Latest Headlines
0

Learning Commons @ your library

In the fall of 2013, University of Iowa students will discover a tech-infused, 24-hour, comfy study space and one-stop academic help center…with good coffee.

Designed with significant student input, the new Learning Commons will provide an “intellectual hub” with room for 500-plus students. The 37,000-square-foot facility in the Main Library is the product of a unique partnership among Information Technology Services (ITS), University Libraries, and the Office of the Provost.

“The Learning Commons is focused, first and foremost, on furthering the academic success of students,” says Nancy Baker, university librarian. “The staff will provide students with a ‘concierge’ experience. They’ll answer common academic, library, and technology questions and point students to the resources they need to succeed, like help with their research, writing, or tutoring.”

VIDEO: Learning Commons Walkthrough

“Our design team spent a lot of time watching how students study, and particularly noticed how much they leveraged technology in their daily work habits,” says Chris Clark, ITS learning spaces director. “This space, with its multimedia resources, collaboration technologies, and wall-to-wall wireless, reflects the way today’s students integrate technology into their lives.”

Features of the project include 18 group study spaces, 100 desktop and laptop computers, a 45-seat TILE (Transform, Interact, Learn, Engage) classroom with glass walls and sliding doors, printers and scanners, TVs and projectors, and multimedia resources.

The design team also considered students’ stomachs, because students can’t concentrate on their studies when they’re hungry. The Food for Thought café will offer an expanded menu that includes hot panini sandwiches, fruit smoothies, and other snacks, as well as espresso and gourmet coffees.

“We want to create an ambience that welcomes students,” Clark says.

According to Beth Ingram, associate provost for undergraduate education, the most important feature of the space is its flexibility.

“The Learning Commons is many different kinds of study spaces and services rolled into one,” she says. “With technology, information, and expertise combined in one location, it’s a space where students can study with a group or by themselves; where they can have a coffee with friends and then go to a workshop on stress management; where they know they can get answers to questions about information resources, technology, or tutoring services.”

Of course, part of the challenge in creating such a massive space for students is minimizing the impact the construction process will have on daily student life. Hope Barton, associate university librarian, says the impact on current study spaces will be minimal, since the area being remodeled was office space.

“This will really be a fantastic resource for University of Iowa students,” Ingram says. “We’re excited to see the project come to completion so students can start making the most of the new space.”

0

Civil War letters back in Iowa and ready for transcription

Wilkerson letters, 1863-1865 | Civil War Diaries and Letters

Wilkerson letters, 1863-1865 | Civil War Diaries and Letters

With almost 13,000 pages completed, our crowdsourcing volunteers are wrapping up their efforts to transcribe the UI’s collection of Civil War diaries and letters in order to make them easier to search and browse. But it turns out that that finish line is a moving target, since publicity from the project has attracted new Civil War donations to the Libraries. This week we added a handful of these recent acquisitions — totaling over 1,000 newly digitized pages ready for transcription — to the digital collection: Turner S. Bailey diaries, 1861-1863; Philip H. Conard diary, 1864-1865; and Wilkerson letters, 1863-1865.

In a Cedar Rapids Gazette article last fall, donor Pamela Lee attributed the choice to house her family papers at the UI to the crowdsourcing effort, describing it as “my Christmas list of everything that I thought should be done with the letters.” Read more, or just jump in and start transcribing, at the links below.

Hands-on experience with Civil War history: The University of Iowa is seeking public help with transcribing Civil War history

Letter after letter, week after week, Sarahett Wilkerson pleaded with her husband.

“I wish you could come home,” she wrote to Jesse Wilkerson, who was drafted in November 1864 to serve with the 13th Iowa Infantry in the Civil War.

After five months alone on the couple’s farm in Hamburg and three months caring for a new baby, Sarahett Wilkerson on April 2, 1865, penned another desperate behest of her husband.

“The baby is three months old day before yesturday,” she wrote, her spelling off on some words. “I want you to send her a name.”

In the letter, among 29 that Wilkerson’s descendants recently donated to the University of Iowa Libraries cataloging Jesse Skinner Wilkerson’s Civil War experience, his wife updates the 33-year-old soldier on their children and how much they miss him…

Pamela Lee, 60, of Pullman, Wash., is the great-great-great granddaughter of Jesse Wilkerson and said her family gave the documents to the UI as a way of preserving the material and making it relevant…

“We are so happy that the letters are back in Iowa,” Lee said. “It’s exactly where they should be.”

View the full article at thegazette.com

Help transcribe the UI’s Civil War diaries and letters

0

Furniture is Here!

Many of Main Library staff on the first floor will be moving to renovated space on the fifth to make room for Learning Commons. The fifth floor space has been under construction since early spring and today the furniture is being moved in.

The movers will be using the southeast elevator (D) to transport the furniture upstairs. Please use the other elevators or stairs in the building. Thanks.

0

Surf’s up

Join Nixon, Brownie Scouts, and the Women’s Army Corps at the Iowa Digital Library beach party, happening over at our Pinterest account:

Pinterest: Iowa Digital Library beach party

Pinterest: Iowa Digital Library beach party

0

Happy finals week

Exam, The University of Iowa, 1910s | Iowa City Town and Campus Scenes

Exam, The University of Iowa, 1910s | Iowa City Town and Campus Scenes

Exam, The University of Iowa, 1920s | Iowa City Town and Campus Scenes

Exam, The University of Iowa, 1920s | Iowa City Town and Campus Scenes

Exam, The University of Iowa, 1930s | Iowa City Town and Campus Scenes

Exam, The University of Iowa, 1930s | Iowa City Town and Campus Scenes

1

Harry Potter and the Quest for Enlightenment

Dragons, mandrakes, and potions have taken over the cases outside Special Collections & University Archives!

Students in Donna Parsons’ Honors Seminar titled “Harry Potter and the Quest for Enlightenment” have curated an exhibit using materials from Special Collections. The exhibit is one part of a semester long project utilizing Special Collections materials for research. The students chose one item from the collection to represent their research and worked together to fit their items into themes for display.

Parsons’ seminar has the students closely read the texts and analyze their themes as well as investigate the influences from the literary canon and the effects on popular culture in the US and Britain. She envisioned the collaboration with Special Collections as an exciting opportunity to enhance student learning. “The Harry Potter series is filled with extensive references to science, literature, mythology, and history,” Parsons says. “Partnering with Special Collections has supplied my students with the resources needed to trace a specific reference and discuss its relevance to a particular scene, character, or plotline. The partnership has also provided the context for a deeper understanding of the series and its appeal to a diverse audience.”

Greg Prickman, Head of Special Collections & University Archives, welcomed the collaboration. “The idea to have the students create an exhibition was Donna’s, and we quickly agreed to it. Rather than showing or telling, we are giving them the chance to do their own showing and telling, which results in a unique learning opportunity that can only be experienced with access to original historical documents.”

Kelsey Sheets, a student in the seminar, loved finding out how complex the world of Harry Potter really is. “In the past I have read books about how J.K. Rowling draws inspiration from a wide variety of historical and mythical sources and incorporates them into the series, but my own research [on links between the study of Potions and the muggle study of Chemistry] really solidified this point and made me appreciate the depth of the wizarding world.”

The exhibit will be on display until June 1st on the third floor of the Main Library outside Special Collections & University Archives anytime the library is open.

1

Grant Wood scrapbooks now online

Grant Wood portrait with brush and dental instrument used for painting, 1940s | Figge Art Museum Grant Wood Digital Collection

Grant Wood portrait with brush and dental instrument used for painting, 1940s | Figge Art Museum Grant Wood Digital Collection

The Figge Art Museum and the University of Iowa Libraries are pleased to announce the release of the Grant Wood Digital Collection, http://digital.lib.uiowa.edu/grantwood, in conjunction with the Grant Wood Biennial Symposium 2012, April 13-14, 2012.

This unique digital collection includes more than 12 scrapbooks and albums of news clippings, photographs, postcards, letters, and related ephemera assembled by Grant Wood’s sister, Nan Wood Graham, chronicling her brother’s professional life.

For the first time, scholars, students and the general public will have unprecedented virtual access to the scrapbook materials.  Due to their fragility, access to the actual scrapbooks is simply impossible.

“Nan Wood Graham is one of the most famous faces in the history of art, immortalized in Wood’s iconic painting American Gothic. The materials Graham compiled provide wonderful insight into Wood’s life in Iowa and his development as one of the most famous American artists of the 20th century,” says Figge Art Museum registrar Andrew Wallace.  “It is gratifying to know that, through this digital collection, people around world are able to learn about the life and times of Grant Wood through the words of close friends, family, and fellow artists.”

This digital collection project would not have been possible without the generous assistance of the Henry Luce Foundation American Art Renewal Fund and through additional funding for imaging equipment provided by an anonymous donor.

These materials, along with several hundred artifacts, including the artist’s wire-rimmed glasses, palettes, paint box, and easel, are part of the Figge Art Museum’s Grant Wood Archive. The Archive has provided primary source material for numerous articles, catalogs, and monographs for over 40 years, most recently by R. Tripp Evans for his award-winning 2010 biography Grant Wood: A Life.

0

Significant Science Fiction Collection comes to the University of Iowa Libraries

Collection encompasses 100 years of material.

The University of Iowa Libraries has acquired a significant collection of pulp magazines, fanzines, and science fiction books owned by the late James L. “Rusty” Hevelin. The collection encompasses nearly one hundred years of material, documenting in great detail the development of science fiction, popular culture, and participatory fan culture in the United States during the twentieth century.

Rusty Hevelin began collecting pulp magazines in the 1930s when they were a popular item on newsstands. Pulps were cheaply produced weekly fiction magazines. They were the training ground for many of the most famous science fiction writers like Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, and Edgar Rice Burroughs.   The collection contains thousands of pulps, ranging from the early Thrilling Wonder Stories, the eclectic Weird Tales, character titles such as The Shadow, The Spider, and Doc Savage, and many examples of mystery, western, and aviation pulps.    “This vast collection of material rarely collected by traditional libraries is a goldmine for teachers and scholars,” said Corey Creekmur, UI Associate Professor of English and Film Studies. “Pulp magazines were central to mid- 20th century American popular culture, but their ephemerality has made them rare and inaccessible for later readers. The arrival of this collection makes Iowa a major archive for future research in this area.”

Fanzines push science fiction genre

Readers of pulps began communicating with one another through the letter columns in each issue, and this back-and-forth exchange soon developed into fanzines, which fans produced on home mimeograph or other printers, and distributed through the mail and at conventions. The collection is particularly rich in the early years of science fiction fanzines, including several titles that Hevelin produced.

Science fiction grew out of the pulps and into mainstream publishing, and the Hevelin collection documents this process in thousands of hardcover and paperback science fiction books. First editions of Ray Bradbury, Arthur C. Clarke, and other writers are included, along with many paperback novels. Together, these materials depict the great diversity of styles in science fiction as the genre evolved.

“The Hevelin collection presents a rare opportunity to study the development of this genre, as seen in many of its most important formats, through the lens of a single collector,” says Greg Prickman, Head of Special Collections & University Archives. “Fans like Rusty weren’t just fanzine writers, or pulp collectors, or science fiction readers, they were all of these things, and Rusty’s collection shows how these materials interact with one another.”

The University of Iowa Libraries is home to internationally significant science fiction collections. Holdings include the Horvat Collection of Science Fiction Fanzines, the Ming Wathne Fanzine Archive Collection, and a growing body of materials resulting from the Fan Culture Preservation Project, a partnership with the Organization for Transformative Works.

0

Jennifer DeBerg wins Arthur Benton Excellence in Reference Services Professional Development Award

Jennifer DeBerg, Clinical Education Librarian at Hardin Library for the Health Sciences, was awarded the Arthur Benton Excellence in Reference Services Professional Development Award for 2012. Jennifer received kudos from nursing students, research colleagues, faculty and staff in her nomination letter

The award is given biennially to a University Libraries professional staff member who has demonstrated outstanding commitment in providing reference services for the University community. The $1,000 award, made possible by a generous endowment from Dr. Arthur Benton, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Neurology, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, will support a professional development activity related to the advancement of library reference services.

Jennifer is a librarian liaison to Communication Sciences & Disorders, Family Medicine, College of Nursing, Nursing Services and Patient Care, Obstetrics & Gynecology, Orthopaedics & Rehabilitation, Otolaryngology, Pediatrics, Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Science, and Rehab Therapies & Rehab Counseling.

0

Annual R. Palmer Howard Dinner : Spot Ward, Crazy Sally, and the Chevalier Taylor: Three Medical Quacks in 18th Century Britain

The University of Iowa History of Medicine Society announces the R. Palmer Howard Dinner for 2012, Friday, April 13, 2012, 6:00-9:30.

Lynda Payne, prof. in Medical Humanities & Bioethics, and History, University of Missouri Kansas City will speak on “Spot Ward, Crazy Sally, and the Chevalier Taylor: Three Medical Quacks in Eighteenth-Century Britain”.

Reception, dinner and lecture will be at the Sheraton Hotel. Make your reservations now but no later than April 6 with Donna Sabin, 319-335-6706, donna-sabin@uiowa.edu Online form (print & mail): http://hosted.lib.uiowa.edu/histmed/index.html. Seats for the lecture only will be available.