Archive for September, 2006

New Library Web and More!
From the University Librarian, Kimberly Douglas

Welcome to the new Library Web! First and foremost, the library offers content services in the pursuit of knowledge acquisition and creation. This is no passive activity. Particularly with the increase of networked resources and the tools available over the Web, change and evolution is daily fare. While the library certainly remains an organization that is every bit a system of integrated effort and outcomes, its focus is on services that create synergy between people and content, now and over time. We do this virtually, through online services delivered via the website. We do this environmentally by maintaining physical places, library settings, almost 24/7, conducive to contemplation, thought, and collaboration. These physical and virtual environments enrich your connection to scholarly content by supporting various study activities and offering many information formats and access services.

In that vein, today we present a completely revised Library Web and launch a new federated search engine that allows cross-database searches of library resources. In fact “Search” is given new prominence on the page to emphasize the discovery of the wealth of content in the Library resources. In addition this fall, we are creating two more group study rooms by converting the 2nd floor photocopy room in the SFL. Stay tuned for more announcements later in the term.

No doubt, library services will continue to change in response to the evolving methods and techniques in research and education. Your input helps us. Subject specialist librarians are available for discipline specific guidance and feedback. The University Librarian, Kimberly Douglas (, works closely with the Faculty Library Committee and other campus administrators to achieve the best service possible. Other library managers, Eric Van de Velde (Director of Library Information Technology), Jim O’Donnell (Head, Collections, Information and Research Services), and Sandy Garstang (Manager of Circulation Services), each contribute extensively in their areas of expertise and responsibility. In short, there are many communication avenues for timely and productive responses to your emerging needs.

Preview our new Caltech Library Web

Preview the new Caltech Library web!  It is completely refreshed with a new look and a new search software for cross database searching.  Use ‘Email’ and ‘Contact Us’ links to send feedback.

Journal of Fluid Mechanics archive available

The library has licensed the entire backfile of the Journal of Fluid Mechanics, providing fulltext access beginning with volume 1 in 1956.

New Information Resources list now available

The New Information Resources List for titles added to the libraries’ collections in August 2006 is now available.

Growth of the CODA Repositories

Growth of the CODA Repositories

The Caltech Collection of Online Digital Archives (CODA) has been receiving a lot of publicity in the Open Access Authoring @ Caltech blog site ( This is partly due to the increase of faculty and student awareness and interest in the on-line availability of research material.

When asked to give a brief description of CODA, George Porter, a Technical Reference Librarian in the Sherman Fairchild Library for the last 9 years, first responded that CODA is a number of things. It is primarily a digital collection of all Caltech authored technical reports, books, conference papers, and oral histories from the Caltech archives, as well as a repository for Caltech dissertations and electronic theses (ETD’s). The repository was launched in 2000, and as of 9/5/06 we have 2,884 dissertations on file. It has been mandatory, since 2003, for all graduate students to submit their theses electronically.


George Porter at the SFL Reference Desk.

George further notes a major benefit of having access to Caltech authored research information is the visibility and easy access by multiple users to this data. Prior to this 24-hour-a-day on-line availability, only one hard copy of a paper was available, and it was kept filed away in the Archives. Library staff is currently involved in scanning all pre-2003 theses into CODA. Papers typed over 50 years ago can be digitally enhanced to be clearer than the originals. Geological maps can be saved in high-quality color, with the ability to zoom in and out.

There are several ways to access the information stored in CODA. Papers can be sorted by author, by department, or by date. If one types in the name Noyes in CaltechAUTHORS, one of the papers found will be “A Periodic Table of the Structure of Atoms and its Relation to Ion Formation and Valence”, published on November 15, 1927 by the National Academy of Sciences. The authors, Arthur A. Noyes and Arnold O. Beckman, were at the time professors working in Gates Chemical Laboratory. It would be decades before Caltech buildings were named in their honor. Linus Pauling spoke at the 1968 dedication of the Noyes Laboratory of Chemical Physics. Beckman Institute, one of three places named for Arnold Beckman, opened in 1998.

Papers from as far back as 1914 have been scanned and stored in CaltechAUTHORS. A 1918 paper by Dr. Harry Bateman entitled “Mathematical Theory of Sound Ranging” discusses “the study of methods of locating powerful guns by means of observations of the time of arrival of the sound of their gunfire at one or more observing stations.” This paper references specific battles between England and Germany in WWI. It not only gives the reader the author’s intended information, but it can’t help but provide images of the social and political atmosphere of 1918.

If you browse CaltechAUTHORS by year you will see that, as of September of this year, there are 32 hits for 1932, 46 hits for 1930, only 2 hits for 1944, and 54 hits for 1986. Article counts increase dramatically from 2,000 onward (200-400 per year).


One can also view statistical information about the material stored in CODA. The CaltechAUTHORS list is currently storing over 4000 records, as noted in this graphic.

The Caltech community is truly benefited by having such a rich body of work accessible on-line. CODA not only allows students, faculty, and staff to view research material, but, almost by default, we are also able to read about our shared cultural history.

The Friends of Caltech Libraries – 9/26/06 Event

The Friends of Caltech Libraries will present a special “At-Home” event with Ms. Amy Ephron on Tuesday, September 26, 2006.

Title: “A Decade is a State of Mind” – Amy Ephron talks about her work, art, politics, and telling stories set against a period of time……. 

Abstract and Biography:  Amy Ephron is the author of six acclaimed novels – her latest, the best seller “One Sunday Morning”, is out in paperback.  In this novel she brilliantly captures the roaring twenties, a tale of wealth, society and scandal.  Each of her novels portray a different time period, including her debut book “Cool Shades” set in Los Angeles in the 70’s.  “A Cup of Tea” won Amy the 2005 Southern California Booksellers Association award for fiction, received the Booklist Best Fiction of the Year 2005 award and was a Barnes and Noble Book Club selection.  A national bestseller, spending 37 weeks on the LA Times bestsellers list, “A Cup of Tea” has been bought by film producer Jerry Bruckheimer.

Ephron, a talented journalist, is a frequent contributor to Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue, Elle, LA Times, Saveur, National Lampoon, The Realist, LA Weekly, LA Style, and The Huffington Post.  As a film executive she worked on “A Little Princess”, “Born on the Fourth of July” and “Out of Africa.”

Ephron, from a famous Hollywood screenwriting family, is one of the three talented daughters of Henry and Phoebe Ephron.  Nora, Amy and Delia were born and raised in Beverly Hills.  Amy currently lives in Brentwood with husband Alan Rader and their five children.

Date:  Tuesday, September 26, 2006
Time: 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Place: Villa Gardens – 5th Floor,  842 E. Villa Street, Pasadena, CA 91101
Parking: Park in the church parking lot next door (south) of the Villa Gardens
Reservations: A contribution of $15.00 per person, please.  For reservations, please make check payable to “The Friends”, and mail to: The Friends of Caltech Libraries, Caltech 1-32, Pasadena, CA 91125.  For additional information please call (626) 395-6411.

Meet the Library Staff – September 2006

Fred Niblock has been a Caltech Library employee for close to 10 years. If you have spent any time on campus then you will have definitely noticed Fred. He is the gentleman seen driving around in the small white truck with the library logo printed on the side! Fred is responsible for collecting library materials from the 13 book drops spread across campus; we had a total of almost 8,000 books picked up from the book drops just last year alone. He also pulls all faculty, student, and staff IBID and ILL requests from the various libraries, as well as distributes new books and journals to our 5 libraries.


Fred outside the Sherman Fairchild Library in July 2006.

“Working at Caltech has been a lifelong dream of mine”, says Fred. “I have lived my whole life in the Pasadena area and always thought it would be neat to be a member of the Caltech community.” The dream became a reality when World Vision, the company he had been employed by for 13 years, moved their US headquarters to Seattle, Washington. They offered Fred a job in their Seattle office, but he and Claudia, his wife of 15 years, preferred to remain in southern California. The decision to stay was a judicious one; Fred has been at Caltech, working in the Library, ever since.

Claudia and Fred, both animal lovers, have 4 cats. Fred’s mother, Francis, a frail but much loved 90 year old, lives with her son and daughter-in-law in an early fifties style house. While Fred loves to garden and do odd jobs around the house, his real hobby is writing historical novels. The story he is currently working on is set in 1st century Rome. “I love”, notes Fred, “to do all of the research involved in filling an historical novel with accurate details. The challenge is to then bring the people in the story to life.”

“My favorite part of this job is working with the librarians and my fellow library staff members”, states Fred. “I also love to meet and talk with the rest of the Caltech community. I enjoy being a part of Caltech.”

Two new bioengineering journals from IoP

The Institute of Physics (IoP) has introduced a pair of bioengineering titles for 2006, Bioinspiration & Biomimetics and Biomedical Materials.