Wine: a Library Collection Taste Test

Wine - red, white, rose, sparkling -- so many choices -- so much fun. However, there is a serious and academic side to wine and wine making as demonstrated in a new addition to our journal collection, Journal of Wine Economics. This is a peer reviewed publication that the American Association of Wine Economists (AAWE) publishes twice a year. The library subscribes to the electronic version of the journal, which is indexed in EconLit.

This leads to the question: what else does the library have that relates to wine? Just as there are many varieties of wine to sample, the MSE Library has a larger inventory of wine-related material than you might expect. For example, if you are interested in the history of wine making, try Ancient Wine: The Search for the Origins of Viniculture. Then search Catalyst (the catalog) with the phrases or words “red wine,” “white wine,” or viticulture to find other intriguing possibilities. Wine also has its legal side; search “law AND wine” to find titles that go back to a proclamation by Queen Elizabeth in 1618 that set the price of wine.

Poetry anyone? A quick search of the Columbia Granger's World of Poetry with the word "wine" produces a long list of poems such as "The Wine is Bright" by Nathaniel Hawthorne. If the poems are not copyrighted, the full text is available.

For wine in music there is the song "Kisses Sweeter than Wine" that is available through the American Song database. If fiction is your preference, curl up with the book, Bread, Wine & Angels by Anna P. Zurzolo. And of course, there is the movie Sideways, a comedy set in California wine country. Not only do we have the movie, we also have the screenplay and the shooting script. So please taste test our collections and enjoy!

To Read, or What to Read

What is it about summer and reading? The 2 words seem to go together everywhere you look. I guess the assumption is that people have scads of free time in the summer, although this is certainly not true of library staff!

Still, most of us like to read during the summer, even if it's only the proverbial "beach book." The New York Times asked 8 popular writers what they would take to the beach. Their answers range from Euripides to the gruesome true-crime story of Jeffrey MacDonald; from James Joyce to Cyndi Lauper.

Your tastes might lie somewhere in between those extremes! But there is no doubt that reading on a hot summer afternoon, either beneath a shady tree, on the beach, or in the shelter of air conditioning, is a relaxing and enjoyable activity.

What to choose? Did you know the online catalog can actually help? Many works of fiction are cataloged with Library of Congress Subject Headings (we call them LCSH). Pick a general topic, add the word "Fiction" to a subject search, and voilà! Here are some examples:

This search works for almost any topic you can think of (cats, trials, or vampires). And it works for geographic areas too. Want to read about California, Spain, China or Russia? I could go on all day!

Personally, I use book reviews as a primary source for finding new, or not-so-new, works of fiction to read. The New York Review of Books, the Times Literary Supplement, and the London Review of Books are my favorites. Although I have to confess that I much prefer reading the paper copy! (BTW, these particular publications are also essential for keeping up with scholarship in your field).

In the library, you can also browse the McNaughton book shelves on M Level, or browse down on D Level where we keep all works of fiction. Our growing collection of e-books also includes works of fiction. So whether you like turning pages or scrolling down screens, there are plenty of reading opportunities for all that free time on your hands!

Of Moles and Dreams and Napoleon’s Sinister Hand of Fate!

Have you ever, whilst undergoing a pique of ennui, wondered what Napoleon would have to say about your fate, or, while gazing at your reflection in a mirror, crying at the ravages of time, thought, "is this mole to blame for my life choices?" Solutions, fortunately, can be found for such sorrows in the chapbook collection at the George Peabody Library!

What's a chapbook? Well, chapbooks are small booklets, roughly 24 pages in length, that were cheaply mass-produced (the paper made to use them is often referred to as bum-fodder!) and sold by traveling chapmen (no, not those kinds of chaps!) to non-urban communities. Dating back to the 16th century, chapbooks are a fascinating example of ephemeral literature, revealing to us the diverse reading interests of common people, as well as the shared reading habits of rural communities. The collection housed at the Peabody Library mostly contains Scottish chapbooks produced in the early 19th century, and the subjects involve everything from tips on managing a household to fairy tales to erotica!

So, what bum-fodder shall we explore today? How about works on fortune-telling and dream analysis, a rather popular genre for chapbooks. Let's discover how chapbooks can improve our lives or throw us into Anne Shirley's depths of despair by revealing everything that will be wrong with every decision we ever make.

Napoleon's Book of Fate, a harrowing look at what your life shall become straight from the glittering isle of Elba, offers little solace. Is a loved one in jail? Too bad, for according to Napoleon's wretched book, "the prisoner dies and is regretted by his friends." Thinking about tying the knot? Well, think again. Perhaps bitter by how things turned out with Josephine, Napoleon, the emperor of cynicism, hath declared through his tome, "your partner will be fond of liquor and will debase himself thereby."

Maybe we can find solace in our dreams. Oh, Golden Dreamer, save us from Napoleon's visions of booze and debasement! It seems that if you are a man who dreams of oysters, "it denotes that he will marry a real virgin who will be very fond of him, and bring him many children," and yet if he dream of an oven, it proves "that your sweetheart is of a roving disposition, little likely to make you happy." Real virgin indeed!

Let's move away from dreams and the unknown to that which is discernible. Our moles. Surely, they shall not lead us astray! According to The Spaewife, "a mole on either cheek signifies that the person shall never rise above mediocrity" and one "on the outside corner of either eye denotes the person to be of a steady, sober, and sedate disposition, but will be liable to a violent death." Yep, probably by the debased husband Napoleon tried to warn us about. Mother Bunch's Golden Fortune-Teller, however, is quite concerned with women and their les grains de beauté, and notes that if a woman has a mole on her forehead, she is "a slut" and "treacherous, consents to evil and murder." But what about the knees? Surely, a mole on a woman's knee shall not lead to a life of treachery: "If a woman has a mole on the right knee, she will be honest and virtuous; if on the left, she will have many children" because clearly one contradicts the other.

Too many mixed messages! Esteemed Mother Bridget, help us find the beauty of the world! Mother Bridget, a bon vivant cave dweller, non-stop pipe-smoker, and animal hoarder reveals all in The True Fortune or Universal Book of FateThough illiterate, she nonetheless knew how to write in hieroglyphs, which the compiler of this chapbook was knowledgeable enough to translate. But wait, what's this -- a note to the reader?

The foregoing pages are published principally to show the superstitions which engrossed the mind of the population of Scotland during a past age, and which are happily disappearing before the progress of an enlightened civilization. It is hoped, therefore, that the reader will not attach the slightest importance to the solutions of the dreams as rendered above, as dreams are generally the result of a disordered stomach, or an excited imagination.

You mean I have resigned myself to a life of mediocrity based solely on my mole placement for naught? Alackaday!

It’s Finally Summer!

cartoon-sun-mdIt's summer!

Your library loves summer as much as you do! You get more than 10,000 hits when you throw the word "summer" into the catalog search box on the library home page.

What? You're not only seeing the word "summer," but other forms of the word as well? This is for two main reasons. First, our catalog automatically gives you alternate forms of words, which is called "stemming." So when you searched "summer," you also got Summer's Lease (the autobiography of art historian John Rothenstein), and John Muir Summering in the Sierra (Muir, the famous naturalist).

Second, our searches didn't specify that we wanted our search word someplace specific, like in the title, so we also got works by composer Jeremy Summerly and author Montague Summers.

Look, there's also a lovely summery subject heading: Summer -- juvenile literature. Only seven of our items are literature for children and also about summer. All of them are in a marvelous database called Early American Imprints, which has the full text of and full-page images from books and pamphlets published in America from 1801 through 1819. Here is a page from one of them:

In summer we retire
Into the shady grove
And little then desire
In noontime's heat to rove

 Aaaaaah, that inspires one to pour a cold drink and sit outside with a book!

By the way, if you want to search the catalog only for an EXACT word rather than the word and all of its endings, choose "more search options" on the library home page:

Then scroll all the way down, and check the box that will disable auto stemming:

Happy summer!

Almost Done: Charles Street

New Trees on Charles St.

Last June I took a few pics of the Charles Street construction outside MSEL. This June looks very different! Trees have been added. The center median strip is taking shape. And the artwork is a puzzle.

The completion date for the entire project is still "Fall 2014." Remember, this goes from University Parkway all the way down to 25th St.

Not-yet-ready artwork

You can see an artist's rendering in a before and after video. The Charles St. Reconstruction site continues to offer information about:

Let’s Play Video Games

Hey, JHU students on Homewood campus! Why don’t you play some video games?


  • Digital Media Center (DMC) - Room 226 of the Mattin Center's Offit Building, which is the building across from the back of Whitehead Hall



  • The summer hours, which start on June 2, are Monday - Saturday, 12-5 (closed Sundays).


It's summer. Go play some games.

SHARE Helps the World

Developing countries need medical supplies. The United States has supplies that we don’t use or would otherwise dispose of. How can these two situations be connected, for the benefit of everyone?

Meet SHARE (Supporting Hospitals Abroad with Resources and Equipment).

As its site explains, SHARE is “a group of medical students and health care professionals… who collects unused but clean medical supplies from the operating room and redistributes the instruments to developing nations.”

SHARE has been busy lately. For example, at this year’s Undergraduate Conference in Public Health, the JHU chapter of SHARE had a poster entitled Global Public Health Impact of Recovered Supplies from Operating Rooms: A Critical Analysis with National Implications. The students searched PubMed to find information about the topic of medical supplies and developing countries. PubMed’s amazing MeSH headings helped them to do that – for example, there is a MeSH heading for “developing countries”  and one for “equipment and supplies.”

Interested in finding more information on these topics? Try all of our databases for Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health. And, make them find what you want them to find by doing things such as:

  • putting some of your search words in the TITLE
  • putting an asterisk at the end of a word so that ALL possible endings are retrieved (for example, medicin* retrieves medicine, medicines, medicinal)
  • using synonyms (supplies OR surplus)
  • using choices of words (cat OR dog OR bird) so that you don’t miss any articles

Congratulations to SHARE and its excellent work!

Earth Day in the Library

Just over a month has passed since we celebrated Earth Day. In case you didn’t hear, this year’s campus festivities brought some well-deserved attention to Eisenhower Library, as we received the "Above and Beyond" award! This award recognizes the department that has demonstrated the strongest commitment to campus sustainability efforts.

We believe that Earth Day is about more than just enjoying beautiful landscapes one day out of the year; it’s about honoring the natural systems that provide us with fresh air, clean drinking water, energy resources, and healthy, productive soils to grow the food that nourishes us. While large-scale environmental analysis and policies often dictate how we use or conserve the natural world, there is much that we can do as individuals in terms of consumption habits, environmental justice efforts, and “green” volunteering in your local community. Even small efforts make a big difference in helping to protect our natural resources and keep the planet clean. Check out some of the resources below to incorporate sustainability into your daily life:

Urban & Community Gardening:

Learn about the Johns Hopkins’ own Community Garden at Eastern.

  • Community Gardening as Social Action - “Interpersonal relationships of care, commitment, equality, mutuality and joy were seen by some community gardeners as directly counter-acting the impacts of isolation and alienation, and as enabling new forms of co-operative social relations to emerge.”
  • Urban Agriculture - “‘We have a wonderful park already,” a woman in a fashionable tracksuit announced. ‘But this? This would turn it into a hellhole.’ And so it went, each speaker explaining how awful a community garden would be….”

Sustainable Agriculture:

Learn about Sustainable agriculture and other food system issues at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future.

  • The Omnivore’s Dilemma - "'What am I eating? And where in the world did it come from?' Not very long ago an eater didn't need a journalist to answer those questions."
  • Financing Our Foodshed: Growing Local Food with Slow Money - “Standing in the Food Lion supermarket in Pittsboro, NC, staring at fresh blueberries imported from Chile at the height of our North Carolina blueberry season, …the produce manager explained it to me. ‘I order them on the computer, and they’re the only ones on the list.’”
  • Balancing on a Planet: The Future of Food and Agriculture - “In the midst of the most productive industrial agrifood system in the world, and with college degrees in hand, most of these students who choose to work in the agrifood system are moving away from the vision of mainstream agronomists and economists, choosing to create and participate in alternative ways of doing things.”


Whether you prefer your greenery to come first-hand through outdoor pursuits, or on your plate in the form of locally-sourced organic micro-lettuce, there's a lot to think about in how we interact with nature. Check out the following subject terms in Catalyst:

And remember, reading a library book that has already been printed is much more eco-friendly than firing up an electronic gadget! Stay green, my friends.

Summertime at the Library

It's (almost) summertime! So, what happens in MSEL and the BLC during the summer?

We still answer questions, select and make available research resources, checkout books and DVDs, and offer a place to study.

The Circulation Desk on M level will be changing slightly this summer. Since the desk actually offers Circulation, Reserves, and Interlibrary Loan services, they are changing their name to Service Desk.

During the summer, Audio Visual (AV) materials will be administered at the M level Service Desk - the A level AV window will be closed. You can request any AV material and pick it up at the Service Desk, or just show up at the Service Desk and someone will retrieve the material you need. Staff from the M Level Service Desk will also help you with the AV equipment and viewing rooms!

Service Desk
Monday - Thursday       8:00 am - midnight
Friday                            8:00 am - 10:00 pm
Saturday                       10:00am - 10:00 pm
Sunday                          noon - 8:00 pm

Audio Visual Materials, Service Desk
Monday - Thursday       8:00 am - 8:00 pm
Friday                            8:00 am - 6:00 pm
Saturday                       10:00am - 6:00 pm
Sunday                          noon - 8:00 pm

Below are the general summer hours for our buildings and other service desks. Curious about summer holiday hours? Closer to the date, you can see the hours on our Library Hours page.

MSEL and BLC Building
Monday - Saturday       7:30 am - midnight
Sunday                         noon - midnight

Information Desk
Monday - Thursday        9:00 am - 8:00 pm
Friday                             9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Saturday - Sunday         1:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Research Consultation Office
Monday - Friday             10:00 am - 5:00 pm

Special Collections
Monday                            10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Tuesday                           10:00 am - 8:00 pm
Wednesday - Friday         10:00 am - 5:00 pm

Happy Birthday, Johns!

click to enlarge

On May 19, 1795, Johns Hopkins was born in Anne Arundel County, the second of eleven children of Samuel and Hannah (Janney) Hopkins. His parents, members of the Society of Friends (Quakers), raised tobacco and owned slaves, who tended the cash crop. In 1807, as part of the movement to abolish the slave trade, the Society of Friends stipulated that human slavery was incompatible with the Christian faith, and all members were strongly urged to free their slaves. Johns’ family did so, keeping as paid laborers those who wished to stay, and supporting those too old to go out on their own.

With the departure of most of their labor force, Johns and his older siblings were forced to leave school to tend the fields. Thus, Johns’ formal schooling ended at the age of twelve. Hannah did her best to further her children’s education, however, and the local schoolmaster was a frequent dinner guest. Some have speculated that this lack of formal schooling caused him to decide later in life to found a university – so that others could have what he had been denied.

Lack of schooling certainly did not impair his ability to prosper. When he moved to Baltimore at the age of seventeen to work for his uncle, his mother told him, “Thee has business ability.” First in the dry goods trade, then in railroads, followed by a career as a private financier, he achieved wealth. His sense of frugality, coupled with his excellent judgment of character and a willingness to take risks, served him well throughout his life and resulted in a bequest of $7 million upon his death to found a university and a hospital. To put that figure in perspective, $7 million in 1873 (the year he died) would be approximately $135 million today.

So, happy birthday, Johns – and thank you!