In December, the Cotsen Curatorial Blog published its one hundredth post! Its band of writers–Jeff Barton, Minjie Chen, Ian Dooley and I–are looking forward to finding the next one hundred subjects to surprise, inform, and amuse old friends and, with any luck, catch the eyes of many new ones.
In addition to writing lavishly illustrated posts, a lot of work has been going on behind the scenes to make the site more useful. The list of categories been beefed up and the posts reindexed so that the contents can be accessed in a variety of ways, so visitors with different interests can see if anything has been published on their topics.
Visitor A has just heard about the Cotsen Children’s Library and is curious about what goes on there. By going to the pull-down menu headed “Categories” on the right hand side of the page and looking at the complete list, that she will find “News,” which will pull up announcements about major gifts, exhibitions, new gallery publications, improvements to the Cotsen Bookscape gallery, etc.
Visitor X, on the other hand, wants to learn a little about the rare book collection, just to get a general idea of what there is. He might want to call up posts in the categories of “Classics,” “Fairy and Folk Tales,” “Nursery Rhymes,” “Beatrix Potter” or “ABC and Alphabets.” Enter “Potter” in the search box in the upper right hand corner of the screen, and Harry Potter will come up too.
Visitor L is an animal lover, a great cook, and a reader of mysteries. She could try her luck using the search box. Lions? Mice? Black Cats? How about food or murders? There is some surprising stuff buried in this blog…
Visitor Q is a graduate student in East Asian Studies who is thinking about applying for a Friends of the Princeton University Library Research but wants a better sense of the Chinese-language holdings before making up her mind. She can find several leads under categories: “20th century;” “Research reports;” and “East Asian children’s books.”
Last but not least, Visitor F is a bookish person with wide-ranging interests. Have we got a site for you! Categories will lead F to things like “Annotations in Books and Manuscripts,” “Bindings,” Ephemera,” “Graphic Design,” “Manuscripts,” “Moveables,” “Original Artwork,” “Prints,” and “Wall Charts.” The search box will pull up things like names of illustrators, engravers, and titles of books mentioned in posts. There is also a series called “Marks in books” that features defaced frontispieces, doodles, signatures of former owners, and more…
But don’t take our word for it–please feel free to explore the curatorial blog on your own. Work to improve the tags will continue through the winter.
Stay tuned in the coming months for a report on Cotsen’s textiles, a survey of Cotsen’s extensive collection of books by Raduga, the great Soviet independent children’s book publisher of the 1920s, a peek into an eighteenth-century toy store, more letters by Marcus French, and a review of Jim McKay’s illustrations for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. And who knows what else in the collection will inspire us?