Friends of the Library

Mobilizing McGill at the Library: Crowdsourcing Social Justice

Library Matters - Thu, 02/15/2018 - 09:12

Social justice is an underlying principle for peaceful and prosperous coexistence within and among nations. We uphold the principles of social justice when we promote gender equality or the rights of indigenous peoples and migrants. We advance social justice when we remove barriers that people face because of gender, age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture or disability. – United Nations, World Day of Social Justice website

Did you know that 91% of worldwide Wikipedia editors are male? That only 17% of Wikipedia biographies are about women? Let’s change that at the Wikipedia Edit-a-thon for Gender Equality on Feb. 20. Photo of the Art+Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-thon, March 2016. Credit: Lauren Goldman

At its core, the “Library” is directly connected to the tenets outlined in the above quote. It’s a place where people can have access to resources and services in an equitable way. Privacy, confidentiality, and intellectual freedom is upheld. Censorship is fought against. In many ways, libraries play a key role in empowering their communities in knowledge building and sharing, so it should come as no surprise that librarians here at McGill Library are mobilizing the campus community in order to make change.

Call for action

On February 20th, United Nations World Day for Social Justice, librarians Michael Groenendyk, Marcela Isuster, and Emily Kingsland in collaboration with the Office for Students with Disabilities invite you to help break down barriers to information in different ways. The full day event at the Humanities and Social Sciences Library gives participants the opportunity to learn more about a specific topic related to human rights (i.e. universal design, gender equity, LGBTQ+ issues, etc.), research techniques, open data, and digital platforms (i.e. Scalar, Wikipedia, ArcGIS Online) while adding reliable information to the internet for all to access through crowdsourcing.

During the Quebec Healthcare Access Map-a-thon, participants will learn how public data sources can be used with mapping software (ArcGIS Online) to visualize issues related to health accessibility.

Marcela elaborates, “We have been working with many of these tools for a long time and had been discussing their value as storytelling devices. When we heard about United Nations’ World Day of Social Justice we felt it was a great way to show the McGill community the power these tools can have beyond the academic world. It also aligns with our belief that the library has a pivotal role in fostering and promoting inclusion and social justice. We are very lucky to have access to all this information and technology and what better way to give back and be engaged citizens than by using our access to promote access for all?”

Crowdsourcing Social Justice | Tuesday, February 20 | 10am to 5:30pm| Humanities & Social Sciences Library | Redpath Library Building, Main Floor | Research Commons, Rm A | The event is open to the McGill students, faculty, staff and alumni.

For more information or to register for sessions, click here.


Contest! Decode This Curious Hieroglyphick Valentine

Library Matters - Tue, 02/13/2018 - 14:51

By: Anna Dysert, Librarian, Archival & Rare Book Cataloguing

Decode the image below for a sweet Valentine’s Day message and win a prize!

Printed some time in the mid-19th century, this clever Valentine’s rebus comes from McGill’s uncatalogued collection of greeting cards dating as far back as 1790, with many Victorian examples like this one. Valentine’s Day cards surged in popularity during the 19th century, with the spread of cheaper mass printing techniques and improvements to the postal systems in North America and the UK. Hieroglyphs, too, had captured the Victorian imagination since the discovery of the Rosetta Stone in 1799 and the deciphering of hieroglyphs in the 1820s.

Help us unlock the answers and you could win some goodies including a McGill travel mug and book!

Email your entry to

Deadline for submission is Wednesday, February 28.

Look out for the answers in an upcoming blog post and Happy Valentine’s Day!

Syrian Print Archive

McGill Islamic Studies Library's blog - Fri, 02/09/2018 - 12:38

Remembering H. Rocke Robertson (1912-1998)

De re medica - Thu, 02/08/2018 - 23:45
H. Rocke Robertson was a distinguished surgeon and the first McGill graduate to become Principal and Vice Chancellor of McGill University. An enthusiastic supporter of the Osler Library, Dr. Robertson was an instrumental force behind the Osler Library’s move from … Continue reading →

Visualizing Palestine

McGill Islamic Studies Library's blog - Thu, 02/08/2018 - 13:31

Launched in 2012, Visualizing Palestine is the first project of Visualizing Impact (VI), an independent, non-profit “laboratory for innovation” (…) aiming at: “breaking new grounds in socially aware data science, technology, and design” and “mainstreaming marginalized perspectives on critical social issues.”

Visualizing Palestine publishes data-driven visual tools, in Arabic and English, providing context and analysis to mainstream coverage of news related to Palestine. The multidisciplinary team (scholars, designers, technologists, and communications specialists) collaborates with both individuals (civil society actors, advisors) and organizations to support their impact in advocating for justice and equality. In addition, their by-weekly infographics are heavily used for teaching in higher education, and exhibitions. Last, Visualizing Palestine regularly facilitates storytelling workshops (in Beirut, Lebanon), and can provide student groups with a VP Toolkit to help raise awareness on campus.

Visualizing Palestine is co-funded by individual benefactors, grants and sponsors, as well as by crowdfunding efforts.

Colour our rare and special collections!

Rare Books and Special Collections blog - Mon, 02/05/2018 - 16:56

Join us in a social media colouring fest! McGill Library, along with hundreds of our friends at libraries, museums, and cultural institutions around the world, has turned our collections into colouring books. This year, we’ve included material from the Osler Library of the History of Medicine, the Marvin Duchow Music Library, and Rare Books and Special Collections. You can participate by downloading our colouring book and sharing your finished work to Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, and tagging us (#McGillLib or #McGillRarebooks or #OslerLibrary) as well as #ColorOurCollections.

Bellin, J.N. (1744). Plan de la Nouvelle Orléans. | G4014 N5 1744 B44 | Lande Canadiana Maps | Rare Books and Special Collections

This fun initiative was launched by The New York Academy of Medicine Library in 2016. We are proud to participate for a third year in a row. Check out our past offerings for more great images from 2017 and 2016.

-Posted on behalf of the team: Jennifer Garland, Lauren Goldman, Greg Houston, Sarah Severson, and Mary Yearl.



Ganjoor, collection of Persian literary works

McGill Islamic Studies Library's blog - Sat, 02/03/2018 - 13:25

Ganjoor is an online open access collection of Persian literature. This collection provides access to a diverse and extensive collection of the literary works of Persian poets. Ganjoor is the result of a collective effort whose purpose is to gather thousands of treasures from classical and modern Persian literature and to provide free access to this valuable collection. All the provided information in this website is in Persian.

In addition to the main collection, Ganjoor offers several other interesting features such as: Library, Statistics, Music Index, Random line of poetry, and more.

Lists of poets and their literary works are available in the Library, and Statistics sections.

The Music Index section lists poems that were used in different musical compositions or songs. In this section, the list of poems is categorized according to the artist or band’s name.

Ganjoor is even accessible on Facebook, where you can listen to famous poems read by native Persian speakers!

A Bali-inspired Musical Suggestion

McGill Islamic Studies Library's blog - Fri, 01/26/2018 - 16:00

On this sunny Friday afternoon, we would like to offer you a musical suggestion for your listening pleasure: Colin McPhee’s Balinese Ceremonial Music for Two Pianos

Colin McPhee was a Canadian composer, pianist, writer and ethnomusicologist born in Montreal in 1900. He spent several years, from 1931-1938, in Indonesia, mostly Bali and Java studying the art and music from these regions; the tones and rhythms of gamelan ensembles inevitably influenced many of his compositions. McPhee wrote a number of books on his experience in Indonesia, including the hefty Music in Bali: A study in form and instrumental organization in Balinese orchestral music.

In this YouTube recording, Colin McPhee performs his piece on piano accompanied by the renowned British composer, Benjamin Britten. Another recording of this piece, as well as other compositions by McPhee, is available through McGill Libraries on CD, and by online streaming: Tabuh-Tabuhun and Symphony No.2, Balinese Ceremonial Music.

Balinese gamelan instruments, from

You can read more on the music of Southeast Asia in the Garland Encyclopedia of World Music, v.4, and on Colin McPhee here, or on these sites:

And for books on gamelan, music and ensembles, see here. For information on l’Université de Montréal’s Gamelan ensemble, Giri Kedaton:


3D Printer Saves Button Maker: A Love Story

Library Matters - Tue, 01/23/2018 - 16:09

By Merika Ramundo, Communications Officer, McGill Library

Working in communications at the Library, I am often challenged by tasks that tap into the “other duties as required” part of my job. Most recently, I was faced with finding a replacement part for one of our button makers. Since our button makers travel from branch to branch for different events, it’s only normal that they have succumbed to some wear and tear. In this case, one of the machines was missing a tiny steel pin needed to align the machine’s sliding component. Without this tiny pin, the machine doesn’t work properly – it makes “wonky” looking buttons.

The “Socket Hd Cap Screw” (right) a colleague sourced for me didn’t match up with the button maker pin.

Strike 1, 2, 3…

So I called the supplier and they told me that they do not supply additional parts and that I needed to buy a new machine if I wanted a new pin. I then called a button maker manufacturer out of Canada who proceeded to tell me that if I didn’t buy the machine from them, they could not supply me with the replacement part.  I combed hardware stores across the city for this tiny, little pin to no avail. One of my colleagues even tried to find something comparable at a specialty store in his neck of the woods but nothing worked.

Eureka moment

The first week back from the holidays, I noticed that some 3D printing workshops were coming up here at the Library. One workshop, scheduled for this Thursday, titled Introduction to CAD design for 3D printing caught my attention because it focuses on replacing household items. That’s when it hit me – maybe a 3D printer could be used to replicate the part. I asked my colleague responsible for our 3D printers, Michael Groenendyk, if printing a pin would be possible and without hesitation, he and Sterling, our 3D printing peer tutor, took on the job.

The 3D printed pin (right) is almost a perfect match.

Great success! Sterling was able to take measurements of the steel pin, design a model, and duplicate it without a problem, and in record time. The 3D pin fits perfectly and the machine is back in business.

So the next time you need a bottle opener or outlet protector, you may want to consider our 3D printing service. I did and it saved me some time, a little bit of money and lots of headaches.

Thanks again to Michael and Sterling for their help!

For a short video on how the pins work together, check out the video below.

Majallat al-Adab Archives

McGill Islamic Studies Library's blog - Fri, 01/19/2018 - 13:24

The literary and cultural journal al-Adab was founded in 1953 by the famous Lebanese novelist, short-stories writer, journalist and translator Suhayl Idris (1925-2008). A monthly periodical, Majallat al-Adab is still considered one of the leading literary journals.Since 2015, al-Adab has been published electronically. But back issues (1953-2012) are now also available online, on the al-Adab Archives website. Issues can be browsed by date of publication, and articles can be individually downloaded and saved as PDF, or printed.

Middle East Photograph Preservation Initiative

McGill Islamic Studies Library's blog - Wed, 01/10/2018 - 15:30

The Middle East Photograph Preservation Initiative (MEPPI), a strategic multi-year program, launched in 2009 aiming to raise awareness about the value and importance of preservation of the region’s photographic heritage. Since then, it developed into a multi-faceted initiative expanding over research and capacity building objectives.

The Middle East Photograph Preservation Initiative consist of 3 parts:

  • MEPPI courses
    Since the beginning of this program, three introductory photograph preservation courses have been held to train collection personnel in the region. Up until now, more than 60 professionals from institutional and private collections in the Middle East benefited from the training. Topics covered are as follow: an overview of the technical history of photography and photographic processes; an introduction to the history of photography; digitization fundamentals; emergency preparedness and response; preservation planning and the care, handling and storage of photographic materials
  • MEPPI survey
    The MEPPI survey focus is on identifying signification photograph collection in the Middle East and North Africa in order to develop an online directory of collections
  • MEPPI Symposium
    Between 2015 and 2017, MEPPI focused on the long-term preservation of photographs in the Middle East. Intensive workshops, and a symposium were held in 2017 on the photographic legacy of the Middle East and North Africa.

How to Sell a Dissertation, Or: The Hand as a Proxy for the Brain

De re medica - Wed, 01/03/2018 - 16:37
Guest post by Tabea Cornel, recipient of the 2017 Mary Louise Nickerson Award in Neuro History. Tabea Cornel is a PhD student in the Department of History and Sociology of Science at the University of Pennsylvania. Her dissertation focuses on handedness … Continue reading →