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Thursday, November 6 • 6:00pm - 6:45pm
The Importance of Being Earnest about Using Government Information to Study the Arts

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Both United States and British government information collections offer rich, primary resources for studying the history of literature, film, and the arts. Exploring the interdisciplinary content published by these governments allows researchers to discover changing societal perceptions towards artists such as Oscar Wilde, morality messaging in artistic works, and the role of the state in supporting or censoring the arts. Government publications provide insight into historical and contemporary questions about the arts—for example: What is the purpose of poetry? What constitutes “filthy literature?” What did the theater-going public expect from first-class vaudeville entertainment? Does violent entertainment encourage violent behavior? They also highlight how phrases from literature—such as “the importance of being earnest”—have made their way into common parlance and are documented in government resources as a reflection of the time. And both UK and US government documents contain examples of poetry and verse. This session will explore the value of using government information to enrich arts-related research in a variety of contexts. The presenters will demonstrate how government publications provide a lens into the relationship between social change, the formation of public policy, and the function of the arts in the human experience. They will show how events documented in government publications have been dramatized, making their way into theatre, film, and popular culture. Finally, they will attempt to raise awareness about ease of access to this material and to engage attendees in a dialogue about their own experiences using this unique content.

avatar for Catherine Johnson

Catherine Johnson

Product Manager-Lead, ProQuest
As Product Manager Lead at ProQuest, Catherine Johnson is responsible for ProQuest Congressional products. Catherine brings expertise and industry knowledge to her current role at ProQuest as the former Director of Market Planning for academic market legislative and historic services... Read More →

Marianne Ryan

Associate University Librarian, User Strategies, Northwestern University Libraries

Thursday November 6, 2014 6:00pm - 6:45pm EST
Cypress Grand Ballroom, Courtyard Marriott 125 Calhoun Street, Charleston, SC 29401