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How to start library research on Catholic social thought and teaching

By Darren G. Poley

Begin your research with reference books on topics related to Catholic social thought and teaching. The print reference collection is located on Falvey’s 2nd floor. Some excellent books to explore are The New dictionary of Catholic social thought, Human rights and the world’s major religions and the Encyclopedia of Catholic social thought, social science, and social policy. The New Catholic Encyclopedia in print or online is another good place to start.

Church documents that contribute to Catholic social teaching, such as Pope John Paul II’s “Compendium of the social doctrine of the Church” and Pope Benedict XVI’s “encyclical on integral human development in charity and truth,” are not only online at the Vatican Web Site (See Compendium and Caritas in veritate) but also shelved with commentaries on church statements (Catholic social thought: American reflections on the Compendium and The moral dynamics of economic life: an extension and critique of Caritas in veritate, for example) in the Falvey West stacks area. There you will also find anthologies of Catholic Church documents as well as scholarly sources on them: The social agenda: a collection of magisterial textsCatholic social thought: the documentary heritage and Modern Catholic social teaching: commentaries and interpretations.

To search by subject using descriptive phrases that match the subject headings in Falvey’s catalog as well as those in many databases, such as the ATLA Catholic Periodical and Literature Index, here are some suggestions: “Christian ethics Catholic authors,” “Christian sociology Catholic Church,” “Church and social problems Catholic Church,” “Globalization Religious aspects Catholic Church,” “Peace Religious aspects Catholic Church,” “Economics Religious aspects Catholic Church” and “Human rights Religious Aspects.”

For some basic resources online that can familiarize you with Catholic Social Teaching, explore “Seven Themes of Catholic Social Teaching” by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, or go to Villanova University’s Office for Mission and Ministry resource page. Finally, for a thorough annotated bibliography on the subject, consult Catholic social thought, Renovating the tradition: a keyguide to resources.

Darren Poley is the theology and religious studies subject librarian. Contact him directly at darren.poley@villanova.edu.


Curtain Call: Don’t Miss Your Chance to See Rare Theatrical Materials

By Alice Bampton

Abbey Theatre program cover. Abbey Theatre, Dublin, Ireland, 1904-1910.

“Curtain Call: Theatrical Materials in Special Collections and the University Archives,” currently on display on the library first floor, showcases the breadth of theatrical materials housed in Special Collections and the University Archives. Laura Bang, Digital and Special Collections curatorial assistant, designed “Curtain Call.” On a placard introducing the exhibit, Bang states, “These materials cover a wide array of theatre history in the Western world with a particular emphasis on Irish theatre and our own Villanova theatre.”

Bang worked with the Rev. Dennis Gallagher, OSA, PhD, University archivist, to select materials from University Archives. Michael Foight, Special Collections and Digital Library coordinator, helped Bang mount the exhibit. And Joanne Quinn, design specialist, created graphics for the exhibit and the banner on Falvey’s homepage.

“Curtain Call …” is divided into six sections: “Curtain Call,” “Setting the Stage,” “Casting Call,” “The Play’s the Thing,” “Criticism and Reviews,” and “The Bard.”

The “Curtain Call” section, in the tall glass cabinet, features four programs from Belle Masque Dramatic Society productions (1948-1961) and seven posters from various Villanova University plays. In “Setting the Stage” Bang has gathered programs from some notable theatre companies, including the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, Ireland, and the University’s past theatre groups. “Histoire Générale Illustrée Du Theatre” by Lucien Dubech, et al, is opened to an illustration of a Greek theatre.

“Casting Call,” according to Bang, “contains information on some notable performers as well as some behind-the-scenes glimpses of the production side of a play.” Particularly interesting is a large sketch of Brian G. Morgan, MA ‘70, BA ‘67. Other images show Villanova actors reviewing scripts, a selection of theatre-arts prints and a copy of “Le Theatre” (December 1898) opened to a story about Loïe Fuller (1862-1928), an American actor and dancer.

The Golden Apple: A Play for Kiltartan Children. Lady Gregory. London: John Murray, 1916.

“The Play’s the Thing” displays play scripts including three written by the cofounders of the Abbey Theatre: “The Golden Apple: A Play for Kiltartan Children,” written by an Irish woman, Lady Gregory; and “Vision: A Tale of the Time of Christ” by the Rev. John F. Burns, OSA, of Villanova. This case also highlights a program from the “[f]irst entertainment given by the Villanova College Dramatic Society” on Thanksgiving evening, 1873.

“Criticism and Review” includes three works: an anonymous critical review of “The Playboy of the Western World” in The Lepracaum [sic], a 1907 Irish publication; a 1905 critical review by Bernard Shaw and John Corbin, “The Author’s Apology From [sic] Mrs. Warren’s Profession”; and a review in a periodical, “Samhain,” edited by W. B. Yates.

The final section of the exhibit, “The Bard,” highlights the work of William Shakespeare, whose “characters and plays … are [probably the] most widely known in the Western world” (Bang). Three books and a collection of plates from “Theatre Arts Prints” provide a sampling of Shakespeare’s works.

This exhibit will remain on view for the spring semester except for a brief hiatus for an Easter exhibit.


New Intern for Academic Integration and Information and Research Assistance Teams

By Alice Bampton

Alexander (Alex) Williams, a Drexel University iSchool graduate student, is serving a six-month internship with Falvey Memorial Library’s Academic Integration and Information and Research Assistance teams. “We are excited to welcome Alexander back to the Library while he is pursuing his master’s degree [in Library and Information Science] at Drexel University. His master’s degree in English from Villanova [University] makes him a welcome addition to the library staff,” says Jutta Seibert, team leader – Academic Integration. Alex is focusing on information services although he is also interested in competitive intelligence. He expects to graduate from Drexel in 2013.

Alex, a native of Rhode Island, earned a master’s degree in English literature from Villanova in 2011. While attending Villanova, Alex worked in Access Services for Phylis Wright, manager of access desk services, and Domenick Liberato, stacks manager.

When asked what made him decide to become a librarian, Alex said, “Until quite recently, I never realized that my work history was comprised primarily of library support-staff positions … There was this impulse to both consume and to be physically near books and information, so I decided it was time to listen to myself. Since I have a master’s in English literature, I ultimately hope to become a subject specialist in an academic library; that way I can keep abreast of contemporary trends in literature and theory as well as share my love of the subject with new generations of students.”

Alex believes working with “research support through email and chat will help me understand how the methods of information seeking have recently changed, as well as ground my theory in practice. … Having an inside view of how the library, students and teachers communicate really puts everything into perspective.”

He is currently reading Aldous Huxley’s Eyeless in Gaza and Longinus’s treatise, On the Sublime. His hobbies include “running, cooking, reconnecting with nature, playing the guitar, writing and reading (of course).” He loves animals of all kinds. His research interests are varied, “Just about anything could set me off in one direction or another.”

Alex earned his bachelor’s degree in English literature and religious studies from Stonehill College, Easton, Mass. While a student at Stonehill, Alex worked as a circulation aide in the library, an early indication of his future interests.

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Falvey Launches Mobile Website

By David Uspal

We are proud to announce that as of Monday, Jan. 28, 2013, the mobile version of the Falvey Memorial Library website is officially live.

The goal of this project is to provide information in a more readily accessible form for mobile users than is provided through the main library website. As such, the mobile site allows users convenient access to the most frequently used services on the main library website, including catalog search capabilities, library hours, building maps, news and events, and interactive research assistance.


Falvey Library Mobile Website

Falvey's mobile website homepage, as seen from a mobile device.

Falvey Library Main Website

The library's main website homepage, as seen from a mobile device.











When you access Falvey through a mobile device, the library homepage should detect your device and automatically send you to the mobile version of the website. Users who prefer the main website over the mobile site can still access the main site by clicking on the “Full Website” icon at the bottom of the homepage. If you’d rather access the mobile site directly, http://m.library.villanova.edu will take you directly to the mobile content.

The mobile website also showcases the capabilities of the VuFind open-source, library-search-engine software (developed here at Falvey Memorial Library, Villanova University). The mobile website was, in fact, developed on top of the VuFind software and uses the built-in mobile version of its catalog-searching capabilities.

As Falvey recognizes that mobile devices are becoming an ever greater percentage of its user base, the Library is dedicated to providing the best service possible to this market. As such, the Library will continue to develop applications and services for the mobile community, and work towards improving the mobile user experience.

For more information, or to offer comments or suggestions, please feel free to contact the library technical team at libtech@villanova.edu.


To Hell and Back: the Library Hosts Marathon Reading of Dante’s Inferno

This Tuesday, Feb. 12, the Villanova University community will gather for a marathon reading of Dante’s Inferno. Students, faculty, and staff are all invited to Falvey Memorial Library to read a Canto from this classic Italian text. As the first part of Dante’s epic Divine Comedy, Inferno provides an allegorical journey of Dante Alighieri himself, as a pilgrim, traveling through the nine circles of hell. The reading will begin at 10 a.m. in the library first floor lounge, and refreshments will be served throughout the day. Participants are welcome to read in either English or Italian, and costumes are encouraged.

Continuing the Villanova University community-marathon-reading tradition, this year’s event 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!

Asked what relevance a fourteenth-century work like the Divine Comedy has for 21st century readers, Foight pointed out the prolific use of Dante’s allegories and imagery in modern, adaptive works, and Dante’s stylistic device of casting himself in his own poem, a trope often seen in contemporary literature.

The event coincides with an online exhibit of Dante materials from Falvey Special Collections prepared by Dr. Biunno, billed as an “illustrated adventure” through the epic, with scans of etchings and prints by Dore, Botticelli and others. This fascinating exhibit is live now on the library’s website, and provides several unique visualizations of Dante’s masterpiece, including images from Inferno. Dr. Biunno served as a Digital Library intern this summer and is currently enrolled in Drexel University’s Master of Science in Library and Information Science program. She teaches Italian courses here at Villanova University. On Tuesday’s reading, her students will read a portion of the Cantos in Italian.

Other readers are encouraged to participate, and all members of the University community are invited to stop in and listen. If you’d like to practice your reading before the big event, check out the entire work online here.

As with many library events, first-year student participation earns ACS credits. Previous community readings of classical texts have included the Odyssey, the Iliad, and Augustine’s Confessions.

If you have any questions, please contact Diane Biunno.


The Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics: a New Addition to the Library’s Online Resources

The Library is making The Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics available to the entire campus community. The Encyclopedia is an online resource accessible through a catalog search.

The Encyclopedia, published in November, is an online comprehensive reference resource covering the highly diverse field of applied linguistics. Coverage includes “27 key areas of the field,” including

language learning and teaching,

bilingual and multilingual education,

assessment and testing,

corpus linguistics,

conversation analysis,


cognitive second language acquisition,

language policy and planning,

literacy, and

technology and language.

Additional features available with this resource include regular additions and updates to articles, as well as new entries, to keep the Encyclopedia current and cutting edge. It offers a wealth of additional material, too, such as sound files and direct links to cross referenced articles, creating a multifaceted learning experience. Entries are available in both HTML and PDF, enabling users to print in a clean, easy-to-read format, which includes citation and cross-references. The encyclopedia is easy to navigate and available 24/7 through the library’s website.

Image courtesy of The Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics


Blog All About It! The Latest From the Philosophy Blog

Nikolaus Fogle, Falvey’s philosophy librarian, publishes news from the world of philosophy. Read it here on a regular basis.

Stay connected. The Falvey Blogs cover library news, history, political science, social sciences, business, philosophy, nursing, digital humanities, library technology development and the Digital Library.


Temporary Internet Service Provider Outage Affects Distance Library Users

There appears to be a network outage in the Philadelphia area on one of the routers utilized by the University’s internet service provider (ISP). UNIT is working with them to resolve the routing problem.

In the meantime, using the University’s Virtual Private Network (VPN) appears to be an acceptable short term work around  for faculty and staff. Here are instructions on how to install/use it.


Students who live outside of the Philadelphia area may contact us directly for research assistance at either 610-519-4270 or at ref@villanova.edu. Our online chat may also be available from the homepage. Look for the green “Ask a Librarian: Live Chat” button in the lower right hand corner of the screen.

We apologize for any inconvenience this network outage may cause our users and colleagues.


E-Books at Falvey: A Survey of Students and Faculty

By Linda Hauck and Merrill Stein

E-Book Survey at Falvey, Spring 2012

Anyone with even a passing interest in reading books, book publishing, libraries or gadgets has noticed that e-books have finally reached that long predicted tipping point to become mainstream. They’re not just for geeky gadget lovers anymore. To glean a clearer picture of how they’d like to see the library collection evolve, we took a closer look at how students and faculty are using our e-books.

History of e-Books at Falvey

E-books (not just digital encyclopedias) have been a part of Falvey Memorial Library’s collection mix since well before the tipping point. In the 1990s Falvey joined a library consortium to purchase a collection of individual titles via NetLibrary, an academic e-book pioneer that has since been acquired by EBSCO Publishing.

Our very first e-books weren’t online at all. In the mid 1990’s the Library purchased CDs with the text of Past Masters and the Library of Latin Texts , both of which were not online. We subscribed to our first online e-book collection, Patrologia Latina, in 1997.

In 2008, the reference librarians undertook a major initiative to shift our reference book collection from print to online. In that year we significantly expanded access to digital encyclopedias, directories, compendia and handbooks. Since we started tracking e-book purchases as a distinct “book” material type, spending on e-books vs. print books has grown from 9.9% in 2007/8 to a plateau of 12.6% in 2008/9 and 12.4% in 2009/10 with a jump to 22.6% in 2010/11.

Falvey’s absolute spending on e-books is much closer to the average spent on e-books in 2011 by graduate and professional libraries than undergraduate libraries, according to a 2011 Library Journal article. However, at 2.9% it is well below the median for graduate/professional libraries (4.5%), undergraduate libraries (3.4%) and also $1million-acquisitions-budget libraries (4.4%).

Our Survey

Until now our understanding of e-book usage patterns by Falvey Memorial Library patrons has been viewed through the prism of usage statistics and unstructured conversations with students and faculty. To view e-book usage from another angle, an online survey was made available, via a link on our website banner, to self-selected respondents during four weeks in the spring of 2012. Six questions looked at the use of Falvey e-books, purpose for use, device used for access, perceived usability and discovery modes. To encourage participation, respondents were entered into a random drawing for one of three $20.00 gift cards.

In total, 88 participants responded, including nearly even numbers undergraduate (45.6%) and graduate students (43.3%). Of the remaining respondents, seven (7.8%) were faculty members and six (6.6%) were staff members or other. The low response rate by faculty makes any conclusions about e-book behavior and preferences for these community members tenuous. (more…)


Judith Olsen, Humanities Librarian and Communication Team Leader, Retires

Judith (Judy) Olsen will be retiring from Falvey Memorial Library in February. In addition to her role as the Communication and Publications team leader, Judy also served as the subject librarian liaison to the English and Theatre departments and the coordinator for that humanities liaison team.

With University Librarian Joe Lucia, Judy and other Communication team members, Joanne Quinn, Corey Arnold and Gerald Dierkes, assembled the successful application for 2013 Excellence in Academic Libraries Award for the university level, conferred by the national Association of College and Research Libraries and YBP Library Services.

Judy was a member of Falvey’s Management Policies Group and Resource Council, and served on the University Middle States Institutional Self-Study. Most recently, at Lucia’s request, she initiated two task forces to enhance communication during the recent Falvey renovation and Learning Commons integration.

She began her tenure at Falvey in 1988 as a reference librarian although, in the 1970s, she worked in reference part time before joining Cabrini College (Radnor, Pa.) as Readers’ Services Librarian. At Cabrini, she managed circulation, reserves and the education curriculum collection while also teaching research workshops and fielding reference questions.

The Falvey reference position was a good fit for Judy although moving to a busy university library was not always a smooth transition. “After my first incredibly busy evening shift, I was so distracted I drove most of the way home without turning on my car’s headlights,” she remembers.

At Falvey, she became the English subject librarian and, later, the Theatre subject librarian. “The English department is an integral library partner, and I have especially enjoyed working with their students and faculty. Teaching the Theatre dramaturgy students has been a delight and a real learning experience,” she notes.

Judy has taught research strategy sessions for both departments, but also Honors, journalism, communication, business, biology, liberal studies and art history, at the graduate and undergraduate levels. With colleagues, she led international student orientations for the Office of International Student Services and taught summer sessions for Campus Ministry’s Books ‘n Hoops camps. (more…)


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Last Modified: February 4, 2013