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The UMass Amherst Libraries’ Digital Scholarship Center (DSC) is assisting Eric Poehler, associate professor of classics at UMass Amherst, in completing the Pompeii Artistic Landscape Project (PALP), for which he received a $245,000 grant from the Getty Foundation.

The project is an online resource of images documenting existing artwork, such as frescoes and mosaics, in Pompeii, Italy. Embedded within these images are various types of metadata—data that provides information about other data—that describe the artwork as well as their locations in Pompeii, allowing scholars to search the database more easily and study the pieces within their architectural contexts.

The DSC is supporting this project by reviewing more than 150,000 images provided by Pompeii in Pictures and adding the metadata to them from Linked Open Data (LOD) resourced: publicly available, standardized data and terminology that interlinks with other data on the web to make searching easier.

“Contributing to the Pompeii Artistic Landscape Project really builds on the Digital Scholarship Center’s expertise with images,” says Brian Shelburne, director of the DSC. “It also allows us to develop new skills that we will use to support future projects by our students and faculty.”

The UMass Amherst Libraries, along with the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) and the University of Nevada-Reno, were recently awarded a $241,845 National Leadership Project Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to fund the development of an immersion program to train faculty and instructors on how to integrate the use of makerspaces, dedicated spaces with technological resources and equipment for project-based collaboration, into their courses.

The impetus for designing such a program comes from the results of a previous IMLS grant-funded pilot study entitled “Maker Literacies and the Undergraduate Curriculum,” which explored the impacts of academic library makerspaces on undergraduate student learning. The UMass Amherst Libraries were chosen by UTA and the University of Nevada-Reno as one of four additional university partners to participate in that study because of the Libraries’ Digital Media Lab (DML), a cross-disciplinary makerspace in the W. E. B. Du Bois Library open to all UMass Amherst students, faculty, and staff, regardless of major or department.

The results of the pilot study demonstrated that academic makerspace instructors need training and support in order to collaborate successfully with faculty on designing makerspace lesson plans and assessing maker literacies. Developing the immersion program and making it openly accessible online would fill this need at both a community and national level with the potential to be built on and scaled as new makerspace practices emerge.

“This grant gives us resources to take what we learned about maker literacies and develop a curriculum for educators,” says Sarah Hutton, head of Student Success and Engagement for the Libraries. “We’re building a community of maker-educators across a wide spectrum that can continue to learn from and engage with each other.”

Thursday, August 1, 2019
4-6 p.m.

W. E. B. Du Bois Center
W. E. B. Du Bois Library, Floor 22, Room 2220

W. E. B. Du Bois: Propagandist and Prophet
It is widely acknowledged that Du Bois’s legacy has been largely defined by his political involvements. In contrast to his rival Booker T. Washington who had a talent for speech, Du Bois diligently “wrote” himself into the leadership of the African American civil rights movement. Whether through journalism, academic research or literature, “Du Bois was fearless in the face of genre - even when some of the genres that he sought to embrace did not fully embrace him in return.” (Henry Louis Gates, The Black Letters on the Sign: W. E. B. Du Bois and the Canon). Though he never gained the title of novelist, as a propagandist, Du Bois fearlessly crossed the borders real and imagined to define and interpret his understanding of race issues. He advocated his belief in the Talented Tenth (The Quest of Silver Fleece), the rise of Africa and Asia as a community of shared future (Dark Princess), the idea of socialism and Marxism (the Black Flame trilogy) through the practice of novels. This research mainly focuses on his speculative short stories. Du Bois investigates the future of race; meanwhile analyzing the “color line”, “double consciousness”, and the “veil” as well as their roles in forming the world with future perspective.

Jingjing Zhang is a 2019 W. E. B. Du Bois fellow and a visiting scholar in the W. E. B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies at UMass Amherst from August 2018 to August 2019. She is currently a lecturer in Zhejiang International Studies University, Hangzhou, China. She completed her PhD in Foreign Languages and Literatures specializing in the tension between art and propaganda in Du Bois’ novels at Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China. She is now working on her provincial project, which is set to be completed in June 2021. The project will present the trajectory of Du Bois’ literary thoughts and his practice of them. It will also include the translation of some important pieces of Du Bois’ works.

Thursday, September 19, 2019
5:30-7:30 p.m.

The University of Massachusetts Club
One Beacon Street, 32nd Floor
Boston

Cocktail Reception and Hors D'Oeuvres 5:30 p.m.
Speaking Program 6 p.m.

Join Friends of the Libraries Ken Gloss ’73 and Joyce Kosofsky ’75, Antiques Roadshow appraisers and proprietors of the Brattle Book Shop, one of America's oldest and largest used book shops. The couple will share stories from the road. Ken will speak about all things books, answer questions, and conduct free appraisals.

Space is limited. Please register here
The first 50 people to register will be entered in a drawing to win a $100 gift certificate to Brattle Book Shop.

Directions
Parking is available under the building at One Beacon Street. The garage entrance is located off of Tremont Street. For GPS directions use the address 31 Tremont Street in zip code 02018. This address is located directly across the street from the entrance to the garage. When 31 Tremont is on your left, the entrance to the garage is on your right.
The entrance can be located by coming to the Club via Cambridge Street. Cambridge Street becomes Tremont Street just past City Hall. Stay in the right lane and look for the sign for “Piperi Restaurant” on the right. Enter the garage immediately before the sign and stay to the left to enter the One Beacon Garage.
Proceed to the lower level of the garage for valet parking.

Parking Rates
EARLY BIRD SPECIAL $32 Enter between 6:00 AM and 9:00 AM Leave before midnight
DAILY MAX $42
NIGHTS AND WEEKENDS $8* *Parking is provided at a discounted evening and weekend rate through The Club. Evening parking begins at 4:00 PM. Upon departure you must pay for your parking with the attendant in the garage office located on level A. Inform the attendant that you are coming from the Club in order to receive the discounted $8 parking rate.

If you do not pay with the attendant and tell them that you are coming from the Club, the rate will be $14 for evening and $12 for weekend parking.

Friday, September 27, 2019
1-4:30 p.m.

Fine Arts Center, UMass Amherst

Tickets available at the Fine Arts Center Box Office for $20. Admission is free for Five College students.

Join the UMass Amherst Libraries and A Network for Grateful Living for a dynamic afternoon of conversation exploring the landscape of engaged spiritual practice and action for social change. We will delve into the places where the personal and political meet as well as pathways that can catalyze and sustain our love, stewardship, and responsibility for the Earth and each other.

The Radical Aliveness and Belonging Symposium is inspired by the life and work of Brother David Steindl-Rast, a 93-year-old Benedictine Monk known as the “grandfather of gratitude” and one of the most important figures in the modern interfaith dialogue movement. Brother David, whose papers are in the UMass Special Collections and are part of their significant holdings documenting social change movements and activists, will be traveling from Austria to participate in the symposium.

The afternoon features accomplished, contemporary scholars, who are also spiritually-inspired activists and leaders, to engage this theme in its many facets. Speakers currently include: 

  • Mirabai Bush, founder of the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society, co-developer of Search Inside Yourself at Google, and recent author of Walking Each Other Home with Ram Dass

  • Lucas Johnson, Executive Director of On Being’s Civil Conversations Project and former leader in the U.S. community of the International Fellowship of Reconciliation, the world’s oldest interfaith peace organization

The afternoon will also include poetry, music, meditation, and other special guests.

Parking Information
UMass Amherst Parking Services has generously arranged for complimentary parking for you to attend this special event.

Complimentary Parking is available in Lots 12, 25 or 33 only. Note: It is approximately a 10-15 minute walk from these lots to the Fine Arts Center.

Handicapped Parking: The Fine Arts Center does provide free handicapped parking in the front of the building.

Paid Parking Options: Parking is also available in the Campus Center Garage.  The Garage Parking rate is $1.75/hr.  The Campus Center Garage is approximately a 10 – 15 minute walk to the Fine Arts Center.

Use our interactive campus map to identify metered parking spots, the campus garage and other locations.

The Radical Aliveness and Belonging Symposium is co-sponsored by A Network for Grateful Living (co-founded by Br. David) and Special Collections and University Archives, UMass Amherst Libraries.

Special Collections and University Archives, UMass Amherst
Drawing upon the philosophy of W. E. B. Du Bois, Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) collects original materials that document the histories and experiences of social change in America and the organizational, intellectual, and individual ties that unite disparate struggles for social justice, human dignity, and equality. Our decision to adopt social change as a collecting focus emerged from considering one of Du Bois’s most profound insights: that the most fundamental issues in social justice are so deeply interconnected that no movement—and no solution to social ills—can succeed in isolation. Rather than focus on individual movements, we therefore focus on the connections between and among movements and the flow of people, organizations, and ideas. Our hope is to provide a more robust framework for interpreting the deep histories of social engagement in America and to lay the foundation for a deeper understanding of the experience of social change. We are home to over one thousand collections which touch on some aspect of social change, including the Du Bois Papers, Brother David Steindl-Rast’s Papers, The Records of the New England Yearly Meeting of Quakers, and the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

A Network for Grateful Living
A Network for Grateful Living is a global nonprofit serving a growing movement of people who embrace gratefulness as a guiding light and grounding principle in their lives. We hold grateful living as an engaged mindfulness practice, grounded in both wisdom and science, which supports our ability to see the wonder and opportunity in every moment, and motivates us to act boldly with love, generosity and respect towards one another, ourselves, and the Earth.

In service of our mission, we offer online and community-based educational programs and practices which inspire and guide a commitment to grateful living, and catalyze the transformative power of personal and societal responsibility.


The UMass Amherst Libraries Digital Media Lab (DML) is pleased to announce Edwood Brice ’19 as the winner of the Lenovo Mirage Solo Virtual Reality Competition. Celebrating the release of Avengers: Endgame, the competition invited students to submit a 30-second video describing how they envisioned virtual reality (VR) technology and applications that could enhance student life on campus. The DML awarded Brice with a Lenovo Mirage Solo VR headset.

Brice’s winning entry introduced VR “exergaming” (gamified exercising paired with virtual reality) as a way to provide a balanced source of physical activity for the UMass Amherst campus community. “With results that say that VR exergaming is objectively easier to conduct and more fun than traditional physical activity, it is apparent that more should be done to understand how VR technology can impact other people and their varying states of health,” he explains.

This is the second virtual reality pitch competition held by the DML. Last year, Parker Louison’s idea for a VR application to develop simulations of various career paths and areas of study won the grand prize: an HTC VIVE VR headset donated by Dr. Steve Acquah, Digital Media Lab Unit Coordinator and Associate Adjunct Professor of Chemistry.

“The VR competition reinforces our commitment to helping the university community learn more about and develop Apps for virtual and augmented reality, as part of a makerspace initiative. The DML is here to help you build Apps for teaching, research, or just for fun,” Acquah says.

As part of that commitment, the DML is also incorporating the Lenovo Mirage Solo VR headset, powered by Google’s Daydream VR platform, into its development support services to help students and staff create applications and immersive environments. The standalone headset uses 6 Degrees of Freedom (6DoF) tracking to allow a person to physically move around in a virtual environment, and is a crowd favorite at DML events.

Katy Greeley, a Business Development Manager for Connection, along with the Lenovo Team from Connection who made the competition’s prize available, says, “I love being able to see what these ingenious students come up with in their creative minds and are able to take an amazing, out of the box idea, design it, and bring it to life. It’s so cool that we are able to help equip them and empower them with this technology to take their futuristic ideas to the next level! Congrats, Edwood—very well deserved!”

Currently located on Floor 3 of the W. E. B. Du Bois Library, the Digital Media Lab is a campus makerspace specializing in providing support for all students, faculty, and staff on 3D printing, video and audio production, 3D modeling, and virtual and augmented reality application development.

The UMass Amherst Libraries Digital Media Lab (DML) recently supported Edwood Brice ’19 in his research on using virtual reality (VR) “exergaming,” or exercising through gaming, as an appealing alternative to traditional forms of exercise.

As detailed in his Commonwealth Honors College thesis, Brice measured step count and intensity of traditional physical activities like body weight squats, elliptical, and walking against those of three virtual reality games with comparable movements: Hot Squat, Fruit Ninja, and Tilt Brush by Google. He used the HTC Vive VR system available in the Digital Media Lab to conduct this experiment.

Brice concluded that although traditional physical activity was objectively more intense and generally produced higher exertion rates, exergaming was a preferred option for over half his participants and remains “a viable form of physical activity, easier to conduct and may be more enjoyable than [traditional physical activity] for college students.”

“Edwood’s work is a critical step forward for the use of VR as a way to promote health, especially as VR devices become untethered and take advantage of the upcoming 5G network infrastructure,” says Dr. Steve Acquah, Digital Media Lab coordinator. “At that point, VR would evolve into the tool we have been waiting for. The DML was able to provide the VR equipment and space to support his research.”

The Digital Media Lab currently offers immersive VR experiences in a dedicated space on Floor 3 of the W. E. B. Du Bois Library. The setup is open for reservations for all UMass Amherst UCard holders, including faculty and staff, from any major or department.

Sarah Hutton presenting at Creative Commons Global Summit. Photo courtesy of Sebastiaan ter Burg, CC BY 2.0.

UMass Amherst Libraries’ Sarah Hutton, head of undergraduate teaching and learning, and Lisa Di Valentino, law and public policy librarian, recently presented at the 2019 Creative Commons Global Summit in Lisbon, Portugal, where nearly 400 attendees gathered to discuss ways to make knowledge sharing more open and accessible.

Their topic, “Students’ Perception of Their Self-Efficacy in the Creation of Open Access Digital Learning Objects,” explored what students in Associate Professor Paul Musgrave’s Experimental Honors Course, Politics at the End of the World (POLSCI 390EW), thought about their own abilities to complete the class’s final group projects. Students were asked to create podcasts discussing political considerations in various “end of the world” scenarios, with the understanding that the projects would be made freely available online, including to students taking this course in the future.

“When you think about what typically motivates students to learn, grades are a common or typical concern,” says Hutton. “We wanted to look at other areas for motivation, such as knowing that their scholarship would be used to teach future students, that it would be freely available to scholars across the globe, and that other scholars could use and adapt it.”

Upon surveying the class, Hutton and Di Valentino discovered that, with those added factors propelling their work, students had “greater than 70 percent confidence in their capabilities across all categories,” including identifying key course concepts and applying them to their own research and conclusions.

Hutton, who learned about the course through the Commonwealth Honors College Curriculum Council, and Di Valentino were drawn to this project as an opportunity for the Libraries to work with, and learn from, Musgrave’s students. “This assignment clearly aligned with several facets of collaboration within the Libraries,” Hutton explains, “including digital media production for which we provide support in the Libraries’ Digital Media Lab; our advocacy for open access publishing, creative commons licensing; and teaching students about the importance of understanding their role in the global scholarship landscape.” Additionally, with her subject specialization in public policy, government, and legal studies, Di Valentino provided key instruction and support regarding attribution licensing and open scholarship tailored to the discipline of the course.

“The ultimate goal,” Di Valentino says, “is to support students both as learners and scholars.”

Final projects are available here for listening.

 

 Adam Quirós, Digital Media Lab Desk Supervisor at the UMass Amherst Libraries, recently won two Telly Awards for his films: gold in general-promotional for Profile of a Brewer: Wunderkammer Bier and bronze in craft-promotional for Making the Man Who Killed Hitler and then The Bigfoot.

Since 1979, the Telly Awards have honored "excellence in local, regional and cable television commercials with non-broadcast video and television programming added soon after. With the recent evolution and rise of digital video (web series, VR, 360 and beyond), the Telly Awards today also reflects and celebrates this exciting new era of the moving image on and offline.

The Telly Awards annually showcases the best work created within television and across video, for all screens. Receiving over 12,000 entries from all 50 states and 5 continents, Telly Award winners represent work from some of the most respected advertising agencies, television stations, production companies and publishers from around the world."

The UMass Amherst Libraries recently announced the recipients of the 2019 Open Education Initiative (OEI) grants. Ten UMass Amherst faculty members received funding for projects to revise or create open educational resources, or OER, defined as teaching materials released with open licenses that allow authors to retain the copyright to their work, while simultaneously granting others permission to revise, remix, and share it.

The Open Education Initiative at UMass Amherst aims to:

  • Lower the cost of college for students in order to contribute to their retention, progression, and graduation
  • Encourage the development of alternatives to high-cost textbooks by supporting the adoption, adaptation, or creation of OER
  • Provide support to faculty to implement these approaches
  • Encourage faculty to engage in new pedagogical models for classroom instruction 

Thanks to generous funding from the UMass Amherst Libraries and Office of the Provost, this year’s winners represent a broad range of disciplines across campus, including Jonathan Hulting-Cohen, Music and Dance, who plans to create an openly-licensed hybrid text/workbook for saxophone technique; Danielle Thomas, Spanish, who is compiling 10 years’ worth of teaching materials into an Advanced Spanish Grammar textbook; and Torrey Trust, Education, who will co-author a textbook with her Teaching and Learning with Technology (EDU 593A) students. Full list of winners here.

“We are seeing more faculty creating customizable teaching tools that are free for students and can also improve how students learn,” said Jeremy Smith, the Libraries’ Open Education & Research Services Librarian; “by utilizing or creating openly licensed teaching materials, instructors are removing a barrier to student success that high-cost textbooks often create.” OER are not appropriate for every class, but “as the number of newly-created OER has drastically increased over the past three years in a wide range of topics, it has become easier to find and customize material for common college courses,” adds Smith.

Now in its tenth cycle, the Open Education Initiative has generated a total savings of over $1.8 million for students in UMass Amherst classes that utilize OER or free Library materials. The Libraries partner with the Institute for Teaching Excellence and Faculty Development (TEFD), Instructional Innovation, and Provost’s Office to support these efforts.