Thursday, May 27, 2010

New DMR Collection

We are pleased to announce the successful completion of a partnership with Muncie Public Library. The Norene Hawk Diaries collection is now available in the DMR:  These three diaries of a Muncie woman born in 1878 are from Muncie Public Library, who graciously agreed to permit us to digitize them and make them available in the DMR.  The diaries are being used in the What Middletown Read project.  We will also be adding digital copies of three Thomas Ryan diaries from the MPL collection to the DMR to go with the Ryan diary located in Archives and Special Collections.  

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

A Century of Scouting: Exhibit in Bracken Library

In honor of the 100th anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America, Archives and Special Collections will feature the exhibit A Century of Scouting: Celebrating 100 Years of the Boy Scouts of America from May 3-July 16, 2010, on Bracken 2 West.

The Boy Scouts were founded in 1907 by England native, Robert Baden-Powell. Designed to promote the moral and physical growth of young boys, the Boy Scouts program was officially brought to America in 1910 by American publisher William Dickenson Boyce, beginning what would be a popular and widespread organization.

The exhibit will feature Scout documents, photographs, artifacts, and memorabilia from the William “Jack” Spears Boy Scouts of America Records and Photographs Collection. Jack Spears, a prominent Delaware County Scoutmaster and collector of Boy Scout memorabilia, spent many hours researching the local scout summer camp, Camp Redwing. After his death in 2009, his wife, Cindy, donated a portion of his extensive Boy Scouts collection to the Ball State University Libraries’ Archives and Special Collections. For more information, please contact Lajmar Anderson at, 765-285-5078.

Students’ Interviews with Vietnam Veterans Added to Digital Oral Histories Collections

Recording the memories and stories from people’s pasts and making them available for future generations is a goal that oral historians and archivists share and promote. The University Libraries have collaborated with Department of History faculty and students to accomplish this objective by making digital audio and video interviews conducted by Ball State students available globally through the Ball State Digital Media Repository (DMR).

The latest digital oral history collection to be included in the DMR is the Vietnam War Era Veterans Oral Histories, (, consisting of 26 interviews conducted by students in Dr. Michael W. Doyle’s HIST 499 Oral History Workshop in the fall semester of 2009.

Students in the course learned methods for conducting oral history research and then interviewed local military veterans from the Vietnam War era. The video interviews were recorded using HD technology.

More than half of the students presented their work at a recent panel discussion, also attended by 7 of 26 interviewed veterans. According to Dr. Doyle, “One former Army captain (and Ball State alumnus) stood up to say that he had never spoken to anyone, not even his wife and children, about his experiences in combat in Vietnam. ‘That night [following his interview],’ he said, ‘I got the first good sleep I’ve had in over forty years.’”

Several Ball State personnel are included among the interviewees, including the University Libraries’ own Cecilia Bond, Head of Metadata and Copy Cataloging. She served in the U. S. Navy during the Vietnam War and shared her experience in the video interview.

Students from the class are working on transcriptions of the interviews. When completed, the transcripts will be available with the collection in the DMR. Currently only the videos are available online.

These video interviews join a growing collection of digital oral histories in the DMR. Other veterans’ oral history collections include the 376th Heavy Bombardment Group and the Cantigny First Division. The DMR also boasts many Middletown Digital Oral Histories.

The University Libraries have been recognized through publications and conference presentations as a leader in the area of digitizing oral histories. We are pleased to partner with the Department of History and other academic areas to bring the work of Ball State students to the world and make digital content produced at Ball State available globally to support teaching, learning, and research through the DMR.

For more information on this collection or others in the DMR, contact John B. Straw, Assistant Dean for Digital Initiatives and Special Collections,, 765-285-5078.

New Digital Collection Documents Muncie, Indiana, During the Gas Boom Era

by Katherine Givens, Digital Media Repository Resident

A new digital collection provides students, historians, and other researchers with a glimpse of Muncie during the Gas Boom of the late 1800s.

When abundant pockets of natural gas were discovered in Muncie in the 1870s, the quiet farming community of 7,000 people began to develop overnight. Real estate values soared and manufacturers began to set up shop, lured by the promise of cheap energy. Muncie’s reign as the “Magic City,” or the “El Dorado of the West,” had begun.

The six books that comprise the Muncie Historic Souvenir Booklets Collection document this era through the view of various Muncie advocates, including the Dynamo Club, the Muncie Commercial Club, and the Central Indiana Gas Company. These promotional materials, designed to entice other manufacturers and businesses to relocate to Muncie, tout the city’s fine parks, shady streets, friendly citizens, and astonishingly rapid growth.

Students and historians interested in Muncie and the Indiana Gas Boom can review these accounts of the growth and decline of natural gas in Indiana. As a testament to the “limitless” supply of gas, pillars of flame were kept burning for years.

Today’s natural gas experts have estimated that as much as 90% of the supply was wasted by these flambeaux. In less than 20 years, the supply of gas was depleted. These booklets also provide a rich source of photographs and illustrations of Muncie from the 1890s through the 1920s. Images include prominent Muncie homes, parks, the Eastern Indiana Normal School, and the Ball Brothers Glass Manufacturing Business.

Original copies of the booklets are located in the University Libraries’ Archives and Special Collections. The complete digital collection is available at For more information, contact Katherine Givens, DMR Resident, at

Residency Provides Range of Experiences in Digital Librarianship

Digitizing the Muncie Historic Souvenir Booklets Collection, now available through the Digital Media Repository, was the first project developed by Katherine Givens at the Ball State University Libraries. Katherine is a resident from Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis’ School of Library and Information Science.

Katherine is working with DMR staff as part of a Career Transitions Executive Leadership Program (CTELP) . Designed for students entering the field of library science from other disciplines, CTELP provides MLS students with the opportunity to work on-site with mentors and take part in organizational decision-making.

In addition to completing the Muncie Historic Souvenir Booklets collection, Katherine has worked with a variety of scanners and conversion techniques that transform books, objects, and images into useful digital files that students and scholars can access anywhere at any time. Working with the DMR has allowed her to gain experience using CONTENTdm, one of the most widely used and respected digital repository software programs. Participating in meetings with library professionals brings insight into the decision-making process.


Angela S. Gibson, GIS Specialist, gave a presentation titled “GIS in the Ball State University Libraries: A Multidisciplinary Approach” at the Spring 2010 Regional Dinner and Meeting of the Indiana Geographic Information Council at the Horizon Center, April 13, 2010.

The Regional Geo-Dinner Meetings are held quarterly by the Indiana Geographic Information Council (IGIC), in order to let members exchange contacts and information and catch up on the latest GIS events and happenings throughout the state. This event included members from surrounding county governments, local surveyors, private contractors, and attendees from various other disciplines from central Indiana.

This particular dinner meeting also allowed members to visit the Muncie Horizon Convention Center, which will be the location of the 2011 Indiana GIS Conference. Angela is a member of the Conference Planning Committee and will be coordinating hands-on technical breakout sessions for the upcoming conference that will be held in the University Libraries newly remodeled GIS Research Area.