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.
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.
On Thursday, December 5, 2019 at 3:30 p.m. in the Patrick Ma Digital Scholarship Lab at the Rockefeller Library, Scott Rettburg, Professor of Digital Culture in the department of linguistic, literary, and aesthetic studies at the University of Bergen, Norway, will give a talk entitled, “Electronic Literature: Threads of Practice and Literary Genre in Digital Writing.” The talk is free and open to the public.
In the talk, Professor Rettberg will discuss his new book, Electronic Literature, in which he places the most significant genres of electronic literature in historical, technological, and cultural contexts. These include combinatory poetics, hypertext fiction, interactive fiction (and other game-based digital literary work), kinetic and interactive poetry, and networked writing based on our collective experience of the Internet. He argues that electronic literature demands to be read both through the lens of experimental literary practices dating back to the early twentieth century and through the specificities of the technology and software used to produce the work.
Rettberg will give a brief presentation of the methods and themes of the book, which will be followed by a discussion between Rettberg and Cayley.
Scott Rettberg is Professor of Digital Culture in the department of linguistic, literary, and aesthetic studies at the University of Bergen, Norway. Rettberg is the author or coauthor of novel-length works of electronic literature, combinatory poetry, and films including The Unknown, Kind of Blue, Implementation, Frequency, The Catastrophe Trilogy, Three Rails Live, Toxi•City, Hearts and Minds: The Interrogations Project and others. His creative work has been exhibited both online and at art venues including the Venice Biennale, Inova Gallery, Rom 8, the Chemical Heritage Foundation Museum, Palazzo dell Arti Napoli and elsewhere. Rettberg is the author of Electronic Literature (Polity, 2019), the first comprehensive study of the histories and genres of electronic literature and winner of the 2019 N. Katherine Award for Criticism of Electronic Literature.
On Friday, November 8, 2019 at 3 p.m. in the Digital Scholarship Lab at the Rockefeller Library, Elaine Sullivan, Associate Professor of History at UC Santa Cruz, will give a talk entitled, “Constructing the Sacred: Visibility and Ritual Landscape at the Egyptian Necropolis of Saqqara.”
This event is free and open to the public.
Constructing the sacred: Visibility and ritual landscape at the Egyptian necropolis of Saqqara
This talk will discuss Sullivan’s forthcoming born digital publication which utilizes a 3D reconstruction model to examine the importance of visibility and landscape change at the ancient Egyptian necropolis of Saqqara. The project will be published as an online only monograph by Stanford University Press in winter 2020 and includes a dynamic 3D GIS model as part of the publication.
Dr. Sullivan is an Egyptologist and a Digital Humanist. Her work focuses on applying new technologies to ancient cultural materials. She acts as the project coordinator of the Digital Karnak Project, a multi-phased 3D virtual reality model of the famous ancient Egyptian temple complex of Karnak. She is project director of 3D Saqqara, which harnesses Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technologies and 3D modeling to explore the ritual and natural landscape of the famous cemetery of Saqqara through both space and time.
Her field experience in Egypt includes five seasons of excavation with Johns Hopkins University at the temple of the goddess Mut (Luxor), as well as four seasons in the field with a UCLA project in the Egyptian Fayum, at the Greco-Roman town of Karanis.
Because of a broad interest in the history and material culture of the larger ancient Near Eastern and Mediterranean worlds, she has also excavated at sites in Syria, Italy and Israel. Dr. Sullivan received her M.A. and Ph.D. in Egyptian Art and Archaeology from Johns Hopkins University. Her B.A. (Magna Cum Laude) in History is from Duke University.
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 two long-form scholarly works to be developed as part of Brown’s Digital Publications Initiative.
At a Standstill, Moving: Gesture, Temporality and the Interval in Performance
At a Standstill, Moving: Gesture, Temporality and the Interval in Performance by Rebecca Schneider, Professor of Theatre Arts and Performance Studies, situates the importance of gesture within a wide range of performances. From the vibrancy of opera to the seeming standstill of stone, Schneider’s project offers a non-linear reading experience while focusing on the significance of the interval in order to explore multiple and intersecting temporalities.
The Past and Future of Chika Sagawa, Japanese Modernist Poet
The Past and
Future of Chika Sagawa, Japanese Modernist Poet by Sawako Nakayasu, Assistant
Professor of Literary Arts, draws attention to an influential but largely
overlooked female poet from early-twentieth-century Japan. Nakayasu’s project
proposes an innovative use of interwoven media to illuminate the complex poetry
of Chika Sagawa as well as to broaden the scope of literary translation.
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
In addition to Nakayasu and Schneider’s projects, digital works currently under development include: 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 (forthcoming with University of Virginia Press); Italian Shadows: A Curious History of Virtual Reality by Massimo Riva, Professor and Chair of Italian Studies; 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; Islamic Pasts and Futures: Gazing at Horizons of Time by Shahzad Bashir, Director of Middle East Studies, Aga Khan Professor of Islamic Humanities, and Professor of Religious Studies; and Nicholas Brown and The Roman Revolution of 1848–1849 by David Kertzer, Paul R. Dupee, Jr. University Professor of Social Science, Professor of Anthropology, and Professor of Italian Studies.
learn more about Brown’s digital scholarly publication program, contact Digital
Scholarship Editor Allison Levy (email@example.com).
With $775,000 from The Mellon Foundation, the Brown University
Library, together with the Dean of the Faculty, extends its work with
born-digital scholarly monographs.
[Brown University] Brown University has received a $775,000 grant from The
Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support a second phase of its Digital
Publications Initiative, launched in 2015 with an initial grant of $1.3
million. The Initiative, a collaboration between the University Library and the
Dean of the Faculty, has established a novel, university-based approach to the
development, evaluation, and publication of born-digital scholarly monographs.
a successful initial phase, a second grant allows the University to consolidate
its Initiative while continuing to advance the role of digital scholarship in
the academy. From
employing interactive simulations to nonlinear reading opportunities, these publications
demonstrate how the digital environment is necessary for articulating and
advancing scholarly argument beyond the capabilities of print. With oversight from Allison Levy, Brown’s Digital
Scholarship Editor, projects that are selected by the Initiative’s faculty
advisory board are developed as digital works that draw upon the capabilities
of the Library’s Center for Digital Scholarship. These digital scholarly works are
then submitted to leading university presses that have corresponding academic
interests and the infrastructure for peer review and digital publication.
Dean of the Faculty Kevin McLaughlin, former University Librarian Harriette
Hemmasi, and I were developing the initial proposal for Mellon, we were sailing
into uncharted waters,” said Joukowsky Family University Librarian Joseph S.
Meisel, co-principal investigator for the Initiative. “But the Initiative has
succeeded even beyond what we hoped for at the time. Mellon’s commitment to
continued funding to help us consolidate these early successes and make the
Initiative sustainable is a significant recognition of what we have managed to
achieve. Our guiding principles have been to focus on scholarly excellence and to
put the faculty’s vision for their work first.”
To date, five faculty
publication projects in a range of humanities fields have been selected and are
under development for the Initiative’s first phase, with a sixth project yet to
be chosen from the most recent round of proposals. The first two projects are
nearing publication. Over the next six years, with support from the new Mellon
grant, the Initiative plans to add 4-5 new projects.
The first of the Initiative’s two pilot projects, Furnace and Fugue: A Digital Edition of Michael Maier’s Atalanta fugiens (1618) with Scholarly Commentary, will be published by the University of Virginia Press. Co-authored by Tara Nummedal, Professor of History, and independent scholar Donna Bilak, Furnace and Fugue revolves around a seventeenth-century German alchemical book. The second pilot project, Italian Shadows: A Journey into the New World and Other Tales of Imaginary and Forgotten Media by Massimo Riva, Professor and Chair of Italian Studies, takes as its focus the genealogy of virtual reality in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Italy.
A part of the Initiative from the earliest stages, Riva expresses the significance of working on Italian Shadows in the digital realm: “My project involves a rich and diverse set of visual and multimedia sources, as well as interactive models and simulations of historical artifacts, and could only have been conceived and implemented in a digital environment. Working with this exceptionally talented team of designers, editors, and librarians has opened new horizons to my scholarship and inspired me to explore new ways to share it with my peers, my students, and the public at large.”
The third project, The Sensory Monastery: Saint-Jean-des-Vignes by Sheila Bonde, Professor of History of Art and Architecture, and Clark
Maines, Professor of Art History Emeritus at Wesleyan, explores
the sensory experience of monasticism in medieval and early modern France.
The fourth, Islamic
Pasts and Futures: Gazing at Horizons of Time by Shahzad Bashir, Aga
Khan Professor of Islamic Humanities and Director of Brown’s Middle East
Studies program, rethinks the conjunction between
Islam and temporality, spanning the centuries and regions where Islam has been a
significant presence. The fifth, Nicholas Brown
and the Roman Revolution of 1848–1849,
by David Kertzer, Paul R. Dupee, Jr. University Professor of Social
Science, Professor of Anthropology, and Professor of Italian Studies, re-examines the politics
of nineteenth-century Italy via a trove of recently rediscovered
arrived at a model of developing long-form digital scholarship, seeing growing
interest in this effort on campus, and finding that leading academic publishers
are receptive to the Initiative’s projects and approach, Brown is on a path to
facilitating the creation and validation of new scholarly forms and helping to
broker their dissemination through the most suitable venues for digital
“With this renewed support from The Mellon Foundation, Brown will
be able to continue to produce innovative digital publications that open new
possibilities for the presentation and dissemination of scholarship by our
faculty that is of the highest quality,” said Dean of the Faculty Kevin
McLaughlin, co-principal investigator for the Initiative. “Each one of these
digital publications creates new conditions for the production and circulation
of humanist scholarship.”
On Saturday, October 19, 2019 at 11 a.m. in the Digital Scholarship Lab at the Rockefeller Library, join Allison Levy of the Brown University Library’s Digital Publications Initiative for an engaging look at the changing face of 21st-century scholarship.
Free and open to the public.
A Q&A period will conclude the program.
Furnace & Fugue
Demoing the Initiative’s pilot project, Furnace and Fugue, alongside Atalanta fugiens, the rare and elegantly illustrated alchemical book that inspired it, Levy will show how Brown Professor of History Tara Nummedal has turned to innovative digital tools to create new and more dynamic scholarly experiences.
Re-rendering a multimedia 17th-century text as an online publication, Furnace and Fugue allows readers to hear, see, manipulate, and investigate a work in ways that were perhaps imagined when it was composed but were simply impossible to realize in full before now. Whether through interactive visualizations of modern notation or a multifunctional space that allows users to curate, save, and share their own selection and arrangement of alchemical emblems, Furnace and Fugue makes possible the capabilities implied by this early modern book with digital tools and features that also clarify and/or advance the arguments of the eight scholarly essays included in the work.
Allison Levy is Digital Scholarship Editor at Brown University Library. An art historian educated at Bryn Mawr College, she has taught in the US, Italy, and the UK. Allison has published widely on the visual culture of early modern Italy and serves as General Editor of the book series Visual and Material Culture, 1300–1700, published by Amsterdam University Press.
On Wednesday, May 1, 2019 at 4 p.m. in the Digital Scholarship Lab at the Rockefeller Library, Dr. Lindsey Jones will give a talk about the database she is creating about the education and incarceration of black girls in Virginia during Jim Crow.
This event is free and open to the public. A Q&A and reception will follow the talk.
Dr. Jones is collecting information about the girls who were committed to the Virginia Industrial School for Colored Girls, the state of Virginia’s reformatory for black girls, operational between 1915 and the 1950s, after the courts across the state labeled them “delinquent.” The reformatory was designed by a statewide network of black women activists to protect and educate troubled black girls rather than punishing them for adolescent misbehaviors.
Dr. Lindsey Jones, Presidential Diversity Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Education at Brown, is working on a book project that explores the education and incarceration of black girls in Jim Crow Virginia, focusing specifically upon the Virginia Industrial School for Colored Girls. As part of this project, Dr. Jones is designing a relational database to collect information about the individual girls who were committed to this reformatory.
Taught by University of Pittsburgh Professor Alison Langmead (Clinical Associate Professor and Director, Visual Media Workshop; Associate Professor, School of Information Sciences) and Chelsea Gunn (PhD candidate, Information Culture and Data Stewardship; research assistant Sustaining DH), the workshop is designed to help archivists, librarians, and digital humanities practitioners create sustainability plans and address preservation concerns at any point in the life of a digital humanities project.
Over the course of the two-day workshop, 35 attendees representing eight project teams from New England, New York, Canada, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania, critically examined their respective projects, creating detailed plans for sustainability and preservation.
In addition to creating sustainable plans for their own projects, the attendees are also encouraged to become trainers in these sustainability practices moving forward, and they can avail themselves of support as trainers through the Sustaining DH initiative. Members of the Brown community can make use of the resources and expertise available in the Library’s Center for Digital Scholarship, which performs and promotes the use of digital technology for scholarship at Brown. The staff within CDS advise, design, and carry out projects and workshops for every discipline on campus.
A student-driven project led by undergraduate Shira Buchsbaum ’19, the recently launched website Fields of Hay offers students a guide for making use of the John Hay Library and Brown’s special collections resources.
Written by Shira Buchsbaum ’19
Mary Elizabeth Sharpe and My First Foray into Special Collections
My journey to the John Hay Library was meandering and inconsistent. My first semester at Brown, my writing professor, Kate Schapira, assigned a piece that required drawing from any archive in Brown’s libraries. I picked the Mary Elizabeth Sharpe collection, which ended up being 20 boxes of letters, blueprints, photographs, contracts, and designs from Sharpe’s life.
Mary Elizabeth Sharpe was married to Henry Dexter Sharpe, the Chancellor of Brown from 1932-1952, and she was a go-getter. Sharpe designed much of the landscaping on campus, including for the then-new Sharpe Refectory and, later, the Sciences Library. She was a critical player in establishing India Point Park and fighting oil money in Providence.
I learned all of this
about Sharpe in a few afternoons at the Hay, sitting with her papers and
imagining the fierceness of this lady who took meticulous notes about trellises
and leaf piles on our campus greens. I kept Mary Elizabeth Sharpe in the back
of my head throughout my first two years at Brown, marking the John Hay Library
as the place where I learned about our highly manicured campus and the woman
A Reintroduction: Shakespeare’s First Folio and Working at the Hay
My junior fall, I stumbled back into the building during a reception and met William Shakespeare’s first Folio on the second floor of the John Hay Library. Brought to tears as I turned the pages of this nearly 400-year-old volume, I asked the lady behind the table, “Do students, like, work here?” The serendipity of that moment landed me in the midst of archives and collections once again, this time as a collections assistant.
Fields of Hay: An Undergraduate Research Guide to the John Hay Library
In our first
conversation, Heather Cole, my new boss, and I discussed creating a guide for
undergraduates to access the John Hay Library with more ease. I spent the next
18 months chatting with curators, requesting materials, conducting research,
and honing how to convey the richness and variety of the materials here and
their availability for student scholarship.
On March 7, 2019, World Book Day, we launched Fields of Hay, the undergraduate research guide to the John Hay Library. On Fields of Hay, students can learn about materials housed at the Hay, read about standing collections, find information on how to request materials, see featured projects by other students, and register student academic or activity groups for programs at the Hay. Fields of Hay aims to demystify the Hay by demonstrating its accessibility and breadth of materials to all students. It also seeks to promote student scholarship by showing that working with primary resources need not be an elite, selective process: it is as simple as finding one compelling item and spending time with it. The website aims to transform haphazard, wayward discoveries of the Hay into a far-reaching, common experience for Brown students. Fields of Hay is home base.
The Impact of Special Collections and an Invitation
I wish I hadn’t treated my interaction with Mary Elizabeth Sharpe as a one-off experience designed for a single class with no lasting implications on my life at Brown. Had I been able to return to the Hay through mechanisms designed for me – through a website that clarified how I could ingratiate myself with these materials – I would have returned sooner. As soon as students arrive at Brown, Fields of Hay can guide them to original, exciting research, or simply enjoying items connected to their interests – no strings or requirements or assignments necessary. Come on in and get started.
Shira Buchsbaum ’19 studied Anthropology and English Non-Fiction Writing and was the primary creator of Fields of Hay, under the advisor-ship of Heather Cole. She wrote her senior thesis about curatorial decision-making for the Harris Collection of American Poetry and Plays as reflective of changing conceptions of American literature. Any inquiries about Fields of Hay and materials or programming at the Hay can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
French Garde Impériale and Garde Nationale during the Hundred Days, 1815. Denis Dighton 1792-1827
UK-based nonprofit organization The Watercolour World has added 93 items from the Brown University Library’s Anne S. K. Brown Military Collection to its online exhibition website, a free database of documentary watercolors painted before 1900.
The Watercolour World aims to “not simply preserve the watercolour record but revive it, sparking new conversations and revelations. By making history visible to more people, we can deepen our understanding of the world.”
The Library is pleased to have provided access to our digital archive of material in the Military Collection, which numbers more than 25,000 items. Through partnerships such as this, we are able to share the unique treasures in our collections with scholars and patrons around the world.