On Wednesday, November 18th, Andrew Stauffer, associate professor of English, will deliver the Fall 2015 Library Council Lecture: “Hidden in the Stacks: An Introduction to Book Traces @ UVA.”
Book Traces @ UVA is a project to discover uniquely modified copies of pre-1923 (out of copyright) books in the circulating collections of Alderman Library. This includes marginalia, inserts, inscriptions, and similar modifications. The larger goal of discovering and documenting this information is, according to the Book Traces @ UVA blog, “to reveal and preserve a distributed archive of artifacts testifying to the history of readership and book use, potentially a rich ground for research.”
Book Traces @ UVA is funded by a Hidden Collections grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR). The project grew out of Professor Stauffer’s Book Traces project, a website where users can submit their own pictures of unique copies of library books they’ve found in circulating collections around the world.
The lecture begins at 4 p.m. and will be held in the Byrd/Morris Room of the Harrison Institute. All are welcome. Refreshments will follow the lecture.
Join us on Tuesday, November 17, for presentations by the students of USEM 1580: Researching History. The class is taught by Petrina Jackson, Lead Teaching and Learning Librarian for Special Collections. The students dive into our special collections and prepare fascinating mini-exhibitions on the topics of their choosing.
A Selection of Mini-Exhibitions by USEM (University Seminar)1580: Researching History Hosted by the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library
Auditorium of the Small Special Collections Library
2–3 p.m. Viewing of the exhibitions 3–4 p.m. Catered reception (Hotcakes)
USEM students conduct research in the Special Collections Reading Room.
Wednesday, November 18th is GIS Day, and we’re celebrating!
From 1:30 to 3 p.m. the Scholars’ Lab (in Alderman Library) will continue its tradition of hosting presentations from people around UVA who are using GIS in their projects. Also a tradition, following the presentations the 2016 GIS Day cake will be revealed (and devoured).
GIS Day 2016—Come for the talks, stay for the cake!
Beginning in January 2017, Total Advising, part of President Sullivan’s Cornerstone Plan, will transform the second floor of Clemons Library into a centrally-located resource where students can get information about academic and career options. Whether they need counseling on careers, internships, financial assistance, study abroad, research, or extra tutoring in writing or math, students will find assistance in Clemons. The space will be open and admit plenty of light, but will have private and semi-private areas as well. Archie Holmes, vice provost for educational innovation and interdisciplinary studies, and Maurie McInnis, vice provost for academic affairs, continue to involve students, seeking their advice about planning and design for the center.
In an editorial, the Cavalier Daily welcomed the changes to student advising, noting that placing the resource in a central location already frequented by students will encourage many to seek advice—those who “may need significantly more advising than others” will now get “an extra push.” The editorial also notes that Total Advising will help the Library realize its stated mission “to be a central and responsive partner in the research, teaching, and learning priorities” of the University.
The Intellectual Crossroads group, a part of the Library’s Academic Engagement area, has announced a new fellowship program open to all UVA students. The Student Digital Humanities Fellowships will accept applications this November, offering a $1000 stipend to each of the chosen applicants who successfully completes the expectations of the fellowship. This year, the program will give preference to proposals focusing on the Music Encoding Initiative (MEI)—an XML vocabulary for music data.
Interested students can apply by sending two PDF attachments: a letter giving details about the proposed project, explaining how the fellowship will support their academic goals, and giving some idea of the level of their current proficiency and areas they would like to improve; and a letter of recommendation from a UVA faculty member. Emails should be sent to ixFellows@virginia.edu by 5 p.m., November 23.
In addition to completing and presenting their projects, the fellows will be expected to attend related workshops and presentations, and write three related blog posts about their work. Possible projects include GUI tools for associating graphic and audio files with MEI markup; Converters between MEI and other data and metadata formats; and Expansion/improvement of MEI documentation, examples, and testing procedures.
The Library is currently using a $245,000 grant from the McGregor Fund to digitize part of the Tracy W. McGregor Library of American History in the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library. According to a story in UVA Today, the Library hopes to add 25,000 more pages to the 50,000 pages it has digitized over the last two years from books beginning in 1475, books that curator David Whitesell says are the “the oldest and most valuable volumes that are not already available in electronic form.” The Library “hopes to make it to 1700,” using high resolution cameras to digitize everything, says project manager Lois Widmer, including blank pages and delicate fold-out maps in an effort to make online viewing “the same experience you would have if you were turning the pages.” Focusing on the “European discovery and settlement of the Americas,” the volumes includes Hernán Cortés’s account of the Conquistadors’ destruction of the Aztec city of Tenochtitlan, as well as Dominican friar Bartolomé de las Casas’s plea for better treatment of Native Americans. The project is a community effort involving Special Collection staff, the Library Digital Production Team, and student workers. “We couldn’t do what we do without the students,” says Digital Production Group manager Christina Deane.
The Cavalier Daily covers the Library’s upcoming Black Stories at UVA Edit-a-thon, a partnership between the Library and WikiDC.
The edit-a-thon is designed to remedy a lack of information in the online encyclopedia about people of color who have been associated with the University of Virginia but have been neglected in the past. The event was organized by Common Good, a group created by U.Va. Library staff and dedicated to creating opportunities for discussion of topics important to student life and higher education. No knowledge of Wikipedia is required. Laptops and instructions will be provided, two representatives from WikiDC will be on hand to help, and there will be Library personnel to assist participants with research that “will rely on materials from the Special Collections library, Encyclopedia of Virginia and Cvillepedia, as well as scholarly databases.” The idea of the edit-a-thon, say organizers, is not to complete something but to start something, “to hand the event over to the community and have them decide what conversation will be held.” Volunteers can register on the Wikipedia website.
UVA Today and the major news outlets recently reported on a discovery from U.Va.’s Jeffersonian past. A Chemical Hearth—part of an instructional chemistry lab from the 1820s—was found during current Rotunda renovations sealed behind a wall on the basement floor of the east oval room, where it had remained hidden from view since the 1850s, and safe from the ravages of the 1895 Rotunda fire. The story was not news to Will Rourk, Information Visualization Specialist for the Digital Media Lab (DML) in the Robertson Media Center of Clemons Library, who got a heads-up about the find in March of 2014 from Mark Kutney, Lead Conservator for The Office of the Architect.
Soon after the hearth was uncovered DML staff went to the site and used the Lab’s FARO Focus 3D scanner to capture 3D images of the hearth. But the hearth’s discovery and imaging is not the complete story. Although the hearth will remain open and on display in the Rotunda after renovations are completed, the masonry of previously unknown reverse arches that came to light when the floor above was taken up will not. The arches will be covered by a new floor, perhaps never to be exposed again. The DML, however, scanned finely detailed images of the arches that will be available for scholars and students of Jeffersonian architecture to see and study in the future.
Rourk says recording and preserving the measured data of historical finds like those in the Rotunda ensures that the past will never truly be lost. It is particularly important, he says, that the 3D scans of U.Va.’s architectural treasures are being undertaken by the Library, whose mission is not only to preserve and archive material but to make it available for study and appreciation. The DML has scanned and printed replicas of artifacts with identical texture and detail from Monticello’s Mulberry Row where they are displayed while the originals remain safe; and has recorded how the University once looked and worked, discovering where a serpentine wall in Pavilion VI was repositioned, for instance, and scanning an 1850 cistern in the Rotunda’s eastern courtyard. The DML also meticulously scanned the names workmen inscribed into the mortar of the cistern’s interior, hoping to leave a record of their work. Thanks to the DML the names Charles Carter and J W Brand will be seen and their work appreciated in ways they never could have imagined.
Common Good, the U.Va. Library, and WikiDC are hosting a Wikipedia Edit-a-thon about Black Stories and UVA, on Wednesday, November 4th from 9am to 5pm.
(For more information about the Common Good Edit-a-thon, read the article in The Cavalier Daily.)
We’re using Wikipedia as a platform to feature more information about people of color that have a relationship with the University of Virginia. This includes everything from not only editing existing pages to also creating pages for people, events, and topics that don’t currently exist in Wikipedia. There are a lot of options, a lot to do with this subject, and we’d love to have anyone join us on Wednesday, November 4th from 9am to 5pm in the auditorium of the Harrison Institute/Small Special Collections Library.
Register online for either the entire day or just an hour! We’ll provide breakfast and lunch for registered attendees.
The University of Virginia Library has embarked on a project to rebuild the University’s institutional repository Libra to meet technical standards and the needs of the University’s administration, the Library, and scholars. Plans are for Libra 2 to be ready to accept deposits by the spring of 2016.
Three segments of Libra—electronic theses and dissertations (ETDs), open access articles, and open access datasets—have been the foundation of repository requirements, but current and future needs have outstripped the capabilities of the Libra 1.x structure. By updating Libra we ensure that the Library will maintain a functioning institutional repository, fulfilling the 2010 Faculty Senate’s Open Access Resolution and the Library’s commitment to 98% of graduate programs that require an ETD deposit for completion. Further, a recent Jefferson Trust grant proposal for $78,000.00 over two years to digitize and provide worldwide access to dissertations and theses depends on the continued development and stability of Libra.
Early in 2015 the Libra Services Team completed a comparison of institutional repository platforms and development options, and recommended the following two-pronged platform for the Libra 2 project:
ETD/Open Access Repository Platform: Penn State University’s Sufia, as a core for a U.Va.-built Hydra/Fedora 4 solution.
Data Repository Platform: Harvard University’s Dataverse, hosted and administered by U.Va.