The Perils of Open Information


These days in the Information Sciences community, we hear a lot of buzz surrounding the phrases open source, open information, and open access.

So, what exactly is… open… about these things? Continue reading

Evernote Assists Genealogists in Tracking Research

Genealogy remains one area of research where the latest trends in technology are often overlooked, especially in the area of digital organization. Family historians utilize searchable databases, internet searches, and digitization projects, but overlook one very powerful tool of organization: Evernote. In the search for an elusive ancestor or lost records, genealogists often amass a large amount of records or documents in both digital and print form. This collection of records can be gathered and archived with Evernote, a free, web-based downloadable program that allows users to collect and organize all their documents in one place.  Evernote has emerged as a clear winner for genealogy research, “It’s no exaggeration to say that this tool will change your research life. Evernote gives you a place to organize all your genealogical data,” stated Kerry Scott in the November 2015 issue of Family Tree Magazine.


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The Hidden History of the Indiana State Library

Giving tours of the Indiana State Library building and highlighting its architectural details keeps the staff connected with both the library’s history and our state’s history. Before the current 1934 building existed for the Indiana State Library, the library was housed within the “new” Indiana State House, occupying four rooms in the third floor south wing from 1888 to 1933. Those rooms are presently offices for the Legislative Services Agency and Indiana House of Representatives.  If you are an architecture aficionado, do not pass up the opportunity offered by the Statehouse Tour Office to tour Indiana’s beautiful 1888 State House. Continue reading

It’s Our War, Too!: The WAC at Camp Atterbury during WWII

Ever wonder when women were first allowed to serve in the U.S. Army (besides nurses)? The answer is 1942!

Technician 5th grade Norma Boudreau and Master Sergeant Louis Dovilla with posters of Norman Rockwell’s Four Freedoms, July 12, 1943

Technician 5th grade Norma Boudreau and Master Sergeant Louis Dovilla with posters of Norman Rockwell’s Four Freedoms, July 12, 1943

With the United States embroiled in World War II, the Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps (WAAC) was established on May 15, 1942 as a noncombatant auxiliary to the army. The corps was renamed the Women’s Army Corps (WAC) upon its full incorporation into the army on July 1, 1943, enlisting each new recruit with the goal of “releasing a man from service.” Continue reading

Cliff Johnson Explores Indiana High School Basketball History

As a lifelong high school and college basketball fan, Cliff Johnson has made Indiana his summer destination for the past 17 years. He has spent many of those hours at the Indiana State Library. Cliff uses the State Library’s historical newspaper collection, school directories, and yearbooks to research Indiana high school basketball.

cliff at mackey arenaLiving in California, Cliff makes good use of his visits to Indiana.  He has spent many days looking deep into the glow of the microfilm readers. He also spends his time traveling to various parts of the state to interview former players and retired coaches. Continue reading

Researching 1920s Building History with the Indiana Construction Recorder

Doing history on a building completed in the 1920s?  The Indiana Construction Recorder, we have from 1920-1933, must be consulted.

The Indiana Construction Recorder (ISLI 690.5 I385C) is the trade publication of the Indiana Society of Architects and Associated Building Contractors of Indiana. It lists new building contracts awarded for large projects such as schools, apartments, etc. Not only does it show new construction contracts awarded, but also lists building permits which include residence and garages. Continue reading

Treaty of St. Mary’s

In late 2014, staff from the Rare Books and Manuscripts Division found the Treaty of St. Mary’s intact, tightly rolled and placed into a box with miscellaneous documents. After spending some much needed time in the Martha E. Wright Preservation Lab, we are happy to announce it has a permanent home in appropriate archival housing. Patrons who wish to view the document can make a request through our “Ask-A-Librarian” service, here:

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An Interview with Sullivan County Public Library Director Jordan Orwig

I recently had the opportunity to visit the Sullivan County Public library and meet new director, Jordan Orwig. He was kind enough to allow me to interview him for the library blog.  OrwigPic_editAre you from the area? If not, where are you from originally?

Yes, I have lived in Sullivan my entire life except for a short stint as a college student at Indiana University in Bloomington, IN. Living in another town was a great experience, but it was nice to move back home, get involved, and reinvest in the town where I grew up.

When I was a child my parents actually looked into buying the house that currently houses the library administration offices. Obviously they didn’t purchase it, but it seems like one way or another I was always meant to be in it.

What inspired you to work in libraries?

Books and reading have been passions for me for as long as I can remember. After college, I started working at a local newspaper. I was there for a number of years, and then I heard about the possibility of a job opening at the library. After looking into getting my MLS, everything just seemed to click. The Sullivan County Public Library was actually my first employer, too. I worked as a page all through high school, so I think it’s fitting that I get to come back to the same library where I entered the working world.

What is your favorite thing about working for your library?

Besides being surrounded by books every day? I am involved in a number of organizations that serve our community. Working at the library is just one more opportunity that I can utilize to make the county I grew up in a better place. I love the fact that libraries can mean different things to different people. While one person might come in to check out books every week, someone else might only come in once to send in a job application. It’s humbling to consider that the library can help people on many different levels.

What is your favorite book?

Perdido Street Station by China Miéville It was actually assigned to my wife in one of her college courses in 2008. I’d never heard of the guy, but she thought that I’d like it since I was into sci-fi and fantasy, so she gave it to me after the class wrapped up. I fell in love with everything about it immediately. I am not exaggerating when I say that it changed my life and changed how and what I read. Ever since then, I’ve read almost everything he’s written and haven’t shut up about him.

If you could have dinner with any three famous people in recorded history, who would they be and why?

I would be lying if I didn’t include the aforementioned Miéville in that group. I think my answer above should explain why. The other two would have to be Andrew Carnegie and Matthew McConaughey. Carnegie because – come on, this is a library blog, I pretty much have to pick him! In all seriousness though, I’d love to hear his thoughts about his affect on this nation and its libraries. I’d pick McConaughey because of an interview I heard with him on NPR’s Fresh Air program. He’s definitely a guy who knows who he is, where he came from, and what his place is in the world. If you haven’t listened to it, go check it out and I bet you’ll want to meet him, too.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not at work?

My wife and I are pretty avid bicyclers. We also discovered obstacle course racing this year and have already completed a Tough Mudder, with several other races planned yet this year. They are absolutely insane, fun, and worth trying. I have also played bass in a band with my wife and friend for about two years now. We play country music, but faster and louder than what you usually hear on the radio.

This blog post was written by Amber Painter, Outreach Librarian. For more information, contact the Professional Development Office at (317) 232-3697 or email

Researching the Photograph Collection

Staff of the Rare Books and Manuscripts division recently finished re-processing its Photograph Collection and updated guide. The 93 box collection includes images from all 92 counties and is organized alphabetically by location or subject. The Photograph Collection was originally located in the old Manuscripts Reading Room. The natural light and fluctuating temperatures in the room were harmful to the photographs necessitating its move to the library’s temperature and climate controlled vault.
Picture Collection - Mss Boxes aerial view - with caption_edit

Since most of the library’s photographs are not cataloged, researching them can be a little tricky. The general Photograph Collection contains the bulk of the library’s photographs, but we also have specific photograph collections that include a name and call number. Most of these smaller photograph collections include a finding aid (or guide) that provides more specific information. Rare Books and Manuscripts finding aids are all located on the library’s Finding Aid Index page. Staff and patrons still rely on the Photograph Index cards for locating specific information about a particular image.

Picture Index_edit

The Photograph Index cards contain information about individual images found in both the library’s picture collections and in our printed material (i.e. books, pamphlets, etc.). The cards contain information that helps librarians retrieve the item. For images identified in the Photograph Index, the card will contain a location (Benton County) or subject term (Churches). The Photograph Collection also includes many portraits, which are organized by the subject term Portraits and then alphabetically by the individual’s last name. For images located in printed material, the card will contain the call number, title, and page number for the image.

Picture Index - card file example

Moving forward, ISL plans to digitize portions of the Photograph Collection, as well as some specific photograph collections, to upload into Indiana Memory. During the processing of the Photograph Collection, staff identified certain aspects of the collection to be digitized in the future. Stay tuned for updates regarding when these collections are available through Indiana Memory.

This blog post was written by Brent Abercrombie, Rare Books & Manuscripts Librarian, Indiana State Library. For more information, contact the Indiana State Library at (317)232-3678 or “Ask-A-Librarian” at