Blog topic: Digitization

A portion of the article accompany the William Smith Map in Turun Sanomat newspaper

The William Smith Map in a Finnish Newspaper

December 2, 2015
by G. Salim Mohammed

In today's mail, the newspaper arrived. It wasn't the San Francisco Chronicle on the San Jose Mercury News though. It was a copy of the Finnish newspaper Turun Sanomat, published in Turku, Finland. It wasn't until I turned to page 15 that I recognized something - a reproduction of the 1815 William Smith Map that we had scanned. William Smith published a map of Geology of what is now a good part of the UK, and earlier this year, we, along with the British Geological Society, celebrated 200 years since its publication. The map and article, all in Finnish of course, presumeably talks about the story of the man and how William Smith single-handedly authored and published this map. The newspaper used our scan both in the paper version and also in their online version. 

Ōmi Kuni-ezu 近江國絵圖 Japanese Tax Map, 1837

Adventures in oversized imaging: digitizing the Ōmi Kuni-ezu 近江國絵圖 Japanese Tax Map from 1837

November 17, 2015
by Deardra Fuzzell

By Deardra Fuzzell and Wayne Vanderkuil
A historic manuscript map and a gem of the Stanford Library Map Collection, the Ōmi Kuni-ezu 近江國絵圖 Japanese Tax Map from 1837 is hand drawn and painted in the round. This map is designed to be displayed on the floor with the viewer standing in its center. From this central vantage point, the map may be read with ease from any direction. As this display and viewing method is no longer possible for a map fast approaching its 200th birthday, Stanford has recently digitized this item to enable access for research, teaching and learning as well as preservation of the original object.

This the largest and most difficult oversized map Stanford has digitized thus far.
See how the Map Program went about imaging this unique item.

Piano Roll Scanner Project (PRSP)

Work on the Player Piano Project (PPP) continues at an impressive pace. Recent achievements include the completed cataloging, by Project cataloger Alyssa Hislop, of the Welte Mignon rolls in the Denis Condon Collection of Reproducing Pianos and Rolls, which can now be viewed in Searchworks; a full house at the project’s listening party last Friday; and most recently the launch of a subproject entitled the Piano Roll Scanner Project (PRSP). The PRSP formally marks the start of the digitization phase of the PPP. 

Close up of Studer 807 open reel tape machine heads

Training day at the Stanford Media Preservation Lab

September 14, 2015
by Nathan Coy

There are countless challenges in preserving obsolete media from breadth of formats to lack of documentation at the time of creation.  With the history of recorded sound now spanning over one hundred years wide range of technologies utilized in this span, challenges abound for any individual working to capture the range of media in need of preservation.  To accomplish this feat constant engagement is required to further understand the media, the way media is degrading, and best practices for preserving historic recordings that range from cylinders to digital multi-track recording sessions. 

Ginsberg's handwritten notes for M0733_s11_ssB_b119_07

Bay Area Bob Dylan concerts in Allen Ginsberg Papers

August 28, 2015
by Geoff Willard

The Allen Ginsberg papers in the Department of Special Collections is truly the collection that keeps on giving. We here at the media lab have digitized a huge portion of the media (current count: 2000+ items), yet our interest in it remains high because of the sheer amount of gems hidden within. Even if we didn't enjoy Ginsberg, the vast amount of acquaintances he recorded from the 1950s until the 1990s would provide endless entertainment. 

Theremin demonstrating his instrument, Stanford University, 1991

Missing footage of Theremin at Stanford found

Earlier this year, I reported on recent work the Archive of Recorded Sound (ARS) had undertaken to preserve video footage of Leon Theremin's visit to Stanford in 1991. In addition to participating in a symposium during his visit, hosted by the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA), Theremin was also the guest of honor at a concert held in Frost Amphitheater on September 27, 1991 during the Stanford Centennial Finale Weekend. The video footage preserved by the ARS earlier in the year unfortunately only included part of this notable concert. It was found to be missing some key performances, including an arrangement of Rachmaninov's Vocalise, featuring Theremin's daughter Natasha Theremin playing the vocal parts on her father's instrument, accompanied by Max Mathews conducting the orchestral parts with his radio batons. This footage was presumed lost...until now. 

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