May Day: Help others and save your own digital life!

Society of American Archivists' May Day 2017 logo

Happy May Day!

The Society of American Archivists promotes May 1 as a day for all cultural heritage institutions to take time to consider how well their collections are protected.This year there’s a twist: a call for support of the SSA-SAA Emergency Disaster Assistance Grant Fund. The Society of Southwest Archivists and the Society of American Archivists created the fund to address the stabilization and recovery needs of archival repositories affected by Hurricane Katrina.

To learn more about this collaboration, including how to receive funding, visit the SAA page that describes the program. If you are able to assist our colleagues by donating to the fund, please click here.

Below are some tips from the Library of Congress on how you can help save the digital objects that mean the most in your life:

Visit http://digitalpreservation.gov/personalarchiving/ for more details!

Visit http://digitalpreservation.gov/personalarchiving/ for more details!

Digital objects are not durable–threats to them include but are not limited to losing account access (third party providers can disappear at any time) and losing the ability to read file formats and media due to obsolescence.

Digital files can’t be placed on a virtual shelf and forgotten. All digital preservation strategies include specific ways to record as much information about the original file as possible.

Digital objects proliferate so take time to organize versions and apply standard names to your files. It is often difficult for archivists to arrange digital files other than by creation date, but creators have the first-hand knowledge required to identify and arrange versions of their works.

STEPS YOU CAN TAKE:

    • Retain original physical media. Never dispose of physical media and never copy over original bit streams. Even if files are unreadable today, new technology may enable archivists to view “unreadable” files in the near future.
    • Migrate files to new software and hardware. The easiest way to increase the longevity of digital material is migration, or the transfer of materials from one hardware and software configuration to the next generation of hardware and/or software. Files stored on 5.5″ or 3.5″ floppy disks should be transferred to a hard drive and a back-up. Migrate files written in older software to newer versions of open-source or standard software. It is desirable to retain at least two versions of migrated digital files: one in its original software format (this is the “original” bit stream) and one in a more current software format. If you purchase a new computer, migrate files from the old hard drive to the new one. Migration to a CD is not an effective solution as the life of a CD is rather short.
    • Avoid specialized software.Migration can be hindered if the original files were not saved in a standard format. Although non-proprietary formats are the best options for saving digital files (e.g., ASCII or Rich-Text Format (RTF)), Microsoft Office products also serve as de-facto standards due to their prevalence. For images, we recommend using file standards such as Tag Image File Formats (TIFF) or Portable Network Graphics (PNG) files.
    • Never compress or encode your data.Compression and encoding provide one more obstacle to preserving electronic material. Electronic material should be as transparent as possible to facilitate preservation. Compression and encoding software prevents others from readings your data, including archivists

Remember Ozymandias

Ramses II

Image from http://energyblog.nationalgeographic.com

If worries about the future life of your past weigh heavily on your mind, read on!

An 1818 poem by Percy Bysshe Shelley recently inspired me to think of a way to communicate the services available through archives. The poem contains the lines
“‘My name is Ozymandias*, King of Kings;
Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!'”

The irony is that Shelley was reflecting on the ruins of a great civilization. The lines beg the question: What  will remain of the work we do?

The programs and services of the University’s archives include research assistance with IWU’s collections. We advise on what among the works we produce are important to retain and how these works, whether physical or digital, can be preserved. We also have an Oral History program that allows us to go beyond just the products of our daily lives and helps preserve the context they were created in.

The way people view their experiences at IWU add dimensions to our historical records that statuary never will. Meg Miner, your archivist, stands ready to help preserve your legacy today!

*Ozymandias was an Anglicized version of the Greek’s name for Pharaoh Ramesses II.

Research Files: Boarding Clubs

In an earlier post we sketched out known histories of a variety of buildings on campus, including early residence locations for students. This time we have an intriguing new piece of knowledge about student life thanks to a new donation: a gold pocket watch.

J.P. Edgar’s watch

The granddaughter of Reverend John Perry Edgar, Class of 1893, gave the university his watch and an inscription in that gift led me to an interesting finding. The inscription reads “Presented by Edgar Club, IWU, 1893.” The owner of the watch was the Club’s founder and its purpose was to provide students with room and board.

John Perry Edgar, Class of 1893

John Perry Edgar

 

 

An article describing the Club says it was formed in 1889 with 22 men enrolled as members. In 1891 the group held a “unanimous vote that ladies be admitted.”

This seems shocking, at first glance. Men and women boarding together in the 19th century? The article continues with descriptions of the benefit of such an arrangement: providing suitable company at “the dinner table [where] character is developed, courteous behavior and polished manners reign.”

1893 Edgar Club

1893 Edgar Club

The official word from the University was that young women should board at Henrietta Hall, a residence run by the Women’s Education Association from 1874-1892, but the same publication also acknowledged the existence of the privately run clubs.

But what about the rooms? The details with regard to the descriptions provided by the clubs seem ambiguous but the 1895 IWU Catalogue of Courses is quite clear:

1895 Boarding description

1895 Boarding description

With the closure of Henrietta Hall,* rooming took place in private homes of “suitable” families but boarding with clubs continued for at least a few years after Edgar left and two (Bundy and Ross) credited him as the originator of the idea.

But back to the watch…it still keeps time well and both covers are etched but worn down with use. Still, the designs are visible: on one side are the initials JPE and on the other is a building. In this enlarged and enhanced image, it looks like Old North, which was built in 1856 and so was the first building on our campus. Edgar would also have had classes in Old Main, erected in 1870. Next time you’re on the 4th floor, stop by the archives to check out this “new” addition!

Old North

Old North in center of watch

 

*After Henrietta closed it wasn’t until 1956 that a dorm for women opened again. That was known as “Southwest Hall” and was operated by the Women’s Guild of IWU until it became a co-ed dorm–IWU’s first–in 1976. That’s also when it was renamed for benefactor Anna Gulick, a name it carries today.

Our digital collections are now part of DPLA!

Thanks to our membership in the Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois (CARLI), the collections they host for us are now part of the

Visit their homepage at https://dp.la

In 2010, DPLA was founded with the idea of providing “an open, distributed network of comprehensive online resources that would draw on the nation’s living heritage from libraries, universities, archives, and museums in order to educate, inform, and empower everyone in current and future ­generations.”

As of this writing, DPLA holds the records for 15,247,823 items. Of that total, 8,033 were acquired from our own IWU collections and through our outreach to campus and community partners. DPLA also contributes records to European organizations that work in these collaborative ways. It is an honor to be in this mighty company!

Rather than hosting content themselves, DPLA took on the task of pulling together collections held on individual and consortial websites in order to bring them together into one searchable location. As they do this, they are able to leverage the power of our work on descriptions that provide individualized but structured data.

Look to the top of their pages for ways you can visualize and search for interesting connections to your past!

Ways to change browse features.

Martin Luther King, Jr. at IWU

Students today may not know that their predecessors were responsible for bringing the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to campus twice in the 1960s. The first time was in 1961 for an event sponsored by the Religious Activities Commission. Articles in The Argus and Wesleyana offer details.

Religious Emphasis Banquet program

program for the event Dr. King spoke at in 1961

The University Archives received a special copy of the program for this event just a few years ago. The story of how this artifact came to the archives is told below the pdf version of the program.

Religious Emphasis Banquet program

back of Religious Emphasis Banquet program

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. King visited a “Principles of Sociology” class during this visit and is shown below talking with Sociology professors James K. Phillips and Emily Dunn-Dale.

Dr. King and IWU faculty

Dr. King with IWU faculty during his 1961 visit.

Dr. King speaking during his 1966 visit to IWU

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is shown here with Coretta Scott King and Elizabeth Lindblom on the speakers’ platform.

In 1966 Dr. King returned at the request of the Student Senate’s Convocation Commission. This event took place after Dr. King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and was held at the Fred Young Fieldhouse to accommodate the crowd. IWU student Elizabeth Lindblom was Chair of the Commission and provided an introduction to the event.

Other photos from the 1961 and 1966 visits are also available. Alumni shared their reflections on these visits during a panel on the topic at Homecoming 2016.

University Communications maintains a series of web pages with a transcript of the 1966 event and a link to a recording of a broadcast from local radio station WJBC. The University Archives holds an audio cassette tape of that broadcast, photographs and the other records of Dr. King’s two visits to IWU.

Exhibit with maps, real & imagined

1882 Atlas

1882 Atlas

 

A recent donation is on exhibit in The Ames Library, just past the entry level rotunda, now through the end of January.

The volume complements our manuscript and monograph collections on John Wesley Powell and the American West. The atlas is large–approximately 2′ wide when open–and has many colored maps, created by the ever-authoritative US Geological Survey.western-pt-of-plateau

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A few other maps on display are “real” renditions (we can and should debate the depiction of reality in any author’s work), intended for serious illustration of travel narratives like

birbeck_notes

This foldout map in Birbeck’s 1818 “Notes on a Journey…” is separated at the top fold but complete.

Morris Birbeck’s 1818 Notes on a Journey in America, from the Coast of Virginia to the Territory of Illinois, or in educationally-minded works like Thomas Harrington’s 1773 A New Introduction to the Knowledge and Use of Maps.

The latter volume is from the Book Arts Collection part of Special Collections that celebrates the artistry used in making books, not for art’s sake but for many elements of the craft that are almost incidental to what we understand of the purpose for books today.

atoz

Others in the exhibit are intentionally imagined landscapes, used to navigate a story, as in Lars Arrhenius’s A-Z. Interestingly enough, the book had its origin in a large-scale exhibition. The volume in Ames is from our  Artists’ Books Collection and is used in an avant-garde literature course.

 

Two others on display are autobiographical in nature, by book artist and fine press printer Andrew Huot, and represent his explorations of self-discovery: Navigation and Exits West.

See http://andrewhuot.com/section/104877-Navigation.html

See http://andrewhuot.com/section/104877-Navigation.html

See http://andrewhuot.com/section/80223-Exits-West.html

See http://andrewhuot.com/section/80223-Exits-West.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These works and more are available year round for anyone interested in exploring the many varieties of material culture in Tate Archives & Special Collections on The Ames Library’s 4th floor!

IWU after Pearl Harbor

Headline, three days after http://collections.carli.illinois.edu/cdm/ref/collection/iwu_argus/id/18410

Note the location of “Classes Dismissed…”
http://collections.carli.illinois.edu/cdm/ref/collection/iwu_argus/id/18410

Three days after the attacks on Pearl Harbor the student newspaper shows measured responses to the events leading to our country’s entry into WWII. The front page story about dismissing classes, nearly below the fold, describes how students heard President Roosevelt’s address to Congress and states that faculty were telling students to “carry on in the regular routine….”

IWU’s President Shaw had the same message, adding that “the greatest service” was to be “ready for the demand which will be upon us in the days ahead.”

An editorial on page 2 began on a note of sympathy, making clear who these students thought the real enemy was.1941-12-10_p2_editorial_cropped

The Editorial Board goes on to call the attack “treachery on the high seas” that used “premeditated, knife in the back tactics.” The commentary also commends students for their calm response, saying this is “proof of an intelligent and educated [student] body.”

International students at IWU during WWI

An exhibit currently on display in The Ames Library (in two cases, near the patio on the entry level) includes photos and written accounts by IWU faculty and students during World War I. These materials and much more are held in the University Archives.

Of particular interest in this exhibit are contributions from students in Professor Jim Matthews’ Fall 2016 FREN 301: Oral Communication class. In a recent conversation with Dr. Matthews, I mentioned that three French women joined students at IWU in the fall of 1918 and Matthews asked his students to learn more about the experiences of these women in the U.S. and respond in French; they contributed English translations for the benefit of visitors to the library’s exhibit.

1920 Wesleyana, p. 156

Idellette and Annette Baron and Jeanne Seigneur, pictured in the 1920 Wesleyana, p. 156

Dr. Matthews and his students discovered several interesting things about the lives of these women in Central Illinois and beyond. Stop by the library before the end of the month or visit th archives anytime!

Research Files: First African-American woman graduate

In an earlier post, we documented the first African-American men to graduate from IWU. Recently I came across an unknown author’s work on the subject of Black student history at IWU (this document is contained in Record Group 11-8/1/6). That author listed Josephine Mabel Jackson, Class of 1910, as IWU’s first African-American woman to graduate. There is no supporting documentation in the University Archives about the race of our students, but we can look elsewhere to confirm this particular claim.

With her name, I was able to ask the Illinois Regional Archives Depository staff for help. A birth registration book confirms that she was born on January 22, 1886 in Delavan, Tazewell County, Illinois, and lists her race as Negro. The entry also shows that her father William W. Jackson, from South Carolina, was a barber. Her mother Dora M. (nee Grady) Jackson was from Mississippi.

Jackson, 1909 Wesleyana

Jackson, 1909 Wesleyana

The photo to the left is our first image of her, where she is pictured among her Junior classmates. Only one source mentions she was involved in the YWCA but a few show that she participated in the Adelphic Society, one of the two literary societies on campus in her day.

No records of that group’s activities exist for this era but according to the 1907/08 Catalogue of Courses, students were advised to join such groups because “there is no single factor in college life that does so much to fit them for speaking in public and learning to think while in the act of speaking.”

 

Jackson cropped from Adelphic groups photo in 1909 Wesleyana

Jackson cropped from Adelphic group’s photo in 1909 Wesleyana

Adelphic Society members, 1909 Wesleyana

Adelphic Society members, 1909 Wesleyana

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jackson's Senior class photo

Jackson’s Senior class photo from the 1911 Wesleyana

In the list of graduates published in the June 14, 1910 Argus, her full name is given as Josephine Mabel W. Jackson. There are no documents here that record her thoughts about her life but there are several indications that she remained connected to IWU after graduation. In one case, published by the Alumni Office among their brief class news reports, she sent a donation and greetings.

A brief note in April 1925 is the most substantive report there is on an important event in her life: the death of her mother. It ends with an enigmatic sentence: “Miss Jackson has been an unusually successful science teacher in various High Schools.”

A 1929 book called The Alumni Roll at least confirms the teaching part:
Jackson, Josephine M., B.S.  Graduate Chicago Training School, 1911, Teacher in High School, Harlan, Iowa; 1912-1913, Chicago Training School; Industrial teacher in Institutional Church, Chicago; Evangelistic work; Teacher; Student at State University of Iowa.  Box 67, Delavan, Illinois.

The last picture we have of her comes from a June 1960 alumni news source:

June 1960 IWU Bulletin, Alumni edition

June 1960 IWU Bulletin, Alumni edition

The last time Miss Jackson is mentioned in any of our publications is in September 1968. Bloomington’s Pantagraph says she died, aged 88, on Tuesday June 18, 1974 at Hopedale Medical Complex. The notice states she had been in the Hopedale Nursing Home “for some time.” (subscription needed to access: Wednesday, June 19, 1974 – Page 47).

I am sure there is more to be learned about Josephine Jackson’s life. Readers are invited to stop in and see the newly accumulated references to her in the University Archives. I would be happy to make suggestions for additional research strategies, and will gladly add more to her files with anything new that’s discovered!

Exhibits on student organizations: Black student groups

A new exhibit in The Ames Library (entry level) includes founding documents, artifacts and photos of three student organizations: the Black Student Union (BSU, 1968-present), Black Men in Action (BMIA, 1994) and Iota Zeta of Delta Sigma Theta (1972-1974).

A few years ago, some of the alumni involved in these groups recorded oral histories about their IWU experiences. Stop by the library and/or check out their recorded and rtanscribed memories at

De’Andre Hardy, Class of 2000

Anthony Gray, Class of 1998

Deon Hornsby, Class of 1997

Amanda Toney-Logan and Myrtis Sullivan, both Class of 1974

BSU-Minority Alumni Network Picnic April 2, 2005

BSU-Minority Alumni Network Picnic April 2, 2005