Monday, January 27, 2020

OA & the Coronavirus

Screenshot taken from Wuhan Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Global Cases (by JHU CSSE)

"Open-access (OA) literature is digital, online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions." -- Peter Suber

For students OA means being able to access online, scholarly literature without having to pay fees for a single article or pay a higher tuition that affords access to scholarly literature using your myRedlands username and password.

For alumni OA means not losing access to online, scholarly literature once you've graduated.

For authors OA means opting to remove barriers that inhibit scholarly communication, and wrestling with costs and uncertainties that come with using newer business models.

For the world OA means speedy and barrier-free access to information, research collaborations, and lives saved. Here's a rough timeline so far.

  • December 31, 2019: The World Health Organization (WHO) learns of Wuhan's string of pneumonia-like cases.
  • January 10, 2020: Researchers in China release the genomic sequence of the Wuhan coronavirus to GenBank, an OA repository and database from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
  • January 11, 2020: Andrew Mesecar, biology professor at Purdue, redirects his lab to analyze the DNA sequence; scientists from NIH's Rocky Mountain Laboratories in Montana takes steps to study the sequence in their labs.
  • January 22, 2020: NIH scientists publish a preprint of their analysis in bioRxiv, a preprint OA repository. About twelve hours later, scientists in China confirm that analysis.

"This is one of the first times we’re getting to see an outbreak of a new virus and have the scientific community sharing their data almost in real time, rather than have to go through classic route of going through the journals.” -- Michael Letko, Postdoctoral Fellow, Rocky Mountain Laboratories, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health.

The pace is unmatched... [OA is still] really new.” -- Karla Satchell, Professor of Microbiology-Immunology, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University.

Open sharing of research offers many public benefits, yet much work remains to make it the default way of doing, publishing, and sharing research. To learn more, talk with a librarian about current efforts to promote more open practices with textbooks and research.

Sources include:
France, Presse (Jan 22, 2020) "Coronavirus timeline: from Wuhan to Washington state," The Guardian, Available from:

Johnson, Carolyn Y. (Jan 24, 2020) "Scientists are unraveling the Chinese coronavirus with unprecedented speed and openness", The Washington Post, Available from:

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

More About The Lunar New Year

Most commonly known as Chinese New Year, the Lunar New Year is on January 25 this year. In accordance to the Chinese Zodiac, each year is a special year for each of the Zodiac creatures. 2019 was the Year of the Pig. And 2020 is the Year of the Rat!

Like for all major events that has global significance, the Lunar New Year celebrates the annual waking and feeding of the 'Nian' (translated to English it means 'Year'). It wakes from winter to feed on crops and villagers, mostly children. And thus inspired the Chinese Dragon Dance, where dangers use beautiful and colorful cloth to create a lion who eats red envelopes and cabbage hung high, which would bring everyone good luck for the year.

According to legends, some believe that loud sounds can scare away the evil spirits and intimidate the Nian. In recent years, people have substituted the loud crashes of bowls and plates with fire crackers. Sweeping and cleaning plaques are thought of as warding away evil spirits or bad vibes that surround a home and people. And there are some foods that are thought of as bringing the family together like eating nian-gao, hot pot, dumplings, mochi, and tangyuan.

Literature has long since tied many of the customs to this epic day of celebration! Take a look as some of the picks that can be found in the Armacost Library below!

"Gung Hay Fat Choy" by June Behrens can be found under the call number GT4905 B45 in Jasper's Corner. Published by the Childrens Press in Chicago, this hard covered book covers many different celebration aspects about the celebration of the Lunar New Year. Noted as the "grandest birthday party of all", there are the hanging red signs, different foods and activities, including the giving of red envelopes from adults to children. This book focuses on the Cantonese culture of celebrations, specific words, and phrases. However, the overall message of celebration is clear and family involvement and parades are a widespread tradition. Photos depicting such events brings the event to life better than illustrations can.

Another great book is "The Year of the Rat" by Grace Lin. In the Juvenile collection under the call number PS3562 I51 Y437 2008. In this series, Lin's writings feature a girl named Pacy who celebrates the Lunar New Year with her family and another Taiwanese family of friends. They tell stories about legends and how traditions came to be with them. From why the Rat comes first in the Zodiac and where food, animal, design, and activities from the celebration comes from, Pacy's insight as an Asian american brings forward different perspectives she develops on her own. There are moments where Pacy realizes and thinks in ways that readers of any age can connect to and this makes her more relate-able. But the highlights and stories come from her interactions with her parents. The stories they tell and the ideas they give her truly help her grow and understand more about her heritage.

A good source of information in our General Collection is "Narcissus: Chinese New Year Flower legends & Folklore" by William C. Hu. Introduced as the flower that best represents Chinese New Year, this book is filled with stories of different Chinese folklore and legends, passed down through telling it from one generation to the other. These stories form the traditional Chinese thoughts and ways of life, and all of them focus on morals and teachings that benefit and teach lessons for those who hear them.

It's customary, especially in Asian countries, to start the celebration for the Lunar New Year on the day and then, for two weeks, continue the celebration, family time, eating, and end it with the Lantern Festival. This is the time of the year where businesses and shops close for the year and spend time with their family and friends. Red is a color of good luck and happiness. So be sure to explore this special holiday with all your senses and enjoy them with your friends and family!