Newly appointed to the position in March, the Special and Digital Collections Librarian has supported research inquiries regarding primary source material in both digital and physical format, prepared and strategized for the migration of digital repository platforms, processed digital collections, and amended catalog records for accuracy and accessibility.
Our research inquiries have been diverse, covering many facets and depths of the Special and Digital Collections. We have facilitated and developed instructional material for using the libraries Reading Room, which has allowed researchers to handle special collection material such as Instruction for Young Ladies on Their Entering into Life: Their Duties in the Married-State and Toward their Children. Written in 1764, this particular book is one of three English versions held in the United States.
Requests for access to Pocket Knowledge, our current digital repository, often led to deeper research into our physical records or collaborating with other Teachers College offices, such as searching for individual registration records of a student, Septima Clark, who attended a course offered during summer sessions in the the 1920s and the corresponding syllabus. Additionally, we were able to source specific subject matter inquiries regarding historical letters from James Earl Russel to various individuals on the topic of kindergarten from 1904-1906, as well as annual presidential reports, dissertations, and other historical documents.
In the process of assisting in these inquiries, we have also uncovered interesting artifacts, papers, records, and ephemera. Many of these have been noted in three blog posts:
- May Day, 1968—Battle for Morningside Heights
- The Rare and the Record, in Two Parts: Part I, The Rare
- The Rare and the Record, In Two Parts: Part II, The Record
We look forward to future discoveries and ever deeper dives into the Special and Digital Collections of Gottesman Libraries at Teachers College, Columbia University
In preparation to implement a new digital repository, we have been diligently analyzing, assessing, and creating a strategic plan to ensure an efficient and effective migration that will mitigate disruptions to accessing our digital collection.
This preparation has involved examining the relationship and taxonomies of many of the collections that currently exist, creating collections that represent digital equivalents to our physical holdings, assuring that metadata and user tags are consistent to improve search and retrieval, and leveraging methodological approach for the ingest of future content for the coming generations of scholars, students, faculty, and staff.
Speaking of collection development, the Special and Digital Collection Librarian has been overseeing the transfer of new collections—notably the David Long Collection of K-12 School Finance and Finance Education Reform, the Joan Hollobon Collection, and the Institute for the Philosophy and Politics of Education—while also advising, consulting, and corresponding on many other collections from various donors, alumni, faculty, and departments.
Special Collections Catalog Records
Finally, though no less importantly, we have been collaborating with Gottesman Libraries Library Associates on completing an inventory of our Historical and Research Collection monographs and primary source material, that will allow us to make more catalog records available in EDUCAT+.