White Doubles Up with Hamilton Award

Hamilton grand prize winner, "Scripting Jesus" by L. Michael White

The Hamilton Book Author Awards wrapped its incredible fifteenth annual awards ceremony last Wednesday, and Dr. L. Michael White became the first two-time winner of the $10,000 grand prize.

White’s book Scripting Jesus: The Gospels in Rewrite (Harper Collins) is a theoretical work on the contextualization of the Bible to its era and authors, and serves as a worthy companion to his earlier From Jesus to Christianity: How Four Generations of Visionaries & Storytellers Created the New Testament and Christian Faith (Harper Collins) which garnered the award in 2006.

Runners up included Richard Graham (Feeding the City: From Street Market to Liberal Reform in Salvador, Brazil, 1780-1860), David Hillis (Principles of Life), Inga Markovits (Justice in Luritz: Experiencing Socialist Law in East Germany) and Karl Miller (Segregating Sound: Inventing Folk and Pop Music in the Age of Jim Crow).  J. Patrick Olivelle received the Career Research Excellence Award, while Steven Dietz took home the award for Creative Research. Barbara McArthur and George Benedict were honored with the Best Research Paper Award.

The Hamilton prize is sponsored by the University Co-op.

Normally, the subject of books alone is enough for us to spill a few words on the virtual page, but in the case of this year’s presentation, we also had a connection to the proceedings in the form of assistant engineering librarian Larayne Dallas, who happened to serve on the selection committee.

Space as Music

Experimental musician and composer Ellen Fullman brings her Long String Instrument to the Architecture & Planning Library in historic Battle Hall on Thursday (10/20) at 8:30pm to premiere “Tracings,” her newest work and one that used the building as its inspiration.

Fullman began developing the Long String – which has a sound that conjures an ambient/orchestral hybrid  – in the 1980’s in her Brooklyn studio, and in the thirty years hence has taken it to locations across the country, including for a performance at the Seaholm Power Plant in March of last year.

The performance is part of the Music in Architecture / Architecture in Music Symposium hosted by the Center for American Architecture and Design, the College of Fine Arts and the Sarah and Ernest Butler School of Music, and features Fullman both solo and with the Austin New Music Coop.

Joining Fullman are NMC musicians Brent Fariss (contrabass), Nick Hennies (percussion), Andrew Stoltz (overtone guitar designed by Arnold Dreyblatt) and Travis Weller (playing his custom string instrument “The Owl“).

The performance is free and open to the public. More info here, or RSVP on Facebook.

HRDI Shares Best Practices

From a HRDI Rwanda trip.

(Cross-posted at the HRDI blog.)

In September, UT Libraries Human Rights Documentation Initiative representatives Christian Kelleher and T-Kay Sangwand traveled to Columbia University to participate in an advisory group meeting for the Center for Research Libraries (CRL) MacArthur Foundation funded project, Human Rights Electronic Evidence Study.  The Human Rights Electronic Evidence Study aims to understand the human rights documentation landscape – technologies, documentation creators and end users – and to identify tools and practices for improving documentation’s uses for advocacy and scholarship.

In addition to Kelleher and Sangwand, the advisory group consisted of librarians and archivists from Columbia University, Duke University and human rights organization, WITNESS, as well as practicing lawyers and professors from the University of Texas School of Law. During this day-long meeting, the group discussed how human rights documentation is used from the point of creation by an organization/activist to how it ends up in an archive for educational purposes and a courtroom for legal purposes. Based on their experience of establishing digital preservation partnerships with organizations that create human right documentation, Kelleher and Sangwand shared some of the challenges that can prevent such documentation from ever arriving to the archive (namely, trust and ownership disputes) as well as the HRDI’s approach to overcoming this challenge – the use of the post custodial archival model that allows organizations to maintain physical and intellectual ownership of their materials while depositing digital copies at UT for long-term preservation. Through presentations by legal experts (including the Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice  Co-Director, Dan Brinks) on how human rights documentation may be used in U.S. and international courts, the HRDI was proud to learn that its metadata and preservation standards meet and even surpass the general recommended criteria for documentation authentication in a court of law.

The meeting’s discussion on the creation, preservation, and use of human rights documentation will be synthesized with the study’s findings in CRL’s final report due out in late 2011/early 2012.

T-Kay Sangwand is the Human Rights Archivist for the University of Texas Libraries Human Rights Documentation Initiative.

Up Close and Persona

Instruction Services GRA Anna Fidgeon is featured in a video interview by the Daily Texan examining online personas and privacy on the Internet.

The takeaway? The web isn’t private, so be smart when you’re online.

The Texan interview, however, is just another feather in her onscreen cap. Anna will also be seen starring as a research scientist in an upcoming video ad campaign in support of academics at the university to air on the Longhorn Network.

Grasping at Strawmen

New Hampshire ILL: The sole survivor?

Most library supporters are willing to have a rational discussion about the viability of library services at a time when there are increasing budgetary constraints and amidst the changing nature of libraries in the digital age. But then you have the case of New Hampshire Rep. Steven Vaillancourt, who believes that the effectiveness of his state’s inter-library loan program indicates that it is too well-funded by the taxpayers of his state.

Apparently even when confronted with the fact that the program was run with federal monies and was only composed of four vans traversing the state, this was Vaillancourt’s response:

 He’d be happier to wait longer and save money by reducing the number of vans, (Vaillancourt) said.

“The state does not need a gold-plated service,” he said.

Reasoned debate should be, and for the most part is, the currency of discourse, but occasionally you get a partisan crusader who is either unwilling to recognize personal fallibility, or has otherwise created a controversy out of whole cloth for the purpose of political brinksmanship. In this case, it seems Vaillancourt has stumbled into both categories equally.

For a more complete takedown of this utter nonsense, the Annoyed Librarian weighs in.

Ransom Center Nabs Laureate

J. M. Coetzee signs the authors' door of the Ransom Center during a visit in May 2010. Photo by Pete Smith. Image courtesy of Harry Ransom Center.

One has to wonder how they do it.

The Harry Ransom Center has just announced a major addition to their stellar collection of contemporary writers, and yet another Nobel laureate, no less.

The archive of UT alumnus J.M. Coetzee is now part of the Ransom Center’s vast holdings of original manuscripts and source materials from major modern works of literature. The archive includes materials from all of Coetzee’s works, including his two Man Booker award-winning novels, Life & Times of Michael K (1983) and Disgrace (1999).

The South African Coetzee has a fifty-year history with the university, earning his Ph.D. in English, linguistics and Germanic languages in 1969. He’s kept close ties with UT, teaching at the Michener Center for Writers in 1995, and most recently, visiting campus last year to give a lecture as part of the Graduate School’s 1910 Society Lecture Series, which celebrated the 100th anniversary of the school.

Monkey Business at SSB

APES! with Claud Bramblett

Great apes! The October installment of Science Study Break features Professor Emeritus Claud Bramblett of Anthropology dissecting scenes from Project Nim and Planet of the Apes movies to see how they measure up to the actual biology and social life of apes.

Bramblett has authored a corpus on primates, including the book Patterns of Primate Behavior.

The program takes place in Welch Hall, Room 1.308, at the corner of 24th & Speedway, on the campus of The University of Texas at Austin.

Pop culture and the academy collide as Science Study Break features relevant faculty and experts from the University of Texas at Austin discussing the reality and fantasy portrayed as fact in science-themed television and movies. Science Study Break is hosted by the University of Texas Libraries and supported by the University Federal Credit Union.

Pssst…. Wanna hear something?

Architecture & Planning Library

You know you’re doing something right when you get unsolicited praise.

Such is the case with Architecture alumnus Charles “Bud” Franck, who recently jumped at an opportunity presented to him by Tribeza magazine to muse on his favorite Austin haunt for their “Our Little Secret” column.

Franck’s secret? The Architecture & Planning Library in historic Battle Hall, which turns 100 this year.

The centennial celebration of the building – occurring November 11 – offers those who wish to get in on the secret a chance to share in Franck’s experience by joining in the public celebration of the “40 Acres” mainstay that is taking place in the Library.

Click here for more information.

Art in Architecture

More Than Architecture

The Fine Arts Library is participating in AIA Austin’s month-long austin x design program to “celebrate design in both the built and natural environments and demonstrate the ways that design can shape and improve daily life.”

From October 2 – 30, members of the Austin architecture and design community will display their creations alongside the permanent art collection of the Fine Arts Library (FAL) in the exhibit “More Than Architecture.”

An opening reception will be held Friday, October 7, from 5-8 p.m. at the Fine Arts Library, (DFA 3.200).

Artists participating in the show include:

Items in the exhibit include sculpture (large and small), house model, photographs, furniture, glass, paintings, and decorative pieces, with 40 works from over 20 designers and artists.

It’s Not Easy Being Green

Digital renderings of the Home Research Lab at the Pecan Street Project.

Environmentally, that is. Fortunately, the university has faculty like Matt Fajkus to solve complex problems so that being green will be easier in the future.

The University of Texas Libraries second installment of Research + Pizza features Fajkus, who is Director of the School of Architecture’s state-of-the-art Facade Thermal Lab. He’ll talk about sustainable architectural design strategies, focusing on his research into building envelopes and efficient facade systems.

Fajkus’s research informed his part in the collaborative design of the Home Research Lab, built as part of the Pecan Street Smart Grid experiment to integrate scientific research into the sustainable living community at the Mueller Development.

You can catch Research + Pizza with Matt Fajkus on Wednesday, Oct. 5 at noon in the Perry-Castañeda Library.

Free Pizza (while it lasts) generously provided by program supporter Austin’s Pizza.