Legacies of Catalogue Descriptions Undertaking Occasions at Yale


In January James Baker and I visited the Lewis Walpole Library at Yale, who’re the US associate of the Legacies of catalogue descriptions collaboration. The go to needed to be postponed a number of instances because of the pandemic, so we have been delighted to lastly meet in individual with Cindy Roman, our counterpart at Yale. The primary motive for the journey was to disseminate the findings of our challenge by operating workshops on instruments for computational evaluation of catalogue knowledge and delivering talks about Researching the Histories of Cataloguing to (Attempt to) Make Higher Metadata. Two of those occasions have been kindly hosted by Kayla Shipp, Programme Supervisor of the fabulous Franke Household Digital Humanities Lab (DH Lab).

A photo of Cindy Roman, Rossitza Atanassova, James Baker and Kayla Shipp standing in a line in the middle of the Yale Digital Humanities Lab

(left to proper) Cindy Roman, Rossitza Atanassova, James Baker and Kayla Shipp within the Yale Digital Humanities Lab

This was my first go to to Yale College campus, so I took the chance to discover its iconic library areas, together with the majestic Sterling Memorial Library constructing, a masterpiece of Gothic Revival structure, and the world famend Beinecke Uncommon E-book and Manuscripts Library, whose glass tower impressed the Kings’ Library Tower on the British Library. In addition to being wonderful hubs for studying and analysis, the Library buildings and exhibition areas are additionally open to public guests. On the time of my go to I explored the early printed treasures on show on the Beinecke Library, the exhibit about Martin Luther King Jr’s reference to Yale and the luxurious show of highlights from Yale’s Slavic collections, together with Vladimir Nabokov’s CV for a job utility to Yale and a household picture album that belonged to the Romanovs.

A selfie of Rossitza Atanassova with the building of the Stirling Memorial Library in the the background

Exterior Yale’s Stirling Memorial Library

An actual spotlight of my go to was the day I spent on the Lewis Walpole Library (LWP), positioned in Farmington, about 40 miles from the Yale campus. The LWP is a analysis centre of eighteenth-century research and an important useful resource for the research of Horace Walpole. The collections together with vital holdings of British prints and drawings have been donated to Yale by Wilmarth and Annie Lewis in Seventies, along with a number of eighteenth-century historic buildings and land.

Previous to my arrival James had carried out archival analysis with the catalogues of the LWP satirical prints collections, a case research for our challenge. In addition to visiting the trendy studying room to check out the printed card catalogues many in hand of Mrs Lewis, we got a tour of Mr and Mrs Lewis’ home which is now used for courses, workshops and conferences. I loved assembly the LWP employees and discovered a lot concerning the historical past of the place, the collectors’ lives and LWP present initiatives.

One of the historic buildings on the Lewis Walpole Library site - The Roots House, a white Georgian-style building with a terrace, used to house visiting fellows and guests

The Root Home which homes residential fellows


One of the historic buildings on the Lewis Walpole Library site - a red-coloured building surrounded by trees

Thomas Curricomp Home


The main house, a white Georgian-style house, seen from the side, with the entrance to the Library on the left

The Cowles Home, the place Mr and Mrs Lewis lived


The 2 challenge occasions I used to be concerned with occurred on the Yale DH Lab. Throughout the interactive workshop, Yale Library, school and college students labored by means of the coaching supplies on utilizing AntConc for computational evaluation and carried out a lot of duties with the LWP satirical prints descriptions. There have been discussions concerning the other ways of querying the information and the suitability of this device to be used with non-European languages and scripts. It was nice to listen to that this method might show helpful for querying and selling Yale’s personal open entry metadata.


James talking to a group of people seated at a table, with a screen behind him showing some text data

James presenting on the workshop about AntConc

Rossitza standing next to a screen with a slide about her talk facing the audience

Rossitza presenting her analysis with incunabula catalogue descriptions


The talks addressed the questions round cataloguing labour and curatorial voices, the extent to which computational evaluation permits new analysis questions and may help practitioners with remedial work involving collections metadata. I spoke about my present RLUK fellowship challenge with the British Library incunabula descriptions and specifically the historical past of cataloguing, the method to output textual content knowledge and a few hypotheses to be examined by means of computational evaluation. The next dialogue raised questions concerning the effort that goes into this kind of work and the necessity to steadiness a higher consumer entry to library and archival collections with the crucial concerns concerning the high quality and provenance of metadata.

Throughout my go to I had many fascinating conversations with Yale Library employees, Nicole Bouché, Daniel Lovins, Daniel Greenback, and caught up with of us I had met on the 2022 IIIF Convention, Tripp Kirkpatrick, Jon Manton and Emmanuelle Delmas-Glass. I used to be curious to study current organisational modifications aimed to unify the Yale particular collections and improve digital entry by way of IIIF metadata; the brand new roles of Director of Computational Information and Strategies in command of the DH Lab and Cultural Heritage Information Engineer to remodel Yale knowledge into LOUD.

This has been a very informative and pleasing go to and my particular thanks go to Cindy Roman and Kayla Shipp who hosted my go to and challenge occasions at the beginning of a busy time period and to James for the chance to work with him on this challenge.

This blogpost is by Dr Rossitza Atanassova, Digital Curator for Digitisation, British Library. She is on Twitter @RossiAtanassova  and Mastodon @[email protected]


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