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Spring 2024 Digital Seeds Speaker Series

Spring 2024 Digital Seeds Speaker Series presented by Falvey Library at Villanova University

Leveraging Large Language Models to Unveil Seventeenth-Century Books of Secrets

Please join us on Thursday, April 11, from 12-1 p.m. for a virtual talk by Sarah Lang, Digital Humanities researcher from the Center for Information Modeling, University of Graz in Austria, titled, “Leveraging Large Language Models to Unveil Seventeenth-Century Books of Secrets.”

This talk presents experiments with the semantic enrichment and computational analysis of seventeenth-century alchemical books of secrets, a genre that intricately intertwines recipe literature with practical how-to guides. This project explores the potential of Large Language Models (LLMs), including CustomGPTs and ChatGPT, in various subtasks such as layout detection, recipe segmentation, and transcription of alchemical symbols to illustrate a comprehensive process encompassing layout detection, character transcription, and semantic tagging. A central feature of this workflow will be a human-in-the-loop approach for ensuring the accuracy and fidelity of the semantic enrichments to the original texts. This promises not only to enhance our understanding of seventeenth-century artisanal knowledge but also to contribute significantly to the field of digital humanities by demonstrating the potential of LLMs in historical text analysis and semantic enrichment.

This ACS-approved event, sponsored by Falvey Library, is part of the 2024 Digital Seeds Speaker Series and is free and open to all. REGISTER HERE.

Speaker Bio:

Sarah Lang has a Doctorate in Philosophy with a major in Digital Humanities and is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Department “Centre for Information Modelling” at the University of Graz in Austria. After completing undergraduate and graduate degrees in History and Classics (Latin & Greek) in Graz (including an Erasmus stay in Montpellier), she transitioned into the field of Digital Humanities, and has been working on projects in this field since 2016. Lang’s PhD research, at the intersection of Digital Humanities and the early modern history of science, introduces computational methods into the history of alchemy. Her research focuses on decoding cryptographical stylistic devices specific to alchemy (Decknamen) by drawing on the case study of chymist Michael Maier’s (1568-1622) Neo-Latin corpus. Lang’s research was funded by the University of Graz bursary during her PhD (2018-2021) and won the Bader Prize for the History of Science (Austrian Academy of Sciences, 2021) for her PhD thesis.


Mapping the Margins: Gay Travel Guides & the Promise of Digital History

Please join us on Thursday, April 18, from 4-5 p.m. for a virtual talk by Drs. Amanda (Mandy) Regan and Eric Gonzaba titled, “Mapping the Margins: Gay Travel Guides & the Promise of Digital History.”

Professors Amanda Regan and Eric Gonzaba will discuss their NEH- funded project entitled Mapping the Gay Guides. The project utilizes the Damron Address Books, a longtime gay travel guide that began in the mid 1960s. First published in an era when most states banned same-sex intimacy both in public and private spaces, these travel guides helped gays find community spaces that catered to people like themselves. Much like the Green Books of the 1950s and 1960s, which African Americans used to find friendly businesses that would cater to black citizens in the era of Jim Crow apartheid, Damron’s guidebooks aided a generation of queer people in identifying sites of community, pleasure, and politics.  Mapping the Gay Guides maps over 100,000 historical listings across all 50 states to understand changes in LGBTQ+ space and culture over half a century. Regan and Gonzaba will explain the importance the gay print culture beginning in the 1960s and the possibilities of understanding queer histories in a different light utilizing this kind of historical data. REGISTER HERE.

Speakers’ Bios:

Amanda (Mandy) Regan is an Assistant Professor in the Department of History and Geography at Clemson University. She is a historian of the late-19th and 20th centuries and specializes in women and gender as well as digital history. She received her PhD in 2019 from George Mason University where she was a Digital History Fellow at the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media (RRCHNM). From 2019-2021 she was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Southern Methodist University’s Center for Presidential History. At Clemson, she teaches in the department’s new Digital History Ph.D. program. Currently she is working on two projects. First, she is the co-director of Mapping the Gay Guides an NEH funded digital history project that draws on Bob Damron’s Address Books – a prolific set of travel guides for gay Americans in the last three decades of the 20th century. Second, she is revising a book manuscript entitled Shaping Up: Physical Fitness Initiatives for Women, 1880-1965 which is under contract with the University of Virginia Press.

Eric Gonzaba is an Assistant Professor in the Department of American Studies at California State University, Fullerton. He is a historian of race and sexuality in the United States, particularly focused on nightlife and LGBT cultures. He is the creator of Wearing Gay History, a digital archive and museum that explores global LGBTQ history through t-shirts. From 2021 until 2024, he served as co-chair of the Committee on LGBT History, the oldest LGBTQ historians’ association in the United States, and is the co-chair of the upcoming 2024 Queer History Conference. Gonzaba’s work has previously been supported by grants and fellowships from the University of Pennsylvania, Cornell, the Point Foundation, and the Elton John AIDS Foundation. Gonzaba received his PhD in 2019 from George Mason University, having defended his dissertation just a few days after Mandy.

These ACS-approved events, sponsored by Falvey Library, are free and open to all.

About the Digital Seeds Speakers Series:

The Digital Seeds Speaker Series is a Library funded program that supports the invitation of guest speakers in the digital scholarship community to speak at Falvey Library about their research and/or give a workshop on a topic of their choice. The goal of the speaker series is to provide an opportunity for Villanova faculty, staff, and students to learn more about digital scholarship and research at the intersection of social science, humanities computing, and data science. The lectures are often held in the spring and are open to the public and all Villanova faculty, staff, and students to attend. The series is a great way to make connections, build community, and facilitate conversation.

Learn about past speakers here.

Digital Scholarship at Falvey Library:

Falvey Library’s Digital Scholarship Program supports faculty, students, and staff interested in applying digital methods and tools to their research and teaching. Digital scholarship encompasses a broad range of technologies and research areas, including but not limited to digital mapping (GIS), text and data mining, data visualization, virtual reality, 3D modeling, and digital publishing. We host lectures on digital scholarship topics, partner on digital research projects, and provide a collaborative space for consultations and training.

Learn more about Digital Scholarship here.



Caturday: Spot Yourself at the Eclipse Event?

Did you (safely) check out the recent eclipse (along with practically everyone else on campus?) Then see whether we spotted your friendly face at our event or outside of the Library!

Photo at the event courtesy of Emilie Agras ’25 CLAS.


Foto Friday: Ed Scion Discusses Research on White Dwarf Stars

By Shawn Proctor

Ed Scion, PhD, with Margot Accettura, STEM Librarian, Falvey Library

Ed Scion, PhD, with Margot Accettura, STEM Librarian, Falvey Library

A full house attended the recent Scholarship@Villanova lecture series talk by Ed Sion, PhD, Professor of Astronomy & Astrophysics, honoring his book Accreting White Dwarfs: from Exoplanetary Probes to Classical Novae and Type Ia Supernovae. This series recognizes scholarly publications, ongoing research, and other intellectual contributions of faculty members from all five colleges of Villanova University.


Shawn Proctor Head shot

Shawn Proctor, MFA, is Communication and Marketing Program Manager at Falvey Library.


Women’s Prize for Fiction Longlist Available Via Falvey

By Shawn Proctor

Ruth Ozeki, author of The Book of Form and Emptiness is announced as the winner of The 2022 Women’s Prize For Fiction, taking place at Bedford Square Gardens, London. Picture date: Wednesday June 15, 2022. PA Photo. As the winner of the prize, which is now in its 27th year, Ruth Ozeki will receive £30,000. Photo credit should read: Ian West/PA Wire (Used for editorial purposes, courtesy of the Women’s Prize)


The Women’s Prize for Fiction longlist was recently announced, and Falvey Library has acquired the full longlist of books (along with many other DEI-focused award-winning or nominated books). A special landing page will help patrons learn what titles have been added and how to search for them within the Library’s collection. See the full list at the bottom of this blog!

“The Women’s Prize for Fiction is a celebration of women’s creativity and literary achievements. We’re excited to offer the Women’s Prize longlist from this year forward as part of an initiative to diversify our shelves. One of our vendor partners, Gobi, is offering an approval plan based on DEI-focused literary prizes, so a curated list of award-winning titles will be highlighted in the main collection,” says Danielle Dempsey, MLIS, Metrics and Assessment Librarian.

In fall 2023, Falvey Library introduced a new collection of print books that have been nominated for or awarded the diversity-focused prizes listed on this page. This highlighted collection aligns with Falvey Library’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Collection Development Statement, which informs collection development in all subject areas across the Library.

Please note: the Women’s Prize also launched an inaugural non-fiction prize, which is also exciting and worth a look!


Shawn Proctor Head shot

Shawn Proctor, MFA, is Communication and Marketing Program Manager at Falvey Library.


You’re All That And A Bag Of Chips

We think you’re all that and a bag of chips!

Stop by Falvey Library’s front entrance on Friday, May 3 (Reading Day) from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. (or until supplies last) and enjoy FREE bags of your favorite chips. (We’ll have a wide selection of brands and flavors!) Our furry friends from Pals for Life will be there to help you stress-less. Prefer sweet to salty? Public Safety will be bringing the Mobile Treat Unit to share some cool treats. Everyone’s favorite Community Canine, Taffy, will also be there for some fun! Booyah! POWER will be offering de-stressing activities for attendees. Before you bounce, make sure to chillax with our friends in the Idea Lab (Ground Level, Main Library) for some treats and lawn games.

Worried about finals? As if! You got this, Wildcats. Good luck! This event, sponsored by Falvey Library, the Office of Health Promotion, POWER, Public Safety, and the Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, is free and open to all Villanova students.


Weekend Recs: Libraries

Happy Friday, Wildcats! Falvey Library is delivering you another semester of Weekend Recs, a blog dedicated to filling you in on what to read, listen to, and watch over the weekend. Annie, a graduate assistant from the Communication department, scours the internet, peruses the news, and digs through book stacks to find new, relevant, and thought-provoking content that will challenge you and prepare you for the upcoming week. A disclaimer that this column is intended for reflection and entertainment (not for academic research, for example), and infuses scholarly content as possible.

This week, April 7-13, is National Library Week, a week dedicated to appreciating what libraries do for communities. Whether it’s a university library like Falvey or a public library, libraries are absolutely vital for our communities to learn, research, create, and gather. They provide books, yes, but also technology, expert librarians, digital resources, and so much more. Even the physical spaces provide people with accessible spaces, whether it’s to work on homework, meet with peers, or curl up with a good book.

In celebration of National Library Week, this weekend’s recs are all about libraries.

If you have 2 minutes…and want to stay up-to-date on Library news and events, subscribe to our newsletter. More details here.

If you have 10 minutes…and want to read about a current problem many libraries across the country are experiencing, read this article about the increase in book bans.

Bonus: for more information on banned books, including the 10 most challenged books of 2023, check out the American Library Associations’ Banned & Challenged Books page.

If you have 15 minutes…and want to learn about how libraries are building and bettering communities, listen to this TED Talk. Not only are the books and academic resources that libraries provide vital, libraries also serve as accessible, safe spaces and community hubs for people to gather, create, and learn.

Bonus: if you want to see some of the things Falvey patrons had to say about what they loved about the Library, check out this “Curious Cat” blog post.

If you have 1 hour and 38 minutes…and want to watch a movie that makes you want to go to the library, watch Matilda, available in Falvey’s DVD Collection. I might be biased because this is one of my favorite movies, but this movie shows how important libraries can be for providing safe spaces and, of course, lots of books. (You can also stream the musical movie version of Matilda on Netflix).

Bonus: check out my “Libraries Go to Hollywood” blog post about the library in Matilda.

If you have 1 hour and 45 minutes…and want to watch a movie with a fun library twist, watch Ghostbusters (1984), available to stream for free through Sling TV.

If you have 5 hours…and like mystery novels, read Agatha Christie’s The Body in the Library, available at Falvey. It might be a private library, but it still counts.

Bonus: if you want to read another library-centric book, read Ruth Ozeki’s The Book of Form and Emptiness, available at Falvey.

If you want to celebrate Falvey Hall becoming a hub for Villanova’s academic resources and scholarship as the University’s Library, swing by our 75th Anniversary celebration on Monday, April 22 from 1-3 p.m. on the Falvey Hall Patio for some sweet treats and festivities. More details can be found here

Annie Stockmal is a second-year graduate student in the Communication Department and Graduate Assistant in Falvey Library.

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Curious Cat: Favorite Emoji or Gif

"Curious Cat Banner"

Happy Thursday, Wildcats! This week, the Curious Cat team asked library patrons, “What is your favorite emoji or gif to use with your friends?”

“The ‘You Got It Dude’ Michelle Tanner Gif”
-Lily Matranga ’25 CLAS


-Sadie Callahan ’25 COE


-Nikky Sherriff ’26 CON


Rebecca AmrickRebecca Amrick is a first-year graduate student in the English Department and a Graduate Assistant at Falvey Library.




Julia Wagner ’26 CLAS is a second-year Economics major and student worker at Falvey Library.





TBT: Celebrating Falvey Hall During National Library Week

We’re celebrating libraries this week!

National Library Week, April 7-13, 2024, celebrates “the contributions of libraries and librarians,” while promoting “library use and support.” The week-long celebration was first sponsored in 1958 by the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries (school, public, academic, and special) across the country.

While we love all libraries, we’re especially excited to celebrate Falvey Hall. Monday, April 22, 2024, marks the 75th anniversary of Falvey Hall as the home of Villanova University’s Library! The Villanova Community is cordially invited to join us on April 22 from 1-3 p.m. on the Falvey Hall Patio to celebrate the major milestone. We’ll offer a variety of delicious treats including cake, cookies, and candy for attendees to savor during this sweet moment (or until supplies last!) In honor of the Library’s namesake, we’ll also be raffling off a limited amount of custom Father Falvey socks.

You can help us commemorate this momentous occasion! Make sure to stop by to sign our big anniversary card and take a trip down memory lane by sharing your favorite Falvey memories! We want to know what part Falvey has played during your journey at Villanova. We hope to see you there. Cheers to 75 memorable years!

Take a peek at some throwback photos of Falvey Hall below. All images are courtesy of the Villanova Digital Library. More throwback memories of Falvey Hall will be featured on April 22.

Students in Falvey Memorial Library, 1979.

Dedication Of Villanova College Library, 1949.

Commencement, 1950.

Kallie Stahl ’17 MA is Communication and Marketing Specialist at Falvey Library.





Cat in the Stax: Author Spotlight: Carolyn Forché

As Falvey’s Cat in the Stax, Rebecca writes articles covering a broad range of topics, from academics to hobbies to random events. All the while highlighting how Falvey Library can enhance your Villanova experience!

Happy Wednesday, Wildcats! We’re back with another Author Spotlight. I know life may be getting hectic as we near the end of the semester, but remember to take some time to take a break and relax. This month’s featured writer is a poet, so you can simply take a few minutes to read one poem at a time.

April is National Poetry Month, a time to recognize poets and poetry’s contribution to literature and culture. Established by the Academy of American Poets in 1996, National Poetry Month is now one of the largest literary celebrations in the world. Millions of readers, students, teachers, librarians, and publishers participate every year by recognizing poets and reading poetry. Therefore, it seems fitting that this month’s Author Spotlight should feature poet Carolyn Forché, who the University had the honor of hosting as a speaker last week for the 2024 Villanova Literary Festival.

Photo courtesy of Blue Flower Arts

Carolyn Forché is recognized as a “poet of witness,” a term she herself coined. She has published five books of poetry, and much of the poems in these works address political and social issues. However, her first volume, Gathering the Tribes, is a deeply personal work. It was published when she was 24 years-old and recounts experiences from her young adult life. It won the 1975 Yale Series of Younger Poets Award. Her next release was The Country Between Us which won the Lamont Prize of the Academy of American Poets in 1981. Forché is also the author of The Angel of History, winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Award, and The Blue Hour, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Her most recent collection of poetry is called In the Lateness of the World and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. The poems in this collection meditate on migrations across oceans and borders but also between the past and present and life and death.

Forché has also written a memoir titled What You Have Heard is True, an account of her experiences in El Salvador during a time of political upheaval. Her visit to El Salvador sparked her work as a human rights activist, which can be seen in many of her early poems. Her anthology, Against Forgetting: Twentieth-Century Poetry of Witness, was praised by Nelson Mandela as “itself a blow against tyranny, against prejudice, against injustice.” For her humans rights work and efforts to preserve memory and culture, she was presented the Edita and Ira Morris Hiroshima Foundation for Peace and Culture Award in 1998 in Stockholm. 

Carolyn Forché is not only a poet but a translator as well. She has translated the works of Claribel Alegría, Robert Desnos, Lasse Söderberg, Fernando Valverde and Mahmoud Darwish. Her translations of these poets have received great critical acclaim.

For all you poetry lovers out there, Carolyn Forché’s work will make you think and feel as she ties the political and poetic together to create memorable, though-provoking, and heart-wrenching poems.

Rebecca AmrickRebecca Amrick is a first-year graduate student in the English Department and a Graduate Assistant at Falvey Library.


LibKey: Connecting the Library to Pubmed and more! 

Download LibKey Nomad for quick access to PDFs through Wikipedia, PubMed, and Google Scholar! 

By Nicole Daly and Margot Accettura

Do you use Wikipedia, Pubmed, or Google Scholar and struggle to know whether Falvey offers you access to the articles mentioned in their reference lists? Check out LibKey Nomad, the browser extension that connects your Villanova library account to various databases including Wikipedia, Pubmed, and Google Scholar!  

Instructions on downloading the browser extension:  

    • Go to  
    • Select Get LibKey Nomad Now Libkey Homepage
    • Choose your preferred browser. There’s no need to sign in or make a new account! Just make sure you choose Villanova University.

villanova connector for libkey

Once connected you will notice the Nomad button popup offering pdf access for articles linked from the library. If a PDF is not available, it will automatically send you to Falvey’s site to find access. It will even send you to the ILL link if it’s not in our holdings! 

wikipedia example


Happy searching! 

P.S. Don’t feel like adding the extension? LibKey also offers a website where you can easily copy an articles DOI into the search bar and quickly see if we have access to a pdf file. 

Go to:  

DOI search


P.P.S. Falvey also has access to BrowZine which makes journal browsing and reading easier! At you can browse Falvey provided journals by discipline. You can even keep your own bookshelf and article list.


Headshot of Nicole Daly, Social Science Librarian.



Nicole Daly is Communication and Sociology and Criminology Librarian at Falvey Library.



Margot Accettura



Margot Accettura is STEM Librarian at Falvey Library. 

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Last Modified: April 9, 2024

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