Barton/Veltrusky working in his Paris apartment, circa 1970s.

Archiving AFL-CIO

Spotlight on Paul Barton:

AFL-CIO European Representative, 1968-1994

By Chris Carter
University of Maryland iSchool graduate, May 2015

Creating a plan

As a part of my Master of Library Science degree, I worked at the AFL-CIO Archives for my field study course and worked on a semester-long project with the institution.  The collection I worked on was the unprocessed records of Paul Barton, the European Representative of the International Affairs Department of the AFL-CIO, to make them accessible to the public.  This collection is twelve linear feet of records created and accumulated by Barton between 1945 and 1992.  To make these records accessible we conducted a survey of the records, created a processing plan, and wrote the finding aid.

Understanding the subject

Barton/Veltrusky working in his Paris apartment, circa 1970s.

Barton/Veltrusky working in his Paris apartment, circa 1970s.

As a part of this process we conducted some research on Paul Barton to provide context for the records.  Paul Barton, whose real name was Jiri Veltrusky, was a Czech from Czechoslovakia born on June 5, 1919.  Barton who, as an intellectual in Prague received his PhD in the philosophy of aesthetics of semiotics with a special interest in theater, was a member of the Prague Circle, a group of intellectuals, as well as an advocate for free trade unions and democracy.  When the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia successfully launched a coup and took over the government in 1948, Barton, like other pro-democracy advocates, was forced to flee the country or face persecution, ultimately fleeing to Paris where he would live the remainder of his life.  In the early years of his exile Barton used several pseudonyms before settling on Paul Barton.  While in Paris he spent time writing articles and supporting the labor union movement, becoming a representative of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions before joining the AFL-CIO around 1968.  Upon joining the AFL-CIO he served as the European Representative of the AFL-CIO International Affairs department, serving in the Paris office until his death on May 31, 1994.

Contextualizing the collection

Books authored by Barton

Books authored by Barton

Barton’s papers reflect the many communities the AFL-CIO worked with as the records are found in six languages, English, French, German, Russian, Czech and Spanish.   The topics in the records also demonstrate concerns held by Barton and the AFL-CIO, with topics ranging from trade unions in the USSR and developing countries and forced labor in the USSR.  The records also reflect the views of labor unions concerning such historical events like the Prague Spring in 1968 and the 1970 Polish Protests.

These records complement currently available collections in the AFL-CIO Archives, including the records of Jay Lovestone (2014-001-RG18-003), Irving Brown (2014-001-RG18-004), and the Country Files from the International Affairs Department (2014-001-RG18-001 and 2014-001-RG18-010).  The Thomas Kahn papers are also related, however they are not open to the public yet.  Note: Records dating after 1965 may be restricted.

Contact us if you have any questions or are interested in researching these collections.

Explore UMD’s labor collections, including the AFL-CIO archive.

Labor History Wikipedia Edit-a-thon


Hornbake Library

Friday, May 1, 1:30 – 4:30 pm

Join a community interested in promoting labor history by editing the popular online encyclopedia Wikipedia. Part celebration and part workshop, Edit-a-Thons are organized around a single topic as a means to build awareness and community.  We’ll draw content from labor-related collections at the University of Maryland, including the recently acquired AFL-CIO Archives. No editing or technical experience necessary. All participants will receive complimentary issues of Labor’s Heritage journal. As part of a nationwide effort, other libraries with significant labor collections will also participate.

Event details:

This event is followed by:

AFL-CIO Archive Reception & Tour, 4:30 – 6:00 pm

George Meany

George Meany

Join us for a unique opportunity to view the George Meany Memorial AFL-CIO Archive, a prestigious archive originally at the National Labor College. These rich archives provide a unique history of the labor struggle in the United States and internationally. See behind the scenes in the archives stacks: labor cartoons, buttons, pins, and memorabilia.  Civil Rights and Labor items will be on display in the Maryland Room. In addition, view labor-related materials, including photographs, censored newspaper articles, posters,  and magazines, from the Gordon W. Prange Collection, the largest archive in the world of Japanese print publications from the early years of the Allied Occupation of Japan, 1945-1949.

American Archive of Public Broadcasting Launches New Website

AAPB_Logo_Color_1Line A new website,, provides the public with access to a collection of American public radio and television content dating back to the 1950s. These audio and video materials, created by more than 120 public broadcasting organizations across the country, have now been digitized and preserved, and will be a resource for scholars, researchers, educators, filmmakers and the general public to delve into the rich history of public broadcasting across America. We proudly contributed to the American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB), a collaboration between the Library of Congress, WGBH Boston and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

The website will initially provide access to 2.5 million inventory records created during the American Archive Content Inventory Project. The records will provide information about which public media video and audio materials have been digitized and preserved in the AAPB, indicate which video and audio files are available for research on location at WGBH and the Library of Congress, and highlight the participating stations. Contributing stations’ histories, information about significant productions and resources for participating organizations will be available online.

The collection includes interviews and performances by local and national luminaries from a broad variety of professions and cultural genres. Just a few examples of the items in the collection include:

  • Iowa Public Television’s interview with Olympic runner Jesse Owens, recorded in 1979, the last year of his life;
  • KUSC’s (Los Angeles) broadcast of commentary by George Lucas on the original three Star Wars movies;
  • Twin Cities Public Television’s recording of a 1960 interview with presidential candidates John F. Kennedy and Minnesota Senator Hubert Humphrey; and
  • WGBH’s 1967 interviews with then-California Governor Ronald Reagan.

Between April and October, WGBH and the Library of Congress will continue development of the AAPB website. By October, video and audio content will be accessible for the public to stream on the website’s Online Reading Room. Curated collections of video and audio by scholars and the AAPB staff will focus on topics of historical significance.

More information is available on the American Archive blog at

Revealing La Revolution: The Environmental Scan & Microsoft Excel, Part 2

As you now know I began my tenure as the interim Curator for Literature and Rare Books by trying to get more familiar with cataloged items in Rare Books and Special Collections by creating a spreadsheet that would give me an overview of the collection as a whole. Technical Services provided me with a MARC file containing the complete MARC records for every item in these collections and pointed me to MARCedit to be able to create a customized report about the collections. Previously I explained how I used MARCedit in Revealing La Revolution: The Environmental Scan & MARCedit, Part 1. Now I’m going to share how I imported and set up my data in Microsoft Excel so that it revealed the contents of Rare Books and Special Collections to me.

I began by opening a new workbook in Microsoft Excel and went to the “Data” Menu Ribbon.

Excel Data Menu Import from Text File

Excel Data Menu Import from Text File

In the furthest left column I choose to import my data “from text” and directed the request box to the correct file.

Excel Import File Selection

Excel Import File Selection

The Import Wizard then allowed me to choose how to import the file. I chose “delimited” because that was the type of file I created and left “Start import at row” to its preset of “1”. In order to keep the diacritics and special characters from foreign languages I had to change the “File origin:” to match my file type “Unicode (UTF-8)”.

Excel Import Selection of Unicode UTF-8 File Type

Excel Import Selection of Unicode UTF-8 File Type

For Step two I chose “tab” to match my previous file.

Excel Import Selecting Tab Delimited

Excel Import Selection of Tab Delimited

And in Step 3 I choose “Text” because I didn’t want Excel thinking it was smarter than me and assuming that what might be a combination of numbers and letters is something other than it is and changing it. You know Excel likes to do this!

Excel Import Selection of Text

Excel Import Selection of Text

Finally I told excel that I wanted it to use the current worksheet to display the data. And after the import was complete I saved my new excel file!

Excel Import Location Selection

Excel Import Location Selection

Finally, because I wanted to sort my data I choose to “Format as Table” from the “Home” Menu Ribbon.

Excel Formatting as a Table

Excel Formatting as a Table

And now I have a very useful excel table with all currently cataloged Rare Book and Special Collections items.

Sample data with special characters and diacritics

Sample data with special characters and diacritics

More sample data with special characters and diacritics

More sample data with special characters and diacritics

This file is so much more useful than browsing the stacks for projects like the environmental scan for Revealing La Revolution. It is also a great help to me as I update the webpages about our collections and reach out to instructors with resources for their classroom. Hopefully the information on how I created this report is useful to you, too.

See Revealing La Revolution: The Environmental Scan & MARCedit, Part 1 to learn more about using MARCedit to read how I used MARCeditor to define the fields for my Excel spreadsheet.

Revealing La Revolution: The Environmental Scan & MARCedit, Part 1

As the interim Curator of Literature and Rare Books I am writing the Environmental Scan for the French Pamphlet Project. Two tools I have found very useful to help with this are MARCedit and Microsoft Excel (I sort of love spreadsheets). I became familiar with MARCedit over the summer as I attempted to gain intellectual control over my expanded collection responsibilities and learned a new (to me) feature of Microsoft Excel which has proved very useful for putting together this report. So I wanted to tell you a little about what I’ve learned.

After I was appointed interim Curator for Literature and Rare Books in May, I requested a report from Technical Services of all cataloged items in Rare Books and Special Collections. I already had a comfortable grasp of the literary manuscript collections but had not had an opportunity to really get to know the Rare Books and Special Collections volumes. In an effort to become better acquainted with these collections, I asked Technical Services to include several descriptive MARC fields (language and subject entries) for each item in Rare Books and Special Collections.

Rare Books and Special Collections Stacks

Rare Books and Special Collections Stacks

Rare Books and Special Collections Oversize Stacks

Rare Books and Special Collections Oversize Stacks

I was hoping that the final report would provide me a broad overview of the collection as well as the ability to examine the collection at a more granular level without having to go and browse the stacks. While I do love browsing the Rare Books stacks this just seemed a very inefficient way to get to know the collections. Additionally, Rare Books are fragile (sorry to state the obvious) and I don’t want to be pulling them of the shelves, flipping through them, and the re-shelving them to gather information about them that should be discernible from their catalog records.

Rare Books Shelf

Rare Books Shelf

Technical Services ran a standard report version of my request and offered me a MARC file with all Rare Book and Special Collections items complete MARC records if I wanted to create my own report using MARCedit. I accepted the challenge and a short guide to MARCedit.



After downloading and installing MARCedit, the first step to using MARCedit requires running the entire MARCfile through MARCbreaker to create a UTF-8 MARC file. By converting the file to a UTF-8 file the succeeding programs that this information is run through will recognize the special characters and diacritics. MARCbreaker will clean up and search for errors in MARC records while providing preliminary data about the entire file. This data let me know how many times each MARC field was used which helped me in figuring out what MARC fields I wanted MARCedit to provide in my report.



I then ran my new MARC UTF-8 file through MARCedit and checked the result of my report in Microsoft Excel. My report was a mess! Many of the records were missing information in the MARCfields I had requested and most of the records in foreign languages using special characters and diacritics came through garbled. The problems were not MARCedit or Excel’s they were mine. I realized that I was going to need to dig a little deeper into MARC fields and get crafty about how I imported my data into Excel.

I had a basic understanding of the MARC fields from one of my introductory iSchool courses but found it necessary to rely heavily on the Library of Congress’s MARC21 Bibliographic Data website to make sure that I was getting the MARC fields I truly wanted.* I had to run the report several times before I was able to figure out all of the MARC fields I wanted and how to request them from MARCedit.

Entering the fields I wanted into MARCedit was the hardest part. I could only select a single MARC field or field and subfield at a time when I knew I wanted about 20 fields in my report. So it was time consuming to select each one individually and see whether or not UMD Libraries was using that field the way I expected them to or not. The fields I finally ended up with in my report are:

008$35 – Language Code (letter 1)

008$36 – Language Code (letter 2)

008$37 – Language Code (letter 3)

* Did you know that for MARC’s three-letter-language-code each letter is entered individually into three separate subfields? Also, I had to enter each subfield individually so that each letter gets its own column in the spreadsheet!!!  Why catalogers? Why?

035 – OCLC #

050 – LOC Call Number

090 – Local Call Number

100 – Main Entry (Personal Name)

110 – Main Entry (Corporate Name)

240 – Uniform Title

245 – Title Statement

246 – Title Variation

260 – Publication

300 – Physical Description

362 – Dates of Publication

500 – General Note

510 – Citation & References

600 – Subject Entry – Personal Name

610 – Subject Entry – Corporate Name

611 – Subject Entry – Meeting Name

630 – Subject Entry – Uniform Title

648 – Subject Entry – Chronological Term

650 – Subject Entry – Topical Term

651 – Subject Entry – Geographic Name

653 – Index Term – Uncontrolled

655 – Index Term – Genre/Form

700 – Added Entry – Personal Name

740 – Added Entry – Uncontrolled Related Title

752 – Added Entry – Hierarchal Place Name

800 – Series Added Entry – Personal Name

830 – Series Added Entry – Uniform Title

852 – Location (Local)

856 – Electronic Location & Access

Having finally established all the MARC fields I needed. I returned to MARCedit to begin the process of exporting my final file. Under the “Tools” Menu I choose “Export Tab Delimited File” and set up a path to my new file, including the file name and .txt file type.

Exporting from MARCedit Step 1

Exporting from MARCedit Step 1

Next I entered each of the individual MARC fields I wanted for my report.

Exporting in MARCedit Step 2

Exporting from MARCedit Step 2

Once they were all entered I choose to export the file. I opened the text file just to check and make sure that it looked correct.

Exporting from MARCedit Step 3

Exporting from MARCedit Step 3

However I did not really want to keep my data as a .txt file. I wanted to be able to analyze the data and manipulate it in a table format. So I needed to import my .txt file into Microsoft Excel.

To be continued in Part 2… Revealing La Revolution: The Environmental Scan & Microsoft Excel, Part 2

*While I was working on this the government (including all Library of Congress webpages) was shut down. I had to use the Internet Archive’s Way Back Machine to retrieve the information I needed.

William Morris Wayzegoose at Special Collections


Join the University of Maryland Libraries’ Special Collections for a night of revelry and merriment–William Morris style! Enjoy entertainment, food, and an exhibit featuring the works of this incredible artist. Click on the invitation to the left for details!

Revealing La Révolution, one step at a time!

Revealing La Révolution (the project formerly known as “The UMD French Pamphlet Project”) is officially up and running.  We have finalized our project team, identified and hired three promising French graduate students to assist our rather lonely library school student. They are analyzing pamphlets like it is their job (well, I guess it technically IS their job).

Those of us on the project team are very happy to see things progressing, especially after devoting what seems like a very large percentage of our waking lives to French pamphlets over the past few weeks.  The first pamphlet the students picked up during training, from the month of pluviôse, year IV (1796), argued that “Le fléau de la royauté pesait encore sur la France” (The scourge of royalty still weighed on France).  Seeing their eyes light up at this and other treasures reminded us that the effort to analyze and digitize these items will definitely pay off for researchers in the end.

We have also been rewarded for our efforts by our success in overcoming some procedural challenges. One that led to a moment of pause: OCLC Connexion is probably the best tool for finding any existing records for these pamphlets, but is WAY too confusing for the French students to get up to speed quickly.  Solution? Let them use WorldCat local, watching out for its non-cataloger tendencies (who displays authors as first name last name, anyway?).  One of our students suggested writing abstracts instead of using subject headings, something that hadn’t even occurred to us.  Solution? Have some of the students use traditional subject headings, and one write up short abstracts.  It is a pilot project, after all.

Kelsey Corlett-Rivera

SLLC Librarian