Posted by: Hillary Corbett
Dan Cohen, Dean of the University Library, has penned an op-ed for The Atlantic about the value of digital collections, in response to the announcement that the Obama Presidential Library will comprise a digital collection, available online, as well as a physical research center in Chicago.
While some have responded negatively to this news, Cohen, who previously served as the founding executive director of the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA), argues in his essay that digital collections, which are certainly very familiar to most people in this era of smartphone photos and email, should not be considered somehow lesser than physical collections. He emphasizes that the digital Obama collection will be by its nature much more accessible than the physical libraries of previous presidents, because researchers will not need to travel to Chicago to make use of materials. As a result, the research potential of the Obama Library is likely as vast as the digital collection itself.
Dan Cohen also serves as Northeastern University’s Vice Provost for Information Collaboration and Professor of History.
Posted in: Library News
Posted by: Hillary Corbett
F. André Favat
In 1977, Northeastern University established an endowed fund to support the Library in the memory of F. André Favat, an associate professor of English education in the Department of Instruction. Dr. Favat had died the previous year at age 38. At the time of his death, Dr. Favat was also director of the National Council of Teachers of English and president of the Massachusetts Council of Teachers of English. The fund is designated for the purchase and preservation of books, primarily children’s literature and books on education.
Dr. Favat’s experience in curriculum development and the teaching of future educators led to the naming of the curriculum center at Northeastern as the Favat Center for Curriculum Materials and Children’s Literature. This center moved into Snell Library when the building opened in 1990. At a time when teacher education was a popular program of study at Northeastern, the Favat collection was used primarily by student teachers as well as students in a regularly offered children’s literature course. Longtime Library staff also recall parents browsing the collection for their kids, and children from Northeastern’s Call Childcare Center being brought for visits!
However, for some time now, the collection has included a significant number of young adult (YA) titles as well as books for younger readers. As the collection became used less for teaching purposes, we observed that it was being used more by our students, faculty, and staff for recreational reading. YA literature has become extremely popular reading material for adult readers as well as teens, as any Harry Potter or Katniss Everdeen fan would tell you. So, we decided to expand the collection name to the Favat Children’s & Young Adult Collection, in order to more accurately convey to our users what kind of books they might find there.
The historical children’s and young adult collection that now makes up a significant portion of the Favat Children’s & Young Adult Collection comes from the original curriculum center. The more current additions to the collection represent the best in children’s and YA literature through collection of the major American award-winning titles as well as a popular YA literature collection strong in fantasy, science fiction and modern young adult literature. The Favat Collection currently contains 10,226 titles—over the past five years, an average of 130 titles per year are added. It is managed by Janet Morrow, our Head of Resource and Discovery Services. Thank you to Janet for providing information about the Favat Collection, past and present, for this post!
Materials in the Favat Collection are located on the third floor of Snell Library. Some new materials may be shelved temporarily in The Hub on the first floor. The Archives and Special Collections also hold the papers of Dr. Favat.
Posted in: Collections, Library News, Read, Listen, Watch
Posted by: Debra Mandel
Note: This post originally appeared on July 30, 2018. We are reposting it today to highlight the official launch of the Holocaust Awareness Committee’s Digital Archive on April 2, 2019, during Northeastern University’s annual Holocaust and Genocide Awareness Week.
Commemorating History and Scholarship: Holocaust Awareness Committee’s Digital Archives
Public Launch on April 2, 2019
Raytheon Amphitheater 6:00 PM
The newly launched Holocaust Awareness Committee Archives digital repository site preserves and displays the rich history of Northeastern’s extraordinary commitment to Holocaust awareness and genocide prevention, as well as supports curriculum and research including courses in the Holocaust, Jewish and European history and public history.
Since 1977 Northeastern University has commemorated the Holocaust with a week-long series of events including lectures, performances and survivor talks to explore the history and memory of the Holocaust and to engage with students. Key elements of the Archives includes annual event programs and video recordings for: the Salomon Robert Morton lecture series with international scholars, activists and writers; the Philip N. Backstrom, Jr. Survivor Series of video recordings of 30 Holocaust survivors, [some who came multiple times to engage with members of the Northeastern community]; the Annual Commemoration/President’s Breakfast which includes lectures by Northeastern faculty and noteworthy scholars and Gideon Klein Scholar art, music and dance presentations by talented student awardees and a listing of the Bill Giessen film series titles shown since 1991. Original content for most of these resources resides in the Libraries’ Archives and Special Collections.
In addition, unique online exhibits explore the themes of religious commemoration, genocide awareness and prevention and faculty and student engagement.
This project was completed by Megan Barney, Laurel Leff, Debra Mandel, Kyra Millard and Jennifer Sartori. We are very grateful for the support of Jewish Studies: Lori Lefkovitz, Dov Waxman, and Deborah Levisohn; Northeastern University Libraries Archives and Special Collections: Giordana Mecagni and Molly Brown; the Digital Scholarship Group: Sarah Sweeney, Amanda Rust, and Megan Barney; and The Humanities Center: Ignacio J. Chaparro.
The collection can be accessed here: https://holocaustawarenessarchives.northeastern.edu/
For more information, contact Debra Mandel at email@example.com
Posted in: Archives and Special Collections, Library News
Posted by: Molly Brown
Last week, East Boston activist Mary Ellen Welch passed away. Welch, whose work and legacy are preserved in the Northeastern University Library’s Archives and Special Collections, was a vibrant and prolific activist in East Boston. Her advocacy centered around civil rights, education, environmental issues, open space creation and preservation, social justice, and transportation issues.
Welch’s work founded and affected many facets of East Boston’s neighborhood. Since the 1960s, she advocated for East Boston residents on issues surrounding waterfront development, affordable housing, public schools, and the expansion of the Massachusetts Port Authority’s Logan International Airport. She was a former teacher at Hugh R. O’Donnell Elementary School in East Boston and served on the board of directors for Neighborhood of Affordable Housing (NOAH), an organization which supports East Boston residents and communities with affordable housing strategies, environmental justice, community planning, leadership development, and economic development opportunities. She is also former head of the Friends of the East Boston Greenway and founding member of the group’s predecessor the East Boston Greenway Council. In addition, Welch worked with Airport Impact Relief, the East Boston Neighborhood Council, and the East Boston Area Planning Action Council. In 2000, Welch was awarded the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s Environmental Merit Award.
Photo by Gilbert E. Friedberg, Boston Globe
Welch’s friend and colleague, James Aloisi, offered a poignant tribute to Welch and her impact in Commonwealth Magazine. A portion is quoted below:
Photo by Charles Dixon, Boston Globe
“Mary Ellen’s brand of advocacy was tough and determined but she could open her arms wide and embrace the joy in every moment that she was making a difference. She was a happy warrior in the fight for housing and mobility equity and social justice. In an interview, she summarized her approach to advocacy this way: ‘People who are activists don’t give up. Usually their activism involves something that’s deeply inbred and people are committed to principles of justice that they want to achieve. The joy of creating a better neighborhood is very satisfying. There is a joy in making where you live a happy place, a sustainable place for others.’”
You can find further records of Welch’s determined activism in the East Boston Community News, held at Northeastern’s Archives and digitized and available in Northeastern’s Digital Repository Service. The name “Mary Ellen Welch” shows up in nearly every issue, evidencing her wide array of organizing for social justice and her vital role in East Boston.
Mary Ellen Welch’s papers are housed in the Northeastern University Library’s Archives and Special Collections. You can view the finding aid here. Come visit her collection to continue to activate the gift of her records for future generations.
Posted in: Archives and Special Collections, Community Engagement
Posted by: Amanda Rust
The Northeastern University Library’s Digital Scholarship Group (DSG) invites Northeastern faculty and staff to submit project proposals for new research projects using the CERES Exhibit Toolkit. We also welcome proposals for using CERES in classroom assignments. The deadline for proposals is April 19, 2019 for projects beginning in the fall of 2019.
CERES enables the creation of complex scholarly narratives and exhibits through websites that dynamically integrate images, text, video, and other digital materials into a range of page layouts and possibilities for contextualization, while keeping those base digital materials preserved in a long-lasting archive. Visit our projects page for a full list of sites and exhibits that have been built using CERES.
CERES is designed to be easy to use, and our goal is to empower you and members of your project to be self-sufficient. Accepted projects receive in-depth consultation and training, but we also expect project teams to provide labor for things like digitizing items or creating content for the website. Part of the proposal process will be discussing with you ways to find sources of labor, so please don’t let a current lack of labor be a barrier to application. If you already have work study or interns, that is a bonus.
CERES supports many different features and activities, including:
- Preservation and publication of long-term digital collections of primary source materials like documents, videos, letters, or interviews, such as the Holocaust Awareness Committee at Northeastern University or the Lower Roxbury Black History Project.
- Classroom assignments where students contribute exhibits (singly or in groups) to a long-term cumulative space persisting from year to year, such as Literature and Digital Diversity, or adding to an existing CERES project that invites thematic contributions, such as the Early Black Boston Digital Almanac.
- Exploration and integration of items from other existing digital collections, like the Digital Public Library of America, expanding a project’s ability to investigate concepts across collections.
- Creation of long-term online research portals and exhibits that couple contextual scholarly narratives with special interactive features like maps, timelines, or image carousels, such as Thoreau’s Journal Drawings or the Northeastern University History timeline.
Over the summer and fall, we will be making some major improvements to CERES and adding new features, including connections to additional data sources (like Europeana and Wikimedia Commons) and podcasting support, so projects can also be imagining how they might take advantage of those options.
Applicants will be notified by May 17, 2019, and we will schedule planning meetings in early summer. We are happy to meet with anyone interested in submitting a proposal to talk about possibilities. For more information, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Apply here: http://dsg.neu.edu/projects/new-projects/project-application. We look forward to working with you!
The Northeastern University Library’s Digital Scholarship Group is currently engaged in a long-term strategy to build a repository infrastructure that supports community engagement with digital materials: the Community Enhanced Repository for Engaged Scholarship (CERES). The CERES Exhibit Toolkit is a WordPress plugin and theme developed by the Digital Scholarship Group. This research and publishing platform will support what we have identified as the most common tasks in the digital humanities workspace: annotating, cataloging, text encoding, proofreading, transcribing, translating, and publishing. The end result will be a contributory and collaborative repository environment for many different types of users, which ideally will encourage community engagement with digital objects. The CERES Exhibit Toolkit is one component of this expanding repository infrastructure that will allow CERES project teams to easily publish their materials on the web. Read more here.
Posted in: Experiential Research Library, Library News