Current Trial: Struggle For Freedom: Southern Africa

A trial of Struggle For Freedom: Southern Africa is available to the UC Berkeley community for one month beginning today, January 18th 2018. The URL to access the trial is http://www.aluka.org/struggles

The liberation of Southern Africa and the dismantling of the Apartheid regime was one of the major political developments of the 20th century, with far-reaching consequences for people throughout Africa and around the globe. Struggles for Freedom: Southern Africa focuses on the complex and varied liberation struggles in the region, with an emphasis on Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe.

Struggles for Freedom: Southern Africa brings together materials from various archives and libraries throughout the world documenting colonial rule, dispersion of exiles, international intervention, and the worldwide networks that supported successive generations of resistance within the region.

The resource consists of 76 different collections of more than 20,000 objects and 190,000 pages of documents and images, including periodicals, nationalist publications, records of colonial government commissions, local newspaper reports, personal papers, correspondence, UN documents, out-of-print and other particularly relevant books, pamphlets, speeches, and interviews with those who participated in the struggles.

The materials in Struggles for Freedom: South Africa were selected with the guidance of national advisory committees consisting of leading scholars, archivists, and public intellectuals in six African countries along with scholars from outside the region.

Please contact Adam Clemons at aclemons@berkeley.edu with your feedback about this resource.


In Memory of Ruth Bancroft 9/2/1908 – 11/26/2017

Photo of Ruth Bancroft in The Ruth Bancroft Garden
Ruth Bancroft, photo courtesy of The Ruth Bancroft Garden, photographer unknown

UC Berkeley alumna Ruth Petersson Bancroft, founder of The Ruth Bancroft Garden in Walnut Creek and well-known expert in dry gardening, passed away at the age of 109 on Nov. 26. Her oral history, The Ruth Bancroft Garden in Walnut Creek, California: Creation in 1971 and Conservation, conducted in 1991 and 1992, is described by interviewer Suzanne B. Riess as “…the amazing chronicle of the growth of a passionate gardener, from her childhood recollections of spring wildflowers on the hills of an earlier, bucolic Berkeley, to her current triumphs, and the tribulations of stewardship of a garden more or less in the public trust.”

The daughter of first-generation Swedish immigrants, Ruth Petersson was born in Massachusetts, but moved to Berkeley, California when her father landed a professorship at UC Berkeley. Of her childhood, she said, “I spent a lot of time wandering around and also over into Wildcat Canyon, just looking at the wildflowers and I think that’s what started me in the interest of wildflowers…” Although Ruth originally studied architecture as one of the only women in the program at UC Berkeley, the Great Depression hit and so for the sake of job security, she switched her career to education. It was during her time as a teacher of home economics in Merced that she met Philip Bancroft, Jr., the grandson of Hubert Howe Bancroft, whose 60,000-volume book collection began the Bancroft Library. After they married, the couple moved onto the Bancroft Farm in the East Bay. The Bancroft family sold much of their land to the city of Walnut Creek as it expanded over the years. Later, in 1971, Philip Bancroft, Jr. gave the last 3-acre plot of walnut orchards to his wife in order to house her extensive collection of succulents.

Though The Ruth Bancroft Garden now boasts a beautiful display of water-conserving plants, the garden was not without its hardships at the beginning. Just a few months after Bancroft began her garden, a severe freeze in December killed nearly all that she had planted. Still, she persevered. “Well, I started again the next year… I figured it doesn’t happen that often, and you can’t just not replant those same things, because they might have another twenty years before they’d be killed again. So I’m just replanting. Have to start over again.” To this, Riess queried, “You didn’t think in some way you had been given a message?” Bancroft laughed and replied, “No.”

A long-time friend of Bancroft and former manager at the UC Berkeley Botanical Garden, Wayne Roderick said, “I would classify Ruth as a genuine dirt gardener. She’s out there doing things with her bare hands. She would be out in the garden by seven at the latest, and for the first hour she was weeding the path of the little spotted spurge, hand-weeding those paths until her knees would get so sore from the rocks, the gravel. That’s what I mean by a genuine dirt gardener.” In addition to Bancroft’s hands-on style of working, she also kept meticulous records as she created her garden. An invaluable addition to her oral history is the transcription of the entirety of her handwritten notes on the garden’s first year, cataloguing every trial and triumph. Riess urges in her introduction to the oral history, “Any gardener will do well to read that year of Ruth’s journal, to see the value of a journal, as well as the work involved in realizing a dream, and the necessity of being willing to weed!”

Over the years, Bancroft also had many helpers that contributed to the development of her impressive creation, such as Lester Hawkins, who created the original design of the garden, and her husband Philip. Roderick recalls, “Phil Bancroft just adored Ruth, and he wanted her to have anything she wanted. He did everything he could to help her. I don’t think Phil thought about the garden continuing, but he certainly was there to make sure she got what she wanted for the place. He was a farmer-type, but he enjoyed seeing the garden, and he was willing to get in and help.” Later, her garden would inspire fellow gardener Francis Cabot to create the Garden Conservancy, of which the Ruth Bancroft Garden became the first of many private gardens to be preserved for the public.

Still, through all of the international recognition and acclaim she received, Bancroft maintained a simple and genuine love for gardening: “You never know just what’s going to bloom when, during the summer. And a lot of the bloom just lasts a day, or possibly two days. It’s interesting to see what there is, and catch it before it’s gone.” When asked whether she had had a mission for the garden, she replied, “I just started it for the fun of it, and the enjoyment of it. I had no idea that people would be looking at it, no idea at all.“

The Ruth Bancroft Garden will hold a public, all-day celebration of Bancroft’s life on February 17th, 2018.

Maggie Deng
Oral History Center Student Assistant


Announcing the Release of the California / San Francisco Fire Departments Oral History Project

The world of firefighting is much more than masked people in uniforms running into burning buildings and rescuing scared cats from trees. While the bravery of firefighters can’t be overestimated, they also work in a complex system that requires constant training and education, a cohesive partnership with local government, extensive procedures and protocols, managerial oversight, effective communication within departments and to the public, acute familiarity with the local and regional environment, and a whole lot of administrative work. The San Francisco Fire Department (SFFD) is a shining example of how people make a civil service operation run and keep people safe. All of these elements, as well as the historic and cultural aspects of the department, are why we chose it as our focus for our California Fire Departments Oral History Project.

The project was originally conceived by Sarah Wheelock, an independent researcher. She wanted to explore several major thematic areas of firefighting in California and she worked with the Oral History Center to do just that. With great sadness we learned that Sarah passed away in 2014 and thus she was unable to see the project through to completion. Taking over the project in 2016, I wanted to honor her original plan and cover the themes that she had outlined. So, I decided to embark on interviews within one department – the SFFD – to document the ways in which they have handled urban fire, climate change, diversity, technological change, and changing demographics.

The SFFD was founded in 1849 and was run by volunteers. It became a paid department, officially integrated into city government, in 1866. The 150th anniversary of the paid department was in 2016, when I was conducting interviews. Given my budget for the project, I was able to interview six people who worked with the SFFD in different capacities. I wanted to include multiple perspectives to understand the organizational, cultural, geographic, economic, and political systems of one of the oldest departments in the country.

The individuals who I interviewed were able to illustrate many of the themes that I wanted to document, and much more. Among the six people I interviewed were Chief Robert Demmons (the first and only African American chief of the SFFD who instrumental in integrating more more women and people of color into the SFFD), Bill Koenig (longtime firefighter and co-founder of Guardians of the City and the SFFD Museum), Jim Lee (also a longtime firefighter and co-founder of Guardians of the City and the SFFD Museum), Steve Nakajo (member of the SFFD Fire Commission), Lt. Anne Young (one of the first females hired), and Jonathan Baxter (longtime paramedic and current Public Information Officer). 

These interviews work in concert to illustrate day-to-day operations in the stations, administrative duties, how the city of San Francisco and the department work together, the relationship between paramedics and the department, training, equipment, fire science school, the role of unions, the challenges and triumphs of integrating the departments, the public perception of the department, the role of innovation and changing technology, cultural changes in the department, challenges in fire safety particular to the geography of San Francisco, and the hopes for the future of the SFFD.

It is with great excitement that we present the California / San Francisco Fire Departments Oral History Project. I want to give a special thanks to all of the narrators for sharing their stories with me and helping me to document one of the most historically significant fire departments in our country.

This project is dedicated to the memory of Sarah Wheelock. Her California Firefighter oral histories from the 2000s will be released in early 2018. 


Reaxys 2.0 Migration

 

Logo for Reaxys Database

Reaxys is a web-based tool for the retrieval of chemistry information and data from published literature, including journals and patents.Chemists at Berkeley are active users of Reaxys, doing 1000’s of searches/month!

Elsevier has rolled out a new version of Reaxys (Reaxys 2.0) that has a number of enhanced features, including:

  1.       An increasingly simple user interface.  The opening page has spaces to (a) type in the search query in a search bar or (b) type in the name of the structure or draw the structure.
  2.       Search functions using the querylets to increase the specificity of the search and reduces the time that the user has to filter the results post search.
  3.       Search functions that contain auto suggest. Similarly it also searches for singular/plural and synonyms
  4.       Using Boolean operators (obviously one of Elsevier’s strengths)
  5.       Listing hits in the initial screen (post search).  No secondary search needed.
  6.       A big increase in the number of searchable Asian patents

The migration is Reaxys 2.0 is ongoing, but migration should be completed by November 30, 2017. Soon UCB users will be directed to the new interface, but will continue to have the option to use the old interface for the foreseeable future.


BiGLI Online

BiGLI Online

The Library has begun a subscription to BiGLI Online which is the digital version of the fundamental print bibliography and discovery tool for the field of Italian language and literature – Bibliografia Generale della Lingua e della Letteratura Italiana. It includes texts, critical and historical surveys, philogical and linguistic notes, essays, monographs, bibliographic reviews, and more from 1981 to present. With the assistance of an international team of experts and co-published by the Centro Pio Rajna and Salerno Editrice in Rome, the BiGLI is regarded as “a census of the diffusion and dissemination of Italian culture in the world.”


Beckett Digital Manuscript Project

Image result for samuel beckett digital manuscript project

The Beckett Digital Manuscript Project reunites the manuscripts of Irish writer Samuel Beckett’s works in a digital way, and facilitates genetic research. The project brings together digital facsimiles of documents that are now preserved in different holding libraries, and adds transcriptions of Beckett’s manuscripts, tools for bilingual and genetic version comparison, a search engine, and an analysis of the textual genesis of his works. Beckett wrote in both English and French.
The site also includes the Beckett Digital Library (BDL) – a digital reconstruction of Samuel Beckett’s personal library, based on the volumes preserved at his apartment in Paris, in archives (Beckett International Foundation) and private collections. It currently houses 761 extant volumes, as well as 248 virtual entries for which no physical copy has been retrieved.

Romance Language Collections Newsletter no.1 (Fall 2016)

What’s new in the Library for Fall 2016? 
Piano_oriental_2
The graphic novel Le piano oriental by Zeina Abirached will be on display in the Doe Library exhibition Beyond Tintin and Superman: The Diversity of Global Comics opening September 19.

Welcome back everyone! Here’s a brief sum-up of new services and library resources with a focus on the Romance languages and southern European studies in particular.

New Blog – Over the summer the Library migrated all of its blogs to WordPress. From this point forward, please look here for all Romance Language Collections news. If you choose not to subscribe to the blog, don’t worry. I usually forward the most important posts to your respective department listservs.

Electronic Resources

OpenEdition Books – With a combination of generous discretionary and endowment funds, the Library was able to acquire the complete ebook catalogue of this open access book initiative based at Université d’Aix-Marseille. We now have enhanced and permanent access to more than 2700 open access books (most in French but also in Italian, Spanish and Portuguese) that can be read in four different formats (epub, pdf, html, or reader) from prestigious academic presses like CNRS Éditions, Presses Universitaires de Rennes, and l’École française de Rome. We have also have become partners in an acquisitions policy that both supports sustainable development of OA and that respects the needs of teaching, research and learning communities.

OpenEdition Journals – Also known as Revues.org, the Library has purchased permanent access to the 140 journals available through OpenEdition’s freemium model, eliminating moving walls and gaining similar formats enhancements as the ebooks. Representative titles include Arzanà: Cahiers de littérature médiévale italienne, Cahiers d’études romanes, Flaubert: Revue critique et génétique, and L’Atelier du Centre de recherches historiques.

Ebooks on Casalini’s Torrossa platform – Besides the Italian ebooks the Library receives through its subscription to Editoria Italiana Online, we added 200 additional titles last spring. Casalini Libri also unveiled a new reader in July which greatly improves the readability (especially on smartphones and tablets) of the near 2500 titles in Berkeley’s collection of Italian ebooks.

Kanopy and the Media Resources Center – New films and documentaries in the Romance Languages from not only Europe but also Africa and Latin America are regularly added to this online streaming service. Beginning this semester, check-out periods for DVDs and VHS tapes from the MRC will be extended to 7 days for faculty, lecturers and graduate student instructors!

Continue reading “Romance Language Collections Newsletter no.1 (Fall 2016)”


UCB Library Partners with OpenEdition

OpenEdition

OpenEdition is an interdisciplinary humanities and social sciences portal with four complementary platforms: OpenEdition Books (ebooks), Revues.org (scholarly journals), Calenda (academic announcements), and Hypotheses (research blogs). It is a non-profit public initiative that promotes open access (OA) publishing, with the support of French research institutions. Most of the content is in French but also in other European languages, including English.

The institutional subscription to OpenEdition Fremium allows the UC Berkeley community to participate in an acquisitions policy that both supports sustainable development of OA and that respects the needs of teaching, research and learning communities: no DRM or download quotas are applied. As such, thousands of ebooks and journals are discoverable through the portal or through the Library’s catalogs and bibliographic search tools permitting researchers to benefit from a range of digital formats, some optimized specifically for e-readers, tablets, and smart phones (ePub, PDF, etc.)

OpenEdition is an initiative of the Centre for Open Electronic Publishing (Cléo), a unit that brings together the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), the Université d’Aix-Marseille, the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) and the Université d’Avignon et des Pays de Vaucluse.


Le Grand Corpus des dictionnaires

Les membres de l'Académie française venant offrir au Roi le Dictionnaire de l'Académie : [estampe]

Produced by the Classiques Garnier Numérique team in Paris, the Grand Corpus des dictionnaires brings together in one searchable database the 24 most important dictionaries on the French language from the 9th to the 20th century. Most works are presented in a digitized format identical to the original as well as a textual facsimile, providing advanced searches and other sophisticated functionality. Includes Godefroy’s Dictionnaire de l’ancienne langue française, Robert Estienne’s Dictionaire François latin (1549), Furetière’s Dictionnaire de l’ancienne langue française (1690), eight editions of the Le Dictionaire de l’Académie françoise, and many others.


No Legacy || Literatura Electrónica

No Legacy || Literatura electrónica

Exhibit – Multimedia | March 11 – September 2, 2016 | Doe Library, Bernice Layne Brown Gallery

OPENING SYMPOSIUM – A Round Table Discussion
Friday, March 11 from 10am to 12:30pm, BIDS (Doe 190)

OPENING RECEPTION with poet Amaranth Borsuk and writer Doménico Chiappe
Friday, March 11, 2016, 5:30pm, Morrison Library

The exhibition No Legacy || Literatura electrónica (NL||LE) presents a collection of works of digital literature in Spanish, Portuguese, Catalan, and English alongside print works of the 20th-century avant-garde. It gathers an unprecedented team of collaborators from across the UC Berkeley campus (the University Library, the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, the Institute of European Studies, and the Berkeley Center for New Media) as well as national and international partners to showcase the impact of technology on literary production in the 21st-century networked world.

Electronic literature, or e-lit, refers to works that utilize computers and other digital media in creative literary ways. Examples include hypertext or interactive fiction, digital poetry, narrative generators, Twitter bots, augmented reality texts, iPad applications, etc. Meant to be read on computers and other devices, electronic literary works reveal new ideas about literary and media developments while inviting interaction with readers. The characteristics of e-lit pose challenges for writers, scholars, and curators when issues like software and hardware obsolescence and preservation come to the forefront. Exhibits like NL||LE have become an ideal medium of projection for this kind of literary expression.

NL||LE brings forth the historical dimension of e-lit works. Reading a work online with a shiny new computer or tablet makes it easy to forget that what one is seeing might be a legacy work from the early 1990s. Only two decades ago, computation and devices were drastically different. Their affordances in terms of graphics, speed, memory as well as the fact that the Internet did not exist yet have influenced the way these pieces were created and read. By incorporating vintage computers in the exhibit, the NL||LE team highlights the historical grounding of the works. Claude Potts, Romance Languages Librarian at UC Berkeley, has furthered the temporality of the project by assembling more than fifty print works that inform the creation and reading of the digital pieces. Exhibition design and fabrication was done by students in a Berkeley Center for New Media seminar taught by Stephanie Lie.

Although e-lit exhibits have proliferated in the US and around the Spanish speaking world, in NL||LE co-curators Alexandra Saum-Pascual and Élika Ortega propose to recover the previously unseen relationships of English language e-lit with Spanish and Portuguese language works, both print and digital. NL||LE launches a speculative exploration of literary history: an alternative to making connections between movements and authors. Instead, it asks questions that highlight less common kinds of literary relationships like the look or the handling of the work as objects.

No Legacy || Literatura electrónica opens on March 11, 2016 and runs through September 2, 2016 in the Bernice Layne Brown Gallery of UC Berkeley’s Doe Library. Find more details about the opening symposium and reception.