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Quarterly Report

Winter/Spring 2020

The Libraries Mission Statement

The Jean and Alexander Heard Libraries are fundamental to the university’s goal of advancing scholarship and learning. We collect, preserve and make accessible a wide variety of resources, we partner with faculty and students to shape research, and we encourage the development of informed scholars and engaged citizens.


John Seigenthaler holding a newspaper

John Seigenthaler Papers Processed

The John Seigenthaler Papers housed in Special Collections have been processed after three years of work. John Seigenthaler was a journalist, writer, and longtime editor of The Tennessean and was a prominent advocate for First Amendment rights and founded the First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University. Seigenthaler also worked for Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy and was a longtime friend of the Kennedy family.

The collection totals approximately 200 linear feet and includes 421 boxes and 2850 audiovisual materials. A finding aid is available for all to see, and we look forward to welcoming researchers once we reopen and for many years to come.

Interlibrary loan and remote resources during the COVID-19 pandemic
The Vanderbilt Libraries continue to provide critical resources for research in a manner that maintains safety and security for our patrons. Since early March, Interlibrary Loan provided nearly 800 scans from our collections in lieu of physical books, fulfilled 3,147 e-requests for Vanderbilt patrons and delivered 3,070 e-requests to other libraries around the world.

VanderBot Increases Visibility of Vanderbilt Research
The increasing scale of Wikidata, the collaboratively-edited knowledge base of structured data that underpins Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects, promises to substantially impact the future of librarianship through enhanced global discovery and understanding of research impact. Steve Baskauf, data science and data curation specialist, continues to support this effort with the creation of VanderBot! This set of scripts can read and write to Wikidata, greatly improving the efficiency with which we can make Vanderbilt's research outputs discoverable through Wikidata. Inclusion of these outputs will help us to understand Vanderbilt's global research impact while making them more discoverable in open research environments. Read more about Steve's project.

An article by University Librarian Valerie Hotchkiss, "What a Deal: Vanderbilt's New Collection on Cards and Card Games," on the Clulow-U.S. Playing Card Collection is now published in the February 2020 issue of the Caxtonian: Journal of the Caxton Club.

After collaborating with Divinity faculty and hundreds of publishers to untangle copyright issues and to obtain permissions, the Divinity Library has added 160 more faculty journal publications to the open access collection in the Vanderbilt University Institutional Repository. Special thanks go to Almond Sin, student assistant, for providing metadata of the records.

Teaching and Learning

Buchanan Fellows Transition to Zoom

The Buchanan Library Fellows this semester are a nimble and flexible group of students, persevering with their projects during extraordinary circumstances. When classes moved online, the Fellows all moved to Zoom, continuing work on everything from rare books to campus tree specimens. The Fellows gave viewers fresh insight into the historical, social and cultural context of our collections. Some worked with emerging technologies to help us understand the intersections between these new tools and the ethics of information. Still others used technology to analyze and interpret manuscripts and music across disciplines. Other Fellows researched historic Chinese architecture and wrote hundreds of encyclopedia articles about the buildings.

The 2020 Buchanan Library Fellowship projects are:

  • Exhibition: Netsuke: Gucci of the Edo Period
  • Trending to Popular Thought: What People Read and Why
  • Vanderbilt Campus Historical Tree Tour
  • Ethics of Information
  • Encoding Music Manuscripts in Vanderbilt University Special Collections
  • Cursive & Recursive: Generating Transcriptions of Archival Documents Using Machine Learning
  • Gateway to Traditional Chinese Monuments: Data Curation and Web Development for Cultural Heritage Preservation


ArcGIS Class
Dr. Stacy Curry-Johnson
, librarian for geospatial data and systems, leads a weekly class on learning ESRI's ArcGIS software, the industry standard software. In February, Curry-Johnson taught during the two-session workshop, Intro to Geospatial Analysis with QGIS , co-sponsored by the Vanderbilt Initiative for Interdisciplinary Geospatial Research (VIIGR) and the Jean and Alexander Heard Libraries' Digital Scholarship and Communications (DiSC).

Stevenson Science & Engineering Library Hosts Surviving Graduate School Series
The Surviving Graduate School series was designed to help connect students to the resources available at Vanderbilt that often go unmentioned in conventional coursework. Josh Borycz and Alex Carroll, librarians for STEM research, discussed how they can help at each stage of the research process by demonstrating techniques for communicating science effectively and tools for finding, organizing, and sharing research. The University Counseling Center and Graduate Student Life Coach discussed resources available for addressing depression, anxiety, and stress. The Office of the Graduate School provided resources on how graduate students can find jobs after completing their schooling.

Research Hacks Workshops
Central Library offered its full range of workshops this spring to help support research and academic success. When classes moved to online learning, librarians offered Google Scholar online via Zoom for students.

DiSC Workshops
During Spring 2020, the library's Digital Scholarship and Communications (DiSC) office offered a series of workshops in Python, R and R Studio, and ArcGIS. The workshops moved to online learning in March and provided videos for asynchronous viewing and self-paced learning.

Vanderbilt Software Carpentry Boot Camp
Vanderbilt Libraries with the Office of the Vice Provost for Research, Research IT Service and the Vanderbilt Data Science Institute co-sponsored the two-day software carpentry boot camp.

Heather E. Laferriere, health sciences informationist led two Clinical Research Center Research Skills Workshops: How to Search in the New PubMed and How to Manage Database Search Results.

Law Librarians Teach Law Courses
Sarah Dunaway and Mariah Ford, librarians for research services, taught Advanced Legal Research.

Mark Williams, head of collection services and lecturer in law, taught Legal Practice Technology.

Meredith Capps, head of faculty services; librarian for foreign and international law; lecturer in law, Mariah Ford, Clanitra Nejdl, librarians for research services, Katie Hanschke, head of instruction and access services and lecturer in law and Larry Reeves, associate university librarian and director of the Law Library, taught 1L Legal Research.

Clanitra Nejdl, librarian for research services, organized the Prepare to Practice series, an annual lecture and workshop series designed to prepare students for the professional challenges of legal practice by highlighting and discussing the latest trends and hot topics in legal practice.

Meredith Capps, head of faculty services; librarian for foreign and international law; lecturer in law, presented at the March 9th session on "E-Discovery 101."

Mark Williams, head of collection services; lecturer in law, was a guest lecturer in Lauren Rogal's Community Enterprise Clinic and Michael Bressman's Intellectual Property Clinic.

Meredith Capps, head of faculty services; librarian for foreign and international law; lecturer in law, was a guest lecturer in Joe Fishman's Music and Copyright seminar and Mark William's Legal Practice Technology class.

Live Chat Now Available
As the libraries shifted priorities to remote instruction, the library staff offered virtual chat service for instantaneous support to students and faculty Monday through Friday, 8:00 am -6:00 pm.

New Guide for Academic Content Shared by Publishers
In an effort to share information during the COVID-19 pandemic, many academic publishers opened or expanded access to thousands of research material. The Acquisitions and E-resources team quickly identified the open content and made the resources available through the libraries' catalog.

Classical Scores Library Available
To facilitate remote teaching and learning in music, the Wilson Music Library licensed Classical Scores Library, an online database of Western art music scores featuring works from the Middle Ages through the 21st century.

New Research Guides:
As classes moved to online learning, librarians created new research guides to highlight digital resources for learning and research. New guides included:

New Resources:
O'Reilly for Higher Education: a multimedia collection of instruction and reference materials focused on computer programming, technology, and business transformation.
Sanford Guide: integrates Antimicrobial Therapy, HIV/AIDS Therapy, and Viral Hepatitis Therapy into a single web site for maximum coverage and ease of use.
Making of Modern Law: Landmark Records and Briefs of the U.S. Courts of Appeals, 1950 – 1980: expands dramatically the range of legal primary source documents available to researchers.

Campus Community and Beyond

Visionary Aponte: Art and Black Freedom

Visionary Aponte: Art and Black Freedom brings together twenty contemporary artists working across a range of media to interpret an extraordinary—and now lost—historical artifact: a so-called "Book of Paintings" created by José Antonio Aponte, a nineteenth-century Afro-Cuban revolutionary and artist. Co-sponsors for the exhibition include the Department of Art, Department of History, Center for Latin American Studies, Jean & Alexander Heard Libraries and Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities.

Fables and Fantasies: The Illustrations of J.J. Grandville
This exhibition curated by Yvonne Boyer, librarian for art, French, & Italian; librarian for W.T. Bandy Center for Baudelaire & Modern French, highlights the books of the French illustrator, J.J. Grandville (1803-1847). From satirical political cartoons to personified flowers, the illustrations of Grandville have been very influential. Un Autre Monde (1844), considered his most important work, profoundly influenced the Surrealists, who acknowledged Grandville as an important inspiration and precursor. Special Collections welcomes these Grandville volumes to the distinctive French collections at the Vanderbilt Heard Libraries.

G is for Gorey: The Remarkable Worlds of Edward Gorey
American illustrator and writer Edward St. John Gorey (1925-2000) rose to prominence in the late 1950s for his macabre slant on humorous fiction featuring Victorian and Edwardian settings. In 1962, he established his own imprint, Fantod Press, to publish his works, although he continued to illustrate books by other authors throughout his career. Gorey gained a national following in 1980 after his artwork was animated and used for the opening titles of PBS's Mystery! television series. G is for Gorey: The Remarkable Worlds of Edward Gorey draws from a small but growing collection of Goreyana in Vanderbilt's Special Collections.

Found in Cuba: The Ingenuity and Creativity of Ediciones Vigía
Paula Covington, librarian for Latin American, Iberian and Latino Studies, and senior lecturer in Latin American Studies, discussed her new exhibit Found in Cuba: The Ingenuity and Creativity of Ediciones Vigía . Learn about this enterprising publishing house's survival through economic hardships and the amazing artists whose creativity is on display in the bounty of books acquired through the years by Special Collections.

Censored: Controversial Art in Modern and Contemporary French Culture
The Department of French and Italian, Jean & Alexander Heard Libraries, W.T. Bandy Center for Baudelaire & Modern French, and Cinema & Media Arts sponsored an ongoing series this spring highlighting iconic censored films with commentary by guest lecturers.

Peabody Library: A History of Its First 100 Years
The history of Peabody Library is connected in interesting ways both with the history of Peabody College and with the larger history of libraries and library education in the United States. To help mark Peabody Library's centennial, this talk by Peabody librarian David Golann, librarian for psychological sciences and special education, highlighted photos and other artifacts that illuminate the history of the library and the library school that called it home for many years

Expert Services

Headshot of Melissa Mallon, Director of Peabody Library

Mallon Selected to Design Scholarship of Teaching & Learning Roadshow

Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) has selected Melissa Mallon, director of Peabody Library; director of teaching and learning, to be a member of a team of three curriculum designers/presenters to develop a new RoadShow workshop. The RoadShow will support librarians engaging in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) and discovering how their teaching impacts student learning.

New Library Staff
Sarah Stevenson, librarian for Education; librarian for Teaching & Learning and LPO
Erin Peters, electronic resources librarian

Chris Ryland, curator of history of medicine collections and archives, had his review of Athens of the New South: College Life and the Making of Modern Nashville, by Mary Ellen Pethel published in The Journal of East Tennessee History, vol 91, 2019, pp. 151-153.

Sarah Swanz, librarian for digital media and publishing, presented a poster (co-authored with Jim Duran, director of the Vanderbilt Television News Archive and curator of born-digital collections and Nathan Jones, archivist; manager of digital imaging laboratory) at the Code4Lib conference, titled "Using XQuery for Metadata Transformations" which highlighted their work in migrating over one million Vanderbilt Television News Archives to the PBCore metadata standard.

Andy Wesolek, director of digital scholarship & scholarly communications, published "The Once and Future IR Agenda: Resolving the Dialectic Aims of Institutional Repositories" in Against the Grain. Wesolek's guide, Open Educational Resources, created to assist faculty during the sudden move to remote learning was highlighted in the Center for Teaching Blog.

Interim Curator Emily Weiner's latest art review is now available in Artforum . Her subject is Nashville-based artist Jodi Hays. Since 1962, Artforum has provided a critical voice for contemporary art and artists. Weiner also had her artwork featured in the David Lusk Gallery (Nashville) in a presentation entitled Fable, a group exhibition exploring a thrift store book titled Famous Fables by Aesop, a storyteller believed to have lived in Ancient Greece between 620 and 564 BCE.

As part of the "A Cross-Campus Network for Digital Projects" grant award, the libraries are part of a team, alongside the Center for Digital Humanities, supporting infrastructure and providing training for digital archives and digital humanities projects at the partner institutions. As part of the "Mappalachia: Optimizing and Sustaining a Digital Humanities Project on Two Campuses" grant award, the libraries are supporting Berea College in their migration of an older digital humanities website to a new site using Omeka. The library team is headed up by Sarah Swanz, librarian for digital media and publishing and Andy Wesolek, director of digital scholarship & scholarly communications.

Director of Science and Engineering Library Honora Eskridge's article "Making Your Case: A Practical Approach for Managers on Getting Funding and Support" was recently published in LLAMA's Library Leadership & Management journal.

Clanitra Nejdl, librarian for research services, presented in an American Association of Law Libraries webinar: Law Library Leadership Opportunities in the Wake of COVID-19 . Nejdl also co-authored the article "Building Strategic Partnerships Through Collaboration Between Law Libraries," which was published in the March/April 2020 issue of the AALL Spectrum.

Sarah Dunaway, librarian for research services, was on the American Association of Law Schools panel on Ranking Legal Scholarship: U.S. News & World Report's New Metric and Its Effect on the Legal Academy during the January 2020 conference.

Meredith Capps, head of faculty services; librarian for foreign and international law; lecturer in law, wrote an article in the ALL-SIS Newsletter: "Using 'Backwards Design' to Update Your 1L Research Curriculum." Katie Hanschke, head of instruction and access services; lecturer in law, edited and published the ALL-SIS Spring/Election Newsletter.

Moderated by Atla's Scholarly Communication and Digital Projects Manager Christine Fruin, a panel presentation on the recent Books@Atla Open Press publication Information Literacy and Theological Librarianship: Theory and Praxis will feature the book's editor Bobby Smiley, interim director of the Divinity Library.

Registrar and Collections Manager Kali Mason was part of a panel sponsored by the Southeastern Museums Conference and the Southeastern Registrar's Association. She discussed how the pandemic has affected museum exhibitions and loans, part of a larger discussion on collections and exhibitions management during a pandemic.

Josh Borycz, librarian for STEM research has co-authored a paper published in the latest issue of PLOS ONE: "Data sharing, management, use, and reuse: Practices and perceptions of scientists worldwide."

Alex Carroll, librarian for STEM research and Honora Eskridge, director of Science and Engineering Library, with their colleague, Bertha Chang published their article "Lab-Integrated Librarians: A Model for Research Engagement," in the January 2020 issue of College & Research Libraries . Their article looks at the changing role of academic libraries within the research life cycle and examines the advantages of embedding librarians in STEM research groups.

Biodiversity Information Standards uniform resource indicators (URI) are now dereferenceable with content negotiation. Users can now put the URI for a metadata term or vocabulary into a web browser and retrieve information about that item. The same URIs can be used by software to automate the process of metadata acquisition by requesting a machine-readable content type. This accomplishment was the result of a multi-year collaborative project that involved several Biodiversity Information Standards working groups as well as the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF). This is an important step in moving forward efforts to support Linked Open Data in the biodiversity informatics community. The software used to handle server dereferencing requests had its origin in projects of the Vanderbilt Libraries Linked Data and XQuery Working Groups. Read more about Steve Baskauf's, data science and data curation specialist, work on the project on his blog.

Chris Waldrop's, library assistant for acquisitions and e-resources, short story, "Daniel And The Gryphon" was published in Static Dreams: Volume 2


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