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Penrose Library Blog

Come on, get happy!

by Julie Carter  Nov 17 17

Feeling the “winter blues”?  Penrose Library houses six light therapy lamps for those who feel light deprived or are suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).  Our “happy lights” provide daytime light intensity by replicating early morning or late afternoon spring-time light levels.  Lamps are available on the first, second, and third floors of the library.  Please consult the instructions for proper use provided with each lamp.

Lamps furnished by ASWC Savings Fund Grant.

Dedication of CLOUD, a new installation by artist and Whitman professor M Acuff.

by Julie Carter  Nov 2 17

Cement book, part of CLOUD art installation.In the Penrose Library foyer this Friday, November 3rd, from 4:00 – 5:30 pm, Sheehan Gallery, Penrose Library, and the Whitman College Art Advisory Committee invite you to attend the dedication of CLOUD, an interactive sculpture installation by artist and Whitman faculty member M Acuff. Professor Acuff will offer additional insights on both this piece and their process. Following Professor Acuff’s comments there will be a small reception to welcome this new work into the campus collection.

This addition to the College’s art collection was made possible by support from the Gaiser Art Endowment.

Halloween in the Archives

by bronsodm  Oct 30 17

Whitman College Pioneer, October 29, 1987

In the Whitman College and Northwest Archives, you can see how Whitman students have been celebrating Halloween throughout the decades.

Whitman College Photograph Collection, Box 42

From Halloween recipes in the student newspaper to costume party photographs from the 1950s, we can gain a unique insight into the student experiences of Whitman College.

Whitman College Pioneer, October 29, 2009

Whitman College Photograph Collection, Box 42

Come visit us in the archives to see more snapshots of student life at Whitman College!



Whitman faculty and open access publishing

by Amy Blau  Oct 25 17

Last year for Open Access Week, we profiled a few Whitman professors who are writing and using Open Educational Resources in their classes. This year we’re talking with professors who have published works of scholarship in Open Access journals. We asked them about their reasons for choosing an open access journal and their experiences of the publishing process, as well as what they see as the larger significance of open access publishing. Three Biology professors — Dan Vernon, Ginger Withers, and Tim Parker — shared their thoughts, as did Sharon Alker (English) and Frank Dunnivant (Chemistry). For an overview of Open Access models for journal publishing, see the previous blog post.

Tim Parker has published two papers that are available by Open Access. In Biological Reviews, a hybrid journal published by Wiley, articles may be made open access for a fee. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution is a fully OA journal, which also charges for publication of research articles. Parker said, “All else being equal, I would prefer OA. However, OA typically costs money and this limits my choices. In the first article above, a co-author’s institution covered the fees for making the article open access. The second article was an opinion piece, and at least at that time, the Frontiers journals did not charge to publish opinion pieces. All that said, I also choose journals based on where I think the article in question will receive the best/most attention, and the top journals in my field are not open access by default.” For the Biological Reviews article, peer review followed the usual model (article sent out for blind review), but for Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, there was a different model, built on a system of iterative exchange of comments between reviewers and authors.

Ginger Withers had published a paper in the Open Access journal Neural Development in 2009, and recently published a paper in  PLOSone, one of the first-established open access journals. The decision to publish this recent work in an open access journal was deliberate, in order to increase readership, and to facilitate sharing and reusing images and figures with a Creative Commons license. Withers spoke highly of the rigorous peer review process at all of the open access journals she worked with. She originally sent the manuscript to an open access journal in neuroscience that does double-blind reviews: “We actually sent our paper to them and the reviews were favorable but the editor made the decision that it wasn’t novel enough.” PLOSone does charge for publication, and Withers characterized the APCs as “more than you would pay to publish in most journals,” but not significantly more than would be charged by a print journal to publish images or figures in color. Because her research had always relied on color images, budgeting several thousand dollars for publication costs was common.

Dan Vernon published a paper in Plants, an open access journal on all areas of plant science. His decision to publish in an OA journal was not based on its “open-access-ness.” “Because it was a new journal trying to get established, they were offering to publish without page charges for a short time.  Also, they were publishing a special issue on a topic related to my lab’s research, so I took the opportunity.  If anything, the open-access made me hesitate, because I had to first verify that this new journal was from a reputable publisher.”

The concern about whether or not a publisher is reputable is important. Frank Dunnivant described his experience publishing an article with an open access journal that turned out to have questionable scholarly practices. Dunnivant was aware of predatory journal publishing. He did some initial checking on the publisher, but initially it seemed OK and he sent in his paper. After about a week he received an email from the editor that his paper had been accepted for publication, which immediately raised red flags. He asked how it had gone through peer review so quickly, and was told that it had been recommended for publication without revision. At that point he did some additional investigation, and was on the point of emailing the editor to withdraw his paper when he found out that it had already appeared. The journal tried to bill him for the APC, but he refused to pay it.

Publishing conventions differ in different disciplines. In the humanities, there is rarely the expectation of paying to publish an article (perhaps with exceptions for publications that include many images), and the predatory journal market is much less prevalent. Sharon Alker published an article coauthored with her sister in the open access online journal Digital Defoe. Alker co-founded the society that established the journal, which is published by the Illinois State University rather than a commercial publisher. She described it as a “niche journal” with a close focus on Defoe and early-eighteenth-century studies, but with a goal to distribute that scholarship widely, to a general public as well as scholars. Therefore the online open access model was a good fit. It additionally allowed a variety of formats, including a lecture, poster session information, and pedagogical as well as theoretical research articles. Alker had a positive experience publishing with Digital Defoe because “This journal was quick and efficient. The process was smooth and the time to publication was good.” Moreover, Alker noted that “the peer review process was identical to that with a traditional journal. I would not have published there had it not been peer reviewed.” For Digital Defoe, the peer-review process is double-blind, and there is no charge to publish a paper.

In general, the researchers we spoke to were in favor of open access publishing, as long as rigorous peer review was upheld. Withers emphasized that open access journals increase the ability of researchers at institutions with smaller library budgets (domestically and especially in developing countries) to be a part of important scholarly conversations. Parker found that “OA is increasing access, but the publication costs are a major obstacle to many folks, especially in poorer countries. It’s not clear what solution to this will emerge. Publishing costs money, but who should pay?” Beyond the traditional publishing model, he sees real change in a pre-print culture, but is wary of their non-peer-reviewed status. Vernon was not convinced that OA has materially changed research in his area, as many traditional journals have opened up their archives following an embargo period, but he saw the addition of new legitimate OA journals as a positive. Dunnivant warned against publishing with an unknown journal.

The experiences of these Whitman faculty with Open Access publishing are consonant with the larger opportunities and challenges of 21st-century scholarly communications. Publishing expectations have risen in most disciplines, driving the establishment of new publishing venues (both reputable and predatory) and new measures to assess the reputation of both journals and articles. Peer review remains the hallmark of rigorous scholarship, and open access publications can support peer review in both traditional and experimental formats. The Internet has allowed nearly instantaneous global communication, and digital technology has drastically reduced the costs of reproducing scholarship. Publishing and preserving scholarship is not free, however, and the different business models for journals have a range of ethical as well as financial implications. Individual scholars, scholarly societies, academic libraries, and academic publishers all have something at stake in finding sustainable ways to ensure equitable access to research and recognition of scholarly achievement. Open Access as it is currently practiced may not (yet) offer comprehensive fixes to these questions, but the conversations it has begun are necessary if they are to be answered.

Open Access Week 2017

by Amy Blau  Oct 22 17

This week is International Open Access Week, which takes place annually in the last full week of October. The underlying principles of open access (OA) scholarship are to make scholarly research available in digital forms online, free of charge and free of many copyright and licensing restrictions. This year’s Open Access Week theme is “Open in order to…” This open-ended (pun intended) slogan is designed to prompt researchers to consider all the ways in which they and their potential readers can benefit from scholarship that can be freely accessed and used. In a blog post, Nick Shockey of SPARC* gives several examples: “Open in order to increase the impact of my scholarship. Open in order to enable more equitable participation in research. Open in order to improve public health.”

Later in the week we’ll share the experiences of some Whitman faculty members with publishing open access journal articles. Today’s blog post will outline the two main forms of open access for journal articles. Gold OA is delivered by publishers, while green OA is delivered by repositories.[1]

In the gold OA model, journals make peer-reviewed articles available without charge online upon publication. There are a variety of business models for gold OA, since free to access does not mean free of all costs to publish and preserve long-term. Some OA journals are funded through professional societies or a membership model. Others charge publication fees to the researchers. In some cases, publication fees are reduced or eliminated for researchers in the developing world or at under-resourced institutions. Individual journals may offer a so-called hybrid OA model: the journals charge a subscription fee, but offer authors the option of paying a fee to make their article available immediately online, free of charge to readers. A joint initiative between PLOS (the Public Library of Science), SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Institute) and OASPA (Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association) has resulted in a useful chart of the spectrum of OA rights.

The green OA model is separate from the publishing of an article in a journal. In order to put their articles in an institutional or disciplinary repository, researchers must clarify their rights with the journals where they are publishing their work; journals have established policies that are available on their websites or in the RoMEO database. Most journals allow researchers to deposit a version of their article in an open-access repository, either as a preprint (the version of the article that the researcher submitted initially to the journal) or as a postprint (the version of the article accepted after peer review and revision). Some journals allow the deposited research article to include final copyedits and layout from the journal, while others do not. More and more academic libraries have a repository where faculty and students can make their scholarship available with a license of their choosing. The ARMINDA institutional repository is an option for green OA at Whitman College. For more information and links to OA resources, see our open access guide.

[1] Peter Suber, Open Access (Cambridge, MA and London: MIT Press, 2012), 53. The terminology was coined by Stevan Harnad.

Lever Press presentation on October 17

by Amy Blau  Oct 13 17

Penrose Library and the Center for Teaching & Learning are pleased to welcome Beth Bouloukos, the Senior Acquisitions Editor at Lever Press, to campus on Tuesday, October 17th for a talk in the CTL at noon. Most recently at the SUNY Press, Beth joined the Lever Team in August. While at SUNY her acquisition focus was education, gender and sexuality studies, cultural studies, and Latin American/Iberian/Latinx studies.

Beth’s presentation will help faculty understand:

  • *how to frame a project before contacting a publisher
  • *how to select and approach a publisher with an idea or manuscript
  • *the manuscript selection and editorial processes
  • *basic contract information
  • *review and revision processes
  • *publication options

Beth will discuss open access monograph publishing in general and Lever Press in particular. Lever Press, an imprint of the University of Michigan Press, is committed to publishing open access, digitally-native, peer-reviewed scholarly monographs and is primarily supported by Oberlin Group of Academic Libraries. Penrose Library is a charter member of Lever Press. After the presentation, Beth, Zahi Zalloua (recently appointed to the Lever Press Editorial Board), and Dalia Corkrum will be available to answer questions. Faculty members may RSVP for lunch and this presentation by Friday, 10/13. Additional information on Lever Press may also be viewed on YouTube.

eBooks on any device!

by Julie Carter  Oct 3 17

Penrose Library has recently subscribed to three new collections of online scholarly resources: Wiley Online Library, Oxford Scholarship Online and Taylor & Francis eBooks. Whitman faculty, students, and staff may access the 100,000 Digital Rights Management (DRM) free resources on any device that supports PDFs including e-Readers or mobile devices. Materials may be printed without page restrictions (copyright law still applies). All titles in these three platforms have an unlimited number of simultaneous users and are available for use in a class reading list or course reserves.

Oxford Scholarship Online includes all publications from Oxford University Press and University of California Press, covering the humanities, social sciences, sciences, medicine, and law.

Wiley Online Library hosts a large multidisciplinary collection of online resources covering life, health and physical sciences, social science, and the humanities.
Taylor & Francis eBooks is a platform with over 66,000 eBooks and provides content in the humanities, social and behavioral sciences, education, built environment, and law, from imprints such as Routledge, Psychology Press, Focal Press, Earthscan, Eye on Education, Acumen, and Ashgate.

Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read, Sept. 24 – 30.

by Julie Carter  Sep 25 17

“Encourages children to break dishes so they won’t have to dry them.”  “Is a filthy, filthy book.” Contains “anti-American attitudes, offensive language, political bias, and disturbing fiction.”  

These complaints were the basis for book challenges in libraries and schools in the United States.  Banned Books Week draws national attention to attempts to remove or restrict books and the harms of censorship.  The campaign promotes shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.  Learn more about banned and challenged books, including the top 10 most challenged books of 2016, at the American Library Association website. 

Penrose Library celebrates your freedom to READ!  Borrow a book from our display of selected challenged materials and stop by the circulation desk to get your own read a banned book sticker.


Complaints levied against A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein, Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, and The Things they Carried by Tim O’Brien.  From Robert P. Doyle, Banned Books: Challenging Our Freedom to Read (Chicago: American Library Association, 2010), 282, 309, 319.

2017 Summer Read

by Amy Blau  Aug 23 17

Image of library display for Make Your Home Among Strangers

This summer, students entering Whitman College read Jennine Capó Crucet’s novel Make Your Home Among Strangers as their common Summer Read. The novel’s narrator, Lizet Ramirez, is Cuban-American, from Miami. A first-generation college student, she heads north to begin her studies at a prestigious East Coast liberal arts college in the fall of 1999. The challenges she faces in this new environment intertwine with the events that unfold when a five-year-old Cuban boy is rescued from the Florida coast, sparking a contentious custody battle with ramifications for Lizet and her family, as well as the country.

The Penrose Library display for Make Your Home Among Strangers combines artifacts related to Lizet’s college experiences and Miami origins with selected background information about Cuban migration to the US and about Elián González, the real-life counterpart of the novel’s Ariel Hernandez. On the short book stacks by the library entrance, you can find a selection of non-fiction works about Cuba and Cuban-American relations, as well as fiction by Cuban-American writers, to browse and check out. Check in our catalog for many more print and digital resources.

Jennine Capó Crucet will be on campus on Thursday, Sept. 7, 2017 at 7 pm in Cordiner Hall for a discussion and book signing. This event is free and open to the public.

Graduation 1917

by Amy Blau  May 19 17

The Whitman College class of 1917 is not as well-documented as many others; after 1916, there was a hiatus in the production of Waiilatpu, the Whitman College yearbook, that lasted until 1921. However, a member of the class of 1917 wrote a poem about commencement that appeared in the 1916 Waiilatpu, shown below.

On Wednesday, June 20, 1917, 36 bachelor’s degrees were conferred on Whitman College students. Two of these were awarded in absentia for students who were on active duty in the Armed Forces. We know that it was a warm and sunny day from a diary kept by William Denison Lyman, professor of history.

We wish the class of 2017 all the best for their Commencement on May 21. Congratulations!