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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.

 

As part of Sunshine Week -- and in conjunction with the White House's new policy on Open Access to federally funded scientific information -- a small group of government information librarians has started a petition on petitions.whitehouse.gov asking the Obama Administration to assure that there is free permanent public access to ALL authentic government information.

We hope you'll sign the petition and forward on to all your friends and social networks to help us reach our goal of 100,000 signatures by April 11, 2013! Thanks in advance!!


WE PETITION THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION TO:

Require free online permanent public access to ALL federal government information and publications.

1. Assure that GPO has the funds to continue to maintain and develop the Federal Digital System (FDsys).

2. Raise ALL Congressional, Executive & Judicial branch information, publications & data to the level of federally funded scientific information & publish ALL government information as "Open Access."

3. Mandate the free permanent public access to other Federal information currently maintained in fee-based databases - including the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER), the National Technical Reports Library (NTRL), & USA Trade Online.

4. Establish an interagency, govt-wide strategy to manage the entire lifecycle of digital government information w/ FDLP Libraries - publication, access, usability, bulk download, long-term preservation, standards & metadata.

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).  

Screenshot of Riverwalk Jazz website

Did you read the news a few months ago about the Riverwalk Jazz archive coming to Stanford? Now the collection of radio shows is available online, featuring two channels of continuous audio streams: http://riverwalkjazz.stanford.edu/.

As fans of the long-running public radio program know, Riverwalk Jazz tells the story of early jazz and blues as it evolved in the first half of the 20th century. Using rich narrative, oral histories and interviews, clips of historic musical recordings, and live musical performances by the Jim Cullum Jazz Band, each radio show entertains and educates its listeners, promoting classic jazz music and an appreciation for its place in history. With this new web site, the series of programs is presented by the Stanford Archive of Recorded Sound as an incomparable research collection for use by jazz scholars and fans alike.

The Revs Digital Library is a project within the Digital Library Systems and Services group whose goal is to ensure access and preservation of materials from the Revs Institute and the Revs Program at Stanford.

The Revs Institute in Naples, Florida is an independent educational organization that advances the scholarly study of automotive history.  The Institute houses a library with over a million items, including a large and varied collection of automotive materials such as images, research books, ephemera, and specialized documents.

The Revs Program at Stanford was established to promote a new trans-disciplinary field connecting the past, present and future of the automobile. The program aims to put the automobile at the center of the university and raise the quality of academic discourse at Stanford and beyond.  The program is now producing research data and generating course materials. 

Working with Pixel Acuity, the Revs Institute is currently digitizing their collection of images using specialized digital cameras.  Each slide, negative or print is cleaned and imaged at a high resolution.  The images and associated metadata are collected and transferred to Stanford, where they are being accessioned into the Stanford Digital Repository (SDR) using an automated pipeline. 

The automated pipeline is built using the Ruby programming language and relies on a "robot" framework, also developed at Stanford, for queing up and executing specific jobs in various workflows.  For example, in order to be accessioned, each image must be analyzed to ensure its integrity has not been compromised in transit (by computing MD5 checksums), web friendly derivative images need to be created (JP2), images need to be moved to the digital "stacks" and preservation core, and so on.  A "robot" is designed for each specific task, and tasks are organized into ordered workflows, with appropriate dependencies.  Queues are established to automatically move objects through the pipeline, wtih additional servers running copies of the robots added as needed to maintain throughput.

The Revs Digital Library, currently under development, will ensure that all of the accessioned materials from the Revs Institute, as well as the original research from the Revs Program, are indexed, preserved and made available to library patrons, researchers and the general public.  By digitizing materials and making them discoverable, content that was once available to a select few becomes useful and discoverable for a wide range of researchers. The Revs Digital Library is being built on top of the Stanford Digital Repository to provide a web based platform for discovery of automotive research and images.  The Digital Library is developed in Ruby on Rails using open source technologies, including Blacklight, Hydra, and Fedora Commons and will allow for metadata editing, provide community features, and tools for researchers to further utilize the data.

As of October 4, nearly 68,000 images from the Revs Institute's collections have been digitized and staged on Stanford Library servers, with 1000 images accessionined into SDR.  By the end of 2012, we expect to have all 68,000 images accessioned, with a digital library website for browsing and viewing the materials.

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