Iowa Research Online Category


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!


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.


Use of Older Theses

By far the most heavily used collection in Iowa Research Online are our theses and dissertations. Most of the items in the collection are from the last decade, either from graduates who voluntarily submitted their thesis electronically or dating from after December 1999 graduation when electronic submission required by the Graduate College for all non-M.F.A graduates. All of them are freely available worldwide (after an embargo period, if requested).

We have also digitized a small number of older theses. We digitize items when requested by an interested reader, with the copyright holder’s permission. We are also posting digitized out of copyright theses as time allows. As one would expect, these items do not receive nearly as much use as the newer theses. However, we are pleased to see that they are receiving steady use, far more than the print theses circulated.

In all, these 217 theses have been downloaded 20,966 times, used on average once every 5 days. In fact, six items have averaged more than 1.2 uses/day, including two that have been downloaded more than 1000 times!  In early May 2010 we ran a report to count circulation of theses, with data covering the previous five years. The highest use of any thesis was 60 circulations. The 2nd highest number was 16. Only 5,695 showed any circulations (average circulations 2.6 for those that circulated and 0.7 overall). 

Graduation Year Title Author Degree Use/Day Total Downloads
1914 Morphology of cannabis sativa L Reed, Joyce Master of Science 2.023 534
1921 The development of Milton’s prosody Hunter, Grace Eva Master of Arts 1.204 236
1931 The catenary Kacmarynski, J. P. Master of Science 1.521 1,217
1949 A formal analysis of Hawthorne’s The Blithedale romance Levang, Lewis Dwight Master of Arts 2.024 498
1961 The Production book of “The Diary of Anne Frank” Longacre, Allan Kurtz II Master of Arts 1.219 1,403
2008 Teacher-initiated talk and student oral discourse in a second language literature classroom : a sociocultural analysis Thoms, Joshua J Doctor of Philosophy 1.320 545

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).


Dada/Surrealism re-launched


We are very excited that after a hiatus of over twenty years, the journal Dada/Surrealism has been relaunched. It is a peer-reviewed, open-access electronic journal sponsored by the Association for the Study of Dada and Surrealism and published by the International Dada Archive, University of Iowa Libraries, with managing editor Tim Shipe.

The newest issue focuses on Surrealism and Egypt.  Issues in process will focus on Dada, Surrealism, and Romania and on Dada and Surrealist Exhibitions.

The University of Iowa Libraries hosts the journal in our institutional repository, Iowa Research Online. The software provides peer review software for the editors as well as a good display for each issue. Each article is available as a PDF and also in html.


Little Village archive

We recently added the back content of Little Village magazine in our repository, which will ensure this important local title will remain widely accessible ( Many of the contributors are current or past University of Iowa faculty, students and employees.

Several months ago, Little Village staff contacted the University Archives to scan back issues of the magazine. Our Digital Preservation Librarian advised the LV volunteer regarding the digitization. DRP staff then advised another LV volunteer on the data needed to upload the items. This was a very successful collaboration with LV, especially from my perspective since they did so much of the work!

Our site includes all the issues, from July 2001 to the current issue (Sept./Oct. 2012). Each issue can be downloaded as a PDF or can be viewed on screen. Each of the covers displays, making the issues easily browsed.  You can search the back issues on our site, or you can use Iowa City Public Library’s Local News Index to find articles of interest.

We hope you enjoy looking at the last decade of Iowa City news and arts.


One million

As of July 15, 2012, Iowa Research Online has had over 1,000,000 download of items.  This means there have been 1,000,000 uses of University of Iowa faculty, staff and student created or supported content in the just over 3.5 years since IRO launched (January, 2009). More than half of this use occurred in the last 12 months.

The most used series are:

Series Total Use Percent of Total
Theses and Dissertations 451,428 44.85%
Walt Whitman Quarterly Review 116,955 11.62%
Medieval Feminist Forum 89,974 8.94%
Poroi 39,659 3.94%
Political Science Publications 38,644 3.84%
Iowa Geological Survey Annual Report 22,867 2.27%
Electronic Journal of Africana Bibliography 20,921 2.08%
The Educational Weekly 19,478 1.94%
Iowa Short Fiction Award & John Simmons Short Fiction Award 18,012 1.79%
G. R. Boynton’s New Media and Politics 17,849 1.77%

New site broadcasts the cumulative impact of the UI Political Science Department’s Shambaugh Conferences

Access to lectures and academic papers from the Benjamin F. Shambaugh Conference is now available at The conferences, sponsored by the Department of Political Science of the University of Iowa, are supported by funds in memory of Professor Benjamin F. Shambaugh, who headed the department from its founding in 1900 to his death in 1940.

“In preparing to organize the most recent Shambaugh conference, in October 2011, I realized that our department lacked any way to broadcast the cumulative impact of the Shambaugh conferences—the variety of topics addressed and the quality of the resulting publications,” said Political Science Prof. Bill Reisinger. “I also knew that the quality of my conference would be enhanced with a web-based location for conference information and the papers.”

Reisinger partnered with The Libraries to develop the site that allows users to manage various phases of the a conference process from proposal submissions and agenda posting to paper and presentation archiving. All proceedings managed on this platform are accessible through Iowa Research Online (IRO), a dynamic archive of the research produced by faculty, researchers, and students, from published articles in peer-reviewed journals to presentations, theses, dissertations, and unpublished papers.

The conference is among a growing stable of local conferences using the IRO conference management platform can accommodate one-time-only and repeat scholarly events, large multi-track events and single session symposia, new content as well as content from past events. This service is part of a larger one at the Libraries to help advance scholarly publishing.

For more information about the service please visit Digital Research & Publishing’s conference page or contact

— Nicole Saylor
Head, Digital Research & Publishing


Books are spawned with the fecundity of Egyptian frogs

It can be interesting to see how views of education have changed since the late 19th century.  The journal Educational Weekly, published from 1877–1881, opens a window onto teaching methodology of the era. One article, from the April 7, 1881 issue, offers some interesting thoughts from Dr. A. R. Benton, including the following snippets:

“The pettiness of pedantic specialism” is the bane of teaching and the death of all inspiration and contagious enthusiasm.

There is much in a liberal education that cannot be learned well and orderly from books alone.

… the teacher should be a trusty guide through the mazes of hypothesis and speculation, moderating the intoxication begotten of new and surprising glimpses of knowledge, and conducting, as a faithful Mentor, the learner through all difficulties, into the safe moorage of truth, verified by experiment or established by a sound philosophy.

My favorite quotation is:

In former times, the living teacher was a necessity, because of the scarcity and costliness of books. In the present, books are spawned with the fecundity of Egyptian frogs, sometimes as disgusting and pernicious, making the function of the teacher no less important and vastly more varied and complex.

The complete essay follows:


We take the following on methods from a lecture on “Liberal Education,” delivered before the Indiana College Association, by Dr. A. R. Benton, of Butler University :

In liberal education method is no inconsiderable factor. The pressing question among college instructors of our time is not so much what to teach as how to teach. The practice of our best teachers is much below the inculcations of the best thinkers on education. It is an infelicity of our work, that it is hard to realize even our own ideal. A change of studies, for which the New Education clamors, to the exclusion of those which have been approved by the suffrages of educators, is no remedy for bad methods. The gerundgrinder, as the teacher of ancient languages is facetiously called, is not a whit less faulty in method, than he who teaches the English language, or one who drones through a text-book of hard, technical names, with a bewildering cumulation of insignificant and uninteresting details. “The pettiness of pedantic specialism” is the bane of teaching and the death of all inspiration and contagious enthusiasm. This defect is not peculiar to our times. Two hundred years ago John Locke wrote, in the spirit of sharp criticism, words that have an amazing fitness and pertinence in our day. Says he, “If any one among us has a felicity or purity more than ordinary in his mother tongue, it is owing to chance or genius, or anything, rather than to his education or any care of his teacher.” I have no wish to stay the hand of any educational reformer who wishes to hew to pieces this modem Agag of false method in teaching. But let this avenging zeal be impartial, and according to knowledge. If the abuse of method is hoary with age, let it claim some of the privileges of honorable age ; but smite with the hammer of the iconoclast every false image set up for homage in the name of the new education. If I may be allowed a certain freedom of utterance, and without offence, I opine that the chief defect in method is personal. The reliance which modern method places on the machinery and appliances of instruction is quite disproportioned to their merit. The personality of the teacher is retired, the method stands in the foreground. It is one thing for a teacher to master the machinery of method; it is quite another to master that for which all method exists—the mind and heart of the student, and the approaches to them. It occurs to me that the chief word in the method of liberal education is inspiration. From the time of Socrates to that of Dr. Arnold of Rugby this has been the “primum mobile.” A learned Englishman, in the Contemporary Review for March, 1878, has pertinently inquired, “In what does the gift of teaching consist ? Assuredly not in the possession of a large body of solid learning. It consists infinitely more in the power of sympathy, the ability to place oneself in the exact position of the learner, to see things as he sees them, and to feel difficulties as he feels them, and to be able to present the solution precisely in the form that will open the understanding of the pupil, and enable him in gathering the new piece of knowledge to comprehend its nature and value.” This method stands out in sharp contrast with what may be called the impersonal method. This latter sends the student out to browse in the field of knowledge, and from time to time examines his intellectual growth, and marks it on the intellectual scale with scrupulous exactness and pretentious significance. The student is left largely to himself, to organize painfully, and to correlate imperfectly the various facts and principles of his research into such unity as science or philosophy demands. Or, forgetting that “the subtilty of nature is forever beyond the subtilty of man,” impersonal teaching often requires some marvelous feat of memory in which an infinity of detail, dry as the clown’s “remainder biscuit after a voyage,” is made the test of knowledge and culture. There is much in a liberal education that cannot be learned well and orderly from books alone. Many subjects need the vivifying, directing mind of the teacher. This needs to be active, comprehensive and judicial. The personal element must so handle both the matter and manner of teaching as to compel confidence. In the matter, the teacher should be a trusty guide through the mazes of hypothesis and speculation, moderating the intoxication begotten of new and surprising glimpses of knowledge, and conducting, as a faithful Mentor, the learner through all difficulties, into the safe moorage of truth, verified by experiment or established by a sound philosophy. Such a one will discard the speculating, romancing style of teaching, which catches at half truths, having, perhaps, a nebulous grandeur, exciting wonder, rather than imparting exact information. This question of the matter, which shall enter into liberal education, has been distinctly raised in Germany in the well known controversy between Professors Virchow and Haeckel. In the highest reaches of thought belonging to history, ethics and biology, and kindred subjects, the personal power, and, in some sense, the authoritative and discriminating judgment of the living teacher is indispensable. In former times, the living teacher was a necessity, because of the scarcity and costliness of books. In the present, books are spawned with the fecundity of Egyptian frogs, sometimes as disgusting and pernicious, making the function of the teacher no less important and vastly more varied and complex. The instinct of every well constituted mind impels the learner to reconcile contrarieties and to explain paradoxes, so as to reduce all his knowledge to a seemingly consistent and concordant system. The mind strives to organize its knowledge, so that it may be scientific in fact, as well as in form. In this respect the office of a wise, comprehensive, judicious instructor is of great moment.

With books, as with companions, it is of more consequence to know which to avoid than which to choose.



Iowa Research Online has just passed the 100,000 mark!

The repository launched in January 2009. Since that time, we have added 3,630 items to the collection which have now been used over 100,000 times. We are very pleased that our local scholarship has been receiving so much use.

Our highest use collection is our electronic thesis and dissertation collection, which shows the importance of our recent graduates’ scholarship.  This collection has a wide range of content across all disciplines.  The theses receiving the most use are:

Our peer-reviewed journals also receive high use. Walt Whitman Quarterly Review and Medieval Feminist Forum were both print only and now the back content is freely available and the current issue is available to subscribers. Poroi and Electronic Journal of Africana Bibliography moved into Iowa Research Online to provide an improved interface. Some of the articles receiving the most use are:

Our collections of faculty scholarship are also receiving high use.  Highlights from these collections include:

Our partnership with the University of Iowa Press to make the back volumes of selected series available has also contributed several popular items:

Several reports from the Public Policy Center have also been receiving a lot of use, including:

We have found that IRO is used by people all over the world.  While most use comes from the United States, substantial use also comes from people in the United Kingdom, Canada, India, Germany, Australia, France, Hong Kong, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and China, demonstrating the international nature of our collection and of research.

Thanks to everyone who has helped make the collection such a success!


Iowa Poetry Prize added to UI Press collection

Laughing Africa book cover

Iowa Poetry Prize award winners through the year 2000 are now available online at

This University of Iowa Press series is the latest addition in a collaborative effort between the Press and the University of Iowa Libraries to provide access to digital versions of books published by the Press. So far, we’ve made 91 titles, including many out of print volumes, fully searchable and freely available to readers and researchers around the world.  

The Prize was first awarded in 1990. Originally called the Edwin Ford Piper Poetry Award, the series was renamed with the 1993 award. Until 2001, the award honored only writers who had already published at least one book of poetry; the award is now open to new writers as well. Books in this series have also won the James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets and the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America.  

Print books may be purchased from the University of Iowa Press.
—Nicole Saylor
Head, Digital Library Services