home Ellis Library, Hours, Special Collections and Archives Special Collections Open by Appointment this Summer

Special Collections Open by Appointment this Summer

Due to upcoming collections moves, Special Collections will be open by appointment until the beginning of the fall 2021 semester. Visit the Special Collections website to set up appointments for the reading room or microfilm readers, and be sure to ask us if you have any questions.

Stay up-to-date on our moving projects by following us on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram!

Kelli Hansen

Kelli Hansen is head of the Special Collections and Rare Books department.

Digital Services: Twenty for 2020

2020 was a busy and challenging year for the Digital Services Department at the University Libraries. Despite those challenges, we were able to start, advance, and complete an amazing array of projects. We present here twenty of our proudest accomplishments of 2020.

1: MOspace Grows by 12%

In 2020, we added 4,200 new items to MOspace, the online institutional repository for MU. This was the third largest number of new items added in a single year since MOspace was launched in 2008. MOspace now includes more than 35,000 research articles, presentations, theses and dissertations, maps, MU publications, etc.


2: New Scanner Enables New Projects

A generous donor provided funding for a new scanner, adding to our overall capacity to complete digitization projects of large and fragile materials. The Atiz Mark 2 also has a v-cradle which puts less stress on the material during digitization. We have completed the digitization of several items we could not previously have done.


3: Office of Undergraduate Studies Partnership

This year we partnered with the Undergraduate Studies to host the Undergraduate Research & Creative Achievements Forum in the MU Digital Library. Held in the spring, summer, and fall, the Forum highlights the scholarship of MU students, and included abstracts describing the project, posters, PowerPoint slides, and videos. While previous Forums were in-person events, the move to remote classes in the spring was the prompt for this new partnership.



4: Faculty Research is Focus of MOspace Collection

Faculty research at the University of Missouri is the focus of a new collection in MOspace. The collection includes research material already in MOspace that we are in the process of adding to the new collection. It also includes articles published with open access licenses which were added in Phase 1 of a library project to identify and make published articles by MU faculty available in MOspace.


5: More Rare Materials Now Available Online

Digitization of rare materials was put on hold during the campus closure. Still, during the spring and fall semesters we were able to complete the digitization of rare materials in the Special Collections and Rare Books Department and unique materials on loan from a private collection. These are now available in the MU Digital Library


6: Sanborn Maps of Missouri

The Sanborn Fire Insurance Map Company, established in 1867, compiled and published maps of United States cities and towns. The maps are large scale plans that were used by the fire insurance industry. In 2020, maps published in 1924, along with other 1924 publications, entered the public domain in the United States. While we did not get all of our 1924 Sanborn maps digitized, we were able to add the 1924 sheets for Liberty and the Webster Groves sheets issued as part of the St. Louis volume. They are now available in the MU Digital Library.


7: New Collection of Concert Programs

When the recently established MU Budds Center for American Music Studies asked us to partner on digitizing and making a collection of archival documents available in MOspace, we were thrilled. While this is an ongoing project, many MU concert programs, photographs, and posters, as well as miscellaneous publications are now in MOspace and available for use. Dates of items range from 1977 to1997. Check back for updates to this growing collection.



8: Global Journalist Archive Added to MOspace

In 2020, MOspace became the archive for audio recordings of the radio program, “Global Journalists.” As noted on the Global Journalist website: “Global Journalist covers press freedom, human rights and international affairs. The weekly, half-hour discussion is produced by faculty and students of the Missouri School of Journalism and Mid-Missouri Public Radio.” This is a growing collection, with 66 segments produced between 2002-2020 now available.



9: SISLT Webcast  Recordings

The School of Information Science and Learning Technologies produced webcasts between 2005 and 2015.  On each show practicing librarians and educators were interviewed about topics such as literacy, library positions, library programs, and educational technologies. 245 recordings now are archived in MOspace.


10: History of Missouri Place Names in Historical Theses

We are getting close to completion of a project to digitize 18 theses detailing the history of Missouri place names. They were written in the 1920s through the 1940s under the direction of Robert L. Ramsey, professor of English, and provide the origins of the names of counties, townships, post offices, rivers. branches, creeks, ridges, prairies, mounds, hills, valleys, gaps, churches, etc. These are great resources for historical information about Missouri.


11: MU Theses and Dissertations

MOspace is the online repository for MU theses and dissertations published since 2006. This collection highlights research being completed at MU. In 2020, we added more than 470 theses and dissertations issued in 2019-2020. In addition, we added 61 older theses and dissertations which we digitized as part of an ongoing project to make these available online. This collection is one of our larger collections, with 9,200 total items, 8,366 of which were issued after 2005. Note: Because Fall 2020 items have not yet been added and authors may request a one-year delay before publication, the 2020 numbers in the graph are not complete.



12: MU Publications in MOspace

In addition to the MU material mentioned elsewhere, we added current or historical items to several ongoing collections in MOspace, including:



13: Support for Remote Teaching and Learning

Since our unit focuses on creating and hosting online resources, we were able to support online teaching and learning by digitizing material and hosting online forums.

As an example, we digitized rare items for use in a history course and made the images available in the MU Digital Library:


14: University of Missouri Extension

Our MU Extension digitization project got a boost in 2020. As we prepared to move to remote work, we quickly digitized historical MU Extension publications that would provide opportunities for remote work. The publications we digitized were in good condition and could be fed through a scanner with a sheet-feeder, so we were able to quickly digitize a large number of them. Staff reviewed and edited images from their home worksites. In 2020 we added 1,280 MU Extension publications to MOspace. They cover a variety of topics including agriculture, homemaking, recipes, and annual reports.


15: Instagram Posts Highlight Work

Digital Services joined forces with the Special Collections and Rare Books Department to inform and entertain Instagram viewers by providing information about the work of both departments and of the resources available in the University of Missouri Libraries.



16: Celebrating MU Students in Digital Services

In Digital Services, our excellent undergraduate student workers do most of our scanning work. That productivity was missed when we moved to remote work. With a return to campus, we were pleased that two of our long-term students re-joined us in the fall and picked up digitization projects related to rare materials and MU publications.


17: Personnel

This year Digital Services saw a lot of new faces. We welcomed a new staff member, Antanella, to our permanent staff of four, and had temporary help from two library staff members – Mara and Peter — who contributed to specific projects. We rely on MU student workers to accomplish our work and were fortunate to have excellent help this year. In addition, in the spring we had two graduate assistants (one of whom was short-term) who helped move projects forward.



18: Campus Closure Prompts Move to Remote Work

With the rest of the campus, Digital Services moved to remote operations in March. In preparation, staff packed needed resources and made plans for virtual connections. Digital Services was fortunate in being able to continue its work off-site. Staff reviewed and edited digital images, added items to MOspace and the MU Digital Library and worked with others on campus to make their resources available. Other stories on this page feature some of these projects. Fortunately, we were able to return to campus in staggered shifts for the fall semester and resumed our on-site scanning work.


19: Mission, Vision, and Values

The members of the University Archives, Special Collections, and Digital Services Division collaboratively drafted mission, vision, and values statements with guidance from Julie Brandt (Institutional Research & Quality Improvement). These will be posted on a forthcoming division website. As part of that process Digital Services reviewed and refined its own mission statement, which is posted here.


20: Giving Back to the Library Community

Ying Hu and Felicity Dykas shared tips about supervising students at the 2020 statewide MOBIUS conference held virtually in June. The annual MOBIUS conference is attended by academic and public library workers and provides an opportunity to share with and learn from colleagues.


Looking Forward to 2021!

Many of our projects are ongoing and will continue into 2021. We also plan to resume activities that were put on hold due to the accommodations we had to make for Covid-19, including HathiTrust submissions. New in 2021: We will be launching a new site for digital exhibits and forums, such as online poster sessions. We will partner with others on campus to host their events and to develop digital exhibits.
home Special Collections and Archives Student-Curated Digital Exhibit on Travel Posters Now Online

Student-Curated Digital Exhibit on Travel Posters Now Online

Three library interns from the English department — Bethany Bade, Katy Bond, and Allie Overschmidt — have collaborated on an exhibit featuring some of our travel posters. You might not expect post-war Europe to have been a travel destination, but tourism was still a major force. Our interns’ exhibit, “Commercial Art” focuses on the role played by artists, slogans, descriptions, and styles of illustration, including typography, in creating national images and identities. It includes posters from across Europe, from Spain up to Norway.

Our interns have done great work over this past semester, researching the background of the posters and describing their importance. Whether you are interested in design or history, art or politics, this is an exhibit you will want to check out!

Kelli Hansen

Kelli Hansen is head of the Special Collections and Rare Books department.

home Special Collections and Archives New Digital Resource: Guide to the Fragmenta Manuscripta Collection

New Digital Resource: Guide to the Fragmenta Manuscripta Collection

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. The collection’s finding aid has been updated and expanded by Dr. Brittany Rancour, who has provided in-depth descriptions of the different genres represented within the collection as well as short biographies of identified authors. The finding aid is also an exhibit with digitized versions of the manuscripts.

The updated site can serve as an introduction to medieval European manuscripts, as a reference aid for researchers working with the collection, and as a teaching tool for faculty interested in locating examples of specific genres and practices within the collection. We hope that it will prove useful during this time of social distancing and perhaps as an inspiration for people to make an appointment to see the originals here in Special Collections.

Kelli Hansen

Kelli Hansen is head of the Special Collections and Rare Books department.

home Special Collections and Archives New Digital Exhibits in Special Collections

New Digital Exhibits in Special Collections

Special Collections’ newest digital exhibit is Leaders and Heroes, curated by John Henry Adams and Courtney Gillie. The exhibit celebrates the accomplishments of historically excluded people, highlighting materials within Special Collections that were written by female, Black, Native American, and LGBTQ+ authors. The exhibit covers a range of topics from literature to social science, from social activism to polar exploration. The oldest piece in the collection is Henry Box Brown’s autobiography from the early 19th century; the most recent is a comic collection by Alison Bechdel from the late 20th century.

In addition to the exhibits, Special Collections has also recreated two in-person exhibits in digital form. One of them was In-Flew-Enza: Spanish Flu in Columbia, curated by Amanda Sprochi in 2016. The exhibit provides a broad overview of the 1918 influenza pandemic as well as a closer look at its impact on Columbia and the University of Missouri. The second is Children’s Literature of the Harlem Renaissance by African American Women, curated by Adetokunbo Awosanmi in 2019. The exhibit showcases twenty-one books published during or shortly after the Harlem Renaissance. Through their art and text, the books challenged stereotypes associated with African Americans.

Kelli Hansen

Kelli Hansen is head of the Special Collections and Rare Books department.

home Special Collections and Archives, Staff news Congratulations to John Henry Adams

Congratulations to John Henry Adams

Special Collections librarian John Henry Adams was awarded the William Reese Company Scholarship to attend California Rare Book School through Zoom in August. He shared his thoughts with us on his experience in the course.

What is your background in instruction?

JHA: I’m a new Special Collections librarian and most of my background in teaching comes from my time in English departments: I taught writing and literature for eight and a half years before I switched careers.  While there is some overlap between English classes and special collections instruction, there are of course some major differences, the biggest being that as a Special Collections librarian, I’m usually not designing a full course but instead doing one specific session.

What course did you take, and what did you learn from it?

JHA: I took the seminar on Better Teaching with Rare Materials.  We talked about doing more engaging, active-learning course sessions and we also talked a lot about how to do effective remote class sessions using special collections materials.  We’re not going to be able to do in-person Special Collections sessions this fall, so that is going to be very useful.

I also got a much better understanding of learning objectives for individual class sessions, which will let me more carefully tailor my instruction to a course’s overall needs.  Special Collections sessions can easily degenerate into being a cool field trip for the class to go see some neat things and learn some interesting information, but ideally we always want those sessions to build on a course’s overall objective without the instructor to have to do some heavy lifting the next session.

What might you do differently in the classroom as a result of this training?

JHA: I think I will be more transparent at the start of sessions as to how materials came to us in Special Collections, especially in sessions that take a more generalist approach.  Special Collections are made up of lots of smaller collections, usually purchased from or donated by collectors, and that typically means limitations in terms of what is in the collection.  Putting that information on the table at the start is important because it clarifies why the collection is what it is and why some things might not be in it.

The course also strengthened my general desire to focus on active learning and to keep as far away from a show-and-tell format as possible.  Special Collections is already doing that, but it’s important to keep pushing that aspect and to give students a chance to experience the materials more fully.

Kelli Hansen

Kelli Hansen is head of the Special Collections and Rare Books department.

home Ellis Library, Special Collections and Archives Special Collections Open by Appointment Starting August 17

Special Collections Open by Appointment Starting August 17


Beginning August 17, 2020, Special Collections will be open for research by appointment only to MU-affiliated faculty, staff, and students. Reservations are also required to use the microfilm machines in room 404. Appointments should only be made when a digital substitute is not sufficient.

By making an in-person appointment, users agree to follow the University’s safety expectations, including wearing masks, maintaining at least six feet of distance from others, and respecting markings for traffic flow. Users are also required to follow established reading room rules, including thorough handwashing before handling materials.

To make an appointment or request scans, see the Appointments page on the Special Collections website.


During the fall 2020 semester, Special Collections instruction will be primarily online. We’ve been working on brand-new digital activities and resources and are eager to support faculty and students through distance education. Contact a librarian about scheduling a class session.

More Information

For more information on using the Libraries this fall, see our reopening plans. As always, don’t hesitate to contact us if you have questions.

Kelli Hansen

Kelli Hansen is head of the Special Collections and Rare Books department.

home Resources and Services, Special Collections and Archives Crossword puzzle to test your knowledge of Mizzou

Crossword puzzle to test your knowledge of Mizzou

Digital Services staff recently discovered a fun crossword puzzle when working on the Missouri alumnus (later called: Mizzou) Collection in MOspace. This crossword puzzle was published in Missouri alumnus, volume 067, number 02 (1979 January-February)  “Test your vocabulary and knowledge of Mizzou in this game constructed especially for alumni.”

Check out the answers in MOspace: https://hdl.handle.net/10355/74601



home Special Collections and Archives Zoom Backgrounds from Special Collections

Zoom Backgrounds from Special Collections

You asked, and we delivered: Zoom backgrounds from Special Collections are now available for download! Choose from an assortment of ten images, including medieval manuscripts, travel posters, and beautiful book illustrations, all from the collections of the University of Missouri Libraries. As a bonus, there’s also a shot of the classroom for your online sessions (remember that your Special Collections librarians can help you with online instruction).

Preview and download the Zoom backgrounds on Box.



Image sources:

Flores y frutas del Mediterraneo [travel poster].

Brazil [travel poster].

Norway: the land of the midnight sun. [travel poster]

Priscian, Institutiones gramaticae [medieval manuscript].

A New and Accurat Map of the World [map]

Antiphonal with historiated initial of St. Paul [medieval manuscript].

Rowlandson’s sketches from nature. [hand-colored etching]

Processional : (for the use of the Dominican sisters of St. Louis, Poissy). [medieval manuscript]

Africa Antiqua et Nova. [map]

Interaction of color by Josef Albers [serigraph]

Kelli Hansen

Kelli Hansen is head of the Special Collections and Rare Books department.

home Ellis Library, Events and Exhibits, Special Collections and Archives Student-curated exhibition on the Harlem Renaissance now on view in Ellis Library

Student-curated exhibition on the Harlem Renaissance now on view in Ellis Library

This exhibit was created by students enrolled in the Honors College Freshman Colloquium entitled “The Harlem Renaissance in Art, Literature, and Film (Gn. Hon. 2120H) under the guidance of Dr. Elizabeth Hornbeck. Each student selected a book, journal, or other item from the Harlem Renaissance to include in this exhibit and wrote a brief description of their selection. Materials on view include art, illustrations, literature, poetry, journalism, and more. If you can’t make it to Ellis to see the students’ exhibit, check out their class website.

Dr. Hornbeck's class



Kelli Hansen

Kelli Hansen is head of the Special Collections and Rare Books department.