Last Friday, the Claude Pepper Library at Florida State University celebrated its thirtieth anniversary. Since opening its doors on May 15, 1985 the Pepper Library has provided students and researchers with a place to study and learn, but more importantly, it has provided access to one of the more expansive political collections of the 20th century. In our previous blog post written by Pepper staff member Maria Meade we learned that the original location of the Pepper Library, Dodd Hall, was chosen by both Claude and his wife Mildred for its architectural beauty and the fact that Mildred spent much time there while enrolled as a student at the FSCW when Dodd Hall was the main library on campus having preceded Strozier Library by some 33 years.
Interestingly however, the first proposed location for the Pepper Library was indeed the top floor of the Strozier Library Annex. According to the initial proposal for the library, dated June 17, 1977, “material will be housed on a permanent basis in the Strozier Library…A portion of the top floor of the addition [annex] is being planned to house the Pepper Collection. This space will provide storage, study space for students, an office for an archivist as well as space for a replica of the office or offices of Senator Pepper to be arranged to plans formulated with his assistance.” Sadly, Mildred would pass away from esophageal cancer in 1979, and it was during the two year period before her death that the location of the library would be changed from Strozier to Dodd Hall, further honoring Mildred’s time at the university. Thanks to a $475,000 appropriation by the Florida Legislature, Dodd Hall was renovated for its use as the site of the library and museum. The renovations included the restoration of Dodd Hall’s vaulted ceilings, spaces for the Senators recreated House and Senate offices as well as exhibit and research space.
Dodd Hall would be the home of the Pepper Library for the next eleven years before the collection was moved into storage once more while ground was broken on the site of the new Claude Pepper Center on Call Street. Tune in next week for our post which will give a little history on our current home!
This past week, Katherine Hoarn and myself had the privilege of presenting a paper at the 2015 Society of Florida Archivists Annual Meeting in Miami.
Included below is an abridged version of the paper “Adventures in Outreach: A Case Study” by Katherine Hoarn and Rebecca Bramlett.
Exhibits as Outreach
For the first part of the case study, I drew upon the experiences Rebecca and I had while planning, creating, and installing the exhibit “That I May Remember: Scrapbooks of the Florida State College for Women.” When we began this project, my brain was awash in memories of visiting some of my favorite museums: the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the MoMA in New York, and the Smithsonian Museums in Washington D.C. I was envisioning clean, slick exhibits in bright, open spaces, with beautiful signage, perfectly cut object labels, state-of-the-art security systems, and objects that had neatly and safely arranged themselves into cases all through their own volition. Then I came back to reality. Exhibits are hard work. They can be a considerable drain on staff hours and resources, but at the end of the day, we believe that exhibits have an important role to play in outreach at our institutions.
Exhibits are an important means of outreach because they give exposure to hidden collections. As someone wrote in our exhibit guest book, “I never knew this was here.” Those are exactly the types of people exhibits are meant to attract: people who don’t know about special collections and wouldn’t otherwise walk into our research center. In addition to bringing attention to certain collections, exhibits provide opportunities for community outreach. Since the “That I May Remember” exhibit focused on FSU history, it was easy to generate community interest, but it’s important to think of other historical societies and cultural organizations that might be interested in coming to see an exhibit.
Although they can be a lot of work, exhibits are also a lot of fun. They can increase access, promote community involvement, and give us librarians and archivists a chance to flex our research muscles. Exhibits shouldn’t be an afterthought, but rather an intentional part of any library and archive’s outreach strategy. Now I’ll turn it over to Rebecca Bramlett to talk about another important outreach method, instruction.
Instruction as Outreach
Whether it’s a page from the Gutenberg Bible; cuneiform tablets from ancient Babylon created in 2500 BCE; letters from the eighteenth century, or a first edition of J.R.R Tolkien’s “The Hobbit”—at Florida State University’s Special Collections and Archives, classroom instruction engages, educates and inspires. Instruction sessions with Special Collections materials can spark new passion and interest, and transform student understanding of a subject by facilitating interaction with the original, primary source materials.
An instruction session in Special Collections & Archives provides students with the opportunity to interact, engage with, and question topically relevant Special Collections materials under the guidance of their instructor and the Special Collections librarian. It also provides librarians and archivists with the unique opportunity to reach new users, introducing them to Special Collections by granting students the chance to engage with materials outside of a reading room….
One way we approached instruction sessions was by looking across collections. For example, In selecting materials for the introduction history of text technologies, an undergraduate level English class that focuses on the materiality, functionality, and intentionality of the written word, one thing we did was to juxtapose materials—historically and culturally. We didn’t limit ourselves to just rare books, but included ephemera and manuscripts, as appropriate. For example, we explored similar functions throughout time, with ostraka—Roman letters written on pottery shards in the early 2nd century and the manuscript letters and the cuneiform tablets detailing economic transactions with nineteenth century ledgers, also detailing economic transactions.
In this particular instance, the combination of rare books, ephemera, and manuscripts helped deepen the understanding the students were trying to reach. Moreover, different materials engaged different students.
Hi Pop! Happy Birthday!! You’ll never guess what I’ve been up to since your 100th birthday. Imitating you, that’s what, or at least trying to. But there’s no way I will ever have your gift of gab, your great love of children, or your extraordinary management skills. You described your books; I’m describing your papers. That much I can do. I made descriptive lists of all those articles, photographs, correspondence, autographed materials and other things you collected that complement the books — over 120 boxes of items. Our archivist Burt and his students, you knew him, I think, they developed a finding aid based on my lists. As FSU’s catalog leads the scholar to the books, the finding aid leads him to these complementary materials.
Your collection has grown from the original 5000+ books you gave to Florida State University when you and the books moved to Tallahassee in 1960. You added many more while you were here, and the library has continued to add books ever since you left us in 1984. You produced eleven volumes of a bibliography of your collection and a keyword index to the poems. We now have an estimated 22,000 books.
Remember how it started. You wrote by hand inscriptions in two books you gave Mom and me on our first Christmas together: Poems for Peter by Lysbeth Boyd Borie and The Little Mother Goose, collected and illustrated by Jessie Wilcox Smith:
To Mother and Cathmar
For Christmas nineteen twenty eight
Rhymes for my sweethearts, small and great
Some old, the others up-to-date.
Pledge to learn well, and I for mine,
For Christmas nineteen twenty-nine,
Will pledge a present much more fine.
After Christmas 1928, my brother Bruce joined us. Every evening, even before you arrived home after work, he and I were clamoring for your attention.
You would pull us up onto your lap and our nightly poetry reading, reciting and singing, would begin. Robert Louis Stevenson’s Child’s Garden of Verses for a start, but those poems were about other children. We wanted poems about us. You promised to write them, but only if we told you what to write about. We could do that!
You gave each of us, and our cousin Connie too, a black leather binder to hold the copies you typed of the poems you wrote for the three of us between 1930 and 1937. In 1933, you began gathering the poems of each year to be printed in booklets that you sent to your friends as Christmas greetings. I recall how surprised and pleased you were years later when one of the The Friends of Florida State University Libraries told you the poems should be published. When you said you didn’t want anything to do with that process, she took it upon herself to select some of your poems and saw to it that they were published in 1967 as The Things I Want: Poems for Two Children. It was so popular that it went into a second printing, and then Zumpin’ followed with more poems a few years later. We still fill requests for those books every now and then.
By 1938 Bruce and I had lost interest in poetry. How very disappointed you must have been, but you never let on, and we had become too busy with our friends to notice. I did notice though that you were spending lots of time sitting in our big wing chair in the evenings, reading small pamphlets. Little did I know then that they were book dealers’ catalogs, or that the pencil you always held loosely cross-wise between your lips was being used to make checkmarks on the pages. The number of books in our den began to increase, then the number of shelves increased. More books kept appearing to fill the bookcases in our living room. Then I went away to college.
Within the next ten years, you and Mom moved into New York City. Then retirement from AT&T loomed for you. You had been frustrated in your search of libraries and universities around the country where you and your books would be happy. You and Mom were visiting us one summer when my friend Jackie stopped by — remember? She suggested her alma mater FSU might be a good repository for your books. Then she followed up that suggestion by writing a letter to the head of the library recommending you and your collection. That did it.
And here you are. And I am here too. Every winter I am having the best of times living with Jackie in our Florida home and working in your collection with the special people here who administer it.
That pledge you made in 1928? You kept it your whole life and FSU Libraries continues to fulfill it. Thank you, Pop, with love and best wishes on your 118th birthday, from Cathmar.
Cathmar Prange is the daughter of John MacKay Shaw, the donor and curator for the childhood in poetry collection that bears his name in Special Collections & Archives. Every winter, Cathmar volunteers to continue organizing and curating her father’s collection and has been doing so for 18 years.
Thirty years ago, on May 15, 1985, hundreds gathered in Ruby Diamond Auditorium at Florida State University for the dedication of the Mildred and Claude Pepper Library and to watch Representative Claude Pepper receive one of his highest honors from FSU. During his career, Claude Pepper forged connections with several Florida colleges and universities. However it was a personal connection to Florida State College for Women (FSCW), and later FSU, which led him to entrust the papers and artifacts from his years of public service to the university. In recognition of his work and long relationship with the school, Florida State President Bernard Sliger conferred an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters on Claude Pepper at the ceremony.
Claude and his wife, Mildred, were a regular presence on the Florida State campus although he had never been in the classroom as a student. Over the decades, they frequently visited the university and attended sporting events and homecomings. Mildred Pepper endowed a scholarship for students in the fashion school. Claude Pepper spoke on campus many times – including giving a commencement address in 1977.
Claude Pepper received the Gold Key in 1938 when he spoke at the FSCW and was later made an honorary alumnus of Florida State University. His 84th birthday party was a gala fundraiser emceed by Bob Hope that raised funds for the creation of the Mildred and Claude Pepper Eminent Scholars Chair of Social Gerontology as part of the Pepper’s legacy at Florida State.
Claude Pepper became connected to Florida State University through his time in Tallahassee and relationship with Mildred, a former student of Florida State College for Women. In the months before her death, Mildred Pepper returned to FSU with Claude to determine the location for the Pepper Library and museum. They decided on Dodd Hall- it had been the library Mildred had studied in as an undergraduate.
In his remarks upon receiving his honorary degree, Pepper acknowledged the credit owed to Mildred as his “absent partner.” He believed Florida State University was a fitting place for his papers and museum because her spirit and memories would always be part of the campus. The permanent home for his work would be a monument to all that he and Mildred had achieved together.
Florida State University President Bernard Sliger invited preeminent politicians to speak about Claude Pepper’s accomplishments before awarding the honorary doctorate. Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill, Florida Governor Bob Graham, and Representative Don Fuqua were invited not just because of the seats they held, but because they were friends and close allies to Claude. Governor Graham spoke for the people of Florida about Pepper’s decades of work both for the state and representing Floridians’ interests on the national stage. Fuqua, the representative for Florida’s 2nd district including Tallahassee, welcomed and introduced the members of Congress that had flown down from the Capitol D.C. for the celebration of Claude Pepper.
Tip O’Neill spoke, at the invitation of President Sliger, about Pepper’s tenacious work on behalf of all Americans to protect policies including the New Deal, civil rights, Social Security, and Medicare. They had worked closely on an agenda since O’Neill’s selection as Speak of the House in 1977. In that time, the Speaker had placed Pepper on the bipartisan commission on Social Security and gave him the chairmanship of the powerful House Rules Committee.
Correspondence and other documents from Claude and Mildred Pepper’s work with Florida State University as well as videos of the ceremony can be found in the Claude Pepper Papers held at the Pepper Library. For more than two hundred additional images from the Pepper’s visits to FSU and the dedication of the Pepper Library, please visit the Florida State University Digital Library.
During the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the making of a death mask was fairly customary when a great leader died. A plaster cast of the face of the recently deceased would be taken and from that parent mold, plaster and bronze copies could be created. They were mementos of loved ones lost and could be used by artists to paint portraits or create sculptures of the dead.
When Napoleon Bonaparte died on May 7, 1821, a death mask was created by his attending physicians. It is undecided which of them took it or if both took separate ones and indeed, mystery has surrounded the original mask and its copies ever since. There are supposedly few copies of the death mask in existence today and here at FSU, we hold one in the French Revolution and Napoleon Collection.
The death mask made its first appearance at FSU in 1966 when the owner, Dr. David F. Sellers, allowed it to be put on display for a colloquium on Napoleonic history held at FSU. Sellers’ mask was made from the mold taken by Dr. Francis Burton the day after Napoleon died.
It was not until 1984 that a death mask found a permanent home in FSU’s collections, donated to Strozier Library by Edward Scott of New Hampshire. It has remained one of the focal points of our Napoleonic collections ever since.
In celebration of Napoleon’s death anniversary this year, we took our mask into the Digital Library Center for a photo shoot. It is one of the most interesting pieces (in my opinion) to share with people, not only for the historic figure the mask is of, but as an example of the lost tradition of mourning it represents.
On May 15th this year the Claude Pepper Library will turn 30! Throughout this month and the rest of the year, the team at the Claude Pepper Library will be providing some history and context about the library and its namesake.
“For more than six decades, Florida has been my home.[i]” That’s how Claude Pepper began the second chapter of his 1987 autobiography, Pepper: Eyewitness to a Century. Claude Denson Pepper loved the State of Florida and many of its lively cities, one of those cities he loved was Tallahassee.
Claude Pepper was born in Camp Hill, Alabama in 1900. Though Claude lived an adventurous life where he was constantly working and traveling, he and his wife, Mildred, chose to build a life in Tallahassee for a period of time. Claude graduated from the Harvard Law School in 1924 and began practicing law in 1925 after he was admitted to the Florida Bar. He practiced civil and criminal law at a law practice in Perry, Florida and from 1929 to 1930, Claude served as an elected member of the Florida House of Representatives, representing Taylor County. Claude spent a lot of time going back and forth between Perry and Tallahassee during this time in his life. He served as a chairman for the Committee on Constitutional Amendments and was a member on a number of committees. It was his stand against another Florida representative that led to his defeat for re-election in 1930. It was after Claude’s defeat in 1930 that propelled him to move to Tallahassee. Claude was urged to continue his political path after his 1930 Florida House of Representatives loss by Judge W.B. Davis who told Claude that he needed a, “more visible stage (in) either Tallahassee or Miami.[ii]” Claude was advised by others to move to Tallahassee as well.
“I was urged also to come to Tallahassee by Justice James B. Whitfield, the patriarch and former chief justice of the Florida Supreme Court, whom I had come to know during my legislative days. Often he told me: ‘Mr. Pepper, I want you to move to Tallahassee. Florida needs you and this is the capital of Florida. Tallahassee will offer you an opportunity to serve Florida.[iii]’”
Claude moved to Tallahassee in 1930 and by 1931 he was able to move his family, which included his parents, two brothers, and a sister as well. While living in Tallahassee Claude ran a successful
law office with law partner Curtis Waller. Claude also served on the State Board of Public Welfare. It was around this time he was introduced to Mildred Webster. Claude was stunned by a woman in a “bright yellow dress” leaving the governor’s office, “why that’s the prettiest girl I’ve ever seen[iv]” Claude said to himself before he was introduced to Irene Mildred Webster. She lived in St. Petersburg but was in Tallahassee at the time working for the state legislature. They dated on and off for a period of five years. Mildred helped Claude kicked off a primary senate campaign against then sitting U.S. Senator Park Trammell in 1934 while living in Tallahassee, but he lost the primary in a close election. Nearly two years later in 1936 both U.S. Senators representing Florida died, Park Trammell in early 1936 and then five weeks later Duncan Fletcher died. Claude filed to run for Senator Fletcher’s seat and no one filed to run against him.
Claude Pepper ran unopposed in the 1936 election and became U.S. Senator Pepper. It was also at the end of this year on December 29, 1936 that Claude and Mildred were married. Through his U.S. Senate service (1936-1950) Claude and Mildred kept residences in both Tallahassee and Washington, D.C.
Claude lost his 1950 re-election campaign in one of the most brutal and slanderous elections in U.S. history to George Smathers. After his defeat in 1951 Claude opened up a law practice in
Tallahassee with his law partner and friend Jim Clements. Things were a bit shaky at this point, especially with the law offices in Tallahassee, but Claude stayed close to politics and regularly visited Florida State University to talk with loyal supporters, including the student body president at the time, Reubin Askew. On March 2, 1951 Claude’s law partner and longtime friend, Jim Clements died. Claude’s mother, Lena Pepper and other family members were still living in Tallahassee, but around the mid-1950s Claude and Mildred were going back and forth between all of the law offices between Florida and Washington, D.C.
Claude campaigned for the U.S. Senate again in 1958 for the Republican Senate seat that belonged to Spessard Holland, but Holland won his re-election. The good news that came out of that election for Claude would be that he carried Dade County by 25,000 votes and that weighed in on his decision to run for the U.S. House of Representatives representing a new district in Florida. Claude won that campaign and served his district and country as a U.S. Congressman for the rest of his life.
Claude and Mildred Pepper maintained their close friendships and relationships in Tallahassee during this time. In January 1979, Mildred and Claude attended the Inauguration of Governor Bob Graham. At this time plans were established to build a library dedicated to the life of Mildred and Claude Pepper at Florida State University.
Mildred Pepper died from cancer on March 3, 1979. Claude held two funerals for his beloved wife, one at the Coral Gables Methodist Church in Miami and the other at the First Baptist Church where she and Claude worshiped while living in Tallahassee.
Claude remained active and vigilante while serving in the U.S. Congress. The Mildred and Claude Pepper Library opened here at Florida State University on May 15, 1985. The original library was located in Dodd Hall and moved to Call Street in 1997. Claude Pepper lived an ambitious and productive life of 89 years where he worked hard and accomplished many great things. We’re honored that he chose to spend an exceptional amount of time carrying out that work in Tallahassee.
[i] C. Pepper, H. Gorey, Pepper: Eyewitness to a Century, Orlando, 1987, p.33
One of the most important things I’ve learned as a Library and Information Studies student is how to navigate the lingo of the profession, which includes a dizzying array of acronyms. If it all starts to look like a bowl full of alphabet soup, here’s a (certainly nowhere near exhaustive) list of a few acronyms you can you use next time you want to impress a librarian!
AACR2 – Anglo-American Cataloging Rules, 2nd ed. – National standards for cataloging rules first published in 1967 and now succeeded by Resource Description and Access (RDA).
ACRL – Association of College & Research Libraries – The largest division of the American Library Association (ALA), comprised of academic librarians from institutions like Florida State University Libraries.
CCO – Cataloging Cultural Objects – Guidelines for cataloging cultural objects, such as works of art, architecture, and historical artifacts.
DACS – Describing Archives: A Content Standard – The content standard used for describing archival collections, which expands upon AACR2 but provides additional guidelines for describing unpublished materials, such as personal papers and manuscript collections.
DC – Dublin Core – A set of vocabulary terms, originally based on a set of 15 elements (Title, Creator, Subject, Description, Publisher, Contributor, Date, Type, Format Identifier, Source, Language, Relation, Coverage, and Rights), that can be used to describe resources such as webpages and digital images. It is a very simple framework, but it can be combined with other metadata standards to control vocabularies. Dublin Core standards were applied to items in the digital exhibit That I May Remember: the Scrapbooks of Florida State College for Women (1905-1947). Shown at right, an image is described using the Title, Subject, and Description elements.
EAD – Encoded Archival Description – A markup schema which allows us to encode DACS descriptions and make them appear as nice, neat, human-readable web documents on the Finding Aid Database.
FRBR – Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records – A conceptual model that seeks to help users make sense of bibliographic records by defining relationships between entities. For example, if a patron is looking for a signed edition of Darwin’s Origin of Species, FRBR recognizes a hierarchal relationship between the work (the abstract vision of the work created in Darwin’s head), the expression (Darwin’s vision expressed in words), the manifestation (Darwin’s words published in a specific form – a book), and the item (the unique signed edition of Origin of Species held by FSU Special Collections & Archives) that the patron is searching for.
GIS – Geographic Information System – A system for analyzing, manipulating, and displaying geographic data that offers exciting possibilities for aiding access to library collections.
HTML – HyperText Markup Language – the language that provides structure to web pages.
ILS – Integrated Library System – The data management system that seeks to integrate all the different functions of the library.
ISBN – International Standard Book Number – A unique identification number given to every edition of a book.
ISSN – International Standard Serial Number – A unique identification number given to periodical publications.
LCSH – Library of Congress Subject Headings – A controlled vocabulary for subject headings created by the Library of Congress.
MARC – Machine-Readable Cataloging – A standard for encoding metadata that was developed in the 1960s as libraries made the transition from card catalogues to computers. MARC records use a system of data fields with alphanumeric tags, indicators, and subfield codes to create bibliographic descriptions. Seen without the help of the OPAC’s display interface, a MARC record might be mistaken by the untrained eye for the opening credits of a Keanu Reeves movie (as seen above left).
MODS – Metadata Object Description Schema – A metadata schema that is more complex than Dublin Core but simpler than MARC. It uses language-based tags (i.e. titleInfo, language, relatedItem) that are much more intuitive to understand than the MARC data fields seen above.
NLP – Natural Language Processing – a method of computer processing that seeks to improve information retrieval by studying the nuances of language in free text searches. Instead of searching by keywords, NLP seeks to understand the semantics of what a searcher is really asking for.
OCLC – Online Computer Library Center – The largest bibliographic network in the world, which links databases of records from libraries all across the world.
OPAC – Online Public Access Catalog – When you perform a catalog search at lib.fsu.edu, you are harnessing the power of the OPAC.
RDA – Resource Description and Access – As of 2010, the successor of AACR2. A standard for cataloging based on FRBR.
TEI – Text Encoding Intiative – A schema that provides guidelines for encoding texts for use in digital humanities.
XML – eXtensible Markup Language – A markup language used in metadata applications such as MODS.
We are happy to announce that a new exhibit is on display in the Norwood Reading Room on the history of the Florida State University Schools, also known as Florida High.
In 1851 the Florida Legislature voted to establish two institutes of higher learning: the East and West Florida Seminary. The Legislature required the cities which would receive state funding for these seminaries to provide the infrastructure and startup money. In order to compete for the West Florida Seminary, Tallahassee built a school. Finished in 1855 and located near the present day Westcott building, the school was commonly known as the Florida Institute.
The Florida Institute was the earliest incarnation of Florida High. The Florida Institute educated both college and high school aged students. Since the Florida Institute became the West Florida Seminary in 1857, Florida High has been an integral part to the history of FSU.
In 1954 the high school department got its own building on campus, designated as the Florida State University School (FSUS or Florida High). Despite the moniker “Florida High,” FSUS was created to be a school for grade levels K-12. FSCW and FSU students in the Education program interned at Florida High until Florida High left the campus in 2001.
In an effort to make learning fun, the teachers would often assign creative projects. The students created newsletters and journals for their various clubs and classes. Florida High also had its own yearbooks: The Flahisco, which was published in the 1940’s, and the Demon’s Flame, which was published in the 50’s and 60’s.
In 2001, Florida High left the main FSU campus and moved to its own campus. Despite its change of location, Florida High maintains its close connection with FSU. Research performed by FSU faculty and graduate students largely takes place at FSUS. Research is a constant presence at FSUS, and important findings have been found in the fields of Literacy Acquisition and Mathematical Pedagogy.
The Florida High Exhibit can be viewed Monday – Friday 10am – 6pm in the Norwood Reading Room, located on the second floor of Strozier Library.
Colin Behrens is a student assistant in the Heritage Protocol & University Archives. He is currently working on a BA in Classics.
In addition to my work as a Graduate Assistant in the Special Collections & Archives Division, I’m a full time student studying for a Master of Science in Library and Information Science at The School of Information at Florida State University. As a Graduate Assistant, I’ve been able to apply the academic knowledge gained from my library classes to the different projects I’ve worked on as a Graduate Assistant in Special Collections & Archives. Additionally, my work in Special Collections & Archives has given me a richer, more practical understanding of the opportunities and challenges that librarians face today.
As a graduate student, I’m gaining the knowledge needed to succeed in the library profession. I’ve taken a number of great courses, but some of the classes that have been particularly relevant to my work in Special Collections are the following:
LIS 5703 Information Organization
This is a required course in the School of Information’s Master of Science in Information Science program, and for good reason. After taking this course, future librarians better understand the theoretical framework for organizing and accessing information. Much of the first half of the course focuses on the organization of various systems–such as article databases, like JSTOR, and the FSU Libraries online catalog. Understanding how records are organized in the library catalog means that I’m better able to help Special Collections patrons find the information they need. Sometimes patrons only have a vague idea of what they need, or a topic they’re researching and are not aware of all the resources Special Collections has to offer. And while I might not be an expert in every area that Special Collections encompasses, as a librarian, I am able to find you the resources that that you need.
This course also introduces the concept of metadata, or “data about data.” Understanding the administrative role that metadata plays in the access and retrieval of a resource was essential for the work I did with the Digital Library Center, in which I digitized 12 issues of The Girl’s Own Annual , and made those issues available to the broader community through FSU’s Digital Library. You can find out more about that project from this blog post.
LIS 5472 Digital Libraries
This is an elective in the School of Information, and provides students with the guiding principles behind the construction and management of a digital library. This course also provides students with some “hands on” experience. Using the open source platform Omeka, students in this class create their own small-scale digital library. There has been a lot of overlap between my classwork for Digital Libraries and the work I’ve done as a Graduate Assistant. For my second project as a GA in Special Collections, I created an online exhibit with the platform Omeka, which can be found at fscwscrapbooks.omeka.net.
HIS 5082 Introduction to Archives
Because it is my hope to continue working in a Special Collections & Archives department after graduating, I wanted to take the opportunity to take formal coursework in archival science. This course is offered through the History Department, and is taught at the State Archives of Florida. My work in Special Collections & Archives provided me with a solid foundation to start with, to which this course has given me a richer understanding of the principles that guide an archivist’s work.
LIS 5511 Management of Information Collections
One major focus of this class was the Collection Development Policy, the formal document which guides a library’s collecting policies. As a GA, one of my projects this semester has been to make an initial assessment of various rare book donations, according to FSU Special Collections & Archives procedures. Understanding the role and purpose of a Collection Development Policy has been helpful in understanding the process for donation to cataloged item.
This is just a sample of the coursework I’ve completed for my Master of Science in Library and Information Science. It has been a privilege to apply the knowledge I’ve gained in my classes to my work as a Special Collections & Archives Graduate Assistant. Moreover, working as a Graduate Assistant has given me a better understanding of the practical applications of the knowledge I’ve gained.
Rebecca L. Bramlett is a graduate assistant in the Special Collections & Archives Division. She is working on her Master of Library and Information Science at Florida State University.
Within the John Mackay Shaw Childhood in Poetry Collection is a small but substantial sub-collection of sacred music books. From Sunday School primers to hymnals meant to be used at home, Shaw collected these as examples of what was often a child’s first introduction to poetry, hymns on Sundays.
In his bibliography which lists the Sacred Music portions of his collection, compiled in 1972, Shaw noted that “when hymns are examined without benefit of music, it becomes clear that much of the best poetry written for children, and perhaps also some of the worst, has been the production of the hymnwriters.”
We recently completed a digitization of 64 books from this sub-collection, culled from the 450 books listed in Shaw’s original bibliography. These books were selected for their rarity and also because no other repository found had a digital copy available currently.
These are some of the smallest materials we’ve digitized to date as well as some of the most beautiful. Hymnals were often decorated with lovely artwork and etchings, some on an incredibly small and intricate scale such as The Lyre from the 1820s, which is just shy of the same length and width as an iPhone6.