Collections

These aren’t the books you’re looking for: Inventory project highlights misplaced materials

Have you ever gone looking for a book in the stacks and not been able to find it even though you know you’re looking in the right place? Yeah, us too. And we agree, it’s very annoying. When materials aren’t where we expect them to be, it can, at best, cause frustration for our users, and at worst, delay access to materials they need for important research projects. In any library, keeping materials organized and easily able to be located is an essential job, and its one that we in the IDEAS (Information Delivery and Access Services) department take very seriously. This year, we’ve expanded our usual stacks maintenance plan to include the first item-by-item stacks inventory in recent memory.

By scanning each item in the collection one at a time, we’re able to quickly assess whether an item has been misplaced or misshelved, whether its online record doesn’t match the physical book, or whether there’s a larger problem such as the item not being in the catalog at all. How might such problems arise, you may be wondering? Well, there’s a few different things that may have happened, but the most common scenario is that someone went looking for a book and couldn’t find it. After it was missing for long enough, that book was eventually marked missing and then withdrawn, so no one else expects to find it in the stacks – at least not until we’re able to acquire a replacement. Sometimes these books are genuinely missing, but most often they’ve been shelved far from where we expect them to be, perhaps because a patron or library shelver didn’t know where they belonged or because the spine label for some reason didn’t match the online catalog. By doing an inventory, we’ve been able to quickly find problem items and fix the issue. 

To begin this project, we first asked Greg McClellan in Library Technology Services to build an API based on code developed at Georgetown. (Many thanks to Access Services librarian Nicole Thomas for attending their session at the ELUNA conference last year and bringing the idea back to us!) The inventory tool allows you to scan barcodes one at a time and alerts you when it finds certain pre-coded errors in Alma, our integrated library system – typically an invalid location, suppressed bib, or item not found. Students have been working in shifts in pre-assigned sections, taking spare Surfaces and barcode scanners up to the stacks.

This is an example of a book we found on the shelves in the Oversize section that had been withdrawn. Note the title is highlighted green so students know to pull it and route it to IDEAS for correction.

The API also allows you to manually flag for errors to the physical item, such as an incorrect spine label or item in need of mending and even tells you when books have been shelved out of order by comparing each item’s call number to the previous scan. At the end of a scanning session, students can export their data to Google sheets, so we’ve been able to maintain a complete record of which materials have already been scanned.  

As of the building closure in March, a team of nine student workers have scanned 85,000 items in our collection, alerting us to hundreds of problem items. IDEAS has been able to address many of these problems ourselves, but the majority have gone to our metadata department, RADS, for correction. Toby, Karen, and Cheryl have done a phenomenal job keeping up with all the materials ending up on their desks, enabling us to get materials back on the shelves and in students’ hands that much faster.

Our initial goal was to have the project completed by June. Of course, with the building closure, this will have to be adjusted, but we’re excited to get back at it as soon as we can!

Women’s History Month in the Archive: Remembering Phyllis Ryan

This Women's History Month we're proud to highlight the collection of  Boston-based activist Phyllis Ryan. The Phyllis M. Ryan papers at the Northeastern University Library Archives and Special Collections trace the arc Ryan’s career trajectory through the 1960s to late '80s in Boston, documenting her role as a communicator, facilitator, and radical activist. However, Ryan is not the only figure present in her own collection. While the papers cover her work in Boston’s civil rights scene, combating institutional and political discrimination on the basis of race, ability, class, and faith, Ryan’s name and image appear alongside those of other public figures of the time.

A large portion of the papers are composed of newspaper clippings from and press releases to a wide range of publications. Many of Ryan’s most effective roles were operating as a go-between for progressive candidates and causes which she would relate to the press. The nature of Ryan's work frequently relegated her to a voluntary role of background character in the many political narratives she shaped, promoting movements and voices without promoting herself, creating access and elevating the voices of the marginalized without taking personal advantage.

Phyllis Ryan’s work in political activism began in school clubs while she attended Northeastern University, supporting local progressive campaigns, writing for the Northeastern News, and promoting collegiate activism on campus. After obtaining her degree, Ryan’s first major political successes began with raising awareness of housing discrimination in the Boston area with the Fair Housing Federation of Greater Boston. Ryan continued on to work in advisement and press representation for the Boston Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), and was particularly active in the movement for racial integration of the Boston Public Schools. In response to the church bombings in Birmingham, Ala., during the 1960s, Ryan organized marches, sit ins, and a rally of 30,000 people on the Boston Common to raise awareness and solidarity. Significantly, she also organized Dr. Martin Luther King’s visit to Boston in April of 1965, working with local religious leaders to spend hours briefing Dr. King on the difficulties facing the Boston communities, and writing the speeches that he would give throughout his stay.

Ryan’s final political act of her long public career was a successful unification of Newton's local politicians to create wheelchair access for a nearby public lake. This act of path-making, public service, and barrier lifting is beautifully characteristic of Ryan’s public career.

Ryan’s careful voice and clear mind were operating influentially behind the scenes of so many political and social advances in Massachusetts, from combating right-wing extremist political campaigns to protesting the misuse of urban renewal funds, suing the New Haven (Conn.) Police Department for illegal wiretapping of politically active citizens’ homes, and advancing reform at Walpole State Prison. We invite you to look further at the life and work of an extraordinary public servant and iconic piece of Boston’s history of activism. While our reading room is currently closed, you can view the digitized collection online in the Digital Repository Service, and we hope to see you in person once the archive reopens!

Expanded Access to Online Research During COVID-19 Situation

While the COVID-19 virus has made completing the spring 2020 semester more complicated, including leading to the closure of the Snell Library building, Northeastern University Library’s staff is dedicated to continuing to provide quality research service and resources to students, faculty, and staff. Users can still get assistance from library specialists and can access our databases and electronic books, journals, and streaming videos online. For more information about accessing library services remotely, visit library.northeastern.edu/resilience.

In addition to the efforts of Northeastern University Library staff, many publishers of scholarly resources have attempted to ease the stress of this difficult situation by temporarily making their resources freely available. The library will be updating Scholar OneSearch to reflect this new access, and you can see the list of new resources below. This list will be updated as new resources become available.

AccessAnesthesiology

AccessAnesthesiology is an award-winning medical reference and teaching platform that delivers world-renowned, interdisciplinary content integrated with analytical teaching and learning tools. McGraw-Hill has made its AccessAnesthesiology collection available until September 14. Northeastern University credentials required.

AccessEngineering

AccessEngineering is an award-winning engineering reference and teaching platform that delivers world-renowned, interdisciplinary engineering content integrated with analytical teaching and learning tools. McGraw-Hill has made its AccessEngineering collection available until September 14. Northeastern University credentials required.

Annual Reviews

Annual Reviews provides definitive reviews in 37 scientific disciplines, focusing on biomedical, physical, and social sciences. It is an excellent source for finding overviews of new topics. Annual Reviews has made all journal content freely available until June 15.

Cambridge Companions

The Cambridge Companions collection contains guides to literature, authors, topics, periods, and more. Cambridge University Press has made access to this collection free until at least June 30. Northeastern University credentials required.

Cambridge Elements

The Cambridge Elements collection combines the best research on a topic from various sources, on topics throughout the arts and sciences. Cambridge University Press has made access to this collection free until at least June 30. Northeastern University credentials required.

Cambridge Histories

The Cambridge Histories collection provides access to more than 350 volumes in 10 subject areas focusing on various aspects of history. Cambridge University Press has made access to this collection free until at least June 30. Northeastern University credentials required.

Cambridge Textbooks

Cambridge Textbooks provides access to more than 700 textbooks in a wide variety of disciplines. Cambridge University Press has made access to these textbooks free until June 30. Northeastern University credentials required.

De Gruyter Ebooks

De Gruyter has made more than 69,000 ebooks available through June 30. Northeastern University credentials required.

EBSCOhost Databases

EBSCOhost has made the following database collections available through June 30. Northeastern University credentials required.

EDP Science Journals

EDP Sciences has made a number of journals, including all EDP published content between 2018 and 2020, freely available until the end of August.

GeoScienceWorld

The Geological Society of America and several of their partner publishers have made their ebooks freely available on GeoScienceWorld through June 30.

Harvard Business Review Ebook Collection

More than 600 titles from the Harvard Business Review Collection are available through EBSCOhost through June 29. Northeastern University credentials required.

JoVE Science Education

JoVE (Journal of Visualized Experiments) Science Education is a video database dedicated to teaching laboratory fundamentals through simple, easy-to-understand video demonstrations. Each video is paired with additional video resources for you to view practical applications of the technique and other complementary skills. JoVE has made all Science Education modules available through June 15. Northeastern University credentials required.

JSTOR Archival Journal Collections

JSTOR has opened additional journal collections for use, including Ecology & Botany II, Hebrew Journals, Jewish Studies, Ireland Collection, and Lives of Literature, through the end of 2020. Northeastern University credentials required.

JSTOR Ebooks

JSTOR and partnering publishers have made more than 30,000 of their ebooks available in a wide range of disciplines through the end of 2020. Northeastern University credentials required.

JSTOR Primary Source Collections

JSTOR has made the Global Plants, 19th Century British Pamphlets, Struggles for Freedom: Southern Africa, and World Heritage Sites: Africa primary source collections available through the end of 2020. Northeastern University credentials required.

JSTOR Public Health Journals

This set of  26 public health journals has been made freely available by JSTOR in collaboration with various publishers through the end of 2020.

LitCovid

LitCovid is a curated literature hub for tracking up-to-date scientific information about the 2019 novel Coronavirus, compiled by the National Institutes of Health. It is the most comprehensive resource on the subject, providing a central access to more than 1000 relevant articles in PubMed. The articles are updated daily and are further categorized by different research topics and geographic locations for improved access.

Microbiology Society Journals

The Microbiology Society has made their collection of scientific journals focused on microbes free for until further notice.

MIT Press Direct

MIT Press Direct contains ebooks on wide variety of subjects. MIT has made more than 3,000 of those titles freely available through June 30.

PolicyMap

PolicyMap is a mapping tool for accessing data on demographics, real estate, health, jobs, and more about communities across the U.S. to make better-informed decisions. It is freely available through August 15. Northeastern University credentials required.

ProQuest Coronavirus Research Database

ProQuest has assembled a database of only available articles concerning coronavirus and related topics. All content is open, although Northeastern University credentials are required.

The Royal Society Journals

The Royal Society has temporarily removed all paywalls for its journals, which focus on the sciences.

ScienceDirect

ScienceDirect provides access to selected journal titles from the scholarly publisher Elsevier and its affiliates. Elsevier has also made a group of more than 240 textbooks available through at least June 15. Northeastern University credentials required.

University of California Press Journals

The University of California Press has made all of their journal content freely available through June.

University of Michigan Ebooks

The University of Michigan has made their ebook collection free to read online through June 30. Downloading is limited to open access titles.

Honoring “Jeep” Jones’s Legacy through Black History Month and Beyond

Clarence “Jeep” Jones, a former Deputy Mayor of Boston, Chair of the Boston Redevelopment Authority, and lifelong community activist, died Saturday, February 1, 2020. Jones was born a native to Roxbury in 1933, and grew up in a city that was both highly diverse, and divided along racial lines. 

Jones fondly recalled his childhood memories growing up in an interview with the Lower Roxbury Black History Project. He recounted that different friend groups developed rivalries across the neighborhood, but that they found a cathartic outlet through organized (and unorganized) athletic competitions. This resulted in what Jones reported to be “a very close-knit” community in Lower Roxbury, and set Jones on his trajectory to an athletic career in an out of state college. After a brief stint in the army, Jones returned home to Roxbury and worked in a number of youth engagement roles before being scouted for employment by Mayor Kevin White. 

 

While working in the city government, Jones became the first African-American person to hold nearly every role he was appointed to, most notably as the Chairman of the BRA and Deputy Mayor to Mayor White. In his role as Deputy Mayor, Jones played an integral role communicating and moderating between the black community of Boston and city administration through the Boston School Desegregation. Working as Chairman of the BRA, Jones participated in the groundbreaking act of granting the non-profit Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative eminent domain within a thirty acre area. DSNI remains the only non-profit to have received the right to self-determine development and use of land.

 

Jones is also credited with connecting various disadvantaged neighborhoods to the developing downtown area of Boston, encouraging a flow and flux of people and commerce. His services are recognized and honored in many formats across the years, including the naming of “Jeep” Jones Park in Roxbury, and an honorary doctorate in public service through Northeastern University.

You can continue to celebrate the legacy of Clarence “Jeep” Jones by visiting and listening to his oral history in the Lower Roxbury Black History project or view records related to his activism linked below.

 

 

Favat Collection Name Expanded to Reflect Changing Focus

[caption id="attachment_275076" align="alignright" width="212"]portrait of Dr. Favat F. André Favat[/caption]

In 1977, Northeastern University established an endowed fund to support the Library in the memory of F. André Favat, an associate professor of English education in the Department of Instruction. Dr. Favat had died the previous year at age 38. At the time of his death, Dr. Favat was also director of the National Council of Teachers of English and president of the Massachusetts Council of Teachers of English. The fund is designated for the purchase and preservation of books, primarily children’s literature and books on education.

Dr. Favat's experience in curriculum development and the teaching of future educators led to the naming of the curriculum center at Northeastern as the Favat Center for Curriculum Materials and Children’s Literature.  This center moved into Snell Library when the building opened in 1990. At a time when teacher education was a popular program of study at Northeastern, the Favat collection was used primarily by student teachers as well as students in a regularly offered children's literature course. Longtime Library staff also recall parents browsing the collection for their kids, and children from Northeastern's Call Childcare Center being brought for visits!

However, for some time now, the collection has included a significant number of young adult (YA) titles as well as books for younger readers. As the collection became used less for teaching purposes, we observed that it was being used more by our students, faculty, and staff for recreational reading. YA literature has become extremely popular reading material for adult readers as well as teens, as any Harry Potter or Katniss Everdeen fan would tell you. So, we decided to expand the collection name to the Favat Children's & Young Adult Collection, in order to more accurately convey to our users what kind of books they might find there.

The historical children’s and young adult collection that now makes up a significant portion of the Favat Children’s & Young Adult Collection comes from the original curriculum center. The more current additions to the collection represent the best in children’s and YA literature through collection of the major American award-winning titles as well as a popular YA literature collection strong in fantasy, science fiction and modern young adult literature. The Favat Collection currently contains 10,226 titles—over the past five years, an average of 130 titles per year are added. It is managed by Janet Morrow, our Head of Resource and Discovery Services. Thank you to Janet for providing information about the Favat Collection, past and present, for this post!

Materials in the Favat Collection are located on the third floor of Snell Library. Some new materials may be shelved temporarily in The Hub on the first floor. The Archives and Special Collections also hold the papers of Dr. Favat.