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In developing the new deposit interface for the Stanford Digital Repository, first and foremost we had in mind the needs of Stanford students, researchers, faculty and the SUL selectors who build collections for their use. So it was a surprising -- and happy -- moment when it became apparent that Stanford library staff have their very own content to archive, too. A collection for gathering SUL staff publications and research has been established for this purpose and is already populated with two exemplars of the leaderful work and innovative ideas produced by our colleagues. 

Phil Schreur's award-winning article, "The Academy Unbound: Linked Data as Revolution", published in Library Resources & Technical Services in October 2012, is now hosted here at home: http://purl.stanford.edu/bd701dh8028. This fine specimen will serve as good fodder for linked data work happening in our very own digital library. 

James R. Jacobs has deposited "The Digital-Surrogate Seal of Approval: a Consumer-oriented Standard", a work co-authored with UC San Diego librarian James A. Jacobs (no, that is not a typo, just an interesting coincidence). First appearing in the most recent issue of D-Lib magazine, the article is now available from our own servers at: http://purl.stanford.edu/dy870cw5618. As a "born-digital" publication, it will never qualify for the DSSOA seal, but it most certainly is worthy of archiving in the SDR. 

Congratulations to James and Phil for their contributions to the profession. If other SUL staff have publications or other professional work on topics relevant to academic and research libraries and are interested in depositing into the SUL collection, please let the SDR staff knowIf you follow James @freegovinfo, you already know that the deposit experience "feels so good!"

The Stanford Media Preservation Lab has recently finished reformatting the 440 audiocassettes in the Fred Ross papers, an immense body of audio documenting the training meetings held by labor organizer Fred Ross Sr. Housed in Special Collections, the digitized audio focuses extensively on house meetings in the 1970s and 80s, an organizing technique Ross developed and taught. A small portion of the tapes include Cesar Chavez, who Ross hired and trained in the early 50s. Chavez later went on to form the National Farm Workers Association, but Ross always remained a mentor and strong influence. "As time went on, Fred became sort of my hero," Chavez said. "I saw him organize and I wanted to learn." 

The Slave Market in Rio de Janeiro

Professor Zephyr Frank and his fellow researchers have created a fascinating (and easy to use!) visualization of the slave market in Rio de Janeiro. This web-based visualization was published as part of an article in the Journal of Latin American Geography, but the data itself was not made available.

Today marks a major milestone in Stanford University LIbraries' ability to provide easy and seamless access to digital collections.  As of today, digital collections will begin appearing in SearchWorks, the Libraries' discovery interface. This means that collections can be discovered in the course of searching and browsing through the totality of Stanford's library collection. For example, a search on the "burning of San Francisco" will not only turn up books, videos and conference proceedings, but also a 1906 lithograph of the city burning, from the Reid Dennis collection.  
 
Because each collection item links to its parent collection object within SearchWorks, researchers can easily discover and browse through entire digital collections, such as this set of 1,402 portraits from the Leon Kolb collection, just by discovering any item from the collection.  This is a signifcant enhancement to scholars' abilities to see "items in context" and for discovering related items.   
 
Prior to this major SearchWorks enhancement our digital collections were available either through special digital collections web sites, such as http://collections.stanford.edu/, or through PURL (persistent URL) pages for individual objects, such as this 18th century map of California as an Island: http://purl.stanford.edu/hm809qj3660
 
A big part of the work leading up to these additions is creating the pipeline to add future collections automatically to SearchWorks. Next month we expect the advent of more new collections for manuscripts, maps and data sets, and then an ever increasing flow of records. 

It should come as no surprise that University Archives is brimming with a diverse body of digital content gathered from all corners of Stanford, files documenting student life, campus affairs, and the administration of the University. Since his introduction to SDR Self-Deposit, University Archivist Daniel Hartwig has made frequent use of the system to preserve and provide access to these historic materials. Here are some deposits of particular interest:

  • Project MKULTRA collection - Documents related to Stanford’s involvement in covert research projects on mind control conducted by the CIA during the Cold War.
  • Stanford Commencement Collection - Transcripts of commencement speeches delivered on The Farm, including the speech by George Elliot Howard at the second commencement in 1893.
  • The Stanford Flipside - A complete set of the Flipside’s weekly newspaper edition. Readers in Canada can now access the back issues for free!

Many more interesting items from University Archives are available and preserved in the SDR. In fact, Daniel's enthusiastic engagement with the SDR has won him the honor of depositing the 100th item using the online deposit system.  Kudos, Daniel, and thanks for helping us to reach this milestone! 

This week, while things were otherwise quiet at Stanford due to Spring Break, 35 technologists from 20 institutions* descended upon Stanford for our annual library developers' (un)conference: LibDevConX, hosted by SUL's Digital Library Systems & Services group. For the fourth year in a row, the event brought together some of the best and brightest technical experts from different places with like concerns, to explore needs, common solutions, and learn from each others' innovations. This year, topics included: 

  • comparing media and digital asset management solutions
  • the latest features in Hydra 6
  • exploring Hydra-not-on-Fedora
  • what it would take to replace DSpace with a Hydra head
  • requirements for a robust digital exhibits engine
  • image interoperability
  • effective approaches to testing web front-ends
  • performance tuning for Ruby on Rails apps
  • successful recipes for devOps

The event site is online at http://lib.stanford.edu/ldcx4, and notes are being posted in GitHub at https://github.com/ldcx/ldcx-2013 Work on some of the many ideas generated at the event has already begun, and will be coming to a digital library system near you in the coming quarters. 

 

*CDL, Cornell, Columbia, Digital Curation Experts, the Danish Royal Library, Danish Technical University, Duke, the Getty Research Institute, Harvard, Indiana University, MIT, Notre Dame, NYU, Oregon State, Penn State, Princeton, the Southern California Chinese American Society, University of Virginia, and WGBH

 

We’re pleased to share the news of today’s official release of the Bassi Veratti digital collection website. A video highlighting the historical import of the project and resulting site can be viewed on youtube . A version with narration in Italian is also available via youtube.

The digital Bassi Veratti Collection was first conceived in 2010 through discussion between the Stanford University Libraries, the Biblioteca comunale dell’Archiginnasio di Bologna (Archiginnasio) and the Istituto per i Beni Artistici, Culturali e Naturali della Regione Emilia-Romagna (IBC) along with Stanford Professor of History, Paula Findlen. Its development was truly an international collaboration, with the Archiginnasio providing the archive itself, its inventory and expertise about the collection’s contents, history, and arrangement, and Stanford librarians, digital technology specialists and web application designers and engineers transforming the inventory into a digital finding aid, managing the digitization work from afar, and conceptualizing and creating the bilingual discovery and delivery interface. The IBC provided regular support for the initiative, thanks to considerable experience gained through international projects.

In the eighteenth century, Laura Bassi was a scientist, professor at the University of Bologna, and member of the Bologna Academy of Sciences. Among the very first female professional scholars, her life (1711 - 1778) and work can tell us much about the personal and professional lives of early women scientists, their place in Enlightenment intellectual networks, as well as the spread of Newtonian physics in the Italian peninsula. Stanford history professor Paula Findlen is currently completing a scholarly biography on Laura Bassi.

The Bassi Veratti Collection website features high-resolution digital images of the complete contents of the Bassi e famiglia Veratti Archive presented in a robust discovery and delivery environment. This remarkable project managed by the Digital Library Systems and Services department (DLSS) is notable for the extent of cooperation with colleagues in Bologna. A fully bilingual website, it showcases the fresh approach taken by DLSS engineers to use existing open source technologies in exposing this richly-described archival collection to researchers. 672 letters, diplomas, poems, and other documents have been digitized, while the detailed inventory created by Archiginnasio archivists has been transformed into a fully indexed search interface to the collection. These two components have been seamlessly united in an intuitive and well designed scholarly website.  For a full description of the technologies in use throughout the project and on the website, please refer to the technical summary on the site.

To celebrate the culmination of this important collaboration and the launch of the website, and to shine a spotlight on this remarkable woman on her 300th birthday, “The Papers of Laura Bassi and her Family: The Digitization of the Bassi Veratti Collection” will take place in Bologna on 20-21 March 2013. Findlen and University Librarian Michael Keller will be among the dignitaries and speakers participating.

The project was supported by the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, the Marini Foundation, and Silicon Valley executive Guerrino de Luca (who serves on the Libraries Advisory Council). The contents of the digital Bassi Veratti archive will be permanently preserved in the Stanford Digital Repository.

 

Imagine this scenario:

You worked hard on your research project and are publishing your results in a well-respected journal. You even go so far as to carefully organize the supporting data so that you can share the details of your experiments with others by posting these data online on your web space at Stanford. And you publish that URL in your journal article so everyone will know where to go.

Time passes, and you move on to another institution and another research project. But your data no longer has a home. Once you leave Stanford your web space is no longer accessible. Other researchers find your paper and are interested in your data, but when they type in the URL, all they see is a big ugly notice that says, "Access Denied."

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