Monday, July 26, 2010

New Hires

Bethany C. Fiechter, Archivist for Manuscript Collections, began July 1, 2010. Bethany holds a Master of Library Science degree from Indiana University with an archives and records management specialization. 


Carolyn F. Runyon, Archivist for Digital Development and University Records, attended a meeting of the Executive Board of the Society of Indiana Archivists held in Indianapolis, and gave a presentation in her
capacity as Webmaster for the organization.

John B. Straw, Assistant Dean for Digital Initiatives and Special Collections, presented "From Archives to Digital Repository, With Love" at the Indiana Library Federation District 4 conference in Mooresville, Indiana, May 7, 2010.

Ball State University Librarians Active at the ALI Annual Members Conference 2010

Carolyn Runyon presents her research
during her poster session
Carolyn F. Runyon, Archivist for Digital Development & University Records, developed a poster for presentation entitled, “Development of a User-Focused Digital Library Interface Using Website Traffic Statistics.” Runyon explained how librarians and systems administrators at the Ball State University Librarie  redesigned the Web user interface of the Digital Media Repository in the fall of 2009. She pointed out how they used Web site traffic statistics from the previous academic year, such as visitor screen resolution, flash versions, and referral sites to guide the process.

John B. Straw, Assistant Dean for Digital Initiatives and Special Collections, participated in meetings and  discussion groups concerning digital initiatives, archives and special collections management issues, collaborative preservation efforts, and grant projects. For more information about the 2010 ALI Annual Conference, its presentations, please read its newsletter at

John Straw catches up with a former colleague Susan Akers

Drawings by Indiana’s Gladys J. Miller Now Online in the Digital Media Repository

Students, faculty, and researchers now have online access to the Gladys J. Miller Architectural Records Collection. Architect Gladys J. Miller is one of Indiana’s first female architects.

This collection is the latest Drawings and Documents Archive addition to the Ball State University Libraries’ Digital Media Repository. The collection contains 185 architectural drawings from fifty of Miller's commissions from 1950 to of one of Indiana’s award winning architects.

Only the third registered female architect in Indiana, Gladys J. Miller (1926- 1993) graduated with a Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1949. She went on to manage her own successful architectural firm in a climate when few women practiced architecture on their own. A year before graduation, Gladys received the Beaux Arts Institute of Design Award, now the Van Alen Institute (New York City), Award, which enabled her to travel extensively in Europe before beginning her career. After her  return, she worked as a designer and draftsman in Philadelphia and later moved to Terre Haute, Indiana, with her husband, architect Ewing H. Miller II, FAIA, whom she had met in college.

In 1958 in Terre Haute, Gladys established her own architecture firm, Gladys J. Miller Architect. Also known professionally as Gladys Good Miller, she was known familiarly as “Hap” or “Happy” to her friends and colleagues.

Gladys’ firm specialized in residential architecture, as depicted in the Margaret James Adamson home (1961) (illustrated here), remodeling of the Indiana State University president’s house (1965), and the conversion of a barn into a residence for the Prox family (1978), all located in or near Terre Haute. She also built small commercial buildings, such as the Dobbs Park Nature Center and the Covered Bridge Girl Scout Council headquarters, both located in Terre Haute.

Gladys’ husband donated the collection to the Drawings and Documents Archive in the late 1980s, along with drawings by his own firm and those of his uncle and father, which comprise the Johnson and Miller Three generations of the Miller family were influential architects in Terre Haute during the majority of the twentiethcentury, and the Johnson and Miller collection reflects their significance to Indiana’s built environment. As with many important drawings available in the archive for research, the rolls of project drawings were in a basement storage room for years until they were donated to the archive.

To view the Gladys J. Miller Architectural Records collection in the DMR, visit
For more information, contact Carol A. Street, University Libraries’ Archivist for Architectural Records,, 765-285-8441.

Expanding Digital Initiatives and Emerging Media Opportunities for Learning, Research, and Classroom Enhancement

One of the University Libraries’ strategic goals is to expand digital initiatives, increase the visibility and ranking of the Libraries’ digital assets globally, and facilitate development of emerging media opportunities for learning, research, and classroom enhancement. The collections, services, programs, and personnel of Archives and Special Collections play a vital role in achieving this goal.

Of the 83 collections and sub collections currently in the Ball State Digital Media Repository,, 62 are resources from Archives and Special Collections. As part of a University Libraries-wide collaborative effort, the development of these unique digital resources for global access has revitalized archival materials that used to sit in boxes on shelves waiting for students and other researchers to walk in the door and discover them.

To further advance use of the valuable educational and research resources found in Archives and Special Collections, personnel have leveraged new emerging media tools and standards to enhance access. Archivists’ Toolkit, an open resource archival data management system, was implemented this year to provide broad, integrated support for the management of our collections. Staff are now creating Encoded Archival Description and DACS (Describing Archives: A Content Standard) compliant finding aids for increased accessibility and improved searching capabilities via the Web. These user-friendly research tools allow students and researchers to locate archival materials in a more efficient and productive manner.

In addition to the essential part that our archival collections played in receiving five Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) digitization grants during the past few years, Archives and Special Collections has also been involved in several collaborative emerging media grant projects. As the recipient of an LSTA Innovative Library Programs grant a few years ago, the unit worked with the Center for Middletown Studies and the Institute for Digital Intermedia Arts and Animation to create a University Libraries presence in the virtual world of Second Life. The same three partners received a Ball State Emerging Media Initiative Grant for the coming year to develop the next stage of the project. The goal is to design a Virtual Middletown in the Blue Mars virtual environment, utilizing archival resources to create interactive spaces that students can use to experience life in a representative American community in the 1920s.
The unit collaborated with Library Information Technology Services and University Computing Services to make Archives digital collections available on Microsoft Surface. Current Microsoft Surface collections include Ball State campus maps and historical photographs, World War I posters, Indiana covered bridges photographs, orchid photographs, and Indiana county courthouses photographs.

In addition to collaborative grant projects, Archives and Special Collections works cooperatively with other units in the University Libraries on the development of digital resources, participates in classroom projects and immersive learning experiences with faculty and students, and develops partnerships with local, state, and regional historical, cultural, and educational institutions. 

Past collaborations have included immersive learning projects for community schools with the Teachers College, oral history digital projects with the Department of History and the University Teleplex, and development of digital resources with Muncie Public Library, Henry County Historical Society, local churches, U. S. Vice Presidential Museum, and Yorktown-Mt. Pleasant Township Historical Society. Archives and Special Collections, in collaboration with others in the University Libraries and throughout the University and community, is committed to developing and expanding digital resources, emerging media, and innovative collections and services to meet the needs of Ball State students and faculty, as well as researcher around the world.