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HRES Begins Construction at 90 Mount Auburn Street

Harvard Real Estate Services (HRES) is constructing a new, four-story, office and retail building at 90 Mount Auburn Street—a site formerly associated with the Harvard Provision Company and two other small businesses. 90 Mount Auburn Street is one of the few remaining "buildable" sites owned by the University in Cambridge. While approximately one-third of the street level of the building will be devoted to retail space, HRES, in consultation with Harvard's central administration, selected the Harvard University Library (HUL) as the occupant of the balance of the building's street level and three upper stories.

The 24,410-net-square-foot building was designed by Leers Weinzapfel Associates Architects of Boston. The interior fit-out for HUL was designed by Alspector Anderson Architects of New York City. With its geothermal heating and cooling systems and a range of other features, 90 Mount Auburn Street, when completed, will be one of the "greenest" buildings at Harvard University.

The Harvard University Libraryis the central service provider and coordinating body for the 90-plus libraries that compose Harvard's library system and, together, form the largest academic library in the world. HUL provides University-wide services in the areas of preservation, information technology, high-density storage, and archival and records management. Along with personnel from the Harvard Depository and the Open Collections Program, two complete HUL operations will occupy the 90 Mount Auburn Street building: the Weissman Preservation Center and the Office for Information Systems. Both programs require close proximity to Harvard's library facilities and close coordination with Harvard's extensive community of library and IT professionals.

Weissman Preservation Center
The Weissman Preservation Center was named in March 2000 in honor of Paul M. Weissman '52 and Harriet L. Weissman. The center operates on a collaborative model, in which preservation staff members supported by the University Library and various faculties across the University work together in a shared facility, leveraging their special skills and knowledge to great mutual advantage. Through its special collections conservation laboratory, the center is charged with conserving the University's most rare and valued holdings. For materials too fragile to remain in use, the center creates high-quality images and microfilms, ensuring long-term access to the intellectual content of those rare materials. Since 1996, the Weissman Preservation Center has occupied temporary space on the 8th floor of the University's Holyoke Center while a suitable space could be identified.

Office for Information Systems
The mission of the Office for Information Systems (OIS) is to develop and maintain computer systems that support library and information services at Harvard. OIS develops systems that support the academic and research mission of the University by providing integrated and coherent access to research materials and resources. OIS provides technical and user support for many systems, including the HOLLIS (Harvard Online Library Information System) catalog, the Harvard Libraries web portal for electronic resources, and a growing number of online library resources. These include the Visual Information Access (VIA) catalog, the Online Archival Search Information System (OASIS), and the Digital Repository Service (DRS), all of which were developed through the University's Library Digital Initiative (LDI). OIS currently rents commercial office space at 1280 Massachusetts Avenue.

Synergies Achieved
According to University Library Director Sidney Verba, "Uniting the Weissman Preservation Center and the Office for Information Systems in a single facility will help the University achieve maximum benefits and synergies from HUL's preservation and IT programs—areas that are inextricably linked in the digital age."

The 90 Mount Auburn Street building is scheduled to open in September 2005.

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Last modified on Tuesday, March 16, 2004.