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Dear Diary…

Posted for: Jennifer Pilling, Digital Library Intern, Spring 2010

Using the Barry-Hayes collection, I have recently completed a teachers’ guide for language arts, English, and history high school teachers. The guide focuses primarily on a journal that Patrick Hayes kept while journeying with John Barry to China on a merchant trade mission. Patrick kept meticulous notes on the weather, the various stops they took along the way, and customs that he experienced during the voyage. Other resources are also noted, including related primary documents held at the Independence Seaport Museum.

Patrick Hays His Book

As is the case with all primary source materials, Patrick’s journal gives us a window into the past, untarnished by interpretation. The goal of this guide is to highlight a primary source from history, to set it into historical context, and to use it for examination and comparison to better understand the history of written language. Teachers will first walk their students through information about written language in the 18th Century as it compares to writing conventions of today. They will then help the students understand the historical context in which Patrick Hayes wrote the journal, and lastly, the students will have the opportunity to read and interpret the journal for themselves.

There are several activities that teachers can assign to help bring the content of the guide to life. Students will be asked to learn how to transcribe excerpts from the journal, so they can see firsthand the differences that exist in grammar, punctuation and writing style at this time. They can also write their own journals and compare the types of adventures teenagers might experience today. Students can even learn how to make their own quill and ink.

This project has taught me the value of primary resources, and my experience transcribing the 78-page journal has increased my proficiency in reading 18th-century handwriting. I also learned quite a bit myself about writing conventions of the time, and the laborious process of preparing the paper, ink and quill before sitting down to write. The history that this single item holds is priceless, and worth exploring, with or without the guide. Enjoy!

Teacher’s Guide: Journey Back in Time: 18th Century Writing Practices & Modern Comparisons
Patrick Hayes’s Diary: “tho a bad Sailor…”


Getty to Provide Free Access to the Bibliography of the History of Art

bhaThe Getty announced in April that it will provide free access to the Bibliography of the History of Art (BHA) from its Website. The Getty news release does not mention that interested scholars and students will search a static database without any indexing or abstracting of scholarly output published after 2009 unless new funding can be found in the near future.  A Biblio-File Brouhaha by Lee Rosenbaum, recently published in the Wall Street Journal, gives detailed information about the events that led to the termination of BHA.

As a result CSA no longer offers BHA as a subscription database and students and faculty have to make do without the convenient FindIt button that links to the Library’s holdings and interlibrary loan forms. The Library’s Databases A-Z list now links to the Getty Website for continued access. We hope that the new search interface hosted by the Getty will not prevent faculty and students from future use of this important research resource in art history.

Please feel free to contact us with any questions or comments that you may have.
Contributed by Alice Bampton.


Falvey bids farewell to Jim Fox

jimfox_ed_lhJim Fox, part time stacks coordinator with Access and User Assistance, retired on April 30 after more than 13 years of service. Jim began his time at Falvey working as a microfilm supervisor, overseeing the use of the microfilm machines and supervising the students who worked in the Bound Periodicals Stacks. When the library underwent renovations, Jim was reassigned to Access and User Assistance and assumed the position of part time stacks coordinator. Jim’s new duties expanded to include Interlibrary Loan.

After earning his bachelor’s degree from Villanova University in 1958, Jim taught history at Upper Merion High School until his retirement in 1996. Following retirement Jim returned to the University to work in the library. He also taught history at LaSalle University, Penn State University and Neumann College.

Jim’s loyalty to the students, the library and the university was unmatched. He had a knack for connecting with the students, and they were Jim’s first priority. He loved hearing their stories and would frequently quiz them on University history or engage them in conversation about Villanova basketball or football.

Jim was a true asset to Falvey Memorial Library. He performed many necessary tasks that required a great deal offox-whiteboard stamina as well as technical skill. When asked, “Hey, Jim. How are you doing?” he would always answer, “Miserable as ever!” but nothing could be further from the truth. He performed his duties without complaint and never failed to miss an opportunity to show an interest in each one of us.

Jim’s retirement will allow him to spend more time with his wife Teresa, his children and grandchildren.

Article and photo by Laura Hutelmyer. Whiteboard art by Joanne Quinn.


Words, words, words

One of the most fun aspects of transcribing letters is getting a glimpse of a different time period with its different manners, customs, and turns of phrase—not to mention different styles of penmanship! I recently transcribed a letter from Philemon “Cump” Sherman to Eleanor “Ellie” Sherman Thackara, in which Cump asks Ellie’s advice about the area around the Adirondack Mountains. (Read the letter here.) Ellie had written an article about a trip to the Adirondacks and Cump wanted to know about the navigability of the lakes and rivers of the area.

Two words in this letter caught my interest, and I do love looking things up in the OED and other logophile sources, so I am sharing my findings below.

his nibs

Near the beginning of the letter, Cump refers to the plans of “his nibs,” a word that—according to the Oxford English Dictionary—originally referred to the person in question or the person being alluded to, but which later became an ironic method of referring to a person in authority, often with the “implication that the person referred to has an excessive sense of his or her own importance.” Used with a possessive such as his or her, nibs acts as a mock title, in the style of references to members of the British aristocracy (e.g., “his lordship”).

In concluding the letter, Cump writes: “The gyascutus is rejoicing as the time to go home approaches.”


The gyascutus is a “fearsome critter” from Anglo-American folklore. The Encyclopedia Brittanica describes the gyascutus as “an imaginary, large, four-legged beast with legs on one side longer than those on the other, for walking on hillsides.” The Wikipedia entry gives several variant names for the creature and further notes that the animal is unable to stand on level ground due to the uneven length of its legs.


China Data Center


The library is pleased to announce expanded access to China Data Center. Despite the conventional wisdom that reliable statistics on China are hard to come by, several of our subscription databases such at EIU Market Indicators & Forecasts, IHS Global Insight and the the International Monetary Fund offer national level harmonized data. Free web sites such as the World Bank and United Nations offer national level data too.

However for a country with an expansive and diverse geography, population and economy,  national level data may not be sufficient.  China Data Center offers monthly and annual data series on the national, provincial, and city levels.  Categories reported include industry, national accounts, prices, earnings, agriculture, construction, investment, government finance, transportation, communication, trade, health and culture.

The China Data Center works best with Internet Explorer.  The interface is rather simple supporting drill down by statistical category, but not offering keyword searching.  Data can only be cut and paste into Excel rather than by download and the a built in graphing feature is only available for a subset of statistics.

Some nice additional features of this resource are news on statistical releases, and access to the index to China Survey Data Network a resource similar to ICPSR in that its mission is to be a vehicle for social scientists to share data sets.

China Data Center is available from the Economics & Statistics, Geography and Political Science Subject Pages and the Databases A-Z.


Falvey staff members honored for their years of service to the University

Five Falvey Memorial Library staff members were recently honored at the University’s service recognition dinner on April 28.

William (Bill) Greene, Access Services, who received a mantle clock for 35 years of service; Luisa Cywinski, Access Services team leader, who received a watch for 25 years of service; Natalie Tomasco, Resource Management specialist, a watch for 25 years of service; Mary Heyman, Business and Administrative Services specialist, a desk clock for 20 years of service; and Marie Roman, Resource Management specialist, 15 years of service. They also received service-recognition pins.

Dinner attendees were treated to “a wonderful time” and “delicious food,” according to Mary Heyman.  Associate Vice President for Human Resources Ellen LaCorte, Ph.D. , provided welcoming comments, and University President Rev. Peter M. Donohue, O.S.A., Ph.D., congratulated each staff member and awarded the service-recognition pins.

In addition to the staff mentioned above, three librarians celebrated service anniversaries:  Susan Markley, Resource Management team leader – 30 years of service; Merrill Stein, Assessment – 20 years of service; and Barbara Quintiliano, Instructional Design and Research librarian – 10 years of service.

In 2009, several other Falvey staff members were honored: Domenick Liberato, Access Services – 20 years of service; Margaret Duffy, manager of Budget and Administrative Services – 10 years of service; and Ward Barnes, Access Services – 10 years of service.

These committed staff members and librarians have provided two hundred twenty years of dedicated service to Falvey Memorial Library and Villanova University, a truly impressive number.

Submitted by Alice Bampton


Fall 2010 Library Research Workshops

falvey_doorwayThe spring semester is over and it is time to plan for the upcoming fall semester. Please contact me if you are interested in a library research workshop for one or more of your fall courses.

Some of you may feel that there simply isn’t enough time for a library research workshop, but you still expect your students to conduct library research. In this case an online research course guide with or without a quick in class introduction may be a practical alternative. Please take a look at some of the online course guides from previous semesters: art history, criminal justice, history, and sociology.

Last but not least, remember to order books and videos early, so that they will be available in the Library when you or your students need them.

Here is my contact information:
E-mail: jutta.seibert@villanova.edu
Phone: 610-519-7876
Office: 1st floor, Falvey Library


Spotlight on Ancient History Online


Falvey patrons now have access to the online Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece and Rome which contains contributions from 500 authors. Entries cover the Bronze Age (3000 BCE) through the era of Emperor Justinian (600 CE). The Encyclopedia contains topical outlines on Rome and Greece, numerous illustrations, maps, and genealogical tables. Primary sources and annotated bibliographies of mostly English secondary titles are provided with the articles; most articles also include helpful cross-references. While the writers are usually authorities in their fields, their intended audiences are college students and educated laypersons.

Additional online resources in the field of ancient history:

  • Oxford Dictionary of the Classical World
    Over 2,500 entries beginning with the first Olympic Games in 776 BCE and ending with the death of Marcus Aurelius (180 CE). The Dictionary “covers key aspects of ancient Greek and Roman life and literature…”
  • Oxford Companion to Classical Civilization
    Authoritative survey of ancient Greek and Roman history.
  • Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt
    The Encyclopedia focuses on dynastic Egypt, but also includes some earlier material. More than 250 scholars contributed over 600 articles accompanied by bibliographies.
  • Cambridge Ancient History
    Covers ancient history from prehistory to late antiquity (3000 B.C.-600 A.D.). All 14 volumes can be searched simultaneously, individual chapters can be bookmarked or downloaded and cited references can be tracked via OpenURL, which will link to the full text in Falvey’s holdings or pre-fill an interlibrary loan form.
  • Cambridge History of the Byzantine Empire c. 500 – 1492
    Written by a group of expert international Byzantine scholars, it “follow[s] the fortunes of the empire” chronologically from “The Earlier Empire c. 500 – c. 700” to “The Middle Empire c. 700 – 1204” and ends with “The Byzantine Lands in the Later Middle Ages 1204 – 1492.” These three parts are subdivided into chapters. Also included are a glossary, genealogical tables, lists of rulers, alternative place names, 52 maps and a bibliography.

Did you know that Oxford Reference Online includes time lines of ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome? Each date and event listed on these time lines is linked to entries in relevant online Oxford reference titles.

All titles are all available through the Library catalog. Please feel free to contact us with any questions or comments that you may have.
Contributed by Alice Bampton.


Laura Bang joins Special Collections and the Digital Library

laura-bang-copy-3Laura Bang, who recently earned her master’s degree in library science from the University of Maryland, has joined Falvey Memorial Library as a curatorial assistant in Special and Digital Collections.

Laura will hire, train and supervise students and staff  in the Digital Library. She will also help develop and mount the Special Collections’ online and physical exhibits and catalog Special Collections’ acquisitions. Laura will also serve on the Humanities/Social Sciences liaison team.

Originally from Santa Barbara (Ca.),  Laura received her bachelor’s degree in comparative literature from Bryn Mawr College. Last summer, while in graduate school, Laura worked at the International Youth Library in Munich, Germany. Laura noted that the IYL is located in a fifteenth-century castle and that her work there was her “favorite experience in library school.”

Her hobbies are reading, baking and photography. Laura said she “is excited to be here” at Villanova.

Article and photograph by Alice Bampton


Cambridge Collections Online: Titles in Philosophy, Religion & Literature

Cambridge Collections Online offers subject or theme based collections of content within a richly functional, fully cross-searchable online environment. The Complete Cambridge Companions is available as a complete collection and as two sub-collections comprising the Cambridge Companions in Literature and Classics and the Cambridge Companions in Philosophy, Religion and Culture.

Each collection is updated with new Companions on publication.  The new additions are as follows:

  • The Companions to Philosophy, Religion and Culture
    Louie, The Cambridge Companion to Modern Chinese Culture
    Shuffelton, The Cambridge Companion to Thomas Jefferson
    Norton/Taylor, The Cambridge Companion to Hume (2nd edition)
    Hodge/Radick, The Cambridge Companion to Darwin (2nd edition)
    Manning, The Cambridge Companion to Paul Tillich
    Ker/Merrigan, The Cambridge Companion to John Henry Newman


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Last Modified: May 10, 2010