Tech Thursday: Legacy Media Preservation Test

A few posts ago, I mentioned the Woodson acquired several new drive formats, which will be used to digitize our legacy media. Rounding out our collection are:

  • 3.5″ floppy drive
  • 5.25 floppy drive
  • zip drive
  • Jaz Drive
  • Superdisk
  • Ultrium LTO
  • Peerless Storage

Several of these formats aren’t fixed with a USB cable, so we’ll have to find adapters for them, possibly starting with the 5.25″ floppy. In the mean time, I’ve started a pilot program to test out capturing disc images of the media formats we can read on our instance of Bitcurator. I started with the zip 250 drive and tested a zip250 disc and a zip100 disc.



Capturing the disc image was easy. The drive was plug and play, and both zip discs worked perfectly; I was able to capture the data on both.



Next week I’m going to try out the 3.5″ drive. I’m expecting a bumpier ride.




Harry Quilter’s Essays on Art



Our Woodring Collection of Shannon and Rickett’s rare books has so many visual treats we could showcase something from it every week.

This time let’s focus on Harry Quilter‘s Preferences in Art, Life, and Literature, 1892. Clocking in at 898 pages, this tome presents many of Quilter’s previously published art criticism (1872-1890), along with some new work. His aim was to review his own criticism and to see how it had stood up to time.




“Early Portrait of Rosetti” William Holman Hunt


“Daddy Hunt” and “Jack MillaisDante Gabriel Rosetti


“The Waters of Lethe” Frederick Sandys

KTRU Tuesdays: The Steam Tunnel Rally

On February 14, 1981, the second steam tunnel rally was held underneath the university. The bikers fought to be the Best Man for the Margaret Schuarte and Robert Puckette wedding.

Here’s a snippet of David Butler discussing the hardships of the course and the standings.

The finals standings were:

  1. Eric Sisson – 00:06:37
  2. David Chase proxy for T.W. Cook – 00:06:53
  3. John “Grungy” Gladu – 00:07:13
  4. Steve Sullivan proxy for Walter Underwood – 00:11:50
  5. Keith Robinson – 00:12:03
  6. Mark Linimon – 00:13:23

Sadly, the tape itself is not incredibly interesting as a race per se. Since each rider had to traverse the course individually, the tape has minimal commentary by David Butler, lots of dead air, and an interruption by a business man giving a luncheon speech. I have to assume that the tape’s creators would love to hear it, though.

Ultimately, we won’t be keeping this audio for the long term, but I would like to offer digital copies to those interested. I have edited out the dead air and the speech, so the original file that was around three hours long is now a brief 50 min. If you would love to hear it, please email me ( and I will send you the wav file.

Image from: “Rice Institute tunnel construction, looking into Tunnel toward Power House from angle in Tunnel “D”.” (1911) Rice University:

Memorabilia Monday: Liberty Hall T-Shirt

Sorry for the radio silence. The Society of Southwest Archivists conference caused most of us at the Woodson to be away, while the others had to pick up the slack.





On Sunday, we received a wonderful donation of Liberty Hall materials, mostly posters, a bumper sticker, and an original T-shirt from one-time employee and collector Gerald “Scooter” Ebel. We’re creating a Liberty Hall collection, so this is a great first step in preserving the history of this iconic music venue.

One more thing, if you are a Wikipedia contributor/editor, it would be great to work with someone to create and/or flesh out some entries. Although it is referenced, Liberty Hall does not have its own entry. Please leave a comment if you’d like to work together to fix this and other Houston music oversights.

KTRU Tuesdays: Nick Lowe on “Backstage Interview”

Over the last six months, we have showcased a variety of interviews from Bruce Kessler, most tied to his radio show “Backstage Interview.” We have many more.

On May 24, 1978, Nick Lowe with Rockpile played at the Houston Music Hall along with Elvis Costello and the Attractions and Mink DeVille. Bruce Kessler had the chance to interview him that night.

Here’s the complete interview, which focuses on the disposability of pop music, music production, songwriting, creating the album Pure Pop for Now People / Jesus of Cool, pub rock and humor, power pop, the death of punk, and new wave.

One of the best lines, one of many, is “he’s dynamite that geezer.” The “he” is Paul McCartney.

Image from The Elvis Costello wiki via Gary Hunt.

Memorabilia Monday: Signed Baseball


The Rice Owls Baseball team is having a great season, as usual. They’re currently ranked #13 according to and #27 by the NCBWA and RPI.

[CORRECTION: Above is a signed baseball that we thought was from the 2003 CWS, but an astute baseball fan pointed out that it couldn’t be from 2003. Can anyone else date it?]

Go Owls! It would be great to make it back to Omaha.

Graduation Photographers

As many of you know, the 103rd commencement starts on Friday. Most graduation photographs showcase the graduates, speakers, and faculty, but let’s take a different angle this year and focus on the photographers. They’re just trying to preserve the moment.




She’s going one step further and making a movie.


Congrats to all of the 2016 grads!

Images: Rice University Archives general photo files, “Event – Commencement 1974” Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University

KTRU Tuesdays: Dr. Ken Kennedy on Computers

On February 22, 1980, Dr. Ken Kennedy of the Mathematical Sciences Department sat down with Kathryn Makris to discuss computers. In the “To the Point” series, there had been other episodes on the same topic and other professors pushed into making all sorts of predictions. Unlike many others, Dr. Kennedy was right. He predicts the rise of personal computers, electronic mail replacing postal service, computer word processing, and theft of personal information via electronic mail.

To skip forward to the predictions, start at 5:30.

Image from “Dr. Ken Kennedy, Rice University.” (1985) Rice University:

Memorabilia Monday: AstroTurf


In 1970, Brown & Root had AstroTurf installed in Rice Stadium. For more specifics about the installation process, please check out Melissa Kean’s detailed post.

Throughout the following years, Rice stuck with the brand until 2006 when they switched to TechnoTurf. In 2014, the university switched back to AstroTurf. The company has a neat time-lapse video of the installation on their website.

A few years ago we received a donation of the stadium’s artificial grass. If anyone is an expert at dating these, we would love to know.




The green and white pieces are sewn together.

Mother and Child

We recently showcased our Vera Prasilova Scott portraiture collection, and in honor of Mother’s Day, we’re going to do it again.


Happy Mother’s Day!

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