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Lloyd Sealy Library
John Jay College of Criminal Justice
Lloyd Sealy Library
John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Library News Blog

I was invited to participate in the 2016 Library Leaders Forum[1] which took place at the Internet Archive (IA) in San Francisco the last week of October. John Jay is a digitization partner with the IA, with which we have so far digitized 823 books, serial issues and pamphlets readable on their platform.[2] The first day was a celebration of the 20th birthday of the IA. Subsequent days gave us a deep dive into all the IA projects, which included their well-known website archive called “Wayback Machine” as well as the machines which provide microfilm, audio, film and book digitization. We were also introduced to the newly launched Political Ad Archive[3], which provides searchable coverage of the 2016 election and its aftermath, and GifCities: The GeoCities Animated GIF Search Engine.[4] We also learned about IA initiatives in research data management, website preservation and imaging standards. The forum included a diverse mix which included librarians, data archivists, technology specialists, lawyers, programmers and digital curators.

Take-aways from this conference are services that the Lloyd Sealy Library might consider using, should staff and funding become available, to solve some thorny digitization needs beyond books, which we will continue to digitize with the IA. Possibilities include using the IA’s “Archive It” to digitally preserve John Jay College webpages and submitting video in the College Archives to be preserved on the Moving Image Archive.[5] There is also the possibility of using the IA for digitizing microfilm in our collection, including our Criminal Trial Transcript Collection.

Some libraries have been using the Internet Archive to make post-1923 books that they physically own, digitally available using the IA Open Library[6] platform to lend them to one user at a time. This was called the 1/1/1 rule meaning one physical book can make one digital book which is lent to one user at a time. This has been particularly helpful for making print books digitally available in DAISY format to blind, low vision or other accessibility challenged readers, which has been interpreted as allowed by copyright law. An informative session on copyright implications of such practices was led by Michelle Wu, Law Librarian and Professor, Georgetown University Law Library and Lila Bailey, a legal counsel to the Internet Archive.

The conference included many opportunities to contribute to and shape the Internet Archive’s vision for Libraries in 2020. A white paper on this vision, written by IA founder and director Brewster Kahle – who called it version 0.0 - has been distributed for comment. Links to these and other resources on these topics are provided here: libraryleadersforum.org/learn-more.

I am available to discuss past, present and future Library digitization efforts with any interested member of the John Jay College community. We want these efforts to be helpful and relevant to the curriculum, criminal justice research and our collections as well as responsive to the needs of our patrons as we too move toward 2020. Please email me.

References

1. libraryleadersforum.org

2. archive.org/details/johnjaycollegeofcriminaljustice

3. politicaladarchive.org

4. blog.archive.org/2016/11/01/gifcities-the-geocities-animated-gif-search-engine

5. archive.org/details/movies

6. OpenLibrary.org

See also: Thorough report on the program from Yasmin Alnoamany

Photo of Library Leaders 2016 participants taken from the ceiling of Internet Archives Headquarters (posted by the IA on Twitter). The IA recently bought and moved into this former church because it looks just like their 20 year old logo (in center of photo).

Ellen Belcher

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Read more from the Fall 2016 issue of Classified Information, the Library newsletter


Posted Tuesday, November 22, 2016 - 5:26pm


The Special Collections has a small but growing collection of items related to John Jay, the man for whom our college is named. We recently received a number of objects back from our conservator, and they are now ready for research and exhibits. Here is a selection of before and after pictures of documents from our John Jay Collection. We thank Ursula Mitra of Mitra Conservation Services for her excellent work. To make an appointment to see these or any other of our Special Collections, please contact me.

four images of the letter in varying states of conservation

John Jay Letter to Mayor Richard Varick Sept. 2, 1791, was folded up in an old frame and mat (top). It is now in an open mat so that the full letter, as well as the seal and address on the back is visible. This letter was purchased for our Special Collections in the 1980s.

 

This Certification of Appointment of Daniel DeWolff, ensign April 26, 1797, was endorsed by John Jay, Governor of New York. We received this in 2015 (top left). Conservation treatment flattened out and lightly cleaned the document and encased it in acid free mylar, so the front and back can be viewed (bottom left). This matting also offers a better view of John Jay’s paper embossed seal, which is affixed with to the upper left of the document. We thank the DeWolff family for gifting this important document to the Library.

Bible before conservation

The Jay Family Bible is on long term deposit with the College. The Bible was in pretty bad shape when it arrived and we offered to send it to a conservator. Work involved reattaching some torn pages and edges, and reattaching the covers with a new leather spine. A custom box was created to protect it. Above are pictures of the Bible when we first received it, and below are pictures of it after conservation. We thank the Hughes family—who are descendants of John Jay—for making this resource available to researchers and the John Jay community.

Bible after conservation

Ellen Belcher

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Read more from the Fall 2016 issue of Classified Information, the Library newsletter


Posted Tuesday, November 22, 2016 - 5:22pm


Photo of Professor Balis and class

Professor Andrea Balis has been teaching history at John Jay for 16 years. She teaches history methodology courses as well as a wide range of topics including the history of science and medicine. For the past two years, she has also been teaching Doing History, a course which focuses on how historians think and encourages students to examine physical and textual primary sources helping them to connect the past and the present.

What are some of the resources you encourage your students to take advantage of?

The library! And New York City. Free research resources in the city. The statue on your street corner.

When you developed “Doing History,” the title suggests action and experiential learning. What is the most valuable lesson students come away with in this class?

How to ask questions. That might well be the most important thing you learn at John Jay. Learning how to ask searchable questions. Learning how to investigate. And of course, the library teaches you how to investigate.

What are students’ attitude about this kind of approach when you first meet them?

Their experience is restricted. Most students’ experience with doing research is that they are given a topic but not questions. So they don’t know how to get from typing in the name of their topic to knowing how to find interesting ways to ask the questions.

How do you help them get started with that progression?

We teach content at John Jay, and we should. But we also have to teach learning curves. Knowing how to learn how to research is what keeps you from having a flat learning curve. This is my standard pitch: Knowing how to acquire new information is a critical 21st century skill, and that should be one of the things students think about while they’re here. In Doing History we spend a lot of time figuring out where to start, how to begin.

How can they get motivated to do that? Do you have tricks?

Yes! I have tricks but students need their own. You need to learn how to engage yourself. It might be that a way for you to connect is to look at pictures. For someone else it might be to listen to something or else it might be thumbing through newspaper articles. We all have things that spark our imagination in our everyday lives. We know how to find a pair of shoes we really want. We know how to find out the best way to apply make-up. What students need to realize is how to take those skills that they already have and connect them to the things they need to know in the professional or academic world. Students have research skills, but they don’t realize it. But you need to connect those things and know how to transfer your skills for finding the best price for a particular backpack – they are the same skills. That is research. You know what kind of question to ask if you’re looking for shoes. You know to look for materials, prices, heel height. You know the criteria. And people are good at it! So to motivate them is to remind them, “You already know how to do it.”

And Zappos.com is a database!

Yes! That should be the title.

Kathleen Collins

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Read more from the Fall 2016 issue of Classified Information, the Library newsletter


Posted Tuesday, November 22, 2016 - 5:16pm


An easy online clicker alternative

Classroom clickers have a number of benefits: they take the temperature of the class’s understanding through instant polls, they punctuate lectures with an engaging activity, and they encourage participation from those who would rather not speak up in class. Clickers are typically simple handheld devices that let students vote in polls whose results appear in real time on the screen. A number of large lecture classes at John Jay require students to bring clickers to class; the Library maintains a full set of clickers as well. Unfortunately for me, the clicker plugin is not compatible with my PowerPoint software for Mac. However, I was happy to find GoSoapbox, a full-featured, web-based clicker alternative.

Most students want to hear about saving money on textbooksGoSoapbox enables instructors to deploy polls and short discussion questions quickly and easily. It’s ideal for classroom labs, where every student is at their own computer, though the web app is also mobile-friendly. Instructor accounts are free for classes of 30 students or fewer. Instructors can create polls and discussion questions for each class, and each class’ content is saved under the instructor’s account and can be accessed again later. All collected responses can be downloaded or emailed. 

In every library class session I’ve led this semester, I’ve set up GoSoapbox activities. Students simply sign into gosoapbox.com with an access code (e.g., libraryweek) and enter their name or nickname. Generally, students have no trouble logging in and understanding how to participate. GoSoapbox does not collect any further personal information and does not require students to create accounts.

I have found GoSoapbox to be an excellent addition to my active learning curriculum. In my class sessions, I try to balance hands-on activities that are extrovert-friendly (like a fast-paced, shouty keyword guessing game) with those that are introvert-friendly (like contributing an answer to a GoSoapbox poll that is not timed). The GoSoapbox polls and discussion questions encourage all students to contribute replies that show up instantly on the big screen. The web app has been useful for me as an instructor for spotting misunderstandings of course curriculum that might have otherwise slid by. In some classes, the discussion questions have served as an easy place for students to collaborate in collecting keywords and resources for shared paper topics or group projects. For the latter activity, I send their professor a link after class so students can access their lists again.

Overall, I’m very satisfied with GoSoapbox. The setup is seamless and fast for both instructors and students. It’s a great way to collect data quickly without intruding on students’ privacy, and it encourages engagement and participation.

You can see more samples from classes I've taught on my Emerging Tech in Libraries blog.

Robin Davis

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Read more from the Fall 2016 issue of Classified Information, the Library newsletter


Posted Tuesday, November 22, 2016 - 5:13pm


Readership distribution around the world

In 2014, my article “Preserving the Historic Garden Suburb: Case Studies from London and New York” appeared in The Journal of Suburban Sustainability, a digital journal of the National Center from Suburban Studies at Hofstra University, where the paper was first presented. Soon after I began receiving monthly reports from Scholar Commons, a digital platform supported by the University of South Florida library, informing me of the number of downloads and their location. Interesting, I thought.

I posted this article and other essays and PowerPoints in CUNY Academic Works, the university’s digital repository, and now my monthly report includes information about those works also. Over the past two and a half years there have been a total of 1,398 downloads; the map shows the global distribution. “Preserving the Historic Garden Suburb” has been downloaded 682 times, and “Bombing for Justice: Urban Terrorism in New York City from the 1960s to the 1980s,” is at 391 (that article appeared in a volume found in the John Jay Library, and a total of 9 other institutions worldwide). I also posted an unpublished essay, “The City as Palimpsest,” about historic preservation, memory and the living city. There was no journal where I could place that, but since it went into Academic Works it has been downloaded 196 times at institutions from Yale and Columbia to the University of Nottingham and the National Technical University of Athens.

How do readers find these works? Most hits come through Google or Google Scholar, but many others come Academic Works itself, and I expect a growing number to come through OneSearch, a new tool for searching holdings in CUNY libraries found on the library’s home page. However they get there, researchers around the world have ready access to my work, and that is more than gratifying.

Jeffrey A. Kroessler

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Read more from the Fall 2016 issue of Classified Information, the Library newsletter


Posted Tuesday, November 22, 2016 - 5:10pm


Several documents related to Open Access in a display case

A portion of the Open Access exhibit currently on display in the Niederhoffer Lounge

Today’s scholars have integrated open-access practices into their normal research routines. Did you know that you are already an open access supporter? By searching for and using freely-available research outlets, self-archiving your articles and data, and/or choosing to publish in open access journals, you are taking part in the open access movement.

Whether you are new to open access or your actions already support the principles behind the open access movement, consider doing more.

Maureen Richards & Ellen Sexton

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Read more from the Fall 2016 issue of Classified Information, the Library newsletter


Posted Tuesday, November 22, 2016 - 5:08pm


Issues & Controversies in American History

Although its name, Issues & Controversies in American History, suggests an exclusive focus on history, this recent addition to our databases has already proved to be helpful to students in a variety of courses. Covering a wide range of topics, from abolition to women’s rights, Issues & Controversies can be of use to students taking classes not just in American history, but also in Criminal Justice, Political Science and Government, as well as Africana and Gender studies. The collection covers topics that span from the Colonial Period to contemporary era. The featured subjects include Columbus’s Voyages to America, the Indian Removal Act, Universal Suffrage, Harlem Renaissance, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and many other landmark events John Jay students explore in their classes.

Subject index list

What sets Issues & Controversies apart from other databases that cover similar topics is its neat organization, consistent throughout all topics, the easy one-stop access to primary sources, and an annotated list of additional sources students can add on to their research.

For example, the entry for the Civil Rights Act of 1965 offers a context and historical background. Like all other entries, it also explores contemporary arguments for and against the legislation, and assesses the impact of the policy. The accompanying bibliography easily directs students to additional sources that may be available through the Library, and an annotated selection of external websites offers yet more resources. The primary sources are not limited to the text of the 1965 legislation. They also include the earlier versions of the legislation, presidential speeches on the subject, and contemporary court opinions. All in all, a student who explores the Civil Rights Act of 1965 through the database will get a rather good understanding of the issue and will be better prepared to engage with the topic through subsequent class readings or discussions.

Like most library databases, Issues & Controversies allows for printing, saving, and emailing. It also generates citations, a tool ever more popular with our students.

You will find Issues & Controversies in American History under the letter I on the alphabetical list of databases on the Library home page.

Marta Bladek

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Read more from the Fall 2016 issue of Classified Information, the Library newsletter


Posted Tuesday, November 22, 2016 - 5:06pm


In addition to pursuing scholarly activities, Library faculty regularly participate in professional development events within and beyond CUNY. Academic librarianship is a fast-changing profession; librarians have to keep abreast of new initiatives, technologies, and trends that shape how libraries operate and what kinds of services they provide. Below are just a few short reports that illustrate the scope of John Jay librarians’ continual professional development and how it informs the daily working of the Library.

Ellen Belcher: I am co-chair of the LACUNY Special Collections and Archivists Roundtable, as well as a regular participant in the Twitter chat #critlib.

Kathleen Collins: I participate in a couple of groups outside the official walls of CUNY: The Graduate Services Discussion Group, coordinated by New York chapter of Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) which was a significant player in instigating the role of a librarian dedicated to supporting graduate students at John Jay; and the METRO Library Council Special Interest Group (SIG) for Circulation & Reserves. Both of these groups allow for sharing of common challenges and learning about new and workable solutions. The group that informs my work (and also interests me) the most is the Copyright Committee organized by the CUNY Office of Library Services. We comprised of a core group of CUNY librarians promoting fair use and copyright awareness among CUNY faculty, students and administrators – at the moment we are putting the finishing touches on an updated university-wide guide to fair use.

Robin Davis: I organize the CollectiveAccess User Group SIG at METRO, which meets quarterly. I attend and lead workshops at the LACUNY Emerging Technologies Committee, mostly recently Introduction to Text Analysis. One organization that informs my work quite a bit is Code4Lib, an organization for librarians who work with code and technology.

Karen Okamoto: As a member library of the Information Delivery Services (IDS) Project, which is a resource-sharing cooperative based in New York State, I participate in regular trainings and meetings to improve our interlibrary loan (ILL) service. The IDS Project develops tools and workflow processes to reduce the turnaround time for filling requests. This means, in most cases we hope, faster delivery of articles and books to our patrons. One of the current issues we face is the eventual migration of our client-based ILL system, known as ILLiad, to a cloud-based platform in the coming years.

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Read more from the Fall 2016 issue of Classified Information, the Library newsletter


Posted Tuesday, November 22, 2016 - 5:03pm


Primary and secondary legal resources

The Library offers a wide array of law related databases. One that keeps growing in breadth and depth, and does not lend itself to a simple description, is HeinOnline. This database contains the largest archive of online law review journals, all dating back to the first issue. However, it also provides access to over 30 other collections representing a mix of primary and secondary legal resources, such as U.S. Supreme Court cases, U.S. laws and regulations, foreign and international law materials, legal classics and world constitutions illustrated. This article will highlight three of the HeinOnline collections: National Survey of State Laws, Preview of United States Supreme Court Cases and the newest collection, Slavery in America and the World: History, Culture & Law.

The National Survey of State Laws requires little explanation. It enables you to quickly do a state by state comparison of many of the controversial laws in the United States. You can browse by one of eight categories, including “criminal laws”. You can also browse by selecting any of the 54 topics including drunk driving, gun control, illegal drugs and marijuana laws. This resource is updated regularly and includes previous editions making it easy to track how a law has changed over time. If you are interested in saving a comparison or inserting it in a paper, you can also print or download charts as PDFs.

For legal scholars and students of the law, Preview of United States Supreme Court Cases has long been a coveted resource. This publication of the American Bar Association’s Division for Public Education has been around since 1973. Its purpose it to provide an analysis, in plain-language, of Supreme Court cases before the oral argument takes place. Each “preview” contains an introduction, a restatement of the issues and facts, a case analysis and commentary about the significance of the case. The format in many ways mirrors the case briefs that students are asked to create after a decision is rendered. Because it provides the background for each case in plain language, it is an excellent starting point for parsing through the complex facts and issues presented in these cases.

This collection can be searched by volume number, which is listed in reverse chronological order or by a case locator. The case locator allows you to search by docket #, case name, preview article, Supreme Court Term or subject. In addition to the “Previews” of each case coming up for oral argument, there are links to the oral argument transcript, the audio transcripts from Oyez and the official opinion issued by the court. If you are interested in studying U.S. Supreme Court cases, this database has much to offer.

Slavery in America and the World: History Culture and Law is the newest collection in the HeinOnline database. It is a great illustration of the variety of legal resources that are available on the Hein-Online platform. The stated purpose of this collection is to bring together all known legal materials on slavery from the United States and the English speaking world, but its focus is on slavery in the United States. It includes every federal and state statute on slavery, every slavery statute passed by one of the colonies and all reported state and federal cases on slavery. Having these primary sources collected in one place is clearly the strength of this database. The statutes and cases are easily accessed by jurisdiction and include a digital copy of Judicial Cases Concerning American Slavery and the Negro, the 5 volume set edited by Helen Tunnicliff Caterall (also available in print at the library).

This collection also includes hundreds of 19th century books and pamphlets on slavery from the rare book collection of the Buffalo Public Library. These titles can be browsed by title or by using the Slavery Quick Finder. This specially created tool enables users to locate materials based on the documents position on slavery, document type (e.g., pamphlets, debates, poems & songs), jurisdiction or one of 60 topics including John Brown, slave revolts and the Underground Railroad. To find this tool click on the All Titles tab on the search interface. Take a look at this new collection and let us know what you think.

Maureen Richards

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Read more from the Fall 2016 issue of Classified Information, the Library newsletter

 


Posted Tuesday, November 22, 2016 - 5:02pm


The Testing & Education Reference Center and Vault Careers Guide

As your students prepare for their post-John Jay life, these two career resources offered by the Library will help inform their future directions and decisions. Both resources can be accessed from our list of career and test preparation databases.

Homepage: prepare for your perfect career

The Testing and Education Reference Center provides information on undergraduate and graduate programs, practice tests for entrance exams and licenses, and career development tools. Among the over 300 practice tests and courses available, the Center includes professional tests for firefighting, law enforcement and social work and entrance exams including the GRE and LSAT. Students who are planning to pursue graduate studies will find the graduate scholarship search feature user-friendly and informative. The Center includes a search tool for graduate programs across the United States and a specialized search widget designed specifically for online degrees and distance learning programs. The career module features a resume building platform that guides users through the process of writing different types of resumes from functional to technical. Online career-tutorials include modules on how to use Microsoft Excel and Word 2010 effectively. The virtual career library features ebooks covering the job search process, resume basics and interviewing skills. Users must create a free account with this database before they can access all these features.

Vault: companies, internships, schools, interviews

Vault Career Guides is a one-stop career exploration and development platform featuring rankings and reviews of schools, internships and companies, and career guides for a wide range of industries. The school search feature includes graduate programs and a specialized search for law schools. Vault provides their own ranking of law schools and includes anonymous reviews from current and former students. Vault’s internship search platform allows users to perform a search by company or industry, location and form of compensation. The career resources module dispenses advice on resume writing, interviewing, creating cover letters, networking and other topics. It also provides detailed information on careers in specific industries and includes overviews of a field, earning potential, industry outlook, and the pros and cons of working in a given industry. Particularly useful for those who do not know what career path to pursue, Vault’s “Find a Profession” module maps a user’s personality traits, level of education, and interests to specific professions. Also valuable to job seekers is Vault’s special search for profiles of specific employers and companies. Users can create an optional account which allows them to set job alerts, and post reviews and resumes.

Karen Okamoto

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Read more from the Fall 2016 issue of Classified Information, the Library newsletter

 


Posted Tuesday, November 22, 2016 - 4:58pm


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