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Littman E-Library of Jewish Civilization Trial

By Jutta Seibert

Explore the ensemble of Jewish studies books published in the Littman Library of Jewish Civilization (LLJC) series. The books published in this series cover a range of subject areas including history, religious studies, philosophy, literature, and cultural studies including classical and modern works. Online access to LLJC is available on trial basis until Nov. 22 through the Databases A-Z list on the Library’s website.


The series was established in 1965 by Louis Littman in memory of his father with the intent to explore, explain, and perpetuate Jewish heritage. Louis Littman described his motivation for the project and the challenges involved in publishing high-quality Jewish studies books in English in a posthumously published article in the journal of Jewish Historical Studies.

Littman, Louis. “The Littman Library of Jewish Civilization.” Jewish Historical Studies 29 (1982): 311-25. http://www.jstor.org/stable/29779823.

Founder and editors of the series initially focused on publishing translations of seminal Jewish works written in Hebrew as expressed on the dust jacket of the first book in the series: “The aim of the Littman Library of Jewish Civilization is to present to the English-speaking public a selection of some of the finest products of the Jewish religious and literary genius.” The first volume published in 1965 was the poetry collection Hebrew Poems from Spain, selected and translated by David Goldstein. Most of the works published in LLJC in the last decades were written in English. Among the recently added titles are Hasidism Beyond Modernity, Cities of Splendour in the Shaping of Sephardi History, and Final Judgment and the Dead in Medieval Jewish Thought.

Today, LLJC books can be found on various online platforms, such as JSTOR, Liverpool University Press, and ACLS Humanities E-Book. The current trial gives the Villanova community access to a subset of 50 titles on the Liverpool University Press e-book platform. Part of the collection is also available in print. Contact us if you have questions or if you would like to recommend this series for the permanent collection.


Jutta Seibert is Director of Research Services & Scholarly Engagement at Falvey Memorial Library.

 

 



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Trial access to Bloomsbury Fashion Central

By Jutta Seibert

Bloomsbury Fashion Central (BFC) is a platform that features a range of interdisciplinary research resources on dress and textile culture. Available through BFC are the Berg Fashion Library, the Fairchild Books Library, Bloomsbury Fashion Business Cases, and archives of fashion photography and video. Campus-wide access to BFC is available on trial basis until Oct. 23 through the Databases A-Z list on the Library’s website.

While BFC was clearly created with fashion professionals in mind, books in the Berg Fashion Library have a broad multi-disciplinary appeal and cover all aspects of dress and fashion worldwide. The Library’s collection already includes a small selection of print books from the Berg Fashion Library among them the Berg Companion to Fashion and The Dictionary of Fashion History.

Another noteworthy title in this award-winning library is a new edition of Peter McNeil’s collection of essays on fashion by a wide swath of critical thinkers among them Roland Barthes, Pierre Bourdieu, Fernand Braudel, Johan Huizinga, Georg Simmel, and Thorstein Veblen. Originally published as Fashion: Critical and Primary Sources, the new edition is called Classic and Modern Writings on Fashion. Michelle Maskiell’s “Consuming Kashmir: Shawls and Empires, 1500–2000” is one of the essays in this collection that reveals the intricate connections between fashion and daily life, politics, and economics. Also included is the multi-volume Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion which explores all aspects of dress and fashion on a global level.

Take a closer look at some of the works featured in this collection and let us know what you think. Here are a few titles to get you started:

BFC also includes lesson plans and bibliographic subject guides on a range of topics such as fashion and art, the social psychology of dress, and fashion and gender contributed by subject experts. Each object has its own doi to facilitate content sharing and integration in the online classroom. Contact us if you have questions.


Jutta Seibert is Director of Research Services & Scholarly Engagement at Falvey Memorial Library.

 

 



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Trial access to the Routledge Encyclopedia of Modernism

By Jutta Seibert

Students and scholars interested in the modernist era will welcome the chance to take a closer look at The Routledge Encyclopedia of Modernism (REM) in the coming weeks. Trial access will be available until October 23 through the Databases A-Z list on the Library’s website.

REM distinguishes itself through global interdisciplinary coverage of its subject matter. The ideas of modernism were explored and embraced by artists, writers, and thinkers in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Well known schools and movements such as expressionism, social realism, dadaism, cubism, and Bauhaus emerged during the modernist era. Modernist thinking and ideas influenced architecture, dance, theater, film, literature, music, philosophy, and the visual arts.

The REM platform offers both keyword searching and browsing by subject, movement, and place. All articles are written by subject specialists and include recommended reading lists as well as cross-references to related resources. For example, the article about Russian Modernism proffers links to articles about representative Russian artists and works as well as to overview articles on Social Realism and Symbolism. While REM content is heavily weighted in favor of artists and movements in the visual arts and literature, there are some unexpected contributions, such as an article about Physical Culture, which traces today’s interest in physical fitness back to the modernist era.

Take the online tour to learn more about REM, and contact us if you would like to recommend REM for the permanent collection.


Jutta Seibert is Director of Research Services & Scholarly Engagement at Falvey Memorial Library.

 

 



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Missing the Book Shelves in Falvey? Give Virtual Browsing a Try!

Carl Spitzweg, Der Buchwurm,
ca. 1850, oil on canvas, 49.5×26.8 cm,
Museum Georg Schäfer.
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

By Jutta Seibert

This is a year like no other. The Villanova community grew to meet every new challenge. When the Library building closed in March, for example, we had to rely exclusively on electronic sources. The dedicated folks at Falvey brought back access to the print collection in July with contactless pickup. However, the book stacks need to remain closed for the foreseeable future.

We know many of you miss direct access to the shelves and the ability to browse their contents at your leisure. Scholars often wax nostalgic about shelf-browsing and fondly remember serendipitous discoveries made in the stacks. They encourage their students to do the same and gently nudge them by telling them where to start.

Shelf-browsing has unique qualities that are not easily defined. What is it that drives us to reach for an unknown book? Is it its title or the fact that we are familiar with its author? Is it the color or material of its binding? Is it its size or its condition?

Every spine along the shelves contains worlds and new knowledge.

It is easy to forget that shelf-browsing has its disadvantages too: books that are missing or checked out escape our notice unless we take note of the empty space on the shelf. These “missing” books are often the most influential or “popular” titles. But the biggest drawback to shelf-browsing is the absence of electronic books, which continue to grow in popularity.

Did you know that you can browse the Library’s collection virtually? Virtual shelf-browsing is in many ways a superior alternative to in person shelf-browsing. It is one of the most overlooked search features in today’s library catalogs. It may lack some of the meditative, relaxing aspects of getting lost in the stacks, but it certainly will lead to more serendipitous discoveries than a stroll in the stacks. Virtual shelf-browsing shows the complete collection: the virtual shelf presents digital records of electronic books and print books. Print books are represented regardless of whether they are checked out.

Learn How to Browse the Shelves Virtually! It is easy enough once you get the hang of it, and maybe you will even keep doing it in post-pandemic times.

Contact us if you have questions.

 


Jutta Seibert is Director of Research Services & Scholarly Engagement at Falvey Memorial Library.

 

 



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Commemorating the End of Slavery, Celebrating Juneteenth!

By Jutta Seibert

General Order No. 3, June 19, 1865
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

June 19, 1865 marks the end of slavery in Texas. On this day Major General Gordon Granger of the Union Army occupied Texas on behalf of the federal government and upon arrival on Galveston Island publicly read General Order No. 3 which began with this sentence: “The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free.”

While slaves in the Confederate states were theoretically freed on January 1, 1863 with President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, solely those in Union-occupied areas and those who fled to the North became de facto free. For most slaves in the South slavery ended only after the Union won and even then, close to six weeks passed before the news reached the outer fringes of the nation. June 19 is commemorated as the day on which the last slaves were freed despite the fact that slavery persisted in some pockets of the country until the Thirteenth Amendment took effect on December 18, 1865.

On the first anniversary of Granger’s reading of General Order No. 3 Texan freedmen began celebrating what was then called Jubilee Day. Early festivities included political rallies besides music and food. Celebrations waxed and waned over the years but the longest-running African American holiday continues to this day. June 19 or Juneteenth evolved over time into America’s second Independence Day. In 1980 Texas, befittingly, became the first state to adopt Juneteenth as a state-wide holiday. Other states followed suite and most states now recognize Juneteenth as a state holiday or ceremonial holiday. There are efforts underway to make Juneteenth a national holiday.

Commemorate Juneteenth by exploring African American history. We recommend the following collections:


Jutta Seibert is Director of Research Services & Scholarly Engagement at Falvey Memorial Library.

 

 



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Digital Scholarship at Its Finest: Letterpress Editions on the Rotunda Platform

By Jutta Seibert

Some of the largest book sets on the shelves of Falvey Memorial Library are letterpress editions of the papers of the nation’s founding fathers and other influential political figures. Their sheer size and the outsized scholarly effort that it takes to bring together in one place historical documents that are widely dispersed over hundreds of archives, libraries, and private collections are awe-inspiring.

Some of these editorial projects took decades to publish while others have yet to be completed. Among the latter are the papers of Thomas Jefferson. The planning for a comprehensive edition of Jefferson’s papers began in 1944 and the first of sixty originally projected volumes was published in 1950 by Princeton University Press. Over 50 volumes have been completed under the direction of five consecutive general editors at this point.

 

Many of these letterpress editions have been transformed into digital editions in recent years. Editions published by Rotunda, the electronic imprint of The University of Virginia Press, combine “the originality, intellectual rigor, and scholarly value of traditional peer-reviewed university press publishing with thoughtful technological innovation designed for scholars and students.”

For example, all Rotunda projects follow text encoding initiative (TEI) guidelines, thus opening up the individual and collective text corpora to text mining and text analysis projects. Over the years, Falvey Memorial Library acquired many of the Rotunda editions to facilitate new modes of scholarship. For example, scholars need no longer work with a corpus in isolation, but can now query all the Rotunda editions simultaneously.

The University of Virginia Press grants temporarily free access to all collections available through its Rotunda imprint in response to the COVID-19 crisis, which has closed many library buildings and made the letterpress print editions of presidential papers inaccessible. Collections that are only temporarily available are highlighted below.

Note the recently added collection of The Papers of Woodrow Wilson. Links to the collections owned by the Library can be found in the Library’s catalog. The Library’s Databases A-Z list includes a link to the American History Collection on the Rotunda platform.

American Founding Era

Antebellum, Civil War, and Reconstruction

American Century

  • New at Falvey: The Papers of Woodrow Wilson. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1966. 69 volumes.
  • Presidential Recordings Digital Edition.
    Features annotated transcripts of the Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon White House tapes.
    This collection is not part of the Falvey collection. Rotunda grants temporary access to the digital edition until June 30, 2020.

Jutta Seibert is Director of Research Services & Scholarly Engagement at Falvey Memorial Library.

 

 



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Primary Sources Set in Stone: SEG

By Jutta Seibert

Votive relief for the cure of a bad leg.
Marble. British Museum.
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum (SEG), now available online to the Villanova community, is a critical discovery tool for classicists working with ancient Greek inscriptions. The study of inscriptions, commonly known as epigraphy, goes back to the 16th century when travelers and explorers informally began to trace and collect ancient inscriptions. By the early 19th century with the publication of the first systematic collection of ancient Greek inscription, the Corpus Inscriptionum Graecarum by August Böckh, epigraphy had matured into an academic discipline.

The historical paper record overshadows inscriptions as primary sources in most areas of specialization outside the field of ancient history, but texts chiseled in stone, etched into metal surfaces, or scratched into clay tablets constitute a historical record for most cultures and time periods. These texts offer a self-conscious portray of events and people intended for posterity. Modern examples of inscriptions include the much-visited Vietnam Veterans and 9/11 memorials, which present a modern-day historical record for generations to come.

While inscriptions are often on the more “stuffy” side, the corpora of ancient inscriptions also include graffiti, which add layers of competing and occasionally irreverent public opinion to the “official” public record. The KILROY WAS HERE etching at the back of the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. is a wonderful example of piggyback messages on public monuments.

P.J. Rhodes’ essay on Epigraphy, published in the Oxford Handbook of Hellenic Studies (Barbara Graziosi, Phiroze Vasunia, and George Boys-Stones, eds.), offers a clear and succinct introduction to the subject matter.

Selected text corpora and meta sites in the field of ancient Greek epigraphy

     Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum / Brill
An annual survey of newly published ancient Greek inscriptions.

     Bulletin épigraphique published annually in issue 2 of the Revue des Études Grecques
An annual survey of newly published ancient Greek inscriptions.

     Claros: Concordance of Greek Inscriptions
A clearing house for new editions of Greek inscriptions.

     Searchable Greek Inscriptions / (The Packard Humanities Institute)
A clearing house for inscription captured in the major corpora.

     Corpus Inscriptionum Graecarum / August Böckh
First systematic collection of Greek inscriptions.

     Inscriptiones Graecae / Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities
Open access to volumes published since 2001. Older volumes published prior to 1923 can be found in the Internet Archive.

Recommended Reading List

Bodel, John P. Epigraphic Evidence: Ancient History from Inscriptions. London: Routledge, 2001.

Davies, John Kenyon, and J. J. Wilkes. Epigraphy and the Historical Sciences. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012.

McLean, B. Hudson. An Introduction to Greek Epigraphy of the Hellenistic and Roman Periods from Alexander the Great Down to the Reign of Constantine (323 B.C.-A.D. 337). Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2002.

Rhodes, P.J. “Epigraphy.” In The Oxford Handbook of Hellenic Studies, edited by Barbara Graziosi, Phiroze Vasunia, and George Boys-Stones. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.

Woodhead, A. G. The Study of Greek Inscriptions. 2nd ed. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1992.

 

Access to SEG is available via the Library’s Databases A-Z list and the catalog. Consult the SEG Search Tips if you are new to this resource or ask a librarian for assistance.

 


Jutta Seibert is Director of Research Services & Scholarly Engagement at Falvey Memorial Library.

 

 



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New Electronic Resources Explore China Through Western Eyes

By Jutta Seibert

In the past, faculty and students interested in Chinese history depended mostly on Falvey’s book collection for primary sources, unless their research budgets allowed for visits to archives and libraries elsewhere. Now, as a large part of the book collection is temporarily unavailable because of campus access restrictions, the small subset of electronic books with primary sources related to Chinese history, while most welcome, leaves much to be desired.

New digital archives with a focus on relations between China and the West are heaven-sent additions to the Falvey collections. Each collection offers unique Western representations of Chinese life, politics, and culture covering 200 years of economic, cultural, and political relations. Digital surrogates of selected documents, artwork, maps, illustrations, and objects were sourced from originals held by a wide range of libraries, archives, museums, and historical societies. Interested scholars can search all Adam Matthew Digital collections simultaneously via the AM Explorer platform or focus on individual collections that match their distinctive research interests.

China: Trade, Politics & Culture, 1793-1980 features selected primary sources on China’s relationship with the West dating back to the first English embassy and covering most of the 20th century. The collection contains digital copies of official papers, personal accounts, letters, books, and periodicals as well as reproductions of illustrations, maps, artwork, and photographs that depict Chinese people, places, customs, and events. Events covered include the opium wars and the Boxer War, the Nanjing Massacre, the Communist Revolution, and Nixon’s visit to China as seen by British observers. Originals are held at the School of Oriental and African Studies and the British Library among others. Two essays by recognized scholars put the collection in its historical context while short biographies and search directories further facilitate discovery.

China, America and the Pacific: Trade & Cultural Exchange complements China: Trade, Politics & Culture with primary sources from US and Canadian libraries, museums, and historical societies. The collection explores trade and cultural exchange between China, America, and the Pacific region from the 18th to the early 20th century. Primary sources featured in the collection include digital copies of rare books and newspapers, personal accounts, diaries, letters, shipping papers, travel posters, historic maps, artwork, and images of material objects. The sources largely reflect North American viewpoints of China and the Pacific region. Essays such as Behind a Cup of Tea: The Commodities of America’s China Trade, 1784-1839 (John Rogers Haddad, Penn State Harrisburg) contextualize the contents of the collection. Short merchant biographies, a glossary, and subject index offer research assistance.

China: Culture and Society is based exclusively on pamphlets from the Charles W. Wason Collection on East Asia at Cornell University Library. This unique collection of pamphlets on Chinese culture and society spans close to 200 years with the earliest pamphlets dating back to the mid-18th century. Also included are tourist guides, lecture notes, magazine articles, diaries, letters, and annual reports mostly written by Western diplomats, missionaries, merchants, scholars, and travelers. The collection was started by Charles W. Wason, a Cleveland based engineer, who developed a deep interest in China after a visit there. While some pamphlets, particularly those published in Britain and the US, can be easily found online in places like the Internet Archive, other pamphlets, especially those published in China, are rare and not available anywhere else in digital format. Contents range from English translations of Chinese poetry by Ezra Pound, to Sun Yat Sen’s “Kidnapped in London,” and tourist guides for Western visitors. Scholarly essays such as The Story of the Wason Pamphlet Collection (Liren Zheng, Cornell University) and a series of mini guides add historical context.

Scholars with an interest in China may also be keen to explore Foreign Office Files for China, 1919-1980, another Adam Matthew Digital collection with British government documents from The National Archives at Kew and Socialism on Film, 1918-1988, a streaming collection of documentaries, feature films, and newsreels archived at the British Film Institute, which includes films produced in China for distribution in the West.

Access to the collections is available via the Library’s Database A-Z list and its catalog.


Jutta Seibert is Director of Research Services & Scholarly Engagement at Falvey Memorial Library.

 

 



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US Labor History Up Close: The Archives of the Daily Worker, 1922-1968

By Jutta Seibert

Scholars interested in US labor history will be delighted to learn that the Villanova community now has access to the archives of The Daily Worker Online (1922-1968), the official mouthpiece of the Communist Party of the United States of America from 1924 to 1958. A short history of the paper is available on the website of the Tamiment Institute Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives (New York University), which houses the archives of The Daily Worker, including original photographs and cartoon drawings.

The Daily, as it was commonly referred to, chronicles US labor history from the perspectives of the American worker. Contributing authors include Lester Rodney, Sports Editor of The Daily, John L. Spivak, Richard Wright, and Woody Guthrie. Readers may also be interested in a related collection of internal FBI documents about The Daily Worker, which were digitized through the FOIA program.

Curious to learn more about The Daily Worker? Here are two journal articles that take a closer look at The Daily’s comics and sports coverage:

Fetter, Henry D. “The Party Line and the Color Line: The American Communist Party, the ‘Daily Worker’, and Jackie Robinson.” Journal of Sport History 28, no. 3 (2001): 375-402. www.jstor.org/stable/43610199.

Brunner, Edward. “Red Funnies: The New York Daily Worker’s ‘Popular Front’ Comics, 1936—1945.” American Periodicals 17, no. 2 (2007): 184-207. www.jstor.org/stable/20770985.

 

Access to the archive is available via the catalog or the Journal and Article Finder on the Library’s homepage.


Jutta Seibert is Director of Research Services & Scholarly Engagement at Falvey Memorial Library.

 

 



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Trial Access to FBIS Daily Reports, 1941-1974

By Jutta Seibert

The Foreign Broadcast Information Service Daily Reports, better known as FBIS Daily Reports, consist of English translations of selected foreign radio and television broadcasts, newspaper and magazine articles, and government statements. FBIS was a branch of the CIA with about 20 offices and a large cohort of independent contractors worldwide. The reports were distributed to US policymakers and security analysts to monitor foreign language news. Because of the public nature of the information that FBIS dealt with, its services are labelled open source intelligence.

Some libraries have chosen to share digitized copies of FBIS reports from their collections, although it is not clear whether this is legal, as the reports consist mostly of translations and transcriptions of copyrighted materials. The Villanova University community has partial access to FBIS reports for 1974–1996 through the Readex collection listed on the Library’s Databases A-Z list.

Expanded access to the complete collection (1941–1996) is now available on a trial basis until May 29. The expanded coverage opens the door to explore international reactions to the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the first moon walk, the building of the Berlin Wall, and the Bay of Pigs Invasion, among many other newsworthy events of the twentieth century.

Trial access available until May 29. Let us know if you recommend this collection for permanent access.

 


Jutta Seibert is Director of Research Services & Scholarly Engagement at Falvey Memorial Library.

 

 



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Last Modified: April 30, 2020