Category Archives: 150 Years of Giant Leaps

Press Book Garners NYT Coverage, Celebrates Purdue 150 with New Books

The Purdue University Press celebrates Purdue’s Sesquicentennial with two new books, garners New York Times coverage, and will hold a special sale Founder’s Day — May 6, 2019.

by Bryan Shaffer, Sales and Marketing Manager, Purdue University Press

The Notorious Ben Hecht: Iconoclastic Writer and Militant Zionist (Paperback)The Purdue University Press is enjoying a busy spring with a new biography getting noticed in the national media and two new Purdue history books that will be on the gift list for every Boilermaker across the globe.

“The Notorious Ben Hecht: Iconoclastic Writer and Militant Zionist” by Julien Gorbach has received reviews in Publisher’s Weekly, Library Journal, and most recently a favorable comparison of the Purdue UP book and a Yale University Press book on the same subject in The New York Times. Gorbach’s biography on the great 20th-century writer and activist, who was also called “the Shakespeare of Hollywood,” is a deeply researched and detailed story of Hecht’s admiration as a humanitarian and vilification as an extremist. Excerpts from two reviews follow:

“This thoughtful and thorough study of a largely forgotten writer will interest literary and film buffs and anyone curious about the debates going on in the Zionist community in the 1930s–40s.” — Library Journal

“This meticulously researched biography . . . focuses on two aspects of writer Ben Hecht (1894–1964): his remarkable versatility—he produced journalism, novels, criticism, screenplays, plays, and memoirs—and his vocal support, prior to Israel’s founding, for a Jewish homeland. . . . Suggesting that Hecht’s self-conscious persona as a “tough Jew” equally shaped his literary output and political ideology, Gorbach leaves readers with a richly provocative and original take on an influential writer.” — Publishers Weekly

Ever True: 150 Years of Giant Leaps at Purdue University (Hardback)May 6, 2019, marks the official sesquicentennial anniversary of Purdue University, and on that day, two new history books will be officially published. “Ever True: 150 Years of Giant Leaps at Purdue University” by John Norberg is an extensive history of Indiana’s Land Grant University, which takes the readers beyond the redbrick walls of the West Lafayette campus to delve into the stories of faculty, alumni, and leaders who make up the remarkable institution’s distinguished history.

Purdue at 150: A Visual History of Student Life” is a scrapbook-like experience curated and written by David M. Hovde, Adriana Harmeyer, Neal Harmeyer, and Sammie L. Morris. With more than 650 rare photographs, documents, and artifacts from the Purdue University Libraries Virginia Kelly Karnes Archives and Special Collections, alongside critical contextual information organized by decades, this beautiful book will adorn coffee tables and bookcases of Boilermakers near and far. Many of the images and artifacts included have never been published, presenting a unique history of Purdue University from the student perspective.

Purdue at 150: A Visual History of Student Life (Hardback)Purdue Alumni Drew and Brittany Brees composed the foreword and said: “Purdue at 150 is the definitive visual history of student life at our beloved alma mater, recalling stories through rare images and artifacts, as well as words. Whether you are a long-time alum or a recent graduate, we know you will enjoy the trip down memory lane.”

All books mentioned above are linked to their respective pages on the Press’ website, where you will find additional information, reviews, preview pages, and the ability to place an order. When ordering directly from the Purdue Press, feel free to use the discount code PURDUE30 to receive a 30 percent discount off all books. Remember to sign-up for our newsletter and follow us on social media (Facebook and Twitter), as we will have a special sale on May 6, Purdue University Founder’s Day.

Addressing Negative Biases in Search Engine Algorithms

Dr. Safiya Noble delivered Purdue Libraries’ inaugural Critical Data Studies Distinguished Lecture Oct. 3 at Purdue University. The event was part of Purdue’s Sesquicentennial Ideas Festival and was related to the festival theme, “Giant Leaps in Artificial Intelligence, Algorithms, and Automation: Balancing Humanity and Technology.” (Photo by Rebecca Wilcox, Purdue Marketing and Media)

Safiya Noble first encountered racism in search nine years ago. In her 2018 book, Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism, and in a piece she wrote for Time this past spring, she begins by sharing her story about being “stunned” at the returned Google search results on the phrase “black girls” in 2009.

Dr. Noble, an assistant professor at the University of Southern California Annenberg School of Communications, also began the inaugural Purdue Libraries Critical Data Studies Distinguished Lecture (Oct. 3, Fowler Hall) with her story about this thought-provoking experiment. Noble, who is the co-founder of the Information Ethics & Equity Institute and a partner in Stratelligence, started out by explaining what happened nine years ago when she “Googled” the phrase “black girls,” and she shared her subsequent experience of shock upon seeing the returned search results. In her presentation slides, she incorporated a screenshot of the Google search results (you can see the results in the Time article). In that piece, she lists the results, explaining, “[t]hese are the details of what a search for ‘black girls’ would yield for many years, despite that the words ‘porn,’ ‘pornography,’ or ‘sex’ were not included in the search box.”

150 Years of Giant LeapsThis year, the Purdue Libraries’ Critical Data Studies Distinguished Lecture is part of Purdue’s Sesquicentennial Ideas Festival Theme, “Giant Leaps in Artificial Intelligence, Algorithms, and Automation: Balancing Humanity and Technology.” Noble­—whose book “Algorithms of Oppression” is described as a “revealing look at how negative biases against women of color are embedded in search engine results and algorithms”­—has also written for Wired and delivered the closing plenary session lecture this summer at 2018 AUPresses Annual Meeting in San Francisco.  In Inside Higher Ed earlier this year, Colleen Flaherty notes Noble’s book has generated buzz among information science, machine learning, and technology scholars, as well among sociologists.

In her Oct. 3 lecture at Purdue, “Intellectual Freedom and Racial Inequality as Addressed in ‘Algorithms of Oppression,'” she compellingly demonstrated why people are talking about her work and why organizations are seeking her out to share her research with those who work in education, technology, and publishing.

More importantly, though, she explained why it is imperative for people to understand that Google (and other search companies) are for-profit, commercial entities responsible for these algorithms and argued that we need to build search and other platforms and repositories that belong to the public. Her last slide captured that point, as well as three other action items that we all can do and/or support to move forward, including:

  • Make scholarly research visible to the public, faster, and broadly;
  • Resist colorblind/racist/sexist practices;
  • Re-learn, re-train, re-imagine new possibilities in our field(s); and
  • Never give up.

Learn more about Dr. Noble and her work at

Sponsors of Dr. Noble’s lecture include the Purdue Libraries Seminar Committee, American Studies, the Diversity Resource Office, the Division of Diversity and Inclusion, Purdue Policy Research Institute, the 150th AI Committee, the Department of Anthropology, the Honors College, the Center for Science of Information­—NSF Science and Technology Center, the Critical Data Studies cohort of The Data Mine Learning Community, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and Purdue Fort Wayne

About Critical Data Studies at Purdue

Critical Data Studies, or CDS, is an emerging interdisciplinary field that considers and addresses the ethical, legal, socio-cultural, epistemological, and political aspects of data science, big data, algorithms, and digital infrastructure. In addition to the CDS Lecture Series, faculty and staff in the Libraries, the Honors College, and the Department of Anthropology are collaborating in the Critical Data Studies Cohort of the Data Mine Learning Community, one of Purdue’s student living and learning communities. For more information about the lecture series or about critical data studies at Purdie, contact Kendall Roark, assistant professor, Purdue Libraries, at