Say what you want about his ability to annoy: he’s a great writer. His latest, Purity, is no exception. Set in Oakland and Felton, California, Bolivia, East Germany, and Philadelphia, and full of seemingly unrelated, one-of-a-kind characters, it has a plot (including a long-buried body in the yard of someone’s parents’ vacation home) to keep you turning pages, all 500+ of them. It also has multiple Big Issues to sink your teeth into: feminism, the wages of fame, the nature of morality, and the effect of the internet and social media on all of the above.
Two of the most central characters are Purity “Pip” Tyler, a recent college graduate with an eccentric but devoted single mother and a pile of student loan debt, and Andreas Wolf, a Julian Assange-like leaker of government and corporate secrets via his group, TSP, The Sunshine Project. Pip is being recruited for TSP by one of Wolf’s admirers.
Here, Pip takes matters into her own hands and cockily emails Wolf directly:
Dear Andreas Wolf, what’s your deal? A person named Annagret who I hardly know tells me I can be a paid intern with your project. Is this like a sex opportunity for you, or what? Do you guys have a keg of Kool-Aid? The whole thing frankly sounds deeply creepy to me. I don’t care very much about the work you’re doing down there in the jungle or whatever, but Annagret doesn’t seem to think it even matters if I do. Which really makes me wonder. Yours, Pip Tyler, Oakland, California, USA.
Despite her wariness, Pip does join the Project when Wolf promises her that it can also unlock a very personal secret for her. There are many more characters and complications, central and otherwise. Franzen skilfully weaves it all together, and comes up with one of the most satisfying yet realistic endings that I’ve seen in a long time.
author photograph: Chris Buck for the Guardian]]>
The first is Kanopy, a media streaming service that offers 12,000 films and videos from more than 800 filmmakers. Their key partners include PBS, Criterion, New Day, California Newsreel, MEF, Kino Lorber, First Run, GreenPlanet, Psychotherapy.net, Great Courses and many more.
Interested in using Kanopy in your courses? The “Netflix-like” interface makes it easy to find relevant and interesting materials for all disciplines, and you can easily customize your own clips and create playlists for targeted instruction.
“Access to streaming content is a boon to all curricula engaged with media, whether from the angle of media production, history, culture or language,” said Brett Bodemer, College of Liberal Arts librarian. “It takes only a few seconds to see the depth of foreign language film offerings, including the likes of directors such as Besson, Kurosawa and Fassbinder.”
Statista is a new tool that allows for quick and easy access to summary statistical data on a wide range of topics and industries. Just as the library provides databases for discovering scholarly content, Statista serves a similar function for those seeking quantitative facts, figures and data.
Do your students need to discover, extract and visualize global iPhone sales from 2007 to 2015 by quarter or want a quick look at global prices for a Big Mac? Statista provides access to 1 million statistics – ready to use in PPT, XLS and PNG.
“Statista provides students with a large amount of well-vetted market research,” said Mark Bieraugel, Orfalea College of Business librarian. “The infographics section is truly a solid resource for students of all levels.”
Numeric and Spatial Data Specialist Russ White says, “Students can quickly search and incorporate data and graphics from authoritative sources, and present these alongside other forms of supporting information in their writing. Since the data are downloadable, students also have the option of exploring alternative visualizations or presentations of the data.”
Sheree has worked across the disciplines to support interdisciplinary discovery and research as a data services specialist, a research and development librarian, and a digital scholarship librarian at the Claremont Colleges Library. She brings an array of skills and experience in participatory and ethnographic research methods, discovery and usability, and instruction, outreach, and reference services.
Before becoming a librarian, Sheree worked in industrial engineering and manufacturing in the computing industry. Her combination of professional and academic experience will be a great resource for engineering students. She looks forward to helping them prepare them for careers in design and production environments.
Sheree earned her MLIS in 2006 at UCLA, and her undergraduate degree in mathematics from Smith College.
Contact Sheree Fu at Kennedy Library.]]>
“I am honored to be joining the extraordinary team at Kennedy Library,” Adriana said. “I look forward to contributing to the library’s tradition of excellence.”
Adriana is known as a librarian with great strengths in engineering, science and collaboration. She joins Cal Poly from Notre Dame, where she was program director for science, engineering, social sciences and business research services. Prior to her role at Notre Dame, Adriana led the engineering library at Princeton University.
Adriana has a notable history helping teams accomplish important and complex work together. For example, she has experience moving to Ex Libris’ Alma, the library management system that the CSU libraries are adopting over the next two years. She is both pragmatic and inspirational, two qualities that are a great match for Cal Poly’s culture of innovation, excellence, and openness.
“Adriana will bring deep experience and fresh perspectives to the library’s many collaborations across campus,” said Anna Gold, Dean of Library Services. “Whether in the library, or working with the Academic Assessment Council and the Associate Deans, Adriana will contribute to assessing and improving the ways we prepare students for a world where information skills have become critical to their success.”
Contact: Adriana Popescu at Kennedy Library.]]>
My name is Kaylee, I’m a recent college graduate and an intern at Cal Poly’s Special Collections and Archives. As a San Luis Obispo local I grew up hearing about William Randolph Hearst and adoring every visit to the stunning Hearst Castle, especially during the holidays when the Castle is bedecked in all its Christmassy vintage glory. Therefore I was quite excited when, as a part of my internship, I was able to begin digitizing the correspondence between William Randolph Hearst and architect Julia Morgan.
The correspondence, which is part of the Julia Morgan Papers, includes approximately 3,700 letters and telegrams between Hearst and Morgan which Morgan kept in her files, dating from 1919 through 1945. Unlike most series of correspondence, wherein you can only see the letters received but not the ones sent, Julia Morgan made copies of every letter and telegram she sent Hearst. The resulting dialogue creates a clear story of the day-to-day planning that went into the construction of “La Cuesta Encantada,” or what is now known as Hearst Castle. Despite conversing through telegram and letter for over twenty years neither client nor architect ever addressed the other as anything less than “Mr. Hearst” or “Miss Morgan,” demonstrating the great professionalism between the first licensed female architect in California and the newspaper mogul.
The majority of the letters and telegrams I’ve read and digitized focus on the specific plans for the use of Spanish columns for one of the guest houses or Mr. Hearst’s preference for Moorish style ceilings, which mean little to a history major whose knowledge of Spain and the Moors has more to do with the brutalities of the Spanish Inquisition than the differences of architecture. However, I read a telegram from Mr. Hearst to Miss Morgan (shown below) which mentioned the impending arrival of a car filled with “four old Venetian paintings” as well as photographs of other friezes he had purchased, and which he hoped Miss Morgan would be able to use to “harmonize with the ceilings.” This telegram inspired me to find photographs of these items. Now I can better understand and imagine the slow process of building and decorating the guest houses which became the beautiful and recognizable Casa del Sol, Casa del Mar, and Casa del Monte.
See what we’ve digitized so far: http://digital.lib.calpoly.edu/islandora/search/010-5-e-?type=dismax
As of last week, Islandora, an entirely open source framework using the Fedora Commons repository platform and the Drupal website management platform, has replaced CONTENTdm as the online discovery platform for the library’s digital archives. With Islandora, we now have a robust, flexible, and dynamic digital asset management system and online discovery platform.
Islandora’s open source technology will allow us to enhance this access and move the library closer to providing in-browser access to born-digital resources like GIS data and email. Here are just a few improvements our users will see immediately:
Another exciting change (at least for us library folks!) is that during the migration from CONTENTdm to Islandora, I crosswalked the archive’s metadata from Dublin Core to MODS, a richer and more granular descriptive metadata schema. Besides Islandora’s ability to make excellent use of this granularity through its built-in Solr index, MODS metadata should put the library in a good position to participate in metadata aggregation initiatives such as the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA).
Islandora’s open source technology will also create the potential to open up the systems’ code base to student programmers and designers. Once we become comfortable with the system, we would like to create specific projects for student groups and courses, invite students to use the system as a sandbox, and sponsor activities like hackathons, all within the library’s digital asset management system. This would not be possible with CONTENTdm.
Thanks to everyone who has helped make this new site possible, especially the members of the iDi Digital Asset Technical Infrastructure Working Group (Carl Hunt, Mike Price, and Russ White), Jessica Holada, Laura Sorvetti, Michele Wyngard, and all the students in Special Collections and Archives; and to Mike Price and Dale Kohler for their guidance and assistance in technology and security matters.
Finally, we also owe thanks to several visionary donors, who have given generously to help support the future of digital scholarship at Cal Poly.
Featured photo: San Luis Obispo, panoramic view from Terrace Hill, 1907 [composite], San Luis Obispo County Regional Photograph Collection, 168-1-b-01-35-06]]>
“Passing” for white has been an issue in America as long as African Americans have lived here. Martin, the main character in this novel, however, started out as a white Jewish man who underwent surgery to become black. Here, he encounters the other main character, Kelly, who is white, and has recently lost his Chinese wife and young daughter in a car accident:
I am looking into the face of a black man, and I’ll be utterly honest, unsurprisingly honest: I don’t know so many black men well enough that I would feel such a strong pull, such a decisive certainty. I know this guy, I’m thinking, yet I’m sure I’ve never seen this face before. Who goes around looking for ghost eyes, for pleading looks of remembrance, in the faces of strangers? Not me. He’s coming closer, and I’m running through all my past at a furious clip, riffling frantically the index cards of my memory for a forgotten slight, a stray remark, a door slammed in a black man’s face, a braying car horn behind me on 83 South. He has his eyes trained on me with a faint smile, a smile that dips at the left corner, and says,
Kelly. I’ll bet you’re wondering why I know your name.
I’m sorry, I say. Do I know you?
Kelly, he says, pursing his lips, it’s Martin.
Martin wants Kelly, who is a former journalist, to write his story, which Kelly agrees to do. From there on out, he’s swept along in a murky current where nothing is clear, from Martin’s motives to how he feels about his own identity. It kept me reading at a fast clip, in a sweat to find out how (or if) the whole thing would resolve.
author photo: Chester Higgins Jr./The New York Times]]>
The main characters are Sten Stenson, retired school principal and Vietnam vet, his wife Carolee, their schizophrenic son Adam, and his much older love interest Sara. Sten, while with a group touring Costa Rica, kills an armed would-be robber, and comes home to be treated like a hero. His son, meanwhile, has come unglued, spending hours roaming the redwoods with a rifle, attempting to grow opium poppies, and channeling John Colter, a long-dead scout for the Lewis and Clark expedition. Adam joins forces with Sara, who refuses to recognize the authority of any government entity, causing her endless run-ins with the police and Animal Control. There’s just enough political common ground and loneliness between these two for them to temporarily overlook their differences and become a couple. Adam has recently come of age, which legally prevents his parents from finding out just how far he’s slipped mentally. Sara becomes his caretaker as well as his lover, but her willful blindness keeps her from seeing how far gone he is. Here’s a sample of their limited communication:
“You going out in the woods?” she asked, though she already knew the answer — and knew too not to pry. He had something out there, a bunker, a fortress — it could have been a treehouse, for all he let on — and it occupied him all day every day. Or maybe he was hiking.. Maybe that was it. Whatever it was, it sure kept him in shape.
He didn’t answer. Didn’t even bother to nod. It was morning and in the morning he didn’t have much to say. They were close at night, in the dark, very close, but what they were doing together didn’t need words. When he’d been drinking, which was a pretty regular thing — daily, that is, and she joined him because why not? — he’d open up to her as much as he was capable of. He wasn’t a talker. That was all right with her. She could talk for two.
Add to the mix multiple clandestine marijuana growing operations in the forest, run by Mexican illegals, and the resulting vigilante sentiment from the white people in town, and you have the makings of a riveting tragedy.
author photo: Karen Robinson]]>
Olsen and Mac Namara co-taught a course in architecture and engineering at Syracuse. After giving a presentation about their experience, Routledge approached them about writing a book. Olsen and Mac Namara agreed and researched 10 case studies from some of the most prominent firms in the world.
“It was so enriching, and gave us so much content, and helped us in our teaching,” Olsen said about writing the book.
“We wanted to demonstrate that innovative work does not happen through just architecture or engineering,” Olsen said. She went on to say that innovative work happens when a lot of different people from different backgrounds work together in a collaborative process.
They also used case studies to highlight the mentorship that some architects and engineers experienced, as one way to illustrate that these professionals did not know how to do everything at first.
“We are trying to teach students that it’s okay not to know something,” Mac Namara said. Olsen and Mac Namara also taught this idea in their class, requiring architecture and engineering students pair up to complete a project. The students learned none of them could complete the project without their teammate.
Olsen and Mac Namara talked about some commonalities they saw in most of the case studies.
“You found that a lot of these people [in the case studies] came from the same background and were mentored by the same people,” Mac Namara said. She also said that most everyone thought that engineering students needed to know how to draw.
They also found that every architect had their story of an engineer who either helped or hurt their design project. Architects can sometimes clash with engineers when they’re too focused on design, and not very focused on the structure.
“I’m in the not-falling-down business. I do not care what it looks like,” Mac Namara joked.
Historically, the architect and engineer was a combined role, not divided like it is today, Mac Namara said. Now, not only has it been split into two jobs, but the people in those roles usually do not collaborate on their designs and projects.
“Now is a good time to look at why we are so separated and teach people about collaborations,” Mac Namara said.
“Collaboration is an important skill to teach,” Olsen added.]]>
When Cal Poly opened as a technical school in 1903, there were only 3 major programs offered: Agriculture, Domestic Science, and Mechanics. When Cal Poly closed its doors to women students in 1930, administrators dropped the domestic science program from all of the course catalogs. This major reappeared as Home Economics in 1956 when women were welcomed back on to campus, and continued on as a program until 1994.
This program is interesting because it reflects the gender norms that have perpetuated American society since the early 18th century. Although the description and function of the program changed over time, the majority of graduates continued to be women. Although this major no longer exists any more, we here at Special Collections and University Archives wanted to feature the Home Economics department because of their contribution to the experience of many Cal Poly women.
The 1903 Course Catalog describes the Domestic Science Program as a program to “help [women] to a more thorough understanding of the many duties required as a housekeeper.” Pictures of women in this program (shown above) reveal the skills that they acquired included sewing, putting out fires, cooking, and how to take care of a household. This transitioned in the early 1920s to allow the program to accommodate “preparatory training for girls who wish to fit themselves for nursing.” Later, in the 1950s and into the 1960s, the Domestic Science program restarted under the title of Home Economics and catered to “persons interested in homemaking, in teaching homemaking in secondary schools, or in occupations closely related to homemaking, and to contribute to the general education of students.” The classes listed for Home Economics majors at this time include home management, textile construction, family planning skills, but also classes related to the Food Science and Nutrition major that we offer today.
I find it interesting that the description of the major in the 1956 Course Catalog explains that the program is designed not only to “increase the employability of the student,” but also to “afford a substantial basis for successful marriage and family life.” Robert E. Kennedy, former president of Cal Poly (1967 – 1979), stated in a speech entitled “The Role of Woman,” that he was Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences during the formation of the program and that it was “designed exclusively for women students.” This information is revealing because it shows the paternalistic attitudes that Cal Poly had towards women students at this time and the gender norms that they reinforced through designing this program only for women and training them for marriage.
Women in the Home Economics Club at Cal Poly from 1968-1973 considered marriage as a way to put their major to practical use. In the Home Economics Club Scrapbook, newspaper clippings of wedding announcements from Cal Poly Home Economics graduates emphasize this trend. One bride, Mrs. Robert Gubser, not only married a Cal Poly man, but she also “made her wedding dress, her going away outfit, her mother’s dress and coat, and the bridesmaids’ dresses.” Another Home Economics graduate, Mrs. Richard Ziegler, “made her own wedding gown, a floor length Italian silk linen A-line trimmed in wide Belgium lace with a matching lace train.” Mrs. Robert Gubser and Mrs. Richard Ziegler were celebrated for their marriages and their supreme sewing skills.
This rigid definition of gender roles is best exemplified by an excerpt from a Home Economics News Bulletin published on April 1, 1970. The bulletin states:
No other choice that you will make during your lifetime will have as much influence on the lifestyle that you will follow, as will your choice of husband. It is the husband’s occupation, regardless of whether or not the wife works, that both prescribes and limits the life style of the family. It’s the husband’s occupation which provides the primary line of financial resources with which to buy the goods and services desired. The second most important choice that you will make will be the planning and spacing of children. Be sure these central choices are not chance-choices, but rather are a true reflection of your long-term values.
The author, Ann D. Rice, proves to be stuck in these rigid gender roles when she identifies herself as “Mrs. Mike Rice” and encourages Cal Poly women to make choices that align with marriage and family planning.
Stay tuned for more information about the Home Economics Department at Cal Poly and its end in 1994. If you were a part of this department, we would love to hear your stories and insights about Home Economics in the comments below. If you know someone who was a part of this department, please share this post with them! We love hearing from all of our Cal Poly Alumni.
 “Plan of Instruction,” in California Polytechnic School First Annual Catalogue, (Sacramento: W.W. Shannon, Superintendent State Printing, 1903), 12.
 The California Polytechnic Bulletin: A State Institution of Agriculture, Mechanics, Engineering, Aeronautics, Printing and Home Making with Junior College Division, (San Luis Obispo: California Polytechnic Print Shop, 1928), 23; 1956-1957 Catalog: California State Polytechnic College Bulletin, (San Luis Obispo: California State Polytechnic College, 1956), 166. Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Catalog 1992-1994, (San Luis Obispo: California Polytechnic State University, 1992), 30.
 “Plan of Instruction,” California Polytechnic School First Annual Catalogue, 12.
 The California Polytechnic Bulletin, 23.
 1956-1957 Catalog, 166.
 Robert E. Kennedy, “The Role of Woman (Community and Education),” Address to the San Luis Obispo Monday Club, April 7, 1969. Robert E. Kennedy Speeches, University Archives, California Polytechnic State University.]]>