Prepared by Dr. Martin Halbert, Dean of Libraries, 7/16/10.
Greetings from the Dean! I am pleased to highlight the following accomplishments and activities of the UNT Libraries from the last year. This information was contributed by the respective units of the UNT Libraries for external dissemination in July 2010, and covers the last 12 months of activities. For more information on any of these articles, please contact Dreanna Belden, Library Assistant Dean for External Relations (Dreanna.Belden@unt.edu, 940-369-8740).
10 Million Files in UNT Digital Libraries Available to the Public
The UNT Digital Libraries Division is responsible for an ever growing collection of digital content which has now grown to 35 terabytes of data and more than 10 million individual files through collaborative digitization efforts. This enormous body of content is conceptually organized into two primary collections and associated interfaces: the Portal to Texas History and the UNT Digital Library. Grouped into 125,000 composite digital packages in the digital archive, the interfaces to these digital libraries are continually being improved.
The division recently released a newly redesigned interface to the Portal to Texas History (http://texashistory.unt.edu) as part of the IOGENE project (http://iogene.library.unt.edu), a two-year study to identify the user interface requirements of genealogists interacting with the Libraries’ Portal to Texas History and funded by a National Leadership Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). Outcomes of this work included the Aubrey content delivery system being used by the UNT Libraries to provide access to all of our local digital collections. A collaborative effort between all the units in the division, the design and functionality of this system are second to none in the international digital library field. The team used a combination of User Centered Design for the interface work and the Agile development process for software development.
A re-branded and re-scoped gateway to the UNT Digital Library (http://digital.library.unt.edu) content held by the University was also released in the past year; this system is named and is positioned to become the primary vehicle for delivering scholarly content created by university faculty, staff and students. In addition to scholarly works, the UNT Digital Library provides access to collections from around the university including the rich collections held by the UNT Libraries such as this photograph from Professor Ray Gough's travels to the Middle East.
The Digital Libraries Division was awarded, started, or completed many externally funded collaborative projects in the past year. These projects cover the areas of research, interface development, and digitization. Projects of note include two National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP) grants (http://texashistory.unt.edu/explore/collections/TDNP/) which the division is undertaking for the states of Texas and Oklahoma. Another NDNP grant awarded to New Mexico was announced and the division will provide technical support for that endeavor. Additionally, a large amount of content was digitized for the Abilene Library Consortium including newspapers, yearbooks, course catalogs and photographs.
In another collaborative endeavor, the Digital Libraries Division has worked with the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA) over the past year to provide unique and timely services to this organization. The User Interfaces unit implemented a complete re-architecture and re-design of TSHA's public facing Web presence. This project was complicated due to the nature of the organizations on-line publishing history and the User Interfaces unit was successful in pulling together the resources needed for successful completion. The Digital Projects Unit began work on several digitization projects to move key Texas content owned by TSHA onto the Portal to Texas History, these titles include the Texas Almanac and the Southwestern Historical Quarterly (including this cover from Volume 105, July 2001 - April, 2002).
All of these developments have been enabled by cutting edge research into the underlying technology of digital libraries. During the past year the UNT Digital Libraries Division has been successful in the planning, development and implementation of two major systems, Coda and Aubrey, that aim to place the UNT Libraries ahead of our peer institutions by supplying robust digital infrastructure to acquire, describe, deliver and preserve digital content. The digital archive system called Coda supplies archival storage for all content which is then delivered by the Aubrey display system developed in the IOGENE project, which currently provides the public interface to two digital library gateways. In coming years the UNT Libraries will continue to forge ahead in the development of digital libraries using these workhorse systems.
UNT Libraries Receive More Than $1M in Grants
The UNT Libraries received a number of grants during the past year totaling more than one million dollars.
The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has awarded UNT a We the People grant of $314,688 for “Mapping the Southwest." In this project, UNT is partnering with the University of Texas at Arlington’s Special Collections to digitize and make available online over 5,000 historically significant rare maps. The map collections of the University of Texas at Arlington Library’s Special Collections document the history of cartography and five centuries of exploration and mapping of the New World. Digitizing these maps and making them available through the Portal to Texas History will provide researchers, professors, teachers, students, librarians, and the public--in short, scholars of all varieties--with digital access to one of the premier cartographic collections in the nation.
A $105,236 grant from the Tocker Foundation will provide funding to digitize historical newspaper issues of The Breckenridge American, in partnership with the Stonewall County Library, and the Cherokeean in partnership with the Singleton Memorial Library. Newspapers tell the story of a community as it unfolds, providing an indispensable view of history.
A $100,000 grant was received from the Amon Carter Foundation for the Texas Cultures Online project. In response to educators' needs for more multimedia materials that support teaching about the many cultures of Texas, UNT seeks to digitize cultural heritage collections that represent various racial and ethnic groups. This important project fill a thematic gap in the historic materials the Portal offers online, and also promises immeasurable benefit to smaller cultural heritage institutions by preserving at-risk historical materials.
An Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) grant of $631,720 was awarded to the UNT Libraries for a project entitled “Classification of Government Websites in the End-of-Term Archive: Extending Depository Libraries' Collection Development Practices." In this project, UNT is partnering with the Internet Archive to classify, in accord with the SuDocs system, the materials in the 2008–2009 End-of-Term (EOT) Web, collected by the University of North Texas, which represents the entirety of the federal government’s public Web presence immediately before and after the 2009 change in presidential administrations. The project will also identify metrics to translate measurable units for selected materials in Web archives to units more familiar to libraries and more recognizable by university administrators.
University Archives and Rare Books Host New Collections and Events
Among the collections the UNT Archives received this year are two with special significance. Ironically, they came from two un-related educators named Rodriguez: The Victor Rodriguez Collection and the Rudy Rodriguez Bilingual Education Oral History Collection. Dr. Victor Rodriguez was the first Hispanic athlete at UNT and went on to have an outstanding career as an educator, ultimately holding the position of Superintendent of the San Antonio Public School District. He has been heavily involved as a supporter of UNT for many years, and recently donated to the Archives memorabilia from his life’s achievements all the way back to his time as one of the University’s track stars in the 1950s.
Dr. Rudy Rodriguez, recently retired professor from the UNT College of Education, has donated to the UNT Archives a collection of oral history interviews conducted with Hispanic people from all over Texas, about the growth and development of bilingual programs in Texas public schools. Gathered as raw data for a DVD, “The Texas Bilingual Education Story: Celebrating Our Legacy,” the oral histories are a unique body of material on the history of bilingual education in our state and will continue to provide research opportunities for students and others who seek to chronicle the collective experience of the Hispanic citizens of our nation.
In the past year, the Rare Book & Texana Collections held its biennial Artists' Books Competition and Exhibition. The purposes of the competition and exhibition are: to encourage the development of students’ work in the medium of artists' books, to foster the creation of artists' books, to reward excellence and creativity in the medium, and to build the collection of artists' books in the UNT Rare Book & Texana Collections. This is a unique learning initiative that focuses on enhancing student achievement and success. Although faculty, staff, and community members are welcome to participate (and often do!), only artists' books created within the last two years, while the artist was a student at UNT (in any area of study), are eligible for the $400 purchase prize, funded by the Friends of the UNT Libraries. The most recent competition was held in the Fall of 2009, with the associated exhibit mounted in the Rare Book Room in Willis Library during the Spring 2010 semester. The exhibit not only showcased selected artists' books from the Rare Book & Texana Collections, but also offered the opportunity for all of the entrants to have their work on exhibition, with any related publicity their entries received.
The University Archives and Rare Book & Texana Collections Department hosted a visiting scholar from China for a few days this year. Mr. Shan Jiang, an associate librarian in the Wuhan Library of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, spent six months working in the UNT Libraries and during that time visited with the archivist and toured the UNT Archives and visited with the rare book curator and toured the Rare Book Room. Additionally, the archivist drove Mr. Jiang over to the Library Annex to meet the Preservation Librarian and tour the Preservation Lab and showed him around in the locked and alarmed storage areas where most of the archival collections are housed. Mr. Jiang was very interested in the conservation and preservation of old material because many of the libraries in China have significant collections of very ancient records. It was a rare opportunity to create an international learning experience for both our Chinese visitor and ourselves, as we collaborated in exchanging information.
Music Library Acquires New Collections
The Music Library continues to enhance its reputation as one of the leading academic music libraries in the country through a number of digital projects, major gifts, and educational initiatives. Among the digital projects we are currently undertaking, in collaboration with the College of Music and the Libraries Digital Projects Lab, is the College of Music Recordings project, which presently provides remote access from anywhere on campus to recordings of more than 320 doctoral, ensemble, faculty, guest, and senior recitals from the UNT College of Music from 2006 on. We are also working retrospectively to digitize and offer access to similar recordings going back to the 1980s. College of Music program books have also been scanned and made available electronically.
The Music Library has acquired several significant special collections, including the archives of jazz trumpeter Maynard Ferguson, acquired in 2008 and containing over 750 arrangements for his bands from the 1950s to the early 2000s. The inventory of the collection was recently completed by Music Library staff, and several rare works in the collection have already been made available for performance by the UNT College of Music One O’clock Lab Band. A finding aid for the collection can be found at http://www.library.unt.edu/music/special-collections/maynard-ferguson/
Among other significant gifts that the Music Library has recently received is the Ben E. Brown Collection, containing approximately fifty thousand items from the inventory of the Music Exchange, Inc., a retail music store in New York that closed several years ago. This comprehensive collection covers all genres, but is particularly strong in popular sheet music and folios, opera, musical theater, and classical vocal music. Containing many items that are currently out-of-print, and in excellent condition, this collection will complement and greatly enhance our holdings in these particular areas, and provide our students and faculty with music to which they would not otherwise have access. In addition to the benefit the collection will provide to the UNT community, it also offers an excellent opportunity for the student staff of the Music Library, some of whom are presently enrolled in the university’s graduate program in library and information sciences, to be involved in processing and cataloging the collection, giving them valuable hands-on library experience.
Several members of the Music Library staff work regularly with other colleges on campus in sharing their musical and technical expertise by teaching courses on Music Librarianship and Music Cataloging through the College of Information, as well as lecturing, giving bibliographic instruction, teaching courses, and collaborating in musical performances with members of the College of Music faculty.
Media Library Host Fem Flicks
The Fem Flicks Film Series is a collaboration between the UNT Women’s Studies Department, The Women’s Center and the UNT Media Library. The film series aims to highlight and start conversations about issues affecting women locally and globally.
Started in 2007, the series has screened films about women’s role in conflict zones, body image, sex education and cultural roles. Guest speakers have included nationally known feminist activist Shelby Knox and respected members of the UNT faculty.
Over 150 students, faculty and community members participated in the program during the 09/10 year.
Discovery Park Library Records Instructional Sessions
The Discovery Park Library explored a variety of options to improve the delivery of information to the students of the College of Information. The diverse student body is spread throughout the United States and the world, with limited access to instructional sessions that were delivered on-site. Electronic delivery options were examined and sessions designed that could be captured and played at the students' convenience. The recorded sessions could be imbedded into course content or made available through the UNT Libraries' web site to allow users to participate in sessions and enrich their education experience.
Research and Instructional Services
The amount of digital information is currently multiplying by ten every five years and is over three million times the information in all the books ever written. To be successful in the current global society, students need to be able to maneuver through this continuously expanding proliferation of information. The UNT Libraries’ Research and Instructional Services department offers a wide variety of services to help students learn how to find, use, and evaluate information.
Services include innovative research classes for hundreds of university courses, graduate and undergraduate workshops on library databases and web tools such as Google Docs and Google Scholar, individual research help in-person and virtually, online and print guides to help students learn about library resources, and librarians embedded in blackboard classes. Our librarians work with organizations all over campus to find ways to embed an understanding and appreciation of the role of the library in lifelong learning into the fabric of UNT students’ educational experiences. We work to make the continuous learning opportunities that libraries encourage and provide access to a foundational experience of a UNT education.
Government Documents Highlights
The UNT Libraries’ CyberCemetery is one of only three higher education institutions affiliated with the National Archives (NARA). The CyberCemetery is an archive of websites from now-defunct government agencies and commissions. These websites are an important part of our nation’s history, and this archive provides a free, permanent way for the public to access this information. The Government Documents Department acquired the federal depository collection of the Fort Worth Public Library, a collection encompassing over 700,000 volumes. This ensures that the public in the DFW metroplex still has access to this historic collection, dating back to 1901, and strengthens the UNT Libraries’ impressive research collection. A similar agreement is currently under negotiation with Texas A&M Commerce, which will further UNT Libraries’ reputation as one of the preeminent federal depository libraries in the nation.
In direct response to faculty requests, the Government Documents Department created a Business Portal that provides easy access to UNT Libraries’ business resources not only to business faculty and students, but also for the general public. The portal includes resources for starting up a new small business, as well as researching industries and individual companies.
The Government Documents Department created a “Civic Engagement” portal featuring tools helping students participate in their university, their community, and their local, state, and federal government. The portal was edited and refined based on student feedback, and was created directly in response to student interest in civic engagement. In the Government Documents Department, undergraduate and graduate students alike are getting hands-on training in a variety of information technology and library industry activities such as: scanning documents, marketing library events, creating document records, assisting with collection development, and answering specialized reference questions.
UNT Libraries provide library access to UNT summer groups and institutes for the department of Anthropology, Physics, Political Science, Cchemistry, Communication Studies, the College of Engineering, College of Music, College of Education, the Upward Bound progam, the Intensive English Language Institute, and we interact with faculty sponsors of these groups. The departments agree to take responsibility for any books that are lost by the participants in the institutes and we give them library access while they are attending.
Library Plans Renovation of the Harris Learning Commons in ISB
The UNT Libraries is planning a major renovation of the Harris Reading Room in the Information Science Building (ISB). The renovated space will become the Harris Learning Commons, a more contemporary and updated facility that will provide UNT students with improved public spaces enabled with high technology for both traditional individual study and collaborative group work.
The Harris Learning Commons will feature a variety of collaborative spaces, ranging from two large group learning/collaboration rooms with computers and large screens to small clusters for groups of four students to work around a shared display. Many individual study spaces will also be provided, as well as a coffee/snack bar at the entrance to the facility.