Librarian Francesca Giannetti shares research and DH recommendations

By: Gabriel Bamgbose

If you enjoyed the article on Digital Humanities at Rutgers, you can learn about DH resources as well as other research suggestions from librarian Francesca Giannetti.

The digital humanities librarian and librarian for the departments of French, Italian, and Comparative Literature, Francesca Giannetti, has an eclectic educational background—a BA in French and Art History from Case Western Reserve University, a degree in Vocal Performance from the École Normale de Musique, Paris, and an MS degree in Information Science from the School of Information at the University of Texas, Austin. Among other roles, Giannetti offers trainings and workshops on digital humanities, digital tools and qualitative techniques in research, computational methods, and scholarly communication. Libraries are doing a lot of work in the area of instructional design: working with faculty to create new courses, design assignments, transform existing courses, and incorporate pedagogical theories for effective learning. These tasks put Giannetti in partnership with faculty, students, and researchers. Again, Giannetti works with subject specialists for the development and implementation of strategies for digitization of resources, preservation, and metadata.


Giannetti was motivated to become a librarian because research and academic libraries unite all her interests. Moreover, she is a lover of books which makes working as a librarian fulfilling for her. She was a graduate research assistant in the Fine Arts Library at the University of Texas, Austin, where she worked with the Historical Music Recording Collection. She was a teaching assistant at the School of Information and a technology services intern in Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center. She was also the acting Music Librarian in the Fine Arts Library before joining Rutgers.

Giannetti generously shares some library and research resources that are very useful. For library resources, she always tend to point to the libraries’ Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) when people ask for suggestions of library resources for graduate-level scholarship, since these collections are what make the libraries unique. There are many unstudied works there and consequently many opportunities for publication. Learn about the manuscripts collections here: and the rare book collection here: She informs that not everything in SCUA is cataloged. Thus, she recommends that people should not hesitate to ask if they have a specific interest.

Scholarly communication is an important part of academic life and career. Giannetti recommends a useful tool for this purpose: SOAR –

“SOAR gathers, and makes available globally via the internet, scholarly articles deposited by Rutgers faculty, doctoral students, and postdoctoral scholars.” The interface was developed as a response to the university’s Open Access Policy, in effect as of September 1, 2015. Participation is without cost, and there are a number of advantages to the author, including user statistics, shareable links to your work, and a single repository where all of your scholarly articles are accessible.

Furthermore, there are other RU library services for researchers. These include consultation and training on digitization, digital preservation, copyright and licensing, citation management, among others –

Again, Giannetti shares these resources for starting points in digital humanities: DH research guide –

Comparative Literature research guide also gives a brief overview under “Topics” –

Lisa Spiro’s “Getting Started in Digital Humanities” –

For mapping projects and spatial humanities, Giannetti recommends Neatline (, a mapping plugin to Omeka, a digital publishing platform. Both of these are free and open source. Neatline, Bethany Nowviskie says, is “a geotemporal exhibit-builder that allows you to create beautiful, complex maps, image annotations, and narrative sequences from collections of documents and artifacts, and to connect your maps and narratives with timelines that are more-than-usually sensitive to ambiguity and nuance.” Neatline is the one of the best applications for modeling ambiguous spatial data, so common to the humanities, but there are many other mapping applications that are free or have free tiers.

As text analysis is a very vital aspect of studies in literary studies, these two introductory tools are suggested for text analysis: Voyant ( or try new and HathiTrust Research Center SHARC tools ( Both are free to use and offer a number of views into your texts. Voyant allows you to upload your own texts, whereas the HTRC only supports computational analysis across the volumes in the HathiTrust Digital Library which holds about 4 million public domain volumes. A workshop will be offered on the HTRC tools in the spring.

Moreover, Giannetti shares some of her favorite digital libraries, which are non-RU open access libraries. Europeana, a portal to Europe’s greatest cultural heritage collections and research libraries, can be assessed here:

Digital Public Library of America, ibid for the United States, is available here:

PennSound, affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania, is a digital collection of poetry readings, lectures, happenings, and more: This contains mostly English language poets, but see the new page on Italian poetry:

Francesca is always there for anyone who needs help with library and research resources in one way or the other. She leaves the final note: “The idea I mostly want to convey is that the libraries do a lot of great work to enhance the impact of Rutgers scholars, including faculty and students. Our librarians in general, and I in particular, are here to support your research needs. So don’t hesitate to send an email [], drop by or give me a tweet @jo_frankie.”

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