Monthly Archives: September 2013

Mysteries Surrounding Reserve Room Revealed

“What is the Reserve Room used for?” This was one of the questions that new cadets were asked during a recent Library orientation and self- guided tour. Almost unanimously, their reply was “a room you can reserve for studying.” A logical answer yes, but not quite the one we were looking for.  New instructors are also often uncertain about the use of the Reserve Room and usually have lots of questions for Circulation staff members at the start of each semester.

So just what IS the Reserve Room and how CAN it be used?  To unravel this mystery, we have compiled a list of some frequently asked questions and answers, so both faculty and students can gain a better understanding of the Reserve Room and its uses.


The Reserve Room (not actually a “room”) is where faculty members can place required and supplemental class material aside for their students.  Course reserve materials are assigned more restrictive loan periods to ensure that all students have equal access to what is generally a limited amount of material. It is located on the North West side of the 4th floor (behind the partitioned walls).  Students are welcome to use this area to study quietly using the provided materials from their instructors.  

What kinds of materials can faculty place In the Reserve Room? 

Faculty may choose materials from the main circulating collection of the Library that are relative to the course they are teaching. Course reserve material may include: books, DVDs, journal articles, electronic resources, and instructional equipment/non-book items.  Personal items may also be housed in the Reserve Room for the semester.

 When and how can a faculty member submit a reserve request? 

Faculty members may submit reserve requests at any time during the semester. To see what materials are available, check the Library website at Book carts are available at the Circulation desk for gathering materials.  Requests can also be filled by contacting Donna Chestnut at Requests after October 30th should be referred to Jacy Pungello at

All faculty members must fill out a Course Reserve Room Request Form.  These can be found at the Circulation desk. Please allow a few days for processing reserve materials, especially at the beginning of the semester.

What are the Reserve Room Loan Periods?

Instructors can designate 3 loan periods for physical items. These are identified as follows: reserve4

All Yellow and Blue sticker items must be checked out at the Circulation desk, which is located on the second floor. All Instructor-owned materials MUST stay in the Reserve Room at all times.

  How are the materials in the Reserve Room organized? reserve3






Books are shelved in call number order and placed on the tall shelves on the south wall of the room.  There is a short bookshelf in the center of the room where AV materials and professor’s personal items are kept.

How can I look up Reserve Room Items?   A binder containing a complete list of instructors’ names and materials by course is located on a cart to the left as you enter the room. Students can also search the Library Catalog for reserves information. Visit the Library’s website at  Select – Services For Cadets and Faculty and then Reserves from the left hand column. This will take you to the catalog where you can search the provided fields by Course or Professor.

What about electronic reserves?

Electronic reserves are accessible online 24 hours a day and are not handled by the Library.  Faculty can upload their digital items to a content folder and make them available to their class.  For assistance, contact Patrick Gill x4670.  Note that most Library-owned materials can be linked using static URLs in favor of replicating copies to a Blackboard page.

Who should I talk to about Copyright questions?       

Faculty may refer questions regarding copyright issues to the Staff Judge Advocate, COL Keith Well at x3250 

 Is there a copier in the Reserve Room?

There is a copier available in the room, free for students’ use.

If you have still have questions regarding the Reserve Room, please feel free contact the Circulation desk at 845-938-2230.


Week in Review – 27 September

Library Plans Response to Possible Government Shutdown

As most people are likely aware, current appropriations to support most government operations will expire at midnight on October 1st. If Congress and the President do not agree to new funding measures prior to that time some government services will be interrupted. In the event of a shutdown, here is what (we believe) you can expect with regard to USMA Library services:

  • Academic classes are expected to continue, and Jefferson Hall Library and Learning Center will continue to support regular operating hours.
  • Services provided by the library will be limited to cadets, faculty, and staff of USMA. We will be unable to support external research visits or respond to external inquiries.
  • Library staffing will be significantly reduced, which may mean service reductions or delays at some service points. Our primary goal will be maintaining core access to the facility and both physical and virtual collections in support of the academic mission.
  • Interlibrary loan and ConnectNY borrowing should remain available.
  • Support for room/facility reservations will be available.

Please watch the USMA Library website and our blog for more information as it becomes available.

Library Subcommittee of Faculty Council Begins Work

This past week, the Library subcommittee of Faculty Council met for the first time during the 2013-14 academic year. During the meeting, the committee came up to speed on the current operating environment for the library including ongoing challenges of budget allocations and hiring actions. We also discussed and reviewed a survey regarding the library, intended for faculty, and designed to support our ABET accreditation work. The assessment of academic support functions like the library is a critical and important piece of the accreditation process and we look forward forward to partnering with the committee to prepare an accurate overview of our current work and resource level. I hope to use this process as a push toward the development of a more complete and permanent assessment plan for the library as an organization. This is something we will talk more about as a staff in the coming weeks and months.

USMA Library Events

The events below will likely affect USMA Library and Jefferson Hall operations in the coming week.

Date USMA O/DEAN USMA Library Jefferson Hall Hours
27 September 2013
Week in Review 0700-1630
28 September 2013
Beat Louisiana Tech (Away) 1530-2100
29 September 2013
 Tunnel to Towers 1100-2245
30 September 2013
1 October 2013
Division Heads 0700-2245
2 October 2013
 Dean’s Staff Meeting Liaisons 0700-2245
3 October 2013
All Library Staff  SCPME Event 0700-2245
4 October 2013
Week in Review Minority Visitation Program 0700-1630

USMA Library Metrics

USMA Library tracks a number of key statistics to measure service levels. These are their stories …

Access Services
Items Charged Out 445 463 570 665
Gate Count 3,927 3,331 4,178 N/A
ILL Article Requests 17 15 18 23
ILL Book Requests 35 9 8 11
Administrative Services
DV Tours 0 0 0 0
Significant Events Hosted 1 2 1 0
Events/Meetings Attended 14 21 21 17
Information Gateway
Reference Questions 31 25 48 57
Library Instruction Sessions 10 6 8 3
Cadets Attending Sessions 195 111 132 64
Materials Processing
Items Added – Books 145 21 41 53
Items Added – Digital 1 8,207 2,314 8
Items Added – GovDocs 177 9 156 8
Items Added – Other 2 1 0 25
Continuing Resource Check-Ins 74 82 63 159
Special Collections & Archives
Reference Inquiries 29 23 36 39
Research Visits < 1 hour 7 5 16 12
Research Visits < 1 day 1 0 17 1
Research Visits > 1 day 0 0 0 0
Instruction Sessions 7 2 8 1
Cadets Taught 114 38 114 6
Systems Management
Library Home Page Visits 2,770 3,078 3,316 3,578
LibGuides Visits 482 421 544 578
Digital Collections Visits 262 230 227 245
Facebook Visits 31 22 40 25
Public Printer Prints 6,510 5,770 5,468 3,926
Public Printer Copies 336 582 1,080 445
Public Printer Scans 173 12 350 13

Food for Thought

A few quotations from the past week about libraries, information, technology, and the future

  • “In 1970, only 2% of firefighters had college degrees; now 18% do, according to Richard Vedder, an economist at Ohio University. Fewer than 1% of taxi drivers had a college degree in 1970; now 15% do. About 25% of retail sales clerks have college degrees, Vedder said. “The main reason is a pretty simple one,” he said. “The number of college graduates has grown vastly faster than the number of jobs that require high-level education skills.” – College-educated workers are taking jobs that don’t require degrees –
  • “The first serious discussion of a legal right to privacy in the United States didn’t come until the year 1890 and that was because of the invention of a technology and that technology was the Kodak camera. Before cameras were big like what I’m facing right now they sat in studios and you knew when you’re picture was being taken. Now suddenly people could take this camera out in the street, take a picture of you anywhere and that picture could appear before the whole world in the penny press. It freaked people out. They didn’t know what to do about it and so Louise Brandeis and Samuel Warren wrote a now famous paper that was the fundamental intellectual base of looking for a legal right to privacy in the US and what was really happening there was there was a gap between technology and society’s norms. A new technology came along. It caused a change. It was disrupting and unsettling.” – Why Technology Will Win the Privacy Debate | In Their Own Words | Big Think
  • “How many times have I watched college leaders roll their eyes because they cannot understand why parents and students would insist that a degree lead to a job rather than simply being enthralled by the privilege of learning from us? How much time do we waste haggling over whether courses should be taught traditionally or online, as though students will tolerate any instruction in the future that does not take advantage of some online component?” – Take It From an Ex-Journalist: Adapt or Die – Commentary – The Chronicle of Higher Education
  • “We all want to stay sharp-witted as we age, which explains the recent proliferation of brain games and puzzles. But newly published research suggests a low-tech way of retaining our mental agility: Learn to play a musical instrument. According to this research, people who spend many hours in the practice room not only process information unusually efficiently, but they also do a superior job of not letting occasional errors derail them.” – Study: Musical Training Teaches Us to Detect Our Own Mistakes
  • “The L.A. Public Library has arrived in the 21st century. Since July, anyone in L.A. with a library card has been able to stream over 10,000 movies and TV shows and over 250,000 albums onto any computer, smartphone or tablet for free through a new service called Hoopla. Even better: In August, electronic subscriptions to over 230 current magazines became available to stream or download onto any device through an app called Zinio.” – L.A. Library’s New Free, Netflix-Like Services, Explained
  • “The fine folks who manage Harvard’s ginormous endowment have reported their latest annual results, and thus reminded the world that Cambridge’s favorite color is not in fact crimson, but green. Last year, the University’s cash pile grew by 11.3 percent to $32.7 billion. As Hamilton Nolan wrote it over at Gawker, the school “made Fortune 500 money last year. More profit than Target, and just less than AIG.” – Harvard Is Still Rolling In Money – Jordan Weissmann – The Atlantic
  • “Since the end of 2008, the amount of US student debt outstanding has surged 61%. Over the same period, the largest component of US consumer borrowing—home mortgage debt—has shrunk 11.3%.” – US student debt: $1.2 trillion, and rising – Quartz
  • “I don’t think paper booksellers are out of the swamps yet but there is one good reason they can stay alive: they act as a community hub and a place for authors to read and sell books. Just as recorded music didn’t kill concert halls, authors need a place to show up in person. If there were some way – and I’m sure there is – for bookstores to get a cut of ebook sales sold in store I think that could reduce some of the doldrums. Booksellers are now mostly coffee shops that happen to sell books. That’s definitely a noble profession and it’s definitely an important part of the bookselling ecosystem. And, thanks to the death of the Big Bookstore we’re almost guaranteed better selection, curation, and intelligence from the indies.” – Indie Bookstores Aren’t Dead Yet | TechCrunch

Excerpted from Infoneer Pulse, a digital commonplace book curated by Christopher Barth.

Week in Review – 20 September 2013

Library Hours to Change October 6th

Beginning Sunday, October 6th, we will revise our operating hours to a new “permanent” schedule (as much as any schedule is permanent around West Point :). The primary driver behind this change is a USCC decision to move Taps to 2330 instead of 2300. Due to the ongoing barracks renovations, study space is at a premium and USCC wants to try to make as much time and space available as possible. We will also at the same time adjust our Friday and Saturday hours slightly. Here will be the new plan:

Sundays 1100-2315
Mondays 0700-2315
Tuesdays 0700-2315
Wednesdays 0700-2315
Thursdays 0700-2315
Fridays 0700-2100
Saturdays 0900-2100*

* Saturday hours may vary due to the home football schedule.

New Library Hours Signs Coming Soon

Since we have made a habit of shuffling up hours, and our entrances do not offer us a good way to display current hours and other information, we have acquired two new exterior sign cases for our east and west entrances that will allow us to better display facility information. The cases allow for an 11″ x 17″ poster inside and should be weatherproof. We hope that they will be installed in the next week or two. Our south entrance does not really have a good location for a similar sign. Instead, we will mount a tasteful decal on the door that refers individuals to either the east or west entrance for facility hours.

USMA Library Events

The events below will likely affect USMA Library and Jefferson Hall operations in the coming week.

Date USMA O/DEAN USMA Library Jefferson Hall Hours
20 September 2013
Modified Class Day / ’68 & ’78 Reunions Week in Review 0700-1630
21 September 2013
Home Football – Beat Wake Forest 1530-2100
22 September 2013
23 September 2013
24 September 2013
Library Committee / Division Heads 0700-2245
25 September 2013
26 September 2013
Dean’s Staff Meeting  Shalanda Williams Farewell Lunch 0700-2245
27 September 2013
Week in Review 0700-1630

USMA Library Metrics

USMA Library tracks a number of key statistics to measure service levels. These are their stories …

Access Services
Items Charged Out 268 445 463 570
Gate Count N/A 3,927 3,331 4,178
ILL Article Requests 10 17 15 18
ILL Book Requests 13 35 9 8
Administrative Services
DV Tours 0 0 0 0
Significant Events Hosted 0 1 2 1
Events/Meetings Attended 22 14 21 21
Information Gateway
Reference Questions 30 31 25 48
Library Instruction Sessions 1 10 6 8
Cadets Attending Sessions 20 195 111 132
Materials Processing
Items Added – Books 36 145 21 41
Items Added – Digital 1,816 1 8,207 2,314
Items Added – GovDocs 40 177 9 156
Items Added – Other 238 2 1 0
Continuing Resource Check-Ins 63 74 82 63
Special Collections & Archives
Reference Inquiries 3 29 23 36
Research Visits < 1 hour 4 7 5 16
Research Visits < 1 day 1 1 0 17
Research Visits > 1 day 0 0 0 0
Instruction Sessions 2 7 2 8
Cadets Taught 41 114 38 114
Systems Management
Library Home Page Visits 2,426 2,770 3,078 3,316
LibGuides Visits 262 482 421 544
Digital Collections Visits 295 262 230 227
Facebook Visits 16 31 22 40
Public Printer Prints 13,373 6,510 5,770 5,468
Public Printer Copies 330 336 582 1,080
Public Printer Scans 129 173 12 350

Food for Thought

A few quotations from the past week about libraries, information, technology, and the future

  • “I do think this is one of the blessings and curses of social media. To fit in, you have to sound like a person, not an institution. And people can be so much more annoying than institutions. And also so much more interesting. I think that’s the trade-off.” – Upworthy co-founder Eli Pariser in conversation with TLDR’s PJ Vogt
  • “Books are to libraries what beds are to hospitals. They are an absolute requirement but they do not define what it is that we do. So one of the issues that is facing the country at the moment is really trying to define what libraries are and what role that they have and one of the large issues that we have I think is that the councils are looking at libraries really just as glorified book swaps.” – Bradley: libraries seen as ‘glorified book swaps’ | The Bookseller
  • “Colleges of education and the reform community have forgotten how to be good neighbors. The point of an education has always been to create self-reliant, self-deterministic members of a community. Success can only be claimed when a community can say they improved their own stock. Teacher training programs must be as focused on finding members as they are with recruiting talent and instilling skills.. True teacher training reform will come less from blaming and more from partnering with communities and school districts. Colleges and universities have been trying to move towards clinically based training and have tried to heighten their admissions standards, but college faculty and governance structures are built to last, not to move.” – Want Better Teachers? Let’s Train Them Like Doctors | Education on GOOD
  • “The basic idea is to use MOOC-style video lectures and other online features as course materials in actual, normal-size college classes. By assigning the lectures as homework, the instructors are free to spend the actual class period answering students’ questions, gauging what they have and haven’t absorbed, and then working with them on projects and assignments. In some cases the instructors also use some MOOC-style online assessments or even automated grading features. But in general they’re free to tailor the curriculum, pace, and grading system to their own liking and their own students’ needs. The notion isn’t entirely novel. A similar approach has been popularized at the high-school level in recent years by Salman Khan, who encourages teachers to use his free online lessons to “flip the classroom”: Students watch lectures at home and then do their “homework” in class. Freed from the need to prepare a lecture for each class session, instructors can focus their time on the rest of the educational experience—the individualized, hands-on instruction and collaboration that no MOOC can provide. In this model, as I’ve noted in the past, the online lecture starts to look less like a poor substitute for traditional classes and more like a 21st-century twist on the traditional textbook.” – SPOCs: Small private online classes may be better than MOOCs. – Slate Magazine
  • “Major social networks now require users to supply real names or risk having their accounts deleted. To reign in trolls, popular sites have vowed to verify the identities of registered users. As online services incorporate facial recognition and other biometric technologies to identify users, the notion of participating online using a name not found on your government-issued ID may become a quaint relic of the early Internet. Pseudonymity, part of Net culture since its early beginnings, is under siege.” – Real names, real problems: Pseudonymity under siege | ITworld
  • “The problem is that people are entering into academia for the wrong reasons. What began as a world dedicated to advancing human knowledge has warped into a snobbish center of individualistic pursuits.” – PhD programs need students who care about more than just future earnings – Quartz
  • IF our IT department doesn’t have a replacement available, then they will have to order another one. If that is the case, it wouldn’t be ordered until the start of the new fiscal year (Oct 1). We would hope that it is back up sometime in October, but could extend into November.” – Failed Pentagon fax machine blocks FOIA requests | Ars Technica
  • “The authors believe this takeover will happen in two stages. First, computers will start replacing people in especially vulnerable fields like transportation/logistics, production labor, and administrative support. Jobs in services, sales, and construction may also be lost in this first stage. Then, the rate of replacement will slow down due to bottlenecks in harder-to-automate fields such engineering. This “technological plateau” will be followed by a second wave of computerization, dependent upon the development of good artificial intelligence. This could next put jobs in management, science and engineering, and the arts at risk.” – Report Suggests Nearly Half of U.S. Jobs Are Vulnerable to Computerization | MIT Technology Review
  • “Users will always do things with technology that we didn’t anticipate,” Vallor said. “Ethics isn’t a due diligence where you check off the boxes and you’re done.” – Software engineers need a crash course in ethics.
  • “Drivers are given small RFID transponders that are scanned in tollbooths, at which point the toll is automatically deducted from a pre-paid account. One hacker got curious whether the RFID tags were being scanned elsewhere, so he tweaked his E-ZPass to blink a light and make a noise every time it was read. He tested the streets of New York City, and wasn’t surprised to see it light up in plenty of places where there were no tollbooths to be found.” – NYC Is Tracking RFID Toll Collection Tags All Over the City – Slashdot
  • “In the same way that trailblazers like Coursera and Udacity are making instruction faster, cheaper, and more effective, we should also make certification faster, cheaper, and more effective too. To do this, we need to apply new technologies to the primary tool of traditional certification, the diploma. We need to take what now exists as a dumb, static document and turn it into a richer, updateable, more connected record of a person’s skills, expertise, and experience. And then we need to take that record and make it part of a fully networked certification platform.” – College Diplomas are Meaningless. This is How to Fix Them. | New Republic

Excerpted from Infoneer Pulse, a digital commonplace book curated by Christopher Barth.

USMA Library Retires and Hires

By Michael Arden
Audiovisual Librarian – DSOC Liasion

Mr. Alan Aimone retired in June 2013 after 45 years on the staff of the USMA Library.  He joked that when he began his career he was the youngest librarian on staff and by the time he retired, he was the eldest.  Alan was from Chicago, and during his long career he was Head of Reference, later worked in Special Collections & Archives before resuming as a reference and liaison librarian for the Department of History with the library’s Information Gateway Division.  Widely considered an expert on local history, Alan published numerous historic articles during his years at the Library.  As an expert on West Point lore, he was interviewed by David Lipsky, the author of Absolutely American: Four Years at West Point, who credited Alan in his acknowledgments.  Alan and his wife retired to Las Vegas, where he runs a book appraisal business.

Mr. Paul Nergelovic retired in July 2013 after 30 years on the staff of the USMA Library.  He served as the library’s Government Documents Librarian, at which he excelled.  An outstanding researcher, Paul was sought out by faculty for his expertise, especially by his liaison departments, Social Sciences and Law.  Given his mastery of the esoteric world of government documents, Paul left big boots to fill in the Information Gateway Division.  Paul hails from and currently resides in New Windsor, New York, and hopes to travel far and wide in retirement. 

Two currently employed librarians, Ms. Karen Shea and Mr. Darrel Hankins, were recently promoted to fill vacancies in the Information Gateway Division.  Both were recruited in 2011 and 2012 respectively to fill GS-9 positions in the Access Services Division as circulation librarians, doubling as reference librarians.  Now newly minted GS-11 reference librarians, they have been warmly welcomed by their colleagues in their new division.  Karen is the liaison librarian with the Department of Mathematics and Darrell works with the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership.

Finally, Mr. Thomas Lynch was recently recruited to fill yet another reference librarian vacancy in the Information Gateway Division.  When Thomas was in the area recently he stopped by the Library to meet with the staff, where he left a very good impression.  Thomas’ prior federal positions were at the Library of the Marine Corps – Marine Corps University in Quantico, VA, and the Marshall Center Research Library in Garmisch, Germany.  He is currently employed at the Smithsonian Institution in the position of Technical Information Specialist in the History and Culture Department, Readers Services Division, of the Smithsonian Institution Libraries, where he provides collections management support services to the Museum Support Center Library, the National Museum of the American Indian Library, and other departmental libraries.  Thomas will join the library staff this fall.





Week in Review – 13 September 2013

Department of English and Philosophy to Open New Writing Center in Jefferson Hall

Next week, the Department of English and Philosophy will open a new writing center here in Jefferson Hall to support cadets enrolled in EN101 to work on their study of critical thinking, academic argument, writing within the disciplines, college pedagogy, and professional communication. The center will use JH 423 as their home base and will provide service Sundays through Thursdays from 2000-2200. Cadets seeking assistance with their writing will be able to make an appointment to come and meet with upper class cadets who have demonstrated superior performance in their writing-intensive courses.  The service is not designed to provide proofreading or editing services, but is instead modeled to help cadets better communicate their ideas, and become better readers and editors themselves.

This new program has been developed and designed by Dr. Jason Hoppe, Director of the Writing Fellows Program and Writing Center and LTC Sean Cleveland, Officer in Charge of the Writing Fellows Program and Writing Center. More information is available on the DEP website.

A grand opening ceremony will be held in JH 423 on Monday to launch the center.

USMA Library Events

The events below will likely affect USMA Library and Jefferson Hall operations in the coming week.

Date USMA O/DEAN USMA Library Jefferson Hall Hours
13 September 2013
Branch Week / Modified Class Day / ’73 & ’83 Reunions Week in Review  Army Film Crew in Jefferson Hall 0700-1630
14 September 2013
Home Football – Beat Stanford 1530-2100
15 September 2013
16 September 2013
Writing Center Opening 0700-2245
17 September 2013
Division Heads 0700-2245
18 September 2013
 Dean’s Staff Meeting 0700-2245
19 September 2013
Dean’s Recognition Ceremony 0700-2245
20 September 2013
Modified Class Day / ’68 & ’78 Reunions Week in Review 0700-1630

USMA Library Metrics

USMA Library tracks a number of key statistics to measure service levels. These are their stories …

Access Services
Items Charged Out 197 268 445 463
Gate Count N/A N/A 3,927 3,331
Administrative Services
DV Tours 0 0 0 0
Significant Events Hosted 2 0 1 2
Events/Meetings Attended 22 22 14 21
Information Gateway
Reference Questions 8 30 31 25
Library Instruction Sessions 0 1 10 6
Cadets Attending Sessions 0 20 195 111
Materials Processing
Items Added – Books 26 36 145 21
Items Added – Digital 0 1,816 1 8,207
Items Added – GovDocs 62 40 177 9
Items Added – Other 40 238 2 1
Continuing Resource Check-Ins 58 63 74 82
Special Collections & Archives
Reference Inquiries 0 3 29
Research Visits < 1 hour 0 4 7
Research Visits < 1 day 0 1 1
Research Visits > 1 day 0 0 0
Instruction Sessions 0 2 7
Cadets Taught 0 41 114
Systems Management
Library Home Page Visits 1,589 2,426 2,770 3,078
LibGuides Visits 247 262 482 421
Digital Collections Visits 114 295 262 230
Facebook Visits 19 16 31 22
Public Printer Prints 6,448 13,373 6,510 5,770
Public Printer Copies 75 330 336 582
Public Printer Scans 14 129 173 12

Food for Thought

A few quotations from the past week about libraries, information, technology, and the future

  • “The influence of technology on the application process is more subtle; nobody is getting into a school because of a good tweet. The University of Chicago uses its alumni and student email networks, for example, to crowdsource its famously clever essay prompts. And the vast majority of applicants even to new-media-friendly schools still opt for the traditional written essay. And that’s fine, says Tufts’ Coffin. The point isn’t to force potential students to play by a new set of rules, let alone provide them techno-shortcuts. The point is to acknowledge that there is more than one way to identify promising students.” – How the Internet is killing the dreaded admissions essay – Yahoo! News
  • “The classroom will be a place to come for tutorials and one-on-one instruction rather than a place to be lectured at by a professor,” Ng said. “You’d be responsible for watching the videos at home and doing the online quizzes. The classroom time can be used for students to practice with the material.” – What does the college of the future look like? – Yahoo! News
  • “If we were satisfied to just be a history museum or an art museum, we could stay focused on the tangible, but to fill to the role of being the ‘National Design Museum,’ we have to broaden what we do,” Chan tells me. “We are beginning to come to terms with the fact that the sort of contemporary objects that a design museum should collect are now often neither unique or inherently precious. It’s forcing us to consider how to communicate both the intention and the processes of the designers behind their work.” – To Preserve Digital Design, The Smithsonian Begins Collecting Apps | Co.Design | business design
  • “One of the ironies of the situation is that sports reveal what is possible. American kids’ performance on the field shows just how well they can do when expectations are high and they put their minds to it. It’s too bad that their test scores show the same thing.” – Have Sports Teams Brought Down America’s Schools? : The New Yorker
  • “If you want the Internet to become a cable system, then you shouldn’t care about this case. If you like it when some big multinational corporation controls what you see and where you see it and when you see it, then you shouldn’t care,” said Gigi Sohn, president of consumer advocacy group Public Knowledge, which has sided with the FCC in the case. “But if you like the fact that you control your Internet experience, and you want it to stay that way, then you should care.” – Net neutrality goes on trial – The Hill’s Hillicon Valley
  • “A public library keeps no intentional secrets about its mechanisms; a search engine keeps many.” – Clive Thompson on how the internet Is making us smarter

Excerpted from Infoneer Pulse, a digital commonplace book curated by Christopher Barth.

Week in Review – 6 September 2013

New Information Gateway Librarians Hired

We are pleased to be bringing on three librarians into our Information Gateway division in the next several weeks. Karen Shea and Darrell Hankins will be transitioning from their current positions in Access Services into Information Gateway where they will continue providing reference and liaison support. They will continue to provide some support in Access Services as well through the transition and as we work to announce and hire two new librarians for Access Services to replace them.

Also joining us will be Mr. Thomas Lynch, who currently works as a Technical Information Specialist at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC.

Once the new staff is in place we will revisit our liaison assignments to accommodate our personnel changes.

Thanks to everyone who participated in the recruitment process, especially Dan Pritchard and Laura Mosher who helped with telephone interviews.

USMA Library Events

The events below will likely affect USMA Library and Jefferson Hall operations in the coming week.

Date USMA O/DEAN USMA Library Jefferson Hall Hours
6 September 2013
Week in Review 0700-1630
7 September 2013
Cadets Against Sexual Harassment and Assault 0900-1700
8 September 2013
Branch Week 1100-2245
9 September 2013
 Branch Week  Dean’s Brief to Faculty and Staff Branch Week Social 0700-2245
10 September 2013
Branch Week Division Heads 0700-2245
11 September 2013
 Branch Week / Nininger Award 0700-2245
12 September 2013
 Branch Week  Dean’s Staff Meeting 0700-2245
13 September 2013
Branch Week / Modified Class Day / Beat Stanford / ’73 & ’83 Reunions  Week in Review  Army Film Crew in Jefferson Hall 0700-1530

USMA Library Metrics

USMA Library tracks a number of key statistics to measure service levels. These are their stories …

Access Services
Items Charged Out 221 197 268 445
Gate Count N/A N/A N/A 3,927
Administrative Services
DV Tours 0 0 0 0
Significant Events Hosted 0 2 0 1
Events/Meetings Attended 18 22 22 14
Information Gateway
Reference Questions 8 8 30 31
Library Instruction Sessions 0 0 1 10
Cadets Attending Sessions 0 0 20 195
Materials Processing
Items Added – Books 17 26 36 145
Items Added – Digital 0 0 1,816 1
Items Added – GovDocs 112 62 40 177
Items Added – Other 0 40 238 2
Continuing Resource Check-Ins 152 58 63 74
Special Collections & Archives
Reference Inquiries 0 0 3 29
Research Visits < 1 hour 0 0 4 7
Research Visits < 1 day 0 0 1 1
Research Visits > 1 day 0 0 0 0
Instruction Sessions 0 0 2 7
Cadets Taught 0 0 41 114
Systems Management
Library Home Page Visits 822 1,589 2,426 2,770
LibGuides Visits 184 247 262 482
Digital Collections Visits 105 114 295 262
Facebook Visits 16 19 16 31
Public Printer Prints 0 6,448 13,373 6,510
Public Printer Copies 0 75 330 336
Public Printer Scans 4 14 129 173

Food for Thought

A few quotations from the past week about libraries, information, technology, and the future

  • “I’m not saying Google is evil — they’re not,” said Soghoian. “But they’re an advertising company. The wolf is providing the tools to the sheep.” Schneier concurs: “There’s a lot of tech you can bring to bear — but remember, the business model of the Internet is surveillance.” He suggests the solution does not lie in a technological breakthrough or even simple consumer awareness. “This is not a technical problem,” he said. “This is a legal problem.” – ‘Perfect privacy’? In Internet communication, that doesn’t exist – NBC
  • “Confidence is what you have before you understand the problem.” – Woody Allen
  • “Online shopping in general isn’t killing the great American mall, is — singlehandedly so. The Internet retailer sells more stuff online than its 12 biggest competitors combined, all of which move an incredibly tiny amount of stuff through their online storefronts, according to new documents from the Securities and Exchange Commission obtained by The Wall Street Journal’s Shelly Banji and Paul Ziobro. Companies like Target, Wal-Mart, and PetSmart have all reported huge growth rates in their online sales, but only because their businesses are growing from very small figures.” – The Only Place People Shop Online Is Amazon – Rebecca Greenfield – The Atlantic Wire
  • “In the future, e-books are going to explode beyond just containing stories, becoming niche social networks where we discuss our favorite passages with other readers and even authors and publishers buy our data to make more informed decisions. So hold on tight, book lovers. Reading as we know it will soon change, forever.” – E-Books Could Be The Future Of Social Media ⚙ Co.Labs ⚙ code community
  • “According to the proposed policies, Facebook will be able to analyze your profile photo and use it to suggest “tags” of you in other photographs. It’s a change from the current implementation, in which Facebook’s tagging suggestions only can use other photographs in which you’re already tagged — now, it’ll proactively be analyzing your profile picture to help make better suggestions. It’s not a surprising addition, as Facebook has been interested in facial-recognition technology for some time, but we imagine there will be a subset of users who’ll turn this “feature” off immediately.” – Facebook privacy update lets the social network analyze your profile picture | The Verge
  • “If I could change one thing about engineering education — well, actually, all education — it would be to center it around solving real problems and making things. In other words, we ought to be creating innovators and inventors at our engineering schools. They need to be able to do something more than solve theoretical problems when they leave us. In other words, they should learn how to be an applied problem solver, which is not the same thing as being a fantastic book-based equation solver. None of us learned how to do anything well by being talked at — it’s boring. We learn best by doing — getting our hands dirty and making our own mistakes.” – Ideas for Improving Science Education in the U.S. –
  • “Mistakes are the portals of discovery.” – James Joyce
  • “I’ve said no, because I think that it’s an excuse for state legislatures to cut funding to state universities,” Mr. Duneier says. “And I guess that I’m really uncomfortable being part of a movement that’s going to get its revenue in that way. And I also have serious doubts about whether or not using a course like mine in that way would be pedagogically effective.” – A MOOC Star Defects, at Least for Now – Technology – The Chronicle of Higher Education
  • “This is a canny economic move by Bezos and Amazon, of course — it’s not do-good charity meant to incite literacy and save the publishing industry. MatchBook takes advantage of the giant purchase history that Amazon has for all of its customers, and encourages those customers to buy (and, incidentally, to read) more. It also takes advantage of a new and nervous mega-literacy. That mega-literacy, in which driving-while-texting is a common and fatal practice, is predicated on the idea that we must always be reading. This obsession is akin to the delusion (and actively-promoted illusion) of food scarcity that has led, in part, to American overconsumption of food for 40 years. What does it mean to read—and screen—too much? At the biological and ethical level, we’re only now finding out. Hypotheses—alarmist, optimistic and otherwise—abound. At the economic level, it means that we’re buying copies of books we already have—suffusing our screens and bookshelves, along with our pantries, with hopeful redundancies, with stuff we don’t need. Hoarding stuff, both binary and tactile. Increasing the clog, not diminishing it. You know, the American way.” – Jeff Bezos, Kindle Matchbook and the American literacy epidemic – Yahoo! News

Excerpted from Infoneer Pulse, a digital commonplace book curated by Christopher Barth.

Our Earliest Cadet Letters: Still Relevant After 200 Years

The Special Collections and Archives Division of the USMA Library collects a variety of materials specific to West Point history and interests, but nothing in our collections is more personal than the letters cadets wrote and received while here at West Point.

The earliest cadet letters in the Library’s collection are two written in 1807 by Samuel Newman to his brother Henry, a Boston lawyer. The Newmans seem to have been a well-established Massachusetts family, and Samuel writes with some aplomb; on his initial visit to West Point he stayed with the first graduate, Captain Joseph Swift, and the Superintendent, Colonel Jonathan Williams, knew his grandmother. These letters remind us that early 19th century America was a small and inter-connected place, in which a letter could be confidently addressed: “Mr. Henry Newman Junr, Boston”, and unfailingly find its intended recipient. On 12 December 1808, Cadet Newman became the 42nd graduate of the U.S. Military Academy. A second lieutenant in the Light Artillery, he served in garrison at Atlantic posts until resigning in 1810, at the rank of  first lieutenant.


West- Point Sunday July 17, 1807 

Dear Henry

I have rec.d the lines of a lawyer’s pen, as also Peggy’s letter dated a month or two since. I sincerely regret that it has not been in my power to answer them before …. I was very wrong however in not acquainting the family with my safe arrival etc. But it may be truly said that at West Point “time taketh to itself wings.” The duties of study and parades are incessant; & the little time allowed for recreation is beguiled by the unavoidable sociability of the place. I have therefore less time at my disposal than even you have…. I must recite two lessons every day besides parading under arms…. I wish to hear oftener from home. What are you all doing? How do you like your new neighborhood…. You may remember I left home with a bad cold; I had not travelled far before my neck became very stiff & my head inflamed & by the time I [had] arrived within twenty miles of Hartford, the jolting [of the] carriage & cold morning & evening air had made me [a] confirmed invalid. I was obliged to stop & go to bed; and after sweating & suffering etc. for three days, having eat but two meals since leaving home, I was enabled to proceed with a reduced purse. On enquiry I found my shortest route to be through New York; where on my arrival having obtained what was necessary, I proceeded to this place. As to uniforms I could do no more than purchase a pretty shabby second hand one; & on the whole have made myself tolerably comfortable, though not precisely so splendid as most on the Point. As to my prospects they are wholly uncertain. Commissions are scarce. In the fall examination I shall obtain a certificate which will lead me to a commission as soon as there are five or six more vacancies in the Artillery Corps. Let me hear from home soon…. I am your affectionate friend & brother 

Samuel Newman

 On December 2 Samuel wrote again: 

Dear Henry,

Your letter of the 15th Oct.r & my father’s of the 10th ulto have been duly rec.d—I have been very lazy & negligent indeed; but my undetermined fate occasioned such a corresponding effect upon my mind as to deprive me of the resolution to write even a letter of friendship. I desired excessively to hear from home without feeling any right to expect it.… I am truly obliged to you & my father for your successful exertions in my behalf, & beg you will present my best respects to Col.n Bradford & thanks for his letter of introduction. Capt.n Swift of the Corps of Engineers, very recently from this place has by this time arrived in Boston. Col.n Bradford may possibly introduce him to you or my father as being able to give you some information respecting me. If he does, I have no doubt you will treat with polite attention a gentleman & man of merit, to whom I am under obligations for many civilities…. The first visit I made to this place, I lived two or three days, as long as I tarried here, at his house; Col.n Williams at that time not being able to lodge me at his own…. Pray answer this letter soon & let me know how my mother is after her severe cold…. How does my venerable grandmother sustain the bleak assaults of the approaching winter. Give my respectful love & tell her Col.n Williams speaks of her with filial affection & respect…. I have rec.d my warrant as cadet in the Regiment of Artillerists, enclosed in the customary official letter from the Secretary of War. It is dated the 30th Oct.r from which time my pay commences. My acceptance was transmitted the 10th Nov .r. Every thing (though tardily) has succeeded to my wishes; & henceforward my exertions will be directed entirely to qualify myself for the duties of my profession. In pursuance of this object & I believe agreeably to my father’s desire, I have determined to reside for this winter at this place. The Cadets are allowed $10 per month & two rations per day or 17 cents per ration. They are allowed all kinds of Stationary & rooms are found for them to live in. There is no such thing as a boarding house here. The life we lead is very similar to a colledge one, except there are no commons; consequently each one has to buy his own Furniture & provisions— bedding, chairs tables, pots, kettles, pans etc. etc. etc. are all necessary for a cadet. There is one or two messes established upon the point of four or five in a mess not unlike a Batchelors Hall. I have entered one of these & therefore some of the furniture became unnecessary & of course I did not purchase them. There is a Library here containing military books to which the cadets have access. I will write you a particular account of this institution in another letter.

Tell Mary & Peggy to write me. …give my love to all the family. I am, your affectionate brother

Samuel Newman

Reading these letters, even 200 years after they were written, gives us a glimpse into a world not so different from our own – where new cadets are homesick and want to hear from their families, are concerned about their future in the Army, and have to make grown-up decisions about their lives as they move out into the world. This is just a sample of the wonderful historic resources we have available for viewing and research in the Special Collections and Archives  – ask us what we have that can help with your next project!

Library Service Announcements – Fall 2013

Library Launches New Resource Discovery Tool: Scout

Scout is a new way to find and discover library resources relevant to your academic research. Beginning 30 August, Scout replaces our catalog search on the library home page as the primary tool for accessing library resources. Our catalog is not going away, but will now be incorporated into Scout, a much more powerful way to find material most useful to you across multiple information sources. Here are some particulars:

  • What is Scout? Scout is a tool for information discovery that indexes many resources like our catalog, databases, and digital collections together allowing one search to be executed across all of these services. Researchers will no longer have to search databases individually for content.
  • What material is in Scout? The USMA Library catalog, ebooks, licensed databases and digital collections like JSTOR and EBSCO, many discipline-specific databases and collections, government documents, and more.
  • How can Scout help me? Scout gives you a wide view over many different library resources to find the most relevant material to your search. It also will allow you to refine your search by adjusting the types of information it retrieves based on whatever criteria you want. Do you only want materials published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals since 2000? That is very easy to define. Would you like to set a saved search in the system and be notified whenever new material is added that matches your search criteria? That is also very simple to do. Scout can always be on the lookout for you.
  • How do I use Scout? Just use the search box on the library home page:
  • How can I get to the library catalog? The catalog is in Scout, so you can access it through that service. The catalog itself is also still available at

Full documentation is available by clicking the small blue question mark just to the right of the Scout search box. More assistance is also available at the library reference desk or through your library liaison. We welcome comments and questions on Scout and how to use it to make your research both more complete and easier to do.

Special Collections & Archives Resources Relocated to Central Area

This summer, the library consolidated all of our Special Collections and Archives materials into our new collection space on the fourth floor of Bartlett Hall North. This reunites all of our unique materials in one central location for the first time since 1989. All reader services continue to occur in the reading room on the third floor of Jefferson Hall and will continue in that location until 2016 when Special Collections & Archives staff and services will relocate to join the collections on the fourth floor of Bartlett Hall North. More information on this move was published in our August 23rd Week in Review:

New Library Website Comes Online

This summer, we brought online new library website that now harmonizes with the USMA web presence and uses the Academy’s SharePoint content management system. Work will be continuing to redesign other library web properties to bring them into line with the new look. The new site is available at Please update your bookmarks. More information on the new site is available on our blog:

Revised Hours through Early Fall

Due to staffing shortages and other restrictions, the library has slightly amended service hours for early fall. Federal holidays are scheduled for limited services only (Jefferson Hall will be open on Labor Day from 1700-2245). Hours for future fall holidays are not yet set. We also have slightly reduced hours on Fridays (now 0700-1630), and Saturdays (now 0900-1700). These are being expanded as staffing permits. Library hours are now published and regularly updated on our new website:

Library Publishes 2012-2014 Program Review

This summer, USMA Library published our 2012-2014 Program Review which details initiatives of the 2012-13 academic year and looks forward to future initiatives to be undertaken in the 2013-14 academic year. The document is available on the USMA Library Website:

New Resource: Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR)

Are you interested in determining the average age at which men versus women begin smoking? What if you need to know whether age at marriage differs between your region of the country and other regions, or about differences in political attitudes based on age, gender, education, race, or ethnicity? These and countless other questions can be answered by studies in the ICPSR data holdings. ICPSR data cover topics from sociology, political science, economics, demography, education, child care, health care, crime, minority populations, aging, terrorism, substance abuse, mental health, public policy, and international relations. Do you create new data sets in the course of your own research? USMA researchers are eligible to deposit data into the ICPSR collection.

ICPSR is the world’s largest collection of digital social science data. These data can be used for secondary research, instructional activities, and to write articles, papers or theses. All USMA Cadets, faculty, and staff have access to the ICPSR data holdings via any on-post computer. Access is direct and quick by accessing the ICPSR Web site at First-time users will be asked to create an ICPSR MyData account; thereafter, you will need your email address and password to download data.

New Resources: JSTOR Arts and Sciences VIII, IX, and X

The Library is the process of adding three additional archival collections to our JSTOR service. The Arts and Sciences VIII collection includes 240 titles in history and the humanities. The complete list is here: The Arts and Sciences IX collection includes 150 titles in Business, Economics, and
Political Science. The complete list is here: The Arts and Sciences X collection includes 125 titles in Business, Economics, Sociology, and Education. The complete list is here: JSTOR, the most heavily-used of our online resources, now supplies us with the complete backfiles of nearly two thousand scholarly journals.

DVDs Relocated to More Accessible Shelving

Our collection of DVDs is among our most popular, and yet it has been somewhat challenging to access given its placement on compact shelving. This summer, the collection has been moved to the open shelving near the north windows on the second floor in the east wing. This should greatly improve access and is the first stage of making our primary service floor more user friendly to access.

Guidance on Library Assistance for Cadets

One of the best ways for cadets to get an extra leg up on their academic work is to partner with a librarian to better take advantage of the services and materials available through the USMA Library. Personal appointments with librarians are available for consultation and guidance. When possible, setting appointments between 0745-1630 will ensure the availability of the best subject specialist, though evening appointments can also be arranged. To arrange a time to meet, stop by or email the Reference Desk staff with your name and topic of research.

Stay Connected to the Library

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