Serendipity

13
Jun16

Celebrate Pride with the Boston Gay Men’s Chorus records

Posted by: Dominique Medal

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When the Boston Gay Men’s Chorus (BGMC) gave its first concert in June 1982, they were beginning an annual tradition of singing with pride during Pride.

2016-2017 will be BGMC’s 35th concert season. Let’s take a look back on their first ten years of celebrating Pride with the Boston community.

Boston Gay Men's Chorus 10th Anniversary promotional mailer.

10th Anniversary mailer.

Section of the concert program, June 1987.

Section of the concert program, June 1987.

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Posted in: Archives and Special Collections, Serendipity

7
Jun16

Celebrate Pride Month!

Posted by: Kaley Bachelder

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In case you haven’t heard, June is LGBT Pride Month! Celebrate by reading one of these LGBT books:

rubyfruit jungle

Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown

Rubyfruit Jungle, first published in 1973 and still painfully relevant today, follows protagonist Molly Bolt, comfortable as lesbian though everyone around her isn’t. While the slang the characters use won’t let you forget this book is from the ‘70s, Molly’s life as a queer individual is not so different than some people’s today, and it’s refreshing to follow a character whose sexual identity does not result in ultimate unhappiness, but drives her to succeed.

 

 

aristotle and danteAristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

No, this book is not about a philosopher and a poet traversing through space and time (but wouldn’t that be great?!). In Sáenz’s novel, two Mexican-American boys grapple with car crashes, romance, and hate crime in the 1980s. As they grow older, they seek the definition of love and acceptance for who they are.

 

 

 

the night wastchThe Night Watch by Sarah Waters

Starting in 1947 and working its way back to 1941, The Night Watch follows the lives of four twenty-something year olds trying to piece their lives together in WWII London. Each character’s story is told separately, often with guest appearances from some of the others. The narrative moves backwards in time, so as you go you’ll learn more about events that were only hinted at previously and discover what made these people who they are.

 

 

liquorLiquor by Poppy Z. Brite

First in its series by trans writer Poppy Z. Brite, Liquor stars Rickey and G-Man, best friends, boyfriends, and line cooks in New Orleans. When Rickey is unexpectedly fired, the two decide to open a restaurant where every dish is cooked with some sort of liquor. The protagonists of this novel are gay, but the plot has nothing to do with their sexuality, offering a welcome change from the typical coming-out story.

 

 

Sorrsorry, treey, Tree by Eileen Myles

This collection by punk poet Eileen Myles combines love with politics to take a definitive stance on what it means to be a lesbian. With her signature style of haphazard rhythm and unmetered stanzas, Myles’ work feels raw and powerful. It’s only 83 pages—bring it for your T ride to Boston Pride Festival this Saturday!

Posted in: Serendipity

31
May16

Interlibrary Loan at Snell just got simpler!

Posted by: Jennie Robbiano

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Ever wanted a book, DVD, CD, or hard copy journal that we didn’t have in the stacks? Well, lucky for you the hard working staff at Snell just made it a lot simpler to get it from another library! Learn more about what this change means for you below.

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…Psst! Didn’t know you could get a book from other libraries? Check out the basics here: http://library.northeastern.edu/services/borrow-renew/interlibrary-loan-ill

 

1) We’ve streamlined how you request Interlibrary Loan materials. Now instead of choosing between two systems you’ll only have to request things through Illiad. Just search for the item you’re looking for and click “Request from another library.” Library staff will figure out the fastest way to get you what you need.

Screen Shot request from another library

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2) You will now see all of your returnables (that’s the swanky library term for physical items you have to bring back to us) in the My Account area of the library website. This makes it easier to keep track of all the materials you have out.

1. My Library Account

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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3) You can renew all your Interlibrary Loan materials the same way! All renewals will now be processed through Illiad. Just click the link on the My Account page.

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3. Renew request link in ILLiad account

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

tada

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4) It’s easier to know what the late fees will be. Now all your returnables will accrue fees the same way. Learn more about our fee policy here. Of course, you can avoid fees all together by remembering to bring your library books back on time!

 

The only fee difference with Interlibrary Loan materials will be replacement fees since they depend on the place we borrowed the materials from. But we know you’d never lose something from the library, right?

 

So that’s it! Everything you need to know about Interlibrary Loan at Snell. Feel free to shoot us any questions you have at ill@neu.edu and we look forward to getting you all the returnables ( I told you that vocab word would come in handy) you could ever need!

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Posted in: Serendipity

25
Apr16

Take a Study Break with some Poetry!

Posted by: Kaley Bachelder

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Finals season is undoubtedly here. Every study room is booked, every chair is filled, every student is slogging away. If you need to take a moment away from that Organic Chemistry textbook, relax for a minute with a poem or two. It’s still National Poetry Month! Click the pictures to see the catalog listing for each poet.

Shel imgres-1Silverstein

Unwind with the familiar and conversational poetry of Shel Silverstein, acclaimed children’s poet and cartoonist. Re-read an old classic like The Giving Tree, or find something you don’t remember as well like A Giraffe and a Half. If you’re checking out A Light in the Attic, don’t miss “Somebody Has To” and “Snake Problem.”

 

 

 

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The McSweeney’s Book of Poets Picking Poets

The collection started with ten poems. The ten poets of those ten poems then chose another piece of their own to include, and invited a new poet’s work to be included. These ten newly nominated poets repeat the cycle, contributing a poem of their choosing and selecting another poet to join. The result is Poets Picking Poets, 100 different poems by 50 different poets. The unique selection process of this anthology lets you compare what poets consider their own best work to what other poets think of their work.

 

 

 

220px-Bertolt-BrechtBertolt Brecht

Though known mostly for his playwriting, Bertolt Brecht has a surprisingly stocked arsenal of poetic works. His scope was far-ranging, from the personal to the political, in unique form, many intended to be set to music or as part of a play. From his collection Poems, 1913-1956, check out “Questions,” “The Burning of the Books,” and “A Worker Reads History.”

 

 

 

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Natasha Trethewey

Pulitzer Prize winner and United States Poet Laureate from 2012 to 2014, Natasha Trethewey’s poetry successfully blends free verse with traditionally structured form poetry. Addressing the racial legacy of America, Trethewey’s work is rooted in history but recounted in a more personal tone, so that each character comes to life with a combination of factual accuracy and relatable personality.

 

 

 

 

replica by Thomas Phillips, oil on canvas, circa 1835 (1813)Lord Byron

When you think romantic, you should think Lord Byron. In a personal letter to a friend, Byron once wrote, “The great object of life is sensation—to feel that we exist—even though in pain.” This mastery of language and expression is present in all of Byron’s work, from his long epic narratives to his short lyric poems. If Don Juan, entertaining and satirical as it is, intimidates you with its page count (768!), start with a collection of his shorter works, like “Prometheus.”

Posted in: Serendipity

8
Apr16

BPS Desegregation Project: Q+A with Marilyn Morgan and Omeka.net

Posted by: Giordana Mecagni

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The following is a series written by archivists, academics, activists, and educators making available primary source material, providing pedagogical support, and furthering the understanding of Boston Public School’s Desegregation history.

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This Q and A was reprinted from  http://info.omeka.net/2016/03/site-highlight-stark-and-subtle-divisions/  with permission

Dr Morgan seated at a desk holding a vintage swimsuit.Archivist, historian, educator, and baker of all things chocolate, Marilyn Morgan (@mare_morgan), investigates—and encourages students to explore—social trends, cultural stereotypes, and discrimination throughout American history. Her class site, Stark & Subtle Divisions: A Collaborative History of Segregation in Boston, showcases letters, photographs, legal documents, artifacts, and interviews that explore the federally-mandated desegregation of Boston public schools. Unearthing materials from various Boston-area archives, students selected a representative sampling and used Omeka.net to present them together in new collaborative context. The site runs on an Omeka.net Platinum plan

1. Briefly explain how you came to the project.

Last year, I became the Director of the Archives Program (History MA) at UMass Boston and created a new course “Transforming Archives and History in a Digital Age.” My goals for this course involved having students: conduct primary research in local collections, select and scan materials, create metadata for digitized items, build a collaborative digital archive, develop subject-area expertise, and design an online exhibit. Because I teach history and archives, I focused the class on a historical topic—the desegregation of Boston Public Schools (BPS). Last year marked the 40th anniversary of the federally-mandated integration of BPS; various separate archives in the area hold collections that document that complex history.

As I was developing my course, Giordana Mecagni, Head of Archives and Special Collections at Northeastern University initiated a comprehensive cross-institutional scanning project to make archival materials related to the desegregation of BPS available in a large digital library. Boston Library Consortium funded the project that is supported by the technical infrastructure of the DPLA and Digital Commonwealth. This year, work my students are completing for their Omeka site—scanning and creating metadata for Boston City Archives—is feeding into the larger BLC initiative.

2. Why did you decide to build on Omeka.net, as opposed to a standalone Omeka site or some other platform?

Omeka provides a wonderful teaching tool for archivists and historians. It gives students hands-on experience implementing archival theory; it permits them to showcase historical research; and, ultimately, it enables them to create digital history for a public audience.

Before I created my course, I searched for platforms that would meet my teaching goals. I wanted students to learn technical skills and acquire hands-on experience implementing practices used by digital archivists. But I also wanted students to immerse themselves in scholarly historical research and to create engaging and educational exhibits for a general audience. There aren’t many platforms that allow one to accomplish all of that.

While other exhibit-building platforms exist, Omeka allows students to create a digital archive from start to finish. This entails selecting and scanning documents then creating metadata for digitized images. That back-end work teaches essential technical skills that aspiring archivists and digital historians need to hone. Equally important, when constructing Omeka exhibits, students must think critically about the items collectively and weave together narratives that form cohesive exhibits.

To be honest, circumstances beyond my control affected my decision to use Omeka.net instead of creating a standalone site. My university did not have the technical infrastructure to support the standalone Omeka site. With Omeka.net there’s no need to have IT support or server space. I was pleased to discover that Omeka.net doesn’t limit one’s creativity in building a site.

3. What piece of advice would you offer to someone planning to use Omeka.net with a class of graduate students?

Build in plenty of time to learn and experiment, don’t be afraid to take risks, collaborate, and don’t get discouraged!

When I decided to use Omeka.net in my course, I had absolutely zero experience using the platform. I confessed to my students in the first class that I had no idea if we’d be able to build the robust site we envisioned; but, even if we failed, we would have learned a great deal. I encouraged them not to obsess over individual grades and to approach this as a truly collaborative project—by the nature of the project, either we all succeeded or we all failed, to some degree.

Collaboration proved key to building a successful site in many ways. I’d advise anyone beginning to teach with Omeka to identify local resources—both people and collections at local archives or libraries—that you can incorporate into your site’s construction. When beginning this project, I blindly reached out to Marta Crilly, Archivist for Reference and Outreach at Boston City Archives—I knew they housed ample material related to our topic. Over the past year and a half, Marta and I developed a mutually beneficial collaboration. I reached out to librarians, archivists, an audio engineer, and even a copyright attorney, at local institutions; the input of each helped me to create a robust site.

4. How did using Omeka change your and/or your students’ thinking about the content?

Our project’s topic—de facto segregation and the federally-mandated desegregation of Boston Public Schools—provoked deep controversy in Boston. In the mid-1970s, the issue of desegregation provoked violent confrontations and pitted white neighborhood against black neighborhood. Over forty years later, the topic continues to ignite heated reactions locally.

Perhaps one of the biggest surprises was learning that the heated reactions to desegregation of Boston Public Schools reached far beyond Boston. Using Omeka’s map tool, students could demonstrate that individuals from around the nation and the globe watched the media report on this issue. In the sampling of letters students selected, they discussed letters sent from as far away as Mexico, Germany, and Australia.

Using Omeka, I realized quickly that creating an interactive digital exhibit on this controversial topic posed unique challenges that writing a traditional paper did not. If we proceeded incorrectly, instead of educating, we could provoke anger or alienate.

Many complex circumstances surrounded the intense reactions to desegregation including racism, class disparity, ethnic antagonism, political maneuverings, and contests for authority between local, state and federal agencies. As students dug into the archives and shaped exhibits in Omeka, we learned that race alone could not predict whether one supported or opposed desegregation of BPS. For instance, violent opposition to the decision to desegregate schools didn’t necessarily indicate opposition to school integration. Some citizens (black and white) championed school integration but vehemently protested the plan’s implementation—“forced busing” of their young children to schools far away from their neighborhoods.

Omeka helps us to convey the complexity of this emotionally-charged issue by showcasing the documents individually and allowing us to group them collectively to tell a narrative. In this way, exhibits can capture the raw fears, violence, and racist behaviors alongside of the hopefulness, compassion, and peaceful approaches.

5. What is one of your favorite items from the site to share (when talking about it)?

Letters written by third and sixth grade students to Mayor Kevin H. White constitute my favorite group of items. Some of the young letter-writers expressed fears while others boldly proposed no
nviolent solutions to school integration. While it’s difficult to pick one favorite, the letter below stands within my top three.

Writing on colorful stationary, the eleven-year-old student poignantly pleads that the mayor bus the teachers, not the students, “then maybe there wouldn’t be anymore stabbings and fights.”starksubtle2

 

 

 

 

The letter below, written by a third-grade student, writes “this is what I want” above a crayon drawing of a white child and a black child shaking hands.
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Omeka makes it possible to view the handwritten letters—complete with misspellings and mistakes—and freehand drawings that children used to convey sentiments more clearly than words. These personal details add immeasurably to the content of the letters. They also convey the extent to which concerns about desegregation of BPS permeated the physical and emotional well-being of many Boston’s residents—even children.

6. What is the benefit to using Omeka as a teaching tool?

Traditional research papers function as a dialogue between student and professor; creating a project in Omeka expands the discourse and fosters a collaborative working environment. The tasks of learning new technology, conducting historical research, applying archival theory, acquiring subject-area expertise, clearing permissions, and presenting findings in a public forum can be overwhelming when undertaken by one individual. As a result, when using Omeka, students quickly learn to actively collaborate with one another, sharing discoveries that might benefit a classmate’s exhibit or teaching technical tips. I’m so pleased that my decision to teach with Omeka allows graduate students to simultaneously learn new skills, apply theory to practice, and contribute to public education in a practical way.

 

Posted in: Archives and Special Collections, Collections, Data Curation, Serendipity