Accessing Hidden Collections: “Adventures in Research” Sandy Rodriguez November 3, 2009
<ul><li>Unprocessed or uncataloged materials </li></ul><ul><li>Survey of 99 North American research universities-- </li></...
Miller Nichols Library <ul><li>Maps </li></ul><ul><li>Historical Documents </li></ul><ul><li>Vertical File (clippings) </l...
Why “expose” them? <ul><li>“ By recovering things from the past or by looking at the experience differently, we can see ho...
Where are you when you use the library website? <ul><li>86%  of users  </li></ul><ul><li>are connecting from </li></ul><ul...
J. David Goldin Collection “ The man who saved radio” Photograph courtesy of Mark Mattison
<ul><li>National AudioVisual Conservation Center (NAVCC), Culpeper, VA, May 27, 2009 </li></ul>
Efforts to Provide Access <ul><li>Mellon Foundation: Jan. 1, 2008-Dec. 31, 2010 </li></ul><ul><li>1 Special Project Catalo...
 
From Listening
Coming soon From Listening
Range of Programs <ul><li>Bud’s Bandwagon  ( DJ ) </li></ul><ul><li>United Nations Today  ( news ) </li></ul><ul><li>Excur...
“ Adventures in Research” <ul><li>Adventures in Research, Program 362, “Sir William’s Rocket” (1949)   Find in Merlin </li...
“ Excursions in Science” <ul><li>Excursions in Science, Program no. 544, “Library machines” (1951)   </li></ul>UNIVAC at F...
“ Beyond Victory” <ul><li>Beyond Victory, No. 177, “The World and Thomas Edison” (1947) </li></ul>Thomas Alva Edison, thre...
“ Wake up, America!” <ul><li>Wake up, America!, Program 342 “What do we mean by un-American activities?” (1946) </li></ul>...
“ A Look at Australia” <ul><li>A Look at Australia, Program no. 4017, “Keeping a Nation Healthy” (1945) </li></ul>Australi...
<ul><li>VD Radio Project, Program no. 6, “Crossroads Ballad” sung narration by Tom Glazer (1948) </li></ul>Clarksdale, MS ...
“ America in the Summer of 1941” <ul><li>America in the Summer of 1941, Prog. No. 1, “Delaware and the Eastern Shore of Ma...
“ The United Nations Today” <ul><li>The United Nations Today, June 26, 1950 </li></ul>Spencer, R.V.  With her brother on h...
“ Freedom’s People” <ul><li>Freedom’s People, Program no. 3, “Contributions to sports” (1941) </li></ul>Jesse Owens,  1936...
“ I’m an American!” <ul><li>“ I’m an American!” program, Program no. 7 (1944) </li></ul>Turner, Oren Jack.  Albert Einstei...
Go to the “Voices of World War II” online
Marr Sound Archive  LaBudde Dept. of Special Collections Hours : Monday - Friday 9:00 am - 4:30 pm
Questions? <ul><li>Contact Information </li></ul><ul><li>Sandy Rodriguez </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><...
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Libraries Inside/Out: Accessing Hidden Collections

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Libraries and archives contain riches of information that, too often, are hidden away in rare and unique collections that are not accessible to the public. This presentation is from a talk given by UMKC Librarian Sandy Rodriguez demonstrating how one eclectic collection of radio broadcasts from the 1930s... through the 1950s is being preserved and unveiled for research. Hear clips featuring prominent events, famous performers, and discussions about key issues - the “podcasts” of their time - many still bearing relevance today.

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  • The title of this presentation is Accessing Hidden Collections: “Adventures in Research.” I first need to clarify what is meant by “hidden collections” and why these collections are starting to take center stage in libraries and archives today. The subtitle “Adventures in Research” is actually borrowed from a radio program of the same name (which will be one of the sound clips I’ll feature later on this presentation). It also refers to how you can use a variety of formats that may not have even occurred to you in order to assist with your research needs and how you’re encouraged to do so. So in discussing access to hidden collections today, my aim is not so much to show you how, but why you should access these collections.
  • Hidden collections, in general, are unprocessed or un-cataloged materials, and what that means is that the institution or individual who owns the item hasn’t provided any description of the materials and therefore, no means of access to these materials or that the access has been limited in some way so that they aren’t discoverable, whether that’s through Worldcat, your local library catalog, website, digital collection, online database, etc. In 1998, the Association of Research Libraries sponsored a survey of 99 North American research universities, and as you can see here, they discovered a fairly large percentage of hidden collections in libraries and archives. Something else, you’ll notice is how the audio and visual formats are disproportionately hidden. The point is that you can’t access hidden collections. You have to do something in order to make them accessible.
  • Here in the Miller Nichols Library, we have a variety of materials that haven’t yet been described for access and this list isn’t even everything. What’s listed here are materials held in both Special Collections and the Marr Sound Archive. And actually some of these items are currently being made accessible and some are accessible through a Microsoft Access database that is only accessible by four people which demonstrates the issue of limited access. Sure, staff is willing to help you, but how would you know to even ask if you don’t know that the library holds a collection of research interest to you. These undocumented collections are at risk of relying on “institutional memory” or the expertise of long-time staff members.
  • This is a quote I picked up from the Council of Library and Information Resources in their proposal to the Mellon Foundation to fund efforts to make hidden collections accessible. Because of the trend of focusing on unique hidden collections, the effort was funded by the Mellon Foundation. I don’t think anyone here would argue the importance of historical research. The fact is that many of the items that are contained in hidden collections are unique and have some important historical value and are not usually browse-able; they’re oftentimes in closed stacks. Not only that, but many of these items are deteriorating and must be preserved in some way so that the data isn’t lost. And the reality is that people are finding more information online. Ever heard of the saying, “If it isn’t online, it doesn’t exist”? Well, delivery of information is an issue. We’re not talking about digitizing every manuscript and recording audio and presenting it online (due to issues such as copyright), but about providing some description so that users are aware of the unique items that a library holds that may be of some use in his/her research.
  • I wanted to briefly show you results from a poll taken by our University Libraries to demonstrate how a number of people are accessing the library website from outside of the library. This isn’t to say that they aren’t doing any intensive research in the library, just to show you that when they connect to our website, they tend to connect remotely so again, providing some description online will make users aware of your collections and how they may fit their research needs so that they will feel compelled to come in and request these items.
  • So one of the “hidden” collections in the library was donated by this man, J. David Goldin, who had a long career in radio and is also known as “the man who saved radio” because of his large collection of radio programs. In 2001, Goldin donated nearly 10,000 broadcast transcription discs to the Marr Sound Archive. These are large 16 in. discs that were used primarily from 1935 through the 50s for broadcast on radio. They contain no more than 15 min. a side and either originated from a particular radio station or were commercially produced and syndicated on various stations and networks throughout the nation. I have two types of transcription discs here. One is a vinyl pressing, another is an aluminum-based lacquer disc and the last one, which I don’t have to show, is a glass-based lacquer disc. You’ll notice there’s not a lot of information on the labels of the lacquers because…
  • They were instantaneously-cut which means each disc is unique. The machine you see in this picture has a needle that cuts right into the lacquer to record sound. The glass discs were used in war-time, 1941-1945 (WWII) because of the call for metals to be recycled and as a result, many of the aluminum- or steel-based discs were recycled. But the glass discs were very fragile. These discs are unique items and so you see why we would prioritize such a collection for access.
  • In the last quarter of 2007, a decision was made to apply for an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant to provide access to the Goldin collection. The Miller Nichols Library was awarded a 3-year grant for half a million dollars to run from Jan. 2008 through Dec. 2010. The grant was to provide equipment and staff to embark on this project…the staff consists of a Special Project Cataloger (myself), 3 Library Information Specialist IIs, and 2 students. The goal is to eliminate barriers for discovery by providing a description of each disc and its contents online in Worldcat and Merlin.
  • This is our basic overall workflow. Of course, like every good workflow, it starts with caffeine. Because some of the items are quite unique and were instantaneously cut by an engineer, we get varying levels of information on the disc (label) itself so it becomes necessary to listen to the discs so that we can gather information such as summaries, performers, song titles, panelists, etc. and transcribe them into the computer (not word-for word). This cloud represents our varying sources of information, the disc itself, the transcribed data, and information Goldin has provided on his Radio GoldINdex website, we might have to search reference sources or online for any information on the particular program or figuring out how to spell names of panelists, musicians, etc. So we gather this information and we create catalog records, or brief descriptions in the library catalog, so that you can find the discs in Merlin. This isn’t anything new, but the fact that we are providing this level of description for this format IS new. Prior to this project, the Library of Congress and a few libraries had cataloged this format; however, they did not go so far as listening to the discs. Why? Because it takes time so they create basic “production level records.” What we’re doing is enhancing access by adding the listening portion and what we’ve found is that so much of data, especially from the lacquered discs, comes from listening.
  • So let’s take a look at one of these records. If you use Merlin, you’re probably familiar with seeing these by now. All the information we gather is translated into this record. Again, the “new” thing that we’ve done is enhance access by realizing that the format that we’re working with didn’t come with nice sleeves that contained all the information about the program and oftentimes, it doesn’t even have descriptive labels. So the listening and transcription has provided us with the basic descriptive information, including summaries, participants, broadcast dates, etc. and has allowed to give you access to the people on the disc. But…
  • We also provide subject headings, access to individuals, etc. These are things that we have been doing for a long time now. You’ll notice the “coming soon” is referring to genre headings which are at the moment not hyperlinked. Soon you’ll be able to click on those and get all the science radio programs for instance.
  • As of today, we are 50% of the way through providing access to the collection so we haven’t yet uncovered all of the content. But this is a sampling of the range of programs contained within this collection.
  • As of today, we are 50% of the way through providing access to the collection so we haven’t yet uncovered all of the content. But this is a sampling of the range of programs contained within this collection. This particular program, Adventures in Research you’ll recognize is the subtitle of this presentation. It’s a science radio program that contains discussion and dramatic skits used to present educational materials in a fun and engaging way. Now the particular clip that I have is not the dramatized portion but the introduction which poses an interesting question. We are, however, going to hear some dramatic organ.
  • This program, Excursions in science unlike the previous program, contains discussions about development in science. This program contains comments from Howard Tupper after a conversation with Russell C. Coile of MIT. Listen to what they were speculating about the future of libraries and particularly, searching in libraries.
  • An interview about the life and work of Thomas Edison, his library, laboratory and the Thomas Alva Edison Foundation. Norman Spieden was the curator of the Edison Foundation and William A. Hayes/Bill Hayes was an employee, recording technician with Mr. Edison for nearly 52 years.
  • This program contains moderated debates that usually had at least one conservative and one liberal participant. This particular episode features Samuel B. Pettengill, who was 4-term congressman from Indiana and author of a book on Thomas Jefferson, and Arthur Garfield Hays, general counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union whose cases included the Scopes trial, the Sacco-Vanzetti case, and the Reichstag trial in Germany. So these two gentlemen intensely debate what constitutes “un-American activities” and the committees who investigate such activities. This episode was aired one year before the famous 1947 Hollywood blacklist. Just to give you some context, prior to the clip heard here, Mr. Pettengill had argued that the so-called “closed shop” (where you’re forced to join the union to work for an employer) was an example of an un-American activity. The first voice you’ll here is that of Mr. Hays, of the ACLU.
  • This show features Australian life and culture, like many other discs that we have. The guest is Senator James McIntosh Fraser, Minister for Health and Social Services. This clip is relevant given the recent debates on health care. This was the start of the proposal for universal health care. It was broadcast in 1945. Australia was finally able to implement their universal health care in the 70s.
  • Another way to convey health information was to use entertainment. Let’s take a listen to this one. To set you up for this clip, a man leaves his wife and cheats on her after an argument. He soon gets a surprise. This program was a U.S. Public Health Service syndication 1948. The VD Radio Project was undertaken to present information to people about venereal diseases by using what the project director, Erik Barnouw dubbed as “hillbilly operas” and many of them were proposed by renowned ethnomusicologist Alan Lomax, who also wrote many of these dramas. The singer on the clip was Tom Glazer, folk and children’s song writer, most known for his parody On Top of Spaghetti .
  • War period by the Library of Congress Research project; field recordings to gather sounds and feelings about the people of America during war; summer before U.S. entered the war (Dec. 7, 1941). In this clip, they talk to a farmer in Maryland.
  • Broadcast from the day after North Korea invaded the South. We’ve gotten through half the collection and have yet to see if we have the broadcast from 6/26/50, the day the Korean War started.
  • This program features African-American contributions to various aspects of American life, sports, theater, industry, etc. In this clip, Cliff Engle asks Jesse Owens to talk about his experience in the Berlin Olympics, 1936 before the outbreak of WWII.
  • This program highlights naturalized citizens and their thoughts on what it means to be an American. This particular clip is an interview with Albert Einstein, who has just taken his naturalization test. Einstein discusses some of the reasons for his appreciation of American citizenship as well as the progress of man and how America is the land of opportunity. Broadcast in 1944 after the Manhattan Project .
  • So I hope that you can see that there’s a lot of great material in these collections. I just wanted to show you the types of things that can happen when you provide some kind of description for your hidden collections. This is an example of how descriptions can allow us to tease out relevant items to curate a multimedia presentation of information. Several of the audio clips in the “Voices of World War II” collection are from the Goldin collection.
  • So let me leave you with this thought. Libraries and archives have been providing access to collections for a long time; however, until recently, there hasn’t been a real emphasis on unique hidden collections, especially in the audio and visual formats. By providing access to these collections, we improve the likelihood for the materials to be discovered for use in research. And by making sure that the platform is online (whatever that may be), we acknowledge the trend that most users are seeking their information online. How we decide to deliver that information may be a complex issue to tackle because we have to consider things like copyright and preserving digital content when doing so. The point is something is better than nothing . We have a unique opportunity here at UMKC because we have a great Special Collections and such a large sound archive to provide support for research. My hope and I’m certain the hope of many of the library staff is that people venture outside of the “usual” and remember that television and radio, at one time, was a very prominent way in which information was delivered to people. Not only that, there is something about working with the materials, hearing the voices of people like Albert Einstein and Edward R. Murrow and the conviction in which they delivered their thoughts, that gives you a sense of the times. There’s so much potential for research, not only in the Goldin collection, but in many of the collections held at UMKC and the good news is that the trend in libraries today is to prioritize access to these collections. Please don’t hesitate to use unfamiliar formats to fuel your research. Marr staff and Special Collections staff are always happy to assist.
  • Libraries Inside/Out: Accessing Hidden Collections

    1. 1. Accessing Hidden Collections: “Adventures in Research” Sandy Rodriguez November 3, 2009
    2. 2. <ul><li>Unprocessed or uncataloged materials </li></ul><ul><li>Survey of 99 North American research universities-- </li></ul><ul><li>15% of printed volumes </li></ul><ul><li>27% of manuscripts </li></ul><ul><li>35% video </li></ul><ul><li>37% audio </li></ul><ul><li>Judith M. Panitch, Special Collections in ARL Libraries: Results of the 1998 Survey. Sponsored by the ARL Research Libraries Committee, ARL, Washington, DC, 2002. </li></ul>Hidden Collections
    3. 3. Miller Nichols Library <ul><li>Maps </li></ul><ul><li>Historical Documents </li></ul><ul><li>Vertical File (clippings) </li></ul><ul><li>Broadsides </li></ul><ul><li>Sheet music </li></ul><ul><li>Piano rolls </li></ul><ul><li>Broadcast transcription discs </li></ul><ul><li>Cylinders </li></ul><ul><li>Open-reel tapes </li></ul><ul><li>Music box discs </li></ul><ul><li>Cassette tapes </li></ul><ul><li>45 rpm discs </li></ul><ul><li>78 rpm discs </li></ul><ul><li>ETC. </li></ul>
    4. 4. Why “expose” them? <ul><li>“ By recovering things from the past or by looking at the experience differently, we can see how to think and to act differently in the future. The past can challenge us with eloquent, brilliant, troubling material that widens our present experience and wisdom. It provides perspectives to engage, accounts to cross-examine, and opportunities to hone skills of empathy, compassion, and reflection.” </li></ul><ul><li>--Ray Rosenzweig (with David Thelen), The Presence of the Past: </li></ul><ul><li>Popular Uses of History in American Life. </li></ul>
    5. 5. Where are you when you use the library website? <ul><li>86% of users </li></ul><ul><li>are connecting from </li></ul><ul><li>outside of the library . </li></ul><ul><li>Survey conducted from Aug. 24-Sept. 11 </li></ul>
    6. 6. J. David Goldin Collection “ The man who saved radio” Photograph courtesy of Mark Mattison
    7. 7. <ul><li>National AudioVisual Conservation Center (NAVCC), Culpeper, VA, May 27, 2009 </li></ul>
    8. 8. Efforts to Provide Access <ul><li>Mellon Foundation: Jan. 1, 2008-Dec. 31, 2010 </li></ul><ul><li>1 Special Project Cataloger </li></ul><ul><li>3 Library Information Specialists </li></ul><ul><li>2 Students </li></ul><ul><li>GOAL: Eliminate barriers for discovery by providing a description of each disc and its contents online (Worldcat and Merlin) </li></ul>
    9. 10. From Listening
    10. 11. Coming soon From Listening
    11. 12. Range of Programs <ul><li>Bud’s Bandwagon ( DJ ) </li></ul><ul><li>United Nations Today ( news ) </li></ul><ul><li>Excursions in Science ( educational ) </li></ul><ul><li>Betty & Bob ( soap opera ) </li></ul><ul><li>Freedom Forum ( panel discussions ) </li></ul><ul><li>Help Yourself to Health ( medical ) </li></ul><ul><li>Guest Star ( variety ) </li></ul><ul><li>Wake up, America! ( debates ) </li></ul><ul><li>Proudly We Hail ( radio dramas ) </li></ul><ul><li>Jerry of the Circus ( children’s drama ) </li></ul>
    12. 13. “ Adventures in Research” <ul><li>Adventures in Research, Program 362, “Sir William’s Rocket” (1949) Find in Merlin </li></ul>Apollo 11 Launch, July 16, 1979. Great Images in NASA. Available at http://grin.hq.nasa.gov/index.html (viewed Oct. 18, 2009) Photograph courtesy of NASA.
    13. 14. “ Excursions in Science” <ul><li>Excursions in Science, Program no. 544, “Library machines” (1951) </li></ul>UNIVAC at Franklin Life Insurance Co., 1961. Franklin Life Insurance Company. Available at http://ed-thelen.org/comp-hist/BRL61-u3.html#UNIVAC-I (viewed Oct. 18, 2009) Photograph courtesy of Franklin Life Insurance Company. Find in Merlin
    14. 15. “ Beyond Victory” <ul><li>Beyond Victory, No. 177, “The World and Thomas Edison” (1947) </li></ul>Thomas Alva Edison, three-quarter length portrait, seated, facing front , ca. 1922. Library of Congress. Available at http://lcweb2.loc.gov/pp/pphome.html (viewed Oct. 19, 2009) Photograph courtesy of the Library of Congress. Find in Merlin
    15. 16. “ Wake up, America!” <ul><li>Wake up, America!, Program 342 “What do we mean by un-American activities?” (1946) </li></ul>HUAC hearing , Oct. 21, 1947. Library of Congress. Available at http://lcweb2.loc.gov/pp/pphome.html (viewed Oct. 18, 2009) Photograph courtesy of the Library of Congress. Find in Merlin-Part 1 Find in Merlin-Part 2
    16. 17. “ A Look at Australia” <ul><li>A Look at Australia, Program no. 4017, “Keeping a Nation Healthy” (1945) </li></ul>Australia. CC Image courtesy of Ssolbergj Find in Merlin
    17. 18. <ul><li>VD Radio Project, Program no. 6, “Crossroads Ballad” sung narration by Tom Glazer (1948) </li></ul>Clarksdale, MS CC Image courtesy of JMazzolaa on Flickr Find in Merlin
    18. 19. “ America in the Summer of 1941” <ul><li>America in the Summer of 1941, Prog. No. 1, “Delaware and the Eastern Shore of Maryland” </li></ul>Brooks. Plowing in Maryland, Apr. 1936. Library of Congress. Available at http://lcweb2.loc.gov/pp/pphome.html (viewed Oct. 20, 2009) Photograph courtesy of the Library of Congress. Find in Merlin
    19. 20. “ The United Nations Today” <ul><li>The United Nations Today, June 26, 1950 </li></ul>Spencer, R.V. With her brother on her back a war weary Korean girl tiredly trudges by a stalled M-26 tank, at Haengju, Korea, June 9, 1951. Available at http://imcom.korea.army.mil/ (viewed Oct. 20, 2009) Photograph courtesy of IMCOM Korea. Find in Merlin
    20. 21. “ Freedom’s People” <ul><li>Freedom’s People, Program no. 3, “Contributions to sports” (1941) </li></ul>Jesse Owens, 1936. Available at http://lcweb2.loc.gov/pp/pphome.html (viewed Oct. 19, 2009) Photograph courtesy of the Library of Congress. Find in Merlin
    21. 22. “ I’m an American!” <ul><li>“ I’m an American!” program, Program no. 7 (1944) </li></ul>Turner, Oren Jack. Albert Einstein, 1879-1955, c1947. Library of Congress. Available at http://lcweb2.loc.gov/pp/pphome.html (viewed Oct. 19, 2009) Photograph courtesy of the Library of Congress. “ Science has provided the possibility of liberation for human beings from hard labor, but science itself is not a liberator. It creates means, not goals… … the fate of humanity is entirely dependent upon its moral development.” Find in Merlin
    22. 23. Go to the “Voices of World War II” online
    23. 24. Marr Sound Archive LaBudde Dept. of Special Collections Hours : Monday - Friday 9:00 am - 4:30 pm
    24. 25. Questions? <ul><li>Contact Information </li></ul><ul><li>Sandy Rodriguez </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>816-235-2229 </li></ul><ul><li>Acknowledgements </li></ul><ul><li>Sound clip selectors : </li></ul><ul><li>Patricia Altamirano </li></ul><ul><li>Timothy Gieringer </li></ul><ul><li>Matthew Scrivner </li></ul><ul><li>Broadcast engineer : </li></ul><ul><li>Scott Middleton </li></ul>

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