Why Archives? SMU Archivist, Joan Gosnell Explains

We recently chatted with SMU Libraries’ own Joan Gosnell, SMU Archivist. With the upcoming presentations of the Black History at SMU Student Oral History Projects, we wanted to ask Joan some questions about “The Archives.” Joan was a big part in helping Dr. Jill Kelly’s students find their way through the archives to complete their projects. 

Joan Gosnell, SMU Archivist
Joan Gosnell, SMU Archivist

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Library Collections Update

Faculty Please complete the survey on library resources before March 1st.


Thank you to all faculty and staff members who attended and provided feedback at the recent Library Collections Budget Town Hall meeting in January. The meeting allowed us an opportunity for further discussion about the trends in library collections costs and the library’s budget. From our conversations, we created an overview of library collection development trends to explain how contracts with vendors impact our ability to afford the journals and books you need.



For those unable to attend, your subject librarian is available to attend your next department meeting to share the town hall presentation with you and your colleagues and to explain in depth how these issues affect your discipline. We are also gathering data about vital resources to better prioritize our spending.


How You Can Help


  • Faculty: Fill out the survey to let us know what resources are important for your discipline. The deadline is on March 1, 2018.
  • Send in the feedback form to tell us if the library does not own material you need for research and teaching.
  • Reach out to your subject librarian with requests for purchases to help us understand what resources you need.



Building a Digital Collection for Academic Research

A digital collection, which can contain just a few or thousands of items, can be an incredibly useful tool for a researcher who needs a searchable database of digital files relating to an academic project or area of interest. For example, you may visit multiple archives and obtain dozens or hundreds of digitized documents, images, and audio-visual files as background information for a book or article.

A digital collection would allow you to:

Never Were Two Pieces of Indian Pottery Exactly Alike, [page 52 and 53], 1920, from American Indians: First families of the Southwest by the Fred Harvey Co.
  •    Search and retrieve these files in a single repository,
  •    Make items available to other researchers and/or the public through a link
  •    Preserve the information over the long-run.
  •    Use innovative ancillary applications, like mapping and digital exhibits.

Creating a digital collection is not difficult, but it does require planning. Three main components make up a digital collection:

  1. digitization,
  2. cataloging/metadata creation
  3. digital collections software

Software, such as Omeka.net, allows people to view the digital files and their corresponding, searchable metadata record together.

If you would like to learn how to build a digital collection, register for our two-part workshop, Omeka.net Workshop: Build A Digital Collection, Part 1 and Omeka.net Workshop: Build A Digital Collection, Part 2, held September 7 (12:00-1:00) and September 8 (1:00-3:00). Please remember to register for both parts.

The Norwick Center for Digital Solutions (nCDS), a unit of Central University Libraries (CUL), is making available online tens of thousands of items from CUL special collections, including the DeGolyer Library and Bywaters Special Collections, in the CUL Digital Collections web site. CUL Digital Collections have received millions of hits and are being used in hundreds of research projects both at SMU and around the world.

nCDS offers advice and training to faculty, students, and staff on how to create digital collections. We also offer a Digital Humanities practicum on digital collections development. For more information, contact Cindy Boeke, Digital Collections Librarian, cboeke@smu.edu.


Study, relax and get caffeinated in the new Collaborative Commons!

Students study at the new Collaborative Commons.
Students study at the new Collaborative Commons.


This new school year brings the opening of the Collaborative Commons. This space in Fondren Library features group study stations with whiteboards and AV equipment, moveable furniture for our students to study how they want and a Starbucks to keep them going through it all. This space is adjacent to the IT Help Desk and close to the library’s Main Desk to assist you. Come by and see for yourself!



Featured Resource: Simmons OneView

Simmons OneView is a tool that accesses data from the annual Simmons National Consumer Survey of 25,000 adults. This survey includes in depth demographic questions, brand consumption, attitudes about various topics, and media consumption preferences.  Simmons OneView allows you to create customized reports, access data down to the regional level, and find relationships between any variables on the survey. Applications include entrepreneurship, marketing and advertising, communications, and any kind of population studies of America today.

Training on the tool is available through http://guides.smu.edu/simmons or by contacting Megan Heuer.


Access Simmons OneView

Featured Resource: Nature Journals Online

NatureNature Journals Online

This is a collection of high quality journals published by the Nature Publishing Group. The journals cover areas such as chemistry, life sciences, physical and applied sciences, among others. The journals in the collection are some of the most-widely read in their fields, and should be read by anyone interested in the research done in those areas.

Access Nature

Featured Resource – Engineering Village

Engineering Village

Engineering Village (or Compendex) is an essential tool for students, faculty, and researchers. It is the most comprehensive engineering database available, worldwide. It provides access to the most authoritative engineering resources available, and has an easily-searchable interface. The database has over 17 million records, and covers 190 engineering disciplines.

Access Engineering Village

Featured Resource: RefWorks


Put citations in their place.

  • Collect and Import citations seamlessly.
  • Organize Citations into collections.
  • Write and Cite as you type.

Learn more about RefWorks!  Attend one of our upcoming workshops.

RefWorks: Citation Management Made Easy
Monday, February 22 2016; 1 p.m – details
Thursday February 25 2016; 12 p.m. – details


Collect and Import citations and text by clicking on the Save to RefWorks button in your bookmarks bar.

Create a RefWorks account:

Collect and Import citations and text by clicking on the Save to RefWorks button in your bookmarks bar. Grab citations quickly and easily while you are researching.

Organize Citations by creating your own project folders by course or topic.

Collaborate on research projects by sharing access to citations.

Write and Cite with MS Word or Google Docs, drop in citations and footnotes. Thousands of citation styles are available.

ProQuest FlowProQuest Flow user?
Here’s how to upgrade to the new RefWorks.

RefWorks HelpWant RefWorks Help? Ask a Librarian!
Or use their help page, Start Here.

Featured Resource: Center for Research Libraries (CRL)


The Center for Research Libraries (CRL) is an international consortium of university, college, and independent research libraries. CRL supports advanced research and teaching in the humanities, sciences, and social sciences by preserving and making available to scholars the primary source material critical to those disciplines.

Oct 21, 1976 issue of Zapoliar'eCRL acquires and preserves newspapers, journals, documents, archives, and other traditional and digital resources from a global network of sources. Most materials acquired are from outside the United States, and many are difficult to obtain or at-risk materials from six major world regions: Africa, the Middle East, Slavic and Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia, South Asia, and Latin America.

Through the Demand Purchase Program, each library patron (both faculty and student researchers) can request up to $2000 of research materials in each year. The CRL will purchase the following items on demand:

  • Foreign Doctoral Dissertations from institutions in countries outside of the U.S. and Canada
  • Newspapers for which CRL owns at least one day of a newspaper title
  • Archival material from national governments, NGOs, and other organizations and institutions

CRL holds approximately five million newspapers, journals, dissertations, archives, government publications, and other traditional and digital resources for research and teaching. Current acquisitions emphasize materials produced outside the United States, especially publications and archives from developing regions. Explore the CRL Digital Collections here.

Topic guides are provided on the CRL website for different subject areas. Many of the guides include an overview of the field as well as a list of CRL and outside references and resources. You can also search or browse the catalog for serials, newspapers, dissertations, and digital collections in your subject area.