Technology, Research and Growth
Texas State University, Alkek Library is focused on technology, research and growth. As a recently designated, Carnegie class higher research university, Alkek library is currently proactively expanding technology capacity, online digital research possibilities and learning commons infrastructures.
In terms of physical technologies, Alkek is in the midst of a multi-million dollar learning commons infrastructure expansion. Ground has been broken and construction begun on a large offsite repository, the ARC (Archival Research Center) to make room and house physical materials. Learning commons technology possibilities have entered both construction and planning phases with a large main floor infrastructure renovation and various planning committees working towards multi-phase learning commons centers. New technology areas being planned range from Visualization walls to Makerspacers and a prototype 3D printing lab has been successfully launched in the past year with best practices presentations given at various conferences on successfully setting up these types of infrastructures for academic institutions. This larger technological infrastructure expansion is expected to continue for the next five years as the learning commons continues this phased growth model.
On online and digital fronts, the newly created Alkek library digital media unit has been busy completing a banner year of digital exhibits, online archives and digital libraries ranging from online exhibits to more technologically complex projects involving a spectrum of stakeholders and technologies. The Santiago Tafolla Online Exhibit creates a stunning visual online exhibit of a historical native son of the Southwest and Mexican American Confederate solder complete with Tafolla’s online biographical manuscript.
The Texas State Bobcat Flickr Commons site digitizes thousands of images from Texas State Bobcat sports history of former official university photographer Don Anders. This site has been featured by both Flickr and the San Antonio News among other medial outlets.
‘Severo Perez’s ‘And the Earth Did Not Swallow Him online exhibit is based on director Severo Perez’s acclaimed film of Tomas Rivera’s landmark historical novel, ‘y no se lo tragó la tierra’ and utilizes extensive artifacts, images and content from the Severo Perez papers at the Wittliff Collections. The online exhibition traces the production and development of this historical landmark in Texas Mexican film history and utilizes video footage from interviews recently conducted with the director regarding the making of this classic Chicano film.
The University Pedagogs Project digitizes over 90 years of the University student yearbooks with Texas/US history in larger backdrop. Page turning modules and zoom features create a fascinating record with thousands of pages digitized. Recently launched this August, The National Tour of Texas: The Ultimate Texas Road Trip” surrounds a year long 1987 journey and historical set of fourteen Texas Monthly articles authored by noted Texas journalist, Dick Reavis, and chronicling a now almost forgotten and disappeared Texas of 30 years ago. The site synthesizes a spectrum of higher-end technologies ranging from an Omeka online exhibition to GIS mapping possibilities with digital video and a series of interviews with journalist, Reavis chronicling this important history thirty years after the original trip.
Most recently, the library digitization unit and university archives received a 2017 TSLAC Tex Treasures grant to digitize a multi-decade run of historical San Marcos Daily Record negatives, preserving visual imagery of Central Texas history. With a staff focused on proactive movement and possibilities with both physical technology and digitization initiatives, Alkek library continues to set a path of successful innovation and proactive growth.
Article by Ray Uzwyshyn, Director of Research & Learning Services, Texas State University Libraries.