Ex Libris Universum

Monday, 29 June 2020

June Photos of the Month

Apart from the Emilio Segrè Visual Archives, our oral history collection, in which physicists tell the stories of their lives and careers, is one of our most-used collections.

Thursday, 25 June 2020

From the Wenner Collection Books


It is a delight to explore the exceptional works of physicists which are part of the Wenner Collection, one of the recent big additions to the Niels Bohr Library & Archives, received in 2018. As a cataloger, I explore every item from this collection, and I strive to make the book or serial description as comprehensive, relevant, and useful for our researchers as possible.

Thursday, 18 June 2020

Caring for Film Collections in NBLA

It is part of my job to care for our audiovisual materials in the archives. This includes a wide array of materials used to capture sound and moving images from the last 75-or-so years, such as shellac and vinyl LP’s (long-playing records), audio tape reels and cassettes, video tape reels and cassettes (including VHS, U-Matic, and Beta tapes), and moving image films.

Thursday, 11 June 2020

Unique, uncommon, occasional, singular, extraordinary books

Here at the Niels Bohr Library & Archives (NBLA), as in many institutions, we have our own definition of what makes a book “rare” or designated for our special collections. When we add a book to our collection, we have three book collection types to choose from: 

Thursday, 28 May 2020

May Photos of the Month

During this time of a pandemic crisis and physical distancing, we are reminded more than ever of the important relationships in our lives. Whether you are finding new, virtual ways to connect with friends or counting the days until you can once again embrace, I think we can all appreciate this digital photo album of scientific friendships.


Wednesday, 20 May 2020

As I was assembling a book display for Women’s History Month way back in March, I stumbled across a page about Sau Lan Wu in one of our library books: Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World. I thought it would be fun to write about a female physicist with Asian origins who is currently alive. Wu is the Enrico Fermi Distinguished Professor of Physics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and continues to contribute to scientific innovations to this day. It seemed fitting to post this blog entry now during Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, as we all take time to consider Asian American contributions to our world.

Tuesday, 5 May 2020

The Story of the Atlantic Telegraph

Sometimes, when tending to the rare books in the stacks, you have the opportunity to find a hidden treasure, a book that is not well known but catches the eye. My favorite books are rarely the famous ones, but rather the ones that seem more approachable or are visually striking. The Atlantic Telegraph was one such book for me. Its colorful and highly decorative cover stands out in a sea of brown leather, white vellum, and red bookcloth. Yet, I never really had a chance to dig deeper than the cover until recently. Looking for a break from some of the monotony and sameness of working from home (cataloging clean-up and video meetings are all well and good, but sometimes I do want to look at books again) I decided to dig deeper. I had enough forethought to take some photos of the cover and illustrations in the book before I left, but I was quite pleased to find the full text digitized and available through HathiTrust

Thursday, 23 April 2020

April Photos of the Month

Portrait of E. Margaret Burbidge


"It is the stars, The stars above us, govern our conditions." (King Lear, Act IV, Scene 3)

“The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves.” (Julius Caesar, Act I, Scene 2)


Monday, 13 April 2020


Einstein’s theory of relativity contains scientific principles that are commonplace in the activities of our daily lives, often without our cognizance of their effects. However, something that I struggle with as a library professional - and I’m sure many other people grapple with - is the ability to completely understand Einstein’s theory from a non-scientific viewpoint. I can read the words, but do I understand precisely what the words mean and the intricacies of how they impact my everyday life? In most instances, my answer is no.

Tuesday, 7 April 2020

Q and A with a real, live Niels Bohr Library & Archives book researcher!

One of the most rewarding and exciting parts of working in a library and archives is interacting with the researchers who need our collections for their books, articles, documentaries, radio programs, theses, and other projects. We caught up with Ainissa G. Ramirez, Ph.D., who explored our archival collections while researching and writing her new book, fresh off the press: The Alchemy of Us: How Humans and Matter Transformed One Another, published April 7, 2020.