Today’s Headlines are Déjà Vu

“The New Flood Tide of Immigration”: You’d guess that was a headline from USA Today last month? Actually, it is a headline from 1921 which appeared in the Annals of the American Academy of Political Science. How about the headline “How good are cold and flu shots?” It’s from Science Digest, 1960. “New Hopes for Syria” is an article from 1937. All of these articles and many more that can provide students with a better perspective on today’s headlines can be found in the Reader’s Guide Retrospective database. Comparing coverage of a news story from the past and today can be illuminating to students in many disciplines: history, English, sociology, biology, psychology to name a few. This kind of exercise could be a great class discussion starter or an opportunity for a short paper or project.

This database is the electronic version of the old, green books that comprised the Reader’s Guide, stalwart source for most beginning research. The database covers magazines from 1890-1982. Many of the articles are available via full-text links and others are available in microfilm or even in bound print form in Ekstrom Library. For more ideas about how to incorporate material from this database or any of the other 200+ databases to which the library subscribes, contact an Ekstrom Library reference librarian in your discipline:

How to Find Art on UofL’s Campus

If you’ve walked through University of Louisville’s campus, you may have noticed the sculptures situated on our lawns and paintings hung in different department.  These eye-catching art pieces are part of the University’s art collection.  Now you can use a new interactive map to find new favorite artworks!


The Art on Campus tool will let you explore the University of Louisville’s Belknap and the Health Sciences campuses to find geotagged images of art.  Each pin on the map has information about the artist, the materials, and any additional information regarding how the artwork came to be located on campus. The website will work well on different internet browsers, as well as mobile devices such as tablets or smartphones.  There is even a feature that provides you Google Maps walking directions to each piece.

Michelangelo's David sculpture

This map will help you discover hidden gems on campus.  Many of us are aware of Rodin’s The Thinker statue in front of Grawmeyer Hall. However, did you know that a copy of Michelangelo’s iconic David statue sits inside Grawmeyer Hall?

The map also highlights the work of local artists, such as Alma Lesch, a fiber artist who was active in the city during the second half of the 20th century.  Using the information on the map, you can also find out how to further research individual artworks.  For example, the Bridwell Art Library has Alma Lesch’s papers in its manuscripts collection.  More research resources will be added to the Art on Campus page in the future to help scholars research each piece.

Mid-century Louisville

The University of Louisville Libraries’ Digital Collections has a colorful new addition: the Martin F. Schmidt Photos of Louisville, ca. 1956-1966. These 573 color snapshots document buildings in downtown Louisville, Kentucky, in the 1950s and 1960s, before urban renewal and federal highway construction made major changes to the architectural landscape.

ULPA 1998.09.424

609 West Walnut Street, Louisville, Kentucky. Image Number ULPA 1998.09.424 in Martin F. Schmidt Photos of Louisville 1956-1966, University of Louisville Photographic Archives.

The photographer, Martin F. Schmidt (1918-2010), worked in his family’s Coca-Cola bottling business in Louisville before pursuing a degree in library science and applying his interest in local history to positions in the Louisville Free Public Library’s Kentucky Division and the Filson Club (now Filson Historical Society). He also published Kentucky Illustrated: The First Hundred Years (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1992), a selection of prints he collected documenting Kentucky’s first century. Schmidt was also a major supporter of the Kentucky Historical Society in Frankfort, where a library is named in his honor.

The albums he donated to the University of Louisville Photographic Archives (now part of Archives & Special Collections) include churches, schools, offices, and industrial buildings from the Phoenix Hill neighborhood to Portland and from the Central Business District out to the Russell and California neighborhoods. The saturated color images show late nineteenth century architecture with neon signage, painted advertisements (similar to those documented in our Ghost Signs of Louisville digital collection), mid-20th century automobiles, and pedestrians. Many of the buildings depicted have since been razed.

ULPA 1998.09.288

Martin Rosenberger Wallpaper Co., Miller Automatic Sales Company, and Royal Wallpapers, Inc., 525-19 West Market Street, Louisville, Kentucky. Image Number ULPA 1998.09.288 in Martin F. Schmidt Photos of Louisville 1956-1966, University of Louisville Photographic Archives.

Denny Miller: A Tribute

By Chad Owen.

The Edgar Rice Burroughs Collections lost a dear friend and earnest supporter on September 9, 2014.

Denny Miller photosDennis Linn Miller, “Denny” to his friends and fans, was born in 1934 in Bloomington, Indiana. He was discovered first for his athleticism in high school, where famed basketball coach John Wooden offered him a full-ride scholarship to UCLA, and later on Sunset Boulevard by a talent agent, who signed him to MGM in 1958 as a contract player.

Tarzan leapDuring a long and widely varied acting career, he appeared in episodes of television series almost too numerous to list, including M*A*S*H, Gilligan’s Island, The Rifleman, Gunsmoke, Magnum P.I., and The Brady Bunch. He was best well known as a regular on Wagon Train from 1961-64 as the scout, Duke Shannon, as the face of the “Gorton Fisherman” for fourteen years of television commercials, and of course, he famously played Tarzan in 1959’s Tarzan the Ape Man, which brought him into the fold of Burroughs fandom writ large.

Later in life, Denny showcased his vitality and impish sense of humor in his autobiography, Didn’t You Used To Be What’s His Name? by Denny Miller (aka what’s his name), and a book on obesity and exercise entitled Toxic Waist? Know Sweat! He was a regular fixture at fandom cons, joyfully signing autographs and posing for pictures, and was always happy to talk about his past roles, including his time as Tarzan.

Denny and his wife Nancy were also frequent visitors to Louisville and to the Edgar Rice Burroughs Collections in ASC, and he counted Curator Emeritus George McWhorter among his closest friends.

By all of his fans, as well as by us in Archives and Special Collections, he is … and will be … sorely missed.

Ekstrom 1E Renovation

Pre-renovation photo

Pre-renovation photo

by Bob Fox, Dean of the University Libraries

You may be wondering what’s going on with the first floor of Ekstrom Library! It’s part of an overall plan to update and improve Ekstrom that has been ongoing for a few years. We’ve already upgraded spaces on the lower level in our Special Collections area and outside the Chao Auditorium. Last year, we updated one of our instructional labs and refreshed the fourth floor to create great quiet study spaces. Now, we’ve turned our attention to the older east side of the first floor (1E). We had been hearing comments from our users and staff that the way we offered services on the first floor didn’t always make sense and that the physical spaces were outdated and not set up the way our users need.

To learn more about how to update and change the spaces and our services, we conducted an in-depth six-month study using surveys, focus groups, town hall meetings, message boards, and observations. This study, as well as other information relating to the 1E project, is now available on our website at:

The website details things we have already accomplished as a result of the study and gives a timeline for our next steps. If you take a look at the site, you’ll notice that the collections moving around right now are just the first steps of many we will be undertaking to improve the spaces. We’ve already changed some services too so, for example, you can now check out items at both the east (Media) and west (Circulation) service desks. We’re also making organizational and staffing changes including rethinking some existing positions and creating new positions to address specific concerns we’ve heard and to enhance the user experience.

Over the next year, there will be some service disruptions, some noise, and some dust but in the end, we hope that the long-term improvements we see will be well worth the short-term troubles we’ll encounter.

Please continue to check the renovation website as we will update it throughout this exciting process.

History: It’s not exactly what you think it is

by Katherine Burger Johnson

Although I work in a library, my training is in history not library science. I do not point that out because I think of history as a superior field of study. I love libraries and the librarians I know are some of the smartest people I have ever met. I bring this up because historians look at things in a different way than information specialists (which is what librarians are.)

The study of history gives one a way to find his or her place in the world. It puts people and events in context, and life is almost always about context. Many people will say that they hated history class or that there is no real reason to study all those old things. These people did not have good teachers; they missed out on the ones that know that history is the “story” of life. One can look up dates and names, but one cannot know what happened by just learning statistics. Real teaching of history facilitates the understanding of the long connective ribbon of human life and how much we are alike, yet different from, our ancestors.

Someone’s birthday or anniversary is actually an example of practicing historical method. Celebrating a specific special date every year is no different than commemorating the anniversary dates of the man’s first landing on the moon, the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Lee’s surrender at Appomattox Courthouse, or the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Looking through a family photo album is studying history and hearing the stories that accompany the photos is another form of sharing history. Traditions we follow on holidays are another form of studying history, as is memorizing player statistics from the World Series or the Super Bowl.

So this brings me to the subject of most of my reference requests, which involve genealogy. Usually the researcher had no interest in “history” until something happens – a grandparent dies, a long hidden scrapbook is found, a new story is told at a family reunion. This jars the person into awareness and they want to learn more of their – guess what – genealogy or “family history.” If there is a connection with medicine, nursing or dentistry in Louisville, they will contact me.

If they have already done some research they have learned that historical research is time consuming and can be difficult. The next reaction is why are there so many things missing that would enlighten us about the past. I explain that most people do not realize the significance of current information for future researchers, that important documents are not always preserved for future use; that natural disasters take a toll on those that are saved; and that lack of money and space affect what can and is preserved. This does not help a frustrated researcher.

Sometimes I can help the patron, as we have some resources that are not readily available elsewhere. Sometimes I cannot, but I keep digging to make sure that I have not missed some bit of data that could be valuable to them. But, no matter which is the outcome, the fun is in the process of searching, much like a reading a who dunnit or playing a board or card game which could go in a different direction at any moment. Genealogical and historical research is like a game and that’s reason #4529 why I love my job!

There’s a Class for That!

People often ask what academic librarians do nowadays.Book Final

After all, everything is available online and students can simply Google anything they need, right? Well, evidently not. Demand for library instruction is growing, and surveys indicate both students and faculty value the help they receive from UofL Libraries.

During the 2013-2014 academic year, librarians in Ekstrom Library’s reference department taught 255 class sessions involving 5030 students. While almost half were introductory level classes in English, Communication, Campus Culture, and the like, about a third were associated with upper level classes in Arts & Sciences, Business, Education, Engineering, and Social Work. The remainder involved graduate students in the same colleges. A few students may have attended more than one class, but generally there is little overlap. We estimate that in a single school year roughly 40% of UofL underclassmen and about 20% of upperclassmen and graduate students participate in at least one class session led by a librarian.

Over the past two years, the number of students attending library class sessions has increased by 34% and the number of sessions has increased 16%. The largest gain has been in upper level undergraduate classes, particularly in Arts & Sciences and Social Work. Our librarians now work with more than 70 professors to tailor class sessions and/or research guides to specific upper level and graduate classes.

Sessions Graph2

Last academic year reference department librarians also met with over 225 students and faculty in scheduled research appointments involving 1 to 5 people. Unfortunately we only have comparable statistics for the last nine months of the 2011-2012 school year, but they show that research appointments have increased by about 56% over the past two years.

We believe the growing number of requests is the best indication that professors and students think library sessions are good investments of their time. This is supported by several recent assessments. In UofL Libraries Spring 2014 tracking study, almost two-thirds of undergraduates and about three-quarters of graduate students and faculty who responded to a class instruction question said they were very or somewhat satisfied with classes at Ekstrom Library. Similarly, 72-84% said they were very/somewhat satisfied with “research assistance from a librarian.”

Tracking Study Graphs

Earlier this year our Information Literacy group also sent an assessment survey to professors and instructors who scheduled classes with librarians in Fall 2013 or Spring 2014. Seventy-two percent of respondents rated “the overall quality of the library and research sessions offered at Ekstrom Library” as excellent on a five-point poor to excellent scale. In addition, 75% strongly agreed that “the library session was relevant to my students’ needs.”

So even in a world where students have the Internet in their pockets and backpacks, and are able to access ebooks, online databases, and countless facts with their fingertips, both students and faculty appear to appreciate the role librarians can play in helping them locate, evaluate, and effectively use information in college level research. If you would like to schedule a library class session, please contact your subject specialist, call Josh Whitacre at 852-8699, or complete our class request form.  If you want to schedule a research appointment, please submit your request here.


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