Sunday, July 29, 2012

Exciting News!

Time just keeps flying by. I have one week left in my internship—can you believe it? After this week I’ll be going home for a bit of a break. Before I know it there will be new first-years invading the campus, and after that it will be time to start classes.
I have some great news—as it turns out, I won’t have to say good-bye completely to my job at the library this fall! Meggan told me that they’d like to keep me on to work next year, if my schedule allows. I’ll get to work on my Political Cartoons exhibit after all! I might also get to help out with Jim Agard’s work that’s going on the second floor, and I’ll be here for all of the ALA exhibit preparations too. Meggan also said they were interested in having me do some Public Relations stuff—my official title will be along the lines of “Exhibits and PR Intern.” Pretty exciting!
There’s so much to do here—it’s all coming down to this last week. The most exciting part of this past week was when I finalized the format for the Kunstler and Gallon wall text and printed it out. It was fun visualizing the wall space, and I loved the design aspect of the task. If I ever become a curator, the design aspect will probably be my favorite part, aside from the research. It’s the graphic designer in me. But hey, I’m putting those visual skills to good use!
I finished mounting the text for Kunstler and Gallon on Friday, and hopefully I’ll get to install it tomorrow—my first complete exhibit! The Election exhibit will go up after that, followed by the Civil War Sheet Music. Speaking of which, I need to get working on the web content for those before we put them up…
Keeping busy, keeping busy…
^The mounted text for Kunstler and Gallon and the mounted Civil War Sheet Music reproductions.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Published and Proud

Today was an exciting day at work: my Bisexual and Transgender LibGuides are published and available to the public!! Excuse me as I squeal in nerdy glee. I made a couple of small changes before I published them: I added a user feedback box so that visitors to the LibGuide can let me know what they think, as well as changing some titles of boxes after Jess pointed out that they were in Librarian-speak instead of Normal College Student. I also took the LGBTQ landing page from its half-baked state to make it an officially “under-construction” welcome page. In case you are curious, here is the link to my LibGuide:
If you have a few minutes and care to take a look, please use the new feedback boxes to let me know what you think!
My other news is much less exciting. I finished my topical jigsaw puzzle (the topic of last week’s post, in case you forgot) and spent the past few days copy/pasting titles from the original list into the six sublists. And by that I mean that I spent two whole work days scrolling and hitting Control-C/Control-V. I think I’ll be copy/pasting and scrolling in my sleep!
I have even more sub-categorizing to do in the coming days—I printed my lists and am bringing them with me for the weekend so that on Monday I will (finally) be prepared to start cataloging the 760ish titles and assigning them categories in Muscat. It’s been a long time since I cataloged; hopefully it’s like riding a bike and you don’t forget! If not, well, that’s why we all have cheat sheets.
Topics that will be coming soon (hopefully) on the LibGuide page include Same-Sex Marriage, Gays in the Military, Homosexuality and Religion, and Reference/General for background reading and basic information. I have two weeks left of official summer internship and I plan to make them count! J

Fun with Civil War Sheet Music

One project I haven’t blogged too much about yet is the Civil War Sheet Music exhibit for the Main Floor. Initially, Meggan only asked me to come up with a tentative list of pieces to display from the resources available; now, though, I’m finding myself assigned to the task of organizing, mounting, and labeling the exhibit. It’s a cool assignment, because it’s so different from everything else I’ve been working on this summer.
I loosely based my display plan off of the exhibit that was in Special Collections last semester, and I also decided that each case would have a different category/theme regarding Civil War sheet music. There are four cases available for the display, so based on what was available I came up with the following four categories: 1.) Song Sheets, 2.) Marches, 3.) Cover Art, and 4.) Ballads. Knowing the space constraints, I estimated that I could include about five song sheets, three cover pages, and two marches/ballads in their respective cases.
I’m most drawn to the cover art that I decided to feature in this exhibit—I suppose it’s because I’m an Art History major. It appears as if the cover pages were all printed in a lithographic fashion. Some are more detailed and complex than others; there are a few with just text, whereas others feature elaborate, decorative illustrations. I love the ornate detail on these ones, and the colors and compositions are stunning, too. If I had complete freedom, I’d probably focus the entire exhibit on these cover illustrations, but, alas, the exhibit is supposed to be about the music itself.
I started the process of trimming the reproductions I printed yesterday, but ultimately I had to stop myself and decide to continue on Monday, when Jim will be in. I find that I’m in need of a few more X-acto knife tips… some of the edges I cut were less than perfect. Maybe I was holding it wrong again.
I’m excited to move forward and get started on some of the other installations—next week will be busy, Meggan told me today. I’ll make sure I post photos of our end results!

Friday, July 13, 2012

The Topical Jigsaw Puzzle

As I mentioned last week, there are way too many books that concern multiple parts of the LGBTQQAIetc. acronym to put in one LibGuide. I started the process of dividing them up into sub-categories this week, and my method is…unusual, in my opinion.
I’m a rather hands-on type of learner, so I decided that the best way to go about organizing the books by topic would be to do it by hand: print off my list of titles (I’m using the same list onto which I hand-copied the call numbers last week), cut each title out, and tape it to a giant piece of paper in the proper category. I acquired flip-chart-sized Post-It notes from the supply closet in the Reference office and affixed them to a rolling white board, one to each side. Each Post-It has three categories (so I have six all together); these are very broad categories and will definitely need some fine-tuning when I get around to the cataloging and tagging portion of the process.
For the 454 titles for which I had to hand-write call numbers, I entered the call numbers into my list on the computer before cutting the titles into strips. I did two pages at a time, and then started taping the strips to the board in the column for the topic they fit best. Now that I’ve reached the part of the list where all the titles have call numbers with them, I’m cutting up the rest of the strips and planning to finish this part of the sorting process all in one go. I might even take the white board out of the Reference office to give our wonderful Reference librarians a break from having to maneuver around it! (Seriously, a huge thank-you to the Reference folks for putting up with my white board. You all are the best!)
Next week, I’ll treat everyone to pictures of my organizing process. Hopefully it will be done in the next few days so I can start actually cataloging books by next Friday, or Monday at the latest. I want to finish the general LGBTQ page (there’s a category for general reference books, which will be on the landing page), and then maybe these LibGuides I’ve been talking about will go live and be accessible to the public. Then you can see what I’m so excited about!
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m leaving early today so I can go shopping at a used book festival. After all, what better way for a future librarian to spend her Friday night? J

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Time Flies...

We had another important EPiC meeting yesterday afternoon. Beforehand, Meggan told me to prepare some materials so that I could update the rest of the Committee on the status of my projects.

I can’t believe it’s the middle of July already! My internship seems to just be flying by. One of the things we discussed at our meeting, actually, was how it was almost time to put up the rest of the exhibits. Scary thought! I know my 1860 Election exhibit is just about ready, but I can’t help but feel that there’s so much more research I can do and so much more fine-tuning. It’s probably the perfectionist in me talking.

I wonder how curators feel when they get to finally install their exhibits after weeks or months of planning and researching. After all, there’s only so much editing you can do, so much revising and re-organizing. You can’t nitpick once an exhibit is up, unless there’s a major error to fix.

I should finish the text for my exhibit either by the end of today or some time tomorrow, which is what I told the Committee at our meeting. This means we can install the display by next week, at the earliest. The Civil War Sheet Music cases will probably go out next week, too—I came up with a tentatively organized plan, and Jim’s going to teach me how to mount on foam core tomorrow. The Beran artifacts should be installed around then, too.

There’s so much to do—now it’s just a matter of me keeping up with all the webpages I have to create for these exhibits. Wish me luck!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Alphabet Soup, Anyone?

I know everyone was insanely curious as to what I would choose for my next project. Fear not, I won’t keep you in suspense anymore. I have chosen…the general LGBTQ guide!
Actually, I get to do the LGBTQ in religion topic, too. When I was about halfway through the list of call number ranges to search, I realized that there was way, way too much information for a single LibGuide. With just my initial list, I have 736 books (yes, I counted—I’ll explain why later) that concern more than one part of the LGBTQQAIetc. acronym. I discussed this problem with Jess, and I decided to make sub-categories within the LGBTQ guide, as I could see very clear categories forming just by looking at the titles on my list. Religion is one of those categories; some of the others are Politics and Policy, History, and Family.
The past few days have been concerned with finding all the books that are within the call number ranges I identified during the semester. I haven’t even started chasing down the random pockets of LGBTQ-related books in literature and other categories yet. 736 is a lot of books.
And here’s why I know that number: in my infinite wisdom, I decided to copy only the titles of the books I found when I was searching the first time. More than halfway through, I got wise, and started copying the call number, too. I prefer doing things by hand, though, so when I finished the list, I printed it out and began to search every. Single. Title. On my list that didn’t already have a call number. Also, knowing that I would be assigning books to categories, also by hand, I numbered the list so that I could simply put their number on a list, and then it would be easier to add the information into the computer later. So that’s why I know there are 736 titles, and 454 of them that I have to search by hand and write down the call numbers.
Yes, I know this isn’t the most efficient way to do things, but I’m strange so this is the way I prefer.
Next week, I will finish finding all the call numbers, and then start assigning books to categories. My method for that is rather unusual too, but I’ll wait until next week to describe it. I have to keep you all hooked somehow! J

"artiFACTS" Galore!

Back on my first day of training, Meggan told me about a new feature that the Library was in the process of adding to select exhibits. Ever heard of QR codes? Well, through “artiFACTS,” these codes will soon be changing the way Gettysburg students can interact with special items and displays.
Meggan was hoping I could test the system out and give some feedback. Before I started, I sat down and read an article Meggan had given me on QR codes and academic libraries. Published in the November 2010 issue of College & Research Libraries News, the article was titled “QR codes and academic libraries: Reaching mobile users.” As someone who doesn’t know much about these kinds of technology, or even SmartPhones, really, the article was pretty enlightening. I’ve outlined some of the key facts below (For the full article, visit:
QR codes, short for “Quick-Response” codes, are matrix barcodes that a SmartPhone can read. To read a QR code, a phone user must download a free app that allows the content to be downloaded at high speed (hence “Quick Response”). These codes originated in Japan, where they’ve been popular for years. 
To use the QR code app, all the SmartPhone user has to do is hold his or her phone up to the code, as if taking a picture. Scanning the code takes a few seconds, after which the user is brought to the code’s content (typically a web address). In terms of Musselman Library exhibits, this means that, with our new system of QR codes, it will take only a few seconds for a student with a SmartPhone to get more information about objects.
The “artiFACTS” signs were added to items like the Samurai armor on the main floor and Eddie Plank’s baseball in Special Collections, not to mention a number of portraits in Penn Hall Lyceum, Weidensall, and on the other floors of the library. I think it’s a really cool substitute for lengthy wall descriptions; on a grander scale, if expanded in the U. S. the technology could have the potential to change the way visitors experience museums.
I had fun being the guinea pig and going through the “artiFACTS” labels with Meggan’s iPhone. Afterwards I typed up my feedback notes in the following chart:


- Adapts and connects featured exhibits to popular technology (SmartPhones)
- Relatively easy to use
- Majority of students DO have SmartPhones presently (statistically speaking)
- Provides instantaneous information
- Also gives more detail than a small, informative panel would
- Clever, interesting way of linking artifacts across campus (Musselman Library, Penn Hall, Weidensall)
- Could it be expanded to more exhibits, even temporary ones?
- Not all students have SmartPhones; what should these students do to acquire the same information?
- On the tire sculpture, the QR code is inconveniently placed. Student has to get close to the ground in order to scan the code properly. Can it be adjusted?
- On the webpage for the Jeremiah Zimmerman portrait (2nd floor), the content describes Zimmerman as “donning a gold Phi Beta Kappa [ΦΒΚ] key and chain.” At a closer glance, it appears that the Greek letters on the pendant read: “ΦΚΨ” (Phi Kappa Psi). Can this error be corrected?

I suggested to Meggan that artiFACTS could be publicized more by making it a First Year Seminar/First Year Experience activity. Depending on how many students in the class have SmartPhones, it could be a great way to encourage students to interact with the artifacts in the library. I think that these QR codes, if given enough publicity, could have the potential to change the way our exhibits are experienced.

Personally, I learned a lot about certain objects that I wouldn’t have known otherwise. It seems like a cool addition to Musselman Library and the rest of campus. My summer roommates thought so too when I told them about it—hopefully we’ll be able to get more feedback this fall!