Several years ago a colleague offered to show me, an art historian, “a wonderful painting” housed in Falvey Hall. I had never visited the space known as the Old Falvey reading room, but hiking up a dark, narrow flight of steps and through a locked door brought us to in a vast high-ceilinged space filled with utilitarian metal shelves holding the library’s media collection. My guide led me a short distance along the inside wall and proudly pointed to the artwork.
The painting had an impressive size (approximately 12 by 19 feet), but what a disappointment! Hung far above eye level, dark, discolored, damaged and with barely visible contents, this was certainly not the painting I had expected. A placard showed the artist’s name, the painting’s name and the donors’ names: “‘David and Goliath’ by Pietro Berretini de Cortona, 1596 -1669, … Gift of Prince and Princess Alexis Droutzkoy, 1950.” I never suspected I was destined to share the room with that painting, a painting that to my art historian’s eyes appeared to be hopelessly damaged and not worth displaying.
I forgot about “David and Goliath” until library renovations began in 2011. This project required staff members with offices on the second floor to temporarily relocate to the Falvey Hall (Old Falvey) reading room.
And there I worked, month after month, with that huge, dark, ugly travesty of a painting looming at my back. Since I was forced to share its space, I became curious. Who is this artist, Pietro Berretini de Cortona? “Pietro” and “Cortona” seemed familiar, but not the rest of the name as given on the placard. So I consulted a favorite resource, the ULAN (Getty Union List of Artists’ Names) . And there he was: Pietro da Cortona (1596-1669), an Italian Baroque artist and architect whose name I remembered from my days as an art history student and as an instructor. I searched Falvey’s catalog for books about Pietro da Cortona as a painter – nothing! So I pulled out my Baroque art textbook, 17th and 18th Century Art: Baroque Painting, Sculpture, Architecture by Julius S. Held and Donald Posner. Held and Posner say that Cortona is both a great Baroque architect and painter (p.36). And the Cortona paintings illustrated in this text and at several online sites present works that have the soaring spaces, diagonal compositions and rich colors that I have always associated with one style of Baroque art. Villanova’s “David and Goliath,” at least what I could see of it (even using the zoom lens of my camera), exhibited none of these characteristics.
Having satisfied my curiosity about the artist, I decided to check out the rest of the placard. The subject of the painting, David and Goliath, needed no research. The placard did provide a Biblical citation (I Kings 17:57, 18:6) and text, but when I checked I Kings, I did not find the quoted passages. Oops! Someone listed an inaccurate citation, and it has been on exhibit since 1956. That’s embarrassing for a Church-affiliated institution. The story of David and Goliath is actually told in I Samuel 17 and 18.
Who are these donors, Prince and Princess Alexis Droutzkoy, and what is their association with Villanova University? I contacted the campus Art Gallery’s assistant director, Maryanne Erwin (now retired); she had no information available. So I “Googled” them: the prince was a Russian-born, naturalized American citizen who had published American Helicopter Magazine. The princess, his wife, was an American from Georgia. Prince Alexis Droutzkoy died in 2001; the princess, Maria Theresa Droutzkoy, lives in the Bronx. But I still had no information about their connection with the University. And I would later learn that they were not the donors of the painting; they had paid for its conservation.
Eventually my colleagues and I moved out of the reading room and into our new offices. No longer forced to look at “David and Goliath,” I forgot about it until one day in February 2013. That afternoon, Library Director Joe Lucia told me the painting was being taken down, and he asked me to photograph this event. So I photographed a team of professionals (Atelier Art Services, Inc., of Philadelphia) carefully remove that gigantic painting and rest it against a wall in the reading room. Now I had the opportunity to examine it closely. From the front, it was still dark and, to my eyes, ugly and damaged with visible tears in the canvas, flaking paint and discolored varnish. The back, though, appeared very different: no tears visible and the canvas in excellent condition. (I’d soon learn that the painting had been professionally relined before arriving here; that is, a new canvas backing had been added to stabilize the damaged original.)
A few days after “David and Goliath” had been taken down, Joe Lucia again asked me to photograph a painting-related event. This one, a symposium, involved a number of people, mostly strangers but of great interest to me as an art historian. Conservation experts from the Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation, Brian Baade and Kristen deGhetaldi, and two Villanova University professors, Anthony Lagalante, PhD, Dept. of Chemistry, and Amanda Norbutus, PhD, Mendel Science Postdoctoral Fellow, presented their research to various administrators and other personnel. To my astonishment, they concluded that the painting is well worth conservation. Beneath the darkened varnish and modern overpaint (both from a 1950s restoration), much of the original painting remains. Pietro da Cortona, as noted above, is a major figure of the Baroque period, and a few of his works on canvas are in the United States. Despite its current appearance, this painting is indeed a treasure!
Now that conservation has begun, and the reading room is accessible 24/7, I occasionally visit “David and Goliath” (its formal title is “The Triumph of David” and it is listed in the Villanova University Art Collection: A Guide as “The Presentation of David to King Saul After Slaying Goliath”) just to observe the conservators at work and to note the changes in its appearance – nothing dramatic so far! You are welcome to visit the reading room anytime and see for yourself, a rare opportunity to see conservators at work. Or check the live feed video at http://projects.library.villanova.edu/paintingrestoration/live-feed/
Last spring Falvey Memorial Library acquired the digital versions of 25 books in the Oxford Handbook Online series. Each Handbook offers “thorough introductions to topics and a critical survey of the current state of scholarship in a particular field of study, creating an original conception of the field and setting the agenda for new research. The articles review the key issues and major debates, and provide an original argument for how those debates might evolve.” Additionally, Oxford produces monthly updates to introduce articles in advance of and beyond what is available in its print editions. Thus, born-digital content ensures the most current, authoritative coverage available.
As e-books continue to increase in popularity, it is our job as librarians and information professionals to provide our users with the best possible resources we can. This means determining when to purchase e-books in addition to or instead of print editions. We consider a variety of criteria when making these decisions, but one of the most important is a given e-book format’s ease of use. The Oxford Handbook series of e-books is extremely user friendly, with each chapter or section viewable online in continuous scrolling or downloadable in PDF format. Another important factor we consider is how a given book will be used. For materials such as the Oxford Handbooks, which consist of collections of scholarly essays on a given topic, having access to the e-book format makes them very useful to professors who wish to assign individuals essays from a given book. Students can easily access and download them for free through the library website.
Sarah Wingo is the team leader for the Humanities II team and the subject librarian for English, literature and theater.
Villanova Theatre’s production of the medieval drama Everyman opens Nov. 12, and offers a contemporary re-imagining of the classic allegorical tale. The production, directed by the Rev. David Cregan, OSA, PhD, features a female actor portraying the lead role of Everyman, and a script translated from Middle English into the current vernacular by Mark J. Costello, an alumnus of the University’s Master of Arts in Theatre program.
Given that several ACS courses have integrated the text of Everyman into their syllabus, Villanova Theatre’s production proves timely as the semester draws to a close and students begin crafting their final papers.
Everyman runs from Nov. 12 to Nov. 24 in Vasey Theatre on Villanova’s main campus.
Research librarian Sarah Wingo compiled this week’s Dig Deeper links. A theatre buff, she looks forward to the modern twist the Villanova production will add to the morality play. Those links can be found below:
Link to Project Gutenberg text of Everyman. Available in multiple formats including PDF and Kindle versions: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/19481
One of the earliest surviving printed versions of Everyman from 1515, Held at the Bodleian Library and viewable online through EEBO: https://library.villanova.edu/Find/Record/1119972
Later 1528 version with woodcut images: https://library.villanova.edu/Find/Record/1111710#sthash.Pbu4iRR4.dpuf
Everyman a comparative study of texts and sources (BOOK, available in Falvey): https://library.villanova.edu/Find/Record/396360#sthash.pmTeRdNL.dpuf
Article by Corey Waite Arnold, writer and intern on the Communication and Publications team. He is currently pursuing an MA in English at Villanova University.
Our new Dig Deeper series features links to Falvey Memorial Library resources curated and provided by a librarian specializing in the subject, to allow you to enhance your knowledge and enjoyment of seasonal occasions and events held here at the Library. Don’t hesitate to ‘ask us!’ if you’d like to take the excavation even further. And visit our Events listings for more exciting upcoming speakers, lectures and workshops!
This Wednesday, Nov. 13, Mark Lawrence Schrad, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Political Science, will deliver a lecture as part of our ongoing Scholarship@Villanova event series.
Dr. Schrad’s talk is entitled “Understanding Putin’s Russia through the Bottom of the Bottle,” and will analyze alcohol politics as a means for uncovering deep tensions within Russia’s culture and economy. The New York Times published several of Dr. Schrad’s op-eds on this subject, which he investigates in greater detail in his forthcoming book Vodka Politics: Alcohol, Autocracy and the Secret History of the Russian State.
This week’s Dig Deeper material, found below, was compiled by research librarian and liaison to the Department of Political Science, Merrill Stein.
Select relevant articles:
Article by Corey Arnold, writer and intern on the Communication and Service Promotion team. He is currently pursuing an MA in English at Villanova University.
Imagine stepping into a room-sized enclosure, donning a pair of 3D glasses, and having the experience of touring the basilicas in Rome or exploring Philadelphia’s Eastern State Penitentiary or standing in the Sistine Chapel—all without leaving the Library. Well, technically Falvey Hall, which was the Villanova College Library before Falvey Memorial Library was built, will house this new facility, called CAVE.
What does CAVE mean?
CAVE stands for Cave Automatic Virtual Environment. I know some of you are asking, “Then, what does that “Cave” stand for?” MerriamWebster.com has your answer. The University’s version of this technology is called the Villanova Immersive Studies System (VISS).
The VISS allows participants to become virtually immersed in a setting in which they can move about and even circle around the 3D image of an object, such as vase on a pedestal, as though they were in the actual setting. The VISS, in addition to the visual dimension, includes sound. For historical sites that have begun to deteriorate, such as the Eastern State Penitentiary, it preserves them for posterity. For sites of limited space, such as the Santa Rosa Necropolis under Vatican City that cannot accommodate large groups, the VISS allows 10-15 people at a time to examine that location.
How does it work?
The VISS enclosure—18’ wide, 10’ deep, 7.5’ high—features three walls and a ceiling. An opening, where the fourth wall would be, allows access. Rear-projected HD screens form its walls and ceiling, and it has a front-projected floor. To minimize shadows from viewers, strategically placed projectors create the floor imagery.
In addition to the CAVE’s capability to display images, the VISS has a camera component for capturing images and video. The custom-made camera cart actually holds several cameras mounted in a spherical array (software combines the cameras’ input into a single image or video). This camera system includes lights and microphones, all mounted atop a telescopic pedestal that extends to raise the cameras from their five-feet-high retracted position up to a height of twelve feet. Not only can the camera record images and video, it can also stream live images from remote locations.
How will this system benefit Villanova?
University professors will have the ability to record artifacts, settings, and events to be studied—unencumbered by distance, climate, or time of day—by their students on campus. Faculty may also include such recordings when developing their course curriculums.
Non-Villanova researchers, aka “off-campus collaborators,” will have the opportunity to access to the VISS for their own research projects. This collaboration with non-Villanova researchers illustrates a trend in which academic libraries provide environments called “collaboratories.”
The project is under the direction of Frank Klassner, PhD, professor of computing sciences in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, in collaboration with Edmond Dougherty, assistant professor in the College of Engineering, and Darren Poley, interim director of Falvey Memorial Library.
According to the University’s Oct. 23 press release, the first component of the VISS, the CAVE structure itself, “is expected to be completed late in the spring of 2014.”
Gerald Dierkes is an information services specialist for the Information and Research Assistance team, senior copyeditor for the Communication and Service Promotion team, and a liaison to the Department of Theater.
“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.”
Laura Hutelmyer is the photography coordinator for the Communication and Publications Team and Special Acquisitions Coordinator in Resource Management
The National Science Foundation has extended its “where discoveries begin” initiative to include not just principal investigators but anyone interested in perusing publically funded data through the promulgation of rules requiring funding recipients to have data management plans in place. Instead of researchers seeing this request as another chore in an unending to-do list, data management plans (DMP) can be considered a beneficial and valuable impetus to organize and archive resources with potential for enhancing a researcher’s profile. As Alfonso Ortega, PhD, associate vice president for research and graduate programs and the James R. Birle professor of energy technology in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, says “DMP’s are not just about fulfilling regulations but also about making your good work available.”
The imperative to make Villanova University scholarship more accessible drove Falvey Memorial Library Interim Library Director Darren Poley to organize a series of forums with Dr. Ortega on three emerging developments in scholarly communication: data management plans (Sept. 16), open access journals (Oct. 21st) and institutional repositories (Nov. 11). All forums will take place in Connelly Center cinema from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Both Dr. Ortega and Mr. Poley recognize that a “build it and they will come” philosophy can lead to costly missteps and that faculty input is critical to success. With this guiding principle in mind, the forums are designed to facilitate conversations about these trends and generate ideas about how they ought to be tackled at Villanova.
At the first forum on data management plans, Dr. Ortega introduced the topic by commenting on the challenges researchers face in the day to day management and storage of data of all stripes (big, proprietary, and sensitive), the dilemmas researchers face about pressure to archive and share data, and the importance of clearly articulating how solutions to data management will advance the University Strategic Plan and are essential for them to be resourced sustainably. Poley spoke about how libraries are natural partners in the scholarly enterprise with deep expertise in organizing and archiving resources that ought to be extended to research data. Linda Hauck, business librarian, surveyed how data management services are progressing at other higher-education institutions.
The highlight of the program was talks by Assistant Professor Melissa O’Connor, PhD, MBA, RN, COS-C (College of Nursing) and Professor Amy S. Fleischer, PhD, (College of Engineering) and the discussion they generated. Dr. Fleischer described the National Science Foundation’s data-management-plan requirement from the inside out. Dr. O’Connor illuminated the technical and physical security safeguards that need to be in place when using Medicare data and National Institutes of Health funding as well as the costs associated with data extraction. Comments and questions were volleyed about how to balance intellectual property rights with public access and scholarly reputations, whether Villanova has a research data policy, who should curate and provide stewardship of data a Villanova, and what secure methods for data back-up are available at Villanova.
At the second forum, held Oct. 21st on open access journals, Nikolaus Fogle, PhD, subject librarian for philosophy, provided an overview of the open access journal publishing movement including quality issues, tenure and promotion dilemmas, faculty initiated open access policies, and sustainability challenges. He detailed how the traditional journal-publishing-business model employed by for-profit, non-profit and association publishers alike are straining library budgets. Next up was Professor Aaron M. Bauer, Gerald M. Lemole endowed chair in integrative biology, presenting the researcher point of view, noted that publication fees for high quality open access journals range from $1350 to $3000 per paper and that those fees cannot reasonably be recouped for externally funded research given the volume of papers some projects spawn (one such project alone lead by Dr. Bauer generated 68 papers!). He observed that publication fee discounts are among the benefits of institutional membership in open access publishing organizations, such as PLoS (Public Library of Science) and Biomed Central, and many of our peer institutions have made the commitment. Finally, he commented that the transition to open access will not be simple or quick as pressure to publish in high impact and h-index journals is a fact of life for academics establishing careers and striving to advance professionally. Dr. Bauer implored Villanova academic departments, Colleges and the Library to commit to finding sustainable solutions to the National Science Foundation’s impending mandates for open access publishing. Interim Library Director Darren Poley discussed library supported journals. Gregory D. Hoskins, PhD, Lawrence C. Gallen fellow in the humanities, took attendees for a deep dive into how Concept has become a professional-looking online journal powered by graduate student editors and reviewers. Finally Professor John-Paul Spiro shared the joys and difficulties that came with starting up the online journal, Expositions: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Humanities, including managing subscriptions and submissions to cultivate readership.
Contribute to the ongoing conversation by attending the final forums on institutional repositories (Monday, Nov. 11, 3:30-5 p.m., Connelly Center Cinema).
Linda Hauck, MS, MBA, is a business librarian. Photographs by Alice Bampton.
The answer to what an academic library is varies based on one’s need. I suggest, however, it must be both active and passive in providing services if it is to be relevant to its community. The needs of our university-community members constantly change: sometimes daily, even hourly. To be ready to meet the challenges this situation presents, the academic library should be a nimble yet stable institution. Active and nimble while remaining passive and stable is a pretty tough role. So what allows us to fulfill this role, and how is Falvey accomplishing this “all things to all people” model when it comes to providing services?
What keeps an academic library active and nimble is looking to the immediate needs for which students and faculty turn to the library: access to data and assistance transforming data into information in the pursuit of knowledge. Current sources, many of them instantaneous, can give anyone access to data by means of devices that can fit in your backpack or even your pocket. Knowing how to locate relevant data, sift through results, and evaluate the academic appropriateness of what is discovered is the true hurdle. While technological facility and some degree of discovery sophistication are almost innate among today’s students, real information literacy is the key for unlocking data in an effort to turn it into knowledge.
An essential element of this process is the librarian, who actively reaches out to scholars in an effort to guide and instruct, helping them successfully migrate from data seeker to knowledge worker. The pedagogy for information literacy, therefore, needs to be seamlessly combined with many different efforts at customer service. To achieve this end, the reference-books area on Falvey’s second floor is being reconfigured into a research service center to strengthen the library’s customer-service presence on the Learning Commons street. This improvement is precisely the kind of service provision outreach that helps students find their way to advanced library research assistance and the librarians with subject expertise.
This change is active, too, in that it results from a data driven decision to offer a concierge-like service. It is nimble in that Falvey as a facility is not so fixed that it is unable to adapt. In fact, the space which we are identifying as the research service center will convert to an area of mixed furniture for studying when it is not staffed. This capability results directly from a survey of library users, primarily undergraduate students. So the space passively waits to be made active by librarians reaching out to assist students, and students can inhabit the space for studying when it’s not active as a service center.
Another example of a passive space that becomes animated with activity is the Falvey Hall lobby and reading room. Recently, areas of Falvey Hall (aka “Old Falvey”) that for years had been unavailable to students have been re-opened for quiet study 24/7. The spaces now passively wait for university community members to use them for their intended purposes. The newly opened study lounge and reading room greatly increase the capacity for the Library to be the place on campus to study, anytime, day or night. Yet these stable venues are activated in that students use white boards in the Falvey Hall lobby to diagram and articulate, and in the reading room, long the hallmark of an academic library, they can participate as a spectator in the ongoing Baroque painting conservation campaign. Mere passive spaces again become lively and furtive for the transformation of data to information, and on into knowledge.
Falvey is poised to provide active library research assistance, and is active in providing passive yet engaging spaces around the clock. It is a blend of active and passive. This function is important for an academic library: to be active and responsive when it needs to be but also there when you need it, as it should be.
Darren Poley is the interim library director and can be reached by email or by phone at 610-519-4290.
Have you ever heard of Lupercalia? Wanted to know more about the reign of Constantinus, “the Great” emperor of Rome? Do you need to write a paper about trade routes in post-Antiquity? Brill’s New Pauly Online might just be the place for you to start your research. Its interdisciplinary approach, easy-to-use interface, straightforward language and scholarly authority make this online resource an outstanding reference on the ancient world.
Brill’s New Pauly Online has two different sections you can search through at the same time, one on Antiquity and another on the Classical Tradition. As Brill explains:
“The section on Antiquity of Brill´s New Pauly is devoted to Greco-Roman antiquity and cover more than two thousand years of history, ranging from the second millennium BC to early medieval Europe. Special emphasis is given to the interaction between Greco-Roman culture on the one hand, and Semitic, Celtic, Germanic, and Slavonic culture, and ancient Judaism, Christianity, and Islam on the other hand. The section on the Classical Tradition is uniquely concerned with the long and influential aftermath of antiquity and the process of continuous reinterpretation and revaluation of the ancient heritage, including the history of classical scholarship.”
Brill’s New Pauly Online allows for basic and advanced searches, features cross-references with hyperlinks, a browsable alphabetical index, maps and illustrations, and easy access to names, places, dates and objects from Greek and Roman culture. Plus, you can press Ctrl + F to quickly find relevant key words and phrases in the entries. Once you find what you’re looking for, try scanning the list of bibliographic references at the end of the entry or scroll through an automatically generated “Related Articles” for further topic coverage.
After completing a quick and simple registration online, there are a series of “personal user tools” that can catapult your research experience into another world. Some of these added features include: the ability to label and “star” entries, email entries to yourself or classmates, and share links on social media (Facebook & Twitter). You can also save your searches and easily return to those lists of results, manage them from “My Account,” and even subscribe to Brill’s RSS Feed to hear when new or revised content is added.
As an additional bonus, try out the “Cite this Page” feature that is found at the end of each entry. If you are using this resource for an assignment, copy and paste this citation to create your reference list in just seconds. You can also use the “export citation” feature to send the bibliographic information to EndNote or RefWorks, or you can even save it as a document in either MLA or Chicago Style.
This resource is highly recommended for literature, history, philosophy, theology/religious studies, classical studies, and art/art history students. Find it by searching for “Brill’s New Pauly” in the library catalog, then click the “Search online version” link, or you can access it from the philosophy subject guide and the late antiquity: reference works course guide.
Questions or comments? Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or post a comment below.
Alexander Williams, ’11 MA, is the temporary librarian liaison to the Department of Theology and Religious Studies and a research librarian on the Academic Integration and the Information and Research Assistance teams. He is currently pursuing an MS in Library and Information Science at Drexel University’s iSchool.