Technologies of the Self | Jill Walker Rettberg | May 1


On May 1st, at 2:30 p.m., in the Rock Conference Room, Jill Walker Rettberg will present, “Technologies of the Self: How We Use Selfies, Blogs and Wearable Devices to See and Shape Ourselves”

In this presentation, Jill Walker Rettberg will look at technologically mediated self-representations in a variety of genres, from selfies, Facebook profiles, Tumblrs, automated diaries, and the quantified self movement with its many forms of self-tracking.

These modes of self-documentation are also “technologies of the self” in Foucault’s sense: techniques we use to shape and discipline ourselves, both individually and as a society.

Rettberg analyses today’s vernacular self-documentation in the context of the history and theory of visual self-portraits and textual diaries, and as an important part of today’s algorithmic culture.

Bio: Jill Walker Rettberg is professor of digital culture at the University of Bergen in Norway, and is visiting scholar at UIC’s Department of Communciations until July 2014. Her book “Blogging” was published in a 2nd edition by Polity Press in 2014, and she has also co-edited an anthology of critical writing on World of Warcraft (MIT Press 2008). In addition to work on electronic literature and social media, her recent work has also made use of digital methods to visualise network relationships in electronic literature. Her research blog is She is currently writing a book about selfies, social media, and algorithmic self-representations.

An Emerging Canon? | Scott Rettberg Talk | May 1st


On May 1st, at 12 p.m. (noon), in the Rock Conference Room of the Rockefeller Library, Scott Rettberg (University of Bergen) will present, “An Emerging Canon? Mapping a Field through Database Visualization.”

In this presentation Rettberg will show how the Electronic Literature Knowledge Base has been developed as a scholarly resource and how gathering humanities data about a creative field of practice allows us to see new connections and patterns through distant reading strategies, visualizations, and network analysis.

“The Electronic Literature Knowledge Base” which is a cross-referenced, scholarly database containing entries about creative works of and critical writing on electronic literature, as well as information about authors, events, exhibitions, publishers, teaching resources and databases in the field. It was established in 2010 by the University of Bergen Electronic Literature Research Group, as an aspect of the seven-nation project Electronic Literature as a Model for Creativity and Innovation (ELMCIP).

Bio: Scott Rettberg is Professor of Digital Culture in the department of Linguistic, Literary, and Aesthetic studies at the University of Bergen, Norway. Rettberg is the project leader of ELMCIP (Electronic Literature as a Model of Creativity and Innovation in Practice), a HERA-funded collaborative research project, and the founder of the Electronic Literature Organization. Rettberg is the author or coauthor of novel-length works of electronic literature, combinatory poetry, and films. His creative work has been exhibited online and at art venues.

Date: Thursday May 1
Time: 12 p.m. (noon)
Rock Conference Room (Rockefeller Library)

Brown University Library’s Daniel Johnson Recognized by CLIR


Daniel Johnson, Project Archivist for Special Collections at the Brown University Library, was recognized by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) for his work on the Library’s Hall-Hoag Collection of Dissenting and Extremist Printing Propaganda. 

In an April 22, 2014 blog post titled “Un-Hidden Collections: CLIR’s seven-year experiment in exposing scholarly resources and the question of digitization,” author Christa Williford describes the character of the proposals received through The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation funded project, Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives. She writes:

[W]e’ve observed several trends affecting the cultural heritage institutions that have participated in Hidden Collections: the adoption of “more product/less process” attitudes about maximizing efficiency; the engagement of students, scholars or other non-professionals in the production and assessment of collection descriptions; an explosion in the creative use of social media; an increase in the sharing of tools, standards, and practices across institutions; and many other novel approaches to creating access.

She goes on to site four exemplary projects, including Dan’s work on data visualization for the Hall-Hoag Collection. The Library commends Dan on his innovative work and congratulates him for receiving this well deserved recognition.

ClinicalKey Currently Not Functioning with EZProxy – April 22, 2014

The Library is experiencing problems with the new ClinicalKey database and EZProxy. When logging in, you will see an “insecure connection” warning message. If you are on-campus, just start a new session and go directly to If you are off-campus and attempting to access the database via EZProxy you will see the untrusted connection warning. It is OK to go ahead and click-through to the database, or use the VPN client instead.

The publisher and EZProxy are both aware of the problem, and we are doing all we can to get this issue resolved as quickly as possible. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Wendy Schiller Book Talk on April 24 – Electing the Senate: Indirect Democracy before the 17th Amendment

Wendy Schiller, Associate Professor of Political Science and Public Policy at Brown University

Wendy Schiller, Associate Professor of Political Science and Public Policy at Brown University

Wendy Schiller, Associate Professor of Political Science and Public Policy at Brown University, will give a talk about the forthcoming book she co-authored with Charles Stewart III of MIT: Electing the Senate: Indirect Democracy before the 17th Amendment on Thursday, April 24 at 5:30 p.m. in the Patrick Ma Digital Scholarship Lab located on the first floor of the Rockefeller Library, 10 Prospect Street. This event is free and open to the public.

Schiller will discuss the process and politics surrounding the election of U.S. Senators in state legislatures before the adoption of direct elections in 1913. Conventional wisdom suggests that this process was so dominated by political party machine bosses and bribery that the outcomes were determined long before the actual balloting began. In their book, Schiller and Stewart debunk these myths and show how the process actually worked across all states between 1871-1913. They found that elite competition and party factionalism dominated the election of U.S. Senators under the old system and that the role of partisanship and money was quite similar to the modern Senate today. Though the U.S. changed the Constitution to enhance Senate representation, Schiller and Stewart argue that it remains an unfulfilled promise.

The talk will include a focus on the data collection of historical materials and how the authors went about digitizing them, inputting them, and working with the Brown Library on the online collection. The project includes more than 577,000 observations in Excel data format for roll call votes and 106,000 observations of the names of the legislators who served in state legislatures during the time of the study. It is a unique and original dataset.

Wendy Schiller is Associate Professor of Political Science and Public Policy at Brown University (on Twitter @profwschiller). She completed her undergraduate work in political science at the University of Chicago, served on the staffs of Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Governor Mario Cuomo, and then obtained her Ph.D. from the University of Rochester. After Fellowships at the Brookings Institution and Princeton University, she came to Brown in 1994. She teaches popular courses titled The American PresidencyIntroduction to the American Political Process, and Congress and Public Policy at Brown. Among books she has authored or co-authored are Gateways to Democracy: An Introduction to American Government (Cengage), The Contemporary Congress (Thomson-Wadsworth), and Partners and Rivals: Representation in U.S. Senate Delegations (Princeton University Press). Her latest book and the subject of this lecture, Electing the Senate: Indirect Democracy before the 17th Amendment, is forthcoming at Princeton University Press. The project grew out of a National Science Foundation grant.

She has also published in academic journals including the American Journal of Political Science, Legislative Studies Quarterly, Studies in American Political Development, and the Journal of Politics. She is a frequent contributor to major national news outlets such as MSNBC, NPR,, and Bloomberg News, she provides local political commentary to the Providence Journal, WPRO radio, RIPBS A Lively Experiment, and she is the political analyst for WJAR10, the local NBC affiliate in Providence. Professor Schiller regularly gives speeches on current and historical American politics to local and national organizations.

Date: April 24, 2014
Time: 5:30 p.m.
Location: Patrick Ma Digital Scholarship Lab, Rockefeller Library, 10 Prospect Street

John Hay Library to Reopen September 2014 — Limited Summer Services

JohnHayLibraryBeginning in June 2014, staff and many collections will be returning to the John Hay Library. Over the summer months, staff will be preparing the newly renovated building for reopening in early September 2014. Due to the enormous amount of work involved in re-shelving materials and reorienting staff and services in the new space, requests for assistance during the summer (June-August) will be reserved for research related to Brown University’s 250th anniversary. There will be no other Library services available this summer. The temporary Hay reading rooms in the Rock and in the Collections Annex will also be closed during this time. When the John Hay Library reopens in September, the Special Collections Reading Room will be available and reference services will resume. Please contact the Library at with any questions.

If you will be teaching a course during Fall 2014 that will utilize Special Collections materials, please contact the Library at by May 3, 2014. Special Collections materials will be unavailable for courses during the summer.

For more information about using Special Collections and University Archives, please visit

For more information on the John Hay Renovation Project, please go to:

or contact Tom Horrocks, Director of Special Collections and the John Hay Library at

G. Thomas Couser ’77 to Deliver Annual Yoken Lecture – April 22

G. Thomas Couser '77

G. Thomas Couser ’77

G. Thomas Couser ‘77, Professor Emeritus of English at Hofstra University, will deliver the annual Mel and Cindy Yoken Cultural Series Lecture on Tuesday, April 22 at 5:30 p.m. in the auditorium of the Building for Environmental Research and Teaching (BERT), located at 85 Waterman Street. In his talk, “A Life in Letters – Letters as Life,” Couser will discuss the process of writing his father’s memoir and how that process led him to appreciate the many values of correspondence. A reception will follow the lecture. This event is free and open to the public.

Couser based the memoir on letters he found in a closet when his father died. The writing process led him to appreciate correspondence as historical and biographical evidence, as a medium of self-expression, and as the very stuff of relational life.

Couser received his Ph.D. from Brown in 1977 and is the author of several books on disability studies and American literature, including Memoir: An Introduction, a survey of the memoir genre.

Friends of the Library is an association interested in fostering the growth and usefulness of the Brown University Library and in encouraging gifts of books, desirable collections, other scholarly materials and funds.

The Brown University Library is home to more than 6.8 million print items, plus a multitude of electronic resources and expanding digital archives serving the teaching, research, and learning needs of Brown students and faculty, as well as scholars from around the country and the world.

Date: April 22, 2014
Time: 5:30 p.m.
Location: Building for Environmental Research and Teaching (BERT), 85 Waterman Street

Preservation Week Lecture by Elisabetta Polidori: Miracles of Mary

Elisabetta Polidori

Elisabetta Polidori

In honor of Preservation Week, Elisabetta Polidori, the Samuel H. Kress Fellow in Paper Conservation at the Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC), will give a talk about the technical examination and conservation treatment of an Ethiopic illuminated manuscript located at the Brown University Library, Ta’amera Maryam (Miracles of Mary), one of the most popular of Ethiopian texts. The talk will take place Wednesday, April 30 at 2:30 p.m. in the Patrick Ma Digital Scholarship Lab (DSL), located on the first floor of the Rockefeller Library. This event is free and open to the public.

The Miracles of Mary is a collection of miraculous tales, some composed in Ethiopia, some composed by Christians in Egypt, some composed in Europe, but all translated into Geez, the language of the Ethiopian Church around A.D. 1400. In the mid-fifteenth century the reading of three of these tales was required during each Sunday liturgy as well as on feast days dedicated to Our Lady Mary.

Polidori received her M.A. in Conservation of Paper and Parchment from the Opificio delle Pietre Dure of Florence in 2006, and in the same year she obtained a B.A. in Art History from the University of Florence. She gained extensive experience in the conservation and treatment of paper-based artifacts, working in private practice and public museums around the world. After graduation she started a long collaboration with the Pitti Palace Museum of Florence, Italy, for the conservation of its collection of Chinese paintings. From 2008 until 2011 she worked in the paper conservation department of the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia. Subsequently, she served as Postgraduate Conservation Fellow at the Freer & Sackler Galleries, Smithsonian Institution, and the Claire W. and Richard P. Morse Fellow for Advanced Training in Paper Conservation at the Museum of Fine Arts of Boston. She is currently the Samuel H. Kress Fellow in Paper Conservation at the Northeast Document Conservation Center. The NEDCC is the first independent conservation laboratory in the United States to specialize exclusively in the conservation and preservation of paper-based collections. Polidori is specialized in the treatment of Western artworks on paper and has a strong interest in the conservation of Asian and Islamic art. She is a member of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (AIC).

Date: April 30, 2014
Time: 2:30 p.m.
Location: Patrick Ma Digital Scholarship Lab, Rockefeller Library, 10 Prospect St.

Lives Change @ Your Library | National Library Week

National Llibrary Week

This week (April 13–19) is National Library Week. The theme this year is “Lives Change @ Your Library.”

First sponsored in 1958, National Library Week is a national observance sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA). Libraries across the country celebrate each April. It is an opportunity for the contributions of our nation’s libraries and librarians to be recognized and to also promote library use and support.

Judy Blume (best-selling author and intellectual freedom advocate) will serve as Honorary Chair of this year’s National Library Week.

To kick off this week’s celebrations, the ALA released this year’s “State of America’s Libraries Report” on April 14, 2014. The report highlights trends in the library world.

Libguide of the Week: Middle East Studies


The Library would like to highlight the Middle East Studies Libguide created by Dr. Ian Straughn.

This libguide offers various scholarly resources for anyone in Middle East Studies. There are a number of internet resources, research tools, and reference works. The guide also links to a few other related libguides including the Islamic Studies libguide and the Arab Spring libguide. One of my favorite pages on the Middle East Studies libguide is the one devoted to Library’s Minassian Collections.

Take a moment and browse through this libguide. There’s a wealth of information and knowledge even if Middle East Studies isn’t your primary focus.

The Library is home to a number of Subject Guides geared to help students at all stages of their research process. If this libguide isn’t of interest then be sure to visit the other Library Subject Guides.

Also, be sure to check out the previous “Libguides of the Week.”