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Image of the earth from space

An.thro.po.cene: /ˈanTHrəpəˌsēn/ noun  The current geologic age, viewed as the period during which human activity has been the dominant influence on climate and the environment. -- Oxford Dictionaries

Great things are going on at the Stanford Digital Repository (SDR), and when great things are going on, word is sure to get around. Earth Sciences PhD student Mike Osborne is the creator and co-producer of Stanford's "Generation Anthropocene" podcast. Mike learned about the SDR's digital preservation services from our colleagues over at HighWire Press and is now working with us to preserve audio and transcripts of the more than 50 "Generation Anthropocene" episodes that have been produced thus far.

In developing the new deposit interface for the Stanford Digital Repository, first and foremost we had in mind the needs of Stanford students, researchers, faculty and the SUL selectors who build collections for their use. So it was a surprising -- and happy -- moment when it became apparent that Stanford library staff have their very own content to archive, too. A collection for gathering SUL staff publications and research has been established for this purpose and is already populated with two exemplars of the leaderful work and innovative ideas produced by our colleagues. 

Phil Schreur's award-winning article, "The Academy Unbound: Linked Data as Revolution", published in Library Resources & Technical Services in October 2012, is now hosted here at home: http://purl.stanford.edu/bd701dh8028. This fine specimen will serve as good fodder for linked data work happening in our very own digital library. 

James R. Jacobs has deposited "The Digital-Surrogate Seal of Approval: a Consumer-oriented Standard", a work co-authored with UC San Diego librarian James A. Jacobs (no, that is not a typo, just an interesting coincidence). First appearing in the most recent issue of D-Lib magazine, the article is now available from our own servers at: http://purl.stanford.edu/dy870cw5618. As a "born-digital" publication, it will never qualify for the DSSOA seal, but it most certainly is worthy of archiving in the SDR. 

Congratulations to James and Phil for their contributions to the profession. If other SUL staff have publications or other professional work on topics relevant to academic and research libraries and are interested in depositing into the SUL collection, please let the SDR staff knowIf you follow James @freegovinfo, you already know that the deposit experience "feels so good!"

The Slave Market in Rio de Janeiro

Professor Zephyr Frank and his fellow researchers have created a fascinating (and easy to use!) visualization of the slave market in Rio de Janeiro. This web-based visualization was published as part of an article in the Journal of Latin American Geography, but the data itself was not made available.

It should come as no surprise that University Archives is brimming with a diverse body of digital content gathered from all corners of Stanford, files documenting student life, campus affairs, and the administration of the University. Since his introduction to SDR Self-Deposit, University Archivist Daniel Hartwig has made frequent use of the system to preserve and provide access to these historic materials. Here are some deposits of particular interest:

  • Project MKULTRA collection - Documents related to Stanford’s involvement in covert research projects on mind control conducted by the CIA during the Cold War.
  • Stanford Commencement Collection - Transcripts of commencement speeches delivered on The Farm, including the speech by George Elliot Howard at the second commencement in 1893.
  • The Stanford Flipside - A complete set of the Flipside’s weekly newspaper edition. Readers in Canada can now access the back issues for free!

Many more interesting items from University Archives are available and preserved in the SDR. In fact, Daniel's enthusiastic engagement with the SDR has won him the honor of depositing the 100th item using the online deposit system.  Kudos, Daniel, and thanks for helping us to reach this milestone! 

Today marks a major milestone in Stanford University LIbraries' ability to provide easy and seamless access to digital collections.  As of today, digital collections will begin appearing in SearchWorks, the Libraries' discovery interface. This means that collections can be discovered in the course of searching and browsing through the totality of Stanford's library collection. For example, a search on the "burning of San Francisco" will not only turn up books, videos and conference proceedings, but also a 1906 lithograph of the city burning, from the Reid Dennis collection.  
 
Because each collection item links to its parent collection object within SearchWorks, researchers can easily discover and browse through entire digital collections, such as this set of 1,402 portraits from the Leon Kolb collection, just by discovering any item from the collection.  This is a signifcant enhancement to scholars' abilities to see "items in context" and for discovering related items.   
 
Prior to this major SearchWorks enhancement our digital collections were available either through special digital collections web sites, such as http://collections.stanford.edu/, or through PURL (persistent URL) pages for individual objects, such as this 18th century map of California as an Island: http://purl.stanford.edu/hm809qj3660
 
A big part of the work leading up to these additions is creating the pipeline to add future collections automatically to SearchWorks. Next month we expect the advent of more new collections for manuscripts, maps and data sets, and then an ever increasing flow of records. 

Imagine this scenario:

You worked hard on your research project and are publishing your results in a well-respected journal. You even go so far as to carefully organize the supporting data so that you can share the details of your experiments with others by posting these data online on your web space at Stanford. And you publish that URL in your journal article so everyone will know where to go.

Time passes, and you move on to another institution and another research project. But your data no longer has a home. Once you leave Stanford your web space is no longer accessible. Other researchers find your paper and are interested in your data, but when they type in the URL, all they see is a big ugly notice that says, "Access Denied."

The Stanford Digital Repository Self-Deposit service has only been in use for a handful of weeks, and we already see a number of deposits that underscore the needs of Stanford researchers for a central, longterm home where they can archive and share the results of their work. Take this dataset in the Folding@home collection, submitted last week by T.J. Lane.

Lane and his colleagues in the Pande Lab published a 2011 article in the Journal of the American Chemical Society about one of the exciting outcomes of the Folding@home project. While the article is accessible online via the journal web site, the same cannot be said for the data upon which the published findings are based. 

Many scholarly journals do not offer supplemental data hosting services for their authors. This gap creates an awkward situation for both researchers and the readers of their publications. How can other scientists investigate the reproducibility of the research without access to the underlying data? How can others explore the data to build on it, to uncover new discoveries? How can research groups effectively manage their collective work over time as team members, and their desktop computers, come and go?

Enter the SDR. As Lane explained in an unsolicited promotion to his peers, "The primary benefit of [depositing in the SDR] is to ensure that your data live on forever (even after graduation!) and are easily available to whomever. For anyone who's had to go digging for data when someone asks for it, or had to ask another group for their data …, the benefits should be clear. Hope you'll join me as an adopter of SDR!"

The SDR team is particularly pleased to be involved in sustaining the Folding@home research, which has pioneered methods for studying protein structural dynamics in disease research. "Since its launch on October 1, 2000, the Pande lab has produced [over] 109 scientific research papers as a direct result of Folding@home", according to Wikipedia. We expect the Folding@home collection in the SDR will grow as this vital research continues. We also are confident that it will lead to deposits by other research projects: word-of-mouth is clearly a primary way of spreading news about the SDR self-deposit service to researchers around campus.

The Lane data deposit is one of several that came to the SDR as a result of a data archiving pilot now underway in an important collaboration between the SDR team, Data Management Services and the Social Science Data Service.  We have three other research data deposits like this one already completed or nearly so.  

This post is the first in a series featuring notable SDR deposits as the data pilot continues and as the Self-Deposit service rolls out. 

 

In an unassuming low-rise building on a side street in Naples, Florida sits the Revs Institute.  The Institute, which is open to invited scholars and guests, houses a collection of fully restored historically significant automobiles, as well as a library containing images, books and ephemera.  Since the images are carefully stored, many as negatives, a large number of them may not have been seen since they were taken.  Up until now, this entire collection was housed under one roof, one large hurricane away from being damaged or lost. 

We haven't yet figured out how to digitally preserve automobiles, but digitization of the large and unique image collection of the Revs Institute is underway.  Working with Pixel Acuity and the Revs Institute, over 100,000 images representing over 1 terabyte of data have been digitized and preserved in the Stanford Digital Repository (SDR) in just over a year since the project began.  The Revs Digital Library website, built on top of SDR by engineers in the Stanford University Libraries,  allows users to search and view all the images.  The website is currently available only to members of the Stanford University community.

Each image can be viewed at full resolution using the zoom and pan controls familiar to users of Google Maps.  Collections can also be browsed or viewed in a slideshow format.  Next we plan to engage the automotive community by adding tools to help improve the metadata, thus adding additional value to the collection.

The initial internal launch of the Revs Digital Library is an important milestone - not only does it ensure these images will be preserved for the future, it also makes them readily available to scholars in the Revs Program at Stanford for research purposes. 

But the work is only beginning. Over the next three years, along with additional tools and features, another 300,000 images are expected to become available in the digital library.  And the history of the automobile will continue to be preserved for future generations.

 

 

 

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