Announcement | Commencement and Quiet Period Library Services

Brown University Library buildings will be closed Saturday, May 1 and Sunday May 2 for Commencement Weekend, and Friday, May 7 for a University-appointed day off for staff.

In observance of the Quiet Period, undergraduate students will not be able to make a reservation for seating in Library buildings from Monday, May 3 through Tuesday, May 18. Reservations can be made by undergraduate beginning Wednesday, May 19.

Graduate students can continue to access Library spaces during the Quiet Period. Make a reservation.

Remote support and distant circulation will remain available during the Quiet Period.

Questions? Please email rock@brown.edu.

Announcement | Winners of Undergraduate Prize for Excellence in Library Research, 2020-2021

Announcing the Winners of this Year’s Undergraduate Prize for Excellence in Library Research

Brown University Library is pleased to announce that Cal Turner ’21 and Olivia Golubowski ’23 are the recipients of the fifteenth annual Undergraduate Award for Excellence in Library Research, generously funded by Douglas W. Squires, ’73. This award, established in partnership with the Office of the Dean of the College, recognizes undergraduate projects that make extensive and creative use of the Brown University Library’s collections, including print and primary resources, databases, and special collections.

Cal Turner ‘21 “Finance and the Other in The Merchant of Venice” 

Comparative Literature

Cal Turner ’21

Cal Turner’s paper, “Finance and the Other in The Merchant of Venice,” written for Prof. Connie Scozzaro’s ENGL1361P Shakespeare’s Girls, pulls together a variety of research threads to explore the interactions between the economics of early capitalism and the language of exchange in Shakespeare’s play. Contributing to Cal’s interest in the topic was Pembroke seminar Narrating Debt, on theoretical frameworks for understanding the role of finance in literature, which he was also taking. According to Prof. Scozzaro, “The final result of Cal’s paper is a graduate-level English paper that could, with the right resources and mentorship, be worked into a journal article…”

Cal’s research for this paper began in JSTOR and EBSCO, surveying existing scholarship on finance and the Merchant of Venice. The online Encyclopedia Judaica had information on money-lending and anti-Semitism, and Early English Books Online yielded other uses of financial terms such as “usury,” “lottery,” and “fortune.” Cal also used the Oxford English Dictionary for the semantic evolution of these words. 

The paper is a wide ranging and well researched analysis, based on primary and secondary sources that explain and support each other. Cal is able to discuss the rise of finance and its justification for members of the dominant culture as lottery and fortune, and its negative role as debt and usury, when practiced by racial others and foreigners. His research ultimately connects the financial language of Shakespeare’s play to the financing of colonial expansion in the Americas.

Olivia Golubowski ‘23 “Neanderthal Dietary Reconstruction Via Analysis of Microremains in Dental Calculus”

Anthropology

Olivia Golubowski ’23

Olivia Golubowski’s paper, “Neanderthal Dietary Reconstruction Via Analysis of Microremains in Dental Calculus,” written for Zachary Dunsett’s ARCH1774 Microarchaeology details a research proposal to investigate Neanderthal dental calculus for food microremains, so as to support or revise theories about the Neanderthal diet. According to Prof. Dunsett: “Ms. Golubowski went above and beyond what was expected for the paper, and deservingly received a 100% on the

paper, and an A in my class. During my short time of Brown, this has been the best (and most realistic!) archaeological science paper I have read.” 

In order to develop her proposal, Olivia demonstrated thoughtful and creative use of library resources: she surveyed different topics in a general way. After she identified a domain of interest, she grounded her hypothesis and methodology by researching about Homo Neanderthalensis and the relevant scholarship, then reading dental journals, to learn about the study of dentition and, specifically, dental calculus, then identifying locations and condition of Neanderthal skulls to figure out where she would perform the analysis. 

The paper leads the reader through theories of Neanderthal diet, which was assumed to be based on hunting large animals, and contributing to the Neanderthal demise. Olivia explains how microemains from plant matter and carbohydrates are embedded in dental calculus, and what processes should be used to examine them. She identifies the criteria for selecting which skulls and which teeth might be sampled. Her hypothesis, that Neanderthals had a varied diet, eating a mixture of plant and animal foods, leads to broader impacts which could change how we see the interactions between H. Neanderthalensis and H. Sapiens.

Announcement | Faculty Studies

The application for faculty study rooms at the Rockefeller Library will open on Friday, April 16, 2021. Applications will be accepted through Monday, May 17, 2021.

Apply here

The following categories of need will receive priority:

  • Current Faculty engaged in research requiring intensive use of library resources, programs, and services that is best served on-site within the Library. For Academic Years 2021-22 and 2022-23, priority will be given to tenure-track faculty whose research has been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Current Faculty engaged in research requiring intensive use of library resources, programs, and services that is best served on-site within the Library. For Academic Years 2021-22 and 2022-23, priority will be given to tenure-track faculty whose research has been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Current Faculty engaged in research requiring intensive use of library resources, programs, and services that is best served on-site within the Library. For Academic Years 2021-22 and 2022-23, priority will be given to tenure-track faculty whose research has been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Current Faculty engaged in research requiring intensive use of library resources, programs, and services that is best served on-site within the Library. For Academic Years 2021-22 and 2022-23, priority will be given to tenure-track faculty whose research has been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

A total of 25 studies will be available, with occupancy starting on September 1 (campus health and safety conditions permitting). Studies may be requested for any combination of Fall, Spring, and Summer (June/July) terms, for a maximum of 11 months. All study rooms must be vacated by the beginning of August, which is reserved for cleaning and maintenance.  

We anticipate informing applicants at the beginning of June.

Announcement | New Health and Biomedical Library Services Unit at Brown

The Library will establish a new department — Health and Biomedical Library Services — to provide more direct and focused support for Brown’s programs in medicine, public health, and biomedical sciences.

The growth of these programs in size, scientific reputation, and societal impact is transformative for Brown and requires enhanced library support for research, teaching, and learning. Establishing Health and Biomedical Library Services (HBLS) as a distinct department will increase the Library’s contributions to advancing the mission of the Division of Biology and Medicine and the School of Public Health — as well as their statewide partners in research, education, practice, and community engagement. 

Further enhancing the Library’s identity as the go-to place for expert partners in education and research services, this new unit will bring enhanced focus to the specific academic and scholarly goals of the Division of Biology and Medicine (including The Warren Alpert Medical School and the Program in Biology) and the School of Public Health. HBLS will build upon existing services such as literature review support, data management, and publishing, impact, and compliance to enhance our support for the research lifecycle. In cooperation with leadership at The Warren Alpert Medical School and our clinical partners, HBLS will develop targeted outreach and education to clinical faculty and residency programs.

Planning for the new department involved close consultation with Allan Tunkel, Senior Associate Dean for Medical Education, and Kimberly Galligan, Executive Dean for Administration for the Division of Biology and Medicine at Brown. Increased communication between the Library and the Division of Biology and Medicine and the School of Public Health will amplify the Library’s ability to nimbly adapt and respond to the rapid changes in Rhode Island’s healthcare landscape.

Erika Sevetson, who has been serving as Director of Academic Engagement for Health, Biomedical, and Physical Sciences and Medical Librarian for The Warren Alpert Medical School, will now serve as the Director of the new HBLS department. In her new role, Erika will serve on key Division of Biology and Medicine committees and leadership teams, including the Extended Leadership Group that supports Jack A. Elias, MD, Senior Vice President for Health Affairs and Dean of Medicine and Biological Sciences. She will also collaborate with the Office of Biomedical Advancement to identify opportunities for fundraising in support of information resource needs for health and biomedical sciences. The HBLS team includes Andrew Creamer (who will also continue to support programs outside HBLS), Chelsea Misquith, and Kelsey Sawyer.

Announcement | Orwig Music Library Closure – April 3 Material Request Deadline

From May through August 2021, the Orwig Music Building, including Orwig Music Library, will be closed for renovation. The renovation will involve installation of essential human safety equipment including wet fire suppression in every room and an upgrade to the building’s entire HVAC system. 

Due to the significant amount of work being done in every space, the library stacks must be encased in a protective wrap and some library material will need to be boxed and placed in storage. Consequently, physical materials in the music library collections will be inaccessible. Purchasing of electronic materials (ebooks and similar) will continue during this time.

Please make your requests for physical music-related research and reserves materials for Summer 2021, including distance circulation and digitization requests, by April 3. 

We do not yet have a specific project end date, as planning is still underway. Music material will be made available as soon as possible, once staff members are able to access the stacks and stored items in August. We will keep the community updated as the project progresses.

Please direct any questions and requests to orwig@brown.edu.

Event | “Just Like the Men”: The 19th Amendment and the Racial Legacies of Women’s Suffrage with Laura Prieto

The Library invites you to join us via Zoom for a talk by Laura R. Prieto on Thursday, March 18 at 12 p.m. Join the talk.

Although national women’s suffrage organizations declared victory with the Nineteenth Amendment, many women in the United States continued to be denied the right to vote for decades afterwards. This talk explores why and how the ballot remained limited to white, native-born U.S. citizens, in 1920, while Black women and men in the South, colonized subjects in Puerto Rico and the Philippines, and others had to continue their struggle for political equality.

Laura Prieto

Laura R. Prieto (B.A., Wellesley College; A.M., Ph.D., Brown University) is the Alumni Chair in Public Humanities and a Professor of History at Simmons University in Boston. She teaches American history, gender and women’s history, public memory, and methodology. Her current research studies colonizing and colonized women across U.S. empire in the Pacific and Caribbean. She has written on transnational nurses, Protestant missionaries, anti-imperialists, and suffragists from the 1890s through the 1940s. Her earlier books include At Home in the Studio: The Professionalization of Women Artists in America and Crossings and Encounters: Race, Gender, and Sexualities in the Atlantic World (co-edited with Stephen R. Berry). 

This talk is open to the public and will be captioned.

Announcement | John Hay Library unveils transformative vision for special collections at Brown

Six dynamic and interconnected areas of focus build on current collection strengths and forge a path for building distinctive collections that support expansive and imaginative inquiry with a commitment to community engagement, environmental sustainability, and social justice.

Providence, R.I. [Brown University] After a year-long process of critical self-study and reflection led by Amanda Strauss, Associate University Librarian for Special Collections, the John Hay Library is launching a new collection policy, designed to guide highly strategic collecting at the Hay. The policy development process involved staff members at the Hay as well as consultations with a wide array of stakeholders at Brown and in key external communities.

When Ms. Strauss joined the Library in 2019, she was charged with creating a focused plan for the Hay, in alignment with Library and University goals and priorities, that would inspire faculty and students and transform the Hay into a center of academic excellence and a prominent destination for scholarly research. A serious commitment to representing diverse perspectives, experiences, and methods would be a fundamental part of that plan — necessary work for a world-class institution that facilitates free and open inquiry. According to Joseph S. Meisel, Joukowsky Family University Librarian, “Under Ms. Strauss’s leadership, the John Hay Library is reaching new heights in advancing education, research, and public knowledge while also becoming a far more inclusive institution that speaks to a much broader range of human experience. This kind of scholarly vision and intellectual organization is what distinguishes outstanding special collections research libraries at world-class universities like Brown.”   

The policy consists of six areas of focus for collecting as well as three research themes in the sciences that are purposefully interconnected to create a holistic basis for research, education, and public engagement that encourages the kind of expansive and imaginative inquiry for which Brown University is renowned. They also establish a profound and more cohesive intellectual context for a remarkable set of existing collections, allow for strategic and sustainable collecting, and create a path for reparative and community-based collecting.

  • Global Lavender Voices celebrates the lived experiences, contributions, accomplishments, and culture of LGBTQIA+ communities, both in the United States and internationally.
  • Ideology & Power provides coherence and promotes public access to more than 200 years of original material that documents the evolution of political, social, and religious ideologies and that sheds light on the complex ways in which ideology influences social and political power structures.
  • Military & Society traces the social, political, economic, and cultural influence of world militaries during war and peace. 
  • Performance & Entertainment documents the history and creative process of performing arts and provides a window into public life and popular entertainment in the Americas through plays, dance, film, music, photography, and pornography. 
  • Popular Literature aims to reflect the imaginative worlds of North American authors and readers from the 18th through the 21st centuries. The Hay holds preeminent research collections in weird fiction, science fiction, and fantasy.
  • The University & Beyond augments the robust and growing collections of Brown’s institutional records and student life by tracing the unique and enduring global imprint of the University’s programs, faculty, and alumni.

Overlapping with these six areas of collecting focus are three prioritized research themes in the sciences: Climate Change, Collections as Data, and Health and History. The new policy recognizes the importance of using primary sources in scientific research and has already been strengthening its collections in STEM-related areas. According to Dr. Megan Ranney, who interpreted an item related to gun violence for the Hay’s exhibition Collecting with Distinction: Faculty Insights into Recent Acquisitions, “As both a scientist and scholar, I know how important it is to capture memorabilia of public health and medical debates in real time. I’m thankful for the foresight of Ms. Strauss and the John Hay Library in capturing so many documents, images, and other original materials. Future generations of students and researchers will be able to use our collections to understand our mindset behind many of our biggest societal struggles, such as gun violence. We are lucky to have this vision.” 

The Hay is already well known for supporting both humanistic and scientific inquiry through its renowned collections in the history of medicine and alcoholism and addiction, and in the history of mathematics and the “exact sciences” starting in 1180 B.C. Climate change is a theme that is present across a range of Hay materials that will be given new visibility and intentional development going forward. 

“A Representation of the Great Storm at Providence, Sept. 23rd 1815,” 1816.

Ms. Strauss emphasizes the importance of including special collections in teaching and research at Brown: “The Hay is a vital resource for the transformative, creative, intellectually independent work that is a hallmark of Brown. Our collections, though rare and unique, are meant to be actively used, and their use has never been more important than in this critical point in our nation’s history. The resources we steward are essential for scholarship that builds new knowledge in service of a more just and equitable society.”

The collection policy also provides a geographic framework for present and future collecting. Currently, Western Europe, North America, and Latin America are robustly represented. The collections also contain important material from East Asia, South and Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Postcolonial Anglophone and Lusophone Africa. Going forward, collecting will focus on transnational movements and material created within the Global South or its diaspora. Growth of collections in these areas will occur in close partnership with the Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice, the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America, the Department of Africana Studies, and the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies. 

Professor Tony Bogues, Asa Messer Professor of Humanities and Critical Theory and Professor of Africana Studies, has been collaborating with the Hay in support of his work as the Director of the Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice. He explains the critical role the Hay has been playing in the CSSJ’s The Global Curatorial Project to collect oral histories and memories of formerly enslaved peoples: “We are at a critical juncture in the archival and collections world as the issue of repair — and therefore restitution of objects — spark debate about how to collect with equity and respect for the histories and voices of populations who were, and in some instances remain, dominated by forms of historical injustice. The Hay is a remarkable partner in this work. Its expert staff has been partnering with us and our colleagues in places like Senegal in debates and discussions about collections and how to think anew about stewardship as a plural effort in archives.”

Through its renewed focus on the Global South, the Hay could unintentionally replicate structures of colonialism and racism. To ensure ethical, intentional, and equitable collecting, five guiding principles for collecting were defined within the policy. These principles emphasize community engagement and shared authority and stewardship of material; as such, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is articulated first among the guiding principles. Recognizing systemic, structural, and institutional racism, the Hay is applying an anti-racist framework to its collecting, and building a system of continual evaluation of new and existing collections, modes of collecting, and the impact of collections on our community. This framework is consistent with the Library’s commitment to becoming actively anti-racist.

The Hay endeavors, through its collections and services, to ensure that the diverse array of students, scholars, and visitors who visit its physical and virtual spaces feel welcome. This importance is underscored by the fact that the Hay is open to the public (under normal operating conditions) and is situated amidst the vibrant and diverse Providence community.

In conjunction with Brown’s Sustainability Initiative, the Hay is committed to Sustainable Collecting and Stewardship. The Hay will assess the current and future environmental and fiscal impacts of acquiring, preserving, and providing research access to rare, unique, and fragile material in all physical formats. 

Through Community-Engaged Collecting, the Hay will build and sustain mutually beneficial relationships with diverse communities locally at Brown, within Rhode Island and New England, and nationally and globally. As part of the relationship, community members may advise and guide collecting policies, practices, and access principles to determine whether their historical material remains within their community or under what terms collaborative stewardship of donated materials would operate. 

The Hay is attuned to and respectful of its Local Contexts, seeking to be an active member of the Rhode Island research community and to build collections, especially those related to Rhode Island and regional history, that complement — but do not compete — with peer repositories. 

The Hay recognizes the value of Institutional Collaboration with academic centers and departments within the University and strategic partnerships with external repositories and organizations. These partnerships provide intellectual guidance for collection development as well as theoretical, cultural, and other valuable insights that will improve the reputation and relevance of the Library and its collections.

Barazoku, Japan’s first commercially circulated gay magazine.

Following a collecting pause during the development of the policy, the Hay is now actively, strategically collecting. The recent acquisition of José Rivera’s papers extends its holdings of contemporary, major LatinX playwrights. The collection of Japanese LGBTQIA+ magazines, such as Barazoku (薔薇族) and Fūzoku kitan (風俗奇譚), is one of the largest of its kind in the US, including many rare issues not found in other stateside repositories. The Jewelnel Davis Collection of mystery novels by Black women writers strengthens and enriches the popular literature at the Hay. 

Weird Tales magazine cover. Jan. 1942.

The scholarly work being done at the Hay broadens understanding of the materials we hold in critical ways. For example, The Racial Imaginaries of H. P. Lovecraft, an online exhibit created by the 2020 Brown University Library Exhibitions Proctor, Alberto Alcaraz Escarcega, Political Science Ph.D., examines the interconnectedness of Lovecraft’s work and his problematic beliefs about race. Lovecraft, whose papers are held by the Hay and fully digitized, is considered to be the founder of weird fiction. He remains an influential literary figure whose body of work continues to be revisited, referenced, and revered; understanding the full context of his writing is necessary in a contemporary landscape.

The Hay’s new collection policy provides the underpinning that will elevate the Hay as a destination research library whose collections, fellowships, exhibitions, and programming will attract a global cohort of researchers, and ensure that the Hay realizes its full potential as a vital campus resource for active, interdisciplinary research and exploration. This framework does not set limits on collecting so much as it empowers the Hay to maximize the scholarly and reputational value of its acquisitions and to fulfill its mission to support free and open inquiry, experimentation, and creativity in a welcoming environment with equitable access to collections, exhibitions, and programming to a global community of students, scholars, and the public.

Media and other inquiries, please contact Jennifer_Braga@brown.edu.

Announcement | Frank Donnelly, GIS and Data Librarian

The Library welcomes Frank Donnelly as the new GIS (Geographic Information System) and Data Librarian. Frank joins us from Baruch College CUNY where he served for thirteen years as the Geospatial Data Librarian at the William and Anita Newman Library. His work at Baruch included providing research support for courses and faculty projects along with managing a GIS lab that incorporates data creation and processing, workshops, and free and open web resources using analytical tools like Python, SQL, and GIS. While at Baruch, Frank was an affiliate of the CUNY Institute for Demographic Research.

He is the author of Exploring the U.S. Census: Your Guide to America’s Data (SAGE Publications, 2020), which serves as a researcher’s guide to understanding and accessing this vast array of demographic and socio-economic data. You can read more about Frank’s professional work on his blog, At These Coordinates.

At Brown, Frank will support growing campus needs to support data tools and methods, and will work with Library staff, campus stakeholders, faculty, and students to develop a geospatial information and data service program and infrastructure for use of data and GIS in research and teaching. 

Learn more about Frank, including how to get in touch.

Announcement | Chelsea Misquith, Public Health and Research Support Librarian

The Library is pleased to announce Chelsea Misquith as the new Public Health and Research Support Librarian. Chelsea (pronounced Chel-SEE-uh) comes to us from the Ruth Lilly Medical Library at Indiana University School of Medicine, where she worked as the Emerging Technologies Librarian. At IU, she served on Indiana’s COVID-19 Evidence-Based Rapid Response Team (a collaboration between the medical library and the state and local Departments of Health). She was a member of IU’s team-based systematic review service, which consults on search methodology and guidelines and standards, as well as providing library- and course-based instruction. She also brings experience with virtual reality and 3D printing services in the health sciences. 

At Brown, Chelsea will provide research support and develop undergraduate and graduate education/instruction for the School of Public Health community. In addition, she will collaborate with the other health sciences librarians to develop and manage the Library’s literature review service and to support clinical faculty and residents at the affiliated hospitals of Alpert Medical School.

Learn more about Chelsea, including how to get in touch.

Announcement | Free Web Hosting Service for Digital Scholarship

Digital Scholarship at Brown

The Library is offering a new web hosting service to support digital scholarship: Digital Scholarship at Brown. This service is available to Brown students, faculty, and staff who want to experiment with digital scholarly platforms, develop a research project, and/or share your work. Digital Scholarship at Brown complements Brown’s existing web offerings such as Brown Blogs, Canvas, and Google Sites.

How to Use Digital Scholarship at Brown

This service allows you to manage your digital research and digital presence — including digital projects for theses and dissertations, storytelling, group collaboration, and public scholarship. Through Digital Scholarship at Brown, you can manage a Brown subdomain of your own onto which you can easily install applications like WordPress, Omeka, or mySQL along with specialized plugins, as well as access the command line directly (with some restrictions) so you can run software and develop stand-alone web sites. 

When you leave Brown, you may continue to own and manage your site by transferring your Digital Scholarship at Brown domain to a personal Reclaim Hosting domain, or to another hosting service. 

How to Apply

If you are interested in the Digital Scholarship at Brown service, please look over the guidelines for use. Does your project that fits the guidelines? Fill out the application and click Create to get started!

Questions? Email cds_info@brown.edu.

This is your domain. This is your Library.