Library News and Announcements

Are you interested in improving the visibility of your research? Creating a more just and global science community? Celebrate Open Access Week with the MBLWHOI Library. Check out our social media posts from this week and this presentation of Open Access resources available to the Woods Hole community. Our library staff is decicated to improving access to your research products and expanding your access to global science. We are happy to discuss open access publishing options with individuals, labs, or departments. Please feel free to contact us any time.

WHOI Slack: @amickle
Repository Librarian, Debbie Roth: or
Call: 508-289-7002

by  Debbie Roth and  Audrey Mickle

Regular users of Web of Science will have seen the notice on the current landing page to check out the new version.  On July 7, 2021, all users will be automatically taken to the new Web of Science platform.  The new version will offer:

  • improved search capabilities
  • faster page loads
  • increased accessibility
  • responsive design for viewing on mobile and other devices

You can read more about the new features from the Release Notes page.  

Go to Web of Science now and check out the new version.


Additionally, the MBLWHOI Library is asking for feedback from our users regarding the use of Web of Science and other scientific literature search tools.  Your input is very important as we evaluate newer, more advanced products that compete with Web of Science.  Please take a few moments to fill out a brief survey here:


by John Furfey





Read our BHL Blog post,"The Last Heath Hen." 

Each year the MBLWHOI Library contributes a blog post to our partner digitization library, the Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL). The BHL is a global consortium of over 100 natural history libraries, museums, and cultural institutions which have digitized over 260,000 volumes from their collections. These volumes are a window into the data and history of science knowledge published over the last 600 years.  The MBLWHOI Library is a founding member and an active participant in the operations of the BHL. Over 5000 volumes from our MBL and WHOI stacks have been digitized and are freely accessible from any computer in the world. 

A number of those 5000 volumes are from the 1920's - 50's weekly newspaper of the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL), known as The Collecting Net. The name Collecting Net has enjoyed a number of MBL iterations over the years, as the title of different newspapers and newsletters with different purposes for the institution at different times, however none were as scrappy, informative, and filled with local science information as the earliest years of The Collecting Net. 

Read here, as MBLWHOI librarian Matthew Person takes us on a journey of flipping through the news, beginning with a 1926 scientist's account of the last days of a bird species on near to Woods Hole, Martha's Vineyard, The Last Heath Hen, and Other News From the Collecting Net In Woods Hole.    

by Matthew Person



The MBLWHOI Library completed planned upgrades of the WHOAS repository server, moving it to a new upgraded operating system, with improved security checks and scalable storage capacity. The new server will keep the repository in line with the latest standards for data repositories included in the Core Trust Seal certification community.

These improvements will mean the repository is easier to maintain and more secure. It will also improve the resiliency of the system, improving backup and retrieval processes. We are pleased that the process was completed with limited interruption to service and appreciative of our Systems Librarian, Kirill Batyuk, Repository Librarian, Debbie Roth, and the WHOI IS staff who contributed to this effort.

We look forward to bringing additional improvements to the WHOAS repository over the coming year. Learn more about WHOAS and the Core Trust Seal certification.

by Debbie Roth

It’s kind of funny how each month gets associated with ’the best time’ to obtain certain things. January has white sales and deals on fitness equipment. February, with both Valentine’s Day and President’s Day falling within the month, offers all sorts of bargains including discounts on cruises and household goods. And, for a more complete list, a search on the internet retrieves a run-down of all sorts of things associated with each of the remaining months.

However, regardless of the month, week, day, or hour a search on the MBLWHOI Library website under the heading ‘User Services’ provides a link to one of the best deals going for library card holders. It’s no secret. Interlibrary Loan is one of the greatest services available for you to ‘Request an article’ or ‘Request a book’ beyond the MBLWHOI Library’s own amazing collection. And, pssst…….it’s offered at no charge to you.

This isn’t an ‘inventory sale’, discount or BOGO offering. There’s no catch or gimmick. Library staff, working behind the scenes on both the borrowing and lending side, fulfill made-to-order requests. These are customized based on your specific citations at a time when you decide it’s needed. How great is that!

If you haven’t tried MBLWHOI Library’s ILL services yet, we think you’ll be pleased. Set up a user profile first at Contact if you have questions or need assistance getting started.

Image Source: Dafne Cholet, CC BY 2.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

By Nancy Stafford

Since the physical Library at MBL is closed, the Library staff has been working hard to get Woods Hole scientists the materials that they need to support their research. In addition, there are two graduate students form Arizona State University working in Woods Hole and making use of Library resources in different ways.

Some scientists are interested in making a cyborg cell, hybrid cells with living and artificial parts. Before you can make a cyborg cell, you need to be confident in your definition of a regular cell. Think of some familiar cells: a neuron is a cell that conducts electrical signals in your brain; Escherichia coli is a cell that can make you sick when it’s on your lettuce; a cancer cell is a cell that grows and divides abnormally. If all those different things are cells, what really counts as a cell? Is E. coli more of a cell than a neuron? What are the most important features of a cell if cells look and act so differently from one another? Saying exactly what a cell is is made more difficult by the fact that ideas about the cell and its features have changed throughout history. Those past ideas shape, often invisibly, what scientists think about cells today. In order to get a better idea of what a cell is, we need to look at what cells have been and why.  

One graduate student is on the case. Anna Clemencia Guerrero usually studies the history of biofilm research as an NSF Graduate Research Fellow at Arizona State University. Since August 2020, she has been studying the history of cell biology at the MBL. From a Library office, Anna spends her days hunting for important historical images of cells. Why images? For a long time, images were the only way that researchers could experience and learn about cells. With images, Guerrero can explore not only what researchers knew about cells, but how they knew and why they wanted to know. Why did scientists start looking at and drawing cells in the first place? What methods did scientists use to “represent” cells in images? Since images often become iconic, they tend to guide scientists’ future ideas and research. How did these image-driven ideas develop to lead us to modern ideas about the cell? How did image-driven ideas make modern scientists want to create cyborg cells? Along with her mentors, Jane Maienschein and Karl Matlin, and MBLWHOI Library Co-Director Jen Walton, Guerrero will eventually create an art installation for the MBL Lillie Library. This installation will explore the visual history of cell research, and how that history might inform modern-day research on creating cyborg cells. 

If you want to read more about the project, please visit: In addition to NSF funding, the historical work is supported by a grant from the Webster Foundation to Maienschein and Matlin.

The physical journal stacks hold a wealth of scientific literature going back to the eighteenth century. Digitizing journals has made it easy for scientists to access that information during the pandemic but it has also allowed researchers to look at the literature in new ways. Shane Jinson is a Ph.D. student in the Biology and Society program at ASU working with the Global Biosocial Complexity Initiative (GBCI) through the School of Life Sciences. Shane is using computational tools to analyze the Biological Bulletin corpus. The Biological Bulletin was published by MBL from 1900 to 2016 when it transferred to the University of Chicago Press. The Biological Bulletin has never limited their publishing to solely MBL’s research but was intended to cover a wide scope of science. Data analysis across a corpus journal using computational tools allows for the examination of both the content and the text over time opening up new lines of inquiry.

Shane has worked at MBL in a number of positions. He previously worked at MBL as a Research Assistant in the Mathger Lab. He has worked with the MBL Embryology Course as a coordinator and education assistant. Shane also gives fantastic tours of the Woods Hole Cemetery for the MBL courses. When it became clear that the fall semester was going virtual at ASU, Shane decided to come back to Wood Hole to be closer to family and his research. Shane’s research has several ongoing projects connected to Woods Hole using his abilities as a communication facilitator and historian combined with computational analysis to analyze research over time.

Image source: Sedgwick, William T. and E.B Wilson. General Biology. New York, H. Holt and Co., 1886 p.53.

by Jen Walton


After many months of planning and preparing, the DLA Cruise Data website has cutover to our new virtual machine server. The new architecture boasts advanced, scalable storage capacity and robust security. This system will be easier and less expensive to maintain than a traditional hardware server and will allow greater access to HPC resources for WHOI researchers. The interface will continue to change over the coming year, as will additional features made possible by the new architecture that will benefit the entire ocean science community.

If you need any assistance with Cruise Data from WHOI ships, please feel free to contact me for more information. 

by Audrey Mickle

The study of the ocean, how it works and the secrets it holds, has been the mission of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution from the time it was an idea being proposed by Henry Bigelow and Frank Lillie. When WHOI became a reality in 1930, the idea of ocean sciences was still emerging even though humanity long sailed the sea. In the early days of the Oceanographic Institution one of the oldest tales of the deep became of interest to WHOI research. In 1931, Henry Bigelow and Columbus Iselin looked for Plato’s “island situated in front of the straits which are by you called the Pillars of Heracles,” or the fabled lost continent of Atlantis.

In the WHOI Archives is a recounting of their research trip that appeared in The Minneapolis Sunday Tribune from October of 1931 claiming that the search for Atlantis was underway. The dear readers of the Minneapolis Sunday Tribune were informed “scientists plan to probe for Atlantis by breaking through a thin submarine crust under which the legendary land is declared to be hidden.” With Iselin as the “master” of the research cruise, it was hoped that the team of scientists from WHOI out studying the Atlantean Plateau and with their “well-equipped laboratories between decks” would confirm once and for all the question of Atlantis. By scraping off the “top dressing” of seafloor and making repeated deep-sea soundings, the researchers came to the “belief that if the Atlantean Plateau once rose above the surface it carried with it...soil of a character which may now be classified.” This character, it was hoped, would reflect the soil of Africa, South America, New York, or maybe there’d be granite, evidence of volcanic eruptions, or even coral structure.

The newly minted ketch Atlantis had made her first voyage across the Atlantic over the summer of 1931. Not only did it successfully reach Woods Hole, but the Atlantis also used the opportunity for preliminary soundings and to make “deep sea tests” of the “grapplers, hooks, and borers to be used in probing for the lost continent.” Previous research and the samples collected indicated that the WHOI scientists may only need to break through ten inches of sediment to discover any evidence of Atlantis. The Minneapolis Sunday Tribune continues to describe the other issues WHOI researchers looked to address during their search; what some may call the more pressing, scientific mission.

The real aim of this cruise, at least for the scientists on board, was to collect samples and address “what keeps such great currents as the Gulf Stream flowing.” While the oceanic gyres were not fully understood at this time, there was great news for the future if WHOI scientists succeeded in answering this issue. If it could be proved that “these currents have the pronounced effect on the climate of certain parts of the east coast of North America and the west coast of Europe that some theorists steady [sic] maintain, then it may become possible to forecast weather conditions in these parts of the world far in advance.” The days of the almanac were numbered.

This was not the last time that the story of Atlantis became the buzz around research at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Over thirty years after Bigelow and Iselin’s foray into mythbusting, James Mavor worked with scholars in Greece to locate a lost city on the bottom of the Mediterranean. Off the coast of the island Thera in the Aegean Sea, Mavor and fellow researchers found evidence of a Minoan city dating to 1,400 B.C.E. As evidence of the potential fabled Atlantis being discovered, scientists pointed to the city’s destruction by a powerful earthquake and volcanic eruption, much as Plato described befalling the Atlantean continent and people. The site was an important part of the history of the Helenistic world, giving archeologists a closer glimpse to a society over three millennia removed from ourselves. But was it THE Atlantis?

As the reader may have guessed, it was not. Neither one of these forays into crypto-oceanography proved, without a doubt, the legend of Plato’ lost civilization was brought to the ocean floor for their hubris. Perhaps the search for Atlantis will never end; spurred on by young oceanographers following the writings of Erich Von Daniken. As WHOI continues to explore the depths of our world’s oceans, the lost continent may become the found continent.


by Brett Freiburger

The MBLWHOI Library held two well attended ZOOM lunchtime Open Access programs on October 21st and October 28.  These were the first public Library events held since the start of the 2020 Pandemic. 

The presentations in the first week by librarians Debbie Roth and Matt Person, covered open access publishing tools used by scientist to disseminate their work. The presentations covered tools available in the Woods Hole scientific community as well as those more widely used. Debbie Roth, as manager of the WHOAS local open access repository answered step by step questions about how to publish OA and what tools can be employed to retain control of your published works. The global OA Week theme for 2020 was "Open with Purpose: Taking Action to Build Structural Equity and Inclusion." Matt Person spoke to the history of science publishing and current issues as related to fairness in cost of publishing whether it be article processing charges which individual scientists shoulder or  library subscription charges and new open access models. 

The second week of presentations by librarians Audrey Mickle and John Furfey covered tools and practices and results of opening your valuable data and the exponential impact this can have on your research and that of your peers as well. Audrey talked about the importance of creating and sharing Open Data in the fight for equitable science, as well as how it benefits the data creators. One graphic Audrey showed to illustratethe benefits of making data freely accessible is this FAIR data graphic (via Wikipedia, Author: Sangya Pundir, CC BY-SA 4.0)

graphic via Wikipedia CC BY-SA 4.0 Author Sangja Pundir

John Furfey spoke in depth about the Library's Symplectic Elements system which is a tool that creates dynamic researcher profiles that draws data from the main databases most scientists work is associated with, in addition to the Library's WHOAS Open Access repository.

All four librarians answered questions from attendees after the presentations, and the Library will follow up with additional ZOOM seminars later in the winter. Please watch your Woods Hole calendars and listservs for when the next events are scheduled.

For access to recordings of these events, please contact


Open Access Events held:

Wednesday October 21, noon

MBLWHOI Librarians Debbie Roth and Matt Person:

  • Choosing open access for your publishing.
  • Journal subscriptions and the transformative path to open access.

Wednesday October 28, noon

MBLWHOI Librarians Audrey Mickle and John Furfey:

  • Discover and get credit for your open data in Woods Hole.
  • Publishing your open data: How to win friends and influence people.


Photo credit (Front page icon):, 2012 


Co-Directors Jen Walton and Lisa Raymond attended the 46th IAMSLIC Annual Conference last week.  The International Association of Aquatic and Marine Science Libraries and Information Centers was started in Woods Hole in 1975 as an east coast marine science library organization.  It has grown into an international organization of librarians and information professionals involved in all aspects of aquatic and marine sciences and their allied disciplines.

The meeting had 122 registrants and there appeared to be between 60 and 70 people online at any given time between 8:30am and 8:30PM EDT.

Some highlights: ASFA (Aquatic Sciences and Fisheries Abstracts)  at 50 and an introduction of new product for 2021, OpenASFA.  A great archival project scanning old Irish fisheries publications, making them available in an Institutional Repository and also using data derived from the works to create a timeline and other tools.  Other session topics included information literacy, preprint servers and copyright, telling science stories with metrics, negotiating with a small society to get access to ebooks, and data management services.  There were also regional group panels that shared information on services provided during the pandemic.  Virtual tours of the University of Southern Mississippi Marine Education Center and from New Zealand, the NIWA Invertebrate Collection happened on Wednesday afternoon. The organizers were creative and included tools to engage the attendees including polls, breakout rooms, and jamboards. It was a very successful virtual conference.