UH Libraries News

The Diana Foundation Book Launch

University of Houston Libraries Special Collections is pleased to be the archival repository of The Diana Foundation, recognized as the oldest, continuously active gay organization in the US.

UH Libraries congratulates The Diana Foundation on the publication of the new book on the organization’s 65-year history. View video: The Diana Foundation: 65 Years of History

The book release celebration for The Diana Foundation: 65 Years of History will take place on May 5 from 2-5 p.m. at the Westin Memorial City Hotel (special remarks at 3:15 p.m.). It is free and open to the public.


By on April 30th, 2019 in Announcements, Featured

Student Artist Reception



The William R. Jenkins Architecture, Design and Art Library will host an opening reception for student artist Dan Li on Thursday, May 9 at 12 noon. Snacks will be provided, and the reception is free and open to the public. The first 10 guests will receive a free gift.

By on April 29th, 2019 in Announcements

Paws and Relax Spring 2019

Paws and Relax will take place next week at the MD Anderson Library. Students are encouraged to take a study break and visit with therapy dogs during the following times:

Monday, April 29 | 7-9pm in 106-T and Liaison Services
Wednesday, May 1 | 7-9pm in 106-T and second floor reading area

UH Libraries Spring Newsletter Now Online

The University of Houston Libraries spring 2019 newsletter is now online. Browse to learn more about our partnerships, services, and events.

UH Libraries newsletter

UH Libraries newsletter

By on April 17th, 2019 in Announcements, Featured, Stories

UH Libraries Hosts Inaugural Digital Scholarship Institute

Last month, University of Houston Libraries held the first Digital Scholarship Institute (DSI), hosted in the Digital Research Commons (DRC). Six participants comprising faculty, graduate/doctoral students, and undergraduates were selected to take part in the five-day intensive boot camp focusing on practical issues in digital research.

Digital Scholarship Institute

Digital Scholarship Institute

The DSI was funded through the Libraries’ microgrant program, which fosters new ideas in support of the Libraries’ Strategic Plan and the University’s goals. Facilitated by UH librarians, the DSI offered attendees the opportunity to plan their own digital scholarship projects through workshops, tailored consultations, and access to software. Topics included project management, finding data, data visualization, and open scholarly publishing.

“I had been hesitant to take a research project to the next level before conferring with digital humanities specialists on how to achieve the optimal form of data visualization,” said Richard Armstrong, PhD, associate professor in Modern and Classical Languages. “The possibilities and the professional standards concerning more complex forms of visualization were unknown to me, and I found it too daunting to just strike out on my own. The Institute provided a friendly, collegial atmosphere that helped me to think about the next phase of my research, and I was able to learn enough to commit more fully to heading in this direction. I was grateful for it, as it fell at a very good time in my own research development.”

PhD candidate in History Ela Miljkovic’s DSI project focused on text mining, specifically, compiling archival material, collected over the course of two years while researching for a dissertation in Mexico City and archives in the US, into a corpus. Transcriptions of the documents, including newspaper articles, policy documents and scientific reports, will be used in topic modeling and sentiment, in order to analyze a large volume of text and extract the mood or sentiment from each individual text.

“I came to the DSI with only a general knowledge of digital humanities, but with a deep appreciation for the ways it can enrich qualitative research,” Miljkovic said. “The DSI forced me to deconstruct my source base, thinking about each text beyond the content it provides, and ask more meaningful questions of my sources. I quickly came to realize that conducting a digital humanities project requires a very high level of organization, so a large portion of my time was spent working and reworking my dataset to reflect the questions I was asking, which, of course, evolved throughout the Institute.”

The Digital Research Commons is a physical and intellectual hub for digital research at the University of Houston, offering workshops, lectures, and guidance on digital projects in a flexible and well-equipped space. DRC specialists work with faculty and students on research projects large and small, from the earliest stages of formulating a research question, and choosing and finding materials, to publication in whichever format is most suitable. Contact the DRC

2019 Library Excellence Awards

Student Achievement award winner Manuel Gutierrez with dean Lisa German

Student Achievement award winner Manuel Gutierrez with dean Lisa German

University of Houston Libraries honored outstanding librarians and staff at an awards ceremony this month, held at the MD Anderson Library Elizabeth D. Rockwell Pavilion. Dean of Libraries Lisa German commended not only this year’s award recipients but all Libraries staff for their exemplary service and collaboration, contributing to the success of the Libraries.

The Dean’s Library Advocate Award was presented to Ruth Shapiro from the UH System Office of the General Counsel. This award recognizes an employee who has worked closely with the Libraries during the past year, and who has made a significant contribution to the success of the Libraries. Shapiro assisted the Libraries with several gift agreements and memoranda of understanding.

The Outstanding Group Award recognizes a group that has made a high-impact contribution to the Libraries. The Bridge2Hyku Grant Project Team, comprising Annie Wu, Santi Thompson, Andy Weidner, Todd Crocken, Sean Watkins, Leroy Vallejo, and Anne Washington, has developed tools and workflow solutions that will be shared with libraries nationwide that seek to move digital assets out of commercial management systems and into open software repositories.

Jamie Duke and Christina Gola received the Trailblazer Award for Leading Organization Change. They have worked together to revamp and streamline the processes of travel and reimbursement for the Libraries.

The John P. McGovern Librarian Rookie of the Year Award winner is Rachel Helbing, whose outstanding overall performance demonstrates rapid development toward becoming a valuable asset to our organization. She has been a “powerhouse” for health sciences, having been instrumental in opening the new Health Sciences Library, hiring a health sciences librarian, preparing for and supporting the medical school initiative, and providing library services to a number of departments.

Jerrell Jones is the McGovern Staff Rookie of the Year. Jones “hit the ground running” in his role in Metadata and Digitization Services (MDS). He established new workflows, hired students, and managed the Digitization Lab with knowledge, excitement, and innovation.

The Student Achievement Award recipients are Jennifer Castro (Research Materials Procurement) and Manuel Gutierrez (Special Collections). Castro’s supervisor describes her as a highly dependable, well-organized, and efficient team member who works exceptionally well with others. Gutierrez’s supervisor writes that he is a reliable and dedicated employee who demonstrates a positive, “get the job done” attitude.

The McGovern Outstanding Student Award went to Elizabeth Irvin-Stravoski. She has been central to the productivity and sustainability of the Digital Research Commons (DRC) and has been a foundational and stabilizing presence in the DRC since its inception. She was instrumental in developing and launching the inaugural Digital Scholarship Institute, and regularly teaches customized workshops for the UH research community. 

Diana Dulek was honored with the Staff Achievement Award for her contributions to MDS. She excels in the Libraries’ highly collaborative environment and brings ideas and enthusiasm to any project. She has organized staff participation in the Out of the Darkness walk at UH, and is a co-captain for the UH Libraries March of Dimes team.

Manny Gill received the Staff Achievement Award for being a team-oriented coworker with a wonderful, positive attitude and a strong desire to learn. She goes above and beyond, serving on the Alma Migration Resource Management team and in Special Collections cataloging. Gill also frequently volunteers for University events.

The Librarian Achievement Award recipients are Bethany Scott and Santi Thompson. Scott has been instrumental in the migration of Special Collections finding aids from Archon to ArchivesSpace. She arranged the Archivematica Camp at UH Libraries, served on the technical team for the 2018 Harvey Memories Project, and co-chaired the Houston + Feminism Wiki edit-a-thon microgrant. She advised the Gulf Coast Archive and Museum on the disposition and processing of their archives, is an active member of the Archivists of the Houston Area group, and has served at the annual Houston Pride history tent, raising awareness of the LGBT History Research Collection. Scott also serves as a mentor for the ARL Fellowship for Digital and Inclusive Excellence Internship.

Thompson serves as a co-PI on the IMLS National Leadership Grant for the Bridge2Hyku project and is the PI on another IMLS award for the Digital Library Federation Assessment Interest Group. He has served on the Research and Scholarship Committee of Faculty Senate, the UH Open Access Implementation task force, and the Provost’s Travel Fund Committee. He has published in a number of well-respected journals. He regularly presents at national and international conferences. Thompson is a Futures Fellow for the Digital Library Federation and was the recipient of the Texas Digital Libraries Service Award.

Tim McGittigan is the recipient of the McGovern Outstanding Staff Award. He has mastered an impressive workload which includes overseeing circulation services, reference services, course reserves, interlibrary loan, collection management, staff hiring and supervision, and exhibits. He is recognized for his excellent relationships with students and patrons, having recently been honored at a performance of the UH choral program. McGittigan has been extraordinarily effective in managing the Music Library operations in the absence of a music coordinator for much of the past year.

Anne Washington received the McGovern Outstanding Librarian Award. Washington has demonstrated leadership in organizations on both the regional and national levels. She has served as programming co-chair for the Association for Library Collections and Technical Services Metadata Interest Group and as co-chair for the ALCTS/LITA Linked Library Data Interest Group. She was a committee member and organizer for the Linked Open Data in Libraries Archives and Museums Summit and a member of the Digital Library Federation Forum Programming Committee. She has also served on the National Information Standards Organization working group to address issues in vocabulary management. She currently serves as co-chair for the South Central States Fedora Users Group, which has made it possible for a community of practice around Fedora to emerge into the Texas Digital Libraries space. She has presented at high profile venues such as the American Library Association Annual Conference, the Digital Library Federation Forum, and the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative Annual Meeting. She has offered nineteen conference presentations over the last three years and has three articles due for publication this year.

The 2019 Staff Awards committee members are Erica Lopez, Emily Deal, Jamie Duke, J Fisher, Xiping Liu, Shawn Vaillancourt, Christin Zepeda, and ex officio members Christina Gola and Mark Cooper.

View photos from the 2019 Library Excellence Awards.

By on April 4th, 2019 in Announcements, Featured

Tejas Got Soul and UH Special Collections

University of Houston Libraries Special Collections will preserve and make available stories, interviews, and other digital documentation produced through the community project Tejas Got Soul: Early Chicano Sounds in Houston’s East End.

Tejas Got Soul was created by musicians and scholars Nick Gaitan and Isaac Rodriguez to recognize and celebrate 1950s-70s Tejano soul in Houston.

Tejas Got Soul was created by musicians and scholars Nick Gaitan and Isaac Rodriguez to recognize and celebrate 1950s-70s Tejano soul in Houston.

Tejas Got Soul was created by musicians and scholars Nick Gaitan and Isaac Rodriguez to recognize and celebrate 1950s-70s Tejano soul in Houston. Through the project, Gaitan and Rodriguez have conducted oral histories with musicians of the era, making an important contribution to the limited documentation of this fascinating piece of Houston’s culture and musical history.

“Houston’s place in the origins and cultivation in many genres of music is a somewhat hidden gem when it comes to very important figures and recordings,” Gaitan said. “Tejano music’s roots are no different. This tells a story of its own. Musical lines are always crossed and we hear the influences coming from all directions. Listeners and fans of Tejano music, Chicano music, or other flavors that Mexican-Americans and Latinos are listening to and influenced learn that lots of these great bands writing and performing in the late 50s and early 60s were largely influenced by soul music. It’s amazing how many of these aspects of this rich history are connected. Houston is just that type of place.”

“The late 1950s, 60s, and 70s were a great time in Houston for Chicano music,” Rodriguez said. “Bands like The Rock’n Vee’s, The Exiles, and Rocky Gil & The Bishops were playing R&B and soul music but were unknowingly planting the seeds of La Onda Chicana, the sound that we know today as Tejano music. Many of these groups were no longer playing by the time Tejano music was at its peak in the 80s and 90s and did not get the recognition they deserve as pioneers within the genre in Houston. After years of collecting records, hearing stories of the music and dances from my parents, I began to make contact with several of the musicians from the era, like Oscar Villanueva, to get their personal story of what it was like to be playing music at the time. Tejas Got Soul was formed to fill the generation gap and shine the spotlight on the artists, sound and era — which I would consider to be the golden era of Chicano music in Houston.” 

The project will culminate in an April 6 public event at Morales Radio Hall, the previous home of KLVL, the first bilingual radio station in Houston. In addition to live performances from Houston-based acts, the event will offer attendees the opportunity to help build a living archive by sharing stories related to Houston’s early Tejano soul era. Dr. Jesus Jesse Esparza of Texas Southern University will lead a storytelling booth, and Houston Public Library’s Memory Lab will host a scanning station for community documentation activities during the event.

The digital files of the oral histories conducted by Gaitan and Rodriguez through the project as well as those created at the event will be added to the archives of the Tejas Got Soul project, and will be preserved and made available to researchers, the public, and the community at UH Libraries Special Collections.

For more information, visit the Tejas Got Soul Facebook page.

Listen to KPFT Open Journal interview with UH Special Collections’ Mary Manning on the community documentation activities at the upcoming event | 16:00