Kyle Roberts and Evan Thompson (Loyola U of Chicago)
Historic library books have proven a fruitful site for digital scholarly collaboration at Loyola University Chicago. The Jesuit Libraries Provenance Project (http://jesuitlibrariesprovenanceproject.com/) was launched in March 2014 to bring together students, curators, and faculty to uncover the history of the acquisition and use of Loyola’s original library books. Despite being acquired, catalogued, occasionally rebound, and assigned a place within a new library’s classification scheme, many nineteenth-century library books retain evidence of their previous ownership. Bookplates, inscriptions, and other vestiges on the material text hold a key to their origins as well as to the collecting strategies of the institutions that acquired them.
The Provenance Project uses the social media image-sharing site Flickr (https://www.flickr.com/photos/jesuitlibrariesprovenanceproject/) to create a visual archive and to foster a participatory community interested in the history of Jesuit-held books through commenting and tagging functions. With over 1200 images and tens of thousands of views, the site has provided a rich source for collaborative teaching and scholarship about book and digital history.
In their talk, Undergraduate History major Evan Thompson and Assistant Professor of Public History and New Media Kyle Roberts will reflect upon the lessons learned from the Provenance Project. They will address what it means to do collaborative historical scholarship in a digital age, how digital projects can inspire us to re-engage with analog sources, and the opportunities and challenges that come with new modes of interpreting and presenting scholarship to the broader audiences that are connected to our histories.