The first blog post for the Iowa State University’s Special Collections Department was on February 17, 2010. From 2010 – 2013, the bulk of the posts were done by one archivist from the department. Then, in the fall of 2013, newly hired project archivists began making their contributions to the blog and consistent postings commenced, occurring biweekly on Tuesdays and Fridays. Tuesday posts were called #CyPix and came from photographs from University Archives (or just University Photographs) and Friday posts were lengthier posts dedicated to collections that were available for research. Most of the posts centered on promoting our collections and processing work.
Between now and then, the department was renamed Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) and has grown in archivists. I arrived at Iowa State University to fill one of those new permanent positions, in January 2016. As outreach archivist, one of my responsibilities was to coordinate the department’s social media, including its fairly new blog. In 2016 we named our blog, Cardinal Tales: The Blog of Special Collections and University Archives at Iowa State University and updated the look of the blog and expanded our content. We developed a posting schedule for the different curators and developed and tried out different series: Rare Book Highlights, Artifacts in the Archives, and occasional interviews with SCUA staff.
I selected 2018 as the year to do highlights because it was a very robust year for blog content — there was a good selection of posts by our archivists, guest bloggers, and student employees. In 2018 we had a Residency Librarian with SCUA as her home department, two undergraduate student research assistantships, and a Curation Services student writer. Posts from people new to the department gave a fresh perspective to our collections and how we did our work. We also began intentionally highlighting collection materials of underrepresented and underserved communities on campus and in Iowa.
Visit Cardinal Tales: The Blog of Special Collections and University Archives at Iowa State University to see the stories we are sharing now.