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FYI 101: First Year Inquiry (Fall 2023) - Special Collections Guide

Augustana Observer/Rockety-I Database

In order to complete your assignment, you will need to do some searching in a database containing both the Augustana Observer newspaper and the Rockety-I yearbook.  This database is one of our most frequently used resources in Special Collections because there is so much you can learn about student life, campus events, academic issues, and how Augustana has changed over time by looking at what was being printed in the student newspaper or recorded in the yearbooks.  You can search in this database for keywords and phrases that appear on the digitized pages of both publications from approximately 1900 through 2004 (for the Rockety-I) and 2020 (for the Observer).

For future reference, the links above can also be found via the following two routes: 

  • From the main library home page, under the “Find” heading, select “A-Z Resources.” There are links under “A” for “Augustana Observer” and under “R” for “Rockety-I”, both will take you to the landing page for the same database. 
  • From the Special Collection home page, select “Search Collections” from the menu on the right-hand side of the screen. Scroll down and expand the “Search our Digital Collections” piece of the accordion, then click on the “Search our Digital Collections” link. Click on “Augustana Observer and Rockety-I Database” to access the landing page for the database.

Steps for Conducting a Search via the Observer/ Rockety-I Database

Both the Observer and the Rockety-I have been digitized and processed with optical character recognition (OCR) software to render the images into machine-readable text. This processing is what enables us to do full-text searching. While this is a powerful research tool, it is important to note that the OCR process does not produce perfect results, particularly when interpreting highly decorative fonts, text printed at odd angles, hyphenated words, or poor-quality print. Newsprint can be particularly difficult for computers to interpret correctly.

At the home pages, you can either use the search engine box at the top of the screen or perform an advanced search. An advanced search will allow you to search for keywords with specific parameters. If using this option, be sure to only select the Augustana Observer and/or Rockety-I yearbook from the "Collections" checklist. 

To begin the process, let's do a simple search for "Latinos Unidos." There should be 49 records available after conducting this search. 

Next, select a digital object from your results. Once viewing the object completely, the keyword that you searched for should be highlighted within the transcript. There may be multiple results within one object, so it is recommended that you review the transcript located below the image and the results bar on the right-hand side of the screen. The results bar shows us the image or images we will find the keyword located within. For example, I located 'Latinos Unidos" on page/image 4 of a 1999 article. 


By clicking the "expand" feature, you will be able to further interact with the digital object. For example, you will be able to zoom in and out, as well as print or download the image. 



To download, you will click the highlighted folder icon on the upper right-hand side of the digital object. Then, a PDF document should download and be visible at the bottom of your screen. If you experience any difficulties, contact Special Collections for assistance.