Resolution: Read More!

So have you made your New Year’s resolutions? We’ve got a suggestion that might be easier than losing 10 pounds or finally getting your life organized. Read more! To help you with this resolution, we asked Smithsonian Libraries staff for a list of books worth reading. (A few couldn’t resist making more than one recommendation!) The list includes fun reads as well as some that are more scholarly, so there should be something for just about everyone. We’ve included links to help you find the books in a local library or, in some cases, online. And feel free to share your own suggestions in the Comment field. We’d love to know what’s on your reading list!

I Scream, You Scream…

We all scream for ice cream! Without question, ice cream is one of the most popular treats in America, but do you know much about its history? According to Laura B. Weiss, author of Ice Cream: A Global History, iced drinks can be traced back to at least the ancient Greeks and Romans. But many historians believe that the emperors of the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD) in China may have been the first to eat a frozen milk-like confection — made with fermented cow, goat or buffalo milk which had camphor added to make it flake like snow. Italians generally are credited with inventing ice cream as we know it today, popularizing a concoction of sugar, flavorings (often fruit like lemon or strawberry), and ice or snow sometime in the mid-seventeenth century. Ice cream was particularly favored by the French aristocracy in the 1800s, and Thomas Jefferson is said to have gained an appreciation for the treat while serving as US ambassador to France from 1784-1789.

The Fix: Behind the Scenes Help

Throughout the years, Smithsonian Libraries Preservation Department has been fortunate for the assistance of and grateful to our volunteers. Louise Crean is one such volunteer who has provided an extraordinary amount of help with General Collections Care since joining us two years ago.

Calling All Steampunk Fans!

Engineering Romance in Late 19th Century Literature, featuring Rosalind Williams Date: November 28, 2012, 5:00 pm Location: Smithsonian Institution Castle Jules Verne (1828-1905) and Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894) were well-known writers of romance in the late l9th century.  They were also fascinated by engineering, both as well-informed observers and as lay engineers. This talk will describe this convergence of engineering and romance in their lives and times and reflect upon its implications for our own lives and times. This event will take place on Wednesday, November 28 at 5:00 p.m. in the Smithsonian Institution Castle building.

Sharing Your Research in the Cloud

Have you ever been working on a research project with a group of people and wished for a better way to share your work online, or “in the cloud”? Well, a number of tools exist for just this purpose – including the two reference managers I told you about in my last couple of Library Hacks posts. In my final post on these tools, I’ll discuss how both Zotero and Mendeley offer ways to help you collaborate and communicate with colleagues to make sharing research easier. So far, these tools may have seemed pretty similar, but this is where you will see some distinct differences between the two.

Smithsonian Libraries Staff Assist with Growth of the Digital Public Library of America

This post was written by Martin Kalfatovic, Associate Director, Digital Services Division, Smithsonian Institution Libraries. On October 11-12, Nancy Gwinn, Director of the Smithsonian Institution Libraries, and I participated in the Digital Public Library of America’s (DPLA) Midwest workstream and plenary meetings. The meetings were held in some wonderful meeting spaces at the Harold Washington Library Center of the Chicago Public Library (interesting side note: the building holds the record for largest public library space!).

Easy Citing While You’re Writing

Old typewriters are pretty cool, but did you ever try adding footnotes to a paper using one? Not so easily done. Thank goodness for modern innovations! In my last Library Hacks post, I introduced Zotero and Mendeley, two free “reference managers” that help you collect and store all kinds of materials – from  PDF files to book citations to webpages – in your own online library. Now we’ll look at how these same tools can help you add footnotes, citations and bibliographies to a paper as you’re writing it. And it’s a snap!

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