‘Tis the season for planting corn in Iowa! Today’s TBT image is of an Iowa Agriculture and Home Economics Experiment Station worker preparing to plant a field with corn. The Experiment Station has been a part of Iowa State since 1888 and provides research to help Iowans, though much of the research has global applications.
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.
The selected collections include:
- Big Bluestem Audubon Society (MS 592)
- Woodward Hart Brown Papers (MS 502)
- Philip A. Dumont Papers (MS 153)
- Fairfield (Iowa) Bird Club Records (MS 386)
- Iowa Ornithological Association Records (MS 581)
- Iowa Ornithologists’ Union (MS 166)
- Frederic Leopold Papers (MS 113)
- Walter M. Rosene, Sr. Papers (MS 589)
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.
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:
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
Here’s an article about the 1959 game from the 1959 Bomb:
Drop by the SCUA Reading Room to dig up more football facts & trivia. We’re open Monday-Friday, from 9-5.
Since this Saturday is the ISU football game against University of Iowa, this week’s #TBT picture is a photograph of the ISU varsity football team 100 years ago. Go Cyclones!
You can also drop by our reading room. We’re on the 4th floor of the Parks Library and open from 9-5, Monday-Friday.
Yesterday we visited the State Historical Society of Iowa in Des Moines. We were able to visit with a number of librarians, archivists, and curators. We learned about the Iowa Newspaper Project and work being done collecting county records, among many other things. This blog post does not do justice to all of the wonderful things we saw and learned about, so you will just have to drop by and visit the collections yourself!
Hooray! The Digital Initiatives unit now has a website explaining what they do and providing a gateway to selected digitized collections. In a nutshell, Digital Initiatives puts collections from Special Collections & University Archives (SCUA) online, as well as selected material from the library’s collection that’s in the public domain.
You can browse by topics, from A-Z, and by material/media type!