Helena Zinkham

L-40: Visual Materials Cataloging
12-16 June 2006


1)   How useful were the pre-course readings?

1: The readings were very well selected and seem to be the canon for this specialty (graphic arts cataloging). The sheer volume was intimidating but in the end, it was not too arduous a task to get through the 400+ pages. I felt well prepared to get the most out of the class. 2: While quite extensive, it was very useful to have a basic familiarity with them. 3: Very pertinent to anticipated professional needs as well as being fundamental to the themes and details of cataloguing discussed in the course. 4: Pre-course readings provided a solid foundation for what was to come. Practical exercises introduced us to visual materials cataloguing and different approaches you need to consider when working with these materials. 5: Very useful. 6: Very. 7: Very useful. 8: Pre-course readings were essential to understanding the tools used in class. 9. The pre-course readings were right on target and essential to the topic of the course. They provided the participants, coming from various visual materials backgrounds, with a common platform from which to launch classroom discussions and compare individual experience.


2)   Were the course syllabus and other materials distributed in class useful (or will they be so in the future, after you return home)?

1: The booklet is chock full of examples, principle, references, and hints that will serve me as an invaluable resource in the months and years to come. 2: Yes, and yes. The examples and sample sheets will be of great use as reference materials back at my own institution. 3: Absolutely. HZ is apparently constantly in the process of refining such materials, furthermore. 4: Yes. 5: Extremely useful -- the material was a good accompaniment to the class sessions and will be a great on-the-job reference. 6-7: Yes. 8: The course syllabus was extremely helpful both as a guide to the class and the activity of visual materials cataloguing. The charts comparing systems and the examples, will be particularly useful.9. Yes, very much so, and they will be very useful for a long while.


3)   What aspects of the course content were of the greatest interest or relevance for your purposes? Was the intellectual level of the course appropriate?

2: All of them, but in particular, learning new ways to look at and describe visual materials. The intellectual level of the course was appropriate. 3: A clear delineation of the character and scope of descriptive standards and their corresponding resources. Any intellectual disparities there may have been were not apparent, or at least never appeared as obstacles. 4: Difficult to narrow down because it was all helpful or practical. The field trip we took to the Library of Congress helped tie together information we had learned and provided us with hands-on visual cataloguing, along with informative lectures from other LC staff. 5: Working on the cataloguing exercisers with various materials; seeing how other students approached cataloguing; hearing Helena’s input; learning to use the Graphic Materials manual. Intellectual level was appropriate. 6: Yes to all. 7: All of it, yes. 8: Specific guidelines for cataloging practice along with the ability to compare and contrast systems of which I am less familiar. 9. Comparison of different approaches to cataloguing visual materials through class exercises and demonstration of selected websites was very enlightening and useful for future consideration.


4)   If your course had field trips (including visits to the Dome Room, the McGregor Room, the hand printing presses in the Stettinius Gallery, the Etext Center, UVa’s Albert and Shirley Small Library, RBS’s Lower Tibet, &c.), were they effective?

1: Long trip, but well worth it! 2: Our trip to LC’s Prints & Photographs Division was excellent! 3: Our visit to LC P&P was enjoyable but was also a very useful challenge and opportunity for self-evaluation through peer interaction. 4: Yes. (Refer to #3.) 5: Yes, field trip to LC was very worthwhile. 6: Yes. 7: Very much so. 8: Yes. To gain more practice with actual materials in a working environment. 9. Extremely well. Our visit to the Prints & Photographs division of LC reinforced classroom discussion and gave us an opportunity to meet curators and staff members and learn P&P’s policies and solutions.


5)   What did you like best about the course?

1: The instructor. 2: The continual practice of cataloguing items during class in between explanations of various topics. Also, working with a partner on these exercises; working alone would have just felt like what I do at work. 3: HZ not only teaches easily, clearly, and usefully: she inspires. Colleagues in class were made to feel at ease to share whatever they wished to contribute, beyond our basic duties. We shared a lot. It was great fun as well. 4: Not a fair question since the instructor was able to make the entire course the best. 5: The instructor. Several colleagues told me how wonderful HZ is and how much I would enjoy and learn from the class, but that was an understatement. She is an excellent teacher and cataloguer. Her knowledge and enthusiasm helped all of us to be excited about cataloguing visual materials. Also, our entire class (the students) bonded and worked together extraordinarily well. I think much of this is due to HZ’s manner 6: Everything. 7: The material covered and the interaction with colleagues was very valuable and helpful. 8: The exchange of ideas and practices. The feeling of collaboration with the entire group. 9. It was very well designed and prepared. Material was presented in a clear and easy to group way. There was always time for questions, and discussion was encouraged.


6)   How could the course have been improved?

1: Everything about the way this course was done was excellent. Maybe there is not time but I think looking at online resources (e.g. TGM, AAT) would have been more helpful to me than the printouts. Some of the points made about AAT and TGM might have been better illustrated looking at the online files. HZ is a model educator and professional mentor. I feel very lucky to have experienced these last five days. 2: Nothing comes to mind. 3: Would have to think this over a few days. 4: Not sure it could, but would like to see it expanded to a part two if possible. It’s rare to be able to find such a well-constructed course of instruction in one place. 5: Can’t think of a thing. 6: N/A. 7: Nothing I can think of. The hands on experiences were great. 8: The course was excellent and thoroughly enjoyable. I wish there had been a bit more time to identify types of media. 9. I am not sure it can.


7)   We are always concerned about the physical well-being both of the RBS teaching collections and of materials owned by UVa’s Special Collections. If relevant, what suggestions do you have for the improved classroom handling of such materials used in your course this week?

1: Everything seemed fine. 2: Again, nothing comes to mind as gloves and ample table space were provided. 3: Everything went smoothly. 4: None -- we were provided with appropriate tools for handling materials, and I believe most students were well-versed in the proper handling. The instructor also provided “gentle reminders” to be careful in the handling of specific Special Collections materials. 5: None -- HZ ensured that we were careful in handling the materials. 6: None. 7: Everything in this regard went very well. 8: Material was retrieved by Special Collections staff in a timely fashion.


8)   If you attended the Sunday and/or Monday night lectures, were they worth attending?

1: Monday lecture -- yes, worthwhile. Sorry, but I missed Sunday’s events. 2: The Sunday night lecture did not seem necessary, given that the history of RBS was printed in our brochures. Frankly, I did not need to be reminded how special RBS is. I think all who attend it know this. I did not attend the Monday night lecture. 3: Very much so. 4-5: Yes. 7: N/A. 8: The history of RBS is fascinating, but the lecture was a bit dry. Maybe some talk with a tour would be nice. 9. Yes. A pleasure.

9) If you attended evening events, was the time profitably spent?

1: I did Thursday night and found it helpful. Our field trip on Wednesday got back too late to participate in Video Night. 2: N/A. 3: Yes. TB was very informative and welcoming. 4: N/A. 5: Yes -- always interesting displays and discussions with TB and the staff. 7-8: N/A. 9. Yes, the Museum Night is a delight and a great opportunity to get a closer look at the RBS’s greater collections.


10) Did you get your money’s worth? Any final thoughts?

1: Most definitely worth every cent. Can’t wait to come back and fine tune other skills. Can there be a second course Advanced Graphics? 2: Yes, absolutely! My one suggestion is that a receipt be issued when tuition is received. I had to ask for one mid-week. 3: Money very well spent. Do the readings; prepare your own questions; leave yourself open to discussing. 4: Yes. 5: Definitely. I would advise all cataloguers to take this course. 6: Yes. 7: Yes -- well worth it. 8: The course was as well developed as many semester long courses. The week just flew by. It’s well worth the investment of time and energy. 9. A very well thought out and planned course, with lots of information and good for thought to take home. Of immense value to all librarians/archivists charged with providing access to visual materials in their collections. Very highly recommended.

Number of respondents: 8


Leave                       Tuition                    Housing                   Travel

Institution                 Institution                 Institution                 Institution

gave me leave            paid tuition               paid housing              paid travel

88%                            63%                            63%                            63%

I took vaca-                I paid tui-                  I paid for my              I paid my own

tion time                    tion myself                 own housing              travel

13%                            13%                            25%                            25%

N/A: self-                   N/A: Self-                   N/A: stayed                N/A: lived

employed, re-             employed,                  with friends               nearby

tired, or had              retired, or                  or lived at

summers off              scholarship                home

0%                              25%                            13%                            0%

There were two rare book librarians (25%), two archivist/manuscript librarians (25%), and 4 people listed as other (50%). The “other” group was comprised of one special collections cataloger, two photo catalogers, and one digital conversion specialist.