What is a THATCamp?

THATCamp, short for The Humanities and Technology Camp, is part of the unconference movement.  It is open to anyone with an interest in the Humanities & Technology (both broadly defined).  THATCamps are informal and active- there are no presentations, presenters, or audiences.

But what will we talk about?  That’s the best part!  The participants will decide the agenda the morning of the unconference.  Once accepted to a THATCamp, participants may pose discussion topics that interest them-  usually at the intersection of Humanities and Technology.  The group will vote and set the schedule.  For more information on or examples of  proposals, please visit THATCamp Lehigh Valley.  So come prepared to chat, teach, make, or play on March 1-2, 2013.

In addition to the unconference day, there will also be a series of workshops, which are designed for those with an interest in DH (Digital Humanities).  Workshops are designed as introductions to these tools.  There will be two large group sessions- Introduction to WordPress and Project Management.  Participants will also choose one small group session on Digitization 101, Academic Blogging, Mapping Your World, or Omeka.  For a full description of each of these workshops, please visit, THATCamp Lehigh Valley.

Registration will open Jan. 3, 2012.  It is free to attend with the generous support from Friends of Lehigh Libraries, the Humanities Center, Faculty Development, the College of Arts and Sciences, and with the support of a Core Competencies Grant.

Still a bit unsure about THATCamp, please contact Jessica (jea211) with any questions.  Or check out our copy of Mob Rule Learning by Michelle Boule.  Boule’s work examines the philosophical underpinning of the unconference movement.

In Brief:

Who: Faculty, Students, Cultural Institutions, Archives, Libraries, and Technologists

Where: Lehigh University

When: March 1-2, 2013

Registration: Jan. 3, 2013



The Brown and White on Presidential Elections

Four years ago today, the Brown and White’s front page headline read as: “Obama Wins Election and State”

The Brown and White digital archives is a rich resource for researching the presidential elections as well as many other political topics. It’s a true treasure for understanding the students’ perspective of the political climate in different decades. Users can search, browse, read, save and/or print articles from the digital archives of the B&W which hasn’t ceased its publication since it’s start in 1894.

The current Brown and White can be read in print and online at: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/thebrownandwhite/

You can also follow the B&W on Facebook and Twitter.


Linderman Library + The Rainbow Room

Question: What do Albus Dumbledore, John Maynard Keynes, David Sedaris and Anderson Cooper all have in common?

Answer: They are four of 35 plus individuals highlighted in Linderman’s new display for LGBTQIA Month – celebrating the theme, It Gets Better.  Representatives from each of the broad academic fields – Humanities, Social Sciences, Science, Math, & Business plus Athletics – are currently on display.  The individuals were chosen both for their professional achievements and their support of the LGBTQIA community- either as an ally or by living openly.  Their scholastic works are also featured, highlighting LTS resources.  Please stop in & see who represents your field of study, pick up materials from the Rainbow Room, join the Proud to be an Ally Campaign, and continue on to the Gallery at Rauch to see works by Keith Haring or to Zoellner to see works inspired by John Cage.


Constitution or “Plan of the New Federal Government”

by Arielle Willett, Class of 2015, and Ilhan Citak, Librarian

Happy Constitution Day!

While many Americans celebrate the 4th of July with fireworks, parties, and parades, there is another very important day in our history that often goes unobserved- Constitution Day. Celebrated today, September 17, this day commemorates the original signing of the Constitution in 1787, and recognizes all those who are citizens of the United States. It was almost 250 years ago that the founding fathers of our country met for the last time at the Constitutional Convention and finalized this document, thereby laying the groundwork for a new system of government.

The printed version of the United States Constitution first time appeared in the September 19, 1787 issue of the Pennsylvania Gazette.

On the left is the original article from the Wednesday, September 19, 1787 issue of the Pennsylvania Gazette, outlining to the public the terms of their country’s new constitution. Published by Benjamin Franklin, the Gazette had a large audience, reaching many of the early American colonies and states. It was mainly used for classified ads and other personal inquiries. It is an excellent primary source that proves how much has changed over the past two and a half centuries; on the back page, one can see classifieds offering rewards for missing horses set next to rewards for runaway slaves and indentured servants-

Front page of the September 19, 1787 issue of the Pennsylvania Gazette.

Since the original signed constitution was a handwritten document, the Pennsylvania Gazette’s September 19 version is considered to be the first print copy of it. In almost perfect condition, this document gives us unique insight into early American history. In our hands we are holding the newspaper that first introduced our constitution to the public. It was in this paper that, centuries ago, people were reading this article and seeing for the first time the principles and ideas that laid the foundation upon which our present day government is built.

The Pennsylvania Gazette, along with other rare and historical documents, can be found in Special Collections at Linderman Library. To see or learn more about any of these documents, please contact Special Collections.

Special Collections student assistants (L-R) Arielle Willett, Ali Yeager, Zion Um are examining the September 19, 1787 issue of the Pennsylvania Gazette.


The Dog Days of Summer are Here

Sweetzels are back on grocery store shelves. Scott Hanson is sharpening pencils and picking out ties. Staples is selling one ¢ packs of filler paper again. These are clear signs that summer is waning fast, but that doesn’t mean that we should relinquish summer vacation without a fight. Three weeks is more than enough time to squeeze in one or two summer reading books before the Fall semester starts. Here are three recommendations for books to read in the hammock during the lazy hazy crazy days of August.

Piccadilly Jim. By P.G. Wodehouse. Available for free from http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/2005 This story is pure Wodehouse magic. It has multiple cases of mistaken identities, a ne’er-do-well hero who falls in love at first sight with a red-headed heroine whose temper matches her hair, a passel of geniuses to plague the long-suffering man of the house, a yappy purse dog who bites at the right time, and lots & lots of snappy British slang. Pour yourself a b&s. Have a plate of cucumber sandwiches within reach. Make sure there are no aunts lurking nearby. Then escape into the kind of loopiness that only Wodehouse can provide.

Sparkling Cyanide, by Agatha Christie. London: Published for the Crime Club by Collins, 1964. Location: L-3-STACKS Call Number: 828.5 C555sp  One of the biggest (and happiest) surprises for me when I  first came to Lehigh was discovering our vast Agatha Christie collection. Someone must have taught a class on Agatha Christie at one time because we have nearly every novel in our collection that she published. Sparkling Cyanide is one of the best ones, with plot twists and plenty of red herrings. I guarantee you will be surprised by the identity of the murderer. Agatha Christie wrote good solid murder mysteries with no gimmicks to distract the reader from the plot. Her books are not of the cosy mystery genre. No crime solving cats here! Instead you will get a finely crafted puzzle that will challenge you to deduce the solution before the final denouement.

Baltasar and Blimunda, by José Saramago. 1st U.S. ed. San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1987. Location: L-3-STACKS Call Number: 869 S243meE This last selection is a bit more challenging than the first two, but well worth the effort. First published in Portuguese as Memorial do Convento, this superb translation by Giovanni Pontiero of Nobel prize-winner José Saramago’s novel is at its core a love story between two peasants in 18th century Portugal. Baltasar is an ex-soldier and a drover who has a hook for a left hand. Blimunda is a clairvoyant who can see the insides of people and things. Although a love story winds through the whole book, Baltasar and Blimunda  is not even remotely of the romance genre. Rather, the love story resembles a real life relationship in which two people meet, know that they love each other, and so they are together. No vampires. No zombies. Just plain true love. Saramago inserts historic figures and events such as musician/composer Domenico Scarlatti, Father Bartolomeu de Gusmão, and  the construction of the Convent of Mafra. He writes about class, the Inquisition, religion, war, aviation, to name a few of his themes, but he always comes back to Baltasar and Blimunda. This book took me so long to get through because I would keep re-reading passages aloud, enchanted by the beauty of the language or stunned by a particularly insightful passage.

Enjoy the rest of your summer.  When you get back to campus, please stop by the Libraries to see what we’ve been up to over the break. Pop your head into the Humanities Librarian office to tell me how you liked these books. Check out our latest exhibit, At the Podium: The Speeches of Lee Iacocca, 1978-2011. We’ll have the coffee on in Lucy’s Café.

Lehigh Refrigerator

During finals week this spring, Linderman Library wanted to show its support for our students slogging it out in the academic trenches. We provided a sugar rush of Dum Dums & Tootsie Rolls and an arts & crafts study break.  Some drew pictures, others left messages, and a few used the crayons to colorfully work out problems.  We accepted the drawings of the students and are sharing them with you.

…take me to the fair

(This blog post was written by Lois Black, Curator of Special Collections. It was posted on her behalf by Heather Simoneau.)

Book fairs are fascinating events, which vary tremendously in nature and content.  I had the opportunity to attend three such venues over the course of a month, partly out of personal interest, and in part with the goal of expanding the already rich holdings of Lehigh’s Special Collections. I began my journey with a trip to one of the grandest of them all, the New York Antiquarian Book Fair, normally held at the Armory on Park Avenue the first weekend in April. This grand 19th century edifice is a perfect venue for the fair, which encompasses close to 200 booksellers from all over the world. Tomes, ranging from illuminated manuscripts to early scientific works to first editions of the Harry Potter series were exhibited. Counted among my great finds for Lehigh’s Special Collections was a six-volume set of Hazard’s United States Commercial and Statistical Register (1840), a useful compendium of “important information on any issue that might have an impact on business throughout the country.”

Hazard’s United States Commercial and Statistical Register (1840)
Hazard’s United States Commercial and Statistical Register (1840)

The following week I found myself at a very different sort of fair, the Friends of the Hunterdon County Library Book Sale. Proceeds from the sale, which took place in the National Guard Armory in Flemington, NJ, benefit the local library system. In preparation for the event, donations of books were solicited for the entire month of March, and clearly the donation drive was a success – more than 100,000 items were received in time for the sale. To the reader with a voracious appetite for current fiction, the sale was an ideal opportunity to stock up.  Authors such as John Grisham, Stephen King, Tom Clancy, and Barbara Kingsolver were present in abundance, remarkably well represented by row upon row of hardcover books in pristine condition. It was heartening to see consumers were still reading (even if not retaining in their personal libraries) the printed word. In addition to the thousands of bestsellers represented in vast quantities, non-fiction was also well represented in such categories as biography, travel, and cookbooks.

And most recently, another fair beckoned at the end of April. Long an attendee of traditional book fairs, I found this event to be an eye-opening experience. Thinking it would offer a treasure-trove of documents relevant to local and regional history, I was surprised to learn that its content was varied and the event attracted participants nationwide. The Great Eastern U.S. Spring Antique Book, Paper, and Advertising Show (or Allentown Paper Show as it is familiarly known), was a two-day event that took place at the Agricultural Hall, Allentown Fairgrounds. Dealers, representing a vast range of material and experience, exhibited items ranging from old movie posters to rare books to artifacts. Artifacts and colorful advertisements caught the eye of many attendees. And the postcards. Oh, the postcards. This Special Collections Curator has not seen quite so many in her lifetime.

Recent Acquisition of Postcards Featuring Bridges
Recent Acquisition of Postcards Featuring Bridges

There are indeed treasures to be found at each of the venues, and whether you attend as a serious consumer or curious visitor, I encourage you to sample the atmosphere at each just for the experience. The possibilities are endless – and doors may be opened to inspire new initiatives, hobbies, and interests.…


LF Black

On the Devilstrip

As a small child in Akron, Ohio, I enjoyed the thrill of riding trikes and bikes up and down the block. But joy was tempered by a rule. We kids were told to stay off the “devilstrip,” the forbidden strip of grass that separated the safe environment of the sidewalk from the dangers of the street. Outside of Akron, I later discovered, the useful word “devilstrip” was unknown. It was missing from dictionaries, except for one —  the Dictionary of American Regional English, a charming collection of regional terms that confirmed that only people in Northeastern Ohio used the word “devilstrip.”  But publication of  volumes after the one with “D” was *very* slow.   Last week — finally! — the news media –Reuters, NPR, Wall Street Journal and others — heralded the publication of the long-awaited fifth and final volume of the Dictionary of American Regional English (DARE), which concluded spunkily with “zydeco.”

Read More »

Go Lehigh!

To celebrate the Men’s basketball team’s appearance tonight in the NCAA tournament against Duke, I asked some of my LTS colleagues to share their favorite Lehigh basketball memories. To start: I was lucky enough to attend Lehigh during the Queenan/Polaha years, so I saw plenty of P’s and Q’s being hung on the railings in Stabler. My favorite memory was from my sophomore year when my friends and I took the bus down to Towson to watch Lehigh win the East Coast Conference. It was so exciting to watch Lehigh get into the NCAA tournament for only the second time ever. I still remember my (now) husband and his friends shouting at the ref and casting aspersions on how the poor man treated his wife. All of which I am sure were untrue. A less pleasant memory from that year was when Dick Vitale said that he’d drive the bus back to Bethlehem if Lehigh upset Temple. To this day, I don’t like that guy. At any rate, good luck to the basketball team. Go Lehigh!

Tim McGeary ’99:
My favorite memory is becoming good friends with Jared Hess (1978-2008), team captain, 1130-point scorer, and ultimate example of what’s great about Lehigh scholar-athletes.  Jared was featured in John Feinstein’s book “The Last Amateurs”, and accomplishment as much off the court as he did on the court.  Jared volunteered to be on the search committee that brought in Billy Taylor and Brett Reed to the Lehigh coaching staff.

Jared conducted himself above reproach and with optimism, even in the face of adversity, injury, and ultimately leukemia.  Jared’s crowning moment on the court came in the 1999 Patriot League Tournament when he led Lehigh, who had gone winless in the league that season, to an upset victory against the #2-seeded Navy.  But his attitude and spirit is what made him a true winner.

Mark Canney:
I became acquainted with the Lehigh Men’s and Women’s Basketball programs when my kids attended the basketball camps a couple of years ago.  To me, the basketball programs at Lehigh represent the very best of what Lehigh University is all about – excellence, quality instruction, mentoring, and a family atmosphere.  My children were coached by many of their favorite players, they were welcomed into the rotation of ball boy/ball girl at home games, and some of the coaches and players still greet my kids when they see them at Stabler.

Our favorite memories include when the Men, led by Seniors Zahir Carrington, Prentice Small and Michael Ojo  won the Patriot League Championship on our home court in 2010 and the Women, led by Erika Prosser and Alex Ross, won the Women’s Patriot League Championship the same year.  Also, this year, we were in attendance when Junior CJ McCullum – a projected NBA prospect – collected his 2000th point.  We’ve been privileged to witness him score many of these in person.


Happy Birthday, Mr. Dickens!

My love of Dickens started in 1998 after the birth of my second child. When I found myself strenuously defending my choice of a favorite Wiggle (the Yellow Wiggle, duh!) to another mother at playgroup, I realized some intellectual stimulation was urgently needed. Thus was born my Dickens of a Year. I set a goal of reading all the works of Charles Dickens in the course of a year. For the record, it took me three years to read all the novels. I still have much of his non-fiction, plays, and poetry left to read.

Anyone who stops by my office will see a book truck filled with my personal copies of all of Dickens’ works and selected biographies. The bottom shelf of the cart contains library materials – books of criticism about Dickens. I dismantled and transported my shrine from home to my office (did I mention I have a Dickens shrine?) because I need to use this material to help plan the Library’s upcoming exhibit, The Familiar Dickens: Illustrated and Evaluated. This exhibit will open March 22nd in Linderman Library. All this background information is to establish that I have been thinking a lot about Dickens lately, especially about why I love his work so and about why I think it is more important than ever to teach his works.

Let us get this out of the way from the start: Dickens wrote Big Long Books. There is no denying that. Unfortunately, in this snippet world in which we now live, Big Long Books are a tough sell. Not an impossible sell, as we can see by the popularity of the Harry Potter books, but still a tough sell. The length of the books makes them particularly challenging to fit into a syllabus. Reading and studying two Dickens titles in a semester seems ambitious to me.

There is the age of these books to consider. Really, what could a Victorian novelist have to teach us in our complicated, twenty-first century world? Could Dickens have even imagined a world in which the threat of terrorism is an everyday part of life? Well, yes, in  A Tale of Two Cities, Dickens does a shiver-inducing good job conveying the fear and uncertainly of Paris during the Reign of Terror. What about the materialism of our culture? Check out Hard Times, my personal favorite. The increasing disparity of income? That was a problem in Victorian England, too, and Dickens covers it in a number of his books, but again I am going to recommend A Tale of Two Cities because it serves as a cautionary reminder of what happens when the gap between the rich and the poor gets too wide. Dickens comes to mind even when I watch the news. When I hear politicians talk about their plans for the poor, I think of A Christmas Carol when the Ghost of Christmas Present chastises Scrooge for his earlier comment that the poor should die and decrease the surplus population. The Ghost of Christmas Present says, “forbear that wicked cant until you have discovered what the surplus is, and where it is. Will you decide what men shall live, what men shall die? It may be that in the sight of Heaven you are more worthless and less fit to live than millions like this poor man’s child. Of God! to hear the Insect on the leaf pronouncing on the too much life among his hungry brothers in the dust!” That the Ghost of Christmas Present urges Scrooge to learn and practice empathy for the poor is a message that those who govern or who aspire to govern would do well to remember.

Even now, one hundred forty-two years after his death, Dickens has so much to teach us about social justice, about equity, and about just plain being decent honorable people. All of his works are available in the Library’s collection. They are all also freely available online at websites like Project Gutenberg. Today, to celebrate the 200th birthday of an author widely considered to be the greatest novelist ever to write in the English language, try one of his books. A good place to start is with A Christmas Carol. If you have seen any of the many movie versions, you know the gist of the story. Now is your chance to see what the movies left out. In particular, look for the scene in which we learn what happened to Scrooge’s former fiancée. This scene is often omitted, which is a shame since it really puts into perspective the true cost of what Scrooge has lost. Happy reading! My birthday wish for you is to find as much joy and as much pleasure as I have found in reading Charles Dickens’ works.