Announcement | Mellon Grant Continues Support of Digital Publications Initiative at Brown

With $775,000 from The Mellon Foundation, the Brown University Library, together with the Dean of the Faculty, extends its work with born-digital scholarly monographs.

Providence, R.I. [Brown University] Brown University has received a $775,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support a second phase of its Digital Publications Initiative, launched in 2015 with an initial grant of $1.3 million. The Initiative, a collaboration between the University Library and the Dean of the Faculty, has established a novel, university-based approach to the development, evaluation, and publication of born-digital scholarly monographs.   

Following a successful initial phase, a second grant allows the University to consolidate its Initiative while continuing to advance the role of digital scholarship in the academy. From employing interactive simulations to nonlinear reading opportunities, these publications demonstrate how the digital environment is necessary for articulating and advancing scholarly argument beyond the capabilities of print. With oversight from Allison Levy, Brown’s Digital Scholarship Editor, projects that are selected by the Initiative’s faculty advisory board are developed as digital works that draw upon the capabilities of the Library’s Center for Digital Scholarship. These digital scholarly works are then submitted to leading university presses that have corresponding academic interests and the infrastructure for peer review and digital publication.

“When Dean of the Faculty Kevin McLaughlin, former University Librarian Harriette Hemmasi, and I were developing the initial proposal for Mellon, we were sailing into uncharted waters,” said Joukowsky Family University Librarian Joseph S. Meisel, co-principal investigator for the Initiative. “But the Initiative has succeeded even beyond what we hoped for at the time. Mellon’s commitment to continued funding to help us consolidate these early successes and make the Initiative sustainable is a significant recognition of what we have managed to achieve. Our guiding principles have been to focus on scholarly excellence and to put the faculty’s vision for their work first.”

To date, five faculty publication projects in a range of humanities fields have been selected and are under development for the Initiative’s first phase, with a sixth project yet to be chosen from the most recent round of proposals. The first two projects are nearing publication. Over the next six years, with support from the new Mellon grant, the Initiative plans to add 4-5 new projects.

Furnace and Fugue screenshot

The first of the Initiative’s two pilot projects, Furnace and Fugue: A Digital Edition of Michael Maier’s Atalanta fugiens (1618) with Scholarly Commentary, will be published by the University of Virginia Press. Co-authored by Tara Nummedal, Professor of History, and independent scholar Donna Bilak, Furnace and Fugue revolves around a seventeenth-century German alchemical book. The second pilot project, Italian Shadows: A Journey into the New World and Other Tales of Imaginary and Forgotten Media by Massimo Riva, Professor and Chair of Italian Studies, takes as its focus the genealogy of virtual reality in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Italy.

A part of the Initiative from the earliest stages, Riva expresses the significance of working on Italian Shadows in the digital realm: “My project involves a rich and diverse set of visual and multimedia sources, as well as interactive models and simulations of historical artifacts, and could only have been conceived and implemented in a digital environment. Working with this exceptionally talented team of designers, editors, and librarians has opened new horizons to my scholarship and inspired me to explore new ways to share it with my peers, my students, and the public at large.”

The third project, The Sensory Monastery: Saint-Jean-des-Vignes by Sheila Bonde, Professor of History of Art and Architecture, and Clark Maines, Professor of Art History Emeritus at Wesleyan, explores the sensory experience of monasticism in medieval and early modern France. The fourth, Islamic Pasts and Futures: Gazing at Horizons of Time by Shahzad Bashir, Aga Khan Professor of Islamic Humanities and Director of Brown’s Middle East Studies program, rethinks the conjunction between Islam and temporality, spanning the centuries and regions where Islam has been a significant presence. The fifth, Nicholas Brown and the Roman Revolution of 1848–1849, by David Kertzer, Paul R. Dupee, Jr. University Professor of Social Science, Professor of Anthropology, and Professor of Italian Studies, re-examines the politics of nineteenth-century Italy via a trove of recently rediscovered correspondence.

Having arrived at a model of developing long-form digital scholarship, seeing growing interest in this effort on campus, and finding that leading academic publishers are receptive to the Initiative’s projects and approach, Brown is on a path to facilitating the creation and validation of new scholarly forms and helping to broker their dissemination through the most suitable venues for digital publication.

“With this renewed support from The Mellon Foundation, Brown will be able to continue to produce innovative digital publications that open new possibilities for the presentation and dissemination of scholarship by our faculty that is of the highest quality,” said Dean of the Faculty Kevin McLaughlin, co-principal investigator for the Initiative. “Each one of these digital publications creates new conditions for the production and circulation of humanist scholarship.”

Event | Exploring the Digital China 2019 with Li Wang, PhD

Li Wang headshot
Li Wang, PhD

On Wednesday, October 23, 2019 at 12 p.m. in the Digital Scholarship Lab at the Rockefeller Library, Dr. Li Wang, Curator of the East Asian Collection, will give a talk, “Exploring the Digital China 2019.” This event is free and open to the public. Coffee and cookies will be served.

This new visual report will focus on Dr. Wang’s professional trip this summer in China, where he attended several conferences, Beijing International Book Fair, and other events. During this period, he delivered two presentations at the International Conference on Digital Publishing and Digital Libraries and the Sino-American Academic Library Forum on Collaboration and Development. The first presentation, entitled “Digital Scholarship at Brown (Continuance): Knowledge Innovation and Research Engagement in North American University Libraries,” is a follow-up chapter of his award-winning paper on “Digital Scholarship at Brown” from 2014. The second is on American Sinologist Charles S. Gardner and the Chinese collection at Brown University, which won the first prize for papers at the Sino-American Library Forum.

2019 CDPDL in Changchun, China

In his talk, Dr. Wang will scan recent trends in digital publishing, knowledge innovation and library services developed in China and other places in the world. He will also share pictures, stories and thoughts on this fruitful journey, including cultural tours of the Russian style Gogol Bookstore, the wonderful Heaven Lake on the China-North Korea border, and the Inner Mongolian prairie in north China, and much more.

The Heaven Lake (elevation of 7,812 ft.) in Changbai Mountain, China

Date: Wednesday, October 23, 2019
Time: 12 – 1 p.m.
Location: Patrick Ma Digital Scholarship Lab, John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Library, 10 Prospect Street, Providence

Event | Authors in the Archives with Lauren Russell and Megan Milks

Join the Brown University Library for an unforgettable night of poetry, fiction, and discussion of how library and archival research is essential to creative and literary endeavors. Lauren Russell and Megan Milks will both read from their works, followed by a discussion led by librarians and archivists about how they are using primary sources. A Q&A period will conclude the presentation.

The first event of the Authors in the Archives series, the talk will take place on Monday, October 28, 2019 at 6:30 p.m. in the Willis Reading Room of the John Hay Library.

Free and open to the public. A light reception will follow the talk.

Lauren Russell

Lauren Russell headshot
Lauren Russell

Lauren Russell is the author of What’s Hanging on the Hush (Ahsahta Press, 2017) and Descent, a winner of the 2019 Tarpaulin Sky Book Awards and a finalist for the National Poetry Series, forthcoming from Tarpaulin Sky Press in 2020. A 2017 NEA Creative Writing Fellow in Poetry, she has also received fellowships and residencies from Cave Canem, The Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, VIDA/The Home School, the Rose O’Neill Literary House, the Millay Colony, and City of Asylum/Passa Porta. Her work has appeared in The New York Times Magazineboundary 2, the Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day,  and Bettering American Poetry 2015, among others. She is assistant director of the Center for African American Poetry and Poetics at the University of Pittsburgh.

Megan Milks

Megan Milks reading from a book at a microphone
Megan Milks

Megan Milks is the recipient of the 2019 Lotos Foundation Prize in Fiction Writing. Their first book, Kill Marguerite and Other Stories, won the 2015 Devil’s Kitchen Reading Award in Fiction and was named a Lambda Literary Award finalist. They have also published four chapbooks, most recently Kicking the Baby and The Feels, an exploration of fan fiction and affect. Their critical writing, for which they won a 2014 Critical Hit Award from Electric Lit, has been published in 4ColumnsLos Angeles Book Review, and The New Inquiry, among other venues. Their work as editor includes The &NOW Awards 3: The Best Innovative Writing, 2011-2013 (Northwestern UP, 2015) and Asexualities: Feminist and Queer Perspectives (Routledge, 2014); currently, they edit the Fiction section of The Account.

Authors in the Archives

The Authors in the Archives series features notable writers whose work is brought to fruition through their creative and sagacious use of primary source materials.

Accessibility

To request special services, accommodations, or assistance for this event, please contact Jennifer Braga at Jennifer_Braga@brown.edu or (401) 863-6913 as far in advance of the event as possible. Thank you.

Date: Monday, October 28, 2019
Time: 6:30 p.m.
LocationWillis Reading Room, John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence

Workshop | Coming Out of the Archives

Coming Out of the Archives poster

Celebrate National Coming Out Day at a hands-on workshop where you can explore pulp fiction, photographs, activist ephemera, meeting records, and more from the Library’s special collections. Plus, use a button maker and copies of queer documents to make your own buttons!

Three workshops will take place in the Bopp Seminar Room at the John Hay Library on Friday, October 11. Registration is requested. Each workshop is capped at 14 participants. Please register for only one workshop time. All three sessions will cover the same material.

Click on the links below or scan the QR code to register for the workshop at your chosen time:

Date: Friday, October 11, 2019
Time: 12 p.m., 1:15 p.m., and 3:30 p.m.
Location: Bopp Seminar Room, 3rd Floor, John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence

Announcement | Barbara Schulz, Head of Library Facilities and Security, Retires

Barbara Schulz headshot
Barbara Schulz

Barbara Schulz began at the Brown University Library as the Head of Library Facilities, Finance and Business in 1994. During her 25 years with the Library, Barbara managed a multitude of facilities projects that have shaped the buildings, interiors, landscapes, functions, and security of every Library building and space.

Some of the notable projects she worked on include:

  • At the Rockefeller Library:
    • Vincent J. Wernig Graduate Student Reading Room (2016)
    • Sidney E. Frank Digital Studio (2015)
    • Lobby and Café (2015)
    • Historic Chandelier Restoration (2015)
    • Sorensen Family Reading Room (2014)
    • Patrick Ma Digital Scholarship Lab (2012)
    • Finn Reading Room (2010)
    • Circulation (2010)
  • At the John Hay Library:
    • First Floor Restoration (2014)
    • Life Safety & HVAC Upgrade (2014)
    • Building Security System (2014)
    • Exhibition Room (2009)
  • At the Sciences Library:
    • Quiet Study (2011)
    • Friedman Study Center (2006)
  • At the Library Annex:
    • Construction of the Annex High Bay Storage Module #2 (2014)
    • Construction of the Library Collections Annex (2003; project co-manager)

Barbara officially retires this October as the Head of Library Facilities and Building Safety. The Library is deeply grateful to Barbara for her years of dedicated service and her commitment to the Library’s mission and values. Through her leadership, library facilities offer patrons and staff a safe, comfortable, accessible, and inviting library environment. We wish Barbara all the best in her retirement.

Announcement | Head of Preservation, Conservation, and the Library Annex Exhibits Disaster Preparedness Kit at the United Nations

Michelle Venditelli describes the Brown University Library’s disaster preparedness kit to colleagues from India at the UN

In May of this year, Michelle Venditelli, Head of Preservation, Conservation, and the Library Annex, attended “Sustainable Development Goals in Libraries today: the role of libraries in strengthening our communities,” a panel discussion at the United Nations’ Dag Hammarskjöld Library in New York. While there, she was invited to exhibit at the 68th Annual United Nations Civil Society Conference at the Salt Palace Convention Center, Salt Lake City, Utah. She was also asked to be a mentor during the Youth Mentorship Circle – Setting the Stage for Success.

The three-day conference, held August 26 – 28, 2019, was co-hosted by the UN Department of Global Communications, Salt Lake City, and the NGO Executive Committee. It featured opening and closing plenary sessions, interactive thematic sessions, NGO-sponsored workshops, exhibits, and a youth hub. Speakers and attendees included leaders and other representatives from NGOs, UN agencies, academia, faith traditions, the public and private sectors, and youth from around the world.

The conference focused on #11 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a blueprint for action, advocacy, and partnership and a compass to ensure that no one is left behind, including those who are poor and vulnerable. The 11th SDG is, “to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable by 2030.” The conference also explored the interlinkages among all 17 Goals, including critical issues relating to gender.

During the exhibition component, Michelle presented an exhibit entitled “Reducing Risk in Libraries, Museums, and Cultural Institutions through Disaster Preparedness Kits.” She was accompanied by a fully stocked disaster kit, which represents the Brown University Library’s new approach to localized threats to our collections. Showcasing the kit at this conference provided Michelle with an opportunity to discuss cutting edge preservation efforts and techniques with professional peers from around the globe. “It was an honor to exhibit at this unique and critically important conference,” Michelle said. “Interacting with experts in disaster preparedness as well as professionals seeking to develop best practices around disaster prep for collections of all kinds was incredibly informative and rewarding.”

the kit in front of the exhibit table

The kit was extremely well received and sparked robust, excited conversation from library and museum colleagues from states throughout the U.S. and abroad. More than once, a colleague told Michelle that the kit is “like a crash cart for disasters.”

Staff from the University of Utah’s Marriott Library were particularly impressed with the kit. At the conclusion of the conference, instead of shipping the sizable unit back to Brown, Michelle and the Brown Library gifted it to the Marriott Library, providing them with a much-needed preservation tool, which they were thrilled to receive.

Announcement | Andrew Creamer Named Librarian on AMS Library Committee

Andrew Creamer, Librarian for Computer Science and CLPS – Scientific Data Management

The Library is pleased to announce that American Mathematical Society (AMS) President Jill C. Pipher has appointed Andrew Creamer to the post of Librarian on the AMS Library Committee. Andrew is the Brown University Library’s Data Management Librarian, and he supports Computer Science and CLPS.

Membership on this committee is split between librarians and mathematicians. The committee supports both mathematicians and librarians in the use, maintenance, and betterment of mathematics libraries.

Andrew will serve for a term of three years, effective February 1, 2020 through January 31, 2023.

The AMS Library Committee Charge

The Library Committee considers the use by mathematicians of all the various resources found in mathematics libraries in Canada and the United States. It periodically collects and maintains authoritative data on those libraries, and it provides advice about the questions to be addressed when library surveys are conducted. It studies and articulates the needs and concerns of mathematicians about their use of both print and electronic information. It monitors problems in libraries and fosters dialog between mathematicians and librarians on issues concerning the dissemination and preservation of research. It supports librarians in their efforts to build and maintain better mathematics libraries and to provide ready access to information.

Announcement | Erika Sevetson Selected as National Library of Medicine/Association of Academic Health Sciences Libraries Leadership Fellow

Erika Seveston headshot
Erika Sevetson, Health Sciences Librarian and the Library’s Director of Academic Engagement for Health, Biomedical, and Physical Sciences

The Library is pleased to announce Erika Sevetson’s selection into the National Library of Medicine/Association of Academic Health Sciences Libraries Leadership Fellows Program. This jointly sponsored program matches five fellows and five mentors in a one-year program that prepares emerging leaders for director positions in academic health sciences libraries. 

The program provides a combination of in-person and virtual learning experiences for fellows and offers the opportunity to work collaboratively with the cohort of participants. Fellows are paired with mentors who are academic health sciences library directors. Mentors work closely with their fellows throughout the year, and host their fellow’s visit to their library.

Fellows are chosen based on a substantial record of leadership accomplishment and potential for a director position. We are delighted that Erika was selected from among a highly competitive candidate pool to be one of five fellows in the cohort. Her place in this group is a great and well-deserved recognition of Erika’s outstanding work and leadership to date as Brown’s Health Sciences Librarian and the Library’s Director of Academic Engagement for Health, Biomedical, and Physical Sciences.  The fellowship also contributes to Brown’s emergence as a major center for research and education in the life sciences. 

Please join us in congratulating Erika on this tremendous honor and opportunity.

Announcement | Nicholas Friesner, Senior Library Specialist – Assessment

Nicholas Friesner headshot
Nicholas Friesner, Senior Library Specialist – Assessment

The Library is pleased to announce the transfer of Nicholas Friesner from Technical Services to the Office of the University Librarian as Senior Library Specialist – Assessment. This is a new position that will assist in the Library’s expanded focus on assessment, supporting the strategic plan as well as operational and user assessment activities.

Nicholas began his new role on September 16.

Prior to this new position, Nicholas served as Senior Library Specialist – Technical Services for two years, working with the Shared Cataloging team and also working with manuscripts/archival materials at the Rock. 

Nicholas earned his Ph.D. in Religious Studies at Brown. His prior library experience includes working in Special Collections at the Yale Divinity School library and in the Catalog Maintenance Department at Johns Hopkins University’s Milton S. Eisenhower library. Additionally, his very first library employment was as a work-study book shelver in the Rock when he was an undergraduate over a decade ago. 

Family Weekend Forum | Furnace & Fugue

Allison Levy headshot
Allison Levy, Digital Scholarship Editor

On Saturday, October 19, 2019 at 11 a.m. in the Digital Scholarship Lab at the Rockefeller Library, join Allison Levy of the Brown University Library’s Digital Publications Initiative for an engaging look at the changing face of 21st-century scholarship.

Free and open to the public.

A Q&A period will conclude the program.

Furnace & Fugue

Demoing the Initiative’s pilot project, Furnace and Fugue, alongside Atalanta fugiens, the rare and elegantly illustrated alchemical book that inspired it, Levy will show how Brown Professor of History Tara Nummedal has turned to innovative digital tools to create new and more dynamic scholarly experiences.

Screen capture of an interactive page from Furnace & Fugue

Re-rendering a multimedia 17th-century text as an online publication, Furnace and Fugue allows readers to hear, see, manipulate, and investigate a work in ways that were perhaps imagined when it was composed but were simply impossible to realize in full before now. Whether through interactive visualizations of modern notation or a multifunctional space that allows users to curate, save, and share their own selection and arrangement of alchemical emblems, Furnace and Fugue makes possible the capabilities implied by this early modern book with digital tools and features that also clarify and/or advance the arguments of the eight scholarly essays included in the work.

Allison Levy

Allison Levy is Digital Scholarship Editor at Brown University Library. An art historian educated at Bryn Mawr College, she has taught in the US, Italy, and the UK. Allison has published widely on the visual culture of early modern Italy and serves as General Editor of the book series Visual and Material Culture, 1300–1700, published by Amsterdam University Press.

Date: Saturday, October 19, 2019
Time: 11 a.m.
Location: Patrick Ma Digital Scholarship Lab, Rockefeller Library, Providence, RI