Purdue Libraries and School of Information Studies News

The Rise of Digital Humanities at Purdue University

March 1st, 2021

By: Matthew Hannah

To go so far as to call this a “rise” may be a bit of exaggeration. After all, Purdue is well known for its commitment to innovative methodologies and cutting-edge areas of study. Certainly, this is true of the STEM disciplines, but it is also true of the humanities, social sciences, and information studies. Digital humanities, or “DH” as it is known to practitioners, is but one area that humanities, social sciences, and information researchers and students have been exploring and expanding for some time, and Purdue boasts a long history of important DH innovators and initiatives, from Kim Gallon’s groundbreaking work in Black DH to Sorin Matei’s innovative use of GIS maps to study historical topographies, from grant-winning projects such as Dino Felluga’s BRANCH and COVE projects to Bradley Dilger’s CROW. The humanities and social sciences at Purdue are always breaking new ground, expanding the boundaries of academic research.

students share their digital humanities research with one another
Above: research for a COVE exhibit by student in Rebecca Mitchell’s class at the University of Birmingham, UK, based on material in Cadbury Research Library’s conservation studio (pictured)

And yet it feels like something is happening here. When I arrived at Purdue as an Assistant Professor in the Libraries and School of Information Studies nearly three years ago, I was given a broad mission: build on existing efforts to develop a DH curriculum through collaboration with scholars across PULSIS and the College of Liberal Arts. I began collaborating with Erla Heyns, who had already been working tirelessly to promote and foster DH in the LSIS, to establish networks and find collaborators who might be interested in such a project, and we immediately began working closely with Venetria Patton, the head of the School of Interdisciplinary Studies, to design and implement undergraduate and graduate certificates in digital humanities. We identified stakeholders, hosted informational sessions and call outs, and designed and identified courses for this new certificate initiative. Dr. Patton tackled the undergraduate certificate, and I handled the graduate, in what has been a fruitful multi-disciplinary, multi-college collaboration in keeping with the very ethos of collaboration inherent in DH itself.

I am happy to announce that our efforts have launched two brand new certificates in DH to be offered at Purdue. Graduate students will now have the opportunity to complete a 12-credit certificate, comprised of two required core seminars and two elective seminars, which will cover important aspects of the field such as computational text analysis, digital archives, geospatial analysis, data management, and various other topics, with an eye toward developing a toolkit for their own disciplinary graduate research. Many of these seminars are regularly available in both LSIS and the College of Liberal Arts to provide flexibility for students. By the end of a graduate certificate, students will have designed, implemented, and launched an original DH project of their own. Undergraduates can expect to complete a 16-credit certificate, with four possible tracks (three of which must be completed): culture and society, digital literacy, programming, and visualization. This important set of topics will provide students a well-rounded set of technical skills and, at the same time, a critical apparatus with which to think about technology from a humanistic perspective.  

Digital Humanities graduate students with Professor Matt Hannah
Above: Cohort of graduate students with Dr. Hannah (center) in Digital Humanities Foundations (Fall 2019)

In teaching my graduate seminar, Digital Humanities Foundations, over the past few years, I find that graduate students at Purdue are hungry for innovative digital methods to apply to their research in the humanities and social sciences. Certificates provide formal recognition that students have developed important digital skills and thoughtfully applied them to their research in the humanities and social sciences. For many graduate students, an official accreditation can provide important recognition on their CVs and resumes, especially if they pursue careers outside the tenure track, in libraries or cultural organizations. For undergraduate students, a DH program offers the opportunity to combine their interests in the humanities or social sciences with interests in technology, data science, or computation. For some undergraduates, DH may even provide a vocabulary for meaningful careers after college in tech startups, non-profits, cultural organizations, or industry, which value the combination of liberal arts training and technical literacy. In essence, a formal education in DH seems like a perfect fit for a place like Purdue.

The hard work of our Purdue community—the exciting projects, innovative methods, grants awarded, and courses taught—have culminated in these new certificate programs, a recognition that Purdue will continue its leadership toward innovative educational offerings across campus. Certificates in DH will offer students exciting new avenues for study, and I have already seen how impressive their work will be. Thus, we rise.    

Recommended Reads for Women’s History Month

March 1st, 2021

To commemorate Women’s History Month, Purdue University Press is featuring books that celebrate the contributions women have made to Purdue University, the United States, and the rest of the world.

Refuge Must Be Given: Eleanor Roosevelt, the Jewish Plight, and the Founding of Israel

by John F. Sears

Refuge Must Be Given details the evolution of Eleanor Roosevelt from someone who harbored negative impressions of Jews to becoming a leading Gentile champion of Israel in the United States. The book explores, for the first time, Roosevelt’s partnership with the Quaker leader Clarence Pickett in seeking to admit more refugees into the United States, and her relationship with Undersecretary of State Sumner Welles, who was sympathetic to the victims of Nazi persecution yet defended a visa process that failed both Jewish and non-Jewish refugees.



Independent Vision: Dorothy Harrison Eustis and the Story of The Seeing Eye

by Miriam Ascarelli

Drawing on correspondence, private papers, and newspaper accounts of the day, Miriam Ascarelli chronicles the life of Dorothy Harrison Eustis, the woman responsible for founding The Seeing Eye, the first guide dog school in the United States.


The Deans’ Bible: Five Purdue Women and Their Quest for Equality

by Angie Klink

The Dean’s Bible shares the stories of five Purdue women, Dorothy C. Stratton, Helen B. Schleman, M. Beverley Stone, Barbara I. Cook, and Betty M. Nelson. The book spans one hundred years of their interwoven lives, their shared causes and obstacles, and their pursuit of equity for all people.


In Their Own Words: Forgotten Women Pilots of Early Aviation

by Fred Erisman

In Their Own Words takes up the writings of eight women pilots as evidence of the ties between the growth of American aviation and the changing role of women. Although these women were well known in the profession and widely publicized in the press at the time, many are largely overlooked today.



Divided Paths, Common Ground: The Story of Mary Matthews and Lella Gaddis, Pioneering Purdue Women Who Introduced Science into the Home

by Angie Klink

Based on extensive oral history and archival research, Divided Paths, Common Ground sheds light on the important role female staff and faculty played in improving the quality of life for rural women during the first half of the twentieth century. It is also a fascinating story of two very different personalities, Mary Matthews and Lella Gaddis, united in this common goal.

The Queen of American Agriculture: A Biography of Virginia Claypool Meredith

by Frederick Whitford, Andrew G. Martin, and Phyllis Mattheis

This is the story of Virginia Meredith, whose lifetime of work had her referred to as “the most remarkable woman in Indiana” and the “Queen of American Agriculture.” Meredith was also the first woman appointed to serve on the university’s board of trustees, had a residence hall named in her honor, and worked with her adopted daughter, Mary L. Matthews, in creating the School of Home Economics at Purdue University.

Escaping Extermination: Hungarian Prodigy to American Musician, Feminist, and Activist

by Agi Jambor, edited by Frances Pinter

Written shortly after the close of World War II and published for the first time in 2020, Escaping Extermination describes how Agi Jambor and her husband escaped the extermination of Hungary’s Jews through a combination of luck and wit.



Finding Edith: Surviving the Holocaust in Plain Sight

by Edith Mayer Cord

Finding Edith describes the childhood and adolescence of a Viennese girl growing up against the backdrop of the Great Depression, the rise of Nazism, World War II, and the religious persecution of Jews throughout Europe. Edith was hunted in Western Europe and Vichy France, where she was hidden in plain sight, constantly afraid of discovery and denunciation.


Of Exile and Music: A Twentieth Century Life

by Eva Mayer Schay

This autobiography is set against the backdrop of some of the most dramatic episodes of the twentieth century. It is the story of a stubborn struggle against unjust regimes, sustained by a deep belief in the strength of the human spirit and the transcendental power of music.


Crowns, Crosses, and Stars: My Youth in Prussia, Surviving Hitler, and a Life Beyond

by Sibylle Sarah Niemoeller, Baroness von Sell

Crowns, Crosses, and Stars is Sarah Niemoeller’s story from the privileged world of Prussian aristocracy, through the horrors of World War II resisting both Hitler’s dictatorship and his genocidal efforts, to high society in the television age of postwar America.


Sisters in Science: Conversations with Black Women Scientists on Race, Gender, and Their Passion for Science

by Diann Jordan

Sisters in Science is a book of interviews with prominent black women scientists across the United States. These scientists are pioneers in their chosen scientific profession and represent a broad spectrum of disciplines, ages, and geographical locations.

You can get 30% off all Purdue University Press titles by entering the code PURDUE30 at checkout on our website.

Purdue Libraries Enters New Open Access Publishing Partnerships

February 22nd, 2021


West Lafayette, IN- Purdue Libraries and School of Information Studies begins 2021 with new open access publishing partnerships with the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), Cambridge Press, and Public Library of Science (PLOS). Now, Purdue University authors interested in publishing their scholarship in corresponding journals can choose to retain copyright and publish their articles as open access, immediately and without embargoes, at no cost to them.  

The new partnerships represent a progressive evolution in Libraries’ existing relationships with all three publishers. In the case of ACM and Cambridge Press, Libraries now pays one fee to each publisher that covers both subscription access to journals, as well as the publishing costs for Purdue authors who decide to publish their articles as open access in the ACM Digital Library, or in one of over 400 included Cambridge Press journals, respectively. As a non-profit open access publisher, PLOS operates differently. Purdue’s membership in their Community Action Publishing (CAP) program means that Libraries now pays an annual fee for unlimited publishing in PLOS Medicine and PLOS Biology without incurring individual author fees. All three partnerships increase the reach of Purdue-authored research and support the University’s land grant mission to serve the greater community by expanding public access to a wealth of high-quality, scholarly content.  

Purdue is not alone in pursuing new partnerships in open access publishing. Both the Cambridge Press and PLOS agreements were made possible through the collective bargaining of the Big Ten Academic Alliance’s consortium of academic research libraries. In speaking of the new PLOS partnership, Maurice York, BTAA’s Director of Library Initiatives, says: “One of the key strategic questions in front of us is how to advance the growth of open science and open scholarship through collective and intentional action. We are actively seeking pathways to create a sustainable, scalable open knowledge ecosystem for our researchers and scholars.”  

The new open access publishing agreements align with Dean of Libraries and Esther Ellis Norton Professor of Library Science Beth McNeil’s ongoing commitment to make access to high quality scholarship more economically sustainable at Purdue. “The benefits of open access publishing are numerous for both author and audience, but the associated cost often prevents authors from being able to take part, even when they agree with open access in principle,” McNeil says. “Our new partnerships with ACM, Cambridge Press, and PLOS will create greater opportunities for researchers and authors from most campus disciplines to choose cost-free open access publishing options and work with us to help make scholarship more equitable, now and into the future.”    

Purdue authors interested in learning more about the specific journals available through these new agreements and how to participate should visit Libraries’ new guide or contact Nina Collins, scholarly publishing specialist, at  

Studying a Pioneer of Modern Weather Forecasting: Q&A with Jonathan Martin

February 22nd, 2021

We talked to Jonathan Martin, the author of Reginald Sutcliffe and the Invention of Modern Weather Systems Science.

Reginald Sutcliffe and the Invention of Modern Weather Systems Science recounts the life and scientific contributions of Reginald Sutcliffe, an understudied and underappreciated pioneer of modern weather forecasting.

Q: What motivated you to spend this amount of time documenting Reginald Sutcliffe’s life and accomplishments?

Martin: When I was first hired at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1994, my first assignment was teaching a senior undergraduate course in synoptic-dynamic meteorology – the study of the theory and observations of mid-latitude weather systems.  It was a dream come true since the phenomenology of these storms had fascinated me since childhood and my education and research experience to date had only heightened my enthusiasm for them as it had revealed to me their wondrous physical and dynamical nature.  As I prepared my notes for the course I was to teach that fall, it became clear that Sutcliffe had singularly elucidated the fundamental dynamics of the development of these cyclones, a process known as cyclogenesis, as well as the dynamical explanation for the coincidence of the characteristic frontal zones of such storms and the production of the clouds and precipitation associated with them.  This was the whole franchise of modern weather systems science and it had seemingly sprung from the mind of a single scientist in the late 1930s.  I was struck by the discrepancy between the importance of these contributions to modern understanding of weather systems (which informed the subsequent great advance in numerical weather prediction) and the relatively low profile of the man who had brought them forth.  Twenty years later a sabbatical afforded me the opportunity to begin examining Sutcliffe’s life in detail and perhaps remedy this unjust set of circumstances.


Q: When researching for this project were there any surprises that significantly altered your view on Sutcliffe or his legacy?

Martin: The core of my interest in Sutcliffe was his seeming monopoly on fundamental contributions to understanding mid-latitude weather systems juxtaposed with an incongruous obscurity as a scientist.  Nothing in the research that went into the book altered that basic view.  Nonetheless, it was surprising to discover that he was not interested in weather as a boy and, in fact, turned to the Meteorological Office upon graduating with his Ph.D. in Mathematics because there were virtually no other options at the time.  The Meteorological Office officially discouraged research and so a very talented Ph.D. in math was set to really boring tasks in the largely unscientific approach to weather forecasting then employed at the Office.  How, despite such intellectually suffocating circumstances, young Sutcliffe began to wriggle free and eventually elevate the forecasting enterprise to a hard science is an inspiring story.  Another unexpected aspect of Sutcliffe’s intellectual life was that he was a persistent skeptic of numerical weather prediction, perhaps the most unheralded scientific advance of the late 20th century.  Throughout the 1950s, when the enterprise was in its infancy, his main complaint was that it was not as good as what could be rendered by deep knowledge and expert judgement.  This was indeed the case and remained so for a good part of his professional career.  His perspective was sweeping; at the beginning of his career forecasting was a truly unscientific activity.  Then his own contributions elevated it to something much more rigorous.  It seems as though his skepticism was rooted in a frustration that too large a share of forecasting research effort in the 1950s focused on the computer, which was still quite limited.  He commented more than a couple of times later in his life that he thought the computer came too early – implying that important conceptual and theoretical work might have been displaced by an emphasis on tool development.




Q: The availability of an accurate forecast and our ability to check it is no small feat, yet it has become so routine it is almost taken for granted. What kind of challenge does this provide in touting the accomplishments of someone like Sutcliffe?

Martin: My experience has long suggested to me that most people have some level of interest in the weather.  In fact, I’d venture to guess that meteorology, in the form of weather forecasting especially, is the physical science with which the general public makes is most frequent and familiar contact.  By extension, I imagine that a good number of us who benefit from the easy availability of accurate forecast information probably harbor a companion desire to know something more about where it comes from – to peer behind the curtain a little.  To the extent that such a desire does exist in some segment of the population, I think it provides motivation for coming to know Sutcliffe, his life and his influential accomplishments.  In fact, given the increasing profile of weather and climate issues in the public consciousness, this may the perfect time to begin telling the stories of the pioneers, like Sutcliffe, who helped fashion the modern scientific infrastructure upon which so much of our current predictive capability is built.


Q: In the preface of the book you mention that Sutcliffe’s life, in many ways, “was unusually illustrative of the progress often associated with the century in which it was lived”. What do you mean by this?

Martin: The pace of progress in the 75 years since the end of WWII probably exceeds that of any other period in human history regarding advances in medicine, physical science, social issues, technology, and a host of other human endeavors.  Sutcliffe was born into a world where children were still working in factories as opposed to getting a basic education, male life expectancy in Britain was 50, and a reasonably reliable weather forecast hardly existed for the next day.  By the end of his life, child labor was nearly non-existent in the West, a typical British man could expect to live until 74, and outlooks as long as 5-7 days were as routinely accurate as the 1-day forecast had been in 1905. Sutcliffe himself was an agent of substantial change despite the catastrophic interruption to his professional life imposed by the war.  Like so many of his generation, he answered the call to duty without hesitation or complaint, served admirably, and went about rebuilding the world upon returning to civilian life.  I believe that the progress that was made in so many dimensions in the post-war world was a direct result of the intestinal fortitude of men and women whose perspective on civic duty and citizenship mirrored Sutcliffe’s.

Thank you to Jonathan! If you would like to know more about this book you can order your own copy or request it from your local library.

You can get 30% off this title and any other order by entering the code PURDUE30 when ordering from our website.

Veterinary Science and Infectious Plagues: A Q&A with Norman Cheville

February 19th, 2021

We talked to Norman Cheville, the author of Pioneer Science and the Great Plagues: How Microbes, War, and Public Health Shaped Animal Health.

Pioneer Science and the Great Plagues covers a century of progress fighting infectious diseases and plagues, illuminating the important role of veterinary research and science.

Q: What was your impetus for writing this book and studying this subject?

Norman Cheville: A mystery existed about why America trailed Europe by a full century—from the 1760s to the 1860s—in building science-based veterinary colleges to educate for animal health care. Why? No historian had ever explained that. Turns out, veterinary colleges in Europe has been stimulated by rampant infectious disease, many of them zoonoses—diseases transmissible from animals to humans. Yet in North America, there was a century-long delay. Did it arise from public ignorance of microbes, from national energies miss-directed to war, or from the fraudulent veterinarians working in rural frontiers? There had to be a story there.

Then a celebratory editorial in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association had things backwards; an employee of the National Library of Medicine had written that medicine in North America had been the model for veterinary education. The writer had ignored not only the rich practical science culture but also the difficult but creative contributions to veterinary science in rural America and Canada. In seeking the historical facts, it appeared that much of the history of veterinary medicine has been ignored. In the beginning, I wanted to correct that and to include the important seminal contributions of pioneering scientists who I believed had been left out in the story, e.g., Heinrich Janssen Detmers and Rush Shippen Huidekoper. In progressing, a remarkable historical tableau emerged that drove the remainder of the book on how microbes, war, and public health had changed animal health care in North America.


Q: When you started writing this project you may not have expected it to be as topical as it now is. What are some of the most striking parallels between the plagues you talk about in the book and the pandemic we’re facing today?

Cheville: From the start, it was clear that the great plagues occurred in cycles that were driven by national economies, idiosyncrasies of political cultures, and wars. It was also soon clear that in responding to pandemics, the answers provided by science had to be translated into action – a translation that required journalists, informed politicians, and responsible pharmaceutical business; it has been the task of these groups to lead the public into acceptance of social behavior change including use of drugs and vaccines. Early successful scientists had been connected to some form of public information where the press, politicians, and heads of state drove effective actions. At the beginning of the era, the political talents of Jenner (smallpox), Pasteur (fowl cholera, anthrax, and rabies), Koch (tuberculosis), and Virchow (trichinosis) convinced the public and had been the key to their successes. In each succeeding plague cycle, some scientist or science group appeared to fulfill that mission. Virchow solved the problem of trichinosis in pigs in Germany by providing the science behind trichinosis in pork and the on-farm methods to prevent it; he had connections with the Reichstag to implement regulations and laws to mandate action. In America, unlike our early response to the COVID-19 disaster, some plagues led to effective responses. In the first decade of the 20th century food safety for humans appeared because of a scientist, a journalist, and a Congress who understood their responsibility to establish the Food and Drug Administration. For animals of that decade, scientists provided the vaccination method for the disastrous pandemic of hog cholera, the federal government, the research impetus, and the state legislatures (most of them at least) provided the funds and production facilities to stop the disease. Succeeding pandemics of influenza, poliomyelitis, and the prion diseases followed the same pattern. The importance of all this is that when journalists, legislators, or heads of state fail in this scheme, disaster ensues.

What emerged in writing this book was that distortion of veterinary science and education was occurring from two idiosyncrasies of culture – disbelief in science and distrust of government. Spreading misinformation and downright lies, people in these misinformation cults spawned scientology, creationism, anti-vaccination movements, astrology, and other anti-science scams. All of these scalawags were having destructive impacts on science in general and on veterinary medicine in particular. There were other bogeymen – fraudulent veterinarians, scientists that published fake data, dishonest entrepreneurs, and other latter-day snake oil salesmen. The anti-science stance of a disturbing percentage of the public arises from avoiding logic and rational analysis in solving what is basically a science problem. Underlying much of this mischief are the prejudices of the more misinformed segments of human cults of various kinds.

All of this is part of a scary anti-science and anti-government philosophy that has been growing since the 1960s and has been severely exacerbated by the internet and its lack of control.  Failure of the federal government to take command of this issue has allowed COVID-19 to spread throughout the nation before serious efforts of mitigation were finally begun. This is in striking contrast to the outbreak of smallpox in New York City at the end of World War II; then the nation was educated by the presidents, governors, mayors and public health departments; the public was responsive to the needed behaviors, and together acted immediately to prevent spread, vaccinate the population, and track spreaders. Because of our anti-science and anti-authoritarian beliefs (that are now being disguised at some loopy faux patriotism), we have become victims of pandemic viruses. It will get worse unless we correct this nonsense.




Q: As you put it, disbelief in science and distrust in government may be the two largest impediments to the advancements you outline in the book. From the 1860s to now, what do you think makes these so pervasive?

Cheville: There are several factors, the most important of which seems to be the tone set by those in charge. Presidents, state governors, and local leaders must take the steps and walk the walk of responsibility to keep the public informed and educated about the steps that must be taken: surveillance of global infections, monitoring for spread, social behavioral changes that prevent spread, and scientific research that expands production of vaccines and drugs. This often involved subtle communications and seeing that the public is informed correctly. A lethal move is the political re-direction or re-interpretation of science data. In recent times there is the need to regulate the internet, making it conform to public standards of truth – just as newspapers were forced to do in the early 20th century. Today, this is the major route for misinformation and anti-science cults to spread fake news. There is a persistent phony mentality that drives many of these cults, most based upon ignorance and expediencies of money, land, and material things that override the needs for the public good. These scams can only persist when there are deficits in public education. Any lack of a rigorous and demanding educational curriculum for teaching civics, government, science, and propaganda analysis in our primary and secondary schools provides fertile soil for cults.


Q: You write at the start of the preface of the book, “Animal health care in North America evolved from farriers and itinerant cow leeches to science-based veterinary medicine in one century, from 1860 to 1960.” When doing your research, what struck you most about the advancement of this era?

Cheville: It was a time when social responsibility moved to regulate the expanding economy. Reforms of the early 20th century regulated dangerous business habits that had spread not only plagues of infectious diseases but episodes of food adulteration and uncontrolled toxic disposals. These reforms gave us the safe nation in which we now live. The demands of regulated capitalism was co-incident with societal reform that promoted education and science. It was a time of public acceptance of science. There was less opportunity for those struggling with personality disorders/mental illness to seriously harm society.


Q: You end the book with an epilogue and changes since 1960 with emphasis on a growth in public distrust; how about the future?

Cheville: Things may seem dark at the moment, but there is hope. It takes time, but we will correct our mistakes through education and correction of misinformation, and by regulating the unrestricted falsification of public information. As to Veterinary Medicine and animal health care, these changes have been maintained. The book documents a striking and direct impact of change: the complete reversal in the acceptance of women as veterinary scientists. Not permitted to study for the profession in early times, women veterinary graduates exploded after World War II from near 0 in 1960 to nearly 90% in 2000. This remarkable change doubled the intellectual power of the profession. The change was coincident with an emerging spiritual aura of empathy and responsibility – an understanding of how animal behavior and human-animal connections change when biology goes awry. For the veterinarian, professional responsibilities expanded. One of the remarkable books of the period was James Herriot’s All Creatures Great and Small. It represented the era; scratch away the beautiful Yorkshire dales, the funny humanistic stories, and the cleverness of the writing, the reader is still left with a continuing theme of empathy of the human-animal bond – dealing with animal cruelty in a global production system, with the ecologic health of free-ranging terrestrial mammals in the wild, with dolphins and fish that must be saved from toxic tides in oceanic environments, and of protecting wild birds from suffering infections, starvation and lead poisoning along their intercontinental flyways. Knowledge and skill dedicated to healing animals of many species in a variety of environmental settings provided an unspoken but protective spiritual bond that leads to public trust.

Thank you to Norman! If you would like to know more about this book you can order your own copy or request it from your local library.

You can get 30% off this title and any other order by entering the code PURDUE30 when ordering from our website.

The History of Infectious Plagues and Veterinary Science

February 10th, 2021

In one century, animal health care in North America evolved from farriers and itinerant cow leeches to science-based veterinary medicine. Pioneer Science and the Great Plagues: How Microbes, War, and Public Health Shaped Animal Health by Norman F. Cheville covers this century of progress fighting infectious diseases and plagues, illuminating the important role of veterinary research and science.

The narrative of Pioneer Science and the Great Plagues is driven by astonishing events that centered on animal disease: the influenza pandemic of 1872, discovery of the causes of anthrax and tuberculosis in 1880s, conquest of Texas cattle fever and then yellow fever, the German anthrax attacks on the U. S. during World War I, the tuberculin war of 1931, Japanese biological warfare in the 1940s, and todays bioterror dangers.

This history focuses on the scientists and institutions that pioneered veterinary education and research and made conquering these plagues possible. It memorializes events that propelled science forward and those that blocked progress. This includes the ways in which the cycles of discovery were enhanced or impeded by viability of the economy, demands of war, and idiosyncrasies of political culture. Also underlying this change were twin idiosyncrasies of culture—disbelief in science and distrust of government—that spawned scientology, creationism, ‘no vaccination’ movements, and other anti-science scams.

This phenomenon is now all too familiar, our world now reckoning with disbelief in science and cultural stasis that threatens progress. As new infectious plagues continue to arise, Pioneer Science and the Great Plagues details the strategies we learned defeating plagues from 1860 to 1960, and the essential role veterinary science played.


“Dr. Norman Cheville draws on over sixty years of experience as a prominent veterinary researcher, educator, and administrator, and he makes use of his acute observational and analytical abilities to provide his perspective on the early and continuing evolution of veterinary medicine. The result is a fascinating and thought-provoking examination of veterinary medical history, with insights to help shape the future of a profession that plays a central role in addressing critical challenges facing the modern world such as infectious diseases, food security and safety, public health, climate change, sustaining wildlife, and the human-animal bond.”

—James Roth, Clarence Hartley Covault Distinguished Professor, Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine


PIONEER SCIENCE AND THE GREAT PLAGUES by Norman F. Cheville is out March 15, 2021.

Receive 30% off Pioneer Science and the Great Plagues: How Microbes, War, and Public Health Shaped Animal Health and any other Purdue University Press book by ordering directly from our website and entering the code PURDUE30 at checkout.

The Understudied and Underappreciated Pioneer Behind the Development of Modern Weather Forecasting

February 10th, 2021

Less than a century ago any forecast of the weather was generally considered a practical impossibility. Today’s routine availability of accurate weather forecasts represents one of the most unheralded scientific advances of the last century. Reginald Sutcliffe and the Invention of Modern Weather Systems Science by Jonathan E. Martin recounts the life and scientific contributions of Reginald Sutcliffe, an unsung hero who laid the groundwork of modern weather forecasting.

The book makes the case that three important advances guided the development of the modern dynamic meteorology and that Sutcliffe was the pioneer in all three of these foundational developments: the application of the quasi-geostrophic simplification to the equations governing atmospheric behavior, adoption of pressure as the vertical coordinate in analysis, and development of a diagnostic equation for vertical air motions. These very developments, in addition to enabling the revolution in weather forecasting, have also been employed in our interrogation of the Earth’s changing climate and now offer the best tools we have to peer into its long-term future.

This work not only details Sutcliffe’s life and his ideas, but also illuminates the impact of social movements and the larger forces that propelled him on his consequential trajectory. It incorporates the reflections of the protagonist on his own work and on the development of the field, such as the prescient prediction of a future in which “weather consultant services” would monetize the need for forecasts and data in industry, markets, tourism, and even professional sports, thereby extending the lifetime of the forecasting enterprise indefinitely.

In an age where nearly everyone can cast a quick glance at their phone to acquire accurate weather forecast information, where responsible governments seek scientific answers regarding the possible ramifications of global warming, and where an enormous fraction of the global economy depends on the current and future weather, Sutcliffe’s influence on the modern world cannot be overstated.


“An advancing world demanded better weather forecasts, but meteorology was in a rut. Then along came Reginald Sutcliffe. This thoroughly accessible, meticulously researched, and inspiring twentieth-century journey reveals how wonderfully diverse factors such as geopolitics, community action, sport, a visitor to Malta, underemployment, family, and war engineered this giant of the meteorological world. Discover how his relentless endeavours in understanding and application genuinely have improved quality of life for us all.”

—Timothy Hewson, Principal Scientist, European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts



Receive 30% off Reginald Sutcliffe and the Invention of Modern Weather Systems Science and any other Purdue University Press book by ordering directly from our website and entering the code PURDUE30 at checkout.

Excerpts of Black History at Purdue University: Part 2, PURDUE AT 150

February 9th, 2021

To commemorate Black History Month, Purdue University Press is featuring excerpts of notable moments in black history at Purdue. 

In this post we’re featuring a few excerpts and pictures from Purdue at 150: A Visual History of Student Life by David M. Hovde, Adriana Harmeyer, Neal Harmeyer and Sammie L. Morris.

A Peaceful Demonstration and a Nine-Point Petition

On an overcast morning in May 1968, 129 students from the Black Student Union assembled at the steps of the Administration Building, nonviolently protesting discrimination on campus by symbolically placing bricks on the steps of Hovde Hall. The students delivered a petition to the University listing specific demands for change. It stated:

  • We demand that the University pressure its departments to recruit qualified black professors
    for the 1968–1969 school year.
  • We demand that the professors of the History Department integrate their segregated, bigoted,
    and insulting U.S. history courses.
  • We demand the immediate integration of student organizations.
  • We demand courses dealing with black culture.
  • We demand that the black arts be incorporated into the music and art appreciation courses.
  • We demand that the University compile a list of discriminatory housing and make this list public.
  • We demand more than a token integration of the administration.
  • We demand that the University see to it that black professors do not meet discrimination in
    procuring housing.
  • We demand that a course dealing with distortion be instituted as a general core requirement for
    all students.

“The day of the march we had already been told that we needed to get a brown paper bag and find a red brick. . . . (Purdue had red brick buildings everywhere). So, we each got our brick, put it in our little paper bag. . . . We assembled in Stewart Center, and we got in a single line, with our bricks in our paper bags, and one by one we marched to Hovde Hall. . . . Single file. Quietly. . . . We took our red bricks out of our brown paper bags and one by one we walked up the steps, and put a brick on the steps.”

— Marion Blalock, BS 1969, director of the Minority Engineering Program, 1973–2008


Making Progress in the 1970s

After decades of fighting for rights and representation, African American students began gaining new opportunities in academic and cultural programs. The Black Cultural Center (BCC), dedicated in the fall of 1970, offered a location for both learning and community building. Professor Singer Buchanan was hired as Purdue’s first coordinator of Black Student Programs in 1970. He articulated a vision for the BCC as an educational and social center, a place for people of different races and backgrounds to discuss issues, exchange feelings, and “emerge hopefully on the other side with a greater understanding of what each thinks, and feels, and believes. Graduate student John Houston became the first director of the BCC in 1972. He was succeeded by Antonio Zamora in 1973.

The Interdisciplinary Afro-American Studies Program at Purdue was approved in 1970. The option for students to major or minor in African American studies became available in the fall of 1971. The College of Engineering’s Minority Engineering Program was established in 1974, with alumna Marion Blalock serving as its inaugural director. The BCC brought Muhammad Ali to campus in 1976, sponsoring a lecture he gave on the topic of friendship.

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Two undergraduate students, Edward Barnette and Fred Cooper, established the Black Society of Engineers (BSE) in 1971 as a means of improving black engineering student retention and recruitment. Barnette served as the first president of the new student organization. The society’s president, Anthony Harris, contacted students at universities across the country and, on April 10–12, 1975, hosted the first meeting of what would become known as the National Society of Black Engineers.

By the 1970s, students were increasingly taking advantage of the press to make their voices heard. The Black Hurricane newspaper, a publication of the Black Student Union, published its first issue in 1970. It advocated for total freedom for African American people, with a sphere “like a hurricane” that “knows no boundaries to its destination.” Several other independent student newspapers, such as Red Brick, made their debuts during the decade.


Kassandra Agee Chandler, Purdue’s First African American Homecoming Queen

As a sophomore in the fall of 1978, Kassandra Agee Chandler was elected Purdue’s Homecoming queen, the first African American Homecoming queen in Purdue’s history. A representative of Meredith Residence Halls, she competed against twenty-three other competitors to win her title. When reflecting upon the nomination and campaign experience, she remembered hearing, “They’ll never let you win this.” But Agee Chandler drew upon the strength of her family, friends, and dorm mates, as well as her own tenacity. She worked tirelessly on her campaign, going door-to-door and hanging posters. She remembered, “I didn’t let it get to me. I never let anyone talk me down. . . . In the end, I was able to make my family and sisterhood proud.”

President Arthur Hansen presenting flowers to 1978 Homecoming queen Kassandra Agee. (Purdue University Marketing and Media collection)

In addition to her roles as Homecoming queen and leader for African American students on campus, Agee Chandler was active in extracurricular activities. She was a member of Alpha Lambda Delta freshman honor society, Purdue Pals, and the Black Voices of Inspiration Choir. Agee Chandler was also a president and founding member of Purdue’s Society of Minority Managers. In addition, she served as a social counselor for the Business Opportunity Program in the School of Management and was a member of the Mortar Board senior honor society. Her involvement reflected her role as a leader on campus as well as her excellent academic record.


Purdue’s first African American Graduates

In 1890 George W. Lacy, or Lacey, completed a degree in pharmacy, becoming the first African American graduate of Purdue. At the time, Pharmacy was an academic organization separate from the university, and as a result, Lacy’s success is sometimes overlooked. In 1894 David Robert Lewis of Greensburg, Indiana, completed his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering, becoming the first African American graduate of a traditional four-year program at Purdue.

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Purdue at 150 is available for 30% off on the Purdue University Press website when you use the code PURDUE30.

Featured Database: IBISWorld Industry Reports

February 9th, 2021

Parrish Library’s Featured Database will give you a very brief introduction to the basic features of one of our specialized subscription databases. This time we’re featuring IBISWorld Industry Reports, brought to you by IBISWorld.


IBISWorld Industry Reports include information on over 700 US industries in the US economy at the granular level covering industry-specific titles from the popular to the not-so-popular.


The List of Business Databases is the alphabetical list of the databases specially selected for those in a business program of study. Access the databases off-campus with your Purdue login and password.


Click Getting Started with IBISWorld Industry Reports to see the basics of using IBISWorld Industry Reports.

Why Should I Know About This?

IBISWorld Industry reports include key statistics, industry outlook, major companies, and much more.

Related Resources

Some other resources you might want to explore are:

  • BizMiner, contains detailed industry analysis to small and large businesses and entrepreneurs through its local and national Marketing Plan Research Profiles, Financial Analysis Profiles, Local Business Summaries, and State Market Index Profiles.
  • Plunkett Research, offers business intelligence, industry trends, statistics, market research, and company lists.

Featured Database comes to you from the Roland G. Parrish Library of Management & Economics. If you would like more information about this database, or if you would like a demonstration of it for a class, contact Also let us know if you know of a colleague who would benefit from this, or future Featured Databases.

Since usage statistics are an important barometer when databases are up for renewal, tell us your favorite database, and we will gladly promote it. Send an email to

ACM and Purdue University Sign New ACM OPEN License

February 9th, 2021

Newly Signed “Read and Publish” License Confirms Shared Commitment to Open Access

New York, NY, February 9, 2021—ACM, the Association for Computing Machinery, and Purdue University have entered into a new transformative Open Access (OA) “read and publish” agreement under the ACM OPEN program. The three-year agreement, which includes regional campuses, will allow for Purdue corresponding authors to publish an unlimited number of OA research articles in the ACM Digital Library across ACM’s entire portfolio of journals, magazines and conference proceedings.  Regular access to the rest of the ACM Digital Library’s subscription contents is also provided for in the license.  The new agreement demonstrates a shared commitment between ACM and Purdue to further sustainable OA publishing in computer science. 

“We are proud to partner with ACM, who understands, as we do, that the benefits of open access publishing are numerous for both author and audience,” says Assistant Dean for Collections and Access, Rebecca Richardson. “Our new partnership with ACM creates greater opportunities for Purdue researchers and authors to choose a cost-free open access option and continue our mission to make high-quality scholarship more equitable and accessible to all learners.”   

Under the new agreement, all new ACM research articles published by Purdue corresponding authors will be made OA in perpetuity in the ACM Digital Library ( at no cost to authors, with default CC-BY author rights for article reuse.  Additionally, all accepted new ACM research articles from any Purdue author (corresponding or not) will be automatically deposited into Purdue’s institutional repository.

“Purdue University’s faculty and students are among the most prolific authors of high quality and impactful research articles in ACM’s portfolio of scholarly journals, conference proceedings, and technical magazines published in the ACM Digital Library worldwide”, noted Scott Delman, ACM’s Director of Publications, who went on to say that “ACM is incredibly excited to enter into this new ACM Open partnership, which will enable Purdue-affiliated scholars to reach an even larger readership and greater impact on the global Computing community.”

Since its launch in late January 2020, more than 70 institutions worldwide decided to begin participation in the ACM OPEN license model.  The newly signed agreement with Purdue continues ACM’s collaborative efforts towards becoming a sustainable, fully OA research publisher for the computing community. 


About ACM

ACM, the Association for Computing Machinery, is the world’s largest educational and scientific computing society, uniting educators, researchers and professionals to inspire dialogue, share resources and address the field’s challenges. ACM strengthens the computing profession’s collective voice through strong leadership, promotion of the highest standards, and recognition of technical excellence. ACM supports the professional growth of its members by providing opportunities for life-long learning, career development, and professional networking.


About Purdue University

Purdue University is a top public research institution developing practical solutions to today’s toughest challenges. Ranked the No. 5 Most Innovative University in the United States by U.S. News & World Report, Purdue delivers world-changing research and out-of-this-world discovery. Committed to hands-on and online, real-world learning, Purdue offers a transformative education to all. Committed to affordability and accessibility, Purdue has frozen tuition and most fees at 2012-13 levels, enabling more students than ever to graduate debt-free. See how Purdue never stops in the persistent pursuit of the next giant leap at