Archive for September, 2017

Saint Jerome and fake news

September 28th, 2017

We have a tradition here at Gleeson Library for the last 24 years: we celebrate the feast of Saint Jerome on September 30th. Why? Because Jerome is the patron saint of librarians and Jerome spent his life searching for the truth. 

 Jerome was born in 347 and died on September 30 in 420. He was a translator, theologian and priest. His translation of the Bible, called The Vulgate, was considered the most important translation of the Bible for over 1,000 years.

In Jerome’s time, the church was still defining Christian doctrine and beliefs. There were raging controversies about questions like the nature of Jesus (how could he be both human and divine) and the nature of the Trinity. Jerome took very strong positions on these kinds of issues. He had a reputation for being a difficult and argumentative person because of this. (I suspect many of us would not have liked Jerome personally). But Jerome did this because the truth mattered very much to him.

We are now living in a time when “fake news” is being created and used to attempt to influence our democracy. People are saying that all truth is relative and situational. For centuries, libraries and librarians have tried to gather information and help people determine what information is reliable, is truthful.

Libraries are creating guides to help people spot and fight “fake news.” As all of us think about the role of media and the impact of fake news on our lives, it is important to remember the value of simple things like truth and honesty. Jerome’s unending pursuit of the truth, as he understood it, can be a reminder to all of us of the value of truth in turbulent times.

So this Saturday, September 30, take a moment to think of Jerome and appreciate the importance of truth in our lives and our society. And stop by Gleeson and see our display on St. Jerome and libraries.

St.Jerome

Need Company Information? Try Mergent Online!

September 25th, 2017

Have you got company research projects on your mind? Need to download financials for your finance class? Searching for company ratios or filings? Or would you just like to create a list of companies based on your own criteria? If any of these sound like you, check out our new business database, Mergent Online!

Mergent Online is an easy to use database filled with current and historical information on US and global companies. Here are some screen shots of what Mergent Online offers you. The first image is of a typical company profile. Notice there are some key facts on this page, but then there are all those tabs with additional information…

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Clicking on the Company Financials tab brings you to company financial statements going back 5 years that you can download or print:

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Or under Company Details > Business Segments, take a look at your company’s revenues by lines of business or geography, for up to 15 years:

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This is just a sample of what you can find in Mergent Online. If you have questions or need help, please contact your Business Librarian, Penny Scott, or use our services at Ask a Librarian.


Gleeson Library Remembers: John Ashbery

September 14th, 2017

 

“I tried each thing, only some were immortal and free.” – John Ashbery, Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror

American poet John Ashbery  passed away on Sunday September 3, 2017 at age 90. In his acclaimed career, Ashbery published more than 20 volumes of poetry, most noted for their intricacy and controversy. He has won almost every major American poetry award, including the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the Yale Younger Poets Prize, the Bollingen Prize, the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, the Griffin International Award, and a MacArthur “Genius” Grant. Ashbery is remembered by the public mostly for his reflective work titled Self -Portrait in a Convex Mirror, and this where his legacy most strongly lives on. These poems are rooted in radical and complex ideas, yet portrayed with simple and non-grammatical line structure. The stream of lines and stanzas move and flow without having to do with one another, but later unite to present the bigger picture. Many memorial think pieces have been written about Ashbery in the wake of his death, but you may want to check out the article about Ashbery written by Matthew Zapruder in the San Francisco Chronicle, available through the library’s subscription to Access World News.DSC_3606

Gleeson Library staff has prepared a display to honor Ashbery and his works just past the circulation desk. Please feel free to stop by, browse, and pick up a physical copy of a couple of his books. You can also browse his books in the library’s catalog, and use the “request” function to place a hold on any of interest to you. If the work you’re looking for is checked out or not available, for example the single volume Some Trees, you can request a copy for a later pick at Link+, an easy-to-use consortium Gleeson Library belongs to.

The display will be up until September 17, 2017, but you can always view the ebook of his work The Tennis Court Oath, listen to a recording of Ashbery’s work through the LA Public Library Aloud series, or watch one of the streaming videos through the library’s collections that features Ashbery:

 


IT: Clowns, Coming of Age, and Comedy

September 14th, 2017

 

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Bill Skarsgård nails his performance as Pennywise the Dancing Clown in the 2017 adaptation of IT. Illustration from the San Francisco Chronicle.

Fall is quickly approaching, so what better way to get into the spooky season than with Stephen King’s IT. This haunting tale just celebrated 31 years of print, alongside 27 years since the IT miniseries aired. Keeping with the twisted 27 year theme, Warner Bros. has recently released their own take on this frightful classic. I went to one of the first showings in San Francisco this past weekend after speeding through the paperback book.

In short, in both the book and the new movie, horrifying and vivid details superbly frame the mysterious 1957 town of Derry, Maine, where peculiar is the norm. 27 years after a rather odd and grotesque murder, we flash forward to another brutally haunting murder. Michael Hanlon solicits the help of his childhood friends a.k.a The Losers Club. Familiar with this freakish trend, they unwillingly venture back to Derry to eradicate this evil once and for all.

King’s story digs into fears we harbor as children that never really leave us. If you’re ready to reprise repressed childhood memories while being totally frightened like I was, this horror staple is for you. The book’s point of view alternates between each member of the Losers Club’s youth and adulthood. I still cannot tell if I like this style or not. Quite ambitious on King’s part and executed moderately well, 700 pages in, the style of the book may either leave you annoyed or bored of the adult Loser’s Club, who seem to be sticking around only to give voice to their childhood counterparts. Having read the book in about two weeks, I found some parts absolutely thrilling while others dragged on. This book is available to check out at USF through Link+, an easy-to-use consortium that Gleeson Library belongs to; books can be requested from another library and sent to the building for pick up in as little as 2 days.

Don’t want to wait for Part 2 of IT, the movie? You can always read IT, the book. Just sayin’.

— Stephen King (@StephenKing) September 11, 2017

2017’s reboot of IT is terrifying. Director Andres Muschietti’s retelling of this story is divided into two parts: the first, focusing on the kids’ encounters and a “Chapter 2” sequel planned for a later release date. This adaptation follows the book more closely than ABC’s 1990 miniseries of the same title. The plot of both novel and movie is about IT’s ability to continue living by keeping the characters’ biggest fears present. The screenwriters change only a few details of the Losers Club’s original story to keep the scares and plot relevant to the new time period of 1986, while maintaining the plot’s integrity. Most notably, the movie also lacks the amount of mysticism that is extremely prevalent in the book. Muschietti has stated, “I was never too crazy about the mythology…”

Watching this film brings a mix of familiar cringy childhood nostalgia and an “edge of your seat” feeling that something is not quite right, even once the movie ends. The movie’s high intensity scenes are equally balanced by the Losers Club’s amazing performances, crass humor, and preadolescent behavior. The subtle scary aspects of the story build up the anticipation for the bigger battles between the Losers Club and Pennywise. The 2017 adaptation of IT sparked much needed excitement to hit the box office following a less than exciting summer movie season, and brings together a perfect blend coming-of-age themes and quintessential scary movie components to kick off this fall’s lineup of scary movies. A more in depth review can be found in the database Access World News (a database brought to you by Gleeson Library), written by Peter Hartlaub from the San Francisco Chronicle.

Image: We All Float Down Here by Carl Glover


Happy Constitution Day!

September 13th, 2017

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“Constitution Day” celebrates the ratification of the U.S. Constitution on September 17, 1787. On this day, 230 years ago, the delegates to the Constitutional Convention gathered in Philadelphia, PA to sign this landmark document. The Constitution established our national government and fundamental laws, and continues to guarantee basic rights for U.S. citizens. The Bill of Rights became part of the U.S. Constitution in 1791.

Check out Gleeson Library’s Constitution Day Guide to online resources.