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April 2011 HAVERFORD COLLEGE Ser. 2, No. 4

Table of Contents

From the Librarian

by Terry Snyder

Photograph of Terry Snyder, Librarian of the CollegeWhat an extraordinary privilege and pleasure it is for me to join the Haverford College community! I am endlessly impressed by the College’s commitment in promoting the personal and intellectual growth of the students.  I am even more impressed by the talented faculty and staff contributing to the successful realization of this goal on a daily basis.  My Library colleagues join me in echoing and amplifying our commitment to that shared goal.

As we move forward, Library colleagues will engage in strategic planning to identify ways in which we can fully realize this commitment to excellence.  We promise to be unrelenting in pursuit and support of that excellence!  Some of the areas in which we will focus include evaluating our current services for their effectiveness in meeting the needs of users – faculty, students, and outside researchers.  We will look for ways to expand both our services and audience. Collection development -- in electronic format, print media and special collections -- will most definitely be a focal point. Curriculum and research support will remain central to our planning. We will explore new opportunities in supporting emerging digital scholarship.  We will look to create new programming in support of the educational goals of the campus.  Improving the physical plant will necessarily require our attention. We will build and strengthen partnerships within the Haverford College community, and the Tri-Co community at large, in order to most fully realize the best possible Library offerings. These areas are only some of the avenues of exploration. Ultimately we seek to create a robust, technologically-smart Library space which will serve as a dynamic academic center where students will find opportunities to study, learn, research, and generate new knowledge.    

There is much to be excited about already.  In this newsletter you will read about some of the current projects in which Library colleagues are engaged. One area, for example, includes digital preservation and access initiatives using DSpace.  More recent efforts include: the digitization of retrospective theses from the Political Science Department and the Physics Department, a collection of Al Qaeda statements researched by faculty member Barak Mendelsohn and his student assistants, and the availability of the Journal of the Hellenic Diaspora in digital form. These are but a few examples with many more both available and yet to come.

I have enjoyed meeting and speaking with several students and faculty members in the short time I have been at Haverford.  I look forward to many more conversations, and I invite you to contact me (at 610-896-1272 or with your ideas of how we might advance the Library in support of the College’s mission to fully educate students; Non doctior, sed meliore doctrina imbutus!

-Terry Snyder is Librarian of the College

The Al Qaeda Statements Project

by Margaret Schaus

“Al Jazeera has released a message today from Al Qaeda…”  This is a common introduction we read and hear on news broadcasts.  But what follows is usually a two or three line summary of the statement.  Political Science Professor Barak Mendelsohn and his students study terrorism and its manifestations in the Middle East in particular.  They need the full texts of Al Qaeda statements to analyze themes, rhetoric, references, and speakers.  This need has led to a challenging project in cooperation with the Library.  Its mandate is to identify, make accessible (with some limitations), and preserve full length statements from Al Qaeda in digital form in English translation
(  The statements form the centerpiece of a global terrorism research site now in development which will allow the tracking of concepts in an extremely precise fashion.

Mendelsohn and his student researchers have included statements from the Al Qaeda leadership dating back to 1994. They have developed a detailed system of indexing terms to capture the ideas expressed and to distinguish relationships and contexts.  Library staff members have assisted by locating texts, giving preference to open access versions available to the general public.  Students also compare different translations for the fullest versions, give these transcripts a uniform format, and then converting them into PDFs, a standard file format used for online documents.  A variety of circumstances all too often have complicated this process.  Websites with Al Qaeda statements have been shut down, news sources have heavily abridged the statements (sometimes without indicating the edits), and videos of speeches do not include transcripts.

More disheartening is the case of the Open Source Center (, a U.S. government agency which provides translations of foreign intelligence.  They have distributed texts, including terrorist statements, through World News Connection, a subscription service.  Many of their translations are in Haverford’s Al Qaeda database.  World News Connection has even given us permission to ma ke their statements available to the general public.  However, in a twist Orwell would savor, the Open Source Center last May cut off access to translations from terrorist websites.  Now only government employees and contractors with security clearances can see the statements.  Magill Library has filled this information gap with a subscription to SITE Intelligence Group Monitoring Service (, a news and document website dedicated to terrorist research.  Haverford was the second school in the U.S. to subscribe to SITE.  Regrettably users outside of Haverford are not be able to see SITE’s documents in the Al Qaeda database due to license restrictions.

Mendelsohn’s long term plans for the terrorism research site include expanding statement coverage to Al Qaeda affiliate groups.  He is also interested in ways in which the statements may be used in quantitative studies.  This resource is unique in combining a large collection of fully searchable Al Qaeda statements with thematic subject and contextual indexing.  Researchers outside of Haverford have already expressed interest in using the materials that are available to the general public.

-Margaret Schaus is Bibliographer & Reference Librarian

Digitizing the Journal of the Hellenic Diaspora

by Norm Medeiros

Cover image of Journal of the Hellenic DiasporaSerendipity is a regular occurrence in libraries, and one of the great aspects of being a librarian.   Last year I was approached by Alexander Kitroeff, a faculty member in Haverford’s History Department, about the possibility of digitizing the backfile of the Journal of the Hellenic Diaspora (JHD), on whose editorial board he served.  I’m not sure if Professor Kitroeff was aware of my administration of Haverford’s DSpace repository, Triceratops, or was just canvassing the Library staff in search of a sympathetic ear.  Regardless, after a brief discussion we agreed that the Library would digitize JHD and mount these scans on Triceratops as a means of making available to the scholarly community the contents of this journal.

Once Professor Kitroeff received a favorable response from his fellow board members and JHD’s publisher, Pella Publishing Company, work began on disbinding Pella-supplied issues from the 35-volume set.  Although JHD started as a quarterly publication, early in its existence it slowed to a semiannual, with some volumes consisting of a single issue.  Except for covers, the publication is black text on white paper, with few images.  Given its size and constitution, it seemed likely the Library could process this collection in its entirety in just a few months.

The scanning, post-scan processing, and optical character recognition (OCR) were accomplished quickly during summer 2010.  Bruce Bumbarger, Library Conservator, disbound the issues, allowing the individual pages to be fed through the Library’s high-speed scanner.   The OmniPage Pro OCR application processed these pages, converting them from PDF images to PDF text, enabling Triceratops, as well as Google, Bing, and other search engines, to index the contents of each issue.  Additional features of the processing included scanning covers in color and appending them to the beginning of each issue.  Similarly, illustrations were scanned in grayscale in order to render a higher-quality reproduction, which were inserted into issues as required. 

The most labor-intensive aspect of the project was creating article-level PDFs with associated metadata.  Jessie Taylor, HC’11 did yeoman’s work throughout the summer building the bulk of the article-based collection.  Benjamin Wohl, HC’14 finished the project during fall 2010. 

The project was completed in November 2010, much to the delight of Professor Kitroeff and the Greek history community.  JHD in its digitized glory is available at <>. 

-Norm Medeiros is Associate Librarian of the College & Coordinator for Bibliographic and Digital Services

E-Reader First Impressions

by Dora Wong

The Haverford College Library has available for circulation to its community two e-readers: Amazon's large-screen Kindle DX, acquired in February 2010, and Apple's Wi-Fi only iPad, acquired in February 2011.  Neither the Kindle nor the iPad has been heavily marketed to patrons. Four users, however, have borrowed the Kindle. One user wanted to read a pre-loaded book, but the rest of the users came to investigate it as a device. The first of these users liked it and decided to buy one for himself, as he felt that it was well-suited as a personal reader. Recently the Library’s iPad has drawn interest for its ability to run numerous applications.

The features in an e-book reader, such as the ability to highlight, bookmark, and annotate, attempt to replicate what users do naturally with print books. However, the ways to accomplish these tasks on reading devices are varied and require some acclimation.  For academic reading, it is desirable to save notes for future reference. Associating these notes with a page, an easy task using humble Post-Its on print pages, is far more difficult on e-readers. Further, the effort to collect and save digital notes is not trivial. 

It is ironic that while the initial focus of the Library’s pilot was in determining the genre of books to purchase for the Kindle, the strength of our study is in better understanding the way humans interact with books in their material container.  A secondary and somewhat unexpected aspect of this pilot revolved around the suitability of the e-reader as a publicly-shared tool. Our experiment of limited scope and duration seem to indicate that library e-books are most effectively used on a full-featured computer for short and specific lookups, or downloaded to one’s personal device for extended use.

-Dora Wong is Science Librarian

ProQuest's Dissertations and Theses Fulltext

by James Gulick

During the summer of 2010 the Library added a significant new database, Dissertations and Theses: The Humanities and Social Sciences Collection.  This is the world’s most comprehensive collection of doctoral dissertations and master’s theses, containing citations to dissertations that were finished from 1861 to the present at over 1,700 universities worldwide.  While the Library has had access for years to Dissertation Abstracts, this new database also includes the full text of most dissertations completed since 1997.  (A significant number of works completed before 1997 is also available in full text.)  Over 1,000 new PDFs are added to the database each week.  

Instead of waiting for dissertations to arrive via Interlibrary Loan, researchers can directly access known dissertations online, as well as browse for dissertations by topic or keyword, facilitating the speed and depth of research. Librarians frequently advise students to make use of dissertation bibliographies, and this database will allow for instant access to those bibliographies.   Rob Haley, Interlibrary Loan Specialist, has noted that during the fall semester he received approximately 80 requests for dissertations.  In the majority of cases he was able to direct the patron to the full text PDF, to which we now have access.  Patrons were then able to obtain the dissertation immediately and the Library was spared the expense of obtaining a copy from another institution.

As with a number of other databases, one can set up email alerts to notify you as new dissertations matching your search criteria become available.  Dissertations which were submitted to the database with supplemental audio, video or other types of digital files can also be downloaded.

-James Gulick is Bibliographer & Reference Librarian

Student Profile: Andrew McGahran

by Dawn Heckert

Photograph of student profiled in articleOne place that everyone knows in the Library is the front desk (a.k.a. the Circulation Desk).  It is the desk that is the most visible and is continuously staffed throughout our operating hours. The Circulation Desk has as many as 30 students who work shifts throughout the week.

Andrew McGahran (“AJ”) is one of those dedicated students.  He is a senior chemistry major.  For the past two summers he has been employed on campus in Fran Blase’s lab working on the total synthesis of two different medically-relevant, naturally occurring compounds.   After graduation, he will go on to graduate school for a PhD. in organic chemistry.
AJ hard at work

AJ has varied responsibilities.  Much of the work is at the desk itself.  He circulates books, DVDs, journals and reserve items to patrons.  When these items are returned, he ensures that they have been removed from the patron’s record and that they are ready to be returned to the shelves.   He renews items that patrons still need.  In addition, he fields all kinds of questions.  Some require that he tutor patrons on how to find materials in Tripod, our catalog, and then help them locate these items in one our library or in one of the branches.  He also shows patrons how to request an item if it is located at one of our partner libraries, and how to check their patron records online.   Other questions, like asking for help with a research topic, he refers on to the appropriate librarian. 

In addition to working at the desk, AJ shelves materials in our stacks and is responsible for the Art section in Magill.  He cleans and straightens the collection once a week.  Further, he performs a continuous inventory of the materials in that section to make sure that we have accurate information in our catalog and that the books are in good repair.

Staff News & Notes

Compiled by Mike Persick

The Library is thrilled to welcome our new Librarian of the College, Terry Snyder.  Terry comes to us from the Hagley Museum in Delaware, where she was Deputy Director responsible for the Library Division.  She brings with her the experience of leading several major projects to improve the Hagley’s library buildings and services, including the renovation of an unimproved building into a collections storage space and the creation of a digital archive.

Laurie Allen, Coordinator for Research, Instruction, & Outreach, presented results from the 2005-2010 MISO (Measuring Information Service Outcomes) surveys at the Association of Research Libraries Assessment Conference, held October 25-27, 2010 in Baltimore, MD.

Adam Crandell, Music & Languages Librarian, attended the annual meeting of the American Musicological Society, held November 4-7, 2010 in Indianapolis, IN.  Adam also attended the Music Library Association Annual Meeting, held February 9-12, 2011 in Philadelphia, PA.

Julie Coy, Bibliographic & Digital Services Assistant, and James Gulick, Bibliographer & Reference Librarian, attended the 99th Annual Conference of the College Art Association, held February 9-12, 2011, in New York City.

Norm Medeiros, Associate Librarian for Bibliographic & Digital Services, was the keynote speaker at the National Information Standards Organization E-Resource Management Forum, held October 2010 in Chicago, IL.  Norm’s talk, “What Value Do ERMS Bring to Libraries?” identified the deficiencies of electronic resource management systems relative to the goals established by the Digital Library Federation’s Electronic Resource Management Initiative. 


Haverford College Logo
line separating logo from address 

Newsletter Editor: Norm Medeiros         
Librarian of the College: Terry Snyder
Dawn Heckert
James Gulick
Mike Persick
Margaret Schaus
Dora Wong

Haverford, PA 19041      


Questions or Comments?