Featured Electronic Resources

Digitizing the ‘New World’

An intern discovers and shares the works of early modern mapmakers

Jose Estrada head shot

Jose Estrada, Ph.D. candidate, Romance Languages and Literatures

The encounter in 1492 between Europeans and Amerindians initiated a centuries-long inquisitive and nautical quest by Europeans to know more about the American continent and its inhabitants. How did Europe make sense of these lands and their people? How did it fit within their cosmos?

Although there are many ways to approach these questions, I have come to realize that maps, as representations of space, can provide an understanding of the cartographers’ perspective. Therefore, when Andrea Twiss-Brooks, the Library’s Interim Co-Associate University Librarian for Research and Learning, offered me the opportunity to work with early modern maps over the summer, I knew the experience would provide insight about the depiction of the “New World” in this period. As a Graduate Global Impact Pitch Intern, I collaborated with University of Chicago Library staff members to digitize early modern maps of the Americas and make them accessible to the academic community.

Willem Janszoon Blaeu, “Americae nova Tabula” (1635). In Atlantis Appendix.

The project entailed investigating maps in both the Map Collections and Special Collections, researching online databases, scanning selected maps that had not yet been digitized, enhancing the Library Catalog records for the maps, and uploading them to a repository or image server for public access. The different layers of the project require close collaboration with the Library’s experts in preservation, scanning, metadata and GIS mapping technology among others.

My research as a doctoral candidate has provided me with some background in the relationship between Spain and the Americas, but my previous experience was limited to literature and theater. Cartographic research in the Map Collection and Special Collections has allowed me to work with specialists in different areas within the Library and widen my perspective regarding maps. Willem Janszoon Blaeu’s Americae nova Tabula (1635) serves as an example. In addition to considering the political, anthropological, and topographical uses of this map of North and South America, I have come to learn that the careful light color washing not only pleases the beholder’s eye but also highlights the fine detail in the Dutch engraving technique.

While this project provides a new angle for studying the influence of the Americas in European cosmology, scanning and uploading these maps is also a refreshing way to combine the humanities and technology. Once the images are available online they can be displayed and layered in multiple ways, enabling new research endeavors. Acquainting myself with these tools is a skill that will have long-lasting value in my career as a scholar of early modern studies.

A map of the world

Willem Janszoon Blaeu, “Nova Totius Terrarum Orbis Geographica Ac Hydrographica Tabula” (1635). In Atlantis Appendix.

Place of Protest: Chicago’s Legacy of Dissent, Declaration, and Disruption

How have protesters in Chicago occupied space with their bodies, voices, and possessions? What do their strategies reveal about a protest’s purpose and message?

A large group of people with signs protesting

Strikers and sympathizers gather at Republic Steel rally, Chicago, Illinois, June 2, 1937. Source: Chicago History Museum.

Explore fifteen case studies of protest in Chicago spanning nearly 150 years of the city’s history in the Chicago Collections Consortium’s new digital exhibit, Place of Protest: Chicago’s Legacy of Dissent, Declaration, and Disruption, curated by Rachel Boyle, PhD.

From a makeshift bomb hurled into a crowd of police officers and laborers in Haymarket Square to a city-wide boycott of Chicago Public Schools in protest of continued segregation, the exhibit tells the stories of dissent among labor, civil rights, and antiwar protesters through archival images, documents, and oral histories curated from libraries and cultural institutions around Chicago. The interactive exhibit encourages navigation though a timeline of events as well as an interactive map that reveals how local declarations uniquely expressed national tensions and the ways in which memories of protest shape Chicagoans’ responses to urban conflict.

The University of Chicago Library contributed scans of items in its ACT UP Chicago collection to the Chicago Hilton and Towers, 1991 page of the web exhibit, which explores the ways the LGBTQ community asserted its needs outside a convention of medical professionals.

Protesters at Chicago HIlton and Towers, 1991

Nightlines Weekly, July 3, 1991. Source: ACT UP Chicago Records 1969 – 1996, University of Chicago.

About Chicago Collections and the University of Chicago Library

Chicago Collections is a consortium of libraries, museums, and other institutions with archives that collaborate to preserve and share the history and culture of the Chicago region.  The University of Chicago is a governing member of the consortium, and the University of Chicago Library’s Special Collections Research Center has contributed 356 archival finding aids describing collections that document Chicago urban history and 1078 digital images from its collections that depict Chicago urban settings and events in the city.

Postcard Collection of Colonial Korea goes live online

A teacher and his students

교사와 학생 (Kyosa wa haksaeng / A teacher and his students). Saga Prefectural Nagoya Castle Museum, Japan (1900-1906).

The Postcard Collection of Colonial Korea is now available online. This Collection includes 8,000 postcard images depicting the cultural, industrial, and technological status of Korea from the first half of the 20th century. The Collection is a valuable visual resource for Korean studies at the University and will be a significant primary source for research.

About the collection

Decoration of marriage

신부와 혼례상 (Sinbu wa hollyesang / Decoration of marriage). Busan Museum, Korea.

The Postcard Collection of Colonial Korea includes items created between 1900 and 1945 in Korea or abroad. It is organized into three sub-collections:

  • Busan Museum Collection
  • Saga Prefecture Nagoya Castle Museum Collection
  • Other images in 日本地理風俗大系 and 日本地理大系

With the introduction of photography and the ease of printing in the Western world, the popularity of photo postcards developed quickly in the late 19th century. The emergence of imperialism as a global trend led to a rapid increase in cultural curiosity about colonies which was helped with the production of postcards containing colonial landscapes. As travel became a new consumer culture for the public, buying and selling photo postcards as souvenirs became commonplace, and collecting photo postcards emerged as a new hobby.

With the Japanese advancement in Korea, images of Korea and Koreans were mass produced for Japanese photo shops and souvenir shops in the form of photo albums and postcards. The photo postcards of Korea were made in sets of eight under the name Chosŏn Customs that were continually reproduced during the colonial period. These photo postcards can be broadly classified according to the nature of the photos, such as governance and administration postcards, customs postcards, tourist postcards, and promotional postcards. Each set depicts specific content such as customs, tourism, cities, architecture, people, and statistics.

The South Great Gate in Seoul, Korea

남대문 (Namdaemun / The South Great Gate in Seoul, Korea). Saga Prefectural Nagoya Castle Museum, Japan (1933-1945).

The Collection is valuable for its visual images of the cultural, industrial and technological side of Korea during the first half of the 20th century. Also, the first entity to produce photo postcards of colonial Korea was Japan, so the image of Korea portrayed in these late-modern photo postcards is not entirely free from imperialist and colonialist views. Imperial Japan created a specific representation of Korea through selectively chosen images that were presented as a careful overall reflection of the late Chosŏn period.

Creating the online collection

Seven institutions in North America—University of Chicago, Columbia, Harvard, University of Michigan, Duke, University of Toronto, and UCLA—acquired a copy of the scanned images of the Collection from a South Korean publisher in 2010. The seven institutions then formed a working group and collaboratively worked on metadata development, creating Korean Romanization, verifying Chinese and Japanese characters and adding English keyword search terms for each of the 8,000 postcards.

The University of Chicago’s copy of the Collection is currently stored at the LUNA program in the Visual Resources Center.

Special thanks to Bridget Madden, Associate Director at the Visual Resources Center for handling non-roman characters for the duration of this project and to Nanju Kwon, Korea Foundation Visiting Librarian Intern (2016-2017), who reviewed and corrected each of the 8,000 entries for verification.

For more information, please contact Jee-Young Park, Korean Studies Librarian.

The Governor-General of Korea Library and other buildings

조선총독부도서관 등 (Chosŏn Ch’ongdokpu tosŏgwan / The Governor-General of Korea Library and other buildings). Busan Museum, Korea.

Celebrate National Poetry Month at the Library

National Poetry Month Poster

April is National Poetry Month and the Library is the perfect place to celebrate it. Our National Poetry Month Research Guide gives links to poetry in books, online (including readings of & podcasts about poetry) and places to go to hear poetry live in Chicago. Extending National Poetry Month by a few days, on 4 May Rosa Alcalá will be reading at the Regenstein Library in room 122, at 6pm. Join us to hear this important voice in contemporary American poetry as we continue our celebration.

New Voter Services Guide available just in time for the March 20 Primary

Graphic "Be Ready to Vote"Confused about where to go on Election Day or how to get good information about candidates?  Try the new Voter Services Guide.

Find out where the early voting locations are near the University or locate your precinct polling place. You can also learn what you need to register to vote on Election Day. There are also many new programs such as BallotReady or VoteSmart, which allow you to enter your address and pull up an exact copy of your ballot.  Most have information on candidates readily available and some allow you to send yourself your selections for Election Day voting.

 

New online resource: Black Freedom Struggle in the Twentieth Century

Mississippi Subversion of the Right to Vote

Cover of Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) pamphlet published in Atlanta, 1965

Researchers at the University of Chicago now have access to Black Freedom Struggle in the Twentieth Century, a collection of digital primary sources consisting of government documents, organizational records, and personal papers. The resource, which consists of four modules, includes major collections of civil rights records from the Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, and George H. W. Bush presidencies; the Martin Luther King FBI file and FBI files on locations of major civil rights demonstrations; and the records of the American Committee on Africa (ACOA); Records of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters; Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs (NACWC), Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), and the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). Also included in the collection are the personal papers of Mary McLeod Bethune and Charles A. Barnett.

An online trove of Biblical manuscripts

The digitization of the Goodspeed Manuscript Collection

An extraordinary collection of 68 New Testament and other Biblical manuscripts dating from the fourth to the twentieth centuries has been digitized and made available for study online. This fall, the University of Chicago Library celebrates the completion of a website (goodspeed.lib.uchicago.edu) featuring digital facsimiles of rare and delicate Greek, Syriac, Ethiopic, Armenian, Arabic, and Latin manuscripts from the Edgar J. Goodspeed Manuscript Collection in the Special Collections Research Center.  This premier collection holds great artistic, historical, and textual significance for scholars.

Eusebius of Caesarea, letter to Carpianus

Goodspeed Manuscript Collection, gms-1017-007, Eusebius of Caesarea, letter to Carpianus. Gospels in Armenian. (Aleppo Gospels). Aleppo, Syria (Berea), 1624.

The inspiration for the digitization project came from faculty working in a range of disciplines from religious studies to art history and classics.  All had an interest in bringing digitized images of manuscripts into the classroom and onto the laptops of students and faculty.  An initial grant from the University of Chicago Provost’s Program for Academic Technology Innovation and an award from the Institute of Museum and Library Services National Leadership Grants for Libraries helped to fund the early years of the project.

Completion of the digitization project was the result of a successful collaboration across Library units including the Digital Library Development Center, Special Collections Research Center, Preservation Department, and Cataloging Department.  Specialists in the Library overcame numerous challenges over the course of the digitization process.  For example, many of the manuscripts are bound in vellum or leather with parchment text pages that are proteinaceous, causing the material to cockle and stiffen over the centuries.  Others feature extraordinary illustrations—from decorative headpieces and initials to full-page images—on media that needed to be handled with the utmost care to prevent flaking or crumbling.

The faithfully photographed works are represented online by high-resolution 24-bit color images that researchers can view in tremendous detail using the zooming capability of the web interface. In addition, Special Collections staff provided detailed metadata about each manuscript’s intellectual content together with descriptions of miniatures, watermarks, and heraldic devices.  This enables both general and advanced users of all disciplines to search and browse the online collection using a wide range of subject headings, descriptive terms, and manuscript features.

Visit goodspeed.lib.uchicago.edu to see the Goodspeed Manuscripts online.

New Library website launches July 5

Update: The Library will be launching the new website described below starting at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 5. Site visitors should expect service interruptions throughout the evening, and, because the changes will take time to propagate over the internet, some users may be unable to reach the site through July 6.

Access to resources outside of the main Library website should continue uninterrupted during this time. These include:

Thank you for your patience as we roll out these changes.

____________________

The University of Chicago Library will launch a new website over the summer.  The new site’s improved navigation and mobile-friendly design will provide faculty and students with ready access to curated, scholarly information and research expertise.

Changes to the design and structure of the new Library website are being made in response to the needs and feedback of UChicago faculty, students, and staff. The new site will be optimized for both desktop and mobile use, with a modern look and feel. It is being made easier to browse and navigate by

  • providing streamlined access to search tools for articles, journals, and databases;
  • providing more consistent navigation across the top of the site’s pages;
  • reorganizing information into categories developed directly from user input;
  • making it easier to find information about distinctive collections, exhibitions, study spaces, hours, and locations; and
  • connecting related collections, tools, and experts, making it easier for users to take advantage of the wealth of information and services offered by the Library.

In addition, Library news will be presented in a more engaging way on the site, and pages will be optimized for discovery via Google or other search engines.

The current Library Catalog, launched in 2014, is not being redesigned as a part of this project.

The new Library website will first go live in mid-summer and will be further refined in the weeks leading up to fall orientation.  During this period, if you have any difficulty finding the information you are looking for, librarians will be happy to assist you via our Ask a Librarian service.

The University of Chicago Library website serves as a gateway to UChicago collections and licensed resources; the online Ask a Librarian service, including live chat; Library staff with expertise in a wide range of subjects; research guides in numerous fields; and videos and guides explaining how to conduct research using library resources.

New online resource: Dead Sea Scrolls Electronic Library Biblical Texts

Dead Sea Scrolls Electronic Library Biblical TextsThe researchers at the University of Chicago now have online access to the Dead Sea Scrolls Electronic Library Biblical Texts through Brill. The database includes high resolution images of the biblical texts discovered in the Judean desert along with a side-by-side comparison of Hebrew transcription, English translation and the text of the Leningrad Codex. Until now, this content was only accessible electronically through the CD-ROM version published in 1999. Through the online database, researchers are able to search across the entire content, link between texts and download images of scrolls either on or off-campus. Included at this time is the Revised List of Texts from the Judean Desert (2010) that includes non-biblical texts, though these are currently not available to read online. Since the database is published by Brill, researchers can simultaneously access related databases published by Brill, such as The Context of Scripture online or the Coptic Gnostic Library online. Any questions can be directed to Anne K. Knafl, Bibliographer for Religion and Philosophy.

The display of a fragment from Genesis 19:27-28 from the Dead Sea Scrolls Electronic Library Online.

The display of a fragment from Genesis 19:27-28 from the Dead Sea Scrolls Electronic Library Online.

 

A single portal to Chicago history

UChicago Library partners with 21 institutions to create a tool for exploring the history and culture of Chicago

IdaBWells-asas-00054_400p

Ida B. Wells-Barnett with her children, 1909, 13.7 x 9.5 cm. Ida B. Wells Papers, Box 10, Folder 1. Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.

The University of Chicago Library is a major partner in the creation of a new online portal, Explore Chicago Collections, that documents the rich history and culture of the Chicago region. Launching on October 22, the free portal helps researchers, students, and the general public to locate and access more than 100,000 maps, photos, letters, and other materials from across the city.

This portal is the cornerstone initiative of a city-wide consortium, Chicago Collections, that includes universities, museums, and organizations as diverse as the Alliance Française and the Chicago Zoological Society.

Charles Blair, Director of the University of Chicago Library’s Digital Library Development Center, has played a key role in the development of this new search tool. As Co-chair of the Chicago Collections Portal Committee he has contributed technical expertise in the underlying portal software as well as experience developing effective digital asset management and discovery tools that meet the needs of a wide variety of users. The Library will also be contributing content for the portal, including finding aids describing our Chicago-related archival and manuscript collections, as well as several thousand digitized photographs, beginning with 33 photographs of pioneering Chicago civil rights activist Ida B. Wells and more than 1,000 of Chicago neighborhoods and urban renewal by photographer Mildred Mead.

In addition to bringing resources from member organizations together into a single search interface, the consortium has been developing a wide range of outreach programs and services including an exhibition, lectures, and a Cooperative Reference Network that will provide answers to questions from researchers and the general public about Chicago history and member collections.

Access the portal at explore.chicagocollections.org.