By the end of this year, the staff of the HD Push Project will have successfully accomplished its goal of moving 500,000 books from Widener Library to the Harvard Depository. The objective of HD Push, which began in October 1998, was to make enough room in the stacks to facilitate work during the Widener Stacks Renovation project.

Marilyn Wood, Librarian for Information and Document Delivery Services, who directed HD Push, was charged with hiring a temporary staff to complete the project. She estimates that she initially interviewed about 50 people to select the 18 individuals needed for the task. “We were looking for people who could work in a team environment, who would be able to do repetitive and very tedious work, but who could recognize their accomplishments at the end of every day.”

In collaboration with the Widener selectors and the faculty, books were chosen from the stacks with varying criteria in mind. “It all depended on the classification of the materials,” Wood says. “We pulled material that had not been used or circulated in a few years, or books that were in danger of theft or needed preservation treatment.”

With the Push team working in two shifts in the former card catalog area of Widener, each volume was cleaned and vacuumed and looked up in HOLLIS, where its record was checked and updated, sometimes even newly created. The book was then assigned an HD barcode. Finally, that day’s volumes were counted, boxed, and transported 30 miles to Southborough.

To date, Wood says, approximately 420,000 books have been moved in 11,930 boxes. As the project nears its end, the HD Push team has been reduced to one-third of its original size, with some of its members having moved on to other positions at Harvard. “Everyone has done a great job,” Wood says. “There has been a very high level of productivity and quality, and in the years to come the numbers may not mean much, but the contribution to the catalog enhancement alone is immensely valuable.”

The following is a list of current and former HD Push staff members:

Anna Arthur, Slavic Cataloger; Matthew Battles, Temporary Selection Coordinator; Daniel Pearson, Shift Supervisor; Sallyann Shumilla, Shift Supervisor; Karen Carlson-Young, Temporary Database Management Coordinator; Kevin Bradley, Julia E. Collins, Igor Feldman, Michelle Filleul, Todd Gilman, Torance Harrison, Sandra Howes, Parbatie Khemraj, Toshiaki Komura, Laura Lambert, Geoff Matteson, Belkacem Nahi, Andrew Ring, Raymond Rosenberger, Nancy Sullas, Susan M. Tierney, Donna Viscuglia and Alice Zhou.

Other individuals and departments that provided extensive help:

Ken Carpenter, Assistant Director for Research Resources in HUL and HCL; and Access Services, Area Studies, Collection Development, and Technical Services.

Copyright © 2000 The President and Fellows of Harvard College