Happy Birthday, Juan Gris

With a few items from the Iowa Digital Library, we celebrate Juan Gris 125th birthday, known for his cubist style and working alongside Picasso (a fellow countryman) and Braque whose cubist work was largely monochromatic.  Juan Gris, on the other hand, painted his cubist designs with a brighter palette more in keeping with his friend Henri Matisse.

–Ann Khan, Digital Research and Publishing







Root Beer

Nothing goes together with summertime like root beer.  And given this summer, the colder the better.  The Nourished Kitchen blog published a recipe for homemade root beer, and in describing the history of the beverage, pointed to a delightful 1891 pamphlet for Hires’ Root Beer from the Szathmary Recipe Pamphlet digital collection from the Iowa Digital Library.  Check it out, and grab a cold one!

—Mark Anderson
Digital Initiatives Librarian

NonfictioNow 2010 Recordings Available

On November 4-6, 2010, the Department of English hosted NonfictioNow 2010, the third Bedell Nonfiction Conference. About 450 writers and readers met in the Iowa Memorial Union to explore the past, present, and future of nonfiction in its myriad forms.

The Iowa Digital Library has extended the reach of those discussions to online users everywhere through the Virtual Writing University Archive. The archive has catalogued recordings of the 2010 convening, which are available for streaming as .mp3 files.

Nonfiction fans can indulge in the talks by the 2010 keynote speakers, which include Alison Bechdel, the autobiographical cartoonist behind Dykes to Watch Out For; Rebecca Solnit, author of 13 books about art, landscape, community, ecology, politics, hope, and memory; and John Edgar Wideman, author or more than 18 books and two-time winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award.

The conference also welcomed back alumni from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop like David Shields, author of Reality Hunger: a Manifesto. Other renowned and burgeoning writers joined him in dissecting their craft and sharing their learning. Topics covered several sub-genres of nonfiction like memoir, journalism and travel writing, as well as creative nonfiction from Australia and Ireland. The archive also includes recordings from the readings given throughout the conference.

The collection was developed through the assistance of The University of Iowa’s School of Library and Information Science.

Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature iPhone App

UNESCO iPhone AppDevelopers of the Writing Universtiy at the University of Iowa have released a new iPhone app that focuses on Iowa City’s place as a UNESCO City of Literature.  The app can be downloaded through the iTunes App Store.  More information can be found through the UI News Service.

The Virtual Writing University Archive is another resource that brings together hundreds of audio and video recordings of emerging and renounded writers of the International Writing Program, Live from Prairie Lights, NonfictioNOW, and more.

Short Fiction Award

Barbara Hamby’s “Lester Higata’s 20th Century” was announced as the winner of the 2010 John Simmons Short Fiction Award winner from the University of Iowa Press.  The John Simmons Short Fiction Award — named for the first director of the University of Iowa Press — was created in 1988 to complement the existing Iowa Short Fiction Award.

Winning entries from 1970-2000 can be freely accessed through Iowa Research Online, the University of Iowa’s Institutional Repository.  Books by more recent award winners can be purchased from the University of Iowa Press.

Homecoming 1930-2010

Take a trip back 80 years with a few homecoming memories from the Iowa Digital Library


Iowa-Penn State homecoming football game, Nov. 15, 1930


Iowa-Penn State homecoming football game, Nov. 15, 1930



Homecoming corn monument, 1930



Homecoming pin, 1930



Cheerleader placing pin on hawk during Homecoming festivities, Nov. 3, 1956


…but homecoming wouldn’t be complete without the parade


Homecoming parade on Clinton Street, 1940s

Ephemeral bovine

It’s helpful for Digital Library Services to examine usage statistics about the Iowa Digital Library to see where site traffic comes from and which collections have more or less hits.  Sometimes, it’s just fun to see outside links pointing to unexpected places.  The Springer Printing Ephemera is a digital collectiton containing samples from various printing companies, calendars and political clippings amassed by Iowa City printer John Springer.

Springer Printing Ephemera Digital Collection

The Libraries are adding each and every piece in the collection, so that it will be a comprehensive surrogate for the archival collection, and a valuable tool for studying the history of printing and typography.  Although not a heavily publicized collection, we noticed that the Design Observer Group picked an image from the Springer Collection for their daily selection of… “things lost on the fringes…ordinary, odd, beautiful things. Esoteric images, old diagrams, typography, cartography — visions of a once promising but now extinct future.”

Seymour cream cowAnd this image of a cow, advertising cream-colored paper from the Seymour Company of New York, made the cut.

–Mark Anderson
Digital Initiatives Librarian

A new view for IDL

We’ve added a new viewer to the item interface for the Iowa Digital LibrarydmMonicle is an image viewer that makes it easier to see detailed pictures with its click-and-drag capability (think Google Maps).  Another significant change is how you zoom.  Rather than having defined zoom levels, zooming is handled with a sliderbar.  It doesn’t look a whole lot different from the previous toolbar, but the usability is much improved!


A shout out to the development staff at the UNLV Libraries for making this terrific viewer!

–Mark F. Anderson
Digital Initiatives Librarian

Bon Voyage, Anne!

This week, DLS bids farewell to Digital Projects Librarian Anne Shelley, who has accepted the position of assistant librarian with the Center for Transportation Studies at the University of Minnesota.  Anne started her tenure just last June amid the rising waters of the Iowa River flood.  Listing all of her accomplishments would cause the blog server to crash, so just a couple of highlights…

 She led the Ignaz Pleyel digital collection to fruition, a one-of-a-kind collection of over 200 early editions of Pleyel music scores.  The project required a great deal of coordination and planning, which Anne carried out successfully.

Anne also recorded several tutorials on using the Iowa Digital Library, helping users to navigate the sometimes-tricky interface of IDL. 

Good luck Anne!  We’ll miss you.

–Mark F. Anderson
Digital Initiatives Librarian