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CUL Newsletter

Summer 2008


SMU Libraries Executive Meeting was held in Santa Fe, NM on Thursday, July 17 at the home of Linda Marcus. Mike Schmidt and Glenna Goodacre hosted a reception the evening before for both the Libraries and Taos Executive Boards.

Division News

Friends of the SMU Libraries/Colophon - Grants 2008

The Friends of the SMU Libraries Grants Committee met on April 28, 2008 to review grant proposals submitted by the libraries. The committee was chaired by Toni Terry and included Judy McMillin, Karen Mortazavi and Donna Wellington. Amy Carver was ex-officio. The following grants were approved by the committee:

  • $5,835 to the G. William Jones Film and Video Collection at the Hamon Arts Library for the preservation treatment of 12 35mm feature films.
  • $4,500 to Central University Libraries to purchase electronic access to Nature Online back to 1987.
  • $3,500 to the DeGolyer Library to add to the Colophon Collection of modern American literature.
  • $2,000 to Bridwell Library and the DeGolyer Library for the Sam Houston portrait restoration project.
  • $2,000 to the Jerry Bywaters Special Collections of the Hamon Arts Library for the conservation of sixty works of art on paper by noted Texas regionalist artist Merritt Mauzey.
  • $1,995 to Central University Libraries for the purchase of the International Encyclopedia of Communication Online.
  • $1,776 to Bridwell Library for the Encyclopedia of Women and Islamic Cultures edited by Suad Joseph.
  • $1,000 to the Hamon Arts Library for partial funding of Illustracion artistic, a late nineteenth- and twentieth-century journal from 1882-1917.
  • $748.70 to the Exhibits Committee to purchase new book cradles and new books about making exhibits.
  • $550 to the Fort Burgwin Library for the purchase of the book Taos Artists and their Patrons 1898-1950 by Dean A. Porter, Teresa Hayes Ebie, Suzan Campbell and the Thomas Gilcrease Institute of American History and Art.
  • $500 to the Business Information Center for DMA 2007 Response Rate Trends Report.
  • $350 to the Business Information Center for the Guide to Indian Markets – 2006.
Amount of grants: $24,754.70

Grants approved for yearly distribution:

  • $3,000 to CUL to assist in funding the production of the CUL annual report publication.
  • $2,000 to support two Library School Scholarship Awards. This year’s recipients are Greg Dawson from the Hamon Arts Library and Melanie Gibson from the Bridwell Library.
  • $500 to the SMU Libraries to support the Effective Use of Information Technology Staff Award
  • $500 to the SMU Libraries to support the Employee of the Year Staff Award
TOTAL of all 2008 grants: $30,754.70

Rare and Special Bytes: Special Collections in the Digital Age, June 24-27

Cynthia Franco, Marna Morland, Nancy Rubenstein, and Katherine Schacht attended the 49th Annual RBMS Preconference in Los Angeles, California. Conference attendees had a wide array of workshops, plenary sessions, and seminars to attend. Optional tours were available to the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, the UCLA Special Collections, the Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens, the Getty Research Institute, and the Getty Villa Malibu.

Below are the participants’ highlights.

Cynthia Franco:

In the session, Rare Book Cataloging: Making Decisions, Setting Priorities, Deborah J. Leslie stated that “good enough” cataloging is what we should all strive for, but also stressed not to “skimp on authority control.” Alvan Bergman figured that at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, it costs about $13 per book to catalog. E.C. Schroeder at Yale calculated it costs his library $50 per book to catalog. Schroeder says each cataloger averages about 100 books per month. His cataloging department priorities include completing the yearly acquisitions, and metadata for digitized items which could have potential research value. In another session, Karen Calhoun said that cataloging backlogs are more embarrassing than failure to provide full-level cataloging. Minimum level cataloging is good enough. She encourages all libraries to share their metadata. She believes in quantity over quality

Richard Szary of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, called for a more expeditious approach to digitization which requires prioritization, incorporating it into normal workflows, and creating a cache of repurposed materials. They use the Scribe machine, which allows them to scan 300-500 pages per hour, 5 minutes per map from their Cutter Sanborn map collection, 800 slides per half hours for carousel slides. They scan at 300 ppi 8 bit color at 4x5 inches. They have about a 72 hours turnaround time for scanning orders when using the Scribe. Regarding metadata, he talked about the “no field left behind” syndrome. He said libraries must repress the desire for comprehensive item level description.

Marna Morland:
  • I attended the UCLA Special Collections and Getty Research Institute tours. At the Getty, we had tours behind the scenes of the Painting Conservation, Paper Conservation and Manuscripts Departments, all under the supervision of security guards. Each department gave us insight into projects they are currently working on. Most of the projects are exhibition driven. We also toured the Research Institute (library). At the Research Institute, we toured the entire facility, including the temperature-controlled vaults. They identify items by accession numbers at the Institute.
  • The downsides of digitizing special collections were mentioned: intellectual property lawsuits, increased visibility, contested interpretations, and the difficulty of making items comprehensible out of context.
  • I enjoyed looking over Web sites of other digitization projects:
    • University of North Carolina’s DocSouth - http://docsouth.unc.edu/
    • Google Book Search: http://books.google.com/
    • Open Content Alliance: http://www.opencontentalliance.org/
  • There were Web sites given to help aide in intellectual property and licensing issues:
    • Peter Hirtle’s “Most Excellent Chart” - http://www.copyright.cornell.edu/public_domain/
    • Exception 108 for Libraries and Archives - http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/108.html
    • Four Factor Test of Fair Use - http://fairuse.stanford.edu/Copyright_and_Fair_Use_Overview/chapter9/9-b.html
    • Recommended reading - http://www.dlib.org/dlib/november07/kaufman/11kaufman.html
  • Some examples of what is going on in the digital world:
    • Project Bamboo: http://www.projectbamboo.org/
    • Aquafer (Digital Library Federation): http://www.diglib.org/aquifer/
    • Microsoft Photosynth: http://labs.live.com/photosynth/
    • Harvard’s Open Collection Program: http://ocp.hul.harvard.edu/
Nancy Rubenstein:
General points made at the preconference from those librarians who have had a lot of experience with digitization:
  • No digitization without metadata.
  • Good enough cataloging is good enough. Get over perfection and OCD (obsessive compulsive description).
  • Follow the lead of archivists and concentrate on collection level.
  • Access is not king; it is the beginning.
  • Just do it.
  • Digitize with abandon. Boutique projects are falling out of favor. We should not be designing curated subsets and presuming we are leading the way. Let the scholar or the user decide on the value.
Katherine Schacht:
  • I attended the workshop: Cataloging Cultural Objects (CCO) for Rare Books and Manuscripts. In addition to works of art and cultural objects such as artifacts, a speaker suggested the CCO standard would be useful for cataloging items within a “parent” work, such as an engraving from an eighteenth century book. In one of the cataloging exercises, we used a facsimile of an illumination from a ca. 1270 manuscript. Later, we saw the actual manuscript and beautiful gold leaf illumination on display in the behind-the-scenes tour of the Manuscripts Department at The Getty.
  • Recommended book “Introduction to Metadata” Rev. ed., edited by Murtha Baca.
  • Recommended website

Fort Burgwin Library

By Carol Baker

The Fort Burgwin Library of the SMU-in-Taos Program began as a small room in the restored cavalry fort located about 6 miles southeast of Taos, New Mexico. The Fort was named after Capt John Burgwin who died in the Taos Pueblo Revolt of 1847. Now the library is housed in the Fred Wendorf Information Commons constructed on the original site of the fort hospital along with the campus 24 x 7 computer lab.

SMU-in-Taos (including the library) is beginning collaborative efforts with the University of New Mexico at Taos faculty and staff. One of the first events, The Great Cap Exchange, was held on June 12 in the dining hall with UNM Taos English faculty, Pam Brody, who swapped caps with SMU alumni.

One of the most satisfying instances of resource sharing and outreach this summer occurred when I was able to provide a unique videotape to the members of the Picuris Pueblo for viewing at a family gathering. The tape included interviews of Pueblo family members who had never seen the video or who had family members in the video. The video was made by Dr. Mike Adler of SMU and Dr. Herbert Dick about the history, and culture of the Picuris Indians

The dining hall staff at the Fort has Sunday evenings off, so faculty and other staff cook dinner for the students. I regularly don my blue SMU-in-Taos apron to cook and serve burgers, hot dogs, cole slaw and potato salad under the trees outside the building. The dining hall dumpster is often the location for the black bear sightings.

pic pic

Fort Burgwin is a historic site and is still listed on some vacation and travel guides for northern New Mexico. Since the Library is located as one of the first Buildings that visitors see when they enter the campus, I talk to many vacationing families who are in search of the Pot Creek Pueblo site or the old cavalry ruins. One of the most interesting visitors was the War Chief from the Taos Pueblo. Another unique reference question arose this year as to the location of the grave of Capt. John Burgwin. His grave was not located on the Fort grounds. One morning, I conducted a thorough search of the Kit Carson Cemetery, reading old tombstones. Research indicates that he is buried in an unmarked Soldiers section of the Kit Carson Cemetery near the grave of Mabel Dodge Luhan.


The weather in the mountains of Carson National Forest can be very unpredictable. Twice this summer (once as late as June 5) we were all surprised (at least the ones from Texas) when it began to snow.

One of the things I enjoy about my work at SMU-in-Taos is the close contact with students. I function not only as librarian, but also computer lab manager, hiking trail advisor, health advisor ( when the students and faculty get sick), car repair consultant and intermediary for student judicial problems at 3:00 in the morning as well as power outages in the middle of the night.

The creek on the SMU-in-Taos campus.

The SMU in Taos academic schedule includes three terms. The May Term is the shortest term (18 days) and therefore the most hectic. The June term is longer (30 days) and typically offers more courses such as the Archaeology Field School, Photography and Painting. The checkout count for first two terms was 140 items, with 1,418 users, 1,931 reserve usage and 123 items used in-library. Because the courses are condensed, library hours are generous. Weekday hours are from 8:00 AM until 10:00 PM.

Cook out


In conjunction with National Library Week, April 13 – 19th , CUL held a cookout on the west side of FLC on Wednesday, April 16th – Thursday, April 17th


Staff News

Another Memorable Trip - By Maria Isabel Garcia

Enjoying two little cousins (third generation): Alexandre (5-years-old) and Gabriel (16 months)

This year’s annual voyage to Portugal was delayed by a week, but I have to admit the waiting was worth it. It was the best vacation, yet! I did not visit any libraries this time, but spent time visiting and being visited by family and friends and being a “pilgrim” to familiar as well as new sites. I was surprised to find a new huge and beautiful church in the Sanctuary of Fatima to gather the thousands that attend Mass when the weather does not allow an outdoor celebration.

New church dedicated to the Holy Trinity at Fatima, Portugal

In my father’s hometown of Mangualde I visited two of the historical churches that have been renovated since my last visit. One is of high emotional significance to me since my father was baptized in it. On a trip to Northern Spain I visited Santiago de Compostela for the first time and got a chance to”embrace the saint” at the main altar.


Harvard’s Curator of Maps: an Interview with David Cobb

By Dawn Youngblood, PhD, Curator, Edwin J. Foscue Map Library, Southern Methodist University Dallas TX 75275

An excerpt from the article:

"I sat down to an in-depth interview with David in his Cambridge office within Pusey Library with the goal of learn¬ing more about who he was and how he did it. The interview lasted two hours, and I still felt we had barely scratched the surface. For this reason, part of the interview appears here in base line and part – beginning with how David went about building a staff from one to half a dozen or more employees – will be published at a later date in the Journal of Map and Geography Libraries."

To read more:

2008 Harvard’s Curator of Maps: an Interview with David Cobb for Baseline 29(3): 23-30.

Exhibition News

Hamon Arts Library

Variation and Theme
The current exhibition in the Hawn Gallery, “Variation and Theme,” runs through October 4 and features works by Vance Wingate. A former gallery owner, Mr. Wingate received his MFA in Studio Art in May and assumes the position of coordinator of exhibition galleries at Texas Woman's University this summer. He describes his work for the exhibition as follows:

Humble triangles on a dress or in the weaving of a basket or the very sophisticated brick walls of Iranian towers share an ability to make us wonder what they mean, because like moths or butterflies, we are attracted to an abstraction that seems to be devoid of cultural specificity. It is only meant to be beautiful. Oleg Grabar


The structures in my work are derived from typography and letter construction, printed texts, decorative type ornaments, logos and symbols. By drawing and re-drawing selected images, and making modifications to the original structure, elements are distilled to their most essential visual form. Throughout the drawing process, forms shift between organic, calligraphic and emblematic. They are images that are seen in the context of the history of forms that precede them. My compositions allude to subtle currents or patterned movement that seem natural, scientific or mechanical. Figures collect, separate, merge and change within these patterns, assembling towards a fluid design. Surfaces are created through a gradual process of accrued layering and then degraded through selective removal of specific parts. I work toward developing a seductively uncomfortable optical experience, emphasizing visual and textural differences where the figure and ground are equally present.

Fodren Library Center

Games Across the Board: An Exhibit of Board Games (June 2nd, 2008 - August 22nd, 2008)

DeGolyer Library

DeGolyer's Exhibits site

Newsletter Editor

Beverly Mitchell
Fine Arts and Dance Librarian
Hamon Arts Library
Southern Methodist University
Email: bmitchel@smu.edu
Phone: 214-768-2796

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