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Exhibits

Social Justice at Stanford, an exhibit showing in the Bender Room of Green Library beginning September 30, explores the theme of social justice as revealed through a selection of materials from the Stanford University Archives documenting 20th century civil rights and social protest movements.

Screen shot of Maps of Africa exhibit front page

The Stanford University Libraries (SUL) is pleased to announce the release of Spotlight, an innovative solution that enables libraries and other cultural heritage institutions to build online exhibits from content in their repositories to better highlight their digital collections.

Spotlight is a plugin for Blacklight, which is a popular open source solution for building library discovery environments.  Spotlight enhances Blacklight by providing a self-service forms-based user interface that allows exhibit-builders, such as librarians or faculty, to customize the search interface and homepage, and to build media-rich feature pages to better contextualize their collections. 

Stanford first announced the development of Spotlight in early February of 2014, following a months long process of design and community outreach to validate the need for such a solution in the digital library community and obtain feedback on our approach.  This was followed by a twelve-week cycle of software development that has culminated in the release of Spotlight version 0.1.0, available as open source software on Github.

This first release of Spotlight is best suited to featuring digitized still image collections.  The first production exhibit built with Spotlight was recently completed by SUL's Digital and Rare Maps Librarian, and features a spectacular set of digitized maps of Africa.  A brief video tour of this first online exhibit can be viewed on YouTube.


Spotlight enables an exhibit builder to heavily customize many elements of the user experience, and to build rich feature and about pages to give viewers a deeper understanding of the collection and its items.  This YouTube video gives a tour of Spotlight from the exhibit-builder's perspective, and demonstrates many of the available customization features.


The 0.1.0 release of Spotlight is only the beginning.  Our goal at Stanford is to work with library staff and content experts to build several more sites in the coming months as a way to user-test the software, identify bugs and enhancement opportunities, and most importantly to begin exposing more of Stanford Libraries' rich image resources.  We are also working with peer institutions to adopt and test this first version with the intention that Spotlight will grow as a community supported, open-source solution. We encourage you to download it, give it a try, and send us feedback.

And certainly the engineering work is far from complete.  There is a backlog of issues to address and several areas we have identified for future development:

  • Selection and indexing : the tools and workflow for adding new content to a Spotlight index and updating metadata as it changes in the repository. 
  • Support for more content types : Spotlight currently supports digital still image collections, and we hope to add support for audio, video, PDF, datasets, geospatial objects, web archives and more.  
  • Theming : the ability for builders to choose from multiple visual themes to apply to an exhibit or collection, and to add custom header images and branding. 
  • Repository integration : currently, a Spotlight exhibit can be built on top of any Solr index. Work has begun to more easily create new Spotlight indexes directly from digital repository systems, and to save exhibit-specific metadata and supporting content into repositories. OUr initial integration efforts are focussed on the Fedora repository system, but we hope integration with other platforms will follow.  

Spotlight is being built by an exceptionally talented group of engineers in the Digital Library Systems and Services division of SUL, with support from the software engineering firm Data Curation Experts (DCE).  The team includes Gary Geisler, Chris Beer, Jessie Keck, Jack Reed and Christopher Jesudurai (all from Stanford), and Justin Coyne from DCE.

Follow our progress, or better yet download and install the software at http://github.com/sul-dlss/spotlight.

Send us feedback at exhibits-feedback@lists.stanford.edu.

Hats of to Stanford: An Exhibit on the Junior Plug Ugly

Hats off to Stanford: An exhibit on the Junior Plug Ugly, will be on display this summer in Green Library's Bender Room.

The exhibit explores the rise and fall of one of the university's earliest lost traditions: the Junior Plug Ugly. Named after the "Plug Uglies," a ruthless gang operating along the Atlantic seaboard around the time of the American Civil War, the Plug Ugly was an annual satirical performance started in 1898 that showcased the hand-painted top hats uniformly worn by members of the Junior Class during this period. The performance devolved over the course of two decades into a bloody interclass brawl, until the Administration finally banned the event from ever again taking place on the Stanford campus.

This exhibit features reproductions of photographs and other archival materials from the University Archives, as well as a large selection of original hand-painted plug hats from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, perhaps the largest such selection ever publicly displayed at Stanford.

chinese brush painting class exhibition

The works of Continuing Studies ART221: The Art of Chinese Brush Painting Class Art Exhibit 2014 are on display in the East Asia Library from May 18 - 23.

The Archive of Recorded Sound recently collaborated with the Bing Stanford in Washington program to provide digitized images from the Archive's Grover Sales Collection (ARS.0016) for an evening event at the program in late January which served to launch both a new arts track at Bing Stanford in Washington, and provide students from both Stanford and nearby Duke Ellington School of the Arts with an insight into the role jazz played in African American history and civil rights through the early to middle part of the 20th century.  The event  featured a display of enlarged wall mounted images of Duke Ellington, Billy Strayhorn, and Ethel Waters, sourced from the Grover Sales Collection, digitized from 35mm negative slides. Grover Sales (1920-2004), a Bay Area author, jazz critic, and teacher, who regularly taught jazz history here at Stanford, amassed the image portion of his collection from various sources for use during his classes.  

A new exhibition has just opened at the Stanford Music Library entitled Treasures from the Archive of Recorded Sound, on show through August 14. The exhibition was curated and installed by the Archive of Recorded Sound's Interim Operations Manager, Benjamin Bates, who describes the content and theme of the exhibit in more detail. 

Stockhausen's Helikopter Quartet (detail), showing parts for instrumentalists and helicopter operators.

The Winter Quarter exhibit in the Music Library features six string quartet scores. Two are fairly traditional examples (Boccherini and Mozart), and four are contemporary scores, notable for the imaginative treatments they provide (Crumb, Ferneyhough, Brown, and Stockhausen). QR codes link to audio files for each work.

San Francisco from the David Rumsey Map Collection: SFO Airport Exhibit

The new exhibit installed at the San Francisco International Airport Museum, comes from the David Rumsey Map Collection, with a few items from Stanford University Libraries and the San Francisco Public Library.  Exhibited in a magnificent space, these iconic set of maps are at the airport exhibition gallery in Terminal 2 (Virgin America and American Airlines). The exhibit is accessible after going through security. The exhibit combines the original maps with digital representations and includes videos and Google Earth overlays.

For more on the exhibit, see their press release.

Check out what Wired has to say about it! Also David himself has blogged about it.

The exhibit is currently open and will remain so until August 3, 2014. If you cannot make it, check out a selection showcased in the digital gallery. You can also browse them in detail at davidrumsey.com.

Many thanks to my colleagues at Branner, Preservation and Special Collections for supporting this exhibit.

 

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