UH Libraries News

Finding Research Sources Remotely

Locating punk fanzines from decades ago is no small task. When Wilma Camarillo began writing her Master of Arts in Art History thesis, gathering these primary source materials was essential. Doing the search remotely through University of Houston Libraries Special Collections in the middle of the pandemic added an interesting dimension to the work.

“This project was done between the fall of 2021 and spring 2022, and I was worried about going in-person,” Camarillo said. So she began by talking about her project focus with Mary Manning, university archivist and curator of performing arts collections. “I met with Mary via Zoom,” she said. “I explained what I needed these zines for, and how I would use them in my research. She explained what was in the collection so far and asked what key terms or materials would be to look for. By meeting with the archivist this helped to narrow down my search to punk zines produced in Houston.”

The inquiry yielded relevant, unique primary source materials which Camarillo was able to use in her paper titled “Houston Punk Fanzines and Print Culture: 1979-1989,” an analysis and exploration from an art historical perspective. Camarillo acknowledged archivists Julie Grob and Mary Manning in her thesis as “instrumental” in connecting her to resources.

Camarillo was excited to learn she could receive digitized copies of the materials. UH Special Collections preserves and makes accessible various locally-produced zines (self-published, small-circulation, non-commercial booklets or magazines) which can be found in such collections as the Mydolls Records, Zine Fest Houston Records, and Wild Dog Archives Feminist Zine Collection, to name a few.

Researchers are encouraged to start by searching or browsing the finding aids for archival materials online. A finding aid is an inventory of a collection that contains an overview of the collection, scope and contents, and a biographical note. You’ll find that some collections have varying levels of description; some are more detailed than others. It’s helpful to look at the finding aid as a map that will lead you to relevant material.

When beginning a search for primary source materials, Camarillo recommends having an idea of what materials you’re looking for, and whether you’ll need to request digitization. For those who aren’t sure of the materials they need, it is best to contact a Special Collections archivist. Archivists oversee the collections and know what they contain and what they don’t. “Inquiring about research materials ahead of time not only helps yourself but also allows the people you are working with to have time to find these items and to assist you with your search,” Camarillo said.

UH Digital Collections and the Audio/Video Repository are also good starting points for researchers to browse digitized and born-digital items available from Special Collections, Architecture, Design, and Art Library, and Music Library.

Archivists can direct researchers toward areas of the collections that may have been overlooked, and can suggest secondary resources. Camarillo acquired other materials by contacting members of the community who preserved their own copies of early zines like Wild Dog and United Underground, and conducted interviews with central figures of the Houston punk scene. “That is how I got into contact with J.R. Delgado, who had many zines stored and was very gracious about letting me borrow some for my project,” Camarillo said.

The fanzines, like all primary source materials, tell a story about the people and period they represent, particularly highlighting the DIY, community-driven aspects of the Houston punk milieu.

“There was such a diverse scene in Houston during the 70s and 80s,” Camarillo said. “Houston’s punk scene was fairly small at the time. There were a lot of collaborations between people making zines, posters, writing columns, interviewing bands, and taking photos. Many of the zines I investigated have overlapping communities and there was an overall sense of collectivity.”

View a full list of collecting areas and archivist contact information.

By on October 27th, 2022 in Announcements

International Open Access Week 2022

From openaccessweek.org:

Open Access (OA) Week (October 24 – 30) is an opportunity for the academic and research community to continue to learn about the potential benefits of OA, to share what they’ve learned with colleagues, and to inspire wider participation in making OA a new norm in scholarship and research.

OA to information – the free, immediate, online access to the results of scholarly research, and the right to use and re-use those results as you need – has the power to transform the way research and scientific inquiry are conducted. It has direct and widespread implications for academia, medicine, science, industry, and for society as a whole.

This year’s theme is “Open For Climate Justice.”

OA Resources from University of Houston Libraries

OA Guide
This guide provides information about the importance and benefits of OA, where to publish OA, and a glossary.

Cougar ROAR (Research Open Access Repositories)
Cougar ROAR is the home of UH digital repositories. ROAR provides safe, long-term storage for data and scholarship produced by the UH community and makes these materials widely available to researchers around the world. All UH faculty, staff, and students are encouraged to boost the reach and impact of their work by depositing it in the UH digital repositories. For questions or feedback, contact cougarroar@uh.edu.

Open Educational Resources
Open educational resources (OER) are teaching and learning resources in the public domain or that have been licensed in such a way that anyone can freely use and re-purpose them. The OER and Alternative Textbook Handbook provides an introduction to open education with activities for getting started with OER. To request an individual consultation or a customized presentation or workshop, contact oer@uh.edu.

By on October 24th, 2022 in Announcements, Featured

New LGBT History Research Collection Librarian

University of Houston Libraries welcomes Joyce Gabiola as the new LGBT History Research Collection librarian.

Please describe your role at UH Libraries. How does your work align with the research and teaching priorities of the University?

I’m building on the work of LGBTQI+ community members, along with archivist Vince Lee and the Special Collections team to preserve materials with historical meaning and make them accessible for researchers and the general public. In addition to archival appraisal, processing, curating, etc., part of my role is to build relationships and collaborate with members of the UH community and LGBTQI+ communities to support their teaching, research, and creative interests concerning LGBTQI+ history. This includes but is not limited to research assistance, instruction, discussing ideas for projects, selecting materials for exhibits, providing guidance for preserving materials, or just exploring the collections. The possibilities are endless.

Since I’m working with collections that were donated by members and organizations of historically marginalized and minoritized communities, acknowledging the power I hold as an agent of the academic institution that maintains these collections is essential to my work, as it is to the research and teaching priorities of the University, particularly concerning its strategic goal of social responsibility in building equity and inclusion.

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

Houston is my hometown, so after 10+ years of living in Boston, L.A., and San Diego, I have returned in probably one of the best ways possible. It’s incredibly awesome that I get to do this work with the UH community (especially as an alum!) and fellow members of LGBTQI+ communities.

My direct and indirect experience spans academic, community, corporate, familial, and government environments, which have all shaped my approach as an archivist as well as a leader, mentor, researcher, and editor. For example, navigating academia has helped me pay more attention to structural powers that impact our work and relationships in archives, the field, and higher ed. Directing the daily operations of a precarious nonprofit LGBTQ community-powered archives with a low budget forced me to make challenging decisions that would have an impact on the safety and mental health of staff, interns, the community, and myself during a pandemic. And being a parent reminds me of all the jam hands that could possibly be near historical documents, which has prompted me to consider opportunities for K-12 engagement as well as policies around access to our material environment. My overarching approach is to intentionally work toward mitigating potential harm that can emerge in archival environments.

My latest publications explore power structures concerning marginalized or minoritized communities and archives. I’m the principal author of “It’s a Trap: Complicating Representation in Community-Based Archives,” which was published in The American Archivist this past July. My solo-authored essay, “(En)countering the Archival Sidekick,” was published in the Asian American Studies anthology, Q&A: Voices from Queer Asian North America, and it’s based on research that I conducted in four Texas archives as well as my autoethnographic experiences as a queer, more masculine-presenting person of color in the reading rooms and traveling between these different Texas cities.

What are one or two things you’d like people to know about working with archives?

Working with archives is powerful. I would venture to say that a lot of the public, including academics, either don’t know what archives are or they hold misconceptions of them. And yet, archives (plus folx who keep and care for historical materials) are essential to producing knowledge and understanding communities, cultures, and societies, as well as scientific and technological advancements. And it’s one thing to read about an historical event; it’s another to touch a document or object that physically connects you to that history.

Another thing I’d like people to know is that it’s okay for us to let go. Not everything is meant to or should be preserved. And depending on the context, it’s okay to forget and use our agency to protect through our own silence and absence. Some people intentionally subvert documentation of their histories and that of their communities as a way to protect against harm that can emerge through archival environments and relationships. Representation is complicated.

Working with archives is not simply about preserving historical materials and providing access to them. Among feelings of celebration and representation, archives are about people holding, abusing, or being impacted by structural power and navigating those realities through time and space; and it’s about how we consider those histories in order to resist or perpetuate that oppressive power in our present moment in an effort to shape the future. As I’ve stated, working with archives is powerful.

But also, working with archives is just plain cool…and the fact that I am able to do so with such a significant collection of LGBTQI+ history not only of UH, Houston and Texas, but of the nation (and eventually, the world) is beyond amazing.

Banner Project Returns to UH Libraries

This week, visitors to the University of Houston MD Anderson Library will notice a suite of banners in the atrium. The Banner Project, created by Houston activists Sara Fernandez and JD Doyle, is a pop-up exhibit featuring pivotal moments in Houston’s LGBT history from the 1930s to present day.

The Banner Project at University of Houston Libraries

The Banner Project at University of Houston Libraries

2022 marks the sixth year that UH Libraries has partnered with the creators to host the banners, sparking discussion, reflection, and awareness across campus and in the community. The banners will remain on display through October in honor of LGBT History Month, and on October 11, National Coming Out Day, staff from Special Collections will host an informational table in the atrium from 11am – 5pm, featuring archival materials from the LGBT History Research Collection. The Banner Project creators Fernandez and Doyle will be attending, as well as representatives from the UH LGBTQ Resource Center.

Acquisitions to Rare Books Collections

Julie Grob, curator and coordinator for instruction in University of Houston Libraries Special Collections, recently hosted an open house for visitors to view rare and interesting recent acquisitions to the Rare Books Collections, including:

Rare Books Collections in UH Libraries Special Collections

Rare Books Collections in UH Libraries Special Collections

  • A signed early edition of The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
  • An impressive facsimile of the Book of Kells
  • Several early books by Mexican/Mexican-American writers in the US
  • A multi-volume History of Woman Suffrage inscribed by Susan B. Anthony
  • A rare, fragile book of biographies and photographs of Black Texans from 1940

View photos from the Rare Books Collections open house.

On-site access to Special Collections is by appointment only. Researchers are encouraged to contact our curators with questions and requests.

Poetry and Prose October 12

The 2022-23 season of Poetry and Prose kicks off October 12, featuring new graduate students in the University of Houston Creative Writing Program. The long-running reading series, highlighting the work of UH faculty, students, alumni and other well-known writers, takes place in the MD Anderson Library Honors College Commons at 6 p.m., and is free and open to the public.

October 12 Reader Bios

Layla Al-Bedawi is a writer of fiction, prose poetry, lyric essays, and hybrid strangelings. English is her third language, but she’s been dreaming in it for years. Born in Germany to Kurdish and Ukrainian parents, she moved to the US in her twenties. Here in Houston, she has loved building and supporting writing communities by working with several literary organizations, including one she co-founded. Her work has been selected for the 2021 Best Small Fictions anthology; has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, IGNYTE Award, and Rhysling Award; and is published in WigleafBayou MagazineWinter TangerineJuked, and elsewhere.

Charlotte Bellomy is a fiction writer from the Carolinas.

Brittany Bronson is a first-year Ph.D student in fiction who came to Houston from Las Vegas. Her essays have appeared in the Guardian, the Times of LondonBitch, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and the New York Times, where she was a contributing opinion writer from 2015-2020. Her fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in F(r)ictionPaper DartsZYZZYVA, and others. She has Received awards and recognition from the Nevada Arts Council, TalkPoverty.org, and Vegas Seven magazine, and earned her MFA from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in 2014.

Katerina Ivanov Prado is a Mexican-Russian writer whose work has been published in Brevity, Passages North, The Rumpus, The Florida Review, Iron Horse Literary Review, The Pinch, Joyland and others. She has won the John Weston Award for Fiction, the 2019 AWP Intro Journals Award, The Pinch Nonfiction Literary Award, and the Florida Review’s Editor’s Award. She is a recipient of a 2022 Reese’s Book Club LitUp fellowship. She received her MFA from University of Arizona and is a prose editor for The Adroit Journal.

Kelan Nee is a first year PhD student in poetry at the University of Houston. He received his MFA from Washington University in St. Louis. Originally from Arlington, MA, he has worked as a boat builder and carpenter. His poems have been published in Poetry, the Yale Review, the Missouri Review and elsewhere.

Bevin O’Connor grew up in Southern California and received her MFA in Poetry from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She has taught writing at the University of Iowa and the University of Southern California. A 2022 finalist for the Best of the Net Anthology, her work can be found in Afternoon VisitorDenver QuarterlyPalette Poetry, and elsewhere.

Adrian Pachuca is a native Houstonian with a stereotypical passion for Whataburger and hate for I-45 traffic. He is a clumsy person who identifies as a love poet since he’s a little obsessed with understanding what we really mean when we say “I love you.”

Aishwarya Sahi is a writer and editor from Patna, India. She holds a master’s degree in English Literature from Jadavpur University, Calcutta and is currently pursuing an MFA in Poetry at UHCWP. Her work has appeared in BlackbirdLA Review of Books, and The Recluse, among others. 

Anthony Sutton resides on former Akokiksas, Atakapa, Karankawa, and Sana land (currently named Houston, TX) as an Inprint C. Glenn Cambor fellow at the University of Houston’s Creative Writing and Literature PhD program and is the author of Particles of a Stranger Light forthcoming from Veliz Books in 2023. An alum of the currently under threat MFA program in Creative Writing at Purdue University and the BA program in creative writing at the University of Houston, Anthony’s poems have appeared in guesthouseGulf Coast, Grist, The Journal, Prairie Schooner, Puerto del Sol, Oversound, Quarter After Eight, Southern Indiana Review, Zone 3, and elsewhere.

Mathew Weitman is a first year PhD candidate at the University of Houston and an assistant poetry editor at Gulf Coast. His work can be found in the Georgia Review, where he was the winner of the 2021 Loraine Williams Poetry Prize, the Missouri ReviewNew South, the Evergreen Review, the Southwest Review, and is forthcoming in Bennington Review. He received his MFA from the New School, and was a 2022 creative resident at the Bloedel Reserve on Bainbridge Island, WA.

marshall woodward is a writer born & raised on the gulf coast. he lives in houston where he is an mfa candidate at the university of houston’s creative writing program. his work has appeared in FENCEgossamerb l u s hpompom press and wrongdoing mag. he was previously editor in chief of the satire project cultural fan fiction. he is currently writing a manuscript about empire, iphone addiction, and the met cloisters.

By on October 5th, 2022 in Announcements, Featured

Announcing 2022 Alternative Textbook Award Winners

University of Houston Libraries, supported by the UH Office of the Provost, is pleased to announce the 2022 recipient cohort of the Alternative Textbook Incentive Program (ATIP).

UH instructors applied for an award ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 that would go toward implementation of an open or alternative textbook in a future course. This program incentivizes faculty members to replace required traditional textbook(s) and other high-cost learning materials in their courses with adoption, adaptation, or creation of open educational resources (OER), or assembly of freely available or library-sponsored resources.

Awards were granted based on the number of students impacted, projected cost savings for students, the type of project proposed, and the timeline and feasibility of successful implementation.

2022 ATIP winners are:

Graduate College of Social Work

  • Chiara Acquati, Aabha Brown, and Virginia Lucas – SOCW 6305: Research and Knowledge Building in Social Work Practice
  • Virginia Lucas – SOCW 6308: Human Diversity and Development

College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences

  • Olusegun Babalola – PSYC 2305: Introduction to Methods in Psychology
  • Anadeli Bencomo – SPAN 3374: Spanish American Culture and Civilization
  • Viola Green, Raymond Gwanwo Hounfodji, Julie Tolliver, and Céline Wilson – FREN 1501: Elementary French I and FREN 1502: Elementary French II
  • Viola Green, Raymond Gwanwo Hounfodji, Julie Tolliver, and Céline Wilson – FREN 2311: Intermediate French I and FREN 2312: Intermediate French II
  • Jose Angel Hernandez – HIST 2303: Historian’s Craft
  • Jose Angel Hernandez – HIST 4336: History of Histories: Historiography Capstone Seminar
  • Melody Yunzi Li – CHIN/WCL 3342: Tales of East Asian Cities

C.T. Bauer College of Business

  • Barbara Carlin and Marina Sebastijanovic – MANA 3335: Introduction to Organizational Behavior and Management

Conrad H. Hilton College of Global Hospitality Leadership

  • Simone Doudna – HRMA 4397: Airline Services Management
  • Jason Draper – HRMA 2365: Tourism
  • Sadegh Kazemi – HRMA 3348: Principles of Hospitality Revenue Management
  • Cristian Morosan – HRMA 1301: Hospitality Technology
  • Minjung Shin – HRMA 6330: Statistical Data Analysis in the Hospitality Industry

Cullen College of Engineering

  • Stacey M. Louie – CIVE 6373: Experimental Methods in Environmental Engineering

College of Education

  • Saira Rab – HDFS 4315: Culture and Diversity in Human Development
  • Sissy Wong – CUIN 4325/7366: Teaching Science in Grades 4-8 I and CUIN 4326/7367: Teaching Science in Grades 4-8 II

This is the fourth round of awards for ATIP, which is part of the University’s mission to provide an inclusive, accessible educational experience for UH students. The initiative to mitigate the high cost of textbooks for students was championed by Paula Myrick Short, the former senior vice president for academic affairs and provost, who led the UH initiative to join the Open Textbook Network (renamed Open Education Network) in 2017. Since then, more UH faculty have been empowered through ATIP to reduce the financial burden of UH students.

Six of this year’s awarded projects were for adopting OER or library materials, one is for authoring OER, and eleven involve a combination of adopting, adapting, and/or authoring open resources. Projected savings for students in the first year of implementing alternative textbooks in these courses is $631,655, benefiting an estimated 4,873 students.

Learn more about open educational resources at UH.

“It’s highly rewarding to see the benefit of free and immediate access to course materials realized for so many UH students,” said Athena N. Jackson, dean of UH Libraries and Elizabeth D. Rockwell chair. “We’re committed to student success through the development of open educational resources via ATIP, and we’re pleased to continue partnering with faculty to improve the learning experience for students.”

Thanks to the members of the ATIP Review Committee: Emese Felvegi, Jaspal Subhlok, Shawn Vaillancourt, Elizabeth Irvin-Stravoski, and Ariana Santiago.

By on September 21st, 2022 in Announcements, Featured, OER, Student Success

Hernandez Selected for Early Career Librarian Fellowship

Carolina Hernandez

Carolina Hernandez

Carolina Hernandez, student success librarian at University of Houston Libraries, is the 2022 recipient of the Rooks Early Career Librarian Fellowship.

Former UH Libraries dean Dana Rooks and spouse Charles W. (Mickey) Rooks, PhD established the fellowship endowment to support a UH librarian in professional development and research opportunities, such as memberships, conference fees, travel costs, equipment, and technology.

Hernandez is assessing the hiring process in academic libraries and how to make it more equitable and inclusive for applicants. “I’m working on a project focused on job postings and related application requirements, and how these can create barriers to application for Black, Indigenous, and Person of Color (BIPOC) identifying applicants,” Hernandez said. “Through interviews, I’d like to find out what characteristics have discouraged BIPOC individuals from applying to academic librarian positions, and also the encouraging characteristics that could be replicated elsewhere.”

The research that Hernandez is conducting aligns with student success priorities of the University. The insights discovered could lead to librarian applicant pools that better reflect the diverse UH student population. “Part of what can help students succeed is their ability to see themselves as researchers and scholars, and representation can help with achieving their goals,” Hernandez said. “Ultimately, our ability at UH Libraries to support student success hinges on the strength of the people that work here, so hiring practices need to be examined to ensure we’re vetting candidates in an equitable and effective manner.”

Hernandez received a Master of Library and Information Science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a Master of Arts degree in Media Studies from the University of Texas at Austin, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in French from Rutgers University.

By on September 20th, 2022 in Announcements, Featured, Student Success

New Online Exhibit Features DJ Screw Recordings

A student-curated digital exhibit featuring materials related to DJ Screw is available online.

DJ Screw and his record collection

DJ Screw and his record collection

From Coast to Coast: A Tour of DJ Screw’s Record Collection was created by Jenna Goodrich as part of a Research for Aspiring Coogs in the Humanities (REACH) project.

“This project has given me a glimpse of the steps in the process of creating an exhibit, and has taught me about what all goes into archival work,” Goodrich, a senior Honors College political science major, said. “This experience is invaluable.”

Goodrich, who is interested in archival and librarian work, selected items from the archives of UH Libraries Special Collections’ Houston Hip Hop Research Collection, particularly from the DJ Screw Sound Recordings comprising over 1600 of the artist’s personal albums and singles.

In working with primary sources, Goodrich learned what curating an exhibit involves. “You have to creatively piece together a story and a theme based off of what you have,” she said. “I learned about the wide array of materials that are considered primary sources. I was working with vinyl records, a unique type of source that opened my eyes to types of media that can be used for research.” 

The online exhibit and the collection it represents offer viewers a deep look at DJ Screw and the milieu in which he created mixtapes. “The DJ Screw collection tells us about the diversity and wide scope of influence of both Houston hip hop and DJ Screw himself,” Goodrich said. “Screw had records from artists across the United States and used many different types of music to create his tapes. The vast amount of records from Houston-based hip hop artists sheds light on the entrepreneurial spirit of the artists.”

Based on her experience, Goodrich offers advice to other UH undergrads who may be interested in doing a research project. “I would suggest everyone try to do at least one research project before graduating,” she said. “Put your heart into the work so you can look back on your project and be proud of it when it comes time to apply for other fellowships or jobs. Create deadlines with your mentor and be in close contact with them to ground your project and give you structure. Have a vision of the end product in mind.”

$75K Gift to Support Research and Learning Spaces

University of Houston Libraries has received a gift of $75,000 from the John P. McGovern Foundation, designated for updates to research and learning spaces.

In its ongoing evaluation of critical infrastructure, spaces, and services for the campus community, UH Libraries identified opportunities for enhancements to high-impact areas in MD Anderson Library. The McGovern Foundation gift will allow UH Libraries to begin better alignment of research and learning spaces, including computing, study, and consultation areas, with the dynamic needs of students, faculty, and researchers. Upgrades, including furnishings, technology, and other resources, will reflect the research and learning lifecycle of the University and facilitate connection between scholarly and public communities.

Departments within UH Libraries were recently restructured to advance the University’s Strategic Plan. A new Libraries unit, Research and Student Engagement (RASE), comprises Information and Access Services, Research Services, and Teaching and Learning, three departments with high public engagement. The priorities of this unit are connected to the University’s initiatives toward student success, nationally competitive research, and social responsibility. Physical space improvements related to the services and resources of this unit will support the University’s key initiatives. “The generosity of the McGovern Foundation advances the Libraries’ innovative teaching and research practices, connecting UH students, faculty, and staff with the resources and expertise needed to be successful in the classroom, in scholarship, and beyond,” said Santi Thompson, associate dean of Research and Student Engagement.

“This generous gift from the McGovern Foundation allows us to enhance the core and collaborative services we offer to the UH community and complements campus-wide services in direct ways,” said Athena Jackson, dean of UH Libraries and Elizabeth D. Rockwell chair. “UH Libraries remains focused on engaging and empowering those who visit our spaces and e-spaces, with the goal of inspiring knowledge-sharing partnerships among research and learning communities in the heart of the University.”

By on September 9th, 2022 in Announcements, Featured, Spaces