News from 2003-2004

News Archives (by academic year)
2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 

2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 2001
Note: Archived news is not maintained and may include broken links.

News & Events | Library Services | New Resources

News & Events

Amherst College Library Links

sfx screenshot

Have you ever wanted to know if the Amherst College Library has a journal article while searching the PsycINFO or MLA databases? With AC Links, you can. Click on the AC Links button next to the journal article citation and some of the following options will appear in a separate window:
• find an electronic copy of the article
• search the Four College Catalog
• search the Umass Catalog;
• do a Google search for the article
If an electronic copy is available from another online database, a link in the list of options will go directly to the full text of the article. You can also click on the link for the catalog and search for the journal title to see if Amherst has the journal in print or microfilm.

image is a great way to find what you need since so much is now available online. Warning: At this time not all of the Library's subscribed online databases work with AC Links.

Robert Frost Library Fellow

The Amherst College Library will welcome the 2003 Robert Frost Library Fellow, Michael Mazur, Class of 1957. During his visit from October 27 to October 31, he will work with Visiting Assistant Professor Betsey Garand and students in the Fine Arts Department. He will also present a gallery talk on Friday, October 31 at 4:00pm in the Mead Art Museum, Teaching Gallery. This lecture is sponsored by the Friends of the Amherst College Library.

Michael Mazur is a renowned printmaker and painter, currently living in Cambridge, MA. After graduating from Amherst, he received his M.F.A. from Yale, and over the years, he has taught at RISD, Brown, U.C. Santa Barbara, Harvard, and Brandeis University. His work is in major museums around the U.S. and abroad. Among many awards during his distinguished career, he won a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1964.
The Friends of the Amherst College Library is a group of students, alumni, faculty, staff and friends who support the Library. The Friends also sponsor the Undergraduate Folger Fellowships (see article). For more information or to join the Friends of the Amherst College Library, please go to their web page.

Gift from Richard Mietzelfeld

The Library has received an extensive classical music collection from the Rev. Richard Mietzelfeld of Hanover, Massachusetts. The collection consists of 8,121 unique titles on 10,462 compact discs. In 1995, Mietzelfeld donated 18,000 long-playing sound recordings to the Library. This latest collection represents all major labels and all types of classical music including operas, symphonies, choral works, and train whistles. Selected titles containing Gregorian chants and Wagner operas have already been cataloged and shelved at the Vincent Morgan Music Library for use in music courses fall semester. For additional information, please contact Jane Beebe, Head of Cataloging/Music Librarian (; x2667).

USA Patriot Act

The Amherst College Library has posted the following:

“WARNING: Section 215 of the federal USA PATRIOT Act (Public Law 107-56) allows federal agents to obtain a court order to access records of the books and other materials you use or borrow from this library for an investigation to protect against terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities. Section 215 also prohibits this library and its employees from informing you if federal agents have sought or obtained records relating to you under the USA PATRIOT Act.”

Glenn D. Kesselhaut 1978 Room

Kesselhaut Room

Students tell the Library that they want more group study spaces with large tables in which they can talk without disturbing others. Through a generous memorial gift, there is now another group study room on the northwest side of the third floor in the Frost Library.

On May 31, 2003 alumni from the class of 1978 and their families gathered to dedicate the group study room in the memory of Glenn D. Kesselhaut ’78. As an Amherst student, Glenn was academically active even while he was the Co-Editor-in-Chief of The Amherst Student. He also volunteered for the College after graduation.

The Glenn D. Kesselhaut 1978 Room contains a large window, two study tables, a wall to wall carpet, a picture of the original editors of The Amherst Student, and a poem by Matt Kesselhaut that was written in memory of his father. The Library is grateful to have a new room for students who are studying or meeting for group work.

Librarian of the Folger Library to Lecture

On Thursday, December 4 at 3:00pm in the Archives & Special Collections Reading Room (Robert Frost Library), the Library will host a lecture by Richard Kuhta, the Librarian of the Folger Shakespeare Library. Richard Kuhta will discuss, with illustrations, the Folger Shakespeare Library’s outstanding and rare collection. The Amherst College Library proudly counts the Folger Shakespeare Library as a distinguished relative because, though privately endowed, the Folger is administered by the Trustees of Amherst College.

Willis Bridegam To Retire

Willis E. Bridegam, Librarian of the College, has announced that he will retire next fall.  With a collection that ranges from manuscripts to college history, to scholarly books and journals, to a wide selection of electronic databases, the Amherst College Library combines the best of a traditional academic library with new ways of organizing and distributing information.  Willis Bridegam has guided the Library through all its changes over the last 29 years; he has always made certain that the Library thrives on the Amherst College campus.  If you enjoy the Library’s collections of videos and DVDs; if you like to read electronic journal articles from your dorm room or office; if you love to browse the shelves in the Library – thank Willis Bridegam and the Amherst College Library he has led.

The Amherst College Library's Millionth Volume Celebration

On April 23 and 24, all faculty, administrators, staff, and students are cordially invited to participate in the Library’s celebration of the addition of its millionth volume.  The Millionth Volume Ceremony will be held on Friday, April 23, at 4:00 p.m. in the lobby of the Robert Frost Library.  It will feature an address by Professor William Pritchard (AC 1953), a reading of poetry by former Poet Laureate, Richard Wilbur (AC 1942), and the formal presentation of the millionth acquisition by the Chairman of the Friends of the Library, Samuel Ellenport, to the Librarian of the College.

On Saturday, April 24, from 2-4 p.m. in the Pruyne Lecture Hall (Room 115) in Fayerweather Hall, the Library has planned a panel discussion on the work and life of the poet, James Merrill (AC 1947), emphasizing his time spent at Amherst.  Daniel Hall, the poet and director of the Creative Writing Center will moderate the panel.  The panelists include the poets Richard Wilbur (AC 1942) and Robin Magowan (Merrill’s nephew), Merrill’s bibliographer Jack W. C. Hagstrom (AC 1955), Merrill’s biographer Langdon Hammer, and Stephen Yenser, one of Merrill’s literary executors and editor of a forthcoming edition of Merrill’s letters.  The Amherst College Library hopes that you will mark these important events on your calendar now.

Dramatic Change in Journals

Over the past two decades, librarians have warned the academic community of a crisis in the scholarly journal publication system.  Dramatic cost increases in subscriptions have had a severe impact on libraries’ budgets, absorbing an increasingly large percentage of money allocated to all materials.

Now, as libraries must subscribe to electronic versions of journals in addition to their print counterparts, there are additional stresses on tight budgets.  Some publishers have exacerbated the problem by insisting on exorbitantly priced multi-year contracts for their online journals and by establishing spending level requirements for the term of the contract.  Since at least some of those companies publish important journals, libraries are forced to either cancel subscriptions to key journals altogether, or give in to the publisher’s demands.  Some major universities, such as Cornell and Harvard, are responding to such business practices by refusing to sign these “big deal” contracts and canceling journal titles.  They end up spending more per title but regain control of their journal collection and budget management.

One international response to the increasingly high costs of journal subscriptions is the Open Access movement.  On October 22, 2003 participants in an open access conference released the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and the Humanities.  It supports a new, sustainable publishing model, one that charges authors to submit articles, but provides free and indefinite online access to the public while preserving authors’ copyright.  Major European scholarly societies and funding agencies have signed this declaration.  Open Access publishers in the U.S. and U.K. include the Public Library of Science (PLoS) and BioMed Central.  The Amherst College Library has recently become an institutional member of PLoS by contributing $500 to the program.  Institutional memberships support the open access initiative as well as assist authors of member institutions by discounting publication fees.  A current list of open access journals is available at the website, Directory of Open Access Journals.

The Amherst College Library also has been paying close attention to the scholarly communication discussion.  For the past few years, science journal costs have had a significant impact on the serials budget; now, the Library is beginning to notice huge price increases in some humanities and social science journals.  In addition, some non-science publishers are beginning to charge extra for online access to journals, previously included in the print subscription price.

In response to the changes both in the publishing industry and the Library’s serials budget, the librarians met with the Dean of the Faculty in December to outline some of these issues.  The librarians also gathered in early January to examine how the Library purchases or subscribes to electronic products currently, and what principles should guide decisions in the future.  The discussion included the budget, the selection process, and what happens after a purchase or license agreement is signed. Finally, an upcoming, comprehensive review of journal subscriptions for each department will analyze cost increases and, in particular, costs associated with print and online duplication.  The Library is dedicated to providing resources to the students, faculty and staff of Amherst College in the most accessible and responsible way possible.  For more information please contact your department’s liaison or a reference librarian.

Chris Dudley Retires

Chris Dudley has retired from the Library after working here for 33 years.  Many faculty and staff knew Chris as the person who understood and managed reserves.  She also worked at the Circulation Desk and filed government document microfiche.  The Library wishes her well in her retirement.

The President and the Poet: John F. Kennedy at Amherst 1963

President John F. Kennedy’s October 26, 1963 visit to Amherst College remains vivid in the memories of those who were present on that historic occasion.  Kennedy came at the invitation of Chairman of the Board of Trustees John J. McCloy ’16 to attend the groundbreaking for the new Robert Frost Library, which was preceded by a special convocation to honor the president.  Kennedy spoke twice.  His remarks at both events were a tribute to Robert Frost and to the power and significance of poetry and art in the world.

Kennedy was, in the words of Archibald MacLeish, “young and gallant” and very much alive at Amherst College – but less than one month later he was assassinated in Dallas.

Daria D'Arienzo

To mark the 40th anniversary of this visit, Susan Snively, the Associate Dean of Students and Director of the Writing Center, approached Daria D’Arienzo, the Head of Archives and Special Collections, with an idea for a seminar that would focus on the visit. Together they created a presentation that combined newly discovered contemporary images of Kennedy with historical commentary and the memories and reflections of individuals who were there in 1963.

The seminar, including a panel of people who had been present for Kennedy’s visit, was given twice, once in August and again in October, 2003. The first occasion was part of the orientation program for first-year students and the panel consisted of Susan Snively; Peter Czap, Professor of History; Rose Olver, Professor of Psychology and Women and Gender Studies; Amherst College President Emeritus Calvin Plimpton ’39 and his wife, Ruth; and alumnus and former College Editor Doug Wilson ’62.

The second presentation was for the College community in conjunction with the weekend celebrations of new College President Anthony Marx’s inauguration, 40 years to the day after Kennedy’s visit. Susan Snively, Professors Czap and Olver, and Doug Wilson returned as panelists for this seminar, joined by History Department Professor Emeritus Hugh Hawkins and Ted Plimpton, son of President Plimpton. Ted recalled the words that President Kennedy had said to him in 1963, encouraging him to do great things.

Daria D’Arienzo also presented the historical portion of the seminar to the Friends of the Amherst College Library as part of their annual meeting in October and, in December, by special invitation, to the Paris Chapter of the Alumni Association of France. The entire program will be presented again, during Reunion in May.

The foundation for each of these programs was the historical material in the Archives and Special Collections. Daria D’Arienzo had recently rediscovered slides of Kennedy’s visit to Amherst, which she showed during all the presentations. Additionally, in each presentation she was able to show video footage, but that footage had a history of its own and changed from one showing to the next.

In the first talk, the footage was from NBC films, but it was an incomplete version of the second half of Kennedy’s speech in which portions had been spliced out of order. By the time of the second presentation, Daria was also able to show footage she had obtained from WGBH. This footage was also incomplete, but it was a complete version of the second half of Kennedy’s speech, with segments that the original NBC footage did not have. By this time as well, Daria had gone back to NBC and asked them to put the version they had in its proper order and to look again for more footage. They found that they did in fact have more footage – an almost complete version of the first half of Kennedy’s speech. NBC reordered all of their footage according to Daria’s guidelines. With this new videotape and the videotape from WGBH, Daria was able to show later – in two parts – a nearly complete version of Kennedy’s speech – only three words were missing. These presentations marked the first time since that day in 1963 that Kennedy’s speech could be seen as the President delivered it.

A complementary exhibition in the Archives and Special Collections during the fall of 2003 included photographs, plans, programs, a draft by Arthur Schlesinger with annotations by Kennedy of what became Kennedy’s convocation and groundbreaking remarks, and a shovel. That exhibition is now online.

President Calvin Plimpton captured the emotion of the day when he said at the time, “today is for us the birth of memory."


Library Services

Theses in the Catalog

What have Amherst students researched for their senior honors theses? Take a look at the online catalog. Some students have written about Chinese laborers in North Adams, blacksmiths in Mali, monoclonal antibodies, Nietzsche, Kilauea volcanic ash, bilingual education, AIDS, dark matter (Astronomy), world politics, and schizophrenia. They have produced plays and written original short stories. One student even lived among and wrote about leprosy patients in Nepal.

At this time honors theses from 1997-2003 are cataloged. You can search the Four College Catalog by author and title, or click on “Other Searches” (select ‘Other Call Number’) and type in “Thesis” to get a complete list. To look at a senior thesis, ask for it in the Archives on Level A in the Robert Frost Library.


What’s a reserve and how do you find it? Reserves are books, journal articles, DVDs, songs, sample tests, or whatever a professor asks the Library to hold for students to use for a class. To find a reserve item, go to the Library catalog and click on “Reserve Lists by Instructor.” Enter your professor’s last name and then look for the class number. You will see a list of materials on reserve. Find the book, article, etc. that you need and copy down the AC/RESERVE number in the right hand column. You can then go to the Circulation Desk and ask for the reserve by that number. The loan period is usually three hours, although materials may be checked out for overnight use anytime after 10pm. Overnight reserves must be returned within one half hour of opening. Some reserves are marked AC/Science or AC/Music meaning you need to ask at those libraries for the items. Electronic reserves (an online article, music file, graphic file, etc.) are sometimes available on your class’s Blackboard site.

A Few Words About Electronic Journals and Databases

In the midst of doing research, you look for a journal in the online catalog only to see that it is only available electronically from Smith College. You click on the link, but you cannot get into the electronic journal. Don’t all Five-College Libraries have the same e-journals?

Here are some guidelines regarding electronic journals and databases. Most of them are not free. Each college subscribes to electronic journals, collections, or databases for its own campus. In addition, part of the agreement with the publisher or vendor is that access to a database is only available on the campus or through the campus network of the college that subscribes to the journal or database.

Please note that Amherst College students and faculty who are doing research off-campus or overseas can use Amherst’s subscribed electronic databases. More information on this service is available from IT.

Study at the Folger


Examine the English Renaissance, uncover 17th century European intrigue, or investigate Titus Andronicus for two weeks at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC. The Undergraduate Folger Fellowships are open to juniors and seniors who are studying topics best covered by the premier research collections in the Folger Library. For more information contact Professor Anston Bosman, Chair of the Folger Grants Committee, or go to the Folger Fellowships webpage.

Photograph courtesy of the Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, DC.

New Catalog

The Library has begun to search for a new catalog or integrated library system (ILS).  As reported in the Amherst Student article last fall, the libraries of the Five Colleges are working together to purchase a new system for the colleges and the university.  The libraries are seeking an ILS that will enhance access to materials in all of the libraries, especially those in non-traditional formats such as web pages and other electronic media.

In late January and early February Five-College library staff gathered to view ILS demonstrations from four vendors.  After careful analysis and deliberation, a recommendation from a five-college selection committee will be made to the Directors of the four colleges and the university.  If approved, a new library system could be available for public use as early as January 2005.

Electronic Poetry Display

The Library recently received a gift from Polly and Charles Longsworth for the installation of an electronic display of poetry by poets associated with Amherst College or the Amherst area.  Members of the faculty are invited to recommend poems for electronic display on a large screen above the shelving in the new book area of the Frost Library lobby.  All suggestions should be sent to the Librarian of the College, Will Bridegam.  Please take a minute to recommend to Will your favorite poems by area poets such as Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, James Merrill, Richard Wilbur, David Ferry, David Sofield, Daniel Hall, Sylvia Plath, James Tate, Dara Weir, Mary Jo Salter, Martin Espada, Peter Gizzi, and others.

Online Exhibitions

Object of the Month: Selections from the Objects Collection in Archives & Special Collections.

From Amherst's Attic: Items of Interest from Amherst College History 
Amherst's Attic logo







New Resources


New Online

Academic Search Premier: Contains full text articles from over 3,600 journals in the social sciences, arts and humanities, and sciences. It also includes about 1,000 journal titles that are indexed but not available full text.

Early American Imprints
(Evans Digital Edition): Contains the full-text of works published between 1639-1800 in the United States (North American Colonies). The collection is based on the American bibliography by Charles Evans and Roger Bristol’s Supplement to Evans’ American bibliography. The online version is not yet complete. (See: catalog under the title “Early American Imprints”)

Enciclopedia universal en español: Complete online Spanish-language encyclopedia provided by the Encyclopedia Britannica and Diorki, S.A. (Madrid).

Wall Street Journal: Full-image online version of the Eastern edition from 1982 to present.

HeritageQuest Online: Complete scanned set of the U.S. Federal Census Records 1790-1930. Also includes a search engine of family histories.

American Periodicals Series Online, 1790-1900: Digitized reproductions of more than 1,100 American eighteenth and nineteenth century newspapers and periodicals.

IBSS: Int’l Bibliography of the Social Sciences: Online resource for social science and interdisciplinary research. Indexes international journals and books back to 1951. Abstracts are provided for half of all current journal articles with some full text availability.

ebrary: Database of over 15, 000 full text e-books from all academic disciplines (see also following article).

ClasePeriódica: Online index (from La Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México) of Latin American journals in social sciences, humanities, science and technology. Journals are published in Spanish, Portuguese, French and English.


Have you ever wanted to look at a book but it was checked out?  Or, maybe you’ve wanted to see books that discuss, say, economic policies in Thailand, without leaving your office or room?  Now you can, using ebrary, a collection of over 15,000 academic books in electronic form.  Some of the titles duplicate items in our stacks, but many are more specialized than or outside our normal collecting parameters.  Contributing publishers include among others Harvard University Press, the Taylor & Francis Group, Indiana University Press, Springer-Verlag, the World Health Organization, and the University of California Press.

Access is available from the online catalog via clickable individual records for each book so you can find these electronic versions as easily as you find printed books.  You can also browse or search ebrary collections from their home page.

To use ebrary, download a reader program to a computer (it takes only 15 or 20 seconds to download the reader).  Then, browse titles by Library of Congress subject headings or search across all titles for specific words in the full-text, title, or subject.  Highlighting, bookmarking, and cutting and pasting directly from the text into a word processing program are additional useful features of the program. 

Early Books Online

Early English Books Online and Early American Imprints (Evans Digital Edition) are two new collections of full-image online books available through Amherst College Library. Both are based on classic bibliographies of early texts from England and America. Some of the books listed in the bibliographies now have been digitized and are available online though these electronic products. What do each of the collections offer?

Early English Books Online is based on three bibliographies. One is a catalog published by Pollard and Redgrave entitled A short-title catalogue of books printed in England, Scotland, and Ireland: and of English books printed abroad 1475-1640 (1926). The catalog includes titles written in other languages (but published in England), but not English authors abroad who published in another language. Wing revised and supplemented Pollard and Redgrave’s catalog with the Short-title catalogue of books printed in England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales and British America and of English books printed in other countries 1641-1700 (1945-1951). The third bibliography is Catalogue of the pamphlets, books, newspapers, and manuscripts relating to the Civil War, the Commonwealth and Restoration, collected by George Tomason 1640-1661 (1908).

Early American Imprints covers the materials listed in Charles Evans’ American Bibliography that was later supplemented by Roger Bristol. The bibliography lists books, pamphlets and periodical publications printed in the United States from 1639 to 1800. It also includes foreign language materials (eg. in Latin, French, Algonquin or Dutch).

At the moment, full text is not available for all books, pamphlets or other publications in either database. Book titles in Early English Books Online can be found by searching the library’s catalog. Unfortunately, records for titles in Early American Imprints (Evans Digital Edition) have not yet been made available through the online catalog. Please contact the Reference Desk for assistance or to comment on Early English Books Online and Early American Imprints (Evans Digital Edition).