Tag Archives: researchtips

Here’s a Few Ways to Learn Duke’s History!

We’re starting the school year off w/ lots of interest in Duke’s complex history, which warms (and engages) our archivist hearts. So here’s a handy compilation of ways to learn more about Duke history at the University Archives!

Travel through 178 years of Duke history with this nifty timeline.

Or grab your coffee & head to the permanent Duke University history exhibit outside the Gothic Reading Room. Color photo of the Duke history exhibit wall located outside the Gothic Reading Room.

Learn more about the workers who built the Duke campuses & their working conditions on the website created by this past summer’s Story+ project, “Stone by Stone: Who Built the Duke Chapel?”

Our research guides will point you to key resources on popular topics, like athletics & student activism.

Our website has tons of historical information, like historical articles written by UA staff (including one about the Robert E. Lee statue removed from Duke Chapel).

Or you can browse our online exhibits! Integration, Duke during World War II, Duke’s queer history—find them here!

The Duke Chronicle, Duke’s student-run newspaper, is a fantastic historical resource. We’ve digitized the very first issue (December 19, 1905) through Feb 1989 and you can read/search through them here. 1990s issues will be available this fall!

103 years of the Chanticleer (Duke’s yearbook) are also browsable online. So many retro hairstyles!

Or see what the Pratt School of Engineering was like with digitized issues of DukEngineer.

Want to see Duke history rather than read about it? Our Flickr site has 3,000+ photos!

Black and white photo of man working with a 1980s computer. The screen reads "Chanticleer."
This 1982 photo is on Flickr. Might not be the best set up for looking at Flickr, though.

And the easiest way to learn about Duke history? Stop by the University Archives and talk to your friendly university archivists!

Researching an Important Duke Milestone

Logo for the Commemoration of 50 Years of Black Students at Duke UniversityIn 2013, Duke will mark 50 years since the desegregation of the undergraduate student body.  The campus-wide theme, “Celebrating the Past, Charting the Future: Commemorating 50 Years of Black Students at Duke University” will be woven into annual events, like commencement, reunion, and Founder’s Day, and will also be a topic of reflection through exhibits, speakers, and service opportunities. Working together across the University, this milestone year offers all of us the opportunity to learn more about Duke’s history.

The University Archives has a rich photographic collection, and we have added a number of photos on Flickr as part of the anniversary celebration. They show us moments of protest and performance, as well as celebration. The photographs are featured on a new website dedicated to this fiftieth anniversary commemoration.

The University Archives contains many collections that provide historical context and primary source documentation on the desegregation of the school, the black student experience at Duke, and much more. Interested in diving in? A new guide to conducting research on African-American history at Duke is now available, and the UA staff is glad to consult on particular questions or projects. (Contact us here!)

Post contributed by Val Gillispie, University Archivist.

Finding Aid Facelift!

According to Wikipedia, “finding aids are a concept dating back to ancient clay tablets.”  While I certainly didn’t learn that factoid in library school, I suppose that if you’re writing on tablets, then you probably need a special tablet (a finding aid?) that tells you where you put all of the other tablets, right? Maybe…

Whatever their origins, finding aids are an important tool for locating material in archival collections and last month the Rubenstein Library’s online finding aids got a major facelift.  We’ve brought them out of the Stone Age by completely overhauling the layout and introducing some new functionality.  With these improvements, we hope our finding aids are more attractive and usable for both researchers and staff.

Some of the major enhancements:

  • New URL for finding aid homepage: http://library.duke.edu/rubenstein/findingaids/
  • What box is my stuff in?  Requesting the wrong box is frustrating.  With new color coding, repeating box numbers, and other visual cues, it’s now easier to determine which container to request.  Container numbers have been moved to the right-hand side of the page so as not to interfere with description.

    Navigation Box for the new Rubenstein Finding Aids
    Navigation Box now on all finding aids
  • Boring stuff moved to the bottom.  Finding aid usability studies indicate that administrative information, subject headings, and lengthy biographical notes are infrequently used, so we’ve relocated those sections to the bottom of the finding aid, keeping the most useful information at the top.
  • Floating navigation box.  A navigation box at the right of the screen stays with you as you scroll, making it easy to navigate to other sections in the finding aid wherever you are.  You can’t outrun it. Don’t even try.
  • Search this finding aid!  A search box in the finding aid navigation box lets you search for keywords in the text of any finding aid.  It’s just like your browser’s “Ctrl F” function!
  • Series Quick Links.  The “Series Quick links” feature in the navigation box activates a small pop-up in the bottom right of the screen for quickly navigating through different series in a collection. Works great with really large finding aids with many series.
  • Expanding / Collapsing.  Now you can control how much detail you want!  By default, finding aids display in their entirety, but click a series/subseries title to expand or collapse content of that series or subseries.  Also, an experimental “Level of Detail” slider in the navigation box lets you control how much detail you want.  Sometimes you just can’t get enough.
  • Link to catalog records:  At the bottom of the navigation box you’ll find a small “catalog record” link that will take you directly to the catalog record for that collection, no questions asked.
  • More prominent links to digital collections.  Finding aids describing collections with digitized content now feature an icon above the banner with a link to the corresponding digital collection.  Example: http://library.duke.edu/rubenstein/findingaids/strykerdeena/

    Deena Stryker Finding Aid
    Finding aid for the Deena Stryker Photographs, with a link to the digital collection.
  • More prominent warnings for access restrictions. Look for the yellow boxes and yield icons.
  • Finding aids on the go!  Using the principles of Responsive Web Design, we’ve redesigned finding aids to display appropriately on any size device—iPhone, iPad, IMAX, you name it.  Just for kicks, open a finding aid in your browser, start narrowing the browser window, and watch the content adjust to fit.

    Finding aids are now easily accessed by phone.

Take a moment and let us know what you think about our new finding aids site.  We appreciate your feedback.

Post contributed by Noah Huffman, Archivist for Metadata and Encoding.

Duke University Archives @ the Internet Archives

Cover of Catalogue of Trinity College, 1858-1859
Cover of the Annual Catalogue of Trinity College, 1858-1859

The recent digitization of many years of the Chanticleer, Duke University’s yearbook, has been a great benefit for both archivists and researchers.

Now, the yearly catalogs, known as Bulletins, are being digitized thanks to the Internet Archive’s Scribe machine located here at the Duke University Libraries. These newly-searchable resources provide more and better access to historical information about Duke University. The catalogs include information like courses offered, of course, but they are also full of other useful facts.

For instance:

  • What was the Trinity College undergraduate tuition for the 1892-1893 academic year (the college’s first year in Durham)? ($25.00 per term)
  • How many bound volumes did the Library contain at the end of the 1923-1924 academic year? (71,520)

In addition, there were specialized catalogs for graduate and professional education, so that someone researching the School of Medicine, for example, can learn more about that program in particular. There are even fun extras like aerial views of campus from the 1930s.

Virtually turning the pages of these historical catalogs provides a wealth of information. In the 1934-1935 Law School bulletin, for example, it lists the current students. One, Richard Milhous Nixon of Whittier, California, was a first-year student at the time. We can also tell from the catalog that school started on September 19 that year, and that “in addition to concert programs, recitals, and lectures, motion pictures are shown in the campus auditorium twice a week.” Sounds like a pretty interesting place to get an education!

Find links to Chanticleers and Bulletins at the Duke University Archives section of the Internet Archive. Additional Bulletins will be digitized in the near future, along with other Duke University resources.

Post contributed by Val Gillispie, Duke University Archivist.

5,000 Digital Books and Counting

The Internet Archive just reached an important milestone by digitizing 5,000 books at Duke. The 5,000th book, The British Album: In Two Volumes, contains poetry by “Della Crusca, Anna Matilda, Arley, Benedict, The Bard” and other writers on themes including love, horror, jealousy, and death, and is part of the general collections of the Rubenstein Library. The “Ode to Death” begins “THOU, whose remorseless rage, Nor vows, nor tears assuage, TRIUMPHANT DEATH!—to thee I raise, The bursting notes of dauntless praise!” The second volume can be found here.

The Scribe Scanner
The Scribe Scanner. Photo by Rita Johnston.

The Internet Archive scanning center at Duke University has been in operation for one and a half years and has digitized materials from collections within the Rubenstein Library, including the University Archives, Utopian Literature, and Confederate Imprints. I scan about 450 pages per hour and around 50 books a week. Most books in the public domain under 11 x 13 inches in size can be digitized on the Scribe book scanner, as well as pamphlets and loose documents.

Books digitized through Internet Archive are usually available on the site by the next day, are full-text searchable, and can be read in a web browser or downloaded to a computer; e-book reader; or mobile device. You can find newly digitized Duke materials by clicking on the RSS feed link at the bottom right on this blog or by visiting the Duke University Libraries Internet Archive page. Patrons can request a book to be digitized by the Internet Archive by contacting Rubenstein Library staff.

Post contributed by Rita Johnston, Scribe scanner operator.

Researching the Civil War?

This has been the most terrific days battle since commincement. The enemy made a terrible charge over our Breastworks with re-inforcementz & succeeded in charging some of our men out of them, capturing many of our Division. All our Regiment that were left from the first days fight were captured.
—from the Henry Beverige Diary, Thursday, May 12, 1864.

Beverige, a soldier and hospital steward with the 25th Virginia Regiment of the Confederate States of America, describes one of the many terrifying, bloody days of the American Civil War. His diary is one of the numerous first person accounts available in the Rubenstein Library. Other perspectives on life during the conflict are offered by fiery teenager Alice Williamson;  Confederate spy Rose O’Neal Greenhow, African Americans such as Edgar Dinsmore, and the many others who experienced the loneliness, losses, and deprivations—and occasional triumphs—of the conflict.

"Come and Join Us Brothers," 1863

To commemorate the sesquicentennial of the Civil War, Rubenstein Library staff have collaborated on a guide to Civil War resources that provides highlights of our rich collections. Special sections describe manuscript and print material related to military history, medicine, women, African Americans, literature, and music in the Rubenstein Library, as well as other library guides and relevant databases and websites.

We anticipate that this guide will be helpful for scholars, genealogists, and anyone with a personal interest in Civil War history. Please contact us if you have questions or comments about our collections.

Post contributed by Elizabeth Dunn, Research Services Librarian.