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Protesters demonstrate against the shooting of Michael BrownStanford bibliographers have long needed a tool to collect, preserve and give access to born-digital documents and publications that fall within scope of their collecting areas. For the last several years, we have been using a tool to collect Everyday Electronic Materials (EEMS). However, the EEMs system has some technical and workflow constraints that do not meet our growing needs.

Kris Kasianovitz and I have now begun expanding our born-digital government information collections using Stanford Digital Repository (SDR) Online Deposit. This tool allows for multi-piece files and in general has a lower barrier to use than the EEMs tool (though it still requires copyright clearance and I loved the EEMs tool because of the bookmarklet in the browser!).

While we're in the piloting phase, I was asked to post my experiences with self-deposit to date and describe a little about how we're thinking of using the tool in the government information world. Without further ado, here are three recent documents we've successfully uploaded to the SDR that are now available via SearchWorks.

Fragment of Text of Canon Law dealing with statues in church

Eight new digital collections are now available in SearchWorks. These collections take advantage of SearchWorks' ability to provide users with rich discovery and access capabilities for finding and working with digital collection content.

Medieval fragments study collection, 11th-16th cent

Abstract: Primarily fragments, these specimens were acquired to demonstrate the development of writing in the western world. A variety of scripts are represented, from Carolingian minuscule to the humanistic hands and the "cancelleresca."

Collection contact: Benjamin Albritton

Digging Deeper Logo

In January, Stanford launched Digging Deeper: Making Manuscripts, an online learning experience devoted to the technologies involved in creating and interpreting medieval manuscripts. We're off to a roaring start with thousands of enrolled participants across more than 90 countries (and it's not too late to sign up!).  The creation of the course has been a truly collaborative experience: Stanford University faculty and library staff have worked closely with counterparts at Cambridge University, Stanford Academic Technology Specialists, graduate students, and a team from Stanford's Office of the Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning to produce a suite of learning materials that have become much richer than any of us envisaged at the beginning of the process in 2013!

Revs Digital Library Site Home Page

The Revs Digital Library website contains nearly 200,000 images of automotive history (as of January 2015). As with other digital library sites, users can search and browse to find content that interests them.  

A search engine, however, is only as good as the data being searched on.  Since the website will eventually have over a million images, browsing to find the images you want is not a great option and good information about the images becomes critical. Interested in PorschesChevy's from the 1960s?  Mario Andretti, but only when he drove in the Indy 500?  All of these wonderful ways to find materials are dependent on having metadata, or information about the images.

a screenshot of the enhanced image viewer in SearchWorks

On Tuesday, Dec 16 2014, the SearchWorks team added a new set of features supporting the display and use of digital content in SearchWorks:

  • An updated image viewer that includes a styled header and footer, three different viewing modes (single image, thumbnail gallery and horizontal scroll), file download links and improved navigation and full-screen mode. You can see an example at http://searchworks.stanford.edu/view/tv206kh7995
  • Direct download access to non-image file content, such as deposited datasets, media files and objects from born-digital collections.  Users no longer need to click a link to purl.stanford.edu to access file-type content that is available in SearchWorks. For an example see http://searchworks.stanford.edu/view/rq635hh7400
  • For both the new image and file viewer, users now have the ability to embed these digital objects in other web pages, such as blog posts.  By clicking the embed icon </> in the footer of the viewer, the user is shown embed code that they can copy and paste into html when authoring a blog post or other web page.  The fully functional embedded version of the viewer will also include in the footer a link that shows the use and reproduction statement, and copyright statement (if applicable). See an example of a digital object embedded in a blog post at http://stanford.io/1zICRVe

This latest release (SearchWorks version 3.0.8), also includes several other bug fixes and enhancements.  

Four new digital collections are now available in SearchWorks. These collections take advantage of SearchWorks' ability to provide users with rich discovery and access capabilities for finding and working with digital collection content.

Bucky Conversations: Conversations on the Life and Work of an Enigmatic Genius, 2002-2003 - Collection contact: Glynn Edwards

Abstract: In 2002, to celebrate the acquisition of the Fuller archive, the Stanford University Libraries and the Stanford Humanities Laboratory launched a series of Conversations on R. Buckminster Fuller, alias "Bucky, " inventor of the Dymaxion car, the Dymaxion Dwelling Unit, and the geodesic dome, author of Utopia or Oblivion, 4D Timelock, Synergetics, Tetrascroll and Critical Path. The series consists of filmed interviews with Fuller's key collaborators, interlocutors and contemporaries, and is designed to enhance critical understanding of this enigmatic polymath.

Bridget Whearty and Astrid Smith in the digitization lab

As the CLIR postdoctoral fellow in Data Curation for Medieval Studies at Stanford I work primarily with data about large collections of digitized manuscripts and fragments. For example, I have helped to make our teaching collections more easily discoverable in Searchworks. I've also been bringing together partner institutions' descriptive metadata to feed a specialized manuscript search environment. 

In practice, I write code to transform batches of 70, 300, 500, or 1000+ manuscripts at a time: I've gotten very comfortable thinking of medieval manuscripts in the tens, hundreds, and even thousands. But the truth is that these large batches of digital-medieval manuscripts I curate are built of unique, single objects. Single objects that, just like the physical objects they grow from, are made by individual people, in particular environments, under specific institutional, financial, and social pressures. 

In order to better understand the process that leads to the creation of a digital-medieval book, I recently followed the digitization of a fifteenth-century book of hours, Stanford University Libraries, M0379, from the request for digitization, through the slow hard work of taking the images and hours of post-production labor, to its arrival in Stanford Digital Repository (SDR). 

SLAC Early website "We had no idea that we were making history and were just trying to get the job done in our 'spare' time',”  Louise Addis, one of the WWWizards team who developed the SLAC website from 1991, said during our conversation about the restoration of SLAC's earliest website. Last May, Nicholas Taylor, web archiving service manager, told me, "SLAC has a historical collection of webpages that may be the first website in the US. Can we help them to find a home for this archive?” As Web archivist, I felt that I found a treasure. I replied, "Of course, Stanford Web Archive Portal should be the home."

One of the major use cases for the Web Archiving Service is preserving Stanford University web content. The earliest SLAC website represent the oldest such content we could find; it is the first website in the US dated to 1991, so we started there. Stanford Web Archiving Service launched its portal this week which featured SLAC's earliest website that was kept on SLAC servers for many years. This Halloween, it comes back to life. Our task was to convert the original list of scattered files into an accessible, browsable website with temporal navigation. In this post, I will discuss the technical challenges of and lessons learned from restoration process.

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