October is Theological Libraries Month (TLM), celebrated to increase awareness of the importance and value of libraries serving theology and religious studies programs through communications and activities for faculty, administrators, staff, and students.
This year, the theme for TLM is “Creating Constellations: Connecting the World Through Scholarly Communication & the Digital Humanities.” This theme addresses the changing landscape of librarianship, the shift towards online resources rather than print, and how to do our jobs well when so many students and faculty are learning and teaching virtually.
As the Covid-19 pandemic closed down traditional spaces for Pitts to display and promote its resources, the Pitts staff rallied to bring materials from the Pitts exhibition gallery to a new digital space, reaching far beyond the 22 cases on site and bringing access to patrons around the world.
Pitts began this initiative under the leadership of Digital Asset Librarian, Ann McShane. Ann partnered with Agile Humanities to design and develop a new digital collections and exhibitions site. This process involved months of planning, design, and testing.
Once these platforms were built, they were missing one important thing: content! Cataloging and Metadata Libraria, Brinna Michael helped with this step by describing (and sometimes re-describing) hundreds of books, photographs, pamphlets, artifacts, and more. While this description happened, Ann McShane photographed and scanned thousands of individual pages and images, which Brinna then uploaded to the digital platform.
As the platforms filled out with potential content, it was time to identify potential curators and collections through which they could tell stories. Pitts worked to engage the work of curatorial fellows, visiting scholars, and the library’s Kessler Collection Fellows to curate, design, and deliver digital exhibitions on the platform.
Pulling off these exhibitions required more team members to become involved, including experts in rare books, digital scholarship, outreach, logistics, and graphic design. The combined efforts of all these team members resulted in a promising list of digital exhibitions that will be released in the coming weeks.
Visit digital.pitts.emory.edu to explore newly added digital collections and exhibitions, including Masquerade Scripturalizing Modernities Through Black Flesh curated by Dr. Vincent Wimbush and Controversy, Control, and Revolution: Paradise Lost and the Politics of Print in the Reign of James II curated by Dr. Greg McNamara. Pitts looks forward to forthcoming exhibitions and collections to be added, bringing objects and texts outside of the confines of the archives and gallery onto the global stage!