Library News Blog
The library relies heavily on our dedicated team of college assistants (CAs) and work study students to keep the library open. They help hundreds of students, faculty and staff at our circulation desk and reserve room answering queries and completing circulation transactions. Some of our CAs have been working with us for years, while some have joined us this Fall. Our team includes computer science majors, future forensic scientists, undergraduate students and graduate students. Some are native New Yorkers and some are international students. Not all are pictured here, but we hope you will meet most of them on your next visit to the library.
Photo foreground, left to right: Jibran Hussain, Tichania Nathaniel, Tané Dixon, Gabriella Lopez, Ayana Ikenouchi
Background, left to right: Zann Blanchard (Head of Circulation) and Steven DeJesus
More from the Fall 2019 newsletter
Posted Tuesday, December 10, 2019 - 2:02pm
By Ellen Sexton
A complete list of our DVDs is available at https://guides.lib.jjay.cuny.edu/video/DVD All DVDs are shelved behind the Reserve Desk – please ask for them by DVD number.
Abacus: Small Enough to Jail (2016). Dir. S. James. The only bank charged with a crime after the 2008 financial crisis is a small family bank in NYC Chinatown. Documentary. DVD 1554.
Birds of Passage = Pájaros de verano (2018). Dir.s C. Gallego & C. Guerra. Set in 1970s Colombia, an indigenous family becomes involved in the nascent drug trade. Narco-thriller. DVD 1568.
Documenting Hate: Charlottesville & New American Nazis (2019). Two part Emmy winning series from Pro Publica & PBS. Documentary. DVD 1559.
Embrace of the Serpent = El abrazo de la serpiente (2015). Dir. C. Guerra. Shot in black and white in the Colombian Amazon, it follows a shaman accompanying scientists in their search for a hallucinogenic plant in 1909 and 1940. Drama. DVD 1570.
Fail State: Subprime Goes to College (2017). Dir. A. Shebanow. For-profit colleges’ predatory practices and their effects on low-income students. Documentary. DVD 1552.
Newtown (2106). Dir. K. Snyder. Interviews with the community during three years following the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre. Documentary. DVD 1561.
Nowhere to Hide (2016). Dir. Z. Ahmed. A civilian medic living with his family in Diyala, Central Iraq filmed his surroundings during five years of war. Received best documentary award at IDFA. DVD #1562.
The First Measured Century (2001). PBS documentary portraying 20th Century social scientists. 16 segments, three hours. DVD 1564.
The Hunt / Jagten (2013). A small community ostracizes and terrorizes a Danish pre-school teacher unjustly accused of abusing a child. Drama. DVD 1570.
Explore our film and video collections via our guide: guides.lib.jjay.cuny.edu/video
More from the Fall 2019 newsletter
Posted Tuesday, December 10, 2019 - 1:57pm
By Ellen Sexton
The full catalogue of over 300 contemporary documentaries streaming from distributor Film Platform is now available through the Library. Many of the films were selected for screening at the Berlinale, Sundance, Locano, SXSW, HotDocs and other festivals. Each video has a permanent URL (look for the paper clip icon!) that may be shared with students via Blackboard, email, etc. Off-campus access is available by way of JJ email user ID and password. Subtitles or closed-captioning is already available for most titles, and may be requested for all. Adding entire or partial films to course content may improve learning and enrich the course content; please consider assigning documentaries or clips as homework or show in class.
Titles of special relevance to our curriculum include:
3 1/2 Minutes, Ten Bullets (2015). Dir. M. Silver. “Stand your ground” is the defense tactic in a Florida trial of a white man for the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager outside a gas station.
Crime after crime (2011). Dir. Y. Potash. Pro bono lawyers for the California Habeas Project work to free an incarcerated domestic violence survivor convicted of murdering her abuser.
Death by a thousand cuts (2016). Dir. J.M. Botero. A border patrol officer on the border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic is murdered, as protected D.R. forests are illegally chopped down to feed charcoal furnaces. “This murder becomes the metaphor for the larger story of increasing tension between Haiti and the Dominican Republic over illicit charcoal exploitation and mass deforestation. “
Devil’s bargain: A journey into the small arms trade (2008). Dir. S. Saywell. Gun shows in the U.S. feed the illegal spread of arms around the world. “From dealers, to pilots, to end-users, to the victims, we discover a largely unregulated trade in what has become the globalization of death.”
(Dis)Honesty: The truth about lies (2015). Dir. Y. Melamede. Behavioral economist Dan Ariely has measured dishonesty in 40,000 people. This documentary mixes anecdotes from private and public figures with reenactments of Ariely’s experiments and lectures to explore acts of dishonesty and the effects on individuals and society.
Do not resist (2016). Dir. Craig Atkinson. The militarization of U.S. police departments.
Dolores (2017). Dir. P. Bratt. The life and work of unionist, feminist, environmental activist & social justice warrior, Dolores Huerta. Co-founder with Cesar Chavez of farm workers’ unions, and originator of the United Farm Workers motto Sí se puede [Yes we can]. Won the audience award at San Francisco International Film Festival.
Eating animals (2017). Dir. C. Quinn. Based Jonathan Safran Foer’s book, this film presents alternatives to conventional industrial agriculture practices.
Foster (2018). Dir. M. Harris. Children, parents and social workers at the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services talk about their experiences of foster care.
How to survive a plague (2012). Dir. David France. Documents the early days of Act Up! AIDS activism. Critics called it one of the top films of 2012.
Night will fall (2014). Dir. A. Singer. Archival footage and first person accounts of the liberation of Nazi concentration camps.
Roll Red Roll (2018). Dir. N. Schwartzman. A true crime blogger and others call out a small Ohio town for rape culture & misogyny, during the police investigation and subsequent trial of two high school football players for sexually assaulting a 16 year old woman. The New York Times wrote “an essential watch.”
Running with Beto (2019). Dir. D. Modigliani. Inside Beto O’Rourke’s unsuccessful campaign for senate seat in Texas. Award winner at SXSW and Sun Valley festivals.
The act of killing (2012). Dir. J. Oppenheimer. Fifty years ago, in Indonesia, a half million people were exterminated in a politically motivated genocide. The perpetrators were never punished. This is an exploration of the thoughts and actions of some of them, as they reenact their murderous activities in the style of their favorite film genres. Weird and deeply unsettling. Received numerous festival awards.
The cleaners (2018). Dir.s M. Riesewieck & H. Block. Young people in the Philippines are hired by outsourcing Silicon Valley tech companies to watch, identify & label for removal objectionable content. Implications for their mental health, and some unintended consequences of censorship are explored.
The Great Invisible (2012). Dir. M. Brown. The 2010 explosion of B.P. offshore oil rig Deepwater Horizon killed 11 people, injured many, polluted Gulf waters and shoreline with devastating effects for the local economy, wildlife and environment. As told by company executives, rig workers and residents. (Grand Jury Prize winning documentary at SXSW).
The hunting ground: The Inside Story of Sexual Assault on American College Campuses (2015). Dir. K. Dick. “A startling exposé of sexual assault on U.S. campuses, institutional cover-ups and the brutal social toll on victims and their families”.
The Invisible War (2012). Dir. K. Dick. Rape in the U.S. Armed Forces. “An estimated 30 percent of servicewomen and at least 1 percent of servicemen are sexually assaulted during their enlistment, not by the enemy, but at the hands of fellow soldiers.” Emmy Best Documentary winner.
Thieves by law (2010). Dir. A. Gentelev. Explores the evolution of Soviet career criminals into successful Russian “businessmen.” The documentary follows three notorious, politically well-connected and brutal mobsters as they talk about their path to astonishing wealth.
Unwanted witness (2008). Dir. J. Lozano. A Colombian journalist (Hollman Morris, host of weekly show Contravía) faces death threats from drug traffickers. “Like a thriller.”
Walls (2015). Examines the people & structures guarding the borders of U.S-Mexico, South Africa-Zimbabwe and Spain- Morocco, and those passing through.
Women of Hamas (2010). Dir. Suha Araff. The most powerful women in the Palestinian territories, by the director of The Syrian Bride.
Please explore our film & video collections via our guide (guides.lib.jjay.cuny.edu/video)
More from the Fall 2019 newsletter
Posted Tuesday, December 10, 2019 - 1:55pm
Roxane Gay, Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body. London: Coursair, 2017.
Roxane Gay gives us a deeply personal account of her body and her relationship to it. Throughout the book, her experience of rape at age 12, as well as other experiences, are directly tied to her ongoing hunger for food as it relates to a need to live in a large body. Gay comes to an understanding of how enlarging her body is tied to feeling safe in a world fraught with bodily danger for black, queer women. Hunger inspires us to unlearn prevailing attitudes toward those whose bodies might be called “fat.” It also makes us [re]consider how our identities and pasts may (or may not) inhabit our own lived bodies. Practically, it also has given me a critical eye to how larger bodies inhabit spaces, passageways and even chairs - are they accessible and safe for all bodies? Roxane Gay gives us some useful criticism on these issues too.
Meghan Daum, The Problem with Everything: My Journey Through the New Culture Wars. New York: Gallery Books, 2019.
In her newest book, author and essayist Meghan Daum takes on the hot button issues of the day including the #metoo movement, identity politics and political correctness. As a liberal feminist who doesn’t follow a script, she is provocative and self-aware, recognizing her own inner conflicts and lack of sureness about the myriad cultural controversies. The lack of sureness is her central point. And as a champion of nuance – for which she and other writers and public intellectuals are often vilified - she believes more of us should be embracing complexity rather than taking a “virtue signaling” stand on social media that feeds a destructive tribalism. As serious as her subject matter is, she writes with humor, and especially in her final pages, poignancy.
More from the Fall 2019 newsletter
Posted Tuesday, December 10, 2019 - 1:51pm
By Karen Okamoto
As we approach the 2020 presidential election, we thought it would be timely to highlight the Voting and Elections Collection from CQ Press. This collection brings together data, analyses, and reference articles on American voters, political parties as well as past and recent races for Congress, the presidency and governorships. The collection draws upon several sources including census data, the Biographical Directory of the American Congress 1774-1996 and a range of CQ/Sage publications such as the series America Votes and CQ’s Politics in America. The election data coverage begins as early as 1789 (for presidential elections) and includes data as recent as the 2018 midterm elections. The collection can help researchers answer and explore questions such as: Which candidates and Congressional seats have changed parties? How successful has a particular party been in my county over time? and Which third party candidates, such as members of the Green Party, have been elected?
The collection can be searched through different access points. You can enter keywords into the basic search bar on the homepage. To add more precision to your search select the Advanced Search option which provides additional filters. Overall, the collection is divided into three main sections. The browse
topics section includes election data and encyclopedia articles on issues such as voter rights, campaign finance and profiles of political parties. A second search tab is devoted to election results and includes filters for office, election type, region and year. The third search tab allows researchers to compare data, find candidates, search party affiliation changes, view landslide and close races, and find third party candidates. The collection also provides numerous maps for visualizing election results from different time periods (see image of the 2016 Presidential Popular Vote map).
The Voting and Elections Collection from CQ Press provides maps of election results dating from 1824-2016.
You can access the Voting and Elections Collection from our list of Political Science databases at www.lib.jjay.cuny.edu/databases/political-science. CQ also provides a short video introducing the Collection and its search features at https://tinyurl.com/CQvotingElectionsCollection.
More from the Fall 2019 newsletter
Posted Tuesday, December 10, 2019 - 1:48pm
By Jeffrey Kroessler
The Greek philosopher Heraclitus wrote, “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.” I somehow thought this was a Buddhist tenet. How remarkable that a little research can set you straight.
That assumes, of course, that one can trust what one finds, that the research trek has lit upon a reliable source. One is always aware that information may be inaccurate. I know, because one of the entries I rewrote for the second edition of The Encyclopedia of New York City contains a whopper. But that was unintentional. It was only because I never saw the final version before the volume went to the printer. But what if the source had intentionally promulgated false information? What if the motives of the writer were impure?
This is where I enter George Orwell’s dystopian world of 1984. I have read this book many times. The first time was when I was twelve; I’d heard it was a dirty book. I never did find the dirty parts, unless one recognizes that the entire novel is dirty. I guess that is why it has been banned in various places since it was published. Like Heraclitus stepping into the river, I found a different book each time I entered it – as a middle school student, a graduate student studying
Soviet history, an English teacher, and as a librarian. It is about totalitarianism; the fate of the individual; geopolitics; surveillance.
As a librarian, I see 1984 as a book about information. Winston Smith toils in the Ministry of Truth, where his job is to manufacture lies. He rewrites the past so it conforms always to truths accepted in the present, and that troubled him, even as he diligently performed his tasks. “If the Party could thrust its hand into the past and say of this or that event, it never happened,” he mused, “that, surely was more terrifying than mere torture and death?” How lonely to understand that if all records told the same tale, and if everyone else accepted that story without question, “then the lie passed into history and became truth.” That was the real horror. Once Winston saw a scrap of evidence proving that the party’s official narrative was untrue. “It exists,” he exclaims when his interrogator, O’Brien, briefly shows it to him. “No,” said O’Brien as he tossed it into the memory hole. “It does not exist. It never existed.”
In our current climate we call this “fake news.” I struggle over the veracity of what I find online. Some twenty-somethings do nothing of the sort. They assume that nothing they find there is to be trusted. In this they are like Winston’s young lover, Julia, who said matter-of-factly that she thought the missiles falling on London from time to time were fired by their own government.
During Banned Books Week we installed a small exhibit in our library to mark the 70th anniversary of its publication, complete with a “Big Brother is Watching You” poster. Librarians are in the business of vetting information sources and pointing our patrons to reliable sources. This function is more crucial than it has ever been before, because the truth has never been more slippery. In China today, the events in Tiananmen Square in 1989 never happened.
More from the Fall 2019 newsletter
Posted Tuesday, December 10, 2019 - 1:45pm
By Marta Bladek
During my sabbatical last year, I relied heavily on remote access to the Library’s resources to do my research. Being able to find and work with scholarly resources from home was a great convenience. There were a few research strategies that were essential to making my work efficient and organized. Working with Google Scholar was one of them. I am sharing a couple of quick tips in the hope that other faculty may find them useful as well.
Customizing Google Scholar to get full-text articles
Although Google Scholar has its shortcomings and is not a comprehensive search engine for scholarly information, it offers an easy and familiar way to access full-text articles available through the Library. One way to accomplish that is to get to Google Scholar directly from the Library home page [Figure 1]. Google Scholar is listed on the drop-down menu of our most popular databases. When accessed and searched this way, Google Scholar displays results with a note indicating full-text availability through the Library.
Customizing your own Google Scholar settings is another way to keep track of which results are quickly viewable because the Library subscribes to them. To activate this off-campus feature you have to follow a few simple steps.
On the Google Scholar search page:
- Click on the menu button and then click Settings.
- Select Library links and search for John Jay College.
- Check off all three available options in the search results, then click Save. [Figure 2]
- When the full text of an article is available through a Library subscription, a Full View or Find JJ Fulltext link on the right. [Figure 3]
Clicking on Full View or Find JJ Fulltext will take you to the full-text version of the article.
Another useful feature in Google Scholar settings is the Button browser plugin (it is available as an add-in in all the popular browsers). You can install the Scholar Button to look up scholarly articles when you search online without having to search Google Scholar itself. [Figure 4] Not only will you get the scholarly resources highlighted in your search results, but you will also be able to get ready citations (in APA or another style).