You are exploring: VU > Library > Blogs > Falvey Memorial Library Blog

IMF Statistics Online

We had a couple hundred volumes of International Monetary Fund Statistics at the library.  They were shelved in various and sundry places because of Library of Congress classification conventions and space limitations at Falvey .  Even for librarians and researchers who routinely used IMF, BOP or DOT, or IFS or GFS, it was confusing.

Now we have the complete time series for all IMF data (International Financial Statistics, Balance of Payments, Government Finance Statistics and Direction of Trade) online.   Besides being much easier to find from the comfort of the library, your office or home, the native online version facilitates easy download and manipulation in Excel or several other statistical packages.   Visit the library catalog, economics subject page, finance subject page or Databases A-Z for access.


Feedback Friday: Where did you spend your summer?


A group of Falvey Library staff traveled to Penn State to participate in discussions about the E-Z Borrow service and software. We didn’t go far, but we brought back valuable information (and ice cream from the Berkey Creamery). Did you take classes? Did you study abroad? Or did you stay close to home with family and friends?

Tell us in the Comments! (Or, visit our Facebook page and comment there!)


Feedback Friday: What can we do to improve our loan policies?

calendarBooks from our main collection circulate for 30 days, 60 days, or for a semester, depending on the patron.  Some can be renewed, fines are sometimes assessed, and recalls or holds can be placed, depending on the material type. What would you suggest we do to improve our policies? Is there something you would have us change?

Tell us in the Comments!


Oh, the Humanity!: Time travel and the search for the “human” in the “history” within the pages of S. A. Lane’s autobiography

Posted for: Johanna Hibbs, (Father Thomas Middleton Digital Library Intern 2008):

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Johanna Hibbs and I was the 2008 Fall Father Thomas Middleton Intern for the Falvey Memorial Digital Library and, boy, what an internship it turned out to be!


From handling rare manuscripts to writing Wikipedia articles, my time spent here at Falvey was never rife with tedium nor was it forgettable. I had always pictured the life of an intern to be that of toting hot beverages to the “higher-ups” and making friends with a copy machine for four months, but I would soon realize that this internship was not only a chance to gain experience within an academic, therefore intellectually charged, setting, but I was also able to do something most of my peers miss out on: Time Travel.

Yes, here, at Falvey Memorial Library, one is able to travel through time and witness living, breathing history as I did during my hands-on involvement with the transcription and digitization of one 19th century American: Samuel Alanson Lane and his hand-written autobiography.


This leather bound manuscript of former mayor and local historian of Akron, Ohio was graciously lent to the Digital Library this past year. As a former graduate student who had been recently graduated from the Humanities program at Arcadia University, this project was pure intellectual gold! Fully transcribed and scanned in color at 600 dpi , this 450 + page manuscript offers a “slice of life” look at 19th century life through the eyes of an average American man, who lived in a not-so-average time and is available for the public on the Digital Library’s website.

My journey back in time started with small steps as I was initially given the task of transcribing the words of Lane’s manuscript into a reader-friendly Word document.


At first, deciphering Lane’s handwriting was somewhat challenging as his style of script was, at times, confusing, with some letters appearing as others but as I would soon discover, reading his writing would become as natural as reading my own. This growing sense of familiarity towards Lane’s writing would soon trickle over to the man himself, as I became more and more engrossed in his life’s tale. What started as mere word-for-word transcription became more of a weekly fix of Americana to satiate my hunger for history and quench my thirst for a touching narrative. Therefore, it was not the least bit shocking when I decided to devote my semester long online exhibition to S. A. Lane; transporting myself back to the America he witnessed during his 90 years on this planet, from 1815 to 1905.

Acting much like a time portal, the exhibit’s aim was to highlight some of the major events and marvels that peppered the years of Lane’s life. The topics I chose were:

Railroads, Slavery, Politics, Temperance Movement, California Gold Rush, Telegraph, Photography, Invention


and were based both on Lane’s experience with each topic as well as the overall impact these facets had on America during that time. My goal in this exhibit is to discuss each topic based on my own academic research while simultaneously displaying, through Lane’s own words, how these major historical events and marvels wove themselves into the fibers of an average American’s tale. If Lane did not discuss a certain event within the pages of his manuscript (i.e. the Civil War) in any great detail, I did not include it in the exhibit. Similarly, it was impossible to research every aspect of Lane’s life. Topics like Mormon and Native American Life as well as 19th century health issues were aspects of American society represented in Lane’s writing, but limited time did not afford them a place in the final cut. It was my hope to have the exhibit act more as a doorway into the life of Lane rather than it be the entire homestead; allowing each visitor to customize their own entrance into his life and perhaps become as entranced as I was in his entire first-person narrative.


Looking back at the many weeks I spent “living” in the 19th century, I have found myself most intrigued with the “human” aspect of this venture. I found it difficult, if not impossible, to read the lines I transcribed without being reminded that at one time, Lane was scribbling down his own personal thoughts and remembrances, perhaps in hopes that someone like myself in the future would find his life events interesting enough to preserve and, above all, appreciate. In many ways, this project served as a way to immortalize a man whose achievements and thoughts could have easily been swept away in the tides of time. Lane’s endearing anecdotes and genuinely kind character helped anchor his memory in the tumultuous current of history and it was no wonder that I found myself cheering for his successes and sympathizing with his tragedies. These emotions I felt during this project made Lane’s life in America during the 19th century almost tangible, proving that I did indeed “travel back in time”.

I would like to thank the following collaborators and supporters of this project. Without their help and devotion, I would not have been able to accomplish so much: Ward Barnes, David Burke, Brittany Dudas, Michael Foight, Sue Ottignon, Teri Ann Pirone, Andrea Reed and Stephen Spatz.


Elite Edition: Eyecandy for Visual Gormands

The growth of micro-blogs has been tremendous over the last few years. A recent article in Slate highlights this trend and points out some of the notable blogs in this sub-genre.

The Blue Electrode is joining this trend with the creation of a second “Elite Edition” which will highlight images from new titles and quotes from just transcribed texts. Don’t expect the new edition to have much editorial commentary, for that content continue to read the standard edition.

Blue Electrode: Elite Edition


Feedback Friday: Does popular culture have an impact on your life?


The news about Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, and Michael Jackson has the world talking about how popular culture has changed and how it has changed us over the years. Did an artist, musician, or actor have an impact on your life?

Tell us in the Comments!

Legends, Icons, and Superstars of the 20th Century (Warner Home Video)

Hollywood Animal by Joe Eszterhas

Pop Music and the Press by Steve Jones


Feedback Friday: Which freedoms do you treasure most?

philadelphia_free_library1There are free libraries all over the country. Americans also enjoy other freedoms including the freedom of speech and freedom of the press. What other freedoms do you enjoy?

Tell us in the Comments!

“The First Catholic Fourth of July”

Free Library Membership for Residents of Radnor & Lower Merion Townships!



Last Modified: July 2, 2009