USMA Library Holiday Hours – 2015

USMA Library 2015 Holiday Hours
USMA Library will operate the following hours during the holiday break:

Monday 14– Friday 18 December 0700-2315
Saturday 19 December 0700-1900
Sunday 20 December CLOSED
Monday 21 – Wednesday 23 December 0700-1630
Thursday 24 December 0700-1200
Friday 25 – Sunday 27 December CLOSED
Monday 28 – Thursday 31 December 0700-1630
Friday 1 – Saturday 2 January CLOSED
Sunday 3 January 1100-2315
Beginning Monday 4 January – Regular Academic Term Hours Begin
Full hours are available on our website.

Discover a Database – Cambridge Histories Online

CHOheaderThe USMA Library recently added a new resource to its offerings called Cambridge Histories Online. While this may sound like it’s just for those taking history classes, it is actually interdisciplinary; covering the history of a wide range of topics from foreign relations to music, literary studies to philosophy. This resource also includes several volumes on the history of warfare.


  • Over 300 volumes published since 1960
  • Covers 15 different academic subjects
  • Each chapter is a separate, searchable PDF
  • Search or browse the titles
  • Complete index and bibliography for every volume

Who should use this resource?

Cadets in any humanities class will find this to be an invaluable resource. Cadets in science classes may also find utility in the 6 volume Cambridge History of Science.

Here’s a sampling from the series on Warfare, which Military History instructors and students will certainly find of value.



Tips for searching Cambridge Histories Online

  • Use the search box at the top of the page for a quick list of results based on keyword
  • Use advanced search to combine keywords or authors, or choose specific subject areas

As always, ask a Librarian for help if you have any questions about any of our research products!

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 & Reference Librarian

Library Service Announcements – Fall 2015


Full-text indexing and citations for the contents of the HathiTrust Digital Library were integrated into Scout, our discovery service. The enormous size of the HathiTrust collection means that Scout is now a de facto index to a very large proportion of the world’s books and serials. It also provides direct access to the complete texts of over five million volumes.

We added Books at JSTOR to our collection – scholarly ebooks on the familiar JSTOR platform, easy to read online with no limit on the number of readers, and easy to download as unlimited-rights PDF to the device of the reader’s choice.

We also added AccessEngineering, an online collection of engineering reference material providing access to technical books, manuals, handbooks and more, enriched with instructional videos, interactive tables and charts and personalization tools.

Cambridge Histories Online, collecting nearly 350 of the various Cambridge Histories in a single platform allowing concurrent access for unlimited numbers of users.

All of these materials are available via the Library website (


You may have noticed our new staffed service location at the top of the stairs on the second floor. From that location, we can offer assistance regarding any services available in Jefferson Hall from research and reference assistance to printing questions and everything in-between. The West Point Writing Center has also relocated to the far northeast corner of the second floor for their operations. We are continuing to plan additional upgrades to collaborative work areas on the second floor.

The library printers are now on an upgraded print server and should appear as an available printer on your computer. Look for \\usmasvdzpaper\USMAPRLIBREF to send jobs to the release station located on the 2nd floor of the library.


This summer the Library published our annual program review which includes information about our activities during the 2014-15 academic year as well as a look ahead at our goals and objectives for the coming academic year. The review is available for download on the USMA Library website at:


Elevator – Cadets are now authorized to use the elevators after the academic duty day is complete on weekdays and on weekends. This harmonizes use policies with other academic facilities.

Access – Visitors to Jefferson Hall must be in uniform or displaying their CAC/DoD ID on a lanyard for access. Anyone else must be accompanied by authorized individuals. CACs on lanyards are also required when wearing cadet casual. Force protection while in Jefferson Hall is a top priority. Please help us maintain a secure and safe environment.


Can’t live without the latest when it comes to critical defense-related news like cadet pillow fights? We now have a site license to available for cadets, faculty, and staff with USMA email addresses. Below is information on how to set up access. You may also view a brief video tutorial on setting up an academic pass (

What is included:

  • Unlimited access to current content posted to
  • Unlimited access to archived content published prior to 1923 and after 1980.
  • Five free articles per day published between 1923-1980 (Please note that USMA Library has complete, unlimited archival full-text access to the New York Times separate from the website).
  • Access to the New York Times via Smartphone app (iPhone, Blackberry 10, Windows Phone 7, Android-powered phones).
  • Access to these services for the life of the contract (until the end of September 2016). Access beyond September 2016 is subject to funding and contract renewal.

What is NOT included:

  • Tablet apps (iPad, Kindle Fire, Windows 8 Desktop and Tablet, Android-powered tablets – You may view all website content while logged in through the browsers on these devices).
  • E-Reader editions.
  • Premium Crosswords or The New York Times Crosswords apps.
  • Any other premium/subscription-based New York Times apps.
  • Times Premier.
  • The ability to share your Academic Pass digital access with others.

Program eligibility:

  • Anyone with an active email address can enroll in the program licensed through USMA Library.
  • Employees, contractors, graduates, and other affiliates without email addresses are not eligible.
  • Family members and other dependents are not eligible.

How to enroll:

How to use the pass:

  • After activating a pass, you need to be logged in to your account on the device you are using to read New York Times content. While logged in, you can access unlimited content from any network or location for the duration of your pass (late September 2016).


We’d love to keep you up-to-date throughout the year on library news and programs. You can follow our blog:, like us on Facebook:, or follow us on Twitter:

RS 100 Class Completes Poker Run in the Library


Library Technician, Latisha Taylor, answers cadet questions at the Info Desk on the 2nd floor of Jefferson Hall.

On 25 and 26 August, cadets enrolled in the Center for Enhanced Performance’s RS 100 course got a chance to spend some very active time in the Library, finding their way from one service point to another and learning about Library resources, services, and staff along the way. The Library Poker Runs are designed to get cadets familiar with the people here at the Library who can help them in their studies, and with the resources they can use to complete the assignments they’ll have throughout their time at West Point.


Bob Sorce, Interlibrary Loan Technician, explains how to obtain a copy of the a book not available in the USMA Library’s collection.

Cadets are given a checklist of locations in the Library (Welcome/Circulation Desk, Info Desk/Reference Librarian/Print Stations, and the Heritage Room) and are directed to complete a task at each checkpoint. The tasks help the plebes learn a multitude of research-related skills, such as how to search within our collections using Scout! – the Library’s discovery tool; how to renew books online; what to do when the Library doesn’t have an article or book they need (hint: Inter-Library Loan!); and the difference between primary and secondary sources. A highlight of the Poker Run is a visit to the Heritage Room, where this semester they got to see Custer’s demerits (all six pages of them!), hand-drawn plans (dating back to the 1870s) for the construction of the railroad tunnel underneath the Plain, and Howitzers feature the current Dean and Commandant.


Cadets look at a page of the “Demerit Book” while Rare Book Curator, Elaine McConnell, shares some insights on what cadet life might have been like in the mid-1800s.

After completing each task, the cadets draw a card, and the cadet team with the best poker hand at the end of class wins a prize from their instructor. Almost 100 cadets participated in this round of Poker Runs, and judging from discussions with them at the end of class, a fun – and educational! – time was had by all.

Content contributed by Laura Mosher, Reference Librarian; photos by Barbara Maroney, Facilities Support Assistant.

The Library Reads – “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak

book_thiefI have to admit that I was reluctant to read The Book Thief due to its subject matter. After all, the book is narrated by death and takes place in Germany during Hitler’s rise to power. But after holding the best seller list for over four years and being made into a movie, it seemed to warrant a read. The Book Thief is categorized as a young adult book for ages fourteen and up but is by no means childish. Told from the perspective of a nine year old German girl named Liesel Meminger, the book provides a sympathetic glimpse into what life might have been like for the German populace as the Nazi regime took hold. One of things I found most intriguing about this book was the humanization of the German citizenry. Many of the characters are lovable and you witnesses how their world is torn apart by the impending war and how they themselves are victims of the Nazi regime. I recommend The Book Thief because books provide both nourishment for mind and soul – in this story and in real life.

The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak (Alfred A. Knopf, 2007)

The USMA Library has the audiobook and the DVD of The Book Thief

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 Karen Shea Reference & Liaison Librarian


USMA Library 2014-16 Program Review Available

2014-16 Program ReviewThe USMA Library 2014-16 Program Review is now available from the library website. The review is prepared annually each summer as both a look back at the previous academic year and a look ahead to the next. The document includes:

  •  A look at the framework governing our current work to redesign our organization and services.
  • Mission, Vision, and Goals
  • Brief snapshots of activities from the 2014-15 academic year.
  • Statistics and graphs of service and collection metrics.
  • Reports on our 2014-15 academic year organizational objectives.
  • A strategic awareness and vision for the future of academic library services and the profession of academic librarianship.
  • Assessment data and review.
  • Information on liaison support to academic departments.
  • Our 2015-16 academic year organizational objectives.

I am most thankful to the USMA Library team for the work done each and every day to deliver the best service we can to our cadets, faculty, and staff at the U.S. Military Academy. Here’s to a great 2015-16.

The Library Reads – “Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy” by Karen Abbott

LiarTemptressSoldierSpy“Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy” by Karen Abbott tells the little-known story of four women who were spies during the Civil War. While this book is non-fiction, it reads like a thrilling espionage novel. Thoroughly researched with an impressive list of documentation by the author, it tells the compelling stories of four courageous women—Rose O’Neal Greenhow, a widow and Washington socialite; Belle Boyd, a small town girl from Martinsburg, Virginia (later West Virginia); Sarah Emma Edmonds, a Canadian farm girl; and Elizabeth Van Lew, a Virginia abolitionist.

Greenhow was a strong supporter of the Southern cause. She charmed top military leaders and senators to glean information and send it to her friend General P. G. T. Beauregard (USMA 1838). She was credited by confederate authorities for providing the key information which allowed First Manassas to be a victory. Eventually, Greenhow and her young daughter, who was involved in her spying activities, were arrested by the North and became some of the first women detained during the war.

Boyd, loyal to the Southern cause, coaxed many Northern politicians into divulging secrets. With sheer determination, she served as a courier by carrying intelligence to her hero Stonewall Jackson (USMA 1846). When Jackson was about to attack Front Royal, Virginia in May of 1862, she ran onto the battlefield to provide the General with last minute information about the Union troop dispositions. Boyd was arrested six or seven times, and was far from being a model inmate: she waved Confederate flags from her window, sang Dixie, and devised a unique method of communicating with supporters outside.

Edmonds, who cut her hair off and passed herself as a man, served the North as a soldier/spy in some of the bloodiest battles of the war. Edmonds signed up as a male field nurse in the Second Volunteers of the United States Army under her alias Franklin Flint Thompson. In March 1862, she was reassigned as a mail carrier for her regiment. A few months later, one of General George McClellan’s (USMA 1846) spies was caught and executed by the Confederate Army; Edmonds volunteered for the open position. In the spring of 1863, Edmonds developed malaria. Out of fear of being discovered as a woman, she deserted. While Frank Thompson was listed as a deserter, Edmonds resumed worked as a nurse in war- torn Virginia for the remainder of the Civil War.

Van Lew lived in Richmond yet remained loyal to the Union. Her efforts at assisting Yankee soldiers escaping from Confederate prisons, and runaway slaves from their masters were no small feat during war time. Her neighbors, as well as the government, suspected her of such treason but were never able to catch her in the act. One of Elizabeth Van Lew’s loyal servants, Mary Bowser, served as a slave in the White House of the Confederacy. Because of Mary’s photographic memory, she able to provide extremely important information based on what she heard and read in Jefferson Davis’ (USMA 1828) Confederate White House.

A note regarding how the book is laid out: the author choose to chronicle the characters, moving back and forth between the figures, to tell the entire saga in accordance with the timeline. Initially I started reading “Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy” on an electronic device, however, I found it difficult to go back and review previous entries about a character. Thus, I personally found reading this in traditional print form more desirable.

“Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy” is beautifully written and a real page-turner. The book serves as a reminder that the heroes of our history are often found in the most unexpected places.

Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy, by Karen Abbott (Harper, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, 2014)

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 Barbara Maroney-French, Facilities Support Assistant

USMA Library Transitions to Summer Hours

Effective, Friday, June 12, 2015, USMA Library is operating on our summer hours. This means the library will close at 1630 on most days and will also remain closed on Saturdays and Sundays. There are some exceptions to these hours. For specific hours for any day, please see our Hours page.

We will resume extended hours to support the Fall Term on Monday, August 10, 2015.

Books at JSTOR

479149414_640We’ve recently increased our book collection by adding over 20,000 electronic book titles to the USMA Library collection. How, you may ask? Through our excellent new resource, Books at JSTOR.

Many of you are already familiar with JSTOR Journals, and Books at JSTOR works just like its other database. Books at JSTOR offers eBooks that are easily accessible through our SCOUT search on the library website.

This collection of academic books is drawn largely (but not exclusively) from university presses and covers 14 subject areas, including Science & Technology, Political Science, Sustainability, Sociology and History, among others. Do a keyword or title search in SCOUT, then retrieve the book by clicking on the URL at the bottom of the result you select.


Benefits of Books at JSTOR

  • High-quality scholarly content: Important titles from leading academic publishers, including Princeton University Press, Yale University Press, Harvard University Press, and many more
  • Easy to use: For example, journal articles, book chapters can be read online or downloaded as PDF files that never expire

Other nice features:

  • No logging in and no special software required
  • Unlimited downloads; unlimited copy and paste
  • Access is 24 x 7
  • New titles added monthly

Users will be able to:

  • View eBook chapters online
  • View books even if another user is “using” the book, as JSTOR offers unlimited simultaneous access– AND they never expire
  • Download and print (please remember the environment) a PDF of a chapter
  • Cross-search eBooks and journals for related content JSTOR cross-searchiing


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


App of the Week – Adobe Slate

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.

logoslateWould you like to create a powerful visual for an assignment or presentation, but don’t have a lot of time or design skills? Adobe Slate is a new “visual storytelling” app that creates polished, easily shareable magazine-esque websites. You can create beautiful presentations, newsletters, reports, and more on your iPad in a matter of minutes–no design expertise needed. This is one of those apps where you simply have to jump in and play around; the app intuitively guides you through your new creation.

Here’s a quick story I created about USMA Library in less than 10 minutes (click on the image below to view story):

USMA Library

Most Helpful Features:

  • Very easy to use – you immediately choose a title, subtitle, theme, and main photo, and then add to your story as needed. The story continues vertically until you scroll to the end.
  • Creates beautiful visuals; currently, you can choose between 11 distinct themes.
  • Themes are meant to translate to any device, so you don’t have to worry about formatting for desktop vs. iPad.
  • Pulling photos in for your presentation is easy – use photos from your iPad or Dropbox, take a photo, or you can choose “Find a Photo” and search through Creative Commons-licensed photos.
  • You can choose to make your Slate public, or keep it private (only people you share the link with can view it)
  • You can automatically share your Slate with Facebook, Twitter, email, or iMessage, or you can share the link created immediately after uploading.


  • The choice of only 11 themes and staying within that theme may feel limiting, but the sacrifice of choice is what speeds along the process (and keeps the story visually consistent).
  • There is no undo/redo feature, which is a little unusual.
  • Video is not supported at this time.
  • You can’t host the story on your own site – the link will always point to Adobe’s pages. The embed code will display your headline and opening image.
  • You can’t remove the “Made with Adobe Slate” branding at the bottom of your story.

Bottom Line:

Adobe Slate is a free, easy-to-use app that allows you to create visually stunning, professional-looking stories for any purpose you can think of. As always, if you try it out, feel free to let us know what you think!

Further Reading:

Adobe Slate review: Adobe Slate for iPad makes telling stories with photos much easier

Hands-on: Adobe Slate takes another stab at “visual stories”

Adobe’s Slate Is A Visual Storytelling App For The iPad

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