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.



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!



“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.



Class Project Breathes Life into Historical Documents

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Stereoscopic card showing black men with wheelbarrows and shovels with caption, “Negroes at work near Cristobal, Panama.” Slave Documents Collection, University of Miami Special Collections

In her own academic career, English professor and PhD candidate Allison Harris has spent a significant amount of time in archives, using records dating back to the historical periods she’s studying to support research and to breathe life into her writing. Taking her African-American Literature students to the archives for a project focused on the era of slavery, however, was an idea actually inspired in a cemetery, miles away from the archives.

“I was walking there with a friend and we were thinking about the lives of the people buried there and the legal and social constructions of personhood beyond death,” Harris explains. It was in the midst of gravestones, many inscribed with only a name and a range of dates, that she thought about how the briefest details of a person’s life can evoke wonder about a long ago experience. “Together we brainstormed ways that students could use creative writing to engage with these constructions of personhood.”

After the students enrolled in Harris’s course visited UM Special Collections’ Slave Documents Collection in the fall 2015 semester, they created stories based on real individuals from history referenced in letters by plantation owners, bills of sale, and other legal and personal documents preserved from the pre-Civil War era. The eight short stories, together known as the Slave Narrative project, are told from the perspective of slaves documented in the records.

“Part of the goal of the assignment was to make the documents come to life through plot and conflict. But more importantly, they were to give their characters a rich and vibrant interiority that explored the emotional and spiritual limitations and silences of these archives,” Harris says.

Visit the Slave Narrative Project

The Slave Narrative project, now permanently preserved and available to the public in UM Libraries Scholarly Repository, features the following short stories:

The Example
by Nathaniel Bradley
English Literature major (2018) from Aurora, Colorado

Her Taste of Freedom
by Orlandra Dickens
Sociology and Criminology major (December 2016) from Wilson, North Carolina

The Hill, Named after some White Man
by O’Shane Elliot
Political Science major (Spring 2016) from St. Petersburg, Florida

The Match
by Marcus Hines
Computer Science major (2017) from Los Angeles, California

Betsey Simons: Freedom at What Cost?
by Anthony Maristany
Neuroscience major (May 2017) from Miami, Florida

Earth and Ashes
by Michele Mobley
General Studies major (2017) from Wilmington, Delaware

A Narrative of the Torments and Unlikely Freedom of a Child Slave
by Hanna Taylor
Undecided major (2019) from San Rafael, California

Nameless People, Keep Trekking
by Brandi Webster
Sociology major (2017) from Naranja, Florida

To learn more about the Slave Documents Collection, visit Special Collections in person or online at library.miami.edu/specialcollections.



A Long Time Ago, in a Galaxy Far, Far Away…

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By Lauren Fralinger, Learning & Research Services

In 1977, there was nothing quite like it. A fantasy story with the scale of an epic history, the overtones of a war story told through old news reels and touches of a Western from its saloon brawls and quick-drawing characters.

Star Wars planet Alderaan. User: Yesuitus2001 / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA-3.0

The opening lines of “A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away,” put early audiences in mind of a fairy tale’s promise of “once upon a time”—and Star Wars indeed had all of these fairy tale elements as well.

Set in space and amid a series of exotic worlds and creatures, Star Wars tied together themes and characters that were familiar to audiences, but set in a strikingly complex, futuristic setting in a time when science fiction movies were not unheard of, but rare.

The story of the tyrannical Galactic Empire at war with the upstart Rebellion has not only continued to survive but also has evolved. The original is at the top of the list of highest grossing movies ever, and it has inspired a host other movies with similar characters, settings, themes, and ideas.

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Star Wars: Kenobi by John Jackson Miller is one of the more recent literary spin-offs to the series.

The enormous success of the original Star Wars led to sequels continuing to chronicle the adventures of the Rebellion’s heroes as they overthrew the Empire and restored the Republic. Followed in 1980 by The Empire Strikes Back and 1983 by Return of the Jedi, the second and third movies seemed to complete the adventures of the original three heroes—Princess Leia, Luke Skywalker, and Han Solo. Fans demanded more, and an expanded universe of books and graphic novels were released detailing the heroes’ further adventures in the galaxy far, far away.

After 1983, the juggernaut that was Star Wars slowed, but never stopped. Rumors of prequels percolated for years, sparked by the Episode V preceding the title of The Empire Strikes Back. In 1999, those rumors became reality, and a prequel trilogy made its way to theaters, telling the story of Darth Vader’s fall to the Dark Side.

Though the prequels were fraught with criticism, their release sparked off a renaissance in Star Wars, bringing in new fans and spurring the creation of new merchandise and stories, ensuring that another generation would grow up familiar with Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, lightsabers, and the Force.

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Hot air balloon in Mexico built to resemble Star Wars’ infamous villain. Tomas Castelazo / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA-3.0

That renaissance is still continuing. On December 16 of this year, Star Wars will once again hit theaters around the world. Star Wars: The Force Awakens will be the first of a new series of sequels, picking up after the end of the original trilogy. Though old heroes such as Luke, Leia, and Han will be returning, new heroes will be introduced, and the saga of Star Wars will continue to grow, thrive, and sweep us off to a galaxy far, far away. Until then, be sure to check out some of UM Libraries’ films and books based on the Star Wars franchise.

Films

Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace

Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones

Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope

Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back

Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi

 

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Non-Fiction Books

The Science of Star Wars: An Astrophysicist’s Independent Examination of Space Travel, Aliens, Planets, and Robots as Portrayed in the Star Wars Films and Books by Jeanne Cavelos

The Gospel According to Star Wars: Faith, Hope, and the Force by John McDowell

Finding the Force of the Star Wars Franchise: Fans, Merchandise, and Critics by Matthew Wilhelm Kapell and John Shelton Lawrence

Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination by Ed Rodley

How Star Wars Conquered the Universe: The Past, Present, and Future of a Multibillion Dollar Franchise by Chris Taylor

 

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Fiction Books

Kenobi by John Jackson Miller

Heir to the Jedi by Kevin Hearne

Star Wars: Scoundrels by Timothy Zahn



Save the Date: Upcoming Events at UM Libraries

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The University of Miami Libraries are hosting and co-presenting several events this fall and in the coming year. Please mark your calendars and join us for what promises to be a series of stimulating talks and presentations.

September 24, 2015 | Book Traces

9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. | Otto G. Richter Library
Join in the search for unique library books! The UM Libraries are hosting an event for readers and book enthusiasts in the community to help locate some of the many old books with original reader markings—from pencilled notes to hand drawn maps to sketches in the margins—that are housed at Richter Library. The customizations, known as marginalia, are the focus of a national library initiative started at the University of Virginia to preserve information about unique copies of library books in the wake of wide-scale digitization. In addition to hosting an exciting search for marginalia in UM Libraries collections with assistance provided by librarians, the event will feature the following presentations:

Book Traces and the Technology of Memory
Andrew Stauffer, Founder of Book Traces, University of Virginia
11:30 a.m., 3rd Floor Conference Room

A Delicate Balance: How Functionality, Artifactual Evidence, and Resource Allocation Affect Preservation Decision-making
Kara McClurken, Principal Investigator on the Book Traces grant, University of Virginia
4 p.m., 3rd Floor Conference Room

 

November 19, 2015 | Quince Sellos Cubanos Reception

6:30 p.m. | Roberto C. Goizueta Pavilion, Otto G. Richter Library
Join us for a reception and conversation with artist María Martínez-Cañas highlighting her exhibition, a portfolio of 15 gelatin silver prints now on view at the library along with the original Cuban stamps that inspired her work. Exploring themes of history, memory, and identity, the limited-edition series was donated to the Cuban Heritage Collection by Alan Gordich in 2014. The exhibition will remain on view through December 2015.
 

January 14, 2016 | Arva Moore Parks Presents George Merrick, Son of the South Wind

6:30 p.m. | Roberto C. Goizueta Pavilion, Otto G. Richter Library
As UM kicks off the 90th anniversary celebrations in 2016, Miami historian and University trustee Arva Moore Parks will present her latest book on Coral Gables’ founder and UM visionary George Merrick. Parks’ presentation at the library, co-sponsored by Books & Books, is in conjunction with the official opening of The Pan American University: The Original Spirit of the U Lives On, an exhibition of historical materials from the Libraries’ unique and distinctive collections reflecting the University’s enduring connection to Latin America and the Caribbean.

 

Featured events are free and open to the public. For more information or to RSVP, please contact richterevents@miami.edu or call 305-284-4026.

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UM Libraries to Host Hunt for “Hidden Treasures” in Richter Library Stacks

UML Book Tracesby Sarah Block, Library Communications

UM Special Collections Librarian Jay Sylvestre believes that every book, as a record of stories from the past, is unique. The old, seemingly forgotten texts he unearthed in a recent search of the Richter Library Stack Tower are markedly one-of-a-kind, adorned with notes, illustrations, and even physical objects belonging to readers past. Now piled on his desk on the 8th floor, the stack of books, some that are long out of print, will soon come to light again. Their unique markings, known as marginalia, are the target of Book Traces, a nationwide crowdsourcing project started at the University of Virginia (UVA) soon touching down in Miami.

The project aims to preserve information about unique copies of library books, providing a website in which libraries and their users nationwide can upload examples of marginalia ranging from penciled notes about the work to hand drawn maps and sketches inspired by the text. One of Sylvestre’s findings from Richter Library, Jack London’s Tales of the Fish Patrol, contains the symmetrical stain of pressed flowers between two pages. “It’s a little bit like a treasure hunt,” he says. “Because you find these traces of the past and suddenly it’s not just a book you’re looking at, but a window into someone else’s life from another time period. It’s fascinating.”

Now hoping to foster public engagement on these unique library books, Sylvestre is organizing UM Libraries’ first annual Book Traces event on September 24, inviting all book enthusiasts in the community to explore and discover unique books in the stacks and share them on the Book Traces website. A number of groups from UM’s College of Arts and Sciences, including English, classics, and musicology classes, are participating in the event, and Sylvestre hopes to attract the participation of individual students, faculty, and community members joining in the hunt as well, as he’s confident that many more exciting discoveries lie ahead.

“There are many books that were donated during the early years of the University with very distinctive marginalia left by their original owners,” he says. Although books from before 1800 have likely been moved into the Special Collections department, where Sylvestre works, there are many distinctive books—with unique marginalia—from the past two centuries that are still in circulation in the library’s general collections and housed in the Stack Tower, he explains.

THE SPIRIT MESSENGER

Marginalia in the form of a photograph captured for the Book Traces website in 2014. The photo was found in a copy of the nineteenth-century journal The Spirit Messenger, housed at Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Book Traces focuses chiefly on books from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries that are little used because of their age, and yet not distinctive enough at this point to be housed in special collections. “With many books from this time period being made available in a digital format, people are engaging less with the very interesting copies that exist on library shelves,” Sylvestre says. The Book Traces stated mission is to engage the question of the future of the print record in the wake of wide-scale digitization.

Sylvestre explains the project is also about preserving the history of reading, and readers. He comments, “Books are tools, so the way people used books one hundred years ago gives us insight into the life they led during that historical period. The books have anthropological value.”

The Libraries welcomes readers and book enthusiasts throughout the community to join in the search for unique books at Richter Library by participating in its first annual Book Traces event, which will take place September 24 from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Participants can come at any point throughout the day to explore the stacks floors for marginalia, and will be provided with instruction and assistance by UM Librarians as well as the opportunity to submit their discoveries to the Book Traces database.

The event will also include a presentation by the project’s founder, Andrew Stauffer, director of NINES at UVA, on digitization and the future of nineteenth-century print, at 11:30 a.m. in Richter Library’s 3rd Floor Conference Room. Kara McClurken, director of preservation services at UVA and a principal investigator on the grant that funds Book Traces, will close the event at 4 p.m. in the 3rd Floor Conference Room with a presentation on libraries and print preservation decision-making, discussing the delicate balance of functionality, artifactual evidence, and resource allocation.

Additional information on the Book Traces mission and examples of marginalia can be found on the Book Traces website. More on the UM Libraries Book Traces event will be available in the coming weeks on the Libraries’ homepage. This event is free and open to the public.

RSVP by September 17 to richterevents@miami.edu or 305-284-4026.

GRAY’S SCHOOL AND FIELD BOOK OF BOTANY

The historic pastime of pressing flowers comes to light in a copy of Gray’s School And Field Book of Botany (1870) at Mount Holyoke College Library containing leaves pressed between its pages. The marginalia was posted to Book Traces in 2014.



Now On View at Richter Library: Natural Cuba

Natural Cuba

An exhibition highlighting the island’s vibrant flora and fauna and their historical depictions, from iconic botanical illustrations to stunning wildlife publications to the beautifully colored specimens of the polymita picta, Cuba’s native tree snail. A series of historical photos, books, and other materials preserved by the Cuban Heritage Collection are now on display through Fall 2015 at the Roberto C. Goizueta Pavilion at the Otto G. Richter Library.



Now On View: Quince Sellos Cubanos

Quince Sellos Cubanos

An exhibition highlighting iconic scenes and symbols from Cuba’s past, reimagined by internationally renowned Cuban artist María Martínez-Cañas. A limited-edition portfolio of gelatin silver prints is on view alongside the artist’s thirty-year collection of original Cuban stamps which inspired the work. The portfolio was donated to the Cuban Heritage Collection in 2015 by Alan Gordich. It is on display on the second floor of the Otto G. Richter Library.



Libraries and Presidents: From UM to DC

by Jason Sylvestre and Sarah Block

quote-square-Benet2_600x600When Dr. Jay Pearson, UM’s second president, left office in 1962, the University was bustling with a steady surge of students and faculty, new programs and schools, and the construction of many new buildings that he’d pushed for over the course of his tenure. Pearson’s parting achievement, arguably his biggest, was the construction of the Otto G. Richter Library.

The building’s dedication drew hundreds to Brockway Hall, the auditorium upon which the stack tower had just been built, so crowning the space with eight floors of books, which, while before were housed in four temporary facilities throughout the campus, could now be accessed from one building with bookveyors transporting them easily and quickly between floors. A state-of-the-art cataloging system would speed up the process of new books reaching the hands of students, while group and independent study areas provided much-needed academically centered space outside the classroom.

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Archie McNeal, first director of libraries, and Jay F. W. Pearson, second president of the University of Miami, surrounded by books, 1953.

But Pearson it seems knew that the building’s importance was even greater than the sum of its parts—the modern features, or added study space, or the growing collections themselves. “This is the most significant day in the history of our university’s academic growth,” he said in his speech, describing not just a building but a scholarly foundation with a library that would shape the future of the whole campus; something his predecessor President Ashe cleared the way for, and all of its future presidents would be able to build on.

The research university that President Frenk now leads just 50 years later, following so many important milestones through the tenures of Presidents Stanford, Foote, and Shalala, attests to the truth in his statement.

Looking back many years earlier it comes with little surprise that a library, as a place dedicated to the preservation, collection, and access to knowledge, could have such an impact. The Library of Congress, for instance, at the heart of our nation’s capital, is very much a part of the national history it so steadfastly preserves. It is the go-to library for government officials dating back to the time of Thomas Jefferson, who also donated to it his entire personal collection (after the building was nearly destroyed during the War of 1812). Much later, the library even enlightened arguably the most famous national scandal, its checkout history from the White House helping Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein investigate Watergate, leading to the eventual resignation of President Richard Nixon. One of the most famous scenes in cinematic history, in All the President’s Men, depicts the two reporters famously looking for clues in a pile of books during their visit.

Staircase inside of Richter Library, circa 1962.

Staircase inside of Richter Library, circa 1962.

In National Treasure: Book of Secrets the library is likened to a web of secret passages leading to a universal book of knowledge, something that could only be metaphorically true—but a significant metaphor. For many, a library is characterized as a place of excitement, mystery, and above all, possibility.

Our UM Libraries are connected closely to our history as well because of unique and distinctive collections dedicated to documenting the records of local and surrounding communities, which today draw researchers from around the world. One such collection, the UM Presidential Papers—including records from all of the presidents while in office—mirrors the practice of many U.S. presidents who have made their papers public, and even built entire libraries for them following term.

President Roosevelt, a major proponent in formalizing the establishment of presidential libraries, dedicated his library in 1941. His speech describes the necessary foundation, of hope, on which all libraries stand. “To bring together the records of the past and to house them in buildings where they will be preserved for the use of men and women in the future, a Nation must believe in three things. It must believe in the past. It must believe in the future. It must, above all, believe in the capacity of its own people so to learn from the past that they can gain in judgement in creating their own future.”

We at UM Libraries welcome with excitement this new era of our university’s history. Be sure to visit the University Archives to learn more about past presidents and the development of UM.

(left) Student at a computer inside Richter Library, 1985. (right) Students in the Richter Information Commons, 2014.

(left) Student at a computer inside Richter Library, 1985. (right) Students in the Richter Information Commons, 2014.