What Kind of Work is in IRis?

IRis is a digital archive that collects, manages, preserves, and shares the intellectual output and historical record of Northeastern University. It is a service of the University Libraries. To answer the question posed in my post title–one type of work that is in IRis are academic dissertations.  I studied English in college, and it’s still one of my big interests, so I took a look at the English Language and Literature materials that are listed in IRis. Today, I’d like to highlight the dissertation of Nichole DeWall of Northeastern’s English Department. Her 2008 dissertation is entitled ‘A Plague ‘O Both Your Houses’: Shakespeare and Early Modern Plague Writing, and as the title suggests, it concerns itself with the intersection of Shakespeare’s drama with the plague experience in the early modern era, and it particularly focuses on Romeo and Juliet and Coriolanus. Nichole’s dissertation is 205 pages, and as it’s in IRis, it’s indexed by Google, and easily shared with the world.  I really liked her initial list of questions, and I want to quote them here:
Moreover, my inquiry seeks to understand what kind of cultural and psychical work Shakespeare’s plays performed, both for himself and for his audience members. What was it about the plague experience that compelled Shakespeare to return to it in his works, despite how devastating it was to his creative and financial prospects to remind people of the disease? And what compelled his audience members to venture into the playhouses, despite the fact that these sites were thought to be uniquely capable of spreading the plague? How did the plays provide for Shakespeare and his audiences a language to know the unknowable, or communicate the unspeakable? How do we begin to think about literature in a way that recognizes the demands of trauma, yet still preserves, to some extent, the artist’s ability to make actively make aesthetic choices? These questions emerged as the ones most at stake as I moved within this project. In an attempt to understand the scope and nature of this particular traumatic event—the early modern bubonic plague—I worked with a sample of over 300 archival plague texts.”
You can read all of Nichole DeWall’s dissertation here.  After reading, I was a bit curious, and it looks like Nichole, after successfully earning her doctorate, is now an assistant professor of English at McKendree University in Illinois.

IRis at the Research and Scholarship Expo

Tomorrow, March 24, Northeastern is hosting the Research and Scholarship Expo in the Cabot Cage. It takes place from 11 am- 2:30 pm and is an exhibition and poster session for student and faculty research. Hillary Corbett, Scholarly Communications Librarian, will be representing the Library and sharing information about IRis, a digital archive that collects, manages, preserves, and shares the intellectual output and historical record of Northeastern University, in booth 142. The Library has recently implemented a new platform for IRis, Digital Commons, which offers enhanced options for publishing journals and other materials.  Hillary says, “Universities produce plenty of material that may not get published through traditional means. With the Digital Commons software, faculty can produce online journals, conference proceedings, e-books, and more. Northeastern University celebrates its global experience and outreach, and faculty and researchers will be able to leverage the openness of IRis to increase the global impact of their work.” Download a brochure about IRis here. Be sure and stop by Cabot on Wednesday, to see the Expo and visit Hillary!