Sci-Tech Library Newsletter
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- SABO BILL FOR ACCESS TO PUBLICLY FUNDED RESEARCH: Will this bill change the way science information is disseminated in the U.S.?
- NEWS FOR PROSPECTIVE MATH AND SCIENCE TEACHERS: The U.S. House has passed a loan forgiveness bill.
- AROUND DC AND ON THE NET
- NEW E-BOOKS AND REPORTS
- INTERESTING WEBSITES AND NEWS FROM THE INTERNET: The Top 10 Most Cited Researchers, geodata.gov; Biological Sciences: BioMedNet: The Endocrine Society 2003 Meeting, BBC Radio 4: Hearing Colours, Eating Sounds, Biology Links: Evolution, Ancient Creature of the Deep, Digital Morphology; Computer and Information Science: New Multimedia Searching Tool; Geosciences: Environment: Oceanography Index, Earth Science World Image Bank, Henri D. Grissino-Mayer’s Ultimate Tree-Ring Web Pages; Mathematical and Physical Sciences: Autopedia: Physics of Racing Series, Project Links: Mathematics and It’s Applications in Engineering & Science, SPACETIME WRINKLES [QuickTime], American Mineralogist Crystal Structure Database; Polar Programs: Arctic Health; Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences: ACM Website on Electronic Voting, African Ceremonies: Photographs of Sacred Rituals in Tribal Cultures, Speech Accent Archive, Government Information Awareness, Law in Mexico Before the Conquest, Art of the First Cities, Race — The Power of an Illusion … and more … plus news items from Edupage
- INTER ALIA
SABO BILL FOR ACCESS TO PUBLICLY FUNDED RESEARCH
Text of H.R. 2613
A bill to amend title 17, United States Code, to exclude from copyright protection works resulting from scientific research substantially funded by the Federal Government.
NEWS FOR PROSPECTIVE MATH AND SCIENCE TEACHERS
Last week the full House of Representatives passed the Teacher Recruitment and Retention Act (H.R. 438), which would allow loan forgiveness for federal Stafford loans of up to $17,500 for science, math, special education, and state-certified reading teachers who agree to teach in high poverty Title I schools for five consecutive years. This is the first of many bills that will eventually reauthorize the Higher Education Act (HEA).
The second HEA bill approved by the House is the Ready to Teach Act (H.R. 2211), introduced by Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA). This bill addresses HEA Title II programs (teacher education) and reflects the Committee’s attempts to align the preparation of future teachers with the highly qualified teacher definition in NCLB. H.R. 2211 mandates that teacher colleges and states report the passing rates on certification and licensure tests of prospective teacher candidates. The bill also establishes three competitive grants that could be used to strengthen teacher preparation programs.
Senate legislation to reauthorize the HEA is not expected until later this year.”
AROUND DC AND ON THE NET
The New Biology
Listen to a National Academy of Sciences symposium, “The New Biology: Celebrating the Past; Imagining the Future.” The event was featured during the Academy’s recent annual meeting (requires free RealPlayer).
Communities of Practice Presentation
Please join a teleconference on August 20 at 4:00PM EDT to hear Bruce Caron (PI, Data Discovery Toolkit and Foundry) talk about his experience building community in the Federation of Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP).
ESIP brings together government agencies, universities, non-profit organizations, and businesses in an effort to make Earth Science information available to a broader community. It facilitates interactions among scientists, engineers, information technologists, and user communities by encouraging the use of best science, supports exchange and integration of Earth science data, information, products, and services, and increases the diversity and breadth of users and uses of Earth science data, information, products and services.
So, listen in to find out how this community works, and participate in a discussion about lessons learned along the way. Call information will be posted on the Communities of Practice web site and announced via email shortly. (From Whiteboard)
Collection Solution in a Box from Internet Scout
The Internet Scout Project, as part of the National Science Foundation’s NSDL initiative, is currently soliciting beta testers for the initial release of the CWIS software package. This turnkey, open source software package helps groups or organizations put an NSDL collection portal online with minimal investment in technical resources or expertise. The initial release of CWIS will include:
- An NSDL-specific accessibility-compliant user interface, with links and information about NSDL resources for collection developers and portal administrators
- Metadata field editor, which allows portal administrators the ability to add, delete, and modify metadata field attributes (comes with Dublin Core compliant metadata schema by default)
- Keyword and cross-field searching, with Google-style support for phrases and exclusions
- Resource ratings and resource comments by users
- Recommender system (a la Amazon.com)
- Support for OAI 2.0 (critical for NSDL!)
- Support for RSS 0.92 and 2.0 syndication
- Online help, including documentation on cataloging and portal administration
To install and run CWIS you will need:
- Linux web server to which you have command-line (telnet, ssh, or console) access
- PHP 4.0.6 (or later)
- MySQL 3.23.29 (or later)
The initial release of CWIS is scheduled for early September 2003. Any NSDL collection developers interested in becoming beta-testers for CWIS should send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. (From Whiteboard)
Dark Matter Detection
Listen to the Beckman Frontiers of Science symposium, “Dark Matter Detection.” The event, organized by and for young scientists, was presented in April during the National Academy of Sciences’ 140th annual meeting (requires free RealPlayer).
NEW E-BOOKS AND REPORTS
Research and Development in Industry, 2000. NSF, 2003.
Lipson, Hod, et al. 3-D Printing the History of Mechanisms. Cornell Univ., 2003.
Global Economic Crime Surveys 2003. Price, Waterhouse, Coopers, 2003.
Kleiman, Kathryn. Internet Governance: A View from the Trenches, Participation Needed for Successful Advocacy in the ICANN Arena. ACM, 2003.
Veterans and Agent Orange: Update 2002. NAP, 2003.
Kely, Terrence K., et al. A Review of Reports on Selected Large Federal Science Facilities: Management and Life-Cycle Issues. RAND 2003.
Hachigian, Nina. The Information Revolution in Asia. RAND, 2003.
Zycher, Benjamin. A Preliminary Benefit/Cost Framework for Counterterrorism Public Expenditures. RAND, 2003.
Graafland-Essers, Irma, et al. Benchmarking e-Government in Europe and the US. RAND, 2003.
INTERESTING WEBSITES AND NEWS FROM THE INTERNET
“geodata.gov is a web-based portal for one-stop access to maps, data and other geospatial services that will simplify the ability of all levels of government and citizens to find geospatial data and learn more about geospatial projects underway.”
Data categories include:
- Administrative and Political Boundaries
- Agriculture and Farming
- Atmosphere and Climatic
- Biology and Ecology
- Business and Economic
- Cultural, Society, and Demographic
- Elevation and Derived Products
- Environment and Conservation
- Geological and Geophysical
- Human Health and Disease
- Imagery and Base Maps
- Inland Water Resources
- Locations and Geodetic Networks
- Oceans and Estuaries
- Transportation Networks
- Utilities and Communication
The Top 10 Most Cited Researchers
From ISI, the 2003 list of the most cited researchers in more than 20 fields.
BioMedNet: The Endocrine Society 2003 Meeting
BioMedNet presents this detailed report on the annual meeting of the Endocrine Society, held recently in Philadelphia. Journalistic coverage of the event offers an engaging account of the “startling variety of research taking place under the endocrinology banner.” Readers will find presentation summaries for each day of the 4-day event, as well as profiles of a few participating researchers. As the Web site describes: “From sex reversal in alligators to ongoing controversies on the subject of hormone replacement therapy, there really was something for everyone.” Users must first complete a free registration with BioMedNet to view this site, which also includes links to related full-text articles published in various scientific journals (abstracts available for free). This site is also reviewed in the July 11, 2003 NSDL Life Sciences Report. [RS] (From the Scout Report)
BBC Radio 4: Hearing Colours, Eating Sounds
In this two-part radio series from BBC Radio 4, the condition of synaesthesia is explored through interviews with scientists and those who have been diagnosed with the condition. Synaesthesia is a condition in which the five senses intermingle, so that stimulation in one sense may give rise to a stimulation in another sense. For one example, certain letters of the alphabet may be associated with certain colors for a synaesthete. The program here is divided into two 30-minute sections. The first program explores the experiences of several synaesthetes, such as James Wannerton who tastes spoken words, and Jane Mackay, who sees shapes and colors when she hears music. The second part of the program “examines the mounting evidence that we all start life with the potential for synaesthesia.” The study of this condition is pushing the boundaries of neuroscience, and this provocative exploration of this condition and its study offered by the BBC is quite engaging and informative. [KMG] (From the Scout Report)
Biology Links: Evolution
The Harvard Dept. of Molecular and Cellualar Biology has put together this very nice links page to sources of information on evolution. It presents a straightforward organization of quality links on the subject.
Ancient Creature of the Deep
This is a companion site for a PBS NOVA program about the discovery of the coelacanth, a fish thought to be extinct, by Marjorie Courtenay-Latimer and J.L.B. Smith in 1938 in East London, South Africa. Includes information about coelacanth anatomy, other living “fossil fish” (bichir, bowfin, gar, hagfish, lamprey, lungfish, paddlefish, and sturgeon), program transcript, images, teachers guide, and related links. (From Librarian’s Index to the Internet)
This spectacular and vast image library lets you go deep inside the head of a dinosaur, salamander, and Sudanese plated lizard without ever having to pierce skin or pick up a fossil. Compiled and categorized by a crack team of researchers and taxonomists, these X-ray computed tomographic (X-ray CT) images reveal crisp, detailed 2D and 3D slices of anatomy more clearly than any cat scan. The breakthrough scanner used was built to zoom in on the internal structure of natural objects at the macro and micro level. Find living and extinct creatures by their scientific names or common names, look through what’s new, or search by popular species. Decide for yourself who’s the looker in the bird family -- the emu, ostrich, or kiwi? Animated close-ups of sawfish in action, a bevy of bats, or the mysterious Mata Mata allow you to marvel at evolution’s oddities. It pays to stay one step ahead of the rest the food chain. (From Yahoo’s Picks of the Week)
Computer and Information Science
New Multimedia Searching Tool
This software is under development at CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation) in Australia. From the article, a new web tool makes online video and audio as interactive as text, say its creators. The software could enhance surfing, and help individuals and organizations manage large quantities of footage … The new software, called Annodex, allows any section within a file to be given a descriptive tag — ‘love scene’, ‘fight’ or ‘interview’, for example. Tags form a stream of information that runs alongside the file, changing to keep track of it. (From the Resource Shelf)
Environment: Oceanography Index
Practical Ocean Energy Management Systems, Inc. (POEMS) establishes a forum for ocean-based energy development that supports Research and Development on the full range of issues involved in the extraction, storage and transmission of power from the ocean. Educational material is offered on the Environment: Oceanography Index page of the Web site, which includes dozens of topics to help students understand oceanography and the environment. The subjects covered include beaches, continental drift, currents, oceans, storms, tides, tsunamis, and waves. Each of these links brings the user to the related page, which contains thorough descriptions, graphics, calculations, links, and other helpful material for students. Although the rest of the site is a bit difficult to explore, there are some additional quality materials that educators may want to include in a lesson or let students explore on their own. This site is also reviewed in the July 11, 2003 NSDL Physical Sciences Report. [JAB] (From the Scout Report)
Earth Science World Image Bank
“The Earth Science World ImageBank is a resource made available to the geoscience community and general public for the purposes of enhancing Earth education, and serving the community of science that the American Geological Institute supports. This digital archive was released to the public in June 2003, after nearly a year of work acquiring, scanning, and indexing images. Photographers who have submitted images to the Earth Science World ImageBank acknowledge that the photos displayed here are acceptable for use in non-commercial venues. Some images are available at a high-resolution free of charge for non-commercial purposes, as well. Click on the high-resolution link below each image if you are interested in this possible usage. Commercial usage rights vary depending on the photographer’s wishes. If you would like more information regarding a particular image for use in a commercial (for profit) manner contact email@example.com for specific details.” The image bank includes over 1000 high quality images in every aspect of earth science including archaeology.
Henri D. Grissino-Mayer’s Ultimate Tree-Ring Web Pages
“I’ve designed these pages to be easily understood by people at all levels of education, from elementary school students to high school students, from first grade teachers to college professors. You won’t find anything fancy here — I want these pages to be readable, enjoyable, and (most of all) educational.” An attractively designed website which even includes a “Tree-Ring Tip of the Week”. How can you resist that?
Mathematical and Physical Sciences
Autopedia: Physics of Racing Series
Autopedia.com is described as “the comprehensive internet source for automotive related information, where consumers can find information related to Autos, Boats, Trucks, Minivans, Motorcycles, RVs and Sport Utilities.” Provided by the site and written by physicist Brian Beckman, the Physics of Racing Series offers an interesting look into the science behind racing and race cars. Visitors can read descriptions and view graphics on the subjects of weight transfer, keeping your tires stuck to the ground, there is no such thing as centrifugal force, speed and horsepower, the traction budget, simulating car dynamics with a computer program, grip angle, braking, and much more. Any physics or racing enthusiast will appreciate the interesting and out-of-the-ordinary information provided on the site. [JAB] (From the Scout Report)
SPACETIME WRINKLES [QuickTime]
The Spacetime Wrinkles Web site, chronicling the life and legacy of Albert Einstein, is provided by the National Center for Supercomputing Applications. Visitors can learn who Einstein was, what gravity is, where black holes lurk, and much more. The multimedia offerings of the site include movies by University of Illinois staff describing various phenomena and animations of wormholes, black holes, and more. The site does a good job of explaining many of science’s most complicated concepts giving even the most non-technical-minded person a clear glimpse into the workings of our universe. [JAB] (From the Scout Report)
Project Links: Mathematics and Its Applications in Engineering & Science
“Integrating the concepts of higher math with their applications in science and engineering lies at the heart of Project Links’ mission. Our method relies on interactive web-based modules used in the classroom to engage students in guided learning — providing students with a unique experience unavailable in traditional lecture or textbook lessons.
One of the primary goals of this project is to more closely integrate mathematics into engineering and science topics in the classroom. As a result, each module must be designed to be used in both a math course and a non-math course.”
Even a cursory look at this website is enough to hint at the exciting content. It is well laid out and well thought out, equally approachable from a mathematics or a science & engineering viewpoint.
American Mineralogist Crystal Structure Database
“American Mineralogist Crystal Structure Database. This site is an interface to a crystal structure database that includes every structure published in both the American Mineralogist and The Canadian Mineralogist, and beginning to include structures from the European Journal of Mineralogy. The database is maintained under the care of the Mineralogical Society of America and the Mineralogical Association of Canada, and financed by the National Science Foundation.” (From Infomine)
This National Library of Medicine site aims “to provide a central source of information on diverse aspects of the Arctic environment and the health of Northern peoples. It provides access to evaluated health information from hundreds of local, state, national, and international agencies, as well as from professional societies and universities.” Features a searchable directory of health topics, sections for telemedicine and traditional medicine, a guide to the Arctic Council, and news headlines. (From Librarian’s Index to the Internet)
Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences
Speech Accent Archive
According to several online resources, there are approximately 6,800 known languages spoken in the 191 countries of the world. This site examines the accents of non-native English speakers who represent some of those languages — 248 so far. Each speaker reads a paragraph — a strange little story about a woman named Stella and her trip to the store — that contains practically all of the sounds of English. From Afrikaans to Zulu, the native speakers come from all four corners of the world, and their accents give a glimpse of different languages around the planet. Where else can you enjoy this unique opportunity to hear hundreds of accents at one time? (From Yahoo’s Picks of the Week)
Race — The Power of an Illusion
How valid are your beliefs about the human species? That’s the question posed by this PBS site about race in society, science, and history. Through facts, expert opinions, and Flash activities, the site shows that most of our assumptions about race are wrong, yet the consequences of racism are very real. Learn the facts behind the concept of race, and then try sorting people to see how subjective racial categories are. Take the human diversity quiz and realize that people share more similarities than differences, then watch one of the slideshows to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. Finally, take a trip to where race lives to understand how government policies created suburbs for some and ghettos for others. By investigating the idea of race, how it evolved, and how American institutions have used it, this site (and the documentary it’s based on) challenges us to work towards a more equitable society. (From Yahoo’s Picks of the Week)
Art of the First Cities
Civilization does strange things to mere mortals. It transforms them from servants of their natural environment to rulers and conquerors of the world. This landmark Metropolitan Museum exhibit delves into the explosion of creativity that swept through the Mediterranean, Mesopotamia, and the Indus Valley over 5,000 years ago. As the fledgling cities in these areas grew, so did their vanity and extravagance. Artisans within the mud-brick of Mohenjo-daro carved delicate sculptures, while the elite of the Caucasus enjoyed divine burials. Wealth, trade, and attention to craft were expressed in intricate inlay, writing tablets, and ornate seals. From dusty cities to eventual empires, these unearthed gems show how our ancestors learned to appreciate the finer things in life. (From Yahoo’s Picks of the Week)
Government Information Awareness
“Government Information Awareness (GIA) is a research effort by the Computing Culture group of the MIT Media Lab. It aims to provide software and data to help citizens understand the complexities of their government. We were motivated by the Defense Advance Research Program Administration (DARPA) program, Total Information Awareness, which seeks to gather, consolidate, and analyze information about Americans and foreigners. We see such research as possibly helpful, and probably dangerous to the democratic process.
The premise of GIA is that individual citizens have the right to know details about government, while government has the power to know details about citizens. Our goal is develop a technology which empowers citizens to form a sort of intelligence agency; gathering, sorting, and acting on information they gather about the government. Only by employing such technologies can we hope to have a government ‘by the people, and for the people.&rsquo ”
African Ceremonies: Photographs of Sacred Rituals in Tribal Cultures
“Carol Beckwith and Angela Fisher’s lifelong commitment to photographing the vanishing rituals and customs of tribal African cultures culminates in their monumental masterwork, African Ceremonies.” This site features a gallery of photos from the book, as well as information about related African charities and foundations “developed by Carol Beckwith and Angela Fisher to assist nomadic pastoral peoples during times of drought” and to fund research about African ceremonies. (From Librarian’s Index to the Internet)
Law in Mexico Before the Conquest
This site explores Aztec and Mayan law through images and brief overviews of topics such as warfare, courts, attorneys and judges, property law, family law, punishment, drunkenness, and slavery. Includes a small collection of annotated links on Aztec, Mayan, and other Mesoamerican civilizations. From the Jamail Center for Legal Research, University of Texas School of Law. (From Librarian’s Index to the Internet)
ACM Website on Electronic Voting
Visually plain website contains links to the ACM’s documents and activities concerning electronic voting, and links to related websites on this important issue.
The following items are from Edupage. To subscribe to Edupage: send mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org with the message: subscribe edupage Anonymous (if your name is Anonymous; otherwise, substitute your own name). To unsubscribe send a message to: email@example.com with the message: unsubscribe edupage. (If you have subscription problems, send mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org.)
MIT DEVELOPING SEARCH ENGINE FOR GLOBAL POOR
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) argue that existing Web technologies cater to “Western” users, who are “cash-rich but time-poor.” Users in poor countries, they say, where phone lines can be hard to come by and many Internet connections are extremely slow, are in a very different boat: little money but lots of time. To address this gap, researchers are developing a search engine that sends requests by e-mail to MIT, where computers perform searches and return e-mail lists of filtered results the next day. The premise of the system, according to MIT’s Saman Amarasinghe, is that “developing countries are willing to pay in time for knowledge.” Because those who could benefit from the search engine have only very slow Internet connections, the software is being distributed on CDs to users in developing countries.
BBC, 15 July 2003 via Edupage
NEW RAM PROMISES FASTER ACCESS
Both Motorola and Altis Semiconductor (a venture of IBM and Infineon Technologies) are working to develop magnetoresistive random access memory (MRAM) chips to replace current RAM technology. Because RAM is volatile, data must be transferred between it and the computer’s hard drive every time the machine is turned on or off. MRAM works by polarizing magnetic layers, rather than with electrical charges, making it a potentially effective non-volatile, high-speed memory. The result, say researchers, could be computers that simply turn on or off rather than go through lengthy boot-up or boot-down procedures. Motorola expects to start shipping MRAM chips by the end of this year. The company expects MRAM cell phones and PDAs to be available around the middle of next year. Elke Eckstein, CEO of Altis Semiconductor, said her company’s goal is to “be the first company to bring MRAM to market.”
Wired News, 9 July 2003 via Edupage
DARPA FUNDS HIGH-PERFORMANCE COMPUTING
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has awarded a total of $146 million to Sun Microsystems, IBM, and Cray to pursue high-performance computing projects. The awards are part of the government’s High Productivity Computing Systems Program, the goal of which is to develop extremely fast computing systems that are relatively easy to use. Each company will receive funds to investigate separate projects designed to achieve peta-scale computing power around 2009–2010. The focus of each company’s project is making such high-performance systems easy to use, both for researchers and for programmers.
Internet News, 9 July 2003 via Edupage
HOUSE BILL SUPPORTS RURAL TELEMEDICINE
An appropriations bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives would allocate $678 million to the Department of Agriculture to fund technologies that would benefit rural medical patients. Many residents of rural parts of the country use telemedicine to “meet” with doctors and specialists, and the money in the House bill would support broadband Internet connections at institutions that support this type of medical treatment, including many colleges and universities. The allocation would represent a significant increase over current and requested funding. The Department of Agriculture received $436 million for the telemedicine program this year and requested $413 million for next year. The House’s appropriations bill must be reconciled with the Senate’s, and the final will go to President Bush for his signature before any of the funds become available.
Chronicle of Higher Education, 16 July 2003 (sub. req’d) via Edupage
GROUP AT SYRACUSE TRYING TO SAVE RESEARCH TOOL
Researchers at Syracuse University are working to preserve the popular research tool AskERIC after the Department of Education decided to stop funding for the tool. AskERIC is a Web site that provides online access to educational resources and to experts who can help users sift through the range of available resources. Syracuse already operates the AskERIC site, which is run by the Clearinghouse on Information and Technology of the Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC). ERIC now comprises 16 clearinghouses, though the Department of Education is working to combine them into a single database. Officials at the Department of Education said the new structure will make a service such as AskERIC unnecessary. Many long-time users and operators of AskERIC disagree, however, and are working to secure funding from Syracuse and other sources to maintain AskERIC in its current form.
Chronicle of Higher Education, 17 July 2003 (sub. req’d) via Edupage.
REPORT SHOWS STEEP RISE IN DISTANCE EDUCATION
According to a new report from the Department of Education, enrollment in for-credit, distance-education courses at U.S. institutions more than doubled from the 1997–1998 academic year to the 2000-2001 academic year. The report, based on a survey of about 1,500 institutions, showed a similar rise in the number of distance-education courses offered and indicated that the percentage of institutions offering such courses rose from 44 percent to 56 percent. The survey highlighted the prevalence of Internet technologies for distance education, as well as videoconferencing and one- and two-way audio. John Bailey of the Department of Education’s Office of Educational Technology said that distance education is not replacing traditional education but has become an important alternative for many students “who otherwise would not be able to participate.”
Chronicle of Higher Education, 21 July 2003 (sub. req’d)via Edupage.
The following are from various sources as indicated.
New European Agency to Focus on Info Security
The European Commission (EC) has approved a resolution to create new European Network and Information Security Agency (NISA) to assist businesses and governments in Europe to defend themselves against viruses, hackers, and other emerging cyber security threats. Other duties of the new agency will include facilitation of security standardization, coordination of cross-border cooperation on network and information security and raising public awareness of cyber security issues throughout the region. In creating the new agency, the European Commission noted the proliferation of broadband and wireless technologies, the rapid spread of computer viruses and the lack of coordination amongst member countries as the need for the agency.
The European Parliament is expected to approve the EC resolution in the coming months allowing NISA to become operational by January 1, 2004. While every member country of the European Union will be represented within the agency, a decision on the physical location has not been announced.
To review the resolution that has been approved by the EC, see: http://ue.eu.int/pressData/en/trans/76064.pdf (pdf).
To review a statement by the Business Software Alliance on NISA, see: http://global.bsa.org/eupolicy/networksecurity/BSACommentsonENISA.pdf (pdf) (From ACM Washington Update)
How a Librarian Saved Basra’s Treasured Books
“Alia Muhammad Baker’s house is full of books. There are books in stacks, books in the cupboards, books bundled into flour sacks like lumpy aid rations. Books fill an old refrigerator. Pull aside a window curtain, and there is no view, just more books.” The story of a dedicated librarian that saved part of Iraq’s national treasures from looting. Thank goodness for librarians the world around …