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Yehuda Nir It is with great sadness that the GW Libraries acknowledge the passing of Dr. Yehuda Nir. Dr. Nir was a well-respected psychiatrist with a specialty in counseling patients with post-traumatic stress disorder. His life as a Holocaust survivor moved him to pursue this line of work and inspired him to write The Lost Childhood: The Complete Memoir, which details the years that Nir and his family spent seeking safety from Nazi persecution.

Dr. Nir and his wife, Dr. Bonnie Maslin, a GW alumna and member of the GW Libraries Development Advisory Council, have been longtime supporters of the Kiev Judaica Collection and an exhibit hall in Gelman Library bears their name.  The GW Libraries remain inspired by Dr. Nir’s resilience, determination, and commitment to making a difference in the world.  Read more about Dr. Nir in the New York Times article celebrating his life.

Catalog makeover

The GW Libraries catalog is getting a makeover for the Fall semester!  A sneak preview (beta test) is available now by selecting the "Catalog" tab above the search box and then clicking "see our new look!"

You can help us by trying it out early and reporting any questions or problems you encounter.  New features will be added throughout the summer.  Search tips for power users are available to replicate "advanced search" options (i.e. search by title or author) until those features are added. 

We're proud that this catalog makeover was built by our own library Scholarly Technology Group.  It replaces a one-size-fits-all tool with a flexible and customizable solution to better meet the research needs for our patrons.  This new tool is also being made available to other libraries under a free and open source software license.  Surprised to hear the libraries write software?  Learn more about Why We Write Software at GW Libraries in this excellent blog post. 

 

Special Collections Resources at Wikipedia Edit-a-thonby Elizabeth Settoducato
Gelman Communications Assistant
GW Class of 2015 (Women's Studies & Classical Studies)

“Don’t use Wikipedia.” “You can’t trust what you read on Wikipedia; anyone can edit it!” “Wikipedia isn’t real research.” I’ve heard similar caveats from elementary school through college. But attending Wikimedia DC’s Wikipedia editathon in Gelman Library complicated those one-sided warnings, and taught me a great deal about Wikipedia’s potential for collaborative research and community outreach.  

Organized by GW librarian Jenny Kinniff and Catholic University library science graduate student Chloe Raub, the editathon was an educational experience in many regards: participants learned the basics of becoming a Wikipedia editor and community member, and became acquainted with some of GW’s own archival and Special Collections materials along the way. Plus, there were snacks and drinks. What could be better?

After a helpful introduction to Wikipedia editing, citing sources, and creating encyclopedic content from Dominic McDevitt-Parks (Digital Content Specialist and Wikipedian-in-Residence at the National Archives), we were ready to get to work. Our mission was to improve and/or write articles pertaining to Washington, DC history, with a special focus on LGBT groups and movements in honor of Pride month.

Since this was my first time editing Wikipedia content, I figured I’d look through existing articles for grammar and accuracy. It took about one minute before I became distracted by the Special Collections materials that Jenny had provided for us: “Betty and Pansy’s Severe Queer Review of Washington, DC” was a colloquially written, semi-scandalous review of DC’s queer scene in 1993. GW’s Marvin Center even got a mention! I also spent quite a bit of time looking through the National Organization for Women (NOW) Washington, DC Chapter’s records, which included newsletters, memos, position papers, and more dating from the late 1970s to the early 1980s.

Realizing that I had yet to actually edit anything, I clicked over to an incomplete article (or a “stub” as Wikipedia would call it) on the Rainbow Pool, the reflecting pool that now sits at the center of the World War II Memorial on the National Mall. After leafing through some Special Collections books and browsing our online catalog for articles, I was able to learn more about the controversy over creating the WWII Memorial and the original design of the Rainbow Pool by architect Frederick Law Olmstead, Jr.

Sitting in that room full of editors, I saw very experienced folks working alongside people who’d never done this before. There was conversation, question-asking, and support. Surrounded by fascinating resources and a task that offered something for everyone, I felt like the editathon fostered a really wonderful sense of community and a connection to research. Wikipedia isn’t the forbidden, inaccurate source some fear it is; rather it can be dynamic site of learning where people and information come together for the sake of sharing and obtaining knowledge.

Corcoran College of Art + DesignAs the two institutions work out the final details, GW Libraries is delighted to extend access privileges to our future students and faculty from the Corcoran School of Art + Design.  Corcoran affiliates can present a valid Corcoran ID at the Entrance Desk for admission.  Guest computer and wireless access is available at the Ask Us desk located on the entrance floor. 

Making History ImageThe intellectual powerhouse of a great university is its libraries, and the quality and capacity of GW's libraries are key to fulfilling the ambitions of the university, its students, and its faculty.

We aim to become an unparalleled hub of knowledge and research for the GW community. Join us in our journey! To learn more about supporting the GW Libraries and participating in Making History: The Campaign for GW, please visit http://campaign.gwu.edu/priorities/libraries.

Painting by Janet OlsenGW Libraries and the GW community mourn the loss of our friend and colleague Janet Olsen. A native of Cleveland, OH and Florida, Janet worked at Gelman Library from 1995 until her retirement in 2013. As a reference librarian, Janet worked closely with the University Writing Program and its UW 1020 course, in which capacity she collaborated closely with several Writing Program faculty. But Janet’s generosity, creative intelligence, wry humor, and joie de vivre endeared her to colleagues and students both within the Libraries and across the university. She will be sorely missed.

Janet was also an accomplished visual artist in multiple media. In tribute to her collegiality and her irrepressibly creative spirit, what follows is a collaborative portrait of Janet, drawn by several colleagues and friends. Always willing to go “not only the extra mile, but the extra 100 miles,” Janet brought an intensity of dedication to her work with patrons that made her a model for her colleagues. As noted by a long-time veteran of the Libraries, “She was one of the best Reference librarians I've had the pleasure to work with. She was great at finding the problems before the student and advocating for their rights to tools that worked right the first time.” Janet was also a cherished mentor to junior colleagues; notes one, “When I just started working here I had a few reference desk trainings with her and she could do it like nobody else, with a great sense of humor and energy. Like a true artist she always had an unconventional approach to doing things.” Never content with pat answers or the complacency that masquerades as common sense, Janet inspired us with her transformative enthusiasm. To her (a fan of the Nero Wolfe books), references librarians were “information detectives,” and our work was both an ethical commitment and an intellectual adventure. And yet, she managed to challenge our assumptions without being polemical or dogmatic; in her work with colleagues and students alike she knew what a quick wit and a generous laugh can accomplish, and with a bon mot she cut to the heart of many a tiresome discussion: “We’re just rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.”

Her professional equanimity no doubt owed much to her rich life outside of the profession. A “woman of many interests,” she enjoyed astronomy and horticulture, read voraciously, traveled widely, and hosted unforgettable dinner parties. As a jeweler and bead-maker, she supplied colleagues with both beautiful objects (“ I have a treasure box of necklaces Janet gave to me...she gave me so many I never will have to buy any again”) and an infectious passion (“I lay my addiction to beading and jewelry making directly at her feet!”). But Janet’s two chief passions were painting and drawing, and the vicissitudes of the Washington Capitals. With a graduate degree in graphic design, this former landscape architect devoted her mornings and weekends to a practice that she summed up in the title of her blog: “Observe Closely.” The blog offers a glimpse of her aesthetic journey through oils, watercolors, pastels, pen and ink, gouache, and encaustic – a journey that she undertook with the hand and eye of a master but the heart of a student. Those of us who have the privilege of having one or two of Janet’s productions cherish them as emblems of an openness and magnanimity that approached the world itself as a treasure, as the source of a richness of experience that stands as an example to us all. Only Janet could make the unfledged spectator appreciate the balletic grace of a good hockey game. At the same time, she knew the virtue of a good heckle – knew that shyness and reserve are not healthy for the soul.

With friends, colleagues, and patrons, Janet struck that rare balance: a fundamentally “unconditional kindness” combined with the courage and honesty always to speak her mind. She will be remembered as someone who lived life after her own fashion, without needing or wanting to impose her way on anyone else. We mourn her loss; we look to the light of her memory. May the spirit of this “Rabelaisian librarian” always kindle that “mischievous glow” in the eyes of those whom her humor, wisdom, and generosity touched. Or in the words of a colleague, “For the last year, since she retired...when I would get stuck, I would ask: what would Janet do?”

Written collaboratively by the GW Libraries Staff

CI Dates for 2014Gelman is proud to host the Academic Experience segment of Colonial Inauguration (CI) from 3:30-5pm on the following dates:

Friday, June 13
Thursday, June 29
Wednesday, June 25
Monday, June 30

This is an exciting chance for the GW Libraries to engage incoming students and let them know how we can help them succeed. These sessions will take place on the entrance floor and will include many people and some noise. Services will remain open and other areas of the library should be minimally affected.

Eden Orelove and Tasha Dorsey were two of four students selected for the inaugural cohort of University Archives Diversity Research FellowsDid you know that GW developed courses focused on firearms, camouflage and ship hull engineering to better educate the changing student body during WWI?
Or that the Columbian Women’s Association made a contribution to purchase a gram of radium for scientist Marie Curie?
Its amazing what you can find in the University Archives!

The inaugural cohort of University Archives Diversity Research Fellows—students Eden Orelove, Isabel Garcia, Tasha Dorsey and Dominic Amaral—spent an academic year combing through the University Archives to dig up these unsung stories, examining the lives of the nonacademic staff, women, international students and veterans who have contributed to GW’s history.

The fellows were selected by a committee of faculty and staff from the Special Collections Research Center at the beginning of the academic year and awarded a stipend. Funding for the program was supplied through an Innovations in Diversity and Inclusion grant from the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

Read more about the University Archives Diversity Research Fellows at GW Today.

Summer Hours at GelmanPlease note Gelman's new summer hours.  24-hour access will not resume until the Fall 2014 semester, but all of our online resources are available 24 hours a day to our current students, faculty and staff. 

 

Monday - Thursday -- 7:30am to 10pm
Friday -- 7:30am to 7pm
Saturday -- 10am to 6pm
Sunday -- Noon to 8pm

CLOSED:  May 25-26 and  July 4 

GW Commencement 2014Congratulations to all of our 2014 graduates!  After all this time together the libraries wouldn't abandon you to a libraryless existence.  Here are a few of the resources available to you as a GW alumni.

Access to Gelman
GW Alumni can present their valid GWorld Alumni ID card for access to Gelman Library.  For information about how to obtain your Alumni ID card, see the GWorld 2.0 Alumni ID Card web page.

Borrowing Privileges
Borrowing privileges are extended to GW Alumni for $50 per year.  Payments should be made at the Circulation Desk in Gelman Library.  For more information see details about Alumni borrowing privileges.

Selected E-Resources
Thanks to the the generous support of the GW Alumni Association, GW Libraries offer access to selected E-resources, including ABI/Inform Complete, Proquest Research Library, and JSTOR Archive.  Visit the E-Resources for Alumni page for more information. 

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