Thursday, March 19, 2015

Travel and Publicity

The Cover of Whiting's
Travel Journal
So in the past couple weeks (interrupted by Spring Break), I spent time cross-checking the PR files with the Finding Aid for them in Word, which some of the interns last summer compiled. It's incredibly detailed and I only made a few additions - they did a really good job! Since then, I've been reading and researching a travel journal written in 1898 by Kate Burr Draper Whiting. I just finished reading and taking notes on it today and it's incredibly fascinating. Whiting, around 60 years old at the time, took a two and a half month long "cruise" with her husband and two of her sons. They traveled to an incredibly amount of places, including Spain, France, Tunisia, Algeria, Jerusalem, Lebanon, Istanbul, Greece, Italy, and Egypt. Two of the most interesting part of the journal are the fact that it is typed (probably by a typewriter, which would become fully standardized ten years after Whiting's trip) and the multitude of photographs taken. Over 100 photographs line the pages of Whiting's journal. In 1888, George Eastman invented the Kodak camera, which allowed anyone to take a photograph while allowing others to process that photograph. In 1901, the Kodak Brownie became mass produced for the general population. While the Brownie was released after Whiting's trip and she does not refer to the process she used to take the photographs, I think the photography alters her narrative - not only did I get to read in great detail about the places, but I was able to see them as well. Pretty cool in my opinion!!
Street and Marketplace in Jerusalem

One of the Egyptian Pyramids
and a Camel
After this, I will be fully processing and organizing a Finding Aid for this journal. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading it so far because of my dual love for history and travel, and look forward to completing more research on its author. Simultaneously, I will continue to work on re-housing the negatives from the PR Group, which will show me more of the College's history. As the second half of the semester launches, I look forward to more interesting work within Special Collections and Archives!

Monday, March 16, 2015

So Many Choices!

As the semester progresses, I have been working on many little projects to get a feel for the different aspects of reference librarianship.  One of the projects that I just finished working on was a collections development project, in which I got to work closer with one of our reference librarians, Kerri.  Collection development is an ongoing process, for there are always more books being written and published.

First, Kerri had me work with the McNaughton collection, which is housed in the library’s browsing room.  Each month, a list is published that includes all of the titles that will become available to be acquired for a collection.  I was able to look at the May 2015 collection.  There were so many titles, but of course the library does not have room for them all! It was so hard to narrow down the list from over eighty to twenty-five.  In the end, I looked for a wide variety of genres and viewpoints, as well as other factors such as the author and how popular the book was.  It made me realize how much thought and effort goes into developing a collection.

Additionally, I looked through a list that is published by the group Indie Bound, which highlights titles that were published by indie publishers.  With this list, I had to do some deeper research because there is no synopsis with the titles, so I looked up the book for its content and also for the reviews.   It was hard to separate my own personal interests in order to make decision that would benefit the community, but in the end I got the hang of it.

I really liked this project because it allowed me to see a different side of the library! Below are some titles to look forward to in our collection!


Thursday, March 5, 2015

Keeping busy!

I have been keeping very busy in Special Collections!  I just finished a project combing some papers that had initially been separated.  One box was intended to be department papers, while the other was supposed to be personal papers.  I talked with some of the staff and we decided that it would be best to combine the papers, as they have a lot of common information that would be good to have in one place.  That collection is finally complete and it feels great to have my first full project all done!

The day I finished this project I got to talking with the book conservation specialist.  Since I have been in Special Collections I have been interested in learning a bit more about this field.  It was really cool to learn about some different ways rare books were bound and what kinds of attributes makes them special.  She told me about some of the rare books the college has and what kind of work she generally does to preserve and repair them.  I also got to learn a little bit about the projects that students were working on.  Some of the students are working on creating special boxes for rare books.  These boxes will have a rounded edge, which is not something normally done.  They chose to do this because the books are quite beautiful and rare and they wanted the boxes to reflect that.  I love having the opportunity to learn about things like this!

Today I got introduced to a new project I will be working on likely on and off for the rest of the semester.  I am going to work to identify people in photographs from the Theatre Arts Department's past productions.  This will be an awesome project because I can work with the theatre arts materials, which is something I am really interested in as a theatre arts minor.  I'm eager to be working with with digital collections for the first time, and excited to reach out to alum as a resource to help identify people in pictures.  There will certainly be more posts about my progress with this project!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Time for my second post!

So I have fully processed the Leo Jarboe Collection. At some point, my draft finding aid will be read and edited and will eventually go online. To top of finishing the collection (or so I thought at that point), Melanie and I took a little trip to New Oxford (about a 20-minute drive) to meet Leo Jarboe. It felt so surreal to meet a man whose papers I had been going through for the past month. We talked about his adventures on the USS Callaghan (DD-792), his life after World War II, and his family. In addition, he donated more documents to Special Collections, which means I added more to the finding aid and more to the boxes! Thankfully, the extra documents fit nicely into the folders I had already set up.

I also finished putting some College Publications into their correct locations. These publications originate from various departments around the College and are filed away according to that department. I did have to create a few new folders and figure out how to hyperlink in Excel (which I never knew how to do before.)

Now, I commence on a big project dealing with the saved public relations documents and photographs of Gettysburg College. So far, I have been re-housing all of the old negative sheets from the late 1960s and early 1970s. Some of the negatives feature what the College looked like during those times. There was no Quarry Buildings, Musselman Library, or the new Athletic Center, and Apple Annex was being built. Even while re-housing a collection, I learned information about the College's history. I can't imagine the buildings currently here not here, so it's very interesting to see them "not here" visually!

I think I learn something new every day, whether it's about Gettysburg's Special Collections and Archives specifically, archival work in general, or new information about a person, place, or department I did not know before. Even moving old negatives to a new, protective sheet teaches me about something I did not know before. While it's hard to believe that the semester is almost halfway over, I look forward to learning more!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

 Hello! On Tuesday I finally finished processing and organizing my first collection.  On the left is my finished product, all labeled and organized.  Processing this collection was a very enjoyable experience for me--I feel that I am the expert on this collection.  Throughout the process it was sometimes difficult to know how to group some of the items.  Certain things, like meeting minutes, are easy to group together.  Some things like handwritten notes or various articles are more difficult to group.  If the notes contain a wide variation in subject matter, it might be better to group them into several groups according to subject.  However, if there are only a few pages of notes, it might be easier to group them together and indicate their subject matter on the folder in which they are placed.
 On the left is how my work space looked as I was learning how to group all the items in this collection.  Sometimes pieces of the collection were grouped in a way that seemed intentional, even if the items did not go together.  For instance, I had a folder for memoranda, but occasionally a single memorandum would be placed with a document that it referenced.  I would then try and keep those items together, even though they could hypothetically go in different places.  Then a person looking through the memoranda would not have to search through the collection to find a specific document referenced in a memorandum.  I also tried to group memoranda and meeting minutes chronologically so the collection would be more user-friendly.
A good deal of my time was spent removing staples and paperclips.  I did not realize this before, but staples can rust relatively quickly.  This collection is, at most, 30 years old.  To the left is an example of the damage a staple caused to one of the documents in the collection.  Staples and paper clips can also cause a lot of clutter.  If many packets are stapled it makes the folder very thick in some places and thinner in others.  Removing such items allows the folders to be much more neat and organized.  If it is necessary we can replace metal paperclips or staples with plastic clips.  This prevents document damage.  It also helps keep small documents that might move around from getting lost.

Currently I am working on finishing the finding aid for this record group.  The finding aid will assist any user of this record group by telling them about the collection and what materials are in what folders.  Hopefully I will be able to complete it by the end of the week and be able to move on to my next project!

Categorizing History

Since my last blog post, I have become more familiar with the desk and have begun to answer questions that are more in depth and make use of the reference skills that I have been learning.  This week, I have even started working the desk by myself!  I was a little nervous at first, but once I had my first patron, I realized that I felt confident in what I had learned in my training and I was able to help!

Aside from familiarizing myself with the desk, I have started working on a project which has me redesigning the History Libguides page.  I researched into the libguides of other schools to get a sense of how different schools were organizing their databases in the most efficient, user-friendly manner.  After getting a sense of what works and what did not, I have started designing a new page, incorporating what I have learned from my research.

In organizing this new page, I have discovered that there are so many amazing databases that Musselman library subscribes to that not many students know about or can easily find.  I am attempting to design the new page so that the students doing historical research will have easy access to these numerous databases, in the hopes that they find the best information we can offer.  It was a bit of a struggle to categorize the variety of databases so that it is clear to researchers where to find the information they need.  Some of the new categories will include searching by time period or by region. 

Hopefully soon the page will be ready to be tested by students or other librarians so that we can move forward with the redesign! 


Thursday, February 12, 2015

Hi I'm Abby - the last of three Fortenbaugh Interns to post! I am a senior with a History major and Political Science and Anthropology minors and I hail from Kokomo, Indiana. I am so excited to be working in Special Collections - I love working with history first-hand! Here's a brief write-up of what I have completed so far in my time on the 4th Floor.

 I am currently processing an incredibly interesting individual collection, donated to Special Collections by Mr. Leo Jarboe of New Oxford, PA. So far, I have gone through all of the many miscellaneous papers, articles, images, and other items of Mr. Jarboe’s. I organized them into cohesive groups and filed them into boxes, series, and folders. Since then, I have almost fully written a finding aid to help future researchers understand the collection. Mr. Jarboe has lived a fascinating life – at 18 years old, he served as a gunner in World War II on the destroyer USS Callaghan.  While on the ship, his crew shot down a kamikaze plane. One member from the kamikaze plane survived the attack and its aftermath and the Callaghan rescued him. Fifty years later, that survivor, Kaoru Hasegawa, completed some research and was put into contact with Mr. Jarboe. Mr. Hasegawa then came to the United States and went to a Callaghan survivor’s reunion!

 In addition, my fellow intern Melanie completed an oral history project with Mr. Jarboe last year. Between his donated papers and the transcript of Melanie’s interview with him, I feel like I know Mr. Jarboe. It amazes me that someone we could pass on the street every day has such interesting stories to tell. 
The Collection at its beginning! 
Going through the many documents and organizing them into folders.