Ask A Librarian

Honor an Outstanding Librarian or Distinguished Library Supporter

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
November 15th, 2018

student talking with librarian

The WVU Libraries Faculty Assembly is seeking nominations for the Outstanding Librarian Award and Distinguished Service Award. These awards are presented once every three years to recognize exceptional contributions toward the delivery, development or expansion of library services or special programs for the constituencies of WVU.

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Karen Diaz named permanent dean of WVU Libraries

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
November 12th, 2018

Karen Diaz

West Virginia University’s interim dean of LibrariesKaren Diaz, has been appointed the Libraries’ permanent dean by Provost Joyce McConnell.

“Karen has been successful in various roles in our libraries because she is a great leader and consensus-builder who has truly earned the trust and support of her talented faculty and staff,” McConnell said. “I know that she will continue to lead in this thoughtful, positive way as the dean, ensuring that the WVU libraries continue to be among our most valuable campus resources.”

Diaz first joined the WVU Libraries as associate dean in January of 2016. She worked extensively with academic department heads and initiated efforts to meet the challenges of a contemporary research library through Open Access initiatives, “engaged librarian” models and cross-functional teams.

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Discovering World War I at the History Center, Part 4: The Elsie Janis Memorabilia Collection

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
November 9th, 2018

Blog post by Michael Ridderbusch, Associate Curator, WVRHC.

On the 11th of this month of November, at 11:00 AM Paris time, will occur the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.  America suffered casualties of over 115,000 in this conflict, making it the third costliest war in American history, following World War II (over 400,000) and the Civil War (750,000).  This sacrifice inspired President Woodrow Wilson in 1919 to ask Americans to recognize “those who had died in the country’s service.”  In time, his moral injunction led to Congressional actions that ultimately established in 1957 Veterans Day as we know it today.

 

In times of relative peace, we of course recognize the service of those in the armed forces.  In times of war we aspire to more.  These aspirations often take the form of serving in hospitals, working in the arms industry, etc.  In addition to these activities of material support, however, are ones of moral support to the troops.  In the Second World War the United Service Organizations (USO), a nonprofit organization established by request of President Roosevelt in 1941, provided such support.  Although many entertainers answered the call, the comedian Bob Hope has become most identified with the USO, so much so that the organization is currently known as the “Bob Hope USO.”  He not only entertained during World War II, but also during the conflicts in Korea and Vietnam.  Lesser known and even forgotten, however, is Elsie Janis, a vaudeville star who also entertained troops, albeit during World War I.  Her rapport and connection to audiences of soldiers was so great that she was immortalized as “the sweetheart of the AEF” (American Expeditionary Force).  The History Center has recently acquired memorabilia regarding Elsie Janis, including photographs, clippings, and other material documenting both her vaudeville years and World War I service.  Read the rest of this entry »

Exhibit presentation to journey into the world of “Avatars and their Players”

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
November 7th, 2018

Avatar exhibit

Do gamers have a special connection with their avatars? Drs. Jaime Banks and Nick Bowman will explore that and other questions in their presentation Nov. 13, at 2 p.m. in the Downtown Campus Library, Room 1020.

The “Avatars and their Players: From Object to Other” exhibit, on display at the DCL through Dec. 30, visualizes Banks and Bowman’s scholarly research on the experiences and effects of video gamers’ connections with their avatars. The exhibit features a curated collection of submitted images and narratives avatar stories that recounts users’ favorite memories with favorite videogame avatars.

“These stories illustrate the impact avatars have had on their lives—dispelling assumptions and myths about gamers and highlighting the ways that avatars can be meaningful in contemporary life,” Banks said.

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An Afternoon with Isaac Asimov: Talk and Exhibit

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
November 7th, 2018

Blog post by Stewart Plein, Assistant Curator for WV Books & Printed Resources & Rare Book Librarian

Wednesday, October 31, the Rare Book Room, part of the West Virginia and Regional History Center at the WVU Libraries, hosted an event to highlight one of our extraordinary collections: the works of Isaac Asimov.  This event was designed to recognize our extensive Asimov collection and to celebrate our donors.

The event included an exhibit, shown below, that was on display in the Downtown Campus Library Atrium, and a talk by Nebula award winning author Andy Duncan, Professor of Writing at Frostburg State University.

Student viewing Isaac Asimov materials in glass cases in the library atrium

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WVU Libraries launches repository for scholarship, creative work and research

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
November 2nd, 2018

screenshot of research repository website

West Virginia University Libraries has launched the Research Repository @ WVU, an online, openly available, home for the scholarship, creative work and research of University faculty, researchers and students.

“The Research Repository @ WVU provides the University community with a library-supported platform for sharing their work with the worldwide scholarly community,” said Ian Harmon, scholarly communications librarian.

Harmon said the Research Repository, available at researchrepository.wvu.edu, can increase a work’s impact, provide free access to federally funded research and share findings with researchers and others within West Virginia and around the world who may not be able to afford high journal subscription fees. The Repository is a collaboration between the Libraries and the WVU Office of Research.

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Soup Beans and Archives Month

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
October 23rd, 2018

Blog post by Jane Metters LaBarbara, Assistant Curator, WVRHC.

Beans mean a lot of things to a lot of people. Growing up outside Appalachia, I remember seven-bean soups being prepared, glass jars full of artfully layered dry ingredients, and sold by church ladies for charity purposes, frequently around the holidays. When my family bought a jar, it always felt like a treat. The other bean-treat of my youth was our neighbor’s chili. I’m fairly certain that it contained multiple kinds of beans, plus a few green veggie bits, and such a good flavor. (I invite you to imagine my dismay when we moved to Texas and I was told that “real” chili contained no beans at all.)

For people across the country and across the globe, beans are a staple food. You can have baked beans, beans on toast, falafel, hummus, refried beans, red bean paste, red beans and rice, succotash, lentil soup, shiro, etc. As I grew up, I learned about and tried a variety of bean-related dishes. Then I moved to West Virginia and I heard about soup beans. Not bean soup—soup beans. Like many modern-day armchair researchers, I started my research into soup beans on the internet, but I was not satisfied. My next step was to take a look at what library resources we had on soup beans.

Two women in a kitchen demonstrating bean canning

Two Women Demonstrate How to Can Beans at State 4-H Camp in Jackson’s Mill, Lewis County, W. Va.

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Downtown Campus Library to host Asimov exhibit and lecture on October 31

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
October 23rd, 2018
I, Robot cover

This first edition of “I, Robot” is preserved in the Libraries’ Isaac Asimov Collection.

Before lighting a jack-o-lantern or donning a Halloween costume, plan to attend West Virginia University Libraries’ Isaac Asimov exhibit and lecture on October 31 from 2-3:30 p.m. in the Downtown Campus Library Atrium.

“An Afternoon with Asimov” will provide a glimpse into the Libraries’ extensive Isaac Asimov Collection and insight into the prolific science fiction author’s body of work. Andy Duncan, a Frostburg State University English professor, will open the event with a talk titled “The New Futurians.”

“Asimov was one of the original Futurians of the 1930s and 1940s, who insisted that science fiction was a vehicle for politics, a means of changing the world for the better. A fringe opinion then, the Futurian ideal today is central to the genre, as the 2018 Hugo ceremony demonstrates,” Duncan said. “Where this leaves Asimov and his reputation in the 21st century is a puzzle his positronic robots might have appreciated.”

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Join the Mountaineer Week Art Crawl on Friday

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
October 23rd, 2018

 

 Autumn Cotton by Tony Fitzpatrick is on display at the WVU Art Museum.

West Virginia University Libraries encourages University and Morgantown community members to participate in the “Mountaineer Week Art Crawl” on Friday, Oct. 26. In addition to exhibits, the tour will feature a scavenger hunt and refreshments. Admission and participation are free.

Downtown Campus

  • Downtown Campus Library

WATER exhibit

Refreshments provided by Lotsa Stone Fired Pizza and Insomnia Cookies.

1-4 p.m. Read the rest of this entry »

Libraries hosting Open Access publishing panel on Oct. 22

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
October 18th, 2018

Open Access logo

As part of International Open Access Week, Oct. 22-28, West Virginia University Libraries will host an Open Access publishing panel on Monday, Oct. 22, from 4-5:30 p.m. in the Milano Reading Room.

Open Access (OA) refers to free online access to digital full-text scientific and scholarly material, primarily research articles published in peer-reviewed journals.

“The current scholarly publishing system is economically unsustainable for libraries, and this makes it very difficult for us to provide our patrons with access to the materials they need,” said Ian Harmon, scholarly communications librarian. “OA publishing is an alternative to this system, one that can remove barriers to research, such as paywalls, and increase the rate of scientific progress.”

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Why Did the Building Cross the Road?

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
October 18th, 2018

Blog Post by Jessica Eichlin, Photographs Manager and Preservationist

 

[Editor’s note: October is American Archives Month, and I am grateful to Jessica for writing out her work process to show us how research in the archives can take you on an adventure! She also proves that archives aren’t just for big scholarly projects–they can be useful for local history research, genealogy, and more.]

 

We do our best to include all relevant information, and to identify the people and places in every photo we put onto West Virginia History OnView.  Sometimes, we just do not know who the people are, or where they are.  Recently, I came across this photo, which shows a group of men working to move a small building across the road.  The town is unidentified, and there is no additional information other than what is in the image.

 

Image showing town buildings and men moving a small building across a street

This image is ID number 050711 on West Virginia History OnView.

 

Pretty great, right? The buildings have interesting signs, and the group of men appear to be moving a small building with ropes.  Intriguing!  So I settled down and got to work.  First, I ran an online search for “The People’s Clothier,” “Verzi’s Saloon,” “Davis Hardware & Furniture Co,” and “Theo Stumpp Tailor.”  Businesses register with the state, and typically show up in the state “Report of the Treasurer.”  Not having any luck with this type of searches, I turned to Ancestry.com. Read the rest of this entry »

Open Access Week promotes benefits of free distribution of research

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
October 15th, 2018

Open Access logo

As part of International Open Access Week, Oct. 22-28, West Virginia University Libraries is promoting the benefits of Open Access publishing to researchers, academic communities, health care providers and citizens.

Open Access refers to free online access to digital full-text scientific and scholarly material, primarily research articles published in peer-reviewed journals.

“The current scholarly publishing system is economically unsustainable for libraries, and this makes it very difficult for us to provide our patrons with access to the materials they need,” said Ian Harmon, scholarly communications librarian. “Open Access publishing is an alternative to this system, one that can remove barriers to research, such as paywalls, and increase the rate of scientific progress.”

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Zines! Celebrating Maker Culture at the WVU Downtown Campus Library

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
October 10th, 2018

Blog post by Stewart Plein, Assistant Curator for WV Books & Printed Resources & Rare Book Librarian

On Friday, October 5th, zine lovers and makers came to the Downtown Campus Library to create pages for a collaborative zine as part of the 2018 Morgantown Zine Festival.  The word “zine,” according to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, is short for magazine, specifically “a noncommercial often homemade or online publication usually devoted to specialized and often unconventional subject matter.”

We were also celebrating one of our newest archival collections, zines by West Virginia zine makers.  Last fall the West Virginia and Regional History Center began collecting zines from around the state.  Donor Bryan Richards, of the Travelin’ Appalachians Revue, has been the major donor of this collection.  He is also one of the organizers of the Zine Fest and designer of this year’s poster, shown below, advertising a weekend’s worth of activities and music.

Advertisement for 2018 Morgantown Zine Festival Read the rest of this entry »

1918: Looking Back at World War I and the Spanish Flu

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
October 5th, 2018

Blog post by Lori Hostuttler, Assistant Director, WVRHC.

One hundred years ago, two major events played out in West Virginia and across the globe.  In the fall of 1918, the Spanish Flu epidemic reached the United States. The name “Spanish Flu” is a misnomer and it is unknown exactly where it started.  World War I had raged since 1914.  The United States entered the war in 1917.  On November 11, 1918, an armistice was signed to signify the peacemaking process that would end World War I.  The following items held in the archives at the West Virginia & Regional History Center document both events.  Read the rest of this entry »

Libraries & 123 Pleasant Street hosting Zine Fest this weekend

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
October 2nd, 2018

Flier for Zine Fest

On Friday and Saturday (Oct. 5 & 6), West Virginia University Libraries and 123 Pleasant Street will co-host the 2018 Morgantown Zine Festival, a two-day event celebrating the form, featuring 20+ zine makers from around West Virginia and Appalachia.

Zines may just be the dark horse of the West Virginia arts community. A zine is a handmade booklet or magazine, typically not available for purchase through traditional commercial venues; a staple medium of punks, poets, activists, and DIY artists of all stripes. A zine might be a delicately crafted art-object, a quick and dirty photocopied pamphlet, or anything in between.

On Friday, join Emily Prentice, “The Zine Queen of Randolph County”, for a free zine-making workshop in Downtown Campus Library, Room 104 from 1-4 p.m. On Saturday, zine makers will display and sell their work at 123 Pleasant Street, from 6-9 p.m. (free, all ages). Following the festival, at 10 p.m., William Matheny, Adam Faucett, Sophia Rehak, and Yellow Cuss will perform. (There will be a cover for this event.)

More details are available on the Morgantown Zine Fest’s Facebook event page or by contacting Bryan Richards at brichar4@mix.wvu.edu.

Downtown Campus Library to screen “Backburner Dreams” on October 11

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
October 2nd, 2018

Cover of Backburner Dreams

Join West Virginia University Libraries and the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies for a screening of “Backburner Dreams – A Women’s Passion Project” on October 11 at 7 p.m. in the Downtown Campus Library, Room 104.

The documentary follows three women, Carla, Stephanie and Melanee, who share stories about their dreams and passions, and why they put them on the “backburner.” All three will, in nine months’ time, take steps to realizing their passions and dreams. The film chronicles their journeys to achieve their dreams.

“Backburner Dreams” has been selected for screening at the 2018 Creation International Film Festival. The event is sponsored by the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

October 3 Is #AskAnArchivist Day

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
September 27th, 2018

 

October 3, 2018 is #AskAnArchivist Day! This day-long event, held on Twitter and sponsored by the Society of American Archivists, will give you the opportunity to connect directly with archivists in your community—and around the country—to ask questions, get information, or just satisfy your curiosity. Staff at the WVRHC will be participating via the Libraries’ Twitter handle, @wvuLibraries.

As professional experts who do the exciting work of protecting and sharing important historical materials, archivists have many stories to share about the work they do every day to preserve fascinating documents, photographs, audio and visual materials, artifacts, and even digital materials.

What questions can be asked?

No question is too silly . . .

  • What’s the craziest thing you’ve come across in your collections?
  • If your archives had a soundtrack, what songs would be on it?
  • What do archivists like to listen to while processing collections?

. . . and no question is too practical!

  • I’ve got loads of digital images on my phone. How should I store them so I can access them later on?
  • How do you decide which items to keep and which to weed out from a collection?
  • As a teacher, how can I get my students more interested in using archives for projects?

How does it work?

To participate, just tweet a question and include the hashtag #AskAnArchivist in your tweet. Your question will be seen instantly by archivists around the country who are standing by to respond directly to you.  If you want to ask a specific institution directly, include their handle (e.g., @wvuLibraries) in your tweet.

Don’t have a Twitter account? That’s okay! You can follow along even if you don’t have a Twitter account here: https://twitter.com/hashtag/AskAnArchivist?src=hash.

If you have a question, feel free to ask the WVRHC questions on our other social media pages (Facebook and Instagram) or send us a message through our contact form. We look forward to hearing from you!

[Modified from SAA’s news release]

#AskAnArchivist Day, October 3, 2018 advertisement featuring potential questions to ask

LaunchLab & Libraries hosting trademark symposium on October 18

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
September 26th, 2018

Patent and trademark logo

West Virginia University Libraries and the LaunchLab are co-sponsoring a trademark symposium entitled “Business Formation and Trademark Registration… A Symposium: What Every Entrepreneur & Small Business Should Know” on October 18 from 3-4:45 p.m. at the LaunchLab in Evansdale Crossing, Suite 413.

The free symposium will offer students, entrepreneurs and small businesses an opportunity to better understand the path to commercial success, with a focus on entity formation and trademark registration.

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Not-Banned Books

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
September 24th, 2018

Blog post by Jane Metters LaBarbara, Assistant Curator, WVRHC.

Banned Books Week, the last week in September, is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read and to seek and express ideas (even unpopular ones), spotlighting censorship and censored authors. It dates back to 1982, and is supported by a national coalition. The Libraries celebrate this year’s Banned Books Week with a display in the Downtown Campus Library entrance and a historical discussion on banned books presented by Law Library Special Collections Librarian & Archivist Mark Podvia and the ACLU of the WVU College of Law (Wednesday, September 26, 12-1 PM in Room 141).

While the West Virginia & Regional History Center seems like a quiet place to do historical research, our book collection is not without controversy. In this post, I’m going to highlight a few books that have made waves here. Read the rest of this entry »

LYRASIS awards Libraries grant to preserve congressional constituent correspondence data

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
September 17th, 2018

 

Arch Moore letter

Constituent correspondence in both paper and digital formats can play an important role as Congress considers legislation and can be found in archives across the country. This letter is an example of materials preserved in the WVRHC.

West Virginia University Libraries has been awarded a $27,000 LYRASIS Catalyst Fund grant to plan for preserving and providing access to congressional constituent correspondence data.

Since the late 1970s, constituent correspondence has moved from paper to digital formats, and archives across the country now receive correspondence as data exports. WVU Libraries has developed an innovative open-source system that could make access to the data possible.

The LYRASIS grant will support a feasibility study that will assess the WVU Libraries’ open-source system and engage the congressional archives community to develop a roadmap for creating a cooperative, data sharing infrastructure.

“We are honored that LYRASIS selected this project,” said Danielle Emerling, West Virginia & Regional History Center assistant curator and the grant’s principal investigator. “Constituent data sets have great potential for numerous research inquiries, analysis, and visualizations, and we’re excited to be one step closer to making the data available to researchers.”

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