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Study in the UI Libraries for finals

Blue room homepage featureHit your study stride for finals in the UI Libraries

The UI Libraries offers great places to concentrate on final exam prep, with extended hours, free coffee, and activities for short study breaks.

Studies indicate that students who take short, fairly frequent breaks during their study time are more productive. Give your brain a break by taking a walk or doing a mind-clearing activity to make your study time more productive.

In the Main Library Learning Commons, students can take advantage of activity stations featuring puzzles, colored pencils, and postcard making.

Get the complete list of all UI Libraries’ hours during finals.


An Evening with Filmmaker Nicholas Meyer


Photo credit: Nicholas Meyer on set with Leonard Nimoy during the shooting of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. The photo is archived in the University of Iowa Libraries’ Special Collections as part of a collection donated by Nicholas Meyer.

The UI Libraries is pleased to host Nicholas Meyer, who will make an appearance as a guest speaker in conjunction with the Main Library Gallery exhibition 50 Years of Star Trek.

The event is free and open to the public. RSVPs are appreciated.

Meyer, who is an alumnus of the University of Iowa, directed the movie Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982) and contributed to the shooting script for that film (uncredited). He wrote portions of the screenplay for Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986) and went on to direct Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991), for which he also co-wrote the screenplay.

A long-time Sherlockian, Meyer’s writing prowess led to a best-selling novel, The Seven-Per-Cent Solution: Being a Reprint from the Reminiscences of John H. Watson, M.D.  The novel, crafted by Meyer in a style faithful to the original series, follows Holmes through cocaine addiction and recovery.  Meyer received an Oscar nomination for his screenplay of the novel.

Meyer will deliver a brief talk, titled The Last Man To Understand Anything. There will be a Q&A session afterward.




Announcing UI faculty & graduate student winners of digital humanities support

UI Libraries’ Digital Scholarship & Publishing Studio champions DH initiatives

Under the guidance of Senior Scholar Judith Pascoe, the Studio Scholars Program steering committee has selected ten faculty members and five graduate students from a competitive pool of applicants for Digital Humanities (DH) support.

Prior to the selection process, the Scholars steering committee worked with the Digital Scholarship & Publishing Studio to identify digital humanities initiatives.

With an eye toward synergistic use of university resources to support digital humanities projects across the campus, the committee defined collaborative scholarly contexts to attract compelling DH project proposals. The result was five digital humanities initiatives in two categories:

Digital Archives Initiatives

  • Embracing Difference in Iowa
  • Memory & Knowledge

DH Jumpstart Initiatives

  • Get Digital with Your Scholarship
  • Get Digital with Your Dissertation
  • DH Researcher

Find full descriptions of initiatives here.

Over the coming months, winners of Studio Scholars Initiatives Awards will receive immersive support from the Studio, which will provide resources, expertise, technical assistance, and access to specialized equipment for their DH projects.


Winners of Digital Archives Initiatives Awards receive $1500 and support for projects that engage with archival material and voices from the past or present. This year, there are two initiatives in this category: Embracing Difference in Iowa and Memory & Knowledge.

Embracing Difference in Iowa connects scholars with existing archives at the University of Iowa and brings to light narratives from across the UI community.

  • Michael Hill, associate professor of English, won for his project titled “Black Students in the Iowa Writers’ Workshop (1939-1959). Hill is creating a digital platform to give the public access to the collegiate experiences of Margaret Walker, Herbert Nipson, and Michael Harper, a trio of black students who constitute the earliest black students of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

Memory & Knowledge helps develop cross-generational conversations about the changing nature of academic disciplines. It also encourages responsible archiving of existing scholarly material and the development of a digital skillset increasingly in demand for academia.

  • Frances Cannon, an MFA student in nonfiction writing, was selected for her project “Mapping the gardens of memory: the Carl Klaus Archive.” Cannon will collaborate with Carl Klaus, emeritus professor of English and founder of the UI’s nonfiction writing program. With their shared interest in writing about botany, agriculture, and horticulture, the project will benefit both. Cannon will create a digital repository of Klaus’ archives, while Klaus, in return, will provide editorial and professional guidance.
  • Heidi Lung, lecturer in museum studies and anthropology, will develop a digital exhibit/archive focusing on the 34-year career of George Schrimper, former curator and director of the Natural History Museum as part of her project titled “George Schrimper and UI Museum Studies.” The project will also document the history of museum studies at the University of Iowa.
  • Heather Wacha, PhD candidate in history, will be pursuing a project titled “Marilyn Thomas and the Bonaparte Pottery Museum.” Ms. Wacha will create a digital repository documenting the life and work of Marilyn Thomas, who, over a period of 45 years, revived, researched and developed the historic Bonaparte Pottery Museum in Bonaparte Iowa.

DH JUMPSTART Initiatives

The DH Jumpstart Initiative Awards provide faculty members and graduate students to explore digital approaches to their work.

This year, there are three initiatives in this category: Get Digital with Your Scholarship, Get Digital with Your Dissertation, and DH Researcher.

Get Digital with Your Scholarship offers awardees an immersive, three-day consultation and work session with Studio staff members. Awardees will work with staff to develop digital components of their research, including videos, maps, infographics, etc.  Scholars could also create a digital manifestation of a monograph or embark on new projects enabled by new research applications (e.g., mapping or network analysis).

  • Jenna Supp-Montgomerie, assistant professor in religious studies and communication studies, is text-mining newspaper archives to study the incidence and usage of “connection” at the moment of global telegraphy establishment, as part of her project, “World-Wide Wire: Religion, Technology, and Dreams of Global Unity before the Internet.” She is also designing a map that will chart the convergence or divergence of colonial shipping routes, early telegraph cables, and later fiber-optic cables.
  • Kim Marra, professor in theatre arts and American studies, is working with Studio staff to develop a digital component to her project “The Pull of Horses: Embodied Interactions across Urban American Species, 1865-1920.” Marra’s work addresses cross-species interactions and brings together a rich archive of newspaper and magazines illustrations, as well as silent film footage, documenting the central role horses played in American city life.
  • Brenda Longfellow, associate professor, art & art history, with Studio staff support, is designing a digital project to supplement her book manuscript as part of her project, “Past Lives, Present Meanings: Recycled Statues in Imperial Rome.” Professor Longfellow is examining the origins and afterlives of statues that were moved to Rome from other parts of the Roman Empire, possibly mapping these movements digitally.
  • Anne Stapleton, lecturer in English, is working with Studio staff on her project “Walter Scott’s Swath of Influence: Mapping Towns Named Waverly in the Midwest.” Stapleton is digitally mapping and collecting images and histories associated with American towns named after Scott’s novel. She will, in turn, use these materials in an undergraduate class that explores the long aftermath of Scott’s literary fame.
  • With the support of Studio staff, Natalie Fixmer-Oraiz, assistant professor, communication studies, is developing a digital supplement to her book manuscript, which focuses on motherhood in the context of homeland security culture. For her project, “Homeland Maternity: Risk, Security, and the New Reproductive Regime,” she plans to use GIS software to map key locales in contemporary U.S. reproductive politics.

Get Digital with Your Dissertation invites graduate students to explore digital components for their dissertation.

  • As part of “Creative Alternatives: Experimental Art Scenes and Cultural Politics in Berlin 1971-1999,” Briana Smith, PhD student in history, is working with Studio staff to develop a mapping element to enhance her dissertation’s exploration of ephemeral art actions and performances in late twentieth-century Berlin.
  • Gemma Goodale-Sussen, PhD student in English, is working with Studio staff to explore options for annotating historical images related to prison photography and modernist literature for her “Prison Portraiture and Modernist Literature” project.
  • As part of “Mapping National Park Historiography: Iowa Effigy Mounds,” Mary Wise, PhD student in history, is honing her mapping skills and working with Studio staff on ArcGIS Online and ArcGIS approaches to the materials. Wise will construct maps that shed light on Iowa National Park Service historiography, with a particular focus on Effigy Mounds.

DH Researcher, student research support, pairs faculty and students who have an interest in digital scholarly research and addresses a range of research tasks associated with ongoing projects in the Studio.

  • Paul Dilley, assistant professor in classics and religious studies, with the help of a student research assistant, is compiling a database of all known Greek authors and titles (including fragmentary and lost works) as part of “Philology Extended: Towards a Distant Reading of Ancient Greek Literature.” The project will facilitate a preliminary distant reading of the entire ancient literary field.
  • Loren Glass, professor of English, with the assistance of a student researcher and digital humanities librarian Nikki White, is mapping the professional itineraries and connections of everyone who ever attended or taught at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop from its inception in 1936 to the present date. Their project, “Mapping the Workshop” will help visualize an array of social and historical networks related to the growth of creative writing at the University of Iowa.
  • Julia Oliver Rajan lecturer, Spanish and Portuguese, with the help of a student translator, will heighten the accessibility of materials in the “Coffee Zone” project, which documents the regional dialect of the western Puerto Rico coffee zone and preserves the oral histories of the people who work there.

The Studio Scholars Program, administered by the University of Iowa Libraries’ Digital Scholarship & Publishing Studio (DSPS), is a faculty research group dedicated to supporting faculty projects related to the Digital Humanities (DH).

Contact: Tom Keegan, head of the University of Iowa Libraries’ Digital Scholarship & Publishing Studio,


Prickman honored with Arthur Benton University Librarian’s Award for Excellence

Greg Prickman, head of Special Collections at the University of Iowa Libraries, was honored March 31 with the 2015 Arthur Benton University Librarian’s Award for Excellence.

The Arthur Benton University Librarian’s Award for Excellence recognizes a member of the UI Libraries’ professional staff who has demonstrated outstanding commitment and leadership in furthering Libraries’ mission serve the University community.

The honor includes a $1,500 award for professional development that will support the recipient’s research projects or publications related to library services. This award was made possible by an endowment from Dr. Arthur Benton, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Neurology, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.

In letters of support for this award, the selection committee noted Prickman’s commitment to furthering the Libraries’ role in the University’s academic mission, as well as his professionalism and responsiveness to researcher needs.

Timothy Barrett, Director of the University of Iowa Center for the Book and Associate Professor in the UI School of Library and Information Science, nominated Prickman for the award. Barrett notes that Prickman’s work “resulted in the UI being selected as the site for the Folger Shakespeare First Folio traveling exhibit. Greg’s leadership shines in the midst of a complex but very promising event for the UI Libraries, all participating units, and the UI overall.”

Prickman also earned praises from Adam Hooks, Assistant Professor of English, who notes a climate of accessibility that Greg has created for scholars.

“Greg’s vision for the library has transformed the learning experience for students at the University of Iowa,” says Hooks. “Thanks to the significant digital projects sponsored by Special Collections, the intellectual and material resources at Iowa are accessible to students around the world.”

 Jennifer Burek Pierce, Associate Professor in the UI School of Library and Information Science, writes of Prickman’s ability to empower his staff to assist researchers. Burek Pierce notes that “those with whom we work in Special Collections clearly feel empowered to do their best work, to look for interesting and new ways to connect with users. As the head of Special Collections, Greg is instrumental in allowing this to happen, in the example he sets, in his development of responsive policies, and in hiring.”

The Arthur Benton University Librarian’s Award for Excellence Award is given annually. Past recipients include Kari Kozak, Jen DeBerg, Dottie Persson, John Forys, Edward Miner, Kathy Magarrell, Kären Mason, Dave Martin, and John Schacht.


University of Iowa Alumni Association “Lifelong Learning” event

The University of Iowa Libraries is proud to present an exhibition of materials and experiences related to the work of UI alumnus and faculty astrophysicist James Van Allen, 36MS, 39PhD. The UIAA invites you to join Greg Prickman, head of UI Libraries Special Collections, as he guides you on a tour of the Main Library’s new gallery space, featuring an exhibition of Van Allen’s stellar career. Artifacts, writings, photos, and recordings launch visitors into the heart of the Space Age to tell the compelling story of the Iowan’s groundbreaking discovery of the Van Allen Radiation Belts.

WHEN: Wednesday, April 6, 2016, 6 p.m.
WHERE: The University of Iowa Main Library, 125 W. Washington St., Iowa City
COST: This lecture is FREE and open to the public; however, RSVPs are encouraged.

Pre-registration for this event has ended, however, walk-ups are welcome and may register at the event.

See more at:

Details found here:


LIBRARY SERVICES: Paging Service and CIC borrowing

NEW PAGING SERVICE—Beginning January 4, 2016, you can request up to 10 items for pickup at the Main Library through our catalog. Please request materials before 12:00 a.m. midnight for pickup after 12:00 p.m. noon the following business day. Requests received on a Friday will be ready the next Monday.

UBorrow_Logo—When you have immediate need for items that are not available from the University of Iowa Libraries, search UBorrow. UBorrow enables you to find and request books directly from 15 major research libraries, with combined collections of more than 90 million volumes.

Learn more about and search UBorrow at


Free Movie: CinemAbility

The Universtiy of Iowa Libraries is proud to present a screening of the documentary CinemAbility on Thursday, November 12 at 6:30pm in Shambaugh Auditorium.

From the early days of silent films to present day, from Chaplin to X-Men, disability portrayals are ever changing. This dynamic documentary takes a detailed look at the evolution of “disability” in entertainment by going behind the scenes to interview Filmmakers, Studio Executives, Film Historians, and Celebrities, and by utilizing vivid clips from Hollywood’s most beloved motion pictures and television programs to focus attention on the powerful impact that the media can have on society.

Do disability portrayals in the media impact society or does the media simply reflect our ever-changing attitudes? Has the media has had a hand in transforming the societal inclusion of people with disabilities? CinemAbility shows how an enlightened understanding of disability can have a positive impact on the world.

Featuring Academy Award Winners Ben Affleck, Jamie Foxx, Marlee Matin, Helen Hunt, Gina Davis, and narrated by Jane Seymour.

The movie is 1 hour and 40 minutes.

This screening will include open captioning and audio description. Please note that the audio description will be audible to the entire audience.  


Discussions in Progress: About Military Life


Discussions in Progress: About Military Life is a four-day event series offered by Military & Veteran Student Services in the Center for Diversity & Enrichment and the UI Libraries.

The events will be held Monday, November 9 through Thursday, November 12 in the Main Library Learning Commons. 

This event series is designed to:

  • teach students how to engage in civil discourse about controversial issues.
  • debunk common stereotypes of military life and wartime experiences.
  • use the popular video game “Call of Duty” as an entry point to discuss specific issues such as violence in media, stereotypes in gaming, the effect of life-like graphics on game content, and video games’ effect on the brain.
  • honor our veterans on Veteran’s Day by encouraging all students to engage in discussions with veterans, get to know them, learn about their experiences and travels, discover how veterans’ perspectives enrich our campus, and create a sense of campus community that includes our UI student veterans.

Each day will begin with a Call of Duty tournament from 11:30 am until 2:30 pm in Group Room 1103/1105, with opportunities to engage in conversation with UI student veterans during the tournament. 

Immediately following at 2:30 will be a discussion on various themes related to video games. Discussions will be in Group Area E.

Monday: “Gamer to Gamer”  As gamers with different life experiences, a veteran (Ben Rothman) and a non-veteran (Kaitlin Jones) will lead a conversation about varying perspectives on the video game “Call of Duty.”

Tuesday: “Video Games & Art” Matt Butler, UI Libraries Digital Scholarship & Publishing Studio, will talk about video games as art, tracing how advances in technology have enhanced the realistic look and feel of the gaming environment. Has visual realism prompted game developers to make controversial narrative choices?

Wednesday: “Video Games & the Brain” Michael Hall, UI faculty in psychology and neuroscience, will talk about research on video games and the brain, including areas of the brain activated by gaming, gaming’s effect on the brain’s pleasure centers, early data on whether gaming can be neuroprotective, and what too much gaming can do to the brain.

Thursday: “Stereotypes & Video Games” Hannah Scates Kettler, UI Libraries Digital Scholarship & Publishing Studio, will talk about stereotypes and gaming. Arguably more than any other media, video games challenge/re-inscribe our notions about identity. Who gets to participate in gaming? What roles are gamers encouraged to adopt? Do video games promote more fiction than reality regarding military service?

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact Brittney Thomas in advance at 319-384-2439.


Guest Post: Open Access Publication Just Makes Sense

During the month of Open Access week (October 19-25) we will be highlighting a number of guest posts from University of Iowa Faculty and Staff who have personal experience with Open Access.  We appreciate their contributions.

The seventh, and final post, is by Kelly Cole, Associate Professor and Departmental Executive Officer, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Department of Health and Human Physiology.

Open Access Publication Just Makes Sense

According to the PLOS organization, “Open Access ..stands for unrestricted access and unrestricted reuse” of peer-reviewed original scholarly work (emphasis added).  I’m tempted to stop right there.  Unrestricted access and unrestricted reuse of our discoveries that mostly were supported by public funds and hence deserve to be in the public’s hands rapidly (and the NIH agrees).  With digital access worldwide assured by the world-wide-web, we assure the second of the two basic tenets of modern science – dissemination (the first being discovery).  What else is left to debate?

This is the simple, honest motivation for me to publish in Open Access journals – rapid, worldwide dissemination.  The profit-driven and slightly unsavory alternative has been well-discussed from the very first thoughts about the possibility of open access publishing; namely print publishers (in paper or digital format) who own the rights to the published articles, then charge fees for digital access, and who then require permission for reuse at a fee (they own copyright).  (We’ve all been through the copyright torture when we attempt to write a chapter in a book using figures from our published work.)  Clearly, these are the expected policies of a for-profit, bottom-line enterprise, and a partnership with scholars that worked to the advantage of both parties.  I accepted that early in my career.  The model worked in its own perverse way, and it was the only game in town for world-wide dissemination, not to mention its role in career advancement through peer-review and the need to publish in high-impact journals for maximum gain.

The burgeoning success of Open Access publication, along with digital media and the world-wide-web, clearly shows that it is time to move on.  The remaining barriers to each individual scholar for deciding whether or not to publish in Open Access seem to be rooted in decisions about career advancement; that is, the need to publish in elite, supposedly high-impact journals.    Last year Prof. Bernd Fritzch wrote a wonderful entry to this blog site concerning the eroding utility of journal impact factors, and the ongoing evolution of newer ways of tracking citation impact of a scientist’s work (such as the h-index and others).  It would seem that with digital access (and digital searching), amplified further by open access, the impact of a paper is now less a matter of where it was published, and more a matter of the content of the paper (as it should).

I too remember long days in the library with Index Medicus, tracking down papers, which then evolved into Current Contents mailed to your lab periodically.  We didn’t have time to scour every possible key word or topic heading (remember, we were turning pages in a catalog and we couldn’t use arbitrary key words and the magic of Boolean operators).  We focused first on the keywords and terms that made the most sense (and were always amazed when someone turned up an important paper that escaped our search), and then on a subset of high-impact journals.  Many of these journals were high impact because of the shared, tacit agreement amongst our peers to publish our best work in just the places where we all tended to look first.

Folks, those days are over.  With digital search across large, publicly supported databases, our work can be found just about anywhere, barring our poor choices of titles or keywords.  That means your work will be found in Open Access journals, and it will be cited based on the merits of your scholarship and not just the reputation of the journal. This scenario continues to evolve, but the direction seems clear and we’re building speed.  Prof. Fritzsch asked the question “Are we witnessing a revolution in information flow…?”  I’m wondering if Bernd asked the question as a rhetorical device.  It seems to me the answer is a resounding ‘Yes’!


Guest Post: Interview – Kembrew McLeod on Open Access

During the month of Open Access week (October 19-25) we will be highlighting a number of guest posts from University of Iowa Faculty and Staff who have personal experience with Open Access.  We appreciate their contributions.

The sixth guest post is by Kembrew McLeod,  Professor of Communication Studies at the University of Iowa and an independent documentary producer. A prolific author and filmmaker, he has written and produced several books and documentaries that focus on popular music, independent media and copyright law.

See all of Kembrew’s Iowa Research Online deposited publications here.

Q: Two of the publications you have deposited in the IRO received an extraordinary number of downloads in the first half of this year, “Freedom of Expression: Overzealous Copyright Bozos and Other Enemies of Creativity” (had 1772 from Jan-July 2015), and “Genres, Subgenres, Sub-Subgenres and More: Musical and Social Differentiation Within Electronic/Dance Music Communities“(had 1347 from Jan-July 2015). Could you tell us a little about these two publications?

Freedom of Expression was my second book, which originally was published by Doubleday-a trade press that miraculously allowed me to license it under a Creative Commons license. These licenses make it easy for authors to legally encourage the sharing of their work, and it has been an enormously successful project (since 2004, millions of books, songs, etc. have been published under Creative Commons licenses). “Genres, Subgeners, Sub-Subgenres and more” is an article I wrote when I was a grad student, which happens to be one of my most cited publications.

Q: Were there specific reasons behind putting these two publications in the IRO?

Quite simply, I wanted to make it easy to share my work, and by putting it in the hands of librarians, I knew that it would be properly archived and made accessible to the public

Q: Have you seen any benefits from having these works available freely and openly through the IRO?

Yes, definitely. By making it accessible, it increases the chances that other scholars (and, more generally, the public) might be exposed to my writing. This has certainly increased the number of other scholarly publications that have cited my work, which is obviously a good thing.

Q: What are your general thoughts on the value and importance of academics making their work open access?

Open Access is hugely important. In fact, I no longer publish in journals that have overly restrictive copyright policies. The final straw was when I was prevented from sharing one of my own articles because Digital Rights Management (DRM) crippled the PDF file. DRM is a technological protection system that limits the number of times-or the ways in which-a work may be copied and distributed. After I emailed the PDF of my article to my undergrad class, a student tried to print out a copy of my article. Unfortunately, all that was printed out was a blank sheet of paper, save for a notice at the bottom that read: “Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.”

I had no idea Blackwell, the company that published it, set limits on the distribution of my own article, though I’m not at all surprised. I can’t think of a more disturbing, yet poetic, expression of copyright-gone-mad than a blank sheet of paper where published research should be. The most insane thing is that I got the PDF from a database that the University of Iowa subscribes to-which means that the state paid me a salary to produce knowledge, and then my library had to pay a private company to access that knowledge, and on top of all that I was still prevented from distributing my own writing!