Studying primary sources allows us to discover information about the past. A primary source might be anything from correspondence to photographs to newspapers and diaries. Primary sources are extremely useful not just for projects, but provide us a way to understand the history more deeply and personally from those that came before us.
When visitors come into the Maryland Room, they use primary sources to help with their research projects. Researchers pour over material, thinking criticallyabout what the material is and what answers it can provide. Critical thinking and inquiry are crucial tools when conducting a research project that involves archival material and primary sources.
These sophisticated research skills are being introduced to children earlier than ever. Case Maker is one of the tools educators can use to help middle school students begin to develop their critical thinking skills. Continue reading →
Visit the Maryland Room in June and take a peek at some of our favorite items in from our Children’s Television Workshop records. The exhibition will be on display now through the end of July. Visit the Maryland Room in Hornbake Library during open hours to see it in person.
This blog post and its accompanying exhibit in the main lobby of McKeldin Library chronicle the ongoing student activism at the University of Maryland, College Park (UMD) to create a culture that actively works to prevent power-based violence and support survivors of sexual assault.
Though sexual assault was not part of the public discourse at UMD prior to the 1970s, examples from the 1950s and 1960s highlight how sexual assault and rape culture impacted student life. This Associated Women Students Revised Dress Code from 1968 highlights the way that women were seen as responsible for the treatment they received based on their personal appearance, and how accepted standards of behavior based on gender roles often reinforced and obscured rape culture. Strict limitations on women’s conduct and dress connect to an ideal of purity and serve to prevent women from having sexual contact before marriage. Women were often blamed for any unwanted contact if they did not abide by these codes. Ideas like these often reinforce the idea that rape is result of the behavior or appearance of the victim, rather than the actions of the perpetrator. It is also important to note that these stark distinctions between men and women can often erase the fact that a person of any gender can be sexually assaulted.
Academic librarians are actively communicating with each other, seeking advice so that we foster access to these materials, and the offensive language and imagery, in responsible ways. Historical material can contain images and language that illustrates racist or hateful attitudes toward people of color, people identifying as LBGTQ, people with disabilities or people from other marginalized communities. These images and language are offensive, and sometimes traumatizing, especially for those who have experienced violence, acts of hate, or microagressions in their lives and the lives of their loved ones.
Here at the University of Maryland, our librarians believe in the importance of facilitating the dissemination of knowledge and information, providing a broad view of the University’s history. We seek to be transparent about our digitization choices and practices. Digitization has allowed increased access and discovery of our collections and our campus’ history. It is not our wish to hide anything from our collections. We know offensive material is there, and we want these records to be to used for research. Our collections enable all of us to engage in more truthful conversations about this history.
We encourage you to use our online collections or to visit us in person to see material that is not yet available online.
As we prepare to say goodbye to ArchivesUM, we look toward the future and how much better searching will be using our new Archival Collections database. Our previous blog post explored why we decided to adopt a new database for managing our finding aids. This post will provide tips for successful navigation within the new Archival Collections database.
Welcome to Archival Collections. The homepage provides some background on what users can expect to find using this search and helpful tips on how to request desired material for use.
Searching is super simple and results to keyword searches much improved. Advanced search is already included on the main page, but simple keyword search will yield great results.
On the results page, you will see individual items, folders, digital material or collections, related to your search term. Use the filters on the right hand side of the screen to limit your results by date, type or choose another filter. For more information or to find answers to frequently asked questions, visit our Archival Collections help page.
Once you find something that you would like to view, click the “Request” button in the top right column of the item record to view the box, and click “Request” again to import the information into your Special Collections Account.
Returning users will be prompted to login. If you are a new user, you will need to set up an account.
Once you have imported everything into your account, you will select the first group of up to 15 items or boxes that you would like to view in our reading room and schedule the date of your visit. Material can be requested on site, but it is recommended that you request material in advance of your visit in case it needs to be pre-screened or retrieved from Severn Library. Material can be placed on hold and quickly retrieved upon your arrival, allowing you to get right to your research.
We have some exciting news to share in Special Collections! After years of work behind the scenes, we are rolling out a new database to help you conduct research using our archival collections.
For the last 11 years, we have used a tool called ArchivesUM to provide access to our archival finding aids. The time has come to say goodbye to ArchivesUM. We are rolling out a new product, called ArchivesSpace, to help improve our user experience, database search-ability, information organization and indexing of our finding aids. ArchivesSpace is a an open source web application used by many other academic libraries for managing archives information.
ArchivesSpace helps us to move away form static, single-page finding aids to a dynamic database that will allow users to easily search by keyword, dates, names, and other useful terms. Users will be able to locate relevant collections, series, folders, and items returned in each search. We will outline more about features and tips over the coming weeks, so follow our blog to learn more.
Our staff has been working with ArchivesSpace for several years, using the back end system to help us organize information about our collections and prepare for the time when we were able to move forward with a new and improved public interface. We have been working with a group of librarians and technicians, both within the UMD Libraries and across the country, to continue to improve the system.
We are excited to announce that we will officially switch to our new discovery system January 28th. To see the upcoming changes, you can use the new Beta site link. More changes are still to come, and we would appreciate your help making those final changes. Please send us feedback as you use this new tool and help us make it even better.
October 11th marked the 30th anniversary of National Coming Out Day, a yearly event that celebrates individuals in the LGBTQIA+ community who have “come out” to the people in their lives.
Special Collections and University Archives had the pleasure of sponsoring the UMD Pride Alliance event, “What’s Your Story?,” where students, faculty, and staff volunteered to create video testimonies of their own coming out stories. In addition to sharing their own “coming out” stories, interviewees also talked about their experiences at the University of Maryland, and how they’ve been able to develop their own communities on campus.
The video project, a concept created by UMD student Maria Aragon, is an extension of our LGBTQ Oral History Project, which began in April 2018. The project seeks to capture the history of LGBTQIA students, faculty, staff and alumni at the University of Maryland.
Post by Ashleigh Coren, Special Collections Librarian for Teaching and Learning
The University of Maryland Libraries’ Special Collections and University Archives would like to invite you to join us for Afternoon Tea at our Annual Open House on October 15th between 2-4pm.
Special Collections and University Archives is home to a number of collections that capture the complex history of immigration to the United States. This year, we hope to engage in conversations with you about these objects and this history.
Driven by the passion of faculty, staff and students across University of Maryland’s schools and colleges, the Year of Immigration programming strives to increase awareness about immigration, global migration and refugees and to use that education to foster a more diverse and inclusive community.
To participate, drop by anytime during the event. We can’t wait to share a cup with you.
Special Collections & University Archives, in collaboration with the LGBT Equity Center, will be conducting short interviews and gathering stories that reflect on and share the experience of being LGBTQ+ on campus or in the community! These will be preserved and added to the University Archives. Interested in sharing yours?
Please join Fembot and our partners for the 2018 Fembot Edit-a-thon! The Edit-A-thon will take place Friday and Saturday, March 9-10, from 10:30-4:00pm in McKeldin Library Rooms 6107 and 6103. This Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon will contribute to the world of free and accessible knowledge, while at the same time working toward an anti-racist, gender inclusive history of everything within Wikipedia’s vast database.