Constantino Brumidi: A Capitol Fellow!

“I have no BrumidiCorridorlonger any desire for fame or fortune. My one ambition and my daily prayer is that I may live long enough to make beau
tiful the Capitol of the one country on earth in which there is liberty.”

- Excerpt, To Make Beautiful the Capitol (p. vi)

The man who wrote these words, Constantino Brumidi, worked for twenty-five years to achieve his dream. He created fresco murals in the Capitol that decorate important Senate rooms, the famous Brumidi Corridors, and the Apotheosis of Washington, which occupies the ceiling of the Capitol Rotunda. The artist, having studied at the Academia di San Lucia and worked at the Vatican Palace, arrived in New York City in 1852. In 1854 Montgomery C. Meigs hired him to decorate the walls of rooms and corridors of the two new wings of the Capitol. In February 1880, while finishing the work on the Apotheosis of Washington in the Rotunda, he fell from the scaffolding and died shortly thereafter.

The U.SConstantino_brumidi. Senate Commission of Fine Arts has produced a book that not only discusses the art work of Brumidi, but also the restoration of the frescoes that have been going on for 20 years. To Make Beautiful the Capitol: Rediscovering the Art of Constantino Brumidi, provides insight into the artist, the country’s capitol, and the process of modern restoration. The book is full of illustrations that
demonstrate the magic of the fresco restoration process.

In 2012 Brumidi received the Congressional Gold Medal in recognition of his artistic contribution to the United States and its Capitol. Now that your interest has been piqued, check out the book, and then visit the Capitol to take a special tour of the Brumidi Corridors.

Baltimore? Is it just like The Wire?

Before moving to Baltimore a few weeks ago, most of what I knew about Baltimore I learned from The Wire. But I learned pretty quickly that Baltimore has lots more to offer, like a fabulous foodie scene, a rich history, and some really interesting art. Like anyone moving to a new city, I researched the different neighborhoods and tried to find the best place for me. As I was digging around on the web, I ran into all types of sites and blogs that had a hundred different things to say about my new city. But what I really needed were the resources I found on the Sheridan Libraries’ Baltimore Research Resources guide. In one place I found information about crime, health and education in Baltimore, in addition to a few more reliable resources about what Baltimore’s neighborhoods are really like.

The architecture of Baltimore: an illustrated history. Available at MSE D Level NA735.B3 A73 2004 QUARTO c. 1

But besides the helpful information for new people figuring out where to live, and what types of city resources are available, this Baltimore Research Guide has some great links to help even the native Baltimorean find important statistics and information about The Greatest City in America. Need to know about Baltimore’s architecture? We’ve got books and links to online resources. Writing a research paper related to something in Baltimore's history? From historical societies, local libraries, and archives, we've got you covered. Want to see some cool historical maps, many with scientific, social, economic, and geological data that you can use in your research (or even just for fun)? This guide can get you started.

The Baltimore research guide is just the beginning in finding the information you need about the Charm City, so don’t hesitate to contact a librarian for more help, and to explore more resources.

Who Was Milton S. Eisenhower?

Most people at Hopkins are familiar with the Milton S. Eisenhower Library, part of the Sheridan Libraries. And most people have heard the name Eisenhower in connection with a US President. But who was Milton S. Eisenhower?

Milton Stover Eisenhower, born September 15, 1899, was the fifth son of David and Ida Eisenhower. His older brother, Dwight David (the middle child of five brothers), gained fame as Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in Europe in World War II, and was elected the 34th President of the United States in 1952.

Milton grew up in Abilene, Kansas, and earned a bachelor’s degree from Kansas State University. He worked as an advisor in the Department of Agriculture and served as deputy director of the Office of War Information during World War II. From 1943 to 1950, he was president of Kansas State University. In 1950, he became president of Pennsylvania State University, where he served until 1956. In both positions, he was known as a friend to students, who would socialize with him and seek his advice for difficult problems. For Milton's connection to Hopkins and the library, keep reading after the jump.

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Eerie en Español

Carlos Villarías as the famous vampire

In time for Halloween, let's dig into some creepy films that make use of the world's second most popular language.

Until recently, when pouting and glittering in the sun became the familiar visual for vampirism, most were familiar with the caped and widow-peaked Bela Lugosi as Dracula. What most may not be familiar with is a similarly caped and widow-peaked Carlos Villarías in the same role.

As the film industry transitioned away from silent film and into talkies, they were faced with a problem: they could no longer simply swap out the intertitle cards that contained the film's dialogue for dialogue in another language. Dubbing and subtitles had yet to be embraced, so they resorted to another option: Filming an entirely separate movie with the same sets with the same equipment as the English-language version. Native speakers were swapped out for the English-speaking Hollywood actors and their scenes were filmed during the downtime of the English-language production.

What is interesting about the Spanish-language version of Dracula, however, is that the Spanish-language crew was able to see the work of the English-language production and decided to try and top what they were doing, resulting in a more compelling and artistic picture:

"The American compositions are remarkably flat, like a plan performed on a narrow stage apron. [Spanish-language cinematographer George] Robinson's camera work is distinguished by its use of multiple planes of focus and action. Foreground objects create tension and depth, while middle-ground devices (cobwebs, windows, branches, bars, etc.) further split and define the visual field."

- David J. Skal, "The Spanish Dracula", American Film, September 1990

Fast-forward 80 years. In the 21st century, things are actually going the other way: Spanish filmmakers are producing films in English as a way to expand their audience to a global level. A good example of this trend is the 2001 haunted-house-with-a-twist flick, The Others. Despite being set in British Jersey, the movie was shot by director Alejandro Amenábar (Abre los ojos) in Madrid and the Cantabria region of Spain.

With nary a lick of Spanish spoken, it was a gamble for a Spanish production, but The Others proved to be highly successful. It won 8 Goya Awards (Spanish Oscars), including Best Film--the first English-language film to do so. Internationally, it collected $209 million at the box office. Not too shabby. (Casting Nicole Kidman as the leading lady didn't hurt, either.)

Another creepy English-language Spanish production that pulled the same trick is the Christian-Bale-as-mental-anorexic flick, The Machinist. This time, a Spanish production company and an American director used the outskirts of Barcelona to double for an anonymous American west coast city. Whoda thunk?

Some other Spanish-language chillers include:
The Orphanage
Pan's Labyrinth
The Blood Spattered Bride
The Devil's Backbone

Good books on Spanish-language cinema in general:
Blood Cinema
100 Years of Spanish Cinema
The Faber Book of Mexican Cinema

Research tools to find our more about scary Spanish films:
Film & Media Studies Research Guide

Beyond Frankenstein and Dracula: Literary Halloween Costumes

Still casting about for a Halloween costume? How about paying homage to something you read that sent shivers up your spine? A few suggestions:

  • Shakespeare is always a great source. Banquo's ghost, the weird sisters, Lady Macbeth after the murder, Hamlet's father, the drowned Ophelia--all are classics. If you need visual inspiration, search these characters in ARTstor to see how artists have represented them.
  • Charles Dickens wrote some of the coolest ghosts. Check out Arthur Rackham's drawings of Marley and the Christmas spirits in the Internet Archives' digitized A Christmas Carol.
  • How about the headless horseman in the Legend of Sleepy Hollow? Or, check out the 1999 film version for  post-trick-or-treat viewing with friends.
  • Last, but not least--Edgar Allan Poe. Start with the Roger Corman movies for ideas. You can even build a theme party around many of his stories, like my personal favorite, The Masque of the Red Death, or the Fall of the House of Usher.

If you take the literary path this Halloween, send us a picture and we'll feature it in a future blog!

And, even better, head down to the Peabody Library, the Hogwarts of Baltimore, for an Undergraduate Halloween Party. It will feature a variety of spook-tacular activities including pumpkin carving, a magic show, shadow puppets, old-time fortune-telling games, and a costume contest!

Hard-boiled and Noir Fiction and Film

Travelling through fetid alleyways in the pouring rain, through thronging cities like beating hearts, and darkened rooms echoing gunshots and last breaths, the fiction and film of the hard-boiled and noir genres bring readers and viewers along for vivid, engrossing, sensual experiences that earlier mysteries neglected in favor of purely intellectual exercises.

Often used interchangeably, the terms noir and hard-boiled actually refer to different kinds of works. While hard-boiled stories tend to deal with detectives confronting violence and organized crime, detectives who all the while comment on both the events transpiring as well as their own experiencing of those events (think Dashiell Hammet’s Maltese Falcon or Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep), noir tends to deal with more atmospheric adventures wherein the protagonist is more often a victim or a criminal (think James M. Cain’s Double Indemnity, or the works of David Goodis, upon whose stories the films The Fugitive and Tirez Sur le Pianiste (Shoot the Piano Player) are based). Although noir finds its origins variously in French and American sources, the heart of the hard-boiled story is purely American.

The heyday of American examples of the genres was undoubtedly the 30s, 40s and 50s; nevertheless, modern adaptations both in fiction and film abound. The films of the Coen brothers often draw heavily on the tradition of both noir and hard-boiled stories from America’s past. Perhaps one of the most interesting adaptations of the genres, however, comes not from the US, but rather from the north of Europe in the form of Scandinavian noir.

Scandinavian noir owes much to the traditions discussed above. However, as prime examples of the genre show, there are subtle differences; the writing is often sparse, sharp, simple and realistic and the plots often carry heavy moralistic undertones. Progenitors of the genre include Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö, whose Martin Beck series of novels depict a tumultuous Sweden of the 1960s, bent on revolution and social upheaval. Perhaps more well known examples include Henning Mankell's Wallender series, and Stieg Larsson's internationally best-selling Millenium series, the first of which, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo has been adapted for the big screen twice in the course of just two years. Clearly the fascination with unsolved murder and illicit dealings is alive, well, and spreading around the globe!

Open Access Happens More Than One Week Per Year

OAweek2014We've wished you a Happy Open Access Week several times in this space. Problem is, Open Access (or OA) is available all the time. And the JHU Libraries provide services and resources to help you with your OA-related needs. So instead of focusing on OA Week, here's a round-up of OA services and resources that the JHU Libraries provide.

Information Sources - Do you have questions about authors' rights, the Digital Humanities, or Open Access itself? Then check out our Scholarly Communications guide. It offers an overview of OA and other new trends in scholarly publishing.

Open Access Promotion Fund - Perhaps our most popular service, this fund helps young JHU researchers (students and untenured faculty) with the article processing charges some OA journals require. To be eligible for reimbursement, the article must be published in a journal listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals. If the article processing charges are not covered by a grant, researchers can be reimbursed up to $1500 per article from the OAPF. A researcher can receive a maximum of $1500 per year from the fund. See the OAPF page for more details and a link to the submission form.

Data Management Services - The JHUDMS helps JHU researchers in managing, sharing and archiving their research data. We serve the Homewood campus, School of Medicine, and Bloomberg School of Public Health by providing the following services.

  • We assist with the organization and preparation of Data Management Plans for grant proposals.
  • We provide consulting and training services on the best practices of data management for researchers and graduate students.
  • We provide a data sharing and archiving solution here at JHU through the JHU Data Archive. This is an archiving option that includes assigning of permanent identifiers to data collections and organization of the data for public access and sharing.

Electronic Publishing Services - Want to start your own OA journal? We can help! Our User Interface Applications Group provides OA journal hosting, including initial setup, configuration, training, registration with search engines, acquisition of ISSN, registration with bibliographic indexes, creation of library catalog record, record uploaded to WorldCat, etc. If you're interested in OA books, we can help with e-book consultation and creation. We can discuss e-book format options, e-book generation using open-source software tools, custom e-book design and programming with you. Contact Mark Cyzyk,

Electronic Theses and Dissertations - Starting last year, all doctoral dissertations and most masters theses must now be submitted electronically. These documents will be made freely available to the public in a library repository, although students may place an embargo of up to four years in order to delay publication. Questions may be directed to David Reynolds at 410-516-7220 or

JScholarship - This is our institutional repository that lets faculty deposit born-digital or digitized research and instructional materials such as scholarly articles, working papers, and technical papers. Make your research reach a wider audience by making it freely available here. For more information, contact David Reynolds at 410-516-7220 or

Museums Studies Research: Near & Far

If you’re studying for an MA in Museum Studies or enrolled in the undergraduate Museums & Society program – or, if you’re just plain interested in museums – you may want to know about resources you can use here and abroad!

Based in Baltimore? Head over to the library to find books in our collection on museums in general or related topics, such as art conservation, museum and exhibit design, and effective management of cultural properties. Our printed collection is growing by the day! And if you need help feel free to call, text, chat, email, or stop by.

For those off campus, we have a growing collection of electronic books in museum studies. Since the MA in Museum Studies program is nearly entirely online, these are particularly useful for students enrolled in this program. And, assistance for students in this program is just an email away at

No matter where you are geographically, be sure to use our Museum Studies Research Guide to point you to even more scholarship in the field!

On-Site Borrowing: One More Reason to Love BorrowDirect

Do you occasionally find yourself in a community where you’d like to use the research library? Under a new pilot agreement, JHU students, faculty, and staff have on-site borrowing privileges at the following BorrowDirect institutions: Brown University, University of Chicago, Columbia University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Duke University, Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University, and Yale University.

Be prepared to present your JHU ID and login to your BorrowDirect account. Once authenticated you will be issued a library card.

Borrowing privileges vary by institution, and the lending library’s policies and loan periods apply. Before you visit, you should review individual library polices. Borrowed items may be returned at either the lending library or JHU.

For the most part, these same materials already are available through BorrowDirect, but this new agreement expands BorrowDirect to include in-person borrowing.

If you have questions you can contact us at

Catalog This!

Ever wonder what happens behind the scenes to make library materials accessible to the public (that’s you!)? After books are selected and ordered, Cataloging staff work their magic to let you know what we've got. The word cataloging itself conjures images of card catalogs, book carts, and Dewey Decimal numbers, and while both of those are still in use to some extent, the majority of what cataloging means these days involves creating electronic access to metadata that describes both physical materials as well as digitized and born-digital materials that a library either leases or owns.

Phew, that was a mouthful! What does all that actually mean, you ask? Cataloging, at its core, is about creating machine readable catalog records (known as MARC records), according to a set of rules; for many years these rules were the Anglo-American Cataloging Rules (2nd edition). However, a new set of rules has just recently been implemented....more on this below! These records describe books, movies, sound recordings, journals, manuscripts, and archival collections. A MARC record contains a lot of information that you would assume should be there (things like title, author, publication information, how many pages/volumes are present, subject, etc.) MARC records form the backbone of our public interface, Catalyst. Catalyst pulls the information from the MARC records in our database and displays that information to the public in a way that allows the public to search and discover the materials that they need.

Where do those MARC records come from, you ask? Well, cataloging can be broken down into two main divisions: copy cataloging and original cataloging. OCLC, the Online Computer Library Center, maintains the largest database of MARC records in the world. These records have been created by librarians from decades ago up through today (librarians have always been great at sharing!). When we acquire a new book, OCLC’s database is searched to discover if a record for that book has already been created. If so, then we use that record. That’s known as copy cataloging (cataloging from copy that already exists). If a record does not exist, then we create one within OCLC’s database so that any other OCLC member library can use that record, and then download the record into our local database. This is known as original cataloging.

Now, all this sounds like a manual, labor intensive process, and while cataloging is complex, thanks to the monumental efforts of our Technical Services department, the vast majority of this process has been automated. With the assistance of a number of different services we are able to import bulk records for the materials that we acquire.

What does the future hold for cataloging? Right now is one of the most exciting times to be a cataloging librarian. The rules we currently use to catalog were originally created in 1967, with the second edition published in 1978. While these rules have been updated throughout the years, no significant changes have taken place. That is until now. Starting in April 2013, the US national libraries and the Sheridan Libraries, along with many other libraries throughout the country (and around the world) switched to a new cataloging code, known as RDA (Resource Description and Access). This new code has been crafted to be more flexible, more adaptable to changing data architecture, and more user-friendly (gone are the Latin abbreviations!). Stay tuned for more as the cataloging world turns...