Focus on Collections | Spring/Summer 2014 Newsletter of the Brown University Library

Focus on Collections: The Newsletter of the Brown University Library, Spring/Summer 2014The Brown University Library has recently published its Spring/Summer 2014 edition of the Newsletter of the Brown University Library: Focus on Collections.

The publication considers the past, present, and future of library collections. With contributions from several Brown University librarians, faculty members, and students, the articles in the newsletter discuss the importance of the physical object and the stories an item can tell; review the logistics of acquiring, maintaining, and digitizing physical collections; evaluate the influx and influence of technology on collections building and maintenance; and take stock of the student experience with collections.

Harriette Hemmasi, the Joukowsky Family University Librarian, writes the introduction and emphasizes the Library’s commitment “to remaining, foremost, an intellectual center shaped by the needs of Brown students and faculty who rely on its collections, services, and spaces.”

You can read the newsletter in PDF form here: Focus on Collections.

CNI Podcast with Harriette Hemmasi: Brown University Libraries Supporting Digital Scholarship

In this interview recorded at the 2013 Fall Membership Meeting of the Coalition for Networked Information (CNI), University Librarian Harriette Hemmasi discusses the Brown University Library Digital Scholarship Lab and the relationship librarians at Brown are cultivating with research and other forms of digital scholarship.

CNI Podcast: Brown University Libraries Supporting Digital Scholarship

Brown University, National Archives and Records Administration, and National Archive of Brazil Forge Partnership

The group meets with Professor James N. Green in Washington, D.C. at the National Archives to speak with Janaina Telles, whose parents were political activists and were tortured during the military dictatorship, and Peter Kornbluh, Director of the National Security Archive's Chile documentation project and Cuba documentation project.

The group meets with Professor James N. Green in Washington, D.C. at the National Archives to speak with Janaina Telles, whose parents were political activists and were tortured during the military dictatorship, and Peter Kornbluh, Director of the National Security Archive’s Chile documentation project and Cuba documentation project.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — A unique, student-led project is the foundation for a partnership between Brown University, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), the National Archive of Brazil, and the State University of Maringá (UEM). “Opening the Archives” is designed to provide online public access to the NARA-held State Department of Political Affairs and Relations declassified documents pertaining to U.S.-Brazilian relations from the turbulent 1960s, 70s and 80s.

To prepare to participate in “Opening the Archives,” Brown students studied Brazil’s history with renowned scholar, Professor James N. Green, and were trained by Brown University Library staff in the standardized modes of organization, indexing/description, and digitization.  Directly engaged with rarely seen historical documents at the NARA in DC, Brown students are now working alongside students from Brazil’s State University of Maringá to organize and provide indexing terms to these distinctive documents as they are digitized and made accessible through the Brown Digital Repository (BDR). Created by Brown University Library, the BDR is an online service for collecting, preserving, and disseminating intellectual output. Once in the repository, the NARA documents will be accessible via the internet to scholars around the world.

The “Opening the Archives” project reinforces President Rousseff’s promotion of public access to government information, her establishment of the National Truth Commission, and examination of the abuses of the former military dictatorship. And, the project has the potential to become a model for future collaborations between NARA and other universities, enabling NARA to make its historic records more widely available while also providing invaluable learning and research opportunities for students and faculty.

The mission of Brown University is to serve the community, the nation, and the world by discovering, communicating, and preserving knowledge and understanding in a spirit of free inquiry, and by educating and preparing students to discharge the offices of life with usefulness and reputation.

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.

Contact: Jennifer Braga |  401-863-6913


World-Famous Thriller Writers Coming to Brown!

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] —At 6:30pm on November 15, 2012, Brown University Library will host a panel discussion featuring several of America’s most successful and renowned thriller writers. Author Jon Land ’79, will moderate the discussion between David Baldacci, Steve Berry, Neslon DeMille, Lisa Gardner, and R.L. Stine in Salomon Hall.  A book signing and reception will follow in Sayles Hall. The Thriller Panel is supported by Friends of the Library, Brown University Library, Brown University Bookstore, and Brown’s Office of University Event and Conference Services.

The program, book signing, and reception are free and open to the public. No registration required. Doors open at 5:45pm. Brown University Bookstore will sell books by all authors at the reception in Sayles Hall.

Thanks to the work of Jon Land, author, Friends of the Library board member, Providence resident, and Vice-President of Marketing for the International Thriller Writers, Brown University is currently establishing a Thriller Archive. Land wrote his first thriller as a senior thesis in English at Brown. Today he is a critically acclaimed and bestselling author of 32 books. Land has already donated his manuscripts to the Hay, and more donations will follow.

Land spearheaded the planning for the Thriller Panel as a kick-off for the archive. As he explained, “These incredibly successful authors represent an amazing range of thrillers from action, to political, to psychological suspense to young adult and even children’s.  I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the thriller genre in general, and the collection to be housed at our own John Hay Library in particular.”

David Baldacci
David Baldacci made a splash on the literary scene in 1996 with the publication of his first novel, Absolute Power. A major motion picture adaptation followed, with Clint Eastwood as director and star.  Baldacci has published 24 novels, all of which have been national and international bestsellers.  His novels have been translated into more than 45 languages and sold in more than 80 countries; over 110 million copies are in print worldwide. Baldacci has also published two children’s books.  Most recently, he was inducted into the 2011 International Crime Writing Hall of Fame and received the 2012 Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award. Baldacci is involved with several philanthropic organizations. His greatest efforts are dedicated to his family’s Wish You Well Foundation®. Established with his wife, the Foundation supports family and adult literacy in the United States by fostering and promoting the development and expansion of new and existing literacy and educational programs. In 2008 the Foundation partnered with Feeding America to launch Feeding Body & Mind, a program to address the connection between literacy, poverty, and hunger. Baldacci and his wife are the very proud parents of two terrific teenagers, and the generally proud owners of two not-so-well-behaved Labradoodles. They live in Northern Virginia.

Steve Berry
Steve Berry’s books have been translated into 40 languages with more than 14 million printed copies in 51 countries.  His work consistently appears in the top echelon of The New York Times, USA Today, and Indie bestseller lists. History lies at the heart of every Steve Berry novel, a passion he shares with his wife, which led them to create History Matters, a foundation dedicated to historic preservation. Since 2009, the couple has crossed the country to save endangered historic treasures, raising money via lectures, receptions, galas, luncheons, dinners, and their popular writers’ workshops. In 2012, the American Library Association recognized Berry’s devotion to historic preservation naming him the first spokesman for National Preservation Week.  Berry is also a recipient of the Royden B. Davis Distinguished Author Award, and a founding member of International Thriller Writers—serving three years as its co-president. Berry’s best-selling novels include: The Columbus Affair, The Jefferson Key, The Emperor’s Tomb, The Paris Vendetta, The Charlemagne Pursuit, The Venetian Betrayal, The Alexandria Link, The Templar Legacy, The Third Secret, The Romanov Prophecy, and The Amber Room.

Nelson DeMille
Nelson DeMille is a former U.S. Army lieutenant who served in Vietnam and is the author of sixteen acclaimed novels, including the #1 New York Times bestsellers Night Fall, Plum Island, and The Gate House. His other New York Times bestsellers include The Charm School, Word of Honor, The Gold Coast, Spencerville, The Lion’s Game, The Lion, Up Country, Wild Fire, and The General’s Daughter, which was a major motion picture starring John Travolta. He co-authored Mayday with Thomas Block and has also contributed short stories, book reviews, and articles to magazines and newspapers. DeMille is a member of The Authors Guild, the Mystery Writers of America, and American Mensa. He has three children and lives on Long Island.

Lisa Gardner
The New York Times #1 best-selling suspense novelist Lisa Gardner began her career in food service. After catching her hair on fire, she focused on writing instead.  Over 16 million copies of Gardner’s books are now in circulation, along with four movies. In 2010, Gardner’s The Neighbor received the award for Best Hardcover Novel from the International Thriller Writers and was named to the American Library Association’s “Best Adrenaline Novel Reading List.” Her latest novel, Catch Me, is the most recent addition to her Detective D.D. Warren series, set in Boston, MA. Gardner’s other works include the FBI Profiler Series, The Other Daughter, The Survivors Club, and I’d Kill For That.  A one-time Rhode Island resident, Gardner now lives in the mountains of New Hampshire with her race-car driving husband, speed-skiing daughter, two extremely barky dogs, and one incredibly hostile cat.

R.L. Stine
R.L. Stine is one of America’s best-selling authors and is cited in The Guinness Book of World Records as the best-selling series author in history. Over the past 20 years, Stine’s Goosebumps series has sold over 300 million copies in the United States alone and has become a publishing phenomenon in 32 languages around the world. Stine’s other popular children’s book series include Fear Street, Mostly Ghostly, The Nightmare Room, and Rotten School. In 2012, R.L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour, an anthology TV series of horror stories for the whole family, began its third season on The Hub TV Network, while the original Goosebumps TV episodes continue to air daily. In October 2012, Stine will publish Red Rain through Touchstone Books, a horror novel aimed at adult readers. Stine’s previous adult novels include: Superstitious, published by Warner Books, and The Sitter and Eye Candy, published by Ballantine Books. Stine lives in New York City with his wife Jane, an editor and publisher.

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.

Contact: Jennifer Braga |  401-863-6913


Website for Digital Art & Humanities Lecture Series, Now Live!

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] –The Brown University Library is launching a new website which hosts abstracts and videos from the 2011-2012 Digital Arts and Humanities Lecture Series.  The series was jointly sponsored by Brown University Library and the John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage.

Over the course of the fall and spring semesters, five nationally recognized digital scholars came to campus to meet with graduate students, faculty, and digital staff, and to present on their research during an evening lecture. The series kicked off on October 3, 2011 with “Remembering Networks: Agrippa, RoSE and Network Archaeology” by renowned digital scholar, Alan Liu. The October lecture preceded Richard White’s “The Spatial Turn in History,” and “In the stack of the livebrary” by Jeffrey Schnapp. The last two lectures, “Post-archive: Scholarship in the Digital Age” by Tara McPherson, and “A Noisy Archaeology” by Paul DeMarinis, were filmed and are available for viewing.

The John Nicholas Brown Center helps connect academic communities and the broader public through history, art, and culture. We support people and organizations that explore, preserve, and interpret cultural heritage. Our programs explore the ways in which the humanities enrich everyday life.

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.

Contact: Jennifer Braga |  401-863-6913

“Dealing with Data” – New Library Publication Now Availaible

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University]  
Brown University Library is pleased to announce the release of its newest publication, Dealing with Data.

Dealing with Data features contributions by Library staff and Brown faculty including Harriette Hemmasi, Catherine Busselen, Ann Caldwell, Jean Bauer, Julia Flanders, Amanda Rinehart, John Cayley, Sue Alcock, and Jan S. Hesthaven. The authors discuss a range of issues related to data description, management, and preservation, data visualization and the importance of data in research and teaching.

Free, print copies of the publication are available at the John D. Rockefeller Library, Sciences Library, Orwig Music Library, and John Hay Library. A PDF of Dealing with Data is available here.

Dealing with Data is sponsored by Brown University Library and Friends of the Library, with funding provided by the Richard and Edna Salomon Publications Fund. Most recently, the Salomon Fund also supported the print and digital publication of a revised Special Collections of the Brown University Library: A History and Guide, and a brochure about Brown’s Chinese collections, which is currently being translated into Chinese.

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.

Contact: Jennifer Braga |  401-863-6913


Brown Provides New Content for World Digital Library

Screenshot of an Image from the Anne S. K. Brown Military Collection in the World Digital Library

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — This month the World Digital Library (WDL), an open access website sponsored by UNESCO and the Library of Congress featuring unique cultural materials and national treasures from libraries and archives around the world, has integrated 40 additional images from the Brown University Library.  Expanding the WDL’s coverage of Africa, Asia, and South America, an assortment of gouache paintings, watercolors, chromolithographs, pencil drawings, and other works from the Anne S.K. Brown Military Collection are accompanied by object information and narrative descriptions touching on a variety of themes. And, to strengthen the WDL’s content about Iran, additional Persian materials will be added later this year.

Since 2009, staff from Brown University Library and dozens of other institutions have been working with the WDL to promote cross-cultural awareness by providing access to iconographic stories and achievements from around the globe. Available free of charge on the internet and presented in a multilingual format, the WDL provides a rich and diverse database that can be browsed by place, time, topic, type of item, and contributing institution. Navigation tools and content descriptions are provided in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.

The WDL is one of many outreach initiatives undertaken by the Brown University Library to make its collections more accessible and better known around the world.  The Brown University Library also hosts an extensive set of digitized materials on its website.

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.

Contact: Jennifer Braga |  401-863-6913


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BREATHTAKEN: A Reading and Book Signing

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] – At 5:30pm on Wednesday, March 21, 2012, Brown/Ziggurat Press will host a reading and book signing in the John Hay Library for BREATHTAKEN, a long poem by CD Wright with visual accompaniments by Walter Feldman. Following the reading, there will be a reception in the foyer during which visitors can view displayed books, and purchase copies for Walter Feldman and CD Wright to sign. This event is free and open to the public.

As Feldman explains “BREATHTAKEN is a dark and moving poem, appropriate to my way of making images.” BREATHTAKEN is a Brooke Hunt Mitchell Distinguished Artist Series book, presented in an accordion style, housed in a stunning cover, and featuring original block prints on archival paper. It is published in a numbered edition of 75, and is offered for purchase at $150 plus tax. Purchases of the book support the continuation of work through Brown/Ziggurat Press. If you are unable to attend and would like to purchase a book, contact Friends of the Library at or (401) 863-2163. A short interview with Walter Feldman and a sampling of his previous work in collage and printmaking is available here.

CD Wright was born in 1949, in Mountain Home, Arkansas. She received a BA from Memphis State College (now the University of Memphis) and an MFA from the University of Arkansas. She teaches at Brown University, and has published numerous volumes of poetry as well as two literary state maps. She has received several awards including the 2011 Lenore Marshall Prize from the Academy of American Poets, the Griffin Poetry Prize, the Poetry Center Book Award, the Witter Bynner Prize, and a Whiting Award; as well as fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, and the Bunting Institute. In 1994 she was named Poet Laureate of Rhode Island.

Walter Feldman was born in 1925 in Lynn, Massachusetts. He received a BFA and MFA  from Yale School of Fine Arts, after which he served as an Instructor of Painting. In 1953 he was appointed to the art faculty at Brown University. He has received numerous awards including a senior Fulbright Fellowship, gold medal in Milan’s “Mostra  International,”  and a George A. and Eliza Gardener Howard Fellowship. His artist’s books are in over 150 public collections including the Museum of Modern Art and the Albert and Victoria Museum. Feldman inaugurated the Ziggurat Press in 1985 with a book of poems by James Schevill. He acquired a Vandercook press and published a series of books of poetry printed from metal type and relief blocks that he created. In 1995 he was appointed John Hay Professor of Bibliography. In 2007 he retired from teaching and gave his press to Brown. It is now in use in the Art of the Book classes he inaugurated. He continues to work in painting, printmaking and is presently working on a suite of drawings relating to music.

Contact: Jennifer Braga |  401-863-6913


Digital Humanities Project Wins IMLS National Leadership Grant

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] – TEI Archiving, Publishing, and Access Service (TAPAS), a digital humanities collaboration between the libraries of Brown University and Wheaton College, has been awarded a $250,000 National Leadership Grant from the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS), to begin on December 1, 2011 and run for three years. The goal of TAPAS is to create a shared repository and a suite of publishing and preservation services for humanities scholars who are creating digital research materials using the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) Guidelines.

TEI encoding offers both scholars and readers significantly richer options for annotating, searching, linking, and using digital texts. However, creating, preserving, and providing access to a TEI-encoded text can be very costly, and requires technologies and expertise that are not widely available, especially at smaller institutions. TAPAS is a community-driven, contributory project, committed to open access and open-source tools and approaches for publishing and archiving. It will enable scholars to share data and interface tools with one another and with the public. The resulting archive will permit broad access and support third-party interface development.

As Andrew Ashton, Director of Digital Technologies, Brown University Library stated “TAPAS addresses the immediate needs of humanities scholars by storing and publishing their work, but it also provides a new venue for scholars working with TEI to share, discuss, and collaborate around that work.” TAPAS will add a new dimension to Brown’s text encoding initiatives, pairing Brown’s technical expertise in digital repositories with emerging developments in web publishing and data representation.  By exploring the intersection of digital collections with web frameworks such as Drupal, the TAPAS group expects to develop a substantial body of highly transferable tools and knowledge. In July, the TAPAS project received an NEH Digital Humanities Start-Up Grant to fund initial user interface design. This new IMLS grant will enable large-scale infrastructure development to make TAPAS a reality. For more information on TAPAS visit

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. The Institute’s mission is to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas. The Institute works at the national level and in coordination with state and local organizations to sustain heritage, culture, and knowledge; enhance learning and innovation; and support professional development. To learn more about the Institute, please visit


Contact: Julia Flanders | | 401 863-2135