Archive for April, 2008

Look at our microfilm from home

Thursday, April 17th, 2008

Want to see a reel of microfilm from Special Collections but can’t make it during business hours? Thanks to equipment purchased with a grant from the Louisiana Board of Regents you can now request Remote Film Access and view the film on your home computer using a web browser like Firefox, Internet Explorer or Safari.

In response to the increasing interest and need for digital access to microfilm, Hill Library purchased a Canon MS-800 and two ST-Imaging ST200 reader/scanners for the reading room. Using one of the three new machines, Special Collections patrons can view microfilm in the reading room where they have the option of saving scanned images from the reel to a USB drive, e-mailing the files to themselves, or printing the images.

LSU Special Collections was able to purchase an additional component, the Remote Film Access System, for one of the ST200 machines with the grant money. The remote access capabilities enable patrons who cannot visit the reading room to view film. Utilizing remote desktop software and a unique remote film access system created by ST-Imaging, Inc., Special Collections patrons are now able to view, scan, e-mail, and print from reels of microfilm in the comfort of their homes.

Individuals from around the state and the country who have used this LSU Libraries service are very pleased with the results. Special Collections provides the remote access service for a fee of $20 per session/reel. A session with one reel is offered from 5:00 p.m.- 9:00 a.m. (central time) Monday through Thursday, which is outside regular business hours to allow for in-house patron use of the machine.

Additional information about the service is available on the Special Collections website. Please contact Judy Bolton, Head of Special Collections Public Services or Gina Costello, Digital Services Librarian if you would like further details about Special Collections’ microfilm services for library patrons.

LSU Trivia – Lady Tigers Basketball

Tuesday, April 15th, 2008

Although the season is over, let’s take a look at how the Lady Tigers basketball team began. Before you get the history, however, you get two trivia questions.

Q: When did the Lady Tigers basketball team begin intercollegiate play?

Q: Who was their first coach?

Come back next week for the answers and for some background on women’s basketball at LSU.

What’s new in book acquisitions…

Tuesday, April 8th, 2008

sylva-006.jpg

In the early 19th century, Midwestern farmers loaded their crops on flatboats at the end of every summer and floated them down the Mississippi River to New Orleans. The timber that was used to make these boats came from places like Minnesota and Wisconsin, and yet because the river’s current was so strong, it was impossible to take the boats back upriver after they had been unloaded. Instead, they were sold for scrap in New Orleans and were subsequently used to build many of the city’s houses.

Although the flatboat trade ended with the coming of the railroad, another product of the Wisconsin woods recently found its way to Louisiana. Between 1996 and 2006, Gaylord Schanilec and Ben Verhoeven (both of Midnight Paper Sales) collected 24 species of wood near Schanilec’s home fifty miles southwest of Eau Claire—ranging from maple and birch to ironwood and black walnut—and wrote a “biography of a forest.” But it’s not just a catalog of dry, scientific facts. “Gaylord and I have found that trees are fitting vehicles for human history,” Ben writes. “They have been not only witnesses, but also players in many pivotal events, both nationally and locally.” Bound in beautiful wooden boards and featuring, in the text, cross-sections or “portraits” of each of the 24 trees, the book is entitled Sylvae (from the Latin word for “forest”). LSU Special Collections recently purchased a copy of it for the E.A. McIlhenny Natural History Collection.

Almost 350 years ago, the English writer and horticulturalist John Evelyn wrote a similar book, Sylva, or A Discourse on Forest Trees (1664). The English may not have used flatboats to get their crops to market, but they did need trees for something else that was just as important—their navy. England’s famous “wooden walls” protected it from being overrun by foreign armies, and yet, as Evelyn complained, landowners “oftener find wayes to Fell down, and Destroy their Trees and Plantations, than either to repair or improve them.” A great nation, he pointed out, needed great forests. Although England ended up getting most of its timber from North America and Russia in the 18th and 19th centuries, Evelyn’s work was very popular and went through many editions. LSU now owns two copies—the second edition of 1670 and a later, annotated edition dated 1801.

– Michael Taylor, Assistant Curator of Books


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