News, announcements, updates, and happenings in the UVA Library

Bring the Library into your classroom

By Molly Minturn | Thu, 01/19/2023 - 14:46

Jacob Hopkins knew from a young age that he wanted to work with books and people, either in a bookstore or a library. “I think what I have always liked about libraries is that everyday practice of teaching and learning, as well as meeting people where they are,” he said.

Hopkins joined the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library as an Instruction Librarian in August, becoming the newest member of a vast network of teaching librarians at the University of Virginia Library serving UVA and the local community. In the past calendar year, UVA Library staff conducted nearly 650 instruction sessions, orientations, and tutorials with students, faculty, staff, and community members, introducing them to the Library and sharpening their critical thinking skills.

Support in the Classroom

The Library offers teaching support in myriad ways: UVA instructors can request a Library class to improve their students’ research and data management skills; request an instruction session from Special Collections, where students can get hands-on experience with archives that connect to their courses; request a class in video and audio production in the Robertson Media Center; or schedule a consultation for spatial technologies fieldwork from the Scholars’ Lab.

No matter what they are teaching, all librarians are driven to “establish the Library as a resource, as a place full of friendly people, and as a place where you can get answers,” said Chris Ruotolo, who leads a team of subject librarians in the arts and humanities and has worked at the Library for 25 years, starting when she herself was a graduate student. “The idea of getting librarians into the classroom, or better yet bringing students into library classrooms, has always been a priority.”

Many teaching librarians have earned subject-specific master’s or doctoral degrees before joining the Library, making them experts in their fields. Others, like Hopkins, held teaching fellowship positions while obtaining their Master of Library and Information Science degrees, learning how to create lesson plans and assess their own instruction as librarians. Hopkins and his Special Collections colleagues teach roughly 60 classes a semester, using items such as ancient clay tablets from the Mesopotamian Sumer Empire to explore the history of writing and printing, and a first edition copy of Phyllis Wheatley’s “Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral” for students studying anything from poetry to race and class in the Atlantic World.

“We try to meet the needs of whatever class is coming in,” he said. “I aim to design learning experiences that represent the true diversity of lived experiences throughout human history. And I hope that that inspires students to think about how their own lives and experiences are being archived.” Hopkins urges faculty to get their teaching requests in early in the semester. “Even if they’re not coming in for another two to three months, they’ll want to go ahead and get that on the calendar, which I appreciate deeply because that gives us more time to plan.”

Requesting a Library instruction session is simple: just fill out a “Request a Library Class” form. From there, subject liaisons will arrange instruction for individual classes. 

For a Special Collections session, fill out a Special Collections Class Visits and Instruction” form.

Below, check out an overview of the multiple teaching resources the Library offers.

Teaching & Learning Team

The Library’s Teaching & Learning team helps undergraduate students develop information literacy and research skills through carefully planned classes. (Take a look at the team’s tutorials, tips, and tricks about all the Library has to offer on the “How do I …” page.) The team also gives orientations on using UVA Library resources to local high school classes.

“We have a survey that we ask our instructors to give to their students beforehand that helps us gauge how much experience, if any, students have with the library,” said Cecelia Parks, an Undergraduate Student Success Librarian who gives instruction sessions to College Advising, Writing & Rhetoric, and Engagements courses in the College of Arts & Sciences. “That’s been extremely helpful for us in figuring out where students are coming from and making sure that this session feels really relevant.”

Parks and Meridith Wolnick, who directs the Library’s Teaching & Learning programs, co-taught a session for a 56-person, first-year writing class this past fall that Victor Luftig, the course’s professor, described as the best interaction with a library I have ever had in more than three decades of teaching.”

Luftig, an English professor, said the librarians’ amount of preparation and attention to students’ specific questions took the quality of the presentation to another level. “I think the Library, in its outward-facing capacities, is the purest expression of UVA’s commitment to its mission as a public institution,” he said in an email. “My students’ relation to the institution changed because of this session. One student could not get over the wealth of information that is available to him easily and without charge; he slapped both his hands on the desk in wonder and glee. My students’ attention was locked in for all 50 minutes.”

The Teaching & Learning team, which interacted with more than 5,000 people in the past academic year, also includes members of the Robertson Media Center, who offer classroom instruction sessions and consultations on audiovisual production; digital storytelling; 3D data processing and fabrication; equipment for innovation, design and production; and digital projects. The Robertson Media Center team has expertise in creative and cutting-edge technologies and works closely with faculty to design inclusive class sessions that build on students’ existing knowledge and skills.

To request an instruction session from the Teaching & Learning team, fill out the “Request a Library Class” form.

Research Data Services + Sciences Team

Overwhelmed by databases? Struggling to organize a massive amount of research? The Library’s Research Data Services + Sciences team can help. Led by Ricky Patterson, an astronomer by training, the team provides classroom support and outreach to all science disciplines at UVA.

The team’s subject liaisons, many of whom have graduate degrees in science disciplines, teach students best practices for data management — how to catalog, store, and preserve all data used in a research project so it can be easily accessed and understood in the future. They also instruct students in finding data sources — from basic keyword searches; to accessing articles in the many databases licensed by the Library; to lesser-known ways to access information, such as interlibrary loan and Libkey Nomad.

Finally, liaisons are available to meet with students who might be struggling with writing a thesis or presenting data or building a bibliography for the first time. “I always say that our liaisons create a safe space,” Patterson said. “If you’re under some deadline or you’re embarrassed because you don’t know the answer but it seems like everyone else does, come in and talk to a liaison one-on-one. It will be a safe space and it’s going to be okay.”

To request an instruction session from the Research Data Services + Sciences team, fill out the “Request a Library Class” form.

Arts & Humanities

Chris Ruotolo heads up a team of ten subject liaisons in the arts and humanities. These liaisons provide subject-specific instruction at all levels, but focus on providing more specialized classroom instruction to upper-level undergraduate and graduate classes.

“Our work tends to be as much about connecting students with specific sources — where to find resources on, say, modern Chinese history or on certain types of representation in media — as about helping them navigate the library. A lot of our preparation work involves making sure we know what is out there, and what are the best places to go. Many of these students are doing field work or community data-gathering, so our work also involves connecting students to resources beyond the library that can help them with their research.”

To request an instruction session from the Arts & Humanities team, fill out the “Request a Library Class” form.

Special Collections

For a recent ENWR class called “Monstrosity,” Jacob Hopkins led a Special Collections instruction session that invited students to examine vintage movie posters for “Dracula,” Arthur Conan Doyle’s “The Hound of the Baskervilles” in unique miniature book form, and a first edition of Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein.”

“These sorts of items got students thinking about the idea of monsters and what they represent, but this was also an opportunity to show the wide variety of items in Special Collections — everything from literature to ephemera,” Hopkins said. “These items contribute to their research and scholarship, and they start to really tell an interesting story, opening up all these new pathways for exploration.”

In addition to working with objects in Special Collections, students learn how to search the archives in Virgo (the Library’s main catalog), as well as in other discovery platforms, such as Archival Resources of the Virginias (ARVAS).

To request an instruction session from Special Collections, fill out the Special Collections Class Visits and Instruction” form.

Scholars’ Lab

The Scholars’ Lab is UVA Library’s community lab, specializing in the digital humanities, geographic information systems, mapping, scanning, and modeling of artifacts and historic architecture.

We regularly provide cutting-edge spatial technologies fieldwork, training, and research, partnering with UVA faculty and students and regional community members to tell stories about, discover, and preserve our history,” said Scholars’ Lab Managing Director Amanda Visconti in an email.

The Scholars’ Lab regularly offers short consultation sessions to everyone in the UVA community. With at least one term’s notice, Scholars’ Lab staff will consider collaborating with faculty on syllabus design or module teaching, as well as co-teaching courses.

To contact the Scholars’ Lab, write to

Research Tutorials

The Library offers in-depth tutorials to students, faculty, and staff to assist with specialized research projects and to provide individual instruction in the use of online databases and other library resources. To request a Research Tutorial, fill out a “Research Tutorial request” form.

Course Enrichment Grants

Course Enrichment Grants provide support to faculty who would like to boost their students’ abilities in seeking and using data, as well as to create new types of media-rich class assignments. Recipients receive a $2,500 award and dedicated support from experienced librarians, technologists, or other Library staff.

These grants are open to anyone holding a faculty appointment at UVA who is teaching a semester-long course (Fall, J-Term, Spring, or Summer).

The next application deadline is Feb. 17, 2023.


Expanding focus: New databases increase inclusivity

By Amber Reichert | Tue, 01/17/2023 - 12:14

Scholars have increasingly been moving toward a more inclusive historical narrative, recognizing the contributions of marginalized communities that have often been glossed over in prominent histories. The Library's Collections team is helping to create a more complete and accurate narrative by amplifying voices of Native people; people of color; people questioning prescribed gender roles; people with disabilities; and ethnic, cultural, and religious minorities — adding new resources not for the sake of diversity alone but as a way promoting lasting, systemic change.

A man holds a young girl in this illustrated poster. The background is red.
SNCC fundraising poster by silkscreen artist Earl Newman from the mid-'60s, in the SNCC Digital Gateway.

The Collections team has created a new inclusive collections guide featuring databases, journals, books, streaming video, and external resources for African American Studies, American Indian Studies, Asian and Pacific American Studies, Disability Studies, Gender and Sexuality, Latinx Studies, Jewish Studies, and more.

New databases in African American studies include Transcripts of the Malcolm X Assassination Trial, which sheds light on the assassination of the charismatic and controversial Muslim minister and civil rights leader; the SNCC Digital Gateway, examining the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee — the only national civil rights organization of the 1960s led by young people; and African Americans and Jim Crow: Repression and Protest, 1883-1922 — 1,000 fully searchable primary works providing critical insight into African American culture during Reconstruction and beyond.

Various Buddhist masters sit in a circle in this ink drawing. Some wear red hats.
A unique ink image, “Third Karmapa and Lineage Masters,” housed in the Rubin Museum of Art, from the Treasury of Lives database.

Other new inclusive databases include Gender: Identity and Social Change, which examines the history of gender and gender roles in the 19th century to the present; Treasury of Lives, with historical biographies of deceased scholars, masters, and leaders in traditional Himalayan and Inner Asian society and culture; and American Indians and the American West, 1809-1971, which contains documents related to the expulsion of Native peoples from their ancestral lands. Disability in the Modern World: History of a Social Movement, features primary sources about the roles that people with disabilities have played in all aspects of modern life, while the USC Shoah Foundation Visual History Archive is a fully streaming video collection of more than 55,000 interviews with survivors and other witnesses of the Holocaust and other genocides. Two other new online resources helping to increase global understanding are Policy Commons and Sabinet Collection. Policy Commons, the world’s largest database for public policy, allows scholars access to primary sources related to the most critical social issues and events of our time, and includes the ability to follow featured topics such as human rights, gender equality, and Indigenous peoples. Sabinet Collection offers the largest aggregation of African journals, news, and government information, helping to fill a gap identified by the Collections team in resources created by African scholars.

The databases are only a small sampling of the many online resources added over the past year that focus on issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion, as the Library continues its commitment to expand its collections with new voices and perspectives.

To peruse the full guide online, visit:

A poster for the African National Congress shows a sketch of 16 Black women mostly smiling. One is raising her arms, trying to free her wrists of handcuffs.
African National Congress “1984 Year of the Woman” poster, from the University of Melbourne Poster Collection, in “Gender: Identity and Social Change.”

This story originally appeared in the Library’s Annual Report for FY 2022-23. Download the full PDF to read more.

Library website offers new pathways to services

By Amber Reichert | Mon, 01/09/2023 - 16:15

Just before the winter break, the Library rolled out a refreshed version of its public website, Virgo, LibGuides, and other Library interfaces remain unaffected.

The update is the public manifestation of work that has been ongoing for many years — to design and test a better user experience for new and expert Library users alike. The site will continue to evolve in response to user testing and feedback, and we appreciate your input and patience as progress continues.

Why change?

The main goal of the new site is to provide better navigation and discoverability through improved information architecture. This means more usable menus, as well as better organization of key concepts. This change seeks to benefit expert users as well as folks who may not yet know what the Library can do for them.

Additionally, the rollout took place concurrently with a back-end software update to allow for more sustainable maintenance and support, eradicating some sticky legacy problems. Finally, the update allows us to take a big step toward consistency for setup and design — that consistency will be implemented in an ongoing manner through various Library interfaces in time.

Visitors may notice the presence of key service categories, which we hope will aid in exploration and discovery. Those service categories are:

“Search, borrow, request” provides basic information about engaging with Library resources, very similar to the information found on the old “Research” page.

What’s happening now?

Many minor issues are already on our radar, but we encourage you to submit feedback — positive or negative — through the site feedback form. We are actively monitoring feedback while testing and refining the new interfaces to provide an optimal experience for Library visitors.

Finally: Don’t forget that Ask a Librarian web chat is available to answer questions, large and small!

New UVA Library exhibition celebrates the Christmas spirit

By Molly Minturn | Tue, 12/20/2022 - 10:16

For I’ve grown a little leaner, grown a little colder
Grown a little sadder, grown a little older
And I need a little angel sitting on my shoulder
[We] need a little Christmas now

Exhibition poster reads “We Need a Little Christmas Now” and features vintage Christmas cards.
“We Need a Little Christmas Now” runs through mid-January 2023 in the Small Library’s First Floor Gallery.

The lyrics above were written nearly 60 years ago (for the Broadway musical “Mame”) but the words feel timely. After nearly three years of a global pandemic and a tragic semester on Grounds, the University of Virginia Library invites visitors to find a bit of joy in its new exhibition “We Need a Little Christmas Now,” on display in the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library’s First Floor Gallery through late January 2023.

“As we navigate times that are anything but normal, this showcase’s purpose is to revivify the holiday spirit,” said Research Archivist Ervin “EJ” Jordan, who co-curated the exhibition with Reference Librarian Regina Rush. “We Need a Little Christmas Now” features nearly 100 objects from Special Collections and private collections, organized by seven themes: “A Dickens of a Christmas”; “Cards & Carols”; “Santa Claus, the Spirit of Christmas”; “Food, Glorious Food!”; “Home for the Holidays”; “Have Yourself a Mini Little Christmas”; and “O Come All Ye Faithful.”

Jordan and Rush have worked together on numerous Library exhibitions. At the height of the pandemic in December 2020, they partnered (on Zoom) to produce an online exhibition of “Four Festive Seasons,” which explored the history of the four annual winter festivals with similar secular and religious origins: HanukkahWinter SolsticeChristmas, and Kwanzaa. Other exhibition collaborations include “Everyday People” and “Sisterhood: Cultural Portraits of African American Women.”

Having explored the full range of winter celebrations in 2020, the two self-described “Christmasphile” co-curators decided to focus on their favorite holiday for this exhibition, sharing some of their personal treasures interspersed with the Library’s holiday collection highlights. Featured objects in “We Need a Little Christmas Now” include a 15th-century French Book of Hours nativity scene, an 1843 first edition of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” and a Christmas card from Martin Luther King Jr. and his wife Coretta, along with UVA-specific items, such as an 1832 UVA student resolution for a two-week holiday.

“Regina and E.J. are longtime partners in exhibition curation,” said Curator of University Library Exhibitions Holly Robertson, who designed “We Need a Little Christmas Now.” “They have an incredible working relationship in these curatorial endeavors — E.J. mines our archives for spectacular finds in the least suspected collections; Regina has an amazing depth of knowledge of local/regional history and its genealogical connections. Well known by their colleagues and friends as eager and learned ambassadors of the Christmas spirit, Regina and E.J. have amazing personal collections of holiday cheer and history.”

“We Need a Little Christmas Now” is free and open to the public through Wednesday, Dec. 21, and then will take a break along with the rest of the Library until Jan. 2. In the meantime, we hope all who celebrate will enjoy a little Christmas of their own.

Take a look at some featured objects from the exhibition below.

A vintage menu, white background, green and red text.
This 1945 U.S. Navy Christmas Day menu, served to the U.S. Naval Shore Patrol’s fifth Naval District in Norfolk Virginia, included a smorgasbord of holiday cuisine featuring “Roast Tom Turkey, Cranberry Sauce, Sage Dinner Dressing, Mince Pie, Fruit Cake” and last but not least: cigarettes! (Photo by Holly Robertson)


A black-and white Christmas card with a photo of Martin Luther King Jr., his wife Coretta, and children Yolanda, Martin III, Dexter and Bernice.
A Christmas card from Martin Luther King Jr. and his family that reads: “May the peace that passes understanding be with the families of mankind at this season and forever.” Atlanta, Georgia, ca. 1967.  (Photo by Holly Robertson)


An open glass exhibition case with an advent calendar, books, a portrait, and a small writing table inside.
​​​​The “A Dickens of a Christmas” section of the exhibition includes an 1843 first edition of “A Christmas Carol,” Charles Dickens’ portable writing desk and quill, and a watercolor portrait of Washington Irving, who extolled the virtues of the Christmas holiday in his own writing. (Photo by Holly Robertson)


Miniature books arranged on a small wooden stand to look like a Christmas tree.
The Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library holds more than 15,000 miniature books, the second largest collection in the country. Included in the collection is a rich and festive assortment of Christmas-themed books. Titles include: “Christmas Carol Music Box” and “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.” (Photo by Holly Robertson)


Seven figurines of Santa Claus of varying ethnicities and garments.
The International Santas Collection (of International Resources LLC, Northbrook, Illinois), from the private collection of Regina Rush. Featuring Santa figurines from Russia, Greece, Ghana, Thailand, China, and Costa Rica. (Photo by Holly Robertson)


A year-end “Best Books” list from UVA Library

By Molly Minturn | Fri, 12/16/2022 - 13:30

As the University of Virginia community heads toward the holiday break, some might be looking for a good book to read over the quiet string of days before the new year. In the spirit of so many end-of-the-year “best books” lists, we asked UVA Library staff to recommend their favorite books they read in 2022. The books could be any genre, published in any year, so long as they were available in UVA Library’s collections.

Take a look at the recommended books below, and check some out for the holidays. Happy reading!

Recommended by Leigh Rockey, Video Collections Librarian

“Robopocalypse” by Daniel H. Wilson (Doubleday, 2011)

All the machines in the world start attacking all the humans! It turns out that American Indians, who have passed down traditions about living and fighting on the land, are ready for the challenge. Fun stuff.

“The Dope: The Real History of the Mexican Drug Trade” by Benjamin T. Smith (Black Dog Press, 2021)

You can’t have the wild violence and success of the Mexican drug trade without first having the U.S. myths and money that perpetuate it.

“Pachinko” by Min Jin Lee (Grand Central Publishing, 2017)

It sounds like too much to take on — a family history spanning eight decades and many characters — but it’s easily readable and fulfilling.  

“Ninth House” by Leigh Bardugo (Flatiron Books, 2019)

What if a university’s secret societies were really keepers of dark magic? You won’t put this thriller down until you know it all. 

Recommended by Ervin “EJ” Jordan Jr., Research Archivist, Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library 

Among the many books I’ve read this year, several were related to Charlottesville, the University of Virginia, and African American history, including but not limited to the five below.

“Rot, Riot, and Rebellion: Mr. Jefferson’s Struggle to Save the University That Changed America” by Rex Bowman and Carlos Santos (UVA Press, 2013) 

Yet more scholarly evidence of UVA as a dangerous, rowdy, and complex environment during its first half-century. 

“Exposing Slavery: Photography, Human Bondage, and the Birth of Modern Visual Politics in America” by Matthew Fox-Amato (Oxford University Press, 2019)

An exceptional assessment of the process and influence of slave and slavery photography in 19th-century America. This book includes photographs from the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library. 

“On Juneteenth” by Annette Gordon-Reed (Liveright Publishing, 2021)

An overview of this Pulitzer Prize-winning historian’s Texas roots and Juneteenth memories. Professor Gordon-Reed is also the leading authority on the Hemings family of Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. 

 “Charlottesville 2017: The Legacy of Race and Inequity” edited by Louis P. Nelson and Claudrena N. Harold (UVA Press, 2018) 

Collected essays on the University of Virginia’s legacies of slavery and racism in the wake of the August 2017 Unite the Right white supremacist rallies.

 Bridge Builders, 2001-2016, Charlottesville, VA” edited by Kay Slaughter. (Preservation Piedmont, 2019

The Drewary J. Brown Bridge on West Main Street is a memorial with bronze plaques honoring several residents who as “Bridge Builders” overcame racial differences to make Charlottesville more racially, economically, socially, and culturally equitable. This fine illustrated book shares their stories. 

Recommended by Sherri Lynne Brown, Librarian for English

“Hester: A Novel” by Laurie Lico Albanese (St. Martin’s Press, 2022)

The vein of feminism running through this imagined origin story of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Scarlet Letter” struck a chord with me.

“Dolores Claiborne” by Stephen King (Viking, 1992)

I’ve been reading some of King’s earlier works this year, and this novel’s plot twists made it one of my favorites. 

“The Bachman Books: Four Early Novels” by Stephen King (New American Library, 1985)

This collection of short early novels by King also left a lasting impression — “The Long Walk” was exquisitely disturbing.

“Black Folk Could Fly: Selected Writings” by Randall Kenan (W. W. Norton, 2022)

This posthumously published collection of essays solidifies that this world lost a great writer much too soon.  

Recommended by Josh Thorud, Multimedia Teaching & Learning Librarian

 “The Indifferent Stars Above” by Daniel James Brown (William Morrow, 2009)

The author has a beautiful writing style and delves into historical details that deeply enrich the story. While what happened to the Donner Party is grim, this book humanizes the people in it. An enthralling and ultimately harrowing account that ranks among my favorite historical nonfiction books.

“Space Odyssey: Stanley Kubrick, Arthur C. Clarke, and the Making of a Masterpiece” by Michael Benson (Simon & Schuster, 2018)

One of the best books about the making of a film I’ve ever read. This is an eye-opening account of how “2001: A Space Odyssey” was written, filmed, and edited with lots of interesting details, including countless difficulties and bold technical innovation in sets and special effects. Rather than a hagiography of Stanley Kubrick, it shows the many minds and talents involved in creating this classic film that changed the industry forever.

Recommended by Carla Lee, Deputy Librarian

“Horse” by Geraldine Brooks (Viking, 2022)

I was a big fan of “People of the Book” and this book has a similar structure — several stories from different times, all tied back to discovering the provenance of a cultural object. Like a lot of historical fiction, it is highly emotional, but also taught me about perspectives in history.

On a lighter note:

“The Man Who Died Twice” by Richard Osman (Pamela Dorman Books, 2021)

This is the second in a series and I recommend reading “The Thursday Murder Club” first, if possible. These cozy mysteries both involve a fun cast of characters and a sense of humor that hits me just right. 

Recommended by Bret Heddleston, Print Periodicals Specialist

“The Tale of Genji” by Murasaki Shikibu, translated by Royall Tyler or Arthur Waley 

 “While the Aelfrics and the Aelfreds croaked and coughed in England, this court lady, about whom we know nothing … was sitting down in her silk dress and trousers with pictures before her and the sound of poetry in her ears, with flowers in her garden and nightingales in the trees, with all day to talk in and all night to dance in — she was sitting down about the year 1000 to tell the story of the life and adventures of Prince Genji.”

-Virginia Woolf, “Review of ‘The Tale of Genji,’” 1925

“Evagrius of Pontus: The Greek Ascetic Corpus” by Robert E. Sinkewicz (Oxford University Press, 2003)

Read especially for the apothegms “On the Eight Thoughts,” which are instructive, convicting, and easy to remember. This list of vices was later known as the “seven deadly sins.”

“Jack the Fatalist and His Master: A New Translation From the French of Denis Diderot” translated by Wesley D. Camp and Agnes G. Raymond (P. Lang, 1984)

A satirical account of the adventures of a Determinist servant in 18th-century France; its self-referential humor may remind the reader of postmodern drama like “Waiting for Godot.”

“Jenny” by Sigrid Undset, translated by W. Emme (A. A. Knopf, 1921) 

A remarkably dark and psychologically acute portrait of a young Norwegian artist living among fellow expatriates in Rome at the beginning of the 20th century.

“Phantastes and Lilith” by George MacDonald (W. B. Eerdmans, 1964)

Two novels in the Victorian fairy tale style; they share a distinctive, multivalent, spiritual symbolism. 

Recommended by a Library staff member who would prefer to remain anonymous:

Jews Don’t Count: How Identify Politics Failed One Particular Identity by David Baddiel (TLS Books, 2021)

This is an important publication by British comedian David Baddiel highlighting recent examples of the rise in antisemitism across the globe, how this trend is taking place across both ends of the political spectrum, and the importance of being able to recognize it and call it out.




Renovation marches on as key pieces are put into place

By Amber Reichert | Tue, 12/13/2022 - 15:36
A massive crane lifts a metal structure up and over a rectangular building which is partially under construction
UVA photographer Dan Addison captured exciting moments in October, as a crew installed massive skylights over the new library’s indoor atria.

The UVA Library inhabits more than five locations, including Brown Science and Engineering Library, Clemons Library, Fine Arts Library, Music Library, and Harrison/Small Special Collections Library; plus professional libraries like Health Sciences, Darden, and Law. The main library, Alderman, was closed in early 2020 for renovation, and work continues apace as staff members prepare to move into the space (along with books and services) in late 2023 and early 2024.

In October, massive skylight frames were lifted into the historic lightwells, which will allow the new library to feature weather-protected study space under open skies.

A few of a building from above. Faceted windows in sunken openings are visible.
Skylight-topped study space, as viewed from above. Photo credit: Skanska.

This summer, a beam signed by construction personnel and Library staff was hoisted to the top of the building as part of a “topping-out ceremony” marking installation of the highest point in the new building.

A person in a hard hat pulls a rope tied to a large white beam with varied handwriting all over it
A worker lowers the beam onto the new building’s roof. Photo credit: Sanjay Suchak, University Communications.

Read more individual stories about the renovation from UVA Today or Library Communications, or read about the renovation on the Library’s website.


Processing Grief Through Books, Films, and Art

By Molly Minturn | Thu, 11/17/2022 - 15:25

The University of Virginia Library joins the UVA community in grieving three students — second-year Devin Chandler, third-year Lavel Davis Jr., and fourth-year D’Sean Perry — victims of a mass shooting on Grounds Sunday night. Two other students were wounded.

“I weep for the parents, the grandparents, the siblings and friends of all the victims,” said Dean of Libraries John Unsworth in a message to Library employees. “Please take care of yourself and those around you.”

We asked several UVA librarians to recommend books, films, television shows, and art projects to help those who are struggling in the wake of this tragic, violent event. “In tough times we often turn to stories to help us process grief and loss,” said Ashley Hosbach, Education and Social Science Research Librarian, who will host a virtual community read aloud event featuring comforting books for children tonight at 7 p.m..

Take a look at our librarians’ recommendations below:

Recommended by Haley Gillilan, Undergraduate Student Success Librarian

“Modern Loss: Candid Conversation About Grief” Rebecca Soffer & Gabrielle Birkner (Harper Wave, 2018)

This is an interactive workshop book about grief and loss. Modern Loss is also an online community and on Instagram by the same name.

“Peace is a Practice” by Morgan Harper Nichols (Zondervan, 2022)

Nichols is an artist and poet (she also has an incredible Instagram account). Her book is about building towards peace as a discipline, both internally and communally, during troubled times and uncertainty.

“I Thought I’d Get to See My Mother Again. Then the Pandemic Hit” (Time Magazine, 2020)

Nicole Chung, whose memoir “All You Can Ever Know” explores the complexities of transracial adoption, writes beautifully about the loss of her parents in this article. “Since she died, many people have asked me if I feel a lack of ‘closure’ because of all the moments missed,” Chung writes. “My father died 2½ years ago, and I was at his funeral, and I still don’t feel anything like closure. It’s an open wound. It always will be.”

“No Cure for Being Human” by Kate Bowler (Random House, 2021)

Bowler’s memoir is about accepting how her life has changed since having cancer. She also has a magnificent podcast called “Everything Happens,” where she interviews people about loss and grief. She’s based at Duke University and has interviewed folks from our UVA community, including Taylor Harris and Katie Couric.

“After Yang” (A24, 2022)

A24 summary: When his young daughter’s beloved companion — an android named Yang — malfunctions, Jake (Colin Farrell) searches for a way to repair him. In the process, Jake discovers the life that has been passing in front of him, reconnecting with his wife (Jodie Turner-Smith) and daughter across a distance he didn’t know was there.

“Station Eleven” (HBO Max 2021)

HBO Max summary: A post-apocalyptic saga spanning multiple timelines, this limited drama series tells the stories of survivors of a devastating flu as they attempt to rebuild and reimagine the world anew while holding on to the best of what’s been lost. “Station Eleven” is based on the international bestseller of the same name by Emily St. John Mandel.

“Wind Telephone” (Itaru Sasaki, 2010)

Japanese artist Itaru Sasaki was mourning his deceased cousin and so he decided to create a telephone booth with a rotary phone to “call” him when he wanted to speak with him. This has sparked many communities to create their own wind phones; there are a couple on the Appalachian Trail and one in Priest Point Park in Olympia, Washington.


Recommended by Amy Hunsaker, Librarian for Music & the Performing Arts

“Helping the Bereaved College Student” by David E. Balk (Springer, 2011)

Publisher’s summary: Approximately one-fourth of all college students suffer the loss of a family member or friend during their college career, yet the prevalence of bereavement on the college campus is largely unrecognized — sometimes by even the bereaved students themselves. This is the only volume to comprehensively address the ways in which bereavement may affect the college student, and to guide mental health professionals in effectively treating this underserved population. Authored by an internationally known expert on bereavement, the book includes student narratives, treatment exercises and activities, and issues regarding self-disclosure.

“We Don’t ‘Move on’ From Grief. We Move Forward with It” by Nora McInerny (TED Talk, 2020)

TED summary: In a talk that’s by turns heartbreaking and hilarious, writer and podcaster Nora McInerny shares her hard-earned wisdom about life and death. Her candid approach to something that will, let’s face it, affect us all, is as liberating as it is gut-wrenching. Most powerfully, she encourages us to shift how we approach grief. “A grieving person is going to laugh again and smile again,” she says. “They’re going to move forward. But that doesn’t mean that they’ve moved on.”

Recommended by Ashley Hosbach, Education & Social Science Research Librarian

The following children’s books on processing grief, loss, and sadness are from our COVID collection.

“Why Do We Cry?” by Fran Pintadera (Kids Can Press, 2018)

Publisher’s summary: This sensitive, poetic picture book uses metaphors and beautiful imagery to explain the reasons for our tears, making it clear that everyone is allowed to cry, and that everyone does.


“When Sadness Is at Your Door” by Eva Eland (Random House Children’s Books, 2019)

Publisher’s summary: Sadness can be scary and confusing at any age. When we feel sad, especially for long periods of time, it can seem as if the sadness is a part of who we are — an overwhelming, invisible, and scary sensation. Eva Eland’s debut picture book is a great primer in mindfulness and emotional literacy, perfect for kids navigating these new feelings — and for adult readers tackling the feelings themselves!

“The Breaking News” by Sarah Lynne Reul (Roaring Brook Press, 2018)

Publisher’s summary: When devastating news rattles a young girl’s community, her normally attentive parents and neighbors are suddenly exhausted and distracted. At school, her teacher tells the class to look for the helpers — the good people working to make things better in big and small ways.

“Adrift” by Heidi Stemple (Crocodile Books, 2021)

Publisher’s summary: In this metaphor for the global pandemic and the power of community, a mouse in a small boat finds comfort and strength during a storm when he sees another boat and is joined by others, close enough to see each other, but not close enough to crash.

The full list of children’s books addressing grief and loss is on our guide, open to the public.


Register here for Ashley Hosbach’s Community Read Aloud event.

The University of Virginia will hold a public memorial service for Chandler, Davis, and Perry on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. at John Paul Jones Arena.

Digital Humanities at 30: A Roundtable

By Molly Minturn | Wed, 11/09/2022 - 15:20

With the click of a mouse, fans of William Faulkner can listen to the author carefully explain the pronunciation of “Yoknapatawpha,” the fictional Mississippi county where many of his novels are set, his reedy voice seeming to time travel into the 21st century. University of Virginia students in disciplines ranging from architectural history to civil engineering are digitizing the past by taking 3D scans of local historic buildings to preserve cultural heritage data for future generations. And earlier this fall, the work of an eighth-grade civics class in North Andover, Massachusetts, led to the exoneration of the last remaining convicted “witch” in the Salem Witch Trials using documents from a UVA archive.

These are just a few examples of digital humanities (DH) projects supported by the University of Virginia Library. Through the Scholars’ Lab and the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities (IATH), Library specialists help scholars and students use digital tools to conduct humanities-based research, offering fellowships to graduate students and faculty members. The Library also offers an extensive guide for those interested in digital humanities research.

On Saturday, Nov. 12, the University of Virginia will celebrate 30 years of digital humanities with a day-long conference in the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library. The conference will feature scholars from across the country as well as representatives from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The conference is open to the public; in-person and virtual seats are still available (registration is required).

We reached out to UVA Library staff members who are deeply involved with digital humanities work to learn more about the discipline. An edited version of our conversation is below:

Q. How do you define “digital humanities,” exactly?

A. Sarah Wells, Scholarly and Technical Communications Officer, IATH: In general, digital humanities involves using digital tools to carry out humanities-based research, which seems like a fairly simple task. But for much of what is done at IATH and other DH groups at UVA, there is a transformative aspect: it allows you to approach and think about materials in new ways, possibly in ways that were previously impossible. You can bring together fragments of information and disparate sets of data and collaborate much more effectively and deeply with people outside your discipline, institution, and country.

Brandon Walsh, Head of Student Programs, Scholars’ Lab: I’m a big fan of a definition that I’ve heard articulated by [scholars] Roopika Risam, Liz Grumbach, and others. It’s a prepositional one. Digital humanities consists of asking humanities questions with technology as well as asking humanities questions of technology. There’s also a strong activist element that serves to surface the humans behind the work that we do, critiquing labor structures especially.

Sherri Brown, Research Librarian for English and Digital Humanities: Defining digital humanities has long been bemoaned in the DH community. The understanding I gravitate toward comes from the goals of DH discussed in the introduction to the 2004 book “A Companion to Digital Humanities” by Susan Schriebman, Ray Siemens, and our own Dean of Libraries John Unsworth: “Using information technology to illuminate the human record, and bringing an understanding of the human record to bear on the development and use of information technology.”

Q. Why do digital humanities matter?

A. Amanda Visconti, Managing Director of the UVA Scholars’ Lab: DH is a field that not only connects folks with the necessary ethical, technical, and disciplinary skills to address urgent questions around data and social justice — it’s also a home for many folks who uniquely have both technical and research skills.

DH is also an active international scholarly community that values collaboration, credit, openness about failure, open access, and sharing research progress publicly (success and failure) in real time rather than just when a study is concluded. This includes lots of blogging and tweeting and attention toward improving social justice.

Alison BoothProfessor of English and Academic Director of the Scholars’ Lab: Scholarly communication and more democratic access to resources for learning will foreseeably depend on digitized resources and new media in the coming century. Most areas of humanities research are transformed by digital means of accessing archives and collections. And digital humanities students gain skills useful for many kinds of careers; they are not only learning STEM subjects but the full range of liberal arts.

Walsh: Digital humanities can help us make sense of the vast cultural record we possess, critique the digital landscape as it unfolds around us, and project a better, more equitable future for higher education.

Worthy Martin, Director of IATH: Computationally mediated scholarship matters across almost all disciplines because it can allow for research questions that have long been of interest but not previously practical to undertake. For example, The Chaco Research Archive makes possible comparative analysis of archaeological sites in Chaco Canyon that were excavated decades apart and for which the documentary records of those excavations are held in multiple archives and repositories.

Q. What are some of the most important projects that have come out of the Scholars’ Lab?

A. Visconti: I’m going to make a numbered list to respond.

  1. The Scholars’ Lab itself has been a significant model to other institutions; we usually have one to three requests per month to advise external leaders and organizations on digital scholarship initiatives and research. We have an active social media presence — more than 6,000 followers on Twitter, and an active research blog. Our staff are leaders in their fields, with frequent elected and appointed service in international scholarly organizations and research publications.
  2. Our Neatline software for telling stories in time and place.
  3. Our Praxis Program, now over a decade old, proved you could bring a cohort of graduate students from knowing nothing about DH/tech to releasing a collaborative DH project over the course of a year — many current DH graduate training programs are informed by this work.
  4. We started one of the early humanities-focused makerspaces.
  5. We regularly provide cutting-edge spatial technologies fieldwork, training, and research, partnering with UVA faculty and students and regional community members to tell stories about, discover, and preserve our past history.

Walsh: Bar none our most important projects are the people we’ve worked with, especially the students and early career scholars. Our fellowship programs are in their second decade and represent our best efforts to help prepare future generations of scholar-practitioners. The Praxis Fellowship, our soup-to-nuts introduction to digital humanities by way of project-based pedagogy, is especially well known as a teaching intervention. More than any individual research project, our efforts to support others and pay forward our own training will be how we are remembered.

Q. What are some of the most important projects that have come out of the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities?

A. Martin: The “importance” of IATH projects comes in several varieties:

Q. What does the future of digital humanities look like?

A. Brown: Although we’re celebrating 30 years of DH at UVA, I still think digital humanities is in its infancy in terms of how much can be done with it. I am always amazed by the creativity I see in DH projects, methods, and tools. We have centuries of human cultural production to view through a DH lens and hopefully to share more widely. Take any one novel, and you could use DH methods and tools to look at it critically hundreds of different ways, depending on your interest. And that’s just one novel.

Booth: I foresee ways to get beyond data visualizations indebted to medicine or sociology. I hope for even more innovative use of virtual reality, sound, and even smell to enhance historical representations, performances, and creative expressions of all kinds.

Visconti: The future of DH relies on it not being just about its mixture of tech and cultural research, but in its attention as a community to building better systems that support more people having the material means to participate in its learning and research.

Walsh: Given the multiple, ongoing crises in and out of academia in the present, the future of digital humanities is one that further engages in the pursuit of equity and justice in higher education. The future belongs to the students we equip to help shape it, and we have a responsibility to help ensure it is a livable one.

Click here to see a full schedule for this Saturday’s “Thirty Years of Digital Humanities” conference and register to join in person or online.

Seven books (and a TV show) to celebrate Native American Heritage Month

By Molly Minturn | Fri, 11/04/2022 - 15:09

Guest post from Haley Gillilan (Undergraduate Student Success Librarian) and Keith Weimer (Librarian for History and Religious Studies).

November is Native American Heritage Month! It’s a wonderful opportunity to honor Indigenous traditions, cultures, and histories. At the University of Virginia Library, we’re highlighting work created by and about Native Americans; take a look at staff book and television recommendations below.

Recommended by Leigh Rockey, Video Collections Librarian

“The Removed” by Brandon Hobson (Ecco, 2021)

Right from the start in “The Removed,” we know that Ray-Ray, the eldest son of the Echota family, will be killed unjustly by the police. Just a few pages later, we feel like we know him and already mourn the loss of such an endearing character. We work through the grief and anger along with the rest of the family as they each tell their story 15 years after Ray-Ray’s brutal death. Sometimes an ancestor, Tsala, who perished on the Trail of Tears, breaks into the narrative and expands our range of view to encompass Cherokee legends. While the narrative of “The Removed” isn’t bright and sunny, there is a penetrating warmth that leaves the reader full of hope.

Recommended by Meg Kennedy, Curator of Material Culture

“Lewis and Clark Through Indian Eyes: Nine Indian Writers on the Legacy of the Expedition” edited by Alvin M. Josephy Jr. (Knopf, 2006)

Inspired by the bicentennial events of the Corps of Discovery, this edited volume of nine essays gives voice to the largely overlooked experiences of the many and distinct Native American sovereign nations affected by the 1803-1806 cross-continent journeys of Lewis and Clark. Readers will be familiar with the colonial stories of exploration: first points of contact, experiences of discovery, the naming of waterways and vast lands, and the emergence of democratic society in a lawless land. The varied essays, though, reframe the narrative, bringing to life long-standing and long-distance trade networks that crossed the continent, long-inhabited lands, long-ago named rivers and places, long-established democratic systems. The authors —leaders and scholars representing diverse tribal communities — use different techniques to address the impacts of the Corps of Discovery, challenging accepted historiographies through their inclusion of oral and shared community records, reconsidered political and economic histories and literary examinations of Manifest Destiny. As author Mark H. Trahant notes, “Eventually other stories surface, too. These alternative histories serve as reminders that the journey continues.”

Recommended by Erin Pappas, Librarian for the Humanities

“There There” by Tommy Orange (Knopf, 2018)

Publisher’s summary: A wondrous and shattering novel that follows 12 characters from Native communities, all traveling to the Big Oakland Powwow, all connected to one another in ways they may not yet realize.

Among them are Jacquie Red Feather, newly sober and trying to make it back to the family she left behind; Dene Oxendene, pulling his life together after his uncle’s death and working at the powwow to honor his memory; and 14-year-old Orvil, traveling to perform traditional dance for the very first time. Together, this chorus of voices tells of the plight of the urban Native American — grappling with a complex and painful history, with an inheritance of beauty and spirituality, and with communion and sacrifice and heroism.

Hailed as an instant classic, “There There” is at once poignant and unflinching, utterly contemporary and truly unforgettable.

Recommended by Keith Weimer, Librarian for History and Religious Studies

“Path Lit By Lightning” by David Maraniss (Simon & Schuster, 2022) and “Mixed Bloods and Tribal Dissolution” by William Unrau (University Press of Kansas, 1989)

For this year’s Native American Heritage month readings, I chose books about two of the most “successful” Native Americans of the 20th century — “Path Lit By Lightning,” David Maraniss’ 2022 biography of Jim Thorpe (a member of the Sac and Fox tribe), often hailed as the greatest athlete of all time; and “Mixed Bloods and Tribal Dissolution: Charles Curtis and the Quest for Indian Identity,” William Unrau’s 1989 biography of Herbert Hoover’s vice president, who was a member of the Kaw Nation. (Despite its cringeworthy title, Unrau’s book remains the only biography of Curtis available.)

Although both men were biracial, Curtis was much more grounded in the world of his white relatives and had a base of capital in the tribal land inherited from his mother’s family, which he used to launch and sustain his political career. He was a strong proponent of assimilation, sponsoring the Curtis Act of 1898, which abolished the authority of tribal courts and tribal law, and strengthened the privatization of tribal land, much of which became prey for white land developers.

Thorpe, a descendant of the iconic warrior Black Hawk, who had led some of the last resistance to white settlement east of the Mississippi, grew up among the Sac and Fox tribe in Oklahoma and attended boarding schools based on a concept of forced assimilation into white culture — most famously Carlisle Academy, where he excelled at football, baseball, and track and field. He won gold at the 1912 Olympics, then had his medals taken away after revelations that he had played two summers of minor league baseball (a humiliation during which he received no support from either Carlisle or his mentor, Coach “Pop” Warner). His remaining life seemed like a decline from early promise, although it still included some remarkable triumphs, as well as activism on behalf of Native Americans. While some of Thorpe’s difficulties stemmed from his personality, they also resulted from a lack of the kind of starting capital and firm connections possessed by Curtis.

Recommended by Cecelia Parks, Undergraduate Student Success Librarian

“Peace Came in the Form of a Woman: Indians and Spaniards in the Texas Borderlands” by Juliana Barr (University of North Carolina Press, 2007)

Publisher’s summary: Revising the standard narrative of European-Native American relations in America, Juliana Barr reconstructs a world in which Native Americans were the dominant power and Europeans were the ones forced to accommodate, resist, and persevere. She demonstrates that between the 1690s and 1780s, Indigenous peoples, including Caddos, Apaches, Payayas, Karankawas, Wichitas, and Comanches, formed relationships with Spaniards in Texas that refuted European claims of imperial control.

Barr argues that Native Americans not only retained control over their territories but also imposed control over Spaniards. Instead of being defined in racial terms, as was often the case with European constructions of power, diplomatic relations between Native Americans and Spaniards in the region were dictated by Native American expressions of power, grounded in gendered terms of kinship. By examining six realms of encounter — first contact, settlement and intermarriage, mission life, warfare, diplomacy, and captivity — Barr shows that Native American categories of gender provided the political structure of Native American-Spanish relations by defining people’s identity, status, and obligations vis-à-vis others. Because Native systems of kin-based social and political order predominated, argues Barr, Native American concepts of gender cut across European perceptions of racial difference.

Recommended by Haley Gillilan, Undergraduate Student Success Librarian

“Reservation Dogs” on FX Hulu

“Reservation Dogs” is a slice-of-life comedy about four Native American teenagers living on a reservation in Oklahoma. In its short, two-season run, it’s broken barriers for Indigenous filmmaking and representation, with an almost entirely Indigenous cast and crew. While at first it seems that the show is simply about four teens hanging out and having normal high school problems, the plot slowly reveals deep interpersonal and internal conflicts. Bear, Elora, Willie Jack, and Cheese are trying to make their way to California, but will their different values and ways of dealing with grief tear them apart before they get there? “Reservation Dogs” is filled with slow, spiritual, and meaningful moments while also doling out huge laughs and brilliant comedic performances. It’s been renewed for a Season Three, so I highly recommend catching up on the first two seasons and diving into this beautiful TV show!

“Firekeeper’s Daughter” by Angeline Boulley (Henry Holt, 2021)

Angeline Boulley has described the main character of her book as an Indigenous Nancy Drew, and the comparison feels apt! Eighteen-year-old Daunis Fontaine is trying to find her way in her Ojibwe community, but for several reasons is struggling to fit in. When tragedy strikes, she is thrust into a police investigation dealing with some corruption in her town. But as she gets deeper into the mystery, it gets harder and harder to know whom to trust. The stakes for Daunis and her family are high, and she’s going to have to rely on her instincts more than ever. This YA novel is perfect for those seeking a thriller with a true crime vibe, featuring a smart protagonist and a community that’s often underrepresented. Some of subject matter can be heavy and hard to read, but Boulley handles these moments with care and nuance.

Is your favorite piece of Native American literature or media missing from this list? Find us on Twitter @UVALibrary and let us know!

Does the UVA Library not have something you think we should have? Submit a purchase recommendation!

Want to make your work open access? The Library can help.

By Molly Minturn | Fri, 11/04/2022 - 08:21

In his 1973 book, “The Sociology of Science,” the influential American sociologist Robert K. Merton declared: “All scientists should have common ownership of scientific goods (intellectual property) to promote collective collaboration.” This “Mertonian norm,” as it came to be known, long predated the internet (Merton first theorized it in 1942), but some scholars see it as a founding principle of the open access movement, which argues that knowledge should be free, online, and legal to reuse and share.

Open AccessMerton died in 2003, but aspects of his ideas about collective scientific collaboration live on in policy recently announced by the federal government. In late August, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy released new guidance to make the results of federally funded research immediately available to the American public at no cost. The policy memo was a boon to many U.S. academics, researchers, and librarians, who for years have been advocating with a wider international community for open access and open scholarship. The White House directed all federal departments and agencies to implement the new policy by the end of 2025, meaning that paywalls and embargos on taxpayer-supported research will soon be a thing of the past.

The University of Virginia Library has long supported the open access movement and provides multiple services to assist faculty, scholars, and researchers with making their work open and freely available to the public. In honor of International Open Access Week, we spoke with Brandon Butler, the Library’s Director of Information Policy, about the new policy and what it means for the University. Butler, a copyright lawyer, serves on a UVA-wide open scholarship working group, which will be holding an Open Scholarship Town Hall for UVA faculty on Oct. 24. “I’m a big advocate for open access,” Butler said. “I want to help anybody in the University community who has questions or concerns or is interested in sharing their research in a new way.”

An edited version of our conversation is below:

Q. When would you say the open access movement started? Was it during the dawn of the internet, or does it go back before that?

A. Open access was essentially a movement that was created in scholarship as a reaction to the feeling that it doesn’t make sense to put scholarly work behind a paywall when the internet makes it simple to make things free. The timeline for the movement, can go pretty far back, all the way to the wonderful sociologist Robert Merton, who argued that the ethic of scholarship and research is that what you make should be shared with the world. If you’re making things and withholding them and hoping to charge fees, then that’s not entirely consistent with the values of science. So, the values go way back.

But open access, as we know it today, is strongly connected with the internet. If you wanted to find the perfect inception point, you might look to the Budapest Open Access Initiative. This was a declaration authored in early 2002 by some of the leading thinkers about the ethics and economics of science. They wrote: “An old tradition and a new technology have converged to make possible an unprecedented public good. The old tradition is the willingness of scientists and scholars to publish the fruits of their research in scholarly journals without payment, for the sake of inquiry and knowledge. The new technology is the internet. The public good they make possible is the world-wide electronic distribution of the peer-reviewed journal literature and completely free and unrestricted access to it by all scientists, scholars, teachers, students, and other curious minds.” Ever since then, we’ve been trying to figure out how to change the way we do scholarship to meet that simple opportunity.

Q. How has the UVA Library worked to support this movement? And what are some of the main resources it offers in terms of open access?

A. I would say it’s a four-part answer.

  1. We support repositories, which are robust, preservation-quality places where scholars who want to make their work open can put their work, and it will be accessible and findable by any scholar in the world because our systems are library-quality. The work will be preservable forever. These repositories are free for any UVA-affiliated author to deposit their work into. They include Libra for articles and other scholarly output, and we also have Libra Data, which is for datasets. The repositories are primarily self-serviced; you make your own deposits, but we’ve got the tools there for you and we’ve got people who can answer your questions.
  2. The second open access pillar here is our Library publishing operation, which is called Aperio. It’s a press, and it lives in the Library. The goal of Aperio is to help make it easy for faculty and students at UVA who want to create a new open access journal, or who want to publish a new open access scholarly book. We have four journals now that are using Aperio. And it’s free, both to the reader and the author. Some of the open access publishing models out there require authors to pay a fee to cover the cost. Generally, these fees are way too high and they create a real barrier for authors. Our goal all along has been to eliminate that fee — recently, we were able to do that. Every Aperio journal and book is peer-reviewed; these are publications that are up to the same standards of quality as any other scholarly journal or book in the fields where they operate.
  3. The third pillar here is our Research Data Services + Sciences team. The original Budapest Open Access declaration talked only about journal articles, but over the last 15 years we’ve seen an evolution to recognizing that some of the most valuable scholarly products are data sets — the raw data, that’s the real stuff. So, our Research Data Services team does a lot of powerful work in support of open access. They help people get their data into good shape and develop the kind of data management plans that funders are asking for. That way the data that ends up in an open repository or published somewhere freely available for reuse is in a form that people can actually use.
  4. I’m saving the least for last, but that’s me. There are, of course, legal questions and policy questions that come up. I can help individual authors figure out what their contracts really If they choose to publish with a particular journal publisher, how can they make their work more open? I also help folks who are embarking on a research project and want the results to be open, but they don’t know how to do that. They may wonder, “How do I put a license on data? What license should I use?” I can’t be everybody’s lawyer, but I can educate them, and help them understand what the choices are and what they mean.

Q. What are your thoughts on the new White House policy?

A. The new White House policy is fantastic. It is a dream come true. It is the kind of change that open access activists have been trying to achieve for literally two decades, since the beginning of the movement. We’ve been going to funders, including the federal government, and saying, “Don’t you think that when you pay for research, the results should be available to everyone?” That’s been the fundamental case we’ve been making all along. COVID and then monkeypox changed things. In the COVID pandemic, publishers made a lot of research freely available temporarily. And then when the monkeypox outbreak came around, federal health agencies asked publishers to make monkeypox-related research freely available, but many publishers balked. I think it just really drove home to the federal research funders that this is absurd — we should not be begging for our own research. That’s where this memo comes from. It pushes the idea that an embargo is just not a tolerable compromise anymore; everything needs to be free and immediately available in order to really accelerate science.

They also expanded the policy to every federal agency that funds research. So that means National Endowment for the Humanities, National Endowment for the Arts, federal social science funding — all that is going to be covered by this policy. And it’s not just about the articles, it’s about the data; the data that is behind every published article that comes from federal funding will also have to be free and open. And that’s huge.

The other thing that’s meaningful about this memo is that it is really beginning to harmonize with the broader conversation in the global open access community that it’s not just about articles; it’s about data. It’s also about things that are a little less sexy, like persistent identifiers [a long-lasting reference to a document, file, web page, or other object]. This is real librarian stuff — metadata.

Everyone around the world is now moving in this direction. Even private funders, like the Gates Foundation and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, all these people are now starting to sing from the same hymnal. And that’s really important.

Q. What can you tell me about the UVA open scholarship working group?

A. It’s a great group, and it predates the memo. It originated with the National Academies of Science, and supported by open research funders like the Gates Foundation, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the National Heart Association, and the American Cancer Society. Upwards of 50 universities are working with this larger group to help scholars create a smoother path toward open practice. The UVA group is working to identify University policies that will help promote open scholarship here on Grounds.

Our open meeting on October 24 is an event for faculty, especially faculty members who are ambivalent about open scholarship work. This first meeting is meant to explain the global trend in favor of open scholarship, what the Library does to support it, and what our working group is thinking about the federal policy. The ultimate goal is to hear the faculty out, to allow them to ask all the questions so we can make sure that whatever we do is responsive to the concerns and interests that the faculty raise. The provost’s office will present, along with Phil Bourne, dean of the School of Data Science; Brian Nosek from the Center for Open Science; Dean of Libraries John Unsworth; and me.

Q. Anything else you’d like to add?

A. I’ve hinted all around this, but the thing that I think has to be said as explicitly as possible is that the No. 1 barrier to open practice is outdated promotion and tenure standards. And until the scholarly disciplines can evaluate research in a way that is not reliant on journal brands and journal metrics, we’re not going to make progress on this problem. It’s a big barrier that we’re going to have to get through, so I feel like it’s important to bring that up. Our goal at the Library is to help academic departments understand the value of open practice and help them see that it would be good to reward that practice.


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