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New proofreading title: Witty Pieces by Witty People

The latest title in our ongoing proofreading project has gone online: Witty Pieces by Witty People.  This collection of jokes, anecdotes and cartoons was gathered from national newspapers (among other sources) and published in Philadelphia in 1894.  As with our earlier humor offering, Atchoo!, much of this may not seem very funny to the modern reader, and some of it is likely to offend.  In spite of that, it remains an interesting piece of history, showing the type of humor that could be found in mainstream American publications in the late 19th century.

If you are interested in helping our efforts to adapt this vintage title to modern electronic formats, you can learn more about the Distributed Proofreaders Project here, and you can visit the project page here.


Oct. 31 Harry Potter Reading Cancelled; Costume Contest Postponed

Due to the impact of Hurricane Sandy on the Villanova community, the Harry Potter costume contest scheduled for this Wednesday, Oct. 31, at the Library is POSTPONED until next Wednesday, November 7th at 5pm. All members of the Villanova community are invited to participate in next Wednesday’s weekly reading and costume contest to enjoy fun, refreshments and seasonal butterbeer! The winning Harry Potter themed costume contestant will win an iPod Shuffle!

Additionally, tomorrow’s weekly Harry Potter live reading event will be cancelled. Please join us next week on Nov. 7  as we continue to work our way through all seven Potter books, read out loud, from cover to cover!


Looking for an Ethics Paper Topic?

Marijuana. Fracking. The Occupy Movement.

The Library’s online resource Opposing Viewpoints Resources in Context is a great place to start your ethics research.  Opposing Viewpoints provides an overview of both sides of numerous ethical issues through viewpoint articles, topic overviews, statistics, primary documents, website links, geographic maps and full-text magazine and newspaper articles. Read more on Rob LeBlanc’s recent blog.


Alert: University Closed Due to Hurricane Sandy – Check Here for Library Updates

UPDATE – October 30:

Thanks to the willingness of emergency library staff, the library will open (Oct. 30 ) from 5:00 p.m. to Midnight. Limited services will be available. The 24-hour lounge is open if you need a place to study until we officially open at 5:00 p.m.  Be careful getting around campus!

Ward Barnes, Sarah Gross‎, Jeffrey R Stevens, Bridget Kiley, Grant Hoffman, Kristen Hallowell and Brianna Healy all volunteered to help out!

Our appreciation goes to University Public Safety, Facilities, Food Service, and Custodial crews for keeping the campus safe and comfortable for Villanova students!


October 28:

Due to the forecast calling for tropical storm or hurricane conditions, the University has made the decision to close on Monday, Oct. 29, and Tuesday, Oct. 30.

The library and overnight study lounge will remain closed. Should we decide to offer limited hours on Tuesday night, you will see that information on this blog. Keep checking back for updates.

Please call our service desk at 610-519-4270 to verify that we are open before traveling to the library.

Villanova University Press Release


Three Philosophy Encyclopedias

By Nikolaus Fogle

Philosophy is a pretty esoteric field of study. For beginning students the wilderness of names, schools, -isms, and assorted jargon can seem to stretch on forever. Often the best way to get oriented is to start with an encyclopedia article.

Falvey Library provides access to an extensive selection of philosophy reference resources, the majority of which are accessible online. These range from large, general works like the MacMillan Encyclopedia of Philosophy, to more specialized ones like the Encyclopedia of Asian Philosophy, the Encyclopedia of Environmental Ethics and Philosophy and A Dictionary of Continental Philosophy. In nearly all cases the entries are penned by respected scholars who are experts in their fields, so you can be confident that you’re getting top notch knowledge.

Philosophy encyclopedias aren’t just for newcomers, either. Veterans of philosophy will find them helpful too, when they need to refresh their memories about an infrequently used term, or when the search for knowledge carries them into previously unplumbed depths. The encyclopedias  also make great leisure reading for the intellectually curious. Seriously. You can learn an awful lot about, say, psychoanalysis, or Derrida, or stoicism, in about twenty minutes. Think of them as a Wikipedia for philosophy that you can actually trust. Here are the three most inclusive ones:

Macmillan’s Encyclopedia of Philosophy is the old workhorse. Falvey currently has both the print and online versions of the 2nd edition, revised in 2006. Its 2,100+ entries cover philosophy from a range of perspectives: there are entries about individual philosophers, entries devoted to various national and regional traditions, as well as ones about specific historical movements, concepts and terms. In the first volume, for instance, you’ll find articles on aesthetics, African philosophy, alterity, Anaxagoras, and artificial intelligence (among other things). As with the Routledge encyclopedia, the bibliographies that accompany each article tend to be useful and manageably sized. The online version is accessible through the Gale Virtual Reference Library, and articles can be viewed in text or PDF formats.

If you’re looking for an insightful first encounter with almost any topic in philosophy, the Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy is the place to go. It’s more exhaustive than Stanford, and easier to use than Macmillan. The articles are informative, consistent, and push the reader just a bit toward a deeper understanding of their topic. They also put the most essential information up front, or on the first page, leaving it up to you whether you want to delve deeper or not. The interface is simple and flexible: you can browse for articles by subject, and perform basic or advanced searches.  There is also a glossary component that gives brief descriptions of specialized terms, and within each article there is a tab that lists related entries. The only downside of the Routledge encyclopedia is that there is no option for a PDF view, which would make for easier reading.

Finally, the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy is a web-only, continuously-updated encyclopedia that anyone can access. It’s also fully peer-reviewed and the articles are contributed by some of the leading figures in their fields. The SEP tends to assume a higher level of familiarity with philosophy than other encyclopedias, and this can be daunting for newcomers. Authors tend to delve into fine-grained analyses of their topics, more in the style of a journal article than an encyclopedia. And not infrequently they break out long stretches of formal logic. That said, you’ll probably walk away from an SEP article with a deeper understanding of a topic than you otherwise would. The SEP is the place to go for special topics in analytic philosophy, such as rigid designators or zombies, that won’t be covered in much detail by Routledge or MacMillan.


Postponed: Othello's iPad: Lauren Shohet, PhD, is this Year's First Scholarship@Villanova Speaker

This Tuesday, Oct. 30, at 4:15 p.m. Lauren Shohet, PhD, will deliver a lecture entitled “Othello’s iPad: Editing, Adapting, Translating.” The lecture will focus on Dr. Shohet’s work on Othello in a variety of exciting contexts, including her recent task editing the play for an iPad app. Dr. Shohet is the Luckow Family Endowed Chair and professor of literature in Villanova University’s Department of English.

The event is part of the Scholarship@Villanova series, a string of lectures highlighting bold publications and research from distinguished faculty members at Villanova University. The Library will host five more Scholarship@Villanova events before the end of the academic year.

Dr. Shohet truly works on the cutting edge of her field. Focusing on topics of adaptation, materiality and the digital humanities, she often examines the relationship between form and history. These are subjects of particular relevance to Dr. Shohet, as a scholar of Shakespeare and Milton who often works in a digital context.

But the lecture will focus on more than just the digital; it will also examine Othello in translation, as a common component of high school curricula, and in the context of some of its adaptations from around the world. The lecture will illuminate the many lives of this classic play, and is sure to inspire conversation. The audience will even be invited to play with the materials Dr. Shohet helped develop for the Othello iPad app.

The event will be held in the Speaker’s Corner on the first floor of Falvey Memorial Library, and in the tradition of previous Scholarship@Villanova events, it is free and open to the public. 


Help Solve A Special Collections Musical Mystery

Posted for Lisa Abra McColl, Digital Library Intern, Fall 2012


The first thing that struck me about the papers that were being pulled out of a pile from the special collections department was the artwork. Shapes with gold and silver metallic color, green leaves, and an orange face all decorated the first pages of each of the three thin booklets.

Zangetsu Azuma-Jishi Unknown

The second thing that struck me was the Japanese writing on the front cover. The third came when I opened it. This was sheet music. My task was to find out what this music is: who is the composer, what instrument is it written for, what is the name of it? Confident that my music background would guide me through this task I set out to find the answers.

Weeks later, having played the melodies on my clarinet, searched for the melody in Musipedia, and in ultimate desperation, tried the Japan Goggles app to read some of the writing, and gotten nowhere, I knew I needed human intervention.

A former clarinet student of mine, now living in Japan answered my call for help on Facebook. These three pieces are traditional Japanese music that were arranged by a man named Tozan Nakao (1876-1955), a famous Japanese shakuhachi player. The shakuhachi is a wooden instrument similar to the western flute. The first piece, Zangetsu (the moon seen in the morning), has a publication date of 1906 and the second, Azuma-Jishi, has a 1907 date on it.

I could still use more information. Were these pieces intended to be played by the shakuhachi, or by a stringed instrument as some of the bowing markings seem to indicate? What is the meaning of “Azuma-Jishi”? What is the title of the third piece? Is there any reason that Guillame de Machaut, a 14th century French composer, should be penciled on the back of the last piece? How did this music come to be part of the special collections at Villanova? After viewing this music in the Villanova Digital Libraries World Collection, please contact me or leave a comment if you have answers to any of these questions, or something to add about the music. Feel free to email me at lisa[dot]abra[dot]mccoll[at]gmail[dot]com.

Listen to a performance of Azuma-Jishi:


Postponed: Join A Marathon Reading of the Divine Comedy on Oct. 30

You would be hard-pressed to find a more fitting way to celebrate October 30, known as Devil’s Day in some parts of the country, than spending it at the Falvey marathon reading of Dante’s Divine Comedy. Dante’s epic poem provides an allegorical journey of himself, as a pilgrim, traveling through hell, purgatory and heaven, where he finally meets God face to face.

All Villanova University students, staff and faculty are invited to come and read one of the Cantos from the Inferno, Purgatorio or Paradiso, beginning at 10 a.m. in the library first floor lounge. You may read in either English or Italian!

This year’s Villanova University community marathon reading focuses on all things Italian. Sponsored by the Italian Club, the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, the Villanova Center for Liberal Education (VCLE), the Office for Mission and Ministry, the Department of Humanities, the Classical Studies program and the Library, the marathon reading is the brainchild of Romance Languages Assistant Professor Diane Biunno, PhD, and Special Collections and Digital Library Coordinator Michael Foight.

The “l’avventura Dantesca” is sure to be divertente!

University President the Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, PhD, ’75 A&S, will begin the event, reading the first of the Cantos at 10 a.m. in the first floor lounge. Dr. Biunno and Foight, along with Marylu Hill, PhD, VCLE director, anticipate that the reading will continue until midnight. Depending what time of day you stop by, you will be regaled with a colazione, pranzo or cena of Italian-themed delizioso treats! (more…)


Info to Go

Need research assistance stat? Look for the crash cart staffed by Robin or Barbara on Tuesdays and Thursdays at varying locations in Driscoll Hall.

Ask us anything. Seriously. We can get you stats, pertinent journal articles for a paper, or just help you find the odd fact from a reputable source.

Research life support is our specialty!

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Creativity in Business

A fascination with where creativity comes from and how to cultivate it isn’t a new preoccupation for business thinkers, but I have noticed a flurry of interesting new books published about the construct.  Curiosity got the better of me so I did a search to find out just how many articles were published in the last few years on topic and discovered that indeed there has been an uptick in publications on creativity.  In 2007 the number of business and management papers on creativity leaped and has been on an upward trajectory since.

I wonder if the impetus to understand creativity stems from the pace of technological change and the creative destruction it has brought to corporate giants such as SONY or Kodak or the newspaper industry as a whole, or whether it’s locus is the collective angst experienced by knowledge workers facing uncertain futures, or grows out of policy efforts to spark entrepreneurship and employment.  The source of the zeitgeist may only be discoverable by more imaginative minds, but I’d like to share a few interesting artifacts on the trend found in the Falvey Memorial Library stacks.

  The Progress Principle, written by Harvard Business Professor, Teresa Amabile and her husband Steven Kramer, also a doctorate in psychology, presents evidence on the perceptual, emotional and motivational factors that nurture or inhibit individual and team creativity in organizations.  The underlying materials for their analysis are daily questionnaires both short answer and open ended completed by 238 knowledge workers at seven undisclosed marque name companies over a four month period.  Thus  rich quantitative and qualitative data informs the authors’ “checklist” for facilitating progress in teams charged with innovating products and processes.  This book is a wonderful blend of social science and advice that’s fun to read too.  Can you guess which confidentially disguised firms participated in the study?

The Idea Factory, by business journalist Jon Gertner, takes a very different approach to examining the cultivation of creative work in business.  This is a well documented and readable history of the most innovative years of Bell Labs, the AT&T and Western Electric subsidiary founded to do the basic science needed to advance the communications industry in it’s infancy.  The narrative focuses on a few select scientists.  Themes around the source of this exceptional corporate creativity include interdisciplinary team work, well defined top level goals and team autonomy.

In Imagine:  How Creativity Works, science journalist Jonah Lehrer explores the neuroscience behind creative artists such as Bob Dylan and Shakespeare and organizational psychology explanations underpinning seriously serially innovative organizations such as 3M, Eli Lilly and Pixar.  This book was a great read, but sadly has been largely discredited (but as of this writing was still on the NYT’s Business Bestseller List) due to compelling evidence of author fabrications.

To find more books in our collection on creativity and innovation, search our catalog for subjects “creative ability“, “creative ability in business“, “organizational innovation“, “creative thinking” or “technological innovations“.

For scholarship on creativity search Business Source Premier, ABI Inform and PsychInfo.  For videos on innovation in business visit Prendisimo (register with Villanova email), Films on Demand, or ecorner at Stanford.

Like to recommend a book on the power of original thinking or creativity in organizations?  Email me (linda.hauck@villanova.edu) with your suggestions!





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Last Modified: October 23, 2012