Category Archives: Books

HathiTrust: Digital Library Unveils New, Improved Webpage

HathiTrust is a shared collection of over 10 million volumes of digitized book and journal content. Columbia University is a member of this international partnership of 60-plus research libraries committed to the long-term preservation and availability of the cultural record.

HathiTrust recently unveiled a new website, with a new design and new features. You’ll now see a consolidated search area and prominent links to user collections, hand-picked books, and the mobile interface.

Links to social media, the HathiTrust Research Center, and HathiTrust projects provide updates on activities and invite engagement. Users can now log in from anywhere on the site, and the login area of the homepage highlights the benefits of logging in to users from partner institutions.

A new online reading interface increases the amount of space available for reading books, while still keeping reading controls and bibliographic information readily accessible.

Options for searching the bibliographic catalog and full-text of works have been combined into a single tabbed search, with help information to guide users in deciding which search to use. A persistent search header allows searches to be performed from any page on the website.

Make sure you log in as a Columbia University user to access the largest number of volumes and features.

If you have any questions about how to access this resource from CLIO or the web, or how to use its features, please contact the Butler Library reference staff.

New Books in Butler Provide a Different View of the Middle Ages

Challenge your pre-conceptions about the Middle Ages (don’t you call them Dark!) with books recently added to the Butler Library collections.

Motherhood Religion and Society in Medieval Europe  Motherhood, religion, and society in medieval Europe, 400-1400 is a collection of essays, edited by Oxford University’s Conrad Leyser and Lesley Smith, that honors the work of scholar Henrietta Leyser (appropriately enough, Conrad’s mother).  In works such as Medieval Women: a social history of women in England, 450-1500, Leyser sought to bring women out from behind the shadow cast by the towering male political and ecclesiastical figures of most medieval historiography.  In this Festschrift collection, a wide range of scholars examine aspects of medieval motherhood from Augustine’s somewhat conflicted relationship with his mother Monica, to the question of whether medieval mothers taught their children to read, to the primacy of noblewoman Joan de Mohun in a 14th-century French-language chronicle.

Representing medieval genders and sexualities in Europe  Another new acquisition is Representing medieval genders and sexualities in Europe: construction, transformation, and subversion, 600-1530, likewise a collection of essays, this time inspired in part by a 2005 meeting of the Gender and Medieval Studies Conference.  A nice array of female scholars explore male saints’ virginity, female power through two Flemish countesses, and the way the imagery on Italian “birth trays”—painted trays given to celebrate a birth—confounds traditional gender roles by showing women in dominant behavior.

Sin and filth in medieval culture  And now for something completely different: Martha Bayless’ Sin and filth in medieval culture: the devil in the latrine.  This title made me think of the line from Monty Python and the Holy Grail: “He must be a king; he hasn’t got shit all over him.”  Bayless looks past the predominant iconography of medieval spirituality to look at omnipresent “emblems of material corruption”: “Excrement was not merely used as a figure of speech but was central to a popular medieval metaphysics…it embodied sin.”  Her subtitle, “the devil in the latrine,” is quite literal; she examines the “moral connotations of filth within a theological framework.”

So, stop by Butler to check out some unexpected views of medieval history—and ask Karen Green, the librarian for Ancient & Medieval History and Religion, to help you find others!

CLIObeta: A New Way to Search

The Columbia Libraries are developing a new interface for CLIO which allows researchers to combine elements from the library catalog in powerful new ways.  

CLIObeta offers the ability to refine a keyword search by format; publication date; topical, regional, historical, and genre headings; language; library location; call number; and acquisition date. It is also possible to search multiple data sources with a single query, including:

  • 7.7 million records in the library catalog,
  • 400 million records in Summon (Find Articles)
  • 6,000 records in Academic Commons
  • 4,000 records in the Archival Collections portal
  • 1200 database records
  • 6,000 recently acquired titles
  • 4,000 library web pages

Please take the time to give us your feedback.  CLIObeta is being developed locally using open source software.  Your comments, questions, and suggestions will help us improve the database.   A brief introduction to CLIObeta:

A conversation with the creators of “Marzi: a memoir,” October 28th


On Friday October 28th, the creators of the graphic novel Marzi: a memoir will be in conversation in Butler Library.MarziCoverSmaller

Marzena Sowa, the author, was born in Poland in 1979; by the time she was ten years old she had experienced Communist rule, Chernobyl, the Solidarity factory strikes of 1988, and the triumph of Lech Wałęsa. 

Her memoir, with art by French comics creator Sylvain Savoia, captures the triumph of the innocent pleasures of childhood, as well as the resonance in her young world of world-changing events.

Copies of Marzi will be available for purchase and signing, and refreshments will be served.

Marzi: a conversation with Marzena Sowa and Sylvain Savoia
Friday, October 28th
4:30 PM
Butler Library, room 523

New Partnerships and Opportunities for Borrowing

MaRLI (Manhattan Research Library Initiative)

Columbia full-time faculty and doctoral students may now borrow books from NYU or the New York Public Library (research collection).   Register for MaRLI as a Columbia scholar.

MaRLI is a pilot project between Columbia, NYU, and the Research Collections at New York Public Library.  The project began in March 2011, and will run through June 2012.   The loan period is 2 months, and items may be renewed.

Harvard and MIT have now joined Borrow Direct

The Borrow Direct interface has also been upgraded to support author, title, and subject keyword searching;  the ability to sort by publication date; and nearly seamless integration with our interlibrary loan services.   More information and a list of participating Harvard libraries.



 The holdings of the Center for Research Libraries (CRL) can now be found in the Borrow Direct database.   In addition to books, CRL will lend newspaper backfiles, journals, dissertations, and microform collections.  


Digitale Sammlungen: Riches from the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek

E-books in CLIO have gotten a lot snazzier.

The Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (BSB) has been digitizing thousands upon thousands of their rare book holdings, and these free e-books are all findable in the Columbia Libraries catalog.  These BSB records have been gathered into a collection called "Digitale Sammlungen."

Thus far there are over 28,000 of the BSB records in CLIO.  The collection includes medieval manuscripts, early printed books, and recent secondary materials.  Some, but not all, are in full color.  The cataloging information is brief, so search techniques need to be creative!

Try one of these keyword searches–some of the results may be found in the images below (be sure to include all the quotation and question marks):

"digitale sammlungen" concilia?
"digitale sammlungen" augustin?


1512 bull from Pope Julius II    Augustine, De consensu evangelistarum, 12th century

Above, on the left, a 1512 printed edition of a bull from Pope Julius II; on the right, a page from a 12th-century manuscript of Augustine’s De consensu evangelistarum.

There are a variety of ways to search this collection.  Be sure to Ask a Librarian if you need assistance!

HathiTrust: A Shared Digital Repository

HathiTrustColumbia is a member of the HathiTrust Digital Library, a vast repository of nearly 9 million volumes, 2.5 million of which are full-text searchable.  Though international in scope, The HathiTrust collection is especially useful for magazines & journals published before 1924, US government documents, and multi-volume works.

Login for the most complete search options, which include:

  • ability to search standard catalog records or across the full-text of the collection
  • single (?) and multiple letter truncation (*)
  • simple Boolean searching
  • keyword in context (full-text only) displays in the ascii text (though not in the PDFs)
  • ability to create private (or public) collections and search only within that content
  • ability to search public collections created by others

The interface offers a variety of views: page, scroll, flip, thumbnails, ascii text; and supports PDFs downloads of selected pages or the entire document.

Here are a just a few HathiTrust journals that are indexed in the Readers Guide Retrospective, but not currently available online from other sources: The Survey, The Delineator, Ladies Home Journal, Forum, The Independent, Good Housekeeping.

Due to the complexity of serials cataloging, there are sometimes multiple records in the HathiTrust catalog for the same journal.  CLIO also includes links to HathiTrust content, either as separate records, or as links in the sidebar in catalog records for paper subscriptions.  If you don’t find the years you are looking for in CLIO, be sure to search the HathiTrust collection separately.  Because they are based on deposited collections, some of these journal runs are currently incomplete, but as the HathiTrust collection grows, these gaps should be filled. 

Image from Frank Leslie's Ladies Magazine

In May 2011, The HathiTrust Research Center was formed to support "computational access for nonprofit and educational users to published works in the public domain stored within HathiTrust." 

If you any have questions about accessing, searching, or downloading material in the HathiTrust Digital Library, or in any other collection, please let us know.

Google Books adds EPUB Downloading Format


Youth Many books published before 1925 can now be downloaded from Google Books in the EPUB format, an excellent format for reading on iPhones, iPod Touches, iPads, and other mobile devices.

Here are some of our favorite EPUB readers:

  • iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad: Stanza  (free from the app store)
  • Android Phones:  Aldiko
  • Blackberry: BePub
  • PDAs and other mobile devices Mobipocket

Wikipedia has useful list of EPUB readers.   Do you have a favorite?  Please comment with your favorite reader.

Google Books - Youth


Search Google Books from your mobile device, and click the EPUB download option. 

If you are searching Google Books from a desktop, save the link to the book and email it to yourself.  When you click on the link, Stanza and other readers will save and open the text.



Need it Soon? Try Borrow Direct

Borrow Direct logoBorrow Direct, our fast (4 business days!)  interlibrary loan service between Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Penn, Princeton, and Yale has a new interface:

New Features:

  • Books may be renewed once for a second 6-week loan period
  • Borrow Direct books are listed in My Library Account for easy renewal (however, Borrow Direct books will now be subject to fines)
  • Search the combined catalog by title, keyword, author, or subject
  • Books can be delivered to more libraries on campus, including: Butler, Burke, Business, Engineering, Lehman, Social Work, Health Sciences, and Barnard
  • It is easier to specify which volume you need (use the notes box to identify the volumes needed)
  • If an item is not available through Borrow Direct, use the Interlibrary Loan link in Borrow Direct and the ILL form will be filled out for you

Use Borrow Direct whenever the book you need is not available in a Columbia library.  If the same edition is available at Columbia, you will be prompted to find it in CLIO.

Questions?  Ask a Librarian! Or contact our Interlibrary Loan Office.


Out and About?  Use CLIOmobile to: CLIOmobile

  • Search CLIO
  • Email records
  • View your Library Account and renew items
  • Access and save items to your List
  • Place recalls

Add this link to your mobile device:

More info:

Please send questions or comments to: