Iron Mountain to Library Service Center

Image of a Woodson box with a lot of stickers on it.
So many stickers

We rely upon the Library Service Center [LSC] to store the majority of our collections. A few years back it filled up. As we waited for a new module to be added to the building, we sent around 2000 boxes to Iron Mountain [IM]. Yesterday, the former IM boxes found their new home in the new module in the LSC.

Image of Woodson boxes on the new shelves in the LSC. Image taken by LSC staff.

Now, begins our multi-step process of moving all 2000 boxes from IM to the LSC. It involves:

  • permanently withdrawing the boxes from IM
  • checking the boxes and ripping off the IM barcodes — every time IM retrieves a box, they stick a new barcode on it.
  • scanning our Fondren Library barcodes
  • requesting Technical Services staff to switch the location of the box in the system
  • sending the boxes to the LSC
  • updating our finding aids and other internal tracking with the new location information

Given the amount boxes, this task will take us a few months, hopefully ending sometime in the fall. If you happen to come into the Woodson during this time, you’ll see that we have a lot of boxes. Please forgive our clutter.

We would like to thank all of the library staff at the LSC, in Technical Services, and in IT that are helping us with this big move.

Upcoming Event – 11/14

Image of poster for event.

For those living locally, we’d like to invite you to a showing of For the Sake of the Song: The Story of Anderson Fair. The event will include a short reception with mini-empanadas, the film, a performance by Vince Bell, and a Q&A with the director Bruce Bryant.

It’ll be a great night celebrating a segment of Houston’s music history. We hope to see you there.

21st Century Rice Map

Image of instituteRice map.

A large team has been working hard to create both an interactive and historical map of Rice called instituteRice. For example, you can look at Lovett Hall from a variety of angles and at different points in time. If you love exploring, Rice history, and just poking around, this is the map for you. While the Woodson did not make this map, our archival materials pop up everywhere on it.

Have fun!

KTRU Tuesdays: Update

While we are not completely finished, we wanted to let our devoted KTRU-ers know that we are updating the news masters at

We’ve used the University of Kentucky’s OHMS viewer to index the news masters to ensure that you can find what you need fast.

For example, if you go to, search for “news masters,” select News Master 4. and click the blue button labeled “Synchronized Viewer,” you’ll see this.


You can click on any indexed part. You can then select “play segment” or “segment link.” If you do the latter, you can post the snippet of audio to Facebook or elsewhere.


We hope you enjoy this added level of functionality.

Interactive Houston Folk Music Venue Story Map


The Woodson now has a new addition to our Story Maps. We’ve used Esri’s ArcGIS software in conjunction with their Story Map application to create a map that follows the growth and decline of Houston’s folk music scene. Included are photographs of venues, posters, video clips of people describing the places, and some live audio.

If you haven’t checked out our Story Maps on U.S. Civil War Narratives and Journals and Diaries, you are in for a visual treat.



To get our collections processed, we have to remove a lot of stuff. That includes switching out folders and removing rusty staples, all binder clips, paper clips, and sticky notes. Trevor, one of our summer student archivists, has been processing  the City of Bellaire historical records. Over the course of one day, he amassed this amount of material to either be recycled or thrown in the trash. At least, it’s colorful.

Spare Albums and Deserved Recognition


A recent university archival collection yielded a large amount of LPs. Sadly, many of these are multiple copies. We have kept two for ourselves and will eventually digitize them. We’d like to offer the rest to you for free. Please email if you are interested.

In other news, our own Amanda Focke won the Society of Southwest Archivists Distinguished Service Award. She is a long serving member, who has been active on a variety of committees, served as president, and is currently a board member. Congrats to her on such a well-deserved honor.


Upcoming Projects


2017 was an incredibly busy year for the Woodson. It included completing an inventory of all of our rare books, creating new online and physical exhibits, growing our fine arts and Jewish history collections, exhibiting the history of Camp Logan, placing the KTRU Rice Radio archive online, co-hosting the Houston Folk Music Archive Celebration with the Friends of Fondren Library, participating in the Oh Project collection, and helping our Fondren Fellow discover and map the hidden bits of information in our Civil War diaries.

Here’s some of what’s coming up in 2018:

  • We’re continuing our participation in the OSSArcFlow project to improve our digital preservation workflows and discoverability.
  • We’re going to be the home base for the Harvey Memories Project. This multi-institutional group will working to document the stories, images, audio, and video related to Hurricane Harvey. We will be taking the lead in digitally preserving any donated items.
  • We will be making new collections available for research from Audrey Jones Beck, Brochstein, Inc., and Contemporary Arts Museum Houston [CAMH].
  • We’ve continued to work with the Chao Center and are expecting new additions and improvements to the Houston Asian American Archive website.
  • Starting last year, we began working on our legacy media backlog. Over the past few months, the old floppies and zip disks have been preserved. Soon, our finding aids will contain descriptions of the files contained on that media.

As we complete some of the projects above and add new ones, we’ll update you on the results. Here’s to a great 2018.

Primary Source Literacy


Recently, we taught primary source literacy skills to students in Sophia Hsu’s FWIS 191. Literature and Public Health. The students looked at newspaper clippings, photographs, fliers, and other pertinent documents to get  a sense of how members of the administration, faculty, and students viewed the event. They also heard the voices of some of the major players including Dr. William H. Masterson on his megaphone, Dr. Clark Read speaking his mind, and Bari Kaplan explaining events from a student perspective.

In the class, the students first considered the differences between primary and secondary sources, identified the subjectivity of the archival items on their tables, and extracted information from the items, like key players and power relationships.


After these exercises, the groups looked at the primary source materials that they will be working on for the semester, which includes a few items from the McGovern Historical Center and the Woodson’s Encyclopédie and the Vince Bell collection.

If you are interested in us doing the same for your course, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Images used: “Rice University students and faculty protesting outdoors during Masterson presidency controversy, wearing “It Can’t Happen Here” signs.” (1969) Rice University: