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Magnum Photos Added to ARTstor

ARTstor has added 73,000 photographs from Magnum Photos, with another 7,000 to be added later. This new collection will provide access to high quality photographs taken from the late 1930s on, “covering industry, society and people, places of interest, politics, news events, disasters and conflict …” and reflecting the interests of the individual photographers as well as recording defining moments of contemporary history. These images can be used in a variety of disciplines: the arts, humanities, social sciences and others.
Magnum Photos was founded as a cooperative in 1947 by four photographers, among whom were Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Capa, and Magnum still exists today, now owned by 80 photographers. Magnum photographers covered events such as the Spanish Civil War and World War II; they photographed in African, India, the Far East, behind the Iron Curtain, and in the United States.

For more information click here.


Reflections on Villanova’s Digital Library

Posted for Teri Ann Pirone:

Most of the blog entries in the Blue Electrode deal with one or two interesting items that have been digitized by our team. Today, however, I would like to reflect more generally on the digital library. The project has achieved tremendous growth since its inception in June 2006. It has seen numerous student workers come and go, as well as interns, and now, some of the professional colleagues who helped lay the foundations for this project are moving on from the library. Sadly I am part of that latter category. However, rather than focusing on what the digital library has lost I would like to spend a moment reflecting on what the digital library has gained.

Over the past two and a half years the digital library has seen the creation of: the software for both the back and front ends, a full fledged redesign of the front end, the inclusion of more than 4,000 items in some 118 collections, and we have branched out to include partner’s contributions. Much like an iceberg though, these are just what can be observed from the outside. Many projects are being worked on behind the scenes, some of which have been alluded to in previous blog entries and others which have not yet been disclosed, but that are equally exciting and will add a richness to the content on the digital library that has not yet been achieved.

One of these projects is the transcription efforts. I have personally had a large hand in developing the standards for this project and training an enthusiastic group of transcribers. With some luck, soon this project, which until now, has only been shared via the blog, should be publicly viewable, at least in part. The transcription project has a long way to go since the time it takes to transcribe and revise handwritten documents is far greater than the time it takes to scan and mount them online. Still, we have made a solid start on this project which I am sure will continue to bear fruit.

There are other gems that will be unveiled in the short term too, so keep an eye out for content from our newest partner and a handsomely designed and well-researched online exhibit for one of the items in the collection. As an outsider, perhaps, and I do hope this is the case, the effect may look effortless, but there have been numerous bumps in the road. Perhaps the most persistent problem we have encountered is running out of storage space. Twice now this has left us with our only option being scanning to external disk drives. If there is a silver lining to this quite frustrating situation, it is that when we do manage to start mounting content again online, as we have started to do again just this week, then we have months worth of scanned materials that are just waiting to be added to their digital collections –resulting in an explosion of new content.

How do you bid adieu to a project that you have seen the birth of and continue to work on from afar? This was the task set before me and I still don’t have any good answers. All I can say is that I am proud to have worked on a project that gives so much to the scholarly community. It enriches our historical record, builds bridges with other local institutions, and has a reach that goes as far as the World Wide Web. I hope in this blog entry I have piqued your interest about what might be coming and have given you a peak behind the scenes to better understand what it is like working on a project like this. I have watched the progress and development of this exciting program and it is with real sadness that I am leaving it, though I am grateful that I can check in and see the development of the project with the ease of opening a browser and pointing it to digital.library.villanova.edu

Teri Ann Pirone


Feedback Friday: What gets you through the winter?

WinterWhat gets you through the winter? Music? A good book? Movies? Shopping?

Tell us in the comments!




Penn Museum Curator Examines Past and Future of the Ancient Maya Civilization

leventhalOn Tue., Mar 10, join Richard M. Leventhal, Ph.D., professor of anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania and curator of the American Section at Penn Museum, as he offers insights into the collapse of the major cities of the Maya as well as interprets the past and future of the ancient Maya. The talk will take place from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. in the first floor lounge of Falvey.

Dr. Leventhal’s presentation, “The Collapse of the Ancient Maya: Interpretations of the Past and Preserving the Future” is the second installment of the 4th annual Anthropology Lecture Series hosted by Falvey this semester and complements the theme of the series, “The Science of Humanity: Tongues, Stones, and Bones” very well as it offers a new perspective through which to learn about the Maya civilization. (more…)


Weeding in December? Indoors? In a Library?

A special guest article about Falvey’s collection weeding project by Dr. Holly Sanders, history department

The directive of the weeding project boils down to this: keep the essentials in one’s field and rid Falvey of obsolete titles. With mixed feelings I opted to participate.

Perhaps historians, by trade and disposition, balk at purging old books from a library.  The notion that any title could become permanently obsolete borders on heresy in our field.  For example, a book written in the 1980s about the coming economic and military conflict with Japan has little value as a harbinger of the future, but as a primary source– the raw material of history–that book has substantial value because it conveys the fears about Japanese economic power in the 1980s.  This kind of thinking makes historians notorious pack rats when it comes to books.

Despite my misgivings I committed myself to culling the Japanese history collection.  What better way to have a say in what stays and what goes?   And volunteering came with a bonus: we faculty may keep titles we elect to purge from the Falvey collection! (more…)


ICPSR Webinar: Analyze Data Online on Demand – an Introduction to SDA!

Time: Tuesday, February 24, 2009 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
Your desktop
SDA is an online (Web-based) data analysis tool developed at UC Berkeley and offered on select studies by ICPSR. The webinar will introduce you to the tool, show you how to locate studies that have this option, and demonstrate how to use it.
For more information on SDA click here.
To register for the webinar click here.

ICPSR data sets with SDA data analysis capabilities include:
Juvenile Court Statistics
Annual Survey of Jails: Jurisdiction-Level Data
National Election Studies
American Time Use Survey
Capital Punishment in the United States, 1973-1989
For a complete list of all 486 data sets click here.


Dissertations and Theses Full Text

A guest article by Lynne Hartnett, Ph.D., in the history department:

Dissertations and theses have long been important sources for scholarly research.  But until recently, few undergraduates utilized these unpublished sources.  For most students writing research papers in undergraduate courses, dissertations proved too cumbersome to use and too slow to arrive once ordered.  Today this is no longer the case.  With the advent of Dissertations and Theses Full Text (ProQuest), scholars and students alike are able to read the vast majority of dissertations written since 1997 online.

With a database of over 2.4 million records, Dissertations and Theses Full Text is an invaluable source for researchers at any level.  The search fields include not only author and subject, but also school name, advisor, committee members and department.  In addition, the search can be limited by language and publication date, while the results can be sorted by date or relevance.  Even students with only a cursory knowledge of the subject can quickly determine the value of a particular source, as each search result includes an abstract and a preview, as well as the full text option.

Last semester, students in my research seminar for history majors found Dissertations and Theses Full Text invaluable.  While a few of the students used the dissertations as a source, even more utilized these texts’ extensive bibliographies.  Encountering their subjects for the first time, students discovered that these bibliographies provided them with a vast array of credible sources that they could use in their own research.  Given the time constraints of an academic semester, access to these dissertations and the utilization of their bibliographies would have been impractical without the full text being available online. 

Dr. Lynne Hartnett

History Department


We're Here to Help: New Faces at the Information Desk

Joe with Student

Have you noticed new people staffing the information desk? In response to a request from Library Director Joe Lucia, a number of people signed up to help: David Burke, metadata librarian, Resource Management team; Darren Poley, programming and outreach librarian; Susan Markley, Resource Management team leader; Anne Ford, a member of the Academic Integration team, and Chris Barr, interface and design specialist. Joe joined the others, working at the desk on Thursday afternoons.

Donna Chadderton, Gerald Dierkes, Frances (Mimi) DiLenge, Sue Connor, Patricia (Trisha) Kemp, Joanne Quinn, Ann Stango, Phylis Wright, Regina (Gina) McFadden, Ward Barnes, Jeannine Ahern and Luisa Cywinski staff the information desk as well.

The information desk library staff members serve as the front line for users’ requests, answering directional and quick reference questions. More in-depth patron queries are referred to the research consultation librarians.

Does this staffing model serve your information needs?


The Gerritsen Collection of Aletta H. Jacobs (trial until 3/5/2009)

The Library is currently running a trial of The Gerritsen Collection of Aletta H Jacobs. The trial will last until March 5, 2009.. Log-in with your Villanova user id and password and enter welcome on the Proquest log-in screen. Please take a look and let us know what you think.The Gerritsen Collection is currently housed in the Spencer Library at the University of Kansas and was until recently only in microfilm available to the wider public. The collection consists of more than 4,700 books, pamphlets and periodicals. The materials span four centuries, from 1543 to 1945 and 15 languages.

In the late 1800’s, Dutch physician Aletta Jacobs and her husband C.V. Gerritsen began collecting books, pamphlets and periodicals reflecting the evolution of a feminist consciousness and the movement for women’s rights. The Gerritsen Collection has since become the greatest single source for the study of women’s history in the world. For a more detailed description, see “The Gerritsen Collection.” by Janet Sharistanian et al. in Feminist Studies, vol. 3, no. 3/4 (spring-summer 1976), pp. 200-206.


One, two, three strikes: Villanova Baseball scorebooks


Students at Villanova College played baseball, and indeed had great sport at playing other teams. Not only did they play other local colleges but they also played amateur teams, like the St. Charles Seminary team, throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. Two newly digitized scorebooks document these early Villanova College baseball games and show the historic development of collegiate baseball. Indeed the earliest recorded Villanova game of the “Villanova 9” just after the end of the U.S. Civil War, November 12, 1866 was a great blowout with the Villanova College team scoring a winning 46 runs to 13 against the amateur team, the “Picked Nine”.

As part of the growing Athletics Collection of the Villanova Digital Library, these box scores allow the reader to visualize the games as they transpired.


There is no one method of scoring a baseball game. Many different methods prevailed during the development of the modern game. In 1874 Henry Chadwick, known as the father of baseball score keeping, noted, “It is about time that one system of scoring should be adapted throughout the country” [Dickson, 9]. That development never happened, as different publishers produced competing versions. From the 1860’s to the mid-1890, Villanova used a more free form of scorebook, but Villanova scorers switched to the more detailed Caylor System in the late 1899s that included the now common “box score” for recording hits, runs, and fielding outs. The first known scorecard for a professional game was produced for the game between the Brooklyn Atlantics and the Philadelphia Athletics on October 11, 1866 [Light, 832]. Collegiate records are much more fragmented, but the dates of these Villanova scorebooks makes them among the earliest in the country.


Scorebooks remain an essential part of documenting athletic competitions. Indeed today every major league baseball game is required to have an official scorekeeper and scorebook [Light, 833].




Paul Dickson. The Joy of Keeping Score: How scoring the game has influenced and enhanced the history of baseball. New York: Walker and Company, 2007.

Jonathan Fraser Light. The Cultural Encyclopedia of Baseball. Second edition. McFarland & Company, 2005.


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Last Modified: February 13, 2009