Archive for November, 2014

Grand Jury Documents in the Ferguson Case

There are dozens of volumes accessible online. Read them for yourselves.

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Among Major Retailers, What Is Open/Closed on Thanksgiving

For those willing to brave the crowds, this list should help you navigate.

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NEH Jefferson Lecture

The Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities“… is the highest honor the federal government confers for distinguished intellectual achievement in the humanities.” Recent recipients have included Walter Isaacson, Martin Scorsese, and Drew Gilpin Faust, a veritable who’s who of humanists. Annual lectures back to 2000 are available online and are accompanied by a biography, a critical appreciation, an interview, a video of the lecture, and a transcript.

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Transcript and Video of President Obama’s Immigration Speech

Both a video and an uncorrected transcript are available online.

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2014 Student Engagement Survey

The 2014 SES is out and available online. This document, entitled Bringing the Institution into Focus, will inform many institutions’ strategic plans so it is a valuable document to read. More than 355,000 students from 622 colleges and universities participated in this iteration. One takeaway is that freshmen who meet with an adviser are more likely to perceive the institution as friendly and supportive. Of particular relevance to librarians and those who care about empowering students in this era of Big Data is that:

“Both first-year students and seniors reported a considerable emphasis by instructors on information literacy skills such as assessing the quality of information sources and properly citing them. But while 74% of first-year students said their instructors emphasized questioning the quality of information sources, only 37% of first-year students and 36% of seniors frequently decided not to use an information source due to quality concerns.”(Press release)


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President Obama and Immigration

With President Obama poised to lay out his plans on immigration reform tonight (watch it here or here), we recommend the following as excellent overviews to this controversial move: Executive Discretion as to Immigration: Legal Overview (CRS); the Migration Policy Institute has many informative publications worth a look;  Brookings Institution’s immigration page and this Council on Foreign Relations page are also relevant. A previous blog entry on What Are Executive Orders? will provide background on this type of administrative process.

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New Jersey Per Capita Personal Income, 2011-2013

Did personal income rise or fall in New Jersey’s counties during 2011-13; how did the other 3,000 counties in the U.S. fare? That kind of data is presented in Local Area Personal Income, 2013. Every county or its equivalent is listed here along with the national and state level figures.

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Library Hours for Thanksgiving Weekend 2014

It looks like this: We’ll be closed Thanksgiving Thursday; we’ll be open Thanksgiving Friday 8:30am – 4:30pm; and we’ll be closed the Saturday and Sunday. Normal hours resume on Monday, December 1.

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Track Rising Tuition Prices Since 1998

The Chronicle of Higher Education has just released Tuition and Fees, 1998-99 Through 2014-15 covering more than 3100 colleges, NJCU included. This interactive chart allow you to search for an institution, pull up its 2014/15 prices, and by clicking on the “+” sign to the left of the institution’s name, call up previous years’ figures; you can adjust for inflation as well. The room and board fees a college charges date back to 2008, while in-state/out-of-state tuition (where applicable) reaches further back. You can also filter by states and type which means you can call up all the public 4-year colleges in New Jersey and compare their figures. NJCU is still the least expensive college.

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The 2014 Word of the Year Is……Vape

At least that is what the editors of Oxford Dictionaries say. Here is the definition as well as the runners-up.

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Online Primary Sources for American History: “National Intelligencer”

The National Intelligencer (and its variant titles) was a newspaper published in Washington, D.C. that became the de facto news organ of the federal government. Started in 1800 and supported by government printing contracts, the paper evolved into a tri-weekly and became one of the leading papers of the day. Its issues contained a great deal of information pertaining to the War of 1812; there are scattered issues of this important title on the Internet. However, we have found two substantial digital archives: the University of Texas has a run from 1805 – 1814, therefore covering most of the War of 1812 (N.B., the files are very large and slow to load); the University of Florida has some issues from 1811-1852. A brief history of the paper is here.

“… and so powerful was its [National Intelligencer] influence that when Gen. ROSS, in command of the British troops, entered the capital after the unfortunate affair of Bladensburgh, his first inquiry was not for the Capitol, the President’s house, or the departments, but for the National Intelligencer office, and it was the first establishment demolished, causing a short cessation in its regular publication. With this exception the Intelligencer has been published regularly for sixty years.” — Albany Evening Journal. [as published in The New York Times, July 25, 1860]

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First Pictures from Philae Lander on Comet

The European Space Agency’s Philae lander has successfully landed on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko; here are the first photos with more to follow.

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Online Primary Sources for American History: The Burning of Washington, D.C.

In August of 1814, partially in retaliation for the depredations committed by American troops in their abortive incursion into Canada, the British landed and proceeded to put Washington to the torch. Of course, Congress being Congress shortly thereafter had a committee report published – Report of the Committee appointed on the twenty-third of September last to inquire into the causes and particulars of the invasion of the city of Washington by the British forces in the month of August 1814. An appendix to the Annals of Congress, 13th Congress, 3rd Session contains letters exchanged between James Monroe, Secretary of State and the commanding British admiral Alexander Cochrane. Volume 5 of the Writings of James Madison details his exploits during this tumultuous time; don’t forget Dolley Madison’s account, either.This 1849 work – A sketch of the events which preceded the capture of Washington, by the British, on the twenty-fourth of August, 1814 has an appendix containing numerous primary sources; this 1857 work by a veteran of the war uses major excerpts from contemporary sources as well as a separate appendix of documents to retell this episode –History of the invasion and capture of Washington, and of the events which preceded and followed. These eyewitness accounts – Unwelcome Visitors to Early Washington, August 24, 1814 – are found in the Records of the Columbia Historical Society, 1(#2, 1895): 55-118. Volume 6 (March-August 1814) of Niles Weekly Register opens with labeling the British “…a new race of Goths, outraging the ordinances of God, and the laws of humanity….” And the National Intelligencer is replete with reportage of this event.

We have this 1821 recollection of a young British officer to see the other side: A narrative of the campaigns of the British army at Washington, Baltimore, and New Orleans, Under Generals Ross, Pakenham, and Lambert, in the years 1814 and 1815; with some accont of the countries visited. By a officer who served in the expedition. The London Gazette issue for September 27, 1814 gives the first announcement of this event in England.

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U.S. Chamber of Commerce Ranks Postsecondary Public Education

This interactive report – Leaders & Laggards – examines in the aggregate each state’s public two and four colleges and how well they achieve their goals; New Jersey ranks in the top ten. Each state is measured against the following criteria: student access and success, efficiency and cost effectiveness, meeting labor market demand, transparency and accountability, policy environment, and innovation. The report allows comparison with national figures as well as with another state.

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Recent CRS Reports on Congressional Salaries

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Amazon’s Best Books of 2014

Just released, Amazon presents multiple lists of best books. Not only is there a “best book” list as selected by Amazon’s editors, but there are more than 20 categories of ‘best books” to peruse from art to teen/young adult; you also have access to previous compilations back to 2004. In addition, there are links to its book blog Omnivoracious and its author interview section. A lotta readin’ to do!

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2014 New Jersey Veterans Day Observances

A listing, not complete, by county; here is another county list. Hudson County is hosting numerous observances. Additional links on this day are found here.

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25 Years Ago: The Fall of the Berlin Wall

In 1961, practically overnight, the western portion of Berlin was encircled by a wall surmounted with barbed wire, ditches and watch towers. For years it was the symbol of the tension between the West and the East (Russia). And as quickly as it was erected, it came down on November 9, 1989. A City Torn Apart: The Building of the Berlin Wall provides an informative overview through essays, maps, and selected documents. Hundreds of declassified CIA documents from the early 1960s are available online as are numerous diplomatic texts found in:

Foreign Relations of the United States, 1958–1960, Berlin Crisis, 1958–1959, Volume VIII
Foreign Relations of the United States, 1958–1960, Berlin Crisis, 1959–1960, Germany, Austria, Volume IX
Foreign Relations of the United States, 1961–1963, Volume XIV, Berlin Crisis, 1961–1962
Foreign Relations of the United States, 1961–1963, Volume XV, Berlin Crisis, 1962–1963.                                                                                                                      The fall of the wall has been chronicled widely: The Wall (PBS); On This Day: The Wall Comes Down (BBC); Fall of the Berlin Wall (numerous videos, C-SPAN); The Berlin Wall (with numerous links, Times Topics); The Fall of the Berlin Wall (The Washington Post); The Berlin Wall, 25 Years After the Wall (photoessay, The Atlantic); The Berlin Wall (The Guardian); and Rise and Fall of the Berlin Wall (Wilson Center).                                                                                                                         ‘”There is one sign the Soviets can make that would be unmistakable, that would advance dramatically the cause of freedom and peace. General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” – Ronald Reagan, Speech at the Brandenburg Gate, West Berlin, June 12, 1987

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Online Anthropology Resources

This is by no means an extensive list and is primarily focused on North America. It does, however, some great jumping-off points for further research. Herewith:

AATA Online (from the Getty Institute. Contains over 130,000 abstracts of literature dealing with material culture);  American Museum of Natural History. Scientific Publications  (especially its Bulletin and Memoirs);  Anthropological Index Online (Covers hundreds of journals. Hosted by the Royal Anthropological Institute and the British Museum); Anthropology Explorer (An anthropology dictionary); Anthropological Resources on the Internet (from the American Anthropological Association); Bibliography of Alfred L. Kroeber (over 500+ citations); Smithsonian: ((Online Anthropology Databases (Portals into its vast collections.)

Also, do not forget to look at Smithsonian Contributions to Anthropology, especially Anthropology, History and American Indians: Essays in Honor of William Curtis Sturtevant (Contribution #44). Another valuable resource is its Bureau of American Ethnology; many of its publications are both groundbreaking and of historical importance. Look at the 200 volumes of the Bulletin (#200 is an index to the entire series); and peruse its Annual Reports from 1879 to 1964)). A wonderful, systematic listing of the contents of the Bulletin, Annual Report, and Contributions to Notth American Ethnology (with links) is available here.

Reference Bibliography of Franz Boas (Yale. Works by and about him); and Wenner-Gren Symposia (online access from 2010 – . This foundation is a major supporter of anthropological research, funding Current Anthropology.)

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Follow Guarini Library on Twitter

The Library has its own Twitter account! Follow the exploits of the intellectual heart of the University.

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