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FSU Libraries’ Celebrates Newly-Tenured Faculty

On April 22, 2019, newly-tenured FSU faculty celebrated their accomplishments during a reception at the President’s house. Each year, FSU Libraries honor the achievements of newly-tenured faculty by selecting an item for the collection in their name. These items are on display the celebration event, with a paragraph describing why each particular item was selected and its significance.

To view the list of faculty and their explanation of the books or materials they hand-picked to be purchased and book plated in their honor, click here.

Open Video Resources – A Few Alternatives to Kanopy and Swank

By Dave Rodriguez

FSU Libraries currently subscribes to a wide variety of streaming video services and databases. Some of these, such as Swank and Kanopy, provide users access to commercial feature films for scholarly analysis, research, and teaching purposes. Others, like Films on Demand, are treasure troves of documentary content–although there’s some interesting feature film collections in there as well!

In addition to these valuable, paid resources, there are a number of open video collections containing narrative, documentary, ethnographic, and historically significant moving-image resources that can and should be utilized by those working in higher education and promoted by the Library. Below is a list with links and collection highlights from five such collections.

More information on how to access audio-visual content can be found in the Film LibGuide. Direct any questions about these or other online media resources to Shelly Schmucker, Electronic Resources Librarian (shelly.schmucker@fsu.edu), and Dave Rodriguez, Resident/Media Librarian (dwrodriguez@fsu.edu).

  1. Public Domain Movies (http://publicdomainmovie.net/)
    • A consolidated site of feature films, shorts, and cartoons that have fallen into the public domain either by virtue of being created before 1924 or the copyright having lapsed for some other reason.
    • Collection Highlights:
    • Search Note: Unfortunately, this site lacks an internal search feature. However, you can effectively search the collection via Google by using the following search command: site:http://publicdomainmovie.net/ “insert movie title or other search criteria between quotation marks”
  2. Snagfilms (http://www.snagfilms.com/)
    • A streaming platform with over 2,000 independent feature films and documentaries. Looks and runs like Netflix but some content contains ads at the beginning of playback.
    • Collection Highlights:
      • Jayne Loader, Kevin Rafferty and Pierce Rafferty’s documentary indictment of the nuclear age The Atomic Cafe (1982)
      • Lucy Walker’s exploration of Amish youthful transgression The Devil’s Playground (2002)
  3. Library of Congress National Screening Room (https://www.loc.gov/collections/national-screening-room/)
    • An initiative by LoC to make its moving-image collections accessible for streaming and download. Wide variety of titles ranging from silent films by Thomas Edison and D.W. Griffith to feature films and shorts from the 1940s and 50s
    • Collection Highlights:
      • Ida Lupino’s taut, masterfully crafted noir The Hitchhiker (1953)
      • Oscar Micheaux’s landmark work of African American silent cinema Within Our Gates (1919)
  4. Internet Archive’s Moving Image Archives (https://archive.org/details/movies)
    • An old standard at this point but full of great material for those willing to do some digging.
    • Collection Highlight:
      • The Prelinger Collection – Perhaps the the world’s most comprehensive collection of educational, ephemeral, propaganda, and industrial films ever assembled. A crucial repository for studying the culture of the 20th century.
  5. Florida Memory (https://www.floridamemory.com/video)
    • The State’s extensive catalog of moving-image materials offers a vivid snapshot of Florida’s history.
    • Collection Highlights:
      • The Adventures of X-14 (ca. 1963) – A promotional tourist film produced by the FL Development Commission and the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce about an alien visitor (disguised as a kitten!) to Florida’s Gulf Coast
      • Julio 26 (1960) – A TV documentary produced by a local Miami news channel chronicling the first six months and 26 days of Fidel Castro’s leadership in Cuba.

Why and How Libraries Should Use Student Data: Two Perspectives

Why (and How) libraries should use student data to measure the relationship between library services, spaces, etc., on student outcomes.

In this conversation, two librarians at FSU share their perspectives and experiences on student data. Why should we use student data? Why shouldn’t we use student data? Below, read Adam Beauchamp and Kirsten Kinsley’s take on student data.


By Adam Beauchamp, Humanities Librarian

“How” should libraries use student data to measure the relationship between library services, spaces, etc., on student outcomes?

In short, very carefully. 

There are two questions, one methodological and one ethical, that I ask myself when considering the use of student data in library assessment. First, do these data actually measure the outcome I want to assess? Second, does the potential benefit to students from using data this way offset the potential harm to students’ privacy or intellectual freedom? 

Libraries collect a lot of transactional data in the course of normal operations, and it is tempting to use these data to demonstrate the library’s value. But the mistake I see often in the library literature is that librarians conflate a student’s simple use of the library with the broadest (and most flawed) measure of student learning: GPA. A high GPA may be indicative of a student who does well in general on tests and class assignments, but GPA doesn’t tell you what or how a student has learned. 

Similarly, counts of library transactions like checking out a book, attending a workshop, clicking on an electronic journal article, or passing through library turnstiles do not tell you how, or even if, those transactions resulted in student learning. In the first example, did our student read the book, fully understand its thesis, and successfully incorporate those ideas into her own thinking and writing? Did she even select an appropriate book for the assignment in the first place? None of these questions are answered by circulation statistics. Asked another way, if learning did not take place in this scenario, is it the fault of the library? If the library cannot be held liable for the student who checks out a book and doesn’t learn, can the library take credit for the same transaction leading to a positive outcome without justifying how?

If library transactional data alone are insufficient measures of student learning, one response is to collect more, better student data. How can we know if the student above learned from checking out a book? Perhaps if we had her entire search history and records of every other book and journal article she had looked at, we could then hypothesize about whether or not she had deployed a logical search strategy and had selected the “right” book for the assignment. But now we have a serious ethical problem. Is it appropriate for libraries to conduct this kind of surveillance of our users? If the student finds out we are scrutinizing her every keyword and mouse click, would she think twice about searching for or reading materials on certain subjects? Are we sharing these data with her professor, who might deduct points for “irrelevant” searches or checking out the “wrong” books? Have we gotten any closer to discovering how the student is or isn’t learning such that we could alter our practices to benefit her and other students?  

In the ALA Code of Ethics we are called to offer the highest quality service, but we cannot let pursuit of that value cause us to trample on our equally important mission to support intellectual freedom, fight censorship (including self-censorship), and protect library users’ right to privacy and confidentiality. Therefore, we must think very carefully before using student data in an effort to connect library use in all its forms to student learning outcomes. We must be sure that such use of student data is a valid measure of the outcome we wish to assess, and that the potential benefits to students outweighs the potential harms to students’ privacy and intellectual freedom at the center of our professional ethics.


By Kirsten Kinsley, Assessment Librarian

My position is for purposes of modeling Critical Thinking and Healthy Discussion–the value of the month and to start the conversation on big data and student privacy:

An example of the data we collect on students:

We collect data on a number of library services, outreach, spaces, and resources/collections as demonstrated by the data inventory completed in the fall. One of the datasets assessment collects is card swipe data for Dirac and Strozier.  From this data we can determine who uses the library, how frequently, and for how long. The data includes student EMPLIDS, a nine digit code identifier that serves to connect individual student user card swipes with the Office of Institutional Research Business Intelligence (BI) data warehouse.  The BI system is used to pull any number of variables about each student who enters the library. Some of the student variables include: major, year of study or status, semester or overall GPA, retention, class load, whether they are an athlete, a part of Greek Life, or a veteran, etc. We pull demographic variables such as age, sex, race, and pre-college variables, such high school GPA, SAT/ACT scores and Pell grant recipients.

We include all these variables about individual students and examine them in the aggregate because theories and research in higher education conclude that a lot goes into what makes a student successful in college and there are many ways to measure that.  Some point to pre-college variables, such as SAT/ACT scores, as factors that contribute to success. Other studies have shown that collegiate engagement in programs like CARE, living-learning communities, athletics or studying abroad play a role in student success. Using statistics, we can also tease out the relationship between library usage and student success.

In order to be thorough, analysis includes as many factors as we can by holding some variables constant (such as high school GPA, which can have a hidden effect on student library usage) while measuring whether something like first year retention rates may be affected by library usage.  We do this knowing that we cannot account for all variables, such as personal motivation.

You might ask, “How do we know that it is not something about a student’s good study habits and not in using the library space itself that makes them successful?”  In other words, good students self-select to go to the library. This is self-selection bias and for this we apply statistical techniques like precision matching to mitigate it. One way to do that is by creating a comparison group by matching each library user’s demographics and characteristics with a non-library user. For example: A student who visits the library physical space is matched with a non-library using student on characteristics like ethnicity, age, year of study, major, high school GPA, SAT score, etc.  What is being compared is the differences of frequency of library visits between them and to estimate the effects it has on first year retention rates. From this a comparison group of library users with a matched group of non-library users is created. We can apply this technique to measure whether the library user group has a statistically significant higher semester-to-semester retention rate.

All the student data that we collect are anonymized and analyzed in the aggregate.  We do not want to know about a particular students’ library participation, but we do want to know what trends there are that relate to library usage in general.  Aside from library spaces, we know that the library provides many important services, configurations of spaces, and resources that help our users. So measuring the impact of as many library variables together as we can will build our case that the library makes a difference. Since this process involves a lot of datasets, we need a secure and safe data warehouse to store it.

Why should we use all that student data do this?: To show that libraries play a role in student success.

To compete for campus funding:

If we don’t hold ourselves accountable and demonstrate our value and impact on student, faculty, and staff success, who can we count on to advocate for us on campus? Others campus divisions and stakeholders , such as the Academic Center for Excellence (ACE) and the Division of Student Affairs are and will be vying for dollars by showing evidence of their contributions. [Look at Goal IV & V of the Strategic Plan: Student Success and the focus of those Goals includes student advising initiatives]. FSU’s operating budget includes E&G Funds (44.36%) and the Libraries share a portion the E&G budget with other campus stakeholders. Of those funds, 11.80% comes from tuition and fees, and the remaining 32.56%  percent comes from state support.

Statewide

The Board of Governors (BOG) oversees the distribution of some large sources of funding: Preeminence funding,  Performance-based funding, and National Ranking Enhancements that are distributed to the eleven schools in the State University System (SUS). At FSU, “performance funding currently accounts for approximately 22% of all Education & General (E&G) dollars, the principal source of university operating funds” (Daly PowerPoint 2019) and is based on metrics. Metrics that libraries can contribute to include: four year graduation rate, academic progress rate (2nd year retention with GPA above 2.0), and others. Another source of income that is getting more and more competitive is Preeminence funding. Of the $20 million recurring funds for the SUS–FSU’s portion is $6.1 million.

Nationally:

ACRL’s Value of Academic Libraries Initiative (2010) was strongly supported with IMLS grant funding projects and programming and continues to be a driving force for the impetus to conduct this research that demonstrates Value and Impact. Currently, they offer grants for up to $3000 for libraries who want to conduct research to demonstrate value.

While funding is not the only reason we should measure our impact on student success, it is clearly a compelling reason.

So, how do we measure the Libraries’ impact on student success, while also honoring our values?

  1. Foster partnerships: By partnering with other campus colleges and departments as we have successfully done in the past and by utilizing high standards of research practice and methodologies, we raise awareness across campus that the library makes a difference in the lives of students, faculty, and staff.  
  2. Adhering to research standards: We ask questions and let the data speak, not the other way around as in data trolling or dredging. For quantitative research we frame our questions supported with theories tested in higher education [for example, for students we could use Astin’s Theory of Student Involvement (1984) or Tinto’s Institutional Departure Model (1975, 1993)]. We don’t give the data to third parties. We do it to show them the value of students’ tuition or tax dollars. We can do all this while still honoring our professional values (e.g., ALA Code of Ethics),
  3. Model good data stewardship: We can be a role model for not only how we adhere to good research practice, but by being transparent to library users that we collect their information to improve their services, spaces, and collections in the aggregate. We adhere to stringent privacy considerations and make sure we are in alignment with campus data governance. We are good data stewards by maintaining high standards of data management practices and protocols–such as how we store, secure, and de-identify data. We do this using the same research standards and protocols of the university.  We develop a privacy statement and a way for users to opt out of library research should they want to.

Summary

We need to be proactive about demonstrating impact and value to the institution and advocate to stakeholders our value.  Aside from competition for campus funds, we need to hold ourselves accountable to measure that what we do matters. If any part of this institution is capable of measuring impact and value with care and consideration of its users, it is the Libraries. Our values and concerns will keep us balanced between contributing evidence-based data and the practices of privacy, and keeping what we measure within the bounds of reason. Let’s not leave it up to the vendors to decide the granularity of data we seek, but let us ask the questions, within the bounds of our values, and conduct sound research practice in good faith knowing that there will never be data that give us certainty and definitive answers, only a compass to point the way.

Note: References provided for my assertions provided upon request.

FSU Libraries Announce Alternative Textbook Grant Recipients

FSU Libraries is proud to announce the winners of our 2018-2019 round of Alternative Textbook Grants. The grant program, launched by the Libraries in November 2016, awards successful applicants with $1,000 to support the adoption or creation of open or library-licensed course materials that are available at no cost to students. These high-quality materials are written by experts and peer-reviewed, ensuring a level of intellectual and instructional rigor on par with expensive commercial equivalents.

Applications were evaluated based on criteria balancing the estimated savings to students, the openness of the proposed materials, and the likelihood of the materials being adopted by other courses at FSU.

Based on projected enrollment figures for the courses in question, the instructors participating in this round of the program are expected to save FSU students up to $167,800 by Fall 2019, and the total projected savings across all grant recipients since the program’s inception are expected to exceed $437,000.

Congratulations to this year’s winners! For more information about the open education movement and related initiatives at FSU, see our research guide on OER, or contact Devin Soper, Director of FSU Libraries’ Office of Digital Research & Scholarship.

 

2018-2019 Grant Recipients

John Bandzuh is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Geography. His research interests include health geography, political ecology, and vector-borne diseases. This is Bandzuh’s second alternative textbook grant. With his first grant, he used library-licensed journal articles in GEO4930 “Geography of Wine”. This year he plans to adopt an open textbook in his Summer 2019 World Geography course.

Kathleen Burnett is the F. William Summers Professor in the School of Information. Her research interests include Social Informatics, Gender, Race, and Ethnicity and IT, and Information Ethics. Dr. Burnett plans to author chapters for her own open textbook and incorporate online resources and videos in her Fall and Spring offerings of IDS2144 “Information Ethics in the 21st Century”.

Austin Bush is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Geography. His research interests include GIS, remote sensing, and spatial analysis. In lieu of a traditional textbook, he plans to use online mapping applications, scholarly articles, and videos in the Summer 2019 offering of GIS3015 “Map Analysis”.

Rob Duarte is a Professor in the Department of Art, co-director of the Facility for Arts Research, and Director of REBOOT Laboratory. Professor Duarte will adopt an open textbook for the new course “Interactive Art II: Electronic Objects” in Fall 2019. In the future, he plans to write his own companion to the text focusing on physical computing and electronic art.

Raphael Kampmann is an Assistant Professor in the department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the FSU-FAMU College of Engineering. His research interests include multi-axial failure behavior of concrete, construction materials, and destructive test methods. In place of a textbook, Dr. Kampmann will create his own course materials in the 2019-2020 offerings of EGM3512 “Engineering Mechanics”.

Jessica Malo is an adjunct professor of Arabic and Film Studies in the Department of Modern Languages and Linguistics. Malo recently returned from a year of teaching English as a second language in Lebanon and published her first work of Arabic poetry “لو مشى معي قرص الشمس” (If the Disk of Sun Would Walk With Me). She will adopt an open textbook on Middle Eastern history and Culture in upcoming offerings of IDS3450 “Through an Arabic Lens: The Intersection of Film and Culture”.

Lisa Munson is Teaching Faculty in the Department of Sociology. She studies social inequality and social justice, particularly public sociology – applying sociological knowledge to promote social justice in the community. Dr. Munson was also one of the 2018 Alternative Textbook Grant recipients for a Sociology course taught in Florence in which she used an open textbook. With this grant, she will use an open textbook and journal articles in the Summer 2019 offering of SYP4570 “Deviance and Social Control”.

Alysia Roehrig is an Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Psychology & Learning Systems. Dr. Roehrig’s research interests focus on issues related to effective teaching, particularly exploring the successes of students labeled at risk for school failure. She will use chapters from two open textbooks on research methods in the Summer 2019 online offering of EDF5481 “Methods of Educational Research”.

Zoe Schroder is Ph.D. student in the Department of Geography. Some of her research interests include meteorology, climatology, and severe weather patterns. In place of a textbook, Schroder will incorporate government climate reports and journal articles in the Summer 2019 offering of GEO4251 “Geography of Climate Change and Storms”.

Michael Shatruk is a Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. His lab researches photo-switchable molecular materials, intermetallic magnets for magnetic refrigeration and electric vehicles, and low-dimensional magnetic materials such as spin-frustrated 2D magnets and nanomagnets. Dr. Shatruk received two grants this academic year to support the adoption and creation of open course materials. With a grant from International Programs, he will adopt an open textbook for CHM1020 at the Valencia study center this summer. With funding from the Libraries, he and his colleagues will develop an open-access online laboratory manual for a new undergraduate Materials Chemistry laboratory course offered in Spring 2020.

International Programs Grant Recipients

Lydia Hanks is an Associate Professor in the Dedman School of Hospitality. Dr. Hanks’ teaching areas include hospitality accounting, lodging operations, and service management. She will use an open textbook in the Summer 2019 offering of HFT2716 “International Travel and Culture” in Florence, Italy.

Cynthia Johnson is Specialized Teaching Faculty in the Dedman School of Hospitality. Her teaching areas include introductory hospitality, internationals tourism, and club and golf course management. She will adopt an open access textbook and other alternative resources in the Summer 2019 offerings of HFT3240 “Managing Service Organizations” and HFT 2716 “International Travel and Culture” in Nice, France.

Patrick Merle is an Associate Professor in the School of Communication and Director of the Integrated Marketing Program. His teaching interests include International Public Relations, Political Communication, and Public Relations Techniques. Dr. Merle will adopt open textbooks in PUR4400 “Crisis Communication” offered in Summer 2019 in Florence, Italy.

Anthony Rhine is a Professor in the School of Theatre and Director of the Theatre Management program. Dr. Rhine teaches courses on Audience Development and Arts Marketing, Project Management, and Resource Management. He will use an open textbook and a library licensed e-book in the Summer 2019 offering of MAN3240 “Organizational Behavior” at the Valencia study center.

Jimmy Yu is an Associate Professor of Chinese Buddhism in the Department of Religion. He teaches courses in Chinese religious traditions, with an emphasis in Buddhism and Daoism. Dr. Yu will use library-licensed e-books and articles in the Summer 2019 offering of REL3340 “Buddhist Tradition” at the London study center.

FLVC Open Educational Resources Summit

By Mallary Rawls 

Last week I was able to attend the Florida Virtual Campus (FLVC) Open Educational Resources (OER) Summit in Orlando, FL. I was the only one from FSU Libraries who was able to attend, but I had a wonderful experience learning more about how to implement OER at FSU. 

One of the surprising things at the summit was the amount of faculty in attendance. There were also librarians in attendance, as well as administrators. Having faculty show up and learn more about the what, why, and how of OER is very important. Librarians have been one of the leading forces behind the push for OER and it’s nice to see the sharing of responsibility with faculty. Faculty play a huge role in deciding  what’s used in the classroom, so knowing that we’re sharing this space is a step in the right direction.  

The summit began on Wednesday February 27thand opened with remarks from Dr. John Opper, FLVC Executive Director. He welcomed Una Daly, Director of the Community College Consortium for Open Educational Resources (CCCOER) that’s a division of the global Open Education Consortium. Her opening speech was about asking ourselves as educators, librarians, administrators “why” we’re choosing to learn or implement OER and “what” we’re doing. Daly spent a lot of time talking about Zero Textbook Cost (ZTC) courses and programs, open pedagogy, and using instructional designers to help faculty plan their courses around OER. This is something that is open to anyone teaching at FSU. Our OER Task Force works with the Center for the Advancement of Teaching(CAT) and Fabrizio Fornara, Assistant Director of CAT recently joined our OER Task Force. 

After Daly’s opening keynote speech, we were able to move into different rooms depending on the subject. The rooms were split into four groups: Mathematics, Writing & Composition, Humanities, and Business. I went with the humanities group where Kim Molinaro, a psychology professor at St. Petersburg College in Clearwater, FL spoke about how she had worked extremely hard to implement OER in all of her psychology courses. Next we heard how Dr. Bruce Wilson, a political science professor at the University of Central Florida and James Paradiso, an instructional designer and program coordinator for textbook affordability at UCF worked together to also flip all of Dr. Wilson’s classes to use only OER. Attendees had their questions answered and I was able to meet a great group of librarians from University of Florida, Florida International University, Florida Atlantic University, and Tallahassee Community College. There was a lunch & learn that afternoon where Ethan Senack from Creative Commons, USA gave a presentation on the basics of creative commons (CC) licensing, the difference between CC and copyright, and how different licensing interact with OER. 

Thursday, February 28thwas the second and last day of the summit and Nicole Allen, Director of Open Education at SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) was the keynote speaker. Allen gave a great speech on her experience with OER and how she came to know what it is and how it has changed over the last decade. Hearing about her experiences and seeing how OER and the terminology has changed over time meant a lot to me. It really helped me put things into perspective and think of ways to talk to other librarians and faculty about how to approach OER. 

We know change can be scary, but it happens. Seeing the toll of the rising and high costs of getting an education takes on students, parents, and other stakeholders is a reason why we should be implementing OER. Attending this summit has given me a lot to think about and a lot to work on, but I do think movement is achievable. FSU Libraries has supported a lot of endeavors and we’re fortunate because not all universities encounter the same support and encouragement, but we have so much more work to do. 

LibQUAL 2018 – Thanks for Participating

By Kirsten Kinsley

In early November 2018, the FSU Libraries administered the LibQUAL survey.  The LibQUAL survey, conducted every three years, is a measure of library service quality in areas of service, library as place, resources, and their ease of access. Faculty, undergraduates, graduate students, and staff all have the opportunity to participate. Respondents were asked to list the library they use most often. Users from a variety of libraries both on and off the main campus responded to the survey (including users of Strozier, Dirac, Engineering, Panama City Branch, Law, Medicine, Music, and online libraries). We appreciate your participation as we know with our library users’ busy schedules that it is hard to stop and take the time out to fill out a survey.  

We received 711 respondents: 429 undergraduates, 155 graduate students, 86 faculty, and 35 staff. We learned that the libraries met undergraduate students needs in service and information areas, but that they have some expectations for the library as place that is important for us to listen to as we move forward with our future strategies and goals for enhancing library space. Things like a quiet study space for individual activities and spaces conducive to study and learning are important to undergraduates.

According to the graduate students who responded, having a library that provides them access to electronic resources accessible from their home or office and a website that allows them to locate information on their own are two high expectations. They also expect the library to be a getaway for study, learning, and research. Graduate students also perceive that there is a gap between their current experience and their expectation for service in the areas of making information easily accessible for independent use and making sure the libraries provide the print and/or electronic journal collections they need for their work.

The faculty who took the survey had some similar needs to the graduate students in the areas of resource access. They, too, want a website enabling them to locate information on their own and electronic resources accessible from their home or office. They would also like dependability in handling users’ service problems. Most of the emphasis from faculty is on access to materials they need and the ability to get to those resources independently or with having dependable staff to help them. There is some work to do in these areas to meet the high standards of quality our faculty at a R1: Research University (highest research activity) have come to expect from their campus Libraries.

Pictured below are three of the four LibQual participant winners of a Mobile Power Bank! Thank you!

Again, thank you to all of you who took the time to fill out the survey. We are always looking for ways to improve and we hope we can continue to work to meet the expectations of faculty and students. We will share with you how we will better meet those expectations as we go forward.

Celebrate Fair Use Week with GIF it Up, Florida!

By Dave Rodriguez

The doctrine of Fair Use is so foundational to the work of academic institutions that we often forget it’s even there. It’s like water to a fish–it sustains and surrounds us yet is so pervasive that its importance usually goes unacknowledged. Fair Use allows instructors to teach with copyrighted content, artists to integrate commercial products into their work, and authors and researchers to cite materials without the expensive and intensive labor of securing rights permissions. It is a bulwark against litigation and empowers those working on scholarly or creative projects the freedom to assimilate the past and contemporary cultural materials into new knowledge and aesthetics. Rachel Appel and Gabriel Galson sum up the importance of Fair Use succinctly as “an invitation to the sort of intellectual/artistic exchange that keeps our culture vibrant.”

Such an exchange is on full display in GIF it Up, first launched by the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) in 2014. This international contest and campaign calls on people to create lively and unique .gif artworks sourced from digital cultural heritage collections and, in turn, promotes awareness and activation of these collections to a variety of communities. Following this model, the Office of Digital Research and Scholarship has partnered with the Sunshine State Digital Network for GIF it Up, Florida!, a month-long event aimed at highlighting the unique collections of SSDN’s member institutions and “Florida focused” items that can be found in the greater DPLA. Our goal is simple: to get folks excited about Florida’s digital collections and encourage creative re-mix, mash-ups, and reimagining of the state’s cultural heritage.

We’ll be kicking off GIF it Up, Florida! with a 90-minute .gif making workshop hosted in the R&D Commons at FSU’s Strozier Library on 1 March. You are invited to attend in-person or via Zoom (more information and registration materials can be found here). In this workshop we’ll look at how to navigate the DPLA and identify rights statements, evaluate Fair Use, and walk-through a handful of methods using free and/or open-source tools for you to start creating GIFs that celebrate the Sunshine State. Please join us and Happy Fair Use Week!

Lynching in Our Own Backyard

By Kirsten Kinsley

Driving to work one morning I shared with my son that I was writing a blog post about the history of lynching in America. We discussed white guilt, limitations of school history books to illuminate the reality of racism in this country, and the fear of exposing our ignorance to the effects of racial violence and terror on our black brothers and sisters in this nation’s history.

Twice now in the past year, the horror of the history of lynchings in the United States has been brought to my attention and consciousness. First, during a 60 Minutes episode where Oprah Winfrey visits the the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, the new memorial in Alabama dedicated to the thousands of African-Americans lynched in the United States in the aftermath of the Civil War (Winfrey, 2018). I haven’t been to visit it, but the design of the memorial includes 800, six foot blocks hung from an outdoor structure with names of individuals killed in over 12 states, representing lynchings that occurred in 805 counties. The rows of blocks represent figures of cruelty and hatred, as they literally hang from the ceiling. Even though I was only seeing this on television, I was struck by the compelling images.

The second time this blight on our country’s history was brought to my mind was on a ride to work. I think it was an NPR story on the lynchings that occured in our own community, right down the street from where we work — on Gaines between Gadsden and Meridian streets at a now majestic oak that belies the “past injustice” of hangings that occurred there (Ensley, 2012).

Beyond momentary remembrance and horror, what can I do? It wasn’t until, during a meeting of the FSU Library’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee, that I was given the opportunity to explore this again as it is lurking in the back of my mind. What do I do after the solemn pause? Consciously acknowledging this happened and exposing the horror that all of us humans are capable of in a mob mentality is not enough. To realize that this happened in our own backyard: Mike Morris (1897), Pierce Taylor (1909), Ernest Ponder and Richard Hawkins (1937), were lynched here in Leon County (Hassanein, 2018). To realize that the crowds that surrounded and supported the acts of vigilante injustice, were everyday people, like you and me, accusing a fellow human who wasn’t given a fair trial.  It happened here and none of those crimes were ever brought to justice. (It still happens today, same story, but with a different means of injustice. Remember Brandon McClelland in Paris, Texas?) Where do we go from here?

The movement toward racial equality in the U.S. is not a road of steady progress. Rather, it is pockmarked with resistance to change, engrained institutional racism, and community-sponsored terror. The ‘spectacular secret’ of lynching in America grabs national attention, yet remains hidden from public spotlight, traditional history, and contemporary discourse (Goldsby 2006 as cited in Fitchett et al., 2012). Exposing the “secret” has the potential to challenge individuals’ understanding of race in the United States. (248)

Exposing the truth once again in my own world, I hope to begin to understand how hatred and injustice in small ways can grow into the collective terrors of an entire race. Our current culture runs the risk of leaving future generations with unexamined hearts and minds that don’t remember.

History, despite its wrenching pain,
Cannot be unlived, but if faced
With courage, need not be lived again.

MAYA ANGELOU, ON THE PULSE OF MORNING (as cited in Equal Justice Initiative, 2017)

During that aforementioned conversation with my son on a morning car ride, he ended the chat by quoting from Ray Bradbury’s novel Fahrenheit 451 (1967, p.104),

“Mistakes can be profited by Man [People], when I was young I showed my ignorance in people’s faces. They beat me with sticks. By the time I was forty my blunt instrument had been hoed to a fine cutting point for me. If you hide your ignorance, no one will hit you and you’ll never learn.”

I am willing to admit that I am ignorant, but I am ready to listen and to learn? “Avoiding honest conversation about this history has undermined our ability to build a nation where racial justice can be achieved” (Equal Justice Initiative, 2017, para. 3). How and where do we start the honest conversation?

References

Angelou, M. (1993). On the pulse of morning. Retrieved February 17, 2019, from https://genius.com/Maya-angelou-on-the-pulse-of-morning-annotated

Bradbury, R. (1967). Fahrenheit 451. New York : Simon and Schuster.

Equal Justice Initiative (2017). Lynching in America: Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror. Retrieved February 1, 2019, from https://lynchinginamerica.eji.org/report/

Ensley, G. (2018, June 7). Tallahassee hanging tree symbolizes past injustice Tallahassee Democrat. Retrieved January 31, 2019, from https://www.tallahassee.com/story/news/2018/06/07/tree-symbolizes-past-injustice-gerald-ensley/657484002/

Fitchett, P. G., Merriweather, L., & Coffey, H. (2015). “It’s not a pretty picture”: How pre-service history teachers make meaning of America’s racialized past through lynching imagery. History Teacher, 48(2), 245–269.

Goldsby, J. D. (2006). A spectacular secret  : lynching in American life and literature. Chicago : University of Chicago Press, 2006.

Hassanein, N. (2018, June 7). “Painful history”: Remembering Leon County’s lynching victims: A recently open memorial in Montgomery captures a dark chapter of Tallahassee history. Tallahassee Democrat. Retrieved January 31, 2019, from https://www.tallahassee.com/story/news/2018/06/07/painful-history-remembering-leon-countys-lynching-victims/640199002/

Hassanein, N.(2018, June 7). St. John’s Episcopal Church plans remembrance project for Leon lynching victims. Tallahassee Democrat. Retrieved January 31, 2019, from https://www.tallahassee.com/story/news/2018/06/07/st-johns-episcopal-church-plans-remembrance-project-leon-lynching-victims/644046002/

The National Memorial for Peace and Justice. (n.d.). Retrieved February 1, 2019, from http://museumandmemorial.eji.org/memorial

Winfrey, O. (2018, April 27). Inside the memorial to victims of lynching. CBS News: 60 Minutes. Retrieved February 1, 2019, from https://www.cbsnews.com/news/inside-the-memorial-to-victims-of-lynching-60-minutes-oprah-winfrey/