Special Collections & Archives Blog

In the 'News & Events' Category...

New class in Book History offered Fall 2012

Thursday, March 8, 2012 1:25 pm

In the fall of 2012 ZSR Library will offer a new class called History of the Book, 1500-2000 (LIB260). Taught by Special Collections Librarian Megan Mulder, the 1.5 credit class will introduce students to the exciting interdisciplinary field of Book History.

Book History (sometimes called History of Print Culture) combines history, literary studies, and bibliography. Its purpose, as set out by Robert Darnton in his seminal 1982 essay “What Is the History of Books?,” is “to understand how ideas were transmitted by print and how exposure to the printed word affected the thought and behavior of mankind during the last five hundred years.” While it is impossible to cover the whole scope of book history in one semester, this course will give students an introduction to the field and provide them with the theoretical and practical tools to pursue further study in the History of the Book and its many related disciplines.

The course will begin with the premise that we can approach printed texts as objects of study in three major ways: 1) as material objects with artifactual value, 2) as vehicles for text, and 3) as social constructs and agents of social change. Beginning with the first approach, students will learn to examine books as physical objects and to understand the processes by which they were created. In the process students will gain a basic vocabulary of descriptive bibliography, a necessary starting point for further study in the history of print culture. Our studies will also incorporate the other two approaches to the study of print culture, considering the role of books in the societies that produced them and the ways in which print conveys and shapes texts.

The class will meet in the ZSR Library Special Collections reading room. In each class meeting students will examine materials from the Rare Books Collection that illustrate concepts under discussion. They will learn how books were made during the hand-press period and will construct a small book of their own in the library’s Preservation Lab. As a final project each student will select one book from the Rare Books Collection and write its “biography”. This will provide practical experience with bibliographic description and with other techniques of book history research, including provenance research and reader analysis.

This class will meet weekly on Wednesdays 3:30 – 4:45 p.m. for the entire fall semester. It is open to anyone with an interest in books and their histories. For more information, contact Megan Mulder at mulder@wfu.edu or 758-5091.

Young scholars tour the library

Thursday, May 19, 2011 2:32 pm

Although it has been a while since the students from Mount Airy came on a tour of the Rare Books reading room, and the rest of the library, I have not forgotten about the video I made to record the occasion. Gretchen has been helpful in guiding me in my video editing, and hopefully my next attempt will be a little more polished than this first try.

I have posted the FlipVideo on the ZSR Vimeo Channel. Enjoy the jaunty music and the enthusiasm show by these young students:)

Here’s the original post I started on the Library Gazette:

Millenium Charter Academy Students in Special Collections

On Wednesday morning, we were fortunate to have the fourth graders from the Millenium Charter Academy in Mt. Airy visit the library. Gretchen allowed me to check out a Flip Video camera to shoot some footage. After taking her introductory course on editing, I managed to cobble together this short video (I need a lot more practice). The students were engaged in the materials that Beth, Katherine, and Megan had put out on display. The young lady at the end of the video was particularly enthusiastic about Bram Stoker’sDracula!

Hosting the NCLA Archivists’ Toolkit Workshop

Friday, November 12, 2010 4:03 pm

*Note: most of this post is duplicated at the ZSR Professional Development blog.

From 10 am this morning until 3 pm this afternoon, Z. Smith Reynolds Library was inhabited by 50 excited archivists and librarians (from across the state and as far away as Texas) to learn about Archivists’ Toolkit. The workshop, sponsored by the Round Table on Special Collections of the North Carolina Library Association and ZSR Library, included in-depth exploration and instruction about the modules of AT: names and subjects, accession records, resource records (finding aids), importing and exporting EAD/MARCXML, assessment records, and statistics.

Katherine started off our session with a warm welcome to the participants and I introduced our speakers. Dale Sauter, chair of the RTSC, also helped organize the workshop and was in attendance. Participant registrations included lunch, which was catered by our on-campus service. Planning the event was worth the effort after seeing 50 eager participants in room 204.

Speakers Dawne Howard Lucas from Duke University and Kacy Guill of ECU incorporated practical explanations of concepts with hands-on demonstrations of the relational database desktop client. Katherine, Megan, Vicki, Julia, Rebecca, Beth, intern Leatha, and I all learned a great deal about some of the additional customizations and tools that will help Special Collections and Archives better describe, prioritize, and measure our archival collections. Some of the reports that AT generates will help us quantify our preservation and processing needs, as well as demonstrate the accomplishments of our department as we complete projects.

Thanks go out to Giz, Susan, and Roz for helping me with the room reservation, Rebecca for helping with setup, and also to Katherine for her warm welcome to the participants. Now that we all have a better understanding of how to use and customize Archivists’ Toolkit to our needs, we are better prepared for a collaborative, streamlined effort to make our archival resources even more accessible!

Politics and 20th Century Art-Vorticism: New Perspectives Symposium

Friday, October 1, 2010 9:27 am

Politics and 20th Century Art Symposium

On October 19, there will be a symposium in the Special Collections Reading Room called “Vorticism: New Perspectives.” Speakers from Wake Forest and Duke will speak about this art movement.
Mark Antliff, Duke
John Curley and Morna O’Neill, WFU Art Department
Scott Klein, WFU English Deptartment

The symposium will be held from 4:30-6 pm.

A visit to the Moravian Archives in Winston Salem

Wednesday, September 29, 2010 7:25 pm

September 28, 2010 ZSR Archivists Visit Moravian Archives’s Newly Designed Spaces

A link to 12 ppt slides documenting our lucky visit to a fascinating and well designed archive.


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