You can find these titles and other recent acquisitions on the Art History / Classics Library’s New Book Shelf.
How important is a word to a particular genre?
Who initiates violence more often: protesters or police?
What if we could search for things based on shape, rather than keywords?
At a conference for the digital humanities hosted by UC Berkeley, computer scientists and humanists gathered from around the U.S. to discuss bold research questions like these, made possible by growing stores of data in digital libraries and a few new machine learning tricks.
One such library is HathiTrust, a digital database of 16 million volumes. The organization, co-located at Indiana University and the University of Illinois, also has a research arm: the HathiTrust Research Center, or HTRC, which offers tools and guidance for researchers wanting to mine the collection for new discoveries in human language and history.
In late January, the center held its 2018 HTRC UnCamp, filling the fifth floor of Moffitt Library with project presentations and crash courses on textual analysis. The conference also included break-out sessions throughout campus, in the D-Lab and the Berkeley Institute for Data Science, or BIDS.
The goal of the UnCamp was to pull together the diverse group of researchers using HathiTrust, from educators and librarians to community members, explained Robert McDonald, associate dean for research & technology strategies at Indiana University.
This conference in particular was exciting, McDonald said, because of a surge in community engagement and attendance as people have become more familiar with the database. About 150 people registered for this conference, he said, compared with about 30 at the last UnCamp, in 2015.
On its website, HathiTrust boasts several built-in algorithms that help researchers learn new things about texts based on their metadata — features such as word usage and page numbers. Most of the digitized texts in the collection are still under copyright, so researchers are cut off from studying them in traditional ways.
The benefit of HathiTrust’s database is that computers, not humans, are searching the texts, so researchers can still discover important linguistic clues without violating copyright.
The web-based tools on the site radically expand what researchers can do with their work. But perhaps more significantly, those capabilities also widen circles in the humanities, by introducing the need for new skills and surprising collaboration.
“Most humanities people, we just work alone — we sit in a room and write, or read,” said Loren Glass, an English professor at the University of Iowa who is using the database to study the relationship between where a writer is from and what they go on to write about. “I have enormously welcomed this collaborative laboratory dynamic where, instead, you sit in a room with other people with different skill sets and you’re able to all benefit from each other’s work.”
“The more of that, the better,” he said.
University of Nebraska researchers Leen-Kiat Soh and Elizabeth Lorang, who gave one of the keynote talks at the conference, are a good example. Soh is a computer scientist, Lorang, a poetry-loving librarian. Together, they created AIDA — a tool to search digitized images for specific types of literary content. At the conference, they showed how they’re using machine learning to find poems buried in historic newspapers.
Tens of millions of poems have been published in historic newspapers, but not all of them end up in the “poet’s corner.” They’re sprinkled throughout obituaries, marriage announcements, and advertisements. You’d have to comb through each newspaper by hand to find them — an impossible task.
Instead, the team tried to think about what a poem looks like. They measured the spaces between stanzas and the jaggedness of the right margins, and trained an algorithm to detect similar patterns across endless fields of black and white.
“The original idea was to find the poems, and then think about how to analyze the text,” Lorang said. “But now it’s become, let’s find them in order to make this possible for other people to do.”
“We could pursue this as a research project for years and years, but ultimately if there’s not uptake in the community, it’s not going to matter,” she continued. The conference, she said, was a chance to get feedback on their project, as well as get a better feel for where to go in the future.
The wider goal, she said, is to bring attention to lesser-known poems and correct some historical oversights. With our current search tools, we’re only ever looking for names and lines we already know about, she said.
Many of the projects discussed focused on recovery work in our collective canon. Textual analysis and big data make lesser-known voices easier to find, giving us the chance to reshape the cultural record.
One conference guest, Annie Swafford, a digital humanities specialist at Tufts University, is curating a corpus of works by a group of British women who, in the 1880s, formed the first women’s literary dinner club. “Women didn’t just want to talk about clothes — they wanted intense, philosophical discussion,” Swafford said. She’s interested in how the vocabulary and themes of women’s writing of the time differed from their male counterparts.
Swafford came to the conference to discover new research tools for her work, but also to learn how to support others’ work. Swafford is Tuft University’s first digital humanities specialist, and next month, she’ll lead an introductory workshop on textual analysis. She said she’s excited to show people some of the HathiTrust tools. She particularly liked Bookworm, a simple program that compares the popularity of a word across place and time and can help teach students about how language is a changing phenomenon.
Audience members played with Bookworm on their personal computers during the conference. They also tried their hand at creating work sets with the HathiTrust database, and running simple text analyses such as topic modeling (where a computer sorts through word patterns and clusters related words together to give you an idea of what a text’s major themes are).
A major focus of the UnCamp was educating people about how to take advantage of HathiTrust’s digital collection. During the hands-on sessions, Chris Hench, a postdoc at the D-Lab and BIDS, presented an instructive module he built with Cody Hennesy, the campus’s information studies librarian, to teach people how to build worksets from the database. Teammate Alex Chan, a third-year computer science student, then showed attendees an example of the kinds of programs users can build to investigate those collections. He presented an algorithm he built that, after a bit of training, can automatically sort volumes into genres based on similarities in language.
The educational HTRC module, Hench said, was an extension of some of the data analysis training that Berkeley’s Division of Data Sciences has been offering around campus. Hench and the data science modules team visit a range of courses, working with students to answer relevant questions with crunchable data.
In an International & Areas Studies course, for example, students investigated different measurements of social inequality. The data team helped the class quantify the weight of societal factors such as education, wealth, and income, and plug them into an overall inequality assessment.
With all of the exciting content, most speakers barely finished their presentations in time, hurrying through their last slides, anxious to share final details.
Nick Adams, who works in BIDS, presented the web interface he developed to crowdsource the arduous hand-labeling work needed to train algorithms. Right now, he’s examining newspapers in 184 cities for stories on protests to analyze why and how police and protesters initiate violence.
In the last seconds of his talk, he turned to acknowledge his collaborator, Norman Gilmore.
“I’m a sociologist,” Adams said. “I’ve gotten into text analysis in the last few years … but I am not a software engineer. This would not have happened without Norman.”
150 years following its founding in 1869, the University of California is regarded by many as the most successful and highly-respected public research university in the world. In his new book, Judson King, former Berkeley and University of California Provost and former CSHE director, explores the most important factors for this academic success, and what makes UC tick. What’s more, he’s made his insightful analysis available to the world by publishing his book open access.
Please join Judson King, Chancellor Carol T. Christ, University Librarian Jeff MacKie-Mason, and CSHE administration for a special event and reception delving into the academic history of the University of California, and examining how best it can be shared to inspire global institutional development.
- Discussion of The University of California: Creating, Nurturing, and Maintaining Academic Quality in a Public University Setting
- February 28, 2018, at the Morrison Library from 5:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
- Refreshments and hors d’oeuvres will be served
- RSVP required
This event is co-sponsored by the Library’s Office of Scholarly Communication Services and the Center for Studies in Higher Education. It is also offered in connection with Berkeley’s celebration of 150 Years of Light.
January 31- April 22 ,the UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA) exhibit, “Theresa Hak Kyung Cha: Avant Dictée” celebrates the prolific, short-lived career of the influential Asian American artist and writer Theresa Hak Kyung Cha. Centered around Cha’s magnum opus, Dictée, the exhibit will include extra-textual art and writing from Cha’s body of work which corresponds thematically to the ten chapters of Dictée. (more…)
Ever wondered who to blame for Berkeley’s infuriating roadblocks?
One answer lies in the troves of UC Berkeley’s Earth Sciences and Maps Library, in a traffic management plan from 1976. The map shows intersections throughout Berkeley covered in little orange ticks — signs for where a new generation of traffic diverters would arise.
The traffic map is on display as part of a pop-up event on Friday called Mapping the University — featuring a collection of maps which, together, tell the story of how the university and city of Berkeley have developed over the years.
“I added (the traffic one) because I find these roadblocks in Berkeley very distressing, and confusing,” said Sam Teplitzky, Earth and physical sciences librarian, smiling.
Teplitzky, along with Susan Powell, geographic information systems and maps librarian, put together the exhibit in celebration of UC Berkeley’s 150th anniversary. The pair dived into the Library’s collection, choosing works that could tell Berkeley’s history in the most compelling way.
The exhibit is organized chronologically and combines an eclectic group of maps, from tourist maps advertising local businesses to sweeping drawings of Strawberry Valley.
“A lot of the maps we have were for internal use, and not meant to be distributed outside,” Powell said. “We wanted to show people the different perspectives on what Berkeley looked like.”
One specific gem is a map from 1932, before the campus expanded onto Telegraph Avenue to build Sproul Plaza and its surrounding buildings. (Hazel H. King owned some property next to Dwinelle Hall; Myrtle M. Rowell probably lived where the university’s police department now stands.) Another cool piece is a black-and-white aerial photograph showing land being excavated for the underground Main Stacks during its construction in the 1990s.
At the exhibit, visitors huddled over the collection, twisting and turning the maps in an attempt to orient themselves. Many tried to locate familiar spots, superimposing the century-old depictions with the vivid maps in their heads.
Andy Johnson, who lives in Berkeley, is a self-proclaimed “map nerd” who collects maps for fun. He said that looking at a map is like “taking a trip,” and compared the collection to a slow-motion animation.
Johnson particularly enjoyed the maps showing bird’s-eye views of the city, which showed the university and local neighborhoods, but also the ocean, flowing at Berkeley’s edge. He pointed to the ships at sea, drawn with hovering plumes of smoke, and noted how maps capture not only buildings, but activity and life.
For Johnson, they can also immortalize our hopes and ambitions.
“There were going to be centers up in the hills, which were never built,” Johnson said, referring to a map showing projected developments. “Maps show what people were planning — what they were dreaming about.”
They pop-up exhibit was part of the Library’s larger Maps and More series, which aims to highlight the breadth of the collection and inspire potential research projects among students, Teplitzky said. Next month, they’ll have a walking tour of the Hayward Fault, as well as an exhibit mapping the history of indigenous peoples in California.
Three Plays by Edward Albee
Death Of A Hero by Richard Aldington with an introduction by James H. Meredith
Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin
Somebody Blew Up America And Other Poems by Amiri Baraka
The Dream Songs by John Berryman with an introduction by Michael Hofmann
Victory: An Island Tale by Joseph Conrad with in an introduction by John Gray and notes and appendix by Robert Hampson
The Enormous Room by E.E. Cummings edited by George James Firmage, an introduction by Susan Cheever, and an afterword by Richard S. Kennedy
The Ariel Poems by T.S. Eliot with an note on the text by Christopher Ricks and Jim McCue
Mr. Mistoffelees: The Conjuring Cat by T.S. Eilot and Arthur Robins
Ferlinghetti’s Greatest Poems by Lawrence Ferlinghetti edited by Nancy J. Peters
Concluding by Henry Green with an introduction by Eudora Welty
Doting by Henry Green with an introduction by Michael Gorra
Travesty by John Hawkes
Selected Poems 1966-1987 by Seamus Heaney
The Unfollowing by Lyn Hejinian
After The Fireworks: Three Novellas by Aldous Huxley with a forward by Gary Giddins
Christopher And His Kind 1929-1939 by Christopher Isherwood
Morning Frost: Haiku by Jack Kerouac translated by Gabriel Rosenstock
Collected Poems by Galway Kinnell with an introduction by Edward Hirsch
The Nothing by Hanif Kureishi
New Selected Poems by Robert Lowell edited by Katie Peterson
Waste Of Timelessness And Other Early Stories by Anais Nin with a foreword by Gunther Stuhlmann and an introduction by Allison Pease
A Subject Of Scandal And Concern & Almost A Vision by John Osborne
The Letters Of Sylvia Plath Volume 1: 1940-1956 edited by Peter K. Steinberg and Karen V. Kukil
Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys with an introduction by Edwidge Danticat
Once and For All: The Best Of Delmore Schwartz edited by Craig Morgan and an introduction by John Ashbery
Neil Simon’s Musical Fools by Neil Simon, Phil Swann, and Ron West
The Collected Poems Of Wallace Stevens (The Corrected Edition) edited by John N. Serio and Chris Beyers
Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard with a new preface by the Author
The Complete Stories: 1938-1959 by Peter Taylor edited by Ann Beattie
The Complete Stories: 1960-1992 by Peter Taylor edited by Ann Beattie
The Complete Works Of Evelyn Waugh Volume 19: A Little Learning edited by John Howard Wilson and Barbara Cooke
Ann Veronica by H.G. Wells edited by Carey J. Synder
The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells edited with an introduction by Matthew Beaumont
The Essential W.S. Merwin edited by Michael Wiegers
Summer by Edith Wharton edited with an introduction and notes by Laura Rattray
Lanford Wilson: Early Stories, Sketches, And Poems edited by David A. Crespy with an afterword by Marshall W. Mason
The Wild Swans At Coole: A Facsimile Edition by W.B. Yeats with an introduction and notes by George Bornstein
The Alteration by Kingsley Amis with an introduction by William Gibson
Dear Illusion: Collected Stories by Kingsley Amis with a foreword by Rachel Cusk
Girl, 20 by Kingsley Amis with an introduction by Howard Jacobson
One Fat Englishman by Kingsley Amis with an introduction by David Lodge
The System Of Dante’s Hell by Amiri Baraka with an introduction by Woodie King Jr.
Tales: Short Stories by Amiri Baraka
Collected Stories by Saul Bellow edited by Janis Bellow with an introduction by James Wood
Herzog by Saul Bellow with an introduction by Philip Roth
Ravelstein by Saul Bellow with an introduction by Gary Shteyngart
The Dover James Joyce Reader by James Joyce
Dubliners by James Joyce edited by Keri Walsh
A Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man by James Joyce with a foreword by Karl Ove Knausgaard
Ulysses (Dublin Illustrated Edition) by James Joyce with an introduction by Bob Joyce and illustrated by Emma Byrne
Seduction Of The Minotaur by Anais Nin with an introduction by Anita Jarczok
Under A Glass Bell by Anais Nin with an introduction by Elizabeth Podnieks
Appointment In Samarra by John O’Hara with an introduction by Charles McGrath
The New York Stories by John O’Hara edited with an introduction by Steven Goldleaf and a foreword by E.L. Doctorow
Pal Joey: The Novel And The Libretto And Lyrics by John O’Hara with a foreword by Thomas Mallon
Cathay (The Centennial Edition) by Ezra Pound edited with an introduction by Zhaoming Qian
Posthumous Cantos by Ezra Pound edited by Massimo Bacigalupo
Afternoon Men by Anthony Powell with a foreword by Ed Park
Venusberg by Anthony Powell with a foreword by Levi Stahl
The Poems of Dylan Thomas (Centenary Edition) edited and annotated by John Goodby
Under Milk Wood: A Play For Voices by Dylan Thomas edited by Walford Davis and Ralph Maud
The Island Of Doctor Moreau by H.G. Wells edited with an introduction and notes by Darryl Jones
The Time Machine by H.G. Wells edited with an introduction and notes by Roger Luckhurst
When I say love, what I mean is not a feeling
Nor a promise of a feeling
I believe in attention
My love for you is a monolith of try.
So reads the first stanza of TC Tolbert’s poem “What Space Faith Can Occupy,” which filled the air of Morrison Library on Thursday afternoon during the Library’s Lunch Poems program.
The stanza comes from Gephyromania, a collection of poetry from Tolbert, who is the poet laureate of Tucson, Arizona. “Gephyromania” refers, literally, to an obsession with bridges — and it’s an idea that’s come to define much of Tolbert’s work.
Tolbert is transgender and writes often about the transition and experience of the body. Tolbert uses poetry as a bridge into and through his experiences, both painful and joyous.
As a preface to his reading, Tolbert shared personal details about his childhood with the audience. Tolbert is a survivor of childhood sexual and physical abuse, and was derided by his mother after coming out.
“All of those things have made me,” Tolbert told the audience. “And I’m finally at a place where I’m thankful for my life.”
During the reading, Tolbert shared a poem written to a woman named Melissa — his former self. Melissa is Tolbert’s birth name. By reading the poem, Tolbert said, he would “bring her into the room,” and thank her “for what she made possible for me, TC, now.”
The end of the poem reads:
Who hasn’t killed herself by growing into someone?
I’m sorry you have never been born
Because here, roughly here, here is what breaks from our breathing
Here is the blade of our breath …
What I wanted was not to breathe, but to be breathing
What I wanted was for everything to stop, but not end.
Leon Barros, a recent UC Berkeley graduate, found the reading special and powerful. Barros had previously read Gephyromania after stumbling upon it in the Library as a student. (He then checked it out and held on to it for eight months, constantly renewing it.)
“It was incredibly moving,” Barros said, “to see someone who tries to reconcile these sides of themselves and not necessarily feel that they have to choose a side, but inhabit all sides.”
Barros said that the concept of being in between identities touched him and resonated.
Many of Tolbert’s poems feel deeply personal and empathetic. Geoffrey O’Brien, the director of the Lunch Poems series, praised Tolbert for his ability to write poetry that not only examines his own identity, but incorporates the experiences and lives of others, as well.
In 2017, Tolbert was named poet laureate by Tucson’s mayor. In his community, Tolbert uses poetry to connect with others and uplift the voices those often silenced, particularly those of LGBTQ youths, immigrants, refugees, and youths of color.
“I’ve never seen a poet who’s more sensitive to a room, to the people populating it, and to everything that’s happening outside of this room in history as the poetry reading transpires,” O’Brien said to the audience while introducing the poet.
ABOUT LUNCH POEMS
Lunch Poems is a noontime poetry reading on the first Thursday of the month. Admission to the Morrison Library event is free. Check out the spring semester schedule. Watch videos of past readings. Support for this series is provided by Dr. and Mrs. Tom Colby, the Library, The Morrison Library Fund, the Dean’s office of the College of Letters and Sciences, and the Townsend Center for the Humanities. These events are also partially supported by Poets & Writers Inc., through a grant it has received from The James Irvine Foundation.
by Taylor Follett, Literature and Digital Humanities Assistant
On February 1, 2018, celebrate storytelling and promote literacy on World Read Aloud Day. According to the LitWorld website, 750 million adults throughout the world, two-thirds of whom are women, don’t yet have basic reading and writing skills. World Read Out Loud Day is a great way to connect with your community and communicate the value of contact with literary works. You might hold a “Poetry Pop-Up” or “Storytelling Cafe,” or encourage open-ended discussion as you read. Check out the World Read Out Loud Day website or the 2018 Packet for more ideas and information.
Ready to get started, but not sure what to read? Luckily, the library has books for all ages! We recommend the following: