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Dec 12 16

All Staff Meeting (December 8, 2016) Presentation Available

by Daniel O'Mahony

The slides from the December 8, 2016, presentation on the Library’s process for hiring exempt staff are now available.



Oct 16 15

All Staff Meeting (October 15, 2015) Power Point Available

by Jean M. Rainwater

PDF versions of the presentations at the All Staff Meeting held in the Faculty Club on October 15, 2015 are now available:

May 20 15

All Staff Meeting (May 20, 2015) Power Point Available

by Jean M. Rainwater

A PDF version of the All Staff Meeting held in the Faculty Club on May 20, 2015 is now available at:

Feb 24 14

All Staff Meeting (Feb 24, 2014) Power Point Available

by Jean M. Rainwater

A PDF version of the All Staff Meeting held in Petteruti Lounge on February 24, 2014 is now available at: Library_All-staff meeting_2014-02-24.pdf

Apr 19 12

All Staff Meeting (April 19, 2012) Power Point Available

by Jean M. Rainwater

A PDF version of the All Staff Meeting held in Petteruti Lounge on April 19, 2012 is now available at:

Nov 3 11

Library Highlights, Volume 1, Number 8

by Jean M. Rainwater

October 2011

With the Fall semester already half-over and Halloween just around the corner, time is certainly flying by. And no wonder—this has been an especially busy time for the Library, with a large number of events, exhibits, and special projects underway in addition to our usual complement of daily activities. For this issue of Library Highlights, we take a look at some noteworthy items from this exceptionally productive time:

Exhibits and Events:

Federal Depository Library 150th Anniversary

On September 26, former Brown professor and current Founding Director of the Center for Technology Innovation at the Brookings Institution Dr. Darrell West gave a talk entitled ”How Technology Is Transforming Government and Society” in honor of the 150th anniversary of the Library’s designation as a Federal Depository Library. The celebration was held at Salomon Hall and was open to the public.

The Brown University Library was officially designated a Federal Depository Library by Senator James F. Simmons in the summer of 1861. Brown is the oldest depository library in Rhode Island and was among the first so designated libraries in the country. This event was the tenth Alice Bobb Brendel ’67 Library Lecture funded by the Brendel Staff Development Endowment. An online exhibit on the 150th anniversary is also available

International Year of Chemistry Exhibition:

The International Year of Chemistry Exhibition ( is a collaboration between SR and Special Collections. Three public events have been held in conjunction with the visit: an opening reception, which was attended by faculty and students from the Chemistry Department (a number of whom commented they had never been in the Hay before), as well as Brown alumni, emeritus faculty and other students; a private tour for members of the Chemistry DUG; and an October 15th Family Weekend faculty forum by Tara Nummedal (Dept of History), accompanied by a reception/book signing at the Hay to allow interested parties to view the exhibition. A reporter and photographer from the BDH attended the opening reception and their efforts resulted in a complementary article in the BDH on Friday, October 7th.

Bryson Dance Collection Reception

The opening reception, talk and dance performance for the upcoming exhibition, Capturing Fleeting Moments: Exploring the Bryson Dance Collection took place on Saturday, October 15 in the Finn Room of the Rockefeller Library and attracted about 80 people. Scholarly Resources Librarian Rosemary Cullen and ADLI co-founder and Senior Lecturer in the department of Theater Arts and Performance Studies, Julie Adams Strandberg talked about the exhibition and gift, and there will be a dance presentation by Brown University undergraduate dancers wearing costumes made by RISD students. Capturing Fleeting Moments highlights two branches of early American modern dance illustrated by objects from the collection. The exhibit includes books and programs depicting the ideas and work of Ruth St. Denis, Ted Shawn, Martha Graham, Doris Humphrey, Charles Weidman, Merce Cunningham, Paul Taylor, and José Limón; as well as video footage of Brown University students performing the works of these choreographers.

E-Book Fair

The Library hosted an E-Book Fair at Sayles Hall on October 19th. The goal was to raise awareness among Brown faculty and students about the Library’s e-book offerings and to offer users and librarians alike the chance to talk directly with e-book providers about their services. Organized by Anne Nolan, with assistance from Steve Thompson, Sarah Bordac, Ned Quist, and SR librarians, the fair featured representatives from 12 major e-book vendors, including EBSCO, Elsevier, Gale, Oxford University Press, Springer, and Wiley. Over 150 people attended.

Introduction to Contextual Encoding Workshop

The Women Writers Project (WWP) hosted a workshop in September entitled “Introduction to Contextual Encoding”. This December the WWP will host a workshop on Manuscript Encoding with TEI.

Research and Outreach:

Hay Classes

11 classes use the John Hay Library as their regular meeting place this semester (not including the Art of the

Ray Butti and Jennifer Betts are assisting faculty and students with archival documents for three classes this fall:

· Seeing/Reading/Making Brown with Jane Lancaster: Each week, students look at papers and artifacts documenting the University’s history

· Architecture seminar with Dietrich Neumann: Every student writes a paper weekly on a different building on campus; the results of the class will be available in a smart phone app

· Tales of the Real World with Beth Taylor: Students will write historical fiction based on research of primary source documents

Hay Outreach

Ann Dodge and Bill Monroe discussed a 1513 French Book of Hours at the first “Focus on Special Collections” of the fall semester. 18 people attended the presentation including 5 library staff.

Peter Harrington gave a presentation on Napoleon’s Death Mask for Family Weekend to about 70 people.

Ann Dodge has started a monthly electronic newsletter which is distributed to about 90 people, mostly Brown faculty and grad students, but also staff at other libraries in Rhode Island.

Graduate Library Advisory Committee (GLAC)

The first meeting of the newly formed Graduate Library Advisory Committee will be on Oct. 31. Made up of graduate students from the Sciences, Social Sciences, Med School and Humanities, the group will meet three or four times in the coming year to provide feedback to the Brown University Library regarding the Library’s efforts to meet the scholarly needs of graduate students at Brown. Committee members will comment on the effectiveness of current library collections, services and spaces and will make suggestions for changes, as needed. Additionally, the committee will help to address issues pertaining to research and outreach, from finding and utilizing newer, better resources to dealing with scholarly communication.

Department Activities:

News from Archives

Christopher Geissler is working with Simmons College intern Claudia Willett to organize the papers of Michael Gizzi, a Rhode Island poet and Brown graduate. A box-level finding aid will be created for the collection.

A new processing space has been created for University Archives and Manuscripts in Room 102 of the Rockefeller Library. The re-purposed workroom has ample table space on which to organize archival and manuscript collections and plenty of storage for materials awaiting attention. The processing space is used by Karen Eberhart, Tim Engels, Ray Butti, and Technical Services staff.

Transfers from the John Hay to the Annex

The John Hay Library renovation project is still in the planning stages. Harriette and Barbara have been working with Facilities Management to better assess the overall costs of the project, focusing on potential infrastructure costs related to updating an historic building.

Meanwhile, preparation for the John Hay reading room renovation continues. Staff at the Hay and elsewhere have been working to identify and prepare materials for transfer off-site to free up space in the building. During the first quarter, over 17,000 items from special collections were accessioned at the Annex. The average for these three months is 5,672 or 77% over the monthly goal of 3,200 items. Thanks go to colleagues in ITG, Technical Services and John Hay Library staff for the success of this collaborative project.

In support of these efforts, staff in Cataloging and Metadata Services have worked to complete the cataloging on a number of collections, including the British Case Law series, the Hedges Quilting Collection, the Saklad Collection of Surgical Anesthesiology, and the T.E. Lawrence-Andrew Carvely Collection of Books, Journals and Ephemera. Further collections will be processed in the coming months.

Preservation staff and students have also been involved in creating housings for the transferred materials. About 4300 items have been placed in customized protective enclosures since the project began in earnest in April.

Asia Transfers

Shelving staff have begun pulling materials from the Asia collection stacks to transfer to the Annex. The Asia stacks, located on the third floor of the Rock, are among the most crowded in all of the campus libraries. Ultimately, about 25,000 items will be moved off-site to create more space for new acquisitions.

Access Cards for Rockefeller Library

Since early September, staff at Rock Circulation have been issuing white access cards to users from our partner institutions (e.g., RISD) to speed their entry and re-entry through the lobby access gate. Using software developed by Jean Rainwater, staff assist patrons in entering data about themselves for identification purposes. They then assign a new card to the patron which is generally activated in one or two business days by the Brown Card Office. Once active, the card can be used to open the turnstile and to swipe through the attendant station at the SciLi. Cards are valid for up to one year. With an active card, users no longer have to register at the circ desk each time they enter the building. In the future, we hope to gather data on how often our facilities are used by patrons from other institutions. To date, staff have issued nearly 500 cards to outside users. Nearly 60% of those are RISD students and faculty.

New Initiatives:

Digital Library of the Caribbean

In support of Ruth Simmons’ 2010 Haitian Studies Initiative and the work of Brown’s Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies and the Africana Studies Department, the Library is joining the Digital Library of the Caribbean as a “contributing member” for three years. dLOC is a cooperative digital library for resources from and about the Caribbean and circum-Caribbean. dLOC provides access to digitized versions of Caribbean cultural, historical and research materials currently held in archives, libraries, and private collections.Scholarly resources librarians, curators and ITG staff are looking forward to contributing to this open access database.


TEI Archiving, Publishing, and Access Service (TAPAS), a digital humanities collaboration between the libraries of Brown University and Wheaton College, has been awarded a $250,000 National Leadership Grant from the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS), to begin on December 1, 2011 and run for three years. The goal of TAPAS is to create a shared repository and a suite of publishing and preservation services for humanities scholars who are creating digital research materials using the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) Guidelines.

TEI encoding offers both scholars and readers significantly richer options for annotating, searching, linking, and using digital texts. However, creating, preserving, and providing access to a TEI-encoded text can be very costly, and requires technologies and expertise that are not widely available, especially at smaller institutions. TAPAS is a community-driven, contributory project, committed to open access and open-source tools and approaches for publishing and archiving. It will enable scholars to share data and interface tools with one another and with the public. The resulting archive will permit broad access and support third-party interface development.

For more information on TAPAS visit:

Open Annotation Collaboration Demonstration Grant

The Center for Digital Scholarship (CDS) has begun work on the Open Annotation Collaboration (OAC) demonstration grant, funded by the Mellon Foundation. The OAC project will demonstrate methods for creating annotations of digital objects stored in the Brown Digital Repository.

Summon/VuFind Launch with new Library Homepage

On September 1, the Library brought up its newly revamped homepage, featuring a clearer, more user-friendly interface. The revisions were guided by user feedback and analysis of Web logs, showing which items were most commonly sought out and used. At the same time, the Library also introduced its new discovery system. This powerful new tool, based on a combination of two software products, VuFind and Summon, allows users to search for books, digital collections, and journal article resources all at once. The use of facets allows search results to be narrowed by a variety of criteria (for example, date, format, language, medium, or subject). Users may also access the traditional Josiah catalog if they prefer it. The Library will monitor the use of the new systems, gather user feedback, and continue to adjust the service as needed.

Books at Brown online

The full run of Books at Brown has been published to the Brown Digital Repository ( Books at Brown, published from 1951 to 1998, was the scholarly publication of the Friends of the Brown University Library. Issued occasionally, the journal included both informational overviews on the Library’s specialized collections and original scholarship utilizing those collections. The issues are also findable in the new library discovery system, as are all digital collections.

Personnel Updates

The following positions are currently open:
Director of John Hay Library and Head, Special Collections
Health Sciences Librarian
Performing Arts Librarian
Digital Repository Manager

Tom Stieve, Scholarly Resources Librarian for Social Sciences Data, left the Library on September 23 for a new position with Tufts University. A search for his successor will begin in the near future.

Paul Cormier has transferred to the Library Collections Annex, effective September 1, 2011. Paul was formerly part of the technical services group in Rock Room 104.

Sep 6 11

Library Highlights, vol. 1, no. 7

by Jean M. Rainwater

And where has the summer gone? These past few fleeting months have allowed us time to review the past year’s accomplishments, catch up on unfinished projects, and take a break from our regular schedules. Even at this slower pace, we have a number of notable achievements. We completed several more new hires and transfers, including: Jean Bauer, Digital Humanities Librarian; Amanda Rinehart, E-Science Librarian; Karen Eberhart, Manuscripts Processing Archivist; Bryan Tait, Library Technical Assistant I (Shelving); and Paul Cormier, Library Associate Specialist (Annex). Two new searches are underway to fill the positions of Digital Repository Manager and Director of Special Collections and the John Hay Library. We finalized the selection and implementation of VuFind and Summon, which will serve as a Google-like discovery service to connect researchers with the Library’s vast local and licensed resources, and we launched a new version of the Library’s home page. Several staff have been relocated to new offices, and we are in the process of creating a new study space on Rock Level A near the art books and updating Room 102 in the Rock to house manuscripts processing. Managers have taken great care in preparing departmental goals for the year, and OPG will soon distribute the library-wide list of action items. John Hay Library staff have worked with colleagues in Access Services to transfer more than 27,000 volumes from the John Hay Library to the Collections Annex (January-July, 2011), enabling first floor renovation plans to proceed. Other summer activities include Lee Pedersen and Frank Kellerman’s participation in a number of summer classes for high school science students. Sarah Bordac, Tom Stieve, Li Wang, and Ben Tyler contributed to the College’s First Reading program, including helping design the First Reading website ( and also engaging in related seminars. As part of the Fall orientation, several librarians will take part in more than 20 events planned for both undergraduates and graduates. And of course, in the meantime, we also weathered a hurricane. With many staff planning and preparing beforehand and promptly responding afterwards, and some luck from Mother Nature, the Library fared much better than it might have otherwise.

As the beginning of the Fall semester draws near, we happily anticipate the arrival of new and returning students and the subsequent flurry of scholarly and social activities that will fill campus. Our focus this year is on moving the inside out and bringing the outside in. Each of us has a role in ensuring and enriching this state of permeability that, somewhat ironically, has the potential to create increased stability and inter-connection. Two new staff positions have particular responsibilities in these areas: the AUL for Research and Outreach Services and the Communications and Stewardship Specialist. As the AUL for Research and Outreach Services, Ned Quist is tasked with taking a strong leadership role in working across the Library to define and direct a set of targeted initiatives to assess the needs of and engage with students and faculty both within and beyond the confines of our buildings and websites. Ned will look to each of us for input, support, and cooperation.

Aiming her efforts more toward the broader external community, Amy Atticks, Communications and Stewardship Specialist, is working with staff across the Library and campus to create opportunities to promote the Library within the larger academic context, the extended Brown community, and beyond. Examples of Amy’s work thus far include publicizing the upcoming Roger Williams exhibitions scheduled at the Hay, Haffenreffer, and John Carter Brown Library; working with Dan O’Mahony on coordinating the Federal Depository Library events on September 26; initiating an exhibit and presentation by the American Dance Legacy Institute based in part on the Bryson Dance Collection; helping establish the Digital Arts and Humanities Lecture Series that will be co-sponsored by the Library and the John Nicholas Brown Center; and working with others to generate a library brochure that will highlight the Library’s collections honoring Brown’s commitment to the Year of China celebrated during 2011-2012. Again, Amy’s work is dependent on the “news” that we generate and on the quality and depth of external interest and support that our endeavors elicit.

It is good to recognize that by working together we have much to offer as we move the inside out and much to gain as we (mindfully) bring the outside in. I join you in welcoming this new academic year and expressing gratitude for our good fortune and our many successes, both those accomplished and those to come.

September 6, 2011

Jun 22 11

Library Highlights from OPG, vol. 1, no. 6

by Jean M. Rainwater

Staff & Recruitment Update:

A key priority this past year has been recruiting and filling the numerous open positions after last year’s staff retirements and organizational review. In FY 2011, the Library has welcomed twelve staff in new positions (to date):

  • Andy Ashton, Director of Digital Technologies
  • Amy Atticks, Library Communications and Stewardship Specialist
  • Jennifer Betts, University Archivist
  • Adam Bradley, Library Programmer
  • Carina Cournoyer, Scholarly Resources Librarian for the Social Sciences
  • Christopher Geissler, NHPRC Grant Project Archivist
  • Ted Lawless, Library Applications Developer
  • Rachel Lapkin, Library Materials Conservator
  • Teresa Negrucci, Resource Acquisition and Management Librarian
  • Ned Quist, AUL for Research and Outreach Services
  • Erica Saladino, Library Associate Specialist, Bindery Repair/Conservation Technician
  • David Wilson, Library Clerk I, Sciences Library

The Library hosted an all-staff reception on June 14 to welcome the newly hired members of the Library staff as well as thank the many staff who contributed to the recruitment process. In addition to the tremendous amount of work performed by the Library HR staff, 45 Library staff served on search committees, and numerous others met with candidates, attended their presentations, and provided feedback on candidates. A recruitment undertaking of this scale is truly a library-wide effort, and staff participation throughout this process has been very much appreciated.

In addition to the positions already filled, several searches and recruitments currently are underway, including:

  • Digital Humanities Librarian
  • Digital Repository Manager
  • Director of Special Collections and the John Hay Library
  • E-Science Librarian
  • Library Technical Assistant I, Shelving (temporary)
  • Manuscripts Processing Archivist
  • Medical Librarian (half-time)

When the dust settles and all these positions are filled, approximately 15% of the Library’s total staff will have been newly hired in their positions since July 1, 2010.

Strategic Directions

With the close of one fiscal year and the beginning of a new year on July 1, OPG is in the process of developing the Library’s strategic directions and priority action items for FY 2012. Department leaders and others provided input on key priorities and anticipated challenges for the upcoming year. OPG used this information during a “mini-retreat” on June 16 to determine the library-wide directions. The library-wide directions will guide the priorities of individual departments and units, which in turn guide the goals and priorities for work performed by individual staff. The new set of strategic directions and priority action items will be posted on the Library’s web site as soon as they are affirmed.

Library Fun Facts

As many staff may be in the process of compiling statistics and year-end reports to close out FY 2011, here’s a look back at FY 2010 (the latest full year for which we have statistics) and other sources for some interesting trends…

4 millionth volume

In FY 2010, the Library’s collection passed the 4 million volume threshold. Interestingly, it took 13 years to acquire the most recent one million volumes (i.e., from when the 3 millionth volume was purchased in FY 1997). This was four years longer than it took the Library to acquire its previous million volumes — Brown’s 2 millionth volume was purchased in FY 1988.

The differences in these two sets of “millions” reflect the changes in both the publishing landscape over that time and the ways libraries serve users. For example, during the 9-year period when Brown reached the 3 million volume mark, the Library added over 63K volumes per year while spending an average of $3.8M per year on library materials. During that period, an average of 42% of the annual acquisitions budget was spent on monographs.

By contrast, during the 13-year period when Brown reached the 4 million volume mark, the Library added only 59K volumes per year while spending an average of $7.2M per year on library materials. This period experienced sky-rocketing increases in the cost of serials as well as the introduction of electronic databases. As a consequence, serials expenditures consumed a larger and larger portion of the Library’s acquisitions budget — in FY 2010, 24% of the materials budget went toward monographs, compared to 51% in FY 1988.

Of course, like any statistic, the total volume count only tells part of the story. For example, this period of time also saw significant improvements and efficiencies in borrowing and lending materials. During the “3 millionth” period, we borrowed an average of only 10K volumes per year from other libraries for Brown users. During the “4 millionth” period, this increased to well over 30K per year, and in the last five years has averaged almost 40K per year.

User behaviors

Without question, the explosion of electronic information and the proliferation of non-library sources for information have influenced the way users access information. For example, in 1995 (in the nascent days of the World Wide Web), Brown students checked out an average of 34 books per year each. By 2010, this number was down to 21 books per year. Today more than 90% of student searches for information begin “outside” the library at a search engine, underscoring both the “competition” that the library faces in providing students with information sources, and the need to meet them where they do their research (e.g., integrating Brown holdings into search engine results as with Google Scholar, or providing alternative discovery tools and search engines that provide easy access to Brown holdings).

Meeting users virtually at their point of need is one of the goals of the Library’s BULchat service. In the five years that the Library has performed virtual reference transactions, the service has grown from roughly 10% of the overall reference questions to 45%. (This rapid change was the result of both the increase in virtual questions along with the general decrease in reference questions overall.)

Library services that are easy, accessible, and provide users the ability to effectively perform their work will be increasingly important. A recent IMLS study concluded that convenience “was by far the best predictor across all information seeking and use measures” (i.e., people used the information sources that were most convenient). Today, “convenient” also means “mobile” as national studies show that over 60% of undergraduates have mobile devices — the incoming class of Brown medical students, for example, each will be given a smart-pad.

If you’re interested in tracking some of the more recent trends and statistics in library-land, check out OCLC’s weekly newsletter, Above the Fold.

Other Library News

The John Hay Library hosted the Open House for Brown graduating seniors with a display of materials in the Lownes Room and tours of the A.S. Brown gallery on May 26.

The University Archives participated in Staff Development Day (June 2) with an exhibit of photographs, architectural drawings, correspondence, and ephemera related to “Ye Olde Faunce House.”

Jennifer Betts participated in the electronic poster session at the Rhode Island Library Association Annual Conference (June 3) with print and electronic posters and a demonstration of the website.

The Providence County eighth-graders who won the 2011 Hildene-Brown Lincoln Essay Competition were honored at a luncheon hosted by the Library on June 11, and tours of the John Hay Library were offered to attending families. The Hildene-Brown Lincoln Essay Competition forms part of an ongoing joint effort by the Brown University Library and Hildene to promote the legacy of Abraham Lincoln.

Peter Harrington’s article, “Robert Gibb (1845-1932), historical genre and portrait painter,” was published in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

Dan O’Mahony
June 22, 2011

May 9 11

Library Highlights from OPG, vol. 1, no. 5

by Jean M. Rainwater

Library-wide Activities

The spring semester and the upcoming close of the academic year prompted a number of key library-wide activities over the past month. Annual performance reviews were conducted for all exempt and non-exempt/non-union staff. As staff and supervisors develop goals for the upcoming year, these will be incorporated into the University’s newly revised Performance Development Program (PDP) form. Training will be available soon from University HR on use of the new form. Departmental operating budgets also were developed and reviewed in preparation for the FY 2012 budget.

Business Continuity Plan

The University is updating its business continuity plan; this is a planning effort begun last year to help departments plan for how to prepare for and respond to any emergency or disaster that might close all or parts of the campus, with a goal of ensuring continuation of essential functions for students, faculty, and staff. Jennifer Betts and Dan O’Mahony are coordinating the development of the Library’s plan. OPG discussed aspects of the plan including policies and procedures relating to storm closings and notifications. Jennifer and Dan will be meeting with Library departments to gather information for inclusion in the Library’s plan.

Library Space Planning Study

OPG also reviewed and discussed the objectives and top-level recommendations of the Library Space Planning Study (also shared at the March 10 all-staff meeting). The Space Planning Study team has not yet issued its report to the Provost. As part of its general review of Library operations, OPG discussed the density of the stacks in the Rock. Data gathered and analyzed by the Shelving Unit has been enormously helpful in mapping the overall density of the bookstacks and pointing out the areas where the stacks are especially crowded.

Discovery Tools

Several demonstrations of discovery tools, including Serials Solutions Summon, EBSCO EDS, and VuFind (open source), were conducted this past month as well as a number of interview sessions with students regarding their use of discovery tools like these. OPG and the RDSRG (Resource Discovery Systems Review Group) soon will convene to discuss the feedback and will decide how to proceed.

From Special Collections

A Few Numbers

For FY ‘11, Reader Services registered a total of 2,168 visitors, which represents a drop of 19% over last year. Archives and Manuscripts had requests for 7,870 items, and 254 visitors for the same time period.

Since January, 43 classes showcasing special collections have met at the John Hay, and 5 classes have met regularly in the building.

Over 26,000 special collections items have been sent to the Annex since July, 2010; this represents a combination of transfers and newly cataloged titles. As part of this project, Archives and Manuscripts staff has moved an estimated 1,070 linear feet to the Annex.

John Hay Centennial

The John Hay Centennial events were a focal point of the fall semester and beginning of the spring semester. Starting with the Bell Gallery exhibit “Pictures from the Hay: Celebrating the John Hay Library at 100,” Aug. 22 through Nov. 16, it culminated with the March 17 talk Information and Knowledge in an Age of Technology by Vartan Gregorian, followed by a reception in the Reading Room, accompanied by an exhibit on the history of printing installed by the Curators and Richard Noble in the Gammell Room and the North Gallery. Other events included a “gallery talk” held by the curators around the Bell Gallery exhibit during Parents’ weekend. Doctor Gregorian’s presentation is available at

Updates to the print and online versions of the History and Guide to Special Collections were completed; spearheaded by University Librarian, Harriette Hemmasi, the editing and selection of illustrations was completed by Sam Streit, former Director of Special Collections; Ben Tyler of the Center for Digital Initiatives is responsible for the final production. Curators participated in the editing of the text which documents the preeminent collections in the John Hay Library. The online edition of the guide is available at

Outreach and Reference

Three short presentations were held this semester as part of the series “Focus on special collections,” launched by Ann Dodge last year: Copernicus and Galileo, Botanical Illustrations and Archives and Artifacts.

Some class research projects focusing on archives and manuscripts and an upcoming class reunion required extensive assistance from Ray Butti, Tim Engels or Gayle Lynch and Jennifer Betts:

  • Brown: Writing the Archives (Butti/Betts)
  • Displaying Activism Then and Now: Making an Exhibition for Social Justice (Engels)
  • History of Intercollegiate Athletics (Butti)
  • Museums in their Communities (Butti/Betts)
  • Extensive assistance provided to the Class of 1961 for their upcoming reunion (Lynch)

Various exhibits were organized:

  • Ray Butti and Jennifer Betts assisted Humanities students with their Manning Hall (Haffenreffer Museum) exhibit “Seeing Ourselves, Showing Ourselves: Brown’s Culture on Display” which opened on May 3
  • Rosemary Cullen recently installed an exhibit in the North Gallery about Keith Waldrop which will be open through May 8 and organized a poetry reading with reception on May 4.
  • Also in April, Rosemary Cullen and Tim Engels assisted students in the seminar “Displaying Activism Then and Now” in organizing an exhibit which used a large number of materials from the Hall-Hoag Collection
  • Ann Dodge worked with three students to identify anatomical illustrations for the Science Center’s first curated exhibit which opened on May 2nd at the Sciences Library. The exhibit, The Art of Anatomy, is “to display the rich history and evolution of the collaborative world of art and science”.
  • Ian Straughn and UTRA recipient, Evelyn Ansel ‘11.5, set up the exhibit in the Bopp Room, “Qur’anic Manuscripts of the Early Islamic World”.

Other events:

  • On Friday April 29, Jennifer Betts hosted a reading and book signing by Florence Howe at the Pembroke Center.
  • Late March, Peter Harrington represented the Library at an event sponsored by the Brown University Club of the UK at the British Library which included a tour of the Garibaldi panorama on the Surface project and a short talk by Provost Kertzer.

Selected New Acquisitions

Of note are several new collections, recently acquired by Special Collections by purchase or donation:

George Zollinger Collection of Comics (gift). Over 7700 items from the 1990s on, thus complementing and extending the Ciaraldi Collection. Extensive Excel and html file came with the collection and will be used to provide access to its content.

Michael Gizzi Papers (purchase). Papers of the recently deceased poet, a Brown BA and MFA in writing. Many connections to Library holdings, including correspondence and galleys in the Burning Deck Archive.

Martha and Waitstill Sharp Collection (gift of the Joukowsky family). Papers on the war refugee work of Martha Sharp Cogan (Pembroke 1926) and Rev. Waitstill Sharp, parents of Martha Sharp Joukowsky and co-founders of the Unitarian Service Committee, received from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Poetry Center of Chicago Broadsides (gift of John Dangora, class of 1986). 67 broadsides, examples of contemporary poetry in finely printed editions.

Royal Theatre Collection (gift of Mrs. Alveretta Murphy). Fine small collection documenting an early motion picture theatre in Providence, with many materials illuminating aspects of civic life in Rhode Island in the late teens and early 20s.

David Calvin Reynolds Heisser Collection of Heraldica (gift of David Heisser). Collection of heraldry materials containing printed materials, casts of seals, ephemera, illustrations of coats of arms and photographs of seals.

Millennium Implementation

As part of the Millennium Implementation, Reader Services staff members are now checking out items for classes, exhibits, digital imaging and loans through the online system rather than manually. Materials being consulted in the reading room are being routinely checked out to holders of Brown and RISD IDs. Service to the public at-large will require the design and preparation of procedures for holders of non-Brown, non-RISD IDs.

Staff at the John Hay service points have been trained to create item records, patron records and on the fly records, and to insert notes, messages and barcodes.

Currently, the Millennium Implementation Group, composed of Alison Bundy, Bonnie Buzzell, Ann Dodge, Shelley Lonergan and Gretchen Yealy is addressing workflows and procedures for archives and manuscripts in consultation with Jennifer Betts and Tim Engels.

NHPRC Basic Processing grant

Christopher Geissler, National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) Project Archivist, has so far surveyed online access for 1,206 manuscript collections and 173 archival collections. A physical survey of 372 manuscript collections has been completed to-date. Preparation for importing legacy data from the separate Manuscripts and Archives accession databases has begun. Testing of the Archivists’ Toolkit and creation of best practices guidelines for dealing with the full range of legacy data are in process.

Transfers to Annex

In preparation for the renovation of the John Hay Library and for reaching the goal of 85% stacks capacity, Special Collections has prepared a two-year plan for identifying and selecting items to be transferred to the Annex. Working with colleagues in Technical Services, Preservation and ITS, Special Collections has begun a systematic transfer of materials which will average 3,200 items a month. This includes physical volumes as well as boxes of archives and manuscripts. Materials to be transferred include cataloged items as well as items in need of cataloging. Cataloged collections currently being transferred include: the Military Collection, Starred Books, Harris 76-01 and selected Smith Magic titles. The cataloging of the Saklad Collection on Anaesthesiology and of most of the Migueis Collection (Portuguese and Brazilian Studies) has been completed and individual items are now searchable in Josiah. Work is proceeding on some Lincoln-related materials, Smith Magic Collection, Starred Books and the backlog of the Lovecraft Collection.

In preparation for the renovation of the first floor of the John Hay, all items on the shelves of the reading room have been reviewed. The Williams Table was moved from the main reading room to the stacks and all reference titles for general reference, Harris and Lincoln have been marked for withdrawal, transfer to the Annex or transfer to the stacks.

Staff News

Jennifer Betts provided EAD training to 15 archivists, librarians, and graduate students at Salve Regina University in January 2011. Jennifer was also one of the committee members serving on the New England Archivists’ spring meeting local arrangements, which was held in April on the Brown campus.

Karen Bouchard attended the ARLIS/VRA joint national conference at the very end of March.

Patricia Figueroa attended the annual meeting of the board of directors of the International Institute of Spain held at MIT

Late March, Peter Harrington represented the Library at an event sponsored by the Brown University Club of the UK at the British Library which included a tour of the Garibaldi panorama on the Surface project and a short talk by Provost Kertzer. Peter also wrote six entries for the forthcoming Encyclopedia of Media and Propaganda in Wartime America (ABC-CLIO, 2011) and a book review of Art and War by Laura Brandon, to be published in War in History, Vol. 18, No. 1 (January 2011), pp. 140-141.

Bill Monroe presented a paper called “Born a Saint by the Will of God: An Eighth-Century Contest over Sanctity” as part of a colloquium at Columbia University on April 7.

Ned Quist presented a talk entitled “The James Koetting Ghana Field Recordings Collection: an Exercise in Patience” on April 14 at NERCOMP in Norwood, MA for a session on digital audio and video chaired by Patrick Yott. He also attended a WALDO showcase for streaming video vendors at Lesley University in Cambridge on April 13.

Holly Snyder is coordinating the 2nd Hildene-Brown Lincoln Essay Competition which is part of an ongoing joint effort by the Brown University Library and Hildene to promote public knowledge of the life and legacy of Abraham Lincoln. Holly presented a conference paper: “Roger Williams, English Law and Religious Tolerance: A Jew’s Eye View of the Southern New England Colonies, 1677-1798,” 3rd Biennial Roger Williams University Conference on Religion and the State (Bristol, Rhode Island), April 2, 2011. She will also have a chapter published in the 2011 forthcoming publication by Routledge: “Navigating the Jewish Atlantic: The State of the Field and Opportunities for New Research,” in William O’Reilly (ed.), The Atlantic World: 1400-1850.

Dominique Coulombe
May 9, 2011

Apr 6 11

Library Highlights from OPG, vol. 1, no. 4

by Jean M. Rainwater

Search Updates:

Several search committees are working hard to identify good candidates for a number of positions, some of which are newly designed positions. Active searches include:

  • AUL for Research and Outreach Services
  • Resource Acquisition and Management Librarian
  • Library Materials Conservator
  • Manuscripts Processing Archivist
  • Digital Humanities Librarian
  • Library Communications & Stewardship Specialist
  • E-Science Librarian
  • Digital Repository Manager


Most of Integrated Technology Services (Jean Rainwater’s group) and some of the Center for Digital Scholarship staff (including the Women Writers Project, Elli Mylonas, and Andy Ashton) have relocated to the 14th floor of the Science Library. Please stop by and check out the space!

From Digital Technologies:

A few recent items from Digital Technologies:

The Center for Digital Scholarship has installed a new digital camera capture system, thanks to a generous donor. The new system, now setup in 217 (within 218), combines a high-quality, vertically mounted camera and lens with a state-of-the-art 80-megapixel digital back from Leaf (now owned by Phase One). For digital captures of medium-sized prints and other materials, the new camera provides a much improved and much quicker workflow; images can be created in seconds rather than minutes. The previous scan back system (in 202) will be retained for larger materials, or in cases when more resolution is required.

CDS also hosted a couple of speakers in the past few months:
David Smith (UMass Amherst): “Infrastructure for Digital Humanities: Challenges for Computational Linguistics in Mining Million Book Collections” and Jean Bauer (University of Virginia): “Republicans of Letters: Historical Social Networks and The Early American Foreign Service Database.” Both talks were well attended by a variety of students, faculty, and library staff, and generated a lot of good discussion.

Bonnie Buzzell and Ted Lawless will present “The Next Step: “Locate This” about the Josiah book locator at the Innovative Users Group Meeting in San Francisco in April.

Birkin Diana presented “Enriching the digital junk drawer” at the Personal Digital Archiving workshop in San Francisco in February.

Elli Mylonas and Andy Ashton participated in a weekend workshop in February at Boston University about automated interdisciplinary subject tagging of humanities texts.

Michael Park and Andy Ashton attended the Open Annotation Collaboration workshop in Chicago in March. Andy presented, “Annotating Digital Texts at Brown University Library,” an overview of plans for building annotation/tagging tools for digital objects in the Brown Digital Repository.

Andy Ashton presented at the Nercomp Conference here in Providence. He discussed a planned collaborative project for a digital publishing service based at Brown. The talk was entitled, “The TAPAS Project: Creating a Shared Service for Digital Humanities Projects Using TEI.”

The Women Writers Project will host the fourth annual “Women in the Archives” Conference April 15-16, 2011. Keynote lecture by Laurie Crumpacker, Simmons College: “Teaching the New American Renaissance and Margaret Fuller.” Please consider attending!

Julia Flanders participated in a panel, “New Ways to Use Archival Data” at the New England Archivists’ conference this past weekend. Birkin Diana also presented a version of his “Enriching the digital junk drawer” talk at the NEA conference.


A number of web planning groups have re-convened to take a look at the long term management and development of the library web presence. The groups, led by Jean Rainwater, Sarah Bordac, and Daniel O’Mahoney will develop plans for assessing, updating, and managing the library web.

We have hosted several demonstrations of discovery tools, including Serials Solutions Summon, EBSCO EDS, and VuFind (open source). Additionally, Sarah Bordac and Jean Rainwater have had a number of interviews with students regarding their use of discovery tools like these. OPG and the RSDRG will convene to discuss the demos and student feedback and will decide how to proceed. Thanks to everyone for their great feedback.

In February, 344 people used moBUL, performing some 8400 queries. 44% connected with iPhones, 20% Blackberry, and 17% Android. 171 users performed some 5700 catalog searches. Other popular services were Hours/Locations (93 people, 605 queries), My Account (80 people, 240 queries), and Mobile Research (52 people, 97 queries). Unfortunately we don’t have data for the number of people who checked for Available Computers.

Andrew Ashton
Director of Digital Technologies
Brown University Library
April 4, 2011