Library News Blog

Wherein faculty share a favorite book with the rest of us….

From the Fall 2014 newsletter

Chitra Raghavan, professor in the Psychology Department & Director of the BA/MA Program, recommends Beyond Black and Giving Up the Ghost by Hilary Mantel. (Holt, 2005 & 2003). On order at the John Jay Library.

I’ve been reading Hilary Mantel’s non-historical books recently, and I am enjoying how dark, disturbed, and psychologically perverse she is. Right before school started, I finished Beyond Black, which is literary fiction that doesn’t fit into any subgenre easily. Allison, a professional psychic who is tormented by malicious spirits hires Colette, an angry failed event planner, to manage her career. (It’s worth noting that Mantel writes about her struggle with mental illness and ghosts in Giving Up the Ghost, a memoir). Over time, shown in great slow detail (sometimes too slow), their co-dependency becomes poisonous. Alison—self-absorbed yet fragile—seems never to notice that Colette might exist outside of her needs. Colette, watching her youth and sexual possibilities evaporate as they hustle from sleazy psychic fair to psychic fair, becomes angrier and more abusive of her employer. This is not a novel of action—much of the story takes place in repeating details— it’s a novel about damaged internal landscapes and the struggle for survival. Although sometimes disagreeable to read, the subtle details make the book a quiet masterpiece. The scenes of Allison overeating unhealthily make the reader want to scream and intervene in some way other than Colette’s increasing disgust and mockery. When Allison yearns again to know who fathered her, you feel like jumping into the pages of the book to tell her to just move away, forget the whole thing, and accept her anonymity so she can move on. And as you start encountering the almost incidental flashbacks of her childhood (her mother is obliquely referred to as a not-very-successful prostitute with numerous abusive clients, at least one of whom rapes the pre-adolescent Allison), each tiny episode halts the present for a moment followed by a painful moment of reader understanding. Although ultimately, Mantel never tells us if the whole psychic enterprise is imagined by Allison, whose distorted memories of abuse and associated ghosts intermingle with more “legitimate” spirits, this is not a book about childhood abuse or surviving abuse. It’s an unforgiving diary about two lonely alienated women and their failure to find intimacy.

Victoria Bond, professor in the English Department, recommends NOS4A2 by Joe Hill (Morrow, 2013) and The Accursed by Joyce Carol Oates (Ecco, 2013).  On order at the John Jay Library. 

The fiction I read is often a direct reflection of the fiction I am trying to write. Since I have spent the past few years working on a gothic/ghost story mash-up, I’ve read a ton of horror novels of every shape and size. Probably the longest and a favorite was the vampire saga The Accursed by Joyce Carol Oates, set in Princeton, New Jersey at the turn of the 20th century. However, the last novel that deeply touched me in addition to being instructive as to genre and craft was Joe Hill’s horror thriller NOS4A2. The title refers to the license plate of the novel’s villain, a vampire-like kidnapper named Charlie Manx who literally rides the roads of the unconscious mind in his vintage Rolls Royce. The title is also a play on the classic vampire film Nosferatu. Seductive and enigmatic though the villain may be, it was the portrayal of the motorcycle-riding mother and children’s book author Vic McQueen who is the heroine of the novel that got under my skin and emotionally needled me in a productive and painful way. I have not read another book that made me consider so fully what exactly it means to be an artist and a mother and a hurt soul. In fact, I’m eight months pregnant now, and I’m not sure I would be if Hill,  son of the author Stephen King, hadn’t given me a window into these issues that at once riveted me as a reader at the same time it encouraged me to take long, hard looks in the mirror as a woman. 

Comments solicited by Janice Dunham

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Posted Monday, December 15, 2014 - 1:56pm

Catalog records grow longer

From the Fall 2014 newsletter

Have you noticed that some CUNY+ catalog records are long and filled with contents and summary notes about the work, and some records are terse, with the minimal amount of information available? When a user searches CUNY+ looking for a book, the user will eventually click on a title from a list of search results, thus bringing them to the full view of the record of that book.

As a cataloger, I am seeing long records more than I used to as a user. Traditionally, an old printed card catalog that followed the rules of Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules (AACR2) usually included the following information: author, title, imprint, physical description, and sometimes a brief note and the Library of Congress subject headings—and the most important element, the call number! All of this information would fit on to an index-sized card and be filed into the drawer.

In the 21st century, hard drives and server spaces are becoming very inexpensive. Libraries no longer worry about a long MARC record taking up too much storage space. Catalogers can supply as much information as possible into a single catalog record, making the information more complete for the user. Now we can add an extended version of the table of contents, and summary notes, such as one from the publisher and one from the book jacket.

The benefit of a long catalog record is the keyword search. When performing a keyword search, the subject, and almost all other fields in the record are searched for the keyword.

My only concern for a long catalog record is, considering the notorious short attention span of the younger generation, how much time would they be willing to spend looking at the long table of contents and summary notes to find what they need?

Jing Si Feng

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Posted Monday, December 15, 2014 - 1:52pm

Researching a mental illness in the library

From the Fall 2014 newsletter

Munchausen syndrome by proxy (MSBP) is an unusual mental illness where a caretaker falsifies a child’s illness. Sometimes the caretaker might go to the extreme of actually making the child sick. MedlinePlus also identifies MSBP as a form of child abuse. What is stranger still is that the caretakers who have MSBP often work in health care and do a good job describing and faking the symptoms.

Unfortunately, the cause of MSBP is unknown, and it is very hard to detect this form of child abuse when it happens. A child who has a long medical history with symptoms that do not match normal diseases might be a signal of something wrong.

The Library has several books specifically about MSBP (see right).  The Library of Congress subject heading is “Munchausen syndrome by proxy.” Tip: when performing a subject search at the CUNY+ catalog, a user can type in the Library of Congress subject heading in the search box and see a list of results under this subject heading. 

Another way to look up books about MSBP is to perform a search using the call number in the CUNY+ catalog, or by simply browsing the Library stacks. The Library of Congress classed MSBP under Medicine-Neurosciences-Psychiatry-Psychiatric aspects of personality and behavior conditions-Other personality disorders, behavior problems, situations, etc. (call number RC569.5 .M83). 

Tip: select the “call number” search type in the CUNY+ catalog and type in the call number, here RC569.5 .M83, in the search box. The search results will show a list of books classed under this subject heading. 

Here’s what how the Library of Congress classifies the subject.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

  • Munchausen syndrome by proxy.
  • Narrower Topics:
    • Munchausen syndrome by proxy -- Case studies.
    • Munchausen syndrome by proxy -- Diagnosis.
    • Munchausen syndrome by proxy -- United States
    • Munchausen syndrome by proxy -- United States -- Case studies
    • Child abuse – Investigation
  • See From Tracing terms (see from reference from a topical term not used in an established L.C. Subject Heading):
    • MBPS (Syndrome)
    • Meadow syndrome
    • MSBP (Syndrome)
    • MSP (Syndrome)
    • Munchausen abuse
    • Munchausen by proxy syndrome
    • Munchausen proxy syndrome
    • Polle syndrome
  • See From Tracing terms (see also from reference from an established topical term to a related established L.C. Subject Heading): 
    • Child abuse
    • Munchausen syndrome

Selected resources from our collection

Lasher, Louisa J. Munchausen by proxy: identification, intervention, and case management. New York: Haworth Maltreatment and Trauma Press, 2004. RC569.5 .M83 L37 2004

Munchausen’s syndrome by proxy [electronic resource]: current issues in assessment, treatment and research. Ed. Gwen Adshead & Deborah Brooke. London : Imperial College Press, 2001. CUNY Online Resource.

Rister, Esther S. Child abuse in the medical guise: Munchausen syndrome by proxy. Thesis (Ph.D.)--City University of New York, 1996. John Jay College Special Collections, LD 3835 .A5 R57 1996

Artingstall, Kathryn. Practical aspects of Munchausen by proxy and Munchausen syndrome investigation. Boca Raton, FL : CRC Press, 1999. RC 569.5 .M83 A78 1999

Child neglect and Munchausen syndrome by proxy. Ed. United States Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Washington, D.C. : U.S. Dept. of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, 1996. RC 569.5 .M83 C45 1996


Munchausen syndrome by proxy.”  MedlinePlus. U.S. National Library of Medicine. 09 Oct. 2014. Web. 26 Oct. 2014. 

Library of Congress Classification PDF Files”. The Library of Congress. 01 Oct. 2014. Web. 26 Oct. 2014. 

Jing Si Feng

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Posted Monday, December 15, 2014 - 1:51pm

From the Fall 2014 Newsletter

The Media Department of the Library continues to grow its collection of DVDs. They are still in heavy demand by John Jay College faculty, on par with popular streaming video collections.

How do you find out which DVDs are available in the library? Use the trusty library catalog, CUNY+. We put records there for all our acquisitions—print, electronic, visual, etc. If you know the title of the DVD you are looking for, perform a “Title begins with...” search in CUNY+.

To find DVDs on a topic, use a keyword search: identify your topic keywords and combine it with the keywords and dvd or video or media or film. This is a very broad search that can pick up monographic titles dealing with the media or film industry as well, but it is quick and convenient.

Another way to pinpoint DVD materials in CUNY+ catalog search is to go to the Advanced Search tab—there is such an option, who knew?! Limit your search to media as Record Type and visual materials as Format Type. (See top of page.) Tip: using an asterisk * as a wildcard expands search (e.g., PRISON* should catch prison, prisons, prisoner, prisoners, etc.).

CUNY+ should have records for both physical (DVD and VHS) and streaming video formats. We strive to maintain catalog records as accurately as possible, but due to technicalities that go beyond control of John Jay College librarians, it is recommended to search each streaming video collection individually, rather than relying solely on the records in CUNY+. The vendors constantly add new titles and pull out others. Updating CUNY+ records takes time and human intervention. Please send an email to with any questions about DVD or streaming video availability.

It is always recommended to request DVDs for your classes in advance. Some titles are extremely popular and might not be available for viewing on the spot. We also share our DVD collection with other CUNY schools through interlibrary loan (on a limited basis). Students may view DVDs in the library but cannot take them home.

To request a video, use the Video Request Form.

Maria Kiriakova (email) is the Interim Media Librarian at Lloyd Sealy Library. 

Highlights of our recent DVD acquisitions

The Heroin Wars (Oley, PA : Bullfrog Films, 1996). Covers the heroin wars in Burma. DVD-1324

The Waiting Room (Oley, PA : Bullfrog Films, c2012). Documentary about an American public hospital struggling to care for a community of largely uninsured patients. DVD-1325

Untouchable? (Oley, PA : Bullfrog Films, c2000). Examines the lives of Dalits in a small village in southern India. DVD-1326

I Am A Man (Northampton, MA : Media Education Foundation, 2006). An exploration of “what it means to be a black man in America.” DVD-1327

The Red Button: The Man Who Saved The World (MG Production and LogTV Ltd, 2011). “At four minutes past midnight on September 26, 1983 the world stood on the brink of nuclear war. The fate of our globe was in the hands of one man, Lieutenant Colonel Stanislav Petrov.” DVD-1329

John Cassavetes: Five Films (Irvington, NY : Criterion Collection, 2004). Films by a pioneer of independent film. Includes A Woman Under the Influence (1974). DVD-1332

Living for 32 (Cuomo Cole Productions, [c2010]). The inspirational story of Colin Goddard, a survivor of the Virginia Tech massacre that took place on April 16, 2007. DVD-1336

Rhyme and Punishment (Chatsworth, CA : Image Entertainment, 2011). Look inside the nation’s toughest prisons to capture the real-life stories of some of the most influential hip-hop artists who have ever been incarcerated. DVD-1344

Contagion (Burbank, CA : Warner Home Video, 2011). A woman returns to the U.S. from a business trip to Hong Kong, bringing a deadly virus with her... DVD-1345

Ebola: The Plague Fighters (WGBH Educational Foundation : WGBH Boston Video, 2007). When an outbreak of the Ebola virus swept through Zaire in May 1995, Nova was the only film crew permitted to cover the outbreak. DVD-1346

Epidemic: Ebola, AIDS, Bird Flu & Typhoid (WGBH Educational Foundation : WGBH Boston Video, 2007). Four programs from NOVA covering deadly outbreaks. DVD-1347

Maria Kiriakova

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Posted Monday, December 15, 2014 - 1:47pm

A selection of published reserach

From the Fall 2014 newsletter

The most popular collection in our Special Collections remains the Criminal Trial Transcripts of New York 1883–1927. These 3,326 transcripts record court proceedings in NY County (Manhattan and The Bronx). Most of the trials (numbering 2,700) were heard in the Court of General Sessions 1887-1927, which was a lower criminal court. We received this collection from the New York County Clerk’s office back in 1972. In 1983-84, we received an NEH grant to index and microfilm the collection, which made the transcripts available by interlibrary loan on 425 microfilm reels.

In 2006, as part of our Crime in New York 1850-1950 grant from the Metropolitan New York Library Council, we made the index available online and began digitizing selected transcripts in 2006. In 2012, we obtained a digital microfilm reader/scanner which allows patrons to create their own PDFs of a trial from the microfilm. We have recently digitized transcripts relating to abortion and “White Slavery” to support the research of Library faculty members. We plan to continue to digitize transcripts with the support of small grants. Sometime soon the digitized transcripts will move over from our old Crime in New York 1850-1950 site to our new Digital Collections.

The great aspect of this collection is the growing list of publications generated from research in this collection, whose contents are often requested by interlibrary loan. There are a lot more research topics in these 3,326 transcripts and students at John Jay and elsewhere are often assigned to read a transcript and research the case in classes related to New York City crime history.

Browse the transcripts that are currently digitized »

For more on our trial transcripts, other transcript collections at other repositories and all our Special Collections see our Special Collections Guide, or contact Dr. Ellen Belcher. Listed here are a few books and articles generated from research in this collection.

Arons, Ron. (2008). The Jews of Sing Sing: Gotham Gangsters and Gonuvim. Fort Lee: Barricade Books. Stacks - HV6194 .J4 A76 2008

Used many trial transcripts in the John Jay Transcript Collection as resources for this book.

Brooks, Tim and Richard Keith Spottswood. (2004). Lost Sounds: Blacks and the Birth of the Recording Industry, 1890-1919. University of Illinois Press.  Available as an e-book (CUNY use only)

Chapter three uses The People vs. George V. Johnson (our trial number 183) as a resource.

Bunk, Tobin. (2014). Poisoning the Pecks of Grand Rapids: The Scandalous 1916 Murder Plot. History Press (expected soon at John Jay Library).

Used People vs. Arthur Warren Waite (our trial number 3241 as a resource for this book.

Nancy C. Carnevale. (2010). A New Language, a New World: Italian Immigrants in the United States, 1890-1945. Chicago: University of Illinois Press.  Avail. As an e-book (CUNY use only)

Used People v Calandra Biaggio (our transcript number 601, which is digitally available) and People vs. Dominick DeMasso (our transcript number 322)

Chauncey, G. (1994). Gay New York:  Gender, Urban Culture, and the Making of the Gay Male World, 1890-1940.  New York: Basic Books. Stacks - HQ 76.2 .U52 N53 1994.

Used sodomy cases in the Court of General Sessions Transcripts at John Jay as a resource for this book.

Cole, Simon A. (2001). Suspect Identities: A History of Criminal Investigation and Fingerprinting. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Reserve Room - 3 hour loan - HV 6074 .C557 2001 Also available as an e-book (CUNY use only).

Used transcript of People v. Crispi (our trial number 176) as a resource in this book.

Critchley, David.  (2009). The Origin of Organized Crime in America: The New York City Mafia 1891-1931. New York: Routledge. Stacks - HV6452 .N7 C75 2009

Used transcript of People vs. John Russomanno (our trial number 1856) as a resource for this book.

Donovan, B. (2005). “Gender Inequality and Criminal Seduction: Prosecuting Sexual Coercion in the Early-20th Century.” Law and Social Inquiry, 30 pp. 61–88.

Analyzes narratives of sexual consent and coercion in 15 criminal seduction cases as recorded in transcripts in the John Jay Collection.

Livingston, David. (2010). Arsenic and Clam Chowder: Murder in Gilded Age New York. Albany: Excelsior Editions, State University of New York Press. Stacks - HV6534 .N5 L58 2010

Detailed account of a murder for inheritance in a famous NYC family, and the trial (our trial number 70).

Mcillwain, Jeffrey Scott. (1997). “From Tong War to Organized Crime: Revising the Historical Perception of Violence in Chinatown.” Justice Quarterly 14, 1 pp. 25-52.

Used the Court of General Sessions, New York County transcripts amongst other primary and secondary documents in this study.

Murphy, Cait. (2010). Scoundrels in Law: The Trials of Howe & Hummel, Lawyers to the Gangsters, Cops, Starlets, and Rakes Who Made the Gilded Age. New York, N.Y.: Smithsonian Books Stacks-KF355 .N4 M87 2010

This law firm regularly and famously represented defendants in the Court of General Sessions and many other NYC Courts.  Many of our transcripts were used as reference for this book.

Robertson, S. (2002). “Making Right a Girl's Ruin: Working-Class Legal Cultures and Forced Marriage in New York City, 1890–1950.” Journal of American Studies 36: pp. 199-230

Used several transcripts on sex crimes and marriage in the John Jay Collection as material for these and forthcoming studies.

Robertson, S. (2002). “Age of Consent Law and the Making of Modern Childhood in New York City, 1886—1921.” Journal of Social History 35.4 pp. 781-798.

Used several transcripts on sex crimes and marriage in the John Jay Collection as material for these and forthcoming studies.

Schoepfiln, Rennie B. (2002). Christian Science on Trial: Religious Healing in America (Medicine, Science and Religion in Historical Context) Johns Hopkins University Press. Available as an e-book (CUNY use only)

Used transcript of People vs. Willis V. Cole our trial number 1767 (case on appeal was 148 N.Y.S. 708) as a resource in this book. 

Ellen Belcher

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Posted Monday, December 15, 2014 - 1:42pm

From the Fall 2014 newsletter

Find these recommended books in the CUNY+ catalog.

Derickson, Alan. Dangerously sleepy: overworked Americans and the cult of manly wakefulness.    Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014. HD5124 .D36 2014

Warren, Elizabeth.  A fighting chance. New York: Metropolitan Books, 2014. E901.1.W37 A3 2014.


Wu, Ellen D. The color of success: Asian Americans and the origins of the model minority. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2014. E184.A75 W8 2014

Wu, a historian at Indiana University Bloomington, traces how Chinese and Japanese Americans, once considered as the 'yellow peril,' have become the ‘model minority.’ As the book’s chapters alternate between describing the experiences of Chinese and Japanese Americans, Wu touches on major events in Asian American history: the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, WWII and internment camps for Japanese Americans, the civil rights movement, and others.

Epley, Nicholas. Mindwise: how we understand what others think, believe, feel, and want. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2014. BF575.E55 E75 2014

Taylor, Paul. The next America: boomers, millennials, and the looming generational showdown. New York: PublicAffairs, 2014. HN59 .T39 2014


French, Howard W. China's second continent: how a million migrants are building a new empire in Africa. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2014. DT16 .C48 F74 2014

At present, China is Africa’s largest trading partner, and over one million Chinese now live and work in Africa. The author describes this recent phenomenon as he travels across the continent and meets Chinese laborers, businessmen, and developers.

Cook, Kevin. Kitty Genovese:  the murder, the bystanders, the crime that changed America. New York: W.W. Norton, 2014. HV6534.N5 C67 2014

Becker, Jo. Forcing the spring: inside the fight for marriage equality. New York: Penguin Press, 2014. KF228.H645 B43 2014

Kiehl, Kent. The psychopath whisperer: the science of those without conscience. New York: Crown Publishers, 2014. RC555.K54 2014

Hoffman, Morris B. The punisher’s brain: the evolution of judge and jury. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2014. GT6710 .H64 2014

McLeod, Kembrew. Pranksters: making mischief in the modern world. New York: New York University Press, 2014. PN6231. P67 M35 2014

Senior, Jennifer. All joy and no fun: the paradox of modern parenthood. New York: Ecco, 2014. HQ755.8 .S453 2014  

Sexting and youth: A multidisciplinary examination of research, theory, and law. Ed. Hiestand, Todd C., and Jesse W. Weins. Durham, North Carolina : Carolina Academic Press, 2014. HQ799.2.I5 S494 2014

Reducing gun violence in America: informing policy with evidence and analysis. Ed. Webster, Daniel W., and Vernick, Jon S. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013. HV7436 .R4152 2013 (also available in ebook)

Vogelstein, Fred. Dogfight: how Apple and Google went to war and started a revolution. New York: Sarah Crichton Books/Farrar, Straus And Giroux, 2013. HD9696.2.A2 V64 2013

Arbour, Brian. Candidate-centered campaigns: political messages, winning personalities, and personal appeals. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014. JK2281 .A73 2014

Takriti, Abdel Razzaq. Monsoon revolution: republicans, sultans, and empires in Oman 1965-1976. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013. DS247.O68 T35 2013

Biggar, Nigel. In defence of war. Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press, 2013. BT736.2 .B48 2013

Orenstein, Ronald I. Ivory, horn and blood: behind the elephant and rhinoceros poaching crisis. Richmond Hill, Ontario: Firefly Books, 2013. HD9429 .I862 O74 2013

Afro-Nordic landscapes: equality and race in Northern Europe. Ed. Michael McEachrane. New York :Routledge, 2014. DL42 .A45 A45 2014

Bullard, Katharine S. Civilizing the child: discourses of race, nation, and child welfare in America. Lanham, Md.: Lexington Books, 2014. HV741 .B85 2014

Bauer, Bryce T. Gentlemen bootleggers: the true story of Templeton Rye, Prohibition, and a small town in cahoots. Chicago, Illinois: Chicago Review Press, 2014. HV5090 .I8 B38 2014


Should I go to grad school?: 41 answers to an impossible question. Ed. Jessica Loudis, et al. New York: Bloomsbury, 2014. LB2371 .S586 2014

Bringing together personal stories of those pursued graduate education or decided against it, the book doesn’t, ultimately, offer a definitive answer to its title question. Instead, it invites its readers—those who seek and those who are asked for advice—to consider the multiple and far-reaching consequences of either choice.

Macrakis, Kristie. Prisoners, lovers, & spies: the story of invisible ink from Herodotus to al-Qaeda. New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press, 2014. Z104.5 .M33 2014

Marlene Kandel & Jing Si Feng

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Posted Monday, December 15, 2014 - 1:29pm

From the Fall 2014 newsletter

The Library provides access to a large collection of resources useful for researching controversial issues: research reports, reference materials, ebooks, periodical articles, editorials, speeches, public opinion polls, and multimedia files. The following is a list of selected databases that cover current events and controversial issues.

CQ Researcher Plus Archive is composed of over 3,600 research reports, which provide in-depth analysis of timely issues in the areas of health, social trends, criminal justice, education, the environment, science and technology, international affairs, and the economy. Written by experienced journalists, each report features an article overview, extensive discussion and background information, a chronology, pro/con debates, an outlook for the future, and a bibliography. Dating back to 1923, reports can be studied historically as the database tracks issues published in reports from earlier years.

Opposing Viewpoints in Context is another full-text database covering a wide range of issues. Topics are arranged under broad subject headings such as “business and economics,” “health and medicine,” “society and culture,” or “law and politics.” Many types of content are available in this multifaceted, multi-disciplinary database, including pro/con viewpoint essays, topic and court case overviews, agency profiles, national and global news sources, academic journal and magazine articles, primary sources, images, videos, podcasts, multimedia files, interactive maps, statistical information, and links to websites.

Gale Virtual Reference Library (GVRL) consists of hundreds of online reference books, spanning sources in art, literature, humanities, sciences, and social sciences, as well as medicine and law. Articles on contemporary issues can be found in numerous subject encyclopedias, with titles including encyclopedias of American social issues, American immigration, bioethics, cybercrime, climate change, environment, homelessness, law enforcement, media violence, and social problems. This database also features reference handbooks and other full-length online reference (or e-reference) books, which are often published as books in a series (Contemporary World Issues Series, Information Plus Reference Series). Online reference titles include books on abortion, capital punishment, gun control, marijuana, and women and crime.

In contrast to GVRL, Academic Search Complete primarily contains academic journal and other periodical articles, including full-text access to more than 7,850 peer-reviewed journals in over 20 academic fields. Research studies in scholarly journals in the sciences, social sciences, and humanities impart excellent background information on a wide range of issues. Other sources available in this database include Congressional Digest, an independent, impartial publication that summarizes key arguments for and against current issues before Congress, and Vital Speeches of the Day, which reproduces major speeches given by modern leaders. Among its collection of magazines, e.g. Time, Newsweek, U.S. News and World Report, Atlantic, Mother Jones, Harper’s, The Nation, Commentary, National Review, some titles aim to be objective regarding current affairs, while others are openly opinionated, representing well-delineated liberal or conservative viewpoints.

LexisNexis Academic is a premier database well known for its extensive collection of legal, news, business, and reference sources. Supreme Court decisions and law review articles can be applied to pro and con research, as court cases often begin as controversial issues in the news. The Gallup Poll News Service analyzes findings from public opinion polls. A wide range of news sources is available in the database. Containing over 3,000 local, regional, national, and international newspapers, the full text newspaper collection is especially notable.

Using editorials and opinion pieces published in multiple newspapers, researchers can identify and examine different points-of-view. Along with LexisNexis Academic, two library databases recommended for these types of comparisons are the Wall Street Journal Database (Proquest), containing one very influential newspaper, and Ethnic NewsWatch, containing more than 200 ethnic, minority and native newspapers, magazines and journals. Topics, such as affirmative action, the Dream Act, police use of force, racial profiling, and raising the minimum wage, may highlight differences between mainstream newspapers and the minority press, between publications originating in different geographical regions, or between titles promoting opposing political philosophies.

Lory Gallo

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Posted Monday, December 15, 2014 - 1:24pm

A brief history of federated & web-scale search in the library

From the Fall 2014 Newsletter

The Lloyd Sealy Library, with considerable help from CUNY, currently provides access to over 200 databases, multiple ebook collections, six streaming video collections, and over 80,000 online journals; not to mention the millions of books listed in the CUNY online library catalog (CUNY+). Students (and faculty, too) are understandably bewildered by this surfeit of riches. Give me a single search box, they cry, let me put some words in it, and out should come the books and articles that I need to write my paper.

Twenty years ago that was a ridiculous idea, but since the rise of the Google search engine, the general public has learned that they can, in fact, just put a term into a search box and pretty much all the time get the information they want. Why can’t this happen in the world of scholarly writing?

Actually, to a certain extent, it can. Library publishers and database vendors have been experimenting with this idea since the middle of the last decade. “Federated search” engines were developed, which let users enter search terms that were then turned into queries sent to multiple distinct databases at the same time. The Lloyd Sealy Library subscribed to such a federated search service beginning in 2009; we called it “Hound Hunt.” Federated search was slow and clunky; results were incomplete; there were duplicated results; and extra clicks were needed to finally get to the full text of the article. Hound Hunt lasted until summer 2013, but it never really took off in popularity at John Jay:

The Library community knew that a more “Google-like” experience was needed, and a number of library vendors developed “web-scale discovery services.” Instead of a search bot performing separate searches on multiple different databases, publishers and databases vendors agreed to contribute their metadata to huge merged indexes which could be searched quickly and painlessly via a “discovery” layer that then displays results in a user-friendly and intuitive manner, leading seamlessly to the full text of articles, books and even media. Anticipating that the CUNY libraries would be moving to a discovery service offered by the vendor of our online catalog, but knowing that this service was at least a year away, the Lloyd Sealy Library, with the help of Student Technology Fee funds, subscribed to the EBSCO Discovery Service (EDS) beginning in August 2013. Our users immediately found this search to be faster, easier and more rewarding, as the following usage figures reveal:

The EDS service did not search the books listed in CUNY+, unfortunately, performing searches only on the combined indexes of multiple article databases. But the CUNY Office of Library Services has now begun implementing the Primo Discovery Service, which can search multiple databases plus CUNY+ all at once. The CUNY implementation of Primo, named CUNY OneSearch, is now available in beta form on the Library website. Try experimenting with OneSearch (also available as a tab on the Library’s home page).

More information about OneSearch will be forthcoming on the Library website and in the Spring 2015 issue of Classified Information.

Bonnie Nelson

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Posted Monday, December 15, 2014 - 1:20pm

A selection of videos from Films on Demand

From the Fall 2014 newsletter

The demand for digital content anytime from anywhere continues to increase. The Library is doing its part to keep up with this demand. It provides 24/7 access to over 225 databases through its website, including access to a growing collection of streaming videos. Currently, you can watch over 25,000 streaming videos in subject areas across John Jay’s curriculum.

These streaming videos, which allow for unlimited 24/7 access, include embed codes and links, making it easy to include them in course syllabi and other course management tools like Blackboard. Each collection has a user-friendly interface that allows you to browse or search by title, discipline, historical event, therapeutic approach, cultural group or other criteria depending on the nature of the content.

Listed below are the databases containing these streaming videos and the top five titles accessed by the John Jay community in the past year.

American History in Video

Over 6,700 titles. Includes archival footage, public affairs footage, and important documentaries.
Top 5 titles:
  1. The Great Depression
  2. Columbia Revolt
  3. Hippies
  4. Minik: The Lost Eskimo
  5. Thurgood Marshall: And Justice for All

Counseling & Therapy in Video

360 titles. Includes dramatized consultations, counseling sessions, documentaries, interviews and lectures
Top 5 titles:
  1. The Abused Woman: A Survivor Therapy Approach
  2. Time Limited Dynamic Psychotherapy
  3. Cognitive-Behavioral Feminist Therapy
  4. Motivational Interviewing
  5. Interpersonal Process Recall

Criminal Justice and Public Safety in Video

Over 760 titles. Includes documentaries, training videos, and interviews illustrating the strategies, techniques, and experiences of professionals in the criminal justice system.
Top 5 titles:
  1. Children Who Kill
  2. Predicting Criminality
  3. Cincinnati White Castle Incident
  4. Crime and Death Scene Response
  5. Kids Behind Bars

Ethnographic Video Online

Over 1,000 titles. Coverage focuses on study of human culture and behavior and includes interviews, field notes, and study guides from working anthropologists and ethnographers.
Top 5 titles:
  1. First Contact
  2. The Nuer
  3. The Ax Fight
  4. Dead Birds
  5. Eunuchs: India’s Third Gender

Films on Demand

Almost 20,000 titles and over 200,000 video segments documentaries, dramas, and newsreels.  Producers include Films for the Humanities & Sciences, Cambridge Educational, PBS, and the BBC.
Top 5 titles:
  1. Anita Hill vs. Clarence Thomas  
  2. The Mind of a Killer: Case Study of a Murderer 
  3. Effective Internet Search: Basic Tools and Advanced Strategies  
  4. Eyewitness: What Actually Happened?  
  5. Come Together: Ancient Worlds 

The PBS Video Collection

More than 400 titles. Selected for their academic relevance,  including films from Frontline, NOVA, American Experience and Odyssey.
Top 5 titles:
  1. Empire of the Air: The Men Who Made Radio
  2. The Gift
  3. The Universe of Battle
  4. Destination America: The People and Cultures That Created a Nation
  5. Huey Long

Psychological Experiments Online

Over 50 titles. Includes lectures, presentations, documentaries, experiment footage and interviews. More about this collection »
Top 5 titles:
  1. Quiet Rage: The Stanford Prison Experiment
  2. Bandura’s Social Cognitive Theory: An Introduction
  3. How Happy Can You Be?
  4. Obedience
  5. People to People

To find a streaming video that meets your needs, follow the links above or go to the Library’s home page and select one of these collections from the list of databases by title. A large proportion of the library’s streaming videos can only by found by searching the individual collections, that is, individual titles/names are not represented anywhere else. Once in the collection, use the unique tools on each interface to browse or search for content.

Make sure that links are proxied. If you wish to link to any of these videos in course materials, please keep in mind that access to database content licensed by the Library is possible from outside the college only through the Library’s proxy server. The proxy server ensures access for all John Jay students, faculty and staff by requiring them to sign in using their John Jay email user ID and password. If you copy a link when you are off campus, the proxy server address ( should appear somewhere in the link.

For links that do not contain the proxy server address (which is often but not always the case if a link is copied while on campus), the library proxy server prefix address: should be added before the permanent URL. Be sure to test any links before sharing them! Please email Prof. Maureen Richards if you encounter any problems linking to content.

For more information about the library’s video collection, freely available streaming videos or how to reserve any of the Library’s videos on DVD or VHS, visit the Videos subject guide.

Maureen Richards

More from the Fall 2014 newsletter »


Posted Monday, December 15, 2014 - 1:11pm

Rosetta Stone Library Solution

Update July 2016: Due to restricted budgets, the library has had to make difficult decisions about our database offerings and will no longer subscribe to Rosetta Stone. We regret any inconvenience this causes.

Archived article from the Fall 2014 Newsletter

Whether you are currently enrolled in a foreign language class, always wanted to learn another language, or would like to engage with confidence in multilingual settings at home or abroad, now you have one more tool to help achieve your goals. Anyone with a current John Jay email address can use the Rosetta Stone Library Solution through the Lloyd Sealy Library website to study the following languages:

  • Arabic
  • Dari
  • Dutch
  • English (UK & US)
  • Farsi
  • French
  • German
  • Greek
  • Hebrew
  • Hindi
  • Indonesian
  • Irish
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Latin
  • Mandarin
  • Pashto
  • Polish
  • Portuguese
  • Russian
  • Spanish (Latin America & Spain) 
  • Swahili
  • Swedish
  • Tagalog
  • Turkish
  • Urdu
  • Vietnamese

Key features include:

  • 50 hours of foundational instruction
  • Core lessons to build reading, writing, speaking and listening skills
  • Focused activities to refine grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation

When you are ready to get started, access Rosetta Stone from any device by going to the library website and selecting Rosetta Stone from the dropdown menu of popular databases, or find it on the list of database titles. If you are new to Rosetta Stone, click on the “First Time Users” link to make sure your device has the necessary resources to run Rosetta Stone. Next, click on “Launch Rosetta Stone” to start learning.

Once you have set up your account, you can continue building your language skills anytime and anywhere you have internet access by returning to the library website’s link to Rosetta Stone and entering the email and password you used to create your account.

Please keep in mind that although you can access your account from all types of devices through a web browser—including smartphones and tablets—you must always sign in through the link on the library website. You cannot access this product through apps.

Enjoy, and please contact Prof. Maureen Richards if you have questions or need assistance.

Maureen Richards

More from the Fall 2014 newsletter »

Posted Monday, December 15, 2014 - 12:59pm