Author Archives: Laura

Cuneiform Tablet from RBML in Exhibition

Columbia University Plimpton 322

An illuminating exhibition of thirteen ancient babylonian tablets, along with supplemental documentary material, opens at New York University’s Institute for the Study of the Ancient World (ISAW) on November 12, 2010. Before Pythagoras: The Culture of Old Babylonian  Mathematics reveals the highly sophisticated mathematical practice and education that flourished in Babylonia—present-day Iraq—more than 1,000 years before the time of the Greek sages Thales and Pythagoras, with whom mathematics is traditionally said to have begun.

The tablets in the exhibition, at once beautiful and enlightening, date from the Old Babylonian Period (ca. 1900–1700 BCE). They have been assembled from three important collections: the Columbia Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Columbia University; the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology; and the Yale babylonian Collection, Yale University.

More information about the exhibition can be found at

Retiring from the libraries

Name of Employee:  Bindu Bhatt
Title:  South Asian Studies Librarian
Department:  Area Studies
Officer of the Libraries
Retiring effective date:  December 24, 2010

Name of Employee:  Seth Kasten
Title:  Head of Reference and Research and Collection Development
Department:  Burke Library
Officer of the Libraries
Retiring effective date:  December 31, 2010

Name of Employee:  Sarah Elliston Weiner
Title:  Director, Wallach Gallery and Curator of Art Properties
Department:  Art Properties
Officer of Administration
Retiring effective date: January 7, 2011

Almost an event: computer overheat incident

From the Columbia University E&HS newsletter, Safety Matters:

"A computer fire was recently avoided by a quick thinking employee and thorough investigation by staff. Upon entering the work area, the employee detected an unknown burning odor and immediately called Public Safety, who in turned called EH&S Fire Safety and Facilities to investigate the odor.  The investigation traced the odor back to a desktop computer tower that was emitting excessive heat."  Read the full article here:


Join METRO on Monday, November 8th from 10:00 am – 11:00 am for their next fall webinar, “Practical Open Source Software for Libraries: Part 1.” Follow-up and take a closer look the next day, November 9th , with “Practical Open Source Software for Libraries, Part 2.”

Open source has become a valuable way for libraries to increase their flexibility and freedom with software. During the first session of this two-part webinar series, instructor Nicole Engard will introduce students to open source software and how it is being used to improve library services.

Students who register for the second session will take a more in-depth look at specific applications that libraries worldwide are using now to improve services for patrons and staff alike.

*Please note that attendance at Part 1 is not required but is recommended as a pre-requisite for those who need more background on open source software and its application in libraries.

Part 1 registration fees: $20 members; $20 myMETRO; $40 non-members

To register or to learn more, visit

Part 2 registration fees: $20 members; $20 myMETRO; $40 non-members

To learn more, visit _

Please contact Laura Forshay at _lforshay@metro.org_ <>, 212.228.2320 x10 with any questions.

Please follow the Libraries guidelines for approval of this training:

Staff Transitions

Francie Mrkich was promoted from Associate Director to Director of Access Services, effective January 1, 2010.

Vivian Sukenik retired from the Science and Engineering Libraries, effective January 1, 2010.

Staff Activities

Damon Jaggars,  Associate University Librarian for Collections and Services, spoke at the ACRL/NY Annual Symposium 2009 in December: . He also recently published “Comparing Service Priorities Between Staff and Users in Association of Research Libraries (ARL) Member Libraries,” /portal: Libraries and the Academy/, Vol. 9, No. 3, 2009, pp. 441-452 (with Shanna Smith Jaggars and Jocelyn Duffy).

Neil Romanosky, Delivery Services Librarian, is Chair of the ALA Reference and User Services (RUSA) Sharing and Transforming Access to Resources (STARS) ILL Discussion Group. Neil moderated the group’s ALA Midwinter session on January 16, 2010 in Boston, Massachusetts. Cyril Oberlander, Associate Director, Milne Library, SUNY Geneseo, presented “GIST: A Customizable Future for ILL and Acquisitions,” a toolkit that merges acquisitions and ILL functionality by utilizing a library’s ILL software to enable user-initiated purchase requests via a traditional ILL request form. Michael Ireland, Director, CISTI Information Access and Delivery, and Jason Charron, Director, CISTI Corporate Services and Strategic Initiatives, discussed major funding reductions at CISTI and delivered a “CISTI Transformation Update,” describing the resulting new outsourced document delivery service for materials from the collection of the /Canada Institute for Scientific and Technical Information (/CISTI).

Jen Rutner, Assessment and Marketing Librarian, was selected as a member of the ALA Emerging Leaders program for 2010.

Call for volunteers for coordination with missions to Haiti

The Association of National Committees of the Blue Shield (ANCBS) wants to help the people of Haiti.

The earthquake in Haiti of 12th January has caused an enormous devastation. The amount of people that lost their lives is beyond imagination. At the moment basic humanitarian aid and the rebuilding of a functioning infrastructure is crucial.

However, as soon as the situation in Haiti has become more stable, Blue Shield wants to help to enable experts from all over the world to support their Haitian colleagues in assessing the damage to the cultural heritage and therefore to the identity of their country. Subsequently, Blue Shield wants to support recovery, restoration and repair measures necessary to rebuild libraries, archives, museums, monuments and sites.

An important task of ANCBS is to coordinate information. ANCBS needs to know who and where the experts are. ANCBS therefore calls upon archivists, restorers, curators, librarians, architects and other experts to register online as a volunteer.

ANCBS wants to be able to bring experts in contact with those organizations that will send missions to Haiti, and make sure that volunteers will be informed about the situation in Haiti.

Please join Blue Shield to help your Haitian colleagues.

You may find the application form via:

For the statement of Blue Shield on the Haitian earthquake see:

The actions of Blue Shield can also be followed on Facebook:
and Twitter:

New Acquisitions

The following is a list of recent acquisitions of interest to CUL librarians, information professionals, and staff. All of the titles below are shelved in Butler stacks, unless otherwise noted.Archives power: memory, accountability, and social justice / Randall C. Jimerson. CD971 .J56 2009 The case for books: past, present, and future / Robert Darnton. Z116.A2 D37 2009 Copyright and cultural institutions: guidelines for digitization for U.S. libraries, archives, and museums / Peter B. Hirtle, Emily Hudson, & Andrew T. Kenyon. KF2996 .H57 2009g Educating scholars: doctoral education in the humanities / Ronald G. Ehrenberg. AZ183.U5 E35 2010 The world and Wikipedia: how we are editing reality / Andrew Dalby. ZA4482 .D35 2009g ___ Send suggestions for purchase to: Alex Thurman

Staff Spotlight: Edward C. (Ted) Goodman

(Ted Goodman in front of the replica of Henry Hudson’s ship the Half Moon. Photo by Joan Kissell.)

Among the many Hudson River 400th celebratory events and publications this year, one really stands out for Avery staff: Ted Goodman’s recently published book The Hudson River Valley Reader (Cider Mill Press).

Recently WAMC Northeast Public Radio /Roundtable featured an interview with Goodman about his new book. The podcast is available at: This month’s Staff Spotlight:

Who he is: Ted Goodman is the General Editor of the Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals, an online index to architecture, landscape architecture, historic preservation, interior design and city planning based at Columbia University, New York City.

Years at Columbia University: Goodman joined the Avery Index in 1984. He has been editor of the Index since 1986.

Before this: He received his M.L.S. in 1982 from the University of Pittsburgh. Ted is the Past President of the Art Libraries Society of North America, an organization whose 1000 members include architecture and art librarians, visual resources professionals, artists, curators, educators, publishers, and others interested in visual arts information.

In his spare time: In addition to The Hudson River Valley Reader, Goodman is also the editor of Abraham Lincoln: the Prairie Years and the War Years, the Illustrated Edition by Carl Sandburg (Sterling Publishing, 2007). He is the author of Fire! The 100 Most Devastating Fires and the Heroes Who Fought Them (Black Dog & Leventhal, 2001) and is also the editor of Writing the Rails: Train Adventures by the World’s Best-Loved Writers (Black Dog & Leventhal, 2001) and The Forbes Book of Business Quotations (Black Dog & Leventhal, 1997).

News from CDRS and the Scholarly Communication Program

The Center for Digital Research and Scholarship and its Scholarly Communication Program have settled into new offices at 201 Lehman Library in SIPA. The Center hosted a well-attended open house on October 19th, at which visitors met staff and learned about publications, conference, Wikischolars, and video services.

The Scholarly Communication Program presented two events this Fall Semester for its annual speaker series, including an exciting panel of women in academia who blog, and a discussion on the future of learned societies. The next event, “Open Data and the Future of Funded Research,” will be held on November 12, 2009 at 12:30 pm in 555 Lerner Hall. For more information on the series, Research without Borders, including video of past events, visit the Program’s website at