UC Faculty Awards 2021: Arlene Johnson

Senior librarian honored with Faculty Senate Exemplary Service to the University Award

By Jac Kern

Through her many roles in her 20 years at the University of Cincinnati, Arlene Johnson has served students, faculty and staff in the pursuit of knowledge — fitting for the recipient of the Faculty Senate Exemplary Service to the University Award. She continues her diverse service to UC today as secretary of the Faculty Senate, senior librarian, head of Collection Development Services and Engagement, and liaison librarian to the Romance and Arabic Languages and Literatures Department in the College of Arts & Sciences. Johnson is the first UC librarian to be honored with this award.

In addition to contributing thoughtfully to the Faculty Senate and many committees, Johnson was a primary impetus in activating an interdisciplinary digital humanities/scholarship group at UC. In this capacity, she took on the forward-looking work of introducing digital humanities approaches and tools to UC faculty.

“This highly significant service to the university helped UC to keep in sight of peer institutions, as digital scholarship took hold and developed as a significant research growth area during the 2010s,” says Jenny Doctor, CCM professor of musicology and head of the Albino Gorno Memorial (CCM) Library.

While her work is centered in UC Libraries, Johnson’s award nomination came from outside the unit, from Marla Hall, associate professor of psychology in the College of Arts and Sciences. The two have worked together on the Faculty Senate.

“I’ve learned to always pay attention to the quiet one, because they often have very valuable input,” Hall says. “And that is Arlene. When she gives input, it’s so well thought out and helpful. Her opinions are based on facts and historical information — she’s a great researcher.”

Hall says that while some people talk about what they do more than they actually do, Johnson does more than she talks about, while carrying a quiet strength.

“She’s very strong with saying what she thinks. She’s not going to back down, but she does it in a very polite way.

“She is from Canada,” she says with a smile. Johnson earned her Master of Library Science from the University of Alberta.

While serving on the Faculty Senate Cabinet with the university’s president and provost, Johnson has participated and advised in the transition throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the Next Lives Here presidential initiative, the Academic Master Plan, UC2019 Strategic Planning Process and Faculty Senate Resolution and Commitment to Eradicate Racism.

“My university service is a continuous learning experience,” Johnson says. “I have served with eight past and current Faculty Senate Chairs, and with many faculty colleagues from across colleges and departments on committees. I have learned so much from all of these excellent faculty colleagues, and am reminded of a quotation from Tennyson’s ‘Ulysses’: ‘I am a part of all that I have met.’”

“Once an English literature major, always an English literature major,” she muses.

Librarians Ted Baldwin and Eira Tansey receive honors at UC Faculty Awards Ceremony

In a ceremony held April 2 during Research and Innovation Week, librarians Ted Baldwin and Eira Tansey were recognized for their contributions to colleagues and to their fields. The Office of the Provost and the Office of Research jointly sponsor the awards to honor faculty who have demonstrated excellence in teaching, research and/or service. Continue reading

Peter Poulos taking on new role as technology lead and information technology manager

peter poulosPeter Poulos has taken on a new role in UC Libraries as technology lead and information technology manager for the Donald C. Harrison Health Sciences Library, effective April 1.  Peter has worked for the Health Sciences Library for over 25 years providing information technology services. During this time he has worked closely with teaching faculty, staff and students in the College of Medicine in support and administration of online computer-based testing and managing digital learning spaces and the library IT help desk. In his new broader role, Peter will also manage three library IT staff as well as a number of IT student workers.

Congratulations, Peter!

Hungry? Bite into an Edible Book with UC Libraries, April 5-9

Celebrate books good enough to eat at the International Edible Books Festival to be held online April 5-9.

At the event, over 30 participants will present their edible creations that represent a book in some form. There are few restrictions in creating an edible book – namely that the creation be edible and have something to do with a book. Submitted entries include such edible titles as “Coffee,” “LuLu’s Giraffe Bakery,” “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and “Donut Feed the Squirrels.” Best sellers “Lord of the Rings,” “The Handmaid’s Tale,” “Catch-22” and “The Picture of Dorian Gray” are represented along with children’s books like “Super Fudge,” “Hair Love,” “Rainbow Fish,” “Little Blue Truck Leads the Way” and “Madeline,” among other literary greats.

Rather than gathering at a designated time and place, this year’s Edible Books Festival will take place the week of April 5-9. Each day, a few edible book entries will be showcased on the Libraries Facebook page, Twitter and Instagram feeds. As in previous years, entries will be judged according to such categories as “Most Delicious,” “Most Creative,” “Most Checked Out.” At the end of the week, the entries that receive the most likes will be crowned “Top Student Entry” and “Best Overall Entry.”

According to the International Edible Book Festival website, the edible book was initiated by librarian and artist Judith A. Hoffberg during a 1999 Thanksgiving celebration with book artists. It became an international celebration in 2000 when artist Béatrice Coron launched the Books2Eat website. Traditionally, the event is celebrated on April 1st (April Fools’ Day) to mark the birthday of Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin (1755-1826), a French lawyer and politician who became famous for his book, Physiologie du gout (The Physiology of Taste).

Upcoming changes in off-campus access links to library resources

User access to library electronic resources is controlled by UC credentials and the Libraries proxy server. To improve management of this, UC Libraries is changing proxy servers at the end of the spring semester. As a result, all URLs containing the library proxy will need to be changed to the new server address. The Libraries has created tools to assist users in changing/creating proxy URLs. For anyone who bookmarks or includes library resource links in communication, course syllabi, canvas, etc., please plan to change library resource links starting in the month of May to the new proxy URL.  The Libraries will maintain the old server through the end of 2021, so access will be continuous for summer semester and ample time is provided for the URLs to be updated.

If you have any questions about how to access electronic library resources, please contact a library liaison.

‘CAN UC my mask’ canned food sculpture temporarily installed in Langsam Library

"CAN UC my mask" canned sculpture.

“CAN UC my mask” canned sculpture. Photo/Melissa Cox Norris

The masked Bearcat is showing school pride while reminding everyone to stay safe by wearing a mask

“CAN UC my mask,” a canned good sculpture currently on display on the fourth floor of the Walter C. Langsam Library, is the creation of students in UC’s Construction Student Association. The students spent the fall semester designing and preparing the sculpture with hopes to participate in Cincinnati CANstruction, an annual event where students and local businesses construct large structures out of cans of food, which are then displayed around Cincinnati before the cans are donated to a local food pantry. Due to the pandemic, the organizers of the 2021 Cincinnati CANstruction moved the event online. Looking for an opportunity to construct their design, and with the desire that their UC-themed sculpture could be seen on campus, the group’s faculty adviser, Mandy Albrecht, assistant dean of academics in the College of Engineering and Applied Science, reached out to UC Libraries to inquire if the Walter C. Langsam Library could play host to their canned sculpture. Of course, the answer was yes.

students constructing canned sculpture

“CAN UC my mask” under construction. Photo/Kaikou Uchiyama

On display now on the fourth floor of the library, “CAN UC my mask,” was assembled by a team of students led by Matthew Adkins, construction management major pursuing his MBA, and Blake Reinstedler, construction management major, and including Phillip Stoll, Blake Brower, Jacob Mitsch, Colby Sipos, Nicholas Bartholomew, Kaikou Uchiyama and Andrew Bush. Inspired by their Bearcat pride, and a desire to spread a message of being safe during the pandemic, the 6.5-foot cubed rendition of the UC Bearcat wearing a mask took 4,700 cans of food to create and 10 hours to construct.

“We really appreciate the opportunity to construct ‘CAN UC my mask’ in Langsam Library and are very grateful to the library for letting us display it in such a prominent location,” said Adkins. “We explored other potential locations on campus, but this one seemed the safest for the cans and social distancing and will allow for the most attention and publicity.”

The canned sculpture will remain in Langsam until mid-April when it will be dismantled and the cans of food donated to the UC Bearcats Pantry. “The messages we are spreading through the donation of canned goods and staying safe from Covid-19 are positive ones creatively expressed through art,” Adkins concluded.

Students from the Construction Student Association pose in front of their canned sculpture

Students from the Construction Student Association pose in front of their canned sculpture. Photo/Kaikou Uchiyama

“This project is always fun because it’s a great learning opportunity for the students, as well as a great way to encourage donations to local food pantries. It’s an especially great way for freshmen and sophomores to get involved in the Construction Student Association and to contribute to their community in a meaningful way,” said Albrecht. “Students who haven’t yet learned about construction estimating, scheduling and logistics can start flexing those muscles by designing, estimating, procuring and building a canned food structure like this.”

University of Cincinnati Art Collection now available online

painting of ballerinas

Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo by P. Davison,1940

The University of Cincinnati Art Collection, with over 4,200 works, is now available online for viewing, as well as to be used in teaching, research and in the creation of university exhibits.

Available at artcollection.uc.edu, users of the database can locate works by portfolio, through searching or by browsing by medium/technique, artist/maker or artwork classification. Once located in the database, individual items can be starred and then saved or printed in list format. In addition, the UC Art Collection website includes links to learn more about exhibits, related university collections and archives, the museum studies program and arts news.

painting of men on a pier

Nooning on the Pier by Julie Morrow DeForest

The UC Art Collection is international in scope and includes paintings, sculpture, prints, drawings, photographs, furniture, ceramics and decorative arts spanning five millennia, from ancient Greece to the present day. Works of art from the U.S. forms one of the core areas in the collection with the art of Cincinnati, especially that produced during the late-19th and early-20th centuries, as a particular strength with pieces from Elizabeth Nourse, Lewis Henry Meakin, Frank Harmon Myers, Herman Henry Wessel, Louis Charles Vogt and John Ellsworth Weis.

In 2020, the College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP) and the University of Cincinnati Libraries announced a new collaboration to manage the collection and to bring more visibility, accessibility and use of this valuable resource. This creation of the database project has been made possible through the generous support of executive vice president for academic affairs and provost Kristi Nelson; Tim Jachna, dean of DAAP; Xuemao Wang, vice provost for digital scholarship and dean and university librarian; the Art Collection Executive Committee, the Art Collection Advisory Committee and Planning, Design + Construction.

Know of a good book to eat?! Create an Edible Book for UC Libraries International Edible Books Festival, April 5-9

edible books graphicThe University of Cincinnati Libraries is seeking people interested in creating an edible book for the viewing enjoyment of all. There are few restrictions – namely that the creation be edible and have something to do with a book – so let your creativity run wild.

Rather than gathering at a designated day, time or place, this year’s Edible Books Festival will take place the week of April 5-9 online. Each day, a few edible book entries will be showcased on the Libraries Facebook page, Twitter and Instagram accounts, as well as on the website

edible book with hotdogs and cake

Attack of the Vampire Weenies

As in previous years, entries will be judged according to such categories as “Most Delicious,” “Most Creative,” “Most Checked Out” and “Most Literary,” as well as “Best Student Entry” and “Best Overall.” The week will culminate with the announcement of the winners.

If you are interested in creating an edible book, e-mail melissa.norris@uc.edu by Friday, March 26 with your name and the title of your creation.

Looking for inspiration? Visit UC Libraries on Facebook to see photos from the 2019 festival.

University of Cincinnati Press publication co-edited by UC’s Rebecca Wingo named the National Council on Public History’s Best New Book of the Year

digital community engagement book coverThe University of Cincinnati Press publication edited by Rebecca S. Wingo, Jason A. Heppler, and Paul Schadewald, Digital Community Engagement: Partnering Communities with the Academy has won 2021 Best New Book of the Year from the National Council on Public History. Each year, the Council selects one book in the area of public history theory, study or practice.

Available via open access on Manifold, Digital Community Engagement brings together cutting-edge campus-community partnerships with a focus on digital projects. Through a series of case studies authored by academics and their community partners, this collection explores models for digital community engagement that leverage new media through reciprocal partnerships. The contributions to this volume stand at the crossroads of digital humanities, public history, and community engagement.

“The team at UC Press made the whole process easy, and the TOME grant made the open access publication possible. My co-editors and I decided early on that this book in particular required open access publication. We spoke to a lot of different presses and we most closely matched with UC Press’ mission,” said Rebecca Wingo, editor of Digital Community Engagement.

“It is fitting that our first award-winning book was published in open access and print in order to inspire engagement to the widest audience possible. As a university press focused on publishing interactive books designed to brings authors and readers together, we are delighted to see this edited volume win a national prize in a discipline that connects the academy to the community,” said Elizabeth Scarpelli, director of the University of Cincinnati Press.