Sharing Stories from 1977: Putting the National Women’s Conference on the Map, a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Collaborative Research Grant, highlights a multi-year, multi-state, multi-institutional effort, led by Moores professor of history Nancy Beck Young and associate professor of history Leandra Zarnow, to document and analyze the experience and impact of thousands of delegates and observers of the 1977 National Women’s Conference (NWC). The goal of the project is to create an open source digital archive that spurs quantitative and qualitative scholarship as well as public engagement.
An online preview of this project is now live.
The preview introduces the project in anticipation of a debut of the full site on November 21, 2021. On that date, visitors will have access to research on the Texas delegates and presidential appointed commissioners with the remaining research to roll out quarterly starting in late spring 2022. An initial data set will showcase the dynamism of what Sharing Stories from 1977 will grow to be when the project is completed in 2027. Over 1000 UH students, as well as pilot crowdsourcing partners at colleges and universities in Indiana and California, contributed to the project.
The site’s November 21 launch will include:
- Why NWC Matters: featuring a historical timeline and interpretive essays on topics pertaining to the NWC
- Discover NWC Stories: showcasing biographies and oral histories of NWC participants
- Mapping the NWC: presenting searchable demographic data on the lives, advocacy work, and careers of NWC participants
- How to Contribute: featuring resources for NWC participants, students, researchers, archivists, educators, and the general public
“The NEH has recognized Sharing Stories from 1977 as an innovative space for students to do historical research that builds their critical thinking and writing skills while also contributing to our digital public square,” Zarnow said. “Documenting the stories of dynamic and diverse women active in communities across the United States makes clear not only that the 1970s was a high point of civic engagement, but also that the issues advocated for then from child care to LGBT rights continue to matter today.”
The Sharing Stories project received funds from the UH Libraries Digital Research Commons and the Libraries Sponsored Projects program, which offers grants for digital research projects at various stages of development. The DRC cultivates interdisciplinary research and builds communities of practice around digital research methodologies.
Additionally, the Sharing Stories project received funds from the Institute for Research on Women, Gender, and Sexuality, partnered with UH Special Collections Carey C. Shuart Women’s Research Collection, and is a flagship project of the UH Center for Public History.
University of Houston Libraries Digital Research Commons (DRC) invites all UH graduate and professional students to submit an application for participation in the Spring 2022 Digital Research Institute, a multi-day intensive experience aimed at building the foundational skills and knowledge needed to generate a piece of digital research.
The Institute will take place on Zoom over five days, March 14 – 19, 2022, the week of Spring Break, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm daily. It is aimed at those who are in the beginning phases of digital research that is intended to form the basis for part of an article or a thesis/dissertation. The 4-6 students who are best positioned to benefit from the experience will be offered a seat in the Institute along with a $500 scholarship, provided by the UH Graduate School and UH Libraries, to be received after successful completion of the experience.
Participants must attend all five days of the Institute plus a virtual interview with DRC staff and “Getting Started” cohort discussion to be scheduled the week before the Institute. Participants will be assigned individualized pre-work and readings that will give them the theoretical and conceptual grounding needed to undertake the work of the Institute and exit the experience with the tangible beginnings of their digital research as well as next steps. Over the Institute, they will attend 3-5 sessions per day delivered by Digital Research Commons staff and other digital research practitioners, each targeted at building technical skills and offering individualized mentorship.
To apply, fill out this form by Friday, November 19, 11:59 pm.
Questions? Contact the staff in the Digital Research Commons: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The University of Houston community is invited to check out the UH Libraries Makerspace. Located on the first floor of the MD Anderson Library within the South Computer Lab, the Makerspace offers tools and support for anyone working on projects, making objects, or building electronic devices. All students on the UH campus, regardless of major, are encouraged to explore the space and the opportunities it presents for discovery and collaboration.
In-person workshops are happening this semester on topics such as Arduino and sewing. Have an idea for other Makerspace workshop topics? If you represent a student or faculty organization that is interested in collaborating to create a workshop, contact us.
The Makerspace is seeking volunteer instructors or sponsors on the following workshop topics:
- Introduction to AI on PyTorch
- Introduction to Machine Vision on OpenCV
- Raspberry Pi Retro Gaming
- Introduction to Soldering
- Making Origami with a Laser Cutter
- Beginning Embroidery
- Using a Oscilloscope 101
Kit check-out is a popular service available for all UH students and faculty. The Makerspace provides educational kits for learning electronics and microprocessors, including Ardunio, Raspberry Pi, Intel Edison, Beaglebone Black, and most Texas Instruments microprocessors. The kits are perfect for building prototypes and applying electronics concepts. View kit inventory
The UH community has access to Makerspace equipment and technical expertise in fabricating components. One-hour reservations are available for:
- Glowforge laser cutter station
- Electronics workstation
- Sewing/serger station
Spiderbot is an Arduino-controlled autonomous robot that wanders around the MD Anderson Library. Throughout the month of October, Spiderbot is filled with the Halloween spirit and features a pumpkin stuffed with candy for students to enjoy.
University of Houston Libraries Digital Research Commons and UH Special Collections are collaborating with UH Honors College and UH Office of Undergraduate Research and Major Awards on a new program that facilitates project-based experience in the digital humanities for undergraduates.
The Research for Aspiring Coogs in the Humanities (REACH) program is an introductory research program for students in the humanities supported by a grant from the Cougar Initiative to Engage. REACH participants receive a $1,500 scholarship to carry out undergraduate research and contribute to an existing project at UH during the 2021 – 2022 academic year.
Created to give undergraduates first-hand research experience, REACH projects range from community activism to archival preservation to drafting biographies and conducting oral histories. REACH participants will develop research skills with the help of a mentor and through related programming offered by UH Office of Undergraduate Research and Major Awards, and will present their research at Undergraduate Research Day in April 2022.
Sophomores, juniors, and seniors in humanities disciplines are invited to apply by September 7.
University of Houston Libraries welcomes the UH community for the start of the fall semester. As a reminder, the University strongly encourages everyone to wear masks in public indoor settings, including MD Anderson Library, Architecture, Design, and Art Library, Health Sciences Library, and Music Library.
Beginning Monday, August 23, UH Libraries will expand hours of operation for all locations. UH Special Collections Reading Room is available by appointment. Additionally, the 24 Hour Lounge located at the front of MD Anderson Library will be accessible to students after our regular hours of operation.
Students are strongly encouraged to bring their Cougar Card when visiting MD Anderson Library. Swiping or tapping a physical Cougar Card at the turnstiles is the fastest option for entry. At certain times, card access will be the only option for entry. In addition, the Cougar Card serves as a library card for book and material check-out, and allows students to release print jobs from library printers. Students without a physical Cougar Card will be asked to present their digital Cougar Card on the UH Go app to the security officer for access.
New Self-Service Lockers
MD Anderson Library now offers users an additional pick-up option for library materials. The remote locker system, located in the 24 Hour Lounge, allows users to pick up requested materials easily with just the swipe of a Cougar Card. When placing a request through the online catalog, users can select the remote locker delivery location and have their items placed in one of the 18 available lockers. Materials can be retrieved at the user’s convenience any time day or night. Users will have up to 7 days from notification to pick up items. Planned enhancements for fall 2021 include 24 additional lockers, 12 of which will be stocked with supplies and technology (such as a marker kit or graphing calculator) for users to check out on demand.
Spaces, Services, and Resources
Popular Libraries services and resources, including remote access to digital items, librarian consultations, interlibrary loan, and printing and scanning, will continue to support UH student success. High demand spaces, such as computer labs, group study rooms, and multimedia studios, will also be available. Floors 5, 7 and 8 of the MD Anderson Library Blue wing are under construction and will re-open later in the fall semester. All other public areas of the library will be open and available.
“The Libraries team warmly welcomes new and returning Coogs to the library,” said Athena Jackson, dean of UH Libraries and Elizabeth D. Rockwell chair. “We’ve enhanced our spaces, services, and resources during this transformative time to engage and empower the UH community, and more improvements are on the horizon. Please stay safe and Cougar Strong!”
Alexander Rodriguez has a summer internship at the University of Houston Archives, funded by the University of Chicago through a merit scholarship. Rodriguez is working with three extensive audiovisual collections, Marketing and Communications, Special Events, and Development, which contain highly requested material and document important campus people and events. The project will significantly enhance the discoverability of these resources. Rodriguez is a fourth-year student at the University of Chicago, pursuing a major of political science focusing on international affairs and a minor in French.
What inspires your interest in working with archives?
This year, I started work on my undergraduate thesis about decolonization. In essence, I’m asking how and why France still maintains a substantial empire around the globe, even though history presents independence as something realized and done for the formerly colonized world. One aspect of my approach to answering that is to not take for granted the motivations and considerations of the two relevant actors, the French and the territorial residents. To evaluate those motivations, my task is to decode what their goals were, what information they were looking at, and what factors they found important. This kind of research necessitates the records and documents from the critical period, which can best be found in archives. As preparation for this research, I wanted to get more first-hand experience with archives, especially on the internal side. I knew I would be coming home to Houston for the summer, so I reached out to Special Collections about working with them, and the opportunity came together from there.
Please describe the tasks involved in your archival work.
My focus here has been stewarding a new acquisition of archival materials from UH Communications and Marketing. The items mostly originate from the turn of the millennium and include a variety of videocassettes, audiotapes, and newsletters. Over the past weeks, I have worked on cataloging and organizing the material. From sifting through the items, I have been gleaning information about individual artifacts and the set as a whole, which can be turned into description information useful for researchers hoping to tap into the collection. Out of the collection, I also select a few for digitization, particularly if they seem fragile or useful to make accessible upfront. Alongside that, I have also been working with collections from Development and Special Events to compare their content to this collection.
What stories/themes do you see emerging from these collections?
One aspect that I’ve noticed is the way the University spotlights its faculty and their work in its outreach initiatives. Many of the commercials and advertisements produced for UH focus on researchers who have advanced their fields while at the University, such as Dr. Paul Chu’s discoveries in superconductivity. Elsewhere, UH professors appear in news segments to discuss their work and share their perspective. The common message for the public is that this work is not only research worth continuing but also knowledge that has an impact on the lives of people outside academia and merits sharing. Through its incorporation with the Marketing materials, it becomes clear how that presentation underlines the importance of the University in supporting and enabling this research, which then encourages the next generation of bright minds to come to UH and join these efforts at the forefront of learning.
What is the significance of making archival collections more accessible?
An archive has to be built with the purpose of being used as a resource for the curious. If holding on to artifacts of the past was the only consideration, we’d do well to encase everything in concrete. These archival collections are a material memory that provides unique perspectives and invites further inquiry. By making them more available, we can encourage researchers to include them into their pursuits, alongside the sort of information they can gain from conventional libraries and websites, which can really only benefit their work. The best research is about going beyond the word of the text and asking questions about the document itself. Why was this created? Why is it in this format? Why is it together with these other items? Part of the point of preservation is to construct that context in a meaningful way, which can help take researchers to a deeper understanding of their subject.
University of Houston students are encouraged to register for upcoming Arduino and Sewing workshops provided by UH Libraries Makerspace specialists.
The Arduino series begins Friday, March 12 and will be held online using TinkerCAD Circuits. The Arduino is the most affordable and accessible microcontroller available. It has the ability to accomplish almost all simple electronic projects and robots, and is the perfect introduction to programming in C++. These five workshops offer an introduction to Arduino from scratch so you can build your robot, class project, or just improve your home, without any programming experience needed.
The Sewing series is aimed at beginners who want to learn basic sewing skills. During this three-part course, you will learn how to sew an Among Us Plushie. These workshops will be held virtually and will be 3 hours each session.
Open Education Week is March 1 – 5. University of Houston Libraries joins the global movement to raise awareness and demonstrate the impact of open education.
According to the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC), open education “encompasses resources, tools and practices that are free of legal, financial and technical barriers and can be fully used, shared and adapted in the digital environment” and “maximizes the power of the Internet to make education more affordable, accessible and effective.”
The inaugural Open Texas Conference (March 11 – 12, 2021) offers free registration. This no-cost professional development opportunity brings together open education practitioners and advocates from across Texas, including presentations by UH faculty.
The recently-launched OERTX Repository is a public digital repository of OER designed to meet the needs of Texas students and faculty. Explore the collection of free resources and consider submitting your work to the repository.
Institutions worldwide are hosting events to celebrate Open Education Week. A few are highlighted below:
- Anytime: Open Education Challenge Series
- March 4 at 12PM CT: Ask Me Anything About OER Publishing
- March 5 at 3PM CT: Imagining an Open Future
For more information about OER, visit UH Libraries Open Educational Resources.
Two University of Houston librarians were chosen for the 2020-21 UH Cougar Chairs Leadership Academy (CCLA).
Rachel Helbing and Ariana Santiago are participating in the program launched by Paula Myrick Short, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at UH, to cultivate leadership talent that will engender student success by scaffolding faculty achievement.
Helbing, who is the director of library services for the health sciences, said the knowledge learned in CCLA has helped her to better know herself and will ultimately lead to a more dynamic and service-oriented library that meets the needs of UH students in new and improved ways.
“One key takeaway for me is that we can lead with our strengths,” Helbing said. “Everyone has existing strengths that enable them to be leaders. We should find and nurture the complementary strengths in our colleagues in order to have a well-rounded organization.”
Santiago, open educational resources coordinator, said that CCLA has strengthened her understanding of leadership styles, emotional intelligence, and teamwork.
“Applying these lessons to my work with open educational resources, and throughout the Libraries, helps us continually support students and the UH community,” she said. “It’s important to think about what people need from leaders–qualities like trust, compassion, stability, and hope. This has really resonated with me throughout CCLA and led me to reflect on how I meet those needs.”
A new University of Houston Libraries book drop is now open on the first floor of the UH School of Art.