Umberto Eco, author of The Name of the Rose, said, “The cultivated person’s first duty is to be always prepared to rewrite the encyclopedia.” But, in the case of Wikipedia, we actually get to write the encyclopedia! If you are interested in Wikipedia as a phenomenon and what happens behind the scenes, in learning to edit, and/or in improving the quality and diversity of content in this important resource, join us at the upcoming Art + Feminism + Race + Justice Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon.
Why is this so important, anyway? It’s because Wikimedia’s race and gender trouble is well-documented. While the reasons for the gap are up for debate, the practical effect of this disparity is not: content is skewed by the lack of participation by women and underrepresented groups. This adds up to an alarming absence in an important repository of shared knowledge, which many groups are starting to address.
Art+Feminism is a national campaign improving coverage of cis and transgender women, non-binary folks, feminism and the arts on Wikipedia, and at UC Berkeley we have teamed up with the American Cultures program’s Race+Justice edit-a-thon. Edit-a-thons are a powerful way to address Wikipedia’s gaps in content. The Library is also joined in sponsorship of the event by 150 Years of Women at Berkeley, and suggested editing needs will include topics related to Berkeley alumnae of note.
So, join us in 405 Moffitt Library on Wednesday, March 4 between 11:00am and 5:00pm for an all-day communal updating of Wikipedia entries. Drop in any time! We will provide tutorials for the beginner Wikipedian, reference materials, and refreshments. Check out the schedule at bit.ly/wiki-berkeley for timing of informative talks, instruction sessions, and more. Set up your Wikipedia editing account in advance, or we can help you on the day. Bring your laptop, power cord and ideas for entries that need updating or creation! For the editing-averse, we urge you to stop by to show your support. People of all races and gender identities are invited to participate.
See you there!
NOTE: A Cal ID card is required to enter Moffitt, so those without a Cal ID card need to RSVP to attend the event by March 3.
The Library attempts to offer programs in accessible, barrier-free settings. If you think you may require disability-related accommodations, please contact us.
We are pleased to welcome the newest librarian in the social sciences division, Natalia Estrada. She is the Political Science & Public Policy Librarian, and is responsible for reference, instruction and collection development for the department of political science, the Goldman School of Public Policy, and legal studies. She is also the specialist for California government documents.
In a vague mash-up of the Vanity Fair Proust Questionnaire, the New York Times Book Review’s By the Book column, and Us Weekly’s 25 Things You Don’t Know About Me feature, here are twelve things about Natalia:
- I was born and raised in Downey, CA, spent a good number of years in Chicago, and have lived in the Bay Area since 2011.
- Before UC Berkeley, my library and cultural center work experience has included UC Hastings, the Center for Research Libraries, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago.
- I’m very much a puzzle solving/trivia answering sort of a person. I used to participate in the UChicago Scav Hunt during my undergrad years, I’m still searching for a good bar trivia spot, and I used to complete Sporcle quizzes for fun.
- I actually don’t spend a lot of my free time reading, so I’m pretty selective about the books I’ll read. Usually I go with horror, maybe some sci-fi, and non-fiction.
- Most of my reading gets done either during my lunch break, or when I’m on a flight. Nothing makes a better reading environment than being stuck on a plane.
- The last book I finished was Severance by Ling Ma, I’m a quarter through House of Leaves by Mark Danielwski, and I’m hoping to read In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado.
- My favorite book is We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson. My older sister introduced me to Jackson via The Haunting of Hill House and “The Lottery” when I was in middle school, and I got hooked.
- The last great trilogy that I read was the Remembrance of Earth trilogy (aka Three Body Problem) by Cixin Liu.
- I have a small but mighty cookbook and food writing collection at home. It has your more popular cookbooks (Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat by Samin Nosrat, Bar Tartine by Nicolaus Balla and Courtney Burns), but it also has some special finds, like the 1964 edition of the Joy of Cooking.
- I cringe whenever someone ties librarianship with a “love of books.” I’m focused on helping you find the right resources for your research. Books are just a part of that, not the whole thing!
- I listen to a lot of podcasts, especially when I need to do large chunks of work, chores, or working out. Many are news based (Morning Edition, The Daily), subject deep dives (Throughline, Science Vs., The Dream), and yes, true crime (the second season of You Must Remember This, with its focus on the Manson Family Murders and Hollywood, is one of my favorites).
- My favorite movie is Tampopo, but the movie I’ll always watch is Jurassic Park.
Spend an hour and learn to use this robust citation manager. The workshops cover importing citations, exporting bibliographies into MS Word and Google Docs and sharing resources among groups. No need to register. If you have a chance, download Zotero at zotero.org prior to the class. Workshops will be held in 305 Wurster Hall – the Environmental Design Library’s Training Room.
Answering reference questions is the bread and butter of what many of us do as librarians. But rarely do we in the Social Sciences Division get the kinds of questions that Emilio Estevez portrayed in his 2018 film The Public. *
In fact, we believe that there are no “dumb” questions and will gladly help our patrons with any of their information needs. More often than not, our patrons have deep and complex research needs that challenge our expertise (and make our jobs fun) and require the collective knowledge and experience of our colleagues.
Take, for example, this query that came in:
“What is the cost of the social safety net in the US?”
To effectively answer this query we engaged in a dialogue with the researcher (what’s known as the “reference interview” in library-speak). In a case like this we want to: determine what kind of data they are hoping to find; determine specific geographic and time constraints; and clarify what, exactly, they mean by social safety net. Are they talking about public/government spending? What about private and philanthropic spending on the social safety net? Do they mean support for low-income people specifically, or all of society?
Jim Church, Librarian for Economics, Political Economy, and International Government Information, suggested OECD Stats which contains statistics by country from the multinational Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. OECD Stats has a section for Social Protection and Well Being including, among other things, pensions, sick leave, disability, unemployment, housing assistance, etc. Users can go to Social Expenditure – Detailed Data: United States.
Susan Edwards, Social Welfare Librarian and Head of the Social Sciences Division, suggested that for US data on the federal side, the Green Book provides statistical data of the major entitlement programs (Social Security, Medicare, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, etc.) overseen by the Committee on Ways and Means. If, however, the researcher is looking into private and philanthropic spending on the social safety net, they can consult GuideStar and the Foundation Directory which provide information about the budgets of a wide range of nonprofit organizations and public charities.
Ann Glusker, Sociology, Demography, & Quantitative Research Librarian, suggested that the researcher remember to consider “grey literature”, which may not appear in peer-reviewed journals or formal publications, but which comes from reputable and reliable sources and which can add a lot to the published literature. In this case, the researcher may want to consult offerings and also staff in Berkeley’s Center for Comparative Family Welfare and Poverty Research, or Stanford’s Center on Poverty & Inequality, which has a page devoted to Safety Net Use.
Monica Singh, Business Librarian, suggested the researcher look at a couple of very helpful guides created by Jesse Silva, Scholarly Resources Strategy and Federal Government Information Librarian; Getting Started with the US Census has a tab on Social/Economic Census Sources.
A happy ending? We never saw the end result of the person’s research. We often send researchers on their way and don’t know how they use the information we’ve provided. But, considering we receive many return visits we must be doing something right.
* Note: members of the Social Sciences Division went on a field trip to see The Public when it was playing in the theaters. While we gave Emilio Estevez an “A” for good intentions, some of us wish we’d been able to make suggestions about the dialogue and plot!
At Berkeley, every undergraduate student must satisfy an American Cultures (AC) requirement. From the American Cultures site: “American Cultures courses are uniquely designed to critically engage in important issues within the United States by helping students develop a deeper understanding of race, culture, and ethnicity in the context of American society.” This long-standing requirement has led to some amazing projects and also some really creative ways of engaging students. And, even if a class is sponsored by, say, the sociology department, the students may be from a wide range of disciplines.
Having just launched “Power and the People: The U.S. Census and Who Counts”, the library’s exhibit on the census (just in time for the 2020 count), its curators were looking for exciting ways to bring census data to life, as part of a kick-off event. We learned about how two American Cultures classes (Sociology 130AC, “Social Inequalities: American Cultures” and Sociology 146AC, “Contemporary Immigration in Global Perspective”) involve students with the census by incorporating census data into projects—and a program was born!
The program held earlier this week, called “Teaching, Learning and Creating Change with Data: The Census and American Cultures”, featured faculty and student presenters outlining and showing their work in the inviting space of the Morrison Library. After short talks by Victoria Robinson, American Cultures program director, Irene Bloemraad, Sociology department and director of the Berkeley Interdisciplinary Migration Initiative (BIMI), and Joanna Reed, Sociology department, students presented their work, the heart of the event. Six Sociology 130AC students showed, on laptops, how they used census data to complement their field work looking at neighborhood characteristics for assigned census tracts along the number 18 AC Transit bus route. Five Sociology 146AC students showed, on conference-type posters, how they used census data along with their investigations of immigrant services in two Bay Area cities (Richmond and Santa Rosa), to map availability of services in areas of greatest need and look for service gaps (in fact, some of this work contributed to a BIMI report). [post continues below photos]
The hallmark of the event was the completely engaged atmosphere of conversation and ideas that resulted from the connections between the students and attendees, and between the broader context of how census data shapes and helps us understand the country we live in. This post is full of photos, because they are what really convey how exciting it was to see what the census can offer to our research and our lives, and to make the case of how important it is for each of us to be counted.
P.S. Don’t miss our second event, a panel featuring renowned experts on race/ethnicity and the census, Cristina Mora, Michael Omi, Taeku Lee, and Tina Sacks, on March 19, 2020, same time (5 pm), same place (the Morrison Library)
Staff in the Social Sciences Division conduct professional research as a way to contribute to the library profession and as a way to engage with library peers beyond Berkeley. Here is a round-up of some recent research output (articles, presentations, etc.) by our colleagues in the division.
Church, James and Josh Quan. 2018. “Patron Driven Data Acquisitions: Prizes, Perils, and Pitfalls.” Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. This presentation at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis conference, “Beyond the Numbers: The Economic Data Ecosystem,” chronicles the successes, failures, and lessons learned from a patron driven data acquisitions program piloted by UC Berkeley Library.
Church, James, Susan Paterson, Amanda Wakaruk, and James R. Jacobs. 2018. “Endangered Government Information: Strategies to Protect Government Collections.” New Orleans, LA: American Library Association. This presentation at the American Library Association Annual Conference in New Orleans discussed methods and strategies on how to protect endangered government information in Canada and the United States.
Edwards, Susan, Chan Li, Celia Emmelhainz, Adam Clemons, Liladhar Pendse, and Natalia Estrada. 2018. “Collecting Globally, Connecting Locally: 21st Century Libraries.” P. 700 in Library Assessment Conference: Building Effective, Sustainable, Practical Assessment. Houston, TX. Presented at the ARL Library Assessment Conference, Houston, this research project used mixed methods to explore faculty beliefs about, and scholarly usage of, non-U.S./U.K. and non English language sources focusing on four departments with global research focus — Anthropology, History, Political Science and Sociology.
Emmelhainz, Celia and Marilyn R. Pukkila. 2018. “Being There at a Distance: Connecting the Academic Library to Students Who Study Abroad.” College & Research Libraries News 79(7):376. After meeting with study abroad students in orientation then surveying them after their programs, librarians found that while outreach results in limited additional usage of library resources, it significantly increases student awareness of library resources and feelings of being supported while conducting research on the other side of the world.
Glusker, Ann. 2019. “Collaboration and Innovation: NNLM’s Nationwide Online Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon.” This talk at the Online Northwest conference on libraries, technology, and culture, reports on the National Network of Libraries of Medicine’s (NNLM) ongoing Wikipedia edit-a-thon program, how the the unusual format worked, and tips for hosting an online edit-a-thon.
Glusker, Ann and Nina Exner. 2018. “Responding to Change: Reinventing Librarian Identities in the Age of Research Mandates.” Emerald Publishing Limited. This chapter outlines libraries’ (and librarians’) changing identities in the new world of research mandates from funders, institutions, and publishers.
Phillips, Margaret. 2019. “Readers and Authors of Educational Research: A Study of Research Output on K-12 Education Policy.” SAGE Open 9(2). Focusing on journal articles and reports in the field of education, this study examined the public availability of the publications, publication quality as determined by peer review, and authorship.
Schiraldi, Hilary. 2019. “Stepping Up Library Communications at UC Berkeley.” This poster, presented at the Academic Business Library Director’s Annual Meeting, describes the new Communications Department in the UC Berkeley Library and how it pulled together multiple library communications channels under one unit.
Singh, Monica and Celia Emmelhainz. 2019. “Listening to Unaffiliated Users of the Academic Library.” SAGE Open 9(2). In this study the authors interviewed 10 unaffiliated library users to better understand their perceptions of a large academic library and how the library fits into their daily habits.
I’m not sure what the collective noun is for Janeites* (the term popularized by Rudyard Kipling in his short story by that name) to denote admirers of the Georgian-era British novelist Jane Austen, but assembly will do as well as anything! The recent Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Jane Austen Society of North America (JASNA), held in Williamsburg, VA was indeed an assembly of Janeites, and a fascinating one, attended by this UC Berkeley librarian (incidentally, a JASNA life member from long before the Colin Firth wet shirt scene).
JASNA has upwards of 6,000 members worldwide, and an impressive 850 attended this AGM (which filled up within five minutes of going live online), from every US state but 3 and every continent but Antarctica. The AGM is an agreeable panoply of lectures (some popular, but mostly academic, including three excellent plenary addresses), special events such as tours and concerts, and a ball and promenade. To say it’s a cross between a ComicCon-like event and a discipline-specific scholarly gathering doesn’t do it justice—there is some indefinable aspect added by the focus on the Georgian/Regency era and the passion for one ironic, wise, delectable, insightful, and compassionate author. And the period-appropriate garb doesn’t hurt, especially when its background is Colonial Williamsburg, a veritable time capsule itself.
Herewith some highlights of this year’s AGM, for you readers who are interested in a glimpse of this delightful conclave:
—Continuing with the academic theme, my favorite part of the entire conference (what can I say? I’m a librarian!) was the tour and open house of Special Collections at the library of the College of William & Mary. William & Mary is second only to Harvard University as the oldest higher education institution in the US, was founded in 1693, and is the only one founded by royal charter, from, you guessed it, co-regnants William and Mary. For more detail on the tour, see this piece which appeared in William & Mary news. Overall, it was just amazing to see the depth of the holdings, and those related to Jane Austen in particular. Some of the most notable are thanks to an American Janeite, George Holbert Tucker, whose extensive and meticulously documented collection is now held at William & Mary. At the same time, there were many other period treasures on display, among them this donation of a lock of Queen Mary’s hair.
—Of course, there were also tours of Colonial Williamsburg. Of special interest was the home of George Wythe (the original structure still stands), with whom Thomas Jefferson lived and studied law for three years. John Marshall, fourth Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, also lived in Williamsburg and studied with Wythe; in addition, Marshall liked reading Jane Austen! He wrote of her: “Her flights are not lofty, she does not soar on an eagle’s wings, but she is pleasing, interesting, equable, yet amusing.”
Also, being a librarian, I was very interested to see a demonstration of colonial-era typesetting and printing (unfortunately, the bookbinding demonstrations were not happening when I was there):
—The promenade and ball are the hallmarks of any AGM. After dinner, the entire assembly does a promenade, in their finery for the ball, around any location at which they happen to be meeting (when I attended an AGM in Washington DC, the promenade took place on the escalators connecting four levels of the hotel— quite a sight). This time, we strolled at dusk to the Governor’s Palace, led by four torch bearers (with modern protective gear—those torches were huge!) where an actress told us period-appropriate ghost stories. Then we gathered for the ball, to dance and drink and carouse. The music was provided by a small string ensemble, and a caller with the calmest voice imaginable led the lines of dancers in the sometimes-intricate moves. Luckily everyone was good-humored!
—The attention to dress is something that has always marked an assembly of Janeites (as it marked the interests of many of Jane Austen’s characters, at a time when distinctions in dress spoke more loudly than words). At the conference, this could be seen in both modern expressions (as in this T-shirt with its reference to Lady Catherine de Bourgh’s admonishment of Elizabeth Bennet in Austen’s Pride and Prejudice), and in scrupulous care with period detail in the many outfits worn by attendees, especially at the ball. In Colonial Williamsburg, where the park interpreters are dressed in colonial era period-appropriate apparel (mostly from the second half of the 18th century), conference attendees in Georgian/Regency attire (from the late 18th to early 19th centuries) didn’t stand out as much to our modern eyes. However, they would have stood out in the late 1700s, when wearing rich and patterned clothing identified one as a loyalist to the crown, and was positively unpatriotic (patriots wore homespun).
—On the final afternoon, there was an 18th century cricket demonstration. The rules were somewhat different then than in modern cricket! (the largely north American audience might not have been as aware of differences). And in case you are wondering that the photo shows a woman playing, Austen tells us that Catherine Morland, heroine of Northanger Abbey (the novel on which this year’s conference focused) loved cricket as a girl and played it with her brothers!
Intrigued? If you haven’t read any Jane Austen, or if you tried as a teenager and couldn’t warm to it, maybe have another look… Here is a complete set, free and online, from the wonderful Project Gutenberg. For introductions to her life and work, try Jane Austen (with an introduction by Harold Bloom), or The Cambridge Introduction to Jane Austen. And for more reading on Jane Austen devotees, try Among the Janeites or The Making of Jane Austen. For a video of a spirited debate comparing Jane Austen and Emily Brontë, check out this one from IntelligenceSquared. And consider joining us at the JASNA 2020 AGM next year in Cleveland!
*The term Janeite is often not used as a compliment; see this decidedly non-neutral Wikipedia overview. However, for the purposes of this article, the term is used affectionately!
With the help of Semar Prom and the College of Environmental Design Fabrication Shop staff, the Environmental Design Library has installed a new display case. The new case will allow for informal display of artists’ books, the library’s rare books, and timely topical information relevant to the college. Currently on display are items from the upcoming 10/25/19 Hands On Artists’ Book event featuring newly acquired artists’ books.
Artists’ books are simply books made by artists. Whether tactile or conceptual, they range in thematic content including the political, the sentimental, the instructive, or the purely beautiful. Our next event will feature recent acquisitions for you to touch, turn pages, and experience. Friday, October 25, 2019 – 4-6pm, 210 Wurster Hall – Environmental Design Library.
Artists’ books are simply books made by artists. Whether tactile or conceptual, they range in thematic content including the political, the sentimental, the instructive, or the purely beautiful. Our Hands On Artists’ Book events allow you to handle books from our rare book vault. For our first event of the academic year, we will have 20 books related to water, its presence and importance, for you to touch, turn pages, and experience. Wine and light refreshments will be served in the Environmental Design Library Atrium. hands on 17