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This week, while things were otherwise quiet at Stanford due to Spring Break, 35 technologists from 20 institutions* descended upon Stanford for our annual library developers' (un)conference: LibDevConX, hosted by SUL's Digital Library Systems & Services group. For the fourth year in a row, the event brought together some of the best and brightest technical experts from different places with like concerns, to explore needs, common solutions, and learn from each others' innovations. This year, topics included: 

  • comparing media and digital asset management solutions
  • the latest features in Hydra 6
  • exploring Hydra-not-on-Fedora
  • what it would take to replace DSpace with a Hydra head
  • requirements for a robust digital exhibits engine
  • image interoperability
  • effective approaches to testing web front-ends
  • performance tuning for Ruby on Rails apps
  • successful recipes for devOps

The event site is online at http://lib.stanford.edu/ldcx4, and notes are being posted in GitHub at https://github.com/ldcx/ldcx-2013 Work on some of the many ideas generated at the event has already begun, and will be coming to a digital library system near you in the coming quarters. 

 

*CDL, Cornell, Columbia, Digital Curation Experts, the Danish Royal Library, Danish Technical University, Duke, the Getty Research Institute, Harvard, Indiana University, MIT, Notre Dame, NYU, Oregon State, Penn State, Princeton, the Southern California Chinese American Society, University of Virginia, and WGBH

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.

What's the first name you think of when considering the development of electronic music? Edgard Varèse? John Cage? Karlheinz Stockhausen? Now how about computer music? Max Mathews should be at the top of your list. While at Bell Laboratories in 1957, Mathews wrote the program MUSIC, ushering in an era of digital synthesis and composition. MUSIC went through many iterations, but its lasting influence can be seen in contemporary programs such as Max/MSP, itself named after the late pioneer.

Mathews' connection to Stanford is through the Department of Music and the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics. Named a Professor of Music (Research) in 1985, Mathews continued pursuing digital sound synthesis techniques until his death on April 21, 2011. Although his recorded output is small, his contribution to the genre is no less important; he rightfully stands side by side with more prominent names on this illustrious compilation featuring the "early gurus of electronic music".  

His archives, which includes papers, digital files, video, and audio recordings, was acquired by University Archives earlier this year by way of Jerry McBride, Head Librarian of the Music Library. Once the finding aid was complete, the Stanford Media Preservation Lab took on the reformatting duties for the media portion. Part of the work will be completed in our lab over the coming month, while the rest will be outsourced to a vendor

All of the digital files will be available to the world in the not too distant future. Until then, here's a sample of what to expect.

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