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Posts Tagged ‘cataloging’

contributed by Samantha Hurst, Kent State University graduate student in the Master of Library and Information Science program.

This spring semester, I was fortunate to be able to intern for CCHP. I had the opportunity to work on a variety of digital projects that I was able to contribute to from home. One of these was creating metadata for pieces in the David P. Campbell Postcard Collection. I got to work on the cards in the category “Interesting Messages, Handwriting” which feature cards with handwritten messages on the back that the original collector, Dr. Campbell, found unique. While pouring over these cards and trying to decipher every scrawled cursive letter, I found myself getting lost in their messages, in the wording and other ways in which people chose to express themselves within the confines of a 3×5-inch piece of paper, as well as the imagined meanings in between the lines, the words left unsaid. A few in particular stood out to me:

One card from 1958 carries a message written in a spiral instead of from left to right. The words look like a vortex swirling in on itself, with the text reading “Phil, this is how things have been going the past two days.” The author seems to be alluding to the feeling of being in New York City, which she describes as being nothing like the tranquil scene of Central Park depicted on the front of the card. 

A postcard view of Fifth Ave. hotels from Central Park in New York City. The buildings in the background are reflected in a stream in the foreground. There is also a stone bridge over the water and people walking through the park. The logo of the Center for the History of Psychology appears in the bottom right corner.
Front of a 1958 postcard of New York City from the David P. Campbell Postcard Collection (Interesting Messages, Handwriting binder, IntMsgHwrtg_002)
Back of a postcard with a handwritten message in blue ink written in a spiral that reads: "Phil, This is the way things have been going the past two days. New York is definitely an unbelievable place - characters like you've never seen. The tranquil scene on the other side is very disillusioning - It Ain't that way!!! Saw Man of La Mancha tonight, GREAT! Take care, Sue." Postcard is stamped as sent from New York on April 16, 1958 and featured a 5 cent US stamp with George Washington's image. Logo of the Center for the History of Psychology appears in the bottom right corner.
Back of 1958 postcard of New York City from the David P. Campbell Postcard Collection. Personal address removed (Interesting Messages, Handwriting binder, IntMsgHwrtg_002)

One card written in 1978 feels like it was taken from the middle of an argument, with the writer, Sue saying: “It isn’t I don’t have the time. I just don’t think that I have the mental ability to make decisions.” She goes on to talk about her husband falling and hurting his back in the bath tub the day before, but somehow I feel like her husband’s back is the least of Sue’s problems.

A postcard view of a framed painting depicting Roman ruins. The Colosseum is visible in the background of the image and pillars from the Roman Forum are in the foreground. A group of six people in robes appear to be lounging at the base of the pillars. Logo of the Center for the History of Psychology appears in the bottom left corner.
Front of a 1978 postcard of a painting titled “Roman Ruins” by Pannini from the David P. Campbell Postcard Collection (Interesting Messages, Handwriting binder, IntMsgHwrtg_006)
 Back of a postcard with typed message that reads: "9-11-78 Dear Mary: it isn't I don't have the time. I just don't think that I have the mental ability to make decisions. Al sprained his back getting out of the bath tub yesterday. Spent most or the day with a heating pad on his back. He doesn't seem much better today. Love, Sue." The card is labelled as "Roman Ruins by Pannini (1691-1764) One of the Views at Grand Trianon, Colorado Springs, Colorado Photograph by Orin Sealy, The Denver Post." It is stamped as having been posted from Colorado in September 1978 and featured a 10 cent US stamp with an image of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial in DC. Logo of the Center for the History of Psychology appears in the bottom right.
Back of a 1978 postcard of a painting titled “Roman Ruins” by Pannini from the David P. Campbell Postcard Collection. Personal address removed (Interesting Messages, Handwriting binder, IntMsgHwrtg_006)

Another card, written in 1917, during the height of World War One, is written by a young man to his uncle, telling him that he’s joined the Navy, saying “[I] like it fine. I eat on the ground and do my own washing. It is a new experience.” A synopsis of Navy life during that period that I have to imagine is leaving out some less savory details.

Front of a postcard featuring a sepia toned photograph of a large group of young men in Naval uniforms hanging off the back of a train and waving with their white hats. Caption in the bottom left corner reads "We're off." Logo of the Center for the History of Psychology appears in the top right corner.
Front of a 1917 postcard featuring a group of men heading to war from the David P. Campbell Postcard Collection. Personal address removed (Interesting Messages, Handwriting binder, IntMsgHwrtg_033)
Back of a postcard with handwritten text that reads: "address Great Lakes T.S. Camp Paul Jones Co 14, Reg 3, Bat. Dear Uncle, Have joined U.S. Navy. Like it fine. I eat on the ground and do my own washing. It is a new experience . There is no question but what will lick the Germans. Densel." The postcard is stamped as having been sent from Illinois on September 14, 1917 and featured a green 1 cent US stamp. The logo of the Center for the History of Psychology appears in the bottom right corner.
Back of a 1917 postcard featuring a group of men heading to war from the David P. Campbell Postcard Collection (Interesting Messages, Handwriting binder, IntMsgHwrtg_033)

One of my favorite postcards might be the one that I found the most confounding. A card in which the message on the back simply reads “nothing at all to say” signed “PAT.” A message carrying virtually no meaning to anyone other than perhaps Clarence Korn, who received the card in January of 1915.

Front of a postcard featuring a blue and white cartoon of a young boy sitting on the floor and writing a post card. Beside him is a stool, a cat, an ink well, and a candle. Text printed on the card reads: "To owe von's frendt a ledder Doesn't seem Xactly rite, So dis dainty liddle post card I'm sending you tonight." The logo of the Center for the History of Psychology appears in the bottom right corner.
Front of a 1915 cartoon postcard from the David P. Campbell Postcard Collection (Interesting Messages, Handwriting binder, IntMsgHwrtg_057)
Back of a postcard with handwritten text written sideways on the card that reads "Nothing at all to say PAT." The postcard is stamped as having been mailed on January 16, 1916 and features a green 1 cent US stamp. The logo of the Center for the History of Psychology appears in the bottom right corner.
Back of a 1915 cartoon postcard from the David P. Campbell Postcard Collection Personal address removed (Interesting Messages, Handwriting binder, IntMsgHwrtg_057)

Written on a simple black and white card, the front image depicting a cartoon of a child writing a post card and a short poem expressing the feeling of wanting to send a postcard to a friend when a letter isn’t necessary. Virtually everything about this postcard feels completely superfluous in a way that genuinely took me aback when I first saw it. Pat seems to have just sent Clarence a postcard about writing a postcard with no other message beyond “here is a postcard.” Was there some secret meaning to this act? Was there a private joke between the two of them? Was this card in response to something Clarence said or did to Pat? It reminded me of the act of sending a friend a random picture with no explanation, or even the now seemingly ancient Facebook “poke” function, designed to get your friend’s attention for no specific reason. All just random acts that say “I may not have anything to say, but I still want you to know I’m here.”

These postcards are so fascinating to me because they are essentially just pieces of paper, designed for advertising more than anything else, but they have the power to contain such heavy sentiment in such a small space. Although the full contexts of all of these messages have been lost to history, the feelings that they evoke are extremely familiar. We often think of people from the past as being very different from us, but if nothing else, the David P. Campbell Postcard Collection can teach us that in some ways, people never seem to change. The way we talk to friends and family can often be humorous or contentious. We often leave out the more painful details in order to spare someone’s feelings, or keep loved ones from worrying. We often don’t have anything particularly important to say, but want to keep in touch with people anyway, just for the sake of it.

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Contributed by Christina Gaydos, Kent State Library and Information Science practicum student.

As part of my 150 hours at the CCHP as a practicum student, I participated in several cataloging and related projects. One of the last projects is my work with the journal collection housed here at the Archives. The Cummings Center journal collection contains a number of psychology journals, dating from the late 19th century to the present. The journals cover a variety of topics in psychology, the natural sciences, and related fields.

I participated in a small digitization project with the Cummings Center Digital Projects Manager, Jodi Kearns, to create the Psychology and Natural Sciences Journal Collection, which visitors of the Archives online repository can now access thorough the “Books and Journal” collections. Three goals of the project were to [1] bring attention to a small section of the collection, [2] begin to make this part of the collection searchable and accessible for anyone interested, and [3] help me learn a new skill in digitization and continue to practice my cataloging skills. Visitors can locate the Psychology and Natural Sciences Journal Collection under Books and Journals  at the CCHP digital repository.

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Initially, I selected a variety of interesting journal titles to catalog and upload to Sierra, the integrated library system (ILS), a computer program that allows the archives employees to access, search for and locate materials within their collection. In order for a book, CD, movie, manuscript, puzzle, videogame, journal, box, etc to be searched for, the item in question must have its metadata — a set of data that describes and gives information about other data: the title, author, barcode number and more—added to the ILS so it can be found. This is where I come in. In the simplest of terms– to start, I created a record with the corresponding metadata for each journal, then uploaded it to Sierra. Next, Jodi showed me how to scan the journal’s front cover and content page into digital files. Finally, I created new records within ContentDM, the program used to get Sierra’s records onto the web for the public to use and search for items with the Psychology Archives. This includes the digital thumbnails of the journal cover and all of the corresponding information one might try to search for when looking for an item.

Cataloging is one of the lesser known jobs of libraries and museums, but absolutely crucial for patrons of such institutions to find information or items within their collections. I cataloged a small portion of the journal collection, and hopefully in the near future, the remaining part of the collection will also be added.

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Christina Gaydos is a Kent State Library and Information Science student completing a Spring practicum here at the Archives, and will be graduating in May 2016. Her focus has been on cataloging, assisting in cataloging print and manuscript collections, amongst other projects, including work with ContentDM. Christina will begin work as a Catalog Librarian for the Toledo Lucas County Public Library in May 2016.

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