My First Blog…so here it goes

My name is Lorrie Smith and I began working with Digital Repository full time on July 2nd 2014.  From the start, I was very intrigued by the process of ultimately saving someone’s work “forever”.  Now, I figured we had already accomplished this by using paper and books, but times change and technology always seems to be a few steps ahead of us.  I am a total book lover and there is something about opening a book and smelling the paper, but as I said, times are always changing and we all seem to always change with it.

The Digital Repository @ISU is a way for students and faculty to keep their published work saved forever; it also allows for everyone to have free access to their works at a touch of button (or a click of the mouse).  Since I have begun this journey I have learned something new each day.  For example, I never knew about a journal called Sketch. Sketch started in 1934 and featured works by student writers and artists and it still continues today.  Sketch encourages all Iowa State students, regardless of year or major to submit works of artistic expression, written or visual. A couple of names you might recognize are noteworthy Iowans, Ted Kooser, former United States Poet Laureate, and Tom Harkin, United States Senator from Iowa, each had works published in Sketch during their undergraduate years.

Sketch was my first project to work on here in the DR@ISU. I learned how to split out an article in order to download it and then reload it into the Repository.  I began by working on years 1938 – 1941 and I read some of the articles listed while splitting them out.  Some of the short stories were about a time when my grandparents were young.  Some of the poems were touching and some just made me smile.  Most of these folks are no longer with us and as I read a few through the years I wondered what these folks were studying or where they ended up in life.  If their little stories can make someone 70 years later tear up or giggle just from their stories, poems, song lyrics it makes me wonder what I missed out on.  I wish I could have dinner with one of them for a night to hear more.

So I’d like to encourage everyone to take a moment and surf through a year in Sketch and see if you too find at least one that will make you stop and think, laugh or make you think of someone…then we are on the right track of saving their work forever.

Here is a link to Sketch if you are interested…

Food Systems and Social Justice: Journal of Critical Thought and Praxis Special Issue

Today’s blog entry is from Gabrielle Roesch-McNally, and is the Editor’s Note from the current issue of the Journal of Critical Thought and Praxis.


My interest in food systems and social justice catalyzed my involvement in JCTP. It is the reason I am now Editor of this wonderful journal. I felt compelled, working in sustainable agriculture and food systems work, to explore the complexity of the food system from a social justice lens and to highlight the “fact that our food system is racist, classist, and sexist” (Winne, 2008, p. 190). I have found in my work that these facts are not necessarily obvious to many working in food systems or those who purport themselves to be part of an Alternative Food Movement. While food systems and agriculture are increasingly part of a broader public discourse, we still have a long way to go in thinking about and creating a more socially just food system. A couple of recent high profile events have made this particularly clear to me. Continue reading

Journal of Critical Thought and Praxis (JCTP): Graduate students engaged in and redefining the discourse on social justice

Gabrielle Roesch-McNallyToday, we have a guest blog post from Gabrielle Roesch-McNally, editor of the Journal of Critical Thought and Praxis (JCTP). JCTP is an award-winning journal published through Digital Repository @ Iowa State University

Journal of Critical Thought and Praxis

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Departments: Highlighting publications in the repository

In Digital Repository @ Iowa State University, materials are organized into pages that represent campus units—academic departments, research centers and institutes, extension and outreach units and administrative offices across campus. Every college and academic department has a dedicated page in the repository, and we can easily create new pages to represent interdepartmental programs, research projects and other units, as well.

Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, Digital Repository @ Iowa State Unviersity

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Logan Jewett is a Student of Distinction

Yesterday, the Office of Student Financial Aid hosted the Student Employee of the Year Recognition Ceremony. Student employee supervisors from across campus nominated their best student workers for the award and the ceremony was an opportunity to recognize the contributions they make to our campus. At the ceremony, Logan Jewett was recognized as a Student of Distinction.

Logan and Cy

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10,000 Items!

Since launching in April 2012, Digital Repository @ Iowa State University has grown quickly! In October, we uploaded our 10,000th item in our repository—meaning we are now providing free and open access to over 10,000 journal articles, manuscripts, extension publications, presentations, posters, audio recordings and other great work produced by our faculty, students and staff.

Collaborations: Special Collections, Preservation and Historical Reports and Bulletins

Here at Digital Repository @ Iowa State University, we enjoy great working relationships with other departments in the Iowa State University Library. Our colleagues in the library play important roles in education, outreach, processing, and in identifying new content to add to the repository.

With the help of the Special Collections and Preservation departments, we are beginning to add historical technical reports and research bulletins to the repository. These reports are identified and provided by Special Collections, then digitized by the Preservation Department. We take care of uploading these reports and bulletins to the repository.

Covers of CARD Reports, 1959–1963

Covers of CARD Reports, 1959–1963

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Visitors from colleges and universities

When I give my presentations to faculty groups, a question I commonly get is, “How many of your visitors are academic? Where are they coming from?”

I knew I could identify university-based visitors using Google Analytics, but I didn’t have enough knowledge of GA to identify these visitors easily. I’m currently sitting in a workshop on Google Analytics conducted by Bram Luyten, from @mire, at the Open Repositories conference in Prince Edward Island.

Numbers of unique visitors coming from colleges and universities between July 2012 and June 2013.

Numbers of unique visitors coming from colleges and universities between July 2012 and June 2013.

Using some nifty tricks, I can see that ~23% of our visitors from June 2012 to July 2013 (our first full fiscal year of operation) are coming from academic institutions. The list of the top 20 institutions are below: Continue reading