The Scholars’ Lab Speaker Series presents Toniesha Taylor on Afrofuturism

This Friday, Sept. 23, in Alderman 421, from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., the Scholars’ Lab Speaker Series presents Toniesha Taylor, Associate Professor of Communication in the Department of Languages and Communication at Prairie View A&M University. Her topic will be “We Speak, We Make, We Tinker: Afrofuturism as Applied Digital Humanities.”

Taylor’s other projects include the “Prairie View Women’s Oral History Project”, documenting oral histories of women at Prairie View A&M University, and “White Violence, Black Resistance,” which digitizes documents related to interactions of race and power.

Please join us for what is sure to be a fascinating talk!

Holly Robertson Returns to UVA as Library Exhibitions Coordinator

The Library is pleased to announce that Holly Robertson begins today as the new Library Exhibitions Coordinator at the Harrison-Small Special Collections Library.

Holly returns to UVA where she was the Library’s Head of Preservation Services from 2005–2008. Since then she has been Head of the Library of Congress Collections Care Section (2008–2011) and an independent Preservation Consultant (2011–2016) advising libraries and archives on how to make preservation operations more efficient.

Holly holds a B.A. in English Language and Literature/Letters from the University of Georgia and a Master of Library & Information Science (MLIS) degree from the University of Texas at Austin, with a concentration in Conservation of Library and Archival Materials.

She will be responsible for coordinating the planning, design, and publicity of Library exhibitions.

Welcome back Holly!

UVA Exhibition “Sacred Spaces: The Home and Poetry of Anne Spencer” featured in Lynchburg Paper

The Lynchburg News and Advance article “Sacred Spaces: UVa exhibit honors Anne Spencer” features the story behind a new exhibition in the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, “Sacred Spaces: The Home and Poetry of Anne Spencer.” The exhibition brings together books, letters, and manuscripts of the Harlem Renaissance poet together with John M. Hall’s photos of Spencer’s home, itself a work of art, the indoor phone booth adorned with numbers and notes, and the kitchen cabinet with verse.

The exhibition’s genesis began when UVA Library Development Coordinator Sara Lee Barnes urged Hall to visit the Anne Spencer House and Garden Museum. Hall collected the photos into a book. The book inspired a photo exhibition at the University of North Carolina (UNC). And the UNC exhibition inspired UVA Special Collections Curator Molly Schwartzburg to combine Hall’s photos with UVA’s eclectic Spencer family Collection.The collection includes Spencer’s correspondence with literary figures and civil rights leaders, as well as writings that she scribbled down on whatever was at hand, like a seed packet with the seeds still inside.

57d3233bad435.imageThe exhibition, curated by Kelly Fleming—assistant curator and UVA doctoral candidate in English—is open to the public in the first floor gallery of the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library through Dec. 30, 2016.

Read the full article ‘Sacred Spaces’: UVa exhibit honors Anne Spencer (The News and Advance, 9/12/2016)

Group Discovers Possible Early Jefferson Writings in the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library

According to a story telecast September 3 on WVIR channel 29 in Charlottesville, the Virginia Alpha Unit of Parliamentarians—whose goals is to promote public awareness of “the principles and practices of democratic decision-making”—believe they have discovered some of Thomas Jefferson’s earliest writings in the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library.

The acts on parliamentary procedures for the Virginia House of Burgesses were discovered in two fragments of a page that was torn in half, and may have been written by Jefferson when he was just 26. Group spokesman Stan Trout said the document “talked about the rules that would operate in the House of Burgesses when decisions were being made. So it became pretty important.”

The group, which is part of the National Association of Parliamentarians, will research the writings with help from UVA and Monticello.



UVA Librarian John Unsworth Speaks about the Mission of Libraries in Radio Podcast

In a podcast recorded for the August 22 Sunday Morning Wake-Up Call on WPVC 94.7, UVA Dean of Libraries John Unsworth speaks with host Sean McCord (UVA Library AV & IT Systems Engineer) about his life in academia, about UVA’s Library, and the past, present, and future mission of libraries in general.

The wide-ranging conversation covers Unsworth’s inauspicious debut as a teacher when he was a lecturer at UVA in 1980s, his becoming the founding director (1993–2003) of the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities, the importance of librarians in the digital age, the integration of library instruction with student coursework, and the renovation of Alderman Library. He speaks in depth about his interest in text mining—the statistical analysis of text that he traces back to the 1850s!—and gives background on the Book Traces @ UVA project to discover history in the handwritten notations in the margins of Alderman’s public domain collections.

Despite libraries’ movement toward more digital content, Unsworth maintains that the modern library’s mission remains what it’s always been, to “make yesterday’s information available tomorrow.”

Listen to the complete podcast.

NEH Grant allows Scholars’ Lab to Enhance Neatline Digital Mapping Program

In an article, “Mapping the Humanities,” UVA Today features the Scholars’ Lab and its innovative program Neatline—a digital platform that uses maps, timelines, and text to create multidimensional digital humanities projects. The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has awarded Scholars’ Lab a grant of $324,554 for enhancements to Neatline.

According to English professor and Scholars’ Lab director Allison Booth, the program can be used not only to place the viewer within the sweep of historical time and space, but in the world of fiction as well. The same tool that allowed architectural historian Lisa Reilly and her students to reconstruct cultural changes in Mediterranean architecture over centuries for a project in her class “On Haj with Ibn Jubayr: Reconstructing the 12th-Century Mediterranean,” also allowed Booth’s graduate students to compare a fictional journey in Mark Twain’s A Tramp Abroad with a journey the author made in real life. “That project reconstructs the chronology in a way the book does not, so you learn something you wouldn’t have if you hadn’t had those maps,” Booth said.

The NEH money will help Scholars’ Lab expand Neatline’s abilities with mobile and touch screen technologies—“We could add more hands-on drawing features with a stylus or your finger,” said Manager of Research & Development Eric Rochester. In the future it may even be possible to create immersive experiences in virtual reality.

Read the full article: Mapping the Humanities (UVA Today, 8/26/2016)

Undergrads Can Make a Difference by Joining the Library Council

All UVA undergrads who want to have a great time helping the Library to understand and meet their needs should look into joining the Library Council.

Members will meet with University Librarian John Unsworth and help design new and better services. They’ll also go to bi-weekly dinner meetings, plan social gatherings, and host lectures like the one by UVA English professor Andrew Stauffer on Book Traces @ UVA—a project documenting the history of the Library’s collection through historic notations in the margins of old volumes—or host library-related events like The Bard’s Birthday Bash, celebrating the life of Shakespeare and the Special Collections’ exhibition “Shakespeare by the Book: Four Centuries of Printing, Editing, and Publishing.”

Before leaving UVA, recently-graduated co-chair Jackie Morrogh expressed the value of her experience on the Library Council in a personal essay “Why Do Libraries Matter?” If the Library Council sounds interesting to you, and you’d like to become a member this year, please drop by the upcoming interest meeting on Thursday, September 1, from 6:00–7:00 p.m. in Alderman 421, or email Library Council co-chair Samuel Carr if you can’t make it.

There will be food from Take it Away!

Digital Yoknapatawpha Project Draws from Special Collections’ Faulkner Material

faulkner_silverThe UVA Today article, “UVA Spearheads Effort to Digitally Map Faulkner’s Literary World,” features a collaboration between UVA English Professor Stephen Railton and digital specialists—including staff of the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities (IATH) and the Library’s Digital Media Lab—to create a Digital Yoknapatawpha, an interactive website, mapping the fictional Mississippi County invented by William Faulkner as the setting of his most famous fiction. According to Railton, scholars will now be able “to locate scenes … chronologically in the contexts of both the history of Yoknapatawpha and the arc of Faulkner’s career.”

Faulkner’s own map drawings of his imaginary world—from which the project’s cartographers constructed separate maps linked to his fiction—came from the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library’s repository of the author’s papers.

Railton has worked with the Special Collections library before on Faulkner at Virginia: An Audio Archive to make available online the taped recordings of Faulkner reading from his work, giving lectures, and answering questions. The recordings were made during Faulkner’s tenure as the Balch Writer-in-Residence at UVA (1957–58).

The Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library will present an exhibition of material from the Faulkner collection from February through July of 2017.

Read the full article: UVA Spearheads Effort to Digitally Map Faulkner’s Literary World (UVA Today, 8/15/2016)