Department Blog

H/SS & Gov Info Services

Richard N. Schwab Papers

June 22nd, 2014 by Michael Winter

Richard N. Schwab taught in the history department at UC, Davis. The two linear feet of papers he donated to the Shields Library Department of Special Collections relate specifically to his lifelong work on the French Encyclopedia of Diderot and D’Alembert–or, as it is more formally known, Encyclopedie, ou Dictionnaire raisonne des sciences, des arts et des metiers, which appeared in fascicles and then eventually as bound volumes between 1751 and 1765. Special Collections also owns an original 17 volume edition of this work, along with the numerous supplementary volumes of engraved illustrations/plates accompanying the text, as well as  other supplementary material issued along with the original text and plates.

Schwab’s contributions to the study of the Encyclopedie and indeed the study of the Enlightenment more generally are much too numerous to mention here, though it should be noted that he produced the English translation of the Preliminary discourse to the Encyclopedia contributed by D’Alembert.  A number of years ago Professor Schwab also began a fruitful collaboration with the University of Chicago and the French Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, and participated in the eventual issue of a digital version of this landmark reference work.

Database trial – Statista

May 28th, 2014 by Marcia Meister

The Library has a trial for a new database called Statista for a short time.

Access Statista   (http://www.statista.com)

Statista is a portal that includes data from government agencies, business and associations.  It integrates data on over 60,000 topics from over 18,000 sources onto a single  platform. Categorized into 21 market sectors, Statista.com provides companies, business customers, research institutions, and the academic community with direct access to quantitative data on media, business, finance, politics, and a wide variety of other areas of interest or markets.  One of the features of Statista is the infographics – data can be visualized in charts, and can be downloaded in a variety of formats.

While historical and time series data are not a focus of Statista, the metadata about each table provides all the necessary information to go to the table’s source, where historical information may be available.

Comments?  Please let me know what you think.

Marcia Meister, mlmeister@ucdavis.edu

Marx’s major Work in Slides

May 21st, 2014 by Michael Winter

For an innovative approach to the understanding of Marx’s Capital, UC Davis library users should take a look at PolyLuxMarx: A Capital Workbook in Slides,  a recent addition to the collection.  A subset of these slides and other material supporting an understanding of the work of Marx and Engels in the production of their masterwork, can also be viewed and downloaded, in English, German, and Spanish.

Remembering Stuart Hall

May 20th, 2014 by Michael Winter

Stuart Hall, who collaborated with Perry Anderson, Raymond Williams, and other key British intellectuals on the late 1950s, was also the founding editor of the New Left Review and pioneering scholar of British cultural studies.  Hall died in February of this year. Cultural studies scholars at UC Davis will present a program on Hall’s work on Tuesday June 3, 2014, from 5:00 p.m.-7:30 p.m. in 3201 Hart Hall.

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/