Digitizing the UCSF Black Caucus Records

This is a guest post by Jessica Jones, former UCSF Archives & Special Collections Intern.

As an intern for the UCSF Library, Archives and Special Collections, I have worked on many different projects that utilize my skills as a professional administrative assistant, including the State Medical Journals Digitization Project, a collection survey, rehousing and inventorying the portrait photograph collection, and more. I also attended Library Updates meetings and listened to presentations about changes within libraries. Although this was a very new experience to me I adapted very quickly and I am proud to say I have learned so much and have enjoyed my time here with UCSF.

I would like to share a bit more about my most recent project working with the Black Caucus records. I really found this project to be interesting; I researched, digitized, and uploaded material from the collection to the digital asset management system and assisted in creating original metadata to facilitate discovery of these items. You can now access the UCSF Black Caucus Records digital collection on Calisphere.

Black Caucus members at the first Gala, 1991

Black Caucus members at the first Gala, 1991

The Black Caucus was first established on the UCSF campus in May 1968 in the wake of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  This organization worked to provide more job opportunities for qualified minority applicants and lobbied for more minority students in all four professional schools. The organization engaged in many civil rights initiatives and social justice projects, like supporting custodial and technical staff in labor disputes and campaigning for more diverse hiring at all levels of the university. Beginning in the 1970s, the group shared personal stories, event updates, and project achievements in a newsletter named the Black Bulletin. There were many notable UCSF figures that helped found and lead the Black Caucus. For instance, UCSF Medal winner Joanne Lewis served as one of the organization’s first chairpersons and organized the publication of the Black Bulletin.

Black Bulletin, April 1978. Joanne Lewis: In retrospect.

Black Bulletin, April 1978. Joanne Lewis: In retrospect.

The Black Caucus records help to demonstrate that African Americans have contributed remarkable achievements in the fields of science and medicine during the 20th century. To encourage future researchers and clinicians of color I think that it is essential for boys and girls to be given the academic tools to succeed in science and medicine, preferably long before college. There are several programs that help facilitate this, such as the White House initiative “My Brother’s Keeper” that helps young people reach their full potential. Medical schools should also continue to sponsor pipeline programs to encourage minority students to consider careers in medicine.

Affirmative Action protest at Laurel Heights, 1995

Affirmative Action protest at Laurel Heights, 1995

mss8538_2_photographs_ProtestLHC059

Jesse Jackson at Laurel Heights Affirmative Action protest, 1995

mss8538_2_photographs_ProtestLHC034

Cecil Williams at Laurel Heights Affirmative Action protest, 1995

I am very proud and excited to be a part of this amazing project. The Black Caucus has helped support and encourage people of color at UCSF through advocacy and community. The organization’s message of equality shows how important it is to have a diverse population of practitioners to address healthcare needs and to eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in healthcare.

Internet Archive Partners Lunch

Friday the 13th of May was the auspicious date of our visit to one of our partner organizations, the Internet Archive, just across Golden Gate Park in the Richmond District. The Internet Archive is a non-profit digital library of millions of freely accessible books, movies, software, music, websites and more. Internet Archive graciously hosts a bi-weekly Partners Lunch, inviting anyone working in partnership with IA to tour the facility (a gorgeous re-purposed Christian Science church), meet staff in person, and participate in a lunchtime roundtable where IA folks and visitors share their projects’ progress, successes and failures. The whole UCSF Archives team, plus UCSF collections staff members Beatrice Mallek and David MacFarland, were in attendance.

ia_2016_1

UCSF Archives and Special Collections staff with Internet Archive digitization staff.

We met with our IA liason Jesse Bell, who gave us a look into the progress of some of our projects ongoing at Internet Archive. Here Eliza Zhuang is using a specially designed scanning booth to digitize volumes of bound medical journals for the State Medical Journal project. The “scanner” actually uses two conventional DSLR cameras to simultaneously photograph the pages of the book, optimally positioned by the pedal-operated V-shaped glass plate shown here.

Eliza Zhuang scanning a medical journal from UCSF's collection.

Eliza Zhuang scanning a medical journal from UCSF’s collection.

After photography, the images undergo QA and metadata association before being uploaded to the Internet Archive, where they look like this.

IA’s lobby provides plenty of excitement. A prominently displayed monitor shows the digitization currently underway on a number of different systems. Below, David Uhlich watches as pages from the book scanner are photographed. Immediately behind the monitor is a film scanner that similarly feeds the live-view monitor. The lobby also houses a beautiful antique gramophone near a small listening station that includes an iPad loaded with digitized music and other recorded sound.

David Uhlich observes the progress of digitized images entering the system.

David Uhlich observes the progress of digitized images entering the system.

After lunch, we took a more in depth tour of IA’s facility. We saw an example of IA’s specially designed “portable” book scanner, which is basically a scaled-down version of the one used by IA staff. Approximately $10,000 will get you your own book scanning station, software, and support from IA for your own scanning projects. We also looked inside the refurbished church that, in addition to the pews, now houses some of IA’s servers and digitization equipment.

ia_2016_14

Internet Archive servers occupy a niche.

Sculptures of miniature people inhabit the aisles.  Long-term IA staff are thanked for their service with a sculpture of their likeness; many depicted holding an item that reflects their interests or passions.

Figures

Some of Internet Archive’s long-term staff immortalized in figurine form.

It was great to meet the IA team in person. Our partnership with IA continues to provide new opportunities to preserve and make accessible our material. We look forward to exciting projects in the future!

J. Michael Bishop Papers Online

We are pleased to announce that the J. Michael Bishop Papers digital collection is now available publicly on Calisphere.org. Bishop is a Nobel Prize-winning researcher and UCSF Chancellor Emeritus. The digital collection features hundreds of pages of material and photographs selected from Bishop’s papers housed in the UCSF Archives and Special Collections (MSS 2007-21).

J. Michael Bishop college portrait, Gettysburg College, circa 1955. MSS 2007-21, box 1, folder 4.

J. Michael Bishop college portrait, Gettysburg College, circa 1955. MSS 2007-21, box 1, folder 4.

J. Michael Bishop portrait with molecular model, circa 2000. MSS 2007-21, case D, folder 1.

J. Michael Bishop portrait with molecular model, circa 2000. MSS 2007-21, case D, folder 1.

J. Michael Bishop, MD, joined the UCSF faculty in 1968. He was appointed director of the GW Hooper Research Foundation in 1981 and named UCSF Chancellor in 1998, a post he held until 2009. He continues to serve as Hooper’s director and as professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology.

 J. Michael Bishop email to Harold Varmus regarding Bishop's University of California, San Francisco Chancellor appointment, 1998-02-06. MSS 2007-21, carton 18, folder 43.

J. Michael Bishop email to Harold Varmus regarding Bishop’s University of California, San Francisco Chancellor appointment, 1998-02-06. MSS 2007-21, carton 18, folder 43.

In 1989, Bishop and his research partner, Harold Varmus, were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their work in cancer research. Bishop and Varmus discovered the cellular origin of retroviral oncogenes. Their work helped clarify the processes that convert normal cellular genes into cancer genes and impacted our understanding of the genesis of human cancer.

J. Michael Bishop and Harold Varmus at Nobel Shindig, a county-western themed dinner party given by Varmus and Bishop in celebration of their Nobel Prize award in Physiology or Medicine; held at DeMarco's 23 Club, Brisbane, California, 1989. MSS 2007-21, carton 8, folder 41.

J. Michael Bishop and Harold Varmus at Nobel Shindig, a county-western themed dinner party given by Varmus and Bishop in celebration of their Nobel Prize award; held at DeMarco’s 23 Club, Brisbane, California, 1989. MSS 2007-21, carton 8, folder 41.

The digital collection features selections from Bishop’s laboratory research notebooks and professional papers, including article drafts, correspondence with other scientists, and teaching and lecture material. Also included are photographs and draft figures created by Bishop for his publications.

Purification of Annealed Product Gd RNA graphs. Selected page from a laboratory research binder of J. Michael Bishop, circa 1970. MSS 2007-21, carton 18, folder 3.

Purification of Annealed Product Gd RNA graphs. Selected page from a laboratory research binder of J. Michael Bishop, circa 1970. MSS 2007-21, carton 18, folder 3.

The Life Cycle of Rous Sarcoma Virus diagram drawing (1) by J. Michael Bishop; created for Bishop's article "Oncogenes" published in Scientific American, 1982. mss200721_2_2_sciamerican1.

The Life Cycle of Rous Sarcoma Virus diagram drawing (1) by J. Michael Bishop; created for Bishop’s article “Oncogenes” published in Scientific American, 1982. MSS 2007-21, carton 2, folder 2.

You can view the digital collection on Calisphere.org. If you would like to visit the UCSF Archives and work with the complete physical collection, please check out the detailed inventory available on the Online Archive of California and make an appointment with us.