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September 7, 2011

BASE - Search digital collections worldwide!

UMBC researchers now have convenient access to BASE (Bielefeld Academic Search Engine), an online search engine that allows users to search across hundreds of digital collections from around the world. You can access the website by going to or by searching for it from the Library's Database search.

Unlike a general Google or online search, BASE targets academic sources, ensuring that the results are relevant and of high quality. With over 31 million documents and 2 thousand content providers, this website is a great resource for academic researchers in every field from biochemistry to dance. And, best news yet - it's free! So start your searching!

UMBC's Digital Collections will be added to BASE this fall - making it a one-stop-shop for locating digital resources from UMBC, UMD, and beyond.

Sample entry from the Australian Institute of Marine Science:


Written by Johanna Schein, Special Collections Graduate Assistant.

September 2, 2011

Retriever Learning Center - opening 8 AM, Tues. Sept. 6

The new Retriever Learning Center (RLC), located on the first floor of the Albin O. Kuhn Library & Gallery, will open at 8 AM on Tuesday, September 6.

The RLC provides:

  • Card-swipe access

  • More varied and flexible 24/7 workspaces

  • Easy access to assistance for research, computing and tutorial needs

Make the RLC your place for lively group study, scholarly discussion, collaboration, and academic coaching.

For more information, see

August 30, 2011

Commencement programs now available in UMBC's Digital Collections

A new school year is now upon us and what better way to celebrate than to reminisce about years past at UMBC! Let's be honest. How many of you remember your commencement speaker? Your valedictorian? How about the name of the person who handed you your diploma? If you are a UMBC alum, you can now answer all these questions by visiting UMBC's Digital Collections - commencement programs from 1970 to 1996 are now available!

Even if you aren't (yet) an alum, you might still be interested in this collection. The citations within each program highlight the achievements of many notable scholars, artists, authors, journalists, and Marylanders. Filled with photographs and writings, the commencement programs also provide a great insight into the evolution of UMBC's campus, both in terms of its academic and physical growth. These programs reveal that although technology, fashion, academic majors, and UMBC's campus have all changed over the years, there is continuity in UMBC's traditions and values, which can be found in the rituals of each graduation.

Interested in testing your UMBC knowledge? Here is some trivia that can be answered by looking at the commencement programs.

1) In what year was UMBC's first commencement?
2) Which undergraduate major had the most graduates in UMBC's first graduation?
3) Which famous psychologist, who invented the operant conditioning chamber, spoke at UMBC Commencement in 1973?
4) In which UMBC commencement did the University grant is first doctorate?
5) Which UMBC Chancellor graduated Phi Beta Kappa from University of Maryland College in 1958 and was listed on the Who's Who in America?
6) Which 1979 Nobel Prize in Economics winner, known for his focus on the underdevelopment and poverty in third-world countries, gave the commencement address in 1983?
7) Which 1959 Nobel Prize in Medicine winner, who is known for his research on the biosynthesis of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), received an honorary degree from UMBC in 1991?
8) Which U.S. Senator, who is the longest serving woman in the Senate, gave the commencement address in 1993?
9) In which year does UMBC's mascot, True Grit, first appear in the commencement program?

Cover of the first UMBC commencement program.

Cover of the 1995 commencement program. Notice the 0s and 1s in the background, indicative of the 1990s technology boom. The introduction of the program declared the 1995 commencement exercises to be a "high-tech production."

Answers: 1) 1970; 2) History, followed closely by Psychology; 3) B.F. Skinner 4)1976 5) John W. Dorsey 6) Sir William Arthur Lewis 7)Arthur Kornberg 8) Barbara Mikulski 9) 1989

Written by Johanna Schein, Special Collections Graduate Assistant. These items were digitized in partnership with the Office of Institutional Advancement.

August 26, 2011

Access Free Sample Books on Project MUSE Beta

The Project MUSE beta site offers access to over 300 free sample books. Browse and search this selection of books, along with MUSE journals, as a preview of the combined book and journal content that will be coming to MUSE on January 1, 2012. Explore books and journals on the Project MUSE beta site at

Highlights of Project MUSE Beta Site

  • Access to over 300 free sample books.

  • New search box at the top of each page. Suggested search terms appear as you type in your search.

  • Enhanced search results page showing both books and journals.

  • Faceted searching. Refine search results with options to broaden or narrow results.

  • Search the contents of a book and view results without leaving the book home page.

  • Easy linking to content by subject area, most recently downloaded, most recently issued.

  • Tiered structure for exploring subject areas.

  • Enhanced Browse displays books and journals by subject area, title, or publisher.

The beta site will be available through the end of this year giving you an opportunity to become familiar with the new MUSE platform and particularly, with the new enhanced search.

You can access the sample e-books from off-campus with no authentication. To view UMBC subscriptions as well as the sample e-books from off-campus, please login via VPN first ( Click on the "UMBC Library Homepage" link, then follow the link under "News & Events" on the library homepage. For more info on remote access, see

August 24, 2011

Library Basics Workshop for Students - 12 PM, Sept. 6, LIB 259

What: Library Basics
When: 12 Noon on Tuesday, September 6
Where: Library Room 259

This workshop aims to provide students with the basic knowledge of a university library's resources and services for helping them succeed at UMBC.

Please contact Shu Qian ( to register.

July 20, 2011

150th Anniversary of the Civil War's First Battle of Bull Run

150 years ago this past April, the United States began its most trying and desperate hour. In the wake of the secession of eight Southern States from the Union, government and military leaders in the North understood that, in order to preserve the Union, the South would have to be invaded. President Abraham Lincoln called for 75,000 volunteers to serve for 90 days. His call for volunteers caused four more states to secede, including Virginia. He believed that one great victory in battle would end the war. That victory did not come, but the ground chosen for that battle would take a prominent place in the annals of the history of the United States of America.

July 21, 2011 marks the sesquicentennial of the First Battle of Bull Run, or First Manassas, and the Special Collections Department of the Albin O. Kuhn Library has information regarding this and many other Civil War topics. Whether you are a researcher, historian, or a Civil War enthusiast, Special Collections has many resources that can guide you through an historic event as if you were there yourself.

76-05-091.jpgBattlefield from the Hill on the Road leading to Manassas Junction, Bull's Run click here for image

The first 3 months of The War Between the States saw only skirmishes between small units of the combatants' armies. However, on July 21, 1861, the two unproven and untried armies met in battle on a grand scale for the first time. The Union Army was ordered to march on the Confederate capitol of Richmond, VA, while the Confederate army took up defensive positions just 25 miles southwest of Washington, D.C. along the Bull Run Creek in the town of Manassas, VA. Manassas was an important railroad junction which the Union Army needed to capture to facilitate the successful invasion of the South.

76-05-083.jpgIn order to bypass the enemy's defenses, the Union commander, General Irvin McDowell, decided to attempt to cross the creek at an undefended spot to the north west of the Confederate positions. The ford near Sudley Springs provided access for the Union troops to breach the defenses and engage the enemy.

Sudley Springs, Bull Run click here for image

The battle contained some famous exploits, including those of Brigadier General Thomas J. Jackson, who earned his illustrious moniker because his brigade stood their ground like a “stonewall.” The man who allegedly gave him that nickname was Southern General Bernard Bee, who was mortally wounded not long after. His friend, Colonel Francis Bartow, was also killed nearby. Today there are monuments marking these spots.

First Bull's Run from spot where Bee & Barto[w] Fell click here for image


Jackson made his stand along a ridge not far from the Henry House, around which occurred much of the fighting. The house was very badly damaged and the tenant, 85 year old widow Judith Henry, was killed. Afterwards the Henry house was demolished and rebuilt. It is interesting to compare our photo of the house with the modern one. Click here to search for images of the house today.

Henry House, Bull Run click here for image

In 1865, a monument was erected by Union veterans to honor the dead of the First Battle at Bull Run, and Special Collections has the very moment captured on film. Today the monument stands just behind the Henry House, and it can be seen in our photo of the house, which means our photo must have been taken after 1865.

Dedication of monument on Bull Run battle-field click here for image

Special Collections has an extensive photograph collection for historians and researchers to utilize, with more being added every day. Check out our Civil War Digital Collection: In fact, all the resources used for this post came from Special Collections and the Albin O. Kuhn Library. Come to the Special Collections Department and let history be your guide!

by Robert Bennett, Intern, Special Collections


Battles and Leaders of the Civil War, Volume I. Robert Underwood Johnson and Clarence Clough Buel, eds. Castle. Secaucus: 1982.

First Bull Run: An Overview. US Army Center of Military History. 30 June 2011. Retrieved on 19 July 2011 from

Risley, Ford. The Civil War: Primary Documents on Events from 1860 to 1865. Greenwood Press. Westport: 2004.

The Civil War Archive: The History of the Civil War in Documents. Henry Steele Commager, Ed. Revised and Expanded by Erik Bruun. Black Dog & Leventhal. New York: 2000.

July 15, 2011

Access all Cambridge Journals free for 6 weeks

All articles published in Cambridge Journals in 2009 and 2010 are free to access for 6 weeks, from 15th July until 30th August 2011.

No registration is required. Simply go to

For more information, see

May 11, 2011

Is it Valhalla? No, but it is Special Collections!

Maybe you're waiting to see the Thor movie until after finals are over. Maybe you've seen it and you're dying to get more back story on the mythical God of Thunder. Maybe you've been staring at journal articles all morning and just need a break. Maybe you just love comics loaded with exclamation points! Whatever the reason, Special Collections has just the thing for you. As part of our fantastic Comic Books Collection, we have more than 200 back issues of the original Thor comic books dating from 1965 through 1990! The first issue in our collection, number 119, even includes a battle against one of Thor's movie foes, The Destroyer!

Avengers_93%20web.jpg But Thor isn't limited to his own book. You might also know him as part of The Avengers, along with Captain America, The Hulk and Iron Man! Don't worry; we've got you covered there as well, with more than a hundred issues from the 60's, 70's and 80's. Catch up on the Avengers back story now, before their movie comes out next year! And before you ask, yes, we've got classic 60's and 70's issues of Captain America, the Incredible Hulk and Iron Man as well!

Special Collections will be open from 1 until 4 pm Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday all the way through Finals Week, and until 8pm on Thursdays. During the summer, we'll be open by appointment only. To find our superhero lair, enter the Library Gallery and walk straight back- you'll see our doors on the right. No secret decoder ring required!

To browse all of the comics available at Special Collections, enter comic books in the Collection field in the following search; or put in more specific search terms to find the exact comic you're looking for: .

Hulk_324.jpg Iron_Man_100.jpg Captain_America_235.jpg

by Steve Ammidown, Special Collections Student Assistant

April 12, 2011

Catalog Access for Special Borrowers

Beginning Wednesday, April 13, 2011, catalog account access for Special Borrowers (including alumni card holders, high school card holders, and Friends of the AOK Library & Gallery) will be restored with some minor changes. After clicking on the "My Library Account" link you will be taken to a page to select your campus. Scroll to the bottom of the list to select "Other" - DO NOT select UMBC.

Special Borrower log in - select campus

You will then be asked to log in as before with your 14-digit barcode number and last name.

Note that this procedure will not work for current UMBC students, faculty, and staff.

Please contact the Circulation Department at 410-455-2354, e-mail or the Reference Desk at 410-455-2346, e-mail if you have any problems with this new system.

Supplies Vending Machine

Forget your pen? Need index cards or post-it notes? Want to save your work to a CD or DVD? Does your calculator need a new battery?

Don't worry - now you can use your campus card to purchase these items and more without leaving the Library!

Our new supplies vending machine, located in the Print & Copy room on the first floor of the library, includes:

* CD-Rs & DVD-Rs
* pens & pencils
* index cards
* post-it notes
* pencil sharpeners
* staples
* calculators
* batteries
* first aid supplies
* and much more!!