The Research Libraries Group, Inc. (RLG) was founded by The New York Public Library and Columbia, Harvard, and Yale universities and incorporated as a not-for-profit organization in late 1975. In 1978 RLG moved its offices from Branford, Connecticut, to Stanford University in California; adopted Stanford’s library automation staff and computer system (BALLOTS) as the starting point for its own library system (RLIN), plus a series of complementary services and databases; and opened its membership to research institutions throughout the U.S.
Steven Meretzky is a pioneer in the computer games industry. His decades-long career includes experience working as a quality assurance analyst, game designer, product designer, and writer. Most of his signature contributions to the industry occurred while he was employed at Infocom, Inc., which was a prolific and highly-acclaimed publisher of text adventure games back in the 1980s. His most famous collaboration was with Douglas Adams on the computer game version of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – a text adventure game that is notorious for its arcane and difficult puzzles.
Text adventures are also known as interactive fiction and are played completely through simple instructions that the player types into a computer program. The computer translates these instructions (ex. “go north,” “get lamp,” etc.) and responds with prepared text, unfolding a story on screen for the player. Meretzky’s skills for creating these type of narrative games led to his inclusion as one of only two game writers in the Science Fiction Writers of America (the other being Dave Lebling, one of his colleagues at Infocom.)
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.
Four new digital collections were added to SearchWorks via Stanford Digital Repository (SDR) online deposit during the month of March. 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.
Digital media is a hot topic on campus these days. With the available tools and technology, it has never been easier to express ideas and broadly communicate information through media formats, and many departments at Stanford are actively producing and posting media online. The emergence of MOOCs and other forms of online learning that incorporate video and audio are heightening awareness of the many challenges in managing all this media content.
To address these challenges, Stanford Libraries and IT Services have teamed up to form a new Community of Practice, the Stanford Media Group. The group offers a unique opportunity for folks across Stanford with a stake in media to share information, foster best practices, identify common needs, and implement centralized solutions to support the work of the University.
During the fall of 2013, Stanford University Libraries (SUL) convened a working group to investigate the current state of access to audio and moving image materials held within its various collections, notably rare materials within its different special collections departments, along with those held at the Hoover Institution Library and Archives.
Following many weeks of investigation, the Media Access Working Group (MAWG) produced a report in December 2013 outlining its findings, along with various recommendations to help tackle the issues discovered. The group considered issues relating to use cases, copyright status, available technologies - including media streaming, and content usage.
SUL’s Special Collections received an Innovation Grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission to develop a software program (ePADD) for processing and making email archives discoverable. The end goal is to produce an open-source tool that will allow repositories and individuals to interact with email archives before and after they have been transferred to a repository. It would consist of four modules, each based on a different functional activity: Processing (arrangement and description), Appraisal (collection development), Discovery (online via the web), and Delivery (access).
The project website was launched in August 2013 and lists: project goals, work plan, team, and collaborators. A twitter feed for the project was just launched although project updates and news will primarily be posted in Special Collections Unbound.
Changes are on the horizon for Special Collections’ Technical Services Divisions - specifically the Rare Book Cataloging and Manuscripts Units. A few recent posts have referred to our imminent move to SUL’s Redwood City (RWC) location, so here finally is some information about this event. The Rare Book Cataloging Unit is the first to move and is being relocated over the Labor Day weekend; the Manuscripts Technical Services Unit will move there around the end of October.