Brandeis Library

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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

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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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Sign Up for a Free HathiTrust Research Center Account Using Your Brandeis Email

April 24th, 2018 · Comments Off on Sign Up for a Free HathiTrust Research Center Account Using Your Brandeis Email

HathiTrust is a partnership of academic and research institutions, offering a collection of millions of titles digitized from libraries around the world. The HathiTrust Digital Library (HTDL) is a digital preservation repository and highly functional access platform that continues to grow as HathiTrust partners, primarily academic libraries in the United States, contribute newly digitized content.

HathiTrust Research Center (HTRC) enables computational analysis of works in the HTDL to facilitate non-profit research and educational uses of the collection. Leveraging data storage and computational infrastructure at Indiana University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, HTRC creates and maintains a suite of tools and services for text-based, data-driven research—such as HTRC Algorithms and Data Capsule—and engages in cutting-edge research on large-scale data analysis.

HTRC services include:

  • Run algorithms and show results
  • Create and show data capsules
  • Create and validate worksets, as well as browse shared materials
  • Explore datasets with Bookworm, Extracted Features, and Genre (Underwood)

Most HTRC services require an account to log in and interact with the tools. Register for an account by going to the portal and choosing “Sign Up” from the menu. Anyone using an email address from a non-profit institution of higher education is allowed to register, including those whose institutions are not HathiTrust members.

  1. Choose a user ID and password
  2. Enter your name and Brandeis email
  3. Follow the activation link sent to your email

For more information on HathiTrust, visit their frequently asked questions page.

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Students, Submit Your Artwork by April 19 for Inspired by the Book: A Library Art Competition

April 17th, 2018 · Comments Off on Students, Submit Your Artwork by April 19 for Inspired by the Book: A Library Art Competition

Attention all students! Are you artistic? Do you like books? Submit your art to “Inspired by the Book: A Library Art Competition” (part of the Bernstein Festival of the Creative Arts).

Where: Brandeis Library (main floor)

When: Thursday, April 19, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Why participate? Show your wonderful artwork to the world! Win fabulous prizes! Eat delicious cookies! Enjoy the artwork of your fellow students! Show your love of books!

Rules: Art must be INSPIRED BY THE BOOK (this could mean a specific book or books in general). All artistic mediums and forms are accepted.

Submissions must be dropped off between 9 – 9:45 a.m.

Register here:

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