Copyright & Your Classroom

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

When we think about teaching, intellectual property rights may not be the first thing that comes to mind. Yet staff in JHU Center for Educational Resources where I work, and my librarian colleagues, are not infrequently asked by teaching faculty to address concerns about copyright and fair use issues in the classroom.

Copyright logo - black c within a black circle.

For example: “I am assigning my students to do an online exhibition, if they re-use images and videos taken from the web, can we make the exhibits public?” “It’s educational, so it’s fair use, right?” “I’ve created a library of video clips from popular television series to use in teaching. Is it ok to share these with my colleagues?” “How do I know if something is in the public domain?” “Why can’t the library just digitize their collection of film DVDs so we can stream them in our classrooms?”

Unfortunately, neither I nor my colleagues have law degrees with specialization in intellectual property rights (IPR). We are fortunate here at Johns Hopkins to have an Office of Legal Counsel with someone who is an IPR specialist, and there has been an effort to make policies and guidelines about common educational legal concerns easy to find and readily accessible. That’s not the case everywhere, and not all questions need an appointment with an attorney to answer. Sometimes you just need a quick answer to what is likely a common question… Fortunately there are resources to help you.

Last summer Duke University, in collaboration with Emory University and The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, offered a MOOC, Copyright for Educators & Librarians. “Fear and uncertainty about copyright law often plagues educators and sometimes prevents creative teaching.  This course is a professional development opportunity designed to provide a basic introduction to US copyright law and to empower teachers and librarians at all grade levels.” I signed on and found it informative and engaging. So, I was excited to learn that the course is now being offered on demand.

The “…goal [of the course] is to provide participants with a practical framework for analyzing copyright issues that they encounter in their professional work. We use a lot of real life examples—some of them quite complex and amusing—to help participants get used to the systematic analysis of copyright problems. This course is intentionally a first step toward bridging the gulf that is often perceived between desirable educational practice and legal permissible activities.”

The instructors, Kevin Smith, MLS, JD, Director, Copyright and Scholarly Communication Duke University Libraries; Lisa A. Macklin, JD, MLS, Director, Scholarly Communications Office, Robert W. Woodruff Library, Emory University; and Anne Gilliland, JD, MLS, Scholarly Communications Officer University Libraries, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill bring knowledge and enthusiasm to the course modules, which are framed as discussions. Now that the course is offered on demand, you can sign up and take it as your schedule allows. There are five units, which cover an introduction to copyright law, a framework for thinking about copyright, owning rights, specific exemptions for teachers and librarians, and understanding and using fair use.

For those of you who need just in time assistance, I can recommend the very thoroughLibGuide on Copyright, put together by our JHU librarians. There is a section specifically for Teaching Faculty, with information on the TEACH Act, Fair Use Teaching Tools, guidelines for the use of copyrighted materials within course management software, and more. Additional resources include a discussion of European Copyright law, and links to other university IPR guides and pages. The Copyright Crash Course website at the University of Texas at Austin Libraries is particularly useful.

Ignorance of the law is not a defense in IPR matters. These resources will help you to get a better grasp of the issues that should be of concern to you in the classroom.

CQ & the Humanities – Let’s put Congress to Work!

Congressional Quarterly (aka, CQ) publications have long been great sources of information on the activities of Congress. Political science scholars and others in the social sciences know CQ all too well. But, is it possible that the CQ publications would be useful to humanities scholars? Arts enthusiasts and advocates? Dancers and musicians? You might be surprised to know the answer is “yes!” Arts and humanities don’t exist in a vacuum - knowing how our government shapes our cultural heritage can be a vital part of the research puzzle.

Do you want to see what happened on Capitol Hill last week that affected, say, arts funding or music education? Keep an eye on CQ Weekly for the most current activity of interest to you.

Looking for more historical data? Try the CQ Almanac, a great place to get summaries of congressional activities back to 1945. The CQ Congress Collection gives even more information, including a history of congress membership and voting records on key topics of public interest.

CQ Researcher is a very interesting CQ Press publication that compiles reports on a number of topics pertinent to humanists – to see examples, browse under Arts & Humanities, Popular Culture, and Historic Preservation. It also has great sections called Pro/Con and Issue Tracker that help you put your topic in its political and social context.

The umbrella interface to all of the CQ Press databases is called the CQ Electronic Library. Through this one interface, you can search across all of the other portions as an inclusive alternative to searching them independently. The choice is yours!

New Virtual Shelf Browse Feature in Catalyst

Some patrons, especially in certain departments and disciplines, enjoy physically visiting the library stacks to browse the collection. The MSEL library largely uses the Library of Congress Classification system to order the books on our shelves. LC Classification is intended to place books on the same or similar topics near one another to facilitate this kind of browsing.

I'm a software engineer, but I got an MLIS degree and work in libraries because I love the physical library, and enjoy browsing the physical shelves myself, too.

Catalyst-VirtualBrowse1But we've also introduced a new Virtual Shelf Browse feature in Catalyst to supplement, but hopefully never replace, a physical in-person visit to the shelves, facilitating this same kind of browsing. There are some things an online shelf browse can do that aren't possible in-person:

• You can use the online Virtual Shelf Browse from home or anywhere you have an Internet-connected device. It works pretty well on a tablet and even on your phone.

• The Virtual Shelf Browse includes books from various separate shelving locations in one single virtual stack: various locations within MSEL, as well as our off-site storage (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 the Virtual Shelf Browse. Even some (but not all) e-books from our extensive online ebook collection appear.

• A single book can only be in one place on a physical shelf, but can be duplicated 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.

Virtual Shelf Browse ButtonYou access the Virtual Shelf Browse in Catalyst by finding a book or other item on a topic of interest to you in Catalyst and clicking 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.

The Library of Congress Classification was invented over 100 years ago, and is actually a pretty clever pre-computer information management system. We wouldn't invent the system quite the same way if we were starting from scratch today, but we've inherited it in our systems, and it was gratifying to find a useful way to bring it into the digital age.

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, forming the foundation of our implementation. Many thanks to Harvard for sharing their software. Here at JH Libraries, we also share most of the software we develop in-house with other interested libraries under an open source license. One of the nice things about being a software developer at a library is that libraries' mission of sharing information and knowledge generally leads to lots of collaboration and sharing of software development too.

For those who like browsing, we hope the new 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!

Need Images? Find them in ARTstor!

ArtCartFinalThe JHU Visual Resources Collection is now available within the ARTstor Digital Library via Shared Shelf. Shared Shelf is a tool that allows the Visual Resources Collection (VRC) to publish our image collection to ARTstor for JHU faculty, students, and staff.

Why use ARTstor for your image needs?

  •  “One Stop Shopping:” Search for ARTstor collection images and the VRC's images in the same search!
  •  Easy searching: ARTstor’s filtering tools are now available for both ARTstor collection images and the VRC's images (filter your search by date, modern country, or type of object)
  • Range of images: VRC collection strengths include ancient art, medieval art, Renaissance art, manuscripts and printed books, 19th and 20th century art, and Contemporary Asian art while ARTstor contains many fabulous institutional image collections with content from the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Barnes Foundation, the Getty Institute, the Illustrated Bartsch, the Library of Congress, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Gallery of Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, and the Walters Art Museum

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Can’t find the images you need? Need help accessing or using the JHU Visual Resources Collection in ARTstor? Want a one-on-one training session or a group training session? Contact the VRC at, and visit the Visual Resources Collection guide for more information and to download our two page guide "Searching for JHU Visual Resources Collection Images in ARTstor."

For more ways to find images, see the Images page on the library's Art History guide and see the Finding Images guide.

Catalyst Lifehacks

Now that you're back and shaking the dust off of your research brain, let's look at some handy Catalyst features that might get overlooked when you're otherwise laser-focused on cranking out a paper.

The first thing to know is that Catalyst and citation management are besties. When you look at the full display of an item in Catalyst, take note of that box in the upper right. If citation management tools are your thing (and they should be), you can export directly to RefWorks or EndNote from right here. If you're just looking for a quick and dirty citation, hit 'Cite This' to see this item in MLA, APA, and Chicago citation formats ripe for cutting and pasting.

If you've hit on some really great search results, you can do a really quick bulk export to your citation tool of choice. Just check the little 'Bookmark' box on SceenShotthe right hand side of the search results. After you're done with your checkbox binge, click on the 'Bookmarks' link all the way at the top of the screen. Everything in your selected items can now be moved to either RefWorks or EndNote, or e-mailed to yourself in one fell swoop.


For many items in Catalyst, you can search the text of the book directly without even getting up to thumb through it. Be on the look out for the 'Search inside this book' box on the full item display page. If it's possible, it'll be there to make your life a little easier.

After doing a search or two and finding something that looks interesting, the next question is inevitably, "Where do I get it?" If the item you are after is within Eisenhower Library, we have a handy feature within Catalyst that will show you exactly how to get there:

Just click on availability box on the search results page (the bit with the call number):

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And then click on the 'Floor Map' button:

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Just above the map diagram, you may notice a bit of text that says: "Shelf/Service Location". If you're in a hurry, this can be a massive timesaver. If it's on the shelf, as it is here, the letter tells you which floor it is located on (D in this case), and which shelf (the third from the end, here). If it's in Special Collections or on reserve, you will see the location where you can pick it up.


Screen Shot 2013-08-28 at 3.49.40 PMThe other button next to the map button is another handy feature: text this item to yourself. This is particularly useful if you're looking at Catalyst outside of Eisenhower Library and you need to remind yourself to pick up an item when you're in the building. What you receive is a text with the item's title, location, and call number as well as a link to the item within Catalyst. Something like this:


We hope these quick little features make your life a little bit easier. If you have ideas for other Catalyst features, let us know by clicking on the red 'Feedback' link at the bottom of Catalyst.

The Many Ways to Get Library Help

There 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.

This way to the beach

11863399_10102981987544878_4502392832089887490_nAs summer winds down, you have a few final fleeting weeks to get to the beach. I grew up near Lake Erie, where going to the beach for the afternoon wasn't really a popular thing. But after experiencing many beaches on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, I became a little more interested in this whole idea of going to the beach. It turns out, there is more to the beach than just lying in the sand all day. Beaches have a long history related to tourism, sport, the economy, the environment, humans interaction with nature.

Boardwalks puzzle me, but as I discovered at Ocean City this summer, plenty of people love them, and there are plenty of them around. If you're on a mission to visit all the best American boardwalks, start with America's Boardwalks: From Coney Island to Californiato start making your list.  Boardwalks are full of people, arcade games, dropped french fries (and seagulls swooping after them), and my personal favorite, frozen custard - all of which contribute to the bustling boardwalk atmosphere.

For a little exploration beyond Maryland, try the ebooks on The World's Beaches, Australian Beach Culturesor closer to home, Beaches of the Delaware Estuary.

Changes at MSEL

If you're a returning student (or staff or faculty), there are a few changes around MSEL you should know about.

Elevators - The MSEL public elevators (near the central staircase) are in the midst of a renovation. We don't expect them to be operational again until Sept. 15 (or thereabouts). In the meantime:

  • Use the BLC elevators to move between Q and C Levels
  • Ask at the Guard's Desk to take the elevator down to D Level if you can't manage the stairs from C to D; they'll escort you down via the staff elevator
  • To come back up from D Level: if you can manage the stairs from D to C, just go up to C and take the BLC elevator the rest of the way, or if you need the elevator the entire way, use the courtesy phone around the corner from the staff elevator (near the north staircase) to call the M Level Guard's Desk (6-4814) to have the elevator brought down to you

newcarrels2Changing C Level

  • We've added 14 new carrels to the north end of C Level, near the staff elevator. More quiet study seating!
  • The sole printer/copier/scanner on C level is right next to the central stairwell.

New journal issues are all on M Level - The newest print issues of newspapers, journals, and magazines are all in one spot now: the M Level Current Periodicals section.

AV Changes on A Level - The large AV viewing room now accommodates streaming technology. Both viewing rooms have been upgraded and painted. The microform equipment has been moved into the AV office to provide researchers a quieter environment, accessible with a key they receive with their microform materials at the M Level Service Desk. A future blog post will provide more details about the AV changes. Stay tuned!

Coeducation at Johns Hopkins, pt. 1

The history of coeducation at Johns Hopkins is a long and – by today’s standards – a not entirely complimentary story.

When our founding president, Daniel Coit Gilman, and the original trustees were planning this university in 1875 and 1876, the question of admitting women was discussed. Presidents of two other universities – Charles Eliot of Harvard and James Angell of Michigan – offered their opinions on coeducation. Eliot was firmly against it, giving reasons that today sound ludicrous. He said coeducation was a “thoroughly wrong idea which is rapidly disappearing.” Coeducation might result in “unequal marriages,” he said, and might “threaten a woman’s good health.” And, he maintained that, while educating women was generally a good idea, they should be prepared for “a life fundamentally different from that of any man.”

Angell defended coeducation, but with little enthusiasm. As president of the University of Michigan, he was required to admit women. But his explanation for how it worked sounds paternalistic: “There has been no practical embarrassment arising out of the system. Our girls for the most part are matured, and the greatest care is taken by myself and others in their general welfare...The young men have, so far as I know, borne themselves with the greatest courtesy and prudence towards the ladies. The girls go to and from the College undisturbed. When the boys are hustling about the streets, they fall back and let the ladies pass by.”

President Gilman himself seemed predisposed against coeducation. In his Inaugural Address, delivered February 22, 1876, he expressed his reluctance to expose women “to the rougher influences which I am sorry to confess are still to be found in colleges and universities where young men resort.” While not opposed to educating women, he preferred that it be done in a same-gender setting. Given these ideas, and the faint praise expressed by Angell, it is little wonder that, when Hopkins opened in October 1876, the student body was composed of all men, undergraduate and graduate alike.

Despite seemingly monolithic opposition, several women attempted to gain admission, and some were successful. Just a year after Hopkins opened, Martha Carey Thomas and Emily Nunn tried to enter a degree program. Thomas was successful in gaining admission but left in frustration after a year, while Nunn was denied access to the biological laboratory.

Two other women persevered to complete their studies at Hopkins. Christine Ladd-Franklin (left) entered in 1878 and completed her PhD program in 1882. Despite having Professor of Mathematics James J. Sylvester as her “champion,” the Hopkins trustees refused to confer the degree she had earned. In 1926, Ladd-Franklin finally received her PhD, 44 years overdue. In the meantime, another remarkable woman not only completed a degree program, but actually received her degree. Florence Bascom (above) entered Hopkins in 1891, studying geology. In 1893, she was awarded the PhD, the first woman to receive a Hopkins degree of any kind. In Bascom’s case, Edward H. Griffin, Dean of the College Faculty, helped to shepherd her past obstacles.

As these examples show, women seeking admission to Hopkins in the 19th century found the path smoother with someone in a position of authority to plead their case. Change eventually came through Mary Elizabeth Garrett, daughter of trustee John Work Garrett. In 1892, she contributed $306,977 to allow the School of Medicine to open. One of the conditions on her gift was that women be admitted to the School of Medicine on the same basis as men. The trustees reluctantly accepted this, then, in 1907, they voted to allow qualified women to enter any division of Hopkins as graduate students. From that point, while still treated with condescension in many quarters, women at least had a defined path to graduate study. For women wishing to enter the full-time undergraduate program, however, the wait extended until 1970 (that story to follow later this month).

Can you get 0 results in the catalog?

Uno ZerosThere used to be a game called Googlewhack where the goal was to get only 1 result in a Google results list using only 2 real words in your search.

While our catalog isn't as huge as the Internet (or the parts of the Internet that Google searches), I wondered if there are individual words that yield 0 results when you do a keyword search in our catalog, Catalyst.

This was way more difficult than I thought!

First I tried a few words I thought just wouldn't end up in the catalog of a university library, but I found these results:

All our books, films, music, book chapters, and subject headings cover a LOT of ground. So I turned to new words, using the Oxford Dictionaries' Recent Updates page. New scientific terms had plenty of hits: bioprinting (6) and optogenetics (22) were added to the Oxford Dictionary in February 2015. I turned to gaming and current slang terms for 0 results:

Can you think of words that aren't in our catalog without resorting to the dictionary?