Author Archives: Tom Campagnoli

MakerSpace Pop-up

This past Wednesday, a beautiful spring day brought another MakerSpace Pop-up to Tyler Haynes Commons here at the University of Richmond. Although there is no official MakerSpace on the university campus, there is a MakerSpace working group made up of interested staff and faculty. At the popup, members of the working group were showing off tools, explaining processes, and teaching skills to whomever stopped by.


On display for hands on fun and experimentation were littleBits circuits, soft circuits, a drone, 3D printed prosthetics, Legos, a Raspberry Pi computer, virtual reality headsets, light-up bookmark making, book binding supplies, maker chests, and crochet!


Look for the next MakerSpace popup and stop by.




Yonder Comes The Devil

On November 18th while helping out at the Transcribathon of the ship’s journal from the Galvin Rare Book Room at the Boatwright Memorial library I registered to transcribe some pages myself. See the previous post in our blog by Angie White for a more detailed look at the Sail Away site.

I had never done anything like this before. These events and crowd sourcing of this type of work is becoming more and more common.

Transcribing the 19th century hand writing was not as straight forward as one would think. We were instructed to transcribe exactly what we saw in the image of the journal’s pages, not even correcting spelling. I looked through a number of pages before I decided to transcribe one of the last pages of the journal, page 250 which had just a few lines on it. I figured correctly that even a few lines would take me quite a while to transcribe.

The page I worked on is below. Click on the image for a larger view:


Marion Dieterich who has more experience transcribing this journal, helped me with the transcription, and here is what I found:

Lest [yom] ones see the
Devil with his little
spade and shovel
Digging up potatoes on
the turn pike woods,

That is about as close as I could get.

The phrasing and words piqued my interest and with a little help from our friend Google, I searched the phrases “Devil with his spade and shovel” in any number of combinations adding and taking away potatoes, turnpike, and turn pike as two words

What I found was that this was an old English or Gypsy traditional song. Here it was recorded by June Tabor on her 1994 CD “Against the Streams” and i found another mention in a book from 1872 about popular Romances in the West of England. And there were others too!

Why did our journaler, Veron G. Locke who presumably wrote these words,  write down this phrase from a song in his journal in 1855? Had he just heard this song and wanted to remember the words? Was it one of his favorites? Was he the author of the song? If you find earlier references to the song, feel free to comment.

Click here for the entire Sail Away site and here for the previous post  on our Transcribathon. Contact Angie White for more information on transcribing the ship’s journal.



The library world is full of information, books, electronic and physical, images, study spaces, but also plenty of numbers.

There are ISBN numbers, ISSN numbers, bib id numbers, oclc numbers, DOIs, PO numbers, item id numbers, holding id numbers, patron numbers, copy numbers, call numbers, and plenty of statistics. We count volumes, people, usage, the ins and outs, the uses and the non-uses.

Check out the staff view of a library record and you will see sizes and some of these numbers. And of course don’t forget bar codes as well as budget numbers.

There are always plenty of numbers…

Image from The Statistical Abstract Of The United States, 1934.

Angie White, Librarian!

Angie White, who is the current Digital Production Coordinator in the Discovery, Technology, and Publishing Department (DTP) at Boatwright Memorial Library, received her Masters of Library & Information Studies from the School of Library & Information Studies at the University of Alabama just this December. Angie has been a full time staff member at Boatwright since May of 2013.

Angie is a 4th generation graduate from the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, VA, where she earned her undergraduate degree in history.

After graduating UMW and taking a year off for an amazing bus ride across the country in a converted school bus (you’ll have to ask Angie to tell you this story), she applied to library school.

Her interest in history and working with historical documents from her time at UMW led Angie to the library program at the University of Alabama. She was also inspired by her mom, who worked at Swem Library during her own undergraduate days and loved it very much. Newly enrolled in the online library school in May of 2012, Angie also emailed Chris Kemp, Head of DTP, and asked if there were any internships in his department. She had heard about the Tokyo War Crimes project and thought it would dovetail nicely with her library school work. So, at the same time Angie was starting library school, she also started as an unpaid intern at Boatwright. As an intern, she worked on the Post-Soviet Resettlement project and the Centennial project.

When I asked Angie what she liked about library school (and remember this was all online except for a three-day campus visit the first semester), she said she liked the small class sizes, all of the stimulating discussion, and the group work. Since this was all online, I was surprised, and I asked her for more information. She said all of the classes were live, with students and teachers using Blackboard Collaborate. Her favorite collaboration tool was, and continues to be, Google Docs. Other platforms they used for their collaborations were Google Hangouts, Facebook, and Skype.

Angie also said she really enjoyed her last library class, which was on cataloging, as a great practical class. She also finds the philosophy of library systems, the fact that a library is made up of many moving parts that make it come together as a whole and how hard it can be to keep it all moving in one direction, very interesting. She is also a great proponent of the library’s missions of sharing and open access.

Angie’s work with the digital camera for digital projects has led to a love of photography, which has become a passion. Here is a post Angie wrote this past August on the DTP blog. My final question to Angie was… “and are you watching the new TV show, The Librarians?” and she answered with a resounding, “Yes!”

Angie White on the left and Tom Campagnoli on the right.

Angie White on the left and Tom Campagnoli on the right.

Finally, we all want to congratulate Angie White on her great accomplishment and appreciate her enthusiasm and all of her skills she brings to our department and to the library.

August 2014

towerBWThe new Academic school year of 2014-2015 has started. There is a hint of cooler weather
and the angle of the sun has changed just a bit. I always think the beginning of the school year is a good time to reflect on what we do here at the Department of Discovery, Technology and Publishing.

Since a lot of what I do is behind the scenes I always try to attend the Colloquy. This year it was at the Alice Jepson Theatre last Wednesday August 20th. The Colloquy is where the provost, the president, and others welcome new faculty members to campus. The Deans of all the schools all speak and the newly endowed chairs are announced. For someone like me who no longer has daily interactions with faculty and mostly only our student assistants, it is a good reminder of the greater university community and some of the reasons why we are here in the first place.

All staff and faculty are invited to attend the Colloquy and it remains one of the few times during the academic year that both staff and faculty can gather, meet and talk to each other. I still remember when I first started working at the university over 20 years ago and I attended my first similar gathering. These formal gatherings always made a huge impression on me, always coaxing reflections for me on my work and time here in the library. This year was no different.

Welcome to the new school year.

Now all of you get to work!

Photo of the Boatwright Tower © 2014 Angie White

Text by Tom Campagnoli

“A Pilgrim’s Progress” – Winsor McCay

For the past year Richmond SPCS student Kirsten McKinney has been working on a project for her Masters of Liberal Arts degree. Her humanities class “Sleuths to Cyborgs: American Pop Culture in 20th Century” led her to the work of comic artist, vaudevillian, early animator, and social commentor, Winsor McCay.

You may know McCay from his comic strip Little Nemo in Slumberland or his early film work including his most well known film, “Gertie the Dinosaur.

dullcareOne of McCay’s comic strips, “A Pilgrim’s Progress” by Mister Bunion appeared in the New York Evening Telegram from 1905 until 1909. McCay’s character Mr. Bunion tries to rid himself of his valise filled with “Dull Care” which represents the burdens of the modern man. McKinney describes “Dull Care” in more detail  on her site here.

McKinney’s work is truly remarkable in what it has added to the world of comic strip history. It appears that no one had digitized or had made available the entire run of the “A Pilgrim’s Progress” let alone listed all of the dates of when the strip appeared in the newspaper.

McKinney’s research led her to the New York State Library’s collections where she found microfilm of the Telegram for the years she suspected that “A Pilgrims Progress” had appeared.

McKinney requested the microfilm reels of the Telegram from Betty Tobias in the Interlibrary Loan Department at Boatwright Library. McKinney searched through the daily papers noting the publication dates of each strip and scanned the entire run of the comic.

Because some of the dialogue bubbles were difficult to decipher, McKinney transcribed the text as well as tagging the comic strip with metadata. Resulting in a wonderful resource to share with the world!

In her day job, McKinney works for the University of Richmond’s communication department and had worked with Chris Kemp of the Department of Discovery, Technology and Publishing on the public interface of the Richmond Daily Dispatch collection. Kemp had used the web publishing software omeka for a few projects in the past and suggested that McKinney use omeka for her project.

McKinney’s work is currently being used for research for a current summer class at UR, “the American Dream.”

For further reading, Boatwright library does have an over-sized copy of “Little Nemo In Slumberland” in its’ Special Collections.

A Pilgrim’s Progress by Mister Bunion from August 28, 1906:


175 Years of Photography


2014 marks the 175th anniversary of the first permanent photographic image. August 19, 2014 is World Photo Day.

I am not an expert or a professional photographer, but I have a great interest in photographs and take a fair amount of them.

Here at Boatwright Library in the department of Discovery, Technology and Publishing we digitize a number of photographs and other images for preservation, access, as well as online exhibits.

Here is a nice table put together by the Library of Congress of the different types of photographs through time starting in 1839 with Daguerreotypes. The introduction of the Kodak box camera, the Brownie introduced in February 1900, brought photography to the masses and revolutionized photography as much as the digital camera has for our generation the past decade and a half.

Early photographs were on copper, tin, and later glass. There has been positive film as well as negative film. Negative films were made from acetate, nitrate, and later polyester. And don’t forget the instant Polaroid cameras. The camera and the photographic process continues to evolve.

Today of course, there is a camera on almost every phone and every event in one’s life can be captured and sent to family and friends by pressing buttons which sends an image through the air. It’s amazing.

The Brownie started our love affair with photographs and it continues today. And don’t forget to subscribe to our blog!

For more information:

The PBS series “American Photography: A Century of Images” is a good place to start.

The George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film with it’s over 170 videos uploaded to YouTube has tons of information on photography as well as film restorations they have been involved with.

The photographs of Abraham Lincoln are from the US National Archives flickr site.

News From the World of Public Domain

The Sherlock Holmes stories by Arthur Conan Doyle are in the Public Domain…sort of.

From a December 27th NYT article by Jennifer Schuessler:

… the United States District Court of the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, stated that elements introduced in Holmes stories published after 1923 — such as the fact that Watson played rugby for Blackheath, or had a second wife — remain under copyright in the United States. (All of the Holmes stories are already in the public domain in Britain.)

This decision says that Sherlock Holmes published material before January 1, 1923 was now in the public domain in the United States. The stories written 1923 and after which develop the characters of Holmes and Watson are still under copyright.

The Arthur Conan Doyle estate is contemplating an appeal.

Mystery writer Laurie King who writes the popular Mary Russell series based on a character who has a relationship with Sherlock Holmes is the co-editor of a new anthology of Holmes inspired stories which led to this law suit.


In other public domain news the British Library has released over 1,000,000 images that are in the public domain like the one above from page 91 of  “The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes.”

From the British Library flickr profile:

The British Library’s collections on Flickr Commons offer access to millions of public domain images, which we encourage you to explore and re-use. The release of these collections into the public domain represent the Library’s desire to improve knowledge of and about them, to enable novel and unexpected ways of using them, and to begin working with researchers to explore and interpret large scale digital collections.

A thank you goes out to Jeannine Keefer for originally letting us know about the British Library flickr images.

The image above is from the British Library flickr site and scanned from an 1882 book, “The Advantages of Richmond, Virginia, as a manufacturing and trading centre, with notes for the guidance of tourists on the lines of transportation running from Richmond”

For more info from the British Library blog about their images and use.

The Public Domain Review

One of my new favorite online journals is The Public Domain Review.

From the journal:

The Public Domain Review is a not-for-profit project dedicated to showcasing the most interesting and unusual out-of-copyright works available online.

The journal collects links to public domain works and images from around the web posting them into collections of films, images, texts, audio, and my favorite animated Gifs.

In the film collection you can see the 1918 Tarzan of the Apes or Koko the clown in “The Tantalazing Fly”.

The images run from what may possibly be the first ever photographic self-portrait to the 1667 Remmelin’s Anatomical Flap Book with articles describing the images and links to access the works.


Click on the Sources link and you will see a list of the aggregators of public domain works which are openly available for your use. Some of the aggregators include the Internet Archive, Wikimedia Commons, Flickr: The commons, and The Medical Heritage Library.

You are going to surfing the web anyway, so why not look at some really cool stuff that you can use later on your own article, blog entry, art project, or invitation to your retirement party.