Combo Category


Henry A Wallace Collection

Wallace digital collectionThe University of Iowa Libraries has thousands of the personal papers of Iowa native Henry A. Wallace (1888-1965). Wallace, the 33rd vice president of the United States, died 50 years ago today (18 November 1965). Wallace also served as the Secretary of Agriculture and the Secretary of Commerce and was the nominee for the Progressive Party in the 1948 presidential election. His papers include information on the economic and agricultural consequences of the Great Depression, the role of the vice president during World War II, and the subsequent development of alternative political party structures as the nation and the world recovered from the conflict and new power dynamics were formed.

Henry Wallace at Magadan, Siberia, 1944Along with papers in the Library of Congress and the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, our Wallace papers were microfilmed many years ago. Our collection was later digitized and it is freely available online to any researcher. Our digital collection has approximately 67,000 page images in it, making it a rich source of material for a historian or a history class. The collection also includes four reels of correspondence from Wallace’s father, Henry Wallace (1836-1916), the founder of Wallaces’ Farmer.

The collection also includes more than 350 photographs. Many of the images are from Siberia and China in 1944.

The UI Libraries prepared a joint index to the three microfilm collections. This index is now a searchable database, with entries for items in Iowa’s collection linking directly to the digitized version. When users start typing in the correspondent search box, names will appear, showing the number of results for each name, based on sender or recipient. Select the name you want and press search.

Henry Wallace with Chrysler workers, Detroit, Mich., 1950sThe resulting list includes everything to or from the individual selected. The film numbers for the Iowa microfilm link directly to the digitized version. The results display in date order. Columns can re-sort by sender, recipient or film number. You can also search by year or by multiple years.
If interested in a specific date, try the general search box, formatting the date with the year first, e.g. 1945-04-12. This top search box also allows you to search by first name or by a last name to get correspondence for everyone with that last name.

For more information, see the Guide to the Henry A. Wallace Papers and the Guide to the Henry Wallace Papers. The Henry C. Wallace Papers are not included in this digital collection, but the Guide provides details on this print collection.


Workshop Wrap-Up: An Introduction to TEI/XML

On Saturday, November 7, 2015, I taught an introductory TEI/XML workshop for fourteen attendees, including graduate students from several disciplines and staff members at the University of Iowa Libraries. The workshop was primarily dedicated to providing an overview of text encoding or adding code to a text in order to create a machine-readable version. Text encoding involves the use of XML (Extensible Markup Language) and TEI (Text Encoding Initiative) guidelines, which constitute a standard for describing the structure of a text in machine-readable form. In short, XML is the code one uses, and TEI is a set of guidelines for representing texts digitally. Text encoding is used for a range of projects; although, it is especially useful for the creation of digital editions. The Walt Whitman Archive, for example, uses text encoding to make online editions of Whitman’s poetry and fiction available, accessible, and searchable.

My workshop was designed for teams of students and staff to work together toward encoding a particular text. Workshop participants sat at author-themed tables and practiced encoding texts by Metta Fuller Victor, Langston Hughes, and John Steinbeck, among other authors. Each team was given a scenario in which the completion of a sample text encoding was the overall goal. This collaborative environment was designed to give participants the feel of working on a digital project as part of an interdisciplinary team. Each team was responsible for making editorial decisions with respect to their texts. They were encouraged to discuss what structural elements of the text to encode, how that encoding might be best accomplished for the purposes of their assigned project, and how their decisions might impact future uses of the digital texts they aimed to create.

Through these collaborative activities, workshop participants learned how to use TEI/XML to encode the major structural and presentational features of prose, poetry, and letters. At the end of the workshop, they completed a series of challenge activities that required them to use their newly acquired TEI/XML skills to answer questions, encode excerpts of texts, and validate their work to ensure that they were following basic encoding guidelines.

As a result of attending the workshop, I hope participants began to see that text encoding is based on a series of editorial decisions. For each individual project, these editorial decisions are often shaped by the skills and expertise of team members, the funding for a particular project, and the intended audience or use of an online text. Even though text encoding involves the use of XML, it remains a largely interpretive act. Each editorial decision made by a project team results in the creation of a particular kind of text or edition and shapes how these digital resources may be used by instructors, scholars, and readers.



DIY Natural History

Together with the University of Iowa Museum of Natural History, the UI Libraries launched a new DIY History collection, the Egg Cards, a little over a month ago.  These field note cards were collected by amateur ornithologists during the late 1800s/early 1900s in Iowa and elsewhere, for the purposes of identifying egg specimens in nests.  Being handwritten, these cards haven’t been searchable, but with the power of crowdsourced transcription, will become a searchable database to accompany the museum’s collection of bird eggs.

EggCards transcription form

EggCards transcription form

This represents the first “natural science” project in the DIY History program, following the success of citizen science initiatives such as Zooniverse’s Galaxy Zoo and the Smithsonian’s Bumblebee Project.  Participation in the Egg Cards bounced with the release of an IowaNow article, and the 1900 cards are nearing halfway completion.  Join the fun – while you still can!


Update to Use of Digitized Theses

Last year, we looked at use of our digitized theses. We decided that a bit more than a year had passed so it was time to look at these items again.

The collection has grown modestly to 258 theses and dissertations. These PDFs have been downloaded almost 55,000 times total (an average of 213.2 times each), from 12 November 2009 (when we first posted a digitized thesis) to 31 October 2015. On average, each digitized thesis is downloaded once every four days, an increase from last year. Our digitized theses date from 1886–2008, with the vast majority dating from 1912–1921.

5,820 Downloads since August 01, 2011Each thesis or dissertation that has been downloaded at least ten times shows a count of downloads on the individual page in Iowa Research Online (IRO). This download count appears in all our collections in IRO.

The following items, from a variety of disciplines, have been downloaded more than 1000 times each. These high use items are by graduates from as early as 1913 and to as recently as 2008.

Graduation Year Title Author Degree Use/Day Total Downloads
 1961 The Production book of “The Diary of Anne Frank” Allan Kurtz Longacre II Master of Arts, Speech and Dramatic Arts 3.73 5,794
2008 Teacher-initiated talk and student oral discourse in a second language literature classroom : a sociocultural analysis Joshua J. Thoms Doctor of Philosophy, Second Language Acquisition 5.39 4,387
1949 A formal analysis of Hawthorne’s The Blithedale romance Lewis Dwight Levang Master of Arts, English 3.24 2,099
1931 The catenary J. P. Kacmarynski Master of Science, Mathematics 1.72 2,068
1999 Development of a method for the simultaneous detection of mycotoxins in corn using supercritical fluid extraction (SFE), high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), and electrospray-atmospheric pressure ionization/mass spectrometry (ES-API/MS) for extraction, separation, and identification Jenelle Daria Brown Master of Science, Preventive Medicine and Environmental Health 1.44 1,791
1956 Athanasius Kircher, Musurgia Universalis (Rome, 1650) : the section on musical instruments Frederick Baron Crane Master of Arts, Music 3.14 1,628
1914 Morphology of Cannabis sativa L Joyce Reed Master of Science 1.81 1,203
1955 Construction and application of a mechanical differential analyzer Joseph Emil Kasper Master of Science, Physics 1.08 1,190
1913 Ore deposits produced by magmatic segregation, with special reference to the nickel ores of the Sudbury district, Ontario Stuart St.Clair Master of Science, Geology 1.24 1,113
1937 A study of the origin and development of the educational excursion and field trip Harriet A. Woods Master of Arts, Education 1.58 1,113

If you are interested in having your thesis digitized and added to our open access collection, please let us know by submitting this permission form (PDF).


Whitman, Iowa Review and Dada in Romania

Walt Whitman Quarterly ReviewOne of the things we do in the Digital Scholarship and Publishing Studio is support locally published journals. The journals which we publish/host are part of Iowa Research Online. During Open Access Week in October, there were several noteworthy additions/changes.

Walt Whitman Quarterly Review became fully open access. We have published the journal in partnership with the Department of English since 2009. Until now, the current year was restricted to print subscribers. Effective with v.33 (2015), the journal is published online only and is freely accessible to everyone. The issue begins with a statement from the editor:

With this inaugural number in our new format, we take an exciting step toward realizing Whitman’s dream of creating a truly democratic literature. For democratic literature to function effectively, he knew, all citizens needed access. Now the contents of every issue of WWQR are available to everyone worldwide who has access to the Web. As access to the Web continues to grow, access to WWQR grows with it. Paid subscriptions to WWQR are now a thing of the past: everyone who wants to read what we publish is a subscriber, and your subscription is free.

Ed Folsom also wrote eloquently about the change in a recent blog post. We are so happy to have supported the journal through this transition of a print+online subscription journal to a fully open access title.

The Iowa Review

We are also very happy to have added back content of the Iowa Review. Adding this title to Iowa Research Online demonstrates our commitment to support creative works as well as research outputs of the university. The journal’s announcement follows:

The Iowa Review announces the launch of its free digital archive,, containing full text of virtually all the writing published in the magazine from its founding in 1970 through 2011. The archive comprises 130 issues of the magazine and 5,752 individual poems, essays, and stories, searchable by volume, author name, and title. The site also includes links to the most frequently downloaded pieces, as well as a world map displaying real-time readership.

Issues from the most recent three years continue to remain accessible only to subscribers, bookstore patrons, and those who order copies through the Iowa Review’s website, Excerpts of work from recent issues also appear at

The Iowa Review partnered with the University of Iowa Libraries’ Iowa Research Online service, which preserves and provides open access to the UI’s scholarly and creative work, and the digital library JSTOR, which creates a digital archive of the magazine’s back issues. UI digital scholarship librarian Wendy Robertson developed the site’s data infrastructure and user interface.

The Iowa Review is based in the Department of English, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, University of Iowa. It publishes three print issues per year featuring poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and photography. Work from its pages is consistently selected to appear in such anthologies as Best American Essays, Best American Short Stories, Best American Poetry, The Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses, and The PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories.

More information about The Iowa Review, including how to subscribe, purchase individual issues, or find the current issue in a bookstore, can be found at The archive can be accessed directly at

We are thrilled that everyone in the world will be able to read the fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction and translations included in this well respected literary journal.


Finally, we also published a new issue of the journal Dada/Surrealism, with the theme “From Dada to Infra-noir: Dada, Surrealism, and Romania.” As the articles are being published incrementally, a few articles are not yet posted, making this a soft release. The issue is so large that there are almost two dozen articles already posted!  Dada/Surrealism was a print title from 1971–1990. In 2013, publication began again as an online only title. The journal is edited by Timothy Shipe, the Curator of the International Dada Archive.


IRO featured in Open Access Week guest blog posts

The University of Iowa Libraries celebrated Open Access Week Month in a variety of ways, including several guest blog posts from faculty on why they support open access. Of particularly note to us is that all the authors include Iowa Research Online as an important component of their open access. We are happy that our repository supports our faculty member’s publication and allows more people to benefit from their research.

Open Access is the way that new knowledge is made…easier by Rachel Marie-Crane Williams, 7 Oct. 2015

The Janus Faces of Open Access Publishing by Frederick Domann, 12 Oct. 2015

On generous scholarship by Meenakshi Gigi Durham, 15 Oct. 2015

Walt Whitman Quarterly Review Goes Open Access by Ed Folsom, 21 Oct. 2015

Expectations Exceeded – My Experience with the Open Access Fund by Matthew Uhlman, 23 Oct. 2015

Interview – Kembrew McLeod on Open Access by Kembrew McLeod, 28 Oct. 2015

Open Access Publication Just Makes Sense by Kelly Cole, 30 Oct. 2015

  • Cole’s publications in IRO

To include your content in Iowa Research Online, you can either click the “Submit Research” link in the sidebar or contact your subject specialist. Anything that is appropriate for your CV may be included in IRO.


DH Salon Recap: The Walt Whitman Archive’s pre-Leaves of Grass Fiction Project

On Friday, Oct. 23rd, the Digital Scholarship and Publishing Studio hosted the fourth DH Salon of the semester. I was very glad to welcome an enthusiastic group of faculty, staff, and graduate students to the Studio for my presentation, “From Periodical Page to Digital Edition: The Walt Whitman Archive’s pre-Leaves of Grass Fiction Project.” The goal of this project, which is funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, is to make Walt Whitman’s early fiction easily and freely accessible on The Walt Whitman Archive. For this project, my co-editor Nicole Gray (University of Nebraska-Lincoln) and I have been working to create a digital edition of Whitman’s fiction.

Most people know Walt Whitman as America’s poet and the author of Leaves of Grass, a volume of poetry first published in 1855. But when the poet was in his 20s, he wrote a temperance novel Franklin Evans; or, the Inebriate. A Tale of the Times and about 25 pieces of short fiction, all of which were first published in nineteenth-century newspapers and magazines.

The holdings of the University of Iowa Special Collections include several periodicals that published Whitman’s fiction. I collaborated with Special Collections Librarians to create an exhibit of these items to accompany my talk. Audience members were able to see Whitman’s temperance novel and his first short story in the periodicals. I discussed some of the major editorial decisions, as well as the process of text encoding that lead to the production and publication of the digital edition.

Audience members explored the digital edition of Whitman’s novel and got a preview of the short fiction that is still being edited for publication on the Archive in the summer of 2016. They were also able to interact with two of the Archive’s newest features, a bibliography of the printings and reprints of Whitman’s fiction and a map charting the circulation of the stories across the United States and around the world. These elements of the digital edition are based, in part, on five years of my research, which has revealed several new discoveries, including approximately 350 previously unknown reprints of Whitman’s short fiction in newspapers and magazines and the earliest known printing of at least one of Whitman’s stories.

The question and answer session following my talk was an incredibly valuable experience. My colleagues asked thoughtful questions and generously offered suggestions for future work on the project such as adding a time slider to the Whitman Archive’s current map of the printings and reprints of the fiction and using network analysis and data visualization to further examine the circulation of Whitman’s fiction and its relationship to his early journalism.  I am grateful for this feedback on our digital edition, and I am excited to continue exploring the publication history and circulation of Whitman’s fiction.


Worldwide Use of IRO

The publications in Iowa Research Online (IRO) are very widely used. From July 2014–June 2015, the items were downloaded more than 1.5 million times!

This map shows the downloads of content from IRO during the last fiscal year. Adjust the map in the window below to see more countries. Move your cursor over the map to see the counts from each country.  You can also see a large version of the map.

If you want to include your scholarship in IRO to increase its global reach, contact you subject specialist at the University Libraries.


5 million downloads

We are very excited to have had 5 million downloads in Iowa Research Online! We had 4 million downloads in November, so this last million happened in only about 6 months. Some of this growth is attributable to the fantastic content added recently (such as the State Historical Society journal Annals of Iowa, back to 1863).

IRO map showing 5 million downloads

While we don’t know exactly what download made us cross the 5 million mark, these items all received higher use around the time we made it to 5 million.


Open Access Fund Articles in IRO

Two years ago, the University Libraries and the Provost’s Office launched an Open Access Fund to pay the processing fees related to open access publishing.

The fund is meant to encourage the University community to publish their research in open access platforms. The open access publishing model allows free, immediate access to research and allows authors to retain intellectual property rights to their research. To recoup publishing costs, some open access journals charge article processing fees to make the work freely available online. More information about the fund can be found here.

To date, 73 funded items have been funded, published and added to our institutional repository, with 10 published in 2015, 40 2014, and 23 in 2013. An additional 17 items have been approved and are awaiting publication. The author publishing charges for these 73 articles total $101,605.03, for an average cost of $1,391.85.

The articles come from a wide variety of colleges, with majority of articles having authors in the Carver College of Medicine and in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences.

University of Iowa Open Access fund article counts by College, 23 April 2015Open access journals which charge author fees are more common in the sciences. Our collection of articles is similarly heavy in the sciences.

University of Iowa Open Access fund article counts by Department/School/Program, 23 April 2015

Most of the articles are in journals that are completely open access. A few are in hybrid journals. (If you have an item in a hybrid journal, you can may be able to post a version of the article in IRO without paying an additional fee. Contact your subject specialist for more information.) One article is available freely on the publisher’s site, but we cannot add it to our collection, in part because the publisher required that the authors give away their copyright of the article to the publisher as a condition of publication.

We are very happy to have been able to support open scholarship at the University of Iowa with this fund.