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Category: Uncategorized

Feb 03 2014

New Year, New Processing Space

This post is contributed by Ashley Williams, Project Archivist, Animal Rights and Animal Welfare Collections.

Our processing area at Satellite has had a makeover!  If you’re like most people at NCSU, you’re probably asking yourself –“what’s a Satellite?” and “what kind of processing?”

Satellite, or the NCSU Libraries’ Satellite Shelving Facility, is the building where some of the Special Collections Research Center’s materials are stored, and is also where many of these materials are arranged and described, or processed. Processing archival collections involves sorting and organizing them, moving papers into acid-free folders and boxes for long-term preservation, and creating written guides that will be published on the web to enable researchers to find and use the materials.

When our project to process collections relating to animal rights and animal welfare began in August 2012, a processing work space was created in the back of the building, where supplies and some large drawings were being stored. As is often the case with grant-funded projects, we were adapting a space that was not designed for us. Setting up an office partition to differentiate our processing area from the storage space and bookshelves to store the collection as we worked on it gave us space in which to work, but we were in a different part of the building from other staff and around the corner from our computers.

previous processing space

processing in previous space

In 2013, we were able to move our processing space to the front of Satellite and move the map cases located there to the back. The move happened on December 18, and the first week in January, I got to see it for myself. As a processing archivist, I was thrilled.

So what does this new processing space mean? Processors working in the space appreciate its spaciousness and the natural lighting, but most importantly, the improved space means more processing can take place. Four people are now able to work comfortably at the tables, each with plenty of space to spread out their work.  For example, there are three project archivists who are working on related collections.  Because we are now physically close to one another it becomes easier to ask a question or take a quick look at a document or file folder without having to go to a separate area in the building or take a project archivist away from her work. The space now has an organic feel where people are not sectioned off in individual bubbles, but rather work in a collaborative environment. Everyone has space, but that space is not rigid. Some days, your materials may take up more space, and other days less.

new processing space

The new space also means we are located only a rolling-chair-push away from the computer.  Now we can work on finding aids more easily, or, as has been the case with animal rights, look up a definition to a word associated with the collection that is being processed. Archival supplies and collection materials are easily accessible, but more importantly, the new processing space allows us easy access to other staff members who we can bounce ideas off of or consult with on an issue as it arises. Natural lighting, more space, and a collaborative work environment make the new processing area at Satellite a welcoming space for staff and visitors alike.

Jan 13 2014

Arranging, Describing and Preserving Photographic Slides

This post was contributed by Meaghan Lanier, Library Associate, Special Collections Research Center.

My coworker, Sarah Breen, and I recently finished arranging and describing the Mitchell Bush Papers (MC 00467). Sarah posted a brief description of the collection on December 2 (http://news.lib.ncsu.edu/scrc/), soon after we published the collection guide on the web (http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/findingaids/mc00467)

Dr. Mitchell Bush is a leader in the field of modern zoological medicine focused on pioneering studies and clinical practice in zoological and comparative medicine. His collection is a large one (105 boxes occupying 55.25 linear feet of shelf space), and there are many slides included, some of them accompanied by lecture notes. Many of these slides were used in Bush’s pathology as well as to show a record of his procedures and how they were performed. Now slides are being replaced with digital files, but the work of the past still matters for the present and the future, so these slides need to be preserved for future students of zoology and related fields.

When the collection arrived at NCSU, there were about 35 binders filled with slides and some additional slides in individual sheets and boxes. As you can see in the picture below, many of the binders were old, dusty and falling apart.

Binder pages were cloudy and sticky.

Slides were removed from these binders.

Inside the binders the slides were sheets with pockets holding slides. Many of the sheets were sticky and cloudy.

Pages after slides were removed.

In order to preserve the slides, we needed to remove them from these sheets and these binders. With cotton gloves on my hands, I removed the slides, one by one, keeping them in order and facing the correct way. I placed them in slide boxes with tabs separating the slides that came from each binder. Everywhere that slides or groups of slides could be identified they were separated with a tab. These slide boxes as well as the tabs are made with archival material, which means they will not cause the slides to deteriorate, especially when they are also housed in a climate controlled environment, such as the NCSU Libraries’ Satellite Shelving Facility.

Below you can see that six slide boxes fit into a flat box.

Slides filed in order in acid-free boxes.

Six slideboxes stored in each flat box.

In the end, the slides occupied seven flat boxes, each with six slide boxes in it. I estimated that there are now 6,000 slides rehoused, safely stored and available to researchers interested in zoological medicine.

Dec 20 2013

Winter Simulation Conference 2013: A Successful Launch for d.lib.ncsu.edu/computer-simulation

The Winter Simulation Conference in Washington, D.C., which was held from December 7-11, was the ideal venue to showcase the new NCSU Libraries’ website that features video oral histories of computer simulation pioneers as well as other collections about computer simulation. Six more video oral history interviews took place during the conference: Russell C. H. Cheng, Ray J. Paul, Peter D. Welch, Lee W. Schruben, Bruce W. Schmeiser, and Averill M. Law. The video oral history project, funded by the National Science Foundation, is a collaborative project with NCSU’s Fitts Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering.

Pictured above are:

Top Left: Richard E. Nance, delivering his “Titans of Simulation” talk at the Winter Simulation Conference

Top Right: Peter D. Welch, on left, after his oral history interview with NCSU Professor (and project P.I.) James R. Wilson

Middle Left: Lee W. Schruben, preparing for his oral history interview

Middle Right: Ingolf Stahl, donating books on simulation to the Simulation Archive at NCSU Libraries

Lower Left: Robert G. Sargent, on left, with Averill M. Law, after Law’s oral history interview

Lower Right: Ray J. Paul, at the conference reception after his oral history interview, with his book about living with Parkinson’s

To learn more about the Computer Simulation Archive, go to: d.lib.ncsu.edu/computer-simulation

Nov 25 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

A&M Football Team

This year, two days after we’ve enjoyed food, family, and NFL football, we’ll take to our chairs to watch NC State take on Maryland. In 1910, the squad, then representing North Carolina College of Agricultural and Mechanic Arts, played Virginia Polytechnic Institute, now Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, on Thanksgiving Day, in the “biggest football game ever played in the South for championship of the South and Middle West”. The game determined the South Atlantic Intercollegiate Athletic Association champion, and, according to what was written on the back of the poster, State appears to have won 5-3 (a touchdown versus a field goal).

See the above and other historic images at NCSU Libraries’ Rare and Unique Digital Collections.

Nov 04 2013

University Archives on the Road

Special Collections displayed photos and artifacts at the Black Alumni Society Legacy Dinner.

Attendees looked at historic photographs and memorabilia from the University Archives.

Special Collections took the University Archives on the road this past week and showed treasures from NC State’s history at two separate events.  On Saturday, November 2, the Archives was at the Black Alumni Society’s Legacy Dinner, where we displayed historic photos of African American fraternities, sororities, and other students groups from the 1970s and 1980s, and the first constitution (1968) of the Society of Afro-American Culture.  Also on view were flyers and posters from early NC State Pan-African Festivals from the 1970s and Martin Luther King Day celebrations from the 1980s.  Other items available were proceedings from the first Brotherhood Dinner in 1982, which is now an annual event to recognize important contributions being made by African Americans and to enhance an environment that brings together people of diverse backgrounds to study and work together.  Because dinner was held after the homecoming football game, we showed a selection of historical sports materials too.  Based on input from several people attending the dinner, we have been able to identify a number of people depicted in the photos.

Special Collections showed a selection of historic photos, yearbooks, and memorabilia from NC State's 1983 and 1974 basketball championships at the screening of "30 for 30: Survive and Advance."

Last Monday, October 28, Special Collections also displayed sports memorabilia at a Hunt Library screening of the ESPN film “30 for 30:  Survive and Advance” about NC State’s 1983 national champion basketball team.  People coming to see the film were first able to browse through historic images, memorabilia, and yearbooks from the 1983 and 1974 championship seasons.  Memorabilia from the 1983 championship was presented, including clothing and a commemorative shoe.   Also shown were trading cards depicting famous NC State players, as well as a selection of athletics programs from through NC State’s history.

Oct 11 2013

Design Library Fall Special!

It’s time for the “Fall Special” at the Harrye B. Lyons Design Library!

A “Show and Tell” event featuring highlights from Special Collections

When:  October 16, 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM

Where: The Harrye B. Lyons Design Library, 209 Brooks Hall, Raleigh, NC 27695

The Special Collections Research Center at NCSU Libraries will continue its biannual tradition of a “Show-and-Tell” event at the Design Library with its “Fall Special” on Wednesday, October 16. This is an exciting opportunity to see a sampling of Special Collections materials of special interest to those at the College of Design. The items on display will include rare books, architectural drawings, and other materials from our collections in Art and Design, Architecture, Graphic Design, and Landscape Architecture. Please come by during our open hours to enjoy light refreshments and an opportunity to examine these unique items from the Special Collections Research Center.

For questions about this year’s event, please contact Gwynn Thayer at gathayer@ncsu.edu

Sep 25 2013

Image Discovery Week 2013

 

Geodesic dome Bromberg Mural
Black River Hunting Club Lodge Woman's Day House
Design shop

September 23-27, 2013, is Image Discovery Week. The Libraries’ digitized special collections include tens of thousands of images documenting university history and architecture in North Carolina. Stop by the Design Library or the Special Collections Research Center to learn more about the Libraries’ image collections.

Discover more images in the Libraries’ Rare and Unique Digital Collections.

Sep 03 2013

Special Collections wows special guests at CALS Tailgate 2013!

The Special Collections Research Center (SCRC) was a hit this past Saturday morning, August 31, during the CALS Tailgate at Dorton Arena. More than 150 attendees came by the SCRC table to see some of the highlights from the university archives. Guests especially enjoyed looking through historic basketball programs as well as photographs of NCSU icons, including Jimmy V. Photographs of past NCSU football teams and Riddick Stadium were also a big hit.

University Archivist Todd Kosmerick is seen here (upper right) consulting with Mr. Wuf about our holdings. The SCRC was especially pleased to hear the howls and hollers from Mr. and Mrs. Wuf when they viewed our collections. You can search for CALS-related resources at http://historicalstate.lib.ncsu.edu/search.

May 08 2013

Professor Einstein, the animal’s friend

contributed by Kristina Bender.

What was Albert Einstein doing on August 21, 1937?

Someone with a popular knowledge of Einstein might recite E = mc2 or mumble a few details about the Manhattan Project.

Most people would not imagine Einstein–famous by then and rightfully bracing for another war–scribbling from his desk at the Institute for Advanced Study, a passionate letter in praise of an animal welfare pamphlet.

Einstein wrote to Bertram Lloyd of the National Society for the Abolition of Cruel Sports, an animal advocacy organization out of London that day. This “very interesting letter from Professor Einstein” endorsed the views expressed by activist Henry S. Salt in the pamphlet Two Similar Pastimes: Sport and War, a publication of the society. Einstein’s letter, forwarded by Lloyd to the National Council for Animals’ Welfare, was printed in the November 1937 issue of the council’s monthly magazine, The Animals’ Friend. An original copy of this issue now resides in Special Collections at NC State.

The Animals' Friend, November 1937

This is one of many fascinating tidbits found in the recently acquired collection of animal rights, animal welfare, and animal advocacy pamphlets dating from the 1870s to the early 1950s. These pamphlets illuminate the social, political, ethical, and scientific discourses surrounding the animal rights movement in the latter part of the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Einstein’s letter, in particular, exemplifies the rich interdisciplinary possibilities of such rare materials. For Einstein, the connections Salt draws between “blood-sports” and “war” are “essential to any truly humane outlook on life.” Furthermore, Einstein explains, to replace the primitive “love of slaughter” with a more “civilised” pacifism involves not only “our attitude to the animal world, but also the whole question of man’s humanity to his fellows.”

How might this bit of information complicate our understanding of Professor Einstein, as a public figure and an ambivalent individual, especially considering his impending association with nuclear proliferation in World War II? What does his letter tell us about the work of Henry Salt, the role of pamphlets, or the state of the animal rights movement in the 1930s?

This kind of interdisciplinary inquiry is enabled and enriched by the new additions to the NCSU Libraries. If you are interested in seeing this or any of the other materials in this collection. Please contact the Special Collections Research Center.

Apr 25 2013

The Oldest Complete Printed Work at NCSU

contributed by Beth Debold.

It is important to remember that rare books, or any rare material, are never valuable solely due to their age. However, many librarians, researchers, and other library users seem to have a special yen for the oldest items. I thought I might share NCSU’s oldest complete printed item with you today.

NCSU has several very old rare books. The oldest item I have come across is not a printed work at all, but rather a delicate leaf from a 14th century manuscript discussing personal wealth and gain among medieval clergy. The next oldest item is an excerpt from Konrad von Megenberg’s Das Buch der Natur from the Friedrich F. Tippmann Entomological Collection, printed in 1482. However, since NCSU does not possess a complete copy of that work, I decided to discuss NCSU’s oldest and (as far as it is possible to tell) complete rare book: Ptolemy’s Tetrabiblos, or Quadripartitum, a second century Greek text on astrology.

Tetrabiblios, 1484

Printed by Erhard Ratdolt (a Venetian printer of German origins) in 1484, NCSU’s copy remains in beautiful condition. It is the first printed edition of the Latin translation of the Tetrabiblos from the Greek, and is only thirty-four years younger than the first item printed using moveable type. It is an excellent example of how the production and consumption of important texts changed dramatically leading up to the Renaissance, as books became much more accessible both in terms of quantity and readability.

The copy here at D.H. Hill has another interesting trait—it was rebound in 1902 by the influential British bookbinder Katharine Adams. One of the most notable female bookbinders in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Adams began binding professionally in the 1890s and opened her own bindery in the small town of Broadway in the Cotswolds in 1901. It is possible that this book was rebound there, in her Eadburgh Bindery.

Katharine Adams, binding signature, 1902

The work is exquisitely but simply rendered in soft sheepskin and gold tooling. She included her personally designed signature, consisting of the initials “K A” enclosing a catherine wheel, tooled on the inside bottom edge of the back cover. This work also has a great many notes and autographs from previous owners in the margins, possibly dating back to contemporary with the printing date.

This eldest complete work here at NCSU is a beautiful example of the history of printing, early astrology, women’s history, the history of bookbinding, and the history of book ownership all in one. For a digital version of the text, take a look at this copy in Spain’s Virtual Library of Bibliographical Heritage.

To see this work, please contact the Special Collections Research Center.

Sources

Burnett, Charles. (n.d.) Ptolemy, Quadripartitum. Retrieved from http://warburg.sas.ac.uk/pdf/fah750pto.pdf

Griffiths, Jane. (n.d.) Adams, Katharine. In Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Retrieved from http://www.oxforddnb.com.libproxy.lib.unc.edu/view/article/38543