One of the remarkable things about large digitization projects is that not just formal events are preserved but also informal events are preserved for future access. As a matter of process the Stanford Media Preservation Lab takes part in the preservation of media that captures these special informal events. Recently while working on a portion of the Allen Ginsberg papers many recordings were digitized but (at least) two recordings were re-formatted that informally capture his friendships with other important 20th century figures.
If you were a student in Professor Fred Turner’s recent communications class, you’ve already seen a few issues of newsletters of the People's Computer Company. If not, check out these publications documenting the progress of early computing in the 1970’s, available for the first time in digital form.
The People’s Computer Company, or PCC, launched its first issue with the bold statement “Computers are mostly used against people instead of for people; used to control people instead of to free them; Time to change all that - we need a... Peoples Computer Company." The publication focused on sharing code, mostly for games, that readers could then input into their own computers. The users could then tinker and learn from the freely given and non-copyrighted code. PCC was among the first contributors to what we call today network neutrality – a particular topic of interest in the current day.
The Homebrew Computer Club began meeting in a garage in Menlo park in 1975, begun by Gorden French and Fred Moore who were interested in having a forum where people could get together and work on making computers more accessible to the public. Most members were hobbyists with backgrounds in electronic engineering or computer programming; notable members include founders of different microcomputer companies - Steve Wozniak (who credits the first meeting as the inspiration for designing the Apple I), Harry Garland, and Roger Melen among others. A fictionalized version of the Homebrew Computer Club was featured in the 1999 television movie Pirates of Silicon Valley describing the club’s role in creating the first personal computers.
Check out these issues for yourself!
People’s Computer Company
Homebrew Computer Club
Climate change is all over the news these days, and when a report in the journal Science indicates potential impacts on the future of food production in the US, people sit up and take notice.
David Lobell, associate professor of environmental Earth system science and associate director of the Center on Food Security and the Environment, led a team that analyzed data on corn and soybean production along with daily weather data in actual fields in the Midwestern United States.
The large dataset of crop and weather information compiled for these studies is now available for download from the Stanford Digital Repository. It's great that the accumulated effort this data set represents is now preserved and available for other scientists to use!
Congressional campaign websites are valuable primary source material for historians, social scientists, and the public to better understand the evolution of political communication in the Web era. Campaign websites also afford unique opportunities for the mass collection of materials that would have been previously difficult to acquire outside of the candidate's district. While it is a truism that the Web is constantly changing and broken links are an inevitable outcome, campaign websites are predictably ephemeral given their time-limited purpose.
The Manuscripts Division of the Stanford University Libraries Special Collections Department was moved off-campus last year to brand-new facilities in Redwood City, CA. The Born Digital/Forensics Lab located in Green Library now has a newly established sister lab that is set up according to strict specifications. The room is free of carpet (hallelujah), it is spacious, and it is secure. The RWC building can only be entered by staff after they scan their identification cards. Additionally, the suite where the lab is located limits access to only approved SUL staff, and they need to scan their identification cards again to enter the suite. The Born Digital/Forensics Lab room also has to be opened with a key.
Three new digital collections were added to SearchWorks via Stanford Digital Repository (SDR) online deposit during the month of April. These collections take advantage of recently released functionality that provides researchers with new rich discovery and access capabilities for finding and working with digital collection content. Researchers may now discover the following materials:
Honors theses and senior theses written by undergraduates in the Program in Feminist, Gender and Sexuality Studies, 2013 -. For more information, check out the SDR Deposit of the Week: New collection of theses in Feminist, Gender and Sexuality Studies blog post by Regina Roberts.
In February and March, approximately 357,000 new files representing over 14,000 items were accessioned into the Stanford Digital Repository (SDR). These materials include -- but are not limited to -- items from the Watershed Map of India, the People's Computer Company, and Revs Digital Library
Each month we tackle some small changes to the library website. Following are some updates of note from March.
Sharing links to posts on social media now pulls the image from the post
When you link to a library blog post on social media, the image from the blog post will now display in your share. For example, you can see below how this blog post about Kurt Cobain shows up on Facebook when shared.