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Black Abolitionist Papers on Trial

Local book author and Philadelphia Inquirer journalist Dan Biddle teaches a course on 19th century civil rights in the Honors Program this fall.  His students are using a range of primary sources from the library’s collection.  Although much is available online, some primary sources remain hidden away on microfilm reelsThe Black Abolitionist Papers and the Papers of the Pennsylvania Abolitionist Society are a case in point.  For a limited time students and faculty have access to the online version of the Black Abolitionist Papers until the trial ends on October 14.  The online collection includes over 15,000 items which can be browsed by document type, name, source, location and date.  It covers the period 1830-1865 and contains the correspondence of major African American leaders, selected speeches, lectures and sermons, as well as articles from more than 200 newspapers.  Interested faculty and students are strongly encouraged to review the online version and send their feedback to Jutta Seibert.  The library will endeavor to add the Black Abolitionist Papers to its permanent collection if there is enough interest.

Biddle’s students will also be working with the African American Newspapers collection, the African American Studies Center and the American Periodicals Series to name but a few of the many digital collections available at Falvey.  Find more resources related to 19th century civil rights with the help of the library research guide Discovering 19th Century Civil Rights.  Many of you will remember Dan Biddle from the 2011 Black History Month Lecture at Falvey.  He and his co-author Murray Dubin discussed their book Tasting Freedom: Octavius Catto and the Battle for Equality in Civil War America.

Feel free to contact me with any questions or comments that you may have.


Quick Tip: How to Access Course Reserves

Did a professor give you a long list of “Course Reserves” that you don’t know what to do with?

Course reserves are books, DVDs or other materials that have been taken out of circulation and are being held in a special area of the Library. They are often the most helpful research materials for a class; putting them on reserve ensures that everyone can access them, without any one person getting to them first and hoarding them.

But if you’ve never had to use materials on reserve, you may not know how to access them.

Fear not! It’s really quite easy.

To borrow a book, DVD or other item on reserve, registered students can simply ask for the item at the Circulation Desk. Library staff will retrieve the item and check it out to the student. Students must present their Wildcard in order to access reserve items.

The amount of time students can access these materials will vary based on type of item and professor’s request. Books may have a loan period of 2 hours or 1, 3 or 7 days. DVDs and videos placed on reserve are restricted to an in-house loan period of 3 hours.

Did you misplace your course reserves list, or don’t have it on hand? You can also browse the list of reserves for a particular class through VuFind by clicking here.

Alternately, faculty may request that the library reserve staff make certain readings available online. These may include photocopies of articles, selected book chapters, exams, papers or essays. Students can access Electronic Reserves via “MyNova” and the Blackboard Course Management software. Students must be registered for the class to obtain access to the Electronic Reserve readings.

For more information on Course Reserves, click here.


Roman Catholic High School Partnership Signed

Posted for Darren G. Poley, Outreach Librarian

Villanova’s Digital Library recently signed a digital partnership agreement with the Alumni Association of the oldest free Catholic high school still in operation in the city of Philadelphia, Roman Catholic High School. The impressive Gothic building on the northeast corner of Broad and Vine Streets continues to be the main building of the historic school commonly known as Roman. But Roman is not just another private Catholic high school for boys. Serving the entire metro area, while still staying close to its roots in the center of the city, Roman Catholic High School has the distinction of being the first free Catholic high school for boys in the United States. The partnership between Roman and Villanova University will allow Falvey to scan rare and fragile documents for the sake of preservation and to promote scholarship on urban Catholic education in Philadelphia at the turn of the last century; including, for example, a printed copy of the founders will, the first year book, and the earliest extant editions of the student newspaper and literary magazine.

In fact, as Joe Clark, a staff writer for the Philadelphia Daily News, reported in a Sept. 8, 1989 article entitled “Celebrating the Roman Century,” Roman is “the oldest and first free Catholic high school in North America.” Clark went on to say: “The school was founded and built through the benevolence of Thomas E. Cahill, a wealthy Catholic layman and Philadelphia merchant. When he died in 1878, Cahill left the bulk of his almost $1 million estate to establish a high school for the ‘practical and free education of boys over 11 living in Philadelphia.’” In the same article, Clark also wrote, “On Sept. 11, 1890, Roman Catholic High School opened its doors to 105 boys who four years later would be members of the school’s first graduating class of 1894.”

Known at different times as the Cahill School and Catholic High, it is no longer free, in the sense that it now charges a modest tuition as compared with the other Catholic prep schools in the area, but it continues its proud scholastic and athletic tradition which has produced some of the city’s leading citizens as well as fiercely loyal cohorts of what are affectionately known as “Roman men.” Falvey Memorial Library is now proud to aid Roman in an effort to document and preserve for scholars archival materials held by the Alumni Association at the school related to the school’s founding and it long heritage as a prominent Catholic educational institution.


Need a Measurement Instrument? C’mon, Get HaPI!

Want to gather data in some area of health or psychosocial sciences? Wondering if a questionnaire, interview schedule, checklist, rating scale or some other measurement instrument already exists? Now you can stop wondering and get HaPI. Health and Psychosocial Instruments (HaPI) is a database that provides references to journal articles and monographs containing information on approximately 15,000 measurement instruments.

While the full-text of the instruments is not included in the database, HaPI can help you discover the titles of instruments that exist and determine their reliability and validity. The library has access to many of the journals and books cited in the database or can obtain them for you through ILLiad. In addition, the full text of instruments are often included in the appendix of dissertations and can be found by searching the instrument titles in Dissertations and Theses Full Text.

To access HaPI:

  • Start at the Falvey home page: http://library.villanova.edu
  • Click Databases A-Z.
  • Choose HaPI.
  • NOTE: HaPI is not to be confused with the database bearing the same acronym, Hispanic-American Periodical Index.







E-Books for Business

According to The Economist, “Digitization may have come late to book publishing, but it is transforming the business in short order.” (Business: Great digital expectations; the books business. (2011, Sep 10). The Economist, 400(8750), 69. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/888378749?accountid=14853)

The prices of e-readers are falling, the range of e-readers and tablets on the market is expanding,  the formats for reading digital books has stabalized around PDF and EPUB, while the cost of buying e-books remains in flux.  So where does this leave academic business library collections?  Not on the sidelines, but in the thick of it!

As the availability of scholarly e-books has increased, so has our spending on e-books for economics, management, accounting, marketing, finance and business in general.  While I’ve never embraced the notion that “if it isn’t online it doesn’t exist“, I do recognize that the anywhere, anytime convenience of e-books fits the needs of both VSB undergraduates and MBA candidates.    And now faculty are increasingly asking for digital books!

Most of our e-books are discoverable via the library catalog.  However the catalog only allows searching by metadata items such as author, title, publisher, subject and when available chapter titles.  Since valuable information may only be discoverable in the  full text of e-books, searching in the native interface may be what’s needed.

Business Expert Press download options

The three e-book platforms that allow downloading books to your computer, tablet or reader enabled with a  Adobe Digital Editions application are EBSCOHost e-books, Business Expert Press, and OECD iLibrary.  Business Expert Press books are practical, brief, written by scholars and for undergraduate and graduate students.  To download a book  from a Business Expert Press title, choose InfoTools and Global Express Options.  The entire text is downloadable without any restrictions on how many users can access the title or limitations on duration of use.

Books on the EBSCOHost e-books platform come from a wide range of publishers.  They are the same books you are likely to find in print in books stores or on library shelves.  Some are scholarly and some are professional.  Some can only be read online, but an ever increasing number of them can be downloaded and checkout for up to three days and renewed.  Unless we have purchased a multi-user copy, when an EBSCOHost e-book is downloaded and checked out, it is unavailable to other potential users.  To download a book you need to create an EBSCOHost account and sign in.

EBSCOHost eBook online reading launch and download options

OECD iLibrary includes almost all of the books, articles and annuals published by the Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development.  Multiple users can download books simultaneously about topics ranging from agriculture to economics, industry, education, technology, trade, finance, governance, urbanization and taxation.  If you see a PDF, you can simply download it.

Additional business e-book platforms are listed on the Bartley Business Information Center home page under Resources, E-books.





Darren G. Poley Featured in the "Virtual Stacks"

Scholarly Outreach Librarian Darren G. Poley is one of a number of librarians interviewed for Working in the Virtual Stacks: The New Library and Information Science, edited by Laura Townsend Kane. Working in the Virtual Stacks, published by ALA Editions and available in print and as an e-book, examines various aspects of modern librarianship and its relationship with technology.

Poley, the coordinator for Falvey Memorial Library’s event programming and outreach since 2005, appears in the chapter entitled “Librarians as Teachers and Community Liaisons.” Kane, after learning of Falvey’s outreach activities under Poley’s leadership, “thought [his] role [is] unique and interesting” and asked to interview him as one of two outreach librarians. Others featured in this chapter are a graduate library school professor, a school library media specialist, an associate dean of libraries and library school professor, and a user experience librarian.

Kane wrote the earlier book Straight from the Stacks: A Firsthand Guide to Careers in Library and Information Science (ALA Editions, 2003). Poley noted that “Working the Virtual Stacks … is meant to give a new look at the subject with a digital technology bent.”

Poley, with an undergraduate degree from Gettysburg College, a master’s degree in religion from the Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary, and a master’s degree in library and information science from Drexel University, started full-time at Falvey as a reference librarian and cataloger in 1999. He became an adjunct faculty member of Villanova University’s theology and religious studies department in fall 2000 and still teaches there. He also continues as the leader of the team for scholarly outreach and community development at Falvey. The outreach team is responsible for collaborative projects, such as the Villanova University Community Bibliography and open access e-journal publishing for the University, as well as for handling events and displays for the Library.

Contributed by Alice Bampton and Gerald Dierkes


Dr. Joan D. Lynch Returns to Villanova to Discuss Her New Novel, Women of the Passion

By Alexandra Edwards

Join us as we welcome Joan Driscoll Lynch, EdD, Professor Emeritus and former chair of the Communication Department at Villanova University. Dr. Lynch will discuss her novel, Women of the Passion, on Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2011, at 1:00 p.m. in the library first floor lounge.

As a professor of communication at Villanova, Dr. Lynch taught Film Studies and Theatre for 30 years. She founded the University’s Cultural Film Series in 1980 and ran it for 22 years. She has written extensively on film and drama, and several of her articles have been anthologized. Since 1989, her writings have focused on women’s issues. Most recently, she has written poetry, screenplays and fiction.

Commenting upon her switch from academia to writing a novel, Dr. Lynch says, “I loved my work as an academic and enjoyed writing those materials. Fiction, however, is more liberating. I love getting into the minds and hearts of the characters.”

Inspired by Biblical scripture and utilizing historical research, Women of the Passion (MSJ Press) is a fictional account of the Crucifixion and its aftermath, from the perspective of the women who walked with Jesus. “I wanted to place readers squarely in the middle of those dramatic days after the Crucifixion through the eyes of the women, Mary, the mother of Jesus, Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Miriam and others, to walk in their shoes, to experience what they were thinking, doing and feeling and to allow readers to experience for themselves the riot of conflicting emotions that tore at these women and the men that accompanied them.”

The novel has been described as both a “historical thriller” and a “page turner,”  “filled with suspense, intrigue, and fascinating details of conditions in Jerusalem in the first century.”

The event is free and open to the public. A book sale and signing will follow the talk.


"Augustine through the Ages" encyclopedia now available online

This summer, the Digital Library secured an exciting partnership with the William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, the publishers of Augustine through the Ages. This encyclopedia is the single most-accessed item in Falvey’s Special Collections. With renovations now underway on Falvey’s second floor, the Special Collections reading room has temporarily closed, but its most popular book is now more accessible than ever.



Below, in his own words, Augustine through the Ages editor Father Allan Fitzgerald, OSA, PhD, describes this landmark partnership and its benefit for students, faculty and other members of the Villanova University community:

Augustine through the Ages presents the life, work and influence of Augustine of Hippo (A.D. 354-430), one of the greatest figures in the history of the Christian church. Few figures in history are so great in their own time and so lastingly influential that they can stand being made the subject of an encyclopedia of over 950 pages.

Fr. Allan Fitzgerald discusses the creation of "Augustine Through the Ages" at a Falvey Faculty Book Talk, Sept. 20, 1999

This book is now available in the Villanova Digital Library for members of the Villanova University community – thanks to an agreement with William Eerdmans Publishing. It is the first full encyclopedic handling of the thought and influence of Saint Augustine of Hippo, a much-needed reference for this major patristic figure in the development of Western religious thought. About 150 scholars have supplied almost 500 articles. Each article is signed and contain bibliographies for both older and more recent scholarship.

This book is organized and functions as an encyclopedia. The digital version is searchable, whether one is seeking individual words or entry headings (upper case). The book also includes tables of Saint Augustine’s works which show Latin titles, English translations, common abbreviations and dates.

Three reasons why this encyclopedia is so valuable can be listed:

1. It contains articles by the best Augustine scholars from both the Catholic and Protestant ranks, allowing for an evaluation of Saint Augustine’s contribution to the history of Western Christianity.

2. It is a useful overview of the various categories of Saint Augustine’s thought.

3. It includes articles on many areas of Saint Augustine’s thought: biblical, theological, philosophical, ethical, historical and his many literary works.


This online version of Augustine through the Ages is the first item in a new collection called the Saint Augustine Reference Library, a set of materials of Saint Augustine scholarship which is jointly sponsored by the Augustinian Institute and Falvey Memorial Library.

Augustine through the Ages, also available in print, is in both the Falvey collection and the Augustinian Historical Institute collection.

Also contributing: Alexandra Edwards


Interactive Map Building using the Raphaël JavaScript Library


With the dual challenges of a complex building and constant resource and personnel movement due to construction, Falvey Memorial Library at Villanova University required an easy-to-update method to both guide our patrons around the building and help them find the resources they need. To do this, the Library Technology Team developed an interactive map system built using the Raphaël JavaScript libraries that allows for fast updates and easy map construction, while still allowing the map to be dynamic and interactive. JavaScript and the Raphaël libraries were chosen over other technologies to maximize accessibility by our community.


Nowadays, when people talk about challenges facing the modern library, they most refer to issues and challenges in the digital world. Here at Falvey Library though, one of our daily challenges is still in the brick-and-mortar realm – specifically, the actual brick and mortar that makes up our library building. Starting in summer of 2011 (Monday, August 22 to be exact), Falvey Library began renovations to the building to improve the working space of the library, with one of the goals to merge the different disparate sections of the library building into one (mostly) unified space. This work will go far in reducing the challenge of the physical building which, previous to the construction, has been a patchwork of different additions and extensions, resulting in the library building operating as if it were two separate spaces.

During this process, many of the stacks and collections are being moved around to make way for the construction teams, with many of our collections crossing over from one of the previously mentioned operating spaces into the other. As well, many members of our staff, including our library Director, have moved to temporary offices, with future plans for various staff members to move into newly constructed spaces. A new learning commons is also planned, so whole departments within the library will be moving to take advantage of this new space (including our campus writing center and campus math center, amongst others).

As you can see from above, our library is currently in a state of flux, and with a complex “gestalt” building and constantly moving locations of both collections and people, we have a real challenge on our hands making sure patrons can find the people and resources they need in a timely and efficient manner.

So how can the tech department help?

The Challenge

The quick answer of course is we need a map and directory that can keep up with the changes and can quickly inform patrons on where to find the person or resource they need. This system needs to be flexible enough to handle periodic changes both to the locations of people and resources as well as changes to the physical building itself. Furthermore, it needs to be accessible by the widest possible audience. Finally, since we’re taking the time to do this, why not make the map interactive and code it to work directly with our catalog, pointing patrons directly to the shelf on which a book or resource currently resides?

From above, it looks like we want more than a static map, and thus code is involved. But what method to use to implement our new interactive map?

The first and most obvious choice would be to use Adobe Flash, and a quick spin around the Internet confirms this as the majority of interactive maps are built using this technology. The reason for this is simple – Flash use is widespread in the web universe and Flash itself is relatively cheap to implement. On the other hand, the webverse is starting to turn on Flash as being a dated technology on its way out the door. Now, though I believe the rumors of the demise of Flash to be a bit premature, there’s no denying that the loss of accessibility to the map on the Apple mobile devices is a big loss to our patrons. As much as I don’t like my technology use dictated by the whims of a corporate giant, excising Apple users from the interactive map is too big a loss in community share for me to be comfortable with this choice. Besides, I do share some of Steve Jobs’ criticism of Flash in its bulkiness, incessant need for upgrades, and general sluggishness of pages running Flash applications. So, what else do we have?

Always out to clone and usurp hot technologies, Microsoft has its Flash competitor in Silverlight, our next contestant in the “Interactive Map Technology Showdown”. Now, having been a WPF programmer awhile back (Silverlight having started its life as WPF/Everywhere, so the technologies are very similar) I have to admit to being slightly partial to this choice. Personally, I find WPF/Silverlight coding the most fun of any language I’ve run into in a long time – unfortunately, I have to admit that not only are the issues from Flash above also prevalent in Silverlight, Silverlight has the added huge negative not being nearly as widely adopted as Flash. Therein, Silverlight also isn’t a great choice for the map with our requirement of maximum accessibility.

One more technology of note in this challenge is HTML5, and though HTML5 looks highly promising, but it technically doesn’t exist yet (as of this writing, it’s expected to publish in 2014).

So what’s the winner?

The Solution


More specifically, the backbone of the graphics is powered by the Raphaël JavaScript Library, a free, open source (we like those at Falvey Library) vector graphics library. This library allows me to draw and display any shape using the SVG standard and to add event handlers to these shapes (i.e., adding an event that turns the shape red when the mouse moves over the shape). It also includes a simple library to add animations to shapes (including motion and fading), as well as image manipulation and display.

So, why JavaScript (and the Raphaël library) over the competitors? For one, JavaScript and the Raphaël libraries don’t require a plug-in, whereas Flash and Silverlight do. In terms of accessibility, this puts JavaScript on top of the list (and no annoying software update or broken players). Furthermore, JavaScript is much more lightweight than Flash and Silverlight – for example, JavaScript loads much faster on page load that either Flash or Silverlight (both of which feel sluggish to me in general on page load). Finally, compared to Flash at least, I found that working with JavaScript and Raphaël made making animations much easier. Most of all, by using JavaScript, I am hoping to allow the widest range of users to access the interactive map, as JavaScript is the most universal and dynamic web language available today.

The Implementation

The interactive map is currently implemented on Falvey Library’s website here.

Like JavaScript itself, the whole interactive map system is very lightweight – the system consists of only a few JavaScript files, a JSON file to hold the map data, and a few image files. All the highlighted areas you see (front desk, shelves, etc) are shapes created via Raphaël, but hidden from view until highlighted. The “floors” as well are Raphaël image objects piled on top of each other — to switch pages I just change the order of the image objects in the Raphaël object stack, while pushing the shapes associated with that page on top of the image, so that mousing over them will trigger their event (and since other floors are piled under the image object moved to the top of the stack, you don’t get interference from these objects).

I used the free, open source SVG tool InkScape to determine the graphics coordinates of my shapes. To do this, I simply loaded a floor map into Inkscape, drew each shape using the SVG freedraw tool, saved the image, then finally copied the coordinates of the shape (pulled from the save file) into a JSON file. This process is a bit labor intense (especially since I did every stack row) though it didn’t take me more than a day since each successive shape gets easier once you get the rhythm of the process down. Once this is done, the JSON is updated to hold info on any person, department, or call number range held in each shape — this way, when the map info changes, all I have to do is change a setting in the JSON file and I can quickly manipulate the information on the map.

The final step is to add a set of JavaScript functions to the page header that read the JSON file and build the page. All the extra JavaScript functionality (determining which range an entered call number is in, etc.) is also stored in the header.

The Way Forward

Right now a lot of my JavaScript code is tied into our CMS (Concrete5). I hope to refactor the code soon to break this dependency and allow easier code adaptation by other institutions. As well, there are currently way too many hard coded items in the code – these need to be moved out into a config file or JSON file to allow for much greater flexibility in updating maps (I’ve begun this process but have a long way to go). Paradoxically, I hope in the near future to packagize and submit the map software to the Concrete5 marketplace (under the GPL or MIT licence) to allow the general Concrete5 community to take advantage of this code

If you’re interested in more technical details, or are considering adopting this system in your own website, please don’t hesitate to contact me at david.uspal@villanova.edu and I’d be happy to field your comments or questions.


Explore Peruvian art in the Roman Catholic tradition with Dr. Gastañaga

By Alexandra Edwards

In celebration of Hispanic Cultural Heritage Month, join us for an illustrated lecture by José Luis Gastañaga Ponce de León, PhD, entitled “Cuzco School of Painting: The Basics.” This event will take place in the library first floor lounge on Thursday, Sept. 15, 2011, at 1:00 p.m.

The Cuzco School, or Escuela Cuzqueña, was a Roman Catholic artistic tradition that originated in Peru during the Colonial period. Dr. Gastañaga, an assistant professor of Romance Languages and Literatures, will take the audience through an illustrated introduction to the Cuzco School during the 17th and 18th centuries.  His presentation will include images to guide and demonstrate his lecture.

Though a historical genre, art from the Cuzco School continues to appear even in contemporary America. Dr. Gastañaga points to the 2006 national Christmas stamp as a recent example. “It is,” as he describes, “a beautiful Virgin painted by Ignacio Chacón in Cuzco in 1765 and now a part of the Engracia and Frank Barrows Freyer collection of Peruvian Colonial Art at the Denver Art Museum.”

The Cuzco School is intimately connected to the colonial history of Peru. As Dr. Gastañaga explains, “During the Colonial times in Latin America paintings were produced in large numbers, especially to decorate churches and important public places.”

But the art style wasn’t just practiced by Europeans in Peru. “The School was a guild that gathered Europeans, Indians and mestizos (mixed) who followed initially European models but later evolved towards local motives and a unique style.” The guild eventually divided and, he says, “the Indians and mestizos started to create an art of religious content and regional customs and scenes that ultimately defined the characteristics of the School.” (more…)


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Last Modified: September 14, 2011