University of Houston Special Collections recently welcomed Emily Vinson, audiovisual archivist, to the team. She will shepherd the audiovisual collection on its journey through acquisition, preservation and digitization.
Vinson’s primary focus is the digitization of select materials from the KUHT Collection, including securing intellectual control and prioritizing items for accessibility.
The KUHT Collection presents a unique set of opportunities. It contains, in part, nearly 1200 film reels and 600 boxes of videotapes, the specific contents of which are unknown. “As is often the case with archival audiovisual collections, labeling is minimal, if present at all, so there are going to be many mysteries in the collection,” Vinson said. “There’s no finding aid yet, so we’re going to have a lot of questions in how to move forward with those pieces of the collection.”
Vinson will cross-reference each film and videotape with available titles, and query physical records in the collection to determine which programs hold lasting value and as such, rise in priority for digitization.
Even for highly-skilled archivists like Vinson, evaluating old films is a tricky process. Many may have become too fragile, and there may be only one opportunity for a successful transfer.
The process begins with an inspection of the films and tapes to determine its condition. Cleaning may be necessary. The films are then sent to film transfer experts for digitization, with care taken to preserve the original, which is then returned to Special Collections.
Vinson notes that public broadcasting audiovisual archives offer a uniquely intimate view of a community, unmatched in other media. “I think people engage with AV materials in a way that they don’t necessarily engage with paper materials,” Vinson said. “The insights you get into a city and community via the public broadcasting world is really unique. You see aspects of the city’s history that don’t come through in other ways. It’s a really exciting way to learn about a place, and to understand what was important to people then.”
Vinson was inspired to pursue library school after a particular event. She had just graduated from Tulane University before Hurricane Katrina hit. She evacuated and when she returned to the art gallery on campus where she worked, she saw that the university library had flooded. In the midst of widespread catastrophe, water was being pumped out and library staff were planning to elevate materials to try and salvage as much as possible.
“People saw value in the collection and found the means to preserve it,” Vinson said. “I thought that was the most amazing thing I had ever heard of. I had spent so many hours in this library, so that’s when I decided I should go to library school.”
Vinson attended UT Austin and earned a Master of Science in Information Studies with advanced study in conservation of library and archival materials. She held a fellowship in preservation and administration at New York Public Library, and later, had a two-year grant-funded position at WNYC, working on digitizing public radio archives. Most recently, she was an archivist at Rice University’s Baker Institute.
Beyond audiovisual preservation, Vinson is an avid reader (Agatha Christie novels are her favorites) and viewer of Netflix. She also plays tennis and sews. And she is enjoying UH culture. “I’ve had a really fantastic impression of the University so far,” she said. “I love that it’s a diverse campus and it’s really active and thriving.”
John Lehner, associate dean of personnel, planning, and systems, has been selected as the inaugural recipient of the Ambassador Kenneth Franzheim II Endowed Library Professorship, effective April 1, 2015.
The Ambassador Kenneth Franzheim II Endowed Library Professorship was established to support a full time librarian in the MD Anderson Library at the University of Houston. The candidate must have exceeded the requirements to achieve the rank of full professor, or full librarian, and must be recognized as an individual who has advanced their discipline, who is regarded for leadership and whose opinions are highly respected.
“John Lehner’s appointment reflects his exceptional performance as a leader and a scholar in the field of librarianship,” said Dean of Libraries and Elizabeth D. Rockwell Chair Dana Rooks. “The majority of his library career has been focused on the critical area of human resource management and administration. He has achieved strong national recognition in this field through his leadership in the development of new practices and policies reflecting the rapid changes in employee expectations, legal requirements, and transformational organization needs which permeate today’s human resource arena.”
Lehner’s scholarship is widely noted for its careful analysis of the dynamic landscape of human resource administration. Professional library associations, such as the American Library Association/Association of College and Research Libraries, and research library consortia such as the Association of Research Libraries, frequently call upon Lehner’s knowledge in creating standards and guidelines, developing initiatives and enhancing programs in human resource endeavors. His areas of expertise range from diversity to executive leadership to workforce development.
Kenneth Franzheim II was a Houston oilman and philanthropist. He served as ambassador to New Zealand, Western Samoa, Tonga and Fiji from 1969 to 1972.
Franzheim was also a friend and supporter of the UH Libraries, with a strong belief in education and lifelong learning. His father was the prominent Houston architect whose best known building was the downtown Foley’s Department Store. Ambassador Franzheim generously donated his late father’s collection of rare architecture books to the William R. Jenkins Architecture and Art Library, and created a number of endowments for the preservation and expansion of the Architecture Library Special Collection, a fund to purchase materials in literature and the arts in honor of his daughters, and a generous gift to the building expansion and renovation.
The UH Libraries held a reception honoring Lehner this month at the MD Anderson Library Rockwell Pavilion.
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Thursday, March 12, 1:00 p.m.
MD Anderson Library, Room 10-F
The University of Houston Libraries is conducting a series of user studies for our upcoming web site redesign. We’re hoping you can help us by participating in one of the studies.
We will be interviewing UH undergraduate students, graduate students and faculty about how they do research and how they use the library. We will make arrangements to perform interviews at the location where you typically conduct research. The in-person interview will take about an hour and you will receive a $25 Amazon gift card for your time. You would also have the benefit of sharing what you like and dislike about our web site. All of this will help us improve the website and research experience for our users.
If you are interested in helping, take this brief screening survey. If you qualify, we will contact you to schedule an interview.
Ariana Santiago recently joined the University of Houston Libraries as an instruction librarian in the department of Liaison Services.
In this role, Santiago works with UH instructors of high-impact undergraduate courses, such as English, psychology, engineering, biology and public speaking, to deliver point-of-need library instruction in research skills and information literacy.
Santiago is part of the Libraries instruction team, a group of librarians who support student success initiatives at the University by collaborating with faculty to strengthen students’ analytical skills and effectively use the library’s many resources.
Applying active learning methods, the instruction team takes students through library basics and beyond to transferable, concept-based knowledge, such as ethically using scholarly resources or strategic searches for information. These are the skills students need while in college and after graduation.
Santiago’s professional interests include learning theory, pedagogy and instructional design. Previously, she was a residency librarian at the University of Iowa, focusing on library outreach to undergraduate students.
Her venture into instruction began when she taught several marching band drum lines and competitive drum corps. As a drummer herself, this teaching role influenced her interests in the different ways that people prefer to learn, and eventually, nudged her onto the path of librarianship.
A native of Florida, Santiago says that Houston reminds her of home, and the University is an exciting place to be. “There’s a great sense of pride here,” she says. “I love that people are really striving for excellence in everything they do.”
A big part of the journey is the Libraries’ collective focus on student success. “We want students to be successful academically, but also in their personal lives,” Santiago says. “We want them to excel and achieve their career goals, and we contribute by helping them make use of the resources that we have here, and think critically about information.”
The University of Houston Libraries now offers access to a collection of streaming videos through Kanopy. Students, scholars and faculty can search and view over 4,500 educational videos in business, the arts, training, health sciences, media and communication, natural sciences, social sciences, and teacher education.
New videos will be added as they become available.
Browse the collection of videos by searching for “Kanopy” in the library catalog or by using a keyword search.
The University of Houston Libraries provides access to four million volumes of books and e-books, manuscripts, journals and other resources that support the teaching, learning and research activities of our students and scholars.
The care and maintenance of the catalog’s records fall under the purview of the Libraries’ resource management unit, led by Melody Condron.
Condron recently joined the UH Libraries as the new resource management coordinator. In this role, Condron and her team are responsible for quality control of the four million records in the Libraries’ database that represent a range of scholarly resources. Quality control involves activities that ensure records of catalogued materials are properly identified, described and linked for ease of discoverability.
Along with providing practical expertise in bibliographic resources management, Condron’s professional interests include libraries’ management of physical materials in a digital age. While students and scholars are using more and more digital resources, the conservation of print or physical collections in the stacks remains a priority to ensure users can access the best of both worlds.
Condron also studies personal archiving, the capture and preservation of an individual’s digital content, such as social media posts, photos and other ephemera. “We have a lot of data in our personal lives, and most people don’t think about what will happen to that if they pass away,” Condron said. “There’s been a big push in librarianship on how to make that data accessible in a meaningful way.”
Prior to arriving in Houston, Condron helped manage a consortium of 171 libraries in Montana that included K-12 school, law, public, and college and university libraries. Before that, she managed the collection for three public libraries, also in Montana. These experiences helped her gain broad knowledge of the larger issues in librarianship, and a strong desire to make connections with librarians across multiple areas of the profession.
Condron was excited to find a culture of collaboration and focus on innovation at UH Libraries. As a new member of the team, Condron brings fresh perspective, and has discovered that colleagues support suggestions for improvements to existing processes. “Everyone is really open to new ideas,” she said.
She has embraced the University’s focus on student success, and the Libraries’ commitment to provide enhanced services and resources in support of our students and scholars. This common goal, she says, has a positive impact on the engagement of librarians and staff as well. “Everyone seems to be excited about being at the University of Houston,” she said.
Miscellany about Melody
- An avid vegetable gardener and former resident of beautiful but chilly Montana, she is thrilled at the fact that she can now garden year-round.
- Her top nonfiction go-to is The Seven Sins of Memory: How the Mind Forgets and Remembers. “This is a fantastic book that identifies the seven different ways that your brain tricks you on purpose. Each time I read it, I learn new things, and I think ‘I forgot that,’ which is funny because it’s a book about memory.”
- Favorite fiction: “I’m a fan of anything by Terry Pratchett.”
- Favorite cuisine: Indian, Thai, Vietnamese. “Houston is a fantastic place for food.”
- Favorite films: Hot Fuzz and Tombstone.
When Pat Bozeman arrived at the University of Houston Libraries 30 years ago, Special Collections was in a state of transition, much like Bozeman herself, who was switching careers from the private sector in Boston to librarianship.
As a newly-minted graduate of the School of Library & Information Science at Indiana University, Bozeman accepted a position as special collections librarian in 1984. She felt that the job announcement was written just for her, because the department sought a person with knowledge of rare books and manuscripts, just the trade in which she had worked for 12 years prior.
Little did she know that, within less than two years, she would be appointed head of Special Collections.
“I have never, ever regretted that I came to Houston,” Bozeman says. She assumed that she would establish herself as a librarian, and eventually return to the Northeast. “Thirty years later, here I am,” she says with a smile. “I have really enjoyed being here at UH, and watching things grow.”
Bozeman was motivated to develop a new professional path for herself, while leading a small but increasingly active department. “Special Collections had been considered an add-on that nobody paid much attention to,” she says. “I was determined to change that.”
And she did. Bozeman was the first librarian to grow the Special Collections instruction program with diligent outreach to faculty and students, creating lectures for academic courses with use of the rare book collection and archival materials. Today, Special Collections hosts an average of 40 classes annually in its own classroom.
She organized and culled myriad books and archival items that had accumulated since the department’s inception in 1968, with careful attention to the needs of students and scholars. In recent years, she has overseen an increasing number of digitization projects focusing on the department’s unique materials and has worked tirelessly to enhance the visibility of the collections under her care. Bozeman strengthened existing collecting areas, such as Houston and Texas history, and established new archival units, such as Performing and Visual Arts, Hispanic Archives and Architecture and Planning. She supervised the creation of the Carey C. Shuart Women’s Archive and Research Collection, the Houston History Archives and the University Archives. Her team of librarians and archivists has flourished under her leadership, growing in number and national prominence.
The expansion of the department accelerated further when Dana Rooks became Dean of Libraries and placed more emphasis on Special Collections as an integral service point in this research library. Bozeman credits Rooks and Marilyn Myers, associate dean of Public Services, as stand-outs among those who championed the mission of the department and supported Bozeman in her vision of its relevance and growth.
In addition to leading Special Collections, Bozeman has been substantially involved in scholarship and service. She has curated or co-curated over 50 exhibits and Digital Library collections (and has supervised an even greater list), has given presentations on a wide range of topics in special collections and archives management, has organized conferences and workshops and, since 2004, has served as an adjunct faculty member in the University of North Texas’ School of Library and Information Science. She also has served in numerous professional associations at the national and regional level.
Throughout her long and impactful career, the rare and unique items of Special Collections remained a captivating reminder of why Bozeman loves this field, as she enjoys the thrill of discovery and making historical connections. She has worked with countless books, documents and objects that carry their own hidden stories, such as the collection of Revolutionary War letters in which she discovered that the person who penned many of those letters, a colonel in the 2nd New Jersey Regiment, was her first cousin eight times removed.
A few of her most treasured items include a 1692 court document, signed by Cotton Mather, convicting an Andover, Massachusetts woman as a witch in the infamous Salem trials. There is a fine press book of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven that, from its slipcase inward, evokes the somber image of that ominous black bird. Bozeman was later fortunate enough to be able to purchase Alan James Robinson’s original drawings for that book. She recalls a time early in her career when she reached for something peeking over the edge of a top shelf that turned out to be a Civil War-era document signed by President Abraham Lincoln. She also has enjoyed teaching with all manner of rare books, from medieval manuscript books of hours and the first edition of the King James bible (1611), to a wide array of children’s pop-up books.
And there is an exciting story behind an 1836 broadside playbill from New York City’s American Theatre, advertising a vaudevillian evening to benefit the “Texians” of the Texas Revolution. Although listed in Thomas Streeter’s Bibliography of Texas, 1795-1845, the notation indicated that Streeter himself had been unsuccessful in locating an original, having seen only a photostatic copy at the Texas State Library. In 2004, Bozeman discovered an original framed copy, belonging in the papers of New Deal Texas governor James V. Allred, one of the first collections to come to Special Collections in the 1960s. Bozeman’s resulting article, titled “‘For the Relief of the Texians’: A Theatrical Benefit to Aid the Texas Revolution,” appeared in the July 2012 Southwestern Historical Quarterly.
Although she is retiring from her post as head of Special Collections, Bozeman’s work continues. Her first project will be to take part in the ongoing research to create an online database of Texas artists and artisans for the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston-Bayou Bend.
In honor of her retirement, gifts may be made to the Pat Bozeman Endowment in Special Collections that provides travel stipends for researchers using the University of Houston Libraries’ archival collections. To make a gift, contact Todd Marrs at 713.743.9741.
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The University of Houston Libraries’ campus network connection will undergo an improvement to its router on Friday, January 30 at 5:30 a.m. This change will result in significantly faster speeds for traffic entering and leaving the Libraries’ network.
The work will take approximately 30 minutes to complete, during which time connection to the campus network will be interrupted.