Making a spectacle of ourselves.

Experimental Literature at Langsdale
Display Case Curated by Tim Paggi (MFA Spring '15)
Our inaugural library display in our new Learning Commons home combines our outreach to students and expertise and special interests of the staff. This display of our library hidden gems has been created by Tim Paggi. Tim is an academic triple threat, close to earning his MFA, teaching a section of WRIT 100 and working as a student assistant in the Book and Document Delivery department here at Langsdale.

Here Tim provides us with a brief introduction to his display;

Drawing from Langsdale's wide literary selection, this display is organized under the broad theme of the "experimental." These works challenge the conventions of traditional thought, and introduce readers to a variety of new, and often fun, approaches to reading. Included in this selection is work by the canonical avant-garde (beat William Burroughs, absurdist Eugene Ionesco), as well as surprising, obscure finds (conceptual poet Mei-Mei Bersenbrugge, prison-poet Shaka N'Zinga).

Also included in the display are examples of Concrete Poetry, Found Poetry, Alt-Lit Internet Poems and Speculative Fiction. Check it out!

Please visit and check out this display, that’s right, feel free to choose a book from the display and check it out on you library Bee Card.



Events at the Library and Movie Notice

Langsdale Library would like to make you aware of a couple of fantastic events coming up. This is a bit of a short notice, but for those of you checking the blog between now and 12:30 p.m., there is a Lunch and Learn with Carol Molinari from the school of Health and Human Services at 12:30 p.m. in Langsdale Library Room #319 today (Thursday, November 20th, 2014). For those of you who do not know, that is the room to your right just as you are entering the library.

This lunch and learn promises to be fantastic, as Carol Molinari will discuss a study that she conducted with students in UB’s Healthcare Management program on the effects of a structured mindfulness meditation exercise on online learning. 

More details about the event are here.

Carol Molinari’s biography is here:

Did you miss Carol’s lecture today? You can still support the library. If you are tired, stressed, or pulling an all-nighter, come to the first floor of Langsdale Library (third floor of the Learning Commons) during finals week. We will be providing FREE coffee and hot chocolate to students on Monday, December 1st-Thursday, December 4th from 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m. More details about the event are here.

Don’t drink coffee or hot chocolate? Are the lectures too poorly timed for you? Langsdale Library still has services for you. If you are a movie buff, we would like to make you aware of a new movie we have on shelf:

Obvious Child-Are you having romantic or professional problems? Are you still figuring out your love life or career path? Do you need cheering up for some other reason? Are Jenny Slate and Jake Lacy among your favorite actors? Do you just love a good comedy? If you said yes to any of the above, Obvious Child is the perfect movie for you. It is about a Brooklyn comedian who has a one-night stand and ends up pregnant on the worst Valentine’s Day of her life after getting dumped and fired. After all this happens, she has to face independent adulthood for the first time in her life. Feel free to check it out after Monday, November 24th, when I will be done with it. A more detailed description of the movie is here:

-Elizabeth Mason, Part-Time Metadata Librarian, Langsdale Library


Happy Hip-Hop History Month!

It's hard to believe hip-hop turned 40. To celebrate, why not brush up on your hip-hop history?

Wonder what Langsdale has to offer on the subject?

Why not did a little deeper? Ever wonder which libraries and archives have begun collecting hip-hop primary sources for preservation and historical research? Here are just a few of the archives doing their part to document this rich history:

But don't take my word for it… Search ArchiveGrid and see what you find!


Christmas in September

Thanksgiving is not yet here and I’m already thinking of Christmas.  And I’m Jewish.  How does that work? The term in the industry is “Christmas creep,” which simply means that holiday advertising occurs earlier and earlier each year.  Knowing that consumers have negative feelings towards this early onslaught, savvy advertisers have begun to use “meta-marketing” tactics (ads about ads) to weasel their way into our brains as early as September.   Take for example Kmart’s “This is not a Christmas Commercial” which appeared soon after Labor Day this year.

I like to blame evil corporations as much as the next guy, but a little research sheds light on our complicity in this trend. A Holiday Shopper’s Intentions Survey commissioned by Google finds that “more than half of consumers surveyed said they’ll start their [consumer] research before Thanksgiving,” and the National Retail Federation reports that 40% of Americans begin their holiday shopping before Halloween

Anti-materialist sentiments aside, is this a trend worth resisting or could there be a benefit to extending the holiday shopping season? Some economists point out that reliance on year-end sales makes for a more turbulent economy with lots of wasteful spending.  In his paper The Deadweight Loss of Christmas, economist Joel Waldfogel asserts that one-third of the items purchased for others are not wanted, and that money or gift cards are (big surprise here) the most efficient form of gift giving. While this certainly helps explain my attic, it also takes the gift out of the giving.

This year I make peace with the early advertising.  And next year, if I see a good present in September, I'm going to buy it for that special loved one.  It may not only make for a less harried holiday season, but a smoother and more efficient economy too.


Google Scholar turns 10

Google Scholar, Google's search engine for scholarly material, turns 10 on Monday (Nov 18).  It has become a major alternative to commercial library databases in those 10 years, so much so that Langsdale and many other libraries have linked their own holdings to it (see how you can connect UB's holdings to Google Scholar) or even provided a Google Scholar search widget on their home pages.
image courtesy of Google

Google Scholar has leveraged Google's robust algorithms to its advantage, making it the largest index of scholarly materials, and over the years it has added features for authors to create profiles and track their citations (see example).

Here at Langsdale, we see the value of GS' size and search strength and include it in our research recommendations.  However, too many students and faculty who don't connect GS with our holdings are often stymied at GS because of article costs.  Connecting with UB's collections allows users to access those materials for free.

The latest issue of Nature has an interesting interview with Google Scholar's co-creator and current manager, Anurag Acharya, who describes both the history and future of the engine.


The Internet Arcade

For you gamers out there, the Library would like to introduce you to the recently launched Internet ArcadeThe Internet Arcade is an Internet browser-based library of emulated video arcade games from the 1970s up through the 1990s. It has hundreds of games ranging across many different genres that you can play for fun, to study, or to test your eye-keyboard coordination! Before you start, though, I recommend reading this blog post by the Internet Arcade operator, Jason Scott, walking you step-by-step through instructions to have a better playing experience.

 The Langsdale Library also has its own Game Collection for students, researchers and faculty use. Video game conservation is an important part of preserving our cultural heritage, but can be extremely difficult due to copyright issues and software and hardware obsolescence. Read more about this endeavor in the Library of Congress' 2010 "Preserving Virtual Worlds Final Report". 


Intrepid Student Unlocks a Learning Commons Mystery

Curiosity got the best of student Kayla Antoine on Wednesday-- she stopped into Langsdale's administrative offices and asked what the ultra-mysterious "Cell Zone" booth on the third floor is supposed to be used for. Antoine was probably a little let down when she found out that despite its space-age appearance, Cell Zone is not a teleportation device. It is actually a sound-proof booth with a light, a sliding door, and a working fan (which circulates air for maximum comfort.)

Need privacy and don't want other nosy library patrons eavesdropping on your conversation? Or maybe you're just endeavoring to be considerate of those around you who are trying to study in peace and quiet. Either way, the Cell Zone is for you! Visit it on the third floor by the restrooms.