App of the Week – F1000 Faculty of 1000

We are continuing a series called App of the Week, wherein we recommend the best apps to support the academic experience. Please let us know what you think, and feel free to provide suggestions for apps we should review.

F1000 (2)Ever hear of F1000? No, not the open-wheel class of Formula 1 car racing Formula 1000, but Faculty 1000, the literature discovery service highlighting the best research articles in biology and medicine.

Faculty of 1000, or F1000, can help you F1000 logo animalthrough the daunting process of digesting scientific literature. If you’re feeling stuck on how to evaluate literature, why not let the Faculty make some recommendations for you on the best articles? The articles in F1000 are read and rated by the top senior scientists and their associates, leading experts in all areas of biology and medicine. Articles are rated on a scale from 1 – 5 (5 being the highest rating), with short explanations for their selections. It covers 40 disciplines from 3,500+ journals.

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Think of F1000 like an Amazon review for journal articles. You can “try it” (read the review) before you read the entire article. Reviews provide classification tags, such as “new finding,” “good for teaching,” “controversial” or “technical advance,” etc. Read the review and then make your own critical analysis. You can also expand to the abstract for more detailed information and get related articles.

F1000 iPad article screenshot (2)

Articles are recommended based on their individual merit, rather than by association with a particular journal’s image or impact factor.

Most helpful features:

  • Discover the best research articles in your field of interest
  • Easily find related articles
  • Browse Faculty Member profiles by area of interest or by name
  • Read additional articles recommendations from faculty profile page

F1000 iPad Faculty screenshot
Downsides:

  • First-time users are required to register before using
  • App does not offer a link to full-text article. Functionality is better at the website, where linking to the USMA Library collection is possible.
  • Still developing as an iPad app

Bottom line:

Faculty recommendations to the most important articles on a subject might be a good starting point at your understanding of a topic. It saves you time digging for a good article, since the articles are recommended by highly regarded faculty in their field. After reading their reviews, you can make your own critical analysis for your paper. Use the app to help you zero in on a topic, then copy and paste the DOI (the permanent article ID number) into the USMA Library Scout search box to get the full-text article. In this reviewer’s opinion the app has a way to go, but it is worth checking out. And those interested in further research may use the parent tool, Faculty of 1000, in the Library’s database list.

As always, if you give F1000 a try, feel free to let us know what you think!

Further Reading: Reviews on Faculty of 1000 (not on the iPad app)

Stoneham, I. CardioPulse Articles A twenty-first-century approach to post-publication peer review. European Heart Journal (2013) 34(8):549-556

Vardell E, Swogger S. F1000Prime: A Faculty of 1000 Tool. Medical Reference Services Quarterly [serial online]. January 2014; 33(1):75-84

The views expressed in this post are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government. No endorsement or recommendation of any specific products or services is intended or implied.

Contents contributed by Manja Yirka, Continuing Resources Librarian

Staff Profile – Corey Harmon

CoreyPhotoCorey Harmon is the newest member of the USMA Library Staff, joining the Access Services team as Circulation Librarian. He comes to us from Barr Memorial Library at Ft. Knox, Kentucky, where his official title was Electronic Services Librarian. In MWR libraries, everyone wears several hats; in addition to his duties in electronic services, Corey staffed the reference desk, researched new technologies for the library, updated the library website, taught instructional classes on Google and Overdrive, and more.

Before his time at Ft. Knox, Corey held various positions at different types of libraries, including Mauney Memorial Library and the US Environmental Protection Agency Library, both in North Carolina; Southern Crescent Technical College in Georgia; and the Leyburn Library at Washington and Lee University in Virginia.

Corey was born in Houston, Texas, but raised in Royal Oak, Michigan. He lived there until he moved away for college, and he still has many family members in Michigan, including his parents, brother, sister-in-law, and nieces. Corey received an undergraduate degree in History and Russian Area Studies from Washington and Lee University in Virginia, an MA in Contemporary Russian Studies from the University of Virginia, and his MSLS degree from UNC-Chapel Hill.

Corey has a wife, Miranda, and a son, Wyatt, age 2. They will be joining him in the Hudson Valley in April.

On behalf of the entire USMA Library staff, we would like to say welcome, Corey!

A few questions for Corey:

What was your path from Russian studies to librarianship?

I pursued my MA in Russian Studies with the goal of going to work in the intelligence community, ideally the CIA. That didn’t really pan out, so I evaluated what I wanted to do and what I thought I’d be good at. I had enjoyed working in the library as an undergrad, and thought it would be a good fit as a way to share my knowledge with others and help them with their own studies. It’s also not that far of a stretch to go from intelligence analyst to librarianship, as they’re both about information and getting it to the people who need it. I talked to the librarians at my undergrad alma mater about their jobs and librarianship, and decided to apply to library school.

Can you describe some of your favorite past projects?

I was responsible for getting a video game lending collection put in place at Ft. Knox that was an instant hit with our patrons; it was really fun to spend $3000 on video games with my boss. I was also involved in researching how we could roll out Roku lending at Ft. Knox by talking to other libraries, finding out how they did it and what we could use. As a result of these and other projects that I eventually became the subject matter expert on, I was able to share how we at Ft. Knox (which, frankly, is the cutting edge of the Army MWR library system) did things with other military libraries and got a nice shout out on the Army Library Listserv. Another fun project was from a summer internship during library school where I had to evaluate the condition of a nineteenth century collection of science books and prepare them for sale or donation. I got to talk to some booksellers, as well as consult with the head of special collections from the Library of Virginia.

What do you like to do when you’re not at work?

I have a 2 year old, so I spend a lot of time playing with and just generally being with him. My wife will come up with things she wants to do as a family, and those are usually pretty fun. When I have personal time for myself (Wyatt’s napping and Miranda’s either napping or doing something else and says I can do what I want), I like to play video/computer games, watch TV, and, occasionally, I’ll even read.

Any fun facts about yourself to share?

Miranda and I met on eHarmony, had a 9 hour first date, and were married on the one year anniversary of our first date (almost to the minute of our first meeting).

Contents contributed by Lauren Dodd Hall, Circulation Librarian

 

 

Stewart Field and West Point

cadets_at_stewart

An air cadet receiving training at Stewart Field in the 1940s.

Air Corps activities at the United States Military Academy date from the late 1920’s, when a single hangar and ramp for amphibian-type aircraft were built here. In August 1933, a small USMA Air Corps detachment was established to familiarize cadets with the construction, types and capabilities of airplanes. Throughout the 1930’s, cadets studied Air Corps organization, equipment and training, and received some primary flight instruction during trips to various Army airfields during the summer months. Most actual flight training came after graduation.

By 1940, with the advent of the Second World War, it became evident that cadets needed more than this general aviation training. An embryonic flight school had been established at the partially completed Stewart Field. Stewart Air Field was named in honor of Lachlan Stewart, who skippered schooners, packets and other sailing vessels in the years 1850-1870. The original tract of land was donated by his son, Samuel L. Stewart, to the City of Newburgh in 1930, for use as a municipal airport and is located some 10 miles northwest of the West Point Military Reservation. The city of Newburgh deeded the field to the Federal Government in 1935 and it was accepted for War Department use by an act of May 13, 1936.

Final title to all land acquisitions was secured with the exchange of the city’s deed for a U.S. Treasury Department Check in the amount of one dollar on October 29, 1941, only a few months after the first proposals for extensive flight training at the Academy were introduced. By this time some first classmen were already receiving regular instruction in flight engineering and flight operations at Stewart Field.

Early in 1942, the War Department directed Air Corps Branch instruction to commence at West Point. The expanding USMA Air Corps Detachment, which had been stationed at Stewart Field, was redesignated the 570th School Squadron (SP) by USMA General Order 7, February 5, 1942. Several more squadrons were added shortly thereafter. A War Department letter of May 22, 1942, implemented by USMA General Order 31, July 13, 1942, formally established the Army Air Forces Basic-Advanced Flying School (AAFB-AFS) at the field for the purpose of giving flight training to qualified cadets in the first and second classes. Pilot training was introduced into the curriculum so that those cadets wishing to enter the Air Corps could receive their wings with their commissions at graduation and be assigned immediately to combat organizations. These air cadets received their basic and advanced flight training at Stewart Field concurrently with their academic and tactical training at West Point.

Stewart Field was officially dedicated on August 25, 1942 and the rapidly developing subpost became an integral part of the Military Academy. It contained shops, school buildings and other facilities for the training of up to 500 air cadets, and at its peak during the war years housed approximately 2,000 officers and enlisted personnel. Although Stewart Field was under the administrative control and responsibility of the Superintendent of USMA, it had its own commandant. Technical control was placed under the Army Air Forces Flying Training Command in July 1943; other changes in the command channel occurred during and immediately after the Second World War.

The last class of air cadets graduated in June 1946, after which flight training for cadets was discontinued. The AAFB-AFS was redesignated the 2002d Army Air Forces Base Unit (Base Services) in January 1947, and Stewart Field was later turned over to the newly established Department of the Air Force. When the Air Force closed the facility in December 1969, part of it was returned to the Academy for use as a housing area.

When Stewart Field was deactivated in 1970 due to the drawdown of the Aerospace Defense Command, the Air Force released most of Stewart AFB back to civilian control.

Stewart Air Force Base transitioned back to active military control in 1983. Today, the former Stewart Air Force Base is home to both Stewart International Airport and Stewart Air National Guard Base, and has undergone several renovations.

Contents contributed by Alicia Mauldin-Ware, Archives Curator

App of the Week – TED

We are continuing a series called App of the Week, wherein we recommend the best apps to support the academic experience. Please let us know what you think, and feel free to provide suggestions for apps we should review.

TedLogoTED, an ongoing conference series dedicated to “ideas worth sharing,” has been around since 1984. Many of these short talks (typically 18 minutes or less) have been available online since 2006. TED talks started by covering Technology, Entertainment, and Design, but they have since expanded to cover any topic imaginable.

Most Useful Features:

  • Access to over 1000 Ted Talks.
  • Can download and save videos for later.
  • Ever-changing list of featured videos.
  • Sort by Most Recent and Most Popular.
  • Filter by six categories: Technology, Entertainment, Design, Business, Science, Global Issues
  • Subtitles in over 90 languages.
  • Surprise Me search lets you make playlists based on eight topics (Courageous, Funny, Persuasive, Ingenious, Jaw-Dropping, Beautiful, Fascinating, and Informative) and length of time (from 5-60 minutes).
  • Use Discover to find videos on many different topics or browse the featured playlists on a wide variety of topics.
  • Clean, easy to use interface.
  • Can share videos.

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IMG_0007Downsides:

  • Sorting and Filtering only available on the Featured tab
  • Can’t comment on videos in the app, but you can go to the TED website to comment.
  • Videos are not date-stamped on the main page (you have to click on it to find out when it was made)

Bottom Line:

If you like TED Talks, this is a perfect companion app that will let you access them from anywhere at any time.

Further Reading:

The TED Talks App Brings Tons of Video Lectures to iOS (Review)

TED (Review)

TED Talks for iPhone and iPad (Review)

The views expressed in this post are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government. No endorsement or recommendation of any specific products or services is intended or implied.

Contents contributed G.J. Corey Harmon, Circulation Librarian

The Potawatomi Chief in the Front Yard: An Intersection with History

The USMA Library is a wonderful resource for the community of scholars located at West Point. In recent weeks, what was once a footnote in my family history has come alive for me like never before, just by “getting lost” in the stacks in Jefferson Hall. Once I found out this “footnote” tied in with a major watershed event in American history, I was able to flesh out the life of a Potawatomi chief known to my forebears, who, it turns out, played a significant role in the Black Hawk War of 1832. Perusing over a dozen books in our collection, and augmenting what the library has by using our excellent Interlibrary Loan service, I was able to get a handle on someone almost lost to history, who, in reality, changed the course of history. And with the help of the library’s collections and services, I have been enriched with a new appreciation of my own history and heritage.

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Shabbona’s Rock in 1977 – note the patch of original Illinois prairie

My mother, Jeanne Westgate Arden, was very close to my great aunt, Waneta Westgate Beardsley, who donated a big rock in 1969 to the LaSalle County Historical Museum in the town of Utica in northern Illinois. The significance of the rock is that it was located on the site of a log cabin near the town of Mendota belonging to the patriarch of my mom’s side of the family, Abner Westgate. Abner used to palaver with a Potawatomi chief by the name of Shabbona (pronounced shah-buh-naw), who would come around to visit during the mid-1850s. Abner sat in a wooden chair and Shabbona would always sit on the big rock in the front yard. My brother, Tom, took a picture of me sitting on Shabbona’s Rock around 120 years later, and that’s about all I knew about Shabbona at the time.

Last summer, I revisited Shabbona’s rock with family members including Aunt Waneta’s son, Craig. My cousin is fascinated by his own Native American ancestry, which he has on both his father’s side (Montauk) and his mother’s side (Mohawk). Craig even danced at powwows with the Ojibwas at Lac du Flambeau while he served as a National Forest Ranger in northern Wisconsin. Since my grandfather, Walter Westgate, who died earlier the year I was born, was nicknamed “Indian” by clients whom he guided on hunting and fishing trips into the North Woods, I have always been attuned to the Westgate family’s Mohawk lineage. Looking at old family photos, I could easily see where the nickname came from, given my grandfather’s swarthy, Native American features. Recently, I asked Craig if Shabbona might have felt especially comfortable talking with Abner, given the Westgate family’s Native American connection. It turns out I was wrong. Abner’s son, David Westgate, married Martha Anne Gibbs, and it was one of Martha’s male forebears who had married a Mohawk woman back East. Unfortunately, that woman’s name has been lost to our family history.

As a result of last year’s visit to LaSalle County, I decided to do some library research on Shabbona to find out just who he was. Again, that research utilizing the excellent collections and services of the USMA Library was invaluable. First of all, I discovered that Shabbona was quite well-known in his day, although he has since been far eclipsed in fame by his nemesis, Black Hawk, a Sauk warrior who led Sauk and Mesquakie (Fox) forces dubbed the “British Band,” making a stand in the face of white encroachment on his lands. Badly in need of the support of the Potawatomis, Black Hawk had initially approached Shabbona, who had taken over the leadership of the tribe in northern Illinois. The Sauk warrior asked Shabbona, an old comrade-in-arms from the War of 1812 when both men fought on the side of the British, to throw in the support of the Potawatomis for what was to become a bloody conflict with white settlers and the U.S. Army. Shabbona refused outright, having no desire to go to war with the whites, with whom he had friendly relations. From that point on, he became a critically important ally of the forces opposing the British Band. Ironically, Black Hawk is commemorated today throughout the upper Midwest with statues in many locations, and Chicago’s National Hockey League franchise, an Army helicopter, and four Navy vessels were named after him, as well. It seems that history tends to commemorate great warriors more than venerable peacemakers.

Chief Shabbona

Chief Shabbona

The name Shabbona is loosely translated as “built like a bear” and is likely a corruption of Shabni, meaning “he has pawed through.” He was born around 1775 of the Odawa (Ottawa) tribe, either in Ohio, Ontario or northern Illinois, possibly a grandnephew of the great chief, Pontiac. After the Algonquin-speaking tribe was driven out of Ontario by the Iroquois, they moved west into Michigan and aligned with the Council of Three Fires (Ojibwa, Ottawa and Potawatomi) and then moved further south across Ohio, Indiana and Illinois. At that time the Ottawas and Potawatomis were very closely intermixed. With his heavy frame, considerable fighting skill, great strength and courage, Shabbona was a formidable warrior, yet a firm believer in fair play, even in the heat of battle. The son of an Ottawa warrior who had fought next to Pontiac in Pontiac’s War, Shabbona bravely fought alongside his friend, Tecumseh, during the War of 1812, while allied with the British against the Americans. He was by the great chief’s side when Tecumseh was killed at the Battle of Thames in 1813. After that, Shabbona decided that it was useless and counterproductive to fight against the Americans, given their overwhelming numbers. Instead, he became a devoted and loyal friend of the whites, believing that peaceful coexistence would be most beneficial to his people. Although an Ottawa by birth, he eventually became a prominent Potawatomi chief.

When the Black Hawk War broke out in May of 1832, Shabbona and his fellow chief, Wabaunsee, had already refused the Sauk warrior’s overtures, instead allying the Potawatomis with the Americans. Other tribes allied with the Potawatomis and the Americans included the Menominee, Ojibwa (Chippewa), Ottawa, and Ho-Chunk (Winnebago), although a minority of the latter tribe supported the British Band. Had Shabbona tipped the alliance towards the British Band, the war to follow would indubitably been much longer and bloodier, given the considerable numbers and strength of the Potawatomis and their close allies.

Black Hawk Ptg

Black Hawk

Black Hawk’s grievance with the whites began on a long hunting expedition west of the Mississippi River in what is today Iowa and Minnesota. In his band’s absence, white settlers moved into their houses located on prime farmland in northern Illinois, consuming their crops and spending considerable time drunk on corn whiskey. While on a subsequent trip, the bad news reached Black Hawk that the federal government forbade him to return to his ancestral lands east of the Mississippi. Highly angered, he was determined to make a stand. Although the Black Hawk War is remembered today as the conflict that gave young Abraham Lincoln his brief military service, and also involved the participation of other soon to be famous Americans including Winfield Scott, Zachary Taylor, and Jefferson Davis, its greater significance is that it gave impetus to the federal government’s policy of Indian removal, in which Native American tribes were pressured to give up their lands and move west of the Mississippi.

At the onset of hostilities, Shabbona saved the lives of numerous settlers by playing the role of a Native American Paul Revere, fearlessly riding a hundred mile swath of bog, prairie and clearings in northern Illinois with his son and his nephew, to warn settlers of Sauk, Mesquakie and Kickapoo warriors on the war path. There were a minority of renegade Potawatomis as well, who had grievances against the whites. Shabbona feared their hostility would create major problems for the whole tribe, the majority of whom desired peaceful relations with the whites. While most isolated settlers heeded the warning and moved to larger settlements like the town of Ottawa for protection, a group of families at Big Indian Creek led by William Davis, a settler known to be an “Indian hater,” considered they had sufficient safety in numbers to stay put. Unfortunately, this decision resulted in a massacre by renegade Potawatomis, joined by three Sauk British Band warriors. They were outraged that a dam on the creek at the settlement disrupted their fishing upstream, leading to an earlier ugly incident when the settler took a hickory stick and beat a brave severely who tried to tear an outlet in the dam. Some boys and adult men slipped away during the attack, but out of twenty-three settlers, fifteen men, women and children were killed and their bodies badly mutilated. Additionally, two teenage sisters were taken captive by the renegades, led by the enraged Potawatomi brave who had been flogged (both survived).

Gustavus Loomis

Gustavus Loomis

Leafing through the books I checked out of the library, I came across the exploits of an 1811 USMA graduate, Captain Gustavus Loomis, an exemplary military officer in all respects. A devout Christian, Loomis was the commander at Fort Crawford, located in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, where he ministered to the starving and half-naked women and children of the defeated British Band who surrendered to his garrison. Giving them food, covering their nakedness, and trying to restore their strength and health, Loomis stated, “We war not with women and children.”1 Loomis’ military career spanned from the War of 1812 to the Civil War, at which time he retired as a brevet brigadier general, after 52 years of faithful service to his country.

Shabbona, who dodged several assassination attempts by his enemies after hostilities ended, had been ceded some land in DeKalb County, Illinois, for him and his band to settle on some years beforehand. This was in response to his help quelling an earlier conflict, the Red Bird Winnebago uprising of 1827. Sadly, like so many Native Americans, he was ultimately disenfranchised of the land ceded to him, although it was finally restored to the Potawatomis by the Department of the Interior in 2001. Happily, influential white friends and neighbors generously contributed money so a fine piece of land, high over the Illinois River, could be purchased for the chief in his old age.

Never fluent in English, Shabbona enjoyed visiting white settlers nevertheless, always preferring to stay outdoors whenever possible, as he did when visiting Abner’s cabin. Although there is no record of my forebear’s conversations with the renowned chief, author James Dowd offers the following tidbit. Referring to Abner and the rock in his front yard he states, “Shabbona would, under no circumstances, enter this man’s cabin, but would sit on this stone to eat his victuals. Whatever the reason for Shabbona’s action is unexplained, but it can easily be conjectured that the spot was either some burial place, or else was believed to have been the abode of some spirit.”2 One anecdote has it that a family had invited the old chief to have Saturday breakfast at table with them, only to discover that there was not a crumb of bread left from what had been baked that morning. Seeing that Shabbona was somewhat out of sorts, the lady of the house quickly cooked him pancakes, which he found to be delicious!3

Shabbona died in 1859, a beloved figure to the many settlers whom he had befriended, leaving many descendants from his two marriages. Numerous markers around northern Illinois commemorate him, including his grave site in Morris. The Chief Shabbona Historical Trail was established by a Joliet Boy Scout troop in the 1950s. The popular walking trail winds through 20 miles of picturesque woodlands and prairie in northern Illinois, and is perhaps the most fitting legacy of this stalwart yet gentle-spirited and nature-loving man.

For further reading, the following books were very helpful:

Bowes, John P. Black Hawk and the War of 1832: Removal in the North. New York: Chelsea    House, 2007.

Dowd, James. Built Like a Bear: Which is a descriptive name for one of the last great Chiefs of  the “Three Fires” in Illinois… Fairfield, WA: Ye Galleon Press, 1979.

Eby, Cecil. “That Disgraceful Affair”: The Black Hawk War. New York: W.W. Norton, 1973.

Edmunds, R. David. The Potawatomis: Keepers of the Fire. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1993.

Hall, John W. Uncommon Defense: Indian Allies in the Black Hawk War. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2009.

Jung, Patrick J. The Black Hawk War of 1832. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2008.

Lawson, Kenneth E. For Christ and Country: A Biography of Brigadier General Gustavus Loomis. Greenville, SC: Ambassador International, 2011.

McLaughlin, Benjamin. In Black Hawk’s Footsteps: A Trail Guide to Monuments, Museums, and Battlefields of the Black Hawk War of 1832. 3rd ed. Santa Fe: B. McLaughlin, 2005.

Trask, Kerry A. Black Hawk: The Battle for the Heart of America. New York: Henry Holt, 2006.

Except for the Dowd and McLaughlin books, all are located in the USMA Library. Many thanks to the Department of History, for contacting John W. Hall, who provided me a PDF copy of his master’s thesis submitted to the University of North Carolina in 2002, “Everything to Lose: Potawatomi Auxiliaries to the U.S. Army in the Black Hawk War, 1832.”

1Kerry A. Trask, Black Hawk: The Battle for the Heart of America (New York: Henry Holt, 2006), 292.

2James Dowd, Built Like a Bear: Which is a descriptive name for one of the last great Chiefs of the “Three Fires” in Illinois… (Fairfield, WA: Ye Galleon Press, 1979), 102.

3Ibid., 101-102.

Content contributed by Michael G. Arden, Audiovisual Librarian

App of the Week – Google Translate

We are continuing a series called App of the Week, wherein we recommend the best apps to support the academic experience. Please let us know what you think, and feel free to provide suggestions for apps we should review.

Are you lGoogleLogoearning a foreign language, or traveling abroad in the near future? You may be using Duolingo or another resource to assist with language learning, but chances are you’ll still find yourself in a situation where you need quick, real-time language translation.

Google Translate has been an invaluable tool on the web for years, but its app version allows you to take its translation assistance on the go. Recently, Google’s acquired Word Lens instant translation technology, which provided a powerful upgrade to its real-time translation capabilities.

The app provides several ways to translate. There’s the traditional method of typing the sentence, choosing your to and from languages, and pressing go. You can also handwrite your phrase with your finger instead of typing it, and much like MyScript Calculator, the app will convert the writing to text and translate it.

HiMyNameIs

The coolest features utilize the microphone and camera. Conversation mode allows you to speak in one language, and hear the translation in another. Your phrase–and the translation it gives you–shows up fairly quickly in text, but it can take a few more seconds for the app to speak. If someone is standing there with you, they can reply in their language, and you’ll hear the translation. Thus, it allows for rudimentary conversation – with some pauses and a little waiting. I imagine this technology will continue to be improved upon until it’s more natural.

As for the camera: you can take a photo of something, import it into the app, and translate it that way, which is fine if you don’t need an instant translation. Once you import the photo, you can swipe your finger over the text you’d like to translate. If it misses letters or words, you can add those in before you send the translation.

With the Word Lens upgrade, however, translation is instantaneous. Simply hold the phone up to the sign or menu, and watch it translate the text. It works best for steady surfaces with only a few words; book pages are not ideal, but it can technically work.

French

 

InstantEnglish1Most Helpful Features:

  • No wireless connection needed to perform Word Lens translations – a huge deal when traveling in another country.
  • When viewing an instant translation, you can press “pause” to hold a specific translation (it will flicker and change if you move around too much – see phantom “YOU” in the book photo!). You can also press “scan” to send it out for official Google translation, but you’ll need an internet connection for that.
  • For some of the languages supported in Conversation Mode, you can select a specific dialect, such as “Arabic (Qatar)” or “Mandarin (Hong Kong).”
  • After you’ve typed/drawn/spoken a translation, you will see it on the main page of the app. Like in Gmail, you can “star” it to save it for future use.
  • The current language offerings for instant translation are English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish, but Google claims other languages are in the works.

Downsides:

The app definitely has its limits. Sometimes the translation is blatantly wrong (hilariously so), but I find that it’s usually at least in the ballpark.

Further, it offers a literal translation instead of a more nuanced take on a phrase. For example, “Je vois la vie en rose” translates to “I see life in pink,” but that’s not what it means. “I see life in pink,” or “I see life in rosy hues” means something akin to “I see life as beautiful/blissful.” It could be translated as “I see life through rose-colored glasses,” but without the blind or naive optimism of that particular English phrase. So if you’re attempting to have an in-depth conversation with a native speaker of another language, you’ll want to be aware of the app’s limitations, and perhaps find a human translator.

Finally, most of the translations (typing, importing a photo, conversation mode) need to have a Wi-Fi or data connection.

Bottom Line:

Google Translate offers several helpful translation services in one free app. While inaccuracies certainly occur, the app may make traveling abroad a bit easier, and may serve as an asset to foreign language study. As always, if you try it out, feel free to let us know what you think!

Further Reading:

Point and Translate: Google Translate App Update Introduces Word Lens Capability

Google Translate App Gets an Upgrade

Google Translate App Now Converts Spoken Conversations, Text From Photos

Use Google Translate to Transform Foreign Signs Before Your Eyes

The views expressed in this post are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government. No endorsement or recommendation of any specific products or services is intended or implied.

Contents contributed by Lauren D. Hall, Circulation Librarian

Edgar Allan Poe Court-Martial

Prior to entering the Academy in 1830, Edgar Allan Poe had attended the University of Virginia (1826-1827); from 1827-29 he was in the Army where he served in Boston and Virginia.

He set foot on Academy grounds on July 1, 1830, aged nineteen years and five months. His roommate Timothy Pickering Jones later wrote, “I entered West Point July 1, 1830, at the same time with Edgar Allan Poe, and were buddies, as the boys say now….I realized, even in my young years, that he was an exceptionally brilliant fellow, studying but little, but always perfect in recitations, save in mathematics which he boldly declared had no place in the brain of an intellectual man-too dull and commonplace. The strict discipline, the mathematical requirements of the military school, kept my friend in an unhappy frame of mind,. …”

Poe struggled with life at the Academy. Six months into his tenure he would find himself court -martialed for gross neglect of duty and disobedience of orders, and dismissed effective March 6, 1831.

Jones’ recollection concerning Poe’s court-martial is that “…The sentence of dismissal did not take effect until the 6th of March, and the major portion of this intervening time was utilized by Poe in writing poetry, the greater portion of which was printed in book form, dedicated to the United States Corps of Cadets.”

A transcribed copy of the court- martial is below the images.

poe_7-1

poe_7-2

poe_7-3poe_7-4

poe_7-5Military Academy                                                                             Engineer Department

Order No. 7.                                                                                     Washington, February 8, 1831.

The Court next proceeded to the trial of Cadet E.A. Poe of the U.S. Military Academy on the following charges and specifications: –

Charge 1st: – Gross neglect of duty.

Specifications 1st – In this, that he, the said Cadet Poe, did absent himself from the following parades and roll-calls between the 7th January and the 27th January, 1831, Viz., absent from evening parade on the 8th, 9th, 15th, 20th, 24th, and 25th January 1831; absent from reveille call on the 8th, 16th, 17th, 19th, 21st, 25th and 26th January 1831; absent from reveille call on the 8th, 16th, 17th, 19th, 21st, 25th, and 26th January 1831; absent from class parade on the 17th, 18th, 19th, 20th, 24th and 25th January 1831; absent from guard mounting on the 16th January, and absent from church parade on 23rd January 1831; all of which at West Point, New York.

Specification 2nd. –In this, that he, the said Cadet E.A. Poe, did absent himself from all his academic duties between the 15th and 27th January 1831.

Charge 2nd – Disobedience of orders.

Specification 1st. – In this, that he, the said Cadet E.A. Poe, after having been directed by the officer of the day to attend church on the 23rd January 1831, did fail to obey such order; this at West Point, New York.

Specification 2nd.-In this, that he, the said Cadet E.A. Poe, did fail to attend the Academy on the 25th January 1831, after having been directed to do so by the Officer of the day; that at West Point, New York.

To which specifications and charges the prisoner pleaded as follows:

The 1st Specification of the 1st Charge: Not Guilty.

To the 2nd Specification of the 1st Charge: Guilty, and Guilty to the 2nd Charge and its specifications.

The court, after mature deliberation on the testimony adducted, find the prisoner guilty of the 1st Specification of the 1st Charge, and confirm his plea to the remainder of the charges and specifications, and adjudge that he, Cadet E.A. Poe, be dismissed the service of the United States.

The Proceedings of the general court-martial in the cases of _______, E.A. Poe _________ have been laid before the Secretary of War and are approved.

Cadet Edgar A. Poe will be dismissed the service of the United States, and cease to be considered a member of the Military Academy after the 6th March 1831.

By Order of the Secretary of War:

 

(Signed) C. Gratiot,

Brigadier General, Chief of Engrs.

I.M.A

 

Four days later Poe wrote Colonel Thayer the letter below; unfortunately we do not know if there was a reply. A transcribed copy appears below image.

Poe_to_Thayer

10 March 1831

Sir,

Having no longer any ties which can bind me to my native country- no prospects – nor any friends – I intend by the first opportunity to proceed to Paris with the view of obtaining thro’ the interest of the Marquis de La Fayette, an appointed (if possible) in the Polish Army. In the event of the interference of France in behalf of Poland this may easily be effected – at all events it will be my only feasible plan of procedure.

The object of this letter is respectfully to request that you will give me such assistance as may lie in your power in furtherance of my views.

A certificate of “standing” in my class is all that I have any right to expect.

Anything further – a letter to a friend in Paris – or to the Marquis – would be a kindness which I should never forget.

Most respectfully,

 

Col: S. Thayer                                                                     Yr. Obt St

Supt U.S.M.A                                                                     Edgar A. Poe

Contents contributed by Susan Lintelmann, Manuscripts Curator and Alicia Mauldin-Ware, Archives Curator. Images courtesy of USMA Library Special Collections and Archives.

 

App of the Week – Duolingo

We are continuing a series called App of the Week, wherein we recommend the best apps to support the academic experience. Please let us know what you think, and feel free to provide suggestions for apps we should review.

Duolingo_logoIf you are looking for an app that will help you learn a new language, or offer additional practice in one you are already learning, you will want to check out Duolingo.

There are many other language apps out there, such as Rosetta Stone, but most require in-app purchases for the user to get the most out of the app. Duolingo, on the other hand, is completely free. Released in 2012, Duolingo quickly became one of the best free language apps available, and was recognized as the 2013 iPhone App of the Year and one of Google’s Best of the Best in 2013 and 2014.

Duolingo

Most Useful Features:

  • Choose from 9 languages: Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, Irish, Danish, and Swedish with more on the way.
  • The system is gamified, making it slightly addicting and fun to learn.
  • The option to compete with friends.
  • Immediate feedback.
  • The focus on reading and listening.
  • It’s possible to test out of certain sections
  • Choose how much or little you want to learn at a time with different coaching levels ranging from 1xp to 50xp required per day (11xp per lesson).
  • Will send push notifications and email reminders.
  • Also available on their website with additional grammar information
  • Clean and easy to use interface.
  • An independent study shows that 34 hours with Duolingo = 1 University Semester (11 weeks)
  • Completely free. Lingots

Downsides:

  • Limited language choice, and lack of Mandarin, Farsi, or Urdu in the upcoming languages.
  • Speaking is not emphasized or practiced.
  • Lack of natural conversations.
  • Not ideal to prepare to converse on a trip.
  • Only one language allowed at a time in the app (can do more than one at a time on the website).
  • Website version makes it too easy to just see what a word means.

Bottom Line:

If you’re looking to try a language app on a budget, Duolingo is a great choice. While it probably won’t make you fluent, it will definitely get you started on your way to learning a new language. If you want to stay free, but are looking for a more robust list of languages, Mango Languages is an excellent option that is free with an MWR Library account (definitely worth getting, as most posts have a MWR Library) and is available both online and as an app.

As always, if you give Duolingo a try, feel free to let us know what you think!

Further Reading:

Duolingo (Review)

Can you Learn a Language with Just Duolingo? (Review)

Duolingo Review: The Quick, Easy and Free Way to Learn a Language

Duolingo (Review)

The views expressed in this post are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government. No endorsement or recommendation of any specific products or services is intended or implied.

Contents contributed by G.J. Corey Harmon, Circulation Librarian

App of the Week – IF (formerly IFTTT)

We are continuing a series called App of the Week, wherein we recommend the best apps to support the academic experience. Please let us know what you think, and feel free to provide suggestions for apps we should review.

IFTTT (Android-app-automator-IFTTT-is-dead-long-live-IFpronounced like “gift,” with no “g”) is a well-established, much-loved website and app for those who enjoy simplifying their life with automation. The name is an acronym of “If This, Then That,” which reflects the service it offers: creating “recipes” that link unrelated apps and services together with triggers. Easy examples include, “If I upload a photo to Instagram, then post the photo to Flickr” or “If I receive an attachment in Gmail, upload it to Dropbox.” These recipes are only the tip of the iceberg, of course – IFTTT supports over 100+ services and channels to link together.

However, as of this week, the original IFTTT app has rebranded itself as IF, and launched 3 additional companion apps: Do Note, Do Camera, and Do Button. Do Note is essentially a programmable notepad, Do Camera focuses on automating your photo storage/usage, and the Do Button is a automatic recipe launcher for anything else you can think of. While IF runs in the background of your device, initiating recipes as the triggers come, the Do apps require you to take action to start the recipe. The Verge calls it “creating a remote control for the internet.”

RecipeSuggestions

SelectTrigger

Most Helpful Features:

  • While the customization of recipes is seemingly endless, IFTTT offers lots of suggestions for commonly used/helpful recipes by other users on the Dashboard of the app.
  • Easy, one-time sign-up, and once you’re logged in on one app, the “Do” apps recognize your account when you log in to those too.
  • If you have Hue wireless lighting, you can even make your lights flash or turn purple when you receive an email or a Facebook notification (or any other trigger you can think of).
  • Once you get the hang of the concept, the apps are very simple to use, with extremely user-friendly, readable interfaces.

Downsides:

  • I personally dislike when established apps split themselves into separate apps, and IFTTT now has 4 apps total. However, unlike the Foursquare/Swarm and Facebook/Messenger splits, you’re not forced to use the other apps – they’re just streamlining certain processes for users.
  • As of now, each of these apps only let you start/keep 3 recipes at a time, whereas IF allows unlimited recipes.

Do Photo

Bottom Line:

IF is truly a must TRY app. If you’re still confused about how it all works, this article provides a step-by-step account and recipe creation process. Maybe you feel that adding all of these digital “recipes” will complicate your life more than simplify it, but you won’t know until you create a few! As always, if you try them out, feel free to let us know what you think.

Further Reading:

IFTTT Launches 3 “Do” Apps To Automate Photo Sharing, Tasks, Notes; Rebrands Main App “IF”

IFTTT introduces three new apps to automate the world around you

IFTTT’s New Apps Offer a Button for Triggering Other Apps

15 Clever Recipes to Try with IFTTT’s New Do Apps

The views expressed in this post are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government. No endorsement or recommendation of any specific products or services is intended or implied.

Contents contributed by Lauren D. Hall, Circulation Librarian

App of the Week – The U.S. Constitution: Analysis and Interpretation

We are continuing a series called App of the Week, wherein we recommend the best apps to support the academic experience. Please let us know what you think, and feel free to provide suggestions for apps we should review.

This wewethepeopleek’s app is not flashy or life-changing, but it serves as an example of excellent educational content waiting to be discovered in the app store. History and law majors will certainly want to take note of this resource, but regardless of major or area of interest, you’ll feel like a well-informed citizen after downloading this app.

The U.S. Constitution: Analysis and Interpretation app is the mobile version of the legal treatise popularly known as the “Constitution Annotated,” or officially, Senate Document No. 112-9. The comprehensive treatise is a clause-by-clause analysis of the Constitution written by legal experts from the Congressional Research Service under the direction of the U.S. Senate. First published in 1913, the Constitution Annotated has been published as a bound volume every 10 years, with constitutional law updates every 2 years. With the launch of this app by the Library of Congress and GPO in 2013, not only has this valuable content become extremely accessible, portable, and searchable, but it enables updates of new case analysis multiple times a year.

ConstitutionTableofContents

Most Helpful Features:

  • In-depth keyword search function on the main menu that searches within the entirety of the document; you also have the ability to search within individual documents and sections within documents.
  • If the keyword search isn’t immediately helpful, there is an excellent index, table of contents, and table of all cases cited in the document.
  • The app allows you to export any documents to PDF and read within an e-reader app of your choice (e.g. Kindle, iBooks); the documents can also be emailed, AirDropped, or opened in Evernote, Dropbox, Google Drive, and more.
  • The app is self-contained, and with the exception of exporting documents to email or other apps, does not require internet access to use.
  • In addition to the main treatise, the app includes bonus content, such as the Constitution and Amendments in PDF form without any annotations; all Supreme Court cases related to interpretation of the Constitution; and “all federal, state, and local laws struck down by the Supreme Court,” including “all cases where the Court overturned its prior precedent.”

ConstitutionSearch

Downsides:

None that I can find—the app is simple to use, organized, and does exactly what it promises.

Bottom Line:

Whether you’re a student of history or law, or just interested in learning more about the law of the land, getting up close and personal with the Constitution is only a download away.

Further Reading:

There’s an App for This: The Constitution – Direct Access to Expert Analysis of the Supreme Law of the Land

Constitution Annotated (web version)

The views expressed in this post are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government. No endorsement or recommendation of any specific products or services is intended or implied.

Contents contributed by Lauren D. Hall, Circulation Librarian