Combo Category


Celebrating the Iowa Connection to “Silent Spring”

My Friend, Rachel Carson: Shirley Briggs and the Iowa Connection to “Silent Spring”

Rachel CarsonFifty years ago, Rachel Carson published “Silent Spring,” a lucid and compelling book about how DDT and other pesticides were damaging the environment and human health. The book called for a change in the way humankind viewed the natural world and became an inspiration for the environmental movement. One of Carson’s staunchest advocates and closest friends was Iowan Shirley Briggs, who met Carson when they worked together at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in the 1940s.

To recognize this Iowa connection to “Silent Spring,” the University of Iowa Libraries and Office of Sustainability are presenting a symposium and exhibition opening, Thursday, Nov. 15, inspired by the extensive collection of Briggs’ diaries, letters, photos and artwork in the Iowa Women’s Archives.

The symposium begins at 4:30 p.m. Nov. 15 in Phillips Hall Auditorium (100 PH), followed by an opening reception in the UI Sciences Library, where an exhibit of Briggs’ photos, writings, art work and memorabilia will be on display through Jan. 7. “A Sense of Wonder,” a short film about the last days of Rachel Carson as she struggled with cancer, will be shown from noon to 1 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 14 at the Iowa City Public Library.

Speaking at the symposium will be Liz Christiansen, director of the UI Office of Sustainability, who will read from “Silent Spring” and tell about Carson’s legacy to the environmental movement. Kären Mason, curator of the Iowa Women’s Archives, will talk about Briggs and her connection to Carson’s work. Brief clips from “A Sense of Wonder” will also be shown.Shirley Briggs

Briggs, an Iowa City native, was the author of “Basic Guide to Pesticides” (1992), inspired by the many requests for information about pesticides after “Silent Spring” was published in 1962. Briggs attended the University of Iowa earning a B.A. in art, art history, and botany in 1939 and an M.A. in art and art history in 1940. She studied with Grant Wood at UI. In 1945, she was hired by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as an artist. She became close, lifelong friends with Carson and with other noted naturalists, such as Roger Tory Peterson, through her work as editor of the Atlantic Naturalist, a publication of the Audubon Naturalist Society of the District of Columbia.

After years of research in the United States and Europe, Carson made the decision to produce “Silent Spring.” This landmark work was linked to the increase of awareness of the impact of persistent, bio-accumulative chemical pollutants in the environment – these include DDT, mercury, Chlordane and Dieldrin, among others. These deadly chemicals are still being cleaned up and removed from the environment.

After her book’s publication, Carson was vilified by chemical companies. Her writings about the impact of legacy chemicals led to landmark legislation and the banning of the use of DDT. She died in 1964 after a long battle against breast cancer. After Carson’s death, Briggs created a non-profit organization, the Rachel Carson Council, a pesticide research information clearinghouse for both scientists and lay people.

Just eight years after “Silent Spring” was published, President Richard Nixon established the Environmental Protection Agency and with an extensive directive, helped pave the way for a series of important environmental laws, such as the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts.


Workshop: Gray Literature

Please join the Sciences Library for:

Lunch @ the Library: Gray Literature

At 12:30-1:20pm on Wednesday, November 7th in 102 SL (Sciences Library classroom).

What is gray (or grey) literature? Characteristics of gray literature include:

  • Not usually available through sale
  • Publication is not systematic
  • Contains significant research information
  • Includes unpublished research
  • Contains high level of detail
  • May be difficult to locate

Document types include:

  • Pre-Prints
  • E-Prints
  • Academic Works
  • Commission Reports
  • Committee Reports
  • White Papers
  • Technical Reports
  • Government Reports
  • Conference Reports
  • Technical Standards
  • Dissertations
  • Theses
  • Working Papers
  • Market Surveys
  • Data Sets

In this workshop, Marianne Mason, U.S. Federal Information Librarian, will teach you how to find gray literature, how to use it in your research, and how to cite it. And as always, how to get help when you need it.

The workshop is open to all UI students, faculty and staff. There is no need to register. You may bring your lunch if desired, but coffee and cookies will be provided. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Sara Scheib at (319) 335-3024 or



Hurricane Sandy Resources

All eyes are focused on the East coast this week as Hurricane Sandy prepares to make landfall. Here are some great web resources to help you stay on top of the situation:

NOAA – StormCentral 2012 – Event: Sandy – Includes the latest advisories from the National Hurricane Center, satellite images, rainfall forecast graphics and tide and water level predictions.

USGS – Flood Information – Hurricane Sandy – In anticipation of the arrival of Hurricane Sandy, the USGS has deployed storm tide sensors real-time streamgages. View the Storm Tide Mapper for real-time map-based information, or view the list of affected streamgages.

USGS – Coastal Change Hazards – Hurricane Sandy – Learn how Hurricane Sandy could lead to dramatic coastal change through the erosion of beaches and dunes.

USGS – WaterWatch – Provides information about current and historical streamflow conditions.

NASA – Hurricane Sandy – Satellite observations and images of Hurricane Sandy from NASA.

What other resources do you use to stay informed about extreme weather events? Share in the comments.


Web of Knowledge Enhancements

Do you use Web of Knowledge or Web of Science? Some new enhancements were added to the abstract and citation database this week, including improvements to the Author Search (previously known as Author Finder), editing results sets, ReseacherID, Citation Alerts and the new Data Citation Index.

To learn more, view this short video or read the Web of Knowledge upgrade announcement.

If you would like to arrange for a one-on-one or group tutorial of Web of Science, please contact the Sciences Library at (319) 335-3083 or


Web of Knowledge Maintenance Alert

Web of Knowledge/Science Maintenance Alert

Please be advised that scheduled maintenance will take place beginning on Sunday, October 21, 2012 at 1400 GMT (9:00AM CDT) and ending by Monday, October 22, 2012 at 0200 GMT (9:00PM CDT). Web of Knowledge may not be available during that period. We apologize for any interruption this may cause.


Workshop: SciFinder Tips & Tricks

Please join the Sciences Library for:

Lunch @ the Library: SciFinder Tips & Tricks

At 12:30-1:20pm on Wednesday, October 24th & 31st in 102 SL (Sciences Library classroom).

This workshop will be focused on SciFinder, one of the best resources for chemistry literature and chemical information. It is open to all UI students, faculty and staff. There is no need to register.

In this workshop you will learn how to:

  • Register for a SciFinder account;
  • Access SciFinder from off-campus;
  • Use SciFinder to explore references, substances and reactions;
  • Save searches and create alerts to keep up with the information in your field;
  • Export citations to citation management tools such as RefWorks;
  • Find the full-text of articles indexed in SciFinder;
  • Get help when you need it!

Bring your lunch, if you wish. Coffee and cookies will be provided. If you have any questions about this workshop or SciFinder, please contact Sara Scheib.


Web of Science & Scopus Workshops

Please join the Sciences Library for:

Lunch @ the Library: Web of Science & Scopus Workshops

At 12:30-1:20pm on Wednesday, October 10th & 17th in 102 SL (Sciences Library classroom)

You may bring your lunch. Coffee and cookies will be provided.

In this workshop, you will learn how to:

  • Access Web of Science & Scopus from off-campus;
  • Search for journal articles using specialized science abstract and citation databases: Web of Science & Scopus;
  • Find the full-text of articles indexed in Web of Science & Scopus;
  • Set up alerts to keep up with the literature in your field;
  • Get help when you need it!



Library 101 Workshop (10/3)

Please join the Sciences Library for:

Lunch @ the Library: Library 101

At 12:30-1:20pm on Wednesday, October 3rd in 102 SL (Sciences Library classroom)

You may bring your lunch. Coffee and cookies will be provided.

In this workshop, you will learn:

  • What kinds of resources and services are available at the University of Iowa Libraries.
  • How to use My Library Account, Smart Search, the InfoHawk catalog and InfoLink to find the information you need for your research.
  • How to access library resources from off-campus.
  • What to do when the library doesn’t have the materials you need.
  • How to get help when you need it.

ScienceDirect & Scopus Downtime (8/25)

The Elsevier products ScienceDirect, Scopus, Hub, Applications, SciVal, Journals Consult and the Admin Tool will be unavailable for approximately 19 hours on Saturday, August 25, 2012 due to scheduled maintenance and updates.

Expected Downtime: 6:30am Saturday, August 25th – 1:30am, Sunday, August 26th (CDT).

According to Elsevier, the updates will result in the following changes:

“ScienceDirect: Effortless access to relevant information thanks to a new design for journal article and book chapter pages as well as improved user experience for RSS feeds, image search, and other features.

Scopus: Easy updates with Alerts Features functionality improvement.

Hub: Faster and friendlier search capability through several new features.”

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. During this downtime, you may find Web of Science to be useful as an alternative resource. Please contact the Sciences Library at or (319) 335-3083 if you have any questions.


Scopus is here!

The University of Iowa Libraries has added a new abstract and citation database to its collection. Scopus is similar to our current database Web of Science (WOS). While it has fewer years of journal coverage than WOS, for more recent years, Scopus is the largest abstract and citation database. It includes peer-reviewed titles from international publishers, Open Access journals, conference proceedings, trade publications, and quality web sources. It’s subject coverage includes: Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics and Engineering ; Life and Health Sciences ; Social Sciences, Psychology and Economics ; Biological, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

Scopus is available to students, faculty and staff of the University of Iowa and can be accessed both on and off-campus at:

Scopus features include:

  • Linking to full-text articles and other library resources.
  • Author Identifier to automatically match an author’s published research including the h-index.
  • Citation Tracker to simply find, check and track citations in real-time.
  • Affiliation Identifier to automatically identify and match an organization with all its research output.
  • Journal Analyzer provides a quick insight into journal performance.
  • Alerts, RSS and HTML feeds to stay up-to-date.
  • Document Download Manager to easily download and organize multiple full-text articles simultaneously.
  • Interoperability with SciVerse ScienceDirect, Reaxis and ProQuest’s CSA Illumina.
  • Data export via bibiliographic managers such as RefWorks, EndNote and BibTex.

For more information about Scopus, please visit About Scopus. View tutorials and other information at Scopus Help. If you have questions or would like to arrange a demonstration of Scopus for yourself or your class, please contact the Sciences Library at 319-335-3083 or