home Cycle of Success Steven Pryor Appointed Head of Digital Scholarship

Steven Pryor Appointed Head of Digital Scholarship

The MU Libraries are pleased to announce that Steven Pryor has been appointed head of Digital Scholarship. This new position will lead the newly created unit within the Research, Access and Instructional Services division. This unit will provide critical support and leadership for digital and open scholarship initiatives that advance the MU’s commitment to research excellence.

The Digital Scholarship Unit will provide leadership for developing and maintaining repository and publishing infrastructure to preserve, curate and host content created by MU scholars or owned by the MU Libraries and will be available to consult with librarians and scholars on the implementation and use of digital scholarly tools, methods and applications. In addition, the unit will work with library colleagues to advance open scholarship through advocacy and education in the areas of open access, open educational resources, research metrics and data management.

The formation of this new unit reflects our belief that digital scholarship, digital curation and preservation, and open scholarship are part of the critical infrastructure necessary to support scholarly research at a large research university.

Steven Pryor previously served at MU as digital scholarship librarian since 2018 and as the interim head of Digital Services since April 2021. Steven has a Master of Library and Information Science from the University of Washington and a Bachelor of Science in computer science from Southern Illinois University. Steven previously served as head of information and technology services (ITS) operations for the University of Washington Libraries. Before that he served as the ITS special projects librarian. Other previous positions include director of digital initiatives and technologies at Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville and technology manager for Saint Louis University Libraries.

home Cycle of Success, Support the Libraries Friends of the University of Missouri Libraries Celebrates the 2022 Robert J. Stuckey Essay Conest Winners

Friends of the University of Missouri Libraries Celebrates the 2022 Robert J. Stuckey Essay Conest Winners

The Friends of the University of Missouri Libraries is proud to announce the winners of the 2021 – 2022 Robert J. Stuckey Essay Contest. The contest offers monetary awards of $1,500 for the first-place winner and $750 for the second-place winner. Thirty-seven essays were submitted for the contest this year.

The first-place winner is Mary Schwanke of North Shelby High School in Shelbyville, MO for her essay entitled “17,850 Hours.” The second-place winner is AJ Wildhaber of Hancock High School in St. Louis, MO for their essay entitled “Dead Name.” The Stuckey Essay contest also provides an award of $250 for teachers of the winning students. Congratulations to Kathy Jackson and Brian Murphy for their work with this year’s winners.

Each year the essay contest is open to Missouri High School students in grades 9-12, and only one entry is accepted from each school. Common student topics for essays include literary analyses, accounts of personal experiences, and fictional short stories. Each essay should be originally composed by the student without assistance and should not have been submitted to any previous contest or have been previously published.

The Friends of the Libraries have been affiliated with the University of Missouri Libraries since 1960 and have administered and funded the Robert J. Stuckey Essay Contest since its inception. The late Robert J. Stuckey was a member of the 1963 junior class of Farmington High School and had planned to attend college. He was deeply interested in current events and enjoyed reading. This annual contest is presented in memory of him.

Thank you to this year’s Stuckey Essay judges, Shelby Catalano, Jody Feldman, Ann Campion Riley, Laurie Tourtellot, and Steve Weinberg, all of whom serve on the Friends of the University of Missouri Libraries Council.

home Cycle of Success Rae Thudium Appointed Head of Veterinary Medical Library

Rae Thudium Appointed Head of Veterinary Medical Library

The MU Libraries are pleased to announce that Rae Thudium has been appointed as the head of the Veterinary Medical Library. Originally from Springfield, Missouri, Rae earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English literature from Columbia College and a Master of Library and Information Science at the University of Missouri. She has served as the interim head librarian since the departure of Kate Anderson in July, 2021. Previously, she was a library associate at the Daniel Boone Regional Library and the interim executive assistant at the MU College of Veterinary Medicine. Her goals for the veterinary library include ensuring the library is a safe, quiet place for all, and updating the print collection to include additional eBook options.

home Cycle of Success Welcome to Vera Elwood, Head of Journalism Library

Welcome to Vera Elwood, Head of Journalism Library

The MU Libraries are pleased to announce that Vera Elwood has been hired as the head of the Journalism Library. Vera comes to Mizzou from Central Methodist University, where she was the instructional services librarian for three years. Prior to that, Vera served as young adult librarian and, later, outreach librarian at the Hays Public Library for three years. Vera may have gotten her Master of Library Science degree from Emporia State University in Kansas, but she became a third generation Mizzou legacy when she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in communication from the University of Missouri.

home Cycle of Success, Engineering Library, J. Otto Lottes Health Sciences Library, Journalism Library, Zalk Veterinary Medical Library Christina Pryor Appointed Director of Health Sciences Library and Associate University Librarian for Specialized Libraries

Christina Pryor Appointed Director of Health Sciences Library and Associate University Librarian for Specialized Libraries

Christina Pryor has been appointed Director of Health Sciences Library and Associate University Librarian for Specialized Libraries, effective June 1, 2022. She has served admirably in her interim roles at the University of Missouri, and we welcome her permanent status at the Libraries. Chris joined the Libraries in 2018 as the Missouri Coordinator for the Network of the National Library of Medicine, and she began overseeing Health Sciences Library operations in December, 2019.

This position is a leadership role within the University Libraries, including oversight for libraries in the Colleges of Arts & Sciences, Engineering, Veterinary Medicine, and the Missouri School of Journalism. As an AUL, she also serves as a member of the Libraries Management Team.

Chris brings excellent experience and skills to this position. She came to the University of Missouri in 2018 from the University of Washington Health Sciences Library in Seattle, where she served as the assistant director and community health education coordinator. Her previous positions include consulting and education services manager for Amigos Library Services, reference manager for the St. Louis County Library System, and medical research librarian for Covidien/Mallinckrodt. Over her entire career, she has worked to emphasize the importance of health information to a wide variety of constituents. She has a Master of Library and Information Science from the University of Missouri and a Bachelor of Journalism from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.

Pryor is active in state, regional and national professional organizations. She is currently serving as President of the Reference and User Services Association, a division of ALA.

home Cycle of Success MU Libraries Receives NEH Grant to Renovate Ellis Library West Stacks for Special Collections and Archives

MU Libraries Receives NEH Grant to Renovate Ellis Library West Stacks for Special Collections and Archives


The University of Missouri Libraries was awarded a prestigious $500,000 Infrastructure and Capacity Building Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). This funding will be used to renovate the West Stacks in Ellis Library to provide climate-controlled storage for Special Collections and Archives. Construction is anticipated to begin in 2024.

“This renovation will benefit students and researchers by ensuring our distinctive collections are housed in appropriate conditions for long-term preservation,” says Deborah Ward, Interim Vice Provost for Libraries. “We are grateful to the NEH for their support of this project.”

Built in 1936, the West Stacks consists of eight levels of structural stacks that connect the Ellis west addition to the original stacks built in 1915. The renovation will enable all eight levels to house rare and archival collections, which are currently scattered throughout Ellis Library in wings built in 1915, 1936 and 1958 or off-site in a high-density storage facility.

Special Collections and Archives is home to a diverse selection of rare, unique and historic materials across distinct formats: manuscripts, papers, rare books, maps, posters, comic art, architectural plans, photographs and film. Significant collections include the papers of Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lanford Wilson, the Gary E. and Janet J. Venable Antiquarian Atlas and Map Collection, medieval and Renaissance manuscripts, and the University Archives, including many other collections.

“These materials are valuable assets for secondary and university teaching, and they attract scholars from other universities,” stated MU Provost Latha Ramchand. “In addition, the University Libraries actively participates in digitization projects that allow the collections to be used internationally through such efforts as the Hathi Trust.”

The grant provides a 3:1 ratio matching challenge, which the Libraries will meet by raising 1.5 million dollars in donor funding. For more information and to donate to the project, contact Matt Gaunt, Director of Advancement, at gauntm@missouri.edu.

National Endowment for the Humanities: Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at neh.gov.

home Cycle of Success Nine Years Old and Alone in 1889

Nine Years Old and Alone in 1889

“If a child picked up coal at a Kansas City train yard in 1889, how much money might he get for one bucket”?

This intriguing question was recently submitted to the MU Libraries by Mary Hadreas of Astoria, Oregon. Only after answering the question did we find out why she was asking.

Marie Concannon, Head of Government Information, knew where to find the price of coal in Kansas in 1889. Unfortunately it was expressed in price per ton. She shared the question with Cade McKnelly, a student assistant in the Government Information office. Cade is an Economics major and is great with mathematical questions. He found the volume of a ton of coal and performed the calculations, arriving at an answer: the child might receive one cent for each bucket of coal gathered.

Mary Hadreas

When we sent this result back to Ms. Hadreas, she amazed us by saying that our response confirmed a family legend. According to the stories passed down through an elderly aunt, Shad Houston Whittaker (1880-1964) had left home to make his way in the world at age nine. The statement from his parents was “You are a big boy and it is time to take care of yourself,” and he did. He found his way to Kansas City by following the railroad track. Once there, he earned some money by gathering coal for a penny per bucket. Ms. Hadreas wanted to fact-check this remarkable story before committing it to her family history book. She found us through the “Prices and Wages by Decade” guide on the MU Libraries website.

As for Shad, despite starting out with so little, his was a story of resilience. From gathering coal, he worked his way up in a succession of railroad jobs, ultimately became an engineer!

We want to thank Ms. Hadreas for allowing us to share this inspiring story.

Cycle of Success is the idea that libraries, faculty, and students are linked; for one to truly succeed, we must all succeed. The path to success is formed by the connections between University of Missouri Libraries and faculty members, between faculty members and students, and between students and the libraries that serve them. More than just success, this is also a connection of mutual respect, support, and commitment to forward-thinking research.

If you would like to submit your own success story about how the libraries have helped your research and/or work, please use the Cycle of Success form.

Image of coal wagon: Historic Kansas City Foundation Collection (SC224)

home Cycle of Success Marie Concannon Receives Two Awards from National Library Association

Marie Concannon Receives Two Awards from National Library Association

Marie Concannon, head of government information and data archives for MU Libraries, was chosen for two awards by the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA).

Concannon was selected as the 2022 recipient of the RUSA History Section’s Genealogy/History Achievement Award, sponsored by ProQuest for her creation, research and management of the Prices and Wages by Decade library guide as well as her service to the library community and ALA. The award consists of a citation and a monetary award to a librarian, library or publisher, in recognition of professional achievement in historical or genealogical reference, service, or research librarianship.

In addition, she received the RUSA Award for Excellence in Reference and Adult Services Award for outstanding achievement in creating the Prices and Wages by Decade library guide, and for supporting a more informed citizenry by making economic history more easily accessible to all.

The Prices and Wages guide, which helps researchers locate primary sources showing historic retail prices and average wages, links mainly to government reports, but also includes catalogs and newspapers when relevant. The research guide has found fans across campus, the state, and the world since Marie Concannon, Head of Government Information, created it in 2012.

Esteemed research scientist Jay Zagorsky, who collects data for the National Longitudinal Surveys of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, is one of the latest scholars to use the detailed lists of resources for prices and wages throughout the history of the U.S. Zagorsky investigated how prices at high end restaurants have changed since 1899 using menus found via the guide.

Jeannette Pierce, associate university librarian for research, access, and instructional services, stated, “We are very excited to see that Marie’s hard work on this guide is being recognized. Marie’s expertise in the area of government information combined with her commitment to providing excellent service to library users makes her the perfect person to receive these awards.”

Laying the Research Foundation

This guest post is written by Dr. Jennifer O’Connor, Associate Teaching Professor and Dr. Becky Largent, Assistant Teaching Professor at the Sinclair School of Nursing.

What do you do with 60+ brand new doctoral students to get them on the right track as they begin their research? Talk to your librarian, of course.

Navigating MU’s Health Sciences Library resources can be overwhelming for new students, particularly those in distance mediated programs, such as nursing. As a part of a week-long intensive orientation, Rebecca Graves, our Health Sciences librarian, provides a two-hour workshop each summer to prepare nursing PhD and Doctor of Nursing Practice students for several years of research activities.

Dr. Jennifer O’Connor

This two-hour workshop focuses on how to perform database searches and use reference management tools. In an interactive process, Rebecca guides our students through the search process with special emphasis on specific search techniques and strategies for ongoing organization of research materials. She has also made herself available to assist faculty whenever we have called. Rebecca has been willing to share her knowledge with students whenever needed, be it in the summer for a large group of doctoral students, via Zoom or in person, or in a variety of one-on-one meetings.

Dr. Becky Largent

Even through the pandemic, she continued to be a valuable resource for those students who were unexpectedly at a distance though individual and group Zoom meetings. As faculty, we count on Rebecca to help lay the foundation necessary for students to understand and implement evidence-based practice strategies. A Review of the Literature is one of the first major assignments in a doctoral program and can be a daunting undertaking—our health science librarian shows the students the path where all they see are tall weeds. “It’s like magic!” one student notes.

Rebecca S. Graves

Rebecca’s interactive style and health sciences knowledge is the blend students need to feel comfortable seeking support from Rebecca while knowing the guidance she is providing is accurate and usable. Many doctoral students have been away from academia for some time. The research and writing components of a doctoral program are typically the most intimidating aspects of seeking a terminal degree. Rebecca breaks down these very daunting aspects of doctoral education and makes them feel manageable and accomplishable.

Cycle of Success is the idea that libraries, faculty, and students are linked; for one to truly succeed, we must all succeed. The path to success is formed by the connections between University of Missouri Libraries and faculty members, between faculty members and students, and between students and the libraries that serve them. More than just success, this is also a connection of mutual respect, support, and commitment to forward-thinking research.

If you would like to submit your own success story about how the libraries have helped your research and/or work, please use the Cycle of Success form.

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Taira Meadowcroft

Taira Meadowcroft is a Health Sciences Librarian at the University of Missouri. She focuses on quality improvement, reference, and marketing for the University of Missouri Libraries.

home Cycle of Success, Special Collections and Archives Partnership Brings Medieval Manuscript Collection into the Digital Age

Partnership Brings Medieval Manuscript Collection into the Digital Age

In Fall 2020, Dr. Brittany Rancour worked with Special Collections to create a digital guide to the Fragmenta Manuscripta collection through a partnership with the Department of Visual Studies. The Fragmenta Manuscripta Collection is a collection of manuscript fragments, most of them from the twelfth to the fifteenth centuries, but with materials extending as far back as the eighth century and as recently as the seventeenth century. Dr. Rancour’s project involved updating and expanding the finding aid to provide in-depth descriptions of over 200 manuscript fragments, work that was first started by Nicole Songstad, a graduate research assistant in Special Collections.

Dr. Rancour, now a Visiting Assistant Professor of Humanities at Dixie State University, came to Mizzou as a PhD student in medieval art history and was drawn to Special Collections, specifically because of the assortment of medieval manuscripts. “When the librarians wanted to develop an on-line learning experience for the collection, I jumped at the opportunity to work with the fragments,” says Dr. Rancour.

The fragments are parts of completed manuscripts that include bibles, books of hours, legal texts, and poetry. Over the centuries, people tended to cut fragments from the the original bindings as collectors valued parts of the texts rather than the entire product. The history of the collection begins with John Bagford, an English book collector around the turn of the eighteenth century. Bagford had a collection of manuscript fragments and had ambitions to write a history of the development of printing from handwritten manuscripts to the invention of the moveable type. In an essay dated to 1707, Bagford wrote that the collection was, “perhaps the first of that kind that ever was done in any part of Europe.” You can learn more about the collection here.

Before Dr. Rancour’s work on this project, there was no finding aid at all. “It was all digitized and available on Digital Scriptorium, but it was difficult to find groups of materials. This finding aid has helped staff and patrons tremendously in locating specific items according to various themes – poetry, or sermons, for example. In fact, I used it just last week to find materials for a class,” says Kelli Hansen, Head of Special Collections.

Partnerships between the libraries and different departments on campus open up various opportunities for learning and research. Asked for one piece of advice for those interested in working with the library, Dr. Rancour said, “ask a Special Collections librarian what types of objects are in their collection. It is an excellent collection and has so much to offer to students and others interested in history.”

Cycle of Success is the idea that libraries, faculty, and students are linked; for one to truly succeed, we must all succeed. The path to success is formed by the connections between University of Missouri Libraries and faculty members, between faculty members and students, and between students and the libraries that serve them. More than just success, this is also a connection of mutual respect, support, and commitment to forward-thinking research.

If you would like to submit your own success story about how the libraries have helped your research and/or work, please use the Cycle of Success form.

TAGS:

Taira Meadowcroft

Taira Meadowcroft is a Health Sciences Librarian at the University of Missouri. She focuses on quality improvement, reference, and marketing for the University of Missouri Libraries.