New @ the Library: More Streaming via Films on Demand!

Good news – the Library now subscribes to Films on Demand, the streaming video collection from Films for the Humanities & Sciences, one of the best known distributors of educational documentaries.  Subjects are very wide-ranging and provide great coverage in science & technology areas, in the social sciences, and humanities.  The streaming documentaries come from a variety of familiar and popular sources, including television news programs; PBS programs (such as the American Experience, Bill Moyers, NOVA, and the Ken Burns collection); TED talks, Scientific American Frontiers; California Newsreel titles focusing on African and African American topics, and more.

Films on Demand

Films on Demand – front page view

The streaming videos in Films on Demand can be searched by title or by video segments; an Advanced Search supports searching for titles with closed-captions, interactive transcripts, and other features.   Frequent users will want to create an account that allows creation of personalized playlists and organizing favorite content in customized folders, which can be a handy means for instructors to collect different materials for specific courses.  Instructors can easily place entire videos or specific video segments on Course Reserve, play them in media-equipped classrooms, or stream online, making Films on Demand a flexible and engaging content tool for your face-to-face, online, and distance learning courses.  (There is also an Embed feature that in theory allows you to embed the video directly in your Blackboard course pages, but…. I haven’t yet gotten this feature to work properly.  Perhaps this can be straightened out soon.)  Off-campus users will of course need to login with their Library Borrower ID and password to view.

Pass the popcorn, and enjoy!

ACLS Humanities e-Book collection

New-ish to the Library is the fascinating ACLS Humanities e-Book collection, from the American Council of Learned Societies.  This impressive collection has almost 4000 full-text scholarly books across the wide gamut of the traditional humanities (history; art & architecture; film & media studies; literature & literary criticism; linguistics; music, dance, performance; philosophy; political science, religion, and even sociology, to name a few).  There is a strong focus on “historical studies” focused on “African, American, Asian, Comparative/World, Eastern European/Russian, Economic, European, Latin American, Legal, Medicine, Methods/Theory, Middle East, and Science/Technology.”   You can download an Excel spreadsheet of the specific book titles included if you want to take a look.

Okay, we know it’s huge.  Even the title is a mouthful – so much so that you’ll see even the authors refer to it as ACLS HEB, or even just HEB.  So what can you do with HEB?  Happily, the collection boasts both an easy to use browse feature (that allows you to browse by title, author, or subject) and a very robust search engine that lets you quickly find titles / subjects / authors of interest.  Within a few clicks, you have the full-text of the book right in front of you.

acls ebook1   Once you find a book of interest, you can enter the book from its ACLS title record page.  You can go to the first page of the book and page your way through, or enter specific chapters / page ranges by using the linked Table of contents.  There are book reviews for my title linked on the page, plus the full citation and full cataloging record.  You can even get a larger version of the book jacket by clicking on your book’s image.

I found the book, Buñuel and Mexico: The crisis of national cinema, by Ernesto R. Acevedo-Muñoz and published by the Univ of California Press in 2003.  So you can see what I mean, here’s a graphic of the ACLS title page for the Buñuel cinema book I found.

Once you enter the full-text of your book, you can even choose the best display – page image, text,  or pdf – for your own reading comfort or downloading / printing needs.  You can also easily adjust the size of the page if you need a larger font or need to see an illustration in greater detail.

Speaking of illustrations, the few illustrations from book contents that I have seen have not been of the greatest quality.  This is probably the only drawback I can see during my own quick review of this collection.  Let me show you what I mean.

acls heb2

Hmmmm……  in a fantastic collection like HEB, it’s disappointing to see such blurry and grainy images.  This one comes from a book called Gay L.A. by Lillian Faderman.  There are lots of illustrations in this interesting book and none of them seems to be scanned clearly, which is really too bad.  It’s just not the same high quality images you will find in the original hardback book.  I haven’t found illustrations in other HEB books yet to compare but my guess is that this may be a current weakness throughout this collection.  You’ll need to see what you think.

So, do use this collection to find a surprising breadth of full-text eBooks in the humanities.  Don’t expect to find high quality book illustration images you can use (copyright permitting) in other projects.  You will though find nice quality reproductions of book covers.  And yes, you can find these books through Quick Search too.  Overall, a big positive addition to the Library’s collections.  Give ACLS HEB a test drive and let me know what you think!

Periodicals Archive Online – Digital Humanities & Social Sciences

I’ve just begun exploring in one of the Library’s newer tools, Periodicals Archive Online, from ProQuest/Chadwyck Healy.  It’s an index that leads to full-text articles in the arts, humanities, & social sciences.

One of the first things I noticed is that you can change the search interface to one of 6 different languages, including French (below), Spanish, German, Italian, and Portuguese – and of course the default is English.  This can make for a nice immersive experience for language students, and is also useful of course for researchers who prefer to search in one of these languages.  So, big bonus points from the beginning from me!

The next obvious question is what’s in here?  Here’s a useful list of titles that I found online at the ProQuest website – wow!  (Currently, the Library subscribes only to only some of the collections – see the title list for Collections 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 to know exactly what’s available.)

What breadth in terms of subject areas, in terms of international perspectives, languages, and in terms of years!

Broad subjects include art; drama; history; economics; folklore; literature, poetry, and literary studies; geography; religion; psychology; linguistics & psycholinguistics; education; African American studies; law; Cuban studies; music; anthropology; philosophy; sociology, women’s studies, and more.

International perspectives?  Cultural studies?  Race & ethnic studies?  I see Islamic studies in English and in German; African and African American titles; South Asian & Middle Eastern studies; many titles in French, German, and Spanish, with some in Dutch; Japanese religious studies; Latin American and peninsular Spanish studies; Korean and Chinese studies…

What about years?  This depends on the titles themselves, of course.  I do see some titles dating back to the 19th century, such as Geographische Zeitschrift (coverage in PAO from 1895 through 2000), Nederlands archief voor kerkgeschiedenis (1885-2000), Orientalistische Literaturzeitung (1898-2000), and Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society (1813-2000), to grab a few titles just at random.  Most journals seem solidly rooted in the 20th century, with the most recent coverage year apparently 2000.  The search interface does indicate you can search by date, with 1665 (!) being the first year listed through 2000.   Amazing!

I also definitely appreciate the built-in flexibility for researchers.  PAO lets you refine or filter your search results by language, by journal, date, and by subject.  Marked references can be exported into EndNote or other bibliographic management software packages.

TO test drive the index, I did some sample searching totally off the top of my head.  For starters, I did a search on medieval author Christine de Pisan (alternatively spelled Christine de Pizan), and found great articles in English and in French listed under both spellings.

Christine de Pisan

(No, Periodicals Archive Online does not seem to include images.  This illustration of Christine de Pisan “lecturing men” is courtesy of Wikipedia – love it!) But the index did very quickly find a number of focused and interesting full-text research articles that I wouldn’t have been able to easily find in any other single index, save for Quick Search.

Aside: Pisan was one of the earliest women writers to be able to support herself and her children through her prolific writings.  She was also a feminist, writing her ground-breaking Le Livre de la Cité des Dames in 1405 as a protest against the misogynistic leanings in the renowned Roman de la Rose.

Well, you can see I quickly got into source material of great interest to me – which is of course the job of any good index – to get you where you want to go.  Periodicals Archive Online is so flexible and so broad, it’s likely to include materials you’re interested in too.  Give it a try and see where it leads you!

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A Day without a Mexican

Standing on line at the café waiting for my morning coffee, CNN was doing a spot on A Day without a Mexican, Sergio Arau’s “mockumentary” satire from 2004.  Scripted like a sci-fi thriller, the film depicts the shocking story of Mexican & Mexican American people disappearing throughout California, leaving hordes of panicky white folks to deal with their own cooking, laundering, babysitting, gardening, and other responsibilities.

Trailer: A Day without a Mexican

The documentary makes its point with humor and some tragedy, and can serve as a useful tool for class discussions on the often difficult topics of immigration, race, economic refugees, and class privilege.  The Library owns A Day without A Mexican in both DVD and video formats.  Here are the details, along with other recent and classic DVDs and videos on the topic of Latin American immigration.

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A Day without a Mexican; dir. by Sergio Arau
“Presented in documentary fashion, this program shows what might happen, what adverse effects there would be, etc. if all Mexican Americans and Mexicans in the United States were to vanish.”
Parks Library–Media Center PARKS Media Center: Media Collection (Vide 003 462)

AbUSed:  THe Postville Raid; dir. by Luis Argueta
“The arrest of nearly 400 undocumented workers in Postville, Iowa, pushed the town to the brink of collapse and severed an economic lifeline to one of the poorest areas in the Western Hemisphere. These are stories in Guatemala and Iowa of the immigrants affected.”
Parks Library–Media Center PARKS Media Center: Media Collection (DVD 005 162)

 Trailer: AbUSed: The Postville Raid

Postville: When cultures collide; Iowa Public Television
“Tells the story of how a small Iowa town is dealing with multiculturalism. Postville, Iowa is where more than 300 Hasidic Jews, plus hundreds of Mexicans, Guatelmalans, Ukrainians and Russians have taken up residence in the last decade. Explores the struggles and rewards of the social and economic changes.”
Parks Library–Media Center PARKS Media Center: Media Collection (Vide 003 808)
Which Way Home (HBO Documentary Films); dir. Rebecca Cammisa
“A feature documentary that follows unaccompanied child migrants on their journey through Mexico as they try to reach the United States. We follow children like Olga and Freddy, 9-year old Hondurans, who are trying to reach their parents in the U.S. Children like Jose, a 10-year old El Salvadoran, who has been abandoned by smugglers and ends up alone in a Mexican detention center, and Kevin, a streetwise 14-year-old Honduran, whose mother hopes that he will reach the U.S.”  Parks Library–Media Center PARKS Media Center: Media Collection (Vide 003 792)

Trailer: Which Way Home


La Caminata / The journey; dir. by Jamie Meltzer
“Fed up with the mass migration of their community, the small Mexican town of Alberto creates a one-of-a-kind tourist attraction they call La Caminata, a simulated nighttime border crossing, complete with fake border patrol chasing balaclava-clad coyotes. The experience is a cross between adventure tourism and a way for participants, largely middle class Mexican tourists, to experience firsthand the hardships of the border crossing. La Caminata details the story of this unlikely attempt to save a small community, offering a powerful look at the effect of migration in home communities, and opening a view to the immigration debate on the other side.”
Parks Library–Media Center PARKS Media Center: Media Collection (Vide 006 793)

Children in No Man’s Land / Niños en tierra de nadie; dir. Anayansi Prado
“Relates “the story of Maria de Jesus (13) and her cousin Rene (12) as they attempt to cross the [Mexican-American Border Region] alone to reunite with their mothers in the Midwest. Focusing on minors crossing through the Sonora Desert area in Nogales, Arizona, this film explores every detail of these children’s journey as well as the journeys of other children we meet on the way.”
Parks Library–Media Center PARKS Media Center: Media Collection (Vide 003 787)

A Little Salsa on the Prairie: The Changing Character of Perry, Iowa
“Summary of the history of a rural Midwest community, particularly its industry, immigration and ethnicity. Includes the rise and fall of the railroad and emergence of meatpacking as its major employer in the 1960s; investigates and portrays changes in the economy, society, and physical environment that arose due to Latino immigration in the 1980s and 1990s.”  Parks Library–Media Center PARKS Media Center: Media Collection (Vide 003 389)

Trailer: A Little Salsa on the Prairie

Letters from the other side; dir. by Heather Courtney
“Heather Courtney’s film interweaves video letters carried across the U.S.-Mexico border by the film’s director with the personal stories of women left behind in post-NAFTA Mexico. The video letters provides a way for these women to communicate with both loved ones and strangers on the other side of the border, and illustrates an unjust truth – as an American Courtney can carry these video letters back and forth across a border that these women are not legally allowed to cross. Focusing on a side of the immigration story rarely told by the media or touched upon in the national debate, the film offers a fresh perspective, painting a complex portrait of families torn apart by economics, communities dying at the hands of globalization, and governments incapable or unwilling to do anything about it.”
Parks Library–Media Center PARKS Media Center: Media Collection (DVD 000 932)

De l’autre côté / From the other side; dir. by Chantal Akerman
“In images and interviews, this film examines the plight of poor Mexicans who try to emigrate to the United States illegally with the hope of a better life. U.S. attempts to stem the influx has forced immigrants to take dangerous routes to avoid detection, and many have died.”  In French, English, & Spanish, with English subtitles.  From renowned and prolific  Belgian filmmaker Chantal Akerman.
Parks Library–Media Center PARKS Media Center: Media Collection (Vide 006 494)

Del otro lado del cristal / On the other side of the glass (ICAIC)
“Documentary on “Operación Peter Pan,” during which thousands of Cuban children left Havana for Miami without their parents between 1960-1962.”  In Spanish, with English subtitles.  From the renowned Instituto Cubano de Arte e Industria Cinematográfica (ICAIC).
Parks Library–Media Center PARKS Media Center: Media Collection (Vide 003 389)

María Full of Grace; HBO Films, dir. Joshua Marston
“Maria, a poor Colombian teenager, is desperate to leave a soul-crushing job. She accepts an offer to transport packets of heroin – which she swallows – to the United States. The ruthless world of drug trafficking proves to be more than she bargained for.”  
Parks Library–Media Center PARKS Media Center: Media Collection (DVD 000 900)

[Trailer: María Full of Grace – now replaced by a playlist Motorcycle Diaries!]

Diarios de motocicleta / Motorcycle Diaries; dir. by Walter Salles
(Okay, this one does not fit our theme at all but I just noticed the Maria Full of Grace trailer has  been replaced by a video playlist that starts with a Motorcycle Diaries trailer.  Playlists – go figure!  You can skip ahead about 6 or 7 videos to view the Maria Full of Grace trailer, or enjoy viewing them all.  It’s quite an eclectic collection!  Just the same, we do own Motorcycle Diaries, which tells the tale of the young Ernesto “Che” Guevara who drives his motorcycle across Latin America, learning many life lessons and becoming politicized along the way.  Enjoy the beautiful music by Gustavo Santaolalla in this trailer! Hey, we own the cd of his soundtrack for the film as well:  Disc 004 205 in the Media Center!  Check it out!)
Parks Library–Media Center PARKS Media Center: Media Collection (DVD 001 134)

Fear and Learning at Hoover Elementary; dir. Laura Angélica Simón
“A documentary by Los Angeles teacher Laura Angelica Simón, exploring the impact of California’s Proposition 187 on the immigrant community. The subject is Hoover Street Elementary School, where Simón candidly explores the attitudes and emotions of teachers, students and parents, focusing on a ten year old Salvadorian girl.”
Parks Library–Media Center PARKS Media Center: Media Collection (Vide 002 738)

Trailer: El Norte

El Norte; dir. by Gregory Nava
The 1983 classic and still powerful film:  “Mayan Indian peasants are tired of being thought of as nothing more than manual laborers. They organize an effort to improve their lot in life, but are discovered by the Guatemalan army. After the army destroys their village and family, Enrique and Rosa, a teenage brother and sister, who barely escaped the massacre, decide they must flee to United States. After receiving clandestine help from friends and humorous advice from a veteran immigrant on strategies for traveling, they make their way by truck, bus and other means to Los Angeles, where they try to make a new life as young, uneducated, and illegal immigrants.”
Parks Library–Media Center PARKS Media Center: Media Collection (DVD 003 728)

Big Bill Broonzy Redux

As my colleague mentioned in her previous post about the wonders of the NAXOS music library, country blues legend Big Bill Broonzy (whose music can be heard in streaming form via the aforementioned resource) did indeed grace Ames with his larger-than-life presence for a time.

Broonzy was part of Studs Terkel’s “I Come For To Sing” traveling revue, which performed in the late 1940s in the Iowa State Armory. After the show, Broonzy met ISU English professors Leonard and Lillian Feinberg at a reception hosted by the couple. Shortly thereafter, Broonzy was told by his doctor that he needed to get out of the city (Chicago), or face a significantly lower life expectancy. He wrote to Professor (Leonard) Feinberg asking for work on an ISU farm. Feinberg was able to get him a job, instead, as a janitor in Friley Hall in 1950 (Jorgen Rasmussen, Ames Historical Society Newsletter, Summer, 2003). Rumor has it that ISU undergraduates taught Broonzy to read and write in exchange for some guitar tutelage. Only a year had passed, however, before Broonzy realized it would be much more lucrative to tour Europe, which he did with some frequency, and in the meantime, moved back to Chicago in 1951.*

In addition to the Broonzy material available in NAXOS, the library owns the following recordings and books of interest:

Recordings:

  • Broonzy, Big Bill. Complete Recorded Works in Chronological Order (Document Records, 1991-1995). This is a 12-CD set that spans the dates November 1927 –  1947.  Each one of these discs has its own call number and they’re all sequential: The call number for disc one is DISC 001 986, and at the other end of the range, the call number for disc twelve is DISC 001 997.
  • Broonzy, Big Bill. The Bill Broonzy Story (Verve, 1960, reissued in 1999). This is a 3-CD set that includes biographical notes by Bill Randle and program notes reprinted from the original 5-LP box set liner notes. Recorded in Chicago, July 12 and 13, 1957 (DISC 001 776).
  • Broonzy, Big Bill. Trouble in Mind (Smithsonian Folkways, 2000; originally released in 1957 on the Smithsonian label as “Big” Bill Broonzy Sings Country Blues.) Recorded in 1956-1957 in Chicago and New York City. Pete Seeger plays banjo on one track! (DISC 003 053)

Additionally, Broonzy is featured on a number of compilation recordings owned by the ISU Library, such as Brother, Can You Spare a Dime? American Song During the Great Depression (DISC 004 177), and Classic Protest Songs from Smithsonian Folkways (DISC 007 055).

The Life and Times of Big Bill Broonzy

Books:

  • Broonzy, Big Bill. Big Bill Blues: William Broonzy’s Story as Told to Yannick Bruynoghe. (The 1964 Oak Press edition is available in the Parks Library General Collection at the call number ML420 B78 A3 1964, and the 1992 Da Capo edition is held in the Parks Library Special Collections Department at the call number ML420 B78 A3 1992. Note that items held by Special Collections can only be viewed in the Special Collections area (403 Parks Library) during their open hours, Monday – Friday, 9am – 4pm.)
  • Riesman, Bob. I Feel So Good: The Life and Times of Big Bill Broonzy. (U of Chicago Press, 2011.) Call number: ML420 B78 R54 2011. This is a very recent acquisition, and includes an “appreciation” written by Pete Townshend.
  • House, Roger. Blue Smoke: The Recorded Journey of Big Bill Broonzy. (Louisiana State UP, 2010.) Coming soon.

Please check out some of the above materials (pun intended) if you like what you hear on NAXOS, or just want to learn more about a national treasure with an almost-forgotten Iowa State University connection.

*Thanks to the staff of the Iowa State University Library Archives for their help in procuring some of the information included in this post.

Music to my ears: Streaming music from the Library

Did you know that the Library subscribes to Naxos Music Library? NML is a huge digital collection of streaming music files of classic recordings. Many years ago, I worked in a record store and became familiar with Naxos as a classical music label. While I love classical music, I was surprised this morning to do some digging in NML and find a number of other genres of interest.  Here are a few highlights:

Blues – Howlin’ Wolf, Robert Johnson, Big Bill Broonzy, Etta James, B.B. King, Willie Dixon, Muddy Waters, and others wailing through classics such as “Smokestack Lightnin,” “Preaching the blues,” “Spoonful,” “Got my Mojo Working,” “Dust My Broom,” and more.

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  Side Note: Did you know Blues legend Big Bill Broonzy lived & worked in Ames, Iowa in the late 1940s? According to an article in the Ames Tribune, Big Bill found “…a job as a janitor at Friley Hall, and during that time, he lived in one of the Quonset huts at Pammel Court. Broonzy wrote “The Moppin’ Blues” in honor of his employment in Ames.”

(See: Black History Month: Big Bill Broonzy: ‘The Moppin’ Blues,'” by Laura Millsaps, Ames Tribune, Dec. 17, 2010)

On NML, you can hear Big Bill sing “I Feel So Good,” which features a rollicking piano, harmonica, and snappy drum work, with lots of friends screaming in the background.  Just the track for a Friday morning at work pick me up!

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Those of you who are fans like me of country blues, will of course want to give a listen to the sheer genius  of Robert Johnson.  Or if you’re not sure what “country blues” means, give a listen to this gifted and legendary musician – his strong vocals, inventive guitar work, surprising syncopation, songwriting, and lyrics are all unparalleled.  NML includes several of his classics, including “Preaching the Blues,” “Little Queen of Spades,” “Dust My Broom,” “Come On in My Kitchen,” “They’re Red Hot,” “Terraplane Blues,” and “Last Fair Deal Gone Down.”

Finding:  Naxos Music Library allows you to select the songs you want to hear, select sound quality, share information via Twitter and Facebook (though I’m not sure if our Naxos settings support that), and even provides links for you to buy or download the files you want.  NML has a Keyword Search box at the top of its page, but I’ll recommend you use the Menu Bar instead and browse Genres, Artists, and so on.  When I use the Keyword Search box for specific artists, my results are often off the mark.

  Sometimes the Keyword Search box seems to work well, though.  I searched American Indian there, and found a number of recordings including the wonderfully relaxing Spirit Wind: Native American Flute, by the Native Flute Ensemble.  Listening to it now as I write!

You can also search by browsing through the Menu Bar links.  One fruitful place to look through is the Genre link, where you’ll see that NML includes Classical Music; Contemporary Jazz & Jazz; Folk Legends; Blues; “Nostalgia” (looks like a lot of Johnny Cash listed there, along with Duke Ellington, “timeless Country songs,” brass bands, and lots of interesting miscellanea); World, and more.

The World genre alone has 184 fabulous pages of listings, including pages and pages of African music of all kinds – traditional, contemporary, choirs, and more –  including a 3-volume series called African Rhythms and Instruments, with each volume including specific regions).  Find something of interest, click the songs you want to listen to, and that’s it!  There’s so much here, ranging from traditional songs from Afghanistan to Japanese music for the koto, the shamisen, and shakuhachi to Lebanese bellydance to  Yiddish and Klezmer recordings, and basically music from ALL OVER the world – far too much for me to page through, particularly as my computer seems to have gone on strike at the moment.  The standard entries seem to list the country or tradition first, as in “KURDISTAN Dursa Acar: Traditional and Contemporary Music of Kurdistan.”  So, you should be able to search a country or tradition of interest by using the Keyword Search box, and zip to the items of interest that way.

 Naxos Music Library has something for everyone!

I’m a neophyte fan of Iranian / Persian classical music, and was so happy to find a recording called In a Persian Garden: The Santur – just the thing to listen to at work, when I’m busy writing and doing other computer-related work.

Tracks included on NML are “Dashti,” “Shur,” “Abu-Ata,” “Afshari,” and “Homayun.”  As with many of NML’s recordings there’s a link to a pdf booklet the provides helpful liner notes and information.  A santur is a hammered dulcimer – give a listen to hear the amazingly beautiful, silvery cascades of sound that the musician, Nasser Rastegar-Nejad, magically produces.  Niceto have these Booklet notes for noobs like me to learn more about this beautiful music!

Chinese music – Before I sign off, I also want to tell you a bit about the Chinese music section (listed as a Genre of its own) within Naxos Music Library.  It’s fantastic!   A wide range of music is represented, including the wonderfully relaxing Butterfly Lovers Violin Concerto; Ding Shande’s somber & triumphant Long March Symphony; chamber music, and primarily slick orchestral arrangements of Chinese “oldies” and Chinese pop.  You can of course find lots of traditional Chinese music by looking through the Genres > World category.  There you’ll find wonderful records such as Ancient Art Music of China, Plucked Stringed Instrument Classics, and more.

So – how do you find or refer campus colleagues & students to Naxos Music Library?  It’s listed by name in the eLibrary’s Article Indexes and Databases list.   You’ll be amazed by the breadth of music included there for your listening pleasure.  Enjoy!!