It’s finally SPRING – Join the TRASH BASH!

Spring Break is over.  It’s an over-generalization but it seems that the older you are, the less likely you are to go on “vacation” during Spring Break.  Come see the results of the survey by Geography 325 on display in East Tower 2.

 poster showing "The Geography of Spring Break"

But spring does present us with many opportunities.  One is the annual TRASH BASH held by the Indiana Department of Transportation.  See TRASH BASH:

I happen to reside on one of Indiana’s state highways so I am personally knowledgeable about the amount of trash that ends up on the sides of our roads.  In 2013, for example, clean-up crews collected 20,678 bags of trash and 1,256 cubic yards of loose debris from 3,417 miles of state highways and rights-of-way. More than 1,600 Adopt-A-Highway volunteers logged 6,616 hours in this effort, along with additional hours by INDOT and DOC crews. The cost savings for Indiana taxpayers for these Adopt-A-Highway volunteers totaled more than $98,000.

As a child I recall being told “DON’T BE A LITTERBUG!”  For the Litterbuy history see   But perhaps more of a memory was the legislation during the 1960’s to “beautify” our highways.  It’s a good rule so remember… don’t  litter and  if something blows out of your vehicle…stop and pick it up.  Everyone will appreciate it.


How the Highway Beautification Act Became a Law

In announcing an America the Beautiful initiative in January 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson (D) said:  “I want to make sure that the America we see from these major highways is a beautiful America.”  The cornerstone of the initiative would be the Highway Beautification Act of 1965, which called for control of outdoor advertising, including removal of certain types of signs, along the Nation’s growing Interstate System and the existing Federal-aid primary system. It also required certain junkyards along Interstate or primary highways to be removed or screened and encouraged scenic enhancement and roadside development.

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Library Resources and the Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370

Chances are, you’ve been following the news about the missing Malaysian Airlines plane that disappeared several weeks ago. While we can’t tell you what happened, we can provide you with some resources about Malaysia, the South China Sea, and aviation standards to help you understand more about the geography and equipment in question.

First off, where exactly is Malaysia? My favorite basic maps are from the CIA. They’re clear, authoritative, AND in the public domain, so you can post and share them freely.

malaysia locator

Malaysia’s location in the region



We also have print maps of Malaysia and the region on the 2nd Floor of the East Tower.

Also of interest is the International Civil Aviation Organization’s 2012  Case Study on Commercialization, Privatization and Economic Oversight of Airports and Air Navigation Services Providers in Malaysia.

One important resource that experts and concerned citizens have been using to locate the plane is satellite imagery. What exactly do we mean by satellite imagery?  There are many different types of satellite images collected by many different types of organizations. Simply put, satellite imagery is any sort of image taken from a satellite up in space (Opposed to aerial photographs, which are taken from airplanes within the Earth’s atmosphere). Satellite images can be used for weather predictions, remote sensing, spying, or to find missing planes.

You’re probably most familiar with the satellite images used in Google Maps and Google Earth. However, did you know that these images can be 1 to 3 years old? Thankfully, there are several organizations that provide real time satellite images. The University of Wisconsin has organized a very helpful list of some of these sites:

Some of my favorite sources for current satellite images are, not surprisingly, U.S. Government agencies. In particular, I like using EarthNow from the U.S. Geological Survey. This site shows you the flight path of the satellite in conjunction with the actual landsat imagery. Pretty cool! Other agencies that collect satellite images are NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the National Weather Service.

The Herman B Wells Library has many items in a variety of formats that may help you understand the circumstances surrounding the disappearance of Flight MH370. Here is just a small selection:

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Do you know FRED and FRASER?

Many years ago, we received a request via telephone from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis for one of our old publication series from the U.S. Federal Reserve Board.  They indicated they were beginning a project to provide digital access to various statistical series from the Federal Reserve.  Of course we loaned the material to them and have worked with them on various other items they needed.  The reason for this blog is to remind people about this open web service.

FRED, Federal Reserve Economic Data, and FRASER, Federal Reserve Archive SERvice, provide digital access to several resource often difficult to find but more importantly organized for easy location and use.  While the many of the archived series are in HathiTrust, the HT display is usually the bound volume and not in date order.  FRAZER provides it in date/issue order.

HathiTrust display of Economic Indicators (Council of Economic Advisers)



FRAZER display of Economic Indicators (Council of Economic Advisers)



FRAZER has all the Economic Reports of the Presidents, Annual Reports of the Comptroller of the Currency, Survey of Current Business, as well as the Federal Reserve publications Annual Reports of the Federal Reserve Banks and Board of Governors, Statements and Speeches of Alan Greenspan, Federal Reserve Bulletin, and the Federal Reserve Act.

FRED is more current but provides the data in exportable files, charts in pdf, and tutorials, among other handy information.  One surprising thing to me when I recently reviewed the contents is that it includes items from the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, several international banks, as well as the Federal Reserves.

I recommend anyone interested in finding and using economic data to review the sources they make available.  I like FRED but I think I love FRASER… [note:  my mother’s maiden name was Frazier so I frequently misspell it when trying to locate it in google, so I just search “fred and st.Louis”. ]  Other services listed include: GeoFRED (a geographical – map of economic data for the U.S.), ALFRED (ArchivaL Federal Reserve Economic Data) , CASSIDI (Banking competitive analysis).  Yes there are FRED Mobile Apps  FRASER even has a timeline, so you can explore resources by date:




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By now you are probably aware of the protests taking place in Kyiv, Ukraine. However, it can be difficult to know where to look for more in-depth information. I’ve put together some sources that will help you gain a better understanding of Ukraine (not “The Ukraine”… after gaining independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, The Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic became simply, Ukraine. ) and the current situation. As we are the government information department, most of these are government sources.

My favorite source for gaining background information about a country is the CIA World Factbook. The entry for Ukraine has sections on history, the political structure, demographics, geography, and more. You can even listen to the Ukrainian national anthem! It’s also a great place to go for public domain maps.

map of Ukraine

The Department of State has a website on Ukraine that includes press releases, official remarks, and fact sheets:

Another good place to look for information is the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine. They link to relevant videos, travel warnings, and information for Americans who may be traveling or living in Ukraine. As they are on the ground in Kyiv, this is a good place to look for up to date information.

Geoffrey Pyatt, The U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, has been tweeting about the situation. You can follow him on Twitter at @GeoffPyatt. Ambassador Pyatt gave an interview with CNN recently as well. You can read the transcript on

For more background and information about Ukraine, check out the Ukrainian collection at the Library of Congress.

Finally, there have been some pretty good pieces from commercial news sources that provide an overview of the situation.

Additionally, IU subscribes to Access UN, a database that provides access to current and past United Nations publications. An authorized IU user ID is required.

Here in the Gov Docs and maps department we have lots and lots of maps of Ukraine, including but certainly not limited to… a Map of Ukraine and Street Map of Central Kiev

Finally, if you have any questions about this post, or anything else, do not hesitate to contact us at

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Know your official climate sources!

Know your official climate sources!

We are all accustomed to watching the Weather Channel and checking out the weather on our workstations, iPads, and Cell Phones, BUT there are wonderful official sources of weather/climate information and historic data by weather station.



  • Perhaps my favorite for data since the 1800 by all weather stations in the U.S. is the National Climatic Data Center, i.e.   They charge for data but it is free for .edu’s so university students, faculty, and staff can research and pull down large sets of data from temperatures, wind speeds, precipitation, storms, etc.
  • Just for basic weather including local weather forecasts and looping radar, etc. go to  It’s easy because you can enter your zip code and it brings up all sorts of observations you can explore.
  • For international weather try the World Meteorological Organization specifically the WCDMP website (World Climate Data and Monitoring Programme. It also includes links to the IPCC assessment reports on Climate Change.


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The Monuments Men

DON’T WAIT FOR THE MOVIE! We have the primary story of the Monuments Men.


Coming in February to a theatre near you is “The Monuments Men”, a dramatization of a true-life World War II military unit made up of art historians and curators.  They were dropped into occupied territory during the frenzied final moments of World War II to rescue and save, if possible, works of arts and other cultural artifacts.  Why wait for the movie?  The IUB Libraries holds the actual records of this group on microfilm (Records relating to monuments, museums, libraries, archives, and fine arts of the Cultural Affairs Branch, OMGUS, 1946-1949 [microform]. Victorino, Barbara. DD 257.4  .M44  2008 Guide) which is housed in the Wells Library, East Tower, 2nd Floor.  The guide states the following about the 14 reels of microfilm:  “From November 25, 1944 through October 14, 1945, the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives (MFAA) function was placed in the MFAA Branch of the Reparation, Deliveries and Restitution Division of the U.S. Group Control Countil, Germany.  The siezed property was turned over to the custody of the Office of Miliatry Government, U.s Zone (Germany) [OMGUS]…”

The reel guide includes lists such as “Berlin Museum Collections Taken to Russia”, “Breman Staatsarchiv – Photographs”, “Hesse Archives and Libraries – Photographs” “Martin von Wagner Museum: Missing Paintings and Sculptures”.

Descriptions of some of this type of military action during/following WWII are also described in the Defense Department Series:  The Army in World War II.  Print copies available in ET2 (D114.7: SuDocs Reference).

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How to find an old diplomat or start research U.S. Foreign relations:

Suppose you are researching foreign relations with Argentina in the 1930’s or with Poland in the 1960s and you’d like to know who the Ambassadors from those countries were at the time…might there be oral histories or personal papers or letters that could add to your research? 



Probably because it was little (measuring 4” x 5”) and quite cute on the shelves I always enjoyed looking at the Diplomatic List published by the Department of State.  It is still issued by DOS but now on their website with their archive dating to 1993 … Not nearly so cute.

This publication covers foreign missions (embassies, interest sections) in the United States. It contains the names of members of the diplomatic staffs of these missions and their spouses. Members of the diplomatic staff are the members of the staff of the mission having diplomatic rank. These persons, with the exception of those identified by asterisks, enjoy full immunity under provisions of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. The Diplomatic List is prepared by the Office of Protocol.

IUB Libraries own the older issues which are bound and shelved in the Auxiliary Library  Facility. You can request them through IUCAT. Many of the years have been digitized and are available through the HathiTrust.

BUT what if instead you are wanting to know who from the United States represented our nation in Argentina and/or Poland?  The U.S. Department of State’s Chiefs of Mission lists those on their website since 2005, but for previous years, consult Principal Officers of the Department of State and United States chiefs of mission, 1778-1990. [Washington, DC]: The Department: 1991]  (Print copy in ALF S 1.2:OF 2/1778-990: Request This ALF Item)

What about those papers? Those letters? Oral Histories?  Start with Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS). The print volume is in the Wells Library East Tower 2 (S1.1:year) or online at This   series is kind of an annual report of the major diplomatic affairs of the United States, a selective collection of letters, papers, and telegrams from the various diplomatic posts around the world.  It is published 20-30 years after the time period covered which allows the State Department to conclude what is noteworthy enough to include.  [Other, more comprehensive records are issued through archival microfilm, many of which are owned at IU.  Check IUCAT or consult reference staff.]

A great source for oral histories related to foreign affairs is Frontline Diplomacy: Foreign Affairs Oral History Collection of the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training, an online product from the Library of Congress.  These are interview transcripts from the oral history archives of the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training (ADST).   For other oral histories and personal papers of diplomats, consult reference staff or email us at

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Happy New Year–2014 – What will we celebrate?

Remember 50 years ago – 1964:

A few other important events to explore:


  • blog1The International Year of Crystallography 2014 (IYCr2014) commemorates not only the centennial of X-ray diffraction, which allowed the detailed study of crystalline material, but also the 400th anniversary of Kepler’s observation in 1611 of the symmetrical form of ice crystals, which began the wider study of the role of symmetry in matter.  The UN adopted the resolution that 2014 should be the International Year of Crystallography at its Sixty-Sixth General Assembly on 3 July 2012.
  • blog2The International Year of Family Farming is an initiative promoted by the World Rural Forum.  It was declared by the UN General Assembly and is sponsored by the UN Food and Agricultural Organization among others.  The aim is to stimulate active policies for sustainable development of Agricultural systems based on farmer families, cooperatives, and indigenous groups.  See:
  • blog3The UN Conference on Small Island Developing States will focus the world’s attention on a group of countries that remain a special case for sustainable development in view of their unique and particular vulnerabilities.
  • blog4IWM (Imperial War Museums) is leading the First World War Centenary Partnership, a network of local, regional, national and international cultural and educational organizations.
  • blog5


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What’s New in ET2 December 2013/January 2014

Every day we receive documents through our depository programs: federal, Indiana, United Nations, and the European Union.  These documents are then forwarded to the Libraries’ Technical Services Department for processing into our collections and then they are sent to the ALF.  The UN documents are quite amazing and it made me realize that today’s researcher/student miss seeing these items and therefore do not have an awareness of their existence.  Yes most of them are on the numerous UN and subsidiary websites or bibliographically identified in WorldCat or IUCAT but they would only be found if someone was “searching” for them.

Isn’t awareness of the literature part of being an “information literate” individual? Students need to absorb all the information riches we own at Indiana University…not just what is needed for the paper or coursework due today.  Researchers/Students will not be made aware of these information sources on their iPhones or told about them on the late night news.  I urge students to keep their eyes open as they walk to their favorite study location, inquire with professors about resources that might be relevant to their studies, and browse new library resource pages.

Here are a few examples:

blog1 blog2

UNESCO publishes beautiful materials on various world heritage resources but not all are available online.  FAO (the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN) publishes numerous overviews but also technical reports on various countries and regions.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is probably best known for its worldwide health statistics but they also publish extensive studies and reviews about health and safety issues for countries, regions and the world.

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I hate the fact that I am one of the few people that see and appreciate these reports and studies, fearing that students and researchers have no inkling that such reports even exist.

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I browse some of the periodicals we receive from the U.S. Government whenever they come in.  They are filled with excellent footnotes, images (like all the State Department guys from the early 1900’s involved with relations with Mexico), and interesting archival sources.

So when in doubt, always browse or search the internet but also ask.  There are staff here that do know these resources exist and the wide scope of coverage they entail.


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Gene Stratton Porter

One of my favorite Indiana Authors is Gene Stratton Porter.  In many respects I consider her a predecessor of Rachel Carson.  Porter wrote light romantic novels for the most part but all involved nature and descriptive passages about northern Indiana’s environment.   Her writings are extensive and have been studied widely so finding information about her is easy through IUCAT (  David G. MacLean compiled Gene Stratton-Porter : a bibliography and collector’s guide in 1976 (PS3531 .O75Z4 1976.)  A complete account of her life was authored by Judith Reick Long in 1996.

Gene Stratton Porter

For nature lovers, reading Porter’s work is only one aspect.  Visiting the sites in Rome City and Geneva Indiana just as important.  [note this is a privately maintained site]


For two reasons, I recommend the State’s Limberlost State Historic Site at Geneva.  First, it is closer to Bloomington Indiana but more importantly it still has Porter’s moth collection and her big Agave.   One of the best descriptive articles about Porter historic sites appeared in the September 1974 issue of Outdoor Indiana (digitally available through our Libraries’ Digital Library at:


Porter’s books (many in audio edition) are available for sale at the historic sites but also through Amazon.  A bit romantic but so wonderful to describe the benefits of Ginseng, wild Ginger, and other herbs is The Harvester.  The Girl of the Limberlost focuses more on moths and swamp creatures.  Freckles is just a cute story about Irish and Scotch immigrants in Indiana.  The IUB Libraries holds most of the titles in the Wells Library so check them out.

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