Stanford University Libraries and Bayerische Staatsbibliothek sign historic bilateral collaboration agreement

SUL Rosette

Stanford, CA--The Stanford University Libraries and the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek announce today the establishment of a bilateral collaboration that will develop synergies and share expertise on a number of projects and programs that directly and indirectly serve scholars and students at Stanford, in Munich, and elsewhere. 

This collaboration arose because of the mutual engagement in the International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) and its associated viewer Mirador, a remarkable set of developments adopted widely around the world enabling scholars and students to view and work on images of ancient, medieval, and early modern manuscripts, maps, works of art, and soon 3-D images of sculpture, archeological and anthropological artefacts. 

Global digital initiatives, such as IIIF, allow libraries, museums and archives the ability to leverage technology to enhance access to their respective holdings, thereby offering scholars and students effective means to conduct research.  The Stanford- Bayerische Staatsbibliothek alliance furthers this practice by providing deeper access and sharing best practices of emerging techniques in information sciences. 

Michael Keller (left), University Librarian at Stanford and Klaus Ceynowa (right), Director General of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek

“Our cooperation agreement brings together two libraries which are a league of their own when it comes to digital innovation in library services and information technology,” said Klaus Ceynowa, Director General of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek. “There is so much we can learn from each other, and the results of this cooperation will be terrific. Stanford and Munich, it‘s a perfect match!”

21st-century librarianship

The partnership agreement identifies four main areas of cooperation, including collaboration in information technologies; sharing information and experiences and exchanging of experts; exchange of library materials and digital collections; and arrangement of joint training events, internships and visits.

According to Michael Keller, Stanford’s university librarian, this type of collaborative agreement is essential in today’s environment where information infrastructure knows no boundaries and enduring access is not guaranteed. 

Stanford and the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek will look at long-term preservation of digital information, Linked Open Data, innovative technologies for information infrastructures in the humanities, and platforms and applications for state-of-the-art digital services for research and learning.

“Between the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek and the Stanford Libraries, there are so many new approaches, important improvements to existing services, and remarkably complimentary projects and programs propelled by quite similar senses of responsibility for defining 21st-century research librarianship,’ said Keller. “Joining with our colleagues in Munich will enhance and contribute to our work here at Stanford thanks to the synergies we know that we will enjoy together.”

Projects and products

Currently, both institutions have a well-respected portfolio of services.  Stanford has an online exhibitions application, Spotlight, which deeply extends the repository ecosystem.  Using Spotlight, faculty, students and librarians have the ability to curate content from Stanford’s digital collections vis-à-vis the Web and create narratives for the assembled pieces, as well as connect users back to the online catalog record of each item for deeper exploration and discovery.  

Bayerische Staatsbibliothek has developed an innovative set of mobile apps, including "Bayern in historischen Karten" (Bavaria in historical maps) which allows users a special type of digital experience by traveling through time while browsing Bavaria's historical maps on a tablet or smartphone. By means of geo-referencing the current position of the viewer is shown directly in the historical map. A total of over 2,500 points of interest offer more detailed information on locations, monasteries and castles in the vicinity of the user's current position.

Other developments where the two libraries plan to explore more together include Stanford’s EarthWorks, a discovery tool for geospatial (GIS) data, that allows users to search and browse the GIS collections owned by Stanford Libraries, as well as data collections from nine other institutions. EarthWorks brings to the fore the vast amounts of data that would otherwise remain on old formats. Scholars can now search data spatially, by manipulating a map; by keyword search; by selecting search limiting facets; or by combining these options.  The Bayerische Staatsbibliothek continues its innovative mobile developments with a soon-to-be-released navigation beacon system.  Users will soon be able to enter the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek and pin point exact locations of materials within their vast library using their smartphones. 

Ceynowa and Keller both agree this collaboration will make possible more achievements in shorter time horizons than either could develop alone, and benefits patrons of each institution.  It, like the few other cooperative agreements involving either institution, matches research libraries with similar intensities, similar drives to innovate in order to extend and improve support of scholars and students at their home bases, and senses of responsibility to build and operate remarkable prototypes that may of use to other scholars, students, and institutions elsewhere.

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Press Contact: Gabrielle Karampelas, Stanford Libraries: 650-492-9855

By Gabrielle Karampelas