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What's New

CDI Librarian Presents “Metadata: The Basics and Beyond"

Published: April 28, 2010 by Dan DeSanto

This morning, Sibyl Schaefer from the Center for Digital Initiatives presented “Metadata: The Basics and Beyond" to over 20 staff and faculty of the University of Vermont Libraries. The presentation was hosted by the UVM Staff and Faculty Development Committee and provided a description of metadata fundamentals, practical metadata applications, and possible future uses of encoded metadata. Sibyl provided examples from everyday sources like ITunes, library catalogs, and even the CDI’s own collections. With the popularity of digital collections continuing to grow and collections themselves becoming more sharable, an understanding of how these collections are created, organized, and shared is becoming ever more important in libraries and archives. Thanks to Sibyl for sharing her expertise with the rest of the Bailey Howe Library!

Long Trail Panel Discussion Thursday Night

Published: April 16, 2010 by Jill Wharton

The Long Trail Photographs have recently gotten national attention.

The Scout Report, part of the Internet Scout Project at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, selects and annotates valuable online resources. See the Long Trail photographs annotation here.

Join Us In Celebration

We'll be celebrating the Long Trail's centennial (and our collection's success!) on April 22, 2010 at 7:00 PM in the Special Collections Reading Room, Bailey/Howe Library. Three special guests will present a panel on the history and dynamic connections between the university community and the advancement of Vermont's Long Trail: Pete Antos-Ketcham from the Green Mountain Club; Daniel DeSanto, Collection Specialist at Bailey-Howe; and John Abbott from UVM Outdoor Programs.

Refreshments will be served, and free parking is available at the Visitor Lot on College Street. For more information on the reception, please call 656-2138, e-mail, or visit the website. We hope to see you there!

Update: View Dan DeSanto's powerpoint presentation on the CDI collection.

Browse or search the Long Trail photographs.

Bennington Battlefield, Long Trail Glass Lantern Slides

Item of the Month: April 2010

Published: April 14, 2010 by Jill Wharton

George Perkins Marsh: The Consummate Collector

It was the 22nd of April 1846, when George Perkins Marsh delivered his decisive address to the U.S. House of Representatives, capping a decade-long struggle to establish the nation's “foremost library, for collections in the various branches of natural knowledge and of art…."

Read the "Speech of Mr. Marsh, of Vermont, on the Bill for Establishing The Smithsonian Institution" in our George Perkins Marsh collection here.

Three months following his official endorsement, the Congress passed legislation founding the Smithsonian Institution as an establishment dedicated to the "increase and diffusion of knowledge," and President James K. Polk signed it into law the same day.

In 1849 the Smithsonian Institution purchased its first collection. The art books and works were commissioned by Regent Marsh, who had also been instrumental in securing an appointment at the Smithsonian for its second Secretary, Spencer Fullerton Baird (1823-1887). Baird, during his 1878-1887 tenure, focused on creating a great national museum which incorporated the government's newly-transferred collection of art works, historical memorabilia, and scientific specimens—formerly housed at the National Institute gallery in the Patent Office Building. Baird prepared all of the government exhibits for the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia in 1876, which granted the Smithsonian enduring national visibility.

Marsh, a committed environmentalist, philologist, ambassador (and sometime Vermont farmer), spent decades as a discerning bibliophile browsing the book-markets of Europe. His interests in linguistics—he spoke more than twenty languages—in scientific conservation, and in histories of New England and classical antiquity not only informed his desire to see the founding of the Smithsonian, they also infused collegiate life at UVM when, in the early 1880s, more than 12,000 volumes from his personal collection were acquired for our campus library by Frederick Billings—who also donated the funds for a magnificent new structure in which to house it:

Billings Library, photograph by Theron Dean, UVM Special Collections

The acquisition of Marsh's library, containing nearly complete archives of The Athaeneum, The Nation and the London Daily News (extending through the whole of the American Civil War), classed UVM holdings with those at Cornell, Yale, and Harvard, and remain the treasures of Bailey-Howe's Special Collections holdings today.

Silent films in our Hay Harvesting Collection get audio commentaries!

Published: April 08, 2010 by Sophia S. Lloyd

Our collection Hay Harvesting in the 1940’s contains several instructional videos produced by UVM’s Agricultural Experiment Station. Produced in the ‘40’s, these short films illustrate different methods of collecting cut hay from the field and getting it into the barn. They range in degree of mechanization and technological advancement, showing machinery that deals with loose hay as well as baled hay, and comparing horse-drawn mechanisms with those powered by tractors.

This past January, Kurt Reichelt of the UVM Extension recorded voice-overs for these films with Lucien Paquette, a former UVM Extension agent and graduate of the class of 1940. One of seven children, Mr. Paquette grew up on a small dairy farm in Crafstbury Common. He founded the Addison County Fair - now the largest agricultural fair in the state - and last year he continued his practice of competing in the Field Days' hand-mowing competition! Mr. Paquette’s narration enriches these films, drawing from his vast professional and personal experience as well as his perspective on the history of agriculture in Vermont.

The post-WWII age saw an explosion in agricultural technologies, but these technologies reached farmers at differing paces. Thus, many small farms still used horse power and needed lots of human labor in order to get a cutting of hay safely into storage for the winter. One video demonstrates the pick-up baler or square baler, which was a machine drawn behind a tractor and deriving its power from the tractor’s power takeoff shaft (PTO). The advent of this sort of baler allowed the entire baling operation to be done by one person - the driver of the tractor - or two if the hay was simultaneously being loaded onto a wagon.

Compressing hay into tightly bound squares allowed for more efficient storage in the haymow (the dry upper portion of the barn where hay is customarily stored), but also necessitated modified techniques for moving the hay, since square bales can be very heavy and unwieldy. Farmers used hay picks to quickly and ergonomically chuck bales without hurting their hands, built their own hay elevators to convey the bales from the wagon up to the haymow, and some rigged pulleys and winches to haul several dozen square bales at a time up into the hay loft. One video demonstrates older haying techniques; hand raking, stacking hay by hand on the wagon, and pitching it into the haymow – all accomplished with the mighty pitchfork!

"Hand Methods of Harvesting Hay," narrated by Lucien Paquette from University of Vermont Libraries on Vimeo

You can out rest of these films in their narrated versions on the UVM Libraries’ Vimeo page.

Supplementing primary materials like these silent films with the commentary of a local expert is a great example of combining two valuable resources into one. Enriching our media in such ways to create multi-modal research experiences for our users is an important objective for the CDI. Thus we are always on the lookout for opportunities to add value to items in our collections. If you have any ideas or suggestions in this regard, please contact us!