For many of us in the library, last year’s Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon on March 4 was the final program we held in person before the pandemic lockdowns (we actually wondered at the time whether attendance would be down due to the spread of the virus, but we had a great crowd).
Happily for us, the edit-a-thon, which is an event that gathers people together to expand and improve on the amazing information resource Wikipedia, can easily transition to an online format! The National Network of Libraries of Medicine has been holding national online edit-a-thons for years, and there are many other wonderful offerings, themed and general, to take advantage of online (check out this set of events “Honoring Indigenous Writers” from the University of British Columbia).
So, this year, our edit-a-thon will be virtual. Please come edit with us on Wednesday, March 10, from 1:00-5:00 PM! (or any portion of that time that works for you) We’ll use Zoom as a way to hold our guest speaker session and workshops on how to edit, and we will even have breakout rooms for the various editing preferences and needs of attendees. More information and the schedule can be found here; the only thing you need to do is register using this form (in order to get the Zoom link), and show up online on the day! (It would also be great, if you want to actually edit, to set up your Wikipedia account in advance)
And, about the guest speaker aspect of the event—this year, we are thrilled to offer a two-hour Wikipedia workshop (from 1:00-3:00 PM) created and led by Dr. Alexandria Lockett, from Spelman University in Atlanta, GA. Dr. Lockett will discuss how both new and experienced editors can meaningfully contribute to underrepresented knowledge of Wikipedia through alternative research practices.
Questions? Feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we hope to “see” you on March 10!
Since our Love Data Week invitation post last year, the COVID pandemic has created a new world— and amazing new opportunities and challenges related to data. Just a peek at data.berkeley.edu (the portal for Berkeley’s Computing, Data Science, and Society Division) shows that data-related research during this past pandemic year, even with its intense and difficult challenges, has revealed new insights. Check out “Pandemic provides real-time experiment for diagnosing, treating misinformation, disinformation”.*
So, it’s fitting that Love Data Week 2021 at Berkeley, hosted by the UC Berkeley Library in partnership with Berkeley’s Research IT department, is focused on the kinds of issues we are confronted with in a wholly-online research environment. Join us on Tuesday for a session on ethical considerations in data, most definitely a concern with many of Berkeley’s researchers looking at issues related to COVID; on Wednesday for a talk on cybersecurity (aimed at graduate researchers but all are welcome); on Thursday for another security-related workshop, “Getting Started with LastPass & Veracrypt”; and on Friday for an introduction to Savio, Berkeley’s high performance computing cluster. Please click on this link for information on these, and registration links!
Questions? E-mail LDW 2021 at email@example.com . And, if we’ve whetted your appetite for data and more data, take a look at the University of California-wide Love Data Week offerings. If you’ve ever wondered what an API is, or want a quick intro to SQL, or even just want to know what the acronyms stand for, there are these sessions and more!
* The same page makes it clear that data is for everyone; check out “I Am a Data Scientist”, about a student who came to Berkeley as an English major and discovered how data can “shed light on larger-scale questions”, and “Translating Numbers Into Words: The Art of Writing About Data Science”, featuring three Berkeleyites who are getting the word out about data.
Indonesia: Spectacles of Small-scale Gold Mining, is now available online. Hosted by UC Berkeley’s Environmental Design Library, Professor Nancy Peluso’s photography exhibit explores gold extraction — and the people who live from it — in the West Kalimantan region of Indonesian Borneo. More than 100 high resolution images taken between 2014 and 2016 provide graphic insight into the daily work, tools and lives of the men and women who make their livelihoods in the Bornean gold fields. This exhibit is one of more than 50 exhibits in the multi-venued Extraction: Art on the Edge of the Abyss project.
Do you … ?
- … save random URLs in a Word or Google Doc?
- … save article PDFs on your desktop and as email attachments?
- … have a pile of article printouts sitting on your desk?
- … write down citations on sticky notes and post them to your monitor?
- … stay up late the night before a paper is due reconstructing your citations?
If you answered yes to any of the above … the answer is YES, you need Zotero (or some other citation management system).* Come to Zotero Day and learn more about this powerful tool for organizing your citations and creating bibliographies. Jennifer Dorner and David Eifler have been tag-team teaching Zotero classes which were very successful last semester, with one attracting over 150 attendees!
Spend an hour with Jennifer and David and learn to use this robust citation manager with Firefox and Chrome. These zoom workshop covers importing citations, exporting bibliographies into Word and Google Docs and sharing resources among groups. Three 1-hour sessions each day. (If you have a chance, download the program and browser connector at www.zotero.org before the workshop.)
Tuesday, January 26 (all classes are Pacific Standard Time)
- 10AM – 11AM
- Noon – 1PM
- 5PM – 6PM
Monday, February 1
- 9AM – 10AM
- 2PM – 3PM
- 4PM – 5PM
Please register to get the Zoom link – https://berkeley.libcal.com/calendar/workshops
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Can’t make it to these workshops? Try a self-paced tutorial? This tutorial includes 24 slides and 18 embedded screencasts (totalling approximately 18 minutes of viewing). Do the tutorial at your own pace and skip or fast-forward through the screencasts. In total, the tutorial can take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour. Check it out at: Zotero Basics
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* adapted from Why use a citation management tool?, Gallagher Law Library, University of Washington.
So many of us have a dream that didn’t take place this year. Mine was to go to the Volvo Museum in Gothenburg, Sweden. I’m a big Volvo fan: here’s my 1992 wagon, who the mechanic said wouldn’t make it from Seattle to Berkeley when I moved here. He was wrong, she flew into Berkeley in style. She’s a champ.
But, I digress! The reason I was due to be in Gothenburg at all was to give a talk at the 2020 IASSIST (International Association for Social Science Information Service and Technology) conference there in May, but of course like so much else the conference was canceled. I was pretty disappointed, especially since this was my chance to take a presentation I’d given for public librarians in 2017 and re-envision and reinvigorate it for academic librarians in 2020.
I got very lucky though…in mid-March, just as conference cancellation news came through, and the Bay Area’s shelter-in-place was declared, a colleague encouraged me to submit something for consideration to the ICPSR (Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research) Data Fair, already slated to be held online in the fall.
Reader, I pivoted! I was able to take the proposal for the Gothenburg lightning talk (about 7 minutes), and expand it into a proposal for an hour-long webinar, online from Berkeley. It was accepted! As I started to work on it, I discovered I had perhaps promised I’d talk about approximately three hours’ worth of material, so condensing it was a challenge—perhaps because it is on a subject I feel passionately about—“Data Engagement for the Data-Hesitant Librarian”. My strong belief is that many of us, and I tend to think especially about librarians, are led to believe that data is some big, mysterious, and daunting mountain we don’t want to climb, when actually we already have much more skill, comfort, and experience working with it than we think.
So, I tried to create a talk that had some fun in it, and some data-related resources that are practically begging to be explored. Interested in how we can combat misinformation? Check out callingbull.org, by the authors of the new book Calling Bull: The Art of Skepticism in a Data-Driven World. What about critical data literacy and data justice? Take a look at this guidebook from the Data Justice Lab, complete with interactive learning tools. Perhaps a recipe from The Library Assessment Cookbook appeals? Or maybe you just want to learn more about the Burning Man event, from the Burning Man Census data they collect each year.
Whatever your interest, geek out proudly! You can find the talk here (Is.gd/DataEngage_Talk —check out the other ICPSR Data Fair talks while you’re there) and the slides here (Is.gd/DataEngage_Slides). I hope you find something to interest and engage you, and I’d love to hear what you think—feel free to drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org!
International Newspaper Display at Moffitt Library
It started with a tweet, back in July, by Berkeley City Councilmember Rigel Robinson (UCB 2018) describing the international newspaper display outside of Moffitt Library.
Robinson’s tweet got picked up by Berkeleyside, the online news source for all things Berkeley. The Berkeleyside story provided background on the international newspaper display in the plaza outside Moffitt Library and the Free Speech Movement Cafe and spoke with our Social Sciences Division colleague, Glenn Gillespie, Reference/Government Information Specialist.
Just to play up the whole time warp/time capsule theme, it has been four months since this story appeared. And, at the time, it had been five months since the newspapers had been updated. Where exactly did 2020 go? Has it been the longest year on record? Or the shortest?
This post is by Environmental Design Library librarian David Eifler; if you haven’t seen him, or his wonderful library (one of more than 25 on campus), you can check them out by joining him on this Virtual Tour.
While I was in high school, my small businessman dad came home one evening with a book. Although he had a natural curiosity and often read the encyclopedia for pleasure, I’d never seen him as excited about the written word as when he brought home The Last Whole Earth Catalog: Access to Tools – the one with the shadowed view of the “blue marble” on the cover. Now considered by many a precursor to the World Wide Web, it was a compendium of tools and books to improve the planet. Decades later, when I arrived to the Environmental Design Library (ENVI), I was pleased to find it and other editions in our collection. Librarian Elizabeth Byrne proudly told me that its author, Stewart Brand, had written a classic, How Buildings Learn: What Happens After They’re Built, while doing the research in our library.
So, I was thrilled when Brand contacted me in late November and asked if ENVI would accept approximately 200 books used to write How Buildings Learn. He’s working on a new book and needed to purge his library of volumes from past projects. The founder of the WELL (Whole Earth ‘Lectronic Link) with Dr. Larry Brilliant (now a CNN COVID-19 expert) and CoEvolution Quarterly met me at his Sausalito office on a sunny December morning and gave me 11 boxes of architectural books. The Library got the books, and I had the great pleasure of meeting a national icon.
Although we don’t always think of it that way, one federal government program that affects each of us in the United State is the decennial census. And among the challenges of many kinds that a pandemic has brought us, its effects on gathering good quality census data is high on the list.
Earlier this year, the Library hosted a well-attended (physical) exhibit related to the census, Power and the People: The US Census and Who Counts (which can still be experienced online). Related to the exhibit, we were on board with our plan to host a panel of campus experts on the contested race and ethnicity questions in the census, and how they’ve shifted over time…. Until March 17, when the Bay Area went into a shelter-in-place order and the program had to be postponed. But last month, thanks to a persistent team, generous panelists, and the wonders of Zoom, we were thrilled to able to present the panel at last, online!
The program, titled Checking the Boxes: Race(ism), Latinx and the Census, featured three UC Berkeley experts on racial and ethnic categorizations in the census. Cristina Mora (Associate Professor of Sociology and Chicano/Latino studies), Tina Sacks (Assistant Professor, School of Social Welfare), and Victoria Robinson (Lecturer and American Cultures Program Director, Department of Ethnic Studies) were joined by our moderator, librarian Jesse Silva, for presentations and a lively Q&A.
Professor Mora started the program off with the information that “ethnic and race categories are political constructs… They are not set-in-stone scientific markers of identity or genetic composition.” She noted that since the census counts are directly related to funding, communities have a vested interest in getting accurate and complete counts, but this can be very difficult for groups and areas that are designated Hard to Count. Professor Sacks continued by emphasizing the ways in which census-driven funding allocations can affect people in poverty and those in social safety net programs. She also noted the intersections shown by census data between race and place, such as areas with a substantial number of incarcerated people. Finally Professor Robinson added background and context by discussing the site racebox.org, which shows the history of the race questions on the census from 1790 onwards, and which illuminates the changes in the cultural and social conceptions of what race is and how it can be measured.
The program concluded with an animated question and answer period, which included Professor Mora’s elaborating on the differences between racial and ethnic categories, Professor Sacks (who has actually been a census enumerator) discussing the challenges of counting the homeless population, and Professor Robinson revisiting the question of incarceration and the Attica problem: “[Incarcerated people’s] residence is considered to be a prison. That’s not their home, and the relationship then to the power…in the communities that they [aren’t from], that’s the Attica problem.”
Of course, this summary doesn’t do justice to the range and depth of the issues discussed. If you missed this program, or would like to see it again, check it out on the UC Berkeley Library’s YouTube channel!
In the almost six months that we’ve been working at home we have tried to maintain a sense of community through meetings and retreats (via Zoom, of course), collaborative projects, and virtual coffee dates. However, beyond a few peeks on Zoom, we didn’t know what our colleagues’ work environments looked like, so we put out a call to our co-workers in the Social Sciences Division, asking them to share pictures of their home offices. We now present to you the range of ways we are continuing to stay connected to the Library and our work!
But first– a few words from colleague Natalia Estrada, who best sums up the challenge of working from home — even for those of us who were able to bring home our beloved dual monitors from our campus offices:
I live in a one bedroom apartment in a noisy part of town with a ton of construction. My spouse is also in academia, so we both are handling various Zoom meetings (sometimes at the same time!) and other large projects. You can imagine that working from home has been a challenge, bordering into impossible at times. The spouse and I have taken on many habits to try to make work-from-home in a small space work for us. We ended up rearranging our living room to create a better work station, using furniture we’ve acquired second hand (Urban Ore is a great place for this), plus taking certain needs into consideration. The work station, shared between the both of us, includes:
- a whiteboard used for teaching
- headphones, so I can block out distractions while I listen to a delightfully informative podcast (or the new Phoebe Bridgers album)
- two of our thickest cookbooks to use as laptop stands for presentations
- a desktop usually for processing large data sets, but also useful for touch ups before all those video meetings
- one of our many much needed mugs (this one comes from Valois in Chicago)
- a “work station” for our cat/office manager, so she can hang out while we work (she is a very good cat, but a bad office manager)
- artwork! Because artwork works great as a background (better than a laundry rack, at least for us). We like both the block print from Suzhou, China, and the concert poster from when Japanese metal band Boris played at Amoeba.
We’ve still faced various hurdles that make it hard for us to work at 100 percent, especially when one has the desk and the other has to Choose-Your-Own-Adventure a second work spot (the couch? the bed? the kitchen? the choice is yours!). But, hey, my cat digs all the attention she gets on Zoom!
Dispatch and photos by Peter Basmarjian, Social Sciences Division Student Supervisor
Being back on campus after almost four months has been a bit surreal. Last week a handful of staff began the work of sorting and checking in all of the accumulated books that have been returned since March.
Recently returned items are quarantined separately for a week. Then books are checked in and sorted by division.
Here are a few more scenes from around the Library. The janitorial staff did an incredible job cleaning the library from top to bottom and the plants in the AIDS Memorial Courtyard have been recently watered and are doing well.