April 2011


Leaf used as a bookmark, CC image courtesy of emrank

"bookmark" CC image courtesy of emrank

In case you haven’t heard the news, this week, two big e-resource-sharing platforms announced changes that may impact (and hopefully improve) your ability to find and share information within the next few months.

About a week ago, Kindle announced that it is finally working with libraries to offer the ability to share/lend books — this is great news, as Kindle was one of the last “holdouts.”  At this point it is working primarily with Overdrive — the main vendor for e-books in public libraries — but we will keep an eye on the efforts to share with academic and special libraries as well.   Using  Kindle would make bookmarking, note-taking and highlighting in a borrowed book easier.

Your notes will not show up when the next patron checks out the book. But if you check out the book again, or subsequently buy it, your notes will be there just as you left them, perfectly Whispersynced

In other “bookmarking” news, Delicious has been saved from the chopping block!  On Wednesday, AVOS announced that they acquired Delicious from Yahoo.  In order to have your account continue to work after June, you need to “opt in” to the transfer of your bookmarks… loads of details on the delicious transition page.

Picture of Forks, courtesy of Mike (Inbet_1979), Flickr CC, click image to see original

"Forks", courtesy of Mike (Inbet_1979), Flickr CC

In health literacy circles, much has been made of New York City’s requirement to post nutrition information, but an effort with a similar goal has garnered less notice — the New York City requirement that restaurants clearly post their Health Inspection grade.

Starting in July 2010, New York City is requiring restaurants to post letter grades that correspond to scores that it receives from its sanitary inspection. An inspection score of 0-13 is an A, 14-27 points is a B, and 28 or more points is a C. Grade cards must be posted where they can easily be seen by people passing by.

The goal for each of these efforts is the same — to encourage restaurant patrons make healthy food choices —  but not everyone is clear on what the letter grade means.  If you would like a bit more insight into the grade system, the NYC Health department Restaurant inspections site can help you to  (1) look at an overview of how the points are assigned, (2) read a report on how the first six months of this program has gone, and (3) find a detailed “report card” of a restaurant, searching  by name, cuisine-type, borough and/or zipcode.

This librarian found it interesting to look at the history of inspections (not just from an archival viewpoint, but to see that some point-values at some venues vacillate pretty drastically from visit-to-visit).  One might also note that a pending grade may  mean not-yet-inspected, not inspected after re-opening, or that the restaurant is exercising the option to challenge their grade.  Each  report-card makes any  “Criticial” violations  easy to see, they are at the top of a report card, in red type — yet from a cursory review of a few restaurants, I notice that it is possible to get an A even with “critical” violations, and get a B, with only “non-critical” violations.  So search for yourself, if you can stomach it!

(N.B.: If you are looking for a quick snack, or a place to take your folks for graduation, I was happy to note that the restaurants in the Queens Campus area do pretty well. but the zipcode on Union Turnpike isn’t the STJ campus zip, it is 11366.)

Crafting the Bible: From Scriptoria to Printing Houses

New Exhibition at Dr. M. T. Geoffrey Yeh Art Gallery, Sun Yat-sen Hall

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Monday, April 4 – Monday, May 2, 2011


Leaf from a Paris manuscript Bible (circa 1310) Part of the Otto Ege Collection of Original Leaves from Famous Bibles, Special Collections, St. John’s University Libraries

Gallery Hours:
Tuesday – Thursday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Friday 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Saturday Noon – 5 p.m.
Sunday and Monday: Closed

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Original Bibles, leaves, and facsimile editions from St. John’s University Libraries’ Special Collections Department constitute one part of the current exhibition in the gallery.  The works represent more than sacred and inspirational texts – they are historical artifacts and works of art. One gains a fuller appreciation of the development of the book in the form we recognize today through an understanding of the history of the production of the Bible.

The items on view span the eighth to the twentieth century, represent various techniques and materials, are in diverse languages, and were intended for an array of audiences. They range from one-of-a-kind manuscript Bibles written and decorated in monastic scriptoria, through the first printed masterworks by Gutenberg and his contemporaries, to modern private press editions. Among the highlights of the exhibited works from the University’s own collection are: a Bible printed in 1492 just prior to Columbus’ discovery of America; a manuscript Ethiopian Psalter in ancient Ge’ez script with its leather carrying satchel; the so-called “Gun-wad Bible” printed in 1776 in Germantown, Pennsylvania, few of which survived the Revolutionary War; a Bible for the Blind (1850) with raised Roman letters given to “indigent blind individuals” by the Bible House in New York City; and Barry Moser’s exquisitely hand-crafted Pennyroyal Caxton Bible published in 1999.

Additionally, a collection of individual leaves from famous Bibles (1121-1935 A.D.) is on display. The leaves were compiled and described by the late Otto F. Ege (1888-1951), Dean of the Cleveland Institute of Art, from incomplete and damaged Bibles he had amassed during his lifetime.

Special Collections holds numerous distinctive items available for study by students, faculty and other researchers. They were acquired over the course of the University’s rich history through purchase and as gifts from generous donors. More information about Special Collections can be found at http://www.stjohns.edu/academics/libraries/resources/collections/spec_coll.

Also on display in the gallery are reproductions of the Saint John’s Bible.  The original seven-volume illuminated manuscript took a team of artists and scribes over a decade to complete.  It was commissioned by Saint John’s Abbey and Saint John’s University of Minnesota.  For more details about the Bible and the project visit http://www.saintjohnsbible.org/.

Blythe E. Roveland-Brenton, Ph.D.
Co-curator of Crafting the Bible: From Scriptoria to Printing Houses