A Farewell to Paper

John J. Burns Library will be saying farewell to paper forms and introducing the Burns Library Account in Fall 2018, allowing researchers to register, request materials, and schedule visits online.

Paper and pencil

Burns Library is saying farewell to paper–paper forms, that is!

Researchers who visit John J. Burns Library and other special collections libraries are accustomed to filling out forms by hand to request rare books and archival materials they would like to use in the reading room. However, Summer 2018 will be the last time Burns Library researchers are given paper forms alongside the reference staff’s smiles and offers to help. Starting this fall, we will be launching a new Burns Library Account system through which students, faculty, and other researchers will register, request materials, and schedule reading room appointments online, and even on the go.

Sounds great! Tell me more about what I will be able to do from my account.

You will be able to curate your Burns Library research experience — on campus or off, at any time of the day or night — through the links that will be added to the BC Libraries’ online catalog that allow you to request items through your Burns Library Account. By providing a date for your research visit as you request items, Burns Library staff will have the materials ready and waiting for you when you arrive in our reading room. You will be able to schedule visits for the next day or  as far in advance as you need, enabling you to build a series of lists for future research. The new system will also allow you access to a convenient record of your previous requests, making it easier to remember what you have worked with and when, export citations, and even request the same materials again. You will even be able to submit copy requests through your account.

I’m a faculty member. How will my Burns Library Account help with my teaching?

A stack of paper forms

Your Burns Library Account will also facilitate selecting and reserving materials for Burns Library class visits and assignments. You will be able to work collaboratively with the Burns instruction staff to compile lists of materials most suited to your class needs, and review and update those lists when your class returns in future semesters. The Burns Library Account system can also facilitate course assignments using special collections materials. You will be able to provide a simple link to catalog records for the materials you’d like students to use. They will then  be able to register, request the materials, and schedule their appointments in the reading room to complete their assignments.

Almost too good to be true. Are other libraries using this system?

You bet! Since its introduction in 2009, more than 60 institutions in the US, UK, and Australia have adopted Aeon — the software system that will power your Burns Library Account. Created and supported by Atlas Systems, Aeon is based on the architecture of ILLiad, the interlibrary loan request system that BC Libraries users are already familiar with. Some researchers may have already used Aeon at another library. In the Boston area, Houghton and many other special collections libraries at Harvard have implemented Aeon, as well as the Massachusetts Historical Society and Tufts University, and soon the Boston Athenaeum. Each institution maintains its own system for privacy reasons, so if you have an account elsewhere, you’ll need to create a new one for Burns Library.

I feel more confident now. Who’s to thank?

Thank your lucky stars and Golden Eagle Phil Mooney ‘66 and his wife, Kathy. Phil decided to direct his fiftieth reunion gift to advancing the use of technology in Burns Library. It was a natural choice. As director of archives for the Coca-Cola Company for more than 35 years, Phil dreamed up the idea for the original World of Coke museum in Atlanta and helped make it a reality. At Phil’s request, Coca-Cola kicked in a matching gift to help make our new account system a reality. So come to Burns Library for a rare book and a smile. It’s the real thing.

“The pause that refreshes” … I get it! When can I start?

The Burns Library Account system will be introduced on August 15, in time for the fall semester. As we get closer to our launch date (Assumption Day!), be on the lookout for more information on how to create and use your account.

Irish Music Archives Acquires Joe Derrane’s Accordion

Accordion donated by Derrane’s family to Burns Library is on view in the Irish Room.

John J. Burns Library is delighted to announce the acquisition of Joe Derrane’s Gaillard accordion, a gift to the Irish Music Archives from his children, Joseph P. Derrane, Jr. and Sheila A. Harvey. The highlight of the Joe Derrane Irish Music Materials at Burns Library, this two-row, D/C# button accordion is on display in the Irish Room.

Joe Derrane (1930-2016), a musician and composer whose music career spanned over 60 years, was known for his innovative approach to Irish traditional music on the D/C# button accordion. Born in Boston to Irish immigrants Patrick J. Derrane and Helen E. (Galvin) Derrane, he studied single-row melodeon from age 10 to 12 with Cork-born melodeon player Jerry O’Brien. As a teenager, Derrane taught himself to play piano accordion and D/C# button accordion. His early musical influences also included recordings of German-American melodeonist John J. Kimmel (1866-1942).

Photo of Joe Derrane
Photo of Joe Derrane with his Gaillard accordion. Photo by Sheila A. Harvey circa 2006.

From the mid-1940s to circa 1960, Derrane performed Irish traditional music across Boston, appearing frequently in Dudley Street dance hall bands. He was also a regular soloist on live radio. Copley Records invited him to record commercially while he was a high school senior, and he went on to record with collaborators such as his mentor Jerry O’Brien.

A series of gigs brought Derrane to New York City where he met Anne Connaughton. The couple married in 1955, and soon were settled in the Boston area with their two children. With Boston’s Irish dance hall audiences declining, Derrane switched to other instruments and music styles. Between 1962 and 1989, while holding administrative positions at the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), he performed jazz, pop, and repertoire from other ethnic traditions. Derrane retired from the MBTA in the late 1980s, and by 1990 retired from music altogether.

In 1993, when Rego Irish Records and Tapes obtained rights to re-release his 78-rpm recordings, Derrane’s music was heard by many for the first time. The CD Irish Accordion caught the attention of journalist Earle Hitchner, who interviewed Derrane and persuaded him to try the button accordion again. After six months of intense practice, his long hiatus from the D/C# button accordion ended with a highly successful performance at Virginia’s 1994 Wolf Trap Festival.

Photo of Gaillard accordion.
Photo of Gaillard accordion. Joe Derrane Irish Music Materials, IM.M208.2017, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

Derrane’s choice of accordion was integral to his playing style. In the 1990s, the D/C# button accordion system that Derrane favored was no longer popular for Irish music; it had been eclipsed by the B/C system. Nevertheless, he stayed with D/C# tuning, purchasing a custom instrument in 1995 from Bertrand Gaillard, a diatonic accordion maker based in France. In 1997 he purchased a second accordion from Gaillard with a new set of modifications. Derrane played the instrument on recordings and in live performances from 1997 until 2010. In 2004, the National Endowment for the Arts awarded him a National Heritage Fellowship, the nation’s highest honor in the traditional arts.

The display of Derrane’s accordion at Burns Library underscores his close ties with Boston College through performances and teaching.  He was a long-time musical associate and friend of Boston College faculty member Séamus Connolly, who served as Sullivan Artist-in-Residence at BC until retiring in 2015. Visitors are welcome to view the instrument while visiting Burns Library.  For Library hours and information, we invite you to check our website or inquire via our contact form.

Updates in the Digital Studio

The Digital Studio team has been working to improve the variety of software offerings and make updates to the Sound Room space.

The Digital Studio has been working hard this semester to increase our offerings for students and staff. Our Sound Room, which is a small recording studio located off our main lab space, has been upgraded with an application of noise reducing foam tile. While this does not make the space sound proof, it does reduce background noise and improve overall audio quality. The Sound Room is equipped with a range of software, including Sibelius, Finale, and Audacity, and is a great spot to check out if you are looking to record a podcast or compose a song. Use of this room is not limited to coursework-you can reserve it anytime to work on a personal project. It can be booked here: ds.bc.edu/digital-studio.

The updates to the Sound Room in the Digital Studio

Additionally, we have added a few new programs to our collection of software: Tableau Desktop and OpenRefine. Tableau is a data processing software that allows users to create a variety of visualizations, including charts, maps, and graphs. It is both powerful and easy to use, and we have offered many Coffee & Code events for users of all experience levels to try it out. OpenRefine is an open source software designed to clean up messy data. It has the capabilities to implement edits over huge quantities of datasets, transform data to other formats, and lots of other neat functions. Take a look at our past events, and keep an eye out for more here: ds.bc.edu/events. We’ll be offering more workshops in the coming months, but if you want to get started before that, let us know and we are happy to provide one-on-one support.

The Digital Studio staff is always happy to assist with any of the software that we offer. We are also always open to new software suggestions, be sure to check out our Software Request Policy for details: libguides.bc.edu/dssoftwarerequestpolicy.

Online Course Support

BC Librarians are already providing online course support and exploring how to enrich online courses further with technology tools for online instruction, targeted electronic acquisitions, and scanning of print materials for e-reserves.

The Woods College of Advancing Studies has plunged into online instruction, and the Lynch School of Education is poised to follow. The BC Libraries are already collaborating with the Center for Teaching Excellence to develop a palette of online teaching strategies and tools to support these and other online course offerings as they emerge. Library staff has been focusing on learning online tools for instruction and consultations, assembling links to electronic resources in dedicated course guides, and adding electronic materials to the library collection.

Enid Karr, Senior Research Librarian/Bibliographer, and Sally Wyman, Head, Collection Development & Research Services provided support for two online courses in the Woods College Sustainability Professional Certificate Program, taught by Dr. Jennifer Cole in Spring 2018. For “Eating and the Environment,” they team-taught an introduction to online library materials using the BigBlueButton conference integration in Canvas. For “Wetlands Science and Policy,” schedules didn’t permit synchronous instruction, so Sally and Enid pre-recorded a video class session with Panopto Lecture Capture, which students could watch on their own schedules. They also embedded customized  library guides in Canvas.

They both foresee deepening contact with students in these courses by using Zoom or Google Hangout for video consultations, and establishing online “office hours”.

The collaboration with Dr. Cole began with emails early in the Fall of 2017, months before the beginning of the classes; plans were finalized via Facetime conferences. Enid notes that lead time is especially important for planning library collaborations in online courses, because so much technology is involved.

Another successful collaboration, Julia Hughes, Senior Research Librarian/Bibliographer, worked with Dr. John Fitzgibbon of the Center for Teaching Excellence and instructor in Woods College, to provide materials for a course in Comparative Politics in Fall 2017. Their efforts focused on both building the collection and creating an online guide. Dr. Fitzgibbon said the guide created a foundation to create student assignments “that developed their skills as researchers and political scientists” by providing “all the academic, data, and media resources that they would need to be successful in their work.”

An early start during the summer gave enough lead time to focus discussion and planning on the library collection. Materials Julia assembled opened some new areas for Dr. Fitzgibbon to explore with his students, and some assignments he had planned revealed gaps in the collection that Julia could amend through purchases. Also,the library reserves department had time to purchase and scan print materials–such as textbook chapters–to make them available as online reserves. Again, Dr. Fitzgibbon noted: “Amy Howard and her team in Course Reserves allowed me to create a textbook specifically for the topics I wanted to cover in the course, at no cost to the student.”

Julia said the early collaboration allowed the course to grow organically, beyond the limitations of existing resources. Dr. Fitzgibbon added that with the library’s work  “I was able to create innovative assignments knowing the library had provided the relevant material students needed to be successful.”

Enid Karr and Steve Runge, Learning Commons Manager, have created a guide for anyone developing an online course: BC Libraries support for your online course. The guide covers how to find library help for your online students, finding & requesting appropriate materials for your class, adding a librarian to Canvas, how to access software and citation management tools, and finally copyright and fair use issues.

If you will be teaching an online course in the Fall, please reach out to your subject librarian to discuss how a librarian can enrich your course with the best possible online resources and support.

Antique Coptic Textiles in McMullen Museum

Boston College and the BC Libraries received a gift of Late Antique Coptic Textiles and a related library.

The McMullen Museum of Art at Boston College received a generous gift of thirty four Late Antique Coptic textiles from the Newton collectors Donald and Barbara Tellalian.   The textiles range in time from the IV to VIII centuries. In prior years these pieces were exhibited at the MFA Boston, RISD, and other venues as well as appearing in the McMullen Museum’s  “Roman in the Provinces: Art on the Periphery of Empire” exhibit in 2015.

As part of the gift, there is also an accompanying collection of 129 books and folios that will be added to Boston College Libraries.  In addition to books on Coptic art and textiles, there are titles on a variety of subjects such as art, architecture, textiles and costumes of ancient Egypt, Armenia, Greece, Rome, Islamic and Byzantine civilizations, and more.  The collection also includes books on the restoration and conservation of textiles, as well as several museum catalogs and catalogs of private collections that hold Coptic Textiles.  Some of the books, such as “Nouveaux Textiles de Palmyre”, cover geographic areas that are sadly out of reach to researches for now.  The depth and breadth of this book collection is amazing and makes it a unique and precious source for the study of Late Antique Coptic Textiles.  We are very fortunate and grateful to Donald and Barbara Tellalian that we received this wonderful gift.

Late Antique Coptic textiles

Catholic Intellectual Tradition Scanning Project at the Boston College Libraries

The BC Libraries digitize the Catholic Intellectual Tradition curriculum created by C21.

The Boston College Libraries (BCL) collaborated with The Church in the 21st Century Center (C21) to scan the C21 booklet “The Catholic Intellectual Tradition: A Conversation at Boston College” and its accompanying discussion guide, “A Guide for Conversation”. Together, the documents create a structured curriculum to assist with discussions and exploration of the Catholic intellectual tradition. Members of the C21 Advisory Committee were charged with expanding access to these materials and promoting their use. Partnering with the Library on this digitization project facilitated both of these efforts. The BCL scanning project has opened up opportunities for discussion about the Catholic intellectual tradition, making it accessible to a greater audience.

The C21 Center at Boston College is a catalyst and resource for the renewal of the Catholic Church in the United States. Drawing from both the Boston College community and others, the C21 Center engages in critical conversations facing the Catholic community focusing on four critical issues: handing on the faith, roles and relationships in the Church, sexuality in the Catholic tradition, and the Catholic intellectual tradition.

The BCL involvement in the packet of Catholic Intellectual Tradition materials (CIT) began when a sub-committee of the C21 Advisory Committee met with Scott Britton, Associate University Librarian, and Margaret Cohen, Head Librarian Educational Initiatives & Research. The sub-committee had been formed determine ways to broaden the use of the Catholic Intellectual Tradition materials. The members of the sub-committee are: Dr. Robert Newton, Special Assistant to the President, Office of the President; Brian Gareau, Associate Professor, Sociology Department; Ms. Jessica Graf, Assistant Director, Residential Ministry, Office of Residential Life; Dr. Mary Troxell, Associate Professor of the Practice, Philosophy Department; and Barbara Adams Hebard, Conservator, John J. Burns Library. In addition to Britton and Cohen, the following library staff members contributed to the digitization effort: John O’Connor, Cheryl Ostrowski, Jack Kearney, Chris Mayo, Betsy Post, Chris Houston Ponchak, MTS, Naomi Rubin, Paige Walker, and Meg Critch

Britton and Cohen were immediately helpful in getting the CIT materials scanned and linked to the library website. They also invited Gregory Kalsheur SJ, Dean of Morrissey College of Arts & Sciences, to give a talk about the CIT at the Library All Staff meeting on March 6. In preparation for the March meeting, Chris Strauber, Senior Research Librarian/Bibliographer, gathered the print versions of the CIT materials as well as related publications from the library collections and created a CIT display in the main lobby of the O’Neill Library.

Library staff have begun using the digitized material in a monthly discussion series about the interface of Catholic Intellectual Tradition and Catholic Higher Education. Library staff are encouraged to consult the materials prior to each discussion.

The Catholic Intellectual Tradition scanning project at the Boston College Libraries has already successfully worked to make the materials more available. Because all Boston College Departments now have easy access to the materials, they may wish to follow the Library model and engage in discussion sessions based on the C21 curriculum. Additionally, C21 can easily distribute the CIT materials to interested institutions and individuals because the BCL has completed this important scanning project, using the following link to the Catholic Intellectual Tradition: a guide for conversation – http://hdl.handle.net/2345/bc-ir:107691. Readers who wish to learn more about the Church in the 21st Century Center can find their website at: http://www.bc.edu/church21.html

Exhibit Highlights from John J. Burns Library

Burns Library offers three exhibits each year to highlight the breadth of its unique collections and to spark connections between them and the interests of Boston College’s academic community.

John J. Burns Library continues to highlight its unique collections through a regular series of exhibits installed in our main corridor. A glimpse at this year’s exhibits suggests the breadth of content available for research, teaching, and enjoyment. We invite students, faculty, and the general public to view our exhibits during our regular open hours. We also welcome exhibit proposals and other exhibit-centered collaborations that strongly align with Burns Library content.

An object from The Object in the Archives: Networks and Materiality at Burns LibraryFrom February through June, Burns Library presented The Object in the Archives: Networks and Materiality at Burns Library, an exhibit curated by Rachel A. Ernst, Ph.D. ’18, and longtime Burns Library Reading Room assistant. In her dissertation, “Mattering: Agentic Objects in Victorian Literature,” Dr. Ernst examined objects that have agency within the 19th-century novel and the ways in which those objects reshape their storyworlds. Shifting her lens to the holdings at Burns Library, she chose representative objects from 30 different collections and grouped her selections into four categories: personal, professional, sacred, and leisure. She then asked the visitor to consider how objects move from personal possession to archival artifact, and the relationships and connections that develop between and across objects, collections, and researchers. For a more in-depth look into her curatorial process, see the entry she contributed to our Burns Library Blog.

An object from The Object in the Archives: Networks and Materiality at Burns LibraryOur Summer 2018 exhibit is Dreams of Art & Glory: Book Craft by the Roycrofters. Elbert Hubbard founded Roycroft Press as a private press in East Aurora, New York in 1894 when he was unable to find a publisher for his work Little Journeys to the Homes of the Great. The Roycrofters — a  community of craftspeople and artists attracted to Hubbard’s philosophies — flourished within the widespread Arts and Crafts movement for several decades, before declining after Hubbard’s death in 1915. The exhibition features volumes from the Boston College Libraries that highlight Roycrofter printing and bookbinding designs, including the modest Little Journeys pamphlet series, beautifully printed and hand decorated texts, and stunning modelled leather bindings. Works from other artists and presses are also displayed, highlighting the worldwide influence of the Arts and Crafts movement.

An object from The Object in the Archives: Networks and Materiality at Burns LibraryAlso on display this summer, on the Bapst Library landing outside Gargan Hall, is Viewpoints: Reactions from the Boston College Community, a look at how students have responded to the current events of their days. Diaries, letters, photographs, and poetry from the Boston College Archives allow us to cultivate a connection through time by way of BC students who were serving in the military, confronting racial strife, or grappling with difficult choices.

Another object from The Object in the Archives: Networks and Materiality at Burns LibraryFor the Fall/Winter exhibit, Burns Library Archives staff are in the midst of surveying hundreds of linear feet of typescript and manuscript documents to uncover doodles, drawings, sketches, sculptures, and other artwork to demonstrate that there’s so much more to archives than just words.

Stay tuned to John J. Burns Library social media feeds and blog for more information on installation dates and highlights. We hope you’ll visit soon to experience the unique content our collections have to offer.

Bapst Library Receives Multi Volume Encyclopedia of Buddhist Arts

The first comprehensive reference collection of Buddhist art is now available at Bapst library.

Chris Strauber, Julie Hughes, and Fine Arts faculty Aurelia Campbell accepted the gift on January 28th at the Fo Guang Shan Temple.In January 2018, Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Temple in Cambridge donated a 22 volume English Language Encyclopedia of Buddhist Art to the Boston College Libraries.  The Fo Guang Shan Temple congregation has 250 temples around the world and this encyclopedia represents the collective 12-years long effort of many monks and scholars.  The encyclopedia has nearly 10, 000 entries, over 14, 000 pictures, and appears to be the first comprehensive reference collection of Buddhist art in the world.   This gift was enthusiastically welcomed by Fine Arts, Theology, and Asian Studies faculty as a valuable and much needed addition to the Boston College Libraries’ collection on Buddhism.  Chris Strauber, Julie Hughes, and Fine Arts faculty Aurelia Campbell accepted the gift on January 28th at the Fo Guang Shan Temple.

Finding “Just Right”: the Organizational Goldilocks Zone

For collaboration and innovation, the Boston College Libraries is just right.

“When Goldilocks went into the home of the three bears, she found that some things were too hot, too cold, too hard, or too soft. But in the middle, things were just right”: the Goldilocks Zone.

The phrase has been widely used in astrophysics and astrobiology in the search for life beyond earth, trying to identify exoplanets that could support life as we know it. Such planets would orbit their suns in a zone that supports liquid water, the building block of organic life, in an area not too hot or cold, but just right for life to thrive, like earth.

Parenthetically, my own current interpretation of this theory is really that we are searching for places where DNA can survive, and that in many respects DNA is actually God’s fingerprint for life, in all its forms. My best guess is that the universe is replete with DNA, and as such, life is probably ubiquitous, and the sum is far greater than the parts.

But although the Goldilocks Zone has been adopted in science, organizations have been slow to realize its implications for their own work. I submit, however, that Boston College generally, and the Libraries in particular reside in an ideal space because of the confluence of factors that allow our University to thrive in innovative ways, without losing our unique identity or mission-based focus.

Based on my experiences in other research libraries, and among colleagues in the Association of Research Libraries, I am continually assured that Boston College is in a sweet spot that allows for big dreams, where anything is theoretically possible, but small enough that we know each other and relationships are meaningful and guided by our common mission.

In fact, BC has been seen as an innovator within the ARL community, through creative spaces, emergent programs (digital scholarship), the engagement of our Burns special collections in undergraduate education, and our organizational culture that strives for inclusion and cross-departmental collaboration on initiatives. In that sense, all parts are essential for the success of the whole. No positions, or people within the BC Libraries are any less important than any other. We are in this together, and we will rise and fall as one.

Among the initiatives that being the right size enables is a horizontally integrated organization. Many large organizations, and libraries in particular, remain in organizational silos. In some sense, silos create a manageable structure. But in my mind, they are intrinsically sterile and predictable. Instead, by being in the Goldilocks Zone, we have been able to engage all our department heads in a coherent decision-making body that intentionally examines how the work in disparate areas is related, and supports open discussion around all decisions. In this way, we make the complexity of our research library as transparent as possible by building trust, appreciation, and understanding across departments. Likewise, when we have an idea that we want to pursue, we involve staff from different departments in teasing out the idea further, before it is vetted by the larger department head group. It may seem bureaucratic, but in fact we are more efficient because we are not too big and cumbersome.

I am grateful that the BC Libraries’ culture represents a microcosm of the larger Goldilocks phenomenon that BC embodies. We are active and willing collaborators, and leaders as appropriate. We are not bigger than the whole, but are essential to the vibrant ecosystem that is BC. It’s an environment where everyone can feel recognized, valued, and that their work and ideas are utilized in the larger mission of “Ever to Excel.”

Boston College remains special for a variety for reasons, but this brief essay is simply a reminder that we are in a Goldilocks place, of being not too big, not too small, where anything is possible, and we all can appreciate how our respective roles fit together, guided by a mission that we can all believe in and support. To be part of this community is to understand that faith, service and knowledge represent something bigger than ourselves, and by sharing this realization we are collectively full of life, with fertile ground for ideas and growth, and the ongoing formation of our students, and ourselves; Boston College, thriving within the ideal organizational ecosystem, our Goldilocks Zone.

Wishing you all a productive and restful summer.