Published books may be considered rare or scarce, but such published materials are often owned by many different libraries. Manuscript collections, however, are unpublished and truly unique.
Our extensive manuscript holdings at Tulane have traditionally been made accessible to researchers who are physically present in the Special Collections Reading Room, through very detailed hard-copy finding aids and catalog cards of various vintages. The award-winning Special Collections web site has served to publicize some of our most significant holdings. We have now started including records representing our collections in the international WorldCat database, as well as our local online catalog. These catalogs act as discovery tools which enable remote scholars to learn of the existence of our one-of-a-kind collections held at Tulane. It is hoped that in the future, images of many of the materials themselves will be made viewable online as digital surrogates, helping support the long-term needs for both preservation and widespread unrestricted access. The Manuscripts Department also intends to make digital finding aids fully accessible through the web site and catalog.
The Howard-Tilton Memorial Library online catalog allows searching by keyword, title, author, subject, and call number. To quickly retrieve a sample of records for manuscripts collections, do a call number search for “manuscripts.” When selecting an individual record, remember always to request the detailed view for fullest information, as the catalog generally automatically defaults to the brief view. These records which point to our manuscripts may be discovered using all of the available types of searches, including the popular and powerful keyword approach. Keyword is especially useful if you are interested in researching an unusual word or name, such as “Rouquette”, “Stanhope”, “Lacombe”, or “Westwego”.
Anyone in the world who has access to WorldCat through their academic institution or public library will be able to retrieve the full standard MARC records representing our collections, using an even more powerful array of search strategies. For example, using a keyword search in WorldCat, a researcher may limit the type to archival materials, specify to limit by holdings in our own library, rank responses by number of libraries, etc. Also the title-phrase search can be very specific and effective.
The catalog record for one of the foremost and very highly requested collections, the John Kennedy Toole Papers (cited in Eira Tansey’s post of December 19, 2008) includes hyperlinks in both the local online catalog and in WorldCat, leading the scholar to a brief finding aid as well as a photographic portrait of the author.
As we create and mount more digital objects, the possibilities for links from the catalog are endless. If you have suggestions about which of our collections to bring to the top of the cataloging queue, or how to further enhance our efforts to publicize our collections through cataloging or other ways, please comment to the blog post.
The Manuscripts department at Tulane University's Special Collections Library is pleased to announce the recent acquisition of Art Silverman's papers.
Arthur "Art" Silverman is a retired New Orleans area sculptor whose works are primarily large public sculptures, cast in metal, based on forms such as tetrahedrons. His works can be seen in New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Massachusetts, Florida, Iowa, and California. In New Orleans, his sculptures have been installed at Tulane University's Law School and A.B. Freeman School of Business, the Entergy Centre on Poydras, East Jefferson Hospital in Metairie, and Temple Sinai on St. Charles.
Born in New York City in 1923, Silverman attended Tulane University for his B.S. (1944) and his M.D. (1947). He practiced urology for thirty years before shifting paths to become a sculptor.
Silverman's gift to Manuscripts includes videos, sketches, gallery show invitations, newspaper and magazine articles, photographs, and other papers. Manuscripts staff are arranging and describing the papers now and hope to have them available to researchers by spring.
(Image of Temple Sinai menorah, before installation, 1997. Arthur Silverman papers, Manuscripts department, Special Collections, Tulane University Libraries. Image may not be reproduced without permission.)
The Special Collections library is this morning's lead story in New Wave, Tulane University's daily online newspaper. If you're not subscribed to the New Wave email list, you can find the story here.
The article is about the Louisiana Collection's art ephemera. We're especially promoting our art ephemera now because of its strength (we preserve extensive ephemera about New Orleans artists and art galleries going back more than a hundred years); the unusual, perhaps unique, depth of its indexing; the fact that its index is available online; and the fact that an updated and extended index will be available in one or two months.
Our art ephemera complements and extends our extensive archival holding pertaining to area art and artists. Those holdings are described on our Art Archives LibGuide.
Despite its depth, our art ephemera is only a small fraction of our (dare I say it?) "vast" vertical files collection. For more information about our vertical files in general, please visit our web page.
And of course if you would like to see any of this material for yourself, you're welcome to drop by. We'd be delighted to show it to you.
(Image of invitation to Robert Gordy show at Glade Gallery, 1968. Louisiana Collection Vertical Files, Special Collections, Tulane University Libraries. Image may not be reproduced without permission.)