August 25, 2015
by Erin Blake
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Folger Tooltips: Making a spreadsheet from raw Hamnet data

Hamnet, the Folger’s online catalog, is more than just a searchable inventory of printed books, manuscripts, engravings, paintings, and other resources in the collection. It is also a giant data set, freely available for machine analysis. But there’s a catch: library catalog data is encoded … Continue reading

May 21, 2015
by Erin Blake
Comments Off on Meet the Hamnet HBCN (“Handy Butt-Cover Note”)

Meet the Hamnet HBCN (“Handy Butt-Cover Note”)

When libraries replaced card catalogs with computer catalogs, researchers lost a crucial piece of information: an at-glance indication of relative trustworthiness. Consider this thin slip of paper from the Folger’s card catalog, for example: Looks fairly preliminary, right? That’s because it is. This is an “accession slip” … Continue reading

March 24, 2015
by Erin Blake
Comments Off on Taming a tight binding

Taming a tight binding

You know how some old bindings gently let a book stay open on its own, at a comfortable angle? And how other old bindings seem to willfully resist, taunting you by starting to close just as you get the book weights perfectly arranged? This post introduces a simple tool that … Continue reading

January 27, 2015
by Erin Blake
Comments Off on Acquisitions Night: February 5, 2015

Acquisitions Night: February 5, 2015

Got your tickets yet? Acquisitions Night is just over a week away! This once-a-year event directly supports the growth of the collection by giving people the chance to “adopt” selected items acquired over the past year—that is, reimburse the purchase price to the library so … Continue reading

December 30, 2014
by Erin Blake
Comments Off on Out with the old? The A.L.A. Portrait Index of 1906

Out with the old? The A.L.A. Portrait Index of 1906

To create more work space, we’re starting to sort through the hundreds of “ready reference” books that fill the shelves in the shared staff areas on Deck A, pulling out volumes that really don’t need to be kept that handy. For example,  it’s … Continue reading

November 6, 2014
by Erin Blake
Comments Off on Folger Tooltips: The limits of “Set Limits” in Hamnet

Folger Tooltips: The limits of “Set Limits” in Hamnet

Following up on last month’s post about the new-and-improved “Limit location” in Hamnet, the one that lets you quickly limit your search to one of four locations, including just Vault material, I thought I should say a few words about the limits … Continue reading

October 9, 2014
by Erin Blake
Comments Off on Folger Tooltips: New Hamnet URL and search limit

Folger Tooltips: New Hamnet URL and search limit

We’ve recently made two small but significant improvements to Hamnet, the Folger’s online catalog—not enough to be worth a fanfare of “New and improved!” but probably at least worth pointing at while saying “Still old, but less irksome!” The first change is so obvious … Continue reading