Announcement | Library Services for Fall 2020

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stack of books

Library Services during Fall 2020

The Library is thrilled to welcome students into our large study spaces for independent work during the Fall 2020 semester. Staff onsite will be primarily engaged in helping to keep our study spaces safe and healthy. They will not be providing in-person library services.

We are continuing to provide a robust slate of online services, detailed below. If you have any questions, you can email rock@brown.edu (general) or hay@brown.edu (special collections). You can also chat with a Library expert through the Ask a Librarian service. Many other services, resources, and updates can be found at library.brown.edu and here on our news blog.

Requesting Physical Materials

The Library is pleased to announce an expansion of circulation services. Materials requested will be available for pickup any time the Library is open. It is no longer necessary to make a reservation for pickup. (Reservations to study in the Library are still required.)

Current Brown faculty/instructors and students may request up to ten (10) items per week from our collections, including physical books. Materials held 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 and picked up in the Rockefeller Library lobby. 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. 

If you reserve space in a library, please continue to make use of Josiah (and Aeon for special collection) to request materials. Please do not enter the stacks.

Contactless Pickup — Available without Reservation during Open Hours

Materials requested for pickup will be placed in bags on carts and quarantined, untouched, for a minimum of 72 hours. The most current research tells us that 72 hours (three days) of quarantine is safe for circulating library materials.

You will be notified with the date the material will be available. Once available, the requested materials will be pre-checked out to you and placed in bins arranged by last name in the Rockefeller Library lobby. You may retrieve this material any time the Library is open — no reservation required. 

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.

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

Brown University graduate and undergraduate students and faculty, the Special Collections Reading Room will be available on an appointment-only basis beginning September 23, 2020, Wednesday and Thursday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Appointments must be made at least one week (5 business days) in advance so that staff can adequately prepare materials.

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.

Announcement | Library Welcomes Biology and Medicine & Alpert Medical School Students and Faculty

photo of front of Alpert Medical School

Welcome, from the Brown University Library! We offer a variety of services to Brown students and faculty in the sciences that can help with teaching and research.

We can assist you with:

  • Planning and conducting research (such as literature review services, finding funding, using LabArchives Electronic Lab Notebooks, and writing data management plans)
  • Publishing and sharing research (organizing citations, ensuring compliance with journals and funders’ public access policies, and measuring researcher and publication impact)
  • Teaching information literacy, advanced searching, and digital curation skills
  • Providing orientation to library resources and services for your departments, divisions, and students.

For the most comprehensive information about the Brown University Library hours and resources, start at https://library.brown.edu/. Focused resource and service guides are at:

Brown librarians have been working remotely through the pandemic, continuing to provide research consultations and instruction. For upcoming Library workshops, see the Library calendar. To find out more information, or schedule a consultation, please contact us at HealthSciLibrarians@brown.edu.   

We look forward to working with you!

Announcement | New Publication on Chinese Rare Books in the Brown University Library

An Illustrated Catalogue of Ancient Chinese Books in the Brown University Library by Li Wang

Prestigious Chinese publisher, China Book Company, has published An Illustrated Catalogue of Ancient Chinese Books in the Brown University Library by Dr. Li Wang, the Library’s Curator of the East Asian Collection. The volume contains detailed bibliographic and research information on all Chinese rare books found in the Library published before the end of the Qing dynasty (1912). Most of the 256 books in the Catalogue are part of the Gardner Collection at the Rockefeller Library, though several of the books are held at the John Hay Library. 

This published work is a result of many years’ dedicated efforts in special collection management and providing Library patrons with an effective reference and research tool in Chinese and East Asian studies. In the Preface, the author expresses his sincere gratitude to many people who have helped and supported the long journey of research, especially Prof. Gardner and his family, former East Asian Collections curators and staff, other library colleagues, East Asian Studies faculty at Brown, students and scholars, and other friends, both domestic and international. 

The publication is a milestone in the development of the East Asian Library at Brown. 2020 marks the the 120th anniversary of the birth of Charles S. Gardner (Jan.1, 1900 – Nov. 30, 1966). This new book is not only a scholarly summary of Gardner’s legacy, but also a way to pay homage to this devoted and pioneering scholar in East Asian studies and cross-cultural exchange.

Announcement | Hay Fellow in Early Modern Studies 2020-21

photo of Kenneth Molloy
Kenneth Molloy

Kenneth Molloy, a PhD candidate in the Department of Theatre Arts & Performance Studies, has been awarded the 2020 – 2021 John Hay Library/Center for the Study of the Early Modern World Fellowship. 

This fellowship, a partnership between the University Library and the Brown Center for the Study of the Early Modern World, provides support to PhD candidates completing their dissertations in any field involving study of the Early Modern World, defined as the period between 1500 and 1800, and that involves an innovative project to be completed using resources available at the John Hay Library.

Kenneth’s dissertation project comprises “a critical historiography of Islamic theories of theatricality and performance in the post-Mongol to early modern period” that highlights cosmological readings of shadow and puppet theatre in Arabic and Persian materials.

His fellowship project at the Hay will involve organizing an interdisciplinary symposium “on theatricalities and the global early modern world” with the aim to “showcase innovative performance-based inquiry into the early modern world.”

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 | 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.

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

Event | John Laudun – “Are We Not Doing Phrasing Anymore?”: Towards a Cultural Informatics

On Wednesday, February 26, 2020 at 12 p.m. in the Digital Scholarship Lab at the Rockefeller Library, John Laudon, PhD will give a talk, “‘Are We Not Doing Phrasing Anymore?’: Towards a Cultural Informatics.” Organized by the Data Science Initiative, the Cogut Institute for the Humanities, and the Library’s Center for Digital Scholarship.

Free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

“Are We Not Doing Phrasing Anymore?: Towards a Cultural Informatics

Recent headlines reveal the profound suspicion with which statistical methods have been received within the humanities. The pervasive belief is that a chasm lies between statistics and the humanities that not only cannot be bridged but should not be attempted, at the risk of losing the human. And yet slowly and steadily, a growing number of practitioners have not only developed research programs but also pedagogical methods that open up new analytical perspectives as well as new avenues for students to explore their relationship between the subject matter and their own understanding.

This talk offers a small survey of various practices to be found in the digital humanities alongside a few experiments by the author in allowing students to experience how statistical methods in fact demystify the meaning-making process in language and empower students not only to ground their insights in things they can see and count, but also in understanding texts as nothing more than certain sequences of words, opening a path to making them better writers as well.

Working from a broad survey to narrow applications, the talk suggests that concerns about a loss of humanity in the humanities is actually a concern for loss of certain kinds of authority, but that new kinds of authority are possible within which researchers and teachers will find a firm ground from which to offer interpretations and evaluations of the kinds of complex artifacts that have long been the purview of the domain.

John Laudun, PhD

John Laudun received his MA in literary studies from Syracuse University in 1989 and his PhD in folklore studies from the Folklore Institute at Indiana University in 1999. He was a Jacob K. Javits Fellow while at Syracuse and Indiana (1987 – 1992), and a MacArthur Scholar at the Indiana Center for Global Change and World Peace (1993 – 1994). He has written grants that have been funded by the Grammy Foundation and the Louisiana Board of Regents, been a fellow with the EVIA Digital Archive, and a scholar in residence with UCLA’s Institute for Pure and Applied Mathematics. His book, The Amazing Crawfish Boat, is a longitudinal ethnographic study of creativity and tradition within a material folk culture domain.

Laudun’s current work is in the realm of culture analytics. He is engaged in several collaborations with physicists and other scientists seeking to understand how texts can be modeled computationally in order to better describe functions and features.

Date: Wednesday, February 26, 2020
Time: 12 p.m.
Location: Patrick Ma Digital Scholarship Lab, Rockefeller Library, 10 Prospect Street, Providence