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Annual Operations: Senior Inquiry

Annual operations fund the wide variety of academic resources necessary for students to develop Senior Inquiry and other intensive projects. With enhanced funding, Augustana can reinforce its program to meet our goal of supporting Senior Inquiry for nearly all students by the year 2010.

When Nick Stirrett first approached librarian Connie Ghinazzi about his senior project, he came with a list of sources about Wendell Berry-poet, essayist, farmer and cultural critic-that stopped about 15 years earlier. His project was to prepare an exhaustive bibliography of all published works on Wendell Berry, using the plethora of possible resources. And that is just what librarians love to hear.

Nick was already familiar with the library's general databases, but Connie helped him devise a search strategy using Lexis Nexis, the Modern Language Association bibliography, Essays in General Literature as well as various print resources for anything published before electronic indexing.

Connie also found that Nick had been doing what so many do: he had limited his search to Berry as author rather than subject. Nick's subject search yielded all sorts of materials he hadn't seen before: not just relating to literature, but also to Berry's writings on the environment and agriculture. The depth of his research ranged from verifying every citation for accuracy by finding the original work, to simply discussing Berry with Connie, to see what they did and didn't know about the man. They worked together for nearly a year.

Nick's bibliography was published in Wendell Berry: Life and Work, edited by Jason Peters, associate professor of English at Augustana. (Nick is now working on his master's degree in modern literature at Queen's University in Belfast, Northern Ireland.) The work of Connie and other librarians in the Thomas Tredway Library was honored when the library won the 2006 ACRL/Blackwell's Excellence in Academic Libraries Award, in the college library category, for overall resources, programming, service and integration with the college community.

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