Enhancing Research at Texas State

Historical account of early Texas gains new exposure through University Libraries digitization project

Researchers across the globe can now interact with history through a state-of-the-art, online exhibition that showcases a Texas State University treasure. The new website celebrates La relación, a book written by Spanish conquistador Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca originally published in 1542. The website, exhibits.library.txstate.edu/cabeza, was launched in July 2018 – the culmination of a University Libraries’ team effort to re-digitize Texas State’s rare copy of the 1555 revised edition of the book and create a multi-media informational exhibition. The effort will help historians and scholars research the trailblazing work from anywhere in the world.

“We first digitized the university’s copy of La relación and made it available online 15 years ago, and it has been by far the most accessed resource in our Southwestern Writers Collection,” said Joan Heath, associate vice president and university librarian. “With the advances in digitization technology, we felt it was important to use the state-of-the-art technology and digitization experts here at the library to redo that work and provide an even better online exhibition for scholars, historians, and interested individuals around the world to access.”

La relación tells the story of Cabeza de Vaca and three companions who shipwreck along the Texas coast in 1528. It documents their travels through Texas and into the greater southwest and Mexico, including their encounters with various Native American tribes. The book, which serves as the foundational piece of The Wittliff Collections, was donated to Texas State through the generosity of Bill and Sally Wittliff and an anonymous donor in 1989.

Cabeza de Vaca’s account is of great anthropological and historical importance. In Texas alone, he identifies 23 Native American groups, describing in detail their clothes, languages, eating habits, rituals, homes and migrations. This has made the work very important to middle and high school Texas History classes which often used the previously published website in their curriculum.

“We know teachers have found this work to be invaluable in teaching students about the early inhabitants of Texas,” said The Wittliff Collections Director Dr. David Coleman. “Students find the adventurous aspects of the story to be interesting. This new website format is even more engaging and appealing.”

Coleman and The Wittliff Collections’ curator Steve Davis served on the project team that created the website content. University Libraries Digital and Web Services staff Dr. Ray Uzwyshyn, Todd Peters, Jason Long, Jeremy Moore and Erin Mazzei, and students Grayson Ellsworth and Oscar Martinez utilized new technology known as IIIF, or International Image Interoperability Framework, to provide enhanced image access with faster delivery and manipulation abilities for detail inspection, zooming and panning of

“When people visit the website, it’s almost like they are holding that book in their hands,” said Davis. “I’m particularly excited about this opportunity for us to pay proper homage to Cabeza de Vaca and his extraordinary work.”

The website includes page-by-page images of the book with an English translation next to each page, so people can read the story as written and translated. Dr. Frank de la Teja, a Regents and University Distinguished Professor Emeritus from Texas State University, provides video commentary to help highlight facets of the story and relate the historical significance of Cabeza de Vaca’s journey and experiences. In addition, there is a collection of artwork depicting the journey that links to teaching guides and other resources for further study.

“Having this document in its collections tells the world that Texas State University is serious about being a world-class humanities research institution,” said de la Teja. “It’s vital that we have websites like this one that so eloquently and so artistically represent something that is a real jewel for the university and even for the state and the country.”

By Debbie Pitts

Tech Talk

Bringing together IT Division & other technical support professionals

Information technology support is found in various forms throughout Texas State University. Central support is offered through the Division of Information Technology’s IT Assistance Center (ITAC). Many academic and administrative departments also employ technical support personnel (TSP) to manage and facilitate individual department technology needs. Often, TSPs are not able to collaborate with TSPs in other departments or fully understand the inner workings of IT Division efforts.

In 2017, ITAC began hosting events to help bridge the gaps. These mini-conferences, called Texas State (TXST) Tech Talk, were held in the fall and spring semesters. In a span of 2.5 hours extended over a long lunch, TSPs met and networked with each other and IT Division staff.

ITAC designed these content-packed, open sharing sessions to be a once-a-semester meeting for TSPs to come together, gain insight on technical services and projects, and network with fellow technical staff to facilitate information and resource sharing. Through inviting everyone into a common space, ITAC seeks to identify common problems, help build solutions, and create a comfortable atmosphere.

The first two Tech Talk sessions included presentations on many topics and were facilitated by IT Division staff and TSPs from other departments.

Topics included:

Hosted Servers & Services – Here’s what’s in it for you

Let’s Talk Campus Wireless – Enhancements happening daily

The New Standard Computers – A peek under the hood

Gain Visibility with SCCM and LANrev – Desktop management tools

IT Assistance Center – Let’s talk about how support works

Information Security Review Process – What you need to know to prepare

NuGet and Chocolatey – How Computer Science TSPs manage their labs

Windows Updates – How new changes affect your user machines

Mobile Device Management – Aligning what we do with what you need

Each brief presentation afforded attendees the opportunity to ask questions and to work with presenters following the event to learn more or take advantage of existing services. In addition to the presentations, ITAC assembled an outstanding panel of Texas State technology experts to field questions on topics such as encryption, software distribution, patch management, standard images, group policy, servers, backups, Microsoft Exchange, file shares, Office 365, hardware and repair, information security, NetID 2-Step (Duo), phishing, wired and wireless network, NetID processes, software licensing and purchasing, and hardware ordering.

The first two events were well-attended with nearly 100 TSPs and IT Division staff at each event. Lunch was provided, professional connections were made, and the Texas State IT community continues to grow stronger and more connected.

One attendee noted, “This is a great opportunity to network and learn policy and procedures. Also, we are given room to think outside our own environments.”

ITAC plans to continue these Tech Talk events, bringing in

new topics and encouraging TSPs to present and share the great work being performed in individual departments.

By Jen LaGrange

ITAC Expands Services

On Round Rock Campus

On Oct. 1, 2017, the IT Assistance Center (ITAC), officially began offering in-person support on the Texas State Round Rock Campus (RRC). ITAC now occupies the space in the Avery Building previously known as the Campus Technology Center (CTC). There are now ITAC Walk Up Centers ready and available to assist faculty, staff, and students in San Marcos and Round Rock.

The change comes as preparation for rapid growth on the RRC. In addition to supporting students, faculty, and staff in the Avery and School of Nursing buildings, ITAC is also preparing to support the thousands of additional students moving from San Marcos to Round Rock, as the College of Health Professions initially moves three academic departments into the newly constructed Willow Hall – Communication Disorders, Physical Therapy, and Respiratory Care. The moves are the first phase toward moving all College of Health Professions majors to Round Rock. Additional buildings are planned for future expansion which will include structures for academic use and student living spaces.

The ITAC Walk Up Center in Round Rock is run by seven full-time staff and eight student employees. While there was an information technology presence in Round Rock prior to the change, staff members worked in different departments making IT support disparate. Some were technical support personnel in the CTC, while others were lab and classroom technicians, and still others only supported the School of Nursing. These staff were already familiar with the campus and able to begin assisting faculty, staff, and students immediately under the ITAC umbrella. Consolidating resources and centralizing support will help bring a uniform customer service experience across both campuses.

Ben Rogers, Assistant Vice President of ITAC, is enthusiastic about the opportunity to formalize support. “We’re happy to extend the excellent customer service experience that ITAC is known for to Round Rock and provide users the one-stop-shop feel they are already accustomed to in San Marcos,” he said. “As the Round Rock Campus continues

to grow, we will be right there with faculty, staff, and students to help them succeed.”

Renovations are planned to the previously held CTC space to facilitate ITAC Walk Up support, classroom support, lab support, and student lab usage. In addition to previously existing computer labs in Avery, the redesigned ITAC Walk Up Center space will include a triage counter, technician workspaces, and student computer and study spaces. Construction is expected to be completed by the end of 2018.

By Jen LaGrange


TXST Teaching and Learning Innovation Grant – Reflective Teaching

Students in music education are using multi-stream video technology in the classroom to reflect on teaching and engagement practices thanks to Dr. John Denis, Assistant Professor in the School of Music. Dr. Denis was awarded a 2018 Teaching and Learning Innovation grant that helped his students to develop and strengthen their skills using innovative technology. Watch the video above to see how this grant helped advance the student learning experience.

Now is the time for faculty to submit proposals for a 2019 grant. To learn more about how this grant can help fund your unique and innovative teaching idea, visit the grants page (https://www.tio.txstate.edu/grants.html) on the Technology Innovation Office website.

Grant proposals will be accepted through March 29, with awards being announced by April 5, 2019.