Creating my own space in the digital realm

Archive for the ‘Digital Libraries’ Category

Humanities Librarian/DH Consultant Project: Final


I wish that I had documented my process for doing this assignment. I didn’t do that, so I’ll have to piece it together from memory. I’ll link to sections of the LibGuide as I go. To begin, here’s an excerpt from the scope note I submitted in October.

Whitney Sperrazza’s HASTAC project is titled “Feeling Violation: Digital/Physical Approaches to Sexual Violence.” When I met with Whitney, she was not able to formulate a research question, but she is interested in finding out how digital tools and methods can be used to help readers “…gain new critical perspectives on literary representations of sexual violence and the writing and reading bodies interacting with those representations.”

I never got a clear idea of what Whitney is trying to accomplish with this project. It occurs to me now to ask what the readers she mentioned would do with those new “critical perspectives.” It might have been worth it to ask her what the existing critical perspectives are.

Being the Librarian

I’ll discuss my search strategies and my attempt to help Whitney conduct her own searches. Since I’m in school learning how to be a librarian, I thought I’d start with Library of Congress Subject Headings.









Subject Headings and Keywords

Below is a table showing the subject headings (grouped by topic) that were useful in my searches of scholarly databases.

Topic: Theater and Drama, Headings: Theater, Acting, Feminism and theater, Feminist theater, Sex in the theater, Violence in the theater, Women in the theater Topic: Rape, Headings: Rape in art, Rape in literature, Rape trauma syndrome, Rape victims, Rape victims in literature, Sexual abuse victims, Sex crimes, Topic: Therapeutic Modalities, Headings Dance therapy, Authentic movement (dance therapy), Art therapy, music therapy

Click image to enlarge.

I experimented with these keywords when searching Google.

  • language of sexual violence
  • dance therapy for rape victims
  • art therapy for rape victims
  • rape survivor stories
  • rape survivor poetry
  • sexual violence
  • haptic aesthetics


The databases I consulted included Gender Studies DatabaseMLA International BibliographyPsychINFO, and Counseling and Therapy in Video. I also suggested the use of Twentieth Century American Poetry.

Tips and Tricks

The search tips I placed in the LibGuide included links to pre-existing help content in the LibGuides environment. I also embedded video tutorials on using EBSCO Host and ProQuest. I got the impression that Whitney wasn’t looking for help from a librarian, so I hope she can at least benefit from the search advice.

In Their Own Words

Because Whitney was interested in how sexual violence feels, I decided to go to the source and find stories told by people who have experienced this violence. I searched Google using the phrase “rape victim stories.”  This yielded lots of results, which says a lot about our society.

Stories on Video Google Search Results: Rape Victim Stories A Rape Survivor's Story Written Stories, Survivor Websites, Social Media... Dancing in the Darkness - Over 650 survivor stories. Survivor Stories on "Over the Rainbow." Scars from the past, surviving rape - A Pinterest board about surviving rape 27 Survivors Of Sexual Assault Quoting The People Who Attacked Them - On BuzzFeed, Project Unbreakable is an online photography project that aims to “encourage the act of healing through art.” Project Unbreakable

Click image to visit the page.

The Arts

Whitney told be that she had been looking at Renaissance poetry and drama for depictions of sexual violence, so I decided to include other arts disciplines in my materials search. I gathered links to articles, papers, books, and images that touched on the topic. They can be found in the “Sexual Violence in Literature and the Arts” section of the LibGuide.

This painting is an example of sexual violence depicted in visual art.

Le Rapt à l'age de pierre, 1888, Paul Jamin

Le Rapt à l’age de pierre, 1888, Paul Jamin

Modes of Therapy

The LibGuide includes a section with links to information about art, dance, and music therapy. I don’t know how useful this would be to Whitney, but I felt I would be remiss not to address the topic of recovery from sexual violence. There is also a section titled “The Body and Movement.” This section includes links to resources about Laban Movement Analysis. If Whitney chooses to dig deeper into this area, I think she would need to consult an expert.

Tech Tools and Other Projects

Whitney indicated that she needed to learn about some of the technologies used in implementing digital humanities projects. I provided a list of web resources that discuss a wide variety of technology tools. I don’t know exactly what she envisions for the project, so I just grabbed what I could find so she can use it as a jumping off point.

I listed some DH projects that might be similar to what she wants to do, but I’m not sure that I hit the mark. She did show me a project that peaked her interest called “the real white faces of australia.” It is an experimental browser showing images of people who were affected by the White Australia Policy.

Screenshot from the "real faces of white australia."

Click image to visit site.












Now that I’ve taken a second look at this project, I’m hoping that Whitney can do something like it. She might have to scrap a lot of her initial ideas and open up to new possibilities, but something great could happen.

Wrapping it Up

I loved this assignment! I love searching for stuff! I think I need to do a DH project even though I don’t think I fully understand what one is. I’m not sure anyone really knows what makes something qualify as a Digital Humanities project. Maybe we shouldn’t use the term Digital Humanities. Perhaps, since everything done these days is touched by the digital, we should just do what we do, and then put it online. That’s a topic for another post.


The Oct. 15th Digital Library Brown Bag

Julie Hardesty giving Digital Library Brown Bag talk.

Julie Hardesty giving Digital Library Brown Bag talk.

I recently attended this IU Digital Library Brown Bag talk:”Let it go: Exposing digital collections for accessible and useful data.” The presenter was Juliet L. Hardesty, a Metadata Analyst for IU Libraries. The abstract for the talk follows:

How do you usefully combine digital repository, library catalog, and library website data so researchers can discover and make use of the data in support of their research? This session discusses plans to combine IU Libraries’ digital repository data with library catalog and IUB Libraries’ web site data to create a Solr-indexed data source that preserves context and provides thorough, useful, and sharable access to the information, collections, and resources at the Indiana University Libraries.

I’ll start by saying that the talk was quite technical. It wasn’t overly technical but as a newbie to this digital library world, I felt that maybe I wasn’t going to fully understand all of what Ms. Hardesty had to say. That’s okay though. You can’t learn until you find out that there’s stuff you don’t know. I decided to key in on terms that seemed important.