Replicating an Ancient Artifact: Exhibit Highlights 3D Printing in Action at the U

As part of the research for a current exhibit at the Lowe Art Museum, Kay Pacha: Reciprocity with the Natural World, curator Dr. Traci Ardren collaborated with Dr. William Pestle, a faculty member in the Department of Anthropology, and anthropology student Adam Sticca to gain insight on how ancient Andean people made and used the art that would help tell the story of their lives 2,000 years ago. By creating a 3D replica of one such piece, an ancient Peruvian whistling vessel, the researchers were able to carry out intensive study of the artifact’s qualities in ways that could not have been done with the fragile original.

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UM researchers used the Digital Media Lab‘s 3D printer to replicate an ancient artifact from the collection of the Lowe Art Museum.

The 3D print, created in Richter Library’s Digital Media Lab through CT scan images they provided to the lab, is now on view on the first floor of Richter Library.

“From an archaeological perspective, 3D printing capabilities allow for more intensive study of an artifact free from any destructive processes which would damage the original piece,” says Adam Sticca, a freshman in the Department of Anthropology. “In this specific case, the printed replica allowed us to more closely examine the complex structure inside the hollow base. The process took a fair amount of trial and error in order to properly print the object as a hollow structure. This printed replica serves as a shining illustration of the capabilities and applications of 3D printing technology now offered at the library.”

Kay Pacha: Reciprocity with the Natural World is on view at the Lowe Art Museum through July 2, 2016. To learn more about 3D printing, including how to use it for your projects, stop by the Digital Media Lab and sign up for a 3D printing consultation.



New Collection Celebrates and Preserves Urban Art in Florida

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A unique collection generously donated by Barbara Young in honor of her late husband, artist and teacher Robert Huff, is now available for research. The Robert Huff Collection includes a vast array of exhibit catalogs dating back from the 1980s to the present. Of interest are the sheer number and variety of exhibits that cropped up all around Miami, showcasing different artists with their own brand and identity that contributed something valuable and new to the art scene.

At the forefront of the collection is one name splayed across many of these exhibit catalogs – Robert Huff himself, a former art professor and chairman at Miami Dade College. His stunning, three-dimensional visual style was celebrated throughout the decades as a welcome presence in Miami as his use of bright colors intersects with architectural designs to create pieces that are unexpectedly harmonious in spite of their disparate elements. Segmenting lines and geometrical shapes present in many of his artworks are where these elements meet and interact to create layered images that paint an urban jungle for its audience to be lured into, inviting them to traverse deeper into the story he tried to tell in each piece.

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These catalogs serve as a celebration of his prominence and success here in Miami and will hopefully evoke the curiosity of future young artists and researchers who wish to delve deeper into his work and those of his contemporaries. We invite you all to come stop by and take a look through the exhibition catalogs to experience the way the urban art movement has shaped Miami’s cultural scene as a whole.

Capturing Florida’s local art scene is one of our key collecting areas here in Special Collections as we feel it has something unique and culturally significant to offer current and future generations. We are striving to document as much of it as possible before historical materials are lost or disappear into the ether (as so many websites do), so materials such as our newly acquired Robert Huff Collection have become crucial to our initiative to preserve Florida’s modern history with the same eclectic flair that we experience in our day-to-day lives living here in this energetic and artistically vibrant city.



Objects in the Archive: Now on Display

objectsArchive_FINAL-withBlurb_webby Sarah Block, Library Communications

The exhibition features materials that highlight how the physical characteristics of objects can provide insightful clues about the past and inform the present.

Curated by Meiyolet Méndez, interim chair of the Cuban Heritage Collection, and Dr. Martin Tsang, UM Libraries CLIR Postdoctoral Fellow in History and Area Studies, Objects in the Archive includes three-dimensional objects related to education, industry, and religion in Cuba from the Collection and outside materials. They span commodities and marketing materials from the tobacco industry, Republic-era educational memorabilia, creative works such as artist’s books from Cuba’s Vigía collective, and a rich variety of religious objects.

Tsang, a former CHC Graduate Fellow, culled religious ornaments and sculpture, many from the Lydia Cabrera Papers, that document influences of Afro-Cuban religion on the island and largely informed his own doctoral work.

“As an anthropologist I’m very interested in these material objects that remain and the inspiration, symbolism, and value that is given to and contained in these materials.” In his ethnographic fieldwork Tsang, who is also an initiated Lukumí priest, has also studied Afro-Cuban religion in both Cuba and on our doorstep through interviews and objects including religious icons and Afro-Atlantic beaded art.

“In some cases,” he explains, “objects have their own lives. A sculpture, such as that of a deity, can be as meaningful in a person’s life far beyond the concept of an inanimate object, taking on its own biography.”

One such object, a cement figure with cowrie shell features honoring the deity Elegua, is featured in the exhibition courtesy of Biscayne National Park, where it was originally found and is part of a larger religious use study that Dr. Tsang has conducted there. “The materials used and the way it’s created offer insights about origins of time and place, and broader cultural patterns and mobility.”

Objects in the Archive is on view through August 2016.





Working on a Group Project?

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Working on a group project?

Our large-screen monitors are available so you don’t have to crowd around one laptop. 

The 46-inch monitors are located on the first floor of Richter Library and compatible with most laptops, tablets, and even your smartphone. 

Additional adapters are available for checkout at the Circulation Desk. 

If you need any help, you can always ask at the Information and Research Assistance Desk. Try it today!



Looking for Quiet Study Space?

24-7_banner2-quiet_1194x328The Richter Library is open 24/7 prior to and during exams, from April 19 to May 4. Additionally, UML provides access to study space during the day and evenings in its libraries across the Coral Gables and Rosenstiel campuses. Visit each library’s page for hours and additional information. During the spring semester, Richter Library is also piloting a new Stress-Less Program, designed to help provide opportunities for creativity and relaxation.

CORAL GABLES CAMPUS

Richter Library
1300 Memorial Drive
Coral Gables FL 33146

  • Main floors and stacks (floors 4-7 and 9) open 24/7 from April 19 – May 4
  • The 3rd Floor Conference Room and Information Literacy Lab from April 19 – May 4, 5 p.m. to 7 a.m. and all day throughout the weekend
  • Special Collections (8th floor) and Cuban Heritage Collection (2nd floor) on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Paul Buisson Architecture Library
223 Dickinson Drive
Coral Gables FL 33146

Judi Prokop Newman Information Resource Center
School of Business Administration, University of Miami
Coral Gables, Florida 33146

Marta and Austin Weeks Music Library
5501 San Amaro Drive
Coral Gables, FL 33146

MARINE/ROSENSTIEL CAMPUS

Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science Library
4600 Rickenbacker Causeway
Miami, FL 33149

We hope that our around-the-clock library access will provide the flexibility in spaces and services you need to conquer exams. Learn more about the Stress-Less Program, created by Library Research Scholar Leah Colucci and presented with the Herbert Wellness Center and UM Professor Scott L. Rogers, Lecturer in Law and Director, Mindfulness in Law Program.



“Stress-Less” at Richter from April 19 to May 4

24-7_stressLess-blogHeader_1230x500_v1“Stress-Less” during long periods of study prior to exams!
The Stress-Less Program offers opportunities for you to relax and reboot your brain, especially during reading days and finals, when Richter Library is open 24/7. The program includes:

Creativity and Game Breaks
BrainSpa, 1st Floor, Richter Library

  • coloring books
  • chalk drawing
  • puzzles

Relaxation Opportunities
Richter Library

  • chair massages (in the breezeway)
    Tuesday, April 26: 9 p.m. – Midnight
    Sunday, May 1: 9 p.m. – Midnight
  • pet therapy (on the 1st floor, under the stairwell)
    Thursday, April 28: 12 p.m. – 3 p.m.
    Friday, April 29: 12 p.m. – 3 p.m.
    Monday, May 2: 12 p.m. – 3 p.m.

Quiet Study Space (in libraries on the Coral Gables and RSMAS campuses)

and…surprise snack and coffee breaks!

The Stress-Less Program is a project developed by Leah Colucci ’17, a Library Research Scholar (2015-2016) majoring in Neuroscience and Marine Science, in partnership with the Herbert Wellness Center and UM Professor Scott L. Rogers, Lecturer in Law and Director, Mindfulness in Law Program.



Pop Culture Series: National Library Week

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By Lauren Fralinger, Learning & Research Services

When was the last time you were in the library here at UM? This morning? This afternoon, for a class? Or were you planning to spend a couple hours there tonight, catching up on homework? Perhaps you’re even sitting in one of the University’s libraries now, reading this article from your laptop.

Whatever your major, you’ve likely spent countless hours over the course of your college career in one of the University of Miami’s libraries, checking out books, doing homework and research, or just studying for your classes. From the books they provide to the staff that run them, libraries are a critical part of the academic journey.

This month, from April 10-16, is National Library Week, an opportunity to recognize and celebrate libraries, their staff, and all they do to help their communities learn and grow.

Founded in 1958 with the goal of encouraging people to unplug the radio, turn off the television, and pick up a book, National Library Week hoped to motivate people to make use of the library and all of its resources. In the 1950s, the library’s resources primarily meant books, magazines, and spaces for programs. Though books, magazines, and events are still critical to the services that libraries provide, technology has vitally changed the way we interact with and utilize libraries.

The theme of this year’s National Library Week is “Libraries Transform.” In the more than fifty years since its inception, libraries have undergone massive changes to adapt to new technologies and new needs. Gone are the days when libraries were mere repositories for books; in today’s world, libraries not only host information in books and journals, they are becoming interactive learning spaces that support a wide variety of needs.

Transformation is underway in the libraries here at UM as well. Over the past year librarians and staff at UM Libraries, together with their campus partners, have been planning for the future Learning Commons on the first floor of Richter Library. The Learning Commons will make key educational services centrally and conveniently available to the entire UM community. Students are encouraged to try out the different spaces, services, and technologies in the Visioning Studio for the Future Learning Commons. There are a number of resources now available:

  • The Writing Center and Academic Resource Center are offering services in the library’s new Consultation Hub, providing students with help on every phase of their research, from finding articles to polishing off their papers.
  • If it all becomes a bit too much, and someone needs a break from all the studying, the library is currently building a Brain Spa for students to visit and relax, filling it with puzzles, games, and chalkboard cubes for doodling.
  • More of these kinds of changes are on the way for Fall 2016, as the Math Lab, Academic Technologies and IT plan to move in and provide even more centralized support for students in Richter.

In addition to everything that Richter provides, there are five other libraries at the University of Miami with doors open to any student who wishes to use them. The Judi Prokop Newman Information Resource Center, University of Miami Law Library, Paul Buisson Architecture Library, Marta and Austin Weeks Music Library, and Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science Library are all equipped to support students with world-class resources and specialized assistance for business, law, architecture, music, and marine science students.

The next time you visit one of the University of Miami’s libraries, be sure to talk to librarians and staff. Remember – we’re here to help! We hope to make the library your home away from home.

Want to know more about what’s up at the UM Libraries? Check out the links below!



Dr. Alejandro Portes Launches Latest Work at CHC

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by Meiyolet Méndez and Sarah Block

On Wednesday, March 30, the Cuban Heritage Collection hosted the North American launch of the book The State and the Grassroots: Immigrant Transnational Organizations in Four Continents. The book, which explores immigration topics through the lens of sociology and public health, was co-edited by Alejandro Portes, University of Miami Professor of Sociology and Law. The event was co-presented with the Miami Institute for the Americas and UM’s Department of Sociology.

A panel of experts, including David Abraham (University of Miami Professor of Law), Jorge Dominguez (Harvard University Academy for International and Area Studies Chair), and Felicia Knaul (University of Miami Professor and Director of the Miami Institute for the Americas), examined Dr. Portes’ work. President Julio Frenk delivered the closing remarks.

_NN25772Portes described his inspiration for the book as “the way immigrants organize to both defend themselves and their identities. They promote their well-being in the receiving countries as well as protagonism in the regions and countries from which they came.”

One key finding of his work is that in many cases immigration as a cyclical process, in which people move back and forth between home and receiving countries, is not a “zero-sum game.” “People are very much attached to the culture and language that they came from, and such attachments are not inimical to successful cultural and political incorporation in the receiving country,” he said.

In the closing remarks, President Julio Frenk, who earned his doctorate in sociology from the University of Michigan, said the book allowed him to revisit his scholarly roots. “I enjoyed reading both the insights and the arcane language of my colleagues in the social sciences,” he said. He also noted the event marked his first book launch since becoming president of the University of Miami. “These events greatly contribute to the intellectual vigor of our institution.”

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Professor William Walker Tells Tales of ‘On-the-Road’ Genealogical Research

by Sarah Block, Library Communications

Questions of ancestry are a known source of debate at family dinners; in some cases those questions still linger beyond the meal. As a table is cleared, chairs pushed in, and everyone heads home, some find that, out of these questions, a new kind of appetite takes form.

UM Professor William Walker, former dean of UM Libraries, can relate to this feeling. He has spent the past seven years engaged in genealogical investigation that began in just such a way.

Walker discussed the challenges and rewards of his work in the March 15 presentation, “Hop into the Jalopy: Tales of ‘On-the-Road’ Genealogical Research.” Using his own work as an example, Walker shed light on the wide variety of resources available in retracing one’s family history. In addition to making use of online information, Walker is a strong advocate for stepping away from the computer and taking to the road.

Growing up in Western Pennsylvania, Walker was raised with the belief that many of his ancestors, some who settled in the area, came from England. Their surname was Chick.

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Professor William Walker’s genealogical work has led him to cemeteries and courthouses, small-town historical societies and public libraries, and the villages and streets where early nineteenth-century settlers lived.

“It was a point of pride for my mother,” Walker said. “When I would ask her about our background, she would say ‘Well we’re English, Welsh, some German – [and as if to say ‘in case you missed it’] did I say English?’”  This version of his ancestry, long informing familial traditions and in some ways his own identity, was called into question, however, when a great-aunt brought up one night that the family’s actual name was shortened from “Kovalchick.” “I immediately started to wonder, is this true? Did the Chicks exist? That’s when I started digging.”

As he built the first rungs of his family tree on Ancestry.com, Walker found the answer was yes – he was a Chick, and the Chicks lived for decades in the south of England. That discovery then led to new questions.

“What you want to gain in doing genealogy is a story,” Walker explained in his presentation at the Otto G. Richter library. “You want to understand – beyond names and dates – why they moved and what their lives were like in these new places.” Uncovering this level of detail in his ancestry would ultimately require deeper research across libraries and historical resources far and wide. In the process, he retraced the lives of Jane McCullough and Harriet Bogle, two of his great-great-grandmothers, who settled in regions of Ohio and Pennsylvania during the late 1800s.

Bogle, from his maternal side, lived most of her life in Dubois, PA, a coal-mining and lumber town twenty miles from where Walker grew up. “My mother had no recollection of her; I had never heard of her.” So when he found her obituary in the town’s historical society, he was amazed by the level of detail recounting her life. “Her parents came over from Yorkshire, England, and were weavers. She ran a truck wagon, then a small store, a series of hotels. She continued running her businesses up until the time she died. Remarkably, she had acquired quite a small fortune.”

Some information came in shorter strands, requiring patience as well as persistence. Locating property records in one Ohio courthouse, for instance, meant standing in line for hours behind gas and oil reps in the quest for fracking contracts. That was after walking a cemetery three times before finally coming across the standalone grave of McCullough, his paternal great-great grandmother. “I have no photograph of her, so in a way this was the only memory of her I had. Her name, and these two interlocking hands carved on top of the tombstone.”

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Walker shared early records he’s found retracing the lives of two great-great grandmothers in “Hop into the Jalopy” at Richter Library.

Wanting to know more about her life ultimately took him even further across the country. In the Family History Library, in Salt Lake City, Utah, he found maps and newsletters from around the time McCullough was alive. He found her 80-acre plot of land in Harrison County, Ohio, that Jane and Robert Walker cleared and farmed. “I really started to gain a sense of connectedness while I was there,” he said.

Walker explained that the Family History Library, which is run by the Church of the Latter-Day Saints, is the strongest resource of genealogical records for the United States and abroad. The Church also operates an online ancestry resource known as FamilySearch.com; it along with Ancestry.com, partners with the U.S. National Archives to help preserve and make available documents such as census and naturalization records.

Finding records on the other side of the pond, however, can be challenging, especially in regards to ancestors of Ireland, where records for many areas were lost due to years of civil unrest and the burning of the Public Records Office in 1922. Still, in addition to visiting there, digging through records offices, knocking on doors and talking to people, he’s found the internet resource findmypast.com particularly helpful for international research. “People are finding ways to patch together records in very interesting ways. My favorite is that in Ireland during the 1800s you had to register your dog, and you had to provide more than your name. So these registries for dog tags have become extremely valuable in lieu of census data.”

And yet the path to some answers have, in a sense, been with him all along. It was through DNA testing, which has gained in popularity in recent years, that he learned Harriet Bogle’s husband, Robert Wallace Bogle, died in the Snake River panning for gold.  “DNA testing is very useful for people doing genealogy because not only does it give you a breakdown by percentile of your heritage, it also matches you with relatives.” After getting in touch with a second cousin he’d never met – who knew many details about Harriet – he was then able to fill in a number of gaps about her life.

The data also revealed lineage in Scandinavia, Greece, and Italy, regions to which Walker never considered as his heritage. “This really gives you a different view of who you are.”

For UM students and employees interested in genealogy, the Libraries provide free access to Ancestry Library Edition. There, users can start their own family trees and find a number of other genealogical tools.

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“This really gives you a different view of who you are,” Walker said.

Photos by Andrew Innerarity.