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Portrait of Ruth Asawa and wire sculptures by Nat Farbman, from 1955 Guggenheim fellowship application

After more than a year of intensive organizing and arranging, we are very proud to announce that the papers of artist and educator Ruth Asawa (M1585) are now available for research. The finding aid can be accessed from the Online Archive of Calfornia, and the collection record in the Searchworks catalog. A bibliography is also available from the Stanford Digital Repository.

The collection documents her commissions and other creative work as well her involvement in shaping civic arts and educational policy. Perhaps the greatest number of files contain correspondence from a remarkably diverse community of associates: friends, neighbors, artists, teachers, students, architects, designers, patrons, politicians, and philanthropists. She was also close to such major figures as Buckminster Fuller, Imogen Cunningham, Josef and Anni Albers, Ray Johnson, and countless others. In a sense, her papers can be considered a collection of collections. Scholars studying San Francisco history, art education pedagogy, fundraising for non-profits, public art, Japanese American Internment, or Black Mountain College will be rewarded by the collection's breadth.

Of course, there is also a great deal of information on Asawa's own art, particularly her unique wire constructions. The collection contains communication with galleries and museums, many photographs and slides, and insights on her artistic processes as included in portfolios and applications. For instance, here is some detail from an insert in her 1955 Guggenheim application. There are many of these halftone images of her crocheted wire shapes:

 detail, halftone image of Asawa wire sculptures 1955

Please stay tuned: we'll be posting a few more entries on Asawa in the weeks to come.

I'm pleased to announce that Special Collections and University Archives have a new reference email address:

specialcollections@stanford.edu

Our old email --speccollref@stanford.edu-- will sunset on May 1st.  

We are excited about this change and hope it provides our patrons better service.

ePADD

ePADD, a software package being developed by Stanford University's Special Collections & University Archives that supports archival processes around the ingest, appraisal, processing, discovery, and delivery of email archives, is undergoing significant changes in the ramp up to the first public release scheduled for late April.

I am pleased to announce that the Greet Kershaw papers, 1953-2003 (M1661), are now available for research. Kershaw was an anthropologist most known for her work with the Mau Mau and the Kikuyu. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago and was a professor of anthropology at California State University, Northridge. Kershaw advocated for applied anthropology, believing that anthropologists could do valuable work outside of academia. Her later years were spent writing articles about the Hmong diaspora in Long Beach in the 1970’s and 1980’s.

This collection was processed by our Public Services Intern, Monika Lehman, and the finding guide for the collection can be found through Searchworks:
http://searchworks.stanford.edu/view/7813101

Digging Deeper Logo

In January, Stanford launched Digging Deeper: Making Manuscripts, an online learning experience devoted to the technologies involved in creating and interpreting medieval manuscripts. We're off to a roaring start with thousands of enrolled participants across more than 90 countries (and it's not too late to sign up!).  The creation of the course has been a truly collaborative experience: Stanford University faculty and library staff have worked closely with counterparts at Cambridge University, Stanford Academic Technology Specialists, graduate students, and a team from Stanford's Office of the Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning to produce a suite of learning materials that have become much richer than any of us envisaged at the beginning of the process in 2013!

Portrait of Joseph Haydn, By Thomas Hardy (1791)

Over the past several months, I have been blogging about rare Haydn materials held in the Department of Special Collections, Memorial Library of Music, including one autograph manuscript, one important letter, and nine first or early score editions. Each item was digitized for deep storage in the Stanford Digital Repository, and high-quality, downloadable images have been made available to the world via links in SearchWorks. Thanks go to Astrid Smith, Rare Book and Special Collections Digitization Specialist, and the Digital Production Group for their excellent efforts on behalf of this project in support of Haydn, Patronage, and the Enlightenment.

I am pleased to announce that all of the accessions in the United Nations 4th World Conference on Women, Beijing, Papers (M0876) are now described and available for research.  The collection is 10 linear feet and consists of journals, pamphlets, press kits, conference papers and notes. The collection is ephemeral in nature and focuses on issues such as poverty, violence, armed conflict, education, economic advancement, and human rights.

Seven women who attended the conference assembled their papers together and donated the materials to Stanford's Special Collections.  For several years, only one accession was described online but thanks to Melissa Pincus, who worked for Public Services this summer, and Lucia Ibarra, who was our summer Eastside High School student, the rest of the accessions now are open for research. An updated version of the collection's finding guide is available through the collection's catalog record:



http://searchworks.stanford.edu/view/4084264

Bridget Whearty and Astrid Smith in the digitization lab

As the CLIR postdoctoral fellow in Data Curation for Medieval Studies at Stanford I work primarily with data about large collections of digitized manuscripts and fragments. For example, I have helped to make our teaching collections more easily discoverable in Searchworks. I've also been bringing together partner institutions' descriptive metadata to feed a specialized manuscript search environment. 

In practice, I write code to transform batches of 70, 300, 500, or 1000+ manuscripts at a time: I've gotten very comfortable thinking of medieval manuscripts in the tens, hundreds, and even thousands. But the truth is that these large batches of digital-medieval manuscripts I curate are built of unique, single objects. Single objects that, just like the physical objects they grow from, are made by individual people, in particular environments, under specific institutional, financial, and social pressures. 

In order to better understand the process that leads to the creation of a digital-medieval book, I recently followed the digitization of a fifteenth-century book of hours, Stanford University Libraries, M0379, from the request for digitization, through the slow hard work of taking the images and hours of post-production labor, to its arrival in Stanford Digital Repository (SDR). 

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