The UC Berkeley Library is participating in the worldwide Library Carpentry Sprint happening on June 1st and 2nd, which is a part of the larger Mozilla Global Sprint 2017. Library Carpentry is a part of the Software Carpentry and Data Carpentry family, and it strives to bring the fundamentals of computing, as well as a platform for further self-directed learning in digital scholarship to librarians and library staff. The goal of this Library Carpentry sprint is to improve Library Carpentry lessons, as well as get input from archivists about how we can make our lessons more archivist friendly. That said, you do not need to be a librarian to participate. If you are interested in pedagogy or are familiar with digital tools taught in Library Carpentry workshops, we seek your input in improving Library Carpentry lessons.
This sprint will take place in the Berkeley Institute for Data Science (BIDS), and you can drop by anytime between 9am and 5pm on June 1st and 2nd to help amend, update, and extend the existing Library Carpentry lessons. You can stay as long as you want, whether it be two hours or two days.
Besides improving already existing Library Carpentry lessons, this sprint will also focus on getting draft lessons for SQL, Python, web scraping, and other topics into final shape for launch. Participants can contribute code or content; proofread writing, visual design, and graphic art; do QA (quality assurance) testing on prototype tools or apps; or advise or comment on project ideas or plans. All skill levels are welcome—and needed—as there are many ways to participate. Basically, we want you to bring your own unique perspective to the Library Carpentry lessons.
If you are interested in participating, all the details for the UC Berkeley Library Carpentry event can be found here, and you can sign up on the Library Carpentry Sprint Etherpad, which can be found here. Towards the of the Etherpad you will find the UC Berkeley location. Just add your name under that location, and show up during the sprint.
Hope to see you there!
Dear UC Berkeley faculty and lecturers,
We can help you make your assigned readings and textbooks more affordable to students. The Library and the Center for Teaching & Learning have launched two pilot programs for Fall 2017, for which your participation can save students potentially hundreds of dollars each.
The first pilot service aims to reduce the cost of your print course packs through Library-assisted syllabus processing. We will locate copies of open, free, or Library-licensed versions of your assigned readings so the overall price of the print course pack or course reader is reduced.
The second service provides you with grants to either use, adapt, or develop open or library-licensed electronic textbooks and course materials. This can help saves students the cost of purchasing expensive textbooks.
Please fill out this brief form if you are interested in participating in one or both pilots (described more fully below), and we will contact you soon with details.
Pilot 1 (Course Packs): Do you assign your students a print course pack for purchase? We can help reduce the cost of that print course pack.
With the first piloted service, the Library will process your syllabus for you and search for your required readings to locate copies of open, free, or Library-licensed versions of assigned readings.
If open, free, or Library-licensed versions are available, we will give you links or PDFs to post to bCourses at no cost to your students, reducing any remaining readings that a student would have purchase as part of a print course pack.
We will also provide guidance to you for making fair use decisions–further reducing the cost of course packs, because we can help you limit instances in which a third party copy center would need to secure copyright clearance for assigned readings.
Pilot 2 (Grants): If you assign textbooks or other books, will you let us pay you from $500 up to $5,000 to switch to an electronic version of that book or to an equivalent eBook or combination of books? Or will you let us help you in adopting, adapting, or designing your own open and electronic course materials?
The Library and the Center for Teaching and Learning are offering grants and programmatic support to instructors to enable you to link to open or Library-licensed electronic textbooks or other eBooks–or even to design your own.
The grants range in value from $500 (e.g. for switching one required print book to a Library-licensed electronic book that can be linked to in bCourses) all the way up to $5,000 to receive programmatic support to design your own open & electronic course materials for students so they don’t have to purchase expensive textbooks.
The Center for Teaching & Learning and the Library can also help you find campus support to update any other attendant PowerPoints, assignments, or materials that need alteration following a change in assigned books or textbooks.
If you have any questions, please contact the Library’s Scholarly Communication Officer, Rachael Samberg: email@example.com. You can also find out more about affordable course content in our Guide to Open, Free, & Affordable Course Materials.
You can find these titles and other recent acquisitions on the Art History and Classics Library’s New Book Shelf.
by Sonia Kahn from the Bancroft Digital Collections Unit.
As another school year comes to a close, and the class of 2017 has walked through Sproul Plaza for the last time, now feels like the perfect opportunity to take a step back from the fury of finals and reflect. With the stresses of contemporary life – constant messages and emails to reply to, the morning commute, trying to precariously balance family and friends with work and play – it can be easy to get lost in a vortex of stress and responsibilities. But at times like these, when pressure becomes so prevalent, it is worth pausing to admire what surrounds us. Pardon the cliché, but it really is worth stopping to smell the flowers. So many of us pass through Sather Gate every day in a rush to get to class, but how often does one stop to truly appreciate the Gate, or the Campanile, or even just the lush greenery of the campus?
As a senior who has just graduated and is about to enter a new (and stressful!) phase of life, I thought it would be worth doing exactly that. In the quiet before the storm I decided that as one of my final blogs for the Bancroft, it might be nice to make a tribute to the campus, both for my sanity, and out of respect for the school that has been my home for the last four years. So in late spring, as the pressure mounted, I made my own effort to step back, further than most. Instead of admiring the campus merely in the here and now, I wanted to explore what had changed, and by the same token, what had stayed the same. The Bancroft houses the University Archives in which I found bits and pieces of what I was looking for. Photographs of the campus from as early as the 19th century. There were so many fantastic pictures in the collection – from a horse and carriage trotting along with South Hall, and her long forgotten sister North Hall, clearly visible in the background, to photos of a typewriter shop on Telegraph Avenue with old time 1950s cars parked out front. But I decided as a member of the class of 2017 that I would focus on the view of campus from a century ago, taken while the world was at war in 1917. After settling on this, I went out and retook some of the pictures we have from 1917 to find out exactly what had withered away and what had stayed in the hundred years since they were first taken.
I hope that in looking at these comparison shots, more people might be able to pause and collect their thoughts, even for just a few minutes, while reflecting on the beauty of the campus that we often take for granted. When we’re so caught up in the moment, taking notice of something like Sather Gate, which has stood in place for more than 100 years, might be our cue to relax. There are buildings and trees that have been here for generations. Manmade structures and nature alike have transcended time, and the Sather Gate I walk under today is the same one two little girls posed next to in 1917. Our campus is beautiful, and it is worth remembering that these buildings will outlast our stresses, just as they have for all the Berkeley alum and employees that have come before us.
UARC PIC 03 3.100
UARC PIC 03 3.125
If you are interested in more photos of the Berkeley campus over the past two centuries please visit the Reading Room at the Bancroft Library.
Images are from the University of California, Berkeley campus views collection: http://oskicat.berkeley.edu/record=b16284958~S1
The Library of Congress recently released 25 million metadata records for free bulk download at loc.gov/cds/products/marcDist.php. These MARC records make up the foundation for library catalogs, such as OskiCat, which have enabled library users to find and access library books and other media for decades. As the LOC describes the collection:
The data covers a wide range of Library items including books, serials, computer files, manuscripts, maps, music and visual materials. The free data sets cover more than 45 years, ranging from 1968, during the early years of MARC, to 2014. Each record provides standardized information about an item, including the title, author, publication date, subject headings, genre, related names, summary and other notes.
The data is available in UTF-8, MARC8, and XML formats, and has been conveniently divided by media type including books, computer files, maps, music, and more.
We’ve added the resource to the public section of the Computational Text Analysis and Text Mining Guide, where you can find many other sources for large-scale text analysis projects. For more information, take a look at the LOC’s Getting Started (PDF) for details on accessing the data.
Stacy Reardon, Literatures and Digital Humanities Librarian, sreardon [at] berkeley.edu
Cody Hennesy, E-Learning and Information Studies Librarian, chennesy [at] berkeley.edu
When the library was approached with an offer to host an exhibition on Syria that highlighted its people and their rich history, we all thought it would be a good idea to showcase aspects of the country and the people other than the depressing ones covered in the news. The organization that approached us is called A Country Called Syria and consists of volunteers of Syrian-American heritage from southern California who gathered together a travelling exhibit depicting Syria’s history, culture and ethnic diversity in order to introduce people to the country behind the headlines.
As the interim library liaison for the Middle East, I thought it would be a good idea to highlight UC Berkeley’s rich library collection on Syria along with the cultural artifacts we were lent. The region that makes up the modern country of Syria is one of the oldest cradles of human civilization, and our former Middle East librarians have done a fine job of building a collection covering its ancient history and diversity while at the same time also paying attention modern Syria with all its complexities. The aim of the exhibition is to highlight some of that diversity and complexity and give Syria and the Syrian a more accessible human dimension.
… in the Romance languages just in time for summer break! Some have been cataloged in OskiCat, some not yet. They are all accessible anytime from anywhere on the planet with Calnet authentication. Here are the coordinates:
Cairn.info – While the Library has subscribed to their Franco-Belgian collection of ejournals for years, this spring we added over 500 ebooks to our holdings which at the moment are only accessible through the website. Look under “Accès abonné’ to find titles such as Le choc colonial et l’islam or Simone de Beauvoir by Pierre-Louis Fort.
Digitalia – A collection of Spanish and Catalan e-books published in Latin America and Spain. These e-books can be read as pdfs, html, or Flash files. To date, the UCB Library has purchased more than 1300 titles all discoverable in OskiCat with keywords “Digitalia e-Books.” Cámaras en trance: el nuevo cine latinoamericano, un proyecto cinematográfico subcontinental and Visiones del Quijote: desde la crisis española de fin de siglo are two works previously never acquired in print.
Harmathèque – Éditions L’Harmattan is the largest publisher of French-language ebooks. Browse their online platform or searchOskiCat for “Harmathèque eBooks” to find individual titles acquired by the Library mostly dealing with Sub-Saharan Africa and the Maghreb in particular. 447 were added this past year including L’invention du Congo Contemporain – Traditions, Mémoires, Modernités.
OpenEdition Books – This innovative platform for ebooks in the humanities and social sciences (mostly in French but also other European languages) now makes available nearly 4000 scholarly ebooks, some available digitally for the first time such as Un retour des normes romanesques dans la littérature française contemporaine and Deleuze et la violence. Most are open access in html but UCB’s sustaining partnership give us access to titles not available OA through the Freemium model and in three distinct formats: pdf, epub and another optimized for ereaders.
Torrossa – To date the Library has acquired nearly 3000 Italian ebooks which can be discovered by searching the platform or OskiCat with keywords “Torrossa Italian ebooks”, “EIO Italian Studies Basic Collection” or “Olschki E-books.” Many of these were never acquired by the Library in print such as Saggi di Teoria della letteratura: percorsi tematici by literary theorist Enza Biagini.
The Bill Clemens / UCMP oral history project has been several years in the making. Historian Sam Redman first proposed to do a history of members of the University of California Museum of Paleontology in 2011, specifically to interview Dr. William Clemens and a number of his graduate students. The concept behind the project was novel and important: to document with long-form oral history of successive cohorts of students who were advised by a single scholar, while at the same time interviewing the scholar in depth about the evolution of his field, as well as the key transformations in the institutions in which he played significant roles.
UCMP Associate Director Mark Goodwin was the fulcrum in organizing the project, from fundraising to arranging for interviews with Bill’s students from all over the world. My first session with Bill was December 18, 2014, and my last was March 10, 2016. One of the factors contributing to the length of time spanning these sessions was the fact that Bill was caring for his wife Dorothy “Dot” Clemens while she battled cancer. There was some hope that she would live to see the project completed, but she ultimately passed before its completion. After a time, Bill resumed the project, in tribute not only to UCMP, his colleagues, and students, but also to her memory, as Dorothy Clemens was deeply committed to ensuring that Bill’s oral history was documented for the ages.
Several themes are explored in his interview. There is a longstanding concern in the history of science with the ways in which scientists establish and maintain their credibility within and beyond their communities. By the 1950s, the queen of the sciences was physics, and the public was consumed by the promise and peril of high technology, from the splitting of the atom to the electronic consumer items in the shops. In the public mind, paleontology perhaps had more in common with the 19th-century field sciences than with the burgeoning domains of digital computing or molecular biology.
When Bill Clemens started his undergraduate work UC Berkeley Department of Paleontology at the beginning of the 1950s, the modern evolutionary synthesis in biology, which linked laboratory research in genetics to field studies, statistical analysis, paleontology, and a revitalized Darwinian theory of evolution, had only just been worked out before the war. The helical structure of DNA was announced in Bill’s junior year. In other words, Bill began his career at the beginning of a new common cause in science — a better understanding of relationships between genetic variation and distribution in changing environments over geologic time — with cascades of new questions to follow in the decades to come.
This project allows us to look at how the synthesis unfolds in the 20th century in terms of relationships among and across disciplines, the deployment of new techniques and technologies, and in terms of the social and historical context of scientific knowledge production.
The drama of paleontology is often heightened by the public and romantic interest in the gigantic specimens. Owing in part to the Evolutionary Synthesis, the paleontologists of Bill’s cohort were interested, not just in the structures of fossil specimens themselves, but in where and how they lived in relation to one another. To get at some of these ecological questions, these students turned for example to the very small microvertebrates which could be found with a new technique of screenwashing, basically sifting for tiny fossils. What they found in the Lance Formation in Wyoming in one season equaled the number of fossils of their kind ever discovered up to that point. The field branched away from the romance of the big dinosaurs and toward a more detailed understanding of evolutionary relationships among specimens and of the developmental characteristics that might tell the scientists something about how the creatures lived.
There is a lot of research in the history of science devoted to what historian of science Rob Kohler called the lab/field border. The basic question is this: given the growing disparity in prestige and resources between the field sciences and the bench sciences in the early 20th century, how did field scientists struggle for recognition, authority, and scarce resources, when the best scientific practice was increasingly defined as the controlled laboratory experiment?
Field scientists brought techniques and instrumentation into the field to increase the precision and quantity of data collected; and they also brought back from the field new questions to lab scientists and theorists about the complexity, messiness, and porosity of the data. This project shows that this process is part of the ongoing fulfillment of the evolutionary synthesis: a harmonization of the basic questions across the life sciences, with the kind of cross-fertilization that we saw in Charles Darwin’s education and work practice. We see new hybrids of paleontology and other life sciences emerging, such that some practitioners could be viewed from a distance as statisticians, or labcoat-wearing experimentalists working with the vast collections of specimens collected by Bill and others. The other piece of the lab/field border concept is that the field is also a complex social and political place. This is one of many of Bill’s soft skills that students talk about over and again in the history. How does one maintain good relationships with the property owners who are stewards of the places in which the paleontologists work?
For all of these reasons and more, place is important in the field sciences. But in few sciences is the precise meaning of place as important as paleontology, where a few feet of geological strata contain millions of years of data. Here is Bill Clemens on the trickiness of pinning down a fossil to a place, and therefore a time.
It’s important not to understate the importance of this scale and extent of fossil collection. The organized work of Clemens’ generation and the one that followed made possible newer types of data-intensive computerized research on paleontology, evolutionary biology, and climate change.
Here is Marisol Montellano on the importance of Bill’s efforts in fossil collection and characterization.
In fact, it is not uncommon for doctoral students today to conduct their research entirely with collected specimens in a laboratory, although Bill might not recommend this exclusive a course of study.
Here is Bill’s last student, Greg Wilson, on what Bill was like as teacher and a mentor.
Bill Clemens’ Students
It is here that we come to a really special aspect of this history, the second volume of this project: the thirteen interviews with Bill’s graduate students and the current Curator and leader of the UC Museum of Paleontology, Charles Marshall. Bill and his students are witnesses to the changes in the field of paleontology, the increasing use of computing to process large quantities of data, and the field’s increasing involvement in the most pressing questions of the last four decades: the resilience of species, the interdependence of organisms, and the consequences of a changing climate on the abilities of organisms to adapt to both sudden and gradual changes. Here is Bill’s former student Jessica Theodor on Reconciling Molecular and Morphological Data.
These questions are also a reflection of my initial theme about credibility in science. Through these interviews, we see how paleontology has adapted itself to a changing scientific climate, contending with the introduction of new species of ideas such as the asteroid-impact hypothesis for the extinction of most dinosaur species at the end of the Cretaceous, or through the adoption of sophisticated mathematical analyses of the surface structure of mammalian teeth to answer questions about the evolution of a particular species’ diet millions of years ago.
Here is Lowell Dingus on how he dealt with the approach of physicists Walter and Luis Alvarez to the question of the extinction of many species at the end of the Cretaceous Period.
Scientists struggle for credibility, and one way of doing so is to hybridize their research techniques and programs with the dominant sciences of the day, such as molecular and structural biology. The Department of Paleontology’s integration with the Department of Integrative Biology at UC Berkeley was part of a larger effort to cross-fertilize ideas and techniques from related disciplines that focus on evolutionary processes. “Interdisciplinarity” had an early home here at Berkeley and especially at UCMP, long before Integrative Biology was founded in the 1990s. One result of this integration is that the UC Museum of Paleontology has once again assumed a worldwide leadership role in the conduct of cutting-edge research, though it has long led the field of mammalian paleontology.
On a more human level, you will find in these pages, that the engines of research and innovation are fueled by human virtues as much as intellect. Bill and Dot’s patience and empathy for Bill’s students as they navigated the challenges of graduate school and the dust and heat of the field is well documented, as is Bill’s curiosity, meticulousness, patience and care with which he draws his scientific conclusions. It is surely a mark of his influence that his students have taken up the charge by using new techniques evidence, carefully tested, to gradually move their respective fields forward increment by increment.
Berkeley, CA, 2017