Tag Archives: Harvard

Holmes’ suite home: Law library launches massive database on famed American jurist

“On the first Sunday in March of 1931, about 500 people gathered in Langdell Hall at Harvard Law School to listen to a CBS Radio broadcast by Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., the ambitious, egotistical Civil War veteran and Harvard graduate A.B. 1861, LL.B. 1866 who pioneered the concept of legal realism. The law was “a practical weapon,” Holmes believed, and legal cases are best judged according to realities rather than abstractions.The radio address celebrated Holmes’ 90th birthday, one of many moments of adulation that spring that amused and pleased him — so much praise, he said, even though “self is so near vanishing.”

via Harvard Law School

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Cooper the Library Dog

A collection unlike others

During her 20 years at Harvard, Leslie Morris has led what any book lover might see as a charmed life. As the curator of Modern Books & Manuscripts at Houghton Library, she has befriended John Updike, corresponded with Gore Vidal, pored over cross-written letters by Jane Austen, and archived Emily Dickinson’s teacups. But about a year ago, during a three-day business trip to Europe, Morris experienced cultural astonishment on a new scale. She viewed a vast collection of boxes, drawers, shelves — whole rooms — full of eccentric treasures dating back to the 16th century, all expressions of a top cultural engine: altered states of mind. “I always explain it as sex, drugs, and rock ’n’ roll,” said Morris of the collection, now being unpacked, examined, described, and indexed at Harvard, a process known as accessioning. But the music collection and related artifacts went to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland. Harvard, she said, “got the sex and drugs.”

via Harvard Gazette

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Harvard to Contribute Special Collections Materials to Digital Public Library of America

“The Harvard Library  plans to share several collections with the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA)—becoming the first DPLA content hub. The Harvard Library contains a wealth of special collections, and is dedicated to providing open access to them, where possible, through digitization and online dissemination. Through its collaboration with the DPLA, Harvard will contribute to global access to knowledge by linking to select digitized special collections. Robert Darnton, Harvard University Librarian and DPLA Steering Committee member, noted, “By making their special collections available to the public through the DPLA, research libraries can contribute mightily to the democratization of access to knowledge.  Harvard’s collections, built up since 1638, form the largest university library in the country.  By supporting the DPLA, we will make the choicest items in them accessible to everyone in America—and eventually, we hope, to everyone in the world.”

via Harvard Library

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Dust Settles As Library Changes

“Leaders of Harvard Library touted the successful integration of Harvard’s 73 libraries into a single University library in an interview with The Crimson Wednesday. “This is unprecedented,” said Executive Director for the Harvard Library Helen Shenton. “We’ve never done this before. Harvard’s never done this before.” But librarians interviewed by The Crimson said that from their perspective working within the system, the dust has far from settled.”

via The Harvard Crimson

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Library in transition – Harvard moves rapidly into digital future, while preserving past

“A new Web portal for the revamped Harvard Library is opening the window on a massive reorganization effort that is designed to preserve the incredibly valuable print past while embracing the increasingly important digital future. Even as books, manuscripts, and papers continue to be treasured and tended, the multiform products of a digital age, including massive gigabytes of stored data generated by scholars, are being gathered, cataloged, and stored. “We’re living in a mixed world, where information comes in many forms and flavors,” said Mary Lee Kennedy, senior associate provost for the Harvard Library. “If we are here to support research, teaching, and learning, we have to create the ability to package it all up.”

via Harvard Gazette

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University Will Not Significantly Cut Library Staff

“Despite initiatives to centralize its workforce, the Harvard Library System will not be significantly reducing its approximately 930 person staff, according to an emailed announcement from Harvard University Library Executive Director Helen Shenton and Senior Associate Provost for the Harvard Library Mary Lee Kennedy. “We are pleased to share that, due to the Voluntary Early Retirement Incentive Program and the Schools’ careful management of vacancies, nearly all library staff members with roles designated as Harvard Library Shared Services or Support Services will have a position in the new Harvard Library organization,” Shenton and Kennedy wrote.”

via The Harvard Crimson

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Jeffrey Schnapp’s Library Test Kitchen course tries out new ideas for libraries

“WHAT IF YOU THOUGHT seriously about the library as a laboratory, as a place where people do things, where they make things?” asks Jeffrey Schnapp, addressing his “Library Test Kitchen” class. Libraries as centers of knowledge and learning have a rich history—but an uncharted future. The digital revolution, besides changing the nature of books, is transforming the role of libraries in preserving and disseminating information. “What if the Library of Congress were to become a digital library?” continues Schnapp. “What, then, is the role of the physical public library? This is a source of enormous anxiety at the local level because public libraries” face increasing political pressure, including budget cuts, but “play absolutely fundamental civic roles, often as the only public space that remains in smaller communities.”

via Harvard Magazine

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Harvard pushes back against academic publishers’ pricing, encourages open access

The Boston Globe – “Harvard may be the world’s wealthiest university, but fees for its academic journal subscriptions have gotten so steep – some as much as $40,000 a year – that an advisory council is encouraging faculty to submit their work to “open access’’ online journals that are available for free. The council also asked Harvard faculty to consider resigning from the editorial boards of the high-priced subscription publications and to urge professional associations to “take control’’ of scholarly literature in their fields.”

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Harvard Releases Big Data for Books

NYTimes – “Harvard’s library is making public the information on more than 12 million books, videos, audio recordings, images, manuscripts, maps, and more things inside Harvard’s 73 libraries. Harvard can’t put the actual content of much of this material online, owing to intellectual property laws, but this so-called metadata of things like titles, publication or recording dates, book sizes, or descriptions of what is in the video is also considered highly valuable material. Frequently descriptors of things like audio recordings are more valuable for search engines than the material itself. Search engines frequently rely on metadata over content, particularly when it can’t easily be scanned and understood. Harvard is hoping other libraries allow access to the metadata on their volumes, which could be the start of a large and unique repository of intellectual information.”

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