Harvard College Library
Nancy Cline, Roy E. Larsen Librarian
Academic Year 2010–2011
Nancy Cline’s Retirement
After nearly 15 years of exceptional service to Harvard, Nancy M. Cline, the Roy E. Larsen Librarian of Harvard College, retired at the end of the academic year. Cline’s long career at Harvard is distinguished by many notable accomplishments. In 1996, she began her appointment overseeing the operations of the major libraries and units within the Harvard College Library (HCL). During her tenure at Harvard, the Harry Elkins Widener Memorial Library was completely renovated; support for collections preservation increased; and Harvard’s Library Digital Initiative was launched. As Harvard looks to the future of its library system, Cline’s legacy of innovation, collaboration, and pragmatism will serve as an excellent foundation.
The archive of Sir Georg Solti, a body of work of significance to musical scholars and musicians worldwide, has come to Harvard’s Loeb Music Library. The collection includes hundreds of scores heavily marked for performance and annotated by Solti, one of the 20th century’s most renowned conductors of opera and symphony and winner of more Grammy Awards than any other recording artist in any category. The Solti gift will enable the collection to be digitized and made available online for scholars and music enthusiasts around the world via Loeb Music’s Digital Scores and Libretti Collection site and the Music Treasures Consortium portal hosted by the Library of Congress. Loeb Music staff played a leading role in launching the consortium, a joint venture that also includes Juilliard, the British Library, the Morgan Library, and the New York Public Library.
Widener Library acquired the ACT UP Oral History Project Archive, a unique collection of video interviews and written transcripts documenting the on-the-ground, in-the-trenches work of the individuals in the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP), who were instrumental in raising national awareness of the disease in the late 1980s through social activism.
Special Collections Request System
This year HCL implemented a Special Collections Request system that allows patrons to register and place requests for materials online directly from the HOLLIS record or from a personal account page. This system replaces paper registration and request forms and eliminates the need for patrons to register separately for use of each special collection. While the “front end” of the system provides users with more convenience and a consistent experience across libraries, the “back end” provides the libraries not only with the convenience of web-based registration, but also with usage data and control of collections activity that informs collection development and enhances security of the collections. The system was implemented in Houghton, Fine Arts, Loeb Music, Harvard-Yenching, Tozzer, and Cabot libraries and the Harvard Map Collection, all of which hold collections that are rare or valuable, are kept in closed stacks, and receive special curatorial treatment.
JSTOR Single Copy Project
JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content on a trusted digital archive of more than 1,000 academic journals and 1 million primary sources. This year the library launched the JSTOR Single Copy Project, whereby a single copy of each JSTOR title will be maintained at the Harvard Depository, thus freeing up shelf space on campus—which can be utilized for current titles—and enhancing records in HOLLIS. The year-long library project deals with volumes held in many campus libraries and will focus on backruns only—volumes more recent than 1999 will not be affected. The library’s current subscriptions to titles in JSTOR are not affected as part of this project, although many subscriptions to paper have been waning. JSTOR titles are the focus, as JSTOR provides a trusted digital and physical archive and is a highly used e-resource. The JSTOR project will serve as a model for future projects.
Enhancing the Undergraduate Experience
The library continues to work to bring undergraduate students into contact with the services and collections available to them. Staff from HCL’s Services for Academic Programs unit created “Tools of the Trade: A Library Starter Kit for Freshmen,” which has received accolades from both students and faculty this year. The online “starter kit” is stocked with essentials—in the form of advice, explanations, and suggested search strategies—to help students meet the new and different expectations for college-level research.
Working with the head teaching fellow for the General Education course “Art and Thought in the Cold War,” taught by Professor Louis Menand, research librarians assisted in the redesign of a course assignment to engage students more fully in the work. To enhance the experience for students and also acquaint them with the abundant materials available to them at Harvard, they created “Destinations,” a booklet in both electronic and print form that highlighted the collections of several Harvard libraries with significant holdings related to the assignment. Part of the assignment required students to search for an item in one of the libraries, giving them hands-on experience finding and working with primary materials. Among the libraries that participated were the Botany Libraries, Countway, Gutman, Houghton, Lamont, the Harvard Map Collection, and the University Archives in Pusey, Schlesinger, Widener, and the Wolbach Library of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Following the course, librarians reviewed the assignment with students and the teaching fellow, receiving very positive feedback. “Destinations” is being used as a model for other General Education courses in the 2011–2012 academic year.
Your Student@Lamont, an interactive event that was part of the annual Freshman Parents Weekend, offered parents a hands-on introduction to Lamont and other libraries—Cabot, Houghton, Harvard-Yenching, Loeb Music, Fine Arts, and Tozzer—and highlighted the array of collections and experiences the libraries offer to first-year students. Since expository writing classes are the one place students are guaranteed to encounter “research” in their first year, it was particularly enlightening for parents to talk with Tom Jehn, Sosland Professor of the Harvard College Writing Program, about the resources students are able to call on in the libraries. Librarians from HCL and Writing Program staff have collaborated to develop a curriculum designed to help freshmen navigate the physical and online resources of Harvard’s libraries.
Digitization Efforts in Support of Teaching and Learning
The library’s Collections Digitization Program continued to focus on the building of digital collections of enduring value. In fiscal year 2011 there was an increased emphasis on providing digitization in support of teaching and learning. Various endowment funds were used to support these efforts. Materials digitized in the past year for classroom use include:
- Two 18th century Russian atlases from the Map Collection and an early 19th century atlas from Houghton Printing and Graphic Arts. The atlases will be used by Professor Kelly O’Neill in the Department of History for her General Education course in fall 2012 on mapping empires.
- Recordings of Modern Greek poetry, read by the poets themselves, from the Woodberry Poetry Room. The collection includes recordings by 1963 Nobel Laureate George Seferis, 1979 Nobel Laureate Odysseus Elytis, and many other Modern Greek poets. These recordings are extremely rare and provide the opportunity for original research to support student theses and dissertations. Professor Panagiotis Roilos, director of the Modern Greek Studies Program in the Department of the Classics, intends to use these recordings to support his graduate student teaching and learning.
- Three 16th century atlases, by Ptolemy, Apianus, and Porcacchi, from the Map Collection. Images will be used by Professor Tom Conley, Abbott Lawrence Lowell Professor of Visual and Environmental Studies and of Romance Languages and Literatures, in courses exploring the relations of space and writing in literature and cartography.
- Rubbings from the Harvard-Yenching Library. Images of the rubbings are being used in the classroom by faculty members from the Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations. There is great value in having these materials conserved and digitized, as due to the large size and fragility of many of the rubbings, they are very difficult to serve to patrons.
- Early books and manuscripts from Houghton Library. Digitized early book and manuscript titles are regularly used in classes taught by Professor Tom Conley and Ann Blair, Henry Charles Lea Professor of History. Jeffrey Hamburger, Kuno Francke Professor of German Art and Culture, has been incorporating the use of medieval manuscript images in his courses.
- Minstrel cabinet cards and cartes de visite from the Harvard Theatre Collection. These photographs were digitized for use in teaching, in classes such as the upcoming graduate seminar on Early African American Musical Theater taught by Carol Oja, William Powell Mason Professor of Music.
A number of photograph projects are under way, integrating conservation by the Photograph Preservation Program of the Weissman Preservation Center, cataloging, and digital imaging:
- The Hedda Morrison negatives project is preserving and digitizing fragile negatives taken by famed photographer Hedda Hammer Morrison in China during her residence there from 1933–1946 and held in the collection of the Harvard-Yenching Library.
- Historical and rare ethnographic portraits of peoples from throughout the world are being made available online in the Ethnographic Portraits: Photographs from Tozzer Library project.
- Work continued on the Early Photography of Japan project, started in FY2010, which is creating a virtual collection of 35 albums containing nearly 2,000 photographs from Widener Library, the Fine Arts Library, and the Harvard-Yenching Library.
- The Angus McBean photographs project is making accessible images from the Harvard Theatre Collection. McBean photographed most of the important stage productions in London, Stratford-on-Avon, Glyndebourne, and Aldeburgh, from the 1930s through the early 1970s. In FY11, 5,224 contact prints were digitized.
- The six Virginia Woolf Monks House photograph albums, held by the Harvard Theatre Collection, were conserved and digitized.
- Over 750 photographs from the Milman Parry Collection of Oral Literature, documenting the fieldwork of Milman Parry and Albert Lord in the 1930s and 1950s, were digitized.
- Work was completed on the Gardner Collection of Photographs of the New England Landscape, held by Cabot Library.
Additional digitization projects started in FY2011 include the Edward Lear Landscape Drawings held by Houghton Library Printing and Graphic Arts and the Petzold Buddhist Scrolls from the Harvard-Yenching Library. Over 4,300 posters from the Thomas Hill Collection and the James Howard Fraser Collection of Widener Library were digitized as part of an ongoing effort to provide access to these large and difficult-to-serve materials. The Collections Digitization Program also continued to support the ongoing digitization of medieval manuscripts, music scores, and pamphlets. Over 1,500 pamphlets in the subject areas of Latin America, World War I, Sociology, and Witchcraft were digitized in FY2011.
Houghton Library hosted two scholarly conferences this past year in conjunction with exhibitions showcasing its collections. Over 70 Byron scholars and enthusiasts attended “Byron and the Book,” a conference co-hosted by Northeastern University, the Boston Public Library, the Boston Athenaeum, and the Longfellow National Historic Site. Forty papers on the Romantic poet Lord Byron (1788–1824) were presented by scholars from 10 countries. The conference was accompanied by the exhibition “‘Let Satire Be My Song’: Byron’s English Bards and Scotch Reviewers.”
Nearly 100 scholars from across the world gathered at Houghton Library for the final day of a four-day conference marking the centenary of the death of William James—the beginning of the conference, “In the Footsteps of William James,” was held in Chocorua, New Hampshire, site of James’ summer home. Scholars presented papers on psychology, philosophy, psychic phenomena, and other fields of inquiry in which James played a formative role; several Harvard faculty participated as session leaders or presented papers. The Houghton session also included a preview of “‘Life is in the transitions’: William James 1842–1910,” an online exhibition that looks back at the transitional moments of James’ life. Drawn from the vast James family papers at Houghton Library, with loans from Countway Library at Harvard Medical School, Harvard University Archives, and the Ernst Mayr Library of the Museum of Comparative Zoology, the exhibition included more than 90 manuscripts, letters, photographs, and drawings, arranged according to themes that highlight various aspects of James’ life and work. The online exhibition includes links to the catalog record for every item, as well as links to a finding aid for the James family papers. A physical exhibition of the same name was also on display in Houghton’s Edison and Newman Room throughout the fall semester.