Roman Rooms

George Ticknor 1807 was a professor of languages at both Harvard University and Smith College during the 19th century and amassed a formidable personal library during his many trips to Europe for both study and pleasure. In particular, his collection of Spanish and Portuguese literature was arguably the best of its kind in the United States during his lifetime. Rauner Library was given a significant portion of Ticknor’s library by his estate as well as his library furniture, mantlepiece, and sculptures, all of which now reside just off Rauner’s reading room in a room named after the family.

In addition to George’s library, furniture, and artwork, Rauner also holds his personal papers and those of his wife Anna, which include personal travel diaries written during their travels abroad in the 1830s. The diaries are filled with interesting perspectives on the countries and places that they visit, and comparing the couple’s entries on any given day is a fun exercise in seeing how different individual impressions and experiences can be. Anna’s diary is written in a beautiful cursive hand and begins in May of 1835, when the Ticknors landed in England, and ends in September of 1837 near the Splügen Pass between Switzerland and Italy.

In the winter of 1836, The Ticknors took up residence in Rome on the third floor of a private house overlooking the city. Anna took it upon herself to draft in her diary a floor plan of the rooms, which is quite detailed and provides a fascinating example of the style in which wealthy families of the period were accustomed to traveling. The apartments include “six sleeping rooms, a sitting room and dining room, servants’ eating room, kitchen and outer & inner antechambers.” For Anna, however, the best quality of the rooms is that they are situated upon the side of one of Rome’s many hills and are therefore provided a wonderful and constantly sunny view of the city. She also mentions that everything has been provided for them upon their arrival, and that this comprehensive service is possible because tourists of their stature are so common in Rome.

Anna’s diaries can be found in her personal papers, MS-1249, while George’s diaries are located in his papers, MS-983. The Ticknor Room at Rauner Library can be viewed any time that the reading room is open.

Sailing to…..

Before Mercator, pilots used charts that showed the location of ports and coastal features and provided directions on how to navigate between these points of reference. Details of the coast were critical as vessels often chose to sail closer to land to mitigate potential open sea and weather hazards. These earlier maps were known as portolan charts – a name derived from the Italian – and are often fantastically detailed and depict the coastlines of the major land masses with stunning accuracy.

Our portolan chart was made by Nicolas Comberford around 1657 in Redcliffe, England and depicts the Mediterranean and Black Sea. True to the style, numerous coastal towns and cities are pinpointed and the small islands of the area are numbered and listed in tables in the interior spaces of the adjoining countries. As with most portolan charts, the interior land masses are left largely blank since the focus of the chart was navigation on the water. Unlike most portolans, Comberford has not included the standard compass lines connecting major destinations, opting instead for a more open grid to demonstrate direction and relative distance.

The chart is constructed of vellum attached to hinged and folded oak boards. Despite its use on ship, the map shows very little water staining and is brilliantly colored with gold leaf accents. Though the map apparently belonged to a Captain John Smyth, this is, alas, not the Captain Smith of Virginia fame. That Captain Smith died before the creation of this chart.

Ask for Codex 657940 to see the chart.

Digital Production Unit Update, Part 2

The primary focus of the Digital Production Unit over the past few months has been to incorporate the new reprographic system into our workflows. Since we started using the new equipment in January we have been able to take advantage of its speed and high quality imaging in a number of projects. 

We have redesigned our workflow for the Dartmouth College Photographic Files collection to use the new camera exclusively. The previous workflow for this ongoing project used two scanners on two computers and required additional post production work to gather all of the images together. Our new workflow consolidates all of that work onto one workstation. The streamlined workflow has created noticeable positive effects in the time it takes to complete work on this project.
Dartmouth College Photographic Files collection: (
One of the first projects we tackled with the new equipment was to shoot recent Winter Carnival Posters. This was a great learning opportunity for us. The posters are large and colorful and gave us a chance to develop our skills with the hardware and software. We will add individual new posters as they become available in future Winter terms. In addition, we are in the planning stages of a project to reshoot all of the posters to upgrade the quality of our master images.
We have also been able to use the equipment in support of smaller projects in Rauner Special Collections and for exhibits by Education and Outreach. Other work with the camera includes one-offs for various projects, quality assurance and corrections.
In other news, we continue to redesign our work area. We recently moved all of the scanning equipment into room 2D, turning that space into our scanning lab.
By Willliam B. Ghezzi

One Lick Less

We have nine sheets of the corrected galley proofs from William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying along with a letter from Edith Greenburg of Cape and Smith. The publishers were in a rush to get the book out, and Faulkner was tardy on getting his proofs back to them. So, they sent him a handful of questions about specific concerns they had and asked for an immediate reply via air mail.

They were understandably perplexed by a large gap left on page 164 in the sentence, “The shape of my body where I used to be a virgin is a        and I couldn’t think…” Was it on purpose? The first edition, also in our collection, reveals that it was indeed intended.

But what caught our eye was a suggested rewrite of a sentence to shorten a page and, thus, keep a single line from appearing on the next page to end the chapter.  What was “Pa breathes quietly, with a faint, rasping sound, his jaw working the snuff slowly against his gums,” became “Pa breathes with a quiet, rasping sound, mouthing the snuff against his gums.” Same meaning, but a different rhythm and a different visceral sense.  One line less, one line less…

To see the proofs ask for MS 930469; for the first edition, Rare PZ3.F272 As.

On Supporting Science and Scholarly Communications


Click photo for an enlarged version of the poster

Last week, I presented a poster at the annual Special Libraries Association conference. The theme of the conference was Beyond Borders so the poster was titled “Beyond Information Literacy: Supporting Science & Scholarly Communications.” Click here to get the PDF or email me if you’d like the source file (SVG).

Abstract: ACRL defines information literacy as the set of skills needed to find, retrieve, analyze, and use information [1]. While librarians have embraced their roles as educators, many have not gone beyond teaching these skills in courses, workshops, and individual consultations. In the sciences especially, information is easily available through well established digital infrastructures (e.g. repositories) and new publishing models (e.g. open access). Because science students learn how to analyze and use that information through coursework and departmental advising, librarians must find other ways to support them. The librarians at Dartmouth College have begun focusing on helping students develop communication skills and greater awareness of how scientists disseminate their work. This poster will highlight some innovative ways to support scholarly communications and to teach science students how to effectively communicate the knowledge they have acquired. Areas of focus include organizing references, learning and using LaTeX, designing and presenting a research poster, crafting a science elevator pitch, exploring publishing options, and measuring the impact of different work.

[1] Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education. Association of College & Research Libraries, 2000;

I analyzed the types of private consultations we received at Kresge and the types of outreach programs we hosted or participated in. The data shows that consultations about scientific communication have generally increased, both as a percentage of total consultations and in absolute number. An increased number of outreach programs in the previous semester appear to result in an increased number of consultations and interest in scholarly communication. In other words, there’s value in supporting science and scholarly communications and the library can and should support these needs.

There were a lot of follow-up questions and general interest in the LaTeX-related programs. I had presented specifically on teaching and supporting LaTeX at the Mathematics Roundtable session the day before. People seemed excited to try supporting it at their own institutions.

For further thoughts, read my other blog entry and come by Kresge to see the poster!

Filed under: Kresge, Publishing, Research

They Played Here?!

In May 1964, the Ronettes came to Dartmouth on a package tour with Soul Sister, Carl Holmes, and King Curtis to play Green Key weekend. It was a particularly good couple of years for popular music on campus. Johnny Cash was here in February 1964 to shoot an episode of Hootenanny, and Peter, Paul and Mary played Dartmouth’s Leverone Field House in 1965.

We just mounted an exhibit in the Baker Library Main Hall that looks back on pop music acts that played Dartmouth when they were in their prime. It features the likes of Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw (with Billie Holiday), Duke Ellington, Pete Seeger, Simon & Garfunkel, Ray Charles, Sly and the Family Stone, Cat Stevens, Bruce Springsteen, the Grateful Dead, Labelle, the Clash, and the Bangles among others.

As we were putting the finishing touches on the exhibit a little miracle occurred.  We leaned that Noel Paul Stookey of Peter, Paul and Mary was going to be on campus to participate in Baccalaureate with his wife Elizabeth. They graciously took some time after the ceremony on Saturday to walk through the exhibit with us. Here is Noel in front of the “folk” case with a poster from the 1965 concert.

The exhibit will run through August 31, 2014–so come in and take a look.

On the Cost of Journal Bundles


Image pulled from Science Insider

Have you ever wondered how much universities are paying for the journal subscriptions you have access to? A new study on journal bundle pricing and non-disclosure agreements was just published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The news piece in Science gives an interesting perspective as well. Both worth reading!

Filed under: Publishing, Science

That Sinking Feeling

Two years ago, a writer for Dartbeat, the Dartmouth student newspaper’s blog, posted a fascinating entry about the sinking of the Titanic. The author, Kristin Yu, mentioned that two of the passengers on board the ship were related to a member of the class of 1912, Howard “Rainy” Burchard Lines, and were on their way across the Atlantic to attend his graduation. Mary Lines, Rainy’s sister, and Elizabeth Lines, his mother, were among the lucky few to survive the horrendous tragedy that became a cultural phenomenon which persists even to this day. A few years later, sadly, Lines himself would die while serving in France as an ambulance driver in World War I.

Recently, while exploring our archives, a visitor to Rauner made a thrilling discovery related to this already gripping tale. Rauner Library holds various WWI materials connected to Howard Burchard Lines, about which we’ve already blogged. In addition to his papers, we also have Lines’ membook, a scrapbook with a personalized cover that was distributed to Dartmouth freshmen upon their arrival on campus from the mid-1800s into the 1930s. As one of our previous blog entries makes clear, membooks were full of empty pages that Dartmouth students would fill with various mementoes from their time at college. By the time a Dartmouth man graduated, he would have accumulated a souvenir compiled of newspaper clippings, dance cards, programs and tickets to cultural events, personal photographs, pressed flowers, and any other little oddities that caught the owner’s fancy.

Lines’ membook is filled with these typical scraps and bits of his college years. Because of the 100th anniversary of World War I, he was fresh on our minds when a visitor came in and asked to see a sample membook, and so we paged his membook for her. What she found next gave us goosebumps: among the pages of Lines’ scrapbook, between dance cards and other superficial vestiges of boyish fun, lie two small but weighty slips of paper. One is a boarding pass of sorts that allowed Mary Lines and one passenger admittance to RMS Titanic; the other is a telegram to Howard Lines that tersely states: “Safe on board carpathia. Lines.” RMS Carpathia was the ship made famous by rescuing the survivors of the Titanic on that cold night in April, who doubtless all attempted to contact their loved ones immediately from the ship to let them know that they were okay.

Who knows what other fateful documents lie hidden within the pages of these old membooks, awaiting discovery after more than a hundred years? Come in and help us with the hunt by asking to see a random membook, or see the telegram and ticket for yourself by asking for Lines’ membook (DC History Membook Lines 1912). Also, for more on Howard “Rainy” Lines 1912, ask to see his Alumni File or any number of items related to his experiences during the war, including MS-452.

Faculty Research Seminars – Data for Health Policy Analysis

The Dartmouth College Library provides access to a wealth of online data that can be used for health policy analysis. John Cocklin, Economics and Social Sciences Data Librarian, will discuss library tools available to you, such as Proquest Statistical Insight and Social Explorer, that can be used to find data. He will also discuss sources of data, many of them hidden from a standard Google search. The talk will start nationally with sources such as the U.S. Census Bureau and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and will move internationally to the World Bank and World Health Organization.Title: Data for Health Policy Analysis

Date: Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Time: 12:00pm – 1:00pm
Presenter: John Cocklin
Location: DHMC, Borwell 658W
Host: Biomedical Libraries
Registration: Registration is required for this event.