Lilly Library adding 700 EAD finding aids to Archives Online

Years ago, when the IU Bloomington Libraries first started using Encoded Archival Description (EAD) to describe archival and manuscript collections, staff at the Lilly Library began to encode newly acquired collections in EAD. Other collections got EAD finding aids as time allowed. There were still descriptions of all the collections on the Lilly Library web site, even if they weren’t encoded in the modern standard.

When the Lilly Library debuted its new request system in January 2016, the fact that more than 1,200 collections were not encoded in EAD became much more inconvenient. Library users can make requests directly from EAD finding aids; other requests had to be input manually.

So, with the help of colleagues in the IUB Libraries Digital Collections Services (DCS) unit, we devised a plan of attack. Nick Homenda of DCS wrangled our web site data into a basic EAD template. Then a small team of graduate students and Lilly Library staff worked to expand those finding aids.

We started with collections containing fewer than 100 items, in which an item could be a photograph, scrapbook, letter, or even a lock of hair. Drawing from both the web site’s (sometimes brief) descriptions and any relevant documentation in the  library files –  which might contain a preliminary inventory,  or documents related to the acquisition, provenance, and organization of the collection itself – we described and encoded more than 700 finding aids over the past year, more than doubling the number of collections that are retrievable through the Lilly Library Request System. Explore the new collections in Archives Online at IU.

While these are not new collections and, as with all Lilly Library manuscripts, have been open for research since their acquisition, the process of researching, examining, describing, and inventorying these collections has led us to rediscover several unique and intriguing collections.

This project is far from over, but it seems like a good time to celebrate our progress and to thank everyone who has helped with the project so far: Madison Chartier, Haley Suby, Ava Dickerson, Nick Homenda, Mahaley Evans, John Henry Adams, Julie Hardesty, Craig Simpson, Erica Hayes, and Elizabeth Peters. Thank you!!

Here’s one of the collections we have had since the 1990s. Now it is easier than ever to search and request! Look for more of our “rediscovered” collections on Instagram this summer!

A page from one of Professor Max Jessner's photograph album, showing Jessner and others holding dogs and posing for the camera.

Jessner mss.

In April 1928, Professor Max Jessner embarked with eight German and eight Soviet medical researchers on a three-month expedition, officially dubbed the Soviet-German Syphilis Expedition, to Kul’skoe in the Buriat-Mongolian Autonomous Republic of the USSR. There, they hoped to study the syphilis epidemic ravaging the area, test the effectiveness of Salvarsan (an anti-syphilitic drug), and bolster political relations. The Jessner mss. includes six albums of photographs depicting members of the expedition and Mongolian culture, most captioned in German.

PEN Center USA Translation Award to Stephen Kessler

Photograph of Cernuda on cover of book
Forbidden Pleasures: New Selected Poems by Luis Cernuda. Translated by Stephen Kessler. (Black Widow Press, April 2015)

Tonight the PEN Center USA celebrates its 26th Annual Literary Awards in Beverly Hills, California. Congratulations to poet and translator Stephen Kessler, winner of the 2016 PEN Literary Award for Translation for the work, Forbidden Pleasures: New Selected Poems by Luis Cernuda. (Black Widow Press, April 2015.) The book is the most complete collection of the poetry of Spanish poet Luis Cernuda to appear in English. Kessler previously translated Cernuda’s prose poems, Written in Water (City Lights Books, 2004), and won the Harold Morton Landon Translation Award from the Academy of American Poets for his translation of Cernuda’s later poems, Desolation of the Chimera (White Pine Press, 2009).

Luis Cernuda was a member of the Generation of 1927, a group of Spanish poets influenced by modernist movements such as Surrealism and Futurism. Leaving Spain after the fall of the Spanish republic, he taught for several years at Mount Holyoke College and then settled in Mexico in 1952.

Stephen Kessler’s papers are part of the holdings of the Lilly Library. His collection is one of a growing number of collections documenting contemporary literary translation.

PEN Center USA is a branch of PEN International, the world’s leading international literary and human rights organization.

An Orson Welles birthday present

Label from a laquer disc for Ceiling Unlimited, Rulers of the Earth
Label from a laquer disc for Ceiling Unlimited, Rulers of the Earth
Earlier this week, the IU Libraries and the National Recording Preservation Foundation announced a project to preserve, digitize, and make available online all the Orson Welles radio recordings held in the Lilly Library.

It is the largest trove of Welles recordings in existence, and most are originals cut directly from the radio broadcasts as they aired. Experts from IU’s Media Digitization and Preservation Initiative will capture the audio from several hundred fragile lacquer discs and preserve it digitally to the highest standards.

May 6 is the 101st anniversary of the birth of Orson Welles, so we thought a sneak preview of the project would be a great way to celebrate.

We present today one episode of the Welles production Ceiling Unlimited. Sponsored by the Lockheed-Vega Aircraft Corporation, producers of the B-17 Flying Fortress bomber, the series focused on patriotic stories from the world of aviation. The fifteen minute episodes ran weekly from November 1942 to February 1943, and took a variety of forms. The first episode told the story of the B-17. Others dramatized real-life stories of aviators. Some episodes took a more imaginative turn.

The recording shared here was broadcast on the first anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. It imagines a meeting in hell, convened by the Devil– played by Orson Welles, of course. Attending the meeting are four historical leaders who sought to conquer the world: Napoleon, Philip the II of Spain, Louis XIV, and Kaiser Wilhelm. They discuss Hitler’s efforts to do the same and consider the role of the airplane in wartime.

Welles the narrator eventually interrupts the conversation, with a sigh: “Ladies and gentlemen, excuse me. I think I’ve had enough of playing the Devil. And just for a moment I’d like to be Orson Welles, taxpayer, citizen.” He concludes the broadcast with a somber message of vigilance, a vow to “never again be caught with folded wings, while madmen fly across the sun…”

Listen to the full episode: Rulers of the Earth

Over the course of the coming year, look for more previews from our project, Orson Welles on the Air: Radio Recordings and Scripts, 1938-1946. In August 2017, the IU Libraries will be proud to host the most complete original source of audio for Orson Welles’s radio work, with the highest extant sound quality, presented in a web site rich in supplemental materials for exploring the work of this radio innovator.

Welcome to the new Lilly Library Request System

home-page

After six months of planning, the staff of the Lilly Library is happy to announce its new online request and workflow system. If you are planning to visit the Lilly Library Reading Room or order reproductions of Lilly Library materials, you may now register online and make requests through IUCAT and Archives Online.

The Lilly Library Request System debuts today, Thursday, January 28. The system is new to most of us at the Lilly Library, but it is in use at nearly 60 other special collections libraries and archives throughout the United States.

Visit this link or look for the big red button on the Lilly Library home page to sign up: https://iub.aeon.atlas-sys.com/

Once you create an account, you may:

  • search IUCAT and look for the “Lilly Library: Request This” button on Lilly Library records
  • find manuscript materials in IU’s Archives Online and look for the “Request” link in the side menu
  • make reservations to use materials in the Reading Room
  • place orders for digital images or photocopies
  • have access to all of your current, past, and saved requests
  • and if you are teaching a class at the Lilly Library, you can collaborate with a librarian to create an online list of materials to use in class!

Farewell to filling out cards by hand! Hello to requesting with a click!

The Civil War Diary of Henry Frank Dillman

Dillman1Dillman2Visitors to the Lilly Library often ask, “What proportion of the library’s books have been digitized?” or “Are you working on digitizing all these books and manuscripts?” It is hard to give a firm answer to these questions. Yes, we are digitizing materials all the time, but the books and manuscripts we put online only amount to only a tiny portion of the overall collections. Given that the Lilly Library holds more than 450,000 books and more than eight million manuscript items, it should not be a shock that only a small percentage is available online. But that small portion is growing all the time and includes very interesting materials. Coordinating the Library’s digital activities is part of my job, and I’ll be blogging about our digitized materials, starting with an item of local interest.

Part of the Indiana History manuscripts collection, Henry Franklin Dillman’s Civil War diary was digitized as part of “At War and at Home,” a collaborative project from the Monroe County Public Library (MCPL) that documents Monroe County history in the US Civil War period. Dillman, born in 1838, joined Company “G” of the 31st Indiana Volunteer Infantry in the fall of 1861. The Company consisted of volunteers from Bloomington and Monroe County.

His diary is less a day-to-day account than a history of Company “G,” written just a few months before the end of the war. Private Dillman himself calls the book a “little history,” and it seems to have been written when the Company was camped at Shellmound, Tennessee, near the close of 1864, though he reports on a few events of January 1865.

Dillman’s diary was edited and published in pamphlet form during the war’s centennial by the Monroe County Historical Society and Monroe County Civil War Centennial Commission, and there are local copies in the IU Libraries and the Monroe County Public Library.

But wouldn’t it be more fun to read the original? It is waiting for you right now online: http://go.iu.edu/J4C

Reading old handwriting can seem daunting if you haven’t done it before, but Dillman had very good penmanship. He was not a poetic or particularly descriptive writer however. His account focuses on facts, dates, and places, but he includes some patriotic language in his preface:

PREFACE: The object of the writer in putting out this little history is to let those who read know that Co.”G” 31st Indiana has never been idle. Always where danger was most thick, there was the 31st. Always in the midst.

And in the final two pages of account:

Honor to whom honor is due.

Our country and flag E Pluribus Unum is our motto.

Death to all traitors, North and South.

And Abraham Lincoln for next President.

And a vigorous prosecution of the war till every Rebel is made to kiss the soil he has polluted with his crimes.

Besides the intrinsic interest of reading the digital version or even better—reading the original in person—one often finds that published versions don’t match the manuscript exactly. For example, in the published version of Dillman’s diary, the phrase “E Pluribus Unum“ is omitted from the above passage. I found at least one other instance where the published version doesn’t match the manuscript, and there are likely a few others to be found. It could be a mistake or it could be an editorial decision, but for now it is an open question.

Erika Dowell,

Associate Director and Head of Public Services

 

References:

Henry Franklin Dillman, Civil War diary, Indiana History mss., http://go.iu.edu/J4C

At War and at Home: Monroe County Timeline 1855-1875, http://mcpl.info/resources/war-and-home

Lilly Library Blog Round Up

Items related to the Lilly Library have popped up on a number of blogs in recent months. Here are three that may be of interest:

Blog Squad

The IU Libraries “Blog Squad” is a group of five students who blog about the IU Libraries. Each student is paired with a librarian who helps them learn about the libraries and how the libraries can contribute to the student’s academic success. Librarian David Oldenkamp sent squad member Joey on a visit to the Lilly Library. Read about it on Joey’s blog.

To read more about the Blog Squad, visit http://www.libraries.iub.edu/index.php?pageId=8537.

Persian playing cards

The IU Libraries Preservation Lab blogged about treating a collection of Persian playing cards from the Lilly Library.

The collection consists of 8–10 different sets of Persian playing cards ranging in date from ca. 1850–ca. 1950. More information about the cards is available in the library catalog.

Late age of print

IU Professor Ted Striphas new book, The Late Age of Print, focuses on contemporary book culture with attention to “e–books, book superstores, online bookselling, Amazon.com, and Harry Potter.” He shot a promotional video for his book at the Lilly Library during the 2009 spring semester. You can see glimpses of the Remembering Lincoln exhibition as Striphas strolls through most of the Lilly Library’s public spaces. I haven’t read the book (yet) but it is getting good reviews. Richard Nash describes it as a “must–read” for “those interested in the confluence of culture and economics as it relates to books.”

Watch the video and read about Striphas’s experience making it on The Late Age of Print blog.

– Erika Dowell, Public Services Librarian

Reading Room renovation week 6

Lilly Library Reading Room, June 18, 2009

Electrical work may be more complicated, but for now its impact is still hidden. But paint! Now there is a visible taste of what the renovated Reading Room will look like! These two photographs from last week show the ceiling being transformed from dull green to crisp white and blue.

— Erika Dowell, Public Services Librarian

Lilly Library Reading Room, June 18, 2009

Reading Room renovation week 1

Temporary reading room in the Ball Room

The Library’s temporary reading room, set up in the Elisabeth Ball Room, is running smoothly this week. This room is arranged to accommodate up to four readers, and we have had a full house at times. In the top photo you can see graduate student employee Trevor Winn silhouetted against the window and one researcher at a table. Sir Thomas Lawrence’s portrait of the Irish poet Thomas Moore surveys the scene from above the fireplace.

Library staff have also been displaced during the renovation. Head of Reference and Public Services Rebecca Cape is camped out in the Byrd Room (the Public Services staff room) since her office is accessed through the Reading Room, and all employees are using a different entrance to staff areas of the Lilly Library, passing through the Lilly Room (home to me and Cherry Williams, Curator of Manuscripts) instead of the usual path through the Reading Room.

Reading Room renovation week 1

Renovation work kicked into high gear right away this first week of the project. Crews scrubbed the limestone window frames, removed carpet and padding, set up scaffolding, and started work on replacing light fixtures. In the bottom photo you can see holes in the ceiling where light fixtures have been removed. It is exciting to see things get moving so quickly!

— Erika Dowell, Public Services Librarian

Preparing for renovation of the Reading Room

Lilly Library Reading Room, May 12, 2009

The Lilly Library Reading Room looks pretty forlorn this week, but it is just the first step in a remodeling project that will take all summer to complete. The project includes new paint, carpeting, window coverings, and furniture, as well as new built-in shelving and workspace beneath the windows. New lighting will brighten the space, and new electrical outlets will make plugging in your laptop easier, with no nasty surge protectors sprouting from the room’s perimeter.

This week there are no reader services at the Lilly Library, but next week we will open up a temporary Reading Room in the Elisabeth Ball Room. (Check back for pictures next week.) Library staff have moved a lot of furniture this week. The Ball Room furniture had to be relocated to make room for the temporary Reading Room furniture, consisting of chairs and smaller tables from the original Reading Room. Most of the furniture in the picture is destined to leave the Lilly Library completely. Staff have also moved many, many books and card catalog cabinets and drawers. All are safe in their new temporary homes in several locations in the Lilly Library.

If you want to use the temporary Reading Room this summer, remember to make an appointment by emailing liblilly@indiana.edu or calling 812-855-2452. We will try to accommodate drop-in visitors, but those with appointments have first priority.

Keep an eye on this blog and the Lilly Library Facebook page for more pictures and information about the progress of the Reading Room renovation.

— Erika Dowell, Public Services Librarian

Rare books in action: Lilly Library video

Hillary Demmon from University Communications recently put together a short web video about the Lilly Library. Director Breon Mitchell narrates over footage of students using books and manuscripts. Most of the pictures on our web site show the Library rooms without any people, so it is wonderful to see some of the life of the Lilly Library captured in this way. Lilly staff lead many tours and classes each year. Some of the students shown in the video are part of an Intensive Freshmen Seminar on the information age.

A link to the video: http://newsinfo.iu.edu/asset/page/normal/5483.html