WSU Library System News

News & Updates in the Libraries

Archive for February, 2013

Wayne State University Library System offers new online resource to bring Whistler’s Peacock Room into the digital realm

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

Wayne State University and the Smithsonian’s Freer Gallery of Art recently announced the launch of a new online resource, “The Story of the Beautiful: Freer, Whistler, and Their Points of Contact,” a comprehensive guide to James McNeill Whistler’s Peacock Room and its dynamic history ( The Peacock Room, an elaborately painted former dining room and one of the most famous masterpieces in the Freer’s collection, will celebrate its 90th anniversary of being on public view in 2013. “The Story of the Beautiful” provides visitors with a deeply contextualized way to understand the room, its contents and its narratives, using more than 400 digital objects and a wealth of archival materials.

“‘This project animates the digital archive in a way that brings static, academic material to life,’” said Joshua Neds-Fox, coordinator for the Digital Publishing unit at the Wayne State University Library System.

Users can explore two compelling 360-degree virtual versions of the room: one as it looked in Victorian London, filled with Chinese blue-and-white porcelain, the other as it appeared in 1908 after museum founder Charles Lang Freer reassembled it in his Detroit mansion and filled its shelves with subtly glazed ceramics from all over Asia. By clicking on each object in the room, visitors can zoom in on high-res images. Interactive maps and timelines, supplemented by letters, diary entries, and vintage photographs from the Charles Lang Freer Papers, provide insight into Freer’s life story and his approach to collecting.

Freer was a significant leader in the Detroit arts community, fostering its growth. He was an active supporter of the Detroit Museum of Art (known today as the Detroit Institute of Arts), the Detroit Society of Arts and Crafts (now the College for Creative Studies), the Detroit Club, and the University of Michigan. He also championed Mary Chase Perry, founder of Pewabic Pottery, and commissioned Pewabic tiles and vessels for his home. Freer’s art collections remained in the house until his death in 1919, when they were transferred to the Smithsonian Institution.

Project coordinators from the Freer’s American Art department and the Wayne State Library’s Digital Publishing and Discovery Services units intend to offer the site as a major resource for scholars, teachers and students, as well as a deeper experience for museum-goers. The art work and period documents were part of Charles Lang Freer’s original bequest to the Freer Gallery, while Wayne State University, which now owns Freer’s Detroit mansion, provided the technical expertise to build the website.

“This site makes an architectural and decorative icon of the Aesthetic movement universally accessible in a way that we couldn’t previously,” said Lee Glazer, project lead and curator of American art at the Freer and Sackler Galleries. “The inclusion of so many layers of visual and archival material is not only exciting, it’s invaluable to further research.”

“The Story of the Beautiful” site takes its name from Whistler’s belief that “the story of the beautiful is already complete—hewn in the marbles of the Parthenon— and broidered, with the birds, upon the fan of Hokusai,” a quote typical of the Aesthetic sentiment that art and beauty transcend time, place and historical circumstances and resonate across cultures for all those who have the power to “see beauty,” as Freer put it.

“Despite Whistler’s claim that ‘the story of the beautiful’ is unchanging, the Peacock Room’s dynamic history tells us otherwise,” said Glazer. “Even though it was created 130 years ago, it has been adapted by each owner to their own use, similar to the ways that we have adapted technology to transform our understanding of it. Digital storytelling is the Peacock Room’s next chapter.”

For more information on the Freer House, where the Peacock Room was housed when it was in Detroit, visit:

Black History Month at the Purdy/Kresge Library: At the Crossroads of Freedom and Equality: The Emancipation Proclamation and the March on Washington

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

Visit the BHM book display in PK titled: At the Crossroads of Freedom and Equality: The Emancipation Proclamation and the March on Washington and also learn more about Detroit’s important role in the March on Washington.

The display will include books, images and other materials about emancipation, MLK, freedom, equality. Stop in to check it out! for more information, visit the LibGuide

Reuther Library Black History Month subject focus: Black revolutionaries

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

The Reuther Library celebrates African American History Month with a brief look at resources in our collections that deal with the topic of Black revolutionaries. We define Black revolutionaries as persons or groups whose goal was to create a positive change in the lives of African Americans through radical action. The means to this end varied from person to person, organization to organization – the action could be carried out with words or through armed conflict, the desired results could be equality for all or separation of races all together. The following resources chronicle the struggle for identity and equality and highlight the rich legacy of social and political activism and reform within the various revolutionary movements.

Continue reading at

The traveling display “Jacob Lawrence and The Legend of John Brown” will be at UGL during Black History Month

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

This three year traveling display makes its final stop in the Undergraduate Library Atrium in February. Showcasing the work of renowned African American artist Jacob Lawrence, the display features digitized reproductions of his silkscreen print series The Legend of John Brown, and includes informative text that details the life and times of Lawrence the artist, and the abolitionist Brown.

The original prints are owned by the Wayne State University Art Collection and can be viewed
on the 2nd floor of the Undergraduate Library, on the walls outside the Student Technology Studio and the Writing Center.

The Jacob Lawrence and The Legend of John Brown traveling display was made possible by a generous grant from the Detroit Area Library Network (DALNET).

For more information, visit the Jacob Lawrence guide:

Cell Phone Recycling Program

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

The Office of Campus Sustainability announces a new program that makes it easy to recycle old cell phones. Shiffman Medical Library is participating in this program to dismantle and repurpose the old electronics by serving as a drop-off location on the medical campus.

Help keep electronics out of our landfills. Look for the drop-box located at the Shiffman Medical Library Service Desk.

February 23 | Shiffman Medical Library Gift of Life Organ Donation Discussion & Drive

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

Shiffman Medical Library Community Conversations on Health: Gift of Life Organ Donation Discussion & Drive
Sunday, February 24, 2013 | 2:00PM-4:30PM | Free and Open to the Community
Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History


Join in a discussion to learn the history of African American Transplant Surgeons, hear inspiring stories from organ recipients and donors and learn how easy it is to give the Gift of Life by becoming an organ donor.

“Knowledgeable, compassionate and committed to making a difference by improving the quality of life in our community, Dr. Denny captivates audiences with learning and laughter.”
-Remonia Chapman, Program Director, MOTTEP

Wayne State University Library System joins community-driven project to found Library Publishing Coalition

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

The Wayne State University Library System, in collaboration with more than 50 other academic libraries and the Educopia Institute, has joined a two-year project (2013-2014) to create the Library Publishing Coalition (LPC). The project emerged from conversations between Purdue University, the University of North Texas, and Virginia Tech regarding the need for a community dedicated to advancing the field of library publishing. The Wayne State University Library System will play an integral role in the design and implementation of the LPC as a contributing institution.

“We are very pleased to be joining with other research libraries to develop a framework to support and grow the many areas of publishing that libraries are now involved with,” said Sandra Yee, dean of the Wayne State University Library System. “By coming together and sharing information, we will be a stronger community.”

Academic libraries and the researchers and organizations they support are facing a new paradigm in scholarly publishing. The web, information and social media technologies, and the open source and open access movements are changing the framework in which scholarship is created, collected, organized, and disseminated. Yet, as shown by the highly regarded, IMLS-funded Strategies for Success project (, library-based publishing groups lack a central space where they can meet, work together, share information, and confront common issues.

Through seed support from Educopia and participating institutions, the LPC project will engage practitioners to design a collaborative network that intentionally addresses and supports an evolving, distributed, and diverse range of library production and publishing practices.

During the first stage of the project, the LPC’s project team will document and evaluate how best to structure this initiative in order to promote collaboration and knowledge sharing for this field. The project team will produce several concrete deliverables, including:

● Targeted research, building on existing broader surveys, that will focus on topics of particular interest to the community, including costs, staffing, and how libraries are financing these ventures.
● Compilation of a directory of existing library publishing services, providing details including staff contacts, types of products produced, and software platforms utilized.
● A forum for networking and sharing communications about library publishing services, including an annual event and ongoing virtual training and community-building activities.
● The design and implementation of the Library Publishing Coalition as an ongoing, institutionally owned organization that serves the needs of this community.

More information and a full list of participating institutions are available on the project website,