ResearchScapes

Discussions on the art and craft of research

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On Fake News and Research Skills

In light of the emergence of fake news as one of the key stories following the 2016 presidential election, it’s worth (re-)considering the importance of evaluating information to any research process—whether that process involves writing a paper or gathering information about a candidate for office.

Although developing evaluation skills has always been integral to any research process, it’s arguably even more urgently needed now. That’s because libraries are no longer the sole gatekeepers of information, and it’s now possible to simply do a quick search on the web, find something that appears to relate to the topic at hand, and either forward  to someone else, or incorporate it into a paper or other piece of research.

As has been widely reported, a great deal of the fake news now circulates on social media networks. In this New York Times op-ed written by Zeynep Tufekci, a professor of library and information science at the University of North Carolina, the author takes Facebook to task for becoming a platform for misinformation campaigns (the pope endorses Donald Trump! An FBI agent who leaked Hillary Clinton’s emails found dead!).

Part of the problem, Tufekci argues, is Facebook’s algorithmic system, which promotes updates based on whether users find them “comforting.” But research isn’t supposed to be comforting; neither, correspondingly, is the moral and ethical work of citizenship. And helping students learn the moral and ethical work of citizenship is—or should be—in large part why we teach research skills on a college campus.

There have been signs that Facebook is taking steps to limit the fake news stories that are shared on its servers, but researchers—that is, those doing a paper or those simply gathering information to make an informed choice on an election—need to ask themselves a set of questions about every source they’re using, no matter how much the source may support one’s thesis or existing worldview, and no matter how much that source has been useful in the past.

First, who is responsible for the piece? A name isn’t enough; one needs to ask about the author’s credentials or authority to have written something on a particular topic. If it’s a news story, does it come from a reputable service—one that checks its facts, verifies its sources and provides multiple perspectives? Some of the fake Facebook posts came from the “Denver Guardian,” which sounds great until one realizes that no such news source exists. (Go ahead, Google it.)

Second, when was the piece written? In this election season, I saw articles forwarded and shared on social media that had been created months and even years earlier, making it seem as though they had just appeared. But facts and situations can change quickly, and in many research or fact-finding situations, it’s important to have current information, or at least to be aware of when an article appeared so that its date of creation can factor into one’s judgment about it.

Why was the piece written? To report the news, or to advance knowledge in a particular field? To get someone elected to an office? To spread fear, or to propagandize an issue? To make money? This question is often entangled with who wrote the story, but it’s equally important. (To think about the ways in which who wrote a piece can be bound up with why he or she wrote it, I suggest checking out this self-exculpatory New York Times op-ed written by someone who works for WikiLeaks.)

How and where did the author(s) get their information? In scholarly writing, this is precisely why citations must be provided—so that authors cannot simply assert something without some kind of backup. We need to be able to believe what authors are saying; it’s equally important to be able to verify their sources.

I’ve been trying to share the above questions with the first-year seminars with whom I’ve worked this past semester. We’ve looked at sources we found on the web and tried to think about evaluating them based on the above questions, rather than applying such abstract, blanket maxims such as “sites that come from a .edu or .org address are okay.” That’s not necessarily true; it’s always necessary to look closer at each article or book.

One of the first-year seminars I worked with was entitled “Performing Citizenship.” It was striking to me that the course focus and our work with evaluating sources were in particular alignment—and, similarly, that the task of critically evaluating research information and that of truly becoming an informed, participating citizen are one and the same. Whenever we undertake or assign research—and learn or teach the requisite skills to perform this research—we would do well to keep the responsibilities and imperatives of citizenship in full view.

— Fred Folmer

Announcing the 2017 Library Research Prize

We’re pleased to announce the 2017 Connecticut College Prize for Undergraduate Library Research, which will be awarded for the second time during the spring 2017.

A group of librarians worked to launch the $500 prize during the 2015-16 academic year; it’s the first award at Connecticut College that’s specifically designed to honor excellence in the research process. Entrants will be judged by a committee of librarians and faculty members on their ability to develop search strategies, use complex tools and techniques, and evaluate and synthesize resources in a project.

We encourage all students to submit an entry for the prize — and, similarly, all faculty to encourage students to do so. All currently enrolled undergraduate students are eligible. The deadline for submission is 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017.

To be considered for the award, you’ll need to submit the following to the prize’s Moodle site, accessed here:

  • An application form, to be completed in the prize’s Moodle site;
  • A Faculty Support Form (using the standardized form found on the library prize website);
  • An essay of up to 600 words describing research strategies (closely following the guidelines found on the library prize website); and
  • A draft or final version of the project for which the research was done.
  • A bibliography.

To be eligible, the work must have been completed for a credit course (not an honors project) in spring 2016, fall 2016, or spring 2017. The prize’s Moodle site can also be accessed via the prize’s website at http://conncoll.libguides.com/libprize.

For more information, email libprize@conncoll.edu. Good luck, and we look forward to reading your entries!

Going Public: Student Digital Scholarship and Copyright

In late October, I had the opportunity to attend the Bucknell Digital Scholarship Conference in Lewisburg, Pa. The idea of digital scholarship has of late been a strong and consistent trend in academia, with libraries providing key support; here at Connecticut College, the creation of the Digital Scholarship & Curriculum Center and the hiring of a librarian focused on digital scholarship have been emblematic of this development.

At the conference, there were several presentations, from institutions that included Bucknell, Lafayette and Gettysburg, that featured undergraduate students who had worked on digital projects of various kinds. One thing that several student presenters discussed, I thought, deserved special mention: the complications that can arise when making student work public by publishing it on the web, particularly regarding copyright.

In the existing paradigmatic model of undergraduate scholarship, students write papers that are read by a single professor, and then discarded or archived by the student as he or she desires. Copyright claims don’t apply to this model, because what the student writes is entirely written and consumed within a very limited educational context. Per Chapter One, Section 110 of the U.S. Copyright Code, “the performance or display of a work by instructors or pupils in the course of face-to-face teaching activities of a nonprofit educational institution” cannot be an infringement of copyright. (Fair Use, which outlines certain rights held by users regardless of context, may also apply; the TEACH Act, signed into law in 2002, extends Section 110 protections to online and distance-education activities.)

But at the Bucknell Conference, students described work that would not necessarily apply under any of these copyright protections. This work, created to be displayed on online publishing platforms such as Omeka, WordPress or Scalar, is increasingly available for public consumption, and this raises possible copyright issues for works and images that are incorporated into these projects. We’ve seen this trend here at Connecticut College too; for example, students from a history class digitized and displayed pages from a journal of a Connecticut man who sailed to China; another class digitized images from 19th-century Japanese books. (You can look at these exhibits here, or read more about those classes in the online version of the fall 2015 edition of Inside Information.)

In the latter examples, the digitized journal entries and images were in the public domain, and not subject to copyright claims. But if one is publishing a copyrighted work, it often can fall outside of the parameters of Fair Use and require permission, particularly if the use of the image is illustrative and not part of the analysis.

And so going forward, student research that’s presented in public will have to take such things into account, and students, librarians and faculty alike will find themselves needing to consider copyright as part and parcel of their research process. Here is a quick overview of the questions that need to be asked when doing this research, although I hasten to add that more could be said about each one of these items (and we hope to do exactly that in upcoming posts to this blog).

  1. Is it copyrighted? Works published before 1923 are firmly in the public domain and not subject to copyright, but for many works, it’s much more complicated. One needs to ask whether the work was actually published, whether the author is still alive (or when he or she died), and whether there was a copyright notice, among other factors. It’s a lot to sift through, so I suggest using this website from Cornell’s Copyright Information Center to help you decide.
  2. Does it fall under Fair Use? Fair Use is a protection afforded to those wishing to use or transform a copyrighted work in certain legally prescribed ways. When deciding whether Fair Use applies, courts weigh four factors: the nature of the use of the work; the nature of the work (e.g., whether it is artistic or factual); the amount and substance of the work used; and the effect of the use on the marketplace. You can read more about Fair Use here, on a page provided by Stanford University Libraries. For specific information about Fair Use and visual works, check out this page from the College Art Association.
  3. How do I get permission? While the specifics can get complicated, basically you need to 1) figure out who owns the copyright, and 2) ask them for permission. For works found on the web, see if there’s a way to contact the site owner and ask. (Brown University Library has a page with some helpful hints for this process.) For those not found on the web, some additional research may be involved. I suggest asking a librarian to ease frustration.
  4. How do I find images or other works that are not copyrighted? One great way to do this is to search for images published to the web under a Creative Commons license, which signify to a potential user that the image can be reused. This Creative Commons Search page allows you to look for works that can be used for commercial purposes; modified or adapted; or both. From here, you can search within such popular sites as Flickr and Google Images.

Here at Connecticut College, we have a very handy guide on copyright that covers all of the above; I heartily suggest referring to it when you have a question. You can also find a great list of resources at this page from Brown University Library.

— Fred Folmer

Library Budgets and Open Access

It’s International Open Access Week, and so here we offer a summary of our own library’s budget difficulties, along with an argument for why open access initiatives are a crucial aspect of the solution to these issues.

In the most recent issue of Inside Information — the newsletter for the College’s Information Services division — we reported the unfortunate news that a task force created to make cuts to the libraries’ materials budget (books, journal subscriptions, databases, etc.) had indeed reduced expenditures by $100,000, primarily by dropping subscriptions to databases that included Scopus, Royal Society of Chemistry, IoP Science, Newsbank, Art & Architecture, LGBT, Credo Reference, Mango Languages and Book Review Digest, among others. Further, the article states, it’s currently projected that the budget will need to be cut by an additional $60,000 by the end of this academic year.

The cuts have been necessitated by rising subscription costs that are coupled with a flat acquisitions budget — so as the subscription costs go up, there are fewer dollars available to spend on materials. As the Inside Information article, written by Beth Hansen, states, “[w]ithout a substanial budgetary increase, cancellations will continue to be the norm.”

What follows is a revision of what I wrote in the sidebar to the article, regarding open access.

The prospect of another round of cuts in library materials highlights an ever-growing problem: rising annual costs of these materials, particularly electronic journals and databases. These increases exemplify what many observers have called a broken system, whereby colleges and universities support the work of scholars to create new research, which is then published in journals and curated by vendors (Ebsco, ProQuest, Gale, Alexander Street, etc.) in electronic databases. The journals and databases are in turn sold or leased back to institutions’ libraries, often at a substantial markup.

Colleges and universities are therefore paying at both ends, and this double payment is proving unsustainable for many institutions, including ours. As a corrective to this system, many libraries have been pushing in effect to cut out the middleman in the form of open-access policies such as the one passed by our own faculty in 2013. For our part, Connecticut College’s libraries have strongly advocated that scholars adhere to the existing open-access policy and deposit articles in our Digital Commons archive — so that they can be found and used by those who may not have the means to pay the costs associated with access to materials. It’s also why many college and university libraries have undertaken publishing projects of their own, including the Amherst College Press or the Oberlin Group’s Lever Intiative.

Scholars also need to begin to become aware of — and assert — their own rights before they publish an article. Contracts are written to be advantageous to publishers, and not necessarily scholars and writers; thus, scholars can, and often do, unwittingly sign away their rights to their own work when they agree to a publishing contract. It’s also important to realize that contracts supersede whatever copyright had been held initially by a writer. And so when negotiating a contract, it’s a good idea to try to retain the right to deposit a version of the work into an institutional repository — and/or to publish in a journal that meets open access criteria.

One good place to look for more information about these options is the website of SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition), a coalition of librarians and scholars seeking to advance the idea of open scholarship. SPARC’s website includes a page specifically about open access, as well as a handy fact sheet on open access describing actions scholars can take in more detail.

While placing an article into Digital Commons will not by itself change the system, it’s also true that the system of scholarly communication can only be rethought if a critical mass of scholars are willing to rethink their own publication practices. In order for this to happen, it’s important for everyone to understand why and how libraries are getting squeezed, and why emerging forms of open access are integral to thinking about the road ahead.

— Fred Folmer

Google Searches: Mastering Your Domain

As we all know, Google searches typically return huge amounts of results — numbering well into the millions — for practically any initial search. As frustrating as this can be, it’s especially vexing when adding additional search terms not only fails to limit the number of results in any significant way, it also may screen out lots of possibly useful items.

But it turns out that there’s a way to limit your results that doesn’t involve adding search terms — and that can help you retrieve useful items much faster. This method involves adding a domain search along with your search terms. And while this may sound daunting, it’s actually quite easy.

First, you can search in a wide domain, such as .edu, .org or .gov. The latter can be especially useful in finding an array of public materials, such as government reports, statistics and court cases. Suppose we’re looking for statistics on gun violence. If we search for “gun violence statistics” (without using quotes in the search), a Google search turns up 4,550,000 results — a hodgepodge of news stories, government reports, nonprofit organizations (including pro-gun advocacy groups like the NRA) and Wikipedia entries. But if we enter the following string into a Google search, we’re now at 30,700 results:

gun violence statistics site:gov

See how you do that? To whatever search you’re doing, you add the word “site,” followed by a colon, followed by the domain. In this search — which now only looks at sites with the “.gov” domain — the very first link that appears is a report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics documenting firearm violence statistics from 1993 through 2011.

Screen Shot gov search
What’s more, once we know that the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics (bjs.gov) may be a useful site in which to look, we can limit our searches to only sites within the Bureau’s domain, that is: “gun violence statistics site:bjs.gov”. To wit:

Screen Shot bjs search

We now have only 425 results to comb through. Moreover, we can easily see other categories, such as “Weapon Use,” on which the BJS offers information, and adjust our search terms accordingly to pinpoint the items that might be most useful to our project.

This technique can be used to similar effect to search .org or .edu domains — whether we’re looking within entire domains or particular sites. It’s especially useful when searching organizations big, complex web structures, such as the United Nations (un.org). There are, of course, pros and cons to searching any one of these domains, and this may be the subject of a future blog post. In any case, it’s worth remembering that limiting to a wide or narrow domain may help you find useful items quicker, and at the same time lessen one’s experience of information overload.

— Fred Folmer

Schedule a Research Consultation to Get Help Finding Sources

The fall semester is well underway at Connecticut College and the reference desk in Shain Library is abuzz with questions and consultations about finding, evaluating, and citing scholarly sources on a wide variety of topics.

What follows is an overview of a recent transaction in which an undergraduate student wanted to find works by two renowned anthropologists. The takeaway is that sometimes when it seems like the library doesn’t have a book you’re looking for, be persistent (e.g. ask us); it could be just a few searches away.

An anthropology student contacted the library by using the Schedule a Research Consultation link on the library website. One can schedule a research consultation using the library mobile app as well, so it’s super easy to schedule an appointment with a librarian.  In her message, the researcher told us about her project and the kinds of sources she was hoping to find:

I would like help finding works by Franz Boas such as his 1907 essay “Anthropology”, or his 1911 book “The Mind of Primitive Man”, or his 1920 essay, “The Methods of Ethnology”. And such works by Lewis Henry Morgan as “Systems of Consanguinity and Affinity of the Human Family” or “Ancient Society” (1877)

We scheduled an appointment and met in person to work on this together. Some of the sources can be found using the library catalog online, but some of them are trickier and require a more advanced search technique.

Here’s a look at how we found them:

Franz Boas’ work called “Anthropology”:

  • Do an Advanced Search in the library catalog

    Screenshot of an Advanced Search in the library catalog.

    Screenshot of an Advanced Search in the library catalog.

  • Search for franz boas in the first search box (case doesn’t matter), and set the drop-down option to search Author Name
  • In the second search box, search for anthropology, and set the drop-down to search Title
  • This search produced 5 results, including one for the book Anthropology and Modern Life, which is what it turned out we wanted

Because we were not sure at first if “anthropology” is the title of a whole book or perhaps just an article or chapter, we started with an advanced search to see how the catalog would handle this information. The advanced search technique helped in this case, because we found what we wanted and quickly.

The next item of interest, The Methods of Ethnology, sounds more like a book title, so we thought we would find it with a basic title search:

  • Do a Basic Search in the library catalog

    Screenshot of a Basic Search in the library catalog.

    Screenshot of a Basic Search in the library catalog.

  • Search for the title (without the initial article, because library catalogs and databases do not search initial articles such as “a” and “the”)
  • Limit the search to within the Title field
  • Unfortunately there are no results for this title, so it is either something we do not have in our library, something that’s contained in another item or classified under another title, or maybe it’s not a book, but a journal article or conference presentation instead

Assuming the work in question is at least part of a book, we can redo the search in WorldCat, the catalog of library catalogs, where we can hope to find out for sure if it is in a book somewhere:

  • Under the Catalog search box on the library website, click on WorldCat

    Screenshot of search results in WorldCat.

    Screenshot of search results in WorldCat.

  • Do a keyword search like this: “Methods of Ethnology” Boaz
  • This search contains a unique phrase (“in quotes”) and a unique name (Boaz); all as keywords
  • We still get a lot of results, but notice the first few. They happen to be titles available at Connecticut College, because the name Connecticut College appears highlighted in green
  • Click on those records to find out more about them
  • When viewing the full record in WorldCat, one can see these various titles contain the chapter we’re after – The Methods of Ethnology / Franz Boas
  • Pick any of the titles that appear to contain the essay of interest, and return to the Connecticut College Library Catalog to find out where the book is located in our library

With the search techniques listed above, we found everything we needed in about 15 minutes. It was all available only a few steps away.

— Andrew Lopez

 

The Search for a Missing National Security Document: A Student-Librarian Collaboration

We met in the Spring 2015 semester. The blog which follows provides an overview of our experience working together as student and librarian on a challenging research assignment. In the first place, it took a lot of work to figure out a focused topic that would be amenable to the assignment. Then we unexpectedly had to do a lot more research than expected to try to track down a Polish national security document that is often referenced in the literature, but nowhere to be found. Included in the blog is a select list of works consulted, as well as the names of some of the individuals and organizations we enlisted for support on this project.

 

The Assignment

 

For an introductory comparative politics course taught by Professor Caroleen Sayej, a 15-page research paper was assigned as a semester-long project. The research paper was to include a clear research question; an engagement with the scholarly literature relevant to one’s topic (the theory) in the form of a literature review; and the use of primary source materials (the data). Those materials could include a wide range of possible sources such as constitutions, speeches, military, trade, or demographic data, or even literacy rates. To be clear, the following discussion is a reflection of the process of finding a topic and primary sources, not of the writing process. While it is true that we collaborated in the process of finding sources, it is also true that Dominic navigated the writing process, as well as the synthesis of the research, entirely on his own.

 

The Research

 

Choosing a topic was a long and constantly changing process that brought student and librarian together early in February. Our first meetings were discussions of ideas for a topic to research and considerations of various book and journal sources to support that research. We started off thinking about political violence and failed states in general, but after consulting some sources, the topic changed to a comparison of US and EU security strategies—still a giant topic.

We corresponded regularly for several weeks exchanging ideas. It seemed that with nearly every email, or every time we met, the topic changed again. It was frustrating. On March 18, we read with interest a front page story from the Sunday New York Times, “Poles Steel for Battle, Fearing Russia Will March on Them Next.” This newspaper article marked a turning point after which the rest of the semester was spent focusing on questions dealing with the article’s main subject: Poland. This evolved into the final research topic: Polish Security and Defense Policy in the Post-Communist Era.

Dominic Lentini, presenting a poster of his research, 6 May 2015.

Dominic Lentini, presenting a poster of his research, 6 May 2015.

As part of this assignment required an examination of primary documents, we discovered that The National Security Strategy of The Republic of Poland (NSSRP), coupled with the annual address given by the Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs (MFA), would be appropriate. A review of secondary literature revealed The National Security Strategy was issued periodically over the years after 1989, while the Annual Address was delivered yearly going back almost 100 years, as mandated by Polish law. The years from which the documents were chosen were 1992, 2003, and 2014. Analysis of these documents, we hypothesized, would shed light on the development of Polish security and defense policy in the difficult years of independence after communism.

Initially it seemed like finding the documents would be a trivial task, as the 2014 NSSPR and annual address were accessed in English with a single search on the Internet. That original search could not have been any more deceptive, however. The first obstacle appeared as soon as the two of us began to search for the documents for the 2003 juncture; also referenced in secondary sources. We quickly realized that the remaining documents were not nearly as accessible as they had been for the 2014 juncture.

 

The Impasse

 

This brings us to the most substantial impasse of our experience researching this topic. It is an impasse that continues to trouble us and one that might qualify as impossible research. A copy of the 1992 NSSPR in English, which is cited at least half a dozen times in our review of the scholarly literature, cannot be located. Now, please consider the following list of institutions with which we communicated in an attempt to locate a copy of this document:

 

  • Baltic Defense College (Estonia)
  • Connecticut State Library
  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Poland )
  • Ministry of Defense (Poland)
  • National Defence University (Poland)
  • NATO Multimedia Library (Belgium)
  • Polish Embassy in the United States (through which we had success in locating the 2003 NSSRP)
  • Polish Institute of International Affairs (PISM)
  • United States Army War College
  • United States Embassy in Poland
  • Warsaw Security Forum (Poland)

 

Additionally we communicated with all of the following individuals:

 

  • Bert Chapman, Govt. Information, Political Science, & Economics Librarian, Purdue University
  • Jackie Granger, Brussels Liaison Officer, European Union Institute for Security Studies (EUISS)
  • Rick Lyman, Central and Eastern European Bureau Chief, The New York Times
  • Karolina Pomorska, Director of Studies MA European Public Affairs, Department of Politics, Maastricht University
  • Tomek Szlendak, Director of the Institute of Sociology, Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń

 

We were successful in finding what we thought were two copies in Polish, but despite the fact that neither of us reads Polish, it was clear the two documents were different. This called into question their validity, and that aside, we did not have time to work with a translator even if it was the right document. The end of the semester was fast approaching.

 

The Takeaway

 

As a final thought, we’ll share a few points we both want to emphasize. This project would not have existed if it were not for student and librarian collaboration. Our collaboration was brought into being by a class and an assignment that made it necessary. Without classes, assignments, and discussions that have the potential to bring us together, students and librarians, we likely remain strangers. That we met countless times and came to rely not only on each other but also on the cooperation of other individuals and institutions tested our commitment, transforming this one research paper into less the product of one individual working alone than of a network of participants coming together through the research process, creating a sort of community where the was none.

 

Note About Works Consulted

 

A number of the works we consulted made reference to and/or included links to documents online that we were not always able to retrieve. So-called “link rot” is of course a serious problem with information on the Web. In some cases we were able to use the WayBack Machine from the Internet Archive to recover lost documents.

 

Works Consulted

Primary Sources

Annual Addresses

 

Address by the Minister of Foreign Affairs on the goals of Polish foreign policy in 2014. http://www.msz.gov.pl/en/news/address_by_the_minister_of_foreign_affairs_on_the_goals_of_polish_foreign_policy_in_2014

 

Address by the Minister of Foreign Affairs on the goals of Polish foreign policy in 2013. http://www.mfa.gov.pl/en/news/address_by_the_minister_of_foreign_affairs_on_the_goals_of_polish_foreign_policy_in2013_

 

The Minister of Foreign Affairs on Polish Foreign Policy for 2012. http://www.mfa.gov.pl/en/news/the_minister_of_foreign_affairs_on_polish_foreign_policy_for_2012?printMode=true

 

The Minister of Foreign Affairs on Polish Foreign Policy for 2011. http://www.msz.gov.pl/resource/66a3030d-07b7-4489-ab40-23b28b04df9e:JCR

 

Something from 2010. http://www.msz.gov.pl/resource/9f966390-1ccf-4c6c-80d7-63f6a4f42ff4:JCR

 

Links to annual addresses for the years 2002-2013 (2008 in Polish only) http://www.msz.gov.pl/en/foreign_policy/goals_of_foreign_policy/annual_address_2011/

 

National Security Policies

 

Polish Foreign Policy Priorities, 2012-2016. http://www.msz.gov.pl/resource/d31571cf-d24f-4479-af09-c9a46cc85cf6:JCR

 

National Security Strategy of the Republic of Poland, 2014. http://www.bbn.gov.pl/ftp/dok/NSS_RP.pdf

 

National Security Strategy of the Republic of Poland, 2007. http://www.sfpa.sk/dokumenty/pozvanky/481

 

National Security Strategy of the Republic of Poland, 2003. http://www.isn.ethz.ch/Digital-Library/Publications/Detail/?id=156794&lng=en

 

https://web.archive.org/web/20130216140023/http://merln.ndu.edu/whitepapers/Poland-2003.pdf

 

Security Strategy of the Republic of Poland, 2000. http://web.archive.org/web/20020302162940/http://www.msz.gov.pl/english/polzagr/security/index.html

 

Something from 1992. https://www.msz.gov.pl/resource/a2467a85-fabe-4347-9fc6-cedc038e8832:JCR

 

http://www.koziej.pl/files/Strategia_RP_z_92_r.doc

 

Ministry of Foreign Affairs Archives. http://www.msz.gov.pl/en/ministry/polish_diplomacy_archive/access_to_documentation/

 

Secondary Sources

 

An asterisk * at the beginning of a citation indicates the source makes reference to the 1992 National Security Strategy of the Republic of Poland even though we were unable to locate that document.

 

Asmus, Ronald D., Thomas S. Szayna, and Barbara A. Kliszewski. “Polish National Security Thinking in a Changing Europe: A Conference Report.” RAND/UCLA Center for Soviet Studies. Santa Monica, CA:

RAND Corp., 1991. Web. 5 May 2015.

This study from 1991 documents the situation in Polish security thinking on the cusp of the establishment of its new policies in 1992 and beyond.

 

*Bieniek, Piotr. Polish Defense Policy in the Context of National Security Strategy. Thesis. Monterey, CA: Naval Postgraduate School, 2006. Web. 5 May 2015.

This is an interesting document, discussing defense policy in the early 1990s, but no reference is made to the key documents of interest from 1992. A link to the National Security Strategy of the Republic of

Poland from 2003 is provided, but it no longer works. More useful are the references to other publications by the Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs throughout the 2000s. Unfortunately, all of the URLs given

seem broken.

 

Chappell, L. “Poland In Transition: Implications For A European Security and Defence Policy.” Contemporary Security Policy 31.2 (2010): 225-248.

Interesting study, like Bieniek’s, but similarly its concerns stem from developments after the 2003 policies and more recent activity.

 

*Czulda, Robert, and Robert Los, eds. NATO: Towards the Challenges of a Contemporary WorldWarsaw/Ludz: International Relations Research Institute in Warsaw; Department of Theory of Foreign and Security

Policy, University of Lodz, 2013. Web. 7 May 2015.

On pages 103-104 of this document there is a brief discussion of the transformation of Polish defense policy after the country’s independence in 1989. The Principles of Poland’s Security Policy and its Security

Policy and Defense Strategy of Poland both from 1992 are cited in English with Polish translations and  a URL is given for the document in Polish. It is not clear what the document says or in what capacity it can

be considered reliable. This report also contains numerous other references in English with Polish translations to later policies and good citations for finding them.

 

*Gorska, Joanna A. Dealing with a Juggernaut: Analyzing Poland’s Policy towards Russia, 1989-2009. New York: Lexington Books, 2010.

Arguing that accession to NATO was the primary objective in Polish foreign policy by mid-1992 (73), this book contains a reference to “The Principles of Poland’s Security Policy” and “The Security Policy and

Defense Strategy of the Republic of Poland,” adopted in November 1992 (p. 74-75). Although it does not exactly translate the names of these documents for us, in the notes it does say that for the full text one

should refer to “Założenia Polskiej Polityki Bezpieczeństwa; Polityka Bezpieczenstwa i Strategia Obronna Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej,” Przeglad Rzadowy, no. 12 (1992).

 

*Karkoszka, Andrzej. “Defense reform in Poland, 1989-2000.” Post-Cold War Defense Reform: Lessons Learned In Europe And The United States. Eds. Theodor Winkler and István Gyarmati. Washington, D.C.:

Brassey’s, 2002. 165-188.

With a thorough chronological breakdown of defense reform in Poland, this chapter identifies our “two doctrinal documents” from 1992: “The Basic Premises of the Polish Security Policy,” and “The Security

Policy and Defense Strategy of the Polish Republic” (169), albeit with slightly different syntax. Unfortunately, there are no citations and the chapter does not say where either document can be found.

 

*Koziej, Stanislaw. “Polish Defense Policy’s Evolution.” Trans. Aleksandra Rodzinska-Chojnowska. Poland’s Security Policy 1989-2000. Ed. Roman Kuzniar. Warsaw: Scholar Publishing House, 2001. 403-438.

This seems to be the most comprehensive and authoritative source outlining the context within which Polish policy was formed. Although it identifies “The Defense Doctrine of the Republic of Poland” (21 Feb

1990) as “the first Polish postwar document which defined and publicly proclaimed the fundamental elements of the national defense strategy” (405), it was apparently already outdated at the time of its

inauguration. In a footnote it also refers to a “Secret document” from 1985 which played a similar role. But the real beginning of the new era in Polish security thinking was marked by the acceptance of “two

key documents” from 1992 (411): The Principles of Poland’s Security Policy and The Security and Defense Strategy of the Republic of Poland. See appendix pp. 554-557. Note 16 on page 554 indicates that the

policies were sourced from Przegląd Rządowy, no. 12 (December 1992), pp. 73-81, which the NATO library says is short for Założenia polskiej polityki bezpieczeństwa. Polityka bezpieczeństwa i strategia obronna RP,

[w:] „Przegląd Rządowy”, nr 12/1992, s. 73-81, which we requested from the MFA on 5/5/2015.

 

*Latawski, Paul. “The Transformation of Postcommunist Civil-Military Relations in Poland.” Civil-Military Relations in Postcommunist Europe: Reviewing the Transition. Eds. Timothy Edmunds, Andrew Cottey and

Anthony Forster. New York: Routledge, 2006. 33-49.

This essay situates the “Security Policy and Defense Strategy of the Republic of Poland,” accepted in November 1992, squarely within the development of Poland’s policies in the early 1990s (p. 38-39).  A note

indicates that this policy was published in Wojsko Polskie: Informator ‘95 (Warsaw: Bellona, 1995), which is where we ultimately found our main copy of the security policy and defense strategy (p. 48, note 26).

 

Lyman, Rick. “Poles Steel for Battle, Fearing Russia Will March on Them Next.” The New York Times. 14 Mar. 2015. Web. 19 Mar. 2015.

This article marked a turning point in our relationship and Dominic’s conception of his research project.

 

*Marczuk, Karina. “Democratization of Security and Defense Policies of Poland (1990-2010). Revista De Stiinte Politice 36 (2012): 80-93. Political Science Complete. Web. 20 Mar. 2015.

This is a good article with lots of interesting context, and it even mentions both The Guidelines for the Polish Security Policy and The Security Policy and the Defence Strategy of the Republic of Poland from 1992 (note

again the change in syntax; 84), but it does not say where the documents can be found.

 

Michta, Andrew. “Polish Security Policy: Keeping Priorities in Balance.” The Polish Review. Vol. 54. U of Illinois, 2009. 229-241. Web 20 Mar. 2015.

Interesting study, like Chappell and Bieniek’s, but similarly its concerns stem from developments after the 2003 policies and more recent activity.

 

Mutimer, David. “Strategic (Security) Studies.” International Encyclopedia of Political ScienceEd. Bertrand Badie, Dirk Berg-Schlosser, and Leonardo Morlino. Vol. 8. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Reference, 2011.

2541-2552. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 3 Mar.

Includes the sections “Security Studies” and “What is Security?” which offer a concrete definition of security studies and an overview of its development historically.

 

O’Donnell, Clara. Poland’s U-turn on European Defense: A Missed Opportunity?. Brookings. N.p., 6 Mar. 2012. Web. 20 Mar. 2015.

Interesting study, like Chappell, Michta, and Bieniek’s, but similarly its concerns stem from developments after the 2003 policies and more recent activity.

 

Pomorska, Karolina. “The Impact of Enlargement: Europeanization of Polish Foreign Policy? Tracking Adaptation and Change in The Polish Ministry Of Foreign Affairs.” Hague

Journal Of Diplomacy 2.1 (2007): 25-51. Political Science Complete. Web. 5 May 2015.

There is a lot of good narrative here about the history and development of the Polish foreign policy and the MFA, but there is no substantive discussion of their annual Addresses.

 

Sliwa, Zdzislaw, and Marcin Górnikiewicz. “Security Cooperation Between Poland and The Baltic Region.” Baltic Security & Defence Review 15.2 (2013): 146-82. Political Science

Complete. Web. 20 Mar. 2015.

Interesting contemporary regional assessment, with some useful remarks about the orientation of strategies and policy.

 

*Wojciechowski, Slawomir. “Dilemmas of Polish Military Strategy.” Strategy Research Project. Carlisle Barracks, PA: US Army War College, 2008. Web. 13 April 2015.

This document by a Polish Army Colonel says the “first written strategic paper was published [in 1992], called Security Policy and Defense Strategy of the Republic of Poland” (12). But the notes contain no

extra information about this source, except for the date 2 November 1992.

 

–Andrew Lopez and Dominic Lentini

Subject Headings, Part II: Labels Matter

We couldn’t be more pleased to pass along to an update to a previous post, in which we discussed the discomfort (or worse) that could be caused by the subject heading “illegal aliens.”

In that post, we argued that it matters — for inclusion, for access, for fairness, for equality of academic achievement — what we call things, and that referring to undocumented immigrants in subject headings as “illegal aliens” was, in short, deleterious to research (among other things). A group from Dartmouth College had raised the issue with the Library of Congress’s Policy and Standards Division, and the response was, in essence, sorry — that’s the only legally accurate way to refer to such persons.

But apparently that’s not actually the case. The Library of Congress has reversed itself, deciding — or discovering — that it’s really better not to use phrases such as “illegal aliens” that have, according to the LOC’s Executive Summary on the matter, “become pejorative.” The Summary continues: “The heading Illegal aliens will therefore be cancelled and replaced by two headings, Noncitizens and Unauthorized immigration, which may be assigned together to describe resources about people who illegally reside in a country.”

Our congratulations to the Dartmouth folks for raising the issue. The episode is an object lesson on the ways in which libraries, and the language they use to describe things, do not sit apart from politics or, indeed, the kinds of important discourses that are addressed in and out of classes on campus. Rather, the means of accessing research materials are fundamentally entangled with those discussions and debates. Everyone’s research is better when those discussions are aligned with current and, one hopes, less offensive language and labels.

— Fred Folmer

Postcards from New London

In the past few months, we’ve added a new collection to the Linda Lear Center for Special Collections & Archives’ growing portfolio of digital exhibitions: a collection of postcard images of various New London landmarks, buildings, monuments, parks and neighborhoods, primarily from the first few decades of the 20th century. The physical postcards had been donated in 1980 by Muriel Castle, a 1939 graduate of the College. The images on display include the Coast Guard Academy, New London’s historic Hempsted Houses, Fort Trumbull, numerous churches, area lighthouses and notable buildings such as the Mohican Hotel and the Crocker House. The collection can be viewed here; there’s also an article about it on the Lear Center’s Tumblr site (at lindalearcenter.tumblr.com).

New London Harbor LightBank Street

It’s probably a fairly safe bet that quite a few more people will access the postcards now that they’ve been digitized, although I hasten to add the disclaimer that what’s currently available is only a portion of the entire collection. That in itself is a key reason to continue digitizing, cataloging and promoting collections such as this one.

Second CongregationalJohn Winthrop Statue

Further, as I learned through this process, postcards are a multifaceted treasure trove of historical and sociocultural information. In addition to what’s kind of obvious about them — historical photographs of particular times and places in New London — the postcards display clues about dress, transportation, architecture, religion and government. Because we’ve digitized and included the reverse sides of the postcards (i.e., where people wrote messages), the cards can also give us insight into how people communicated with each other during the time period, and about the places to which people wrote and traveled. And again, because the images are digitized and freely available, this information is now theoretically available to anyone, not just those who are able to come to Connecticut College and visit with our archivists.

It’s also notable that the exhibition is an example of librarians’ — or, really, anyone’s — ability to create a collection, and thus to contribute content to the pool of resources for scholarly comment and knowledge creation. As the field called “digital humanities” expands, what’s becoming clear is that traditional roles are changing as publishing tools become more and more digital — and accessible. This development raises a lot of issues for research — such as how these “objects” can be cataloged, collected and found — that we’ll be sure to address in future posts.

But perhaps discussions of the wider research significance of digital collections ought for the moment to take a back seat to appreciation of the rich possibilities of a particular collection. In these postcards, we discovered quite a range of topics worthy of research and study — and many interesting, beautiful images that can simply be enjoyed. We hope the collection will serve both ends.

— Fred Folmer

Overloaded?

One of the principal arguments that we present-day librarians make about ourselves is that in an age of massive and pervasive information overload, we are able to help library users cut through the dross and find what they truly need. We often discuss this in terms of time — specifically, reducing the time that patrons spend in finding useful sources. (In fact, “save the time of the user” is one of the five laws of library science, developed by S.R. Ranganathan, that all librarians learn.)

We also, with good reason, talk about quality — librarians’ ability to act as a filter for patrons who are confronted with millions of Web search results, along with anyone’s ability to publish anything, regardless of credibility. Every day, we help students develop search strategies and ask the right questions, and we provide platforms (database pages, catalogs, research guides) that attempt to direct them to high-quality information.

But as I listened recently to an NPR report by Manoush Zomorodi entitled “Get a Grip on Your Information Overload,” another significant framework for talking about our role in mitigating information overload occurred to me: that of stress, and the effects of information overload on the body and brain. One of the key points raised by the report is that overload causes physical symptoms such as headaches, insomnia and eye twitches, but even so, it’s nearly impossible to stop consuming information. The report also quotes a neuroscientist, Daniel Levitin, who argues that so much information makes it difficult to discern what’s important, and that so much decision-making about all this information simply wears people down.

Although the report is talking mostly about everyday interactions with information and media, and not specifically about academic research, the implications for the latter seem clear. Students today are confronted with far more options for finding information than they had been in the past. And indeed, every librarian has stories of students who come to the desk clearly stressed — not just because they’ve had trouble finding things that relate to their research, but because they’ve done Web searches and then had no idea how to sift through the millions of results that turned up. We’ve also all seen the face of relief when students do a search in an academic database and suddenly are dealing with only dozens of options instead of thousands or millions — and that, lo and behold, many of these options are actually viable.

Particularly with the focus today on student physical and mental well-being, we perhaps ought to focus more attention on how librarians and their various strategies might contribute to this well-being. How much, one wonders, could it alleviate stress to discover that there are well-marked paths for finding information on an academic topic, not to mention people whose task is specifically to help them navigate these paths? It’s not just about being nice and friendly, although all our librarians here very much are. It’s also about reducing the need for so much processing of information, all the time. It’s about taking students to the heart of the matter, and teaching them how to get there — separating the signal from the noise, and feeling happier about being able to do it.

— Fred Folmer

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