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By: Library Staff

Mid-twentieth century modernist architect G. Milton Small, Jr. of Raleigh; Victorian era Charlotte house designer Harriet Morrison Irwin; German-born carpenter John Deitrick Tavis in antebellum Germanton; Civil War era joiner and A.M.E. minister George A. Rue of New Bern—these are just a few of the two dozen architects and builders whose new biographies have been added recently to North Carolina Architects & Builders: A Biographical Dictionary.

G. Milton Small, Jr., Northwestern Mutual Insurance Company, Raleigh, Joseph Molitor Collection, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, Columbia University

With these new postings, the popular North Carolina State University Libraries website passes a major benchmark, now presenting more than 300 biographies of architects and builders who worked in North Carolina and accompanying data on more than 3,000 buildings they created in the state.

Launched in 2009 with 170 entries, the biographical dictionary project had its roots in the late 1970s in research for the book, Architects and Builders in North Carolina: A History of the Practice of Building (University of North Carolina Press, 1990), by Catherine W. Bishir, Charlotte V. Brown, Carl R. Lounsbury, and Ernest H. Wood III. The biographical dictionary was originally conceived as a companion print publication, but in 2007 the concept shifted to a web-based, “born digital,” resource that can be easily searched and constantly expanded.

The free, user-friendly ncarchitects.lib.ncsu.edu contains essential information about the lives and works of the people who created the state’s architecture from the colonial period to the late 20th century. Content developer and architectural historian Catherine W. Bishir says, “We believe it’s important to include not just the great architects of landmarks like Biltmore and the Dorton Arena, but also lesser-known artisans and builders, black and white, enslaved and free, who actually built most of our architectural legacy.”

A frequent user of the site, Andre’ D Vann, coordinator of the University Archives and Instructor of Public History at North Carolina Central University, reports that in his research on historic houses in Durham, “I have found the North Carolina Architects & Builders website essential in uncovering the rich and unique stories behind many historical buildings and builders.” In particular it has “shed light on African American architects and designers like Gaston Edwards who braved a new world and created a body of work worthy of emulation.”

Frank Harmon, Raleigh architect and professor at NC State’s College of Design, sees North Carolina Architects & Builders as “exceptionally useful to our students and to scholars in North Carolina and beyond” because it offers “insight into the lives of the men and women who have shaped the built environment of our state, a lineage that continues to inspire us today.” Few states have achieved such a comprehensive biographical dictionary, says Harmon, and “none has a better website of architects and builders.”

The site has won prizes from the Preservation North Carolina and the Vernacular Architecture Forum for its innovative and inclusive approach. Multiple authors have contributed to the biographies and accompanying building lists.  New entries are in progress, and as project manager Markus Wust comments, “The website itself attracts new information from users who help make it more complete. There’s always more to learn.”

Sep 19 2014

Image Discovery Week

By: Library Staff

September 22nd-26th, the Design Library and the Special Collections Research Center will host Image Discovery Week to highlight all of the image collections available through the library. Follow our blog blitz each day to learn about a wide variety of image-related resources.

By: David Hiscoe

The NCSU Libraries has been awarded a grant to tackle a significant emerging opportunity for academic libraries and the historians, social scientists, and other researchers that they support:  how best to capture and save the increasingly critical but ephemeral social media conversations that now regularly document our lives and times.

The EZ Innovation Grant from the State Library of North Carolina will enable librarians Jason Casden and Brian Dietz to lead a team to develop a freely available web toolkit to help guide institutions that preserve our cultural heritage by collecting and curating the primary documents that are the raw materials of history. Increasingly these materials are created and shared on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media platforms.  But since few institutions are systematically saving these conversations, much of our current history’s raw material is quickly and irrevocably disappearing as quickly as it is produced.  And while tools to save these materials are becoming more sophisticated and less expensive, very little has been done to help libraries and others deploy them in thoughtful, effective ways.

The NCSU Libraries has previously taken a lead role in this area with its award-winning Lentil platform, an open-source tool that harvests and makes it easy to present collections of social media images from the Instagram platform.  The new grant would build on this work by exploring methods and best practices for integrating social media into existing ways that libraries collect primary materials.  The team will start by investigating social media associated with campus events, spaces, student groups, and campus units at NC State—and will develop software, procedures, and documentation to cost-effectively implement social media archiving at the NCSU Libraries.

This work will then allow the team to develop a web toolkit to help other institutions:

●      Collect official communication of various organizational groups

●      Collect unofficial, crowdsourced communication from communities of interest

●      Develop techniques for enriching collections at a minimal cost by taking advantage of harvesting interfaces provided by social media platforms

The toolkit will also include materials to help other cultural heritage institutions design and document criteria for what they collect and strategies to begin collecting social media. These materials will include a scan of work being done in the area, a risk assessment for potential legal concerns, and a discussion of the impact of social media on archival research.

The social media toolkit is planned for release in Summer 2015.

Jason Casden is the Lead Librarian for the Digital Services Development group at the NCSU Libraries, where he helps to develop and implement scalable digital library applications. Casden was named a Library Journal “Mover & Shaker” in 2011, a designation for young leaders who show promise for fundamentally changing how we gather and share information.

Brian Dietz is the Digital Program Librarian for Special Collections at NCSU Libraries. Dietz has served as principal investigator on several LSTA-funded projects. He recently moderated “Getting Things Done with Born Digital,” a session at the Society of American Archivists’ 2014 annual conference.

The EZ Innovation grants are made possible through funding from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) as administered by the State Library of North Carolina, a division of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources.

By: David Hiscoe

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has awarded the Hunt Library a 2014 Educational Facility Design Excellence Award for furthering NC State’s “mission, goals and educational program while demonstrating excellence in architectural design.”

By: David Hiscoe

Echoing Oliver Wendell Holmes’ declaration that the Boston Public Library is “a palace for the people,” The San Francisco Chronicle has listed the Hunt Library among “the most spectacular libraries in the world.”

By: Library Staff

(Raleigh, N.C.)—In the latest of several initiatives designed to help students reduce the expense of textbooks as part of their university educations and make it easier for faculty to explore and create new resources for their teaching, the NCSU Libraries is inviting North Carolina State University faculty to apply for grants to adopt, adapt, or create free or low-cost open alternatives to today’s expensive textbooks.

Ranging between $500 and $2,000, the competitive Alt-Textbook grants will be awarded to help faculty pursue innovative uses of technology and information resources that can replace pricey traditional textbooks.  Larger grants may be available for larger-scale or especially high-impact projects.

Textbook costs have outpaced inflation by 300% over the last 30 years. These runaway prices have become a major strain on students, with textbooks averaging $1,200 a year and 7 out of 10 students admitting on a recent Public Interest Research Group survey that they have not purchased a required text because of its cost.

Open Textbooks Image

Grants are available to develop textbook alternatives for the Spring 2015 and Fall 2015 semesters. Possible approaches include:

  • creating a new open textbook or collection of materials
  • adopting an existing open textbook
  • assembling a collection of open resources into new course materials
  • licensing an e-textbook, video, or other media content for classroom use or e-reserves
  • using subscribed library resources

As faculty work on their proposals, NCSU librarians are available to collaborate and to share expertise in copyright, licensing, open access, course management software and tools, electronic reserves, subject-matter content, and multimedia resources.

“Academic libraries have always been a powerful way to reduce the financial burden of a university education by pooling key resources for everyone to use,” reminds Susan K. Nutter, Vice Provost and Director of the NCSU Libraries. “The Alt-Textbook grants offer an innovative way to leverage that advantage in the digital age while at the same time giving our faculty a powerful tool to tailor their course materials to the exact needs of their students.”

The NCSU Libraries will hold several information sessions about the project in September.  Faculty can learn more about the project, review the call for proposals, sign up for information sessions, and download grant applications at the Alt-Textbook Project website.

The Alt-Textbook initiative builds on a successful partnership with the university’s Physics Department that resulted in a free physics e-textbook that is now used by 1,300 NC State students each year.

Other NCSU Libraries initiatives to reduce costs for students include providing at least one copy of every required course book on reserve each semester, supplying online reserves to electronically disseminate materials within the bounds of copyright law, and Library Course Tools, an innovative use of the Libraries’ website to present custom, course-related library content for every course at the university.

Alt-Textbook is supported by a grant from the NC State University Foundation.

By: David Hiscoe

WRAL explores how the extensive press coverage about the Hunt Library has raised the profile of N.C. State, North Carolina, and the Raleigh community in global discussions about innovative research and education.

By: Library Staff

Do you want to build a robot that interacts with Twitter, a banana piano, or your own wearable electronics project? Are you interested in learning about 3D Printing but aren’t sure where to start? The Libraries are offering several exciting Makerspace workshops this semester that will provide an awesome introduction to a variety of innovative technologies. All workshops are free for all NCSU students, faculty, and staff, and no prior experience is required to participate!

Articulated Hand holding an LED

Register here for workshops:
Getting Started with 3D Printing - Friday Aug. 29, 2-3:30pm, Hunt
Introduction to Arduino & MaKey MaKey - Thursday Sept. 4, 6-7:30pm, Hill
Getting Started with 3D Design - Friday Sept. 12, 2-3:30pm, Hill
Getting Started with 3D Printing - Tuesday Sept. 30, 6-7:30pm, Hill
Introduction to Arduino & MaKey MaKey - Friday, Oct. 3, 2-3:30pm, Hunt
Getting Started with 3D Design - Thursday Oct. 9, 6-7:30pm, Hunt
Introduction to Arduino & MaKey MaKey - Tuesday Oct. 21, 6-7:30pm, Hunt
Spooky Sounds with Arduino - Tuesday Oct. 28, 6-7:30pm, Hill

A full calendar of workshops is also available at go.ncsu.edu/makerworkshops

By: Library Staff

D. H. Hill Library has some changes! You’ll now find the Ask Us center at the top of the main staircase on the First Floor. Just look for the big red-and-white Ask Us sign!

The new Ask Us desk at D.H. Hill Library

Need to find data or information for your research project? Need help using iMovie? Need to check out a charger? Need to print a poster? Everything you need is in the main lobby on the First Floor. You’ll find friendly staff ready to help.

Library staff are also happy to help you online. Just look for the Ask Us link on the library’s website. You can chat, call, text, or request an in-depth research consultation with a librarian. No matter where you are—in the library, on campus, in your dorm, in your office—we’re ready to help!

By: Library Staff

Black Mountain College sealJoin David Silver, Visiting Scholar at the NCSU Libraries, for a multimedia happening that chronicles the rise and fall of Black Mountain College, founded in 1933 near Asheville, North Carolina. There will be two performances on Monday, August 4. The morning performance will start at 10:30 a.m. and conclude at noon. The evening performance will start at 7 p.m. and conclude at 8:30 p.m. Both performances will start at the Hunt Library iPearl Immersion Theater.

Education practitioners can still learn from what worked and what didn’t work at Black Mountain College, especially here at NC State where several of the College’s principles are still at work. Focusing on the Black Mountain College farm and work program, Silver will lead an exploration of the College’s lesser-known but vitally important participants. David Silver is associate professor of media studies, environmental studies, and urban agriculture at University of San Francisco.

Using the entire Hunt Library as a storytelling building and featuring never-before-seen photographs, this dynamic event will examine the most experimental college in American history. Silver will employ an unconventional storytelling approach that unfolds as participants walk through the building.

Free and open to the public. Presented by the NCSU Libraries. For more information contact Mike Nutt at mrnutt@ncsu.edu.