Welcome to the second year of Between the Lines, an e-newsletter created specifically with UNLV staff, faculty, administrators, and graduate students in mind. As the fall semester progresses, we welcome you to discover key resources, services, and library faculty available to contribute to your research and teaching.
The Oral History Research Center at UNLV finds, collects, and documents the history of Las Vegas through personal stories—from city founders to the children of politicians, from a mechanic’s son who remembers his father’s shop on Main Street, or from a casino employee at the MGM Grand the day of the fire in 1981. These oral histories give a voice to Las Vegas’ past and shed light on its present and future.
Officially, the Center has been collecting these stories for 10 years and, to celebrate, it’s reconnecting with the residents who helped create the diverse collection. The first event to commemorate the 10-year anniversary of the Oral History Research Center, a panel discussion held in May, hosted attorneys who practiced in various decades to talk about the black legal community in Las Vegas. Attracting many guests, including some of the valley’s most respected judges and legal professionals, this special gathering reflected on challenges, change and progress that their work helped bring about.
Claytee White, director of the Oral History Research Center, engaging the audience at the panel discussion held in May.
Rachel Anderson, moderator for the event and Associate Professor of Law at UNLV’s Boyd School of Law shared, “I wouldn’t be in this privileged position if it weren’t for the people in this room and on this panel.” Anderson is optimistic and hopeful for the future of documenting the history of Las Vegas knowing that “these individual oral histories gives us access to a level of refinement and detail academically that is exceptional in its depth, breadth and community-centered nature. They are guides for the future. The fact that the library is creating space for this kind of work is very important.”
Claytee White, director of the Oral History Research Center, believes this is an excellent time to engage in panel discussions and collect oral histories to hear history first hand from the people who lived it. White observed that the Center has a unique opportunity since “we can talk about events that happened in the ‘30s and ‘40s because there are still people with us who can talk about them. It’s first-hand knowledge. We’re collecting history from the bottom up. Everyone has a role they can play in this process.”
The first oral history program in Nevada began in 1965 at the University of Nevada, Reno. Sponsored by the state, the program collected histories largely from Northern Nevada. In the 1970s, history professor Ralph Roske and his students began collecting oral histories of Southern Nevada pioneers such as Rex Bell and the Von Tobel family. White says this project provided the Oral History Research Center at UNLV a “good, firm foundation.”
In the 1990s, UNLV’s History Department trained graduate students and professors in collecting oral histories. White, a student at that time, learned everything she could about collecting, preserving, and cataloging oral histories. When the Center opened in UNLV Libraries Special Collections in 2003, she was hired as its director. As White celebrates 10 years in her role, she says “I hope this part of my life goes on for 10 more years, and the Oral History Research Center goes on forever because it does such great work.”
Today, the Oral History Research Center provides valuable information not found anywhere else and its collections aren’t solely for those interested in the Las Vegas Strip or locals investigating their family past. Researchers know the Center’s goal is to record the communities and cultures of Las Vegas from many angles by capturing diverse voices and perspectives on events through the documentation and collection of individual eyewitness accounts.
White says Las Vegas history wasn’t just written by the movers and shakers. All its residents, natives and transplants alike, contributed to the city’s forward momentum. “Their oral histories put a voice to your research. Students and historians secure valuable gems from each interview,” White adds. “We have researchers from all over the world interested in Las Vegas and not just the gaming aspect of our city.”
Some of the Center’s most acclaimed projects include “Documenting the African-American Experience in Las Vegas,” which offers the public an online portal (digital.library.unlv.edu/aae) to the oral histories of black Southern Nevadans as well as access to hundreds of photographs and documents scanned from the personal collections of project participants; “Shake, Rattle and Roll,” which focuses on the unique experiences of the wives of Nevada Test Site workers; the “John S. Park Project,” which delves into the lives of the people who lived in one of the first Las Vegas neighborhoods listed on the National Historic Register; and “Heart to Heart,” which recounts the medical profession in early Las Vegas.
Have you wondered how to access what the Libraries have to offer in a way that is most relevant to you and your students? Your subject liaison librarian is your best connection. As subject research specialists, liaison librarians partner with faculty help them be successful in both their research and teaching. Liaison librarians have a breadth of experience to offer faculty, especially in research assignment design and research skill instruction. Every semester, liaison librarians connect with hundreds of students through teaching curriculum-integrated library instruction sessions for courses in any degree level.
Dr. Glenn West, Associate Professor in Residence in the Department of Educational & Clinical Studies attests, “I have been impressed with how integrated the library faculty and staff are with mainstream instructional design and every semester I rely on librarians to help orient students to do research since coming to UNLV three years ago.”
Always focused on the student learning experience, liaison librarians work side-by-side with faculty to fine-tune assignments, ensuring that students can demonstrate increasing levels of sophistication as they learn to use and manage information. Outcomes-based assignments embedded with library elements focused on developing information literacy skills yield transferable research skills that promote habits of lifelong learning.
Xan Goodman is Health and Life Sciences Librarian developing connections with the Schools of Life Sciences, Nursing, Allied Health, and Dental Medicine.
Did you know that the Libraries will deliver PDFs of journal articles or a single chapter from a book to your email at no charge? The DesktopExpress service scans and delivers articles and chapters from UNLV Libraries’ print collections in 1-2 business days. Journal articles or book chapters that are not available on campus are fulfilled in 3 or 4 days via a traditional interlibrary loan request.
UNLV faculty and staff use DesktopExpress and interlibrary loan services for the convenience, ease of use, and time saved. Dr. Michelle Tusan, Professor of History, recently completed her book, Smyrna’s Ashes, and credits the Libraries in going “above and beyond in helping me to track down and make use of difficult-to-find source material.”
Ready to save time and have the Libraries scan an article or book chapter? All you need is an ILLiad account!
Darcy Del Bosque, Emerging Technologies Librarian, and Susie Skarl, Urban Affairs Librarian, recently received national recognition for their 2012 article, Libraries atwitter: Trends in academic library tweeting. Del Bosque and Skarl, along with co-author Sam Leif (International Academy of Design and Technology), focused their research on how academic libraries are using Twitter to communicate with library users from a random sampling of academic libraries.
The librarians’ article first found national recognition when the Emerald Literati Network Awards for Excellence 2013 announced the article as a Highly Commended Award Winner. This summer, on June 29th, the ALA Research and Statistics Committee selected the article for inclusion in the 2012 Reference Research Review bibliography and noted that “the findings have implications for reference units seeking data to determine a return of investment in Twitter feeds at academic libraries.” The Reference Research Review selects the best library studies published within the last complete calendar year, annotating items of importance to the practice of reference. The 2012 bibliography can be found here.
“It was a wonderful honor and surprise that our article received accolades from two national organizations. Considering many of our users communicate via social media, we were excited to discover in our research how other academic libraries are using applications such as Twitter and Facebook to reach out to their populations,” said Skarl, upon learning that a second organization had recognized their article.
Del Bosque, Skarl, and Leif began investigating the use of Twitter in academic libraries because they wanted to explore social media as an emerging way for the University Libraries to connect to our community. The trends they documented proved relevant as they informed the ways the University Libraries now promotes library services and resources to a group of followers on Twitter. Their analysis of tweet content revealed that the majority of tweeting libraries used the platform to educate followers about information resources. Del Bosque noted the recognition as an affirmation that Twitter is a beneficial communication tool for academic libraries: “Social media is often perceived as frivolous, so it was nice to be acknowledged for an article that shows it can play an academic role in university libraries.”
Click on the Twitter and Facebook hyperlinks and select “Follow” or “Like” to add us to your social media account feed.
The Arte Público Hispanic Historical Collection, The Latino-Hispanic American Experience: Leaders, Writers, and Thinkers, and Hispanic American Newspapers 1808-1980 are newly available online collections that offer fresh research opportunities for faculty and students learning about Hispanic-American history, culture, religion, and politics.
Sample newspaper content available from The Latino-Hispanic American Experience: Leaders, Writers, and Thinkers Database through Ebsco. Click on the image to view the entire sample.
Front Page of Cultura Proletaria, Anarchist Newspaper, 1927
As one of the largest employers of student workers at UNLV, the Libraries are investing in a workshop program to connect students with important skills that extend beyond what they acquire through their traditional job assignment. The UNLV Libraries’ Professional Development Certificate Program for student assistants is a series of one-hour workshops that are designed to enhance professional skills and support academic success.
The initial series of courses was developed from survey feedback from student assistants and their supervisors to focus on the most desirable skills or training. Eight library faculty and staff volunteers, the Student Employment Leadership Group (SELG), manage the program. Each semester, the SELG reviews workshop participation feedback to shape future offerings. Workshop topics range from effective communication skills to Microsoft Excel and PowerPoint to in-depth research skills.