Aeon Introduction

Hello everyone!

We’ve got an exciting change coming! This summer we will launch Aeon, a special collections and archives circulation system.

What does this mean for you? After you create an Aeon account, you will be able to make reading room and reproduction requests directly from our finding aids and the library’s catalog. You will also be able to access your request history–no more keeping track of your pink call slips! You can also save searches for the future while getting ready to do your research.

Aeon is a great tool for us to be able to collect anonymous data to know which collections might be good candidates for digitization, exhibits, even for use in classrooms.

Keep checking Cardinal Tales in the coming months for more updates, instructions, and neat features.


SCUA Has Upgraded Shelves!

As I wrote about in my last blog post, the department closed over the winter break to have new motors installed on our compact shelving – several kept getting stuck and they were becoming harder and harder to repair.

Now that the work is over, I thought I’d share some of the photos I took during the process.

We used the reading room to store collections we had to remove from the shelves.
The old handles were removed, seen dangling here.
After the old handles were removed the shelves were prepped for new ones.
Here you can see the shelving was removed, and the motor components are ready to be replaced.
You can see just some of the equipment and supplies needed for the project.

Thank you to all researchers for your patience while we improved our space!


An explanation for our upcoming department closure

By now, hopefully all researchers have seen the notice on our website that the Special Collections & University Archives will be closed from December 23 until January 10, reopening on Monday January 13, 2020. What you probably haven’t seen is an explanation.

The motorized compact shelving we have in our storage area was installed over 20 years ago and has surpassed its expected lifespan; some of the replacement parts aren’t even made any more! We’ve been experiencing some failure among these shelves for many years, and we’re now at the point that replacing some of the electronics is the most reasonable course of action.

To do this, staff will need to remove the boxes from some of the shelving to allow for the work to happen. Below you see one shelf in one range, which gives you an idea of how many boxes staff need to remove, then replace.

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A view of how many boxes are on one range of our motorized shelving units.

While one shelf range is being fixed the shelves on either side are inaccessible, meaning that about 1/5 of our holdings would be unavailable to researchers at any given point during this process. In the photo below you can see how the shelves fit snugly together, limiting access.

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A portion of our motorized shelves.

Since the winter break is usually a slow period for us here in Special Collections & University Archives, we decided to do the work now to limit the impact on researchers.

We look forward to starting the new decade with fully functioning shelves!


Welcome Greg Bailey, University Archivist

Special Collections & University Archives is happy to welcome aboard Greg Bailey as Iowa State’s new University Archivist. Greg comes to us from Texas A&M, where he served as University Archivist and Clements Curator for the Cushing Library for five years. As University Archivist, Greg was responsible for the day-to-day operations of the university archives and related collections and served as the primary spokesperson for Texas A&M history.  As Clements Curator, he was responsible for the papers of two term Governor William P. Clements. Prior to his time at Texas A&M, Greg was the University Archivist and Records Manager at Stephen F. Austin State University for three years.  

Greg received his BA in History with minors in Geography and Political Science from Eastern Illinois University and his MLIS with a specialization in archives and records management from Indiana University—Bloomington. 

Greg’s professional contributions include service on SAA’s College and University Archivist Section Steering Committee, as well as SAA’s Mentoring Sub-Committee. He also served as the Vice Chair Brazos County Historical Commission, which works to ensure the preservation of historic buildings, sites, artifacts, documents and other important pieces of Texas history. In addition, Greg served as the Vice Chair of Brazos County World War I Centennial Committee and was the Lead Contact of the Bryan/College Station area for the Texas World War I Centennial Commemoration. 

In his free time, Greg enjoys playing soccer and riding his motorcycle.

Greg Bailey, courtesy of Greg Bailey

A Welcome to Daniel Hartwig, Head of Special Collections and University Archives

headshot of Daniel Hartwig

Photo of Daniel Hartwig, courtesy of Daniel Hartwig.

Prior to coming to ISU, Daniel was the University Archivist at Stanford University from 2010 – 2019, where, among other things, he led several efforts aimed at enhancing access to archives, including large-scale digitization projects, community oral history projects, and crowdsourcing projects. From 2006 – 2010, he served as Records Services Archivist at Yale University, and, from 2004 – 2006, Archivist and Digital Projects Developer at Ball State University. 

Daniel double majored in History and Philosophy at the University of Iowa. He also holds an MA in History and Philosophy of Science from Indiana University Bloomington and an MLIS with a concentration in archives from the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

In his free time Daniel is an avid photographer and motorcyclist, often combining the two on trips across the U.S. and Canada. When he’s not out on the road, he and his wife, Katja, enjoy going to museums, watching ice hockey, and spending time with their dog Mamma Meatball, a Bulldog/Staffordshire Terrier mix.

Courtesy of Daniel Hartwig.

Fun facts about Daniel:

Daniel hugged James Brown; met band members from The Doors and The Velvet Underground; exchanged business cards with Jack White; and met more than 40 cast members from the Walking Dead.

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Caster’s jerks and knocking up the balls: Adventures in hand-press bookmaking

Me in a printer’s hat.

The first week in June, I had the privilege of attending the Book History Workshop (BHW) at Texas A&M University, where a group of twenty workshop participants and six instructors created a facsimile edition of an 18th century publication–setting the type, imposing the pages, pulling the press, and folding and binding the gatherings into pamphlets–in addition to experimenting with other aspects of book production, such as typecasting, making and decorating paper, and creating woodcut and wood engraved illustrations. These pursuits were all in the name of empirical bibliography, a term coined by Todd Samuelson and Christopher Morrow, instructors of the BHW, which they define as “an effort to understand the manner in which a book was constructed through immediate physical experience (including the systematic and repeatable process of testing and verification based on historical methodology)” (Samuelson and Morrow 86). We made books, therefore, following appropriate practices and technologies of the hand press period (ca. 1450-1800), in order to develop a deep understanding of book construction that would inform our future work with these books as librarians, curators, and scholars.

Reproduction common press at Texas A&M University.

We did indeed develop a bodily understanding of the process and labor of book production–I went to bed physically exhausted every night! Let me take you through some highlights of the workshop.

Our first full day in the pressroom, we came to tables set up with job cases full of type, equipment for composing and setting type, and an assigned number of lines to set individually:

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Once we had set our individual lines of type, we had to join them together into a page–being careful not to pie the type (spilling the lines we had so carefully composed)!

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Once we had our page locked up in its galley, we printed proof pages to see which corrections were needed.

Page of type surrounded by a metal frame with metal pieces holding the type firmly in place.

Locking up the page in a chase for a galley proof.

Finally, all the pages to be printed on a sheet were imposed on the press bed:

Day 2 began with a new experience: “knocking up the balls”–that is, putting wool into wooden ball stocks and fastening pelt over them with nails. These created padded ink balls that we used to apply ink to the type. One of my classmates joined an instructor in knocking up for this first time:

After knocking up and inking the balls, we had the chance to print the pages–wearing our printer’s hats, of course!

We also had another set of lines we each had to set.

My lines to set for day 2–longer this time!

Day 3, we had a final set of lines to set, and we experimented with two illustration techniques, wood cut and wood engraving. I plan to rush over that, however, to talk more about typecasting, which we did on day 4.

Typecasting first began with making the matrix, or the mold used to cast a single piece of type. You begin with a blank (a piece of metal that will become the matrix), and a punch (another piece of metal that is used to make the impression in the blank). Punchcutting is an entire craft unto itself, and the thought of the skill and fine touch needed to make punches blows my mind. We were given punches that we hammered into blanks, after which we filed them down to make sure the impression was centered on the matrix.

Once we had our matrices made, we were ready for typecasting. The matrix is put into an adjustable mold that is held closed with a spring. Then comes the part I was a little bit scared about–molten metal is poured into the mold, while the caster makes a “caster’s jerk.” This is an upward, jerking motion that forces the molten metal all the way into the letter form of the mold. I had some trepidation about handling molten metal, but with safety goggles and gloves, it was all pretty safe. See me below looking a liiiiiittle unsure about this whole process.

Amy getting ready to typecast. Not feeling too sure about this whole idea. Photo credit: Jo Collier.

The metal begins to solidify almost instantly, and it does not take long to cool. What comes out of the mold is a piece of type with an extra piece of metal, called a jet, attached. You break off the jet, plane off any ragged edges, and file the piece of type to type-height. And there you have it! A piece of type!

The end result of our week of labor? A 22-page facsimile pamphlet of Thomas Paine’s Thoughts on the Peace, from an edition published London in 1791. It is printed in three gatherings, or groups of folded leaves. The gatherings are sewn into a blue paper wrapper (paper made during the papermaking part of the workshop) meant to mimic the type of cheap paper wrapper that printers would frequently sell their books in. These paper wrappers were not meant to last. They were a means to hold together the gatherings of a book until the purchaser could take them to a binder to put a more permanent covering on them. In this case, though, I’m planning keep the blue paper wrapper. I’m proud of our work!

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Work Cited

Samuelson, Todd, and Christopher L. Morrow. “Empirical Bibliography: A Decade of Book History at Texas A&M.” The Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America, vol. 109, no. 1, 2015, pp. 83-109.


Introducing A.L. Carson, processing archivist

Carson, in their natural habitat (surrounded by boxes).

A.L. Carson goes by “Carson” and has since approximately the age of 12. Carson earned their Masters of Science in Information Studies, focusing on archives and digital materials, from the University of Texas at Austin in 2016, and spent two years as a Library Fellow at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. In February of 2019, Carson left UNLV to come to ISU; joining SCUA as a processing archivist, Carson enjoys both the complex intellectual work of unraveling collections and the more mundane physical tasks of taking records from storage to access. They have a dog, love bicycles and baseball, and listen to a lot of music.



A Welcome to Emily DuGranrut, Our NHPRC Project Archivist

Courtesy of Emily DuGranrut.

Emily is the new NHPRC Project Archivist at Iowa State, working with Special Collections and University Archives to complete a grant project to implement a new archives management system.

Emily is originally from Lima, Ohio, and comes from a large family of library and history lovers. She studied journalism and history at Ohio University and completed an internship at The New York Times before moving to Columbus, Ohio. In Columbus, she helped manage a used bookstore for three years and began working toward her MLIS at Wayne State University. She moved to Iowa in August after completing an internship at Interlochen Center for the Arts in Michigan, where she worked digitizing audio materials and processing photo collections. She will finish her MLIS in December. In her free time, Emily enjoys hanging out with her cats, Ace and Jack, reading, camping, and rock climbing.


SCUA 104

Thanks for coming back to the blog!  This is the 4th post in a series about using the Special Collections and University Archives at ISU.

Today I’m going to talk about your options if you need reproductions of our materials.  While we highly encourage researchers to visit us to see our collection, we understand that sometimes that is just not possible due to distance or other factors. Don’t fear—there are still some options for those who can’t come to the archives in person.

We can make photocopies through our document delivery program.  These are low-resolution photocopies we make on our overhead scanner.  Depending on the size of the order, we can have these copies sent to you via email or through the “snail” mail in about 2-4 weeks, though it can take longer for large or complicated orders.

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Our Bookeye overhead scanner. The black pads fold up to create a book cradle!

We are also able to make publication quality high-resolution scans of our images.  Depending on your use, you may also need to fill out a request to publish form when you order your images.  There are fees for both document delivery and image reproduction; please consult our website or send us an email to learn more!

Of course, we must comply with copyright law when making scans and reproductions.  Unfortunately, this sometimes blocks us from being able to make reproductions of things that we do not have rights to, are not in the public domain, or whole volumes.  While copyright law is extremely complicated, a good place to start learning about what is and is not allowed is the library’s page on copyright issues.

Have any questions about any of these services? Feel free to email us at archives@iastate.edu. Want to know more about SCUA?  See our previous posts in this series about our reading room rules, what happens when you visit the reading room, or finding student records in the archives.

3Cys

Our Cy and baby Cys would love to see you, but we understand that sometimes that’s just not possible. Photo credit Olivia Garrison, taken 6/19/18


A Welcome to Rachael Acheson, Our Assistant University Archivist

Rachael Acheson began work as the Assistant University Archivist in SCUA on January 8, 2018. Her work will center around documentation of student life at ISU, including the collection of current and historical records from student organizations and  archiving University and student-run websites and social media pages with Archive-It. She will also assist with more general processing, outreach, and instruction.

In August 2016, Rachael earned her dual master’s degree in English (MA) and Library and Information Science (MLIS) from the University of South Carolina, where she concentrated on Archives and Special Collections, which allowed her to indulge both her fascination with rare books and textual studies along with discursive interests in transatlantic literature. While in her graduate program, Rachael taught freshman English courses and interned with the oral history and rare books departments. Rachael also had the opportunity to complete a number of amazing internships with the university libraries and local archives, including one that involved preparations to host a travelling exhibit from the Folger Shakespeare Library, which featured a First Folio.

Immediately before coming to ISU, Rachael worked in Cedar Falls, IA, where she completed a 10-month temporary assignment as the Special Collections and University Archives Librarian at University of Northern Iowa.

Here are a few fun facts about Rachael:

    1. She is currently very much out-of-practice, but she plays the harp and began college as a Harp Performance major. Mary Foss, the principal harpist of the Des Moines Symphony Orchestra and also Adjunct Professor at ISU, Drake University, and Central College, was the first of her many excellent harp teachers. As a result, Rachael had the opportunity to attend an ISU masterclass with Catrin Finch, formerly the Royal Harpist to H.R.H. the Prince of Wales, when Rachael had been playing for only five months. After serving as the principle harpist for her college orchestra for four years, Rachael also performed briefly with the Central Iowa Symphony.
    2. She has a pewter-gray cat named Sterling, who enjoys standing on her head in the early hours of the morning and watching tv.
    3. She is a huge nerd about children’s and Young Adult (YA) literature, collects illustrated editions of Frances Hodgson Burnett novels, and has met Maggie Stiefvater twice.
    4. She spent a large portion of her childhood in Iowa Falls, Iowa, and so has some history of her own with Ames and likes to think she is in the process of getting better acquainted with the state as a whole.

Rachael’s literary cat, Sterling, posing for the camera.

She is excited to be back in the area. We’re excited too!