“Gebetsanliegen” in the Catalog: a Metadata Mystery

  Online catalogs make it possible to find specific materials from anywhere in the world— but what happens when an item doesn’t have its full title in its catalog metadata? (How would you find The Great Gatsby, if the title was just “The” in the catalog? You might try searching for terms like “Great” and […]

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Updating Finding Aids: Improving the Discovery of Archives at the Burke Library

  Like many archivists at CUL and beyond, I’ve found working remotely to be an opportunity to address back burner projects. Chief among these is the conversion of Burke’s 400+ finding aids, which were originally created as PDFs, into Encoded Archival Description (EAD) format — an XML standard for archival finding aids. You may be […]

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Virtual Teaching with Rare Materials in the Era of COVID-19

Screenshot of presentation by librarians Jeffrey Wayno, Emily Runde, and Melina Moe

  Over the last year, much has changed at The Burke library. The era of COVID-19 has brought about a host of challenges, particularly the ongoing effort to connect students with our magnificent collection of rare materials. The Burke is currently closed to visitors, but manuscripts, rare books, and archival material are always richer and […]

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Reclaiming Progressive Faith with Guthrie Graves-Fitzsimmons

  Last fall, the Burke Library and the Union Theological Seminary Development Office hosted a virtual event on Zoom to promote a new book by UTS alum Guthrie Graves-Fitzsimmons (Class of 2016). He and his partner and husband live in Louisville, Kentucky, and he is currently a Fellow with the Faith and Progressive Policy initiative […]

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Alone in the Stacks

  The stacks at the Burke felt like a respite from the hectic outside world- every class period, every meeting I was in, every personal interaction started with a sly smile- each “how are you?” was performative in the way that everyone knows: that such a simple question cannot be answered in the midst of […]

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Research During a Pandemic: Interview With Documentary Film Researcher Heather Merrill

As a librarian and movie-lover, I’m always excited to assist filmmakers with their research — and this Fall, the Burke received a request from a researcher working on a documentary film about the first women ordained as priests in the Episcopal Church (the “Philadelphia Eleven”). The request came from Heather Merrill, an independent film researcher, […]

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Newfound Letter from a young Dietrich Bonhoeffer to Mahatma Gandhi

The Burke Library staff recently received a warm and exciting message from our friend Prof. Clifford Green, the Bonhoeffer Chair Scholar at Union Theological Seminary. He wrote eagerly telling us of the recent discovery in New Delhi of a previously unknown letter mailed to the famous resistance leader Mohandas Gandhi, sent in earnest by none […]

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Sweet-talking catalogs: an amusing error, and tips to make your way around CLIO

If you were interested in the history of Union Theological Seminary, where the Burke Library is located, you might be led to the title The Union Theological Seminary in the city of New York : its design and another decade of its history, by George Lewis Prentiss, published in 1899. On our catalog CLIO, you […]

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The Eckley Sermons: a Manuscript Cataloging Mystery

Image of a handwritten sermon by Joseph Eckley, circa the late-1700s or early-1800s.

*NOTE: The Burke Library is currently closed and personnel are working from home due to the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak (see Columbia’s COVID-19 guidance page for more information and consult the Your Libraries Online portal for increased access to e-resources during this time). We are sharing this post, written a few weeks ago, harkening back to […]

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“On That Happy Ground”: Lyrics from the First African Methodist Pocket Hymn Book (1818)

  The Burke Library staff got a curious inquiry last week from a researcher in Maryland seeking a particular hymn book held in our Special Collections. He believed it would hold the key to a piece of his research, about the first African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) church in service in Easton, Maryland, convened by a […]

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