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May 1996


No. 19

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Library Creates World Wide Web Site

The new Haverford College Library web site, which debuted March 18, allows faculty, students, staff, and other users to locate and connect to an ever-increasing number and variety of electronic information sources directly from their personal computer.

For those readers unfamiliar with the term, "web" refers to the world wide web which is part of the internet, the network of computer networks which spans the globe and allows users to connect to remote machines and download information. The web is that part of the internet which allows users to view multimedia hypertext files, e.g., files with links to other files including sound, video, and still images. The files are called "home pages" or "web pages," and they are the jumping off points on the web. Using a software application called a "web browser," a user can connect to any home page on the web and by pointing and clicking on highlighted text or images, connect to related files. In addition to downloading and displaying hypertext files, web browsers can also launch connections using other network protocols such as telnet and gopher. As an increasing number of faculty, students, and other library users "get wired," the web page will be an excellent means for making library collections and services available to researchers beyond the walls of library buildings.

Typically, an organization makes available through its home page information about the organization itself, its services or products, and its personnel as well as links to networked resources of related interest. The Library's web site thus provides a starting point for research with information about Library services, policies, programs, collections, and staff and links to Tripod (the Tri-College library system), other library catalogs, an encyclopedia, journal article indexes, full-text journals, and other web sites. Several of these resources are electronic subscription services and are available only to Haverford and other tri-college students, faculty, and staff. These include Britannica Online, a full-text, keyword-searchable web version of Encyclopedia Britannica, and two electronic journal collections: Project Muse from Johns Hopkins University Press, which includes such social science and humanities journals as Callaloo, ELH, Human Rights Quarterly, and the American Journal of Mathematics and the JSTOR Journal Storage Project, a back issues file of economics and history journals. Two of the Library's most popular resources, the Trilogy databases and FirstSearch, will be available to campus users through the web page by next fall.

Of particular interest on the Library home page is a section devoted to subject-specific information guides. Created and maintained by the reference librarians, these web pages provide links to important resources in the major subject disciplines of the sciences, humanities, and social sciences. While emphasizing resources available through the internet, they also point to important resources in the Library's print collections and reflect the specific research and teaching interests of the Haverford commun ity. The guides provide links to resources ranging from sacred texts to statistical datasets. The twenty-one guides currently available reflect most of the academic departments and programs of the College, and plans are in place to complete guides for the remaining subject areas. Because of the relative ease with which web pages can be edited once created, the guides will be updated regularly to incorporate new resources and to reflect changing faculty and student interests. In the future, too, such publications as bibliographies, finding aids for special collections, and digitized materials will become available.

In the Guide to the Libraries section of the Library home page, separate web pages for Magill Library, the science libraries, the Music Library, Special Collections, and the government documents depository provide information about hours, facilities, services, and staff. A calendar of events provides information about the Library Associates lecture series and other special events and exhibitions.

We invite you to check out the library web site. If you are familiar with Netscape and the Haverford College Home Page, you can connect to the Library's web pages by following the Library link on the Haverford College Information Kiosk. Newsletter readers who are not currently students, faculty, or staff can connect to the Library web site by using the "open location" function of their own web browser and entering the following URL:

If you have not tried out the web yet, this is the perfect opportunity to do so. Current faculty, students, and staff can download the web browser, Netscape, from the Public Software folder on the Academic Computing server (AppleTalk zone: HC ACC Services). Call a reference librarian (896-1166) if you need assistance in downloading the software, and let us know if you want to suggest sites that of sufficient stability and academic interest to be included on our pages.

Mary Lynn Morris

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Student Works on 13th-Century Tanakh

One of my latest assignments as a student assistant in Special Collections was to look through a version of the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh) executed in 1266. Special Collections was preparing an exhibit on issues of war and peace and needed to find specific verses from the book of Isaiah. In this particular Bible, the chapter and book numbers are not written on the top of each leaf of text. Fortunately, I can read and understand Hebrew, so I was able to scan the thick volume and find the verses in Isaiah without much difficulty.

My official assignment was completed, but I was not ready to put this Bible aside. First of all, I had never handled anything so old. I was also very impressed with the physical beauty of the book. It was hand written in a beautiful, clear script and even signed in the back by the scribe, Solomon. The top and bottom of each page of text were decorated with fancy swirls and designs. It was these decorations which caught my attention. A close look showed that the decorations were actually made up of tiny script. I looked through all of the material Special Collections had that was related to this Bible and could not find an explanation for these decorations. So I sat and stared at the tiny print, trying to understand the words.

I discovered that on each page, the scribe Solomon had chosen at least one word from the main text and copied it onto the bottom of the page. Following the word as it appeared in the main text, he included examples of other verses in the Bible in which the same word appeared. On each page, then, Solomon had created a small concordance. On the bottom of a few pages in the book of Deuteronomy , Solomon gave examples of errors in the Torah. For example, the bottom of one page has a design made up of examples within the Torah of words that are spelled inconsistently. Discovering things about this volume which the experts had not been able to understand was an exciting new experience for me.

Jordana Rubel '96

Ed. note: this Tanakh was restored in the UK for the Legacies of Genius exhibition in Philadelphia in 1988. The next issue of the Newsletter will carry a further article about it by Rachel Beckwith, Library Executive Assistant. Rachel is currently working on it for a paper she is writing in a graduate art history course at Bryn Mawr College.

See Newsletter 20, Further Study Unveils Origins of 13th-Century Bible

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Terezin Concentration Camp Remembered

In April, the Library participated in a series of campus events called "Terezin: The Arts of Memory and Survival." The series' common theme, according to one of its organizers, Richard Freedman of the Music Department, was to celebrate "the arts as a means of resistance and spiritual survival for those deported to Terezin concentration camp, and as a translation for current generations of experiences that must otherwise remain largely beyond comprehension." The Magill and Music libraries mounted exhibits collectively titled "Creativity in Stifling Times," which will run through September 30, and on Sunday, April 14, hosted a reception and poetry reading, " 'A Mirror on the Stone': Poets of the Holocaust," at which members of the bi-college community read holocaust poetry in the original languages. Elsewhere on campus, lectures, an exhibition, and a concert rounded out the series.

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Maxfield Parrish Notebook Restored

The artist and illustrator Maxfield Parrish attended the College for three years. Among Parrish items owned by the Library is a notebook containing descriptions of thirty-three chemistry experiments carried out between February 7 and May 23, 1890, as well as a preliminary outline of laboratory procedures and equipment. In addition to the written text, done in india ink, many of the experiments are illustrated with fanciful and highly decorative watercolor and ink drawings. These illustrations range from small head and tail pieces to double page representations of experiments being carried out by elfin lab assistants.

The notebook is thus not only a record of academic activity at the end of the 19th century but a glimpse into the formation of an important artistic talent. What follows gives readers an idea of the work that goes into preserving library materials. The Library would like gratefully to acknowledge Herbert '29 and Katherine Ensworth for having funded the work of restoration.

When received in the bindery, the 74-leaf notebook consisted of one loose title leaf and ten signatures, from which some leaves had been excised before the notebook had come to the Library. The front and rear joints of the binding were split, and the sewing was broken in several places. The outer folios of most sections were held together with the original spine adhesive; most of the inner folios were loose or detached.

The textblock was bound in maroon half-leather and marbled paper, with spine decoration of four single lines tooled in gold. A four-inch square, varnished cardboard titlepiece, lettered in black ink and decorated with gold paint, was glued on the front cover. Large portions of the spine leather were missing, and the corner leather and marbled paper were badly rubbed.

Two treatment options were discussed. The first would have left the book as received, housing it in a protective box. The second, which was eventually chosen, called for disbinding, cleaning, repairing, and resewing the textblock, after which the text would be recased in the original boards with a new leather spine. The second approach would largely return the notebook to a condition that would allow it to be displayed and occasionally handled.

Treatment began with pulling out the remaining intact sewing threads and removing the old spine glue. Once the leaves were separated, the watercolor and ink were spot tested with deionized water and W'ei To, a non-aqueous deacidification solution. The purpose of this testing was to ascertain whetherthese media could withstand the use of either liquid during washing or deacidification. While the watercolor proved to be very soluble in water, the W'ei To did not seem to have any readily visible effect on either medium, but we decided not to deacidify because of concerns over possible long-term color change in the drawings. Since the book is housed in a climate controlled vault, we felt that storage under proper environmental conditions would substantially control further acidification of the text.

Because the text could not be washed, as much surface dirt as possible was removed by dry cleaning with crumbled Mars vinyl eraser and a brush. Following cleaning, tears were mended , and spine folds were reinforced where needed with various thin Japanese papers and paste. Six new signatures, with a number of leaves equal to what had been excised, were made up of a permanent paper of weight, texture, and color similar to the original. Two sets of new flyleaves were prepared, and the textblock was then resewn. Once sewn, the textblock was given a two-layer spine lining of Sekishu paper and airplane linen. The linen was left long on the edges to form one inch wide hinges used in reattaching the covers.

Turning to the old boards, the cover papers were lifted at the spine edge, and the remaining bits of original spine leather were removed. A one-piece spine wrapper made of heavyweight handmade paper was used to connect the two boards, and the cover was attached to the textblock. A new spine, cut from vegetable-tanned Nigerian goatskin similar in color and texture to the original, was stuck to the wrapper, worked under the lifted board papers and turned in at head and tail. After the pastedowns were laid down with wheat paste, and a narrow strip of thin kozo paper pasted over the joint, work on the notebook was complete. The restored notebook and six cut signatures were placed in a drop spine box.

Bruce Bumbarger

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Visual Anthropology

Over Winter Break, librarians at Magill delved into photographs in Special Collections, picture books from the Chicago 1893 World's Fair, tourist albums from turn-of-the-century Japan, and other sources of nineteenth century visual images. All of this was in preparation for a new course in the Spring Semester entitled "Visual Anthropology" being taught by Professor Ellen Schattschneider, who aims to cover not only visual media in anthropological research but also the cultural history of photography, television, and film.

The course required the students to complete two group projects: a multimedia presentation and an ethnographic video. The multimedia presentations used photographs to explore various issues relating to visual representation and cultural history. Students learned how to digitize photographs by using scanners, digital cameras, and video cameras. They then imported the digital images into the program Aldus Persuasion, which allowed them to combine images, add explanatory text, and include sound. The results are much like a museum exhibit with image after image appearing on the computer screen, a kind of slide show but with the added capabilities of multiple, juxtaposed images, captions, comments, and questions in a variety of fonts and colors.

To help students find photographs that represented aspects of their topics, librarian Margaret Schaus put together a guide to reference sources including background readings, explanations of how to search Tripod, bibliographies, and journal indexes for locating reproductions of older photographs. Diana Peterson, manuscripts cataloger, prepared a guide to some of the groups of photographs available in Special Collections. The class met in the Library one evening for a presentation by the two librarians and to examine some of the photographs available in Special Collections, in older books from the Philips Wing Mezzanine, and in titles specially borrowed from other libraries.

The class broke into nine groups for preparing their multimedia presentation s, choosing subjects that ranged widely in terms of breadth, chronology, and geography. One group examined wedding photographs while another considered nineteenth century photos from Japan. Others looked at images of musicians, children's sexuality in the Victorian age and today, and spirituality in various religious traditions. The Library and its staff provided resources to the groups, but rather than the usual statistics, citations, and journal articles, they emphasized the visual with photographs, picture books, and souvenir albums.

Margaret Schaus

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Questions or Comments?