In this issue:
The retrospective conversion of bibliographic records for the Harris collection was finally completed in the spring of 2008. The end of the Harris project also marked the conclusion of a decades-long effort to convert all our paper catalog cards to MARC records. With the completion of recon, we can at last say that Cornell’s vast bibliographic resources are represented by electronic records accessible throughout the world.
The Harris collection was named for George Harris, Cornell’s second librarian. Many of the Harris books were part of the great collections that comprised the early Cornell University Library, donated by Andrew Dickson White and other nineteenth-century scholarly benefactors such as Charles Anthon, Goldwin Smith, Jared Sparks, and Willard Fiske. Little-known nineteenth-century primary sources in European history, American history, classics, English literature, and linguistics are among its many treasures. The Raeto-Romanic titles (works in a small group of languages spoken in the Engadine region of Switzerland and parts of northern Italy) are particularly rare. Also included were a group of several dozen posters and broadsides documenting the 1871 Paris Commune, a collection of early pamphlets on the formation and development of American libraries, and a collection of photographs of antiquities and scenes of everyday life in late nineteenth-century Egypt.
But the collection’s singularity was not limited to its intellectual value. Created at a time when each successive university librarian would typically devise his or her own classification scheme, these books were classified according to a system set up by George Harris. The classification arranged titles numerically by subject and, within each subject, by author, title, or both. The unique contents and classification scheme meant that standard LC cards were not available (or not used); thus, many of the Harris catalog cards were handwritten. In the 1940s and 1950s, as CUL converted its holdings to the Library of Congress Classification system, Harris books were set aside. Indeed, for many years they were not even represented in the Library’s union card catalog, but only in a separate file. Although thousands of Harris books were eventually reclassified in LC, a core of books remained to be processed. They represented cataloging conundrums or were in unusual formats such as matted photographs. A sizeable number consisted of many unrelated titles bound together, a headache for catalogers and modern circulation systems alike.
We are grateful to Liz Muller for finally closing the book (as it were) on this seemingly endless project. But Liz was only the last of a cadre of CUL staff who have worked to bring these items under more-standard bibliographic control. The most recent push to clear the final vestiges of the Harris collection began a few years ago, when Marge Robinson put most of the remaining Rare Harris titles online. A few shelves of stubborn “problem books” remained and were finally converted by Cecilia Sercan and Roswitha Clark. Liz stepped in to complete one of the messiest parts of the project, the “bound-with” volumes. Congratulations to her and to all CUL staff, both past and present, who have helped bring awareness of these riches to the Cornell community and the world.
Ken Bolton has started up the Nestlé Library blog, Hospitality Insight. To subscribe to the blog, follow the instructions on the Subscribe tab.
Karen Brummund, of the Fine Arts Library, is on leave this semester to teach drawing and digital media arts at the University of Rochester.
Kaila Bussert, the specal projects librarian in Olin/Uris CRIO, was recently interviewed by Library Journal Academic Newswire. In the article, entitled “Maybe No Palm d’Or This Year, but Cornell U. Library Videos Earn Raves,” Kaila discusses a series of library instructional videos that CRIO has posted on YouTube. Nine videos are currently loaded on the Library’s Olin Channel on YouTube.
In August, Virginia Cole and Lance Heidig, reference and instruction librarians in Olin/Uris CRIO, attended a conference in Denver entitled Reference Renaissance: Current and Future Trends. Lance and Virginia both presented. Virginia’s presentation was “News from the Front: Effects of QuestionPoint’s IM Widget on Chat Traffic.” Lance’s presentation, “Becoming Ambient: Finding Reference Services and Me (Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Library 2.0),” earned him a mention in the Lib(e)rary blog.
Congratulations go to Carla DeMello for her unique and inspiring design of the Library’s annual report for 2007. It won a design Award of Excellence from the University and College Designers Association (UCDA) in the category of annual/donor report. Writers on the project were Ellen Marsh and Chris Philipp. The judges of the 38th annual design competition evaluated 1,600 print entries, granting an Award of Excellence to 178 of them. The report will be on display, along with the other winners, at UCDA’s annual conference this fall.
In July, Susette Newberry, the outreach librarian in Olin/Uris CRIO, attended the Sixth International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities, held in Istanbul, Turkey. She presented a paper on the VIVO Humanities project entitled “Representing Others: Challenges in Developing a Database of Research in the Humanities.” Held at Fatih University, the conference brought together international scholars to present and discuss issues that affect scholarship in the humanities with an emphasis on literature, communication, frames of reference, globalism and cross-cultural encounters, and practical aspects of humanities scholarship (including the role of libraries and other cultural institutions).
Virgilio Pinto has become a U.S. citizen. The staff of the Fine Arts Library celebrated the event with a party and presentation of a banner signed by all.
Staci Rogers has left the Nestlé Library to accept the position of director of collection services at the Four County Library System, in Vestal, where she will have the opportunity to provide library services to a much larger constituency.
In August, ARL held its second biannual Conference on Library Assessment, called Building Effective, Sustainable, Practical Assessment, in Seattle. CUL participated with three presentations. Xin Li, the assistant university librarian for strategic initiatives and then director of RAU, presented as part of a panel on assessment plans. Xin Li, Ellie Buckley, who was a member of RAU and has since left Cornell, and Kornelia Tancheva, the director of Olin and Uris Libraries, presented a paper analysing data from the automated reference reporting system called “Systematic Quantitative and Qualitative Reference Transaction Assessment: An Approach for Service Improvements.” Zsuzsa Koltay, the director of RAU, and Kornelia Tancheva presented a paper on using personas as an assessment tool, called “Personas and a User-Centered Visioning Process.”
Song of the Vine: A History of Wine. The exhibition continues through January 16, 2009, in the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Carl A. Kroch Library, Monday-Friday, 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.; Saturday, 1:00-5:00 pm.You can also see Song of the Vine online.
Kid’s Corner, the Children’s Reading Program at the Adelson Library at the Lab of Ornithology will begin a new season on Thursday, September 18, at 4:00 p.m. Every third Thursday of the month during the academic year, the Adelson Library presents a book reading aimed at children in grades kindergarten through fifth grade followed by a hands-on activity. This year’s reading will begin with Today at the Bluebird Café, by Deborah Ruddell, illustrated by Joan Rankin. This vibrant collection of poems captures the unique personalities of birds from blue jays to toucans to cockatoos. Then the children will create a collage of poetry and artwork to be displayed in the Adelson Library. To view the complete list of books they will be reading, visit the library Web site, and bring your young friends.
Scholarly Communication Conferences. September 25-29 and November 7-8.
CUL is one of the sponsors of the Intermedial Literature Forum, which was inspired by a CUL faculty grants collaboration with the Cornell Institute for German Studies and the University of Bremen. The second forum, on humanities publishing, is co-organized by CUL and the Society for the Humanities. Both are open to the Cornell community without registration.
DLF Themes: Extending Ourselves. Presentation by Peter Brantley. Friday, September 26, 10:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m. Kroch 2B48. All CUL employees are invited. Mr. Brantley is the executive director of the Digital Library Federation (DLF), a not-for-profit international association of libraries and allied institutions. In the past year, the number of U.S. mobile subscribers with 3G devices has grown by 80 percent, to 64.2 million users. This talk explores the transformations possible with information access through mobile computing and, more importantly, the new conceptions of how we—as individuals—expect to be able to interact with our world and our community through technology.
Useful Void: The Virtue of Forgetting in the Digital Age. Presentation by Professor Viktor Mayer-Schönberger. Wednesday, October 1, 4:00 p.m. 301 College Ave. Professor Mayer-Schönberger is the director the new Information and Innovation Policy Research Center at the National University of Singapore. As humans, we have the capacity to remember and to forget. For millennia, remembering was hard and forgetting easy. By default, we would forget. Digital technology has inverted this situation. Today, because of affordable storage, effortless retrieval, and global access, remembering has become the default for us individually and for society as a whole. This talk analyzes the shift and its consequences.
Celebrating the Origins of Hip Hop. Conference, Friday and Saturday, October 31 and November 1. Free and open to the public. Afrika Bambaataa and other pioneers of hip hop will travel to Ithaca to speak at this two-day conference celebrating CUL’s acquisition of “Born in the Bronx: The Legacy and Evolution of Hip Hop,” a collection that documents the early days of hip hop with recordings, photographs, posters, and more. CUL will highlight the one-of-a-kind historical materials.
Events will include music, performances, and lectures by several of hip hop’s founders and roundtable discussions led by prominent speakers from the hip hop and academic communities. Bambaataa will address the symposium on Friday, October 31, as part of a roundtable discussion featuring other hip hop pioneers such as Grandmaster Caz, Grandwizzard Theodore, Popmaster Fable, Tony Tone, Disco Wiz, and Kool Lady Blue. Select artists will also perform in Alice Statler Hall that evening. Noted hip hop historians will also speak at the event, including authors Jeff Chang and Mark Anthony Neal, an associate professor of Black popular culture at Duke University. Hip hop photographer Joe Conzo will present his historic images of the Bronx.
Johan Kugelberg, a collector, curator, and writer in the field of popular culture, donated the materials to the Library. Kugelberg’s book, Born in the Bronx, chronicles the evolution of hip hop in the South Bronx from its beginning in the early 1970s. The 2,000-piece collection includes the archive of Bronx photographer Joe Conzo, vinyl records and other recordings, handmade party and club fliers, and custom-painted textiles by artist Buddy Esquire.
Visit the collection Web site for more information.
Statler Hall Tower Renovation Project—Don Schnedeker
The construction phase of our much-anticipated Statler Hall Tower renovation project has begun! This vertical expansion above the Statler Auditorium will add new office and program space to house our centers and institutes (i.e., the Center for Hospitality Research, the Pillsbury Institute for Hospitality Entrepreneurship, and Real Estate studies). The project includes the construction of an additional floor to create a multipurpose area. The project is scheduled for completion in December 2009.
Work began the last week in August. The sidewalk will be closed from the library entrance of Statler Hall on East Avenue to the corner of Campus Road, and around the corner along Campus Road to Statler Drive. With the start of demolition in mid-September, Campus Road will be closed from East Avenue to Statler Drive/Hoy Road for four to six weeks. Throughout demolition and construction, we will experience considerable noise inside Statler Hall, especially in Statler Auditorium and the Nestlé Library.
Much of the staging for this construction project will impact the Nestlé Library. Our media room, public computing area, and a portion of the quiet study room will be part of the construction zone. We have been moving books, furniture, computers, and other equipment to accommodate the construction team. I expect the library to be open and continue to serve “Hotelies” during the course of the project.
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