Thursday, August 30, 2007

Blog Day

Tomorrow, as many bloggers know, is Blog Day. Since I'll be out tomorrow for what I hope will be a sunny and relaxing day of vacation, I'm posting my five recommended blogs a day early. Here they are, in no particular order. Enjoy!

A Librarian's Guide to Etiquette

for those of you who are not librarians, and may not know any librarians: this is satire, not how we really feel about patrons. :-)

3Quarks Daily
a nice blend of topics, where I always find something new and interesting

Global Voices Online
Critical to keeping an open mind, and reminding me that I am not in the center of the universe

Institutional Review Blog
For anyone who has to deal with IRBs, or is afraid they may have to at some point, this site will keep you aware and informed

New Scientist Short Sharp Science
Science news with a touch of British humor

Correcting the record

Ah, the printed record: riddled with inaccuracies, as any experienced researcher knows. So rarely do we get an opportunity to correct it. I'll be using this post to correct some inaccurate statements made about me in a recent article.

Those of you who are employees of OHSU may have seen today's (virtual) copy of the biweekly publication, OHSU Outlook, which included a new feature: Employee Spotlight. For those who did not read that piece, here is the text as sent:

Employee spotlight: Sara Piasecki finds the rare and unusual

Sara Piasecki, History of Medicine Librarian, specializes in rare books and special collections. She has gathered material for a national exhibit on women in medicine (featuring three OHSU medical professionals); unraveled early career information about Oishi Seinosuke, an 1896 graduate and Japanese citizen who eventually was executed in his homeland for plotting to assassinate the Emperor; and helped put together a local exhibit on " The Dark Side of Medicine" with a Frankenstein twist.

Sara has managed historical collections and archives at OHSU since 2001. She responds to inquiries from private citizens, researchers, and tourists from across the state, country, and globe. Coordinating the History of Medicine Society’s Lecture Series and working with local libraries and universities throughout Oregon on historical displays are among her responsibilities. She and her one co-worker also procure items for the library and work to digitize materials.

“The most rewarding part of my job is actually helping the patrons,” Sara said with a smile. She explained that most people have lost the art of finding information. It takes expertise and patience to go to a collection and find what a patron needs. “It is a real joy to be able to do that,” she shared.

To reach Sara, please email her or call the History of Medicine Library at 8-2287 or visit room 300 on the third floor of the Old Library Building.


Below are the corrections I would have made to this article, had I been consulted or shown a draft of the piece before publication:

Employee spotlight: Sara Piasecki preserves the rare and unusual

Sara Piasecki, History of Medicine Librarian, specializes in rare books and special collections. She is currently gathering material in support of a local installation of the national exhibit on women in medicine (featuring OHSU medical graduates and faculty members); helped unravel information on the medical education of Oishi Seinosuke, an 1896 graduate and Japanese citizen who eventually was executed in his homeland for plotting to assassinate the Emperor; and helped put together a local exhibit in support of the NLM traveling exhibit, "Frankenstein: Penetrating the Secrets of Nature."

Sara has managed historical collections and archives at OHSU since 2003. She responds to inquiries from researchers here at OHSU as well as across the state, country, and globe. Coordinating the History of Medicine Society’s Lecture Series and working with local libraries and universities throughout Oregon on historical displays are among her responsibilities. She and her one co-worker, Archivist Karen L. Peterson, also acquire items for the collections (primarily through donation) and are working to digitize materials.

“The most rewarding part of my job is actually helping the patrons,” Sara said with a smile. She explained that most people have lost the art of finding information. It takes expertise and patience to go to a collection and find what a patron needs. “It is a real joy to be able to do that,” she shared.

To reach Sara, please email her or call the History of Medicine Library at 8-2287 or visit room 300 on the third floor of the Old Library Building.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

One of a thousand words


So pictures, as the saying goes, are worth a thousand words each. The question when systematically classifying photographs into a flat file then becomes: which word is most important? The problem is, of course, that different words are important to different classifiers and different searchers at different times.

Take, for example, the photograph I came across today when looking for a picture of our former chair of surgery, William Krippaehne, M.D., as an intern or resident here at the Multnomah County Hospital. He graduated in 1946, so his internship and residency years would have been in the second half of that decade. We have two classes of intern and resident photos: one for those groups we know were at MCH, and one for those of indeterminate location (could be the Portland VA, could be Good Samaritan, Emanuel, St. Vincent's--you get the idea).

We have several undated group photos of the MCH interns from the 1940s and 1950s; I'll have to look those over more carefully to see if I can pick Dr. Krippaehne out of the crowd. And even though we know he interned at MCH, I checked the other folder to see if something was filed incorrectly at some point.

Lo! and behold! In the miscellaneous Residents & Interns folder, there were two photographs of Dr. Krippaehne and Dr. Stanley Jacob, another member of the surgical faculty here, leading a group of medical students in rounds. What a find! We don't really have that many images of William Krippaehne, and this shows him in his element of academic medicine.

So, today's lesson: classification is good and important and useful, and it should be done carefully and thoughtfully. But serendipity is a researcher's best friend!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Images, A to Z: available to all (?)

Having finished the Biographical File portion of the materials from the News & Pubs donation, we moved on to sorting, classifying, and filing the portrait photographs into our Historical Image Collection. Today, the personal pictures portion has been completed! The current system for prints has two series of portrait photographs: folders by letter A-Z, and folders for single individuals represented by three or more prints. While we did add many prints into the A-Z folders (from Aldrich to Yatvin), we greatly expanded the number of folders for single persons, ballooning from 3.5 boxes to fifteen. From Abdulhay to Zimmerman, we now have a much better visual record of the faculty and staff of OHSU and its predecessor institutions.

And yes, we did go through a lot of print photo sleeves (over 1500 5x7 sleeves, for starters).

On a related note, we had an interesting twist on an image request today: a patron looking for a picture of someone from a 1980s-era OHSU yearbook contacted the library to see if we held the yearbooks in the collection. Well, we do have some yearbooks here in the Pacific Northwest Archives Collection, but not the one needed for this request. So, I put the patron in touch with the Alumni Association, to see if they had older yearbooks on hand. Well, being the Alumni Association, they did some poking around, found out that the patron was not who she was claiming to be, and declined to give assistance, per the wishes of the alum in question.

It did give us pause: would we have been wrong in simply supplying a copy of the photo if we did, in fact, have it in the collection? I think not: a yearbook is a published document, and if the OHSU yearbooks were kept in open stacks, any patron could come and photocopy pages without ever asking permission. Certainly, it wouldn't occur to me that I could bar someone's access to my college yearbook photo--but it also wouldn't occur to me that someone would want it for (possibly) nefarious reasons.

Privacy: such a delicate and important question. We must constantly strive to strike the right balance between access and ethics.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Mackenzie Hall in pictures



This Wednesday, a new display will grace the walls of the entrance to Mackenzie Hall here on the Marquam Hill campus, a series of historic photographs highlighting the history of the building and the work of architect Ellis Lawrence. Here are two of the sixteen images that were selected from the Historical Image Collection for inclusion in this (semi-) permanent exhibit.