Virginia Commonwealth University

Make it real.

Archive | August, 2015

The Vernacular Tradition: A video account of math manuscripts

Find It

The Vernacular Tradition
James Branch Cabell Library Storage
QA21 .V47 1987

This video gives a fascinating narration
of early mathematics text written in the vernacular language. The Vernacular Tradition, as the title implies, explores the translation of mathematics written with practical application to everyday life. It gives an account of problem solving using mathematical methods. One example is the system of double-entry bookkeeping used in accounting.

Two remarkable works are mentioned in the video, one Greek and one Italian. The Italian work, Summa de Arithmetica, Geometria, Proportioni et Proportionalita, written by Luca Pacioli, was published in 1494. The narrator takes the viewer through translations of this rare book, which is in the collection of the Cambridge University Library. Hearing and following the narrator through the chapters of this remarkable Renaissance scholarly work is the next best thing to reading the book itself.

Find It

By Ibironke Lawal, engineering and science collections librarian

Image: Creative Commons

History in Your Hands: A digitized Dickinson letter

Emily_DickinsonFinding aid

A 17-word letter from poet Emily Dickinson to a neighbor is now widely available to researchers through a new “History in Your Hands” exhibit in the online VCU Libraries Gallery.

Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) lived most of her life in the family home in Amherst, Mass. She lived quietly. While often identified as a recluse, Dickinson kept close relations through correspondence, which often included poems.

The VCU Libraries letter was written to Mrs. Henry F. (Adelaide Spencer) Hills, the wife of  a businessman. The Hills family had their summer home in Amherst. Adelaide was a frequent correspondent with her neighbor, Emily. After Mrs. Hills’ death in 1910, the letter passed into the hands of her children, specifically her daughter Susan Clapp Hills Skillings, and then to Susan’s heirs. The letter was purchased for the VCU Libraries in 1972 by The James Branch Cabell Library Associates Board. It is the only Dickinson letter VCU Libraries holds.

Like much of Dickinson’s correspondence, this letter is a brief note, written in pencil. Thomas H. Johnson, who published the authoritative work of Dickinson letters, identifies this as letter #614 with a possible publication date of 1879. Prior to the letter’s recent digitization and online publication, it was known only to scholars through transcriptions. Because of its fragility, access to the letter is restricted. Permission to view the original must be granted by the head of Special Collections and Archives. Inquire at the reading room desk or send an email to libjbcsca@vcu.edu.

If you’re interested in learning more about the poet and her work, the Emily Dickinson Museum offers many resources related to Emily Dickinson and to Dickinson scholarship. The two major collections for Emily Dickinson’s manuscripts and family papers are Amherst College and Harvard University.

* * *

About the History in Your Hands series of exhibits:

Every archival collection holds a story. Manuscripts and artifacts bear witness to past events, but only a careful researcher can piece together the facts of history and reveal the narrative within the collection. VCU Libraries Special Collections and Archives houses many fascinating primary source materials that wait for inquisitive minds to study them. History in Your Hands exhibits present featured manuscript collections that we believe merit further research. Only when you take “history in your hands” can you begin the process that will allow the full story to be shared.

If you have any questions or comments regarding these materials or this exhibition, please contact the Special Collections and Archives staff in James Branch Cabell Library.

Finding aid

Image:  Emily Dickinson. Daguerreotype. ca. 1847 is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. This image is in the public domain. Amherst College Archives & Special Collections is the home of the original.

Portals to the Past: 1898 catalog offers RVA design details

Find Itrsz_page_55resized

The newest addition to VCU Libraries’ digital collections featuring architectural elements of the American South is a catalog of doors, windows, mantels and sashes for 1880s buildings.

Thomas E. Stagg was a 19th century Richmond, Va. firm and manufacturer of sashes, blinds and doors for the construction of homes and businesses. Operations were run out of an office and storage space at 1444 E. Main St.

This 1898 “vest-pocket” edition of the Stagg catalog–likely intended to be used on building sites–includes order instructions, price lists and measurements. The Digital Collections catalog is searchable and has hundreds of detailed images of window sashes, doors, columns, mantles, corner and plinth blocks available from the Stagg company.

Many of these architectural and decorative elements are seen throughout Richmond’s historic private and commercial buildings.

According to window restorer and woodworker Dixon Kerr in an article, “How to Copy Vintage Millwork” posted on the Old House Authority website, Richmond was an area prominent in the manufacture of millwork sold throughout the United States. Kerr writes: “In the late 1880s there were approximately a dozen such businesses in Richmond with 30 to 50  employees: Thomas E. Stagg, at 1421 Cary St.; J.J. Montague, at the corner of 9th and Arch Streets; Hare and Tucker, at 2318 Main St.; Whitehurst and Owen, at Byrd and 10th Streets; DuVal & Robertson, at 11th and Porter and 7th & Hull Streets; and Binswanger & Company, at 1427 E. Main St. Binswanger, now a commercial glass company, is still in business; Siewer’s Lumber Company and Ruffin and Payne, still in business, were also in business at the time. Beckstoffer & Son continued in the business until the early 21st century.”

Copyright

Materials in this collection are in the public domain, and thus are free of any copyright restriction. Please acknowledge VCU Libraries if any of the materials are used.

Additional Research Information

The print catalog is housed in Special Collections and Archives at James Branch Cabell Library. For more information, see the catalog record. Please direct reference and research inquires to libjbcsca@vcu.edu or call (804) 828-1108.

Image: Cottage Doors, page 55, Thomas E. Stagg catalog

Find It

 

Underground and Independent Comics and Graphic Novels

Find It

Underground and Independent Comics, Comix and Graphic Novels is the first scholarly database that is focused on adult comic books and graphic novels.

Browse through one of the thousand of titles, including works like “Terrific Comics” and “Pocket Full of Rain and Other Stories.” It includes more than 75,000 pages of original material dating back to the 1950’s.

Comic, comix and graphic novel enthusiasts are able to browse through a number of categories such as characters, genres, publishers and subjects. The advanced search option gives comic enthusiasts the ability to search for specific titles, art credits and colorings. The database also allows users to create themed collections of materials based on their choice of themes, authors and more. The help option gives useful tips on browsing through subjects, creating playlists and answers to frequently asked questions.

Find It

By Katlyn Pierre, public relations intern. For more information about this resource or others

Image: Underground and Independent Comics, Comix and Graphic Novels

Anatomy.TV: Structures of the human body

Find It

Anatomy.TV provides users with quality, in-depth information on the entire composition of the human body.

The database divides the body into nine sections for users to search through, including the head and neck, the foot and ankle and the thorax and abdomen. Along with the general structure, users are given the MRI, slides and movies on a particular section of the body.

To help users better understand the general workings of the body, Anatomy.TV offers interactive quizzes, 3D atlases and activities. The 3D atlas allows users to click on various arteries, bones and organs to more closely inspect their locations and functions. Users can access the interactive quizzes to test their knowledge on particular parts of the human body and to get an in-depth review of the body parts and their functions through a “review” button that links to that body part.

A catalog of videos is also available to help users comprehend what body parts allow humans to do certain movements. The VCU Libraries’ subscription to AnatomyTV now includes the Real Time feature. Real Time allows users to view three-dimensional images of human anatomy and capture images of selected views to later insert into emails and presentations. Real Time works best through Internet Explorer.

Find It

By Katlyn Pierre, public relations intern. For more information about this resource or others

Updated by Talicia TarverResearch and Education Librarian, Tompkins-McCaw Library

Image: Anatomy.TV

Dance in Video: Dance technique and style reference

Find It

With more than 500 hours of video to choose from dance enthusiasts are able to find instructional dance videos from a variety of genres. It contains genres from contemporary ballet to avant-garde. Watch Frederic Franklin and Stanley Zompakos beautifully recreate excerpts from Mozartiana or discover the proper center work techniques with the Finis Jhung Ballet. There is a video for everyone to enjoy.

The database offers insight into dance moves from the most influential performers and companies of the 20th century with nearly 800 videos to access. Dance in Video provides users with in-depth coverage on dance techniques and styles for dance lovers to discover.

Find It

By Katlyn Pierre, public relations intern. For more information about this resource or others

Image: Creative Commons

Journal of Social Theory: Art education resouce

Scholars Compas

Find It

An important publication in the arts world, The Journal of Social Theory in Art Education, now has a new publishing base: Virginia Commonwealth University’s Scholars Compass.

VCU Libraries launched it in mid-summer. Paper proposals for the next thematic issue on “Navigating Divides” will also be managed through Scholars Compass. Deadline for submission is October 15.

Published annually since 1980, and currently edited by a VCU faculty member, The Journal of Social Theory in Art Education (JSTAE) serves as an alternative voice in art education. It showcases research that addresses social issues, action and transformation as well as creative methods of research and writing. JSTAE is the official journal of the Caucus of Social Theory in Art Education, an issues group of theNAEA National Art Education Association.

“We were founded to represent points of view that have not always been embraced or accepted by mainstream journals,” said Editor Melanie Buffington, Ph.D., an associate professor of Art Education at VCUArts. “As a journal, we are open to a range of article formats and different points of view. There are numerous traditional journals in the field. We co-exist alongside them and present a range of voices.”

The intersection of arts and society provides a broad canvas for JSTAE. Recent article topics include craft as activism, feminist zines, religion and visual culture, freedom of speech and censorship, and public monuments and memorials. Many of the ideas explored and theories investigated have immediate real-world applications in schools, non-profits, galleries, public art offices and other community resources that generally lack access to scholarly journals.

“Anyone who is interested in the content, anywhere in the world can now access it,” Buffington said. “The theories our members and authors embrace often address underserved populations, so making these ideas freely available to a wider audience is appropriate for our mission.”

Outreach beyond academic circles was appealing to Buffington, who particularly wants teachers to have access to these ideas that can translate to classroom use. For the first time, the peer-reviewed journal’s full archives, from the first issue in 1980 to the present, are openly available online.

An additional appeal to Scholars Compass, she said, is posting contributions that go beyond text and include robust images, video, audio and interactive components. “Contemporary artists expand the limits of works of art. It is fitting that an art education journal expands the limits of what is an article.”

JSTAE is a sound example of the kind of journal that is well suited to open-access publishing. It serves the public and also serves scholarship. Its content has public-serving purposes and fulfills VCU’s mission of translational research–moving findings and ideas from the academy quickly into the public realm, where scholarship can improve quality of life and society.

“Given the international prominence of VCU’s School of the Arts and the established reputation of JSTAE, this is a great fit for Scholars Compass,” said Jimmy Ghaphery, Head of Digital

Technologies for VCU Libraries. “We expect the journal to continue to grow in exposure and gain readership through our search engine optimization. We are also very excited that the journal embraces open-access publishing as a way to share its content as widely as possible. This is especially rewarding to me in a field like art education, where many of the practitioners do not have access to high priced subscription journals.”

“This is our first full peer-reviewed open access journal in Scholars Compass since we launched less than one year ago,” said Sam Byrd, Digital Collections Systems Librarian at VCU Libraries. “We invite more faculty to bring their projects to VCU Libraries. We’re here to help.”  Byrd can be contacted at sbyrd2@vcu.edu.

About Scholars Compass

Academic journals are at the foundation of scholarship. As digital access becomes more the norm and prices of printed or electronic journals continue to rise unchecked, academic libraries nationwide are providing affordable avenues for easier publication online and management of the peer-review process. Run by VCU Libraries, Scholars Compass provides technical support and training to faculty who want to manage journals, peer-review processes, conferences, conference proceedings and reports and much more. Have a project to discuss? Contact: Sam Byrd, sbyrd2@vcu.edu.

Find It

Image: Illustration of an article on assessment by Sharif Bey, Syracuse UniversityThe Journal of Social Theory in Art Education, Cover, No. 34