New @ the Library: More Streaming via Films on Demand!

Good news – the Library now subscribes to Films on Demand, the streaming video collection from Films for the Humanities & Sciences, one of the best known distributors of educational documentaries.  Subjects are very wide-ranging and provide great coverage in science & technology areas, in the social sciences, and humanities.  The streaming documentaries come from a variety of familiar and popular sources, including television news programs; PBS programs (such as the American Experience, Bill Moyers, NOVA, and the Ken Burns collection); TED talks, Scientific American Frontiers; California Newsreel titles focusing on African and African American topics, and more.

Films on Demand

Films on Demand – front page view

The streaming videos in Films on Demand can be searched by title or by video segments; an Advanced Search supports searching for titles with closed-captions, interactive transcripts, and other features.   Frequent users will want to create an account that allows creation of personalized playlists and organizing favorite content in customized folders, which can be a handy means for instructors to collect different materials for specific courses.  Instructors can easily place entire videos or specific video segments on Course Reserve, play them in media-equipped classrooms, or stream online, making Films on Demand a flexible and engaging content tool for your face-to-face, online, and distance learning courses.  (There is also an Embed feature that in theory allows you to embed the video directly in your Blackboard course pages, but…. I haven’t yet gotten this feature to work properly.  Perhaps this can be straightened out soon.)  Off-campus users will of course need to login with their Library Borrower ID and password to view.

Pass the popcorn, and enjoy!

ACLS Humanities e-Book collection

New-ish to the Library is the fascinating ACLS Humanities e-Book collection, from the American Council of Learned Societies.  This impressive collection has almost 4000 full-text scholarly books across the wide gamut of the traditional humanities (history; art & architecture; film & media studies; literature & literary criticism; linguistics; music, dance, performance; philosophy; political science, religion, and even sociology, to name a few).  There is a strong focus on “historical studies” focused on “African, American, Asian, Comparative/World, Eastern European/Russian, Economic, European, Latin American, Legal, Medicine, Methods/Theory, Middle East, and Science/Technology.”   You can download an Excel spreadsheet of the specific book titles included if you want to take a look.

Okay, we know it’s huge.  Even the title is a mouthful – so much so that you’ll see even the authors refer to it as ACLS HEB, or even just HEB.  So what can you do with HEB?  Happily, the collection boasts both an easy to use browse feature (that allows you to browse by title, author, or subject) and a very robust search engine that lets you quickly find titles / subjects / authors of interest.  Within a few clicks, you have the full-text of the book right in front of you.

acls ebook1   Once you find a book of interest, you can enter the book from its ACLS title record page.  You can go to the first page of the book and page your way through, or enter specific chapters / page ranges by using the linked Table of contents.  There are book reviews for my title linked on the page, plus the full citation and full cataloging record.  You can even get a larger version of the book jacket by clicking on your book’s image.

I found the book, Buñuel and Mexico: The crisis of national cinema, by Ernesto R. Acevedo-Muñoz and published by the Univ of California Press in 2003.  So you can see what I mean, here’s a graphic of the ACLS title page for the Buñuel cinema book I found.

Once you enter the full-text of your book, you can even choose the best display – page image, text,  or pdf – for your own reading comfort or downloading / printing needs.  You can also easily adjust the size of the page if you need a larger font or need to see an illustration in greater detail.

Speaking of illustrations, the few illustrations from book contents that I have seen have not been of the greatest quality.  This is probably the only drawback I can see during my own quick review of this collection.  Let me show you what I mean.

acls heb2

Hmmmm……  in a fantastic collection like HEB, it’s disappointing to see such blurry and grainy images.  This one comes from a book called Gay L.A. by Lillian Faderman.  There are lots of illustrations in this interesting book and none of them seems to be scanned clearly, which is really too bad.  It’s just not the same high quality images you will find in the original hardback book.  I haven’t found illustrations in other HEB books yet to compare but my guess is that this may be a current weakness throughout this collection.  You’ll need to see what you think.

So, do use this collection to find a surprising breadth of full-text eBooks in the humanities.  Don’t expect to find high quality book illustration images you can use (copyright permitting) in other projects.  You will though find nice quality reproductions of book covers.  And yes, you can find these books through Quick Search too.  Overall, a big positive addition to the Library’s collections.  Give ACLS HEB a test drive and let me know what you think!

Coming soon: Hathi Trust

Update (1/24/13):  We do now have access to Hathi Trust!  You will need to login with your ISU Net-ID and password to get fullest access to materials.  Remember not everything within Hathi Trust is available to all users full-text due to copyright restrictions, but you will find plenty of materials that are fully available.  Have fun exploring!

~~~ (Original post follows below)~~~

Looks like the Lib may soon be partnering with Hathi Trust Digital Library.  If you’re not familiar with them, be sure to take a look at their site.  They currently have over 5 million digitized books contributed by partners.

Hathi Trust Digital Library

Hathi Trust Digital Library

Just a few minutes ago, I was searching for a copy of Gems of Chinese Literature.  Our local copy seems to be in the Storage building, but I also found a link to Hathi Trust, where there are a few editions online.  I found an edition that is open to the public to view / read online.  I’m going to guess you could find content in Hathi Trust relevant to all race & ethnic studies areas and much more.

While some items in Hathi Trust are available to the general public to view full-text, many items are locked up.  Partners are able to login and view much more.  As I understand it, partnership means we would also need to contribute digital content to the site.

We’ll see how things develop.  This is potential great news, and hopefully everything will be ironed out for us to have access to this fantastic collection of digital books!  Stay tuned….

Sorry for the blurry image on this one! :s

Update: Streaming videos from Filmakers Library Online

Filmakers Library Online provides award-winning documentaries with relevance across the curriculum—race and gender studies, human rights, globalization and global studies, multiculturalism, international relations, criminal justice, the environment, bioethics, health, political science and current events, psychology, arts, literature, and more. It presents points of view and historical and current experiences from diverse cultures and traditions world-wide. This release now provides 1,001 titles, equaling approximately 791 hours.”  See:

Stay tuned…

Update (March 1, 2013):  We’ve been enjoying Filmakers Library Online for a while now.  This package provides written transcripts for its documentaries, which increases accessibility and searchability.  Videos include search features, plus you can easily create your own clips.  Lots of other flexible features are available – please take a look and start exploring this great resource!

Year’s end PDA ebooks : What did you buy?

I’ve blogged here before about the Library’s ebooks and our Patron-Driven Acquisition (PDA) program for ebooks.  We’ve set up a program that includes certain ebooks in Quick Search, the library discovery tool that replaced our traditional library catalog.  Users like you can discover these titles, and with just a few clicks, begin reading an ebook online – unaware that we don’t yet “own” it.  Well, after a few reads, the PDA program triggers the Library to buy that item.  Simple!

So, just as an fyi, below are just a few more of the great ebook titles in our areas of interest that have been acquired via our PDA program.  If you happened to trigger any of these acquisitions, thanks very much!

  • Antebellum Slave Narratives : Cultural and Political Expressions of Africa
  • Gay Rights and Moral Panic : The Origins of America’s Debate on Homosexuality
  • Feminism and War
  • Guide to Doing Statistics in Second Language Research Using SPSS
  • Language Curriculum Design
  • Political Communication in Asia
  • Routledge Contemporary China : Innovation in China : The Chinese Software Industry
  • Sexuality in World History
  • Ultimate Spanish Phrase Finder
  • Women, Science, and Technology : A Reader in Feminist Science Studies
  • Women Speaking Up : Getting and Using Turns in Workplace Meetings

Big Bill Broonzy Redux

As my colleague mentioned in her previous post about the wonders of the NAXOS music library, country blues legend Big Bill Broonzy (whose music can be heard in streaming form via the aforementioned resource) did indeed grace Ames with his larger-than-life presence for a time.

Broonzy was part of Studs Terkel’s “I Come For To Sing” traveling revue, which performed in the late 1940s in the Iowa State Armory. After the show, Broonzy met ISU English professors Leonard and Lillian Feinberg at a reception hosted by the couple. Shortly thereafter, Broonzy was told by his doctor that he needed to get out of the city (Chicago), or face a significantly lower life expectancy. He wrote to Professor (Leonard) Feinberg asking for work on an ISU farm. Feinberg was able to get him a job, instead, as a janitor in Friley Hall in 1950 (Jorgen Rasmussen, Ames Historical Society Newsletter, Summer, 2003). Rumor has it that ISU undergraduates taught Broonzy to read and write in exchange for some guitar tutelage. Only a year had passed, however, before Broonzy realized it would be much more lucrative to tour Europe, which he did with some frequency, and in the meantime, moved back to Chicago in 1951.*

In addition to the Broonzy material available in NAXOS, the library owns the following recordings and books of interest:


  • Broonzy, Big Bill. Complete Recorded Works in Chronological Order (Document Records, 1991-1995). This is a 12-CD set that spans the dates November 1927 –  1947.  Each one of these discs has its own call number and they’re all sequential: The call number for disc one is DISC 001 986, and at the other end of the range, the call number for disc twelve is DISC 001 997.
  • Broonzy, Big Bill. The Bill Broonzy Story (Verve, 1960, reissued in 1999). This is a 3-CD set that includes biographical notes by Bill Randle and program notes reprinted from the original 5-LP box set liner notes. Recorded in Chicago, July 12 and 13, 1957 (DISC 001 776).
  • Broonzy, Big Bill. Trouble in Mind (Smithsonian Folkways, 2000; originally released in 1957 on the Smithsonian label as “Big” Bill Broonzy Sings Country Blues.) Recorded in 1956-1957 in Chicago and New York City. Pete Seeger plays banjo on one track! (DISC 003 053)

Additionally, Broonzy is featured on a number of compilation recordings owned by the ISU Library, such as Brother, Can You Spare a Dime? American Song During the Great Depression (DISC 004 177), and Classic Protest Songs from Smithsonian Folkways (DISC 007 055).

The Life and Times of Big Bill Broonzy


  • Broonzy, Big Bill. Big Bill Blues: William Broonzy’s Story as Told to Yannick Bruynoghe. (The 1964 Oak Press edition is available in the Parks Library General Collection at the call number ML420 B78 A3 1964, and the 1992 Da Capo edition is held in the Parks Library Special Collections Department at the call number ML420 B78 A3 1992. Note that items held by Special Collections can only be viewed in the Special Collections area (403 Parks Library) during their open hours, Monday – Friday, 9am – 4pm.)
  • Riesman, Bob. I Feel So Good: The Life and Times of Big Bill Broonzy. (U of Chicago Press, 2011.) Call number: ML420 B78 R54 2011. This is a very recent acquisition, and includes an “appreciation” written by Pete Townshend.
  • House, Roger. Blue Smoke: The Recorded Journey of Big Bill Broonzy. (Louisiana State UP, 2010.) Coming soon.

Please check out some of the above materials (pun intended) if you like what you hear on NAXOS, or just want to learn more about a national treasure with an almost-forgotten Iowa State University connection.

*Thanks to the staff of the Iowa State University Library Archives for their help in procuring some of the information included in this post.

Cookbooks at the Library – Or, Confessions of a Food Freak

Did you know that the Library has  a huge collection of cookbooks?  Thanks to the needs of the Hotel, Restaurant & Institution Management Program and a very dedicated former colleague of mine, you can find historic cookbooks, regional cookbooks, innumerable national cuisine cookbooks, as well as cookbooks that focus on specific techniques, ingredients, and much more.  Included in this glorious collection are plenty of excellent and informative cookbooks from US minority and ethnic groups.  It might sound strange but cookbooks are often good choices for learning about history, traditions, and cultural practices of people from across the world.  There’s a growing trend in fiction to combine history, stories, and recipes, perhaps initiated by Laura Esquivel’s famed Como agua para chocolate.  But there are so many foodies in the US that there’s a growing readership for non-fiction books about food that include a few recipes.  Genre bending aside, I could blog for a year non-stop and still not discuss every cookbook of interest, so here are just a few recent samples:

The Filipino-American Kitchen: Traditional Recipes, Contemporary Flavors, by Jennifer M. Aranas.
(TX724.5 P5 A73 2006)

Published in 2006, this lavishly illustrated cookbook includes careful ingredient lists, often listing translations and substitute ingredients, and easy-to-follow instructions.  As she details in her Foreword, author Jennifer Aranas was “born and raised in Chicago” but surrounded by Filipino culture and traditions.  She founded Chicago’s first Filipino-American restaurant, and calls Filipino cooking the “original fusion cuisine”:

  • “It is hard to resist the vibrant flavors of ginger and lemongrass, the glorious triumvirate we lovingly call sofrito (sautéed onion, garlic, and tomato), or the crispy crunch of egg rolls in various incarnations.  On the surface, Filipino food is entirely familiar.  Noodles, rice, stews, and stir-fries are neither new nor Filipino inventions. But the interplay of exotic flavors, balanced and harmonious, is uniquely Filipino and anything but ordinary.  … Modern Filipino cuisine is a collage of ethnicities starting with a native Malay base flavored with layers of Chinese, Spanish, and American accents.”

Puerto Ricans and other Latin Americans will certainly recognize sofrito, the basis of many a savory dish!  Recipes include Suman Nga Baboy (Steamed rice cakes with bacon & caramelized onions, wrapped in banana leaves); Pancit Guisado (Stewed Noodle Dish), Adobong Pato a la Monja (Duck adobo with pineapple and dates – looks like this preparation originally came from a convent – a la Monja means “in the style of nuns”); Pineapple and Cassava Tarts, Halo Halo (Filipino fruit sundae), and much more.  Check it out!!

Recovering Our Ancestors’ Gardens:  Indigenous Recipes & Guide to Diet and Fitness, by Devon Abbot Mihesuah.  (TX715 M6364 2005)

      Primarily a nutrition and fitness guide, with a good dollop of history, the cooking advice and recipes begin on page 113 of this 194-page book, and end on page 160.  Recipes included come from many different tribes, or feature well-known indigenous ingredients such as tomatoes, corn, beans, and squash.

Most recipes have been contributed by women and men from the Choctaw, Comanche, Osage, Dakota, Cree, Cherokee and Eastern Cherokee, Luiseño, and Seminole nations, along with a number of Mexican / Southwestern traditions, such as guacamole and salsa.

A number of the recipes include traditional preparation techniques, such as the recipe for Dakota Waskuya (Dakota dried sweet corn soup).  The ingredients are dried sweet corn and meat, with suggested meats being “venison, buffalo, elk, or beef.”  No quantities are listed, so you know this is a recipe for experienced cooks!

The preparation begins with instructions on how to dry boiled and shelled corn in the sun, a process that takes days and which the author frankly calls “labor-intensive.”  Much later when the corn is dried, it is cooked with the meat until tender.  For those interested in understanding traditional ways of preparing traditional foods, this book can provide some useful insights along with recipes.

Other interesting recipes include Ta-pashe (Osage pounded meat), Luiseño Weewish, Choctaw Banaha, and Wah-zha-zhe wa-dsiu-e cta-i-ge (Osage persimmon cakes), along with many recipes for game meat (venison, elk, buffalo), breads, and numerous vegetables.   I think I’m going to have to try Mamaw Helton’s creamed corn tonight!

High on the Hog: A Culinary Journey from Africa to America, by Jessica B. Harris
(TX 715 H29972 2011)

Here’s another very fascinating book that combines history and family stories with a few (maybe 20 tops?) recipes.  As a book review in the New York Times points out, Harris celebrates both home-style cooking and the “aspirational and omnivorous” traditions of   “Big House cooks who prepared lavish 

 banquets, caterers who created a culinary cooperative in Philadelphia in the 19th century, a legion of black hoteliers and culinary moguls and a growing black middle and upper class.”

Ms. Harris provides essays that detail the historic and cultural foundations of these two culinary traditions, beginning of course with chapters on African foods and ceremonies, the Middle Passage and the resulting profound influences of African food traditions on American food from the earliest days to the present.

Recipes (a number of which appeared in Harris’s earlier cookbooks, The Africa Cookbook: Tastes of a Continent; TX725.A1 H284 1998, and The Welcome Table: African American Heritage CookingTX715 .H31443 1995)  begin on page 247 thru page 265, and include the glorious triumvirate of okra plus tomatoes plus fiery hot chili peppers as Sauce Gombo to be splashed atop rice; Summer Southern Succotash (again, tomatoes plus okra plus corn and those super hot peppers).

Side note:  You can’t help but notice the fusion of Latin American indigenous ingredients – xitomatl (tomatoes); chilli (chili peppers); elotl (corn) meeting up with Africa-native okra.

Nguba & xocolatl

We know the historic reasons for that fusion are the slave trade and Spanish and Portuguese colonization of the New World – Mexico, the Caribbean, Central and South America.  The slave trade brought foods from one part of the world to another, including the diffusion of these foods into European cuisines.  The mundane yet heavenly peanut butter cup, formerly advertised in the US as a marriage between peanut butter and chocolate, is a child of this same African-New World diffusion.  But I digress!

There’s also an interesting western cowboy stew called Son of a Gun Stew (note: an organ meat lover’s delight); the classic Fried Chicken and Macaroni and Cheese, and several good recipes for greens.  This is obviously a good choice for learning about African American foodways, while Ms. Harris’s previous books mentioned above will be great choices for many, many more African and African American recipes.

Taking a quick break to go make dinner – thinking about Pastel de pollo, one of my own “go to” dishes… but before I head off, here’s how you can find cookbooks in our collections.

Take a look through our cookbook collections – you are sure to find something you’ll enjoy!  To find national or ethnic cookbooks, just go to Quick Search and type in cooking AND <group of choice>, as in…

  • cooking AND african
  • cooking AND french
  • cooking AND puerto rican
  • cooking AND korean

… and so on

Make sure you select BOOKS with Quick Search’s 1st drop-down menu.  You should be able easily to browse your results from there.  (Obviously, if you know the title of book you want, type that in Quick Search, as in…

  • mastering the art of french cooking
  • cocine a gusto
  • simple art of vietnamese cooking
  • african american kitchen
  • la cocina colombiana
  • kimchi chronicles

Call numbers will most likely begin with TX… and are housed on the Lower Level of Parks Library.  Enjoy!!