Searching for Genetic Info, PubMed’s Gene Sensor, NCBI and More: Learn HOW with Hardin Open Workshops

Overwhelmed by the number of databases that the National Center for Biotechnology Information has to offer on nucleotide sequences, genes and proteins? Wondering which database you should always start with? Would you like to learn how to set up an NCBI account to link articles in PubMed to records in other databases? Do you know about PubMed’s Gene Sensor? Are you familiar with the concept of linear navigation? Learn all of these tips and more in this session that is designed for anyone who needs to search the NCBI databases for genetic information. This session is hands-on and free for UI students and affiliates. There will be time for questions at the end.

Our next session is:

Friday, July 18, 1-2 pm

Location: Hardin Library for the Health Sciences, EAST Information Commons Classroom

Register here or contact us by calling 335-9151 or emailing


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The Treasure in the Old Will: Iowa Women’s Archives Inherits Valuable Nancy Drew Collection


There were no missing documents, phony relatives, or suspicious fires — just a straightforward bequest from Peggy Wirt, whose mother, the late Mildred Wirt Benson, was the original ghostwriter of the Nancy Drew series. But the collection that was recently left to the Iowa Women’s Archives calls to mind another mystery trope – the hidden treasure: the gift of 150 books, written and signed by Benson, was appraised at $115,000. According to IWA Curator Kären Mason, however, the true value of the donation lies in further documenting an important figure in American popular culture.

The first student to earn a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Iowa, Mildred Wirt Benson wrote the original Nancy Drew novel, The Secret of the Old Clock, in 1930 under the pseudonym Carolyn Keene. She completed nearly two dozen more titles in what has become one of the most successful children’s book series ever. Benson published numerous other children’s novels, both as a ghostwriter and under her own name, before turning to a career in journalism. The Peggy Wirt bequest will be added to the IWA’s Mildred Wirt Benson collection, used frequently by scholars and fans alike, that was donated by the author in 1992 and subsequent years until her death in 2002.

Two additional sets of new acquisitions complement the book donation. Purchased at auction from the estate of Peggy Wirt are a vintage typewriter of Benson’s, along with several photo albums. The latter include the original snapshot of an image that has become iconic to fans of the author: a college-age Benson, circa 1925, making a daring swan dive into the Iowa River near the current site of the UI’s student union.

The other recent donation comes from UI Journalism Professor Emerita Carolyn Stewart Dyer, who gave the IWA her collection of foreign-language Nancy Drew novels. The covers of these French, Japanese, and Swedish translations depict a Nancy both familiar and strange – renamed Kitty or Alice, holding a gun, her trademark titian hair changed to brown or blonde.

In any language, the character continues to serve as a feminist icon who inspires women “to persevere, to achieve, to ask questions and find answers,” according to Dyer. While coordinating the UI’s 1993 symposium on Nancy Drew, she heard from many women who grew up on the series:

Most compelling of the many elements of the stories women told us about reading Nancy Drew were the accounts of how, as girls, they saw in Nancy an alternative to conventional notions of what a woman could be. Women in many occupations told of learning from Nancy to see adventure in solving problems and the joy of self-reliance. These qualities, they said, led them to the futures they chose as lawyers, researchers, librarians, and detectives, among other roles. (1)

The Mildred Wirt Benson materials may be viewed at the Iowa Women’s Archives. Selections from the collection have been digitized and made available at the Iowa Digital Library:

  1. “The Nancy Drew Phenomenon: Rediscovering Nancy Drew in Iowa” by Carolyn Stewart Dyer, in Rediscovering Nancy Drew, edited by Carolyn Stewart Dyer and Nancy Tillman Romalov (University of Iowa Press, 1995)




From top: the bequest of novels from Peggy Wirt, waiting to be processed; a vintage typewriter used by Benson; Benson’s photo albums; foreign-language versions of Nancy Drew novels, donated by Carolyn Stewart Dyer. Photographs by Hannah Scates Kettler

IMF eLibrary – Trial ends 13 August 2014

The International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) eLibrary simplifies analysis and research with direct access to the IMF’s periodicals, books, working papers and studies, and data and statistical tools. You will find information and perspective on macroeconomics, globalization, development, trade and aid, technical assistance, demographics, emerging markets, policy advice, poverty reduction, and so much more.

IMF eLibrary data interface

Please send additional comment to Kim Bloedel.

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Contrary to expectation, we are still laying in Camp

Joseph Culver Letter, July 11, 1864, Page 1

Hd. Qurs. Co. “A” 129th Regt. Ills. Vol. Infty.
In the Field Near Chattahoochie River
July 11th 1864
My Dear Wife

Contrary to expectation, we are still laying in Camp resting. Alf [Heutson] was here a short time ago, & he thinks there is a prospect of our remaining here several days.

The mail has generally gone out at 4 o clock, but I have just learned that it goes out to-day at 2, so I have only a few minutes to write in. I just finished a letter to the Hill Sunday School, but I was interrupted so often that I fear it will not be interesting.

We are all well to-day and the weather very warm. There is light Skirmishing along the river bank, but it is three miles distant and we seldom hear it.1 We had prayer-meeting last evening and a very profitable time. Alf drew a sketch of the burning of a cotton factory by our Cavalry and left it at my tent when I was on picket, but someone stole it before I got to see it.2 He intended it for you. I sent you a map of our position two days ago.3

The mail has just arrived, and I hope has brought a letter for me, but I must send this out or it will be too late. Give my love to all. May our Father in Heaven bless and preserve you.

Your affect. Husband
J. F. Culver

  1. Historian Grunert reported that in the skirmishing on July 11, Private William F. Dermund of Company E was killed. Grunert, History of the 129th Illinois, p. 82.
  2. Union cavalry had occupied Roswell on July 7, where there were “extensive cotton, wool and paper mills, running at their full capacity and till this last moment turning out supplies for the Confederate government.” The owners in a futile effort to protect their property claimed their ownership was French and raised the tricolor. Sherman did not recognize this subterfuge, and they were burned. Cox, Atlanta, p. 137.
  3. This map is missing from the Culver Collection.
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Summer Reading: The Best American Science And Nature Writing 2012

The Best American Science 

And Nature Writing 2012


Edited by Dan Ariely

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company c2012

Engineering PN6071. S3 B46 2012


The Best American series is the premier annual showcase for the country’s finest short fiction and nonfiction. Each volume’s series editor selects notable works from hundreds of magazines, journals, and websites. A special guest editor, a leading writer in the field, then chooses the best twenty or so pieces to publish. This unique system has made the Best American series the most respected — and most popular — of its kind.


From Booklist

There is so much we don’t know, which leads us to make so many irrational decisions that we need scientists and science writers to share their inquiries and discoveries in welcoming and lucid prose. Stellar examples of just this sort of cogent and compelling writing sustains this invaluable and exciting series. This year’s guest editor, Ariely, professor of psychology and behavioral economics and author of The (Honest) Truth about Dishonesty (2012), kicks things off with a provocative introductory essay about how we can and should use science to improve our lives. His commanding and eye-opening selections run the gamut from the micro (gut biota) to the macro (global air pollution) and steadily ramp up our sense of awe and concern. His engaging contributors write of food allergies (Jerome Groopman), the evolution of feathers (Carl Zimmer), the extraction of DNA from Neanderthal bones (Elizabeth Kolbert), and crowd disasters (John Seabrook). In the most intimate essay, Sy Montgomery describes her unexpectedly emotional encounters with Athena, a very smart and expressive giant Pacific octopus. How wondrous and complicated life is. –Donna Seaman

About the Author

Dan Ariely, author of The Upside of Irrationality and Predictably Irrational, is the James B. Duke Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University.









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My health continues to be very good for which I feel very thankful

Joseph Culver Letter, July 10, 1864, Page 1

Hd. Qurs. Co. “A” 129th Regt. Ills., Vols. Infty.
In the Field Near Chattahoochie River July 10th 1864
My Dear Wife

Yours of June 30th has just come to hand. I am most happy to learn that you enjoy such a good degree of health. May our Father in Heaven bless you with a continuance of the same. My health continues to be very good for which I feel very thankful. I am sorry to learn that Lt. Smith improves so slowly, as we certainly expected him to be with us soon.1 I hope, however, that he may soon recover. The health of the Company is very good.

Last night the enemy evacuated all their works on this side of the river, and our lines of Skirmishers were advanced to the river bank.2 The 23rd Corps are on the other side on the enemy’s right flank and probably to-morrow the whole army will advance. Rumor says the Rebs destroyed the R. R. Bridge which is very probable.3

I am sorry that Mathis is disposed to give you any trouble; I will write to Mr. Lyons and Mathis on the subject. Do not allow the matter to give you any unnecessary trouble. The well is not worth repairing and must remain until I get home, if it be God’s will to spare my life.4 If Mathis desires to leave the premises, he will probably give you notice, &, if you cannot readily rent it, it can remain empty. I cannot make any arrangements at present to regulate the matter. If you need money, try and borrow of Mrs. Fellows or Mr. Remick until pay-day.5

We packed up & moved out of camp this morning but were brought back again & now occupy the same ground we have occupied for the last three days.6 I have heard nothing from Bros. John or Sammy yet; they are about 3 miles to the left of us.7 I have enclosed a letter to Mrs. Moran and Wm. B. Lyons in this as I have no ink to back envelopes, though if I can succeed in getting any, I will mail them separately.

I have no desire to sell our property at present, though if Mathis offers you $1,250.00 cash, you can tell him he can have it for that if you desire to part with it. I am very glad you have told me of it, an early knowledge of such things may save me a great deal of trouble. I can very easily settle the matter. All matters relating to business should be known to me. I wish for your sake we could receive our pay, but that is improbable until after the Campaign closes.

I am much obliged for the extracts from the Chicago Tribune. It is always much later than any papers we get.

We had our S. School this morning, and it was a very profitable meeting to me, & I hope to all the rest of the Company present. Chris Yetter and Nate Hill are well. I will write a short note to the aid-society in behalf of Mrs. Moran. Unless they assist her, she will undoubtedly suffer. Her husband recd. no pay since Dec. 31st, 1863, & it will be 6 or 7 months before she gets back pay and bounty due him. Try & get the people interested in behalf of the needy soldiers’ wives. They are doing all they can for the country, & the thought that their loved ones at home may suffer is a great barrier to their enjoyment and a source of constant sorrow.

I should write to the Hill S. School to-day, but it is drawing near mail time, & I think of so much I would like to write as this may be the last opportunity for several days.

Give my love to Mother and Maggie and kiss the children for me. I have enjoyed much of the presence of God; let us praise his name and trust all to him.

The weather is very warm but the health of the troops good. Remember us in your prayers. We live in hopes that the time will soon come where we can mingle our voices with those we love in praise to God for a Country saved from intestine war and in peace and prosperity. Pray for our Country. Now is the day of trial, but, God being with us, all will be well. May the richest of Heaven’s blessings rest upon you.

Your affect. Husband
J. F. Culver

P.S. Tell Remick Hume Tuckerman has just come into my tent — that he is well & looks well. He belongs to the 20th Ills.8

  1. Lieutenant Smith was at home, recovering from the wound received at Resaca in mid-May.
  2. The Confederates, on the night of July 4, evacuated their lines behind Nickajack Creek and retired into previously prepared defenses covering the crossings of the Chattahoochie River. On the 5th, Ward crossed Nickajack Creek and advanced his division along Turner’s Ferry road. It was an exhausting march, and on the 6th the division took position “confronting the enemy’s fortifications on the Chattahoochie.” The camps were on a high ridge overlooking the river. O. R., Ser. I, Vol. XXXVIII, pt. II, pp. 327, 388.
  3. General Sherman, in a successful effort to flank the Confederates out of their Chattahoochie line, pulled General Schofield’s Army of the Ohio (the XXIII Corps) out of its position on the right of the Army of the Cumberland and marched it to Smyrna Camp Ground, near the Western & Atlantic Railroad. On the 8th Schofield’s divisions, with the army’s pontoon train, marched northeast and forced its way across the Chattahoochie at a lightly defended crossing at Phillip’s Ferry. Confederate efforts to destroy Schofield’s bridgehead failed, and on the night of the 9th, General Johnston withdrew to the south bank of the Chattahoochie. Next morning Rebel engineers removed their pontoon bridges, and Johnston’s rear guard retired, burning the railroad and highway bridges. Cox, Atlanta, pp. 134-140.
  4. Mathis was renting the Culver property. Apparently, the well had failed and Mathis was demanding its repair.
  5. Mrs. Fellows was either the wife or mother of the hospital steward J. Allen Fellows of the 129th Illinois Infantry.
  6. In a futile effort to cut off and capture Confederate stragglers, Ward advanced a line of skirmishers to the Chattahoochie. After establishing a picket line, the troops returned to their camps to rest and wait for the Pioneers to bridge the river. O.R., Ser. I, Vol. XXXVIII, pt. II, p. 327.
  7. Company M, 1st Illinois Light Artillery, on the 5th had unlimbered its six guns on high ground, near Pace’s Ferry, from where could be seen the spires of Atlanta, eight miles to the southeast. Next day a number of ranking officers, including Generals Sherman and Howard, visited the battery and watched as the gunners engaged Rebel cannon on the opposite side of the Chattahoochie. Report of the Adjutant General of Illinois, Vol. XIII, p. 668.
  8. Hume Tuckerman, a 21-year-old farmer, was mustered into service on June 13, 1861, at Joliet, Ill., as a private in Company D, 20th Illinois Infantry. Wounded at Shiloh in April 1862, he was detailed in June as regimental teamster. On Jan. 5, 1864, he reenlisted as a veteran volunteer at Big Black Bridge, Miss., and in June 1864 was detailed as brigade wagonmaster. Private Tuckerman was mustered out at Louisville, Ky., July 16, 1865. Compiled Service Records of Union Soldiers, NA.
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I intended to write you a long letter yesterday but was so busy

Joseph Culver Letter, July 9, 1864, Page 1

Hd. Qurs. Co. “A” 129th Ills. Vol. Infty.
On Picket 6 o’clock A.M., July 9th 1864
My Dear Wife

I intended to write you a long letter yesterday but was so busy laying out a camp and fixing up that I deferred it until to-day, and last night I was detailed for Picket. I sent in at daylight this morning for the portfolio to write to you, but, before it arrived, we recd. orders to advance. Cris Yetter brought out my breakfast, & I hasten to write a line while we are waiting as it is probable the army may advance to-day, and I may have no other opportunity soon.

We recd. the news this morning that the right wing of our army has crossed the river (official) & it is probable the whole army will move rapidly forward. We were in hopes that a few days would be allowed for rest, but we will be content to submit cheerfully to the better judgment of others.

I am very happy to be able to tell you that my health is excellent for which let us praise God. All the Company are in good health. Harry McDowell has come up to the Regt., his health is much improved.

We are now ordered to move. God bless you. Good bye.

Your affect. Husband
J. F.Culver

8 A.M. I closed my letter hastily & gave it to Chris Yetter to mail, but he waited until we advanced our lines thus giving me an opportunity to resume. It is very warm this morning and indicates a hot day; all will be gratified if it does not become necessary to march to-day.

Yesterday evening’s mail brought me no letters, yet I have recd. so many of late that I should be satisfied. Nate Hill has had a very sore foot, but it is improving rapidly. We rather expected to get pay before crossing the river, but it is probable now that we will have to wait till the close of the Campaign.

We had a very pleasant and profitable prayer meeting at Hd. Qurs. Co. “A” night before last, & I hope we may lay quiet to-morrow that we may enjoy the privileges of one more Holy Sabbath. We have been marching or fighting on every Sabbath of late, but I presume the necessities of the case demanded it. God has still dealt very kindly with us. Let us be thankful.

I have not heard yet from Bros. John or Sammy. Alf Huetson promised to go around and see them yesterday, but I have had no opportunity of seeing him since. I may learn of them after I am relieved this evening or to-morrow. I have had no opportunity to see Sergt. Gaff lately. John Lee was up to see me yesterday; he is well. I also saw Robinson (son of Warren Robinson) of the 20th Ills. yesterday; he says that all the boys that are left are well. All the non-veterans have gone home.

I must close as Yetter is anxious to return. If we do not move to-morrow, I will write. Give my love to all. Trust all to God. May his blessings rest upon you.

Your affect. Husband
J. F. Culver

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Art Library materials usage during flood.

As a result of the closing of Art Building West (ABW), the staff of the Art Library have made arrangements to provide resources for art faculty and students.

  • Art Library books checked out by UI graduate students and faculty will be automatically renewed.
  • Materials on Reserve will be placed at Main Library Reserve.
  • Materials currently on hold at the Art Library will be at the Service Desk in the Main Library.
  • Materials may be returned to the Main Library.


Please use Interlibrary Loan for all needed materials (library staff will not have access to ABW).

Please contact the Art Library staff ( or Main Library Circulation staff ( with any questions.

About 8 P.M. on Saturday evening, it was known that the enemy were falling back

Joseph Culver Letter, July 4, 1864, Page 1

Hd. Qurs. 129th Regt. Ills. Vols. Infty.
In the Field 8 miles South West of Marietta,
Ga., July 4th 1864
My Dear Wife

Yours of the 23rd June came to hand yesterday evening, & I am most happy to learn of your good health. All thanks to our Father in Heaven.

About 8 P.M. on Saturday evening [the 2d], it was known that the enemy were falling back, & we were ordered to be in readiness to move at day-light next morning.1 We moved out on the Marietta road at Sunrise through the enemy’s fortifications. We came upon the rear of their columns & opened upon them with two Batteries to which they replied with Energy.2

Thos. Moran of my Company was killed.3 It will devolve upon you to convey the painful intelligence to his family; they live near you. He was a noble man & excellent soldier. He has gone to rest. The affliction will be very severe to his widow and orphans. May God care for them. Tell his wife that if my life is spared I will write to her as soon as we get quieted down. He neither moved or spoke after he was struck; his head was broken in on the right side. We buried him & marked the grave. He lies on the road leading from Marietta to Powder Springs, about one mile from Marietta.

No one else was injured in the Company. We moved about 12 to 16 miles yesterday, but most of the time were hunting the enemy’s position. We are now on the right flank.4 The weather is very warm & it is difficult to make a march.

This the 4th. All our Bands are playing but the day bears but little aspect to the festivities of the day, the booming of the cannon can be heard to our left, & probably before night we will be fighting our way into position. It is supposed that the enemy will not make a determined stand on this side of the [Chattahoochie] river.

Give my love to Mother & Maggie. Tell Mary I accept the Kiss & wish to return it. May our Father in Heaven bless and keep you. He has thus far been with us. Let us trust all to him.

Committing all to God, Good bye,
Your Affect. Husband
J. F. Culver

  1. In the days following the battle of Kennesaw Mountain, General Sherman pushed his right flank units to the southeast. Hooker’s soldiers occupied rifle pits on both sides of the Powder Spring road, and General Schofield’s Army of the Ohio was massed south of Olley Creek. This grave threat to his left compelled General Johnston on the night of July 2 to evacuate his Kennesaw Mountain line and retire into the entrenchments behind Nickajack Creek. Cox, Atlanta, p. 132.
  2. General Ward reported that as his column advanced on Marietta, via the Powder Springs road, it encountered Rebel cavalry. He called up Battery I, 1st Michigan, which engaged two Confederate batteries unlimbered to the southeast, near the railroad, in a spirited duel. O.R., Ser. I, Vol. XXXVIII, pt. II, pp. 326, 388.
  3. Thomas Moran, a 27-year-old farmer, was mustered into service on Sept. 8, 1862, as a private in Company A, 129th Illinois Infantry. Private Grunert reported that the projectile scattered Moran’s “brains in every direction.” Grunert, History of the I29th Illinois, pp. 80-81; Compiled Service Records of Union Soldiers, NA.
  4. On the 4th General Ward’s division took position on the right of Hooker’s corps, near Mill Grove. The Army of the Ohio was on Ward’s right. O.R., Ser. I, Vol. XXXVIII, pt. II, pp. 327, 388.
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Get Free Help Using EndNote to Manage Citations

EndNote is a reference management tool that allows you to easily gather, organize, and insert your references in the style of your choice. This free, hands-on session will walk you through the basics of using EndNote to collect and format citations.

Our next session is:

Tuesday, July 8, 11 am-12 pm

Location: Hardin Library EAST Information Commons classroom

Register here. For more information, contact our librarians at or by calling (319) 335-9151.

Too busy for class? See our EndNote tutorials here.


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