Tag Archives: Harvard

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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Harvard Layoffs Threaten the University’s Backbone: Libraries

Labor Notes – “Harvard has 73 libraries that comprise the largest private library collection in the world. The library system attracts researchers from around the world, a major draw for attracting the best faculty in all fields. From ancient maps to personal effects to photography collections, not to mention millions of books and journals in multiple languages, the materials of Harvard’s libraries are the keystone supporting billions of dollars in research grants awarded to the Harvard community each year. Such a large collection is unusable without librarians and library staff to catalog materials and help researchers sift through the mountains of information. Most research using the Harvard library would be impossible without the aid of library workers. Yet the Harvard administration feels its libraries are a drag on finances, as they do not directly create revenue. Library closings and staff reductions have been part of a continued corporatization of the university, begun under former President Larry Summers (who later was appointed to head President Obama’s National Economic Council). The focus on revenue and serving corporate ends has accelerated under current President Drew Faust’s recession-bound tenure.”

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Harvard plans to consolidate library, reshuffle employees

Boston Globe – “Harvard University revealed its long-awaited plan for restructuring its library system this morning, calling for “changes that affect staff at every level” that are likely to include consolidating many services, reshuffling some employees, and offering buyouts to others. Details will be finalized over the next few weeks, according to a statement from Provost Alan Garber, but the plan will surely include “adjustments in how and where many staff members perform the work that has made the library one of the university’s greatest treasures.”

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David Weinberger on the future of libraries

CBC – “The days of the card catalogue are long over, but there are even more innovations ahead in how the information available at libraries is organized. In a recent interview on Spark, David Weinberger, author and co-director of the Harvard Library Innovation Lab, talked to host Nora Young about ShelfLife and LibraryCloud, two of the lab’s ongoing projects that will transform how we use libraries.”

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Morris Cohen

NYTimes – “MORRIS, the name of the online catalog of the Yale Law School Library, is not an acronym. It’s a tribute to Morris Cohen, the school’s longtime librarian and law professor, who died in December at 83 and was one of America’s great scholarly librarians.”

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Books about gay issues vandalized at Harvard

The Associated Press – “Police at Harvard University say they are investigating vandalism to about 40 books about lesbian and gay issues at a school library as a hate crime.Security staff at Lamont Library said in a report filed with campus police on Friday that it appeared someone poured urine on the books on Nov. 24. An empty bottle was found nearby.”

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