E-books: Can I Download? Can I Print?

Amazing fact: your JHU libraries have about 1 million e-books.

They're easy to find, because they're all in the library catalog just like everything else we have. You do your search, get a list of relevant books, and see an e-book that you want. You click the link and read a bit of it, and it looks great. You'd like to download a few chapters or the entire book to another device to read later.

But sometimes you can't download, or you can only print a few pages, or you can't print at all. Why do e-books all act differently?

The answers can be found in our E-book Guide (on the library home page, type the letter "e" in the box under Guides by Topic -- it's the third one down).

Note especially the tab called Can I Download, Print, Etc.?

This tab has charts that list most e-book collections (not individual titles), and then tells you how much you're allowed to download or print or copy, as well as other important information.

It's really one big chart, but divided into three hunks of alphabet. Again, it's listed by the collections (which are usually the names of the publisher), and not by the book titles. For example:

On this chart you will see crucially important pieces of information, including:

  • Safari Books Online only has room for 9 people at a time to use it, so if you get an error message you should try again later
  • We only have a handful of Project Muse books because we buy them one title at a time
  • If your Kindle reads PDF files, you can use them to read the short science/engineering e-books from Synthesis

For your e-book questions, or if you see an e-book collection missing from the chart, please contact your librarian!

Celebrating Life as a Hopkins Student Then and Now

Prof. Bill Leslie lectured on the importance of the seminar, the laboratory, and the field in the development of JHU as an academic institution. Credit: Larry Canner

Over alumni weekend, the Office of the President and the Archives marked the culmination of a year-long collaborative exploration of the JHU student experience, past and present, with an engaging lecture by Professor Stuart “Bill” Leslie and a reception celebrating the release of a series of online exhibits curated by current JHU undergraduates.

Under the guidance of Curator Chella Vaidyanathan, five current students selected areas of student life that were of interest to them to explore in the archives and through an exhibit:

At the reception on April 11, the students displayed their work to JHU President Ron Daniels and alumni, many of whom were eager to share their own memories of JHU campus life. Almuni who may have student organization materials, photographs, programs, and other items from their time at JHU that they would like to contribute to the archives are encouraged to review and share this flyer, and to contact the archives for more information.

Since alumni weekend, the students have turned their attention to collecting materials from current student groups. In coordination with Records Management Archivist Christie Peterson, and Graduate Coordinator Ben Gillespie they have identified and contacted current student group leaders to facilitate the transfer of materials to the archives for the use of future researchers. As a pilot project, they will be bringing in a number of collections this semester, as well as building relationships and guidance for future transfers.

The History of Student Life collaboration was just one element of the ongoing Hopkins Retrospective initiative by the Office of the President. In addition to commissioning of a book-length history of JHU by Professor Leslie, the initiative has brought JHU history to new audiences through a popular Tumblr and courses exploring various elements of Hopkins’ past. Recruitment is currently underway for a new Hopkins Retrospective Program Manager, who is also expected to conduct and produce a significant number of oral histories with faculty, alumni and staff.

Tiptoe Through the Tulips at Flowermart!

Baltimore! It’s the land of pleasant living! And what’s more pleasant than spending a lovely Saturday perusing flowers, eating deliciously sugary lemon sticks, and tiptoeing through the tulips with your friends? That’s right, all ye denizens of Baltimore, FlowerMart is occurring this Friday and Saturday, May 2nd and 3rd, in Mount Vernon Square, and the George Peabody Library and the Peabody Institute are hosting a variety of free events both fun and enlightening in honor of this esteemed Baltimore tradition.

There will certainly be moments of whimsy, daring displays of creativity, and wonderful botanical discoveries to be had by all! Even if flowers aren’t your thing, stop by the Peabody Library on Saturday between noon and 5pm and view our exhibition of photographs by Sheridan Libraries photography interns John Belanger and Eric Chen. Does photography make you yawn more than flowers? Then attend a recital by Conservatory students! Enough build up, right?  Well, here’s our schedule! It's jam-packed with events finer than the finest of strawberries.

Printers are Important!

mfdsWe've been talking with students lately about the different services MSEL and Brody offer. The printers are the most heavily used service we offer (we're talkin' OVER A MILLION prints/scans/copies per year). And the Info Desk gets a lot of questions about them, too. (1121 questions during 10 months of 2013.) So here's a refresher.




  • M level, MSE - 2 print/copy, 3 print/copy/scan
  • A level, MSE - 1 color print/copy/scan
  • B level, MSE - 1 print/copy
  • C level, MSE - 2 print/copy
  • D level, MSE - 2 print/copy
  • B level, BLC -  1 print/copy

Surrealism at Mid-Century: Exhibit Opening on Friday, April 25th

“That’s totally surreal!” – a common buzz-phrase we hear these days, usually when someone finds something weird or utterly unbelievable. But, did you know that the word “surreal” is a very specific term that has its roots in a 20th-century artistic, literary, and intellectual movement? Believe it: surrealism is real.

And you’re in luck! Tomorrow (Friday, April 25th, 4-7pm) is an art opening at the Eisenhower Library that will have as its centerpiece an exhibition called, “Surrealism at Mid-Century.” To complement two other art exhibitions in the building – one featuring artists from nearby MICA and one that reveals the winners of the Sweren Student Book-Collecting Contest – this student-curated exhibit will showcase rare materials from our very own Special Collections from the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s.

Surrealism emerged in Paris in the early 1920s with writer André Breton as its leader; it remained a vibrant force well into the 1960s. Over the course of its long history, it spanned many countries both in Europe and the Americas.

Students enrolled in a course taught by Professor Molly Warnock – crossed-listed with the History of Art department and Museums & Society program – worked throughout the semester to curate this show, focusing on inventive periodicals published to convey the Surrealist message. The periodicals were chosen from an extensive avant-garde collection, carefully accumulated over the years by Sue Waterman, the library’s Curator of Modern European Literary Collections.

This exhibit pays special attention to the midpoint of the movement as its influence spread geographically: from Paris and London to the Americas by way of New York and Mexico. The student curators worked diligently to shed light on Surrealism’s global reach in the middle part of the 20th century. The periodicals on view in this exhibition served as social media does today, linking Surrealist intellectuals in Europe and the Americas and spreading the word.

If this topic piques your interest, be sure to come to the opening tomorrow – or any time until the show closes on May 30th. Also, the library has an abundance of material about Surrealism and more generally about the avant-garde, so feel free to look at books we have about key figures of the movement (such as André Breton, Max Ernst, and Simon Hantaï). And you can find many interesting articles about Surrealism in the databases on the Art History Research Guide, such as Art Full Text, Art Retrospective, and ARTbibliographies Modern.

Art Comes to the Library

“The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.” - Aristotle

What better to represent this Mobius-strip mind-bend blurring of our inner and outer worlds than an exhibit entitled “Back to Earth: Preparing a Voyage to Mars,” an exciting new installation coming to MSEL’s Q-level. It combines an extensive collection of objects culled from JHU’s biology archives, actual pieces of probes from the 1970s Viking project, and creative works from award-winning artists Jonathan Latiano, Jenn Figg and Matthew McCormack. The exhibit kicks-off with an opening reception from 4pm-7pm on April 25th, and remains on Q until May 30th.

How did the library end up as host to this display? To bring on these kinds of projects , our administrative team works with Jackie O’Regan, Curator of JHU’s own Cultural Properties. Along with managing Hopkins collections, Jackie also collaborates with outside artists and curators to bring in temporary exhibits such as the one arriving in April. “Back to Earth” for example is guest-curated by MICA’s Xiaotian Yang, with input from JHU biology professor Dr. Jocelyne DiRuggiero and the featured artists. Thanks to this collaboration, the show “reflects the ongoing efforts of an interdisciplinary team of JHU scientists investigating fundamental questions about the origins and evolution of the universe,” according to Yang, while the works of art will strive “to initiate dialogue, inspire minds, and create dynamic space to ferret out the universe’s deepest mysteries.”

If the Q-display leaves you wanting more, you can take advantage of the library’s many resources to enrich your experience. The online Catalyst search engine allows you to seek out concepts as diverse as “Zen in Japanese art : a way of spiritual experience” to "image fundamentalism" and "image neoliberalism" in articles like “Art After Social Media.” You can also take a look at our online Art History Guide, where the wealth of resources and links could cause your free time to evaporate like turpentine in a hot studio as you decide whether to link to art history databases around the world, take a scroll along the banks of Larry Rivers, or learn how to navigate image copyright laws. So for those who are seeking out and looking in, enjoy!

Critical Making in the Humanities

This post is guest-authored by Kari Kraus, Associate Professor of English and Information Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park. Professor Kraus gives a free public talk on April 22, 4:30pm, in the Macksey Room (2043) in the Brody Learning Commons at Homewood, followed by a reception. This talk is our last in the Special Collections Research Center series on "The History and Future of Libraries."

BonsignoreKrausEtAl_02The last few years have seen a growing interest among humanities scholars in what Matt Ratto has termed critical making: the embodying of ideas and arguments in things as well as words. Much of the definitional and conceptual work around critical making has emerged in fields such as design, interactive technology, and the studio arts.

Critical making might seem to be centered in specific up-and-coming technologies like 3D printing, in new code-savvy communities like maker spaces and Hacker Lab, and in the processes typical of GitHub collaboration. Indeed, some libraries have even begun to accommodate these forms of exploration and research, as an expansion of the traditional library mission.

But critical making can also be defined in relation to a broader spectrum of methodologies and technologies. In this talk I ask what, if anything, makes critical making in the humanities distinctive from other disciplines by considering a range of examples in book history, literature, archaeology, and art conservation. I’ll then show and discuss some of the critical making experiments my collaborators, students, and I have undertaken since 2010, with an emphasis on methodological mash-ups that cut across the arts and humanities, the social sciences, and the design disciplines.

Please come for the lecture, discussion, and reception!

Spring DIY

At long last the snows have cleared and Spring is upon us. What better time to get back to the earth, get your hands dirty, and DoItYourself?

Our country has, in some way or another, been a DIY nation since its early days. Be it gardening, cooking, distilling, or dressmaking, early Americans made and did by hand because often there was no other reasonable option.

As time progressed and the nation became wealthier and more mechanized, a sense of what was lost in an earlier age began to grow. Perhaps this is best exemplified in the work of philosopher, naturalist, and ardent-DIY'er Henry David Thoreau. Amidst the proprieties and formality of New England society, Thoreau sought an individualism that could express itself in an authentic life. Thoreau's experiment at Walden is itself a great example of how making carries a political message.

Today, the DIY spirit is alive, strong, and growing. Crafters, artisans, designers, gardeners, fermenters and brewers of all sorts, and so on have turned making into a movement and a message. Tired of the rising tide of throw-away culture, DIYers aim to make creation part and parcel of daily life. So pick up a shovel, dust off the sewing machine, and get out there and make something!

FindIt and Articles Demystified

I'm betting you've used FindIt before. FindIt is a great tool that lets you move from a description of an article, book chapter, or book, to the online version of that item. You'll see FindIt when you search in:

You can also go directly to a FindIt search screen to look for a particular item.

FindIt offers a lot more information than a link to the online version. See the video below for more tips on using FindIt.


The Roland Park Company records are OPEN!

This is the final entry in a monthly series of posts highlighting uncovered items of note, and the archival process brought to bear on these items, as we preserve, arrange, and describe the Roland Park Company Archives.

Well everyone, it’s been a long journey, and so it is with great pleasure that I can announce that the Roland Park Company records are now open for research! Click here to see the finding aid for this collection, officially called MS 504 – The Roland Park Company records.

Please note that the architectural drawings remain closed for conservation reasons.

What now? Well, come on down! Everything you need to know to use and visit the collection is available here, including our hours, directions, and the email address you'll need to request materials in advance (or ask questions).

Some facts about the collection and how to use it:

  • The records date from 1865 to 1970, but the real bulk of the material dates from the company’s founding in 1891 to one year after its liquidation on December 31, 1959 (so to 1960).
  • The records consist of all kinds of material. The vast bulk (and I do mean vast) is correspondence, but there are also ledgers, scrapbooks, photographs, reports, meeting minutes, subject files on particular topics (like national real estate policies), and published material (like the Roland Park Company Magazine).
  • The correspondence is not only the biggest part of the collection, but also the most complex. Remember the Paper Database parts 1 and 2? To help explain that a little more, check out pages 8-10 in the finding aid. I tried to explain the correspondence numbering system as well as I could, but the best way to figure it out is to dive right in.
  • There are practically three collections in the Roland Park Company records! In addition to the company records, there are also the papers of its two presidents, Edward H. Bouton and John M. Mowbray. Take a look at the table of contents in the finding aid and you’ll see they’ve been separated into their own series for you. These were very interesting men, and they had an influence on housing policies in the United States.
  • The records are in 298 boxes, not counting the architectural drawings (which remain closed for conservation reasons), and almost all of them are housed off-site. Special Collections will require at least 24 hours’ notice to get these to you, so make sure you email us.
  • The Roland Park Company records finding aid, which is the document that you researchers will be using in order to see what’s actually in the collection, is a whopping 484 pages long! Yes, that’s long, and boy are my fingers tired.
  • The Roland Park Company had 20 subsidiary companies! Check out page 408 of the finding aid for a helpful chronology of when all these smaller companies were founded, and the various names they were known by.

So I hope you have enjoyed reading about the journey. The best is yet to come now that we can hand the work over to you, researchers of the world, to help these records tell their story to us all.