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How Technology Aids Scholarly Communication: VuStuff 2011

By Luisa Cywinski

Over 60 participants gathered for the 2nd annual VuStuff Conference at Falvey Memorial Library on Oct. 12 where four presenters highlighted the use of new technologies that make collections more accessible online.

VuStuff, an annual conference that focuses on the intersections of technology and scholarly communication, is the brainchild of Darren Poley and Michael Foight, who both participated in an ad-hoc scholarly communication group formed by Shawn Martin at the University of Pennsylvania. Falvey’s professional librarians and technology staff continue to organize the conference each year.

University Librarian Joe Lucia, in his welcome remarks, described VuStuff as the opportunity to “leverage the collective intellect” of libraries and to witness the “transformational energy of non-commercial players.” David Uspal, technology development specialist, emceed the event and encouraged focused group discussions over lunch.

Rob Behary, Eric Zino, David Uspal, Eric Lease Morgan, Amy Baker Williams

The range of topics covered this year included the digitization of rare collections, historical Pennsylvania mining maps and Catholic publications. Speakers Eric Lease Morgan, University of Notre Dame; Amy Baker Williams, University of Pittsburgh; Eric Zino, LYRASIS; and Rob Behary, Duquesne University, focused on the technical challenges they encountered, the fragile condition of historical materials and the economies and accessibility realized through digitization.

Morgan, winner of the 2011 Vuie (or VuStuff) Award, presented on “VuFind and the ‘Catholic Portal'” and explained “how the Catholic Research Resources Alliance has exploited the open and modular nature of VuFind to implement” a portal to Catholic resources.

Villanova organizers included Laura Bang, Alexandra Edwards, Jeffrey Eisenberg, Michael Foight, Mary Heyman, Regina McFadden, Darren Poley, Joanne Quinn, Stephen Spatz and David Uspal.

Look for a more detailed article about the event in Falvey Memorial Library’s “News From Falvey” newsletter in Spring 2012.

Graphic design by Joanne Quinn; photo by Alice Bampton


Was Shakespeare a Fraud?

Have you heard about the new movie coming out today, Oct. 28, that calls Shakespeare’s authorship into question? Anonymous takes that age old question to the big screen. We want to know what you think. As scholars, professors and readers, do you question Shakespeare as the author of Hamlet, Richard III and other classic stage plays? Read what the experts have written over the years using the links below. Or, add your comments to the debate.

Shakespeare’s Authorship – Sampling of Articles

Shakespeare’s Authorship – Sampling of Books

By Luisa Cywinski & Kristyna Carroll

Image courtesy of The New York Times


Quick Tip: Access Cambridge Companions Online

From a primer on the Harlem Renaissance to a collection of essays about Michel Foucault, Cambridge Companions are often a great way to begin researching a topic.

Each Companion volume provides a variety of scholarly viewpoints on a major theme, author or time period, written by experts with a student audience in mind. The essays are generally accessible and easy to read, and they serve as an excellent launching point for any humanities research project.

Even better, they’re available online for free. Falvey subscribes to The Cambridge Companions Complete Collection, which allows Villanova University community members full access to Cambridge Companion materials. This includes Cambridge Companions to literature, philosophy, religion, classics and culture.

Try searching the library catalog, VuFind, to get an idea of the wealth of topics covered. You can also search the Cambridge Companions Collection directly here.

To access the full online version, click the “Online version” link in the record.

This will take you to the Cambridge Collections website. Look for the “Table of Contents” box on the right side of the page. Each chapter has its own page, where you can access a PDF of the full essay. Citation information is available on this page as well.

Find other library Quick Tips by clicking here.

Questions? Suggestions? Let us know in the Comments below.


Arguedas Conference Brings Book Talks to Falvey

José María Arguedas

The Department of Romance Languages and Literatures celebrates Hispanic Cultural Heritage Month with a conference in honor of the centenary of prominent Peruvian author, anthropologist and literary critic, José María Arguedas (1911 – 1969). To complement the scholarly sessions and roundtable discussion of his work, the conference features a rich cultural program about the cultures of the Andean region of Peru.

During the conference, Falvey Memorial Library will host an exhibit, reception and book presentations featuring recent books on Andean studies.  The event will be held on Friday, Oct. 28, 2011, at 12:00 p.m. in the library first floor lounge.

Light refreshments will be served.  The event is free and open to the public.

Generally considered one of the foremost figures of 20th century Peruvian letters, Arguedas was born in the province of Andahuaylas in the southern Peruvian Andes. He was brought up among Quechua Indians, and learned Quechua before Spanish. He wrote mainly in Spanish although some of his poetry is in Quechua.

His best-known works include  Agua (1935), Yawar Fiesta (1941), Los rios profundos (1958), La agonía de Rasu Ñiti (1962), Todas las sangres (1964) and El zorro de arriba y el zorro de abajo (1971). You can listen to Arguedas reciting his poem “Canto a nuestro padre Tupac Amaru” here.

Other conference events will take place across campus:

  • Two special roundtable panels by invited presenters
  • A dance performance by two Peruvian indigenous dancers accompanied by live music by indigenous musicians
  • A presentation of an award-winning film Soy andina (about dances and cultures of Peru) by its director, Mitchell Teplitsky, and one of its protagonists, Cynthia Paniagua, who will give a live presentation of some of the dances featured in the film
  • A musical performance by Edgar Zárate, nephew of the legendary Peruvian guitarist, Raúl García Zárate, and Fredy Roncalla
  • A reception sponsored by the Peruvian Embassy


Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons


Ulysses, Zombies and Superheroines: The Graphic Novel Goes Digital at our 3rd Annual Event

From webcomics to iPad apps to same-day digital downloads of print comics, graphic novels and comic books have undoubtedly entered the digital age. While the majority of comics are still sold in hard copy, demand for and access to digital content is steadily increasing.

Our 3rd annual graphic novel event explores this trend, featuring a panel discussion with three Philadelphia comic book professionals who are redefining the way we view the graphic novel. In partnership with the Villanova University Writing Center, Falvey Memorial Library is proud to present “Graphic Novels in the Digital Age.” The event will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 26, at 3:00 pm in the library first floor lounge.

Our panelists are developing some of the most exciting work at the forefront of the digital comics revolution:

Josh Levitas handles the graphic design, web design, iPad user interface design, production art, and hand lettering for Ulysses “Seen, an online graphic adaptation of James Joyce’s masterwork that has garnered attention from The New York Times, TIME, Wired and The New Yorker. The work was at the center of a storm of controversy when Apple requested that two images be censored before it could be released in the iPad app store. The attention garnered from this new censoring of Ulysses, 90 years after it was first banned in the United States, caused Apple to reverse their decision.

Ulysses “Seen” is the flagship project of digital media publisher Throwaway Horse LLC. As a founding member of Throwaway Horse, Levitas develops educational apps that unite literary classics, comic book art and scholarly research. Spring 2011 saw the release of Martin Rowson’s The Waste Land “Seen,” an iPad app featuring a graphic novel film noir-style parody of T.S. Eliot’s epic poem with full reader’s guide. 

Tony Trov and Johnny Zito
develop and write popular comic book series for publishers including DC Entertainmentand digital retailer Comixology. These comics include Black Cherry Bombshells, an apocalyptic future series about zombies and girls gangs, La Morté Sisters, the story of an all-girl vampire boarding school, and Moon Girl, a superhero comic set in 1950s New York.

Moon Girl was created for EC Comics in 1947, but the character has since slipped into the public domain.  Trov and Zito revamped her character for their series.  The digital Moon Girl comics proved so popular that they were printed and sold in hard copy at comic book shops nationwide.

Through their intellectual property studio, South Fellini, Trov and Zito have also put their visual storytelling skills to use creating films for Ford, as well as Alpha Girls, an independent horror film. They are set to film an adaptation of their scifi comic book series The Dogs of M.A.R.S. in 2012.

The event will feature presentations by the speakers, a panel question and answer session and an iPad gallery of digital graphic novels for attendees to browse.

Snacks will be served. The event is free and open to the public.



Library Resources for Postcolonial Studies

By Alexandra Edwards

You may have noticed that several of this semester’s library events have focused on a common theme: colonial histories and postcolonialism. Visiting scholars Ambassador and Dr. Melady spoke on African heroes during the 1960s sweep of independence; Dr. Gastanaga gave an introduction to art from colonial Peru; Dr. Kolsky talked about violence in colonial India; and later this semester, Dr. Nagy-Zekmi will give a faculty book talk on Perennial Empires: Postcolonial, Transnational, and Literary Perspectives (Cambria Press, 2011). While this emerging theme was
unintentional, it does point to a growing interest among academics.

Postcolonial studies has developed in the past several decades, and largely stems from two main texts: Orientalism by Edward Said (Vintage Books, 1978) and The Empire Writes Back: Theory and Practice in Post-Colonial Literatures by Bill Ashcroft, Gareth Griffiths and Helen Tiffin (Rutledge, 1989).

It has since expanded as an interdisciplinary field of study and is now a major academic concern, with a wide array of resources dedicated to the subject. As our variety of events show, postcolonial studies is a growing facet of a number of disciplines, including the study of English, history, Romance languages and literatures, art history and more.

Two good starting points for understanding postcolonialism are Post-Colonialism: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press) and The Cambridge Companion to Postcolonial Literary Studies (Cambridge University Press).  Like all volumes in the Cambridge Companion series, the latter is fully available online.

For more postcolonial studies resources, try library catalog searches for the subjects “postcolonialism” and “imperialism.”

Do you have a favorite book on postcolonial studies? Is there a text we should add to our collection? Let us know in the comments!


“The Open House was a neat idea!” Winners of the iPad, Kindle and Nook

Three very happy students, the winners of the Open House drawing, recently met with University Librarian Joe Lucia and Instructional Services Librarian Barbara Quintiliano.  Four hundred students attended the Open House on Sept. 13 and 14 and, by completing a simple project to familiarize themselves with the library catalog, entered the drawing for one of the prizes: an iPad, a Kindle or a Nook.

Nick Pajerowski, a first-year mechanical engineering major from Annapolis, Md., won the grand prize: an iPad. “I was so stoked when I found out I won the iPad! It’s such a cool gadget, and it’ll definitely be useful for studying … and for Angry Birds,” Pajerowski said. He told his father he was going to take it apart. Engineers are curious people!




Abigail Demke, a first-year student from West Hartford, Conn., won the Kindle. Demke commented, “I was incredibly surprised to win … I was certain I would be disqualified because on the raffle form I wrote that I am too old-fashioned to read books on a screen… Even though I love books with pages, I am very excited to see if e-books are right for me. So far, I love how small and convenient it is, and I think it’ll be great for train rides home. Many thanks to the staff at the Library; the Open House was a neat idea.”


Lynnea Greene, a political science major from Philadelphia, won the Nook. She noted that her mother “has been trying to buy me an e-reader for so long, and I’ve always told her no. But winning the Nook has made me see the error of my ways. I love it and really appreciate it. Thanks so much!”

Students also visited the “petting zoo” where they could try out the iPad, Kindle and Nook. Snacks and handouts were available to visitors. And each day the first 100 registered Villanova student attendants received USB thumb drives.

Quintiliano and her committee planned the Open House.


Article and photographs by Alice Bampton


Eric Wagner is Falvey Student of the Month

Eric Wagner, a junior geography major from Fogelsville, Pa., was selected the September Student Employee of the Month for Falvey.

According to Phylis Wright, manager of Access Desk Services, “Eric is one of our best and brightest in Access Services. He is what might be known in baseball as a utility player. Eric is the first to volunteer … and his proactive nature helps our patrons better achieve their goals. His character is clearly evident from being creatively involved with the library music video to his suggestions involving services. Eric puts effort into every facet of his position. He adds a personal dimension and depth to Falvey.”

Wagner is a member of the Villanova University Tech Crew, Villanova Television (VTV)  and the Campus Activities Team (CAT). He is also a liturgical minister and a catechist at St. Thomas of Villanova Church in Rosemont, Pa. Wagner is a member of the Knights of Columbus and the University’s Running Club .  His hobbies include performing community service, reading, sailing, running and “learning to ride [his] unicycle.”

About Wagner, Bill Greene, a member of the Access Services department, added “He is humorous. He laughs at my jokes and has good comebacks of his own.”

Joanne Quinn, Falvey’s design specialist, will create a caricature of Wagner to be displayed on the pillar behind the main service counter. Check it out!

The University Staff Council at Falvey selects a Student of the Month based upon nominations from student supervisors.

Article and photograph by Alice Bampton


Theatrical History of Philadelphia Featured

Howard Shelley in costume

The papers of Howard Merrill Shelley, noted 20th century Philadelphian and playwright, are now being digitized and made available online through the Digital Library.  In addition to being a figure of the Philadelphia theater world, Shelley (1879-1956) was also descended from historic and famous inhabitants of the area, including David Rittenhouse and Benjamin Franklin.

The Digital Library’s Fall 2011 Intern, Karla Irwin, introduces readers to Howard Shelley and his illustrious family history, on the Blue Electrode blog. “Digitizing the Howard Shelley Collection,” she writes, “has been like working on a miniature time capsule of Philadelphia genealogy and theater history.”

Read more of Karla’s research about Howard Shelley here.


Karla Irwin Selected Fall 2011 Digital Library Intern

Karla Irwin, currently enrolled in the Master of Science in Library and Information Science program at Drexel University, is the Digital Library intern for the fall semester. Karla has a bachelor’s degree in fashion design with a minor in theater from the University of Delaware. Her home town is Wilmington, Del.

Before enrolling at Drexel, Karla worked as a theater costumer for the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, D.C. “It was an interesting line of work,” she says, “and I still like to make clothing in my free time… I know how to tailor a suit and make period corsets.” She also worked with the Drexel Historic Costume Collection before coming to Villanova University.

Karla’s change from being a theater costumer to studying library science blended a number of her interests, and she hopes at some point to combine her past career with her new one.

Her hobbies include reading, watching screwball comedies, hiking, camping, quilting and other crafts.

Read Karla’s blog on a lost piece of theater history.

Article and photograph by Alice Bampton



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Last Modified: October 10, 2011