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In January, Stanford launched Digging Deeper: Making Manuscripts, an online learning experience devoted to the technologies involved in creating and interpreting medieval manuscripts. We're off to a roaring start with thousands of enrolled participants across more than 90 countries (and it's not too late to sign up!).  The creation of the course has been a truly collaborative experience: Stanford University faculty and library staff have worked closely with counterparts at Cambridge University, Stanford Academic Technology Specialists, graduate students, and a team from Stanford's Office of the Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning to produce a suite of learning materials that have become much richer than any of us envisaged at the beginning of the process in 2013!

Elaine Treharne has been discussing the development of the course on her Text Technologies blog, where we'll talk about teaching as a team across institutions and departments. For now, I would like to showcase some of the content and technologies that the library has contributed to this collaboration.

Basic Infrastructure

edX, the platform supported by the Office of the Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning is very robust and is designed to accommodate high volumes of traffic. Where the library plays a role is being able to provide an infrastructure to serve many high resolution images out to be embedded and re-used in other platforms. While largely invisible, this capacity allows us to provide users with access to the images for many entire books in a zoomable interface. In a sense, we support the delivery of content that can be accessed through lighter-weight front-end software.

There are two exciting technologies that we're providing in support of the class that bring very unique viewing experiences to the scholars working with this content

Embeddable Content

Any image-based content held in the Stanford Digital Repository can be easily embedded into blogs, online course platforms, and other interfaces. While we are used to accessing this content through Searchworks or a persistent URL (PURL), the embeddable option allows library infrastructure and content to be reused in many different places. In the case of Digging Deeper, it means that we can provide more than just a single image of a manuscript for the class participants, but can allow them to explore all of the images from a manuscript quite easily. In the example below, Astrid Smith and the Digital Production Team digitized a 15th century Book of Hours from Stanford's collection (see here) - these images can now be re-used in any number of ways by anyone in the world.

Try This!
It's very easy to embed this example in your own webpage, just click on the icon that looks like 〈/〉 and copy the code into your site. This holds true for any kind of content in the Stanford Digital Repository where you see that icon.

Comparison Viewing

Comparison viewing and medieval manuscripts go hand-in-hand. One of the primary tasks of a student or scholar of medieval texts or books is noticing similarities and differences across medieval objects. Whether one is examining letter-forms, textual details, artistic details, or other materials, comparison across examples is fundamental.

The Mirador viewer was developed to provide a rich comparison viewing experience for content held in many different institutions. In the example below, we can see content from the Walters Art Museum (hosted at Stanford), alongside content served by the e-codices project in Switzerland.

You can explore this example further here.

Looking Forward

While Digging Deeper is one of the first Stanford online courses to take advantage of these technologies, we hope that there will be many more collaborations between the faculty, the online learning teams, and the library that can expand the use of our systems and contents to further teaching and learning both at home and around the world.

Bird Rock weather station

Weather is often a hot topic for discussion (no pun intended!), even here in the usually moderate Bay Area where thoughts on the current drought are frequently proffered. But our discussions of the weather would be baseless if it weren't for weather data and our ability to track weather changes over time.

Hopkins Marine Station in Pacific Grove has been tracking the weather in their neck of the woods for years. Detailed data from this weather monitoring project is now available online via the Stanford Digital Repository in the Hopkins Marine Station collection.

Revs Digital Library Site Home Page

The Revs Digital Library website contains nearly 200,000 images of automotive history (as of January 2015). As with other digital library sites, users can search and browse to find content that interests them.  

A search engine, however, is only as good as the data being searched on.  Since the website will eventually have over a million images, browsing to find the images you want is not a great option and good information about the images becomes critical. Interested in PorschesChevy's from the 1960s?  Mario Andretti, but only when he drove in the Indy 500?  All of these wonderful ways to find materials are dependent on having metadata, or information about the images.

logo of the International Internet Preservation Consortium

Once each year, the international web archiving community represented by the International Internet Preservation Consortium meets for a week-long "General Assembly". As alluded to in my recap of the 2014 meeting, I'm pleased to belatedly announce that Stanford University is the confirmed host for the 2015 IIPC General Assembly as well as more promptly announce that registration is now open!

Prospective attendees may register for 1-3 segments making up the week-long event:

  • Monday, April 27th, is the Open Conference day. Registration is open to anyone, as the intended audience — researchers, web professionals, digital humanists, digital library specialists, and other interested parties — is broadest. The agenda hasn't been finalized yet but tentatively includes talks on large-scale, longitudinal analyses of web data; insights and differences in personal-scale web content preservation; and experimentation with derivative web archive datasets.
  • Tuesday, April 28th, is the Open Workshops day. Registration is again open to anyone, though the program has a slightly more web archiving community-centric focus. The agenda currently features, in parallel, a file formats hackathon and sessions on web archive information retrieval, content analysis, and promising new tools.
  • Wednesday through Friday, April 29th to May 1st, are IIPC working days. Registration is open to staff of IIPC member institutions only. These days will feature tracks for each of the working groups and sessions proposed by IIPC members focused on collaborative projects and exchange of best practices.

I encourage anyone interested in a survey of the work happening in the field to sign up for one or both of the "open" days. If you belong to an IIPC member institution (Stanford University employees are eligible) and are currently or prospectively engaged in web archiving on an ongoing basis, you may also want to consider the IIPC days.

The General Assembly location rotates every year, typically between Europe, North America, and Oceania, so this is an infrequent opportunity for nearby interested individuals and institutions to plug in. There's also an attendee cap, so please register sooner as versus later, if you plan to attend.

We hope to see you there!

a screenshot of the enhanced image viewer in SearchWorks

On Tuesday, Dec 16 2014, the SearchWorks team added a new set of features supporting the display and use of digital content in SearchWorks:

  • An updated image viewer that includes a styled header and footer, three different viewing modes (single image, thumbnail gallery and horizontal scroll), file download links and improved navigation and full-screen mode. You can see an example at http://searchworks.stanford.edu/view/tv206kh7995
  • Direct download access to non-image file content, such as deposited datasets, media files and objects from born-digital collections.  Users no longer need to click a link to purl.stanford.edu to access file-type content that is available in SearchWorks. For an example see http://searchworks.stanford.edu/view/rq635hh7400
  • For both the new image and file viewer, users now have the ability to embed these digital objects in other web pages, such as blog posts.  By clicking the embed icon </> in the footer of the viewer, the user is shown embed code that they can copy and paste into html when authoring a blog post or other web page.  The fully functional embedded version of the viewer will also include in the footer a link that shows the use and reproduction statement, and copyright statement (if applicable). See an example of a digital object embedded in a blog post at http://stanford.io/1zICRVe

This latest release (SearchWorks version 3.0.8), also includes several other bug fixes and enhancements.  

Four new digital collections are now available in SearchWorks. These collections take advantage of SearchWorks' ability to provide users with rich discovery and access capabilities for finding and working with digital collection content.

Bucky Conversations: Conversations on the Life and Work of an Enigmatic Genius, 2002-2003 - Collection contact: Glynn Edwards

Abstract: In 2002, to celebrate the acquisition of the Fuller archive, the Stanford University Libraries and the Stanford Humanities Laboratory launched a series of Conversations on R. Buckminster Fuller, alias "Bucky, " inventor of the Dymaxion car, the Dymaxion Dwelling Unit, and the geodesic dome, author of Utopia or Oblivion, 4D Timelock, Synergetics, Tetrascroll and Critical Path. The series consists of filmed interviews with Fuller's key collaborators, interlocutors and contemporaries, and is designed to enhance critical understanding of this enigmatic polymath.

logo of the International Internet Preservation Consortium

We are pleased to announce the acceptance of our bid to join the IIPC Steering Committee, based on a vote by the IIPC membership. SUL joins the 15-member group as one of two currently-serving university library members (the other being the University of North Texas Libraries) and as the third university library to ever serve on the body (the other being the California Digital Library).

The Steering Committee provides strategic direction for the IIPC, defining the structures for successful projects and collaborations, overseeing sponsored initiatives and partnerships, discussing and approving the annual budget, and vetting new member applications. This particular Steering Committee will have the additional role of guiding the creation of the 2016-2018 membership agreement, which informs the IIPC mission and goals.

Recent years have seen an especial increase in the number of IIPC members that are both research university libraries and based in North America; SUL exemplifies this category. And though the percentage of U.S. web archiving organizations that are IIPC members is in the single digits, the work of the IIPC strongly affects the field as a whole.

We look forward to participating in the IIPC Steering Committee starting in 2015 and, through this opportunity, advancing both the SUL web archiving program and web archiving generally.

Image of ars0033_7inch_d86

A wide range of sound recordings come to SMPL for digitization. Recently two disc recordings from the Archive of Recorded Sound’s Non-Commercial disc collection (ARS 0033) appeared in our queue: 6” duo disc blanks likely dating from the late 1940’s into the early 1950’s with recordings on one side. The discs appear to be have been recorded by a service called Santa Gram that sold semi-custom recorded greetings from Santa to children. 

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