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Sometimes the very data we map can get in the way of our understanding the phenomena we are visualizing.

In the case of bird sightings for the Rose-Breasted Grosbeak, the typical approach to adding points over a map might have shown us where in time and space the birds were while on their annual migration, but the result would have also obscured the terrain over which they fly.

Using a creative visualization method of subtractive rather than additive symbology in mapping observations, John Nelson of IDV Solutions found a great way to reveal rather than hide the landscape these birds travel through. Instead of adding points for observations over a detailed map background, John used a masking technique to reveal the underlying map showing us the world the birds see as they migrate while still revealing the overall patterns in the data.

Shu-Wen Lin

The Stanford Media Preservation Lab and the Department of Special Collections are delighted that Shu-Wen Lin is spending the summer with us in Redwood City interning as a media archivist. Leveraging her interest and background in the arts, Shu-Wen will help to process and preserve several media-based collections, including the archives of visual artist Carolee Schneeman and the archives of Telling Pictures, a prominent Bay Area film production company. Shu-Wen's first day is June 1.

A student enjoys one of the comfortable chairs in the Lane Reading Room

Have you been looking for just the right spot to study for your finals? Looking for a comfy, quiet place for just you and your laptop, perhaps a large room equipped with whiteboards and/or audiovisual equipment for your study group, or maybe an area with soft seating and an amazing view of the campus?

Maps of war take many forms from those showing battlefronts to the layout of trenches, from details of terrain to focusing on the forts that protect a harbor.  One category of war map is designed to inform the people at home or soldiers as to what is or has happened during a campaign.  This week we feature three maps from the Branner Library collection that focus on World War II and the battles in the Pacific.  This exhibit is part of the Branner 100th Anniversary celebration and will be on display May 28 - June 4, 2015 at the Branner Earth Sciences Library and Map Collections.

Between 1942 and 1946 the U.S. Army Information Branch issued weekly broadsheets called Newsmap that were targeted specifically for American military personnel to keep up on the progress of the war.  The broadsheets are large, measuring 3 feet by 4 feet and are printed on both sides.  They include maps, photographs, news, and the progress on each front.  224 Newsmaps were printed and Branner Library holds about 50 of them.  You may read more about these maps in a blog post written by Mike DiCianna, a student at Oregon State University.  The University of North Texas has scanned 212 of the maps and you may view them here.  The map on display is from October 13, 1943 and includes a map of Europe for context and the world colored according to military alliances.  At the bottom left three pictures show a time lapse of the bombing of a few flats in a river. 

 

"Since its founding in 1977, EdSource has broadened its focus to include a broad range of education reforms, including charter schools, school accountability, STEM education, teacher evaluation and obstacles students face in the math pipeline from pre-kindergarten to college."  Several Stanford faculty members have been involved with EdSource over the years and it was through one of them that we were able to bring in the EdSource archives which are now processed and ready for use by historians interested in education policy in California.

A Cropped Part of Rebecca Solnit's Monarchs and Queens Map 2010

This exhibit will be on display May 22-28, 2015 at the Branner Earth Sciences Library and Map Collections.

Rebecca Solnit, a former visiting fellow at the Bill Lane Center for the American West and Stanford University Libraries where she focused on Glen McLaughin’s collection of Maps of California as an Island, is a writer, historian and activist based in the Bay Area. She has authored fifteen books, including Infinite City: A San Francisco Atlas (2010).

Ravel's Bolero (detail)

Helen Colijn (1920-2006) was held captive in a Japanese prison camp on the island of Sumatra for three and one half years during World War II.  One remarkable survival mechanism for some of the prisoners at the Women’s Barracks Camp in Palembang was making music, and a series of concerts was prepared and given in which the women sang a cappella arrangements of great works of Western Art music.  The music was arranged by Margaret Dryburgh and Norah Chambers. Programs included Dvorak’s Largo from the New World Symphony, the Pastoral from Handel’s Messiah, Chopin’s ‘Raindrop’ Prelude, and Tchaikovsky’s Andante Cantabile, among many other works. 

Garvin Mine, Arkansas

You know you've made people mad when they hang you in effigy.

Before John Casper Branner came to Stanford, he spent several years as the State Geologist of Arkansas. In 1887-1888, he and his team completed the second-ever geological survey in Arkansas -- and the first in 30 years. Residents of the state were intent on having Branner verify the various reports of gold in the area; companies were busy making money off prospectors willing to buy up gold stock that promised riches and wealth.

This week's Branner 100 exhibit tells the story of the Second Arkansas Geological Survey.

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