Posted by & filed under Data about Databases, Special Days.

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.


Posted by & filed under Local Doings, Make a Difference.

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 page.

Contact Julie Leuzinger if you have any questions.

Article by Bobby Griffith.

Posted by & filed under Local Doings, Special Days.

"The Constitution," by Barry Faulkner

During the hot, muggy summer of 1787, a Grand Convention was called together at the Pennsylvania State House (now called Independence Hall) in Philadelphia for the purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation, which had proved a highly unsatisfactory document for holding the United States together during the first 13 years of the young nation’s existence. While waiting for enough delegates to arrive to make a quorum, James Madison took the initiative of drawing up an initial proposal to get the discussion going: the so-called Virginia Plan.

Benjamin Franklin almost lets the cat out of the bag.The delegates had a complex, delicate task ahead, and precautions were taken to insure secrecy so that everyone would be able to speak his mind honestly and change his mind freely as discussions progressed. Heavy curtains were drawn, and windows were nailed shut. The notoriously bibulous and garrulous Benjamin Franklin was accompanied during public excursions by chaperones charged with making sure he wouldn’t inadvertently reveal too much. James Madison took extensive notes of the debates. Over the next four months the delegates sweated, argued, and struggled with the task of devising a system of government adequate to meet the needs of a new nation. They didn’t just revise the Articles of Confederation; rather, they produced an entirely new document from scratch, perhaps overstepping the bounds of their original mandate.

James Madison, Father of the ConstitutionOn September 17, 1787 the final draft of the Constitution of the United States was signed by 39 of the 55 delegates. The document was then sent to the states for ratification while James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay campaigned for acceptance of the new constitution in a series of articles and essays that were eventually compiled and published under the title The Federalist. Their arguments—plus the promise of a Bill of Rights enumerating certain personal freedoms not explicitly provided for in the Constitution—proved persuasive, and the new Constitution went into effect on June 21, 1788, after New Hampshire had become the ninth state to ratify it.

Constitution of the United StatesIn commemoration of these momentous events, Congress has designated September 17 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.

In celebration of Constitution Day, University of North Texas students, faculty, staff, and visitors are warmly invited to enjoy trivia, prizes, and a free pocket Constitution (while supplies last).

Join us on the UNT Library Mall from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and at the Eagle Commons Library in Sycamore Hall from noon to 3:00 pm.

Pocket-size U.S. ConstitutionPocket-size editions of the U.S. Constitution will be distributed at the following locations:

This event is sponsored by the following UNT departments and organizations:

Contact Julie Leuzinger for more information.

Quote by James Madison at the Library of Congress

Article by Bobby Griffith.

Photos of the U.S. Constitution and Faulkner mural from National Archives and Records Administration.

Cartoon from NT Daily (September 17, 1987).

Photo of James Madison quote from Library of Congress.

Posted by & filed under Is that a Document?, Special Days.

Flag that flew over Fort McHenryTwo hundred years ago, while the American lawyer and Sunday poet Francis Scott Key was negotiating the release of certain prisoners from the British during the War of 1812, circumstances compelled him to remain on board a British ship and watch helplessly as Fort McHenry was bombarded during the Battle of Baltimore on the night of September 13 through 14, 1814. Heartened by the sight of the American flag still waving the following morning, Key was inspired to write his most famous lyric, “Defence of Fort McHenry,”  set to the tune of “To Anacreon in Heaven,” a popular British drinking song of the day.

The song has four stanzas, although most Americans are familiar with only the first, which asks a question but does get to the answer. Nowadays even extended performances almost always skip over the embarrassing third stanza, in which Key—a slave-owner himself and as District Attorney a frequent prosecutor of those who would speak out against the practice of slavery—has the nerve to jeer at the “hireling[s] and slave[s]” who had joined the British forces in order to secure their own blessings of liberty from lives of slavery and oppression. Even in Key’s lifetime the hypocrisy of these lyrics made them a target of parody.

Land of the Free, Home of the Oppressed

Still, the song gained in popularity, especially during the nationalistic fervor of the Civil War, and by the end of the century “The Star-Spangled Banner,” as it had become known, was one of the most beloved of American patriotic songs and had become accepted by the armed forces as the de facto national anthem, in spite of its allegedly unsingable melody. Several other songs vied with Key’s for the position of official national anthem, including “Yankee Doodle,” “America,” and especially “Hail, Columbia.” There was even a contest for a new anthem that produced such dreadful proposals that we can be grateful to the committee that they did not designate a winner.  In 1931, over a century and a half after the founding of the United States of America, Congress finally made things official and designated “The Star-Spangled Banner” as the national anthem.

Learn more about the origin and history of this song at the Smithsonian Institution’s online exhibit.

Read about the history of the song’s melody in The Music of The Star-Spangled Banner from Ludgate Hill to Capitol Hill, an article by William Lichtenwanger that was first published in the July 1977 issue of the Quarterly Journal of the Library of Congress.

Listen to a jaunty arrangement for brass band that gives a sense of how it probably sounded in Francis Scott Key’s day. The printed sheet music for the first printed edition combining words and music is available online from the Library of Congress.

Listen to the official arrangement used by the U.S. Armed  Forces Bands on the Internet Archive. An official edition of the conductor’s score and individual instrumental parts of this arrangement is available in the Government Documents collection in the UNT Eagle Commons Library.

Band music for "The Star-Spangled Banner"

Article by Bobby Griffith.

Photo of the flag that flew over Fort McHenry from the Smithsonian Institution.

Political broadside illustration from HarpWeek American Political Prints, 1766–1876.

Photo of score and parts to instrumental arrangement by Bobby Griffith.

Portrait of Francis Scott Key attributed to Joseph Wood from Wikimedia Commons.

Posted by & filed under Data about Databases, Is that a Document?.

WWI posters display at UNT LibrariesThe UNT Eagle Commons Library has just put up a display of World War I posters that are featured in our Digital Collections. The display is accented by toy soldiers from UNT Library employee Bobby Griffith’s private collection.

As a fun way to see if the students looking at our library displays, we have placed a note in the display that if a student is interested in getting a toy soldier of their very own, they can ask for one at the Eagle Commons Library Service Desk.  We will be giving out one soldier per day, per patron.

These posters, as well as other World War I posters and related materials available the UNT Libraries, can be identified and located by searching the UNT Library Catalog.

For help accessing these posters or any UNT Libraries resources, please visit the Eagle Commons Library Service Desk or call 940-565-2194.

WWI Poster Exhibit at UNT Eagle Commons Library    WWI Poster Collection Exhibit at Eagle Commons Library

Article by Jenne Turner.

Photos by Bobby Griffith.

Posted by & filed under Data about Databases, Toys "R" U.S..

CDC HeadquartersCDC (previously Centers for Disease Control; now Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but still retaining just the three letters) is the primary federal agency responsible for protecting public health in the United States. Its scientists and other researchers collect data in the United States and throughout the world to track diseases, investigate real and potential outbreaks, detect and minimize germs and other risk factors, and deal with just about every kind of health-related emergency.


CDC WONDER Home page (detail)CDC WONDER (the slightly strained acronym is short for “Wide-ranging ONline Data for Epidemiologic Research”) is an online public information health system created by CDC.  It provides an integrated, one-stop point of access for the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), prevention guidelines, and numerous other CDC reports and guidelines. There is also a vast collection of statistics related to public health.

These are a few of the topics you can find information on here:

  • Births and deaths, including cause of death
  • Risky behaviors
  • Incidents of cancer, AIDS, diabetes, and many other diseases
  • Hospital discharges

Each data set can be investigated through a system of menus, search boxes, and fill-in-the-blank request forms. When the data is retrieved, it can be viewed online or exported into a word processor, spreadsheet, or statistical analysis program. If you wish to report an error or other problem, need technical assistance, or just want to make a comment, there is a customer support team to help you.

In addition to providing the general public with access to information from the CDC, this database provides fast, simplified access to timely data that doctors, researchers, and administrators can use for investigating public health concerns, setting priorities, making decisions, allocating resources, and evaluating programs.

PHIL: Public Health Image Library

Sample image from the Public Health Image LibraryIt has been said that a picture is worth a thousand words, and the field of public health is a prime example of an area of knowledge where it is often easier to communicate through images rather than through text. The Public Health Image Library, affectionately known as PHIL, is a central database providing access to CDC’s photographs, illustrations, and videos. Public health professionals, journalists, scientists, teachers, students, and authors can all find a wealth of imagery here ready to use in articles, lectures, textbooks, and public health messages.

Images can be searched by keyword, image type, and subject matter. If you really want to get specific, you can also search by date the image was created or uploaded, or by the CDC location, sub-agency, or personnel associated with the image.

Most of the images are in the public domain, although some are protected by copyright. A fair use statement is provided with each image to let you know the copyright status. You can even restrict your search to only public domain products.

Solve the Outbreak

Disease Detective badgeIf you’d like to have a taste of what it’s like to be a CDC researcher, download the Solve the Outbreak app and see if you have what it takes to be a Disease Detective. This app provides various realistic outbreak scenarios, providing you an opportunity in each case to figure out what is happening, why, how it started, and how it is spreading.  Download the app to your tablet or phone and become the star of your own version of CSI!

Preparedness 101: Zombie Pandemic

Zombie apocolypseZombies have been all the rage for several years now in movies, TV shows, comic books, and other popular media. CDC has prepared an emergency preparedness campaign around the theme of a zombie apocalypse, using humor to engage audiences and deliver a message of deadly serious import. It’s an unlikely event to say the least, but if you’re prepared for a zombie apocalypse, surely you’ll be prepared for anything!

Here are some downloadable zombie products to help teach emergency preparedness:

Would You Like to Know More?

These products provide barely a glimpse of the rich treasure available from CDC. Here are a few more examples of the plethora of informative and entertaining products available on the CDC Web site:

To learn more about health in the United States, visit for information about  Medicaid, Medicare, drugs and other treatments, biomedical research, safety, health-care administration, health-care costs, and much more.

Illustrations: CDC headquarters, PHIL sample image, Disease Detective badge, zombie apocalypse illustration, and CDC WONDER opening screen courtesy of CDC Web site.

Article by Bobby Griffith.

Posted by & filed under Hot Docs.

President Obama signing Executive Order 13672

It doesn’t make much sense, but today in America, millions of our fellow citizens wake up and go to work with the awareness that they could lose their job, not because of anything they do or fail to do, but because of who they are — lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender. And that’s wrong.

So spoke President Obama on Monday in the remarks he gave before signing Executive Order 13672, finally fulfilling a campaign promise made in 2008.

Discrimination among Federal Contractors Prohibited

In 1965 President Lyndon B. Johnson signed Executive Order 11246, which prohibits federal contractors and subcontractors and federally-assisted construction contractors and subcontractors that generally have contracts that exceed $10,000 from discriminating in employment decisions on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. President Barack Obama amended this order to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of protected classes.

Discrimination in Civilian Federal Workforce Prohibited

Obama’s order also amends Executive Order 11478, signed by President Nixon in 1969 to prohibit discrimination in the civilian federal workforce on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, handicap, and age. President Clinton had already amended this order (in Executive Order 13087) to include sexual orientation in the list of protected classes, and later signed Executive Order 13152 to add the category of “an individual’s status as a parent,” as well as a detailed definition of that new category. Obama’s order adds gender identity to the list of protected classes.

Religious Exemption

Obama’s order keeps intact an amendment signed by President George W. Bush that allows religiously-affiliated federal contractors to give preference in hiring to members of their own religion, but adds no new religious exemptions, as some constitutional law professors and religious and civil rights organizations had feared might happen in the wake of the recent Hobby Lobby decision by the Supreme Court.

Discrimination in the General Workforce

Several bills have been introduced in Congress that would prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in all workplaces, not just federal, but so far none has passed. The most recent, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2013 (S.815), has passed in the Senate, but not in the House of Representatives.

Would You Like to Know More?

Learn About Executive Order 13672
·         Read the full text of Executive Order 13672
·         Read a transcript of the President’s opening remarks
·         Watch the signing ceremony on YouTube
·         Read a White House fact sheet explaining more about this executive order

Learn About Executive Orders

An executive order is an official document issued by the president to manage the operations of the federal government.
·         Learn about the executive order process and how to search for and read an executive order at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).
·         Browse all executive orders from Abraham Lincoln to the present at the American Presidency Project.
·         Learn How Executive Orders Work at HowStuffWorks.

Image from White House video of the signing ceremony.

Article by Bobby Griffith.

Posted by & filed under Get Help.

Uncle Sam holding a bag of your moneyDid you ever leave a job and forget to pick up your last paycheck? Maybe you never collected your security deposit after moving from an apartment, or perhaps you have a rebate coming for a computer you purchased decades ago, or a refund for an overcharge on a long-forgotten electric bill.

Billions of dollars are being held by the government because the rightful owners don’t know how to find it or that it even exists. These forgotten funds can come from bank closings, matured savings bonds, pensions, mortgage refunds, and many other sources. Here is a way to discover whether the government is holding onto any money that rightfully belongs to you.

Unclaimed funds are usually held by individual state treasuries, so to do a thorough search you should be sure to check with each state in which you have ever lived. The National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA) has a Web site at where you can select a state from a clickable map (or select from a drop-down menu) and find out whether that state has unclaimed property in your name. You can also search several states simultaneously by going to, another site sponsored by NAUPA.

You can find other sources of Unclaimed Money from the Government at the government information Web site.

Beware of scammers who claim to be government agencies and offer to reunite you with your money for a pre-paid fee or who ask you for personal financial information that could be used to access your bank account. The Federal Trade Commission has information on how to recognize, avoid, and report these Government Imposter Scams.

Article by Bobby Griffith.

Illustration from the USGS publication Putting Down Roots in Earthquake Country.

Posted by & filed under Is that a Document?.

Summer is a popular season for vacations, both of the body and of the mind. In addition to visiting the most popular, exciting, relaxing, or inspiring physical destinations around the globe, we can visit—through the magic of the author’s art working upon our own vivid imaginations—places that might otherwise be inaccessible because they are of another time, are in a place too far for us to reach, or are purely imaginary.

Literary maps can orient us to the real-world geographical locations associated with our favorite authors and their works, as well as to the imaginary places they might write about so vividly that it’s hard to believe they don’t actually exist somewhere. Perhaps you would like to visit the house where Shakespeare was born, follow Huckleberry Finn’s journey down the Mississippi, or imagine yourself spending some time in Gabriel García Márquez’s Macondo, James Branch Cabell’s Poictesme, Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland, or even Dante’s Inferno.

Literary Maps at the Library of Congress

Language of the Land (cover)The Library of Congress has more than 200 literary maps in its Geography and Map Division.

A selection of these were featured in an exhibit called Language of the Land: Journeys into Literary America, and the entire collection has been listed and described in a fully annotated cartobibliography called Language of the Land: The Library of Congress Book of Literary Maps.

An article by Martha Hopkins, adapted from her introduction to this book, describes the nature, types, and purposes of literary maps.

Classroom Maps by Barbara Rogers Houseworth

Barbara Marie Rogers Houseworth was a brilliant but under-appreciated Indiana artist who was commissioned during the 1950s and 1960s to create a series of maps to aid in the appreciation of several classic works being taught in high school English classes. In addition to showing geographic locations mentioned in these works, the maps feature vignettes that illustrate key scenes in the story. The UNT Libraries own her maps to accompany Homer’s Odyssey [also available online] and Vergil’s Aeneid. Other maps she created include the following:

  • William Shakespeare’s Macbeth and Julius Caesar
  • Homer’s Iliad
  • Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities
  • George Eliot’s Silas Marner
  • Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s Evangeline
  • Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick [see also Everett Henry’s take on this work]

Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Salem

Nathaniel Hawthorne was born in Salem, Massachusetts, spent much of his life there, and wrote about Salem’s history, culture, and landmarks in some of his most well-known works. With the aid of this pamphlet you can learn about Hawthorne’s life and career while you take a walking tour through Salem and visit Hawthorne’s birthplace at 115 Derby Street; the Custom House, where he worked for several years; the Turner Mansion (better known as “The House of the Seven Gables”); Gallows Hill, where many accused of witchcraft were hanged; and many other historical venues. You won’t find Hawthorne’s homestead The Old Manse here, though, because that’s in Concord!

This brochure is also available online in two files from the National Park Service Web site:

Cover and Map:
Main Text:

A Chart of The Pilgrim’s Progress, by Bill Polvogt

Carl William (Bill) Polvogt, Jr. was a commercial artist and cartoonist who was living in Dallas, Texas when he created this humorously illustrated guide to John Bunyan’s brilliantly original but dour Christian allegory in the mid-1950s.

Although he deferentially  offered “apologies to Mr. John Bunyan” below his title, someone above was perhaps not pleased, for Mr. Polvogt’s advertising firm filed for bankruptcy less than ten years later.

A Chart of the Pilgrim's Progress (detail)    A Chart of the Pilgrim's Progress (detail)

Land of OZ Globe from the U.S. Geological Survey

The Land of OZ and its environs have been mapped many times since The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was first published in 1900, but the location and geography of the Land of Oz have always been vaguely and inconsistently portrayed in the books by Frank Baum and others. Is it in a desert somewhere in the American west? Is it a continent in the south Pacific? Is it an allegorical representation of the United States or China?

Land of OZ GlobeThis interpretation by a group of USGS cartographers takes a cue from Baum’s Tik-Tok of Oz—where the character JinJin is said to live in a land that lies on the opposite side of the earth from Oz, accessible through a Hollow Tube—and depicts Oz and the surrounding countries on a symmetrically interrupted sinusoidal projection that can be cut out and assembled around a tennis ball to create a three-dimensional globe.

The globe was published in the Spring 1997 Oz Gazette, accompanied by an article that teaches children about maps and map projections.

A brief article about the globe entitled “Off to See the Wizard? Here’s Your Map appeared in the Virginian-Pilot newspaper on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz.

To download a copy of this cut-and-assemble educational toy, go to the USGS Store at and search for “Land of OZ.”

Interactive Online Literary Maps

These online maps can be used to explore the literary heritage of various specific geographic locations, as well as to explore the geography of some of your favorite works of literature.

  • Bay Area Literary Map: Use this map to learn about authors who were from or who lived in San Francisco and the surrounding area. You can also find locations of the many local bookstores and find links to the Web sites of authors who currently live in the Bay Area.
  • Literary Map of BrooklynThe borough of Brooklyn has spawned an extraordinary number of great poets, novelists, children’s book authors, and nonfiction writers. Use this interactive map to identify birthplaces and residences of these illustrious authors and read excerpts from their creations.
  • Literary Map of Detroit: Use this site to identify and learn about locations with literary significance in Detroit and environs. The site also provides bibliographies of works by and about Detroit authors.
  • A Literary Map of Manhattan: Roam an interactive map of the island, or browse a list of authors and titles, to see literary quotations related to specific addresses in Manhattan.
  • Placing Literature: Where Your Book Meets the Map: Use Google Maps to find or plot locations mentioned in a work of fiction, or  explore the literary works and authors associated with a specific location.

These are just a few of the many literary maps available in the UNT Libraries Map Collection or on the Internet. Maybe one of them will inspire your next vacation!

Article by Bobby Griffith.

Posted by & filed under Special Days.

The Little Schoolmistress, by ChardinThe first week in May is traditionally celebrated in the United States as Teacher Appreciation Week. Today is National Teacher Day, also known as National Teacher Appreciation Day. Join millions of students and former students across the country and take this opportunity to show our teachers how important they are in our lives.

The National Education Association has many suggestions on their blog for activities and events you can participate in to show your teachers how special they have been to you.

The U.S. Department of Education has created a Thank a Teacher sign that you can download, print out, and post on social media such as Facebook and Twitter to express your appreciation of a teacher who has inspired you.

Teachers often work hard and provide invaluable services for very little pay. If you are a teacher, there are several business offering freebies and discounts today as a token of their appreciation. Here are some of the offers available:

Is there a teacher who has been especially influential in your life? Express your appreciation today!

Illustration: The Little Schoolmistress, oil painting by Jean Baptiste Siméon Chardin in the Andrew W. Mellon Collection at the National Gallery of Art.

Article by Bobby Griffith.