UC Libraries and the budget crisis

June 16th, 2009

Yesterday, UCLA Today ran this story about a University of California Libraries effort to confront the looming budget cuts.  The libraries issued a collective letter to publishers, asking them to work aggressively with campuses to price their publications within reach.

End of a very short era? And, getting students to the library.

May 14th, 2009

I seem to be losing steam with this Litbrarian blog, partly because I am not convinced there is anyone reading it, so I’m considering whether to retire it at the end of this season.  Would you miss it if it were gone? (If yes, please leave a comment!)

In the meantime, here is a recent article in the Chronicle by Todd Gilman, an English Librarian at Yale.  In the article, Gilman offers suggestions for augmenting students’ research skills in meaningful ways that focus on research practice rather than overemphasizing tools for research.

John Fante papers at UCLA Library

April 13th, 2009

UCLA Library has just announced its acquisition of the John Fante archive!  Here’s a story from today’s Daily Bruin.

The writer’s process and digital archiving

April 7th, 2009

Writing your life’s work or at least your next masterpiece electronically?  This article from the Chronicle of Higher Education considers the question of how the electronic medium affects what we can learn about the writer’s process from the writer’s own archive.

 Here is a snippet:

The influence of authors’ environments on their writing has always interested scholars. Marcel Proust, for example, is known to have been heavily influenced by the paintings he surrounded himself with when he penned the novel Remembrance of Things Past, between 1909 and 1922. Imagine if Proust had been writing 100 years later, on a laptop: What else we might be able to learn about his creative process.

The implications for scholarship are tremendous, Mr. Kirschenbaum says. Take a great digital-era author: “You could potentially look at a browser history, see that he visited a particular Web site on a particular day and time,” he says. “And then if you were to go into the draft of one of his manuscripts, you could see that draft was edited at a particular day and hour, and you could establish a connection between something he was looking at on the Web with something that he then wrote.”

In some cases, computer forensics can even hint at an author’s influences beyond the screen. Mr. Reside recently mined data from old equipment belonging to Jonathan Larson, the late composer and playwright who earned a Pulitzer Prize posthumously for the musical Rent. In an early draft, Larson had a character suggest that the moonlight coming through the window is really “fluorescent light from the Gap.” In the final draft, the lyric was “Spike Lee shooting down the street.”

“From the time stamp on the digital files,” Mr. Reside says, “I learned that the lyric was changed in the spring of 1992 … when, I believe, Spike Lee was shooting Malcolm X in New York City.”  Read more…

Link your UCLA web project to Calisphere

March 18th, 2009

I just received this announcement from the California Digital Library, inviting University of California scholars to link their digital projects from CDL’s digital archive and gateway site, Calisphere.  Adding our web-based digital projects to Calisphere will undoubtedly increase their discoverability, so I encourage any UCLA scholars to submit their URLs to Calisphere.  If you have any questions about Calisphere or this invitation, I am happy to field them.  If you have copyright concerns related to putting your digital projects into Calisphere, I can help you think through those decisions as well.

Do you have a web site you’d like to share that has been created by a UC campus faculty member, librarian, or researcher?  Would you like to raise the visibility of a web site you’ve created?  Is it an online exhibit, curated collection, or thematically-based grouping of materials?  Does the web site feature resources such as photographs, maps, historical documents, current articles and research, multimedia, electronic books, or other online resources?Let us know!  We’d like to add it to Calisphere.


Calisphere, managed by the California Digital Library (CDL), provides public access to primary source materials and freely available UC-created web sites. Calisphere offers more than 150,000 digitized items—including photographs, documents, newspaper pages, political cartoons, works of art, diaries, transcribed oral histories, advertising, and other unique cultural artifacts—selected from the libraries, archives and museums of the UC campuses, and from cultural heritage organizations across California. Calisphere is also a gateway to UC-created web sites that reflect the diverse interests and scholarship of UC, including the humanities, social sciences, math, and science resources. To date, we have published citations to over 500 websites—and we’d like your help to expand our registry.

Who uses Calisphere?

Calisphere is freely available to the public and is used by a broad range of people including UC students, K-12 educators and the general public.  By incorporating UC sites in Calisphere, we increase their visibility and make them more broadly available.

Send Us Your URLs

Here’s how.

UCLA acquires Aldous Huxley’s literary archive

March 10th, 2009

UCLA Library has acquired Aldous Huxley’s literary archive, thanks to a bequest from his wife, Laura Huxley, who died in 2007.  See this article from the UCLA Newsroom for more details of this impressive acquisition:


Mellon lecture series: A Cultural Pre-History of Environmentalism

February 17th, 2009

Just heard about this upcoming lecture series from the UCLA English Department.  To view the flyer, click the image below.  Or for more information, click here.A Cultural Pre-History of Environmentalism

The Catalogue of Digitized Medieval Manuscripts

February 13th, 2009

The Chronicle for Higher Education posted a story in the Wired Campus column about UCLA English Department faculty member Matthew Fisher’s new project creating a Catalogue of Digitized Medieval Manuscripts. The Chronicle article is available online at http://chronicle.com/wiredcampus/article/3606/a-digital-window-on-the-medieval-world

You can find the Catalogue itself at http://manuscripts.cmrs.ucla.edu.

Digital humanities fellowship opportunity – Vectors

February 10th, 2009

 If you have a digital humanities project up your sleeve, here is an opportunity for you.  Vectors: Journal of Culture and Technology in a Dynamic Vernacular is an open access, multi-media humanities journal produced by USC and published by Open Humanities Press.

The University of Southern California’s Institute for Multimedia Literacy and the electronic journal Vectors are pleased to announce a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship Program for summer 2009 designed to foster innovative multimedia research. Titled “Broadening the Digital Humanities,” the Institute will offer scholars the opportunity to explore the benefits of interactive media for scholarly analysis and authorship, illustrating the possibilities of multimodal media for humanities investigation. Fellows participating in the program will learn both by engaging with a variety of existing projects as well as through the production of their own project in collaboration with the Vectors-IML team. The projects fellows create will at once enrich their own understanding of the digital humanities and model the field for other scholars. Select projects will be published in Vectors.

For more information, please visit our submissions page at http://vectorsjournal.org/journal/index.php?page=Submissions

Best wishes,
The Vectors Journal

19th century UK pamplets in JSTOR

February 3rd, 2009

I don’t usually tell scholars to go search JSTOR for something.  Generally speaking, things that are stored in JSTOR show up in searches done in other databases or catalogs and then our handy UC-eLinks service sends you to JSTOR to get the text in question.  JSTOR is definitely good for browsing academic journals, and for certain areas of study it may well be a decent place to search, but you must remember that it doesn’t contain the most recent 5 years of publication.

That said, JSTOR just announced that it is providing University of California Libraries free access to its new 19th Century British Pamphlets collection until June 30, 2009.  This pamphlet collection includes the Cowen Tracts (1603-1898), the (John) Hume Tracts (1769-1949) and the Knowsley Pamphlet Collection (1792-1868).  If you want to browse the pamphlet collection, you can open JSTOR and just type in the name of the collection in the search box.  For example, type “Hume tracts” in the search box to see documents in this collection.  Alternatively, you can open this link  in JSTOR if you are connected to the UCLA network.  Doing so will give you a list of the JSTOR collections that UCLA folks can access.