Sustainability

13
Apr10

New Reproductive Technology in the Library

Posted by: G. Karen Merguerian

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Scanner in Snell Lobby

My student assistant was wondering if that thing in the lobby of Snell Library was perhaps some kind of medical device? Well, close, but it does have to do with reproduction! It’s actually an overhead scanner called a Book2Net Kiosk which we are testing out this week, to see what we think about expanding scanning options in the library.

If you haven’t noticed, our photocopiers are aging, and we’re wondering what to do about replacing them. Does everyone who uses them really need paper? Would a .pdf or .jpg file do as well? Are the Infocommons scanners adequate and convenient?

For myself, I feel that sometimes you just need paper, and I’d like us to continue to offer at least one copier even if it means dropping a dime now and then. At the same time, the copiers have a lot of limitations. Unlike the copiers, this scanner offers color reproduction, the ability to copy large items like maps, and it won’t break the spines of our bound periodical volumes.

I haven’t experimented with advanced features, but I believe this particular machine can zoom, pan, and rotate in the advanced mode.

Try it next time you’re here. It’s very easy to use, just bring a flash drive to save your documents. And let us know what you think!

Is it about time for new reproductive technology at Snell?

Posted in: Sustainability

5
Mar10

Book review for Publishing: The Revolutionary Future

Posted by: Jonathan Iannone

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On my way to work I heard a brief review of this book on NPR. So I have looked up the review at their (NPR’s) website and found a link to the review by The New York Review of Books. 

For a book review it is fairly dense reading. However, it touches on trends in library service that really color the future of how library service is going to be delivered to users. The Achilles heel of online digital content is that “service” interruptions can and do deny access to library users when they occur. So there is a continuing need for hard copy books and other media to be purchased and maintained within libraries for patron use off-line. Digital readers have yet to match the ease and durability of a quality hard bound book.   In my opinion consigning Text to the same fate as Audio and Motion Picture formats is tantamount to putting all of one’s eggs into a very expensive and fragile basket. It’s a real catch-22 situation. In order to maintain access to all the information in our “information society” we have to maintain a very fragile and expensive infrastructure or else all or part of the information is lost. Which is a sobering thought for those of us tasked with maintaining and preserving the works of others.

Posted in: Communication Studies, Computer and Information Science, Information and Society, Research Online, Scholarly Communications, Sustainability

12
Nov09

Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet

Posted by: Stephanie Knutson

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If you’ve ever wondered why “going green” and “sustainability” have become such big issues, Mark Lynas’ book, Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet, should definitely be on your reading list. Lynas read tens of thousands of scientific articles about global climate change and its potential consequences in preparation for writing this book. He took all of that information and broke it down by degree. Each chapter in the book lays out the likely results of an additional degree Celsius of average global temperature.

The chapter on one degree of warming details changes in climate that we are already beginning to see: increases in floods in some places and droughts in others, the loss of Arctic and glacier ice, loss of biodiversity. By the time he gets to six degrees Celsius of average temperature increase, Lynas is describing a world unlike any most of us can imagine living in. This level of warming would cause plant and animal extinctions on a scale not seen since the time of the dinosaurs. This would be a world that was extremely hostile to human life, in which we would struggle to keep ourselves sheltered and fed in an increasingly chaotic environment.

Lynas is optimistic about our ability to avert disaster on the six-degree scale, but only if we can control our levels of greenhouse gas emissions before we get to three degrees. At that point, we begin to reach a series of tipping points that will send the climate careening out of control and emissions cuts will no longer make any discernable difference. So, if you’ve wondered at all about why this sustainability stuff is important or what’s really at stake, I would strongly recommend that you read this book.

Posted in: Green Piece, Read, Listen, Watch, Sustainability

29
Oct09

Boston Vegetarian Food Festival

Posted by: Stephanie Knutson

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Those of you looking for something fun and not Halloween-related to do this weekend should check out the Boston Vegetarian Food Festival. It’s happening Oct 31st from 10 AM to 6 PM and Nov 1st from 10 AM to 4 PM at the Reggie Lewis Athletic Center, 1350 Tremont Street, Boston. There will be cooking demonstrations and talks on everything from the basics of vegetarianism, to nutrition, to the effects of diet on global warming. There will also be plenty of exhibitors giving out free samples, educational exhibits on animals and the environment and children’s activities. Best of all, everything is free. Stop by and learn how you can eat healthier and help the environment.

Posted in: Environmental Studies, Green Piece, Staff Interests, Sustainability

27
Oct09

Oysters and Goats

Posted by: Diann Smothers

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Sure, we’ve heard all about the Google Goats. And you may have heard about the Andover Goats. Great idea, yes? Use goats to mow down the growth?

I recently found out about a similar program for the Boston Harbor. Oysters are being reintroduced to help clear out the water – an oyster can filter 30 gallons of water per day. Amazing! The time lapse video of oysters in the Chesapeake Bay was incredible to watch. Who knew that oysters and goats had so much in common?

Now that I know about this project, I am inspired to see if there are any magazine or journal articles that talk more about oysters and ecosystems, or water purification. I bet GreenFILE would be a good database to start with!

Posted in: Sustainability