Commencement Forum | A History of Brown as Told by Flowers

Trillium grandiflorum, collected in Penn Yan, by H. P. Sartwell, New York

Trillium grandiflorum, collected in Penn Yan, by H. P. Sartwell, New York

What can 130 year old preserved plant specimens tell us about our past and our future? The Brown University Herbarium and the Brown University Library have teamed up to create a visually stunning walk through the historical collections of Brown plant specimens using the 7-by-16 foot digital display wall in the Rockefeller Library’s Patrick Ma Digital Scholarship Lab.

Trillium erythrocarpum, collected by Miss Lena E. Stone, May 10, 1900, from Attleboro, MA

Trillium erythrocarpum, collected by Miss Lena E. Stone, May 10, 1900, from Attleboro, MA

Please join the Library on Saturday, May 23 at 9 a.m. as Erika Edwards, Associate Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Tim Whitfeld, Collections Manager for the Brown University Herbarium and Assistant Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and Patrick Rashleigh, Data Visualization Coordinator in the Library’s Integrated Technology Services present this results of this ongoing digitization effort.

This event is free and open to the public.

Share your Commencement & Reunion Weekend with #Brown2015

Date: Saturday, May 23, 2015
Time: 9 a.m.
Location: Patrick Ma Digital Scholarship Lab, Rockefeller Library, 10 Prospect Street, Providence

Event | Pizza Nights


You’ve been waiting all semester for this…

Pizza Nights!

Every year the Library hosts two nights of pizza. 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.

Also, the rock candy is back for pizza nights this semester! It will be available both nights.

Tuesday, May 5  |  9 p.m.  | Pizza Night at the Friedman Center (SciLi)
Wednesday, May 6  |  9 p.m.  |  Pizza Night at the Rockefeller Library Lobby

Mangia bene!

Pizza nights are sponsored by an ever true Brown family.

Event | Marilyn Deegan: Digital Cultural Heritage and the Healing of a Nation: Digital Sudan and the Rwanda Gacaca Archive Digitization Project


The Center for Digital Scholarship at the Brown University Library presents Digital Cultural Heritage and the Healing of a Nation: Digital Sudan and the Rwanda Gacaca Archive Digitization Project. Speaker Marilyn Deegan from King’s College London will present at 12 p.m., Thursday, May 7, 2015 in the Lownes Room at the John Hay Library.

Sudan is one of the most diverse and culturally rich countries in the world. Sudan’s cultural riches rival those of Egypt, Greece, and Rome, but war, famine, displacement and the ravages of time, climate and lack of funds means that the cultural heritage of the country is under severe threat. Recent cultural destruction in Mali in Africa and in the Middle East has led a Sudanese cultural NGO, the Sudanese Association for the Archiving of Knowledge (SUDAAK), to embark on a program of digitization to guarantee the long-term preservation, integration, authenticity, and accessibility of important cultural content in respective concerned national institutions: Digital Sudan. The project addresses some of the main issues related to digitization, networks, and services in the cultural domain. It specifically aims at safeguarding and reinforcing Sudanese cultural heritage through new technologies.

The 1994 genocide in Rwanda, during which more than 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus were murdered by the ruling Tutu majority, was one of the greatest tragedies of the twentieth century, and left the country fractured and ravaged. Ten years after the genocide ended, over 100,000 individuals accused of taking part in the killings were still in prison, given that the country’s legal system had been almost wiped out and no process existed to try them. To deal with this problem, a traditional method of conflict resolution and reconciliation was revived: the Gacaca Courts. Gacaca is “justice without lawyers,” with justice administered at a very local level. Over a period of around 10 years more than 12,000 courts tried over one million cases.


The records of the Gacaca Courts total over 60 million pages and are still in active use as the justice system continues to pursue genocide perpetrators and to deal with many appeals. These documents are held in 18,000 boxes in the police headquarters in Kigali, Rwanda, and are managed by archivists from the Rwandan National Commission for the Fight against Genocide (CNLG) with the help of a British anti-genocide NGO, Aegis Trust.  They are poorly catalogued and are deteriorating rapidly. A team of international partners is working with Aegis and CNLG to digitize these materials so that they can be better used and preserved for posterity.

In her talk, Deegan will speak about these digitization efforts.

Date: Thursday, May 7, 2015
Time: 12 p.m.
Location: Lownes Room, Administration Wing, John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence

Library Innovation Prize Winner 2015

BeersThe Library is pleased to announce that Andrew Beers ‘15 is the winner of this year’s Library Innovation Prize.  Andrew’s presentation entitled “Grand Banks Iceberg Mapper” used data from the U.S. Coast Guard and from a number of early print sources, including maritime newspaper accounts, to plot the location of icebergs in the Western North Atlantic. His mapping allowed a visual picture of the changing locations of iceberg sightings over time, showing a recent trend of icebergs moving north with more being sighted north of Newfoundland than south.

The presentation in the Patrick Ma Digital Scholarship Lab included data from the late 1880s to the present and a slider that could show the change in sightings over time in any given year. Beers was careful to observe the limitations of his data, noting that pre-Coast Guard data tended to be made by vessels only in shipping lanes and that some of the mappings of his data suggested some less precise geographic locations from his source data sets. Beers used a combination of D3 for the large screen visualization and a separate PowerPoint presentation on the smaller cart-mounted screen to give some visual historic perspective.

Miranda Olson’s project entitled, “Digital Analysis: Designing Unique Interfaces with Literature,” provided a visual guide to the process of employing Digital Humanities techniques to analyze literary texts. This project, done for Professor James Egan, was built using PowerPoint and Google docs. She used a custom screen layout in the Digital Scholarship Lab to focus attention on the current slide in the middle of the wall while continuing to provide a visual connection to the other slides around it. The second, cart-mounted screen was used to provide access to the underlying text.

Tushar Bhargava and Samuel Crisanto, representing the Brown Digital Literacy Forum (DigLit), presented their project entitled, “Tracking the Trackers,” which employs a freely available plug-in for Firefox called Lightbeam to visualize which sites track a particular user as he or she navigates the web. They were able to make use of D3 and custom Mozilla libraries with Lightbeam to enrich the visualization by changing the default colors and to reset the sizing of the app so that it would work well on the Digital Scholarship Lab wall. it was a truly chilling experience to see how quickly these tracking sites “attach” to a web browser as the result of a particular web search.

Beijing Foreign Studies University Delegation Visit to the Brown University Library


On April 29, 2015, a delegation from Beijing Foreign Studies University visited Brown University and the Library. Headed by Professor Peng Long, President of Beijing Foreign Studies University, the delegation included Professors Zhang Jian, Dean of the School of English and International Studies, Li Liwen, Dean of the School of English for Specific Purposes, Wang Lidi, Dean of the Graduate School of Translation and Interpretation, and Niu Huayong, Dean of the School of International Business, as well as Dr. He Jing, Deputy Director of the Office for Confucius Institutes and Mr. Wen Bin, Program Officer of International Affairs Office.

After meeting with President Paxson, Sonia Feigenbaum, Associate Provost for Global Engagement, Karen Sibley, Vice President for Strategic Initiatives and Dean, School of Professional Studies, and faculty members from the Department of American Studies (which has established a graduate exchange program with BFSU), the guests visited the Library. Christine Sprovieri, Global Relations Officer, Office of Global Engagement, coordinated the delegation’s visit.


Ned Quist, Associate University Librarian for Research and Outreach, Li Wang, Curator of East Asian Collection, Peter Harrington, Curator of Anne S. K. Brown Military Collection, Holly Snyder, Curator of American Historical Collections, and Jenny Li, Senior Library Specialist in Circulation & Resource Sharing, led the delegation on a tour the Rockefeller and John Hay Libraries. The BFSU guests had a chance to view buildings, facilities, special rooms, and some rare items in special collections. They were very impressed with what they saw during the short library tour.

New JSTOR Arts & Sciences Ejournals Added to the Library

JSTOR Arts & Sciences XIV

JSTOR ARTS & SCIENCES XIV has just been added to the Library’s collections. The new collection is devoted to the study of culture and communication, from civilization’s earliest traces to the growth and governance of peoples. It supports research in Political Science, Language, Rhetoric & Communications, Archaeology & Anthropology, Asian Studies, and more.

Event | Li Wang: Trends in Chinese Literature Today and the Pamphlets for Allied Information Services in WWII


On Monday, May 4 at 11 a.m. in the Patrick Ma Digital Scholarship Lab at the Rockefeller Library, Dr. Li Wang will give a talk entitled, “Trends in Chinese Literature Today and the Pamphlets for Allied Information Services in WWII.” A lunch will follow the talk.

Attendees must RSVP to attend the talk.
Please respond to by April 30.

Li Wang, Curator of the East Asian Collection, recently discovered some remarkable bibliographic information on over a dozen rare English pamphlets for allied information services in China during kangzhan/WWII. The pamphlets were part of a series of “China and Things Chinese” published by the War Area Service Corps (1937-1946), National Military Council. Among these pamphlets, there are five pertaining to “academic interest,” including topics on history, philosophy, media, taxation, and literature of China, all written by renowned scholars. The Brown Library has acquired two important titles: China’s Philosophy and Philosophers and Trends in Chinese Literature Today.

In his investigation Li Wang was pleasantly surprised to find that Trends in Chinese Literature Today was written by his late father, Professor Wang Zuoliang (Wang Tso-Liang, 王佐良).  A graduate scholar from Tsinghua and Oxford University, Professor Wang was former Vice-President of the Beijing Foreign Studies University.  As a leading scholar in English and American literature and comparative literature in China, Professor Wang contributed nearly forty books to these fields (Brown Library holds twelve titles). Moreover, Li Wang has also found an article on a Chinese poet and three translated poems written by Professor Wang in 1947 in Life and Letters and the London Mercury, which is housed in the Special Collections in the John Hay Library.

Wang Zuoliang, 1949. He received a master's in literature degree from Merton College, University of Oxford. His thesis, The Literary Reputation of John Webster to 1830, was later published by Salzburg University. Brown University Library holds a copy of the book.

Wang Zuoliang, 1949. He received a Master of Letters degree from Merton College, University of Oxford. His thesis, The Literary Reputation of John Webster to 1830, was later published by Salzburg University. Brown University Library holds a copy of the book.

Li Wang has been working on a project involving a compilation of the English text of Trends in Chinese Literature Today, a Chinese translation of the pamphlet, a research paper about the background, content, and significance of this literature, and other projected publications and presentations. This project will result in the Trends, along with over forty of his other early works recently found, being added to Wang Zuoliang’s collected edition. Li Wang is glad to share his finding with interested faculty, staff, and scholars in the Brown community.

Trends summarizes twenty five years of the development of Chinese literature since the May 4th Movement in 1919, which is a valuable contribution to the field with distinctive ideas, approach, and style at that time. As an American sinologist professor remarks, “This is so impressive, what a compelling writing style! This essay puts early 20th century Chinese literature in political and aesthetic perspective, he really could summarize a complex field of literary efforts. It is fascinating….”

This lecture is co-sponsored by the East Asian Colloquium and Brown University Library.

Date: Monday, May 4, 2015
Time: 11 a.m.
Location: Patrick Ma Digital Scholarship Lab, Rockefeller Library, 10 Prospect Street, Providence

S. J. Perelman | Newest Release from the Brown Ziggurat Press


S. J. Perelman is the title and subject of the latest book from the Brown Ziggurat Press, part of the Brooke Hunt Mitchell Distinguished Author Series. The book consists of an essay by Daniel Asa Rose ’71, P ’17 and a surprise pop-up on the last page that depicts Perelman’s famous portrait by his friend Al Hirschfeld. Made of a letterpress printed paper cover and digital text, the volume contains 20 pages. It was commissioned and edited by John Hay Professor Emeritus of Bibliography and Professor Emeritus of Visual Art Walter Feldman ADE ’55 hon., designed and executed by Elias Roustom of EM Letterpress, and bound by Caitlyn Thompson ’09.

Both an informative and entertaining piece of literature and a handmade work of art, S. J. Perelman will be available in a limited, numbered run through Vamp & Tramp Booksellers online for $135.


Event | Guided Relaxation Study Break


The Library invites students to a guided relaxation session in the Zero Decibel area of the Friedman Center in the SciLi on Thursday, April 30 from 4 – 5 p.m.

Work/Life Program Specialist Jen McKay from Brown’s Office of Human Resources will lead the session, which will include diaphragmatic breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and then either guided imagery or loving kindness meditation.

To effectively combat stress, we need to activate our body’s natural relaxation response. The relaxation techniques Jen will lead the group through will help to create calm and boost your energy and mood.

We at the Library hope students will find this session a calming and helpful break from the stresses of reading period.

Date: Thursday, April 30, 2015
Time: 4 – 5 p.m.
Location: Zero Decibel Area, Friedman Study Center, Level A, Sciences Library

Event | G. Thomas Couser ’77 to Deliver Annual Yoken Lecture

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 Monday, April 27 at 5:30 p.m. in the Lownes Room at the John Hay Library. 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.

Date: Monday, April 27, 2015
Time: 5:30 p.m.
Location: Lownes Room, John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence