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Library Highlights, Volume 1, Number 8

by Jean M. Rainwater on November 3rd, 2011

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.

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