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What's Keeping HCL Busy?

April 5, 2007 – We asked all HCL libraries and units what they've been up to during this unpredictable season of late winter into early spring. While it's impossible to capture everything, here are a few of the highlights!

Cabot Library

The reference librarians at Cabot Science Library recently helped lead a presentation to introduce some 340 students in a life science library class to available resources so that they could begin their semester projects.

Fine Arts Library

The Fine Arts Library has embarked on a project to create collective HOLLIS records for more than 150 photograph collections, including over 500,000 images—many of these collections will be stored at HD after they are rehoused and, in some cases, finding aids with detailed holdings will be prepared. In planning for the library's future move, Preservation staff are stepping up boxing and rehousing efforts for several fragile collections, including oversized portfolio volumes, Asian rare materials, and auction sales catalogs. Meanwhile, the library's technical services staff are getting ready to receive online Ordered/Received requests and are working on HFA film cataloging.

Fung Library

Staff in the Fung Library are working on a number of projects, including a web archiving project on constitutional revision in Japan, rehousing and organizing a Soviet photographic collection as well as assisting with the creation of a finding aid, and analyzing the best mix of Chinese collections to determine which to house on-site versus in HD. 

Government Documents/Microforms

Government Documents/Microforms is gearing up for the summer's major redesign and reconfiguration of space and services, which will locate its reference services together, along with Lamont reference and Littauer reference, on Lamont's Level 1. Staff are also making plans to move various resources to HD, to temporary storage space, and to the Widener level of Lamont so that they can provide uninterrupted reference service during the renovations.


Harvard-Yenching Library

Harvard-Yenching Library completed its transition to the ILLiad system over the winter and its loans to non-Harvard libraries have since quadrupled.  Inventory of the library's photographic collections, with an eye to preservation and digitization, is underway, and the staff of the Japanese Collection are working with Professor Jun Suzuki of the National Institute of Japanese Literature 国文学研究資料館 to produce a supplement to the catalog of the library's Japanese rare books.

Houghton Library

Houghton is currently developing a library-wide strategic plan for 2007–2010, working to improve access to Harvard Theatre Collection materials for students and scholars, and managing the surge in requests that comes at this time in the term for use of Houghton's seminar room. The library is also monitoring renewed interest in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow as a result of its current exhibition in collaboration with the National Park Service's Longfellow House and in celebration of the poet's 200th birth anniversary.

Lamont Library

Lamont Library has finished budget preparation for FY08 and is catching up on proposed building changes and temporary relocation of collections in advance of the relocation of SSP/Littauer services and staff to the Lamont building. Access Services has surpassed the spring 2006 mark for courses supported at Reserves and is discussing how to adapt storage and Courier delivery locations in preparation for this summer. Meanwhile, late-winter book selection is in full swing, and Reference Services is training a new Reference Prefect and has just completed a round of RefWorks orientation/training sessions. Technical Services is busy processing reserves receipts and initiating benchmark studies of essential technical services outputs. Finally, in the world of e-reserves/e-resources, Lamont is about to test Bowker's Resources for College Libraries and will also be looking at audiobook sources.

Littauer Library

The staff in Littauer Library have been very busy during the fall and winter months preparing for the library to close this coming June. This means that all books, documents, journals, and special collections are in the process of being carefully reviewed and relocated. Each staff member is also working on his or her own personal backlog of work in anticipation of moving out of the building to new quarters in various HCL units.

Loeb Music Library

Loeb Music's digital scores project is moving forward and the library has received a new LDI grant to continue digitizing scores in support of faculty teaching and research interests. By linking these items in HOLLIS and performing bibliographic maintenance, the music catalogers link are improving overall access to library collections. At the same time, staff in the technical services group are involved in planning efforts with librarians from other HCL units regarding interdisciplinary collecting.

Map Collection

The Map Collection is ramping up work on its LDI-funded project Imaging the Urban Environment, taking urban scale maps from around the world and lining them up with real-world coordinates so they can be displayed alongside modern GIS data with a reasonable degree of accuracy.  They're currently concentrating efforts on the land ownership and fire insurance atlases of Cambridge and Boston from the 19th and early 20th centuries. The Map Collection has worked with a steady stream of patrons looking for assistance in creating maps and performing analysis using GIS for a wide range of topics, from historic national boundaries of Eastern Europe to global drought patterns and agriculture.  The Map Collection is also processing a recent acquisition, made in conjunction with the Fine Arts Library, of a series of maps of the European part of the Ottoman Empire from 1901.

Tozzer Library

Staff at Tozzer are involved in a project to digitize the Xiu chronicles, 1608-1817, a collection of documents in Spanish and Yucatec from a Mayan ruling family whose collaboration with the Spanish conquerors meant their noble status carried over under the new regime, considered one of Tozzer's most significant primary sources. Tozzer is also planning to later digitize a major study of the Xiu chronicles done in the early 1940s that was never published. Construction began recently on the Circulation Desk area and, finally, Tozzer is preparing for the transition of its index Anthropological Literature from the RLG to OCLC interface this summer.

Widener Library

In Access Services, Circulation staff have just completed scanning over 75,000 barcodes as part of the Smart Barcode Cleanup Project, scanning barcodes that weren't applied during the initial phase of the Smart Barcoding Project. Even in the dead of winter, researchers were busy: the day after President's Day is typically the busiest HD delivery day of the year and this year, on February 20, Circulation processed 1,215 HD items in a single day. Spring also happens to be the busiest time of year for ILL.

In Widener Research Services, staff are, as always, trying to find new ways of communicating with students and faculty. iSite development continues and recent iSites to go live were Rinascimento: A Research Guide for Renaissance Studies and Germanic Languages and Literatures. Staff have organized a workshop for Harvard librarians on social tagging for next week and are also investigating unusual user spaces in the virtual world.

HCL Technical Services

The HD/Aleph Reconciliation Project is two-thirds finished, correcting 18,000 item records for Widener materials at HD that were not requestable through HOLLIS. Tech Services is actively recruiting for a new department head and three candidates are scheduled to be interviewed this month. There has been more than a 300% increase in requests for Ordered—Received materials this academic year since the implementation of request links in the HOLLIS Catalog and most are provided with next business day turn-around time. Tech Services managers have been working closely with their primary vendors of English, Italian, and German language materials to load full cataloging records before or at the time of receipt of the new items, allowing users to see what is on order or find the most recently received materials in HOLLIS more easily.


Development is working on the acquisition of a collection of opera scores for Houghton, made possible by John Ward, William Powell Mason Professor of Music, Emeritus, and Honorary Curator of Dance and Music for the Theatre in the Harvard College Library. There is also a new fund for the Social Sciences Program, the Maurice P. Davidson Social Science Library Endowment, a gift of Frank P. Davidson, AB 39, JD 48. 

Financial Services

Financial Services can sum up what's keeping them busy in just a single word:    



Human Resource Services

The staff in Human Resources are preparing for the upgrade from PeopleSoft 8.0 to 8.9 on April 16 and working to make sure that HCL staff receive training. HR staff participated in an online HARVie chat on March 21 about library careers at Harvard. Later this spring HR is hosting a series of workshops on communication in the workplace and planning for participation in two upcoming Harvard events: the internal Career Connections fair on May 16 and the Harvard Career Forum on June 12.

Information Technology Services

ITS is about halfway through migrating the primary network operating system that HCL staff use from Novell Netware to Microsoft Windows server.  The Groups data (H: drive) was successfully migrated the first weekend of March, and the Users data (I: drive) will be migrated this coming weekend. ITS has also implemented a web payment system that allows Imaging Services to accept payments for library reproductions via credit card over the Web. In April, ITS will replace the primary HCL Storage Area Network (SAN) and backup SAN with new models that will have more capacity and throughput.


Right now the staff of Operations are heavily involved in planning for the SSP/Lamont move which involves summer-long construction on Level 1 of Lamont as well as Operation's assistance in the move and relocation of staff to 625 Mass Ave and to Lamont. In addition, Operations is preparing for exterior spring painting at Houghton as well as a number of summer maintenance projects in all HCL libraries.


Preservation & Imaging:

Conservation Services: Conservation's protective enclosures team is currently boxing a collection of TV Guides, recently received from a donor, that dates back to the first issue in the early 50s and numbers over 2,500 volumes. As part of the newspaper reformatting project, ongoing for the past three years, Conservation Services has split, flattened, and/or mended thousands (18,066 pages in FY 2007) of newspapers. These papers, most from the 19th century, are printed in more than 30 languages on paper in every imaginable state of deterioration. And, of course, conservation work continues as usual, with 6,670 volumes treated thus far in FY2007.

Imaging Services: On March 15, Imaging Services and ITS introduced a new Web-based credit card payment system that offers patrons the option of paying for library reproduction. In addition, the staff of Imaging Services continue to work on a range of projects that include microfilming rare international newspaper titles and titles from Littauer Library's Schlichter Industrial Relations Collection, the digitization of books and manuscripts in support of the Open Collections Program's Contagion Project, Baker Library's American Captialism Project, music scores from the Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library, materials from the Harvard Forest, Widener Library's Latin American pamphlets, medieval manuscripts from the Houghton Library, photographs from the Radcliffe Archives, and rubbings from the Fine Arts Library's Rübel Asiatic Research Collection.


The Communications group is busy bringing the news of the libraries to HCL staff and the larger community, and many updates are being made to the HCL Net. In April staff will attend the weeklong Computers in Libraries conference. Communications is also in the midst of holding student focus groups to learn more about how are users discover HCL online resources and to see, after two years, how the home page is serving their needs. Planning has also begun for comprehensive signage projects in Lamont and Loeb Music libraries.

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