An essential part of the Library’s mission is to make the materials
it acquires accessible to the user. In order to access Harvard’s
collections, researchers find materials of interest by browsing in the
stacks and consulting them in our reading rooms, intellectually by
searching in HOLLIS and other online resources, and virtually through
our web site, http://hcl.harvard.edu,
and the various realm of digital resources it encompasses. When
evaluating library usage patterns, it is clear that library spaces
continue to be well utilized, whether considering that undergraduate use
of the collections in Widener has increased, or that Cabot continues to
see high use with a daily average of more than 1,200 patrons in the
library Monday through Thursday, or by the significant increase in
visitors to Houghton Library, or by the continued popularity of
Lamont’s “24x5” hours. Several measures have been taken to
enhance and promote physical access to collections: Lamont added a
Language Resource Center (LRC) workstation on the first floor; Houghton
added ZoomText for the visually impaired to its public access computers
and has arranged with Widener Library for CCTV equipment to be made
available when needed; the Harvard Film Archive now offers free
admission to Harvard students to film screenings; and Environmental
Information Services in Lamont Library transferred the Environmental
Science and Public Policy Archive to the Harvard Depository, making it
now accessible to patrons through Widener’s Phillips Reading Room. In
addition, Houghton Library adopted new security procedures in its
reading rooms, limiting what readers can bring into the room, offering
specific papers to be used for notes, stamping any loose papers they
absolutely require for their own research, and tightening searching
procedures upon readers’ exits. These measures will help to ensure the
safety and security of the collections for use by patrons now and in the
Another essential element to making the collections
accessible is to make them more readily discoverable though our HOLLIS
and other online resources. This year the Library has made significant
progress in enhancing the intellectual access to the collections through
a variety of means, including reducing backlogs—material with
preliminary or incomplete bibliographic data that is available to users
through staff mediated access—and in making accessible hidden
collections. Some of these efforts are detailed below.
Technical Services has made progress in reducing backlogs of Germanic,
Spanish/Portuguese, African, and Asian materials. The MARCnow Project,
through which Harrassowitz vendor records for approval plan books are
loaded into the HOLLIS catalog at the time of selection, played a
significant role in the reduction of the Germanic backlog. This
arrangement has allowed staff to process almost all German-language
materials upon receipt, rather than adding to the backlog.
Library has undertaken a project to create an inventory of its 70,000
historic photographs, including the Drew Collection relating to China’s
Imperial Maritime Customs Services.
- Houghton Library has
cataloged and made accessible to researchers a number of archival
collections, among them the Tennessee Williams Papers and Dickinson
family papers, as well as the Richard Sheridan papers and the Rothschild
collection on Ballets Russes in the Harvard Theatre Collection.
Music Library made a concerted effort to catalog and process some of
its hidden collections, including over 300 of its rare and unique spoken
word audio recordings of speeches and radio interviews by major figures
in African American life; these primary sources will be in use in
course web sites in the coming year.
- Houghton Library began
barcoding all newly cataloged printed materials beginning in January
2008, enabling Houghton to standardize its use of items records and make
them publicly displayed in HOLLIS, where they had previously been
- HCL Technical Services fulfilled a record number of patron requests from uncataloged material.
significant number of images were added to Harvard’s online image
catalog, VIA, including over 31,000 added by the Fine Arts Library, as
well as digital images of the Harvard Film Archive’s poster collections
and 800,000 images added by the Judaica Division in Widener Library.
virtual presence via Harvard’s electronic resources makes the Library’s
collections available not only within Harvard, but also to the
international scholarly community. What follows is a sampling of the
types of electronic and digital endeavors that have enhanced our virtual
presence in the world of teaching and research over the past year.
rare, early 17th century Quechua vocabulary was digitized and made
available to anyone on the web. The Tozzer copy of the vocabulary is the
only holding in OCLC’s WorldCat.
- Lamont Library has
increased its purchasing of e-books. E-book titles designated for course
reserves were accessed a total of more than 3,000 times each
year—complementing and expanding the availability of online course
- Gift funding has enabled the Harvard Map
Collection to catalog, preserve, digitize, and georeference its maps
from the American Revolutionary War.
- In the fall of 2007,
the Environmental Science and Public Policy Archive successfully
negotiated with Working Group 1 of the Intergovernmental Panel on
Climate Change (IPCC) for the IPCC to fund an online digital archive of
the drafts and comments used to write the working group’s portion of the
Fourth Assessment Report (AR4). That archive, the first born-digital
HCL collection in the DRS, is now available on the web, and negotiations
are underway to receive the electronic files of Working Group 2 for an
addition to that online repository.
- Houghton Library
participated in several digitization projects during the past year,
including Columbia University’s Digital Scriptorium; Harvard
University’s Library Digital Initiative (LDI) to digitize Middle English
manuscripts and Italian humanist manuscripts; the Harvard Papyri Digitization Project and the resulting web site; Harvard University’s Open Collections Program (OCP) project, Contagion: Historical Views of Diseases and Epidemics; the OCP Islamic Heritage Project; and The Poet’s Voice,
an LDI program devoted to digitizing hundreds of audio tapes of poetry
readings presented at Harvard. The library continued to catalog and
digitize photographs from its Theodore Roosevelt Collection from gift
funding, as well as digitized hundreds of Samuel Johnson letters from
the Donald and Mary Hyde Collection of Dr. Johnson.
Music Library created online research guides for the Global Pop course
and for a series of jazz courses and worked with Music Department
faculty to organize a permanent online research site for the Bernstein
in Boston course.
- The Fine Arts Library finalized an
agreement with ARTstor to scan 3,500 photographs of Italian Renaissance
and Baroque architecture sculpture taken by the architectural
photographer, Ralph Lieberman. The Library has also continued its
digitization of individual images from The Persian Album of Ali Khan Vali,
which contains 1,420 images documenting Ali Khan Vali’s career as
governor of Azerbaijan (Northwest Persia) between 1879 and 1896; the
album is especially noteworthy for its copious marginalia in Persian,
currently being translated.
- The Judaica Division reached an
agreement with the Israeli Broadcasting Authority to digitize their
television and radio archive, which will enable the unit to acquire the
remainder of their materials, particularly from the first decade (1970s)
of television in Israel, as well as even earlier radio programs.
Library has engaged in the following cooperative digitization
endeavors, including: a project funded through a grant from the Chiang
Ching-kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange and in
conjunction with Princeton University, the Library of Congress, and the
Academia Sinica in Taiwan to digitize 300 Chinese rare books; a project
funded by the National Library of Korea to digitize 1,000 manuscript
volumes of Korean rare books; and a project funded by the
Harvard–Yenching Institute to digitize all of Harvard–Yenching’s Naxi
pictographic manuscripts from the 1920s and 1930s.