Combo Category

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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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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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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.

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Historically mustachioed

In celebration of Movember and of Digital Research & Publishing’s sometimes very hirsute new department head, we’re reprising a few of last year’s Great Mustaches of the Iowa Digital Library:

UI President Charles A. Schaeffer, 1893 | University of Iowa Yearbooks

UI President Charles A. Schaeffer, 1893 | University of Iowa Yearbooks

J.L. Small, 1885 | Dentistry College Class Photographs

J.L. Small, 1885 | Dentistry College Class Photographs

L.K. Fullerton, 1885 | Dentistry College Class Photographs

L.K. Fullerton, 1885 | Dentistry College Class Photographs

Find your own favorites! Probably here: digital.lib.uiowa.edu/dentistry

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Tom Keegan named Head of Digital Research & Publishing

The University of Iowa Libraries has hired Tom Keegan as Head of Digital Research & Publishing. A Rhetoric faculty member and co-director of the IDEAL (Iowa Digital Engagement & Learning) initiative, Keegan has a partial appointment with the Libraries until January, when he will assume full-time duties leading DRP.

In this position Keegan will build on the Libraries’ work leveraging digital collections, resources, and expertise to support faculty and student Tom Keeganscholars. Founded in 2006, Digital Research & Publishing coordinates and maintains the Iowa Digital Library, a million-object database of digitized special collections and archival materials, plus digital content from campus and community partners such as the UI Museum of Art, the Office of the State Archaeologist, and the Writing University. DRP also offers hosting and management of the University’s scholarly output via its institutional repository, Iowa Research Online, and journal publishing services for the Walt Whitman Quarterly Review and other titles. Additional projects include DIY History, a participatory archives initiative, and University of Iowa Press Digital Editions, a collaboration between the Libraries and the Press to provide free online access to select UIP books.

Before joining the Libraries, Keegan taught at the University beginning in 2003, most recently as a lecturer for the Department of Rhetoric. His teaching and research address the use of digital humanities and publicly engaged pedagogies across a variety of curriculums. With Matt Gilchrist, he co-directs IDEAL, which encourages assignment innovation and fosters expanded access to TILE learning spaces. One such assignment, Archives Alive!, incorporates DIY History to engage undergraduate students with digital scholarship practices in learning research, writing, and presentation skills. Keegan received his Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of Iowa, and his undergraduate degrees in English Literature and Bioethics from the University of Virginia.

The new position in the Libraries allows Keegan to remain connected to the innovative teaching and curriculum projects he’s developed in partnership with the Rhetoric Department, Tippie College of Business, the UI Honors Program, the College of Education, the UI Graduate School, ITS and SITA, the Studio, the Center for Teaching, the English Department, Hancher, the Iowa City Downtown District, Public Space One, and a variety of other people and units within the UI and Iowa City communities. He is also continuing his humanities scholarship by collaborating with Libraries’ staff to develop a digital project based on spatial rhetoric in the works of James Joyce.

“I’m thrilled to be working with such innovative and talented people,” says Keegan. “Digital Research & Publishing plays a crucial role in bringing together a variety of audiences for research and learning in the 21st century.”

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

mwb4

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: digital.lib.uiowa.edu/mwb

  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)

mwb1

mwb2

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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

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Iowa Women’s Archives, Rhetoric faculty and students to present on digital humanities teaching project May 7

University of Iowa faculty, students, and staff will be discussing a curriculum project that combines historic documents with digital tools and methods as part of the Irving B. Weber Days local history celebration. The one-hour presentation “Archives Alive!: Teaching with WWII Correspondence” will take place at 12:30 on Wednesday, May 7, in Meeting Room A of the Iowa City Public Library.

Iowa Digital Library: Evelyn Birkby World War II scrapbook, 1942-1944. Iowa Women's Archives

Iowa Digital Library: Evelyn Birkby World War II scrapbook, 1942-1944. Iowa Women’s Archives

Iowa Women’s Archives Curator Kären Mason will provide background on the IWA and its mission to chronicle the history of Iowa women, their families, and their communities by collecting personal papers, organizational records, and oral histories. IWA artifacts on display at the event will include a World War II correspondence scrapbook, donated by author and radio personality Evelyn Birkby, upon which the Archives Alive! project was based.

Matt Gilchrist and Tom Keegan, Rhetoric faculty and co-directors of the Iowa Digital Engagement and Learning (IDEAL) initiative, will speak about using digital humanities methods to engage undergraduates through hands-on learning and technologically innovative assignments. For Archives Alive!, they developed a four-week curriculum module that required their Rhetoric students to participate in DIY History, the UI Libraries’ transcription crowdsourcing project. After transcribing, researching, and analyzing digitized correspondence from the Birkby scrapbook, students conveyed their findings in a variety of ways; this includes three-minute video screencasts uploaded to YouTube that form a collection of open-access works of original digital scholarship based on primary sources.

Wednesday’s event will also feature presentations by Rhetoric students James Burke, Jessica Graff, and Zach Stark.

For those who can’t make it in person, “Archives Alive!: Teaching with WWII Correspondence” will be broadcast live on The Library Channel, Iowa City cable channel 10, and archived at the Iowa City Public Library web site.