Monday, September 28, 2009

Charles E. Bracker Orchid Photographs

The Charles E. Bracker Orchid Photographs are now available in the DMR:

The “Top 300” (as selected by Dr. Bracker) are currently available digitally. More of the 30,000 will be added as they are selected and processed, but this top 300 was made available for the opening of the exhibit and the Library Friends event that will take place in October. Additional information on the exhibit and the Friends of Bracken Library program entitled, "Orchid Art and Conservation" can be found at this location.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Helen B. and Martin D. Schwartz Special Collections and Digital Complex Dedication Held in Bracken Library

The Helen B. and Martin D. Schwartz Special Collections and Digital Complex on the first floor of the Alexander M. Bracken Library was dedicated at 11:00 a.m. on August 17, 2009. The 30- minute ceremony included remarks from Ball State President Jo Ann Gora, Vice President for Information Technology Phil Repp, Dean of University Libraries Arthur Hafner, and Mr. Martin Schwartz.

The event was attended by Schwartz family members and friends and members of the Libraries and University administrations. Following the dedication ceremony, which included a short tribute video recognizing the Schwartz family for their long history of support of Ball State University and especially the University Libraries, guests toured the facility to see demonstrations of the technology and resources available in the areas of the Digital Complex.

The Schwartz Digital Complex is an innovative, collaborative, and interactive learning and teaching environment dedicated to serving the educational advancement of Ball State University students. This technology-rich facility in Bracken Library was made possible by a generous gift from Martin Schwartz in honor of his late wife, Helen.

In her remarks, President Gora said, “None of this would have been possible without the vision and philanthropic support of Helen B. and Martin D. Schwartz.” According to Vice President Phil Repp, the Schwartz Digital Complex will be “Ball State’s connection to the world, as well as the world’s connection to our unique collections, the kind of collections that Helen and Martin worked so hard to recognize and preserve.”

The Schwartz Digital Complex will provide a space that digitally connects students and faculty to the numerous digital media assets and special collections available through the University Libraries. It will be a place for students and faculty to reach across the globe to better understand the stories and customs of world cultures through digital media.

While making available the University Libraries’ rich array of digital media assets and special collections, the Complex also will provide access to media from around the world — a digital “newsstand” that provides access to international media, broadcasts, podcasts, and multimedia. It will be a global gallery that provides students and faculty with a media-rich gateway to connect visually and aurally to the artifacts that form the world’s cultures and societies. The Complex will also serve as an innovative and flexible space for fostering an undergraduate research culture. The official opening of the Schwartz Digital Complex will be on September 17 as part of the first in a five-part series of Tech4U events sponsored by Information Technology and hosted in Bracken Library. The September 17 event will run from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and is open to the public. Copies of the DVD of the dedication ceremony and tribute video are available for viewing in Archives and Special Collections, and will soon be available on the University Libraries’ Web site, For more information, contact John B. Straw, Assistant Dean for Digital Initiatives and Special Collections,, 765-285-5078.

Remarks from Schwartz Dedication

President Jo Ann Gora’s Remarks
This Complex has been described as an innovative, collaborative, and interactive space for teaching and learning.
Interestingly that description—innovative, collaborative, and interactive—really nearly parallels everything that we do at the University, from our emphasis on immersive learning, to our geothermal energy project, and from our emerging media initiative to our new core curriculum.

Bracken Library will always be the intellectual and symbolic center of our campus. And the Libraries’ staff takes very seriously its responsibility of preserving and sharing knowledge. But the methods of preserving and sharing that knowledge continue to evolve and change, even as on average 4,400 students use this library every day.

Since 2003, the focus of the University Libraries has been to develop and implement a plan that positions our Libraries for this new technological age, as a twenty-first century organization that is service-oriented, innovative, and both involved in the life of the campus and responsive to the surrounding community.

The staff has created, developed, adapted, and implemented a wide range of innovative and creative technologies, signature collections, and highly personalized services that support our students, faculty, and community. Today’s dedication is just the latest step in those efforts. The spirit that drives us at Ball State University to pioneer new ways of learning in higher education and to explore blossoming technologies is the same one that drives us to expand the accessibility of our Libraries’ holdings far beyond this physical structure.

Vice President Phil Repp’s Remarks
Today, we are standing at the symbolic and physical center of our campus—Bracken Library. This Library is part of that long and very ancient responsibility of preserving and sharing the world’s knowledge.

What is particularly exciting today is that we are witnessing the digital extension of a library’s historic role. Through the Helen B. and Martin D. Schwartz Special Collections and Digital Complex, this ancient responsibility is being transformed. Borrowing words from Michael Wesch, a leading expert on new media and social computing, this age-old responsibility is transformed into a “new media environment that is enveloped by a cloud of digital information where knowledge is made, not found, and authority is continuously negotiated through discussion and participation.” This aptly describes the nexus of our immersive learning and emerging media efforts. And this space brings that nexus to life.

Dean Arthur Hafner’s Remarks
This valuable resource will serve Ball State students and faculty in their research, learning, and creative uses of digital media resources and equipment. It is a unique resource, well designed and equipped for facilitating the development of emerging media opportunities for learning, research, and classroom enhancement. As you have heard earlier, there is no other facility on the Ball State campus like the Schwartz Digital Complex. Martin Schwartz and his late wife, Helen, have indeed been good friends to the University Libraries for many years, as this latest gift demonstrates. We are pleased to be the recipients of their generosity, and to be the home of this outstanding resource that serves as a legacy of their good will towards Ball State and its students.

Words from a Unique Supporter of the University Libraries: Mr. Martin Schwartz

The support of Mr. and Mrs. Schwartz to the University Libraries is inestimable. Here are his words at the dedication of the digital complex he made possible:

This is a story of a love affair with my wife Helen and our affinity for books and education. When we married almost 70 years ago, we merged our lives, our libraries, and our passion for learning. She was drawn to poetry and literature and I to history and government. Together we covered a broad spectrum of the humanities. To pay tribute to her and our hometown of more than 65 years makes this dedication a very special day for my family and me.

Our commitment to these disciplines and the libraries that house them has always been a mutual endeavor. I’m delighted and I know Helen would be too, that through our contribution this Special Collections and Digital Complex has been created. It’s a testament of our love for one another, and for books and knowledge. Thank you.

Professor Yoshifumo Kato Conducts Steinbeck Research

Professor Yoshifumo Kato, Ehime University, Japan, conducted a week-long research visit in early August 2009 in the University Libraries’ Archives and Special Collections. He is this year’s recipient of the Steinbeck Research Award in honor of Dr. John M. Ditsky. The topic of his research concerned the representation of Spanish- Mexican’s and Japanese American’s legacies as seen in the work of Nobel Prize winning author John Steinbeck.

At Ehime University, Professor Kato is Assistant Dean in the Department of Humanities, Faculty of Law and Letters, and Professor of English. He serves as director of the John Steinbeck Society of Japan and vice-president of the Chu- Shikoku American Literature Society. He is co-editor of the book John Steinbeck: Global Frameworks, and he has published several journal articles on Steinbeck. His most recent research is on the diversification of ethnic identity focusing on west coast literature in America.

Professor Kato was accompanied by his wife Chisa Kato. After completing his research at Ball State, Mrs. Kato and he traveled to California to conduct additional research before returning to Japan. The Steinbeck Research Award was established by Mrs. C. Suzette Ditsky in honor of her late husband, noted Steinbeck scholar Dr. John M. Ditsky. The award is intended to assist and encourage emerging and established Steinbeck visiting scholars and/or doctoral candidates in conducting research using the outstanding, nationally recognized Steinbeck collection in the Ball State University Libraries’ Archives and Special Collections. For more on the Steinbeck Research Award, contact John B. Straw, Assistant Dean for Digital Initiatives and Special Collections,, 765-285-5078.

University Libraries’ Provide Leadership in Developing Digital Oral History Collections

Updated and revised from an article by Susan G. Akers, former Marketing Communications Manager, now Executive Director of the Indiana Library Federation

Narratives in every culture serve to educate, preserve customs, entertain, or instill moral values. The evolution of technology has changed the tools available to storytellers. Ball State University Libraries’ fast growing digital oral histories collections ensures that future generations will be able to hear important stories and voices.

The topic of digitizing oral histories has become so popular that Ball State Libraries’ personnel frequently are invited to speak at conferences and seminars to share information and provide how-to’s, often drawing capacity crowds. This past summer, Amanda A. Hurford, Digital Initiatives Multimedia Developer, spoke at the American Library Association’s annual conference in California. Last fall, Amanda and her colleague Maren L. Read, Assistant Archivist for Manuscript Collections, were co-presenters at the annual meeting of the Oral History Association in Pennsylvania on the theme of oral histories in the digital age. John B. Straw, Assistant Dean for Digital Initiatives and Special Collections, has presented programs at five conferences in the past two years and James A. Bradley, Head of Metadata and Digital Initiatives, is in regular demand to discuss building digital repositories.

Keeping and Sharing our Stories through Digitization
The University Libraries have made several oral history collections available through the Digital Media Repository, For example, the Middletown Digital Oral History Collections allow students and scholars to hear interviews documenting the history of Muncie, Indiana, and read accompanying transcripts. The collections include:

• The Black Middletown, Other Side of Middletown, and Black Muncie oral histories consist of interviews with African-Americans in Muncie from the 1970s through 2000.
• Middletown Jewish Oral History Projects I and II offer interviews with members of Muncie’s Jewish community.
• The Muncie Catholic Churches Oral Histories present interviews with members of three parishes.
• The Muncie Labor Oral History Project Collection consists of recordings, transcripts, and photographs with discussions covering union activities, the importance of unions in the lives of workers, and the future of unions.
• The Muncie Economic Development Oral History includes interviews with local civic and business leaders involved in past and current efforts to address long-term economic change in Muncie and Delaware County, Indiana. Many of these projects were grant-funded. BSU Libraries has been awarded more than $100,000 in grant money from the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) in the past five years to develop digital collections.

From Audio to Video
As audio oral histories continue to be digitized and made available, the University Libraries are also making video interviews available through the Digital Media Repository. Researchers can now find video interviews with veterans from World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and Dessert Storm in the DMR. These digital video collections include:

• Cantigny First Division Oral Histories consisting of forty high definition video interviews with veterans of the U. S. Army’s First Infantry Division, commonly known as the “Big Red One.”
• 376th Heavy Bombardment Group Oral Histories including audio and video oral histories with veterans serving as part of this U. S. 15th Air Force group based in North Africa and southern Italy during World War II As more collections are developed, Ball State University librarians and archivists will continue to provide leadership in issues related to the growing area of digitizing oral history.

New Archives and Special Collections Graduate Assistants

Abigail J. Foltz earned a B.S. in speech pathology and audiology from Ball State and is now working on her masters in the same field. Abby will be processing collections from the University Archives

Jennifer L. Morrill earned her B.A. in anthropology and history from Longwood University in Farmville, VA. Jennifer is getting her master’s degree in history with a focus on medieval studies and will be processing collections from the Stoeckel Archives.

Fr. Andre Sylvestre graduated with a B.A. in psychology from the University of Ottawa, Canada. He is currently working on his master’s degree in counseling and will be translating materials from the French Revolution Pamphlet Collection in the Archives.