Design for Diversity Project Releases Toolkit for Inclusive Information Systems

Design for Diversity logo The Design for Diversity project team is excited to announce the Design for Diversity Toolkit. The Design for Diversity initiative, supported by an IMLS National Forums Grant, is based in the Digital Scholarship Group at the Northeastern University Library. It focuses on the ways in which information systems embody and reinforce cultural norms, and asks how we might design systems that account for diverse cultural materials and ways of knowing. Both the Toolkit and the final grant report (forthcoming) provide samples of the different kinds of information, actions, and next steps that can help achieve more equitable information systems in libraries, museums, and archives.

The Toolkit itself is a prototype collection of learning resources and strategies, designed to explore methods for empowering cultural heritage practitioners advocating for more inclusive information systems. These resources, gathered between 2016 and 2018, can be used in a classroom, professional development workshop, or workplace task force or study group. The Toolkit serves as an example of how libraries, archives, and museums might educate and organize for change.

The grant team commissioned two forms of original writing for the Toolkit: case studies and study paths. (We are deeply grateful to our case study and study path authors.) Case studies are specific analyses of information and computer systems, using inclusivity as a frame. Study paths combine those case studies with readings and a learning activity to animate the Toolkit, giving learners a way to engage with the ideas; for example, through performing a detailed analysis of systems at their workplace. These case studies and study paths are brought together with a selection of impactful readings and videos focused on inclusive information systems and categorized into major topics.

The members of the grant team are eager to receive feedback, which may be provided via Twitter, email, or the Toolkit website. Over the coming weeks and months the team will be promoting the Toolkit on Twitter; follow @Des4Div for the latest updates.

The Design for Diversity Team, 2016-2019: Des Alaniz, Mattie Clear, Julia Flanders, Nancy Loi, Cara Marta Messina, Amanda Rust, Sarah Sweeney

This project is made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services [LG-73-16-0126-16]. The views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed here do not necessarily represent those of the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

100,000 public items available in the DRS!

The 100,000th publicly available file in the Digital Repository Service was deposited in July: a dissertation from the English Department titled Women Writing Racelessness: Performativity And Racial Absence In Twentieth Century Women's Writing, by Sarah Payne. This milestone was achieved through the library's and the university's commitment to supporting open access to the scholarly output of the university, as well as to the archival artifacts that document the university's history.

Many of the 100,000 public files are discoverable through Google and other search engines, as well as portals like the Digital Commonwealth and the Digital Public Library of America, which are designed to bring together digitized materials from various sources. Thanks to the openness of these materials, the DRS averages more than 2,000 unique visitors and more than 3,600 file interactions each day. Public materials stored in the DRS have been cited by regional and national news organizations, including the New York Times and WBUR, as well as in Reddit discussions and Wikipedia articles.

Here are a few digital collections for you to explore:

The DRS will continue to grow as Northeastern faculty, staff, and students continue to produce articles, images, research, and artifacts that represent the tremendous work happening at the university. Faculty and staff are welcome to sign in to the DRS and upload their own research publications, presentations, monographs, and datasets at their leisure. To get started uploading lots of materials for large projects, contact your subject librarian or the library's Repository Team: Library-Repository-Team[@]neu.edu.

A Bird’s Eye View (and More) of the Big Dig

Map of Boston showing the different sections of road construction. The Central Artery is highlighted in yellow. The Central Artery/Tunnel project, also known as the “Big Dig,” was a mega-project intended to alleviate traffic congestion on the I-93 elevated highway. This was accomplished by building an underground highway that included links to Logan Airport and new bridges crossing the Charles River. We have several collections in the Northeastern University Archives and Special Collections that document various aspects of this construction from community activism to engineering. The newest of these collections is the John “Jack” M. Quinlan Central Artery/Tunnel Project Photographs.

Quinlan was the Director of Public Affairs for the Big Dig project from 1997-2003. It was his job to update the public on the project’s progress. He sent his staff up in helicopters as often as every two months to document the ever-changing landscape of the Big Dig construction. He then used these aerial photographs—along with additional photographs of other aspects of construction, graphics, and models—to put together presentations. These presentations were given to different audiences like business companies, law firms, and school groups.

Aerial of Logan International Airport with colored overlay showing future Interstate 90 airport traffic routes.  Cross section graphic showing the street level, MBTA transit way, an Northbound Central Artery tunnel.

With over 500 photographs in the collection, these photographs show a wide range of views of the Big Dig, from wide aerials and close up tunnel shots of construction to design graphics and models of construction. All items are digitized and available to view in Northeastern University’s Digital Repository Service.

Underground tunnel with center column separating Interstate 90 and Interstate 93 ramps.  Aerial view of Charles River crossing with partially constructed bridge.

Getting to Know the Boston Globe Library Collection: Inside the Box

The Boston Globe Library Collection has significantly expanded the Northeastern University Library's Boston-focused social justice and community collections in its Archives and Special Collections. 4,376 boxes comprise over a million photographs, over five million negatives of unprinted photographs, and 119 years of newspaper clippings from the Globe, the Boston Herald, the Boston Phoenix, and other area and national newspapers. Today, this vast collection of visual and textual resources is open to all researchers, whose interests may range widely—from Red Sox scores and legislative debates to Melnea Cass’s relentless pursuit of racial and economic justice.

The collection of the Boston Globe Library is broken down into four parts: Newspaper Clippings, Microfilm, Print Photographs, and Negative Photographs. While researchers can access each part individually, all components of the collection can complement the different approaches to a research question. For instance, those interested in the history of school desegregation can use the print photographs study to how the first day of bussing was covered visually in the Boston Globe; the negatives to see all of the shots the photographers took, including the ones that were published; and the newspaper clippings to research the range of reporting on Boston Public Schools, desegregation, and the Boston School Committee.

Front and back of a photograph from the Print Photographs collection:

Researching with our Special Collections and the Boston Globe Library collection in tandem will enrich any telling of the history of Boston. In a series of upcoming posts we’ll share the many ways that research and rich experiential learning can be accomplished using the Boston Globe Library Collection. To find out more in the meantime, visit the finding aid here.

If you have any questions or would like to begin researching in the Boston Globe Library Collection please contact us at archives@northeastern.edu or 617-373-2351.

Summer Building Projects at Snell Library

Construction of Snell Library, 1988This summer, several important projects will bring improvements to Snell Library.

Roof Replacement

Snell Library is turning 30 years old next year, and it's time for its roof and skylight to be replaced. Work has begun this week on the first phase of this project, which involves constructing scaffolding around the entire building. As part of the scaffolding construction, a crane will be placed in front of Snell Library on Saturday, June 8, and Sunday, June 9. As needed during this phase, signage will be posted to redirect traffic around the work zone and into the building. The second phase of the roof project involves parking a large vacuum truck on the service road between the Library and the train tracks. This truck will be used to vacuum all of the river stone off the roof, exposing the roof lining below, which will be replaced. Vacuum work will happen from 6:00 AM to 2:00 PM every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday for several weeks at the outset of the project. Conducting this work on Fridays is critical for the entire roof replacement to be completed in time for the Fall semester. We anticipate this work may be noisy in some parts of the building, depending on what part of the roof is being worked on. Subsequent phases include replacing the building's skylight and installing new rooftop HVAC (heating/ventilation/air conditioning) units. Specific schedules for these phases are still being planned and are dependent on the availability of materials. The skylight replacement will eventually require the construction of temporary safety walls inside the Library on the 3rd and 4th floor areas immediately below the skylight. Further details about this phase of work will be forthcoming.

 

MORE RESTROOMS!

That's right—we're adding restrooms on the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th floors! The construction zones will be in the same location on each of those floors, directly across from the service elevator. While the 2nd floor work will mainly impact staff work areas, a small section of study space on the 3rd and 4th floors will need to be blocked off during the restroom construction. Temporary walls will be installed on all three floors between Friday, June 7 and Wednesday, June 12. Work within these construction areas will begin on or around June 20. Once the new restrooms are fully operational in the Fall, the existing restrooms will be renovated.

 

New Furniture on the 1st Floor

In the second half of the summer, most of the seating on the 1st floor will be replaced. We have been working with Campus Planning and Steelcase to select and purchase 333 new chairs, 8 new couches for the Hub and 11 new tables. We will also be developing an improved cleaning regimen for this new furniture as well as all furniture throughout the building.   As with any renovation, there will be a lot more noise in the building this summer than usual, but we'll work to ensure that Library users are given advance notice of any disruptions. (We'll also have earplugs available at the Help and Information Desk!)   Thanks to our Facilities Specialist, Ethan Bren, for providing the details in this post.