The Dr. George F. Ledingham Herbarium Collection is now live online via the Library’s website. Dr. Ledingham (1911-2006) established a Herbarium at the University of Regina (then Regina College) in 1945. Under his direction, the collection grew to include an incredible 70,000 plant specimens and a rich legacy of other records (including journals, photographic materials and birding records).
The Herbarium Collection currently features two subcollections: Dr. Ledingham’s journals, which were digitized by Mariko Sawa (Archives Honours Student), and Dr. Ledingham’s records of birds, digitized by Mason Hauserman (Archives Arts Intern).
The next meeting of the Archer Book Club will be on January 31st, 2024, from 12:00 – 1:00 pm, with this month’s selection being the classic Gothic novel Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. Alfred Hitchcock’s 1940 film of the same name was based on this book and would go on to win the Academy Award for Best Picture.
Thanks to Veronica Ramshaw, Film Librarian at Archer Libraries and Archives for assisting with the research for this blog!
It’s December. It’s dark and cold, but also many of us will be celebrating secular or religious holidays. What better way to celebrate the holidays than embracing hygge, grabbing a hot chocolate or other delicious, warm beverage, and watching a holiday movie? After all, December is when holiday movies, primarily Christmas movies, take over cable TV, streaming, and theatrical releases. So let’s talk about holiday movies and what is, or isn’t a Christmas movie.
With this in mind, let’s discuss a very important question: Is Die Hard a Christmas movie?
I looked for polls and surveys asking if Die Hard is a Christmas movie and the results are…
Die Hard is not a Christmas movie. I found six surveys, in every single one the majority of respondents said no!
Survey 1: YouGov UK 2017 – 30% of people think it’s a Christmas film, 52% do not.
All these surveys featured a variation of the question “Is Die Hard a Christmas movie? If you have not seen or do not know the movie answer ‘I don’t know’.”
My heart breaks to see this data, so let’s dive into what is or isn’t a Christmas movie.
There’s no clear-cut definition of a Christmas movie, and a lot of the debate is focused on opinion, but I was able to find some core themes of Christmas movies from articles from The Hollywood Reporter, CBC, the Unspooled podcast, and an interview with critic Craig Outhier. I also asked our Film Librarian to do a quick search for scholarly articles, but most of what we found focused on the sub-genre of Hallmark style Christmas movies. It’s important to realize that despite the Hallmark style Holiday movie machine producing highly formulaic stories focusing on love, romance, nostalgia, and good fuzzy feelings, traditional or classic Christmas movies do not fall into those themes. After all, A Christmas Carol is a ghost story.
So, an unofficial, almost entirely opinion-based list of common themes in Christmas movies:
Must include a Christmas setting at some point during the film
Meaningful use of Christmas in the film – often described as “Could the plot be described without Christmas and still make sense?”
Characters going through a transformation
Reunion with family
Opinions will vary, but to me, Die Hard is my go-to holiday movie. It’s got action, humour, romance, family drama, and of course Alan Rickman. However, does it fit into our Christmas movie themes list?
Christmas Movie Theme
Yes, takes place at the Christmas party on Christmas Eve
Meaningful Use of Christmas in the Film
Yes, Christmas enhances the plot and emotional arcs of the characters
Characters go through a transformation
Reunion with family
So there you have it. Die Hard is a Christmas movie.
Because everyone loves a top ten list at the end of the year, here are our most accessed Research Guides (also sometimes referred to as Lib Guides) by Archer patrons. Not surprised to see the APA guide at number 1 as we get a lot of citation questions at the Help Desk. Citing correctly is tricky business!
Research Guides cover many specific topics & areas of study and are prepared for you by Archer staff. They can be found under “Popular Services” on our homepage: library.uregina.ca/homepage
The library now has live occupancy data available online and on the Waitz app. See where the busiest, and calmest, parts of the library are before you even arrive, or check the status at the door on your way in.
You can access the library occupancy data anytime from the library website:
“Takao Tanabe: Life & Work” by Ian Thom (Art Canada Institute, 2023) is published today! The University of Regina is lucky to have several works by Tanabe in its art collection, including his series of colourful banners, formerly displayed in the Ad Hum building.
Today is the first day of Hanukkah, which runs for eight days until December 15th. It is the traditional “festival of lights” of Judaism where Jews across the religious observance spectrum, from Reform to Conservative to Orthodox, focus on the same theme of bringing light into the darkness.
Archives was pleased to host Dr. Sarah Sangster’s Psychology 408 History & Systems students for their final presentations this week. They’ve been frequent visitors in our reading room this term, working on an assignment related to the history of their Department. Critical thinking, hands-on primary source research, and team work in action! Well done everyone!
It’s the end of the month which means that it’s time for another #ACAHashtagParty at the Association of Canadian Archivists. For today’s theme, #ArchivesActivism, here are three posters from the collection of Dr. Alison Hayford, Professor Emeritus and Adjunct at the University of Regina. Dr. Hayford donated these (and many other!) posters to the University Archives in 2020.
Image Credits: University of Regina Archives 2020-12 (Oversize 6, 4 and 15).
Research and data often feature very specific language, jargon, and specialized knowledge; however, many types of research including health and science research often get media coverage. Somehow, the language used and understood by those in a specific discipline needs translation into plain language so people outside the discipline can comprehend the study. Sounds easy enough, right?
If only! The reality is that research including data and conclusions can be miscommunicated in media publications for a multitude of reasons. For example, in 2023 the diabetes medication Ozempic and it’s weight loss version Wegovy had a media blitz as the cure to obesity. Some examples of headlines include:
That’s a small sample of information focused mainly on the effects of the drug, which barely scratches the surface and does not include social media commentary, podcasts, or think pieces. I didn’t even touch on the debate on gossip sites about which celebrities are using Ozempic, the black market trade of Ozempic, the supplement now being marketed as “nature’s Ozempic,” the role of capitalism in health care, or the discourse on body acceptance.
I didn’t include these topics because I don’t feel like being mentally exhausted and I’m already mentally exhausted by this coverage. Consider how impactful and overwhelming this media discourse could be on someone who is looking at Ozempic as a treatment for their diabetes. It would be stressful. Imagine being a medical professional just trying to get a good summary of the research to explain how the drug to works a patient. It would be a lot of work. How do we navigate all the information?
One solution is plain language summaries, which communicate a summary and the significance of the research with clear, approachable, jargon free language that a wide audience would be able to understand. Plain Language Summaries are becoming more common in research where publications, such as Taylor and Francis, are providing guidance to researchers on how to write a plain language summary. Plain language summaries do include descriptions of data, but they have to be carefully considered. Sage Publications has a detailed blog on writing plain language summaries which outlines that only essential data should be presented as absolute numbers, percentages, or natural frequencies.
Plain language summaries are not a perfect solution however; they can be miscommunicated and misinterpreted. For example, in January 2023, Cochrane Review presented a meta-analysis (a review and statistical analysis of the results from multiple studies on a topic) on the effectiveness of masks in reducing respiratory illnesses and the plain language summary was widely misinterpreted leading to multiple articles, social media posts, and other commentary on how “science proves masks don’t work.” This interpretation was the result of wording in the plain language summary that said “we are uncertain whether wearing masks or N95 respirators works” when it should have said “the results were inconclusive.” One statement brings into doubt the effectiveness of mask wear and the other states that there isn’t enough evidence to make a conclusion. I’m not going to get into all the details of how and why this happened, but will refer you to articles from Scientific American and Vox for a good breakdown and interpretation of what happened.
Another consideration with plain language summaries is they can be written to overhype the research. The Education YouTuber Derek Muller (Veritasium) has an excellent video describing the broader issues of science communication. Again, the summary (in plain language!) is that the most unexpected, novel, or surprising results tend to gather the most media attention; however, the results are usually flawed, incorrect, or false. Adding to the problem is when the research is found to be false, reporting is not as impactful as the initial (false) research release. Bold or misinterpreted claims to create hype for science can decrease trust in science.
Plain language summaries are an excellent resource for sharing research news with a wide audience, but they also require us to consider broader issues with research communication. As always, read the summaries carefully and look at multiple reliable sources to get a balanced interpretation. Remember if something seems overhyped, you might need to keep an eye out for a retraction or correction.