Special Collections Unbound

Research Libraries Group (RLG) records now available

June 17, 2014
by Glynn Edwards

The Research Libraries Group, Inc. (RLG) was founded by The New York Public Library and Columbia, Harvard, and Yale universities and incorporated as a not-for-profit organization in late 1975. In 1978 RLG moved its offices from Branford, Connecticut, to Stanford University in California; adopted Stanford’s library automation staff and computer system (BALLOTS) as the starting point for its own library system (RLIN), plus a series of complementary services and databases; and opened its membership to research institutions throughout the U.S.

James R. Lilley papers now available

June 17, 2014
by Glynn Edwards

James Roderick Lilley (1928-2009) was an American diplomat who was the ambassador to China during the time of the Tiananmen Square protests. The youngest of three children, he was born to American parents in China and was educated in American schools there until he returned to the US in 1940. After graduation from Yale University in 1951, he was employed by the CIA from 1951-1978 and worked in various Asian countries. He served as director of the American Institute in Taiwan from 19981-1984, Ambassador to South Korea from 1986-1989, and Ambassador to China from 1989-1991. He was Assistant Secretary of Defense from 1991-1993, and upon retirement from government service worked at the American Enterprise Institute. His memoir China Hands: nine decades of adventure, espionage, and diplomacy in Asia was published in 2004.

So Long, and Thanks for all the Fish

Steven Meretzky game design scans available in Green Library reading room

Steven Meretzky is a pioneer in the computer games industry. His decades-long career includes experience working as a quality assurance analyst, game designer, product designer, and writer. Most of his signature contributions to the industry occurred while he was employed at Infocom, Inc., which was a prolific and highly-acclaimed publisher of text adventure games back in the 1980s. His most famous collaboration was with Douglas Adams on the computer game version of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – a text adventure game that is notorious for its arcane and difficult puzzles. 

Text adventures are also known as interactive fiction and are played completely through simple instructions that the player types into a computer program. The computer translates these instructions (ex. “go north,” “get lamp,” etc.) and responds with prepared text, unfolding a story on screen for the player. Meretzky’s skills for creating these type of narrative games led to his inclusion as one of only two game writers in the Science Fiction Writers of America (the other being Dave Lebling, one of his colleagues at Infocom.)

Jim McRae

Project South coordinator revisits collection 50 years later

May 8, 2014
by Daniel Hartwig

On April 24th, the University Archives was pleased to welcome back to the farm Jim McRae ('68), coordinator of the KZSU-sponsored Project South, which interviewed civil rights workers during the summer of 1965. Jim (seen here examining interview transcripts) sat down with us to talk about the project and even provided some personal photographs (below) and documents

Project South, 1965During the summer of 1965, eight students from Stanford University spent ten weeks in the southern states tape-recording information on student participation in the Civil Rights Movement. The eight interviewers -- Mary Kay Becker, Mark Dalrymple, Roger Dankert, Richard Gillam, James McRae, Penny Niland, Jon Roise, and Julie Wells -- were sponsored by KZSU, Stanford's student radio station, and their original intent was to gather material suitable for rebroadcasting in the form of radio programs. Northern college students who were working in the South for the first time were the major focus, although many other topics were also investigated. To find out why these students decided to go to the South to work for the movement, what they expected to find there, what they did find, the pressures they experienced, their reaction to these pressures, what they accomplished, and what they planned to do in the future (both near and distant), they interviewed as many students as possible. What is planned is a series of programs expressing in the volunteers' and workers' own words, their motivations and their feelings towards the many aspects of the South and of the Civil Rights Movement experienced that summer.

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