Department Blog

H/SS & Gov Info Services

Surprise academic bestseller by French political economist

May 12th, 2014 by Michael Winter

Not many academic books, like French economist Thomas Piketty’s new work, Capital in the 21st Century, manage to get much public attention, but a recent interview of Paul Krugman, conducted by Bill Moyers, tells the story of a new book that falls into that category. Not surprisingly, the library’s copy is checked out, but of course can be recalled from the catalog record;and in any event the library owns a number of earlier works  by Piketty and his colleagues on similar topics.

Intellectual Property Dispute Over the Marx and Engels Corpus

May 5th, 2014 by Michael Winter

According to a recent stories in Bloomberg News and the New York Times, one of the copyright holders of the standard English-language edition of the collected works of Marx and Engels (the U.K. based publisher Lawrence & Wishart) has issued a takedown order to the Marxists Internet Archive; and according to a notice on its site, the Archive has complied by removing any materials published Lawrence & Wishart.

Citation Generators II

April 21st, 2014 by Michael Winter

In addition to the stand-alone citation generators mentioned in the previous post, there are now other ways to automatically generate a pre-formatted bibliographic reference, since these features are often built in to the periodicals indexing and abstracting services that the library subscribes to on behalf of the university’s  students, faculty, and staff.  There are many examples of such tools featuring a citation generator as part of the interface, including old favorites like PsycINFO, Sociological Abstracts, the MLA International Bibliography (and others from the ProQuest interface), and as many tools from the EBSCO package (including Academic Search Complete, America: History and Life, Historical Abstracts, and many others).  The technique is simple.  Once you are displaying a complete bibliographic reference on the screen, look for a box on the left hand side of the reference to check, then look on the right hand side for a link to get the citation generation process started.  (The actual position of this link varies a little from service to service, but usually is on the right).  If you’d like to try it out, see the link at the top of the welcome page of  behavioral science and cultural studies librarian David Michalski’s  Psychology subject guide and to go to PsycINFO.

Cttation Generators I

April 21st, 2014 by Michael Winter

Virtually every student has experienced the panic that sets in as the term draws to a close, and numerous written assignments–each requiring the paper’s bibliographic references to be formatted according to a specified standard– must be submitted. While there is, alas, no perfect fix for this problem, it has gotten alot easier recently with the availability of open access “citation generators”–web-based tools that allow the user to select the format needed (MLA, APA, Chicago), then input the descriptive data they have, and with a click or two or three produce a nicely formatted citation that can be copied and pasted into a list of references. Three of the better known  are “KnightCite,” “Son of Citation Machine,” and “Noodle Tools Express.” For links providing convenient access, see the column labelled “Citation Generators” at the bottom center an ingenious page crafted by Shields Library’s instruction librarian Melissa Browne.

Key Postwar German Literary Publication

April 7th, 2014 by Michael Winter

After Alfred Andersch and Hans Werner Richter were captured in Italy toward the end of the Second World War, they were sent to a prison camp in Rhode Island, where they worked on a publication directed at the “re-education” of German prisoners of war. When they returned to Germany in 1946, they revived it as Der Ruf – unabhängige Blätter der jungen Generation (same title with a different subtitle, reflecting their much broader literary ambitions). Shields Library is fortunate enough to own most of the issues of this publication, shelved at AP30 .R95 (the library has Volume 1, number 1 to Volume 3, number 18, 1946-1948). For additional details, see the entries for Andersch and Richter in the Neue deutsche Biographie, shelved in Shields, Humanities/Social Sciences Reference, DD85 .N4;  and  the entry for Richter in The Encyclopedia of Contermporary German Culture, shelved nearby at DD290.26 .E53 1999.

Although this publication was extremely successful,  it was published only under the official imprimatur and license of the U.S. Military Authority, under terms established during the Occupation during the early period just after the war.   Not long after the launch,  the U.S. authority–dissatisfied with the editors’ political orientations–abruptly cancelled the publication’s license, thus terminating it.   Andersch and Richter became, in connection with Der Ruf, very well-known, but they eventually became even better-known as founding spirits of  the “Gruppe 47,” a powerful organization of postwar German writers.

Seeking New Paths to Open Access in the Humanities

February 21st, 2014 by David Michalski

Earlier this week, I attended webinar, called “Open Access in the Humanities” led by Rupert Gatti. Dr. Gatti is a Fellow in Economics at Trinity College, Cambridge and Co-Founder and Director of Open Book Publishers. The presentation outlined the landscape and the challenges of Open Access in the humanities.

One point that resonated with me, given the centrality of monographs to the humanities, was a statistic that showed the relative dearth of new open access academic books in relation to new journal titles. Clearly there are combinations of reasons preventing a more robust move to open access in the humanities, both economic (the problem of financial capital: books (e or print) are more labor intensive) and sociocultural (the problem of cultural capital: in that humanities books are awarded status and prestige through publishing houses). Gatti’s presentation took on these challenges by seeking a sustainable ways to address these conditions, showing some exciting options moving forward.

The bulk of his presentation was spent on Open Books Publishers, a new publishing project for peer-reviewed open access monographs, which he directs. (See Open Books Publishers:

http://www.openbookpublishers.com/section/25/1/faqs ) This outfit has only published a few books to date, but their economic model, which includes a mixture of revenue from big name supporters, hard-copy and alternative format sales, and voluntary author-generated publication grant funding makes them an interesting new player in field.

Gatti also outlined other important initiatives. One of these was Knowledge Unlatched, (See: http://www.knowledgeunlatched.org/ ) a project which seeks long-term cost savings for institutions by sharing the costs of making HSS monographs available on a Creative Commons license. UC Libraries is part in one of their pilot projects. Another was Unglue It, ( https://unglue.it/about/) a project designed to help individuals and institutions join together to liberate specific ebooks “crowd-funding ” payments to authors and publishers so they they will relicense their works under Creative Commons licenses.” 

It is exciting to see these different economic models being tried. While I can’t say they will all achieve the sustainability they desire, it is clear that their aim is to create cooperatives to address real costs.

This webinar was sponsored by UKSG, a group formally that United Kingdom Serials Group. UKSG has evolved into a network that encourages “the exchange of ideas on scholarly communication…spanning the wide range of interests and activities across the scholarly information community of librarians, publishers, intermediaries and technology vendors. More about their activities can be found here: http://www.uksg.org/

Modern Language Association (MLA) International Bibliography Video Tutorials

February 18th, 2014 by Michael Winter

The MLA International Bibliography has just announced a new video tutorial series on different ways of searching the bibliography. New tutorials will be released every few months.  Click here for links to the currently available tutorials. The tutorials cover both the ProQuest and the EBSCO interfaces.

Documentary on Bronislaw Malinowski added to collection

February 14th, 2014 by Michael Winter

This recent 77 minute documentary by the pioneering ethnographer’s great grandson explores Malinowski’s checkered legacy, both in terms of his relationships with the peoples he studied and in terms of his relationships to members of his own family.   Check The UC Davis Harvest library catalog record for further information.  Click here for a trailer.

Behold the Editor, increasingly important, yet undervalued says Alan Rauch

January 22nd, 2014 by David Michalski

Ecce Emendator: The Cost of Knowledge for Scholarly Editors.  

“…How is it that the role of editor has seemed to have disappeared? And how is it that the tremendous labor performed by editors has essentially been erased or degraded by the very system that depends on us?…”

Alan Rauch, past president of president of the Council of Editors of Learned Journals (CELJ), and founding editor of Configurations: A Journal of Literature, Science, and Technology writes about the place of academic journal Editors in the new political economy of knowledge.
https://chroniclevitae.com/news/285-ecce-emendator-the-cost-of-knowledge-for-scholarly-editors

Report from Shields Library Stacks: Notes from the Field

December 13th, 2013 by Michael Winter

One of the pleasures of a large research library is the discovery of riches tucked away in places not often browsed.  Such an example is afforded by La Nouvelle Revue Française, aka NRF.  And this particular title does not seem to have been converted to digital format, so it is a great boon to have a complete run, dating back to the founding year of 1909, and continuing to the present.  The back issues are shelved on the Lower Level of Shields, at AP20 .N6.  A check of the earlier issues reveals a fertile cache of  extraordinary materials sure to be of interest as primary sources in the study of French literature, culture, and society.  Early associates included André Gide,  Gaston Gallimard, and an amazing variety of names now enshrined as part of the canon of 20th century French literature.

The editors had actually assembled an issue the year before,  in 1908, but got to quarreling and were unable to come to agreement, and so they had to wait a year to get started.  When they did, the first issue included contributions by Paul Claudel, Jean Giraudoux, Francis Jammes, and Emile Verhaeren. Not at all outdone, Gide himself contributed the first appearance of his novel, La Porte Etroite,  as a series of  installments. By volume 2 others had joined, including Jules Romains and Paul Valery.  Alain-Fournier shows up as a book reviewer before eventually publishing a serial version of Les Grandes Meaulnes, in 1912.  In 1911,  Gide contributed more  novels seriatim, including Les Caves du Vatican, in 1911, and his early masterpiece La Symphonie Pastorale, in 1919. By that time Gaston Gallimard had gone on to found the publishing house that still bears his name, originally as an off-shoot of the NRF.

Translation studies scholars and comparativists will want to know that Gide also published an early translation of the German poet Rainer Maria Rilke, in 1911.  Later, after the publication had been suspended for the four years of the First World War,  his translation of William Blake’s Marriage of Heaven and Hell appeared in 1922.  Valéry Larbaud published here his translations of excerpts from Samuel Butler’s novel Erewhon in 1920.

There is also a serialized version of one of Paul Claudel’s most famous novels, L’Annonce Faite à Marie, appearing in several 1912 numbers. But probably the greatest find of all is in the volumes appearing in 1914, when the  published fragments of a work by a then relatively unknown writer named Marcel Proust, who was toiling away at A la Recherche du Temps Perdu, and contributed some fragments from what would become the second volume,  La Côté de Guermantes. It’s interesting to learn that Proust’s masterpiece was initially rejected by a number of publishers’ readers, including Gide himself, and had to be published–supposedly at the author’s own expense–by Bernard Grasset.   But it didn’t take long for these initial negative assessments to change.  By the early 1920s,  after Proust meets an untimely death in November of 1922, much space is devoted to extensive analyses of  Proust’s life and work. Other writers who contributed fragments or excerpts of works-in-progress or shorter pieces include Colette, Louis Aragon, Guillaume Apollinaire,  Arthur Rimbaud (who also appears as Jean-Arthur Rimbaud), the anthropologist Lucien Lévy-Bruhl on primitive mentality, and Gertrud Stein contributed  parts of a memoir of Paris in the 1920s.  Antonin Artaud’s debut is a series of letters between him and the NRF editor who rejected his early submissions; later he became something of a regular feature.

Along with Alain-Fournier, a number of other writers make a debut here as reviewers of books, theatrical productions, and even films, including André Breton,  who reviewed Lautréamont’s Les Chants de Maldoror,  Aragon,  who reviewed, among other things, an edition of Les Contes de Perrault,  Antonin Artaud, Julien Benda,  and the early exponent of French existentialism with a Christian accent, the philosopher Gabriel Marcel.  Stephane Mallarmé reviewed musical performances. Many of these also contributed shorter versions of original works.  Along with Marcel, the philosopher Alain also contributed many pieces in the 1920s and the 1930s.

Perhaps the greatest curiosity is a brief item, with the appearance of an announcement or a very simple advertisement,  in 1919, heralding the beginning of “Le Mouvement Dada”; the announcement calls the attention of NRF readers to “Le Directeur,” Tristan Tzara, and even provides what looks like a mock-telephone number (1-2-3-4-5) and an address where he might be reached in Switzerland for inquiries.

Note:  For a notification and brief entry on NRF‘s predecessor, see the blog entry for La Revue Blanche.