Friday, December 14, 2012

Librarians Need Sandboxes Too

As the Web Experience Librarian, I'd been itching to edit our interlibrary loan pages. Just this week I found time to get started on the interface that everyone uses to submit their interlibrary loan requests. Since this is the first time I've tinkered with the back end of ILLiad, our interlibrary loan program, I was curious to hear of an ILLiad "test web." It got me wondering and hoping that it was a kind of web sandbox, that is, a space where I could test changes to the website before these changes went live. It is! With the ILLiad manual giving only a brief mention of this and with my many unanswered questions, I jumped in and figured out how to make it work. So if you're a web librarian yourself and are interested in learning more, here's how I did it.

Create a Test Web in ILLiad

Create a sandbox where you can experiment with and test customizations to your ILLiad web interface.
  1. Identify your base URL for all of your ILLiad pages. (E.g. The base URL for and is What this base URL basically says is that on the Redlands ILLiad server, the web pages reside within a folder called “illiad.”
  2. Find this folder on your ILLiad server. Within the folder called “illiad,” create a subfolder called “testweb.”
  3. Within the folder called “testweb,” create a .txt file called webpath.txt. You may use Notepad or some other program to create a .txt file. If you already have a webpath.txt file, move it here.
  4. I’m not sure why this works, but within the webpath.txt file, you need to give computers directions to this file. Your directions will basically say, “Computer, this file is located inside the ‘testweb’ folder which is inside the ‘illiad’ folder which is inside my base URL. For example, webpath.txt could look like this:

  5. Now that computers know where to look, you need to give it things to look at. Copy and paste your web pages, CSS files, etc. to your “testweb” folder.
  6. Test that you’ve done everything right by looking for these files in your browser. For example, visit Test Web pages should closely mimic live ILLiad web pages, but may not be appear identical.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

What's Happening in the Mathematical Sciences

What's Happening in the Mathematical Sciences
Whether you're an undergraduate math major looking for a research topic or just a general fan of math, I think you'll find the series What's Happening in the Mathematical Sciences rather delightful.


Yes, delightful. Not only does every chapter (in this currently eight volume set) report some recent mathematical advancement, but it does so with the skill of a good storyteller. Math isn't just about numbers, calculations, theorems, and proofs. It's about the opportunities seized and adventures taken by explorers who push the boundaries of what we know, or assume to know. For example,
  • Can undergraduates actually impact the field of mathematics? (See vols. 1 and 2)
  • What's it like to solve Fermat's Theorem, only the most famous math problem? (See vol. 3)
  • When is art, math? (See vol. 4)
  • Want to reduce traffic? (See vol. 5)
  • How do dragonflies hover? (See vol. 6)
  • What is the millionth digit of pi... without calculating to the millionth digit? (See vol. 6)
  • Ever flipped a coin to make a decision? Maybe that's not such a good idea. (See vol. 7)
  • Can mathematics replace clinical trials in health care? (See vol. 8)

Check it out!

Paige Mann
Physical Sciences Librarian

2-D Design Art

The two-dimensional design class develops their skills in designing through exploration of the elements and principles of design.  Students' understanding of composition, shape, value, texture, space and color are explored through various assignments.

The work on display in the Armacost Library are examples of these explorations.  Please visit the exhibits on the 2nd floor of the library until December 7th.

ART 132  2-D Design
Instructor - Renee Azenaro
Studio Art

Monday, November 26, 2012

U.S. World Book Night 2013!

World Book Night 2013 has announced their book selection list and opened sign-ups for book givers. Visit the links to participate! Armacost Library will be a pick-up location for WBN 2013. This will be the second time Armacost Library will be participating as a pick-up location for book-givers. 2013 is also the second time WBN is being held in the United States.

Want to know more about World Book Night? Visit WBN's FAQ page. WBN 2013 is scheduled for April 23, 2013.

UPDATE: World Book Night 2013's book giver deadline has been extended to Friday, January 25! Be sure to submit your application to WBN.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Looking for Public Affairs information?

PAIS Public Affairs Information Service
WOW! What a great resource for Public Affairs research!

PAIS (Public Affairs Information Service) provides access to information from 1977-present with a practical rather than a theoretical focus chronicling the world's public affairs, public and social policies, international relations, and world politics with over half a million journal articles, books, government documents, statistical directories, grey literature, research reports, conference papers, web content, and more. Find PAIS on the article databases page.

Major policy areas covered include:
  • administration of justice; law and ethics
  • agriculture, forestry, fishing and agricultural policy
  • banking, public and private finance
  • business and service sector
  • culture and religion
  • education
  • energy resources
  • environment
  • government and politics
  • health conditions
  • human rights
  • labor conditions
  • manufacturing and heavy industry
  • media, telecommunications and information
  • military and defense
  • population groups, population and demographics
  • science and technology
  • social conditions
  • transportation ...

Search screen shot

Details on PAIS provided by Gabriela Sonntag, your Government Librarian (909) 748-8096.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Learning Spatially at the University of Redlands (LENS)

Creating one's own map story is an activity that anyone can do. To do it well, however, takes some knowledge and skill. At the University of Redlands, geographic understanding and spatial literacy is a significant part of the education we provide.

LEarNing Spatially at the University of Redlands
The LENS (LEarNing Spatially) initiative at the University of Redlands helps establish geography and spatial literacy as an important foundation of liberal arts higher education. Through workshops, courses, and consultations with faculty and staff, LENS develops capacity of our University communities to think spatially. According to LENS, spatial thinking is the "ability to visualize and interpret location, distance, direction, relationships, movement, and change through space." The work LENS does is enhanced by the teaching and research conducted at the University of Redlands MS GIS program and Redlands Institute. The U of R Master of Science in Geographic Information Systems program is a one-year intensive program geared to professionals who are interested in developing and enhancing their knowledge and skills in geographic information, science, and technology. The Redlands Institute conducts interdisciplinary research applying GIS to issues and problems on local, regional, and global scales.

The Redlands Institute
University of Redlands MS GIS Program

Social Explorer Professional Edition

Armacost Library supports the University of Redlands campus-wide spatial learning initiative spearheaded by LENS. Not only do we have print maps and U.S. census data available, we provide access to Social Explorer Professional Edition to currently enrolled students and currently affiliated faculty, staff, and administrators of U of R. Social Explorer is an online digital mapping resource that allows users to create maps and reports using current and historical U.S. census data. Social Explorer also has a Free Edition that allows users to make maps and reports from a smaller subset of demographic information. See Social Explorer's how-to videos to get started right away.

LENS is generously supported by Esri and the W.M. Keck Foundation.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Telling Stories With Maps

Previously we talked about the storytelling power of print maps. The map displays at Armacost Library and A.K. Smiley Public Library highlight some ways print maps can be an important part of storytelling. Using web-based digital maps to bring a tale to life is yet another powerful way to infuse geography into a narrative. The use of both print and web-based maps are just some of the tools available to students, faculty, staff, and administrators at University of Redlands. Maps, whether printed or web-based, are basic spatial information that are important elements of map-based storytelling.

Telling stories with maps is a great way to "better understand the interconnectedness that makes the world work" and help story-map creators, users, and viewers "become better world citizens" (Esri, Telling Stories With Maps: A White Paper, February 2012).

Story maps can have various purposes. Still, all share general elements and principles that include a simple, clear message, spatial information, and user experience. Below is an example of a story map that gives us a picture of the 2008 presidential election. The story map invites users to consider the past as a means to think about the future. It also melds data based on location with information based on individual and group behavior and categories. The story map also invites us to interact, learn, and explore. Even ask questions.

image of the interactive online map of the 2008 presidential election results by precinct
Past As Prologue? 2008 Presidential Election Results By Precinct
A story map powered by Esri

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

November 14 is GIS Day 2012

Geography and spatial skills help us see the world in different ways. GIS (geographic information systems) allow us to make connections and see novel, even unexpected, patterns from well-known, commonplace information. Esri's Matt Artz blogs, "With GIS we are not simply replacing paper-and-ink-based maps with maps on computer screens, but we are evolving and extending the definition of what 'maps' are and how we use and interact with them."

On GIS Day, November 14, 2012, presenters from different organizations within and around Redlands, California will talk about GIS and its uses in different contexts. All presentations will be held in A.K. Smiley Public Library's Assembly Room, starting at 3 p.m. From 5 to 5:30 p.m., David Smith, University of Redlands' GIS and Mapping Consultant, will speak about the uses of GIS technology on campus for classroom teaching, research, and practical projects. Students from the University of Redlands MS GIS program will also be available to provide information.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Maps Tell Stories

When we think of maps, we are often confronted with many questions. One of the most common is: "What is the map of?" Such a simple question. Or so it seems.

In our quest to understand what we are looking at, we are taken by the simplicity of maps. We overlook that maps, as Esri's Matt Artz stated, "are abstractions of geography." They focus information and communicate complex matters succinctly and easily. Within the finite border of a paper map, elaborate concepts can disappear to allow us to make use of the information it provides.

Sometimes the stories maps tell are obvious. A map of the University of Redlands campus, for example, tells a viewer what the most valuable pieces of information are. Because of this, we can logically assume that the campus map is geared towards people who need to know where to park their vehicle and are concerned about safety while on campus.

Other times, the stories maps tell may not be readily evident. A bird's eye view map of the City of Redlands from 1888, courtesy of the Redlands Area Historical Society, for instance, may provide stories that may not resonate with viewers from 2012.

Until a map is placed in context with other information-bearing objects, such as books, other maps, pictures, films, poems, or letters, the ability of maps to tell stories can go unnoticed.

Armacost Library's Geography Awareness Week displays highlight the ability of maps to tell stories. To help library visitors and patrons understand the storytelling power of print maps, we created a brochure that stresses the links between written works and the geographic information they contain. By pairing maps with books and images, we are calling attention to the importance of place and location in history, fiction, cultures, and art.

The Geography Awareness Week brochures, along with the University of Redlands Armacost Library and the A.K. Smiley Public Library map displays, are part of the GIS Day community events in Redlands, California.

Inside panel of Armacost Library's Geography Awareness Week brochure

Monday, November 12, 2012

Maps on Display at Armacost Library

As a companion to the A.K. Smiley Public Library display, a sister exhibit at Armacost Library was created by Armacost Library GIS and maps intern Stephanie Milner and outreach librarian Melissa Cardenas-Dow. Like the display at A.K. Smiley, the Armacost Library layout featured images of maps and books. This time, they are all from Armacost Library's collections.

Armacost Library's display also focuses on local, historic California. The exhibit's focal map is one that depicts the Salton Sea. It is paired with a copy of Marine Geology of the Gulf of California, edited by Tjeerd Van Andel  (1964). Photos of a map of Redlands from 1957 is paired with Redlands, Our Town by Frank E. Moore, with sketches by Jeff Owens (1984). A map of the city of Riverside is matched with a working paper from 1991, The National Orange Company Packing House: An Architectural and Technological History, 1898-1940 by Ronald Tobey, Charles Wetherell, Kevin Hallaran, and Buffie Hollis, published the University of California Riverside Department of History. Images of a map of Carmel-by-the-Sea accompanies the text Cruising With Robert Louis Stevenson: Travel, Narrative, and the Colonial Body by Oliver S. Buckton (2007). Pictures of a map of the territories of Gabrielino tribes correspond with O, My Ancestor: Recognition and Renewal for the Gabrielino-Tongva People of the Los Angeles Area by Claudia Jurmain and William McCawley (2009) and Tovangar (World): A Gabrielino Word Book by Anne Galloway (1978). The San Bernardinos: The Mountain Country From Cajon Pass to Oak Glen, Two Centuries of Changing Use by John W. Robinson (1989) is paired with a map showing routes from the Orange Belt cities in Southern California to the San Bernardino mountain resorts.

Geography Awareness Week 2012 display sign at
Armacost Library, University of Redlands
and A.K. Smiley Public Library

Geography Awareness Week 2012 display
at Armacost Library, University of Redlands

Highlighting the historical, artistic, and narrative significance of maps and map-making are the signs Stephanie Milner created to draw library visitors to the 2012 Geography Awareness Week displays. The display sign has two bird's eye view images of historic Los Angeles, California. The top image is a view of the city from 1877. The bottom image is from 1909. Both images came from the Library of Congress digital collections.

University of Redlands Armacost Library's Irvine Map Collection is currently being reorganized. Maps from the collection are still available for viewing and study upon request.

The University of Redlands Armacost Library map display, and its sister exhibit at A.K. Smiley Public Library, are part of the GIS Day community events in Redlands, California.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Armacost Library Display at A.K. Smiley Public Library

In preparation for Geography Awareness Week, Armacost Library's GIS and maps intern Stephanie Milner and outreach librarian Melissa Cardenas-Dow erected a small display of maps and images highlighting the storytelling power of maps. The display features images of maps from Armacost Library that are significant to books available at A.K. Smiley Public Library.

picture of display of images of associated maps and books at A.K. Smiley commemorating Geography Awareness Week 2012
Geography Awareness Week 2012 display
at A.K. Smiley Public Library
The entire display consists of images of maps and books that show the historical past of California. In the middle of the display is a bridle trail map of Redlands from 1941. This map, from A.K. Smiley's Heritage Room collection, depicts different trails in and around the city of Redlands. Many of the trails have been used for centuries. Some are now part of private property and are closed to the public. Others are part of the Redlands Conservancy's Heritage Trails Project, which preserves and maintains historic rural spaces in Redlands for city residents and visitors to enjoy.

Surrounding the bridle trail map from A.K. Smiley's Heritage Room are images of maps from University of Redlands, Armacost Library's Irvine Map Collection. All are paired with books from A.K. Smiley's circulating collection.

A City of Redlands map from 1957 brings geographical context to Redlands Remembered: Stories From the Jewel of the Inland Empire by Joan Hedges McCall (2012). A map of the territories of Gabrielino and adjoining Native American tribes complements The First Angelinos: The Gabrielino Indians of Los Angeles by William McCauley (1996). A map of Carmel-by-the-Sea, a small city in the Monterey Peninsula of central California, is paired with Robert Louis Stevenson's 1883 novel Treasure Island. The real-life California coastal location has long been lauded as the inspiration for Stevenson's book. The Elephant Quilt: Stitch by Stitch to California! by Susan Lowell and Stacey Dressen-McQueen (2008), a tale chronicling young Lily Rose's journey from Missouri to California, is supported by images of an 1861 map of Missouri and a 1954 map of California.

University of Redlands Armacost Library's Irvine Map Collection is currently being reorganized. Upon request, maps in the collection are still available for viewing and study.

The A.K. Smiley Public Library map display, and its sister display located at University of Redlands Armacost Library, are part of the GIS Day community events in Redlands, California.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Geography Awareness Week 2012

Several University of Redlands departments, including Armacost Library, will be celebrating Geography Awareness Week 2012 from November 11 to 17.

Armacost Library will have a display highlighting how cartographic materials tell stories. A sister display at A. K. Smiley Public Library will also be created to mark the occasion. The displays will be available for viewing starting November 12th. The Armacost Library display will be located on the 2nd floor, near the Popular Books shelves. The display at A. K. Smiley will be located in the hallway leading to the Heritage Room.

A number of presentations will be marking Wednesday, November 14th, GIS Day, at A. K. Smiley's Assembly Room. David Smith, U of R's Mapping and GIS Consultant, will give a presentation on the use of GIS technology on campus. His presentation is slated from 4:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Students from MS GIS will also be on site to answer questions about the program.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Backstage Handbook: an Illustrated Almanac of Technical Information

This is truly a one-of-a-kind resource for theater majors and others involved in theatrical production. Written by a stagehand who was frustrated that he had to consult numerous sources to get basic technical information, the Backstage Handbook is an excellent resource to consult while designing. Topics include:

  • Specialized tools and equipment needed for set construction
  • Fasteners (nails, bolts, hooks, etc.) and properties of materials (wood, plastic, chemicals, etc.) used in construction
  • Electrical and lighting systems
  • Quick reference formulas and shop math (algebra, geometry and trigonometry)
  • Basic set design principles (what's the difference between a proscenium and a thrust stage?)
Save time searching the web for this information and stop by the Reference Collection to get it all in one place! You'll find the Backstage Handbook, and a lot more useful theater reference books, here.

Sanjeet Mann
Arts Librarian

Hoovers troubleshooting update and LexisNexis alternative

UPDATE: As of Friday, November 16, 2012, access to Hoovers Online should be restored for on and off campus users. Please let us know if you are still experiencing problems! - Sanjeet

Dear Hoovers users,

I'm writing to update you on our efforts to restore access to Hoovers Online. We are still working with the publisher to fix the errors that have been appearing since October 25. In the meantime, we have been given a username and password for off campus users. Here is the four step process to access Hoovers:

1. First click the link on the H tab of Article Databases and Online Resources. You will need to authenticate with your MyRedlands username and password.

2. Next, select Hoovers Online from the list of username and password resources. Copy the address and paste it into a new tab or window in your browser, and load that page.

3. You will see the blue Mergent authentication button. Click on it to be authenticated as a University of Redlands user. If you are on campus, you can get started searching Hoovers.

4. If you are off campus, log in using the username and password found in the list from step 2 above.

I will post an update when I have been able to restore automatic (IP based) access to Hoovers for on and off campus users. Please let Armacost Library know if you are not able to access Hoovers using this method.

Some Hoovers financial statistics are also loaded into LexisNexis. To access them, click the Companies link on the left navigation bar and then select the Hoovers Company and Industry Profiles link.

I hope this information is helpful. Please contact Armacost Library if you have further questions or would like assistance with your company research.

Sanjeet Mann
Electronic Resources Librarian
Armacost Library