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IDL highlights for Black History Month

The Iowa Digital Library is fortunate to host the college scrapbooks of three University of Iowa students from the 1920s and 1930s, which provide views of the African-American community during their time on campus.

 

Althea Beatrice Moore Smith scrapbook cover, 1924-1928

Althea Beatrice Moore Smith scrapbook cover, 1924-1928

The Althea Beatrice Moore Smith scrapbook was added to the Iowa Digital Library thanks to a collaboration between the African American Museum of Iowa and the Iowa Women’s Archives.

Althea Moore and friend on steps of Old Capitol, Iowa City, Iowa, between 1924 and 1928

Althea Moore and friend on steps of Old Capitol, Iowa City, Iowa, between 1924 and 1928


 

Patrobas Cassius Robinson college scrapbook cover, 1923-1928

Patrobas Cassius Robinson college scrapbook cover, 1923-1928

Hal and Avril Chase of Des Moines, Iowa, funded the purchase of this album for the University of Iowa Archives.

Patrobas Cassius Robinson

Patrobas Cassius Robinson


 

James B. Morris Jr. photo album cover, 1937-1941

James B. Morris Jr. photo album cover, 1937-1941

James Morris was the son of James Morris, Sr., a long-time publisher of the Iowa State Bystander, an African-American newspaper.  James Morris Jr. married Arlene J. Roberts Morris, the first African-American woman psychologist to be licensed by the Iowa State Board of Psychology.

Captain James B. Morris, Jr. 1944

Captain James B. Morris, Jr. 1944

 

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IRO Highlights for Black History Month

Here are some highlights from our digital collections for black history month.

These three books are available as free PDFs online. They were published in the University of Iowa Press Singular Lives series.

Fly in the Buttermilk - coverFly in the Buttermilk: The Life Story of Cecil Reed
Cecil Reed
Priscilla Donovan

Born in 1913 in Collinsville, Illinois, Cecil Reed has lived all his life in the Midwest as a black man among whites. This self-styled fly in the buttermilk worked among whites with such skill and grace that they were barely aware of his existence—unless he wanted to get a bank loan or move into their neighborhood. Now, in his lively and optimistic autobiography, he speaks of his resilience throughout a life spent working peacefully but passionately for equality.

The Making of a Black Scholar: From Georgia to the Ivy League - cover
The Making of a Black Scholar: From Georgia to the Ivy League
Horace A. Porter

This captivating and illuminating book is a memoir of a young black man moving from rural Georgia to life as a student and teacher in the Ivy League as well as a history of the changes in American education that developed in response to the civil rights movement, the war in Vietnam, and affirmative action. Born in 1950, Horace Porter starts out in rural Georgia in a house that has neither electricity nor running water. In 1968, he leaves his home in Columbus, Georgia—thanks to an academic scholarship to Amherst College—and lands in an upper-class, mainly white world. Focusing on such experiences in his American education, Porter’s story is both unique and representative of his time.

The Making of a Black Scholar is structured around schools. Porter attends Georgia’s segregated black schools until he enters the privileged world of Amherst College. He graduates (spending one semester at Morehouse College) and moves on to graduate study at Yale. He starts his teaching career at Detroit’s Wayne State University and spends the 1980s at Dartmouth College and the 1990s at Stanford University.

Porter writes about working to establish the first black studies program at Amherst, the challenges of graduate study at Yale, the infamous Dartmouth Review, and his meetings with such writers and scholars as Ralph Ellison, Tillie Olsen, James Baldwin, and Henry Louis Gates, Jr. He ends by reflecting on an unforeseen move to the University of Iowa, which he ties into a return to the values of his childhood on a Georgia farm. In his success and the fulfillment of his academic aspirations, Porter represents an era, a generation, of possibility and achievement.

My Iowa Journey - coverMy Iowa Journey: The Life Story of the University of Iowa’s First African American Professor
Philip G. Hubbard

Philip Hubbard’s life story begins in 1921 in Macon, a county seat in the Bible Belt of north central Missouri, whose history as a former slave state permeated the culture of his childhood. When he was four his mother moved her family 140 miles north to Des Moines in search of the greater educational opportunity that Iowa offered African American students. In this recounting of the effects of that journey on the rest of his life, Phil Hubbard merges his private and public life and career into an affectionate, powerful, and important story. Hubbard graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in electrical engineering in 1946; by 1954 he had received his Ph.D. in hydraulics. The College of Engineering extended a warm academic welcome, but nonacademic matters were totally different: Hubbard was ineligible for the housing and other amenities offered to white students. Intelligent, patient, keenly aware of discrimination yet willing to work from within the university system, he advanced from student to teacher to administrator, retiring in 1991 after decades of leadership in the classroom and the conference room. Hubbard’s major accomplishments included policies that focused on human rights; these policies transformed the makeup of students, faculty, and staff by seeking to eliminate discrimination based on race, religion, or other nonacademic factors and by substituting affirmative action for the traditional old-boy methods of selecting faculty and administrators. At the same time that he was advancing the cause of human rights and cultural diversity in education, his family was growing and thriving, and his descriptions of home life reveal one source of his strength and inspiration. The decades that Hubbard covers were vital in the evolution of the nation and its educational institutions. His dedication to the agenda of public higher education has always been matched by his sensitivity to the negative effects of discrimination and his gentle perseverance toward his goals of inclusion, acceptance, and fairness. His vivid personal and institutional story will prove valuable at this critical juncture in America’s racial history.

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IRO January 2015 usage

Content in Iowa Research Online was downloaded 131,084 times in January, a 19% increase over January 2015. The items receiving the most use were all theses:

The items with the greatest percentage increase in use compared with the previous month were

These include theses as well as an article in Medieval Feminist Forum and a book review podcast.

If you are interested in all of our usage data for all series, we have links to the data on our website.

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1.5 Million downloads from IRO in 2014!

Iowa Research Online had an impressive 1,506,333 items downloaded in 2014. When all supplemental content is included, this number increases to 1,558,358! IRO currently has 16,209 full text items, 1,521 supplements and 118 streaming items (not included in download numbers).

While most use came from the United States, 15% of the use came from other places, including the United Kingdom, India, Canada, Germany and Australia, and 187 other countries.

Our theses and dissertations are downloaded more than anything else in IRO. All together, they total close to 60% of the total downloads!

Almost one third of the total downloads come from our books, journals and magazines. Walt Whitman Quarterly Review and Medieval Feminist Forum receive the most use.

Our highest use items are

Congratulations to all the authors and journal editors!

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IRO December 2014 Usage

While their total downloads was not the highest in IRO, these items had the greatest percentage increase of use in December compared with November.

These five items include a dissertation, a book from UI Press, an issue of 19th century magazine and a two journal articles. One of the journal articles come from our locally published journal, Poroi.

Our most downloaded items in December were very similar to the top items for November:

The twitter data stream had the most use by far.

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DRP welcomes Rob Shepard!

Digital Research & Publishing is pleased to announce that Rob Shepard has accepted our offer to be the new Geospatial Information Systems (GIS) Librarian for the UI Libraries. Rob comes to us from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln where he is pursuing a Ph.D. in Geography.

University of Iowa campus map, ca. 1943

University of Iowa campus map, ca. 1943

We at DRP are looking forward to the talents and experience Rob brings that will further enhance the accessibility and usability of geospatial resources (everything’s spatial!) in the Iowa Digital Library.  Rob will also be working on cross-campus coordination of GIS and support for faculty research and other Libraries partners.

Moving items into Main Library, the University of Iowa, 1951

Moving items into Main Library, the University of Iowa, 1951

Welcome, Rob!

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IRO November 2014 Usage

We regularly look at usage information for Iowa Research Online. The software shows us the 10 items receiving the most downloads overall (total use is averaged out across how long the item has been publicly (freely) available), which allows new items to enter the top ten. However, this list tends to remain similar from month to month (and day to day). Looking at the number of downloads for a specific month sometimes highlights different items, but typically the most used items remain similar across months.

The most used items for November were:

Other than the first item, they all appear on the most popular papers list.

In order to find other items that are seeing an increase in their usage, we have begun comparing the use of an item with the previous month. These items may not have had the largest use overall, but the number of downloads was quite a bit higher in November than in October.

Congratulations to the authors of the works!

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Contributing in code

University of Iowa Libraries at GitHub.com

University of Iowa Libraries at GitHub.com

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

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DIY History celebrates 50,000th transcription!

cake5

As DIY History, the University of Iowa’s transcription crowdsourcing site, has inched toward its 50,000th submission, we’ve been looking forward to reaching such an amazing milestone — hence the queued-up cake gif.

But as it turned out, we weren’t quite prepared for how it went down today. On the heels of some high-profile attention from BuzzFeed and NBC News in October, DIY History just hit the big time with a Tumblr post from Kate Beaton of Hark! A Vagrant fame, which was reblogged by John Green, of The Fault in Our Stars and many other things. Once a portion of their millions of devoted followers visited our site, the 50K achievement was immediately unlocked — along with a fair amount of panic among library staff about insufficient server bandwith and a dearth of untranscribed pages (plus Colleen wept with joy)(although low threshold)(we love you Colleen!).

We are humbled and gratified by the dedication of all our volunteer transcribers — those of you who have just joined us, and those who have been with us from the beginning. Since the Libraries put its first batch of Civil War diaries up in the spring of 2011, you have fought a brave battle against inaccessibility and illegibility, rescuing the first-hand accounts of soldiers, cooks, students, railroad barons, farmers, artists, suffragists, and so many others. In lieu of the celebratory cake we wish we could give you, here is a comprehensive list of the Libraries’ hundreds of historic handwritten cake recipes. An unthinkingly time-consuming task pre-crowdsourcing, the compilation of such a list now happens almost instantly, thanks to the magic of fully-searchable transcribed text. Happy baking, and don’t forget to stock up on lard.

While you’re busy with that, we’ll be powering up our scanners to get new content on the site as quickly as possible, so please stop back soon and often. The next 50,000 pages starts now!

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Four Million Downloads!

Items in Iowa Research Online have been downloaded more than four million times! This means that scholarship created by University of Iowa faculty, researchers and students is being read around the world. We crossed the three million mark in late January 2014; it is so very exciting to have had such an increase in just over nine months that we are dancing in our cubicles.

ancers at a party at Esther Walls' apartment, New York, N.Y., 1960s

Our theses and dissertation make up over half the use, which is great evidence of the fantastic scholarship done by our graduates. The journals Walt Whitman Quarterly Review and Medieval Feminist Forum each have had two-three hundred thousand downloads. Congratulations to the editors of these journals for producing such quality publications.

Walt Whitman Quarterly Review

If you would like your scholarship in Iowa Research Online, please contact your subject specialist for more information.