UH Libraries News

University of Houston Welcomes Athena N. Jackson

Dean of Libraries Athena N. Jackson

Dean of Libraries Athena N. Jackson

University of Houston welcomes Athena N. Jackson as the dean of UH Libraries and Elizabeth D. Rockwell chair.

“It is my great pleasure to return to my alma mater and lead a transformative academic library in a vibrant city in a region that I call home. With enduring, world-class, and research-centered resources; a talented Libraries team; and university mission committed to advancing scholarship, student success, and civic engagement, I am eager to contribute to the UH community’s efforts toward an informed, productive, and just society.”

By on February 26th, 2021 in Announcements, Featured

UH Special Collections Receives Collage from Third Ward Artist

To commemorate the connection between George Floyd and DJ Screw, University of Houston Libraries Special Collections commissioned an artwork by Robert L. Hodge, a notable artist from the Third Ward. His collage titled 8:46 will be displayed at the MD Anderson Library in Special Collections.

"8:46" by artist Robert L. Hodge

“8:46” by artist Robert L. Hodge

Houstonian George Floyd rapped on a handful of the underground mixtapes created by DJ Screw, whose archival collection is part of the Houston Hip Hop Research Collection at UH Special Collections. Following Floyd’s death in 2020, Julie Grob, curator of the collection, invited Hodge to create one of his signature collages in a way that would honor Floyd. 8:46 is a vibrant layering of figures reclaimed from old record album covers, anchored by Floyd’s gaze.

The faces in 8:46 represent the various perspectives and reactions to Floyd’s death. What emerges from the work is a tale of two Americas, Hodge said, and how we are all interconnected. “It’s the story of a flawed man who, no matter what you thought about him, is a human being who didn’t deserve to die.”

Like Floyd, Hodge was raised in the historic Third Ward neighborhood where UH is located. He has exhibited in numerous solo and group exhibitions, including Slowed and Throwed: Records of the City Through Mutated Lenses, an exhibition of artwork and archival material related to DJ Screw. Hodge also contributed label text to the UH Libraries exhibition Brothers in Rhyme: Fat Pat, Big Hawk, and the Screwed Up Click.

Of the Third Ward as inspiration to his work, Hodge said, “The people make the community, and the people are so diverse. From a jazz musician to a mailman to an addict, each has a story. This keeps me grounded in reality, in my work.”

A few of Hodge’s artistic influences include Romare Bearden, David Hammons, David McGee, Rick Lowe, Jesse Lott, Frida Kahlo, Robert Rauschenberg, The Art Guys, Otabenga Jones, Jabari Anderson, Jamal Cyrus, Kenya Evans, and Robert Pruitt.

Hodge has been doing collage work for many years and it is an art form for which he holds great respect. His technique is organic and involves finding older, lesser-known soul, blues, and country records and using the album cover art to create a new image. “It’s a stress breaker for me,” Hodge said. “I love taking an existing narrative and making something new out of it. That’s a lot like hip hop, sampling older records and making something new while honoring the past. The layers represent life in collage; there are a lot of things you see and a lot of things you don’t see.”

Elsevier Negotiations

The University of Houston is a member of the Texas Library Coalition for United Action (TLCUA). The Coalition, comprising more than 40 institutions, has been negotiating journal subscriptions with academic publisher Elsevier for the past year. These negotiations cover journal subscriptions and access to journal content.

The cost of journal subscription packages has been unsustainable for some time. Annual price increases from Elsevier far outpace inflation and flat budgets mean we can’t keep up while maintaining our current collections. We are working together with Texas universities to find a solution.

The Coalition’s goal in negotiations with Elsevier is to reach a successful contract. Key issues in negotiations include:

  • Increased faculty control over their own scholarly publications
  • Pricing models that are sustainable for strained library budgets in higher education

Achieving a successful contract will include some change in journal access. This may mean UH Libraries purchases access to fewer journals and utilizes our existing interlibrary loan partners for access to some journals. Alternatively, the Coalition may delay signing a new contract, affecting access to new Elsevier content and some historical content. If access to our existing subscription content is lost, we are prepared with ways to get you access to articles you need. Resources such as Reaxys, Knovel, and Scopus are not part of this discussion.

Your support is critical in these negotiations. Share your questions or feedback with us at collections@uh.edu or with Marilyn Myers, associate dean for academic and research services at msmyers@uh.edu. Let us know if you are personally contacted by Elsevier about the TLCUA negotiations.

By on February 12th, 2021 in Announcements, Featured

Librarians Selected for Provost’s Leadership Academy

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.”

By on February 11th, 2021 in Announcements, Featured, Student Success

New Book Drop Installed

A new University of Houston Libraries book drop is now open on the first floor of the UH School of Art.

A new book drop is located at the UH School of Art.

A new book drop is located at the UH School of Art.

Makerspace Kits Available for Check-Out

The University of Houston Libraries Makerspace is now circulating kits, including:

  • Educational BoosterPack MKII
  • Sewing
  • Screwdriver
  • Tool
  • 3pi
  • Terasic Alteras
  • TI Launchpads (MSP432, CC3200, 4C123)
  • Analog Discovery 2
  • Arduino (Mega, ARDX, Uno)

For more information, visit the Service Desk at MD Anderson Library.

Virtual Pop-Up Library Spring Schedule

The Architecture, Design, and Art Library is pleased to announce its virtual pop-up programming for the spring semester. Each pop-up consists of curated art books on view and prize drawings on Instagram.

February 5
Theme: Black History Month

February 12
Theme: Valentine’s Day

March 8
Theme: International Women’s Day

April 16
Theme: Spring

May 7
Theme: Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

May 14
Theme: National Photography Month

UH Special Collections Receives ‘Prince of Players’ Gift

University of Houston Libraries is pleased to announce a gift from opera composer Carlisle Floyd to UH Special Collections.

The former Moores School of Music professor’s gift of the Prince of Players score and accompanying materials coincides with two 2021 Grammy nominations for Best Opera Recording and Best Contemporary Classical Composition. Floyd debuted Prince of Players at Houston Grand Opera in 2016.

Mary Manning, archivist for the Performing and Visual Arts Research Collection, said the materials, including opera piano, vocal, and full scores, original character background, libretto, arias, and programs, will be added to the Carlisle Floyd Manuscript Scores collection donated in 1999. Other scores in the collection include Bilby’s Doll, 1976; Of Mice and Men: An Opera in Three Acts, Libretto and Music, 1968; Wuthering Heights: A Musical Drama in Prologue and Three Acts, 1958; The Martyr, for Chorus, 2 Trumpets, Timpani, and Piano, undated; The Sojourner and Mollie Sinclair, 1963; and Soul of Heaven: Reflections on Music, 1992.

“The Prince of Players archives capture Floyd’s creative process and document the steps involved in making the opera—from early notes recording the birth of the idea to multiple versions of the score (handwritten and printed) to costume sketches and stage designs,” Manning said.

“This generous gift will be invaluable to scholars conducting research on contemporary American Opera and practitioners seeking to hone their craft in opera audio engineering and production,” said Madelyn Shackelford Washington, coordinator of the UH Music Library.

Announcing 2021 Sponsored Projects

University of Houston Libraries Digital Research Services (DRS) and Digital Research Commons (DRC) are pleased to announce the 2021 sponsored digital research projects. DRS collaborates with UH faculty, graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows on projects involving digital techniques across the humanities, social sciences, and experimental sciences, offering grants at three levels designed to address projects in various stages of development.

2021 sponsored projects are:

A Multilingual Database of Digital News in 54 African Countries
Dani Madrid-Morales, PhD, Journalism, Jack J. Valenti School of Communication
This project seeks to develop a multilingual database of African online news content, and to create a custom-built R package to interact with the database, implement basic text analysis, and create relevant data visualizations.

Sharing Stories from 1977: The National Women’s Conference as a Window into Recent American History
Nancy Beck Young, PhD, and Leandra Zarnow, PhD, History, College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences (CLASS)
This DRC project development grant will support the continued conceptualization and anticipated launch of a website targeted for March 2021 that will announce a multi-year, multi-state, multi-institutional effort led by the University of Houston to document and analyze the experience and impact of thousands of delegates and observers of the 1977 National Women’s Conference.

Building the Past: Memory-Making on the University of Houston Campus
David Guzman and Caitlyn Jones, History, CLASS
This project will generate a dataset to build a digital map of the University of Houston campus that allows visitors to access biographies of the building namesakes and the history of the building’s construction, as well as historical photos or documents related to the building or person.

1771 in 3 Cities: Genre Boundaries and Dispersion
David Mazella, PhD, English, CLASS
Using results from previous iterations of this project, this stage takes the 2000+ items published in the year 1771 in three cities, along with the 10 categories and 100+ genres established earlier, and examines the spatial and boundary relations between literary and extraliterary genres. This project will conduct network analyses and visualizations of these relations, and will also tackle the significant conceptual problem of the “collection” to see whether there is a relation to be drawn between this year’s aggregate genres (e.g., “Works,” “Miscellanies,” periodicals) and its principles of genre differentiation and attraction.

Kristina Neumann, PhD History, CLASS; Elizabeth Rodwell, PhD, Comparative Culture Studies, CLASS; and Peggy Lindner, PhD, Information and Logistics Technology, College of Technology
In its final form, this online exhibit will guide a wide audience through the different coins and histories of Syrian cities within the Greco-Roman period. The overarching goals are to 1) transform public awareness of the ancient world and Syria in particular; 2) revitalize the perception of Syria as a diverse and vibrant metropolitan region; 3) exemplify the power of objects as testimony to everyday lives and struggles; 4) offer historical professionals an enhanced, digital data source and model applicable to research, teaching, and community outreach; and 5) invite new perspectives into the research of this historic place.

Black Migration Houston
Rachel Afi Quinn, PhD, Comparative Culture Studies and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, CLASS
Black. Migration. Houston. (BMH) is an interdisciplinary group of scholars and community organizers who study the international migration of black people to the Texas Gulf Coast. This project’s objective is to educate students, service providers, and the general public on the intersection of migration, sexuality, and blackness through its public facing website. As this project develops, it will expand the site in the following ways: (1) teaching resources for educators and community members (i.e., syllabi and critical thinking material); (2) resources content for black migrants and 1st generation people (centering the concerns of gender non-conforming and queer persons); (3) an interactive and virtual reality component.

Documentary and oral history of the foundation of the UH College of Medicine
Ruth Bush, MD, JD, Medical Education, UH College of Medicine; and Helen Valier, PhD, Medicine and Society Program, The Honors College
This project intends to enhance existing plans to preserve the documentary and oral history of the UH College of Medicine. Through sponsored projects funding, this project will begin focused collection work for the creation of an interactive digital timeline and visualized social network map, hyper-linked to layers of curated resources. In the longer term, this project will develop a database purposed for meta-analysis of preserved documentary, visual, audio, and other collected media.

From Digitizing to Mining, C.T. Bauer College Archives — A Practical Journey Through Our College’s Public Records from 1947 to 2009
Emese Felvegi, PhD, Decision and Information Sciences, C.T. Bauer College of Business
This project seeks to support the capture, categorization, analysis, and digital exhibition of historical College of Business administration/C.T. Bauer College records by C.T. Bauer College students. Select student groups enrolled in BCIS 1305 during the spring and fall 2021 semesters will participate in various phases of a hands-on project that aims to process the college’s historical documents that are a part of the University of Houston Archives. This cyclical semester-long project aims to process the whole of Bauer archives over the course of the next 2-4 years with work continuing with already photographed assets from 2020. 

Research Workshops for Faculty

University of Houston Libraries, in collaboration with the UH Division of Research, will provide three free online workshops geared toward faculty. The 50-in-5 sessions are part of the University Research Explained Series from the UH Division of Research, developed to support faculty in a variety of research and innovation efforts. 

Create Your Online Profile
Wednesday, February 17, 2021
11:00 am – 12:00 pm

Data Management Best Practices for UH Researchers
Wednesday, March 10, 2021
12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

Increasing Research Impact
Tuesday, March 30, 2021
10:00 am – 11:00 am

By on January 21st, 2021 in Announcements, Digital Research