I hope everyone is doing well and enjoying the warmer weather! Despite the real arrival of spring and sun, the Reference Desk is expecting a huge pick-up in the library and in citation and research questions as we move towards the end of the semester and the due dates for final research papers.
Apart from regular work at the Desk, I am still working on the Collection Development Project, now in the online section of the project. I’ve been working a lot with MUSCAT and WorldCat, trying to discover how many copies of the Parkin books are available in other libraries and to see how rare each book is. Some of the books could only be found in ten or so other libraries worldwide!
After finding out how many other copies were available and making sure they were the same edition, I looked through Hathi Trust and Internet Archive for links to digitized publications of the books. Hathi Trust and Internet Archive are great sites for giving the public access to older books, specifically books that are out of print and no longer under copyright law. Hathi Trust can provide a multitude of contemporary reactions to events like World War I or the Spanish-American War for interested scholars. In our collection development, we were looking to see if Parkin’s books could be found in digital publication in order to make a decision about moving rarer books upstairs into Special Collections.
Finally, I move onto searching for the books through Amazon. Amazon is very much a “buyer-beware” for collection development; many of the offered copies for these older books are cheaply produced print-outs of the digital publications. On Amazon, I have to look for later editions of these books and avoid the digital reprints and other first edition copies.
Collection development often feels like a balancing act. Older and unused books take up space on the shelves and some of these books are damaged and would be safer in Special Collections. However, we still want to keep these books accessible to the patrons and so we look for digital publications or new editions in order to do so.
After the Collection Development Project, I will be working with Alexa on the Finals Week Study Break! Everyone should come (there will be free ice cream!) to de-stress and catch a breath from studying for final exams!
Sorry, I haven’t posted in a while; I’ve been holding out until I got to the finishing stages of the Collection Development project. Yes, that’s right, for the past couple of weeks, when I was pacing up and down the stacks on the second floor, I was not actually going crazy.
The project was designed for me to look through the collection of older books on World War I and find books donated by Major Harry Parkin. Many of the books donated by Parkin were broad historical surveys or memoirs by participants. Curiously, some of the books he donated were marked up, either with pasted in book reviews or with Parkin’s own assessment. Parkin’s marginalia is incredibly interesting as he either praises books as “first-class war novels” or derides them as “unimportant.” As presumptuous as it might sound, I begin to gain an understanding of who Major Parkin was through his choice in books and his scribbling. A product of early 20th century race relations, Parkin wrote in a book on black soldiers in WWI that it only proves “the negro soldier led by the white officer is first class, led by the negro officer he is simply no good.” Parkin’s donations offer insight as to how soldiers of the war responded to the subsequent early WWI literature.
Now, the project drives us to decide which books to retain in the main collection, which to potentially move off-site, and which to move up to Special Collections. The process is called “weeding” and can almost be considered a consistent and continuous house-cleaning that never really ends. Looking at how else the books might be available, through Interlibrary Loan, through databases like Hathi Trust, or through Amazon, we have to decide what would be most helpful to our patrons.
It’s been a long project but as we look to complete this one, Alexa, Mallory, and I are already looking forward to planning the Spring Finals Week Study Break!
This week and last I have been learning about some of the basics of cataloging. While the cataloging of books is often fairly straight forward, such is not case with music. There are some extra, important bits of information that make a big difference in cataloging and finding musical works.
When it comes to finding a book, most people can stop at the title and author (maybe even just the title!) and find what they are looking for. With music, however, a piece of music can have different transcriptions, arrangers, publishers, or score size, all of which have varying effects on the music. In practicing cataloging I came across a piece called Air. In looking further I noticed that not only was a composer listed, but a transcriber as well. It turns out the piece I was assigned to catalog for cello and piano was not the original version and it was actually written for violin and piano a year earlier. In this case in particular, it would be important for a musician to know what instrumentation the piece is for and whether or not other editions are available. Another way in which music cataloging involves that extra step is when it comes to different publishers. If one were to pick up two different copies of To Kill a Mockingbird by two different publishers, chances are the story itself would be the same word for word. With different music publishers, on the other hand, there could be differences in accidentals (whether a note is sharp or flat), articulations, phrasing, dynamics, cadenzas (little show off-y, soloistic sections), and even rhythm and pitch. It is not uncommon for publishers to add their own artistic input to a piece of music or to interpret it a different way. It is not likely you will have a book publisher decide to change the end of Where the Red Fern Grows.
While music and all its extra ins and outs makes cataloging a bit more in-depth, as a musician who has been sent by my private teachers to “peruse the stacks” it feels I am doing a service for all those other musicians out there looking to make music.
I am in my sixth semester as a music education major through the Sunderman Conservatory and yet I had no idea there was a music education collection here at Musselman Library until just a couple weeks ago. After reading up on some policies and practices for maintaining collections I was given some time to peruse the music education collection more closely. As I looked through the shelves and skimmed some introductions and tables of contents of a few of the books in MT1 I began considering how I would go about updating and maintaining this small collection.
I began thinking about certain aspects of collection development such as the audience it applied to, relevance and value of more dated materials, etc. At an undergraduate liberal arts institution such as Gettysburg College, there is not a huge demographic to which a music education collection would apply to aside from, well, the fairly small music education department. While the target demographic is small, the collection is open to all, which is where I ran into some issues with some of the materials contained in those shelves. There is a fair amount of outdated teaching approaches and philosophies that just do not apply to the modern classroom or modern perspectives on education. For the average looker-on who may not have had the same experience, through course discussions in the education or music education departments, there may be teaching content that is no longer the contemporary and progressive form of music instruction and so it can be misleading. What those in our program know that others do not is that there is an entire collection of music classroom application materials in our main classroom in Schmucker Hall, accessible to music education majors 24/7.
In terms of content and audience, the main audience who would be accessing both sources is the students in the music education program. After a brief meeting with my intern adviser, Amy Ward, and my academic adviser and head of the music education department, Dr. Brent Talbot, we discussed ways in which we could bridge the gap between the two collections and to make them complement each other. My goals, as the Forthenbaugh intern and as an educator, are to make as much information accessible as I can for the music community on campus and those interested in learning more about it.
In the past two weeks, I have become much more comfortable at the Research Help Desk. I have been asked a whole variety of questions, from printing to citation to looking for books and articles. Despite a few challenging requests, I feel more confident in answering difficult research questions (which is good, because next week I’ll be working my first solo shift!). I will miss working with staff members at the Desk, largely because I enjoyed chatting with them about research skills, politics, sports, or anything that piqued our interests.
The big highlight of my past two weeks was working with Janelle and Alexa in an instruction session for Environmental Science 125: Marine Megafauna. Despite some initial nerves, I enjoyed teaching about how to use MUSCAT and research books to an assortment of first-years, sophomores, juniors, and seniors. I am hopeful that there will be more opportunities to participate in instruction sessions, even in subjects I am not an expert in.
As we move on, I look forward to collection development with Clint and Carolyn and my first solo shifts at the Desk, as library patrons begin to delve into their big research papers and projects.
Hi! My name is Jake Farias and I am the Fortenbaugh Research and Instruction Intern for the Spring of 2016.
I am a graduating senior with a major in History and minors in Education and English. Last summer, I worked as an intern in the Civil War Institute, researching the New York City Draft Riots and designing a mock debate focused on key perspectives during the riots. I was born and raised in Massachusetts, own a dog and a cat, and I have a little sister who is beginning her “teenage angst” stage of life.
I have just completed my second week at the Research Help Desk and feel as though I am starting to get a good handle of the work. Even after our intense boot camp training, I felt nervous to start fielding questions. But after working through printer issues, citations, and some source searches with patrons, I am feeling more and more comfortable every day. With that said, I still have loads more to learn in the next few weeks.
It’s been a great first two weeks at the Research Help Desk and I am hopeful for many more to come!
I was never quite certain what went on in those offices behind the glass windows on the second floor of Musselman Library, but two weeks into my Fortenbaugh Music Librarian Internship I am beginning to get an idea. After talking with some of the staff that work in the fishbowl I have gotten a glimpse at some of the goings on behind the scenes of the librarian. If you’ve ever wondered how all these books and resources came to be or how in the world you are able to find a single thing in this place (maybe with some assistance), well, I can tell you it is not the work of little library fairies.
The staff working in technical services catalog and organize countless resources to make them accessible and able to be found. Many of them are also liaisons to different departments across campus to make sure each department has a collection of useful and pertinent resources and materials for the students and faculty in their programs. Maybe one or more of your past bio or living environment teachers/professors have mentioned that the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell. Well Tech Services is kinda like the powerhouse of the library. Without the fishbowl staff, Musselman Library would likely be a barren wasteland containing nothing but dysfunctional printers, a vending machine, and a pile of miscellaneous books that have nothing to do with that research paper due tomorrow that you’ve been putting off for weeks.
But why am I here? As the music library intern I’ll be specifically focusing on music collections. So when you’re on the third floor trying not to squish someone between the mobile shelving, look for me.
More to come on my experiences with music collections and cataloging. Until then, see you (from inside the fishbowl).
As you can tell from the many “last posts” below, Special Collections has grown increasingly quiet over the past two weeks, as all of the other interns have completed their time here at the library. Despite being the last one standing, a very quiet Special Collections has allowed me to put the finishing touches on the Dance Card Collection (Shall We Dance) that Avery and I spent a large portion of the summer working on. Though at times the project seemed never ending, between finding new dance cards in the depth of already existing collections, to learning what it means to create metadata for our newly digitized dance cards, the project has been finally launched.
Here’s a quick screenshot to entice you on over to the actual page
. Make sure to pay special attention to the variety of ways to search through the dance card, either by event theme or Greek affiliation.
Enjoy discovering the many treasures we’ve been spending each and every day with!
So the summer has flown by and as my last day is Friday, here’s my last post. I have finished my first draft transcription of the H.L Baugher travel diary and am in the process of proofreading it (which I hope to finish tomorrow!). I have made a finding guide to describe the diary and it’s contents and digitized several pages containing flower samples as well! This project has been so much fun and I have truly enjoyed working so closely with such an amazing artifact. Baugher describes the interesting stories and experiences so well, I feel like I’m right there with him climbing St. Bernarnd (yes the mountain the dogs are named after) or boating around Switzerland. His descriptions are breathtaking and I would love to travel to all the places he visited some day. This internship has certainly changed my perspective for the better and I would like to thank the staff in Special Collections for this amazing opportunity I have had this summer. I can’t wait to take all I learned and use it in the future!
Have a great last bit of summer!