Chris Phillips, Eric Luhrs and Alena Principato (Lafayette)
In 2010 Phillips and Luhrs began work on a database of borrowing records from the Easton Library Company, which operated from 1811 to 1862. With fifty years of records to transcribe and analyze, and little collective experience developing such a library history project, they planned the database as a generative research tool that would allow users to answer their own questions about reading habits and trends, and to explore the connections between readers and books. Four years later, with half the borrowing records transcribed, the library catalog reconstructed, and efforts underway to gather patron data and launch the web-based research application, the project has expanded into a collaboration embracing several Lafayette students and librarians as well as staff at the Easton Area Public Library, which holds the ELC records.
This presentation will give an account of collaborations between Phillips, Luhrs, and Principato, the latter being the current student lead on the project. To highlight the working nature as well as the emerging results of this collaboration, the presenters will show how the dataset can be used to answer research questions and how search results are visualized for further analysis.