Updates from Around the Library | May 2017

Best of luck to all the graduating students preparing for Commencement.

Here are some examples of what is happening around the Library:

New Fellows to Further Research at the John Hay Library in 2017-2018

The John Hay Library will host two research fellows in the coming academic year, with support from the New England Regional Fellowship Consortium. While at the Hay Library, these scholars, whose projects are described in more detail below, will be using little known materials in the holdings of Special Collections in order to further their scholarly research.

Detail from St. Augustine of Hippo, De Ciuitate Dei (1467), Annmary Brown Memorial Collection 203, John Hay Library, showing printed text with hand applied rubrication and illuminated capitals

Renzo Baldasso, an Assistant Professor in the School of Art at Arizona State University, is currently at work on a study of printers in the early decades of the printing press (1453 to 1503 C.E.) — a period commonly known among historians as the incunabula era.  Baldasso’s research aims to discover how these printers “became masters of the page…to develop an independent print aesthetic” that differed from the aesthetic approaches used to produce the handwritten illuminated manuscript. With expertise in both Renaissance art and the history of science, Baldasso is uniquely qualified to undertake this intensive study of rare volumes. He will be focusing his work at the Hay Library on the 600 incunabula in the Annmary Brown Memorial Collection, for which Richard Noble, the Library’s rare books cataloguer, has been diligently working to enhance existing descriptive information.

Selected pages from the papers of Jean Bethke Elshtain (Ms. 2011.039), Feminist Theory Archive, John Hay Library

Alexander Jacobs, a recent PhD and current postdoctoral lecturer in History at Vanderbilt University, works on “the tangled histories and multiple meanings of liberalism and conservatism in modern American thought and politics” — a topic that formed the nucleus of his 2016 doctoral dissertation, Pessimism and Progress, a study of Conservatism within the political Left. While at the Hay Library, he will be looking at manuscript material in the Feminist Theory Archive, focusing in particular on the papers of Jean Bethke Elshtain.

The New England Regional Fellowship Consortium (NERFC) is a growing body of New England cultural institutions which seek to enhance scholarly access to their collections by offering grants for 8 weeks of study in the holdings of at least three of the participating institutions. The program is competitive and attracts scholars working on a broad range of topics. The John Hay Library, a NERFC member since 2014, has previously hosted fellows working on topics such as the fear of nuclear explosion during the Cold War, 19th century panoramic spectacles, and humor in the gay liberation and feminist movements.

Retweets, Shares, and Likes: Increasing the Impact of Research Through the Preservation and Sharing of Data

Justine Allen, Derya Akkaynak (from http://news.brown.edu/articles/2017/05/cuttlefish)

Last week, an article co-authored by Dr. Justine Allen appeared in the scientific journal The American Naturalist. Dr. Allen received her Ph.D. from Brown University in 2014, completing her graduate work under Professor Roger Hanlon at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, MA. The article describes the behaviors of two male cuttlefish fighting over a female mate, behaviors that were recorded on video and in photographs taken by the authors while on a dive off the coast of Turkey. The video has since been seen tens of thousands of times, demonstrating the impact of research through the preservation and sharing of data.

To view Dr. Allen and her co-authors’ data in the BDR please visit:

Akkaynak, Derya, and Allen, Justine J., “Dramatic fighting by male cuttlefish for a female mate” (2011). Data for Publications. Brown Digital Repository. Brown University Library.https://doi.org/10.7301/Z0PR7SX4.

In order to analyze the recorded behaviors, the researchers created a scoring guide to document the types and characteristics of the organisms involved and their actions and the duration of the actions at certain timestamps in the film footage and on each still image. Before Dr. Allen and her co-authors submitted their manuscript for peer review and publication, they reached out to Hope Lappen, Biomedical and Life Sciences Librarian, and Andrew Creamer, Scientific Data Management Librarian, to get help with their questions about copyright and licenses for publishing and distributing their data, and for assistance with curating and depositing the files (the video, images, and analysis data underlying their paper’s findings) into an online collection in the Library’s Brown Digital Repository (BDR).

The BDR is the Library’s platform for making digital collections available online. The BDR has a collection called “Data for Publications,” which is an online gallery for Brown researchers to preserve the supplementary materials accompanying their published articles or the data underlying their results and conclusions. The BDR also allows researchers to cite these materials and data in their publications and to make these files available to other researchers and the public online.

Andrew worked with Ann Caldwell, the Library’s Metadata Librarian and Head of Digital Production Services, to plan out the descriptive information for each catalog record associated with their data set and the minimum documentation necessary to interpret the data. This process is iterative and involves collaborating with the authors to collect these details and create their records in the BDR with the aim of facilitating search, discovery, access, and citation of these materials online. Ann’s staff also helped to convert the film and image file formats into ones that are appropriate for long-term preservation.

Upon deposit of the files in the Library’s BDR, Andrew and Ann work with Joseph Rhoads, the BDR’s Manager, and Ben Cail, the BDR’s programmer, to display the files according to the wishes of the researchers. For the cuttlefish paper, the authors wanted to be able to not only preserve the original video and image files in the BDR, but also to stream the video so that readers could view the video from its record the BDR.  After files are uploaded, Joseph and Ben provide the researchers with a URL and a unique identifier, called a digital object identifier (DOI), that they can use to cite these materials within their article so that reviewers of their paper or interested readers can have access to them. By depositing the data in the BDR and citing the data within the paper, the authors allow readers to learn more about the science and judge the rigor and validity of their published findings. This transparency can help move science forward.

So what is the big deal about making these materials public? In short, the answer is impact. Scientists want to spread knowledge and know that their research can resonate with the public. By depositing their video with the Library and citing and sharing their video, Dr. Allen and her co-authors were able to reach more people than they would have through the publication of their article alone. How many more people? One week after publication of the article, their cuttlefish video had been viewed by over 140,000 people online! In addition, the video had been reported on the websites and social media feeds of the New York Times, National Geographic, and Science and reported on the websites and on the Facebook and Twitter and similar social media feeds of media outlets in several countries, including Germany’s Der Spiegel. These posts have been shared, liked, and retweeted by people fascinated with the dramatic events the research team captured on film.

Dr. Allen and her co-authors are not alone. A team of Brown undergraduates led by Dean Adetunji, Associate Dean of the College for Undergraduate Research and Inclusive Science, have deposited the file of a video in the Library’s BDR on the science of seeing color that has also has had over 100,000 views. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the National Science Foundation including broader and societal impact among the review criteria it uses to evaluate grant proposals submitted by researchers. The Library’s BDR plays a crucial role in helping to preserve and disseminate the digital outputs of Brown’s research community, including their broader impact materials that they have created for educating students or the public about their research. Videos, images, software, and documents that could easily be lost after the publication of an article now get cataloged by the Library and put online and discovered, accessed, and cited by other researchers and the public.

Events | Pizza Nights

It’s that time of year!

Pizza Nights are here!

Every semester the Library hosts two nights of pizza to fortify your studying. The first (Tuesday) night will be in the Sciences Library. The next night (Wednesday) there will be pizza in the Rock. Students that enjoy studying in a library as well as eating pizza are encouraged to attend. The pizza is from Domino’s.

Schedule
Tuesday, May 9  |  9 p.m.  | Friedman Center (SciLi)
Wednesday, May 10  |  9 p.m.  |  Rockefeller Library Lobby

This semester’s pizza nights are sponsored by the Library and an ever-true Brown family.

Good luck with exams!

#pizzanights

Updates from Around the Library | April 2017

It’s a busy time for the Library and, of course, Brown students. We wish you luck with your papers and finals!

Here are some examples of activity happening around the Library:

Exhibit | La conquista dell’Abissinia (The conquest of Abyssinia)

The John Hay Library has a new acquisition on display in the second floor landing case:

La conquista dell’Abissinia/ The conquest of Abyssinia
Officine dell’Istituto italiano d’arti grafiche/ Office of the Italian Institute of Graphic Arts
Board game (paper and ink)
Milano: Carlo Erba S.A., 1936
Brown University Library, Special Collections

The item will be on display until May 31, 2017.

This Italian board game was created in 1936 by Officine dell’Istituto italiano d’arti grafiche in Bergamo during the Fascist regime of Benito Mussolini in the midst of the Second Italo-Ethiopian War (also referred as the Second Italo-Abyssinian War). The game was printed to advertise products from various Italian companies while spreading colonial propaganda that applauded the expansion of the Kingdom of Italy. This piece featured a powder to make artificial mineral water by the pharmaceutical company Carlo Erba, S.A.

Play is based on the rules of the European “game of the goose,” in which two or more players move pieces along a track of consecutively numbered spaces by rolling one or two dice. La conquista dell’Abissinia is played on a color illustrated sheet against the background of a map of the Ethiopian Empire (also known as Abyssinia). While not depicted, the game pays tribute to Pietro Badoglio, 2nd Duke of Addis Abeba, and his army and their ultimate occupation of the capital of Abyssinia. It consists of 68 numbered spaces representing the Italian flag, the Red Cross, contemporary political figures, and tanks of the Italian armed forces. The goal of the game is to reach the circle numbered 68 before any of the other players by avoiding as many obstacles as possible. It was designed to have a maximum of eight players, each equipped with a small disc representing various divisions of the Italian armed forces (Infantry, Air Force, Blackshirts, Alpine Troops, Corps of Engineers, Tank Division, Askari, or local colonial troops and Dubats or White Turbans). Directions are printed on the upper right corner of the sheet.

Dates: May 1 – May 31, 2017
Time: John Hay Library Hours
Location: Second Floor, John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence, RI

UPDATE 5/1: LexisNexis is Working!!

4/26/2017:LexisNexis is currently unavailable from off-campus. On-campus, you need to remove the phrase revproxy.brown.edu from your URL after you login to be able to search effectively in LexisNexis. The publisher and CIS have been notified and a notice will be posted here when the service is back up and working properly.

We apologize for the inconvenience. An alternate resource to use is HEINOnline.

Research Consultations at the Writing Center

The Library and the Writing Center are teaming up to help you jump start your research project!

You can drop into the Writing Center on the 5th Floor of the SciLi on these
Fridays from 12 – 3 p.m.:

  • April 21
  • April 28
  • May 5
You can talk about your work, ask questions, and get advice from librarians and writing associates. No appointment is necessary. Consultations are offered on a first-come, first-served basis.

Scalar: Writing Digital Scholarship | Curtis Fletcher

The Library is pleased to host three events in the series, Scalar: Writing Digital Scholarship, this April, 2017. All events will be held in the Digital Scholarship Lab at the Rockefeller Library.

Curtis Fletcher, Associate Director of the Polymathic Labs at USC Libraries and Co-PI on Scalar

On Thursday, April 27, 2017 at 12 p.m., Curtis Fletcher, Associate Director of the Polymathic Labs at USC Libraries and Co-PI on Scalar, will give a talk entitled, “Beyond the Platform: Enabling and Supporting New Forms of Digital Scholarship.” A reception will follow the talk. Free and open to the public.

Beyond the Platform: Enabling and Supporting New Forms of Digital Scholarship

Fletcher will discuss his experience working on Scalar, an open source authoring and publishing platform designed for media-rich, born-digital scholarship. Highlighting specific Scalar projects, broader use cases, and ongoing development, he will discuss the ways in which the platform’s affordances attempt to move digital scholarly publishing beyond the linear ePub; how emerging scholarly workflows and practices for creating media-rich, archive-connected, scholarship have evolved alongside those affordances; and how the platform’s design relates to broader trends in digital scholarship and the digital humanities.

Curtis Fletcher

Curtis Fletcher is the Associate Director of the Polymathic Labs at USC Libraries and Co-PI on Scalar. His research spans the history of technology, the history of humanities education, science and technology studies, and visual studies. He specializes in digital research and writing in the humanities with particular expertise in new models for authoring, credentialing, and publishing born-digital, multimodal, humanities scholarship. Prior to his work at USC Libraries he was Associate Multimedia Editor for Urban History at Cambridge University Press; Administrative Assistant for the Center for Transformative Scholarship in the Digital Age at USC; and Project Manager for the Alliance for Networking Visual Culture.

These events are part of the Library’s series, The Future of Scholarly Publishing, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Date: Thursday, April 27, 2017
Time: 12 p.m.
Location: Patrick Ma Digital Scholarship Lab, Rockefeller Library, 10 Prospect Street, Providence, RI

Previous events in the series:

On Thursday, April 13, Caroline Frank, Visiting Assistant Professor of American Studies at Brown, gave a talk entitled,”Paths Across the Pacific: A Scalar Project of East-West Interaction,” during which she discussed her recent Scalar project, “Asia-Pacific in the Making of the Americas.” Professor Frank presented with collaborator Andrea Ledesma, a graduate student in American Studies.

On Tuesday, April 18, Elli Mylonas, Senior Digital Humanities Librarian, hosted an “Introduction to Scalar” workshop.