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A STAFF E-NEWSLETTER SEPTEMBER 30, 2015

STUDENT LEARNING IN ARCHIVES AND SPECIAL COLLECTIONS

BY SAMMIE MORRIS

Sammie Morris

“Professional discussions have shifted from whether students should be allowed into the [archival] repository...to what are the most effective pedagogical strategies....1”

Students are using the Archives and Special Collections’ (ASC) services and collections more than ever. In the past fiscal year, ASC faculty and staff taught 63 courses, were embedded in a semester-long History of Flight course, spent 183 hours on instructional activities, and reached approximately 1289 students.┬áThe majority of the courses, from a wide variety of academic departments, were at the 100 or 300 levels.

Before the Internet, users of archives were primarily faculty and other scholars. In recent decades, with the rapid expansion of online finding aids and digitized archival materials, archivists have seen a tremendous growth in the need for user education. No longer are archival repositories the domain of seasoned researchers. Today, amateur historians, K-12 students, undergraduate students, and members of the public have access to many archival collections online. Unfortunately, without familiarity with archival research methods, these novice archival users are at a disadvantage, approaching individual primary sources in a vacuum. The skills needed to assess raw, unpublished primary sources and interpret them effectively become even more apparent when users discover a historical letter or photograph out of context without fully understanding how to think critically about it, both as a physical artifact and as a potential source of historical evidence.

There are numerous digital libraries providing online access to primary sources today, and these digitized collections have served as valuable resources for educational use; however, separating the materials from the repository can introduce its own set of information literacy issues, specific to archival materials, including a lack of understanding of how to locate and use similar archival materials in other repositories, and awareness of how to identify and access collections that have not yet been (or may never be) digitized.

These trends have resulted in a significant need for archival literacy, a component of information literacy that, combined with artefactual literacy, is aimed at teaching the critical thinking skills and research methods necessary for effective use of archival materials. Archivists and librarians in ASC are incorporating archival literacy concepts into their instructional practices, promoting active learning with archives, and serving as advocates for the role archives have in supporting teaching and learning at Purdue. As a result, we have seen a boom in student use of the collections, for assignments as well as pursuing their own research outside of class. Recently several students have pursued their archival research outside of the classroom, going on to publish their results in JPUR and other publications. This provides an invaluable experience for an undergraduate in gaining real-world research experience as well as setting them apart from their peers after graduation.

In ASC, we are seeing not only a growth in the number of instruction sessions we offer, but also an increased depth of involvement, as instructional activities lead to becoming embedded in the curriculum. The many student assignments using our collections result in a noticeable increase in our services in the reading room. Although this has at times caused cramped quarters in the reading room and increased demands on staff, the rewards have been significant, resulting in solidification of ASC’s unique role in advancing student learning with primary sources at Purdue. Best of all, the students are learning while gaining valuable experiences and being actively engaged with primary sources.

Archives and Special Collections class

Below are just a few student comments based on course evaluations for Tracy Grimm’s embedded archivist activities as part of Professor Michael Smith’s History 395 Air and Space class (Fall 2014):

  • This class gave me a much better idea of all the different materials that are housed in the archives and what an archivist does. I thought the hands-on activity was a good introduction to archival research.
  • Archival research provides a more direct source than books do.
  • I found that the in-class research sessions helped me to get an idea of what I needed to look at before I spent long hours on my own in the archives.
  • I feel as though I can work more effectively with archival documents having taken this class.
  • I feel as though I will be better able to analyze archival documents having taken this class.
  • I would feel 100% more confident to visit an archive outside of Purdue to conduct research (and I have!)
  • I am better able to discover primary sources relevant to my research because of taking this class.
  • This was by far my favorite class at Purdue.
  • I think everything was great. Maybe have a second class on the whole archives that lets students use all the collections.

1Yakel, Elizabeth in Foreword to Using Primary Sources: Hands-On Instructional Exercises, p. vii.

 

THE ROLE OF A METADATA SPECIALIST IN RESEARCH DATA @ PURDUE UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES

BY AMY J. BARTON (née HATFIELD)

Amy BartonWhile there are similarities between working with metadata in a traditional, technical services/cataloging environment and data; metadata in the context of research data has additional requirements for description, documentation, discoverability, access and reuse. As such, a metadata specialist working in this area takes on a different role, and this is especially true when the metadata specialist is situated in the Research Data @ Purdue University Libraries unit.

Research Data @ Purdue University Libraries, established October 1, 2014, includes data specialists, the D2C2 and the Purdue University Research Repository (PURR). I am the metadata specialist within this unit and am responsible for metadata development and optimization as well as data management and curation activities — a hybrid role, of sorts.

Due to the relatively new prospect of incorporating research data services in the Libraries, and metadata as a component, I strive to understand the current state of metadata for research data and standards and best practices in data documentation and description. Metadata services, education and engagement are also in scope of my metadata specialist role. I am in the process of defining metadata services in Research Data as well as developing education and training resources. I also engage in national and international activities to promote and impact standards development and maintenance; best practice; harmonization; and interoperability. I am a member of, and have contributed to deliverables in, the DataCite Metadata Working Group, the MetaArchive Metadata Working Group, and have recently become involved with the Research Data Alliance Metadata Directory Working Group. An example of a Working Group deliverable would be that of DataCite: I was involved in the ORCID-DataCite Metadata Harmonization Working Group, which worked to align the schemas for future metadata exchange, and also contributed to an ODIN1 project.

I must say that being the metadata specialist in Research Data @ Purdue University Libraries is challenging, but also rewarding in that I engage in diverse activities and projects throughout the Libraries, the University, and beyond. Please do contact me with any metadata/data questions, or if you are interested in collaborating on a project or research.

1Consortium, ODIN: D4.2: Workflow for interoperability (2015). http://dx.doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.1373669

 

MELLON FOUNDATION INTERDISCIPLINARY DISCOVERY PROGRAM GRANT UPDATE

Robert L. Faherty, Vice President and Director Emeritus of The Brookings Press, met with interdisciplinary research teams as part of a multiyear grant entitled Catalyzing the Involvement of Humanists and Social Scientists in Grand Challenge Initiatives. These teams bring together faculty and researchers across the university in an attempt to tackle large-scale problems, drive beneficial change, raise public awareness and improve the human condition. During a recent visit to campus Robert provided feedback to teams on their findings, policy proposals and the best ways to reach their target audiences with their solutions. In the photo, Robert meets with the “Open Skies” team led by Professor Robin Clair, who is researching the lack of clean, safe water in rural India and the sanitation issues that result.

Mellon Foundation Grant Update

The effort is a Purdue-based response to President Obama’s challenge to companies, universities, foundations and philanthropists to identify and pursue grand challenges by expanding the frontiers of human knowledge about the important problems that we face. The project is made possible by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and is a joint effort of Purdue University, the Global Policy Research Institute, Discovery Park, the College of Liberal Arts, and the Purdue University Libraries and Purdue University Press. Dean of Libraries James Mullins serves as the Principal Investigator for this project on behalf of the university.

 

NEW STAFF

Dede FrederickDede Frederick
Web Application Developer

My very first visit to Purdue University was for an internship from May–July 2009 and since then I have been unable to detach myself from this area in northern Indiana. After graduating with my bachelor’s degree in computer science from Grambling State University in 2011, I began my graduate career at Purdue by enrolling in the Master’s degree program in the Computer Graphics Technology department where I focused on user experience in web design. The culmination of my hard work resulted in the completion of a master’s thesis titled “The effects of parallax scrolling on user experience and preference in web design.” It can be retrieved from Purdue e-Pubs.

Currently I am pursuing my PhD in user experience, where I focus on increasing user acceptance of new web based technologies through the implementation of emotional design. That’s right, I am researching how to get users to accept and enjoy new web applications and technologies by influencing their emotions positively.

On August 3, 2015, I started my new position here with Purdue Libraries as a web applications developer where I will be working in collaboration with Libraries faculty and staff to create various applications that support teaching, instruction and research. My goal in my new position is to build web applications that users will find useful and enjoyable.

I am a very sociable individual who enjoys meeting new people and making friends. I am a soccer (football) enthusiast, therefore you will find me watching the games on Sunday mornings and playing on afternoons. My favorite league is the English Premier League (EPL) where I root for FC Liverpool, although they are not performing particularly well at the moment.

I have been married since December 2012 and on November 2, 2015 my beautiful wife and I will be having our first child, a baby boy. We are very excited and anxious to meet him, therefore don’t be alarmed if for some reason I suddenly burst into song (nursery rhymes). I have been practicing in preparation for his arrival.

I am thrilled to be an employee and student at Purdue University. So far I have enjoyed working with my new colleagues and look forward to meeting and working with other staff members and faculty within Purdue Libraries. I am an easy going individual so feel free to approach me. If you need to contact me, I can be reached at dede@purdue.edu or 49-42903. My office is located at STEW 363, so feel free to stop by.

 

Amanda GrossmanAmanda Grossman
Library Assistant
Acquisitions

Hi everyone. I am a new Library Assistant in the Acquisitions department where I will be ordering, invoicing and renewing materials for the Libraries, as well as doing some troubleshooting for e-resources. This is actually my second trip through the Libraries — twelve years ago I started as a clerk in the Serials department, and then I transferred to the Archives and Special Collections Unit. Seven years ago my husband and I moved to the Washington DC area, four years ago we became the parents of a beautiful baby girl and one year ago we moved back to Indiana. I have worked in all sorts of libraries, from school to public to military to academic.

I have a Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing from Murray State University, and I love to write fiction. I like to read and watch movies, and my family and I have just started to explore the fun of tent camping.

I am located in STEW 370, my phone number is 49-44478, and my email address is agrossm1@purdue.edu. I look forward to meeting those of you I do not know yet, and reconnecting with those of you I have met before.

 

AROUND THE LIBRARIES

NOISE IN STEWART CENTER: UPDATE

The Libraries Dean detailed some of the major moves for Libraries divisions in the January 13, 2014 issue of INSIDe. The transfer of STEW 279 to Extended Campus/Continuing Education Program is complete, Purdue University Press has relocated to its newly renovated office space in STEW 190, Resource Services/Acquisitions has moved to the third floor of STEW and the reassignment of offices for Paul Bracke, Jo Carow, Rebecca Richardson and the Libraries Administrative office are all completed.

Now the reconstruction of STEW 170 is ready to move forward. This space will be renovated to include offices for the Data and Metadata Group and Distributed Data Curation Center (D2C2) and to reconfigure the work space for Auxiliary Services. Along with the renovation process staff in Stewart Center should expect to hear the usual construction “noise” associated with any construction project. The construction expected to last through April 2016. Questions and concerns may be addressed to Brad Heiss or Candy Scott. Watch for updates in future issues of INSIDe.

.Stewart Center room 170 renovation

 

CONTENTS

 

STRATEGIC GOAL ICONS

You will notice the use of these icons before the article that are symbolic of our Libraries strategic goals.

SCHOLARLY COMMUNICATION: Libraries facilitate and enhance the continuum of the scholarly communication process.

GLOBAL CHALLENGES: Libraries faculty lead in international initiatives in information literacy, e-science, information access, data management and collaborate on Purdue's global initiatives.

LEARNING: Libraries faculty lead in information literacy and learning space implementation, research and scholarship.

INFRASTRUCTURE: Libraries staff working together to enhance the users experience, raise awareness of Purdue Libraries and recognize the continued learning and successes of our staff.

 

OFF THE SHELF
New Revised Continuing New Staff
  • Lindsey Organ, Graphic Designer, Purdue University Libraries Publishing Division
  • Ayn Reineke, Secretary V, Libraries Administration

 

CONGRATULATIONS

Research Council has evaluated and awards a Libraries Research and Scholarship Support Grant Tao Zhang to travel to St. Louis, MO to present his work on log analysis and user test of discovery tools at the ASIS&T 2015 Annual Meeting in November 8-10, 2015.

 
ANNOUNCEMENT

Office Relocation Updates

  • Rebecca Richardson to STEW 276.
 
EVENTS AND EXHIBITS

Surfaces and Contours: Celebrating Aldo Giorgini's Contributions to Art and Space
Archives and Special Collections
September 28-December 18
HSSE Library 4th floor
STEW

Parrish Case Competition
October 9
1-4 p.m.
Burton Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship 121.

All are welcome at the final. Having members of the Purdue Libraries community react and ask questions really added value for the students last year.

All Staff Meeting
October 26
2-3:30 p.m.
STEW 310

OR

October 27
10:30 a.m.-Noon
STEW 310

Lafayette Farmers Market
Saturdays
May 2-October 31
7:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
5th Street between Main and Columbia streets
More Information

West Lafayette Farmers Market
Wednesdays
May 6-October 28
3:30-7 p.m.
Cumberland Park
3065 North Salisbury Street
More Information

Purdue Farmers Market
Thursdays
May 7- October 29
11 a.m.-2 p.m.
Memorial Mall
More Information

 

PUBLICATIONS AND PRESENTATIONS

Donna L. Ferullo presented four sessions at the Graduate School’s Thesis & Dissertation workshop at Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN, September 21-22, 2015.

 

LIBRARIES IN THE NEWS

Indy Star, September 21
Key sites in the history of flight — here in Indiana
Archives & Special Collections

 
SMILE AWARD

Submit your SMILE nomination here

 

WHAT'S COOKING?

Apple Cinnamon Loaf
Visit the Libraries Intranet

 

COPY DEADLINE

Copy for the October 14 issue is due by noon, October 12. Send to tmabrown@purdue.edu