The University of Houston is a premier research institution, offering opportunities for learning, discovery, and engagement to a diverse population. The UH Libraries, a key component of the University’s success, must anticipate and respond to the research and educational needs of its constituents in a globally interdependent world. UH Libraries Strategic Plan, FY 2017 – 2021, serves as the foundation for the UH Libraries’ continued excellence, constant improvement, and growing national reputation as a top research library. At the heart of this plan lie the University of Houston’s Strategic Goals.
The UH Libraries Strategic Plan, FY 2017 – 2021, is guided by the Libraries’ shared organizational values, input from the Office of the Provost, and is closely aligned with University priorities. The goals and initiatives of this document will provide guidance for departments, functional units, and individuals over the next five years.
The Texas Library Association (TLA) member of the month is Alex Simons, history and political science librarian at the University of Houston Libraries. Read more
Ten years after the murder of John “HAWK” Hawkins, Mayor Sylvester Turner proclaimed May 8 “Big Hawk Day” in commemoration of the Houston rapper’s life and career.
At a recent event held at the University of Houston Libraries Special Collections, Hawkins’ widow, Meshah Hawkins, was presented with a proclamation from the City of Houston as well as Congressional recognition from the office of Sheila Jackson Lee.
HAWK was a member of the Screwed Up Click, a group of talented Houston rappers who performed on the pioneering mixtapes of DJ Screw. HAWK released the solo albums Under H.A.W.K.’s Wings, HAWK, and Endangered Species. Along with his brother Fat Pat, DJ Screw, and Kay Kay, he released the album Screwed for Life as a member of the group Dead End Alliance (DEA).
In attendance at the event were Meshah Hawkins and her sons Tahj and Koran; HAWK’s mother Louella Hawkins; and his sisters Paula Roberts and Catina Hawkins; as well as artists Lil’ Keke; Poppy, Scooby, and Unique of the G.R.i.T. Boys; and rapper Fat Tony. Other attendees included music promoter Matt Sonzala and photographer Todd Spoth.
Trustees of the Houston Assembly of Delphian Chapters Scholarship Foundation Fund presented the University of Houston Libraries with a grant to acquire new equipment for the benefit of students and scholars at a recent Awards and Installation Luncheon.
The funds will go towards the purchase of GoPro cameras, which will be added to the technology available for check-out from the MD Anderson Library Learning Commons.
Healthcare workers increasingly depend on data for decision-making, but students frequently graduate with limited data literacy skills in health science professions. Porcia Vaughn, biochemistry, biology, and nursing librarian, and Josh Been, social science data librarian, have joined forces to address this need. Working with the UH School of Nursing and the health education program within the UH College of Education, they developed curriculum and data tools to help health students acquire real world analytical skills.
Socio-economic data can be used to identify and target areas for health intervention. Using these types of data, nursing students developed an education program focused on exposure to lead risk in Fort Bend County, while health education students were able to identify medically underserved areas and food desert regions in Harris County. Additionally, health education students used data visualization tools to explore the effect of peer relationships on alcohol consumption habits.
Been and Vaughn provided in-class activities that allowed students to critically think through real world health issues. These activities led students to create implementation plans for community health education initiatives in the community. These are just two examples of how librarians can enrich the teaching curriculum by providing hands-on experience with data analysis skills that directly influence real world outcomes.
The University of Houston Libraries has begun a new campaign to celebrate reading and lifelong learning.
The UH READ campaign follows in the tradition of the American Library Association (ALA) Celebrity READ posters that first appeared in 1985. The first group of UH READ posters feature UH faculty and librarians who have recently achieved tenure and/or promotion, along with Paula Myrick Short, senior vice president for academic affairs and provost; Leonard Baynes, dean of the UH Law Center; Alan Dettlaff, dean of the UH Graduate College of Social Work; and Earl Smith III, dean of the UH College of Optometry.
Dean of Libraries Lisa German was moved to establish the UH READ campaign owing to a strong personal connection with reading.
“A lifelong love of reading was nurtured by my father,” German said. “When I was a baby and through early childhood he read me a story every night before bed. I believe this made me the reader I am today and I love watching my daughter now read to her son.”
Dean German is enthusiastic about reading and its impact on personal and professional development, and aims to convey that message with the UH READ campaign. The posters are on display in the MD Anderson Library Leisure Reading area.
Two University of Houston librarians are among the first cohort of the Texas Library Association (TLA) Executive Leadership Immersion.
Christian Kelleher, head of Special Collections, and Michelle Malizia, director of library services for the health sciences, were selected to participate in TLA’s newest and most ambitious leadership program, led by dean of libraries at Austin Community College and American Library Association (ALA) president-elect Julie Todaro. The program aims to prepare those in administrative roles with focused, next-level learning experiences.
Long before Houston was the fourth largest city in the United States and referred to as the Energy Capital of the World, up until the twentieth century, it was simply called the Magnolia City for its natural magnolia groves found flourishing in east Houston. Although it was a simpler time, Houston was still a city on the move beginning to transform itself into the metropolis we know today, and many historical documents illustrate this shift as the City of Houston began to initiate efforts to expand commerce and transportation networks.
A selection of 247 items, including drafts and published versions of Houston’s charters and codes of ordinance are included. These documents from 1847 to 1897 were the founding documents establishing Houston as a municipality along with enacted laws that would govern the city at this time. Many of the documents are from the Reconstruction period in Houston after the Civil War between 1865 and 1877. During this period, Houston became a global hub of commerce through its shipping port, initially transporting cotton and lumber, and later oil. Railroads were also built to connect the Port of Houston with rail lines to transport goods and resources to and from the Port of Houston to all parts of the country.
Also included are documents from the Engineer’s Office and Streets and Bridges department concerning the city’s infrastructure, and letters and memos from city council members, mayors, and aldermen discussing policy and legislation. Other noteworthy items include payrolls and other documents relating to the activities of the Houston Police, Fire Department, and Public Schools that provide emergency and educational services to the citizens of the community.
Workshops in Access 2013, Adobe Acrobat, Excel 2013, Illustrator CS6, Indesign CS6 and Photoshop CS6 are being held in May at the University of Houston Libraries.
The Technology Training program at UH Libraries offers free technology courses to current UH students, faculty and staff. Classes are held in the Learning Commons Training Labs on the first floor of the MD Anderson Library.
The University of Houston Libraries leverages the power of partnerships to enrich services locally and expand impact globally. An interdepartmental project focusing on the improvement of on-demand digitization is just the latest example of the Libraries’ collaborative outcomes.
Librarians and staff in Metadata and Digitization Services (MDS), Special Collections, and Web Services coordinated on an effort to streamline the existing on-demand digitization service, resulting in a better experience for both internal and external users.
On-demand digitization allows patrons to request high-resolution images of Special Collections materials that are not currently available in the UH Digital Library (UHDL). Now, patrons can request more images, receive preservation-grade images faster, and enjoy a seamless user experience.
The origin of the project grew from an assessment of the process, which revealed a need for increased capacity to handle larger requests; practices aligned with the standards of UHDL projects; and a framework for the potential preservation and access of images scanned on an ad-hoc, on-demand basis.
Special Collections manages the patron interaction, assists with reference requests, identifies the materials needed for scanning, and provides customer service. Special Collections also records metadata describing the images so that they can be searched and reused in future requests. MDS provides professional-grade equipment and expertise in digitizing the requested materials, applying file-naming conventions and imaging standards in line with the UHDL. The improvements to the workflow allow each department to focus on what they each do best.
Web Services developed an internal app that notifies MDS of the request and enables the uploading of individual images associated with the specified metadata from Special Collections. It also allows a check for prior digitization. What was once manual workflow has now been upgraded and accelerated with the use of the internal app. The benefit to patrons is the ability to download requested images as soon as they become available through an automated download link.
“The enhanced service was built upon existing practices and technology that we have here in the library,” said Drew Krewer, digitization services coordinator. “It’s also unique in that we customized the most ideal workflow for the two departments, keeping in mind that we needed to streamline things to receive the requests as soon as possible and send the images to the users as soon as possible.”
The project is nearing the end of its pilot phase and the team has received positive feedback. Next steps involve identifying the best mode of access to the collection and materials. The team hopes future users will be able to benefit from imaging work already completed, perhaps through an access system such as the UHDL.
Director of Communications