Posted onJune 20, 2018byAshley Gosselar at the Special Collection Research Center
The Special Collections Research Center’s collection of Nobel Prize-winning astrophysicist Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar‘s personal papers has more than doubled in size. Organization of the additional material has recently been completed by archivist Allyson Smally, and a new guide to the collection is available online.
The newly-opened portion of the collection contains writings – including handwritten notes and drafts – personal and professional correspondence, and a significant number of photographs. The additional material is described in the Addenda portion of the online guide.
A notebook from Chandrasekhar’s first year at Cambridge University, later dedicated to his wife Lalitha. Chandrasekhar, Subrahmanyan. Papers, Box 208, Folder 5, Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library.
Chandra and Lalitha, 1940 Chandrasekhar, Subrahmanyan. Papers, Box 255, Folder 47, Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library.
Congratulatory letter from University of Chicago President Hanna Holborn Gray, 1983. Chandrasekhar, Subrahmanyan. Papers, Box 194, Folder 2, Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library.
Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar (1910-1995) was a faculty member at the University of Chicago for nearly 60 years. He made significant contributions to theoretical astrophysics, and is best known for his mathematical theory of black holes.
Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar pictured in 1936. University of Chicago Photographic Archive, apf6-01301, Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library.
Posted onMay 9, 2018byThe University of Chicago Library
The University of Chicago Library has received the medals and academic papers of Nobel-winning physicist James Cronin, SM’53, PhD’55, the late UChicago scientist who made defining contributions to physics and astronomical observation.
James Cronin at the chalkboard. Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.
Cronin’s children, Emily Cronin Grothe and Daniel Cronin, donated six medals that recognize his extraordinary achievements, including the 1980 Nobel Prize Medal for Physics and the 1999 National Medal of Science. His widow, Carol Cronin, donated his professional papers, including lab reports, articles, lectures, speeches, teaching materials, correspondence and other items.
James Cronin’s Nobel Prize Medal. Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library. The Nobel Prize medal design mark is the registered trademark of the Nobel Foundation. (Photo by Jean Lachat)
“I am deeply grateful to the Cronin family for their invaluable gifts to the Library,” said Brenda Johnson, Library Director and University Librarian. “Making James Cronin’s papers and medals available to researchers and students not only helps us to understand the achievements of the past—it also fuels the rigorous inquiry of faculty and the transformative education we provide students. That is why the University of Chicago Library is committed to being the home of Nobel Prize winners’ research.”
Cronin earned his master’s degree and PhD in physics from UChicago in the 1950s. While conducting research in the 1960s at Brookhaven National Laboratory, he and colleague Val Fitch studied subatomic particles coming off collisions between protons and atom nuclei and found the first example of nature’s preference for matter over antimatter. It was the first observation of a mystery that had baffled scientists for decades, and the breakthrough would earn them the Nobel Prize in 1980.
This finding was later used to provide support for the Big Bang theory, explaining why the explosion would produce more matter than antimatter—leaving remnants that would eventually became stars, planets and human life.
Studying the origin of cosmic rays
Cronin joined the UChicago faculty in 1971 as University Professor of Physics. He soon shifted course to study the origin of cosmic rays: mysterious, highly energetic particles that strike the Earth from elsewhere in the cosmos. To search for them, he co-founded the Pierre Auger Observatory in Argentina—a massive international collaboration to build a system of giant water tanks spread over an area ten times the size of Paris. It took its first readings in 2005, and just last year discovered extragalactic origins for some of the cosmic rays that strike Earth.
Photo of James Cronin (left) with apparatus and colleagues. Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.
Cronin saw himself as part of a long lineage of UChicago physicists. In 2001, he organized a symposium marking the 100th anniversary of Fermi’s birth and edited the book Fermi Remembered. Published by the University of Chicago Press in 2004, it explored the enduring significance of Fermi’s work.
“In his first year as a graduate student at the University of Chicago, Cronin studied with Enrico Fermi and developed a great respect for him,” said Daniel Meyer, director of the Special Collections Research Center. “When he was working on the Fermi centennial and publication, Cronin came to Special Collections frequently to do his own research in the Fermi papers. He examined all of Fermi’s original laboratory notebooks and located key letters and documents from Fermi’s career.”
Emily Cronin Grothe, LAB’78, said the University of Chicago Library was the right home for her father’s medals and papers.
“Our family has a long history with the University of Chicago, with my grandfather, father, mother, uncle and daughter all receiving advanced degrees from the institution,” she said. “Given that, and how proud my father was to be associated with the University and its remarkable approach and achievements in science, my brother Dan and I never wavered in our commitment to house my father’s papers and medals with The Library.”
Selected medals, awards and honors of James W. Cronin, including (left to right) the 1976 Franklin Institute John Price Wetherill Medal, the 1977 United States Department of Energy Ernest Orlando Lawrence Memorial Award Medal, the 1999 National Medal of Science, the 1999 Collège de France Service Medal, the 1980 Nobel Prize Medal for Physics, and the 1999 French Légion d’Honneur Chevalier Medal. Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library. Photo by Jean Lachat. The Nobel Prize medal design mark is the registered trademark of the Nobel Foundation.
Sketches from notebook for CP experiment, JW Cronin Spring 1963. James Cronin Papers, Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.
A photograph of the apparatus used in discovery of the CP violation. A scientist is checking the electronics of the event detection system. Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.
Notes ̴ at time of discussion of new physics ̴ 1955? Theoretical considerations on mesons and hyperons. Energy level scheme for new particles. (hyperons). Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.
Letter from James Cronin to President Clinton, June 20, 2000, concerning the founding of the Auger Observatory. Cronin thanks Clinton for his bringing up “the international cosmic ray project during your meeting with President de la Rua of Argentina.” Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.
A web exhibit of the 2013 Crerar exhibit From Sausage to Hot Dog: the Evolution of an Icon is now available. The original exhibit was shown in the atrium of Crerar Library from October 29 — December 31, 2013.
Description: The hot dog is an American creation, and Chicago even has its own style. But where did this popular food come from and how did it develop? This exhibit looks to the hot dog’s origins in sausage-making practices brought by European immigrants to the Midwest. We consider techniques used in neighborhood butcher shops and the rise of industrial meat production. Homemade recipes and artisanal makers past and present are also examined.
UChicago Innovation Fest (May 1-June 3, 2018) celebrates pioneering discovery and entrepreneurial endeavors at the University of Chicago. Led by the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, the month of events, workshops, and accelerator programs, including the globally recognized Edward L. Kaplan, ’71, New Venture Challenge, highlights the breadth and impact of innovation at UChicago in the areas of entrepreneurship and research commercialization, scientific advancements, and social impact.
In support of the UChicago Innovation Fest, the Library’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation research guide has been expanded to include new lists of recommended periodicals and books for entrepreneurs and innovators. Starting points for company, industry, and market research as well as demographics and financing information are also provided. The guide, as well as the schedule of events, are highlighted on the UChicago Innovation Fest website. Business and Economics Librarian for Instruction & Outreach Emily Treptow also supports Polsky Center members during her monthly mentor hours at the Polsky Exchange. See more about her work in our feature on embedded librarianship.
Beginning Monday, April 23, access to Crerar Library’s Lower Level Bookstacks will be temporarily closed due to construction activity. Until the area reopens, Crerar staff will page any materials needed from the stacks. To request a book, use the “Can’t Find It” link on the Catalog page. Library staff will pull requested items the same weekday or by the morning of the next weekday.
You can also visit the Crerar Circulation desk for help during our normal hours, or contact circulation online with any questions.
The Library is now offering an improved Interlibrary Loan service that provides a streamlined way for UChicago faculty, students, and staff to request materials from a wide range of other libraries.
Previously, Library users had to decide among several services to obtain needed material:
BorrowDirect for obtaining material from the Ivy Plus libraries;
UBorrow for obtaining material from the Big Ten Academic Alliance libraries;
Traditional Interlibrary Loan for material held in other libraries; or,
Recall for University of Chicago Library copies already on loan.
Click the “Request via Interlibrary Loan” link on the FindIt! page to use the streamlined service.
Now you will use a single Interlibrary Loan service that automatically gets you what you want in the best and fastest way. Big Ten and Ivy Plus partners will continue to provide expedited delivery in roughly 4-5 days. Items will usually be obtained from other libraries, but local copies will still be recalled if needed material is not rapidly available via interlibrary loan.
Click the “FindIt!” button in other resources such as WorldCat and Articles Plus, and then click the “Interlibrary Loan” link.
There is no need to search UBorrow and BorrowDirect individually anymore to make a request, as the improved Interlibrary Loan service will do that for you. However, the UBorrow and BorrowDirect search pages are still available from the Library’s home page if you want to use them.
This competitive award for excellence and clarity in science writing acknowledges the ability of a University of Chicago College student to produce a paper, on a scientific topic, which is thorough in its arguments but accessible to a broad readership.
First Prize is $1500
Second Prize is $500
Third Prize is $300
Today, March 8th, marks the 191st birthday of Crerar Library benefactor and industrialist John Crerar. Crerar was born in New York City in 1827 and came to Chicago in 1862 to build his wealth in railroads.
Upon his death in 1889, Crerar bequeathed a substantial sum for the founding of a library. Although he didn’t stipulate what types of materials would be collected, he did state what it wouldn’t: “dirty French novels and all skeptical trash and works of questionable moral tone shall never be found in this Library.”
Read more about John Crerar and other historical figures with the Library’s collection of online newspapers.
Second- and fourth-year College students at the University of Chicago with a theme-focused book collection are invited to apply for the T. Kimball Brooker Prize for Undergraduate Book Collecting. The University of Chicago Library is pleased to sponsor this prize, which was established by Mr. Brooker, PhD’96, to foster a love of the book and to encourage book collecting among undergraduates.
Prizes include $1,000 for a second-year student and $2,000 for a fourth-year student.
Applications and instructions for how to apply are available on the Library website. Evaluation of applications is based on the thoughtfulness and intent by which the student has shaped the collection. Collections may focus on a specific topic or the work of a particular author, or they may relate to special interests within a field. Bibliographical and physical features such as editions, illustrations, or bindings may also be the basis upon which a collection is developed. Whatever its defining quality may be, the organizing principle should be apparent in every item of the collection.
Past winners have collections focusing on subjects ranging from Religion in Late Antique Egypt to Zines, Punk Rock, and Empowerment.
Left to right: 2017 Brooker Prize winner Jackson Bierfeldt (4th year), Billie Males (2nd-year co-winner), Mr. Brooker and Bryan McGuiggin (2nd-year co-winner) with selections from the winners’ collections. (Photo by Alan Klehr)
Today marks the beginning of the Winter Olympics. For this occasion we’ve compiled books and articles from the Library’s holdings and subscriptions on the physics and engineering behind some of the sports of the winter games:
Posted onFebruary 6, 2018byAshley Gosselar at the Special Collection Research Center
Reunion of atomic scientists on the 4th Anniversary (1946) of the first controlled nuclear fission chain reaction, December 2, 1942, pictured in front of Bernard A. Eckhart Hall at the University of Chicago. University of Chicago Photographic Archive, apf3-00232, Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library.
Exhibition Dates: February 19 – April 13, 2018 Location: Special Collections Research Center Exhibition Gallery, 1100 East 57th Street, Chicago, IL
On December 2, 1942, scientists at the University of Chicago produced the world’s first self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction beneath the West Stand of Stagg Field, the University’s athletic stadium. This experiment, crucial to the control of nuclear fission, drove a rapid nationwide expansion of the Manhattan Project, the secret federal research and engineering program charged with producing a nuclear bomb.
Chicago’s role in the Manhattan Project did not end with the successful operation the first nuclear reactor. Buildings across the University of Chicago campus were converted for use by the code-named Metallurgical Laboratory. The Met Lab conducted extended research on the structure of uranium, developed the process for separating plutonium from uranium, and investigated nuclear radiation’s biological effects and safety issues. At the end of World War II, the Metallurgical Laboratory was transformed into the first United States federal laboratory, Argonne National Laboratory.
Chicago’s Met Lab also took the lead in organizing scientists’ political response to the devastation caused by atomic bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Concerned about the future development and use of nuclear weapons, Met Lab veterans created the Atomic Scientists of Chicago and began publishing the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. They joined scientists from other Manhattan Project sites across the country and pressed successfully in 1946 for the passage of the Atomic Energy Act (McMahon Act) and creation of the civilian Atomic Energy Commission.
The Met Lab scientists achieved great technical success in their contribution to the creation of a powerful new military weapon. Yet the sobering consequences of their work moved them to enter the political arena and make the first critical arguments to control nuclear weapons and turn nuclear energy toward peaceful ends.
Based on archives and manuscripts in the Special Collections Research Center, Science and Conscience presents unique historical documents and artifacts, many not previously exhibited. Items on display are drawn from records of scientists’ organizations and the papers of those who worked on the Manhattan Project and at Chicago’s Met Lab, including Enrico Fermi, James Franck, Herbert L. Anderson, Samuel K. Allison, Samuel Schwartz, Francis W. Test, Lawrence Lanzl, John H. Balderston, Jr., Albert Wattenberg, Eugene Rabinowitch, Paul Henshaw, William B. Higinbotham, and Donald MacRae, among others.
Hours: Mondays through Fridays, 9 a.m. – 4:45 p.m., and, when University of Chicago classes are in session, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 9 a.m. – 5:45 p.m.
Free and open to the public.
Use of Images and Media Contact
Images from the exhibition included on this page are available for download by members of the media and are reserved for editorial use in connection with University of Chicago Library exhibitions, programs, or related news.
Major General Leslie R. Grooves, director of the Manhattan District, pins a Medal of Merit on physicist Enrico Fermi for his contribution to the success of the Atomic Bomb Project. They are pictured at the University of Chicago with other scientists who also received the award. From left: Major Groves; Harold C. Urey, the Martin A. Ryerson distinguished professor of Chemistry; Dr. Fermi; Samuel K. Allison, director of the university’s Institute for Nuclear Studies; Cyril S. Smith, director of the university’s Institute for the Study of Metals; and Robert S. Stone of the University of California Hospitals. Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.
Autographed endpapers in Henry DeWolf Smyth’s A General Account of the Development of Methods of Using Atomic Energy for Military Purposes under the Auspices of the United States Government, 1940-1945. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1945).
The Smyth Report was the first public account providing details of nuclear research conducted by the United States during World War II. This copy of the book, from the library of Metallurgical Lab staff member Melvin Bengston includes signatures of James Franck, Harold Urey, Samuel K. Allison, Eugene P. Wigner, Edward Teller, Herbert L. Anderson, and many other scientists and staff who worked on the Manhattan Project in Chicago.
Gift of Diana King
Rare Book Collection
James Franck, winner of the 1925 Nobel Prize in Physics, professor of Physical Chemistry (1938-1947) at the University of Chicago, and director of the Chemistry Division of the university’s Metallurgical Laboratory (World War II). Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.
Enrico Fermi, winner of the 1938 Nobel Prize for Physics and professor at the University of Chicago. Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.
Albert Wattenberg, pile construction, photograph, undated. Wikimedia Commons.
Stagg Field (Old), West Stands Wall 5. Capes Photo. Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.
“Kelp are habitat for hundreds—probably thousands of species: fishes, invertebrates, etcetera,” explained Cathy Pfister, Professor in University of Chicago’s Department of Ecology and Evolution. “They are a natural habitat, just like a coral reef, that is the only place where some animals survive.”
Concerns have been raised about downward trends in kelp’s abundance worldwide. Seeking more information about long-term changes in kelp abundance, Pfister discovered that the University of Chicago Library holds rare World War I-era maps showing the location of kelp forests in the Pacific Northwest. At her request, the Library’s Preservation staff digitized these maps, and Pfister and her collaborators compared the early 20th-century survey findings to aerial censuses of two canopy kelp species in Washington State waters from 1989 to 2015.
Surveying kelp beds in anticipation of World War I
The maps in the UChicago Library’s collection were made in anticipation of international conflict rather than global warming. In the early 1900s, the U.S. Department of Agriculture recognized a problem. The United States relied heavily on fertilizer to grow crops and support its burgeoning economy, yet a crucial ingredient for fertilizer — potash, a mixture of potassium and salts — was mined almost exclusively in Germany. German mines supplied nearly the entire world’s supply of potash, and at the time the U.S. used about a fifth of its output.
Seeking ways to ease this dependency—and possibly aware that potash is also an ingredient in gunpowder—the USDA commissioned several surveys of an alternative source of potash: kelp beds in the Pacific Northwest. The large, hardy seaweeds are a natural source of potassium, nitrogen, and salts, and kelp worldwide have been used historically as fertilizer. If kelp could be harvested and processed in large enough quantities, it could be a viable source of potash to offset German imports.
So, the USDA sent surveyors — including George Rigg, an ecologist from the University of Washington — to map the kelp beds along the coast of California, Oregon, Washington and Alaska. Rigg set out in a yacht with a 40-horsepower motor and mapped the Washington coastline in 1911-12.
One hundred and five years later, Pfister was made aware of the maps and was surprised to see a folio listed in the University of Chicago Library Catalog. With a few keystrokes, she had them retrieved by the robotic cranes in the Joe and Rika Mansueto Library’s automated storage and retrieval system. Delivered into her hands were large format maps bound inside 27 x 21-inch covers. Recognizing the value and fragility of the material, and wanting to use and archive digital copies of the maps for her analysis, Pfister contacted Preservation Librarian Sherry Byrne for help.
Conservation staff used Japanese paper to stabilize the brittle maps at the folds.
Conserving and digitizing the maps
The Library’s Preservation team was happy to digitize the extensive collection of maps from Alaska to California and had the expertise to do so without causing damage to the brittle, 100-year-old paper they were printed on. Especially large maps that had been folded to fit inside the book’s covers were starting to tear at the folds, so Library staff reinforced those sections of paper with Japanese tissue and wheat starch paste to keep the sections of the page from separating during handling. They then built a set-up to support the large volume while opening the folded maps for digitization. Photographer Michael Kenny and Head of Digitization Kathleen Arthur captured high-resolution images and posted PDFs that are now freely available to researchers worldwide through the Library Catalog.
“Library staff members with expertise in conservation and digitization are here to enable research that requires the digitization of print and other non-digital materials,” said Byrne. “We encourage faculty, students, and other researchers to contact us to discuss the possibility of digitizing materials in our collection.”
Professor Cathy Pfister points to a kelp map in the Library’s Digitization Laboratory. Image courtesy of The Forefront.
With digitized copies of the Library’s 1911-12 maps in hand and aerial censuses from the last 26 years, Pfister and colleagues at the Washington Department of Natural Resources were able to determine the persistence of kelp cover over the past century and compared kelp dynamics with likely environmental drivers such as local environmental variables and ocean indices for the region.
What they found is a relatively rare positive story when it comes to ecological studies in a time of accelerating climate change. The abundance of most modern kelp beds along the Washington coast has remained constant over the last century despite a seawater temperature increase of 0.72 degrees Celsius. The few exceptions are kelp beds closest to Puget Sound, Seattle and Tacoma.
“Kelp are a robust and resilient structure. You can see that in the data, as long as they have access to good water quality and waves flush through them, then they persist,” Pfister said.
Pfister and her team also studied the competition among kelp species in the area. While the kelp beds were persistent over the decades, their populations could fluctuate greatly from year to year. There are two dominant species — the annual bull kelp and the perennial giant kelp — and they fluctuated similarly, meaning that if one was abundant in a given year, so was the other. And good years, it turns out, are associated with colder seawater temperatures, an unfortunate preference for kelp as ocean temperatures continue to rise.
The Library and research on climate change and ecological history
“As ecologists, we’re realizing that libraries and museums have incredible archival information about how our ecosystems used to look before we really were recording it very well,” said Pfister. “So instances like this where there was an expedition that really quantified how much kelp was there are incredibly important in helping us to understand where we’ve been in these ecosystems and potentially where we’re going as the climate changes.”
The Library has a wide variety of materials that may be useful to scientists exploring ecological history, including reports, maps, and data on ecological communities and environments that have changed or disappeared due to urbanization, climate change, and other forces. One particularly well-known collection of 4500 American Environmental Photographs was created between 1891 and 1936 by UChicago faculty members and students and is fully digitized and available online. The Library’s extraordinary Map Collection is well described and discoverable in the Library Catalog, and additional maps can be found in books and other materials. For research assistance in this area, contact us at Ask a Science Librarian.
A new guide is now available for Molecular Engineering: http://guides.lib.uchicago.edu/molecular. This guide shows how to find the most useful information resources and services available for molecular engineering. It includes links to article databases that focus on engineering, information about how to access resources easily from off campus, and document delivery options for book chapters and articles not available electronically.
We also offer research guides for all major disciplines in the sciences and guides for Digital Scholarship issues including:
December 31st marks the anniversary of Thomas Edison’s first public demonstration of his incandescent light bulb in 1879.
Edison’s patent drawing for the incandescent light bulb. CREDIT: “New Jersey–The Wizard of Electricity–Thomas A. Edison’s System of Electric Illumination,” 1880. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. Reproduction Number LC-USZ62-97960.
Video recordings from the 5th biennial Kathleen A. Zar Symposium, “Open Data: Science, Health, Community” are now available online. The symposium featured speakers from Mozilla, the National Library of Medicine, the City of Chicago and more, who provided insight into open data projects and initiatives which have an impact on science, health, or community.
This project has been funded in part with Federal funds from the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, under Grant Number 1UG4LMO12312346-01 with the University of Iowa.
A digitized page from Fermi’s Notebook D14,”Numerical Calculations,” from November 12, 1943, to May 27, 1944. (Fermi, Enrico. Collection, [Box 42, Folder 3], Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library.)
The University of Chicago Library, Research Computing Center, UChicagoGRAD, and Humanities Computing invite University of Chicago students, faculty, and staff to attend campus events in celebration of Geography Awareness Week and GIS Day.
Maps and atlases of Special Collections
Date: Monday, November 13 from 1:00-3:00 p.m. Location: Special Collections Research Center, Regenstein Library, 1100 E 57th St Description: During this instructional session learn about and view historic maps, atlases, and texts held in the library’s Special Collections Research Center. Register
GIS careers panel
Date: Wednesday, November 15 from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Location: Classics 110, 1010 E 59th St Description: Panelists from CTA, EPA, HERE, & Boston Consulting Group will discuss the use of GIS to enhance their work. Enjoy GIS Day cake and networking from 4:30-5:00. Register
Date: Thursday, November 16 from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. and 4:00-6:00 p.m. Location: Biological Sciences Learning Center (room 018) 924 E 57th St Description: Drop by one of these hands-on sessions to learn basic geospatial skills and techniques by using OpenStreetMap and contributing to a humanitarian mapping project. For more information, watch the “Why map?” video.
Bringing a laptop (no tablets) is recommended, but a limited number of computers are available in the lab. Register: 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. session 4:00-6:00 p.m. session
For questions about these events, contact Resident Librarian for GIS Taylor Hixson (email@example.com). Persons with disabilities who need an accommodation in order to participate in this event should contact Barbara Kern at 773-702-8717 for assistance.
Posted onOctober 26, 2017byBrenda L. Johnson, Library Director and University Librarian at the University of Chicago Library
The Changing Nature of Scholarship
The advent of digital technology has opened up new horizons that have inspired scholars to transform the nature of their scholarship. From the rapid analysis of a human genome to the sharing of social science data sets to data mining vast quantities of text—scholars are continually developing new digital approaches to creating, analyzing, and sharing their research.
Brenda L. Johnson, Library Director and University Librarian (Photo by John Zich)
While digital scholarship activity among the University of Chicago faculty is growing, this new kind of scholarship comes with a challenge. Researchers must master a dizzying array of computational tools and techniques, they must think about how to manage their data in ways that can be used by other researchers, and they must find solutions for archiving and sharing their data that meet the increasingly stringent requirements of funding agencies. As faculty and students increasingly incorporate computational and algorithmic methods (e.g., text mining, network analysis, GIS and geo-spatial mapping, image analysis, data analysis) into their research process, they are looking for partners to provide the technical and human resources necessary to support their research activities, foster innovation, and facilitate cross-divisional collaboration.
Digital scholarship encompasses all parts of this new life cycle of digital research, from the changing ways in which scholars collect and analyze data to their increased interest in new techniques for preserving and sharing that data. The Library is a natural hub for the exchange of ideas and the home of a great deal of expertise on archiving and sharing information. Accordingly, we are preparing to enhance our offerings and collaborations with faculty in each segment of this life cycle.
Envisioning a Center for Digital Scholarship at the University of Chicago Library
Faculty tell us that “a substantial barrier to the adoption of computational and digital methods at the University of Chicago has been the isolation of faculty members from colleagues who are experimenting with similar techniques. . . . A physical space designated for such inquiry could help bridge this knowledge gap by providing an environment in which to explore the application of these techniques, receive hands-on training through tutorials or workshops, and benefit from informal collaboration with colleagues in other disciplines.”
To meet this need, I am pleased to announce that we are beginning the work of launching a Center for Digital Scholarship at the Library, which will become a new nexus for intellectual energy and growth, providing a space that will support state-of-the-art technologies and services that facilitate the exploration of new methodologies, the analysis of complex data, the visualization of theoretical relationships, and the sharing of research results.
Establishing such a transformative center at the Library will require identifying high priority needs and thinking creatively about how to resource those needs. Thanks to the generosity of Robert, AM’64, and Carolyn Nelson, AM’64, PhD’67, we will soon be able to hire a Director for the Center for Digital Scholarship (CDS) who will develop a strategic vision, begin to build services, and coordinate with existing library staff. Our new CDS Director will jumpstart the process and position us to pursue additional funding to support a full suite of services. I am grateful to the Nelsons for their early support of the Library’s digital scholarship initiatives.
We are now beginning a search for this Director and look forward to having this position filled in the coming months. As the Center develops over time, we expect that we will be able to facilitate a wide range of activities. Possibilities fall into three categories.
Scholarly Exploration and Collaboration. A combination of intellectual programming (symposia to host international scholars, tutorials, brown-bag presentations, workshops, faculty lectures), services (project consultation, data archiving), and technology (scanning equipment, workstations equipped with GIS and other specialized software) will make the Center a hub that brings faculty, students, and scholars together in ways that spark interactions and facilitate cross-divisional collaborations.
Graduate and Undergraduate Training. Faculty turn to the Library as a partner to supplement classroom instruction with workshops, targeted training, and onsite training by embedded librarians who can teach the skills necessary for students to succeed. In addition to supporting initiatives across campus to develop courses and programs that integrate new computational methods and theories into a wide range of disciplines, the Library has partnered with UChicagoGrad to provide fundamental digital scholarship skills needed by graduate students to become the next generation of leaders in academia, industry, nonprofits, and government.
The OCHRE database allows users to view photographs of artifacts (here, Ras Shamra tablets) alongside associated machine-readable data such as descriptions, epigraphs, interpretive information, transliterations, and translations.
Project Incubation and Execution. The Center for Digital Scholarship will provide services, such as project consultations, data acquisition and conversion, workshops in tools and techniques, and core technical infrastructure. Researchers would benefit from guidance on strategies for organizing and executing digital project work and from assistance by staff with the experience and networks that can facilitate project components that are new to the researcher. Examples of such projects are the Library’s collaboration with Chicago Booth’s Richard Hornbeck on the location and digitization of 19th-century manufacturing data and with the Oriental Institute’s David Schloen on the OCHRE database system.
I look forward to being joined by the new Director of the Center for Digital Scholarship, who will collaborate with colleagues within the Library and across campus to develop a vision for the Center and plan for the rollout of services critical to digital research and teaching projects of many kinds.
Exterior view of the Albert Merritt Billings Hospital, part of the University of Chicago Hospitals complex. University of Chicago Photographic Archive, [apf7-02257], Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library.
The University of Chicago History of Medicine Project (UCHOMP) is marking the 90th Anniversary of the opening of Billings Hospital, the predecessor of UChicago Medicine with some special events in the Joseph Regenstein Library. Join us on Friday, October 27, 2017 at 2pm – 4:30pm for an open house in the Special Collections Research Center featuring “Treasures of Medicine in Chicago.” The open house will be followed by a lecture given by Mindy A. Schwartz, M.D. “Happy Birthday Billings Hospital- The Library Connection: A Tale of 3 Billings.” The lecture will take place from 5pm – 6pm in Regenstein Library Room 122. The events are open to all University of Chicago faculty, staff and students and to the general public.
The week of October 23-29 is International Open Access Week, an annual celebration to raise awareness of the issue of access to published scholarly research.
What is Open Access?
Open access is access to published scholarly research that is free of most copyright and licensing restrictions and free of charge to any reader anywhere. Learn more at our guide to open access.
How you can participate in Open Access Initiatives?
Publish in an Open Access publication so that everyone immediately and always has free access to your work. Check the Directory of Open Access Journals to find high quality, open access, peer-reviewed journals.
Make your work available in an open repository. The Library also now offers a digital repository for faculty, staff and students to deposit their scholarly articles and (at this time) small dataset to share. Visit knowledge.uchicago.edu for more information about our repository.
The University of Chicago Library is looking for student representatives from the following schools and divisions to serve on the Library Student Advisory Group:
College (Class of 2021 Only)
Biological Sciences Division
Chicago Booth School of Business
Harris School of Public Policy Studies
Institute for Molecular Engineering
Physical Sciences Division
Pritzker School of Medicine
School of Social Service Administration
Social Sciences Division
The Library Student Advisory Group (LSAG) serves as a formal channel of communication between students and the Library administration. The LSAG discusses matters related to all six campus libraries, including its collections, spaces, and services, along with the present and future needs of the student community. The Library Student Advisory Group meets two times a quarter and representatives serve two-year terms.