EXPLORE FALL 2021 | VOLUME 3 | NUMBER 2
ART SCIENCE OF
EXPLORE FALL 2021 | VOLUME 3 | NUMBER 2
Contents 2 Collection Spotlight: Gato Negro Ediciones 6 Creating Smarter Spaces with Smart Technology 10 Discovering Art in Science 14 Here to Help: Staff Features 16 From Archive to Page
On the Cover Keunyoung Kim, project scientist associated with the National Center for Microscopy and Imaging Research at UC San Diego, submitted this winning image showing a micro view of a mouse retina for the Library’s inaugural Art of Science contest. Left: Another Art of Science winning image submitted by Adi Khen, graduate student associated with the Marine Biology Research Division at Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the Smith Lab.
Nikki Kolupailo Editor
Gato Negro Ediciones (Z232 .G274)
April Tellez Green Deputy Editor and Writer
Special Collections & Archives,
CONTRIBUTORS Ellysa Lim Writer and Copyeditor PHOTOGRAPHY Leyna Butcher, Lorenzo Casalino, Jess Du, Dephny Duan, Thomas
UC San Diego Library (Pages 2–5) Rex Pickett Papers (MSS 750) Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego Library (Pages 16–17) DESIGN Leah Roschke StudioGrafik
Deerinck, April Tellez Green,
Erik Jepsen, Keunyoung Kim,
Kevin deFreitas Architects
Adi Khen, Nikki Kolupailo, Pichaya Lertvilai, Partha Ray,
Nika Redburn and Will Tanaka
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We’re Back! I am pleased to share that after 18 long months, the Library welcomed students, faculty, staff and members of the public into our buildings in early September. The planning for a safe and gradual return took many months and a tremendous amount of hard work and perseverance by Library employees and our campus partners. I am grateful to be surrounded by such talented and dedicated colleagues and extend my thanks to each of them.
As we reopen our buildings and provide in-person access to resources and services, we are doing this in ways that are informed by all we have learned. Our digital-first approach to service, developed over the last year and a half, means that students can continue receiving our expert research assistance from anywhere in the world. I am also glad to report that we will continue our partnership with Transportation Services to offer quick and easy access to Library materials via Campus Curbside. Curbside pickup became an important part of any retail experience and is now an essential part of our own Library service model.
In addition to the shift back to in-person services this quarter, we launched a strategic planning process that will inform and guide the Library’s vision and priorities over the next five years. The strategies and initiatives developed through this planning process will align with UC San Diego’s Strategic Plan and the university’s Strategic Plan for Inclusive Excellence. The entire process will be led by a steering committee composed of employees from across the Library, students and faculty.
and community members, as we endeavor to put our plans into action. I invite you all to participate and am dedicated to providing you with updates on our progress along the way.
I look forward to hearing the input from our various stakeholders, including students, faculty, staff, campus partners
Erik T. Mitchell The Audrey Geisel University Librarian
Welcome back and thank you for your continued support of the Library, as well as the students, faculty and staff of UC San Diego.
Our digital-first approach to service, developed over the last year and a half, means that students can continue receiving our expert research assistance from anywhere in the world. FA L L 2021
Library adds rare bilingual risographs
For more than a half century, the UC San Diego Library has made it a priority to acquire and preserve materials that benefit the UC San Diego community, as well as researchers and scholars around the globe. From students and faculty to staff and the public, our collections serve a variety of purposes and have allowed our patrons to hatch new ideas and grow together in knowledge. This tradition has proven itself to be true once more with our recent addition of Gato Negro Ediciones publications. Gato Negro Ediciones, known for its use of the risograph printing technique, is an independent publisher based in Mexico City. Its publications are printed in English and Spanish (occasionally bilingual) and cover topics such as the arts, cultural theory, literature, politics, social movements and more. Its cutting-edge content is relevant to scholarship and courses in many areas, including Latin American studies, visual arts, literature and ethnic and gender studies. Recognizing the unique and meaningful contributions of this collection, the Library acquired the majority of the publisher’s content in Spring 2020—upwards of 140 publications. Due to their scarcity, fragility and complexity, these items are being safely housed in Special Collections & Archives. This acquisition has made the UC San Diego Library one of few academic research libraries to hold the majority of Gato Negro Ediciones’ publications. “While reviewing the volumes in the Gato Negro Ediciones collection, I was struck by their coverage of interdisciplinary topics that are important to UC San Diego researchers, including contemporary art and poetry, politics, border studies and gender studies,” said Laura Schwartz, subject specialist for visual arts. “Bringing this collection to the Library allows our community to more readily access these materials that are not widely available. I look forward to working with students and faculty on integrating these publications into their coursework and research.” Advocating for the liberty of thought, Gato Negro has made it a point to publish works that focus on the “so-often sequestered view of contemporary society” and give voice to artists and authors who
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to Special Collections & Archives
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While reviewing the volumes in the Gato Negro Ediciones collection, I was stru
UC San Diego researchers, including contemporary art and poetry, politics, border may have been silenced in the past. The publisher has stated that the takeaways are solely between the reader and the author, allowing each to consume, convey and expand upon their point of view on a particular issue or topic. “When the UC San Diego Library first approached us with the opportunity to house our publications in its Special Collections & Archives, we were elated and humbled,” said León Muñoz Santini, self-taught designer, photographer and founder of Gato Negro Ediciones. “Each edition within the collection, whether it focuses on political manifestos or art theory and prose, has a purpose and real-life application in the educational realm. We truly hope the UC San Diego community enjoys each piece and reaches out to a librarian to dive deeper into the content.”
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In addition to the incredible relevancy of the materials, each item in the Gato Negro collection dons a gorgeous cover featuring frame worthy artwork. Take “Oh! The Normal: A Rain Falls from the Sun,” for example—the cover (left) features an artistic orb with a constellation-like detail, giving the reader a sense of the rich content that lies within. According to Sarah Buck Kachaluba, subject specialist for Latin American studies and Iberian languages and literatures, “While Gato Negro will be of interest to scholars worldwide who specialize in the areas identified by Schwartz, UC San Diego is a logical home for this content. The university and San Diego region are important sites of border and migration studies, and locating this material in San Diego increases accessibility to scholars on both sides of the border.”
ck by their coverage of interdisciplinary topics that are important to LAURA SCHWARTZ studies and gender studies.
Pages 2–3: “Oh! The Normal: A Rain Falls from the Sun.” Mexico: Gato Negro Ediciones, 2019. Page 4: “Oh! The Normal: A Rain Falls from the Sun.” Mexico: Gato Negro Ediciones, 2019 (top); Khalili, Bouchra. “The Radical Ally.” Mexico: Gato Negro Ediciones, 2019 (bottom). Page 5: Muñoz Santini, León. “Satán.” Mexico: Gato Negro Ediciones, 2018 in the foreground with additional publications in the background (top); Arias G., Eduardo. “Frutas Latinoamericanas.” Mexico: Gato Negro Ediciones, 2018 (bottom).
Several librarians and other Library employees were involved in the acquisition of this body of work, including Director of Special Collections & Archives Lynda Claassen, Schwartz and Buck Kachaluba. Together, the team worked to purchase the materials, making it a true in-house collaboration between three programs: Academic Engagement & Learning Services, Special Collections & Archives and Collection Development & Management.
The collection has been fully cataloged in the University of California’s new systemwide library discovery tool, UC Library Search, and as previously mentioned, is available to view in person through Special Collections & Archives. Moving forward, the Library intends to keep an eye on Gato Negro’s publication cycle and acquire its complete output on an annual basis.
by visiting lib.ucsd.edu/gatonegro and the exhibition, “Gato Negro Ediciones: Contemporary Arts Publications from Mexico,” which is currently on view at Geisel Library on the 2nd (main) Floor through December 13, 2021. You can also visit Gato Negro’s website at gatonegro.ninja. If you have any questions, please contact email@example.com.
We invite you to learn more about the Gato Negro Ediciones collection
Each edition within the collection,
whether it focuses on political manifestos or art theory and prose, has a purpose and real-life application in the educational realm. LEÓN MUÑOZ SANTINI
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Creating Smarter Spaces
Smart Technology with
How the Library is reducing energy waste and using alumni innovations to enhance the student experience
Alumnus Nic Halverson Creates Technology to Help Students Track Occupancy in Real Time UC San Diego graduates are innovators and entrepreneurs, and the Library strives to serve as a think tank and launching ground for student innovation. As the intellectual hub of campus, we take great pride in nurturing our students during their studies and are often awestruck by what they go on to achieve after they graduate—electrical engineering alumnus Nic Halverson ’17 is a prime example. Halverson leveraged his experiences on campus—both his education and day-to-day observances—to create a company called Occuspace and its accompanying app, Waitz. Waitz allows people to view occupancy levels in high-traffic areas, mainly on college campuses, in an effort to save them time when mapping out their day and, in the Library’s case, searching for a place to study. The Library is just one location at UC San Diego that has adopted this “smart space” technology. It has been installed in multiple buildings across campus (more than 70 different spaces are being monitored, such as the Price Center and RIMAC) and transmits data via the UC San Diego Waitz site and app. What’s more is that the idea behind this innovative technology was hatched right here at the Library. Being the most popular place to study on campus, Geisel Library is often at maximum capacity—especially during peak periods like 10th week and final exams. Like many students before him, Halverson often found himself wandering around the building’s sprawling footprint searching for an open seat.
“I was walking up and down the eight floors of Geisel trying to find a seat to study one night only to see zero spaces available,” Halverson said. “I literally said to myself out loud, ‘I wish I knew how busy every floor was before I arrived!’ That’s when the idea for Occuspace was born.” Halverson, along with co-creators Max Topolsky ’17 and Linus Grasel ’18, quickly went to work, developing technology that would save others from experiencing similar frustrations. The prototypes were installed in Geisel during Fall Quarter 2017 shortly before Halverson and Topolsky graduated. Today, Occuspace is used at many University of California campuses, as well as several other universities and Fortune 500 companies throughout the U.S. and Canada. This technology, while useful during normal times, has proven to be especially effective during the COVID-19 pandemic. Universities across the country have adopted it to share occupancy in real time with students in such spaces as libraries, gyms and dining halls, among other buildings on campus. At a time when social distancing was paramount, Waitz allowed (and still allows) students to “go with confidence” and map out their day with increased effectiveness and assurance that they will land in a safe space when they venture out. “Having technology to reference when heading out on campus has been reassuring and helpful,” said Library student employee Sabina Fritz. “Each time I enter Geisel and the Biomedical Library, I make it a point to scan the
Each time I enter Geisel and the Biomedical Library, I make it a point to scan the occupancy levels on each floor. The screens at the front entrances are super useful in helping students like me gauge the best chance of finding an open seat. SABINA FRITZ
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occupancy levels on each floor. The screens at the front entrances are super useful in helping students like me gauge the best chance of finding an open seat.”
Above: Students stop at Geisel’s front entrance to gauge the open seating in the building via the digital screens powered by Waitz technology.
Along with occupancy accuracy, data privacy was also considered when deciding to implement this technology at the Library. “Occuspace boasts a 95% accuracy rate, making it a solid indicator of how busy a space is at any given time...and it’s secure,” said Tim Marconi, director of technology and digital experience at the Library. “Visitors’ personal information is not gathered as a part of the tracking process, making it a secure and anonymous way of identifying occupancy.”
Right: Occuspace co-creators Linus Grasel ’18, Max Topolsky ’17 and Nic Halverson ’17 in 2017 (image courtesy of Occuspace, Inc.). Center: A mobile view of the Waitz app showing available seating at Geisel Library.
A Commitment to Sustainability In an effort to deliver on our strategic plan’s commitment to sustainability, the Library Sustainability Committee (LSC) was established with an overarching mission to educate and promote a culture that integrates sustainability into the daily habits of the Library community. Run by a variety of employees from across the Library’s organizational structure, LSC has developed a number of initiatives that have transformed the Library’s sustainability practices in ways large and small. Examples of its work include collaborating with campus groups to bring hydration stations into the Library buildings and creating internal programs to recycle and upcycle office supplies in addition to promoting green buying practices. To learn more about the LSC and the ways it is making an impact, visit lib.ucsd.edu/sustainability. Right: Every year during Earth Month, the Library hosts a hands-on ‘Makers Day’ where participants can create eco-friendly products and learn ideas for reusing consumables.
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On top of being private and secure, the application of the tech is relatively simple. Sensors are plugged into electrical sockets throughout the building that pinpoint Wi-Fi and Bluetooth signals from mobile devices, such as laptops, smartphones and tablets, within approximately 4,000 square feet by using algorithms to determine realtime occupancy of spaces—all without compromising the user’s personal data. The next time you visit Geisel Library or the Biomedical Library Building, look for the Waitz occupancy dashboard monitors as you enter—you won’t miss them. Download the Waitz app today to gain insights into the occupancy levels of buildings across campus at waitz.io/ucsd.
Reducing Energy Use One Plug at a Time Thanks to the efforts of environmental and mechanical engineering professor Jan Kleissl from the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering and the Center for Energy Research, the university received a $1 million California Energy Commission grant to reduce energy waste on campus. The objective of this grant is to create opportunities to reduce energy use in unoccupied spaces, during power grid emergencies and at night when the campus’ mostly solar powered grid is not able to support the load. More specifically, the goal is to fund projects that will ultimately result in a 20% reduction of energy use in 10 buildings across campus by 2024. Geisel Library was selected to participate in this important initiative, and Library Facilities Director Jason Schulz welcomed the opportunity to be involved. “Being responsible for overseeing our various Library facilities—both on and off campus—it often weighs on me how much energy we use not only to support our buildings and the work that is conducted in them, but also to properly care for our collections that require specific air quality and temperature control,” he said. “We appreciate the opportunity to participate in a program that helps
alleviate energy waste and make us more sustainable. I look forward to seeing our energy numbers drop as a result.”
n Fall 2021: PLCs are being installed at each participating building and will be used initially to collect baseline usage data.
Through the program, each of the 10 buildings received free installation of new Plug Load Controllers (PLCs) designed to keep plug loads from drawing power when not in use, with the exception of computer electrical usage, which will remain on and be more closely monitored.
n Winter 2022: All PLCs in each building will be set to a static schedule customized to the building’s usage. For example, plug loads in the Library will be off from midnight to 4 a.m.
Through the documentation of the building’s daily energy use, the team was astonished to see that plug loads continue to draw significant power when not in use, which can result in as much as 40% of a building’s total energy use. Grant execution was kickstarted by project executors Jesse Wolf and Keaton Chia. The first step in the process was to find an industry expert to partner with for the deployment of wireless plug load control technology. Best Energy Reduction Technologies (BERT) was selected based on its strong reputation, and together, the team came up with a phased approach:
n Spring 2022: A dynamic power supply schedule will be set based on each building’s occupancy. Plug loads will be turned off whenever a space is unoccupied. Now that the plugs are installed at Geisel, we are working with campus and BERT to determine the efficacy of the PLCs. Through the program, it is expected that across the 10 participating buildings, the university will experience an annual savings of approximately $234,000 and 240,000 kgCO2 emissions. To learn more about the project in its entirety, visit sites.google.com/ ucsd.edu/derconnect/home.
n Summer 2021: Space surveys were completed to determine where PLCs might yield energy savings without impacting operations or causing occupant inconvenience. The team identified 1,800 plug loads in 10 buildings.
Through the program, it is expected that across the 10 participating buildings, the university will experience an annual savings of approximately $234,000 and 240,000 kgCO2 emissions. FA L L 2021
How our data curators are celebrating the beauty that can emerge during scientific exploration at UC San Diego Data curators at the UC San Diego Library have the privilege of working with researchers from a wide range of scientific disciplines as they prepare data for the Library’s research data collections repository. The visually stunning nature of some of the research data sets they curate inspired the Library’s Research Data Curation program to host its inaugural Art of Science contest. The contest was created for two reasons: to celebrate the beauty that can emerge during scientific exploration and to raise awareness of the Library’s data curation services. In February 2021, UC San Diego and affiliate students, postdoctoral and faculty researchers were invited to submit images or graphics related to their research, along with a caption that
explained their work in an engaging and accessible way. Many of the contest participants used imaging techniques to capture beauty that normally goes unseen by the human eye, which as contest award winner Keunyoung Kim says, “can be so intricately and artistically organized.” Researcher-artists were allowed to modify images in order to enhance overall aesthetics, and images could be obtained by a variety of techniques. For example, submissions could be the result of modeling and simulation or created by combining multiple images into one. Photographs depicting instrumentation, apparatus, devices or other objects used during scientific investigation were also accepted. Four award-winning images were selected by a panel of judges from
a range of academic disciplines and campus roles. Three additional images were awarded honorable mention and a separate prize was awarded to the overall crowd favorite, which was identified during the open voting period. The Research Data Curation program acknowledges the generous support of Wendy Ibsen and Arica Lubin for sharing their insights about producing the UC Santa Barbara Art of Science contest; Brian Wolf for giving a deep dive into the UC Santa Barbara Art of Science website development tools; student graphic designer Erinna Lin for creating the Art of Science mark; and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies for their partnership. We hope you enjoy a glimpse into our participants’ worlds of research.
View the online exhibit qt lib.ucsd.edu/aosexhibit UC San Diego Judging Committee Anita Bandrowski Department of Neurosciences, FAIR Data Informatics Lab Ricardo Dominguez Visual Arts, Principal Investigator at CALIT2 and the Performative Nano-Robotics Lab at Structural and Materials Engineering Vic Ferriera Professor, Department of Psychology Ananda Goldrath Professor, Division of Biological Sciences, Molecular Biology Section, Tata Chancellor’s Endowed Professorship in Molecular Biology
Christine Kirkpatrick Division Director, Research Data Services, San Diego Supercomputer Center Maryann Martone Professor Emerita Department of Neuroscience, FAIR Data Informatics Lab Robert Twomey Visiting Scholar, Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination Colin Zyskowski Assistant Director, EnVision Arts and Engineering Maker Studio, Jacobs School of Engineering
UC San Diego Library Judging Subcommittee Tim Marconi Director of Technology and Digital Experience Sue McGuinness Director of Academic Engagement and Learning Services David Minor Director of Research Data Curation
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Judges’ Award, Faculty/Scientist Participant Category [ above ] Mouse Retinal Ganglion Cells By Keunyoung Kim, scientist associated with the National Center for Microscopy and Imaging Research at UC San Diego Retinal ganglion cells in the whole mounted mouse retina. Judges’ Award, Undergraduate Participant Category [ below ] Hyphi By Nika Redburn and Will Tanaka, undergraduate students associated with the Department of NanoEngineering and the Department of Biological Sciences at UC San Diego, respectively, and Roger’s Urban Farmlab Vigorous edible mushroom culture surrounded by photos of different types of mushrooms grown using waste such as coffee grounds and tea leaves.
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Open Voting Winner [ above ] Bigeye Octopus Suckers By Adi Khen, graduate student associated with the Marine Biology Research Division at Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the Smith Lab Close-up of the suckers of a North Pacific Bigeye octopus, collected from a deep-sea trawl on a research vessel. Judges’ Award, Postdoctoral Participant Category [ below ] A Deceitful Handshake By Lorenzo Casalino, postdoctoral researcher associated with the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at UC San Diego and the Amaro Lab Ever wonder how SARS-CoV-2 latches onto human cells? Computer simulations capture the atomic-level details of this deadly encounter leading to infection.
ART OF SCIENCE WIN
Judges’ Award, Graduate Student Participant Category [ above ] Drifting World through the Scripps Plankton Camera By Pichaya Lertvilai, graduate student associated with Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the Jaffe Laboratory of Underwater Imaging A collage of tiny ocean drifters imaged by the Scripps plankton camera shows the hidden beauty of the underwater world that is unseen to naked eye. Honorable Mention [ below ] Workhorse of Genetics By Thomas Deerinck, faculty member associated with the National Center for Microscopy and Imaging Research at UC San Diego Long considered the linchpin of genomics research since they are easy to manipulate, inexpensive to maintain, have short generation times and share many genes involved in human diseases, Drosophila melanogaster have led to countless discoveries in biomedicine.
Honorable Mention [ above ] Whirlwind of Neurites Extending from Fluorescent Neurons in Cultured Explants of Embryonic Mouse Brain Tissue By Jess Du, graduate student associated with the Department of Neurosciences at the UC San Diego School of Medicine and the Lippi Lab Embryonic mouse neurons labeled with green fluorescent protein, with profusions of neurites extending outwards in swirls. Honorable Mention [ below ] Red, White & Blue By Partha Ray, faculty member, Division of Surgical Oncology, Department of Surgery, Moores Cancer Center at the UC San Diego School of Medicine Trichrome staining was performed on a formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded mouse pancreatic cancer tumor slide.
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Here to Help At the Library, we have hundreds of employees who want nothing more than to make it easy for students, faculty and researchers to access materials whenever and wherever they need them. Meet two such individuals, Jenn Dandle and Kirk Wang. Both exemplify what it means to be a dedicated library professional eager to share the vast knowledge in our holdings with fellow Tritons and the world.
Jenn Dandle Web Manager Describe your role at the Library. What are your primary responsibilities? As web manager at the Library, I provide strategic support for the Library’s public web presence to create a more consistent user experience across multiple disparate products. My responsibilities vary greatly depending on the scope and needs of a project. I often serve in project manager, technician or expert advisor roles. Why do you have a passion for working in a library? I am passionate about working in
a library because I believe the overall mission of libraries as stewards of information is invaluable to society. Knowledge is power, and access to information fuels and supports that knowledge. I enjoy having the opportunity to work in an environment where the improvements I support have far-reaching benefits. How does your role help our students achieve their academic goals? Making the Library’s website and supporting systems more usable and more accessible are two primary goals for my role as web manager. We want to make it quick and easy
I enjoy breaking down complex issues and finding creative solutions to improve usability.
for students to learn about and gain access to resources to help them excel academically. For example, the Library updated the study room reservation system this summer to allow students to more easily reserve a room. What do you love most about your job? One of the most rewarding aspects of my job is being able to help technicians and content creators make the web more accessible for all, regardless of ability. I enjoy breaking down complex issues and finding creative solutions to improve usability. What is one of the favorite projects you’ve had the opportunity to work on since you’ve been at the Library? I’ve been lucky enough to work on many fun projects—it’s hard to pick just one! I’m grateful I had the opportunity to participate in the transition to the new UC Library Search. Moving from a traditional catalog system to a discovery tool revolutionizes the experience for students, faculty and staff and makes it easier for them to find materials they wouldn’t have had direct access to from the previous catalog. What is one surprising fact about yourself that most people do not know? Most people don’t know that I play sled hockey with the San Diego Ducks. Every week, I’m counting down to Saturday morning for weekly practice with the team. I enjoy being active and continuing to push my limits. A phrase often heard around the rink is “hockey is for everyone.” Contact Jenn: firstname.lastname@example.org
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If I could go back and tell my undergrad self one thing, it would be ‘use course reserves!’ I remember buying all my books that I only used for a quarter, some of which weren’t even a part of my major.
Kirk Wang Scholarship Tools and Methods Specialist Describe your role at the Library. What are your primary responsibilities? I work in Scholarship Tools and Methods (STM) and am primarily responsible for still-image reformatting and making sure content is archived in our digital collections, including video content from the Library’s signature Holocaust Living History Workshop series. I also help manage our department’s student workers. What do you love most about your job? It’s hard to choose what I love most, but completing projects or a digitization request and seeing patrons getting use out of the work my colleagues and I have produced is very satisfying. I also love when the students I manage graduate and want to pursue a career in the library field. What do you enjoy about working at the Library? At the Library, I really enjoy fulfilling digitization requests—not just in-house needs, but also inquiries we receive from faculty. Being in the library field,
I appreciate the searching for and sharing of information. If I could go back and tell my undergrad self one thing, it would be ‘use course reserves!’ I remember buying all my books that I only used for a quarter, some of which weren’t even a part of my major. How does your role help our students achieve their academic goals? I digitize materials needed for research and make them accessible so patrons don’t necessarily have to come into the Library to view them. I think the increased accessibility helps students and faculty, especially in this changing educational landscape during the pandemic. What is one of the favorite projects you’ve had the opportunity to work on since you’ve been at the Library? I really enjoyed working on the San Diego Chinese Newspapers project, which has made us the only library on the West Coast to hold the bound volumes and the first to provide digitized copies of the newspaper.
The materials were donated to Special Collections & Archives by the Avery-Tsui Foundation with encouragement from UC San Diego Foundation Trustee and alumna Sally WongAvery and her daughter Natasha Wong. Due to a compressed timeline driven by scholarly needs, we expedited the process by outsourcing the work to a vendor in Los Angeles called Luna Imaging. Before making the images available to the public, my team and I were responsible for quality control and reviewed the digital scans from the vendor to ensure all 12,554 pages were up to our Library’s digitization standards. It was a wild experience seeing the ads of Asian San Diego businesses from the 1980s and 1990s. What is one surprising fact about yourself that most people do not know? I think a good amount of people know that I am in the Army Reserves, but very few people know that as of September 17, 2021, I have been in the Reserves for 20 years. I joined right after 9/11 and can’t believe it’s been that long. Contact Kirk: email@example.com
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Archive Page How “Sideways” author’s personal connection with Geisel Library inspired his new book “The Archivist”
When Rex Pickett talks about UC San Diego, it is clear that the Library holds a special place in his life. From his time as a student to his career as a writer and filmmaker, the Library has served as more than just a place for him to study or read; it was where a world of opportunities and imagination opened up to him. “It wasn’t just a second home to me,” he says. “It was home to me.” Thus, it is only fitting that his life has come full circle and brought him back to Geisel Library, where it all began. Pickett is a renowned author, UC San Diego alumnus and longtime patron and champion of the Library. His newest book “The Archivist,” published in November 2021, is set in a fictionalized version of our very own Geisel Library and pays homage to the place that helped shape the person who Pickett has become. A San Diego native, Pickett recalls the establishment of UC San Diego, calling it a “magical place for the residents who hoped to go on and make something out of their lives.” When he began attending the university, Pickett spent much of his time in what was then known as the Central Library. He would take the elevator to the 7th Floor—his favorite—and immerse himself in the stacks of literature for hours. “I spent hours and hours there, reading, thinking, imagining, pullulating ideas, writing madly in journals,” he says. “I wanted so badly to have my own books on those shelves one day.” After graduating in 1976 with a degree in literary and film criticism and creative writing, Pickett moved
to Los Angeles to write screenplays and make indie films. In 2000, the film based on his screenplay “My Mother Dreams the Satan’s Disciples in New York” won the Oscar for Best Live Action Short, and in 2004, his novel “Sideways” was made into an Oscar-winning film. Even though he had physically moved away from the Library, Pickett says that the Library never left him—everywhere he went, he endeavored to recreate the same intellectually stimulating atmosphere that Geisel Library offered. In 2012, Pickett donated his writings, films and memorabilia to the Library’s Special Collections & Archives. Several months later, he attended a dinner at the Faculty Club to celebrate the premiere of the musical adaptation of “Sideways” at the La Jolla Playhouse. Up until then, Pickett had no idea what had become of the 50 boxes he had dropped off at Geisel Library. “Part of me wondered if they hadn’t just gone into storage,” says Pickett. Nothing could be further from the truth. Following the dinner, Pickett was approached by Kate Saeed, who introduced herself as the person responsible for processing the Rex Pickett Papers. Saeed invited him to Special Collections & Archives to view the collection. When he saw the shelves and boxes where his works
“The Archivist” is a love letter to the important work that archivists do to preserve and organize historical record——something Pickett says we need now more than ever in order to know, explore, interpret and study the past. were processed and organized, Pickett was overcome with emotion. “It was an emotional coming home for me, and it was then and there that I knew I had to write about this feeling that was suffusing me. Thus was born ‘The Archivist,’ set, of course, in the only library I know and love.” What started as an eight-episode limited series, all of which was written on the 8th Floor of Geisel Library, eventually turned into a murder mystery novel about a project archivist hired by a university library to process the papers of a notable author. As for where the story takes place, there was never any question that Geisel Library would be the backdrop for the plot. “Because the Rex Pickett Papers are stored and cared for in Geisel, there was no other library that was ever going to be used in the novel,” Pickett explains.
More importantly, Pickett credits Saeed for inspiring the idea for the titular character of the novel. “I cannot emphasize how much Kate had to do with engendering the ideation of ‘The Archivist’ and inspiring me to write the novel that would give fictional life to her profession and what archivists do,” he says. Indeed, “The Archivist” is a love letter to the important work that archivists do to preserve and organize historical records—something Pickett says we need now more than ever in order to know, explore, interpret and study the past.
UPCOMING SPRING 2022 AUTHOR TALK WITH REX PICKETT
Left: Pickett as an undergraduate student in the late 1970s in the editing room at Muir College’s visual arts center. Bottom: Pickett on the film set of “Sideways” in November 2003. Right: Original manuscript for “Sideways” (initially titled “Two Guys on Wine”).
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Reimagining Geisel Renovations Coming Soon
The 2nd (main) Floor of Geisel Library is getting a much needed transformation with renovations scheduled to begin in 2022. For project updates, visit lib.ucsd.edu/geisel-renovation.
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