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Loeb Design Library Collaboration with ITS

 Two important projects yield positive results

Aerial photo of Boston

The Frances Loeb Library at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design (GSD) supports research, teaching, and learning for the GSD, Harvard, and broader international design communities. The library's strengths—20th- and 21st-century architecture, urban planning and design, the history and practice of landscape design—are supplemented by subject areas that support past and current curriculum needs. Together with the resources distributed throughout the Harvard Library system, the Loeb Design Library provides access to a comprehensive collection documenting the fields of architecture, landscape architecture, and urban planning and design.

Recently, the Loeb Design Library team collaborated with staff from Harvard Library's Information and Technical Services (ITS) on two important projects that yielded positive results for the GSD as well as the staff of the Loeb Design Library and its patrons.

The first project was activated through the Loeb’s hidden collections project for aerial photographs. ITS staff led by Linda Takata have devoted a percentage of their time learning how to catalog images, using the new image cataloging tool Shared Shelf, and learning image cataloging standards. Linda Takata, Donna Viscuglia, Gwen Speeth, and Andrew Morvay have worked with Alix Reiskind, digital initiatives librarian at Loeb Design Library, to learn the complexities of image cataloging, new controlled vocabularies, and a new cataloging system that Harvard adopted and began using in production in May.

“The project has allowed us to provide training opportunities in new areas for ITS staff as part of our vision to expand metadata support beyond traditional materials,” said Scott Wicks, associate librarian for Information and Technical Services for the Harvard Library. “At the same time, we had the opportunity to test new cataloging workflows for a digitization project and improve our processes for the future.”

The second collaboration was to get collection-level records for archival collections into Aleph/HOLLIS for unprocessed collections. Christine Eslao and Brendan Short of ITS transformed a Microsoft Word document into MARC records suitable for HOLLIS. This allowed Loeb Design Library to make the collection records available to the public, transforming them from hidden collections to searchable and findable collections.

“The sharing of expertise between the Loeb Design Library and ITS showed us how collaboration can bring about new ways of working,” said Ann Whiteside, librarian/assistant dean for information resources at Loeb. “The Loeb Design Library team benefited from the expertise of the ITS group, and we can now share those benefits with our patrons in the form of greater accessibility to our collections.”