Over the past several months, we’ve been hard at work in the Othmer Library to improve access to our vertical files. This collection was assembled over the past century by library staff to provide quick reference on a wide variety of topics relevant to Brooklyn and Brooklynites. A vertical file is often comprised of pamphlets, newspaper clippings, and other published materials, arranged in a filing cabinet. This system of organization was created by Melvil Dewey, the inventor of the Dewey Decimal System, and was so acclaimed that it won a gold prize in the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair! 
Our vertical file collection is a rich source of information on topics that might not otherwise be well-represented in our collections, including smaller Brooklyn neighborhoods, lesser known institutions and organizations, and immigrant communities. These files also provide an eclectic source of information on popular topics, such as prominent buildings and notable individuals. Previously, researchers could access information about our vertical files through a PDF inventory, available in our reading room and through a hard-to-find link on our website. This project created a finding aid for our vertical files, making these materials discoverable through our search portal alongside our traditional archival collections.