Mexican History in 365 days

1910In case you weren’t aware, 2010 marks two major anniversaries in the history of Mexico – the bicentennial of Mexican Independence and the centennial of the Revolution – and in recognition of those milestones, a number of events will be taking place around the university and in the Austin community. The Libraries are particularly attuned to the celebrations due to our oversight of the preeminent Benson Latin American Collection, so we’ll be keeping tabs on the goings-on about town. We’ll also be part of the celebration with the launch of the Benson’s exhibition – Frente a Frente: The Mexican People in Independence and Revolution, 1810–1910 – early this summer.

You can find a fairly comprehensive list of the university offerings at the College of Liberal Arts Mexico 2010 site, and a Mexico 2010 Austin Organizing Committee headed by Chair Teresa Lozano Long and Co-Chairs Dr. Victoria Rodriguez & Dr. Hector Morales is coordinating the Austin community events. The Ransom Center’s exhibition “¡Viva! Mexico’s Independence” is already open to visitors, so make time for a visit. And this Thursday (March 25), a pair of events worth noting are taking place in town – Mexican writer Héctor Aguilar Camín will talk about the history of Mexican politics and journalist/novelist Ángeles Mastretta will participate in a Q&A after a screening of the movie based on her 1985 novel Arráncame la vida. Find out more about these events from our friends at ShelfLife@Texas.

Feliz Aniversario, México!

Science Study Break and Deborah Hay exhibit kick-start the home stretch

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HAL gets the once-over from Dr. Risto Miikkulainen in 2010's first Science Study Break "Machines Gone Wild"

As always seems the case, the Libraries are ratcheting up the post-Spring Break calendar with a slew of events.

After a brief hiatus, this week sees the return of the wildly popular Science Study Breaks series hosted by the Life Science Library. I won’t bother going into the background of this pop culture meets science program, but you can read about it in our most recent issue of the Libraries Newsletter.

At any rate, this first SSB of 2010 features Computer Science and Neuroscience faculty Dr. Risto Miikkulainen discussing “Machines Gone Wild” using Mr. Data from TNG and HAL 9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey as foils for discussion. The program gets underway at 6:30pm, Wednesday, March 24 in Wheeler Lecture Hall (4.102) in Robert Lee Moore Hall.

Also later this week, an exhibit of photos featuring post-modern dance maven Deborah Hay gets an opening reception at the Fine Arts Library. Twenty images Continue reading

HRDI meets with Shoah Foundation

imageOn March 10-11, 2010 the UT Libraries Human Rights Documentation Initiative (HRDI) hosted a visit from the USC Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education (SFI).

Best known for its extensive archive of 52,000 Holocaust survivor testimonies, the USC SFI continues to expand its programming to include testimonies from genocide survivors worldwide. Dr. Stephen Smith, Executive Director, Sam Gustman, Chief Technology Officer, and Karen Jungblut, Director of Research and Documentation, met with members of the HRDI team to discuss opportunities for collaboration on their respective projects in Rwanda as well as best practices for digital preservation and metadata exchange. Continue reading

Wanna buy an 8-track?

iStock_000010319628SmallA very timely article in the Chronicle of Higher Ed discussing endowment spending today. Do universities  “spend enough of their endowments for society’s benefit to justify the tax exemption they get”?  Senator Charles Grassley is pushing for legislation requiring universities to spend a minimum 5% of their endowment income annually. His solution is a one-size-fits-all answer to a complex situation that has evolved over many years.

The Libraries benefit from a modest but growing number of endowments.  But is our endowment portfolio big enough to continue to support the increasing costs of growing and maintaining world-class collections?  Not by a long shot.  Endowments for collection enhancement, electronic resources, and preservation activities play a key role in maintaining an academic library’s pivotal place in the lives of students, faculty, and researchers.

It isn’t all about the size of the endowment.  In the case of the Libraries, and for many other academic libraries in the US, the endowment’s specific spending guidelines can have a huge impact.  Continue reading

Texas water researchers working with the Texas Digital Library

TDL.org stacked logoThis past month, the Texas Digital Library (TDL) and several prominent water researchers began the process of developing a new collaborative resource for sharing water data across the state of Texas. The Texas Water Digital Library (TWDL) will federate water research currently stored in dispersed databases and websites at various Texas universities. A model for the cooperative efforts of the Texas Digital Library, the TWDL will electronically harvest these resources from cooperating institutions (using a technology called OAI-ORE) and deposit them in a TDL-hosted DSpace repository. This federated repository will create a single place for researchers to search for water data from every part of the state: the Texas Water Digital Library. Continue reading

Premiere of new Craycroft project employs Libraries collections

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Eighteen 8' tall wooden panels designed in the shape of the nine Montessori Grammar Symbols slide on tracks in front and behind one another. Each is painted with a colored chalkboard paint so that they can be written on during lessons.

We consider ourselves extremely lucky to be a mere stone’s throw from such great cultural institutions, and more so still when we get the opportunity to swim for a bit in their respective wakes.

As part of its ongoing series of installations by acclaimed contemporary artists called WorkSpace, the Blanton Museum of Art is featuring Brooklyn-based Anna Craycroft’s first in a series – The Union of Initiatives for Educational Assembly exploring the nexus of art and pedagogy.

The work, entitled Subject of Learning/Object of Study, uses over 500 books from the Libraries collections related to art education Continue reading

A-B-C. Well, except in this case…

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David Mamet on set of "The Postman Always Rings Twice" (1981), 1980. David Mamet papers. Unknown photographer. Harry Ransom Center.

Our friends at the Harry Ransom Center just announced the opening of the David Mamet papers for scholarly research.

The archive covers his entire career, so it includes the source materials for all of his major plays (Glengarry Glen Ross, American Buffalo, Oleanna), as well as his screenwriting work (The Postman Always Rings Twice – the 1981 adaptation, The Untouchables, The Spanish Prisoner).

Find out more at Cultural Compass.



Michigan says goodbye to an old friend

card_catalogThis article on the departure of the legacy catalog at the University of Michigan recalls the renovations in Life Sciences Library here at the University of Texas, where card catalogs were removed to create space for new seminar rooms for the Undergraduate experience, as well as the removal of a large bank of card catalogs from the Perry-Castañeda Library almost three years ago.

The Michigan move also presages a similar development for those remaining catalog records at the PCL as the library responds to growing demands for student spaces.

Perhaps, though, we’ll follow our colleague Paul Courant’s lead and retain as an artifact a solitary catalog over which the students of tomorrow can ponder a more austere time.

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Time to get FORO on your calendar

utlibs_foro_logo_final_030210FORO, the Transborder Library Forum, is a volunteer organization that cultivates a venue for the cooperative exchange of ideas, and the discussion of experiences and efforts concerning the provision of library services in the border regions between the U.S., Mexico, and Canada.

FORO objectives include:

  • Strengthening links among information professionals concerned with building information bridges across international borders;
  • Planning and implement cooperative projects between libraries across geographic borders;
  • Facilitating the development of resource networks;
  • Introducing librarians to current commercial library products and services;
  • Sharing our cultural heritage while promoting literacy and library services.

The 2011 FORO will be held for the first time in Austin, Texas, July 21-23, 2011. Continue reading

Conference at UT Austin to feature experts on digital libraries

tcdl-new-logo-mdThis spring, on May 17-18, the Texas Digital Library (TDL) will be hosting the 2010 Texas Conference on Digital Libraries (TCDL) at The University of Texas at Austin. In its fourth year, TCDL provides a forum for TDL members and others to explore issues related to digital libraries and digital scholarship.

The TCDL 2010 conference theme is Collaboration, and the conference program will be packed with experts speaking on issues of partnership and cooperation in the service of advancing scholarly communication.

The TDL is especially excited to announce its two keynote speakers for the event: Dr. Leslie Carr, of the School of Electronics and Computer Science at the University of Southampton, and Dr. Reagan Moore, from the School of Information and Library Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Continue reading