Category Archives: News

Columbia Libraries Celebrates World Digital Preservation Day

Columbia University Libraries joins the international digital preservation community today in celebrating World Digital Preservation Day to recognize the collections preserved, the access maintained and the understanding fostered by preserving digital materials. The commemorative day seeks “to create greater awareness of digital preservation that will translate into a wider understanding which permeates all aspects of society – business, policy making, personal good practice.”

Columbia Libraries holds many millions of digital items in over 300 computer file formats, content that includes digitized reproductions of papyri and clay tablets, manuscripts, archival photographs, historical publications, artworks, sound recordings, film, video, and three-dimensional objects, as well as archival material from statesmen, politicians, and philanthropic organizations such as the Ford and Carnegie foundations. Our digital collections are expanding rapidly as a result of new acquisitions of content originating in digital format, and our ongoing digitization of unique cultural heritage materials from new and existing archival and specialized collections continues. On our website, you can view a portion of our preserved digital collections that we have published for open use, such as the Columbia Spectator Archive, the papers of composer Ulysses Kay, and the holdings of sixteenth-century Italian architect and theoretician, Sebastiano Serlio.

Call for Proposals Issued for Third Annual Performing the Library! Series

It is with great pleasure that we offer Performing the Library! for 2018 – 2019. Now in its third year, this program engages collaboration between the Libraries and Columbia students with a focus on exhibitions and events that celebrate the library as a collection, a space, and a resource. Performing the Library! is an opportunity to bring to life the books and objects that make up our collections and to reflect on the stories, ideas, lives, and creative works that are carefully preserved by the Libraries.

Central to this year’s event is the Mural Project, a “takeover” of the bulletin board spaces in Butler Library. The bulletin boards in Butler offer large and small spaces for exhibitions of student work that reflects on the theme of the library.

For more information about the series and past participants, read this article or visit student-produced exhibits, on display in 300 Butler Library through December 2018.

A student participant in the 2016 – 2017 “Performing the Library!” event reads an original written work.

We are now accepting ideas for 2018 – 2019 exhibits and encourage any student who may be interested to become a part of Performing the Library: a Series of Happenings!

Students can submit individual project ideas on a small-scale or collaborate with peers for a larger group project. We would like to represent as many student projects as possible. The exhibits offer the opportunity to create murals, graffiti works, cutouts, compose original texts, or exhibit photographic works.

Bulletin Boards/Project Spaces
(Measurements are listed as width x height.)

The Mural
Location: 208 Butler Library
Two bulletin board panels each measuring 4’ 10” x 3’.
A proposal for these large bulletin boards should focus on a mural exhibit. The proposal can call for one or both boards. This is a central location with long-range views.

Forgotten Space Project
Location: 211 Butler Library
Four panels each measuring 2’ 7.5” x 4’ 8”.
A proposal for these large bulletin boards should focus on an art exhibit. The proposal can call for one or all four boards.

Foursquare Project
Location: 310 Butler Library
Four bulletin boards each measuring 2’ 9.75” x 2’ 9.75”.
The proposal can provide a theme for all four boards or a single board.

Graduate Reading Rooms – Themed Exhibits
Locations:
Comparative Literature & Society (615 Butler Library): Two bulletin boards each measuring 1’4” x 3’10”.
Early Modern/Modern Europe and Moral & Political Theory (504 Butler Library): Two boards, one measuring 1’ 4” x 3’ 11” and one measuring 1’ 2.5” x 3’ 11”.
Islamic Studies (602 Butler Library): Two boards, one measuring 1’ 2” x 3’ 7.5” and 1’ 1.5” x 3’ 7.5”.
Latin American Studies (503 Butler Library): Two boards, one measuring 1’ 2.5” x 3’ 11” and 1’ 4” x 3’ 11”.
South Asian Studies (601 Butler Library): One board measuring 2’ 5.25” x 3’ 7.5”.
The exhibits for the reading rooms listed above should focus on the associated theme or geographic location.

Proposals should include the following:

  • Student(s) or group name
  • School/department
  • Identify the preferred location and number of boards
  • Project description detailing the theme or topic and the type of creative work (mural, art, photography, text, etc.)
  • Identify materials to be used for the exhibit (should easily adhere to bulletin board or background)

Proposals should be submitted by November 5, 2018. Proposals will be reviewed by November 19, 2018. Installations will run from December 2018 – January 2019.

To submit your proposal, please send to Nancy Friedland, Librarian for Film Studies and Performing Arts, via email (nef4@columbia.edu) and using the subject line Performing the Library – Proposal.

 

Freedom of Information Archive Receives Two-Year Grant from Arcadia

History Lab and Columbia University Libraries are pleased to announce that a new grant of $407,000 from Arcadia, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin. The grant will enable History Lab to partner with Columbia Libraries to continue building the Freedom of Information Archive (FOIA), which is already the world’s largest database of declassified documents.

The FOIA Archive was created to help researchers, journalists, and private citizens explore the ever-expanding universe of electronic records with state-of-the-art tools developed using data science. It now includes more than three million documents from seven different collections. No less important, it features unique metadata derived from techniques like topic modeling and named-entity recognition. Arcadia support will allow Columbia to continue growing the archive, preserve it permanently, and keep it freely accessible for the entire world.

In the first year, Arcadia support will help revamp the History Lab’s Application Programming Interface so researchers have direct access to the data, which will soon include hundreds of thousands of new documents recently made available by the Central Intelligence Agency. There will also be a new web interface developed with the help of Columbia Libraries, with a launch date set for June 2020. Columbia’s Vice Provost and University Librarian, Ann Thornton, will appoint an advisory board of stakeholders and partners.

Arcadia is a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin. It supports charities and scholarly institutions that preserve cultural heritage and the environment. Arcadia also supports projects that promote open access and all of its awards are granted on the condition that any materials produced are made available for free online. Since 2002, Arcadia has awarded more than $500 million to projects around the world.

“It has never been more important to preserve once-secret records from the recent past, our last chance to ensure basic democratic accountability,” said History-Lab Principal Investigator Matthew Connelly. “But it is never easy to make sure these records are preserved permanently, especially when we are dealing with complex data, and not just documents. That’s why this partnership with Columbia Libraries, and this commitment from Arcadia, is absolutely crucial.”

“This project supports our efforts to make information as open and accessible as possible, particularly in an area of critical interest to scholars and citizens alike,” said Ann Thornton, Vice Provost and University Librarian at Columbia University Libraries. “Our involvement in this work furthers our goal to inspire an authentic and purposeful world view.”

History Lab also recently received a $150,000 grant from the American Council of Learned Societies to further extend the reach of the FOIA Archive and train scholars in how to use it. It has also benefited from grants obtained from the MacArthur Foundation, the National Science Foundation, the Brown Institute for Media Innovation, and Columbia’s Global Policy Initiative.

Columbia Libraries Launches New Version of Academic Commons

Columbia University Libraries has launched a new version of Academic Commons, the digital research repository for Columbia University and its affiliate institutions. With an updated design and an improved experience on mobile devices, Academic Commons now enables users to access impact information at a glance with a dashboard that features download statistics for each of the user’s shared works. Users also have the option to assign a Creative Commons license to enable other researchers to reuse and remix their research (with attribution, of course).

Columbia-affiliated researchers and scholars can use Academic Commons to provide (or meet funder requirements for) access to all of the digital formats of their scholarship and research, including datasets, conference papers, and music, to anyone with an Internet connection. Works shared through Academic Commons are openly accessible online and discoverable in search engines. Further, digital research materials uploaded to Academic Commons are preserved as part of the Libraries’ long-term digital storage system and assigned a DOI to encourage citation.

Academic Commons provides access to over 25,000 works of Columbia research and scholarship, including the full text of all doctoral theses written at Columbia and Teachers College since 2011, the archives of numerous Columbia-based journals, and the work produced by six University centers. Built on open-source software, it is Columbia’s truly free and open solution for access to, and use of, new knowledge and information connected with Columbia.

Departments, centers, programs, and individual scholars at Columbia and its affiliate institutions are welcome to e-mail ac@columbia.edu to learn more about the Academic Commons program and about how the Columbia University Libraries staff can help you to participate. Academic Commons integrates with a number of web sites and applications as well: Ask us about our API!

GRAMMY Museum Grant Program Awards $200,000 For Music Research And Sound Preservation, including $20,000 to Columbia University Libraries

The GRAMMY Museum® Grant Program announced this week that $200,000 in grants will be awarded to 14 recipients in the United States and Canada to help facilitate a range of research on a variety of subjects, as well as support a number of archiving and preservation programs.

Among this year’s recipients, Columbia University Libraries will be awarded $20,000 to digitize and preserve 400 hours of unique recordings of early electro-acoustic music from the archives of the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center (CPEMC). The digital copies will meet international standards of capture at 96kHz/24 bit, will be preserved in a long-term archive, and will be made accessible in the Gabe M. Wiener Music & Arts Library.

Generously funded by the Recording Academy, the GRAMMY MUSEUM Grant Program provides funding annually to organizations and individuals to support efforts that advance the archiving and preservation of the recorded sound heritage of the Americas for future generations, in addition to research projects related to the impact of music on the human condition. In 2008, the Grant Program expanded its categories to include assistance grants for individuals and small to mid-sized organizations to aid collections held by individuals and organizations that may not have access to the expertise needed to create a preservation plan. The assistance planning process, which may include inventorying and stabilizing a collection, articulates the steps to be taken to ultimately archive recorded sound materials for future generations. The deadline each year for submitting letters of inquiry to the Grant Program is Oct. 15. Guidelines and the letter of inquiry form for the 2019 cycle are available at www.grammymuseum.org.

2018 Recipients of the Libraries’ Outstanding Student Employee Award

Several individuals from a student workforce of more than 300 were recognized with the 2018 Outstanding Student Employee Award. These students have demonstrated exceptional commitment to their work and are recognized for their numerous contributions to our Libraries.

Molly Boord (General Studies), Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Kate Burt (School of Engineering and Applied Science), Digital Scholarship

Daniel Casanova (Teachers College), Science, Engineering, and Social Science Library

Anna Duong (Columbia College), Arthur W. Diamond Law Library

Brandon Harrington (Union Theological Seminary), Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary

Crystal Herrera Pereira (General Studies), Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library

Rebecca Potts (Union Theological Seminary), Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary

Kelly Powers (Columbia College), Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Sabina Espinal Soloranzo (Columbia College), Thomas J. Watson Library of Business and Economics

Congratulations to the award winners and a heartfelt thanks to all of our student employees, without whom our work in the Libraries would be incomplete.

What’s Happening with Barnard Library in Spring/Summer 2018

Great news! Barnard’s new Milstein Teaching and Learning Center opens in September 2018. Because moving presents some logistical challenges, including restoring books and archival materials to their shelves and the library catalog, the Barnard Library will suspend access to some services and resources for a time this summer. If you are a Barnard library user, please familiarize yourself with these key dates between May and September

Libraries Receives CLIR Recordings at Risk Grant for Bob Fass Collection

The Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) today announced that Columbia University Libraries has been awarded a Recordings at Risk grant to support the digitization of the recently acquired Bob Fass collection.

Bob Fass, pictured here in his New York City-based WBAI studio. Courtesy of Lost Footage Films.

Columbia will preserve and provide access to almost two decades’ worth of audiotapes from the archive of groundbreaking broadcaster Bob Fass. A pioneer of “free form” radio for seven decades, Fass is best known for his late-night program Radio Unnameable. During the sixties it featured unscripted appearances by poets and musicians like Allen Ginsberg and Bob Dylan, and social activists like Abbie Hoffman and Timothy Leary – a forum where listeners could interact with their idols and one another. In 1968 alone, Fass broadcast live events like the “Yip In” at Grand Central Station, Columbia University student protests, and the Chicago Democratic National convention. Once digitized, these recordings will be a major resource to study mobilization of dissent via mass-media in late-twentieth century America.

Recordings at Risk is a national regranting program that supports the preservation of rare and unique audio and audiovisual content of high scholarly value. Generously funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Recordings at Risk will award a total of $2.3 million between January 2017 and April 2019.

ReCAP Accessions 15 Millionth Item

The country’s largest offsite library shelving facility, the Research Collections and Preservation Consortium (ReCAP), now holds over 15 million items. ReCAP’s 15 millionth item, “Object lessons & the formation of knowledge : the University of Michigan museums, libraries, & collections 1817-2017,” was accessioned April 27, 2018.

In September, the consortium members launched a Shared Collection Initiative, expanding Columbia’s catalog by 7 million records. Columbia faculty, students, and staff now have access to the expanded collection through the Columbia catalog, CLIO. Users can locate additional items in CLIO and request direct delivery to campus.

Ed Cleary (right) and Ian Acker (left), ReCAP staff members, accession the 15th million item, Object lessons & the formation of knowledge : the University of Michigan museums, libraries, & collections 1817-2017.

ReCAP was created in 2000 to support its members’ goals of preserving their library and archival collections and providing access to researchers. ReCAP consists of a preservation repository and resource sharing services, jointly owned and operated by Columbia University, the NYPL, and Princeton, and located on Princeton’s Forrestal Campus. More than 15 million items are currently in ReCAP’s care and used to fulfill approximately 250,000 requests for materials each year, from its partners and from libraries around the world.

Columbia Magazine Comic about Curator for Comics & Cartoons Karen Green Nominated for an Eisner Award

Our favorite comic is up for an Eisner Award! “A Life in Comics,” published in the Summer 2017 issue of Columbia Magazine, was created by cartoonist and Teachers College alum Nick Sousanis and traces the unconventional path taken by librarian Karen Green which led to an unconventional career as Columbia Libraries’ first-ever Curator for Comics & Cartoons. The illustrated feature is nominated in the “Best Short Story” category of the Eisner Awards, an annual prize given for creative excellence in American comics. The winners are decided by professionals in the comic industry and will be announced at the 2018 Comic-Con International in San Diego, CA, in mid-July.

For more on Karen’s work in the Libraries as both Curator and Librarian for Ancient & Medieval History, check out our own profile of her day-to-day in Butler Library and her offbeat collections.

Congrats to Columbia Magazine, Nick, and Karen on their well-deserved recognition!