Nebraska Archives Online


University of Nebraska launches Nebraska Archives Online

Archivists from the four University of Nebraska campuses have collaborated to launch Nebraska Archives Online (, a shared online database that provides access to finding aids and guides for the university’s unique archival and manuscript collections. Through the work of the University of Nebraska Consortium of Libraries (UNCL), Nebraska Archives Online meets a longstanding need to provide a one-stop portal to these collections. It’s a resource meant to engage the public’s curiosity and improve the research process for students or anyone with a research need. The materials in each of the NU archives are available for anyone to use.

“Bringing together the University of Nebraska’s unique collections provides benefits to users of archives as well as the repositories. Folks visiting the archives in Kearney can now easily find material in Omaha and Lincoln,” explained Amy Schindler, Director of Archives and Special Collections at the UNO Libraries.

For example, a researcher searching for materials relating to social workers Grace and Edith Abbott may now find their personal and professional papers at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and materials relating to the Grace Abbott School of Social Work at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, which can lead to a greater understanding of the location and variety of resources.

The four archives and special collections repositories spent the last year migrating their individual databases into a single instance of the ArchivesSpace platform. The public now has a tool that provides descriptions of collections physically located across the university system with links to thousands of pages of documents and audio and video recordings. This includes over 3,500 records associated with unique collections and materials at UNK, UNL, UNMC, and UNO.

“Its ongoing work, but we’ve collaborated before on the online exhibit on the 1968 university merger. Actually, what a way to celebrate that achievement, bringing together our resources today, and looking towards the future,” stated Mary Ellen Ducey, university archivist/special collections librarian at UNL.

As with the earlier exhibit project (, the project benefits from building a community of practice to share ideas and collaboration opportunities. Nebraska Archives Online will continue to grow with new material from the four campuses of the University of Nebraska and with new opportunities for potential future expansion. Archivists at each campus will continue to focus on matching professional archival standards, such as those supported by the Society of American Archivists, with local best practices and operations.

The University of Nebraska’s four archival repositories share a mission of long-term access and preservation of the historical record by maintaining millions of pages of documents, photographs, letters, policies, and material in all formats that answer questions, tell a story, and celebrate something unique about our university, our communities, and the state of Nebraska.

Nebraska Archives have helped students working on class projects, someone researching their neighborhood, administrator looking for a policy document, genealogist seeking a piece of information about an ancestor. In order to help people reach these goals, archivists create finding aids or guides to the thousands of collections in the University of Nebraska’s archives and special collections repositories. Now these guides are collected together in one portal, Nebraska Archives Online (

About the University of Nebraska Consortium of Libraries (UNCL):
UNCL leads the University of Nebraska libraries to create and sustain a rich, supportive, and diverse knowledge environment that furthers teaching, learning, and research through the sharing of collections, expertise, and programs. Each campus preserves the unique history of the University of Nebraska and offers unique collections that support the research needs of each campus and interests of the state of Nebraska. Our reading rooms are open to the public.

Contacts: Mary Ellen Ducey, University Archivist, UNL Libraries,, (402) 472-5076; Amy Schindler, Director, Archives and Special Collections at UNO Libraries,, (402) 554-6046.

CTR Wishes all the Best to Lavonne Fries

Written by Laurinda Weisse, University Archivist

Lavonne Johansen
Lavonne graduated from Kearney State College majoring in Family & Consumer Science (AKA Home Economics) in 1969. As a student, she was an R.A. in Martin Hall and worked in the Child Development Lab. LaVonne joined the Calvin T. Ryan staff on October 1, 1984. While she has worked in a number of departments over the years, her abiding passion is helping students. After 31 years, 1 month, and 4 days, Lavonne is retiring from UNK.

LaVonne was initially hired to work on retrospective conversion, gathering the information from the card catalogs and seeing what needed to be changed. The hours (12-9) didn’t fit her schedule well, so she transferred to the curriculum collection. Her time working in the curriculum collection was her favorite. As she told me during a recent interview, “We would help students find things…we could go and show them. A lot of students, including me when I was one, didn’t know what the curriculum department was, so I was learning right with everybody else.”

After curriculum, LaVonne moved to the serials department. Before the rise of databases and other online sources, print serials took a lot of time. Each month, LaVonne helped prepare all the recent serials for binding. Then, when the newly bound periodicals made their way back to the library, she checked the bindery’s work, because “sometimes they didn’t get glued as good as they should have or they got cut too close”.

Mostly recently, she has assisted in the Archives, sorting out a collection of photos and adding the names of the many people she recognizes.

LaVonne has weathered her share of library floods, changing work spaces, and drastically shifting technology, all with grace and humor. We will greatly miss her knowledge, but wish her a happy retirement!

1969 Blue & Gold Yearbook p.271
Lavonne Johansen

Pamela Smith Hill

Pamela Smith Hill
The award-winning author of Laura Ingalls Wilder: A Writer’s Life, editor of Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Bibliography of Laura Ingalls Wilder, and three young adult novels, Pamela Smith Hill will give a lecture on October 6, 2015 in 142 Copeland Hall at 4:00 p.m. An interview she gave for Friday Live on NET Radio, September 25, 2015 starts at the 26:50 mark.

She will also make an appearance at 7:00 p.m. at the Kearney Public Library. Afterwards, The Sequel Bookstore will be on site with copies available for Hill to sign.

Hill grew up in the Missouri Ozarks, forty miles from Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Rocky Ridge Farm, and moved to South Dakota, where she launched her professional writing career. She has taught creative and professional writing at universities in Oregon, Washington, and Colorado and currently lives in Portland, Oregon, where she continues to teach and write.

This event is a cooperative program between the Calvin T. Ryan Library, Kearney Public Library, UNK Women’s & Gender Studies Program, and NU Foundation, with a grant from the UNK Faculty Senate Artists & Lecturers Committee.

Homecoming 2015

1957 UNK Homecoming parade
As you prepare to participate in UNK’s homecoming activities, we thought you might be interested in materials from years past. You can visit our Pinterest page for some photos of parades, games, and decorations from throughout our institution’s history, or take a look at the Blue and Gold yearbooks online. Come into the library and browse the Blue and Gold in person near our homecoming display, courtesy of the UNK Archives. Refreshments will be available for visitors to the library on Saturday, September 26th.

You can help the University Archives to document campus history and capture important campus events like Homecoming by donating your UNK related materials (e.g. photos) to the Calvin T. Ryan Library. Please contact our Archivist, Laurinda Weisse, at or 865-8593 if you have questions about the homecoming display, or if there is another part of UNK history that you want to learn more about!

Homecoming Kickoff Trivia Night

Written by Laurinda Weisse, University Archivist

Homecoming 1951 Football Program Cover
Homecoming is coming up! Kick off the festivities by joining the Kearney Public Library and UNK Library staff for a night of KSC/UNK-themed trivia. Trivia will be held at the Chicken Coop on Tuesday, September 15 from 8:30-9:30. Call KPL at 308-233-3282 to get one question in advance. If you’re looking to study up on university history beforehand, check out the resources available through the UNK Archives. Clues to trivia questions will be available in the Calvin T. Ryan Library Homecoming display.