Technology Showcase for Kids

Dottie Black, coordinator of the PepsiCo K-12 Technology Mentor Program, was seeing the results of a year’s work as she looked around the auditorium of Durham’s School of the Arts on 11 March. Students and teachers from the seven Duke-Durham Neighborhood Partnership schools Black supports were on hand to demonstrate an array of projects they have initiated and completed in their classes.

Two Lakewood students polish their interviewing skills. Photo courtesy of Libby MontagneWhile the purposes and contents of the projects vary, each incorporates one or more technological application. At the Lakewood Elementary School, 4th and 5th graders, divided into groups, have undertaken related activities focused on preventing the closing of a popular local branch of the YMCA. Teacher Libby Montagne says, “The idea is to work on specific academic goals in a meaningful context as well as develop community organizing and leadership skills.”

The Lakewood students have used iPods to record their interviews with community residents, and all the groups contributing to the project are now using a wiki to share information. Montagne says, “The challenge for us as teachers at this point is facilitating communication between the different groups. The wiki has really been the answer to that. I think Dottie knew it would be, but she just subtly suggested I check into it. She was patient with me. She knew that the idea would resonate with me when I was ready. It did.”

Libraries’ John Hope Franklin Collection Acquires Darlene Clark Hine Papers

Courtesy of Darlene Clark HineThe John Hope Franklin Collection of African and African American Documentation has acquired the papers of Darlene Clark Hine, a leading historian of the African American experience. Hine’s papers will support research on slavery, white primaries, African Americans in nursing, African American professionals, and black women’s history.

Darlene Clark Hine is currently the Board of Trustees Professor of African American Studies and Professor of History at Northwestern University. Prior to her appointment at Northwestern, she was the John A. Hannah Professor of American History at Michigan State University. While at Michigan State, Hine established a new doctoral field in comparative African American history.

Known for her pioneering work in African American women’s studies, Hine is the highly-regarded co-editor of Black Women in America, one of more than fifteen books she has authored or edited on topics related to African Americans and women. In addition, Hine has received numerous honors, including induction into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and fellowships at Harvard University, Stanford University, and the National Humanities Center in North Carolina. (Simone Isham)


On the evening of 2 February, students and faculty from Duke’s German Club and the Department of Romance Studies celebrated Fasching, an annual festival similar to Mardi Gras, with a costume party at the Perkins Library in the von der Heyden Pavilion. The party featured desserts, music, a sing-along and dancing plus an exhibit of library resources related to Fasching/Mardi Gras/Carnaval and poster displays to introduce the partygoers to culture and foods in German-speaking countries.

credit: Jennifer Burk

Winner of the first prize for the best costume at Faschingsfest

Latin Chic at the Library

Latin Chic party - photo courtesy of Tadina Ross
Mi Gente member Tadina Ross shares a dance with Provost Peter Lange. Ms. Ross did the design work and marketing for Latin Chic at the Library.

Flowing white draperies, live palms, and the vibrant strains of Bossa Nova, salsa, samba, and tango transformed the library into a Latin paradise on the evening of 29 February for a semi-formal campus party. Organized by Mi Gente, Duke’s Hispanic student association, the party celebrated the group’s 15th anniversary on campus.

Latin Chic poster - courtesy of Tadina RossAnd what a celebration it was! Undergraduates, graduate students, faculty, university trustees and staff, and Duke alums and friends mingled with each other in the Perkins and Bostock libraries and the von der Heyden Pavilion, enjoying live music that reflected the rich diversity of Latin American culture.

Expanding partygoers’ perceptions of Latin American culture was a primary goal of the student organizers. One, Victoria Woodbury, said in a Thursday, 28 February article in The Chronicle, “We want to convey the many different sides of what it is to be Latin — there isn’t just one country, there isn’t just one style, there isn’t just one genre of music.”

Arts and Music

Knowledge Bytes

Internet Sites Selected for the Readers of Duke University Libraries

Amazing Grace
The Library of Congress has created a website devoted to the history of the hymn “Amazing Grace” and the Library’s Chasanoff/Elozua Amazing Grace Collection, which comprises 3,049 published recordings of the hymn by different musicians or musical ensembles. This site is a joint venture of the Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division; the Music Division; and the American Folklife Center.

Since its publication in 1779 in England, “Amazing Grace” has grown in popularity to become one of the best-known musical works in the world. This website explores its history through items in the collections of the Library of Congress, from the earliest printing of the song to various performances on sound recordings.

The audio collection and database, compiled by Allan Chasanoff and Raymon Elozua and given to the Library in 2004, is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the largest collection of recordings of a single musical work. The website contains a number of selections from the collection, including gospel renditions by Sister Rosetta Tharpe and the Mighty Clouds of Joy, an Elvis Presley recording, country versions by Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson, and rock interpretations by the Byrds and the Lemonheads. A database for the entire collection can be searched on the site, and the complete audio collection is available for listening in the Library of Congress’s Recorded Sound Reference Center.

Reflecting Antiquity: Modern Glass Inspired By Ancient Rome
Glass vaseThe art of the Romans has influenced the work of many generations of artisans. Exploring Roman forms and subjects has been a worthy endeavor for centuries, and many careers have been made of interpreting their work, much as the Romans drew on the work of earlier Grecian artisans. This fascinating online exhibit from the J. Paul Getty Museum examines the ways in which Roman glass was used as inspiration for glassmakers across Europe in the late 1700s and early 1800s. Created to complement an ongoing exhibit at the Getty Villa, this exhibit affords visitors the opportunity to learn about mosaic glassmaking techniques, cameo glass, gold glass, cage cups, and the shimmering world of iridescence. Each section of the exhibit includes a brief narrative paragraph, along with high-quality examples of each glassmaking technique. Additional features include audio-visual demonstrations of glassmaking and a place where visitors can post their own comments.

Vatican Museums Online
Baroque church For those of us who are not able to travel to the museums of the Vatican, this website may be the next best thing. The site transports visitors to the Sistine Chapel, the Gregorian Egyptian and Etruscan museums, the Pinacoteca, and the Ethnological Missionary Museum. Visitors can take 360° tours of each museum’s rooms and view each object in context, then examine the contents of each room in detail. All the exhibits are lovely, but the Sistine Chapel deserves special attention. Here viewers can zoom into portions of The Last Judgement and the Chapel ceiling to study each figure. Tools make it possible to enlarge portions of the image, zoom, and scan each work of art. Very informative and helpful descriptions of the works of art complete this notable website.

Met Archives: The Metropolitan Opera
Opera sceneAlthough it is too late to hear Lilli Lehmann sing “Liebestod” live from the Metropolitan Opera or Caruso offer his version of “Questa o quello” from Verdi’s Rigoletto, these wonderful performances are revived on this very engaging website. First-time visitors may want to read the introductory essay on the history of the Met and then proceed to the “Timeline of Metropolitan Opera History.” In the “MetOpera Database” visitors can search for information about productions from any period of the institution’s history. Here you can learn, for instance, that La Bohème was performed a total of 1193 times at the Met between 1900 and June 2007, whereas Lucrezia Borgia and Gallia have been performed only once. Visitors can also peruse the “Stories of the Operas” section to read brief summaries of such works as Tristan und Isolde, Lucia di Lammermoor, and Die Fledermaus.

Thanks to the Internet Scout Project (Copyright Internet Scout Project, 1994-2008. for identifying these sites. If you would like to recommend a Web site for inclusion in a future issue of Duke University Libraries, contact Joline Ezzell at

The Color Purple: A New Story for a Familiar Reader

Writer’s Page

by Chanequa Walker-Barnes

Courtesy of Chanequa Walker-BarnesEditor’s Note: In 1983 Alice Walker won both the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award for The Color Purple.

I have a fetish for books. In fact, if I were forced to spend the remainder of my life in a single location, I would hope that it would be a bookstore or a library. One with a good coffee bar would be nice, but not necessary. After all, when I walk into Barnes and Noble and pause to take a deep breath, it is not the scent of coffee that tickles my brain. And there is no coffee to account for the rush of ecstasy that I get when I cross the threshold of my local library. I buy books like many women buy clothes—impulsively, compulsively, and sometimes secretly. It has been three years since I bought shoes. But three specially ordered books arrived on my doorstep just today.

I love books so much that when my husband and I were house-hunting seven years ago, there was one feature about our house that sealed the deal for me—the twenty-foot span of blank wall, unobstructed by windows and doors, in the bonus room upstairs. The perfect spot for the built-in bookshelves to house the library that I had been collecting since graduating from college.

As it turns out, one of the first books that I bought for my collection was Alice Walker’s The Color Purple. Only ten years old when the book debuted twenty-five years ago, I first read it during high school. Since my love of books began at an early age (in elementary school I was given special permission for an increased weekly book allowance from the school librarian), by middle school, I had long outgrown books for kids my age and had worked through a fair amount of adult mysteries, romance novels, and classic fiction. Around ninth grade, I decided to concentrate on reading as many books by African American authors as I could. Alice Walker, Toni Morrison, Gloria Naylor, Maya Angelou, Ntozake Shange, Langston Hughes, and Nikki Giovanni were some of my early favorites.

Of course, being so young, I did not really appreciate the profound subtleties that these authors wove through their texts. The Color Purple was no different. I read it because it was on my mental must-read list. And when I bought it a decade later, it was only because it was on my mental what-every-personal-library-must-have list. For years it sat on the bookshelf untouched, ostensibly for the sake of the still-future offspring whom I hoped would eventually read it. Indeed, like many people, the film version had filled my remembrance and understanding of the text. Fortunately, having recently learned the joy and benefits of repeated reading, I decided it was time to revisit The Color Purple.

The first few pages had a familiar ring. “Dear God,” starts each of Celie’s letters as she begins to describe being raped by her father, torn apart from her ensuing children, and sent to be the live-in maid, nanny, and concubine of a man whom she knew only as “Mr.” It is to God whom Celie describes her anguish at losing her sister, her fascination with the nightclub singer who is her husband’s mistress, her grief over her daughter-in-law’s arrest and imprisonment, and her murderous rage upon discovering that her husband had concealed years of letters from her sister.

I am sure that as a teenaged girl growing up in a household that was suffering the impact of an intergenerational legacy of trauma and abuse, I connected quite well with Celie’s feeling that God was the only one with whom she could share her innermost thoughts and feelings. Most likely, I noticed God’s deafening, enraging silence in response to her despair. And I probably lamented her turn from God even as I celebrated her growing into herself.

FlowerBut that is where the familiarity ended. This was a new story. As a teenager, I had identified most strongly with Celie. Now, two decades later, I am more keenly aware of the transformation taking place in each of the major characters and relationships: Alfred’s evolution from an abusive patriarch to a friend of women; Sofia’s journey from quick-tempered and combative through fearful and submissive to candid and caring; Shug’s learning to desire and appreciate what she has. By the end of the text, even Eleanor Jane seems to be changing, evidencing a growing awareness of, and at least temporary repentance for, her white privilege.

As an adolescent, I understood The Color Purple to be a story about pain and, ultimately, triumph. But as an adult who has gone through her own process of healing and who is nearing mid-life (God willing), this becomes a new story. It is an allegory of forgiveness and reconciliation, a story about a group of people—Albert, Shug, Harpo, Sofia, Nettie, and Mary Agnes—learning to be, to love, and to celebrate themselves as authentic human being. It is the story of people who learn to resist the forces of racial and gender oppression that have shaped their notions of who they are and how they are to behave in relationship to others. It is the story of people who realize that while they live in a world that oppresses blackness and femaleness, they are not required to be willing participants in the cycle of victimization.

It is a story of people who come to forgive themselves for being black in a world that hates blackness, for being female in a world that subjugates women, and for being same-gender-loving in a world consumed with heterosexism. It is the story of a group of people who grow to appreciate their own beauty, who recover their own voices, and who learn to be happy, fulfilled, loving, truthful, and free in the midst of oppression and loss.

And ultimately, it is a story about finding and being reconciled with God. Because Celie does not really turn away from God. Rather, she turns to the only place where she has seen God’s presence—her relationship with her sister Nettie. And it is this relationship that carries her through the journey of healing as she finds her way back to God.

Yet in the very newness of the story is another tinge of familiarity. To be sure, there are many aspects of Walker’s masterpiece that I certainly did not understand and probably did not even notice as a teenager. But now, in retrospect, I am certain that the book planted a seed that has shaped the direction and course of my journey towards authentic being. Reading the book anew is like coming home, re-discovering part of my journey that had been forgotten but that explains much of who I have become. It feels like this must have been a formative text. Perhaps it was the fateful encounter that took a girl from a patriarchal, Baptist, southern African American family and set her en route to becoming a womanist/feminist scholar, LGBT-ally, and preacher with a passion for reconciliation ministry.

At least, I think that is the story that I am going to tell. It is, after all, a new story.

Chanequa Walker-Barnes D’07 is Assistant Professor of Pastoral Care and Counseling at the Shaw University Divinity School.

Read Books by Chanequa Walker-Barnes’s Early Favorite Authors

Maya Angelou. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings: The Collected Autobiographies of Maya Angelou (omnibus edition of all six autobiographies). New York: Modern Library, 2004.

Nikki Giovanni. Quilting the Black-Eyed Pea: Poems and Not Quite Poems. New York: Morrow, 2002.

Langston Hughes. The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes. New York: Knopf, 1994.

Toni Morrison. The Bluest Eye; with a new afterword by the author. New York: Knopf, 2000.

Gloria Naylor. Mama Day, New York: Ticknor & Fields, 1988.

Nzotake Shange. Betsey Brown, a novel. New York: St. Martin’s Press, c1985.

Alice Walker. The Color Purple. San Diego, CA: Harcourt, 1982.

Exhibits – Spring 2008

Perkins Gallery


Pivotal Books/Personal Reflections

An exhibit of books that have had a lasting impact on the lives of members of the Duke community. Faculty, students, staff, alumni, and friends are invited to recommend books for inclusion in the exhibit. We are looking for books that have transformed your thinking on a subject or were inspirational or the catalyst for a significant idea. We are also seeking books that have comforted you or sparked your creativity. We will exhibit poetry, essays, non-fiction, and novels.—We are even willing to display the childhood favorite that gave you your first sense of the power of books and reading. The goal is to exhibit a selection of books that represents the range of viewpoints and experiences of the diverse members of the Duke community.

Write an informal recommendation of no more than 200 words describing a book’s impact on you. Please send your statement no later than 1 May 2008 to Ilene Nelson at as a Word document attachment in an email message. We will display your statement with a copy of the book in the cases in the Perkins gallery, if the title you recommend is selected for the exhibit.

Special Collections Gallery


Photo by Eric MillerThen and Now: Eight South African Photographers

Curated by South African photographer Paul Weinberg whose work is archived at Duke, Then and Now was funded by the Conference, Workshop and Cultural Initiative (CWCI) Fund, a European Union-South Africa partnership program, and Duke University’s Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library.

Then and Now comprises 160 images, 20 apiece from eight participating photographers. For each photographer, 10 prints are from the apartheid period and 10 prints are post-apartheid. A complete set of the prints is available at the Special Collections Library and in Grahamstown, South Africa, at the Albany Museum, where they were first exhibited in a show that opened on 10 September 2007.

All 160 prints are being displayed at Duke in a multi-venue exhibit. About one third will be on view at the Special Collections Gallery, the Center for Documentary Studies (1317 W. Pettigrew Street) will display another third of the images, and the remainder will be exhibited at the President’s Gallery (Allen Building), the Divinity Library, and the Graduate Liberal Studies Program ( 2114 Campus Drive). The exhibit is also available online at


Olive Pierce—Forty Years of Photographs (1963-2003)

Olive Pierce’s photographs reflect a spirit of community. This retrospective of black and white gelatin silver prints documents life in Cambridge, Massachusetts, as well as in Maine fishing communities. A lifelong political activist, Pierce’s photographs of Iraqis under U.S. economic sanctions in 1999 and Maine citizens demonstrating in 2003 for and against involvement in Iraq make the connection between the local and global communities.

Special Collections Biddle Rare Book Room Cases


Historical sheet musicSongs of Glory, Songs of Sorrow: The Civil War in Music

The American Civil War remains the most devastating war in United States history, with deaths numbering about 618,000–more than in all the nation’s other wars combined, from the Revolutionary War through the Iraq War. This exhibit features sheet music and broadside verse expressing the triumphs and tragedies of the war’s battles, grieving mothers, soldier boys, flags, military officers, and even humor. Themes specific to the Civil War yet universal to all armed conflicts remind us of the high cost paid when peaceful solutions and diplomacy fail to win the day.

A performance highlighting the Special Collections Library’s Civil War music will be presented in September 2008 in the Special Collections Library’s Biddle Rare Book Room. The specific date and time will be announced later.

Hours for the Special Collections and Perkins galleries: Monday-Saturday, 9am-9pm, and 10am-9pm on Sunday. Call 919.660.5968 for more information about the Special Collections Gallery and 919.684.3009 for the most current Perkins hours.

$1,000 Reward for Excellence

Reward poster

Thanks to a generous gift from Stuart W’64 and Bill L’64 Buice, the Duke Libraries have established the Robert F. Durden Prize to recognize excellent undergraduate research projects that have required the use of resources from the Libraries’ general collections. Stuart Buice chose to name the prize for Durden, whose classes she took as an undergraduate, as a tribute to him and his work. Durden, professor emeritus of history, is the author of a dozen books, including The Dukes of Durham, The Launching of Duke University, 1924-1927, and Legacy to the Carolinas: The Duke Endowment, 1924-1994.

The Durden Prize will be awarded annually in three categories: one for first- and second-year students, one for third- and fourth-year students, and one for fourth-year students submitting honors theses. The prize gives visibility to the Libraries’ commitment to supporting undergraduate research and enhancing undergraduates’ information literacy skills as well as increasing awareness of the Libraries’ services and collections. Awarding the Durden Prize is also in line with University initiatives to increase undergraduate research, especially by fourth-year students.

Students competing for the prize will submit a paper or digital project along with a faculty letter of support and an essay of 500-750 words in which they describe their research strategies and use of library tools and resources. Papers and projects will be judged by a committee of two faculty members and three librarians who will assess the students’ effective use of library resources and research procedures.

The Durden Prize complements the Middlesworth Award, which the Special Collections Library has presented for more than fifteen years. The Middlesworth Award encourages and recognizes students for their use of primary and rare materials held by the Special Collections Library. The award is funded by Chester P. Middlesworth T’49 of Statesville, NC. Winners of the Durden Prize and the Middlesworth Award will be honored at a Parents’ and Family Weekend reception where they will also receive their checks for $1,000.

Don’t Shoot the Messenger

or how a Scholarly Communications Officer Encourages Intellectual Inquiry and Upholds the Law

Kevin Smith

Illustratration by Laura HughesIn my many years as an academic librarian, one of the things I have liked best is library patrons’ appreciation for librarians and the work that we do. So, when I became a lawyer as well, I was surprised by the realization that I would be spending a lot more of my time dealing with angry or unhappy people. Nevertheless, the work I now do at Duke is exactly what I hoped to find after law school, and it has been tremendously rewarding, even though I am sometimes the bearer of bad news.

I became Duke’s first scholarly communications officer in June of 2006 after fifteen years as a librarian in liberal arts colleges and theological seminaries. Throughout my career as a reference librarian and library director, I was fascinated by copyright, intellectual property licensing, and the array of other legal issues that a modern academic library encounters. When I had the chance to attend law school in the evenings while still retaining my “day job,” I took it, even though I never really planned to practice law in the usual sense. While I was in law school, I became aware of the growing trend among academic libraries to hire people specifically to address scholarly communications; I knew that was the kind of position I had been training for.

Scholarly communications is a broad and vague term, which has different meanings at different institutions. At some colleges and universities, scholarly communications pertains primarily to support for digital publishing or advocacy for open access to scholarship. Both are elements of my position; however, copyright is my principal focus. My background and interest in copyright law meshed well with the perceived need at Duke for someone to assist faculty, staff, and students in complying with copyright.

When I first accepted this position, several friends teased me about the title and asked if a scholarly communications officer carried a badge. Good-natured ribbing aside, one of the images I struggle against is that of “copyright cop.” Although my first responsibility is to advise faculty, staff, and students about the application of copyright law to their varied and changing activities, I try to do that without always saying “no.”

Current U.S. copyright law is tremendously restrictive and has not kept up very well with advances in technology. Often the limitations the law imposes on new modes of teaching and learning are very frustrating to both faculty and students. While I sometimes have to uphold those restrictions, I also work at a very practical level to help members of the Duke community, individually and in small groups, to structure projects and courses in ways that will allow them to accomplish their goals without running afoul of the law. In 2007 I had over 250 such consultations.

Smith confers with Associate University Counsel Henry Cuthbert.
Smith confers with Associate University Counsel Henry Cuthbert.

Copyright law predominates in these conversations, and the most frequent copyright questions concern the use of materials (print, electronic, audio, and visual) for teaching, especially in electronic course reserves and on Blackboard course sites and external websites like iTunesU. The questions that arise are very “fact-specific” and require careful discussions with faculty about the type of material being used, the amount being copied into the site, extent of access to the materials, and whether or not permission to use the materials is readily available. All these factors are weighed in determining “fair use,” a broad but maddeningly vague and shifting exception to our copyright law. Much of contemporary teaching and learning depends on fair use, but it is nearly impossible to clearly define its boundaries. From my point of view, that uncertainty by itself represents full employment for the scholarly communications officer.

Fair use notwithstanding, many other copyright issues also cross my desk: may a student re-master LP recordings from the 1950s, 60s and 70s as part of a class project? This question is especially difficult to answer since a major change in the protection of copyrighted materials occurred right in the middle of that time period. May the library digitize some comic books published in France by the Nazi propaganda machine in the early 1940s for a digital collection? Inherent in the formation of digital library collections is the core balance that copyright is intended to strike between protecting authors’ interests, especially their ability to profit from their creativity, and the need to use and often repurpose older work in order to support teaching and to encourage new creative endeavors. This particular issue also highlights the tangled relationship amongst the copyright laws of different nations, as well as the various international treaties that are in force, and the sticky question of how to treat a copyright granted by a government that no longer exists.

Illustratration by Laura HughesAs much as copyright dominates my work, I also offer assistance to the Duke community in the areas of intellectual property licensing and, especially, scholarly publishing. I am particularly anxious to help scholars navigate the treacherous waters of publication, where technology creates many new opportunities to disseminate scholarly work and publication contracts are all different and change as often as the tides. Sometimes my role is simply to explain the language of publishing contracts to authors so that they have a clear idea of what rights they will, or will not, continue to have in their published works. These days scholars not only want to distribute print copies of their own work to the students they teach, they also may want to put their work on a web page or in a disciplinary repository. They frequently hope to use the work, or the underlying research, in conference presentations, PowerPoint displays, or even in a later book. The ability of an author to take advantage of any of these opportunities will depend on the specific terms of a publication agreement.

Less frequently, the publication issues I address are much more complex than simply reading a contract, although that can be arduous enough. I have been asked, for example, to help research the copyright status and find the rights holder of one of Thomas Wolfe’s short stories—which he originally sold for the price of a winter overcoat—for a professor who wanted to reprint that story in a book he was writing. I have also helped a faculty member convince her publisher that illustrations she wanted to use in her book about changing images of family life could be republished, as fair use, even when it was not possible to get permission to use all of them. Recently, I was called on to help sort out all of the rights involved (and the paperwork necessary to account for those rights) in creating a translation of a German-language biography of a prominent female physicist of the mid-20th century and publishing that translation on the Web.

New technologies have created intellectual property issues that are difficult to sort out. Podcasts are recordings that are posted on the Internet for people to listen to and download onto portable devices. But may faculty download podcasts in order to insert “chapters” into them so that students can be assigned to listen to parts of the (altered) podcasts without having to search for the appropriate section? And sometimes the questions are low-tech but still thorny. For instance, can a student group interested in global health issues sponsor a documentary film series for other interested students without purchasing a public performance license for each film?

In addition to the individual assistance I offer to faculty and students, I also make quite a few presentations, both on campus and to external groups. I also monitor legislation and court cases that impact the role of intellectual property in higher education so that I can advise the University about how to formulate policy and when to take a stand on some decision pending in Congress or at the U.S. Copyright Office.

Smith addresses graduate students attending a Responsible Conduct of Research forum.

Smith addresses graduate students attending a Responsible Conduct of Research forum.

One issue that has arisen only very recently is sure to occupy quite a bit of my attention in coming months. Just after Christmas President Bush signed a massive spending bill that included, buried deep in the appropriations for the Department of Health and Human Services, a clause that will affect researchers who are funded by the National Institutes of Health, which supports more than $20 billion of research each year. The clause requires NIH researchers to deposit copies of the published peer-reviewed articles about their research in the open access PubMed Central database within one year of publication. Open access means that anyone with Internet access can read the articles available in PubMed Central. Congress decided that medical information, especially when it derives from taxpayer-funded research, is too important to disseminate only in highly specialized academic journals that are often very expensive and sometimes held in only a few libraries.

Illustratration by Laura HughesTaxpayer access to publicly funded research sounds like a great idea, and it has the potential to provide a significant public benefit. But there are many questions yet to be answered and many fears to be calmed. Publishers are concerned that public access to the same articles that they are publishing in their journals could further depress subscriptions. The one-year gap allowed between publication and open access availability is designed to reduce this potential impact. Researchers will need to be informed about this new deposit requirement and will need to consider it when they negotiate with publishers. Contracts will have to include clauses to permit this open access deposit along with all the other provisions regarding copyright ownership. Most of all, researchers and authors, who are always busy and have little time for external distractions, will need help with all the aspects of compliance with this new mandate. Providing this assistance will be added to the responsibilities of the scholarly communications officer.

When I became Duke’s scholarly communications officer, I was surprised at how quickly people sought me out to ask questions; I literally had several inquiries waiting for me on my first day at work. Word-of-mouth is still my best “advertising,” but over the past year I have become more assertive about encouraging questions, offering resources and discussing issues. The principal vehicle for this increased communication with potential clients and any other interested readers is a website built around a web log, or blog, that I maintain with help of several library colleagues. “Scholarly Communications @ Duke” ( features weekly commentary about a host of issues including copyright and trends in publishing and technological innovations. I also post information about resources related to copyright in the classroom and scholarly publishing. Finally, there are lists of links to many other sites that offer further information and reflection.

With the array of various and complex issues that confront me in my new role, I have to say that it is never boring to be Duke’s scholarly communications officer. Sometimes, when folks want simple answers to complex questions or refuse to accept the best advice I can give, it can be a stressful role. But mostly it is an education and a privilege to be involved in a small way with so many of the diverse classes and scholarly projects that are underway across campus. So how does a scholarly communications officer thrive? By listening carefully in order to understand the underlying need or goal behind each question. By avoiding the easy answer of “not possible” and looking instead for creative ways to facilitate each project. By breaking bad news gently, when it cannot be avoided. And, most importantly, by keeping a sense of humor and gratitude for the good fortune that brought me to Duke.

Kevin Smith

Kevin Smith is Duke University’s Scholarly Communications Officer.

Read More about Copyright

Duke University Center for the Study of the Public Domain. “Tales from the Public Domain: Bound by Law.” Comic book format discussion of copyright and filmmaking available online at

Paul Goldstein. Copyright’s Highway: the Law and Lore of Copyright from Gutenberg to the Celestial Jukebox. New York: Hill and Wang, 1994.

Jessica Littman. Digital Copyright. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 2001.

Charles C. Mann. “Who Will Own Your Next Good Idea?” Atlantic Monthly, vol. 282/3 (September 1998): 57-82.

Paul Newman. “Copyright Essentials for Linguists.” Language Documentation and Conservation, vol. 1/1 (June 2007). Online journal article available at

Sive Vaidhynathan. Copyrights and Copywrongs: the Rise of Intellectual Property and How it Threatens Creativity. New York: New York University Press, 2001.

John Willinsky. The Access Principle: the Case for Open Access to Research and Scholarship. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2006.

From Personal to Political

Human Rights Histories in Duke’s Special Collections Library

by Patrick Stawski

Letter courtesy of Patrick Stawski

My mother recently sent me a letter which she had come across while cleaning out an over-burdened closet. After reading it and digesting its contents, she knew it would pique the interest of her son, an archivist now curating a human rights collection at Duke University. The letter was written in 1984 in Rosario, Argentina, by my mother’s younger sister, Maria Rosa. Photo courtesy of Patrick StawskiMy aunt composed the letter on a manual typewriter, one without a correction ribbon, onto a now browning 5″ by 8.5″ sheet of paper. Large x’s are superimposed over errors and a red pen has been used for the final editing.

At a time when Argentina was experiencing not triple but quadruple digit annual inflation, paper and letters were precious. This was also the era of government-run telephone companies when Argentines waited for years, usually in vain, to have a telephone line installed in their homes. Amongst the twenty or so households which made up my family, there was only one home phone in 1984. Understandably, the arrival of a letter such as this one at our adopted home of Anaheim, California, from our relatives in Argentina amounted to a small miracle and would have been greeted with a certain degree of fanfare.

Photo courtesy of Patrick StawskiDated February 14, (later corrected to the 22) 1984, the letter begins with the sort of exchange to be expected between two sisters who find themselves thousands of miles apart: news of brothers, sisters, sisters-in-law, squabbles, bickering, business, and property. But the letter takes an abrupt and dark turn as my aunt tries to describe the discoveries that have been made since civilian rule returned to the country. She reports 10,000 estimated “desaparecidos,” or disappeared (eventually the number would climb to 40,000); numerous clandestine prisons, torture camps; secret cemeteries filled with naked, tortured corpses bound with chains and barbed wire, mostly of young men and women; an entire family, including an eight-year-old girl, each executed with a bullet to the head and their bodies buried beneath the public plaza; “bodies and bodies, everyday in the news…”

I mention this letter from my family’s own archives to illustrate from a personal perspective the important and perhaps unexpected nature of human rights documentation that is being collected by the Archive for Human Rights at the Duke Libraries. The disbelief that accompanied the grisly discoveries in Argentina in the 1980s was not unique. Again and again and around the world the uncovering of evidence of massive terror is often accompanied by shock and disbelief. This is precisely because secrecy, disappearance, censoring of independent media, and circumvention of normal legal proceedings and record-keeping protocols are the tools that allow repressive forces to act with impunity. In response, the human rights community has grown into a global network one of whose primary objectives is to counteract silence and the erasing of memory, evidence, and history by monitoring, witnessing, and documenting human rights abuses.

Photo courtesy of Patrick StawskiThese abuses leave deep and profound scars in communities, families, and individuals. Thus, the substance of human rights history is found not only in organizational and government records but also in family and personal papers. It comprises letters, photos, research files, newspaper clippings, legal documents, even PowerPoint presentations. The diversity of the sources is evidence that human rights and their abuse are not just a matter of government policy and strategies; they are as profoundly personal as they are political. This relationship between the personal and the public is apparent in many of our collections.

In the case files of the Center for Death Penalty Litigation (CDPL), for example, researchers can find official police reports and legal affidavits alongside handwritten correspondence between death row inmates and their counsel. The Center for International Policy (CIP) records contain notebooks filled with the firsthand impressions of a CIP associate who traveled to Colombia in 2001 and 2004 to investigate human rights repercussions of the drug wars. The same collection preserves the PowerPoint presentations that CIP created to lobby Congress for changes in U.S. drug trafficking policy.

One collection of international significance, and one that I find personally compelling, is the Marshall T. Meyer Papers. The guide to the collection prepared by our staff explains that Marshall Meyer received his education at Dartmouth College and, a year after being ordained rabbi in 1958, moved his family to Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he became rabbi of Comunidad Bet El. During his tenure at Bet El, Meyer reinvigorated Argentina’s Jewish community while living and working through the political and social implosion that rocked Argentina in the 1970s and 1980s.

Marshall Meyer ID card

Progressive, politically engaged, and an activist by nature, Meyer spoke out against the human rights abuses perpetrated under the rule of the military junta. He visited and counseled prisoners in clandestine jails, lobbied national and international authorities for their release, and brought the world’s attention to the crimes being committed by military forces. After the return of democracy to Argentina in 1983, Argentine President Raul Alfonsin recruited Meyer to serve on CONADEP (translated as the National Commission on the Disappearance of Persons), which led a national investigation to establish the extent of the abuses Argentineans suffered under the military junta.

The Meyer papers contain rich documentation representative of the many fronts on which human rights battles are fought. A case in point: in 1977 Argentine police forces entered the house of sixteen-year-old D. and her family, assassinated her brother before her eyes, and then kidnapped her. D. spent over four years in prison without any charges being brought against her before finally being released in 1981 with the help of Meyer and other advocates. The dossier Meyer compiled a as he worked with and for D. provides a record of his negotiation of roadblocks erected by the military and his efforts to help D. maintain her humanity during years in prison.

D.’s ink drawing

D.’s ink drawing decorates a notecard she made using a piece of lined paper. She sent to card to Rabbi Meyer while she was being held in the Devoto Prison.

Letter to Rabbi Meyer

On September 30, 1980, Meyer made application to the Canadian Embassy for D.’s immigration to Canada. On December 19, 1980, the second secretary for immigration at the Canadian embassy writes to Meyer’s Seminario Rabinico Latinamericano informing them that the embassy’s request to interview D. has been denied because she has also applied to go to Israel and a decision (by the same military authorities who kidnapped and imprisoned her) has not yet been made on that request. There are many more examples of political action taken on behalf of D. and others: letters to the Dutch and German counsels, to then President Ronald Reagan, and even to the Vatican. Often the letters are accompanied by what must have been disheartening replies that reveal thwarted communication and due process obstructed by vague charges, legal technicalities, and other government-contrived obstacles. Intermingled with these papers is evidence of the profoundly personal side of Meyer’s work: his applications to the government ministries to serve as spiritual counsel for the detained and telegrams to the families of prisoners bearing news of a child or husband’s health, prisoners’ wishes, and sometimes news of a joyous release. Then there are the letters from people like D. in Devoto prison and others like her, detainees who give thanks for a visit or the gift of a book, who describe their treatment or mistreatment, or who express the hope to be reunited one day with loved ones. At times it is clear that the very act of writing the letter has been an act of survival and defiance.

Marshall Meyer’s son Gabriel (center) at a human rights rally

Histories, private and public, embodied in the lives of individuals such as Marshall Meyer or by organizations such as the Center for Death Penalty Litigation or the Center for International Policy, are circulated in the world today in response to the abuse and denial of human rights. Duke’s Archive for Human Rights is dedicated to collecting, and preserving these materials and opening the complex and multi-faceted history of human rights to researchers. Through its work the Archive plays a vital part in maintaining the link between our history and our humanity. For as Marshall Meyer said in a speech in 1991, “…when humans are denigrated, humiliated, and persecuted, the sanctity of human life is threatened everywhere. And if there is no longer the sanctity of life, of human life, we lose our course in history and become less than human.”

Patrick Stawski

Patrick Stawski is the Libraries’ Human Rights Archivist. Visit the Archive for Human Rights online at

Student Action with Farmworker Records

Student Action With Farmworkers Records

Two items from the Student Action with Farmworkers Records, a collection in the Archive for Human Rights. SAF had its beginnings at Duke in the 1970s when Dr. Robert Coles and Professor Bruce Payne led twelve students in a summer-long migrant project that included an investigation of conditions in North Carolina’s camps for migrant workers.

The Washington Office on Latin America Donates its Archives to the Duke Libraries

The Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) recently donated its historical archives to the Archive for Human Rights at the Duke Libraries. WOLA is the leading U.S. human rights organization promoting human rights, social justice, and democracy in Latin America. Strong partnerships with colleagues throughout the region inform WOLA’s analysis and foreign policy proposals. Policy makers, elected officials, the media and activisits in both North and Latin America look to WOLA for accurate, timely analysis of U.S. policy and developments in the region.

WOLA was created a year after the 1973 military coup d’etat against the Allende government of Chile, when U.S. activists, church leaders and ordinary citizens came together to push for change in U.S. policies toward Latin America. Today WOLA has a broad agenda that reflects the realities and challenges facing Latin America, ranging from gang violence to organized crime to the effects of free-trade agreements. It works to raise awareness among the U.S. public about how immigration, trade and other issues of concern are linked to problems of poverty and inequality in Latin America.

The agreement with Duke University Libraries provides for the transfer of about 100 boxes of inactive documents and papers from all facets of WOLA’s work. Among the materials coming to Duke are memoranda, correspondence, and publications documenting the organization’s involvement in major issues and events since the 1970s, including the Contra war in Nicaragua, U.S. funding for anti-drug efforts in the Andes, the 1980s civil war in El Salvador, and the Fujimori government in Peru.

Read More about Human Rights

Edwidge Danticat. The Dew Breaker. New York: Distributed by Random House, 2004.

Ariel Dorfman. Heading South, Looking North: A Bilingual Journey. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1998.

Shirin Ebadi. Iran Awakening: A Memoir of Revolution and Hope. New York: Random House, 2006.

Mary Ann Glendon. A World Made New: Eleanor Roosevelt and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. New York: Random House, c2001.

Jean Hatzfeld. Machete Season: The Killers in Rwanda Speak: A Report. Translated from the French by Linda Coverdale; preface by Susan Sontag. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2005.

Adam Hochschild. King Leopold’s Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1998.

Claudia Koonz. The Nazi Conscience. Cambridge, MA, Belknap Press, 2003.

Alicia Partnoy. The Little School: Tales of Disappearance and Survival in Argentina. Translated from the Spanish by Alicia Partnoy, with Lois Athey and Sandra Bramstein. London, Virago, 1998, c1986.

Samantha Power. A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide. New York, Basic Books, c2002.

Helen Prejean. Dead Man Walking: An Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty in the United States. New York: Vintage Books, 1994.

________. The Death of Innocents: An Eyewitness Account of Wrongful Executions. New York: Random House, c2005.

Jacobo Timerman. Prisoner without a Name, Cell without a Number. Translated from the Spanish by Toby Talbot. New York: Knopf: Distributed by Random House.