Busy Around These Parts

New things abound or are in the works with the Woodson right now.

We’re migrating our digital footprint to a new platform. That means all of our materials that currently reside at scholarship.rice.edu will have a new home in May. That means we are building out a new website and moving all of our materials over. We are swimming in spreadsheets.

Spreadsheet containing metadata

The new star wheel printing press has also arrived in parts at the Woodson. For info on the press, please see this lovely video for more information. After it is put together, it will live up front near our front door.

Huxley and Evolution

As archivists, one of our tasks is reference, not just in-person in the reading room but via email. Over the last several years, we’ve been working with Alison Bashford. She did archival research in the various Huxley collections pre-Covid. While she was finalizing her manuscript, An Intimate History of Evolution: The Story of the Huxley Family, we, more specifically our former processing archivist Gabby Parker, assisted with scanning and reference checking. Amanda Focke assisted in permissions for images for the Huxley papers.

Although this work sometimes flies under the radar, Alison Bashford was kind enough to thank Amanda and Gabby in the acknowledgements. In addition, the gift book Bashford sent will be added to the Huxley rare book collection.

We’re happy that our work could in a small way contribute to greater scholarship.

A Night for Guy

Verlon Thompson playing guitar
Verlon Thompson, longtime friend and accompanist to Guy Clark

Last Wednesday, we co-hosted an event with Shawn Parks and Matt Harlan that celebrates the life and musical legacy of Guy Clark. Enjoy these great shots from campus photographer Jeff Fitlow. You can read more about the event from a wonderful write-up by the Houston Press’s Gladys Fuentes.

Matt Harlan playing guitar and singing
Matt Harlan, co-planner and performer
George Ensle on stage
George Ensle – The Woodson has his archival collection.
Libby Koch playing guitar
Libby Koch
Verlon Thompson, surprise guest Shawn Camp, Noel McKay performing, playing guitars
Verlon Thompson, surprise guest Shawn Camp, Noel McKay

To see more images of the event, check out the Rice News post.

The Woodson staff will be participating in a regional conference this week and will be taking a reading room break next while working on collection management. Our reading room and reference services will resume on May 31st.

Survey Request

Woodson Research Center homepage

We’re currently working with a group of students from the University of Michigan’s library sciences program, who have developed a user experience survey about our website. In case user experience seems like a new phrase, it’s a way of understanding how different types of users experience a task, for example.

The survey will take about five minutes of your time and is a way for us to learn how to improve our site.

Thank you!

Digital Archivist

At the Woodson, we are all excited that we now have an amazing digital archivist, Chris Banuelos. For years, we have cobbled together digital preservation workflows and balanced this work with our other responsibilities. Now, Chris will be laser focused on improving our digital preservation work, preparing us for future born-digital donations.

head shot of Chris Banuelos

Chris, originally from California, spent years working at the University of Kansas as their audio/visual preservation specialist. He originally graduated from NYU with a Master’s in Moving Image Archiving and Preservation. Coincidentally, Chris did his internship with us in the summer of 2012.

We’re delighted that he has joined our team and look forward to the changes ahead.

Box Explosion

Image of boxes in the reading room

We are entering our final weeks of shifting a portion of our collection (roughly 2000 boxes) from Iron Mountain to the LSC. We have been receiving 200 box deliveries on Tuesdays during the month of September. We have closed down our reading room on Tuesdays and Wednesday to deal with the largess.

Image of boxes in the reading room

If you come in during September, please forgive our box overflow issues. We are trying our best.

We’ll be happy to get through this big move at the end of the month.

Exhibits Around the Library

Small statue of Doc C - Dr. Gilbert Cuthbertson

August has begun and it will soon be time to welcome everyone (faculty and students) back to campus. They will be now be greeted with new exhibits. Here’s a look at some of them.

Crowdsourcing transcription of historical documents – Location: 1st floor main hallway

This exhibit reveals a new software that we have been using to help small groups and/or the general public transcribe/translate historical documents. If you’ve got time on your hands and want to transcribe William Marsh Rice’s ledgers, we’d love to have your assistance. Click through the gallery to see how you can participate.

Remembering “Doc C” through his collection – Location: 1st floor exhibit case near front entrance

This exhibit, assembled by Doc C Copy Cataloguer, Lauren DuBois, shares highlights that she has discovered while working through his book collection.

Image of exhibit case of Doc C items.

Stewart Alexander Collection: Books and original recordings of trance and physical mediumship – Location: 1st floor exhibit cases outside of Woodson

These two exhibit cases showcase items from the newly acquired Stewart Alexander collection, which makes up part of the Archives of the Impossible.

Beauty from Above: Book Covers from the Anderson Collection on the History of Aeronautics – Location: 1st floor inside Woodson

In case anyone needs a dose of pretty, this exhibit simply puts a spotlight on some of the beautiful books in the Anderson collection.

Image of Anderson book covers in an exhibit case

Iron Mountain to Library Service Center

Image of a Woodson box with a lot of stickers on it.
So many stickers

We rely upon the Library Service Center [LSC] to store the majority of our collections. A few years back it filled up. As we waited for a new module to be added to the building, we sent around 2000 boxes to Iron Mountain [IM]. Yesterday, the former IM boxes found their new home in the new module in the LSC.

Image of Woodson boxes on the new shelves in the LSC. Image taken by LSC staff.

Now, begins our multi-step process of moving all 2000 boxes from IM to the LSC. It involves:

  • permanently withdrawing the boxes from IM
  • checking the boxes and ripping off the IM barcodes — every time IM retrieves a box, they stick a new barcode on it.
  • scanning our Fondren Library barcodes
  • requesting Technical Services staff to switch the location of the box in the system
  • sending the boxes to the LSC
  • updating our finding aids and other internal tracking with the new location information

Given the amount boxes, this task will take us a few months, hopefully ending sometime in the fall. If you happen to come into the Woodson during this time, you’ll see that we have a lot of boxes. Please forgive our clutter.

We would like to thank all of the library staff at the LSC, in Technical Services, and in IT that are helping us with this big move.