The Return of Special Collections at Burke!

  Earlier this Fall, The Burke Library proudly reopened its doors to the Columbia and Union communities after being closed for eighteen months due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It has been wonderful to see so many new and returning friends use Burke’s study spaces, stacks, and general collections. Our staff is particularly proud to provide […]

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“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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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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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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Mapping the Holy Land: a New Exhibit, by Jeffrey Wayno

Visitors at the Burke Library may have noticed our new exhibit, Mapping the Holy Land, which showcases two items from our special collections—one from the rare book collection, one from the archives—to highlight how scholars of the past have thought about, and visualized, one of the most historic and contentious areas of our world. The […]

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Buying Cool Things for the Burke

For many of us, the start of a new year brings with it new things: new calendars, new resolutions, even new routines. In the Columbia University Libraries, it also brings about… a new budget season. January, which is half-way through our fiscal year, is a good opportunity to take stock of how we’ve spent our […]

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A German Ecclesiastical Heritage in the Smaragdus Manuscript

UTS Manuscripts Student Series Post 4 of 4*   The curiously-nicknamed “Smaragdus manuscript” (after the author of its first and most prominent text) is a curious collection of medieval writings officially known by its item number at the Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary, UTS MS 006. Written around the year 1100 in a Rhineland […]

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A Life of its Own: an Itinerant Manuscript

UTS Manuscripts Student Series Post 3 of 4, by Emily Gebhardt, a Graduate Student in the Medieval and Renaissance Studies Program at Columbia University*   At first glance, UTS MS 019 resembles many of the other medieval manuscripts and codices housed in Burke Library’s collections—it is old, it is worn, and it has clearly seen […]

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