Congratulations, Stephanie!

It is with great pleasure I announce that Stephanie Wolff has been promoted to Assistant Conservator. A major responsibility of this new position is to be the conservation digital liaison, which will manage workflow and treatment assessment for conservation work needed in response to digital projects. In addition Stephanie will be further integrated into the evaluation and treatment of special collections material.

Stephanie joined Preservation Services full time in May of 2006. Since then she has trained numerous students to perform routine conservation treatments and has treated extensively, items from special collections. In 2011 she received her MALS degree from Dartmouth, with her studies focusing on “the book”. In addition to her preservation duties, she is an instructor in the Book Arts Workshop.

Please join me in congratulating Stephanie.

Written by Deborah Howe.

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Dear Dr. Seuss

Like the rest of the country, we have had school children on our minds this week. We were reminded of a batch of very sweet letters in our Ted Geisel collection addressed to Dr. Seuss. It seemed like a good time to share a few, as well as one of Seuss's replies.

To see all of the letters, ask for MS-1100, Box 1, Folder 8.

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To Great Teamwork

Almost ten years ago John Cocklin, Economics and Social Science Data Librarian, was contacted by Readex (a division of NewsBank Corporation) to borrow a small number of volumes from the U. S. Congressional Serial Set. They were digitizing their microfilm edition of the Serial Set and wanted to scan color images from our printed copies in order to enhance the product they were developing. On the success of that initial loan, Readex approached John about a collaboration of a much greater scope: A full color digital edition of the American State Papers (1789-1838) and the U. S. Congressional Serial Set from 1817-1980 using Dartmouth’s paper copy.

(See The U.S. Congressional Serial Set Project for a summary)

This would be a major undertaking and involve collecting, conserving, transporting, and re-shelving over 14,000 volumes. The joint venture began in 2005 and was projected to be completed in 4 years. For a variety of reasons, including expanding the project to include other publications and staffing ebb and flow, it has (happily from our view) doubled in duration so that we are in the 8th and final year.

Scholars have benefited from the digitized Serial Set, and the ability to search the full-text of the contents has led to new discoveries. An example is the number of women who served as men in the War of 1812 and the Civil War. The Serial Set contains a larger number of petitions to Congress for pensions from these women, indicating the practice was more prevalent than previous research had indicated.

The success of the joint project is in large part due to teamwork. In the early stages, there were almost daily emails or phone calls between the project managers and key project staff. As the normal rhythm took over, the need for daily communication lessened but is still there. Readex staff might identify a missing scan and Dartmouth staff will track it down in the stacks to verify if it exists. If a Dartmouth patron needs to borrow a volume that is at Readex, we know they will have it back in Hanover within twenty-four hours.

Every year the project team members gather to talk about what is working, what could be improved, and what we see happening in the coming months. We’ve gotten into the habit of each taking turns hosting the event. When the Readex team comes to Dartmouth they are able to check on the physical volumes and double check the item count in order to adjust their benchmarks. When we visit Readex we are able to touch base with the scan operators and provide training updates on book handling. As the Library’s digital program has taken shape, we have learned useful project management tips from our Readex colleagues. Our last project meeting was at Readex in Chester, VT and focused on winding down the project sometime in April 2013.

Teamwork – something to celebrate.

Written by Barbara Sagraves.

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Arrivals and Departures (… In the Library’s Chemistry Collection)

… from the folks who bring you Synthesis and Synlett.

An update on two chemistry resources that Kresge subscribes to – one coming, and one going!

* Beginning in 2013, the Library will subscribe to the Thieme journal SYNFACTS, an update / current research journal that reports current research results of importance in synthetic organic chemistry (‘… screened, selected, evaluated, summarized, and enriched with personal comments by experts in their fields.’)    Access to this journal has already been activated, and includes past issues.

Merck Index* Also beginning in 2013, the Library will revert to print-only access to the Merck Index.   The cost of online access to this handbook did not appear to be justified by the pretty modest number of online uses it received.   The most current print edition (2006) is in Kresge Library, on the bookcases beside the small conference room, near the reference area.    The next edition, the 15th, is scheduled for release in 2013 and will be published by the Royal Society of Chemistry.

As always, let me know of any comments, questions or concerns that you may have.

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Write Your CV in LaTeX!

Today I’m going to convince you to write your CV or resume in \LaTeX. If you are not familiar with LaTeX, this is a great way to dig into learning it!

Open up your favorite TeX editor. I use TeXnicCenter (Windows), TeXworks (Mac/Windows/Linux), and Kile (Linux), but there’s lots of them out there. What I like is syntax coloring and line wrapping, but you can do this using a plain text editor and terminal commands.

Copy this simple .tex document:

\documentclass[letterpaper, 12pt]{article}

\usepackage[margin=1in]{geometry}
\usepackage[hyphens]{url}
\usepackage{hyperref}

\begin{document}

\section*{Name}
Contact information

\section*{Education}
List credentials here: degree, institution, date,
 thesis/dissertation, academic awards, etc.

\section*{Employment}
List job title, location, dates.
 For a resume, add job-related accomplishments/responsibilities.

\section*{Publications}
List publications (newest on top).
To add a url, use \href{url}{url or display name}.

...add more sections here...

\end{document}

Some quick tips for formatting:

  • Use \\ to make a line break in a paragraph and \hspace*{.25in} to force an indent.
  • If you want to indent all lines after the first line of the paragraph, use the \hangindent=.25in command at the beginning of said paragraph.
  • Use \textbf{text here} or \textit{text here} to bold or italicize your encapsulated text for some variety.
  • The hyperref package makes it really easy to control the way your links display.
  • Add the fancyhdr package to include your name and page numbers in a footer (especially useful for long CVs).
  • Add the titlesec package to control the section display.
  • If you use BibTeX and have a .bib file of your publications, you can easily fit that in. Replace the \section*{Publications} with this:
\renewcommand\refname{Publications} %changes default name to Publications
\nocite{*} %lists everything in the .bib file
\bibliographystyle{plain} %hundreds of styles to choose from
\bibliography{samplebib} %name of your .bib file

Now compile your file using pdfLaTeX and voila! You’ve got yourself a working .tex file for a CV or resume. For fun, here’s a current rendition of my CV. Feel free to ask me for any specifics!

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Nature Printing

Natural history in the nineteenth century strove to describe and classify everything in the living world. Museums were bulging at the seams with specimens and catalogs listing and illustrating classes of life proliferated. For some in the field, traditional illustration techniques were frustratingly inadequate for the level of precision and detail they were after: they wanted to show nature in all of her wonder. We have written before of one obsessive attempt to bring nature into book form with As Nature Shows Them: Moths and Butterflies of the United States which used the cells from butterfly wings to color the images.

We recently acquired a similarly passionate quest for botanical realism: Thomas Moore's The Ferns of Great Britiain and Ireland (London: Bradbury and Evans, 1855). The book employs a process dubbed "Nature Printing" that involved pressing an actual fern into soft lead then electoplating the impression to create an intaglio printing plate. The fern itself created the illustration and the effect is stunning. The book appears to be a collection of actual fern pressed into paper, but with colors that have not faded.

Another book in the collection takes this hyper-realism even further. Romeyn Hough's The American Woods, Exhibited by Actual Specimens and with Copious Explanatory Notes (Lowville: By the Author, 1888-1904) uses 750 paper-thin wood samples carefully mounted in cardboard cards to show the wood grains of hundreds of native trees.

To see a little nature in Rauner, ask for Rare QK527.M8 1855 and Rare SD536.H83.

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“My Work Did Not ‘Evolve’”

"My work did not 'evolve' into a serious work. It started like that," states a somewhat testy J. R. R. Tolkien in response to a request for information about himself and his books from Miss Bradley at the London office of the New York Times.

Tolkien, who wrote The Hobbit based on stories he told to his children, was primarily a scholar. He fell into authorship by accident when an incomplete manuscript came into the hands of a publisher. The Hobbit, which came out in 1937, was an instant success.

Following the success of The Hobbit, his publisher, George Allen & Unwin, urged him to write a sequel. Somewhat reluctantly, Tolkien began work on what would become the Lord of the Rings. The series took sixteen years to complete and eventually led to wealth and unwelcomed notoriety.

The Two Towers, the second book of the Lord of the Rings trilogy came out six months before the letter from Miss Bradley. Tolkien, in the final throes of Return of the King, which came out in October of 1955, notes that he is "rather harried at the moment." Indeed he sounds like a man under some pressure, and one who did not suffer fools lightly. It is clear from his response that the unfortunate Miss Bradley had asked him about how his books "evolved," for a brief quotable statement, and what his hobbies were. To this last question he replied, "I am a philologist and all my work is philological. I have no hobbies because I am a serious person, and cannot distinguish between private amusement and duty."

The Times review was very positive. The summary, in addition to noting Tolkien's scholarly background, states that the book "is an extraordinary work--pure excitement, unencumbered narrative, moral warmth, barefaced rejoicing in beauty, but excitement most of all; yet a serious and scrupulous fiction, nothing cozy, no little visits to one's childhood."

It's not clear that everyone at the Book Review agreed with this assessment. The Tolkien letter came to Dartmouth in 1955 via Francis Brown, '25, the editor of the New York Times Book Review. In his letter to Edward Connery Lathem, then Assistant to the Librarian, Brown writes, "I’m sending along a couple of minor items which may amuse you…. The Tolkien letter was sent to our representative in London. I don't know whether you are familiar with his work or books. They are fantasies of a strange order which we have reviewed from time to time."

To see Tolkien's letter and Mr. Brown's cover, ask for Mss 955314.

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New Books in the Biomedical Libraries – December 2012

Unaccountable:  What Hospitals Won’t Tell You & How Transparency Can Revolutionize Health Care
Matthews-Fuller Library – Consumer Health 
R727.4 .M35 2012
Unaccountable

 

Studying A Study & Testing A Test: Reading Evidence-Based Health Research
Matthews-Fuller Library
R118.6 .R54 2013
Studying a Study, Testing a Test

 

Smart Surgeons Sharp Decisions: Cognitive Skills To Avoid Errors & Achieve Results
Matthews-Fuller Library
RD31.5 .S57 2011
Smart Surgeons Sharp Decisions

 

Arsenic & Rice
Dana Library
RA1231.A7 M44 2012
Arsenic and Rice

 

On A Farther Shore: The Life & Legacy of Rachel Carson
Dana Library
QH31.C33 S68 2012
On a Farther Shore

 

Raven: Biology of Plants
Dana Library
QK47 .R25 2013
The Biology of Plants

 
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By the Author of ‘Jane Eyre’

A while back we blogged about the first edition of The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. The publisher promoted the book with the suggestion that it was written by Charlotte Bronte (rather than Anne).  Well, we just acquired the first American edition of Wuthering Heights (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1848) and find that the confusion over the Brontes extended into the United States. The title page of Wuthering Heights clearly states "By The Author of 'Jane Eyre.'"

The publisher had a good excuse. All of the Bronte novels were published under pen names: Acton, Ellis, and Currer Bell. Since this edition is pirated, Harpers had no contact with the Bronte sisters. The English publisher was also working to conflate the three "Bells." Harpers may not have known, or they may have been trying to cash in on the success of Jane Eyre which they had already brought out in a pirated edition.

"Pirated" is something of a misnomer. There was no effective international copyright law in 1848, so there were no legal impediments to Harper and Brothers printing a work originally published in England. But they did not pay a cent to the author--had they paid a royalty, one has to wonder whose name would have been on the check!

The new book is still being cataloged, but you can ask for it at the reference desk. You can see the first American edition of Jane Eyre by asking for Rare Books PZ3.B790J.

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Digital Production: Tools of the Trade

Today I'd like to highlight the Digital Production Unit, a cozy corner of Baker Library where we, along with the crucial help of many other library departments and staff, help to bring digital content to the Dartmouth community.

Baker 02: where the magic happens

Any good workshop needs the right tools for the job, and ours is no different. As I mentioned in my post about Optical Character Recognition, the Digital Production Unit deals with a very wide variety of library materials, from 18th century manuscripts to an audio lecture by J. Robert Oppenheimer and related materials. It is a simple fact that Dartmouth Library's Special Collections have a fantastic variety of useful scholarly objects, and it behooves us to be as versatile and efficient as possible in bringing these into digital space.

Scanning workstations

Our most commonly used pieces of equipment are our two flatbed scanners: the Epson Perfection V750-Pro and the Epson Expression 10000XL.

Epson Perfection V750-Pro

The Perfection V750 is an excellent consumer-level machine. It's small, relatively inexpensive, and perfectly able to create high quality images up to our standards. Most importantly, this scanner has a considerable speed advantage when compared to...

...the Epson Expression 10000XL

The Epson Expression XL is, first and foremost, a significant upgrade from the Perfection in terms of scanning area, which is over twice as large as the Perfection's. It is also a very versatile machine, with attachments for scanning photographic negatives in addition to the usual capabilities. In terms of scanning quality the two Epson scanners are roughly equal, however, due to the Expression's larger scan area, it has a significantly slower scanning speed, which can become problematic on time-sensitive items.

Kodak PS810

The other crucial piece of equipment in our lab is the Kodak Picture Saving Scanner System PS810. This scanner has a much more specific function than the Epsons. Its strength is speed; the feed tray can pull through and scan several photos per-minute, indeed, hundreds in a single operation. This is incredibly useful in dealing with our biggest project yet: the Dartmouth Photographic Files, an impressively large collection spanning back to the very beginnings of the College's photographic records.

While this scanner excels at scanning many documents quickly, it is even more limited in scanning area than the Epson Perfection. Not only that, but items must be under a certain thickness in order to pass through the feed safely. Additionally, it can only scan at 24-bit color (as opposed to the Epson scanners' 48-bit colors), which renders it ineligible for many projects. While these drawbacks make it somewhat limited in applications, it performs very well when properly maintained (our procedures have it cleaned daily, and sometimes more often than that).

In addition to the equipment in Baker 02, we also have been known to occasionally borrow other library resources in accomplishing our goals.

The Indus Color Book Scanner 5002

This overhead-style scanner is exceptional for scanning entire books, as its adjustable platform can accommodate different-sized spines. Another advantage is speed; this scanner works similar to a camera, snapping a single digital picture and transferring it to the computer. The biggest disadvantage is image quality; like the Kodak scanner, its limited to 24-bit color.

The Vidar HD4230

Finally, for oversize documents we've had occasion to coordinate with the Evans Map Room and make use of their feed-scanner, the Vidar HD4230. This scanner creates very high quality images by feeding larger documents through it, rather than passing lamps over stationary documents, like a flatbed scanner does. The speed of scanning is relatively slow, and must be done carefully to insure the document's safety. However, for many projects such as the Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps of New Hampshire, this scanner is the only option to ensure the quality of images over a certain size.

Using these tools, and with the invaluable support of many library staff, we've been able to adapt to the myriad challenges in Digital Production. Personally, I look forward to what further challenges await.

Written by Ryland Ianelli.

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