International Human Rights Day, Our Role (Updated)

It’s International Human Rights Day, and in the spirit of it, the Libraries can share news of its part in the opening of a new resource for the study of human rights.

Thanks in large part to the generous philanthropy of the Bridgeway Foundation in Houston, the Libraries established the Human Rights Documentation Initiative (HRDI) in 2008, its initial charge to preserve digitally the records of human rights abuses in the Rwandan Genocide.

Though HRDI’s mission has expanded in scope since that time – it has since established projects with the Free Burma Rangers and the Texas After Violence Project, and is currently negotiating new plans in Latin America – the project to collect, preserve and make accessible the Rwandan records has continued with itinerant staff constantly moving between Austin and Kigali, the site of the Kigali Memorial Centre where the fragile and sometimes anachronistic materials were being held.

Today, the project reaches a milestone with the inauguration of the Genocide Archive of Rwanda, a new and comprehensive repository for information related to the genocide. The physical archive housed on-site at the at the Kigali Genocide Memorial facility in Kigali will contain the original audiovisual, documentary and photographic materials in a secure, controlled environment. The digital archive will eventually contain copies of all audiovisual recordings and scans of all known documents and photographs will be accessible to researchers through a cross-referenced system that allows key word searches, first on-site and ultimately online. The Kigali Genocide Memorial will maintain network infrastructure, servers, and digitization and storage equipment for the digital archive, and a copy will also reside with the University of Texas Libraries.

Find more information about the project and the Libraries’ participation here.

You can see a featured interview video from the Archive here.

HRDI Archivist T-Kay Sangwand sat down for a reporter from National Public Radio’s Weekend Edition to talk about our role in the project. You can hear the interview and view some images from the Archive here.

Back to the Drawing Board…

We’re in the thick of it again with the looming end of the semester and the approaching zero-hour for projects and exams driving long nights and early mornings around the Libraries.

That also signals the return of whiteboard art, the spontaneous creative fits resulting from a combination of stress, anxiety, exhaustion and some small degree of relief that the end – be it affirmative or not – is nigh.

You can view a slide show of the finer examples of this phenomenon captured by our own Frank Meaker at the University’s Know website or at the Libraries Flickr page.

BONUS STACKS DISCOVERY:

A student “settles in for the long haul” on 5th floor of the PCL.

Kerr’s Name Here

He may have retired from the Libraries recently, but that hasn’t led Tim Kerr to slow his pace even a step. And since his wife Beth is still plugging away as Theater and Dance Librarian at the Fine Arts Library, we like to occasionally check in and see what he’s up to.

Turns out that in addition to continuing work on his art, Tim has also been working on a book about his art.

Your Name Here includes images of his activism art – paintings, sketches and multimedia endeavors – with handwritten commentary. It also comes with a cassette (yep) of some of Tim’s favorite musical creations.

The book is available (free preview) from Austin’s own Monofonus Press, just in time for the holidays.

Then and Now at Architecture and Planning

Throughout its 100-year history, the Architecture & Planning Library has been an integral part of the School of Architecture, providing services and collections for information and inspiration.  In tandem with the School, the library has grown and changed to meet the needs of its users—students, faculty, scholars, and the community.

A new exhibit – Then and Now: The Library of the School of Architecture – gives an overview of the library’s history as it developed from a faculty collection, to an established library in 1912, and then how it moved along with the School to its new locations.  Featured are interesting examples of how services and collections have expanded and stories about how people have contributed to their library and archive.

The exhibition – on view in Architecture & Planning Library Reading Room in Battle Hall through March, 2011 – is being held in conjunction with the School of Architecture’s centennial celebration 100: Traces & Trajectories exhibition.

Producing a centennial exhibit is a momentous occasion.  The challenge proves that some things never change: it reflects the efforts of an expert staff, dedicated students, the tireless hours of our volunteers, including co-curator Sarah Cleary.

All items on exhibit are from the vast collections of the Architecture and Planning Library and its Alexander Architectural Archive, as well as images courtesy of the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History.

Enjoy the School of Architecture Exhibits and Events Flickr slideshow.

Beth Dodd is Head Librarian for the Architecture & Planning Library at The University of Texas at Austin.

Surviving the Crunch

The days get shorter in more ways than you can imagine this time of the year, especially around the university campus as the final push of the semester evinces itself in the form of projects, papers and tests.

The Libraries does its part to help minimize the stress with a program meant to promote those resources and services that make the tasks at hand a tad less imposing.

This year’s Crunch Time outreach initiative highlighted library services and resources for students at The University of Texas at Austin between the hours of 11am-3pm on November 9, 10 &11. The program purpose is to promote the availability of in-person, drop-by assistance, subject librarian consultations, and the UT Libraries Ask a Librarian IM and email services.

During Crunch Time students are provided with Ask a Librarian contact cards attached to mini-Nestle Crunch bars, a series of time saving handouts and increased staffing at service points.  A brief survey to determine awareness of service options is made available from UT Libraries computer workstations across the campus, and students who participate are entered in a prize drawing.

First introduced by the Reference and Information Services department at UT’s Perry-Castaneda Library in 2008, Crunch Time has become an annual event and three additional UT Libraries locations participated this year, increasing its reach.

Statistics indicate that students took advantage of the program and more of them were connected with the information they wanted, at point of need, as a result. Of the three locations reporting, there were 536 queries, with a large number of those (199) occurring on Wednesday, November 10, at the Perry-Castañeda (105) and Fine Arts (94) Libraries. There were also 193 participants in the services web survey.

Jenifer Flaxbart is Head of Reference & Information Services for the University of Texas Libraries.

See more images from Crunch Time programs here.

World AIDS Day at Fine Arts

The Fine Arts Library will host an event in recognition of World AIDS Day, which occurs annually on December 1.

Guest speaker Akinyi Wadende, a graduate fellow in Education at Texas State University, will be joined by University of Texas Professor of Art History Moyo Okediji to present “Kwe Mosiko: HIV/AIDS, Art and Activism” in the Roberts Reading Room of the Fine Arts Library in the Doty Fine Arts Building beginning at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, December 1.

“Kwe Mosiko” is a concept among the ethnic Luo people of Kenya and Tanzania that celebrates beauty as a process of physical and emotional healing.

By examining the intersections of beauty and healing in contemporary American art, modern European art and indigenous African art, the presenters will draw on art and activism as creative resources to combat endemic and epidemic aspects of the HIV/AIDS infections. Video and multimedia components will accompany the presentation.

This event is free and open to the public.

Kaiju Invade Science Study Breaks

What is that rumbling!? Ah, it’s the final Science Study Break of 2010 here to crush you under its enormity.

Join us Wednesday, October 27, at 6 p.m. as Dr. Anne Silverman from the Department of Mechanical Engineering reveals the biomechanics of old school movie kaiju (King Kong, Godzilla), and their CGI mega monster progeny (Alien, Cloverfield, The Host).

The program takes place in Garrison Hall 0.102 with free snacks and compelling conversation, so come and be edu-tained.

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.