14
Aug17

Get your eclipse glasses at Snell Library!

Posted by: G. Karen Merguerian

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Eclipse glassesOn August 21, the earth’s moon passes in front of the sun and parts of the United States will experience a total eclipse for the first time since 1979.

Here in Boston, we’re not in the “path of totality”–we’ll see just a partial eclipse. The sun will only be 63% covered by the moon and we won’t experience the midday darkness. More importantly, we won’t be able to look directly at the eclipse because so much of the sun will be exposed–it will be dangerous to look directly at sun’s rays behind the moon.

How can you view the eclipse safely?

If you have a pinhole camera, which you can make with a cardboard box, a digital SLR camera with a pinhole cap,  or even two sheets of paper,  you’ll be able to see the partially eclipsed sun as a crescent-shaped gleam projected onto a surface opposite the pinhole.

You can also take pictures with a cell phone or digital camera (use a solar filter to avoid heat damage to the camera) as long as you don’t look directly at the sun while you’re doing it.

And if you do want to look at the eclipse with your eyes, eclipse glasses will be available on a first-come, first-served basis at Snell Library on Monday beginning at noon or you can attend the events hosted by the NU Physics Department or Boston Public Library

Posted in: Serendipity

21
Jul17

Student Records Fourth Album at Snell Library Recording Studios

Posted by: Thomas Bary

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Who knew that looking for a book could lead to the recording of a full-length album?

This was the experience of Tirelle Barron, a New York based artist currently in his fifth year at Northeastern University, majoring in Design. As Tirelle was perusing Snell Library, he walked into the Digital Media Commons Recording Studio, located on Level Two. The studio’s laid back aesthetic and professional grade equipment immediately clicked with Barron, leading him to record his Fourth studio album “Blossom” in its entirety at Snell Library.

Tirelle’s studio moniker—“The Noise Above”—reflects his eclectic taste in music and a drive to remap the sonic boundaries of the traditional three-and-a-half-minute track. But he somehow finds a way to keep it all in perspective “I do it just to have fun,” choosing not to focus on the glamor and relishing the grind. Barron’s influences run the gamut, from soul legend Stevie Wonder and avant-garde jazz composer Sun Ra, to hip-hop superstar Pharell Williams and rapper Kanye West.

In addition to providing the right vibes for “Blossom” to be created, the Digital Media Commons Recording Studio also showcases one of Barron’s music videos, “Kaleidoscope” on their digital exhibit page. 

Posted in: Digital Media Design Studio (DMDS)

6
Jul17

Scholar OneSearch Has a New Look!

Posted by: G. Karen Merguerian

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On July 10th, Scholar OneSearch, the library’s discovery system, will have a refreshed look and some great new features to make it easier for you to find and use the research information you need.

The most obvious change is the design. Besides the overall sleek, modern appearance, you’ll find that instead of hunting for actions hidden in dropdown menus, buttons and frames, most action items are now clearly laid out with links and icons.  This includes the filtering options on the left, which are sticky so they remain visible as you scroll down your page of results.

We’ve done usability testing with students, and they found these design changes make the new version much easier to use.

In addition to the design, these new features will make your library research easier:

  • Better, easier-to-use citation information.  You’ll be able to cut and paste citations directly into email or other documents such as bibliographies, as well as download to your favorite citation manager as before.
  • Fewer clicks to get full online access to e-books, e-journals, articles, and other media.
  • The ability to add lines to the advanced search for better control and targeting of your query.
  • A more appealing and easier-to-read presentation of related articles and the “virtual browse” of books, e-books and streaming media from our collections.
  • Clearer labels, for example, the old E-shelf is now called “My Favorites”.
  • The ability to add more than one tag to a saved item.

And don’t worry:  all the functionality you’re used to is still there. Search for books, e-books, DVD’s and other physical items, and include journal articles, conference proceedings, primary source materials, dissertations, and much more in your search results. Filter your results by date, availability, format, author, source, language, peer review, etc.   In your “my account” area, your saved favorites and checked-out books and videos will still be there.

We think both the design and the new features of Scholar OneSearch will make using it a more pleasant experience, as well as fixing some earlier annoyances and restrictions. The new look and feel has been available as a beta version on our home page for several weeks, as we’ve tested and refined it with your suggestions and feedback.

We hope you’ll love the new Scholar OneSearch as much as we do!

Posted in: Research Online

1
Jul17

Finding the Fourth of July

Posted by: G. Karen Merguerian

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When a group of upstart colonists declared their territories independent of the British Crown on July 4, 1776, they did it in a petition addressed to King George III. In the weeks following, this Declaration of Independence was reprinted, discussed and debated both in the colonies and in Britain, in newspapers, letters, pamphlets, and broadsides.

You can now read those debates and discussions, and see them scanned online, whether celebratory, like a news item from New York:

We hear from Ticonderoga that on the 28th of July, immediately after divine Worship, the Declaration of independence was read by Colonel St. Clair, and having said, “God save the Free Independent States of America!” the army manifested their Joy with three Cheers. It was remarkably pleasing to see the Spirit of the Soldiers so raised after all their Calamities, the Language of every Man’s Countenance was, now we are a People! We have a Name among the States of this World.

New York, August 19, 1776. New York Gazette and Weekly Mercury.

or dismissive, as in an essay written by Tory Governor of Massachusetts Thomas Hutchinson:

They begin with a false hypothesis, That the Colonies are one distinct people and the kingdom another, connected by political bands. The colonies, politically considered never were a distinct people from the kingdom. There never has been but one political band, and that was just the same before the first Colonists emigrated as it has been ever since.

Hutchinson, Thomas, Strictures up the declaration of the Congress at Philadelphia, 1776.

These essays and much more are available in two of our newest licensed online collections: America’s Historical Newspapers, and Eighteenth Century Collections Online.

America’s Historical Newspapers (Series I, 1690-1876) spans an extraordinary period in our history, from the Salem Witch trials to post-Civil War reconstruction. With newspapers from every part of the United States, scanned from more than 90 repositories including the Library of Congress and the American Antiquarian Society, from Benjamin Franklin’s Pennsylvania Gazette to Alexander Hamilton’s New York Evening Post, this collection offers Northeastern researchers the first draft of American history.

Eighteenth Century Collections Online is the place to look for British perspectives.  Based on the English Short Title catalog, it offers scans of works published in Britain 18th century, plus English language publications from other parts of the world. The period encompasses Boswell’s Life of Johnson, Hume’s History of England, and an early how-to: Best’s Concise Treatise on the Art of Angling. With printed books, pamphlets, essays, and broadsides, this collection complements another important collection, Early English Books Online, to offer Northeastern researchers an online library encompassing almost the entire printed record of the English Renaissance as well as the English Enlightenment.

Exploring these two newly licensed collections allows us to understand, from the point of view of the people living at the time, the bonds that united Britain and America, as well as the forces that pulled us asunder.

Posted in: Collections

30
Jun17

Meet the 2017 CERES Exhibit Toolkit Projects!

Posted by: Sarah Sweeney

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The DSG is proud to announce the projects chosen for this year’s round of CERES Exhibit Toolkit development. We will work with the following four projects to implement enhancements and new features to improve user experience, create additional exhibit tools, and incorporate the Toolkit in the classroom:

 

Boston as Middle Passage

In 2015, students and researchers working with the National Parks Service built a website to preserve research documenting Boston as one of many transatlantic slave trade Middle Passage sites. Sadly, in less than two years the site has become unusable due to server issues and lapsed hosting. This year we will work with the creators of the site to transfer the rescued research materials to the DRS and recreate the original exhibits in the Early Black Boston Digital Almanac (a 2016 Toolkit project still in development).

 

Dragon Prayer Book

The Dragon Prayer Book project is a research endeavor led by Erika Boeckeler, faculty in the Department of English, to study the Dominican Prayer Book, a fifteenth century manuscript held by Archives and Special Collections. The Dragon Prayer Book project was accepted as a Toolkit project in 2016, and this year we will work with the project team to enhance the Toolkit’s IIIF high-resolution image viewer: http://dragonprayerbook.northeastern.edu/mirador/

 

Freedom House

As part of their ongoing effort to highlight archival collections using online exhibits, last year Archives and Special Collections used the Toolkit to create and set of exhibits for the Freedom House photograph collection: http://freedomhouse.library.northeastern.edu/. This year, Archives proposed a new browse feature that would allow them to build dynamic exhibits that could bring together all Freedom House materials that match a particular subject term, like “Kennedy, John F.”. This enhancement will allow Archives and other Toolkit site builders to create dynamic exhibits that automatically populate with DRS materials matching particular subjects, creators, or other faceted metadata values.

 

Literature and Digital Diversity

This fall, Elizabeth Dillon and Sarah Connell will be co-teaching Literature and Digital Diversity, an undergraduate course focusing on “the use of digital methods to analyze and archive literary texts, with particular attention to issues of diversity and inclusion”. Students in the class will use the Toolkit to explore “how computers, databases, and analytical tools give substance to concepts of aesthetic, cultural, and intellectual value as inflected by race and gender.” This project will be the first to use the CERES classroom teaching materials originally developed for Nicole Aljoe’s award-winning Writing Black Boston class, which used the Toolkit to create the Early Black Boston Digital Almanac (still in development). To increase the breadth of materials available to the class (and other site builders), we will also consider adding Europeana as an additional data source for Toolkit materials (similar to the DPLA connection built in 2016).

 

We also continue work with our partners on the 2015 and 2016 projects:

For more information about these projects, visit the DSG website (about the projects, about CERES) or contact us.

Posted in: Data Curation