News & Notes

By: laddmm on: June 11, 2014 7:41 am | laddmm

Please note that, as of June 1st, the URL of the Bowden Postcard Collection Online is

It's been about a year since the project first began, so I thought now would be a good time to review the latest updates to the Bowden Postcard Collection Online. As I wrote about in November, this digital collection is being developed from the donation of roughly 480,000 postcards by two friends and Miami alumni: Clyde N. Bowden and Charles Shields. The project began last summer with a pilot that used a handful of cards from each state in Bowden's collection. These cards were digitized, given metadata records, and added to CONTENTdm - our digital content management system.

One of the Oxford, Ohio, postcards being pulled from the cabinet.
One of the Oxford, Ohio, postcards being pulled from the cabinet.

In the year since we began, we have digitized nearly 2,200 postcards, mostly from Ohio. There have been some setbacks along the way, most notably the recognition in December for a need to revise our already existing metadata records. At the same time, however, we have also made great strides forward. Clyde N. Bowden, the donor and namesake, was very excited to hear about the project and has given us a very generous donation to fund the current Ohio-focused work. His was not the only positive feedback we have had, either. Since joining the Commons, our digital collections' Flickr account - of which the postcards represent a substantial portion - has averaged between 10-20,000 views a day, and the number of monthly hits we have received in CONTENTdm for the full collection has likewise increased several times over. One particularly memorable response was from someone who recognized his father in a photograph used for one of the Oxford postcards.

The work of creating card numbers and sorting the cards in the Shields collection was made significantly easier thanks to his labels.
The work of creating card numbers and sorting the cards in the Shields collection was made significantly easier thanks to his labels.

In addition to his financial contribution, Mr. Bowden also donated to us several boxes of books about postcards, books of postcards, and other postcard-related miscellanea. We are also receiving another generous donation from the Columbus Metropolitan Library in the form of roughly 500 postcards from their own collection - many of them being from the mid-20th century Middle East.

So where do we go from here? Thanks to Mr. Bowden's donation, we are able to investigate commercial digitization which will save a significant portion of our students' time and labor, allowing them to focus on creating the metadata records and adding them to the collection online. We also are expanding our operation and bringing on a third student this summer to help with the work. With the digitization outsourced and the extra help, I am anticipating having over 5,000 postcards online by the end of 2014. Once we have completed the roughly 8,000 postcards remaining in the Bowden collection, we will add the Ohio postcards from the Shields collection. My goal for the project is to complete both collections' Ohio cards - about 15,000 in total! - by the end of spring 2016. I have also created a Twitter account - @bowdenpostcards - to track new postcards being added to the collection. Although currently inactive for the summer break, I look forward to seeing the account continue to log the latest additions to the collection, including a fascinating postcard flipbook from early 1900's Portsmouth, Ohio (watch a video of it on the Special Collections blog here).

Finally, as part of the aforementioned metadata revisions, we have narrowed the geographic location of each card - sometimes even to a specific street or building! Using this new information, we are developing a map to visualize the data in the collection. The map will be created using the Leaflet JavaScript Library, as well as some homegrown PHP and MySQL. In order to gather the necessary information from the CONTENTdm database, I wrote a script that queries the API for information about each item. This information is then pushed to a SQL database on one of our library's server - and in turn will be used to populate the map. The script itself is set to run on a weekly basis to continually update the SQL database. By preloading all the responses from the API, we are able to significantly reduce the time required to load the map. I am hoping to deploy the map by the end of June, so keep an eye on the collection!

Proof of concept for postcard map
Proof of concept for postcard map

Happy browsing.

Marcus Ladd
Special Collections Librarian & Postcard Czar

By: hartsea on: May 28, 2014 11:37 am | hartsea

Angelou Poet and political activist Maya Angelou died today (May 28th).  You can read obituaries and commemorations here, here, and here.  You might also enjoy this collection of some of her best quotes (warning: video will play automatically).  I also think this NPR profile from 2008 will be useful in understanding her impact on society.

You may also want to read some of her works for yourself:

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. King Library (2nd floor) | PS3551.N464 Z466 1970 

The Complete Collected Poems of Maya AngelouKing Library (2nd floor) | PS3551.N464 A17 1994

And Still I RiseKing Library (2nd floor) | PS3551.N464 A8

Mom & Me & MomKing Library (2nd floor) | PS3551.N464 Z46 2013

On the Pulse of MorningKing Library (2nd floor) | PS3551.N464 O53 1993

Phenomenal Woman: Four Poems Celebrating WomenKing Library (2nd floor) | PS3551.N464 P48 1994

Celebrations: Rituals of Peace and PrayerKing Library (2nd floor) | PS3551.N464 C45 2006

"Nothing can dim the light which shines from within."

By: hartsea on: May 12, 2014 10:29 am | hartsea


As we wrap up the school year, we are wrapping our Muslim Journeys programs.  The final collection I want to highlight is the Art, Architecture, and Film collection.  In this collection we have:

Koran by Heart (2011), directed by Greg Barker

Islamic Art: Mirror of the Invisible World (2011), directed by Robert Gardner

Prince Among Slaves (2007), directed by Andrea Kalin

Islamic Art Spots (short films designed, written, and presented by D. Fairchild Ruggles, developed especially for the Muslim Journeys Bookshelf

Islamic Arts by Jonathan Bloom and Sheila Blair. ArtArch | N6260 .B576 1997

The Art of Hajj by Venetia Porter. ArtArch | N6260 .P67 2012

If you are looking for books to read, check out this post, this post, this post, and this post.

By: micheljp on: May 08, 2014 3:22 pm | micheljp @jpmichel

During Finals Week the 3rd Floor of King will have more open spaces for everyone to study!

Don't forget that we also have places to study in the B.E.S.T. Library in Laws Hall, the Art & Architecture Library in the basement of Alumni Hall and the Amos Music Library in the Center for Performing Arts.

By: hartsea on: May 12, 2014 10:28 am | hartsea

Since we just finished our Muslim Journeys book discussions, I wanted to highlight the Pathways of Faith theme from our Bridging Cultures collection, in case you want even more books to read! Here are the books we have from that collection:

The Children of Abraham: Judaism, Christianity, Islam by F. E. Peters. King Library (2nd floor) | BM157 .P47 2004 

Muhammad: A Very Short Introduction by Jonathan A. C. Brown. King Library (2nd floor) | BP75 .B66 2011

The Story of the Qur’an: Its History and Place in Muslim Life by Ingrid Mattson.  King Library (2nd floor) | BP132 .M39 2008

The Art of Hajj by Venetia Porter.  ArtArch | N6260 .P67 2012

Rumi: Poet and Mystic, edited and translated by Reynold A. Nicholson.  King Library (2nd floor) | PK6480.E4 N53 2012

You can check out previous books we highlighted in this post, this post, and this post.

By: micheljp on: April 28, 2014 1:40 pm | micheljp @jpmichel

By: tullykk on: April 25, 2014 10:19 am | tullykk

Do you love books? Have you ever wanted to learn how to make one?

Please join us for the first "Book Arts Day" in celebration of National Preservation Week at the Art & Architecture Library. This is a casual, drop-in event where you can learn a little bit about book arts, bookmaking, and preservation through hands-on activities.

Try your hand at bookbinding
Make a slipcase for your portfolio
Learn about book construction
Explore artist's books from the Walter Havighurst Special Collections
Find out more about how libraries preserve and repair books

When: Tuesday, April 29, 11am-1pm
Where: Wertz Art & Architecture Library (in Alumni Hall)

All are welcome! Stop in as long as you please. Yes, there will be refreshments.

By: hartsea on: April 21, 2014 4:13 pm | hartsea

Miami University Libraries in partnership with the Center for Research Libraries has negotiated a site license for unlimited, individual access to the online edition of the New York Times. Directions on how to register are below and in an attachment. More information can be found here.  Your subscription includes daily access to the online edition of the NYT, including blogs, web exclusive content and multimedia. For more information feel free to contact your library liaison or use our Ask Us services.  You can also stop by our Information Desks at all of our locations on the Oxford campus to register.

Miami University Access to the New York Times (Group Pass)

Miami University Libraries Academic Site License using NYTimes Group Passes provides users with full access to and the smartphone apps.

  • Enjoy access to from any device.
  • Once activated from within your school’s network, THEN a Group Pass can be used from any location for the duration of your license period.

New Users:  How to Activate a Pass

While physically on campus and within your school’s network:

1.     Go to  

2.     Create a account using your school email address.  If you already have a account using your school email address, you may log in with those credentials.

3.     When you see START YOUR ACCESS, the expiration time and date of your pass will appear. 

4.     Go to and enjoy your full access from any location!

5.     You will need to renew your registration every 180 days, as prompted by the NYT.

By: laddmm on: April 18, 2014 8:38 pm | laddmm

As of Friday April 16, 2014, the portal to our digital collections is now

Digital Collections homepage

On behalf of Special Collections and the Center for Digital Scholarship, I am excited to announce the launch of our new digital collections portal. The new website is the end result of a long migration process of collections divided across instances of DSpace and CONTENTdm version 4.3 into a single, up-to-date instance of CONTENTdm 6.6. In addition to a variety of new features, the new instance is based on a significantly improved platform to allow for better searching and viewing of the items in our digital collections.

List of currently available collections

In total, our digital collections hold roughly 90,000 items, shared between over two dozen collections. These collections include:

The migration project began over a year ago and was spearheaded by John Millard, the Head of the Center for Digital Scholarship, and Elias Tzoc, the Digital Initiatives Librarian. From Special Collections, I have been collaborating with them to migrate and update the information about our collections that have been digitized. The project had several stages, each with their own unique set of challenges, including coordinating import/export tools from different platforms, updating image files to current standards, and preparing for a seamless-as-possible transition to a new platform.

This migration also comes ahead of Miami University’s domain name overhaul - migrating from the domain name (which will be defunct June 1st of this year) to the newer As a part of this, we are working to ensure that citations to our digital collections elsewhere on the web are ready for the migration and domain name change. One of the biggest current challenges in this is updating the links in our Flickr collections that lead back to the full objects and metadata records in CONTENTdm. Earlier this year, Miami University Libraries’ digital collections officially joined the Flickr Commons. Since then, I have been tracking the changes in views of both our Flickr account and their comparable collections in CONTENTdm. I have been thrilled to note the significant increase of both, but it has become clear to me that when it comes to access, there is no competition - the increase of views of the Bowden Postcard Collection Online in CONTENTdm is outnumbered fifteen times over by the views on Flickr. While the Flickr collection only shows the front of the card and a limited version of the metadata found in the CONTENTdm collection, the number of views is undeniable evidence of the importance of social media platforms for access in the modern world of information.

Page from Thomas B. Marshall's diary

Another exciting part of this migration is the relaunch of our Civil War Diaries online collection. These diaries include three kept by Miami students and three by local Ohio community members who took up arms to fight for the Union. The diarists, all of whom served as members of the Ohio Volunteer Infantry, record their impressions and experiences on a variety of topics, including their interrupted college studies, the daily life of a soldier, military engagements and news from the home front. In the near future we will be also relaunching our digitized Samuel Richey Collection of the Southern Confederacy, as well as digitizing and making available new materials related to the American Civil War.

Studio 14 host Rick Ludwin

Finally, I am pleased to announce the completion of our newest digital collection: the Studio 14 Archives. This collection features digitized copies of the variety show produced by Miami students under the oversight of Dr. Bill Utter, from 1968-1970. The two-inch wide quadruplex videotape originals were kept by the show’s producer, Miami alumnus Rick Ludwin, who had them digitized and donated them to Special Collections so that we might be able to make them publicly available online. Special Collections continues to enjoy an ongoing relationship with Mr. Ludwin, who spoke at Special Collections’ first Annual Lecture Series. In addition to being a Miami alumnus, Rick Ludwin was also VP at NBC, where he is remembered for backing a new show called Seinfeld. The Studio 14 episodes in this collection feature a wide range of sketch comedy, musical performances, and famous guests. Happy viewing!

Marcus Ladd
Special Collections Librarian

By: gibsonke on: April 18, 2014 9:52 am | gibsonke

Gabriel Garcia MarquezGabriel García Márquez, the best-known author of the Boom generation of Latin American Authors died Thursday. García M´rquez was well known for his use of magical realism and incorporating Latin American history and politics in to his novels and short stories. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1982.
Want to find out more?