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Digital Library Blog



A close of open reel tape machine heads

There are countless challenges in preserving obsolete media from breadth of formats to lack of documentation at the time of creation.  With the history of recorded sound now spanning over one hundred years wide range of technologies utilized in this span, challenges abound for any individual working to capture the range of media in need of preservation.  To accomplish this feat constant engagement is required to further understand the media, the way media is degrading, and best practices for preserving historic recordings that range from cylinders to digital multi-track recording sessions. 

logo of the Society of American Archivists

"What does it take to archive a linear foot of the Web?," Anna Perricci posed rhetorically to our web archiving metrics breakout discussion group two weeks ago. I don't yet have a good answer for what the question's getting at, but I was gratified by the level of interest and engagement in web archiving as archiving at the just-concluded Society of American Archivists (SAA) Annual Meeting and inaugurally coscheduled Archive-It Partner Meeting.

Ginsberg's handwritten notes for M0733_s11_ssB_b119_07

The Allen Ginsberg papers in the Department of Special Collections is truly the collection that keeps on giving. We here at the media lab have digitized a huge portion of the media (current count: 2000+ items), yet our interest in it remains high because of the sheer amount of gems hidden within. Even if we didn't enjoy Ginsberg, the vast amount of acquaintances he recorded from the 1950s until the 1990s would provide endless entertainment. 

Three new digital collections were added to SearchWorks during the month of July. This brings the total number of digital collections available in SearchWorks to 93. The collections recently added are:

Title: A tide prediction and tide height control system for laboratory mesocosms

Abstract: Software code to accompany the manuscript "A tide prediction and tide height control system for laboratory aquaria" by L.P. Miller and J. D. Long

Collection contact: Amy Hodge

logo of the 2015 Joint Conference on Digital Libraries

We've written before on our restoration of the oldest U.S. website, covering in detail how we did it and some interesting discoveries we made along the way. More recently, Web Archiving Engineer Ahmed AlSum prepared a visual diagram (see below) of the steps involved in packaging, indexing, and making accessible the legacy web content in a poster for the Joint Conference on Digital Libraries (JCDL), an annual meeting sponsored by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) focused on research and development for digital libraries. Notably, the display won the Best Poster Award! We celebrate the continued community interest in Ahmed's innovative work.

winning poster for JCDL 2015, titled 'Reconstruction of U.S. First Website'

Two new digital collections were added to SearchWorks during the month of June. This brings the total number of digital collections available in SearchWorks to 90. The collections recently added are:

A novel computational method of metabolic network analysis for genetic discovery

Abstract: Java scripts for re-production of the computational method being published in Pharmacogenetics and Genomics 2012, 22:877–886

Collection contact: Amy Hodge

Undergraduate Theses, Department of Biology, 2014-2015 

Abstract: Honors theses written by undergraduates in the Stanford University Department of Biology, 2014-2015.

Collection contact: Michael Newman

The integration of digital collections into SearchWorks means that items from collections containing digital material can be discovered in the course of searching and browsing through the totality of Stanford's vast library catalog.

For more information on depositing materials into the Stanford Digital Repository, visit our website. For questions or additional information about the Stanford Digital Repository service, please email us at

The Archive of Recorded Sound (ARS) recently deposited two significant collections into the Stanford Digital Repository (SDR), the Terry Smythe AMICA Collection and the Stanford Soundtrack Collection.

Researchers at Stanford are doing a lot of innovative and intriguing work. Their efforts are often highlighted in the Stanford Report, which provides readers with a brief compilation of the latest Stanford News via email each weekday. When those of us at Stanford Libraries who work on digital preservation read these articles, we immediately wonder what these researchers are doing to preserve all that wonderful research data.

Never ones to rest on our laurels, Stanford Libraries staff have been reaching out to these researchers and recommending that they preserve the data generated from these studies -- and sometimes submitted to journals as supplementary data files -- in the Stanford Digital Repository. We would hate to see all that innovative and intriguing work lost to the ravages of time!