Librarian Enhances Skills at Workshop

January 29, 2020

My name is Laura Martin, and I am currently serving as the Interim Librarian for Ibero-American Studies and Romances Languages and Literatures. I have worked for the past five years as a Copy Cataloger in Central Technical Services where part of my time has been dedicated to cataloging rare books in Special Collections.

I wish to reiterate my appreciation for the financial assistance I was awarded to attend the Introduction to Islamic Manuscript Culture Workshop at UCLA in May 2019. The workshop was excellent in all aspects, from the instruction provided by Dr. Evyn Kropf (University of Michigan) to the networking opportunities with other librarians and scholars in the field. Dr. Kropf’s engaging lectures covered topics ranging from manuscript structures, binding, layout and ornamentation, to calligraphic hands and paratexts. The lectures as well as the practical application of the descriptive techniques in the hands-on demonstrations have given me a strong foundation for understanding the Islamic manuscripts in Special Collections here at UW-Madison. I am now able to make educated observations and standardized descriptions of the structures and techniques used in the manuscripts’ production, which can in turn help make inferences about their historical and geographic origins.

Since attending the workshop, I have provided original cataloging for three Koranic manuscript leaves that were new acquisitions to Special Collections, and I am in the process of cataloging an Arabic-language manuscript donated by the late Professor Muhammad Memon. I have also helped colleagues identify and assess Islamic book and manuscript donations using the new skills I have acquired. This would not be possible without the generosity of the Friends. Thank you for recognizing the need to support the description and discovery of diverse collections at UW-Madison Libraries.