Tag Archives: Library Kiosk Feature

ProductivityU: Be more efficient with the Library’s help

Librarian Consultation

Experts will be on hand to guide you to the best productivity tools. (Photo by Jason Smith)

Now that you’ve had one quarter of the academic year under your belt, it’s time to reflect on your productivity pitfalls and add new tools to help you overcome these obstacles. On January 15 from noon to five, the University of Chicago Library is holding an inaugural ‘Productivity Unconference,’ where students, librarians, and technologists will be invited to meet to share tips, tricks, and tools to be a more efficient and productive researcher, student, and academic professional. The unconference will have time for consultations, workshops, and presentations on tools like citation managers, social bookmarking apps, and cloud storage as well as tips to stay efficient and productive during the busy academic quarter.

Everyone across campus including students, faculty, and staff are invited to meet with experienced ‘productivity experts’ from across campus to:

  • Learn how to use free web tools such as Evernote, Box, and Google Apps to superpower productivity
  • Practice new strategies in time management
  • Discover innovative ways to stay in-the-know
  • Manage research documents such as course readings, book chapters, and paper drafts
  • Ensure security online and in research documents

Schedule of Events
January 15, Noon – 5:00 PM
Regenstein, Room 122

12:00 PM – 2:00 PM: Productivity & Project Management Consultations
Members of the University of Chicago community can sign up for 15-minute consultations with librarians, academic technologists, and tech experts to learn about key productivity tools and strategies.

2:00 PM – 3:00 PM: Productivity Tools & Strategies Lightning Talks
Participants present proposed lighting talks on their favorite project management/productivity tools or strategies. The Lightning talks blocked at 5 minutes apiece, and will give an opportunity for peer sharing and presentation skills.

3:00 PM – 5:00 PM: Productivity & Project Management Consultations & Productivity “In”
Participants can meet with consultants on key productivity tools & strategies. This time also serves as a place for students to have a “productivity-in,” where students can get to work planning and organizing course readings, assignments, and extracurricular duties for the quarter.

Sign up for a consultation today!

Interested in presenting a lightning talk? Fill out a lightning talk proposal.

Don’t want to commit? Feel free to drop in during the event, grab a snack provided by the library, and chat with other people across campus to learn some new tools and share your strategies on staying productive.

Persons with disabilities who need an accommodation in order to participate in a Library workshop or training session should contact Kaitlin Springmier at 773-702-0229.

Library launches new residency program

Kaitlin Springmier joins UChicago as Resident Librarian for Online Learning

The University of Chicago Library launched a new residency program this fall that will expand staff expertise in new and rapidly developing areas of librarianship. The program is designed to bring top recent graduates of library and information science programs and relevant graduate programs to Chicago for two-year residencies focused on particular areas of expertise.

“This new residency program provides up-and-coming librarians and information specialists with an exciting opportunity to share new skill sets while collaborating with experienced colleagues to advance the development of twenty-first century library services,” said Brenda Johnson, Library Director and University Librarian.

Kaitlin Springmier

Kaitlin Springmier, Resident Librarian for Online Learning

The first resident in this new program, Kaitlin Springmier, joined the Library in September as Resident Librarian for Online Learning. She came to Chicago from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she completed a Master of Library Science and worked as an Instruction Assistant at the UW -Madison Memorial Library. She has experience creating interactive e-learning tutorials and using new instructional designs, including embedded librarianship in online courses.

“We’re delighted that Kaitlin has joined the Library,” said E-Learning Librarian Julie Piacentine. “She is familiar with key research on developing online learning and has experience designing modules that achieve specific learning outcomes.”

Springmier will work with reference librarians and subject specialists to develop, implement, and assess multi-media e-learning tools, resources, and services that support research, teaching, and learning at the University. High priority projects include development of a mini-course on tracking citations and creating bibliographies, as well as more specialized tutorials designed to meet the needs of students working in specific disciplines.

“This residency will help us increase the amount of self-service help that’s available whenever students need it,” Piacentine explained.

This first residency was made possible by generous gifts from Library Visiting Committee members Preston Torbert and Diana Hunt King, who saw the value of educating students in how to navigate complex and rapidly evolving online research environments.

Visit youtube.com/user/uchicagolibrary to see the latest online tutorials offered by the Library.

Growing the Residency Program

The Library has developed a set of possible residencies that could allow it to offer additional services in a wide variety of areas, as funding becomes available. Among the proposed positions are a Bioinformatics Resident Librarian who would support students and faculty who collect and analyze complex biological data such as genetic codes. A Data Services Resident Librarian would help students and faculty to use statistical databases, geographic information systems, data visualization, and other tools for field research, such as software for processing interviews and ethnographic field notes. A Digital Archivist Resident Librarian in the Special Collections Research Center would work with the University Archivist and the Archives staff to plan and implement a strategy for systematic transfers of electronic records to the Library Digital Repository. A Clinical Law Programs Resident Librarian would help to provide law students with legal research skills training that supports their work in experiential clinical programs in areas such as environmental law, international human rights, corporate law, civil rights, employment discrimination, and juvenile justice.

The residency program is expected to change over time as funding for new positions is obtained and the needs of the Library evolve.

 

Exploring 125 years of history in the Archives

Janet-Rowley-600p

Janet Rowley in her laboratory. 1980s. University of Chicago Photographic Archive, apf7-01134. Copyright 2015, The Chicago Maroon. All rights reserved. Reprinted with Permission. Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.

Celebration of the University of Chicago’s 125th Anniversary is drawing increased campus attention to the University Archives this year. The mission of the Archives is to preserve and make available materials documenting the history of the University and the work of its faculty, students, trustees, and friends. Archives collections span many formats, from official reports to publications, photographs, media, and physical artifacts. Faculty papers in the Archives include letters, diaries, field notes, manuscripts, and teaching materials. In all, the Archives collections have grown to 60,000 linear feet, or more than 73 million individual items, and digital files comprise more than 20 terabytes of records in the Library’s Digital Repository.

Bon-Voyage-asas-01557_600p

Bon Voyage. From the papers of Julian and Eva Overton Lewis. Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.

Important new collections continue to enhance the Archives. Recent acquisitions include the papers of Janet Rowley, the University’s renowned geneticist and cancer researcher and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient. Gary Becker’s papers bring manuscripts, notes, and teaching materials of the 1992 Nobel laureate in economics. The papers of Jean Elshtain document her interdisciplinary work in religion, political philosophy, and ethics. And the papers of Julian H. Lewis, the University’s first African American professor, and his wife Eva Overton Lewis, document an influential career in medical research and the lives of a leading Chicago family.

Julian H. Lewis

Julian H. Lewis, the first African American to teach at the University of Chicago. 1917. Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.

Recent classroom teaching drawing on the Archives includes Mark Bradley’s seminar on International History. Tara Zahra brought her History Colloquium on Migration and Displacement in Twentieth- Century Europe. Daniel Webb drew on the Archives for his class on America in World Civilization, while Susan Burns brought her class on Doing History. Kathleen Conzen led classes on Chicago and Chicago’s South Side, and Katherine Taylor’s courses examined the University’s modern campus architecture.

Support for research is also central to the Archives mission. Within the past year, projects of University researchers have drawn on the records of the Robert M. Hutchins administration, the Committee on Social Thought, and the University’s Chaucer Research Project of the 1930s. Visiting researchers have examined the papers of Mircea Eliade; the papers of University administrators and faculty involved in the world government movement of the 1940s and 1950s; the field notes and data collected by Sol Tax and other faculty members of the University’s influential Department of Anthropology; and the papers of Ernest W. Burgess, Louis Wirth, Everett Hughes, and other leaders in Chicago sociology.

Sol Tax

Sol Tax, Professor of Anthropology at the University of Chicago. n.d. University of Chicago Photographic Archive, apf1-08219. Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.

The Library’s annual Robert Platzman Memorial Fellowships bring visiting scholars from the national and international scholarly community. This year, one Platzman Fellow from the University of Cambridge is examining the papers of Charles Merriam, Harold Gosnell, and others for a study of attitudes toward American public opinion. Using the papers of Ernest Burgess and Robert Havinghurst, a graduate student from Indiana University is researching a dissertation on the Guatemalan Indigenismo movement. A scholar from the University of Oxford is examining the papers of Louis Brownlow, Leonard White, and other faculty for a study of American political science. And a graduate student from the University of Minnesota is using the papers of faculty member A.K. Ramanujan to examine literary debates in nineteenth-century South India.

Visit the online University of Chicago Photographic Archive at photoarchive.lib.uchicago.edu.

Block group paints, 600 block of South Bowen.

Block group paints, 600 block of South Bowen. Mildred Mead, photographer. April 30, 1952. University of Chicago Photographic Archive, apf2-09636. Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.

Seeing Chicago sociologists anew through the Archives

Harvey Choldin, AB’60, AM’63, PhD’65, finds himself plumbing the archives for an exhibition on the Chicago school of sociology

Harvey Choldin and Joe Scott with a map from the exhibition "Mapping the Young Metropolis"

Curator Harvey Choldin and exhibition designer Joe Scott examine a map from the exhibition “Mapping the Young Metropolis: The Chicago School of Sociology, 1915–1940.” (Photo by John Zich)

A few years ago I was at an opening of one of the Special Collections Research Center’s fascinating exhibitions with my wife, Marianna Tax Choldin, LAB’59, AB’62, AM’67, PhD’79, when it struck me: why not have an exhibit on the Chicago school of sociology? I’m a Chicagoan, an urban sociologist, and a UChicago alumnus, so my fascination with the Chicago school comes naturally. When I mentioned the idea to the director of Special Collections, Dan Meyer, AM’75, PhD’94, that evening, he thought others would be fascinated too.

A couple of weeks later Dan and I met to discuss the idea further. After a lifetime in academia, I expected Dan to appoint a faculty committee of sociologists, including me if I was lucky. Instead he said, to my surprise, that I would be curating the exhibit.

What was the Chicago school? Over three decades teaching urban sociology I was always aware of the work of University of Chicago scholars in the pre–World War II era. An influential 1915 essay by one of the school’s founders, Robert E. Park, conveys the nature of their contributions. In “The City: Suggestions for the Investigation of Human Behavior in the City Environment,” Park argued that sociologists had to get out of the library and conduct empirical research, studying the city firsthand. The city, he wrote, should be their laboratory. We planned the exhibition to celebrate the centennial of Park’s essay.

Ernest Burgess, PhD 1913, also held this view. His landmark 1925 publication, “The Growth of the City: An Introduction to a Research Project,” introduced his concentric zones model of urban growth. Diagrammed in a sort of bull’s-eye pattern, the model was reprinted for decades in book after book about cities.

I was particularly inspired by Louis Wirth’s (PhB’19, AM’25, PhD’26) paper “Urbanism as a Way of Life,” published in the American Journal of Sociology in 1938. Wirth joined the faculty after earning his doctorate. His ambitious paper attempts to define the city and explain why city life is as it is. The essay was broad in scope and fearlessly bold. I always started my urban courses and seminars with it and emphasized it in the urban sociology textbook I wrote.

Park and Burgess sent hundreds of students—two of whom became my professors, Everett Hughes, PhD’28, and Philip Hauser, PhB’29, AM’33, PhD’38—into the city to do research. Using the city as their laboratory, they one by one completed theses and dissertations that became classics of sociology. The titles were evocative: “The Taxi-Dance Hall,” “The Ghetto,” “The Hobo,” “The Gang.” The University of Chicago Press established a series in sociology and published these along with many other dissertations.

Hand drawn map

Ernest Burgess, whose concentric zone model of urban space had lasting influence, used maps extensively in his sociological work. Map of the Radial Expansion and the Five Urban Zones, undated. Ernest Watson Burgess Papers. The University of Chicago Library.

My unexpected task now was to delve into the archives and see what remained from this seminal time and place in sociology. There were disappointments. Park’s archive had very little, and Wirth’s retained items mostly from later in his life, after the number of students dwindled at the advent of World War II and the Chicago school drew to a close.

But there were delightful discoveries too. Harvey Zorbaugh’s project The Gold Coast and the Slum (1929), for example, had a file at the University of Chicago Press. In it were black-and-white snapshots taken in the “slum” of the book’s title, Little Sicily on the Near North Side, during his fieldwork. Another press file, for The Gang (1927) by Frederic M. Thrasher, AM 1918, PhD’26, held a sociologist’s or historian’s treasure: a large map of “Chicago’s gangland” with hundreds of red dots and triangles showing the locations of the city’s boy gangs. Some of the larger ones were the Dukies, Shielders, and West Siders.

A wonderful little archive was that of James Carey, PhD’58, who in the 1970s wrote a book on the Chicago school, tracking down its living members, men and women who had been students then or their surviving spouses. Carey got them talking candidly and informally about their peers and professors and the texture of life during the Chicago school, and later donated transcripts of his interviews to the archive.

Ruth Shonle Cavan, PhB’21, AM’23, PhD’26, the author of Suicide, recalled that “we didn’t have any money to have any paid commercial recreation. So most of our free time was either spent in the library or little groups discussing everything under the sun. … It came as near to a community of scholars as I have ever experienced.” Norman Hayner, AM’21, PhD’23, said that Burgess “worked the tail off us. All of us graduate students knew that we had to work when we got into a course with Burgess, but you learned something.” None of them had any sense of being in a “school”—the name would come years later. They were just doing exciting research.

Burgess’s archives proved to be the mother lode. I saw similarities between Burgess and my late father-in-law, anthropologist Sol Tax, PhD’35. Each man had spent his entire academic life vigorously engaged in social science at the University—and they both accumulated lots of paper that became important scholarly archives. Burgess’s take up 261 linear feet and are filled with treasures. I spent months with them: research proposals, penciled-in questionnaires, tally sheets of answers, drafts, published reports, and things less expected.

When you open a file, you don’t know what you’re going to find. In Burgess’s archive I might stumble on an umpteenth survey of boys in playgrounds or one more neighborhood study report. My challenge was to find items that would be legible and interesting to look at in a display case. One of the most memorable things I found was a field report written by Hauser when he was a student.

A world-famous demographer, Hauser was known for bringing a rigorously scientific approach to sociology. This report, written in 1929, was about his visits to the homes of three men who were killed in the St. Valentine’s Day massacre. In one case the deceased was so poor and solitary that his friends recruited Phil to serve as a pallbearer.

At moments working in Burgess’s archive I felt my own place in the lineage that followed him. One day I found a demographic graph of a neighborhood, dated 1934, by Alex Edidin, PhB’34, who was an old friend of my family. Twenty-five years after Edidin, I had completed the same assignment for my teacher and his fellow student Philip Hauser. I photocopied Edidin’s graph and sent it to his son and my lifelong friend Michael Edidin, SB’60. He was delighted to see it.

In the months I spent in Burgess’s papers, I saw the full range of his involvement with urban issues: crime and delinquency, parks and playgrounds, mental illness, divorce, and more. He corresponded with the Union League Club, the Metropolitan YMCA, and other civic organizations and agencies. Perhaps his major efforts were directed toward solving the problems of the Depression. He directed a census of the city of Chicago in 1934, focused on housing and unemployment. My mother, Hannah Werth Choldin, PhB’30, a young schoolteacher, was an enumerator on that census.

When Hauser and Hughes taught me in the College, Hughes was near retirement and Hauser was department chair. I thought of them as eminent sociologists to be respected for their scholarly accomplishments and to be feared, of course, as professors. In the archives they came to life as young graduate students—getting assignments from their professors and launching new research projects with no notion their work would be remembered for decades to come. In all the years that I’d learned from them, remembered them, and been inspired by them as a scholar, I’d never thought of them like that before.

Harvey Choldin, AB’60, AM’63, PhD’65, is professor emeritus of sociology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The exhibit he curated, Mapping the Young Metropolis: The Chicago School of Sociology, 1915–1940, runs through September 11, 2015, at the Special Collections Research Center Exhibition Gallery and an associated web exhibit is available online.

This essay originally appeared in the July/August 2015 issue of the University of Chicago Magazine.

Where the intellectual meets the personal

Curator Lauren Stokes makes invisible histories visible in an exhibition on LGBTQ life at UChicago

Lauren Stokes with her exhibition, "Closeted/Out in the Quadrangles"

Ph.D. candidate Lauren Stokes in the Special Collections Research Center Gallery with the exhibition she curated, “Closeted/Out in the Quadrangles.” (Photo by Joseph Scott)

University of Chicago History Ph.D. candidate Lauren Stokes curated the Special Collections Research Center’s spring exhibition, Closeted/Out in the Quadrangles: A History of LGBTQ Life at the University of Chicago.  With the exhibition’s final days in the gallery approaching, Stokes answered Rachel Rosenberg’s questions about her research process, and described the connections and tensions between the LGBTQ experience on campus and the life of the mind.

Closeted/Out in the Quadrangles is a project of the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality.  The project exhibition is on view in the Special Collections Exhibition Gallery through June 12, 2015.  An associated web exhibit will remain online after the gallery exhibition closes.

How did you come to curate this exhibition, and what made you interested in doing so?

Following  the success of the 2009 exhibition On Equal Terms: Educating Women at the University of Chicago at the Special Collections Research Center, the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality decided to sponsor a project on the history of LGBTQ life on campus. The University received a 5-star rating from the National LGBT-Friendly Campus Climate Index in 2012, but we knew very little about the work that it took to get to that point.

Homo t-shirt: "The University of Chicago is gayer than you think"

Ho-mo t-shirt. Donated by Scott Dennis. Closeted/Out in the Quadrangles. Collection. The University of Chicago Library.

I was hired because I had previously researched the history of LGBTQ life at my undergraduate institution, which shares the same mascot as Chicago, so that I can now joke that I am truly the world’s expert on gay and lesbian phoenices.

What challenges did you face in working in the archives and conducting interviews?  What were the most exciting discoveries you made?

Finding LGBTQ life in the archives is difficult because the terms that we use to describe what we are looking for are not the terms that would have been used in the past. More than with other projects I’ve worked on, I needed to do research before I could even do archival research, and I was indebted to previous work on Chicago’s LGBTQ history in order to provide a roadmap. Without the work of previous scholars, for example, I would never have been able to trace the network of “Boston marriages” among the first generation of female faculty and graduate students or have known where to find Gay Liberation in and around the University in the 1970s.

For oral histories, one of our biggest challenges was finding a diversity of narrators. In reaching out to narrators, we sought to span generations (resulting in a range from a 1958 JD to the 2012 AB), racial backgrounds, and sexual and gender identities and expressions.  Many of the first volunteers were highly engaged with LGBTQ politics while at the University, but we were also committed to obtaining the stories of people who may not have been “out” or not have been LGBTQ-identified while on campus. For some of these people, we had to convince them that their experiences were also a necessary part of the history we wanted to preserve.

Photograph from Chicago Pride Parade, 1991. Chicago Maroon, June 1991. University of Chicago Photographic Archive, apf7-03416-001, Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library. Used with permission of the Chicago Maroon.

Photograph from Chicago Pride Parade, 1991. Chicago Maroon, June 1991. University of Chicago Photographic Archive, apf7-03416-001, Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library. Used with permission of the Chicago Maroon.

While curating the exhibit, I then confronted the additional challenge of translating these “invisible” histories, often characterized by silence, into object-based histories. Established institutional and political communities were more likely to leave material evidence of their existence. Now that the oral histories that speak to a different experience are in the archives, I hope that people will continue to use them in order to tell more “invisible” stories in creative ways.

Finally, Patti Gibbons at Special Collections worked to secure the loan of a square of the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt that remembers some of the students and alumni who were lost to the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s. The quilt reminds visitors of an important chapter in local and national history, but also speaks to the silences that characterize the LGBTQ archive—many of the people we would have wanted to speak to about the early years of Gay Liberation died of AIDS-related causes.

AIDS also affected the material archive in surprising ways—there are many stories of birth families throwing out the personal items of sons and daughters who died of AIDS-related causes, while partners, lovers, and friends in the gay and lesbian community were legally unable to do anything about it.

The UChicago square of the AIDS Quilt on display in the Special Collections Exhibition Gallery

The UChicago square of the AIDS Quilt, Block #753, on loan from the NAMES Project Foundation.
The NAMES Project AIDS quilt square lists some of the students and faculty lost to the epidemic. (Image courtesy of the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality)

Has your work on this exhibition enhanced your intellectual and professional development? 

Thinking in terms of an exhibition is very different from thinking in terms of a dissertation. Not only was I telling a story with objects rather than texts, but I was also telling a story that had to arise from a community, and that had to do justice to the 96 people who were willing to share their stories with us.

"Closeted/Out in the Quadrangles" web exhibit

“Closeted/Out in the Quadrangles” web exhibit. Visit lib.uchicago.edu/e/webexhibits/outinthequads/

I began with a great deal of anxiety about oral histories because I did not know if I would create “perfect” oral histories—what if I failed to connect with a narrator? What if I asked the wrong questions? It took the experience of several oral histories, and later the re-reading of those oral histories, before I became comfortable with the idea that “perfection” is not a useful concept for oral histories. An oral history is a conversation rather than a definitive statement of unassailable truth—but these are features of the method rather than problems to be solved.

Finally, I also had the opportunity to teach an undergraduate course about archival research as part of the project, “Sexuality and the Production of History” in Spring 2013. It was incredibly exciting to introduce students to archival research, and specifically how historians work with documents that at first glance may not seem to say much about sexuality. Those students also helped me to look at the documents in new ways, and their insights have filtered into the final product.

These same qualities—the value of collaboration and the ability to accept messiness and contingency as features of the sources that I work with—are also filtering into my other projects, which center on migration in German history.

How does this exhibit address the campaign for marriage equality? And what sort of impact do you want this exhibition to have on public conversations or future scholarly inquiries into LGBTQ history and rights?

The University of Chicago was one of the first universities nationally to offer benefits to same-sex domestic partners in December 1992, and the exhibit documents the faculty, staff, and student activism that made that possible. That moment also resonates with our contemporary moment because of the number of people who wanted to think “beyond marriage” and towards new ways of imagining intimacy and community.

Visitors at the Opening Gala view the exhibition "Closeted/Out in the Quadrangles" (Courtesy of the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality)

Visitors at the Opening Gala view the exhibition “Closeted/Out in the Quadrangles.” Molly Liu, AB’13, left, served as an undergraduate intern who collected oral histories for the project. (Courtesy of the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality)

The exhibit also uncovers a number of surprising activist strategies that might be worth reclaiming in the present, including coalition work between Gay Liberation and African-American groups in the 1960s and 1970s and queer students and hospital workers in the 1990s. I want everyone to know that LGBTQ people have always been part of the University, and that they have always worked to transform the University in creative and productive ways.

Finally, I think that the exhibit shifts our understanding of the University perhaps even more than it changes our understanding of LGBTQ life: because it was a theme that came up in almost all of the oral histories, I wanted to use the exhibit to explore the tension between the possibilities and the constraints created by the University’s focus on the “life of the mind.” For example, some narrators reported that their process of coming out influenced their path of study—one narrator remembered dropping a Political Science major in the 1960s because he didn’t think he could be a gay politician, while some of our narrators from the 1980s chose to go to law school so that they could make a difference in the AIDS epidemic. At an even more basic level, some of the narrators from the 1960s chose Chicago in part because Illinois was the only state that had decriminalized sodomy. The experiences of LGBTQ individuals offer special insight into the ways that none of our intellectual lives can be separated from our personal lives.

Students’ dedication to Library highlighted in Scavenger Hunt

What do the “Miss Joe Regenstein” pageant, a hunt for the Library’s largest bladed weapon, and the hatching of “Reg Eggs” have in common? All three were 2015 Scavenger Hunt tasks, and all demonstrated students’ love of the University of Chicago Library and its centrality to student life.

The history of Scavenger Hunt and the Library

Scavenger Hunt began at the University of Chicago in 1987, and has since become one of Chicago’s most heralded traditions. The event has received national coverage in publications such as The New Yorker, and was a subject of a 2002 documentary The Hunt. Every year, over four days in May, Scavenger Hunt teams compete for points obtained by gathering hard-to-locate objects and participating in challenging—and occasionally bizarre—events. The Scavenger Hunt list consists of over 300 activities and tasks, including the “Scav Olympics”, a blood drive, and a road trip to out-of-the way attractions. Student teams are generally affiliated with undergraduate residence halls and Registered Student Organizations (RSOs), but also may include graduate students and alumni.

Over the years, the Library has worked with the Scavenger Hunt judges wishing to have items on the list related to our collections or campus libraries. Understanding the Hunt’s significance to the University’s culture, the Library has been very supportive of the tradition, allowing events and tasks as long as our campus libraries can maintain a scholarly environment. Library-related tasks in the past include the creation of “bibliodomes” and questions about little-known facts from the University Archives. For the 2015 Hunt, the Library was approached by the judges for help with several items from this year’s list.

Meet Miss Joe Regenstein

One of the main events of this year’s Scavenger Hunt was Item 252, a Miss Joe Regenstein pageant, held in Hutchinson Commons on May 7. I had the honor of serving as a guest judge at the proceedings.

Miss Joe Regenstein contestants.

University students participate in Miss Joe Regenstein pageant, part of the annual Scavenger Hunt on Thursday, May 7, 2015 at Hutchinson Commons. (Photo by Jean Lachat)

Each Scavenger Hunt team had a “contestant” for the pageant which represented a section of the Regenstein Library, such as Miss Bookstacks, Miss A Level and Miss Art Reading Room. Contestants were judged in three areas: costumes, talent, and overall knowledge of the Library.

For the costume competition, students created elaborate outfits. Miss Bookstacks’s dress was crafted from pages of a book (though not from the library’s collections). Miss B Level’s costume included a replica of its compact shelving, while Miss Ex Libris’s included a toaster–complete with a bagel.

To demonstrate their knowledge of the Library, the contest included a Q & A session, led by the judges. While some questions were specifically about library research, most were designed to fit the spirit of the event, such as:

  • The Classics Reading Room is the quietest place in Regenstein. Two graduate students begin a fight over Herodotus and Thucydides. How would you break the argument up and preserve the peace?
  • A computer science student thinks that Crerar is best library on campus. Defend Regenstein’s honor!
  • It’s hard to find outlets on Regenstein’s A Level. How would you bring power to the people?

Despite the lighthearted nature of the questions, students demonstrated their knowledge of the organization and culture of the Library, often basing their responses on research conducted before the event.

Miss Classics in the talent competition.

Miss Classics Reading Room builds Regenstein Library with books. (Photo by Jean Lachat)

The final task was a talent competition. Contestants built models of Regenstein out of books, sang songs, and conducted skits. Miss Reference Desk—a.k.a. Alicia Wright, Class of 2015—composed a poem for her team entitled “An Ode to the Reference Desk”:

Worse than Clark Kent and his glasses
We hide in plain sight
Everyday superheroes
Making things right
So the next time you come in
And need a book on, I don’t know, Shamoo
Don’t forget to give the reference desk worker
A heartfelt “thank you”.

All of the teams were creative, funny, and demonstrated their deep affection for the Library. But in the end, the winner was Miss TECHB@R, who led the talent competition—answering tech support questions while balancing a computer keyboard on his head.

A special sword

The Library is often contacted by the Scavenger Hunt judges for help in identifying odd items in our collections for the list. This year, item 49 sought “the country and century of origin for the larger of the two bladed weapons that are property of the University of Chicago Libraries.” In this case, the item in question was in our Special Collections Research Center—a dress sword owned by Ethan Allan Hitchcock, part of the William Beaumont Collection.

RegEgg

RegEgg on Regenstein Library’s A-Level on Friday, May 8, 2015. (Photo by Julie Piacentine)

Reg Eggs hatch

On May 8, Scavenger Hunt teams gathered on the A Level of Regenstein for Item 101, the construction human-sized eggs. Each contained monsters, or costumed team members, who “hatched” and then escaped the A Level via the Library’s Block Garden to spread discord among the main Quads. Interested parties may view the hatching of the Reg Eggs via the Snichcock Team’s YouTube channel.

Scavenger Hunt and the Library’s place in student life

While the Library plays only a small role in the overall proceedings of Scavenger Hunt, it provides a wonderful opportunity for librarians to build relationships with students by working together on a favorite campus event—and for students to demonstrate their creativity, and ingenuity, and research skills, as well as their love of the Library.

 

 

 

French illustrators at war: An interview with the curators

Harris and Edelstein explore WWI illustrations in a Special Collections exhibition

Neil Harris and Teri J. Edelstein

Neil Harris and Teri J. Edelstein

En Guerre: French Illustrators and World War I runs through January 2, 2015, in the Special Collections Research Center Exhibition Gallery at the University of Chicago Library. In this edited interview, co-curators Neil Harris, Preston and Sterling Morton Professor of History and Art History Emeritus, and Dr. Teri J. Edelstein speak with Rachel Rosenberg about the role of French illustrators in World War I, the satiric and surprising aspects of their art, and the origins of the exhibition.

What role did French illustrators play in World War I, and how would you say that affects their illustrations?

Sur le pont

Louis Lefèvre. “Sur le pont.” Rondes glorieuses. [S.l.: s.n., n.d.]. 1ière série. On loan from a private collection.

HARRIS: The French had a very well developed illustrated tradition by the time the war began, and that was one of their assets in the war. They recognized this on a whole series of levels. A number of the illustrations are funny. That is, they’re satirical—they’re pointed. These artists were aware of the ironies of war and are part of a long French tradition of political caricature. Many illustrations in this show are by artists who were—I wouldn’t say twisting the knife in the back of the government, but skeptical about official wisdom. They glorified ordinary people as best they could while raising questions about the war’s logic. The illustrations convey a more complicated set of messages than the propaganda posters of the time.

EDELSTEIN: The posters, by and large, were made officially by government or quasi-government agencies. They were recruitment posters. They urged people to buy national bonds. The illustrations in this exhibition reflect a much more nuanced and personal take on the war. Many of the illustrators were motivated by patriotism, and many of these artists served in the war.

HARRIS: Many were wounded. There was a total mobilization in France, so almost all of their artists who were fit and of age—and who were not foreign nationals, like Picasso—went to war. Many went to the front. They were wounded—in some cases, killed. The enemy was demonized by many of the artists. The Germans, and the Austro-Hungarians, and the Turks were caricatured mercilessly—particularly the leadership. So that wasn’t nuanced. But what was more nuanced was the way French illustrators presented the experiences of the war and focused on the poilu—the ordinary French soldier— who was a key figure in every history of the war.

Conte de fées

Lucien Laforge. “Conte de fées.” Paris: Librairie Lutetia, [n.d.]. World War I Printed Media and Art Collection, Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books & Manuscripts, University of Pennsylvania.

Is there a particular example of a satiric or subtle illustration that stands out for you?

HARRIS: One is by Lucien Laforge, a socialist, an anarchist, who worked for left-wing journals. He did a broadside called Conte de fées that tells a story of the war as a fairytale. The German ogre is beheaded by three little girls playing in a garden. Figuring out what he meant by this is difficult. Was it an implied critique of what the French referred to as the bourrage de crâne, the war fever that overtook people’s minds? Is it satirical? Is Laforge poking fun at the reductionist character of the war? Or is he, in fact, endorsing the war? It’s hard to say.

Are there aspects of the exhibition that you expect to particularly surprise your audience?

EDELSTEIN: I think people will find it unexpected and riveting to see the extent to which the subject of World War I appears in fashion illustration. The reason for this is threefold. One, fashion was a very important French industry. Two, fashion was an area where the French felt they could nationalistically distinguish themselves from their enemies. They felt that French fashion was at a great remove from German so-called fashion. Three, the illustrators employed by fashion were, by and large, out of work for the duration of the war, so they turned their attention to finding jobs elsewhere. Many issues of La baïonnette feature satirical cartoons that hinge on the notion of French fashion. We also have individual prints on patriotic themes connected to the war that were done by fashion illustrators.

Modes de printemps

Odette Champion. “Modes de printemps: Berlin-Vienne-Constantinople.” Fantasio. Paris: Félix Juven, [ 1915]. Gift of Neil Harris and
Teri J. Edelstein, The University of Chicago Library.

Some of the items on display in En Guerre and included in the associated catalogue have long been a part of the Library’s collections, but a great many are part of your personal collections or were collected by you and subsequently donated to the Library. How did you become interested in collecting World War I illustrations, and how did the Library help in developing the exhibition?

HARRIS: We didn’t really start with the war. I had been collecting French illustrated books since the 1970s. At a certain point, we realized that the centenary of World War I was approaching and we had more than enough for an exhibition. And the Library has a number of things that have been very important, most significantly La baïonnette, a quite amazing illustrated magazine done during the War. We hope that when people come to the show they will observe that these things survive only because there’s a library that takes care of them.

EDELSTEIN: The Library and the staff of Special Collections have been endlessly supportive. We’re delighted with our work with the Library.

Visit the associated web exhibit at lib.uchicago.edu/e/webexhibits/enguerre

Library Director Judith Nadler to retire

After a distinguished 48-year career, Library Director and University Librarian Judith Nadler, who oversaw the planning and construction of the Joe and Rika Mansueto Library, will retire on June 30, 2014. A national search is underway to identify her successor.

Under Nadler’s leadership, the University of Chicago Library flourished as a prized and effective research tool for students and faculty. With its 11.9 million volumes, noted collections in fields ranging from sociology to the history of science, rich selection of non-English holdings and commitment to keeping its collection on campus, the Library has become a destination for scholars and a model for other institutions worldwide.  

Judith Nadler

Judith Nadler, Director and University Librarian (Photo by Dan Dry)

A frequently consulted expert on library science, Nadler is known for her broad expertise, unlimited energy, conceptual acuity and deep devotion to both the Library and the University of Chicago.

“Judi has tirelessly pursued new opportunities, enhanced every aspect of the Library and demonstrated continuously expert and nimble leadership,” Provost Thomas F. Rosenbaum wrote in a message to faculty on March 17. “We are indebted to Judi for her keen judgment and generosity of spirit while she served as the Library’s guide, administrator and strategic planner.”

“I feel deeply privileged to have served the University and the Library for almost five decades and grateful for the opportunities given to me to serve it well. I cannot think of an environment that is more inspirational and more conducive to enabling success,” Nadler said.

“Among the achievements I am most proud of are the lasting impact of the Mansueto Library, the sustained confidence and support of the faculty, and the evidenced quality and achievements of the library staff. More than what we have done in the past, it’s about what we have built for the future, and that is what I would like to be remembered for,” she added.

The Mansueto Library, one of the crowning achievements of Nadler’s two terms as director, houses cutting-edge facilities for book preservation and digitization, as well as a high-density underground storage system with the capacity to hold 3.5 million volume equivalents. The library was designed to fulfill scholars’ needs for easy access to print resources at a time when many other research universities are moving their collections to off-site storage.

The library is named in honor of Joe Mansueto, AB’78, and MBA’80, and Rika Yoshida, AB’91, who gave a $25 million gift to the University in 2008. Architect Helmut Jahn designed the facility’s iconic glass dome, which encloses a light-filled reading room and an underground storage system that descends 50 feet below ground.

‘Nationally recognized and locally treasured’

Andrew Abbott, the Gustavus F. and Ann M. Swift Distinguished Service Professor in Sociology, worked closely with Nadler during the planning process for Mansueto. He described working with Nadler as “one of the greatest pleasures of my career. Her breadth of expertise, her commitment to the life of the mind, her ability to innovate boldly while maintaining traditional library values and practices: These unique qualities have led to the creation of a research library unmatched in the world. It has been an honor to work with her as a colleague and a friend.”

During her 10 years as director, Nadler also maintained six on-site libraries, built collections, explored and implemented digitization techniques, amassed electronic assets and automating services to optimize the preservation and access of vital resource materials, while cultivating a robust relationship between the Library and University faculty.

Diane Lauderdale, professor of Health Studies and chair of the Library’s faculty board, praised Nadler’s leadership and vision for the Library.

“Judi’s retirement is an occasion to celebrate her achievements and the health of the University’s library,” Lauderdale said. “Her wise leadership and understanding of research libraries are nationally recognized and locally treasured. Judi has expertly navigated the Library through changes that ensure its continued centrality to the intellectual life of the University by strengthening its staff, collections and physical environment.”

Nadler joined UChicago in 1966 as a cataloger in the Foreign Language Section of the Library’s Cataloging Department. She was successively promoted to head of the Social Sciences Section, head of the Cataloging Department, assistant director for Technical Services and then associate director of the Library.

In addition to her duties as director, Nadler currently serves as chief selector for the Library’s Judaica Collection, having raised much of the funding to build this collection.

Nadler studied history and comparative linguistics at the University of Cluj in Romania, earned an undergraduate degree in English and Romance Studies from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, a master’s degree in library science from the Israel Graduate School and pursued graduate studies in comparative literature at Hebrew University.

The search committee is chaired by Deputy Provost for Research Roy Weiss and includes Andrew Abbott, Elizabeth Asmis, Michael Geyer, Klara Jelinkova, Garrett Kiely, Diane Lauderdale, Randal Picker and James Vaughan.

A University of Chicago news release

 

‘A different way of learning about history’

Christopher Dingwall with album covers

Ph.D. candidate Christopher Dingwall explores race and consumer culture as a curator

The exhibition Race and the Design of American Life: African Americans in Twentieth-Century Commercial Art runs through January 4 in the Special Collections Research Center. Rachel Rosenberg interviewed Christopher Dingwall, a Ph.D. candidate in History, to learn about his first experience as a curator and the exhibition itself.

Tell me a bit about the exhibition.

Jazzin' the Cotton Town Blues

Roger Lewis and Harry Olsen. Jazzin’ the Cotton Town Blues. New York: M. Witmark & Sons, 1917. John Steiner Collection. Special Collections Research Center. The University of Chicago Library.

Images of African Americans have appeared on a wide range of consumer goods throughout the twentieth century, from Aunt Jemima’s pancakes to the Air Jordan basketball shoe. But these images did more than sell things. The exhibit explores how commercial art capitalized on—and gave powerful form to—widely held racist attitudes among white Americans throughout the twentieth century. It also illustrates how many corporations and designers, white and black, used graphic design to envision the place of African Americans in American society—from the nadir of Jim Crow racial segregation to the advent of the Civil Rights Movement.

With racial imagery, American advertisers and consumers gave social meaning to the mass produced things of modern consumer culture. Particularly for African American entrepreneurs and artists, the graphic design of race could be used as a powerful tool to claim their place as consumers and as citizens in American society.

What got you interested in this subject originally?

It comes out of my dissertation, Selling Slavery: Memory, Culture, and the Renewal of America, 1876-1920. There I explore how images of slavery get commodified, mass produced and consumed. I’m asking why slavery became a way to sell movies, postcards, food products, and very modern cultural products.

The exhibit came out of my curiosity about what happens next, after 1920. In a way, it’s an epilogue to the dissertation I’m currently writing, but curating the exhibit is a different sort of intellectual challenge and involves different ways of thinking about how I’m using objects and how I’m going to try to explain them to audiences. It’s a way for me to explore a different kind of scholarly communication directed at a public audience rather than scholarly, academic readers.

Did your ideas about the subject evolve much as you worked on it?

Roscoe Mitchell Sextet. Sound.DS-408. Chicago: Delmark, 1966. Art Ensemble of Chicago Series, vol. 1. Chicago Jazz Archive. Special Collections Research Center. The University of Chicago. Cover design by Sylvia Abernathy; photograph by Billy Abernathy

Roscoe Mitchell Sextet. Sound.DS-408. Chicago: Delmark, 1966. Art Ensemble of Chicago Series, vol. 1. Chicago Jazz Archive. Special Collections Research Center. The University of Chicago. Cover design by Sylvia Abernathy; photograph by Billy Abernathy

Yes. Originally I thought that the exhibition would focus on racial memorabilia and would present a narrative of how racial imagery evolved over the twentieth century. The Special Collections staff was pretty keen on the idea, and Dan Meyer, the Director of the Special Collections Research Center, gave me other suggestions for collections to look at. He pointed me to sheet music and record albums, the archives of Chicago printing company R. R. Donnelley & Sons, and the Yoffee Ephemera Collection, which includes records, games, playing cards, and little figurines.

So my focus expanded from racial memorabilia to how race works in consumer society more broadly. The different collections I saw spoke to different ways that race worked and different kinds of dynamics between graphic designers, corporations selling these images, the products they were selling, and where the products were used in the home. In the end, although each part of the exhibit advances a history that moves forward through time and shows changes, particularly in the role of African Americans as consumers and designers, I decided that each section of the exhibit should focus on a different kind of relationship between the image, its makers, and its ultimate consumers.

Can you tell me about some of the imagery in the exhibit?

One thing that fascinated me was how the advertisements represented blackness in abstract forms to different effects. In blackface minstrelsy, white men impersonated African Americans by blacking their faces with burnt cork, which allowed them to turn blackness into an object of hate and profit, but also to project onto it all kinds of fears and anxieties facing white working men in the new industrial age. The blackface mask was so powerful that advertisers adopted it as an image to sell modern industrial products toward the end of the nineteenth century.

But blackness could be abstracted in other ways to project different visions of African American life. Take, for instance, the albums produced by African American entrepreneur Henry Pace for Black Swan Records in the 1920s. “Black Swan” was an allusion to a nineteenth-century black opera singer Elizabeth Greenfield, and the image of a swan on the records became a sign that signified musical talent and heritage. A more modern example would be the Nike Air Jordan jump man. A silhouette of Michael Jordan holds a basketball in mid-air. It coded blackness as physical prowess, but also transcendent flight, escape.

Obviously, some of the images on display here have been and continue to be especially painful for African Americans. Have you given special thought to how you want to address and analyze those images in the exhibit?

Mcintyre, "Humility in the Light of the Creator"

Kalaparusha Maurice McIntyre. Humility in Light of the Creator. DS-419. Chicago: Delmark, 1969. Modern Jazz Series.
Chicago Jazz Archive. Special Collections Research Center. The University of Chicago Library. Cover design by Zbigniew Jastrzebski.

Yes, absolutely. That’s something I’ve been thinking a lot about. I don’t want to show these images gratuitously. They come from a dark time in American history when this was a part of everyday life. But I think to leave it at that would be a huge mistake because we are not yet over this history. The blackface images are not just some bygone, antiquarian caricature; they were here at the heart of the birth of our modern mass culture, and we are still dealing with that legacy. But these images change. African Americans protested, revised, and transformed the imagery and changed the terms by which images of race could be figured in consumer culture.

I’m trying to show this material in a way that provokes thought about how race is still a big part of consumer culture. I hope that, after you see this exhibit, you can go outside and see a sign or a billboard with an African American figure on it and ask yourself how it plays on the same kind of tropes, feelings, and associations that were used in earlier racial imagery in American design, as well as how the imagery has changed.

So you have important educational objectives for visitors to this exhibition. Are there other ways you expect to use your curatorial experience in your teaching?

Right now I’m a preceptor and supervise history seniors as they write their BA essays, and I’ll be teaching a course of my own in the spring. I hope to bring these students to Special Collections to show them the range of materials available there: books and printed material but also things that you wouldn’t expect a library to have, albums and three-dimensional objects, consumer goods. They offer a different way of learning about history.

Visit the associated web exhibit at lib.uchicago.edu/e/webexhibits/raceanddesign

Borrow Direct from the Ivies

UChicago faculty, students and staff can now borrow books and other circulating materials from the libraries of Ivy League universities and MIT through Borrow Direct

The University of Chicago Library joined the Borrow Direct partnership in June and began beta testing the service in August and September, successfully developing procedures for delivering books to UChicago users in approximately four business days—far more rapidly than items requested through traditional interlibrary loan.

Borrow Direct 150pxBorrow Direct can be used to gain rapid access to books that are either not owned by the Library or that are checked out or otherwise unavailable from the University of Chicago Library. The service provides access to more than 50 million volumes from the circulating collections of Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, MIT, Penn, Princeton, and Yale. It works very much like UBorrow, a consortial borrowing program that rapidly delivers materials from other CIC (Big Ten) libraries.

Borrow Direct materials can be kept for up to 12 weeks, unless recalled by the lending library. Standard borrowing policies—including fines and account blocks—apply to overdue Borrow Direct items, and renewals are not permitted.

Four ways to search Borrow Direct

Library users can access materials through Borrow Direct in four ways:

  1. Visit the Borrow Direct catalog directly.
  2. Use the searchbox on theLibrary homepage.
  3. Click on the “FindIt!” button from within Library resources like WorldCat and select the Borrow Direct option.
  4. In Lens, click on “Request via Borrow Direct” for checked out items.

For more detailed information visit our Borrow Direct library guide.

Why Borrow Direct?

“The Borrow Direct partnership will provide rapid and increased access to rich collections held by our peer institutions, thus helping to connect our students and scholars with the composite wealth of these collections,” said Judith Nadler, Director and University Librarian at the University of Chicago.  “At the same time, the project will provide a venue to explore future models for shared collection building that include both print and digital forms.”

Announcement of Chicago’s participation in Borrow Direct has already been well received on campus.  “Both personally and on behalf of the faculty and students of the art history department, I want to thank you and your staff for negotiating for Chicago to enter the Borrow Direct program,” Professor Christine Mehring, Chair of the Department of Art History, wrote Nadler upon reading the news. “Having used it frequently while I was a faculty member at Yale, I know colleagues and students will benefit from it greatly and daily.”

The launch of Borrow Direct at the University of Chicago is made possible by a generous gift from the Rhoades Foundation with the cooperation of Julius Lewis, AB’50, AM’54.