Library News Blog
As team-based learning becomes more prevalent in undergraduate education, students need space to work on group projects. The Lloyd Sealy Library still provides quiet space for individual work, but our four group study rooms have been in more and more demand. Two of these group study rooms received a substantial upgrade last semester, thanks to the Student Technology Fee Committee (see “New Library collaborative work spaces” by Bonnie Nelson in the Fall 2015 newsletter). With an abundance of outlets, a high-definition display, and HDMI connections, these group study rooms instantly became immensely popular among John Jay students. These well-lit rooms, each featuring a large table and six seats, are used daily by groups preparing presentations, working on projects, and doing homework in a social environment.
Due to their popularity, the library implemented an ID card policy and two-hour time limit for groups using these rooms, but with a constant stream of students asking to use the rooms, managing their use became untenable for librarians at the reference desk. On an hourly basis, librarians had to check IDs, keep track of room occupation, hand out HDMI adapters, and lock and unlock the room. Moreover, students were becoming frustrated that they couldn’t anticipate when the group study rooms would be available. A solution was needed.
Enter LibCal, a Springshare product that manages room booking. After settling on policies and testing the calendar among librarians, we launched group study room reservations in February 2016. At the dedicated scheduling kiosk outside the rooms or anytime on our website, students can see when the rooms are occupied and make reservations up to two days in advance. (See for yourself!)
A typically busy reservation calendar from March
Reservations are synced with class periods on weekdays. Based on multiple conversations with students, the reservation system is easy for students to use — it’s similar to placing online reservations at a restaurant. The system auto-sends an email to the student who made the reservation, and librarians can see all reservations on a calendar. Students simply check in at the reference desk with their name so the librarian can unlock the room. Often, they will simply enter the room when the previous group exits — a seamless changing of the guards. If students need an HDMI adapter to their laptop or mobile device to the display screen, they can check one out at the reference desk.
Over the course of a few months, we have encountered very few problems. The new reservation system has made using and managing group study rooms much easier.
- February 2016: 79 reservations made by 30 patrons
- March 2016: 179 reservations made by 89 patrons
- April 2016: 153 reservations made by 77 patrons (spring break Apr. 22–30)
(Many thanks to Geng Lin, our Systems Manager, for helping us to implement the system and acquire HDMI adapters!)
Posted Tuesday, May 3, 2016 - 5:27pm
Below is a short representation of the print books acquired in the last three months by the Library. Access information is available in both the Library catalog CUNY+ and the new discovery tool OneSearch.
Bammer, A. & Boetcher Joeres, R. (Eds.) (2015). The futures of scholarly writing: critical interventions. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan. Stacks P302.18 .F88 2015
Blum, S. D. (2016). “I love learning; I hate school”: an anthropology of college. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. Stacks LB1065 .B56 2016
Deer S. (2015). The beginning and end of rape: confronting sexual violence in native America. Minneapolis, Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press. Stacks KIE3560 .D44 2015
Dornschneider, S. (2016). Whether to kill: the cognitive maps of violent and nonviolent individuals. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: University of Pennsylvania Press. Stacks HN786.Z9 V536 2016
Desmond, M. (2016). Evicted: poverty and profit in the American city. New York, NY: Crown Publishers. Stacks HD7287.96.U6 D47 2016
Jacobs, P. (2012). Force-feeding of prisoners and detainees on hunger strike: right to self-determination versus right to intervention. Stacks K5519 .J33 2012
Konnikova, M. (2013). Mastermind: how to think like Sherlock Holmes. New York, NY: Penguin Books. Stacks BC108 .K56 2013
Latzer, B. (2016). The rise and fall of the violent crime in America. New York, NY: Encounter Books. Stacks and Reserve HV6789 .L38 2016
Lempert, L. (2016). Women doing life: gender, punishment, and the struggle for identity. New York, NY: New York University Press. Stacks HV9471 .L436 2016
Martin, J. (2015). The provost’s handbook: the role of the chief academic officer. Baltimore, Maryland: John Hopkins University. Stacks LB2341 .M295 2015
Mernissi, F. (2011). Beyond the veil: male-female dynamics in Muslim society. London: Saqi. Stacks HQ1170 .M46 2011
Morello, G. (2015). The Catholic church and Argentina’s Dirty War. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. Stacks BX1462.3 .M67 2015
Roberts, R. (2016). Blood brothers: the fatal friendship of Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X. New York, NY: Basic Books. Stacks GV1132.A44. R64 2016
Schiemann, J. W. (2016). Does torture work? New York, NY: Oxford University Press. Stacks HV8593 .S345 2016
Sion, B. (Ed.). (2014). Death tourism: disaster sites as recreational landscape. New York, NY: Seagull Books. Stacks G156.5.D37 D43 2014
Taylor, R. B. (2015). Community criminology: fundamentals of spatial and temporal scaling, ecological indicators, and selective bias. New York, NY: New York University Press. Stacks HV6025 .T39 2015
Wainwright, T. (2016). Narconomics: how to run a drug cartel. New York, NY: Public Affairs. Stacks HV5801.W325 2016
Posted Tuesday, May 3, 2016 - 5:23pm
De Leon, J. (2015). The land of open graves: living and dying on the migrant trail. Oakland, California: University of California Press.
Eterno, J. (2015) The New York City Police Department: the impact of its policies and practices. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press.
Ingle, J. B. (2015). Slouching toward tyranny: mass incarceration, death sentences and racism. New York, NY: Algora Publishing.
Hall, B. (2015). Inside ISIS: the brutal rise of a terrorist army. New York, NY: Center Street.
Hallaq, Wael B. (2013). The impossible state: Islam, politics, and modernity’s moral predicament. New York, NY: Columbia University Press.
Langton, J. (2012). Gangland: the rise of the Mexican drug cartels from El Paso to Vancouver. Hoboken, New Jersey: Wiley.
Malave, I. (2014). Latino Stats: American Hispanics by the numbers. New York, NY: The New Press.
McCarthy, L. A. (2015). Trafficking justice: how Russian police enforce new laws, from crime to courtroom. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
Morris-Reich, A. (2016). Race and photography: racial photography as scientific evidence, 1876-1980. Chicago, Illinois: University of Chicago Press.
Wayland, B. A. (2015). Emergency preparedness for business professionals: how to mitigate and respond to attacks against your organization. Oxford, UK: Butterworth-Heinemann.
Ziegler, M. (2015). After Roe: the lost history of the abortion debate. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.
Zoukis, C. (2014). College for convicts: the case for higher education in American prisons. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers.
Posted Tuesday, May 3, 2016 - 5:03pm
Video resources — physical DVDs, VHS tapes (yes, we still have them) and streaming media databases — are very much utilized by the faculty teaching courses on an array of different subjects. DVDs and VHS tapes can be found in the library online catalog CUNY+, films in the streaming media collections can be searched more effectively through the new discovery tool OneSearch.
From time to time, we highlight a certain database to orient the users about its content and best features. This time we will profile Films on Demand from Infobase Learning.
Several films available through Films on Demand
Films On Demand are not cinema movies. It is a collection of 22,403 videos that include documentaries, news footage, lectures, and educational videos. The producers include BBC, NOVA Frontline, Ken Burns, California Newsreel, PBS, Reuters and dozens more of well-known domestic and international companies. This database is perfect for undergraduate course assignments when students have to get a brief introduction to a topic; in addition, these short films can be used to jumpstart a discussion in class. There are 29 subject areas that are divided into subcategories. The subject of Criminal Justice & Law (962 films total), for example, has four subcategories: Criminal Investigation, Criminal Justice System, Criminology, and Legal Studies.
The first screen of results when you browse by subject will give the user the option to sort the films either by the date of production or popularity. Then, almost each film can be viewed either as a whole or in segments. Each segment has a title that has to be selected from a drop-down menu — a nice feature if you know exactly what portion of the film you want to show in class. Similarly to practically all online databases, the options for narrowing down the results are presented in the side bar. The films can be narrowed down, for example, by type (documentary, educational or lecture & interview), by producer, sometimes language, and copyright date ranges.
On the individual film record level, there is bar of tabs for finding related films, sharing (URL for embedding, email, etc.), citation tools (APA, MLA, Chicago Style, and exporting into EasyBib), and creation of custom segments. On the right hand side portion of the screen, there is a window for the displaying the transcript for the whole film or for individual segments.
Don’t forget to create an individual account to make and save a list of your favorite titles.
Based on the statistics that the Library collected in 2016, the most popular films are “Issues and controversies in America,” “Amendment 13,” and “Amendment 14,” with more than a thousand views combined. There are 80 active users (those who have individual accounts), six of which joined in 2016. These individual users have created 105 playlists.
Give Films on Demand a try and let us know what you and your students think of this database.
Posted Tuesday, May 3, 2016 - 4:52pm
Posted Tuesday, May 3, 2016 - 4:49pm
A bridge from reference materials to higher academic works
Students typically learn during a library workshop that an encyclopedia is often the best place to begin research. Encyclopedias provide a broad overview of a topic and, as tertiary sources, can also direct students to valuable secondary and primary sources. Students might start with a general encyclopedia, but they are more likely to discover a specialized one as the publication of specialized encyclopedias has accelerated making it more likely than not that there is an encyclopedia entry on their topic. Reference and instruction librarians typically teach students how to access and use Gale Virtual Reference Library, the biggest and most up-to-date encyclopedia database the library offers.
Recognizing their value, the Library continues to look for these “getting started” types of resources. We recently began subscribing to the full collection of the book series Very Short Introductions — which includes over 460 titles — published by Oxford University Press. As the name implies, these books, which are written by experts for a wide audience, provide concise introductions to a variety of topics including disciplines, issues, themes, biographies and literature.
Unlike encyclopedias that provide entries on topics within their thematic scope, Very Short Introductions are more like mini-textbooks which, because of their size, can easily be read cover to cover. Professors frequently assign the entire “short” to provide the content students need to have meaningful discussions about a topic. For example, if you are teaching a class on a conflict in the Middle East but don’t have the confidence your students have the necessary background knowledge, consider assigning The Palestinian-Israeli Conflict: A Very Short Introduction, Geopolitics: A Very Short Introduction, or Peace: A Very Short Introduction. If you need help explaining to your students why we read Plato, consider assigning Ancient Philosophy: A Very Short Introduction. If you would like your students to understand why Algebra is a pillar of mathematics, consider assigning Algebra: A Very Short Introduction.
To find a “short” that is right for you, go to the library’s homepage and click on the link to search for databases by title. Select “V” and once you click through to the Very Short Introductions interface you have three search options: browse titles by subject, browse all titles (of course the least efficient option unless you are really interested in learning about the breadth of topics that are covered) or use the search box to do a keyword search.
A recommended approach is to start by browsing by subject and then conduct a keyword search since the subject classifications may not match your expectations or have a narrow enough focus. For example, the only title under criminal justice as a subject is Criminal Justice: A Very Short Introduction. However, if you do a keyword search of “criminal justice” you will discover 219 chapters in a variety of titles. If you are interested in finding Forensic Science: A Very Short Introduction, you would have had to search under the subject “policing”. However, if you do a keyword search of “forensic science,” you would find 18 chapters in a variety of titles that address the topic.
Once you select a “short,” a variety of options appear including a table of contents, the ability to access the book by chapter and quick reference tools providing instant access to key concepts or people. Take notice that the hyperlinks in the search results will bring you to the place in the text your search terms appear. Also, like most library databases, the interface contains integrated tools that allow you to easily share, print and email selected content.
Keep in mind that these are ebooks that allow 3 users to simultaneously access them through an internet connection. If you prefer print, you can print a chapter of an ebook at a time, or check the library catalog because we also have a number of titles in print. As stated by one professor, “When I want to learn more about a topic, I start by looking for a Very Short Introduction”. We hope you consider doing the same.
Posted Tuesday, May 3, 2016 - 4:45pm
For the third academic year in a row, the Library hosted the Murder Mystery Challenge, in which first-year and transfer students compete in teams to solve a cold case — learning important library research skills along the way. Librarians trained Peer Success Coaches from Student Academic Success Programs (SASP), who went on to lead teams of students through clues in the library. Based on a real murder that occurred in 1921 in midtown, the Challenge requires students to find news articles in the online New York Times archive, follow a paper trail in the endnotes of a scholarly article, locate a book hidden in the stacks, and read a page from the actual trial transcript held in the Library’s Special Collections. Almost all teams answered the main questions correctly. The biggest pitfall in the Challenge was correctly formatting a complex book citation in the APA style, a bonus question. (To be fair, even veteran researchers may have stumbled on that one!)
The students who participated were asked what they learned in the Challenge. “Team work can be beneficial,” one respondent said, echoing an emphasis on team-based learning at John Jay. Another student noted that they learned “where the stacks were inside the Library,” a simple but important piece of information. Participants also offered suggestions for future Murder Mystery Challenges. “Make it a bit longer so that the fun can last a bit more,” one recommended. “Possibly put a fake body on the floor,” another proposed. We’ll keep that in mind!
The winning teams won a VIP lunch in the Faculty Dining Room, thanks to Library support from Faculty-Student Engagement fund. The runners-up won New York Times prize packs and gift cards, provided by SASP. Take a peek at the Challenge yourself!
See also: 2014 Winners
Posted Tuesday, May 3, 2016 - 4:41pm
The worst of the problems has been the lack of HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) throughout the Library. In order to connect the more powerful HVAC system of the New Building to Haaren Hall, existing HVAC units had to be demolished and rebuilt, a process that was originally assumed would take about five weeks. This work was originally scheduled for Spring 2015 and the outside contractor for the project brought portable air-conditioning units into staff areas and some of the public areas to deal with the anticipated heat of late spring.
As it turned out, HVAC was turned off on the lower level of the Library (partly below ground) on September 21, 2015 and the portable HVAC units were insufficient to bring temperatures in the Library Technical Services (staff) area to below 78-80 degrees for the entire Fall and Winter.
On the Library upper level—which is more exposed to outside temperatures—HVAC was turned off on November 10. Here, temperatures in both public areas and faculty/staff offices fluctuated from 80+ degrees during some of the unseasonably warm spells this winter down to 58 degrees during the cold periods. Fortunately, our wonderful Facilities staff was able to open some of the Library windows (for the first time in 28 years!) during the worst of the hot times and then close them again when the temperature dropped. It has been an extremely difficult period for both the people who use the Library and those who work here.
Thanks to heroic efforts by the John Jay Facilities staff, HVAC was partially restored during the busiest weekday hours in mid-March—but only to the upstairs Library. As of this writing, there is still no ventilation in the evenings and on weekends. Downstairs, we are still waiting for the completion of the work by the contractor and there is no HVAC at all.
This HVAC work also required the displacement of several thousand books on both the upper and lower levels of the Library, and the elimination of some study areas, so that tables and carrels have been squeezed together into the remaining space.
We apologize for the more crowded conditions that have resulted, as well as for the uncomfortable temperatures that have been inflicted on Library patrons. We assume (wish? hope? pray?) that all systems will be in good working order before the hot days of late spring and summer. Meanwhile, the Library is open normal hours, books are available on the shelves, all student-use computers are working and accessible, electronic resources can be reached from anywhere, and Library faculty and staff are here to help—in person, by phone, email, and chat.
Posted Tuesday, May 3, 2016 - 4:36pm
In the fall, unused shelf space in the Reference Area was removed. In its place, a counter with 18 outlets was installed for “power-hungry” students.
In the last three years, the Library has made a conscious effort to provide more outlets to students in the form of tabletop hubs upstairs and downstairs, as well as a charging table equipped with common smartphone chargers.
Posted Tuesday, May 3, 2016 - 4:34pm
Last month, the Library conducted its first survey of John Jay faculty in many years. Preliminary results are in: 216 faculty members responded, including 27% of the full-time faculty. Although (and happily) 87.5% of respondents were either satisfied or very satisfied with the Library overall, 90 people took the time to write an answer to the question “How could the Library better serve you and/or your students?” You may be assured that we will be carefully reading all comments and will provide a comprehensive discussion when we have had time to fully analyze all of the results. Meanwhile, if some resource or service mentioned in the survey intrigued you—or you just want to give your opinion about the Library—please feel free to contact any member of the Library faculty. If you want to talk about the survey itself, contact Bonnie Nelson or Ellen Sexton. And thanks to everyone who took the time to respond to the survey.
Posted Tuesday, May 3, 2016 - 4:32pm