Digitization Laboratory

Posted in Digital projects

Announcing the Galileo’s World exhibition

by Kerry Magruder

Gw logoThe Galileo’s World exhibition brings worlds together, connecting the world of Galileo with the world of OU during the University’s 125th anniversary.

Beginning in August, 2015, the Galileo’s World exhibition will offer a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to view a complete set of first editions of Galileo’s printed works. Four of the OU copies contain Galileo’s own handwriting. They will be joined by 300 matchless rare books and manuscripts and finely-crafted replicas of historical instruments, some provided by the Museo Galileo in Florence.

Consider these three stories of how Galileo’s World will bring worlds together:

Johann Schreck was a friend of Galileo’s who assisted him during his telescopic observations. A few years later, Schreck went to China, where he wrote a work on engineering in Chinese. The OU copy incorporates Japanese revisions as well. OU students will discover much more to this story in the gallery on Galileo and China, where they will connect Galileo’s world with Chinese and Asian aspects of University life today.

Hernandez 2
Just as Galileo’s World brings together the worlds of OU and east Asia, so with the Americas. In the most important early natural history of America to be printed in Europe, Francesco Hernandez reported the plant and medical knowledge of the Aztecs of central Mexico. This work was regarded with such interest that Galileo and his colleagues in the Academy of the Lynx worked to finally publish it in 1651. Every OU student in a STEM field today will appreciate discovering that European progress in the life sciences, as far back as the scientific revolution, directly depended upon the natural knowledge of Native Americans.
Hernandez c

Just as Galileo’s World brings together the worlds of Asia and the Americas, so it reaches through time to the Middle Ages and includes the Middle East. Selenographia, a massive book by Johann Hevelius, the leading telescopic observer of the mid-17th century, was the first comprehensive lunar atlas, published less than 40 years after Galileo’s telescopic discoveries.

On the frontispiece, Hevelius celebrates science as the heritage of many cultures. Here, in one of the most impressive works of the scientific revolution, Hevelius portrays Galileo in Middle Eastern dress as a tribute to the tradition of medieval Islamic optics.
Hevelius d

These three brief stories show how Galileo’s World brings together worlds as far removed as Asia, America and the Middle East.

Galileo’s World is an “exhibition without walls.” Beginning with Bizzell Memorial Library at the heart of the Norman campus, galleries in each major library, including the Bird Library and the Schusterman Library, will bring together the Norman, Oklahoma City, and Tulsa campuses.

Joint-exhibitions at the National Weather Center, the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art and the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History will engage visitors to these renowned museums and research centers.

Thanks to financial assistance provided by the OU Athletic Department, the University has acquired for the Galileo’s World exhibition an original Galileo-related manuscript by Oratio Grassi (1623), a beautiful work relating Renaissance art to Galileo and the telescope (Lorenzo Sirigatti, 1596), and the dialogue on ancient and modern music written by Galileo’s father, Vincenzo Galilei (1581). Coach Galileo will offer advice to the Sooners in a gallery located in Headington Hall, where athletes will strike the poses of the muscle men of Vesalius (1543) instead of only the Heisman trophy.

Vesalius muscle man

Galileo’s World will connect every academic program of the University, sustaining a multidisciplinary conversation that brings our worlds together across time and space. A portion of Tuscany was transplanted to the windswept plains of Oklahoma, and now the story of Galileo has become part of every student’s and researcher’s experience at OU. The interconnectedness of science and culture which characterized Galileo’s world, and which connects Galileo’s world to our own day, remains the common heritage of humanity which we explore across the University and beyond Oklahoma to the world.

See galileo.ou.edu and oulynx.org or contact galileo@ou.edu for more information.

Posted in Exhibits and events | 1 Comment

OU Athletics Department enables OU Libraries to add valuable book to Galileo collection

by Kerry Magruder

As the Sooners play the Clemson Tigers in the Russell Athletic Bowl today, it’s worth asking,

“How many Athletic Depts buy rare #Galileo books for their university libraries?”

This year marks the third year in a row that the OU Sooners have contributed a major rare book to OU Libraries’ renowned Galileo history of science collection.

The OU Athletics Department provided funds this fall to assist OU Libraries in acquiring a first edition of the major work of Galileo’s father, Vincenzo Galilei, Dialogo della musica antica, et della moderna (Florence, 1581; “Dialogue on Music, Ancient and Modern“).

Galilei 1581 000 book

Galileo’s father Vincenzo Galilei was a significant musical theorist, one of the inventors of Italian opera. This work provided an exemplar for Galileo’s own Dialogo (1632, “Dialogue on the Two Chief Systems of the World“), his masterful defense of the Copernican Sun-centered cosmology, for which he was put on trial. The father Galilei and the son Galileo shared a love for the lute, a robust debating style and an emphasis on experimental methodologies.

Vincenzo Galilei’s Dialogo will be featured in the Music of the Spheres gallery of the forthcoming Galileo’s World exhibition, which will launch in August, 2015, to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the University of Oklahoma. Galileo’s World will be an “Exhibition without Walls,” distributed across 7 locations, including all three University of Oklahoma campuses; comprised of 21 galleries featuring more than 300 rare books, historical instrument replicas, and interactive digital resources.

The Digitization Laboratory (@OULibDigitize) of OU Libraries is scanning Vincenzo Galilei’s Dialogo, and it will soon appear, along with the other books on display, in the new OU Libraries Galileo’s World repository.

This significant addition filled the single most obvious remaining deficiency in the OU Galileo collection. The newly acquired OU copy is in original condition, with an interesting provenance, having at one time formed part of a major French collector’s library.

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Galilei 1581 05

See additional Vincenzo Galilei images on our Flickr gallery here. See also these images of the original Grassi manuscript, acquired with assistance from the OU Athletics Department in 2012 as described here.

Posted in Featured book, Recent acquisitions | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Reprising King Richard III at OU

by JoAnn Palmeri

RIIIJPEGKing Richard III (1452-1485) is in the news again, with media outlets reporting the results of DNA analysis of his remains, discovered underneath a parking lot in Leicester. This seems like an opportune moment to remind readers of our own contribution to the recognition of the discovery.

At the time of the announcement by University of Leicester team, we identified and placed on display several rare books relating to the ill-fated monarch, including biographical accounts, chronicles of English monarchs, and Shakespeare’s Second Folio. These works are currently held in the John and Mary Nichols Rare Books and Special Collections Library at the University of Oklahoma.

We may not have the bones but we have the tomes!  See the following brochure for a guide to our February 2013 Richard III display and for a glimpse into the holdings of the John and Mary Nichols Collection.

Richard III, brochure

Access to the John and Mary Nichols Collection is available to students, faculty, and other researchers. Holdings are included in the library’s online catalog. For more information, visit the Special Collections Reading Room on the 4th floor of Bizzell Memorial Library (Room 414, west side of floor; Hours: M-F 9-4pm, 325-2760).  You can also contact the Acting Curator, Dr. JoAnn Palmeri at palmerij@ou.edu or (405) 325-2741.

NOTE: Because of renovations in preparation for next year’s Galileo’s World Exhibit, the 5th floor is no longer accessible to the public. Requests for materials from the Bass Business History, Bizzell Bible, History of Science, and John and Mary Nichols Collections can be made at our new 4th floor location.

See earlier King Richard III at OU Post


Posted in Exhibits and events | 1 Comment

Helmerich Collaborative Learning Center

Watch this 3-minute video for a quick overview of the innovative Peggy V. Helmerich Collaborative Learning Center on LL1 in the Bizzell Memorial Library:

Follow the HCLC on Facebook or Twitter. For more information, to make an appointment with a technology librarian, or to book a study room online, see the Locations tab of the Library website.

Posted in In the news, Learning resources | 1 Comment

Capstone in the Collections: Promoting Undergraduate Research Across the Curriculum

by JoAnn Palmeri

Are you a faculty member who wants to promote use of primary sources and unique materials in capstone projects, research papers, and class assignments?

If so, please come to an Information Session to learn more about the Special Collections housed on the 5th floor of Bizzell Memorial Library: Bass Business History, Bizzell Bible, John and Mary Nichols, and History of Science.  (Can’t get to a session? Send or drop off your card — this gets you a followup email and a chance to win a print from one of our digitized items).  Encourage your graduate teaching assistants to attend, as well.

WHAT:                    Information Session on 5th Floor Special Collections

WHERE:                 Collaborative Learning Center Classroom, Bizzell LL123

WHEN:                   Wed. November 19/ Thurs. November 20       4-6pm

HOST:                     Dr. JoAnn Palmeri, History of Science Collections 

EthiopianBible-003GRATIANKircher-1679-040-pl-d copyLeonhart Fuchs. De historia stirpium.  (Basileae, 1542).Screen Shot 2014-11-11 at 12.16.53 PM

Rare books and materials from the 15-20th centuries held within the 5th floor collections can support a wide range of research problems and studies spanning the arts, sciences, and humanities. Materials are accessible to faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates.  Drop by one of our information sessions to learn about:

  • The scope of materials in the collections, both primary and secondary sources
  • Searching strategies for identifying relevant items
  • Online guides and digital resources
  • The possibilities for engaging students through exhibits, both physical and virtual. (For more on the upcoming Galileo’s World Exhibit, you are welcome to attend Dr. Kerry Magruder’s noon Brown Bag on 11/20 in the Digital Scholarship Conference Room).
  • Procedures for using the collections

The 5th floor is currently undergoing renovation in preparation for the Galileo’s World Exhibit. Although class visits are not possible in the interim, students and faculty are still welcome to use Collections materials for their research. Be sure to visit our new Reading Room location – Room 414 Bizzell West (open Monday-Friday 9-4:45pm/325-2760).


If you can’t make these sessions but want to learn more about using Special Collections materials in support of teaching and research,  please contact JoAnn Palmeri, Research Coordinator, History of Science Collections/Acting Curator, John and Mary Nichols Collection, /325-2741, palmerij@ou.edu. And watch this blog for news and updates about resources and services relating to Bizzell’s 5th floor Special Collections.


For help researching the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine at OU see the following guides: http://guides.ou.edu/hosresourceshttp://guides.ou.edu/hossearching, and http://guides.ou.edu/fifthfloorexhibits. Go to the Crossing Cultures Exhibit page on the exhibit guide to get a feel for the scope – in time, geography, language, and genre – of materials held in OU’s 5th floor collections).

For help with primary source materials (digital or print) accessible through OU Libraries, please consult Laurie Scrivener, History Librarian and Primary Research Projects Specialist/325-1903, lscrivener@ou.edu and Jackie Reese, Western History Collections Librarian/325-3641, jdslater@ou.edu and Kristina Southwell, Associate Curator, Western History Collections/325-3641, klsouthwell@ou.edu. Additional Subject Liaisons at OU Libraries are listed here.

Archival and Special Collections on campus beyond Bizzell Library include:  The Carl Albert Center, Julian P. Kanter Political Commercial ArchiveWestern History Collections. Click here for links to additional local collections and museums.

Posted in Finding aids

Lady Science on Ada Lovelace Day

We are pleased to share this announcement from Professor Katherine Pandora, about a new email newsletter launching this week: Lady Science, edited by Leila McNeill and Anna Reser:

“Part of this year’s objectives for digital humanities at OU is to recognize the innovative ways in which our graduate students are using digital means to experiment with emerging genres of written and visual communication to engage in scholarship and public humanities through the use of new media, in addition to explorations with new research tools and other innovative forms of digital scholarly inquiry. I am pleased to highlight one such project below, launched on October 14th, Ada Lovelace Day.” 

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Lady Science || edited by Leila McNeill and Anna Reser ]

In honor of Ada Lovelace Day, we’re pleased to announce a monthly email newsletter about women in science and popular culture.

Lady Science is a monthly dose of cultural criticism, usually in the form of two easy-to-swallow essays. We focus on stories about women in science, technology and medicine, both in modern, popular media and in history.

For our first issue, we explore and challenge the representations of women in period medical dramas like BreathlessThe Knick, and Call the Midwife. We came to this topic upon realizing that these shows, with Call the Midwife being the one exception, emphasize the lives of men and de-emphasize the experiences of women, even when obstetrics and gynecology is the medical focus of the entire show or episode. While it is true that there were more male than female doctors and surgeons during the time periods these shows are set, it is, however, incorrect to labor under the misconception that women were not involved in medical decisions regarding their own bodies. Yet, this is the representation we are given in these medical dramas. To use obstetrics and gynecology to tell a story about scientific progress, the writers implicitly frame women’s knowledge and skills as backward, reinforcing the notion that women are irrational and, thus, need to be saved from their own bodies by the knowledge of men.

Subscribe here:  tinyletter.com/ladyscience

Info and issue descriptions at: ladyscience.com
Edited by: 
Leila McNeill
Recently received a MA in History of Science focusing on midwifery, public health, and popular medical texts for women in the nineteenth century.
Contact: @leilasedai, 
Anna Reser
Currently completing an MA thesis in History of Technology about the myth, memory and men of the American space program.
Contact: @annanreser, 
The first issue will hit inboxes on Friday October 17!
More information about Ada Lovelace Day here: findingada.com
Interested in writing for Lady Science? Send a brief email with your proposal and a bit of information about yourself to ladyscienceinfo@gmail.com.
Posted in Uncategorized