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logo of the International Internet Preservation Consortium

Web archivists Ahmed AlSum and Nicholas Taylor and LOCKSS Chief Scientist David Rosenthal recently attended the International Internet Preservation Consortium (IIPC) General Assembly, an annual meeting of national libraries, research universities, non-profits, and service providers engaged in web archiving. This was the first General Assembly we all attended since Stanford University Libraries (SUL) joined the IIPC, though we had all previously attended meetings under the auspices of other organizations.

Niels Brügger's closing remarks best captured the emergent theme of the meeting: how can we best serve researchers, broadly construed? The word clouds on the fourth and fifth slides of his presentation (PPT) helped to visualize how the focus of the international web archiving community has shifted over the past decade.

In keeping with the emphasis on understanding how web archives are being used, the open day (PDF) consisted of presentations by researchers working with historical web content. Some examples included an initiative to create distributed web science research centers (PPT), the user demographics of shuddering consumer web services (PDF), the proferring of web archive datasets on cloud infrastructure (PPT), and an architecture for archiving of cited web addresses in scholarly publications deposited into a repository.

The presentations and discussions from the member-only days (PDF) have not been systematically gathered, but some are available. There were discussions about collaborative or, at least, mutually-informed collection development; models of close collaboration between researchers and web archiving organizations; exchanging of best practices for full-text indexing; and updates on the OpenWayback collaborative development effort.

The last day-and-a-half were open workshops (PDF) on topics including crawl engineering, the web archiving tool landscape, the role and responsibilities of curators, and novel crawler architectures for capturing dynamic content or facilitating creation of precise corpora through interactive archiving. I co-organized the Curator Tools Fair (PDF) with Abbie Grotke and presented on strategic web archive collection development.

SUL will be assuming an increasing role in the IIPC in the coming year. I have stepped up as co-lead of the Access Working Group along with Daniel Gomes; we will continue to contribute to a technical proposal for profiling of web archives to enable scalable Memento aggregation, and we are exploring co-hosting the next General Assembly in the San Francisco Bay Area in collaboration with California Digital Library and Internet Archive.

Stay-at-home husbands and how to manage them

In April and May, approximately 570,000 new files representing around 1700 new items were accessioned into the Stanford Digital Repository (SDR). These materials include -- but are not limited to -- items from the Caricatures of Black Americans collection, the People's Computer Company, and the Jarndyce collection.

Image of Allen Ginsberg Papers Cassette

One of the remarkable things about large digitization projects is that not just formal events are preserved but also informal events are preserved for future access. As a matter of process the Stanford Media Preservation Lab takes part in the preservation of media that captures these special informal events.  Recently while working on a portion of the Allen Ginsberg papers many recordings were digitized but (at least) two recordings were re-formatted that informally capture his friendships with other important 20th century figures.

Cover Image of People's Computer Company

If you were a student in Professor Fred Turner’s recent communications class, you’ve already seen a few issues of newsletters of early computing clubs online.  If not, check out these publications documenting the doings of early computer clubs of the 1970’s centered in Menlo Park, available for the first time in digital form.

The People’s  Computer Company, or PCC early proponent launched its first issue with the bold statement “Computers are mostly used against people instead of for people; used to control people instead of to free them; Time to change all that - we need a... Peoples Computer Company."    The club focused on publishing code, mostly for games, that readers could then input into their own computers. The users could then tinker and learn from the freely given and non-copyrighted code.  PCC was among the first contributors to what we call today network neutrality – a particular topic of interest in the current day.

The Homebrew Computer Club began meeting in a garage in Menlo park in 1975, begun by Gorden French and Fred Moore who were interested in having a forum where people could get together and work on making computers more accessible to the public.  Most members were hobbyists with backgrounds in electronic engineering or computer programming; notable members include founders of different microcomputer companies - Steve Wozniak (who credits the first meeting as the inspiration for designing the Apple I), Harry Garland, and Roger Melen among others.   A fictionalized version of the Homebrew Computer Club was featured in the 1999 television movie Pirates of Silicon Valley describing the club’s role in creating the first personal computers.

Check out these issues for yourself!

People’s Computer Company

Homebrew Computer Club

Corn, by Flickr user spakattacks CC BY-2.0

Climate change is all over the news these days, and when a report in the journal Science indicates potential impacts on the future of food production in the US, people sit up and take notice.

David Lobell, associate professor of environmental Earth system science and associate director of the Center on Food Security and the Environment, led a team that analyzed data on corn and soybean production along with daily weather data in actual fields in the Midwestern United States.

The large dataset of crop and weather information compiled for these studies is now available for download from the Stanford Digital Repository. It's great that the accumulated effort this data set represents is now preserved and available for other scientists to use!

"Material" (under CC BY-NC 2.0)

Congressional campaign websites are valuable primary source material for historians, social scientists, and the public to better understand the evolution of political communication in the Web era. Campaign websites also afford unique opportunities for the mass collection of materials that would have been previously difficult to acquire outside of the candidate's district. While it is a truism that the Web is constantly changing and broken links are an inevitable outcome, campaign websites are predictably ephemeral given their time-limited purpose.

FRED Workstation

The Manuscripts Division of the Stanford University Libraries Special Collections Department was moved off-campus last year to brand-new facilities in Redwood City, CA. The Born Digital/Forensics Lab located in Green Library now has a newly established sister lab that is set up according to strict specifications. The room is free of carpet (hallelujah), it is spacious, and it is secure. The RWC building can only be entered by staff after they scan their identification cards. Additionally, the suite where the lab is located limits access to only approved SUL staff, and they need to scan their identification cards again to enter the suite. The Born Digital/Forensics Lab room also has to be opened with a key.

Three new digital collections were added to SearchWorks via Stanford Digital Repository (SDR) online deposit during the month of April. These collections take advantage of recently released functionality that provides researchers with new rich discovery and access capabilities for finding and working with digital collection content. Researchers may now discover the following materials:

Undergraduate Theses, Program in Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Honors theses and senior theses written by undergraduates in the Program in Feminist, Gender and Sexuality Studies, 2013 -. For more information, check out the SDR Deposit of the Week: New collection of theses in Feminist, Gender and Sexuality Studies blog post by Regina Roberts.