Summer Projects Report 2011

Printer-friendly versionSend by email

If we take into account the money from the Annual Fund, the special libraries—Africana, Archives, Art, Digital Collections, Music, Special Collections, and Transportation—spend about $2 million a year on materials. It’s important that this material not only be acquired, but also made bibliographically accessible. Some of this takes place through regular bibliographic records, but much of it through finding aids. Thanks to work done throughout the division, but spearheaded by our Digital Collections Department, we now have 781 finding aids online, with another 130 scheduled to be loaded sometime this fall. These finding aids will become much more important soon, for two reasons. First, at some point we are hopeful that they will be discoverable and searchable through Primo. Second, we recently reached agreement with the University of Chicago to integrate our research-level finding aids with theirs on a platform called UNCAP, an acronym standing for the Uncovering Chicago Archives Project.

This past summer, University Librarian Sarah Pritchard approved $10,000–12,000 for processing projects; below are summaries of each.
 
The most important project for the 2011 summer at the Transportation Library focused on advancing EAD finding aids. Using Archon, their student worker sorted and completed item-level description for the 337 items in the Gary Gelzer Transportation Collection of postcards, maps, timetables, and other railroad-related ephemera. Thanks to the student's work, completion of the EAD finding aid for the Gelzer Collection will happen in early FY-12. Transportation's student also completed item-level description for two additional archival collections: the Silverman Collection of Railroad Menus (ca. 200 items) and the Inland Water Pamphlets Collection (ca. 50 items). The student then sorted four boxes of the recently-received Nagin Collection (about 4,000 airline menus, journals and other items) and completed item-level descriptions of 79 menus from the Nagin Collection. It is important to note that Mr. Gelzer and Mr. Silverman are both alumnae. Transportation would like to thank their student for his great work and Sarah Pritchard for coming up with the funding to pay his salary.
 
The Charles Deering McCormick Library of Special Collections did not receive additional project-specific funding this summer, but some of the things student workers did this summer were: pre-processing comic books for cataloging; pre-processing art ephemera for cataloging; collating auction sales price-realized lists with their auction catalogs; and doing sorting and rehousing for the Charles Dawes, Tambimuttu, Andersen Awards, U.N. Tapes for Women, and Berkeley Folk Festival archival collections. Also, for the first time in about 20 years, student workers did a shelf check on the library's holdings, matching the card catalog shelf list with what's actually on the shelves, noting any missing books and correctly repositioning mis-shelved books. This is a large project that will be ongoing for some time.  
 
The Music Library’s Cage Correspondence EAD Clean-Up project was the beginning of the final phase for processing the John Cage correspondence collection, which was begun in November 2007. During the processing, metadata for the collection was recorded in a spreadsheet, which was submitted for EAD conversion in August 2010. Since there were some problems with the data conversion, the EAD document needed to be reviewed line by line, and it was this work that was undertaken over the summer. Senior Music Cataloger Morris Levy supervised and trained a graduate student who worked for 30 hours a week for 10 weeks. In that time, entries for 76 boxes were reviewed and edited, including revisions of nearly 800 folder titles and nearly 19,000 document entries. As a result of this work, about half of the entire EAD revision was completed. This project has now been assigned to Music Cataloging Assistant Jill Waycie. It is anticipated that the entire EAD finding aid will be fully revised sometime this spring and made publicly available soon after.
 
Digital Collections did not receive special funding for summer projects, but was able to make progress on the Classicizing Chicago Project, as well as digitizing over 1,700 items from Africana, and continuing work on digitizing the Schulze-Greenleaf collection.
 
No special funds were requested by the Art Library for summer projects, as the library is currently understaffed. Nevertheless, progress was made in the following areas: restoration of nine study tables, three collection shifts, and shelf-reading of the collection.
 
University Archives is very grateful for the Library's support of the department's most recent summer processing project. During 2010 Archives negotiated the deposit of approximately 70 linear feet of administrative records of the Northwestern University Marching Band. These records date largely from the 1950s through the 1980s, but actually span many years beyond. The records detail Marching Band performances and membership and generally document chief administrative concerns of the organization under the directorships of two celebrated leaders, Glenn Cliffe Bainum and John Paynter. The Band records arrived at Archives in some disarray and it took the entire summer to effect a preliminary arrangement of the collection. (Work will continue for at least a few more months.) Marching Band members and NUMB alumni are frequent and enthusiastic patrons of University Archives. We anticipate significant use of the Band records when fully arranged and described.  
 
The Melville J. Herskovits Library of African Studies and Northwestern University Archives  jointly worked on processing the papers of the seminal African historian and anthropologist, Jan Vansina. Jason Nargis provided processing guidance to Pamela Khanakwa, a June 2011 Northwestern Ph.D. recipient in African History, while she organized the nearly 40 cubic feet of personal, research, teaching, and publication records. Vansina, Professor Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, donated his papers to the Herskovits Library in 2010. Vansina is widely regarded as a leading authority on the history and culture of central Africa history and through his work created the model for and justification of the incorporation of oral tradition into African historical research. The majority of the collection has been processed and Jason will continue to work with the Herskovits Library during the coming year to finish both the processing and the creation by Africana staff member Michelle Guittar of an EAD finding aid to the collection. Planning will begin this year for a conference jointly sponsored by the library, the History Department and the Program of African Studies to celebrate the opening of the Vansina papers to research.
 
The Special Libraries Division Office hired a student worker this summer to assist in overhauling the divisional office filing system, something that has not been done for at least 10 years. As a result, our current records have been streamlined and about two thirds of all files will be archived this fall. Thanks are due to Sarah Pritchard for the generous funding provided to support this much-needed administrative project.