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From the Archives: DCDE Adds New Public User Interface for Finding Aids

By Beaudry Rae Allen

Distinctive Collections & Digital Engagement is proud to announce our finding aids are now publicly available and searchable through our VuFind catalog and a public user interface through ArchivesSpace. ArchivesSpace is discovery portal for archival and other unique materials at Villanova University.

This means greater access to our collections, especially for the University Archives, which has not had any detailed content information made public before. As of today, Special Collections’ finding aids for manuscript collections and all the Villanova Presidents’ papers from 1870s to 1980s are publicly accessible. In addition, some finding aids will have links to digitized content in our digital library.

Over the course of the next year, expect to see more University Archives finding aids from other areas of the University published.

ArchivesSpace, new public user interface

ArchivesSpace, new public user interface

The new public interface for finding aids will allow you to search by repositories, collections, subjects, record type, keywords, and dates. However, it is important to note that once you find what you are looking for, you will need to email archives@villanova.edu to request access or get more information about the collection.

These access points are critical to the library’s mission of discovery and access to resources. Searchable finding aids will allow researchers find more of our primary source material holdings and conduct more thorough research with our materials.

What are Finding Aids?

Finding aids are descriptive tools that provide information about the archival documents held in a collection. Researchers use finding aids to help determine whether a collection of archival materials contains the documents, photographs, etc. that they might need to consult for their research project.

A finding aid typically consists of contextual and structural information about an archival collection. This includes information about the collection, such as acquisition and processing; provenance, including administrative history or biographical note; scope of the collection, including size, subjects, media; organization, and arrangement; and an inventory of the items or folder titles.

Guide to James D. Reap World War II collection

Guide to James D. Reap World War II collection

A long time coming

Getting the finding aids online has been a two-year endeavor. Special Collections had finding aids in HTML and PDF formats on its website, but not integrated with the Library catalog system, and University Archives had some partial inventories in a content management system called Archivist Toolkit or in Microsoft Word documents, but nothing comprehensively organized and described, all of which has made access to our information disjointed and incomplete.

The first step was implementing a new content management system, ArchivesSpace, and migrating inventories from the previous system and converting the HTML, PDF, and Microsoft Word documents into XML to be imported into ArchivesSpace.

The new system allowed description to more nuanced and structured in a way for easier user navigation. Moreover, the migration required a lot of clean up of data and standardizing description. Our student assistants, Kamryn Dow and Emma Poley, assisted in cleaning up our metadata.

We also received help from Access Coordinators Mike Sgier and Gerald Dierkes, who are cleaning up the component unique identifiers and folder locations of the University Archives collections. While metadata clean-up has been in process, Library IT Developer Geoff Scholl helped set up the ArchivesSpace public interface for the finding aids, and Library IT Director Demian Katz integrated ArchivesSpace with Vufind.

Catalog list of finding aids

VuFind catalog list of finding aids

This project is just a step in the continued work of DCDE to enhance access to our collections.

 


Beaudry Rae Allen is Preservation and Digital Archivist at Falvey Memorial Library.


 


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From the University Archives: Celebrate History of Villanova Theatre

By Beaudry Rae Allen

Dramatic Hall, circa 1890s

Dramatic Hall, circa 1890s

 

“…but be not afraid of greatness: Some are born great, others achieve greatness. And others have greatness thrust upon them.”—Shakespeare, Twelfth Night, Act 2 Scene 5

 

Distinctive Collections invites you with a backstage pass to celebrate 150 years of Villanova Theatre with the new digital exhibit “Be Not Afraid of Greatness: Celebrating the History of Villanova Theatre.”

Inspired by the prevalence of Shakespeare in the production history of the Theatre Department, the lines are meant to evoke the profound yet humble legacy of Villanova Theatre, from its earliest days to capturing the essence of what the department is all about: enriching the campus culture and striving for greatness one performance at a time.

Very few may know, but the first appearances of theatre on campus started in 1870, and with this exhibit the University Archives seeks to evoke a sense of celebration of Villanova’s rich history and achievements spanning 150 years.

Take a step inside and explore the many different eras of theatre groups on campus and moments that have helped shape what the graduate program is today.  The exhibit includes many programs and posters from early performances as well as photographs of students in rehearsals from the University Archives. In addition, the exhibit includes special photographs taken by Robert LeBlanc, First Year Experience Librarian, of theater students from fall 2019 and images of costumes on loan from the Villanova Theatre Department.

Rehearsals for Piper-Heidsieck '98, 1950

Rehearsals for Piper-Heidsieck ’98, 1950

Curated by Beaudry Rae Allen and Emma Poley ’21, Villanova Theatre Graduate Student, the digital exhibit is just a snapshot of the physical exhibit that opened March 12, 2020.

 

Poster of Turf and Tinsel Club production, circa 1940s

Poster of Turf and Tinsel Club production, circa 1940s

 

When the University reopens, the main physical exhibit will remain on display.

 


Beaudry Rae Allen is Preservation and Digital Archivist at Falvey Memorial Library.

 

 

 


 


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From the Archives: 50th Anniversary of Earth Day

In celebration of the 50th anniversary, Distinctive Collections is excited to announce a mini digital exhibit, “Earth Week at Villanova,” describing how Villanova University participated in the first Earth Day and other activities on campus to advocate for environmental changes over the years. Villanova University hosted a week of activities during the first Earth Week celebrations that were held in 1970.

"Give a Hoot, Don't Pollute" Owl Cartoon

“Give a Hoot, Don’t Pollute” Owl Cartoon 1971

Villanovan, Vol. 47, No. 12, December 8, 1971.

Of particular note, the exhibit includes a recorded interview with the organizers of the March 2019 Climate Strike on campus. All the material presented are from the University Archives and curated by Beaudry Allen, Preservation and Digital Archivist.


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From the Archives: Work From Home Edition

Work from Home | LoFi Study

University Archives Zine: Download Me!

illustration of office

Illustration of my home office

What’s it like for an archivist to work from home? Just like many Villanovans, I’ve been working from home, which offers unique challenges as a majority of my work requires working with materials from the archives. The separation to resources has been an adjustment, but with my favorite coffee, my dog cuddled up with me, and chilled out Lo Fi music, I can focus a lot my time to making information more accessible to public. That usually entails:

– Data clean-up to publish more information and/or digital images in the digital library

-Respond to reference questions

-Work on digital exhibits

-Work on new projects

Like a million other things that have changed, the Spring zine issue is now digital. Typically, our zine runs a limited print to be disseminated to student groups, visitors, and classes. While the issues normally center around the archives, this issue acknowledges the *gestures around* events around us. This issue includes illustrations by Mike Sgier, Access Services Coordinator, and Shawn Proctor, Communications and Marketing Program Manager.

 


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From the Archives: Year in Review

New Material

2019 has been a busy year for the University Archives! The University Archives acquired over 100 linear feet of new collection material from campus departments like Nursing, Engineering, Alumni Office, Theater, and many others. The new material has not only helped the collections grow in size but has added a wealth of new information and artifacts. And for the first time, the archives has made a concerted effort to expand the scope of collecting to include born-digital materials.

 

 

2019 was also the year more material was digitized and published on the Villanova Digital Library. Programs, posters, photographs, and negatives from commencement, basketball, and the Theatre department were added to the digital library.

Negative, Basketball (Alexander G. Severance (Coach) & Team), 1946.

Negative, Basketball (Alexander G. Severance (Coach) & Team), 1946.

 


2019 Exhibits

Nova Stories: Campus Life from the 1960s

In the Spring, the archives launched a digital exhibit showcasing a selection of University Archives material highlighting the traditions and changes on campus in the 1960s.

 

Case display

Case display of Special Olympic artifacts

In celebration of Villanova’s Special Olympics Fall Festival, held November 1-3, 2019, a small exhibit about Special Olympics at Villanova University was put on display. Special Olympics events on campus has a long history starting in 1979 to now being known as the largest annual student-run Special Olympics event today. Photographs,


Building New Ideas

Our collections cover many areas of Villanova: administration, planning, events, and university periodical publications. But we want to work more closely with campus and student communities to develop more inclusive collections. One of the first steps this year was start outreach efforts to engage with student organizations because not only do these organizations produce material that document the activities, interests, and social climate of our campus, but it is an opportunity to engage with students about the importance of the archives. One of the projects to come out of it was the creation of a zine that would outline what is an university archives, how to do research, and how to contact us. Library Ambassadors from Office of Intercultural Affairs, Sidney Holmes and Colette Termaat, helped out by passing out the zines to student organizations during the Fall Semester.

The cover of "Villanova University Archives" Zine Volume 1, Issue 1Zine page requesting student life records with text bubbles.The inaugural issue was illustrated by:

Beaudry Rae Allen, Digital & Preservation Archivist

Shawn Proctor, Communications & Marketing Program Manager

Mike Sgier, Access & Collections Coordinator

Scott Barnebey

The zine has been such a great outreach tool that a few student organizations have donated material to the archives. Look out for the second issue in 2020!

 

 


None of this could have been done without the student support the archives has had this year. Many students lent their voices to recording Villanovan articles for the digital exhibit. Most importantly, student assistants were on hand for collection pick-ups, rehousing projects, and exhibit work that has helped shape the archives to becoming a more active and accessible area for our community.

Student moving a cart of archival material

Emma Poley, MA ’21. Assisting in a pick-up

Student working at desk

Erin Warren, ’21. Rehousing 4×5 negatives

 

The University Archives looks forward to 2020 with new exhibits, new collections, and many more new projects!

 

 


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From the Archives: Special Olympics Celebration!

Skill, Courage, Sharing, Joy – Tenants of the Spirit of Special Olympics

In celebration of Villanova’s Special Olympics Fall Festival, held November 1-3, 2019, University Archives has a small exhibit about Special Olympics at Villanova University on display. Special Olympics events on campus has a long history starting in 1979 to now being known as the largest annual student-run Special Olympics event today.

Case display

The exhibit contains facsimiles of photographs and programs from the early days of the event. All materials are from collections located in the University Archives. The case was curated by Beaudry Allen, Preservation and Digital Archivist.

photographs being prepped for the exhibit.            A print being cut with paper cutter.

Images of putting the exhibit together.

You can check out the case on the 3rd floor of Falvey Library for the rest of the semester.

Photograph of exhibit case

For more information about the Special Olympics and how to get involved, check out the Special Olympic website!


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#TBT: Props to Vasey Hall

The Playboy of the Western World play bill, 1960 , at Villanova

THROWBACK THURSDAY

This week, our throwback pic features a playbill from the 1960 production of “The Playboy of the Western World” by John Millington Synge. The playbill is housed in the University Archives along with many other treasures from Villanova’s past.

Did you know that the Villanova’s Theatre Program has been around since 1958? Over that time the program has produced hundreds of plays and musicals in its beloved campus home, Vasey Hall. While Vasey is centrally located on campus, it is a bit tight as other academic offices are also located in the building.

In early 2020, the University hopes to officially open a new, larger space for the Theatre Program—the Performing Arts Center as part of Villanova’s Campus Transformation Project.

We are looking forward to visiting the new space and adding more play bills to our collection. Thanks for the memories, Vasey!


Regina Duffy is Communication and Marketing Program Manager at Falvey Memorial Library.


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A Small Treasure Found in the Stacks

Merriam Webster dictionary defines ephemera as an item of “no lasting significance” and usually pertains to paper items expected to be used temporarily like tickets, greeting cards, menus, pamphlets, bookmarks, and brochures. Though sometimes ephemera is far from transit; ephemeral items are often found in scrapbooks, keepsake boxes, the drawers we never clean out, or, in our case, books. This 1968 football ticket was discovered as a bookmark in a book from the stacks. Its new home is now in the University Archives where it’ll join a collection of Villanova ephemera related to the history of the campus. Preserving such items are significant because they give insight to past events and social attitudes of time.

…By the way, Villanova won the game 21-10!

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#TBT: Caps off to Vintage Villanova!

THROWBACK THURSDAY

Enjoy this throwback pic from 1939, when a couple of students experienced Freshman initiation for Villanova’s Centennial Class of 1943.

Did you know that vintage head caps like the ones in this photo can be found within the University Archives’ collection? The University Archives, housed on Falvey Library’s ground floor, contains many historic items from Villanova’s past, including photos, publications, and memorabilia.

cap, 1939, villanova college,

If you are looking for more cool throwback pictures and information about Villanova’s history, you could also check also out the book Ever Ancient, Ever New: Villanova University 1842-1992. You will likely recognize many familiar faces, names, and landmarks on campus from years past.


Gina's headshot

Regina Duffy is Communication and Marketing Program Manager at Falvey Memorial Library. 


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#TBT: Yearbook Staff

Photo courtesy of University Archives.


THROWBACK THURSDAY

The 1962 Villanova University yearbook staff poses for a group photo. View more images from the 1960s in Distinctive Collections’ new digital exhibit, Nova Stories: Campus Life from the 1960s. Curated by Beaudry Allen, the exhibit draws on University Archives to reveal the photographs, newspaper-clippings, audio-recordings, and programs that illustrate what student life was like in the 1960s and highlights some of the traditions and changes happening on campus.


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Last Modified: May 23, 2019