Summer O’Neill Improvements

We’ve spent the summer making the library a better place for research and collaboration.

As usual, we spent the summer making noise and dust in order to make O’Neill a better place for research and collaboration.

You’ll notice new chairs on the 4th and 5th floors.  More than half of the original chairs were replaced with updated desk chairs and lounge seating.  We expect this will help you study even longer in the library.

On the third floor, power poles were installed at most of the group study tables.  This was made possible using very thin under-carpet power strips and should eliminate the need for most of those extension cords that crisscrossed the aisles, tripping anyone who tried to walk while texting.

New outlets found in O'Neill's level 3

New carpet was also installed on the third floor.  Although we have many fond memories of the old stained carpet, there were few tears when it went away.

A three-panel video wall was installed above the Reference Desk in O’Neill Library.  While similar to the monitors elsewhere in the library and on campus, the video wall allows content to be displayed on separate screens or across multiple screens.  The intent is to display the many ways that information is available, whether via live TV, web streams, data visualizations, or other video content.  This is the first video wall installed at BC, so we’re excited to explore the possibilities.  If you have suggestions for interesting content, please let us know.

O'Neill Library Level 3 Lobby with video wall display about reference desk

Behind the scenes (or rather walls and ceiling), cabling is being installed for additional security cameras and electronic door locks.  We don’t care to know if you are sleeping or awake, but we do want O’Neill be a safe place for everyone to work.

Finally, a new vending machine will soon be added on the 1st floor that will dispense office supplies, headphones, cables, etc.  We worked with the Bookstore to identify the most commonly purchased items, and they will continue to evaluate what gets purchased and stock the machine with the most essential items.

We hope that all of these changes will help to make O’Neill library even more welcoming, comfortable, and usable for everyone who studies here.

Scholarship in the Libraries

Check out the latest publications from the Boston College library staff.

In addition to providing support for the pursuits of all members of the Boston College community, the library staff is also very active in creating their own scholarship on a wide range of topics. Below are just a few of the many works recently published by members of our staff.

Senior Digital Scholarship Librarian Anna Kijas recently contributed several publications that range in disciplinary and subject matter. These publications include a lengthy blog post, “Engaging in Small Data Rescue,” Libraries+ Network, June 16, 2017, in which she describes data rescue efforts at Boston College during Endangered Data Week (April 17-21, 2017), as well as several initiatives for data rescue or data archiving of federal agency data, aims and strategies in rescuing IMLS and NEH data, and the actual workflow of pulling data and creating records in a shared CKAN repository.

In the article, “An Introduction to Getting Started in the Digital Humanities for Library Professionals,” Music Reference Services Quarterly, Vol. 20, Iss. 1, 2017, Kijas focuses on how activities that library professionals already engage in, such as digital asset management or metadata creation, can be leveraged in digital humanities work and skill-sets further developed through suggested online tutorials and resources.

In the area of musicology, Kijas published a book chapter entitled, ‘Teresa Carreño: “Such gifts are of God, and ought not to be prostituted for mere gain”‘ in Musical Prodigies: Interpretations from Psychology, Music Education, Musicology and Ethnomusicology, ed. Gary McPherson. Oxford University Press, 2016. In this chapter, she discusses nineteenth century perspectives about child prodigies related to health, intelligence, gender, and exploitation as evidenced in the criticism and reception of Teresa Carreño’s early U.S. concert tours (1863-65).

Betsy Post, Head of the Digital Libraries Program, wrote a working paper entitled “Embedding Metadata in PDF Finding Aids to Enhance Discoverability,” which describes an initiative to make it easier for Google and other search engines to find and index our Burns Library finding aids.

Head Librarian for Assessment & Outreach Carli Spina wrote an article for Theological Librarianship entitled “Libraries and Universal Design.” The article, which will appear in the forthcoming issue of the journal, offers an overview of the topics of Universal Design and Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and suggests options for libraries that are interested in applying these concepts to their own spaces, services, and programs.

Chelcie Rowell, Digital Scholarship Librarian & History Liaison, co-authored an article published in College & Undergraduate Libraries entitled “Project Management for Digital Projects with Collaborators Beyond the Library” with Theresa Burress. The article argues that librarians and their diverse collaborators can apply project management practices to a broad range of research, teaching, and learning projects with collaborators beyond the library. It offers two case studies to illustrate this argument, one from each author’s experience: creating a community biodiversity wiki for West-Central Florida and redesigning an interdisciplinary first-year seminar around creating 3-D models of historic Venetian buildings. She also published a review of Linked Data for Cultural Heritage in Technical Services Quarterly.

Burns Librarian Christian Dupont has published the first two articles in a series of eight on Burns Library’s renowned Irish collections in the Irish Arts Review, Ireland’s leading art and design quarterly. Each vignette examines a thematic selection of artworks, situating them in their historical and social contexts by drawing on archival evidence. The first installment, for the summer 2017 issue, features the stained glass windows that Boston College librarian Terence Connolly, SJ commissioned for the James Jeffrey Roche Room in Bapst Library in 1951—a reflection of the nationalist sentiment in Irish art that flourished around the establishment of the Republic and its contemporary resonance among the Irish of Boston. The second contribution, for the fall 2017 issue, considers the irony behind the Library’s use of monies from a defunct revolutionary Catholic nationalist organization (a club named after Fenian John Boyle O’Reilly) to purchase a deluxe set of hand-colored aquatint engravings depicting Anglo-Irish architectural monuments of Georgian Dublin.

Emily Singley, Head Librarian for Systems & Applications, co-authored an article for the Journal of Electronic Resources Librarianship with Jane Natches. Entitled “Finding the Gaps: A Survey of Electronic Resource Management in Alma, Sierra, and WMS,” the study sought to determine whether libraries that have implemented a next-generation library system are able to complete electronic resource management (ERM) workflows entirely within that system. Responses indicated that there are gaps in workflows and that many libraries are still performing core ERM tasks outside these three systems. The study concluded that these systems may require further development before they are able to fully support complex ERM processes.

Your Online Scholarly Identity: taking control and increasing visibility

When a researcher, colleague, tenure committee or conference organizer tries to find you on the internet, will they find what you want them to find?

When a researcher, colleague, tenure committee or conference organizer tries to find you on the internet, will they find what you want them to find? Will the scholarship they find be accessible to them?

You can take control by consciously curating your scholarly identity and by making more of your work openly accessible.

Some options available to you are online identifiers, profile systems, sharing platforms, academic social networks, and monitoring tools. The Libraries’ new Scholarly Identity guide provides information on all these tools and techniques, but here are some suggestions for boosting your visibility:

Get an ORCID ID and use it

ORCID at BC allows you to register for an ORCID ID and link it to your BC ID. ORCID has become the primary standard identifier for academic authors. It solves any name ambiguity issues with a permanent identifying number that can be displayed on your publications. As BC rolls out its new faculty profiles, your ORCID ID will be added as an identifier right below your email address. These IDs are clickable links to your profile. It is easy to import publications from Scopus, CrossRef and Google Scholar into your ORCID profile with no manual entry. As you continue to publish and submit your ORCID with your manuscript, publishers will push the metadata for your article directly to your profile – keeping it up to date with no input from you. An added bonus is that, when you fill out your Faculty Annual Report, you can import citations from ORCID into your Works report, again with no manual entry. Find out more on our ORCID at BC guide.

Create a Google Scholar Profile

In Google Scholar, go to My Citations and create a profile by filling out a brief form. When you click the + sign to add citations, Google scholar will suggest articles it thinks might be yours. You select the ones you want in your profile. An added bonus of Google Scholar is that it will show you how many citations each article has in other Google Scholar-indexed items, and provides links to those articles. It also calculates and displays your h-index, a measure of author influence. You can import the metadata about your articles into your ORCID profile by copying the BibTex version of the citations from Google Scholar and importing that file into ORCID.

Share your work

There are many types of sharing platforms, archives maintained by Boston College, disciplinary repositories and academic social networks.

At Boston College, we offer two online archives for your work. eScholarship@BC can display most file formats and will accept working papers, conference presentations, creative works, scholarly articles, theses, dissertations, and multimedia. Works in eScholarship@BC are openly available to anyone in the world. This global open access repository aligns with the educational and social justice mission of Boston College. There is ample evidence that works that are openly available receive higher citation counts. You will receive a permanent link to each of your works to embed in your CV or website, and views and downloads are displayed for each work. All of the work in eScholarship@BC is digitally preserved for the long term.

Boston College also makes available the Boston College Dataverse, a repository for all kinds of data. It is hosted on the Harvard Dataverse platform. The data can be openly accessible or private, and it is possible to set terms of use for the data or to require permission. Each dataset receives a digital object identifier that can be used to site the data.

Disciplinary repositories are also an option. Many physicists deposit in arXiv, social scientists in ICPSR, and new disciplinary repositories are appearing at a fast pace. Your Subject Librarian can help you identify the one that meets your requirements.

Are Academic Social Networks (ASNs) a good choice?

The two most popular ASNs, ResearchGate and, are both praised and reviled, sometimes by the same scholars. Both allow you to share whatever you want regardless of copyright status. Both get visibility for your works from your colleagues. But, both are commercial companies. They are both actually dot-coms, despite the deceptive name. They have no preservation goals, so if they disappear, your work may too. They also may seek to monetize the data they contain. Many scholars also find their constant stream of emails annoying, yet hard to resist. A Forbes article published earlier this year drew attention to the pitfalls of these networks. By contrast, institutional repositories such as eScholarship@BC are able to publish authorized versions of your scholarship, ensuring that links you share with colleagues will always work.

Monitor your impact

Monitoring the growing impact of your scholarship can help you gauge the effectiveness of your efforts to create a robust, visible scholarly identity. You can check your citation counts in Google Scholar and also calculate your h-index in Scopus and in the free Harzing’s Publish or Perish application. You can set up a Google Alert, to be notified when your name is mentioned on the Web.

There are also new tools, such as the Altmetrics browser bookmarklet that will analyze the social media impact of your work including mention in blogs, news, tweets, policy papers – sources that traditional metrics don’t measure.

Altmetrics browser bookmarklet that will analyze the social media impact

There is more information about each of these tools and techniques on the Scholarly Identity guide. There is a lot to choose from, and you can use multiple tools to get the word out on your work. The guide suggests factors to consider in making your choices, and your Subject Librarian is happy to help.

If you have specific questions or would like to know more, we will be hosting a Coffee and Code presentation on Scholarly Identity on October 26th at 3:00 PM in O’Neill 217.

Most important – take control of what others find when they search for you!

Failure, Risk & the Entrepreneurial Library

Thoughts on creating a culture of innovation at the Boston College Libraries.

This past spring Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg addressed the graduates from Harvard College and said that “the greatest successes come from having the freedom to fail”. Likewise, in a recent letter to shareholders Amazon’s Jeff Bezos made it a point to equate innovation with failure, calling them “inseparable twins”. Arguably leading two of the most innovative companies in the world, both CEOs have essentially the same message; that without a culture that accepts the inevitability of failure, and learns from it, innovation will remain elusive and/or non-existent. Clearly with risk comes a degree of failure, but by playing it safe you get exactly what you would expect: mediocrity.

That Association of Research Libraries’ Innovation Lab, of which I am the inaugural Chair, acknowledges the fact that many research libraries lack the wherewithal required to innovate, despite leadership that yearns to embrace change.  Several reasons may account for the entrenchment of library practice, most notably staff overly comfortable with playing it safe and preferring order over uncertainty. Unfortunately, entrepreneurial culture by its nature changes rapidly, tolerates risk and failure, and tends to have periods of disruption. It’s not the image most have of libraries, but libraries have been passive change agents for a long time. Even when we consider some of the best companies in the world, many of their services and innovations mirror long-time library practices. Facebook with personalization; Amazon with delivery; Google with search and discovery; Netflix with streaming content; and Apple with mobility. None of this is new to libraries, we just did not go out and form multi-national, multi-billion dollar for-profit companies for these services. The irony, however, lies in the fact that we are now playing catch-up with the same companies that learned from our successes and built on our work.

Give up the white paper, three-year plan motif

Instead of the standard approach based on reports and long-term plans, libraries should facilitate open-ended brainstorming discussions, where the absurd to the sublime are encouraged. Be intentional about bringing people from differing backgrounds and expertise into these discussions. Establish an expectation of participation. A diversity of ideas challenges the canon and innovation cannot happen within the canon.

At no point should budget considerations or other resource restrictions be allowed in brainstorming and idea-generating conversations. Nothing kills the innovative spirit like the comment “how are we going to pay for that?” when an idea is being conceived. This approach has its detractors however. Some feel that without parameters innovative ideas can lose context. For me, however, it’s not that resource parameters are not important, but that the sequencing can occur much later in the process, after compelling ideas emerge.

If documentation is required, try a one-pager outlining the idea and possible benefits rather than spending months writing a detailed planning documents that quickly become obsolete. Make it something like an elevator talk: intelligible, concise and compelling. As to the three-year plan and the white paper, they may work in some organizations, but by their very nature they scream safe, predictable and ordinary. However, as adaptations are needed from well-laid plans, the door opens for innovation, so there can be a silver lining as long as the plan undergoes continuous assessment and revision. Innovation does not follow a script.

Planning for perfection is the enemy of progress.

Instead try a project to test the plan. The project will involve risk. It will take people away from “essential” operational duties; it may (and should) challenge existing practices; make it fun and exciting. Some other guidelines for projects include instilling a sense of urgency without panic. They should be timely and show results pretty quickly. Moreover, the evaluative process should be concerned with value and scale: does the idea provide enough value to warrant the expenditure of the resources needed to become a program?

Some projects may require several attempts, along with some failures, while leadership begins to position the organization for the project-to-program evolution.  Libraries and universities tend to change slower than say, Amazon, for a variety of good reasons. Change should always be at the forefront of good leadership and strategic thinking. Recalling the adage “Good is the enemy of great”, the next step is to create a pervasive culture of collaboration, creativity that embraces change, and a strong tolerance for risk.

Recruiting the Best

Any organization can only be as good as its people. Recruiting for entrepreneurial librarians requires screening that assesses potential and fit. For the most part these qualities can be summed up in the five Cs, specifically as they relate to Boston College: collaboration, creativity, content, change and Catholic/Jesuit. We want people who see that what’s good for BC is good for them, not the other way around. Such people tend to be natural collaborators. Creativity seems obvious. Change remains pervasive, so it is important to embrace it. Libraries continue to be about content.

From my point of view, our current staff exudes all these qualities and is as fine a group of people as I’ve ever had the honor to work with. We are a dynamic mix of early, mid and late career staff and librarians, creating a special environment punctuated by excitement, stability and wisdom. Collectively we dream, deliver and do everything we can to support the vision of “Ever to Excel”. There’s no place I’d rather be professionally.

Two Rare and Remarkable Jesuit Acquisitions

A 16th-century manuscript and an early edition of the Spiritual Exercises illuminate Jesuit prayer practices.

Over the summer, the Boston College Libraries took advantage of once-in-decades opportunities to acquire two exceedingly rare and important volumes that help to illuminate controversies surrounding the practice of prayer on the Iberian peninsula during the sixteenth century and their repercussions among followers of Ignatius of Loyola. Further research also promises to add to our knowledge of how the early Jesuits conducted the formation of their members.

A small, hand sized manuscript

The first is a manuscript previously unknown to scholars of Jesuit history and spirituality. It appears to have been produced in Spain around 1580. Small in size, fitting comfortably in the palm of one’s hand, its 222 leaves nevertheless contain excerpts from three dozen sources, most of which have never been traced. Other texts in the volume, such as a collection of 24 exercísios (“exercises”) that reflect the inspiration of Ignatius and include borrowings from Francis Borgia, the third Superior General of the Society of Jesus, also contain passages not found elsewhere. Texts that can be traced to printed editions from the time contain significant variations with respect to those printings. Most notable in this category is a Spanish summary of the Jesuit Constitutions (a comprehensive set of statutes governing the Society and the conduct of its members written by Ignatius in Latin first printed in 1591) and other “rules,” including the Regulae scholasticorum, later referred to as the Ratio studiorum, the foundation for the Jesuit educational curriculum. The contents of the manuscript and its neat transcription by a single hand suggest that it might have been compiled as a reference manual by a Jesuit “tertian master” who was responsible for training Jesuit “scholastics” during the final stages of their formation, or by a prefect of spirituality at a Jesuit college or community. Jesuit manuscripts from this period almost never appear on the market, making this a particularly exciting acquisition.

Another hand sized manuscript published in Portugal in 1553

The second work we acquired is an equally small volume published in Portugal in 1553: the second edition of Ignatius’s Spiritual Exercises issued by the royal printer at the University of Coimbra. Nine copies are known to exist—only three outside of Portugal—making the second edition even rarer than the first published in Rome in 1548. Previously in private hands, ours is the only copy to have been offered for sale in at least 70 years. Its title page features a woodcut that presents an early rendering of the Jesuit seal characteristically encircled by alternating straight and wavy sun rays, yet with a twin-leafed plant beneath the central “IHS” monogram (representing the name of Jesus) where three nails symbolizing the Crucifixion would be placed in subsequent versions. Ignatius composed his Exercises as a guide for leading retreats consisting of structured meditation, prayer, and contemplation, typically lasting four weeks.

Page in the manuscript showing the Jesuit seal

What both works have in common besides their Jesuit origins is the milieu of controversial approaches to prayer in which they were produced and used. A confluence of religious reform movements in Spain during the sixteenth century promoted various forms of contemplative or mystical prayer. Leaders of the so-called alumbrados (meaning “illuminated ones”), like Isabel de la Cruz and Pedro Ruiz de Alcaraz, were suspected of heresy and brought before the Inquisition. Church officials believed that their teachings ran counter to the life of action and the practical exercise of virtue and good works, which they generally considered ideal for lay Catholics. Ignatius was likewise interrogated for his association with alumbrados. He was never convicted, nevertheless elements of contemplative prayer in his Exercises, especially the experience of “consolation” (an intense feeling of God’s love), bear traits of his exposure to contested mystical practices.

The inscription reads: Do Recholhim[en]to De Coimbra.

Our copy of the 1553 Exercises includes a handwritten annotation on the front flyleaf that may provide further evidence of their association with the practice of contemplative prayer. The inscription reads: “Do Recholhim[en]to / De Coimbra.” The key word “recholhimento” (“recolhimento” in modern Portuguese) may be translated literally as “recollection.” The inscription may indicate that the volume belonged to a Jesuit house or was kept among other prayer books in a room therein reserved for meditation, with the letters “ba” beneath the inscription perhaps indicating a shelf location. A second possibility is that the inscription may have been added as a kind of summary title reflecting the owner’s way of classifying of the contents of the work: “About Recollection / [the edition] Of Coimbra.” In either case, the inscription could suggest a connection to disputes concerning the nature of Ignatian prayer. Yet another possibility, based on the opinion of experts who believe the handwriting dates to the 17th or 18th centuries, is that the inscription refers to a convent of contemplative nuns, known as a “recolhimento,” of which two were founded in Coimbra around 1700. In that case, the inscription may have been added to indicate its acquisition at some point by the convent, perhaps following the expulsion of the Jesuits from Portugal in 1759.

In addition to adaptations of Ignatian works, the manuscript we acquired includes several texts that encourage contemplative prayer, such as a series of instructions for meditating on the Passion of Christ and the love of God. Most of these ancillary texts are not attested elsewhere, yet they resemble the kinds of meditations that were prevalent in Spain at the time. Their presence helps to situate the manuscript in the context of contemporary debates about modes of prayer.

Concerns about the emphasis on contemplative prayer mounted in the Iberian Church during the late sixteenth century. Within the Society of Jesus, matters came to a head during the 1570s when Superior General Everard Mercurian prohibited the reading of works on mystical prayer, and insisted on an ascetical interpretation of the Exercises. Ignatius himself never considered contemplation and action to be opposed, but the recovery of the image of the founder of the Society and his followers as “contemplatives in action” came only in the twentieth century thanks to studies by Karl Rahner, SJ and his brother Hugo Rahner, SJ.

A luncheon program celebrating these rare and remarkable acquisitions will be held in Burns Library in conjunction with the Institute for Advanced Jesuit Studies on November 1. For further information, and to register, please visit:

The author wishes to thank the following for their research assistance and comments: João José Alves Dias, Cristiano Casalini, Barton Geger SJ, Elspeth Healey, Terence O’Reilly, Claude Pavur SJ, Richard Ramer, Mário Santiago de Carvalho, and Barry Taylor. The acquisition of the Jesuit manuscript was made possible by donations received in memory of John J. Burns, Jr., Class of 1953.

Irish Music Archives Events, Fall 2017

Boston College Irish Music Archives announces fall events highlighting Library collections.

The Libraries are delighted to announce three fall events that dovetail with the collections of the John J. Burns Library’s Irish Music Archives. This exciting slate of music-themed programs begins with an international symposium in September, followed in October by two presentations with live music.

Nótaí/Notes: Music and Ireland, a Research Symposium

Notes, Music and Ireland Research Symposium, Gasson Hall, BC, Saturday September 23On September 23, a full-day symposium organized by the National University of Ireland Galway and Boston College will capitalize on music-related scholarship happening globally. The Nótaí/Notes: Music and Ireland  research symposium will begin at Boston College on Friday, September 22 with a reception at the Burns Library. Friday’s reception will include a brief presentation by harp historian Nancy Hurrell and a musical demonstration on an early 19th-century Egan harp. Attendees will also have the opportunity to become acquainted with the Burns Library’s extensive Irish Music Archives.

The full-day program on Saturday September 23 will take place in the Gasson Hall Irish Room. Keynote speakers will include Helen O’Shea (University of Melbourne) and Méabh Ní Fhuartháin (NUI Galway). Panel sessions will include presentations on Patrick Kavanagh’s “On Raglan Road,” the Willie Clancy Summer School, the piper Shaun O’Nolan, and more. A brief performance of Irish traditional music will cap off the day’s events.

Findings from the Nótaí/Notes symposium will be included in a special themed edition of Éire-Ireland: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Irish Studies in 2019. The symposium is cosponsored by Comhrá Ceoil, Centre for Irish Studies at NUI Galway, together with the Boston College Libraries and Boston College Center for Irish Programs. Additional funding is provided by the Irish Research Council New Foundations program.

Celebrating The Séamus Connolly Collection of Irish Music

On the first anniversary of The Séamus Connolly Collection of Irish Music, Séamus Connolly returns to campus on Thursday, October 12th to give a multimedia presentation with live performance at the Cadigan Alumni Center. A collaboration between Connolly and the Boston College Libraries, the Connolly Collection offers a window into the collaborative nature of digital scholarship projects. The evening will feature live music performances by Séamus Connolly on fiddle, Jimmy and Séamus Noonan on flute and tin whistle, and Shannon and Matt Heaton on vocals, flute, and guitar.

The Séamus Connolly Collection of Irish Music

Connolly was a 2013 National Heritage Fellow and served as Sullivan Artist-in-Residence at BC from 2004 to 2015. His presentation will offer a behind-the-scenes look at how the digital collection came together, with stories and music selections that pay tribute to his musical mentors.

The $20 registration fee includes the 6:00 p.m. reception and the 6:30 p.m. program. Free parking is available on the Brighton Campus. To reserve your seat, please visit the Alumni Education Series website.

Harp Studies: Perspectives on the Irish Harp

On Wednesday October 18th at 6:00 p.m., the Burns Library will host scholar/performers Helen Lawlor and Sandra Joyce. Lawlor and Joyce, who co-edited Harp Studies (Four Courts Press, 2016), will draw on new research into the history and music of the Irish national instrument. In a presentation with live music, they will describe how the music of the Irish harp has been used and interpreted as a symbol of Ireland, and demonstrate how the harp has been reimagined through poetry, song, literature, and film.

Singer Sandra Joyce directs the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance at the University of Limerick. Harpist Helen Lawlor lectures in music at Dundalk Institute of Technology. Lawlor’s essay chapter in Harp Studies draws upon extensive research in the Mary O’Hara Papers in the Burns Library’s Irish Music Archives.

For more information on these programs, please contact Elizabeth Sweeney, Irish Music Archives events coordinator, at

Libraries homepage has a new look!

Checkout the new look and features of the libraries homepage.

This summer we used the results from website analytics and usability tests that involved faculty, staff and students to create a new library homepage. The goal was to incorporate the look and feel of the new Boston College website design with all we’ve learned about how people use the BC Libraries to find information. The page has several new features:

One Search Box
The most prominent change is that we now offer one simplified search, front and center, with links to more specific searches for Books, Articles, Journals, etc. Enter your search to find books, journals, articles, databases, films, music, laptops, and other material, along with recommendations of research guides, websites, and librarians to help you with your research.

Screen capture of the new Library search bar

Updated menus
We know many people want quick access to their library account in order to renew items or check due dates, so we’ve added an Accounts link to the top menu. Just below that, the highly sought-after link to library Hours appears in the black bar. A full display of today’s hours at each library appears in the footer as well.

Screen capture of the new Library website header and menu

Balancing quick links with instruction
Our library users have diverse needs and we aim to meet those needs by offering quick links along with guidance.  Experienced users will quickly find our most popular databases, along with a link to our full list of more than 800 databases. Those who are unsure of where to start can find help in the Start your Research section with links to subject research guides and course guides. Below that, we continue to offer quick links to our most popular services and now brief descriptions have been added.

Screen capture of the new Library quick links section

Highlighting our collections
In order to spark interest and encourage exploration of our rich collections, we’ve added large eye-catching images and videos across the page. You’ll see highlights from our collections including exhibits, digital collections, and faculty publication interviews. We are very proud of all the libraries have to offer and we hope you’ll find interesting examples highlighted here.  Check back frequently since we’ll feature new collections throughout the year.

Screen capture of the new Library collections highlights

As always, we welcome your feedback. Your comments, questions, and suggestions help us continually improve our site and get you to the information that you need. Use the FEEDBACK link on the top bar to send us your ideas. Thank you!

Coffee & Code with the Digital Scholarship Group

Fall opportunities for skill-building with the Digital Scholarship Group.

Coffee and code, an icon of a coffee cupThe BC Libraries’ Digital Scholarship Group hosts a series of workshops each semester for faculty, students, and staff to learn more about digital tools and methodologies. The series, Coffee & Code, is open to the public. While no previous experience is required, certain workshops do have recommended prerequisites. We ask that participants sign up for sessions on the digital scholarship site. All workshops take place in the Digital Studio, room 205 in the O’Neill Library.

This fall, Coffee & Code sessions include workshops on visualizing temporal data on timelines, creating online maps, textual analysis, and more:

September 21, 11 am – 12:30 pm: Visualizing Temporal Data with Timeline.js
In this session, you will learn how to transform data in your spreadsheets into a timeline using Timeline.js.

October 11, 11 – 12:30 pm: Text Analysis with Voyant is a free, web-based suite of tools that enables a range of textual analysis techniques. Used imaginatively, it can guide inquiries into author attribution, semantic biases, and writing style. In this session we’ll apply Voyant’s features to different kinds of texts, discussing the nature of textuality and how to combine digital textual analysis with traditional close reading, and end with an introduction to topic modeling. Along the way we’ll investigate how to use textual analysis and tools like Voyant in classroom assignments and your own research projects.

October 24, 11 – 12:30 pm: Visualize your Data on an Interactive Map
This session will introduce participants to the basics of using geographic data to create a visualization (map) with Carto, a web-based mapping and analysis tool. Several types of map layers will be explored. This session may be of interest to participants who are interested in visualizing historical data for humanities or social science projects or classroom use.

October 26, 3 – 4:30 pm: Managing Your Online Scholarly Identity
As a part of Open Access Week, Boston College Libraries presents a primer on managing Scholarly Identity for researchers. Topics will include pros and cons of different scholarly profiles such as, ResearchGate, ORCID, and Google Scholar. We will also cover how to most effectively share your work to increase your scholarly impact and monitor impact metrics. Students and faculty at all stages of their professional careers are encouraged to attend.

November 2, 11 – 12:30 pm: Teaching through Annotation with
This session explores web annotation as a strategy for teaching and learning. You will be introduced to, which allows individuals and groups to publicly or privately discuss any web page—from the popular press to literary works and scholarly journal articles. By creating annotations and participating in interpretive conversations, students develop traditional close reading skills, as well as newer forms of digital and media literacy. Participants will gain hands-on experience creating annotations using and leave with specific strategies to use in the classroom.

Boston Herald (1848–present)
One of the oldest daily newspapers in the United States, the Boston Herald was “more sober and less sensational than the Globe during its heyday in the first half of the twentieth century,” says Jim O’Toole, Clough Professor of History. The historical Herald serves as a more reliable source for Boston happenings. For more information, contact Chelcie Juliet Rowell, Digital Scholarship Librarian and Bibliographer for History.

Foreign Affairs
Visit to access articles and media from this distinguished journal published by the Council of Foreign Relations that are only available online. The site also provides an archive of journal issues dating back to the first publication in 1922.   For more information, contact Julia Hughes, Bibliographer for Political Science.

JoVE Immunology & Infection
This new section of JoVE (Journal of Visualized Experiments) provides professionally produced video protocols/laboratory procedures in the areas of Immunology and Infection.  It includes sampling methods, assays, imaging techniques, etc. For more information, contact Enid Karr, Bibliographer for Biology and Earth & Environmental Sciences.

Nano Nature Database
This newly-created resource from Springer Nature is fine-tuned for exploration of data and literature drawn from the most important journals in the field of nanotechnology.  Use it to find preparations, properties, applications and more.  For more information, contact Sally Wyman, Head of Collection Development, Bibliographer for Chemistry, Physics and Environmental Studies.

Sacramentum Mundi Online
This the first online edition of the famous six volume English reference work in Catholic Theology, edited (in 1968-1970) by Karl Rahner, one of the main Catholic theologians of the 20th century.  This purchase is the gift of Dr. Lawrence Clifford in honor of Jonas Barciauskas, long-time Head of Collection Development at Boston College, recently retired.  For more information, contact Chris Strauber, Bibliographer for Philosophy and Theology.

Let Read&Write Revolutionize Your Work

Check out this new tool, which features text-to-speech, highlighting, voice note functionalities, and lots more.

This fall, Boston College is rolling out campus-wide access to Read&Write software for all interested students, staff, and faculty. This application features a customizable toolbar that offers reading, writing, studying, and research support tools embedded within common applications, including Microsoft Office tools (such as Word and PowerPoint) and internet browsers.

The tools are designed to help all students work more efficiently and productively, but also provides particular support for individuals with disabilities and English Language Learners through its unique combination of features. Some of the most notable features include text-to-speech, highlighting, and voice note functionalities. Additionally, the software offers a dictionary as well as vocabulary and study skills tools so that you can consult these resources without leaving your document. For English Language Learners, Read&Write offers translation tools and a picture dictionary that make writing a more efficient and seamless process. This software offers a wide range of tools to support students’ success and help users build independent learning skills; it is available for both computers and mobile devices.

Any member of the BC community can download Read&Write for their own computers and devices or if you want to direct patrons to the tool, go to the Read&Write software page. For additional support and information, you can also direct interested patrons to the LibGuides page about Read&Write. If you have any questions, please contact any member of the Accessibility Committee.