Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) is involved in a number of projects to expand discovery and access of our collections, including mass digitization, transcription and captioning, crowdsourced description, and reformatting of at-risk media. We are also engaged in a number of efforts to document the ISU community through oral history, with a focus on underrepresented communities on campus. 

The University Library's first Residency Librarian, Shaina Anderson, created the HBCU Connections at ISU in 2018. This wiki profiles Black ISU alumni who went on to serve as faculty, staff, and administrators at HBCUs. This project was created to bridge the gap between SCUA and the special collections departments of the HBCUs in these profiles. Another important goal for this project is to represent Black students in our collections because their history is ISU history. 

Visit the project announcement for more information on the creation of this project: HBCU Connections at Iowa State University.

Oral History Toolkit The goal of this project is to provide Iowa State community members with the opportunity and means to plan, conduct, and share oral history projects. While SCUA is fortunate to have conducted many oral histories, it is a fraction of all the stories that can and should be preserved. This project seeks to expand those stories to provide a fuller, more inclusive representation of the Iowa State community. All Iowa State stories are welcome. 

In achieving this goal, we recognize that a balance must be made between quality recordings and providing low-barrier, easy-to-use means for capture. As a result, we outline a variety of options so that projects can get carried out with available means yet still maintain a sufficient level of quality for long-term research use.


History at Home: Community Archival Film Screenings 

Grant project funded by Silos & Smokestacks National Heritage Area Program in 2019 that digitized, restored, and screened archival agricultural films from SCUA collections. In collaboration with local Silos and Smokestacks National Heritage Area Partner Sites, the University Library helped develop tailored events that shared homegrown stories via unique Iowa-centric film collections.


SCUA invites you to help us gather and preserve our communities’ experiences of the COVID-19 pandemic. ISU students, faculty, and staff, as well as community members throughout Iowa and the Midwest are invited to share their experiences and thoughts during this unprecedented time. Materials submitted will be gathered into a collection and made available to the public as a contribution to the historical record of these events.

Read more about the origin of the COVID-19 Stories Project: Announcing COVID-19 Stories Project.



Voices in Color seeks to collect, preserve, and share the history of racial and ethnic diversity at Iowa State University through the lens of communities of color, inserting these stories in to Iowa State's historical narrative and archival record.

SCUA is involved with the oral history element of Voices in Color. Completed oral histories are available via Aviary, a cloud-based platform for publishing searchable audio and video content.

This project is administered by Harrison Inefuku, Scholarly Publishing Services Librarian. Please contact him for more information on this project.