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Washington_Constitutional_Convention_1787_stearns

In commemoration of the initial signing of the United States Constitution on September 17, 1786, Congress has designated September 17 of each year as Constitution Day. All schools that receive federal funds have been charged with providing educational programming related to the Constitution on or near September 17.

As part of the UNT celebration, the UNT Honors College—with support from the UNT Libraries and funding from the Jack Miller Center—will be presenting a panel discussion on the constitutional issues raised by the recent Supreme Court decision in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges. In a 5–4 decision, the Court held that the fundamental right to marry is guaranteed to same-sex couples by the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, while also noting that the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment protects the rights of those who choose not to recognize same-sex marriage because it is against their religion.

Join us for this exciting discussion, “The Futures of Marriage Equality and Religious Liberty: Perspectives on Obergefell v. Hodges,” beginning at 11 a.m. in Room 100 of the Auditorium Building, 1401 W. Hickory St.

Pocket-sized editions of the Constitution will be distributed in at the panel discussion and will also be available throughout the day at the Eagle Commons Library.

Additional resources for celebrating Constitution Day have are available from the U.S. Department of Education, the National Constitution Center, the National Archives and Records Administration, and the Law Library of Congress.

Article by Bobby Griffith

Illustration: “Washington as Statesman at the Constitutional Convention,” by Junius Brutus Stearns (1856)

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Cover of current issue of English Teaching ForumEnglish Teaching Forum is a scholarly journal published four times a year (January, April, July, and October) by the U.S. Department of State and distributed abroad through U.S. embassies for the benefit of overseas teachers of English as a foreign language (EFL). It is also available online through the State Department’s American English Web site.

Most of the authors published in the Forum are classroom teachers. These are some of the types of information that have appeared over the years:

  • Stories and articles about American history and culture
  • News of English-teaching activities around the world
  • Technical articles about linguistics
  • Practical information about classroom techniques, including lesson plans and other suggestions
  • Information about language labs, programmed learning, and other methods of study
  • Discussion of specific language-learning problems
  • Games, puzzles, songs, skits, and other activities for learning and practicing English
  • Reviews of relevant books and software
Popular topics of the day are often used as starting points for language practice.

History

In 1953, President Eisenhower established the U.S. Information Agency (USIA) to promote U.S. policies overseas through news publications and broadcasts, as well as through educational and cultural exchange activities. Taking advantage of the burgeoning postwar interest in learning English, which was turning into the quasi-official language of modern democratic principles and the free market system, USIA began to sponsor various projects to promote the study of the English language in foreign countries and to improve the skills of EFL teachers. Many people teaching English in foreign countries had limited knowledge of the language themselves and little or no training in how to teach it.

In 1962, USIA experimented with publishing three issues of the English Teaching Newsletter, which contained scholarly research articles, teaching guides, and lesson plans prepared by English teaching professionals. So enthusiastic was the international response that the agency committed itself to publishing a regular quarterly journal of “facts and ideas for the teacher of English as a foreign language,” entitled English Teaching Forum, beginning in March of 1963.

Forum soon became the leading professional magazine in its field, evolving from the quaint black-and-white issues of the 1960s into a glossy, full-color magazine frequently enhanced with inserted supplements such as wall-size posters and vinyl flexi disc phonograph records. At its peak of popularity in the 1990s, Forum circulation reached a high of approximately 125,000 readers.

The USIA was abolished effective October 1, 1999, and its exchange and non-broadcasting information functions were transferred to the newly created Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. Issues of Forum published from 2001 to the present are available online through the State Department’s American English Web site, which also features many other resources for EFL teachers and students. Paper issues are still available overseas through the local embassy, and within the United States through the Government Publishing Office (GPO), but copies are no longer distributed to depository libraries, and circulation of the hard copy version has dwindled. Still, over 85,000 copies continue to be distributed, in more than 130 countries.

Sample issues of English Teaching Forum, with sample of vinyl flexi disc record.

Availability

English Teaching Forum was primarily intended as an overseas publication and a tool for furthering American diplomatic relations, so copies haven’t always been made consistently available within the U.S. Our collection at UNT has one large gap and is also missing several individual issues.

Paper copies at the UNT Libraries

The Government Information Connection @ Eagle Commons Library has paper copies of the earliest issues, from March 1963 to March–May 1967, under call number IA 1.17:[vol./no.] .

There is a lengthy gap in our collection until October 1980, by which time President Jimmy Carter had combined the USIA with the State Department’s Bureau of Educational Cultural Affairs to create a new agency called the U.S. International Communication Agency (USICA). Because of this agency reorganization, our issues from October 1980 to July 1982 are shelved under call number ICA 1.11:[vol./no.].

The name of the agency was changed back to the U.S.Information Agency in August 1982. Our paper copies from October 1982 to January 2000 are again shelved under call number IA 1.17:[vol./no.]

Online copies

After the demise of the USIA, English Teaching Forum was published by the U.S. Department of State. We have issues from July 2000 to January 2011 under the call number S 21.15:[vol./no.]. No paper copies have been received at UNT since the first issue of 2011.

Articles from 1993 to 1999 are available at the defunct USIA Web site, which still available as an archive but is no longer maintained or updated. Several features of the paper publication, including the Idiom Page (examples of idioms related to a theme in the issue), the Lighter Side (humorous anecdotes, jokes, and fun with language), Teacher Resources (book and software reviews), special inserts and posters, and articles or sections of articles that include copyrighted material, are not available in the online version.

Issues from 2001 to the present are available at the Department of State’s American English Web site. To find a particular article or issue, select the year it appeared, search by keyword, or browse by pedagogical category, skills, or type of content. The site also includes alternative formats such as audio and video files, posters, and puzzles and games.

Scanned copies of selected issues (minus the multimedia supplements) can be found in the HathiTrust Digital Library. Select “this exact phrase” and search “English Teaching Forum” in the Title field.

Article by Bobby Griffith.

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Pluto image from New Horizons flybyThe New Horizons space probe has sent us a postcard from Pluto, and it’s a valentine! Exactly 50 years after Mariner 4 became the first spacecraft to capture close-up images of another planet (Mars), New Horizons has become the first spacecraft to send back high-resolution images of Pluto, finally completing NASA’s initial reconnaissance of every planet in our solar system. A view of the planet captured just before New Horizon’s closest approach to Pluto is dominated by a large, bright feature informally named “the heart,” which measures approximately 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) across—about the distance from Denver to Chicago, in America’s own heartland.

Beginning its journey over nine years ago, on January 19, 2006, New Horizons swung by Jupiter for a gravity boost in 2007, then eventually made its historic flyby of Pluto—over 3 billion miles from Earth—on July 14, 2015. After continuing to explore the icy dwarf planet and its five known moons (Charon, Styx, Nix, Kerberos, and Hydra), the probe will plunge even deeper into the cold, mysterious Kuiper Belt, searching for clues to the origins of our solar system.

You can follow the journey of New Horizons on Twitter and obtain up-to-the-minute reports on the New Horizons Facebook page. Subscribe to the New Horizons YouTube channel to view several educational videos.

Learn more about the New Horizons mission on the NASA Web site. Resources include background information, factsheets, news reports, images, and videos. Their Pluto Toolkit includes a plethora of resources to help educators, students, and other interested persons make the most of this historic event.

Icy Mountains of Pluto

Close-up images of a region near Pluto’s equator reveal a giant surprise: a range of youthful mountains.

Article by Bobby Griffith.

Photo of Pluto and close-up of icy mountains of Pluto from New Horizons image gallery on NASA Web site.

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It’s a bird! It’s a plane! Wait — no, it’s the Eagle Commons Library‘s (ECL) latest addition: a GIS Librarian! My name is Douglas Burns, and I just wanted to give you all a public service announcement that GIS (or, as some people like to call it, geographic information systems) has arrived at ECL.

“What is this GIS thing?” you might be asking yourself. Let me explain with a little bit of background first: The UNT Libraries, in partnership with the Geography Department, created a librarian position dedicated to facilitating geographic information, education and research. This position, in turn, supports questions and research with a geographic emphasis. My first project is to create a Historic UNT Webmap illustrating the evolution of UNT’s campus over time to celebrate its 125th Anniversary. Below is a map depicting downtown Denton in 1883, before UNT existed:

Bird's Eye View of Denton, 1883

To facilitate this project, software such as Esri’s ArcGIS for Desktop will be utilized. ArcGIS for Desktop is a powerful software suite that specializes in the manipulation of geographic information. In today’s ever-changing, fast-paced world, we need a tool that synthesizes data in a variety of forms, puts it in its proper place, analyzes it, and helps make decisions. After all, everything happens somewhere. In the same vein, I recently heard the following observation at a conference: “…we are a GIS-enabled society, but we are not a GIS-literate society,” meaning that it is one thing to find a restaurant for tonight’s date on GoogleMaps versus the ability to leverage geoinformation into a formidable research asset. The more we can understand and visualize those patterns that emerge from the world around us, we can then make better informed (and hopefully better) decisions.

The key thing to keep in mind regarding GIS is that it is a tool for discovery. GIS has applications ranging from combating a forest fire/deforestation, to mapping out the human brain, to making a decision on where to open a new restaurant, to planning a new road or pipeline, to even charting the known universe. Additionally, the Digital Age is still relatively new. Listening to a tech segment on the radio on my drive home last week, I heard a statistic that blew me away: the last two years of human history generated more data than all previous years of recorded human history — combined. Think about that for a moment! While discovery is certainly a priority, grappling with and preserving existing/historic GIS data is also of paramount importance because it chronicles the development of our culture and society in ways parallel to paper maps. The detailed information contained within GIS about present conditions will prove fascinating hundreds of years from now when historians and anthropologists study the Information Age. As libraries house vast amounts of data and are continually generating new information, GIS naturally has one foot in the past and the other in the future. Bridging these disparate applications and goals is where I, the GIS Librarian, come into play. I welcome any questions, ideas or opportunities to collaborate.

With that, I invite you to stop by the Eagle Commons Library to check out what’s happening or simply to say hi.

 

Article by Douglas Burns.

Map showing Bird’s Eye View of Denton, Denton County, Tex.: 1883 drawn by Augustus Koch.

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Leadership Library Online Contact Database

This massive commercial database contains biographical and directory information for hundreds of thousands of administrators, board members, and other leading individuals at 40,000 government agencies, large companies, news media, and major professional and nonprofit organizations at the federal, state, and local level.

How It Works

You can search the database by the name of a person or organization and by keyword. You can search for a single individual or agency, or build a customized contact list by selecting specific criteria such as area of expertise, geographical location, and the size or type of organization. The “one-click list” feature allows quick and easy access to frequently-requested lists such as the 1000 largest public companies, all the current members of congress, or all the current governors in the U.S.

What It Contains

These are just a few of the data you can find out about a person:

  • Date of birth
  • Educational experience
  • Religion (of politicians)
  • Current job position
  • Current business and mailing address (with a link to the location in Google Maps)
  • Current e-mail address, fax, and phone number
  • Career history, including previous positions held

The Leadership Library integrates the contents of fourteen Yellow Books published by Leadership Directories, Inc.:

  • Congressional Yellow Book: The most comprehensive print directory available for current members of Congress and their legislative staff; also includes the latest election and campaign data
  • Federal Yellow Book: Directory of presidential appointees and other federal government administrators and staff at the cabinet and sub-cabinet levels
  • State Yellow Book: Directory of governors, executive staff, and state executive and legislative positions in all 50 states plus U.S. territories
  • Corporate Yellow Book: Directory of U.S. corporate leadership, including chief executives and board members from leading U.S. manufacturers, service businesses, and utilities; includes parent companies as well as subsidiaries, divisions, major departments, and boards of directors
  • News Media Yellow Book: Directory of reporters, editors, and executives at U.S. newspapers, television and radio stations, publishing companies, online publications, and periodicals; includes contact information for U.S. offices of foreign media outlets
  • Municipal Yellow Book: Directory of city and county governments and other local independent authorities such as utilities, housing, transit, and ports; includes the latest updates on new mayors and other local leaders
  • Federal Regional Yellow Book: Directory of regional directors and administrative staff members at federal departments and agencies, including field offices, regional headquarters, and military installations; includes U.S. marshals, attorneys, foundation trustees, and embassies and foreign service posts; access hundreds of listings of U.S. diplomatic missions to foreign countries, including U.S. ambassadors and staff of federal departments and agencies with offices abroad; keep up to date with pending confirmations and withdrawn nominations
  • Judicial Yellow Book: Directory of judges and their staff at the U.S. courts of appeals, district courts, and state courts; includes pending and recent judicial nominations
  • Financial Yellow Book: Directory of chief executives and board members at the most important financial organizations in the U.S.; organizational profiles include number of employees, business descriptions, and annual revenue
  • Associations Yellow Book: Contact information for executives and board members at the top trade and professional organizations; stay up to date on mergers, organizational restructuring, and board memberships; includes PAC directors, foundation heads, committee chairs, and more
  • Law Firms Yellow Book: Directory of U.S.-based law firms practicing general corporate law; find managing partners, general counsels, practice chairs, law librarians, and senior executives
  • Government Affairs Yellow Book: Directory of lobbyists and PACs, with organizational profiles, lobbying firm client lists, and listings of federal and state lobbying firms retained by each corporation, financial institution, association, and nonprofit organization; track former legislators who are now working as consultants and lobbyists, plus new policy directors who have migrated from government positions to the private sector
  • Foreign Representatives in the U.S. Yellow Book: Directory of foreign ambassadors and attachés, as well as executives and officials who manage the offices of the leading non-U.S. companies and organizations; includes CEOs, legal representatives, managing directors, trade commissioners, and international press offices
  • Nonprofit Sector Yellow Book: Directory of executives and board members at foundations, universities, museums, libraries, charities, and more; very useful for development, fundraising, and advancement projects

In their paper incarnation the first five of these directories are updated quarterly, and the rest are updated semi-annually. The Leadership Library database has the advantage of being verified and updated daily, whenever a change occurs. The information is often more extensive and more up to date than what is available on the agency’s official Web site!

Who Can Use It

Members of the UNT community can access this database from anywhere; guests may access the Leadership Library from the public computers available inside the UNT libraries. Follow these steps to get in:

  1. Start at http://www.library.unt.edu/
  2. Select “Databases” tab from left menu bar
  3. Select “Leadership Library on the Internet” from the “Select a Database” drop-down menu and click “Go” button
  4. Enter EUID and Password if your are off campus
  5. There are many ways to use the database, depending on your specific needs, but the most common approach is simply to enter a name or a keyword in the search box at the top of the screen and click “GO” or select from the suggestions that appear below the search box. The results will appear in a pop-up box.

Who might find this database useful? Just about anyone!:

  • Libraries rely on the database as a comprehensive, accurate, up-to-date reference tool.
  • Universities find it useful for placement and tracking of alumni.
  • Foundations and nonprofits use it to search for grants and sponsors.
  • Sales and marketing teams can use the verified contact information to generate thousands of valuable corporate and financial contacts.
  • Are you trying to sell to the government? Search hundreds of thousands of federal, state, and local government contacts to generate new business.
  • Advocacy and lobbying groups can use the database to contact influential members of Congress and state legislatures.
  • Do you need an attorney? The Leadership Library includes contact information for thousands of law firm, government, and lobbying contacts, including managing partners, general counsels, HR staff, and more.
  • Government agencies and embassies use the Leadership Library to build powerful relationships with the private sector, and even as a convenient contact directory for their own offices.

So whether you are a politician, journalist, entrepreneur, or citizen activist, this indispensable resource can prove a priceless powerhouse of information practical for a plethora of purposes. Come to the UNT Libraries and try it out today!

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consumer-information-catalogVisitors to the Eagle Commons Library in Sycamore Hall are encouraged to stop by our service desk and pick up a free copy of the new summer 2015 edition of the Consumer Information Catalog. Published since the 1970s by the FCIC (formerly the Federal Consumer Information Center, now the Federal Citizen Information Center), the Consumer Information Catalog lists around 200 publications available from numerous federal government agencies for little or no cost. These publications contain a plethora of practical information on a wide range of topics, including money, health, employment, housing, federal programs, education, and travel.

Those of a certain age may remember the popular television commercials run in the 70s and 80s, urging viewers to write to Pueblo, Colorado (ZIP Code 81009) for this free catalog. Technology has changed since then, and the FCIC’s mission has broadened considerably. Today they help people interact with the federal government through toll-free telephone numbers, print publications, Web sites, and other electronic media such as their USA.gov Twitter and Facebook accounts. You can download free government publications in PDF format directly off the Publications.USA.gov Web site.

The Consumer Information Catalog is revised and issued three times a year. Copies are made available through schools, libraries, consumer groups, and federal offices with large numbers of visitors. You can also get the catalog from your congressperson’s office or just by requesting it directly from the FCIC. Orders for publications in the catalog are still received and filled by the Government Printing Office (GPO) facility in Pueblo, Colorado, which has shipped over a billion consumer publications since they first opened in 1971.

Have you ever ordered anything from this famous and venerable catalog? We believe you’ll agree: “If it’s for free, it’s for me!”

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CIA sealThe Senate Select Committee on Intelligence has released the “Foreword,” “Findings and Conclusions” and “Executive Summary”—a total of over 500 pages—from its Committee Study of the Central Intelligence Agency ‘s Detention and Interrogation Program. The full report is more than 6700 pages long and remains classified, although it is an official Senate report.

This report is highly critical of the CIA’s actions following the terrorist attacks on 9/11, accusing the agency of responding to the national crisis by initiating a program of indefinite, secret detention and the use of brutal interrogation techniques that violated U.S. law, treaty obligations, and basic human values.

Additional views by six individual committee members accompany the released consensus summary.

Minority views and Additional Minority views were also presented by several senators who disagreed with the methods and conclusions of the report.

The CIA has responded with a Statement from Director Brennan on the SSCI Study.

Article by Bobby Griffith.

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On November 11 we honor the many selfless men and women who have risked and often sacrificed their lives for our freedom. Here are some ways you can show your appreciation for their service.

The U.S. flag is flown on Veterans DayPresidential Proclamation

Read the Presidential Proclamation announcing Veterans Day 2014.

National Veterans Day Ceremony

The National Veterans Day Ceremony occurs each year on 11/11 at 11 a.m. at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. Many regional observances also occur throughout the country. 

Veterans Day Deals for the Troops

Many restaurants and retailers are offering Veterans Day discounts or free meals to service members and veterans. Some offers even extend to family members. This is a partial list of discounts and other deals available to veterans, compiled by the Veterans Administration.

Teaching Materials

The National Education Association has a collection of Veterans Day teaching materials for Grades K–5. They include lesson plans, activities, a bibliography of children’s literature, and other resources.

Another teacher resource guide is available from the Veterans Administration. It includes activities, historical and statistical information, illustrations, a directory of veterans service organizations, information on flag etiquette, and more. It was created in 2009 but still contains many valuable resources.

History of Veterans Day

Although World War I officially ended with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles on June 18, 1919, the fighting had ceased several months earlier when an armistice went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of the year 1918.

  • On the first anniversary of this cessation of hostilities, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the first celebration of “Armistice Day.”
  • In 1926 the U.S. Congress passed a concurrent resolution urging the annual commemoration of Armistice Day with displays of the flag and other appropriate ceremonies.
  • In 1938 an act of Congress made November 11 an official national holiday.
  • In 1945 World War II veteran Raymond Weeks proposed expanding Armistice Day to honor all American veterans, not just those who served in World War I. A law was passed by Congress in 1954 to establish the new holiday, and shortly thereafter the law was amended to change the name from “Armistice Day” to “Veterans Day.”   
  • The Uniform Holiday Bill of 1968 arranged for four national holidays (Washington’s Birthday, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and Columbus Day) to be celebrated on Mondays every year so as to ensure a three-day weekend. Many Americans were not pleased with this decision, and in 1975 a law was passed to restore the observance of Veterans Day to November 11 of each year, beginning in 1978.

Read more about the history of Veterans Day at the Center of Military History Web site and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Web site.

Would You Like to Know More?

You can find other Veterans Day resources at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Web site. 

Article by Bobby Griffith.

Photo of U.S. flag from the Veterans Day Poster Gallery on the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Web site.

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The Library of Congress, in cooperation with Sony Music, has made available to the public a vast collection of historical recordings—the largest ever made publicly available online.

Nipper the dog listening to "His Master's Voice"On May 10, 2011 they officially launched the National Jukebox, a Web site that provides public access to over 10,000 recordings made between 1901 and 1925 by the Victor Talking Machine Company, still famous today for their advertisements featuring the dog Nipper listening to “His Master’s Voice” on a wind-up gramophone. These historical recordings are now owned by Sony, which has granted license for the Library of Congress to stream them online. Recordings available on the National Jukebox include not only music, but also spoken word recordings such as poetry and political speeches.

Through the additional cooperation of the University of California, Santa Barbara, these recordings can be searched online via cataloging data provided by UCSB’s Discography of American Historical Recordings database, itself an expansion of their earlier Encyclopedic Discography of Victor Recordings database.

Also available on the National Jukebox site is an interactive digital facsimile of the 1919 edition of the Victrola Book of the Opera. This tome was developed as an advertising gimmick, but contains much valuable educational information. It includes descriptions and illustrations of over 100 operas, and the online version links to recordings of excerpts from each that were available from Victor Records. Some of these recordings were made by such early 20th century luminaries of the operatic stage as Enrico Caruso, John McCormack, and Geraldine Farrar, while others are popular overtures and instrumental arrangements.

Here are a few holiday-themed tricks and treats from this vast collection to keep you entertained during the Halloween season:

Article by Bobby Griffith.

His Master’s Voice” painting by Francis Barraud from Wikimedia Commons.

 

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The official election day is November 4 this year, but UNT students, faculty, and staff who live in Denton County will have an opportunity to beat the crowds and vote early in the November 4, 2014 General Election without even leaving the Denton campus. Other voters from the community who are registered in Denton County will also be allowed to vote early on the UNT Denton campus.

Time and Place

From Monday, October 27 to Friday, October 31 the UNT Libraries, in cooperation with the Denton County Elections Administration, will host an early voting booth in Room 142 of Sycamore Hall. The voting area will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Visitors can park on campus for a fee.

Candidates and Issues

A Voter’s Guide from the League of Women Voters of Denton is available to help you become a more responsible voter by learning about the candidates and issues being voted on. Some of the more contentious local issues include an initiative to ban hydraulic fracturing (fracking) within Denton city limits, and a local option to allow the sale of all alcoholic beverages, including mixed drinks, in Denton. There are also several bond programs coming up for a vote.

Learn more about the upcoming elections at the Denton County Elections site and the Texas Elections Division Web site.

Don’t Forget Your I.D.

Don’t forget that now that a new Texas voter I.D. law has been passed and upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, you must now present one of the following forms of photo identification in order to vote:

Vote Texas

Information about voter registration, voting rights, special needs, and other issues related to voting in Texas is available at the Texas Secretary of State’s VoteTexas.gov page.

Contact Julie Leuzinger if you have any questions.

Article by Bobby Griffith.