Love Data Week 2022

Friday, February 11, 2022

Letters reading I <3 Data Love Data Week February 8-12

Join Caltech Library in celebrating Love Data Week 2022 – Celebrating Data, Improving Data Management, and Increasing Productivity through the LabArchives Research Notebook. Love Data Week is an international celebration of data that aims to promote good data practices, while building and engaging a community around topics related to research data management, sharing, preservation, and reuse. There's still time to attend a weeklong series of events dedicated to helping you improve the organization of your data while taking steps towards better overall data management through the LabArchives Research Notebook.

During Love Data Week, there's also no better time to learn more about CaltechDATA. The Caltech library runs a campus-wide data repository to preserve the accomplishments of Caltech researchers and share their results with the world. The service enables researchers to upload research data, link data with their publications, and assign a permanent DOI so that others can reference the data set. The repository can link with a Github account to automatically preserve software releases. You can also check out our file naming conventions worksheetproject close-out checklist, and data management plan resources.

CaltechDATA Welcomes the Caltech HTE Materials Experiment and Analysis Database

Thursday, February 03, 2022

CaltechDATA is pleased to welcome over 17,000 records from the Caltech High Throughput Experimentation (HTE) group. The Materials Experiment and Analysis Database (MEAD) was collected by the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis over many years. It contains raw data and metadata from millions of materials synthesis and characterization experiments, as well as the analysis and distillation of that data into property and performance metrics. The unprecedented quantity and diversity of experimental data are searchable by experiment and analysis attributes generated by both researchers and data processing software. Each record is uniquely identified with a DataCite DOI, which allows links to the datasets to remain the same even after the transition. Data storage is supported by a grant from XSEDE on the Open Storage Network. The migration of this database illustrates how data resources created at Caltech can be sustainably managed for the long term by Caltech Library in the CaltechDATA repository.

Announcing Vroman's @ Caltech Library

Monday, October 11, 2021

Three shelves of books and a sign advertising Vroman's @ Caltech LibraryA lobby with two red reading chairs, three shelves of books, and a sign advertising Vroman's @ Caltech Library

We are delighted to announce Vroman's @ Caltech Library, our new partnership with Pasadena’s own Vroman’s Bookstore, Southern California’s oldest and largest independent bookstore. According to a history shared by Vroman's, "Vroman’s Bookstore was founded in 1894 by Adam Clark Vroman. Born in 1856 in La Salle, Illinois, Mr. Vroman moved to Pasadena, California in the late 1800s hoping the weather would improve his wife Esther’s health. Sadly, Esther died two years later, and the brokenhearted Mr. Vroman sold his beloved book collection to raise the capital to open a bookstore. Mr. Vroman loved books and loved giving back to his community. He helped to rescue some of the old Franciscan missions from decay, helped establish the Southwest Museum (now part of the Autry Museum), and he was a great supporter of the Pasadena Public Library. There’s even a story of him loaning money to a competitor, and helping him establish credit with vendors, so that the man could start his own bookstore....When Mr. Vroman died in 1916, he left the bookstore to longtime employees, one of whom was the great grandfather of the current owner.

"Vroman’s Bookstore holds an important place in Southern California’s history. For many years, Vroman’s was the largest bookstore west of the Mississippi, and it continues to be the oldest and largest independent bookstore in Southern California. During World War II, Vroman’s donated and delivered books to Japanese Americans interned at nearby camps, returning on several occasions despite being fired upon by camp guards. Through the years, it has continued to be an independently owned family business, now consisting of two Vroman’s locations, two Vroman’s boutiques located at LAX airport, and an ecommerce site. In 2009, Vroman’s bought another beloved independent bookstore, Book Soup in West Hollywood, after its owner died and the store was in danger of closing....Vroman’s is a Pasadena institution, a literary landmark, a community center, and a wonderful tradition." The photos below are from the Vroman's Bookstore website.

Vintage photo of silver book bus outside of Vroman's BookstoreA well-lit bookstore exterior

University Librarian Kara Whatley and the Vroman’s staff have curated a collection designed specifically for the Caltech community. The collection is focused on academic research and science and technology titles published in the past year. The books are available for review and can be ordered in the TechHub located on the first floor of Caltech Hall. From scholarly monographs—such as Mathematical Models in the Biosciences and Water Resource Technology Management for Engineering Applications—to science-themed nonfiction for a more general audience—such as The Earthquake Observers: Disaster Science from Lisbon to Richter and Black Hole Blues and Other Songs from Outer Space—the collection seeks to capture the interests of Caltech students, staff, and faculty. Vroman’s entire inventory will also be available to order for campus delivery twice a week. Books can be picked up at the TechHub and delivery to campus offices is available. 

The Library is pleased to begin this community-building relationship and we look forward to curating additional special collections in the future. Visit Vroman's @ Caltech Library online or in person at the TechHub (first floor of Caltech Hall).

Welcome to the TechHub!

Friday, September 03, 2021

Students working at a table, a rendering of a building lobby, and two 3D printed replications of Rodin's The Thinker

This fall, the Library is pleased to welcome the Caltech community to our new TechHub. Located on the first floor of Caltech Hall, the TechHub is a productive and creative space offering several Library services and resources. It is currently the home of our TechLab for 3D printing and the location for our technology lending program, an additional Caltech Archives & Special Collections exhibition space, and our retail partnership with Vroman’s Bookstore. It will continue to evolve as a makerspace for play and experimentation.

The Caltech Library TechLab provides members of the Caltech community hands-on access to innovative rapid prototyping technologies to support the Institute's research and educational mission. The new TechHub space will allow the TechLab to add additional 3D printers, workstations to prepare files for printing, a comfortable waiting area, and two dedicated post-processing tables where patrons can put the final touches on their completed prints.

The TechLab offers an entry-level introduction to fabrication technologies, eventually with the hope of adding paper, vinyl, and laser cutting tools to the current 3D printing equipment. Library staff members, including Ian Roberts, Paula Gaetos, and Olivia Ramirez—who TechLab users may recognize from past orientations and mediated 3D printing work done for students and researchers who could not be on campus this past year—are available for consultations. They can determine optimal settings for your project’s particular needs, and they can help print prototypes for review and testing before committing to higher-end fabrication. Previous experience with the equipment is not required, but first-time users will be required to go through a brief orientation to the lab before using the equipment.

In support of other tech pursuits, the TechHub also lodges our technology lending program, where the Caltech community can borrow computer and audiovisual equipment. In addition to short-term lending, Caltech's iPad Loaner Program provides iPads and Apple Pencils to students for online collaboration and course work during the 2021-2022 academic year. Priority will be given to new incoming students.

The TechHub features an additional exhibition space for Caltech Archives & Special Collections, which showcases physical objects as well as a digital display. The first exhibit, Gone But Not Forgotten, is an extension of Becoming Caltech, the Archives’ 2020 exhibit about how Throop University became the California Institute of Technology.

We’ll soon be sharing more details about our partnership with Pasadena’s own Vroman’s Bookstore, Southern California’s oldest and largest independent bookstore. University Librarian Kara Whatley and the Vroman’s staff have curated a collection for Caltech, and Vroman’s entire inventory is available to order for campus delivery twice a week. The TechHub serves as a pickup location for those items.

TechHub Manager Ian Roberts is busy brainstorming ideas for other resources and services the TechHub can provide in the future, including a library of board games, a sewing machine, DIY repair toolkits, and possibly a 3D scanner. He hopes to eventually offer workshops in this “friendly crafting space for creative play.” When the campus fully reopens, stop by the TechHub and say hello.

Caltech Library Will Adopt the FOLIO Library Services Platform for Fall 2021

Wednesday, March 03, 2021

The logo for the library services platform FOLIO: the word folio in orange and an illustration of a bee.

After much research and deliberation, the Caltech Library is excited to announce we will adopt the FOLIO Library Services Platform (LSP) for use starting in the fall 2021 term. The open-source FOLIO platform will be hosted by EBSCO Information Services, the leading provider of discovery services, databases, and other information resources and services for libraries worldwide. EBSCO contributes substantially to the technical development of FOLIO software and offers FOLIO hosting and data management services.

The Library’s LSP Evaluation Team strongly supported FOLIO, which stands for the Future of Libraries Is Open, as our new platform. “FOLIO is the product of an open-source community that includes both vendors and libraries. Open-source software development is a natural fit for the Caltech spirit of innovation and open, reproducible science.” A contributing factor to the Library’s decision was the fact that “the FOLIO project is powered by libraries whose adoption of the system means they are extremely invested in solving problems with its day-to-day operations.”

Users will have unified access to the Library's print and digital collections (e-books, e-journals, databases) through the newly refined EBSCO Discovery Service. The Library will be engaging with the Caltech community during the configuration and testing of this new service.

University Librarian Kara Whatley was instrumental in the decision to move to a new LSP. She explains, “I think being new to the Caltech Library allowed me to ask questions and consider the answers with a fresh perspective. So, soon after I joined Caltech as University Librarian, I realized that we had some challenges with our current information access systems. I asked a team of staff from across the Library to create a list of ‘blue sky’ requirements for an integrated library system (ILS) or a library services platform (LSP) to meet the needs of our users and our staff. Armed with that list of requirements, the team then began a careful review of offerings in this arena. It soon became clear to the team and to me that FOLIO via EBSCO would be the best fit for users, our staff workflows, and our Library culture.” 

A Library Services Platform is much more than a traditional library catalog. FOLIO will allow the Library to integrate management of and access to both physical and electronic collections for the first time. There is also potential for more integrated access to other library collections of research outputs (such as CaltechAUTHORS and CaltechDATA) as well as Caltech Archives and Special Collections. Stephen Davison, Head of Digital Library Development, points out, “Two aspects of FOLIO are particularly attractive. It's an open source project, and the software is highly modular. This gives us a wide range of integration possibilities in the future, with other products and platform providers, and with software we develop ourselves.” 

The Library already has a solid relationship with EBSCO and thinks highly of the support they’ve offered through the years we’ve worked with them. Several of EBSCO’s support staff are now involved with FOLIO’s development and implementation so, as Kara Whatley explains, we’re in good hands. “We’ve worked with EBSCO for a number of years, relying on tools such as Full Text Finder and EDS to power our discovery services, and I could not be more excited about deepening our partnership with them by adopting FOLIO.”

The LSP Evaluation Team was unanimous in choosing FOLIO as a good fit for the Library, noting advantages such as its e-resource management and its ability to integrate with external applications. The Team’s comprehensive report states, “We believe that adoption of FOLIO will provide us with the potential to achieve efficient integration of our various Library services, as well as providing us with the ability to be creative to the degree that is appropriate for our size and standing. The hosting and other services provided by EBSCO bring us all the benefits of a closed vendor-built system, without being locked in.”

About Caltech Library

The Caltech Library partners with faculty, students, and staff across the Institute in the creation, dissemination, and discovery of knowledge. To advance the Institute’s mission to expand human knowledge and benefit society through research integrated with education, the Library catalyzes information discovery and sharing while functioning as a center for scholarship and innovation. The Caltech Library provides students, faculty, and staff with access to collections and repositories, research and instruction support, publication services, and preservation of data and archival materials:


FOLIO is a collaborative effort among libraries, vendors, developers and consortia that leverages open-source technology and a community-based effort to redefine library services and innovate based on library futures. By building on what libraries need and by leveraging library expertise as well as vendor capacity and velocity, FOLIO is designed to move libraries forward, build on the services they provide and redefine the role libraries play within their institution. FOLIO also levels the playing field and makes open-source technology available to all institutions regardless of size or staffing. FOLIO brings vendors together to innovate and host services for customers and introduces open source as a service to libraries. To sign up to participate or receive more information, go to

About EBSCO Information Services

EBSCO Information Services (EBSCO) is the preeminent provider of online research content and search technologies serving academic, school and public libraries; healthcare and medical institutions; corporations; and government agencies around the world. From research, acquisition management, subscription services and discovery to clinical decision support and patient care, learning, and research and development, EBSCO provides institutions with access to content and resources to serve the information and workflow needs of their users and organizations. EBSCO Information Services is a division of EBSCO Industries, Inc., a family-owned company since 1944. For more information, visit the EBSCO website at

Finals Week Event: Stress Free Library Island Getaway

Friday, February 26, 2021

A Nintendo Switch resting on a computer keyboard shows a gathering of Animal Crossing figures

If you miss our Stress Free Library events, we're switching gears and creating a virtual island getaway for finals week. In lieu of in-person therapy dog visits and jigsaw puzzles in the Sherman Fairchild Library, the Library will design a Stress Free Library island on the social simulation video game, Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

Join Beavs and friends at their livestream:

  • Wednesday, 3/10 at 5:30pm to 7:00pm -- Build Day, help us design our island
  • Friday, 3/12 at 2:00pm to 3:30pm -- Build Day, help us design our island
  • Monday, 3/15 at 5:30pm to 7:00pm -- Service Tours, Tour SFL Island
  • Wednesday, 3/17 at 5:30pm to 7:00pm -- Design Day, design our island flag, song, shirts
  • Friday, 3/19 at 2:00pm to 3:30pm -- Party Day, start off spring break with free island goodies + Beavs' birthday party!

Click through for the livestream!

Celebrate "Becoming Caltech" on Our 101st Anniversary

Monday, February 08, 2021

This Wednesday, February 10, commemorates the 101st anniversary of the day the Throop College of Technology officially became the California Institute of Technology. A visit to the Caltech Archives' "Becoming Caltech" presentations would be an excellent way to celebrate the Institute's storied history.

Like many of us, the Caltech Archives and Special Collections had big plans for 2020. Their new exhibit Becoming Caltech: Building a Research Community, 1910-1930 opened on February 10 in the Beckman Room, displaying a collection of historical documents, objects, photographs, and film that tell the story of Caltech's early growth.

In the 1910s and 1920s, Caltech dramatically reinvented itself, transforming from a manual arts academy to an engineering school, then expanding into a research institute. The school began building its current campus, recruited renowned faculty, constructed sophisticated laboratories, trained students to become leading researchers, and established new relationships with industry and government. On February 10, 1920, the Institute’s trustees acknowledged this transformation by changing the institution’s name from Throop College of Technology to California Institute of Technology.

The Archives staff were planning to offer a presentation on the exhibit at the Caltech Alumni Day celebration in May, but by mid-March, the COVID-19 pandemic had required the campus to close and all events to be canceled. There were hopes that the exhibit would re-open on September 1, but when that date arrived, the campus had shifted to remote learning for the fall term. However, the archivists working on Becoming Caltech were not to be deterred from bringing the exhibit to the Caltech community and general public.

Beginning on June 11, Commencement Day 2020, and running through August, the Caltech Archives staff took to Zoom and YouTube and recorded six hour-long, multimedia presentations covering nineteen topics: four discussions of Caltech’s architecture, five on the Caltech community, and ten on various aspects of the Institute’s early scientific advancement. Over the course of the summer, an average of 100 viewers tuned in to the livestreamed presentations, where members of the Archives staff and special guests shared items from the exhibit and offered historical insight.

The first presentation features University Archivist Peter Collopy, who serves as host for all the live streams, speaking on a topic of much relevance to viewers today: the arrival of the 1918 influenza epidemic to the Throop College of Technology. Loma Karklins, Archivist for Reader Services, presents on planning and building the campus that was to become Caltech. Senior Editor and Interviewer for the Caltech Archives, Heidi Aspaturian, documents the rise of seismology from Harry Wood to the Richter/Gutenberg scale. Finally, focusing on an appropriate subject for Commencement Day, Associate Archivist for Digital Collections Development Elisa Piccio discusses the early history of commencement at Caltech.

The remaining presentations highlight various subjects from the three themes of Becoming Caltech. “Becoming” traces Caltech's evolution through the reformation instigated by George Ellery Hale and catalyzed by World War I. "Building Research" chronicles both the history of science, engineering, and the humanities at Caltech—ranging from the core activities of the 1910s (electrical engineering, chemistry, and physics) to the new fields of the 1920s (genetics, seismology, and aeronautics)—and the architecture and construction of the buildings that housed this research. "Community" explores the lives and culture of the students, faculty, and staff who made up the Institute, including athletics, clubs, the Athenaeum, and the big T that students carved out of the forest on the side of Mt. Wilson.

The recorded presentations are now available on demand at Caltech’s YouTube channel. University Archivist Emeritus Judith R. Goodstein makes an appearance in Session 3 to discuss “E.T. Bell and Mathematics Between the Wars.” Tune in to Session 2 to learn more about women in the early days of Caltech or Session 6 to find out about the origins of the Athenaeum. Watch all six presentations to view archival items such as Throop College class pins, early architectural plans for the campus, the original Caltech flag designed by Belgian artist Godefroid Devreese, and photographs of Throop students practicing for trench warfare, experiments in high voltage, early Caltech basketball teams, and Southern California’s first wind tunnel.

In addition to links to all the presentations, the Archives page for Becoming Caltech also offers a bibliography for additional reading. Hopefully, not too far in the future, the exhibit will reopen in its physical form and visitors will be welcome to come to the Beckman Room and learn more about this fascinating time in Caltech history.

Caltech Archives Receives Grant for Pacific Standard Time 2024

Monday, February 01, 2021


A graphite drawing of the 200-inch Hale Telescope at Palomar Observatory viewed from inside its dome, drawn by Russell W. Porter during its construction in 1939.An ink and watercolor drawing of a fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, with the Blistered mutation leading to veiny wings, by Edith M. Wallace, July 31, 1930.A travel poster of exoplanet Kepler-16b, “the land of two suns,” created by Joby Harris and The Studio at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in 2016.A glass plate photograph of x-ray diffraction of nickel chlorostannate hexahydrate crystal created by Linus Pauling in approximately 1929.

The Caltech Archives have been awarded a grant to prepare for the next edition of the region-wide arts initiative Pacific Standard Time, scheduled to open in 2024. Caltech is one of 45 cultural, educational, and scientific institutions throughout Southern California to receive support from the Getty Foundation for their projects, all of which will explore the intersection of art and science.

Pacific Standard Time: Art x Science x L.A. will include dozens of simultaneous exhibitions and programs focused on the intertwined histories of art and science, past and present, that together address some of the most complex challenges of the 21st century—from climate change and environmental racism to the current pandemic and artificial intelligence—and the creative solutions these problems demand.  

The Caltech Archives’ project, “Virtual Witnessing: Seeing Caltech Science,” will tell stories from Caltech’s 133 years of using art and images in science and engineering research, science communication, and building campus community.

“Scientific images convey arguments, depicting nature not disinterestedly but in order to persuade viewers of particular theories and interpretations,” writes Principal Investigator and University Archivist Peter Collopy. “Historians, sociologists, and archivists of science, as well as scholars of science communication and visual studies, and indeed some scientists themselves, are increasingly coming to see laboratories as systems for the production of images as much as of textual documents.”

Examining Caltech as a site for research on the use and evolution of scientific images over the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, the project asks questions relevant to the themes of Art x Science x L.A: “How did the proliferation of photography change science? When did scientists use photographs, when illustrations, and why? How have the scientific uses of each of these media changed as they have become digital? How have scientists creating images outside the art world learned from and taught those within it? How have they incorporated artistic ideals into their work?”

The structure of “Virtual Witnessing: Seeing Caltech Science” is to have twelve researchers—scholars of art history, visual culture, and the history of science—pursuing their own projects on the history of Caltech’s engagements with the visual, some within science and some beyond. Research will be supported by the historical collections of the Caltech Archives, and by investigation of the image collections held by laboratories and other research groups across campus. Depending on individual contributor’s projects, research will also likely extend to off-campus sites of Caltech science, including the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Palomar Observatory.

Claudia Bohn-Spector, the curator for “Virtual Witnessing,” notes that “images are often considered a by-product of science when they are really constituting science.” She hopes the project will illuminate how these visual objects originate in and move beyond Southern California—not just the images themselves, but also “unique ways of collaborating with other makers in the cultural field.”  Her work will draw from these contributions to produce a synthetic exhibition on Caltech’s visual culture.

The project participants include Caltech researchers Brian Jacobson, Professor of Visual Culture, and Anne Sullivan, Weisman Postdoctoral Instructor in Visual Culture, as well as independent scholars and researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles; University of California, Santa Barbara; Yale University; University of California, Berkeley; and Northwestern University.Caltech joins a diverse community of Southern California institutions that will present exhibitions, publications, performances, and public conversations and programs in 2024 as part of Pacific Standard Time: Art x Science x L.A. In Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. 1945–1980, more than 60 cultural institutions joined forces between October 2011 and March 2012 and rewrote the history of the birth and impact of the L.A. art scene. In Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, presented from September 2017 through January 2018, more than 70 institutions collaborated on a paradigm-shifting examination of Latin American and Latinx art, seen together as a hemispheric continuum.

“We applaud our partners for embracing remarkably diverse and imaginative approaches to this PST’s theme of art and science,” says Joan Weinstein, director of the Getty Foundation. “Beyond the inventiveness they are bringing to their individual research topics, they will build new community partnerships and engage the public in civic dialogues around pressing issues of our time. This will be a PST defined by creativity, curiosity, and community.”


  • A graphite drawing of the 200-inch Hale Telescope at Palomar Observatory viewed from inside its dome, drawn by Russell W. Porter during its construction in 1939.
  • An ink and watercolor drawing of a fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, with the Blistered mutation leading to veiny wings, by Edith M. Wallace, July 31, 1930.
  • A travel poster of exoplanet Kepler-16b, “the land of two suns,” created by Joby Harris and The Studio at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in 2016.
  • A glass plate photograph of x-ray diffraction of nickel chlorostannate hexahydrate crystal created by Linus Pauling in approximately 1929.

Announcing Caltech Library's Publication of The Atlas of Bacterial & Archaeal Cell Structure

Monday, December 21, 2020

On December 21, the California Institute of Technology Library published its first textbook, The Atlas of Bacterial and Archaeal Cell Structure, as part of their new publishing program. The Caltech Library now publishes researcher-led, open access journals and books that serve the larger academic community. Research data specialist Tom Morrell is the engineer behind the new publishing platform developed by the Library, which helps researchers preserve content and share findings widely with minimal cost and substantial impact.

The innovative platform hosted on GitHub—integrating customized tools, CaltechDATA, and the open source software Pandoc—was devised as a joint project of the Digital Library Development team, led by Stephen Davison, and the Research Services department, facilitated by subject librarians Kristin Briney and Donna Wrublewski. The publishing program continues the Library’s long history of making the scholarly works of Caltech researchers available online.

The Library publishing program partnered with Bren Professor of Biology Paul W. Sternberg to create the first publication to emerge from the Library. microPublication Biology is a peer-reviewed journal for research that does work outside the confines of traditional academic publishing—brief, novel findings, negative and/or reproduced results, and results that may lack a broader scientific narrative.

The Library’s first textbook publication Atlas of Bacterial and Archaeal Cell Structure, co-written by Professor of Biophysics and Biology Grant Jensen and Research Scientist Catherine Oikonomou, is now available to readers, researchers, and educators worldwide.

The book draws on the specialized expertise of the Jensen Laboratory at Caltech in state-of-the art 3D cryogenic electron microscopy (Cryo-EM). In the 1960s, international researchers began to use electrons rather than light to study cells, and later advancements allowed biological samples to be frozen before viewing to protect them from destruction (a coup that resulted in the 2017 Nobel Prize in Chemistry). Over the last 15 years, this technique has allowed researchers to see for the first time inside the tiny cells of bacteria and archaea, revealing rich interior structures never before imagined. 

To share these images with the world, Jensen and Oikonomou developed a textbook geared toward students in undergraduate and graduate-level cell biology courses. They found the traditional textbook industry was being revolutionized by electronic options, making it no longer profitable to print books with lots of color images. As a result, the authors decided to release the textbook as a free online resource in partnership with the Caltech Library.

The development of an interactive publication freed the authors to offer much richer content, with movies to show the 3D data and flexible navigation options for readers to tailor their experience. The result is a guided tour of the microbial cell, using more than 150 movies of dozens of different species to illustrate the architectural features that allow cells to grow, divide, move, and thrive. 

Modeled on classic atlases of electron micrographs for medical students, Atlas of Bacterial and Archaeal Cell Structure is an experiment in open-access textbook publishing, aiming to take full advantage of the digital medium to showcase this state-of-the-art 3-D scientific imaging.

Donna Wrublewski Chosen as New Head of Research Services

Wednesday, December 02, 2020


photo of Donna Wrublewski
For most of the past year, working remotely and multitasking consistently, Donna Wrublewski has served as Chemistry & Chemical Engineering Librarian, Interim Humanities Librarian, and Interim Head of Research Services. After an extensive interview process, she is now assuming a new role in the Library as of this month: permanent Head of Research Services.

The Research Services (RS) group focuses on reference and research assistance, instruction, and liaison outreach to campus groups to inform them about Library resources and services. Donna’s team of seven librarians and two senior library assistants serves as the primary point of contact between the Library and the Caltech community. The group also has primary responsibility for collection development evaluations and decisions. Donna will supervise and help coordinate activities within RS, between RS and other Library groups including Library Administration, and between RS and the rest of campus.

When asked what she would like the faculty and students to know about the Library’s research services, Donna responded, “Please do not hesitate to ask us anything. Seriously. All of the following are valid questions that we can answer: ‘Can you buy this book? Do we have access to this journal? Can you help me find properties of a fiberglass-reinforced composite material called G10?’” She clarified that the last question was a real patron request. Donna had worked on G10 as a graduate student in polymer engineering, so she was able to really dig into the literature and help the patron find some useful information.

Donna emphasized that all the Research Services librarians are highly trained, and several have bachelor’s and advanced degrees in the sciences and engineering. She said that students and faculty should not be afraid to “speak geek” to them—they will more than likely know what the patrons are talking about, as they follow the research activities of campus very closely. (And if by chance they don’t know, they’ll learn pretty quickly to help the researcher find what they need.)

Donna will now be in charge of designing and implementing a research service vision that responds to current and emerging needs at Caltech. Leveraging the strengths of an institution of Caltech’s size and prominence, Donna will be a leader, both on campus and in the greater library community, for scholarly communication, open access and publishing, and open science initiatives. She hopes that this new role will allow her to strengthen the support that Research Services offers to research and teaching activities on campus. By continually identifying new and evolving campus needs, she can focus staff efforts and training toward meeting those needs.

It's not surprising to learn that someone who has worked in a variety of positions at the Library enjoys the work environment. Donna explained, “I like helping people, especially through teaching. And I like learning new things. There’s always something new to learn, either a subject, a technology, a development in the library field, and more. It’s a lot like graduate school that way (but with slightly better hours).”