Brandeis Library

New York Times Digital Edition Access Now Active

May 29th, 2018 · 4 Comments

Brandeis University faculty, students and staff can now access the New York Times Digital Edition through our academic site license provided by the Brandeis Library!

More information and instructions for registering for an academic pass are available in our Research Guides.

Users can register for an account at the New York Times website:

  1. Click the “Create Account” button.
  2. Enter your Brandeis University email address. Confirm that you are current student, faculty or staff.
  3. Click the “Sign Up” button.

Already have an account? Go to the New York Times Digital Edition to login.

If you have questions about our subscription to New York Times Digital Edition, please contact e-resources@brandeis.edu.

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Alumnus Returns to Campus as University Archives & Special Collections Volunteer

May 9th, 2018 · Comments Off on Alumnus Returns to Campus as University Archives & Special Collections Volunteer

One alumnus is giving back to Brandeis through his volunteer work with University Archives & Special Collections.

Bruce Rosen earned his bachelor’s degree in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies in 1970 and his Ph.D., also in NEJS, in 1977. Now retired from software engineering after more than 30 years, he’s back on campus to help the Archives in their efforts to make more materials available for research.

Cataloging Materials

Rosen came to the Robert D. Farber University Archives & Special Collections last summer as a volunteer with the goal of making more materials available online and searchable. Over the past several months, he has gone through piles of boxes to catalogue materials so they appear in the Finding Aids Database.

“I spent a lot of years here in the Library as a grad student, so it’s really a kind of homecoming,” he said. “It’s fun for me, and it’s a good feeling that I’m doing something useful.”

Some of the collections that are now catalogued and accessible in the Finding Aids Database:

  • Boxes of campus directories, student handbooks, and copies of the Brandeis Review
  • Materials from when Evelyn E. Handler was the president of Brandeis University from 1983 to 1991
  • Materials on Shula Reinharz, the Jacob Potofsky Professor of Sociology and founder of the Women’s Studies Research Center
  • Materials on Rabbi Marvin Fox, who was a scholar of Jewish thought and former director of the Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies at Brandeis University

Writing Software

Rosen also has written software to make old finding aids more accessible through the tool ArchivesSpace, saving the Library years of manual work.

The University Archive includes several large collections of materials from faculty members and the Board of Trustees that were acquired and cataloged prior to the introduction of archive cataloging and searching software. The contents of these collections were accessible only via a number of manually input web pages, so while they were searchable individually, they were not searchable across all collections.

A long-standing goal was to import the contents of these web pages into ArchivesSpace, but this would have taken years of manual effort; one collection alone, the Nahum Glatzer papers, contained more than 1,700 folders of material in 92 boxes.

Rosen was able to use his software skills to write a series of programs that used parsing technology to extract the data from the web pages and then wrote the data out to Excel spreadsheets. These Excel files were then imported directly into ArchivesSpace. Years of data entry were compressed into several days of programming effort and these older collections are now all accessible through the ArchivesSpace’s search tool.

Here is an example of the Board of Trustees: George Alpert collection, before and after.

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Missing Book Returns to Brandeis Library After More Than 40 Years

May 2nd, 2018 · Comments Off on Missing Book Returns to Brandeis Library After More Than 40 Years

Sometimes, missing things find their way home.

Bruce Davidson’s East 100th Street disappeared from the Brandeis Library in 1973. It would not return for several decades. Presumed gone forever, the book was eventually replaced with another copy, and students and faculty continued to have access to the photographer’s striking black-and-white photography of a poverty-stricken block in East Harlem.

Then one day in 2015, the book arrived back at the Library with a note from the former student who had held onto it for 42 years.

“I am returning to you a book that I have had since 1973. While I have come across the book amongst my things many times, I have thought about it differently at different points in my life. As it lay carelessly strewn on a coffee table throughout the 70s, I’m pretty sure any inclination to return it was met with a misguided need to be an outlaw…to give expression to a rebellious impulse buried deep in my otherwise overly obedient, somewhat depressed, young self. In later years, coming across it would bring up feelings of guilt, followed by the decision to return it, followed by distraction and inaction. Now coming across the book, I feel shame and sadness. I see that it was given to the library as a gift in memory of a friend. I see that the images are powerful and could have influenced the perspective of the next person to pick it up off the library shelf. I see that books are precious, especially in the age of e-books and i-everything, and I did not keep this one in the best condition. I see that I had no business keeping it at all.

“I am returning this book with apologies to the folks who gave it to the library, to the man in whose name it was given, to the people whose images are in the pages, to the students who didn’t get to see it while it was missing, and to the University.”

East 100th Street is available in the Main Library Stacks.

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Brandeis University Records Management & Facilities Services Collaborate to Sort Blueprints & Architectural Drawings

April 30th, 2018 · Comments Off on Brandeis University Records Management & Facilities Services Collaborate to Sort Blueprints & Architectural Drawings

The Brandeis University campus comprises roughly 100 individual buildings. Blueprints and architectural drawings of these buildings must be retained for as long as each building exists. A single building can have dozens or more associated drawings, as the drawings typically describe specific sections or systems within a building. These documents serve as essential references whenever construction work is being planned.

 

Knowing the location of a gas or electrical line, what topography lies beneath a building’s foundation, or otherwise how something was built is a necessary preparation for new renovations or routine maintenance. Facilities Services use the drawings in their work, ensuring the integrity of Brandeis’s physical plant. New projects entail new documentation of the work that is done, which contributes to the constant growth of Brandeis’s collection of drawings.

Several years ago, Facilities Services oversaw a scanning project that digitized Brandeis’s architectural drawings, significantly improving their accessibility. Unfortunately, the scanning vendor returned the original documents in a disorganized state. Since it is necessary to retain the drawings, it was necessary to identify which buildings they were so that they could be reboxed and stored permanently off-site. University Records Management (URM) worked with Facilities to identify, rebox, and barcode the new boxes.

Many of the approximately 300 legacy boxes returned by the vendor were inaccurately labelled or contained drawings from more than one building. Other drawings documented buildings which have been demolished or sold by Brandeis. Over the course of nearly 18 months, URM and Facilities collaborated in reorganizing the drawings. By the end of the project, the drawings had been separated into more than 500 boxes. Many duplicates, demolished, or otherwise defunct drawings were retained for appraisal of their historical or research value by the University Archivist.

 

After the drawings had been identified and reboxed, URM sent them to off-site storage. Off-site storage is one of the core URM services. Contact URM for your Brandeis records needs at records@brandeis.edu.

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Brandeis Library Celebrates Preservation Week!

April 25th, 2018 · 1 Comment

A little-known fact is that a great deal of work goes into maintaining the rich collection of books we have here in the Brandeis Library.

Library books receive a high level of use and as such are subject to wear and tear, such as torn spines, loose bindings and paper damage. They also suffer from careless handling including highlighter markings, sticky notes, paper clips, folded pages, coffee and food spills, etc.

Brandeis’s Preservation Department repairs hundreds of books every year. It is helmed by Leslie Reicher, Preservation Officer, who introduced the program to the library system in 1983. Preservation staff perform more than 20 conservation treatment procedures for general collections, ranging from the simple to the complex, including paper repair, sewing of text, and rebinding. Archives and Special Collections materials are preserved through various rehousing methods created individually for each piece.

The American Library Association (ALA) instituted Preservation Week “to connect our communities through events, activities, and resources that highlight what we can do, individually and together, to preserve our personal and shared collections.”

Learn more about preservation at the Library of Congress.

Leslie Reicher applies various techniques to reverse or prevent damage to the Library’s book collection. Check out some of the tools and treatments she uses!

 

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