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What's New in the Digital Media Commons?

Fri, 20 Aug 2021 12:03:00 +0000

The Digital Media Commons (DMC) in Jackson Library has been updated with new technology, furniture and renovated spaces, including a new maker lab, podcasting station, media editing room and MAC computers. Additionally, several new printers have been added to the space, including a large format poster printer, a resin 3D printer and a risograph printer. 



“The DMC refresh is the result of years of feedback given to us by our patrons and employees," 

said Dr. Armondo Collins, head of the DMC for University Libraries and visiting assistant professor for the African American and African Diaspora studies program. “The changes we made over the summer were a collaborative effort.” 

Throughout the space, individuals will find updated furniture and technology to accommodate the growing amount of faculty, staff and students served by the DMC every day. The most noticeable upgrade people will see is the Maker Lab, which now has a more prominent location. The DMC has also increased its collection of digital cameras and peripheral technologies, such as tripods, smartphone gimbals and lapel mics in order to provide users access to more emerging technologies. 

Having a dedicated Maker Space in Jackson Library, allows University Libraries to continue its strong tradition of contributing to student success at UNCG. Inspiring current and future students to complete their course assignments more efficiently, effectively and creatively, the DMC encourages students to become digital communicators and effective researchers. Similarly, the DMC works with UNCG faculty to offer flexibility in their curriculum by providing support throughout the course assignment process for students. 

“Our goal was to create an active learning space that reflected our patrons’ needs and the creative expertise offered by our multimedia professionals,”

 said Collins.

This fall, the DMC will launch, “We Make the Culture Hum,” a new internship program that promotes digital research skills among student scholars. These interns will help build UNCG’s "Black Musicians of the Piedmont" collection for University Libraries. The program, administered by Dr. Rhonda Jones, community digital archivist and assistant professor for University Libraries, will be facilitated by the DMC. Public-facing curated projects are slated to roll out this fall and next spring. 



Speaking Volumes

PRESERVING THE PAST FOR THE FUTURE

Preserving the Ephemeral: Issues in Music Conservation

Wed, 01 Sep 2021 13:00:00 +0000

Image: Oberholster Venita on Pixabay
Aside from the text or images that might be written, printed, or drawn on a piece of paper, there can be much more to the historical narrative paper can convey. For example, in the image above, my text is superimposed on the image but otherwise there is no text there. Yet, what do I know about how this piece of paper was used? As you can likely guess, at least the two rings in the upper left corner indicate the person using this paper was likely a coffee drinker. The other drops would need to be tested, but they appear to be ink. It may be difficult to detect in this image, but there is a vertical and horizontal crease line in the page that indicates the paper has been folded. The additional facts related to the paper’s use may or may not become important to a future researcher, but removing this evidence through conservation treatment would deny the researcher an opportunity to consider them at all. 

The conservator may not always know which aspects of damage to an item are important parts of its narrative, the story of how it was used, for the researcher. For this reason, the curator of a collection and the conservator must collaborate in treatment decisions. "Factors involved in the decision-making process for Special Collections include but are not limited to the department’s collection development policy and resulting priorities, internal budget and staffing, high researcher demand, special funding from donors or grants, physical considerations such as format, storage problems, fragility, and administrative decisions based on external university relationships. It should also be noted that many of these areas overlap and some treatment decisions are governed by multiple criteria.” (Seo & Zanish-Belcher, 2006) This collaborative relationship happens behind the scenes in special collections and archives but is integral to a patron’s experience of an artifact. The curator’s insight into research value and future use is critical to the decision making process of the conservator. For example, if a military uniform has a hole in it and blood stains, to remove the stains and mend the hole would deny a researcher the crucial information that the uniform’s owner was at least wounded if not killed while wearing the uniform. As a conservator, I am not always qualified to make those decisions, so I rely on our curators and archivists to consult about any treatments. 

Image: Performer's notations on a music score. Courtesy of Stacey Krim and Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections & University Archives. 


Stacey Krim, Curator of Manuscripts at Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections & University Archives, wrote “Music, like all of the performing arts, is ephemeral in nature. You can never hear how a piece of music sounds when it originates in the composer’s mind. Musical notation, especially prior to audio recording, is the best system we have for historically documenting sound. The standardized body of symbols is like a language, informing the person who can read it with a wealth of information such as how fast or slow, or how low or high a sound is… But, there is another creative layer to this piece of sheet music, and that is the annotations of the performer. Unless you are physically present for a performance, you will never really grasp the powerful, but momentary shared experience of how a performer intellectually, emotionally, and physically interprets and communicates a particular composer’s work to an audience.” 

Image: From SCUA's Bernard Greenhouse collection.
A score can demonstrate how often it was played.
This is precisely why it is critical that the conservator and curator talk through a prospective treatment before it is performed. It is helpful for the conservator to know how the piece will be used in the future. Will it be displayed in an exhibition, handled as part of a class presentation, studied by a researcher, or is it likely to be used very little? As a conservator, my considerations are how much time I should invest, whether the item is a priority for treatment, its research value, and how much stabilization it may need. 

Primary resources, like these music scores, can be duplicated or digitized to enhance access to the items, but it is impossible to fully replicate the experience of studying an artifact in person - a fact that has been discussed regularly over the course of the last year as many archives have been closed or providing only virtual services due to COVID-19. The materiality of the object becomes part of its story. Paper can serve as evidence for how it is used and, in this case, as a witness to the life of the musician using it. Part of the paper’s purpose is activating history as it tells a broader story than just which notes to play. 

Image: Candle wax on a music score. What
might this tell you about the musician using it?
Krim explains, “When a musician is performing from sheet music, there are two critical elements required. The first is that the pages must be flat enough for the musician to easily read, so that any breeze caused by the musician’s movement does not blow over a page. The second is that the musician must be able to easily turn the page, sometimes very quickly, as you have to stop playing your instrument to make a turn.” Often sheet music can be loose leaves of paper, but in many cases we must treat bound copies of scores. If the spine of a bound score is damaged, and it is going to be used for research or a class, then the spine may continue to decompose or crumble. It is important that any treatment performed does not interfere with or impede the function of the object - such as a score that must be opened widely to be viewed and handled. 

Often, musicians get creative in finding their own solutions to the problems of how a score functions. In the image below, cellist Lubomir Georgiev (1951-2005) taped the pages together to facilitate his page turns. It is not the way I might have solved the problem, but thanks to my conversations with Krim, I now appreciate the importance of how paper functions for the musician. 

Image: Courtesy of Stacy Krim.
Georgiev's creative solution.
“Sheet music, with its personalized modifications, can also be viewed as an artifact in which the physical damage imbues the piece with greater meaning beyond the music,” wrote Krim. She continued, “Luigi Silva (1903-1961) was one of the great Italian cellists of the 20th century. As the story goes, when he was young, his father took him to meet several of the great cellists of the early 1900s, including the legendary Pablo Casals, hoping to have Silva taken on as a student. When he met Casals, Silva was told his hands were too small to ever allow him to be a great cellist. Silva dedicated his life to demonstrating Casals incorrect, becoming a renowned teacher, performer, and recording artist. This dirty hand print on the back of a score in his collection is believed to be Silva’s. [Krim's] hand is the hand in the comparison, and as you can see Silva’s hand was a little smaller than [Krim's]. Given the importance of hand size in Silva’s life, this print is something we want conserved.” 

Image: Courstesy of Stacey Krim. Luigi Silva's
handprint next to Stacey Krim's hand
It may be possible to remove, or at least lighten, the hand print or similar markings, but that is one of the decisions that must be made in consultation with the curator. In the case of Silva’s hand print, it is a physical reminder of his ability to overcome the challenge of having small hands to become a gifted musician and teacher. Paper is uniquely suited for recording information quickly in the moment that we want access to for the long term. It is easily transported, can be manufactured almost anywhere in the world, and it is absorbent. We don’t have to carve into stone or etch into metal plates, we simply mark the surface with ink or graphite. That type of notation can communicate the artistry of a master to a budding cellist many years later in a way that a recording of the same music cannot. And, it is due to the collaborative relationship of curator and conservator that the ephemeral, such as a scribbled notation or a hand print, will be protected and preserved.



 _____________________________________

References: 

Sawyer, S. M. & Krim, S. (2021, April). Preserving the Ephemeral: Issues in Music Conservation [Conference presentation]. Society of North Carolina Archivists Annual Meeting, Virtual. 

Seo, H., & Zanish-Belcher, T. (2006). Pitfalls, progress, and partnership. Collection Management, 30(3), 3–19.

UNCG Libraries Diversity and Inclusion Blog

UNCG Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration 2021

Fri, 17 Sep 2021 14:26:00 +0000

You are invited to attend UNCG’s Hispanic Heritage Month celebration from September 15-October 15.

Please join Chancellor Gilliam, Provost Storrs, Alianza Latino Faculty and Staff Association, Undergraduate Admissions, Alumni Affairs, Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures, Counseling Center, Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, College of Visual and Performing Arts, College of Arts and Sciences, School of Education, Office of Intercultural Engagement, Career and Professional Development, Housing and Residence Life, Recreation and Wellness, ALPFA, CAMINOS Lab, Chi Upsilon Sigma Sorority, Corazon Folklorico, Lambda Theta Alpha Sorority, Lambda Theta Phi Fraternity, Ritmo Latino, and SALSA for an exciting series of events.

From music to Café y Conversación to dancing, Zumba, poetry, and more, there’s something for everyone! For a list of events, visit https://intercultural.uncg.edu/hispanic-heritage-month.

UNCG’s Hispanic Heritage Month celebration kicks off tomorrow with Fiesta at the Fountain outdoors at Moran Commons, located in front of Fountainview Dining Hall. 

Meet Hispanic/Latinx student organizations, enjoy music and sweet treats from Latin America. Raffle prizes throughout the event!

UNCG Spartancard and face coverings are required for attendance. #UNCGHHM #UNCGfiesta

What is Hispanic Heritage Month?

September 15 through October 15 was first declared Hispanic Heritage Month by Ronald Reagan in 1988. How has the community changed since then? This dialogue is an opportunity for the Latino community and its allies to reflect on Latino identity development within the broader social, political and economic context in order to gain insight into its future.

Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates the anniversary of the independence of Latin American Countries. September 15 is the independence anniversary of five Latin American countries—Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Mexico declared its independence on September 16, and Chile on September 18.


New DVDs at UNCG

Check-in to see which new DVDs are hitting the shelves in Jackson Library!

New DVDs

Mon, 13 Sep 2021 21:14:00 +0000

ACTION
News of the world
The informer
Monster Hunter
Mortal kombat
WW84
Greenland
Wrath of man
Those who wish me dead
The marksman
Honest thief
Hitman's wife's bodyguard

ANIMATED
The Croods : a new age
Peter Rabbit 2
Spirit untamed
The SpongeBob movie : sponge on the run

COMEDY
Barb & Star go to Vista Del Mar
Queen bees

DRAMA
12 Mighty orphans
Dreamland
Finding you
Judas and the Black messiah
Tesla
Our friend
Wild mountain thyme
The world to come
Minari

MUSICAL
In the Heights

SCI-FI
Voyagers
Godzilla vs. Kong
Tenet

THR
The conjuring. The devil made me do it
Come play
The craft. Legacy
Fatale
Promising young woman
A quiet place. Part II
Spiral : from the book of Saw
Let him go
The little things