The Hidden Web

July 2nd, 2015 by Joe Garity No comments »

Suppose you have to write a paper for school and you’re ready to start doing your research. The obvious place to start is Google, right? But here’s a question for you: When you use a search engine like Google, Yahoo, or Bing, are you searching the entire web? If not, then, are you at least searching most of the web?

Many people are surprised when they learn that the answer to both of those questions is actually no: you are not searching the entire web–you’re only searching a small part of it. Smart researchers know that much of the web can’t be searched with search engines. That part of the web “beyond search engines” has lots of different names: the invisible web, the hidden web, the secret web. Sounds spooky, doesn’t it? Last year CNN did a story about the deep web and how most people don’t even know it exists. In the Wikipedia article on the deep web, they use an image of an iceberg, where most of the ice is under the water, unseen, saying the web is the same way. Most of the web we can’t see, but it is down there, under the water, hidden from search engines.

Why are search engines unable to search the hidden web? There are many technical reasons, but the central one is this: many of these sites require passwords. Those passwords block search engines from getting into them. The hidden web is not freely available to everyone.

When you have to write a paper for school, or do any kind of research, how can you move beyond the standard search engines and start accessing the hidden web? Many libraries subscribe to databases in the hidden web. At USF, we subscribe to hundreds of databases that you can use. Your USFConnect user name and password gives you access to all of them. What kinds of databases do we have? We have databases that have thousands of streaming videos, databases filled with statistics from reliable sources, and news sources from around the world. We have lots of subject databases for topics like Nursing and History and Communication. We’ve merged many of our databases into one big database called Fusion. And lots of these databases are created specifically for people doing research, so they can really help you with your assignments.

So, when you start doing research, sure, begin with Google, or Bing, or Yahoo, if that’s what you are comfortable with. But then be sure to explore beyond those search engines, delving into the hidden web, with some of these library databases.

Darkest Day for the Library of Congress?

July 2nd, 2015 by Larry T. Nix No comments »

It might be said that the darkest day in the long history of the Library of Congress was August 24, 1814 when the British army burned the U.S. Capitol including the collection of the Library of Congress which was housed there. I have written previously about this occasion and the role played by Patrick Magruder, Librarian of Congress, during this event. I’ve recently added another artifact to my collection related to Magruder’s role in the destruction of the Library of Congress. It is the December 12, 1814 Report of the Committee “To whom was referred the communication of Patrick Magruder, Clerk of the House of Representatives, relative to the destruction of the library, &c.”. Magruder served in the dual capacity of Clerk of the House of Representatives and Librarian of Congress. The communication referred to was Magruder’s account of the actions of his office during the events leading up to destruction of the library and the records of the Clerk’s office.  In the report, the committee expressed the opinion, “that due precaution and diligence were not exercised to prevent the destruction and loss which has been sustained.” At the time of the destruction, Magruder himself was absent “on account of indisposition”. In the report the committee seemed skeptical about his indisposition and indicated that it “ought to have been, serious and alarming to have justified his absence under the circumstances which then existed.”  During the destruction of the Capitol the financial records of the Clerk were destroyed and the committee in reconstructing these came to the conclusion that a balance of $19,874 was unaccounted for and due the United States. Although Magruder managed to avoid being prosecuted for these missing funds, he resigned on January 28, 1815. The destruction of the Library of Congress led to the purchase of Thomas Jefferson’s library to replace the destroyed collection. 

Another California ALA Conference, 1911

June 30th, 2015 by Larry T. Nix No comments »

The American Library Association is concluding a successful conference in San Francisco today. I have a postcard (see above) in my collection that is related to a previous ALA conference in California. The postcard announces the travel arrangements for the 1911 ALA Conference in Pasadena, California. It was mailed on March 2, 1911. A report on the train trip to the conference and the sessions of the conference appeared in the June issue of the magazine Public Libraries. The train trip included a two day stay at the Grand Canyon.  "A number of the men properly garbed went down to the river's brink afoot and tried to look happy over it during the next 36 hours, likewise did those who rode the mules.  Less active persons sat and gazed for hours at the changing colors of the gorges, chasms and peaks , heedless of the lobster pink the open air bestowed on their faces."  James Wyer, President of the Association and Director of the New York State Library, was unable to attend the conference because of a tragedy at the State Library.  On March 29, 1911, a fire destroyed most of the library and its collection.  On a happier note at the conference, ALA elected the first woman as president. As stated in Public Libraries: "Mrs. Theresa West Elmendorf, the first woman to be honored by the association with its presidency, comes into the office by right of achievement greater than that of any other woman in the library field and of an equal grade with that of any man.  Her wholesome, sympathetic attitude toward library work and workers has been a distinct contribution to the craft and her freedom from personal ambition has made her a valuable aid in developing the power of the A. L. A. Her election to the presidency is a well-earned, a well-deserved honor, marking an epoch in which the A. L. A. honored itself in honoring her." Elmendorf was inducted into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame in 1908.

Bloomsday 2015!

June 16th, 2015 by Colette Hayes No comments »
Gleeson's copy of the first English edition of Ulysses, printed in France in 1922.

Gleeson’s copy of the first English edition of Ulysses, printed in France in 1922.

“It will keep the professors busy for centuries arguing over what I meant, and that’s the only way of insuring one’s immortality.” – James Joyce, on Ulysses

Bloomsday is an annual literary holiday held around the world to celebrate James Joyce’s masterpiece, Ulysses. The controversial and formerly banned epic takes place in Dublin, Ireland on June 16th. Joyce chose June 16th because it was the anniversary of his first date with his wife Nora. Today, Bloomites dress up in period costume, hold readings, and mimic the path taken by the main characters Stephen Dedalus and Leopold and Molly Bloom.  For a holiday intended to commemorate one of the most intellectual novels of twentieth century, things are known to get pretty, dare we say, rowdy. Sound like fun? We think so too…

Where to Celebrate:

Gleeson Library:

Here at the library, we’ve pulled several books by and about James Joyce and his classic Ulysses. Come by and check them out – and visit the Donohue Rare Book Room to see our copy of the first edition of Ulysses, printed in France in 1922, and no. 167 of 2000 copies bound in original blue paper wrappers! Pick up a commemorative button featuring this iconic book cover from the library’s front desk.

Mechanics’ Institute Library & Chess Room

2nd Floor Library, 57 Post Street, SF

“14th Annual Bloomsday Celebration: Re-Joyce in the Stacks; Muses, Music and Dramatic Readings from James Joyce’s UlyssesCo-sponsored by Irish Literary & Historical Society and Irish-American Crossroads Festival. Advance Reservations and Tickets Required.” 7:00 PM (The Circ Bar opens at 6:00 pm)

The United Irish Cultural Center

2700 45th Avenue, San Francisco

 “Celebrate the life and work of Irish writer James Joyce by reading an excerpt from Ulysses or listen to other fans of Joyce read. Be part of the worldwide Bloomsday events held in Dublin and throughout the world. Readings are limited to 5 minutes per person. Period costume is encouraged but not required.” 7:00pm

Mrs. Dalloway’s Literary and Garden Arts Bookstore

2904 College Avenue, Berkeley

 “Join us for another installment of James Joyce’s Ulysses, expertly and enthusiastically read by two of Elmwood’s finest, Thomas Lynch and George Davis. This reading will cover the second half of chapter eight, in the newspaper.” 7:30pm

Bird & Beckett Books

653 Chenery Street, San Francisco

“Come enjoy a bit of Ulysses on Bloomsday and help us raise some dough to meet the bills! Bring cash or checks, or make a donation on Paypal through the store’s website. For 10 minutes on the hour all day long, we’ll read a bit from Ulysses as Leopold Bloom and Stephen Dedalus make their way through 1904 Dublin.” Starts at 11:00am.

Plough and the Stars Irish Pub

116 Clement Street, San Francisco

Seisiún- Autumn Rhodes and Friends

“Seisiúns (sessions) are informal gatherings of Irish traditional musicians that happen mostly in pubs…The tunes played are from a living tradition of Irish dance music that dates back about 300 years” More information available on the Plough and the Stars website.

Summer Reading Just Keeps Coming

June 15th, 2015 by Kelci Baughman McDowell No comments »

In case you haven’t found something interesting to pick up in our last few posts on summer reading, here’s one more!

518ZLMvs90L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_The Octopus: a story of California by Frank Norris (also available as an ebook)

Last winter I took a class with Prof. Kevin Starr, USF ’62, former state librarian and USC history professor, called “California: A Social and Cultural History.” Prof. Starr included a three-page reading list on California history. I’ve read a few of them and plan to read more. It would be lofty goal to read them all! Some of my classmates read Frank Norris’s Octopus, published in 1901 about how the expansion of a railroad affected farmers, so I’m starting with that one. Read more about Norris on PBS’ website.

— Cynthia McCarthy, San José Branch Librarian

71YWAijk8DL10% happier : how I tamed the voice in my head, reduced stress without losing my edge, and found self-help that actually works–a true story by Dan Harris.

I saw an interview Dan did with Diane Sawyer about his book and thought it looked interesting. Dan is the anchorman for ABC’s Nightline. After having a panic attack on air, he decided he needed to make some changes in his life. He writes about attending a ten day mediation retreat that changed his life and as he says it made him 10% happier. Dan is very candid about his professional and private life. The book is well-written and funny!

— Gwen Sparman, Sacramento Branch Library Assistant

0472dde343d510f62cb4a26df99085deTwenty thousand leagues under the sea by Jules Verne (also available as an ebook)

This is a 2-for-1! I just finished reading Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See, which recently earned the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction. It is a lushly written novel with a multifaceted and suspenseful plot. The book follows Doerr’s main characters most closely — Marie-Laure, a young French girl who is blind, and Werner, a German orphan who is recruited by the Nazis to locate radio transmissions during WWII. The ocean is a reoccurring presence in this novel, and at one point Marie-Laure receives a braille version of Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea as a gift. I loved Marie-Laure’s character – her courage, intelligence, and the very unique way she necessarily experienced the world (I like Werner’s character, too, but that’s a story for a different blog post). ML’s reading of Verne’s science fiction adventure novel, which was originally published in 1869 as serial installments, piqued my interest. I wasn’t completely sold on tackling this French classic until I heard USF’s Arts and Science Graduation Commencement Speaker and Honorary Degree Recipient – “Her Deepness,” the Marine Biologist Dr. Sylvia Alice Earle – discuss her own passion and concern for our oceans. The confluence of Dr. Earle’s graduation address and Marie-Laure’s story – I’m taking it as a sign: Go to the sea this summer! So, Vingt mille lieues sous les mers: Tour du monde sous-marin ­– here I come! In a good English translation, of course!

— Colette Hayes, Assistant Librarian