Thursday, November 20, 2008

Thanksgiving Holilday Hours

Wednesday, November 26th: 8 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Thursday, November 27th: CLOSED

Friday, November 28th: CLOSED

Will Reopen: Monday, December 1 at 8 a.m.

Oral Histories in the Digital Age

Maren L. Read, Archivist for Manuscript Collections, and Amanda A. Hurford, Digital Initiatives Multimedia Developer, shared their experience and expertise on digital oral histories at the Oral History Association 2008 Annual Meeting held in Pittsburgh, PA. It drew oral historians, archivists, and librarians alike from around the United States and countries such as Great Britain, Finland, and Iraq.

The meeting, held October 15-19, featured a range of speakers addressing the theme of “Oral History in the Digital Age.” Read and Hurford presented as part of a panel discussion on organizing and using large oral history collections. Their paper, “Voices Representing Middletown: An Oral History Project for the Digital Age,” focused on the advantages of using a digital content management system, such as CONTENTdm, to present, store, and access digital oral history interviews and transcripts. The Middletown Digital Oral History Collections,, were showcased as part of Ball State University Libraries’ Digital Media Repository and as a model for using a digital content management system.

Their talk addressed how the system allows students and researchers to search for, obtain, and use digital oral histories more effectively — making use of digital age technologies, customizability, and the ability to access resources within the context of a larger digital library. Attending the OHA Conference also provided them opportunities to learn how oral historians and information professionals are providing access to oral history collections online. Some of the sessions of particular interest were “Challenges of Digital Collections” and “Collecting, Sharing, and Teaching Oral History in the Digital Age.” Issues such as copyright, transcribing digital oral histories, and providing access to clips of interviews versus full interviews were topics of lively discussion in many sessions

University Libraries Collaborates with the Drawings and Documents Archive

by Maren L. Read, Archivist for Manuscript Collections, and Brian A. Knowles, Part-time Temporary Assistant Archivist

Following the retirement of architecture professor Andrew R. Seager, founding director of the Drawings and Documents Archive at the College of Architecture and Planning (CAP), the University Libraries’ Archives and Special Collections is collaborating with CAP to provide continued access to the collections and services of the Archive for students, faculty, and researchers.

The mission of the Drawings and Documents Archive is to collect, preserve, and make available the records concerning Indiana’s historic sites and structures and the careers of Hoosier architects, landscape architects, planners, engineers, and builders. The Archive houses more than 100,000 drawings and renderings by practitioners throughout Indiana, dating from the late 19th century to the present. More than 40 firms are represented in the collection. Among the most used resources in the collection are biographical files and data files on individual properties and historic districts.

The Archive also collects drawings by CAP students, including the Historic American Buildings Survey and the Historic American Engineering Record. Other collections include:
• Drawings and specifications for Ball State buildings and grounds
• College of Architecture and Planning publications about environmental design and design education
• Postcards of historic sites and structures
• Trade catalogs, maps, atlases, and aerial photographs
• Professional tools and equipment

All of the materials offer a unique resource for students, faculty, and researchers who are interested in Indiana’s architectural heritage The Archives and Special Collections’ personnel are currently working on several projects to improve access to the collections, including reorganization of the poster, postcard, and map collections. Brian A. Knowles, Part-time Temporary Assistant Archivist, and Graduate Assistants Derek M. Rohde and Breanne M. Robbins have completed processing of a significant collection of nearly 2,000 architectural documents and drawings of offices, businesses, and residences throughout Indiana from the 1930s to the 1970s donated by Indianapolis architect Joseph O. Cezar.

The Drawings and Documents Archive is located in the Architecture Building, Room 120. For more information, visit the website,, or contact Brian A. Knowles, Part-time Temporary Assistant Archivist, or Maren L. Read, Archivist for Manuscript Collections,, 765-285-8441.

Wes-Del High School Student Job Shadows Ball State University Libraries’ Archivists

There was a “shadow” in the Libraries’ Archives and Special Collections on November 5, 2008.

Delaware County’s Wes-Del High School senior Sadie J. Ritchie “job shadowed” the unit’s personnel to learn what kinds of activities they do as archivists. Wes-Del High, School has a Job Shadow Program where students spend a day observing personnel carrying out the duties and responsibilities of a job of their choice by following a practitioner throughout his/her work day. It gives the observer the opportunity to learn up-close and personally about a career they may be considering.

Sadie contacted Archives and Special Collections because of her interest in history and possibly pursuing a career in archival work. In selecting the University Libraries’ Archives and Special Collections, she said, “I was looking for a place where I could get a good experience to help me decide on my future career.”

Sadie is a member of the Future Business Leaders of America, has participated in 4-H for 10 years, and has been on the A-B Honor Roll at Wes-Del for the past four years. She has been very involved in the U. S. Civil War community, traveling in Indiana and Virginia to speak at different organizations, including the United Daughters of the Confederacy, the Sons of Confederate Veterans, and multiple Civil War Roundtables.

During her day in Archives and Special Collections, Sadie had the opportunity to spend time individually with archivists John B. Straw, Maren L. Read, Carolyn F. Runyon, and with staff member Lajmar D. Anderson to ask them each about their jobs.

Sadie said she gained insight into the management and administration of the unit, the collections, services, and the education and training needed to become an archivist. Sadie also had the opportunity for some hands-on experience by processing a small collection, shadowing an archivist providing reference assistance, assisting with the creation of an exhibit, and transcribing oral histories for digitization.

In participating in shadowing programs of this type, Arthur W. Hafner, Dean of University Libraries, said that our objective is for the student to “… walk away from the experience with his/her eyes opened concerning a career of interest.” We were pleased to provide this educational opportunity for a possible future archivist.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Native America At The Crossroads: A New Exhibit

Celebrate Native American Heritage Month and explore the multitude of resources available on Native American history by visiting Archives and Special Collections on the second floor of Bracken Library. Native America at the Crossroads: Resources Celebrating Native American Heritage Month will be on display from November 13 through December 31, 2008.

This exhibit is in collaboration with the Anthropology Department, Geospatial Resources & Maps, and Educational Resources. Items featured in the exhibit include maps featuring Delaware settlements along the White River in Indiana and Indians of North America, photographs from the Miami Indian photo collection, documents from the Indian Reserves Collection, historical texts documenting Native Americans in the U.S., a copy of Richard Greene’s booklet on the Delaware Indians in Muncie, a rawhide rattle and peace pipe from Educational Resources, and pottery sherds and arrowheads from the Anthropology Department.

For more information, please contact Lajmar Anderson at, (765) 285-5078.