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Archives, Media, and Identity

Posted on: Tuesday, March 29, 2016 - 12:57pm

Topic(s): Updates, Feature Stories, Resources

Using Archives to Enhance Teaching & Learning

How can media history inform our understanding of our current moment? What is the role of media in the construction of identity, social hierarchies, and our understanding of power? Recognizing that archival and primary source materials provide evidence that can help answer these kinds of questions, Professor Helen Morgan Parmett decided to experiment by integrating an upper-class research and writing assignment with resources at the Center for Pacific Northwest Studies (CPNWS), a division of Western Libraries Heritage Resources.

 

Last quarter students from Professor Morgan Parmett’s Communications Studies 416 class, “Cultural History of Media and Identity,” spent several hours at the CPNWS to review a variety of primary source archival materials in their consideration of the intersections between cultural history, media, and identity formation.

This was the first time many of these students had ever worked directly with archival materials, and CPNWS staff sought to provide contrasting examples of locally-produced media by also including materials that spoke to the experiences, interests, and voices of traditionally under-represented individuals and groups. For example, in addition to exploring historic issues of more mainstream publications such as the Bellingham Herald, students also examined the Northwest Passage, an alternative newspaper produced from 1969-1986, as well as a range of newsletters and educational materials produced by women’s organizations and LGBTA+ advocacy groups.

Heritage Resources Assistant Archivist for Outreach and Instruction Roz Koester helped facilitate the inquiry process by asking students to consider not just the materials in front of them, but to also think about what was not kept.

 

"Since we so often rely on written documentation to provide evidence of our shared cultural heritage, it's important to be aware that there are stories and experiences that remain untold,” explained Koester. “A lot of records don't get preserved, so, as researchers, you need to not only be thinking about the information that's available in the resources you're using, but also what might be missing. And we should all be thinking about how we can engage those hidden voices in order to preserve a more complete picture of our history."

As a required component of their research and writing assignment, students were expected to contribute to the scholarship of media history and identity found in secondary literature by constructing an original argument based on archival evidence of media influence on the construction Pacific Northwest identities.

 

Professor Morgan Parmett hopes that through this assignment, her students will develop a greater understanding not only of media history, but also of where we are now and how we are currently using media. She emphasized how we can learn much about today by considering the media histories of the past:

 

“For one, they disillusion us from the idea that things have always been a certain way by demonstrating the conflicts, debates, and struggles out of which our current moment emerged,” explained Professor Morgan Parmett. “These histories illuminate the fact that many of the debates we currently have about media and its societal effects are, in fact, not new. Seeing how these debates were resolved in earlier periods may provide insights for how we might move forward into our media futures in more socially just ways.”

Heritage Resources is a division of Western Libraries which includes Special Collections, the University Archives & Records Management, and the Center for Pacific Northwest Studies. Together these units provide for the responsible stewardship of unique and archival materials in support of teaching, learning, and research.  For more information about how Heritage Resources supports the research needs of students and educators, contact Heritage.Resources@wwu.edu.

 


In Memoriam: Raymond George McInnis

Posted on: Tuesday, March 8, 2016 - 11:17am

Topic(s): Updates

Western Libraries Remembers Ray McInnis

Raymond George McInnis passed away peacefully at Whatcom Hospice House on February 25th, 2016 after spending many months being cared for at his home. Ray was a beloved retired faculty member of Western Libraries at Western Washington University, and will be greatly missed by all of his friends and colleagues.

 

Ray was a librarian at Wilson Library from 1965 until he retired in 2001. During his 36 years at Western, he taught and published extensively. An avid scholar with a passion for both instruction and research, Ray wrote numerous articles, served as the editor of many reference volumes in a variety of disciplines, and taught not only library instruction courses, but also served as an adjunct professor of history.

 

Ray published his first book in 1967, and went on to write numerous texts related to academic research. He also gained a very rewarding Editorship for a ten-volume set of “concept dictionaries” in the humanities and social sciences for Greenwood Press.

 

After his retirement in 2001, Ray continued to be a frequent visitor to the library as he actively continued his scholarship.  He combined his interest in woodworking and his love of research to begin building a website which delves into the cultural history of woodworking.  The website is still in use today.  

 

During his last few years at the Libraries, Ray chose to spend the majority of his time working with students at the reference desk.  He was known for his unparalleled familiarity with the reference collection, and would go to great lengths to find an answer or a resource for a researcher.

 

Ray’s contributions to scholarship, to teaching and learning, and to Western Libraries were significant.  He will be remembered with great fondness and gratitude for his service to his students, to his friends and colleagues, and to Western.

 

[Note: This article is offered on behalf of Western Libraries. Ray McInnis’ official obituary can be found at this link: http://whatcomcremationandfuneral.com/obituary/raymond-george-mcinnis ]


Magnificent Miss Wilson

Posted on: Thursday, March 3, 2016 - 7:55am

Topic(s): Updates, Exhibits

Magnificent Miss Wilson's Library Hide-and-Seek

 

Mabel Zoe Wilson was born on March 3, 1878. She was a strong advocate for the library and worked as a librarian from 1902-1945. Her legacy lives on here at Western Libraries.

 

During the month of March we are celebrating the birthday of Mabel Zoe Wilson, Wilson Library's namesake, with the launch of  “Magnificent Miss Wilson’s Library Hide and Seek.” Check out the Library display cases (located throughout the second floor of both Haggard and Wilson) to see if you can find Magnificent Miss Wilson’s cameo image.  If you do find her, stop by the Circulation Desk to tell the staff where you saw her and they just might have a special treat for you!

 

“Magnificent Miss Wilson’s Library Hide and Seek” will continue even after her birthday  month of March ends as we relocate her cameo image to a new display case each month.  We hope you will partake in the search and find some time to enjoy the engaging displays here in the library!

 

And while we are on the subject of displays in the library, did you know Western Libraries provides access to our display cases to departments and organizations at Western as part of its service to the academic community?  Exhibit cases are available to any Western-affiliated organization, and may be reserved for one to two months.  Exhibits in the Libraries are created to direct attention to the materials, services, and aims of the Libraries, or to reflect the aims, goals, and services of departments and organizations at Western.  

 

If you are interested in making a request for a display, please make your reservation by submitting the online application form at least one month before the date you wish to begin your exhibit. Request approval is subject to case availability. For more information about current exhibits or exhibit policies, see the Display Case Exhibits web page


Wallie V. Funk & Community Journalism

Posted on: Monday, February 8, 2016 - 8:22am

Topic(s): Events, Feature Stories

When Local Becomes National

On Tuesday, February 2, 2016 in Special Collections we were honored to host the very special event "When local becomes national," during which panelists spoke about community journalism and the impact of the work of noted and prolific photographer, Wallie V. Funk. Wallie was also in attendance along with members of his family, and he made the event even more meaningful by sharing some of his memories enriching the conversation with his perspective.

 

Between 75 and 80 people were in attendance to listen to tales of Wallie's contributions and their place in the history of local and national photojournalism.

 

During his long career as a photographer, journalist and co-owner of the Anacortes American, the Whidbey News-Times, and the South Whidbey Record, Wallie V. Funk photographed a diverse and eclectic range of subjects, including several U.S. presidential visits to the state of Washington; the Beatles’ and Rolling Stones’ concerts in Seattle; the 1970 Penn Cove whale capture; local and regional accidents and disasters (both natural and man-made); and community events and military activities on Fidalgo and Whidbey islands.

 

 

Panelists spoke about the impact of Wallie's work on his community and its surrounding area, and talked about how he used his photography and storytelling talents to draw attention to important matters in order to benefit and improve the lives of those around him. Each panelist had personal ties to Wallie, having worked closely with him while developing an enduring friendship.

 

 

Panelists were Theresa Trebon, Swinomish Indian Tribal community and local historian; Paul Cocke, Director of Western’s Office of Communications and Marketing and former news editor of the Anacortes American; Elaine Walker, curator of collections at the Anacortes Museum and former news editor of the Anacortes American; and Scott Terrell, photojournalist for the Skagit Valley Herald and WWU journalism instructor.

 

 

The presentation was sponsored by Western Libraries Heritage Resources, the WWU Department of Journalism and Western’s Office of Communications and Marketing.

 

A photographic exhibit featuring Funk's images is available for viewing weekdays in Special Colelctions between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., (excluding weekends and holidays).  The photographs on display in the exhibit represent a small sample from a far larger collection of papers, prints, and negatives donated by Walle V. Funk to the Center for Pacific Northwest Studies in 2003. If you are interested in learning more about this collection, please contact Heritage.Resources@wwu.edu.

 

 


Usability Study Participants Wanted

Posted on: Monday, February 1, 2016 - 9:03am

Topic(s): Updates

Western Libraries Usability Activity

Western Libraries Usability & Design Working Group is currently evaluating how the Library website organizes information about services and materials – and we would love your input! We are seeking participants for a brief usability exercise; the purpose of this exercise is to identify new ways to organize information and services on our website. Undergraduate students, graduate students, faculty, and staff are invited to participate. This activity shouldn’t take longer than 10-15 minutes.
 
Description & Purpose: Through an electronic sorting exercise, participant responses will help Western Libraries identify new ways to organize information and services on our website.
 
Duration: The activity shouldn't take longer than 10 to 15 minutes to complete.
 
Intended Audience: Undergraduates, graduates, faculty, and staff from outside of the Libraries are invited to participate.
 
Questions about the usability study? Please contact us via our website, or call Rebecca Marrall, Discovery Services Librarian (360-650-4493).
 
Ready to get started? You can participate in the study now.
 

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