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WVU Libraries opens Congressman Arch Moore archives, releases digital photographs

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
March 19th, 2019
Arch Moore shakes hands with President Eisenhower
Congressman Arch Moore shakes hands with President Dwight D. Eisenhower, circa 1957-1960

West Virginia University Libraries’ West Virginia & Regional History Center has opened the congressional archives of former U.S. Congressman and West Virginia Governor Arch A. Moore Jr. and released digitized photographs that document Moore’s decade in the House of Representatives. 

A native of Moundsville, W.Va., Arch A. Moore Jr. served in the European theatre during World War II before enrolling at West Virginia University as a political science major in 1946. He later earned his law degree from WVU College of Law. In 1949, Moore married Shelley Riley, a fellow WVU student, and they had three children together, Arch A. (Kim) Moore III, Shelley Wellons, and Lucy St. Clair. Daughter Shelley served in the U.S. House of Representatives (2001-2014) and the U.S Senate (2015-present).

In 1952, Moore began his political career in the West Virginia House of Delegates, and in 1956 he was elected to the First District congressional seat. He went on to serve six terms in the U.S. House of Representatives (1957-1969) winning as a Republican in a predominantly Democratic state. He is the only person to serve three terms as Governor of West Virginia (1969-1977, 1985-1989).

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Springtime Selections from the Green Photography Collection

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
March 12th, 2019

Blog post by Michael Ridderbusch, Associate Curator, WVRHC.

The James Edwin Green photography collection of over 500 glass plate negatives at the History Center contains a variety of images that document life in western Pennsylvania and Pleasants County, West Virginia.  This blog will sample images that are seasonal, relating to the theme of springtime and warmer weather.

The first image shows the photographer, James Edwin Green (1878-1952) with his family at Orchard View Farm:

Family seated outside eating watermelon in an orchard, with text "Who Said Watermelon!"

James Edwin Green (1878-1952) and family at Orchard View Farm,
Pleasants County, West Virginia, ca. 1905-1910.
(From collection A&M 3460, James Edwin Green, Photographer,
Glass Plate Negatives and Other Material.)

In this picture we see his wife Edith Sarah Taylor Green with their three children (left to right) Virginia, Jeanette, and James Edwin, Jr.  If you look closely, you can see James Edwin, Sr. holding a string.  This string was attached to a camera in order to trigger its shutter.

James Green, Sr. also used his photography for creating Easter greetings as shown in the following example:

Girl in Easter dress, holding a toy bunny, next to an Easter basket

Easter Greeting card featuring a Green child; 1909.
(From collection A&M 3460, James Edwin Green, Photographer,
Glass Plate Negatives and Other Material.)

Woman in orchard, with blooms on the trees, with text "Down in Blossom Row"

A view of Orchard View Farm, Pleasants County, West Virginia, ca. 1905-1910.
It may be the photographer’s wife, Edith Green, who is strolling through the orchard.
(From collection A&M 3460, James Edwin Green, Photographer,
Glass Plate Negatives and Other Material.)

Man in orchard with three children, with text "Spring Time"

A portrait of James Edwin Green and his three children, Orchard View Farms,
Pleasants County, West Virginia, ca. 1905-1910.
(From collection A&M 3460, James Edwin Green, Photographer,
Glass Plate Negatives and Other Material.)

Many photographs in the collection were shot in Foxburg, Pennsylvania, where many members of the Green family lived, like the following:

Four children seated on a horse or mule, surrounded by family members

Children of James Edwin Green playing with relatives at Foxburg, Pennsylvania, ca. 1905-1910.
(From collection A&M 3460, James Edwin Green, Photographer,
Glass Plate Negatives and Other Material.)

In this picture we see Mrs. Edith Green on the left, her son James Edwin Green, Jr. on the horse, and her daughter Virginia on the right with hands behind her back.  Aunt Roseanne Green of Foxburg is holding a child up on the horse.

Three children in orchard surrounded by chickens, with text "Easter Greetings -1909- From St. Mary's W. Va."

Another Easter Greeting with Virginia, Jeanette, and James Green; 1909.
(From collection A&M 3460, James Edwin Green, Photographer,Glass Plate Negatives and Other Material.)

For more information about the James Green photograph collection, see the blog:
The Photographs of James Green and the Democratization of Photography

Sources consulted:
A&M 3460, James Edwin Green, Photographer, Glass Plate Negatives and Other Material, box 15/folder 15a for genealogy information
A&M 3460, James Edwin Green, Photographer, Glass Plate Negatives and Other Material, box 15/folder 16a for identification of subjects in photographs

New Books on Frederick Douglass at the West Virginia and Regional History Center

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
March 8th, 2019

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

The life of Frederick Douglass is infinitely compelling.  Born enslaved, he barely knew his mother, who died when he was young, and never knew his father.  As a young man he escaped enslavement to become a prominent activist and one of the finest orators of the 19th century.

With the publication of David Blight’s new biography, Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom, it seemed an appropriate time to share the West Virginia and Regional History Center’s extensive book collection on Frederick Douglass. 

Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom.
David W. Blight

Cover of book Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom, showing a color portrait of Douglass

An award winning author, David W. Blight has written what is called the definitive biography of Frederick Douglass. 

Frederick Douglass: A Life in Documents
Frederick Douglass

Cover of book Frederick Douglass: A Life in Documents, showing a portrait of a young Douglass

The University of Virginia Press describes Douglass as “the most prominent African American activist of the nineteenth century.”  His life is well documented and he left behind a vast amount of documentary evidence on his life in slavery and achievements in freedom. This volume gathers and interprets valuable selections from a variety of Douglass’s writings, including speeches, editorials, correspondence, and autobiographies.  This book is part of the series: A Nation Divided: Studies in the Civil War Era. 

Picturing Frederick Douglass:
An Illustrated Biography of the Nineteenth Century’s
Most Photographed American
John Stauffer, Zoe Trodd, and Celeste-Marie Bernier

Cover of book Picturing Frederick Douglass: An Illustrated Biography of the Nineteenth Century's Most Photographed American, showing a color portrait of a middle aged Douglass

Paging through this volume the reader is overwhelmed by the quantity, and the variety of photographs.  This rich collection shows Douglass from his youth to old age.  Highly recommended.

Giants: The Parallel Lives of Frederick Douglass & Abraham Lincoln
John Stauffer

Cover of book Giants: The Parallel Lives of Frederick Douglass & Abraham Lincoln, showing portraits of Douglass and Lincoln

This dual biography looks at the life of two men, both self-made, who rose to prominence from the unlikely sources; Lincoln from poverty and Douglass from slavery. 

John Brown:
An Address by Frederick Douglass, at the Fourteenth Anniversary of Storer
College, Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia, May 30, 1881.
Frederick Douglass

Cover of book titled John Brown: An Address by Frederick Douglass, at the Fourteenth Anniversary of Storer College, Harper's Ferry, West Virginia, May 30, 1881

Frederick Douglass was the keynote speaker for Decoration Day, May 30, 1881, at Storer College.  It was also the 14th anniversary of the college, the first institution of higher learning for African Americans in West Virginia, as well as the Storer College commencement.  This speech, printed here in its entirety, is one of the most important speeches on John Brown. 

Two Autobiographies:
My Bondage and My Freedom
Life and Times of Frederick Douglass

My Bondage and My Freedom Book Cover, showing a portrait of a younger Frederick Douglass
Life and Times of Frederick Douglass Book Cover, showing a portrait of Douglass when he was older

Frederick Douglass wrote three autobiographies during his lifetime; two of them, My Bondage and My Freedom and Life and Times of Frederick Douglass, examine different times in the author’s life.  The first, My Bondage and My Freedom, published in 1855, expands on his first autobiography, The Narrative Life of Frederick Douglass, and recalls his life as a slave.   The second book, Life and Times, looks at the latter part of his life. 

To see these books, and others on the life of Frederick Douglass, please visit the West Virginia and Regional History Center.  Several of these books are currently on display on our New Arrivals shelf.  

Libraries offer ways to combat high cost of textbooks

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
February 28th, 2019
Chart on high textbook costs

As part of Open Education Week (March 4-8), West Virginia University Libraries, faculty and students are focusing on the high cost of textbooks.

Since 1978, the cost of college textbooks has risen 812%, a rate faster than medical services (575%), new home prices (325%) and the consumer price index (250%), according to statistics from the American Enterprise Institute.

The rising cost of textbooks impacts a student’s bank account as well as their grades. The Florida Virtual Campus has been studying the effect of rising textbooks costs on students’ purchasing decisions, their academic success and their awareness of OER options.

Their 2018 study found that the cost of textbooks continue to be a negative influence on students’ grades and success. A PDF of the “2018 Student Textbook & Course Materials Survey: Executive Summary is available at this link.

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February is for the Birds

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
February 27th, 2019

Blog post by Jane Metters LaBarbara, Assistant Curator, WVRHC

Happy National Bird-Feeding Month, everyone!

February was initially proposed for this month-long observance because winter can be a hard time for birds to find food (more on the official resolution here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Bird-Feeding_Month). The month is now celebrated by the National Bird-Feeding Society and bird enthusiasts across the country. The WVRHC has a few collections about birds and birding that will be of interest to other hobbyists and scholars.

Boy scout holding bird feeder

West Virginia has two extant chapters of the National Audubon Society—the Mountaineer chapter based in Morgantown, and the Potomac Valley chapter based in Shepherdstown. The Mountaineer Chapter, chartered in 1971, gave some of its records to the WVRHC.

The Mountaineer Chapter created a packet titled “Identifying and Feeding Your Winter Birds.”

page showing descriptive text and/or images for the following birds: Downy Woodpecker, Mourning Dove, Blue jay, Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse

They let people know what birds to expect in the winter, and some useful facts about them.

Clipping with heading "What kind of feeders should I get?" showing seven types of bird feeders

The packet also gives a quick primer on the types of feeders you can use. (No word yet on which feeder will keep the raccoons away from my suet.)

Other accomplishments reflected in the chapter records are bird counts and activism, including an interim report for the ca. 1984-1985 Morgantown Screech Owl Habitat Improvement Research Project.

Newspaper "feature publication" cover with image of owl and headline "Whooo gives a hoot?"

The WVRHC also has the collections of Earl A. Brooks (WVU class of 1897) and Maurice Brooks (WVU professor from 1932-1969), both of whom had a keen interest in birds.  Earl kept notebooks recording his and co-workers notes on sites where specific species were observed, nesting sites, habits, etc.  His notes really helped Maurice Brooks with his work—in his A Check-List of West Virginia Birds, he writes, “Special use has been made of unpublished notes of Rev. Earle [sic] A. Brooks and of Professor E. R. Grose.” Below are two of the maps from Earl’s papers, and text for those same birds out of Maurice’s work a few decades later.

Map of West Virginia showing sighting spots for the White Pelican

Pelicanus erythrorhynchos, or White Pelican: “Of accidental occurrence in the state. Two records for this species were made during the last week in April 1910. E. A. Brooks examined one of two specimens taken in Braxton County on April 23, 191, and mounted by E.J. Hughes. Dr. Roy Bird Cook noted a flock along the Ohio River in Wood County during the same week. In the autumn of 1943 a single individual spent some weeks along the Great Kanawha River, near Charleston, Kanawha County, where it was seen by hundreds of persons. The West Virginia University Museum* has a specimen taken by a Mr. Dawson along the Cacapon River, Morgan County.”

*Blogger’s note: WVU doesn’t have just one museum, and I don’t yet know which of them might have a white pelican specimen.

Map of West Virginia showing sighting and breeding spots for the Purple Martin

Progne subis subis, or Purple Martin: “Local summer resident, seemingly much more restricted in range than formerly. Its colonies are scattered throughout the state, save in areas of heavy forest.” (The National Audubon Society website confirms this species is still somewhat in decline today.)

Anyone who wants to begin backyard bird feeding may not need more than some seeds and a feeder to get started, but knowledge of what birds you are likely to attract can make it easier to find the right types of feeders and food. Additionally, birdwatchers who keep tabs on the population can help identify problematic declines and help keep an eye on bird habitats. If you want to learn more about early 1900s bird populations in West Virginia or more modern bird-related activism, drop by and check out our collections.

Dark colored bird sitting on top of a bird cage that is affixed to a wall.

References:

Brooks, Maurice. A Check-List of West Virginia Birds. Agricultural Experiment Station, College of Agriculture, Forestry, and Home Economics, West Virginia University, 1944. (Bulletin 316)

Help lower textbook costs for students

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
February 26th, 2019
Student working on a laptop

Are you an instructor who is concerned about the impact of high textbook costs on your students’ academic success? If so, you might be interested in two Open Educational Resources (OER) opportunities being offered by WVU Libraries.

OER are teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain and can be customized and re-purposed. Open textbooks are complete and can be authoritatively verified, adopted by many faculty across the country, and licensed to be freely used, edited, and distributed.

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Downtown Campus Library to host “Women and Water” exhibit and panels

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
February 20th, 2019
Woman standing on porch

“Women and Water,” an exhibit featuring artwork collected and created by West Virginia women active in the fields of water policy and advocacy, will be on display at West Virginia University’s Downtown Campus Library from March 4 to April 30 in conjunction with the WVU Libraries’ year-long “WATER” exhibit and Women’s History Month.

The Downtown Campus Library will host an opening reception on March 4 from 5-7 p.m. in Room 1020 that will include a poetry reading by Affrilachian poet Crystal Good and a performance art piece by Heather Schneider.

“This exhibit celebrates the major role that Appalachian women have played in defense of water since the 1970s,” said Martina Angela Caretta, a WVU assistant professor of geography. “The pieces on display and two panels – with women water professionals and on women’s health following the 2014 Elk River Spill – speak to the continued and renewed importance of water protection and restoration in our state beyond gender, class and racial axis.”

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Scholarly search tool Scopus returns to library resources

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
February 19th, 2019
Image of a computer screen

Do you need to save time in the initial information gathering stage of your research, monitor a research topic or trend, identify the top researchers in a particular field or track the success of your own research?

West Virginia University Libraries has reinstated its subscription to Scopus, a popular scholarly search tool. Currently the largest curated abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed literature, it includes the fields of science, technology, medicine, social sciences, and arts and humanities. It can be accessed on the Libraries website.

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Art in the Libraries seeking submission for craftwork exhibit at Health Sciences Center

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
February 8th, 2019
Collage of pottery and jewelry

The WVU Art in the Libraries committee, in collaboration with the Health Sciences Center, is seeking visual artists working in the healthcare field at WVU and WVU Medicine to participate in an exhibition in the fall of 2019 in the Health Sciences Library.

The second Community Show at the Health Sciences Library will focus on handmade art and crafts, including pottery, jewelry, fine art, leather, metal, wood, glass, photography, textiles, knitting and other forms. It is open to any full- or part-time Health Sciences staff, faculty or students.

Winning submissions will be displayed in the Health Sciences Library during the fall 2019 semester, with a reception to be announced.

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Alpheus Poage Willson, 1794 to 1835, Morgantown Attorney

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
February 5th, 2019

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

While I was browsing volumes in the Rare Book Room recently I came across an early book of Virginia law, the Collection of All Such Public Acts of the General Assembly and Ordinances of the Conventions of Virginia, published in Richmond by Thomas Nicholson and William Prentiss, 1785. 

Opening the cover I could see that this particular book has an interesting provenance history.  The bookplate showed that this book had once belonged to a Morgantown attorney, Alpheus P. Willson.   The inscription at the top of the pastedown reads: “Presented to the West Virginia Historical Society, Nov 8, 1870, L.S. Hough.”  Another Morgantown attorney, Hough was known locally as a collector of rare books as well as law books.  The West Virginia Historical Society may well be the Monongalia Historical Society that operates in Morgantown today. The second bookplate, marked West Virginia University Libraries, shows that this book was donated in 1933 by A.P. Willson’s son, also named A.P. Wilson, though he chose to spell the family name without the extra “l” his father used.   

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REMIX the WVRHC Archives: Call for digital collage work

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
February 4th, 2019
Altered historic photograph

The West Virginia University Arts in the Libraries committee wants people to get creative with history.

“REMIX the WVRHC Archives,” an exhibition and online project by the Art in the Libraries program, encourages people to use the West Virginia & Regional History Center’s online resources to design unique artistic works, such as collages, memes, GIFs, creative writing, redaction poetry and other agglomerations.

“While archives are used for research, they can also inspire contemporary thought, perspective and fun, which is the aim of this curated project,” said Sally Deskins, exhibits coordinator for WVU Libraries.

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Ruth Bader Ginsburg Visits WVU, September 1978

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
January 29th, 2019

Blog post by Lori Hostuttler, Assistant Director, WVRHC.

Fifteen years before she became a Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, Ruth Bader Ginsburg visited West Virginia University to serve as a keynote speaker for the 1978 September Festival of Women.  Evidence of her visit was recently found in sources at the West Virginia & Regional History Center.  A student in a class session at the Center found images and news clippings about the festival in a photocopied scrapbook from A&M 5131, the WVU Women’s Studies Center collection.  Newspaper articles found in the scrapbook were also located in the archives of the Daily Athenaeum newspaper found on microfilm at the WVRHC.  

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Libraries, Health Science Center name “Art & Health” exhibit essay winners

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
January 22nd, 2019
Hikers on glacier
“Base of Perito Moreno glacier outside El Calafate, Argentina” by Ben Silverberg.

Last fall, West Virginia University Libraries, in collaboration with the Health Sciences Center, launched “Art & Health: Artwork by Health Care Professionals at WVU,” which features two- and three-dimensional art by people who work in healthcare industries at WVU. Visitors were invited to submit written responses to the artwork as part of a corresponding contest, and the winners are students Jordan Niedoba and Carin Kuhn.

Niedoba finished first with her response to “Base of Perito Moreno glacier outside El Calafate, Argentina” by Ben Silverberg.

In her submission, Niedoba explained that she was captivated by Silverberg’s photograph of a glacier in Argentina because it made her think about people choosing to climb the glacier despite the difficulty. She compared the climbers and their tenacity to patients at WVU Medicine, specifically the ones participating in the Narrative Medicine project.

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The Road to Publication

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
January 16th, 2019

Blog post by Lemley Mullett, Program Assistant

Marc Harshman, the poet laureate of West Virginia since 2012 and an author from Marshall County, donated his life’s work collection to the WVRHC’s Distinguished West Virginians project. His collection reflects his dedication to both his craft and to Appalachia: not only do we have many of his rustic poem collections such as Believe What You Can, and Green-Silver and Silent, but many letters to and from publishers about his children’s books also are part of the collection–plus many manuscript drafts enclosed therein.

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Evansdale Library hosts Gordon Gee’s Tie Collection exhibition

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
January 15th, 2019
promotional flyer for exhibit

President E. Gordon Gee is known nationwide for his bow tie style, with feature articles and interviews in fashion publications Bow Tie Aficionado and Ivy Style, among bow tie mentions in national media such as USA Today and the New York Times, and regional media as well. He’s made several videos about his famous collection that began at age 16, and developed while he was President at WVU the first time, 1981-1985. One of his thousands of ties has flown to space. He’s met past US Presidents in them and made a plethora of service visits in them. People have imitated his style and Ohio State University even created an individualized mascot sculpture—“Gordon Gee Brutus”—donning his tie. Folks gift him with handmade ties and objects—funky and precious objects he holds dear.

This exhibit, which run January 20-May 15, takes a look at his collection and some notable times where he and his notable ties were worn and honored, with a selection of his ties, photographs and personal objects. A reception with President Gee will be held Feb. 6 from 5-6 p.m.

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Incorporate, Innovate, Create: WVU Libraries and the Teaching and Learning Commons collaborate on Open Educational Resources Grant

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
January 14th, 2019
student reading a book

West Virginia University Libraries and the Teaching and Learning Commons (TLC) are partnering to support the use of and the development of Open Educational Resources (OER) through a grant program for instructors.

The grant’s aim is to encourage development of alternatives to high-cost textbooks, lower the cost of college attendance for students, and support faculty who wish to implement new pedagogical models for classroom instruction.

“Textbook affordability is a very real issue for many students, and we’re excited to see WVU supporting instructors in offering low-cost, or no cost, options for our students.  There is a wide variety of high-quality, free resources available for faculty to consider and we look forward to partnering on these projects from a teaching and learning perspective.” Dr. Keith Bailey, assistant provost for Teaching and Learning and dean of WVU Online.

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WVU Libraries collaborates in Digital Virginias initiative

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
January 9th, 2019
Rush Holt cartoon
A cartoon commentary from the 1930s on the coal industry and coal commission, from the Rush Dew Holt Collection at the West Virginia and Regional Center.

Although Virginia split into two separate states in 1863, West Virginia University Libraries and organizations from Virginia are uniting as part of the Digital Public Library of America’s (DPLA) new Digital Virginias service hub.

Digital Virginias, consisting of institutions from both Virginia and West Virginia, offers more than 58,000 items from historical and cultural collections for research and exploration. Read more about the service hub, including how to get involved, at digitalvirginias.org.

“We are thrilled to be part of DPLA’s tremendous initiative,” WVU Libraries Dean Karen Diaz said. “Digital Virginias will be a valuable resource to people living in Virginia and West Virginia and anyone who wants to delve into the history of both states.”

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Help lower textbook costs for students

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
January 8th, 2019

Did you know?

  • The cost of textbooks is rising at a rate of four times inflation.
  • Sixty percent of students have delayed purchasing textbooks until they’ve received their financial aid.
  • Seventy percent don’t purchase a required textbook during their academic career because of cost.

Are you an instructor who is concerned about the impact of high textbook costs for your students’ academic success?

You can help by attending the Open Textbook Workshop and Textbook Review where you can discover open textbooks in your field. After the workshop, you will be asked to write a short review of an open textbook. Your review will benefit other faculty considering open textbooks. You’ll receive a $200 stipend for your participation and a written review. The workshop will be held March 7 at 10 a.m. in Downtown Campus Library, Room 104. Librarians Hilary Fredette and Martha Yancey will lead the workshop.

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All of This is Now Yours: Works from 1923 are Now Copyright Free

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
January 7th, 2019

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

“Whose woods these are I think I know.

His house is in the village though;

He will not see me stopping here

To watch his woods fill up with snow.”

The first few lines of Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, by poet Robert Frost, pictured below.  One of the great masterworks now entered into the public domain.

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Scholarly search tool Scopus returns to library resources

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
January 4th, 2019
Scopus graphic

West Virginia University Libraries has reinstated its subscription to Scopus, a popular scholarly search tool. Currently the largest curated abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed literature, it includes the fields of science, technology, medicine, social sciences, and arts and humanities. It can be accessed on the Libraries website.

Additionally, Interlibrary Loan continues to be a tremendous service for acquiring content necessary for research at WVU. In many cases, journal articles can be supplied within hours of the request. There is never a cost to the researcher or the department for obtaining materials through ILL. Liaison librarians are happy to meet with individuals or departments to discuss library resources and research needs.