Announcement | Resumption of Limited Library Services

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stack of books

Though our physical spaces remain closed to patrons, the Library will begin phase one of a scaled return to in-person academic support on Monday, June 29, 2020. A small number of Library staff members will be onsite to scan materials for Fall 2020 courses and to retrieve books for contactless pickup.

Safety

To protect the safety of staff and patrons, we will be operating at minimum staffing levels with modified workflows to allow for social distancing and quarantine of materials. We will add staff and increase service levels as public health guidance allows.

Materials requested for pickup will be placed in bags on carts and quarantined, untouched, for a minimum of 72 hours. Please do not clean or disinfect library materials. It would likely damage the item(s) and is not necessary given the precautions Library staff are taking. The most current research tells us that 72 hours (three days) of quarantine is safe for circulating library materials.

How Long Will Requests Take?

Requests may take up to seven days. Quarantine protocols for handling physical materials will make requests for rush or expedited delivery less feasible for the time being.

Requesting Physical Materials

Current Brown faculty/instructors and students may request up to ten (10) items per week from our collections, including books. Materials available at the Rockefeller Library, the Library Annex, the Sciences Library, and Orwig Music Library should be requested directly through Josiah, the Library’s online catalog. Library staff will retrieve the items and email the requestor with instructions for pickup when the items are ready. Pickup for ALL items will take place in front of the Rockefeller Library. 

Requesting Special Collections

The John Hay Library will digitize special collections material for research and teaching needs. Requests from current Brown faculty and graduate students will be prioritized. Other requests will be fulfilled as time allows. This service is limited to members of the Brown community. To make a request, email hay@brown.edu or fill out the request form

Requesting Course Reserves and Course Packs

Faculty members should continue to use Online Course Reserves Access (OCRA) to request materials for course reserves and course packs. Once received, the Library will make the reserves available to students through the course site in Canvas. 

If you are using a course pack from a previous semester, the Library will make the content available in Canvas and/or OCRA. Email rock@brown.edu to initiate this process. 

Expanded Access to Digital Content and Services

The robust slate of online Library support, services, and resources made available during the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to be offered.

Interlibrary Loan (ILL)

Interlibrary Loan (ILL) for physical materials will not resume until a later phase, and (by agreement with our Ivy-plus partners) no earlier than September 1. We will continue to accept and fill ILL requests for articles and book chapters that are available electronically, which will be sent to patrons via email. We will also continue searching for electronic versions of requested books. 

Questions?

Email rock@brown.edu with questions. If you have a question about special collections, email hay@brown.edu

Announcement | Library Services during COVID-19 Pandemic

Featured

Rockefeller Library facade at dusk

Though the Brown University Library buildings remain closed, online services are available at rock@brown.edu, hay@brown.edu, and library.brown.edu.

Read the latest on Brown’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Resumption of Limited Library Services

As of June 29, the Library is providing limited in-person, contactless services.

Expanded Access to Digital Content

As a response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, many of the Library’s content providers have expanded Brown’s access to digital content in order to support online research, learning, and teaching. In addition to the 2 million+ digital books and journals available through the Library’s subscriptions, we are excited to share many additional resources from our partners.

Faculty and Student Support

We are providing online services, including research consultations and instruction. Subject librarians can be reached by email and on chat, which will be staffed Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Not sure who to ask? Email most questions to rock@brown.edu and email questions about special collections to hay@brown.edu.

Additional resources:

Requests for Digital Material

You can request access to digital material! Contact us at the following email addresses to request items, ask research questions, and connect with a Library expert:

Interlibrary Loan (ILL) requests for resources available electronically are being fulfilled!

Requests for Physical Library Material

During the critical period of transition from site-based to online instruction, the Library was rotating a small number of staff onsite to scan physical material. However, now that we have made the transition, and in response to Governor Raimondo’s March 29th executive order, scanning of physical items is no longer possible until further notice. This includes scanning requests for Online Course Reserves Access (OCRA).

Checking Out Library Material

Checking-out of physical materials from Brown University Library, Interlibrary Loan (ILL), and BorrowDirect have been suspended until further notice (with the exception of requests for digital material). We will reassess all Library services on an ongoing basis and will post updates here.

Note that most Brown books can be renewed indefinitely.

Online Course Reserves Access (OCRA)

Scanning of physical material is no longer available. All digital material scanned or uploaded prior to April 3 will remain available. Students can continue to access course reserves through Canvas.

Returning Physical Material

Graduating students are urged to return physical materials to the Rockefeller Library, through the book return drop located to the left of the front doors. Other students may also drop off materials at the Rock, or you can keep the items in your possession until you are able to return to campus. This includes items obtained through Borrow Direct, easyBorrow, and ILLiad. Fines and late fees will be waived.

University Updates

Please check the University’s 2019 Novel Coronavirus Updates web page frequently for timely information.

Take good care and be well.

Brown University Library: Next Steps in Response to Racial Injustice

The leadership and staff of the Brown University Library join the national outpouring of anguish at the recent killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Tony McDade, and numerous others that continue the centuries of violence against Black people in our country.  Black Lives Matter to the Brown University Library.  We also deplore the devastating impacts of systemic racism that are also found in the pandemic of COVID-19, which has resulted in disproportionate death and suffering in communities of color.

The Library stands firmly in opposition to racism and racial violence, and laments the nation’s long history of murderous and systematic oppression of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color.   This opposition comes with recognition that persistent structures of racism in the U.S. have benefitted and shaped privileged institutions like ours.  We want to be in the vanguard of change.

We also recognize that statements ring hollow if they are not grounded in substantive actions. We commit to becoming actively anti-racist through an intensive interrogation of our work, practices, policies, and collections.  We will engage in programmatic and resource planning to ensure that we are continually uncovering and dismantling our participation in systems of structural racism. Through our partnerships with the University’s departments, centers, and institutes, we will also contribute to advancing education and scholarship to confront racism and racial violence in our society.  We will provide more information about specific actions in the coming weeks.

We hold ourselves accountable to this work. The Brown community should hold us accountable as well.

Announcement | Winners of the Library Innovation Prizes and Carney Institute Brain Science Reproducible Paper Prize

This year the Brown University Library and the Carney Institute for Brain Science partnered to create new awards to recognize student innovations in research rigor, transparency, or reproducibility.

Andrew Creamer, Scientific Data Management Specialist and librarian for Computer Science and Cognitive, Linguistic & Psychological Sciences, and Dr. Jason Ritt, Scientific Director of the Carney Institute, collaborated to update the Library’s Innovation Prize, first awarded in 2015, to reflect Brown’s recent focus on open access and research rigor and transparency and to highlight innovations in student research. The Carney Institute Brain Science Reproducible Paper Prize was created this year to honor innovations in reproducibility as documented by students in their honors theses and/or publications with Brown faculty. 

Library Prizes for Innovations in Research Rigor, Transparency, or Reproducibility

The Library Innovation Prizes were awarded to publications and/or digital projects in three categories based on methods/discipline.

Humanities and Digital Humanities

Sara Mohr

PhD students Sara Mohr (Egyptology & Assyriology) and Shane M. Thompson (Religious Studies) were selected for their digital humanities project, “The Advanced Digitization and Archival Analysis for Preservation and Accessibility (ADAAPA) Project.” Sara and Shane worked with several subject experts, including Bill Monroe, Senior Scholarly Resources Librarian, and Lindsay Elgin, Senior Library Technologist. The team was able to digitally represent the cuneiform objects in the John Hay Library along with the translations of their texts and accompanying archival material elucidating their provenance. View the cuneiform in the Brown Digital Repository.

Shane M. Thompson

Life and Physical Sciences Category

Adam Spierer

Ecology and Evolutionary Biology PhD student Adam Spierer (Rand Lab) was selected for his contributions to the development of the FreeClimber research software and its use in both a forthcoming publication (and chapter of his dissertation), “The Genetic Architecture of Flight and Climbing Performance in Drosophila melanogaster.” This program was designed initially for replacing manual assessment of the climbing performance in Drosophila (fruit flies); however, the program employs several functions that may be of use beyond the initial design in his field. The program can be accessed from the source code available in the Brown Digital Repository and on GitHub.

Behavioral, Public Health, and Social Sciences Category

Joseph Heffner

CLPS PhD student Joseph Heffner (FeldmanHall Lab) was selected for his dissertation project and publication, “Emotional responses to prosocial messages increase willingness to self-isolate during the COVID-19 pandemic.” Joseph made use of the Library’s new Center for Open Science, supporting institutional membership, and utilizing its Open Science Framework (OSF) for pre-registering his and his co-author’s study as well as sharing its OSF preprint platform for sharing their publication.

We would like to thank the panel of volunteer judges:

  • Lydia Curliss, Native American and Indigenous Studies and Physical Sciences Librarian
  • Dr. Oludurotimi Adetunji, Associate Dean of the College for Undergraduate Research and Inclusive Science

Carney Institute inaugural Brain Science Reproducible Paper Prize

Logan Cho ’20

Logan Cho ’20 was selected to receive the Carney Institute inaugural Brain Science Reproducible Paper Prize for his contributions to the project and publication, “Automating Clinical Chart Review: An Open-Source Natural Language Processing Pipeline Developed on Free-Text Radiology Reports From Patients With Glioblastoma.” 

Thank you to the volunteer judges:

  • Dr. David Sheinberg, Professor of Neuroscience
  • PhD student Abdullah Rashed Ahmed (Serre Lab)

The judges commented that “Logan’s application nicely illustrates how open source tools for natural language processing can be used to mine information from clinical reports of patients with glioblastoma. The approach was innovative and, between the publication and the associated Python notebook made available through GitHub, the analysis pipeline was clearly presented.” 

Congratulations to these students for their innovations and for the positive impact they have made on their academic fields’ methodological rigor, transparency, or reproducibility!

Announcement | PubMed Redesign

PubMed users will notice some major changes this week. As of May 18, the biomedical literature database is now defaulting to the new, redesigned interface. As always, the best way to see Brown University’s full text options is with the Library’s custom link.

New interface changes include:

  • Ability to cite references quickly in your preferred citation style format (AMA, APA, NLM, or MLA)
  • Option to share references via social media or a permalink
  • Responsive design for use on any device — mobile, desktop, or tablet — with the same features and functionality. On your mobile device, bookmark (or add to your home screen) this URL: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/?myncbishare=brownu
  • Citations are initially sorted by the Best Match algorithm, but display preferences such as sort order and items per page can be adjusted using the “Display options” button.  

Most features remain – including clinical queries, the advanced search, MeSH database, search details (on the Advanced page now), and your MyNCBI account. Additionally, you’ll be able to export citations to citation management tools (e.g., EndNote, Zotero, Mendeley) through the “Cite” feature or by sending a batch of citations to your Citation Manager.  

Looking for the legacy interface? For a short time you’ll still be able to use it, at https://pmlegacy.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

Please contact HealthSciLibrarians@Brown.edu for questions or instruction requests. 

The National Library of Medicine has created a page with links to PubMed tutorials and handouts. Take some time to explore the interface, and provide feedback to NLM at https://support.nlm.nih.gov/support/create-case/?category=plabs

Announcement | Recipients of Undergraduate Prize for Excellence in Library Research 2020

Each year, in partnership with the Office of the Dean of the College, the Brown University Library recognizes one or two undergraduate students for outstanding research projects that make creative and extensive use of the Library’s collections, including, but not limited to, print resources, databases, primary resources, and materials in all media. The project may take the form of a traditional paper, a database, a website, or other digital project. The prize winners receive $750 each, funded through an endowment established by Douglas Squires ’73.

2020 Prize Recipients

Abby Wells ’21

photo of Abby Wells
Abby Wells ’21

Abby Wells’ paper, “दे वि!मा#हा#त्म्य, Δούργα Μεταφρασθεῖσα ἐκ τοῦ Βραχμάνικου, and Devimahatmyam, Markandeyi Purani Sectio Edidit Latinam Interpretationem: A Comparative Analysis of Greek and Latin Translations of the Devīmāhātmya,” compares translations of the Devīmāhātmya, a Hindu religious text, to offer a unique analysis of grammar, content, and interpretation across three languages, including Greek, Latin, and Sanskrit.

Wells made creative and extensive use of the Library’s collection by locating the Greek and Latin translations of the Devīmāhātmya in the John Hay Library and Google Books, respectively. The award committee was especially impressed by the project’s use of materials made available through the John Hay Library, Google Books, and the Hathi Trust. This project truly spans the full use of library holdings and digital collections available within and beyond Brown University.

Sicheng Luo ’20

Photo of Sicheng Luo
Sicheng Luo ’20

Sicheng Luo was selected for her fascinating project, “The Symbol of the Pineapple Used for Clocks,” which explores the symbolism of pineapples in art and artifacts based on a mutual misunderstanding between China and the West. The project leaned heavily on a variety of Library resources and in-depth research consultations with Brown librarians.

Luo’s project, which was initially inspired by a popular television show in China called “National Treasures,” offers the reader an intensive explanation of the history of the pineapple symbol found on a clock made in the Qing Dynasty in China, which is currently on reserve in the Imperial Museum in Beijing.

Luo credits the availability of artist books, scanners, and in-person research consultations at the Library as the foundation of this incredible art history project.

More information about the Undergraduate Prize for Excellence in Library Research and past winners.

Announcement | Summer Proctorships for Graduate Students

students viewing special collections

There are several Graduate School 2020 Summer Proctorships available at the Library!

The application can be found in UFunds. Once on the UFunds page, click on Graduate School COVID-19 Fund, then select “Graduate School 2020 Summer Proctorship Positions.”

Descriptions of the opportunities are available on the Graduate School websiteThe application deadline is May 13.

The proctorships available at the Library are:

Recipients of Summer Proctorship positions will participate in project-based, internship-style experiences. The goal is to offer graduate students whose research and study have been impacted by COVID-19 new professional and career development opportunities to enhance their experience and skills.

Eligibility: These proctorships are intended for PhD students whose total summer support would otherwise fall below the equivalent of three months of the standard academic-year stipend amount ($8,758.68). The time commitment expected is approximately 100 hours over Summer 2020. 

More information

A Message from the University Library to Graduate Programs and Students | Access to Scholarly Resources during Campus Closure

Dear Department Chairs, Directors of Graduate Studies, and Graduate Students,

Joseph S. Meisel, Joukowsky Family
University Librarian

At the Brown University Library, we are well aware that the COVID-19 public health crisis is having an impact on graduate students’ ability to study for qualifying exams and carry out thesis and dissertation research. At Brown, as is the case at universities across the country, we know that suspending all onsite activity at the Library is contributing to these challenges.  

I am writing to let you know about the work we have been doing to strengthen how the Library supports graduate students under these circumstances, and to ensure that you are aware of the resources that are available to help you move forward with your scholarship.

Individual Research Help

You can connect directly with a Library expert in your area who can support your research, answer questions, provide you with digital content, and offer reliable scholarly guidance during this time of stress and uncertainty. 

Increased Digital Access

Significantly expanded access to digital content is being made available during the COVID-19 pandemic. More digital scholarly content continues to be made freely accessible, and we are regularly updating our list as this happens.

The Library offers several ways to access digital content:

  1. Through our existing systems
  • Search Josiah, the online catalog, for books, articles, and other materials that Brown owns or subscribes to in electronic formats.
  • Request items through Interlibrary Loan. Requests are continuing to be filled for articles available electronically.
  • Many items from our physical collection are now available electronically via HathiTrust. We have added a link to the HathiTrust version to the records in Josiah. You will need to login with your Brown University web credentials to access the content.
  1. By contacting a librarian

You can request items by emailing rock@brown.edu (general) and hay@brown.edu (special collections).

  •  Library experts can help you locate materials available at Brown and elsewhere.
  • If you are looking for a book that exists in electronic format to which Brown does not currently have access, we will purchase that item if it is possible to do so.  
  • Special collections librarians will seek to identify primary source material in digital format through other libraries and archives that can contribute to students’ research. They can also offer individualized consultations regarding research methods and organizing your digital research files. Special collections is working on other creative solutions to provide digital access to its collections and to connect students with digital content at other institutions. The more we know about student research needs, the better we can deploy to find solutions.

Access to Physical Materials

We recognize that electronically available materials, however abundant, cannot address all scholarly needs and that digital content can also pose accessibility challenges. At this time, most university libraries have discontinued physical circulation and loans. For the health and safety of our staff, we are unable to provide physical access to Library materials until the University authorizes onsite activities to resume.  

As the University announced recently, President Paxson has charged a Healthy Fall 2020 Task Force with charting a path to the safe reopening of the campus. As the principles, process, and timeline for reopening emerge, the Library will be able to provide more information on how and when we can resume physical access to general and special collections materials. Like you, we are looking forward to that day.  

***

As researchers and scholarly experts ourselves, and as dedicated partners for you and your academic programs, we keenly appreciate the challenges you are facing in moving forward with your graduate studies. The Brown University Library is committed to doing whatever is possible under the circumstances to help you. To that end, we will continue to explore new ways to provide more of the content you need. In the meantime, keep telling us what you need and we’ll do our very best!

With best wishes for your safety and wellbeing,

Joe

Joseph S. Meisel
Joukowsky Family University Librarian

Exhibit | Dis/Assemble: Making Meaning from the Minassian Collection

Leaf, Minassian Collection of Persian, Mughal, and Indian Miniature Paintings

Dis/Assemble

Dis/Assemble is a collaborative effort by graduate students from across ten different humanities disciplines to construct narratives around a continuously moving archive: the Minassian Collection of Persian, Mughal, and Indian Paintings and Calligraphies at Brown University. This collection evokes questions of assemblage and disassemblage, from sifting the extraordinary from the ordinary to practices of collecting and taxonomizing. Visitors are invited to participate in the creative act of engaging with fragments and fragmentation as they behold, imagine, and truly see the objects on view.

Opening Reception & Curator’s Introduction

Monday, March 9, 2020
4:30 p.m.
John Hay Library

Discussion

“Making Meaning from the Minassian Collection”
Monday, March 9, 2020
5:30 p.m.
Lownes Room, John Hay Library

Guests

  • Dr. Navina Haidar, Nasser Sabah al-Ahmed al-Sabah Curator in Charge of the Department of Islamic Art
  • Dr. Maryam Ekhtiar, Associate Curator of the Department of Islamic Art                      The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Dates: March 9, 2019 – May 25, 2020
Time: John Hay Library Hours
Location: Exhibition Gallery, John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence