Digital Librarian Lends Expertise to Mongolian Project
The first large-scale digitization project created in Mongolia can thank a UWM Libraries staff member for its successful launch.
Krystyna Matusiak, the Libraries' Digital Collections Librarian, traveled twice to Ulan Bator, Mongolia's capitol, to assist librarians in digitizing rare periodicals and building the Digital Archive of Mongolian Newspapers. Matusiak visited the country at the invitation of the Press Institute of Mongolia, a non-profit organization established in 1995 to promote the development of independent and pluralistic media in Mongolia.
The Press Institute wanted to preserve rare Mongolian newspapers and share them with a wider audience. During her visits to Mongolia in 2006 and 2007, Matusiak helped set up the project and trained librarians to build the Archive according to the digitization standards and digital library best practices. The two-year undertaking was supported by a grant from the Endangered Archive Programme of the British Library.
Krystyna Matusiak (center) with Mongolian librarians
"Language proved to be the most challenging aspect of the project," Matusiak said. "We had to come up with a model that would provide full-text searching in the Mongolian language and display Cyrillic characters. The project gave me an opportunity to work with some outstanding Mongolian librarians and programmers and contribute to international digital library initiatives. I only wish I could read the newspapers I helped to digitize."
The Archive currently contains 45 newspaper titles with over 20,000 pages. The wide range of newspapers included in this collection represents unique historical material documenting the transformation of Mongolia after the fall of Communism in the early 1990s. The Archive is available at http://www.pressinst.org.mn/elib/gsdl/cgi-bin/library.
UWM Libraries Acquires Collection of Nationally Recognized Gay Rights Activist
The UWM Libraries is pleased to announce its acquisition of the personal papers and library of Eldon Murray, a nationally recognized figure in the gay rights movement. Murray was active in virtually all of the major issues involving gays and lesbians from the 1970s to the present day.
In the 1970s, he became involved with the Gay Peoples Union (GPU), the first gay rights organization in Milwaukee and arguably the most important one in Wisconsin during this decade. Murray edited the organization's newsletter, GPU News, from 1971 to 1981; participated in the production of Gay Perspective, a half-hour radio program broadcast locally from 1971 to 1972; and spoke eloquently on the topic of gay rights at countless public events.
Following the first reported cases of AIDS in Wisconsin in the early 1980s, Murray worked to raise funds for the Milwaukee AIDS Project, which was later reorganized as the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin. In 1993, he founded SAGE/Milwaukee, the first organization in Wisconsin dedicated to serving the needs of older gays, lesbians, and bisexuals. He served as the board chair 1993 to 2003 and represented SAGE on an advisory board to the Commissioners of the Milwaukee County Department on Aging.
Murray's commitment to gay and lesbian equality was recognized by many local and national organizations. In 1998, ONE Institute and the International Gay and Lesbian Archives recognized him as one of 31 pioneers of the gay rights movement.
Murray passed away on March 5, 2007, at the age of 77.
Murray's personal papers document his activity in the early gay rights movement in Milwaukee, the effort to support HIV+ individuals and eliminate discrimination and prejudice based on HIV-status, and to support senior gays and lesbians. The collection includes correspondence, photographs, records of the organizations in which Murray participated, and ephemera.
With the personal papers, the UWM Libraries acquired Murray's own library. Of particular interest in this collection are scores of "beefcake" magazines from the 1950s and 1960s. Published in the oppressive pre-Stonewall era, the magazines (barely) disguised their homoerotic intention behind a posing strap of masculine athleticism. The library also includes examples of pulp fiction from the same period.
As a related collection, the Gay Peoples Union generously donated its library of LGBT books and serial publications, which had been stored in Murray's home since the early 1980s. GPU developed the library from items purchased with organization funds, donations by private individuals, and review and exchange copies. According to a GPU annual report, the collection amounted to approximately 1,500 volumes in 1974 and was "probably the largest library collection about homosexuality in the state."
Murray's personal papers are housed in the Archives Department, and his library and the GPU library are available for research in Special Collections. For more information, please contact Michael Doylen, Archives Dept. Head, at 229-6980 or Max Yela, Special Collections Head, at 229-4345.
Challenge Grant Offered for Preserving Murray Audio Tapes
Joseph Pabst, Milwaukee philanthropist and supporter of the LGBT community, has generously offered a challenge grant of $1,500 to preserve the audio recordings of Gay Perspective
, a radio program produced by the Gay Peoples Union and broadcast locally from 1971 to 1972. The grant, which requires a match, is from the Greater Milwaukee Foundation's Johnson and Pabst LGBT Humanity Fund. We encourage those who would like to contribute towards matching the grant to contact Susan Modder, Development Director, at email@example.com
or 414-229-2811. All donations are welcome.
Finding a Needle in a 500,000-Image Haystack: One Librarian's Story
A reference librarian never knows what challenge lies ahead when the phone rings on any given day. Recently the American Geographical Society Library received a call from Mark Johnson, a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writer, looking for photos of the San Pedro River Valley in Arizona, preferably from the 1950s.
He was writing an article on pre-eminent geographer Yi-Fu Tuan and wanted additional material for the online version of the article. The particular towns requested were rather remote places even now and my first inclination was to think there wasn't a chance we had such images.
We estimate our photographic holdings, in their various formats, to be approximately 500,000 and growing at this time. An item record for each image is not available yet, but after years of working with the various collections, we have a good idea of the coverage. Still, images of this particular area seemed unlikely at first.
Fortunately, I had recently processed a collection of slides donated to us years ago from Clarence W. Sorensen, an internationally respected scholar, explorer, editor, CBS correspondent, and author. He, along with a professional photographer, Eugene V. Harris, who accompanied him on his assignments, had amassed approximately 64,000 slides worldwide, including many of places that seemed quite remote or unusual to me at the time. A quick look through the Arizona holdings proved successful! I was able to find a number of 1950's images from which Johnson could select.
Thinking my reference challenge was over, I was faced with another when asked for a commentary about the slides chosen and ranch life at this time in Arizona. Fortunately, we had a number of the geography textbooks written by Dr. Sorensen that used many of his other images. I was able to draw from Dr. Sorensen's own words to help illustrate the images used.
The final result was an enriching on-line slide show with narration by one of our staff members, Tom Brittnacher. The link is provided here:
Ranch hands, Willcox, Arizona, 1959, Clarence W. Sorensen Collection, AGS Library, photo by C.W. Sorensen