Discussions on the art and craft of research

Category: Library stuff (page 1 of 2)

Charles Shain Library Digitization Series: Garbage Gazette gets uploaded to Internet Archive

By Abby Ricklin 

The Library would like to announce yet another valuable Connecticut State publication has been digitized and ready to view on Internet Archive. The Garbage Gazetteis a small yet information backed newsletter that was published by the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection and ran from 1982 until 2005. The effort was truly a collaborative one. The earliest issue in the Shian library’s holdings was Vol. 6, no. 1 (Jan. 1987), but with the assistance of the Connecticut State Library, Kent State University Libraries, and Internet Archive; we were able to collect issues from Vol. 3, no. 5 (June 1984) to Vol. 23, no.4 (July-October 2004). 

It was decided to digitize this collection due to Connecticut College and community interest in trash disposal. Due to the closing of the Materials Innovation and Recycling Authority (MIRA) facility in Hartford nears its closure public interest in garbage disposal has increased to say the least. 

Issued since 1982 by the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (CT DEP), Solid Waste Management Unit, the Garbage Gazette was a state-issued periodical focused on waste minimization and recycling. The gazette contained occasional numbering errors, with some issues published in combined form. In January 2005, Garbage Gazette became part of CT DEP’s free Pollution Prevention newsletter, P2 View. The P2 View: Pollution Prevention View: A Newsletter from the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection would include a section called “Recycling Round-Up” that would focus on recycling and waste issues. If researchers have an interest to check out the P2 View periodical it can be found in the Connecticut State Library’s online catalog:

What I found interesting about this publication is not only how they talk about trash, but the design of the newsletter itself. Compare the early days of the 1980’s to the 2000’s designs. 

Garbage Gazette in 1984.
Garbage Gazette in 2004.

Or check out this nifty piece of artwork in the February 1987 issue.

Garbage Gazette artwork in the February 1987 issue.

This particular pretty design promotes a “New Leaf Composting Regulation” from issue March 1994.

Garbage Gazette design promotes “New Leaf Composting Regulation” in March 1994 issue.

I also appreciated the little graphics that they inserted for the holiday issues. You’ll just have to check out the digital collection to find them! 

To give some context on the importance of garbage in Connecticut, according to the March 1985 issue of the Garbage Gazette:

Waste-to-energy facilities are receiving more and more attention on a local, state and national level. Often, the public perception concerning these facilities appears to be that these plants offer a more complete solution to our waste disposal problems than they actually do. For instance, contrary to many expectations, waste-to-energy facilities will not eliminate the need for:

1. Landfills

2. Recycling.

The closure of the MIRA plant has people rethinking how to approach their trash and we can tell that this issue has been on the mind of CT DEP since 1982. 

Another interesting factoid that can be found in the Garbage Gazette is in the June 1984 issue. When “In early 1983, the Town of Vernon (pop. 28,000) initiated a voluntary drop-off recycling program for mixed waste paper” (p. 1). This was done to keep costs low as it was, “The town’s goal was to reduce its solid waste disposal costs, which were then about $13.50/ton. This figure included the $12/ton (now $13/ton) tipping fee at the – Refuse Gardens Landfill in Ellington and a $1.50/ton hauling cost to the landfill” (p. 1). Now compare that tipping fee of $12-13/ton in 1984 to today’s tipping fee of $103-111/ton of solid waste. Pretty amazing difference!! 

Being able to digitize this periodical brings a valuable resource into the light and it will be much more accessible to those interested in recycling and composting history. I am a firm believer in knowing the past helps know what the future holds. Being able to compare solid waste costs gives us a chance to rediscover old information and make it new. 

Book Exhibit in Shain Library Captures the Attention of Human Rights Advocate

There is a small rotating exhibit of books on display in Shain Library related to a current event or theme on campus. One recent exhibit on Guns in America caught the attention of the international human rights and peace advocate, Binalakshmi “Bina” Nepram, who is a visiting scholar in residence at Connecticut College.

Nepram — who was recently awarded the prestigious Anna Politkovskaya Award, established in 2006 to remember the Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya, who was killed for her reporting on the Russian conflict in Chechnya — has been researching arms proliferation around the India-Burma border for the past 15 years. Her work is all over the internet and a quick scan of Google Scholar indicates that she’s been publishing for at least that long. So I was surprised at her 2nd campus-wide dialogue series on global gun violence (October 26, 2018) to learn that the guns exhibit in Shain Library actually caught her attention.

Local New London peace advocate and author Frida Berrigan joined Bina Nepram in the Walter Commons for a discussion on gun violence (26 Oct. 2018).

Local New London peace advocate and author Frida Berrigan joined Bina Nepram in the Walter Commons for a discussion on gun violence (October 26, 2018).

Nepram told me that she “loved those books,” that she “devoured them,” and that they were “stunning!” To understand why, let’s consider where she is coming from.

I first saw Bina Nepram speak on June 26, 2018, at the Eastern Connecticut One Book, One Region kickoff event for this year’s selection, Exit West by Mohsin Hamid. She took a very simple approach to introducing the book by placing it in the real world context of the global migration crisis currently underway. Within the first few minutes of her talk, I estimate that about half of the approximately 100 people in attendance burst into tears, myself included. Of the talk, Bina later told me that she was very nervous, because she had “never commented on another author’s work in that way before.”

Because Nepram is an established international scholar, who has given a Ted Talk no less, I think she means she was nervous because she was not used to commenting on novels. But she handled Exit West with an incredible attention to detail as she read the real world trauma of migrants into select passages from the book. “I love books,” she says. And more importantly for the sake of this blog, she considers libraries the living rooms of America; a place where one can be oneself and feel safe and secure. She knows, because when she first arrived in the US for reasons of personal safety, she was able to get her bearings at the New York Public Library.

Faculty, staff, and students at the 2nd dialogue on gun violence.

Faculty, staff, and students at the 2nd dialogue on gun violence.

Her transition to mostly-rural southeastern Connecticut at the beginning of the year was more complicated. Let’s just say American hospitality wasn’t the welcome party she was expecting. In India, she says everyone would invite you over for tea or whatever. Even the King, she says, sometimes disguises himself in order to test the hospitality of his subjects. During her first few months in Connecticut, she says it felt like no one said anything to her. She was isolated and alone, she felt imprisoned, and she wondered what she was doing here.

Then she was in Shain Library, her big American living room on campus, and she noticed the display of books on guns in America, and she had a Eureka moment. Look at all of these books organized according to a theme, she thought! Then she checked the majority of them out and began reading about the history of guns and violence in the United States. At her 2nd campus-wide dialogue series on global gun violence, she mentioned that she researches guns and violence in part because they are very scary to her and they represent a real threat to her and her family.  Importantly, she reads about guns in order to understand them and overcome her fear.

Binalakshmi Nepram checking out the New Books display in Shain Library.

Binalakshmi Nepram checking out the New Books display in Shain Library. The current exhibit on the AIDS Quilt is visible in the background.

Her discovery of books about guns in Shain Library happened in the summer of 2018, a time riddled with multiple mass shootings in the United States. To name only several, there was the Douglass High School shooting in Parkland, Florida (Feb. 14), the Santa Fe High School shooting in New Mexico (May 18), and the Thousand Oaks, California shooting (Nov. 7). The Tree of Life Synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (Oct. 27) happened within 24 hours of the 2nd campus-wide dialogue series on global gun violence that Bina led with the support of Frida Berrigan.

Bina and I met recently to talk about her experiences. She is a wonderful and powerful speaker, but she is also really enthusiastic and incredibly humble. She told me the books about guns exhibit in Shain library helped her understand why she is here in Connecticut. “Why is America the world’s leading international arms dealer,” she asked me rhetorically. Gun making started right here in Norwich, Connecticut, she said, as an artisanal craft industry to fight against the British. Nepram began speaking about the life of Sarah Winchester, heiress of The Winchester Repeating Arms Company, which was one of the biggest gun makers in the world. A lot of their rifles were used in the US Civil War, and they were established in nearby New Haven.

“Books!” Bina says. “They are like strange animals.” Whoever created that exhibit, she told me, must really understand these issues. Nepram really liked the variety of sub-topics, with books on women and guns, for example. But one thing that really stood out to her was the inclusion of children’s books. She says there are always children’s books in the exhibits and she loves that. Her daughter visited recently, and of course they read children’s books together in Shain Library.



Original Publications by James Baldwin in Shain Library

To mark the occasion of what would have been James Baldwin’s 94th birthday, we’re going fairly deep into library collections, back to the source of Baldwin’s early works in their original published form in magazines, before they were collected in the books we know today. What follows is a brief introduction to Baldwin’s recent popularity, which no doubt echoes his celebrity in the 1960s, followed by selected images of original Baldwin publications in Shain Library—it’s amazing to think they’ve been here at Connecticut College all along.

The popularity of the work of James Baldwin seems to have grown substantially around the time of the release of the film I Am Not Your Negro (Raoul Peck, 2017) and likely contributed to its success. In August 2017, I went to take a look at a couple of Baldwin’s former apartments in New York City, and one of the current residents told me , “ever since that movie came out, people have been coming by to have a look at the building.” It is not all about the movie, however, as Douglas Field documents a renewed interest in Baldwin starting in the late 1990s, when some of his later and overlooked works began to be reconsidered (Field, James Baldwin 86). Now hardly a week goes by without Baldwin’s name being mentioned in The New York Times newspaper or The New Yorker magazine; an ironic outcome for the author of Nobody Knows My Name (1961). In May,  former President Bill Clinton told the New York Times that James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time is one of the books that “made me want to become a writer.”

James Baldwin lived in an apartment in this building on Horatio Street in Greenwich Village.

James Baldwin lived in an apartment in this building on Horatio Street in Greenwich Village. The building has since been completely gutted and renovated.

In November 2017, Hilton Als of The New Yorker introduced the re-release of Nothing Personal (1964), Baldwin’s collaborative project with photographer and former DeWitt Clinton High School mate Richard Avedon. Two of the latest developments of the Baldwin buzz include the 2018 publication of Magdalena Zaborowska’s Me and My House: James Baldwin’s Last Decade in France, and Michael Eric Dyson’s What Truth Sounds Like: Robert F. Kennedy, James Baldwin, and Our Unfinished Conversation about Race in America. Before these, in 2015 we saw the publication of Ta-Nehisi Coates’s best-selling, Baldwin-inspired book, Between the World and Me

In his 2017 best-seller, We Were Eight Years in Power, Coates again explicitly states his intention “to try” to write in the vein of James Baldwin (218). It has become customary for those writing about race in America to invoke Baldwin’s legacy, as we see in the example of the powerful collection of essays brought together by Jesmyn Ward, The  Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks about Race (2016). While The Fire Next Time is the go-to starting place for an introduction to Baldwin, there is disagreement about how best to engage his work. Joseph Vogel argues that “no single work by Baldwin is as connected to the issues animating Black Lives Matter as his final nonfiction book, The Evidence of Things Not Seen (1985)”, which was written at a time says Vogel when Baldwin had “lost the public’s affection”.

As part of the recent resurgence, in the fall of 2017 I participated in a reading group at Connecticut College for James Baldwin’s first collection of early essays, Notes of A Native Son (1955). The group was organized by Rose Oliveira, Erin Duran, and Visiting Assistant Professor of French, Benjamin Williams (they also organized a subsequent reading of We Were Eight Years in Power, mentioned above). I was immediately excited to discover in the acknowledgments section of the book that most of the essays in Notes had been previously published in the 1940s and 1950s in magazines that are still available in Shain Library. To be sure, a number of Baldwin’s books, like those of many authors, are indeed collections of previously published work. Curious to see them in their original form, I began tracking them down.

Just as I am Not Your Negro played a part in exposing a new generation to the life and work of James Baldwin, extending it to a wider audience, so too I think it has had the unintended effect of adding another layer between the reader/viewer and the work itself (if such a thing exists), concealing it in a way that is not immediately obvious. There is a world of context — what was happening at the time, where was it published, who were the editors, who were the other contributors, who were the readers, etc. — that is hidden in the form of the original publication that may not be apparent to the reader of a reprint.


“The Harlem Ghetto,” Baldwin’s first published essay, originally appeared in the February 1948 issue of Commentary. Baldwin-biographer David Leeming calls it Baldwin’s first essay publication, distinguishing it from his book reviews and other early works (Leeming 51). Between 1947 and 1949, when Baldwin was just 22-25 years old (born August 2, 1924), he published an astounding 16 reviews in The Nation and The New Leader (Field, “James Baldwin’s Life” 833). These publications earned him the beginnings of a transatlantic reputation even before he first set foot in France in November 1948.

Commentary, February 1948

[Click to enlarge] Commentary, February 1948. Notice the Palmer Library embossment in the upper-left corner, and the corrected typo for the date of publication.

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Commentary, February 1948 – table of contents. Notice that then 23-year old Baldwin is already published in the company of New York’s leading intellectuals.

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“The Harlem Ghetto” by James Baldwin. Notice the 1948 biographical statement (bottom-left).

Notice the slight annotations in pencil (right column).

When “Everybody’s Protest Novel” appeared in the June 1949 issue of Partisan Review — an attack on “the most famous African American writer [Richard Wright] of his time” and an early mentor (Field, James Baldwin 15) — the young Baldwin was already a “seriously recognized presence on the literary scene” (Leeming 73). Moreover, it was one of the first significant essays by an African American to be published in Partisan Review, impinging directly on the established relation between race and writing at the time (Field, “James Baldwin’s Life” 847).

[Click to enlarge] Partisan Review, June 1949. Unfortunately, the cover was removed in binding so we are left only with the title page.  The essay was originally published in Zero magazine (Spring 1949), before appearing in Partisan Review.

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Partisan Review, June 1949 – table of contents.

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“Everybody’s Protest Novel” by James Baldwin.

“The Negro in Paris” appeared in the June 6, 1950 issue of The Reporter:

The Reporter, June 6, 1950.

[Click to enlarge] The Reporter, June 6, 1950.

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The Reporter, June 6, 1950 – table of contents.

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“The Negro in Paris” by James Baldwin. Notice the illustrations.

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“A Question of Identity” was published in the July-August 1954 issue of Partisan Review:

[Click to enlarge] Partisan Review, July-August 1954.

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“A Question of Identity” by James Baldwin.

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[Click to enlarge] Checkout cards in the back of this binding could indicate interest in the issue or in Baldwin in particular.

“Life Straight in De Eye” was published in Commentary in January 1955:

Commentary, January 1955.

Commentary, January 1955.

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Commentary, January 1955 – table of contents.

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“Life Straight in De Eye” by James Baldwin. Notice the development of his biographical statement (bottom-left) from the earlier 1948 issue (pictured above).

Beyond the sources listed above that were collected in Notes of a Native Son, there are a number of other compelling, original publications by Baldwin in Shain Library, a few of which are featured below.


The Nation, April 12, 1947. Baldwin's first published book review.

[Click to enlarge] The Nation, April 12, 1947. Baldwin’s first published book review.

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The Nation, April 12, 1947 – table of contents. Notice Kay Boyle is a contributor. She is the one who invited Baldwin to speak at Wesleyan University on May 22, 1963.

Kay Boyl's piece in the same issue as Baldwin's.

Kay Boyle’s piece in the same issue as Baldwin’s.

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“Maxim Gorki as Artist” by James Baldwin.

Baldwin in Nation_Page_09

“Maxim Gorki as Artist” by James Baldwin.

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The ad next to Baldwin’s article.

[Click to enlarge] “Letter From a Region in My Mind” was published in The New Yorker, November 17, 1962, causing the magazine’s sales to soar, before it would become the major portion of The Fire Next Time in 1963. At the time, Baldwin was between continents, between visits to the White House, and a rising star on the international literary scene.

"Letter From a Region in My Mind" by Baldwin in The New Yorker, November 17, 1962.

“Letter From a Region in My Mind” by Baldwin in The New Yorker, November 17, 1962.

"Letter to My Nephew" is the other essay that would be collected in The Fire Next Time (1963). Before that, however, it was published in The Progressive, December 1962.

“Letter to My Nephew” is the other essay that would be collected in The Fire Next Time (1963). Before that, however, it was published in The Progressive, December 1962.

The December, 1962 issue of The Progressive marked the centennial of the Emancipation Proclamation, and it included a letter from president John F. Kennedy addressing the occasion.

The December 1962 issue of The Progressive marked the centennial of the Emancipation Proclamation, and it included a letter from president John F. Kennedy addressing the occasion.

The Progressive, December 1962 - table of contents.

The Progressive, December 1962 – table of contents.

“Letter to My Nephew” by James Baldwin in The Progressive, December 1962.

In March 1963, Baldwin testified before the House of Representatives with Betty Shabazz, wife of Malcolm X. In his testimony, Baldwin argued that whitewashing American history would deny the black American a sense of identity.

In March 1963, Baldwin testified before the House of Representatives with Betty Shabazz, wife of Malcolm X. In his testimony, Baldwin argued that whitewashing American history would deny the black American a sense of identity.

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Notice Betty Shabazz’s name is misspelled “Shadazz”.

James Baldwin interview in the Paris Review no. 91 (1984)

James Baldwin interview in the Paris Review no. 91 (1984). In the interview Baldwin talks about his early book reviews from the late 1940s.

Beginning of James Baldwin interview in Paris Review (1984)

Beginning of James Baldwin interview in Paris Review (1984).

Architectural Digest, August 1987.

Architectural Digest ran this photographic profile of James Baldwin's French home in 1987 shortly before his death.

Architectural Digest ran this photographic profile of James Baldwin’s French home alongside a short piece by Baldwin in 1987 shortly before his death. It was his last published work.

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Notice here Baldwin uses the now-famous term “transatlantic commuter” to describe his itinerant path.

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Architectural Digest, August 1987.

In 1989, artist, printer, and book maker Leonard Baskin made a posthumous illustrated limited edition of a few Baldwin poems published by his Gehenna Press. The Lear Center for Special Collections and Archives maintains a Leonard Baskin Collection that includes Baldwin's Gypsy & Other Poems.

In 1989, artist, printer, and book maker Leonard Baskin made a posthumous illustrated limited edition of selected Baldwin poetry published by his Gehenna Press. The Lear Center for Special Collections and Archives maintains a Leonard Baskin Collection that includes Baldwin’s Gypsy & Other Poems.

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Gypsy & Other Poems by James Baldwin.

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Gypsy poem by Baldwin.

Checkout card for James Baldwin's Going to Meet the Man

Checkout card for James Baldwin’s Going to Meet the Man. Obviously the book was pretty popular at Connecticut College.

Checkout card for James Baldwin's Go Tell It on the Mountain

Checkout card for James Baldwin’s Go Tell It on the Mountain. The book clearly circulated widely on the Connecticut College campus.


Field, Douglas. James Baldwin. Tavistock, Devon, UK: Northcote House, 2011.

Field, Douglas. “James Baldwin’s Life on the Left: A Portrait of the Artist as a Young New York Intellectual.” ELH 78.4 (2011): 833-862.

Leeming, David. James Baldwin: A Biography. New York: Knopf, 1994.

Happy to Help! Rating Customer Satisfaction for Information Services with the MISO Survey


The student was panicked. She dropped the thumb drive on the counter. “I saved the document 20 times but it keeps coming out with a big white line down the middle and it’s due in 2 hours and I have a class now and I’ve never used Adobe Illustrator before so I must have done something wrong but I don’t know how to fix it and now I’m going to get a zero!” “Okay,” said the IT Service Desk staff member calmly, “no problem, we can fix this.” The staff member took the thumb drive, sent the student to class, fixed the file, and brought the thumb drive to the office to hand it in on time for the student. No problem.

The story above is just another moment in a day in the life of Information Services. It is difficult to quantify the importance of the resources and services offered through the department. Since 2009, we have used the MISO survey to get a picture of customer satisfaction with information services staff, resources and services. The MISO survey is administered biannually to assess the importance of, and satisfaction with, library and technology services. It also attempts to take a snapshot of attitudes and practices relating to information usage. MISO is an acronym that stands for Measuring Information Services Outcomes; it’s a nonprofit survey provider based at Bryn Mawr College, and numerous colleges and universities administer the survey each year. For more information on the survey, visit

The survey was administered in February 2018 and had the following response rates: 58.4% of faculty (146 responses), 41.9% of staff (211 responses), and 66.6% of a random sample of approximately 700 students (i.e., 466 responses). The high participation rate for MISO shows the value placed on communications and collaboration at Connecticut College. The departments that comprise Information Services are made stronger by soliciting and listening to feedback provided by MISO and other assessments.


Information Services staff members received very high mean trait ratings from all groups surveyed. Respondents were asked to rate staff on four criteria (friendliness, knowledgeability, reliability and responsiveness). Taking ratings across these four criteria as an average, all staff areas received a score of at least 3.5 out of 4 (with 3 representing “somewhat agree” and 4 representing “agree”).

The focus on customer service is a priority for all departments and service points in Information Services. The reference department was rated 3.9 out of 4 in all traits. The IT Service Desk has made it a priority to train student workers for high quality customer service as well as expert technical knowledge. Their ratings have gone up consistently since 2014 from 3.14 in 2014 to 3.7 out of 4 in 2018. Striving for better service and pursuing excellence in library and technology services is a crucial part of the Information Services culture.

While services remain important, faculty and students rated the importance of the library’s collections very highly for attaining research and teaching goals. 79 percent of faculty said “technology used in courses and classrooms” greatly contributes to teaching. 61 percent said the “physical and digital library collections” greatly contributes. 50 percent said “working with librarians” greatly contributes and 43 percent said “working with technology professionals” greatly contributes. 87 percent of students said “technology used in courses and classrooms” contributed greatly or moderately to achieving their academic goals. 82 percent of students said the “physical and digital library collections” contributed greatly or moderately to achieving their academic goals.



MISO found that the majority of students never backup their data. 37.9 percent of students said they never back up their data. 33.7 percent of students said they backup data once or twice a semester. 18.6 percent of students said they backup data one to three times a month. 7.3 percent of students said they backup data one to three times a week. 2.4 percent of students said they backup data more than three times a week. This information provides an opportunity to educate students about the importance of backing up their data and the help and hardware that can be found at the Information Services IT Services Desk.


Satisfaction ratings have improved from 2016-2018 for “wireless access on campus,”  “availability of wireless access on campus,” and CamelWeb across all groups surveyed. Maintaining consistent and accessible wireless services on campus, and making CamelWeb more accessible and user-friendly is a priority for Information Services staff.

Survey results are a good way to analytically measure satisfaction of services. But how do we measure the patience and care that reference librarians ensure is a part of every research appointment at the reference desk? How do we paint a picture of the friendly smile of the student in IT Services who answers each question expertly. How do we gauge the impact of providing innovative learning spaces, addressing research anxiety, and new ways to highlight student and faculty research with digital platforms? “Value isn’t just about quantitative measures but also subjective activities that are hard to measure.” Taylor and Francis Surveys statistics narrative. The MISO 2018 survey results show that a short term goal such as excellent customer service inevitably leads to long term objectives such as retention and community engagement.

Stashing Your Stuff, or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love RefWorks (with apologies to Stanley Kubrick…)

Every day at the Reference Desk we are exposed to what some people might uncharitably call student disorganization: laptops with 80 pdfs on the desktop, or browsers with 25 tabs open to different papers. Students scramble through these messes as they talk to us. But in fairness, it is not dissimilar to desks piled high with physical papers and books. (Where oh where did I put that paper by Professor Jennifer Smith?)

The truth is that the acts of collecting and then FINDING all the “stuff” we MIGHT be using in a particular research project, create age-old problems. Some might argue that if the stuff is in print, stacks and files can be created that help organize it. But, honestly, those stacks and files often do not get created. And are they really any different than students creating folders on their laptops to dump stuff into?

Another truth is that what appears to be disorganization is often part of the evolution of a person’s thought process. Searching through pages, triangulating on ideas, sifting back and forth – those are intellectual activities that can be part of the development of new ideas and the finding of new directions. Real organization of our stuff takes place when our thinking has evolved to the point that we know what our questions are and where we might be taking our ideas.

Photo by Mr Cup / Fabien Barral on Unsplash

We all know that programs such as RefWorks can make the creation of correctly formatted footnotes/endnotes/in-text citations and bibliographies much easier. It’s a better software to use than EasyBib (which many students use before coming to college), although it lacks the sophistication of EndNote or Zotero, which many people on the graduate level and above use. For most projects RefWorks works well, and students can save and transport their materials anywhere, and, if they wish, eventually move their citations to one of the more sophisticated systems. A vast majority of colleges and universities offer access to RefWorks. (For a more detailed description of using RefWorks, go to Andrew Lopez’s post on this blog.

But it is easy to get hung up on this formal use of RefWorks for producing the footnotes/endnotes/bibliographies etc. for research papers and projects. The truth is, it can have equal value as being a storage and organizational tool for the things we collect for research projects. Like clearing stacks of paper and books off of our physical desks, it can clear the top of our virtual desktops.


If you are a student who prefers to read digitally and never have stacks of paper, consider whether your virtual desktop is as messy as your friend’s or professor’s physical desk.

If you are a faculty member, you can help simplify many students’ lives by suggesting that they use this organizational tool. You might even (if you don’t already use a citation manager) consider signing up for it yourself. It is robust enough to handle many publication projects.

So, think about stashing your stuff. Finding things will be easier, and recycling is never a problem.

Sign up here. If you have questions when you are using it, come to Reference and ask for help.

3rd Annual Library Prize Recipient – Dominic Lentini

For the last three years, Shain Library has been awarding a Library Research Prize. Each student applicant must submit detailed information on their research process, and get faculty support for the submission. This is the essay/application for this year’s winner, Dominic Lentini. Dominic is a senior, and a double-major in International Relations and French. His paper was entitled: Media Framing, Violent Protest, and Race: A Comparative Analysis of The Wall Street Journal and the New York Times’ coverage of the Ferguson Protests.

Dominic Lentini ’18
Research Statement
Spring 2018

Describe how you came to choose your topic, specifically noting any pre-research that you did. What sources did you use in this pre-research? To what extent did you consult with librarians, faculty, or others? How did this pre-research lead you to your topic?

The process through which I arrived at my final topic was very time consuming. The first proposal I wrote was about protest repression, media coverage, and the police. For this, I first consulted the textbooks as well as other assigned readings for our class and I critically examined their bibliographies to help guide me in the direction of appropriate and related literature. This search involved exploring both theoretical literature to establish a framework for my analysis, as well as information on potential case studies and primary sources that could be used to take the existing research in a new direction. Using those sources as a springboard, I compiled a large list of peer reviewed articles and books on protest policing, policy, and organization, as well as on media coverage of protests.

However, as I began to read through those texts, consult with my professor, and meet with research librarians, I realized that what I had proposed could be three separate papers. While my research clearly started with a very large scope and a lot of energy was used to research topics that I did not write about, over roughly a month and a half of reading and evaluating sources, I eventually guided and narrowed my initial interests into a topic that was appropriate for the course: Media Framing, Violent Protest, and Race: A Comparative Analysis of The Wall Street Journal and the New York Times’ coverage of the Ferguson Protests.

Describe your process of finding information for your project. Note specifically the tools you used to undertake your research, as well as the specific search strategies you used within these tools. (Note: “Ebsco,” being an umbrella vendor, is not a specific enough response when identifying tools; listing the “library database” is also an unacceptably vague answer.

Specific tools include JSTOR, America:History & Life, Web of Science, etc., along with OneSearch, the new library system.)

As I described in question one, the first step in my process was exploring the sources used in the bibliographies of sources provided for my course. Following that, however, I used the library’s OneSearch, JSTOR, Political Science Complete, Google Scholar, and Lexis Nexis as the main tools for finding new articles and books. Within all of the databases I would do advanced searches with a variety of different search terms such as “framing,” “media framing,” “framing violence,” “framing race,” “framing protest” and many combinations within those terms. I would then read the abstracts to gauge potential relevance, and save every potential article to RefWorks so that I could later examine their
methodology, data, and conclusions. For anything I could not access through those databases, I used both the CTW network, WorldCat, and Inter Library Loan to access them. Additionally, within JSTOR I explored the utility of their text analyzer, which is in its beta mode.

For collecting my primary source newspaper articles, I initially used ProQuest Newspapers. I even contacted them, with the help of Andrew Lopez, to learn about how they code and sort their articles. For my data collection process, I used ProQuest Newspapers to search all articles published in certain date ranges based on set search terms in order to create frequency tables of article publication, and then to do content analysis of a selection of those articles. I realized, however, that some articles were coded inconsistently, and consequently double counted, which threw off all of the article counts. Thus, I did not end up using that particular database. Instead, I used the website search function for both The New York Times’ and the Wall Street Journal’s sites. Using the search functions within each newspaper required more manual work, and I even called the WSJ to get information about how their search feature functioned, but it ultimately provided me with the data I needed.

Describe your process of evaluating the resources you found. How did you make decisions about which resources you would use, and which you wouldn’t? What kinds of questions did you ask yourself about resources in order to determine whether they were worthy of inclusion?

I went through several different steps to evaluate my sources. Firstly, for my literature review, I only considered peer reviewed articles and books. Within sources that met that requirement, I would examine their research methodology as well as their bibliography in order to gauge the soundness and scope of their argument and conclusions. This process, however, still left me with more articles than I could use. Consequently, I made my final selection with the intention of laying a base to the framing literature, then additions and variations to that literature, and finally critiques to it. The ultimate goal was to paint a well-rounded picture of the literature.

The process for selecting background pieces for my case study was more challenging. For one, due to the slow process of academic publication, there does not exist a huge body of peer reviewed literature on the Ferguson protests. Consequently, most of the information on what transpired had to be gathered from newspaper and magazine sources. This, however, left me in a paradoxical situation because I was being pushed to use newspapers as the background for a paper in which I was arguing that newspapers paint a “framed” version of what transpired during the Ferguson protests. To try and mitigate this issue, I used a wide range of newspapers and magazines, as well as any quality academic literature I could find, in order to cross reference and evaluate the validity of my sources. While this did not totally eliminate the issue, it definitely reduced its severity.

Accessing Our Local Newspaper, The Day: Challenges and Opportunities

“Digitizing The Day’s back issues is a dream I haven’t given up on.”

-John Ruddy, Copy Desk Chief at The Day

Connecticut College appears on page four of the 450-page history of our local newspaper, The Day Paper: The Story of One of America’s Last Independent Newspapers. This is because in 1911 the newspaper’s early and prominent publisher, Theodore Bodenwein, championed the cause of establishing Connecticut College for Women in New London at a time when other Connecticut towns were vying for the opportunity to host the new college.

Unfortunately for anyone who wants to fact-check the newspaper’s coverage at the time (i.e. October 19, 1911), or any other historical issue, your best bet is to make a trip down to the Public Library of New London (PLNL), where they maintain a complete run of The Day back to 1881 on microfilm.  The PLNL website even claims they are “the only repository in the world with a complete record of the paper.” While that seems mostly true, it is also the case that the Waterford Public Library, the Groton Public Library, the Connecticut State Library, and The Day itself combined have pieces of what amounts to a second or third microfilm copy of the newspaper’s back issues. Not to mention the film negatives allegedly stored at ProQuest that are used in the creation of the microfilm in the first place. All of these copies combined, however, still amount to a rather precarious legacy for our local paper.

Day index by Groton Public Library

Day on microfilm at PLNL  Day index 1881-1890
The Day on microfilm along with a few incomplete print indexes at the Public Library of New London.

The date of October 19, 1911, cited in The Day Paper makes for an interesting example, because it is not covered by the pieces of The Day that were digitized by Google when the company aspired to scan everything in every library; a project that was abandoned in haste without explanation some years ago. At least that’s how The Day‘s Copy Desk Chief John Ruddy recalls the relationship when he described it to me in recent communications. Ruddy estimates that Google scanned about a third of the paper, “but the gaps are random and unpredictable.”

It was only when I asked Ruddy how anyone can make an authoritative claim about what is, or is not, printed in The Day without systematic access to all of its contents, that he explained how he uses the microfilm in conjunction with several incomplete indexes in existence:

  • a card file maintained from 1929 to 1977 by librarians at The Day
  • a system of story clippings from 1977 to around 2000 also at The Day
  • incomplete print indexes available in local public libraries covering the years 1881-1890, with a partial index to one or two decades later in the 1900s

card file at The Day

Conn College entry in the card file at The Day.

Most of the cabinets that makeup The Day’s card and clipping files.









Budding researchers may be surprised to learn The Day is not free and it is not all online.  It has been cut up with scissors over the years into little pieces of paper folded into envelopes and documented by hand on index cards that are organized  in the drawers of some filing cabinets in an office almost no one still uses, while other components were bound between book covers, photographed, microfilmed, and/or digitized in haste and incompletely, some of it available on the internet for you to puzzle over.  The rest of it is buried until someone comes along to sort it all out, assuming the various scattered pieces will last that long. Besides, who would do such a thing? How long would it take? How much would it cost? How come no one does it?

We have to ask these questions as a starting place in the hope that someday something will happen. Hopefully someone will find a grant or a benefactor and connect with the right people to help advance a project like realizing the complete digitization of The Day.

As part of the National Digital Newspaper Program, the Connecticut Digital Newspaper Project has been working in this direction, to be sure, but each NEH grant received only provides for the digitization of a small portion of one or several papers in a state that has seen the publication of some 1,600 newspapers since the 1700s. One outstanding example is the Hartford Courant which has been well-digitized from 1764-1991, albeit by ProQuest rather than the public, and is available through a database via the CT State Library.

For my part, I have talked with stakeholders at area public libraries and now The Day itself about possibly getting a group together to return to the massive project of indexing the entire paper. At least then we would have a means of making efficient use of the microfilm available at PLNL. Ruddy at The Day told me that if I do resume work on the index, then I should focus on the period from 1890 to 1929, which given the tools available is the hardest portion of the paper to search, in his view.

As for access today, in addition to the abovementioned, here’s what we have:

—Andrew Lopez

Harvesting Gov Docs Locally for Preservation and Discovery

On Wednesday January 10, I had the privilege of presenting the following poster at the annual CTW* Retreat:

Harvesting Gov Docs Locally for Preservation & Discovery. Poster presented at CTW Retreat 10 Jan. 2018.

Harvesting Gov Docs Locally for Preservation & Discovery. Poster presented at CTW Retreat 10 Jan. 2018.

A quick summary of the chart featured prominently in the center of the poster, which is copied from James A. Jacobs’ report Born-Digital U.S. Federal Government Information: Preservation and Access,” and which was re-presented in his October 2017 presentation with James R. Jacobs called “Government Information: Everywhere and Nowhere,” provides an easy way to understand the nature of the problem.

Scope of the Preservation Challenge. Source: Jacobs, 2014.

Scope of the Preservation Challenge. Source: Jacobs, 2014.

The first column represents the number of items distributed by the Government Publishing Office (GPO) to Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) libraries in 2011 (appx. 10,200 items). The second column represents the total number of items distributed by GPO to FDLP over its entire 200 year history (appx. 2-3 million items). The third column is the number of URLs harvested by the 2008 End of Term crawl (appx. 160 million URLs).

Clearly, the scope of government information produced outside of the GPO and FDLP is very large. So large in fact that what is produced online each year makes the entire 200 year history of the Depository Library Program look like a drop in the bucket. This vast array of online government  information can be called fugitive. No one knows how much born-digital government information has been created or where it all is.

At Connecticut College, Lori Looney and I are exploring ways of being proactive about this situation through our role in the FDLP. While we are unable to participate in large-scale digitization projects, we have nonetheless adopted this idea of being proactive in the FDLP from some of the ideas sketched out in Peter Hernon and Laura Saunders’ College & Research Libraries article “The Federal Depository Library Program in 2023: One Perspective on the Transition to the Future.” We see their proactive approach as preferable to withdrawing from the program altogether or assuming a more passive role within it that would maintain the status quo. We describe our adoption of this approach in our essay “Experience of a New Government Documents Librarian,” published in Susan Caro’s book Government Information Essentials.

Our latest activity addressed by the poster consists of several easy steps that librarians everywhere can do in their own libraries:

  • Keep track of your favorite websites and online publications, and make sure their URLs are captured in the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine
  • Add rare, hard-to-find, and/or local government documents to your library catalog, as well as digitizing those that are not already available online, and upload them to Internet Archive, ideally with as much catalog metadata as possible
  • Advocate for the long-term value of seemingly obscure government information and help spread the word that short-term ease of accessibility actually masks the major problems associated with long-term preservation, access, and usability

Some of the documents we harvested in this capacity (see a few examples below) are local government publications that may not be easy to find online and which may not be accessible through any other library catalog anywhere. By finding them, adding them to Internet Archive, downloading them, physically adding them to our collection, and adding records to OCLC/WorldCat we are actively supporting preservation and discovery.

Hodges Square creativeplacemaking master plan_Page_01    

2017_draft_comprehensiveenergystrategy_Page_001    NEW LONDON DOWNTOWN TRANSPORTATION AND PARKING STUDY 2017_Page_001


This is a very small way of responding to the very large problem of web preservation in general. However, as a small institution with a selective collection of government publications, it is a practical strategy for contributing to the efforts of larger institutions involved with the fascinating and complex problems like the End of Term (EOT) Web Archive.


—Andrew Lopez


Works Consulted

Hernon, Peter, and Laura Saunders. “The Federal Depository Library Program in 2023: One Perspective on the Transition to the Future.” College and Research Libraries 70, no. 4 (2009): 351–70.

Jacobs, James A. “Born-Digital U.S. Federal Government Information: Preservation and Access.” Center for Research Libraries: Global Resources Collections Forum, 17 Mar. 2014.

Jacobs, James A., and James R. Jacobs. “Government Information: Everywhere and Nowhere.” Livestream web-based presentation to Government Publications Librarians of New England (GPLNE), 24 Oct. 2017.

Lopez, Andrew and Lori Looney. “Experience of a New Government Documents Librarian.” Government Information Essentials. Ed. Susanne Caro. Chicago: ALA Editions, 2018. 13-20.

Seneca, Tracy, Abbie Grotke, Cathy Nelson Hartman, and Kris Carpenter. “It Takes a Village to Save the Web: The End of Term Web Archive.” DttP: Documents to the People (Spring 2012): 16-23.


*CTW is the library consortium between Connecticut College, Trinity College, and Wesleyan University

Disappearing Government Information and the Effort to Preserve It

[Updated 25 October 2017]

The group Government Publications Librarians of New England (GPLNE) has organized a fall webinar on disappearing government information and the effort to preserve it. We are fortunate to be joined by two leading government information advocates, James R. Jacobs (Stanford University) and James A. Jacobs (Emeritus, UC San Diego) who will lead the presentation after a brief introduction.

Disappearing Government Information poster

Link to poster as PDF

Presentation details:

Who: James R. Jacobs (Stanford Univ.) & James A. Jacobs (UC San Diego)
What: Disappearing Government Information and the Effort to Preserve it
When: Tuesday, October 24, at 2pm EST
Where: Live streaming via GPO:

A recording of the presentation is now available online at the following URL:

click on this link

James R. Jacobs provided a link to the slides for download here:

Please note the name of the presentation was changed to Government Information: Everywhere and Nowhere.

Some recent related articles include the following:

Please direct additional questions or concerns to Andrew Lopez, Research Support Librarian at Connecticut College: andrew.lopez [at]

Library Budgets and Open Access

It’s International Open Access Week, and so here we offer a summary of our own library’s budget difficulties, along with an argument for why open access initiatives are a crucial aspect of the solution to these issues.

In the most recent issue of Inside Information — the newsletter for the College’s Information Services division — we reported the unfortunate news that a task force created to make cuts to the libraries’ materials budget (books, journal subscriptions, databases, etc.) had indeed reduced expenditures by $100,000, primarily by dropping subscriptions to databases that included Scopus, Royal Society of Chemistry, IoP Science, Newsbank, Art & Architecture, LGBT, Credo Reference, Mango Languages and Book Review Digest, among others. Further, the article states, it’s currently projected that the budget will need to be cut by an additional $60,000 by the end of this academic year.

The cuts have been necessitated by rising subscription costs that are coupled with a flat acquisitions budget — so as the subscription costs go up, there are fewer dollars available to spend on materials. As the Inside Information article, written by Beth Hansen, states, “[w]ithout a substanial budgetary increase, cancellations will continue to be the norm.”

What follows is a revision of what I wrote in the sidebar to the article, regarding open access.

The prospect of another round of cuts in library materials highlights an ever-growing problem: rising annual costs of these materials, particularly electronic journals and databases. These increases exemplify what many observers have called a broken system, whereby colleges and universities support the work of scholars to create new research, which is then published in journals and curated by vendors (Ebsco, ProQuest, Gale, Alexander Street, etc.) in electronic databases. The journals and databases are in turn sold or leased back to institutions’ libraries, often at a substantial markup.

Colleges and universities are therefore paying at both ends, and this double payment is proving unsustainable for many institutions, including ours. As a corrective to this system, many libraries have been pushing in effect to cut out the middleman in the form of open-access policies such as the one passed by our own faculty in 2013. For our part, Connecticut College’s libraries have strongly advocated that scholars adhere to the existing open-access policy and deposit articles in our Digital Commons archive — so that they can be found and used by those who may not have the means to pay the costs associated with access to materials. It’s also why many college and university libraries have undertaken publishing projects of their own, including the Amherst College Press or the Oberlin Group’s Lever Intiative.

Scholars also need to begin to become aware of — and assert — their own rights before they publish an article. Contracts are written to be advantageous to publishers, and not necessarily scholars and writers; thus, scholars can, and often do, unwittingly sign away their rights to their own work when they agree to a publishing contract. It’s also important to realize that contracts supersede whatever copyright had been held initially by a writer. And so when negotiating a contract, it’s a good idea to try to retain the right to deposit a version of the work into an institutional repository — and/or to publish in a journal that meets open access criteria.

One good place to look for more information about these options is the website of SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition), a coalition of librarians and scholars seeking to advance the idea of open scholarship. SPARC’s website includes a page specifically about open access, as well as a handy fact sheet on open access describing actions scholars can take in more detail.

While placing an article into Digital Commons will not by itself change the system, it’s also true that the system of scholarly communication can only be rethought if a critical mass of scholars are willing to rethink their own publication practices. In order for this to happen, it’s important for everyone to understand why and how libraries are getting squeezed, and why emerging forms of open access are integral to thinking about the road ahead.

— Fred Folmer

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