News from the Field

David Free

Digital project offers access to the history of Free People of Color in Louisiana

The award-winning 2013 movie 12 Years a Slave, which told the story of Solomon Northrup—a free man of color from New York who was sold into slavery in Louisiana—brought unprecedented attention to the history of free people of color in the United States. It is somewhat ironic that Northrup ended up in Louisiana, as it had one of the largest and most significant populations of free people of color.

Jacques, Free Man of Color passport, 95-28-L, Williams Research Center, The Historic New Orleans Collection. Free people of color had to carry such documentation as evidence of their free status.

Free people of color were individuals of African descent who lived in colonial and antebellum America and were born free or had escaped the bonds of enslavement before slavery was abolished in 1865. By 1810, free people of color composed 29 percent of New Orleans’s population, a demographic unmatched by any other U.S. city or territory. Baton Rouge, St. Landry Parish, and the Cane River area near Natchitoches, Louisiana, also had significant numbers of free people of color. Inhabiting the space between slavery and freedom made their ambiguous and incongruent status one of the most talked about “problems” of the first half of the 19th century, yet their history has understandably been largely overshadowed by the harsh story of slavery in America.

Those interested in exploring the history of this group can now do so in a recently released, free online resource, “Free People of Color in Louisiana: Revealing an Unknown Past.” The collaborative digital project funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities brings together and provides access to more than 30,000 pages of family and personal papers, business records, and public documents from the Louisiana State University Libraries’ Special Collections, the Louisiana State Museum Historical Center, the Historic New Orleans Collection, Tulane University’s Louisiana Research Collection, and New Orleans Public Library. The collection is freely available at

DePaul University Library joins FDLP as digital-only depository

The DePaul University Library has joined the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) as one of the first digital-only depositories, a designation that will allow the library to design and deliver government information services focused on digital content published by the federal government. Taking advantage of the digital-only designation available to FDLP libraries since Fall 2014, DePaul will be able to more easily provide seamless access to government information sources critical to academic programs housed on its two campuses in Chicago, as well as its suburban locations and online programs. An official launch for the digital depository program is scheduled for later this year. More information on the designation of the DePaul University Library as a digital-only depository is available at

Harry Ransom Center awards research fellowships

The Harry Ransom Center, a humanities research library and museum at the University of Texas (UT)-Austin, has awarded 70 research fellowships for 2015–2016. The fellowships support research projects in the humanities that require substantial on-site use of the Ransom Center’s collections of manuscripts, rare books, film, photography, art, and performing arts materials.

The fellowships range from one to three months in duration and provide $3,000 of support per month. Travel stipends and dissertation fellowships are also awarded. The stipends are funded by individual donors and organizations, including the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Creekmore and Adele Fath Charitable Foundation, the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, UT-Austin’s Office of Graduate Studies, Schusterman Center for Jewish Studies, and program in British Studies. A list of recipients is available at

ProQuest to digitize Harper’s Bazaar archive

ProQuest is creating the first digital archive of Harper’s Bazaar, spanning 1867 through the current issue. Research outcomes in areas as wide-ranging as fashion, design, art, women’s studies, gender studies, marketing, and business will be improved through online access and searching of both text and images from the magazine’s entire run.

Available later in 2015 on the ProQuest platform, the Harper’s Bazaar Archive will be cross-searchable along with the Vogue and Women’s Wear Daily archives. Launched in 1867, Harper’s Bazaar was America’s first fashion magazine, home to such style icons as Diana Vreeland, Carmel Snow, and Alexey Brodovitch. Its pages chronicle the evolution of American style and art, featuring photographers such as Richard Avedon, Diane Arbus, Man Ray, and Patrick Demarchelier, along with artists such as Andy Warhol. The archive will capture every edition cover-to-cover, from the first issue to the present, and preserve the material in its original context in fully searchable, high-resolution images.

EBSCO launches Arabic e-book collection

EBSCO Information Services (EBSCO) recently announced the release of the eBook Arabic Collection, available via EBSCO eBooks. This Arabic-language collection of e-books is produced specifically for libraries in Arab League countries and for Arab scholars around the world. The eBook Arabic Collection features more than 1,000 customized, multidisciplinary Arabic titles providing education content in several key academic disciplines. The collection includes content from noteworthy publishers including Dar El-Yazouri, United Nations Publications, Madbouly Library, K-Tab, and others, as well as award-winning authors, including Abbas Mahmoud El Akkad, Fatima Naaot, Mohamed Awad Aidi, and Ibrahim Abdel Qader Mezni.

Cornell University ILR School, Catherwood Library celebrate DigitalCommons@ILR’s 10 millionth download

The Cornell University ILR School and the Martin P. Catherwood Library recently celebrated the 10 millionth download from the DigitalCommons@ILR project. Founded in 1945 as the New York State School of Industrial and Labor Relations, the ILR School today is advancing the world of work through teaching, research, and outreach. Launched just over a decade ago, DigitalCommons@ILR provides free online access to more than 21,000 resources for executives, managers, workers, and researchers. It serves as a repository not only of scholarship produced by faculty and researchers, but also historic and born-digital materials relevant to the ILR community and workplace researchers and practitioners internationally.

Covering all aspects of work and the workplace, DigitalCommons@ILR documents are freely available online with no access restrictions. Researchers from every state in the union and around the world download items on everything from general workplace subjects such as creativity or teamwork to specialized questions such as the transition from disability to retirement benefits. DigitalCommons@ILR is available at

Framework for Information Literacy Advisory Board

The ACRL Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education has introduced a new way of thinking and practicing to the academic library community. To support the implementation of the framework, the ACRL Board of Directors has approved the creation of a new ACRL Framework for Information Literacy Advisory Board. These member leaders will work with ACRL Visiting Program Officer for Information Literacy Sharon Mader to offer a range of expertise and perspectives that can positively and strategically shape the growth and development of the framework. More information on the advisory board, including the group’s charge and a list of members, is available at

Wendi Arant Kaspar appointed C&RL editor

ACRL announces the appointment of Wendi Arant Kaspar to the post of editor for College & Research Libraries (C&RL). Kaspar will serve a three-year term beginning July 1, 2016.

“Wendi brings a wealth of editorial and scholarly communication experience to the C&RL editorship,” said ACRL President Karen A. Williams of the University of Arizona. “Having previously served as coeditor of two respected LIS journals, she will continue to lead ACRL’s flagship journal into the future, following in the tradition of innovation and experimentation exemplified by outgoing editor Scott Walter and his predecessors. I’m looking forward to watching the ongoing evolution of the journal under Wendi’s leadership.”

Kaspar will serve as editor designate from July 1, 2015, to June 30, 2016, when she will assume full editorial responsibility. In the position of editor, Kaspar will also serve as chair of the C&RL Editorial Board. She succeeds Scott Walter, university librarian at DePaul University in Chicago, as C&RL editor. Walter will work closely with Kaspar over the next year to ensure a smooth transition.

“I’ve have watched C&RL’s evolution with interest, particularly as it provides a leadership model for open access and considers the opportunities that technology and new media bring to scholarly publishing,” Kaspar said. “I am excited at the prospect of being a part of this effort, contributing to the innovative voice of ACRL, and framing quality scholarship and best practices in academic librarianship.”

“Kaspar’s experience and energy will be a great asset in sustaining the momentum and reputation that C&RL has built as the premier open access, peer-reviewed scholarly journal for academic and research librarianship,” added Priscilla Finley, chair of the ACRL Publications Coordinating Committee.

Kaspar currently serves as policy sciences librarian at the Texas A&M University Policy Sciences and Economics Library, where her duties include working as liaison librarian and subject selector to the Departments of Economics and Political Science, as well as the Bush School of Government including International Affairs and Homeland Security. Her extensive publishing experience includes serving as coeditor-in-chief of the Journal of Academic Librarianship (2012–14) and coeditor-in-chief of Library Leadership & Management (2010–12).

Published since 1939, C&RL is the open access, online-only scholarly research journal of ACRL. C&RL is freely available online at

Teaching Information Literacy Threshold Concepts

ACRL announces the publication of Teaching Information Literacy Threshold Concepts: Lesson Plans for Librarians. Edited by Patricia Bravender, Hazel McClure, and Gayle Schaub, Teaching Information Literacy Threshold Concepts is an essential resource for instruction librarians interested in promoting critical thinking and engaged learning.

Teaching Information Literacy Threshold Concepts provides instruction librarians detailed, ready-to-use, and easily adaptable lesson ideas to help students understand and be transformed by information literacy threshold concepts. The included lessons are categorized according to the six information literacy frames identified in the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education.

This volume offers concrete and specific ways of teaching the threshold concepts that are central to the Framework and is suitable for all types of academic and high school libraries, as well as a pedagogical tool for library and information schools.

Teaching Information Literacy Threshold Concepts: Lesson Plans for Librarians is available for purchase in print through the ALA Online Store,, or by telephone order at (866) 746-7252 in the United States or (770) 442-8633 for international customers.

Tech Bits…

Brought to you by the ACRL ULS Technology in University Libraries Committee

Mindomo is an online mind mapping site. With a free login, you can start with a variety of graphical themes and templates. The templates include a basic mind map, a concept map with many branches, or variations of a tree organization. Mindmodo has an intuitive interface and the free version includes options such as including web links, comments, and icons. You can also upload maps created in other mapping programs. Maps can be shared or kept private. In addition to the free version, Mindomo offers premium accounts, offering options to embed images or attach files, the ability to create a larger number of maps, and support for multiple users. Mindomo is a good option for brainstorming with concept maps or presenting information as a mind map.

— Britt Fagerheim

Utah State University



The name of the Loyola Marymount University William H. Hannon Library was inadvertently misspelled in the article “What’s a nice Jewish book group doing in a Catholic university?” in the June issue. The editors sincerely regret the error.

Copyright 2015© American Library Association

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