Frozen Streets and Broken Links: Musing on a Snow Day

Last Monday night a swirl of ice and snow swept through Davidson, threatening to shut streets down, take down power-lines, and perhaps cancel classes. Luckily, through all of it, the doors to the library remained open, thanks much to our essential staff and our student workers. And of course, had the library been closed, one could always access much of our resources online. Despite the weather ravaging our daily routines, the world of information has remained preserved. Or has it? With our … [Read more...]

The Digital Public Library of America Revisited

On May 1, I wrote about the new Digital Public Library of America (, a new portal bringing together digitized treasures from libraries, archives, and museums in the United States. At that time, though, searching for gems from or about Davidson College yielded pretty disappointing results. No longer! Now a search for “Davidson College” returns 481 results, including college catalogs, lots of pictures, and even two videos! What happened? The North Carolina Digital Heritage Center became a … [Read more...]

What are the oldest items in the library collection? Cuneiforms!

A couple of months ago, I had the privilege of working with the oldest items in the library’s collection – Babylonian cuneiforms. A cuneiform is a small, clay tablet, etched with Sumerian text that chronicles the business of daily life thousands of years ago. For example, some of the cuneiforms in our collection are receipts for temple animals or are lists of provisions supplied to messengers on temple business. Why was I working with these ancient relics? This excerpt from a recent news … [Read more...]

Web of Thoughts

I had the opportunity to here Cathy Davidson’s talk last week titled “Now You See It: Changing Higher Education to Change the World.” and then subsequently attended the workshop she co-facilitated with Jeff McClurken exploring potential paths forward for Digital Studies at Davidson. In her talk Davidson alluded to 2013 being the 20th anniversary of the publicly accessible World Wide Web. While some might quibble about the absolute accuracy of that statement, 1993 was undeniably a watershed year … [Read more...]