Maryland Day, March 25th

On November 22nd, 1633, intrepid travelers sailed from the English Isle of Wight on two small ships, the Ark and the Dove,  for a four-month long journey that would eventually land them on St. Clement’s Island in what is now St. Mary’s County, Maryland. 

They became the first English settlers to set foot on Maryland soil on March 25th, 1634.  This date has been formally observed as Maryland Day since 1903, and was made a legal holiday by the Maryland General Assembly in 1916.

Interested in learning more about the settlers of the original 13 colonies?  Check out Langsdale Library’s archival collection of the Order of the Founders &Patriots (OFB), a male lineage society established in 1896.  Just be sure to contact University Archivist Ben Blake (bblake@ubalt.edu) in advance – written permission from the donor society may be required. 

The Granddaddy of Video

The silver reel you see on your right is an example of the first videotape format ever released into the world (as compared to the size of a standard VHS videocassette tape on the left). The name of this format is 2-inch Quadruplex, also known simply as "Quad". The "2-inch" refers to the size of the width of the tape (please see below the open reel brown 2-inch-wide Quad tape versus the 1/2-inch VHS tape encased in a plastic shell, respectively).

CBS was the first on-air user of the 2” Quad machine, to tape-delay the evening CBS News broadcast with Douglas Edwards on Nov. 30, 1956. From that point until the late 1970s, the vast majority of broadcast television was recorded onto this video format.  

In the WJZ-TV and WMAR-TV Collections at the Langsdale Library Special Collections Department, we hold approximately three hundred 2-inch Quad reels from these local television stations. Highlights from the labels suggest that they are masters of several local television broadcasts and even national broadcast news ranging in date from the early 1960s to the early 1980s. However, we can't be entirely sure of the content until the tapes are digitized--an expensive endeavor due to the professional expertise, time, and obsolete equipment needed. According to an estimate by the Library of Congress' National Recording Preservation Plan, by approximately 2027 these tapes will no longer be physically able to even undergo digitization! Contact specialcollections@ubalt.edu for more information.


Great Blind Dates!

Tired of boring or embarrassing blind dates?

Try a blind date with a book

In Langsdale, try a date with one of our Leisure Reading books.  As you enter Langsdale, pass the stairway on the right.  Go past the DVDs and look to your left for some great reading.


Inspired Discoveries: Spring Symposium

What will you think of next?
With the arrival of spring comes Inspired Discoveries after all, Spring is the season of new beginnings. Inspired Discoveries is the annual Spring Symposium, showcasing undergraduate students’ original research and creative work The program is six years strong, awarding various students for innovative presentations. (Presentations should be in the form of posters, exhibits, presentations, or presented papers.) That means if there is any work/ project, you (the student) are especially proud of submit it! Of course, there is a reward for all the hard work presented at the symposium- a $500 prize and being featured in an online campus publications. However, Application are due soon- very soon, April 10, 2015. To learn more and download an application visit:


Signs point to "Yes!"

Playscale-sized patron Shironeko is new to Langsdale. She visited the library over spring break and was pleased with all the new signage she encountered. It made finding her way around the library a snap! Of course her pal-- library services technician Adele-- brought her camera along to capture Shironeko's adventures.

Shironeko is welcomed to Langsdale by the sign outside of the library, on the third floor of Learning Commons.

Shironeko checks the large-screen map on the 3rd floor to get herself situated.

Leisure reading is this way...

Where the magic happens-- that is, the "magic" of preparing materials for circulation, share-streaming, and transferring inter-library loans and books from other campuses.

Shironeko is a big movie buff. She can't wait to check out some DVDs!
Circ is a great place to get general information and borrow some choice DVDs and reading materials.

Newer flicks Can be found at the circulation desk, like this American version of a Japanese favorite, Gojira.

Shironeko pals around with student assistant Montez Jennings
Getting jiggy on the Irish-themed display case 

On the 4th floor, Shironeko is easily able to locate the reference librarian on duty. Thank you, Signage!!

Archivist and reference librarian Ben Blake tackles some of Shironeko's research questions

Ben and Shironeko consider a spectacle swap.

Getting some 4th floor direction...

The Special Collections reading room:  found it!

Before finishing up her visit, Shironeko takes a look at some proposed architectural plans for what is going to be the new Langsdale at 1420 Maryland Avenue. 

She can picture herself in the renovated future Langdale already!


American Decades: Langsdale's reference ebook of the month

If you are interested in American history, there are numerous good books,websites and documentaries available to peruse.  Still, there is perhaps nothing quite like the sense you can get from reading or listening to an important document or speech and thinking about how it must have sounded at the time it was composed.  If that sounds interesting, American Decades: Primary Sources is the reference book for you.  It provides a compilation of some of the most important documents in 20th and 21st century American History.  If the video above inspires you to look for some primary sources in American History, whether it be for a class or perhaps as light reading over spring break, you can start browsing American Decades with just a few clicks.


Searching for the Truth

When you need to fact-check information, there's a lot of options:

  • Snopes investigates rumors like "Nabisco is producing Fried Chicken Oreos"(false, by the way)
  • LazyTruth is an app you can use to debunk stories in chain emails
  • FactCheck.org uncovers claims related to public policy and politics
  • PolitiFact is an independent website that checks claims made by politicians using their "Truth-O-Meter" (and tracks President Obama's campaign promises using their "Obameter")

But when looking up information on a topic, or trying to learn more about an issue, most people turn to Google as the primary place to get information. Google ranks its search results using an algorithm that looks at metadata (including keywords), popularity, and, increasingly, personalized information gleaned from your search habits and history. How does Google know a website is popular? It looks to see how many other pages link to it, and counts each link as vote of recommendation for that website. The more times other websites link to a certain page, the more that website page will move to the top of your Google search results.

Photo Credit: Pixabay
The problem: Those popular websites don't always have correct information. As rumors spread, people often link to websites that support their claims, sometimes cherry-picking pages that only show one side of the story. A research team at Google is working on modifying that popularity model to "measure the trustworthiness of a page, rather than its reputation across the web." According to an article in The New Scientist, this proposed algorithm "counts the number of incorrect facts within a page" instead of counting the number of incoming links.

In order for Google to determine what is and isn't a fact, it has a vast Knowledge Vault that contains billions of pieces of information called triples, which it determines to be accurate information. If Google succeeds at being able to rank search results by accuracy (certainly, a useful service) this means we're relying on technology, a company, an algorithm to tell us what is true and false, taking away our ability to think critically about the information we find, and putting an awful lot of trust in Google. Who will fact-check Google?


Roots in the Road Fights

Photo credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center/Bill Hrybyk

"Mikulski's legacy starts with the 'battle of the road.'" That's the Baltimore Sun headline that caught my eye on the iPad this morning. Columnist Dan Rodricks highlights the roots of Senator Barbara Mikulski's political career in Baltimore's expressway fights of the 1960s and 1970s.

According to Rodricks, "There are a lot of parts to the Mikulski legacy. But the one Baltimore long-timers remember -- and newcomers should know and appreciate -- was the fight against the highways, way back when."

Want to know more about the road fights? You're in luck, because Langsdale Library contains the archival records of two of the grassroots organizations that fought expressway construction through their neighborhoods: Southeast Council Against the Road (SCAR) and Movement Against Destruction (MAD).

Check out our digital exhibit, which highlights selected material, or browse the collections as they've been scanned in their entirety: MAD and SCAR.

Want to learn more? Contact Special Collections or make an appointment to view the collections in person.