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.

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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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

15
Apr16

BPS Desegregation Project: Wading through 87 linear feet of documents.

Posted by: Corinne Bermon

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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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With more than 207 archival boxes spread out over six collections to pull from the shelves and vet for digitizing for the online repository, my collaborator Northeastern Ph.D. student Meghan Doran and I needed a strategy. We wanted to select items that would not overlap with the other participating repositories in the Boston Library Consortium project. As we diligently began this process, two main methods of approach emerged as Meghan wrote the directive for our selection process: digitize unique materials and difficult materials.

We began to curate materials that highlighted the struggle in Boston Public Schools in the records of Citywide Educational Coalition (CWEC), and Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity (METCO), as well as the papers of Phyllis M. Ryan, Carmen A. Pola, Frieda Garcia, and Frank J. Miranda. Through the summer, the two of us digitized documents, photos, and printed ephemera relating to the lead-up to court ordered busing proclamation issued by Judge Garrity in 1974 and the allocation of funding for projects aimed at reducing minority isolation in the schools under Chapter 636.  Materials that were of particular interest as well were the parent councils of each organization, who were incredibly active and integral to the process of desegregation and monitoring the schools.

20150310_122659_zpshavqgy13Each collection has proven to be unique in completing the picture of the structures that were put in place before, during, and after the court ordered busing. Through the correspondence in the collections of CWEC and METCO, we aimed to highlight the different approaches to and the debates that surrounded the desegregation case and also show the personal side of how it affected parents and children.  There was so much strife that surrounded this process that it was easy to overlook the fact that much of Boston area was in favor of racially balancing the schools.  It felt important to include the supportive letters from parents as well as the letters protesting the court orders.

My personal favorite collection to digitize has been the Phyllis M. Ryan papers. Ryan did extraordinary work with James Breeden, the Episcopalian priest who helped orchestrate the Freedom Stay Out Days and the Freedom Schools, as well as with the Massachusetts Advocacy Center and the planning of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s visit to Boston that ended in the two and a half-mile march from the South End to the Boston Common. Because she had her hands in so many organizations, it was especially important to stick to our devised set of criteria.  Many fascinating documents were relegated to the second or third tier of scanning because they only tangentially connected to the desegregation of the schools, but connected to the civil rights fight overall more.

As we keep forging ahead with this project, I look forward to uncovering the treasures in the Roxbury Multi-Service Center and other collections that are found in Northeastern University’s social justice collections.

Posted in: Archives and Special Collections, Online Collections

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

31
Mar16

A Room Full of Sisters: The Boston Coalition of Black Women and Female Empowerment from the Ground Up

Posted by: Jessica Bennett

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A Room Full of Sisters, 1993

A Room Full of Sisters, 1993
By Paul Goodnight
4’x5′ Mixed Media
Commissioned by the Boston Coalition Of Black Women
Inspired by Mona Lake Jones’s poem of the same name.

The celebration of Women’s History Month in America has only been around since 1987 (between 1981 and 1986, there was a Women’s History Week, before that…well it’s History). Despite this, women have been making history long before the 1980s and will continue to do so. Some in ways that garner national or international attention, and some that are closer to home but no less amazing.

The Boston Coalition of Black Women began in 1991 as the Boston Chapter of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women and became formally independent in 1998 with a mission to “provide leadership and resources that empower our members to advance our community through education, social, economic and civic action.”

The Coalition achieved this goal through its various sponsored programs, talks and events. Its mentoring program “Sister-to-Sister” saw itself as a networking group to help Black women at every stage of the job market, from helping a woman get her GED to connecting them to the all-too-few black female c-level executives.  “Succeeding Sisters” was a program designed to help acclimate women returning to the workforce after a long absence.

When those Sisters did succeed there was always a place and community for them to celebrate with. The Coalition’s “Rites of Passage” program celebrated those in the “Sister-to-Sister” program who graduated and events like the “Salute to Boston Police Women of Color.”

The list of members reads like a who’s who of Female Black Excellence in Boston — Vivian Beard, a Massachusetts policy maker for 20 years; Joan Wallace Benjamin, CEO of The Home for Little Wanderers; Callie Crossley, journalist; Carolyn Golden Hebsgaard, Executive Director of Boston Lawyers Group; Karen Holmes Ward, WCVB Director of Public Affairs and Producer of CityLine; Deborah Jackson, Former CEO of Red Cross of Massachusetts and Morgan Memorial Goodwill Industries; and Sarah Ann Shaw, the first African-American TV journalist in Boston — and that is just to name a few.

The Boston Coalition of Black Women provided the kind of networking important for women in the workplace, not just for employment success, but for the community. As Roxane Gay says, “If you and your friend(s) are in the same field and you can collaborate or help each other, do this, without shame. It’s not your fault your friends are awesome.” While the Coalition is no longer active, the women who were involved are still out there changing the world, one life at a time creating a chain that cannot be broken.

The Boston Coalition of Black Women Collection is just one of several archival collections Northeastern University holds that preserve the history of small organizations in the Boston area that made a huge impact in the day-to-day lives of ordinary people. As the quote from Margaret Mead, that appears on the Coalition’s annual reports, reminds us, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Posted in: Archives and Special Collections, Serendipity