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Release: July 8, 2002

State Historical Society Libraries Join InfoHawk System

Beginning the week of July 8, Iowa's history will be more accessible than ever before.

That's when the holdings of the State Historical Society of Iowa Libraries, consisting of thousands of books and manuscripts detailing the history of Iowa, are scheduled to be added to InfoHawk -- the online catalog of the University of Iowa Libraries. Used by public researchers and library staff since its August, 2000 inception, InfoHawk contains about 3 million bibliographic records, including records of the University Libraries, the Law Library and the Curriculum Lab.

Now, with the addition of the holdings of the State Historical Society, the InfoHawk research database will become even more complete. At first, 32,000 State Historical records will be added from both the Iowa City and Des Moines libraries, and over time an additional 218,000 State Historical records will be converted and added to the system. Also included in the State Historical Society collection is the Iowa Newspaper Project, a collection of 3,100 Iowa newspapers, many of which are very rare.

While the system will help the Historical Society libraries work more efficiently, the most dramatic advantage of InfoHawk listing will be that library holdings will be available worldwide over the Internet, according to Donna Hirst, head of automation at UI Libraries.

Shaner Magalhaes, bureau chief for the State Historical Society libraries said, "Even though online catalogs have been around for many years, we are very excited about finally being able to provide electronic access to our bibliographic records. We are looking forward to a larger number of researchers discovering and using the unique resources at our libraries and special collections as a result."

Iowa Historical Society data can be accessed through the InfoHawk URL at: http://infohawk.uiowa.edu or through the Historical Society URL at: http://www.iowahistory.org/.

The State Historical Society project to join InfoHawk began in August 2001, and work to convert and load the database was completed a month ahead of schedule. The project was funded by a $141,198 grant from the Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust. The Carver Charitable Trust, located in Muscatine, is the largest private foundation in the state of Iowa awarding more than $14 million annually in support of scientific research, scholarships, libraries, general education and other issues related to the needs of Iowa youth.