Digital Library Blog

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Reflections on the 2016 IIPC General Assembly and Web Archiving Conference

May 12, 2016
by Nicholas Taylor

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. :)

Image of Stanford Education Data Archive Maps

SDR Deposit of the Week: Improving educational equity

May 2, 2016
by Regina Lee Roberts
Educational opportunity is an important issue in a democratic society. In the United States, measuring educational achievement and opportunity is complex because the public education system is diffuse. Funding for public education depends on a combination of local, state and federal governing bodies. The variations in funding and community level support for public education and standardized testing makes comparisons and analysis across the U.S. an arduous task. 
 
This is why the Stanford Digital Repository (SDR) deposit of the week is critically important to note. Stanford University Professor, Sean Reardon and his colleagues have just deposited the Stanford Education and Data Archive (SEDA) into the SDR for long term preservation. This is a data set that includes 215 million test scores and tackles the difficulty of comparing test score data from every public elementary and middle school in the United States for a period of 5 years, (2009-2013). What's brilliant about this collection of data is that, Reardon and his team developed a method to equate the scores across states for comparison enabling a whole new set of questions on educational opportunity to be answered, new stories to be told, and new questions to be raised.
 
John C. Lilly open reel audio tape

Open reel tapes, head blocks, and unconventional track arrangements at the Stanford Media Preservation Lab

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.

Hatef Monajemi

SDR Deposit of the Week: Facilitating reproducibility

March 16, 2016
by Amy E. Hodge

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 logo

Lacuna @ Dartmouth

March 11, 2016
by Michael Widner

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:

screenshot from Exploring the Canadian Political Interest Group and Political Parties Web Sphere

Resources for research using web archives

March 1, 2016
by Nicholas Taylor

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.

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