Happy Native American Heritage Month!

November is Native American Heritage Month, so let’s celebrate some Native American Engineers!

Ely S. Parker (1828-1895)

Ely S. Parker (1828-1895) – Seneca, Civil and Military Engineer

Born in 1828 on the Tonawanda Indian Reservation, Ely S. Parker lived up to his Seneca name of Do-ne-ho-ga-wa, which means “Open Door.” When doors were closed to him because of his background, he found ways to open them. After unsuccessfully lobbying for the rights of his people to stay on their reservation, Parker began to study law in the hopes of advocating for the Seneca. However, when he applied for admission to the bar, he was denied because he was Seneca, and was therefore not considered a citizen in the eyes of New York State law (a law that would stand until the Indian Citizenship Act was passed in 1924). 

Never one to wait for an opportunity, Parker began to study civil engineering at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY. This gave him the skills to work on maintenance work for the Erie Canal, and eventually move to Galena, IL to work for the Treasury Department building a custom house and marine hospital. It was there that he became friends with Ulysses S. Grant. When the Civil War began, Parker gathered a group of Iroquois volunteers for the Union, but they were turned away by the Governor of New York, Edwin Morgan. Parker then attempted to enlist by himself as an engineer, but was again denied because of his race. Finally, Parker reached out to his friend Grant, who brought Parker onto his staff in 1963. He would go on to make major contributions at several battles, including Vicksburg, Chattanooga, and Petersburg, and would help in drafting the surrender documents at the Appomattox Court House in 1965. 

After his military service, Parker became the first Native American to hold the office of Commissioner of Indian Affairs from 1869 to 1871. He would eventually return to engineering with a position in the New York City Police Department, where he served until 1895.

Mary Golda Ross (1908-2008)

Mary Golda Ross (1908-2008) – Cherokee, Aerospace Engineer

Mary Golda Ross was born in 1908 and grew up in Park Hill, OK. A member of the Cherokee Nation, Ross grew up in a tradition that prized equal education for both boys and girls. Because of this, she was not intimidated by her surroundings when she entered male-dominated fields. She started college at the age of 16 at Northeastern State Teacher’s College in Tahlequah, OK where she studied mathematics. Following graduation, she would spend several years teaching math and science in rural Oklahoma, using her summers to attend classes at Colorado State College of Teaching where she was earned a master’s degree in mathematics in 1938.

In 1942 she was hired at Lockheed Aircraft Corporation as a computer where she completed complicated mathematical equations using only a pencil, paper, and slide rule, and was assigned to the team that designed the P-38 Lightning. After the war, many of the female computers were laid off and returned to their traditional roles. Ross had drawn special attention for her ambition and abilities, and as a result was kept on and began to take courses at the UCLA to earn her professional certification in engineering. This course included classes in math, engineering, and aeronautics. During peacetime, the Advanced Development Projects team with whom Ross worked, turned to loftier goals. Also known as Skunk Works, many of this team’s projects are classified even today. Ross was a founding engineer of this team, as well as the only woman besides the team’s secretary, and the only Native American. It is known that during this time Ross worked on the Space Race, developing preliminary requirements for spacecraft, which laid the groundwork for the Apollo program. While Ross always had a fascination with space and was an advocate for female astronauts she had little interest in being one herself. She said “I’d rather stay down here and analyze the data.” 

Ross retired from Lockheed at the age of 65, but would work for many years to encourage women and Native Americans to enter STEM fields. In 2004 she was honored at the opening of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, which she attended wearing a traditional Cherokee dress that was made for her by her niece. She died in 2008, just three months shy of her 100th birthday.

Do you know some Native American engineers you think need some recognition? Drop them in the comments below!


Works Cited


Historical Society of the New York Courts. (2019, January 24). Ely S. Parker. https://history.nycourts.gov/figure/ely-parker/

Smith, Y. (2019, November 12). Mary Ross: A Hidden Figure. NASA. https://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/mary-ross-a-hidden-figure/

Vergun, D. (2021, November 19). Engineer became highest ranking Native American in Union Army. Www.Army.Mil. https://www.army.mil/article/252126/engineer_became_highest_ranking_native_american_in_union_army

Viola, H. (2018). Mary Golda Ross: She Reached for the Stars. NMAI Magazine. https://www.americanindianmagazine.org/story/mary-golda-ross-she-reached-stars

Wallace, R. (2021, November 19). Mary Golda Ross and the Skunk Works. The National WWII Museum | New Orleans. https://www.nationalww2museum.org/war/articles/mary-golda-ross-and-skunk-works

Watson, D. (n.d.). Biography of Ely S. Parker – Galena History Museum. Galena & U.S. Grant Museum. https://www.galenahistory.org/research/bio-sketches-of-famous-galenians/biography-of-ely-s-parker/

New Interlibrary Loan Interface Goes Live!

Have you ever used interlibrary loan? If you haven’t, now is a great time to check it out! A new interface has been launched making it even easier for you to request the items you need. First, visit the website of any University of Iowa library, this can be your branch library (like Engineering) or Main Library. At the top, hover over “My Library” and select “My Interlibrary Loan.” Click the button that says “Log in to Interlibrary Loan & Document Delivery” and enter your Hawk ID. You are now ready to request any book, chapter, article, or other material you need. This updated interface removes any additional clicking or typing, so you can make your request or check in on any existing ones and move on with your day. Try it out for yourself and if you have any comments or questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to Interlibrary Loan Office at 319-335-5917 or lib-ill@uiowa.edu 

New and Improved Interlibrary Loan Interface!

New Sound Recordings Exhibit in the Library!

This week’s blog is from Keegan Hockett, who curated this exhibit. Keegan Hockett is a graduate music student pursuing his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Bassoon Performance and Pedagogy with a secondary area in musicology. He also works as a research assistant for the Office of Community Engagement, finding opportunities for UI students who wish to engage with their local communities.  

Listening to recorded music in our day and age is a simple process that is easy to take for granted. For many of us, it looks something like this: 


Step 1: Choose your preferred device 

Step 2: Open your music library or favorite streaming service 

Step 4: Search for a band, song, genre, etc. 

Step 5. Hit Play 


Digital audio formats allow music to be at our fingertips, but this ease of access has been a long journey in the making – sound could be recorded and reproduced as early as 1877! Early recordings were made using an analog, mechanical process, but these “records” had many limitations. Sound quality, storage capacity, and longevity have all improved through engineering innovations, whether they be electrical, chemical, or mechanical. Some recordings formats were short-lived and have been largely forgotten but others remain ubiquitous in contemporary culture. Vinyl records, cassette tapes, and CDs are made of different materials, have different forms, and work in different ways, but each are capable of holding sounds captured from a moment in time. To learn more about how these formats work, check out the Lichtenberger Engineering Library’s newest exhibit on recording technologies! Additional resources on acoustics and sound engineering are available in our stacks downstairs. 

Open Education Resources and the 5 R’s

One of the best kept secrets of education are Open Educational Resources. The University of Iowa’s adopted definition is: “Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching, learning, and research resources that are free of cost and access barriers, and which also carry legal permission for open use. Generally, this permission is granted by use of an open license (for example, Creative Commons licenses)” These can be videos, images, and audio recordings that can be used to enhance your teaching. You may already be using them – like TED Talks, or images from Flickr! 

OER make teaching accessible, but you aren’t limited to using resources in the way they are found. Because of their public domain or creative copyright licenses, users are able to use them for the 5 R’s: Retain, Reuse, Revise, Remix, and Redistribute. From the UI LibGuide on OER these are defined as:

  1. Retain – the right to make, own, and control copies of the content (e.g., download, duplicate, store, and manage)
  2. Reuse – the right to use the content in a wide range of ways (e.g., in a class, in a study group, on a website, in a video)
  3. Revise – the right to adapt, adjust, modify, or alter the content itself (e.g., translate the content into another language)
  4. Remix – the right to combine the original or revised content with other material to create something new (e.g., incorporate the content into a mashup)
  5. Redistribute – the right to share copies of the original content, your revisions, or your remixes with others (e.g., give a copy of the content to a friend)

By contributing your remixed work to OER resources, you can help further the cycle of Open Access. What are some ways you have used OER? Let us know in the comments below!

Thanks for following along for our celebration of Open Access Week. We hope you have learned something that will help you to further your learning, research, and life. If you have any questions about Open Access, don’t hesitate to  reach out. You can find us through our contact page.

Open Science

In 2019, UNESCO created their Recommendation on Open Science, a set of guidelines to help encourage collaboration across national boarders, language barriers, and institutional divides. Open Science advocates for Open Access, but widens the scope to include Open Data, Research, Evaluation, Policies, and Tools. 

A taxonomy of Open Science from the Foster Open Science initiative (click to see in detail!)

Open Science leads to more collaborative and democratic discoveries. Institutions that lack funding may not be able to access the expensive databases that can be the only point of access for important papers and other resources. Removing hurdles is good for everyone! By following Open Science guidelines, publishing in Open Access journals, and making their processes widely available, scientists can ensure that their results are accurate by making their tests easily reproducible. Expanded access means more diverse worldviews are contributing to the science. Learn more about the development of Open Science with the resources below!

UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science. Available: https://en.unesco.org/science-sustainable-future/open-science/recommendation 

UNESCO. (2019). Preliminary study of the technical, financial and legal aspects of the desirability of a UNESCO recommendation on Open Science. 40th Session of UNESCO General Conference, Paris. Available: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000370291  

UNESCO Director-General. (2020). Preliminary report on the first draft of the Recommendation on Open Science. Available: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000374409  


Library to Help You Publish for FREE in Open Access

UI corresponding authors can now publish their journal articles Open Access and free of cost to them with 8 different publishers! The University Libraries have entered into “transformative agreements” covering the cost if you want your article to be open access. 

  • American Chemical Society(ACS): UI corresponding authors can publish open access in any ACS journals without a fee. Under this agreement, UI authors can publish 34 articles per year OA, it is part of a first come pool and not unlimited. 
  • Association for Computing Machinery (ACM): Any UI corresponding author can publish open access in ACM journals with no fee. The publisher’s website contains additional information 
  • Cambridge University Press (CUP): There will be no charge for UI corresponding authors who publish open access in CUP’s gold (40 titles) and hybrid journals (330 titles). See CUP’s announcement for more details. 
  • Cogitatio Press: UI corresponding authors can publish in Cogitatio’s four journals without a cost. This announcement provides more detail. 
  • Microbiology Society: Articles published in this society’s journals will be OA by default for UI corresponding authors. 
  • PLOS Medicine and PLOS Biology: UI corresponding authors can publish in these two PLOS journals with no fee. PLOS’ announcement provides more detail. 
  • Royal Society: No-fee OA publishing in the society’s nine journals for UI corresponding authors. Royal Society’s read and publish page contains more information. 
  • The Electrochemical Society (ECS): UI authors can publish open access in ECS journals free of charge.

This will not only broaden access to UI articles, but will meet the requirement of some granting agencies to publish OA without embargo. These articles can be immediately read by anyone, anywhere, without the paywalls that traditionally accompany academic journals. 

Learn More at:  https://guides.lib.uiowa.edu/c.php?g=1119367&p=8163705

These programs are only for new papers/articles. It is not retroactive to previously published   

If you have any questions, please contact Kari Kozak (kari-kozak@uiowa.edu) 

ORCiD and Open Access

What is ORCID and why does it matter to Open Access? 

ORCID (Open Researcher and Contributor ID) is a personal identifier that helps to make sure that work gets attributed to the correct person. To learn more about ORCID and to get started with your own, visit ORCID @ The University of Iowa.

What does this have to do with Open Access?

ORCID is founded on principles of open access and works to build networks between researchers through expanding access. They back this up in practice, since their own software is open access. 

Have you ever started searching for an article by searching an author’s name only to find in the results that there are multiple authors by the same name, or can’t tell if the author of two papers is the same person because their associated institution has changed? By creating unique searchable ID’s for researchers, ORCID helps overcome both of these problems. If properly maintained, ORCID records can also be full lists of work that a researcher has done. If you can’t access a paper because it is behind a paywall, check the author’s ORCID! You may find they wrote a similar paper that is published in an open access journal.

Want even more information? Watch this short video for more explanation. If you are ready to get started, use the UI ORCID Planter tool to claim your ID today! 

Celebrate Open Access Week with us!

Happy Open Access Week! 

What is Open Access? 

According to UNESCO, Open Access is “free access to information and unrestricted use of electronic resources for everyone.” The hope of Open Access is that increased access to research will lead to more collaborative projects and that the removal barriers will create a more equitable research environment.

We’ll be putting up mini blogs every day, so check in here to learn about ORCID, Open Educational Resources, and more. Also follow along on our Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter so you don’t miss anything!


Works Cited:

What is Open Access? | UNESCO

Engineering Halloween

Happy Spooky Season! The weather is changing here on campus and it’s almost time for Halloween. You may wonder why the Engineering Library would care about a holiday that we celebrate by dressing up and eating candy. Remember – engineering is the science of applied EVERYTHING and that includes Halloween! Come on in and check out our exhibit: Engineering Halloween. It will be up through the end of the month.


Witches around a bubbling cauldron may seem far from scientific, but humans have long relied on home remedies to handle most illnesses, the making of some may resemble brewing a potion. You won’t find any eye of newt or blood of a dragon in modern pharmaceuticalsToday’s cauldron, the glass beaker, must be able to stand high heatThe ASTM creates standards for lab equipment to help ensure that chemists won’t end up with their potion on the bench. For more information on standards and their importance in engineering, visit our standards guide! 

Ghost Hunting

Some people believe that on Halloween the veil between the physical and spiritual worlds is pulled aside, which makes it the perfect time to go hunting for ghosts! If you’ve ever watched a ghost hunting show you might have seen ghost hunters use specialized tools like a spirit box or an EMF reader. Other tools are more commonplace. For example, some ghost hunters use thermal cameras and infrared thermometers, like the ones in our Tool Library, to capture cold spots – a supposed paranormal phenomenon. Sometimes ghosts can get more physical – like pushing and hitting people. Sometimes those sensations have a more earthly explanation that can be easily fixed. If people feel like they’re getting pushed down your stairs, check out a level to make sure those stairs are as flat and safe as they should be before you go calling the Ghostbusters. 


Want to take first place at this year’s costume contest? Consider integrating some wearable technology into your look. Use CAD and a 3D printer to create your whole costume, or just a piece or two and you’ll have a costume no one else does. You can also make sure you’re seen by adding LED’s! Check out this LilyPad Constellation Project to see the system in action. With a little knowledge of sewing and circuits, you can outshine the competition. With careful engineering and planning, you can also add elements like moving wings. It may be a little late to make glowing articulated wings like this project, but it’s not too early to plan for next year! 


Stop in and see our exhibit “Engineering Halloween” which will be up for the rest of the month.