Composting on the go!

Last year Homewood Recycling distributed a survey about composting and recycling needs on campus. From the 400 responses, they determined that additional composting bins were desired and that the library was a prime location. Though we’ve offered composting in the BLC for several years, it turns out that these weren’t adequate for students on the go. The Sheridan Libraries Green Team, an 8-person committee that spearheads sustainability initiatives, was eager to meet this need.

compostingWe’re pleased to announce that MSE Library, in partnership with Homewood Recycling, has just installed additional composting inside and added collection outside the Library:

  • 15 bins – M, A, B, C, and D levels (bins were already located on Q level)
  • 2 bins - Tyler Terrace outside BLC Café
  • 1 bin - MSEL M-level entrance
  • 1 bin - the Beach by Charles St.

But what exactly is compostable?

  • All food scraps
  • Soiled paper products including napkins, bags, plates and pizza boxes
  • All JHU to-go containers, cups and utensils (plastic and paper based) #CornToCup
  • Coffee cups, stirrers and paper packets
  • And anything else that was made from something that was once alive

In the last fiscal year, Homewood diverted 396,700 lbs of organic waste from incineration! With the installation of these new composting locations, Hopkins is reaffirming its commitment to the environment. You can learn more about composting and all the other campus waste streams on campus during the national Recyclemania competition now through March 28. Happy composting!

“I swear I’m not texting!” Put your phone to good use in class.

RefWorksAre your fingers just itching to use your phone in class? Citations making you crazy? Dreading your bibliography? We can help.

Attend one of our online workshops this semester to help you calm your fears, and even have an excuse for using your phone while your professor is lecturing. Learn how to use RefWorks, a citation management tool that can also create bibliographies, and learn about different iOS and Android apps that can boost your productivity, help you with research, and keep your lecture notes organized.

Since the workshops this semester are online, you can participate from anywhere, whether you're in your pajamas, still sweaty from the gym, or covered in paint after decorating a mural board. Register online, and make sure the speakers on your computer are working and ready to go.

What are we commemorating on Commemoration Day?

On February 22, 1876, Daniel Coit Gilman was formally inaugurated as the first President of The Johns Hopkins University. It was a matter of solemn ceremony, with addresses from Harvard President Charles Eliot, as well as from Gilman himself. Gilman’s Inaugural Address has been published and re-published over the years, and remains a monument to the man who established Hopkins and set us on a unique path. Johns Hopkins was the first research university, where students learn by doing research and having it evaluated by their peers and instructors, rather than simply listening to lectures and repeating them on an exam.

That first ceremony was held at a nearby auditorium, the Academy of Music, because there was no facility on campus large enough to house everyone. Until 1916, the Arts and Sciences campus was located downtown, in the area of Howard, Monument, Eutaw and Centre streets. Even after moving to Homewood, there was no auditorium on campus until Shriver Hall was completed in 1954, so off-campus facilities were used for all such events until that time.

A year after President Gilman’s inaugural, the Trustees announced that, henceforth, February 22 would be considered the anniversary of the founding of this University, and would be celebrated with pomp and ceremony. For many decades, and especially on major anniversaries, this practice was followed faithfully. In terms of formality, it resembled Commencement, with a principal speaker, honorary degrees conferred, and the faculty and administration in full academic regalia.

The formal ceremony continued through the 1980s, often with a visiting head-of-state as the speaker. By the 1990s, however, the old tradition was showing its age. It was more expensive to put on such a ceremony, and required more work given the larger crowds and the number of dignitaries to be accommodated. In the 1990s, facing financial crises, Hopkins decided that such formal occasions would be celebrated only every five years. Soon after, however, the ceremony disappeared entirely, and no anniversary celebration of any kind was held for a number of years.

In the early 2000s, Vice Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Education Paula Burger began reviving Commemoration Day, coinciding with an emphasis on resurrecting old traditions and creating new ones to foster a sense of community among our students. Instead of a formal academic convocation, Dean Burger set up activities that would be of more interest to students. Beginning with a Hopkins History trivia contest, the celebration evolved into free cake in the Glass Pavilion and a display of photographs depicting people, places, events and activities in our history.

We hope you will take some time to view and participate in this year’s celebration, which continues and enlarges our anniversary celebration. Please join us in the Glass Pavilion on today from 12:00 noon - 2:00 p.m. for cake and a display of historical photographs. Hopkins Retrospective Program Manager Jenny Kinniff and I will be there and we look forward to seeing you. This year, by the way, marks our 139th birthday.

Happy Chinese New Year!

Today is the first day of the new year according to the Chinese calendar, which is often called the lunar calendar. Actually, it is more accurate to call it a lunisolar calendar, indicating both the moon phase and the solar year. Besides the Chinese calendar, other lunisolar calendars include those from Hebrew, Hindu, Tibetan, Vietnamese, Mongolian, and Korean cultures. Chinese New Year is also called the Spring Festival because it used to refer to lichun, (February 4 or 5), the first of the 24 solar terms in a Chinese calendar year, marking the end of winter.

The traditional celebration begins on the eve of the Chinese New Year, characterized by family gatherings, good food, and hopes for a better new year. Millions of people travel back home to be with family for this holiday, much like Thanksgiving in the U.S. Celebrations include gala events, fireworks, lion dances, and a variety of magic and comedy shows. CCTV’s Spring Festival Gala is the most watched program on the eve of the Chinese New Year.

Chinese New Year is also characterized by the exchange of gifts among relatives and friends, much like Christmas. Kids receive red envelopes with "lucky money" on the morning of the new year. On the second day of the new year, people continue to visit relatives and friends bearing gifts. Overall, it is a time of family, food, and fun!

If you would like to be a part of Chinese New Year, here are a few local celebrations:

Sunday, 2/22/2015, 7:00 pm, Shriver Hall, Homewood campus
Chinese New Year Celebration, hosted by JHU Chinese Students and Scholars Association

Sunday, 2/22/2015, 12:00 pm - 3:00 pm, The Walters Art Museum
Celebrate the Lunar Year of the Sheep with art activities and traditional Chinese performances

Here's wishing you happiness, longevity, and  prosperity!!!

Affordable Care Act – Hear the Practitioners

aca_flagThe major topic in health care policy for the last several years has been the Affordable Care Act.

This month's Conversations in Medicine Symposium is entitled Can We Afford the Affordable Care Act? Come and talk with the distinguished panel of practitioners who will discuss this question and what this law really means for future physicians and patients:

  • Dr. Scott Berkowitz, Medical Director of Accountable Care
  • Dr. Margaret Flanagan, Case Management Coordinator for Health Care for the Homeless
  • Dr. Roy Ziegelstein, Executive Vice Chairman of Hopkins Bayview Department of Medicine

DATE: Tuesday, Feb. 17th
TIME: 8:00 PM
PLACE: Charles Commons Ballroom A/B
MORE: Hors d'oeuvres will be served at 7:30 PM

Want to read up on the ACA ahead of time?

  • Your library’s catalog offers you Affordable Care Act for Dummies -- the authors are the AARP’s experts on the ACA who work to educate the public about it. (It's an e-book - you can read it right now!)
  • Review Articles: Get some quick background by going to PubMed (remember to go through the library’s site so that you can get to full-text articles), and entering the phrase “affordable care act” in the TITLE. On the left, choose REVIEW and LATEST 5 YEARS, and you’ll have a list of recent articles with overviews about the ACA.
  • Read the Law: The full text of the law itself can be found in several places, such as here on the Department of Health and Human Services website and here on the Congress’s site.

I'll see you at this exciting event, where there will be plenty of time to talk with the panelists.

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 the 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):

Screen Shot 2015-02-02 at 10.59.22 AM

And then click on the 'Floor Map' button:

Screen Shot 2015-02-02 at 11.00.34 AM

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.

Dirty Books and Longing Looks: A Rare Books Open House!

"Wait. What? Dirty books? Didn't you guys just clean the Peabody Library already?"

dirtybooksNo, not those kinds of dirty books, silly! We're talking books that could make you blush, sigh, or long for what could have been if you'd only written down that blasted number properly. That's right, for one night only we're bringing to the lovelorn and beloved alike a rare books extravaganza curated by Cupid himself!

Laugh at hilarious erotica from the 18th century, get a sugar rush from the sweetness of Victorian declarations of love, and for those of you who are like "Valentine's Day, BLARGH," you can take glee, sinister glee, in depictions of cherubs being eaten by crocodiles! Plus, you can make your own vintage Valentine or anti-Valentine!

Where shall such merriment occur? Why, in Special Collections of the Brody Learning Commons, of course! Stop by Wednesday, February 11 from 6-8:30pm to view favorite books straight from Venus' library and craft your own declarations of love!

Can I Share My Article?

If you've published a journal article, you want as many people as possible to see it, read it, and (hopefully) cite it in their own work.

Now websites like ResearchGate and urge you to share the full text of your published articles on their platforms. There are sites like arXiv and PubMed Central that will accept different versions of your article. Many researchers (especially young researchers on the tenure track) use these sites because they want to promote their articles widely.

This kind of electronic sharing is so very easy! Sending out that final PDF from the journal is incredibly simple. But should you post that final version of the article everywhere?

As an author, you signed a copyright transfer agreement provided by the publisher. That document will tell you if you can post the pre-print, post-print, or publisher's version of the article on these sites. If you can't find that document, or the legalese is hard to decipher, you can use SHERPA/RoMEO to see a summary of the journal's current agreements. More author tools, related to copyright, are available on the Author Rights page of the Scholarly Communications guide.

Your librarian can also help with these kinds of questions!

Of Ephemeral Cats, Popish Plots, and the Baltimore Occult

Think Special Collections is only composed of fancy materials like Shakespeare folios or exquisite medieval books of hours? Well, think again! Students enrolled in the Intersession course “Cheap and (Not Too) Tawdry: An Exploration of Ephemera” had hands-on access to materials people do not always associate with the Special Collections, such as cheaply produced collections of bawdy jokes and other materials that luminaries like Samuel Pepys referred to as mere "bum-fodder" (aka, toilet paper).

In addition to exploring examples of, um, "bum-fodder" in our collection, students learned quite a lot about the history of street literature, souvenirs, and personal mementos. For their final project, they each had to come up with a display based on a theme of their choosing, and there truly is something for everyone! Love cats? Then “Ephemeral Cats” will have you meowing for hours! Enjoy conversing with the spirit world? Then our display on the occult will have you seeking auras throughout the Brody Learning Commons! Dig advertising, popish conspiracies, silly “erotic” cards, or cranky babies? Then what are you waiting for? Head to the Special Collections Reading Room posthaste! The display will be on view through February 6, 2015.

New year, new look for Research Guides

If you're a frequent user of our Research Guides, you probably noticed that this week we changed over to a whole new look. If you've never used our guides before, now is the time to check them out! As before, you can still access guides from the library homepage by scrolling through the box in the lower right corner. You can access our guides directly at to quickly scan all guides, or browse the guides by subject.

Browsing guides by subject is a great way to explore if you're not sure what guide you need, or you want to make sure you're finding all the best resources in a particular area. You can look in the Writing, Citing, and Publishing category to see all our guides related to writing, citing, and publishing. Some of our top guides in this category are Writing, eBooks, and RefWorks - explore them now to learn about library resources that can get you started off on the right foot this semester.

One of the biggest changes in the new system is the new menu feature - no more tabs at the top! Underneath the menus the expert librarian is featured so you know who to contact if you have a question about the information in the guide, or need help conducting research in that topic. All guides also have a chat box underneath the librarian's profile, so you can ask a question to an available librarian and get an immediate response. Try it out now!

The new layout features a left side menu, and a quick way to email an expert librarian.

The new layout features a left side menu, and a quick way to email an expert librarian.

As you get your syllabi for your classes this semester, look through the guides and find one or two that may be helpful later. Bookmark the page so you can get back to the information quickly. Before you get started, watch the video below for a quick tour of our new platform. Happy researching!


Can't see the video? Watch it here.