Canon tables in the Lindisfarne Gospels now on display

As a text, the canon tables are ubiquitous and fundamental to Christian copies of scripture. Over many centuries copies of the Gospels in Latin, Greek, Coptic, Ethiopian, Armenian, Gothic, Syriac, Georgian or Slavonic begin with these tables. Devised and created in Greek by the early Church Father Eusebius (d. 340),…

6th Grade Social Studies Teachers

July 13 2017 to August 13 2017
Jobs and Fellowships
t Ascend, we seek 6th and 7th grade social studies teachers who are passionate about their subjects and their students – who want to spend their time discussing, preparing, and immersing themselves in the content they’re about to teach. We value teachers who truly listen to what students are saying…
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Brooklyn, NY 11201

United States

When babies are born, the cycle

Movies would have you believe that birth is random and unpredictable. (And if you haven’t been part of the birth process, you’d be surprised by how slow it actually is.) While uncertainty is always in play, there’s a certain cycle to it all. Zan Armstrong and Nadieh Bremer for Scientific American, using 2014 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, examined the regularity and the reasons for the spikes.

I like the greater/lesser than average split for contrast. The circle time series layout doesn’t always fit the data, but in this case the metaphor fits the cyclical aspect.

Full graphics and breakdowns.


Head of Digital Research at the National Archives

Posted for Olivia Pinto (National Archives, Kew, UK):

Job Opportunity at The National Archives

Head of Digital Research

About the role

The National Archives has set itself the ambition of becoming a digital archive by instinct and design. The digital strategy takes this forward through the notion of a disruptive archive which positively reimagines established archival practice, and develops new ways of solving core digital challenges. You will develop a research programme to progress this vision, to answer key questions for TNA and the Archives Sector around digital archival practice and delivery. You will understand and navigate through the funding landscape, identifying key funders (RCUK and others) to build relations at a senior level to articulate priorities around digital archiving, whilst taking a key role in coordinating digitally focused research bids. You will also build key collaborative relationships with academic partners and undertake horizon scanning of the research landscape, tracking and engaging with relevant research projects nationally and internationally. You will also recognise the importance of developing an evidence base for our research into digital archiving and will lead on the development of methods for measuring impact.

About you

As someone who will be mentoring and managing a team of researchers, as well as leading on digital programing across the organisation, you’ll need to be a natural at inspiring and engaging the people you work with. You will also have the confidence to engage broadly with external stakeholders and partners. Your background and knowledge of digital research, relevant in the context of a memory institution such as The National Archives, will gain you the respect you need to deliver an inspiring digital research programme. You combine strategic leadership with a solid understanding of the digital research landscape as well as the tools and technologies that will underpin the development of a digital research programme. You will come with a strong track record in digital research, a doctorate in a discipline relevant to our digital research agenda, and demonstrable experience of relationship development at a senior level with the academic and research sectors.

Join us here in beautiful Kew, just 10 minutes walk from the Overground and Underground stations, and you can expect an excellent range of benefits. They include a pension, flexible working and childcare vouchers, as well as discounts with local businesses. We also offer well-being resources (e.g. onsite therapists) and have an on-site gym, restaurant, shop and staff bar.

To apply please follow the link:

Salary: £41,970

Closing date: Wednesday 28th June 2017

Frying pans, forks and fever: Medieval book curses

Have you ever lost, forgotten to return or accidentally damaged a library book? If so, you may have been asked to pay a fee to replace or repair the book — but you still got away easy! During the Middle Ages, the fate of both your body and soul could…

we raise our voices

[Crossposted Statement on US Administration Budget Proposal from the “Director’s Desk” at the Digital Library Federation blog.]

Last night, the Trump administration released its new budget blueprint, an advisory document that proposes increases in spending to military programs and national security, coupled with major decreases to—or the complete elimination of—many programs supporting scientific data and research, human health, and environmental safety; social uplift, education, and protection for the poor; international diplomacy, cooperation, and aid; and the arts, culture, history, and museum and library services. The House and Senate will now begin offering their own budget resolutions, and a long process of negotiation—informed by the will of the people, as expressed to our elected representatives—will ultimately result in Appropriations committee legislation setting funding levels for agencies and offices germane to the goals of the Digital Library Federation and its mission to “advance research, learning, social justice, and the public good.”

These include—among many others—agencies and offices whose federal budgets the Trump administration proposes to eliminate entirely: the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (which supports NPR and PBS), the National Endowment for the Arts, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the US Institute of Peace, the Appalachian Regional Commission—and of course the IMLS, the Institute of Museum and Library Services. IMLS not only supports academic library and information science R&D programs that contribute to the development of a coherent and utterly necessary national digital platform; it also supports public programming and education in our nation’s 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums—themselves vulnerable to future budget cuts. Future reductions may also be proposed to the budgets of the National Archives, the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian Institution and other federally-funded keepers of records, culture, and national memory.

Program officers and staff of public service organizations like these are prohibited by the federal Hatch Act of 1939 from engaging in some forms of political activity, thus curtailing their ability to advocate fully for the agencies to which they have devoted so much, while serving as agency representatives. The DLF community must represent them, and—in our support for the myriad ways these agencies serve us—we raise our voices to represent the communities and publics we serve together. 

Last month, in a national climate of growing division and rising fear, the DLF and its parent organization, CLIR, offered a statement outlining our community’s enduring values and our own “Deepening Resolve.” I spend my every day in awe of the imagination, drive, compassion, and expertise of DLF practitioners. I know the people who make up our working groups and who staff our member institutions are resolute in their understanding of the power of digital libraries to serve—as we put it in the statement—”individuals and institutions that are both stalwart and vulnerable, people living now and generations yet to come.” The DLF community strives to build usable, welcoming, and respectful knowledge representation systems that embody “our shared, core values of enlightened liberalism and scientific understanding,” help us understand the past and imagine better futures, and advance “our mission to create just, equitable, and sustained global cultures of accessible information.”

These are lofty goals. Like all things, they start in the local, the embodied, the world near to you.

Regardless of your party affiliation or political creed (and in the understanding that diversity of thought is among our community’s great strengths)—if you share my concern about aspects of the current administration’s budget proposal and vision for libraries, research data, and cultural heritage in the digital age, I urge you to contact your representatives and make your views known. Finally, I remind you that the DLF has very consciously redoubled its efforts to function as a flexible, pragmatic, and supportive framework for grassroots efforts of all kinds, relevant to our field. DLF members and non-members alike are invited to use us as a platform for effective community organizing. We are here for you, and for the futures you want to build.

—Bethany (writing quickly and alone; Team CLIR/DLF and DLF Advisory Committee endorsements, additions, or productive dissent may yet come)

ISOTYPE Book: Priestley, British Women Go To War

This is perhaps the oddest book with an ISOTYPE illustration, certainly of the ones I have seen so far. It also contains the most confusing chart produced by the ISOTYPE Institute I am aware of.

The Book

British Women Go To War was published in 1944. The book describes the many roles women were filling in Great Britain during the Second World War. That women could do all those jobs was quite novel back then, but it’s quite strange to read about today. Who knew that women could be postal workers, paramedics, welders, etc.?

There are 49 colour photographs showing women performing many different tasks, many of them military-related. There are women assembling grenades, riveting airplane fuselages, servicing engines, etc., but also doing actual military work, like handling barrage balloons, operating airplane spotting equipment, etc.


The front and back inside covers contain the same ISOTYPE chart. It is never referred to in the text (though neither are the photos, they’re just listed in a separate table of contents). And it is quite confusing.

Unlike most other ISOTYPE charts, this one is almost completely incomprehensible without reading the legend. And even then, there are still open questions.

The population pyramid on the left represents the female population of Great Britain in 15-year age groups, presumably as of 1944. Each group is one million women.

Colors show different kinds of service: war production in red, military in blue, other services in green. Full arrows indicate conscription, whereas outline arrows mean voluntary service. It’s interesting how that differs between age groups.

The drawings on the right are much less clear. What do the four individual red figures represent? Looking at the red group, it seems like there are two million women working in war production, but it’s not terribly clear. The blue groups seem more consistent: one million each in the air force, the navy, and as spotters and in civil defense (the thing with the three cups looks like one of those listening contraptions used before Radar).

The green groups seem to represent one million women in civil service (the group next to the adorable double-decker bus), and half a million in agriculture. The rest simply don’t seem to have numbers attached.

For an official ISOTYPE Institute chart (with the logo in the lower right), it seems strangely off. The legend is confusing, the layout is very messy, and the whole thing just doesn’t work very well. Perhaps they didn’t have enough time to prepare it. It’s a rare misstep, I haven’t seen anything as sloppy and confusing so far.

JOB: School of Library and Information Science, University of Iowa

April 30 2017
Jobs and Fellowships
The School of Library and Information Science (SLIS) at The University of Iowa invites applications for one or more tenure-track positions at the Assistant, Associate or Full Professor level beginning Fall 2017. We seek excellent research-oriented candidates to participate in SLIS’s ALA-accredited…
University of Iowa

United States

Continued thinking about using archives for teaching, learning and research

When I was fortunate to be invited by, Anthony Mandal, Professor in Print and Digital Cultures,  to deliver the keynote at the recent GW4 Remediating the Archive workshop at the University of Cardiff, Wales, I decided to set out the current state of digitisation and its focus upon actual use of digital content by providing a survey of the activities of Jisc and other key digitisers over the years, starting with the Follett Report in 1993.

Audience feedback at the end of my talk suggested that a better understanding of past activities can inform current thinking. It helps to know that we have moved on considerably from the position of needing to just get stuff into digital form, to thinking much more carefully about what the reader/viewer might want to do with the resulting content in terms of identifying, selecting and utilising it for teaching, learning and research. Along the way we have learned so much. Digitisation can be undertaken in lots of ways, not just as part of large-scale publicly funded initiatives. What we need to do is to work out how best to encourage innovation in digitisation in order to facilitate standards-based smaller-scale initiatives. Jisc will hopefully find a new role in supporting these kinds of activities so that all the lessons it has learned over the years, from its many digitisation related initiatives, are not in vain.

During the day, we heard from archivists at Bath, Bristol, Exeter and Cardiff about archives which are online and those which are not, but probably should be. We also heard from students and academics about their interactions with archives both physical and digital. The conversation still focused on those old nuggets: standards, discovery and the re-representation of physical content in the digital realm; it’s different from print and paper but it’s clearly related.

Robert Bickers, Jamie Carstairs, Simon Price (Bristol) presented on Historical Photographs of China: The Journey towards Sustainability and Utility. Jennifer Batt (Bristol), explored Datamining for Verse in Eighteenth-Century Newspapers. Mark Burden (Bristol), talked about early work on The Cambridge Platonists at the Origin of Enlightenment. Rick Lawrence (Exeter), kept us royally entertained with his humorous delivery of a talk on the innovative Digital Research Prospectus at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery.

The two final talks were in my view particularly exciting. One, given by Dr Carrie Smith, Lecturer in English Literature at the University of Cardiff, demonstrated how teaching can be undertaken through the actual use of archives. She had set a module in which her students had produced a number of videos demonstrating how they had interpreted material from the Edward Thomas archive held at Cardiff. These digital testimonies are digital artefacts in themselves and Smith is concerned about how they get evaluated as there are no antecedents for judging this kind of digital output. By producing the videos students, have been able to explore, in detail, an item from the collections and were able to cross-reference it to the published work of the author. They are engaging with the physical, but also reproducing material digitally and making links between resources such as photographs, correspondence and drafts of manuscripts. Most of their outputs will be in digital form so questions arise as to how we retain links between the originating archival content and the resulting scholarly outputs. One student, Samantha Pallen, wrote of the experience of engaging with the archive:

However, I was surprised to learn the range of materials in the archive that fed into the final published poems; classically you imagine that a poem is written, edited through various manuscripts and then published, bish, bash, bosh. What I didn’t take into account was all of the materials that fall outside of this process, the photographs, the diaries, the correspondence with friends and family, which arguably have a greater impact on the creation of a piece of poetry.

By engaging in this way, students are learning about the nature of archives but are also questioning perceived wisdoms about what archives are for. Are they just stuffy places full of boxes, files and catalogues or are they living places in which we can get under the skin of our subject? Discussions surrounding the development of digital archives focused on how they could actually become better integrated in the lecture room. Can we create an environment in which digital evidence starts to be as important as the physical?

The other thought-provoking presentation was given by Michael Goodman, RA in the Cardiff University’s Digital Cultures Network, who demonstrated how his own production of a digital archive of images from 19th century publications, the Victorian Illustrated Shakespeare Archive, can form the basis for a PHD. Mikey said that there had been much criticism of his approach to the images as he manipulates them, rendering them different from the original which is exactly what he hopes to do; to re-render them for a new age of interaction.  Mikey also spoke of the possibilities offered by new media both in the 19th century and now with by the web. Enabling new audiences to engage with image, text and the discourse which is increasingly conducted on social media. Most striking for me was Mikey’s contention that scholars need to do their own digitisation which related to my allusion to a project called arHive which has gained support from Jisc as part of its Student Ideas Competition. The idea, of that project, is to enable those conducting research in archives to upload their own high quality images onto the cloud but in accordance with archival standards and policies. This is exactly the kind of imitative which could lead to a different way of building the digital archive. If everything can’t be digitised, due to various constraints, then perhaps parts of archives can be digitised by individuals. We could try to find ways of supporting this with a national infrastructure to facilitate best practice.

Late in the day, we were invited by James Freeman, Nina Parish and Gary Stringer to participate in a series of discussion groups to explore theorizing digital archives, teaching with digital archives and developing digital archives.  We were still talking at 5.30 on Friday afternoon; each layer of the conversation had led us deeper into an understanding that, working with digital archives demands a lot of thought, if we are to maximise their utility for future generations of researchers, teachers and learners.

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