Tag Archives: digital resources

Iron & Steel – Part I

– THERE is a glamor about the making of steel.  (Fitch, The Steelworkers. 1910.)

It’s an inevitable word association.  It doesn’t matter that 30 – 40 years have passed since the collapse of the monolithic steel industry here; mention Pittsburgh and the reflexive response is going to be either “steel mills” or “Steelers.” Industrial production leaves the kind of physical, emotional and intellectual legacy that medical research just won’t capture.

In 2008, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh received an IMLS (Institute of Museum and Library Services) National Leadership Demonstration Grant. In this grant Carnegie Library undertook to scan, digitize and make available 500,000 pages of historic materials related to the iron and steel industry here.  Our goal was to bring together the varied materials in our collection, books, periodicals, photographs, catalogs and maps that both directly and indirectly touched the iron and steel industries in Pittsburgh and around the region.  The link is inescapable for us; no steel rails – no Carnegie Steel Corp. – No Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.

In finding materials to scan we uncovered a treasure trove of distinct pieces of information, shelved in their respective parts of the library collection, that are now brought together digitally to tell a greater story; something harder to do when working with the physical shelving arrangements we use.  All told, we’ve prepared, arranged, recorded, boxed, tracked, cataloged, and determined metadata for 1280 items totaling 522,895 pages. Finding this material is pretty easy.  

Go to http://www.carnegielibrary.org/eCLP/ironsteel/ to read about it, or http://www.clpdigital.org/jspui/ to throw yourself into searching by keyword.  The other way to access these materials is to use the library catalog and conduct an Author Search for Pittsburgh Iron & Steel Heritage Collection, or to do a Keyword Search for IMLS.  Try Keyword searching some obvious names or phrases like IMLS and Carnegie Steel or IMLS and Mesta.  Mesta Machinery Co. was a Pittsburgh based manufacturer of the equipment and machinery that made steel.  Their products are what made all the noise and belched all the smoke.   The reason to include IMLS as part of the search is that there are still many materials we didn’t include in the project, because of condition, content or because they’re still under copyright and can’t be reproduced without permission.  

Not everything scanned has made it into the digital collection yet; the new “product,” usually a PDF, still needs to be cataloged and have its metadata completed, but it’s about 2/3rds finished.  Carnegie Library’s Catalog Librarians may have had the hardest jobs in this project.  

Keep in mind that Saturday, April 14th from 11 – 3 is an open Community Day at Main Library to officially launch the Iron & Steel Heritage Collection.  The library will feature book talks, story sharing, photographic displays, and at 11:30 and 1:30 a presentation with questions and answers by Mr. Tom Barnes, a librarian in Reference Services and a former steel worker.

To be continued…

– Richard

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Got a New eReader? Don’t Forget What Your Library Can Offer!

There was a major surge in the sale of eReaders this past holiday season, resulting in a significant increase of eBook downloads at public libraries. Indeed, according to Digital Library Blog — the official blog of the company, Overdrive, which supplies Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s downloadable eBooks — right around Christmas, library eBook downloads increased 93% compared to just a month earlier.

If you received an eReader during the holidays — or are interested in purchasing one — and want to know more about using it with the Library’s free resources, you should stop by one (or all) of our upcoming training sessions created by the Film and Audio Department in collaboration with the PC Center:

Gadget Lab: Wednesday, January 26th from 5:30 – 7:30 pm and Saturday, February 12th from 10:00 am – 12:00 pm — Bring your new gadget to our gadget lab and we’ll show you how to use it with the Library’s downloadable services. Don’t have a gadget of your own? Come to the lab and try out one of ours!  This event will be located in the Quiet Reading Room, and no registration is required.

Library Resources for Mobile Devices: Thursday, January 13th from 5:30-7:30 pm, and Saturday, January 22nd from 10:30 am – 12:30 pm — If you’d like to learn more about how to use the Library’s downloadable services, as well as receive a hands-on introduction to the major devices that work with these services, such as the Nook eReader or iPod Touch, then this class is for you. Both classes will be taught in the PC Center.  Registration is required, and can be completed by calling 412-622-3114.

If you can’t make it to one of these training sessions, it’s likely there will be more in the near future. In the meantime, you can always stop by the Library to ask your favorite librarian for help with your new device.

–Wes

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Cool New Digital Tools

The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh proudly presents some cool new digital tools for library users.  Grab your CLP card and take these electronic resources for a spin.

ProQuest Historical Newspapers

What it is:   The Pittsburgh Courier in digital form

What it does: Provides full-text access to 91 years’ worth of a prominent African American newspaper.

What you can do with it:  Explore local history; supplement your geneaology research;  get a different view of local and world news;  teach your students about African American history;  search for interesting events that happened on your birthday.

Bonus feature:  You can also search the ABI/Inform business database from the same screen.

If you like it:  See also The African American Experience, or visit The Pennsylvania Department to use Newspaper Archive, another cool digital tool from ProQuest.

Global Issues in Context

What it is:  A clearinghouse of information on current topics and controversies.

What it does:  Collects massive amounts of information into one place, and represents all sides of challenging issues.

What you can do with it:  Get credible information faster; stop wading through 5 million Google hits; read non-partisan information from reputable sources; educate yourself about different cultures and customs; set up RSS feeds for world news sources (separate sign-up required);  challenge your first impressions; become a well-informed citizen.

Bonus feature:  Contains lesson plans and other educational resources for teachers, as well as research and other study guides for students.

If you like it:  See also CQ Researcher Plus Archive and Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center.

Questions, comments, praise and censure can be directed to info@carnegielibrary.org .  And don’t forget:  your chance to weigh in on what role technology — among other things — should play in the future of the library is coming up soon.  Visit the Community Conversation page for more details.

–Leigh Anne
Who will be back with another cool digital update as soon as she can get the dohickey to work correctly with the thingamabob

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Every Month Could Be Black History Month…

LAV has declared that 2010 is “The Year of the Database.”  This is the first in a series of posts about the extensive suite of electronic resources available to Carnegie Library cardholders.  We hope the resources explored in this series will enrich and enhance your library experience.

Did you know that your library card grants you an all-access, year-round pass to information about black history and culture?  Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh users can read, print, or e-mail materials from The African American Experience, one of the many subscription databases we offer for your recreational and research needs.

Why a subscription database, you ask?  Good question.  The free web does have many credible resources, and it’s getting better all the time.  However, subscription databases contain information a Google search won’t turn up, written and published by companies with high standards for accuracy.  And when you’re trying to learn–especially when you’re pressed for time–do you really want to sacrifice quality for quantity?

Not that The African American Experience skimps on either aspect:  you could spend days browsing the subject headings, which include:

  • Arts and Media
  • Civil Rights
  • Children and Families
  • Literature
  • Religion and Spirituality
  • Slavery
  • War and Military Service
  • Women

The database also bundles information into monthly featured topics like “Jazz Music” and “The Great Migration.”  These spotlight bundles include slideshows, timelines, key works, and links to other resources, so that you can explore a new topic every month with ease.

Other treasures in The African American Experience include:

  • Audio samples of historical African American music
  • Interviews with key historical figures
  • More than 5,000 primary sources, including full-text speeches
  • 4,000+ WPA interviews with former slaves
  • Over 2,500 photographs, illustrations and maps
  • Lesson plans and classroom guides
  • A writing/research skills center for students

The very best part of The African American Experience is, however, the fact that you can use it from any computer that has internet access, provided you have your Carnegie Library card handy.  Whenever possible, we provide 24/7/365 access to our digital resources, so that even when the physical library is closed, you still have access to the very best information.

Think outside the month.  Take a look at The African American Experience and consider making 2010 your own personal Black History Year.

–Leigh Anne

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