Announcement | Renée Ater Appointed Provost’s Visiting Professor

headshot of Renée Ater
Renée Ater

The Brown University Library, together with the Office of the Provost and the Department of Africana Studies, is delighted to announce the appointment of Renée Ater as a Provost’s Visiting Professor for the 2020-2021 academic year.

Professor Ater, Associate Professor Emerita of American Art at the University of Maryland, is highly regarded for her pathbreaking research on the intersection of race, public art, and national identity. She is currently working on a born-digital scholarly publication, Contemporary Monuments to the Slave Past: Race, Memorialization, Public Space, and Civic Engagement, for which she has received fellowship support from the Smithsonian, NEH-Mellon, and the Getty Research Institute. Professor Ater received her undergraduate degree from Oberlin College and her Ph.D. in art history from the University of Maryland.

A self-described “public art historian,” Professor Ater is curious about the ways in which politics imbue monuments with shifting meaning over time, and she is passionate about sharing her observations and insights with a broad audience. Her innovative scholarship has had an impact on both scholarly dialogues and community conversations. Professor Ater visited Brown last spring and provided a clear demonstration of the kinds of distinctive contributions and cross-disciplinary connection-building that she will bring to the University under the Provost’s Visiting Professor Program. In particular, she will make significant contributions to campus interests in slavery and justice, digital scholarship, and mentorship of students and younger faculty from Historically Underrepresented Groups in the humanities and humanistic social sciences. 

MASS Design Group, National Memorial for Peace and Justice, dedicated April 2018, Equal Justice Initiative, Montgomery, Alabama  (Photograph: Renée Ater)

Professor Ater’s work, located at the intersection of politics, biography, and critical art theory, aligns closely with that of scholars in Brown’s Africana Studies Department, with their established interdisciplinary interests in critical Africana theory, black feminism, cultural studies, and performance, through the Department’s Rites and Reason Theatre. She will also provide significant support and mentorship for graduate students working on varied themes in contemporary popular culture, the civil rights movement, and the resistance to racism, particularly in the contemporary period. Her academic constituency on campus will also extend to the History of Art and Archaeology, History, and American Studies departments, the Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice, and the John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage. The University Library will support Professor Ater’s current research focus on developing a digital publication. The Library is home to a pioneering Digital Publications Initiative supported by the Mellon Foundation and the Center for Digital Scholarship, which provides essential staff expertise and technology infrastructure for faculty digital projects.  

Additional Information:

Website:  https://www.reneeater.com/

Current Project Description:  https://www.reneeater.com/slavery-monuments

Presentation at Brown:  https://blogs.brown.edu/libnews/renee-ater/

Announcement | Brown Library’s Digital Publications Initiative’s First Born-Digital Scholarly Monograph Published by University of Virginia Press

The pathbreaking multimodal digital book — Furnace and Fugue — was developed with support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Providence, R.I. [Brown University] Brown University’s Center for Digital Scholarship, based at the University Library, announces the publication of the first born-digital scholarly monograph under the Digital Publications Initiative, a collaboration between the Library and the Dean of the Faculty. Furnace and Fugue: A Digital Edition of Michael Maier’s Atalanta fugiens (1618) with Scholarly Commentary, edited by Professor of History Tara Nummedal and Independent Scholar Donna Bilak, brings to life in digital form an enigmatic seventeenth-century text, Michael Maier’s alchemical emblem book Atalanta fugiens. This intriguing and complex text 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. 

Published by University of Virginia Press as part of the distinguished academic series Studies in Early Modern German History, Furnace and Fugue re-renders Maier’s multimedia masterpiece as an enhanced and interactive digital scholarly work that 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 in full before now. “We saw an opportunity to bring Maier’s 1618 vision to life in a completely novel way,” said Tara Nummedal. ”The interactive digital format allows us to reach multiple audiences at once: not only fellow scholars and students, but also singers, practicing alchemists, and visual artists.” The Press will publish Furnace and Fugue on an open access basis, making it available immediately, for free, to anyone. “UVA Press is delighted to collaborate with Brown University in bringing out this cutting-edge digital publication. Furnace and Fugue presents the best in innovative and creative publishing, combining rigorously reviewed and edited scholarship with a multi-sensory presentation of Maier’s seventeenth-century music and text,” explained Nadine Zimmerli, Editor of History and Social Sciences at University of Virginia Press. “We hope that this digital monograph will inspire and enrich all readers and listeners.” The development of Furnace and Fugue through the Digital Publications Initiative was supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, and the Office of the Vice President for Research and the Social Science Research Institute at Brown University.

screenshot from Furnace and Fugue featuring an emblem of a lion, sheet music, and option to play musical recording
Screenshot from Furnace and Fugue: A Digital Edition of Michael Maier’s Atalanta fugiens (1618) with Scholarly Commentary

Brown is at the vanguard of digital monograph publishing, facilitating the creation and validation of new scholarly forms that demonstrate a range of ways in which the digital environment is necessary for articulating and advancing scholarly argument beyond the capabilities of print. “Furnace and Fugue is a wonderful example of Brown’s Mellon-supported Digital Publications Initiative, which attempts to develop technically diverse and innovative digital publications demonstrating the unique opportunities of digital platforms,” said Dean of the Faculty Kevin McLaughlin, co-principal investigator for the Initiative. “We are delighted to be able to support the outstanding scholarship of Brown faculty by leveraging this opportunity.” With oversight from Digital Scholarship Editor Allison Levy and drawing upon the expertise of the Center for Digital Scholarship, faculty selected for this opportunity are enabled to develop their scholarship in ways that take advantage of emerging digital methods and formats. These pathbreaking scholarly works are then submitted to leading university presses that have corresponding academic interests and the infrastructure for peer review and digital publication. 

“Brown University, and the University Library in particular, has a long history of pioneering work in digital scholarship,” said Joukowsky Family University Librarian Joseph S. Meisel, co-principal investigator for the Initiative. “Leading the way in models and practices for first-rate digital scholarly monographs is making a significant and much-needed contribution.” Five additional born-digital publications covering a range of humanistic fields are currently in various stages of development under the Digital Publications Initiative. One is forthcoming with Stanford University Press in 2021. Over the next six years, thanks to renewed support from the Mellon Foundation, the Initiative plans to add four to five new projects to its portfolio. 

The University of Virginia Press will host a virtual book launch for Furnace and Fugue on August 25 at 1:00 pm EST. 

Media inquiries: Jennifer Braga at (401) 863-6913 or Jennifer_Braga@brown.edu.

Announcement | Library Services during COVID-19 Building Closures

Featured

stack of books

Library Services during COVID-19 Building Closures

Though the Brown University Library buildings remain closed, online services are available at rock@brown.edu, hay@brown.edu, and library.brown.edu.

In addition, the Library began phase one of a scaled return to in-person academic support on Monday, June 29 with a small number of staff members onsite to:

  • Scan materials for Fall 2020 courses
  • Retrieve books for contactless pickup

Requesting Physical Materials

Current Brown faculty/instructors and students may request up to ten (10) items per week from our collections, including physical books. Materials available at the Rockefeller Library, the Library Annex, the Sciences Library, and Orwig Music Library should be requested directly through Josiah, the Library’s online catalog. Library staff will retrieve the items and email the requestor with instructions for pickup when the items are ready. Pickup for ALL items will take place in front of the Rockefeller Library. 

Contactless Pickup

Materials requested for pickup will be placed in bags on carts and quarantined, untouched, for a minimum of 96 hours. Please do not clean or disinfect library materials. It would likely damage the item(s) and is not necessary given the precautions Library staff are taking. The most current research tells us that 96 hours (four days) of quarantine is safe for circulating library materials.

Requesting Special Collections

The John Hay Library will digitize special collections material for research and teaching needs. Requests from current Brown faculty and graduate students will be prioritized. Other requests will be fulfilled as time allows. This service is limited to members of the Brown community. To make a request, email hay@brown.edu or fill out the request form

Requesting Course Reserves and Course Packs

Faculty members should continue to use Online Course Reserves Access (OCRA) to request materials for course reserves and course packs. Once received, the Library will make the reserves available to students through the course site in Canvas. 

If you are using a course pack from a previous semester, the Library will make the content available in Canvas and/or OCRA. Email rock@brown.edu to initiate this process. 

Interlibrary Loan (ILL)

Interlibrary Loan (ILL) for physical materials will not resume until a later phase, and (by agreement with our Ivy-plus partners) no earlier than September 1. We will continue to accept and fill ILL requests for articles and book chapters that are available electronically, which will be sent to patrons via email. We will also continue searching for electronic versions of requested books. 

Requests for Digital Material

Contact us at the following email addresses to request items, ask research questions, and connect with a Library expert:

Expanded Access to Digital Content and Services

As a response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, many of the Library’s content providers have expanded Brown’s access to digital content in order to support online research, learning, and teaching. In addition to the 2 million+ digital books and journals available through the Library’s subscriptions, we are excited to share many additional resources from our partners.

How Long Will Requests Take?

All requests may take up to seven days. Quarantine protocols for handling physical materials will make requests for rush or expedited delivery less feasible for the time being.

Faculty and Student Support

We are providing online services, including research consultations and instruction. Subject librarians can be reached by email and on chat, which is staffed Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Not sure who to ask? Email most questions to rock@brown.edu and email questions about special collections to hay@brown.edu.

Additional resources:

Returning Physical Material

Please return physical materials to the Rockefeller Library, through the book return drop located to the left of the front doors.

You can keep the items in your possession until you are able to return to campus. This includes items obtained through Borrow Direct, easyBorrow, and ILLiad. Fines and late fees will be waived.

Safe Staffing

To protect the safety of staff and patrons, we are operating at minimum staffing levels with modified workflows to allow for social distancing and quarantine of materials. We will add staff and increase service levels as public health guidance allows.

Questions?

Email rock@brown.edu with questions. If you have a question about special collections, email hay@brown.edu.

Brown University Library: Next Steps in Response to Racial Injustice

The leadership and staff of the Brown University Library join the national outpouring of anguish at the recent killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Tony McDade, and numerous others that continue the centuries of violence against Black people in our country.  Black Lives Matter to the Brown University Library.  We also deplore the devastating impacts of systemic racism that are also found in the pandemic of COVID-19, which has resulted in disproportionate death and suffering in communities of color.

The Library stands firmly in opposition to racism and racial violence, and laments the nation’s long history of murderous and systematic oppression of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color.   This opposition comes with recognition that persistent structures of racism in the U.S. have benefitted and shaped privileged institutions like ours.  We want to be in the vanguard of change.

We also recognize that statements ring hollow if they are not grounded in substantive actions. We commit to becoming actively anti-racist through an intensive interrogation of our work, practices, policies, and collections.  We will engage in programmatic and resource planning to ensure that we are continually uncovering and dismantling our participation in systems of structural racism. Through our partnerships with the University’s departments, centers, and institutes, we will also contribute to advancing education and scholarship to confront racism and racial violence in our society.  We will provide more information about specific actions in the coming weeks.

We hold ourselves accountable to this work. The Brown community should hold us accountable as well.

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

Announcement | Recipients of Undergraduate Prize for Excellence in Library Research 2020

Each year, in partnership with the Office of the Dean of the College, the Brown University Library recognizes one or two undergraduate students for outstanding research projects that make creative and extensive use of the Library’s collections, including, but not limited to, print resources, databases, primary resources, and materials in all media. The project may take the form of a traditional paper, a database, a website, or other digital project. The prize winners receive $750 each, funded through an endowment established by Douglas Squires ’73.

2020 Prize Recipients

Abby Wells ’21

photo of Abby Wells
Abby Wells ’21

Abby Wells’ paper, “दे वि!मा#हा#त्म्य, Δούργα Μεταφρασθεῖσα ἐκ τοῦ Βραχμάνικου, and Devimahatmyam, Markandeyi Purani Sectio Edidit Latinam Interpretationem: A Comparative Analysis of Greek and Latin Translations of the Devīmāhātmya,” compares translations of the Devīmāhātmya, a Hindu religious text, to offer a unique analysis of grammar, content, and interpretation across three languages, including Greek, Latin, and Sanskrit.

Wells made creative and extensive use of the Library’s collection by locating the Greek and Latin translations of the Devīmāhātmya in the John Hay Library and Google Books, respectively. The award committee was especially impressed by the project’s use of materials made available through the John Hay Library, Google Books, and the Hathi Trust. This project truly spans the full use of library holdings and digital collections available within and beyond Brown University.

Sicheng Luo ’20

Photo of Sicheng Luo
Sicheng Luo ’20

Sicheng Luo was selected for her fascinating project, “The Symbol of the Pineapple Used for Clocks,” which explores the symbolism of pineapples in art and artifacts based on a mutual misunderstanding between China and the West. The project leaned heavily on a variety of Library resources and in-depth research consultations with Brown librarians.

Luo’s project, which was initially inspired by a popular television show in China called “National Treasures,” offers the reader an intensive explanation of the history of the pineapple symbol found on a clock made in the Qing Dynasty in China, which is currently on reserve in the Imperial Museum in Beijing.

Luo credits the availability of artist books, scanners, and in-person research consultations at the Library as the foundation of this incredible art history project.

More information about the Undergraduate Prize for Excellence in Library Research and past winners.

Announcement | Summer Proctorships for Graduate Students

students viewing special collections

There are several Graduate School 2020 Summer Proctorships available at the Library!

The application can be found in UFunds. Once on the UFunds page, click on Graduate School COVID-19 Fund, then select “Graduate School 2020 Summer Proctorship Positions.”

Descriptions of the opportunities are available on the Graduate School websiteThe application deadline is May 13.

The proctorships available at the Library are:

Recipients of Summer Proctorship positions will participate in project-based, internship-style experiences. The goal is to offer graduate students whose research and study have been impacted by COVID-19 new professional and career development opportunities to enhance their experience and skills.

Eligibility: These proctorships are intended for PhD students whose total summer support would otherwise fall below the equivalent of three months of the standard academic-year stipend amount ($8,758.68). The time commitment expected is approximately 100 hours over Summer 2020. 

More information

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
Time: John Hay Library Hours
Location: Exhibition Gallery, John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence

Announcement | Library Innovation Prize & Carney Institute Brain Science Reproducible Paper Prize

The Brown University Library is thrilled to announce a new partnership with the Carney Institute for Brain Science on two prizes for student work that exemplifies research rigor, transparency, replication, and reproducibility.

Library Innovation Prize

Drawing on the rising importance of rigor and reproducibility of research, the Brown University Library will award up to $750 for the creation of a publication, capstone paper, digital project, and/or thesis/dissertation that incorporates innovation in rigor and transparency in any field of research.

See past Innovation Prize-winning projects.

Carney Institute for Brain Science Undergraduate Student Prize

The Carney Institute for Brain Science is offering a parallel but independent undergraduate prize for a capstone paper or thesis within the general area of brain science that incorporates innovation in reproducibility.

Timeline & Registration

  • Friday, March 13 at 2 p.m.:  Informational meeting the Digital Studio Seminar Room (160) at the Rockefeller Library. (Attendance is not required but is strongly encouraged.)
  • Wednesday, April 1, 2020: Deadline for registration for both prizes
  • Saturday, May 2, 2020: Submissions from registered participants are due by 5 p.m.
  • Week of May 18, 2020: Winners will be notified by email

Judges

  • Dr. Jason Ritt, Scientific Director of the Carney Institute
  • Lydia Curliss, Physical Sciences and Native American and Indigenous Studies Librarian
  • Dr. Oludurotimi Adetunji, Associate Dean of the College for Undergraduate Research and Inclusive Science

Innovation in Reproducibility

An example of innovation in reproducibility is linking data, analysis code, and figures/visualizations within a single document file that can be opened, read, and executed by the panel of judges using commonly available, preferably open source applications (e.g., Jupyter notebooks in a generic web browser).

Rigor & Transparency

Projects with enhanced rigor and transparency could include:

  • Curating and publicly sharing a data set
  • Pre-registration and sharing of a protocol
  • Sharing and containerization (e.g., Docker or Singularity) of analysis code and other computing environment related technologies
  • Incorporating an “Annotation for Transparent Inquiry (ATI) Data Supplement” for transparency in qualitative data analysis

More information:

Rules

  • Library prize contestants must be currently enrolled Brown undergraduate or graduate students. The Carney prize is restricted to Brown undergraduates.
  • Projects may be created by individuals or teams. The projects should be new or created in the past calendar year (2019).
  • There are no limits on coding languages or tools to create the reproducible paper.
  • The research must be the contestants’ original work. You may submit original work that you complete for a capstone paper for a course or an honors thesis or thesis at Brown.
  • Winning projects remain the intellectual property of the contestant(s), but the winning contestant(s) will grant a non­exclusive perpetual license to Brown University for its internal, non­-commercial use.
  • A panel of judges selected from faculty and Library staff will determine the winners.

Contact Information

  • For additional information, please contact Andrew Creamer at andrew_creamer@brown.edu
  • For questions on reproducible documents and their implementation, registered participants may contact Dr. Jason Ritt, Scientific Director of Quantitative Neuroscience in Brown’s Carney Institute for Brain Science at jason_ritt@brown.edu. Dr. Ritt will provide general advising up to schedule availability. Advice will be provided as is, with no implication for contest judging or award outcomes.