by another patron can still appear in Virtual Shelf Browse. Even some (but not all) e-books from our extensive online ebook collection appear.

• Although a single book can only be in one place on a physical shelf, it can appear in several places on a Virtual Shelf. There’s always more than one way you could classify or characterize a work. The Virtual Shelf Browse allows the book to be grouped in multiple places when our records have the data for that.

The books in the Virtual Shelf Browse are arranged according to the Library of Congress Classification, just like on most of our physical shelves. Not every book appears in the Virtual Shelf Browse because we don't have a recorded Library of Congress Classification number for every book. While the Virtual Shelf Browse includes more of our collection than any single physical shelving location would, you can't assume that you're seeing everything in our collection -- just as when you're looking at physical shelves too.

The user interface component we used for this feature was originally developed by the Harvard Library Innovation Lab, and shared with other interested parties like us under an open source license.  Many thanks to Harvard for sharing their software.

So if you like to browse, we hope the Virtual Shelf Browse feature provides another way to find material from the Johns Hopkins Libraries collections that meet your needs. Please let us know what you think!