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Coming Soon...Catalog on the Web

Web2 is coming! This summer the Library's online catalog will take on a new look and offer new features. It will be available to anyone, anywhere, who has access to the World Wide Web. Its appearance will mesh with the Web and home page environment that is so comfortable to today's students, and increasingly familiar to the public at large. Drew users will be able to log into the system either as a guest, or as a patron with a PIN.

New Online Services

Using their PINs, users will be able to access and manage their own accounts through the My Account screen. They will be able to see when books are due, place requests for books which are charged out, and renew materials.

Powerful Searching

A variety of searching choices-author, title, call number, key-word, etc.-will be available through an easy-to-use search screen. A separate Reserve Room screen will permit searching by instructor or by course name or number. We hope to be able to provide links to required course readings which are available on faculty home pages.

An exciting new capability will enable users to move about the Library's database, or generate new searches, simply by clicking on a link. Headings for authors, subjects and many titles will be links which will allow users to explore and search more efficiently and creatively. Each catalog record for electronic journals and other resources that the Library subscribes to will have a link containing the URL or web address for that work. A simple click will take users out of the Library's database directly into the journal or external database they seek.

The Library's integrated, automated system is eleven years old, and it continues to serve us well. But the trend in libraries, as in most areas that use computer technology, is to take advantage of hyperlinks and web technology. Thus DRA, the Library's automation software vendor, has developed a new generation of web-based library applications. Their first new generation product is the web-based public access catalog which can be used either with their new system, called Taos, or with their existing system, DRA Classic. For now, Drew is upgrading only the public catalog. Library staff will continue to use Classic for all behind-the-scenes work such as cataloging, acquisitions and circulation. The Library was able to purchase the NT server necessary to run this web-based software with grant money from the New Jersey State Library, which seeks to promote state-wide interlibrary loan activities and improved resource sharing. Such activity is facilitated through the widespread existence and use of web-based catalogs.

Early in the summer the new Web2 catalog will replace the existing public access catalog. Additional customization will be done during the summer as we assess users' experiences and reactions. Because the Web2 software consists of a number of interconnected web pages, customization by individual libraries is easy. In addition, the catalog can be integrated with the Library's own home page to create a seamless experience for users as they move around the catalog and home page. When fall semester begins, training and user guides will be ready, and we expect that students, faculty and other users will be as excited about the new age of library catalogs as we in the Library are.

-- Lessie Culmer-Nier

The Director's Corner: A Valedictory (Already)

I am writing this column during the week of the annual Student Appreciation Luncheon. This year, from among our sixty-four student employees, we are honoring twelve graduates, some of whom have worked in the Library during their entire time at Drew. Last week, returning students literally lined up to speak for their jobs for next year. Calls are already coming in from entering students. Evidently, the Library is a good place to work. We rely on student workers for many important tasks, and are happy to show our appreciation.

And it is already time for my valedictory as Acting Director. I realize that I could give several "Appreciation Luncheons," for many people have supported this non-librarian and contributed to a successful year in the Library. I think first of the Library faculty and staff who have been patient with me, laughed at my witticisms, but most importantly, have cheerfully done their jobs at a high level of competence. Then there are the University Library Committee, Friends of the Library, faculty members, deans, and staff members campus-wide. To all, I say, "Thank you."

On November 16, 1998, I clipped a New York Times editorial that resonated with my own experience of study and libraries, but now I connect it with what will be my most vivid memory of the year. The restored main reading room of the New York Public Library had just opened, and the writer remembered the old room in which "the act of opening a book within the dome of light thrown off by the desk lamp had something ceremonial about it every time. To look around at a roomful of readers, each bent over a book, was to realize that this posture is among the most beautiful of human transfigurations." After describing the splendor of the new room, now equipped for laptop computers, the editorialist continues: "It has become a conceit to call what this building houses 'information.' Perhaps when the library is closed at night that is the right word for its contents. But when it is open and the room is filled with readers transfigured by light pouring in from the great arched windows, it is no longer information. It is knowledge."

During my daily walks through the Library this year, I have seen dozens of beautiful transfigurations as Drew scholars gave rapt attention to a page or a screen. Sometimes I had the fleeting sense of being a trespasser, but then I realized that I simply had the privilege to be present at some of life's most precious moments. Such experiences are a gift, no luncheon needed.

Soon after arriving this summer the new Library Director will read the report of the blue-ribbon Library Space Utilization Committee which recommends that Drew restore some of the large spaces in Rose Memorial to their former grandeur. I hope that before long a column in Visions will praise those splendid reading rooms and celebrate the beautiful transfigurations they host.

--- Charles Courtney

Recent Gifts to the Library

Dr. Frederick and Mary Louise Maser, of Doylestown, Pennsylvania, and Scottsdale, Arizona, continued their generous support of the Drew Library by underwriting half the cost of a rare pamphlet published in Philadelphia by one of John Wesley's first missionaries to the British Colonies in North America--Joseph Pilmore. One of only three known copies, the sermon on "The Renovation of Man" was published in 1792, and completes the collection of Pilmore publications in the Methodist library.

"Living in All Four Seasons" is among the paintings in a show entitled "East, West and Back Again" by alumna Sandy DeCristofaro, C'83, on display in the Library lobby through July 31.

Endow-A-Book Gifts Fund New Resources

The University continues to benefit from the generosity of many individuals who support the Book Endowment Fund and contribute in other ways through the Friends of the Library. The Drew Library has now begun to use some of the income from the Endow- A-Book Fund to purchase major reference works. The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, due in November 2000, will be acquired in printed volumes with access to the online version with its musical sound component and multiple links to a great variety of resources.

Increasingly reference works are available in both print and online versions, often with the online available, for a price, only with the purchase of print. The Endow-A-Book Fund enables the Library to purchase both versions when appropriate despite the increased cost. Additionally we are using Endow-A-Book contributions to subsidize database fees for major online resources. For example, the General Science Collection of JSTOR, a major journal digitization project, has an annual access fee and a one-time database or archive creation fee. The Library pays the access fee from its regular materials budget, but the Endow-A-Book income makes payment of the one-time fee possible. The General Science collection will give the Drew Community high-resolution page images of journal articles with full text searching capabilities. The complete run of the following journals will become available during this year: Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Science, and Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

Library Friends Host Scholars and Donor's Family

Friends of the Library hosted a buffet dinner in March in concert with the spring speaker series of the Caspersen School of Graduate Studies program in Book History and the Department of Russian Studies. Guests included the family of the late Peter Dornan, whose personal collection of materials from the Radio Liberty Archive was donated to Drew during the year. Author Gene Sosin, former director of broadcasting for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, honored Mr. Dornan at a lecture following the dinner and entertained listeners with warm notes of humor. Members of the campus community from former Soviet Bloc countries were also present who paid a moving tribute to Mr. Sosin and his colleagues for the role that the uncensored broadcasting had played in their lives.


Lynn Harris Heft, President of the Advisory Board of the Friends of the Library, announced at the dinner that the Friends plan to host a fundraising dinner next winter.

An Inventory of Tools and a Repertoire of Possibilities...My Book and My Inner Librarian

[Editor's Note: This narrative is the first of an occasional series of reports from Drew faculty and students on their research adventures.] 

At the end of 1998, Penn State Press published my study of the collaboration of two theologians, the world-famous Karl Barth, and his secretary and-in his termtheological assistant, Charlotte von Kirschbaum. Von Kirschbaum lived in his household, consisting of his wife and five children, for more than three decades. Barth said on many occasions that he could not have accomplished all that he did without her. Besides assisting Barth, von Kirschbaum gave, and later published, a series of lectures in 1949 on the need for a Protestant doctrine of woman, proceeding from the Scriptural witness on women to the role of women in the church. Concurrently, Barth was working on the volumes of his Church Dogmatics devoted to a doctrine of "man" (by which he meantor thought he meant-humankind) which dealt recurrently with gender issues in the Christian life. It was certainly clear to me when I began the project that I would be dealing with the history of theology, women's studies, and the often delicate issues of biography.

Very soon my reading of von Kirschbaum's and Barth's texts generated questions that led me into German history, particularly social and cultural history, in the first half of the twentieth century; Swiss history; and the history of technology. Of course my background as a historian was useful. I approach each research phase as a historian who likes the density and textures of history and also appreciates new lights with which to read a never completely discovered past. So my research design will have many facets, including methodological inquiry. And I don't think I would have ventured into the knots and unknowns of a maddeningly complex relationship without historical training and instincts. But I am also aware that long-practiced librarian skills and instincts helped me to steer and handle the road-blocks and detours I encountered.

Digital and Paper Paths

This dual background did not produce a perfect, step-by-step research itinerary. Rather, I began the project with an inventory of tools and a repertoire of possibilities. There's a routine-you could call it the reference drillmade up of reviewing different reference or information sources: bibliographies and indexes, specialized encyclopedias and yearbooks, and other compendia of information from the stuff of daily life to high politics. Any of these might be in paper or digitalized forms, the latter in both CD-ROM and web-based venues. You can't tick them off one by one; you need to repeat the process when you hit a dead end, or find a fruitful new path (here it is not so easy to resist just galloping ahead). One of the most interesting parts of the research process, in retrospect, was the number of times that I did not automatically shift into the reference drill. The temptation for me, as (I've found) for many other scholars, is to just keep reading more books or parts of books until a cloud lifts. Or, when a new discovery emerges, to do what a library colleague calls "defensive research"-just making sure no one else has "done" what you want to do. I (the librarian) had to keep reminding myself (the historian) to pull back and think of other kinds of information resources to check for relevant information. When I did, the move was almost always more productive than I expected.

My modus operandi entails beginning with particulars rather than systematic background reading. I proceed with some tentative questions in mind, also keeping my historical and feminist antennae alert for the unexpected and the implicit, checking for books and articles, the former in the Drew catalog and other library catalogs (when I began this project, far fewer of these were available than now), the latter in the ATLA Religion Database and-more cursorily at this stage-Historical Abstracts. Little has been written on von Kirschbaum, while for Barth, the corpus of scholarship seem to weigh a ton. I thought I was extremely lucky to have a three-volume author bibliography of works by and about Barth, including material on von Kirschbaum, compiled by H.M.Wildi and published in 1984. This reference source was (and continues to be) very helpful but its full potential will never be realized because-amazinglyit lacks a subject index.1 To deal with the profusion of works on Barth in our online catalog and indexes, I apply what is probably my basic searching recipe. I collect-virtually, on the computer screen --the whole, unwieldy corpus of Barth material in the database I'm searching, and then refine it with formal subject heading and keywords corresponding to the subjects on which he and von Kirschbaum jointly worked: theological anthropology, gender and the Christian life, and women in Scripture and the church. I also bring in some theological topics that I know from previous experience with Barth's work to be relevant. I know whom Barth engaged in dialogue and polemic, often between the lines of his Church Dogmatics, which provides a shortcut to deciding what other theological views on the recurring topics would probably be most fruitful to review: for example, Brunner and Bonhoeffer, the latter of whom turned out to be an important presence in my narrative.

Having begun my research with particulars, I can move into the 'systematic' phase, bringing with me some definite questions. As anyone involved with a project such as mine would do, I looked for a good history of women in modern Germany. (I already knew and owned Bonnie Smith's more general Changing Lives: Women in European History since 1700.) I selected Ute Frevert's from the options in the library catalog (relying on the usual criteria-publisher, relatively recent date, and a glance at the other catalog listings for the author.) I did not read it immediately, but I needed to have it ready. I had already accumulated a list of names for the kind of schools for girls and young women that von Kirschbaum attended and names of the organizations and other groups that she worked for or associated herself with. Like any experienced reference librarian, I checked on the schools and some of the groups, such as Rotes Kreuz (the German Red Cross), in the Brockhaus encyclopedia--a German equivalent of Britannica, shelved in the Reference encyclopedia area, a reliable and eminently useful source for information about organizations and state and cultural institutions. I used it also to identify places and some of the peripheral figures who in some way intersected with von Kirschbaum's life. For specifically religious organizations in her biography I, probably like any other theological librarian, relied on "Schaff-Herzog," the early twentieth century encyclopedia of religion. Then I returned to systematic reading in Smith and in Frevert. Both were fine and useful. And both were uninterested in the subject of women and religion aside from the regressive doctrines, polity, and practice of churches. They also did not comment much on the German women's movement as such or feminism in Germany. The latter was an absence or quietness I found intriguing. But how do you research an absence?

Both librarian and historian kick in: it's time to go back to the ATLA RDB and to Historical Abstracts for help. Both indexes point me toward Catherine Prelinger's work on women and charity in nineteenth-century Germany. ATLA further gives me a break-out article: Elisabeth Moltmann-Wendell's survey and observations on the women's movement in Germany. More exactly, on its conservative religious roots and consequent shape. I later learned from a friendly critic that Moltmann-Wendell's description was incomplete: the German women's movement was also nurtured by German socialism at the turn of the twentieth century. But the religious current was von Kirschbaum's point of contact, and was, through her, the current that Barth addressed in Church Dogmatics. Additional reading in women's studies and past experience at the Reference Counter led me to check Frey, Frey, and Schneider's bibliography on European women's history. It rendered findable an article that I vaguely recalled in its earliest published form: Linda Nochlin's bracing "Why have there been no Great Women Artists?" Scanning some other bibliographies in the same section of the Reference stacks, I was led to a cluster of good essay collections on women in German cultural history.2 

I knew quite early that I would have to acquire some of what I call adequate expertise (it's also temporary expertise) in a few more areas, one of which was early twentieth-century communications technology. The activities of secretaries, including rates of productivity on the available typewriters of the early twentieth century, have bearing on von Kirschbaum's life. They tell us something about the amount of time she had available for Barth's theological concerns; the typewriter also defined social status. To find information on this subject I needed the right subject headings (i.e., index terms). A "keyword" search in the Drew catalog for records containing the word "typewriter?" (the question mark is a truncation symbol) led me to "office practice" and "secretaries." And this placed me, in the library stacks, in the section on women at work. On the same trail, I located some exhibit catalogs that unintentionally pictured cultural contexts of the machines. Then, for statistics on incidences of use in western Europe, I went straight to one of the librarian's best friends: almanacs. These gave me what I needed on typewriters and more: dates and statistics for telephones, and currency values. A little later, and far rom the realm of technology, I had a great piece of luck. I was reading the published correspondence between Barth and his close friend and colleague, Eduard Thurneysen. In a letter of Christmas, 1926, Barth noted that he was sending his first typed letter (that is, a letter that was typed by von Kirschbaum!) thanks to the gift of a "Remingtonmaschine" from his wife. There was the exact brand, and it was a U.S. company name! I decided to find a picture of this first typewriter that von Kirschbaum used, the typewriter that generated the drafts of Barth's writings, to use as a book illustration. I thought of an old Reference chestnut, Lee Ash's Special Collections. If there was no company archive, someone had to have collected typewriters. In less than five minutes, I was looking at the address for the Remington typewriter collection at the Hagley Museum in Wilmington, Delaware. I had my picture.

Evidence of a Scholar in Her Own Right

As my data accumulation thickened and started to take on a tentative shape, I had some questions about the actual world of research and the teaching of academic theology in the first half of the twentieth century in Germany and Switzerland. As so often, a secondary information source worked also as a primary source. RGG, or Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart (3rd ed: 1957-65) is a standard, multi-volume encyclopedia of theological topics, largely western, including people, institutions, concepts, and technical terms. (A new edition is in progress.) I gathered a great deal of information about the universities in Barth's curriculum vitae, and at the same time, I was absorbing what historians call mentalité in the academic culture in these universities. I also gathered a lot about women and religion. And in the bibliography of one of the articles on women in Christian doctrine, von Kirschbaum's Die Wirkliche Frau [The Real Woman], her published lectures, was cited!

Why is this exciting? Because it was my first piece of evidence that she was recognized as a scholar in her own right, outside of Barth's orbit, to at least a limited extent. I had wondered about this possibility as part of a larger question: did Charlotte von Kirschbaum have a life of her own, outside the life defined by Barth, and Barth studies, and everyone else who has written about her? She was highly critical of the Women's Movement of her time, represented by Simone de Beauvoir, though not as intensely critical of it as Barth was. She was also highly critical of the traditional status quo for women in Protestantism as well as Roman Catholicism. Women, in her view, had a positive and active role to play in church and doctrine. In my reading about early feminism, I had encountered an article by Jürgen Moltmann about Henriette Visser't Hooft Boddaert, wife of the ecumenist and core founder of the World Council of Churches, Willem Visser'tHooft. Visser't Hooft Boddaert worked with international Christian youth organizations in Geneva and wrote several essays that, as Moltmann observed, were radically critical not only of the position of women in the church but of patriarchy itself. It just happens that Karl Barth and Willem Visser't Hooft were close friends. Hmm. Two women with strong and related opinions on a common subject, two women overshadowed by the famous men they lived with, the men being connected with each other by friendship.... I had once tried to track a rumor that von Kirschbaum and Simone de Beauvoir had corresponded, but ran into dead ends everywhere, including the Karl Barth Archiv in Basel, the director of which had told me several years earlier that there was no such correspondence. I decided to write again, and asked for another check for correspondence with Beauvoir and also with Henriett Visser't Hooft Boddaert. After many months without a response from the Archiv, I gave up on my hunch and continued with what I then regarded as final preparation of my manuscript. In the summer of 1996 I was in serious conversation with Penn State Press on publication: they were ready to send the manuscript out for a reading. On the Saturday preceding the opening of the academic year, late in the afternoon, I went downstairs for my mail and found a packet from Basel: forty pages of closely written correspondence between Visser't Hooft Boddaert and von Kirschbaum on the subject of women in theology and the church, beginning in 1935, well before Barth turned to the subject. Visser't Hooft considered von Kirschbaum the expert; she asks her for criticism of her writing; she invites von Kirschbaum to come to Geneva to talk to various women's groups with which she is involved. Von Kirschbaum did indeed have a life of her own, tightly circumscribed though it was with the enormous amount of work she did, ceaselessly it seemed, for Barth and the calling of his theology. I had the busiest September of my life.

Personal Communication

My book was the result of all of the above activity and one other kind of source: personal communication with people who knew Barth or studied with him (as did many from the U.S.: the pilgrimage to Basel, through the early 1960s, was a coveted item on the CVs of theologians and religion scholars, many of whom are still very much active) and some who knew both Barth and von Kirschbaum well. Eberhard Busch, successor to von Kirschbaum as Barth's assistant and now Professor of Reformed Theology in the University in Göttingen, the position that Barth was the first to hold, provided the most important information on the two figures.

While not responsible for every path of research I pursued, librarians and my library career touched every aspect of my book. Anyone who thinks that my tale sets out a blatant case for the usefulness of seriously consulting the Drew Library staff on one's research plans is of course correct. But I intended more, and another sub-text is that librarians can't do all the pathfinding. What's needed is a dialog that allows for course corrections from both sides, and that includes continuing consultations, with thinking time between them. Why not try it for your current project?

1Such a problem is not likely to be encountered in the future as reference works are increasingly published-and updated-in digitalized form or jointly in digitalized and traditional form.

2Had I done this searching a few years later, the web would have been a more efficient route to these sources.

Saluting Student Employees

Sarah Blair, now on the job as library director at the United Theological Seminary in Ohio.
(Photo: A. Magnell)

As Charles Courtney attests in his column elsewhere on these pages, the Drew Library relies on a large staff of students who are hired each year for part-time jobs varying from maintaining the circulation counter, to repairing fragile and brittle materials, providing help at the reference desk, performing data entry and shelving of books, magazines, microforms, and maps. Many students find a comfortable niche here in the library workplace. Some move on quickly to other commitments, while we wish they could stay, and many are happily welcomed back each year.

Sometimes the work fits right into a career path, as for Joanna Cullen, CLA '99, who assisted in Interlibrary Loan during her undergraduate days at Drew, beginning with her first semester on campus. Joanna was one of two student employees working at Drew last year to pursue library careers. She is now a student in the MLS program at Rutgers, where she has just finished her first year of studies.

A familiar presence at the Circulation Desk for many years, Sarah Blair was already an experienced librarian when she began doctoral studies in Methodist History at Drew. Now with the expertise of years of research and a perspective on library operations gained while Drew entered the digital era, Sarah has assumed a position as Director of Library and Information Services at United Theological Seminary in Ohio. As director there, she expects to oversee the library's shift from paper to automation.

Nitza Melo '01 began working in Acquisitions her first year at Drew. Here she takes a break from online ordering to help maintain the flow of recently delivered book purchases.
(Photo: V. Debbink)

Timothy Marquis, a member of the CLA Class of 2000, checks in books at the circulation desk.
(Photo: V. Debbink)

Students who come to work in the library often bring with them special skills that are assets to their library work. During the spring, Michelle Walezak, C'00 and David Galperin used their facility with the Russian language to help catalog Russian materials recently donated to Drew. In the Acquisitions area, computer science major, Ed Dooley, CLA '00, was a very quick study in the online procedures for ordering books. As he moves on to a career in the computer field, Ed's departure occasions another farewell on the part of permanent library employees.

About Visions


Dr. Charles Courtney, Acting Director
Drew University Library, Madison, NJ 07940
(973) 408-3322

PHOTOGRAPHS: Shelley Kusnetz, V. Debbink, A. Magnell

A complete online archive of past issues of Visions
can be viewed at:

VISIONS is a semi-annual publication.
© Drew University Library

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