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April 1997

HAVERFORD COLLEGE

No. 21


 

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Haverford/Evans Electronic Friendship, Part II

In the fall of 1996, Haverford College Library's Special Collections staff began work on the Evans Finding Aid Project, an endeavor that would not have been possible without the generous financial support and encouragement of J. Morris Evans '43. The project has come a long way from the initial stages that were described in our last newsletter (issue no. 20). The project's goal is to bring to the public the many large collections of family, personal, and institutional papers that are housed in the Library's Special Collections Department. These materials are primarily related to the history and activities of the Society of Friends (Quakers) and its members and date from the late seventeenth century to the present. In order to make these collections more accessible to scholars, finding aids, or highly detailed inventories of the collections, have been created over the years. The Evans Finding Aid Project staff has now begun to convert these finding aids for use on the World Wide Web by taking the finding aids, adding HTML (Hyper-Text Markup Language) code to make them readable on the Internet, and then enhancing the text with images taken from the collections themselves. Contributions from the J.M and A.T. Evans Fund allowed us to purchase the scanner that we use to put the actual images of our documents, graphics, and even artifacts on the web pages. Finally, links to related sources of information are added to complete each web page.

Among the topics represented in these manuscript collections are social reform, social justice, spirituality, abolitionism, education, the progress of Native Americans, and peace activism. Of particular note are collections which provide insight into the lives of succeeding generations of individual families over two centuries. One such collection, the Cope-Evans Family Papers, was the first group to be made available on the library's website. The collection includes 16 boxes of letters primarily of the Cope and Evans families of Germantown, Pa., their marriage certificates, photographs, account books, and other materials that date from 1732 to 1911. In addition to the basic textual finding aid, scanned images from the collections were added, including 1821 letter from Quaker minister Stephen Grellet to Daniel B. Smith, who would become Haverford's first Principal. Other collection images that can now be found on the Evans Finding Aid Project web pages include the drawings of fish made by naturalist Edward Drinker Cope, the combination pen and knife of Eli Jones, and the typewritten commencement speech that Haverford President Isaac Sharpless used in his address to the class of 1911.

Since the beginning of the project, approximately 30 finding aids and their images have been added to the web, with more being added continuously. The finding aids on the web showcase the diversity of Haverford's collections and serve as valuable research tools for scholars. We are beginning to reap the rewards of our efforts on the Evans Finding Aid Project. Researchers have begun corresponding with us through electronic mail, describing their own projects and needs and telling us how this new information has benefited their work. Anyone wishing to embark on this cyberspace adventure can find our home page, adorned by graceful silhouettes of 19th-century Quakers, on the World Wide Web at: http://www.haverford.edu/library/special/aids/

Rachel Beckwith and Diana Franzusoff Peterson

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Tripod on the World Wide Web

In the early days, libraries had few books, and the readers who were allowed into these libraries usually went straight to the shelves to find what they needed. If they ran into trouble, they either consulted a librarian who knew the collection by heart, or they consulted a handwritten list of the library's holdings. Then came that ingenious invention, the card catalog. Handwritten, hand-typed, and later, computer-generated 3x5 cards were filed in drawers where searchers could look for a book by author, title, or subject in ever larger, more diverse collections in libraries that were increasingly open to browsers and the non-specialist.

Today we use an online catalog, and the catalog's computer software allows us to search in ways that were impossible in the old card catalog. We can find books even if we only remember one word of the title, search topics even when we don't know an exact subject heading, or locate essays within books. At Haverford, the online catalog, Tripod, not only tells us what is on our own campus, but also what is owned by the Bryn Mawr and Swarthmore College libraries. Once we find something in the catalog, we can find out whether it is available or checked out to another person. Tripod also allows us to know what issues of a journal have arrived, to search other libraries' catalogs, to search journal indexes, and to see what books we have checked out.

As this Newsletter goes to press, Tripod is expanding its capabilities even further by moving to the World Wide Web (WWW). This new version of Tripod, called Webpac, is able to do just about everything possible in the current online system; in its Web incarnation, however, Tripod will be able to link to other WWW locations.

For example, if you are interested in biology, you will be able to point your Web browsing software to Tripod (http://tripod.brynmawr.edu), search the catalog for Journal of Molecular Biology, and click on a link to the electronic version of the journal itself. Or, if you are searching Tripod for works by Shakespeare, you will be able to link to a Web site that offers searchable full texts of his plays and poetry. Webpac also has the capability of linking to images, sound, and video. For example, a catalog entry for a book about French impressionism might include links to scanned images of the works of Degas, Monet, or Renoir.

Webpac can also be used in conjunction with the Library's subscription to the Web version of the Encyclopedia Britannica. If you are looking for library materials about Jane Austen, the Tripod screen displaying your search results will offer you the choice of linking to Britannica articles in which she is mentioned. Another Webpac feature is the ability to search other Web-based databases such as journal indexes and library catalogs using software that looks and acts like Tripod. This means that for many Web resources, you will not have to learn a new program every time you want to search a new database.

Libraries and their catalogs have changed remarkably over the last 150 years to accommodate rapidly growing collections and the varieties of uses made of them. Small nineteenth-century college libraries that served only a few scholars with books in only a few subject areas could operate with a handwritten catalog in author or accession order and could arrange their books on shelves using a home-grown system. Today, the sheer number and variety of materials needed for a student research paper require more complex systems of cataloging, shelving, and searching for materials not held locally. Just as the books housed in libraries have always connected readers with other times and places, today's electronic library catalogs help users identify materials and link them to a world of related resources without leaving home. Webpac is the next step in this evolution for Haverford and its partner libraries.

Donna Fournier and Bob Kieft

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Library Interests Extend to National
and State-wide Programs

The Library is now a sponsor of the Commission on Preservation and Access and has also joined a new state-wide library consortium, PALCI (Pennsylvania Academic Library Consortium). The Commission, established in 1986, has been a major supporter of the NEH (National Endowment for the Humanities)-funded Brittle Books program and has been involved in helping libraries and scholarly organizations set priorities for their preservation activities. Its more recent initiatives have been in the areas of digital technology and the role such technology can play in ensuring the survival of our intellectual and cultural heritage. Haverford has been a supporter of the Commission from its earliest days, and for the past year, Michael Freeman, Librarian of the College, has been a member of its College Libraries Committee, which has been active in enhancing the role of college libraries in the national preservation agenda.

PALCI was founded in the fall of 1996 thanks to the initiative of Arnold Hirshon (Lehigh University) and Neil McElroy (Lafayette College). It is now moving forward with its important objective: to improve library services among the college and university libraries in the Commonwealth. PALCI intends to create a virtual online catalog using a Web-based interface, enabling users to search holdings of all member institutions. Patron-initiated online borrowing will also be supported. Other goals include: joint state-wide contracting for databases, reciprocal direct onsite borrowing by faculty of member institutions, expedited delivery of materials among member institutions, and cooperative programs for preservation, imaging, regional or joint storage facilities, and group discounts from book and serial vendors. Other charter members of PALCI include Bryn Mawr College, Swarthmore College, Bucknell University, Carnegie Mellon University, Pennsylvania State University, Temple University, University of Pittsburgh, and Villanova University, among others.

Michael Freeman

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Staff News

The Library is pleased to announce the appointments of three new staff members. Two of the appointments were made in the Technical Services Department and one in the Science Libraries.

Michael Persick continues his long association with the Library with his new appointment to the position of Technical Services Assistant. Upon his graduation from Haverford College in 1988, Mike worked first as Automation Assistant and then as Cataloging Assistant in Magill Library until 1993, when he left to work on his MLS at Syracuse University. While in Syracuse, Mike continued to work on a Tri-College database clean-up project, and when he returned to the Philadelphia area he continued work on this project as well as a grant-funded Quaker subject heading project. He was able to fill in as a temporary cataloging assistant during the long-term illness of a staff member. We are pleased to have Mike Persick back on the permanent staff in Technical Services.

Marilyn Dobbins started as Technical Services Assistant in January during the same week she started the MS Library Science program at Drexel University. Marilyn embarks on her new career with a MEd in Elementary Education from the University of Arizona and several years of experience in education, both in the classroom and in administration.

Anna Heys started work in June of 1996 as the Science Library Assistant. She comes to Haverford after working as a library assistant for two years at Penn State University, Great Valley Campus. Anna has a Bachelor's degree in Medical Technology and has worked in biological research. Anna replaces Clif Emery, who is now teaching English in Seoul, Korea.

*

The Library also mourns the loss of one staff member. Egean Evans, Technical Services Assistant in Magill Library since September 1991, died of cancer on November 17, 1996. In her five years of dedicated service to the library, Egean's personable nature and spirited outlook made a lasting impression on all who knew her. Because of her love of literature and poetry, a memorial book fund for Magill Library has been established in her name.

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Stokes Launches Sci-fi Collection

A collection of science fiction books is now available for browsing and borrowing in Stokes Library. The collection consists of books donated by a Haverford alum as well as the science fiction materials that were formerly housed in the Gummere-Morley room of Magill Library. Everyone is welcome to explore this new collection of recreational reading in Stokes Library.

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