On Tuesday, November 16th 2010, something very out of the ordinary found its way into the schedule of Stanford’s Digital Production Group. Under the umbrella of Stanford University Library and Academic Information Services (SULAIR), Digital Production Group (DPG) is responsible for many types of digitization projects within Stanford’s Library community – ranging from the digitization of medieval manuscripts to historic panoramas of past graduating classes. It would seem as though it would be challenging to throw a curve ball in this ever-changing routines of such an adaptable team. However, a recent inquiry from Glynn Edwards, Principal Manuscript Processing Librarian with Stanford’s Special Collections, introduced a new element into the DPG’s already challenging workflow, and started a discussion about how best to accomplish her request. Edwards asked DPG if it would be possible to digitally capture several large-scale painted “cartoons” that were made by artist Mark Adams, as part of the planning process for the artist’s elaborately colorful and bold tapestries. The cartoons offer a wonderful glimpse of his artistic process, even showing a couple places where he cut things out and taped them back on as he re-thought his designs. Adams was born in Fort Plain, New York, in 1925, and is best known for both his tapestries and his stained-glass work. He studied at Syracuse University (1943-1945), Hans Hoffman School of Fine Arts, New York (1945-1947), Columbia University (1947) and the École National d'Art Decoratif, France (1955). Adam’s work can be seen though out San Francisco, in such places as Temple Emanu-El, Grace Episcopal Cathedral on Nob Hill, the de Young Museum, and the San Francisco International Airport. The items to be digitized were full-scale mock-ups of the tapestries, which Adams would later produce, some of which currently hang in San Francisco International Airport (SFO).
Blog topic: Digital library
It seems, as of late, that the Green Library has been abuzz with rare books and ephemera of a Presidential persuasion. This is to be expected, as the current Library Exhibition focuses on The American Enlightenment, and features a copy of John Milton’s Paradise Lost, which has the signatures of both Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. It also highlights some other noteworthy items from the Special Collections, which are displayed in the cases along the Library’s rotunda and halls. American History Professor Caroline Winterer, Special Collections' Exhibition Manager and Designer Elizabeth Fischbach, and Curator of Rare Books John Mustain, selected every item to help flesh out an understanding of how certain aspects of the Enlightenment in Europe were interpreted across the seas -- ranging from fashion, to science, art and architecture and all other areas of life -- during that particular time period. The various display cases serve to illustrate different facets of these new ways of thinking, and also serve as a framework for the incredibly beautiful and well researched exhibition catalog and accompanying exhibition website. Indeed, the exhibition has been receiving a lot of attention from visitors and scholars, and was recently featured in an article by the San Jose Mercury News.
DLSS has a new lab! In late September, under the roof of the Stanford Media Preservation Lab located at SULAIR's site on Page Mill Road, we installed equipment to support the digitization of video collections held at Stanford Libraries. Two digitization workstations, a host of analog video tape players and supporting system components, and tools for cleaning and repairing aging videotapes and other recording media are installed and in production.
Re-Posted from the Special Collections and Archives Exhibits Program listing -
The Monuments of Printing Exhibition highlights first 250 years of printing in the West
Johannes Gutenberg's printing of a Bible from movable type in Mainz, Germany in 1455 marked the beginning of a communication revolution in the West. Printers were able to reproduce texts efficiently in quantities virtually unimaginable to a scribe. Monuments of Printing: from Gutenberg through the Renaissance, the first of two exhibitions spanning five-hundred years of printing history, demonstrates the development of typography and printing in Europe over a 250-year period as seen in selected works in the rare book collections of the Stanford University Libraries. The exhibition will open Monday, August 1, in the Peterson Gallery and Munger Rotunda on the second floor of the Bing Wing of Green Library, Stanford University, and is free and open to the public.
I recently attended a workshop of the KEEP project (Keeping Emulation Environments Portable) in Rome. KEEP is an EU funded project to develop software that virtualizes old computer hardware and software environments. This allows you to run old operating systems and the applications that were designed for them on modern computers. The KEEP project is multi-partner project that than includes a consortium of national libries (BNF, Koninklijke Bibliotheek), the University of Portsmouth, a computer history museum (Computerspiele Museum), commercial partners (Tessella), and the European Game Developers Association.
The project is scheduled to end in February 2012 and has already released software version 1.0.0 on SourceForge ( http://emuframework.sourceforge.net/ ). This version supports:
* 5 platforms: x86, C64, Amiga, BBC Micro, Amstrad
* 6 emulators included: Dioscuri, Qemu, VICE, UAE, BeebEm, JavaCPC
* 22 file formats supported: PDF, TXT, XML, JPG, TIFF, PNG, BMP, Quark, ARJ, EXE, disk/tape images and more
* Integration with format identification FITS
* Web services for software and emulator archives
We've been examining whether or not to restore stopwords to the SearchWorks index. Stopwords are words ignored by a search engine when matching queries to results. Any list of terms can be a stopword list; most often the stopwords comprise the most commonly occurring words in a language, occasionally limited to certain functions (articles, prepositions vs. verbs, nouns).
The original usage of stopwords in search engines was to improve index performance (query matching time and disk usage) without degrading result relevancy (and possibly improving it!). It is common practice for search engines to employ stopwords; in fact Solr (http://lucene.apache.org/solr), the search engine behind SearchWorks, has English stopwords turned on as the default setting.
In our implementation of SearchWorks, there was no compelling reason to change most of the default Solr settings; thus, since SearchWorks's inception we have been using the following stopword list: a, an, and, are, as, at, be, but, by, for, if, in, into, is, it, no, not, of, on, or, s, such, t, that, the, their, then, there, these, they, this, to, was, will, with.
What follows is an analysis of how stopwords are currently affecting SearchWorks, and what might happen if we restore stopwords to SearchWorks, making every word signficant for every search.