UH Libraries News http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu Thu, 25 Sep 2014 13:14:46 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 Varied Views by Shivendra Singh http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/architecture_art/2014/09/30/varied-views-by-shivendra-singh/ http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/architecture_art/2014/09/30/varied-views-by-shivendra-singh/#comments Tue, 30 Sep 2014 14:47:18 +0000 Catherine Essinger http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/architecture_art/?p=473 Have you seen the A2Alcove, a gallery and lounge space upstairs at The William R. Jenkins Architecture and Art Library? Currently featured are works by UH Digital Media sophomore, Shivendra Singh. Varied Views offers a sampling of his photographic work, including nature and architectural subjects. The Architecture and Art Library is pleased to present Mr. Singh’s work and encourages you to enjoy it in our comfortable A2Alcove.  Varied Views will be on display through January 2, 2015.a

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Banned Books: The Kanellos Connection http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/speccol/2014/09/25/banned-books-the-kanellos-connection/ http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/speccol/2014/09/25/banned-books-the-kanellos-connection/#comments Thu, 25 Sep 2014 13:34:32 +0000 Gregory Yerke http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/speccol/?p=4299 In addition to the over 7,000 linear feet of archival collections made available for study at the University of Houston Special Collections, we are also proud to offer over 100,000 rare and antique books for use in our reading room. Each month we will highlight a text from our collections and what makes it so special.

This week, as we observe Banned Books Week along with the American Library Association and other members of the book community, we shift our formula a bit and focus on works in our collection which have historically been challenged, banned, or otherwise removed from public consumption.  The chance overlap of National Hispanic Heritage Month makes for a unique opportunity to highlight our Kanellos Latino Literary Movement Collection.

cover of Negocios by Junot Díaz (1997)

cover of Negocios by Junot Díaz (1997)

Banned “Confiscated” Books of the Month Moment:  Unfortunately, there are a few.  Negocios by Junot Díaz (his Spanish translation of the English language Drown), Zoot Suit and Other Plays by Luis Valdez, and The Magic of Blood by Dagoberto Gilb were all challenged by the Tucson Unified School District in 2012 and, also, all part of a generous donation of works from Dr. Nicolás Kanellos (founder and director of Arte Público Press and the driving force behind the Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage project).  Thanks to his work, foresight, and longstanding connections in the community, the Kanellos Latino Literary Movement Collection, consisting of over 1,000 books, covering a broad scope and time range of works printed in limited runs, unpublished works, and other writings critical to scholars studying Latino literature, is available for study at the University of Houston Special Collections.

Why so Special Scary?  Warning!  According to the Tucson Unified School District’s decision in the wake of the passage of Arizona House Bill 2281, these books may “promote the overthrow of the United States Government… promote resentment toward a race or class of people,” or “advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals.”

cover of Zoot Suit by Luis Valdez (2010)

cover of Zoot Suit by Luis Valdez (2010)

In 2012, rather than fight 2281, Tucson USD officials chose a path of compliance that suspended the district’s Mexican American Studies program.  This process included a public show of collecting, boxing, and carrying off a number of books that were part of the Mexican American Studies teaching materials, sometimes in the presence of students.  District officials insisted that they were not “banning” books, simply “confiscating” a handful of the more egregious outliers.  And, in the spirit of Banned Books Week, who are we to quibble?  A closer look at the MAS reading list, however, will raise some eyebrows.  In addition to the aforementioned “dangerous” works, other pieces on the reading list include revered Latina authors like Sandra Cisneros, as well as canonical and mainstream “Western” or Eurocentric works, like Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” and Henry David Thoreau’s “Civil Disobedience.”

In 2013, a federal court order mandated reinstatement of the program as part of federal desegregation laws aimed at providing equal eduation.  While the issue remains a contentious one in Arizona politics, it is hoped and assumed that this school year, Shakespeare, Thoreau, and all the rest have found a home in the Tucson USD curriculum.

Location:  Those interested (and brave enough) to study these works can access them in the Special Collections Reading Room during our normal hours.  With Banned Books Week and National Hispanic Heritage Month in full swing, why wouldn’t you visit us?

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UH Libraries + Games = Student Success http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/blog/2014/09/25/uh-libraries-games-student-success/ http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/blog/2014/09/25/uh-libraries-games-student-success/#comments Thu, 25 Sep 2014 07:14:04 +0000 Esmeralda Fisher http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/?p=2648 Last year, over 130 gaming enthusiasts gathered at the University of Houston Libraries for the first-ever Game On, Cougars!, a day of open gaming for the UH community. This year, the event levels up with a legendary alliance for an even more epic experience.

UH students are invited to Game On, Cougars! 2014

UH students are invited to Game On, Cougars! 2014

FoodMachine Houston, a non-profit organization comprising gamers whose mission is to make a positive impact on the community through charitable acts of gaming, will be volunteering alongside UH Libraries staff at this year’s event on Saturday, November 15 at the MD Anderson Library Rockwell Pavilion. The group will teach board games, run raffles, and manage Warmachine miniatures and video game tournaments for UH attendees, and accept donations for the Houston Food Bank as well.

FoodMachine Houston

FoodMachine Houston

“We are thrilled to be working collaboratively with FoodMachine Houston on the planning and running of Game On, Cougars!, and we expect that it will be at least twice as big as last year’s event,” said Rachel Vacek, head of Web Services and co-chair of the event.

Houston Pathfinder Society will also be attending to give participants a crash course on role-playing games. Game developers will also showcase prototypes in need of play-testers, and vendors will display merchandise. Attendees will have plenty of chances to win prizes, too.

Beyond a fun day of gaming at the UH Libraries, Game On, Cougars! is also designed to promote student success, which “is about helping students acquire the skills they need to become lifelong learners and be successful both in college and on the path they have chosen after graduation,” Vacek, an avid gamer herself, said. “I believe that playing games – whether board games, video games, or role-playing games – strengthens social bonds and builds trust between people. Games also encourage players to find innovative solutions, teach them how to persevere through challenges, and collaborate effectively to reach shared goals. Many games require critical thinking and problem solving skills. All these benefits of gaming translate into having better study skills and more effective interactions within the classroom and beyond.”

Game On, Cougars! is hosted in conjunction with hundreds of libraries around the globe in celebration of International Games Day @ Your Library, an initiative of the American Library Association. Sponsorship opportunities are available for Houston-based developers, publishers and sellers.

Who: You! All UH students, staff and faculty are invited to attend.
What: A FREE day of board games, card games, war games, miniatures, role-playing games, and video games; prizes, refreshments and more!
When: Saturday, November 15, 2014
Where: MD Anderson Library Rockwell Pavilion

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Social Media Week at UH Libraries http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/blog/2014/09/23/social-media-week-at-uh-libraries/ http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/blog/2014/09/23/social-media-week-at-uh-libraries/#comments Tue, 23 Sep 2014 15:04:27 +0000 Esmeralda Fisher http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/?p=2640 University of Houston Libraries will host a special week of social media training in October for UH students, staff and faculty.

Sign up for workshops on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and more during Social Media Week at UH Libraries.

Sign up for workshops on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and more during Social Media Week at UH Libraries.

Jessica Brand, UH social media manager, will teach workshops on various social media platforms in the MD Anderson Library Learning Commons from October 6 – 10.

As with the UH Libraries technology training workshops, Social Media Week workshops are free and are recommended for anyone who uses social media.

Topics include:

Facebook 101

  • Understand the differences between a Facebook profile, page, and group
  • Review personal profile privacy settings and options
  • Learn how to make and maintain a Facebook page

Facebook Analytics: Advanced 102

  • Understanding Facebook Insights
  • How to make a Facebook page monthly report

Twitter 101

  • How to grow your Twitter presence
  • How to make and use Twitter lists
  • Understanding hashtags

Twitter and Hootsuite: Advanced 102

  • Introduction to Hootsuite
  • Monitoring topics and keywords on Twitter
  • Introduction to Twitter analytics

LinkedIn 101

  • How to create an awesome profile
  • How to use LinkedIn Groups

Instagram and Snapchat 101 *This class requires all attendees to bring their own smart phone or other device with app store and built-in camera.*

  • Get to know Instagram
  • Get to know Snapchat

View the full schedule for Social Media Week and register online.

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Challenged Comic Books and Graphic Novels http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/blog/2014/09/23/challenged-comic-books-and-graphic-novels/ http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/blog/2014/09/23/challenged-comic-books-and-graphic-novels/#comments Tue, 23 Sep 2014 07:16:52 +0000 Esmeralda Fisher http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/?p=2626 This week marks the annual Banned Books Week, a national campaign that highlights the importance of free and open access to information, and calls attention to literary works that are frequently challenged in bookstores, libraries and schools. This year’s Banned Books Week theme focuses on challenged comic books and graphic novels.

Dan Johnson, senior library specialist at the University of Houston Libraries and Association of Research Libraries/Society of American Archivists Mosaic Program fellow, has incorporated his longtime interest in comic books and graphic novels into his scholarly endeavors, having researched and written on a range of topics, from Neil Gaiman’s Sandman to the works of Robert Crumb.

Below, Johnson discusses issues of banned and challenged comic books and graphic novels, and implications for public libraries and the community.


Comic Book Legal Defense Fund
The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF) is a non-profit organization comprised of comic book creators, publishers and readers who come to the defense of comic book shops or libraries that have problems with materials being challenged. Some of them end up having issues where a challenged book is accused of violating community standards.

CBLDF compiled a list of comic books and graphic novels that are constantly in the news, or are known for having challenge or ban issues. In almost all cases they weren’t actively banned, but there were challenge cases for them, usually about age appropriateness. Within public libraries, most make a distinction between graphic novels for adults in one section, graphic novels for teens in another, and graphic novels for younger children in a third section. Often a challenge comes up when a teen or younger child comes home with a book that they got from the adult fiction section.

Addressing the Challenge
In public libraries, there’s a formal review process documented by that library so that the public has access to it and they know what’s going to happen. It requires the person making the challenge to have read the book in toto. That does away with a lot of the challenges because many people haven’t read the whole book.

When they have read the book completely, the challenge goes through an internal review process that involves librarians of that particular institution. The review panel reads the book from beginning to end, where the issue is to determine whether there is some artistic merit or value to this book as literature. These are stories that reflect different community standards, different people’s lives, and different people’s experiences.

As a result of the challenge, the book in question can be pulled completely. That doesn’t happen very often, but it can happen. Second, the book could be re-categorized; they move it from the young adult fiction section to the adult fiction section, for example. The third possible ruling is that the review board determines that the book is appropriate for the library and falls within the scope of their collection development policy. The last step in the review process, after the board comes to an agreement, is that they write a defense letter, stating what they have determined to do and why.

Comic Books and Graphic Novels as Bibliotherapy
I am a parent, and there are all sorts of comic books that I read, but I won’t let my daughter read. I think parents should assess what they’re willing to talk to their children about. Literature can be used as a way to explore things that are challenging or scary for children. One of the ways to work through things that they don’t understand is to read about them in a safe environment. An idea that has been brought up in my classes in graphic novels and library science is that, if you think that it could happen to someone, it has happened to someone. There are readers out there who are looking for books that speak to their experiences. If you can imagine that anyone has gone through it, you should have materials for them to read. That’s the case for literature, and one of the things that comic books and graphic novels are good for. There’s a term for it – bibliotherapy – the idea that a book as a fictional piece is a safe environment in which to explore traumatic things that have happened.

Selected Challenged Works

Sandman by Neil Gaiman and various artists

Sandman by Neil Gaiman and various artists

Sandman by Neil Gaiman and various artists
Following the events that occur when Morpheus, the Sandman and Lord of Dreams, is captured and imprisoned by mistake by a dark magician, this series of graphic novels blends characters from world religions, mythology, and literature in an epic tale. Ambitious in scope, Gaiman’s creation is a high watermark for the comics format, having won various awards including a Hugo and numerous Eisners.

Maus by Art Spiegelman
Spiegelman’s autobiographical tale interweaves the story of his father, Vladek, a Jewish Holocaust survivor from occupied Poland, and Artie’s challenges in making sense of his father’s tale. In Spiegelman’s Pulitzer-winning narrative, Jews are depicted as mice, Germans as cats, and U.S. GIs as dogs in a very emotional story of survival during World War II.

Fun Home: a family tragicomic by Alison Bechdel

Fun Home: a family tragicomic by Alison Bechdel

Fun Home: a family tragicomic by Alison Bechdel 
This graphic novel memoir explores the complexities of family life of lesbian author Bechdel and her distant relationship with her father, a man who spent most of his life in the closet. Ever an enigma full of contradictions, even in his death his intentions are unclear; what might have been an accident could easily have been suicide. Bechdel was recently named as a 2014 MacArthur Foundation fellowship recipient.


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UH Special Collections Contributes WWI Images http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/blog/2014/09/23/uh-special-collections-contributes-wwi-images/ http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/blog/2014/09/23/uh-special-collections-contributes-wwi-images/#comments Tue, 23 Sep 2014 06:25:12 +0000 Esmeralda Fisher http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/?p=2620 University of Houston Libraries Special Collections has collaborated with Gulf Coast Reads on its Remembering Through Archives initiative.

Food supply efforts letter from Minnie Fisher Cunningham to fellow members of the Texas Equal Suffrage Association. From University of Houston Special Collections.

Food supply efforts letter from Minnie Fisher Cunningham to fellow members of the Texas Equal Suffrage Association. From University of Houston Special Collections.

The curated online World War I exhibit features images shared by member area repositories of the Archivists of the Houston Area (AHA), including original materials housed in UH Special Collections and available for online access in the UH Digital Library.

Each year, Gulf Coast Reads chooses a title to promote for its regional reading and listening initiative. This year’s selection is Remember Ben Clayton by Stephen Harrigan, winner of the James Fenimore Cooper Prize for Best American Historical Fiction. World War I is a central subject in the story, which inspired the online exhibit.

Images from UH Special Collections include Camp Logan maps and suffrage letters of Minnie Fisher Cunningham. Visitors to the online exhibit may browse by collection.

October is American Archives Month, in which archival repositories aim to increase public awareness of the importance of preserving historical items and making them accessible.

“The significance of Archives Month has always been about collaboration and the power of archives when they work together in bringing awareness to collections and services,” said Vince Lee, UH Special Collections archivist and vice president of AHA. “This online exhibit on WWI, which we are proud to be a part of, shows the power that each archive brings in documenting an historic event. We each have strengths and collecting areas which, leveraged together, tell a complete story.”

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Banned Book: Der Sumpf by Upton Sinclair http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/speccol/2014/09/22/banned-book-of-the-moment-der-sumpf-by-upton-sinclair/ http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/speccol/2014/09/22/banned-book-of-the-moment-der-sumpf-by-upton-sinclair/#comments Mon, 22 Sep 2014 17:24:33 +0000 Gregory Yerke http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/speccol/?p=4288 In addition to the over 7,000 linear feet of archival collections made available for study at the University of Houston Special Collections, we are also proud to offer over 100,000 rare and antique books for use in our reading room. Each month we will highlight a text from our collections and what makes it so special.

This week, as we observe Banned Books Week along with the American Library Association and other members of the book community, we shift our formula a bit and focus on works in our collection which have historically been challenged, banned, or otherwise removed from public consumption.

BANNED Book of the Month Moment:  Der Sumpf (or The Jungle) by Upton Sinclair.

Why So Special Scary?  Sinclair’s 1906 muckraking masterwork, depicting the bleak struggle of immigrants in the indifferent meat-grinder of U.S. industrialization, left us more with queasy stomachs than ready to pick up the hue and cry of the downtrodden masses. Having dedicated the work to “The Workingmen of America,” the irony of the book’s lasting impact was not lost on Sinclair who famously quipped, “I aimed for the public’s heart, and by accident I hit it in the stomach.” Sinclair’s political affiliations made the book an easy target for the pseudo-censorship of those fearing the insidious nature of his ideas. (President Theodore Roosevelt, who reportedly called Sinclair a “crackpot,” wrote to the author to advise that after reading a “good deal” of The Jungle he did “not think very much of [Sinclair's] ecclesiastical correspondent,” that he had come to “distrust men of hysterical temperament,” but “this has nothing to do with the fact that the specific evils… shall, if their existence be proved… be eradicated.”)

Originally published as a serial in Appeal to Reason, major publishers politely passed on the work leaving Sinclair to pay for the first printing himself (see our copy published by “The Jungle Publishing Co., New York” and inscribed “To Rev. Washington Gladden with the compliments of the Author”), before Doubleday, Page & Co. agreed to publish a shorter version in 1906. In light of this particular week, though, our German translation caught my eye not for reasons of tacit disapproval from on high, but a more macabre spectacle that it would involve.

First translated into German in the early 1920s, Der Sumpf may raise some eyebrows from those more well-versed in Deutsch. Literally translated into English as, The Swamp, the peculiarity of the title speaks to the challenges of accurately translating literature across cultures, but perhaps more pointedly calls to mind the muck and mire in which the struggling laborers like Jurgis, young Ona, and their family find themselves. A rose by any other name, however, was certain to burn in the mania of German Nationalsozialismus. Judged contrary to the ideals of Nazism, the works of Ernest Hemingway, Jack London, Jon Dos Passos, and countless others burned on the pyres lit by students and educators in the early 1930s alongside Der Sumpf.

But, the Nazis’ cleansing fires did not burn them all, and we have a copy to prove it.

Location:  Our 1926 German edition of Der Sumpf can be viewed and studied in the Special Collections Reading Room during normal research hours. We invite interested parties to visit us and request call number PS3537.I85 J8515 1926 as we look forward to assisting you in your research during Banned Books Week.

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Lukasek and Houston Talk About LGBTQI Books http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/speccol/2014/09/19/lukasek-and-houston-talk-about-lgbtqi-books/ http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/speccol/2014/09/19/lukasek-and-houston-talk-about-lgbtqi-books/#comments Fri, 19 Sep 2014 17:45:18 +0000 Julie Grob http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/speccol/?p=4281 Edward Lukasek, donor of the Edward Lukasek Gay Studies Collection

Edward Lukasek, donor of the Edward Lukasek Gay Studies Collection

Dr. Natalie Houston, Associate Professor in the English Dept. at UH

Dr. Natalie Houston, Associate Professor in the English Dept. at UH

On Tuesday, September 16th, Special Collections welcomed Edward Lukasek and Dr. Natalie Houston for a panel discussion titled “Life with Books: Collecting, Reading, and Teaching LGBTQI Literature.” Cosponsored by the UH Libraries and the LGBT Resource Center, the event was intended to complement the exhibit LGBTQI Literature: Celebrated Classics and Contemporary Works, which closes on Friday, September 26th.

A rapt audience of faculty, librarians, staff, and visitors enjoyed learning about the role that books played in the lives of the two panelists – Edward Lukasek, a book collector whose private collection was donated to the UH Libraries as the Edward Lukasek Gay Studies Collection, and Natalie Houston, an Associate Professor in the English Department at UH who has taught a number of courses on LGBT literature.

Lukasek described collecting books at his favorite thrift shop while living in the Castro district of San Francisco for 17 years. Asked to recommend his favorite work of LGBTQI literature, he chose the trilogy of autobiographical novels by Edmund White: A Boy’s Own Story, The Beautiful Room is Empty, and The Farewell Symphony. He praised White’s ability to put the reader in the moment, and said that he appreciated reading about the experiences of a gay man from an earlier generation. Lukasek also described the flowering of literature that followed the early years of the AIDS epidemic, recommending Heaven’s Coast by Mark Doty as a particularly poignant memoir.

Houston has always been a voracious reader. While her major field of interest is Victorian literature, she enjoyed studying with queer studies pioneer Eve Sedgwick as a PhD student at Duke. Arguing that it was unfair to ask an English professor to pick only one favorite LGBTQI book, Houston recommended three favorite authors and works – Michael Cunningham’s A Home at the End of the World, a beautifully written novel about friendship; Carol Anshaw’s Aquamarine, the story of a woman’s three possible lives; and Emma Donoghue’s Hood, which centers on the death of the protagonist’s lover. Houston also talked about her rewarding experiences teaching LGBT literature to UH students.

The panel discussion made for a very special conversation; please watch this space for video from the event.

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Alley Theatre Exhibit Spotlights Nina Vance http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/blog/2014/09/19/alley-theatre-exhibit-spotlights-nina-vance/ http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/blog/2014/09/19/alley-theatre-exhibit-spotlights-nina-vance/#comments Fri, 19 Sep 2014 09:47:09 +0000 Esmeralda Fisher http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/?p=2609 A new exhibit at the University of Houston Libraries illuminates the life of visionary Alley Theatre founder Nina Vance, and provides a contextual history of the theatre’s rise to prominence.

In 1947, Vance mailed 214 penny postcards bearing the question, “Do you want a new theater for Houston?” Soon, the Alley Theatre was born.

Nina Vance | Photo from the Nina Vance Alley Theatre Papers, UH Special Collections

Nina Vance | Photo from the Nina Vance Alley Theatre Papers, UH Special Collections

From the exhibit:

From its modest beginnings in a dance studio on Main Street, to a converted fan factory on Berry Avenue, to a state-of-the-art building downtown, the road to becoming the nationally recognized theatre it is today was paved with talent, generosity, and hard work. The woman behind it all remained the same, Nina Vance. As the theatre’s founder and artistic director for more than thirty years, Vance was a guiding force for the theatre and worked tirelessly to see it become a Houston institution.

The exhibit features programs, photographs, articles, correspondence, and other memorabilia from the UH Special Collections Nina Vance Alley Theatre Papers.

Visitors are invited to view Nina Vance and the Alley Theatre: A Life’s Work at the MD Anderson Library starting October 25, 2014 through May 8, 2015. The exhibit opens concurrently with the 100th anniversary of Vance’s birth.

For more information, contact Catherine Essinger 713-743-2337, and Stacey Lavender, 713-743-9605.

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Agnes Arnold Hall: Some Problems http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/speccol/2014/09/18/agnes-arnold-hall-some-problems/ http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/speccol/2014/09/18/agnes-arnold-hall-some-problems/#comments Thu, 18 Sep 2014 09:59:50 +0000 Dr. Stephen James http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/speccol/?p=4252  

Kenneth E. Bentsen, Agnes Arnold Hall (1968), south elevation

Kenneth E. Bentsen, Agnes Arnold Hall (1968), south elevation (Photo Eric E. Johnson, by permission)

In recent posts I expressed admiration for the formal aspects of Agnes Arnold Hall, but anyone who works in this building knows that it has some problems.  Most of these problems stem from a single design flaw—the architect’s decision to open the building to the outside, much like a garden apartment or a motel. Thus the lobby and corridor areas have but modest protection from the elements.  This is a viable design strategy only in Hawaii and other places with a balmy climate.

Wind gusts blew through the open corridors at the upper levels of the building with such force that the university had to close the north-facing openings with glass. This was only a partial fix, and students changing classes in the winter still feel the cold as soon as they step outside the classroom.

Agnes Arnold Hall, open corridor at upper level, c. 1972. In background PGH and Hilton Hotel are under construction. (Photo Kenneth E. Bentsen Architectural Papers)

Agnes Arnold Hall, open corridor at upper level, c. 1972. In background M.D. Anderson Library has original facade while PGH and Hilton Hotel buildings are under construction. (Photo Kenneth E. Bentsen Architectural Papers)

Originally, visitors to Agnes Arnold Hall moved through the lower levels on escalators. Because of their many moving parts, escalators are maintenance headaches even in the controlled conditions of a shopping mall.  When they were exposed to humid outdoor conditions as they were in this building, they didn’t last very long.  Eventually, the university got tired of fixing them and replaced them with stairs.

Agnes Arnold Hall, lobby  looking up at escalators from basement level, c. 1972 (Photo Kenneth E. Bentsen Architectural Papers)

Agnes Arnold Hall, lobby looking up at escalators from basement level, c. 1972 (Photo Kenneth E. Bentsen Architectural Papers)

Agnes Arnold Hall is entered from a bridge over the basement courtyard.

Agnes Arnold Hall, view of basement courtyard spanned by entry bridge, c. 1972. (Photo Kenneth E. Bentsen Architectural Papers)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The open courtyard at the basement level was a brilliant idea and looked great, but it resembled a bathtub during heavy rains.  Flooding during Tropical Storm Allison (2001) forced the university to install mechanical floodgates at the entrance to this lower level.

Agnes Arnold Hall may have so many problems because Kenneth Bentsen was such a good designer. If you build the same thing over and over again, you learn by experience what works and what doesn’t work.  That’s why dull, boring buildings seem to have the fewest problems.  But within their profession, architects are encouraged to be innovative, to be different, to push the envelope with their designs.

When you do something different, by definition you don’t have much experience with how it will work in practice.  That’s why the most architecturally significant buildings often have the most problems in daily use. Some new ideas are not good ideas, but you don’t know that until you try them.

We reward architects who take risks because that’s how the discipline of architecture advances.  At least that’s the theory.  So architects will continue to admire buildings like Agnes Arnold Hall and their users will continue to loathe them.  We invite you to continue your study with the Architecture & Planning collections at the University of Houston Special Collections.

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New Databases at UH Libraries http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/blog/2014/09/17/new-databases-at-uh-libraries/ http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/blog/2014/09/17/new-databases-at-uh-libraries/#comments Wed, 17 Sep 2014 12:11:33 +0000 Esmeralda Fisher http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/?p=2607 The following databases are now available from the University of Houston Libraries:

Alt-HealthWatch
A full-text database of periodicals, peer-reviewed journals, academic and professional publications, magazines, consumer newsletters and newspapers, research reports, and association newsletters focused on contemporary, alternative and integrated approaches to health care and wellness.

American Indian Histories and Cultures
A wide-ranging digital resource presenting a unique insight into interactions between American Indians and Europeans from their earliest contact, continuing through the turbulence of the American Civil War, the on-going repercussions of government legislation, right up to the civil rights movement of the mid-twentieth century. This resource contains material from the Newberry Library’s extensive Edward E. Ayer Collection.

American West
Original manuscripts, maps, ephemeral material, and rare printed sources from the Graff Collection about the American West, including tales of frontier life, Native Americans, vigilantes, and outlaws, and the growth of urban centers and environmental impact of westward expansion and of life in the borderlands.

Global Commodities
This resource brings together manuscript, printed and visual primary source materials for the study of global commodities in world history. The commodities featured in this resource have been transported, exchanged and consumed around the world for hundreds of years. They helped transform societies, global trading operations, habits of consumption and social practices.

Health Source, Consumer Edition
Provides consumer oriented information on many health topics including the medical sciences, food sciences and nutrition, childcare, adult health, behavioral health, cardiology, drug and medication information, pediatric health, senior health, women’s health, and sports medicine.

Literary Reference Center
This full-text database provides a spectrum of information on authors and their works across literary disciplines and time frames to give scholars, professors, and researchers a foundation of literary reference works to meet their research needs.

Natural and Alternative Treatments
Natural & Alternative Treatments contains detailed information on almost 200 different conditions and the conventional and natural treatments used to treat them, over 300 herbs and supplements, plus drug-herb and drug-supplement interactions for more than 90 drug categories.

Project Euclid: Mathematics and Statistics Online
Project Euclid is a joint effort by Cornell University Library and Duke University Press; this not-for-profit online publishing service provides access to journals, monographs, and conference proceedings in the fields of theoretical and applied mathematics and statistics.

ProQuest Congressional Publications
Provides users with access to a comprehensive collection of historic and current congressional information.

For database assistance, visit Electronic Resources Help.

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Fall 2014 Grad Student Mixer http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/blog/2014/09/16/fall-2014-grad-student-mixer/ http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/blog/2014/09/16/fall-2014-grad-student-mixer/#comments Tue, 16 Sep 2014 13:42:33 +0000 Esmeralda Fisher http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/?p=2600 University of Houston graduate students are invited to the Fall 2014 Graduate Student Mixer, hosted by UH Libraries.

UH graduate students are invited to the Grad Student Mixer on October 7.

UH graduate students are invited to the Grad Student Mixer on October 7.

The event serves as an opportunity for graduate students to network with one another, and allows them to meet subject librarians in a fun and relaxed atmosphere.

Date: Tuesday, October 7
Time: 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Location: Rockwell Pavilion, second floor of MD Anderson Library

NOTE: Must be 21 to consume alcohol. IDs will be checked at the door.

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UH Libraries Welcomes Resource Description Coordinator http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/blog/2014/09/16/uh-libraries-welcomes-resource-description-coordinator/ http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/blog/2014/09/16/uh-libraries-welcomes-resource-description-coordinator/#comments Tue, 16 Sep 2014 11:18:52 +0000 Esmeralda Fisher http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/?p=2594 The University of Houston Libraries provides a vast array of resources that supplement teaching, learning, and research. Resources, including both physical and electronic materials, are cataloged and described using standards and processes that optimize accessibility to users.

Hayley Moreno joins the UH Libraries as the new resource description coordinator, managing cataloging workflow to make materials more accessible.

Hayley Moreno joins the UH Libraries as the new resource description coordinator, managing cataloging workflow to make materials more accessible.

UH Libraries recently welcomed Hayley Moreno as its new Resource Description Coordinator. In this role, Moreno will manage cataloging workflow for increased efficiency and collaboration with Metadata and Digitization Services. Her goal is to make UH Libraries’ materials more accessible, using the standard and schema, Resource Description and Access (RDA).

Cataloging is the comprehensive creation of bibliographic data that enables library users to find the resources they seek; whether it’s a book, database, journal or non-print media. Contemporary cataloging requires an ever-evolving skill set among librarians which reflects new trends and standards. For instance, the term resource description refers to a newer protocol for the formulation of bibliographic data.

As such, Moreno sees an interesting future for resource description. “The schemas that we use are changing,” she said. “We’re moving towards linked data, which requires librarians to use web technologies like URIs, HTTP and RDF.”

Moreno noted that the reason for the shift in the ways libraries perform resource description is because some information is still not widely accessible. “Resources in a library’s catalog may not be retrievable when using web search engines,” Moreno said. “Traditional bibliographic description limits discoverability of library resources on the web.”

Traditional bibliographic schema used in cataloging is phasing out as more libraries adopt new schemas that find relevant information on the web by connecting data structures and placing previously hidden resources into the hands (and screens) of users.

Libraries and institutions that incorporate new coding protocols will strengthen their ability to connect with one another’s data structures and provide more access to materials, giving library users results similar to what they experience with search engine results.

“Changing the way we describe things – creating structured data, and generating relationships from it – that’s the framework behind the idea of finding a resource from anywhere on the web,” Moreno said.

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National Hispanic American Heritage Month 2014 http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/speccol/2014/09/15/national-hispanic-american-heritage-month-2014/ http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/speccol/2014/09/15/national-hispanic-american-heritage-month-2014/#comments Mon, 15 Sep 2014 16:08:43 +0000 Gregory Yerke http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/speccol/?p=4242 petition from the Barefoot Monks to Philip V, King of Spain (from the Mexico Documents Collection)

petition from the Barefoot Monks to Philip V, King of Spain (1739, from the Mexico Documents Collection)

Today marks the kickoff of National Hispanic American Heritage Month 2014.

From September 15 through October 15, we celebrate the history, culture, and contributions of Americans whose ancestry derives from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.  The month, in actuality a 30-day period spanning two months, owes its unorthodox time frame to its origins (originally a week-long observation started under President Lyndon B. Johnson, it was expanded to a month under President Ronald Reagan) and to historical convenience (the first days coincide with the independence celebrations of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico, and Chile and the final days encompass Columbus Day or Día de la Raza).  During this time, the Library of Congress in partnership with a number of archives, repositories, and various organizations sponsor exhibits and collections dedicated to telling the story of Hispanic American history.

Here at the University of Houston Special Collections, we celebrate the opportunity to be part of that collective voice as we make available for study our Hispanic Collections.  Rich with research potential and always in-demand from scholars, highlights from the collections include the Alonso S. Perales Papers (diplomat, civil-rights lawyer, and one of the founders of LULAC), the Leonor Villegas de Magnón Papers (educator and founder of La Cruz Blanca), and the Mexico Documents Collection (holding manuscript materials dating as far back as 1570).  A collection that should increase in its value to researchers over the years are the sizable Arte Público Press Records (the oldest and largest Latino publishing house in the U.S., based here at the University of Houston) and materials related to their award-winning work with the Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage Project.

Leonor and ladies of Cruz Blanca 1st brigade

Leonor and ladies of Cruz Blanca 1st brigade (Leonor Villegas de Magnón Papers and also available in our Digital Library)

Over the next month we will take a closer look at the impact of these collections on scholarship related to Hispanic American history.  We encourage you, in your own observations over the next month and all year long, to visit UH Special Collections and experience the archives holding that rich history.

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Life With Books: Collecting, Reading, and Teaching LGBTQI Literature http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/speccol/2014/09/10/life-with-books-collecting-reading-and-teaching-lgbtqi-literature/ http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/speccol/2014/09/10/life-with-books-collecting-reading-and-teaching-lgbtqi-literature/#comments Wed, 10 Sep 2014 14:05:24 +0000 Gregory Yerke http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/speccol/?p=4228 Life with Books: Collecting, Reading, and Teaching LGBTQI Lierature — Tuesday, September 16th at 4pm — Evans Room, Special Collections, MD Anderson Library 2nd Floor

Life with Books: Collecting, Reading, and Teaching LGBTQI Lierature — Tuesday, September 16th at 4pm — Evans Room, Special Collections, MD Anderson Library 2nd Floor

On Tuesday, September 16th at 4:00 p.m., the University of Houston Special Collections will host an event sponsored by the University of Houston Libraries and the University of Houston LGBT Resource Center.  “Life With Books:  Collecting, Reading, and Teaching LGBTQI Literature” will feature talks from book collector Edward Lukasek, the generous donor of the Edward Lukasek Book Collection, and Dr. Natalie Houston of the UH English Department and Co-Director for the Periodical Poetry Index.

“Life With Books…” will take place in the Evans Room of Special Collections on the second floor of the M.D. Anderson Library and will be followed by a reception.  Intended to serve as a complement to “LGBTQI Literature: Celebrated Classics and Contemporary Works,” currently on exhibition on the first floor of the M.D. Anderson Library, this panel discussion was scheduled for the last weeks of the exhibit’s run to allow increased opportunities for students to attend.  Students of all disciplines, interested in the history and study of LGBTQI literature, are encouraged to attend this unique opportunity to meet and hear from our distinguished panelists.  For more information, see the attached poster and we look forward to seeing everyone on Tuesday!

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Celebrating 15 Years of Poetry and Prose at UH http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/blog/2014/09/10/celebrating-15-years-of-poetry-and-prose-at-uh/ http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/blog/2014/09/10/celebrating-15-years-of-poetry-and-prose-at-uh/#comments Wed, 10 Sep 2014 06:46:12 +0000 Esmeralda Fisher http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/?p=2585

The 2014-2015 season of Poetry and Prose: Creative Writers at the University of Houston kicks off on September 17.

University of Houston students, faculty, staff and the community are invited to the 2014-2015 season of Poetry and Prose: Creative Writers at the University of Houston.

The series, now in its 15th year, kicks off on September 17 and will feature new MFA and PhD students in the UH Creative Writing Program.

Erika Brown, Will Burns, Samuel Dinger, Jonathan Meyer, Luisa Muradyan and Georgia Pearle are scheduled to read selected works of poetry and fiction.

All readings are held in the Honors College Commons in the MD Anderson Library and begin at 5:30 p.m. Readings are free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be provided.

The next reading is scheduled for October 15, featuring faculty poets.

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Select Photos of the Cruiser Houston Collection Now Available in the Digital Library http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/speccol/2014/09/08/select-photos-of-the-cruiser-houston-collection-now-available-in-the-digital-library/ http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/speccol/2014/09/08/select-photos-of-the-cruiser-houston-collection-now-available-in-the-digital-library/#comments Mon, 08 Sep 2014 15:24:47 +0000 Gregory Yerke http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/speccol/?p=4216 Naming campaign, Western Union storefront

Naming campaign, Western Union storefront (1927) / from the USS Houston (CA-30) Photographs / (sign in window reads, “if you want a new cruiser named ‘U.S.S. Houston’ telegraph your congressman or the Secretary of the Navy”)

The recent publication of the USS Houston (CA-30) Photographs, adding to the growing Military History Collections at our Digital Library, marks another major milestone and means even more research potential for remote scholars unable to visit our rich USS Houston physical archives and materials.

Pulled from the photographs of the Cruiser Houston Collection, this new digital collection highlights the history of the heavy cruiser and her crew–the survivors, prisoners of war, and those who gave all.  The flagship of the Asiatic Fleet during World War II, the Houston fought in the Battle of the Java Sea and to her bitter end at the Battle of Sunda Strait, sinking just after midnight as February turned into March, 1942.  Highlights in the collection date back to the naming campaign that gave her our city’s name, include documentation of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s affinity for the Houston as his vessel of choice for sea voyages and deep sea diversions during his presidency, show haunting scenes from those infamous POW camps, and testify to the resolve of 1,000 “Houston Volunteers” who answered the call sent out by the sinking of the Houston.

Evacuation of POWs, Rat Buri, Thailand ([1945])

Evacuation of POWs, Rat Buri, Thailand [1945] / from the USS Houston (CA-30) Photographs

If these recently published photographs barely scratch your research itch, be sure to also visit the Lt. Robert B. Fulton USS Houston Letters, the William Slough USS Houston Letters, and the USS Houston Blue Bonnet Newsletters, also available for study in our Digital Library.  Or, better yet, visit the permanent exhibition of the USS Houston on the second floor of the M.D. Anderson Library and continue your research with a closer look at the larger USS Houston & Military History Collections in the Special Collections Reading Room.

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Agnes Arnold Hall: Influences http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/speccol/2014/09/05/agnes-arnold-hall-influences/ http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/speccol/2014/09/05/agnes-arnold-hall-influences/#comments Fri, 05 Sep 2014 10:53:10 +0000 Dr. Stephen James http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/speccol/?p=4184 Kenneth E. Bentsen, Agnes Arnold Hall (1968), south elevation

Kenneth E. Bentsen, Agnes Arnold Hall (1968), south elevation (Photo Eric E. Johnson, by permission)

In a recent post I analyzed the formal aspects of Agnes Arnold Hall.  Like other buildings, it is a product of its time. Looking closely, we can see that Kenneth Bentsen interpreted some new ideas about composition and building layout that emerged in the early 1960s.

Agnes Arnold Hall owes more than a little to a well-known building at the University of Pennsylvania, the Richards Medical Research Building (1961) by Louis Kahn. The Richards was one of the most influential designs of the 1960s. Why? Prior to this, modern architects often expressed the building as a perfect geometric shape—usually a box and often a glass box. The usual practice was to place support services such as restrooms and stairwells in the center with the human occupants on the outside near the windows.

Louis I. Kahn, Richards Medical Research Building, University of Pennsylvania (Photo, Richard Anderson)

Louis I. Kahn, Richards Medical Research Building, University of Pennsylvania (Photo Richard Anderson by permission)

Kahn’s big breakthrough was to pull the support services out of the central core and place them on the outer edge of the building. There the services, housed in tall brick towers, became an important part of the building’s overall design (no more box!). Likewise, in Bentsen’s building the corridors, stairwells, and elevators are on the outside where they contribute to the design.

Agnes Arnold Hall also shows the influence of Paul Rudolph, another important architect of the period.  He helped popularize the style known as “Brutalism,” with its monumental concrete buildings. Best-known was his Yale University Art & Architecture Building (1963).

Paul Rudolph, Yale Art & Architecture Building (Photo Sage Ross, Common License)

Paul Rudolph, Yale Art & Architecture Building (Photo Sage Ross, CC BY-SA 2.5)

Rudolph’s buildings were extremely complex. Occupants negotiated frequent level changes, as every floor seemed to be a mezzanine to another floor. The Yale A&A was said to have 37 different levels on 9 floors. And like Kahn’s building, some of the towers on the outside held stairs, elevators, and restrooms.

Yale Art & Architecture Building, section view (The Paul Rudolph Archive, Library of Congress)

Yale Art & Architecture Building, section view (The Paul Rudolph Archive, Library of Congress)

In a small way you see some of this spatial complexity at Agnes Arnold Hall. Escalators (now stairs) thread their way through a four-story lobby area that is open to the outside. The lobby flows into an open courtyard at the basement level, and visitors enter the building over a bridge that spans this courtyard. But Rudolph’s influence is also apparent in the way the concrete is finished. Most of Bentsen’s building is faced in brick, but at the basement level the concrete retaining walls of the courtyard have what is called a “corduroy” finish. This was Rudolph’s trademark (look closely at the Yale building).  After the concrete walls were poured and the forms removed, the workers attacked the surface with a jackhammer. Instant texture.

The Kenneth E Bentsen Architectural Papers, housed at the University of Houston Special Collections, are currently being processed.

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UH1UP Challenge: Libraries Tech Training http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/blog/2014/09/04/uh1up-challenge-libraries-tech-training/ http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/blog/2014/09/04/uh1up-challenge-libraries-tech-training/#comments Thu, 04 Sep 2014 10:09:10 +0000 Esmeralda Fisher http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/?p=2579

Get the free Scavify app and join the UH1UP Challenge to win prizes!

To help University of Houston students get the most out of their academic experience, the UH Libraries has partnered with the UH Social Media team on the UH1UP Challenge scavenger hunt.

The UH1UP Challenge is a game designed to help UH students locate and learn about on-campus resources for academic and professional success, and to score prizes along the way.

To play, students need the free Scavify app, available for iPhone or Android. Starting September 8, students can access the app which lists a set of tasks to complete by November 14. More information on how to play can be found at the UH1UP page.

One of the tasks focuses on free technology training offered at UH Libraries. Beginning, intermediate and advanced sessions in popular software, like Excel, PowerPoint, Photoshop, InDesign, iMovie and many more, are held morning, afternoon and evening in the MD Anderson Library Learning Commons. Sessions are instructor-led, with practical, personalized lessons.

To complete this task, students are encouraged to find the technology training session of their choice, register, attend and pick up a Libraries prize. At the end of the training session, students can snap a selfie with the instructor, and the task is complete.

All players who complete all UH1UP tasks will qualify for a chance to win a grand prize. Grand prizes include a MacBook Air and five iPad Minis.

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Why can't I access Safari Tech Books? http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/er/2014/08/28/why-cant-i-access-safari-tech-books/ http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/er/2014/08/28/why-cant-i-access-safari-tech-books/#comments Thu, 28 Aug 2014 23:15:57 +0000 Jeannie Castro http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/er/?p=531 Safari Tech Books has a 6 simultaneous user limit. If you cannot access your book at this time, please try again later.

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Howard Barnstone's portfolio on display http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/architecture_art/2014/08/27/howard-barnstones-portfolio-on-display/ http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/architecture_art/2014/08/27/howard-barnstones-portfolio-on-display/#comments Wed, 27 Aug 2014 15:22:02 +0000 Catherine Essinger http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/architecture_art/?p=470 Brainstorming Howard Barnstone, a small exhibit at the Architecture and Art Library, makes a persuasive case for the reexamination of Barnstone’s career, which spanned from the 1950s to the 1980s. Barnstone taught at the University of Houston where he influenced generations of students. The exhibition features original portfolios from the firm Barnstone and Partners that are permanently housed in the library’s Kenneth Franzheim Rare Books Room, as well as books he published: including The Galveston that Was (1966) and The Architecture of John Staub (1979), the first book documenting a Houston architect, copies of which are available in the Architecture and Art Library. The Galveston That Was, illustrated by Henri Cartier-Bresson, helped spur restoration of residential and commercial buildings on the island.  The exhibit was designed by Library Assistant Chelby King.

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Favorite Things: Our Patrons http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/speccol/2014/08/27/favorite-things-our-patrons/ http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/speccol/2014/08/27/favorite-things-our-patrons/#comments Wed, 27 Aug 2014 10:13:36 +0000 Matt Richardson http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/speccol/?p=4157 REIMS.P0

Book of Hours, Use of Reims (Illuminated Pages), folio 17 recto

Whether it’s a rare book printing found at long last or piece of ephemera found in an archival collection by chance, those who visit the University of Houston Special Collections almost always find something they cannot wait to share with others.  Here we celebrate what makes the University of Houston Special Collections so special–our Favorite Things.

This series is intended to shine a light on some of the most prized things we find here in Special Collections. Sometimes, however, we are reminded that the most special of all aren’t the objects that reside in our stacks, but the people who walk through our doors.

Not long ago I was witness to a special treat in the reading room. Headed out to our foyer desk to greet a patron, I was somewhat surprised when I encountered an elementary school-aged child. While a family member searched the general stacks, this young girl had intrepidly set out in search of older, rarer quarry.

I thought of all the amazing rare books in our collections, and tried to come up with the perfect example to share.  Just before we went into the reading room to begin viewing materials, we were joined by Pat Bozeman, Head of Special Collections. Her mind quickly went to the Book of Hours, Use of Reims as a treat worthy of such a delightful and curious patron.

Watching the young researcher excitedly encounter this book was one of my favorite moments since joining the UH Libraries. It was a pleasure to watch and listen as Pat explained how the book was made and pointed out interesting details to a completely captivated child. And the girl’s reactions were a reminder of the wonder that these fantastic holdings have the power to elicit. There are lots of great things about working in the reading room, but there isn’t much that can top a child’s sincere “wow!”

The experience not only underscored the responsibility we here in Special Collections have for preserving and making accessible our cultural heritage, but was also a reminder of just how darn lucky we are to get to do it.

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Weeks of Welcome: Libraries Open House http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/blog/2014/08/26/weeks-of-welcome-libraries-open-house/ http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/blog/2014/08/26/weeks-of-welcome-libraries-open-house/#comments Tue, 26 Aug 2014 06:45:03 +0000 Esmeralda Fisher http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/?p=2567 As part of the University of Houston Weeks of Welcome/Campus Prowl – The Road to Success, the UH Libraries invites students to its Open House on Tuesday, September 2.

Join us for the UH Libraries Open House on September 2.

Join us for the UH Libraries Open House on September 2.

From 11:00am to 1:00pm, students are encouraged to visit the MD Anderson Library and learn how to use the Libraries’ programs and services for success in academics and research.

Librarians will be present to answer questions, and students can also play games for a chance to win Libraries give-aways and Jimmy John’s sub cards.

The Libraries Open House is hosted in conjunction with the Campus Prowl – The Road to Success event, featuring even more chances to win prizes like a GoPro Camera, $150 Barnes & Noble Gift Card, and a free Campus Prowl 2014 t-shirt.

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From the Archives: Remembering Foley’s http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/speccol/2014/08/25/from-the-archives-remembering-foleys/ http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/speccol/2014/08/25/from-the-archives-remembering-foleys/#comments Mon, 25 Aug 2014 14:00:40 +0000 Gregory Yerke http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/speccol/?p=4148 The summer 2014 digital issue of Houston History features a piece on the history of Foley's in the city of Houston

The summer 2014 digital issue of Houston History features a piece on the history of Foley’s in the city of Houston

The second digital issue of Houston History (Summer 2014) is on the virtual shelves and features  a piece by our own Dr. Tomkins-Walsh, “From the Archives:  Remembering Foley’s,” featuring research and images from the Foley’s Department Store Records.

We have written previously, lamenting the demise of a Foley’s presence, influencing and shaping Houston’s downtown, prior to the ultimate demolition of Kenneth Franzheim‘s bold design.  For her part, Dr. Tomkins-Walsh addresses the demolition of that building in September of 2013 as something of a catalyst on the collective, public memory that wants not for a building, but instead represents more of a nostalgia and longing for an old figurative pillar and community partner long gone.  From its origins as a dry goods store, to an early department store, through the post-war optimism reflected in the construction of Kenneth Franzheim’s icon, to the role it played in the desegregation of Houston, and on into the growth of branch stores that followed the patterns of suburban development, Tomkins-Walsh outlines in detail the symbiotic relationship that Foley’s enjoyed with the community, as well as the rich research potential the meticulous records hold across a number of fields of study.

Foley Bros. on Main St. (1906)

Foley Bros. on Main St. (1906) – available for high resolution download at our digital library

Subscribers of Houston History may read Dr. Tomkins-Walsh’s article and the rest of the latest digital issue online at the magazine’s website.  In addition, a launch party for the summer digital issue is scheduled for Tuesday, August 26th from 5:30pm to 7:00pm at the Houston Texas YMCA (5202 Griggs Rd., Houston, TX 77021).  Interested in learning more about the history of Houston as seen through that huge display window on Main Street?  Plan a visit to the Special Collections Reading Room and take a closer look at the Foley’s Department Store Records.

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Special Collections Welcomes Our New Instructional Support Assistant http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/speccol/2014/08/20/special-collections-welcomes-our-new-instructional-support-assistant/ http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/speccol/2014/08/20/special-collections-welcomes-our-new-instructional-support-assistant/#comments Wed, 20 Aug 2014 12:33:04 +0000 Gregory Yerke http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/speccol/?p=4137 Lena Melinger, Instructional Support Assistant for UH Special Collections

Lena Melinger, Instructional Support Assistant for UH Special Collections, will assist in preparations for classes using rare books and archival materials in the Special Collections Evans Room.

We are very happy to welcome our new Instructional Support Assistant, Lena Melinger to the team.  Lena joined Special Collections last week and in her new role will work closely with Julie Grob, Coordinator for Instruction, as she provides support in preparing for classes using rare books and archival materials in the Special Collections Evans Room.

Every semester the Evans Room hosts a wide variety of classes, supporting the studies and research of undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Houston.  Having previously attended visiting classes in the Evans Room gives Lena a keen insight as she makes preparations for the coming semester.  With the summer preseason nearly behind us and the fall semester quickly approaching, Lena has hit the ground running, currently busying herself preparing materials for Dr. David Mazella’s Introduction to Literary Studies course (scheduled to visit Special Collections in early September to take a closer look at the works of Jonathan Swift).

This fall Lena begins her junior year as a Creative Writing major, studying in the Honors College.  Born and raised in Austin, Lena has lived and studied in Seattle and Houston.  With an expected graduation year of 2015 at the earliest, Lena is still narrowing her plans for the future, hinting that where she lives will no doubt play a role in how she lives.   Are libraries and archives in her future?  Only time will tell.

In the meantime, we’ll do our best trying to influence that career track and ask you to join us in welcoming Lena, as we are so very pleased to have her on board!

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UH Libraries + Games = Student Success

categories: Announcements, Special Event or Display, Student Success

Last year, over 130 gaming enthusiasts gathered at the University of Houston Libraries for the first-ever Game On, Cougars!, a day of open gaming for the UH community. This year, the event levels up with a legendary alliance for an even more epic experience.

UH students are invited to Game On, Cougars! 2014

UH students are invited to Game On, Cougars! 2014

FoodMachine Houston, a non-profit organization comprising gamers whose mission is to make a positive impact on the community through charitable acts of gaming, will be volunteering alongside UH Libraries staff at this year’s event on Saturday, November 15 at the MD Anderson Library Rockwell Pavilion. The group will teach board games, run raffles, and manage Warmachine miniatures and video game tournaments for UH attendees, and accept donations for the Houston Food Bank as well.

FoodMachine Houston

FoodMachine Houston

“We are thrilled to be working collaboratively with FoodMachine Houston on the planning and running of Game On, Cougars!, and we expect that it will be at least twice as big as last year’s event,” said Rachel Vacek, head of Web Services and co-chair of the event.

Houston Pathfinder Society will also be attending to give participants a crash course on role-playing games. Game developers will also showcase prototypes in need of play-testers, and vendors will display merchandise. Attendees will have plenty of chances to win prizes, too.

Beyond a fun day of gaming at the UH Libraries, Game On, Cougars! is also designed to promote student success, which “is about helping students acquire the skills they need to become lifelong learners and be successful both in college and on the path they have chosen after graduation,” Vacek, an avid gamer herself, said. “I believe that playing games – whether board games, video games, or role-playing games – strengthens social bonds and builds trust between people. Games also encourage players to find innovative solutions, teach them how to persevere through challenges, and collaborate effectively to reach shared goals. Many games require critical thinking and problem solving skills. All these benefits of gaming translate into having better study skills and more effective interactions within the classroom and beyond.”

Game On, Cougars! is hosted in conjunction with hundreds of libraries around the globe in celebration of International Games Day @ Your Library, an initiative of the American Library Association. Sponsorship opportunities are available for Houston-based developers, publishers and sellers.

Who: You! All UH students, staff and faculty are invited to attend.
What: A FREE day of board games, card games, war games, miniatures, role-playing games, and video games; prizes, refreshments and more!
When: Saturday, November 15, 2014
Where: MD Anderson Library Rockwell Pavilion

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Social Media Week at UH Libraries

categories: Announcements

University of Houston Libraries will host a special week of social media training in October for UH students, staff and faculty.

Sign up for workshops on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and more during Social Media Week at UH Libraries.

Sign up for workshops on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and more during Social Media Week at UH Libraries.

Jessica Brand, UH social media manager, will teach workshops on various social media platforms in the MD Anderson Library Learning Commons from October 6 – 10.

As with the UH Libraries technology training workshops, Social Media Week workshops are free and are recommended for anyone who uses social media.

Topics include:

Facebook 101

  • Understand the differences between a Facebook profile, page, and group
  • Review personal profile privacy settings and options
  • Learn how to make and maintain a Facebook page

Facebook Analytics: Advanced 102

  • Understanding Facebook Insights
  • How to make a Facebook page monthly report

Twitter 101

  • How to grow your Twitter presence
  • How to make and use Twitter lists
  • Understanding hashtags

Twitter and Hootsuite: Advanced 102

  • Introduction to Hootsuite
  • Monitoring topics and keywords on Twitter
  • Introduction to Twitter analytics

LinkedIn 101

  • How to create an awesome profile
  • How to use LinkedIn Groups

Instagram and Snapchat 101 *This class requires all attendees to bring their own smart phone or other device with app store and built-in camera.*

  • Get to know Instagram
  • Get to know Snapchat

View the full schedule for Social Media Week and register online.

Challenged Comic Books and Graphic Novels

categories: Announcements

This week marks the annual Banned Books Week, a national campaign that highlights the importance of free and open access to information, and calls attention to literary works that are frequently challenged in bookstores, libraries and schools. This year’s Banned Books Week theme focuses on challenged comic books and graphic novels.

Dan Johnson, senior library specialist at the University of Houston Libraries and Association of Research Libraries/Society of American Archivists Mosaic Program fellow, has incorporated his longtime interest in comic books and graphic novels into his scholarly endeavors, having researched and written on a range of topics, from Neil Gaiman’s Sandman to the works of Robert Crumb.

Below, Johnson discusses issues of banned and challenged comic books and graphic novels, and implications for public libraries and the community.


Comic Book Legal Defense Fund
The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF) is a non-profit organization comprised of comic book creators, publishers and readers who come to the defense of comic book shops or libraries that have problems with materials being challenged. Some of them end up having issues where a challenged book is accused of violating community standards.

CBLDF compiled a list of comic books and graphic novels that are constantly in the news, or are known for having challenge or ban issues. In almost all cases they weren’t actively banned, but there were challenge cases for them, usually about age appropriateness. Within public libraries, most make a distinction between graphic novels for adults in one section, graphic novels for teens in another, and graphic novels for younger children in a third section. Often a challenge comes up when a teen or younger child comes home with a book that they got from the adult fiction section.

Addressing the Challenge
In public libraries, there’s a formal review process documented by that library so that the public has access to it and they know what’s going to happen. It requires the person making the challenge to have read the book in toto. That does away with a lot of the challenges because many people haven’t read the whole book.

When they have read the book completely, the challenge goes through an internal review process that involves librarians of that particular institution. The review panel reads the book from beginning to end, where the issue is to determine whether there is some artistic merit or value to this book as literature. These are stories that reflect different community standards, different people’s lives, and different people’s experiences.

As a result of the challenge, the book in question can be pulled completely. That doesn’t happen very often, but it can happen. Second, the book could be re-categorized; they move it from the young adult fiction section to the adult fiction section, for example. The third possible ruling is that the review board determines that the book is appropriate for the library and falls within the scope of their collection development policy. The last step in the review process, after the board comes to an agreement, is that they write a defense letter, stating what they have determined to do and why.

Comic Books and Graphic Novels as Bibliotherapy
I am a parent, and there are all sorts of comic books that I read, but I won’t let my daughter read. I think parents should assess what they’re willing to talk to their children about. Literature can be used as a way to explore things that are challenging or scary for children. One of the ways to work through things that they don’t understand is to read about them in a safe environment. An idea that has been brought up in my classes in graphic novels and library science is that, if you think that it could happen to someone, it has happened to someone. There are readers out there who are looking for books that speak to their experiences. If you can imagine that anyone has gone through it, you should have materials for them to read. That’s the case for literature, and one of the things that comic books and graphic novels are good for. There’s a term for it – bibliotherapy – the idea that a book as a fictional piece is a safe environment in which to explore traumatic things that have happened.

Selected Challenged Works

Sandman by Neil Gaiman and various artists

Sandman by Neil Gaiman and various artists

Sandman by Neil Gaiman and various artists
Following the events that occur when Morpheus, the Sandman and Lord of Dreams, is captured and imprisoned by mistake by a dark magician, this series of graphic novels blends characters from world religions, mythology, and literature in an epic tale. Ambitious in scope, Gaiman’s creation is a high watermark for the comics format, having won various awards including a Hugo and numerous Eisners.

Maus by Art Spiegelman
Spiegelman’s autobiographical tale interweaves the story of his father, Vladek, a Jewish Holocaust survivor from occupied Poland, and Artie’s challenges in making sense of his father’s tale. In Spiegelman’s Pulitzer-winning narrative, Jews are depicted as mice, Germans as cats, and U.S. GIs as dogs in a very emotional story of survival during World War II.

Fun Home: a family tragicomic by Alison Bechdel

Fun Home: a family tragicomic by Alison Bechdel

Fun Home: a family tragicomic by Alison Bechdel 
This graphic novel memoir explores the complexities of family life of lesbian author Bechdel and her distant relationship with her father, a man who spent most of his life in the closet. Ever an enigma full of contradictions, even in his death his intentions are unclear; what might have been an accident could easily have been suicide. Bechdel was recently named as a 2014 MacArthur Foundation fellowship recipient.


UH Special Collections Contributes WWI Images

categories: Announcements

University of Houston Libraries Special Collections has collaborated with Gulf Coast Reads on its Remembering Through Archives initiative.

Food supply efforts letter from Minnie Fisher Cunningham to fellow members of the Texas Equal Suffrage Association. From University of Houston Special Collections.

Food supply efforts letter from Minnie Fisher Cunningham to fellow members of the Texas Equal Suffrage Association. From University of Houston Special Collections.

The curated online World War I exhibit features images shared by member area repositories of the Archivists of the Houston Area (AHA), including original materials housed in UH Special Collections and available for online access in the UH Digital Library.

Each year, Gulf Coast Reads chooses a title to promote for its regional reading and listening initiative. This year’s selection is Remember Ben Clayton by Stephen Harrigan, winner of the James Fenimore Cooper Prize for Best American Historical Fiction. World War I is a central subject in the story, which inspired the online exhibit.

Images from UH Special Collections include Camp Logan maps and suffrage letters of Minnie Fisher Cunningham. Visitors to the online exhibit may browse by collection.

October is American Archives Month, in which archival repositories aim to increase public awareness of the importance of preserving historical items and making them accessible.

“The significance of Archives Month has always been about collaboration and the power of archives when they work together in bringing awareness to collections and services,” said Vince Lee, UH Special Collections archivist and vice president of AHA. “This online exhibit on WWI, which we are proud to be a part of, shows the power that each archive brings in documenting an historic event. We each have strengths and collecting areas which, leveraged together, tell a complete story.”

Alley Theatre Exhibit Spotlights Nina Vance

categories: Announcements, Special Event or Display

A new exhibit at the University of Houston Libraries illuminates the life of visionary Alley Theatre founder Nina Vance, and provides a contextual history of the theatre’s rise to prominence.

In 1947, Vance mailed 214 penny postcards bearing the question, “Do you want a new theater for Houston?” Soon, the Alley Theatre was born.

Nina Vance | Photo from the Nina Vance Alley Theatre Papers, UH Special Collections

Nina Vance | Photo from the Nina Vance Alley Theatre Papers, UH Special Collections

From the exhibit:

From its modest beginnings in a dance studio on Main Street, to a converted fan factory on Berry Avenue, to a state-of-the-art building downtown, the road to becoming the nationally recognized theatre it is today was paved with talent, generosity, and hard work. The woman behind it all remained the same, Nina Vance. As the theatre’s founder and artistic director for more than thirty years, Vance was a guiding force for the theatre and worked tirelessly to see it become a Houston institution.

The exhibit features programs, photographs, articles, correspondence, and other memorabilia from the UH Special Collections Nina Vance Alley Theatre Papers.

Visitors are invited to view Nina Vance and the Alley Theatre: A Life’s Work at the MD Anderson Library starting October 25, 2014 through May 8, 2015. The exhibit opens concurrently with the 100th anniversary of Vance’s birth.

For more information, contact Catherine Essinger 713-743-2337, and Stacey Lavender, 713-743-9605.

New Databases at UH Libraries

categories: New Resource

The following databases are now available from the University of Houston Libraries:

Alt-HealthWatch
A full-text database of periodicals, peer-reviewed journals, academic and professional publications, magazines, consumer newsletters and newspapers, research reports, and association newsletters focused on contemporary, alternative and integrated approaches to health care and wellness.

American Indian Histories and Cultures
A wide-ranging digital resource presenting a unique insight into interactions between American Indians and Europeans from their earliest contact, continuing through the turbulence of the American Civil War, the on-going repercussions of government legislation, right up to the civil rights movement of the mid-twentieth century. This resource contains material from the Newberry Library’s extensive Edward E. Ayer Collection.

American West
Original manuscripts, maps, ephemeral material, and rare printed sources from the Graff Collection about the American West, including tales of frontier life, Native Americans, vigilantes, and outlaws, and the growth of urban centers and environmental impact of westward expansion and of life in the borderlands.

Global Commodities
This resource brings together manuscript, printed and visual primary source materials for the study of global commodities in world history. The commodities featured in this resource have been transported, exchanged and consumed around the world for hundreds of years. They helped transform societies, global trading operations, habits of consumption and social practices.

Health Source, Consumer Edition
Provides consumer oriented information on many health topics including the medical sciences, food sciences and nutrition, childcare, adult health, behavioral health, cardiology, drug and medication information, pediatric health, senior health, women’s health, and sports medicine.

Literary Reference Center
This full-text database provides a spectrum of information on authors and their works across literary disciplines and time frames to give scholars, professors, and researchers a foundation of literary reference works to meet their research needs.

Natural and Alternative Treatments
Natural & Alternative Treatments contains detailed information on almost 200 different conditions and the conventional and natural treatments used to treat them, over 300 herbs and supplements, plus drug-herb and drug-supplement interactions for more than 90 drug categories.

Project Euclid: Mathematics and Statistics Online
Project Euclid is a joint effort by Cornell University Library and Duke University Press; this not-for-profit online publishing service provides access to journals, monographs, and conference proceedings in the fields of theoretical and applied mathematics and statistics.

ProQuest Congressional Publications
Provides users with access to a comprehensive collection of historic and current congressional information.

For database assistance, visit Electronic Resources Help.

Fall 2014 Grad Student Mixer

categories: Announcements

University of Houston graduate students are invited to the Fall 2014 Graduate Student Mixer, hosted by UH Libraries.

UH graduate students are invited to the Grad Student Mixer on October 7.

UH graduate students are invited to the Grad Student Mixer on October 7.

The event serves as an opportunity for graduate students to network with one another, and allows them to meet subject librarians in a fun and relaxed atmosphere.

Date: Tuesday, October 7
Time: 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Location: Rockwell Pavilion, second floor of MD Anderson Library

NOTE: Must be 21 to consume alcohol. IDs will be checked at the door.

UH Libraries Welcomes Resource Description Coordinator

categories: Announcements

The University of Houston Libraries provides a vast array of resources that supplement teaching, learning, and research. Resources, including both physical and electronic materials, are cataloged and described using standards and processes that optimize accessibility to users.

Hayley Moreno joins the UH Libraries as the new resource description coordinator, managing cataloging workflow to make materials more accessible.

Hayley Moreno joins the UH Libraries as the new resource description coordinator, managing cataloging workflow to make materials more accessible.

UH Libraries recently welcomed Hayley Moreno as its new Resource Description Coordinator. In this role, Moreno will manage cataloging workflow for increased efficiency and collaboration with Metadata and Digitization Services. Her goal is to make UH Libraries’ materials more accessible, using the standard and schema, Resource Description and Access (RDA).

Cataloging is the comprehensive creation of bibliographic data that enables library users to find the resources they seek; whether it’s a book, database, journal or non-print media. Contemporary cataloging requires an ever-evolving skill set among librarians which reflects new trends and standards. For instance, the term resource description refers to a newer protocol for the formulation of bibliographic data.

As such, Moreno sees an interesting future for resource description. “The schemas that we use are changing,” she said. “We’re moving towards linked data, which requires librarians to use web technologies like URIs, HTTP and RDF.”

Moreno noted that the reason for the shift in the ways libraries perform resource description is because some information is still not widely accessible. “Resources in a library’s catalog may not be retrievable when using web search engines,” Moreno said. “Traditional bibliographic description limits discoverability of library resources on the web.”

Traditional bibliographic schema used in cataloging is phasing out as more libraries adopt new schemas that find relevant information on the web by connecting data structures and placing previously hidden resources into the hands (and screens) of users.

Libraries and institutions that incorporate new coding protocols will strengthen their ability to connect with one another’s data structures and provide more access to materials, giving library users results similar to what they experience with search engine results.

“Changing the way we describe things – creating structured data, and generating relationships from it – that’s the framework behind the idea of finding a resource from anywhere on the web,” Moreno said.

Celebrating 15 Years of Poetry and Prose at UH

categories: Announcements

The 2014-2015 season of Poetry and Prose: Creative Writers at the University of Houston kicks off on September 17.

University of Houston students, faculty, staff and the community are invited to the 2014-2015 season of Poetry and Prose: Creative Writers at the University of Houston.

The series, now in its 15th year, kicks off on September 17 and will feature new MFA and PhD students in the UH Creative Writing Program.

Erika Brown, Will Burns, Samuel Dinger, Jonathan Meyer, Luisa Muradyan and Georgia Pearle are scheduled to read selected works of poetry and fiction.

All readings are held in the Honors College Commons in the MD Anderson Library and begin at 5:30 p.m. Readings are free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be provided.

The next reading is scheduled for October 15, featuring faculty poets.

UH1UP Challenge: Libraries Tech Training

categories: Announcements

Get the free Scavify app and join the UH1UP Challenge to win prizes!

To help University of Houston students get the most out of their academic experience, the UH Libraries has partnered with the UH Social Media team on the UH1UP Challenge scavenger hunt.

The UH1UP Challenge is a game designed to help UH students locate and learn about on-campus resources for academic and professional success, and to score prizes along the way.

To play, students need the free Scavify app, available for iPhone or Android. Starting September 8, students can access the app which lists a set of tasks to complete by November 14. More information on how to play can be found at the UH1UP page.

One of the tasks focuses on free technology training offered at UH Libraries. Beginning, intermediate and advanced sessions in popular software, like Excel, PowerPoint, Photoshop, InDesign, iMovie and many more, are held morning, afternoon and evening in the MD Anderson Library Learning Commons. Sessions are instructor-led, with practical, personalized lessons.

To complete this task, students are encouraged to find the technology training session of their choice, register, attend and pick up a Libraries prize. At the end of the training session, students can snap a selfie with the instructor, and the task is complete.

All players who complete all UH1UP tasks will qualify for a chance to win a grand prize. Grand prizes include a MacBook Air and five iPad Minis.

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