Boston College Libraries Faculty Newsletter


FALL 2010

Digital Collections and Technology Updates

The Library continues to enhance efforts for quality access to digitized collections, born digital collections, and the technology to access and support the use of these collections.


The Open Content Alliance and Boston College History

Open Content AllianceClearly, Library collections will be a key component of the University’s Sesquecentennial celebration in 2013. One way in which the Library is preparing for this is by digitizing some unique collections and titles about Boston College and contributing this content to the collections of the Open Content Alliance. The Open Content Alliance (OCA) is a collaborative effort of a group of cultural, technology, nonprofit, and governmental organizations from around the world that helps build a permanent archive of multilingual digitized text and multimedia material. An archive of contributed material is available on the Internet Archive website and through Yahoo! and other search engines and sites.


Here are some examples of collections and titles that the libraries are sharing about the history of Boston College:

Sub Turri, the Boston College Yearbook, is now available online from 1913 – 1967. A title often requested at the reference desk is now made more accessible for all.

Some standard histories of Boston College have also been digitized and are available online:

History of Boston College from the beginnings to 1990 (Donovan)

A History of Boston College (Dunigan)

Crowned Hilltop: Boston College in its hundredth year  (Frost)

Work will continue in this spirit, with one major initiative possibly being The Heights.

Bobbie Hanvey Photographic Archives

A recent major digitization project undertaken by the Library is the photography collection of Bobbie Hanvey. Hanvey's photographs comprise a comprehensive documentation of people and life in the North of Ireland beginning in the 1970’s through circa 2007. Some photographs feature subjects photographed in various other locations in Ireland. The collection contains portraits, candid images (including weddings and other social events) as well as journalistic images covering public, paramilitary and political activity. Over 10,000 photographs of this collection have been scanned to date. All of the photos placed online can be accessed through DigiTool in which you are able to see all photos in each photo-shoot. A more limited selection of photos can be found through Flickr, with a selection of images taken from each photo-shoot. One of the benefits of using Flickr is that is allows for user commenting and tagging, giving us the opportunity to have a more thorough understanding of the context of these images, events, and people.  Additionally, it provides a more widely accessible (and perhaps easier to navigate) method of viewing the photos, though it is a condensed version of the collection.  Access to the DigiTool collection is also available via the Library’s developing discovery tool, Holmes. Finally, there is also the main site for the Bobbie Hanvey Photographic Archives, which provides an overview of the project, how it is organized, where you can access photos, and information on Bobbie Hanvey. If you wander over to the current exhibit at the McMullen, you will see some samples of Hanvey’s portraits (as well as a wonderful array of primary sources and artifacts from The Burns Library).


Library Support for Open Access Journals

In the area of support for undergraduate research and writing, the Library has been working with Eileen Donovan-Kranz from the English Department in providing online access to Fresh Ink: Essays from Boston College's First Year Writing Seminar. More work is envisioned here, from adding the back-file, to setting up the submission process, and working more on the page design. The Library was also key player in the development of Witness Online, a publication of the Pulse Program, along with the journal Catholic Education: A Journal of Inquiry and Practice, the title featured in this newsletter's lead article.


Technology in the Library

On the support and access side, the Library now has in O’Neill Library two high-end video editing stations. This is in response to increased demand for this type of technology and the expanding multi-media components in student research. In fact, the technology demands on library staff are constantly expanding and this semester O’Neill Library initiated a student staffed technology support desk on Level 3. We are expanding the variety and number of technology tools that we circulate, e.g. power cords, AV connectors, headphones and soon laptops and iPads. The ERC makes available digital cameras and O’Neill circulates Flip cameras. Social Work circulates laptops to the Boston College Social Work community.

Flip video camera

Check out a Flip video
camera from the Media Ctr.


Experimentation with technology is, in fact, a normal part of the way librarians now work. We will also be looking at different books scanners for public use, new technologies for the visually impaired, a touch-screen building directory, and we are currently testing a self-service circulation station. Mentioned earlier was our work with Holmes, the library’s future discovery and delivery tool. There is great potential here as a place for students to begin their research and be presented with a variety of formats from which to choose. The system will integrate books, journal articles, and digital collections and incorporate a variety of social networking software. 


We are seeing how text reference works in this community and still offer ways for patrons to chat online with reference staff and we wait to see what a Facebook presence will do for us. Currently, there are Facebook pages for the University Libraries, as well as individual ones for Social Work, Bapst, Burns, and the Theology and Ministry Library.


Last, but not least, the Library is aggressively working to make access to our services and collections available via your mobile device.  Check our mobile services page and tell us what you think.


Rick Pagliarulo/Ed Tallent