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April 2010 HAVERFORD COLLEGE Ser. 2, No. 2

Table of Contents


The Booming Business of Interlibrary Loan

by Norm Medeiros and Rob Haley

Like beer and the box office, interlibrary loan is recession-proof.  While academic libraries large and small see their collections budgets slashed, the business of borrowing and lending continues at a brisk pace.  It would be easy for one to assume the reduced buying power of libraries is affecting the supply and demand for scholarly information.  However, Haverford’s borrowing and lending activity has steadily risen over the last decade.  Borrowing, which has outpaced lending, has seen a jump of ten percent annually.  Meanwhile the growth in our collections, particularly our journal collection, has been exponential.  Why is it, then, that the trajectory of borrowing requests continues at such a steady rate?

Part of the answer may be that despite the increased demand, the turnaround time to fill these requests has remained short.  Logic would suggest that an increase in demand would cause a reduction in efficiency, and a subsequent drop in demand.  However, this has not been the case. Rob Haley, Haverford’s Interlibrary Loan Specialist, continues to refine the processes involved with managing faculty and student requests.  Rob is mindful, for example, of the means utilized by lending libraries to send books, favoring those that ship via UPS to those that use slower delivery services.  Likewise with article requests, Rob maintains a list of suppliers that provide clean and timely electronic (PDF) copies.  On the flip side, Haverford is respected across the country as a fast and accurate supplier, a reputation important to maintain in such an interdependent business.

Another reason for the upswing in requests may be the growth in information awareness.  Today’s scholars have access to large sets of electronic journals provided by publishers and aggregator services, an expanding array of abstracting and indexing services, publisher-supplied RSS feeds, and Google alerts that help cast a wide net over the literature in one’s field.   Speaking of Google, at last count over 10 million books had been digitized by the Internet behemoth.  Keyword searches of this vast information emporium are no doubt contributing to the increase in borrowing requests for older books and journals.   As full-text of these long-forgotten volumes is released under licensing plans in accordance with the Google Books settlement -- provided the settlement is approved -- will borrowing requests for physical books decrease?   Only time will tell.

-Norm Medeiros is Associate Librarian of the College
-Rob Haley is Interlibrary Loan Specialist



Special Collections Awarded Grant for Conversation of the Friendly Association Papers

by John Anderies

The National Park Service awarded Quaker & Special Collections a Save America’s Treasures grant for the preservation and digitization of the papers of the "Friendly Association for Regaining and Preserving Peace with the Indians of Pacific Measures." The papers are among our most heavily used collections, having been used by several published scholars, Ph.D. candidates, Master’s degree thesis writers, and undergraduate history majors from Haverford in recent years.

Sample page from the Friendly Association papers

The Friendly Association was established in 1756 by a group of eminent Quakers in Philadelphia following months of horrific violence between settlers and Native Americans on the Pennsylvania frontier. Self-consciously contrasting themselves with the British army, the militia, and the more militant representatives of the proprietary government, the leaders of the Friendly Association sought to establish peaceful relations with the Delaware Indians and other nearby tribes, and thereby prove the effectiveness of Quaker pacifism.

The Friendly Association was a private initiative, without the official sanction of the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, but it quickly assumed a prominent role in many of the most important controversies of the day. Israel Pemberton and the other leaders of the Association sought to represent the interests of the Delaware in their ongoing dispute with the Pennsylvania government over the so-called “walking purchase.” They monitored and participated in a series of treaty negotiations in the late 1750s and early 1760s, and eventually their disputes with the proprietary government became one element in a broad Quaker campaign to establish royal government and rescind the colonial charter.

The Friendly Association papers contain hundreds of unique and detailed accounts of behind-the-scenes treaty negotiations; historical documents dating back to the early years of Pennsylvania's Indian affairs; the correspondence of Pemberton and others relating to fundraising and the exigencies of Pennsylvania politics; and missives from Indian leaders, transcribed or otherwise transmitted by an intricate network of Indian “go-betweens” who maintained almost constant contact with the Association.

Sample page from Friendly Association papers

Dating from 1745–1792, the Papers were bound into five folio-sized, half-leather scrapbooks in the late 19th century. The documents suffer from embrittlement of their housing and support, iron gall ink corrosion and degradation of the documents themselves, and heavy use, greatly exacerbating the threat of continued damage from the preceding problems. Treatment will take place in our in-house conservation lab under the guidance of Library Conservator Bruce Bumbarger, and will allow for removal of the documents from their embrittled scrapbook leaves and stabilization of the document inks and paper supports. Each document will also be scanned and the resulting digital images will be loaded into Triptych, our digital library system. The project will take two years to complete and will involve several staff members, preservation interns, and student assistants.

 

-John Anderies is Coordinator for Collections
& Head of Special Collections



The Senior Thesis Archive Grows

By Margaret Schaus

Anticipated with a mixture of excitement and dread, the senior thesis serves as a culminating experience for most Haverford seniors. Whether as a year-long or semester project, students survey existing scholarship; contact groups and individuals; research in archives, museums, and labs; and partner to improve arguments and narrative.  The finished products are turned in to department faculty for critiques and grades.  Seven departments award prizes at graduation for outstanding work in senior theses (Comparative Literature, Economics, History, Philosophy, Political Science, Religion, and Spanish).

In order to make this student research accessible, the Library started a Senior Thesis Archive in 2001 (http://thesis.haverford.edu/).  

Gateway to the Senior Thesis Archive

Paper copies of theses are on file for use in the Library; some copies are also available online.  The Library contacts graduating thesis writers for permission to make their texts open access on the Internet.  This is especially helpful for prospective students and their families who want to know the kinds of work that Haverford students do.  Academic departments also have decided that the theses are valuable teaching tools and have requested that copies be digitized for access only on the Haverford campus (or also for Bryn Mawr in the case of Bi-College departments).  With larger collections now being digitized (Religion, Philosophy, and Political Science), the theses present a fascinating picture of student interests and curricula across time.  There seems to be far-sightedness in a 1967 political science thesis on the “cybernation revolution”  (Watts, David. A Study of the Effects and Implications of the Cybernation Revolution).  Changing student interests can be investigated even further with the senior theses in Special Collections dating from 1897 through 1918.

 

-Margaret Schaus is Bibliographer
& Reference Librarian


Mobile Version of Tripod Debuts for Patrons on the Move

By David Conners

Last summer, one of the first priorities of the newly created Trico Technology Advisory Group was to create a mobile-friendly version of Tripod, the library catalog.  The goal was to create a site optimized for use on smart phones or other web-enabled handheld devices.  Led by Anna Headley, Technical Services Specialist at Swarthmore College, the project group consisted of: David Conners (Digital Collections Librarian, Haverford College), Anne Garrison (Humanities Librarian, Swarthmore College), Sarah Hartman-Caverly (Serials Library Assistant, Bryn Mawr College), and Brian Seitz (Tri-College Libraries Web Developer).   

The group began meeting in July to discuss trends in mobile library computing and to attend virtually the Handheld Online Conference <http://www.handheldconference.org/>. The first major decision of the group was whether to create an app (a program that patrons would download to their phone) or a website designed specifically for the small screen of a handheld device.  Different smartphone brands have different operating systems, so a specific app would be needed for each type of phone.  This would require too much upkeep on the part of the Trico Systems Office, so the group decided to go for a mobile-friendly website instead.  


In the fall, Brian coded a test site that the rest of the group used for testing with students, faculty, and staff.  After adding new features suggested by the user tests and fixing known bugs, the group finished the site in December.  Tripod Mobile officially debuted at the start of the spring semester. 

Tripod mobile is accessible from http://m.tripod.haverford.edu, though most mobile devices will be redirected from the full Tripod site. 

With Tripod mobile, you can:

  • Search for items
  • Text, email, and save records
  • Request and renew items
  • Check hours & phone numbers
  • Send feedback about the site

Tripod mobile works best with Android, iPhone/iPod touch, Palm Pre (webOS), Blackberry, or any device with Opera Mini. 

 

-David Conners is Reference Librarian and Bibliographer


Student Assistant Profile: Jessie Taylor

By Mary Lynn Morris Kennedy

The Library employs over 100 student assistants during the year.  This is the first in a series of student profiles which will highlight the vital role that student employees play in fulfilling the Library’s mission.

Jessie Taylor, a senior English major from Canton, Georgia, has worked in Digital Services since her freshman year.  In addition to assisting with computer maintenance and providing editorial assistance for the Library website, Jessie provides technical support for several collections in the College’s institutional repository <http://triceratops.brynmawr.edu/> including the Students’ Council Meeting Minutes (1925-2009), the Faculty Meeting Minutes (1945-1999), and the Senior Thesis Archive.  Jessie’s responsibilities include scanning, PDF and optical character recognition conversion, editing, database entry, and quality control for the collections.

Jessie at work in the Library’s Wreck Room

Each collection has presented its own unique challenges.  As the Web and other technological advances have made images more available and more easily reproducible, submissions to the Senior Thesis Archive increasingly present copyright concerns.  During the last several years, Jessie helped to develop procedures for redacting copyright images from theses which allow them to be made available to researchers both locally and over the Web without infringing copyright.  

The digitization of the Students’ Council and Faculty Meeting Minutes also has proven neither straightforward nor simple.  The original documents consist of hundreds of pages produced through eight decades by various mechanical means on a variety of different types of paper.  Producing high-quality scans requires substantial pre- and post-scanning processing, and Jessie, who has a background in art, must call on her fine-tuned attention for visual detail to accomplish this often difficult task.  

Sample of Jessie’s work with the Students’ Council minutes. 
The 1926 Council passed a
motion opposing the use of
snowballs to destroy property, and another motion to open the
skating pond to students on Sunday afternoons.

The Library’s current repository workflow and procedures owe much to Jessie’s high standards, persistence and willingness to engage in painstaking trial and error until a solution is found.  We perhaps could have done it without her, but not nearly so well.

 

-Mary Lynn Morris Kennedy is Digital Services Librarian


Staff News

Compiled by Mike Persick

Laurie Allen, Coordinator for Research, Instruction and Outreach, attended the Educause conference in Denver in November.  She participated in a presentation entitled “Reshaping Information Services for a Changing Faculty Population: Evidence and Insights from the MISO Survey.”  The presentation described trends in faculty use and satisfaction with library and technology services among faculty across various age groups.  She will continue presenting on MISO with the rest of the MISO team at a number of upcoming conferences.

John Anderies, Head of Special Collections, attended a week-long course on “Special Collections and Donors” at Rare Book School in New York City, November 2-6.  Taught by Susan M. Allen and William P. Barlow, Jr., the course covered topics including collection building, donor development, negotiating, ethics, and tax laws.

An article by David Conners, Digital Collections Librarian, “A ‘Mind-Boggling’ Implication: the Hebrew Bible, the Old Testament, and the Definition of a Work,” was published in Judaica Librarianship (volume 15) in December.  David also attended the American Library Association Midwinter conference in Boston in January.  He is involved in the Association for Library Collections & Technical Services (ALCTS) Preservation and Reformatting Section Program, Planning and Publications Committee and the ALCTS Cataloging and Classification Section Research and Publication Committee, and attended committee meetings for both.  He also attended a number of conference sessions including a half-day pre-conference on CONTENTdm, the digital collections management software in use at the Tri-College Libraries.

Dora Wong, Science Librarian, attended the WebSearch University conference in Washington, D.C. in September.  The aim of the conference was to enable librarians and information professionals to learn new search engine paradigms, new techniques and resources, and emerging technologies.  Some topics of interest included semantic search engines, searching for non-textual content, graphically-displayed results, and targeted results based on the searcher’s device, location, or other demographic clues.

 


 

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