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!

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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!

New Year’s Resolution: Learn Quick Search!

If you’ve been at ISU for a while, you’ve probably noticed that the Library website no longer has a traditional library catalog.  Instead, there’s a new search tool called Quick Search at the top of the home page.  If you’re a faculty member, student, researcher or a member of the ISU community, the New Year is a good time to level up your Quick Search skills so you can get the most out of Quick Search, and also know when it’s best to use a different search tool.

Hey, it’s just a search box.  It can’t be that complicated!  

No, it’s not complicated if you’re searching for just anything – but for library research, that’s rarely the case.

Quick Search box

The first thing you need to know is that it’s really worth your time to use one or more of the 3 drop-down menus (shown above) that are located just below the search box.  The choices listed in these drop-down menus help you focus your search.  Why spend time plowing through thousands of results if they’re not what you need?

Quick Search & Drop-down menu #1

The second thing you need to know?  Quick Search lets you search far more than would a traditional library catalog.  We’ve opened up drop-down menu #1 here, so you can see all the types of materials you can find with this tool, including Articles, content located on the Library website, images, and a lot more.  That’s why it’s a good idea to always take a few seconds to focus your search.  Just type your search terms in the box, then choose the relevant selection(s) in one or more of the drop-down menus, then click the Search button.  You’ll have your focused results in a fraction of a second.

Third thing:  In general terms, Quick Search connects to various indexes and databases and allows you to search their contents seamlessly, without ever leaving Quick Search.  Nice!!  This can be a huge time saver.

But, if you’re doing research on race & ethnic studies topics, get ready for the shocking news!

Most subject-focused indexes that focus on race and ethnic studies research articles have NOT been “connected” with   Quick Search due to software incompatibilities.  Shocked: means you’re probably not searching the best or most comprehensive collections of research articles in these subject areas. Yes, you may find some interesting articles and information, but you’ll definitely need to go directly to indexes like Black Studies Center, Bibliography of Native North Americans, Ethnic NewsWatch, Hispanic American Periodicals Index, Chicano Database, and others to make sure you’re choosing the best tools for a thorough, scholarly and comprehensive search.

It’s a good strategy to use Quick Search and subject-focused indexes to ensure you’re getting everything you may need.

Do start exploring the drop-down menus and some of the many fun features of Quick Search, such as creating your own account, tagging, and reviewing materials of interest.  It’s a great way to start the New Year!

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!!