Articles posted by Andrew Welch

Complete the Faculty Survey to help the library

October 25, 2018

Ithaka S+R logoOn Thursday, October 25th, all Drake faculty received an invitation from Provost Mattison to participate in Drake University’s version of the Ithaka Faculty Survey, an important study of the impact of digital technologies on research, teaching, and publishing. Survey responses will help to direct the initiatives of Cowles Library’s continuous improvement plan and inform campus planning and decision-making with respect to research and teaching resources.

The survey seeks faculty perspective on a range of topics, including how faculty engage with and perceive the library. In particular, this survey will help the library gain insight into how our faculty members teach and conduct research in a rapidly changing and increasingly digital environment.

We know you are very busy and probably suffering from survey fatigue, but please consider giving the library 20-25 minutes of your time to take this survey. You do not need to complete the survey in one sitting. Any progress is automatically saved, and you can pick up where you left off. You will need to refer to Provost Mattison’s October 25th email message for the survey link.

General information about the National Ithaka Faculty Survey can be found at the Ithaka S+R website. Please direct any questions to the Cowles Library Planning & Assessment Committee, cowles-assessment@drake.edu.

Thank you!

E-Book Survey

November 9, 2017
Cowles Library is partnering with several Iowa academic libraries to gather faculty and student feedback regarding their use of and attitudes toward academic e-books, and we’d like to hear from you!

  • The survey is anonymous and only takes about 5 minutes.
  • Responses will be accepted until December 8, 2017.
  • The results will help the library make better decisions about book and e-book purchases.
  • If you are a current Drake student, completing the survey makes you eligible to win one of six $25 prizes (that’s cash!).

Literature Resource Center and LitFinder (Gale)

September 29, 2017

Literature Resource Center (LRC) is one of several new literature databases Cowles Library has added to help support all types of literary research. These databases expand our online access to literary criticism, critical reviews, author biographies, along with thousands of poems, plays, and works of short fiction. LRC includes biographical information about authors and literary criticism of authors’ works from dozens of sources. LRC covers a wide range of literature–not just fiction–from all time periods and from around the world.

LRC also includes several tools that help you establish the context surrounding authors and their works.

  • Topic Finder is a graphical way of displaying the context of your term, which can lead to connections you may not have otherwise considered.
  • Term Frequency shows the trend of one or more terms over time.
  • Criticism Over Time (image, below) displays a timeline of literary criticism for a particular work and allows you to jump right to critical essays from a given year.

Criticism Over Time in Literature Resource Center

You can use LRC in conjunction with LitFinder, which provides access to the full text of thousands of poems and short stories. Visit our LRC Research Guide and LitFinder Research Guide for more information and video tutorials.

Problematic links to Springer ebooks

Update: This issue was fixed on 10/1/2017.

The problem and temporary workaround are described in this FAQ. We hope to have the issue resolved shortly.

Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO)

April 13, 2017

This post is part of a series of “Resources and Services” posts from the Faculty of Cowles Library.


What You’ll Find in ECCODeclaration of Independence, 4 July 1776, by John Trumbull

Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO) includes primary source content from over 200,000 books, pamphlets, essays, broadsides, and other documents:

  • printed from 1701 to 1800;
  • printed in the British Isles, Colonial America, the United States of America (1776-1800), Canada, or British territories, in all languages;
  • printed in any other part of the world, wholly or partly in English or other British vernacular.

The foundation of ECCO comprises publications from the Eighteenth-Century Short Title Catalog (ESTC) project. In 1977, the British Library and the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies began a joint project whose aim was “to create a machine-readable union catalogue of books, pamphlets and other ephemeral material printed in English-speaking countries from 1701 to 1800.” [1] The project was later expanded to digitize and include publications dating back to 1473 (and was renamed the English Short Title Catalog), but the ECCO database contains the ESTC content from 1701-1800.

ECCO presents content as images of original book pages. You can search the text of these pages and download up to 250 pages as PDF files. ECCO contains content supporting research in literature, history, music, religion, medicine, law, linguistics, fine arts, and more.

Searching ECCO

Like most databases, ECCO provides a Basic and Advanced search. The Basic Search allows you to search for terms in the Keyword, Title, Subject, and Author fields, or within the pages of the documents themselves. You can enter a date limit and choose from one or more subject areas.

The Advanced search allows you to do all of the above, as well as combine terms from different fields, specify additional search fields (e.g., Publisher, Place of Publication), limit by Language, limit by Illustration type, and apply a “Fuzzy Search” option. Fuzzy Search looks for near matches and variant spellings of your search terms. Because of the variant spellings often found in historical documents, as well as the possibility of scanning errors during digitization, we recommend setting Fuzzy Search to at least Low.

Research Tools in ECCO

Be sure to consult ECCO’s Research Tools to explore detailed and carefully crafted Historical Contexts. These documents are essentially entries from reference works on a topic (e.g., French Revolution, War of American Independence, Slavery and the Slave Trade, Enlightenment) that present an overview of the topic within the context of the eighteenth century.

The Key Documents section provides an overview of what you can expect to find on a given topic in ECCO, where the collection’s strengths lie, and a list of important works (including links) in that subject area. Here, for example, is an excerpt from the “History and Geography” Key Document overview:

The history and geography collection, although rich in titles on English life and history, spans the world as it was known to eighteenth-century historians and travelers. It is particularly strong in ancient history, including many editions of Edward Gibbon’s masterpiece, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. The user will also find numerous histories of Scotland, Ireland, Wales, and the nations and states of Europe (with particular strength in histories of the Scandinavian countries), as well as histories of Russia. The collection is strong in titles on the French Revolution, particularly English responses to it.

If you have questions about how to use Eighteenth Century Collections Online, reach out to a librarian.

Library closed on Monday, Jan. 16

January 13, 2017

Due to the chance of hazardous weather conditions, Cowles Library will be closed on Monday, January 16. We will reopen at 7:30 am on Tuesday, January 17, weather permitting.

SuperSearch account login is working again

November 23, 2016

12/1/2016 – The problem with logging in to “My Account” in SuperSearch has been fixed. Thank you for your patience, and we apologize for the inconvenience.

Cowles Library endorses ALA statement on inclusion and diversity

November 16, 2016

American Library Association president Julie Todaro recently issued a statement on libraries, diversity, and inclusion. Cowles Library fully endorses this statement, which reads:

“After a contentious campaign season filled with divisive rhetoric, we are now hearing from our members and in the news media about incidents of bigotry and harassment within our communities. From children acting out in schools to adults participating in violent acts, it is clear that our nation is struggling in the wake of this election.

During times like these, our nation’s 120,000 public, academic, school, and special libraries are invaluable allies inspiring understanding and community healing. Libraries provide a safe place for individuals of all ages and backgrounds and for difficult discussions on social issues. Our nation’s libraries serve all community members, including people of color, immigrants, people with disabilities, and the most vulnerable in our communities, offering services and educational resources that transform communities, open minds, and promote inclusion and diversity.

As an association representing these libraries, librarians, and library workers, the American Library Association believes that the struggle against racism, prejudice, stereotyping, and discrimination is central to our mission. As we have throughout our 140-year-long history, we will continue to support efforts to abolish intolerance and cultural invisibility, stand up for all the members of the communities we serve, and promote understanding and inclusion through our work.”

The New SuperSearch is here!

June 6, 2016
Screenshot of the new SuperSearch

Screenshot of the new SuperSearch

On May 25th, the Drake Libraries completed the migration to a new platform for SuperSearch.

Designed to increase efficiency, the new system should provide faculty, staff and students a more streamlined research experience while also significantly reducing the time required for library faculty and staff to maintain search platforms.

New System Highlights

  • You can simultaneously search the library catalog and SuperSearch in a single interface.
  • Many features remain the same in the new SuperSearch, including the ability to search across print and electronic collections, limit by peer-reviewed content, and export citations.
  • While you can search SuperSearch without logging in, using your Drake credentials to log in allows you to access content licensed by the libraries and provides other options, such as saving searches and accessing and managing your library account.
  • The next phase of this transition, which we hope will take place in 2017, will connect SuperSearch to the print collections of several other libraries in Iowa, including the three Regents’ universities, Wartburg College, Grand View University, and others. Drake users will be able to search across the physical collections of, and place requests for physical materials from, those institutions. This collaboration will not include access to databases and e-journals, but it is nonetheless a major step forward in our access to scholarly content.

Mastering the New System and Migrating Personal Content

  • We hope you find the new system to be fairly intuitive to use. Formal training opportunities will be offered in the fall. Once the system is running, librarians will also be happy to provide individual demonstrations and training upon request.
  • A SuperSearch research guide provides additional information about the new system and how to successfully use it. The guide also has a form for providing feedback, so you can help us continue to improve your experience using SuperSearch. We will be adding more information, tips, and tutorials to this guide in the coming days.
  • The current SuperSearch will be available through June 30, 2016. If you have folders set up under your personal log-in, please sign in to your SuperSearch account, open any folders with content you want, mark the items you want to save, and then use either the save or email options. Contact a reference librarian for further assistance.

New Library Platform Coming Soon

May 9, 2016
Screenshot of the new SuperSearch

Screenshot of the new SuperSearch

The Drake Libraries are in the process of migrating from our current library platforms to Ex Libris’ Alma and Primo products. We anticipate going live with the new system on May 25.

Designed to increase efficiency, the new system should provide faculty, staff and students a more streamlined research experience while also significantly reducing the time required for library faculty and staff to maintain search platforms.

New System Highlights

  • You will be able to simultaneously search the library catalog and SuperSearch in a single interface, which will retain the SuperSearch name.
  • Many features remain the same in the new SuperSearch, including the ability to search across print and electronic collections, limit by peer-reviewed content, and export citations.
  • While you will be able to search SuperSearch without logging in, using your Drake credentials to log in will allow you to access content licensed by the libraries and provide other options, such as saving searches and accessing and managing your library account.
  • The next phase of this transition, which we hope will take place in 2017, will connect SuperSearch to the print collections of several other libraries in Iowa, including the three Regents’ universities, Wartburg College, Grand View University, and others. Drake users will be able to search across the physical collections of, and place requests for physical materials from, those institutions. This collaboration will not include access to databases and e-journals, but it is nonetheless a major step forward in our access to scholarly content.

Access During the Transition

  • You will still be able to search the catalog and check items in and out during the May 13-25 transition period. There will be a 2-day period, May 23-24, during which holds and renewals will not be processed.
  • The official transition will occur on May 25, 2016. Until then, the new SuperSearch is available for viewing in preview/beta mode. Keep in mind that any actions you take in this beta version (placing holds, saving searches) will not transition to the new SuperSearch.

Mastering the New System and Migrating Personal Content

  • We hope the new system will be fairly intuitive to use. Formal training opportunities will be offered in the fall. Once the system is running, librarians will also be happy to provide individual demonstrations and training upon request.
  • The current SuperSearch will be available through June 30, 2016. If you have folders set up under your personal log-in, please sign in to your SuperSearch account, open any folders with content you want, mark the items you want to save, and then use either the save or email options. Contact a reference librarian for further assistance.
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