CLIR Issues Number 82
Number 82 • July/August 2011
ISSN 1944-7639 (online version)
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A new publication from CLIR examines the use of digital technologies in classical studies, focusing on classical Greece, Rome, and the ancient Middle and Near East. Titled “Rome Wasn’t Digitized in a Day”: Building a Cyberinfrastructure for Digital Classicists, the report was written by Alison Babeu, digital librarian and research coordinator for the Perseus Project. It is available in electronic format only at https://clir.wordpress.clir.org/pubs/abstract/pub150abst.html.
The 300-page report explores recent projects in the digital classics—broadly defined as the use of digital technologies in any field related to the study of classical antiquity—and how these projects are used. It also examines the infrastructure that supports digital classics as a discipline and investigates larger humanities cyberinfrastructure projects and existing tools or services that might be repurposed for the digital classics.
The overview amply illustrates how digital technologies are enabling scholars in classical studies to gain new understanding from historical sources. Among the notable developments is the reconceptualization of the “text.” In a foreword to the report, CLIR President Charles Henry writes that “as recently as a generation ago, the ‘text’ in classics was most often defined as a definitive edition, a printed artifact that was by nature static, usually edited by a single scholar, and representing a compilation and collation of several extant variations. Today, through the power and fluidity of digital tools, a text can mean something very different: there may be no canonical artifact, but instead a dataset of its many variations, with none accorded primary. A work of ancient literature is now more often deeply contextualized, its transmission over time more nuanced, and its continuity among the various instantiations more accurately articulated.”
Digital technologies facilitate scholarship that is increasingly collaborative and cross-disciplinary—themes that are echoed in the author’s overview of projects. Yet the issues and perspectives to which the study gives voice pertain beyond the digital classics to the humanities at large. They will be central to planning for a digital environment that supports advanced research, teaching, and lifelong learning in all areas.
by Julie Kane
It was a reach, and I thought it was a mistake.
To clarify: I thought I was a mistake—that my selection, admission, and scholarship to the Frye Class of 2011 were administrative errors. I hadn’t applied thinking acceptance was impossible, nor had I wanted to waste the time of those whose assistance I had enlisted to support my application, but I knew it was a professional stretch. Frye was exceptionally tantalizing in what it could offer, and in what it might be able to pull from me to offer others. I wanted that, and I thought I might be ready. I might be.
Frye, which launched a new curriculum this year, is a weeklong immersive leadership institute meant to foster collaboration for transformative change and engagement in higher education. I was among the 22 individuals chosen to participate in this year’s institute, which took place June 5-10 at the Emory Conference Center in Atlanta, Georgia. My recollection of the week’s activities is somewhat jumbled, save for the standout moments, which are seared in my memory. I distinctly remember conversations I had with my new, now close friends, as we hurriedly bonded while grabbing snacks, taking walks, having drinks, completing group exercises, eating meals, and taking tours. I don’t remember every lecture in great detail, but I knew I wouldn’t: I took copious notes so I could go back. The lectures structured the week and gave rise to ideas for long-term group projects. We learned about disruption and the role it plays in innovation, cyberinfrastructure, digital scholarship, and copyright issues.
The most valuable part of Frye can’t be emphasized enough: the cohort is key. Your classmates are your resources, your tribe, and your confidants. Frye 2.0 took a more open view than the Frye of the past, with a Twitter feed (#Frye2011), but was still a closed community with trust inherent in the room. I will not disclose conversations I had with other members of my cohort, just as I trust they will not disclose theirs with me. The Institute offered an immediately safe and open place to discuss issues, problems, and burgeoning ideas.
Both the classmates and the mentors made the week incredible and unforgettable. The mentors were past Frye participants who returned to share their experience with the new generation. Although their Frye experience differed from ours, Frye camaraderie remained. We met individually with our mentors at least once; some mentors later indicated interest in particular projects and will be monitoring progress on those fronts as well as staying in touch with current participants throughout the year.
The most comprehensive change between the Frye of old and Frye 2.0 is likely the shift to a focus on group projects. In previous years, fellows brought to Frye individual project ideas that were focused on their home institutions; they fleshed out their projects at Frye and then took them home to complete. With Frye 2.0, the project focus is no longer the home institution, nor is the project preplanned or individual. Instead, projects are group-based and seek to aid or advance higher education in some way.
We came to Frye armed only with our experiences and curiosities, and formed group project ideas and goals by the end of the week. One wall of the conference room was commandeered to house our burgeoning project topics; during breaks we’d peruse the posted topics, adding further detailed notes with our names indicating interest in one or more projects. As the week progressed, our leaders took time to evaluate, reorganize, and restructure our projects. Another list was posted, noting possible avenues of expression: webinars, white papers, conference presentations, and other modes of collaborative dissemination.
On the final day, each of us had the opportunity to “claim” a project, meet with others who were interested in that same topic to discuss the idea and potential mode of expression, and then present our initial ideas to the group at large. At this point, anyone else could decide to join or become a project “lurker,” to see what exactly we were doing and whether he or she wanted to officially join while participating in another group.
The group in which I’ve become involved is exploring issues related to library/information technology group mergers in private liberal arts colleges. Tie-ins to personal or institutional interests and expertise will help keep us motivated; group collaboration, periodic nudges, and check-ins on deliverables from our leaders help keep us moving. While summertime activities have disrupted some of our group project meeting schedules, we’ve met electronically about every two weeks. These sessions have given us an opportunity to shape our project and assign tasks in order to best flesh out and realize our goals.
I’m extremely grateful for our group projects, which keep us in touch and working together. Frye is not just a leadership institute or a conference; it’s a support group and one of the best social networks I’ve ever known. Frye is a life-changing experience, and one that I’m immensely grateful to have had.
Julie Kane is head of technical services at Sweet Briar College Library.
Hidden Collections Project Discovers Lost Page of Malcolm X Letter
The first page of an important letter that Malcolm X wrote to Alex Haley during a pilgrimage to Mecca in 1964 has been discovered in the Grove Press archive in the Special Collections Research Center at Syracuse University Library. Archivist Susan Kline found the page, which had been missing for decades, during work on a project funded by CLIR’s Hidden Collections grant program. The leaf had been put in a box of materials related to the Evergreen Review, Grove’s monthly magazine. It may have been misplaced during one of the many moves of the Grove office or otherwise separated during the book publication process.
The letter belongs in the editorial files of The Autobiography of Malcolm X. On September 22, 1965, Grove Editor Dick Seaver stated that Grove Press considered the Autobiography to be “one of the most important books we have ever published.” It sold millions of copies worldwide and was judged by TIME magazine in 1999 as one of the 10 “most important non-fiction works of the 20th century.”
The seven-page letter, handwritten on hotel stationery, is significant in that it outlines Malcolm X’s softening views on race based on his experiences in Mecca. On the newly discovered page, Malcolm writes that “this pilgrimage to the Holiest of Cities has not only been a unique experience for me, but one which has made me the recipient of numerous unexpected blessings beyond my wildest dreams.”
The first page of the letter is particularly important because it provides the precise date and time Malcolm X recorded his thoughts to Haley: Friday, April 25, 1964, 9 a.m.
Syracuse University Library Dean Suzanne Thorin said of the find, “This discovery is a perfect example of the very real value of CLIR’s Hidden Collections grants. We may never have located this historic item without the funding we received to process the Grove Press collection.”
The find helps complete the picture offered to scholars who wish to research the development of the Autobiography. Researchers can now study the letter in its entirety, which may enable them to shed additional light on Malcolm X’s experience during his pilgrimage to Mecca and on the relationship between Malcolm X and Haley.
Meghan Frazer, digital resource librarian at Kenyon College, is the recipient of the first Rick Peterson Fellowship. Cosponsored by CLIR and the National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education (NITLE), the fellowship will be awarded annually to an early-career information technology (IT) professional or librarian who has reached beyond traditional boundaries to resolve a significant challenge or critical problem facing IT/digital libraries.
Ms. Frazer received the fellowship on the basis of her collaborative work with OhioLINK and The Five Colleges of Ohio and on “The Community Within” project, which digitally archives and provides “online free access to historical records of the Black community life and experience in Knox County, Ohio.” The selection committee also noted Ms. Frazer’s broader contributions to Kenyon College’s Library and Information Services. The fellowship will support Ms. Frazer’s participation in the 2012 NITLE Symposium and CLIR’s DLF Forum.
“In recognizing Meghan Frazer with this fellowship, we hope to call attention to the importance of collaborating across professional boundaries,” said Joey King, NITLE executive director. “Breaking down silos both on campus and across organizations is critical to advancing the mission of liberal education.”
“CLIR and NITLE developed the Rick Peterson Fellowship to honor a friend and colleague known for his willingness and ability to collaborate,” added CLIR President Chuck Henry. “The successful advancement of knowledge—exemplified by projects such as The Community Within—depends on the strong relationships that effective collaboration develops.”
The Rick Peterson Fellowship honors the life and work of the late Richard (Rick) Allen Peterson, an active promoter of collaboration in the area of IT services and digital libraries. He last served as chief technology officer at Washington and Lee University. Charles Henry, Joey King, and David Saacke, executive director of Information Technology Services at Washington and Lee University, made up this year’s selection committee.
Individuals or organizations wishing to make a tax-deductible contribution to the Rick Peterson Fellowship may send donations to the Council on Library and Information Resources, 1752 N Street, NW #800, Washington, DC 20036. Please earmark your check “Peterson Fellowship.”
Ten individuals have been awarded CLIR Postdoctoral Fellowships in Academic Libraries for 2011-2012. The fellows, each of whom recently received a Ph.D. degree in the humanities or social sciences, will spend next year at an academic research library, where they will develop meaningful linkages between disciplinary scholarship, libraries, archives, and evolving digital tools. Six fellows from the previous cohort will spend a second year in their academic libraries.
The fellows began their program in August with a weeklong seminar at Bryn Mawr College, where they discussed cutting-edge issues and challenges facing academic librarianship through discussion, meetings with guest speakers, and readings about current issues in librarianship and the academy.
CLIR administers the fellowship program in collaboration with academic institutions as a means of recruiting talent into the library profession. Information on the fellowships is available at https://clir.wordpress.clir.org/fellowships/postdoc/postdoc.html.
Ph.D. Architectural History, University of Virginia
Host: Lehigh University
Ph.D. English and Cultural Studies, McMaster University
Host: McMaster University
Ph.D. Musicology, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
Arthur (Mitch) Fraas
Ph.D. History, Duke University
Host: University of Pennsylvania
Ph.D. English Language and Literature, University of Michigan
Host: University of Michigan
Ph.D. English and American Literature, New York University
Host: University of North Texas
Jennifer Redmond (2 years)
Ph.D. History, Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland
Host: Bryn Mawr College
Ph.D. Classics, University of Toronto
Host: McMaster University
Ph.D. Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour, McMaster University
Host: McMaster University
Ph.D. Business Administration (Management Science/Information Systems), McMaster University
Host: McMaster University
Ph.D. Anthropology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Host: Bucknell University
Ph.D. Comparative Literature, UCLA
Ph.D. English, Clemson University
Host: Emory University
Ph.D. Geography and Geology, McMaster University
Host: McMaster University
Ph.D. Critical Studies, School of Cinema-Television/Cinematic Arts, University of Southern California
Host: McMaster University
Ph.D. Library and Information Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Host: Johns Hopkins University
September 5 Is Registration Deadline for Symposium on The Future of the Liberal Arts College Library
Registration for the symposium on The Future of the Liberal Arts College Library closes September 5. The symposium, hosted by CLIR and the Council of Independent Colleges, will be held October 10–12, 2011, at Alverno College and the Hilton Milwaukee City Center in Wisconsin. The event is part of the “Leadership through New Communities of Knowledge” program and is made possible through support from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).
Symposium participants will consider how the evolving missions of private liberal arts colleges influence how their libraries plan and operate. Many colleges have added preprofessional, distance-education, and adult education programs to the traditional liberal arts curriculum, but their library collections and services have not always evolved in tandem. This symposium will offer staff from small and midsize colleges and universities a chance to draw on each other’s expertise for effecting change at the intersection of libraries and liberal arts colleges. Campus administrators and faculty, as well as librarians and paraprofessionals, are encouraged to attend.
Victor E. Ferrall, Jr., author of Liberal Arts on the Brink, will offer the symposium’s opening keynote. The general conference sessions will be participant-driven and interactive. A preliminary PDF version of the conference schedule is available here.
The registration fee is $240, with discounts for attendees employed by a CLIR sponsoring institution.
Questions about the symposium or other aspects of the Leadership through New Communities of Knowledge program may be directed to CLIR Program Associate Lori Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org.
DLF Fall Forum Slated for October 31–November 2
Registration for the DLF Fall Forum opens September 6. The Forum will be held October 31—November 2, 2011, in Baltimore, Maryland, at the Hyatt Regency. Participation is open to all who are interested in contributing to and playing an active part in the successful future of digital libraries, museum and archives services, and collections. The Forum will feature presentations and panels, workshops, research updates, working sessions, and a tools showcase. A schedule will be posted on the DLF website September 16.
Immediate Opening: CLIR Postdoctoral Fellowship in Design for Multiple Visual Scales at McMaster University
The Computing and Software Department and the University Library at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada invite applications for a two-year CLIR Postdoctoral Fellowship in software design, with an emphasis on games, for multiple visual scales, from the iPod Touch to 60inch high-resolution screen panels. The Fellowship is part of the Gaming Scalability Environment (G-ScalE) project involving Jacques Carette (Computing and Software, Faculty of Engineering), Andrew Mactavish (Multimedia, Faculty of Humanities), and Jeff Trzeciak (University Librarian). A Ph.D. in computer science or software engineering is preferred but applicants with a Ph.D. in psychology, human factors, or mathematics accompanied by a demonstrable expertise in software development and mathematical modelling will also be considered.
If you have received your Ph.D. within the last five years and seek more information on this opportunity, contact Alice Bishop (email@example.com); please include a copy of your c.v. with the message. Note that this is an immediate opening, and not part of the regular 2012 CLIR Postdoctoral Fellowship cycle.
CLIR to Launch New Website
A new CLIR website is on its way! Scheduled for launch in October, the new website will offer a broader array of resources, improved search capability, and greater functionality, including group discussion areas and the ability to pay sponsorship fees online.
Mellon Fellowships for Dissertation Research in Original Sources: The program offers about 15 competitively awarded fellowships a year for dissertation research in the humanities or related social sciences in original sources. Each fellowship provides a stipend of $2,000 per month for periods of 9-12 months. For more information, click here. The application deadline is November 15, 2011.
Postdoctoral Fellowship in Academic Libraries: The program offers recent Ph.D. recipients opportunities to work for one or two years in an academic library on projects that forge, renovate, and strengthen connections between library collections and their users. For more information, click here. Remuneration varies by sponsoring institution. The application deadline is December 19, 2011.
A. R. Zipf Fellowship: The $10,000 fellowship is awarded annually to a student who is enrolled in graduate school, in the early stages of study, and who shows exceptional promise for leadership and technical achievement in information management. For more information, click here. The application deadline is March 30, 2012.
Rovelstad Scholarship in International Librarianship: The scholarship is awarded to a student of library and information science to attend the World Library and Information Congress of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA). The scholarship covers conference registration and travel, meal, and lodging costs. For more information, click here. The application deadline is January 23, 2012.