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).
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.
We have an ambitious set of goals for continuing to improve and enrich the library website in October. These priorities are based on our original project goals and on feedback and suggestions gathered from patrons and staff. Please continue to send us your feedback and encourage others to do so as well.
Our goals for October 2012 are to:
- Participate in the Library Open House, showing students, faculty, and staff how the new site can support their teaching, learning, and research needs. We will also use the Open House as an opportunity to gather feedback on how scholars use the library website.
- Convene a Library Website Steering Group, responsible for evaluating and prioritizing future website work (e.g. new feature and functionality requests, major content additions, etc.). This group will play a crucial role in recommending priorities for development and content work on the new website, and for recommending policies and best practices for the library website.
- Develop a way to allow People associated with Guides to see unpublished Guides in their Workbench. Currently only Authors can see unpublished Guides in Workbench, but we are working on a solution to allow all People who are added to a Guide to be able to see the unpublished Guides in their Workbench to enable easy co-editing and authoring.
- Add spellcheck functionality to the WYSIWYG editor for content creators.
- Enable Follow Us links on library About pages, so we will have consistent, easy way to add Facebook and Twitter links for those libraries who use social media.
- Enable simple formatting (bold, italics, and hyperlinking) in the annotations field of SearchWorks items in Guides
- Update the view of Blog posts by topic to sort in reverse chronological order (most recent first), and to add archives links.
- Work on discovery and design of Collections pages.
- Complete work on Events pages.
- Continue to provide training and guidance to content creators.
- Continue to respond to feedback received from patrons and staff.
September was a busy month for the library website team. We officially launched the new site on August 28, and have been steadily adding content, features, and functionality since them. Below is a summary of the Library website work accomplished in September.
Patron-facing changes and enhancements:
- Updated the footer at the bottom of every page to make the Stanford University logo link to the Stanford homepage
- Updated the design of the “Page not Found” page to make it more user-friendly
- Added LOCKSS to the About page
- Added links to eJournals under Research Support drop-down and under main search box on homepage
- Set up Google site map feed to ensure new content is indexed and findable via Google search quickly
- Added images to Department pages
- Added keywords and “top hit” status as appropriate to various pages to ensure accurate search results
Content creation changes and enhancements:
- Fixed misaligned WYSIWYG toolbar for News content type
- Implemented de-duplication feature for generating list of Guides by subject for branch microsites, so that guides with multiple subjects are listed only once
- Added “Publish” option for blog posts (in addition to Save option)
- Made selected changes/additions to the Subjects list and updated display of subjects to alphabetical
In addition to the specific work noted above, members of the Library Website Redesign project team and the Online Experience Group have:
- Created, modified, and edited significant amounts of content in response to user feedback
- Provided training and trouble-shooting support to content creators throughout SUL
- Fielded approximately 200 feedback emails
A big thanks to all those who have worked on the site this month, especially those of you who have taken the time to send in your feedback.
Data Management Services is excited to announce the launch of our new web site!
The primary goal of Data Services is to assist Stanford's researchers with the organization, management, and curation of research data. We want to help ensure that Stanford research data is preserved and accessible now and into the future. Our new site will help campus researchers create and carry out a data management strategy that will preserve their valuable research data for future sharing and reuse.
The Data Management Planning Tool (DMP Tool) - available via the Data Services web site - is a quick and easy way for researchers to assemble data management plans for grant proposals. The tool includes up-to-date funder-specific requirements and Stanford-specific guidance, as well as suggested language for those wishing to preserve data in the Stanford Digital Repository.
Visit dataplan.stanford.edu to log into the tool with your SUNet ID. DMPTool workshops will be offered at various sites around campus throughout the fall. Check the Science and Engineering Libraries Training tab in Coursework to see dates, times, and locations. For questions or help, contact data services at email@example.com.
Cathy Aster, Michael Olson and Sarah Sussman (SUL Curator of French and Italian) were invited by ATS colleague Nicole Coleman to a Stanford Digital Humanities & Design workshop, "Early Modern Times & Networks" where they presented a summary of the Bassi-Veratti project on 24 August 2012. They led a discussion focused on the Encoded Archival Description (EAD) XML encoding of the finding aid to facilitate discovery of digitized content in the web delivery environment being built by DLSS engineers, scheduled for release in March 2013. The session was well-attended by several post-doctoral students, including a group from Milan. The Milan team shared their current research project, consisting of a customizable, online data visualization environment with numerous API's. The SUL and Humanities workshop teams discussed the challenges of normalizing and interpreting heterogeneous metadata sources and schemas for scholarly research purposes.
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).