WMR Search Page Updates

Daniel Lakes, who designed the What Middletown Read web page and search engine, has added several new features to the site.  He reports:

Since our launch on March 3, there have been several developments on the WMR search engine site. In addition to minor layout changes, we have also added several new features based on user feedback. These features should further enable users to utilize the database to its fullest potential. 

The first feature is a minor update, which allows you to search for patrons (or their parents) who are U.S. or foreign born. To achieve this, simply  type in ‘U.S. Born’ or ‘Foreign (Non-U.S.) Born’, respectively, into a birthplace-focused search field. Users with JavaScript enabled will find the options appearing as you begin typing.

The second set of updates relates to handling search results. First, WMR users now have the ability to navigate among a string of searches. This would allow one, for example, to perform a search, then perform a drill down to find a subset of that result, and later return to the prior, broader search. This functionality will appear after you have performed your second search during a same-session visit to the WMR site as a series of buttons above the search results.

Next, users now have the ability to export their search results. This allows for users to manipulate the data offline with statistical programs such as SPSS, or spreadsheet programs such as Microsoft Excel. To download results, look for the download box above the search results, select the type(s) of results you wish to download (Book/Patron/Transactions—all are selected by default), and click the ‘Download Results’ button. This will download a ZIP file containing comma-separated files for each type of result selected.

We have also added a data summaries page to provide researchers with a quick overview of certain data within the WMR database. To find the list of reports, along with a brief description, visit the help guide and click on the ‘Data Summaries’ header under the ‘Data Overview’ tab.

Finally, we have added a page containing relevant links related to the What Middletown Read project. In addition to references to affiliates of the project, such as the Muncie Public Library, the page also has links to similar efforts such as the Main Street Public Library Database, and links to useful resources such as the Muncie/Delaware County Digital Resource Library.

For any questions concerning new (or previously existing) features, please consult the user guide: http://bsu.edu/libraries/wmr/help.php. For any additional questions, please feel free to contact us via our feedback form: http://bsu.edu/libraries/wmr/feedback.php.

Thank you again for your patronage and all of your feedback regarding the project so far. We look forward to hearing more from each of you and what you have discovered in your own pursuits!

Submitted by Jim C.

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The Most Read Books

The What Middletown Read Database reproduces the circulation records of the Muncie (Indiana) Public Library from 1891 to 1902, with a gap from May, 1892 to November, 1894.  Here are the most often borrowed books for that period.  Children’s books dominate, with a few adult fiction titles.

     Author                 Title No. of Times Borrowed No. of Borrowers
Louisa May Alcott Under the Lilacs* 478 397
Horatio Alger The Young Adventurer 422 341
Martha Finley Elsie Dinsmore* 421 393
L.T. Meade A World of Girls 373 271
Horatio Alger The Telegraph Boy 364 321
Charles Fosdick Frank on a Gunboat 363 319
Horatio Alger The Young Circus Rider* 359 269
Charles Fosdick George at the Fort* 349 305
Martha Finley Holiday at Roselands* 342 311
Marie Corelli The Sorrows of Satan* 342 280
Martha Finley Elsie’s Womanhood* 327 292
Augusta Evans St. Elmo* 327 291
Charles Fosdick Frank on the Lower Mississippi* 325 290
Martha Finley Elsie’s Girlhood* 315 289
Charles Fosdick George in Camp* 310 279
Horatio Alger Ragged Dick* 308 283
Charles Fosdick Frank in the Woods* 299 261
Horatio Alger The Young Miner 297 263
Amelia Barr Bernicia 291 262
Edward Westcott David Harum 289 267
Charles Fosdick George at the Wheel 288 264
Horatio Alger Tattered Tom 287 256

*Two or more copies in circulation

Jim C.

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First Post

Welcome to the What Middletown Read Blog.  It provides a forum connected to the What Middletown Read Database, an online resource that reproduces in searchable digital form the circulation records of the Muncie (Indiana) Public Library between 1891 and 1902. We call it “Middletown” because Muncie was the subject of Robert and Helen Lynd’s famous sociological study of that name. The database includes more than 11,000 books, over 4,000 active borrowers, and nearly 175,000 circulation transactions. It can be searched in a variety of ways. To learn more or to try out the database, go to www.bsu.edu/libraries/wmr.

From time to time we’ll post interesting findings drawn from the database, discussions of book and library history, and comments from users. To reach us, email wmr@bsu.edu.

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