Center for Humanities & History of Modern Biology

The Elof Axel Carlson Collection - Part 2

The following is the second post in a series about processing the Elof A. Carlson Collection.

Elof and Hermann

Elof Carlson’s Research on Hermann J. Muller can be divided into the following two sections: drafts of the manuscript and research files. The drafts of the manuscript include a long sheet galley proof and oversize drafts, both with handwritten edits. Additionally, there is a collection of reviews of the book, as well as an indexed guide to the manuscript. Dr. Carlson clearly enjoyed a close relationship with his mentor, Dr. Hermann J. Muller, as evidenced by the scope of personal material supplied both by Muller and his second wife, Dorothea.

Read more: The Elof Axel Carlson Collection -...

New Report on the Challenges of Digital Preservation

A new report, entitled Puzzling over digital preservation – Identifying traditional
and new skills needed for digital preservation
, was recently presented at the IFLA World Library and Information Congress.


Digital preservation is a task requiring library and information science as well as information technology skills. It simultaneously utilizes traditional library skills and requires knowledge from information technology that goes far beyond the traditional roles of library and archive staff. But where does one start when implementing a digital preservation program? What knowledge is needed? What tasks can be covered by existing personnel? Where can one acquire expert knowledge needed? What information resources exist? Can a scalable approach be implemented to gain necessary skills? The paper is based upon a gap analysis conducted by the Leibniz Library Network for Research Information “Goportis”. It describes necessary know-how identified, ranging from digital curation skills needed to evaluate digital data carriers to specialist digital preservation knowledge of file formats needed to describe information with the goal of sustaining accessiblilty over long-term. It shows how central tasks of digital preservation like process description and preservation planning require expert knowledge of traditional librarian and information technology skills as well as new knowledge which is described as digital preservation skills.

The CSHL Library is currently working on its own institutional repository for the preservation of digital media, and the Archives is about to undertake a large scale digitization project of its major collections. Details regarding that project will be released soon. Stay tuned.

[via Digitization 101]

There's Never Been a Replacement for Francis Crick

Dr. Watson is constantly traversing globe delivering talks on a variety of subjects. He recently spoke at a symposia at CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research, located in Geneva, Switzerland), and while there he was interviewed by Paula Catapano. Topics of discussion include research in physics, the role of scientists in society, the nature of genius, and the current state of cancer research.

Dr. Watson's talk at CERN - "The Discovery of the Double Helix" - is also available online. Check it out via CERN's Document Server (unfortunately the first 20 minutes of the talk are unavailable).


The Elof Carlson Collection - Part 1

EAC Photo
The Elof Carlson Collection has proved to be the most educational and enlightening material I have worked with so far as Project Archivist for the NHPRC Basic Processing Grant. The breadth and scope of the collection range from weighty scientific research to humorous essays on modern society. Dr. Elof Axel Carlson is a professor, geneticist, and a historian of genetics.

Read more: The Elof Carlson Collection - Part 1

The Yeast Collections: Amar Klar and Jeffrey Strathern

The Amar Klar and Jeffrey Strathern Collections are often referred to as the “Yeast Collection” -- this is in reference to their work on the micro-organism at CSHL in the 1980s.

Jim Hicks Amar Klar Jeff Strathern

“The Three Yeastketeers” - an affectionate nickname that Amar Klar (center) coined when he, Jeff Strathern and Jim Hicks began working together at CSHL.

The Amar Klar Collection was my third collection processed under the NHPRC Basic Processing grant. The Collection was in excellent shape and simply needed rehousing. The Collection totaled 11 boxes (1 notebook per box) for 3 linear feet.

Read more: The Yeast Collections: Amar Klar and...

The Charles Yanofsky Collection

SQB01 1966 000027 001

Yanofksy (right) and M. J. Chamberlin (left) at the 1966 CSH Symposium.

The following is another post in our series highlighting the collections that are being processed through the NHPRC Basic Processing Grant.

The Charles Yanofsky Collection was my second collection processed under the NHPRC Basic Processing grant. The Collection is composed of professional and academic related material accrued or produced by Dr. Yanofsky. As Dr. Yanofsky has spent the majority of his career at Stanford University, much of the material references his tenure as Chairman of the Microbiology Department. The collection includes publications, awards, correspondence, laboratory notebooks and photographs from the 1950s until 2005. The collection was in excellent condition and only needed rehousing and reorganization to ensure ease of use.

Read more: The Charles Yanofsky Collection

The Charles Weissmann Biogen Collection

CW 0190 001
The Charles Weissmann Biogen Collection is one of the projects being undertaken as part of the NHPRC Basic Processing grant. Per grant parameters, the collection will be processed at the series level, incorporating the approach suggested by Greene and Meissner in More Products, Less Process: Revamping Traditional Archival Processing (American Archivist, Vol 68 (2005) p208-263).

Read more: The Charles Weissmann Biogen Collection

The Norton Zinder Collection

The CSHL Library and Archives has been awarded the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) Basic Processing Grant, which will allow us to catalog and make available over a dozen collections that we currently house in the archives. This will be the first in a series of posts which will highlight the various collections included in the grant and provide insight into what it actually means to "process" the materials held in our archive.

Read more: The Norton Zinder Collection