UH Libraries News

German Serves as TDL Governing Board Chair

Lisa German, University of Houston Libraries dean and Elizabeth D. Rockwell chair, serves as the 2018-19 chair of the Governing Board of the Texas Digital Library (TDL). She offers her thoughts about the organization and its goals below.

Dean of UH Libraries Lisa German serves as 2018-19 chair of the Texas Digital Library Governing Board.

Dean of UH Libraries Lisa German serves as 2018-19 chair of the Texas Digital Library Governing Board.

TDL is a consortium of Texas higher education institutions that builds capacity for preserving, managing, and providing access to unique digital collections of enduring value. The University of Houston, Texas Tech, Texas A&M, and the University of Texas libraries founded TDL in 2005 and it has since grown to comprise almost two dozen academic libraries across the state of Texas both public and private.

Please describe your role as chair of the TDL Board.

In my role as chair of the Governing Board of the Texas Digital Library, I preside over the Board consisting of the four founding institutions and representatives elected from the other institutions. The chair works closely with the executive director and the other members of the Executive Committee to set the agenda for the board meetings and represents TDL.

What are TDL’s strategic goals for 2018-19?

TDL has an impressive set of goals that reflect the themes of building our communities, enhancing technology and services, and enhancing our team. This year we will:

  • Increase contributions to the open source software and digital preservation communities
  • Continue new member recruitment efforts and internal outreach to existing members
  • Pursue opportunities for collaborative projects that attract external funding
  • Continue the roadmap for systems improvement and automation
  • Explore and plan for new services
  • Internally, we will document and solidify our processes across multiple communication and project management tools.

Please talk about some of TDL’s recent initiatives.

Digital presentation is one of the primary activities of TDL. For example:

  • TDL has been working with partners at the Portal to Texas History and Houston Public Library to develop a metadata aggregation service that will serve as an expanded hub for the Digital Public Library of America. 

  • TDL provides digital preservation storage (DPS) services to its members as well as training, consulting, and resource-sharing coordination. The number of members using the DPS services has doubled in the past two years.
  • TDL chartered a digital preservation services interest group to encourage user engagement and to promote the use of digital preservation services
  • Accessibility is important to TDL and we are assessing the accessibility of TDL hosted repositories.

TDL is one of the many exciting initiatives occurring in the library community in Texas. It is forward-thinking, strategic, and all of its activities, tactics, objectives, and goals align with its strategic plan. The digital library community in Texas is strong and all of our institutions are fortunate that the founders knew that this was the right path to take in 2005. The Texas Digital Library is a national leader in digital libraries and in digital preservation and it is an honor to be the chair of the TDL Board this year.

By on October 29th, 2018 in Announcements

UH Libraries Hosts ARL Leadership Fellow

University of Houston Libraries is pleased to host an Association of Research Libraries (ARL) Leadership Fellow this week.

Michelle Light of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) visited the University of Houston as part of the ARL Leadership Fellows program, which is an executive leadership program designed and sponsored by ARL member libraries that facilitates the development of future senior-level leaders in large research libraries and archives.

Among many activities during the course of the program, fellows engage in a customized, immersive experience with a library director. Light, who is the director of Special Collections & Archives at UNLV, followed the schedule of UH Libraries dean Lisa German, attending meetings and events, and speaking with Libraries staff as well as University faculty. Light also visited Rice University Fondren Library.

By on October 25th, 2018 in Announcements, Stories

Alternative Textbook Incentive Program Reception

University of Houston Libraries held a reception to celebrate the first winner cohort of the UH Alternative Textbook Incentive Program (ATIP). Faculty shared how they have implemented open educational resources (OER) at UH with the help of the grant.

Arlene D. Ramirez, instructional assistant professor in the Conrad Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management, speaks about implementing an open educational resource at UH.

Arlene D. Ramirez, instructional assistant professor in the Conrad Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management, speaks about implementing an open educational resource at UH.

UH faculty members applied for an award ranging from $500 to $2500 that would go toward implementation of an open or alternative textbook in a summer 2018, fall 2018, or spring 2019 course. 25 proposals were received. Awards were granted based on projected cost savings for students; frequency of course(s) taught; and feasibility of the successful implementation of the proposal.

2018 – 2019 ATIP winners are:

  • Samuel Brower, Education
  • Alexander Bruton, Spanish
  • Teresa Edgar, Curriculum and Instruction
  • Tomika Greer, Human Resource Development
  • Terry Kirk and Sandra Lee, Nursing
  • Dejun Tony Kong, Management
  • Aditi Marwaha, Pharmacy
  • David Mayerich, Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Abinadi Meza, Art
  • Gopal Pandurangan, Computer Science
  • Andrea Prosperetti and Amit Amritkar, Mechanical Engineering
  • Arlene Ramirez and Agnes DeFranco, Hotel and Restaurant Management
  • Nouhad Rizk, Computer Science
  • Nathan Shepley, English
  • Elizabeth Simas, Political Science
  • Sandra Thompson, Law

ATIP is part of the University’s initiative to improve students’ academic experience by mitigating the high cost of textbooks. Faculty members are incentivized to adopt, adapt, or create an open textbook for use in their courses. Five of this year’s awarded projects were for creating open educational resources (OER), seven involve the adoption of OER and/or library materials, and three involve a combination thereof. Awards for the first cohort total $23,500. Projected student savings are based in part on enrollment and amount to approximately $231,074 in the first year of the award cycle.

Award winner Nathan Shepley has assigned selected parts of different textbooks for his students. “My students then access the book through MD Anderson Library’s catalog and read whichever version they like: a PDF copy or, if available, an online version,” Shepley said. “This process keeps me from assigning parts of a textbook that we don’t get around to in any detail. It keeps the students and me focused on textbook explanations that I still find relevant. Plus it lets me make cost-free changes to my assigned readings midway through a semester if the need arises.”

Ariana Santiago is the OER coordinator at UH Libraries. She leads the planning, implementation, and assessment of a UH OER program. Her research interests include undergraduate student success, critical pedagogy, and diversity, equity, and inclusion in libraries. She was recently named a Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) Open Education Leadership Program fellow.

View photos of the Alternative Textbook Incentive Program reception

Student Art Exhibit Opens November 2

The William R. Jenkins Architecture and Art Library presents Amira Maruf's Be A Lady on Friday, November 2.

The William R. Jenkins Architecture and Art Library presents Amira Maruf’s Be A Lady on Friday, November 2.

The William R. Jenkins Architecture and Art Library is pleased to present Be A Lady by student artist Amira Maruf. The opening reception will be held on Friday, November 2 at 5 p.m., with light refreshments. The exhibit will be on display through January, and is free and open to the public.

Maruf is a Houston-based graphic designer and graduate student whose works explore 2D design to site-specific installations. She received a Bachelor of Arts in public relations with a minor in marketing from the University of Houston. During her undergraduate studies, she found joy in designing campaign collateral, which led her to pursue a Master of Fine Arts with a concentration in graphic design at UH.

Artist’s statement:

As a graphic designer, I use visual storytelling to exhibit social and environmental issues. With the heart of an anthropologist, my studies are heavily focused on the understanding of people and their interaction with the world around them. I am fascinated by the parts of history that are undocumented, for the uncertainty of the past offers opportunities for new discoveries. By analyzing time and space in relation to environment and culture, I actively look for new ways to encourage public engagement with issues that constitute against them. Inspired by visual artists such as Olafur Elision, Rana Begum, Rashid Johnson, and Candice Lin, my art and design practice questions diverse perspectives and seeks to find and exhibit hidden truths.

The New Music America Records

Michael Galbreth presents the New Music America Records to UH Special Collections.

Michael Galbreth presents the New Music America Records to UH Special Collections.

A new acquisition at University of Houston Libraries Special Collections features correspondence, posters, programs, photos, and artwork documenting New Music America (NMA), a peripatetic festival of experimental music. The festival was, at that time, the largest new music celebration in the world. Its origin was New York City, and in subsequent years, the festival traveled to major cities across the US, landing in Houston in 1986.

The New Music America Records, 1979-1990 was donated by Michael Galbreth, part of the duo known as The Art Guys whose records already reside at UH Special Collections. Galbreth organized the 1986 NMA festival, and served as president of its governing board, the New Music Alliance, from 1986 – 89. He was inspired to donate the records to UH Special Collections through a conversation with Mary Manning, university archivist and curator of the Performing and Visual Arts Research Collection. “Mary immediately recognized the value of these materials,” said Galbreth. “More importantly, and by coincidence, Mary was there! Mary attended many of the events of New Music America 1986 so she knew firsthand what the festival was and the impact it had on Houston at the time.”

Learn more about the history and impact of New Music America

The scope of the NMA Collection documents the production and performances of the Houston festival, and reveals ideas and culture of the day. “Therein lies much of the value of this collection, as with any historical collection,” said Galbreth. “By studying the New Music America Collection, I think students and scholars (or anyone) will discover a spirit of invention and innovation that was peculiar and special to Houston at that moment. Artists are unafraid of discovery and “the new” and Houston was a wonderful place to work, create, and perform in the 1980s.”

The collection is currently being processed at UH Special Collections. For questions about materials in this collection or to request access, contact Mary Manning.

By on October 18th, 2018 in Announcements, Featured, New Resource

New Digital Collection: Peter Beste “Houston Rap” Photographs

The Peter Beste “Houston Rap” Photographs collection is now available in the UH Digital Library.

Devin the Dude posing outside of a laundromat

Devin the Dude posing outside of a laundromat

The collection comprises digital versions of 105 photographic prints created by documentary photographer Peter Beste as part of the nine-year project that became the book Houston Rap. Hip hop artists depicted include Scarface and Willie D of Geto Boys, Choice, Bun B and Pimp C of UGK, Devin the Dude, Paul Wall, Lil’ Flip, Z-Ro, HAWK, Trae, K-Rino, and others.

Published in 2013 by Sinecure Press, Houston Rap was the joint creation of Beste and writer Lance Scott Walker. It documented Houston’s hip hop community, particularly rappers, DJs, and others from the Third Ward, Fifth Ward, and South Park neighborhoods. Its subjects are often shown in unguarded moments unlike those typically staged for hip hop videos or publicity photos. It also captures the landscape of Houston’s changing neighborhoods at a particular point in time.

The original materials are available in UH Libraries Special Collections in the Peter Beste and Lance Scott Walker Houston Rap Collection, as part of the Houston Hip Hop Research Collection which documents the unique music and culture of Houston hip hop. Among its riches are approximately 1500 vinyl records owned by DJ Screw, originator of the “chopped and screwed” genre. The personal and business papers of other musical and visual artists are also represented. This collection captures the creativity and drive of the musicians, producers, visual artists, and entrepreneurs who built an independent music scene in this city which has influenced others around the world.

By on October 17th, 2018 in Announcements, Featured, New Resource

Open Access Week 2018

Next week marks Open Access Week 2018 with the theme “Designing Equitable Foundations for Open Knowledge.” According to the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC), open access is the “free, immediate, online availability of research articles coupled with the rights to use these articles fully in the digital environment. Open access ensures that anyone can access and use these results – to turn ideas into industries and breakthroughs into better lives.”

Open Access Week 2018

Open Access Week 2018

University of Houston Libraries will host three events to promote open access and to highlight University initiatives related to open access.

  • October 23: Alternative Textbook Incentive Program Reception
    University of Houston faculty are invited to the Alternative Textbook Incentive Program (ATIP) reception in the Digital Research Commons to celebrate the first winner cohort of the program and to learn more about open educational resources (OER).
  • October 24: #TextbookBroke
    How much did you spend on textbooks this semester? What was your most expensive textbook? Are you #textbookbroke? Stop by to share your answers to these questions and learn about UH’s textbook affordability initiatives: the SGA Textbook Exchange and the Alternative Textbook Incentive Program.
  • October 25: Digital Research Commons Lecture
    UH Honors College faculty member Dan Price will give a lecture, “SAM (Houston on a First Name Basis) Achieving Granularity With Open Access Data,” open to students, faculty, and staff.

Vinson Selected as Recipient of Rooks Fellowship

Emily Vinson

Emily Vinson

Emily Vinson, audiovisual archivist and curator of the KUHT Collection at University of Houston Libraries Special Collections, is the recipient of the Rooks Early Career Librarian Fellowship. 

The three-year fellowship supports a UH librarian in activities related to career development, such as professional memberships, conference fees, travel costs, research assistance, specialized equipment, and technology. “I am so honored to have been awarded the Rooks Early Career Librarian Fellowship and grateful to Dean Rooks and Dr. Rooks for creating this unique opportunity at UH Libraries,” said Vinson.

Vinson holds a Master of Science in information studies from the University of Texas at Austin, with a certificate of advanced study in preservation administration, as well as a Bachelor of Arts in history and art history from Tulane University. Prior to joining UH Libraries, Vinson was an archivist at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, New York Public Radio Archives, and New York Public Library.

The fellowship endowment was established by Dana Rooks and Charles W. (Mickey) Rooks, PhD. Dana Rooks served as dean of UH Libraries and Elizabeth D. Rockwell chair from 1997 to 2015. Charles Rooks joined the UH Cullen College of Engineering in January 2001 and served as director of the chemical engineering undergraduate lab. He also founded the Texas Diesel Testing and Research Center.

By on October 15th, 2018 in Announcements, Featured, Stories

New Coordinator of Archival Processing

Joe Lueck

Joe Lueck

University of Houston Libraries welcomes Joe Lueck as the new coordinator of archival processing.

Please describe your role at UH Libraries and talk about some of your professional goals.

I lead archival processing operations in UH Special Collections. In addition to managing and performing processing of records in all formats, I develop and implement policies and procedures for the preparation of archives and manuscript collections for research use and preservation storage. As coordinator, I hope to implement industry-standard processing procedures while developing innovative solutions for processing and providing access to physical and born-digital collections. I also hope to tap into the wealth of resources and personnel across the Libraries’ departments to promote online discovery of resources, research access, and physical and digital preservation of collections.

Please share a bit about your background and interests. How do these inspire and shape your approach as an archivist?

Prior to my arrival at the University of Houston, I completed my Master of Arts in history from Bowling Green State University and my Master of Science in information with a focus in archives and records management at the University of Michigan. At Michigan, in addition to conducting archival processing at the Bentley Historical Library and the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library, I participated on a research team dedicated to teaching with primary sources and advancing collaboration between archivists and educators. This experience sparked an interest in user-oriented archival practice that I hope to build on and apply in archival processing at the University of Houston.

Please describe your first impressions of the University of Houston.

As a newcomer to the University of Houston and University Libraries, I have been impressed by the notably collaborative nature of the departments and the staff. I am continually excited to encounter cross-departmental relationships, from committee service to simply eating lunch together, and look forward to collaborating with more of the staff professionally and socially. I am also impressed by the university’s clear commitment to growth and recent progress in institutional growth and development. I am thrilled to be joining the staff in a time of such notable growth and change.

What is your favorite hobby?

I am an avid cyclist. I have enjoyed riding along the Bayou Greenways in my time thus far in Houston and look forward to exploring more of the city and surrounding area by bike!

By on October 8th, 2018 in Announcements, Featured, Stories

Hispanic Theater Collection

A new acquisition in University of Houston Special Collections features posters, photographs, and playbills documenting the origins and renaissance of contemporary Latino community theater.

Hispanic Theater Collection at UH Special Collections

Hispanic Theater Collection at UH Special Collections

Approximately 150 items in the Hispanic Theater Collection were donated by Nicolás Kanellos, PhD, Brown Foundation professor of Hispanic Studies at the University of Houston and director of Arte Público Press and Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage, in what is the largest known Latino theater collection. The primary sources created across the United States representing Latino literature, poetry, and theater were collected over a seminal period in history by Kanellos through personal and scholarly involvement.

The collection will be on exhibit twice in 2019; a pop-up exhibition at MD Anderson Library on April 1 – 15 coinciding with Latino Art Now! 2019 Conference and again through the summer.

Visitors can view the collection in the Special Collections Reading Room. For more information, contact Elizabeth Cruces, Hispanic Collections archivist.

View photos of the Hispanic Theater Collection