Summer Humanities and Arts Research Program

About SHARP at the Libraries

In the summer of 2013, Harvard College Library partnered with Harvard’s new Summer Humanities and Arts Research Program (SHARP) to provide two College undergraduates with the opportunity to work with a major collection of primary source materials, direct their own creative research project and learn new digital technologies for summarizing and communicating ideas.

The two interns working with HCL created a project entitled “Enlivening Zines for Study and Research.”

As the basis of their internships, Caitlin Ballotta ‘14 and Nora Garry ‘14, worked with the recently acquired Printernet Zine collection. The Printernet Collection, which consists of approximately 20,000 zine publications focusing on wide-ranging topics from music to sex, gender, and politics, from the 1970s to the present, is one of the largest collections of its kind. Over the course of the summer, the interns performed an initial sort of a portion of this extensive collection, Additionally, both interns developed their own digital projects that explored a unique point of entry into the rich primary source collection. The SHARP interns collaborated closely with library staff both in Widener and Lamont Library. Widener Collection Development librarians provided instruction and support in the initial sorting of the collection and the development of each intern’s digital project, which librarians from the Multimedia Lab in Lamont Library gave instruction and technical support for mastering the technology tools needed to produce the interns’ digital projects.

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Summer 2013 Projects

HCL Z1N3: The Printernet Age and the Rise of Zine Theory

Reading through countless photocopied-and-stapled zines during the first weeks of her SHARP internship, Caitlin Ballotta ’14, soon discovered that zinesters (zine authors) are ever present in their texts:  highly conscious of their roles as writers, illustrators, publishers, and literary critics, they give rare insight into the creative process and develop standards for evaluating their own and others’ works. Convinced that zines are in fact literature she decided to treat them as such.  Thus, Caitlin created a simulated online course exploring the phenomena of zine authorship and “zine theory” in hopes of conveying that zines are cultural artifacts that can be read as academic texts.  If you would like to learn more, “enroll” in her class, “HCL Z1N3: The Printernet Age and the Rise of Zine Theory.”

Explore HCL Z1N3


The zine collection contains a multitude of exciting material and constitutes a valuable resource for future researchers. Nora Garry ’14 can attest to the veracity of both claims. Her internship consisted of analyzing the various treatments of celebrities in zines. Nora created an online comic zine, “Paparazzines.” It features the personal slant, DIY aesthetic, and meandering narrative characteristic of the medium, while informing the reader about zines.

Browse Paparazzines


The SHARP program is a 10-week summer immersion experience offering Harvard undergraduates unique opportunities to engage in formative and substantive humanities and arts-based research.

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