Millikan Library First Floor Renovation Coming This Fall

Thursday, August 27, 2020


The first floor of the Millikan Library will soon be a productive and creative hub for the Caltech community. Renovations are underway to transform the space into a new home for the Library's Techlab for 3D printing, its technology lending program, an additional Caltech Archives exhibition space, and a cozy reading nook. Pro tip: While you're there, don't miss out on riding the elevator to the ninth floor reading room to take in the stunning view of the San Gabriel Mountains.

Millikan 1 RenderingThe east side of the first floor will be the future home of the Library’s Techlab. The new space will allow the Techlab to add a waiting area with soft seating, two additional 3D printers, and two dedicated post-processing tables where patrons can put the final touches on their completed prints.

The lobby will now be home to an additional Archives exhibition space, which will include physical pieces as well as a digital display. The first exhibit will be an extension of Becoming Caltech, which is the Archives’ current exhibit about how Throop University became the California Institute of Technology.

The west side of the first floor will be home to the technology lending program and feature a reading nook where you can purchase books or order them from the Library.

The space will be ready to welcome visitors when the campus can safely reopen.

CaltechAUTHORS Makes J. Morgan Kousser’s The Shaping of Southern Politics Available to All

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Since the Caltech Library digitized J. Morgan Kousser’s 1974 book The Shaping of Southern Politics: Suffrage Restriction and the Establishment of the One-Party South, 1880-1910 and made it available via open access repository CaltechAUTHORS in late July, it has already been downloaded over thirty times.

What makes this newly digitized book, which had yet to be publicly announced and was originally published almost 50 years ago, so popular? The title alone points to its relevance and timeliness and its author—Caltech Professor of History and Social Science, Emeritus J. Morgan Kousser—is well known for serving as an expert witness in over fifty federal and state voting rights cases. In 1981, he testified before a subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee about the renewal of the Voting Rights Act. In 2008, he published the first comprehensive history of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. After the U.S. Supreme Court effectively overturned Section 5 in 2013, Kousser published an analysis of over 4000 voting rights cases and other voting rights actions, which undermined the factual basis of the Supreme Court’s decision. In 2019, he used that extensive database in testimony before a subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee on a bill that seeks to restore Section 5.

The Shaping of Southern Politics: Suffrage Restriction and the Establishment of the One-party South, 1880-1910 was the first study of its kind that took partisanship into account when studying disfranchisement. Using a recently developed statistical method, Kousser was able to obtain estimates of the percentages of Black and white voters for each candidate, as well as the proportion who did not vote, in every presidential and gubernatorial election and in many primaries and referenda in the South from 1880 to 1910. As his Caltech profile reads, “Morgan Kousser is charting the history of the Voting Rights Act in an effort to influence the future of democracy in the United States.”

Kousser emphasizes that while everyone now assumes that race and partisanship are inextricably intertwined in voter ID policies, vote-by-mail battles, and closing precincts, they may not realize that race and partisanship have always been intertwined—in the disfranchisement of the late nineteenth century as well as today. Enfranchisement and disfranchisement have succeeded each other more than once in American history, always brought about primarily by laws, not by violence or cultural changes. That is one major implication of The Shaping of Southern Politics.

Now that Yale University Press has released the copyright, Kousser was able to work with the Caltech Library to make this important text more available. The production of the ebook required a library-wide effort: from disbanding and digitization (Access & Collection Services) and deposit and ISBN registration (Research Services) to DOI registration and distribution and long-term preservation of the digital asset (Digital Library Development) within its CaltechAUTHORS repository. Comprising over 90,000 research papers authored by Caltech faculty and other researchers at Caltech, the repository is updated continuously as departments and library staff add available and recently published documents.

Since its inception in 2002, CaltechAUTHORS has digitized 116 books, with The Shaping of Southern Politics now taking its place at 117. CaltechAUTHORS is part of CODA, the Caltech Collection of Open Digital Archives, managed by the Caltech Library. The mission of CODA is to collect, manage, preserve and provide global access over time to the scholarly output of the Institute. As of now, but maybe not for long, Kousser’s most downloaded text—coming in at 19,700 downloads—is a two-page dictionary article on Jim Crow Laws in the Dictionary of American History.

microPublication Biology indexed by PubMed

Monday, July 27, 2020

microPublication logo

As publisher, the Caltech Library is proud to announce that microPublication Biology is indexed in PMC and now appears in PubMed!

microPublication Biology is a new paradigm in scholarly communication, whose mission is to make all results from publicly funded research available to the public. With microPublication Biology, researchers can directly submit, have peer reviewed, and publish individual experimental results. While publishing  all data, microPublication has a particular interest in those data that are high quality but remain traditionally unpublished, these include negative results or results that are not perceived as being sufficiently novel and are cut from manuscripts to save space.

Importantly, unlike other journal platforms, information from each microPublication is directly incorporated into community databases —such as,,,, — thus advancing the goal of making the content of each microPublication computable. 

The Caltech Library has a long history of making scholarly works of Caltech researchers available online. By acting as a publisher for microPublication Biology, the Library expands its service to the scientific community. From the beginning of the microPublication project, the Library provided assistance with the steps needed for establishing a successful journal, such as getting an ISSN, applying for indexing services, assigning DOIs, and archiving content through Portico.

microPublication Biology articles are now discoverable through PMCPubMedEuropePMCGoogle Scholar, and library discovery services. PubMed indexing will bring more valuable open scientific findings to the attention of readers.

The Library and microPublication Biology are delighted to collaborate on this project and expect more great things to happen!

microPublication Biology icons

Safely Providing Library Services with Franses Rodriguez

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

picture of Franses RodriguezWhile the campus community sheltered in place, the Caltech Library continued to offer many of its services online, such as research assistance and access to electronic collections. The library is now resuming many of its in-person services again, with the exception of study spaces and research within the library buildings.

Specifically, physical items (including those borrowed from any location that can lend materials to Caltech via interlibrary loan), equipment loans, hold requests, check-ins, scan requests, and some mediated standard printing requests will be available. At this time, physical services will be offered only at the Sherman Fairchild Library via a walk-up window with Millikan and other campus libraries expected to open at a future date.

Franses Rodriguez, recently hired as the new Head of Access and Collection Services, is overseeing procedures to make the library safe for patrons and staff alike. The following steps are just some of the precautions being taken:

  • staff will wear face coverings inside the building
  • staff are not going to provide services to anyone who is not wearing a face covering (if someone is in need, there will be a supply available at the library)
  • returned books will sit at "rest" for 24 hours before staff handle them
  • all returned equipment will be immediately wiped with disinfectant
  • social distancing signs will be posted at all potential point-of-contact areas
  • staff cohorts will have separate schedules

Franses emphasizes that safety is a top priority. She has a passion for customer service, and she believes part of the work of the library is thinking about the many ways to improve patron services. Particularly relevant for re-opening a library during a time in which flexibility is needed, she hopes to create a holistic approach to the services the library offers—whether someone accesses them via phone, email, website or in person. She pointed out in an interview that “one thing we are guaranteed in life and in libraries is change.”

In her previous position at New York University, Franses served as Circulation Services Manager, overseeing Library Privileges, Circulation and Course Reserve Services at Bobst Library. She did her graduate work at NYU as well, receiving a master’s degree in Business and Workplace Education (Organizational Development).

Her new role at Caltech marks her return to Los Angeles, where she received her undergraduate degree and held her first library position as the Weekend Supervisor/ Reserve Specialist at USC’s Leavey Library. Born in Puerto Rico, she moved to Florida when she was nine years old and her first job was selling Mickey Bars at Disney World’s MGM Studios. She moves to Los Angeles with her husband of seven years, whom she met at USC, and her dog Lucy.

As Head of Access and Collection Services, Franses manages the effective daily operation of the Sherman Fairchild Library facilities and services, including circulation, technology lending, course reserves, security, and facilities maintenance. She supervises DocuServe, the Library’s highly regarded interlibrary loan and document delivery service, and is responsible for coordinating acquisitions and collection management, electronically and physically, in all six Caltech Library locations. She also ensures that the library offers friendly and welcoming environments that are conducive to learning, discovery and collaboration.

Franses is excited to continue her work in library services at Caltech. She particularly likes working in an academic environment and playing an important role in someone's educational growth. “I think libraries have historically been a center for opportunity and enlightenment and I love that every day I get to help staff, students, and faculty access information that will aid them in their personal and academic development.”

For the past month, Franses has been getting acquainted with her new colleagues remotely.  When asked about this long-distance orientation, she observed that while it was a bit strange, it's been going really well overall. She said, “I've had the opportunity to have really in-depth one-on-one conversations with many of my colleagues and will have many more in the upcoming weeks. I'm not sure if we would have been able to have the same in-depth conversations if we were all on campus because of the flurry of activity.”

However, when asked what she was looking forward to when everyone returns to campus, she spoke for many of us when she said, “Physical human interaction.”

For up-to-date information on the current library services available, please visit the Caltech Library website.

Kara Whatley and Kristin Briney join the Caltech Library

Wednesday, October 09, 2019

L to R: Kristin Briney, Kara Whatley

The Caltech Library is pleased to announce two new additions to our team: Kara Whatley, University Librarian, and Kristin Briney, Biology & Biological Engineering Librarian.

Kara Whatley (right) was the Head of Science & Engineering for the NYU Division of Libraries before coming to Caltech. Prior to that, she was the Life Sciences Librarian and Head of the Coles Science Center at NYU’s Bobst Library, and Interim Library Director at NYU Shanghai. 

Kara holds a master’s degree in biological sciences from Texas Tech University, a master’s degree in library and information studies from the University of Oklahoma, and a bachelor’s degree in biology from Hendrix College. She is an active member of the American Library Association, where she held offices in the New Member Roundtable and the Association of College and Research Libraries’ Science and Technology Section. Her professional and research interests include mentoring opportunities for new library professionals, user behavior in virtual reference environments, and effective communication in libraries.

Kara says that she “feels strongly that libraries should reflect the communities that they serve, and they must continuously engage their communities to ensure they are meeting the community’s needs and expectations.  Academic libraries seek to support the research and teaching of the institution they serve, and that supporting role requires building strong relationships across campus at every level.

“I look forward to working with Caltech faculty, students, and staff to build a library befitting the Institute, one that supports world-class research and pushes boundaries to address pressing needs in knowledge creation, dissemination, and preservation."

Kristin Briney (left) joins Caltech from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where she worked as a Data Services Librarian. She holds a Ph.D in physical chemistry and a master’s degree in library and information studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and computer science from DePauw University. She is also author of the book, Data Management for Researchers. Her professional interests include data management, open science, privacy, and converting the world to ISO 8601 (YYYY-MM-DD).

"So much interesting research is being done at Caltech,” Kristin says, “and I'm excited to join the Library to support researchers' information finding and publishing needs."

Library expands Cambridge Core Journals holdings from 73 to 660

Cambridge Core flyer
Monday, September 23, 2019

Caltech Library is very excited to announce a huge expansion the Library's Cambridge University Press journals. After a number of requests, the Library now subscribes to all journals on the Cambridge Core platform. Previously, the library had 73 Cambridge journals, none of them in their entirety. The Library has added 552 titles and more years for those previously held titles. Enjoy them

Sought-after titles that were added include:

  • Journal of Paleontology
  • Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology
  • MRS Online Proceedings Library Archive
  • MRS Advances
  • The Aeronautical Journal
  • American Journal of International Law

Take a look and see if there are some new titles for your work. Linking to these titles will be available through Web of Science, Google Scholar, and all major search indexes, including the library's A-Z journals list. (Search "Cambridge Core" in the metadata to see all of the library's new journals from Cambridge.) Questions? Please email library [at]

Trials & New Databases from HeinOnline - Updated 9/23/2019

HeinOnline logo
Monday, September 09, 2019 Heather


An Update: The HeinOnline products have been permanently added to the library collections! Thank you to the faculty and librarians who were able to obtain this great historical content for Caltech Library. 

The Library is providing access to some new content from the political science publisher, HeinOnline. Thanks to a faculty request, the Library will provide access to the following HeinOnline databases through September 2019:

Additionally, because the Library already subscribes to other HeinOnline databases, the publisher is providing free access to the following new databases:

Here are some highlights from Caltech Library's HeinOnline holdings:

Check out all of the Library's HeinOnline content and library [at] (let us know) what you think. Thoughts on the trialing resources are particularly welcome! 

CaltechDATA now provides usage information to DataCite

Wednesday, August 07, 2019



We now submit usage reports of views and downloads that follow the COUNTER Code of Practice to DataCite.  This allows you to see use over time in DataCite Search for any record in CaltechDATA by using the DOI: e.g. 

Support for Running Software Interactively using Binder

Friday, June 21, 2019


CaltechDATA is now a source of content for Binder, an open source service that allows you to interactively run software in your web browser.  Software that runs successfully on Binder will get a Binder badge on their CaltechDATA landing page like  Binder can run Python, R, and Julia code in a variety of interfaces and has extensive documentation.  Want help preparing your software?  Sign up for our workshop or ask for help by emailing data [at]  If your CaltechDATA record is ready for a Binder badge, send us an email at data [at] for approval.

Usage statistics listed in CaltechDATA

Wednesday, June 12, 2019


We now list unique views and downloads on every CaltechDATA item page.  We follow the COUNTER Code of Practice for Research Data Usage Metrics to define usage of our data files.  All usage tracking is via JavaScript using matomo, so our usage statistics definitely undercount actual usage.  Automated downloads from applications like curl or individuals who disable JavaScript manually or via an ad blocker are not included.  Research has shown this may be up to 60% of repository usage, and we hope to capture more of this usage in the future.  More info on usage statistics in CaltechDATA.