Visions and Designs from Bloomsbury

This month, we published a small collection of Bloomsbury Group-related materials in Manuscripts and Woodcuts: Visions and Designs from Bloomsbury. It features a handwritten, manuscript draft of Elizabeth and Essex by Lytton Strachey and a collection of woodcut illustrations by Roger Fry, as well as letters and book covers. This collection accompanies a Duke University Libraries exhibit on the Bloomsbury Group entitled “‘How Full of Life Those Days Seemed’: New Approaches to Art, Literature, Sexuality, and Society in Bloomsbury” that is part of a year-long celebration at Duke, Vision and Design: A Year of Bloomsbury,

William Emerson Strong Photo Album

Also published in the October 2008 build, the William Emerson Strong Photo Album contains 200 cartes-de-visite (card photographs) mostly published in the mid-1860s. Subjects include officers in the Confederate Army and Navy, officials in the Confederate government, famous Confederate wives, and other notable figures of the Confederacy. Sixty-four photographs can be attributed to noted Civil War photographer Mathew Brady, with nine photographs issued by Brady himself and 55 issued by E. & H. T. Anthony & Co., a photograph marketing firm that acquired the Brady negatives in 1865.

As of December 2008, the digital collection includes the cartes-de-visite images; we plan to add images of the photo album pages in 2009.

Michael Francis Blake Photographs

One of the five collections we published in our October build was the Michael Francis Blake Photographs digital collection. The collection features 117 photographs of men, women, and children taken between 1912-1934 by Michael Francis Blake, who opened one of the first African-American photography studios in Charleston, S.C. The images come from photographic album entitled “Portraits of Members,” which might have been used by clients in the studio to select the backdrop and props they wanted in their photographs.

Grand Metadata Tool Ideas

We’re embarking on a project to adopt or build a metadata tool at Duke University Libraries.  Before we’re immersed in architectures, designs, workflows, schedules, layers, platforms, capacities, etc., I’d like to indulge in some guilt-free big thinking.  I thought I’d just kind of put the question out there:  What are some of the big ideas that could inform the development of a metadata tool?

I invite conversation here and on the web4lib and code4lib lists, to which I’m sending an abridged version of this post.  Other conversations will occur in various venues over the next month or so.  I’ll try to pull together and post on anything I see, hear, read or say.  In the meantime, I’ll share one big idea that I’ve been considering; I’m not saying it’s THE big idea or even implying that we’ll follow through on it at Duke.  It’s just one way to bend our thinking about this project.  I’m interested in other ideas that can help with the bending of the thinking on the project for the tool for the metadata.

The idea that I’m posing follows from a blog post that Lorcan Dempsey wrote in May, mentioning an example of a “shared cataloging environment”.  When I read it, I wondered, what if you take that idea to its logical (illogical?) extreme:  a metadata tool as a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform.
Continue reading Grand Metadata Tool Ideas

Americans in the Land of Lenin

We’re excited to announce the publication of the digital collection, Americans in the Land of Lenin: Documentary Photographs of Early Soviet Russia, 1919-1930. This collection of photographs of daily life in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics is drawn from the personal papers of Robert L. Eichelberger and Frank Whitson Fetter, two ordinary Americans who found themselves in an extraordinary place and time. Both men left unique photos of their encounter with ordinary individuals of the self-proclaimed first socialist country in the world. Their images of life in the Soviet provinces between the World Wars reveal an agrarian, multi-ethnic country, still reeling under the impact of the revolutionary forces unleashed at the beginning of the 20th-century. This collection complements the resources in the University of Michigan’s Polar Bear Expedition Digital Collections.

Erik Zitser, the sponsor of this digitization project, published a longer description of the Eichelberger photos in his article: Images of the Russian Civil War in Siberia in the Robert L. Eichelberger Collection at Duke University Libraries.

Please feel free to leave feedback and suggestions for this collection in the comments.