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Library archives and collections update

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Amira Aaron, Associate Dean of Libraries for Scholarly Resources, arrived at Northeastern from Brandeis University in April 2010. As library liaison for Jewish Studies, she collaborates with Jewish Studies director Lori Lefkovitz, associate director Jenny Sartori, and her library colleagues to develop an appropriate collection of information resources to support the program. Here she updates Haverim readers on her initial progress.

Existing Resources
With the help of my colleagues at Snell Library, we reviewed existing library resources in the area of Jewish Studies. The University owns major reference works, such as the online Encyclopedia Judaica, Cambridge History of Judaism and Oxford Companion to the Jewish Religion, as well as the ATLA Religion database and online resources for biblical studies. The print reference collection includes the JPS Torah Commentary series and a JPS Tanakh. Additionally, a number of journals in the collection are devoted to Jewish topics, and a number of journal databases, such as JSTOR, cover multi-disciplinary Jewish areas of interest. Moreover, the history collection has a strong section focused on Jewish Studies, including a robust compilation of videos. Northeastern also regularly collects the literature and works of Jewish authors and those who write about Jewish topics and issues. Our media and music collections are modest but have been improving with the involvement of the faculty.

Of special interest are relevant materials in the University Libraries’ Department of Archives and Special Collections, including records of Northeastern’s Holocaust Awareness Committee, the Jewish Renaissance Project, and individual Jewish activists, as well as papers of Jewish alumni. There is even a small collection of children’s books at Snell Library– strongest in Holocaust-themed fiction.

Book Donations
In the last few months, we have received donations of print materials from Brandeis University library and Newton Rabbi Emeritus Samuel Chiel and his wife. We thank these donors for their generosity and look forward to adding new material to our collection.

Recent Additions
We regularly order films on Jewish topics and have modestly increased relevant history and religious titles, as well as contemporary Jewish fiction. Going forward, our emphasis will be on the purchase of electronic reference and primary source materials in Jewish Studies. We recently subscribed to a few JSTOR journal titles in Hebrew– a new language for JSTOR. We have also just added a great number of e-books in all subject areas, which are listed in the NuCat library catalog.

Under strong consideration right now are the Jewish Studies Source database (Ebsco) and the Index to Jewish Periodicals. There is also an exciting new compilation just published by Adam Matthew Digital called Jewish Life in America, c1654-1954: Sources from the American Jewish Historical Society, New York. You can try all three titles right now on our library website trials page. To acquire these new collections permanently we will need to raise additional funds.

Area Resources
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the rich resources in the area of Jewish Studies that reside in libraries of the Boston Library Consortium (BLC) and at Harvard University. BLC cards also provide access to wonderful, comprehensive collections at Brandeis University, including rare and archival historical materials.

Going Forward
Current projects include the development of a Jewish Studies research guide and new book lists to which you will be able to subscribe. I look forward to working closely with the Jewish Studies program to enhance our collections and encourage you to submit requests for information resources that you would like to see. Please contact me at a.aaron@neu.edu, or 617-373-4961 with any questions or requests.