Library News Blog

We are thrilled to announce the John Jay Community now has access to 300-plus contemporary documentaries streaming on Film Platform.   If you are looking for recently made, well-received documentaries on important issues, you’re going to like this new collection.  Subject matter includes human rights, crime, genocide, the environment, psychology, politics, disability studies, African-American studies, Asian studies, Jewish studies, sociology.  Many of these films were shown, and won prizes, at prestigious international film festivals.  




More about all our streaming collections... 


1984 was published seventy years ago. Since then, George Orwell’s warning about a totalitarian future has been praised and condemned; it has been required reading and banned. In recognition of Banned Books Week, the library offers a special program about this controversial book in the library classroom. 

Thursday, September 26, 1:40 to 3 pm.






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Over the summer, our IT Academic Applications Director and our technical team of college assistants worked incredibly hard and quickly to replace all the Library’s computer hardware updating our operating systems to the newer and faster Windows 10. We hope you notice the difference when you use our computers this fall semester. As always we welcome your feedback and questions.


Recommended reading, selected by John Jay librarians.

Susan Opotow and Zachary Baron Shemtob, New York after 9/11. New York: Fordham University Press, 2018.

Available at John Jay at Stacks HV6432.7.N485 2018

For those of us here on that horrific day, 9/11 is still very much present. But it has been almost 20 years. Susan Opotow (Professor of Sociology at John Jay) and Zachary Baron Shemtob have put together a collection of essays analyzing how memory becomes history. Of particular interest are contributions by architect Daniel Libeskind on his thinking behind the master plan for Ground Zero, and Michael Arad on his design for the memorial. Other chapters discuss the long term health impacts, surveillance of Muslims, and the 9/11 Museum.This volume gives historians, urbanists, and New Yorkers much to consider, as many of the issues the editors raise remain controversial and in play.  Jeffrey A. Kroessler

Benjamin Dreyer, Dreyer’s English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style. New York: Random House, 2019.

Available to borrow from several CUNY libraries. Place a request through OneSearch.

If you’re looking to improve your writing or answer and re-answer those perennial questions about em dashes and proper pluralizing, this book serves as a style guide that can sit on the shelf right alongside your Fowler’s and Strunk & White. The difference with Dreyer’s is that it’s also an entertaining read, even if you’re not a confirmed grammar geek who read every page like it’s a cliffhanger as I did. As one who eschews the serial (a.k.a. Oxford) comma, I was deemed a godless savage by the author 24 pages in. But that did not diminish my newfound devotion to Dreyer who insists that sentences can begin with “but.” This is a language lover’s book and a witty, authoritative reference rolled into one. Kathleen Collins

Tim Maughan, Infinite Detail. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2019.

Available in print, ebook, and audiobook formats from NYPL. Not yet available to borrow through CUNY libraries.

Maughan’s novel takes place in the near future and less-near future, before and after a cataclysmic event that “eats the Internet,” leaving all networked devices unusable. Several storylines intersect in this ominous meditation on how heavily modern life depends on functional networks and software, and how precarious this situation may be. Part of the story fixates on the logistical infrastructure of the global economy, a fictional extension of Maughan’s tech journalism, including his 2015 BBC story, “The Invisible Network That Keeps the World Running,” about his time aboard a container ship. If, like me, you enjoy dystopian fiction, infrastructure studies, and alarmist takes on the “Internet of things,” you will find Infinite Detail to be a pageturner. Robin Davis

More from the Spring 2019 newsletter


Selected transcripts from the Lloyd Sealy Library’s trial transcripts collection have been digitized from microfilm. The full collection consists of the verbatim typewritten proceedings of 3,326 court cases, held in various courts of New York County, which included Manhattan and the Bronx until 1914. Over 150 of these trial transcripts were digitized as part of the Library's 2007 “Crime in New York 1850-1950” digital project, which also published a digital index that offers searching and browsing by defendants, judges, attorneys, and charges.

Grainy page

First page of People of the State of New York v Augusta Crisanti (Trial #1063), one of the newly-digitized trial transcripts

This spring, with funding from the Library and several researchers, a further 483 trial transcripts were digitized. The Library is currently processing them to be made available in the Digital Collections. Aminata Bangura, Ellen Belcher, Kathleen Collins, Omar Rivera, and Ellen Sexton have begun collating the digitized materials. Robin Davis and Sajan Ravindran set up a metadata migration for these materials. Tania Colmant-Donabedian provided researcher support.

Robin Davis

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New in the Digital Collections

We’ve recently digitized the Fuld Collection, which consists of 57 photographs of police officers modeling their uniforms as well as some photos of police accessories. Each photograph is identified on the back with its country name. Many of these countries are identified by their colonial names. Possibly these uniforms are of colonial troops. A few dates on the back of the photos refer to the 1930s. These photographs were perhaps collected through connections made during Dr. Fuld's research for his dissertation, which was later published as Police Administration: A Critical Study of Police Organizations in the United States and Abroad, available to check out from the Stacks at call number HV7935 .F7 1971.

Hover for image titles. Click to see hi-res photos on our Digital Collections site.

Chinese man in white uniform and hat Large man in uniform with gun on city street

Man in uniform with white hat and shirt, directing traffic Man in uniform with long cloak

Two men in uniform with high riding boots Man in uniform with fez and sash

Dr. Leonhard Felix Fuld was the author of several works on public administration, police administration, and civil service. He was educated at Columbia University and taught at Baruch College, among other institutions. His philanthropy primarily benefitted many institutions providing education for nurses. Dr. Fuld lived with his sister, Florentine, at 130 East 110th Street until her death in 1953, after which he lived in Trenton on Fuld Street. He helped establish training academies for the New York City, Rochester, and Washington police forces. He established the Cities Service School for Security Salesman as well as teaching in at Baruch School of Business and Public Administration (at that time part of City College of New York). Fuld’s fortune was said to come from Harlem real estate and the stock market. In 1958, the Leonhard Felix Fuld Investment Foundation portfolio was created, consisting of one share of stock from every company sold on the New York Stock Exchange. Upon his death, this investment portfolio was given to the Wharton School of University of Pennsylvania, allowing students to attend stockholder’s meetings and obtain financial reports.

From the finding aid prepared by Ellen Belcher, Special Collections Librarian

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Still from Crime + Punishment, available on DVD

Ellen Sexton

Available in AVON streaming videos

Our AVON collection of streaming films from Proquest/Alexander Street continues to grow, with the addition of David Attenborough’s stunning documentaries Blue Planet and Blue Planet II and other BBC natural history series.

Did you know you can explore international art house cinema in AVON? It includes films that have won awards at major film festivals — Cannes, Berlin, Busan, Locarno, BAFTA, as well as the U.S. Golden Globes, Sunshine and Academy Awards. Spanish language works include Ariel award winners from the Mexican Academy of Film. You can search and browse these films using the AVON awards index.

Recently added to our Films on Demand streaming collection

The Cannibal on Bus 1170: Rethinking Moral Panics. 2019. (7 minutes). ShortCuts TV.

White fright. 2019. (30 minutes). In 2015, the people of Islamberg, NY, discovered that a Tennessee minister was plotting the deadliest attack on US soil since 9/11 against their village. White Fright cross-examines the US’s inconsistent system of national security, the media’s role in exacerbating terrorist threats, and the failure to protect vulnerable communities from racist attacks.

Returning citizens. 2017. (60 minutes). Focuses on a group of individuals released from prison who are looking for a second chance.

Dark money. 2018. (90 minutes). PBS. Dark Money examines the influence of untraceable corporate money on our elections and elected officials.

Recently added to our Docuseek2 streaming collection:

Between the lines. 1997. (21 minutes). A documentary about women who cut themselves.

Capturing the flag. 2018. (76 minutes). Explores voter suppression in North Carolina as witnessed by four activists.

When abortion was illegal. 2002. (67 minutes). Documents devastating experiences of abortion during the early and mid-20th century in the U.S.

New DVDs

BaddDDD Sonia Sanchez. 2015. DVD-1536 Poet and activist, leader in the 1960s Black Arts Movement. “I want to tell people how I became this woman with razor blades between her teeth.”

Sweet crude. 2009. DVD-1537 Documentary on the Niger delta.

Rezoning Harlem. 2010. DVD-1534 Harlem community members fight a 2008 rezoning.

Inocente. 2012. 40 minutes. DVD-1531 A homeless, undocumented 15 year old girl becomes an artist.

Girlfight. 2004. DVD-1532 Director Karyn Kusama’s feature film debut.

Crime + punishment. 2018. DVD-1539 Chronicles the struggles of a group of Black and Latino NYPD whistleblower police officers, amidst a landmark class action lawsuit over illegal policing quotas.

Maria in Nobody’s Land. 2010. DVD-1540 Three women leave abusive husbands and travel from El Salvador overland towards the U.S.

Grace, Milly, Lucy—child soldiers. 2010. DVD-1541 Documents the post-conflict life of Ugandan girls.

Please explore our film & video collections via our updated guide.

More from the Spring 2019 newsletter


Selected by Maria Kiriakova

Book covers for four books below

Alexander, R. (2017). Die Getriebenen: Merkel und die Flüchtlingspolitik: Report aus dem Inneren der Macht. München: Siedler. – Stacks JV6346.R4 A44 2017

Betts, A. & Collier, P. (2017). Refuge: Transforming a Broken Refugee System. London: Allen Lane. – Stacks HV640 .B48 2017

Brown, D. (2018). The Unwanted: Stories of the Syrian Refugees. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. – Stacks DS98.6 .B76 2018

Buff, R. (2018). Against the Deportation Terror: Organizing for Immigrant Rights in the Twentieth Century. Philadelphia: Temple University Press. – Stacks JV6455 .B84 2018 and ebook

Book covers for four books, below

Dunn, E. (2017). No Path Home: Humanitarian Camps and the Grief of Displacement. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. Stacks - HV640.4.G28 D86 2017

Erpenbeck, J. & Bernofsky, Susan. (2017). Go, Went, Gone: a Novel. New York: New Directions. Stacks - PT2665.R59 G3713 2017

Kury, H. & Redo, S. (Eds.) (2018). Refugees and Migrants in Law and Policy: Challenges and Opportunities for Global Civic Education. Springer. – Stacks K3275 .R44 2018

Kugler, O. (2018). Escaping Wars and Waves: Encounters with Syrian Refugees. University Park, PA: The Pennsylvania State University Press. – Stacks HV640.5 .S97 2018

Book covers for four books, listed below

Kaushal, N. (2019). Blaming Immigrants: Nationalism and the Economics of Global Movement. New York: Columbia University Press. – Stacks JV6217 .K38 2019

Nadeau, B. (2018). Roadmap to Hell: Sex, Drugs and Guns on the Mafia Coast. London: Oneworld. – Stacks HV6452.3 .N33 2018 and ebook.

Pai, H. (2018). Bordered Lives: How Europe Fails Refugees and Migrants. London: New Internationalist. – Stacks JV7590 .P35 2018

Truax, E. & Stockwell, D. (2018). We Built the Wall: How the US Keeps out Asylum Seekers from Mexico, Central America and Beyond. London: Verso. Stacks - JV6601.R4 T78 2018

More from the Spring 2019 newsletter


Karen Okamoto

Old title page of a book, reading ' A collection of the principal enactments and cases relating to titles to land in Nigeria'
Example publication available through LLMC

The Law Library Microform Consortium (LLMC) is a non-profit cooperative of libraries that preserves and makes accessible legal titles and government documents from around the world. Through its online subscription service, LLMC Digital, the Consortium makes available legal titles that are at risk due to age or other factors, converting print and microform titles to current media. LLMC Digital includes over 12,000 titles and over 74 million images. Some of this content is freely available through its open access site.

The breadth of the collection is impressive: you’ll find historical American legal documents, periodicals, and reference titles, as well as gazettes from the British Empire Studies collection and historical legal documents from around the world. New items are added to the collection on a monthly basis. For example, in January, LLMC added a number of civil, penal, and procedural codes from the 20th century for their Mexican collection as well as historical German legal treatises.

There are different ways to search the collection. You can use the browse feature to peruse titles by country or what they call Special Focus Collections, such as Roman Law. You can also search the site by the title of a volume or document. The Advanced Search allows you to narrow your keyword search by country and document type. Once you open a document from your search, you can perform another keyword search within the document (see screenshot at top).

LLMC includes a brief video on how to search their database (click Tutorial).

More from the Spring 2019 newsletter


Maureen Richards

OneSearch, a web-scale discovery tool for academic libraries, was first introduced to CUNY libraries in the fall of 2014. As its name implies, this tool allows you to search across a majority of the library’s databases in one search. This is accomplished by creating a searchable central index that includes metadata from:

  • a majority of library databases (over 70% of our vendors have made such information available, but some only provide metadata for titles and abstracts, not the full text)
  • the library’s catalog, which previously could only be searched through the CUNY+ classic catalog
  • Academic Works, CUNY’s institutional repository; and
  • selected open access or publicly available databases (such as those created by the Library of Congress)

As at other CUNY libraries, the librarians at John Jay have been cautious in embracing OneSearch until we better understood its strengths and weaknesses. Is OneSearch the new Google for libraries? Can it quickly deliver a plethora of academic resources on a topic in one easy search, as advertised? Or is OneSearch making academic research deceptively simple? Is it depriving users of the benefits offered by specialized library databases while not providing access to about 30% of the library’s content? The answer to these questions is yes.

For beginning researchers, especially those whose primary research experience is using Google, OneSearch provides a simple way to search across the library’s collections and get a curated list of academic resources. It also showcases the variety and number of academic resources that are available through the library. For example, if you search “mass incarceration” using OneSearch, you will get over 25,000 results, including 130 print books, 8,000 peer-reviewed articles, 200 reference entries, and 11 videos. Similar to library databases, OneSearch provides the user with the ability to filter results based on the type of resource and to narrow search results by subject, date, and various other criteria, as well as the ability to quickly find the citation or use other time saving tools.

On the other hand, as you move beyond the “getting started phase” of your research, the specialized databases are generally the better choice. The indexes (including subject term indexes) and other tools provided in these specialized databases are tailored to the database content, unlike OneSearch’s generalized features. PsycINFO, for example, allows you to limit your search to a particular age group or gender, as well as to research that contains empirical studies. In addition, using the direct links in databases avoids a frequent complaint of OneSearch users—that the link to the full text of the resource is broken. These broken links often occur because the central index is not updated on a timely basis or because of glitches in the metadata provided by the database vendors to the central index.

OneSearch represents a fundamental change in the way users can discover library resources, and its effects will continue to be felt. Due to an anticipated change in the library management system that all CUNY colleges use, sources that are currently discoverable in the Classic CUNY+ Catalog will only be discoverable through OneSearch in the future. In fact, this is already true for many of our ebook collections, including:

  • Ebook Central, CUNY’s largest ebook collection
  • ACLS Humanities Ebooks
  • CRCNetBASE eBooks from Taylor & Francis
  • Early English Books Online
  • Loeb Classical Library

See the full list of databases that can (or cannot) be discovered in OneSearch.

Whether you are a fan or foe of OneSearch, the numbers illustrate that its use is clearly on the rise.

Graph showing declining line (CUNY+ catalog) and increasing line (OneSearch), between 2014 and 2019

Graph 1: the steady decline in catalog (which uses the Aleph system) searches since 2014, when OneSearch was first available, and the corresponding increase in the use of OneSearch.

Complex graph showing increasing share of full-text requests coming from OneSearch, compared to a dozen or so other sources, between 2014 and 2019

Graph 2: the same trend with respect to the use of library database platforms for downloading the full text of a resource (typically a journal article or ebook) and the increased use of OneSearch to directly access database content. (Orange represents downloads through OneSearch; the other data represents downloads from various other databases.)

Chart showing increasing downloads, between 2014 and 2019

Graph 3: the increase in the number of downloads from the CUNY Academic Works repository through OneSearch.

Although there is much work that still needs to be done to improve OneSearch, its simplicity and breadth makes it a great way to get started with research, though it does not meet more complex research needs. As we work on making improvements to OneSearch, let us know about your experiences with OneSearch as the gateway to the library’s collections.

More from the Spring 2019 newsletter