Announcement | Brown Library publishes “Race &” in America digital book series

Free and open publication documents and expands series exploring origins, history, and legacies of anti-Black racism in the U.S.

Providence, R.I. [Brown University] Over the course of the 2020-21 academic year, the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America at Brown, in partnership with the Office of the Provost, undertook a systematic investigation of the foundational and enduring contemporary effects of anti-Black racism in America. Drawing on the expertise of Brown scholars from a range of fields and scholarly perspectives as well as the University’s historic strength and leadership in scholarship on race, the pioneering “Race &” in America panel series generated critical engagements with society’s most fundamental and urgent questions. Investigating the role that racism plays in American public health, democracy, punishment, and more, 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 amplifies the impact and extends the reach of this important and timely panel series.

Developed by the Brown University Library’s Digital Publications Initiative and 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 these critical conversations. “The ‘Race &’ series and its creative digital presentation reflect two core elements of CSREA’s vision: to foster dynamic intellectual community on crucial issues and ensure long-lasting access to ideas,” said Rose. “By offering an array of Brown faculty reflecting on the importance and complexity of the way race defines American society from slavery to genetics to art, and making it available through this interactive, digital platform with enhanced content, we’re able to contribute to ongoing conversations on these critical issues.”

The “Race &” digital publication is a remarkable example of Brown’s dedication to its mission of creating and sharing knowledge in service of society. According to Richard M. Locke, Brown University provost: 

Brown is committed to conducting and disseminating widely consequential research designed to elevate awareness of pressing societal issues and contribute to meaningful change. The “Race &” in America series is emblematic of this commitment. Over the course of a year, we have shared Brown’s faculty expertise in the interwoven areas that define and perpetuate anti-Black racism in the U.S., and through this engaging digital delivery, we’re able to amplify and extend the impact of these important contributions.

As an open access publication, the digital series provides enduring, barrier-free access to information, 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.

Each of the eight volumes in the digital series includes:

  • A recording of one of the 90-minute panel discussions that took place throughout the 2020-2021 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

“The ‘Race &’ in America series is an important step forward for Brown’s leadership in both scholarship on race and digital scholarly publications,” said University Librarian Joseph Meisel. “It ensures that the penetrating perspectives and fresh critical analyses advanced through this remarkable academic initiative are not simply preserved as a video link on some website, but rather rendered more fully in a format that sustains and broadens the impact of this essential work for education, further research, and public understanding.”    

The digital series consists of eight volumes:

Brown’s Digital Publications Initiative — a collaboration between the University Library and the Dean of the Faculty, generously launched with support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation — creates exciting new conditions for the production and sharing of knowledge. Widely recognized as accessible, intentional, and inclusive, Brown’s path-breaking Initiative is helping to set the standards for the future of scholarship in the digital age.

Questions about the “Race &” in America digital publication series or the Library’s Digital Publications Initiative generally can be addressed to Allison Levy, Digital Scholarship Editor (allison_levy@brown.edu).

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.

Announcement | Four New Projects Selected for Brown’s Digital Publications Initiative

The University Library and the Dean of the Faculty, together with the Digital Publications Advisory Board, are pleased to announce the selection of the next four long-form scholarly works to be developed as part of Brown’s Digital Publications Initiative.

Charrise Barron, Assistant Professor of Africana Studies and Music

The Platinum Age of Gospel by Charrise Barron, Assistant Professor of Africana Studies and Music, surveys the American national gospel music scene from 1993 to 2013, tracing a shift away from discourses rooted in the lived experience of race-based suffering toward a post-racial orientation that catered to mainstream audiences—a dramatic shift tied to revised theologies of salvation and sanctification. Barron’s interdisciplinary digital project, deeply engaging the fields of religion, Africana studies, and ethnomusicology, will present gospel music in a way that has never been experienced before—as an interactive, multimedia exploration of the sounds as well as the sights of gospel.

Laurel Bestock, Associate Professor of
Archaeology and the Ancient World &
Egyptology and Assyriology

Art, Secrecy, and Invisibility in Ancient Egypt by Laurel Bestock, Associate Professor of Archaeology and the Ancient World & Egyptology and Assyriology, argues that partial, periodic, or total invisibility of art was precisely that quality that allowed art to be personal and to engage in social relationships, not just between living people but also across the divide of death and between the human and the divine. In looking at the complex life-histories of hidden objects in Egypt, with shifting capabilities and relationships over time, Bestock takes advantage of the digital environment to examine the role of vision in manipulating relationships of knowledge and power both in ancient Egypt and the modern day. 

Tina Campt, Owen F. Walker Professor of Humanities and
Professor of Modern Culture and Media

The Sojourner Project: A Black Studies Mobile Academy by Tina Campt, Owen F. Walker Professor of Humanities and Professor of Modern Culture and Media, in collaboration with the Practicing Refusal Collective, an international Black feminist forum of artists and scholars, foregrounds dialogues on blackness, anti-black violence, and black futurity in the twenty-first century. Structured as a digital academy that intentionally aims to exceed the literal and figurative walls of the university, The Sojourner Project convenes transnational and diasporic conversations, workshops, and art activations that create multi-directional encounters with histories of struggle and practices of refusal that have emerged in different black communities. 

Kevin Escudero, Assistant Professor
of American Studies and Ethnic Studies

Imperial Unsettling: Indigenous and Immigrant Activism towards Collective Liberation by Kevin Escudero, Assistant Professor of American Studies and Ethnic Studies, examines the relationship between Indigenous CHamoru activists in Guåhan (Guam) and Asian immigrant community members’ participation in contemporary social movement activism in the Pacific. Developing Imperial Unsettling as a born-digital publication will allow Escudero to create an immersive experience for the reader by integrating the book’s long-form narrative with oral histories of Guåhan decolonization activists, archival documents related to key historical moments in the decolonization movement not easily accessible to folks residing off the island, and lesson plans on the movement for use by teachers on and off the island.

With continued support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Brown’s Digital Publications Initiative seeks to advance humanities scholarship by providing a university-based approach to the development, evaluation, and publication of born-digital scholarly monographs. With oversight from Brown’s Digital Scholarship Editor, projects that are selected by the Initiative’s Digital Publications Advisory Board are developed as digital works that draw upon the capabilities of the Library’s Center for Digital Scholarship. These scholarly works are then submitted to leading university presses that have corresponding academic interests and the infrastructure for peer review and digital publication.

The Initiative’s first born-digital scholarly monograph, Furnace and Fugue: A Digital Edition of Michael Maier’s Atalanta fugiens (1618) with Scholarly Commentary, co-edited by Tara Nummedal, Professor of History, and Independent Scholar Donna Bilak, was published by the University of Virginia Press in July 2020. Two other projects were recently accepted by leading university presses:

  • Italian Shadows: A Curious History of Virtual Reality by Massimo Riva, Professor and Chair of Italian Studies (forthcoming with Stanford University Press); and 
  • Islamic Pasts and Futures: Horizons of Time by Shahzad Bashir, Aga Khan Professor of Islamic Humanities and Professor of Religious Studies (forthcoming with MIT Press). 

Other digital works currently under development include: 

  • The Sensory Monastery: Saint-Jean-des-Vignes co-authored by Sheila Bonde, Professor of History of Art and Architecture and Professor of Archaeology, and Clark Maines, Professor Emeritus of Art History at Wesleyan University; 
  • At a Standstill, Moving: Gesture, Temporality and the Interval in Performance by Rebecca Schneider, Professor of Theatre Arts and Performance Studies; 
  • Chika Sagawa, Japanese Modernist Poet by Sawako Nakayasu, Assistant Professor of Literary Arts; and
  • Contemporary Monuments to the Slave Past by Renée Ater, Provost’s Visiting Professor of Africana Studies.

To learn more about Brown’s digital scholarly publication program, contact Digital Scholarship Editor Allison Levy (allison_levy@brown.edu).

Announcement | PubMed Redesign

PubMed users will notice some major changes this week. As of May 18, the biomedical literature database is now defaulting to the new, redesigned interface. As always, the best way to see Brown University’s full text options is with the Library’s custom link.

New interface changes include:

  • Ability to cite references quickly in your preferred citation style format (AMA, APA, NLM, or MLA)
  • Option to share references via social media or a permalink
  • Responsive design for use on any device — mobile, desktop, or tablet — with the same features and functionality. On your mobile device, bookmark (or add to your home screen) this URL: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/?myncbishare=brownu
  • Citations are initially sorted by the Best Match algorithm, but display preferences such as sort order and items per page can be adjusted using the “Display options” button.  

Most features remain – including clinical queries, the advanced search, MeSH database, search details (on the Advanced page now), and your MyNCBI account. Additionally, you’ll be able to export citations to citation management tools (e.g., EndNote, Zotero, Mendeley) through the “Cite” feature or by sending a batch of citations to your Citation Manager.  

Looking for the legacy interface? For a short time you’ll still be able to use it, at https://pmlegacy.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

Please contact HealthSciLibrarians@Brown.edu for questions or instruction requests. 

The National Library of Medicine has created a page with links to PubMed tutorials and handouts. Take some time to explore the interface, and provide feedback to NLM at https://support.nlm.nih.gov/support/create-case/?category=plabs

A Message from the University Library to Graduate Programs and Students | Access to Scholarly Resources during Campus Closure

Dear Department Chairs, Directors of Graduate Studies, and Graduate Students,

Joseph S. Meisel, Joukowsky Family
University Librarian

At the Brown University Library, we are well aware that the COVID-19 public health crisis is having an impact on graduate students’ ability to study for qualifying exams and carry out thesis and dissertation research. At Brown, as is the case at universities across the country, we know that suspending all onsite activity at the Library is contributing to these challenges.  

I am writing to let you know about the work we have been doing to strengthen how the Library supports graduate students under these circumstances, and to ensure that you are aware of the resources that are available to help you move forward with your scholarship.

Individual Research Help

You can connect directly with a Library expert in your area who can support your research, answer questions, provide you with digital content, and offer reliable scholarly guidance during this time of stress and uncertainty. 

Increased Digital Access

Significantly expanded access to digital content is being made available during the COVID-19 pandemic. More digital scholarly content continues to be made freely accessible, and we are regularly updating our list as this happens.

The Library offers several ways to access digital content:

  1. Through our existing systems
  • Search Josiah, the online catalog, for books, articles, and other materials that Brown owns or subscribes to in electronic formats.
  • Request items through Interlibrary Loan. Requests are continuing to be filled for articles available electronically.
  • Many items from our physical collection are now available electronically via HathiTrust. We have added a link to the HathiTrust version to the records in Josiah. You will need to login with your Brown University web credentials to access the content.
  1. By contacting a librarian

You can request items by emailing rock@brown.edu (general) and hay@brown.edu (special collections).

  •  Library experts can help you locate materials available at Brown and elsewhere.
  • If you are looking for a book that exists in electronic format to which Brown does not currently have access, we will purchase that item if it is possible to do so.  
  • Special collections librarians will seek to identify primary source material in digital format through other libraries and archives that can contribute to students’ research. They can also offer individualized consultations regarding research methods and organizing your digital research files. Special collections is working on other creative solutions to provide digital access to its collections and to connect students with digital content at other institutions. The more we know about student research needs, the better we can deploy to find solutions.

Access to Physical Materials

We recognize that electronically available materials, however abundant, cannot address all scholarly needs and that digital content can also pose accessibility challenges. At this time, most university libraries have discontinued physical circulation and loans. For the health and safety of our staff, we are unable to provide physical access to Library materials until the University authorizes onsite activities to resume.  

As the University announced recently, President Paxson has charged a Healthy Fall 2020 Task Force with charting a path to the safe reopening of the campus. As the principles, process, and timeline for reopening emerge, the Library will be able to provide more information on how and when we can resume physical access to general and special collections materials. Like you, we are looking forward to that day.  

***

As researchers and scholarly experts ourselves, and as dedicated partners for you and your academic programs, we keenly appreciate the challenges you are facing in moving forward with your graduate studies. The Brown University Library is committed to doing whatever is possible under the circumstances to help you. To that end, we will continue to explore new ways to provide more of the content you need. In the meantime, keep telling us what you need and we’ll do our very best!

With best wishes for your safety and wellbeing,

Joe

Joseph S. Meisel
Joukowsky Family University Librarian

Exhibit | Dis/Assemble: Making Meaning from the Minassian Collection

Leaf, Minassian Collection of Persian, Mughal, and Indian Miniature Paintings

Dis/Assemble

Dis/Assemble is a collaborative effort by graduate students from across ten different humanities disciplines to construct narratives around a continuously moving archive: the Minassian Collection of Persian, Mughal, and Indian Paintings and Calligraphies at Brown University. This collection evokes questions of assemblage and disassemblage, from sifting the extraordinary from the ordinary to practices of collecting and taxonomizing. Visitors are invited to participate in the creative act of engaging with fragments and fragmentation as they behold, imagine, and truly see the objects on view.

Opening Reception & Curator’s Introduction

Monday, March 9, 2020
4:30 p.m.
John Hay Library

Discussion

“Making Meaning from the Minassian Collection”
Monday, March 9, 2020
5:30 p.m.
Lownes Room, John Hay Library

Guests

  • Dr. Navina Haidar, Nasser Sabah al-Ahmed al-Sabah Curator in Charge of the Department of Islamic Art
  • Dr. Maryam Ekhtiar, Associate Curator of the Department of Islamic Art                      The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Dates: March 9, 2019 – May 25, 2020 & September 1 – December 15, 2021
Time: John Hay Library Hours
Location: Exhibition Gallery, John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence

Exhibit | Early American & English Bookplates 18th-20th C.

Sonia Lustig
Bookplate Collection

Bookplates are also known as “ex libris” and include a name, motto, and motif. Decorated pieces of paper found on the inside of books, ex libris have practical, historical and social associations that trace back to 15th century Germany, around the time of the invention of the printing press. They not only promote the return of borrowed books and provide a trail of documented ownership, their artistic design also conveys the personalities of book owners and the practical and imaginary worlds inhabited by them.

View bookplates for Henrietta Countess of Pomfret Lady of the Bedchamber to the Queen (1698–1761), Massachusetts Medical Society (1781), and Louis-Rene Quentin de Richebourg of Champcenetz (1759–1794), among others.

Exhibit Dates: February 6 – March 31, 2020
Exhibit TimeJohn Hay Library Hours
Exhibit Location: Second Floor Landing, John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence

Exhibit | Intercalary Event 2020

Works by
Katie Bullock, Faculty, Glass, Rhode Island School of Design
Jocelyne Prince, Faculty, Glass, Rhode Island School of Design
Sean Salstrom, Graduate Study, Glass, Rhode Island School of Design

Artists approach research differently than scientists. The freedom through which artists pursue research allows their inquiries to breed multivalent results, often seemingly unconnected results which can then act as springboards to new ways of seeing and communicating with the world. Bullock, Prince and Salstrom’s artistic practices cultivate curiosity that interposes surprising elements into the narrative of objectivity and data, and in doing so, invite intercalary events in the vitrines of the Hay Library.

Intercalary Event 2020 exhibition locations include the John Hay Library, Chazan Gallery at The Wheeler School and Ladd Observatory.

Opening reception: Thursday, February 13th, 2020, 5 – 7PM

Exhibit Dates: January 21, 2020 – July 9, 2021
Exhibit TimeJohn Hay Library Hours
Exhibit Location: Willis Reading Room, John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence

Announcement | Hortense J. Spillers Papers Open for Research

The Pembroke Center’s Feminist Theory Archive and the John Hay Library are proud to announce that the Hortense J. Spillers papers are open for research.

Spillers is an American literary critic, Black feminist scholar, and the Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Chair in English at Vanderbilt University. Her research addresses literary criticism, race and gender; linguistics; the African diaspora; Black culture; and sexuality. She is best known for her 1987 article, “Mama’s Baby, Papa’s Maybe: An American Grammar Book,” one of the most cited essays in African-American literary studies today.

The Hortense J. Spillers papers include handwritten diaries and journals on topics ranging from critical race theory and Moby Dick to the assassination of Robert Kennedy and Spillers’ first trip abroad in 1968. The collection also includes personal and professional correspondence with scholars such as Gwendolyn Brooks, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Gayatri Spivak; and drafts of her talks, articles, and books, including “Isom,” “Conjuring,” and “Mama’s Baby, Papa’s Maybe.” Materials in this collection date from 1966 to 1995.

Spillers contributed her papers to the Feminist Theory Archive in the name of the Black Feminist Theory Project, established by the Pembroke Center in 2016.

For information on how to access these collections, please contact the Pembroke Center Archivist at pembroke_archives@brown.edu.

Announcement | Digitization of Historic Campus Speeches with CLIR Grant

Speeches by Civil Rights leaders and other renowned public intellectuals will be preserved and made available for scholarship.

Providence, R.I. [Brown University] The Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) has awarded the Brown University Library $23,215 from its Recordings at Risk program. One of 13 projects selected out of 34 to receive grants from the program, the Library’s proposal, “Brown University Archives Audio-Visual Collection: Global Perspectives from Campus Speeches,” will allow us to digitize and make available to the public a large selection of audio and video recordings of speeches by leading public figures invited to Brown between 1950 and 1995. 

Brown University students on the College Green, 1969

103 cassette tapes, 198 film reels, and 44 VHS tapes–345 items total–will be digitized through use of the funding. This substantial set of materials document changing intellectual and social currents across the United States and the world on topics including social justice, politics, education, and the media–all of which still resonate today. There is a particularly fascinating set of recordings from Civil Rights leaders, notably Ralph Abernathy, Shirley Chisholm, Martin Luther King, Jr., and A. Philip Randolph. 

Over the next nine months, outside vendor George Blood LP will convert the media into digital files. A team of Special Collections staff and students will review the digitized files and create accurate and complete descriptive information. The final content will be uploaded into the Brown Digital Repository, where it will be available for research in October 2020.