Reflections from a librarian on the tenure clock

Meredith Farkas has a popular feature in American Libraries magazine in which she often talks about technology and libraries. She is also a faculty librarian at Portland Community College in Oregon. In a post from last year, she highlights that most of her scholarly research is publicly available:

“But, you know what? You can find all of my writing (other than what’s on this blog) in PDXScholar, our institutional repository (IR). Want to read my peer-reviewed articles? My American Libraries columns from the past few years? The book chapters I’ve written since 2008? They’re all in there. My most recently article, co-authored with Lisa Hinchliffe and applying a management model to building a culture of assessment where librarians have faculty status, is in an open access journal.

Throughout her blog post she talks about making the effort to have a copy of her work available to the general public.

I just made a small amount of effort to make my scholarship open to all. I don’t expect anyone to jeopardize tenure to make stuff more open [emphasise mine], but it does disappoint me that people in our profession won’t ask a publisher for permission or even take the time to put something in their IR that could benefit so many. Mostly I just don’t understand why one wouldn’t if they could.

With some effort, one may publicly share work, and have a strong chance at tenure too.




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Conserving and Preserving Iowa’s Constitution

UntitledIn honor of our 30th anniversary and Bill Anthony’s legacy, we are please to share two videos about the preservation of the Iowa State Constitution.  The first, made shortly after Anthony’s treatment of the Constitution was completed, outlines the history of the document, and the steps taken to conserve it.  The second, made earlier this year, describes the process of digitizing the Constitution to make it available online to all Iowans. Enjoy!

Conserving The Constitution of the State of Iowa

Preserving Iowa’s Constitution

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A Real Life Game of Monopoly


Rich Uncle Pennybags

It’s National Play Monopoly Day!

Monopoly Patent Image

Darrow, Charles B. Board game apparatus. U.S. Patent 2,026,082, filed August 31, 1935, issued December 31, 1935.

Ironically, it was during the American Depression when Monopoly, a game of wealth and finance, became popular. Charles Darrow devised of a buying and selling real estate game with Atlantic City’s street names. He sold each hand-painted oil-cloth game for $4. When it caught on, and he could not keep up with the demand for manufacturing, he wrote Parker Brothers. The company initially rejected the board game citing it as too long and complicated, but eventually, Robert Barton, the president of the company, bought the rights to the game and registered the Monopoly® trademark in 1935. Thus, Darrow became the first inventor of games to become a millionaire.


Board Game Patent by Lizzie Maggie.

Magie, L. J. Game Board. U.S. Patent 748,626, filed March 23, 1903, issued January 5, 1904

Although Darrow is credited for the game’s invention, history shows that Elizabeth “Lizzie” Magie was issued a similar game patent in 1903. The Landlord’s Game,a practical demonstration of the present system of land-grabbing with all its usual outcomes and consequences,” was not widely manufactured and published until 1906 when she and two followers of Henry Goerge, an American political economist, established the Economic Game Company of New York. They wanted the game to demonstrate Henry George’s philosophy that people own value for what they create not for land which belongs to everyone. In 1910, Lizzie submitted her game to Parker Brothers for its consideration but was declined. Yet, word of the game spread. It is widely believed that Charles Darrow infringed upon Lizzie Magie’s patent, and in 1935, Robert Barton held a secret meeting with Darrow reaching a settlement agreement granting Parker Brothers worldwide rights in order to release Darrow from legal costs that he would incur defending the origin of the game.

The Landlord's GameWhat did Ms Magie get out of the deal? In a January 1936 interview with the Washington D.C. Evening Star, when asked how she felt for receiving only $500 for her patent and no royalties ever, she replied that it was okay “if she never made a dime so long as the Henry George single tax idea was spread to the people of the country.”


1. McCorquodale, Duncan, et al, editors. Inventors and Inventions. London : Black Dog, 2009. p. 75 Engineering Library FOLIO T48 .I58 2009

2. Mag-ie, L.J. Game-board. U.S. Patent 748,626, filed March 23, 1903, issued January 5, 1904.

2. Darrow, Charles B. Board game apparatus. U.S. Patent 2,026,082, filed August 31, 1935, issued December 31, 1935.

3. Monopoly Game History, Landlord’s Game History

4. How Henry George’s Principles Were Corrupted Into the Game Called Monopoly

5. Henry George Source:

6. George, Henry. Progress and Poverty, New York : Robert Schalkenbach Foundation, c1879, 1955 Main Library HB171 .G27 1955

7. There is nothing new under the sun, Mrs. Elizabeth Magie Phillips, headmistress and proprietor of the Henry George School of Social Science, in Clarendon, Val, is convinced, she said yesterday. The Washington Post [Washington D.C.] 28 Jan 1936: 13 Source: ProQuest News & Newspapers

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Vesalius Turns the Page on Ancient Medicine Lecture @Hardin Library Thursday, November 20

portrait of VesaliusThe University of Iowa History of Medicine Society, The Classics Department, and the Center for the Book invite you to a lecture by Daniel Garrison, Emeritus Professor, Department of Classics, Northwestern University on “Vesalius Turns the Page on Ancient Medicine.”  The lecture is free and open to the public.  The lecture will be held on Thursday,  November 20 from 5:30pm-6:30pm at The Hardin Library for the Health Sciences.

This talk concentrates on the procedural contributions Vesalius made in his 1543 De humani corporis fabrica. Vesalius began his medical studies at the University of Paris, which was still a conservative institution that relied heavily on readings from Galen and later Medieval summaries and required little or no dissection, even of animals. Vesalius introduced a new regimen at the University of Padua that called for  dissection by the students  and visual testing of anatomy rather than dependence upon books.

from De humani corporis fabrica

Skeleton from De Humani Corporis Fabrica

De humani corporis fabrica is one of the most important anatomy books ever published, and the John Martin Rare Book Room owns a first edition.  You may view this book or others from our collection by visiting the John Martin Rare Book Room.  Some images are also available in the Iowa Digital Library.






Contributing in code

University of Iowa Libraries at

University of Iowa Libraries at

For librarians, particularly those in academic settings, an important part of the job is contributing to the development of the profession; traditionally, this has included tasks such as giving presentations at conferences and publishing articles in scholarly journals. But thanks to the evolving nature of our work and to innovations on the part of our developers, the University of Iowa Libraries has become active in a new area of professional development: sharing code for re-use and adaptation by other institutions.

When George Mason University’s Center for History and New Media launched Scripto, an NEH-funded open-source tool for transcription crowdsourcing projects, we were eager to adopt it for DIY History to replace our existing makeshift and labor-intensive system. Once it was installed, we became even more eager to make extensive changes to Scripto. While the tool was designed to treat transcription as an add-in activity for digital exhibits, we needed it front and center for DIY History.

DRP’s developers, Shawn Averkamp (now at New York Public Library) and Matthew Butler, solved this problem by adding new features to Scripto and creating a simple-to-use theme that focuses exclusively on the act of transcription. Other enhancements included a progress system for tracking completion status, as well as various scripts for migrating mass quantities of objects and metadata from our digital library to DIY History and back again. As it turned out, we weren’t the only ones looking for these functionalities. In the open source spirit of sharing work for the good of the community, Shawn and Matthew made their enhancements and related code available online, where it’s been reused by a number of other institutions [see below].

As we prepare to launch a redesigned and streamlined DIY History soon, we’re grateful for the open source tools that have allowed us to make progress on our own project, and thrilled to have contributed to the development of crowdsourcing sites at other libraries and museums.

“DIY History and similar projects are about community” says Matthew Butler, the Libraries’ Multimedia Consultant. “They succeed because of the collaborative efforts of transcribers, developers, librarians, and curators to make the content and tools as accessible as possible.”

DIY History | University of Iowa Libraries

DIY History | University of Iowa Libraries

The Civil War in Letters | The Newberry Library

The Civil War in Letters | The Newberry Library

Making History | Library of Virginia

Making History | Library of Virginia

Jones' Icones Online | University of Oxford

Jones’ Icones Online | University of Oxford

Virtual Volunteering | Carnamah Historical Society & Museum

Virtual Volunteering | Carnamah Historical Society & Museum

30th Anniversary Benefit Auction: The Results Are In!

Friends and visitors came from near and far to join us in celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Conservation Lab. Our Benefit Auction was a resounding success, with lovely music, delicious food, beautiful bindings, and wonderful company.  Altogether, the auction raised $15,635 for the William Anthony Conservation Fund.  Our heartfelt thanks go out to our bidders, our contributing artists, and everyone who helped make this event a success.





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How Cool Is This

In honor of Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day, celebrated on November 15th, you may want to know how your refrigerator operates.

Early Twentieth Century Refrigerator

The one-millionth Frigidaire refrigerator is proudly displayed as it comes off the assembly line in Dayton, Ohio, in 1929. Photograph: AP


Refrigerators are a modern invention. Until the advent of wide-scale electricity, keeping food cold had been a challenge for civilizations. Even as late as the 1800s, ice continued to be the major method for cooling. However, in 1848, Alexander Twining experimented with vapor-compression refrigeration allowing mechanical cooling to be applied in the meat packing and brewing manufacturing industries from the 1870s through the 1890s. Then in 1895, a German engineer, Carol von Linde, designed a process for the mass-scale production of domestic operating cooling units.1 By 1921, the first Frigidaire came off an assembly line at the Delco Light Plant of General Motors. That same year, 5,000 refrigerators were manufactured for home use.2

Einstein refrigerator patent image

Albert Einstein and Leo Szilard. Refrigeration. U.S. Patent 1,781,541, filed December 16, 1927, issued November 11, 1930 [6]


All refrigerator models work on the same principle: as the gas phase of matter expands, it takes up heat from the environment and converts the thermal energy to other forms of energy. This is called the Carnot cycle.3 In refrigerators, a gas is compressed and under pressure is changed to liquid. A compressor forces the liquid, or coolant, through a series of tubes or coils where it vaporizes, removing heat from the surrounding environment (i.e., from inside the refrigerator). A pump that is run by a motor sucks up the warmed gas, compresses it into liquid again, and sends it to the condenser for another bout of cooling.4 In the early twentieth century, refrigerators used methyl chloride, sulphur dioxide, or ammonia gas, all of which are toxic and caused several injuries and fatalities when leaked into homes.

Einstein and Szilard

Albert Einstein and Leo Szilard

For this reason, Albert Einstein had the idea to improve its safety. In 1926, he partnered with Leo Szilard, a Hungarian-American physicist, who had published his dissertation on thermodynamics and had knowledge of patent engineering. Together they set out to improve the mechanical compressors and eliminate the toxic gases. “The Einstein-Szilard fridge used pressurized ammonia, butane and water… and no moving parts — thereby eliminating the possibility of seal failure…One of the components the two physicists designed for their refrigerator was the Einstein-Szilard electromagnetic pump, which had no moving parts, relying instead on generating an electromagnetic field by running alternating current through coils. The field moved a liquid metal, and the metal, in turn, served as a piston and compressed a refrigerant.”5

In 1930, freon was introduced as an economically favored refrigerant gas. However, with environmental concerns over climate change and the impact of freon and other chlorofluorocarbons on the ozone layer, it maybe time for another reinvention. “Green refrigeration” is being explored. Two groups in the UK, Malcom McCullough of Oxford, is designing a solar-powered fridge as an alternative energy source, and Camfridge Ltd, in Cambridge, is researching gas-free alternatives.Also, a team of Canadian-Bulgarian researchers are looking into magnetic cooling.8

So as you toss out the carton of milk which expired two weeks ago, think how you might improve upon Einstein’s cooling appliance.


1. McCorquodale, Duncan, et al, editors. Inventors and Inventions. London : Black Dog, 2009. p. 32 Engineering Library FOLIO T48 .I58 2009

2. Langone, John. How Things Work: Everyday technology explained. Washington D.C. : National Georgraphic Society, 2006, pages 18 – 19. Engineering Library T47 .L2923 2006

3. The Carnot Cycle (Source: MIT)

4. Wearing, Judy. Edison’s Concrete Piano: Flying Tanks, Six-Nippled Sheep, Walk-On-Water Shoes and 12 Other Flops from Great Inventors. Toronto : ECW Press, 2009, pages 231 – 232 Engineering Library T47 .W42 2009

5. The Story of Einstein’s Refrigerator by Jennifer Ouellette, December 5, 2010

6. Einstein, Albert and Szilard, Leo. Refrigeration. U.S. Patent 1,781,541, filed December 16, 1927, issued November 11, 1930. (Source: Google Patents)

7. Wearing, Judy. Edison’s Concrete Piano: Flying Tanks, Six-Nippled Sheep, Walk-On-Water Shoes and 12 Other Flops from Great Inventors. Toronto : ECW Press, 2009. pages 239 - 240. Engineering Library T47 .W42 2009

8. Magnetic Cooling Enables Efficient, ‘Green’ Refrigeration, June 19, 2014. (Source:

9. Standard Specification for Reach-in Refrigerators, Freezers, Combination Refrigerator/Freezers, and Thaw Cabinets. ASTM F2520-05 (2012) (Source: ASTM International)

10. Pham, Hung. Lower-GWP Refrigerants in Refrigeration. ASHRAE-D-ANRC12-17. (Source: TechStreet)

11. Energy-Efficient Refrigerator Prototype Test Results [microform]. Washington, D.C. : U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Atmospheric and Indoor Air. EPA-430-R-94-011, June 1994. Main Media Collection Microfiche EP 4.2:R 25/3

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Scopus Workshop

Have you tried Scopus, our new database? The UI Libraries provide free access to Scopus, an excellent multidisciplinary citation database. Join us for a Scopus Workshop and learn advanced techniques that will help you conduct your research more efficiently and effectively.

Scopus Workshop

Wed, Nov 19, 12:30-1:20

Sciences Library 3rd floor

In this workshop you will learn how to:

  • Access Scopus off-campus.
  • Use refine options to retrieve more relevant search results.
  • Save citations to RefWorks/EndNote.
  • Set up alerts and find full-text.
  • Get help from a librarian when you need it.


This workshop is free and open to all UI students, faculty and staff. There is no need to register. If you have any questions, please contact Sara Scheib at or (319) 335-3024.


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