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Ruth Asawa at Tamarind lithography workshop 1965 by an unknown photographer

Walking around campus, one can readily see the impact of Stanford’s Arts Initiative. Joining the existing Cantor Arts Center are several new buildings, including the Bing Concert Hall, which opened in 2013, the Anderson Collection at Stanford University, which opened on September 21st, and the growing structure that will be the McMurtry Building, slated to open in 2015.

In parallel with this new focus on the arts, the MSS division in Special Collections has worked over the last year with Peter Blank and Anna Fishaut at the Art & Architecture Library, in identifying and funding the preservation and processing of four recently acquired art collections. Some of the projects will include selected reformatting of audio-visual elements, processing of digital files, additional digitization efforts, and collaboration with the libraries’ Department of Conservation and the Art Library’s Visual Resources Center.

Volvo CE 310X

For the second year in a row, students from ME310 Project Based Engineering Design submitted their final projects to the SDR for preservation. With the submission of these 19 projects, we also preserved the Winter quarter reports for the students’ design projects.   This year’s projects covered a variety of products from construction equipment to designing a better way to chill a drink to creating a better flying experience for passengers with limited mobility.  These projects help inform future classes about design process as well as create a network of contacts for future work. 

A compact cassette from the Clayman institute on Gender Studies SC0705

While often at the Stanford Media Preservation Lab we work with sound recordings Stanford acquired long ago sometimes we have the opportunity to work on media freshly acquired on the premise of immediately serving faculty and students. Recently a case like this occurred.

DAT

The Stanford Media Preservation Lab has kicked around the idea of building a dedicated Digital Audio Tape (DAT) "ripping" workstation around a Digital Data Storage (DDS) drive for a few years, but we never pursued it in earnest. We assumed the benefits of using a computer drive to read audio DATs largely centered around extraction time and reporting. Transferring a DAT in a conventional deck is done in real-time, whereas a DDS drive, we were told, would rougly cut the time in half depending on the speed of the drive (Peter Oleksik's retrospective on the Fugazi archive mentioned speeds up to 4x real-time using the DDS method with a Sony SDT-9000 drive and DATXtract). We also liked the idea of accompanying logs identifying where dropouts occurred. Still, we were skeptical whether such a system would be better than one designed around multiple conventional decks. Was there a way to test both methods without investing a bunch of money in late 1990s computer components?  

Tape container for Wind (1961)

The Archive of Recorded Sound is delighted to announce that the Richard Maxfield Collection (ARS.0074) can now be listened to online, via the collection's finding aid on the Online Archive of California. This collection features nine distinct works by electronic music composer Richard Maxfield, composed between 1959-1964, four of which are believed to be previously unpublished (Dromenom, Electronic Symphony, Suite from Peripateia, and Wind). Additionally, as Maxfield frequently produced unique edits of his work for each performance, many of the open tape reels that form this collection include alternative edits to those previously published, such as the tapes for Amazing Grace which feature three different versions of the work. 

We are happy to announce that Lucy Waldrop will join Special Collections in September as the project archivist on the Helen and Newton Harrison papers project. This is an NEH-funded project and will conclude in February 2016. Lucy comes to us from Wichita State University, where as a project archivist, she processed several large collections including that of photographer and film director Gordon Parks. The Harrison collection is a significant acquisition and this preservation and processing project is one of several art projects being undertaken by Special Collections in collaboration with the Art Library in the coming year. 

Navigating the river

The University Archives is pleased to report that more than 20 photograph and slide collections have recently been digitized and are now available online via SALLIE, Flickr, Facebook and Google+. The collections include:

  • Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (SC0634)
  • Felt Lake Dam Photographs (PC0142)
  • School of Education Faculty Photographs (PC0061)
  • Leon Thomas David Collection of Stanford Photographs (PC0126)
  • Ella J. Patterson Photographs (SCM0321)
  • George Harrington Photograph Albums (SC0592)
  • Department of History, Faculty Photographs (PC0025)
  • Stanford University Construction Photographs (PC0125)
  • Stanford University Photographs (PC0069)
  • Todd T. Barrett Photographs Documenting Stanford University (PC0135)
  • Stanford University Photographs and Memorabilia (PC0130)
  • Medical Center, Construction slides (PC0043)
  • Paul G. Allen Center for Integrated Systems, Dedication Photographs (PC0132)
  • David E. Hubka Slides Documenting Stanford University (PC0115)
  • Stanford Centennial Photographs (PC0052)
  • Florence Grace Savage Photographs (PC0068)
  • Henry Eickhoff Photographs of Stanford University (PC0122)
  • Stanford University Photographs (PC0123)
  • Stanford University, Libraries, Earthquake Damage Slides (PC0071)
  • Birge M. Clark Architectural Records and Personal Papers (SC0823)
  • Stanford University and the 1906 earthquake Photograph Album (PC0074)

Of particular note are the George Harrington photographs, which document Harrington's work and travels in Bolivia and Argentina, 1921-1926. Images include villages, local people, trekking on mountain trails and by river boat, geologic formations, other geologists, oil rigs, and various camps established by the oil company.

Image of Allen Ginsberg Papers Cassette

One of the remarkable things about large digitization projects is that not just formal events are preserved but also informal events are preserved for future access. As a matter of process the Stanford Media Preservation Lab takes part in the preservation of media that captures these special informal events.  Recently while working on a portion of the Allen Ginsberg papers many recordings were digitized but (at least) two recordings were re-formatted that informally capture his friendships with other important 20th century figures.

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