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“To build up the future, you have to know the past.” — Otto Frank

 

“From the Past to the Future” series by Teresa Brown also appears in INSIDe, the Purdue University Libraries’ newsletter for Libraries personnel. As faculty and staff in Purdue University Libraries consolidate six libraries in the Library of Engineering and Science in the new Wilmeth Active Learning Center this summer, we’ll feature the history of each of the now closed libraries here on a regular basis.

by Teresa Brown

In the 1950s, and into the 1970s, the Schools of Engineering were served by many separate libraries:

  • Aeronautical Engineering was at the airport until it was combined with the Engineering Sciences Library in the mid-1960s. That library was then combined with the Industrial Engineering Library in the late 1960s and was located on the third floor of Grissom Hall.
  • Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering was first noted in 1927, located in an office. In 1971, it was remodeled and moved to the basement of the Chemical Engineering building, now Forney Hall of Chemical Engineering.
  • In 1963-64, the Civil Engineering Library was formally named the R.B. Wiley Memorial Library for Civil Engineering and moved into the Civil Engineering Building (Hampton) from the old Civil Engineering Building (Grissom Hall).
  • Electrical Engineering Sciences was located in the Electrical Engineering in three rooms on the second floor.
  • Mechanical Engineering was located in the Mechanical Engineering building on the second floor.
  • The Nuclear Engineering Library moved from the Michael Golden Engineering Laboratories in July 1971 to the second floor of the Engineering Administration building (the current site of the Wilmeth Active Learning Center) and included departmental faculty office space.

A look back at the engineering libraries at Purdue

In 1977, all the libraries were combined into the Siegesmund Engineering Library. (Editor’s note: I worked in all these libraries as a student employee, 1973-1977, under Ed Posey.)

A.A. Potter Engineering Research Center

A.A. Potter Engineering Research Center

Siegesmund Engineering Library

On April 22, 1977, the A.A. Potter Engineering Research Center was dedicated and a unified engineering library was opened for business.

Funds for the $6 million building were made possible partially by gifts received from engineering alumni and other friends of the Schools of Engineering during Purdue’s 1969 Centennial Fund Drive.

The Potter Center was named in honor of Dean Emeritus Audrey A. Potter who served as Purdue’s Engineering Dean, from 1920-1953. Dean Potter was born in Vilna, Russia, and came to the United States in 1897. He was an educator, counselor, inventor, administrator and author who was dedicated to making Purdue’s Engineering Schools one of the most recognized in the country.

The new library was named in honor of John C. And Lillian W. Siegesmund, benefactors of the building and library project.

At the time of the library’s grand opening, Edwin D. Posey was the Engineering Librarian. The merger of the six individual engineering libraries and the Goss Collection were Posey’s main reason for staying at Purdue for 26 years.

“Basically the individual engineering schools were against a merger, but many people, besides the librarians, could see the advantages that a single engineering library would offer its students and teaching staff,” Posey said.

It was billed as a “unified” engineering library, which in addition to the traditional library services, would have computer-controlled, student-activated storage and retrieval systems.

The original library plans included 45,000 square feet, but when enough funds could not be raised, the space was reduced to 24,000 square feet. Rather than give up the idea of a unified engineering library, Posey worked with the building’s architects to create a floor plan that included the Mezzanine floor in addition to its two floors of space.

Once the building was completed, “Operation Booklift” took place. The task of moving and shuffling 100,000 books (1/10 of the entire libraries’ collection) to the new library took approximately 5,300 staff hours, $11,000 and over two months to complete. It was the largest physical movement of books in the university’s history.

Since its grand opening in 1977, the Engineering Library has had two head librarians, Ed Posey and Sheila Curl. In 2003, Michael Fosmire was appointed as Head, Physical Sciences, Engineering and Technology Division. Prior head librarians included Mary Lee Rudd and Richard Funkhouser.

“Jim has contributed much to the advancement of learning and research. He is deeply deserving of this honor.” — Sarah Thomas, vice president for the Harvard Library, University Librarian, and Roy E. Larsen Librarian for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences

 James L. Mullins, the Dean of Libraries and the Esther Ellis Norton Professor of Library Science at Purdue University Libraries, was honored with Indiana University’s 2017 Information and Library Science Distinguished Alumni Award at a School of Informatics and Computing (SoIC) alumni reception in Chicago June 25.

James L. Mullins, the Dean of Libraries and the Esther Ellis Norton Professor of Library Science at Purdue University Libraries, was honored with Indiana University’s 2017 Information and Library Science Distinguished Alumni Award at a School of Informatics and Computing (SoIC) alumni reception in Chicago June 25.

At a Sunday evening alumni reception during the American Library Association’s Annual Conference in Chicago, James L. Mullins, the Dean of Libraries and the Esther Ellis Norton Professor of Library Science at Purdue University, formally accepted Indiana University’s 2017 Information and Library Science Distinguished Alumni Award.

Mullins’ alma mater announced the honor earlier this month. Purdue University Libraries Associate Professor Michael Witt, also an alumni of IU, provided one of the letters of support for Mullins’ nomination this year.

“Throughout his career, Dr. Mullins has demonstrated exceptional skills as an information professional and made outstanding contributions to society through Library Science in both intellect and service,” said Michael Witt, associate professor of library science and head of the Distributed Data Center at Purdue. “Hundreds if not thousands of library science students and library professionals have benefited from the guidance and mentorship provided by Dr. Mullins over the years. He has greatly influenced our library and university, as well as the surrounding community and the profession of librarianship.”

Mullins earned his Ph.D. in 1984 from the then-School of Library and Information Science, which is now part of the School of Informatics and Computing. He spent 19 years as an associate professor of SLIS while serving as an associate librarian at the Maurer School of Law at IU in the mid-1970s and as the Director of Library Services at IU South Bend from 1978-96.

He became the University Librarian and Director of the Falvey Memorial Library at Villanova University in 1996, and he took over as the Associate Director for Administration for the libraries at MIT in 2000. He served in that capacity until 2004, when he left for Purdue.

Purdue University Libraries Dean James L. Mullins congratulates Michael Witt, associate professor, after Witt accepted the 2017 Oberly Award during the American Library Assn. Annual Conference in Chicago June 25.

Purdue University Libraries Dean James L. Mullins congratulates Michael Witt, associate professor, after Witt accepted the 2017 Oberly Award during the American Library Assn. Annual Conference in Chicago June 25. Witt, also an alumni of Indiana University, provided a letter of support for Mullins’ 2017 nomination.

Mullins has instituted a number of initiatives during his career, including the foundation of Open Courseware and DSpace at MIT, and he was the chair of the E-Science Task Force of the Association of Research Libraries, as well. During his time at Purdue, he launched the Distributed Data Curation Center and led the Purdue University Research Repository institutional data repository service, DataCite, as well as the Library Publishing Coalition.

“Jim has been a leader and innovator in the area of data science and data research management, establishing one of the first positions in data curation in the nation many years ago,” said Sarah Thomas, vice president for the Harvard Library, University Librarian, and Roy E. Larsen Librarian for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. “Jim has contributed much to the advancement of learning and research. He is deeply deserving of this honor.”

He has published numerous papers and made countless presentations to advance methods of librarianship, and he has been involved with the National Science Foundation to allow librarians to become better integrated into the funded research process.

“Jim made a profound contribution to the profession in the area of data management,” said Brian Schottlaender, the Audrey Geisel University Librarian at UC San Diego and fellow IU ILS alumnus. “He played a leadership role in shaping the national conversation in the area, including helping the National Science Foundation think about the role of libraries in data curation. Jim’s contributions in the areas of standards development, scholarly communication, and data management are manifest in his voluminous writing and speaking engagements.”

Mullins’ leadership resulted in Purdue Libraries being honored with the American Colleges & Research Libraries Excellence in Academic Libraries award in 2015, and he was personally awarded the Hugh Atkinson Memorial Award in honor of library leadership in management and technology in 2016. He also has served in leadership positions within the American Library Association and the Association of Research Libraries, and he helped conceive and plan the Wilmeth Active Learning Center, a 164,000-square-foot facility that unites library and information services at Purdue that previously had been distributed across campus.

Mullins, who is the chair of the Management Advisory Board of Purdue University Press, earned Bachelor of Arts degrees in religion, history, and political science from the University of Iowa, and he also earned his M.A.L.S. from Iowa in 1973.

“Jim has served as a role model and mentor to me,” said Robert McDonald, the associate dean for library technologies and deputy director of the Data to Insight Center at IU. “I can only hope this honor will be an inspiration to others working to serve the needs of the research library community at large.”

The Information and Library Science Distinguished Alumni Award was established in 1977 and recognizes an alumnus or alumna who is making or has made an outstanding contribution to the Library Science/Information Science profession.


Press release courtesy of the School of Informatics and Computing, Indiana University Bloomington

Hal Kirkwood, Purdue University Libraries

Hal Kirkwood

Purdue University Libraries Associate Professor Hal Kirkwood has thrown his hat into the ring as a presidential candidate for the international Special Libraries Association (SLA). If elected, he will serve a three-year term: the first year as president-elect, the second as president, and the third year as past-president. Kirkwood’s only opponent, Kevin Adams, is an information specialist at the Institute of Environmental Science & Research in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Professor Kirkwood said one of the reasons he is running for the top office at the SLA is because he values professional associations for the resources and the connections they provide. In the brief Q&A below, Professor Kirkwood talks a bit more about his candidacy.

Q. How did you come to be an SLA presidential candidate?

A. I have held numerous roles at the chapter and division levels of SLA, as well as having served as a director on the Board of Directors from 2012–14. I’ve consistently been an involved and dedicated member of the association. The SLA Nominating Committee seeks and selects members for the open positions on the Board of Directors. They determine who has the right experience and vision for the presidential role.

Q.Why are you running for the office of president for the SLA and when is the election?

A. I am running for president of SLA because I believe in the purpose and value of a professional association. I believe that it can provide services and resources that can promote the overall profession and to aid in the personal and professional development of its members. I believe there is tremendous value in physically meeting with colleagues at conference to share ideas, best practices, failures, and to connect on a more personal level than anyone can in a social media saturated world. Campaigning for the election takes place during the Annual Conference from June 17–20, as well as online after the conference. The election takes place from September 7–21.

Q. How do you think that serving as an officer in the SLA will inform and benefit your work in Purdue Libraries? If elected, what kinds of responsibilities will you have as president of the SLA?

A. Serving as an officer, and specifically president, will inform and benefit Purdue by increasing my leadership experience, by helping me develop a broader view of the profession, and by increasing the exposure of the Purdue Libraries to a broad audience of information professionals, especially non-academics, worldwide.

If elected, my responsibilities will include overseeing and directing, in conjunction with the Board of Directors, the governance of the association. In collaboration with the executive director, the president represents the SLA worldwide within the information profession. The person serving as the president also gives direction to the formulation and leadership to the achievement of the association’s philosophy, mission, and strategy, and to its objectives and goals, as well as ensures the association is making consistent and timely progress toward the fulfillment of the SLA strategic plan.

Q. What is the role of the SLA in the overall library field? How do you hope to influence or contribute to its role, services/resources, mission/purpose in the library field?

A. There are two major associations that represent information professionals: the American Library Association and the Special Libraries Association. SLA is a truly international and interdisciplinary organization representing information professionals in academic, corporate, government, intergovernmental, and other areas often not fully represented by ALA. I hope to influence its role, services, and mission by seeking creative solutions, developing unique collaborations, and listening to the members to fulfill their expectations and needs.


Kirkwood serves as a Purdue Libraries’ liaison for the following areas at Purdue: consumer sciences; entrepreneurship, hospitality and tourism management, management information systems, operations management, quantitative methods, and social entrepreneurship. He also teaches courses in information strategies for management, international business and competitive intelligence, and information literacy. For more information, see his faculty page at www.lib.purdue.edu/people/kirkwood.

“To build up the future, you have to know the past.” — Otto Frank

 

“From the Past to the Future” series by Teresa Brown also appears in INSIDe, the Purdue University Libraries’ newsletter for Libraries personnel. As faculty and staff in Purdue University Libraries consolidate six libraries in the Library of Engineering and Science in the new Wilmeth Active Learning Center this summer, we’ll feature the history of each of the now closed libraries here weekly.

by Carolyn Laffoon and Teresa Brown

On July 1, 1967, the Department of Geosciences was formed in the School of Science; it was previously a part of the School of EngineeriPurdue Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences Libraryng. The geology library materials were stored in the basement of the Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering Building and were a subset of the Civil Engineering Library collection. Marjorie Meyer staffed the library one-quarter time as the library assistant. Dr. Wilton “Bill” Melhorn, the first department head, was instrumental in establishing the Geosciences Library. Dr. Ted V. Jennings, as library committee chair, assisted in selecting library materials to purchase.

In 1970, the department and library moved across the street into the old Pharmacy Building. Located on the first floor of the Geosciences Building, the library had fire exit doors that overlooked the old fountain situated in front of Hovde Hall of Administration. The library originally consisted of the main room with four study tables and 16 seats, as well as a large room to the immediate southwest. Original built-in wooden shelves and several rows of old army-green surplus shelving housed the entire collection. As the collection grew, the library extended into surrounding rooms, adding three additional rooms before moving to the newly constructed location. The library title morphed from “Geosciences” to “Earth and Atmospheric Sciences” when the department changed names in 1986. In 1988 the Library moved, with the department, to the Civil Engineering Building, now named Hampton Hall of Civil Engineering. The name of the library was changed to “Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences” in 2012 when the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences underwent a name change to incorporate a new Planetary Sciences major.

Staff

In 1971, after one year in the Mathematical Sciences Library, Carolyn J. Laffoon took the library assistant position in the Earth and Atmospheric Sciences Library (EAS). In 1987, she obtained her Master’s in Library Science from Indiana University, while simultaneously working full-time in the EAS Library. Upon graduation, she was promoted to Professional Librarian of the EAS Library and served in that role until her retirement in 2011.

In 1988, with the move to the new facilities, the university merged the map collection housed in Stewart Center Special Collections with the second campus map collection held by the Department of the Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. Virginia Carter transferred from Special Collections to the EAS Library Map Room as the library assistant and map curator. She worked there until her retirement in 2000. Rebecca Richardson assumed the position of map curator/library assistant and student supervisor the following year, until she finished her Master’s in Library Science. Scott Bonner succeeded Rebecca in 2001 and was the primary force behind merging the two map collections, so library users could easily find maps for themselves. Hired in 2002, Claire Alexander held the position as the map curator/library assistant until her retirement in 2011. Donna Slone worked in the CFS Library from 2004-2007 and moved to Physics where she spent part of her time in Engineering. She moved to EAPS in 2012 and will move to Hicks Library with the map collection. Terry Wade, hired in 1999 as library assistant in Physics Library, splitting her time between Physics and EAS until 2001, when she became a full-time EAS Library assistant supervising the main collection and student staff members.

Over the course of the existence of the EAS library, several faculty librarians have overseen the library, including:  Richard Funkhouser, 1970-1980; Martha Bailey, 1980-1982; Dennis Parks, 1982-1986; D. Scott Brandt, 1987-1989; Robert “Pat” Allen, 1990-1997; and Michael Fosmire, 1998-2003, when he was appointed Head, Physical Sciences, Engineering and Technology Division, which included EAS. Megan Sapp Nelson, associate professor, assumed supervision of the EAS library in 2011. She will continue as the liaison to the EAPS department after the closure of the departmental library in 2017.

Additionally, in August, 2006, Chris Miller joined the Purdue Libraries as its first GIS Librarian. Nicole Kong was hired in 2012 as GIS Librarian and two Geographic Information Systems Analysts, Yue (Shirley) Li and Bertin Mbongo were added in 2016.

Purdue's Earth, Atmospheric & Planetary Sciences Library in early 2017

Purdue’s Earth, Atmospheric & Planetary Sciences Library in early 2017

Collection

The collection consists of research materials primarily for geology, atmospheric sciences, geophysics, geochemistry, hydrogeology and environmental ecology. The EAS Library is a U.S. government depository collecting documents and maps dealing with geology and meteorology. An official depository for the U.S. Geological Survey, it has a fairly complete collection of state survey materials. The map room consists of over 204,000 maps and 140,000 aerial photos, including historical aerial photos of Tippecanoe County. Among the most unique item in the collection is 5 volumes containing the very first original aerial photos ever taken anywhere! They happen to be of the Wabash River Valley, c. 1929.  (No other library has this set!) These materials were transferred to Purdue University Libraries’ Archives and Special Collections. They were digitized and plans are to add them to the GIS server.

Historical Changes

The EAS Library has evolved, along with libraries as a whole, from manual to electronic circulation and overdue materials; from card catalogs to online catalogs, from print reference sources to primarily online databases, such as GeoRef and Meteorological and Geoastrophysical Abstracts (MGA) and reference sources, from face-to-face reference to digital reference (i.e. Ask-A-Librarian service) and email reference, from print journals and books to ejournals and ebooks available on desktop personal computers, and from teaching basic bibliographic instruction classes in the library to teaching classes mostly from computer labs to demonstrate database usage, web searching techniques and webpage evaluation. (Searches that used to take weeks, now take minutes, and even seconds!)

This release was written by Purdue News Service staff and was published online June 6, 2017.

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Lawrence Mykytiuk cannot document that everything in the Bible took place. What the Purdue University Libraries professor can do is show you that many of the people written about did, in fact, exist.

“While some would put their hand on the Bible and really mean it when they take an oath, a few revisionist academics would throw it out and say, ‘That’s creative writing.’ I was looking for concrete, objective evidence outside of the Bible that would help build the case,” said Mykytiuk, an associate professor of library science.

Mykytiuk (pronounced MICK-ee-took) has added three names to the previously published 50 Old Testament individuals in the Bible, beginning with King David, all of whom he says he has verified through his research. The three new people are Tattenai (also translated as Tatnai), a Persian governor during the time of Ezra (after the Babylonian exile); and two high officials of Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar II: Nergal-sharezer, called the “samgar” official, and Nebuzaradan, “the chief of the guards.”

Tattenai is mentioned in the fifth chapter of the book of Ezra. He also is mentioned outside of the Bible in a letter on a clay tablet from Persian King Darius I the Great, in the year 502 B.C.

According to the Bible, Nergal-sharezer and Nebuzaradan were high officials of King Nebuchadnezzar II, who in 586 B.C. destroyed the First Temple, as well as Jerusalem, and exiled most of the remaining population of Judah. They are mentioned at the scene of the destruction in Jeremiah 39:3 and 39:9, respectively, and Nebuzaradan also is mentioned in 2 Kings, Chapter 25. Their king included them in a contemporaneous list of his courtiers that was written on clay tablets.

Mykytiuk has written about his latest findings in Biblical Archeology Review.

“When you verify that a person existed, you’re not usually verifying that they did what the Bible says they did, because you don’t usually get that much information in the inscription or in the Bible,” Mykytiuk said. “If you get the person’s name, his or her father’s name, and the person’s office or title, that doesn’t verify that they did certain things. But it can sometimes show they were in a position to do the things Scripture says they did. That’s often as far as you can go. Still, there are some longer inscriptions from ancient Israel’s neighbors that mention people and events in the Old Testament, just describing them from a different point of view.”

When verifying an individual, Mykytiuk goes through a painstaking three-step process:

Data is checked to make sure it is from an authentic inscription and not forged. Settings from historical documents are matched up to confirm that the person’s time and socio-political “place” (such as the kingdom of Judah) are the same. Mykytiuk considers a period of about 50 years between the person in the inscription and the person in the Bible as permissible, because an adult could be active for that amount of time.

At least three ways of identifying the individual in the Bible (such as the person’s name, the father’s name, and the person’s title) must match the same three identifying marks of the individual in the inscription. Three identifying matches are considered a lock, two are considered a reasonable hypothesis, or even a likely hypothesis for a match, but one is not enough.

“Sometimes the three-step process is not necessary, as when we know that the person in an inscription and the person in the Bible are both connected to a one-time circumstance or event that fits one and only one person,” Mykytiuk said. “For example, Ahab, king of Israel, ruled during the period in which the famous battle of Qarqar was fought in 853 B.C. His Assyrian enemy wrote about “Ahab the Israelite,” one of the kings he fought in that particular battle. Therefore, Ahab, king of Israel in the Bible, and Ahab, the Israelite king at the battle of Qarqar in the Assyrian inscription, must have been the same person.

After interpreting the inscription according to data from other inscriptions outside the Bible, only then does he compare it to the Bible. “To use biblical data as a determining factor in interpreting an inscription, and then to claim that the inscription confirms the Bible, opens the door to circular logic,” he said.

It’s easy to go online and find long lists proclaiming that they are filled with many more verified biblical figures, but Mykytiuk says many of those lists include forged inscriptions and do not guard against inaccuracies. He has published numerous articles on the subject, presented at academic conferences and taken questions from expert reviewers in biblical studies, ancient history, and archaeology, adjusting his criteria accordingly. Mykytiuk can also read languages used in ancient texts, such as those on monuments, signet rings, and seal impressions in lumps of clay, called bullae (singular: bulla), which were used to seal documents.

The languages he uses to read ancient inscriptions and the Bible include ancient Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. He also reads inscriptions in various Canaanite dialects and in other ancient languages, such as Phoenician. And in order to keep up with recent scholarship on inscriptions, he reads articles in a few modern European languages.

Although the Hebrew Bible names almost 3,000 people, Mykytiuk states that for an overwhelming number of these, it only gives the person’s name and does not supply enough specific information about them to identify them in any other writing. The number of individuals for whom the Bible gives enough information to identify them specifically is far smaller, surely no more than a few hundred, he estimates. With 53 of the people mentioned in the Hebrew Bible now verified through years of research, Mykytiuk will move on to the New Testament, first with a BAR article on 23 verified political figures, then to another one covering about six religious figures. In 2015, he published an article in BAR titled, Did Jesus Exist? Searching for Evidence Beyond the Bible.

He calls such verifications his passion and says it’s important because, “This evidence shows that it is not essential to have religious faith in order to understand and accept much of what the Bible presents. It demonstrates that even on the basis of writings outside of the Bible alone, Scripture does have a considerable degree of historical credibility.”

Media contact: Tim Doty, 765-496-2571, doty2@purdue.edu

Source: Lawrence Mykytiuk, 765-494-3605, larrym@purdue.edu

Ilana Stonebraker, Purdue Libraries

Ilana Stonebraker, Purdue Libraries

Purdue University Libraries Assistant Professor and Business Information Specialist Ilana Stonebraker has been recognized by the Library Instruction Round Table (LIRT) for her article “Toward informed leadership: Teaching students to make better decisions using information.” The piece, published in November in the Journal of Business & Finance Librarianship, is recognized as one of the “Top Twenty Articles of 2016” by LIRT in its June 2017 newsletter.

In March, Stonebraker was also recognized as a Library Journal 2017 “Mover and Shaker.”

In the Q & A piece below, Stonebraker provides some insight into the noted article, which the LIRT article selection committee described as a top-twenty article because of “its originality, strength of evidence, and applicability.”


Q. What was the impetus for your article “Toward informed leadership: Teaching students to make better decisions using information”?

Ilana: I became interested in decision management after teaching with a problem-based learning pedagogy. Many of the phenomenon I describe in the paper are things I have observed in my students’ behaviors. It seemed to me that more information did not make students any better at making decisions, so I started looking for other literatures that could help me help make my students better decision-makers. I found decision management and evidence-based management, and I saw how they addressed a gap in information-literacy literature. I tried to start to address that gap with this paper.

Q. What are your assertions regarding instruction and the tools librarians provide to help undergraduate researchers in the piece?

Ilana: My goal in this article was twofold. First, I wanted to assert and support my main claim, which is that decontextualized information-literacy knowledge training that overly focuses on information access makes students worse decision-makers, not better ones. I then focused on practices coming out of decision management and decision science that could help us teach students decision-making skills. My main practices focused on decision awareness, process creation, and decision practice, drawing on my own experience, and also how we might assess decision management differently than we do traditional information literacy.

Q. What are some examples, from your own teaching, that support your assertions/arguments in the article?

Ilana: One activity I discuss in the article involves decision awareness. Decision awareness is a metacognitive approach in which students examine how they make decisions and what biases that might enter their decision-making processes. I usually assign this activity before Spring Break; students read a Harvard Business Review article called, “Before You Make That Big Decision.”

Then, over Spring Break, they think of a decision they made in a group setting. Then they select one of the biases in the paper and describe, in a short assignment, how their decision was affected by that bias. They come to class and get into groups and discuss their individual decisions. (Given the type of decisions students make over Spring Break, this can be pretty silly.) Then, in large groups, we discuss the types of bias, but also additional questions like, “Was the decision you made a good decision or a bad one? How do you know?”

This conversation can be very interesting because it typically devolves into two camps. Decision science asserts that a decision can be good because the process is good (this leads nicely into process creation), or because the outcome is good (which makes more empirical sense, but is pretty risky).

It’s really interesting to think about how a decision is good or bad, especially from an information-literacy standpoint.

We librarians like to think decisions are only good if they have good process (through clever research skills), but we also want students who can see an outcome from a decision and grow from it. After all, that’s what scientists do.

Q. What do you hope faculty librarians take away from the article?

Ilana: I was pretty nervous that people would read this as an overly critical article of information literacy, so I’m glad people like it and/or are reading it! This paper, ironically, was published on election day, and I think there’s some strong “fake news” implications to it. Sometimes we think people are worse decision-makers because they don’t have access to enough information or enough “quality” research access. But, actually, people become worse decision makers when they have less context and more information. We’ve been saying as a profession for a while–that context is important and this article just reinforced how important it is.

“To build up the future, you have to know the past.” — Otto Frank

“From the Past to the Future” series by Teresa Brown also appears in INSIDe, the Purdue University Libraries’ newsletter for Libraries personnel. As faculty and staff in Purdue University Libraries consolidate six libraries in the Library of Engineering and Science in the new Wilmeth Active Learning Center this summer, we’ll feature the history of each of the now closed libraries here weekly.

In 1924, the general policy of the University involved the centralization of the books and their uses for reference in the Main Library Building. In certain instances however, there were departures from this policy and collections of books were placed in other buildings on campus.

The most important of these collections was the Chemistry Library, located in the Chemistry building. It was the oldest and largest of the department libraries. Practically all the usable books and periodicals relating to Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, about 2,000 in all, were housed in this library where they were readily accessible for reference to the students at work in the laboratories of the department. University Librarian William M. Hepburn believed departmental libraries sprang from the “rapid growth of library collections without a corresponding increase in the size of the Main Library Building.”

In 1929, a complete dictionary catalog and shelf list were prepared for the books shelved in the Chemistry Library, and it was planned to include cards for the chemical books kept in the General, Chemical Engineering and Agricultural Experiment Station libraries. A tri-weekly messenger service was established to deliver books and periodicals to departmental libraries and to deliver and pick up periodicals circulated to 20 departments for faculty use.

In 1930, for the first time the Library leadership provided a part-time assistant to users of departmental collections in Chemistry and Pharmacy. According to M.G. Mellon’s autobiography, the first Chemistry librarian was Bernice Dunten, who had been a WWI Army Nurse. She remained the librarian until 1940, when she moved to the Pharmacy Library. Mellon noted that, in the hot summers of 1934 and 1936, she ejected students (presumably male) from the library for going “topless.”

Interior of Purdue University Libraries' Chemistry Library in early 2017.

Interior of Purdue University Libraries’ Chemistry Library in early 2017.

Ms. Dunten was followed by Ruth Power (1940-49), a graduate (like Dunten) of the University of Illinois Library School. She was followed (perhaps) by someone named Dunbar (Mellon is not clear about this in his autobiography).

In 1948-49, responsibility for the Chemistry Library shifted from the department head to the Director of Libraries John Moriarty.

The new Chemistry building was completed in 1955 at a cost of over $4,500,000, and the Chemistry Library moved into its new home with Librarian Fred J. Bassett (1951-56) overseeing its grand opening. The departmental library, with a capacity of 40,000 volumes, was located on the third floor of the new building. The description of the library in the open house brochure read as follows: “On entering it (the library) one finds oneself in a large, acoustically treated, air-conditioned reading room with bookshelves around the sides and long study tables and chairs in the center. The Librarian’s desk is immediately to the right, and behind this are two small rooms where books may be repaired or prepared for binding. At the left in the reading room is a long alcove for abstract journals. Beyond this is a separate small reading room with current journals and magazines arranged on open shelves. To the west of the main reading room is the stack room. The stacks are constructed in three tiers and extend from the third floor to the ceiling of the fourth floor. A small service elevator has been installed to facilitate the transportation of books between the several levels of stacks. This room is also supplied with 21 study carrels, seven on each tier. There is no laboratory above any part of the library so that a leakage of water and chemical cannot occur in such a way as to damage the books and manuscripts.”

Bassett was followed by James Van Luik, who was there for two years (1956-58). He was presumably followed by Dorothy Kreman, who served until John Pinzelik started in 1960 and retired in 1993. Bartow Culp followed until his retirement in 2009. In 2003, Michael Fosmire was appointed as Head, Physical Sciences, Engineering and Technology Division, with Jeremy Garritano serving as Chemistry librarian (June 2004-May 2014). Currently David Zwicky is assistant professor liaison for the Chemistry department.

The Chemistry library has undergone some cosmetic updates over the years including a new circulation desk and study carrels. As a teaching and research library, it has continued to stay up-to-date with the services it offers to the Purdue staff and students and surrounding community. In 2007, The Mellon CyberChemistry Lab was opened and featured 10 PCs with software specifically related to chemistry, math, and citation management. The core objective of this space was to help users more effectively apply the information that was available to them, and as a result make their assignments and their research more meaningful.

The book, “More Than a Memory: Exploring Purdue University’s History Through Objects," was printed in Spring 2017 and was recognized with a Purdue Honors College-sponsored book launch event in late April.

The book, “More Than a Memory: Exploring Purdue University’s History Through Objects,” was printed in Spring 2017 and was recognized with a Purdue Honors College-sponsored book launch event in late April.

The research paper is a fact of life in college. If you have completed a college-level class, it’s almost guaranteed you have received a syllabus that instructed you to format a paper according to a particular academic style and directed you to turn in a double-digit-page composition citing at least three-to-five (or more) sources. While many college students get hung up on the number of pages required, it’s likely there are just as many who lament how many sources—and about their type: primary or secondary—they will have to read and consult to meet the minimum source-number requirements for the assignment.

But for students in the Spring 2016 Purdue University Honors College course “Interdisciplinary Approaches to Writing” 199 (section 03), co-taught by Kristina Bross, associate professor in the English dept., and Neal Harmeyer, an archivist in Purdue Archives and Special Collections (ASC), the oft-dreaded assignment resulted in getting their work published by the Purdue University Press—an unexpected perk for the inevitable undergrad research paper assignment. According to Harmeyer, the book, “More Than a Memory: Exploring Purdue University’s History Through Objects” (which is also available as an e-book via e-Pubs, Purdue Libraries’ open access repository) was printed this spring and was recognized with a Purdue Honors College-sponsored book launch event in late April.

In the 2016 course, the students, through honing their writing, sought to understand the history of Purdue University and to recover the student experience at the turn of the 20th century. Harmeyer added the course also provided students with a way to learn about primary-source research and gain hands-on experience working with the collections and artifacts stored in the ASC.


Students in the Spring 2016 Purdue University Honors College course “Interdisciplinary Approaches to Writing” 199 (section 03), co-taught by Kristina Bross, associate professor in the English dept., and Neal Harmeyer, an archivist in the Purdue Archives and Special Collections, a division of Purdue University Libraries.

Students in the Spring 2016 Purdue University Honors College course “Interdisciplinary Approaches to Writing” 199 (section 03), co-taught by Kristina Bross (far right, seated), associate professor in the English dept., and Neal Harmeyer (left, next to Bross in foreground of photo), an archivist in the Purdue Archives and Special Collections, a division of Purdue University Libraries.


Neal Harmeyer, Purdue Archives and Special Collections

Neal Harmeyer, Purdue Archives and Special Collections

“Over the course of the semester, we asked the students to go through the collections, pick an object—a photo, a personal memento of some sort, or a document, perhaps—and then ask and answer three questions: 1. What is in front of you? 2. What do you think about what you’re seeing? and 3. What could this mean? We used this approach as a scaffolded step of deliberation and archival research methodology to help inform their writing,” Harmeyer explained. “From the class, 10 of the 13 students agreed to have their works published. The book, ‘More Than a Memory,’ provides a snapshot of the sources they found and the final outcomes of their individual research.”

Each student who agreed to have their work published received a few copies of the book to keep and to share. Their individual compositions included the image (a scan or photo) of the object they each chose, a little bit of background about themselves, and about 900 words or so about their research, their insights, and the object itself.

Extending Student Writing and Research

According to Bross, when she was first approached about teaching the class, she knew she wanted to have students research issues/topics that would matter to them, that would feel “real.”

“Having students dive into special collections is a sure way to give them that experience,” Bross said. “I’ve asked students to do archival searches for years, so I know they respond well to such assignments, and I think it’s especially important for students to know something about the history of Purdue,” she added.

Kristina Bross, associate professor of English at Purdue University and director of the Purdue College of Liberal Arts Honors program.

Kristina Bross, associate professor of English at Purdue University and director of the Purdue College of Liberal Arts Honors program.

The collaboration between Bross and Harmeyer that went into the spring 2016 course “Interdisciplinary Approaches to Writing” 199 and the book, “More Than a Memory,” was not the first time they worked together to instruct students in this particular Honors course. In 2013, they co-taught the course with the same title, and through their students’ research, they published “Little Else Than a Memory: Purdue Students Search for the Class of 1904,” also printed by Purdue University Press.

“I had been somewhat involved in the course in 2013, but when one of our archivists took a position at another institution about halfway through the semester, I took over her role as co-instructor,” Harmeyer said. “While students in that class implemented a similar project, for the 2016 version of the course, Professor Bross and I planned to focus more on teaching students about archival research and primary-source research. One of our objectives was to get them more accustomed and familiar with the various research avenues they may need to undertake, for whatever their disciplines were, as we had majors enrolled from across the various disciplines in the 2016 version,” he added.

Bross noted the ASC provided a fruitful learning laboratory to accomplish the goals of the course.

For Purdue University students who were enrolled in the Spring 2016 Purdue University Honors College course “Interdisciplinary Approaches to Writing” 199, he oft-dreaded research paper assignment resulted in getting their work published by the Purdue University Press—an unexpected perk.

For Purdue University students who were enrolled in the Spring 2016 Purdue University Honors College course “Interdisciplinary Approaches to Writing” 199, he oft-dreaded research paper assignment resulted in getting their work published by the Purdue University Press—an unexpected perk.

“The Purdue Libraries’ Archives and Special Collections Division is ideal for undergraduate research, not only because it’s local, but also because its faculty and staff are so knowledgeable about Purdue’s history and our collections. In addition, they know how to introduce archival research to undergrads and help them understand the stakes involved in the work they are doing. Having a co-teacher from the ASC makes this course possible—and Neal is simply terrific in that role,” Bross said.

“The interdisciplinary part of the course title is represented by the Archives and the primary sources, and the writing part is Professor Bross helping the students hone their writing,” Harmeyer added. “Over the course, she assigned the students primary sources, dating back centuries, such as diaries and first-person accounts, along with secondary source materials, and she asked them to write about and respond to those. So the two things met in the middle—our idea was they would learn about writing along the way, they would learn about research along the way, and at the end, they would have a research paper.”

As part of the research and writing process, the students also contributed to a blog (see http://ascblogs.lib.purdue.edu/spring2016-honors19903/), “a site devoted to the sharing of undergraduate archival research and scholarship.” The blog was a fundamental component of the course; during the semester, the students composed three responses to their findings, which in turn were posted on the site, Harmeyer said.

“This blog allowed us to see their work in progress. Through it, too—because we encouraged comments on the site—they were able to communicate with one another and experience feedback from the larger community, as well. This site also enabled students to get their research out and think more critically as they were writing,” Harmeyer explained.

“The blog posts were just as—perhaps more important than—their final publications,” Bross added. “Neal was absolutely central to making the website excellent. It was interesting asking them to write about their individual processes, as well as to represent their findings. If we get the chance to teach this class or another like it, I want to think some more about the best way to use in-process digital media to publish their work.”

According to Harmeyer, ASC personnel are committed to keeping the blog site available for future research purposes.

“Not only do the final essays showcase the students’ work, but the research they compiled and shared on in their papers and through their blog posts, also serve as secondary sources. Later, students may be able to build and use their research.”

Harmeyer noted he thinks the course will be offered again, with the Purdue Archives and Special Collections again serving as a laboratory for Purdue students who enroll in it.

“For many of them, it was only their second semester in college, and I could see the light-bulb moments expressed in their faces and in their words: ‘Wow, this is hard… but interesting.’ Overall, I think most of them had that feeling and were extremely rewarded by it.”

Download the full text of “More Than a Memory” at http://docs.lib.purdue.edu/sps_ebooks/9/

Stewart Center, Hicks Library Closed for Repairs June 3, 4

The Hicks Undergraduate Library and the Humanities, Social Science & Education (HSSE) Library will be closed June 3 and 4 for repairs.

Stewart Center, including the Humanities, Social Science & Education (HSSE) Library (located in Stewart Center), and the Hicks Undergraduate Library will be closed Saturday-Sunday, June 3-4, with no public or Purdue University student or personnel access to either of the facilities. (This means there will be no PUID swipe-card access to Hicks Undergraduate Library on June 3 or 4.)

The closure of both facilities is to enable in-house project teams (from Physical Facilities) to work on a water system project in the basement of Stewart Center. To complete the work, the water to all of Stewart Center and the Hicks Library will be shut off; no occupants can be in either facility when there is no water to the restrooms.

Visit Purdue Libraries’ website for a comprehensive list of the libraries’ hours at www.lib.purdue.edu/hoursList.

Purdue University Libraries Medical Librarian and Assistant Professor Bethany McGowan

Purdue University Libraries Medical Librarian and Assistant Professor Bethany McGowan

Purdue University Libraries Assistant Professor and Medical Librarian Bethany McGowan has been tapped as a “Rock Star Librarian” by the National Library of Medicine (NLM). McGowan was featured, along with four other medical librarians, on the National Library of Medicine’s website Wednesday. You can read the article at infocus.nlm.nih.gov/2017/05/24/rock-star-medical-librarians-todays-headliners/.

Last month, McGowan was also featured in the VOLUMe, Purdue University Libraries’ bi-annual newsletter. Her contribution to the Spring 2017 issue is just below.


Information Literacy and Improved Health

by Bethany McGowan

At Purdue University Libraries, I am in the unique position to teach health-care providers the information literacy skills that lead to better-informed clinical decisions.

In my role as Health Sciences Information Specialist, I teach the information literacy competencies and evidence-based practices that health-care professionals need to recognize and use quality health information. One of my favorite things about my work is teaching students with a range of research experience, from undergraduates, who are just beginning to explore their interests in entry-level nutrition classes, to graduate nursing students, who are able to put what they have learned to use in clinical settings immediately.

Most of my teaching is focused on conveying the link between health information literacy and evidence-based practices. The Medical Library Association defines health information literacy as the “set of abilities needed to recognize a health information need; identify likely information sources and use those sources to retrieve relevant information; assess the quality of information and its applicability to a specific situation; and analyze, understand, and use information to make good health decisions.” Evidence-based practices complement health information literacy by supporting the integration of clinical expertise, patient values, and current research evidence into the decision-making process for patient care.

Noteworthy projects I have been involved in include a collaboration with the Purdue Discovery Learning Research Center, in which we presented hackathon opportunities that encouraged participants to use open health data. I shared the experience in a recent publication, “Hackathon Planning and Participation Strategies for Non-Techie Librarians.”

I also attended the 2016 Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) Immersion Teaching Track Program and served as a teaching assistant for the Spring 2017 cohort of IMPACT (Instruction Matters: Purdue Academic Course Transformation) Faculty Fellows. Both opportunities are helping me transform my teaching approach. In addition to instructional design principles, I am exploring how information and data visualizations, such as maps, can be used to convey complicated health information.

Finally, I am interested in encouraging health equity by accommodating for learner diversity. In the Fall of 2016, I attended the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) Congress in Columbus as a Congress Fellow. This experience encouraged me to consider the global implications of my work, and I subsequently joined the American Library Association International Relations Committee. My future research will focus on exploring how empowering women and adolescent participation in open technology and culture can improve health information literacy, health literacy, and health outcomes.