Quagliana Takes On Discovery and Access

Alisha Quagliana
Alisha Quagliana

Alisha Quagliana is the Discovery and Access Coordinator.  In this position she oversees and administers the access of electronic resources for the University of Texas Libraries, and provides leadership, day-to-day management, and strategic planning for management and discovery of all electronic resources at the University of Texas Libraries.

In Alisha’s previous positions with the University of Texas Libraries, she managed the access of electronic resources through the implementation and development of data management tools.  She also developed and maintained the metadata registry.

Alisha received her Master of Information Studies from the University of Texas at Austin, and her Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Montana.

Alisha Quagliana can be reached at a.quagliana@austin.utexas.edu,(512) 495-4660, PCL 2.312.

Performance Art and the Library as Conversation Space

Artist David Horvitz and FAL Head Librarian Laura Schwartz
Artist David Horvitz and FAL Head Librarian Laura Schwartz

The Fine Arts Library (FAL) is a spectacular space on campus. In the last several years, the Roberts Reading Room has been used for a plethora of visual and performing arts activities. Concerts, lectures, film screenings, exhibition opening receptions. But of late, the space has become even more activated as artists and playwrights seek out the space as an element of their creation. Both the setting and the physical objects are active partners in the artistic output.

This fall artist David Horvitz requested to have his seminar with the faculty and students in the Fine Arts Library. When asked why David wanted to have his seminar in the FAL he says, “I make a lot of artist books and multiples and ephemera. I’ve been doing this for years. And throughout the years I started using the site of the library for various projects, such as the Drugstore and Cigarette Beetle projects. And so there were two reasons to do the event in the library. One was specific to the fact that I just sent in a Cigarette Beetle to the library, so I could see how it arrived, and how it would be received and entered into the library’s collection. But also in general of my affinity towards libraries and books.

The faculty who invited him to campus, Kristin Lucas, was keen on the idea. “David interacts with systems of circulation and exchange in his art practice. How a system such as a library works and what David enters into circulation through a system are of equal importance to the understanding of his work. By situating David’s seminar in the Fine Arts Library, we intended to activate the library as a site for art. Ceremonializing the cataloging process of David’s donations was a way to visualize and consider the life of the work within this very social and accessible system of circulation that we are all familiar with using as a personal resource but that most of us have very little understanding of in terms of its procedures, complexity, and cultural value. It was also a way to show how David gives over a certain amount of control in the life of his artwork through the systems he engages, and that these systems take on a certain amount of responsibility in giving life to his work and potentially changing it over time.”

David is a performance artist who has an interest in mail art. His practice is participatory. He collaborates with other artists, librarians, as well as a web-based audience. He is interested in circulation systems such as those set up in libraries. “Taking advantage of diverse systems of circulation, he gathers and disperses images and objects through media such as the internet, the postal system, libraries, and airport lost and found services.

As we move deeper into the 21st century, people are finally recognizing that Libraries can be so much more than a place where books are housed or a place to study. Libraries have always been community centers. This notion is experiencing a Renaissance. Libraries are becoming active spaces that are sought out by community members for a variety of purposes.

So what is next for the Fine Arts Library? In the Spring, the FAL will be a venue for a play that is part of the Cohen New Works Festival. The play is about libraries. More on that from my next post.

Hamilton Winners at PCL

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Last fall, almost sixty beautiful, full-color book cover reproductions in poster form of titles nominated for the University Co-op’s annual Robert W. Hamilton Book Author Awards were put on display in the UFCU Student Learning Commons room at the Perry-Castañeda Library.  The posters were originally produced for presentation in folding frame screens at the awards presentation dinner, but through a promotional partnership with the Libraries, the nominees for the university’s highest literary award now have an annual home in the university’s flagship library.

The 2014 grand-prize winner, along with the 4 runner-up prize-winners, were announced Wednesday, October 15, and the Co-op has again provided the Libraries with posters of each of the nominated titles for display at PCL.

The exhibit serves as acknowledgement of the research, scholarly and creative accomplishments of the world-class faculty and staff of the university — many of whom are reliant on the collections, resources and services provided through the Libraries to support their notable contributions to a better understanding of the world.

The posters will be on display until the 2015 winners are announced next year.

Music Royalty from Fine Arts

The Best of Sir Douglas Quintet (1966). From the Fine Arts Library's HMRC.
The Best of Sir Douglas Quintet (1966). From the Fine Arts Library’s HMRC.

The Best of Sir Douglas Quintet is a classic album from an Austin transplant musician that came to the Libraries as part of the KUT Collection last year, when we received the beloved Austin radio station’s back catalog of 4000 LPs and 60,000 CDs.

Formed by Doug Sahm and his friend Augie Meyers in 1965 at the suggestion of record producer Huey Meaux, the Sir Douglas Quintet presented a Texas-regional rock and roots sound that belied their rather British-sounding name — a name chosen specifically to connect the band to the ongoing British Invasion period of music occurring at the time. Their unique Tex-Mex style rock was influenced by the cross-cultural currents of south and central Texas, where the sounds and traditions of Mexico, Germany, Acadian-Creole and the African-American south commingled.

The band actually garnered a top-20 hit with “She’s About a Mover,” but broke up after members were arrested on marijuana possession charges at the Corpus Christi airport. The arrest led Sahm to move to San Francisco, but Sir Douglas Quintet eventually re-formed with a new lineup, releasing the successful single and album Mendocino in 1969.

Bob Dylan was even a fan of the band, once stating, “Look, for me right now there are three groups: Butterfield, The Byrds and the Sir Douglas Quintet.”

Once added to the Fine Arts Library the music in the KUT Collection will more than double the library’s existing audio recordings, with the LPs being added to this Historical Music Recordings Collection.

Please help to make this collection available for research, study and enjoyment by supporting the Fine Arts Library.

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Pre-Mod Pre-Med: Typhus, Bloodletting, and Sasparilla

Francisco Bravo’s "Opera Medicinalia" (1570).
Francisco Bravo’s “Opera Medicinalia” (1570).

With the Dell Medical School’s inaugural class set to arrive in 2016, its only fitting that one of our most innovative archiving projects should get a notable addition from the field of medicine.

The international partners of the digital Primeros Libros project have incorporated the first medical text printed in the New World, Francisco Bravo’s Opera Medicinalia.

Woodcut engraving of Smilax aspera from "Opera Medicinalia."
Woodcut engraving of Smilax aspera from “Opera Medicinalia.”

The volume — which was printed in 1570, thirty short years after the arrival of the first printing press in the western hemisphere — is composed of four treatises, covering medical topics such as epidemiology (an entire treatise on “tabardete,” thought to be an antecedent of typhus), archaic treatments (bloodletting) and medicinal herbs (the last chapter focuses on Smilax aspera or Sasparilla root, which was proliferate in Mexico and North America), and features remarkable engravings, including a rudimentary diagram of the human circulatory system.

Engraving of the venal system from "Opera Medicinalia."
Engraving of the venal system from “Opera Medicinalia.”

The digital iteration of Opera Medicinalia resulted from the only known copy of the original printing still in existence, housed in La Biblioteca José María Lafragua at the Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla in Mexico.

The Primeros Libros project — of which the University of Texas Libraries and Benson Latin American Collection are founding members — seeks to digitize the first books published in the Americas, focusing initially on works published in Mexico in the 16th century. Each participating member library is entitled to a full set of the digitized exemplars of all partners as part of the project’s innovative preservation and access strategy. The project inventory currently includes over 349 exemplars — contributed by 21 partner institutions — of the 136 titles that are known to have survived to the present day.

The National Institutes of Health’s blog at the U. S. National Library of Medicine has more information on the history and importance of this volume.

A View Through the Student Lens

Student photo exhibit poster final w-bleeds

Dark clouds gathered in the late afternoon sky in anticipation of the last storm of the summer. Inside, a DJ set the needle down on the 45-rpm version of a Jorge Ben classic just as the rain began to fall. Flecked by the light of a disco ball on the circulation desk, a convivial crowd had gathered to chat, snack, and enjoy the fact that it was almost Friday. The occasion was Field Notes, the fifth annual LLILAS Benson student photography exhibit and competition, held in the Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection on the third Thursday in September.

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Photo by Ruijie Peng, LLILAS

Photographs from a summer of study, both abroad in Latin America and in Latina/o communities in the United States, hung in the Benson’s first-floor corridor, and visitors took in the images with interest and curiosity. The photos themselves expressed the range of experiences, viewpoints, and settings encountered by the student photographers: Ruijie Peng’s prize-winning photograph, taken in Ecuador, depicts Chinese and Ecuadoran workers standing in hard hats among rocky debris at the site of a hydroelectric construction project; the other prize winner, by Mariana Morante Aguirre, was snapped in Guadalajara, Mexico, outside a hostel along a railroad route used by Central American migrants and transient Mexican nationals alike.

In Mario Mercado’s photo, a trumpeter plays on a San Juan sidewalk in front of exuberant graffiti that invokes the instrument’s brassy sound. In a lovely image by Charles Wight, a lone boat floats on the Rio Negro near Manaus, Brazil. Our gaze turns skyward via the lens of Felipe Fernández Cruz, who photographed airplanes flying in formation against a clear blue sky above the Christ statue in Rio, the wings in identical posture to the outstretched arms of O Redentor. (A history student, Fernández went to Brazil to study how the twentieth-century state built air routes to colonize the interior.) A stunning black-and-white image by MFA film student Álvaro Torres Crespo shows two boys fishing from a pier under a cloudy sky at dusk in Puerto Jiménez, on Costa Rica’s southern Pacific Coast.

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Photo by Kaitlin Tasker, Department of Geography and the Environment

Some student researchers encountered roadblocks both expected and unexpected…

(Continued at the LLILAS blog.)

Quigley Heads Acquisition Services

The University of Texas Libraries announces Brian Quigley as Head Librarian, Acquisition Services, Collections and Technical Services.

Brian Quigley
Brian Quigley

The Libraries acquire materials in dozens of formats from across the globe in support of the research and teaching missions of the university. Acquisitions Services is charged with coordinating all activities related to the ordering and receipt of materials for library collections regardless of format and for providing financial reporting on those services. Using a variety of approval and selection plans, firm orders from subject bibliographers, and input from constituents across campus, the department manages the ingestion of new resources into the collection. As the department’s Head Librarian, Brian Quigley coordinates the unit’s activities with other library departments and with external content providers, publishers, and vendors.

Brian has a Master of Arts in Latin American Studies and an MLIS, both earned from the University of Texas at Austin. He brings 30 years of experience to his new position from the University of Texas’ Tarlton Law Library, where he was at various times the Acquisitions/Serials Librarian, Director for Bibliographic Services, Head of Systems and Technology, and Associate Director for Administration and Collection Services.

Reach Brian at: bquigley@austin.utexas.edu, (512) 495-4149, PCL 2.306.

Cofield Becomes Charter Metadata Coordinator

Melanie Cofield
Melanie Cofield

The University of Texas Libraries are pleased to announce the appointment of Melanie Cofield to the position of Metadata Coordinator.

As Metadata Coordinator, Melanie provides innovative leadership in planning, implementing, and assessing metadata practices for the University of Texas Libraries’ digital collections and services.  Proactively engaging with staff from various units within UT Libraries and also with faculty, staff, and students across campus, Melanie identifies metadata needs, prospective projects, and training opportunities.  She represents the UT Libraries’ Cataloging and Metadata Services department to the campus and wider metadata community, and facilitates policy development in support of digital curation and interoperability efforts.

Prior to joining UT Libraries, Melanie was the Digital Resources Librarian at the Tarlton Law Library, UT School of Law. She received her Master of Information Studies with a specialization in digital curation from the UT School of Information, and her academic library experience spans nearly two decades working in various roles including collection management, patron services, instructional and emerging technologies, digital asset management, and digital preservation. Melanie recently joined our staff on September 22, 2014.

Contact Melanie at: m.cofield@austin.utexas.edu, (512) 495-4355, PCL 2.330.

Benson Goes for Baroque

Iglesia de Santa María Tonantzintla, Puebla. Caroyln Brown.
Iglesia de Santa María Tonantzintla, Puebla. Caroyln Brown.

The extravagance of the Baroque period in Spanish America is currently on display in an exhibition at the Benson Latin American Collection.

Inside the Baroque illuminates the splendor and diversity of Mexican arts and letters in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and their enduring legacy. A selection of photographs by Carolyn Brown accompanies rare books and manuscripts from the Benson’s collections to present the Baroque period’s ornate style as it was manifested in the Spanish colonies of the Americas.

A complementary documentary film by Quin Mathews presents arresting views of Mexico’s baroque churches against a backdrop of life in modern-day Mexico. Mathews traveled with photographer Carolyn Brown in 2008, recording scenes of daily devotional and festive practice, and the film captures the centrality of local churches.

Wedding at Catedral de Zacatecas. Carolyn Brown.
Wedding at Catedral de Zacatecas. Carolyn Brown.

Originating in 16th century Italy as a European Catholic response to the austerity of the Protestant Reformation, the Baroque style found purchase in the art, architecture and music of the period, and made its way to the Western Hemisphere by the end of the 1600s.

Catedral de Zacatecas at dusk. Carolyn Brown.
Catedral de Zacatecas at dusk. Carolyn Brown.

What made the movement particularly unique as it was expressed in the Americas was the influence of indigenous populations, craftsmanship and resources on the decorative style of religious structures that were erected as monuments to Spanish colonial power in the New World.

The exhibition will be on display through January 31, 2015, in the Benson Second Floor Exhibition Gallery, and is free and open to the public. Check the Benson website for a complete listing of hours.

Concurrently on view in the Benson’s first floor gallery is the 5th Annual LLILAS Benson Student Photography Exhibition featuring photography by University of Texas at Austin graduate and undergraduate students highlighting their expansive research, fieldwork, and volunteer activities within Latin American and U.S. Latina/o communities during the previous year.

 

Distinguished Author Dinner Recap

Earlier this month, the Libraries hosted a Pulitzer Prize finalist for its third annual Distinguished Author Dinner.

Jacqueline Jones — who has earned accolades for her book A Dreadful Deceit: The Myth of Race from the Colonial Era to Obama’s America, — spent the evening before a rapt full house of University of Texas Libraries supporters discussing her ideas on race as a social construct.

“The effects of this fiction have been devastating throughout history,” Jones recently told The Daily Texan. “The idea here is that this myth or idea has been a very powerful one in justifying the exploitation of [people of] African descent and other people as well.”

The thought-provoking talk provided attendees with ample fodder for discussion after Jones exited the dais.

Jones is Walter Prescott Webb Chair in History and Ideas and Mastin Gentry White Professor of Southern History at the University of Texas at Austin. She’s also the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship and the Bancroft Prize for American History, among many other awards and distinctions. She’s author of Labor of Love, Labor of Sorrow (Basic Books, 1985) and Saving Savannah: The City and the Civil War (Vintage, 2009).

The Distinguished Author Dinner is an invitation-only event to acknowledge and thank major donors, advisory council members and friends for their support and interest in the Libraries.

In addition, it provides an opportunity to reinforce the Libraries role in teaching, learning and research, and to promote the outstanding research of world-class faculty on the campus of The University of Texas at Austin.

Past events have featured Hamilton Book Award winner for Scripting Jesus: The Gospels in Rewrite Dr. L. Michael White, and acclaimed author, library advocate and Texas favorite, Sarah Bird.

To become a Libraries donor and receive invitations to events like this one, please visit our online giving page.