10/31/2014

Halloween in Langsdale

Whether you’re looking for suspenseful or gory, there is something to be found in Langsdale Library. That’s right even Langsdale Library is in the Halloween spirit offering several film titles dedicated to the fright, chills, and even laughs of Halloween. What exactly are you in the mood for?

Let’s start with the originals:
The best thing about these films is that they did first and sometimes best. The original horror had a great level of chill and suspense, making the viewer feel like these situations could possibly happen.  These films offer quality of the genre and can sometimes make you a little creeped out when the film is done. These films mostly offer something unique which deemed them classics. Maybe you have seen them; maybe you haven’t, either way they are worth the watch. Check out some of these in Langsdale:

***Prom Night- Everyone thinks about Prom night, right? Well in this film, the perfect night takes a disastrous turn when childhood friends start dropping like flies after they receive mysterious and obscene phone calls. It falls in the slasher film category; however you wouldn't the twist the film will take. Directed by Paul Lynch

**The Thing- What is it? It doesn't matter what it is, more so what it will do. The thing starts out with scientists who uncover an alien being that has been buried for 100,000 years. Naturally, anything that’s been buried that long is coming back with a vengeance. *Directed by one of the greats, John Carpenter

****Rosemary’s Baby-  Absolutely chilling in every way. Adapted from Ira Levin’s novel, the story follows a New York couple expecting their first child. Rosemary’s husband, a very unsuccessful actor, makes a pact with the devil to sky rocket his career. Direct by Roman Polanski.

**The Shining- Stanley Kubrick’s adaption of Stephen King’s novel is not just a film about a struggling writer. It questions the ideas of perception and belief of people. It’s more than a typical film of the struggle for survival. It’s a subtle supernatural piece that deals with the undertones of insanity. Jack Torrance becomes the caretaker of the snowbound Overlook Hotel which has an eerie reputation. Soon after, he slowly becomes possessed by an evil presence. No you won’t see any dark-eyed demons or backwards walking children but what you will get is a masterpiece of horror and suspense.

***Psycho- One of the most chilling, “based on a true” films of all times. Before Michael , Freddy, or Leatherface, there was Norman. Norman is the mild mannered mama’s boy who took care of the Bates’ motel. Psycho literally speaks for itself- Norman is not as tamed and sweet as many would believe. Norman and his details of his life slowly unfold when Marian Crane checks into the motel but doesn't exactly check out.  *Directed by the great Alfred Hitchcock

Zombies:
They can be terrifying. They can be mute but most importantly, there are back for many different reasons. Zombie films can range from intense to very campy. Zombies, in a sense, represent our greatest fears and sometimes parts of us, maybe that’s why we love them.

*Warm Bodies-  Not as scary or as heavy hitting as the originals or Zombies movies that came before but to put it in simple terms, it’s a cute film. It takes the idea of Romeo and Juliet and fuses it with a zombie apocalypse. It’s not scary but it offers some comedy and a not so normal love story. It isn't the typical, “ration the supplies” and shoot, walking dead kind of film.

*Zombieland - They can extremely scary or kind of funny. Zombieland is the witty tale of four strangers who find each-other during a zombie apocalypse. Zombieland offers some social commentary about solitude and just how great life would be in a cultural wasteland. It mixes humor and horror and makes for a great watch.

***28 Days Later-It started with Chimps. After animal rights activist released infect chimps and they are attacked. Twenty eight days later, we found Jim waking from a coma and wandering out into a deserted world to find other "survivors" who explained the severity of the infection. Taking a break from funny and lovey, we get scary.  Twenty eight days later is an intense look at what life would be like a in a real Zombie apocalypse. Not very fun. 

***Night of the Living Dead- Directed by who some would call the “Godfather” of Zombie films, George Romero creates simple yet terrifying zombie classic. Seven people try to survive the night in trapped in a farmhouse.

So maybe Zombies or the oldies aren't your thing! That's okay, Langdale has other cool title to check out: 

Retro:

**Jaws

Modern:

*Not Scary but good watch
** Great Suspense
*** Good scare and great Suspense
**** Creepmeter is very high

To find these titles, reserve online or ask a librarian for help. 

10/28/2014

Of Ambient Music and Cyber Security

When I was thinking about what I would write about for today's blog post I had planned to do something about the Internet Archive, public domain and derivative works. I was inspired by a really interesting blog post by the actor / gamer Wil Wheaton, where he talks about getting public domain period music for a 1920's themed party; and using free open source tools to rework one of them into his own 90's-style ambient tune. All pretty interesting stuff.

Verizon's "perma-cookie" is a privacy-killing machine. And you can't turn it off.But then, while eating breakfast this morning, I came across this tweet that made me reconsider my topic, and instead I'd like to bring up something a little more serious: National Cyber Security Awareness Month. Perhaps you've seen some of the flyers that OTS and the library have put up around campus and in our labs, warning about identity theft and cloud security. Maybe you haven't. But, regardless, you can find some great information from OTS here about how you can better protect yourself.

It may not be as fun, or exciting, as using free tools to publish your creative works online for the the world to see. But your privacy and identity online are pretty darn important as well.

And, if you use Verizon for the wireless connection on your phone or tablet, and are interested in seeing if they are tracking everything you do while on their network, you can go here. It will tell you if Verizon is adding the cookie to everything you do on the web. Just make sure you turn off WiFi beforehand, since this "feature" only applies to web browsing over their 3G and 4G networks.

10/01/2014

The New Guy in the Langsdale Library

Rumeal Mosley
Major: Business Administration/Marketing
University of Baltimore '15
 
     Hello, my name is Rumeal Mosley. Born and raised in Baltimore, MD where I have acquired a blue collar work ethic in combination with a corporate mentality. I've attended and received my high school diploma from the Boys' Latin School of Maryland located on Lake Ave. approximately 15 minutes from UB's campus. Throughout my brief career, I have held several employed positions relative to customer service, sales and management. I've completed a Retail Management internship for JC Penney at one of their largest stores in the U.S. in Buford, GA in the Summer of 2013 and I've most recently worked as a Retail Marketing Intern for Volkswagen Group of America at their corporate headquarters in Herndon, Va prior to the Fall 2014 semester.
     I am overjoyed to assist the Langsdale Library in marketing. As a graduating Senior, I have been a frequent visitor of the library throughout my four years at UB for various research assignments and group projects. There are so many helpful resources and services offered to help students achieve academic success here at Langsdale. It is my task to make UB students aware of upcoming events, relevant library news and the benefits of the Langsdale Library; a task I am really excited to take on. The team here at UB is a wonderful! I am grateful for the opportunity to both work and learn from the awesome employees here at the Langsdale Library. It's going to be a great semester!

9/30/2014

Special Collections Highlight: Baltimore Voices Company



Today we are highlighting a collection from the Library’s Special Collections Department (offices and Research Room can be found on the 4th Floor of the Learning Commons): the Baltimore Voices Company Collection

Formed in 1979, the Baltimore Voices Company (BVC) was the Baltimore Theatre Project's contribution to a larger, multi-faceted local history initiative known as the Baltimore Neighborhood Heritage Project (or BNHP, another archival collection held here at Langsdale Library). In order to create a theatrical production that was performed throughout the city in 1980, company members utilized existing BNHP oral histories and conducted their own tape-recorded interviews. The BVC's interviews were organized around specific themes, including labor, education, and community organizing. The collection at Langsdale contains oral history tapes, transcripts of interviews, biographical sketches, financial documents, publications, posters, photographs, brochures and more. For digital copies of some of the audio and documents, please see the digital exhibit.

<<Siobhan Hagan, AV Archivist

9/24/2014

Arrr, how ye be getitng ye textbook?

So, let's get this straight right off the bat - I am in no way asking you to self incriminate in any way.

That said, however, I do wonder what hoops you have had to jump through in order to get access to the required textbooks for your class? If this recently published study is to be believed, you might have been like one of the 25% of surveyed students who resorted to illegally downloading a copy of an eTextbook.
"Study Indicates College Textbook Piracy is On The Rise, But Fails to Call Out Publishers for Skyrocketing Prices."

Here in the library we are directly impacted by those rising costs as well, which is why we can not possibly have on hand a copy of every textbook used on campus; we could spend our entire annual budget on textbooks and only buy a fraction of them you need. And, unlike those in the survey (perhaps unfortunately), our professional code forbids us from resorting to piracy. This leaves us with the question - how do how do we work together to get you access to the textbooks you need without breaking either of our banks or the law?

Though I am sure my colleagues in our Book and Document Delivery department, specifically those who work on providing reserves, might have more to say on this than I do, there are a couple things that come to mind. One, perhaps more long term solution is to support open access projects like Open Access Textbooks. They are a grant funded organization, based in Florida, that is working to set a model for states around the nation for Creative Commons licensed textbooks.

Another might be to call out publishers for their predatory pricing practices, as @techdirt mentions in the above tweet. But again this is more of a long term solution. And, while encouraging faculty to author more open access textbooks, and publishers to reign in their tactics, might be fine goals, they're not particularly helpful for you today.

Another strategy that might help more quickly, is to encourage your faculty to partner with the library to provide the textbooks you need on reserve. Talk to them about the very real impact the skyrocketing cost of course materials is having on you, and refer them to us. We have policies and procedures in place to help them provide you with the materials you need in your classes.

And, in the meantime, what other solutions have you found to this problem?

9/18/2014

Upcoming Local (Un)Conference

Image credit: View of the Battle Monument, John Rubens Smith (1775-1849), 1828. Library of CongressLC-DIG-ds-01545.

Love Baltimore? Interested in local history and culture? If so, check out the upcoming Bmore Historic Unconference, October 10th at the Maryland Historical Society. Registration opens soon and is just ten dollars for students.

According to the unconference website:
Bmore Historic is an annual participant-led unconference for scholars, students, professionals and volunteers who care about public history, historic preservation and cultural heritage in the Baltimore region. Bmore Historic is an opportunity to connect with local historians, humanities scholars, preservation advocates, museum professionals, archivists, and anyone interested in exploring the vital intersections between people, places and the past in Baltimore and Maryland. We’re bringing people together and you set the agenda.