Going Back to Go Forward—Jacqueline Battalora Explores Significance of the term “White People”

Why does a former Chicago cop think it’s important to know that the term “white people” didn’t exist in America as a matter of law until 1681? What social and economic forces in colonial America invented a category of human beings with rights denied to non-whites? And why does it still matter?

Come to the auditorium of the Harrison Institute and Small Special Collections Library on Wednesday, October 17, from 1:00 p.m.–2:00 p.m. and hear attorney, sociology professor, and former police officer Jacqueline Battalora explain in her lecture “Going Back to Go Forward: Where, when, how, and why the human category called ‘white people’ was first utilized.”

Please register here!

Doctor Battalora is the author of the book Birth of a White Nation: The Invention of White People and Its Relevance Today. She is an editor for the Journal of Understanding and Dismantling Privilege, has written numerous articles and appears in the documentaries “The American L.O.W.S.” by Darnley Hodge Jr. and “HAPI” by Gerard Grant.

Bibliographical Society of UVA Announces Battestin Fellowships for Grad Student Summer Research

The Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia is pleased to announce its seventh round of Battestin Fellowships, a program of summer fellowships in bibliographical and textual studies, named in honor of Martin Battestin, former Professor of English at UVA, and his wife Ruthe, a literary scholar and member of the Society’s Council. The fellowships are intended to support research in the collections of the UVA Library by UVA graduate students, with an emphasis on physical or textual bibliography. The Society is prepared to award up to five fellowships of $3,500 each for the summer of 2019.   

Proposals may concern books and documents in any field as long as the primary focus is the physical object (in whatever form) as historical evidence. Potential fellowship topics include studies in the history of book production, publication, distribution, reception, or reading; the history of collecting or bibliographical scholarship; and the tracing of a work’s textual history or the establishment of its text from the extant witnesses. Projects that incorporate the application of digital methodologies to the study of books and documents, and their texts, are also encouraged.

Please note: these fellowships do not support projects of enumerative bibliography (i.e., the preparation of lists).

The awards are limited to current UVA students; that is, students who will be continuing their graduate studies at UVA in the 2019 fall semester.

Students interested in applying for a Battestin Fellowship are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the profile and fellowship guidelines of the BSUVA.

Applications are due February 1, 2019, and should consist of the following:

  • an application
  • a project proposal of no more than 1,000 words
  • the applicant’s Curriculum Vitae
  • two signed letters of recommendation.

Questions about the Battestin Fellowships should be sent to Anne Ribble.

Winners will be announced at the Society’s Annual Meeting on March 22, 2019.

UVA Today Article Highlights Library Collaboration with The HistoryMakers Digital Archive

An article in UVA Today offers additional details about the Library’s efforts announced here to enhance the visibility of The HistoryMakers—the largest digital archive of oral African-American history in existence. The project, funded by a new $1,000,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, will be led by University Librarian John Unsworth, Mike Christel of Carnegie Mellon University, and Julieanna Richardson—Harvard graduate, lawyer, digital historian, and founder of The HistoryMakers.

Richardson set a goal of conducting 5,000 interviews with people from all walks of life, the famous and not-so-famous, encompassing what she calls “America’s Missing Stories” of African Americans’ contributions to the arts, to the military, to business, to the legal and healthcare professions, to architecture, engineering, and education.

The new grant will build upon work completed under a previous grant from the Mellon Foundation to Unsworth when he was at Brandeis. Those efforts resulted in increased discoverability in libraries’ catalog systems and a growth in the subscriber base from three to 50 institutions.

Efforts to include a Virgo catalog record for each individual interview, and to expand the reach of The HistoryMakers records, will involve the work of a dozen library faculty and staff members. UVA Library staff will use its NEH-funded mapping tool, Neatline, and Social Networks and Archival Context Cooperative (SNAC), also funded by the Mellon Foundation, to connect The HistoryMakers digital archive to holdings of other archives.

“Neatline will be used to map place-names that we can extract from the transcripts of The HistoryMakers’ interviews,” Unsworth explained, “and perhaps for creating exhibitions around those places using the timeline feature of Neatline, or with included text and graphics. We’ll also be publishing records to SNAC from The HistoryMakers, as a way of increasing the visibility of The HistoryMakers’ subjects,” he said.

Read more about the HistoryMakers project in the article “UVA Library to Enhance National Digital Archive of African-American Leaders” (UVA Today, 10/2/2018).

“A Summer in the Life of our City”—Photo Essay by Eze Amos in the C-ville Weekly

Anybody who’s seen photos taken by the Library’s Digital Production Technical Lead Eze Amos knows what a talented photographer he is. His work is regularly featured in C-ville Weekly and Edible Blue Ridge, and his images have been published by the Washington Post, CNN, AP, and Reuters.

On September 26, 2018 the C-ville Weekly featured Amos’ photo essay of a Charlottesville summer, mostly people on the downtown mall—kids, dogs, fiddle and guitar players, lovers, people alone, in groups, in bars, dining at cafes, living ordinary moments of a summer captured in time.

However, other photos tell of another summer in 1898 when a white mob savagely murdered a black man, John Henry James. Eze Amos and two other Library staffers—Resident Librarian Sony Prosper and Fine Arts evening manager Trayc Freeman—took to the road in July with other area residents on a Charlottesville pilgrimage to the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, AL. They carried part of Charlottesville with them: a jar of earth from the site where James was killed, to be added to the memorial’s monument to victims of lynching.

Images of the pilgrimage along with others of activities commemorating the deadly racial violence of August 12 a year ago emphasize how far Charlottesville has yet to travel from the violence of 1898.

For more on Eze Amos, check out the article on his photo exhibit “Eze Amos: Cville People Everyday.”

UVA Receives Mellon Grant to Advance The HistoryMakers Digital Archive

The University of Virginia (UVA) Library has launched a project to advance The HistoryMakers, the nation’s largest African American video oral history archive. UVA Library’s collaboration with the HistoryMakers, as well as with Carnegie Mellon University, is funded by a two-year $1,000,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to the University of Virginia. This effort will help to ensure that The HistoryMakers Digital Archive becomes a canonical research tool in the academic community.

Founded and led by Julieanna Richardson, the HistoryMakers is a national nonprofit educational organization committed to preserving, developing, and providing easy access to an internationally recognized digital archive of thousands of hours of video oral history interviews of African Americans.  Its mission is to document and mainstream African American life, history, and culture through the life stories of 5,000 African American leaders, both well-known and unsung, from a variety of disciplines. The HistoryMakers seeks to engage the world with the breadth and depth of the African American experience through wide-scale dissemination of these stories, use these stories to educate current and future generations, and preserve this collection for generations to come.

The HistoryMakers organization will collaborate with computer scientists at Carnegie Mellon University and librarians and archivists at UVA to improve the utility of their digital archive, increase faculty and student engagement with the collection, and explore strategies for connecting their records to those of other archives with relevant collections.  The project, titled The HistoryMakers in Higher Education, will be led by University Librarian John Unsworth of UVA, Julieanna Richardson, and Mike Christel of Carnegie Mellon University, and will involve the work of a dozen Library faculty and staff.  Among the goals of the project are to enhance The HistoryMakers Digital Archive by drawing on other Library projects including the NEH-funded Neatline geo-referencing tool, and Social Networks and Archival Context Cooperative, also funded by the Mellon Foundation, which will begin to connect The HistoryMakers Digital Archive to the holdings of other archives.

This grant will build upon work completed under a previous grant from the Mellon Foundation to Brandeis University, also led by Unsworth, which moved the HistoryMakers Digital Archive from outdated technology to a framework hosted in the cloud with an expanded feature set and much improved search capabilities.  It also resulted in increased discoverability in libraries’ catalog systems and a growth in the subscriber base from three to fifty institutions. This new grant will broaden these outreach efforts with the goal of increasing and deepening The HistoryMakers’ engagement with faculty, librarians, and students through programs that encourage use of the Digital Archive for teaching and research.

HathiTrust Research Center Extends Non-Consumptive Research Tools to Copyrighted Materials

Since 2011 the HathiTrust Research Center (HTRC) has been developing tools to promote “non-consumptive research” of its 4 billion pages of public domain material—University Librarian John Unsworth has long been a practitioner of text-mining. As a member of the HTRC Executive Management Group, Unsworth is part of the HTRC’s effort to encourage participation in the growing field of quantitative literary analysis that deals less with the meaning of individual works than with literary texts as collections of words. For instance, it may be instructive to know that bestsellers share an uncanny number of textual features.

Now, the HathiTrust is dramatically expanding the number of works available for non-consumptive research. With the updated release of HTRC Analytics, HTRC now provides access to its complete 16.7-million-item corpus for data mining and computational analysis, including items protected by copyright. The U.S. courts have recognized the solid legal basis for non-consumptive research of copyrighted materials. In 2016, HathiTrust established a working group to develop the Non-Consumptive Use Research Policy to ensure the responsible research use of copyrighted items. If you aren’t sure what sorts of research are non-consumptive, please contact Director of Information Policy Brandon Butler.

This extraordinary opportunity to use copyrighted materials for non-consumptive research is sustained by HathiTrust’s 140+ member libraries, including the UVA’s. You can access HTRC’s easy-to-use computational tools—some ideal for beginners, others more complex, to meet advanced data analysis needs:

  • HTRC Algorithms—a set of tools for assembling collections of digitized text from the HathiTrust corpus and performing text analysis on them. Including copyrighted items for ALL USERS.
  • Extracted Features Dataset—dataset allowing non-consumptive analysis on specific features extracted from the full text of the HathiTrust corpus. Including copyrighted items for ALL USERS.
  • HathiTrust+Bookworm—a tool for visualizing and analyzing word usage trends in the HathiTrust corpus. Including copyrighted items for ALL USERS.
  • HTRC Data Capsule—a secure computing environment for researcher-driven text analysis on the HathiTrust corpus. All users may access public domain items. Access to copyrighted items is available ONLY to member-affiliated researchers.

Emancipation in History and Memory: UVA Library Commemorates the Era of Emancipation

Beginning September 28, the Library will join with the Office of the Vice President and Chief Officer for Diversity and Equity, the President’s Commission on Slavery and the University, the Rotunda at the University of Virginia, the John L. Nau III Center for Civil War History, and the University of Virginia Bicentennial to commemorate the emancipation of enslaved African Americans at the close of the American Civil War.

Three documents on loan from a private collection—an authorized edition of the Emancipation Proclamation and a congressional copy of the 13th Amendment signed by Abraham Lincoln, and an autograph quotation “The Right to Personal Freedom” signed by renowned abolitionist leader Frederick Douglass—will be on display from September 28 through September 30 in the North Oval Room of the Rotunda, and from October 2 to October 22 in the 1st floor gallery of the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library. Other documents from Special Collections will be included in the Library exhibition.

Frederick Douglass, born into slavery, escaped to the North to become a tireless  advocate of personal freedom as a universal value: “Right is of no sex, age, country, color, or clime. The right to personal freedom is the most palpable of all other rights, as all rights depend upon the recognition of this right.” His autograph quote is one of the three rare documents coming to the University of Virginia that illuminate the legacies of the antislavery movement and of wartime abolition in American history.

Frederick Douglass autograph quote on display in the exhibition “Emancipation in History and Memory.”

President Abraham Lincoln, born into poverty, saw in the American Revolution and the Declaration of Independence a universal creed of human freedom that the Union should strive to realize. President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation 156 years ago this winter. Two years later, on March 3, 1865, Union troops arrived in Charlottesville and fulfilled the promise of emancipation for the enslaved community living in the city and at the University of Virginia.

There will be a reception at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, September 29 in the North Oval Room of the Rotunda, followed by a panel discussion, Emancipation in History and Memory, moderated by Associate Director of the Nau Center Elizabeth Varon, with guest scholars Edna Greene Medford and Richard S. Newman. Registration is required. Members of the Memorial to Enslaved Laborers design team, Meejin Yoon and Eto Otitigbe, will provide an update on design and construction.

For more on the exhibition, read the article “See a Rare Copy of the Emancipation Proclamation with Lincoln’s Signature at UVA” (UVA Today 10/4/2018). And for more about the world-wide anti-slavery movement, please visit the Library’s online resource Slavery and Anti-Slavery.

Introducing the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Software Preservation

The following is cross-posted from The Taper, the blog of Copyright and Information Policy at the UVA Library from Brandon Butler, Director of Information Policy.


I’m really excited about this. Today the Association of Research Libraries is publishing something I’ve been working on for a while now with a really wonderful team of facilitators and an amazing community of practitioners: the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Software Preservation. ARL has a detailed press release here, but I wanted to add a few of my own thoughts on the import of the document.

The Code was coordinated by ARL, is the result of a project funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and benefited immensely from being an Affiliated Project of the Software Preservation Network. I think the Code could be a game changer for a field where folks are already doing incredible work despite perceived legal uncertainty. I can’t wait to see what the software preservation community does with a better sense of its fair use rights.

TL;DR: The Code describes five situations where fair use can apply to software preservation activities, ranging from initial ingest and format migration all the way to facilitating research via networked access to software held across diverse groups of institutions and collections. Fair use is a flexible exception to copyright’s exclusive rights, and when fair use applies, you can use in-copyright material without seeking permission. These five situations were derived from a series of small group discussions with software preservation professionals, who deliberated together facilitated by fair use experts (yr humble narrator, plus Krista Cox of ARL, Peter Jaszi of American University Washington College of Law, and Patricia Aufderheide of American University). That consensus was then reviewed by a team of independent legal experts to ensure it was within a reasonable interpretation of fair use. The resulting Code can provide valuable guidance to fair use reasoning. Go get it, read it, share it, and let it open doors for your preservation practice!

Now, to back up a bit:

Why preserve software?

We embarked on this project because software preservation is going to be a crucial part of cultural preservation for the foreseeable future. It seems like a bold statement, but I think it’s fair for two reasons. First, our culture is increasingly digital: images, texts, music, design, art, business archives, and personal “papers,” all are likely to be stored in digital 1s and 0s that can’t be understood directly by a human reader. We need a computer to translate digital files into a form we can understand, and that computer in turn needs the right software. And while some tools exist to extract text and other information from old files, to render a digital file faithfully will often require original software.

Second, software is itself worthy of study. Historians of science, anthropologists, computer scientists, literary scholars, and an ever-growing list of disciplines have found studying software a valuable part of their research. Libraries and archives support this research by building and preserving collections of software.

So far so good, but..

A specter has haunted software preservation

And that specter is copyright. It rears its head over and over, in articles and reports on software and digital preservation. Experts and roundtables and working groups have developed wonderful resources and made compelling theoretical, social, and technical interventions, but again and again they include a caveat that the copyright implications of any given course of preservation action remain unclear. Our first phase report, based on interviews with 40 practitioners, confirmed that the concerns discussed in the literature are widely shared in the profession.

Gathering Momentum

This is a really exciting time to be involved in software preservation. First, the technology has never been more powerful. Emulation, which makes it possible to run legacy software on contemporary hardware, is increasingly sophisticated, and Emulation-as-a-Service can make emulation widely distributed and much easier to use. This technology dramatically lowers barriers to research, teaching, and learning with and about old files and old software.

Second, and more importantly, the community of software preservation professionals is working together more deliberately to leverage unevenly distributed resources and expertise, to share tools, best practices, data, and lessons learned. As members of the community speak more and more publicly about the work they do, and contemplate working together on more ambitious projects, it becomes increasingly important that they understand the legal rules that affect their practice.

Enter the Code

That’s why I’m so excited about the Code we’re publishing today. Based on a series of discussions with librarians, archivists, curators, and others working on software preservation, the Code describes five situations where fair use applies to important software preservation activities:

  1. Accessioning, stabilizing, evaluating, and describing digital objects—including creating multiple disk images from original media, documenting original packaging and other materials associated with software, and running software in order to describe it.
  2. Documenting software in operation, and making that documentation available, e.g., using screen captures and video.
  3. Providing controlled access to software for use in research, teaching, and learning.
  4. Providing broader networked access to software maintained and shared across multiple collections or institutions.
  5. Preserving files expressed in source code and other pre-compiled human-readable formats.

It also includes substantial context on the process that generated the code, its scope, an epilogue on the future of software preservation, and two appendices that address licensing and DRM, issues related to fair use but with their own important impacts on software preservation.

For more than a decade, fair use best practices have been helping practice communities stake out territory where they need their fair use rights in order to do work at the core of their mission. Peter Jaszi and Pat Aufderheide developed the first code of best practices in collaboration with the documentary filmmaker community, who found they were systematically shying away from certain subjects and approaches out of copyright fear. Jaszi and Aufderheide then facilitated discussions among the filmmakers to develop a consensus around fair use that would give them solutions to recurring problems, and the courage and solidarity to move forward. The results are documented in their excellent book, but suffice to say: the floodgates opened.

I don’t know if today’s release of the Best Practices in Fair Use for Software Preservation will have an effect that swift or dramatic. But I am excited to see what happens next.

– Brandon Butler, Director of Information Policy, University of Virginia Library

The Library is Now Streaming Theater Productions of Shakespeare from the Globe in London!

Thanks to the late actor and director Sam Wannamaker whose Globe Trust oversaw construction of an authentic Elizabethan playhouse across the road from the site of Shakespeare’s Globe in London, audiences don’t have to time-travel 4 centuries to see Shakespeare’s work staged in the proper surroundings.

And now, thanks to the Library’s subscription to Shakespeare’s Globe on Screen and Shakespeare’s Globe on Screen 2, UVA faculty and students don’t have to travel to England to see a Globe production. The Library is offering a streaming service that features 21 of the Bard’s 37 canonical plays recorded live at Shakespeare’s Globe, along with others by Christopher Marlowe, John Webster, Ben Jonson, and Richard Brinsley Sheridan.

Part 1 of Shakespeare’s Globe on Screen features recordings from 2008–2015, and part 2 the most recent recordings from 2016–18, made available to UVA by Drama Online—a database of dramatic works extending from the present day to ancient Greece.

The 55 hours of Shakespeare in HD with surround sound are presented free over UVA’s wireless network with captions for the hearing-impaired and with searchable transcripts you can follow during the play. The productions feature critically acclaimed performances from leading actors including Academy Award winner Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies) and Roger Allam in his Olivier award-winning role as Falstaff in Henry IV pts.1 & 2.

If you’ve just been introduced to Shakespeare in class, or if you’re a student of the dramatic arts, Shakespeare’s Globe on Screen is a place you can go besides the assign texts to broaden your knowledge of Shakespeare, Elizabethan drama, and theatrical staging.

Please check the list of new Library online resources. It’s updated daily!

UVA Library Is Teaming with JMRL to Digitize Local Home Movies and Curate a Screening for Home Movie Day 2018

The University of Virginia Library and Jefferson-Madison Regional Library (JMRL) Central branch are preparing to celebrate Home Movie Day 2018 on Saturday, October 20.

Home Movie Day events are held worldwide every year to celebrate the stories and memories captured by amateur film, as well as to advocate for film care and preservation. These events provide the opportunity for individuals and families to see and share their own home movies with an audience of their community.

Charlottesville’s Main Street circa 1939, a still from the Ralph W. Feil Home Movies held at the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library

Charlottesville’s Main Street circa 1939, a still from the Ralph W. Feil Home Movies held at the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library

The Library will present a curated screening of film footage submitted by the community, along with selections from home movie found in the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library. This screening is free and open to the public and will be held on October 20th from 5-7 pm at the Vinegar Hill Theatre at 220 W Market St, Charlottesville.

Do you have home movies that could use some care? From now through October 14, a free digitization drop-off service will be offered for up to 3 reels of home movies (16mm, 8mm, or Super-8 motion picture film only).

You can drop off your film at the JMRL Central branch through October 14, or at one of the two Home Movie Digitization Workshops:
CROZET LIBRARY— Wednesday, October 3, 2018, 6:30 – 8:30 pm
NORTHSIDE LIBRARY— Tuesday, October 2, 2018, 1:30 – 3:30PM

Submitted films will be cleaned and digitized (condition permitting) by preservation professionals at the Library and returned to the patron as a digital file. Any film footage submitted may be used as part of the October 20th screening event, but will not otherwise be retained.

Questions about the digitization drop-off service? Email Audiovisual Conservator Steven Villereal: steev@virginia.edu