Rebekah Irwin

Director of Collections & Archives at the Middlebury College Libraries.

Posts by Rebekah Irwin


Middlebury College named in grant to convert rare and historic audio collections

Categories: Midd Blogosphere
Helen Hartness Flanders

Helen Hartness Flanders

Middlebury College’s Library & Information Services (LIS) will participate in a federal grant rewarded to the Northeast Document Conservation Center to digitize wax cylinder recordings in the Flanders Ballad Collection, one of the nation’s great archival collections of New England folksong, folklore, and balladry.

Working in partnership with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the grant will use IRENE/3-D, a system that uses digital imaging to retrieve sound from historical recordings made on discs and wax cylinders that might otherwise be unplayable. IRENE/3-D was used at the Library of Congress in 2012 to extract sound from discs produced by Alexander Graham Bell whose contents hadn’t been heard since they were made about 125 years ago.

HHFBCcyl 2013.10

Wax cylinders, Middlebury’s Special Collections & College Archives

Middlebury College will make available over 200 wax cylinders and more than 1,000 records from the Helen Hartness Flanders Ballad Collection. This new technology will make it possible to capture sound even from broken and cracked cylinders and records, making it possible to play ballads not heard for over 80 years.

Along with Middlebury College, The Woody Guthrie Archives and The Carnegie Hall Archives will make historical records available to the project.

Learn more

The Library of Congress Blog post on IRENE/3D

Playback: 130-Year-Old Sounds Revealed at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Press Release for the NEDCC Grant Project

About Middlebury College – Helen Hartness Flanders Collection

About Carnegie Hall Archives Collections

About the Woody Guthrie Archives

House of Commons Parliamentary Papers {trial access}

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Until February 15 the Middlebury College Libraries has trial access to Proquest’s House of Commons Parliamentary Papers (HCPP), a full-text searchable database with the working documents of government for all areas of social, political, economic, and foreign policy from the 18th century to the 21st.

House of Commons at Westminster 1808 (Wikimedia Commons)

Visit our New & Trial Resources page or search the House of Commons Parliamentary Papers (HCPP) here.

Please share your comments with Rebekah Irwin or your subject liaison.

Trial access to Oxford Handbooks Online through December

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Until December 26 we have access to all of Oxford’s fourteen handbooks in the Oxford Handbooks Online (OHO) collection. Middlebury currently has access to only three OHO collections: PhilosophyReligion, and Political Science.

Get started with a video tutorial or browse and search OHO.

Find OHO and other New & Trial Resources here (go/trials).

Email Rebekah Irwin or your library liaison with comments.

The slow rise of ebooks (by the numbers)

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

The Library took note in May 2011 when announced that its customers were purchasing “more Kindle books than all print books – hardcover and paperback – combined.” Though we’re certainly not yet debating the idea of a bookless library at Middlebury, some number crunching over a 14 month time period seems to show that Middlebury faculty, students, and librarians are beginning to favor ebooks over print too:


A 14 Month Snapshot of Library Requests (Sept. 1, 2011-Nov. 1, 2012)

1,339 faculty, students, & librarians requested books

Overall 35% preferred a print book

Overall 65% preferred an ebook


Of the 211 students requests 45% preferred a print book and 55% preferred ebooks

Of the 432 librarian requests 33% preferred a print book and 67% preferred ebooks 

Out of 696 faculty requests 34% preferred a print book and 66% preferred ebooks

National Book Award Winners (on the shelves) of the College Library

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Find recently announced National Book Award winners at the Middlebury College Libraries *links point to Midcat, the College Library catalog

To request a book that is “IN PROCESS” or checked out already, look for the “Notify me when available” button on the bottom of the Midcat record.

Fiction winner

Louise Erdrich, The Round House


Fiction runner ups

Junot Díaz, This Is How You Lose Her

Dave Eggers, A Hologram for the King

Ben Fountain, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk

Kevin Powers, The Yellow Birds


Nonfiction Winner

Katherine Boo, Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity


Non fiction runner ups

Anne Applebaum, Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1945-1956

Robert A. Caro, The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson (on order and due to arrive anytime!)

Domingo Martinez, The Boy Kings of Texas

Anthony Shadid, House of Stone: A Memoir of Home, Family, and a Lost Middle East



Poetry winner

David Ferry, Bewilderment: New Poems and Translations


Ebooks for Kindle Fire, Android, iOS

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

New versions of OverDrive app for Android and iOS (iPhone/ iPad/ iPod touch).

What’s Overdrive? It’s Middlebury’s ebook and audiobook collection of prize-winning fiction, non-fiction, and popular reading…(go/Overdrive).
If you already have the app installed, you’ll see an “update” prompt the next time you open it. Otherwise, download the updated apps here:

Archives on a Shoestring: Using social networking & web tools to share Vermont archives (conference report)

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

On Monday, I spoke at a small conference of about 45 archivists, librarians, and museum types at the Vermont Historical Society. The topic was Archives on a Shoestring: Using Social Networking and Web Tools to Share Vermont Archives.

“Shoestring” was intended as a metaphor not only for the cash-strapped but also for intrepid and plucky ideas:

I talked about Middlebury History Online, our archive of the College’s early history using WordPress.

Selene Colburn (UVM) talked about their popular “Ask” campaign to promote library research services. They use bookmarks, posters, the web, Flickr, and Facebook. Students clamor to be featured in the campaign.

Amber Billey (UVM) demo-ed Omeka, an open source, WordPress-like platform for hosting web exhibitions. Smith College, to name just one example, uses Omeka for its Girl Zines collection.

There was considerable drooling over Collective Access, a cataloguing tool and web application for museums, archives, and digital collections. Collective Access sees itself as David in the battle against Goliath. Goliath is being played by CONTENTdm. (Yes, that’s the very software we use to power Digital Collections at Middlebury). Champlain College will be launching a collection in Collective Access soon.

A few other highlights:

Broadcastr, a location-based mobile app that delivers content based on where you are (Foursquare meets podcasting?)

HistoryPin, a Google partnership with a UK-based non-profit group to share historic, archival photos on Google Maps and Streetviews.

Dipity: Interactive social-network-y timelines.