research

Lawsuit Against the MBTA for Unlawful Censorship of Condom Campaign Ads

Did you know that in 1994, the AIDS Action Committee sued the MBTA for unlawful censorship of a subway campaign featuring the use of condoms?  Seems hard to believe, but you can read all about it in our Archives and Special Collections, which has received a donation of new material from former AIDS Action Committee Director Thomas McNaught (1991-1996).

This donation adds to the existing AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts Records in the Northeastern University Archives and Special Collections.

While processing the new materials I noticed the photo of Captain B. Careful on the Boston Common. It stood out  for a few reasons. His sheer ingenuity for costume design. The huge smile on his face even though it was noticeably cold outside.

Captain B. Careful, Condom Campaign. AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts, Inc. (M61, Box 42, Folder 14.)

Less tangibly his image stood out to me because he symbolizes a continuity in Boston’s legacy of advocating for the power of knowledge and striving toward equal rights and opportunity for all. 

In 1992,  AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts (AAC)  introduced New England’s first public service television AIDS prevention campaign directed at gay men.

They also launched the United States’ first statewide transit campaign for AIDS awareness by placing condom posters on 437 buses throughout Massachusetts ultimately leading to a legal battle with the MBTA.

Highlights of the collection include:

  • photographs and press
  • outreach material regarding the condom campaign
  • materials on the AAC’s education and prevention campaigns
  • documentation regarding the AAC’s lawsuit against the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) for unlawful censorship of a subway campaign featuring the use of condoms in 1994

Faculty: We’ve Updated Our Guide to Creating Article Links for Blackboard!

It’s that time of year again… you’re thinking about your syllabus for the spring semester! Linking to articles and e-book chapters on Blackboard is a great way to help your students save money on classpacks. It’s also a good way to stay in compliance with copyright law. Check out our guide to help you find and create permalinks to articles and e-books in library databases – links that will persist over time and are best for including in an online reading list. We’ve recently updated our guide because creating permalinks is now so much easier – you can do it right within Scholar OneSearch!

Our Marathon: The Boston Bombing Digital Archive – WBUR Oral History Project Announces Lesson Plans

In the wake of the events that occurred on April 15, 2013 at the 117th Boston Marathon and on April 19, 2013 in Watertown, Northeastern University English Professor Elizabeth Maddock Dillon and Assistant Professor Ryan Cordell recognized the obvious need for a space where people could tell and share their stories with each other.  They believed that sharing stories from survivors, families, witnesses, visitors to the city, and everyone around the world touched by the event will speed the healing process, and wanted to create that space as a gift to the community. Together, they established the Our Marathon: The Boston Bombing Digital Archive, a crowd-sourced, digital archive of pictures, videos, stories, and social media related to the Boston Marathon bombing.  Thus far, they have acquired an archive of almost 10,000 items, 3 interactive exhibits, and 3 major collections.

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[April 21, 2013, from the Public Submissions collection]

This summer, I contributed to this remarkable endeavor as a Simmons School of Library and Information Science (SLIS) graduate summer intern sponsored by the Northeastern University Archives and Special Collections Department and supported by the Project Co-Director James McGrath. In addition to exhibit building and social media, the main task of my internship was to create lesson plans for schoolroom use. Because children were affected by this crisis as well, the team at Our Marathon thought it would help the healing process for children to use the Our Marathon archives—to remember and share stories in the safety of their own classrooms.  Additionally, it can be difficult for teachers to navigate the complex questions young students ask and a resource like the digital archive can work as a great tool to facilitate age appropriate discussion. To that end, I helped create a Teaching Resources page for Our Marathon. This page showcases five lesson plans for Kindergarten through Grade 12 that utilize Letters to the City of Boston and The Copley Square Memorial collections,  and the WBUR Oral History Project as the basis for a teaching unit. These lesson plans are designed to demonstrate mastery of grade and subject appropriate Common Core Standards. Hopefully, these assignments will generate more student submissions to the archive as well as create a platform for an important dialogue amongst students and teachers. I look forward to reading about their experiences in the Our Marathon archives.

Celebrate Open Access Week With Us! Oct. 20-26, 2014

Open Access Week Are you: …a scientist hoping to maximize the audience for your research? …a student who’s tried to access a journal article through Google and hit a paywall? …an early career researcher concerned about establishing your scholarly reputation? …a taxpayer who wants to be able to access government-funded health research? If so, then Open Access is relevant to you! This week, Snell Library is celebrating International Open Access Week, which highlights the importance of expanding access to research on a global scale. Open Access Week is an international event now in its eighth year – its purpose is to raise awareness about inequities in access to information and promote change in the publishing industry. Traditionally, researchers access information they need through a personal subscription, buying a book, or accessing information through a library. But what if your library doesn’t have a subscription? Or, what happens when you graduate? Or, what about researchers in developing countries where the costs of access are out of reach? (Journal subscriptions can cost thousands of dollars.) These are some of the reasons why opening access to research is important. The theme of International Open Access Week this year is “Generation Open” – highlighting the importance of students and early career researchers as advocates for change. Snell Library has several events planned to celebrate OA Week; given the theme this year, I’m very pleased that for the first time, one of our events features a Northeastern student’s work! And be sure to stop by our table in the lobby of Snell every day this week (11:30-1:30) to learn more and pick up a totebag, laser-cut bookmark, or pen! Schedule of Events Monday, October 20 3:00 pm-4:30 pm 90 SL Webcast: “Generation Open” Panel Discussion Speakers will discuss the importance of students and early career researchers in the transition to Open Access and explore how changes in scholarly publishing affect scholars and researchers at different stages of their careers. Refreshments will be served. Wednesday, October 22 3:30 pm-8:30 pm Digital Scholarship Commons (211 SL) Wikipedia Edit-a-thon Join us to improve Wikipedia’s coverage of under-represented groups in Massachusetts and U.S. history. This hack-a-thon style session will focus on editing and updating Wikipedia pages in a group setting. Participants do not need any prior experience with Wikipedia, just bring a laptop and a power supply. Refreshments will be served. Thursday, October 23 12:00 pm-1:00 pm DMC 3D Printing Studio 3D Printing Presentation: Andreas Aghamianz Northeastern student Andreas Aghamianz (COE ’18) will discuss the process of fabricating and assembling his open-sourced inMoov robotic hand. Thursday, October 23 2:00 pm-3:00 pm 90 SL Webcast: The Right Metrics for Generation Open Stacy Konkiel of Impactstory presents a guide to getting credit for practicing open science. Refreshments will be served.

Research in the Archives: Ashley Brewer

The following is a guest post from Ashley Brewer ’18, a double major in History and English. Last semester [Fall, 2013], as the final paper for my history course on Dissent in Modern America, I drew up a research proposal on the historic impact of bisexuals on the Gay Rights Movement. I structured this paper around the Bisexual Resource Center collection in Snell Library’s Archives and Special Collections department, partly because of how exhaustive and thorough it was as a source, but also because finding research on the history of the bisexual community was almost impossible. I was surprised to discover that the concept of bisexual erasure extended to the academic community as well; many of the few existing sources were merely self-help guides or scientific studies, with barely a footnote on the subject of the community’s history. Without Northeastern’s Archives, I would not have been able to write my paper at all. The archive collection itself was received from the Bisexual Resource Center in 2005 and 2007, and consists of 11.5 cubic feet of conference minutes, pamphlets, newspaper clippings, articles, publications, survey results, and, my personal favorite, an extensive scrapbook of the 1993 March on Washington. The documents are not restricted to BRC records but rather cover a wide range of organizations and publications, and one pamphlet in particular details the history of the bisexual community more clearly and concisely than any of the other sources I was able to find. The Archives staff was enthusiastic and extremely helpful, and for future projects I will definitely check there first before venturing over to the Boston Public Library. I cannot begin to express how incredibly essential Snell Library’s Archives and Special Collections department was to my research, and I highly encourage others to take a look and see what they have to offer.