UH Libraries News

New Exhibit Features Houston GLBT Political Caucus

A student-curated exhibit featuring archival materials related to the Houston GLBT Political Caucus is on display at the MD Anderson Library.

Photo from OutSmart, part of the Annise Parker and Kathy Hubbard Papers

Photo from OutSmart, part of the Annise Parker and Kathy Hubbard Papers

Marking LGBT+ Pride Month 2022, the physical exhibit is augmented by a digital component, and was created by senior history major Kennedy Williams as part of a Research for Aspiring Coogs in the Humanities (REACH) project.

“The [REACH] program gave me experience in archives which will assist me in becoming an archivist in the future,” Williams said. “It proved to me this is what I want to do.”

Williams selected items from the archives of University of Houston Libraries Special Collections’ LGBT History Research Collections, primarily from materials in the Annise Parker and Kathy Hubbard Papers, reflecting the influential history of the Houston LGBTQ+ Political Caucus from its founding in 1975 to the present. (In 2021, the organization’s membership voted to change its name from Houston GLBT Political Caucus to the current Houston LGBTQ+ Political Caucus).

In working with the archives, Williams learned that curation is an iterative process. “Everything takes several drafts, from how you wish to organize the archival material to how you present it,” she said. “Secondly, I learned to critically think not only about the history but about each individual piece of archival material in order to decide what would be good in the exhibit.”

Williams initially had doubts about participating in the research program, wondering what it would be like and if she’d be able to keep up. Now, her advice to other undergraduates considering research opportunities at UH is to go for it. “Don’t let anything hold you back,” she said. “I ended up enjoying every second.”

The exhibit and the LGBT History Research Collection are supported by an endowment from The Hollyfield Foundation, which provides funding for the acquisition and preservation of primary source materials. The LGBT History Research Collection preserves and promotes the archives of LGBT communities and organizations from Houston and the region. Materials, including personal papers, organization records, and library collections, document the communities’ activist, cultural, social, and political activities, and the personal experiences of community members.

Through its support of LGBT and AIDS non-profits, The Hollyfield Foundation has made a substantial positive impact on local LGBT communities since its inception in 1994. The Houston-based organization contributes to charities that work to prevent discrimination, promote equality, and assist in HIV/AIDS education, care and treatment.

Featured Books: Pride Month

University of Houston Libraries invites visitors to explore our book display celebrating Pride Month, located in MD Anderson Library. Selections comprise a variety of nonfiction and fiction, with historical and contemporary perspectives.

A book display in MD Anderson Library highlights voices of LGBTQ communities..

A book display in MD Anderson Library highlights voices of LGBTQ communities.

Featured books include:

Alternate Channels: The Uncensored Story of Gay and Lesbian Images on Radio and Television, 1930s to the Present (2000), Steven Capsuto

After Homosexual: The Legacies of Gay Liberation (2014), Carolyn D’Cruz and Mark Pendleton

Sexual Orientation and Transgender Issues in Organizations: Global Perspectives on LGBT Workforce Diversity (2016), Thomas Köllen

Feminism is Queer: The Intimate Connection Between Queer and Feminist Theory (2010), Mimi Marinucci

Not Straight, Not White: Black Gay Men from the March on Washington to the AIDS Crisis (2016), Kevin J. Mumford

New Exhibit Features Hispanic Theater Collection

A new exhibit at University of Houston Libraries documents the origins and renaissance of Hispanic community theater.

A selection from the Hispanic Theater in the United States exhibit

A selection from the Hispanic Theater in the United States exhibit

Hispanic Theater in the United States features selections from the Dr. Nicolás Kanellos Hispanic Theater Collection, Arte Público Press, and UH Libraries. Historical photos, original posters, flyers and ephemera, scripts, audio, and video depict the plays, playwrights, actors, troupes, and venues related to US Hispanic theater dating from its early days.

Approximately 150 items in the Hispanic Theater Collection were donated to UH Libraries by Nicolás Kanellos, PhD, Brown Foundation professor of Hispanic Studies at UH and director of Arte Público Press and Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage, in what is the largest known theater collection of its kind. The primary sources were collected over a seminal period in history by Kanellos through personal and scholarly involvement.

The exhibit is on view through fall 2022 at the MD Anderson Library first floor. The collection is currently being processed. Visitors who wish to view the collection may schedule an appointment with Christian Kelleher, head of Special Collections.

By on May 23rd, 2022 in Announcements, Exhibits, Featured

New Public Humanities Data Librarian

Linda García Merchant

Linda García Merchant

University of Houston Libraries welcomes Linda García Merchant, PhD as the new public humanities data librarian.

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

My role is to coordinate public humanities data initiatives and technology infrastructure to meet the needs of our University of Houston (UH) research community. This coordination is supported by a partnership between the UH Libraries and the Hewlett Packard Enterprise Data Science Institute (HPE DSI). I am housed in UH Libraries Research Services alongside my accomplished data science and digital humanities (DH) colleagues.

My goal is to help researchers interested in exploring and articulating the humanities through digital methods, to create deliverables that both accomplish and exceed expectations. We are at a time where our UH community wants the opportunity to apply a rhetorical rigor to traditional and non-traditional forms of scholarship. When creating projects with a digital humanities-driven component, students and faculty see their own research questions generating new and unexpected insights. For example, writing about some aspect of James Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room can also inform a Google mapping project of 1950s Paris as seen through the eyes of the book’s protagonist, visualizing a subtler form of isolation and distance that became apparent to the researcher producing both the essay and the Google map. Digital humanities projects allow for a robust, ongoing conversation between content, researchers, and related digital ephemera.

Please share a bit about your background and interests. How do these inspire and shape your approach in digital humanities?

For the last 14 years I’ve been a part of a national oral history project called the Chicana por mi Raza Digital Memory Collective (CPMR) documenting second wave Chicana Latina feminists with Dr. Maria Cotera of the University of Texas at Austin. CPMR is a post-custodial resource that to date has collected 150 oral history interviews, and over 15,000 photos, documents and ephemera. It is the largest collection of Chicana feminist materials in the United States and (we suspect) in the world. In 2007 I produced and directed a 90-minute documentary on Las Mujeres de la Caucus Chicana/The Women of the Chicana Caucus about the women of the National Women’s Political Caucus. It is this project that led to working with Maria on CPMR. Maria and I share a personal stake in this work—our mothers are a significant part of this legacy. My mom is Ruth “Rhea” Mojica Hammer, the first Latina to run for congressional office in the State of Illinois, then elected first vice chairperson of the National Women’s Political Caucus in 1973, ultimately serving as a presidentially-appointed commissioner to the International Women’s Year, National Women’s Conference in Houston in 1977. Maria’s mother is a foremother of Chicana feminist thought, Martha P. Cotera, author of Diosa y hembra: The history and heritage of Chicanas in the US, and Chicana Feminist. It was the realization that their contributions to this American history narrative was missing, that put both Maria and myself on this path to recover and reclaim their voices and the hundreds of Chicanas and Latinas working on civil and women’s rights during the 60s, 70s and 80s.

The work I do as an educator and founder of an oral history project and as a digital humanities practitioner and scholar is about the joy in the process and production of knowledge. As an active member of a cultural community, there is the responsibility to cultivate and produce these recovered narratives. There is also an obligation to sustain those resources through an engagement with the next generation of research communities to produce a shared understanding of these resources and their importance.

What are one or two ideas you’d like the community to know about digital humanities?

Digital humanities is not difficult to execute, if there is a good plan in place to do so. Planning and building a community to produce digital scholarship engages the researcher and technologists in the ongoing dialogue necessary to imagine, shape, and create deliverables that successfully and rigorously articulate the research question.

DH is happening all around us and this has become especially apparent in the last two years as DH has been a method used to respond and support the educational resources needed for the classroom, our libraries, and our homes. Access to sites, materials, and the ways to interpret and produce them is at the heart of what DH is and will remain—a method to reimagine the considerations and generative nature of knowledge production as scholarship in digital forms.

Grad Students Make Discoveries in Digital Research

Recently, five graduate students worked with members of University of Houston Libraries Digital Research Commons (DRC) to develop digital components of their dissertations. The students were selected by application to attend the Spring 2022 Digital Research Institute, a multi-day intensive experience aimed at building the foundational skills and knowledge needed to initiate and develop a piece of digital research. Each participant chosen for the Institute was awarded a $500 scholarship, provided by the UH Graduate School and UH Libraries, to assist in furthering their projects.

“I applied to the Digital Research Institute seeking help in defining background information for the question of how diversity in engineering has changed over time,” said Kristin L. Schaefer, P.E., a mechanical engineering PhD candidate whose research focuses on the persistence of women in engineering. “I was interested in data-mining the graduation data reported to the American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE) from 1998 to present to determine if there are any trends in how graduation has changed in the various disciplines and between different ethnicities, since we typically see infographics that simply discuss male/female B.S. degrees, ethnic distribution, or discipline distribution for a particular year, rather than exploring the trends with a longitudinal and intersectional view.”

Schaefer is the first graduate student to research this topic under Engineering Education (ENED) with Dr. Jerrod A. Henderson. The Digital Research Institute provided a new perspective to Schaefer’s work.

“I was able to think more critically about the message that I want to present in the introduction to my thesis, and I’m now inspired to further explore alternate methods to share the data,” Schaefer said. “I am encouraged that the things I’ve learned may uncover unexpected themes.”

Olusegun Babalola is a PhD candidate in industrial/organizational psychology whose work focuses on individual career interests and how they affect perceived career opportunities and choices. Using a sample of low- to medium-skilled youth from South Africa, Babalola is testing a well-known theory of vocational interests, Holland’s (1985) model which may hold utility for career counseling, recruitment, and selection in less developed parts of the world.

“This study focuses on lower skilled individuals,” Babalola said, “and I am testing the structural and predictive validity of the model for this sample while considering the broader context of a less structured economic and labor market than is typically studied.”

Over the course of the Institute, Babalola developed new ideas for research productivity. “I was introduced to numerous useful visualization tools that will undoubtedly help me in communicating my research in an interesting and impactful way to both academic and wider audiences,” Babalola said. “Also, I gained data management and analysis skills which will make the initial stages of my data cleaning process smoother, quicker, and much more insightful in the future.”

Michelle N. Martinez is a doctoral student in clinical psychology with a focus in neuropsychology. She is conducting research on Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD) in Hispanic and Latin American populations, specifically the relationship between perceived discrimination, stress, and cognition in a heterogeneous sample of Puerto Ricans. 

“Prior research within my lab with Hispanic and Latin American community members from the Houston metro area has demonstrated that research and results need to be presented in a way that is more accessible and easily digestible by a range of community members,” Martinez said. “I can leverage the digital research methods I have learned, such as data visualization and use of data management tools, to help facilitate this goal and assist with disseminating my results.”

Danielle Llaneza, who is in her second year of a PhD program in counseling health, and Lucia Lopez-Hisijos, a first-year PhD student in political science, also participated in the Digital Research Institute.

“The experience of working with the researchers is always exciting,” said Reid Boehm, research data management librarian and lead instructor. “This cohort had exceptional projects that led to a lot of positive experimentation and discoveries throughout the week.”

“This was a remarkable cohort of researchers—a complete joy to work with,” said Taylor Davis-Van Atta, director of the DRC and the lead organizer of the Institute. “We hope to continue working with each of these researchers as they progress through their programs and future phases of their dissertation work.”

The Digital Research Institute is offered twice annually and is intended for graduate and professional students who are in the beginning phases of a piece of digital research, using computational tools that will form the basis of an article or a part of their thesis or dissertation. Digital research is defined here as the use of computational tools to produce new knowledge, and selection for the Institute is weighted toward applicants working at the intersection of traditional disciplines or who are applying digital methods to traditional modes of inquiry.

The Digital Research Commons exists to encourage and facilitate interdisciplinary research and build communities of practice around modern digital research methodologies. DRC staff members partner with faculty and students in the humanities, social sciences, and experimental sciences on digital research projects of all sizes, from the earliest stages of formulating a research question to publication and beyond. Contact the DRC.

Professional and Scholarly Spotlight Spring 2022

Librarianship often goes hand in hand with scholarship. Take a look at some of the recent research and professional contributions of University of Houston librarians.

Reid Boehm was an invited speaker for a panel talk, “Towards an Earth and space sciences knowledge commons,” at the Federation of Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP) winter meeting; and a guest speaker at the Texas Digital Library (TDL) Research Integrity working group meeting.

Boehm co-presented a poster, “Analysis of US federal funding agency data sharing policies: Highlights and key observations,” with P. Condon, H. Calkins, J. Petters, and R. Woodbrook at Research Data Access and Preservation (RDAP) Summit.  

Ana Corral presented a paper, “Comunidad book club: Planning, lessons learned, and application to health sciences librarianship,” and a poster, “Around the liaison role in 11 months: An early career librarian’s journey around and throughout the health sciences,” at the South Central Chapter of the Medical Library Association (SCCMLA) annual meeting.

Corral co-presented with M. Rawls, L. Tadena, W. Tavernier, M. Peralta, M. Bergamasco, and K. Adolpho on the work of the Residency Interest Group (RIG) diversity residency toolkit and resident-centered framework as part of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) Diversity Alliance task force webinar series; and “Library preparedness: Formalizing and supporting the diversity residency experience using a resident centered framework,” at the Conference on Academic Library Management (CALM).

Corral presented a paper, “Supporting the Latinx community’s health needs in southwest Virginia: Partnerships and collaboration during the COVID-19 pandemic,” on behalf of the group, R. Silva and A. Wright de Hernandez, at the International Congress of Medical Librarianship + Association for Health Information and Libraries in Africa (ICML+AHILA): A Call for Action: Engaging to Save Lives.

Corral and Rachel Helbing submitted a chapter, “Maintaining continuity through institutional growth and personnel changes,” for publication in the book Accreditation in the Health Sciences.

Kerry Creelman presented “Collections strategies without subject selectors: Restructuring and rethinking collections services” at the Electronic Resources & Libraries (ER&L) conference.

Veronica Arellano Douglas, Wenli Gao, Andrea Malone, and Emma Fontenot wrote “Beyond the numbers: Building a data information literacy program for undergraduate instruction,” which appeared in Teaching Critical Thinking with Numbers: Data Literacy and the Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education, edited by J. Bauder.

Douglas serves as a mentor through the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) Kaleidoscope program, mentoring LIS graduate students.

Catherine Essinger presented “Formulas for tracking faculty scholarship in architecture” at the Association of Architecture School Librarians annual conference, and served as chair of the nominating committee. 

Wenli Gao and Kerry Creelman co-presented “Learn from others: A look at collections policies from ARL member institutions,” at North Carolina Serials conference online.

Gao, M. Huang, G. Liu, and H. Yao co-presented “From outlier to mainstream: CALA’s journey for diversity, equity and inclusion in the library world” at Augusta Baker Lecture Series (invited).

Carolina Hernandez, Veronica Arellano Douglas, and Emily Deal co-wrote “Valuing the everyday: Using experiential scenarios to evaluate information” which appeared in College & Research Libraries News.

Jerrell Jones is the 2022 recipient of the Texas Library Association (TLA) Ray C. Janeway Scholarship and the TLA Summer School Scholarship.

Natalia Kapacinskas presented “Librarianship and disability at the performative turn” at the Concordia Library Research Forum.

Stefanie Lapka, Reid Boehm, and Rachel Helbing gave a lightning talk, “Data management and health sciences researchers: Learning together,” at the SCCMLA annual meeting.

Xiping Liu gave a lightning talk, “Cool things we’ve cataloged: ‘Cartonera Books’” at ACRL Rare Books and Manuscripts Section (RBMS) online program, and served on the Chinese American Library Association (CALA) newsletter committee.

Andrea Malone serves as chair of the ARL Leadership and Career Development Program (LCDP) task force, and is a proposal reviewer for DH Unbound 2022.

Malone delivered a lecture for FREN 4351 about MLA indexing of francophone literary research.

Malone was featured in a video during Black History Month at Fallbrook Church’s Black Excellence celebration for being the first Black full librarian at UH.

Leonard Martin presented “Ghost in the MARChine: Pseudonymity and anonymity usage in electronica music sound recordings” at Northern Ohio Technical Services Librarians annual meeting; wrote “What’s an original when everything is a copy?: Chuck Person’s Eccojams Vol. 1 resurfaces from the depths of the internet” which appeared in the Association of Recorded Sound Collections (ARSC) newsletter; presented “Wickett Crickett and Houston G-Funk” at Music OCLC Users Group annual meeting; and taught “Music cataloging with Library of Congress vocabularies” as an American Library Association (ALA) eCourse.

Marilyn Myers serves as chair of the ACRL new roles and changing landscapes committee, and as treasurer for the Association for Conflict Resolution Houston Chapter.

Ariana Santiago was part of a panel presentation, “Professional development for open education leaders: A community dialogue,” at the Open Education Conference.

Santiago was elected to the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) steering committee for 2021-2024, and served as co-chair for the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA) local arrangements committee.

Santi Thompson co-presented with D.B. Lowe, S. Barba, H.C. Tripp, and Natalia Kapacinskas “Giving CRediT taxonomy its due” at the Texas Conference on Digital Libraries; and co-wrote with A.S. Kenfield, L. Woolcott, E.J. Kelly, A. Shiri, C. Muglia, K. Masood, J. Chapman, D. Jefferson, and M. Morales “Towards a definition of digital object reuse” which appeared in Digital Library Perspectives.

Shawn Vaillancourt serves as chair of the Ex Libris Southcentral Users Group (ELSUG).

Vaillancourt, Kerry Creelman, and Ian Knabe presented “Serials threshing: Separating the wheat from chaff to find value in large journal package renewals” at ER&L.

Emily Vinson presented a webinar series on audiovisual accessibility through TDL, and wrote an article, “Dr. Richard I. Evans and the innovation of educational television,” which appeared in Houston History.

Mea Warren was selected as a 2022-2023 fellow of the ARL LCDP.

Warren and Veronica Arellano Douglas presented “Flying the plane while you’re building it: Cultivating a new team through organizational change” at CALM.

Research Services Offered at UH Libraries

Undergraduate Research Day was held at MD Anderson Library recently, featuring the work of UH undergraduates who have participated in independent research and faculty-mentored projects over the past year. UH Office of Undergraduate Research and Major Awards, in collaboration with the Honors College, coordinates the annual event with support from the Office of the Provost and Division of Research.

UH librarians were in attendance to highlight a variety of research services open to all UH scholars. UH librarians are available to assist at any stage of the research process, including:

  • scoping a research project
  • conducting literature reviews
  • finding and analyzing data
  • sharing and publishing research
  • learning about research methods and tools in the Digital Research Commons

Contact libteach@uh.edu to set up a research consultation or drc@uh.edu to learn more about research methods and tools.

Spring 2022 DH@UH Program

University of Houston Libraries Digital Research Commons is pleased to announce the program for the spring 2022 DH@UH, an event convening UH humanists, data scientists, librarians, and digital humanities practitioners at every level.



View full program for the spring 2022 DH@UH.

Join students, librarians, and faculty April 11 – 13 for a program highlighting the breadth of digital humanities work ongoing at UH. Discussion sessions will explore the practical challenges of starting and sustaining DH projects, the surprising afterlives of DH at work, and how those who are interested in engaging this work can discover and take advantage of existing opportunities on campus.

DH@UH is a joint venture of UH Libraries, UH College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, US Latino Digital Humanities Center, UH College of Technology, UH Graduate School, and UH Center for Public History.

DH@UH is free and open to the entire UH community. Registration is not required. Sessions will be held online via Zoom.

UH Special Collections Acquires Papers of Federal Judge Gilmore

The Honorable Vanessa Gilmore retired January 2, 2022, after serving 27 years as a federal judge for the US District Court for the Southern District of Texas.

The Honorable Vanessa Gilmore has gifted her papers to UH Special Collections.

The Honorable Vanessa Gilmore has gifted her papers to UH Special Collections.

Now, embarking on a life after law, Gilmore has gifted her papers to University of Houston Libraries Special Collections. Selections from the newly acquisitioned collection were on display at the 25th Annual Table Talk Luncheon.

Gilmore’s 1994 nomination by President Clinton made her the youngest sitting federal judge to be appointed at the time. During her tenure, Judge Gilmore presided over the inaugural ceremonies of Houston mayors and elected officials, the Enron Broadband scandal, and the case of a man wrongfully convicted and incarcerated, among many others. As a practicing attorney in Houston, she served as a board member on the Community Development Corporation (CDC) along with Reverend Bill Lawson and Bishop Joseph Fiorenza in the neighborhood recovery of Third Ward, and on a number of other civic and charitable organizations. She has also served as chairperson of Texans for NAFTA (the North American Free Trade Agreement), and worked closely with diplomatic leaders, including the President of Mexico, to increase US trade opportunities. In 1991 she was appointed by Governor Ann Richards to the Texas Department of Commerce Policy Board which was responsible for increasing business, tourism, and job training development in Texas. She served there as chairperson from 1992 to 1994 and was the first African American to serve on this board. 

Her collection contains scrapbooks, correspondence, photographs, speeches, and news clippings that document a distinguished legal and judicial career. As they examined the contents of the boxes holding records of Gilmore’s professional life, Vince Lee, archivist of the Carey C. Shuart Women’s Research Collection, and graduate assistant Polina Kharmats, shared how they produced the mobile exhibit for the Table Talk event.

Selections from the Honorable Vanessa Gilmore's papers were displayed at the recent Table Talk Luncheon.

Selections from the Honorable Vanessa Gilmore’s papers were displayed at the recent Table Talk Luncheon.

“We look for visually impactful items that encapsulate her career,” Lee said. “We want to show milestones and distinctions of her trailblazing role. She was one of the first women of color as a federal judge, and she was the first UH Law Center graduate to be nominated for the federal bench.”

The accessioning process included a conversation with Gilmore, in which the archivists asked her to go through the materials and talk about her history. It’s an activity that sparks memories for the donor and surfaces stories and themes which provide a narrative arc of Gilmore’s career, informing a categorization of the materials that makes sense for discovery and research.

Gilmore was connected to UH Special Collections by Elizabeth Gregory, UH professor of English and director of the Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) program. Gilmore is a part of the UH Friends of Women’s Studies, which supports WGSS through financial and volunteer efforts. The Table Talk Luncheon is the group’s signature event, benefiting WGSS and the Carey C. Shuart Women’s Research Collection. Ms. Shuart serves as a board member of Friends of Women’s Studies, with which UH Libraries has enjoyed a long-standing partnership, as the archives in the Shuart Women’s Research Collection play a significant role in supporting their activities. Athena Jackson, dean of UH Libraries and Elizabeth D. Rockwell chair, was a 2022 Table Talk conversationalist. 

Gilmore’s papers are currently being processed. For more information, contact Vince Lee.

Jones Awarded TLA Scholarships

Jerrell Jones

Jerrell Jones

Jerrell Jones, digitization lab manager at University of Houston Libraries, is the 2022 recipient of the competitive Texas Library Association (TLA) Ray C. Janeway Scholarship and the TLA Summer School Scholarship. Both are intended for a graduate student enrolled in a library education program. Jones is completing a Master of Science in Information Science from University of North Texas.

Jones brings a combination of digitization experience and a background in fine art photography to his role at UH Libraries, where he provides management of digitization efforts and library assets supporting the digital curation of UH Special Collections materials; and management of the digitization space and personnel, which includes training, project management, equipment purchasing, and maintenance. Jones has served on several committees at UH Libraries, including search committees, the Committee on Diversity and Inclusion (CoDI), and task forces for the Digital Asset Management System and Theses and Dissertations digitization projects. One of his current projects is the digital library migration from a legacy ContentDM system to a Hyrax platform digital library. His service to the profession includes committee work for the Texas Conference on Digital Libraries (TCDL).

In addition to the TLA scholarships, Jones is the recipient of the 2021 Association of Research Libraries (ARL) Julia C. Blixrud Scholarship and the 2021-2022 American Library Association (ALA) Spectrum Scholarship.