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

Lloyd Sealy Library

John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Library News Blog

Rubin Museum


From the announcement emailed to the campus community: 

Last year, seven students won cash prizes of $500 to $3,000 in the John Jay-Rubin Museum Writing Competition. This year, we are giving away $7,000 in total prizes. Now YOU could win up to $3,000 for writing a winning essay!

John Jay College and the Rubin Museum of Art are happy to announce the 4th annual John Jay College-Rubin Museum of Art Writing Competition.

Want to know more? You are invited to attend on-campus informational sessions during Community Hour! Please RSVP to ekaylor@jjay.cuny.edu.

  • February 23rd: Info session for students (room 620 Haaren Hall 1:45-2:35 pm)
  • March 2nd: Final info session for students (room 620 Haaren Hall 1:45-2:35 pm)

Competition rules

I. Who May Enter:

The contest is open to all undergraduate students who are in good standing, full-time or part-time, at John Jay on the final date for submission.

Exceptions: employees and affiliates of the Shelley and Donald Rubin Foundation or the Rubin Museum and members of their immediate families shall be ineligible.

II. Topic of the Prize Essay

Choose a work or set of works of art from the collection of the Rubin Museum. Write an essay about the work (or those works) that explores how the piece or pieces define or express the idea of justice. As John Jay commences its 50th anniversary celebrations, it may be useful to reflect on our history as a college and a force for social change as you come up with the concept for your essay topic. Your essay may consider any of a wide range of issues, including but not limited to: justice as it relates to retribution and punishment; justice as it relates to death; justice as it relates to the possible differences between what gods and human beings consider fair; justice as it relates to violence and non-violence.

Psst... The Library has an online exhibit with helpful resources!

III. Submission & Due Date

In order to be considered an essay must be typewritten and submitted in hard copy. No e-mailed or faxed entries will be considered. The essay must be between 1000 and 3000 words long.

Each student entering an essay must submit five copies of the essay to the Office of Fellowship & Scholarship Opportunities by no later than 5:00pm on April 1st, 2015. The first copy of the essay must be accompanied by a detachable title page bearing the name of the student and the last four digits of his/her Social Security Number. The remaining pages of all copies of the submission must include the last four digits of the Social Security Number and no other identifying information. The Office of Fellowship & Scholarship Opportunities will accept submissions from February 9th through April 1st. Winning essays will be selected by April 13th, with celebration to follow at John Jay’s Research and Creativity Week (beginning on April 27th).

IV. Getting to Know the Rubin Museum of Art

Visiting the Museum is required. Last year’s winners found visits to the museum to be essential to their understanding of the collections and the piece they chose to write about for the essay. This makes sense as the museum is full of helpful staff and educators, and is in tune with our mission of “Educating for Justice.” Encourage your students to make the time to go if they hope to win.

The Rubin Museum offers free admission during regular hours for John Jay College students, faculty, and staff. The museum also has vast resources about exhibitions and Himalayan art and culture available online and on iTunesU.  As we experienced great results in terms of attendance, interest and then awareness of the museum in years past, we plan to work with our Rubin Educational Partnership staff (Laura Lombard and her team) to conduct John Jay student tours at the museum (at least two weeks advance notice for reservations) and “Get to Know the Rubin Museum” sessions on campus for students and faculty in February & March.

The Rubin Museum of Art is located at 150 West 17th Street, New York, NY 10011.

Psst... The Library has an online exhibit with helpful resources!

V.  Selection of Award Recipient

The essays will be reviewed by a Faculty and Administrator committee at John Jay, which shall then announce the winner of the Prize.The names of the winners will be published in the campus publication @John Jay and on the John Jay website. Where scheduling allows, the winners of the Prize(s) will be given an opportunity to showcase/present their work as a part of John Jay’s 2015 Research & Creativity Week.

VI. Prize

The Rubin Essay Award shall consist of a certificate, a one-year complimentary pass to the Rubin Museum, and a cash award to be underwritten by the Shelley and Donald Rubin Foundation:

  • 1st prize: $3,000
  • 2nd prize: $2,000
  • 3rd prize: $1,000
  • 2 Special Mention Prizes: $500 each

Awardee’s prizes shall be used in part to cover tuition and other academic expenses. If an awardee owes tuition fees, the award amount will be used to cover those fees first. The remaining funds are disbursed to the awardee to be used at his/her discretion. (Exception: If an awardee is a graduating senior with all tuition fees paid, then full funds go to awardee for use as he/she sees fit.)

Check your email for the competition announcement for an attached guide to certain exhibits in the museum that may help you to think about its collections and prepare you to enter the writing competition. Please remember that visiting the museum is a requirement to win. The museum is full of helpful staff and educators, and is in tune with our mission of “Educating for Justice.” To support your visits to the museum and writing of the essay, the college will invite Rubin Museum educators to campus throughout February & early March during Community Hour. Look for additional emails regarding these sessions in your inbox. For now, prepare for an engaging and stimulating experience with Art and Justice!

We look forward to congratulating you when you win!

Questions? Please contact the Program Manager, Elizabeth Kaylor.

Posted Thursday, February 19, 2015 - 11:58am

Oxford University Press: Very Short Introductions

Looking for short but authoritative introductions to a range of subjects in the arts and humanities, law, medicine and health, science and mathematics or the social sciences? This Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press may be the solution you were looking for. The Lloyd Sealy Library already provides access to many of these titles, in print or electronically, but now you have the opportunity to explore the full collection. 

Explore all Very Short Introductions » 


Posted Tuesday, February 3, 2015 - 5:45pm

Human Rights Studies Online

Provides primary and secondary materials across multiple media formats and content types for each selected event, including Armenia, the Holocaust, Cambodia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Rwanda, Darfur, and more than 30 additional subjects. Resources for each topic guide users through the full scope of the event, from the historical context that made such violations possible through the international response, prosecution of perpetrators, and steps toward rebuilding." This database includes over 75,000 pages of text and 150 hours of video. 

Be sure to use the unique interface tools to search the collection by people discussed, places discussed, organizations or by academic disciplines ranging from politics to art.

You can also access Human Rights Studies Online from the list of databases by title on the library's homepage.


Posted Monday, February 2, 2015 - 12:39pm

Understanding the Torture Report

With the release on Dec. 3, 2014 of the so-called “Torture Report” by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, many questions have arisen about how the CIA treats detainees in its secret prisons. The 6,700-page report is an indictment of the CIA in many respects, faulting the agency for utilizing brutal interrogation techniques as well as misleading Congress and the White House about their effectiveness, which the CIA denies. The controversy about human rights abuses and CIA oversight is ongoing.

As we grapple with fallout from the report, reading through books that touch on its topics will guide us through the history of detainment and torture, help us understand strategies used in the War on Terror, and give us access to different perspectives.

Take a look at the "Understanding the Torture Report" exhibit on the Library's first floor, at the bottom of the staircase in the Niederhoffer Lounge.

Recommended reading & watching

Skip to:


The report

PDF, 500+ pages. By the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. (2014). This is the executive summary of the "Torture Report." Also cataloged in CUNY+

The Body in Pain: The Making and Unmaking of the World
By Scarry, E. (1987). Stacks (BJ1409 .S35 1987)
Part philosophical meditation, part cultural critique, this work explores the nature of physical suffering. Elaine Scarry bases her study on a wide range of sources: literature and art, medical case histories, documents on torture compiled by Amnesty International, legal transcripts of personal injury trials, and military and strategic writings by such figures as Clausewitz, Churchill, Liddell Hart, and Henry Kissinger. Scarry begins with the fact of pain's inexpressibility. Not only is physical pain difficult to describe in words, it also actively destroys language, reducing sufferers in the most extreme cases to an inarticulate state of cries and moans. Scarry goes on to analyse the political ramifications of deliberately inflicted pain, specifically in the cases of warfare and torture, and she demonstrates how political regimes use the power of physical pain to attack and break down the sufferer's sense of self. Finally she turns to examples of artistic and cultural activity; actions achieved in the face of pain and difficulty.—Publisher's description 

The History of Torture
By Innes, B. (1998). Reference (HV8593 .I55 1998)
However repugnant the practice of torture seems to us today, it was legal for at least 3,000 years, and formed a part of most legal codes in Europe and the Far East. This book tells the history of torture from its origins to the present day. —Publisher’s description

The History of Torture
By Mannix, D. (2003). Stacks (HV8593 .M36 2003) 
Covers changes in torture practices, and the theories and techniques of torturers from pre-history to the modern era.—Torture subject guide

Is Torture Ever Justified?
By Head, T. (2005). Stacks (HV8593 .I75 2005)
Contains brief essays that present contrasting arguments on topics such as whether the United States military should obey the Geneva Conventions, or whether torture is justifiable.—Torture subject guide

Torture: A Collection
By Levinson, S. (2004). Stacks (HV8593 .T662 2004) 
While the legal prohibition on torture is among the most absolute—its status is akin to slavery and genocide in international law—many of the prominent lawyers, philosophers, political scientists and other thinkers contributing to this provocative yet sober collection acknowledge that torture can be an acceptable option in an extreme situation, such as the interrogation of a captured terrorist who has knowledge of a "ticking bomb." Authors grapple with whether the moral legitimacy of torture in extreme cases should receive legal sanction, or whether a disjunction between law and morality is preferable. —Publishers Weekly

Understanding Torture: Law, Violence, and Political Identity
By Parry, J. (2010). Stacks (K5304 .P37 2010). Also available as an ebook
Prohibiting torture will not end it. In Understanding Torture, John T. Parry explains that torture is already a normal part of the state coercive apparatus. Torture is about dominating the victim for a variety of purposes, including public order; control of racial, ethnic, and religious minorities; and—critically—domination for the sake of domination. Seen in this way, Abu Ghraib sits on a continuum with contemporary police violence in U.S. cities; violent repression of racial minorities throughout U.S. history; and the exercise of power in a variety of political, social, and interpersonal contacts.—Publisher's description

About human rights

Confronting Evils: Terrorism, Torture, Genocide
By Card, C. (2010). Stacks (BJ1401 .C293 2010). Also available as an ebook
In this contribution to philosophical ethics, Claudia Card redefines evil as a secular concept and focusing on the inexcusability—rather than the culpability—of atrocities. Card examines the tension between responding to evils and preserving humanitarian values. This stimulating and often provocative book contends that understanding the evils in terrorism, torture and genocide enables us to recognize similar evils in everyday life: daily life under oppressive regimes and in racist environments; violence against women, including in the home; violence and executions in prisons; hate crimes; and violence against animals.—Publisher's description 

Getting Away With Torture: The Bush Administration and Mistreatment of Detainees
By Brody, R. (Human Rights Watch). (2011). Stacks (HV8599 .U6 B76 2011). Also available as an ebook
This report combines past Human Rights Watch reporting with more recently available information, analyzing this information in the context of US and international law. The report concludes that considerable evidence exists to warrant criminal investigations against four senior US officials: former President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and CIA Director George Tenet. Human Rights Watch calls for criminal investigations into their roles, and those of lawyers involved in the Justice Department memos authorizing unlawful treatment of detainees.—Human Rights Watch description

Ghost Prisoner: Two Years in Secret CIA Detention
By Mariner, J. & Sifton, J. (Human Rights Watch). (2007). Available as an online report (PDF)
This 50-page report contains a detailed description of a secret CIA prison from a Palestinian former detainee who was released from custody. The report provides the most comprehensive account to date of life in a secret CIA prison, as well as information regarding 38 possible detainees. The report explains that these prisoners’ treatment by the CIA constitutes enforced disappearance, a practice that is absolutely prohibited under international law. —Human Rights Watch

Ghosts of Abu Ghraib
2008. Media Reserve (DVD-724) 
Interviews with perpetrators, witnesses, and victims examining the abuses that occurred in the fall of 2003 at the notorious Iraqi prison. Probes the psychology of how typical American men and women came to commit these atrocious acts. —Catalog description

This Side of Silence Torture, Human Rights, and the Recognition of Cruelty
By Kelly, T. (2012). Stacks (HV8599 .G8 K45 2012). Also available as an ebook
This Side of Silence approaches the problem of torture in an unconventional and illuminating way. Human rights scholars and students will relish its clarity and insightfulness. As for human rights campaigners, they will find in it a warning about the inherent limitations of the legal process and thus an invitation to think more deeply and imaginatively about when and how to use legal means in order to oppose the blight of torture and, indeed, other injustices too.—Human Rights Quarterly

Torture: Does It Make Us Safer? Is It Ever OK?: A Human Rights Perspective
By Roth, K., Worden, Minky (eds). (2005). Stacks (HV8593 .T6623 2005)
A collection of essays that examine state-sponsored torture in the context of international law. Essay covers topics ranging from the history of torture, torture and terrorism, and torture in Latin America.—Torture subject guide

About the American torture debate

By Shiekh, I. (2011). Available as an ebook 
Richly told and uniquely heartrending, this book collects personal narratives of Muslim immigrants from Pakistan, Egypt, India, and Palestine who were racially profiled, detained indefinitely, and mistreated following the September 11 attacks. From descriptions of physical abuse at the hands of American prison employees to a harrowing account of extraordinary rendition and torture in Egypt, these powerful stories will inspire both empathy and outrage. Exploring themes of globalization and ethnic tension in the context of the global war on terror, Irum Shiekh here provides a space for former detainees to tell their stories and reveal the human cost of suspending civil liberties after a wartime emergency.—Catalog description
By Bassiouni, M. (2010). Stacks (HV8599 .U6 B37 2010)
Covers the prohibition of torture under international and United States law; interrogation techniques; the torture-enabling policy and its trickle-down effects; the practice of "extraordinary rendition" and the use of "black sites" by the CIA; responsibility: political, legal, and ethical considerations; and the Obama administration's actions January 2009-April 2010. —Table of contents
By Phillips, J. (2010). Stacks (HV8599 .U6 P56 2010)
Recounts the dark journey of a tank battalion as its focus switched from conventional military duties to guerilla warfare and prisoner detention. Author Joshua E. S. Phillips tells a story of ordinary soldiers, ill trained for the responsibilities foisted upon them, who descended into a cycle of degradation that led to the abuse of detainees. The book illustrates that the damaging legacy of torture is borne not only by the detainees, but also by American soldiers and the country to which they have returned.—Publisher's description
A Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation, from the Cold War to the War on Terror
By McCoy, A. (2006). Stacks (HV8599 .U6 M33 2006)
In this revelatory account of the CIA's secret fifty-years effort to develop new forms of torture, historian Alfred W. McCoy uncovers the deep, disturbing roots of recent scandals at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. Far from aberrations, as the White House has claimed. A Question of Torture shows that these abuses are the product of a long-standing covert program of interrogation.—Publisher's description
Time in the Shadows: Confinement in Counterinsurgencies
By Khalili, L. (2013). Stacks (U241 .K43 2013). Also available as an ebook
Winner of the 2013 Susan Strange Book Prize. Winner of the 2013 IPS Section Book Award, sponsored by the ISA International Political Sociology Section. Khalili investigates the two major liberal counterinsurgencies of our day: Israeli occupation of Palestine and the U.S. War on Terror. In rich detail, the book investigates Abu Ghraib, Guantánamo Bay, CIA black sites, the Khiam Prison, and Gaza, among others, and links them to a history of colonial counterinsurgencies. Ultimately, Khalili confirms that as tactics of counterinsurgency have been rendered more "humane," they have also increasingly encouraged policymakers to willingly choose to wage wars.—Publisher’s description
Terror Detentions and the Rule of Law: US & UK Perspectives
By Wagstaff, R. (2014). Stacks (K5437 .W34 2014)
Dr. Robert H. Wagstaff documents President George W. Bush's and Prime Minister Tony Blair's responses to 9/11, alleging that they failed to protect the human rights of individuals suspected of terrorist activity. New legal paradigms for addressing terrorism are shown to be normatively invalid, illegal, unconstitutional, counter-productive, and in conflict with the Rule of Law. —Publisher’s description
Torture and Impunity
By McCoy, A. (2012). Stacks (HV8599 .U6 M34 2012). Also available as an ebook
Many Americans have condemned the “enhanced interrogation” techniques used in the War on Terror as a transgression of human rights. But the United States has done almost nothing to prosecute past abuses or prevent future violations. Tracing this knotty contradiction from the 1950s to the present, historian Alfred W. McCoy probes the political and cultural dynamics that have made impunity for torture a bipartisan policy of the U.S. government.—Publisher’s description
The Torture Debate in America
By Greenberg, K. (ed). (2006). Stacks (JC599 .U5 T665 2006)
Covers arguments from legislators, human rights advocates, and others who are for or against the use of torture in the War on Terror.—Torture subject guide

About the CIA

America’s Great Game: The CIA’s Secret Arabists and the Shaping of the Modern Middle East
By Wilford, H. (2013). Stacks (DS63.2 .U5 W49 2013) 
From the 9/11 attacks to waterboarding to drone strikes, relations between the United States and the Middle East seem caught in a downward spiral. And all too often, the Central Intelligence Agency has made the situation worse. But this crisis was not a historical inevitability—far from it. Indeed, the earliest generation of CIA operatives was actually the region's staunchest western ally. In America's Great Game, celebrated intelligence historian Hugh Wilford reveals the surprising history of the CIA's pro-Arab operations in the 1940s and 50s by tracing the work of the agency's three most influential-and colorful-officers in the Middle East.—Catalog description

By Mahle, M. (2004). Available as an ebook 
A former clandestine agent specializing in the Middle East, Mahle begins with September 11th, but the bulk of her work recounts the CIA's involvement in such low watermarks of American intelligence as the Iran-Contra and the Ames affairs, and what she says have been their the devastating internal consequences. This is not just a memoir; Mahle joined the agency in 1988, and she pings back and forth in time, covering events and periods with which she was not directly involved. She decries what she characterizes as indiscriminate Congressional investigations, as well as political pressures to tailor conclusions to the biases of superiors. Both have led, she says, to demoralization and to a serious reduction in the CIA's overall capabilities. —Publishers Weekly
From Open Society Foundations. (2013). Stacks (KF9635 .G56 2013)
This report is the most comprehensive account yet assembled of the human rights abuses associated with secret detention and extraordinary rendition operations. It details for the first time the number of known victims, and lists the foreign governments that participated in these operations. It shows that responsibility for the abuses lies not only with the United States but with dozens of foreign governments that were complicit. More than 10 years after the 2001 attacks, this report makes it unequivocally clear that the time has come for the United States and its partners to definitively repudiate these illegal practices and secure accountability for the associated human rights abuses.—Catalog description
By Weiner, T. (2007). Stacks (JK468 .I6 W44 2007) 
Winner of the National Book Award for Nonfiction. Here is the hidden history of the CIA: why 11 presidents and three generations of CIA officers have been unable to understand the world; why nearly every CIA director has left the agency in worse shape than he found it; and how these failures have profoundly jeopardized our national security. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Weiner offers the first definitive history of the CIA, based on more than 50,000 documents, primarily from the archives of the CIA itself, and hundreds of interviews with CIA veterans, including ten Directors of Central Intelligence.—Publisher description.
By Mudd, P. (2013). Available as an ebook
Philip Mudd served as Deputy Director of the Counterterrorist Center at the CIA and later as Deputy Director of the National Security Branch at the FBI. Takedown sheds light on the inner workings of the intelligence community during the global counterterror campaign. As a participant in and a witness to key strategic initiatives—including the hunt for Osama bin Laden and efforts to displace the Taliban—Mudd offers an insider's perspective on the relationships between the White House, the State Department, and national security agencies before and after the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. Through telling vignettes, Mudd reveals how intelligence analysts understood and evaluated potential dangers and communicated them to political leaders.—Publisher’s description
2013. Media Reserve (DVD-1282)
A chronicle of the decade-long hunt for al-Qaeda terrorist leader Osama bin Laden after the September 2001 attacks, and his death at the hands of the Navy S.E.A.L. Team 6 in May 2011.—Catalog description

Research resources

Through the Library, you have access to a great deal of articles, journals, newspapers, encyclopedias, streaming films, and more. Here are a few that may be helpful in following and understanding the Torture Report. You can access these from the Library homepage.

Torture subject guideWritten by Profs. Karen Okamoto and Ellen Belcher, librarians here at John Jay, to guide your research on the topic of torture. Includes a special section on the CIA “Torture Report.” 

The New York TimesProviding up-to-date and comprehensive coverage of this topic. You can sign up for a free digital account through CUNY for unlimited article views and the smartphone app.

Opposing Viewpoints in ContextRead through many perspectives on certain controversial topics, including torture. The viewpoints cite primary sources and link to other online resources. Library database.

Criminal Justice AbstractsScholarly articles and annotations of books and book chapters in criminal justice from 1968 to the present. Library database.

CQ Researcher Plus ArchiveExplores a single hot issue in the news in depth each week. Look for these reports: Closing Guantánamo (2009/2011), Torture Debate (2007), Torture (2003), and Treatment of Detainees (2006). Library database.

PsycInfoMuch of the news reports surrounding the Torture Report mention that the CIA hired psychologists to devise means of interrogation. Read more about what published psychologists say about torture and interrogation at our go-to resource for psychology information. Library database.

Published International Literature On Traumatic Stress (PILOTS): Covers articles related to traumatic stress and other mental-health conditions resulting from traumatic events, including torture. Library database.

Compiled by Robin Davis with help from Ellen Belcher and Karen Okamoto

Posted Tuesday, December 16, 2014 - 3:59pm

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

More from the Fall 2014 newsletter »

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

More from the Fall 2014 newsletter »

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 libvideo@jjay.cuny.edu 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