Digitization and Special Collections: Access, Equity, and Preservation

Virtual reality view of the Garibaldi Panorama

Providing digital access to distinctive scholarly materials in our collections continues to grow in importance as part of the Library’s mission. For example, as reported previously, recent grants are enabling us to digitize a significant portion of the vast Hall-Hoag Collection of Extremist and Dissenting Propaganda, which provides critical insights for understanding our times. Indeed, this may be the largest digitization project of contemporary Archival materials; when it is finished, we will have scanned around 900,000 pages of materials from 1950 to 1999.

Digitization allows students and scholars working in any location to view rare materials without incurring the financial and other burdens of traveling to consult them on-site. Moreover, where digital access to materials is available, it also helps reduce handling of the original objects and contributes to their preservation. In the last three years, scanning activity at the Hay has generated around a terabyte of data.

Patrons who need scans of particular collection items that are not already digitized may submit requests through the Hay’s Aeon system. (Any researcher can do this — as a Carnegie Library, the Hay is open to the public.) Generally, we try to limit scan requests to a maximum of five folders or 300 to 400 pages so that we can be equitable among patrons. Depending on the material, a consultation with the Library’s Collections Care staff may take place to determine if there are preservation or handling concerns that may limit what is possible. 

The staff members who complete the image capture of the physical object in order to create the digital files possess a wide range of specialized skills including building custom supports for fragile materials and three dimensional objects as well as operating complex software and equipment in the Library’s camera room and on location. Lindsay Elgin, Senior Library Technologist, wrote “A more typical look at the camera room” about photographing an album of watercolor prints from the Anne S. K. Brown Military Gallery. Lindsay also photographed the narwhal tusk from the 2015 The Unicorn Found: Science, Literature, and the Arts exhibit at the John Hay Library (photo above). You can read more about that shoot in Lindsay’s blog post, “The Unicorn of the Sea Comes to Brown.”

To facilitate greater access to our materials, we have removed any fees associated with digitization or scanning.

We ask patrons to allow four to six weeks for scanning requests to be completed, but we often turn them around quicker than that. Material requested by Brown instructors for their courses are given priority. To facilitate greater access to our materials, we have removed any fees associated with digitization or scanning. This allows researchers of all backgrounds to begin their research without having to incur costs and also allows researchers to start doing preliminary research without needing to travel to Providence. Over the past 12 months, the Hay has scanned over 50,000 pages for patrons. The Martha Dickinson Bianchi papers (Ms. 2010.046) collection and the Hortense J. Spillers papers, 1966-1995 are examples of collections from which numerous researchers have requested a significant amount of scanned material over the past couple of years.  

The Hay also digitizes material at high resolution to meet preservation needs or in response to requests for exhibitions. Such requests have generated about 3.5 terabytes of digital files. In both cases, high-quality scans provide substitutes for original materials that are too fragile to be handled directly or displayed. 

High resolution scans also serve the needs of scholars creating digital projects requiring the display and study of collection items. For example, Hay staff are currently assisting with the “Sounding Spirit” project being developed at Emory University. Approximately 200 items from the Hay’s collection are being digitized, and the scans will ultimately be hosted on the project’s website and will also be available through Brown’s own digital repository. Scanning is not simply a mechanical process. The Library’s staff experts process and review all of the digital files for quality and edit them to create master files of all of the images. 

Indeed, staff members at the John Hay Library are involved at every step of the digitization process, lending their expertise to researchers in need of consultation about the materials to transporting material to be digitized from the Library Annex to photographing fragile materials and non-print objects and scanning print materials to reviewing and delivering digital files to our patrons. We are dedicated to supporting scholarship at Brown and beyond and recognize the importance of extending the reach of Brown’s incredible special collections materials and look forward to continuing our work to make these items digitally available to researchers around the world.

Active Community of Learners Engage with the Library’s Center for Digital Scholarship

The Library’s Center for Digital Scholarship (CDS) is a busy hub of collaboration, learning, and knowledge generation, attracting students and researchers from all parts of the University who seek partnership and guidance on digital projects and the field of digital scholarship. The staff in CDS know well that digital scholarship work is best done in collaboration with researchers, regardless of their field of study. While researchers possess a high level of expertise in their specific disciplines, they may not know how to create and maintain a field-pushing database project or how to analyze a large dataset necessary to their research. The knowledgeable and experienced staff in CDS will partner with faculty and other researchers to think through their project ideas from a variety of angles, such as how to visualize data, what digital platforms and methodologies could be used, whether there are ethical concerns related to data acquisition and presentation to consider, and more. The staff also works with anyone interested in learning more about digital scholarship — including absolute beginners — through workshops, courses, and other training and learning opportunities, like the regular DH Salon event series and the new Digital Humanities doctoral certification.

people stand at tables in the digital studio
Collaborations in action in the Sidney E. Frank Digital Studio

The learning opportunities provided by CDS are directly informed by feedback from workshop, training, and event attendees. The doctoral advanced specialization certificate in Digital Humanities that CDS and the Cogut Institute for the Humanities began offering this fall is a result of calls for such a certificate heard through feedback. The certificate provides a formal framework for students to explore digital humanities and build knowledge and skills in the field. The requirements include taking electives that provide foundational skills useful in digital humanities, such as a programming course in Computer Science or a course on Geographic Information Systems in Anthropology. Another requirement can be fulfilled through CDS’s intensive summer digital humanities workshops. By incorporating both University courses and learning within CDS, the certificate program demonstrates how integral these skills are for work in any discipline studied at Brown. Students interested in the certificate can take Ashley Champagne and Steve Lubar’s Introduction to Digital Humanities course this spring 2023.

presentation to attendees in digital studio
DH Salon

The DH Salon series is another way that CDS is building closer linkages with campus teaching and research programs while activating the Sidney E. Frank Digital Studio at the Rockefeller Library. The salons bring together students, faculty, and researchers from all parts of Brown on select Tuesday afternoons to informally discuss their research in digital humanities. The events draw a large audience of highly engaged, enthusiastic attendees and conversation participants eager to discuss the presenter’s and each other’s work. CDS events are well attended in general. One Introduction to Text Analysis workshop taught this semester by Ashley Champagne, Director of CDS, attracted over 50 attendees composed of graduate students and faculty members.

list of names from slave log, landing page of Stolen Relations

There is much interest in digital humanities work that explores questions of social justice and power and work that includes foundational partnerships with communities and affinity groups. Projects like this excite the CDS staff, which has demonstrated strength in this area. For the past five years, CDS has worked with Associate Professor of History Linford Fisher on Stolen Relations: Recovering Stories of Indigenous Enslavement in the Americas, a community-based database project created and maintained in close partnership with Tribal community members. Including Stolen Relations, CDS is currently actively supporting nine projects this fall, plus the publication projects within Brown University Digital Publications, housed within CDS, which is supporting 13 born-digital scholarly publications with faculty authors.

data map from Islamic Pasts and Futures
Data map from Brown University Digital Publications work, A New Vision for Islamic Pasts and Futures by Shahzad Bashir, published through MIT Press

There is no shortage of interest in digital humanities and digital scholarship at Brown and within academia. Through CDS and Brown University Digital Publications, Brown is at the vanguard in this field, a fact not lost on the many eager participants who are part of our vibrant community of learners and practitioners. You can learn more about CDS through its recently launched newsletter or by attending a DH Salon, offered both in-person and via Zoom.

DH Salons in the Center for Digital Scholarship

two presenters, seated attendees

The Center for Digital Scholarship at the Brown University Library is pleased to host the DH Salons, a regular, informational presentation series that brings together digital humanities work across the Brown University campus on select Tuesdays at 2 p.m.

Offered In-person in the Digital Scholarship Lab (room 137) at the Rockefeller Library or
via Zoom at https://brown.zoom.us/j/98267444083

Fall 2022 Schedule

September 27

“Critical Questions and Imperfect Solutions in the Stolen Relations: Recovering Stories of Indigenous Enslavement in the Americas Project”

  • Lydia Curliss, PhD student at the iSchool at UMD and member of the Nipmuc Nation (Massachusetts) – Community Outreach Coordinator
  • Ashley Champagne, Director of the Center for Digital Scholarship – Project Lead
  • Patrick Rashleigh, Head of Digital Scholarship Technology Services – Technical Lead

October 11

“The JCB Library’s New Digital Platform: Welcoming New Voices in Digital Curatorship”

  • Pedro Germano Leal, Research Associate in Latin American and Caribbean Studies

 October 25

“Memoryscapes of Slavery”

  • Renée Ater, Visiting Associate Professor of Africana Studies

 November 15

“Introducing In the Wake of George Floyd: Responses to Anti-Black Racism in Rhode Island”

  • Patsy Lewis, Director of the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies; Senior Fellow in International and Public Affairs at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

December 6

“Gaming with History: A Dissertation as Video Game”
Registration appreciated

  • Amanda Arceneaux, Graduate Student, History

The talk will focus on the central aspects of developing a video game for Amanda’s history dissertation and will look at why the research lends itself well to an interactive digital format. Amanda will cover the process of integrating and presenting the argument within the design of the video game.

Brown Library Hosts NEH Institute on Digital Publishing, Shares Full Curriculum on Website

First-of-its-kind national training program expands the voices, perspectives, and visions represented in the practice and production of digital scholarship

Brown University Library, with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities, has developed a training institute for scholars who wish to pursue interpretive projects that require digital expression and digital publication but may lack resources and capacity at their home institutions. Centered on inclusion and accessibility, Born-Digital Scholarly Publishing: Resources and Roadmaps – an NEH Institute on Advanced Topics in the Digital Humanities provides multi-pronged, far-reaching support via an intensive summer program for scholars from less well-resourced institutions, and a digital hub that makes all course materials publicly available.    

“I’m excited to see our program to advance born-digital scholarly publication expand beyond its initial focus on Brown faculty authors,” says University Librarian Joseph Meisel. “There are amazing scholars with outstanding ideas across the breadth of higher education, and the institute is showing how support of this kind can make a real difference in helping them realize these terrific projects for the benefit of students, scholarship, and the wider public.”

A highlight of the hybrid summer program, which took place July 11-29, was the arrival on Brown’s campus of the 2022 cohort, which consists of 15 outstanding scholars representing a wide range of humanities disciplines, geographic areas, and career stages. Nine of the participants currently teach at Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Their rigorous and compelling born-digital publication projects bring to the fore the history and future of Black philanthropy in the U.S.; forgotten radio recordings of African writers in exile in London in the 1960s; and the diary of Lillian Jones Horace, the first published African American novelist in Texas and one of the first Black publishers in American history. Foundational research examines the relationship between the life insurance industry and the transatlantic slave trade; the use of emerging media technologies by multiethnic American poets to create new forms of racial representation and political critique; and Indigenous community activism in relation to Pacific Island climate justice, to name just a few. The full list of cohort projects is available here.

2022 cohort and support staff on the front steps of the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Library

“The institute served as the catalyst I needed to kickstart my research agenda,” says La Tanya L. Rogers, Associate Professor of Literature & Drama and Director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Honors Program at Fisk University. “The institute’s cohort model was instantly disarming and supportive. Alongside new friends and colleagues from across the country, I shaped my digital manuscript, chapter by chapter!” Dr. Rogers adds, “As a direct result of the encouragement that I received during the institute, I have an invitation to submit my manuscript proposal and sample chapters to one of the publishers who served on the institute faculty!”

The institute curriculum consolidates the successful path to university press publication formulated by Brown University Digital Publications. Taught by internationally recognized digital humanities scholars, librarians, and technologists, authors of born-digital publications, and leading university press directors, acquisitions editors, and production managers—all selected for their expertise and demonstrated commitment to diversity and inclusion—participants gained an expanded skill set and rare networking opportunities. Cohort communication continues well beyond the three-week summer program; virtual check-ins planned for late fall and early winter extend individualized problem-solving and project management support.

The on-site component took place in the Patrick Ma Digital Scholarship Lab.

According to Ashley Robertson Preston, Assistant Professor of History at Howard University, “the NEH institute at Brown University was transformative! I learned so many great concepts that I am now introducing to my students at Howard University and implementing within my work as a public historian.” Dr. Preston adds, “the program’s dedication to diversity and inclusion was very apparent, and it was refreshing to meet scholars from the various universities and from different backgrounds.”

In a further effort to help bridge a digital divide that, without intervention, puts digital publishing—as a future of scholarship—at risk of becoming the preserve of elite institutions, Brown has made publicly available the full curriculum. Anyone can access the course outline, recommended readings, and captioned recordings of all faculty presentations—over 18 hours of foundational knowledge informed by the most current thinking on critical issues—via the institute website. This dynamic hub for digital scholarly publishing provides a continuous and active web presence for Born-Digital Scholarly Publishing: Resources and Roadmaps.

“By demystifying and streamlining the digital publication endeavor,” explains Allison Levy, Director of Brown University Digital Publications and the institute’s Project Director, “Born-Digital Scholarly Publishing aims to expedite and broaden the dissemination of knowledge on both the local and global levels. First, the hope is that participants will impact change at their own institutions by sharing the institute curriculum with colleagues and inspiring others to pursue digital publication. Second, by facilitating the issuing of contracts and the road to publication, the hope is that new ideas and perspectives will reach readers in a timely manner, in turn, inspiring readers to impact change in their own communities.”

Cohort in the Digital Scholarship Lab

“The institute was an amazing experience and exactly what I needed to further my interest in digital humanities,” says TaKeia N. Anthony, Interim Dean of the Whitney Young Honors Collegium and Graduate Studies and the Academic Support Liaison for the Center of Excellence for the Study of Kentucky African-Americans (CESKAA) at Kentucky State University. “The warm welcome, enthusiasm, and assistance from the Brown University team has encouraged me to pursue digital publishing and introduce the option to my graduate students who seek to enter the academy.” Dr. Anthony, who is also Associate Professor of History, adds, “I am grateful for the summer institute for bringing such dynamic scholars together. I have met and stayed connected with scholars whom I may not have met had it not been for this experience. We are a digital publishing family!”

Members of the 2022 cohort enjoying Providence

Questions about the institute can be addressed to Allison Levy, Director of Brown University Digital Publications ([email protected]).

About the National Endowment for the Humanities

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at neh.gov.

About Brown University Digital Publications

A collaboration between the University Library and the Dean of the Faculty, generously launched with support from the Mellon Foundation with additional support from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Brown University Digital Publications creates exciting new conditions for the production and sharing of knowledge. Widely recognized as accessible, intentional, and inclusive, Brown’s novel, university-based approach to digital content development is helping to set the standards for the future of scholarship in the digital age.

The National Endowment for the Humanities and Brown University together: Democracy demands wisdom. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this press release and in the Born-Digital Scholarly Publishing: Resources and Roadmaps Institute do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

NEH logo
Brown University Digital Publications logo

Brown Library’s First Born-Digital Publication Awarded Prize by the American Historical Association

Prize will support a companion website to amplify the pedagogical and public engagement possibilities of Furnace and Fugue.

The American Historical Association has awarded the Roy Rosenzweig Prize for Creativity in Digital History to Furnace and Fugue: A Digital Edition of Michael Maier’s Atalanta fugiens (1618) with Scholarly Commentary, the first born-digital monograph developed by Brown University Digital Publications. Edited by Tara Nummedal, John Nickoll Provost’s Professor of History at Brown, and Independent Scholar Donna Bilak, the open access book was published by the University of Virginia Press in 2020. Furnace and Fugue brings to life in digital form an enigmatic seventeenth-century text, Michael Maier’s musical alchemical emblem book Atalanta fugiens. This intriguing and complex text from 1618 reinterprets Ovid’s legend of Atalanta as an alchemical allegory in a series of fifty emblems, each of which contains text, image, and a musical score for three voices. Re-rendering Maier’s multimedia masterpiece as an enhanced born-digital publication, Furnace and Fugue allows contemporary readers to hear, see, manipulate, and investigate Atalanta fugiens in ways that were perhaps imagined when it was composed but were simply impossible to realize before now.

Screen captures of interactive features from Furnace and Fugue

According to Professor Nummedal, “Furnace and Fugue makes possible the playful capabilities implied by Atalanta fugiens while also enabling and encouraging new interpretations of this early modern emblem book. The prize funds,” she explains, “will be used to build a companion website to amplify the pedagogical and public engagement possibilities of Furnace and Fugue.”

The interactive publication has attracted more than 16,000 unique visitors from across 167 countries since its launch just over two years ago, reaching specialist and non-specialist audiences alike. By contrast, the print run would have been 500 copies. “Born-digital publication is not only allowing scholars to realize their most innovative ideas in ways not previously possible,” says University Librarian Joseph Meisel, “it is also radically expanding the reach and impact of their work.” 

The Rosenzweig Prize, sponsored jointly by the AHA and the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media (RRCHNM) at George Mason University, is awarded annually to honor and support innovative, freely available work that reflects thoughtful, critical, and rigorous engagement with technology and the practice of history.

Furnace and Fugue was developed by Brown University Digital Publications, generously launched with support from the Mellon Foundation. Additional support was provided by the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, and, at Brown, the Office of the Vice President for Research and the Social Science Research Institute.

Screen captures from Furnace and Fugue

Questions about Furnace and Fugue can be addressed to Allison Levy, Director of Brown University Digital Publications ([email protected]). 

About Brown University Digital Publications

A collaboration between the University Library and the Dean of the Faculty, generously launched with support from the Mellon Foundation with additional support from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Brown University Digital Publications creates exciting new conditions for the production and sharing of knowledge. Widely recognized as accessible, intentional, and inclusive, Brown’s novel, university-based approach to digital content development is helping to set the standards for the future of scholarship in the digital age.

Library Data Management and Publishing Support Services

The University Library’s research data management and publishing support services are available to all Brown-affiliated faculty, staff, and students, including clinical faculty with Brown credentials. Learn about our full array of research support services at https://library.brown.edu/info/research-support-services/.

Electronic Laboratory Notebooks (ELNs)

In 2022 the University renewed its license for LabArchives electronic lab notebooks. LabArchives has no limit on file storage and is 21 CFR part 11 compliant. Principal investigators can create project notebooks for themselves and each lab member, and share them with external collaborators. In compliance with Brown’s Research Data and Research Materials Management, Sharing, and Retention Policy, the PI will retain ownership and access to all members’ notebooks and may retain and share a copy with any departing team member. 

LabArchives Education

Brown’s license also includes LabArchives Education, for use in lab courses. LabArchives Education allows instructors to create a course lab notebook containing protocols and assignments; students and TAs may be given different levels of access, and both individual and group work are supported. Contact the Library for support at [email protected] or sign up for training on research or educational ELN use.

Preparing for NIH’s new Data Management and Sharing Policy (DMSP)

The National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) new Data Management and Sharing Policy goes into effect on January 25, 2023, and the Library is ready to support its new requirements. Our Data Management and Sharing Plan (DMP) consulting service can connect researchers with funder templates and Brown resources for managing and sharing data. Contact the Library for support at [email protected] or access Brown’s guidance and submit a draft DMP for library review by logging into and using the DMPTool and following the prompts.

Support for Brown’s Faculty Open Access Policy

In 2021, the Brown faculty adopted a Faculty Open Access Policy, which calls upon faculty to deposit either a copy of a working paper (pre-print), a final peer-reviewed manuscript, or an open-access publication in a not-for-profit repository such as Brown’s branded-space within BioRxiv or MedRxiv; a funder’s publication repository such as PubMed Central (PMC) or NSF-PAR; or the Brown Digital Repository (BDR). Contact us for support at [email protected].

Support for Public Access Compliance

On August 25, 2022, the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy (OSTP) released a memo requiring federal funding agencies to develop plans to make publicly-funded publications and data available to the public without an embargo period. Agencies will be developing these updated public access policies over the coming years. As always, if researchers need help complying with current National Institutes of Health (NIH) or National Science Foundation (NSF) public access mandates, like depositing a non-compliant paper in PubMed Central, contact the Library for support at [email protected].

Brown Library publishes five new volumes in the “Race & … in America” digital book series

Open access publication expands series delving into comparative perspectives on the roots and effects of racism in the U.S.

For the second year running, the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America at Brown partnered with the Office of the Provost on the pioneering Race & … in America webinar series, a systematic investigation of the foundational and enduring effects of anti-Black racism in America. Over the course of the 2021-22 academic year, the series again served as a virtual platform for the Brown community to think through the myriad, complex ways that race defines American society and to share these insights with each other and the public at large. Exploring the arts more fully, five new panels featuring Brown faculty continued to generate critical engagements with society’s most fundamental and urgent questions. The informed and illuminating discussions deepened knowledge and awareness in the service of promoting a more just and inclusive community and world. The Race & … in America digital publication series, now complete with 13 volumes, amplifies the impact and extends the reach of this important and timely panel series.

Developed by Brown University Digital Publications in close coordination with Tricia Rose, Chancellor’s Professor of Africana Studies, Associate Dean of the Faculty for Special Initiatives, and Director of the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America, the Race & … in America digital publication series re-presents the compelling original panel discussions with expanded content and resources in an innovative, interactive format, designed to heighten understanding and broaden critical conversations.

“As the Brown community continues to tackle the contentious and important subject of anti-Black racism, the Race & in America series allows us to increase awareness of the factors fueling racial injustice through the expertise of Brown’s faculty,” said Provost Richard M. Locke. “We recognize that all members of our community need the courage, dedication and willingness to work on transformational change. We fully support the digital delivery of this critical content for greater access and broader community reach.”

As an open access publication, the digital series provides enduring, barrier-free access to knowledge, and has been developed with universal design principles for equitable use by all persons, including those with disabilities. In addition, the series features responsive design — readable on all digital devices, from smartphones to desktops — and robust highlighting, annotation, and sharing tools that encourage deep reader engagement and allow users to interact with one another.

“Brown’s long-standing leadership in the study of race in American society is matched by its pathbreaking history in the use of technology to convey innovative scholarship in new and newly powerful ways,” said University Librarian Joseph Meisel. “Like the initial volumes in the digital series, this new set of topics adds more penetrating insights by leading scholars that can continue to be studied and discussed, shaping how we think about some of the most challenging questions in our society and culture.”

The digital series consists of 13 volumes:

Each of the thirteen volumes in the series includes:

  • A recording of one of the 90-minute panel discussions that took place throughout the 2021-2022 academic year
  • Student Voices podcast episodes in which Brown University students engage the panelists in follow-up discussion 
  • Recommendations for entry-point materials on the subject
  • Multimedia resource collections of readings, online exhibitions, podcasts, and other materials referenced during the panel discussions
  • Suggestions for further exploration

Brown University Digital Publications — a collaboration between the University Library and the Dean of the Faculty, generously launched with support from the Mellon Foundation with additional support from the National Endowment for the Humanities — creates exciting new conditions for the production and sharing of knowledge. Widely recognized as accessible, intentional, and inclusive, Brown’s novel, university-based approach to digital content development is helping to set the standards for the future of scholarship in the digital age. 

Questions about the Race & … in America digital publication series can be addressed to Allison Levy, Director of Brown University Digital Publications ([email protected]). 

Depicting Glory 展現輝煌: Rare Objects from the Late Qing to the Republic of China Symposium

“大清萬年一統天下全圖” (1814). Historical Maps and Coins of China. Brown Digital Repository. Brown University Library.  https://repository.library.brown.edu/studio/item/bdr:1103352/

On Saturday, October 15, 2022 in the Patrick Ma Digital Scholarship Lab at the Rockefeller Library, the Depicting Glory Symposium will bring together the contributors to the digital project Depicting Glory: Rare Objects from the Late Qing to the Republic of China to present and discuss topics related to modern China. Led by Zhuqing Li, Visiting Associate Professor of East Asian Studies and Faculty Curator of East Asian Collections, and incorporating the work of a team of students and scholars at Brown and beyond, Depicting Glory showcases some of the Library’s outstanding collection of rare and historically significant materials from China. Individually and collectively, these materials, created in different times and places, tell an important story about the intersections of power, status, and collective identity — issues central to China’s modernization. The project’s digital structure was mainly designed and built by Brown students, and it incorporates a set of contextual essays inspired by these objects from expert scholars at a number of institutions as well as a Brown student.

The symposium is free and open to the public. Attendance is in-person or on Zoom.

Symposium Program (October 15, 2022)

OPENING PLENARY SESSION

  • 9:15 – 9:30 a.m. – Viewing articles in Hecker Center (room next to the Digital Scholarship Lab)
  • 9:30 – 9:45 a.m. – Introduction by Joukowsky Family University Librarian Joseph S. Meisel and Zhuqing Li, Visiting Associate Professor of East Asian Studies and Faculty Curator of East Asian Collections
  • 9:45 – 10:15 a.m. – “Manufacturing Knowledge in Qing China” – KEYNOTE by Peter Perdue, Professor of History, Yale University

10:15 – 10:30 – Break

PANEL ONE: Historical Maps 大清萬年一統天下全圖/台灣歷史地圖
10:30 a.m. – 12 noon

“Complete Map of All Under Heaven Unified by the Great Qing” and “Wall Maps of Chinese History”

  • Laura Hostetler – Professor, Departments of History & Global Asian Studies, University of Illinois, Chicago 

“Introduction to Daqing Wannian Yitong Tianxia Quantu”

  • Matthew Mosca – Associate Professor, History Department, University of Washington

“China’s World Map Transformed: The Complete Map of All under Heaven as Unified by the Qing Great State for Ten Thousand Years”

  • Timothy Brook – Professor of Chinese History, Department of History, University of British Columbia
  • Discussant: Cynthia Brokaw – Chen Family Professor of China Studies, Professor of History and East Asian Studies, Brown University

12 – 1 p.m. – Break

PANEL TWO 欽定平定七省方略圖說
1 – 2 p.m.

“The Early Photographic Reproduction of the Battle Paintings by Qingkuan et al.: the Question of Its Date, Photographer, and Uses”

  • Hongxing Zhang – Senior Curator at Victoria and Albert Museum

“Battle Prints: Photography as Translation in the Nineteenth-century Qing Court”

  • Daniel Greenberg – Assistant Professor, Art History Department, University of Minnesota
  • Discussant: Rebecca Nedostup – Associate Professor of History, Departments of History and East Asian Studies, Brown University

PANEL THREE 欽定平定七省方略圖說
2 – 3 p.m.

“Commemorating Qing Victory: Three Eras”

  • Matthew Mosca – Associate Professor, History Department, University of Washington

“Bureaucracy for Commemorating Wars: Who Illustrated Military Campaign History in the Late Qing – or did they?”

  • Kaijun Chen – Assistant Professor, Department of East Asian Studies, Brown University              

Discussant: Jeffrey Moser – Assistant Professor of Art and Architecture, Department of the History of Art and Architecture, Brown University

3:00 — 3:15 p.m. – Break

PANEL FOUR: Other Items in the Project (Music and Coin)
3:15 – 3:45 p.m.

“Teaching Imperialism through Music: The Emperor of China’s Band March

  • Laura Stokes – Performing Arts Librarian, Brown University
  • Ding Zhiping – Research Intern, Massachusetts Joint Committee on Export Development
  • Discussant: Zhuqing Li – Visiting Associate Professor, Department of East Asian Studies; Faculty Curator, Rockefeller Library, Brown University

PANEL FIVE: Digital Technology in Creating the Site
3:45 – 4:15 p.m.

  • Ashley Champagne – Director, Center for Digital Scholarship, Rockefeller Library, Brown University
  • Jacob Yu – Research Assistant, Brown University Computer Science Department              
  • Discussant: Joseph S. Meisel – Joukowsky Family University Librarian, Brown University

John Hay Library Receives Grants to Digitize Materials of Dissenting U.S. Politics

Two grants totaling $1.75M will facilitate access to astonishing materials in the Hall-Hoag Collection of Dissenting and Extremist Printed Propaganda

Through its Divided America project, the John Hay Library will digitize and make available material representing extremes of political thought from 1946 through the 1990s in the United States. With a $250,000 grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission’s Access to Historical Records: Major Initiatives program and a $1.5 million grant from the Arcadia Fund, the project will take on the digitization of about three-fourths of the holdings in the Hall-Hoag Collection of Dissenting and Extremist Printed Propaganda. Consisting of nearly 200,000 individual items from over 5,000 organizations, the Hall-Hoag Collection is the country’s largest research collection documenting the ideas and activities of dissenting right- and left-wing U.S. groups, offering a trove of material that will help scholars and journalists further understand our current political moment. 

National Archives logo

The grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) will support the digitization efforts of material in Hall-Hoag that focuses on conservative groups based in rural, urban, and suburban areas, with an emphasis on highly localized ephemeral material. As part of the grant, the Library will fund personnel, outreach, and dissemination activities associated with scholarly study of the materials, which will be fully accessible by historians, researchers, and the general public. The Library will also partner with an interdisciplinary group of faculty to host a publicly-accessible virtual symposium that will draw connections between the newly digitized content and the divisive political landscape in the United States. This rich set of documents includes militant movements, anti-communism, Evangelical or other right-aligned religious bodies, and issue-focused mobilization around matters of public health, gun rights, immigration, and “right-to-work” claims. 

Archival material from the radical right is particularly rare and vulnerable owing in part to the fact that groups and individuals from these movements often distrust universities and are reluctant to donate material. Although the political right has had a transformative effect on American social and political life since World War II, only four other universities have prominent (albeit considerably smaller) holdings in this area. These materials capture a trajectory within American politics that has largely been ignored within academia even as it has risen to the fore within popular politics and American governance over the past several decades. This lapse has contributed to the current bifurcation within American politics, insofar as it has deprived scholars of a means for studying the roots of post-WWII Conservatism in all of its dimensions in the same way that scholars have long been able to study the political Left. 

With the monies provided through the Arcadia Fund grant, the Divided America project will digitize a further significant portion of the Hall-Hoag Collection. Measuring 1,655 linear feet, the Hall-Hoag collection is the one of the largest of Brown University’s manuscript collections. It was amassed by Gordon Hall, a young veteran of the World War II Pacific Theater, who first encountered the printed propaganda issued by domestic hate-your-neighbor organizations in the late 1940’s. Grace Hoag, an alumna of Smith College, began to collaborate with Hall in the 1960’s, and assisted with the research and expanding the collection beyond its initial emphasis. 

Naoko Shibusawa, Associate Professor of History, Associate Professor of American Studies, has worked extensively with the Hall-Hoag Collection and states:

I frequently refer both graduate and undergraduate students to the Hall-Hoag Collection. Students have been drawn to studying conservative and radical right sources as much as liberal and radical left sources. The materials in the Hall-Hoag Collection have allowed them to better understand the ideologies and worldviews that continue to animate political divisions today.

She goes on to say that “the full potential of this vast and compelling collection has barely been tapped. I think others interested in more contemporary U.S. history would be thrilled to have this collection easily accessible for their students, as well as for their own scholarship.” Currently, Professor Shibusawa is working with a student whose thesis draws largely from Hall-Hoag’s materials of incarcerated, radical left Indigenous women from the 1970s.

The collection provides a deep and nuanced look at American politics and political culture from the end of World War II to the eve of the September 11 attacks. Unparalleled in breadth and depth, Hall-Hoag is unique for aggregating material from organizations with faint, if any, traces in the archival record. According to Joseph S. Meisel, Joukowsky Family University Librarian, “Making Brown’s outstanding collection of these important documentary materials more widely available through digitization will be an incredible boon for researchers and students of American politics, and shed new light on the development of important trends that have shaped our national discourse and public life.”

The Divided America project represents one facet of the John Hay Library’s deep commitment to promoting socially engaged scholarship by documenting a wide array of political, social, and religious ideologies so as to shed light on the complex ways in which ideology influences social and political power structures. Amanda E. Strauss, Associate University Librarian for Special Collections and Director of the John Hay Library notes:

The Library is deeply grateful to NHPRC and the Arcadia Fund for this funding, which will allow us to provide free digital access to critically important historical materials for scholars, students, and the public who are interested in studying the evolution of of political ideologies in the United States. This material allows a rare glimpse into the transmission of ideas among issues-focused conservative and liberal groups and will contribute to a more nuanced understanding of these important histories.

As one of the Library’s premier collections, the Hall-Hoag Collection forms the anchor for the strategic collecting initiative Ideology & Power, which seeks to provide coherence and promote public access to more than 200 years of original material that documents the evolution of political, social, and religious ideologies in the United States. The Hall-Hoag Collection is the country’s largest research compilation of materials produced by both right- and left-wing American extremist groups. 

At the conclusion of the three and a half year Divided America project, nearly 240,000 pages of material will be digitized and made available through the Brown Digital Repository.

Elizabeth Yalkut New Digital Scholarship Front End Developer in the Center for Digital Scholarship

Elizabeth Yalkut
Elizabeth Yalkut

The Library is excited to welcome Elizabeth Yalkut as the new Digital Scholarship Front End Developer in the Center for Digital Scholarship. First day: August 15

Elizabeth has been a web developer at Columbia University, the socially progressive digital agency Threespot, and (most recently) Harvard Medical School. She brings a passion for accessibility and universal design, component-based design approaches, and collaborative coding to CDS.

And, like many of the staff in CDS, Elizabeth came to technology via the Humanities—she has a BA in History from Barnard College of Columbia University.