UHM Rare Book Collection, User Videos and Website Design

Repton, Humphrey (1752-1818)

Photo credit: Charise Michelson/Joy Enomoto, UHM Preservation Department

Project History & Overview

During the Fall 2014 semester I was able to take LIS 693, Rare Book Librarianship and I had such a wonderful experience! I learned so much about handling rare books, researching, outreach, collection development and helping users. For my final project, I completed two videos with the intent of user outreach, decreasing intimidation and increasing knowledge about the collections.

After spending six months in the collection and the Moir Reading Room, I frequently saw that students would wander up to the fifth floor, unsure of whether they were allowed to enter, let alone ask any questions of the reference staff. I saw this intimidation and decided that I would use my tech skills to create a short informational video to help bring awareness to students, faculty and staff.

However, an idea of one short video quickly turned into one long one (so much information to give!) – so I had to chop them up into three more manageable videos which will be used in different locations on the site.

About the Collection 

“The Hamilton Library Rare Book Collection was developed by a patchwork of gifts and purchases.  The first initiative to create a collection of rare books was under the influence of University President Gregg M. Sinclair in the 1950s.  When Sinclair Library opened in 1956; three rare books were the first items to move into the new facility.  That same year, the library received from Mrs. Henry Clark Jr. a collection over sixty 16th and 17th century books.  Mrs. Clark expressed her hope that the University would “use the collection to furnish examples for Library exhibits on printing and bookmaking.”  A gift of books on the history of typography, printing and book design from the estate of Merick K. Dutton in 1963, was a perfect fit to expand the developing Rare Book Collection.  One of the treasures from Dutton’s library is a leaf from the Gutenberg bible.

The formal establishment of the Rare Book Collection commenced in 1970 when Hamilton Library was opened. That same year the collection was significantly expanded with the purchase of rare natural history and private presses books from the library of Mrs. Ethelinda Schaefer Castle. Under the direction of University Librarian Stanley West, Librarian Charles Adams began to select books to create a Book Arts Collection in 1971.  Noting in a memo that “the purpose of the collection would be essentially to gather together books and related material which are examples of bookmaking and illustrating the history of book arts.”

The Rare Book Collection continues to surprise researchers with its unexpected richness and depth. Explore the collection with us on-line as we provide a glimpse into the Rare Collection book vault.  Then take the step to enjoy turning pages in the Moir Reading Room.”

Source: University of Hawai’i, Preservation Department

Introducing the Moir Reading Room

How to Use the Moir Reading Room

Moir Reading Room FAQs

How I Created the Videos

I recruited my housemate, Zakea to be my model for the handling video and utilized a Canon Rebel 2Ti camera for stills and video, professional sound recording equipment which was borrowed from my boyfriend (thank you!) and for editing and final production, I used iMovie.

Phase II – Website Design

Current Issues

After creating the videos, I expressed interest to the Professor Lynn Davis (who is also Librarian and Head of the UHM Preservation Department) that I would like to help with redesigning their website. One of the main issues is that the current site is buried under links through the Hamilton Library main page (Figure 1) making it difficult for users to find information about the collection.

rarebooks-buried-site

Figure 1

rarebook-current-site

Figure 2

Another issue is that the current site is very sparse and does not offer a dynamic or responsive user experience (Figure 2). Therefore, starting in about 2013 Lynn Davis, Head of the Preservation Department at the University of Hawai’i had the foresight to have two very talented people from her staff (Charise Michelson and Joy Enomoto) begin working on curating content and taking photographs which were added to a basic structure beta site on WordPress. As part of my consultation process, I reviewed this beta site as well as the official UH site (seen above) and made recommendations to Lynn for changes in structure and design.

Plan of Action

1. Create a dynamic and responsive website which will be hosted through www.manoa.hawaii.edu/

2. Determine and create a hierarchy for the navigation menus

3. Begin collecting content (including but not limited to: images, collection information, staff images, general information, social media accounts and any other information that will be added to the site). Through the efforts of Charise Michelson, Processing Archivist and Joy Enomoto with the University of Hawai’i Archives all textual content, research and images have been collected and curated into a beta site which is not currently available to the public.

4. Narrow down choices for professional templates which will be used as the final GUI

5. Interact with the UHM ITS department for creating a space for the site on the manoa.hawaii.edu host.

6. Create a new navigational structure;

7. Begin integrating current and new content to the new site.

8. Have archive and preservation department employees test the site.

9. Launch to the public!

Goal & Deadline

My goal is to design, create, test and launch the site to the public by April 2015. Check back frequently for updates on this new site! I can’t wait to be a part of helping the University of Hawai’i launch the Rare Book Collection into the digital era so that UHM students, staff and faculty can be more comfortable with using the collections for their research and course support.