Spend a Day as a Pioneer!

Credit: Tim Abramowitz / E+ / Getty Images.

Have you ever gotten caught up in the romanticized idea of the Wild West and pioneer days? But, now that you are so used to modern conveniences have you decided life back then wouldn’t have been romantic at all? It would have been really, really, hard… Never fear – we have a resource to teach you how to experience parts of pioneer life – while in the comfort of your own home (and using some modern tools and safety equipment)!

Photo from “Make: Like the Pioneers.”

Make: Like the Pioneers will walk you through a (somewhat) typical day in the life of a pioneer. A pioneer (and you!) start the day building a fire – no matches or charcoal allowed! Learn to make and use a bow drill – using branches, string, and a knife (or an optional handsaw!) and you’ll never be without fire again! You can continue the morning routine by making bacon soap (yes, soap and not soup)! There are several other morning activities to learn and enjoy – including “kitchen table cider making,” (both fermented and non-fermented). Just think – you can move through the rest of your “pioneer-day” smelling like bacon and drinking cider! Would you like to spend your winter evenings next to the fire writing a book about your pioneer experiences? Then you just might like to spend your mornings learning to make paper and binding your own book!

How about spending the afternoon making furniture?! According to Gordon Thorburn (the author of Chapter 6, “Fool’s Stool”), “Almost anybody can make a 17th-century board stool. In those early, pioneering times, techniques and tools were fairly primitive and ambitions consequently modest, so today, faking the American colonial style requires a do-it-for-fun, cavalier attitude rather than serious precision.” The list of materials and tools needed include, among other things, “cow manure (preferred) or wood stain…” (You can see in the picture [right] your homemade furniture doesn’t have to be perfect!) Perhaps making a “Rok-Bak” chair (from a single sheet of plywood) is more your style… You can also learn to “lash.”  Chapter 8 is an entire chapter of full-page, full-color photos showing, in detail, how to build a sturdy platform using only sticks and twine!

Your evening can be spent pickling grapes and beets – or, in preparation for Halloween and Thanksgiving, you can learn to brine and roast a turkey and roast pumpkin seeds! There is also a delicious-sounding recipe for garlic herb butter for rubbing into that tasty T-day turkey!

Once those daily chores are finished, it is time to relax! Many pioneers spent their few leisure time making tools which would make their work and lives easier. Chapter 12 has clear, step-by-step instructions for building a da Vinci Reciprocating Mechanism. Learn to make a table-top version of da Vinci’s mechanism for powering a sawmill with a water wheel!

Photo from “Make: Like the Pioneers.”

If you want to go waaaay back – perhaps to prehistoric times – you can create your own oil lamp! Since there are cave drawings from as long ago as 15,000 to 30,000 years ago, experts postulate there must have been a way to light those caves in order for the “primitive Rembrandts” to create those drawings. Oil lamps have progressed over time (obviously!) and the final chapter details how to make your own “Oil Lamp from the Cave Dwellers of Lascaux.” (An interesting fact: This chapter was written by William Gurstelle. Since volume 4, every issue of Make magazine has had an article written by him.  We have all the issues here at the library – up to volume 57 now – so come in and check out all the other articles he’s written!)

So, ready to try your hand at living like a pioneer? Or at least “making” like a pioneer? I think you’ll find Make: Like the Pioneers makes it much easier than it was “back in the day!”

Resources:

Make Editors. 2015. Make : like the pioneers. San Francisco, CA : Maker Media. Engineering Library TT157 .M35 2015

What hardships did American pioneers face? 2017. Reference.  IAC Publishing, LLC.

Other Resources:

Liu, Joanne S. 2009. Barbed wire : the fence that changed the West. Missoula, Mont. : Mountain Press Pub. Co.  Engineering Library TS271 .L59 2009

 

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Sharpen Your Communication Skills

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The Rhetoric Department’s Conversation Center comes to the Business Library!  The Center brings American and International students together to improve language skills and understanding.  Schedule an appointment through the Center’s site.  Participants meet each Monday, 4-6 pm, in the Library’s soft-seating area (S401).

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If Objects Could Talk History Harvest at the African American Museum of Iowa

In higher education, we often equate student life and campus life. Last year, I found myself questioning this notion on my frequent shortcuts through the student center on campus. Absent from most of the archival photos hung in the student center’s hallway chronicling milestones in the building’s history are black students. Student life does not always equal campus life, especially for students who were not welcome into the same spaces as their white peers. In reviewing the UI Libraries’ (UIL) efforts to represent early black student life, I considered what the UIL Preservation Department could do to combat the erasure of the African American experience in Iowa.

We’re fortunate, at UI Libraries, that the university’s mandate to serve the public affords us the opportunity to leverage existing expertise and community connections. UIowa campus collections regularly partner with local cultural and community museums, like the German American Heritage Center & Museum, the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library, and the African American Museum of Iowa (AAMI). Rather than push for a UIowa-specific event, I thought it best to see if there were communities in Iowa that the AAMI serves who would benefit from a digitization drive.

Nancy Kraft gives an overview of preserving family papers / Shari Neal

Candida Pagan discusses photo formats / Shari Neal

After meeting with staff from the African American Museum of Iowa to discuss how UIL could leverage its resources for outreach and education, AAMI museum staff decided their visitors would benefit from a digitization drive and other preservation-related events to coincide with the fall opening of their fall exhibit, If Objects Could Talk. After months of preparation, UIL preservation staff, volunteers, and UIowa Museum of Art staff shipped up to Cedar Rapids the night of Friday, August 25th and Saturday, August 26th.

Saturday began with a talk led by our department head, Nancy Kraft, and Keith-Albee project conservator Candida Pagan. After discussing the basics of preserving family heritage, they shared their experiences working with institutions heavily impacted by the flood of 2008. UIL Preservation/Conservation treated and recovered a significant amount of AAMI, Linn County Register, and Czech & Slovak Museum of Iowa books and artifacts damaged by the flooding.

Bettina Miller (center right) consults with Lexi Janezic, Giselle Simon, Katherine Wilson, and Nancy Kraft as AAMI educator Krystal Gladden looks on / Shari Neal

After the lecture, Nancy joined our head conservator, Giselle Simon, Preservation Processing Assistant Shelby Strommer, and UIMA staff to provide 1-on-1 consultations for the general public. Archival Products in Des Moines, IA donated enclosures for participants to rehouse their documents and images, which was highly appreciated.

The bulk of preparation for the events went toward the digitization drive pilot which began Friday night and continued Saturday, which we titled the If Objects Could Talk History Harvest. “History harvest” is a term coined by the University of Nebraska at Lincoln which we found fitting for another Midwest-area event of the same nature. The goals of the event were clear: test workflows for a digitization drive so that any volunteer without cataloging or archives experience could capture relevant metadata and digitize material to AAMI standards. My goal was to develop an AAMI History Harvest in a Box, for lack of a better term – easily edited and easily reproduced. Ideally, AAMI history harvests could occur around the state as well as on site. To that end, volunteers for the pilot were a mix of UIL staff, the UI history department, UIMA staff, and interested members of the public.

 

Alonso Avila, David McCartney, Ashlee Wilson, and Madde Hoberg ready to welcome history harvest participants /  Vitalina Nova

Using guidelines modified from AAMI and libraries that have conducted similar events, we scanned document and photographs from visitors as well as narrative forms which participants filled out to share the story behind the items they selected for the history harvest. The narrative form arose from discussions on how to ethically capture the stories behind participants’ items – I wanted to eliminate the number of judgement calls facing a volunteer throughout the process. For this reason, the Google Form that was used to capture metadata had notes beneath each field that explained what to enter, gave an example, and referenced separate handouts when necessary. Additional handouts expounded on the notes about content description. The narrative form itself had 3 questions:

  1. Why did you select these particular items for the If Objects Could Talk History Harvest?
  2. What do these items say about you or your family?
  3. What do these items say about your community or family’s history?

Filenaming was a simple formulation of a pre-determined folder number printed on slips and attached to clipboards with a release form and a narrative form. For example, the release form associated with f_10, would be f_10_release and the 3rd item that volunteer brought in would be digitized and named f_10_3. In keeping with AAMI conventions, _front and _back were upended when appropriate.

Bettina Miller shows Allison Bettine her family photos / Shari Neal

Aiden Bettine ready to scan as Allison Bettine catalogs photos with Bettina Miller / Shari Neal

Shari Neal with former AAMI Executive Director, Thomas Moore / Vitalina Nova

Volunteer Heidi Stofer with participant Diana Henry / Vitalina Nova

Vero Rose Smith and Dominique Alhambra of UIMA cataloging and scanning / Shari Neal

Vero Rose Smith uses a Google Form to catalog Thomas Moore’s photograph as Dominique Alhambra scans / Shari Neal

The history harvest’s model was post-custodial – the only materials that AAMI would accept were the scans of participants’ items and narrative forms. At no point would any staff or volunteers take ownership of physical items and participants were under no obligation to donate. At the end of the process, participants would receive digitized copies of their photographs or documents on a UIL flash drive and were encouraged to save several copies in different locations.  This was made clear through the release and deed of gift, both of which were purposefully redundant to make clear to participants that they need not become donors to participate in preservation events.

The pilot was a success! We tested out what works, made changes for the future, and can suggest improvements. Participants appreciated UI staff and volunteers being there and visitors that heard about the events but didn’t have materials at the ready asked for the date of the next event!

In response to interest, and outcomes from this weekend, museum staff will begin planning in October for a Black History Month history harvest in 2018. They’ll use photos and digitized material from this weekend in addition to all the preparation for the If Objects Could Talk history harvest and equipment we were able to purchase thanks to a mini-grant from the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies.

Creating forms, workflows, and managing the project took a lot of work and wouldn’t have been possible without collaborations within the department, UIL, other campus departments, and the previous work of colleagues outside of UIowa. Thank you to all the volunteers on Friday and Saturday (including Ben Bessman and Heather Cooper, neither of whom are pictured in this post), UIL Metadata Maven Jenny Bradshaw, Adam Robinson at American University for his cataloging expertise, Shelby Strommer for selecting literature and refining scanning workflows, the UIL Preservation/Conservation Outreach and Engagement Working Group, Jacki Rand for her help figuring out how best to gather narratives, and Katie Hassman and Hannah Scates Kettler for their general guidance.

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The Science of Shoes!

 

You’ve spent the summer wearing flip-flops, sandals, and going barefoot – now that fall is coming and classes have started, it is time to start thinking about shoes…

If you are run, dance, play soccer, ride bicycles, hike or climb, you probably think about the fit, construction, and “science” of your footwear. But most of us don’t think much about the science of the shoe – we think more about style and comfort (in some cases – about which I may personally know, only the style!).

The human foot is quite complex and consists of 26 bones, 33 joints, plus muscles, tendons, ligaments, and a network of blood vessels, nerves, skin and other soft tissue. It is quite a complex – and flexible – structure providing the body with support, balance, and mobility.

Considering the complexity of the human foot, it is rather amazing that anyone can walk into a shoe store and find shoes that fit (reasonably) well.  Men’s, women’s, and children’s feet are all different – not to mention all the individual differences among human beings! There are flat feet, feet with high arches, differences in the width at the ball of the foot, length of toes, narrow heels, the list goes on. Without even looking at the special circumstances of feet with particular needs, the thought of designing a shoe where “one size fits all” is daunting! (Did you know that certain studies have shown that male and females have different length feet, even when they are the same height?)

Ever wonder why shoes of “yesteryear” looked so, well, utilitarian? This can partially be explained by the beginnings of World War II. The height of heels was limited to 2.5 cm (less than an inch) in the United States and .5 cm in Britain. Leather was in short supply, so cheaper, poor-quality leather was used. Once those restrictions were removed, the heels became higher and peep toes emerged! Then as leather became more expensive, cheaper alternatives were found – plastic and synthetic fibers became quite common. Platform shoes have come and gone, as have other particular footwear styles. (Alas, I had a pair of blue denim platform shoes “back in the day.” I miss those shoes….) All these changes were motivated by fashion.

But, what about the science of shoes and designing shoes so they are healthier for the body?

Illustration from “The Science of Footwear,” page 202.

A “shoe-last” is a wooden or plastic mold  upon which a shoe is constructed. There are 4 reference points – the vamp, instep, ball break, and heel point (where the backseam is). The shoe-last  has evolved based on a women’s American size 6-B shoe and on a men’s American size 7.5C shoe-last.

So, you have “normal” feet – nothing that would cause you to need specialized shoes – what can you expect from standard retail footwear? Generally, there are 5 characteristics: a moderate to low heel (<2 inches); a cushioned midsole; breathable, comfortable uppers; adjustable fastening (laces, straps, etc.); and a stable heel.  There are, obviously, a great many variations on these characteristics and there are many styles that are missing some (or all!) of these characteristics! These 5 characteristics are what are recommended for the most comfortable (and least damaging) day-to-day footwear.

Okay, about those stylish heels that are so popular. Wearing those heels have been shown to have the following effects (among others): changing the posture & putting weight on the toes; increasing the pelvic tilt; changing the gait; increased activity of lower spine muscles & lower back pain; muscle fatigue and pain; corns & bunions; deformation of the toes; and increased risk of ankle sprains. Benefits? Supposedly the calves look slimmer and the feet look smaller.

Have you heard that going barefoot is healthier than wearing shoes? Check out this abstract – available through PubMed.  The Science of Footwear has more in-depth information about the science of athletic shoes, children’s footwear, shoes for the elderly population, and shoes for those with particular, medical shoe needs.

Test Footwear: Foot Bio-Tec Orthotic Footwear. Image from PubMed abstract.

 

And, just in case you are wondering – yes, conventional wisdom says that flip-flops are not a healthy choice for your feet and joints. Studies have been done on flip-flops and the effects on foot and joint health. One of these studies found a flip-flop with a molded foot-bed may have a significant on foot pain, function, and foot health and “…might be a valuable adjunct therapy for people with foot pain.” (hmm. maybe I can break out my flip-flops again…)

 

 

Whether you wear, flip-flops, sandals, stilettos, sneakers, fashion boots or work boots, high-tech running shoes or ordinary sneakers, think about all the science that goes into making them comfortable and better for your feet and joints!

 

Resources:

Goonetilleke, Ravindra S., editor. 2013. The science of footwear. Boca Raton, FL : CRC Press. Engineering Library TS990 .S334 2013

Chuter, VH, Searle A., Spink MJ. Nov. 11, 2016. Flip-flop footwear with a moulded foot-bed for the treatment of foot pain : a randomised controlled trial. PubMed.

Shakoor, N., Block, JA. Spet. 2006. Walking barefoot decreases loading on the lower extremity joints in knee osteoarthritis. PubMed .

Other Resources:

Falcon, Delialah. May 7, 2016. Weighing the Pros and Cons of Walking Barefoot. symptomfind. IAC Publishing, LLC

Barrett, Stephen, DPM FACFAS. Oct. 3, 2014. Are Flip-Flops Really That Bad for  Your Feet? Podiatry Today

Sharpe, T., Malone, A., French, H., Liernan, D., O’Brien, T. May 2016. Effect of flip-flops on lower limb kinematics during walking: a cross-sectional study using three-dimensional gait analysis.PubMed .

 

 

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Hardin Library Labor Day Holiday Hours

picture of sunset with plants

Hardin Library will be closed Monday, September 4 for the Labor Day Holiday.  Hardin Library will be closed Saturday, September 2 for the home Iowa football game.

Hours:

Friday, September 1 Regular hours    7:30am-8pm
Saturday, September 2 CLOSED home football
Sunday, September 3 Shorter hours    Noon-9pm
Monday, September 4 CLOSED Labor Day US holiday
Tuesday, September 5 Regular hours resume    7:30am-Midnight
picture of sunset with plants

End of summer by Arcaion @pixabay.com

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Hardin Library Labor Day Holiday Hours

picture of sunset with plants

Hardin Library will be closed Monday, September 4 for the Labor Day Holiday.  Hardin Library will be closed Saturday, September 2 for the home Iowa football game.

Hours:

Friday, September 1 Regular hours    7:30am-8pm
Saturday, September 2 CLOSED home football
Sunday, September 3 Shorter hours    Noon-9pm
Monday, September 4 CLOSED Labor Day US holiday
Tuesday, September 5 Regular hours resume    7:30am-Midnight
picture of sunset with plants

End of summer by Arcaion @pixabay.com

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Hardin Library closed for all Iowa home Football Games

picture of Iowa football

Hardin Library for the Health Sciences is closed for all home UI football games.

Saturday, September 2
Saturday, September 16
Saturday, September 23
Saturday, October 7
Saturday, October 28
Saturday, November 4
Saturday, November 18

The 24-hour study will be open to those who have access.  Parking is not available before and during the games and Cambus and City buses run on a game-day schedule.  The Main Library and other campus libraries will be open.  Other library hours

picture of Kinnick stadium

Kinnick Stadium, Nov 12, 2016

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Hardin Library closed for all Iowa home Football Games

picture of Iowa football

Hardin Library for the Health Sciences is closed for all home UI football games.

Saturday, September 2
Saturday, September 16
Saturday, September 23
Saturday, October 7
Saturday, October 28
Saturday, November 4
Saturday, November 18

The 24-hour study will be open to those who have access.  Parking is not available before and during the games and Cambus and City buses run on a game-day schedule.  The Main Library and other campus libraries will be open.  Other library hours

picture of Kinnick stadium

Kinnick Stadium, Nov 12, 2016

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