Syracuse University receives gift of Illustrated Chronicle of Ivan the Terrible from the Russian Federation

The Consul General of the Russian Federation in New York, Hon. Igor Leonidovich Golubovskiy, presented Syracuse University with a copy of The Illustrated Chronicle of Ivan the Terrible (Russian title: Лицевой летописный свод XVI века) at a ceremony in Bird Library on May 1.

The multivolume set is a color facsimile of the largest compilation of historical information ever assembled in medieval Russia. The manuscript is thought to have been created between 1568 and 1576 and was commissioned by Ivan the Terrible for the purposes of educating his children.

Mr. Golubovskiy was accompanied by Cyril E. Geacintov, a Syracuse University alumnus and president of the Russian Nobility Association, who helped to arrange the gift. Andrew Gordon, Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer, accepted the gift on behalf of Chancellor Syverud. Dean of Libraries David Seaman introduced Mr. Golubovskiy, who spoke about the benefits of cultural exchanges such as this in normalizing relationships and increasing understanding. Also in attendance was Mr. Michael Perekrestov, seminary librarian and director and curator of collections at the Foundation of Russian History, Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary, in Jordanville, NY.

Participating faculty and University officials included Dean Karin Ruhlandt, Senior Associate Dean Gerry Greenberg, Professor Erika Haber and Professor Zofia Sztechmiler from the College of Arts & Sciences; Patricia Burak, director of the Lillian and Emanuel Slutzker Center for International Services; and Maxwell School professors Brian Taylor and Michael Wasylenko. Dr. Lucy Mulroney, senior director of Special Collections, showcased a curated selection of special collections holdings related to Russia.

“We are grateful to the Russian Federation for this remarkable gift, which will provide our students and faculty with an important new resource for the study of Russian history, the medieval period, and art history,” said Dean of Libraries David Seaman.

The work is divided into three main series: biblical history, universal history, and Russian history. The facsimiles themselves include the original wording and a translation of the text into modern Russian. The literal meaning of the Russian title is “face chronicle,” alluding to the more than 16,000 miniatures that it contains.

“The collection as a whole will bring Russian medieval history to life for students in a way that only original texts can,” says Erika Haber, associate professor of Russian Language, Literature & Culture. “Since the books are written in the old orthography and translated to modern Russian, they will be of interest to our language students as an example of the old Russian alphabet and writing system. The fabulous illustrations will of course provide context and aid the students in creating meaning.”

This work complements Western medieval manuscript resources held by the Special Collections Research Center and can be viewed there.

Libraries to launch redesigned, mobile-friendly website

The Libraries will preview their newly redesigned website to the public beginning on April 12, 2017 . The site, located at libraries.syr.edu during the soft launch period, complies with new University branding guidelines and design elements. It has been in development since late fall 2015.

The project’s primary goals were to create an accessible, responsive design that will automatically resize for any type of device being used. This capability is increasingly important as information access migrates to the mobile environment.

The full launch of the new site is being planned for sometime after mid-May.

Project team members include Daniel Rice, project manager, Cindy Barry, web specialist (now working for the College of Visual and Performing Arts), Pamela Thomas, web and emerging technologies librarian, and Pamela McLaughlin, communications director.

An early and crucial part of the redesign process was to conduct a thorough analysis of the existing site’s usage. Those findings enabled developers to place the most heavily used resources prominently in the new design. This user-centered approach downplays internal organizational silos, which can obscure important informational content.

The project engaged stakeholders from across the Libraries. Web staff reviewed usage data with content owners and affirmed the core content for the new site. To keep staff informed of progress over many months, the project team maintained a blog that highlighted current activities and engaged staff in providing feedback on specific questions and touchpoints. The team also hosted an all–staff open forum and provided periodic updates for the Libraries Management Team.

During the early part of the spring 2017 semester, Learning Commons librarians Tarida Anantachai and John Stawarz conducted hands-on user testing with a group of current students and faculty members. Using a variety of types of devices, individuals were asked to complete a series of tasks on the new site using the “talk aloud” protocol. John and Tarida captured the testers’ actions, as well as their comments about their decision-making process, difficulties they encountered, and general observations about the site. A number of adjustments were made to the design, presentation, and navigation based on their discoveries.

Work on the site will continue until the production launch. Feedback is always welcome at syr.libsurveys.com/web-feedback.

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