Say It With Music! The Charm and Genius of Irving Berlin

Boyer Noontime Concert Series at Paley Library

JohnsonJohn Johnson, pianist, singer, scholar, and entertainer extraordinaire performs songs of Irving Berlin in the continuation of his enormously popular Great American Songwriters Series.

Thursday,
December 4th
12 – 1 P.M.
Paley Library Lecture Hall

Light Refreshments Served.
Bring your lunch.
Bring your friends.
Boyer recital credit given.
Relax. Refresh.Renew.
Enjoy!
Irving BerlinIrving Berlin, beloved composer of a huge repertoire of American classics such as Play a Simple Melody, I Love a Piano, Cheek to Cheek, Top Hat, White Christmas, and more!

Sheet music covers of Irving Berlin

“Music is so important. It changes thinking, it influences everybody, whether they know it or not.” –Irving Berlin, 1920, in an interview for American Magazine.

Irving Berlin, born Israel Isidore Baline in Tyumen (Siberia), Russia, 1888, died September 22, 1989, New York City.  When he was four years old, his family fled Russia to escape a pogrom and traveled to the United States where they lived in New York City. There, Berlin attended public school until the age of 13 when his father died. The young Berlin then went to work to help support the family, playing and plugging songs on Broadway and performing vaudeville. He published his first song ‘Marie from Sunny Italy’ in 1907.  In 1911 Berlin published his first big hit ‘Alexander’s Ragtime Band.’ His career of over 40 years spanned decades of American popular culture, and his songs reflect changes in that culture. As a result, Berlin’s musical style encompasses a range of styles from vaudeville to Tin Pan Alley, ragtime, sentimental ballads, and patriotic songs.

An extremely prolific composer, Irving Berlin wrote over 1,500 songs, 19 Broadway shows, and wrote scores for 18 Hollywood films.  He was nominated for eight Academy Awards, and in 1942 won the award for best song ‘White Christmas‘. Other awards include multiple Tony Awards, the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, Songwriters’ Hall of Fame, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Selected Broadway Shows and Songs

Watch Your Step (1914) – ‘Play a Simple Melody’
Stop! Look! Listen (1915) – ‘The Girl on the Magazine Cover,’ ‘I Love a Piano’
Yip! Yip! Yaphank (1918) – ‘Oh, How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning’
Ziegfeld Follies (1919) – ‘A Pretty Girl is Like a Melody,’ ‘Mandy’
Music Box Review (1921-1924) – ‘Say It With Music,’ ‘Lady of the Evening’
As Thousands Cheer (1933) – ‘Heat Wave,’ ‘Easter Parade,’ ‘Supper Time’
Annie Get Your Gun (1946) – ‘Doin’ What Come Natur’lly’, ‘The Girl That I Marry,’ ‘Anything You Can Do,’ and more.

Selected Songs for Films

Mammy (1929) – ‘Let Me Sing and I’m Happy’
Top Hat (1935) – ‘Cheek to Cheek,’ ‘Top Hat, White Tie and Tails’
Follow the Fleet (1936) – ‘Let’s Face the Music and Dance’
Holiday Inn (1942) – ‘Happy Holidays,’ ‘White Christmas’
Easter Parade (1948) – ‘Better Luck Next Time,’ ‘Steppin’ Out with My Baby’
White Christmas (1954) – ‘Count your Blessings,’ ‘The Best Things Happen When You’re Dancing’

Selected Songs

Alexander’s Ragtime Band (1911)
All By Myself (1921)
All Alone (1924)
Always (1925)
Remember (1925)
Blue Skies (1927)
Puttin’ On the Ritz (1929)
How Deep is the Ocean (1932)
Say It Isn’t So (1932)
God Bless America (1939)

More Information

Bergreen, Laurence. As Thousands Cheer: the Life of Irving Berlin. New York: Viking, 1990. Paley Library ML410.B499B5 1990

Berlin, Irving.” Encyclopedia of Popular Music, 4th ed. Ed. Colin Larkin. Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press. Web. 3 Dec. 2014.<http://www.oxfordmusiconline.com/subscriber/article/epm/2064>.

Bordman, Gerald, and Thomas S. Hischak. “Berlin, Irving.” Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online.Oxford University Press. Web. 3 Dec. 2014. (Temple authentication required.)

Furia, Philip and Graham Wood. Irving Berlin: a Life in Song. New York: Schirmer Books, 1998. Paley Library ML410.B499F87 1998

“Irving Berlin.Contemporary Musicians. Vol. 8. Detroit: Gale, 1992. Biography in Context. Web. 3 Dec. 2014. (Temple authentication required.)

Jablonski, Edward. Irving Berlin: American Troubadour. New York: Holt, 1999. Paley Library ML410.B499J33 1999

Sears, Benjamin. The Irving Berlin Reader. New York: Oxford U. Press, 2012. Paley Library ML410.B499 I78 2012

Listen to Music by Irving Berlin!

Berlin, Irving. Composers On Broadway: Irving Berlin. Cond. Stanley Black, Hal Mooney, John Mauceri, and Milton Rosenstock. Perf. Various Artists. Rec. 20 June 2006. Decca Records, 2006. Music Online: Classical Music Library. Web. 3 Dec. 2014. (Temple authentication required.)

Fitzgerald, Ella, Ted Nash, Chuck Gentry, John Best, Pete Candoli, Harry “Sweets” Edison, Don Fagerquist, William Schaefer, Juan Vincente Martinez Tizol, Julian Clifton “Matty” Matlock, Gene Cipriano, Paul Smith, Barney Kessel, Joe Mondragon, and Alvin Stoller, perfs. The Irving Berlin Songbook. Rec. 10 Apr. 1992. Universal Classics & Jazz, 1992. Music Online: Jazz Music Library. Web. 3 Dec. 2014. (Temple authentication required.)

Irving Berlin At The Movies Volume 1. Rec. 30 Nov. 2008. Vanilla OMP, 2008. Music Online: Popular Music Library. Web. 3 Dec. 2014. (Temple authentication required.) 

Irving Berlin At The Movies Volume 2. Rec. 30 Nov. 2008. Vanilla OMP, 2008. Music Online: Popular Music Library. Web. 3 Dec. 2014. (Temple authentication required.)

 

 

 

 

Got Rhythm? Got Music? Got Gershwin? We do!

Strike up the band sheet music.Funny Face sheet music coverGershwin sheet music cover Delicious

Boyer Noontime Concert Series at Paley

proudly presents

John Johnson and the Great American Songwriters

S’Wonderful! George and Ira Gershwin

Thursday, October 9th
12 – 1 PM
Paley Library Lecture Hall

Light Refreshments Served.

Approved for Boyer Recital Credit.

Bring your lunch. Bring your friends. Relax. Refresh. Renew. Enjoy!

Who could ask for anything more?

John Johnson photo

John Johnson, pianist, singer, entertainer, scholar, and beloved Boyer professor presents songs of George and Ira Gershwin!

The Gershwin Brothers legendary songwriting team epitomize American song of the Jazz Age.  Their collaboration, although short-lived due to George’s untimely death, produced countless American song classics such as “Someone to Watch Over Me”, “Embraceable You”, “Fascinating Rhythm”, “I Got Rhythm”, “Shall We Dance”, “They Can’t Take That Away from Me”, and many more.  George Gershwin blends together elements from ragtime, jazz, classical music, and rhythms from Black American dance to create music that entices, engages, and enchants.  Ira’s genius for witty, ingenious, and sophisticated lyrics combine with his innate understanding of George’s music to provide the perfect musical symbiosis.  Gershwin songs exemplify the Jazz age, yet continue to remain timeless.

 John Johnson, native of Houston, Texas, is currently Professor of Music Theory at Temple University’s Boyer College. With music degrees from the University of Texas, John also studied at the Royal Danish Conservatory, the University of Copenhagen, and the Royal Academy of Music in London.  An extraordinary entertainer, John served as scriptwriter, music director, and lecturer performer around the world.  John has received many awards, including the Meritorious Achievement Award from the Kennedy Center, the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching, and Temple University’s  Great Teacher Award, the highest teaching honor offered by the university.

Find Out More About George and Ira Gershwin!
(* needs Temple authentication)

The Gershwin Legacy – from the Library of Congress

George and Ira Gershwin  Website

*Gerald Bordman and Thomas s. Hischak. “Gershwin, Ira.Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press.

*”Ira Gershwin.” Baker’s Biographical Dictionary of Musicians. New York: Schirmer, 2001. Biography in Context.

*Richard Crawford, et al. “Gershwin, George.” Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press.

*”George Gershwin.Dictionary of American Biography. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1944. Biography in Context.

*Schiff, David. “Misunderstanding (George) Gershwin: the composer mixed popular and classical idioms like no one before or since, and performers are still baffled.” The Atlantic Oct. 1998: 100-5. Biography in Context.

Books

Gershwin George.  The Music and Lyrics of George and Ira Gershwin.  Peter Foss, ed. Miami, FL: Warner Bros., 1998.  Paley Stacks M1508.G47 M874x 1998

Gershwin, Ira.  Ira Gershwin: Selected Lyrics.  Robert Kimball, ed.  New York: Library of America, 2009.  Paley Stacks ML54.6.G28 I73 2009

Jablonski, Edward. The Gershwin Years. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1973.  Paley Stacks ML410.G288J3 1973

Rosenberg, Deena.  Fascinating Rhythm: the collaboration of George and Ira Gershwin. New York: Dutton, 1991.  Paley Stacks ML419.G288R67 1991

 Printed Music

Gershwin, George.  Of Thee I Sing.  Lyrics by Ira Gershwin.  New York: New World Music Corp., 1932.  Paley Stacks M1503.G376O4x

Gershwin, George.  Porgy and Bess.  Lyrics by Du Bose Heyward and Ira Gershwin.  New York: Gershwin Pub. Corp., 1935.  Paley Stacks M1503.G376P5 1935

Gershwin, George. The George and Ira Gershwin Song Book. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1960.  Paley Stacks M1507.G38 S6 1960

Streaming Audio
(Temple authentication required)

Fascinating Rhythm:  The Songwriting Talents of George & Ira Gershwin.  Includes “Fascinating Rhythm”, “They Can’t Take That Away From Me”, “Summertime”, “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off”, “Someone to Watch Over Me”, “S’Wondreful”, and more!

Ella Fitzgerald Sings the George and Ira Gershwin Song Book. Includes “My One and Only”, “Beginner’s Luck”, “Lady Be Good”, “The Man I Love”, “Shall We Dance?”, “Funny Face”, and more!

 Gershwin’s World.  Performed by Herbie Hancock, Bakithi Kumalo, Cyro Baptista, James Carter, Terri Lyne Carrington, Chick Corea, Kenny Garrett, Joni Mitchell, and more!

 Video

An American in Paris [videorecording] by Alan Jay Lerner, George and Ira Gershwin, produced by Arthur Freed, directed by Vincent Minnelli.  Paley Media Services PN1997.A3457x 2008

Funny  Face [videorecording] produced by Roger Edens, directed by Stanley Donen, written by Leonard Gershe, music and lyrics by George and Ira Gershwin.

The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess [videorecording] by George Gershwin, DuBose and Dorothy Heyward, and Ira Gershwin.   Paley Media Services M1500.G47 P674x 2001

Shall We Dance [videorecording] screenplay by Allan Scott and Ernest Pagano, adaptation by P. J. Wolfson, directed by Mark Sandrich, music and lyrics by George and Ira Gershwin.

Cool Urban Sophistication… Songs of Cole Porter

De-Lovely couple dancing

Great American Songwriters Series: John Johnson

Urban Sophistication:  Songs of Cole Porter

Paley Library Lecture Hall
Thursday, September 25, 2014
12-1

Bring your lunch. Bring your friends. Relax. Restore. Renew. Enjoy.
Boyer Recital Credit is given.

Temple University Libraries Noontime Concert Series welcomes you back to Philadelphia with the first of our Noontime Concert Series featuring guest artist John Johnson and “Urban Sophistication: Songs of Cole Porter.”

  photo of John Johnson

John Johnson, pianist, singer, scholar, and entertainer extraordinaire joins us for his “Great American Songwriter” series, sharing with us beautiful melodies, fascinating insights, and inescapable charm! Scriptwriter, performer, and expert in musical theater, John is also a distinguished teacher and lecturer, Professor of Music Theory at the Boyer College. 

 

Smiling photo of Cole Porter

 

Cole Porter‘s songs epitomize cool urban sophistication.  Delightful melodies pair with lyrics that are known for clever double-entendres and yet maintain a graceful eloquence.  Join us to hear beautiful, familiar American classics such as:  “Night and Day,” ” Let’s Do It (Let’s Fall in Love),”  “You’re the Top,” ” Anything Goes,” ” I’ve Got You Under My Skin,” “Too Darn Hot”, “Another Op’nin’, Another Show,”  “I Love Paris,”  “It’s De-Lovely!” and more!

 

“The light touch, the finger-tip kiss, the double entendre, and the lacy lists of cosmopolitan superlatives – these were the marks of Cole Porter’s songs.”    “Cole Porter was the master of the witty, sophisticated song.”

Find more about Cole Porter at your library!

Books

Citron, Stephen. Noel and Cole: the Sophisticates. london: Sinclair-Stevenson, 1992.  Library  Depository ML390.C585x 1992

Eells, Goerge.  The Life that Late He Led.: a Biography of Cole Porter. New York: Putnam, 1967.

McBrien, William. Cole Porter: a Biography. new York: Knopf, 1998. Paley Stacks ML401.P7844 M33 1998

Morella, Joe.  Genius and Lust: the Creative and Sexual Lives of noel Coward and Cole Porter. new York: Carroll & Graf, 1995. Paley Stacks ML390.M77 1995

Schwartz, Charles.  Cole Porter: a Biography. New York: Dial Press, 1977. Paley Stacks ML410.P7844S4

Streaming Audio (Temple users only)

Tribute to Cole Porter performed by Manu Le Prince
Swings Cole Porter performed by anita O’Day, Milt Bernhard, Monty Budwig, and more.
The Jazz Giants Play Cole Porter: Night and Day
It’s De’Lovely – The Music of Cole Porter (1924-1940)

Video

Anything Goes performed by Ethel Merman and Frank Sinatra
High Society performed by Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly, Frank Sinatra, Louis Armstrong
Born to Dance performed by Eleanor Powell, James Stewart, Virginia Bruce
De-Lovely – musical portrait of Cole Porter

 

 

Paley Noontime Concert Series!

Johnson

John Johnson: Great American Songwriters

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Creepy Crawly! Charles Abramowic and his studio

Classical Guitar: Allen Krantz and Students

 

 

 

 

 

 

In partnership with the Boyer College, Temple University Libraries again present our Noontime Concert Series at Paley Library.  The concert lineup for this year features outstanding artists. John Johnson, pianist, singer, scholar, and entertainer extraordinaire will present a “Great American Songwriter” series with music by Cole Porter, George Gershwin, and Irving Berlin.  Returning this fall after their sensational “Springtime in Paris” concerts are Dr. Charles Abramowic and his students, this time featuring piano music by Shostakovich played to early Russian animated films of Ladislaw Starewic.  Alan Krantz, professor of guitar, and his students will share with us their beautiful music in “Classical Guitar: Intimate, Romantic, Cosmopolitan.”  Who could resist?

All concerts take place in the Paley Library Lecture Hall  (ground floor) from noon to 1:00 P.M.   Light refreshments are served.  Boyer recital credit is given.

Begun in Spring 2014, and drawing on the finest talent anywhere, this series provides an informal, enormously fun, and relaxing mid-day diversion.

Bring your lunch. Bring your friends. Relax. Restore. Renew. Enjoy.

Paley Noontime Concert Series Fall 2014

JohnsonPorterDlovely
John Johnson:  Great American Songwriters
Cole Porter – Urban Sophistication
Thursday, September 25, 12:00 – 1:00 P.M.
Paley Library Lecture Hall

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Johnsongershwindelicious
John Johnson:  Great American Songwriters
George Gershwin: S’wonderful!
Thursday, October 9th, 12:00-1:00 P.M.
Paley Library Lecture Hall

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ant-327641_1280cameramansrevengesmallshostakovich
Creepy Crawly!  Early Russian Animated Film and Piano Music of Shostakovich
Dr. Charles Abramowic and his Sensational Students
Thursday, October 30th, 12:00-1:00 P.M.
Paley Library Lecture Hall

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guitargrove charango-66899_1280
Classical Guitar: Intimate, Romantic, Cosmopolitan
Alan Krantz and his Students
Wednesday, November 19th, 12:00-1:00 P.M.
Paley Library Lecture Hall

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Johnsonberlinpianoman

John Johnson: Great American Songwriters
Irving Berlin: Say It With Music!
Thursday, December 4th, 12:00-1:00 P.M.
Paley Library Lecture Hall

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Mark your calendars!

Thursday, September 25th
Thursday, October 9th
Thursday, October 30th
Wednesday, November 19th
Thursday, December 4th

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Springtime in Paris Comes to Paley Library!

Arthur Rackham's drawing of Undine.

Undine, illustration by Arthur Rackham, from the book Undine by La Motte-Fouqué, Doubleday 1911. This illustration inspired Debussy’s Prelude for Piano of the same name in Book II. Available online at archive.org

The Complete Piano Preludes of Claude Debussy

Performed by Dr. Charles Abramovic and his students

Paley Library Lecture Hall

Wednesday, March 26th
Noon – 1:00 PM  Book I

Wednesday, April 2nd
Noon – 1:00 PM  Book II

Bring your lunch!

Light refreshments will be served.

 

 

 

What could be better than Springtime in Paris?  Can’t get to Paris?  Then join us and be transported to a lunchtime Parisian salon as Dr. Charles Abramovic and his studio present Claude Debussy’s Complete Preludes for Piano.

Relax.  Refresh.  Renew.  Enjoy.

Library Virtual Learning Lunches to be held September 3-6, 2013

Screenshot of WebEx software

When the Temple University community returns from summer break, students will be attending classes from off-campus, and from locations well outside the Philadelphia metropolitan area. Luckily, even at this distance, all Temple students still have access to the incredible wealth of databases, eBooks, and streaming media available through the library. Now, more than ever, students can engage directly with the library staff who are positioned to guide them towards academic success.

Temple librarians already provide specialized assistance to remote students with through our “Ask a Librarian” service. We also offer in-class information literacy instruction to students enrolled in some online-only courses.

In order to extend library instruction to remote learners and faculty teaching online courses, Temple University Libraries is pleased to offer our first ever Virtual Learning Lunch Week on September 3rd-6th. Each session will consist of 20 minute long presentations, designed to jumpstart your use of various library services and resources, with additional time to ask the librarian your questions on the topic.

Sessions are open to the whole Temple community, no matter whether you are many miles away or right next-door. To attend, login to https://webex.temple.edu with your AccessNetID and password. Click on “Live Sessions” under “Attend a Session” and look for the day’s “Library Virtual Learning Lunch”. (Please note: first-time WebEx users should arrive a few minutes early to install the WebEx Add-On on their computer or the Cisco WebEx Meeting app on their mobile device.)

The event starts off with a Tuesday session designed to help faculty use the new Ares course reserve system, followed by one explaining the legal ins-and-outs of using video in both face-to-face and online classes. On Wednesday and Thursday, we continue with sessions fostering basic research skills and highlighting some of the useful databases and unique resources available at the library. Then, Friday sessions introduce both students and faculty to the streaming media available through the library, resources equally useful for research and leisure.

September 3rd
12:00pm – Ares course reserves system (Justin Hill)
12:30pm – Video copyright basics for faculty (Brian Boling)
September 4th
12:00pm – Refworks for citation management (Fred Rowland)
12:30pm – Basic research in education (Jackie Sipes)
September 5th
12:00pm – Learn about primary sources (David Murray)
12:30pm – Special Collections Research Center orientation (Josue Hurtado)
September 6th
12:00pm – Streaming Music Databases (Anne Harlow)
12:30pm – Streaming Video Databases (Brian Boling)

While it’s still Spring: A recap of TUL @ Spring Fling

Gallery

This gallery contains 9 photos.

On Wednesday, April 17th, Temple Libraries joined 200-plus Temple organizations and vendors at Spring Fling 2013.  It was delightful to participate in our second year at Spring Fling. Here’s a little recap, with big thanks to everyone who volunteered.  . . … Continue reading

Free and Easy: The Appearance of Truly Useful Cultural Heritage Data

William Noel pointing to a presentation projection on a whiteboard.

William Noel at the Center for Humanities at Temple

“My mission is to bring art and people together, for learning, discovery, and enjoyment.” –William Noel

On Thursday, April 25th, the Center for Humanities at Temple hosted William Noel,  internationally renowned expert in the application of digital technologies to manuscript studies.   Dr. Noel is currently director of the Special Collections Center, and Founding Director of the Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies at the University of Pennsylvania.  His presentation,  “Free and Easy: The Appearance of Truly Useful Cultural Heritage Data”, covered the restoration and digitization of the Archimedes Palimpsest, a project that he led while at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore.  Dr. Noel concluded with a discussion of the reasons why a “free and easy” approach is best for digitization of cultural materials.  (Eureka!)

What is the Archimedes Palimpsest?

The codex Archimedes Palimpsest: book opened to middle with darkened, spotty pages and worn blackened edges

Upon initial examination, what is now known as the Archimedes Palimpsest, appears to be a medieval prayer book, dating from 1229, written by the scribe Johannes Myronas in Jerusalem. Back then, parchment was expensive, and therefore was sometimes “recycled.”  To make this prayer book, the scribe scraped off old mathematical text from some parchment  and wrote new text on top, making the book a palimpsest.  From then until 1906, this prayer book was used in liturgical services, and suffered numerous abuses, most notably dripping candle wax, mold, missing pages, and images painted over text as late as the 1930s.  In 1906 the Danish philologist Johan Heiberg discovered the manuscript in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Istanbul, and identified the hidden text as Archimedes.  He photographed every page, and with the help of only a magnifying glass, transcribed and published the underlying text that he could perceive.

The twentieth century was no kinder to manuscripts than the middle ages, and from about 1930 to 1991, the Archimedes Palimpsest was either lost or gone from public view until 1998, when an anonymous collector bought the manuscript at an auction at Christie’s in New York.  This collector brought it to William Noel at the Walters Museum in Baltimore for preservation and digitization, for the world to study and enjoy.

Why is the Archimedes Palimpsest important?

Bust of Archimedes of Syracuse

Archimedes (c.287BC-212BC), brilliant scientist, inventor, mathematician, and engineer of ancient Greece, worked extensively in geometry, calculating the value of pi, the circle, the sphere, and cylinder.  He developed a theory of buoyancy called the Archimedes Principle.   Of the nine known treatises by Archimedes in Greek, hidden within the Archimedes Palimpsest are seven.  Of these seven, The Stomachion and The Method are the only known copies in the world.  Archimedes’ treatise On Floating Bodies contained here is the unique source in the original Greek.  These Archimedes texts predate any other surviving Archimedes manuscripts by 400 years.

“Best of all is to win.  But if you cannot win, then fight for a noble cause…” – Hyperides

Extensive sections of previously lost speeches by the 4th century Greek orator Hyperides, the largest discovery of new Hyperides text in over a century, also reside hidden in the Archimedes Palimpsest.  Hyperides spoke at public meetings on topics of Athenian court cases as well as politics and democracy.  Previous texts of Hyperides are gleaned only from fragments of papyri.

Other texts hidden beneath the prayerbook are a Commentary on Aristotles Catergories, two Byzantine liturgical manuscripts, and two unidentified manuscripts.

Restoration

Cross section of parchment from the Archimedes PalimpsestConservation and restoration of the Archimedes Palimpsest is an enormous and ongoing task.  Progress is slow and the work is meticulous and painstaking.  To prepare the manuscript for imaging, the codex had to be taken apart because the hidden text continued under the folds of the parchment in the spine of the book.  Because some of the glue was from the late 20th century, it was particularly difficult to remove.  It took 4 years just to take off the glue!   Next, the parchment was analyzed chemically to determine the condition of the collagen, the main component of parchment.  Here you see an image of an enlargement of a cross-section sample of the parchment, the size of a pinhead, from  the Archimedes Palimpsest.  The Archimedes text is the dark stain at the top of the parchment.  In this sample, the collagen is sound.  But where the manuscript has mold, the collagen is breaking down and disintegrating.

 Imaging and Digitization

Archimedes Palimpsest with multi-spectral imaging

Modern technology allows us to view the underlying text of the Archimedes Palimpsest through various techniques.  One technique is multi-spectral imaging.  In ultraviolet light, both the overlying and underlying texts are visible.  Ink blocks ultraviolet light, but the parchment flouresces, causing another light source.  There is then, two light sources, one going into the page, and one coming from the page going out, which allows us to see the underlying text.  When the images are merged together, the underlying text becomes red, and enlarging the image allows the underlying text to be legible. The only way to access the text underneath the gold-leaf illustrations added to the codex in the twentieth century, was to use the particle accelerator at Stanford University.  Ink used for the Archimedes manuscript contained a high amount of iron, which could be recognized and captured only by the strongest xrays such as those generated by the particle accelerator. In the following image, an abstraction of an object or a boat in the sea, one can see that Archimedes considered the world to be round.

X-ray of a diagram from the manuscript.

 

Principles of Digitizating Cultural Artifacts

William Noel explained the basic principles that formed the foundation for the many decisions made during the Archimedes Palimpsest project.   His principles are based on ethical considerations, digital use and sustainability, and economic value for the institution undertaking the project.  Taking the example of the Mona Lisa, Noel explained that thousands of people visit the Louvre every year to see the Mona Lisa, even though they already know what the painting looks like.  In fact, the reason that the Mona Lisa has so many visitors is precisely because so many know the painting already and want to see the original.  Therefore, making digital images as broadly available and usable as possible to the largest audience benefits the institution in name recognition, visitors, and financially.  The Walters Museum in Baltimore has already benefited this way because many of their medieval manuscripts are so freely available, and that they appear at the head of results in Google image searches.  Thus, the Walters Museum gains name recognition, prestige, and popularity.

The sustainability of the data benefits from Noel’s philosophy of wide availability and use. As he explains, data from digitized cultural documents must be:

1. well documented
2.  free
3.  just take it
4.  just use it

The data from the Archimedes Palimpsest is licensed in the Creative Commons, and images also appear on Flickr.  As a result, the data from the Archimedes Project is preserved, not only at the Walters Museum, but at Stanford, and at other universities as well.

Noel also explained the importance of presenting such data as data, pure and simple, allowing others to create interfaces for study and exhibition.  Why?  Because interfaces have a shelf-life of only about three years, but the pure data can be used and re-used.  Noel said that too often institutions are busy creating “boutiquey” interfaces for their digitized data, that these institutions are presenting “apple pie” to the researchers, when simply presenting the raw data in many cases would be more helpful.  In addition, Noel gave an amusing way to think about data.  Dr. Noel says that data should be:

Sustainable
Usable
Complete
Known

The criteria for data to be sustainable is that it should be cheap to maintain, in an interface that should last, and be simple, not relational.  By complete, Dr. Noel explained that images must be presented at full resolution (with derivatives as an option), with all descriptive metadata and all technical metadata.  And to make the data known, a discovery layer for human readers should be developed.  Raw xml can be presented that is machine readable, with a style sheet that combines images with the xml, to give a traditional type of presentation.

Dr. Noel ended the presentation discussing new ways for social media to further scholarship and knowledge.  For example, jokes are often hidden within medieval manuscripts.  If a scholar finds a joke in a manuscript, they tweet it!  The Penn Provenance Project uses social media to help identify the provenance, or historic background of the ownership of precious books and manuscripts by crowdsourcing.  Scholars writing blogs about the images are important, too.  Another project, t-pen.org, will, in the next few years, make manuscripts texts searchable.

Using these techniques, we can all share in William Noel’s mission, “to bring art and people together for learning, discovery, and enjoyment.” 

William Noel posing with a group at the Center for Humanities at Temple.

William Noel answering questions at the Center for Humanities at Temple.

For more information see:

The Archimedes Palimpsest; 2004; 2 May 2013 <http://archimedespalimpsest.org/about/>

Archimedes Palimpsest.  2 May 2013 <http://www.digitalpalimpsest.org/>

Archimedes.  Works.  New York; Dover, 195-?.

Noel, William. Revealing the Lost Codex of Archimedes; TED: Ideas Worth Spreading; Apr 2012; 2 May 2013 <http://www.ted.com/talks/william_noel_revealing_the_lost_codex_of_archimedes.html>

“Archimedes.” Encyclopaedia Britannica.  Encyclopaedia Britannica Online Academic Edition.  Encyclopaedia Britannica Inc., 2013.  Web. 02 May 2013. <http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/32808/Archimedes>.

Krock, Lexi.  Inside the Archimedes Palimpsest; NOVA; 09.30.03; 2 May 2013 <http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/physics/inside-archimedes-palimpsest.html>

Netz, Reviel and William Noel.  The Archimedes Codex: How a Medieval Prayer Book is Revealing the True Genius of Antiquity’s Greatest Scientist.  Philadelphia; Da Capo, 2007.

 -Anne Harlow, May 2 2013.

Father Paul Washington: A Community Champion to Celebrate

The Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection will honor Father Paul Washington’s legacy as a leader in the vanguard of social justice at an upcoming exhibit in April that will showcase artifacts from the Paul M. Washington Papers.  Father Washington was the rector of the Episcopal Church of the Advocate at 18th and Diamond Streets in Philadelphia for twenty-five years (1962-1987) and a leader in the local community.  Location, directions and hours can be found at: http://library.temple.edu/collections/blockson.

Father Paul Washington standing outdoors as the press record him.

A few highlights of his involvement in social justice include: the promotion of the Black Power movement by hosting the National Black Power Convention (1968), facilitating the ordination of eleven women into the Episcopal Church (1974), and serving on the Philadelphia Special Investigation Commission of the eviction attack (bombing) by the Philadelphia Police on the MOVE household (1986).

At the core of the collection are Father Washington’s extensive correspondence, sermons, and speeches covering over five decades.  In addition, photographs, news clippings, and journal articles provide information to supplement the Washington papers.

The FBI kept a file on Father Washington because of his civil rights activism and involvement in the Black Power Movement during the 1960’s.  Access to the file was gained through the Freedom of Information Act.  It is another valuable source of information available in the Paul M. Washington Papers.

2011-2012 Library Prize Winners!

Here are the winners of this year’s Library Prize for Undergraduate Research and the Library Prize for Undergraduate Research on Sustainability & the Environment.
Please join us on Tuesday, May 1 at 4 PM in the Paley Lecture Hall for the Awards Ceremony. The winners and their faculty sponsors will discuss the prize-winning papers. Refreshments provided.

Library Prize for Undergraduate Research

  • Summer Beckley, “A Crisis of Identity: Advertising & the British Ministry of Information’s Propaganda Posters of World War II”
    History 4997, Advisor: Richard Immerman
  • Afrora Muca, “From Classroom to Battlefield: The Role of Students in the Closing of Carlisle Indian Industrial School, 1918”
    History 4997, Advisor: Andrew Isenberg
  • Eugene Tsvilik, “No Enemies to the Left: The Communist Party of the United States and Crises of International Communism, 1956-1968”
    History 4997, Advisor: Petra Goedde

Library Prize for Undergraduate Research on Sustainability & the Environment

  • Anthony Shields, Jenna Fink, Hasan Malik, Nicola Horscroft
    “The treatment of drinking water using polymeric sorbents”
    Engineering 4296
    Faculty: Huichun (Judy) Zhang
  • Brian Davidson, Fiona Farrelly, Thomson Liang, Melissa MacKinnon
    “Sustainable and efficient rope pump”
    Engineering 4296
    Faculty: Robert J. Ryan
  • (Honorable Mention)
    Rachel Maddaluna
    “Mitigation of climate change and species loss through avoided deforestation”
    Biology 4391
    Faculty: Brent Sewall


—Fred Rowland