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Nineteen Open Your Hidden Collections Proposals Funded

Initiative to expand access to Harvard’s remarkable collections.


June 3, 2014—The Library Leadership Team (LLT) approved funding for 19 Open Your Hidden Collections proposals, following recommendations of a screening group and review by the LLT and Sarah Thomas, vice president for the Harvard Library and Roy E. Larsen Librarian for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

The funded proposals are:

Access to Activism: Records of Physicians of Social Conscience
Sponsor: Scott Podolsky, Countway Library, HMS
This project seeks to open access to three collections that demonstrate the global reach of Harvard faculty and the impact of organizing for social change.

Analyze, Digitize, Make Accessible Trial 3 of the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials
Sponsor: Paul Deschner, Harvard Law School Library, HLS
Funding for a two-year project to analyze, digitize and make online accessible the contents of Trial 3 (The Judges Trial) of the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials, to supplement Trials 1, 2 and 4 already accessible on its website.

Art & Business: The Polaroid Consultant Photographer Records
Sponsor: Timothy Mahoney, Knowledge and Library Services, HBS
A lesser-known aspect of Polaroid’s history is the active engagement of leading art photographers, including Ansel Adams and Clarence Kennedy, in the corporation’s research and development activities. Baker Library proposes a processing project to make accessible the records and photographs that document this unique program.

Cataloging and Digitizing Photographic Collection from Aerial Photography, Inc.
Sponsor: Ann Whiteside, Loeb Design Library, GSD
In 2003, the Frances Loeb Library purchased a collection of 150,000 aerial negatives from Aerial Photography Inc. The company and a predecessor firm had been flying over and taking images chiefly of eastern Massachusetts from the 1920s-2002 when API closed. Loeb Design Library proposes a project that creates workflows for selection, digitization, cataloging and conservation of this collection, plus a test of the workflows with 200 images of Boston neighborhoods.

Cataloging New Receipts to the Rubén Blades Archives
Sponsor: Sarah Adams, Loeb Music Library, FAS
In 2009 the Loeb Music Library signed an agreement with internationally prominent singer/songwriter, actor, activist and Harvard Law School graduate Rubén Blades to receive and archive his personal papers as well as recordings, interviews, films and other materials from his musical, acting and political careers. The project proposes making these materials available to scholars as soon as possible as there has already been a great deal of interest in this collection among scholars of Latin music and popular culture. 

Cataloging Two Centuries of Topographic Maps in the Harvard Map Collection
Sponsor: Martin Schreiner, Harvard College Library, FAS
The Harvard Map Collection has one of the most extensive holdings of topographic maps in North America. These particular maps represent more than half of our modern collection, but only about 15% of them have been cataloged. This project proposes making these resources more discoverable and dramatically enhancing the visibility of these hidden collections. 

Catching the Wave: Photographs of the Women’s Movement by Bettye Lane and Freda Leinwand
Sponsor: Joanne Donovan, Schlesinger Library
Among the treasures in the Schlesinger Library are photograph collections that document the women’s liberation movement of the late 1960s and 1970s: images by Bettye Lane and Freda Leinwand, both of whom spent years capturing the moments, both big and small, that made up one of the most transformative times in U.S. history. Of the 40,000 images total, including prints, negatives and slides, this project propose digitizing a portion of the core images from each collection that focus on the women’s movement (an estimated 4,000 images). 

Digitize Historical Political Button Collection
Sponsors: Leslie Donnell, Emily Eckart, Kathryn Fortunato, Library and Knowledge Services, HKS
In 2012, the HKS Library received a gift of approximately 1,800 political buttons from an avid political campaign volunteer. To preserve this historically valuable collection, and to make it accessible for research, teaching and display at Harvard and beyond, this proposal requests support for cleaning and digitization of the buttons.

Historic Picture Postcards of the Americas
Sponsor: Mary Clare Altenhofen, Fine Arts Library, FAS
The Fine Arts Library would like to create access through digitization and cataloging to the visual and textual content of a postcards of North, South and Central America. The collection, numbering approximately 10,000 cards, covers the late 19th through mid-20th centuries.

James Hinton Film Collection
Sponsor: Liz Coffey, Harvard Film Archive, FAS
The films of James E. Hinton (1936-2006) were donated to the Harvard Film Archive by his family in 2009. Hinton was perhaps best known for his photographic documentation of the Civil Rights era. This project proposes digitizing 38 16mm films in this collection, creating large, uncompressed .mov files for longterm storage, with QuickTime files for access.

MARC Records for All Auction Sales Catalogs in HOLLIS
Sponsor: Amanda Bowen, Fine Arts Library, FAS
This project proposes providing  access, through HOLLIS or OCLC’s SCIPIO database, to 7,000 current and historical auction sales catalogs.

Organized Labor: Promoting Access to the Slichter Industrial Relations Collection
Sponsor: Barbara Burg, Widener Library, FAS
The Slichter Industrial Relations Collection comprises both United States and foreign trade union agreements, contracts, labor organization pamphlets, employee handbooks and labor arbitration awards from the early to mid-20th century. This project proposes digitizing the collection's labor agreements card catalog along with a pilot to digitize selected labor agreements of several major industries, which would allow for keyword searching of relevant material within this large collection and would provide researchers with a more detailed view of its scholarly potential.

Processing the Abram Chayes Papers
Sponsor: Edwin Moloy, Harvard Law School Library, HLS
Abram Chayes (1922-2000) taught at the Law School for more than 40 years and served as a legal advisor to the State Department during the Kennedy administration. He was involved in decision making at the highest levels of government, part of a team contending with the Berlin Crisis of 1961, the Cuban missile crisis of 1962 and negotiations with the Soviet Union that lead to the Limited Test Ban Treaty of 1963. The collection is currently closed to researchers and this project proposes processing the papers to the folder level.

Provide Access to the Middle Eastern Division’s Haddad Mahjar Collection
Sponsor: Michael Hopper, Widener Library, FAS
The Haddad collection includes the personal libraries and papers of Nasib Aridah and Nadrah Haddad, two noted Mahjar writers. The Middle Eastern Division (MED) seeks funding to complete the processing and cataloging of this collection, which amounts to some 17 boxes of books and journals and three boxes of personal papers.

Provide Access to the Middle Eastern Division’s Poster and Ephemera Collection
Sponsor: Michael Hopper, Widener Library, FAS
The Middle Eastern Division has a poster and ephemera collection which numbers around 5,000 items and for which there is no metadata. The MED proposes sorting, organizing and creating basic metadata for the discrete parts of the collection and digitizing 5,000 items for deposit in the DRS.

Revealing the Public School Reports Collection: Pilot Project—New England States and Municipalities
Sponsor: Edward Copenhagen, Gutman Library, GSE
Gutman Library possesses a collection of public school reports published in the United States by state and local government agencies—10,000 titles documenting public education in the United States from the early 1830s through the early 1950s. These materials are not discoverable in HOLLIS and are described only in antiquated shelf lists. This project proposes a pilot to catalog the holdings of the six New England states (approximately 2000 titles). The materials would be rehoused in pamphlet folders and acid-free boxes as warranted.

Sounds and Moving Images of Greek Shadow Theater
Sponsor: David Elmer, Milman Parry Collection of Oral Literature, FAS
The Whitman/Rinvolucri Collection, part of the Milman Parry Collection of Oral Literature, comprises puppets, recordings, films, still images and printed materials relating to the Greek Karaghiozis shadow theater tradition and collected between 1962 and 1971. We seek funding to support the digitization of the audio recordings (85 tape reels) and films (8 reels) in the collection, the first step in a longer-term project to increase access to the collection as a whole.

Uncovering the Intersections: Government, Science, Education, Politics and Faculty at 20th-Century Harvard
Sponsor: Megan Sniffin-Marinoff, Harvard University Archives, CADM
This project will provide access to the currently inaccessible personal archives (research, teaching, non-Harvard files) of four Harvard faculty members whose work is a study of the intersection of 20th-century government, science, education and politics.

Unknown Treasures: Cataloging the Andover-Harvard Rare Book Backlog
Sponsor: Nell Carlson, Andover-Harvard Theological Library, HDS
This project proposes a year-long effort to complete cataloging for a portion of the rare book backlog at the Andover-Harvard Theological Library. There is a backlog of 1,758 uncataloged titles, consisting of materials acquired decades ago. These books have provisional records in Harvard's local catalog only and so are difficult to find in HOLLIS and largely invisible to external researchers. Items would be triaged for conservation treatment and where item condition permits, the project would include the scanning and deposit in the DRS of title pages, etc. as part of the Scanning Key Content initiative. 

“Everyone on the steering group was very impressed with all of the proposals, particularly in the variety and quality of materials and their value to researchers. Scholars at Harvard and beyond will undoubtedly benefit from our continuing efforts to ensure even easier access to our rich collections,” said Franziska Frey, steering group member and head of Preservation, Conservation and Digital Imaging.

Progress updates on these projects will be regularly shared with the library community.

The call for Open Your Hidden Collections proposals resulted in 39 submissions from across Harvard’s libraries, and other sources of funding will be sought for the proposals not funded through this process.

Funding was approved by the LLT and Sarah Thomas following review by the library community and by a steering group (Karen Beck, Franziska Frey, Dan Hazen, Kathryn Hammond-Baker, Laura Linard, Lisa Schwallie and Scott Wicks) against the following evaluation priorities and criteria:

  • Preference will be accorded to proposals that demonstrate that improved access will benefit our students and scholars.
  • Preference will be accorded to collections that meet the needs of more than one discipline or constituency.
  • Preference will be accorded to proposals that are cost-effective and operationally realistic.
  • Preference will be accorded to proposals whose scale can vary as more or less resources become available.
  • Preference will be accorded to proposals for which the library unit can provide necessary preparatory and follow-on support.
  • Applicants are invited to provide matching funds or in-kind support as appropriate.