A Decade of Architecture Books

by Barbara Opar, Architecture librarian

In late December of 2019, CNN posted online what they considered the most influential books of the decade. The article began with the statement that “A decade is in part defined by its books. And recent days have seen many roundups of the best books of the 2010s — the titles that critics consider the pinnacle of literary excellence.” (https://www.cnn.com/2019/12/30/entertainment/decades-most-influential-books-trnd/index.html.)

That, of course, made me wonder if it might be easy to compile a list of the most influential architecture books of the past decade.  What defines influence?  How important are circulation counts?  Do faculty referrals or use in course reserves (Jean-Louis Cohen’s The Future of Architecture, Since 1889) trump general circulation? Some books receive high use for a few years (The Domestic Space Reader) then may be considered core but not circulate highly. Influence derives from a combination of factors including traditional academic tracking like citation counts and mentions on social media. We must also consider that one title might generate interest in a topic (Atlas of Brutalist Architecture or Archigram: the book) and as such lead to more titles and expanded research in an area. For instance, while not the first book on the topic, Mimi Zeiger’s 2009 Tiny Houses I believe helped spawn interest in the topic of small houses.

Some of the specific titles below (Elements, Fundamentals, Project Japan) are ones that most everyone will agree have been influential. I presume, though, that not everyone will agree with all my choices. However, in considering the titles, I came to realize that certain topics stand out (net zero or climate related topics) or that certain publishers (DAMDI who published Program Diagrams) have made a substantial difference. When considering topics that generated a great deal of interest with respect to architecture during the course of the past decade, these came to mind: climate change, net zero energy design, sustainability, building materials, the small house movement, modern architectural movements such as the Bauhaus, Brutalism and metabolism. Books like 100 Ideas That Changed Architecture serve as important reference sources. Other titles like Ecological Urbanism present well written overviews of ecological concerns and how they might be mitigated through sustainable practices. Some topics will always dominate the discipline such as architectural detailing (De-tail –kultur). Manual of Section is another similar work highly recommended by faculty. Certain authors – Farshid Moussavi being one– have written works on architecture which have been and continue to be influential in teaching.  The Function of Style- while not as popular as her Function of Form or Function of Ornament- is nonetheless an important title. Books on major and contemporary architects like David Adjaye, Jimenez Lim and Syracuse Architecture’s own MOS are frequently consulted. Jimenez’s book is a graphic novel – a highly original topic in architecture. Books on individual projects are not frequent, but when they appear such as The High Line they prove to be of great use. The Handbook of Tyranny with its study of refugee camps and prisons introduces important topics tangential to architecture. One title on my list- The Other Architect– may not be broadly known but it presents a changing architectural profession not steeped in traditional design work. This is the catalog of an exhibition held at the Canadian Centre for Architecture. My last selection is a new edition of Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture, a title surely on everyone’s list of influential architecture books.

As we enter the next decade new Bauhaus books are being issued on its 100th anniversary. These as well as topics yet to be envisioned will make up the most influential books of the next decade.

But without further ado, here is my list of the most influential architecture books of 2010-2020.

The List:

Adjaye, David. African Metropolitan Architecture. New York: Rizzoli, 2011.

BIG Bjarke Ingels Group. Hot to cold: An Odyssey of Architectural Adaptation. Köln: Taschen, 2015.

Borasi, Giovanna. The Other Architect: Another Way of Building Architecture. Montréal, Québec: Spector Books, 2015.

Briganti, Chiara. The Domestic Space Reader. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2012.

Chalk, Warren. Archigram: the book. London: Circa Press, 2018.

Cohen, Jean-Louis. The Future of Architecture, Since 1889. New York: Phaidon, 2012.

Deutinger, Theo. Handbook of Tyranny. Zürich : Lars Müller Publishers, 2018.

Hootman, Thomas. Net Zero Energy Design: A Guide for Commercial Architecture.  Hoboken, N.J: John Wiley & Sons, 2013.

Koolhaas, Rem. Elements. Venice: Marsilio, 2014.

Koolhaas, Rem. Fundamentals: 14th International Architecture Exhibition. Venice: Marsilio, 2014.

Koolhaas, Rem. Project Japan: Metabolism Talks. Köln: TASCHEN GmbH, 2011.

Kumpusch, Christoph A. De-tail– kultur : if buildings had DNA : case studies of mutations : the complex behavior of collective detail, 10 lenses, 12+1 projects. Beijing: AADCU Program, 2016. 

James Corner Field Operations. The High Line: Foreseen, Unforeseen. New York: Phaidon, 2015.

Lai, Jimenez. Citizens of no place: An Architectural Graphic Novel.  New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2012.

Lewis, Paul. Manual of Section. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2016.

McLeod, Virginia. Atlas of Brutalist Architecture.  New York: Phaidon Press, 2018.

Meredith, Michael. MOS: Selected Works. New York, New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2016.

Metaborizumu no mirai toshi = Metabolism, The City of the Future. Tōkyō: Shinkenchikusha, 2011.

Moussavi, Farshid. The Function of Style. New York: Actar, 2014.

Mostafavi, Mohsen. Ecological Urbanism. Baden, Switzerland: Lars Müller, 2010.

Pyo, Miyoung. Program Diagrams. Seoul: DAMDI, 2011.

Stalder, Laurent. Atelier Bow-Wow: A Primer. Cologne : König, 2013.

Venturi, Robert. Robert Venturi’s Complexity and Contradiction at Fifty. New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2019.

Weston, Richard. 100 Ideas That Changed Architecture. London: Laurence King, 2011.

Giving Thanks for our Sound Beat Partners

By Jim O’Connor, Producer of Sound Beat

Producing audio episodes and projects for Sound Beat and Access Audio requires cooperation between many Libraries partners. I’m continually thankful for the support of staff from Belfer, Special Collections Research Center, and the librarians who help to guide research for these projects. Furthermore, an enjoyable part this job is interacting with students on a daily basis. The program has benefited from the hard work and insight of gifted students, especially over the past few years as our internship opportunities have grown more robust.

Sound Beat interns help to set programming schedules, write episodes for our 90 second on-air interstitial segments, perform quality control on our website (www.soundbeat.org), post on social media, and support distribution to our more than 360 stations across the globe. In addition, through their work with Access Audio creating longer form audio programming, they are gaining firsthand experience in the various stages of audio book and documentary production. They interact regularly with partners across the Syracuse University campus, including WAER, school and college partners, and University counsel. At Bird Library they receive invaluable research instruction from librarians including Rachel Fox von Swearingen and Patrick Williams. Over the years we’ve worked with impressive students who have won awards and honors for academic performance during their tenure at SU.

Through the Sound Beat class partnership, I have had the opportunity to work with hundreds of SU students, including those in honors and musicology classes. I enjoy instructing them on how to write scripts designed for an audience’s ears rather than eyes. The process usually starts with students using audio archive research to create a longer form written piece, which gradually is revised into a concise, informative, and entertaining 90 second script. The best of these student-created pieces are selected to air in the 360 markets where Sound Beat is carried — across North America, the Philippines, and even New Zealand. Each semester brings a new class of fresh students with unique perspectives and interests that come through in the pieces they select and write.

We’ve also been proud to partner with the Taishoff Center for Inclusive Higher Education’s InclusiveU program, working with students with intellectual and cognitive disabilities. InclusiveU students have contributed immensely to numerous audio productions that will be released in the coming year and have aided our goal of becoming a model of inclusivity and accessibility across campus and beyond.

I consider it a great privilege to play a role during an exciting and formative time in these students’ lives. I’m excited to share our accomplishments and show the SU community what’s coming from all of us at Sound Beat and Access Audio in 2020.



In Celebration of University Press Week, SU Press Author Sean Kirst Discusses “Community”

Written by Sean Kirst, author of ‘The Soul of Central New York.’ Kirst was the recipient of journalism’s 2009 Ernie Pyle Award for human interest writing; he is now a columnist with The Buffalo News.

Eight years ago or so, when I began working with editors at the Syracuse University Press on “The Soul of Central New York,” the entire goal – and the success of the book – hinged on the notion of community.

At its heart, the book was a collection of columns I had written over what would turn into 27 years as a staff writer and columnist with The Syracuse Post-Standard. The idea was capturing – as a guy who first arrived here years ago from somewhere else – what I had sensed and hopefully shared over many years with readers about Syracuse and Central New York: It is a place of extraordinary physical beauty, heritage and shared experience that had – through decades of economic, environmental and cultural struggle – sometimes forgotten its own gentle but resounding claim to the extraordinary.

The idea of putting together such a a collection sounds simple. As I quickly learned, It was not. My early attempts contained too many columns, too many repetitive themes and too little of a focus. The first concept involved roughly 150 columns. In the end, in close partnership with editor Alison Maura Shay of the SU Press, she wisely convinced me to almost halve that number and create a narrative thread binding it together, with the first sentence connected to the last.

‘The Soul of Central New York’ offers accounts of some high-profile figures whose personal lives in some often intimate way had intersected with Syracuse or the region: Famed children’s author Eric Carle, then-Vice President Joseph Biden, anthropologist Jane Goodall, Onondaga Nation faithkeeper Oren Lyons, longtime Syracuse University basketball coach Jim Boeheim.

Yet they were simply part of the core notion of the book, which was illuminating how a network of seemingly everyday tales from a multitude of experiences – some involving the region’s defining and ongoing connection with the Onondagas – meshed together in a living definition of community.

Thus the fate of an elderly man who falls on a bitterly cold day on a downtown sidewalk, or the tale of a child raised amid struggle in a housing project whose chance encounter at a newsstand helps him ascend to a career as a bank executive, or the account of a woman born with cerebral palsy who formally turns out the lights of an institution that once overwhelmed her life …. these narratives became the spine, the foundation of the book.

All told, it took five years to put together, and the process demanded that I jettison some of my own early preconceptions and focus on making it tighter, smaller and, hopefully, significantly more effective. The outcome was a reaction that I don’t think any of us expected: It became the fastest-selling book in the history of the Syracuse University Press, and a book intended to make at least a small and lasting statement on a sense of place, of joined identity.

For that, I am grateful to the editors and staff at the SU Press. Through their patience, and their belief in the larger theme, we attempted to create a quiet reminder of how struggle, pain and love, the core forces in any solitary life, are also the elements that forge true community – and provide the strength to last.

Native American Heritage Resources and Studies

by Bonnie Ryan, librarian for Social Sciences

Syracuse University Libraries acknowledge the Onondaga Nation, the indigenous people on whose ancestral lands of the Onondaga Nation territory Syracuse University now stands.

Syracuse University Libraries supports the curriculum and research needs of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Program’s faculty, students and staff, including students of the Haudenosaunee community.  The Libraries have also partnered or collaborated with programs such as the Ska.Nonh Center – Great Law of Peace Center and the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry Center for Native Peoples and the Environment.

Here are some examples of SU Libraries’ resources on Native American and Indigenous studies:

Research Guide:

Databases of primary and secondary sources including:

  • American Indian Histories and Cultures
    Spanning the 17th through 20th centuries, American Indian Histories and Cultures presents unique materials about early contacts between European settlers and American Indians, and the subsequent political, social and cultural effects of those encounters on American Indian life. SU’s Native American and Indigenous Studies Program Director, Scott Manning Stevens, served on the editorial board as Director of the Newberry Library’s D’Arcy McNickle Center.
  • American Indian Newspapers
    Newspapers published by indigenous communities in North America from 1828 to 2016. Covers topics such as civil rights, health, land rights, sovereignty, education, environmentalism, and more.
  • Bibliography of Native North Americans
    Bibliographic database covering all aspects of native North American culture, history, and life. This resource covers a wide range of topics across the United States and Canada including: archaeology, multicultural relations, gaming, governance, legend, and literacy.
  • North American Indian Thought and Culture
    Provides access to primary and secondary sources as told by North American Indians of the 18th and 19th centuries.

New books on Native American and Indigenous Studies in print format, located on the 3 floor of Bird Library include:

  • Indians on the Move: Native American mobility and urbanization in the twentieth century by Douglas Miller E98 .S67 M55 2019
  • Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America from 1890 to the present by David Treuer E77 .T797 2019
  • Sovereign entrepreneurs: Cherokee small-business owners and the making of economic sovereignty by Courtney Lewis E99 .C5 L397 2019
  • Indigenous food sovereignty in the United States: restoring cultural knowledge, protecting environments, and regaining health by Devon A. Mihesuah; Elizabeth Hoover E98 .F7 I53 2019,

New books located on the New Book Shelf, 1st Floor include:

  • Coming full circle: the Seneca Nation of Indians, 1848-1934 by Laurence Hauptman E99 .S3 H345 2019
  • Rural indigenousness: a history of Iroquoian and Algonquian peoples of the Adirondacks by Melissa Otis E99 .I69 O85 2018

Open Access Electronic Theses & Dissertations

By Déirdre F. Joyce, Head of Digital Library Program

The records for the ETDs (Electronic Theses and Dissertations) submitted by the Graduate School for Summer 2019 have been successfully uploaded into SURFACE with submissions from 30 different departments:

Anthropology; Art; Biology; Biomedical and Chemical Engineering; Chemistry; Civil and Environmental Engineering; Communication and Rhetorical Studies; Counseling and Human Services; Cultural Foundations of Education; Earth Sciences; Economics; Electrical Engineering and Computer Science; Geography; History; Human Development and Family Science; Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics; Mass Communications; Mathematics; Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering; Media Studies; Nutrition Science and Dietetics; Physics; Political Science; Psychology; Public Administration; Public Relations; Social Sciences; Sociology; and Teaching and Leadership

50 dissertations were submitted and their records have been added to SURFACE.   Almost all authors selected Open Access options.

  • 30 items are already full open access in SURFACE.
  • 9 additional items will be open access in SURFACE at the end of an embargo period.
  • 3 SURFACE records were created for dissertations that were not submitted as Open Access, but which are available in ProQuest
  • 8 SURFACE records were created for dissertations that were not submitted as Open Access, but which are currently embargoed in ProQuest

All electronic dissertation records are available here: https://surface.syr.edu/etd/

36 master’s theses were submitted and their records have been added to SURFACE.  Again, almost all authors selected Open Access options.

  • 24 items are already full open access in SURFACE.
  • 3 additional items will be open access in SURFACE at the end of an embargo period.
  • 5 SURFACE records were created for theses that were not submitted as Open Access, but which are available in ProQuest
  • 4 SURFACE records were created for theses that were not submitted as Open Access, but which are currently embargoed in ProQuest

All electronic theses records are available here: https://surface.syr.edu/thesis/

Open Access: An International Student Perspective

By: Euphemia Brewer Fasama (Maxwell School student from Liberia) and Prathamesh Pradip Datar (iSchool student from India), graduate student employees, working under the direction of Amanda Page, open publishing and copyright librarian

Open Access week is October 21-27, 2019. Two student voices share their opinion, according to the theme “Open for whom?”

In an era where the world’s desire for unrestricted access and instant gratification is insatiable, Open Access may be a critical answer for scholars and researchers.  Open Access provides the scholar and researcher with an opportunity to download and access information, articles, and other publications types at no financial cost to readers, as long as internet access through a library or mobile device is available. There are two methods used to deliver content through Open Access:[1] Open Access Archives or Repositories (referred to as “Green”) and Open Access Presses, Publishers, or Publications (referred to as “Gold”).

The author of the scholarly article or publication also benefits from publishing through Open Access. The author is able to have their work available for others to read, while retaining their intellectual property, rights and copyright. This format also provides them with immediate recognition and a potentially broad audience and promotes citations.

Today, a lot of public dollars are invested in research, so it stands to reason that the results of that research should be widely available through Open Access. Unfortunately, the publication of research is sometimes hidden behind financial, technical, and legal barriers. As we look at ways to share information and research freely between interested parties, we must explore all the obstacles or challenges to access and collectively identify ways to increase accessibility.

For example, according to Michelle EH Fournet’s podcast titled “Open Access Publishing and Equity, or Can I share this with my mom?” open access may not necessarily provide “equitable” access, yet. Michelle states that in most fields, especially the sciences, technical language and industry jargon is not always understood by the layman but is becoming more so over time. This poses a challenge. When terminology is broken down into everyday language, it much more translatable.[2] Another potential obstacle is the disparity to access the internet across the globe.  Without full internet access, which is impacted by financial, technical and governmental barriers, not all information is accessible. A third challenge is the disparity of appropriate support for accessibility standards by the technical platforms. Some platforms are not equipped to provide translation and/or disability services for broad access.

Although there are challenges to continue to solve, the idea of providing scholars, researchers, and authors with access to build upon an existing body of knowledge is one of many steps in the right direction.  Open Access is helping scholars and researchers to collaborate and grow together as a community,[3] sharing across the world.

Want to know more about Open Access? Contact us.

[1] chemistrycommunity.nature.com/users/179817-michelle-eh-fournet/posts/40166-open-access-publishing-and-equity-or-can-i-share-this-with-my-mom

[2] http://legacy.earlham.edu/~peters/fos/brief.htm

[3] https://sparcopen.org/

Justin Diaz ’23, Environmentally-Conscious Latino Entrepreneur

Latino male student with t-shirt that reads "Vznary" sitting in front of LaunchPad in Bird Library

Justin Diaz

When Justin arrived at Syracuse University this past summer as an Arthur O. Eve Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP) student, his first stop was the Syracuse University Libraries. He knew that was the place he’d be able to find information that would help him pursue his dream of making an impact on the world. What he didn’t expect is that it would also be the place where he’d find the Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars (LaunchPad), the entrepreneurial and innovation hub of the University. Just a few short months later, the LaunchPad has quickly become Justin’s second home.

As a first-year civil engineering student from lower Manhattan, Justin had many interests and concerns. He was worried about the environment and wanted to do something proactive that would positively impact climate change. He was fascinated by construction and how things are made, having grown up watching Home and Garden Television. He was concerned about poverty and homelessness, not only in New York, but in other places, like the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, where his family was from. He was interested in sustainability and protecting animals.  As his mentor, Linda Dickerson Hartsock, Executive Director of the LaunchPad said, “Justin had all the ingredients of a successful innovator and change agent. We saw the opportunity to help him refine a possible solution and shape a path forward.”

So Justin narrowed his focus to an area that could have maximum impact –affordable housing built from innovative, environmentally-conscious and sustainable substances.  Hence grew the idea for EcoBamboo Living.  After participating in the Techstars LaunchPad Start-Up Weekend at the end of September, Justin found a team of like-minded, purpose-driven, hard-working students like himself, many of whom are also minorities. Together they pitched the idea of creating an innovative construction company that helps solve sustainability challenges by designing and building affordable, beautiful, and strong bamboo homes that will withstand natural disasters. Their pitch was so effective that EcoBamboo Living won second place in the Start-up Weekend competition.

Justin is passionate about bringing this idea to life, and found a team equally committed to building a mission-based business. The team includes Cedric Georges ’23, an environmental engineering student originally from Africa; Haben Legesse ‘23, a civil engineering student originally from Ethiopia; Robert Lee III ‘23, a fellow HEOP student studying structural engineering; Serena Winter ’23, an architecture student who is also interested in being a voice for the Latinx and African American population; and the only upper-classman in the group, Sam Shorts ’20, an economics student.  Together they are hoping to create a business model with four revenue drivers: growing and harvesting bamboo, providing architectural design services, construction, and serving as a consultant in the sustainable building material industry.

“As a Latino, sometimes I feel I have to prove myself to doubters. But I’m confident in my drive and desire to make a difference. That’s what touches my heart,” said Justin. Justin’s passion is driven by his strong family bonds. “Being raised by a single mom with a disability and feeling responsible to set a good example for my younger brother has pushed me to excel. When I left for college this summer, my younger brother said he’s going to try and do better in school, so that he can follow me to Syracuse University.”

So what’s next for Justin and his team? They are one of the finalists competing on the main stage in the ‘Cuse Tank Competition being held during Family Weekend on October 18.  Justin is also applying for a research grant from the Office of Undergraduate Research and Creative Engagement (SOURCE) to attend “Bamboo University” in Bali and learn more about growing and using bamboo for construction. He has worked with the LaunchPad on his business model, and found help building an advisory team that includes a local real estate advisor who has expressed interest in exploring a bamboo model home.  Through the LaunchPad, he also made connections to Dr. Laura Steinberg, professor of civil and environmental engineering, to work with the Syracuse Center of Excellence and the new Syracuse University Infrastructure Institute.

Justin says, “When we’re successful, we can be an inspiration to other minority-run entrepreneurs and students. Our team plans to learn and grow, and ultimately give back. That’s our motivation.”


Latinx Hispanic Heritage Month, from September 15 to October 15, celebrates Latinx Americans, and Syracuse University joins others around the world in recognizing the strong history of entrepreneurship in the Latinx community.

Reflecting on Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans

by Syracuse University Business, Management, and Entrepreneurship Librarian Stephanie JH McReynolds

at least four people sitting at round table. Female librarian pointing to something on computer screen next to white male veteran

Stephanie McReynolds working with veteran at EBV 2019 during Genius Bar evening session

Despite evidence to the contrary— cooler evenings, glimpses of red and golden leaves, and mid-terms on the horizon— summer feels like just a moment ago. Reflecting on this past summer’s work with the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans (EBV) program brings forth images and snippets of research consultations and conversations with aspiring veteran entrepreneurs over the years, along with the odd sense that all these past interactions are in some ways just as immediate as the not so distant summer.

This sense of immediacy or currency is perhaps not so odd, given the circular nature of time and the seasons, as well as my work here at Syracuse University (SU) over the years. I have been involved with EBV from my first summer at SU in 2014, when I welcomed the opportunity to lead a business research instruction session for Syracuse EBV participants, as well as the chance to provide one-on-one research consultations during the evening “Genius Bar” sessions, when those with various expertise (accounting, law, etc.) are available to work with any EBV participants who need domain specific guidance (including research guidance) to help further their business ideas.

For those who may not be familiar with EBV, the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans offers “experiential training in entrepreneurship and small business management to post-9/11 veterans and their family members who are in early growth mode for their new business.” The program, which is free of charge for participating veterans, consists of three phases: a 30-day online course, followed by a nine-day residency at one of the 10 EBV host universities, and finally a full “12 months of support and mentorship delivered through the EBV Post Program Support.” The summer of 2019 marked the 12th year

female librarian standing next to classroom of at least eight adult veteran students sitting at lecture tables working on computers. Librarian standing next to African American male in shirt and tie, apparently assisting in instruction.

Stephanie McReynolds conducting “Orientation to Business Research” session at EBV 2017

of the EBV program, which has seen a measure of success. According to a press release celebrating the anniversary, “Of the nearly 2,000 aspiring entrepreneurs who have completed EBV, 79 percent have gone on to start their own business, and 92 percent of those are still in business.”

While the core library services of providing instruction on business research resources and individual research guidance have remained constants throughout my support of EBV at Syracuse, I have witnessed a major development that has greatly enhanced research support for EBV participants at Syracuse and nationwide. Previously, the available research resources varied by EBV location, with some campuses providing on-site access to library subscription databases during the one-week EBV residency and other locations extending that access to the full yearlong EBV program by designating EBV participants as students who have remote database login credentials. This uneven access, as well as the proposed solution, is described in detail in a 2013 article written by EBV librarians, including my Syracuse University EBV business librarian predecessor. Finally, in 2015, after well over 2 ½ years of effort, largely on the part of Texas A&M EBV business librarian Jared Hoppenfeld, the EBV National Info Portal, with database access donated by vendors, legal agreements handled by EBV National through Syracuse University Legal Counsel, and access facilitated via EZproxy hosted by OCLC, was realized.

The EBV National Info Portal has empowered EBV National and EBV librarians to provide every EBV participant with the same baseline access to select core business research resources, including business article databases, industry, company, and market research resources. Thanks to the generosity of participating database vendors, this access continues throughout the yearlong EBV program. The EBV Info Portal also includes contact information for each EBV librarian and a page of recommended freely available websites, selected by EBV librarians, as additional sources of business data and information. The Info Portal has relieved much of the pressure EBV librarians and certain EBV participants (those whose business ideas rely more heavily on proprietary business and industry data) had felt to make sure all possible relevant information and data was gathered during the week-long residency at the host EBV university campus.

While the EBV Info Portal has helped to close the gap in access to business information and data sources, challenges remain in providing the most appropriate and beneficial instruction session for EBV participants, whose existing level of familiarity with the research process and research databases varies as widely as each individual participant’s unique business idea and related information needs. In acknowledgement of this challenge, the time allotted for my “Orientation to Business Research” session has increased over the years from a mere 15-minute session originally, to 30 minutes, to a full hour, to 75 minutes this year. Based on feedback from EBV program organizers, I have tried different approaches to this one-shot session. In some sessions, I have focused solely on how to access and search databases and how to identify local public library and community research resources available after completing the EBV program. In other sessions, I have also introduced the concept of research as a non-linear process requiring curiosity, persistence, creativity, and patience in order to find necessary data and information. I have also led sessions that built in a significant amount of time for EBV participants to brainstorm and discuss their business ideas and research needs with one another, as a way to encourage peer support early on during the EBV residency experience.

During the 2018 and, most recently, the 2019 EBV residency instruction sessions, I shared a brief sample business idea of my own with EBV participants and then used that idea to walk through a class brainstorming exercise showing what one might already know about a new business idea as well as what type of information one might like to find. I then gave participants time to fill out a blank brainstorming worksheet about their own particular business idea. Then, using my business idea and the class brainstorming worksheet, I demonstrated strategies for identifying relevant industry codes (an early step in the business research process), followed by examples showing how to use those codes (and other search strategies) to find information relevant to my business idea in the EBV Info Portal databases, as well as in select databases that participants would only have access to while on the Syracuse University campus. I also provided students with print handouts outlining searches in key EBV Info Portal databases, to which they could refer after the session when delving into the resources on their own.

I have found that using the same sample business idea throughout the instruction session helps to unify and show the inter-relatedness of the various business resources, which can otherwise seem fragmented. Although I emphasize the benefit of watching the search strategies and examples of what one can find in the resources, it is difficult to keep the session from being derailed by individual questions and issues arising from some participants’ attempts to replicate my exact search steps along with me in real time. If the carefully planned session is less cohesive as a result, or if lingering questions remain, I assure participants that any confusion can be addressed one-on-one during one of the four Genius Bar evening sessions offered throughout the week.

The Genius Bar sessions continue to be the most personally rewarding part of the EBV experience for me. It is during these one-on-one meetings that I get to learn about an individual’s particular business idea and sometimes, if they choose to share, the impetus for the idea or what makes them passionate about pursuing it. During these research consultations, I also have the opportunity to provide custom tailored recommendations and search strategies that will lead the individual to information and data that could make a difference in the development of their business idea or in convincing others to invest in their dreams.

Initially, I did my best to cover all four evening Genius Bar sessions myself, only reaching out to certain SU librarian colleagues for coverage when I knew I would have an unavoidable scheduling conflict during one of those evening shifts. Now it is standard practice for me to reach out to a handful of colleagues before the start of the EBV residency, offering them the opportunity to adjust their regular work schedules if they feel inclined to cover an EBV Genius Bar evening. In this way, I typically get coverage from my colleagues for two of the four summer evenings.  Anyone who feels like they could benefit from a business research refresher prior to the start of the EBV residency week is welcome to meet with me. In talking with colleagues after EBV, I get the sense that they find the experience just as rewarding as I do, and I am glad we get a chance to share in this positive experience together.

Although it feels as though summer is just barely behind us, I know fall really is here, followed by a long winter and reticent spring, and then summer tumbling shortly thereafter. A new summer brings another opportunity to try out a different configuration of the “Orientation to Business Research,” this time based on direct anonymous survey feedback from EBV participants, which I received for the first time after this summer’s EBV. With each iteration of this session, I hope to get closer to meeting more of the various expectations and many different information needs of EBV participants.

But, what I most look forward to is getting to know EBV participants and learning what they are passionate about, from providing excellent elder care, to bringing calm and order to the chaos of people’s homes and belongings, to preventing school shootings, to establishing an aftercare fitness center where children will receive exceptional sports coaching and training. If I can play some small part in helping participants find relevant information and data (such as demographic data from the Census Bureau, a specialized market research report, a referral to an expert in a certain subject, or a list and visualization of company data) to inform the development of their business ideas, all the better. No matter what, I learn just as much (usually more) from the participating veterans as they learn from me, which is yet another reason (beyond the sunshine and temperate weather) why I welcome summer in Syracuse.

Shared Print Programs – new ways libraries are ensuring long-term scholarly access to print books

By Scott Warren, Associate Dean for Research Excellence

How do we ensure that a sufficient number of copies of historic books continue to be held in academic libraries to enable use when needed? When the Libraries’ 2019 Annual Report comes out later this fall, you may notice a new statistic – number of volumes under shared print retention – and wonder what it means. That seemingly simple figure encapsulates a complex multi-year effort well underway by academic libraries large and small, including the Syracuse University Libraries, to ensure the long-term availability of sufficient copies of the millions of print books held by academic libraries. More concretely, that number in our Annual Report, 399,245, is the count of the Libraries’ circulating print volumes committed for retention under the HathiTrust (HT) Shared Print Program and the EAST (Eastern Academic Scholars’ Trust) Shared Print Program.

Both programs represent sustainable, large-scale solutions to a challenging issue – new collections continue to grow while libraries remain finite in terms of space and resources to manage historic collections. Roughly a decade ago concerted conversations began regarding ways libraries could better share the load and create reliable data about what books other institutions were committed to keeping long-term (that information was not available in OCLC’s WorldCat database, which merely noted a library owned a title, but made no mention of what it intended to do with it). Over time, these conversations gelled into several multi-institution shared print programs, distributed throughout North America, with either a regional or a topical focus.

In the spring 2018 issue of Connections, I wrote about our participation in the HathiTrust Shared Print Program, which seeks to ensure retention of adequate print copies of the monograph volumes (books, as opposed to serials or journals) that underlay the HathiTrust digital corpus. The Libraries joined that effort alongside over forty other libraries. The result was 16 million volumes (4.8 million individual titles) allocated among the participating libraries, with 25-year retention commitments recorded in each local catalog. Since then, the HathiTrust program has grown to almost 80 libraries and added another 1.5 million items (750,000 individual titles).

HathiTrust isn’t the only shared print program in which the Libraries participate. Soon afterwards, the Libraries also signed on to EAST. EAST’s mission differs in that it is not trying to duplicate a digital corpus. Rather, EAST, which now comprises 60 libraries spread from Maine to Florida, is “focused on retaining unique, scarcely held and frequently used scholarly monographs and serials in support of scholarship, research and teaching” from among its members’ collections. Other research libraries in EAST include the University of Rochester, New York University, Boston College, Boston University, Florida State University, the University of Connecticut, and the University of Pittsburgh.

Two intensive, months-long analyses of collections data submitted by members resulted in more than 9 million circulating books committed to retention. The Memorandum of Understanding that participating libraries sign also guarantees interlibrary loan for these books. As I write, the Libraries are taking part in a new round of analysis, slated to run throughout 2019. From that will emerge commitments among EAST members for about 29,000 historic print journals.

Because of these multi-year projects, we now know who has committed to keeping what for extended periods, data previously unavailable. Such shared allocation helps distribute responsibility in a markedly more sustainable fashion since no library can possibly add or retain everything its patron population may ever need. This helps each academic library use its finite resources more efficiently and effectively. These commitment decisions do not mean that we are planning to deaccession everything else. Rather, they signal libraries planning in the very careful deliberate manner that we always have as stewards of scholarship, collectively hedging our bets, to the benefit of all. Our long-term goal is to ensure access to the print scholarly record in toto and libraries have come to realize that the only sustainable way to do so means each library not trying to own everything locally, while also guaranteeing sufficient copies do remain in the broader library collective.

Another way to think about this long-term, large-scale effort is that academic libraries are continuing to shift their perspective on print collections from the twentieth century model of largely isolated siloes (with reputation based primarily on size) towards one where participating libraries are more than ever nodes on a rich, active network. That network functions increasingly well as shared print programs scale up. Moreover, because these programs place a high premium on the development of accurate metadata and thorough analysis, provision of resources where needed at point of request should be better ensured than before shared print programs existed.

The Libraries are not just members of these programs; we are helping shape their development. Scott Warren, the Libraries’ Associate Dean for Research Excellence (and author of this post) served on EAST’s Operations Committee from 2017-2019 and was elected to EAST’s Executive Committee this year. Additionally, Annie Rauh, interim Head of Collections and Research Services, was recently tapped to join colleagues from across the United States on the HathiTrust Shared Print Program’s Advisory Committee.

Shared print has even reached the point where there are professional positions dedicated solely to it! Here’s a recent advertisement from the California Digital Library – https://www.cdlib.org/cdlinfo/2019/01/16/cdl-job-opening-shared-print-operations-and-collections-analyst/ . Similar librarians now exist in most such programs, including folks at HathiTrust and EAST whom we work with regularly. Within the Libraries, staff from Collections, Cataloging, the Program Management Center, Access and Resource Sharing, and Information Technology have all contributed to our successful participation in both programs. It is worth noting how one simple number in our Annual Report can represent a concerted team effort, one that in this case has so far spanned three years of work.

Finally, at an even broader level, two nascent alliances are helping ensure shared print programs work in harmony, and move towards a national or even continental scale. One, the Rosemont Shared Print Alliance, focuses on journals and serials. The other, the Partnership for Shared Book Collections, is still coming into existence, but will center on books. Once finalized, it will bring together programs with an estimated 40 million volumes under retention in the United States and Canada. With these collective efforts in mind, Syracuse scholars should rest easy knowing that while the Libraries’ commitment to preserving and providing access to scholarship is taking on new forms, it is stronger – and our reach vaster – than ever before.

Read more about the

For more information, contact Scott Warren, Associate Dean for Research Excellence or Anne Rauh, Interim Head of Collections and Research Services.

Summer 2019 Young African Leaders Initiative, an Interview with Two Fellows

Photo of thee people standing next to each other in front of the digital screen in Bird Library. African male, caucasian male, and African female.

Left to right: Benedict Richard Bekui, Clinical Coordinator and Senior Medical Officer at New Abirem Government Hospital, Ghana; Michael Pasqualoni, librarian Communications and Public Affairs; Annie Chipeta, Regional Courts Administrator, Malawi.
Photo credit: Caitlin Brandle (Syracuse University Libraries)

by Michael Pasqualoni, librarian for Communications and Public Affairs at Syracuse University Libraries

The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders is the flagship program of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). This past summer 2019, the fellowship provided nearly 700 young leaders from Sub-Saharan African with the opportunity to hone their skills at higher education institutions across the United States, including a smaller subset at Syracuse University. Michael Pasqualoni, librarian for Communications and Public Affairs, participated in the program and had an opportunity to interview two fellows, Annie Chipeta from Malawi and Benedict Richard Bekui from Ghana on July 24, 2019. Here is a slightly edited version of the interview.

What led you to the YALI program?

Annie [Chipeta]:  I come from Malawi, a country in the southern part of Africa and in my country I work as a courts administrator as well as program manager for the judiciary of Malawi, which is a branch of government.  In my role there, I am responsible for all the administrative purchase of resources for the courts, insuring the courts are in working order and the staff is adequately deployed where it’s supposed to be. I am also responsible for managing a European Justice and Accountability Project.  This program is a five year program in which the European Union provides the judiciary with funding to carry out various activities.  My role is actually planning activities that insure that there’s access to justice for vulnerable groups.

How did you learn about this Young African Leaders Initiative and what attracted you to it?

Annie:  The Young African Leaders Initiative has been alive for quite awhile, and a friend of mine got in in 2014, and I think that was either the very first cohort or one of the first.  I saw the exposure that she got from the program.  I felt professionally it really helped her focus and gave her career a boost.  So I was attracted to that.  I also wanted to gain a certain skill set from the program to grow professionally, expand my networks.

Benedict [Richard Bekui]:  I am from Ghana.  I am a medical doctor.  I currently work as the clinical coordinator for New Abirem Government Hospital, which is a district hospital.  I also work as a medical officer there.  I have been fluent about this [YALI] program for about five years now.  Initially I saw senior colleagues who were involved, the kind of work they have done and I thought, “Now these are people who are doing a lot to help my country.”

If you reflect on the program from when you arrived, do you have one or two things that stand out as memorable?

Annie:  I’ll say one of the most memorable things has been actually sitting in a lecture room in this [Syracuse] university.  It’s very different in terms of the way the course is instructed and delivered, because I have spent my entire life studying in my country.  The approach the lecturers take is very engaging.  In my home country if somebody is delivering a course program, they will have either their PowerPoint or they have a blackboard and chalk and write.  There’s very little participation with the students.  And, as such, it becomes a matter of obligation for the students to go to class, but not necessarily looking forward to learn and staying interested.

Richard:  From the beginning I received the message that set the tone for everything that was going to happen, and what I took away from that talk was given by Professor McPeak.  He said that one of the things the Maxwell School seeks to achieve and teaches is that you should leave the place better than you found it. That is something that always struck me.  I decided I’m going to learn things here that will make me better by the time I get back to my home country. The other thing I realized is everything I have been learning is targeted toward solutions.  Back home you learn new things and you have to ask yourself, what am I going to use this information for? But here, by the time the lecture is over, the way it is taught, I am able to connect it to a solution.  So it’s not just knowledge, but it is applied knowledge.

Can you share your home experiences with libraries or librarians?

Annie:  My experience has been good.  My first major experience of a library was in high school.  It was very small, because this is secondary education just before university.  There wasn’t much to do except study, read some story books, maybe a few textbooks. And then in the university, the library was much bigger. That’s the University of Malawi.  You could borrow some books. This library is still not very developed.  Not many books online, if at all. It remains that way, except that we are moving into a more technological era.  These institutions are beginning to adapt, but Malawi is still very much a developing country, it’s adapting to those changes at a very slow pace.  My interactions with librarians, it’s been very easy, very nice.  You walk in.  You cannot trace a particular book that you’d like to do your research on, or you’d like guidance on which books you should look into for particular research that you’d like to do, and they’ll provide the guidance.

Richard: Whatever information I’m going to give is probably backdated for 5 years, so things may have changed a lot. Growing up in basic [elementary] school, my idea of a library was a room full of books and you are supposed to be quiet when you are there.  Most people didn’t read books or borrow books in the library when I was in basic school.  However, when I was in secondary school, the library provided a quiet area where you can study and a few books that were curriculum study material and others that would just give you leisure reading.  But in the university, the libraries were mainly set up for reading.  Most people do not read the books in the library.  They bring their own books in.  I bring my own books from my house, and then I can read in the library. But in medicine now, whenever I need information, I have found that the Internet is the best place to go.  So, for most medical textbooks that I have, they were written several years back.  I acknowledge the information there.  When I want the latest stuff, I have to go to the Internet, look for journals that have it, which we don’t have access to some of them because they’re very expensive.

What is the situation when you want to access books to buy?  Where would you go? 

Richard:  So, for medical textbooks, we have agencies, because the medical school is at one place.  You place your order.  If you are looking for a book that agency doesn’t have, then usually a professor may have it and they will not give it out to you.  So they will show you where you can get it and you have to order it.  The most current hardcopy books are difficult to come by.  Sometimes people have to photocopy the books, which is against copyright laws.  I think in a small section that they need, if a professor has the book, then he sneaks off and does a copy of that small section.

When you borrowed a book, how long you were allowed to keep it?

Annie:  If I remember correctly it was about a day.  There were certain books described as those on high demand, they were in a special section of the library called the reserve.  So if you got a book from the reserve you could only have it for a day, because other students needed to get it.  But if you got it from other parts of the library, you could have it three days to a week.

Are there any experiences that struck you as different about the learning environment here in the U.S. and at Syracuse? 

Richard:  The first thing is it is a very relaxed environment.  You’ll be able to meet your professor in the hallway and have a chat with him about academics as well as non-academic stuff.  Every morning he comes around and asks, “How are you doing? Do you have any issues I can help you with?”  It struck me if there’s something that’s preventing me from being able to do the work I’m supposed to do, he is concerned about that.  Back home, it is difficult to approach a professor because he feels like we’re on different levels.  So if you are coming to me, you have a problem and I’m the solution, and he’ll say, “I don’t have time now, come see me in my office in a week’s time.” They are not so open to engage because they feel that the more that they engage they lose some level of reverence.

Annie: It’s the same, because a student is here [gesture indicates a level], and the lecturer is here on another level, higher than the student.  So there is no interaction.  There is this clear cut line between the lecturer or professor and the student.  Here at Syracuse University perhaps we haven’t met every different type of personality, character, but they are more accommodating.  They are friendlier.  And you call them by their first name.  In my country, you cannot dare call someone with their PhD by their first name.

When you thought about coming to the United States for the YALI program, was there any one thing that surprised you the most?

Richard:   I knew that there was a lot of income inequality and poverty in the U.S., but I did not know the extent of it, the statistical extent of it.  And that has been overwhelming information for me.  I’m still trying to get my head around how that could make sense, and how for a nation that has come up with so much solutions how is that still there?  Aside from the data, the other thing that I saw, and I know it is a biased lens, we had to do some community engagement at the Samaritan Center [a nonprofit organization in Syracuse that provides food for the hungry], and we were helping to provide free meals for the people who obviously needed it.  I could see them as they walk in, and I could see families that looked like they were running to get there so that they don’t miss it.  They walk in and you can see that the mom is panting.  The dad that’s pushing the cart is full of sweat and is panting.  So it’s a struggle for them to get there.  And then I get the information that there are people who would work one or two jobs and still not be able to break out of that poverty line.

Annie: I think for me it’s an issue of perception.  The perception that we, as Africans, have of the United States of America.  You know, when I was coming here, everybody else in my country said, “You are going to one of the biggest economies in the world, this giant United States.” Everybody is looking at you like, “wow, this is such an achievement, being recognized by the Department of State of the United States.” And it’s great and all that, but when you are here those perceptions begin to change.  The country is great. There’s so many opportunities.  There are so many resources available, especially when you come here.  At the same time, there’s the issue of inequality.  Even before going to the Samaritan Center that we visited, just looking around.  I found myself in one of the neighborhoods.  I got on a bus.  I was looking for this restaurant and I saw it on Google Maps, and I dropped off a couple of blocks earlier than I should have.  So, I’m walking in this neighborhood, and I could feel a difference from where we are right now.  I felt uneasy.  I saw these big guys with tattoos, and they were wearing head things, and I knew immediately I was not in a very safe part of Syracuse.  And the houses looked dilapidated.  And I said, “What, am I in the same America?  Did I just walk into a portal and I am somewhere else?”  People from my country will leave Africa to say they’re in search of greener pastures, because it is expected that there are greener pastures here, opportunities.  But I don’t think it’s that simple to tap into that milk and honey.  I was in a naïve kind of thinking, but now my eyes are open.

Richard:  Back home, there’s a lot of income inequality also, but I think that for most people who are able to hold down a job, they will be able to at least take care of their basic needs to some extent.

Annie: Cost of living here is higher, because something that at home I would get for half the price.  And yet, the perception back home is that things are cheaper here.

Richard:  I think that every society, people have the top 1% that the rest of the 99 work for. I think that forever human beings over time, a group emerges who seem to be the elite and become the pacesetters.  They seem to live very good compared to others.  And the rich naturally are getting richer, because the rich know how to make money.  So, if I am making 100 million dollars for my company, if I was paying everybody very good, I wouldn’t be making 100 million dollars, I’d probably be making 20.  Luckily the law doesn’t force me to pay them very well, so I’m going to pay them just enough, so I can go home with my 100 million dollars.

Annie:  In Malawi, in particular, there is no such thing as philanthropy. Even the richest by international standards are not very wealthy.  Most of those who are rich are not very rich from straightforward means.  Because it’s either through taxpayer’s money, corruption yes, or some sort of deals.  We really haven’t had philanthropy from within.  It’s mostly international aid coming in.

Richard:  I find that the infrastructure for philanthropy that is homegrown is not existent [in Ghana].  In the U.S. I know if I want to give away money, there is a foundation here and I can say take the money, do something.  In Ghana, that does not exist.  So, I have to form a foundation and do something with it.  And very few wealthy people have helped to innovate hospitals, have helped to build a wing for a hospital, have bought equipment for a hospital, very few.  And most of us think what they are doing is very small compared to what they are capable of doing.

What would you like to say about access to information across international borders?  What would you like to see? 

Richard:  Before I came for YALI, I went for a seminar on research in Ghana.  Mainly health workers talking about doing research and one of the presenters, an accomplished clinician, said that Africa contributes to about 1% of the knowledge that is generated from research in the world.  Most of the research that’s available is done elsewhere and applied in Africa. Or people come to Africa to do their research.  That is one of the reasons it’s difficult for us to access, it costs money to do this research.  There’s an economic model, paying for information so they are not just going to say come for the results and apply it, because that’s somebody’s work.  I am also happy that at least there are certain open access resources like PubMed that you can go to and still get good information. Unfortunately, as you dive deeper and look for more technical things, you come across the “you have to pay $300.”  And I have been in that situation before where I was helping, I was assisting a man who I believe had gotten an occupational disease, and I had to prepare a document to prove that.  I needed a lot of information to make sure what I am saying is going to be internationally recognized.  And I came across a lot of bottlenecks with having to pay for articles.  The ones I needed the most are the ones I had to pay for.

Annie:  I think most of the research has been “by the books” because that has been what has been accessible — offline.  I have used [the online database] Emerald, which is general. It was through a university in Malawi that has an affiliation with another university in England.  So that is how I was able to access Emerald.  However, my time here we went to Cornell University, and they gave us some resources on how we can access certain information online.  This is free information.

If you were going to talk to young people about themes of leadership that you think are really important, has something resonated from this experience?  What should they think about to be an effective leader? 

Annie: The entire program is there to hone the skills of leadership amongst us.  There was “Clifton’s Strengths Finder” that we had to take.  It is like a psychoanalysis and it finds your strengths. After I took this, I realized I really am this person as a leader.  My first one was “futuristic,” it means that I think about the future, what could be, and I want to inspire that in others, to also think about doing better for the future. There were others I would count to be amongst my top five and that was “ideation,” this is the ability to come up with ideas.  I told you about my role where I come up with various activities to enhance access to justice for vulnerable groups.  So, if I am able to really capitalize on this skill and become more innovative, then I think about what sort of impact we can have in the justice sector, granting access to justice and resolving all these problems that are being faced in the courts.  There is also “activation,” where you have an idea and you have to act fast. It’s one thing to have ideas, it’s another to implement them. People are comfortable with the status quo.  But eventually, somehow, we all go towards wanting change.

Richard:  I was thinking to recall fully the discussion we had with Sean O’Keefe.  He took some basic principles you can do, some steps to lead an organization to positive change.  One of the things he mentioned that really stuck with me and I’d really like to share with young people, is the idea of integrity, that you say what you’re going to do and do what you say, and people know that they can trust you.  We came to the conclusion that if you lose that quality, it is very difficult to get back.  So, as a leader you can make mistakes and you correct them. But if people think you don’t have integrity, then you are no longer a leader because you can no longer influence them.  Like I was saying, you should strive to leave whatever situation better than how it was when you found it.  And talking about change, I have come to realize that change is based on your perception, and you can’t function beyond your exposure, so there is only a limited number of ways I can change what’s in this room, but when I realize there are things outside that I can bring here, things in here that I can send outside, that’s a different dimension of change.  So, if we’re talking about access to information, every day when I read an article I know somebody who is doing something and has succeeded, that’s an environment that fosters change.  So, you have seen somebody do it and succeed and you are going to do the same.  But if you don’t have access to that information, then your perception of change is limited.  You don’t know what’s possible.  Therefore, you can’t imagine beyond that.


Thank you to the Maxwell School of Public Citizenship faculty and staff, including John McPeak, Stuart Bretschneider and Ronda Garlow, for involving Syracuse University Libraries in this U.S. State Department funded experience. Michael Pasqualoni from Syracuse University Libraries provided YALI Fellows with research orientation and visits to Bird Library. YALI Fellows were also introduced to the Library’s Blackstone Launchpad.