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This is the second blog post from Stanford Media Preservation Lab in our series documenting our progress as we refurbish our ½” reel-to-reel videotape machine. When we left off, we had given our Sony AV-3650 a good cleaning and re-lubricated most of the mechanical workings of the tape transport.

The goal for these next sessions was to remove the old jacks from the machine’s connector panel and replace them with modern jacks that wouldn’t require adapters and could be used with our newer equipment in the video lab. Although the connectors were still functional, they were old and worn from use.

Although much of our time at SMPL is spent digitizing and working with library collections, part of our work involves seeking out legacy equipment that can be refurbished and installed in our labs for use in our reformatting work. In 2011, we were fortunate to find a working ½” EIAJ reel-to-reel videotape machine for sale. Knowing that it would need some work before it could be used, it lay tucked away until we received funding late last year to overhaul the machine and get it working in our lab. This is the first in a series of blog posts documenting our progress as we complete work on the restoration of our Sony AV-3650.

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.

From the humble beginnings of a single flatbed scanner in 1996 when Stanford Library first began producing digital files, the digitization program 16 years later now is home to 8 different labs.  These labs support the digitization of books, photos, manuscripts, video, audio, and born digital materials. 

Just in case anyone missed the tours given at the Library Open House, this short video takes the viewer on a quick tour through these different lab spaces with a brief overview of the different types of materials and workflows.  Later segments will explore each lab in greater detail and discuss how physical handling challenges, the needs of each type of material, and desired end product all play a role in producing a digital file.

For more information: http://library.stanford.edu/projects/digitization-services

 

Julie Sweetkind Singer, with maps depicting California as an Island.

Listen to Julie Sweetkind-Singer talk about the Branner Earth Sciences Library, her passion for maps and the 'California as an Island' collection on KZSU’s Peninsula Report

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.

Digital Production Group takes great pride and pleasure in our role supporting the Library's many beautiful and informative exhibitions. The current exhibition is just that, displaying an array of startlingly colorful and detailed medieval manuscripts from the University's collection.

Please read more below, cross-posted from Special Collections.  See also the recent article in the Stanford University News, Medieval exhibition spotlights Stanford Libraries' manuscript collection.

Scripting the Sacred: Medieval Latin Manuscripts

Scripting the Sacred, part one of a two-part exhibition of Western European manuscripts and fragments, showcases the medieval experience of reading. The exhibition will open Monday, September 17, in the Peterson Gallery and Munger Rotunda of Green Library, and continue through January 6, 2013.

Studying these texts involved not only the absorption of knowledge, but also practices of interpretation, identification, and devotion. By focusing on the exercise of reading, this exhibition explores "scripting" in diverse forms: scribal activity, scripted performances, and inscribed divine things (res divinae).

Throughout the Middle Ages, the Bible remained the paradigmatic text for reading and studying. The exhibited biblical items highlight different preferences pertaining to legibility. Indeed, scribes designed manuscripts to guide, assist, and sometimes challenge readers, as medieval versions of biblical commentary and patristic works exemplify. The liturgical genres on display contain written and visual markers that instruct readers in the proper performance of the Mass, music, and specific feast days. The text portion of the liturgy helped stage the clergy's ceremonial duties. Liturgical fragments with musical notation assisted ritual actors in the memorization of stylized speech. Both components show how customized manuscripts promoted reading aloud. Miniature prayer books and books of hours demonstrate a late medieval trend toward privatized and personalized lay devotion.

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.

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