Upcoming Author Talk. John William Davis to discuss Rainy Street Stories: Reflections on Secret Wars, Espionage, and Terrorism.

On February 12, 2015, at 5:30, the Salmon Library will be hosting author John William Davis at a book talk about his own Rainy Street Stories: Reflections on Secret Wars, Espionage, and Terrorism. Come out to listen to his anecdotes, ask him questions, and enjoy some light refreshments. The talk will be in Library room 111.

Rainy Street Stories Event

From the publisher’s [Red Bike Publishing] website:

Rainy Street Stories is a composition of powerful reflections on today’s espionage, terrorism, and secret wars. These stories, essays, and poems by John Davis, a retired intelligence officer, take place from Europe, to Asia, and back to the Americas. He lived overseas for many years, where he served as a soldier, civil servant, and gifted linguist. Davis writes with a thoughtful, compassionate, and fair assessment of his lifetime lived during wars and conflicts which were his generation’s legacy from World War II. He recounts mysterious, sometimes strangely suggestive, even curiously puzzling tales. Each will cause the reader to think.

You can read reviews of the book from The SOHO Journal and from The Journal of Strategic Security. In SOHO’s review, D. Clark MacPherson writes:

Davis’s Rainy Street Stories does not gloss over lines with the novelist’s adroitness as does LeCarre, nor does he appear to draw upon the wealth of knowledge that Nigel West, the “Godfather of Intelligence,” draws upon as the acknowledged historian of the Intelligence field. Instead, the reader is drawn into a collaboration with Davis in understanding the moral dilemma and making the difficult philosophical decisions about how we proceed from here. Davis enables the reader to travel with him by using short essays and poems that evoke the feelings and experiences of fear, betrayal, pain and death that are intrinsic and inescapable elements of the secret and not-so-secret wars.

Those with questions can contact Dr. Belinda Ong at ongb@uah.edu or by phone at 256.824.6432.

Those who wish to buy a copy of the book can do so through Amazon, through Barnes and Noble, or [if they prefer to find a local brick-and-mortar that carries it], can search through IndieBound.

Extended Hours in the Library for Fall 2014 Finals

During Finals, many wish for just a few more hours in the day to squeeze in one more rewrite of a paper or to study one more chapter. And while the Salmon Library has very little power to add hours to the age-old day-night cycle, we can do our part and extend those existing hours of the day which we are open.

A 16 hour clock

From November 30, a Sunday, through December 9, a Tuesday, we will have extended hours. We will open on the normal times, but our closing times for those days are changed:

  • Sunday through Thursday: We’re open until 2am.
  • Friday: We’re open until 10pm.
  • We do not have extended hours on Saturdays.

The extended hours will include services such as the Info Arcade being open; printing, photocopying, and scanning; being able to check out study rooms and laptops; and of course the quiet study on the second and third floors.

The following calendar shows the extended hours and the Finals ReCharge events in case you want to plan around them:

Extended hours for the library, combined with finals recharge events. A visual representation of this and the Finals ReCharge posts.

As a note, as you are planning out your studying/writing/etc for Finals, the Student Success Center is now located in the Salmon Library, on the first floor, in the Charger Commons. If you need tutoring or writing help, they are a great resource!

If you want more information about the Salmon Library Hours, see our Hours Guide.

[a tad bit late, but] A Brief Write-up for From Lovecraft to the Thing from Outer Space: Science and Science Horror

This was meant to come out nearly a month ago, but here is a write-up of a talk I gave back on October 21, 2014: From Lovecraft to the Thing from Outer Space. It was a fun little talk, meant to combine a bit of Halloween fun with a serious discussion about the persistent bias against scientists in a particular flavor of science fiction and science horror.

Why did I want to talk about it (outside of the fun Halloween factor)? There has been a long series of events, generally kind of minor, where I would be reading some story or watching some show/movie, and the scientist type character would be just that tad more easily bent by the forces of evil than the noble military they were working with. Or the nerd would be dangerous element that lets down the team of good, wholesome jock types. Not in every case. I have not done a precise tally to see if it is even the majority – though I suspect so – but in many cases.

It came to full bear when I was doing some research on Lovecraft’s science and philosophy for a roundtable discussion on those things with the guys from the H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast. At the time, I was struck by the contradiction in Lovecraft’s personal philosophies about knowledge – complex as his personal stance might be on many things – and the way that knowledge and curiosity and reading always seemed to have negative consequences. An early version of the talk was entirely to focus on Lovecraft. Though I realized quickly into the process that it wasn’t just Lovecraft. There was a certain fascination with scientists as characters throughout pulp 20th century fiction and there was a continued notion of them as just a bit crazier than the average person, a bit more likely to bring about the end of the world, and even a bit dumber, if by dumb you mean “unable to realize the outcome of their own actions”.

This talk came out of that. As said at the thing, this is something more like a preliminary examination of the phenomenon. While some slides are less serious than others, the conclusion towards the end is something I would like to prove or disprove through further research. Have we created a fictional scientist archetype – and then applied concepts of a particularly virulent monastic archetype to it – and if we have, how far does this concept go? I have some ideas, and plan to start that next stage very soon.

Before I get to the slides, there are two things. First, I want to share a quote from James Turner’s introduction to Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos, [still one of the best many-in-one collections of stories about the extended mythos involved in Lovecraft's fiction], which is good to keep in mind as we examine some of the conflicts of science and science horror:

With…developments in relativity, quantum mechanics, subatomic particles, and the like, the universe no longer seemed so comprehensible. Just as Copernicus and Galileo had wrenched humanity from the center of creation, so too had modern man come to realize that not only is he not at the center of the cosmos, but that he is a singularity in the cosmos. The universe with its neutron stars and quasars and black holes is strange to us, and we are a stranger in the universe.

Secondly, what took so long to getting this up is because the slides used in this talk (and there were quite a few) were only part of the story. There was a lot of commentary and references. I mean a lot. It was a very full hour. There was also some active feedback and commentary of which I wanted to try and make note. Had it been fewer slides, I might have tried a list of slide notes. Instead, I took advantage of Google’s Spreadsheets note function and have added a note to roughly half or more of the slides. What this means is that as you view them, to get the full experience, you need to view the slides with slide-notes turned on. It’s not the best interface, but it is worth going through at least with them to see what’s up.

I have been asked if I will be repeating this talk. Likely not in its current form. While I can talk about Lovecraft (and his writings) for hours, and while I am seriously concerned about prejudices and biases towards and against scientists, this was sort of a wide-net approach to two topics that are not quite the same – Lovecraft’s love and “hate” of science is not necessarily the general public’s. Bits of this talk might show up again – there seems to be a ripe place for several of its sub-themes – just not this one. It was a joyous passion project, now comes the time to shape it to something a little more solid.

Finals ReCharge is Here, Again! or, The Fall 2014 Events

Finals time are approaching UAH, again (just in case you need,  you can see the schedule on this semester’s academic calendar). Which means that here at the Salmon Library, we are once again having Finals ReCharge: our varied events designed to help you relax as you study. As usual, we are going to be having a few old hats with a few new tricks.

Here is our schedule of events for this semester.

On December 1, through December 12, the Graffiti Wall will be going up. Never played with it before? We put a few huge sheets of white paper and then provide you with markers and let you write out your thoughts and ideas. Click the link, above, for some previous images. This will run the full time of Finals and tends to lead to rather…interesting…discussions.

Then, on the Study Day, Wednesday December 3, we will have Self-Serve Coffee. It is free, just stop by the library from 9am-12pm and pour yourself a cup. As a note, we might light this run for as long as supplies last, so keep an eye out for it even if you stop by to study even after noon.

This will be followed the next day, Thursday, December 4, from 10am to 12pm, by the Therapy Dogs. Come by and visit the dogs and pet and hang out with them. Therapy dogs provided by Therapy Partners. Again, click the link, there, to see some past pictures. These are always a big hit. [Note: Earlier versions of this post had the Therapy Dogs being from 10am-2pm. This was a typo.]

December 5th, from 9am to 11am, we will have Free Coffee and Donuts. Stop by and pick up some in the lobby and visit with a librarian (who will be serving them).

This wraps up the first week. The second will will have another round of Self-Serve Coffee on Tueday, December 9, again from 9am to 12pm.

The second week will also introduce our big new event: Games Blast! On Monday, December 8 and Wednesday, December 10, from 11am to 3pm. We’ll set up some games consoles and bring in a few board games and anyone wanting to stop by and participate can play for a bit. Snacks will be provided. More details coming very soon.

Finals ReCharge Fall Flyer

Note, from the later post about extended hours at the Library for finals, I’ve included this handy calendar to combine the hours and the events of Finals ReCharge:

This Is The EndNote / introductory session (Refined Researchers Series)

We are happy to announce the third event in our Refined Researchers series of workshops this fall. (Missed that memo?  See our earlier blog post here.)

Refined Researcher Endnote Flyer

Refined Researcher Endnote Flyer

On October 6th, I will lead a short, hands-on workshop on the EndNote citation management software (see the Thomson Reuters webpage here).  EndNote – like other types of citation management software – can be used to store & manage your citations as you work on your academic research, including adding those references to your papers & assignments.  This session will focus on the “full” version of the EndNote software (available for a free trial period, and for a cost after that), but we will also discuss of features that are available through the online interface http://myendnoteweb.com

Please tell me if you can join us; more information about the session (& my email address for an RSVP) is available on the library calendar of events.

 

Classroom Copyright Caper – Slides and Workshop Highlights (Refined Researchers Series)

This past Tuesday, as part of our Refined Researchers series, I gave a workshop on copyright with an emphasis about how it interacts with the classroom (and some other ideas, all generally meant to help with knowing how to best use it and ask about it). It was a good time from my presenter’s viewpoint, with plenty of attendees from all walks of campus life – faculty, grad, undergrad, and guests – asking good and interesting questions and I hope they enjoyed themselves and learned something. It was a fair number of slides, 90+, with information ranging from copyright history to getting permission to use something, so it would be hard to sum up here. Instead, I am going to include the slides below as a slideshow, and you can download the current draft as a PDF (note, right at 10mb). I am releasing the whole thing Creative Commons 4.0 “With Attribution”, so if you would like to use any of the information or my top-notch fancy drawings in a class, or wherever, feel free. Did I say fancy drawings? Sure did, here’s a quick sample for you:

Try and not be too amazed. Due to something like a fluke, I ended up using a blue trapezoid to represent copyrighted work, with a red one to represent transformed versions, and green circles to represent uses by others. Hopefully simple iconography will help. If any of the diagrams are confusing, though, just email me and I’ll explain a little bit better.

The version below is slightly different from the version presented. There were some attendee submitted questions (and a couple of frequently asked questions) that I had worked into the slides as answer prompts. Those have been omitted due to them needing full context. I’ve made sure to double check a few facts, and have worked in a few attributions better. I have included a section on Distance Learning that had to be cut. I’ve also cleaned up a couple of bits of confusing language, and changed, slightly, the slide order to make sub-sections a little more consistent. As a heads up, there are a few slides where the slideshow makes the formatting funny. I am unsure why, but most are still readable even with the unexpected line breaks.

Classroom Copyright Caper PDF (note, this resizes it to smaller than Google Drive’s method, which makes it several times larger)

You can also access it as a Google Slides document if you think you would like to see it as such. You should be able to save it to your Google Drive account or download it as PPTX file and edit it (you can also click the gear icon on the slide show above for some of these options).

Just reminder, there are currently four Refined Rearchers workshops left in this semester. Click that link to learn more.

Come and join us for our new Refined Researchers workshops, open to all!

As part of a new initiative, the Salmon Library will be hosting six workshops on a variety of topics throughout the Fall 2014 semester. The focus of the workshops is on information and using information, as well as the way information is observed and used and manipulate [in one], with a mixture of hands-on demonstrations and fun lectures. While I cannot guarantee that there will be no math, don’t worry about any pop-quizzes. These are entirely designed around you being able to relax and learn something useful.

These workshops are open to everyone: students, faculty, staff, alumni, and guests. No RSVP is required, but it can helpful to have a rough judge of potential headcount, so one is appreciated. You can either contact the individuals below, or the reference desk at {(256)824-6529 | erefq@uah.edu}. Also feel free to contact us if you have suggestions for future workshops (or would like to request a different time of day, we’re trying out a couple of time slots now but are game to expand this to more as it goes on).

The Workshops

As you can see, we have a range of workshop topics, with most of these initial six based on a mixture of requests we’ve received and personal interest.

The Mark of Zotero (event page)
September 10, 2:00pm-2:45pm. Library 214.
Ron Schwertfeger will guide you through using the free and useful Zotero citation management software in a hands-on workshop. Of special interest to those who have to handle a lot of references for a big project. Since Zotero is free, you can show up and learn about it and then be using it that very night.

The Classroom Copyright Caper (event page)
September 23, 5:30pm-6:30pm. Library 111.
Doug Bolden will talk about copyright and fair use and how they impact the classroom and the campus environment as a whole and where specific numbers rule the day versus general guidelines.

This Is the Endnote (event page)
October 6, 2:00pm-2:45pm. Library 214.
Ron Schwertfeger is back, this time looking at Endnote, one of the premier commercial citation management programs. He will talk about its many features—from sharing with other users, backing up data, and auto-importing information—and the free web version. Again, this one will be hands-on with practical training.

From Lovecraft to the Thing from Outer Space (event page)
October 21, 5:30pm-6:30pm. Library 111.
Doug Bolden, in something a little different, is going to do an overview of science horror from the 20th century and the way that it took advantage of scientific advancement while painting science as ticking time bomb (often, literally), starting with pro-science but narratively anti-information H.P. Lovecraft, and moving forward.

We Need to Go Deeper (event page)
October 23, 2:00pm-2:45pm. Library 214.
Seth Porter will be teaching you how to find a wealth of free information about business and demographics using just a web-browser and publicly available sites, information already out there but somewhat hidden from casual searches.

OneSearch to Rule Them All (event page)
November 13, 2:00pm-2:45pm. Library 214.
Michael Manasco will finish off our first semester by looking at the OneSearch front end for Ebsco’s Discovery Service. He will show you to get the most out of it, with tips on advanced searching and Ebsco accounts and ebooks and getting primary sources and a whole toolbag of tricks.

Special note: The original date of the EndNote session was October 9. It is now October 6.

Salmon Library Open House 2014! Activities, Door Prizes, Food, and a Chance to Meet the UAH Librarians

On Tuesday, August 26, 2014 (about a week into the Fall 2014 semester), we are going to be holding our annual Salmon Library Open House from 9am to 1pm and would love for any and all students, faculty, or staff from UAH to attend. Whether you are an old hat at our services or new to them, we’ll have things for you to do. There will be door prizes for students who complete some of our activities, and food and snacks throughout the event.

Activities planned at this time include a photo scavenger hunt and a self-guided library tour. People who complete these activities will be eligible to win door prizes: a series of Amazon gift cards. There may be more opportunities to win, so you should stop by and see what crops up!

You can stop by and ask us questions about our services or resources, and there will be librarians that can help on the tour if you need [yes, I know, we can argue the semantics of "self-guided" if you want]. If you just want to take a look at what we’re doing, that’s fine, too. It doesn’t have to be a formal visit.

From 9am to 11am, there will be coffee and donuts. From 11am to 1pm, there will be pizza and drinks.

Want to see some pictures from Fall 2013? Here you go!

Summer 2014 B.E.S.T. Meeting Notes, Including the Full-Text of our “Where Feedback Fears to Tread” Talk

This past Tuesday, July 29, 2014, we had the honor of hosting the Summer B.E.S.T. meeting where librarians from all types of institutions around the Huntsville area visited and talked about plans and swapped conference stories and ideas and asked questions about related services and so forth. It was a delight, and we look forward to the next one.

Michael Talks about Cost as a Factor of Risk

As part of the meeting, Michael Manasco and I (me = Doug Bolden) gave a presentation about feedback loops with the twist of looking at how it can be personal. What does good versus bad feedback mean to us as professionals? How is it that sometimes negative feedback can be a good thing while positive feedback can be bad? What are the biggest dangers to consider? What are the strengths or weaknesses of some feedback systems? That sort of thing. And then we talked about a few of the basic case studies that we have personally dealt with, along with some discussion questions that hopefully helped to broaden the topic and see a few perspectives. We had a good discussion about some of the factors of the talk…even if we went a smidgen over time.

Doug [that's me!] Describes the Jabberwock, aka Confirmation Bias

For those who attended, and for those who did not, our presentation is below. Feel free to read and comment upon it!

You can download a PDF of “Where Feedback Fears to Tread” and use as you wish. We have released it under Creative Commons 4.0 International License (i.e. cc-by). Yes, this means you can feel free to adapt portions of it and to share it. We promise we don’t mind. If you do use it, you can drop us a line to let us know how, but that’s just so we can see how people respond to it. Note, a couple of the slides have been slightly altered to help put them into context outside of the vocal portion of the presentation. The gist is still the same in all cases, though.

For those into such things, we also have a few pictures from the event (you can see a couple in this post already). Browse the slideshow below for more. If you were there, and have some pictures you would like to share, you can send them to me at doug.bolden@uah.edu. I can add them to our gallery, below, and credit you are or I can not, as your preference.

UAH Alumni are invited to attend one of our Workshops designed to show off what the Salmon Library can do for them

I have already written about UAH Alumni having free guest access to the Salmon Library, but I would like to go ahead and do you one better. We will be having a pair of workshops this Summer designed to show our alumni what the Salmon Library can do for them. We will have a short overview of our services, a tour, a discussion of future plans, a chance to meet some of the librarians, time for a Q&A, a couple of door-prizes, and we will even help you to set up your account.*

The time for these events will be about 1 hour, or less, depending on the questions asked and so forth. Things discussed will include library departments, our physical and digital resources, using our catalog to find what you need, using OneSearch, printing/copying/scanning, checking out books, combining our resources with those of the Alabama Virtual Library, and whatever else you are curious about.

We have two workshops currently planned:

  • On June 26, a Thursday, an evening workshop from 5:30pm to 6:30pm.
  • On July 7, a Monday, a lunchtime workshop from 11:30am to 12:30pm.**

You can attend whichever works for you. If neither work for you, but you are interested, then let me know at doug.bolden@uah.edu, and we may be able to hold additional workshops in the future. You can also email me if you have any questions. We will need a rough headcount to let Campus police know about parking on those days, so letting us know ahead of time will be helpful. You can confirm attendance with

http://tiny.cc/LibraryWorkshop2014

Of course, you do not have to attend to take advantage of the free guest access, this is simply a way for us to show off a few of our services and resources to you, and will help you to get a bigger picture of what you can accomplish with the access.

Afterwards, there will be a short video made of the presentation for those who would like a copy. Keep an eye on this blog for that.

For those who need directions, you can see them at http://libguides.uah.edu/directions

* Note: Those setting up the account during the Workshop need to bring their Alumni Association Card and a Photo ID.
** The original date for the midday event has been changed, the new date is July 7. Just in case you saw an earlier version of this post.