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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."

The Oversized Imaging Lab has recently imaged a 70 x 90 inch rolled Map of Santa Clara County from 1914.

It was shot in 108 tiles and stitched together to create a 600 ppi, 55554 x 42686 or 2.371 gigapixel, 7.11 GB digital surrogate. This is the largest object we have imaged in the Map Scanning Lab thus far - it is an exciting milestone!

There are approximately 40 more oversize rolled maps in the Branner Map Collections that are waiting to be digitized. These maps are challenging from an access standpoint due to their cumbersome size.  As the Assistant Map Librarian Jane Ingalls put it "these maps are so large that the patron can't see the center of the Map when it is laid out on a table for viewing and it is hard to get to the center with a magnifying glass." Digitization solves this problem!

The Stanford Digital Repository Self-Deposit service has only been in use for a handful of weeks, and we already see a number of deposits that underscore the needs of Stanford researchers for a central, longterm home where they can archive and share the results of their work. Take this dataset in the Folding@home collection, submitted last week by T.J. Lane.

Lane and his colleagues in the Pande Lab published a 2011 article in the Journal of the American Chemical Society about one of the exciting outcomes of the Folding@home project. While the article is accessible online via the journal web site, the same cannot be said for the data upon which the published findings are based. 

Many scholarly journals do not offer supplemental data hosting services for their authors. This gap creates an awkward situation for both researchers and the readers of their publications. How can other scientists investigate the reproducibility of the research without access to the underlying data? How can others explore the data to build on it, to uncover new discoveries? How can research groups effectively manage their collective work over time as team members, and their desktop computers, come and go?

Enter the SDR. As Lane explained in an unsolicited promotion to his peers, "The primary benefit of [depositing in the SDR] is to ensure that your data live on forever (even after graduation!) and are easily available to whomever. For anyone who's had to go digging for data when someone asks for it, or had to ask another group for their data …, the benefits should be clear. Hope you'll join me as an adopter of SDR!"

The SDR team is particularly pleased to be involved in sustaining the Folding@home research, which has pioneered methods for studying protein structural dynamics in disease research. "Since its launch on October 1, 2000, the Pande lab has produced [over] 109 scientific research papers as a direct result of Folding@home", according to Wikipedia. We expect the Folding@home collection in the SDR will grow as this vital research continues. We also are confident that it will lead to deposits by other research projects: word-of-mouth is clearly a primary way of spreading news about the SDR self-deposit service to researchers around campus.

The Lane data deposit is one of several that came to the SDR as a result of a data archiving pilot now underway in an important collaboration between the SDR team, Data Management Services and the Social Science Data Service.  We have three other research data deposits like this one already completed or nearly so.  

This post is the first in a series featuring notable SDR deposits as the data pilot continues and as the Self-Deposit service rolls out. 

 

In an unassuming low-rise building on a side street in Naples, Florida sits the Revs Institute.  The Institute, which is open to invited scholars and guests, houses a collection of fully restored historically significant automobiles, as well as a library containing images, books and ephemera.  Since the images are carefully stored, many as negatives, a large number of them may not have been seen since they were taken.  Up until now, this entire collection was housed under one roof, one large hurricane away from being damaged or lost. 

We haven't yet figured out how to digitally preserve automobiles, but digitization of the large and unique image collection of the Revs Institute is underway.  Working with Pixel Acuity and the Revs Institute, over 100,000 images representing over 1 terabyte of data have been digitized and preserved in the Stanford Digital Repository (SDR) in just over a year since the project began.  The Revs Digital Library website, built on top of SDR by engineers in the Stanford University Libraries,  allows users to search and view all the images.  The website is currently available only to members of the Stanford University community.

Each image can be viewed at full resolution using the zoom and pan controls familiar to users of Google Maps.  Collections can also be browsed or viewed in a slideshow format.  Next we plan to engage the automotive community by adding tools to help improve the metadata, thus adding additional value to the collection.

The initial internal launch of the Revs Digital Library is an important milestone - not only does it ensure these images will be preserved for the future, it also makes them readily available to scholars in the Revs Program at Stanford for research purposes. 

But the work is only beginning. Over the next three years, along with additional tools and features, another 300,000 images are expected to become available in the digital library.  And the history of the automobile will continue to be preserved for future generations.

 

 

 

Results from browsing lexicon keywords.

Since its inception in the early 1970s, email has become a durable form of communication – one that presents a massive problem for donors, repositories, and researchers. Over 140 billion email messages are sent every day, and many, if not all have research value as part of an archival collection. Email is used for more than just communication. It is used for collaboration, planning, sharing, conducting transactions, and as an aid to memory – a self-archive. It documents relationships – personal, business, and communal. Our reliance on and daily use of email over the past 40 years has developed rich archival material with a secondary benefit of recording social networks in the header information of senders and recipients.

The Department of Special Collections at SUL proposes to address important facets of stewarding email archives that have not been tackled in previous projects. Characteristics of email such as its relatively stable format standardization as well as the inherent structure itself – header, body, attachments – make email an ideal candidate for automated tools to support archival workflows, such as appraisal and processing, as well as benefitting the user through discovery and delivery. 

We are excited to announce that 187 posters from the STOP AIDS Project records have been digitized, accessioned into the Stanford Digital Repository and are now available online via the collection's finding aid.

 

Cartoon of a UX person listening to many stories. (Illustration by Calvin C. Chan).

Over the past two years, the Digital Library Systems and Services department at SUL has developed a user-centered approach to building websites.  Our methodology involves early and iterative feedback from the primary audience of SUL’s web resources – academic researchers.  The intended result is web applications that help users achieve their research goals while at the same time increasing the efficiency of the software development process (thus, lowering the time to development and the cost).  

High-volume book scanning lab

During the last two months of 2012, approximately 120,000 images and objects representing nearly 74,000 items were accessioned into the Stanford Digital Repository (SDR). These materials include automobile-related images from the Revs collection, audio recordings from San Francisco's Film Arts Foundation, posters from the STOP AIDS Project collection, additional books from the Stephen J Gould collection and a variety of Stanford-related historical images, including photos from the Stanford Prison Experiment.

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