Library Resource Orlando recovers neglected Feminist Literary History

The Library online resource Orlando: Women’s Writing in the British Isles from the Beginnings to the Present is more than a collection of biographical and critical information on British women writers. Orlando is a born-digital project designed to recover a neglected feminist literary history that takes into account women’s writing not only in poetry, fiction, and drama but in other non-literary genres.

Orlando takes its name from Virginia Woolf’s satirical fantasy Orlando, a Biography (1928) about a poet who changes from man to woman and lives centuries, meeting key figures of English literary history and opening new possibilities for women writing in England from the time of Elizabeth I up to 1928. Woolf’s title character works at composing a poem “The Oak Tree,” which the Orlando project has adopted as a metaphor representing the branches of its encoded textbase that reach into a multiplicity of relevant subject areas, allowing users to create “histories (in the plural) … of the unsung many as well as the much sung few.”

The textbase begins with the Greek poet Sappho—whose lyric verse influenced 17th century women writers—and extends to writers of the present day. It has grown from nearly 50 volumes of readable text in 2006 to nearly 80 volumes—8 million words on 1,400 authors, adding contextual material from the fields of education, politics, science, the law, and economics.

Users may browse Orlando’s textbase or find answers to precise, complex questions by taking advantage of Orlando‘s markup system formed of thousands of multiply linked and dynamic portions of text which can be navigated, retrieved, and reordered in myriad ways.

UVA Today spotlights study of African Americans in photos from Library Holsinger Collection

Bill Hurley, Special Collections, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Va.

An article in UVA Today is featuring a collaboration between UVA history professor John Edwin Mason and Worthy Martin, director of the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities, to bring early 20th century photographic portraits of African Americans in the Library’s Holsinger Studio Collection to the public. A number of the nearly 500 photos of African Americans in the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library will be displayed in a series of events funded by an Arts & Sciences Diversity and Inclusion grant.

An outdoor display will adorn the barrier around the construction site of the Memorial to Enslaved Laborers, east of the Rotunda, and on Saturday, March 9, there will be a “Family Photo Day” at the Jefferson African American Heritage Center from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. People may come and view the photos and possibly give information about family and community members they may recognize—there are many photos for which there is little or no information.

The images, says Martin, “are so evocative, it really feels like someone is reaching through the camera to tell you who they are, and how they want to project themselves.” According to Mason, they bring “a new way of seeing Charlottesville and its history onto the landscape … providing context around where these people lived, where they worked and who they were.”

For more about the project, read the article “Snapshots of Local History, Displayed Anew” (UVA Today 3/6/2019).

UVA Today features Library exhibition “Encompassing Multitudes: The Song of Walt Whitman”

The latest edition of UVA Today features an article on the opening of the Library’s current exhibition “Encompassing Multitudes: The Song of Walt Whitman” in the main gallery of the Harrison Institute and Small Special Collections Library. The exhibition will run through July 27 to celebrate the bicentennial of Whitman’s birth on May 31, 1819.

Longtime Special Collections employee George Riser is the exhibition’s chief curator in a team that includes Stephen Cushman, Robert C. Taylor Professor of English; Lisa Russ Spaar, professor of English and director of the Creative Writing Program; Charlotte Hennessy, Library Ambassador at the University of Virginia; and Holly Robertson, UVA Library exhibitions coordinator.

Displays, drawn primarily from the Library’s Clifton Waller Barrett Library of American Literature, feature various editions of Leaves of Grass as well as Whitman’s handwritten versions of poems, anti-slavery essays, prose writings about Abraham Lincoln, letters and notes from when he served as a nurse during the Civil War, and his own Bible with the leaves that he pressed inside.

Also included in the exhibition are manuscript pages that Whitman wrote for the third edition of Leaves of Grass, poems published interspersed in a section called “Calamus,” “that when looked at in sequence tell of an unhappy love affair with a man.”  The manuscript pages are being displayed in sequence for the first time since the late UVA English professor Fredson Bowers discovered their relationship while researching Whitman’s manuscripts for the third edition.

Deborah McDowell, director of the Carter G. Woodson Institute and Alice Griffin Professor of English, joins the curators for a panel discussion at 5:00 p.m. in the Harrison/Small auditorium and will read from the preface to the first edition of Leaves of Grass.

For more about the Library exhibition, read the article “Walt Whitman at 200: Still ‘Encompassing Multitudes’ After All These Years” (UVA Today 3/4/2019).

Library Workshops offered for the month of March 2019

Please sign up for a Library workshop today. Courses are geared to every level of experience, to beginners as well as seasoned researchers, each taught by an expert in the field. Take advantage of information that can make your research extraordinary.

The Library will post about workshops each month here in Library News & Announcements, so keep checking, and visit the Library’s Facebook page every Monday to see the workshops being offered for that week.

Raspberry Pi—Learn the basics of using your Raspberry Pi to control electronic circuits. No experience with electronics or Raspberry Pi required for this workshop.

Organizing Your Research with ZoteroCapture, organize, search and share your research materials. Zotero can also interface with your word processing software, allowing you to drop footnotes, citations, and bibliographies into your written work, all with just a few clicks.

Intoduction to Git and GitHub/GitLab—We’ll cover how to fork a repository on GitHub/GitLab to your account, clone the repository to your local machine, and point it to the source repository. And we’ll practice GitHub/GitLab workflows. The use of GitHub and GitLab both require user accounts so please set yours up before the workshop at and

Qualtrics for Survey Research—Start developing and distributing surveys in Qualtrics, a powerful web-based survey tool available to all students, staff, and faculty at UVa. 

MS Word for Theses and Long Documents—If you plan on using Word for your next research paper, thesis, dissertation, or book manuscript, come to this session to learn tips and tricks that will save you time and headaches.

Information Design in Adobe Illustrator—Learn the foundations of Adobe Illustrator, a vector drawing tool for graphic design and illustration. We will dig into Illustrator’s core tools and techniques, and work through a series of practical examples to explore various features. 

Arduino—Go through the very basics of electricity, how to setup the Arduino, and building a first circuit; an LED nightlight.

Research Data Management Fundamentals—Overview of data management topics and practices, including file organization and formats, creating documentation and metadata, data security and backups, and data publishing and sharing.

Machine Learning in Python—This workshops highlights fundamentals of machine learning using the python package scikit-learn. The session will be hands on, so bring your laptops. This workshop assumes basic experience working with data in Python at the level of our Introduction to Python or Data Preparation in Python workshops.

Enjoy Spring Break with some great reads!

UVA students will soon be heading off for Spring Break. Whether somewhere sunny with friends or cozy at home, a good book might be in order. A few members of the Library Student Council have put together some recommendations for some Spring Break reading.

If the UVA Library copy of a title here is checked out (and there isn’t the time to wait for a Recall Request), you can always check the public library at your Spring Break destination. Start by clicking on the link for each book (below). Go to the section, “Find a copy in the library”, click on “Worldwide libraries own this item”, then enter your zip code. You will get a list of libraries with that book in order by distance.

The Black Maria: Poems

""by Aracelis Girmay

Submitted by Jontel A. (Class of ‘22)

Get Black Maria at the UVA Library | Find Black Maria through WorldCat

I learned about this through my Afro-Latinx Literature class, and my heart ached reading her poem based on Neil DeGrasse Tyson.  Girmay writes about identities of those who are part of the African diaspora, racism in American culture, and gives a spotlight to the experience of refugees.

""If Beale Street Could Talk

by James Baldwin

Submitted by Lauren P. (Class of ‘22)

Get Beale Street at the UVA Library | Find Beale Street on WorldCat

James Baldwin is one of my favorite authors, and you should read this before watching the Oscar-winning movie.


by Edward W. Said

Submitted by Haroon T. (Class of ‘20)

Get Orientalism at the UVA Library | Find Orientalism on WorldCat

What is “the Orient”? What may influence perceptions of “the Orient”? How can knowledge link to power? Read to find out!

Touching My Father’s Soul: A Sherpa’s Journey to the Top of Everest

by Jamling Tenzing Norgay with Broughton Coburn

Submitted by Karolina N.

Get Touching My Father’s Soul at the UVA Library | Find Touching My Father’s Soul on WorldCat

It is a fantastic story related to the Himalayan mountains, especially Mount Everest. The book describes the story of Norgay and his commitment to climb the top of Everest. As a Sherpa, he describes several dilemmas between his culture and westerns about the tourism in that region in Nepal. I liked Norgay’s reflections on spiritual life and his achievement to climb mountain Chomolungma or Mount Everest.

In Search of Respect: Selling Crack in el Barrio

by Philippe Bourgois

Submitted by Elise B. (Class of ‘20)

Get In Search of Respect at the UVA Library | Find In Search of Respect on WorldCat

A white anthropologist befriends cocaine dealers in East Harlem to see how their world works. It’s fascinating to see him gain their trust and get up close and personal with the violent world of drugs.

The Crying of Lot 49

by Thomas Pynchon

Submitted by Wooju L. (Class of ‘20)

Get The Crying of Lot 49 at the UVA Library  (or read eBook) | Find The Crying of Lot 49 on WorldCat

This short novel serves as a great introduction to Thomas Pynchon’s wonderful prose and fantastic storytelling. The story revolves around a Californian housewife who stumbles upon an underground mail-service conspiracy.

Northanger Abbey

by Jane Austen

Submitted by Jessica W. (Class of ‘22)

Get Northanger Abbey at the UVA Library (or read eBook or get DVD) | Find Northanger Abbey on WorldCat

A great spring break read is Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen because like the main character, you (possibly) will be off gallivanting in a new place on the hunt for a spring fling. Also, knowing some of you English majors out there, you probably have to read it anyways so might as well read it now as it so closely resembles a Tinder date. Swipe right on the dance floor and then find yourself in a fancy gothic castle, but as usual, nothing is at it seems… spring break guy or gal may seem perfect until you check Facebook and dive headfirst into some family drama… so yes, while some old school book may not seem like your first choice for a vacay beach read, you will be surprised to find how applicable it is. Best of all you can read it for free from the library and then watch the movie!

Submitted by Regina Carter and PJ Coleman, Library Student Council Co-Advisors.

Fair Use: Essential for audio & video analysis in the classroom and beyond

This week is Fair Use Week, a global celebration of our right to use in-copyright works for transformative, socially valuable new purposes like scholarship, criticism, and teaching. The UVA Library is celebrating this week by profiling some of the Wahoos who use fair use in their daily work, whether in teaching, research, or their own creativity.

Copyright grants rights holders a limited set of exclusive rights to control the use of their works as an incentive for creativity, but it also grants the public rights to use these works without seeking permission when the use is fair. Fair use is a flexible right that can accommodate a wide variety of activities, so it can adapt to changing technology as well as shifting social and economic circumstances. This balance ensures that copyrights don’t burden the very creative and educational processes they were meant to encourage.

Today we are profiling Sarah O’Brien, Assistant Professor, General Faculty, Writing Program, and Brandon Walsh, Head of Student Programs in the Scholars’ Lab, UVA Library.

Sarah O’Brien

Sarah O’Brien’s specialties include academic writing, film & television studies, and animal studies. On fair use, she says:

In teaching writing courses focused on film and television, I use an intertextual approach that encourages students to understand that citation can be much more than a strategy for adorning their prose or fortifying their arguments; it can be a way—the way, even—to generate ideas and share them in sustained conversation with other writers and creators. Fair Use is essential to all the kinds of writing that students do in my classes, from crafting analyses of advertisements for tv sets to composing shot-by-shot annotations of filmic moments to creating audiovisual essays that remix classical and contemporary movies. Fair Use allows for the educational use of copyright media that these projects demand; more importantly, it encourages student writers to think carefully about how they are commenting on, adding to, and/or transforming that media’s meanings.

Brandon Walsh

Brandon Walsh’s research focuses on modern and contemporary fiction. He remarks:

My dissertation was on sound recordings and modernist literature, which meant that I was citing a lot of sound artifacts in my writing. I wanted to cite sound clips and allow the reader to actually listen to them. Rather than just describing the way Langston Hughes read his poetry with Charles Mingus’s band, I wanted the reader to be able to hear it for themselves. Fair use allowed me to archive pieces of these sound recordings in our library repository along with my project so that readers could hear my argument as I intended it.

If you have questions about fair use, the Library can help both with access to materials for your fair use projects and with information about how your fair use rights might help your project move past copyright hurdles. For more information, check out

The Library offers Documentary film “Charlottesville” about events of August 2017

The University of Virginia Library has recently purchased the streaming rights to Paul Tait Roberts’ documentary film Charlottesville, about events leading to and following the deadly “Unite the Right Rally” of August 12, 2017. This collaboration between public television and the University of Virginia Center for Politics was featured in last year’s Virginia Film Festival and is now available in Virgo for viewing by the UVA community.

Roberts keeps the documentary spontaneous by not relying on a scripted narration, preferring to let the people who were involved in the events of August 2017 speak for themselves. You’ll hear from community members and students who chose to confront the racism that Director of the Center for Politics Larry Sabato calls “a national disgrace … a cancer growing on our Republic.”

The film opens with Religious Studies professor Jalane Schmidt giving historical background on the “lost cause” origins of Charlottesville’s Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson monuments that were reared to displace African American communities in the 1920s. The film then follows a train of recent events from Vice Mayor Wes Bellamy’s call for the Confederate statues to come down, to Mayor Michael Signer’s declaration of Charlottesville as “a capital of the resistance,” to white supremacist rallies in May and July 2017 that culminated in the torchlight invasion of the UVA Grounds by white supremacists on the night of August 11 and the violent rally next day at the Lee statue downtown.

Among the faculty, students, and community members sharing their recollections were “a Jewish woman of color,” who spent an anxious night in her room on the Lawn during the torchlight march, not knowing if she would become a target of violence, and friends of activist Heather Heyer who were close by when when a rally participant drove his car into a crowd, killing her and injuring many.

Seeing the film is an excellent way to gain appreciation for how perceptions of Charlottesville have changed since those turbulent events, perceptions that those who were there still struggle with. As Larry Sabato says of the Lawn in the aftermath of the torchlight demonstration, “I couldn’t believe it had happened, but I realized that I had seen the worst thing that had unfolded on the Lawn in my nearly half century here at the University of Virginia, and I knew it would be always remembered … Fortunately, they didn’t come back then. I think the fear is present that they will.”

Fair Use: Vital to Media Studies’ faculty and students alike

This week is Fair Use Week, a global celebration of our right to use in-copyright works for transformative, socially valuable new purposes like scholarship, criticism, and teaching. The UVA Library is celebrating this week by profiling some of the Wahoos who use fair use in their daily work, whether in teaching, research, or their own creativity.

Copyright grants rights holders a limited set of exclusive rights to control the use of their works as an incentive for creativity, but it also grants the public rights to use these works without seeking permission when the use is fair. Fair use is a flexible right that can accommodate a wide variety of activities, so it can adapt to changing technology as well as shifting social and economic circumstances. This balance ensures that copyrights don’t burden the very creative and educational processes they were meant to encourage.

Kevin Driscoll

Today we are profiling Lana Swartz and Kevin Driscoll, both Assistant Professors in the Department of Media Studies.

Driscoll’s research explores popular culture, political communication, and networked personal computing. He remarks:

For decades, we’ve stashed our cultural heritage on weird media, from punched cards and wax cylinders to magnetic tape and spinning disks. Recovering this material requires lots and lots of unauthorized copies. Without fair use, this research would be too risky, leaving us with a black hole where our digital history should have been.

Today, UVA students are reviving old computer programs printed in magazines, newsletters, and how-to books of the 1970s and 1980s. The self-taught programmers who wrote this code were among the first to bring computers into their homes and private lives. Re-running their code reveals traces of their values, interests, and commitments, helping us to see the computerized future they hoped to build.

Lana Swartz

Lana Swartz studies money and other media technologies. Of Fair Use, she says:

I study money technology, new and old, from the Diners’ Club card to Venmo. Advertising tells us a lot about who its makers imagined would use a technology, what they would use it for, and what their hope and concerns might be.

When payment cards debuted in the 1950s, they were used mostly by men for business purposes. Diners’ Club had work hard to convince women that they too might want a payment card, especially since most women would be denied an account if they didn’t apply in tandem with their husband.

Being able to use an image—rather than just describe it—is really essential to working with advertising, which has been a fundamentally visual medium for the 20th and 21st centuries.

 It’s perilous thing for cultural history to be locked up behind copyright. Fair Use is one of the most powerful tools scholars have. It make it possible for those of us who study technology and popular culture to do our work.

If you have questions about fair use, the Library can help both with access to materials for your fair use projects and with information about how your fair use rights might help your project move past copyright hurdles. For more information, check out

During Fair Use Week we’re be featuring members of the UVA community who use Fair Use in their daily work. Follow us on Twitter @UVALibrary or find us on Facebook for daily updates, and check back here for full profiles and more! 

Old Diners' club advertisement showing a glamorous women holding a credit card, surrounded by names of businesses

Student work deepens our understanding of Library use

This fall, Anthropology professor Ira Bashkow’s “How to do Ethnographic Research” course took a deep dive toward helping us understand Library use and, in particular, use of digital resources for reading and research.

Students worked in partnership with Library subject specialist Erin Pappas and, for one project, distributed survey cards to interview Library users. Their survey work will be used as part of Anthropologist Nancy Fried Foster’s participatory design project, which seeks to guide future Library decisions, including decisions made as part of the upcoming Alderman renovation.

Additionally, students conducted their own ethnographic research projects, which were presented in a poster session in Clemons Library. Students wrote blog posts about their experiences—some excerpts are highlighted below.

“Straight Facts, No Printer”

“Ew. No. I hate printing.” It was six o’clock on a Wednesday night, and I was exhausted. The words came out effortlessly, rejecting my professor’s idea that I focus on student printing habits for my project. His eyebrows furrowed. “That’s interesting. Why do you feel that way?”

Read more from “Straight Facts, No Printer” 

“Library Illiteracy”

[W]hat is it that keeps students from seeking out these physical resources available to them? Throughout my interviews and observations, it would seem it is a mixture of intimidation, inconvenience, and simply not knowing how to find the materials they need.

Read more from “Library Illiteracy”

“Print vs Digital Reading”

In contrast to what the literature says about student preferences, my findings show that students prefer [reading online and reading in print].  When I asked them why they preferred both, they agreed that what influenced their choices was the class format itself.

Read more from “Print vs Digital Reading”

“Top Three Reasons Why Students Read Online”

Students prefer online for its benefits of being searchable, accessible, and skimmable but only as it relates to research assignments. When it comes to reading for pleasure, even students prefer print.

Read more from “Three Reasons Why Students Read Online”

Visit Anthropology 2040: Ethnographic Research on Student Library Use and Digital Reading to view the full archive of student work.

Photos of poster session courtesy professor Ira Bashkow.

Poster: Are UVA students library illiterate? A student explains her poster to two visitors Two students with a poster Two students with a poster Journey or destination poster