Bookbinding with Brien Beidler at the Charleston Library Society ~ Part II

In August, with Brien’s help, I was able to construct two blank journals using the German four piece case method, in full-cloth, using different headbands (one sewn and one pasted in), and two different end-sheet structures. A thorough explanation of the German Case (or Bradel) Binding can be found here: http://www.philobiblon.com/casebd.shtml

As Brien was instructing me, I tried to take notes, but I also wanted to focus as closely as possible on what he was showing me. So fortunately, James was taking more detailed notes on the same steps and he was kind enough to share them with me. They are charmingly illustrated in his own blank journal that he had made not too long ago. Here is an example:

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What follows below is a series of photos with brief descriptions documenting what I made during my time spent with Brien,  James, and Wren at the Library Society of Charleston.

Bertha the Board Shears

Bertha the Board Shears

This is truly an indispensable tool. It makes both trimming and making sure your work is square a breeze. Some of the most important things I learned during the four days I spent with Brien is how essential it is to make sure everything is square and to be as precise as possible, to not rush, and to take your time to do things carefully the first time. Bookbinding should not be rushed. It is not a sprint and each step should be considered and and enjoyed.

 

Endsheets with airplane linen hinges

Endsheets with airplane linen hinges

Two stacks of signatures ready to be pressed

Two stacks of signatures ready to be pressed

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Pressing the signatures

Pressing the signatures

My signatures under the weight of a book press

Setting up the sewing frame & sewing the signatures

Setting up the sewing frame

Sewing the spine on linen tapes with straight stitches and kettle stitches at the heads and tails

Sewing the signatures on linen tapes with straight stitches, and kettle stitches at the heads and tails

Sewing the spine on linen tapes with straight stitches and kettle stitches at the heads and tails

Sewing two books at a time

Setting up to round the spine in the Job Backer

Setting up to round the spine which was by far the most difficult part of the whole process. Perhaps one day, with lots of opportunity to practice, I will get the hang of it.

A better view of the Job Backer (sorry I forgot to take photos of the French backing hammer and the English backing hammer)

A better view of the Job Backer (sorry I forgot to take photos of the French backing hammer and the English backing hammer)

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Hand sewn two-color end bands

Hand sewn two-color end band

With red & blue silk floss for the Spiders!

Sewing the signatures and the end bands were my favorite parts of the entire bookbinding process. Perhaps it is because I felt the most comfortable with a needle in my hand. Or perhaps it is my sheer love of textiles and needlework. After years of carefully studying and stitching reproduction 17th, 18th, and 19th century needlework samplers, I was happy to translate my skills into book making. It is no surprise to me that traditionally women in a bindery would be found at the sewing frame.

Two different styles of hand made end bands

Two different styles of hand made end bands

Straining the paste -- an example of when the master learns from the apprentice. Thanks, James!

Straining the paste — an example of when the master learns from the apprentice. Thanks, James!

Pasting down the cloth to the boards. You can see the “four pieces” of the German case binding: the boards, the book cloth for the covering, the connecting strip, and the spine stiffener, clearly in this photo.

Pasting down the cloth to the boards. You can see the “four pieces” of the German case binding: the boards, the book cloth for the covering, the connecting strip, and the spine stiffener, clearly in this photo.

Two cases (interior)

Two cases (interior)

Two cases (exterior)

Two cases (exterior)

Here is Brien showing off his experiment using the airplane linen as the exterior book cloth. We both thought it turned out very nice especially once it was dry. You can see a photo of the finished book on Brien’s blog: http://brienbeidler.com/

Here is Brien showing off his “experiment” using the airplane linen as the exterior book cloth. He worked on his own book while I worked on my two. We both thought his book turned out very nice, especially once it was dry. You can see a photo of the finished book on Brien’s blog: http://brienbeidler.com/

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My completed books

I am so grateful to Brien for allowing me into his workspace for several days and for his willingness to share some of his knowledge and experience with me.

 

August 2014

towerBWThe new Academic school year of 2014-2015 has started. There is a hint of cooler weather
and the angle of the sun has changed just a bit. I always think the beginning of the school year is a good time to reflect on what we do here at the Department of Discovery, Technology and Publishing.

Since a lot of what I do is behind the scenes I always try to attend the Colloquy. This year it was at the Alice Jepson Theatre last Wednesday August 20th. The Colloquy is where the provost, the president, and others welcome new faculty members to campus. The Deans of all the schools all speak and the newly endowed chairs are announced. For someone like me who no longer has daily interactions with faculty and mostly only our student assistants, it is a good reminder of the greater university community and some of the reasons why we are here in the first place.

All staff and faculty are invited to attend the Colloquy and it remains one of the few times during the academic year that both staff and faculty can gather, meet and talk to each other. I still remember when I first started working at the university over 20 years ago and I attended my first similar gathering. These formal gatherings always made a huge impression on me, always coaxing reflections for me on my work and time here in the library. This year was no different.

Welcome to the new school year.

Now all of you get to work!

Photo of the Boatwright Tower © 2014 Angie White

Text by Tom Campagnoli

Bookbinding with Brien Beidler at the Charleston Library Society ~ Part I

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The Charleston Library Society

The Charleston Library Society

When I was visiting family in the Charleston, South Carolina area last year, I came upon an article about a young man, Brien Beidler, who was hired in 2012 to be the Bindery Director at the Charleston Library Society at the age of 22! He had previously worked in the Addlestone Library when he was a student at the College of Charleston. Brien’s story stuck with me and several months ago I contacted him about the possibility of visiting with him the next time I was in the area. I had high hopes that I might learn from him in any way that I could. Brien replied almost immediately and was so enthusiastic and encouraging that I quickly realized I had contacted someone who would be a great supporter in my forays into the world of bookbinding and book arts. Brien is eager to share his own passion for books and bookbinding and he is even more enthusiastic when he recognizes someone who has the potential to share his passion for and appreciation of this almost lost art form.

Brien

Brien

Last week I had the good fortune to spend four days with Brien in his bindery at the Charleston Library Society. Brien guided me in completing my first two German 4 piece case-bound books. He was kind, encouraging, supportive, and patient as he enthusiastically shared his knowledge and experience while I tried to absorb everything that he and his doppelgänger assistant, James Davis, were able to demonstrate and teach me.

James and Brien

James and Brien

Before I address the actual book binding process and the true joy I felt in creating something so beautiful and useful from start to finish with my own two hands, I want to tell you a little bit about Brien.  Brien has achieved a level of success that few in their mid-twenties can claim. Part of Brien’s success at such a young age can be attributed to luck – being in the right place at the right time. However, more importantly, his success can be attributed to a combination of his positive attitude, his initiative, his dedication, and his determination to continue learning, along with the support he received along the way. Brien is quick to credit those who have supported, encouraged, and mentored him from the beginning. I was fortunate enough to meet one of the people who helped Brien as he started on his journey to become a bona fide Book Binder, Marie Ferrara. Marie recently retired from her position as the Head of Special Collections in the Addlestone Library at the College of Charleston and moved away from the area, but she was in town for a brief visit and Brien invited me to join them for lunch. Brien’s admiration for Marie was evident during our lunch as he eagerly showed her some of his most recent binding efforts that included two books bound in hand hewn wood with his own handmade elaborate brass clasps. Brien had recently spent time in Idaho at a medieval binding workshop with Jim Croft and was so inspired and proud of his creations and experiences that his enthusiasm was infectious. Marie exhibited an equal admiration for Brien and will clearly continue to be a positive influence in his life and work. Brien has also received tremendous support and encouragment from Anne Cleveland, the Executive Director of the Charleston Library Society, who graciously stopped in to meet me during my time in the bindery. Coincidentally, both Marie and Anne have connections to Virginia, having attended school in the Charlottesville area.

In the end, however, Brien is successful because of the time, effort, and thought that he puts into his work. He lives and breathes books and bookbinding. When he is not physically working, he is reading about books and bookbinding. He continually looks for opportunities to learn new things related to bookbinding. He also enjoys making his own bone folders and other hand tools. His work takes time and that time is often spent alone in the bindery I asked Brien if he gets lonely in his seemingly solitary work (James is a recent addition and is only around for a half day) and he said that he is always surprised by that question but that he gets it often. In fact, he isn’t at all lonely in his work – partly because, as I noticed over the four days, there is no time to be lonely. Time passes very quickly when you are focused and engrossed in the physical work of binding and creating.  Brien also has a constant companion, his two-year old Brittany spaniel, Wren. Wren has perhaps one of the sweetest temperaments of any dog I have ever met. She has clearly been lovingly well-trained and often accompanies Brien to his bindery.

Wren

Wren

Brien is also not lonely in his work because he reaches out and networks with others who are as equally excited, passionate and inspired by bookbinding, and book and paper arts. He is the co-founder, along with artist Kris Westerson, of the recently established Charleston Book Union. Thanks to Brien I was able to meet Kris and another member and artist, Jocelyn Chateauvert during the fast four days I spent in Charleston.

Perhaps one of the most important things I learned during my time with Brien, after learning that it takes a lot of time to properly bind a single book (and we were not even working with leather), is how inclusive and supportive the small but worldwide community of bookbinders and book and paper artists is. I have long lurked on the Book Arts listserv and now feel less intimidated and more inspired than ever to connect with and learn from this creative and inspiring community. I can’t thank Brien enough for being so gracious and supportive and willing to share some of his experience and knowledge with me.

Next time: What I made during my time “Bookbinding with Brien Beidler at the Charleston Library Society ~ Part II”

Workshop: Phase One Certified Professional – Cultural Heritage

As you might have seen from the posts below, we do a large amount of digitization using a couple different types of equipment here in Discovery, Technology & Publishing. My personal favorite, though, is our Phase One P65+ digital back. When the back is mounted on a DSLR-like camera body, it becomes a pretty fantastic photography tool. An argument could possibly be made that I am slightly biased because of my love of photography, but I think that the awesome quality of the images we produce would be more than enough to convince you otherwise. We use our digital camera in a controlled-light environment to photograph special and rare items when we want to provide highly detailed, focused digital representations.

Left: close-up of our medium format digital back and camera system Right: Our photography studio set-up is perfect for the majority of material that we handle, such as manuscripts, maps and rare books.

Left: close-up of our medium format digital back and camera system
Right: Our photography studio set-up is perfect for the majority of material that we handle, such as manuscripts, photographs, maps and rare books.

Despite the similarities in appearance with mainstream DSLRs, a medium format digital back and camera system have significant differences and/or issues that are unique to them. Interestingly, although they definitely qualify as high-tech equipment, medium format digital backs are still relatively new technology that are constantly being improved. That means that sometimes (especially with older versions) there might need to be a little bit more time invested in understanding the equipment in order for it to work at its most efficient level. Even though I’ve taken photography classes and am practically tied to my DSLR, there is still a lot to learn about medium format cameras and our digital back, in particular. Thus, last week, I packed my bags and headed to Dallas for a two-day workshop and certification program through Digital Transitions (the sole Phase One distributor in the US) and taught by a Phase One instructor. The fact that it was hosted by the Dallas Museum of Art only added to the great experience!

Before attending the program, I completed pre-course work and tests that laid a foundation for a general understanding of how Phase One digital backs operate. The workshop itself focused on how the digital backs (in conjunction with Capture One software) could work in a cultural heritage setting. Among the countless subjects we discussed, some of the most relevant for me were appropriate tone curves (tonality of shadows and highlights), color management, and troubleshooting. I actually felt pretty good that we hadn’t experienced a lot of the issues or errors here at DTP that we covered in class, but now I do feel more prepared to solve them if they do occur. We even spent a good deal of time discussing digital backs connected to technical cameras, which was really interesting because I hadn’t had the opportunity to really study them before.

At the end of the class, we had to take an exam in order to complete our certification. After a short (but seemingly endless) couple of days, I received word that I had passed the test and was officially a Phase One Certified Professional! I still have so much more to learn, especially because every photography studio and subject is unique, but it really was an incredibly informative session. Plus, it was great to learn the intricate details behind the equipment I work with on a daily basis.

Open Source, Free Like A Puppy…

Scott McNealy, co-founder of Sun Microsystems, is famous for once having said that “Open source is free like a puppy is free” (Donoghue).  He is, of course, talking about the expenses necessary for taking care of the free puppy.Corgi

Open source is kind of like that.  It is free by definition.  Dictionary.com defines open source as “pertaining to, or denoting, software whose source code is available free of charge to the public to use, copy, modify, sublicense, or distribute”.  That said, open source is actually much more than just free.  Open source is, for the large part, community-supported by people who have technology issues a lot like yours.  A person may need an application for something so, in some cases, they create it, maintain it, add functionality, put it out there for you to freely use and answer questions to help you bring the application on line.  Using McNealy’s puppy example, it would be like the puppy buying itself, coming home to your house by itself, house breaking itself and learning to fetch your slippers, again… all by itself.  It’s really hard for me to see the bad thing in this but, believe it or not, there are some valid concerns.

Open source software development is flourishing and very much in use all over the world.  While proprietary software companies complain about open source, Forrester Research reports that 76% of developers have used open source technology at some level (Baldwin).  That means even companies that create or purchase ‘off the shelf’ software use free, open source software tools to build with – companies like Apple, the first major computer company to make open source development a key part of its ongoing software strategy, and Microsoft who initially went to war against open source development.

”Open source is an intellectual-property destroyer,” former Windows chief Jim Allchin famously quipped in 2001. “I can’t imagine something that could be worse than this for the software business and the intellectual-property business” (Cooper).

And who can forget that old timeless classic…

“Linux is a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches,” former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer told the Chicago Sun Times a few months later. “That’s the way that the license works” (Cooper).

Now, however, in May 2014, Microsoft finally made official its unofficial decision to incorporate some open-source code into its developer and programming languages. More recently, Microsoft put 22-year company veteran Mark Hill in charge of a global group to cultivate open-source developers to write applications that work with Azure, the Microsoft cloud service that competes against the likes of Rackspace, Google, and Amazon (Cooper).

As Microsoft eventually came to understand, there are a lot of benefits to using open source.  To name just a few:

1. Keeps costs down.
2. Improves quality because code problems are resolved quickly.
3. Delivers agility by speeding up the pace of software development and innovation which allows businesses to react quickly and thereby not be dependent on vendors schedules.
4. Mitigates business risk by reducing dependence on a single or multiple vendors.

We use a mix of proprietary and open source software in Discovery, Technology, and Publishing to administer the library servers and applications such as the library catalog, digital collections and various departmental work flows.  There are times when we would like to have functionality that we don’t currently have but that’s been true of the vendor supplied software as well as the open source software.  For that reason, I don’t really distinguish between the two types because I just kind of see them as each being a toolbox that I need to use to get the job done.  Open source plays a huge role in our success as a department.

But let’s not forget that the ‘free puppy’ criticism does also have some merit.  The first thing is training.  People are resistant to change and so they are not likely to explore using an open source alternative application instead of Windows or Apple for things like their desktop or MS Office needs.  Another issue is support.  Proprietary software vendors provide support for their products and, if you use open source, you may have to provide your own developer to get the functionality you desire. Lastly, some great open source software development simply ceases for whatever reason and you may be left with no one to provide patches or software updates, again possibly requiring the hiring of a developer to maintain your software.

While these are valid concerns, open source application usage is growing quickly all over the world, in all industries.  Technology costs a lot of money and the financial advantage to using open source software must outweigh the ‘free puppy’ concerns or companies would not be moving in that direction.

On a personal note, I use open source software daily and I will always look for a free open source application before I buy something because I generally just need something for a single use or for a short time.  I use applications like Notepad++ which is better than the notepad built into Windows, 7-Zip which allows me to zip and unzip files better than the one in Windows, VLC Media Player which is much better than Windows media player for manipulating various video formats and WinSCP for transferring files.  I also use various open source tools like MultiMon Taskbar which allows me to have a task bar on my second monitor.

If you’ve never installed open source software, here’s some sage advice.  Make sure you research what you want to install by looking for reviews of the application before you download and install it.  Read the installation instructions and make sure you understand what they want you to do.  Try to download it from the site that actually produced it and not a third party site.  This just makes certain you are getting a ‘clean’ copy and not a possibly modified copy of the application you want.  Finally, there are probably a lot of applications just like the one you’re looking for so if you install it and you don’t like it, don’t give up.  Just uninstall and go find another one.

So… How ’bout that free puppy now?

corgibottom

 

Donoghue, Andrew “Open Source ‘is free like a puppy is free’ says Sun boss.” ZDNet. CBS Interactive, June 8, 2005. Web July 22, 2014.  http://www.zdnet.com/open-source-is-free-like-a-puppy-is-free-says-sun-boss-3039202713/

Cooper, Charles “Dead and buried: Microsoft’s holy war on open-source software.” C|Net. CBS Interactive, June 1, 2014. Web July 22, 2014.  http://www.cnet.com/news/dead-and-buried-microsofts-holy-war-on-open-source-software/

Baldwin, Howard “4 reasons companies say yes to open source.” Computerworld. Computerworld, Inc., January 6, 2014. Web July 22, 2014 http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9244898/4_reasons_companies_say_yes_to_open_source

Corgi puppy images from:  http://www.pinterest.com/lizzygrace96/oh-my-corgis/

Notepad++ : http://notepad-plus-plus.org/download/v6.6.7.html
7-Zip : http://www.7-zip.org/
VLC Media Player – http://www.videolan.org/vlc/index.html
WinSCP – http://winscp.net/eng/docs/introduction
MultiMon – http://www.mediachance.com/free/multimon.htm

Paper Marbling at the VMFA

As you probably already know, we spend a lot of time working in the digital world here in Discovery, Technology, & Publishing. What might surprise you, though, is that many of our staff members are fantastic material artists and crafters. Our hobbies run the gamut, but include arts such as knitting, painting, bookmaking and papermaking. There are even some who draw a bridge between the material and digital world with interests such as 3-D Printing. One of the best things about being located among so many art and cultural heritage institutions here in Richmond is the availability of craft workshops and classes to help us learn more.

A variety of the painted papers Crista created.

A variety of the painted papers Crista created.

Crista LaPrade, our Digital Projects & Preservation Coordinator, took one such workshop several days ago at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA). This particular class was an Introduction to Paper Marbling, taught by Steve Pittelkow. During the intensive day-long class, Crista learned different techniques to create unique patterns and designs used in “Turkish” paper marbling. The possibilities for using the final product are endless and might include book endpapers, book covers, or even as displayed art in her coworkers’ offices (no pressure…)! Furthermore, the same techniques that were used on the paper can also be used on fabrics and other mediums.

The process begins with spraying the paper on one side with a mixture of alum (aluminium sulfate) and water. Then, acrylic paint mixed with water is added using eyedroppers to shallow trays filled with water and carrageenan. The paint floats on the surface of the water/carrageen mixture and can pool in concentric circles and shapes. A variety of “combs” or “rakes” are used to pull the colors through each other on the surface of the water resulting in a wide array of patterns. The mordanted paper was then carefully laid onto the surface and then quickly removed, capturing the paint. Steve taught the class several different patterns that could be created including fantasy, nonpareil, ripples, gel get, angelfish and Spanish moiré.

Four details of different painting techniques.

Four details of different paper marbling patterns Crista created.

One of the benefits of having staff who are interested in learning these artisan skills is that they can bring them back to the library and share them with the rest of us. If there is ever a time when one of us is making a book or working on another project, there is consistently a wealth of knowledge and experience around us!

William E. Beale Photographs

This past week, through the Virginia Baptist Historical Society, we discovered about 25 photographs of the Westhampton campus that were taken by William Elton Beale, a Richmond College freshman in 1915. More specifically, the discovery was of several negative filmstrips that contained images of Beale’s prints. This was exciting because not only are they some of the only student-taken photographs we have of the campus during its opening years, but it also provided us with a fun opportunity to photograph negatives. After a couple of tries working with our light box and various camera settings, we were off and rolling with the digitization.

Lightbox set-up for photographing negative film.

Lightbox set-up for photographing negative film.

Once we completed the digitization process, we were even more excited to view the new images. Some of the pictures included buildings that we had not yet found photographic evidence of, such as the science building (which burned down in 1925) that was originally beside the steam plant. One of my personal favorites was an image of the trolley that brought students from the city all the way out to the “rural” Westhampton campus. Several more of Beale’s photographs included campus highlights like Ryland Hall, Sarah Brunet Memorial Hall, and of course, landscape shots of the lake.

The Science Hall, which burned down in 1925, was originally next to the Steam Plant.

The Science Hall, which burned down in 1925, was originally next to the Steam Plant.

The trolley brought students from the city to the Westhampton campus.

The trolley brought students from the city to the Westhampton campus.

Sarah Brunet Memorial Hall, also known as the Refectory, was built to be a dining hall.

Sarah Brunet Memorial Hall, also known as the Refectory, was built to be a dining hall.

While the majority of the images were of buildings and landscapes on campus, there was a single photograph of one of Beale’s classmates, who we have identified as “Burt” Robins, based on the 1915 Spider yearbook. In the photograph, Robins is wearing a baseball uniform with the words “Peconut Crisp” on his jersey. The words were a mystery to us at first, but after some searching, we found an advertisement in the Southern Planter that described Peconut Crisp as a candy made by the Westmoreland Candy Company, located in Richmond, during the time Beale and Robins would have been in school. It seems most likely that the candy name found itself on the jersey because the company sponsored a baseball game or team.

Bertram "Burt" L. Robins

Bertram “Burt” L. Robins with a “Peconut Crisp” uniform.

Advertisement for Peconut Crisp in The Southern Planter

Advertisement for Peconut Crisp in The Southern Planter

The images gathered from Beale’s photographs were a really exciting find for us. We were happy to see pictures from campus that we had not previously found and just as glad to practice our negative film photography. While it would have been even more exciting to see the original film, we couldn’t be more pleased with these recent additions to our Centennial collection.

“A Pilgrim’s Progress” – Winsor McCay

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For the past year Richmond SPCS student Kirsten McKinney has been working on a project for her Masters of Liberal Arts degree. Her humanities class “Sleuths to Cyborgs: American Pop Culture in 20th Century” led her to the work of comic artist, vaudevillian, early animator, and social commentor, Winsor McCay.

You may know McCay from his comic strip Little Nemo in Slumberland or his early film work including his most well known film, “Gertie the Dinosaur.

dullcareOne of McCay’s comic strips, “A Pilgrim’s Progress” by Mister Bunion appeared in the New York Evening Telegram from 1905 until 1909. McCay’s character Mr. Bunion tries to rid himself of his valise filled with “Dull Care” which represents the burdens of the modern man. McKinney describes “Dull Care” in more detail  on her site here.

McKinney’s work is truly remarkable in what it has added to the world of comic strip history. It appears that no one had digitized or had made available the entire run of the “A Pilgrim’s Progress” let alone listed all of the dates of when the strip appeared in the newspaper.

McKinney’s research led her to the New York State Library’s collections where she found microfilm of the Telegram for the years she suspected that “A Pilgrims Progress” had appeared.

McKinney requested the microfilm reels of the Telegram from Betty Tobias in the Interlibrary Loan Department at Boatwright Library. McKinney searched through the daily papers noting the publication dates of each strip and scanned the entire run of the comic.

Because some of the dialogue bubbles were difficult to decipher, McKinney transcribed the text as well as tagging the comic strip with metadata. Resulting in a wonderful resource to share with the world!

In her day job, McKinney works for the University of Richmond’s communication department and had worked with Chris Kemp of the Department of Discovery, Technology and Publishing on the public interface of the Richmond Daily Dispatch collection. Kemp had used the web publishing software omeka for a few projects in the past and suggested that McKinney use omeka for her project.

McKinney’s work is currently being used for research for a current summer class at UR, “the American Dream.”

For further reading, Boatwright library does have an over-sized copy of “Little Nemo In Slumberland” in its’ Special Collections.

A Pilgrim’s Progress by Mister Bunion from August 28, 1906:

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April Update

Stats for April 2014

  • Materials cataloged/awaiting cataloging: 4,750/381
  • Catalog records revised: 4,403
  • Page images digitized: 2,610
  • Still images digitized: 576
  • Library catalog visitors/page views: 14,443/64,971
  • Library catalog searches: 26,082
  • Digital collection visitors/page views: 3,171/10,020

Project Snapshot

UR Scholarship: 77 more theses and undergraduate honors papers were deposited into the Scholarship Repository in April. In our ongoing retrospective digitization effort, 20 more papers (894 pages) were imaged and prepped for uploading. This work will continue during the summer.

Centennial Exhibit: In big news, we have determined a title for our project. It comes from an article Dr. Boatwright wrote for the Religious Herald in 1910 shortly after the Richmond College Board of Trustees approved the purchase of land at Westhampton for the new site. (See Angie’s great post for more information about the Religious Herald.) After an eloquent description of the varied landscape and features of the area, Dr. Boatwright writes: “Amid such surroundings we plan to build for the centuries. May our twin Colleges soon crown the western heights above the river and the lake!” As tribute to Dr. Boatwright’s vision and leadership in bringing the colleges to our present location, we have titled the site “For the Centuries.” Work continues on the project as a whole.

Draw Back the Curtain: Our department has been supporting this ongoing documentary project for some time, and in April we digitized an additional 256 items, which brings the imaging portion of our work to a conclusion. In the meantime we’ve installed an Omeka instance for the project team to work with during the summer – they will be using it in parallel with the museum exhibits and documentary, bringing the stories of Jewish immigrants to Richmond from the former Soviet Union online.

Student Employees Make a Successful Year

As the school year comes to a close here at Boatwright Memorial Library and we reflect on everything we have accomplished since last summer, we can’t help but wonder how it would have all been achieved without the help of our phenomenal student employees. In our department, Discovery, Technology, & Publishing, we have 13 student employees, including two who will be graduating in just a few days (we’ll miss you!).  Chances are, if you have seen a really cool digital project or found a neatly labeled book in the stacks, one of our students helped to make that possible.

Amy, Moe, and Sam at the Student Employee Luncheon sponsored by the Friends of the Library

Amy, Moe, and Sam at the Student Employee Luncheon sponsored by the Friends of the Library.

Student employees in Discovery, Technology, & Publishing (DTP) perform a wide variety of tasks that require creativity, responsibility and ingenuity. Some of the duties that students take on for us include digitization for Interlibrary Loan (if you got your article request in the blink of an eye, a student employee helped with that!), photographing archival material, image editing, computer programming and website development, copy-cataloging, labeling, discards, and various stacks maintenance tasks.  On top of their regular jobs, we often have students who venture out of the realm of DTP to help other departments who need assistance.

Do you remember the Westhampton scrapbook that was discussed in an earlier blog post? A huge amount of the work done to complete the interactive scrapbook it has become was done by Amy, one of our student employees. She and another former student employee, Michael, collaborated to build a dynamic map of UR student hometowns with data that three other students, Jeremy, Scott, and Dodo, worked many hours to collect. Both of these fun endeavors will premier with the launching of our digital project celebrating the centennial of the UR Westhampton campus in June. Furthermore, many of the archival images you will see on the website were photographed by camera-operator extraordinaire, Jackie, a student employee who is also interested in pursuing graduate work in the library and information sciences.

Jackie frequently works in our camera studio photographing archival material.

Jackie frequently works in our camera studio photographing archival material.

The jobs that student employees complete for our department are imperative to our operations running smoothly, but truly the best thing about having them work here is the fact that they remind us daily why we want to make this the best library it can be: to be a useful, helpful and memorable part of student life. It may sound like I’m doting upon them, but if you worked with this bunch of students, you would, too!