Vitale II: Frequently Asked Questions

The new Vitale II lab is a modular space in the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books, and Manuscripts (623 Van Pelt Library) that supports events and activities for up to 30 people. Events and activities in this space are scheduled and managed by Dot Porter, the Curator for Digital Research Services in the Kislak Center. Members of the Penn community may request use of Vitale II for an educational or digital scholarship project by following the links under “Use the Lab” in the right menu.

How is Vitale II set up?

Vitale II may be configured for a variety of small or larger group activities. It features tables and a white board on wheels, two 60″ screens, two desktop machines (Windows) and six laptop computers (Windows and Mac), pre-installed with a variety of software. The lab also features a Wolfvision ceiling camera which is especially useful for viewing special collections materials. The camera may be displayed on one of the screens, or may be ported into a computer for video conferencing (via Google Hangout or Skype).

How many people can Vitale II accommodate?

Vitale II can set up in various ways. Up to six tables can be set up for use by individual persons or by pairs; the tables can be grouped to form larger, seminar-style tables; they can be set up along the room’s perimeter for displays; or they can be folded up and rolled away to maximize open floor space.  The white board measures 4×6 feet and can be used to divide up the room, or rolled off to the side of the room.

Activities incorporating tables can accommodate up to 20 or so persons. If tables are rolled away and chairs arranged into rows, Vitale II can hold up to 30 persons.

What technology is in Vitale II?

Vitale II is designed as a bring-your-own-technology space, although we do have two Windows desktops available for group work, and six laptops (three Mac pro, three Windows) available for use in the lab. We are ready to plug your laptop in for presentations or capture events with the ceiling camera. For ceiling camera videoconferencing, we have a Google account available for Google Hangout, and a premium Skype account for screen sharing.

Additional software, technology, and training is available through the Weigle Information Commons, on the first floor of Van Pelt Library.

When is Vitale II open?

Vitale II is hosted space in the library, meaning that events and activities are approved, scheduled, and managed by the Kislak Center. Regular events in Spring 2014 will include:

  • Open Lab every Tuesday and Thursday, 1pm-3pm,
  • Focused Labs on learning basic Web development on Tuesday, 4pm-5pm and the Python scripting language on Thursday, 4pm-5pm (using Codecademy.com), and
  • a Focused Lab on using Omeka on Wednesday, 4pm-5pm.

Anyone is welcome to attend an Open or Focused Lab. Check the Kislak Center calendar for additional recurring and upcoming activities. Or suggest your own!

I am looking for a good place to study (individually or with a group). Can I use Vitale II for that?

Vitale II is a place for active collaboration, training, presentation, and consultation on the practice of research and digital humanities. We welcome your ideas for group activities in Vitale II pertaining to this focus. To book a traditional group study or presentation practice space in Van Pelt library, please visit the Library’s Room Reservation system.

I am looking for a space to convene a meeting in Van Pelt Library. Is Vitale II available for that?

If your meeting pertains to theories and practices in the digital humanities, we are happy to work with you to schedule it. Send us a description of the event.

I am teaching at Penn, and my class includes a digital component. May I hold it in the Vitale II?

Vitale II may not be used as a regular classroom. However, Vitale II may be booked for digital lab components of Penn classes, as well as special collections viewing and discussions, course-related training, project-building, and evaluation activities. Send us your ideas for use of Vitale II in your course, and we’ll take it from there.

Is use of Vitale II restricted to affiliates of the University of Pennsylvania?

Though events in Vitale II must include a Penn component, they may also draw in collaborators from outside the university, such as educators at other Philadelphia-area institutions, participants in PhillyDH activities, and developers connected to teaching and scholarship projects. For approved events we will work with you to set up access to Vitale II for participants without Penn affiliation.

Can more than one activity happen in Vitale II at the same time?

Depending on the size and nature of an activity, it may happen simultaneously with another one in Vitale II. When you propose an event or gathering, make sure to specify if it must preclude others or is quiet and small enough to allow for other activity in Vitale II at the same time.

What if I have a question about Vitale II that isn’t answered here?

Please email your question to Dot Porter, Curator for Digital Research Services: dorp@upenn.edu

Why does this FAQ sound so familiar?

Vitale II is based on the model developed by Alex Gil for Studio@Butler, a collaboratory for educators, scholars, and librarians at Columbia University. This FAQ draws heavily from the Studio@Butler FAQ.

Upcoming Events
  • December 6, noon-1pm – Lunch presentation & discussion: Rebecca Stuhr and Vickie Karasic on Early Books Collective
  • December 14, 12:30-1:30pm – Geniza Project Workshop with Laura Eckstein and Amey Hutchins
  • January 17, noon-1pm – Lunch presentation & discussion: Lynn Ransom on the Schoenberg Database of Manuscripts
  • January 24, noon-1pm – Lunch presentation: Lindsay Van Tine on the Early Novels Database


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