News & Notes

By: Jim Bricker on: February 07, 2012 11:10 am | brickeje

The Walter Havighurst Special Collections is home to over 65,000 volumes, manuscripts and archives. Some of the volumes are rare, some are unique; all are special in some way. All of us who work in Special Collections develop attachments to certain books in the collections, for a variety of reasons; perhaps because of an elaborate cover, or because of memories that a book triggers, or because of the provenance of a particular volume. The reasons are as varied as the individuals who work here.

One of my favorites is a small volume of poetry by an author that I discovered in late 1971. Richard Brautigan was a poet, short story writer and novelist with a unique imagination. The Dictionary of Literary Biography wrote that "Brautigan is commonly seen as the bridge between the Beat Movement of the 1950s and the youth revolution of the 1960s." I had discovered some Brautigan books on a friend’s bookshelf and soon had read most of his published work. I was excited when I found Please Plant This Book in Special Collections many years ago because this was one book of his that I had not read. It is a collection of eight poems, each written on a seed packet filled with seeds. It was published in 1968 with a note on the back cover that states: “THIS BOOK IS FREE. Permission is granted to reprint this book by anyone as long as it is not sold.” Some of the author’s thoughts about this publication are expressed in the poem on the package of Shasta Daisy seeds.

SHASTA DAISY

I pray that in thirty years passing
that flowers and vegetables will
water the Twenty-First Century
with their voices telling that they
were once a book turned by loving
hands into life.

The text of this book can now be found easily on the web, with interactive sites displaying the individual poems, but in the 1970’s this volume was difficult to track down. It is nice to be able to see the book in its original format. Other poems/seeds in this volume are: Squash, Sweet Alyssum Royal Carpet, Parsley, Lettuce, California Native Flowers, Carrots and Calendula. Some printings of this book have planting instructions on the reverse side of the seed package. Our copy does not.

Please peruse our new website, or check the Library’s catalog, to explore the collections of the Walter Havighurst Special Collections. Perhaps there is something here that will capture your imagination.

By: Arianne Hartsell-Gundy on: February 01, 2012 3:57 pm | hartsea

Our fourth book discussion for the Let's Talk About It: Making Sense of the Civil War book discussion series will be Crossroads of Freedom: Antietam by James M. McPherson. We will discuss this section on Thursday February 9th at 4:00pm in King Library 320. If you would like to join the discussion, please contact Arianne Hartsell-Gundy (hartsea@muohio.edu) or Kim Tully (tullykk@muohio.edu). They will register you for the discussion and arrange for you to get a free copy of the book.

There are also supplemental readings in the America's War anthology edited by Ed Ayers. They can be found in Part Four: The Shape of the War on pages 182 to 199.

If you are interested in learning more about the battle of Antietam, you may want to check out some relevant resources:

Antietam National Battlefield (U.S. National Park Service)
Battle of Antietam (Civil War)
The Battle of Antietam Summary & Facts

You can find out more about this book discussion and other upcoming programs here.

By: tullykk on: January 27, 2012 10:10 am | tullykk

As a preservation librarian I am often asked what people can do to preserve their own personal treasures. Whether the item is valued for monetary, historical, and/or sentimental reasons, knowing the proper ways to care for your materials will ensure that they are around for years to come.

Correct storage of your materials is the single most important factor in their preservation. You should avoid storing important items in areas such as basements, attics, and garages, which are susceptible to fluctuating temperatures and high levels of moisture. A cool, comfortably dry area is ideal. It is important to store your items in a stable environment. While specific types of items have ideal temperatures and humidity levels in which they thrive, more important than specifics is consistency. Fluctuations in temperature and relative humidity can cause more damage to items than a slightly higher or lower, but consistent temperature and humidity level.

Light damage can also be a problem when trying to preserve important materials. You should avoid storing books and other items in direct sunlight, as this can cause rapid and severe fading. Artificial light can also be a problem; items should not be exposed to constant bright lights.

Do not wrap books and other materials in newspaper or store them in cardboard boxes. Acidity from the paper and boxes can leach into the materials and cause them to break down over time. Also avoid wrapping items in plastic, as this prevents good air circulation and can promote the growth of mold and mildew. Protective enclosures and boxes for storing fragile items can be purchased from several suppliers (see links below).

Periodically check for pests, such as insects or rodents, where your materials are stored. These pests will eat their way through your treasures if given the chance. Keeping the materials and storage area clean and free of dust will help keep these pests away.

Most books should be shelved upright, supported by bookends when needed. Larger, heavier volumes are best stored flat. When removing books from the shelf do not pull on the top of the spine, instead push the book to each side in to remove the book. When being used, do not force the book to open or lay flat; instead let the book open naturally, without any added pressure. If the book is especially stiff or fragile, support foams can be used to cradle the open book.

Paper items should also be stored flat and unfolded. Paper items can be stored in acid free folders. The use of pressure sensitive tape on books and papers should be avoided. The tape will degrade over time and can cause permanent disfigurement and embrittlement of the paper. If items are in need of stabilization or repair, it is best to seek the help of a professional conservator.

Ashley Jones
Preservation Librarian
Miami University Libraries
513-520-2887
Jonesab2@muohio.edu

Links for additional information:

Your Old Books
Library of Congress
American Institute for Conservation
Library of Congress - Photographs
Library of Congress - Digital Materials
AIC – How to choose a conservator
AIC – How to find a conservator
Gaylord Archival Supplies

By: Elizabeth Brice on: January 20, 2012 1:22 pm | bricee

In 1944 Mexican playwright Rodolfo Usigli took advantage of a wartime trip to England to make contact with one of his idols, British playwright George Bernard Shaw. Usigli's account of their ensuing correspondence and eventual meeting is the subject of You Have Nothing to Learn From Me: A Literary Relationship Between George Bernard Shaw & Rodolfo Usigli. Previously published only in Spanish, it has been translated into English for the first time and given context by Professor Emeritus Ramón Layera and Assistant Librarian Katie Gibson, with a foreword by Professor Kerry Powell.

The Miami University Libraries is pleased to present this work as its most recent publication, for sale through the Walter Havighurst Special Collections, home of the Rodolfo Usigli Archive. You can also purchase a copy of Usigli's best-known play, The Imposter, translated into English by Dr. Layera. Please see our Publications page for additional information, or better yet, stop by Special Collections to pick up your copy and consider the variety of other intriguing publications available.

Elizabeth Brice
Assistant Dean for Technical Services and
Head, Special Collections & Archives

By: Elizabeth Brice on: January 18, 2012 10:28 am | bricee

The Walter Havighurst Special Collections is pleased to announce the opening of its Spring exhibit, Avant-Garde and Innocence: Children's Book Illustration by Russian Non-Conformist Artists in the Beginning of the 20th Century. The exhibit is free and open to the public Mondays through Thursdays 8:30 - 5:30 and Fridays 8:30 - 5. Special Collections is located on the third floor of King Library.

The exhibit is designed to celebrate Miami's Year of the Arts, the Arbuthnot Lecture in Children's Literature that Miami will be hosting in April, and the rich collections of Russian materials held in Special Collections.

For more information about the exhibit and the many other resources available, please see our new web site at http://spec.lib.muohio.edu/ or click on Special Collections, under the Services tab on the main Libraries page.

By: Arianne Hartsell-Gundy on: December 16, 2011 9:28 am | hartsea

Today is Jane Austen's 236th birthday! In celebration of this day, I want to share with you some new Jane Austen titles that have been added to our collection (which include some nice new annotated editions):

Why Jane Austen? by Rachel M. Brownstein. King Library (2nd floor) | PR4037 .B76 2011

The Cambridge Companion to Jane Austen edited by Edward Copeland and Juliet McMaster. King Library (2nd floor) | PR4036 .C3 2011

Jane Austen: Two Centuries of Criticism by Laurence W. Mazzeno. King Library (2nd floor) | PR4037 .M34 2011

Constancy & The Ethics of Jane Austen's Mansfield Park by Joyce Kerr Tarpley. King Library (2nd floor) | PR4034.M33 T37 2010

Emma: An Authoritative Text, Contexts, Criticism edited by George Justice. King Library (2nd floor) | PR4034 .E5 2012

Persuasion: An Annotated Edition edited by Robert Morrison. King Library (2nd floor) | PR4037 .M34 2011

It's been an interesting year for speculations and new findings about Jane Austen. Here are a couple of recent articles. Read for yourself and decide what you think of some of these findings:

Remains of Jane Austen's Steventon home unearthed

Jane Austen biographer discovers 'lost portrait'

Jane Austen 'died from arsenic poisoning'

Manuscripts Suggest Jane Austen Had A Great Editor (this one came out at the end of 2010, but people were still e-mailing it to me in 2011!)

By: thomps62 on: December 09, 2011 10:53 am | thomps62

I've been getting a lot of requests for series that are similar to The Hunger Games. Here are some of my favorites, all available in the IMC (click on the call number for availability):

The Maze Runner | PZ7.D2587 Maz 2009
When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. His memory is blank. But he’s not alone. When the lift’s doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade—a large, open expanse surrounded by stone walls.

Just like Thomas, the Gladers don’t know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night they’ve closed tight. And every 30 days a new boy has been delivered in the lift.

Thomas was expected. But the next day, a girl is sent up—the first girl to ever arrive in the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers.

Thomas might be more important than he could ever guess. If only he could unlock the dark secrets buried within his mind.

Life As We Knew It | PZ7.P44855 Lif 2006
Miranda’s disbelief turns to fear in a split second when a meteor knocks the moon closer to the earth. How should her family prepare for the future when worldwide tsunamis wipe out the coasts, earthquakes rock the continents, and volcanic ash blocks out the sun? As summer turns to Arctic winter, Miranda, her two brothers, and their mother retreat to the unexpected safe haven of their sunroom, where they subsist on stockpiled food and limited water in the warmth of a wood-burning stove.

Told in journal entries, this is the heart-pounding story of Miranda’s struggle to hold on to the most important resource of all--hope--in an increasingly desperate and unfamiliar world.

The Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Walking Trilogy) | PZ7.N43843 Kni 2008
Todd Hewitt is the only boy in a town of men. Ever since the settlers were infected with the Noise germ, Todd can hear everything the men think, and they hear everything he thinks. Todd is just a month away from becoming a man, but in the midst of the cacophony, he knows that the town is hiding something from him -- something so awful Todd is forced to flee with only his dog, whose simple, loyal voice he hears too.

With hostile men from the town in pursuit, the two stumble upon a strange and eerily silent creature: a girl. Who is she? Why wasn't she killed by the germ like all the females on New World? Propelled by Todd's gritty narration, readers are in for a white-knuckle journey in which a boy on the cusp of manhood must unlearn everything he knows in order to figure out who he truly is.

Matched | PZ7.C744 M38 2010
Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate . . . until she sees Ky Markham's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.

The Society tells her it's a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she's destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can't stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society's infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.

Wither | PZ7.D47 Wi 2011
By age sixteen, Rhine Ellery has four years left to live. She can thank modern science for this genetic time bomb. A botched effort to create a perfect race has left all males with a lifespan of 25 years, and females with a lifespan of 20 years. Geneticists are seeking a miracle antidote to restore the human race, desperate orphans crowd the population, crime and poverty have skyrocketed, and young girls are being kidnapped and sold as polygamous brides to bear more children.

When Rhine is kidnapped and sold as a bride, she vows to do all she can to escape. Her husband, Linden, is hopelessly in love with her, and Rhine can’t bring herself to hate him as much as she’d like to. He opens her to a magical world of wealth and illusion she never thought existed, and it almost makes it possible to ignore the clock ticking away her short life. But Rhine quickly learns that not everything in her new husband’s strange world is what it seems. Her father-in-law, an eccentric doctor bent on finding the antidote, is hoarding corpses in the basement. Her fellow sister wives are to be trusted one day and feared the next, and Rhine is desperate to communicate to her twin brother that she is safe and alive. Will Rhine be able to escape--before her time runs out?

Together with one of Linden's servants, Gabriel, Rhine attempts to escape just before her seventeenth birthday. But in a world that continues to spiral into anarchy, is there any hope for freedom?

Uglies | PZ7.W5197 Ugl 2005
Tally is about to turn sixteen, and she can't wait. Not for her license -- for turning pretty. In Tally's world, your sixteenth birthday brings an operation that turns you from a repellent ugly into a stunningly attractive pretty and catapults you into a high-tech paradise where your only job is to have a really great time. In just a few weeks Tally will be there.

But Tally's new friend Shay isn't sure she wants to be pretty. She'd rather risk life on the outside. When Shay runs away, Tally learns about a whole new side of the pretty world and it isn't very pretty. The authorities offer Tally the worst choice she can imagine: find her friend and turn her in, or never turn pretty at all. The choice Tally makes changes her world forever.

By: yuj on: December 09, 2011 1:47 pm | yuj

I was fortunate to be invited as a guest speaker for several sections of IMS (Interactive Media Studies) 201 this semester. My presentation "How to Find, Use and Evaluation Numeric Data" introduced information in numeric format such as censuses and survey data to students.

An idea came to me when I was preparing for the presentation this year - There is a growing interest in the IT industry about data visualization and there are lot of free web-based application such as Google Chart Tools, Google Maps and Sourcemap [link] that can be used to present numeric data in a more informative way. Therefore I decided to come up with an in-class exercise that invites the students to explore both the world of numeric information and ways to present it. The topic I decided to use for this exercise was "Campus Safety in Public Universities in Ohio." I felt that was a topic that relates to student life and they can use the information they find both in and outside of the classroom. The students searched and compiled crime statistics from public universities in Ohio and present the findings on the map below. Each red dot represent an university and users can click on the dot to view detail information.

[Note: Data presented on this map was gathered collectively by students for an in-class exercise. The accuracy of the data was not cross-checked.]

The Penn State sex abuse scandal has stirred up a lot of discussion lately. Postsecondary institutions are required by law (the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act and the Higher Education Opportunity Act) to report numbers of criminal offenses, hate crimes, arrests, disciplinary actions and fire incidents to the Department of Education. Postsecondary institutions are also required to make campus safety information available to the public. For example, Miami University has a Campus Safety and Security page [link] that shares information on crime statistics, emergency procedures, etc.. However, considering how "attractive" this type of statistics might be, they are often hard to find on universities and colleges' website (most definitely never linked directly from homepages). Which prompted me to share the data resources that IMS 201 students used to collect data on campus safety in Ohio public universities.

  • College Navigator [link]
    Maintained by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), College Navigator can be used to search for information such as enrollment, tuition and campus safety on nearly 7,000 colleges and universities.
  • The Campus Safety and Security Data Analysis Cutting Tool [link]
    Maintained by the Office of Postsecondary Education of the Department of Education, this online tool can be used to generate customized reports based on crime statistics and fire statistics. For example, click here [link] to see the statistics for Penn State.

    It is also worth mentioning that the California Postsecondary Education Commission [link] created a separate web-based tool for crime statistics for all California institutions. This tool allows users to produce graphs and to limit searches to a geographic region or county. However, the data available from this tool will no longer be updated due to the fact that the California Postsecondary Education Commission has closed because budget cuts.

    If you are interested to find more information about the topic of campus safety and security in postsecondary education, you should visit the Campus Security page [link] on the U.S. Department of Education website.

By: Arianne Hartsell-Gundy on: November 21, 2011 9:56 am | hartsea

Our second book discussion for the Let's Talk About It: Making Sense of the Civil War* series will be Part Two: Choosing Sides from the anthology American's War: Talking About the Civil War and Emancipation on their 150th Anniversaries edited by Edward L. Ayers. We will discuss this section of the anthology on December 8th at 4:00pm in King Library 320. Martha Schoolman, Assistant Professor of English, will be helping lead our discussion. If you would like to join the discussion, please contact Arianne Hartsell-Gundy (hartsea@muohio.edu) or Kim Tully (tullykk@muohio.edu). They will register you for the discussion and arrange for you to get a free copy of the book.

If you are interested in thinking more about some of the issues that we'll be discussing, you may want to check out some relevant websites:

New York Times Civil War Blog

Hidden Patterns of the Civil War

An American Turning Point, The Civil War in Virginia

Frederick Douglass - National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

John Brown the Ablolitionist and His Legacy

Please check out our website for more information. You'll find details about the readings for Part Two: Choosing Sides, more information about the other upcoming book discussions, and links to a variety of resources.

*The Let's Talk About It: Making Sense of the Civil War is a national series supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Library Association. Check out the twitter hashtag #letstalkcw to find out about other programs at other libraries!

By: yuj on: November 09, 2011 2:25 pm | yuj

The Ohio General Election was held yesterday, November 8, 2011. A total of 3,545,539 registered voters went to polling locations and decided on 3 statewide issues and 1,734 local issues. The voter turnout was 46% (or 45.99%) and the turnout was considered to be high for an odd-year election. It makes me wonder where and how users can locate data about elections in Ohio in particular historical data.

You can view Ohio election results from 1940 to present via Ohio Secretary of State website [link]. You can also access historical (18th century to present) data about voter turnout and elected officials on the same site. The Ohio Secretary of State also released voter turnout from yesterday by county [link]. I am excited to see that they provide a downloadable spreadsheet version [link] which helps users to conduct further analysis or create data visualization on their own.

I've also created a Google Spreadsheet that lists General Election voter turnout in Ohio from 1978 to the election yesterday [download].

If you wish to find out more historical data on Ohio elections, there are some print resources in King Library Reference collection that you might find interesting:

  • A statistical history of the American electorate. [King Reference, JK1967 .R87 2001]
  • State and national voting in Federal elections, 1910-1970. [King Reference, JK1965 .C59]