The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

Posts By: Erin Blake

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” (referred to in some libraries as a “flimsy”). It was typed up in the Acquisitions Department, then filed in the card catalog as a place-holder until the item could be cataloged.… Continue Reading

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 can help tame those tight bindings: a V-shaped wedge of lightweight plastic.… Continue Reading

Knowing your Adams from your Adams: decoding library catalog citations

Picture, if you will, a 16th-century Continental edition of Ovid, an 18th-century illustrated history of London, and a 19th-century book about the American west. Now picture which one of the three might be “in Adams.” Which one did you pick? Years ago, when I was doing dissertation research at the British Library Map Library, everyone in my circle knew that “Adams” referred to the standard bibliography of London topographical books published between 1604 and 1851.… Continue Reading

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 that more material can be purchased. Attend in person to enjoy a buffet dinner, talk with Folger staff, and examine almost one hundred new items with your own eyes (you’re under no obligation to adopt).… Continue Reading

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 a safe bet that Art Information and the Internet (How to Find It, How to Use It), written in 1998, won’t be of much help in 2015.… Continue Reading

Mezzotint!

Simran Thadani’s wild guess for the December Crocodile Mystery, backed up by Martin Antonetti and Deborah J. Leslie, is our winner. This month’s image is a close-up of the lower right edge of a mezzotint engraving. The lines that look like warp and weft are, in fact, rows of tiny black dots crossing each other at right angles. This happens to be a fairly coarse mezzotint, with the grain easily visible to the naked eye.… Continue Reading

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 of the “Set Limits” feature. Set limits first When you go to a Search screen, the system very helpfully puts the cursor in the text box, prompting you to start typing.… Continue Reading

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 you’ll wonder why it took so long: Hamnet’s hostname now matches its name-name. Go to hamnet.folger.edu and you’ll get (surprise!)… Continue Reading

Folger Tooltips: Getting raw Hamnet data

Non-librarians out there, have you ever clicked the “MARC View” or “Staff view” link in an online catalog record? In Hamnet, the Folger’s online catalog, it’s the third choice at the top of each record. I vividly remember the first time I did. It was back when I was building a relational database to manage my dissertation research (and back when I thought I wanted to be an Art History professor).… Continue Reading

Free cultural works! Come get your free cultural works!

It’s official: pictures in the Folger’s Digital Image Collection are now licensed CC BY-SA! That is, they can be used under a Creative Commons Attribution–ShareAlike 4.0 International License, one of the two Creative Commons licenses “approved for free cultural works.” That’s almost 80,000 images, and counting. We’ve already started adding images to Wikimedia Commons for use in Wikipedia and elsewhere, and encourage you to do the same.… Continue Reading