Nomination for the Center for Research Libraries ( CRL ) Primary Source Award, Access Category : Dan Reboussin, J. M. De...


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Nomination for the Center for Research Libraries ( CRL ) Primary Source Award, Access Category : Dan Reboussin, J. M. Derscheid Collection
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Taylor, Laurie N.
Reboussin, Dan
George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
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Gainesville, FL
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Nomination for the Center for Research Libraries ( CRL ) Primary Source Award, Access Category.

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University of Florida
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University of Florida
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Nomination for the C enter for R esearch L ibraries Prima ry Source Award Access C ategory ( source awards ) This nomination resulted in the successful award for Dan Reboussin for his work with the Derscheid Collection: source awards/past awardees Nomination Summary Access to primary sources is essential for researchers but effective online access requires a range of support extending beyond traditional methods C atalog records and finding guides are still necessary but search engine optimization (SEO) is also required to create effective, full access to online colle ctions. This n omination is for Dan Reboussin Head of the University of Florida (UF) African Studies Collections, for his efforts in creating effective access to the J. M. Derscheid C ollection Reboussin has create d complete access to the Derscheid collection a rich set of manuscripts relating to pre colonial and colonial era Burundi, Eastern Congo and Rwanda. These unique and rare materials document the history of the region. The y were created and collected by Jean Marie Derscheid, a zoologist and conservationist who undertook historical research on Rwanda and the Eastern Congo from 1924 1939. Among other things, h e criticized Belgian colonial agricultural policies prom oting cultivation in the sensitive environments of the Virunga Mountains He recognized the importance of their conservation as supporting one of only two limited habitat s of the endangered Mountain Gorillas. scholar curated collection of primary research materials is a critical ly important resource for interdisciplinary research in the area as noted by Ren Lemarchand, professor emeritus of political science and author of Rwanda and Burundi (1970). Reboussin worked closely with Lemarchand to enhance access to and preserve the microfilm collection. He ensured long term scholarly access to the materials creatin g a complete, verified, item level index This year, Rebou ssin led a project to digitize the Derscheid manuscript collection in accordance with standards for digital preservation to ensure ongoing access Digitizing primary source materials clearly enables access. However, access is limited without additional support. Building on prior work with the catalog record and index Reboussin set out to ensure this rich collection was fully accessible by developing several innovative, enhanced means to support online access The project began with the digitization of the Derscheid collection from microfilm and the creati on of complete, item level metadata using the existing index. Additional support provided include s : D igitizing the complete index to enable researchers to review the entire collection at a glan ce ( ) D igitizing ( after securing required per missions ) Rwanda and Burundi ( ) to provide access to the complete research context relating to these materials Researching the life and work of Jean Marie Dersheid and translating his biography, now accessible online in the UF Digital Collections or UFDC ( ) C reating a Wikipedia biographical entry for Derscheid specifically intended as part of a broad SEO strategy to ensure full public access to the primary research materials ( Marie_Derscheid ) Creating the specialized Derscheid digital collection within the UF DC (powered by the SobekCM software engine optimized to allow Google and other search engines to easily access and


included materials) The creation of a separate collection frame s the research materials providing enhanced access to the criti cal support materials and ensuring complete, integrated access to the entire collection ( ) Nomination Documentation The J. M. Derscheid collection of materials on Rwanda and Burundi includes approximately 2,500 manuscript items, illustrations and maps relating to Rwanda and Burundi (former Ruanda Urundi), with some research materials on the Kivu and Oriental provinces of the former Belgian Congo (Democratic Republic of Congo). These materials include administrative reports of District Commissioners and Governors, genealogies of clan chiefs from ca. 1859 notes, correspondence with colonial administrators and missionaries (members of the Roman Catholic missionary society known as the White Fathers or Pres Blancs in French ). The University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries hold the master negative of this scarcely held microfilm collection privately created in 1965 under the direction of Ren Lemarchand, professor emeritus of political science, which preserved and provided scholarly access to a unique manuscript collection held by th made available at cost to scholars through academic libraries, in fact distribution until now has extended Hoover Institution, Yale University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (per WorldCat search 10/28/11). Even fewer cop ies are available elsewhere for example at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London (Linden and Linden 1977: xvi) and possibly at academic libraries in Belgium a library catalog search of the Catholic University of Leuven or the combined catalog for Belgian university libraries at while the Royal Museum for Central Africa at Tervuren library catalog online ) Lemarchand alerted Reboussin to the existence of these microfilm reels at the University of Florida L ibraries around the year 2000. Finding that the master microfilm negative reel s were shelved alongside a circulating copy, Reboussin facilitated their transfer to a non circulating location for preservation purposes and had a new print duplicate made to pr ovide adequate film leaders, match the number of reels to the original set, assure durability and adherence to preservation standards and to improve physical access In 2002 Reboussin corresponded by postal mail with Jean (now himsel f deceased) to successfully secure his permission as heir to distribute the contents of the collection for the purpose of facilitating scholarship. holds the original manuscript materials in Belgium), no finding aid was produced. Lemarchand transferred to the UF Libraries a partial inventory in his possession, which Reboussin (2004) u sed to create a complete itemized index to the entire microfilm collection (verified with a frame by frame comparison and substantial editing) Reboussin conducted wide ranging bibliographic research on Derscheid around the time he was preparing the colle named Derscheid (his father was a well known tuberculosis doctor, for example) Reboussin looked for a biography that might sort out the confusion I thought I was working with at least three different people for a long time and was simply taken by unfaltering energy and powerful personality. Marie Derscheid published on African history and culture, the c reation of the Parc National Albert in Congo (including his work on the Mountain Gorillas with Carl widely diverse biological science articles a book on European bird conservation and a number of practical articles on the captive breeding of wild ducks. People who were aware of some of these activities were unaware of his significant contributions in other areas. He was also a veteran of the Belgian resistance during World War II who was captured and later executed by the


Nazis. Reboussin finally identified a biography in a scarce French language reference source. Based on this experience, he prepared many publications and translated the existing biographical article into Englis h. During the summer of 2011 Reboussin coordinated the digitization of the micro film set using funds provided through the UF Center for African Studies (designated by the US Department of Education as a Title VI National Resource Center) Metadata creation was facilitated by availability of the complete inde x in digitally readable format, but the index itself was al so uploaded for research use. Lemarchand granted the UF Libraries permission to distribute in digital form his 1970 book that r elied to a great extent on the Derscheid collection, as a way to provide scholarly context for further research as well as to facilitate access to the out of print book itself Finally, Reboussin wrote a Wikipedia biography on Derscheid in part to tie tog ether these various online resources in one highly visible place online While before and after Google rankings are not available Reboussin reports that finding some of the disconnected and fairly obscure resource s relating to Derscheid on the web is much easier as a result of creating the Wikipedia article. This is a strategy he plans to repeat with other collections and to promote among his colleagues, because it is relatively simple and has a big impact in the pu blic arena as well as providing specialized help for researchers. Finally, Reboussin anding page at the UFDC site to point users of the University of Florida now available on thi s open access website. References Brien, Paul. 1971. [Entry for Jean Marie Derscheid]. Biographie nationale 37 (supplment tme 9, 1er fasc.):211 235. Translation from French by Dan Reboussin. Available online: Accessed October 28, 2011. Derscheid, J. M (Jean Marie). 1965. [ J. M. Derscheid collection of materials on Rwanda and Burundi ]. Microfilm. Antwerp Belgium : Bibliofilm. 4 microfilm reels; 35 mm. Rwanda and Burundi New York, N Y: Praeger Publishers Available online: Accessed October 28, 2011. Linden, Ian and Jane Linden. 1977. Church and revolution in Rwanda Manchester UK: Manchester University Press. Reboussin, Dan. 2004. Compiled guide to all 3 Derscheid Collection microfilm reels (Jean Marie Derscheid Collection on 3 microfilm reels). Gainesville, FL: UF Libraries. A vailable online: Accessed October 28, 2011. Wikipedia. n.d. Available online: Marie_Derscheid Accessed October 28, 2011.