The Many Ways to Get Library Help

helpisonthewayThere are many ways to ask for help. Some folks prefer help in a face-to-face setting. Others are more comfortable on the phone, in a chat room, querying a database, or Googling around the Internet.

Knowing we're all so different, librarians offer different kinds of help for these different kinds of behavior. Here's hoping you find your preferred method on the list below!


If you're in MSEL, stop by our Information Desk and Research Consultation Office. (See our service hours.) You can also set up an appointment to meet with your librarian.

Phone, Chat, Tweet, Text, or Email
You can send us tweets, or emails. Text us at (410) 692-8874. We are also available via chat or telephone.

Query a Database
Frequent questions and answers are available 24/7 in our Ask a Librarian service.

The Ask a Librarian service is indexed by Google. Make sure you add JHU to your search terms to find us, rather than the library at Harvard or Yale.

New Service for Archiving Research Data

Johns Hopkins Data Management Services provides archiving services for the Johns Hopkins research community through the JHU Data Archive. These services give researchers the opportunity to share their data outside of original collaborations and beyond the life of a research project.

Beginning July 1st DMS offers a new service for archiving JHU researcher data collections. The new Small Data Collections Archiving Service is designed for researchers who want to provide online access to data collections associated with discrete research products such as publications, simulation models, experiments or a small project. This service is scoped to be cost effective while providing for access to, and preservation and discoverability of, research data collections.

We developed this new archiving service in response to researcher feedback we have received over the past two years. Over the past few months we solicited a dozen faculty and staff across JHU Schools for their input on a proposal of this service and have incorporated their feedback.

Unlike our Large Data Collections Single Grant Archiving Service, funding for the Small Data Collections Archiving Service does not need to be tied a grant. Thus this service could be used for sharing and archiving legacy research data or data collections originated from multiple projects.

The Small Data Collections Archiving Service does not supersede the Large Data Collections Single Grant Archiving Service; both are in effect as of July 1st. Johns Hopkins researchers may find the Large Data Collections Single Grant Archiving Service more appropriate for archival of research data from larger projects tied to a grant.

Details on this new service are available on our website. We will work with researchers to determine if either archiving service is the best fit for their needs, and will provide prepared language describing service for its inclusion in data management plans and proposals.

Please contact us at with any questions or comments!


Jonathan Petters, Data Management Consultant, Johns Hopkins Data Management Services

Johns Hopkins Data Management Services provides the JHU research community a) consultative support on data management plans for proposals, b) guidance on aspects of research data management through seminars and workshops, and c) archival of data collections through the JHU Data Archive. Contact us at with your research data management questions.

Summer “Camp” – Quirky Videos for Summer Evenings!

Is the summer heat wiping you out? Do you just need something fun to watch at the end of the day? Baltimore is well-known for its campy humor, probably best characterized in the films of John Waters. So, when in Baltimore, do as the Baltimoreans and camp it up!

In addition to Waters’ films, the Eisenhower Library has many DVDs of films and television shows with a kooky flair. How about classic early TV, like Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie, Gilligan’s Island, My Three Sons? We’ve got ‘em! Newer TV, like Soap and Buffy the Vampire Slayer? We have that, too. Fun stuff, isn’t it?

And, the feature films we have are almost too numerous to mention – but, here are some arbitrary favorites to get you started:

Mel Brooks’ High Anxiety and Blazing Saddles, Woody Allen’s early classics Sleeper and Zelig, Mars Attacks!, Fantastic Voyage, Mommie Dearest, Pillow Talk, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Ed Wood, Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, Strictly Ballroom, the Addams Family (TV series and the movies), Muriel’s Wedding, La Cage aux Folles, Kiss of the Spider Woman,… shall I go on?

If you need help identifying more film and television classics that you want to watch this summer, be sure to use the resources on the Film & Media Studies Research Guide. And, if you still can’t find what you’re looking for, please remember to ask a librarian!

Interlibrary Loan Down: Wednesday, July 2

IlliadWe're moving Illiad, the software for Interlibrary Loan, from the Welch Medical Library to our home base. So, we need to take the system off-line for one day: Wednesday, July 2.

Please bear with us, and submit your requests first thing on Thursday, July 3!

Very sorry for the inconvenience!

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.