Exhibit explores personal libraries

“What’s in Your Personal Library?” an exhibition, is on display Nov. 15 through Jan. 6, 2014, in Sidewater Commons, 102 Pattee Library on the University Park campus of Penn State.

This is a question that intrigues Penn State Librarian Ellysa Cahoy, and it led to the 2012–13 Scholarly Workflow research project, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and directed by Cahoy. The project analyzed the information workflow practices of Penn State faculty in the sciences, the social sciences and the liberal arts. Participating faculty were surveyed about their technology habits and information collection management practices and were interviewed in their offices to gain a greater sense of their needs with regard to information retrieval, storage and self-archiving of personal information collections.

Project photographer Alice Teeple sought to complement the anthropological data gathered on faculty information practices with photos illuminating the personal habits and predilections of each faculty member. Her work shows Penn State faculty members’ personal information collections, and especially their personal office environments. According to James Cortada, a research fellow at University of Minnesota, also interested in this topic, “All researchers are archivists, whether they know it or not.”

Capturing the diversity of technology, faculty workspaces and information collections, Teeple’s photography shares a rare glimpse of how other people work.

The exhibition is open during regular library hours, available at 814-865-3063. For more information or for questions about the physical access provided, contact Ellysa Cahoy at ellysa@psu.edu or 814-865-9696.

Last Updated November 25, 2013