Friday, September 14, 2018

Digital Commons Now Over 100,000 Items Published and Over 50 Million Downloads

by Jennifer Conway

The Digital Commons of the University of Nebraska – Lincoln Libraries,  an online repository of research materials published by University of Nebraska faculty, staff and students, now contains over 100,000 full text items. It has surpassed 50 million downloads and is now the most accessed institutional repository in the nation.

A dedicated team, including Paul Royster, Coordinator of Scholarly Communications; Sue Ann Gardner, Scholarly Communications Librarian/Professor; and Linnea Fredrickson, Production Specialist, has worked diligently to reach this milestone. Several key elements of their work coalesced to reach this turning point. All three individuals possess in-depth knowledge of copyright law which contributes to an excellent record of successfully populating the bepress Digital Commons platform the university has utilized for this purpose since June 2005. Additionally, integral to the bepress Digital Commons platform is their highly effective SEO (search engine optimization) which aids users in accessing information more readily. Royster says, “We owe it all to the researchers, scholars and students who have entrusted their materials to us. We hope they are happy with this global distribution.”

The Digital Commons features an interactive map that shows the downloads of papers while watching it in real-time.

This notable achievement reflects the Libraries vision of a system recognized as a national leader in creativity and knowledge development, offering access to data, information and knowledge in an environment supporting discovery, reflection, synthesis and application.

map from

Monday, August 20, 2018

Harriet Wintermute, Catalog and Metadata Librarian, receives Presidential Citation from ALCTS, The Association for Library Collections & Technical Services

by Jennifer Conway

Harriet Wintermute
Wintermute is recognized here for her exceptional leadership and service over the course of four years on the ALCTS Fundraising Committee. “My overall experience was insightful and rewarding. At first, it may seem intimidating to ask vendors for support (aka money), but many are willing to sponsor events and organizations that relate to their services and products,” Wintermute shared.

This award honors ALCTS members who make significant contributions to the association and to the profession but whose accomplishments do not fall within the criteria for ALCTS' other awards.

Wintermute’s work as a Catalog and Metadata Librarian at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries involves original cataloging, metadata remediation, and workflow efficiency development. 
Read more about Harriet on ALCTS News.  

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Library genealogists share news of upcoming publication

Joanie Barnes and Tom McFarland. Photo by Erin Colonna
A case study on genealogy in academic libraries authored by University Libraries' Joan Barnes and Tom McFarland is included in the upcoming book Genealogy and the Librarian: Perspectives on Research, Instruction, Outreach, and Management. The collection includes thirty-four chapters covering all facets of genealogy and librarianship and the forward is written by D. Joshua Taylor, co-host of the PBS show Genealogy Roadshow.

Barnes and McFarland's contribution to the book, titled "Introducing Genealogy to the Academic Library in the 21st Century," outlines the genealogy programming they created at the University Libraries and the three objectives the programming accomplishes: to reach out to campus faculty, staff, and students; to involve library faculty and staff; and to bring community users into the Libraries.
Available July 2018

The genealogy programming at the Libraries includes a monthly series called Genealogy over Lunch, and an annual event called Family History Day. The monthly series is geared towards university faculty, staff, and students, whereas Family History Day brings in more of the Lincoln community. The programs include speakers and cover specific tools, resources, collections, and topics. Barnes and McFarland have surveyed the attendees over the years and tweaked the programs to meet the needs and interest of their audiences.

Barnes and McFarland are both passionate genealogists who became interested in family research while listening to stories told by an older relative. For Tom, it started when he was around 8 years old listening to his great aunt tell stories about the family. He was entranced with the fairy-tale aspect of the stories, and soon found that it was a great big puzzle that he could begin to put together. A few years later, Tom read Roots: The Saga of an American Family by Alex Haley and was inspired to embark on his personal journey to uncover his family tree.

Joan recalls a similar time that sparked her interest in genealogy. As a child, she loved listening to the stories her paternal grandmother told. The stories stayed with her and later, after graduate school when she returned home, her younger brother showed her an old family Bible with names of their ancestors written inside. With the Bible in hand, the two siblings went to the town's enormous cemetery and spent the entire day roaming the gravestones until they found every name. "It was a long day," Joan remembers, "because all the names were in the very last row of the cemetery!" After that, Joan was hooked.

Genealogy over Lunch and Family History Day are in their 4th year and the programs are stronger than ever, "I'm amazed that we are still bringing in new people to the sessions," Barnes says. Tom notes that the programs are tremendously engaging and offer budding and seasoned genealogists alike a place to share their family history and get help with questions and mysteries. This year's Family History Day on June 9 includes an impressive line-up of speakers and workshops to help anyone interested in genealogy.

With resources like widely available, tracking down one's family tree has never been more popular or faster, but a true genealogist, Tom and Joan agree, has a thirst for accuracy and is in it for the long haul. "Genealogical research is the ultimate pyramid scheme," Tom notes, "for every ancestor you find, there are two more to find!" Joan, laughing, adds: "Every question you get answered, you've got another question to answer."

Congratulations to Joan Barnes and Tom McFarland for their upcoming publication. Please join Joan, Tom, and others for the 4th annual Family History Day (details below). This is a free event, but registration is required. 

Further Resources

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Slow Down and Enjoy Art: An Interview with Barb Tetenbaum, the Artist Behind “The Slow Read”

Fans of Willa Cather, as well as those that have not yet had an introduction, will find inspiration in “The Slow Read,” an exhibit featuring several selected pages from “My Antonia” every day, from May 30 to Aug. 13, 2018. There are plans for several exhibits installed across the country, one of which will be at the Adele Coryell Hall Learning Commons.

Behind the project is Barbara Tetenbaum, an internationally-recognized artist, professor and head of the Book Arts department at the Oregon College of Art and Craft in Portland, Oregon. She is best known for exploring the relationships between text and images in printed books and installations. Tetenbaum is the recipient of two Fulbright awards to teach in Leipzig, Germany and Usti, Labem, Czech Republic. Her books are held in public collections in the United States, Canada, England, France, Germany and the Netherlands. We asked Tetenbaum about her project and the process behind it.

Explain your personal connection to My Ántonia. What drew you to the novel and how did you choose it for the project?

In 2010, I was offered a gallery show at Reed College. I had this idea based on the fact that when I doodle while listening to someone talk, the image captures the content in some kind of way. I thought: What if I listened to something lengthy, like a novel, and responded in the space of the gallery (walls, floor, ceiling, etc.) as a doodler would to a conversation on a phone? Would the images and shapes in the gallery somehow capture the content of that novel? I fairly randomly selected ‘My Antonia’ as an audio book partly because I had never read it and my mentor, Walter Hamady, had always spoken highly of Willa Cather. I didn’t know if my relatively experimental art idea would work with a homespun-Americana novel (I imagined) but upon hearing the first sentences of My Ántonia, I found my head open up as a wide dome of space.
What I did not expect was that her sentences would ensnare me with their beauty. Rather than draw on walls, I felt driven to put her words in front of anyone who would enter that gallery. I didn’t know that she has the following that she does, she is such a special writer. How fortunate that I found her through this art experiment! That first project, titled ‘A Close Read’ led to invitations to exhibit at two more galleries and to create an elaborate artist book.

How did you come up with the idea for the project?

After creating these installation and book projects I thought ‘ok, I don’t need to continue with this particular book any more’. But then I encountered ‘projection mapping’; a way of throwing large images or animations onto outdoor walls and floors. I pondered what I, as a text-based artist, could do with this technology? Projecting onto a building a piece of text…? What text? Then it came to me: projecting an image of turning pages to allow reading in public, slowly over time. AND that the centenary of My Ántonia was coming up in a few years.

What was the process for coming up with the project?

While my third installation was up at Constellation Studios in Lincoln, I met so many ‘Cather’ people! While in conversation at the opening, I brought up this idea for a way to honor the upcoming 100-year anniversary of the novel. The response from everyone was so positive and encouraging that I felt buoyed to go forward, although this was WAY outside of my comfort zone.
The key parts of the process were: finding a project manager in Portland to help me organize my activities and create a timeline, securing the interest and participation of a few key organizations, applying for grants, traveling to Nebraska to meet with key collaborators, securing the talents of a designer and a web-design firm, and creating the Kickstarter campaign to both advertise the project and raise the final funds. So many things fell into place along the way that I knew the project would happen. I also benefited from many enthusiastic students and friends who were willing to put their heads together with mine and offer me feedback on grant writing or help on technology. It’s true that it takes a village! 

What do you want readers of the project to take away from it-- both first-time readers, as well as those that have read the book before?

There are numerous motivations for this project. At the core is a desire to get people to SLOW DOWN and experience art/literature without the need for ‘spectacle’. To find community unexpectedly or to see it grow within an existing group (such as the Cather friends). To be encouraged to focus on smaller amounts of writing which may lead to deeper understanding or appreciation. To encourage discussion of the issues that are as important to us in 2018 as they were to Cather 100 years ago. To discover for the first time, to reread for the second time, to read again for the umpteenth time this gorgeous novel, bumping into friends or strangers in the process.
And to discover the work I’ve created these past 8 years in response to a single piece of literature. The website that runs the Slow Read will have a gallery of images of my projects plus links to Cather events, discussions, lectures around the country.
- Barb Tetenbaum / The Slow Read

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

New database features Nebraska authors

We are pleased to announce a new, publicly available database that features the work of Nebraska authors. The database can be accessed at

The content digitally available in the Nebraska Authors database comes from the special collection on Nebraska Authors at the Lincoln City Libraries, known as the Jane Pope Geske Heritage Room of Nebraska Authors. The information has been collected by many dedicated volunteers and staff members over the past 50 years. Read more about the project here.

Support from the Nebraska Literary Heritage Association, Lincoln City Libraries, and the Center for Digital Research in the Humanities (CDRH) make this database available.

The database was unveiled at Lincoln City Libraries on Sunday, April 22. The Lincoln community gathered to learn about this special resource that celebrates Nebraska's diverse literary landscape. Professor and CDRH Co-Director Kay Walter said, "Nebraska Authors is making the literature of Nebraska widely visible. It has been a pleasure to participate in this project with the Lincoln City Libraries."