Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

UC Libraries and the budget crisis

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

Yesterday, UCLA Today ran this story about a University of California Libraries effort to confront the looming budget cuts.  The libraries issued a collective letter to publishers, asking them to work aggressively with campuses to price their publications within reach.

End of a very short era? And, getting students to the library.

Thursday, May 14th, 2009

I seem to be losing steam with this Litbrarian blog, partly because I am not convinced there is anyone reading it, so I’m considering whether to retire it at the end of this season.  Would you miss it if it were gone? (If yes, please leave a comment!)

In the meantime, here is a recent article in the Chronicle by Todd Gilman, an English Librarian at Yale.  In the article, Gilman offers suggestions for augmenting students’ research skills in meaningful ways that focus on research practice rather than overemphasizing tools for research.

Electronic dissertations and theses – wave of the future? already here?

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

Those of you who are writing dissertations and theses, along with those of you who may be advising students who are writings such things, may have given at least passing thought to the idea of the format in which that final document will be submitted, evaluated, and disseminated.  There are numerous discussions afoot regarding the need for a shift toward electronic dissertations and theses.  In some cases, these discussions center on the practicalities of having electronic rather than (or in addition to) paper copies to facilitate dissemination and preservation.  In other cases, the question is somewhat more radical, asking what new forms may emerge to challenge the convention of a linear, text-based, book-length argument that prevails in most humanities and social science disciplines.

 To get a handle on these discussions, you can consult the latest version of the Electronic Theses and Dissertations Bibliography by Charles W. Bailey, Jr.


Monday, January 12th, 2009

If your literature research takes you back any earlier than, say, 1900 or so, you have probably had occasion to try to decipher old type faces, older spelling variants, and blurry, damaged or fading text.  Many of these kinds of texts are being digitized, however, optical character recognition (OCR) scanning has a hard time dealing with anything that is not clearly printed with current spelling or type face conventions.  Even with more current texts, machine digitization (like the Google Books project) introduces a high number of errors to the electronic “copy.”  Having a human go through and correct for these errors is extremely labor-intensive and therefore costly.  A group at Carnegie Mellon has figured out a way to harness human powers of deciphering in order to read and digitize old texts.  Read here for more information about reCAPTCHA.

Procrastination reading for dead week

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008

Since this is “dead week,” the time when you get ready to give or take final exams, I thought it would be appropriate to share this September 2008 article from the Telegraph, “50 Greatest Villains in Literature” (many of whom were murderers, hence the connection with dead week, in case that much wasn’t clear).  You will find most, if not all, of these titles at UCLA Library.

I voted!

Tuesday, November 4th, 2008

Did you?

3rd Annual Los Angeles Archives Bazaar

Monday, September 22nd, 2008

It’s that time of year again.  The Los Angeles Archives Bazaar is coming up in about a month.  In the past two years, the bazaar took place at the Huntington Library. This year it is moving to USC.  See the announcement below for details. I really recommend this event to Southern California history and literature scholars. 

Southern California history comes alive in exhibits by 65 historical collections and archives on Saturday, October 25 at the USC -Davidson Conference Center.  Browse rare collections, consult with experts, learn about family genealogy, preserving your own history, and numerous other topics.  Presented by L.A. as Subject, a research collective hosted by the USC Libraries, the Bazaar offers a wealth of resources for exploring Los Angeles history, including educational programs, panels and book signing by authors, and documentary films about the hidden stories of Los Angeles neighborhoods will be shown throughout the day.

FREE Admission.

Archives Bazaar visitors receive FREE admission to Exposition Park museums, including the California African American Museum, the California Science Center, and reduced admission to the Natural History Museum (NHM).  The NHM provides Teachers, Active Military and USC students FREE admission with photo ID, courtesy of NHM.

For more information visit

Location: USC -Davidson Conference Center, 3415 S. Figueroa St. (at Jefferson Blvd), Los Angeles, CA 90089.  Suggested Parking is Parking Structure D, immediately east of Davidson Center.

Date: Saturday, October 25, 2008

Time: 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Admission: FREE

Spring break is upon us!

Wednesday, March 19th, 2008

As you head into the new quarter, don’t forget to check this blog and the UCLA Library website for upcoming workshops, resources, and events to support your research and teaching.  For those of you who are teaching, don’t forget that yours truly is available to help conduct research instruction sessions in your classes, as are other subject specialists here at Young Research Library. 

Also, as we head into spring, be sure to let me know what you think of our literature-related collections here at UCLA Libraries.  Although I purchase resources throughout the year, spring is the big collections spending push before the end of the fiscal year.  If you think there are important resources we are lacking, let me know.  The budget is very tight this year–and promises to get tighter in the next couple years, thanks to the dismal State budget–so I can’t promise that I will get everything you suggest.  However, bringing these resource needs to my attention will help inform the difficult spending decisions I make over the coming months.

Have a good break!

TRIAL SUBSCRIPTION: Oxford Islamic Studies

Monday, January 28th, 2008

During the month of February, UCLA has access to Oxford Islamic Studies, a database which contains literature-related resources. You may access it from any UCLA IP address (please note that it may not work via proxy server).  Let me know if you have trouble accessing it.  And if you do give it a try, please let me know what you think.

As usual, keep in mind that with a limited budget for electronic resources, the Library cannot purchase subscriptions to everything for which we get a trial.  That said, if I know that a resource will be of use to UCLA scholars, I will place it higher on the priority list.  Also keep in mind that for very expensive resources which are purchased at theUniversity of
California level, license negotiations may take up to a year or more.  Another reason to fight hard for open access resources…

DISSERTATION FUNDING: Mellon Fellowships for Dissertation Research in Original Sources

Tuesday, October 30th, 2007

The Council on Library and Information Resources is offering funding for graduate students writing dissertations based on research in original sources.  There is more information on the CLIR site: