Category Archives: Announcements

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:

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:

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

CUL/Information Services Planning for Pandemic

The University initiated pandemic planning in 2007.  If a pandemic strikes so badly that the University needs to close down non-essential activities, on-campus services to patrons by CUL, CCNMTL, and CDRS will stop.  However, we will continue providing online services.  We will also continue to maintain our own essential activities, such as keeping CLIO, LWeb, and Swift functional and assuring that collections are secure.  The more likely scenario is a lower rate of flu cases, so that campus can remain open throughout, although we may have to cope with fewer than usual staff.

Each division of CUL/IS has prepared and updated a pandemic response plan that lays out a set of back-ups if the division’s usual management staff are sick, and that specifies which activities must be kept going.  Each group (Bibliographic Services and Collection Development, Collections and Services, and Digital Programs and Technology Services) has prepared an umbrella plan to coordinate activities and management across the groups.  DPTS is also strengthening communication methods so that information can be sent to staff via phone, email, text messages, and other technologies.  Finally, our Financial Services and Human Resources staff will work closely with the University to manage payroll and other essential services.

The divisional and group plans are available on Swift under Health and Safety at

Janet Gertz
Chair, CUL/IS Pandemic Planning Working Group

Nominations for the CRL Primary Source Awards are now open

The annual program features three award categories—research, teaching, and access—and prizes for both the awardees and those who nominate them. Faculty, students and librarians are all eligible. Please note that the award is not limited to the use of CRL-held resources.  Nominees must be affiliated with CRL member institutions, however.

Nominations for the 2010 awards can be submitted online at and will be accepted through January 31, 2010. The program will help broaden our understanding of how specific researchers, teachers, and librarians use primary source materials and enable us to share that information with the entire CRL community.

Please contact Pamela Graham if you would like to nominate someone. If you nominate a winning candidate you will also be eligible for a prize!

To learn more, visit the CRL website or contact Don Dyer, Membership & Communications Coordinator, at or 773-955-4545, ext. 317.

H1N1 Influenza

On June 11, WHO officially declared that the global incidence of H1N1 had met the criteria for official classification as a ‘pandemic’, the first such designation in 41 years.  Our collective knowledge of this agent’s epidemiology is rapidly evolving as would be expected with any novel pathogen.  But despite the inability to provide many definitive answers about H1N1, several infection control concepts transcend the particulars of an individual outbreak.  A useful mnemonic is the 5 C’s:

  • Communicate. Keep informed of the current outbreak status.  Health experts at the University continue to monitor the flu situation closely.  For current information, especially prevention tips and resources, visit the Columbia University Preparedness website:
  • (stay) Calm. Obtaining accurate information (see bullet above) will allow you to take the steps necessary to reduce your chances of becoming ill.
  • Clean shared equipment such as keyboards and telephones; door knobs are also a high priority item as a significant percentage of disease transmission is initiated from the hands of infected individuals.  The most important thing to clean is your hands, frequently.  In the absence of soap and running water, alcohol based hand sanitizers are effective.
  • Cover your coughs or sneezes.  In the absence of a tissue, cough or sneeze into your arm or elbow.
  • Contain. If you are sick from a cold or influenza-like illness (ILI), stay home and contact as few people as possible.  Conversely, if you are caring for an ill family member or friend, be sure to protect yourself through frequent hand washing and housekeeping.  See for detailed CDC guidance for providers of home care.  Children should remain at home while they are infectious.

Indoor Air Quality: Molds-Leaks-Response

From Columbia’s Environmental Health & Safety newsletter, Safety Matters:

Molds are environmentally ubiquitous organisms that routinely populate indoor and outdoor environments; nearly anywhere one looks for mold, it will be found.  For this reason, testing for molds is not recommended when aberrant mold amplification is suspected.  Following water leaks or other events that create conditions conducive to mold growth, the first and most crucial step is to stop the water intrusion.  Then, all affected items must be thoroughly cleaned and completely dried; items that cannot be cleaned and dried quickly  should be discarded.  Rarely, materials will exhibit mold growth as a result of water intrusion, and the response will depend on the extent of the growth.  Walls with fewer  than 10 square feet of visible mold can be cleaned with a surface-compatible cleaner and disinfectant and repainted, whereas extensive
involvement may necessitate removal of affected sections.  Water damaged ceiling tiles must be quickly replaced.

If your work area has been impacted by water, contact Facilities as soon as possible.  Rapid response in these situations can prevent an easily manageable situation from becoming more complex. For more information, read the complete article here.

CCNMTL Case Study Commended at Maternal Survival Conference in Ethiopia

A case study developed by CCNMTL and faculty partners from Columbia University’s Averting Maternal Death and Disability (AMDD) Program received overwhelmingly positive reviews at a recent African regional conference, Human Resources for Maternal Survival: Task-Shifting to Non-Physician Clinicians, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. CCNMTL piloted the case study at the conference in preparation for devising a broader multimedia case and training materials for a new course on maternal health offered at the Mailman School of Public Health. Read more about the case study at

CCNMTL Launches Mobile Portal for Columbia on iTunes U

iPhone and iPod Touch users now have direct access to Columbia on iTunes U on their mobile devices, making Columbia podcasts readily available for download and play without the need of a desktop computer. With the release of the iPhone 3.0 software, iPhone and iPod Touch users can navigate to iTunes U via the iTunes application. The new Columbia on iTunes U mobile portal, developed by CCNMTL, enables users to link directly to Columbia’s podcast library by visiting in their mobile Safari browser. The mobile portal, shown to the right, offers the same access modes for public and Columbia (UNI-authenticated) users and provides the same robust library of audio and video podcasts to browse, download, or play immediately.

Registration Opens for the CCNMTL Fall Premiere 2009

CCNMTL will host its annual Fall Premiere on Tuesday, September 8, 2009 from 11am-12pm in 203 Butler Library. Columbia faculty and instructors, librarians, teaching assistants, and CCNMTL partners are invited to attend this one-hour event and explore the latest teaching technologies offered at Columbia University. During the Fall Premiere, you’ll see demonstrations of new, collaborative tools including EdBlogs, the University-wide blogging platform, and Wikischolars, a wiki solution for Columbia faculty and researchers. You’ll also learn about Columbia’s YouTube channel and receive updates on CCNMTL’s faculty services including workshops, online tutorials, and do-it-yourself podcasting.  For more information and to register, visit