Library Highlights from OPG, vol. 1, no. 5
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.
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 http://www.brown.edu/web/multimedia/gregorian.html
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 http://library.brown.edu/guide/
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”.
- 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.
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.
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.
May 9, 2011