Three Questions is an initiative to share the value that our faculty, students, and others in the UNT community derive from using the Unique Collections at UNT Libraries.


1. How important are Unique Collections in your teaching, learning or research?

During the early phase of writing my book, Rodeo Austin: Blue Ribbons, Buckin’ Broncs and Big Dreams, the portal was one of the first places I turned as I began researching the topic. Rodeo Austin, a nonprofit that raises funds for college scholarships through a livestock show, auction and rodeo, had no early records of its organization, so the portal was invaluable to my research. I was able to search broadly on the portal, looking for any evidence of early livestock shows and rodeos in Texas. What I found established the historical context for the show’s founding in 1940 and led me to further sources that helped flesh out the full story. Today, my colleagues at the Texas Association of Counties and I use the portal to hunt for historic images related to Texas and county government and use them in our publications, such as our annual report to members. I also use the portal when researching stories about county history for our bi-monthly magazine, County.

2. How have Unique Collections changed the way you approach your research, teaching or learning?  

Because the portal is so comprehensive, I often start my research there. The results can provide clues to help me flesh out the bigger story, lead me to other sources of research, confirm a fact I’m double-checking, or deliver the exact piece of information or photo I’m seeking. The portal was limited in scope when I wrote my first book, Historic Hotels of Texas: A Traveler’s Guide, so I didn’t rely upon it for the project. If I were researching that topic today, the portal would probably save me hours of time and effort. 

3. What do you want others to know about your research?

In my current position at the Texas Association of Counties I write a series called Historical Highlights that focuses on the history of particular counties and how county governments work to preserve it. The information I glean from the portal often ends up in those articles in County magazine. You can find them at www.county.org/magazine. Just click the Historical Highlights link.

Liz Carmack is a writer, editor, researcher and consultant. She authored Historic Hotels of Texas: A Traveler’s Guide and Rodeo Austin: Blue Ribbons, Buckin’ Broncs and Big Dreams, both published by Texas A&M University Press. Liz serves as Senior Communications Specialist for the Texas Association of Counties in Austin. She earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism from Oklahoma State University and her master’s degree in mass communications from the University of Leicester in Leicester, England.