Black at Bryn Mawr: What’s Next?

I’ve been invited by the Bryn Mawr College Pensby Center to kick off this year’s Diversity Conversations programming with a look at the past, present, and future of the Black at Bryn Mawr project. During 2015-2016, I will continue to manage the project, providing new research and integrating it with my teaching and the work of the Greenfield Digital Center. I feel the loss of the project’s creators, Emma Kioko ’15 and Grace Pusey ’15 greatly — their energy and expertise made Emma’s idea for a Black history walking tour real, and far more successful than we ever could have imagined at this time last year. Our students graduate, and move on in their research and careers; talk of sustainability for campus history projects in the small liberal arts college environment must reflect this.

For those who can not attend the conversation, I am making my slides available via Slideshare, and welcome comments and further questions. Today’s presentation also dovetails with the work I am just beginning as a co-organizer of the 2016 NCPH Working Group “Campus History as Public History,” which is taking applications through October 15, 2015. Can we create best practices for these kinds of projects?

As always, the conversation continues on Twitter: #BlackatBrynMawr and #campushistories.

cross-posted from Black at Bryn Mawr

Project Update: College Women

College women beta site 6-11

In June, my Special Collections colleagues and I announced the launch of College Women: Documenting the History of Women in Higher Education (collegewomen.org), a project of the seven institutions once known as the “Seven Sisters” colleges. With a one-year Foundations planning grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities — based on a grant proposal written by my predecessor at Bryn Mawr, Dr. Jennifer Redmond — we developed a collaborative archives portal that brings together digitized student materials drawn from the libraries of the seven partner institutions: Barnard, Bryn Mawr, Mount Holyoke, Smith, Vassar, Wellesley, and Radcliffe (now the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University).

Over the summer, as we saw our first users begin to explore the site, we were also busy putting the finishing touches on a white paper documenting this collaboration for the NEH Division of Preservation and Access, Humanities Collections and Reference Resources. With the white paper, we made the case for finding ways to collect geographically disparate collections in a vital, sustainable, and open-source subject-specific site, and over the long term, using that site to stimulate significant new work in women’s history.

To read more, download the “History of Women’s Education Open Access Portal Project” from the Bryn Mawr College repository, here. Continue reading “Project Update: College Women”

Summer Research on Storify

Exploring materials for child readers at the American Antiquarian Society, June 2015 (photo via @AmAntiquarian).

With the support of two weeks paid research leave from Bryn Mawr College Special Collections, I was able to participate in two research seminars over the past month that will help me move forward my dissertation research into new projects (more on those soon!)

For the moment, I’m using Storify to share the conversations started in Worcester and New York:

June 21-26, 2015
Reading Children: Summer Seminar in the History of the Book in American Culture (#PHBAC15)
American Antiquarian Society (Worcester, MA)

[View the story “Reading Children: The 2015 Summer Seminar in the History of the Book in American Culture” on Storify]

June 29-July 2, 2015
2015 Summer Institute in Digital Humanities
New York Metro American Studies Association / New York University (New York, NY)

[View the story”NYMASA 2015 Summer Institute: The Digital City” on Storify]

Now that I’m back at Bryn Mawr for the rest of the summer, I’ll be working on my new course for the Department of HIstory, “History in Public” (Spring 2016) and continuing research for Black at Bryn Mawr, the project that inspired this course. There’s a Storify for that too: view “Black at Bryn Mawr” on Storify.

“Where We Are…”

* cross posted from Educating Women *

Bryn Mawr College driving directions (n.d.) in Bryn Mawr College Campus Maps.

Maybe it’s because I’ve only been here for two months, or maybe it’s just nostalgia for my own college days, but with Customs Week at Bryn Mawr wrapping up, and classes getting underway, I’m feeling sympathy for new students and faculty navigating campus. Even with ten days living in a Pem East single as a CLIR Fellow under my belt, I still keep a copy of the current campus map in my bag and bookmarked on my iPhone. (At least I’m no longer confusing Taylor with Thomas!)

I’ve also been thinking a lot about maps after taking my first introduction to ArcGIS mapping software last month, as part of a Mellon-funded Tri-Co Environmental Studies initiative organized by Swarthmore College. Over three days, I joined nearly twenty Tri-Co faculty members interested in the possibilities of organizing spacial data. With most of us new to ArcGIS, the workshop opened with two basic questions:

  • What kinds of spacial questions do you encounter in your research?
  • What kinds of spacial questions do our students encounter in their classes?

To put it another way, maps can tell us where we are, but can they tell us who we are?

Read more at: “Where We Are…”: Adventures in Mapping Bryn Mawr History 

Academic Libraries in a Digital World

* cross posted from Educating Women *

Earlier this month, I spent 10 days at the Council on Libraries and Information Resources/Digital Library Federation (CLIR/DLF) postdoctoral fellows orientation seminar, an experience many of us fondly termed “library boot camp,” and others “Hogwarts School of Data Curation and Wizadry,” given the setting here at Bryn Mawr. In its tenth year, the CLIR/DLF postdoctoral fellows orientation gave twenty-seven new fellows (the biggest cohort yet!) an introduction to theories and methods in library and information studies, and data curation. As recent Ph.D.’s in fields ranging from comparative literature to biomedical informatics and everything in between, we’ll be taking a diverse array of positions in academic libraries across North America.

Continue reading “Academic Libraries in a Digital World”