Monthly Archives: February 2013

CLIR Hidden Collections Grant for American View Books

Columbia University Libraries /Information Services is pleased to announce the receipt of a CLIR Hidden Collections grant to support cataloging of the unique and extensive collection of American View Books in the Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library.

Avery’s American View Books Collection provides pictorial documentation of cities and towns throughout the United States. The collection is comprised of 4,800 items published in a variety of formats, including printed books, photographic albums, and novelties. Together, these items present an evolving illustrated history of the American-built environment from the mid-nineteenth century to the twentieth century.

“The view books present a sweeping view of the changing American landscape. The images chart the growth of rural areas into towns and cities, the advance of the railroads across the country, and the rising popularity of county fairs and national expositions,” said Carole Ann Fabian, Director of the Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library. “The primary achievement of the view book is the documentation of architecture and urbanism in an expanding American landscape.”

 Hundreds of thousands of images of buildings, streetscapes, monuments, and parklands from every state provide historical snapshots of the evolution of the nation. In addition, accompanying detailed texts describe the growth of local industries, the construction of major buildings, the development of transportation networks, and the characteristics of regional architectural styles. Many of the buildings pictured are shown from different points of view or before and after alterations.

 "The type of publication that will be cataloged under this grant is of immense interest to all those who study American architecture, urban history, and cultural history and for those who work in historic preservation and planning,” said David Brownlee, Frances Shapiro-Weitzenhoffer Professor and Chair of the Graduate Group for History of Art & Architecture at the University of Pennsylvania.  “We are on the verge of being able to recreate and tell the stories of our cities with unprecedented detail and accuracy."

 The $75,500 grant will support a major bibliographic goal: to define and produce a highly descriptive cataloging template for this document type that includes not only standardized format and subject headings, but also significant geographical data within the MARC format. This mix of topics, named persons, dates, and locations will provide multiple levels of access to users across a broad range of educational and experiential levels.

Press release

Image credit: Historic Yorktown Virginia. (Yorktown: J.S. DeNeufville, 19–)


Follow the THATCamp CAA blog and Twitter feed to learn more about the exciting two-day pre-conference to the College Art Association’s annual meeting here in New York.

THATCamp CAA program included:

·         17 sessions on topics chosen by attendees on pedagogical, research and scholarly publishing topics.

·         3 workshops on open platform technologies: OMEKA, VIEWSHARE, SCALAR

·         6 lightening talk exemplars of digital humanities projects:

o   Smarthistory (Beth Harris & Steven Zucker, Kahn Academy)

o   Mediathread (Mark Phillipson & Adrienne Garber, Columbia University)

o   Spatial History Project: Holocaust Geographies (Paul Jaskot, DePaul University)

o   Mapping Gothic France (Stephen Murray, Columbia University)

o   Digital Mellini (Murtha Baca & Francesca Albrezzi, The Getty Research Institute)

o   Art History and Big Data (Lev Manovich, CUNY Graduate Center)

Many thanks to THATCamp CAA co-coordinators (Carole Ann Fabian, Beth Harris, Barbara Rockenbach, Steven Zucker) and our sponsors (College Art Association, Kress Foundation, Columbia University Libraries, Smarthistory at Kahn Academy, Macaulay Honors College, and the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University).

Avery @ CAA

Avery Library staff participated and attended the College Art Association (CAA) conference this week in NYC.

Carole Ann Fabian, Avery Director, participated in  "CAA THATCamp: What Happened and What’s Next." The Humanities and Technology Camp, is an open, inexpensive meeting where humanists and technologists of all skill levels learn and build together in sessions proposed on the spot.  

Carolyn Yorke Yerkes gave a talk called "Drawing Michelangelo's Models" in the panel "Model Images," organized by Juliet Koss. The panel included papers about images of architectural models from the Renaissance to the present.

Jeffrey Ross attended numerous sessions.