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What's New

CDI Digital Collection "Kake Walk at UVM" Featured in ALANA U.S. Ethnic Studies Summer Course

Published: February 25, 2010 by Sophia Lloyd

We are proud to announce the CDI's involvement in this Continuing Education course. ALAN 095 OL1 D1 Curating Kake Walk: Race, Memory and Representation is an online, 3-credit course that will examine the controversial legacy of Kake Walk at UVM. Our Outreach Librarian, Robin M. Katz, will co-teach the course with Brian Joseph Gilley, Director of the ALANA US Ethnic Studies Program.

Using inter-disciplinary methodological frameworks, students will explore the ways archival materials are organized, presented and used to construct cultural memory. At the same time, students will be asked to engage in the practice of digital curation by helping to produce the "Kake Walk at UVM" CDI collection.

Digital Curation: A unique opportunity! Students will work with digitized materials from the University Archives, including programs, student newspapers, financial records, and historical photographs. The "Kake Walk at UVM" digital collection will feature students' contributions and will go live on the CDI at the end of the summer.

Historical Background: Blackface minstrel shows were once a prevailing form of entertainment in American popular culture. Similarly, the "cake walk" dance craze was a national phenomenon. For eighty years, UVM's Kake Walk was the hallmark social event of the annual Winter Carnival. In the theatrical tradition of minstrelsy (which later influenced vaudeville), fraternity brothers donned blackface makeup and performed highly stylized and choreographed dances to the tune of "Cotton Babes." This tradition has become - in the decades after its abolition in 1969 - a fascinating historical platform for examining the cultural construction and representation of race and representation in the U.S.

Want to sign up for this course? Matriculated and Continuing Education students can now use CRN 60745 to enroll. If you have questions about the registration process, please contact the registrar.

CDI to Present Local History Resources on TV This Thursday

Published: February 23, 2010 by Robin M. Katz

Mark your calendars!

Live at 5:25 - Thursday, February 25, 2010 - Channel 17

The CDI will share some of its excellent local history resources with the audience of Preservation Burlington's "Live at 5:25." Outreach Librarian Robin Katz will be joined by two UVM Libraries staff members who have helped create CDI collections.

Mary Van Buren-Swasey of the Cataloging department uses her local history expertise to create rich museum-level descriptive records for the ongoing additions to the McAllister photograph collection. Dan DeSanto, a staff member in Reference and Instruction and a recent graduate of the University of Alabama's School of Library and Information Science, is currently working on our forthcoming collection of Long Trail photographs.

Robin, Mary and Dan will highlight collection materials, share anecdotes about the research involved in digital collection production, and invite viewers to further explore the CDI.

Update: Watch the Video Online

See how the CDI was mentioned on a previous "Live at 5:25" show entitled "Researching Your Old House" and featuring historian and museum consultant Erica Donnis.

Our New Student Workers

Published: February 22, 2010 by Sophia Lloyd

We're happy to welcome Jill Wharton and Sophia Lloyd to our team at the CDI office. Having them on board this spring will help us streamline the maintenance of the existing database and the addition of new collections. Two new sets of eyes on our projects are a welcome addition! Here's a bit about them:

Jill Wharton

Jill moved to Burlington last year from central West Virginia. She is finishing the English MA this spring, while conducting thesis research in Modern Irish Poetry. In her copious free-time, she travels to literary and historic sites across New England, and reads 19th century congressional history, which she then debates with her favorite feline companion, John Quincy Adams.

Sophia Lloyd

Sophia is a Greek-American Vermonter, a farmer, and a Religion major and Animal Science minor at UVM. A few of her general interests are sacred space, human and animal cognition, ecology and systems science. After graduating in May, she is looking forward to applying to a Religious Studies or Divinity graduate program, spending more time with her family (both human and non-human), and growing some sweet, blight-free vegetables.

If you're a student interested in working with the CDI (whether you're seeking research help, internship opportunities or would like to be a future student worker) please contact us.

Item of the Month: February 2010

Published: February 11, 2010 by Robin M. Katz

How Not to Write a Valentine?

Katherine Fletcher received this Valentine from her high school friend Willis Hubbard. In the poem, circa Valentine's Day 1885, Hubbard professes his love for Katherine, laments his inability to eat or sleep, and dons himself her "lean and lovesick Valentine." Less than a year later, she writes on a letter from Hubbard, "Good riddance to bad rubbish."

Here's hoping your sweetie reacts differently!

Vermont State Librarian Commends CDI

Published: February 10, 2010 by Robin M. Katz

Today, the UVM Libraries welcomed Martha Reid, State Librarian of Vermont. Reid delivered a presentation to library faculty and staff entitled "Vermont Libraries in the Digital Age: Challenges and Opportunities for Our Rural State." She discussed the twenty-first century challenges for, goals of, and initiatives by libraries across the state.

Reid recognized that the University of Vermont is a statewide leader for digital intiatives. "You're way ahead of the curve of other libraries in this state," she said. "We can learn from you."

Reid stressed the need for visibility of library resources and services. Specifically addressing the Center for Digital Initiatives, she stated, "I think that's something Vermonters need to know about."

We couldn't agree more! To send suggestions on how we can better serve your community, please contact us.

UVM Secondary Ed Students to Use CDI Collections in Burlington High School History Classes

Published: February 03, 2010 by Robin M. Katz

Today, Library Assistant Professor Robin M. Katz visited Dr. Barri Tinkler's course EDSC 225: Teaching Social Studies in Secondary Schools.

This UVM service-learning course will collaborate with the CDI to create "webquests" for Burlington High School history classes. A webquest is a web-based inquiry activity that allows students to pursue answers to essential questions through the investigation of digital resources.

Professor Katz gave a brief lecture "Primary Source Learning Through Digital Libraries" which covered the unique challenges for K-12 primary source research (whether in person or online) and an overview of digital library development. See the Powerpoint

She then introduced the students to the CDI's site and gave a demonstration on discovery methods for CDI research. Students completed an in-class exercise designed to measure their ability to find and evaluate CDI materials which could be included in a webquest. See the exercise

Look back this Spring for the final products. All webquests will be available on the CDI website for public use.

To schedule an instruction session for your course, contact us at