This past week I’ve spent a bunch of time at the Huntington Library. I’ll be back again next week (and the week after that and the week after that….)
If I’m lucky, I’ll be garnering a Fellowship so I can research there nearly full-time. But even without the Fellowship I’ll certainly be there on a regular basis.
I’ve learned a few things in the past week:
1) The library’s cataloging system is only so-so. Key words and search terms are often nonsensical/illogical.
2) The old paper card catalog has items not listed in the online catalog.
3) Many of the items don’t appear to be listed anywhere at all–not on the computers and not on the bitty little cards in the drawers (which drawers, I still don’t seem to be able to pull out of the cabinet properly, so doing the research is a bit painful as I contort myself to see the cards)
4) The trick to knowing what’s in the library is to talk to the curators. They know all.
5) The other trick is to ask lots of questions and request items that may not even exist (e.g. “A finding aid for that collection?…No, there doesn’t appear to be one…”)
Even with all of the confusions and run-arounds of this week’s work at the H, I’m just loving it. Really. I am so very lucky to be close enough to such a place for my research. And it is a beautiful space to spend one’s days….
(IOW, people, more flower pictures from the grounds will be forthcoming…I’m hoping to step foot outside of the inner-sanctum on at least one of my visits next week!)