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Open source

It’s been more than a year since we announced the completion of the first phase of development of Spotlight, an innovative solution that enables libraries and other cultural heritage institutions to build high-quality online exhibits from content in their digital collections. Spotlight was built to make it easier for library curators, as well as faculty or students to create customized, feature-rich and searchable websites from the vast digital collections held by the Stanford University Libraries.  The initial phase of development culminated in the first production exhibit built with Spotlight, Maps of Africa: An Online Exhibit. This online collection site was built primarily by SUL's Digital and Rare Maps Librarian, G. Salim Mohammed, with only minimal help from lbrary technical staff.

ePADD Phase 2, an IMLS-funded grant project, begins on November 2nd and will run through fall of 2018. In early November we launch the grant with two meetings – one with our Partnering Institutions and another with our Advisory Board.  

Testing ePADD is the first step for the SUL team and our partners over the next few months as we kick-off the project. This will help the five institutions to develop and prioritize development over the course of the project.

We are delighted to share that Special Collections and University Archives has been awarded a National Leadership Grant for Libraries through the Institute for Museum & Library Studies (IMLS), to fund additional development of ePADD, open source software that supports archival processes around the appraisal, ingest, processing, discovery, and delivery of email archives.

The initial public release of ePADD was made available on Github on June 30, 2015, following two years of development funded through the National Historical Publications & Records Commission.

This second phase of development, beginning November 1, 2015, will specifically focus on building out additional functionality that advances the formation of a National Digital Platform, through expanding the program’s scalability, usability, and feature set. Special Collections & University Archives will undertake this work with partners at University of California, Irvine, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Harvard University, and the Metropolitan New York Library Council (METRO). 

More information about ePADD, including links to the software, documentation, community forums, and the mailing list, can be found on the ePADD project website

For additional information, please contact the project team at, or follow the project on Twitter at @e_padd.

In response to Friday’s powerful 7.8-magnitude earthquake in Nepal, Stanford volunteer “crisis mappers” are working with Humanitarian OpenStreetMap to assist in disaster relief by mapping Nepal’s road networks, buildings, and residential areas.

Anyone with a laptop and spare time can help responders on the ground. The Stanford Geospatial Center housed in the Branner Earth Sciences Library will be hosting ongoing Introductory Relief Mapping sessions all week to help train people to use OpenStreetMap, an open source and open data sharing tool adding information to relief effort maps. Drop-in volunteers are encouraged to join all day from 9am-9pm, Monday-Friday.

The first Introductory Relief Mapping session will be held Monday, April 17 from 6-7pm at the Branner Earth Sciences Library Teaching Corner, on the 2nd floor of the Mitchell Earth Science Building.

Salmon data in EarthWorks

Stanford University Libraries is happy to introduce EarthWorks, our new geospatial data discovery application. EarthWorks is a discovery tool for geospatial (a.k.a. GIS) data. It allows users to search and browse the GIS collections owned by Stanford University Libraries, as well as data collections from many other institutions. Data can be searched spatially, by manipulating a map; by keyword search; by selecting search limiting facets (e.g., limit to a given format type); or by combining these options.


ePADD, a software package being developed by Stanford University's Special Collections & University Archives that supports archival processes around the ingest, appraisal, processing, discovery, and delivery of email archives, is undergoing significant changes in the ramp up to the first public release scheduled for late April.

Digging Deeper Logo

In January, Stanford launched Digging Deeper: Making Manuscripts, an online learning experience devoted to the technologies involved in creating and interpreting medieval manuscripts. We're off to a roaring start with thousands of enrolled participants across more than 90 countries (and it's not too late to sign up!).  The creation of the course has been a truly collaborative experience: Stanford University faculty and library staff have worked closely with counterparts at Cambridge University, Stanford Academic Technology Specialists, graduate students, and a team from Stanford's Office of the Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning to produce a suite of learning materials that have become much richer than any of us envisaged at the beginning of the process in 2013!

The Stanford University Libaries is one of the founding partners of the International Image Interoperability Framework (, which aims to enable broad access to cultural heritage images on the web. This exciting initiative is in its fifth year and is beginning to have an impact on the way digital images are used to support research and teaching.  The IIIF editors recently released version 2.0 the IIIF API's, which is a major step towards creating a stable and sustainable technology framework for image interoperability.   

To celebrate this progress, the IIIF community is hosting a one day information sharing event at the British Library about the use of images in and across cultural heritage institutions.  The day will focus on how museums, galleries, libraries and archives, or any online image service, can take advantage of a powerful technical framework for interoperability between image repositories.   This event will be valuable for organizational decision makers, repository and collection managers, software engineers, and anyone interested in exploring the wide range of use cases that are seamlessly enabled by the framework.  

Attendance is free, and widespread dissemination of the event is encouraged.

A detailed program is available at and those interested can register to attend at