Enter the Sweren Student Book Collecting Contest – Extended Deadline!

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The Sweren Student Book Collecting Contest recognizes the love of books and the delight in shaping a thoughtful and focused book collection. Established by longtime friends of the libraries Betty and Edgar Sweren, the annual contest is open to all undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in a degree program at Johns Hopkins. All entries are welcome except past winning collections.

The competition includes a graduate and undergraduate division, and winners in each division are awarded cash prizes.

• $1,000 First Place
• $500 Second Place
• $250 Honorable Mention

Awards will be presented to the winners in the spring of 2017. In addition, selected titles from winning collections will be placed on display in the Brody Learning Commons.

Contest criteria

Each entry will be judged on the extent to which the items in the collection form a coherent pattern of inquiry and/or represent a well-defined field of interest. Additionally, consideration will be given to how well the collection reflects the student’s stated goals and interests.


1. Any student, undergraduate or graduate, enrolled in a degree program at the Johns Hopkins University is eligible to enter.
2. All items must be owned and collected by the student who enters the contest.
3. A collection need not consist of, or include, rare or valuable books. Paper-bound books may be included.
4. Although the focus is books, the collection may include other media that support the collection.
5. Collections can be on any subject. (Past years have included entries of collections related to Colonial America, feminism, running, and music.)

Application information

Each contestant must submit:
1. A cover sheet including the title of your collection
2. A 2-3 page essay outlining the purpose of the collection, how you started and assembled the collection, items of greatest interest, and ideas for the collection’s future development.
3. A bibliography of 20 or more items (maximum of 50) in the collection. Each item should be numbered, given a full bibliographic description, and briefly annotated as to its importance to the collection. Please use the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th Edition.
4. A wish list: A second bibliography listing up to ten items that you would like to add to your collection, with brief annotation stating the reason for adding each item.

Finalists may be asked to bring a portion of their collection to the Milton S. Eisenhower Library for final judging.

Top prize winners of the Sweren contest are also eligible to enter the 2017 National Collegiate Book Collecting Contest, sponsored by the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America (ABAA), the Fellowship of American Bibliophilic Societies (FABS), and the Center for the Book and the Rare Books and Special Collections Division of the Library of Congress.

For examples of winning entries, see last year's first place winners from the undergraduate and graduate divisions.

The deadline to enter is Friday, February 17, 2017. The deadline has been extended to February 28.

For electronic entries, please submit as one PDF document, including cover sheet, to libraryfriends@jhu.edu

Hard copy entries may be mailed to:

Sweren Student Book Collecting Contest
Dean’s Office/Milton S. Eisenhower Library
Johns Hopkins University
3400 North Charles Street
Baltimore, MD 21218

Please contact Shellie Dolan with questions at 410-516-8992 or libraryfriends@jhu.edu

Time for a Timeline

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

After the discussion at our April 1st Lunch and Learn: Faculty Conversations on Teaching on the topic Alternatives to the Research Paper, I was asked about applications for creating timelines. Fortunately there are some good options freely available.

Screenshot of TimelineJS timeline created by Time Magazine on the life of Nelson Mandela. Image of the African National Congress.TimelineJS, developed at Northwestern University’s Knight Lab, uses a Google spreadsheet template to create media-rich timelines. Media from Twitter, Flicker, Vimeo, YouTube, Google Maps, Wikipedia, SoundCloud and other sources can be pulled into a TimelineJS. The resulting timeline can be easily embedded into a website. This is a great resource especially if your students are also using other Google applications, such as Google Sites to build a course or project website. There are good directions, a FAQ, and technical documentation offered on the website. Tech support is also offered via email. Here are some examples of timelines created with TimelineJS.

TimeToast may be the easiest to use of the three tools listed here, and the clean and clear interface is visually rich. Media is limited to images, although web links can be included, and a free account may have some advertising. A FAQ page will give you some direction. Examples of publicly posted timelines will give you an idea of the possibilities TimeToast offers. Information on paid plans is available. These allow collaboration with group creation and comment moderation, and are ad free.

Tiki-Toki Timeline is another web-based option with both free and paid versions. Tiki-Toki advertises its software as “…the only online timeline creator that allows you to view timelines in 3d on the web.” The free version is limited to the creation of one timeline with 200 points (called stories), and some of the features are limited. One potential disadvantage of the free version is that you can’t upload media from your computer, you must use images and other media from the web. A work-around would be to upload media to a website you’ve created, and grab the media from that source. You can embed YouTube and Vimeo videos. Examples can be found by scrolling down on the homepage of the website. You can also get information on the paid accounts, including one aimed at teachers. The FAQ page will help you get started.

For more suggestions, see the article Free Educational Technology: Top 10 Free Timeline Creation Tools for Teachers, by Christopher Pappas, November 4, 2014, updated November 2015.

A Secret Weapon for You

Your librarians know a lot of things. A lot of things. That knowledge comes from many sources, including our widely differing kinds of experience; the kind of books and shows and music we like; and our various academic degrees, including a master's degree from an accredited school of information science.

Trade JournalBut librarians have another source of information about our profession, and so do you:  trade journals.

Trade journals are specialized publications aimed at particular professions. They're not peer-reviewed, but rather supply news about new products, trends, deals, vendors, technology, and other information about your line of work. The Funeral Business Advisor, Aviation Week and Space Technology, Restaurant News, Construction Today, Paralegal Today, Downbeat, and Publishers Weekly are some publications written for specific industries.

Librarians have them, too -- for example, Online Searcher. From a recent issue I learned that:

Trade pub limit in Gen SciWhere can you search information in trade publications? Some of the library's databases have them, including:

The trade magazine or journal about your profession (which also includes job ads) will give you the inside information about what's happening right now in the career that you want.

Who Knew? Library Guides you might not expect!

When you think of libraries, what springs to mind? Books, research databases, datasets, videos, incredibly helpful librarians like me (smile)… right? Well, you might be surprised to know that the guides below are very popular among the MSEL’s biggest fans. Check them out! All the cool kids are…

Career Information
Need a job? Look here for lots of tips, links to books on resume and cover letter development, info about placement services, and links to online databases to search for information about different vocations.

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) & Maps
Having trouble finding your way around? Look at this page for upcoming workshops on GIS, descriptions and recommendations about software packages, information on datasets, and contact information for our resident expert to help you out.

Interested in reducing, reusing, and recycling? Look at this guide for information about how Hopkins and the Libraries are reducing our collective carbon footprint–and get inspiration for your own approach to helping make our world a better place.

Stayed tuned for future blog posts featuring more gems like these!

Unconventional Medicine (and the Baltimore Marathon)

The intriguing topic of “unconventional medicine” is the theme of this year’s Conversations in Medicine speaker series.

Today's medical field is incredibly interdisciplinary. Fascinating and non-traditional careers, related to healthcare but not necessarily requiring an MD, are everywhere. For example:

Look up "Career Research" on the library's Databases by Topic list (on the library home page). The list includes a database known as the Vault (“Vault Career Intelligence”); create a free account and get access to new jobs and internships, reviews, and more.

Please join us to hear about another unconventional medical career from Dr. Nelson Tang, an emergency care specialist here at Hopkins. Here are some highlights:

  • Dr. Tang serves as medical director for the U.S. Secret Service
  • He has served as the director of medical operations for the Baltimore Marathon
  • He is the executive medical director for Johns Hopkins Lifeline, our ground and air critical care transport program

Read Dr. Tang’s articles about working at the Baltimore Marathon, the results of a survey about LGBT-specific education in EMS curricula, and the health problems of law enforcement personnel working on incidents  operations for eight or more hours.

Please join us:

  • Tuesday, November 8
  • Charles Commons Salon C
  • Dessert at 7pm; presentation begins at 7:30pm



The Enthusiastic Voter!

OK, a big day is fast approaching: Election Day! Arguably, one of the most important elections in recent history. Are you psyched? As you’re preparing to cast your well-informed vote, you might be interested in perusing some of these sources. Knowledge is power!

After you vote, you might want to stay in the patriotic spirit and investigate:

And, finally, after researching diligently, voting enthusiastically, and delving into the history that led to today’s activities, it’s time to relax and unwind with some Presidential-themed Movies and TV shows.

WWI Student Army Training Corps: Hopkins Students Prepare for War

SATC photo 04125

Student Army Training Corps cadets in their Hopkins barracks, 1918. From the Ferdinand Hamburger University Archives.

While many of us are familiar with photos of college students burning draft cards and protesting during the Vietnam War, far fewer people are aware of the impact that World War I had on the students of its time. In 1917, under President Woodrow Wilson, the Selective Service Act was passed, mandating that all men between the ages of 21 and 30 must register for military service. As a result, over 10 million American men registered for the United States military. Not all men who registered for the draft were selected for military service, though and the overwhelming majority of newly drafted soldiers had no military experience or training.

In 1918, in an effort to expedite the influx of trained soldiers into the military, the Student Army Training Corps was created. A voluntary program, SATC allowed willing students to simultaneously study at a college or university and undertake military training, with the intention of joining the military upon graduation. Hundreds of American universities took part in the program, including Johns Hopkins University. Hopkins pledged to accept 708 SATC students on the Homewood campus and in the School of Medicine in order to support the wartime effort. On the Homewood campus, the SATC students would live, train and study on campus and in their living quarters in Gilman, Maryland and Latrobe Halls. In October 1918, the students arrived on campus. While Johns Hopkins was committed to the success of the program, the SATC was short lived. The Student Army Training Corps was disbanded by December 1918 in response to the collapse of the Central Powers and the resultant end of the war.

Though the SATC is long gone, Johns Hopkins is still active in helping students who want to pursue both academics and a military career with an robust ROTC program celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. The Hopkins and the Great War exhibit (on display until January 2017) explores the impact of World War I on the Hopkins community. To learn more about World War I and the Student Army Training Corps, visit the Hopkins and the Great War exhibit on display in the Milton S. Eisenhower Library on Homewood campus, or explore the comprehensive digital exhibit.

Movies & Books to Sink your Teeth into!

From the friendly Count on Sesame Street to Murnau's ghoulish Nosferatu, we seem to love our vampires! Need a fix of good-spirited horror? There are plenty of options right at the Eisenhower Library.

We have a lot of good reads! How about a juicy novel by Anne Rice? Or, a collection of other horror tales and ghost stories? We have many of the works of Bram Stoker, the original Dracula mastermind. Or, maybe you’re a history geek who wants to get right to the source: Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia – aka, Vlad the Impaler – the 15th-century inspiration for Stoker’s novel. How about general books about vampires, werewolves, or other “ghouls and ogres?” MSEL has them!

Let’s not forget our great collection of flicks: Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Interview with the Vampire, Science is Fiction: 23 films by Jean Painlevé, Thirst, and Dreyer’s Vampyr. And there's my personal favorite: Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Browse the whole list!

Happy St. Crispin’s Day!

Anyone who has watched a stage or film version of Henry V (such as the 1944 Olivier version, infused with echoes of World War II, or the critically acclaimed 1990 Kenneth Branagh version) will remember Henry’s inspiring speech to his troops just before he leads them into the Battle of Agincourt. But when he gets to the part about it being St. Crispin’s Day, you may find yourself puzzled by the reference. Who was St. Crispin anyway, and why would Henry make a point of mentioning him at that moment?

The online Encyclopaedia Britannica tells us that Saints Crispin and Crispinian were brothers from a wealthy family who came to Soissons, France (not far from Agincourt) in the third century A.D. to set up shop as humble shoemakers and live a devout Christian life—hence their designation as the patron saints of shoemakers, tanners, and saddlers. Unfortunately, this was a period of persecution of Christians throughout the Roman Empire, so the brothers were pressured to renounce their faith. Even when they were tied to millstones and thrown in the river, though, they managed to escape injury and remain true to the teachings of Christ. Eventually, Diocletian’s co-emperor Maximian had them decapitated.

Now for the English angle (no pun intended): First, there’s the legend that after the brothers’ martyrdom, their bodies washed up on the shore of Romney Marsh in the County of Kent, England. And in a variation on the English connection, another tradition has it that, fleeing persecution, Crispin and Crispinian came to Faversham in Kent and plied their trade at a house on the site of the present-day Swan Inn (where there is a plaque commemorating this fact). The local parish church even has an altar to the brothers; as recently as the 17th century, local and foreign pilgrims visited the site.

Now that you’re one of the “happy few” who know the story, why not celebrate the Day of Saints Crispin and Crispinian by:

Happy St. Crispin’s Day!

APL Technical Digest – Now 100% Online

cover_3303_low-resThe Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) built a craft for NASA that's been in space for a decade and passed Pluto last year. And remember the little "pill" that Senator and former astronaut John Glenn swallowed before he went into space the second time? That was mostly developed by APL. A few months ago, Fast Company named APL one of 10 most innovative companies in the world, mentioning the prosthetics program that developed a thought-controlled arm.

APL's Technical Digest, which started in 1961, documents APL's remarkable contributions to science and technology. Until recently, only about 20 years of the Digest were online. Now there are PDF’s of all of the articles from the very first issue, dated September-October 1961, through 1977 (volume 16). This means that all of the Digest's issues, from volume 1(1) until the present, are available online to everyone.

On the Digest's home page, there is a link to "Online Issues" and a link to "Other Back Issues."

The link to "Online Issues" gives PDF's of articles from October-December 1995 (vol. 16, issue 4) to the present.

The link to "Other Back Issues" gives PDF's of articles from

  • 1961, vol. 1(1) - 1977, vol. 16(4) (as the APL Technical Digest)
  • [there were no issues published during 1979 and 1980]
  • 1980, vol. 1(1) - 1995, vol. 16(3) (as the Johns Hopkins APL Technical Digest)

You can search the full text of the articles at "Online Issues" (October-December, 1995) simultaneously, using the search box on the journal's home page. Here are tips for searching, which definitely help. The older articles, from 1961 through 1995 (scroll down), cannot be searched.

Dr. Harry Charles is the current editor-in-chief of the Digest. He is the Group Supervisor and Program Manager of the APL Education Center, as well as the Chair of the  Applied Physics program in the Whiting School’s Engineering for Professionals (EPP) program. He and the rest of the editorial staff are looking forward to some special issues of the Digest in 2017, to commemorate the Laboratory's 75th anniversary.