Category Archives: Research Tips

Here’s a Few Ways to Learn Duke’s History!

We’re starting the school year off w/ lots of interest in Duke’s complex history, which warms (and engages) our archivist hearts. So here’s a handy compilation of ways to learn more about Duke history at the University Archives!

Travel through 178 years of Duke history with this nifty timeline.

Or grab your coffee & head to the permanent Duke University history exhibit outside the Gothic Reading Room. Color photo of the Duke history exhibit wall located outside the Gothic Reading Room.

Learn more about the workers who built the Duke campuses & their working conditions on the website created by this past summer’s Story+ project, “Stone by Stone: Who Built the Duke Chapel?”

Our research guides will point you to key resources on popular topics, like athletics & student activism.

Our website has tons of historical information, like historical articles written by UA staff (including one about the Robert E. Lee statue removed from Duke Chapel).

Or you can browse our online exhibits! Integration, Duke during World War II, Duke’s queer history—find them here!

The Duke Chronicle, Duke’s student-run newspaper, is a fantastic historical resource. We’ve digitized the very first issue (December 19, 1905) through Feb 1989 and you can read/search through them here. 1990s issues will be available this fall!

103 years of the Chanticleer (Duke’s yearbook) are also browsable online. So many retro hairstyles!

Or see what the Pratt School of Engineering was like with digitized issues of DukEngineer.

Want to see Duke history rather than read about it? Our Flickr site has 3,000+ photos!

Black and white photo of man working with a 1980s computer. The screen reads "Chanticleer."
This 1982 photo is on Flickr. Might not be the best set up for looking at Flickr, though.

And the easiest way to learn about Duke history? Stop by the University Archives and talk to your friendly university archivists!

Workshop – Books as Social Networks: Documenting the Role of Individuals in the Production and Consumption of Print Culture

Date: Friday, May 11, 2018
Time: 1:00pm – 3:30pm
Location: Rubenstein Library 150
Registration

Using rare books from the Rubenstein Library, this hands-on workshop will introduce participants to the discipline of Book History and explore methodologies for studying books as artifacts. We will explore evidence of the individuals involved in the production, distribution, and consumption of books in the West, including authors, printers, illustrators, booksellers, and readers, from the 15th to the 20th century. Using this evidence, we’ll consider what the roles of these individuals and the relationships between them can tell us about print culture in their time

The workshop will include a discussion of the kinds of evidence and strategies for investigation, followed by lab session devoted to the investigation of individual artifacts in the Rubenstein collection.

April 17: Ask an Archivist Q&A Panel

Black and white photograph of two people in a room filled with shelves of files. The man, standing, is hold open a file filled with peppers, he has a cartoon speech bubble and asks "What's a Diary, Mattie?". The woman, seated also has a cartoon speech bubble which reads "Like an old-fashioned blog, Jay."Date: April 17, 2018
Time: 11am – 12pm
Location: Rubenstein Library 150
Register now

Need tips on getting started with archival research? Curious how archives acquire collections? Thinking about archives as a career? Or just want to know what’s up with the white gloves? Bring your questions to a panel discussion with three archivists from the Rubenstein Library.

Participants:

  • John Gartrell, Director of the John Hope Franklin Center for African and African American History and Culture
  • Kate Collins, Research Services Librarian, Rubenstein Library
  • Tracy Jackson, Head, Center Manuscript Processing, Rubenstein Library

Moderated by Mandy Cooper, PhD Candidate, Duke University Department of History and Rubenstein Library Research Services Graduate Intern

Oct. 20th: Oral History Workshop

Date: Friday, October 20, 2017
Time: 1:00pm – 3:00pm
Location: Rubenstein Library 249 (Carpenter Conference Room)
Contact: Elizabeth Dunn, elizabeth.dunn@duke.edu

Are you interested in creating an oral history of your family, organization, or house of worship? Do you need to do oral histories for your academic research?

In this free workshop–taught by Craig Breaden, the Rubenstein Library’s Audiovisual Archivist–you’ll learn how to select equipment, negotiate rights issues, produce effective interviews, and archive your recordings. You will also receive a guide to the best oral history resources available in print and online.

The workshop is open to all, but registration is required

Flyer for Oral History Workshop

We’re on the Move!

 

While we at the Rubenstein were unable to commemorate the New Year with a ball (or perhaps pickle?) drop, we do have a lot to be excited for in this newest of years. After a stint on the third floor of Perkins, we’re finally making the trek to our permanent location—a location that while physically close, has occasionally felt as though it were light years away. In July 2015, the staff and collections of the Rubenstein will move (ourselves) home.

Perhaps because we conquered a move once before, we’re feeling ambitious, even a little daring. In addition to moving nearly 18,000 linear feet of onsite material (plus offsite material!), we’re also reclassifying our entire print holdings into a single, unified system: the Library of Congress classification. No longer will we have 120+ different call number systems, ranging from Riess C246I to E F#1275. Now, all our call numbers will follow the same alphanumeric system, one that is used by the larger Duke Libraries system. Here’s how the two call numbers above might be classed in the future:

calll numbers

A brief lesson about Library of Congress classification: those lines of alphanumeric text all have specific meanings outlined the Library of Congress classification schedules and its associated texts. The first lines of letters and numbers (e.g., HV6533) always refer to the subject of the work. In case you were wondering, HV refers to the subject “Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology.” The subsequent lines are then used to provide additional clarity, narrowing in on topics, geographic locations, authors, title, and even formats. The LC classification thus packs a huge amount of information into a scant amount of space.

So how will this help the Rubenstein (and you)? By moving to a single system, we’re making our collections more browsable, both for staff and for researchers. Since every call number has a subject associated with it, we can conduct both granular and broad searches in our catalog (and if you’re staff, in the stacks). We’re also making it easier for our staff to pinpoint the locations of items. With 120+ call numbers, there are lots of pockets in the stacks where an item might live. Library of Congress will not only unify our call number system but will also create stronger shelving practices. There will be a place for everything, and everything in its place.

Some of these advantages won’t be felt until we move into our new space and finish out the reclassification project. Others are already making their presence known. Because our call numbers are now tied to specific subjects, we can use our current data to pinpoint collection strengths, weaknesses, and gaps. We’ve been able to develop some very cool data visualization:

data visualization

While we knew (and probably could have guessed) that a substantial proportion of our print work falls into Language and Literature, other topics are a little more surprising. Who knew we had works about general Agriculture (S), Plant Culture (SB), and Animal Culture (SF)?  I certainly didn’t, but now that I know, I might just be tempted to brush up on my knowledge of farm life.

There’s still a lot to do, but we’re making steady progress in our reclassification project and our many other move preparation projects.  And we’re very happy to say the Rubenstein Library is on the move!

rube on the move

A special thanks to Noah Huffman and Angela Zoss in Data Visualization for creating the incredible visualization featured in this blog post. It’s a real beauty.

 Post contributed by Liz Adams, Collections Move Coordinator at the Rubenstein. 

 

New Look for our Homepage

[Update, October 15: Our new website (slated for launch yesterday) isn’t quite ready, but is coming soon.]

As you may have heard and will certainly notice, the Rubenstein Library’s website is getting a new look!  As part of a library-wide website redesign, a new version of Rubenstein Library’s homepage will be launching today.

New Rubenstein Library Homepage

 

What’s changed?

  • Updates to the tabbed search box on our homepage:
  • Catalog: Search our catalog for both archival collections and print materials
  • Collection Guides: Formerly known as Finding Aids, but you’re still able to search our 2,000+ collection guides which provide provide in-depth descriptions of our archival collections
  • Digitized Collections: Now you can search our digitized collections right from our homepage
  • New location for logging in to your special collections request account and for getting in touch with one of our librarians, both in the upper-right hand corner of our homepage:log in and ask

  • You’ll also find that content throughout our website has been updated to be more current and easier to read.
  • Getting to our homepage from the Duke University Libraries’ main homepage is a little different now too.  Look for us in the header under the “Libraries” dropdown menu:

Main Library Homepage

 

What hasn’t changed?

  • Requesting Materials.  We’re still using the same online request system that we implemented a year ago that lets you place requests online to use material in our reading room.  Though we do have improved directions for registering as a researcher and requesting material on our new site.

Video Killed the Research Woes

With the Fall Semester well underway, we wanted to let you know about a couple of videos that can make your research at the Rubenstein Library even easier.  For example, not sure where to find us since we moved?

Know that you know where we are and you want to come do research, check out our other videos:

KIC’n It at the Rubenstein Library

As our faithful readers know, back in February we finished moving our collections in preparation for our upcoming renovation, but there is one thing that didn’t make the trip with us: our old photocopier. Instead we’ve upgraded to a KIC Scanner for our reading room. What’s a KIC Scanner?

KIC Scanner
This is a KIC Scanner

It’s a free, self-service scanner that make it easy to produce high resolution color scans. The KIC Scanner can accommodate material up to 17 x 24 inches, and it has an adjustable bed that makes it possible to scan most books without injuring their spines.

You can save your file in a variety of formats including PDF, JPG, and RTF, and for typed or printed material you can also create a searchable PDF. Once you’re done scanning, you can email the resulting files to yourself or save them to a USB flash drive.

Sample Scan
A scan from The Nature-Printed British Sea-Weeds, made on our KIC scanner

Post Contributed by Kate Collins, Research Services Librarian.

New Office Hours for the Medical Center Archives!

Nursing students study in the School of Medicine Library. Courtesy of the Duke University Medical Center Archives.

Nursing students study in the School of Medicine Library. Courtesy of the Duke University Medical Center Archives.

The University Archives has collections from every area of the Duke campus—except the Medical Center. Those materials are collected by the Medical Center Archives, which has an off-campus facility. The location of the office is not far from campus but not easily walkable or accessible by bus.

Recently, however, our friends at the Med Center Archives have started providing regular office hours at the Medical Center Library in the Seeley Mudd Building. Each day from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM, they are available on Level 1 in Room 102A to meet with patrons, explain resources, and even (with advance notice) provide access to historical materials.

If you want to make an appointment with a Med Center Archives staff member, you can simply stop by, or contact them at dumc.archives(at)mc.duke.edu or (919) 660-1144.

Post contributed by Val Gillispie, Duke University Archivist.

John Hope Franklin’s Grownup School List

We are in the middle of processing the John Hope Franklin Papers, and it has been inspiring to see Franklin’s wide range of intellectual interests and community engagements. He was a very busy man! One recent discovery, mixed in with folded programs and family correspondence, is Franklin’s “Grownup School List,” an all-encompassing list he created of must-reads in African American history. Always a humble scholar, he omitted his own monumental works. We’ve reproduced the Grownup School List here, along with Franklin’s annotations. You can find all of these books, along with Franklin’s own extensive scholarship, online or in the Duke Libraries.

PicMonkey Collage

Post contributed by Meghan Lyon, Technical Services Archivist.  This is the second in a series of posts on interesting documents in our collections to celebrate Black History Month.