Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Book Review: All The Frequent Troubles Of Our Days : The True Story Of The American Woman At The Heart Of The German Resistance To Hitler / Rebecca Donner

All The Frequent Troubles Of Our Days : The True Story Of The American Woman At The Heart Of The German Resistance To Hitler 

by Rebecca Donner

Book Review by Robert Koehler, 
Medical Librarian at Unity Point Health-Meriter

Milwaukee-born Mildred Harnack (nee Fish) met Arvid Harnack in 1926 when both were students at the University of Wisconsin.  Arvid was a German student studying on a fellowship in Madison.  After a brief engagement, they married, and in 1928, Mildred moved to Germany to live with her husband.  Based in Berlin, she spent a number of years working as a professor and translator, and, along with Arvid, involved herself in political activism.  With the rise of Hitler and the Nazi party, they began to recruit other like-minded individuals into an underground resistance group.  Led by Mildred and her husband, they remained active from 1932 to 1942 when its members were finally rounded up and arrested by the Gestapo.

Over the years, the group distributed pamphlets urging resistance against the Nazi government, gathered intelligence to share with the American and Russian spy agencies, and helped Jews to escape Germany.  To do so, members of the group (including Arvid) took jobs in different German agencies where they stole information to help bring down the regime.  Mildred did the same by tutoring German soldiers needing to learn English for their duties.  During this time, she also actively provided information to the American embassy in Berlin.  

Rebecca Donner is the great-great-niece of Mildred, and because of this connection, she had access to her family letters.  To flesh out the story of Mildred’s activities in Germany, Donner hunted down the letters, notes and memoirs from the collaborators working in the Resistance group.  She also plumbed the archival records of the German, Russian, and U.S. governments.  And what a fantastic story she tells, one of great courage against overwhelming odds of discovery.  After the members were arrested in 1942, they underwent torture and were later put on trial, with most receiving death sentences.  Mildred was beheaded by guillotine in 1943.  

Mildred Harnack’s story is not well known in this country.  One reason for this is that the United States government took pains to bury it, under the impression that both Mildred and her husband were Communist agents.  Donner includes individual photographs of the members of the group taken after their arrest.  While haunting, they are a testimony to their bravery in a country where opposing the Nazis was more than likely a death sentence.  This book not only acknowledges Mildred’s Resistance activities, but honors them.

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Digitized documents now available from 1932 Tuskegee Syphillis study

No doubt you've heard about the heartbreaking and unjust 1932 study by the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) on the effects of untreated syphilis in Black men at Tuskegee Institute. NLM has just made available a collection of over 3,000 items including letters, meeting minutes, articles, and more available to anyone for use.

This newly digitized collection aims to "ensure this chapter in history is never repeated and build greater trust in current biomedical research through transparency."

Searching for pumpkins at NLM

 Re-posting from the NLM Circulating Now blog:

Monday, November 13, 2023

"Accept All Cookies" when it comes to Library Databases


Image from Raw Pixel.

One of our Library vendors sent the following notice about a new internet browser cookie consent banner that you'll be seeing soon if you use Ovid databases. [Read the full notice below ...]

Some Librarians are recommending that our users "accept all cookies" when searching or working with our fulltext databases.    These will be coming up more often with other library resources.

Why: These internet cookies offer added functionality within the databases, such as remembering your history or other value-added features.  If you don't accept the cookies, some important and useful things might disappear, or get blocked, and you'll wonder why the page is broken.

Behind the scenes, these cookies also help us track generic and anonymous usage data (NOT personal data) on what journals, articles, ebooks, etc. of our library databases are getting used.  This is valuable stewardship data that helps us ascertain what resources are most useful for our library users. 

Worth Repeating: These cookies do NOT collect or share your personal data.

That said, you may want to be selective about accepting cookies from non-library sources, who may not be as considerate of your privacy or personal information.

So if you want to get the most out of  your/our Library databases, please "accept all cookies" when you see those banners.  

Read more about how this cookie movement impacts Library resources:

Wolters Kluwer Health | Ovid
Wolters Kluwer Health | Ovid


New Cookie Consent Banner

Dear Ovid Customer:

As we informed you earlier this year, in June we implemented a new cookie consent management tool in some areas of Ovid (along with all Wolters Kluwer marketing and product sites).
On November 16, a new banner will display across all other areas of Ovid. Users will see a message prompting them to set their cookie preferences.

How will this work?
  • If a user selects “Accept All Cookies”, their experience will remain unchanged from how it is today.
  • If a user selects “Reject All Cookies” or doesn’t make a selection, they’ll lose functions such as the ability to see their history or some features that may be relevant to them.
  • Each visitor’s selections will be retained for a period of one year, after which time they’ll be asked to re-verify their selections.
  • When users don't allow cookies, Wolters Kluwer won't have complete statistics on membership usage data to share.

If you have any questions, your local Ovid representative will be glad to help. Feel free to reach out to your account representative or contact the team at


Wolters Kluwer - Ovid

Wolters Kluwer Health | Ovid

Wolters Kluwer Health | Ovid

Thursday, November 2, 2023

Preserving Scrapbooks

Preserving Scrapbooks by Melissa Tedone, Conservator at Iowa State University.

Association for Collections & Technical Services, American Library Association (ALCTS-ALA)

If any of you are responsible for archival collections at your institution, this video may be helpful.  Even though this video is 9 years old now, it's still valid, and was recently recommended to me by a bona-fide archivist.

I recently ran out of one of the supplies we use to reformat old scrapbooks and create new ones, and wanted some direction on what to use now since the item is no longer available.  

Hint: Adhesive dots are NOT recommended, because they are similar to the old self-adhesive magnetic scrapbook albums and can migrate and stain paper and other materials.

This would also be a great introduction for any volunteers you may have doing this manual work for you, because it explains the whys behind what we do for conservation and preservation purposes.   

This is a snippet from the presentation describing the materials and supplies for creating scrapbooks that last vs. supplies to avoid.  

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Generative Misinformation with Dr. Jevin West

Generative Misinformation with Dr Jevin West

from the University of Washington, Graduate School Office of Public Lectures
Streamed live on Oct 27, 2023
317 vie• Streamed live on Oct 27, 2023
Join the Office of Public Lectures for an evening with Jevin West, Associate Professor in UW Information School, Co-founder of the DataLab. Addressing misinformation is one of society’s grand challenges. In so doing, we might have a chance at the other grand challenges—preventing the next pandemic, preserving our planet, and protecting democracy. Humans, armed and amplified with social media, have been the primary producers of misinformation. This may be changing. Human-like chatbots and other forms of generative AI are and will contribute to this problem. It was a hard enough with humans; AI might make pre-2023 look like the good old days of mitigating misinformation. In this talk, I will address some of these new challenges and potential next steps. [AI did not generate this abstract.]

Dr. West frames the lecture in 4 parts:

  • Let's be Amazed about AI
  • Let's be Scared
  • Let's be Critical
  • Let's be Practical 
  • Questions from the audience

Excellent lecture!

If this all sounds familiar, Jevin West is one of the authors of Calling BS: The Art of Skepticism in a Data-Driven World.

Monday, October 30, 2023

A history of the library (podcast)

During a stroll through a local bookstore, I ran across this book on the history of "the library" appropriately called The Library: A Fragile History by Andrew Pettegree and Arthur der Weduwen. 

This episode of "Travels Through Time", a history podcast, spoke with the authors and delved a little deeper into library history. 

"Of all the accomplishments of human civilisation, the creation of libraries, making the preservation and transmission of knowledge possible, is surely the greatest. In this episode the academics Andrew Pettegree and Arthur der Weduwen take us back to 1850, a pivotal moment in the history of public libraries."

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Collection Equity, a two-part podcast from NNLM Region 5

NNLM Discovery, a podcast from NNLM, recently concluded their two-part series on library projects awarded the Collection Equity Outreach award. These stories encompass libraries of all kinds across Alaska, Hawaii, Nevada, California, Oregon and Washington. 

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Upcoming WHSLA Wisdom Chat - Copyright: What Librarians Need to Know


Don't forget about the upcoming WHSLA Wisdom Chat featuring Claudia Noonan. 

Wednesday, November 8 from 2-3 pm CT

In this Wisdom Chat, Claudia Noonan, Medical librarian at Marshfield Clinic Health System, will inform us about what is important for librarians to know about copyright,  so we can become a copyright asset to our  organizations.

Join us for Claudia’s presentation followed by our usual round of sharing.

WHSLA Wisdom Chats are open to all WHSLA members in good standing. If you are a current member and didn't receive an invitation, please contact Barb Ruggeri, WHSLA Wisdom Chat coordinator.