Library News Blog
The Reserve Lab (the downstairs computer lab in the Library) will be closed 9am–
12pm on Friday, January 15, 2016, for cleaning. Update: the Reserve Lab will be closed until approximately 4pm or later for cleaning.
At this time, the computers upstairs in the Library will be available for web browsing, using Microsoft Office, and printing. Scanners and copy machines are upstairs as well.
If specialized software like SPSS and ArcGIS is needed, other computer labs on campus will also be available: L2.72.00 in the New Building and 1404 in North Hall. More info about CLSS labs »
Posted Wednesday, January 13, 2016 - 10:47am
Jessie Redmon Fauset and Countee Cullen
Image source: John Jay College Archives, Lloyd Sealy Library, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY. Digital Collections.
When John Jay College of Criminal Justice moved into Haaren Hall, it was the third school to occupy the building. The H-shaped edifice, designed by Charles Snyder, was built in 1906 to house DeWitt Clinton High School. When DeWitt Clinton moved to the Bronx in 1927, the building was then occupied by Haaren High School until a merger with Park West High School in the late 1970s. After that, the building languished, empty for years until 1985, when it was briefly slated to become a telecommunications center called the “Metropolis,” which would feature two 30-foot-high indoor waterfalls. John Jay College moved into the building in 1988 after giving it a thorough gut-renovation.
If these walls could talk, they would tell of a century-long history of academia, of the thousands of graduates of the three schools. And they might tell of two notable Harlem Renaissance writers who roamed the old halls of DeWitt Clinton.
Jessie Redmon Fauset (1884-1961)
Fauset was a prolific writer: she wrote novels, poetry, and journalism, and, at the behest of W.E.B. Du Bois, edited The Crisis, the official journal of the NAACP. Born in Philadelphia, Fauset taught high school French before attending Cornell University on a prestigious scholarship, graduating in 1905, and then earning a master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania. At The Crisis, which she joined in 1919 as literary editor, she published the writings of Langston Hughes, Jean Toomer, and other writers (including herself). Fauset attended the Pan-African Conference in 1921, one of few women to participate. Her report on its proceedings sums up both the feeling of unity (“We felt our common blood with almost unbelievable unanimity”) and the struggle to overcome colonialism, particularly in Belgium (“We knew the tremendous power of capital organized to exploit the Congo”). Fauset returned to teaching in 1926, employed at DeWitt Clinton High School. (It’s possible she may have taught James Baldwin when he attended the school.) She left teaching in 1929 and continued to write, publishing two more novels before retiring.
Considered by many to be Fauset’s best novel, Plum Bun (1929) features a light-skinned young black woman who moves to New York City and decides to “pass” as white. She enters the world of white society, succeeding socially and professionally where she would not have been able to if recognized as black, but she struggles in her relationship with her darker-complected sister. Plum Bun was written while Fauset taught at DeWitt Clinton. The novel is included in Harlem Renaissance: Five Novels of the 1920s, which can be requested in the catalog from Brooklyn College.
The Chinaberry Tree (1931) tells the story of a young woman struggling with her “bad blood,” as her community refers to her mixed parentage. The novel depicts interracial relationships in a small-town environment haunted by secrets and prejudices. (John Jay Stacks PS 3511 .A864 C48 1995b; catalog record).
Image source: Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Photographs and Prints Division, The New York Public Library. "Jessie Fauset, author." The New York Public Library Digital Collections. Link.
Countee Cullen (1903–1946)
Cullen was the adopted son of an activist minister whose Methodist church in Harlem boasted a congregation in the thousands. Cullen was a studious boy who attended DeWitt Clinton High School from 1918–21, where he edited the DeWitt Clinton literary magazine, Magpie. After obtaining an undergraduate degree from NYU, he went on to earn a master’s degree from Harvard in 1927. From the time he was in high school, he began to gain recognition for his poetry, appearing in magazines like The Crisis, Poetry, and Opportunity. Before he was 25, he published his first two volumes of poetry, Color (1925) and Copper Sun (1927). He won more literary prizes than any other black writer in the 1920s, including a Guggenheim fellowship in 1928 (as the second ever African-American recipient). His writing was dramatic, lyrical, and traditional in style. He wrote of race and alienation but did not focus solely on racial identity.
Cullen’s best-known poems are collected in On These I Stand (John Jay Stacks PS 3505 .U287 A6 1947; catalog record). See p. 3 for what is arguably Cullen’s most quoted poem, “Yet Do I Marvel,” and pp. 104–137 for “The Black Christ,” which was warmly praised by The New York Times Book Review in 1929.
More of Cullen’s writing, including a novel, essays, speeches, and an interview, is collected in My Soul’s High Song (John Jay Stacks PS 3505 .U287 A6 1991; catalog record). See p. 325 for “Life’s Rendezvous,” for which Cullen won a citywide poetry contest while he was still attending DeWitt Clinton.
Image source: Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division, The New York Public Library. "Countee Cullen." The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1925. Link.
- “Cullen, Countee.” Encyclopedia of African-American Culture and History. 2nd ed. 2006.
- “Fauset, Jessie Redmon.” Encyclopedia of African-American Culture and History. 2nd ed. 2006.
- Nash, E. “F.Y.I.” The New York Times 16 Dec. 2001. (Brief history of Haaren Hall.)
- Shucard, A. Countee Cullen. Boston: Twayne, 1984. (Available as ebook and at John Jay Stacks PS 3505 .U297 Z88 1984; catalog record.)
Posted Thursday, December 3, 2015 - 5:48pm
As of this Fall semester, the Library has switched to a new eReserves platform. After more than a decade using a vendor that was no longer planning to upgrade nor fully support the technology, we have signed on with Springshare, the same company that houses our Subject Guides. Springshare’s eReserves is far more streamlined, both behind the scenes and for the user, and has been garnering positive reviews, especially from faculty who manage their own course pages.
The link to eReserves remains in the same place – the Quick Links section of the Library home page – and works the same way with the ability to search by instructor name (best method), course name, or number. Faculty who wish to set up a new eReserves account or learn more about library reserves in general should visit the Using Reserves page.
Posted Thursday, December 3, 2015 - 5:38pm
Recent (scholarly and popular) fair use victories
The scanning and digitizing of books has been an ongoing battle between Google (with its Google Books service) and the Authors Guild which claims copyright infringement on behalf of authors (Authors Guild v. Google; LEXIS 17988). On October 16 this year, a federal appeals court judge ruled that Google’s practice of making portions of books freely available online is not a violation of copyright law. The first of four factors considered in fair use determinations is the purpose and character of the material’s use. The judge in this case determined Google Books to be providing a “transformative” use, thus deeming it a fair one. This is a victory for fair use advocates and for the millions of us who use Google Books as a research tool.
Earlier this year, two copyright cases involving popular culture serve as illustrations about the power of fair use. In March, a New York federal judge ruled in favor of a parody of the late 1970s TV sitcom Three’s Company and against the entertainment company that owns the sitcom’s rights (David Adjmi v. DLT Entertainment Ltd.; LEXIS 43285). While the writer, David Adjami, borrowed heavily from the original TV show in his off-Broadway play, 3C, the judge considered Adjami’s use transformative and therefore a fair use.
Similarly, in September a federal appeals court in San Francisco ruled in favor of a woman who posted a half-minute video on YouTube of her children dancing as the Prince song “Let’s Go Crazy” played in the background (Lenz v. Universal Music Corp.; LEXIS 16308). Copyright owner Universal Music did not sue the woman for copyright infringement; rather, they sent a notice under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) in an effort to remove the content from the Internet. The advocacy group Electronic Frontier Foundation sued Universal on behalf of the YouTube poster claiming that Universal abused the DMCA by improperly targeting a lawful fair use. Their victory not only affirms that copyright holders must consider whether a use is fair before issuing a takedown notice, but it also illustrates that fair use is a right, not a defense, a contentious and misunderstood point in the world of copyright law.
These three cases are cause for celebration for all of us, researchers and content creators, and a reminder of the power and importance of fair use.
Posted Thursday, December 3, 2015 - 5:35pm
For Faculty Development Day in August 2015, we presented library databases and search strategies specifically chosen for the theme of diversity. For many attendees, this was the first time they became aware of these special resources, and they encouraged us to share them more widely so that they might see more use in the classroom and in research.
The list below includes content that focuses on diversity issues. We have divided them into sections based on departments and programs here at John Jay. These resources bring contemporary and historical voices to the forefront — voices and images that may not be readily available in conventional sources. Moreover, we’ve included resources with a variety of content formats to help reach students with diverse learning styles — for instance, visual learners may find video to be most engaging, auditory learners may enjoy hearing recorded speeches, and kinesthetic learners may enjoy manipulating the “raw” materials of primary sources.
"Carrie Chapman Catt with bouquet after U.S. women got the vote, 1920.” Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University. Available through Women & Social Movements in the U.S. 1600-2000.
Gender Studies and LGBTQ Issues
- Contemporary Women’s Issues: Journal articles, reports, newsletters, and articles from alternative press sources.
- LGBT Life: Contains the full text for hundreds of the most important and historically significant LGBT journals, magazines, and regional newspapers as well as monographs and books.
- Women & Social Movements in the U.S. 1600-2000: Brings together primary documents, books, images, scholarly essays, book reviews, audio recordings, web site reviews, and teaching tools, all documenting the multiplicity of women. Use the “Browse” tab to explore this database.
- See also: our Gender Studies Subject Guide
Official newspaper of the Black Panther Party, January 24, 1970 (detail). Full newspaper available through Black Thought & Culture.
Africana Studies and Latina/o & Latin American Studies
- Black Drama: Full text of plays by playwrights from the U.S., the Caribbean, and English-speaking countries in Africa. Excellent source for Harlem Renaissance writers.
- Black Thought & Culture: Contains the nonfiction published works of leading African Americans, and includes interviews, journal articles, speeches, essays, pamphlets, letters, and other ephemeral material. Use the “Browse” tab to explore this database.
- Ethnic Newswatch: Provides access to more than 200 newspapers, magazines, and journals from the ethnic, minority, and native press. Includes materials in Spanish.
- Oxford Bibliographies Online (African Studies & Latino Studies): Topic overviews and bibliographies on pertinent topics with links to the full text of sources when available.
- Race & Justice Clearinghouse: An index to selected NGO reports, books, and journal articles that focus on race and ethnicity and their interaction with the criminal justice and juvenile justice systems. Includes links to the full text of publications by the Sentencing Project.
- Slavery & Anti-Slavery: Includes collections on the transatlantic slave trade, the global movement for the abolition of slavery, the legal, personal, and economic aspects of the slavery system, and the dynamics of emancipation in the U.S. as well as in Latin America, the Caribbean, and other regions.
- World Scholar: Latin America & the Caribbean: Brings together primary source documents relating to Latin America and the Caribbean; academic journals and news feeds; reference materials; maps; statistics; audio and video. Covers politics, economics, culture, international affairs. *Are you a fan of this database? Let us know before Dec. 31, 2015—our access may be cancelled without enough usage.
Anti-war demonstrations. From Universal Newsreels, Release 32, April 18, 1967. Available from American History in Video.
- Films on Demand: Our largest video collection includes documentaries, dramas, and newsreels. Producers include Films for the Humanities & Sciences, Cambridge Educational, and the BBC. Subjects include: African Studies, Asia & The Pacific, Gender & Sexuality, Latino Studies, Native American Studies, Women’s and Gender Studies, and dozens more.
- American History in Video: Includes archival footage, public affairs footage, and important documentaries.
- Counseling & Therapy in Video: Includes dramatized consultations, counseling sessions, documentaries, interviews, and lectures.
- Criminal Justice & Public Safety in Video: Includes documentaries, training videos, and interviews illustrating the strategies, techniques, and experiences of professionals in the criminal justice system.
- Ethnographic Video Online: Coverage focuses on the study of human culture and behavior and includes interviews, field notes, and study guides from working anthropologists and ethnographers.
- Human Rights Studies Online: Contains video & documents. Provides comparative documentation, analysis, and interpretation of major human rights violations and atrocity crimes worldwide from 1900 to 2010.
- The PBS Video Collection: Selected for their academic relevance, including films from Frontline, NOVA, American Experience, and Odyssey.
Search tip: Browse subjects in the catalog
When searching for a book on a topic in OneSearch (or the classic catalog, CUNY+), browsing by subjects gives you access to items you may not otherwise find by keyword search, such as older books whose titles use outdated language. Each book in our catalog is indexed with these subjects. In OneSearch, click “Browse CUNY Catalog” beneath the grey advanced search box. Then select “Subject begins with...” to explore subject headings. These terms may not be intuitive or in current use. Note that “diversity” is not a subject heading — use “multiculturalism” instead. Here are some we have encountered that may be useful:
- Civil Rights Movements
- Cultural Pluralism
- Gay Liberation Movement
- Gender Discrimination
- Group Identity
- Hispanic Americans
- Race Awareness
- Racially Mixed People
- Sex Discrimination
- Transgender People
Each subject heading contains subheadings as well, for example:
- African Americans
- African Americans -- Aesthetics
- African Americans -- Alabama
- African Americans -- Biography
- African Americans -- Biography – Dictionaries
Click on the subject heading or subheading to see related books and media. Try searching for a combination of these subject headings with other keywords of your choosing.
Robin Davis & Maureen Richards
Posted Thursday, December 3, 2015 - 2:12pm
Graphic from PHD Comics
Confused about open access? The image above is from an animated video explaining and advocating for open access publishing made by the (self-identified) guys at PHD Comics. It’s received over a quarter million downloads on YouTube, not bad for a video aimed at academics. You can see this video and more on the Library’s guide to open access publishing.
John Jay College’s use of CUNY Academic Works – our open access institutional repository – continues to grow. We have 23 authors. 46 items. Two languages. 1,213 hits. That’s 1,213 people that have been reached by John Jay authors, readers who might not otherwise have discovered the work or passed through paywalls to get to it. There’s enormous potential here to showcase the impressive work of John Jay faculty and increase the real-life impact of scholarly work (see “CUNY Academic Works: Get Your Work Out There!” from this issue). We have many alumni working at nonprofits and government agencies that simply do not have the money to subscribe to expensive journals – people in a position to apply the research you have so carefully gathered, analyzed and reported. Why exclude them? Please do consider posting your work on CUNY Academic Works.
Depositing your work, post-publication, in a repository (known as “green” open access) is not the only way to provide readers with free access. You can choose to publish your work in an open access journal – that’s the gold access model. Happily, there are many reputable open access journals and hybrid journals with open access option for authors. You have no doubt heard of Beall’s List of predatory journals (jjay.cc/beallslist), a good place to check the reputation of a journal. The Think Check Submit campaign endorsed by about a dozen publishing groups (including SPARC, DOAJ and Springer Nature) is putting a more positive spin on distinguishing trustworthy journals by encouraging authors to consider a checklist of factors before committing to publish.
THINK: Are you submitting your research to a trusted journal? Is it the right journal for your work?
CHECK: Use our check list to assess the journal
SUBMIT: Only if you can answer 'yes' to the questions on our check list
International Open Access week fell in October this year, and was marked by events all over the world. In NYC, some of the highlights included “Who Owns Your Journal Article: You or the Publisher?”, a discussion on author rights, copyright, and negotiating with publishers, led by Graduate Center librarian Jill Cirasella. Columbia University Libraries held a discussion on “Researcher Success: Institutions and Public Access Requirements.” NYPL hosted law professors from the Authors Alliance, who discussed how authors and researchers can manage their legal rights and choose publication outlets “with an eye on securing long-term impact and availability.” Discussions on open access are regularly held around CUNY; upcoming events are usually listed on at Open Access @ CUNY.
Posted Thursday, December 3, 2015 - 1:48pm
In 2014 I published “Bombing for Justice: Urban Terrorism in New York City from the 1960s through the 1980s” in Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Annual: Global Perspectives, a volume edited by Chief Librarian Larry Sullivan. How can you find this article? The answer is: you cannot. It exists only as a chapter in that book and is not indexed in any databases. Only a half dozen libraries have it on their shelves. Unless it is there you won’t know to search for it. How frustrating! All that research, inaccessible.
Enter CUNY Academic Works (see “Open Access and the new institutional repository,” Spring 2015, and “Open Access and CUNY Academic Works,” this issue). I created an account and uploaded the piece. Now, entering the search terms terrorism, New York, and FALN in Google brings up the article. What had been locked away is now findable and citable, and the work can now join the scholarly discussion already in progress. Furthermore, everything entered into Academic Works can be accessed through OneSearch, the Library’s new search tool.
We assume that all our publications are captured by digital searches, but that is not the case. For American history, the primary database is America History and Life. If an article is not indexed there, it may as well not exist. My 2011 article in the Long Island History Journal, “Brooklyn’s Thirst, Long Island’s Water: Consolidation, Local Control, and the Aquifer,” is not in that database. Uploading it to Academic Works will greatly enhance the likelihood that researchers will find it. In addition, I uploaded a PowerPoint presentation to Academic Works on the same topic.
To reach a wider audience, faculty should submit their book chapters, research in progress, and presentations to this institutional repository. After all, publishing is pointless unless it finds readers.
Posted Thursday, December 3, 2015 - 1:44pm
Public library users in the city have long been able to check books out of their libraries unfacilitated by staff. We’re catching up, with our new-to-us self-service checkout machine. In a spirit of re-use and frugality, we adopted a year-old machine discarded by the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. A generous donation from Student Council financed the retrofit needed to get it to work with our library systems. After some teething trouble we got everything working. New, this machine sells for $18,000, too large a sum for our current budget, but thanks to the ingenuity of the college carpenter, Laurence Benson, our electrician, and network staff, we have been able to provide our community with self-service book checkout at a very low dollar expenditure. Use it to check out all those books you’ve gathered up from the stacks!
Posted Thursday, December 3, 2015 - 1:39pm
The banging and shouting emanating from the lower floor of the Sealy Library this semester are sounds not normally associated with the quietude of a library, yet these are indeed the noises that faculty, students, and Library staff have been living with in the Sealy Library for many weeks this semester. As part of the Haaren Hall upgrade, the Lloyd Sealy Library is also seeing a renovation of its HVAC (Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning) system that will hopefully result in better airflow within a more comfortable range of temperatures.
In addition, as part of a plan dating back more than ten years, a new Special Collections Room is being constructed adjacent to the lower level of the Library, and will have its entrance from the Haaren Hall Atrium. Over the past twelve years the Library’s collections of rare books, manuscript collections, and archival materials have more than tripled in size, resulting in hundreds of linear feet of archival material and rare books being shelved in various locked cages and staff offices. When completed, the new Special Collections and Rare Book Room will not be large enough to accommodate all of our present and future special collections. However, we look forward to a better environment for our most valuable and delicate rare books, manuscripts and archives, and a beautiful state of the art exhibition space and reading room for researchers, as well as a workroom for archivists processing collections.
Unfortunately, neither of these projects can be accomplished without breaking down walls, demolishing old ducts, and cutting new holes. Although all of the noisy work was originally supposed to be completed during hours when the Library is closed, in the end this was not possible and construction has gone on into the early afternoon. Also, the demolishing of the old HVAC unit on the Library’s lower level was not immediately followed by the delivery and construction of a new HVAC unit, and the Library faculty and staff who work in the Library, as well as students studying in the Library, have endured weeks of high temperatures and noisy fans.
There is no firm end date for the work, but we trust that the noise-producing work will be completed by the end of the year, and that the final result will be a more comfortable library and a beautiful Special Collections Room. Then we can all turn our attention to the expansion of the Library Computer Lab area, tentatively scheduled for next summer…
Bonnie Nelson & Ellen Belcher
Posted Thursday, December 3, 2015 - 1:37pm
For as long as any of us can remember, we have maintained a two-tiered system for reserve books in the Library. Faculty could bring library-owned books to the Reserve Desk and request that they be placed on reserve for the semester. They could also bring in personal copies for placement on reserve for students in their class. The former were discoverable via the CUNY+ catalog or OneSearch, labeled as John Jay Reserve in the availability column of the results page and would be requested via Library of Congress call number at the Reserve Desk. The personal copies proved to be more complicated. To find the call number – which in these cases was usually the faculty last name – students and librarians would need to search in the Reserves section of the CUNY+ catalog or OneSearch. This practice, while familiar and somewhat manageable, can be confusing for all involved. Many students do not know whether a book on reserve is a Library or faculty copy, which often involves frustration and delay in accessing the books they need. Often, the same title would wind up in multiple places in the catalog, further confusing both students and staff. Not only that, but in the majority of cases, faculty members did not retrieve their books at the end of semesters, leaving the Reserve Room to become storage for unclaimed books.
To ameliorate this, beginning in the Spring 2016 semester, we will continue to accept personal copies from faculty for reserve, but they will by default be considered library donations. This allows the Library staff to catalog them with Library of Congress call numbers and, more importantly, will make the searching on the part of librarians and students far simpler. In certain circumstances, at the request of a faculty member, we can continue to place books using the last-name-as-call-number system, but this would be for cases such as a customized three-ring binder or other non-book items that require special consideration. If faculty do wish to retrieve their books at the end of the semester, they may still do so, and we will deaccession them. This way, faculty will be helping to grow the Library’s collections with their generous donations while making the lives of their students much easier. For any questions about this new protocol, please contact Kathleen Collins.
Posted Thursday, December 3, 2015 - 1:35pm