In keeping with shallow tradition, it's taken me a few weeks to collect my thoughts on the recently-concluded IIPC General Assembly and Web Archiving Conference, hosted this year by the National and University Library of Iceland. In the wake of last year's meeting, I speculated on what developments in web archiving we might together effect in the year ahead (now behind). Nearly a year later, that conceit provides a convenient jumping-off point for reflecting on how it all went, where we might go from here, and the tremendous amount of work to do in our one remaining collective month before the anniversary of that post. :)
Part of audio preservation work includes working with media that has peculiar characteristics. Sometimes the atypical qualities are a byproduct of how the recording was made by the recordist. An example of this type of problem that we occasionally see at the Stanford Media Preservation Lab is when an open reel tape is recorded over and there is remaining content hidden in certain spots of the tape. This presents specific problems in capture since tape heads are built for use with specific physical configurations of tracks and thus capturing the hidden spots outside of the normal range of track configuration is near impossible. With this in mind SMPL recently worked on obtaining equipment to address this challenging scenario.
It's one thing to talk about an area of land under dispute, and it's another thing entirely to see it on a map. Professor of Political Science Kenneth Schultz demonstrates the validity of this statement with his recent work, "Mapping Interstate Territorial Conflict," which was published in December in the Journal of Conflict Resolution.
Dovetailing our recent announcement of documentation of resources for research using web archives, we will be visited next month by an individual who has done much to advance web archives as materials of scholarly interest and exploration. Niels Brügger is Professor of Internet Studies and Digital Humanities at Aarhus University in Denmark, where he also heads the Centre for Internet Studies and NetLab. On Thursday, April 7th he will present, Digital Humanities, Web History, Web Archives, and Web Research Infrastructure &emdash; between close and distant reading, followed by discussion. Additional event details may be found on the Stanford Event Calendar page. We hope you'll join us!
Many scientists are making the reproducibility of their research a much higher priority these days than they used to. But it's a time consuming task, which means that many are searching for tools and workflows to help facilitate their efforts.
Hatef Monajemi, a PhD student in Civil and Environmental Engineering, and his PhD advisor Professor David L. Donoho, have developed a new piece of software that can make reproducibility an easier goal to achieve. His new software is called Clusterjob (CJ). This software can be used to develop reproducible computational packages and make the generation of data for a research study fully reproducible. CJ is an open-source software available on GitHub.
Lacuna, a digital reading, writing, and annotation platform I developed, is now in use as part of a MOOC being run at Dartmouth University. An author for their EdTech blog recently wrote up the experience. Here's my favorite part of the post:
The AmRenX team is using YellowDig and Lacuna Stories to encourage engagement in Dartmouth’s first literature MOOC. YellowDig has been a different platform for some seasoned edX learners, but they have really taken to Lacuna. To date 542 learners have made 6,930 annotations in AmRenX. There is more activity in the annotation platform than any other part of the course.
For more, including animated GIFs of the platform in action, read the full post.
Since our collaboration with political science researchers using web archives to understand the 2014 U.S. congressional elections, we've seen (and, hopefully, helped foster) growing interest in web archives as primary source material. This trend parallels a similar refocusing by other web archiving programs toward enhancing access services and facilitating research use. The maturity and the variety of these efforts, as well as the accumulating body of resulting research, provide an expanding list of references with which to orient and entice prospective researchers to the potential of working with web archives.