Spotlight on Student Worker Farishta Abdullahi

Farishta- Special Collections-3The Library is proud to spotlight one of its hardworking student workers, Farishta Abdullahi. This is Farishta’s fourth year in the McHugh Special Collections & University Archives, and her primary work includes processing negatives from the Terry and Paula Connors Photograph Collection and accessioning records from the Office of the Provost into the University Archives.  Every spring Farishta also volunteers at the Friends of the Weinberg Library Annual Book Sale.

Although much of Farishta’s work takes place behind the scenes, she always maintains a high work ethic, and she says that she enjoys the quiet satisfaction of processing and organizing the archival records. She says that she even finds it relaxing!

Farishta is an Accounting major with a minor in Arabic, and she is actually fluent in four languages, including Urdu and Hindi! She plans to graduate in May 2016 and become a Certified Public Accountant.

This past summer Farishta was a marketing intern in the Women’s Entrepreneurship Center and Small Business Development Center at the University of Scranton. Throughout the summer she promoted the Center’s activities and provided individual assistance to women who were interested in exploring the possibility of starting their own business. She also wrote informational blog posts on a variety of business topics, including Sustainable Product Ideas, Challenges of Owning a Seasonal Business, and Improving Credit When Starting a Small Business.

This semester, along with balancing her course work and work-study hours, she is interning at Tatulli & Associates, an accounting, tax, and financial consulting firm in Dunmore.

When Farishta finally has some down time, she enjoys watching Asian dramas and playing with her 6 month old niece.

Farishta’s advice to other University of Scranton students is that the Library has a lot to offer – take advantage of it!

Thank you, Farishta, for all of your support to the Library!

Technology On Your Own Terms–Fall 2015

TOYOT_logo4a-smallOn behalf of the Weinberg Memorial Library and the Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence, we invite University of Scranton faculty and staff to the Fall 2015 Technology On Your Own Terms (TOYOT) workshops.

Music Streaming: Tuesday, November 17, 12pm-1pm in Weinberg Memorial Library 305. Presenter, Sam Davis, Library Systems Specialist.

Do any Google search for ‘music streaming’ or ‘online radio’, and you’re presented with a myriad of options for listening to music. When it comes to listening to music online, how do you know which one to pick? If it worth the possible subscription?  Much like Goldilocks looking for the perfect bed, it’s difficult to find the best one in a sea of options. In this session, we’re going to discuss popular streaming services like Pandora and Spotify, examine some offbeat choices such as Amazon Music or Google Play, plus examine the results of the music streaming survey.

Fill out a brief survey on your music streaming preferences in preparation for the session here.

New Travel Websites and Transportation Apps: Tuesday, December 1, 12pm-1pm in Weinberg Memorial Library 305. Presenters John Culkin, Senior Systems Administer and Sheli McHugh, Cataloging & Metadata Librarian and Learning Commons Coordinator.

There are a slew of new websites and apps that are transforming the way we travel, both locally and beyond. We will explore several companies that are part of the sharing economy, including Air BnB, Uber, and Lyft. We will look at the features of using each app, the types of services included, and explore security concerns.

A light lunch will be provided. Both sessions are open to all University faculty and staff, but seats are limited, so please let us know if you plan to attend. You can register at under Technology on Your Own Terms.

World Series Resources at the Weinberg Memorial Library

As a librarian and sports fan, I decided to research the history of the World Series, given that the World Series starts this week, with the first game of the Series being played between the Kansas City Royals and New York Mets on October 27, 2015.  I have shared below what I have found on the World Series using some of the resources that are available to faculty, students, and staff here at the University of Scranton.

The World Series can be defined as an…

“Annual series of championship baseball games between the pennant winners of the American League (AL) and the National League (NL), played after the end of the regular season in October. The first team to win four games becomes the U.S. champion. The 1919 series is the most notorious because after the heavily favored Chicago White Sox were upset by the Cincinnati Reds, it was proven that members of the White Sox team had conspired with gamblers to throw the series. In what became known as the Black Sox Scandal, eight players were eventually acquitted but banned from baseball for life by the game’s first commissioner, Kenesaw Mountain Landis. Played every year since 1903 (except 1904 and 1994), the World Series is a major sporting event.”

Taken from the University of Scranton – Weinberg Memorial Library Credo Reference Database

World Series. (2004). In P. Cornelison & T. Yanak, The great American history fact-finder. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin. Retrieved from Credo Reference.

Upon further research, I found that The University of Scranton’s Weinberg Memorial Library has 6 books in our circulating collection that deal with the World Series. Here are some book recommendations: Autumn glory : baseball’s first World Series / By: Louis P. Masur (Call # GV878.4 .M37 2003), Eight men out : the Black Sox and the 1919 World Series / By: Eliot Asinof (Call #  GV875.C6 A8 1987), Saying it’s so; a cultural history of the Black Sox Scandal (Call # GV875.C58 N38 2003), The World Series : a history of baseball’s fall classic / By: Ron Firmrite (Call #  GV878.4 .F55 1993), The Story of the World Series / By: Fred Lieb (Call #  GV863 .L53 1965), and World Series Classics / By: Dan Gutman (Call # GV878.4 .G89 1994).

For some more general research on the topic of baseball, I searched within the library’s catalog and came up with some great books from the Reference Collection.  For a nice overview of baseball through the decades from its early history though the end of the 1990s, check out The chronicle of baseball : a century of major league action / By: John Mehno (Call # Reference GV863.A1 M4 2000) or for a nice comprehensive look at everything you could ever want to know about baseball from its early beginnings up to 1992, check out The Baseball encyclopedia : the complete and definitive record of major league baseball /By:  Maxwell Macmillan International Publishing Company (Call # Reference GV877 .B27 1993).

Feel free to read up on baseball’s fall classic and learn more about the history of the game by using some of the resources that were mentioned in this library blog.

first ws the ws

ICS Exhibit Reception

ICS Exhibit_Reception Flyer_2015-10

On Tuesday, November 3 at 6pm the Weinberg Memorial Library will host a reception for “We Teach Wherever the Mails Reach,” an exhibit celebrating the 125th anniversary of the International Correspondence Schools of Scranton (ICS). This event is free and open to the public.

Professor William Conlogue of Marywood University, and author of Here and There: Reading Pennsylvania’s Working Landscapes and Working in the Garden: American Writers and the Industrialization of Agriculture, will talk about the history of ICS at the reception for the exhibit in the fifth floor Heritage Room of the Weinberg Memorial Library.

Founded in 1890, ICS originally grew out of a question and answer column written by Thomas J. Foster, publisher of Colliery Engineer and Metal Miner. Foster’s column helped mine workers, many being recent immigrants with limited English, to pass required mine safety exams. The column proved so successful that Foster created a correspondence course on coal mining.

Over the years ICS expanded into a variety of technical fields as well as providing basic courses in English. The company has been a leader in career-focused distance and blended learning for over 125 years. More than 13 million people have enrolled in their programs to further their education and learn advanced skills to better position them for life success.

ICS has changed names a number of times since 1996. The ICS location is currently operated by Penn Foster Career School, which is a regionally and nationally accredited post-secondary distance education school and considers ICS to be its predecessor.

In 2002, the Weinberg Library was given a collection of ICS materials by the company. These materials, primarily from the ICS marketing department, are the focus of this exhibit celebrating the history of the company.

The exhibit will be on display in the Weinberg Library’s fifth floor Heritage Room through Friday, December 11, 2015. For more information, please contact Special Collections Librarian Michael (570) 941-6341.

Scranton Family Papers Scanathon: Success!

Slide3As part of the City of Scranton’s yearlong 150th Anniversary celebration, the Weinberg Memorial Library hosted our very first Scanathon this weekend. In collaboration with the University’s Department of History and the student-run Royals Historical Society, along with community partners the Lackawanna Historical Society and the Scranton Public Library, we set out to digitize materials from the Scranton Family Papers Collection.



A volume of the George W. Scranton letters


A peek inside at the copy-pressed letters

The Lackawanna Historical Society’s Scranton Family Papers collection includes 19 bound volumes of over 9,000 letters written by George W. Scranton, Joseph Hand Scranton, and William Walker Scranton, dating from 1850 to 1917. The Scranton Family collection is quite large; the full set has over 11,000 pages. Our goal for this Scanathon was to completely digitize the  first two volumes of the collection: the George W. Scranton Papers (approximately 414 letters, 625 pages), which cover the time period June 1850 through June 1854.

The Historical Society also loaned us a box of loose correspondence from the Scranton Family, with letters to and from Joseph H. Scranton, Seldon T. Scranton, George W. Scranton, and William W. Scranton, dating from 1841 through 1874.


We knew we’d need a lot of help, and the History Department stepped up. Faculty member Dr. Adam Pratt came and brought students from his HIST140: Craft of the Historian course. The Royals Historical Society also volunteered in force. In total, more than 30 students came to the Library to work three-hour shifts. Staff members from the Lackawanna Historical Society and Scranton Public Library joined in, working side by side with our students.



History Department volunteers at the Scribe Station

Bound volumes are always difficult to scan. Luckily, we got some extra help from the State Library of Pennsylvania, which loaned us their brand new table top Scribe Station for the weekend. The Scribe Station is part of a new initiative to support the digitization of important cultural heritage materials in the state of Pennsylvania, and we were the first to sign up! We also used the Library’s flatbed scanners to digitize the loose correspondence.

The result? Success! Not only did we completely digitize both George W. Scranton volumes, we also made a serious dent in the loose letters. Over the course of the weekend, volunteers created 1,608 digitized images (over 20 GB).

Why digitize? The most important reason is access. Up until now, the George W. Scranton volumes  have only been accessible to researchers visiting the Lackawanna Historical Society in person. Digitization and online publication will make the letters much more accessible (and full-text searchable!) to historians, students, genealogists, the citizens of Scranton, and any other interested members of the public. Digitization also helps to protect and preserve the papers, which are in rather fragile condition – most researchers will be able to use the digital versions, reducing the wear and tear and decreasing the risk of damage to the original physical volumes.

Description and Transcription


Volunteers hard at work on metadata

The Scanathon wasn’t just about scanning, though. In order for digitized images to be discoverable and useful, they need to be described. In between shifts on the scanners, our volunteers captured descriptive information (called metadata) about the letters and prepared a spreadsheet that we can use to prepare the digitized images for online publication. Lackawanna Historical Society volunteers had previously prepared transcriptions of the George W. Scranton volumes (thank you!!), which our volunteers copied into our metadata spreadsheets. We also got a start on transcribing the loose correspondence — our students really stepped up to the challenge of reading scrawling, 19th-century cursive.

What’s Next?

The Scanathon may be over, but our work isn’t done quite yet. In the next few weeks, Scranton Public Library and University of Scranton Library faculty and staff will match up the digitized letters with the descriptions and transcriptions and publish them online in the Lackawanna Valley Digital Archives. (To get a sense of how they will look, take a look at this letter that we digitized a few years ago as part of a collaborative Civil War digital history project.)

Update: Full volumes (sans transcriptions) are live on Internet Archive!! (Volume 1Volume 2)

Early next year, the letters will also be discoverable in the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) via the brand new Pennsylvania Digital Collections Project service hub. The University of Scranton and the Scranton Public Library are both founding members and active participants in this statewide initiative, so we’re thrilled to be able to give this new digital collection the exposure it deserves.



Weinberg Memorial Library, Scranton Public Library, and Lackawanna Historical Society staff putting our heads together to calibrate the Scribe Station (photo courtesy of Julia Frakes)

This was our first Scanathon, and it was certainly a learning experience. Perhaps the most important lesson learned was how wonderful it is to have help and support from so many people. Our deepest thanks go out to: Weinberg Memorial Library faculty and staff (especially Sam Davis, Sheli McHugh, Mary Kovalcin, Sharon Finnerty, Kym Fetsko, Kevin Kocur, Ian O’Hara, and work study Kate Reilly), History Department faculty and students (especially Dr. Adam Pratt and RHS president Julia Frakes), Lackawanna Historical Society staff and volunteers (especially Sarah Piccini and the Martin Family), Scranton Public Library staff (especially Scott Thomas, Martina Soden, Sylvia Orner, and Elizabeth Davis), and the State Library of Pennsylvania (especially Alice Lubrecht and Bill Fee). We’ll scan with you any day!

Bike Scranton Season Coming to a Close on November 1, 2015

logo_bikescrantonOn November 1, 2015 the Bike Scranton Bicycles and Bike Racks will be placed in storage for the winter months. If you have a personal bicycle chained to the bike racks, please be sure to remove your bike by October 31, 2015.

A public announcement will be made when the bikes return for circulation in the spring! Thanks to all that participated in the program and we look forward to next season!