Southwest Collection Digital Remote Resources Overview

Since our Reading Room is closed, we wanted to take a moment to provide an anchoring blog post for researchers interested in continuing their work remotely. Below are some links and general guidelines for accessing Southwest Collection materials from the comfort of your home.

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Though our Reading Room may be closed, many archival materials can still be accessed on our digital repository.

Digital Collections:

Our digital repository contains materials from all special collections in our building: Southwest, University Archives, Crossroads of Music, Rare Books, the Sowell Family Collection, and Oral History. Click on any “community” to browse collections generally, and then there is the option to browse “sub-communities.”  https://collections.swco.ttu.edu

Specifically regarding newspapers: Our dspace contains over 126 different newspaper titles from across West Texas that encompasses 264,000 text-searchable issues, with more added daily. The direct link for these newspapers is: https://newspapers.swco.ttu.edu (click the community “newspapers” for a full list of titles).

Tips for navigating dspace:

  • Each community will display the most recent submissions first at the bottom.
  • Sub-communities allow our departments to group archival material by collection or topic. They are incredibly helpful if you are trying to find specific thematic materials.
  • For more general research, the search bar on the right side allows you to search the entire digital repository. Once you click on any community, you can further narrow your search to the specific community you are currently browsing.
  • The search function crawls titles of files, as well as any text-searchable documents.
  • Further, the tool bar on the right allows you to filter or narrow the material you are viewing by author, subject, and date within the community.
  • Because of the variety of ways to describe archival materials, we highly recommend searching utilizing different keywords and terms. Alternative phrases might allow you to find information in multiple collections that you would not have anticipated. Also, sometimes it is helpful to just browse entire collections—with extra time at home, you never know what gems may be lurking in our digital repository!
  • Once you click on an item, click on the “view/open” link below the thumbnail to access the file. Most materials are either .pdf or .jpg format, and your browser setting will determine if the file opens in a new window or if you are prompted to download.
  • For more information and metadata on each file, scroll down on the page and click on “show full item record.”
  • The URI link on each item page provides a permanent web link if you need to access the file again. We recommend you use that link for any research citations.
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Many empty tables await researchers for when our building reopens!

Digital Resources for Collections Accessible Only In-Person

If you want to jump-start your next research trip to Lubbock, here are a few places you’ll want to check out to get started.

TARO Finding Aids

The Texas Archival Resources Online provides finding aids for collections throughout the SWC/SCL. These materials will not necessarily have been digitized, but they do provide detailed inventories and general information on collections housed in our building.

More information on how to use finding aids can be found in this previous blog post.

Manuscript Guide

The Southwest Collection also has many collections without TARO finding aids at this time. More general information about those collections can be found here.

Reference Files

The Reading Room has over 14,000 files with general information about West Texas and the greater Southwest region. These reference files contain news clippings, brochures, inventories, and oral history information. They can normally be photocopied in-house, and provide an excellent starting point for researchers.

Oral Histories

More information on the Southwest Collection’s prodigious oral history collection of over 6,500 interviews can be found on our oral history wiki. These recordings have traditionally been abstracted, which are included on this site. If an interview has been transcribed, it will be housed on dspace.

The SWC also has donated oral history collections (with thousands of recordings); a preliminary list is found here. Any links to finding aids or other information are given when available.

Catalog Generally

If a more traditional card catalog is your preferred method of research, here is the direct link to the Texas Tech University Libraries online catalog.

Tip: if you want to search for just SWC/SCL materials, click the “advanced search” link to the right of the search bar. It will allow you to limit the scope of your search, and from there you can choose either “Southwest Collection/Special Collections” which focuses on physical materials in house (books, collections, oral histories) or “Southwest/Special Collections Digital Content” which focuses on our dspace holdings.

 

As always, our Reference Staff is a phone call or email away with any questions researchers have. Feel free to reach out to them, as well as any employee of the Southwest Collection. Our contact information can be found here.

WFH [Work from Home] Archives Edition

We hope this blog finds you feeling safe and healthy. We have broken into our already-scheduled social media posts to bring this update from the Southwest Collection regarding how our archive is continuing to work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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The Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library on a sunny spring day, March 26, 2020.

The South Plains of Texas was operating under cautious but somewhat normal circumstances in early March. A handful of our Southwest Collection employees judged area schools’ history day projects on March 7th. However, the next week, with conditions worsening across the United States, our administration began to ask department heads to prepare contingency plans for working from home. All of this was done in hypotheticals until late on Monday March 16th. We received an email from the President of Texas Tech University, who told all employees that starting at the end of the day March 17, as many employees as possible should start working from home. This was implementing Phase III of the university’s COVID-19 response plan (for more on this, see http://www.texastech.edu/downloads/ttus-memorandum-operational-phases-march-16-2020.pdf ). The rest of the week was spent methodically ensuring that all of our full-time employees had plenty of work to do at home and the resources with which they could work successfully. Friday March 20th was always a staff holiday, but it was also a time for us to catch our breath. The vast majority of our building was now working remotely.

We write this on the week of March 30; our archive is now officially closed. On the week of March 23, only a skeleton crew remained at the Southwest Collection. Our registrar worked fervently to get all accessions and paperwork sent out. Our Associate Dean, along with our reference staff, remained on duty to handle last minute patrons to our Reading Room by appointment only. A few of our staff popped in and out of the building as needed for technical support that could not be done remotely. Phase IV of the university’s plans began Friday March 27. And so we will begin the month of April with our entire building working from home.

With that in mind, we wanted to make our patrons, donors, and virtual community aware of some of the projects we’ll be working on while we are home. We will be posting photos our staff members share of their home office set up (and, of course, highlighting their furry coworkers).

A few of the projects we are currently working on remotely (and that our staff will explain more about in future posts):

  • Uploading EAD finding aids to Texas Archival Resources Online (TARO).
  • Categorizing reference file materials and updating comprehensive lists.
  • Transcribing oral history interviews and uploading transcripts to dspace.
  • Cataloging books.
  • Expanding metadata on our dspace holdings.
  • Cleaning up and organizing our digital file systems.

A couple of housekeeping notes for interested individuals:

  • The Reading Room will be closed to researchers until the campus reopens. Phase IV of Texas Tech’s operational phases designates our department (and the main library) as non-essential.
  • Our reference department can still field queries and requests, but no duplications can be completed at this time (since we lack an infrastructure for payment or physical copies to be made and mailed). Please be aware that our reference staff has very limited digital resources and does not have ready access to any physical manuscript materials. They will keep a running list of duplication requests to complete when we return to campus. Patrons should feel free to email regarding our digital holdings, finding aids, or oral history abstracts. Contact information can be found here: https://swco.ttu.edu/Reference/policies.php
  • The West Texas Historical Association annual conference (April 4-5) has been cancelled, as well as the 50th anniversary Lubbock tornado symposium (May 8-9).
  • Our exhibit commemorating Texas Tech and the 1970 Lubbock tornado has been delayed but will be completed and on display once we return to campus.
  • We are still available to connect with researchers remotely—you can still call or email individuals directly with questions. Fortunately, our phone systems are tied to our computers now, and so even working on laptops and at home, staff members can answer calls as needed. If you are unsure who to contact, our main lines are 806-742-3749 and 806-742-9070.

We thank you for your continued support during this time of uncertainty. We will be here virtually and back physically whenever it is safe to do so. In this time, we look forward to slowing down and expanding our digital offerings for our remote patrons. So look to this space as we update you on new developments from the Southwest Collection!

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The Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library Reading Room is closed for the foreseeable future. Please contact us for further information. http://swco.ttu.edu

What’s New at the Southwest Collection?

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Rather than just spin a yarn about a single collection this week, we’re going to catch you up on some exciting things that happened in only the first couple of months of 2015!

For example, a couple weeks back the Southwest Collection was excited to host a research visit by the recipient of the Big 12 Faculty Fellowship Award, associate professor Greg Stephens of Kansas State University-Salina.

Professor Stephens’ focused his attention on our American Agricultural Movement (AAM) Records and related oral histories (which you may remember we hosted an entire exhibit about last spring!) Stephens is gathering information on farmers in Kansas to try to explain how the stories that individuals told about their involvement shaped the AAM’s leadership and goals, and how that reciprocally may have then changed the stories themselves. The AAM wasn’t the only organization he was looking at: the National Farmers’ Organization (NFO), Grange, Farmers’ Union, and the Farm Bureau also used specific narratives to define their missions. He even found that the AAM was stronger in the South Plains region (home of the Southwest Collection) than he had initially thought!

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Here you see our purveyor of oral histories (and gif creation expert) Elissa Stroman assisting Stephens with finding oral histories and similar items among our digital collections. She agrees that Stephens’ project is definitely interesting, and we were thrilled to be able aid it with our collections. If the Ag Movement strikes your fancy, too, then give our spectacular Reference Staff a call and they’d be happy to set up for you a look at it.

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Digital Collections Update!

Did you know that the Southwest Collection has added nearly a dozen digitized collections to our digital holdings? True story. Some of them are pretty spectacular, including the Boss Tweed Family Papers (the tale of which you can find right here!); the Charles Underwood Papers that contain some incredible images of World War II Pacific POW letters, one of which can be seen above; and the complete roster and late-19th-century war recollections of the United Confederate Veterans’ Fort Worth chapter  just in time for the anniversary of the final year of the Civil War. mastheads

One huge digital project we’ve had going on for several years is the digitization of numerous newspapers from around West Texas. There are far too many titles to name (seriously, check out this list of 28 different area newspapers totaling over 52,000 individual issues!), but some of the most recent include the State Line Tribune from the town of Farwell (or Texico, depending on what side of the Texas/New Mexico border you’re on), the Castro County News, and the Matador Tribune/Motley County Tribune (and assorted other names.) If you need west Texas news from the past 100 or so years, we’ve probably got it. Oh, and we’re always and forever adding more issues of Texas Tech’s own Daily Toreador (or University Daily, depending on the vintage) or whatever else the world will give us. (For example, we’ve been looking for papers to fill gaps in dates from many of the collections above, and in particular from our newspaper from Ropesivlle, Texas in the mid-twentieth-century for a while now. Got any lying around you might make available to us?)

Need, or want, to lay eyes on some of this stuff in person? Look no further than our ever-helpful Reference Staff to make that happen.

Reference Services!

Did you know that the Southwest Collection’s reference staff has created several bibliographies and research guides? One of the most robust examples of this is our African American Bibliography. It describes many of the materials in our collections relating to African American history, including books, manuscripts, oral histories, photograph collections, and newspapers. Such bibliographies are often essential to navigating the thousands of linear feet and many millions of individual documents in our archives

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Although we have many digitized collections as well published finding aids housed on Texas Archival Resources Online (TARO) and our own website, the guidance of experienced reference staff highly familiar with our holdings is also of invaluable use to researchers. Fortunately, the Southwest Collection’s Randy Vance and Nicci Hester, with the assistance of our many subject archivists and librarians, are able to provide that assistance. One way in which they accomplish this is through our Reference Files. Containing over 18,000 folders of information about West Texas (Lubbock and the South Plains in particular), Texas Tech University, and the Southwestern United States in general (Arizona, New Mexico, and other states), our Reference Files cover topics such as ranching, agriculture, oil, towns and counties in Texas, and a wide assortment of other subjects. Materials in the files include newspaper clippings, brochures, programs, tourist/travel information, biographies, oral history abstracts, and inventories of SWC manuscript collections.

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The Holden Reading Room

Our reference desk is located in the Holden Reading Room. Reading room hours are Monday through Friday, 9am to 5pm, and Saturdays from 9am to 1pm. During the Fall and Spring semesters, Tuesdays and Thursdays see the doors remaining open until 7pm.

Reference requests may be made by email, phone (806-742-9070), mail (MS41041, TTU, Lubbock, TX 79409), or fax (806-742-0496). Please note that some materials may require 1-2 days for retrieval. Copies of materials may be made, but with an associated cost. Details can be found here. Please allow up to three weeks for replies and duplication orders, particularly of photographs and oral history interviews.