2018

Northeastern University Library Receives Two National Endowment for the Humanities Grants

August 8th, 2018 – The National Endowment for the Humanities has awarded Northeastern University Library a $500,000 Infrastructure and Capacity-Building Challenge Grant. The funded project – Research Infrastructure for Digital Scholarship - will further propel Northeastern’s commitment to digital scholarship, the synthesis of archival materials and data, and experiential education. This challenge grant will expand the Library’s technical capacity through the creation of four new staff positions to undertake technical development, data design, and semantic data integration.

Northeastern University Library also received $197,000 from the NEH’s Institutes for Advanced Topics in the Digital Humanities program to support “Word Vectors for the Thoughtful Humanist: Institutes on Critical Teaching and Research with Vector Space Models”, a series of four three-day institutes that will explore the use of word embedding models for textual analysis.

Formed in 2013, The Library's Digital Scholarship Group has undertaken several important digital humanities projects, including Design for Diversity, Our Marathon, TAPAS, and the Women Writers Project. This challenge grant will continue to support these projects, as well as provide support for the recently announced Boston Research Center, which will be housed in Snell Library. The director of the Digital Scholarship Group, Julia Flanders, will provide leadership on both grants, and Sarah Connell is a co-director on the “Word Vectors” grant.

“In many ways these grants recognize and reward the great progress we’ve made over the past five years in establishing the Library as a significant research partner in the digital humanities at Northeastern, and affirm Northeastern’s status as a leader in this space” states Patrick Yott, Associate Dean for Digital Strategies and Services.

“We deeply appreciate this major support from the National Endowment for the Humanities, and are truly excited about the additional projects and overall capacity this funding will underwrite in the Library and across Northeastern,” said Dan Cohen, the Dean of the Libraries.

How one prolific Wikipedian is giving voice to pre-20th century women’s stories

This post was written by Cassidy Villeneuve on March 28th, 2018 and originally published on wikiedu.org As part of Women’s History Month, we’re looking at how our programs are helping to close Wikipedia’s gender gap. So far, we’ve featured work by students in our Classroom Program, who have improved Wikipedia’s coverage of women directorswomen in STEMwomen in academia, and more.
Visiting Scholar Rosie Stephenson-Goodknight. File:Rosie Stephenson-Goodknight.jpgVGrigas (WMF), CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons. 
This week, we’re profiling Rosie Stephenson-Goodknight, a prolific Wikipedian and a participant in our Visiting Scholars program, a program in which Wikipedians receive access to academic sources they wouldn’t otherwise be able to use. During her years as a Wikipedian, Rosie has created and improved thousands of articles and has uploaded hundreds of images to Wikimedia Commons. She has also co-founded projects like Women in Red, an on-Wikipedia group dedicated to increasing the site’s coverage of women and women’s history, and the Teahouse, a project to welcome newbies into the editing community. In 2016, she was named Wikipedian of the Year, along with Emily Temple-Wood, for her efforts to improve the world’s most popular online encyclopedic resource. When Rosie joined our Visiting Scholars program, she gained access to a number of new sources through Northeastern University. This new access to previously restricted materials “adds another dimension” to Rosie’s workflow, she tells us in an interview about what she’s accomplished through the position. Rosie has already made impressive progress since March of last year, as seen on the Dashboard. Through the position, Rosie is focusing on improving biographies of pre-20th century women writers in the English language (with the definition of “writer” broadly construed). At this point in her Visiting Scholars experience, Rosie has created 194 new articles on Wikipedia, most of which are biographies of these pre-20th century women, and has added nearly 500,000 words. She estimates that in all of her time as a Wikipedian, she has created hundreds of biography articles of women. So what motivates Rosie to dedicate valuable time and energy to improving this resource that we all use? As Rosie explains, it all starts with one woman: her maternal grandmother, a textbook editor in Serbia and co-founder and president of the Yugoslav Association of University Women. She wrote for a living and published a number of monographs, essays, translations, and books throughout her life. In a similar vein, Rosie’s mother was a poet who earned a bachelor’s degree in English literature from Barnard and spent time in Columbia’s journalism school. These women writers had a significant impact on Rosie and their stories have been an impetus for her journey into public scholarship. <br< Rosie’s motivation for improving Wikipedia’s coverage of women’s history is a personal one, and so it’s not surprising that she has personally connected with stories of women she has written about. When asked about particular articles that have been most meaningful to her, Rosie points to the life of Deolinda Rodríguez de Almeida. Deolinda is considered the mother of the Angolan revolution. She was an avid writer, translator, poet, and teacher. She dedicated her life to the Angolan Independence movement, and was tortured and killed for her involvement. “She was so bound to her cause, to her people,” Rosie remarks. “She traveled from Angola, she was in Brazil, she corresponded with Martin Luther King, Jr. She touched my heart. And to know that the last days of her life were so wronged just — she just sticks with me.”
Eunice Eloisae Gibbs Allyn, who has a biography article on Wikipedia thanks to Rosie. File:Eunice Eloisae Gibbs Allyn.png, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.
“Many of the women, their lives are important to me,” Rosie tells us. Eunice Eloisae Gibbs Allyn is another example; she was forced to write under a pen name (as were many women writers of this time) because her brother didn’t want to have a “bluestocking” in the family. By representing the lives and accomplishments of these women writers for Wikipedia’s worldwide audience, Rosie honors their names. While they were silenced in the past, we are not silent about them now. “Jane Doe, you deserve this,” Rosie says about the importance of writing these biography articles, “I know I can do it, and if I don’t do it, I don’t know who else is gonna do it.” There is an element of leadership inherent in the active Wikipedian role. Wikipedia encourages volunteers to “Be bold!” in their editing. And the site’s open-source nature puts the responsibility of maintaining its quality on volunteers. Part of what makes Wikipedia one of the most successful crowd-sourced knowledge projects to date is the avid commitment of editors like Rosie. Wikipedians rally to uphold Wikipedia’s purpose of benefiting readers everywhere by being the most comprehensive and accessible encyclopedia ever written. We’re proud to support dedicated Wikipedia editors like Rosie through our Visiting Scholars program. We look forward to following the impact that Rosie continues to make on the valuable resource that is Wikipedia.

IBA’s Festival Betances Celebration: July 21 & 22

 
This weekend, July 21 and 22, Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción (IBA, the Puerto Rican Tenants Association), whose papers reside in Northeastern’s Archives and Special Collections, will host their annual Festival Betances. This festival was named for Puerto Rican patriot Ramón Emeterio Betances, who was both a leader in political and medical developments in Puerto Rico, and is considered one of the leaders of the Puerto Rican independence movement. The festival takes place in the Betances plaza which is also dedicated to him. The festival celebrates the great diversity Latino/a culture and includes events and activities such as a parade, a greased pole competition, traditional food, music and art. [caption id="" align="alignleft" width="429"] Girls performing a dance at the Festival Betances.[/caption] [caption id="" align="alignright" width="422"] Ceramic tile mural on the Plaza Betances.[/caption]
 
                An important component of this year’s Festival Betances is lifting up the 50 years of activism and development accomplished by the residents and organizers within IBA. IBA was formed in 1968 by South End residents and activists in response to the Boston Redevelopment Authority’s (BRA) South End Urban Renewal plan. This plan which intended to tear down existing housing with newer, more expensive housing, and would have displaced over 2,000 Puerto Rican residents of the South End. IBA developed their own collaborative plan for renewal which would create affordable housing plan for affordable housing and services for their neighborhood. Villa Victoria, or Victory Village is the resulting development of this plan. Since the development, planning, and building of Villa Victoria IBA and residents have established Areyto, an arts and culture program, Escuelita Agüeybana, the first bilingual daycare of Massachusetts, and their community center, now named the Jorge Hernandez Cultural Center. For more information on the history of Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción and Villa Victoria visit the Northeastern University Archives and Special Collection’s portal for Latino/a history: https://latinohistory.library.northeastern.edu/home/about For more information on attending Festival Betances visit: http://www.ibaboston.org/festivalbetances/

Religion, Sex, and Politics: Taboo Subjects at the Hub

After displays about spaceships and dragons, Club Snell is tackling more serious and intriguing topics. “Religion, Sex, and Politics” takes on the difficult and often taboo subjects. We have material types ranging from books, graphic novels, memoirs, movies, to ebooks. So whether you’re looking for a light read or material for a paper, we have you covered!

Subjects range from anything like LBGTQ+ rights to Native American Memoirs. There’s a little bit of everything for everyone. In particular, we are highlighting our e-book Too Hot to Handle: A global history of sex education by Jonathan Zimmerman, the movie Loving, and the book The African Union: Autocracy, Diplomacy, and Peacebuilding in Africa.

We even have the movie Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Did you know that Jedism is considered a legitimate religion by the United States? Watch the movie and look for parallels with current world religions like you can find in the e-book Exploring Spiritualties in World Religions. If there’s tough questions or topics you’ve been wanting to read about, feel free to explore them at the Hub’s new display, "Religion, Sex, and Politics"



FayFoto archive acquired by Northeastern University Libraries’ Archives and Special Collections

A leading provider of commercial photography in the greater Boston area for over 80 years, FayFoto Boston provides photographs on assignment for corporate, business, and non-profit clients. The archive consists of over 7.5 million negatives from 1963 to 2006.   [caption id="attachment_274581" align="alignleft" width="260"] Daniel Lavoie, Collections Archivist, inspects the FayFoto archive before its move to Snell Library.[/caption] Steve Nelson, Partner at FayFoto Boston is excited that Northeastern University Libraries’ Archives and Special Collections agreed to preserve the collection. “FayFoto amassed tens of thousands of images over the course of many decades of providing photography to Boston's business and political communities” states Nelson. “As current owners of the business, we were acutely aware of two things: we weren't going to be able to care for the archive properly, and we lacked the resources and training to make this collection available to historians and other interested parties.”  

The photographs in the collection cover a wide range of subjects, including business head shots, architectural interiors and exteriors, corporate event coverage, industrial photography, and product still life. Though the collection primarily consists of historical Boston business photography, it also has a broader local and national historical significance including celebrities, politicians, events, and aerial photography.

 

[caption id="attachment_274582" align="alignleft" width="167"] John and Jackie Kennedy at a Hyannis Legislature party. From the FayFoto collection.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_274579" align="alignleft" width="167"] Aerial photograph of Boston, 1960. From the FayFoto collection.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_274580" align="alignleft" width="166"] Former Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis. From the FayFoto collection.[/caption]             “The FayFoto collection is an amazing pictorial ‘who’s who’ of Greater Boston businesses and government" notes Daniel Lavoie, Collections Archivist at Northeastern University. “The addition of this collection and the Boston Globe archive positions Northeastern as a leading repository for the photographic history of Greater Boston.” Northeastern University Libraries’ Archives and Special Collections plan on digitizing the collection, making it a valuable asset for the Boston Research Center at Snell Library.                            

“We at FayFoto are proud of the part we have played in documenting Boston's history, but the value of this time capsule would be lost if it stayed in boxes in our studio” Nelson remarks. “We are grateful that the conservators at Northeastern's Snell Library agreed to undertake the significant effort required to preserve this unique resource and make it accessible to others.”