Posted by & filed under Hot Docs.

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.

Posted by & filed under Guest Posts, Local Doings.

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.

Posted by & filed under Data about Databases.

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
  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!

Posted by & filed under Data about Databases, Get Help.

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 Twitter and Facebook accounts. You can download free government publications in PDF format directly off the 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!”

Posted by & filed under Hot Docs, Keeping Tabs.

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.

Posted by & filed under Special Days.

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.

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.