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The David Rumsey Map Collection Chrome Browser plug-in

About this series

As part of the opening events for The David Rumsey Map Center at Stanford's Green Library I recently gave a talk about the various ways you can "hack" the David Rumsey Map Collection. I showed how you can make use of the David Rumsey Map Collection using a variety of Stanford University Library resources and services.

Over the next few weeks I will post a series of brief step-by-step "how-to" tutorials on making use of digital resources from the David Rumsey Map Center and Collection. For the most part, I will be highlighting the resources I presented in my talk.

PURL page screenshot for Nick Eubank's Zambian 2006 to 2010 Constituency and Ward Boundaries

Inquiry from a hot zone

In late March of 2016, Frederic Ham, a geospatial analyst for Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF, also know as Doctors Without Borders) contacted Stanford University Libraries (SUL) looking for information. He needed data to help him create maps so that MSF could better plan their response to a current cholera outbreak in Zambia. He’d found what he wanted via SUL’s geospatial data portal, Earthworks, but wasn’t able to access it due to licensing restrictions. Was there any way we could help?

logo of the International Internet Preservation Consortium

In keeping with shallow tradition, it's taken me a few weeks to collect my thoughts on the recently-concluded IIPC General Assembly and Web Archiving Conference, hosted this year by the National and University Library of Iceland. In the wake of last year's meeting, I speculated on what developments in web archiving we might together effect in the year ahead (now behind). Nearly a year later, that conceit provides a convenient jumping-off point for reflecting on how it all went, where we might go from here, and the tremendous amount of work to do in our one remaining collective month before the anniversary of that post. :)

Image of maps created with the use of the Stanford Education Data Archive
Educational opportunity is an important issue in a democratic society. In the United States, measuring educational achievement and opportunity is complex because the public education system is diffuse. Funding for public education depends on a combination of local, state and federal governing bodies. The variations in funding and community level support for public education and standardized testing makes comparisons and analysis across the U.S. an arduous task. 
 
This is why the Stanford Digital Repository (SDR) deposit of the week is critically important to note. Stanford University Professor, Sean Reardon and his colleagues have just deposited the Stanford Education and Data Archive (SEDA) into the SDR for long term preservation. This is a data set that includes 215 million test scores and tackles the difficulty of comparing test score data from every public elementary and middle school in the United States for a period of 5 years, (2009-2013). What's brilliant about this collection of data is that, Reardon and his team developed a method to equate the scores across states for comparison enabling a whole new set of questions on educational opportunity to be answered, new stories to be told, and new questions to be raised.
 
One of many open reel tapes at Stanford from the John C. Lilly papers

Part of audio preservation work includes working with media that has peculiar characteristics. Sometimes the atypical qualities are a byproduct of how the recording was made by the recordist. An example of this type of problem that we occasionally see at the Stanford Media Preservation Lab is when an open reel tape is recorded over and there is remaining content hidden in certain spots of the tape. This presents specific problems in capture since tape heads are built for use with specific physical configurations of tracks and thus capturing the hidden spots outside of the normal range of track configuration is near impossible. With this in mind SMPL recently worked on obtaining equipment to address this challenging scenario.

Screenshot of Disputed Boundaries data set

It's one thing to talk about an area of land under dispute, and it's another thing entirely to see it on a map. Professor of Political Science Kenneth Schultz demonstrates the validity of this statement with his recent work, "Mapping Interstate Territorial Conflict," which was published in December in the Journal of Conflict Resolution.

headshot of Niels Brügger

Dovetailing our recent announcement of documentation of resources for research using web archives, we will be visited next month by an individual who has done much to advance web archives as materials of scholarly interest and exploration. Niels Brügger is Professor of Internet Studies and Digital Humanities at Aarhus University in Denmark, where he also heads the Centre for Internet Studies and NetLab. On Thursday, April 7th he will present, Digital Humanities, Web History, Web Archives, and Web Research Infrastructure &emdash; between close and distant reading, followed by discussion. Additional event details may be found on the Stanford Event Calendar page. We hope you'll join us!

Hatef Monajemi

Many scientists are making the reproducibility of their research a much higher priority these days than they used to. But it's a time consuming task, which means that many are searching for tools and workflows to help facilitate their efforts.

Hatef Monajemi, a PhD student in Civil and Environmental Engineering, and his PhD advisor Professor David L. Donoho, have developed a new piece of software that can make reproducibility an easier goal to achieve. His new software is called Clusterjob (CJ). This software can be used to develop reproducible computational packages and make the generation of data for a research study fully reproducible. CJ is an open-source software available on GitHub.

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