Online Videos of Engineering Failures Now Available!

The Lichtenberger Engineering Library has a new database for steaming videos!

Engineering case study online - Kari's Edits


This database is called Engineering Case Studies Online (

Engineering Case Studies Online is a multi-media database chronicling the field’s most noteworthy failures, such as the Chernobyl Disaster, Ford Pinto Controversy, Apollo 13 and more. Designed to meet classroom and research needs across a range of engineering disciplines—such as aerospace, mechanical, nuclear, and civil—the collection brings together nuanced information about complex case studies into one database. It aims to incorporate diverse perspectives and materials, presented in a balanced way, to enable through analysis. Pulling together 250 hours of video and 50,000 pages of full-text material upon completion, the collected materials include video documentaries and primary footage, audio transcripts and witness testimony; images, maps, accident reports, blueprints, and other key archival content, monographs and articles, as well as timelines and simulations.

Emma’s founding mothers visit the Archives

This post was written by Jessica Lawson, Graduate Research Assistant in the Iowa Women’s Archives.


(Clockwise from left) Sondra Smith, Barb Yates, Dale McCormick, Gayle Sand, and Francie Hornstein.

(Clockwise from left) Sondra Smith, Barb Yates, Dale McCormick, Gayle Sand, and Francie Hornstein.


The Iowa Women’s Archives had an exciting visit at the end of July! Five founding members of Iowa City’s Emma Goldman Clinic—Dale McCormick, Sondra Smith, Gayle Sand, Barb Yates, and Francie Hornstein—reunited to look through this feminist health clinic’s records and share memories of its early days. The Emma Goldman Clinic (fondly known as “Emma”) is a not-for-profit healthcare and family planning provider whose records are housed at the Archives.


Barb Yates, Francie Hornstein, and Dale McCormick looking at Ain't I a Woman, published by the Women's Liberation Front in Iowa City in the early 1970s.

Barb Yates, Francie Hornstein, and Dale McCormick looking at Ain’t I a Woman, published by the Women’s Liberation Front in Iowa City in the early 1970s.


The collections we brought out for the founders’ visit, as well as the stories they shared, reflect the rich interconnections among women’s organizations and social justice movements in Iowa City in the 1970s. In addition to the material in the Emma Goldman Clinic Records themselves, the history of the clinic is woven through the personal papers of two of the visitors (Dale McCormick and Sondra Smith), as well as other local activists like Jill Jack and Linda Yanney and organizations such as the Women’s Resource and Action Center (WRAC). The women laughed as they told stories about staging a feminist revision of Taming of the Shrew, proudly compared their work on Ain’t I a Woman (the newsletter of the Iowa City Women’s Liberation Front) to the work of women’s groups in New York City in the 1970s, and paused to celebrate the memory of Iowa Women’s Archives co-founder Louise Noun. They even found time to help us identify some of the faces in the old photographs.

God in his Infinite mercy has spared my life to enjoy the light of another Holy Sabbath

Joseph Culver Letter, August 14, 1864, Page 1

Head Qrs Co. “A” 129th Regt. Ills. Vols.
In the Field Near Atlanta Georgia
August 14th 1864
My Dear Wife

God in his Infinite mercy has spared my life to enjoy the [light?] of another Holy Sabbath, a day which has appeared more beautiful than any I have Enjoyed for a long time to add to this I have every reason to believe he has blessed you with health and comfort. Let us praise him for all his loving kindness toward us. This morning opened up very beautiful though it is excessively warm. The pickets succeeded in effecting a bargain with the Enemy last night that there would be no firing along the line of our Brigade last night and today and the bargain has been well observed – some balls still reach us from the left of [illegible] on our right but it is comparatively quiet & I most earnestly hope it may continue so. It is only a Quarter past nine oclock & no one but God can tell what a day may bring forth. About Six oclock this morning I went about one mile to the [illegible] to get some papers out of the Regt. wagon. After I was beyond the [illegible] of the picket [illegible] I heard some little birds singing very sweetly the first but one Exception I have heard for a long time. The day [seemed?] so Quiet and Holy that I could almost imagine [illegible] home how pleasant it would be this morning to [illegible] the Lord and hear the children [sing?] to mingle with the Congregation and hear the word expounded and the peace and quiet of the day spent in [profitable?] Conversation and reading. [illegible]

I feel this morning that the task is a [illegible] I always feel so well rewarded that I am [illegible] I can trust only to God for the result and do the best I can. Lieut Smith is getting along very well though he will not be fit for duty for some time. I sent Henry Park over to see Bro. John yesterday and he came by {[Corpl. Hodges?] and [name] also by the Illinois Hospital [illegible] Ullery and [name]. Bro. John is well. He has not heard from Bro. [name] for some time but was expecting daily to hear from him. I sent him the letter from mother and the handkercheifs also a couple of your letters. [Albertson?] is well but very busy upon a map for the War Department [illegible] country through which we have passed. Josephus Ullery and [name] are both much better and will probably be up with the Company in a few days. Some of the [illegible] are [pairing?] up and the enemy [illegible]

Some of the [Forts?] have kept a constant [illegible] of Shelling over Atlanta for the past week. Deserters say that it is impossible in the city to keep out of the way of them except by burrowing in the ground. Many [illegible] children have been killed and wounded. It seems almost barbarous to allow them to remain in the city after it having been [illegible] by our army for nearly three weeks. I heard this morning that Gen. Sherman [illegible] them yesterday to remove all non-combatants out [illegible] destroy it. Every [regiment?] has been moved to [illegible]

Brigade. Our Pickets have been disposed to do less [illegible] Good use of this opportunity. At Marietta [illegible] we pushed on in advance of our fortification and close to [illegible] had them at disadvantage and they were very willing to [play quits?]. [illegible] comes and goes daily now. I recd. neither letters or papers yesterday but expect some to day. How I wish I could spend this day with you. May our Father in heaven comfort and bless you and increase your strength as the time of your trial approaches. I thought your letters would interest Bro. John [illegible] or I would not have sent them. You need not feel any uneasiness about them for in those I sent there was nothing improper for them to know. There are a few that are exclusively my own. Those I have retained or destroyed [illegible] a great deal about religion lately [illegible] letters to the Sabbath school. I hope most earnestly that God will [illegible] of all the men in the Company to love and [illegible]

Six deserters came in to the left of our line last night. They estimate the enemy force at [illegible] 55. to 60,000. Let us praise God for all his benefits. I am rejoiced that you [illegible] encouraged. May the richest of Heaven’s blessings rest upon you I shall [anticipate?] the promised “Good news” Give my love to mother and [illegible]

I will try and write to mother to-day I need not again assure you of my love and affection for you. Committing all to the hand [illegible]

I remain as Ever
Your affect. Husband
J.F. Culver

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Embase Now Available

Embase, an important biomedical database, is now available for all University of Iowa users. Sometimes called the “European MEDLINE,” Embase is another resource for supporting evidence-based medicine, the creation of systematic reviews, and, particularly, pharmacology-related information.

Embase can be accessed from the Health Sciences Resources page.  For assistance in searching Embase, contact your Hardin liaison.

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PubMed Food Problem: Red Meat

By Eric Rumsey and Janna Lawrence

As we’ve discussed before, searching for “red meat” in PubMed is difficult because the subject is poorly covered in the MeSH vocabulary. Not only is there not a term for “red meat,” but there are also no MeSH terms for specific kinds of red meat (beef, pork, etc.). There is only the one all-inclusive MeSH term Meat, which includes all kinds of meat, as well as fish and poultry. So this is a rare case in PubMed in which MeSH is essentially useless. The only way to do a thorough search is to use text words that include the phrase “red meat” or that contain specific types of red meat – e.g. “red meat” OR beef OR pork… [etc]

The problem of searching for red meat has returned to our attention recently for two reasons. One is that the subject continues to be in the news. Last winter when we wrote, it was getting attention because red-meat nutrient carnitine was reported to be linked to heart disease. And recently red meat has been back in the news because it’s been reported that tick bites can trigger an allergy to red meats.

The other reason we’ve been thinking about red meat is that, coincidentally, our library has recently gotten a subscription to Embase, which a European-based medical literature database that’s the main alternative to PubMed/MEDLINE. Of course, the first thing we did with new access was to compare the indexing, and especially the explosions, in Embase to PubMed for FDN subjects. We have found several cases in which Embase is better. One case in which it’s clearly better is red meat.

Here’s the explosion in Embase:

Red Meat
… Beef
… Lamb Meat
… Mutton
… Pork
… Rabbit Meat
… Veal
… Venison

This can’t be used directly in PubMed, of course, but at least it gives and idea of specific meats to search in PubMed as text words.

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It has rained a great deal for a few days past making it very uncomfortable

Joseph Culver Letter, August 9, 1864, Page 1

Head qrs Co “A” 129th Regt Ills. Vols
In the Field Near Atlanta Ga
August 9th 1864
My dear Wife

I wrote but a short note yesterday because I was busy on the muster and [pay rolls?] of the Company & was anxious to get them completed but it rained so much that I did not accomplish much. I just got fairly started this morning when it commenced raining again. It has rained a great deal for a few days past making it very uncomfortable in the [trenches?]. We are so close to the enemy here that I feel compelled to keep in the [trenches?] most of the time. I recd. your letter of the 31″ July yesterday [evening?]. I am most happy to learn of your good health. Truly God has been most merciful to us [May?] His mercies be continued my heart is truly greatful. I just heard from Bro. [illegible] who was over this morning. He is well but has not heard from Bro. [illegible] yet. It is raining so hard that I must lay aside my letter


Hospital this morning to look after [Josephus?] Ullery and Wm [name]. Ullery is quite [weak?] & [name?] has some bad sores [illegible] Neither of them are considered [illegible] All the rest of the Company are very well My own health is excellent I shall rejoice at the ‘Good news from Us” [this month or next?] if our Father only blesses you with good [illegible] continues to rain. Large numbers of [illegible] are arriving It is difficult to tell definitely the [illegible] cannot leave the front line to [illegible] is so very unreliable. Some of the boys say the saw [illegible]

doubt but that the Enemy are being largely reinforced by [Kroly?] Smiths and Forrests armies There will doubtless yet be a terrible battle for the possession of Atlanta. If the Enemy will come out and attack us I apprehend but little trouble but should we be compelled to assault these works around Atlanta God above knows the results We recd. by yesterdays papers the news of the failure of Grants assault upon Petersburg The losses are very light if truly estimated. The Rebs have suffered [it terribly?] in all their assaults upon us that the boys [illegible] dread an effort of that kind yet should it be deemed necessary none will hesitate. There have been several hard battles on the extreme right of our army within the last few days but we have not learned the result. We feel sure however that had any disaster resulted we would not be laying so quietly here. As there are troops here that could readily be spared were they needed. I hope to hear from you soon. May our Father in [Heaven?] bless you Kiss Mother and Maggie for [illegible] the children remembered me kindly [illegible] pray that God may [illegible]

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The Library Has New Tools to Borrow

LabQuest2 Device

LabQuest2 Data Device


The Lichtenberger Engineering Library announces an addition of 24 new items to the Tool Library. The tools are made available through the donations by the Engineering Electronic Shop and the Engineering Computer Services.

Various screwdrivers, wrenches, measurement devices, an eyeball webcam, and 2 LabQuest data devices with 19 accessories are some of the tools available for check out. For a complete list of all tools, as well as descriptions and links to user manuals, click on the Tool Library LibGuide at Tools are arranged by category and, unless noted otherwise, can circulate for 1 week.


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Notes from the John Martin Rare Book Room – Jean Pecquet

picture of dissection

from JEAN PECQUET (1622-1674). Experimenta nova anatomica, quibus incognitum hactenus chyli receptaculum, & ab eo per thoracem in ramos usque subclavios vasa lactea deteguntur. Paris: Apud Sebastianum Cramoisy et Gabrielem Cramoisy, 1651.

At the beginning of the 17th century, it was widely believed that food was converted into blood as it passed through the digestive system. The blood was then carried to the liver where it was imbued with natural spirits and passed on to the heart for distribution through the body. Since only the blood vessels were known to the anatomists of that day, it was thought that chyle, the product of digestion, was transported to the liver by the venous system of the intestines.

This notion was corrected by Gaspare Aselli in 1627 when, by accident, he discovered the lacteal vessels in the mesentery of a dog. He incorrectly surmised that the lacteal vessels empty their contents into the liver. It was not until 1651 that Pecquet reported his discovery of the receptaculum chyli and thoracic duct. He accurately described the lacteal veins of Aselli and showed that they terminate in the receptaculum chyli and that the thoracic duct joins the venous systems at the junction of the jugular and subclavian veins.

Joannes van Horne made the same discovery quite independently and corroborated Pecquet’s findings. Later Pecquet’s work was confirmed and extended to cover the entire lymphatic system by Olof Rudbeck (1630-1702) and Thomas Bartholin. The copperplate engraving clearly depicts the main lymphatic system both in a separate figure and in the dissected abdomen and thorax of a dog.




Summer Reading: Engineering Stories (realistic fiction) in STEM

Engineering Stories ( realistic fiction) in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM)

By Kenneth Richard Hardman

Kenneth R. Hardman publisher c 2013

Engineering PS509..E55 H33 2013                       Engineering stories realistic fiction.jpg2


Youth, Young Adults, and Educators, Come into my office, conference room, and laboratory – Experience my adventures, teams, challenges, thoughts, travels, and sudden insights. Engineering Stories are Realistic Fiction, short story dramatizations allowing the reader, through narration, description, dialogue, and thought to experience the adventure and satisfaction of being an engineer, or inventor.  Stories are very plausible, being fictionalized compositions of author experience. Herein, you are able to listen into the mind of an engineer, see how they think, observe how they might behave, understand what motivates them. The objective is to encourage students to consider or continue careers in science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM), show what it may be like, dispel a myth or two, and encourage creativity, problem solving, instilling the confidence to make the world a better place. Seven realistic stories are included in this volume. The focus is engineering product development which involves the activities of developing a product to satisfy the needs and desires of a customer. The customer could be a company, a work group, or an individual. The product could be a method of transportation, fabrication, spacecraft, or medical utility. These stories illustrate how customer needs are gathered, how product requirements are refined, and how creativity is used to determine good potential solutions to the product requirements. Examples are included showing the process by which options are evaluated, selected, designed, built, tested, and put to work for the customer. Like any good story, Engineering Stories show character development, how individuals work on their own and in teams to tackle challenges and build better products. Engineers travel, engineers learn, engineers struggle, engineers grow, and engineers feel joy in what they accomplish. Educators, This book can be used as supplemental material for the classroom. At the end of each story, mentor notes and exercises have been included to emphasize engineering ideas and encourage critical thinking, a very important engineering quality. The teacher is encouraged to assign this material to the student or use these questions for class discussion, and the student is encouraged to write responses to the questions. Finally, enjoy these stories. Encourage others to read them. If you can relate to these protagonists, these engineers, and find yourself improving upon what they have done, then you are probably an engineer, or should be.

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