The Archivist’s Nook: Protecting the Faithful – Knights of Malta at Catholic University

Popular image of the Knights Hospitallers as valiant warriors, courtesy of YouTube, 2019.

The Knights of Malta were among the earliest military or chivalric orders, founded as the Knights Hospitallers[1] in Jerusalem in the 11th century to care for and protect pilgrims in the Christian Holy Land. After the fall of the Crusader States in 1291, the Knights were in Cyprus, then on the Isle of Rhodes, which they stubbornly defended until ejected by the Turks in 1522.  Strategically located near Sicily, the island of Malta was given in 1530 to the Knights by Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. They were based there until driven out by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1798.  The British expelled the French and ruled Malta until granting independence in 1964. The Knights were fragmented after the French expulsion with a complicated constitutional history. Centered in Rome in the twenty-first century they are widely recognized as a sovereign entity in international law, maintaining diplomatic relations with over 100 countries and with a permanent observer mission at the United Nations. The Order has over 13,000 members and employs over 40,000 medical personnel assisted by over 80,000 volunteers worldwide, regardless of distinction, to assist sick, homeless, and otherwise distressed persons.

Goussancourt, Mathieu de. Le martyrologe des Chevaliers de S. lean de Hiervsalem, dits de Malte. Contenant levrs eloges, armes, blasons, preuves de chevalerie,and descente genealogique de la pluspart des maisons illustres de l 1Europe. Avec la svitte des grands-maistres, cardinaux •••Et le catalogue de toutes les commanderies du mesme Ordre ••• Paris, Simeon Piget, 1654. A book devoted to fallen Knights. Catholic University Malta Collection.

Foster W. Stearns (1881-1956) was a native of Massachusetts and graduate of Amherst College, Harvard University, and Boston College. He was a librarian at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and State Librarian for Massachusetts prior to military service in World War I. Thereafter, he worked for the U.S. State Department until 1924 when he returned to librarianship at Holy Cross College, Worcester, Massachusetts. He served as a Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives, 1939-1944, was also a Privy Chamberlain of Sword and Cape to Pope Pius XI, and a Knight of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. His collection, donated to Catholic University in 1955, covers over 800 years of history from the founding of the Order in Jerusalem in the 12th century, containing two hundred eighty one items described in a 1955 catalog by Rev. Oliver Kapsner, O.S.B.[2] Materials include Order statues and early papal privileges, member lists, chronologies, and histories of the Order as well as of Rhodes and Malta. As an addendum to the Stearns Collection, Catholic University added nearly one hundred additional items, such as maps and periodicals, via gift and purchase.

The Carol Saliba Family Collection was gifted to CUA in 1999 by Dr. N. Alex Saliba of Louisville, Kentucky, a retired physician born in Malta. He inherited this collection of letters and documents from his father, Carol, a longtime Commander of the St. John Ambulance Brigade of Malta (an English branch of the Order). The Saliba Collection consists of one hundred forty two manuscripts, including autograph[3] letters and documents, both originals and copies, primarily from the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries. The material has a focus on the Order’s internal affairs as well as their involvement in European politics, especially the Napoleonic era when they lost Malta and were unable to elect a Grand Master. Included are Maltese stamps and coins, memorabilia of Carol’s service in the Ambulance Brigade, and a seventeenth century water color of the flag and coat of arms of the Order.

Re-engraving of the map originally published by Nicolás de Fer;  printed post 1732, when Mattaeus Seutter became imperial geographer under Emperor Charles VI. Catholic University Malta Collection.

Most of the Foster Stearns collection is cataloged and both collections were the focus of the 2015-2016 collaborative digitization project with the Malta Study Center at the Hill Museum and Manuscript Library at St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota. Access to original Malta and Order materials at The Catholic University of America is by appointment only, please contact lib-rarebooks@cua.edu. For more on CUA Rare Books in general please see the earlier blog post by my colleague, Shane MacDonald.

[1] Officially the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes and of Malta (Latin: Supremus Militaris Ordo Hospitalarius Sancti Ioannis Hierosolymitani Rhodiensis et Melitensis), commonly known as the Order of Malta.

[2] Oliver L. Kapsner, O.S.B. A Catalog of the Foster Streans Collection on the Sovereign Military Order of St. John of Jerusalem, Called, of Malta. Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America Library, 1955.

[3] In this case, meaning original, handwritten documents.

 

The Archivist’s Nook: John Talbot Smith – “Woodsman in a Cassock”

This week’s post is guest-authored by Ronnie Georgieff, a graduate student in Library and Information Science at Catholic University.

Reverend John Talbot Smith LL.D. may have had a common name, but this Irish-American priest was anything but. He was a large, broad, solid figure. Over six feet tall, he was a “woodsman in a cassock,” some even calling him “the human icicle.” He is described as “utterly lacking in softness, never employed a caressing tone or phrase, and his impersonal Catholic viewpoint never relaxed or slackened or compromised.” Despite his intimidating figure, Smith was a practical joker, had a rather playful side to him, and a classic wit that could not be mistaken.

Rev. John Talbot Smith walking alongside Lake Champlain. American Catholic History Research Center and University Archives, John Talbot Smith Papers, box 8.

Smith was born in Saratoga, N.Y. on September 22, 1855 and was educated in the schools of the Christian Brothers in Albany, N.Y. and studied divinity at St. Michael’s College in Toronto, Canada. He was ordained to the priesthood on July 17, 1881. He was pastor of St. Patrick’s in Watertown, N.Y., pastor of Rouse’s Point, chaplain to the Christian Brothers at De La Salle Institute, chaplain of the Sisters of Mercy as well as pastor of Dobbs Ferry. Within the last year of his life, his health began to fail and on September 24, 1923, he passed away at the age of 68.

A booklet about The Catholic Summer School of America as well as The Boys Camp, ‘Champlain Assembly, Cliff Haven, Lake Champlain, New York.’ American Catholic History Research Center and University Archives, John Talbot Smith Papers, box 8.

Outside of his priestly duties, Smith enjoyed the outdoors, which often inspired his writing. In his youth, the physicians had discovered in Smith a marked tendency of tuberculosis and prescribed a life in the pine woods and sleeping in a tent. So he became a missionary in the Adirondack region where he was well known by the woodsmen and lumberjacks. Soon after, he established The Boys Camp in Cliff Haven in 1898 as an adjunct to The Catholic Summer School of America. The Boys Camp was one of the first recreation camps for youth, which was greatly supported and highly revered by all who attended. Smith was also the president and trustee of the The Catholic Summer School of America for a number of years.

The outdoors, particularly the Boys Camp in Cliff Haven, in addition to the Catholic faith, Irish-Americans, social concerns especially in labor relations, housing and the theater, were big influences for his writing. He published many works, most notably “A Woman of Culture,” “Solitary Island,” “Saranac,” His Honor the Mayor,” “The Art of Disappearing,” which was reprinted  under the title, “The Man Who Vanished” as well as “The Boy Who Came Back,” The Black Cardinal” and “The Boy Who Looked Ahead.” He also published articles in a number of prominent journals and newspapers such as the Dublin Review, the Catholic World, the Ave Maria, the Columbiad, and the Catholic Review of New York. He also succeeded Patrick Valentine Hickey, the editor and founder of the Catholic Review of New York, for 3-4 years. In addition, he was the founder and chaplain of the Catholic Writers Guild of America in 1919. His written works also include two volumes of sermons, short stories, histories, lectures for on literature at Notre Dame University, Indiana and plays.

The Boy’s Camp at Cliff Haven in 1899. It is labeled “Campers as Actors” in ‘The College Camp of Lake Champlain, Season of 1899’ booklet. American Catholic History Research Center and University Archives, John Talbot Smith Papers, box 8.

Smith had quite a passion for theater, and unfortunately, lived during a time where there was tensions between the theater and the Catholic Church. He wrote columns on the theater in the Catholic Review of New York which sparked the beginning of the change of attitude in America towards the stage from Puritan to Catholic. He was also very important in the organization of The Catholic Actors Guild of America which would be very important to the Catholic community. It was dedicated to taking care of the religious need of individuals involved with the theater, and was in accord with Catholic discipline and morality.

Governor Theodore Roosevelt visiting Lake Champlain in 1899. His visit is referenced in Mosher’s Magazine, Volume XVI, No. 3. American Catholic History Research Center and University Archives, John Talbot Smith Papers, box 8.

Smith has some interesting connections to some of our other collections at Catholic University of America. Some of his letters and legal-financial materials are related to Patrick J. McCormick, future rector of Catholic University, who was his cousin. Smith wrote to Rector Thomas Joseph Shahan as well as Msgr. James McMahon regarding The Catholic Summer School of America which also involved Edward Aloysius Pace. The Christ Child Society is also very similar to The Catholic Summer School of America because it was also a summer camp. All of these materials are housed in the Archives of the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.

You can view the finding aid to the John Talbot Smith Papers here.

The Archivist’s Nook: (HIS)story

Video interview with Art student Alex Huntley on the steps of Aquinas Hall.

It was the fall of 2017, my first semester as a graduate student and my first working in the University Archives. During this time, I had the special interest to create a program to increase the archival holdings that pertained to student life, with attention towards under-represented persons at the university. I wanted these students to have a permanent imprint on the memory of this institution so they would not only be subjects of history but creators and determiners of it. I also wanted to provide a basis for researchers to better understand the evolution of student life at The Catholic University of America (CUA) since its inception.

I had been inspired by the archives’ collection of early year books and the early photographs of students. I was transported to a time where Michigan Avenue was made of dirt and traffic consisted of a horse-drawn carriage or two. The photographic collections evoked but a cursory notion of what it must have been like to live this translucent existence amongst the wealthy, stately looking young men of the early university and what it must have been like to walk the streets of a city whose grand edifices and monuments were largely built by black men like me, who had been held in brutal bondage, just a few years prior, in order to bring this great city and nation to bear.

I. Art of Alex Huntley.

Through these photos, I was able to explore the lives of the earliest generations of students and I was able to clearly understand how the social nature of student life had evolved from earliest reaches of Jim Crow Washington, D.C. to the free flowing dalliances of the 1970s—a la the CUA Bong Club

It was the materiality of the photographic print medium and how it had been meticulously cataloged, logically organized, preserved, and given a framework for efficient research access that had allowed me to explore the intricacy of time and place and to impart informative meaning onto my contemporaneous experience here. What I saw was that people who looked like me had been here since the inception of the university and have helped to shape the university intellectually and socially across many generations.

The Archive is a space where memory, remembrance, materiality, and visibility intertwine. There is no memory without materiality (be it through the physical visceral materiality of the oral edifice known as our mouth, be it documentary, or be it as an object); likewise, there is no remembrance without visibility; and there is no visibility without the performance of materiality.

For me, this realization is anchored by a revelatory observation made by Dr. Condoleezza Rice in her memoir, No Higher Honor: A Memoir of My Years in Washington that I often reflect on when thinking of the importance of archival materials: “Today’s headlines and history’s judgment are rarely the same. If you are too attentive to the former, you will most certainly not do the hard work of securing the latter.”

In this regard, an archive can be seen as a threshing floor that is situated between today’s headlines and history’s judgement and it is on this floor that we must search for the meaning of the latest artistic expressions, acquired by the university archives.

II. Art of Alex Huntley.

We are pleased to offer the Catholic University community access to the photographic art of recent graduate Alex Huntley—an art student who identifies as Transman.

The acquisition of Alex’s art work imbibes the university archive with standard-bearing materials through which future researchers will be able to gain an understanding of this inchoate period of great social transition, in which we now find ourselves.

The Catholic University Art Department has always been an academic unit driven by a vision to protect the freedom of individual artistic expression. This vision was established fifty-one years ago and this vision is what allows for today’s art students to enjoy tremendous agency of expression here at Catholic University.

In 1968, the Art Department’s faculty were called upon to make their cases as to whether or not the Art Department would integrate with The School of Architecture.

For many of the 1968 faculty members the idea of integrating with The School of Architecture was intriguing but would inevitably mean the total disintegration of philosophy and praxis. In fact, Alexander Giampietro, an Associate Professor of Art at Catholic University in 1968, composed a letter (Giampietro, 1968) detailing why the Art Department needed to remain its own separate department. He stated that “Fine Arts and Architecture are in a state of crisis [and] Man is seeking questioningly for a way out of the chaos that is impending,” because society had failed to “…cope with man the creature as an end.”

The inability of some social spaces to accommodate for the individual is what the art faculty felt was the fuel for man’s rebellion through art, which “…is but a tribute to the human spirit trying to find a way out,” and that this is all “…a sign that man is hungry in his heart.” (Giampietro, 1968)

III. Art of Alex Huntly featuring Alex Huntley.

The impending chaos that the 1968 faculty feared was Collectivism. Giampietro’s (1968) premise rested squarely on the anti-collectivist ideas of Eric Kahler’s 1968 monograph The Disintegration of Form in the Arts, where he quotes from the following passage:

The overwhelming preponderance of collectivity with its scientific, technological and economic machinery, the daily flow of new discoveries and inventions that perpetually change aspects and habits of thought and practice, the increasing incapacity of individual consciousness to cope with the abstract anarchy of its environment, and its surrender to a collective consciousness that operates anonymously and diffusely in our social and intellectual institutions—all this has shifted the center of gravity of our world from existential to functional, instrumental, and mechanical ways of life.  (p. 3)

Giampietro goes on to make collectivism analogous to such “conditions” as the “mini-midi-maxi skirt, long beards, psychedelic happenings, and John Cage’s ‘Music’—a rather astute observation because even norm challenging trends are ironically collectivist, devoid of individuality, and thus rendered unremarkable and disposable by scale.

We are now half a century removed from the world of the 1968 art department and Giampietro’s fight for the individuality of the artist has ensured that their hungry heart can be satiated through the freedom of unfettered artistic expression, which has become a mechanism of visibility, permanency, recognition, self-narration, and self-definition for students like Alex, here at the Catholic University of America’s Art Department.

Alex Huntley and fellow student at 2019 Catholic University graduation.

Our University Archivist, W. J. Shepherd, has instilled in me an infectious appreciation for all things Churchill. And in the spirit of that enlightenment, I leave you at a contemplative position from which to examine Alex’s art work—through the lens of Winston Churchill’s view of the arc of history: “For my part, I consider that it will be found much better by all Parties to leave the past to history, especially as I propose to write that history.” Alex has written (His)tory at The Catholic University of America, during a time where society has attempted to author his reality, and through these artistic expressions, generations to come will have a sociological key to understanding who were as people and who we were grappling to become.

Alex’s works will be available in print and may be checked-out to the Catholic University Community. His work will also be preserved in digital format through the university archives digital archive.

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].

 

Recommendations

  • 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Archivist’s Nook: Introducing Students to Rare Books

Stacks of the Clementine Library. I would best describe its scent as warm and toasty.

Think back to the last book you read. How old was it? Were the pages brittle or waxy, thick or thin? How did the cover and pages feel in your hands? Was there a smell to the book – freshly printed or a musty odor? Did the book catch the eye with its cover, type, or images? Did it make a sound when opened – a crisp snap of a never-before-opened spine or the dull groan of well-worn binding? Was picking up this book an experience of all the senses?

While we certainly do not taste our books, there is no way to avoid having an otherwise full sensory experience when entering Rare Books and Special Collections. Contained within its stacks are 70,000 volumes, spanning 10 centuries. The collection includes a wide range of materials from medieval legal texts and early modern musical pieces to twentieth century textbooks and first edition novels. The aroma and sights immediately catch one’s attention, and the feel and sound of each book as you open it offers a reminder of its age.

This past academic year, the Archives staff has been assisting in Rare Books. In addition to answering reference questions and exploring the materials contained within its stacks, we have hosted three classes in the space. Each class came from a distinct program and reviewed different materials with varying learning goals in mind. Much as we are whenever a class comes to handle archival documents for the first time, we were excited to provide the students with their potential first experience of accessing rare books.

Tafsīr wāsiʻ ʻalá al-taʻlīm al-Masīhī (Translation of a Catechism for Confession and Communion), 1770.

In the fall, we hosted students from the School of Theology and Religious Studies as part of a “History and Theory of Catechetics” course. During their visit, the students were able to work with dozens of catechisms spanning several continents, numerous languages, and six centuries. Tapping into the collections of sixteenth-century folios and assorted Catholic theological and lay devotional publications, we were able to create an evolutionary display of catechisms from the fifteenth century to the present. Among the highlights were an Arabic catechism from 1770, a Navajo catechism from 1937, and a series of pocket catechisms from the nineteenth century. Supplementing this collection with materials from the Archives, we were able to bring the students from the Council of Trent to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

As the new semester began in the cold of January, our staff prepared to host another visiting class, this time from the School of Philosophy. Entitled “Before Printing: The Establishment and Transmission of Ancient and Medieval Texts,” the course’s professor wished to expose her students to the physicality of the manuscripts they would study over the coming months. From our medieval manuscript and incunabula collections, we provided several Thomistic philosophical and theological treatises. Through a partnership with the Semitics/ICOR Library, the class was also able to review Arabic philosophical texts. While the students would primarily continue to work with facsimiles and digital copies of manuscripts this semester, having that initial opportunity for a full sensory experience is key to both contextualizing the sources and eliciting excitement.

Lectionarium, ca. 1200 (MS 158). Some of the volumes have intricate bindings and clasps, added by much later owners. This particular binding is seen in numerous manuscripts in our collections.

My own first exposure to manuscripts was in Rare Books at Catholic University. Working with a medieval copy of Gratian’s Decretum as part of a class project helped me appreciate the beauty and wonder of these texts, and solidified my excitement for curation and historical research. I would never have guessed I would be helping provide access to these same materials years later!

Finally, our most recent academic visitors came as part of a Greek and Latin course, “Latin Paleography.” In addition to two codicology workshops held in Rare Books, the students will each work closely with a medieval manuscript in our collections to create a catalog entry. The manuscripts held by the University are thus providing valuable tools for the students to better understand the materiality and scribal norms of the medieval written word.

In addition to its strengths in Catholic history, Rare Books contains several unique collections, including a Malta collection, the Clementine Library, the Connolly Irish Collection, the Richard N. Foley Modern English Collection, its American Catholic Pamphlets and Parish Histories Collection, and much more.

Book of Hours, ca. 1460 (MS. 136b)

Fundamentally, the collection’s value to the Catholic University community and broader scholarly world lies in its ability to provide students and scholars with opportunities to connect with the history of the written word as well as the contexts and ideas provided by each text. Plus, as the class visits illustrate, it is a wonderful source of collaboration for its sister special collections on campus!

For more information on Rare Books, see: https://libraries.catholic.edu/special-collections/rare-books/index.html

Questions may be addressed to: lib-rarebooks@cua.edu

Open Access Week: Some Current Trends

This week is Open Access Week (October 22nd-28th, 2018)! A lot has happened in Open Access in the past year so I will try to encapsulate the latest trends. Why care about Open Access? Our former CUA colleague, Marian Taliaferro, Digital Scholarship Librarian at the College of William and Mary explains why in 5 Reasons You Should Care about Open Access.

For those who are unfamiliar with the concept of Open Access, the term refers to “the free, immediate, online availability of research articles coupled with the rights to use these articles fully in the digital environment. Open Access ensures that anyone can access and use these results—to turn ideas into industries and breakthroughs into better lives.” (SPARC*).  The Open Access movement has been around for years but the public declaration began in 2002 with the Budapest Statement on Open Access Publishing (2002; 10th anniversary statement in 2012), followed closely by the Bethesda Statement on Open Access Publishing (2003) and the Berlin Declaration on Open Access (2003).

For a current understanding, see the following video:

 

 

New Publishing Models?

The Author Publications Charges (APC) model is not working. Other transactional models need to be explored. Sven Fund writes in the Scholarly Kitchen about the evolving structure of open access author pay models to one where there are still operational challenges to open access. OA2020 is another initiative that has gained prominence recently. OA2020 advocates for accelerating the change to an Open Access business model. OA2020’s mission is to eventually move subscription journals to an open access model based on a paper published by the Max Planck Digital Library in 2015 demonstrating that there is enough money in the journal publishing ecosystem to permit a transition to open access. Written by Ralf Schimmer, Kai Geschuhn and Andreas Vogler and titled “Disrupting the subscription journals’ business model for the necessary large-scale transformation to open access,” the paper outlines the steps the global community would need to take for the transition.

Institutions who want to be involved in the OA2020 can sign an “Expression of Interest” and scholars can advocate at their home insitutions.  College and Research Libraries News has an article focusing on U.S. academic institutions. Rachael Samberg, Richard A. Schneider, Anneliese Taylor, and Michael Wolfe, in their article What’s Behind OA2020?, ask why only five U.S. insitutions have signed on so far.

Another point Fund makes that is worth considering pertains to academia and libraries in particular:

The other key element, at least in some parts of the world, is the internal structure of the library. It not only follows the interests of faculty and students, but (at least in Europe) it also quite often has its internal professional rules. The slow dissemination of OA is a vivid example of how stability in the academy comes with a lot of disadvantages. Libraries find it hard to shift budgets more radically, in part caused by the fact that they became addicted to easy solutions like the Big Deal, that in turn tie up a large part of their budgets. APC funds fit the scheme: They are easy to decide upon, and their existence appeases those advocates on campus that would like to see more alternatives.

There is a push for having all research papers funded by funders made open access. In Europe this move was announced on September 4th by Robert-Jan Smits, the Open Access Envoy of the European Commission, and Marc Schiltz, the President of Science Europe.  Plan S is to ensure that by 2020 all research papers arising from European funding are made open access immediately on publication. An interview with Robert-Jan Smits outlines some of the elements of the plan, including problems with Plan S — pushback from publishers AND researchers, no perceived role of institutional repositories, and contrary to principles of academic freedom — are some of the issues discussed. Plan S is not the first call for changing research assessment. The Leiden Manifesto and the UK report “The Metric Tide” were both released in 2015 and essentially went nowhere. A paper on the Leiden proposal titled “The Leiden Manifesto Under Review: What Libraries Can Learn From It” was published in 2017.

Sally Rumsey, head of Scholarly Communications & RD at the Bodleian Libraries at Oxford University, has noticed a change in the researchers themselves:

I detect a more subtle culture change that is happening at the grass roots i.e. by the researchers themselves. To disseminate your research in the past, it was necessary to follow the standard traditional publishing route – publish in a respectable journal and those people who have paid can read your paper – plus you can post a few copies to your mates. Today, in order to get your research noticed and ‘out there,’ there are many more options available. The ‘standard’ route is being enhanced, and many researchers don’t want to be confined to a single model, or to limited sharing of their work. Open Access: reflections on change. Many are taking advantage of the diversity that the internet offers: how research findings are presented and distributed, such as articles with integrated data, open commentary to published findings, new models of peer review and comments, registered reports, and rapid publication. Add to this the immediacy of promotion by social media, academic networks, and altmetrics scores that can give rapid indication of one type of impact. In some disciplines, particularly the sciences, authors are becoming frustrated with continuing barriers to access and re-use as they habitually adopt a more open stance. There remain some areas of confusion and mistrust of OA, but I detect a definite sense of acceptance of and shift to ‘open.’

Rumsey goes on to write that libraries have set up services for supporting open access research initiatives. ORCIDs are one such attempt in the discovery and dissemenation of research through the use of unique identifiers. Another article from the Scholarly Kitchen focuses on libraries: Libraries Face a Future of Open Access. Read the comments too!

 

Open Source Platform for Data by Tim Berners-Lee

Tim Berners-Lee is working on an open source platform for data called “Solid”. One response to his work is titled “A Critical Review of the Solid Platform.”

 

Open Educational Resources

UNESCO defines Open Education Resources as:

any type of educational materials that are in the public domain or introduced with an open license. The nature of these open materials means that anyone can legally and freely copy, use, adapt and re-share them. OERs range from textbooks to curricula, syllabi, lecture notes, assignments, tests, projects, audio, video and animation.

OER is moving forward albeit slowly.  A year-end article by Mike Silagadze in EdSurge talks about 2017 being a pivotal point in OER adoption: “OER Had Its Breakthrough in 2017. Next Year, It Will Become an Essential Teaching Tool.” He writes that that three key tests will need to be met: OER content quality needs to improve, OER needs bells and whistles, and OER needs to be easier to find and adopt.

For more information on this movement in general check out these sites:

SPARC’s Open Education

UNESCO Open Educational Resources

Affordable Course Content and Open Educational Resources SPEC Kit (2016)

OASIS – Openly Available Sources Integrated Search (OASIS) is a search tool for making the discovery of open content easier. OASIS currently searches from 66 different sources and contains over 164,000 records. OASIS is a project developed at SUNY Geneseo’s Milne Library with consulting from Alexis Clifton, SUNY OER Services Executive Director.

 

Open Data and Academic Institutions

Christine Borgman, Distinguished Professor and Presidential Chair in Information Studies at UCLA, gave a lecture on October 9, 2018 titled “Open Data, Grey Data, and Stewardship: Universities at the Privacy Frontier,” at Harvard University. Borgman sees the growth and availability of digital data resources collected by universities as a balancing act between academic freedom, stewardship, trust, privacy, and confidentiality, on one hand, and the value of using this data for science and commercial ends:

Researchers provide open access to their data as a condition for obtaining grant funding or publishing results in journals, leading to an explosion of available scholarly content. Universities have automated many aspects of teaching, instruction, student services, libraries, personnel management, building management, and finance, leading to a profusion of discrete data about the activities of individuals. Many of these data, both research and operational, fall outside privacy regulations such as HIPAA, FERPA, and PII. Universities see great value of these data for learning analytics, faculty evaluation, strategic decisions, and other sensitive matters. Commercial entities, governments, and private individuals also see value in these data and are besieging universities with requests for access.

 

 

Borgman, C. L. (2017, November). Open Data, Trust, and Stewardship: Universities at the Privacy Frontier. The 10th Annual BCLT Privacy Lecture, Berkeley, CA. Retrieved from https://berkeley.app.box.com/s/v35vb4gee2iloxkxeu94l7a3it4wbx2y

Borgman, C. L. (2018). Open Data, Grey Data, and Stewardship: Universities at the Privacy Frontier. Berkeley Technology Law Journal33(2), 287–336. http://btlj.org/data/articles2018/vol33/33_2/Borgman_Web.pdf

 

Advocating for Open Access

There are a number of ways to promote Open Access:

1. Join The Coalition of Open Access Policy Institutions (COAPI) and advocate for OA at your insitution.

2. Publish in Open Access journals. How? See the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ).

3. Advocacy Organizations for OA. Worldwide directory.

4. UNC Health Sciences Library: Open Access and Scholarly Communications: Advocating for OA

Digital Scholarship Fundamentals Workshop: Cleaning and Manipulating Data

Thu., Oct. 25, 12:30 pm – 2:00 pm, Mullen Library Instruction Room

When working with your dataset, have you wondered how to remove ‘null’ or ‘N/A’ from fields, handle different spellings of words, or determining whether a field name is ambiguous? When interviewed, many data scientists complain that the most tedious, time-consuming aspect of any project is the cleaning and manipulating of data. For this workshop, we will use the open access software, OpenRefine, to clean, manipulate, and refine a dataset before analysis. Since this workshop is focused on saving you time by discovering and avoiding common pitfalls in data preparation, a brief foray into regular expressions will be useful. You are welcome to bring your own dataset.

Please RSVP to gunn@cua.edu.

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.

The Archivist’s Nook: New Year’s Greetings from The Young Catholic Messenger

January 1, 1891, illustration of birds with a quote from Matthew 6: 26: “Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” The Young Catholic Messenger Collection. American Catholic History Research Center and University Archives.

The Young Catholic Messenger, 1885-1970, was the premier publication of George Pflaum of Dayton, Ohio, who also produced the more famous though not so long-lived Treasure Chest of Fun and Fact, 1946-1972, subject of several other blog posts from The Archivist’s Nook. We thought highlighting the YCM would be a great way to start off the New Year, and also make an appeal for donations of missing issues, either print or digital copies, from the first forty years we need to complete our collection, especially the digital collection we are building online.

In the nineteenth century largely Protestant America was wary of the millions of Catholic immigrants coming to the United States. Parochial schools were not trusted to teach young Catholics to be proper Americans and many states passed constitutional amendments forbidding the use of tax money for their funding. Nevertheless, by the 1880s the American Catholic Church had a wide network of parishes and parochial schools to safeguard the religion and culture of Catholic ethnic groups. Most of the teachers were religious sisters and priorities in the classrooms beyond knowledge included piety and discipline. The growth of Catholic schooling naturally generated a Catholic educational publishing industry. The YCM was the inaugural publication of the Pflaum Publishing Company, which created religious and civic reading materials distributed to students in the Catholic parochial schools that later included the Junior Catholic Messenger, Our Little Messenger, and the aforementioned Treasure Chest of Fun and Fact.

In the YCM’s early years the issues tended to be shorter and more literary in focus, while later on the number of pages per issue increased as more news and current events were included.  The YCM was published during the calendar year, January to December, through 1925, going from twenty-four issues a year to thirty-two. In 1926 they published a shortened volume, number 42, January – June, with twenty-four issues (again). This was followed by volume 43 with forty issues and aligned to the academic school year, September 1926 – June 1927. This was cut back to May in 1934-1935 and the issues numbers steadily declined until publication ceased in 1970, going down to thirty-eight issues in 1931-1932, thirty-seven in 1934-1935, thirty-six in 1940-1941, thirty-five in 1943-1944, thirty-four in 1944-1945, thirty-three in 1957-1958, thirty-two in 1961-1962, and only twenty-eight in the last year of 1969-1970.

The American Catholic History Research Center and University Archives of The Catholic University of America currently needs access to Young Catholic Messenger volumes 1-6, 1885-1890; volumes 8-24, 1892-1908; volumes 26-28, 1910-1912; and volumes 32-40, 1915-1925. We are open to receiving individual issues as well as full volumes for donation, loan for scanning, or links to copies scanned elsewhere. We are also willing to negotiate any reasonable fees required. For more information, please contact us via email at lib-archives@cua.edu.

January 1, 1909, cover includes a New Year’s poem and an illustration of the flight of the Holy Family to Egypt. The Young Catholic Messenger Collection. American Catholic History Research Center and University Archives.
January 1, 1913, New Year’s poem and photo of boy sled riding. The Young Catholic Messenger Collection. American Catholic History Research Center and University Archives.
January 1, 1926, New Year’s poem, story, and illustration. The Young Catholic Messenger Collection. American Catholic History Research Center and University Archives.