News & Notes

Afghanistan - Pakistan : new maps of this strategic region

The recently announced policy for the conflict in Afghanistan returns this region to the front of international news. Recent maps help make more comprehensible the complex physical and cultural geography of the region. Here are few items recently added to the Libraries map collections.

Afghanistan-Pakistan : central border area

Science Map Coll G7631.F2 2008 .U5
is a recent publication from the Central Intelligence Agency. It shows the provinces and districts on both sides of the border between these countries. This includes Pakistan's Northern Areas, the Northwest Frontier Province, and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas. Regions frequently in the news include the agencies of Northern and Southern Waziristan, the province of Nangarhar, home of the Tora Bora Hills. The names resonate with old and modern history; they will continue to be in our news.

Afghanistan-Pakistan administrative divisions

Science Map Coll G7631.F7 2008 .U5
This another CIA map, showing all of Afghanistan and a wider area of Pakistan. Kandahar, Balochistan and other areas also in the news appear. Shaded relief on this and the map above show the terrain.

Natural-Color Image Mosaics of Afghanistan: Digital Databases and Maps

Philip A. Davis and Trent M. Hare

Science Map I 19.121:245/DISC.1-3/DVD is a data set of three DVDs of imagery of the terrain and other subjects

The Northern Area of Pakistan is a pair of maps, by a Pakistan-based publisher. They portray the provinces and agencies in larger scale. They include maps and texts describing history and cultural aspects of these isolated areas.
Map one (Science Map Cabinet G7643.N62 2004 .M2), covers the agencies of the Northern Areas. Map two (Science Map Cabinet G7643.N6 2004 .M2), covers the Northwest Frontier Province.

Finally, a set of maps from The Survey of Pakistan shows several of the major cities. Several of these appear in the news as well as the territories named above. All of these are in Science Map Coll.

Islamabad, G7644.I8 2002 .S93, Peshāwar, G7644.P45 2003 .S8, and Rawalpindi, G7644.R37 2003 .S9 are the major cities of the area. Others cover Karachi, Lahore, and Hyderābād.

1 lb of fat… now available for check out!

It’s true. The woolly mammoth hair, ostrich egg, fossils, bags of rocks and other interesting items in the Curriculum Materials collection at IMC are now joined by a life-size (and weight) lump of fat. The yellow blob measures about 6.5” x 4” x 3” and weighs one pound. Need I say this is the coolest, grossest thing the cataloging department has seen since the inflatable man spilling all his little detachable, inflatable guts?
QM565 .L541 2000z (IMC CurrMat)

Vladimir Nabokov's new novel

Original of Laura
Yes, you read that right. When Vladimir Nabokov died in 1977, he left an unfinished novel called The Original of Laura (Dying is Fun). Despite Nabokov's explicit instructions that his penciled index cards for this novel be destroyed, neither his wife nor his son could bring themselves to do it. Now his son Dmitri has published perforated fascimiles (if you check out our library's copy, please don't tear them out!) of these index cards along with typeset transcriptions. The book includes an introduction by Dmitri that explains his decision to publish this work. It's a beautifully done book. It's fascinating to see Nabokov's smudges and examine what he decided to cross out and change. You can see images of some of the index cards here. You can also read an interesting review here. Finally you can check out the book at King Library (PS3527.A15 O75 2008), though you'll have to wait for me to finish it first!

The Chemistry of Thanksgiving!

When you're eating your Thanksgiving dinner, you probably don't think about chemistry. I didn't either... not until this year. I found this blog entry today from the American Chemical Society's ByteSize Science blog.

The video talks about the following Thanksgiving topics:
• How does the pop-up timer in a turkey work?
• Why do muffins rise, even when made without yeast?
• Which antacids neutralize the most stomach acid?

Thanksgiving and Chemistry: What's the connection? from ACS Pressroom on Vimeo.

Girl refuses to give up seat - and wins the National Book Award

Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice, by historian Phillip Hoose, tells the story of a courageous African-American teen who refused to give up her seat on a bus in March 1955 -- a full 9 months before Rosa Parks' same act came to symbolize the growing Civil Rights movement.

Colvin's story recently received the 2009 National Book Award in the category of Young People’s Literature. Read the story behind the book here.

Get Colvin's WHOLE story in the IMC: F334.M753 C6554 2009

Brill Question of the Month

Brill Science Library has their November Question of the Month up on their blog and in the library. Put your thinking cap on to win a $10 gift certificate to somewhere in Oxford!

  1. What is the "rule of three" in awarding the Nobel Prize?
  2. What are the three kinds of RNA (riboncleic acid) involved in the biochemical process of translation?
  3. Provide a citation for a research paper about ribosomes which was:
    • written by a Miami faculty member
    • OR written by the 2009 Chemistry Nobel Laureate who earned his PhD in Ohio

Make sure you get your answers in by November 30th to be eligible for the $10 gift certificate to anywhere in Oxford (your choice)! To submit your answers, come on in to the Brill Science Library or fill in the form here and submit your responses to

Writing Contest for First-Year Students

The essays for My Learning Leaves: A Composition Contest for the Class of 2013 (sponsored by the Howe Center for Writing Excellence and the Office of Liberal Education ) are almost due. The deadline is December 1st. They are looking for projects from first-year students on ways their school experiences and learning goals align with, differ from, augment, and/or challenge those represented in the 2009 Summer Reading, Taylor Mali's What Learning Leaves. There are categories for Personal Compositions, Analytical Compositions, and You Name It. The prize for each category is $100. You could buy some nice Christmas presents with that money!

If you want to get inspired, we own several of Taylor Mali's poetry collections at King Library:

What Learning Leaves. King Library PS615 .M35 2002.

The Last Time As We Are. King Library PS3613.A4455 L37 2009.

Good Luck!

In Case You Forgot How Cool the Libraries Are

Silent Rave Flash Mob at King Library!

Decorate Your Dorm with World War II Posters

If you're looking for a unique way to celebrate Veterans' Day, American military service, or the civilian support of the military during times of war, you may be interested to learn that the World War II-era posters currently on display in the main stairwell of King Library are available for download -- for free!

The Government Information and Law department teamed up with the Walter Havighurst Special Collections and the libraries' Digital Initiatives department to create high-quality copies from the original World War II posters held at the Miami Libraries.

Because these posters have proven highly popular, and in some cases too popular -- you know who you are -- they've been placed online for easy and free access.

With a little help from the CIM lab staff, and for the standard printing fee, you can create your own life-sized World War II poster. With their stunning imagery, and still relevant messages, they'll be an excellent addition to your dormitory, office, or holiday stocking. Just don't take them off the library walls.

You can download the collection of World War II propaganda posters from this page, or by clicking the images in this post.

If you're curious about more cool Government Documents, stop by the GIL, or come to our Centennial celebration this Friday afternoon (See it on Facebook). We hope to see you soon!

Connected Histories

On Monday November 9th I went to a sponsored Miami University Humanities Center talk called "Connected Histories" at Bachelor Hall. Professor Robert Shoemaker, 18th-century historian from Sheffield University, and Professor Tim Hitchcock of the University of Hertfordshire, spoke about digital repositories of 18th-century history funded by the British government that they have created especially for the sake of preserving "other" histories.

I thought the projects they spoke about were so fascinating that I wanted to share it.

Their finished project is called The Old Bailey Online. It's the proceedings of London's Central Criminal Court from 1674-1913. It's a fully searchable edition of the largest body of texts detailing the lives of non-elite people ever published, containing 197,745 criminal trials held at London's central criminal court. In addition to the texts themselves, the site provides historical background and information about related sources. There's even a trial of the day!

Some of their upcoming projects build on the ideas of connecting texts to related sources. One is called Plebian Lives and the Making of Modern Lives. It will use recent technical advances in the creation and analysis of multiple digital resources to create a comprehensive electronic edition of primary sources on criminal justice and the provision of poor relief and medical care in eighteenth-century London. It's going to allow users to register and add biographical information to a wiki, among other things.

The other is called Connected Histories, which is going to be a new community and website for aggregating digital resources in British History. It will point to sources like British History Online, the Burney Newspaper Collection, Parliamentary Papers, Charles Booth Online Archive, Collage, etc.

Perhaps the most exciting project will be a Firefox extension called Scrutiny. It will be used for entity recognition within research data. It will be able to scan web pages selected by individual users and highlight entities that it thinks will interest them. Users will be able to train Scrutiny to identify entities which are relevant to their field of research both by using pre-defined, subject-specific 'entity recognition files', and by refining Scrutiny´s understanding of their personal interests through an iterative process of accepting or discarding the suggestions which Scrutiny presents. Scrutiny will be developed using natural language processing, including `named entity recognition´ based on a Bayesian learning methodology.

I'll be honest I don't understand all the details (I got the above wording from their website), but Scrutiny will be designed to help researchers shift through the large number of documents now available digitally to find what is relevant to their research. The example they gave during their lecture was domestic violence. In the 18th century the term domestic violence didn't exist, but there were still cases of it (namely one spouse killing another). Scrutiny could be trained to find matches between one case that was definitely domestic violence and then other cases located in another collection.

The Old Bailey Online can be used now. The other projects should be finished in February or March of 2010. I'll keep you posted, especially as I hear more about Scrutiny!

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