All posts by Ann

Librarian, Liaison for School of Public Affairs & Social Services; School of Advanced Manufacturing , Engineering & Applied Technology; School of Business & Logistics

Library #Shelfie Day 2021

You’ve started your semester, what’s on your bookshelf? New textbooks, old textbooks, reference books, nothing – “because it’s all online now”?

Library Shelfie Day is Wednesday January 27th this year. Show us what you’ve got (or not) by taking a picture of you and/or your bookshelves, and posting it on social media with the tags #Shelfie and #ivytechfortwayne

Or, post a link to your Shelfie in the comments.

Here’s one of your Fort Wayne librarians with their home reference shelf – what is that Knitting Encyclopedia doing in there?!

And here is librarian Liz Metz with a prized book from her shelves: an autographed copy of Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman Vol. 1

What is populism?

Populism is, well, a popular term right now! It is being applied in news reports and analysis to political parties and leaders around the world, including Senator Bernie Sanders and President Donald Trump.

According to multiple reference sources, the term was coined as a pejorative by a journalist covering the American movement to organize farmers against banks, railroads, and government land policy in the late nineteenth century. That movement became a political party, proudly adopting it as their name.

Populism has taken on several meanings since, and often appears with qualifiers: “agrarian populism,” “economic populism,” “political populism.” Recently the phrase “medical populism” has begun to appear, describing public resistance to medical expertise during the COVID pandemic.

With such widespread application, how can populism be defined? Following the research process is helpful.

Our Credo Reference database includes encyclopedias and dictionaries ranging from brief definitions to deeper dives into the context of particular populist movements. References in these articles can be used to construct a Literature Review. After scanning the literature, including history, economics, law, sociology, and news sources, a Working Definition can be constructed, like this one drawn from the Encyclopedia of Global Studies:

 “The core aspects of these … types of populism are the centrality of the people and the antagonism between the people and the elites. This general definition does not include references to social bases, issues, and electorates because these characteristics differ too much over time and regionally … Populists tend to define “the people” as an undifferentiated community constructed in opposition to an enemy within or outside the nation or the state …  The most common approach is to define populism as an ideology but as an ideology that is not a well-elaborated and grand one like socialism, liberalism, or conservatism.”

Populism is often opposed to liberalism and neo-liberalism. But populist parties and factions exist on both ends of the political spectrum, the Left and the Right. Populist movements have been organized by people of color against European minority rule; as well by Europeans in opposition to immigration, globalization, and modernization. They are occurring in democracies and also supporting dictatorships.

Populist movements have led to reforms. In the United States, our direct election of Senators is a legacy of the short-lived Populist Party. It is not uncommon that a populist leader who became an autocrat, began public life as a hero. Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe is an example.

However, because populism is predicated on antagonism, such movements easily become violent. Populist elected leaders often urge their supporters to demonstrate. They have used military, police, and other government powers to suppress their opposition. Contemporary populist autocrats have attacked press freedoms by revoking broadcast licenses, detaining and murdering journalists (Russia); attacked academic independence by dismissing professors and closing programs (Turkey); attacked judicial independence by impeaching judges (Philippines); unilaterally changed monetary policy (India); and tried to dismiss elected legislatures where the majority opposed them (Brazil).

Are populist movements good for democracies? How do you make sense of shifting terminology? How can you tell if news coverage of political events and protests is manipulated? How will you decide when a populist leader has crossed the line into autocratic rule?

Below are resources for examining aspects of populism world-wide and over time. Subsequent blog posts will cover best practices for researching controversial topics and using current news for research.

Populism Virtual Display

Display Bibliography – includes links to access Books and Articles

The Electoral College

There are no tests, you can’t get a degree, it has no campus. It’s not even a virtual place!

The Electoral College was established by the framers of the Constitution as the process by which the United States would elect its President and Vice President. The name came later; only electors are mentioned in the Constitution.

The decennial census sets the number of electors each state gets, out of a fixed total of 538. This is one reason why conducting the census has been so contentious this year. The states then choose their electors, and those processes vary.

Image Source: USA.gov

The Electoral College process was devised as a compromise between factions at the Constitutional Congress. The number of electors equals the total of the Senate and House of Representatives; plus three electors for the District of Columbia. The Electoral College was divisive from its inception – Thomas Jefferson called it a blot on the Constitution – and remains so nearly 250 years later. It is the reason that a president can be elected while losing the popular vote. This has happened four times, in 1876, 1888, 2000, and 2016.

American History Online has explainers, historical documents, images, news articles, and more on the Electoral College. Another resource for understanding and analyzing this institution is CQ Press Library.

The National Archives has developed a website with all manner of information about the Electoral College process. (By law, the Archivist of the United States is responsible for collating all the state electors’ votes, and after inspection by the Office of the Federal Register, submitting them to Congress.) You will find links to the relevant sections of the Constitution, to historical background information, the state processes for choosing electors, FAQs, and more.

Even though you are not directly voting for the President, your vote is crucial. Voting is happening now in Indiana; here’s how to do it and here is where to do it.

Voting Starts October 6th Register by October 5th

This is a multiple-anniversary year for suffrage in our nation! Indiana residents must register to vote by October 5th. See our state voting requirements here.

In the last century, only 50-60 percent of eligible citizens voted in United States presidential elections. It was around 80 percent in the previous century.

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According to the Constitution of the United States, voting is a right and a privilege. It is not mandatory. Our Constitutional Congress followed English Common Law, which restricted voting by class well into the 19th century: the UK National Archives states that in 1780 less than 3 percent of the population could vote.

U.S. citizens have never voted directly for President: we vote for a slate of Electors. The Supreme Court affirmed during its last session in Chiafalo v. Washington that these Electors may not change, but must vote for the candidate they pledged to. Read the decision here.

In the early days of our republic, Election Day was a holiday in many states and remains so in some, including Indiana. That it is not a federal holiday today is a cause of concern, as people’s work schedules often prevent their voting. Our subscription database Opposing Viewpoints in Context covers current controversies over elections in the United States.

Originally, citizens in different states voted at different times for their presidential Electors, from the beginning of November up to the meeting of the Electoral College in December. In 1845 Congress passed the Presidential Election Day Act, setting the date for “the Tuesday following the first Monday in November.” Elections for the House of Representatives were then moved to this same day.

In 2020 we celebrate several anniversaries for voting rights. African-American men were enfranchised in 1870 by the Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution. Women were granted suffrage in by the Nineteenth Amendment, ratified by the states in 1920.

The 1924 Snyder Act granted citizenship to Native Americans born in the U.S., and thus conferred on them the right to vote. However many states still denied Native people enfranchisement. The state of Maine was the last to comply, prompted by the Voting Rights Act of 1965. This act prohibited the use of poll taxes and tests that were infamously used to disenfranchise African Americans.

2020 is also the 50th anniversary of the Kent State shootings, when students protesting the Vietnam War were killed and wounded by Ohio National Guardsmen. Read a historical summary of the event from Kent State faculty here. At that time, men could be drafted into military service at age 18 – three years before the legal voting age of 21. A majority of people came to feel this was unfair: “Old enough to fight, old enough to vote” was the slogan. The Twenty-Sixth Amendment to the Constitution, quickly proposed and passed during the spring of 1971, lowered the voting age to 18.

This federal government webpage provides general information about who can vote in federal elections. Some citizens are excluded.

Current voting rights campaigns are focusing on felons, whose voting rights depend on their state government. Only Maine and Vermont allow imprisoned persons to vote. Most other states restore voting rights after sentence has been served, but the person must re-register. And some states deny felons the right to vote indefinitely. To find out more about the voting rights of convicted felons, visit this webpage from the bipartisan National Council of State Legislatures.

During the last year, arguments have raged about voting by mail. The current bill in the House of Representatives, the Universal Right to Vote by Mail Act, was first introduced over ten years ago. You can track legislation using the website Congress.gov: simply choose Legislation at the left of the search box and type in your search terms.

Absentee ballots are also handled by mail. They can be requested in all states; some states require that an excuse be given in writing. In Indiana, absentee ballot applications must be received by your county board of elections by October 22nd this year.  Here is absentee ballot information for Indiana voters.

The Library of Congress has primary source document sets with teaching materials for all the presidential elections. This webpage contains many useful links to their other resources on elections.  These include a slideshow of past presidential campaign posters  (requires Flash player). And the National Archives maintains  links to all the Presidential Libraries.

Sources used in this article:

The American Presidency Project. University of California at Santa Barbara. (n.d.). Voter turnout in presidential elections. https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/statistics/data/voter-turnout-in-presidential-elections

National Archives (Great Britain). (n.d.). Getting the vote. http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/pathways/citizenship/struggle_democracy/getting_vote.htm

50th Anniversary: Pride Marches

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Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Pexels.com

June is LGBTQIA Pride month. This commemorates, in part, the June 28th, 1969 resistance by gay and trans people to a police raid on a popular bar, Stonewall, in New York City.

One year after the Stonewall resistance, a parade was held in New York City to commemorate it. Called the Christopher Street Liberation Day Parade, after the district where many gay bars were located, it is considered the first Pride Parade. The Library of Congress has recently released online the documentary video of this parade made by Lilli Vincenz.

This year, fifty years after that parade, we are celebrating affirmation by the Supreme Court in “Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia …”  that gay, lesbian, transgender, intersex, and queer people may not be denied employment on the basis of sex. This is an interpretation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. One case that created precedent for this determination was brought against Ivy Tech Community College. Read about it at FindLaw: Hively v Ivy Tech And read Ivy Tech’s current statement on diversity, equity, and belonging here.

The Library of Congress has gathered resources on a Pride Month research guide.  This includes links to their collections relating to famous and significant LGBTQIA people: Walt Whitman, Aaron Copland, Margaret Mead … and so many more. It is a reminder of the important contributions that LGBTQIA people make to our society.

Your Ivy Tech library has many LGBTQIA resources. Begin by searching the broad term sexual minority in Discover or IvyCat and limit the search results by format, date, additional key words. For help with more targeted searches, contact your librarian.

Explore Resources on Faith and Sexuality, compiled by Dawn M. Burns of the Ivy Tech Warsaw Academic and Learning Resource Center

Explore the Digital Transgender Archives online: https://www.digitaltransgenderarchive.net/

“Sexual minority” is the Library of Congress Subject Heading applied to LGBTQIA resources. Read about resistance to this, and other classification issues, here: Cataloging Lab and Homosaurus

While we pause to express pride, we know there is more work to do.

#pridemonth2020 #pridemonth

Welcome to Summer Semester 2020

Nature sun day background

We welcome our new students, and welcome back continuing students to Fort Wayne and Warsaw. The librarians and library staff are available online to help you have your best semester. We are here for our Professors, too!

Librarians are available for online class instruction, 1-on-1 online meetings, and quick help via chat and email. Find out how here.

The library buildings are still closed, but we have millions of articles online and hundreds of thousands of ebooks. Plus videos, audio, images, and more. In our databases you can filter for scholarly resources and most recent content. All these are preselected to support our courses, so using them will save you time.

We have guides to the best resources for many subjects, and guides to formatting papers, charts, and citations. See them here. Professors can ask for specific resources to be included on a guide.

Our ILL service is currently processing journal articles and ebook chapters. Our databases are adding new ebooks. Both Fort Wayne library and Warsaw library have new websites, and our IvyCat catalog will be updated soon with a new interface and functionalities.

Visit us online, and let us know how we can help you!

To Overcome Racism, We Must Talk About Race

Talking, and listening to others talk, about race is difficult. But we must keep those conversations going as we work together to overcome racism, because we will only find answers to our social issues by learning from each other.

We find this resource from the National Museum of African American History and Culture helpful. It is concise, with options to go more in depth. It is for educators, parents, anyone who may need to lead a conversation about race, and individuals wondering where to start.

screenshot-nmaahc.si.edu-2020.06.04-10_45_15

Scribd is providing free access to popular Ebooks and periodicals

Scribd is a subscription ebook and audiobook service. For one month staring March 17th to April 17th, they are providing free access to their collections for any new customer. Access will end; you will not be automatically enrolled. We have tried this free service and recommend it. We were required to download a free app on our mobile phone to use the service.

Reading a ripping yarn is a great way to relax during these stressful times. You will find many of the same titles in the Scribd ebook collection as we have in our current Baker & Taylor print collection. The Scribd collection also includes the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, The Atlantic, and other titles useful for course work assignments. (We have access to these titles in our databases, with various embargo periods.)

Here is the link to sign up: https://www.scribd.com/readfree?utm_source=readfree

 

Pi à la Mode

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Every year on March Fourteenth people around the world celebrate the most famous mathematical constant: the ratio of the length of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. This is an irrational number, approximated to 3.14 (or 3.1415926) and represented by the Greek letter π. As a number, π is transcendental and real as well as irrational. Mathematician James Glaisher remarked of π that “a complete account of its calculation would almost amount to a history of mathematics.” (Quoted in: William Dunham, The Genius of Euler: Reflections on His Life and Work: On the History of Euler’s Constant (The Mathematical Association of America, 2007), p. 147.)

π has been calculated out to over a trillion decimal places, but we still do not know where it ends! Competitions to recite the known sequence of digits are held regularly around the world. (See pi-world-ranking-list.com for record-setting recitations.)

Mathematician Mark Kac noted that “pi, so intimately connected with circles, keeps cropping up in probability theory and statistics, the two disciplines which deal with randomness and luck.” (Mark Kac, Enigmas of Chance: An Autobiography: The Search for the Meaning of Independence (Harper & Row, 1985), p. 55.) We have an activity set up for you to experience this, based on Buffon’s Needle, the proof named after Georges-Louis LeClerc, Comte de Buffon, a scientist who enjoyed gambling.

The Greek letter π is pronounced like our English word “pie” – hence the puns, since pie is usually made in a circular pan, and, being a delicious pastry, may be difficult to divide fairly, as memorialized in the old English nursery rhyme:

A was once an Apple pie; B bit it; C cut it; D dealt it; E eat it; F fought for it; G got it; H had it; I inspected it; J joined it; K kept it; L longed for it; M mourned for it; N nodded at it; O opened it; P peeped in it; Q quartered it; R ran for it; S stole it; T took it; U upset it; V viewed it; W wanted it; X, Y, Z, and ampersand, all wished for a piece in hand.

March Fourteenth is also the birthday of Albert Einstein (b. 1879), who theorized what is perhaps the most famous equation using a constant in our universe: the relationship of mass to energy, represented by E=mc2 (E=energy; m=mass; c=the speed of light).

March Fourteenth is the death anniversary of another famous physicist: Stephen Hawking (d. 2018) who developed theories about the origins of our universe, and black holes, based on Einstein’s work.

The Library is displaying books by and about Einstein and Hawking, plus books on number theory and pastries, this month.

Come on in for some Pi!