how to destroy special collections with social media

I just got back from a wonderful trip to Rare Book School to deliver a talk in their 2015 lecture series. It was the last week of their summer season in Charlottesville, the week when the Descriptive Bibliography course (aka “boot camp”) was in full swing, and the weather was in all its hot, glorious humidity. I wanted to keep things light as well as make some points I feel very strongly about: the importance of librarians and researchers using social media to help sustain special collections libraries.

Below are the slides and my notes for my July 29th talk. Since RBS records and shares the audio of their talks (go browse through past RBS lectures and listen!) I have, with their permission, also embedded the audio of my talk here so that you can listen and read along if you’d like (there are some variations between the two, though nothing substantive—I’ll leave you to decide which is the authoritative version…). § continue reading

Aside

resources: digitized early printed books

Sometimes I give talks about the challenges and opportunities for digitizing early printed books. I prefer to do this by looking at lots of different examples, including lots of different reproductions of different copies of the same book or different reproductions of the same copy of a single book. I keep a periodically updated list of these things to draw from when I’m teaching, and I thought some of you might like to draw on it as well. It’s a page of links rather than notes on my thoughts on the subject, but in some cases, they’re books I’ve written about before and I link to those pieces. § continue reading

disembodying the past to preserve it

What follows is a keynote I gave at the Digital Preservation 2013 conference on July 23, 2013. If you’re curious, there’s a video up of the talk and the Q & A as well and a pdf of the slides I showed (some of which vary from what I’ve shown here).

“Disembodying the past to preserve it”

I am, as you’ve heard, not someone who focuses on issues of digital preservation. I’m a book historian and performance scholar who works at a cultural heritage organization that is focused on the preservation and exploration of centuries-old objects. I think about the digital and preservation from the perspective of someone who studies the past and seeks new ways to make it accessible to scholars and the public. § continue reading

What do we want from online facsimiles of Shakespeare?

Over at The Collation last week, I wrote a blog post providing a quick explanation for what might be gained from looking at multiple copies of digital facsimiles of the First Folio and linking to the eight copies I’ve found. Mostly what I was interested in there was the availability of such things and a taste of the joys of copy-specific reading. Here I want to look at what actually matters to me a bit more: the usability of such resources. It should be perfectly clear, but I’m going to say it anyway, just to be safe. This is my personal site and I am not representing the Folger’s point of view here, only my own as a user of such resources. § continue reading

where material book culture meets digital humanities

Below is the text from a talk I gave at the Geographies of Desire conference, held at the University of Maryland on April 27-28. Almost everything that I said there is something that I’ve said here before, so faithful readers won’t find much that’s new. But I promised I’d stick it up here, so here it is! If you’re simply looking for the set of links to the resources I mentioned, you can find those on Pinboard. I haven’t included all of my slides here, but you can find those here. I haven’t included all my ad-libbing either, but you would have had to have been there for that. § continue reading

traces of my dad

Arnold Werner, 1938-2007 (self-portrait)

When I was a kid, my father wrote a weekly column for the student newspaper at Michigan State University, where he taught. “The Doctor’s Bag” ran in the State News for six years, from 1969 through 1975. It was eventually syndicated and ran in 50 campus newspapers, with a circulation of around 600,000. What this means, in part, is that when I was little people used to ask me if my dad was “The Doctor’s Bag.” (That’s how they used to phrase it: Is your dad “The Doctor’s Bag?”) I had no idea what the column was; I just knew he wrote it. § continue reading