Zooming Into a New Normal

Less than three months into the COVID-19 pandemic, Americans are already adjusting to some big changes in their day-to-day lives. Perhaps the biggest? Finding a way to work, play, and gather when the traditional methods are forbidden by social distancing rules. 

Happy hours, family gatherings, classes, and meetings are all still happening in quarantined America — it’s just that thanks to a growing number of teleconferencing and virtual meeting applications, they are now taking place in a virtual setting. The popular Zoom teleconferencing software has skyrocketed to prominence in recent weeks, with its daily active user count climbing 340 percent since December 2019 (Bary, 2020). Competitor Microsoft Teams’ daily user count, meanwhile, climbed nearly 40 percent in just one week during March 2020 (Paul, 2020). The University Libraries are in on the trend, too: Since the middle of March, the University Libraries has held two of its monthly All-Staff Meetings via Zoom, providing a way for staff to reconnect and stay productive. We are also using Google Meet and Zoom to bring regular reference and instruction services to our patrons. 

The University Libraries hold an All-Staff Meeting via Zoom.
The University Libraries hold an All-Staff Meeting via Zoom.

Are virtual-only gatherings the future? Right now, there are a number of potential drawbacks, including privacy and security concerns and the risk of lowered productivity. But virtual meetings may also provide a way for organizations — particularly libraries — to continue to better serve their patrons even after the lockdowns are lifted. 

“Zoom-Bombing” and Data Protection

Some of the main concerns about the rapid adoption of virtual meetings are privacy and security. Several high-profile anecdotes about “Zoom-bombings” — cases where hackers broke into a virtual meeting to share inappropriate language or images with attendees — have highlighted the need for caution. According to experts, any organization contemplating adopting videoconference applications should have two top priorities:

  • End to end encryption. In end-to-end encryption, communications are encrypted on the sender’s device and can only be decrypted by the recipient. This prevents third parties (in this case, the virtual meeting application) from accessing the data while it is sent (“End to end encryption,” n.d.). (Note that Zoom, in particular, has run into questions about its encryption or lack thereof.)
  • Data protection. When choosing a virtual meeting or teleconferencing application, organizations should look for transparency about what kind of user data is collected, whether any third parties have access to that data, and whether the application adheres to privacy laws and standards (Paul, 2020). 

Choose the Features You Need

Not all virtual meeting applications work for every team, so it is worth researching to find out which features are right for yours. A first consideration might be price; several of the most popular virtual meeting applications offer limited services for free. For example, Zoom’s free option allows unlimited one on one meetings, but caps groups at 40 minutes and 100 participants; Microsoft Teams’ free tier offers even more functionality (Bott, 2020). Others, like Blue Jeans Meetings and GoToMeeting, offer no free services but do have tiered pricing that can accommodate everything from a single person to a large enterprise (Bott, 2020).

virtual library services
During the COVID-19 pandemic, libraries around the world are using virtual platforms to continue serving their patrons.

Interoperability is also a concern — which software works best with your (or your organization’s) email, calendar, and collaboration platforms? For example, Google Hangouts Meet might be a good choice for organizations that use Google’s other business applications such as Gmail, Google Calendar, and Google Drive (Bott, 2020). The better the match, the more seamless the transition from physical to virtual meetings will be. 

Keep the Connection Going

A virtual meeting can never replace in-person camaraderie and exchange of ideas. But there are some best practices for making a virtual meeting close enough to the real thing. Among them: ask all participants to use video — seeing our colleagues up close is heartening in a lonely time. On the other hand, make sure everyone mutes their microphone unless they are speaking, to minimize feedback and distracting background noise. And rather than force meeting-goers to watch long PowerPoint presentations or listen to a single presenter, encourage a dialogue that lets everyone contribute and be heard (Frisch & Greene, 2020).

Pete Ramsey, a Mullen Library liaison librarian and Outreach and Engagement Coordinator, has been offering virtual library instruction since the stay-at-home orders began. He recommends that instructors or meeting facilitators regularly “check for understanding” during sessions. “It’s helped to make sure the students are actually following what I’m trying to demonstrate,” he says. “For one-on-one sessions, I may have them share their screen so I can troubleshoot searching issues.”

Online Instruction
When teaching library instruction classes online, be sure to check in with students regularly to make sure they understand the material.

The Virtual Library

Libraries are vital partners in their communities, whether those communities are public, academic, or organization-based. Even in a time when physical services are minimal or nonexistent, virtual meeting software can help libraries continue to serve their patronsan, d may even help them find ways to expand their services once physical library visits are possible again.

Here are some ways libraries — including the University Libraries — using virtual meetings for their services.

  • Reference: While many patrons are using email to reach out to librarians with reference questions, virtual meetings can add a more personal dimension. Lea Wade, Mullen Library’s STEMM liaison librarian, recently used Zoom to share her screen and demonstrate to a student how to locate subject guides and databases. “I ran through a few searches for her topic in different databases, showing how to use the database’s limiters in advanced search mode. I also showed how to send the articles to a citation manager, then emailed them to her. It took about an hour, and she was pleased with the results,” she said. “I think being able to share my screen was especially helpful because she could see what I was doing and follow along.”
  • Instruction: Just as other schools, from K-12 to higher education, have moved classes online, so have libraries. Mullen Library’s liaison librarians have continued to offer library instruction to their departments. In addition, Kevin Gunn, the University Libraries’ Coordinator of Digital Scholarship and a liaison librarian, has taught or co-taught several webinars on such topics as open access, scholarly publishing, and digital scholarship. “Showing students how to do something on a website while you are showing your screen and the students are following along on the same computer can be challenging,” he says. Gunn suggests using short, pre-recorded tutorials for asynchronous learning, and devoting virtual meeting time to discuss specific research issues and questions.

Even though Catholic University plans to reopen in the fall for on-campus instruction and residence life, it remains to be seen how the COVID-19 pandemic may change higher education — and libraries — forever. Virtual tools such as these, however, help ensure that all patrons, no matter where they are, can continue to get the benefit of librarians’ expertise. 

— Tricia Bailey



Bary, E. (n.d.). Zoom, Microsoft Teams usage are rocketing during coronavirus pandemic, new data show. MarketWatch. Retrieved May 5, 2020, from https://www.marketwatch.com/story/zoom-microsoft-cloud-usage-are-rocketing-during-coronavirus-pandemic-new-data-show-2020-03-30

Bott, E. (n.d.). Best video conferencing software for business: Microsoft Teams plus eight more Zoom alternatives. ZDNet. Retrieved May 21, 2020, from https://www.zdnet.com/article/best-video-conferencing-software-and-services-for-business/

Frisch, B., & Greene, C. (2020, March 5). What It Takes to Run a Great Virtual Meeting. Harvard Business Review. https://hbr.org/2020/03/what-it-takes-to-run-a-great-virtual-meeting

Paul, K. (2020, April 9). Worried about Zoom’s privacy problems? A guide to your video-conferencing options. The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2020/apr/08/zoom-privacy-video-chat-alternatives

What is end-to-end encryption (E2EE)? – Definition from WhatIs.com. (n.d.). Retrieved May 6, 2020, from 


Open Educational Resources: Teaching and Learning, Accessible to All

This semester, students may have noticed that they spent less money on required textbooks. That’s because Mullen Library, along with its partners in the Washington Research Library Consortium (WRLC) recently joined the Open Textbook Network. This group of colleges and universities has joined together to produce openly-licensed textbooks — written by academics and peer-reviewed, but made available online for free use by all. Nearly 700 textbooks are currently available, with more added all the time  (“Introducing the Textbooks on Reserve Pilot Program,” 2020).

The Open Textbook Network is just one example of a trend that is reshaping higher education: Open Educational Resources, or OER. It’s a movement that aims to democratize education by allowing for the unlimited use, reuse, and modification of educational materials, at no cost to students or instructors.

What is OER?

Open Educational Resources refers to freely accessible content, digital or otherwise, that can be used for teaching and learning — lesson plans, textbooks, lecture notes and videos, and even full courses. In order to be considered OER, content must be openly licensed, allowing for a wide variety of uses. While licensing agreements vary, most OER allows for the following, known as the “Five Rs”:

  • Retain – users can download, duplicate, and control copies of the content
  • Reuse – the material can be used in a wide variety of ways, including in-person classes, via video, or online
  • Revise – users can adapt or modify the content to suit their specific teaching and learning needs
  • Remix – users can combine the content with other information, either original or from other open sources, to create a completely new resource
  • Redistribute – users can disseminate the content, along with any modifications or remixes, as widely as they need to (for example, share it with other instructors)

A Brief HIstory of OER

While the term “open educational resources” was first coined at a 2002 conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the idea had been circulating among educators for several years already. The open-source software movement of the late 1990s and the rise of distance-learning options around the same time led academics to consider how combining those ideas could help create a new paradigm of education. One early example of OER is the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s 2001 decision to put all of its course materials online as part of the OpenCourseware Project. MIT courses can now be accessed by anyone, anywhere, for free (although MIT does not award degrees or credits based on the use of this content) (Guttenplan 2010). 

In 2012, UNESCO and other global partners met in Paris, France, for the First World OER Congress, where they adopted the Paris OER Declaration. The Declaration “reaffirmed the shared commitment of international organizations, governments, and institutions to promoting the open licensing and free sharing of publicly funded content, the development of national policies and strategies on OER, capacity-building, and open research” (Miao et al 2016). In 2017, at the Second World OER Congress in Ljubljana, Slovenia, the partners adopted the Ljubljana OER Action Plan. This list of 41 actions offers ways to help bring open-licensed resources into the mainstream, including enhanced training for librarians and educators on finding and using OER; making resources available in a wide variety of languages, and ensuring equitable and inclusive access (Ljubljana OER Action Plan 2017). 

Benefits of OER

OER has its challenges–for example, ensuring that content that anyone can edit is accurate (Wikipedia is a great example). However, it also has many benefits for students, instructors, librarians, and researchers:

  • Learning anywhere, anytime. Consider the situation in which the Catholic University community–along with many other institutions around the world–finds itself during the COVID-19 pandemic. The use of OER ensures that instructors and students can still access lectures, textbooks, and other essential materials, all without having to set foot in a classroom.
  • Easily modified course materials. Not all OER is one-size-fits-all, but open licensing allows instructors to add, subtract, and/or combine components to fit their needs, and those of their students.
  • Support for all styles of learning. OER includes a huge variety of material that can be used to create traditional lessons, active learning activities, and more.
  • Speed. The publishing cycle for most traditional textbooks can take time, but online, openly-licensed textbooks can be disseminated much more quickly–which also ensures that information is as up to date as possible.
  • Cost savings. A study by the College Board found that undergraduate students pay, on average, $1,240 a year for textbooks (“Average estimated undergraduate budgets by sector,” 2020). At Catholic University, the most expensive traditional textbook, an accounting text, costs students $446 (“Introducing the Textbooks on Reserve Pilot Program,” 2020). Open-access textbooks and other readings are a significant savings for students, opening up the world of higher education to a larger percentage of the population. 

Start Learning (or Teaching)

There are many ways the Catholic University community can make the most of available OER resources. 

To help promote OER and other open access initiatives, liaison librarian Kevin Gunn coordinates CUA’s participation in International Open Access Week each October. First held in 2007, Open Access Week is a worldwide event that helps OER advocates share information and learn from one another about developments in the field. You can read about previous Open Access Week initiatives at CUA in the Mullen Library blog, “What’s Up.”

— Tricia C. Bailey


Centre for Educational Research and Innovation (2007). Giving knowledge for free: The emergence of open educational resources. Paris, France: OECD Publishing. Retrieved from http://www.oecd.org/education/ceri/38654317.pdf

College Board (2020). Average estimated undergraduate budgets by sector, 2019-20. Retrieved from https://research.collegeboard.org/trends/college-pricing/

Guttenplan, D. D. (2010). “For Exposure, Universities Put Courses on the Web”. New York Times. New York. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/01/world/europe/01iht-educLede01.html?pagewanted=all.

Miao, Fengchun, Mishra, Sanjaya, &McGreal, Rory (2016). Open educational resources: policy, costs, transformation. Paris, UNESCO. pp. 8, 17, 20–21. ISBN 978-92-3-100158-1.

UNESCO (2017). Ljubljana OER action plan. Retrieved from https://en.unesco.org/sites/default/files/ljubljana_oer_action_plan_2017.pdf

Wade, Lea.  (2020, January 21). Introducing the textbooks on reserve pilot program [Blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.lib.cua.edu/wordpress/newsevents/12311/.

Meet the Humans of Mullen

Chris Suehr
Ph.D. candidate Chris Suehr says that in addition to being a great place to study, Mullen Library has “the second-best water on campus.”

From uniting a community to sparking imagination to supporting scholarship and lifelong learning, libraries change lives.

“Without libraries we have no past and no future.” – Ray Bradbury

With a library you are free, not confined by temporary political climates. It is the most democratic of institutions because no one – but no one at all – can tell you what to read and when and how.” – Doris Lessing

“I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.” – Jorge Luis Borges

“The very existence of libraries affords the best evidence that we may yet have hope for the future of man.” – T.S. Eliot

It’s not just the books that make libraries special–it’s the people. Librarians, scholars, teachers, and patrons of all ages make their mark on a library as much as it makes a mark on them. Here are a few examples from our own Mullen Library:

Karen Berry
Karen Berry received her master’s degree at Catholic University; she also launched her career here in Mullen Library.

Professor Laura Daugherty loves libraries so much that she once accidentally almost spent the night in one; now she hopes to instill that same love in her National Catholic School of Social Service students. Ph.D. candidate Chris Suehr says that in addition to being a great place to study, Mullen Library has “the second-best water on campus.” And former liaison librarian Karen Berry not only studied for her master’s degree here–she also launched her career here. 

What’s your library story?

This fall, Mullen Library is launching the “Humans of Mullen” campaign, an ongoing series of video vignettes. We’re highlighting the students, faculty, and staff who come to Mullen–to study, to browse, to help others do research, to view artwork or attend lectures, to receive tutoring or writing assistance, and more.

Ph.D candidate Carly Jones talks about how she uses Mullen Library in her studies.

We were inspired by Humans of New York, a photoblog launched in 2010 by the photographer Brandon Stanton. Stanton’s intimate street portraits and brief interviews with ordinary citizens put a personal face on a huge and thriving city. We want to do the same for Mullen Library–a place where academic journeys are launched, where friends and classmates gather, and where a lifelong love of learning is instilled. 

What brings you to Mullen Library? Perhaps:

  • you met your best friend here
  • you took a class in the Instruction Room or searched the Stacks to select research materials
  • you found inspiration for your first undergraduate research paper–or for your last university opus, your dissertation
  • you explored your career path or took the first steps toward a career in librarianship as a student worker

Whatever your Mullen Library story is, we want to hear it–and to share it with the rest of the Catholic University community. 

Watch for our weekly videos on the CUA Libraries’ social media accounts:

Laura Daugherty
Professor Laura Daugherty loves libraries so much that she once accidentally almost spent the night in one; now she hopes to instill that same love in her National Catholic School of Social Service students.

Help us share our stories–and if you have a Mullen story of your own you’d like to tell, let us know.

To volunteer or to learn more about the Humans of Mullen series, contact a member of the Mullen Library social media team:

  • Julie Loy: (loy@cua.edu)
  • Emily Brown: (brownec@cua.edu)
  • Tricia Bailey: (baileytc@cua.edu)


— Tricia Bailey

Enhance Your Skills with LinkedIn Learning

LinkedIn Learning, an upgrade to Lynda.com, is an on-demand library of high-quality instructional videos covering a wide range of skills, from specific software applications to leadership and management skills. There are more than 7,500 courses made up of more than 200,000 video modules, with more added every week. All of the courses are taught by expert instructors and come with fully searchable transcripts. Curated playlists are also available. 

Learn at your own pace.LinkedIn Learning uses the insights from its nearly 650 million members to stay up to date on the most relevant, useful skills needed by today’s workforce. That allows them to not only add the best courses to help you get ahead, it also allows customized recommendations for your particular job title and interests.

Currently available courses include:

  • Engineering courses on development topics such as PHP, C++, Java, and cloud computing
  • Business classes on project leadership and management
  • Classes on graphic design applications, including Photoshop, Illustrator, Sketch, Rhino, and CSS
  • Audio and music courses, such as audio recording, producing podcasts, sound engineering, and mixing techniques
  • Management support through classes on becoming a manager, improving your coaching skills, managing change and stress, time management, and communicating with confidence

You can also follow custom learning paths, which combine courses toward a specific role such as customer service representative, digital illustrator, or front-end web developer (to name just a few of the more than 150 available). 

Benefits of LinkedIn Learning

There are many good reasons to use LinkedIn Learning to help you achieve your academic, career, or personal goals:

  • Learn a quick skill–or follow the path to a new career.
    Both “micro-learning” and “macro-learning” are available, so whether you need to watch a short video to learn a new software application or follow a custom learning path with multiple courses, you can find the learning experience you need. 
  • Use LinkedIn Learning on any device.Learn at your own pace. LinkedIn Learning courses are available round the clock, and each course is on demand and self-paced. There are courses for every level of learner, from beginner to advanced. If you want to challenge yourself or have a deadline for learning a particular skill, you can a weekly goal–anywhere from half an hour to two hours–and LinkedIn Learning will track your progress. 
  • Use any device you want. You can watch training videos on your desktop, laptop, smart phone, or iPad. If you can’t get to a screen, each course is available in audio-only mode (imagine how productive your daily commute could be!).
  • Learn in your native language. In addition to English, LinkedIn Learning courses are available in Spanish, German, French, Japanese, Mandarin, and Brazilian Portuguese.
  • Learn from — and connect with — the experts. All LinkedIn Learning courses are taught by experts–including the CEO of Warby Parker, Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer, and distinguished fellows at Harvard Law School. And you won’t just learn from these luminaries–you can also connect via LinkedIn to get the benefit of their own vast networks. 
  • Apply your learning hands on. Learning by doing is the best way to retain your new skills. Most courses offer templates, exercise files, and other documents to help you apply what you’ve learned. 
  • Highlight your status as a lifelong learner. When you take courses via LinkedIn Learning, you can add them to your LinkedIn profile to show that you’re self-motivated, curious, and eager to continue learning to make the most of your career. 

Get Started TodayApply your learning hands on

It’s easy. Click here. You will be prompted to sign in with your Cardinal Login (username/password). Watching an introductory video can be helpful and informative. You can browse for courses or videos in LinkedIn Learning.  All courses are also listed in SearchBox, the University Libraries’ online catalog.

Note: You do not need to create a LinkedIn account to use LinkedIn Learning.   

If you have any questions about LinkedIn Learning or need help with your account, please contact lib-research@cua.edu.


— Tricia Bailey

Affordable Textbooks

This post is guest-authored by Lea Wade, STEM Librarian, University Libraries, and member of the Textbook Affordability Task Force of the Washington Research Library Consortium.

Textbook costs are increasing. Since 1977, college textbook prices have risen over 1,000 percent.

Vox had a recent article on how much students spend on textbooks, and what publishers are offering to do to help. Over two-thirds of students skip buying or renting some required texts because they can’t afford them.

University and college students are estimated to spend $1,240 dollars on books and supplies at the average full-time private four-year college in 2018-2019 (College Board, 2019).  That’s an increase from the average 2017-2018 cost of $1,220 at private colleges. Textbooks at public colleges are estimated to cost more: in 2017-2018 the average cost was $1,250 (Collegedata), and in 2018-2019 the estimated cost is $1,298 (College Board).

The cost varies from course to course – generally, prices for textbooks in the sciences and analytical studies such as accounting are much higher than in the humanities. At Catholic University, the most expensive textbooks cost $446 for an accounting textbook to $396 for an Italian language textbook with the accompanying online access code. When the course requirement includes paying for an online access code, students do not have the option of renting or buying a used textbook. In those cases, students may resort to sharing with a friend or doing without the required online access. Other students may drop out altogether if they cannot afford the required textbooks.

Student success and retention have been demonstrably improved through transition to affordable textbooks (Winitzky-Stephens, 2017; Hardin, 2018).

Libraries and colleges can work together to reduce the burden of textbook pricing on students. The Catholic University of America University Libraries is leveraging its membership in the Washington Research Libraries Consortium to examine options. One option is expanding textbook access through library reserves. Another is expanding the use of Open Educational Resources, or Open Textbooks. A recent report from the Public Interest Research Groups has laid out some options for resolving the problem by embracing Open Textbooks.

“Open Educational Resources (OERs) are teaching, learning, and research resources released under an open license that permits their free use and repurposing by others. OERs can be textbooks, full courses, lesson plans, videos, tests, or any other tool, material, or technique that supports access to knowledge.”Scholarly Publishing & Academic Resources Coalition. 

OER involves replacing textbooks with openly licensed and easily accessible documents and media. With OER textbooks, students have access to the text online at no cost. Faculty can be assured that if students do not read the assigned text, it is not because they couldn’t afford the text.

Some universities are providing grant funding to faculty who agree to refocus their courses to include the use of OER. Even more funding is often provided to faculty who write an open textbook. Years of advocacy for open educational resources has begun to move the needle toward greater acceptance. Student Public Interest Research Groups have released an action plan for universities and faculty to help relieve the burden of textbook cost. An associated student-led campaign, the Open Textbook Alliance, provides simple handouts and guides on open textbooks.

Your subject liaison librarian can help you identify free open-source textbooks if you are wondering what is already available. There are several online open repositories of textbooks that are free and available to use for your research and coursework.

If you are wondering what is already available, there are several online open repositories of textbooks that are free and available to use for your research and coursework.

Some OER Repositories include the following sites:

You can learn more about what other campuses are doing to improve student success by reducing textbook cost burden from this article [Espocito, J. The Coming Wave of Affordable Textbooks [https://scholarlykitchen.sspnet.org/2018/11/19/the-coming-wave-of-affordable-textbooks/], November 19, 2018].



  • Students should directly advocate for open textbook use in their classrooms.
  • Faculty should consider adopting open textbooks in their classrooms. They should check the U. Minnesota Open Textbook Library to see if there’s a book available for your class.
  • Campus administrators should consider creating an open textbook pilot program on their campus. They can see the University System of Maryland’s MOST Initiative as a sample.
  • State and federal legislatures should invest in the creation and development of more open textbooks. See Washington State’s Open Course Library as an example.
  • Publishers should develop new models that can produce high quality books without imposing excessive prices on students.











Libraries and the Fight to Save Net Neutrality

Illustration by EFF Senior Designer Hugh D'Andrade dearfcc.org/. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

What is Net Neutrality?

If we conduct a simple natural language search, using Google, it will return the following dictionary metasearch results that defines Net Neutrality as follows: “The principle that Internet service providers should enable access to all content and applications regardless of the source, and without favoring or blocking particular products or websites.” In 2005, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted regulations that supported the principles of net neutrality, but lawsuits involving Comcast Corps and Verizon Communications, Inc. in 2010 and 2014 led to even stricter legislation. In 2017, President Trump appointed a new FCC commissioner, Ajit Pai, who quickly proposed a reversal on net neutrality legislation. On December 14, the FCC voted three to two to proceed with Pai’s proposal. On February 18, 2018, the FCC formally informed the Senate of the plans to repeal net neutrality. Under the Congressional Review Act (CRA), Congress now has until April 23 (60 days) to stop the repeal from going into effect.

Who are the Key Players Involved?

Essentially, the two primary opposing sides in the debate over net neutrality are internet service providers (ISPs) and consumers. ISPs, such as Comcast and Verizon, stand the most to gain if net neutrality is repealed. Politicians and lawmakers are persuaded by both sides, with consumers asking for legislation that prevents ISPs from giving any websites or content favoritism over others, or from making certain content premium (such as charging customers more to be able to use streaming services like Netflix or Hulu—on top of what Netflix and Hulu are already charging for the content itself). Information professionals, such as librarians, museum curators, and archivists, represent the interests of the consumer, and are advocating to defend and uphold net neutrality.

Why Are Libraries Involved?

Librarians are fiercely devoted to our profession and we believe in building an informed, intellectually curious society where information and knowledge are openly available, without restriction; and because we also believe that unrestricted access to information is an essential egalitarian ideal rooted in civil society.

Librarians lead an organization that has seen tremendous evolutionary growth from its analog start to the virtual reality of digital environment.

Librarians have an inextricable connection to the information universe and that rests on the foundational role of the library to ensure that everyone has equitable access to information resources and knowledge.

To read more on how librarians value and defend net neutrality, check out the American Library Association’s statement on the issue at http://www.ala.org/advocacy/telecom/netneutrality.

What Happens in a World Without Net Neutrality?

The elimination of net neutrality regulations gives ISPs the power to change users’ access to information sources based on non-strategic reasoning by censoring information based on ideological, political, and social rationalizations.

In this unregulated state, many of the actions undertaken by ISPs to manipulate access speeds create layers of inequity in consumers’ ability to access information. ISPs would be allowed to monetize the concept of equitable access to information by charging content providers (like Netflix, JSTOR, and YouTube) more for the amount of traffic they are generating, and then charging consumers more for the ability to access that premium content, or even just to access it at a sufficient speed to enjoy it properly.


— Juan-Pablo Gonzalez

The Sounds of Hanukkah: Flory Jagoda

Flory Jagoda. Image courtesy of the Milken Archive of Jewish Music.

This post is by library technician Rachel Evangeline Barham.

Did you know that one of Hanukkah’s most influential tastemakers lives in the DC area? The multifaceted musician Flory Jagoda, now in her 90s, calls Virginia home. She is known widely as the “keeper of the flame” of the music of Bosnian Sephardic Jews.¹ Here she is sharing one of her most famous songs, the counting song “Ocho Kandelikas” (Eight Candles). (Warning: it’s catchy!) I use the word “sharing” because – you’ll agree when you see her – it is clear that Flory Jagoda is not just performing the music she composed. Sharing her music is her way of transforming unthinkable personal and collective tragedy into a living monument to the special family who raised her and who were robbed of their own lives.

Flory Jagoda was born into the Altarac Singing Family of Vlasenica, Bosnia: her mother and seven aunts and uncles – directed by Flory’s Nona (grandmother) – sang and played instruments at all kinds of public gatherings.² Flory lived with her Nona until she was eleven years old, speaking Ladino (or Judaeo-Spanish), the language that Sephardic Jews took with them all over the world after Ferdinand and Isabella’s 1492 Edict of Expulsion. Both the Ladino language and its songs preserve parts of medieval Spanish but have picked up local flavor wherever people settled: a new spelling of a word here, a new instrument there. Flory’s Nona was an eager teacher of a very willing pupil, passing on all the songs she knew to her granddaughter.

Jagoda in the 1940s.

It was when she had to leave her Nona and move to the city – against her will – that Flory’s stepfather gave the unhappy girl the accordion that would later save her life. Flory became adept at several instruments and adjusted to city life in Zagreb, but her world fell apart in 1941 when the Nazis’ racial policies hit her family hard. They managed to get to the Dalmatian island of Korchula, where they were interned for two and a half years before fleeing to Italy amid the chaos that accompanied the end of World War II in Europe. She found a job as an interpreter for the US Army in Italy, where she fell in love with and married a Jewish American soldier, Harry Jagoda. It was when they returned from their honeymoon that she learned to her horror that out of the 41 members of her beloved Altarac family, only her mother, one uncle, and one cousin had survived. Along with every other Jew left in Vlasenica, the family members were rounded up and brutally slaughtered on May 6, 1942. “Babies, Nona, Nonu, las tiyas (aunts), lus primus ermjanus (cousins) … all of them.”³

The Flory Jagoda Songbook: Memories of Sarajevo (Tara Publications, 1993).

In 1946, Harry and his new wife settled in Virginia and started a family. For years, Flory, noting that silencing the past is a way of coping for many survivors, suppressed memories of her former life. But at some point, she wanted her children – and the world – to share the music, memories, and traditions that had made her childhood so special. She began recording music in the 1980s, releasing three albums and an accompanying songbook including both traditional songs and original compositions such as the joyful “Hanuka, Hanuka,” performed here by the Trio Sefardi, with whom Flory appeared in a 2013 interview with WAMU’s Kojo Nnamdi. Always a teacher, she has used her many public appearances to teach this music to anyone who will listen. Many of Flory’s songs are holiday-themed. “Because every holiday song … that I have composed continues the memory of my family in Vlasenica; I am still sharing the holidays with them.”⁴ Through her music, the legacy of an extraordinary musical family will live on from generation to generation. 

Hear Pink Martini’s cover of “Ocho Kandelikas,” or this one by Flory’s great-grandchildren.

¹http://washingtonjewishweek.com/5670/a-keeper-of-the-flame-performs-at-library-of-congress/arts/ and many other sources.

²Much of Flory Jagoda’s life is well documented, but a particularly detailed first-person account of her family and personal history is found in the Introduction to The Flory Jagoda Songbook (Tara Publications, 1993). Many of the facts in that account are noted in this post.

³The Flory Jagoda Songbook, p.14.

The Flory Jagoda Songbook, p.16.

Newest in Popular Reading: Young Frankenstein, Woman of God, Being A Dog, & Arsenic With Austen

As we prepare to partake upon a much needed Thanksgiving recess at The Catholic University of America, we encourage you to pick up one of our Newest in Popular Reading books to relax the mind while away from school. We have a great selection in our popular reading collection located on the first floor of Mullen Library in the Reference Reading Room. There you will find an assortment of best sellers and other popular titles.

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” ~ Augustine of Hippo

Some of our newest titles are listed below. Hold your cursor over the Title to see a short description of the book, or click to view the catalog record. The status of the book is shown beside the call number.

Title Author Status
Young Frankenstein: A Mel Brooks Book: The Story Of The Making Of The Film Mel Brooks with Rebecca Keegan; foreword by Judd Apatow
Love For Sale: Pop Music In America David Hajdu
The Thyroid Connection: Why You Feel Tired, Brain-Fogged, And Overweight–And How To Get Your Life Back Amy Myers, MD
Woman of God James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
Where The Jews Aren’t: The Sad And Absurd Story Of Birobidzhan, Russia’s Jewish Autonomous Region Masha Gessen
Good Clean Fun: Misadventures In Sawdust At Offerman Woodshop Nick Offerman
How To Be Alive: A Guide To The Kind Of Happiness That Helps The World Colin Beavan
Unspeakable Things Kathleen Spivack
Napoleon’s Last Island Thomas Keneally
Being A Dog: Following The Dog Into A World Of Smell Alexandra Horowitz
Herbert Hoover: A Life Glen Jeansonne, with David Luhrssen
Arsenic With Austen Katherine Bolger Hyde
Nine Women, One Dress Jane L. Rosen
Carry on: A Story of Resilience, Redemption, and an Unlikely Family Lisa Fenn
Week in Paris Rachel Hore
A Book About Love Jonah Lehrer
The Hopefuls Jennifer Close
Sarong Party Girls Cheryl Lu-lien Tan
You Will Not Have My Hate Antoine Leiris; translated from the French by Sam Taylor
Buffering: Unshared Tales of a Life Fully Loaded Hannah Hart

Looking for more options? You can always see a full list of our Popular Reading books in the catalog, by searching under keyword, “CUA Popular Reading.”

Having trouble logging into your “My Library Account”? Check out this video:

For more great information from CUA Libraries, follow us on Facebook and Twitter:

Mullen Library Facebook; @CUAlibraries
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Samuel Russell

Digital Scholarship: About ORCID

What is ORCID? from ORCID on Vimeo.

From https://members.orcid.org/outreach-resources

ORCID iDs ensure you get credit for ALL of your work!

Do you worry about getting credit for your research because your name is common or you have publications under multiple aliases? Do you struggle to keep track of all of your research outputs? Are you annoyed by having to enter the same information over and over in manuscript and grant submission systems?

To solve these problems, there’s now ORCID, the Open Researcher and Contributor ID. ORCID is registry of unique identifiers for researchers and scholars that is open, non-proprietary, transparent, mobile, and community-based. ORCID provides a persistent digital identifier to DISTINGUISH YOU from all other researchers, AUTOMATICALLY LINKING your professional activities. For example,

  • Funding organizations like the U.S. NIH, Wellcome Trust, and Portuguese FCT are requesting ORCID iDs during grant submission and plan to use it to reduce the burden of grant submission
  • Publishers are collecting ORCID iDs during manuscript submission, and your ORCID iD becomes a part of your publication’s metadata, making your work attributable to you and only you
  • Universities and research institutes such as Harvard, Oxford, Michigan, Boston, NYU Langone Medical Center, and Texas A&M encourage ORCID adoption, and many are creating ORCID iDs for their faculty, postdocs, and graduate students!
  • Professional associations like the Society for Neuroscience and Modern Language Association are incorporating ORCID iDs into membership renewal

Over time, this collaborative effort will reduce redundant entry of biographical and bibliographical data into multiple systems. Your ORCID iD will belong to you throughout your scholarly career as a persistent identifier to distinguish you from other researchers and ensure consistent, reliable attribution of your work.

To get started:

1. Claim your free ORCID iD at http://orcid.org/register

2. Import your research outputs and add biographical information using our automated import wizards

3. Use your ORCID when you apply for grants, submit publications, or share your CV. Learn more at http://orcid.org


— Kimberly Hoffman

Digital Scholarship: October is for Open Access!

8-5x11oaweek2016_revisedHave you been keeping up with Open Access?  

Start with Barbara Fister’s August article The Acceleration of Open Access. She points to the new preprint servers making open access available, including SocArXiv, MLA Commons and the new (coming soon!) Humanities Commons.

See what’s the buzz about Sci Hub in this article,  The Current System of Knowledge Dissemination isn’t Working and Sci-Hub is Merely a Symptom of the Problem.

Closely watch the publishing industry by reading Elsevier’s New Patent for Online Peer Review Throws a Scare Into Open-Source Advocates.

See what universities are doing. The Journal Flipping Project from Harvard is a 2015-2016 project to gather options and best practices on converting subscription-based scholarly journals to open access. Iowa State University Libraries published a new guide Understanding Predatory Publishers.

Now that you are up on all the news, stay tuned for Open Access Week October 24-30, 2016!


— Kimberly Hoffman