Digital Exhibit on Iowa’s State Parks System Now Available!

As the cold days of winter have settled in for many of us, state parks are probably not on many plans for the coming months.  However, there is now an additional option to learn about the history of Iowa’s state parks from the comfort of the indoors. As mentioned in a previous post, the Special Collections and University Archives has an exhibition on display through the end of the year which tells the story of the early state parks movement here in Iowa: “This movement for a more beautiful Iowa”:  The Early Years of Iowa’s State Park System. Unable to visit the exhibition in person?  There’s now an alternative! Digital Initiatives and SCUA are excited to announce that the online version of the state parks exhibit is now available, along with the accompanying Iowa State Parks Digital Collection (which contains digitized materials used in the physical exhibit along with additional materials from SCUA’s collections).

Swimming scene (1903) from what would eventually become Ledges State Park. (from University Photograph Collection, box 377, folder 13)

The online exhibit extends the focus of the physical exhibit to include additional information on the parks system as a whole, the people behind the park names, the role of the Civilian Conservation Corps, and a broader history of the parks’ design, construction, and the natural areas they preserve. There is only so much space for the physical exhibits, so it was satisfying to see some of what we were not able to include in the physical exhibit incorporated into the online version. As one of the curators of the physical exhibit, I was able to work on both the physical exhibit and then the online exhibit. It was a great experience to see how the online exhibit became a companion to – and expanded on – our physical exhibit.

In addition to the images and textual content, the online exhibit also includes some fun interactive aspects including a StoryMap (created using Knight Lab’s StoryMap) which gives a tour of all 55 Iowa State Parks in 2017, in the order of their founding:

…and “quizzes” (but the fun kind – no grading involved!).  The fill-in-the-blank and true/false examples pictured below are from the page on Backbone State Park.

We were also able to add footnotes to the Drupal-based exhibit – which was exciting for us to learn about and to be able to incorporate into the text. For details on how this was done, visit Lori Bousson’s blog post over on the Digital Initiatives and Scholarship blog, DSI Update.

A lot of work goes into the creation of exhibits – both the reading room and online versions, and we hope that at least a few of you have been able to visit it here on the 4th floor of Parks Library.  Thanks to the help of people from across the library, we have been able to make the research, design and work of the physical exhibit available online for people to view across the world – with no closing date!


Join Us at the “Bomb” Transcribe-a-thon!

In 2016, the Iowa State University Library completed a six-year project to digitize an entire run of the campus yearbook, the Bomb. Comprised of nearly 45,000 pages, the digital versions are not easily searchable due to the wide variety of fonts and graphic elements used throughout the decades. Just look at the text from one page of the 1911 Bomb. The font and layout are unique, making the automated transcription process nearly impossible.

LD2548-Io9b-1935-000CoverWith that in mind, in its inaugural “Unsolved Histories” Project the Iowa State Digital Initiatives Unit has launched a crowd sourcing transcription project entitled, “Transcribe the Bomb.” It is our hope that by transcribing these yearbooks a wider audience can explore and find memories of themselves, their families and friends, favorite campus moments, and world events through the Iowa State University lens. Transcribing takes place online, found here:

https://yearbook.lib.iastate.edu/

You can try your hand at transcribing ISU yearbooks at the “Bomb” Transcribe-a-thon on Wednesday, October 25th, noon- 4:00 p.m. in Room 134. University Archivist, Brad Kunnen, will speak on the history of the yearbook and its importance as a historical record.

Come learn about the Bomb and how to transcribe its content. A quick tutorial is all it takes to get started! The event is free and open to the public, including beginners, and will provide a fun opportunity to learn about ISU history.

Participants may come and go at any time during the afternoon. Sponsored by the University Library Digital Scholarship and Initiatives department

Event Details: 

The Bomb Transcribe-a-thon, Wednesday October 25th,  Noon- 4:00 p.m.

Room 134, Parks Library

Transcribe-a-thon Event Details

LD2548-Io9b-1976-000Cover


#TBT Engineer’s Campfire

Tomorrow is the first day of fall, so let’s look back at an Iowa State fall tradition of days gone by.

1927Yearbook

Page from the 1927 Bomb

The text on the page reads “One of the most picturesque occasions of the Fall Quarter is the Engineer’s Campfire held in a natural theatre in North Woods.  During the afternoon a regular “Side-show” provides entertainment, while at night two big fires light up a stage for student vaudeville stunts.  The Engineers are knighted by St. Patrick by the light of the two big “torches.”  Norman Brown was St. Patrick this fall, and Margaret Erickson was “Engineer’s Lady.”

The Engineer’s Campfire was suspended in 1929 due to falling revenue and the unpredictability of the fall weather in Iowa.

As the weather gets colder (or at least, will eventually!), take time to learn about other ISU traditions that have been left in the past. After you do that, the entire run of the Bomb has been digitized, and all are encouraged to contribute to helping transcribe the pages in order to make the text search more accurate.



Coming soon: Avian Archives of Iowa Online (avIAn)

Black and white photograph of baby chipping sparrow sitting on a tree branch with its mother feeding it.

Photograph of chipping sparrows from Walter Rosene Papers, MS 589. Back of photo reads, “Meal time in the chipping sparrow family. This youngster is 9 days old.”

We are very pleased to announce that Iowa State University received a 2016 Digitizing Hidden Special Collections and Archives Award from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR). This grant will fund a two-year project to establish a web portal for digital Iowa ornithological primary sources dating from 1895 to 2012. The Avian Archives of Iowa Online (avIAn) will include material from eight collections from Special Collections and University Archives. These collections  document over one hundred years of bird study in Iowa and encompass some of the Midwest’s most influential conservationists.

Handwritten journal page reads, "Saturday June 14, 1924. Left Sioux City at 3:45 p.m. Speedometer reading 16998. Photo of us by car at start (spoiled). Red wing - Dickcissel - Meadowlark. Mourning Dove - Flicker - Barn Swallow...

Journal from Iowa, Minnesota, and North Dakota bird watching trip, 1924. Walter M. Rosene, Sr. Papers, MS 589, Special Collections Department, Iowa State University Library, box 13, folder 1.

The selected collections include:

Once completed, avIAn will present the items as both archival materials and as scientific data, expanding its potential user base.

For more information, see the Library’s news release.

 


Working the Corner of Yesterday and Tomorrow

When I was a kid schoolteachers used slide projectors quite a bit. Slides and transparencies are very easy to use. Film projectors and reels are a little trickier, but those were commonly used as well. Some instructors were still using these media when I was earning my degrees (roughly 1995 to 2007). Doing so could make sense: not all topics are subject to change, and if the teaching aids and apparatus are durable, why not use that slide show on Renaissance art for 20 years?

Working in archives often means working with outmoded technology and information-bearing media. It’s interesting that while archivists are not stuck in the past — we use cutting-edge tools, we collect and preserve modern stuff — archivists can never forget about the old media, machinery, methods, and materials. All that is donated to (and actively collected by) institutions like archives, museums, and special libraries.

Today I will blog about glass slides and the projectors that love them. ISU Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) has more than one set of glass slides, but our largest set of them is part of the Warren H. Manning Papers (manuscript collection MS 218). Manning (1860-1938) was a giant in the realm of landscape architecture. Photography was one of his favorite tools. Among other things, SCUA’s Manning collection includes over 2000 glass “lantern slides” and over 1000 photographic prints made from the slides. Take a look — 1554 images are online here. Quite a few are of scant interest to laypeople, but there are interesting and beautiful ones too:

218-ls-489

Taken at Ishpeming, Michigan. William G. Mather house before planting. No date. Manning lantern slide #489. Image ID 218.LS.489.

The word “lantern” in “lantern slides” sounds a bit archaic, doesn’t it? When I think of lanterns, I think of wicks and flames, not light bulbs. Similarly, some people — Brits, possibly others — refer to flashlights as “electric torches” or just “torches,” a usage I find appealing. Lantern slide projectors use bulbs, but they are descended from magic lanterns. The basic idea is very old and requires nothing more than a source of light (the brighter the better) and something to shine it through (not necessarily a photograph: stained glass invites comparison). In this way it reminds me of the camera obscura. What could be simpler, and yet so pregnant with possibilities?

dilineascope-side-2

A Spencer “Delineascope” glass slide projector, one of several that SCUA owns. Made in the 1920s. Was used for instructional purposes at ISU.

Of course, making glass slides with photographic images on them is a 19th century development. While archives and collectors should take good care of the slides, and maintain some projectors of the same vintage, we have an interest in reformatting the images. Glass slides are heavy and fragile. The projector pictured above is very heavy (take my word for it). Most people do not need to use the originals; photographic prints and digitized versions are usually better options. We pursue the same strategy when we offer facsimiles of rare books and manuscripts. Certain researchers need to see the real artifacts, and within reason we love to show them off.

The work of reformatting information resources takes as many forms as there are types of media. Consider that some things can be viewed with the naked eye, while others require an intermediary device (such as a projector). Computer programs and data storage are an extreme case; since the “goalposts” have moved so quickly, meeting requirements for preserving and accessing legacy digital resources is a daunting challenge.

Being a musician I am tempted to digress into digital audio reformatting and related topics, but I’ll save those thoughts for another time.

 


Basketball: Iowa State versus Kansas 60 Years Ago #TBT

Wilt Chamberlain (Kansas #13)

From University Photograph Collection, 24/5/G, box 1817

This Saturday, January 14th, marks the 60th anniversary of a well-remembered game in Iowa State’s basketball history: Iowa State versus Kansas. Both teams had players which would go on to have major professional basketball careers:  Gary Thompson (Iowa State, #20) and Wilt Chamberlain (Kansas, #13). In the photograph above, Chamberlain is attempting to make a basket while Thompson guards on the floor.

It was an exciting game, with Iowa State beating Kansas, 39-37. At the very end, Don Medsker made the winning basket. The game was Chamberlain’s first loss in college basketball. In celebration of the win, Iowa State fans invaded the Armory’s floor after the game.

A number of images documenting the game are now available in Digital Collections. Although we don’t have a program from the game (please contact us if you’d be willing to donate one!), we do have news clippings from that year in RS 24/5/0/0, box 1, folder 1, a folder of materials on Gary Thompson (RS 21/7/1), and the book “Gary Thompson, All-American” by Gary Offenburger.  Additional men’s basketball records are also available in the University Archives.



Gloria Steinem’s 1984 visit to ISU #TBT @iowastatedaily @GloriaSteinem

When reading the Iowa State Daily today I was pleased to see an article on Pat Miller and her role in building the ISU Lectures Program. It is a vibrant program and has had as many as 177 lectures in a year. The article mentions Gloria Steinem‘s participation in the ISU Lectures Program. I thought it would be fun to share an article about Gloria Steinem’s first lecture from the Bomb, the Iowa State University yearbook printed from 1894-1994. If you didn’t catch her previous lectures, you are in luck! Gloria Steinem is returning to campus, on October 11.

Pages 92-93 of the 1985 Bomb. The white string vertically crossing page 93 is  a weight. We use weights to gently hold down pages without putting undue pressure on the spine of our books. The pages describe Women's Week '84 at ISU, pictured are Gloria Steinem at her "Everyday Rebellions" lecture, people protesting Steinem's lecture, and the prediction run.

Pages 92-93 of the 1985 Bomb. The white string vertically crossing page 93 is  a weight. We use weights to gently hold down pages without putting undue pressure on the spine of our books. The pages describe Women’s Week ’84 at ISU, pictured are Gloria Steinem at her “Everyday Rebellions” lecture, people protesting Steinem’s lecture, and the prediction run.

Drop by the Reading Room to check out the Bomb! We’re open Monday – Friday from 9-5. You can also view all of the Bombs online, thanks to Digital Initiatives!

 


#Flashback Friday – Cycles vs. Spartans @CycloneATH @isualum

Tomorrow the Cyclones play the Spartans for the 4th time.

The first game between the two teams was in 1958 and the last game was in 1980. Check out the series information from our 2008 ISU Football Media Guide.

Series record for San Jose State from 2008 ISU Football Media Guide: 3 games, Series record 3-0-0, at Jack Trice Stadium ISU leads 1-0-0; at San Jose State ISU leads 1-0-0, 1958 away game ISU won 9-6, 1959 home game ISU won 55-0, and 1980 home game, ISU won 27-6.

Series record for San Jose State from 2008 ISU Football Media Guide (RS 24/6/0/6 box 5, folder 6)

 

Here’s an article about the 1959 game from the 1959 Bomb:

Cropped page from the 1959 Bomb, ISU Yearbook, describes ISU & San Jose State game. ISU won 9 to 6. "Coach Clay Stapletons players wrote the final chapter to their season by taking control in the second half, coming from behind and defeating the San Jose Spartans, 9-6. Bob Harden, playing the last game of his collegiate career, led the attack by totaling 70 yards in an early third quarter drive. Cliff Ricks conversion gave the Cyclones a one-point lead. The Iowa State fury exploded before the California crowd of 11,000; and a Spartan fumble in Iowa States end zone, recovered by the Cyclone score. Moe Nichols and Bob Harden accounted for 145 and 118 yards respectively, which the Cyclones gained on the ground while reducing the passing average per game for the Spartans from 183 to yr yards. Photogrpah caption: "And Going in for the Cycylones ... But wait! A new rule, enforcing a two-substitutions-per-quarter-per-man rule, required players to sign in with officials before entering the game."

Cropped page 382 from the 1959 Bomb, ISU Yearbook, summarizing the Iowa State San Jose State game.

 

Drop by the SCUA Reading Room to dig up more football facts & trivia. We’re open Monday-Friday, from 9-5.

Go Cyclones!