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Tag: library staff (Page 1 of 5)

What We Did On Our Summer [Not] Vacation

As we hurtle into the second month of the semester, I thought it was a good time to take a look back at what some Music Library staff have been working on over the past 18 months, and to get their suggestions about what not to miss around campus. Welcome to, or back to, Cambridge; we hope we’ll see you around the library soon!

Tell us something you’ve been working on!

Christina Linklater, Keeper of the Isham Memorial Library and Houghton Music Cataloger

Eileen Southern, smiling, sitting in three quarter profile in a seminar-style classroom, with an open binder of papers and a copy of The Music of Black Americans on the table in front of her.

Eileen Southern, photographed by Martha Stewart. Radcliffe College Archives PC 479-1-1

Since 2018, I have been involved with a student-faculty-library collaboration called The Eileen Southern Initiative. Working from home allowed me to focus more energy on this project than I otherwise would have been able to do. I am proud and excited to report that it is leading up to some big events in the coming academic year: virtual symposia, a student-created documentary film, a digital exhibition and, coming in January 2022, an actual in-person exhibition in the Music Library. I can’t wait to share what we’ve discovered about Professor Southern, a musicologist who was the first African-American woman to receive tenure at Harvard.

[Editor’s note: the Initiative’s first online event, “Black Women and the American University: Eileen Southern’s Story” will be held from 4:00-5:00 PM Eastern time on November 15, 2021; register now to receive the link.]

Joe Kinzer, Senior Curatorial Assistant, Archive of World Music

I have been working on the long and tedious processes of metadata corrections and additions to finding aids, such as the James A. Rubin Collection of South Indian Classical Music or Somali Songs, 1955-1991: The Maryan “Aryette” Omar Ali Collection. Another project, “Singing the Story of Dhrangadhra,” is a digital exhibit highlighting our Jayasinhji Jhala Collection of Dhrangadhra Music (Western Indian Court Music).

Liz Berndt-Morris, Reference and Research Services Librarian

Throughout the summer I’ve been a member of a Harvard Library task force on inclusive spaces. We worked to gather and analyze data about current library spaces and other spaces on campus and are currently using that information to inform us on next steps to make our library spaces welcoming to everyone.

Lingwei Qiu, Library Assistant for Print Music

I have processed 1200+ musical scores, cataloging and sewing them into pam folders, the covers we add to help them stay in good condition and open flat on a music stand, to make them ready for use. I completed some projects that could be done online, and attended music library related conferences and meetings, like MLA (the Music Library Association’s annual conference) and NEMLA (the New England Music Library Association).

A paperback score being sewn into a stiff plastic cover. A large needle rests on the cover, and four more are stuck through the spine of the score to guide the thread.

Hand-sewing scores into pamphlets.

A hallway filled with piles of shipping boxes and overflowing mail bins.

Only a few of the new journals and scores waiting for Lingwei!

Kerry Masteller, Reference and Digital Program Librarian

Liz and I gave a presentation for the New England Music Library Association – We’re Still Here! Teaching Research Remotely (PDF) – and now that we’re on campus again, we’re translating some of the things we learned about working with large classes online to our in person teaching. Spoiler alert: it’s tough getting used to not having the chat for low-stakes feedback!

Whether or not you’re new to campus, don’t miss…

The Employee Assistance Program has found me a dentist, a lawyer, and a childcare scholarship. They will triage and direct any inquiry, no matter how odd: there must be limits to the EAP but in 21 years at Harvard I haven’t managed to stump them!

Take a stroll from Cambridge Common to Radcliffe Quad.

Use your Harvard ID to get into free or discounted museums around Boston! Find these and other deals at Harvard Outings and Innings.

Look for rabbits! Try the brand new Peter J. Solomon gate outside the main entrances to Lamont and Houghton Libraries, then spend some time in the Dudley Garden, behind Lamont.

A tabletop-sized model of the Harvard music building, complete with landscaping.

A Lego masterpiece: Paine Hall and the Music Building

I think the most amazing moment was when I saw building manager Jonathan Savilonis’ Lego music building in his office. [Ed.: Read more about this labor of love and 3000 red bricks in the Harvard Gazette, and find it on display outside the Music Building’s Taft Lounge.]

Collected and lightly edited by Kerry Masteller.

Meet the Problem Solvers: Christina Linklater, Keeper of the Isham Memorial Library and Houghton Music Cataloger

For the last in our Meet the Problem Solvers series, Kerry Masteller spoke with Christina Linklater about metadata, microforms and magic.

Red, orange and purple tulips grown in a sun-dappled garden.

You can take the Keeper of the Isham Memorial Library out of Ottawa, but she’ll fill her Somerville garden with tulips.

So, tell us a little bit about what you do, Christina.

In my role as Keeper of the Isham Memorial Library, I mostly manage the movement of special collections materials at the Music Library. I also co-administer our exhibition program with my colleague Patricia O’Brien, provide reference assistance to patrons and direct the United States RISM Office. That’s one half of my week. The rest of my week is spent as a music cataloger at Houghton Library.

What’s different about those two jobs?

Well, at Isham I’m in a public-facing role most of the time, ready to assist anyone who needs help with Isham’s materials specifically or special collections research generally. At Houghton I spend my entire day at a desk in the stacks, making records that then appear in HOLLIS.

What role do special collections play at the University?

I’ve seen students encounter Isham’s collections in the classroom, as well as for their research and to discover new repertoire. I also think that the presence of Isham is valuable for students as a place to meet visiting scholars, who find that it is simpler to travel to Isham with its 40,000 microforms than to visit multiple libraries. Bringing together researchers at different stages of their careers is something that special collections is uniquely suited to; while we exist at and for Harvard, a collection like Isham’s can’t help but attract a wide user community, and it’s really nice to witness those interactions.

What’s an Isham Memorial Library secret that more people should know?
That the lives and works lists of composers, particularly composers who are not white men, are much more complex, important interesting than most reference sources can tell you. For instance, Isham’s Joyce Mekeel collection was catalogued after the Grove article came out, and the finding aid says so much about Mekeel and her work that that writer simply couldn’t have known. Same with the collections of Fred Ho and Aziz El-Shawan: all stories can be enriched by looking at archival materials, but it’s especially striking in the stories of people like Mekeel and El-Shawan who published not at all or very little in their lifetimes, leaving these large bodies of manuscript scores that are just quietly waiting for you at Isham.

If we could magically go to a concert right now, what would we be hearing?

How magical is this performance? Like, can we bring people back from the dead?

 It is as magical as you want it to be.

Right! Let’s go to Glenn Gould’s cottage on Lake Simcoe, then, where he’ll play the Goldberg Variations. First the drastic 1955 version, followed by the twilight 1981 version. We’ll sleep well after that.

This interview was conducted by Reference and Digital Program Librarian Kerry Masteller. It was condensed and edited by Christina Linklater for clarity.


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