WHIT’S PICKS: Vol. 11 – GEMS FROM THE HMRC

Resident poet and rock and roll star Harold Whit Williams is in the midst of a project to catalog the KUT Collection, obtained a few years ago and inhabiting a sizable portion of the Historical Music Recordings Collection (HMRC).

Whit’s immersion in local music history and performance qualifies him as an authority as he explores and discovers some of the overlooked gems in this massive trove, and so in this occasional series, he’ll be presenting some of his noteworthy finds.

Earlier installments: Take 1Take 2Take 3Take 4Take 5Take 6Take 7Take 8Take 9, Take 10


Tyler Ramsey / The Valley Wind

Available at Fine Arts Library Onsite Storage

Onetime Band of Horses’ guitarist Tyler Ramsey takes a solo walkabout into deeply-wooded indie folk on The Valley Wind. From the Windham Hill-esque instrumental opener “Raven Shadow” through brooding ballad “1000 Blackbirds,” then on to the Laurel Canyon roots jangle of “Stay Gone” and the post-rock epic closer “All Night,” this collection draws you in to its warm campfire glow and unfolds its sad stories slowly. Ramsey’s reverb-drenched guitars and paper-thin tenor hearken Harvest-era Neil Young, but the songwriting is uniquely his introspective own. If tearjerker “Angel Band” doesn’t put a lump in your throat, check for a pulse.

The Men from O.R.G.A.N.

Available at Fine Arts Library Onsite Storage

This groovy compilation from under-the-radar hipster Italian label S.H.A.D.O. Records pays loving tribute to those bubbly analog organ sounds of the Hammond, Farfisa, etcetera, variety. Standout Euro and Euro-inspired tracks from Remington Super 60, Experimental Pop Band, Tony Goddess (Papas Fritas), and L’augmentation get the festive chamber pop party going, while Louise Philippe’s cover of Lennon/McCartney’s “I’m Only Sleeping” is simply divine. Don your finest threads, grab some wayfarers and a pack of Gauloises, and head towards that sunny Mediterranean beach in your mind.

Unheard (Rarities, 1991-2009) by Louis Philippe

Little Barrie /EP

Available at Fine Arts Library Onsite Storage

Before all the buzz from their Better Call Saul theme song, U.K.’s garage/soul/rock trio Little Barrie thrilled club crowds and vinyl aficionados alike with their fuzzed-out retro tracks. The vibe is vintage – style and audio-wise – and this four song EP lays out a sampler platter of smoky bluesy treats. The slow and sly backstage funk of “Burned Out” has all the swagger needed for a proper British single, while “Mudsticks” comes across like Link Wray on a Death Valley peyote trip. And so as they say across the pond, “Bob’s your uncle.” What a fine introduction to their debut album We Are Little Barrie this is.

Burned Out by Little Barrie

Eden Brent /Ain’t Got No Troubles

Available at Fine Arts Library Onsite Storage

Greenville, Mississippi’s Eden Brent proudly carries forth the banner of boogie-woogie piano blues, all the while mixing in elements of jazz and classic pop. Schooled at the University of North Texas (and even more so on the road with legendary Abie “Boogaloo” Ames), Brent cooks down the musical ingredients of New Orleans, Memphis, and even a pinch of the great American songbook into her own greasy gumbo of groove. Recorded in the Crescent City (with ex-Meter George Porter on bass), the vibe leans more Mardi Gras than Beale Street, but it’s Brent’s Bessie Smith late-night lowdown voice that keeps it all rooted in an earthy Delta mood.

Ain’t Got No Troubles by Eden Brent

Harlem Quartet / Take the A Train

Available at Fine Arts Library Onsite Storage

This critically-acclaimed string quartet put the art music world on notice with their debut album, Take the A Train. That Billy Strayhorn classic certainly shines as a title track, and even adds some needed levity to what is a fairly heavy collection. The bulk of the album is fleshed out by Wynton Marsalis’ brilliant avant-garde Creole-themed work “At the Octoroon Balls,” a modern American chamber music ode to Carnival culture. Other pieces foray into world music, further stretching the boundaries of fixed classical genres. On top of all this high level musicianship (and of even more importance), Harlem Quartet was founded by the Sphinx Foundation, a nonprofit promoting music education while working to build diversity in the field of classical music through outreach to underserved communities.


Harold Whit Williams is a Content Management Specialist in Music & Multimedia Resources. A celebrated poet, he is the longtime guitarist for the indie rock band Cotton Mather, and his solo projects include the lo-fi bedroom pop Daily Worker, as well as the retro funk GERVIN.

Read, Hot, and Digitized: The Freedmen’s Bureau Search Portal

Read, hot & digitized: Librarians and the digital scholarship they love — In this new series, librarians from the UT Libraries Arts, Humanities and Global Studies Engagement Team briefly present, explore and critique existing examples of digital scholarship. Our hope is that these monthly reviews will inspire critical reflection of, and future creative contributions to, the growing fields of digital scholarship.


Government documents can offer crucial insight into the histories of a nation, but traditional access can require skill with microfilm readers, resources to travel to an archive and astute understanding of how to use an index. As cultural heritage institutions take on more digitization projects, researchers have benefited from remote access to digital collections complimented by user-friendly browse and search features. This past November, the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) gifted scholars and genealogists alike with the Freedmen’s Bureau Search Portal, a valuable new platform to discover 1.7 million pages of digitized records from the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands.

Screenshot of PDF showing a scanned image of report from the Bureau's collection with the transcribed text on the left side.
Researchers can download a pdf of records that include the transcribed text side by side with the scanned record image.

Created in 1865, the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, more commonly known as the Freedmen’s Bureau, aspired to help Southerners, including 4 million formerly enslaved people, transition to a new society after the Civil War. Congress charged the Bureau with providing social support like medical care, rations and educational opportunities, and tried to help poor individuals deal with seized lands and find employment. Abolished in 1872 by Congress, the short-lived Bureau’s positive impact on assisting formerly enslaved people is still debated. However, the utility of these records for genealogical and scholarly purposes is certain as they offer valuable insight into the Reconstruction period, including government policies and interactions between freedmen, white southerners and government officials.

Previously, portions of these records have been available online for browsing, but were not always searchable or in one place. The NMAAHC interface allows users to filter records by collection, record type, location and date. In addition to a keyword search, these features help users discover materials like ledgers of employment, marriage records and reports describing criminal and civil disputes. Thanks to efforts to index names and locations, users can also search the names of enslaved and former owners, which is of particular use to genealogists and individuals researching family histories.

The indexing was the first step to the collection portal’s debut on the Smithsonian-developed digital asset management system, “Enterprise Digital Asset Network (EDAN)”. This system connects multiple Smithsonian digital collections and allows users to access metadata using the institution’s own API. The user-friendly search interface is built using the open source search platform, Apache Solr, which UT Libraries also uses for our own Collections portal.

Screenshot of the search portal results page. It shows options to filter by name, date and keyword search. The results show the titles of reports and the option to "Quick View Transcription"
Screenshot showing the search results page for record locations indexed from Texas. Users can quickly review the transcribed text from the results page without having to scroll through the scans.

What makes the NMAAHC’s search portal especially notable is its support from a crowdsourcing transcription project, a collaborative endeavor from the NMAAHC and Smithsonian Transcription Center. This is the largest crowdsourcing project the Smithsonian has ever undertaken and so far, 400,000 pages have been transcribed by volunteers. The records’ cursive script makes it challenging to automatically transcribe using OCR, and the project will greatly benefit from transcription efforts. These efforts are invaluable as the letters and reports that provide more details beyond statistical ledgers are more often than not untranscribed.

Screenshot of the Smithsonian Transcription Center project page for the Freedmen's Bureau. It shows the percentage completed for each project, with the first two being at 87% and 86% percent complete.
Screenshot showing percentage completion of Freedmen’s Bureau transcription projects from the Smithsonian Transcription Center.

For now, users can still search the indexed data for names, places and dates, and additional information provided by volunteers in their transcription efforts like subjects and keywords. The records themselves and the transcription project will provide scholars a glimpse into life during the Reconstruction period and allow genealogy researchers to make meaningful connections with ancestors and family histories.

Explore more in these UT Libraries resources:

New UT Libraries Database! African American Heritage

  • Digital resource exclusively devoted to an American family history research containing primary sources devoted specifically to African American family history, including census records, vital records, freedman and slave records, church records, legal records, and more.

Crouch, Barry A. The Freedmen’s Bureau and Black Texans. University of Texas Press, 1999.

Farmer-Kaiser, Mary. Freedwomen and the Freedmen’s Bureau: Race, Gender, and Public Policy in the Age of Emancipation. Fordham University Press, 2010.

Mears, Michelle M. And Grace Will Lead Me Home: African American Freedmen Communities of Austin, Texas, 1865-1928. Texas Tech University Press, 2009.

Message from the Vice Provost

Friends,

lorraine j haricombe

As we begin a new year and new semester, let me offer best wishes for the coming year.

We are looking forward with great hope to the coming calendar year, but I want to first reflect on the last year.

It was largely a true return to normal operations in 2022, and as such we began to build strategic plans that reflected some stability in our outlook. COVID as a pandemic began to fade into the background as the spring progressed, though surges early and late in the year reminded us to remain vigilant. The university launched its “What Starts Here” capital campaign in March with a modest $6 billion goal, while our spring 40 Hours for the Forty Acres work resulted in over $54,000 in donations. We built our own “Plausible Futures” framework as UT released its “Change Starts Here” strategic plan, and redoubled DEI effort with the launch of the “You Belong Here” Plan for an Equitable and Inclusive Campus just as we were approving recommendations for our own IDEA Action Plan. Provost Sharon Wood released the final report of the Working Group on Sustainable Open Scholarship. This past fall, the Texas Library Coalition for United Action was finally able to close out negotiations resulting in a historic agreement with Elsevier that means lower costs and greater access to Libraries’ resources. And we continued to refine the “Plausible Futures” 3-year planning work. As campus wrapped for the year, we began preparatory work for a significant renovation on the entry level of the Perry-Castañeda Library (PCL).

All in all, we had a remarkable year after a prolonged period of unexpected challenges.

Looking forward, we anticipate the opening of the new Digital Scholars Lab space in PCL. The adjacent Scholars Commons will further enhance our work on the library-as-platform concept, collocating robust digital collaborative tools and resources with our traditional collections, services and expertise. When this large area opens later in the fall, we hope for it to reenergize the Libraries as a community center on campus in ways that will facilitate interaction and innovation among faculty, scholars, researchers and students. Our goal is to leverage the hub for both in-person connections and the virtual environments that we have developed in recent years.

We will implement several projects to enhance our users’ experience in a digital networked environment.  To that end, we will upgrade and deploy technological tools to enhance access to Libraries’ resources while increasing digitization work to make more content available online to our users including discoverability of online resources. We’ll be moving forward on implementation of our IDEA Action Plan and related work to embed IDEA concepts and practices in UT Libraries’ values and operations. And the coming year provides the opportunity to strengthen our approach to open access, open education and open scholarship principles with additional tools, support from the campus community and an endorsement from the university.

On behalf of the entire University of Texas Libraries, have a great spring semester, and Hook ‘Em!

signature

Read, Hot & Digitized: Art and Revolution

Read, hot & digitized: Librarians and the digital scholarship they love — In this new series, librarians from the UT Libraries Arts, Humanities and Global Studies Engagement Team briefly present, explore and critique existing examples of digital scholarship. Our hope is that these monthly reviews will inspire critical reflection of, and future creative contributions to, the growing fields of digital scholarship.

Working at the Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection since I began a career in librarianship, I have been fortunate to witness and sometimes participate in various facets of what goes into making the Benson the premiere Latin American collection in the world. The collection has many incomparable features, and depending on a researcher’s interest, they will know the Benson in unique ways from others. For instance, there are those that know the Benson because we hold the papers of Gloria Anzaldúa and Alicia Gaspar de Alba, two groundbreaking Chicana writers. Others will know it because of the Archive of Indigenous Languages of Latin America (AILLA), the digital archive that is a gateway to linguistic preservation and revitalization. Others will know it still because of our wonderful circulating collection, which includes journals, new publications, canonical works, children’s literature, etc. At the Benson we always say that if it exists and is tied to Latin American or US Latinx subject matter, we try to collect it.

One unsurprising aspect of the Benson is our dedication to documenting human rights initiatives. This happens across all of the ways that we do collecting, but I’m thinking specifically about the work that my colleague Theresa Polk and the Latin American Digital Initiatives team do on a daily basis, particularly working with post-custodial partners throughout Latin America to document local, often grassroots struggles.

I couldn’t help but think of her work when I saw a noteworthy digital collection from the University of New Mexico’s esteemed Center for Southwest Research. The collection, “Asamblea de Artistas Revolucionarios de Oaxaca Pictorial Collection,” is described as a “collection of prints, posters, and mural stencils…created by a collective of young Mexican artists that formed during the state of Oaxaca’s 2006 teachers strike.” The strike lasted seven months and turned violent after police opened fire on non-violent protestors representing the teachers’ union. Eventually, various groups forced the police out of the city and set up an anarchist community for several months while unsuccessfully calling for the resignation of then-Oaxacan governor Ulises Ruiz Ortiz. The 127 artworks in this collection reflect this period through themes that include “land rights, political prisoners, government corruption, political violence, police brutality, violence against women, art exhibitions and the nationalization of agriculture and oil.”

The artwork has been digitized and made available on the site using high-resolution scans. One of the strengths of the collection is that users can see a thumbnail and a brief, but useful description of the document, as shown below.

Then, users can click on each individual item for a larger image with richer metadata. Indeed, another strength of the collection is its metadata. While only in English, it contextualizes the image for a deeper understanding.

Another feature of the digital collection is that UNM’s Center for Southwest Research has worked with the Asamblea de Artistas Revolucionas de Oaxaca (ASARO) to archive their blogs and other digital-born materials using Archive-It. Having access to these blogs in a shared digitize space enhances the collection because it preserves ASARO’s voices on the struggle, using their words and their language. Like the metadata, this creates fuller meaning for researchers while fostering a relationship between ASARO and UNM.   

This collection is useful to researchers and classes who are interested in understanding politics and local movements in twenty-first century Mexico. Like the Benson’s Latin American Digital Initiatives, the themes are so varied, making it a useful tool for classes doing interdisciplinary work, and particularly for scholars who are more visually-inclined. In any case, it is a welcome contribution to the study of human rights in Latin America, and a wonderful reminder of the work that libraries do in documenting and preserving historical moments.

Would you like to know more about the teachers’ strike? Check out the following resources we hold at UT Libraries.

La batalla por Oaxaca (2007)

“Women in the Oaxaca Teachers’ Strike and Citizens’ Uprising (2007)

“‘Our Culture’s Not for Sale!’: Music and the Asamblea Popular de los Pueblos de Oaxaca in Mexico” (2021)

Introducing Rozha: A Tool to Simplify Multilingual Natural Language Processing

In my role as European Studies Liaison, one of my priorities is to assist people in their digital humanities work.  In that work, I have found a glaring gap in tools that support multilingual and  non-English materials, particularly those that focus on natural language processing (NLP).  Much of the work that has been done using NLP has been focused on an Anglocentric model, using English texts in conjunction with tools and computer models that are primarily designed to work with the English language. I wanted to make it easier for people to begin engaging with non-English materials within the context of their NLP and digital humanities work, so I created Rozha.

Rozha, a Python package designed to simplify multilingual natural language processing (NLP) processes and pipelines, was recently released on GitHub and PyPI under the GNU General Public License, allowing users to use and contribute to the tool with minimal limitations. The package includes functions to perform a wide variety of NLP processes using over 70 languages, from stopword removal to sentiment analysis and many more, in addition to visualizations of the analyzed texts. It also allows users to choose from NLTK, spaCy, and Stanza for many of the processes it can perform, allowing for easy comparison of the output from each library. Examples of the code being used can be seen here.

While the project first grew out of the needs of researchers and graduate students working at UT-Austin who were interested in exploring NLP and the digital humanities using non-English languages but who did not have very much prior coding experience, its code also aims to streamline NLP work for those with more technical knowledge by simplifying and shortening the amount of code they need to write to accomplish tasks. Output from the package’s functions can be integrated into more complex and nuanced workflows, allowing users to use the tool to perform standard tasks like word tokenization and then use the response for their other work.

The package is written in Python for a variety of reasons. Python has a wide base of users that makes it easy to share with others, and which helps ensure that it will be used widely. It also helps ensure that people will contribute to the project, building upon its existing code. Fostering contributions for multilingual digital humanities and NLP can help broaden the community of scholars, coders and researchers working with these multilingual materials, which will broaden the community in general while also improving the package. Python is also very commonly used for NLP applications, and the packages integrated into Rozha all have robust communities of their own. This allows for users to connect with other communities as well, and to explore these technologies on their own for applications beyond what this package provides.

The Rozha package ultimately aims to make multilingual digital humanities and natural language processing more accessible and to simplify the work of those already working in the field–and perhaps open up new avenues to explore for newcomers and established NLP practitioners. My hope is that this tool will help encourage diversity in the NLP landscape, and that people who may have felt it too daunting to work with materials in non-English languages may now feel more comfortable through the ease of working with this package.  Beyond that, I hope the package will serve as a conduit for additional contributions and collaboration, and that the code will ultimately help strengthen the field and community of practitioners working with non-English materials.


Staff Highlighter: Haleigh Wyrostek

Meet Haleigh Wyrostek (Hay-Lee Why-Ross-Tech), PCL User Services Coordinator, and mostly landlocked marine biologist…


What’s your title, and what do you do for the Libraries?

User Services Coordinator (Sr. Library Specialist) at the PCL. I supervise the student assistants of the check-out desk and other various circulation and reference-based tasks.

What motivates you to wake up and go to work?

The student employees at the desk! Without doubt.

What are you most proud of in your job?

The relationships I’ve made with my colleagues and the students who work at the desk.

What has been your best experience at the Libraries?

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, the sense of community I’ve gained through working here is the best part of the experience. With my coworkers, assuredly, but also with the students and faculty members I interact with at the desk. Everyone has opened their hearts to welcome me and that is not easy to do. I am very grateful, thank you everyone.

What’s something most people don’t know about you?

I ride motorcycles and scuba dive.

Favorite body of water? Why? (Sorry…this is a bit of cheat question.)

Atlantic Ocean! I’ve visited the ocean (mostly in Florida) my whole life and quickly became enamored. I actually got my BS in marine biology because of my love for the ocean.

Dogs or cats?

Dogs

Favorite book, movie or album?

Sooo hard.

Author – Anne Rice

Movie – Pride and Prejudice (2005)

Album – Parachutes by Coldplay

Cook at home, or go out for dinner? What and/or where?

Cook at home, mac and cheese!

What’s the future hold?

Due to the big changes I’ve experienced in my personal life lately, I take it day by day. I’ve been thinking about grad school. In terms of work, I look forward to learning more about the inner workings of the organization and its role in the university community overall.  I dream of strengthening the relationships between circulation staff and librarians. 

UT GIS Day 22 Recap

For the 4th consecutive year, the UT community came together to celebrate geographic information systems and geospatial research at UT GIS Day 2022 on Wednesday 11/16.

The day’s events were organized by the UT Libraries in collaboration with other campus partners including Technical Resources, the Department of Geography and the Environment, and the Department of Statistics and Data Sciences. We also once again joined other GIS Day organizers from across the state of Texas in contributing to TxGIS Day – a joint effort to spread the word about and increase the impact of our individual GIS Day events.

Our events this year were dedicated to recognizing, discussing, and learning about GIS technology and all that it enables for UT Austin students, faculty, and staff. UT GIS Day 2022 was also notable for being our biggest GIS Day celebration yet and featured a full lineup of events including a career event, lightning talks, geospatial health research panel discussion, UAV demonstration, lidar visualization event, PCL Map Room tour, and more. Some of the highlights of the day’s events included the very interactive and well attended GIS poster session and the announcement of the student recipient of the 2022 UT Libraries Map & Geospatial Collections Explorer Fellowship which was awarded to graduate student, Stephanie Zeller.

Many of our events were held in and around the Perry-Castañeda Library which proved to be a fantastic venue for bringing members of the campus community together in a hybrid format that allowed us to enjoy the advantages of gathering in-person while also being able to stream and record many of our sessions using Zoom. These recordings can be accessed at https://guides.lib.utexas.edu/gis/past-event-info-and-downloads which will allow these events to continue to benefit the campus community moving forward.

Documenting the Cold War Site Launched

hero image from Document the Cold War website

The Libraries, in partnership with the Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies (CREEES), recently launched the Documenting the Cold War site. The site serves as a hub for all digitized archival materials related to the Cold War from the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Archive, which are housed in the university’s online repository, Texas ScholarWorks.

This open access online archive was initiated by CREEES Director Mary Neuburger in an effort to digitize significant collections of primary documents from the the LBJ Presidential Library that enhance our understanding of the Cold War. Neuburger and her students coordinated with European Studies Librarian Ian Goodale to digitally-preserve identified materials. Goodale created the new site with Global Studies GRA Jyotsna Vempati, who crafted and implemented its design and user interface.

While select documents from the LBJ collection can already be found online, the project focused on the digitization of National Security country files from the former Eastern Bloc. Because these documents are open record, the LBJ Presidential Library has allowed unlimited scanning and open access presentation of such documents.

The site currently contains links to the Prague Spring Archive, to a site for newly-digitized files relating to Poland, to the complete collection of digitized documents in our institutional repository, to a site on documents relating to Yugoslavia, and to an additional site on English-language propaganda magazines published during the Cold War.

“We hope the site will further expand access to the amazing digital scholarship and digitized archival materials at UT,” says Goodale, “and that the resource will continue to be used as a research aid and pedagogical tool by users at UT and beyond.”

Brazilian Cordel Literature at the Benson

poster for Influencers: Cordel, Politics, and Activism in Brazil

Widely recognized as literature of the people, the cordel (plural: cordéis) is a Luso-Brazilian literary form. The rhythmic, lyric poems are generally packaged as inexpensive chapbooks aimed at common folk. Cordel literature is practically synonymous with Brazil’s agricultural Northeast, a historically poor and drought-prone region. 

While the cordel is a form that is almost synonymous with the verses written inside, it is strongly associated with the woodcut prints that adorn many covers. Often produced by self-taught artists, the cover art and other prints by these printmakers are much sought after by collectors.

You can currently see many examples of this form in Influencers: Cordel, Politics, and Activism in Brazil, an exhibition at the Benson Latin American Collection. Scheduled to correspond with Brazil’s bicentennial year and federal elections, this exhibition thinks especially about the role of politics in cordel literature, and of cordelistas as political actors and influencers. 

Influencers draws from the Benson’s collection of around 10,000 chapbooks and was curated by Head of Special Collections Ryan Lynch. It is open for viewing through June 30, 2023. Check public hours for the Benson at https://www.lib.utexas.edu/about/locations/benson.

Read, Hot and Digitized: Disability COVID Chronicles

As the European Studies Librarian for the UT Austin Libraries, I am interested in exploring and encouraging connections between my subject areas and the broader global community. Understanding and advocating for disability is one way that this sense of global community can be fostered, as disability transcends national boundaries and affects people across the world.

Disabled people have consistently been marginalized and excluded from the historical record. Efforts to remedy this–and to reclaim the history and dignity of disabled people–are ongoing, and are burgeoned by digital studies and practice. Of especial interest at the moment is how the global pandemic has affected disabled people, and how their experience of the pandemic may differ from the non-disabled. The Disability Covid Chronicles from NYU aims to explore the stories of disabled people in NYC and let them tell, in their own words, how they experienced the COVID-19 pandemic.

Screenshot of the project's homepage.
The project’s homepage.

While the project is still ongoing, essays and interviews from research-in-progress are available to view on their website. The project team is preparing an edited volume based on its research during the pandemic, and is also “building a publicly-accessible archive to preserve memories, stories, artworks, and other materials in a range of accessible formats” in collaboration with community members. In the words of the project team members, they “are preserving conversations on social media, records of digital public meetings, and photographs of street art and actions that are otherwise ephemeral. [Their] goal is to chronicle not only vulnerabilities, but creative initiatives for survival under these new conditions that are structured by old inequalities.”

Screenshot of the project’s Essays & Interviews page
A couple of essays from the project’s Essays & Interviews page.

In addition to the essays and interviews linked above, the fieldnotes section of the site highlights notable ephemera and other media–from posters and artwork to social media campaigns and more–that the team has encountered during its research. This is a great way to explore the diverse content available on the site, as the content is reloaded in a random order each time the page is refreshed. Notable entries from the page include this post recapping a survey from Special Support Services, an advocacy group for disabled students and their families, this post preserving artwork by Jen White-Johnson created to amplify the #MyDisabledLifeIsWorthy hashtag, and this post preserving artwork from Roan Boucher/AORTA: Anti-Oppression Resource and Training Alliance. You can also share your own resources at this link.

Screenshot of a few essays displayed on the project’s Essays & Interviews page.
A few essays displayed on the project’s Essays & Interviews page.

The site was built using WordPress, a popular content management platform. While free and open-source, WordPress does charge for hosting plans through its website, which can be a barrier for access to some. It also offers a large number of plugins that can make constructing a website less of a burden for those with less technical knowledge—such as the Random Post on Refresh plugin, which allows users to accomplish a similar randomizing functionality to the site’s Fieldnotes section. The site makes  use of accessibility features, such as the “alt” tag in HTML, to ensure that those using screen readers or other assistive features can still access the site’s content. WordPress itself also makes a commitment to accessibility in its design and code.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a particularly strong impact on many disabled people, and having a site that documents and amplifies disabled perspectives and experiences is an important step toward creating a supportive and equitable culture for all. The site serves as a valuable resource related to the global pandemic, and its forthcoming edited volume and digital project will, I hope, further amplify and uplift disabled voices.

Related materials in the UT Libraries collection:

The Disability Studies LibGuide from UT Librarian Gina Bastone: https://guides.lib.utexas.edu/disabilitystudies

Albrecht, Gary L., Katherine D. Seelman, and Michael Bury. Handbook of Disability Studies. Sage Publications, 2001.

Disability Studies Quarterly.

Hall, Kim Q. Feminist Disability Studies. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2011.

Kapp, Steven K, ed. Autistic Community and the Neurodiversity Movement: Stories from the Frontline. Singapore: Palgrave Macmillan, 2020.

UT Libraries