Tear down this (pay)wall!: Equality, equity, liberation for archivists

Freedom HouseAttached is a preprint of an article that I have submitted for the forthcoming special edition of the Journal of Critical Library and Information Studies. “This issue will provide an extended exploration of “how an archival ethics of care can be enacted in real world environments.” https://journals.litwinbooks.com/index.php/jclis/announcement/view/10

My article, “Tear down this (pay)wall!: Equality, equity, liberation for archivists” uses the concept of radical empathy and applies it to a discussion of archival collections made available for sale by for-profit companies.

Some folks have asked me for the pre-print, and I thought it would be easiest to attach it here.

Enjoy!

Mecagni JCLIS _Paywall_ resubmission

Logs and Lists during COVID-19

This is the rough outline of a presentation I gave at a recent staff meeting, lightly edited and linked. I am in awe of how quickly my team was able to identify and prepare these projects, and how our part-time staff have just plugged away at these logs and lists for so many months. My team are a hard-working, resilient, and brilliant bunch.

FayFoto2We have a full complement of activities in the University Archives and Special Collections.  Hopefully you’ve all seen the teaching with archives Molly, Regina, and other R+I colleagues have been putting together, and have been highlighted in the last CATLR newsletter as “something they are currently reading”. We continue to provide reference services, work on blogs, oral history transcription editing projects, remote classes, webinars, and upgrading our CERES sites.  

But today I’d like to highlight some of the back-end work that COVID has given us the opportunity to work on:

Lists and Logs. 

Most very very large collections need to have some kind of list, log, or indexing system to make them usable to the originating organization.  Our 3 outsized collections, FayFoto, The Globe, and the Phoenix are no exception (although the quality of them vary widely). We are spending our work from home time developing strategies to upgrade those logs.

[NB. Embarrassingly, I did neglect to call out the work Gina Nortonsmith is doing with her massive Civil Rights and Restorative Justice spreadsheet work, but she will be given another time to shine in a staff meeting] 

FayFoto1FayFoto:

Information about the collection and acquisition is here:

https://librarynews.northeastern.edu/?p=274573

  • 80 years of commercial photography business
  • 7.5 million negatives
  • Index is contained in 29 log books, from 1968-1999, 310 pages each, mostly handwritten

Example of a log book:

https://repository.library.northeastern.edu/files/neu:cj82rg717

Part-time staff are hand-transcribing these logs, which will ultimately become an index to the ‘who, what, where’ of what was going on in Boston over those years.

Boston Globe box list

The Globe collection did come in with a subject log, one that is easily follow-able.  

And when packing the collection, Daniel developed a list of the boxes that make them much more easily retrievable.  And created this wonderful finding aid: https://archivesspace.library.northeastern.edu/repositories/2/resources/984

However, we only know what folder sits at the beginning of the box and at the end. After retrieving the same 25 Kennedy boxes a few times, we started box listing all of the Globe clippings boxes we retrieve. 

In addition to the folder list, staff included disambiguation based on the subjects of the clippings file, determining which John Buchannan is an Escaped convict, a lynn machinist, or a professor at Penn.

102 boxes later, we have a list, but it needs some editing before we are able to load it into archivesspace. 

Phoenix crowdsourced pilot

The Phoenix is one of our more heavily  used teaching collections.  But apart from browsing, there really isn’t a way to easily delve into the articles of the phoenix unless you knew what you were looking for. 

However, the Phoenix did produce two typed card file indices to its paper. These indices have been scanned, OCRed and made available online here:

18 Author Indexes, 1973- 1990 

13 Index Subjects, 1974-1986, (bulk 1974-1982)

Filed by year, each author index usually includes >1000 cards. 

Because we are so busy working on FayFoto, we have started exploring the idea of a crowdsourced project.  Let me know if you’d like to be a volunteer tester of the zooniverse instance we have started to put together.

Teaching with Archives

 

The 2020 Northeastern University Library Supporter’s newsletter is chock full of things that the University Archives and Special Collections have been involved in over the past year;  the Boston Research Center, The Holocaust Awareness Committee digital collections online, the COVID-19 Archive, the Boston Globe photo archive display tours, but what I am most proud of is our community-embedded Teaching with Archives program, stewarded by the fabulous Molly Brown. Here is the article from the newsletter. The whole newsletter is attached as a pdf at the end.


On any given day in the Northeastern University Library Archives and Special Collections, you could find a Northeastern student, a National Parks Service Ranger, a Boston Public Schools high schooler, or a Greater Boston community member visiting for a class using primary sources. The classes, workshops, and experiences offered by the Archives are a result of the Teaching with Archives program led by Molly Brown, the Reference and Outreach Archivist, and Regina Pagani, the Arts, Humanities, and Experiential Learning Librarian. Teaching with Archives classes equip participants to locate, read, and engage with primary sources such as meeting minutes, correspondence, photographs, local newspapers, and more related to the history of Boston’s social justice organizations as well as Northeastern University’s history. The Boston Public Schools (BPS) continue to include the Teaching with Archives program in their curriculum educating high school juniors about Boston’s school desegregation history. The BPS students visit the Archives to learn more about the long history of education activism and find primary sources to incorporate in a chapter they are writing about an activist. Students are asked to consider their chapter as a way of contributing to popular historical records about desegregation, and expanding it by embedding community informed archival records in their telling of an activist’s life. The sessions taught by Brown and Pagani emphasize experiential learning and encourage reflection about the participants’ own role in history, how their neighborhood, school, and beyond are part of the story of Boston’s past and present. They welcome anyone interested in learning from the Archives and Special Collections’ records. Find more about the Teaching With Archives program at https://library.northeastern.edu/archives-special-collections/services/teaching-with-archives 


For the third year this summer, the National Parks Service’s youth program “Historias de Boston” will return to the Archives and Special Collections to kick off their Latinx cultural heritage documentation project. Historias de Boston is a new youth employment program from the National Parks of Boston designed to engage youth in exploring the connections of the Latinx communities of Boston throughout the city’s history. At their sessions with Reference and Outreach Archivist Molly Brown, the Historias de Boston team listens to oral histories from the Archives as a group and explores materials from the Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción records and the Carmen Pola papers to think creatively about what Latinx history in Boston looks like in archival records, and how they could contribute to our understanding of the past. The session in the Archives and Special Collections helps direct and empower the students as they go out to begin collecting their own history. During the 6-week program, students research and gather stories within the three different sites of the National Parks of Boston and the Boston Latinx Community. Their final

project results in a group video project as well as personal video reflection which are all deposited and preserved in the archives. You can find the past two years of Historias de Boston stories deposited to the Archives at https://latinxhistory.library.northeastern.edu/historias-de-boston

2020_supporters_newsletter_-_web_optimized_file

A Fresh Slate AKA Vote for me!

Fresh Slate In 2017, I traveled to Washington DC to attend the Women’s March in a 16 passenger van filled with angry, sign-carrying radical ladies. The speeches and performances were amazing, inspriational, and I cried several times (I’m looking at you, Sophie Cruz and your chain of love). But the thing I decided to DO after that march came as a suggestion from Michael Moore.  In a (waaaay too long) speech on how vital it is for the women’s march attendees to run for office, he said that there was a role for everyone, including people like me:

“Shy people, there is [even] an office for you! PRECINCT DELEGATE. Run for precinct delegate. You only have to go to the county convention once a year. Who’s going to run for precinct delegate?” (raises hand)

I raised my hand, thinking that one day per year was a committment I could make.

Fast forward to today, and I’m running for office for the Massachusetts equivalent of precinct delegate. I have never run for anything, ever. Echoing my friend local immigration attorney Matt Cameron, I’m running “because the Massachusetts Democratic Party has been too complacent, too complicit, too centrist– and here in Eastie, openly right-wing for far too long, and this is the thing I can do to change that.”

Screen Shot 2020-01-31 at 1.59.53 PM

The Bay State Banner article linked in Matt’s Facebook post characterizes the role of the ward in Massachusetts politics as such:

“The hundreds of ward and Democratic town committees across Massachusetts function as the grassroots arm of the party, providing residents with direct access to the party apparatus. The committees elect delegates to the annual state convention, where they nominate candidates for statewide office and vote on the party platform.”

The article also describes the various reasons why the several ‘insurgent’ slates, which include Ward 18 (Hyde Park), Ward 3 in (Downtown), Ward 9 (South End + Roxbury). and Ward 1 (East Boston), are running, and the kinds of changes they want to make.  For Ward 18, a goal is reinvigorating the committee. The article says:

“While Boston’s more active ward committees maintain webpages, communicate with voters, host candidate forums and engage in get-out-the-vote activities, Ward 18 seldom does more than post the time and date of its annual caucus, as required by state party rules.”

And for ward 9 candidate Vanessa Snow, the goal is to

“help shape the party’s platform to focus on issues in our community.”

For ward 1, our plan is a combination of both.  Our party statement is below.

____________________________________

We’re delighted to announce our candidacy for the Ward 1 (East Boston) Democratic Ward Committee in the March 3 primary! We are lifelong and newly-arrived Eastie residents, parents of students attending Boston Public Schools, and leaders of community organizations.

OUR VISION
Our goal is to increase local participation and civic engagement in East Boston. We believe that the changing face of East Boston merits fresh and inclusive representation. Our ward committee will look like our community. Our goal is to have an open, inclusive, and active Ward Committee, where everyone in the community will be able to join through regular public meetings.

We also believe in grass-roots participation and engagement. Our goals are to inform the community and to be informed of any issues that must be addressed; foster debate and civic engagement; and advocate for the East Boston community at the city and state levels. We will strive for independent thinking and healthy debate, accept disagreement, and believe that through dialogue we can reach actionable and attainable goals for our community.

The following is the complete list of candidates making up the slate: Matt Cameron, Gabriela Coletta, Ben Downing, Victoria Dzindzichashvili (DiLorenzo), City Councilor Lydia Edwards, Margaret Farmer, Jo Ann Fitzgerald, Brian Gannon, Zachary Hollopeter, Lisa Jacobson, Giordana Mecagni, Gail Miller, Dionyssios Mintzopoulos, Sandra Nijjar, Heather O’Brien, Ricardo Patron, Jesse Purvis, James Rosenquist, Aneesh Sahni, and Kannan Thiruvengadam. (read more here: https://bit.ly/2QUyA0i)

It takes a village to raise a library!

Last week, a group of parents from my kids’ school, along with some dedicated kid helpers, raised a library.  The Dante Alighieri Montessori School is a tiny little K-6 public elementary school in East Boston, both part of the (giant) Boston Public School system and the only Montessori school within it. We love this school for so many different reasons, but near the top of the pile is the amazing, committed parent council, who grapple with issues of welcoming, equity, multi-lingualism, multi-culturalism, kindness, and peace, right along with our kids and their teachers.

JoAnn Cox, Elsa Wiehe and I were unofficial co-chairs of the library build committee, and with help from what feels like a cast of thousands, we completed phase 1 of the library build.  Here are some excerpts from the thank you letter written by JoAnn:

Yesterday, at 3pm, we left the school with a transformed “library”/conference
space/special ed room, housed in the room named La Ceiba.   I’m hopeful all will enjoy this repository of knowledge, source of education, destination for curiosity, space for exploration, and locusfor rumination.

What started as an idea and a conversation with Giordana in the spring
of 2016 while Ethan raced Lucy in the school play area is now closer
to a vision developed over the years with Elsa joining as one of the
leaders to find funding.

Hundreds of hours from volunteer efforts as well as some fundraising
dollars went into this project, one we wanted to see happen at the
school–and all of you helped make it happen.  All of the efforts deserve an award:  planningmeetings and funding research; conversations with Kate Scheid and support from the school staff; the guidance and support of community members Sharon Gentges (architect), Margaret Kelly (East Boston branch library), and Deborah Froggatt (BPS librarian); the generous funding
from Brown Rudnick; and  additional support from funds raised for the
school. A large team of volunteers–you!–with assistance of the 5th & 6th years, family members, and students–transformed an awkward and crowded space in three days; La Ceiba stands ready to embrace all activities, taking advantage of the light and airy qualities of the room.

We are truly in phase 1 of the project– next phases include cataloging the books (Dewey Decimal System rears its ugly head!), weeding, fundraising for additional titles to include, integrating with in-classroom libraries. However, we can’t be more happy with the way things have turned out thus far.

 

 

New Boston Research Center Grant!

The Boston Research Center got a new grant!  After a successful prototyping phase of faculty-led data projects, this phase (led by the incredible Amanda Rust), will look at neighborhood histories and archives and figure out ways in which data and technical infrastructure can support a community’s understanding of itself. I’m truly excited about this grant, and think it reflects current thinking in the field– ethical community partnerships combined with real-world pedagogical research opportunities, undergirded by sustainable tech.  My official role is “BRC Community Liaison,” and I’ll be spending some (undetermined, but probably too much) time working on this project.

My hands
My new career as a hand model starts today

Info follows from the Library’s blog:

The Library is pleased to announce that it has received a $650,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to implement the next phase of the Boston Research Center (BRC). The Boston Research Center is based in the Northeastern University Library and is dedicated to the study of Boston, enabling researchers from around the world to shed light on the city’s past, present, and future. The BRC serves as a place for students and scholars, Boston residents, and anyone interested in the history and culture of Boston to work together to combine special collections and contemporary data in an effort to better understand the past and envision the future.

This next phase of the BRC’s growth will, through partnerships with Boston community organizations, focus on the development of new digital collections and technological systems to empower these organizations to tell the story of their work and their neighborhoods. This builds on the strengths of the Northeastern University Archives and Special Collections, a frequent partner with organizations in Boston and a trusted steward of local community archives, and will allow the BRC to serve as a digital community history lab where the creation of new collections and technology is driven by the needs of the people whose histories are represented in those collections. It also serves as a further iteration of the Library’s work to build inclusive information systems for cultural heritage.

The BRC is also now entering into a new partnership with the Boston Public Library. The Boston Public Library will play a key role in community outreach and technology development by drawing upon its extensive history of technological innovation and active partnerships with neighborhood communities served by its library branches. David Leonard, President of the Boston Public Library, said, “We are thrilled to take our relationship with Northeastern to a whole new level and collaborate on preserving and extending the reach of local neighborhood history and culture across Boston.”

“We deeply appreciate The Mellon Foundation’s generous support for this critical next phase of the Boston Research Center and how it forges strong connections with communities around Boston and with the Boston Public Library,” said Dan Cohen, the Dean of the Library at Northeastern. “And we look forward to helping to reveal new insights about our city through the BRC’s network of individuals and institutions.”

Our Home: An Eastie Community Archiving Project

I love Archives, and I love the neighborhoood I’ve lived in for the past 14 years, East Boston.  At the moment, I’m working on a project that marries them– Our Home: An Eastie Community Archiving Project.

Our Home, a collaboration between East Boston residents, the ICA, Artist Anthony Romero, Northeastern’s NULawLab, and area nonprofits, aims to activate East Boston’s activist past by hosting history capturing and storytelling events for residents and making the material available for research as part of Northeastern University’s University Archives and Special Collections.

Here is some information from some of the working documents the collaborators and I have put together.  As you can see, it’s a loosely-knit collaboration focused on experimentation, community building and care, and includes (in my mind) a hefty dose of Punk/DIY “let’s just try and see what happens” idealism.  I’ll have more to say about this project later, but thought I would introduce it here, partway through the project.

______________________________

Early history of East Boston:

Long a fishing site for the native peoples of the area, the five islands that make up East Boston (Bird, Noddle’s, Apple, Governor’s, and Hog) were first settled by Europeans in 1633.  After a notable shipbuilding period in the 1800s, the area later welcomed wave after wave of immigrants to the immigration station located in the neighborhood, often referred to as Boston’s “Ellis Island.” Many recent arrivals stayed and made their homes in the neighborhood– mingling with already established groups with different languages, religions and cultures.  Because immigration and integration are challenging processes, East Boston has developed a longstanding tradition of welcoming and supporting recent immigrants. This history started in the 1880s with the establishment of settlement houses, the predecessors of today’s East Boston Social Centers.  

More on East Boston Immigration: https://globalboston.bc.edu/index.php/home/immigrant-places/east-boston/ 

History of Activism in East Boston:

Along with the history of welcoming newcomers, East Boston also has a long history of standing up for the rights of its residents.  When “Jeffery Field” opened in 1923, no one could have imagined that the subsequently named Logan International Airport would serve 40 Million passengers in 2018.  Along the way, Olmstead-designed parks, historic buildings, and entire neighborhoods have been bulldozed to make room for runways and airport-related buildings and parking lots.  The proximity to Logan has also brought fuel tank farms, cargo/transportation businesses, to dot and highways to criss-cross the historically working-class neighborhood. East Boston activists have worked for clean air and water, lobbied for green space, bike paths and parks in the shadow of the ever-expanding airport and the Commonwealth’s ever-growing transportation needs. The neighborhood constantly fights, and occasionally wins battles between what the state needs and the neighborhood wants.  

Goal 1: History Capture

Our Home hopes to bring together the various pieces of this historical puzzle and members of the community that hold this history into conversation.  The goal is to provide a space and time for folks busy with their lives and families and volunteer work to share the knowledge of the community they hold with others in the neighborhood.  Additionally, a goal is to capture these objects and stories and make them available publicly for community understanding as part of the growing body of East Boston history collections housed and curated in the Northeastern University Archives and Special Collections.

The history-capture events will consist of:

  • [AUGUST 25, 11-2, ICA WATERSHED] An afternoon of ‘community scanning and sharing’ at the ICA’s Watershed.  Hosted by Northeastern University Archives and Special Collections, this is a free public event where residents are invited to bring family photos to be scanned and included in a permanent digital archive of East Boston History, creating an educational resource of primary sources for future generations.  
  • [SEPTEMBER 26, 6-8 PM, GRACE CHURCH FEDERATED]  Evening event capturing the records and stories resulting from No Eastie Casino– a volunteer group who fought to prevent a casino from being built at Suffolk Downs.
  • [September 29, 2-5, ZUMIX ] Eastie History Fest Community storytelling at  Zumix. A Sunday afternoon Mass Memories Road Show-style event. University Archives staff will work with a local planning team to organize a free public event where residents are invited to bring family photos to be scanned and included in this digital archive. 

Goal 2: ICA Boston/Romero Project integration:

These stories and objects will be featured in Anthony Romero’s contribution to the ICA Boston’s upcoming exhibition “When Home Won’t Let You Stay,” which focuses on the subject of contemporary migration, immigration, and the displacement of peoples across the world.  This inclusion is particularly profound as the ICA’s waterfront view features the Jeffries Point neighborhood of East Boston; the historic buildings recently almost completely obscured by newly-built apartment buildings along the waterfront.

Goal 3: NULawLab collaboration

Through Northeastern Law School Laboratory Seminar in Applied Design and Legal Empowerment, a six week legal seminar starting June 10th, students and East Boston residents will co-create a series of legal empowerment tools that respond to the following question:  What might we learn from the rich history of successful East Boston activism that can be deployed to empower current residents to assert their legal rights in proactive defense against displacement by redevelopment?

Students will spend  time researching organizing and activism strategies through the East Boston-related archives in the Northeastern University Archives and Special Collections.  They will distill those learnings into discrete actionable takeaways that can be applied to East Boston’s current housing and displacement crisis. They will research legal rights and strategies for the neighborhood, and distill these learnings into a series of tools/toolkits/materials/tangible things that manifest the East Boston approach in response. They will test those ideas/tangible things with East Boston organizers, activists, and residents, and then present the final product as a tool to distributed this fall as part of Anthony’s exhibit at the ICA/Watershed.

People Before Highways event at the State House

On January 25th 2019 Karilyn Crockett, author of People before Highways, led a group of the original activists from across the region to the Massachusetts State House to commemorate the 50thanniversary of the pivotal 1969 fight to stop I-95 and the Inner Belt.  Chris Lisinski captured the populist legacy of the anti-highway movement organizers in the following article for the State House News Service. 

The event had everything:  it brought history out of the Archives/off the pages and into the State House, included activists sharing lessons learned and anecdotes, elected officials took the time to learn and understand, linked Boston’s public transit/traffic woes to past struggles and successes, and was wrapped with elements of art/music (drumming and trees and laundry lines full of wishes.)  So happy to have played a tiny supporting role in this event.

Article:  https://www.statehousenews.com/?login=yes&trial=yes&path=cms/news.aspx&yr=2019&select=2019162 

 

DLF 2018 panel: What Would the Community think?

community-zine.jpgIn October, I went to Las Vegas to attend the Digital Library Federation’s 2018 meeting to be a panel participant on What would the “community” think?: Three grant-funded teams reflect on defining community and models of engagement.” It featured projects working across organizations to implement change and find common solutions often engage relevant communities. Questions asked: How do we define communities and design these engagements? Do these approaches work? What can we learn from other fields? Resources 1. and links to slides here:

I participated as a “Design for Diversity” advisory board member.  The following is a lightly edited version of my talk, along with a link to the minizine I put together for the panel. Big thanks to Kelly Wooten and my Radical Empathy sister-archivists, much of whose work is collected on the “Radical Empathy in Archival Practice” tumblr and who continue to awe and inspire.

  1. Download and print my minizine here.
  2. Learn how to fold it here.
    ——————————————————————————-

My name is Giordana Mecagni, and I have lived in Boston for most of my life. I am white, and like many people from Massachusetts, am the product of poverty-based European immigration, and am Italian, Irish, and Scottish. Most of my family, largely Catholics, includes a couple dozen first and second cousins who also live in the Boston area. They are also Italian, Irish, Scottish, but additionally, African-American, Polish, Chinese, Portuguese, Mexican, Scandanavian, Dominican, German, Haitian, Spanish, English, etc.

I mention this for two reasons– one, is that it explains my perspective and positionality. I am white. I am a lifelong Bostonian. My family is extra-ordinarily fertile. Understanding and examining this perspective fully in light of what I do for work is incredibly important.

Secondly, it is an example of a community, in this case my family, who have mostly lived in one geographic place for multiple generations. This community is one that is always changing, constantly being influenced by and changed by, and producing babies by the other people who occupy that same space. But those babies often have very, very different perspectives than I do. One of my favorite cousins, is a black union plumber apprentice, with a Haitian-Canadian family living in Montreal.  I love him, he’s a relative, we spend lots of time together, but I don’t presume to think I understand his perspective.

Science fiction writer Octavia Butler (from the parable series) says “ “All that you touch, You Change. All that you Change Changes you. The only lasting truth is Change. God is Change.” And I highly encourage you to add adrienne maree brown’s Emergent Strategy to your GoodReads list immediately. Citation is on the back page of the zine. She weaves together afro-futurism, the natural world, and stories from effective activists into a guide for making a better world. It’s incredible.

I am Head of Special Collections and University Archivist at Northeastern University in Boston. A community archive based in a large R1 University, we collect, preserve, organize, describe, provide access to, digitize, and make anniversary exhibits for Boston’s under-documented communities, with a particular focus on Asian American, Latinx, Queer, and African American communities.

I should mention here that I am part of none of these communities, apart from the Boston one. And I don’t believe I have met anyone who claims all of those identities. Although it’s not out of the question that that person exists, I haven’t met them. But I do spend a lot of time listening, appreciating, and amplifying Boston’s marginalized voices. I have spent a lot of time working on city-wide race and resilience efforts. I have developed a trust network within those communities– folks who are completely willing to call me on my own bullshit. And those folks also have relationships and trust networks that aren’t confined to their own identietis or positionalities.

And then Amanda and Julia asked me to be part of the advisory committee of the Design for Diversity project. My first question was, “I am clearly not very diverse, how about I cede my position to someone else more qualified?” But then Amanda explained that they were targeting mainly folks who make ethical tools and projects to help others make ethical tools and projects. So I said yes, and started to think about what I bring to the table– the skills and tools I have built that might prove helpful to this other community that I am a part of– GLAMers and DHers and technologists and Wikipedians etc.

And I thought to myself– what is the pinch point, always, in my work? And top on the very long list was folks doing academic projects ON, but not with community. Because of what I do, academics regularly reach out to me to ask me about a project they want to do on diverse communities. Sometimes, I am happy to do this– I only have to reach out to someone in my trust network, make sure they are amenable, and make an introduction. But more often than I would care to admit, the project they have proposed is completely inappropriate.

For example, a white woman came to me and said, “I would like to do an oral history project to collect the stories of people affected by gun violence in the inner city”. Um, #1, no. #2. there already is a community project that exists, and #3. Just no. The key point was, why are these people talking to me about these projects? Why didn’t they approach someone in those communities? And if they don’t know someone in those communities, maybe they should choose a different project?

So, back to Design for Diversity (D4D). I wanted to create a tool that helped circumvent those difficult conversations. A how-to guide for community engagement. So I went to the library literature. Nothing. The archival literature I knew had some really great critical theory and Radical Empathy stuff by Michelle Caswell, RIcky Punzalan, etc. but no how-to. The D4D zotero was amazingly helpful for theory. But there was nothing concrete. So I tracked down some campus partners, all of whom said “everybody writes about this stuff!!. My Cherokee language scholar partner pointed me to a huge bulk of indigenous studies literature. My service-learning partner pointed me to an entire field of it. My black feminist studies colleague gave me some amazing resources. So I took a deep dive, and this is what I have come up with. This zine I produced for this conference, distills lots of smart people’s work into 8 tiny pages. But page 1 is the bibliography, the list of resources I found most helpful, and hopefully you will, too.

Thank you.

 

Investigating Northeastern’s Only Medieval Manuscript

book2

Northeastern students are continuing on with their work on the “Dragon Prayerbook” project.  Really interesting work, using sceince to unlock the secrets of our little Medieval Dominican prayerbook.
 <snip>

What inspired you to take a closer look at Dragon Prayer Book?

We were inspired by the mystery of the manuscript; very little was known about it before we began our research. The Dragon Prayer Book is beautiful and intriguing, and so multi-dimensional in terms of the questions we can ask of it, e.g. sociological, literary, religious, material, etc. As Northeastern’s only medieval manuscript, the book is an original object which has become a hub of interdisciplinary research. The book has provided a sort of bridge between departments, and each new experiment or test proves this connection to be stronger. With each new discovery we make the book reveals more of itself to us, and with each revelation come new surprises and twists in terms of our research path. While much is known about the book, there is still plenty that can be discovered, or even already known information that can be confirmed. <snip>

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Whole blog post here:

Investigating Northeastern’s Only Medieval Manuscript