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Digital library



It seems, as of late, that the Green Library has been abuzz with rare books and ephemera of a Presidential persuasion. This is to be expected, as the current Library Exhibition focuses on The American Enlightenment, and features a copy of John Milton’s Paradise Lost, which has the signatures of both Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. It also highlights some other noteworthy items from the Special Collections, which are displayed in the cases along the Library’s rotunda and halls. American History Professor Caroline Winterer, Special Collections' Exhibition Manager and Designer Elizabeth Fischbach, and Curator of Rare Books John Mustain, selected every item to help flesh out an understanding of how certain aspects of the Enlightenment in Europe were interpreted across the seas -- ranging from fashion, to science, art and architecture and all other areas of life -- during that particular time period. The various display cases serve to illustrate different facets of these new ways of thinking, and also serve as a framework for the incredibly beautiful and well researched exhibition catalog and accompanying exhibition website. Indeed, the exhibition has been receiving a lot of attention from visitors and scholars, and was recently featured in an article by the San Jose Mercury News.

DLSS has a new lab! In late September, under the roof of the Stanford Media Preservation Lab located at SULAIR's site on Page Mill Road, we installed equipment to support the digitization of video collections held at Stanford Libraries. Two digitization workstations, a host of analog video tape players and supporting system components, and tools for cleaning and repairing aging videotapes and other recording media are installed and in production. To put it all in operation, Michael Angeletti started as Stanford's first Moving Image Digitization Specialist. The lab is already humming with a handful of patron access requests and active planning for reformatting projects to be undertaken in the coming months.

With this expansion of the media lab -- we've had an audio digitization studio in production since 2008 -- SULAIR has completed a major step in a multi-phase effort to build internal capacity for digitally preserving its sound and moving image collections. The gear and staff expertise are in place. Now we will focus our attention on refining workflows and developing tools to support them, as well as on establishing best practices, so that the lab produces high-quality work efficiently and reliably.

Interested in a tour of the media lab? Let me know!

New images have been added to the DPG Flickr site!  Click the photos below, and take a look at our Rare Book section, and the section devoted to the Atiz Book Digitization Device.

These photos were taken by DPG's Wayne Vanderkuil and Doris Cheung.

Re-Posted from the Special Collections and Archives Exhibits Program listing -

The Monuments of Printing Exhibition highlights first 250 years of printing in the West 

Johannes Gutenberg's printing of a Bible from movable type in Mainz, Germany in 1455 marked the beginning of a communication revolution in the West. Printers were able to reproduce texts efficiently in quantities virtually unimaginable to a scribe. Monuments of Printing: from Gutenberg through the Renaissance, the first of two exhibitions spanning five-hundred years of printing history, demonstrates the development of typography and printing in Europe over a 250-year period as seen in selected works in the rare book collections of the Stanford University Libraries. The exhibition will open Monday, August 1, in the Peterson Gallery and Munger Rotunda on the second floor of the Bing Wing of Green Library, Stanford University, and is free and open to the public.

I recently attended a workshop of the KEEP project (Keeping Emulation Environments Portable) in Rome. KEEP is an EU funded project to develop software that virtualizes old computer hardware and software environments. This allows you to run old operating systems and the applications that were designed for them on modern computers. The KEEP project is multi-partner project that than includes a consortium of national libries (BNF, Koninklijke Bibliotheek), the University of Portsmouth, a computer history museum (Computerspiele Museum), commercial partners (Tessella), and the European Game Developers Association.

The project is scheduled to end in February 2012 and has already released software version 1.0.0 on SourceForge ( ). This version supports:
* 5 platforms: x86, C64, Amiga, BBC Micro, Amstrad
* 6 emulators included: Dioscuri, Qemu, VICE, UAE, BeebEm, JavaCPC
* 22 file formats supported: PDF, TXT, XML, JPG, TIFF, PNG, BMP, Quark, ARJ, EXE, disk/tape images and more
* Integration with format identification FITS
* Web services for software and emulator archives

We're pleased to announce the release of Version 1.4 of Parker on the Web, the fourth incremental site release since the launch of Version 1.0 in Fall 2009.

Version 1.4 constitutes the most substantial corrective content release to date. More than 500 additional image reshoots are now integrated into the site, along with a host of sequencing corrections -- which have impacted 151 manuscripts (27 per cent of the online collection). The reshoots either replace existing images with better quality versions, or provide images for selected manuscript pages that had been previously overlooked for digitization. This brings the images to a state of 99 per cent or better accuracy across the total of over 200,000 images. Corrections to manuscript descriptions, summaries and bibliography are also incorporated in this release. Along with these content corrections, approximately 100 new bibliographic citations have been added to the site as well.

This release constituted a significant technical challenge requiring numerous QC passes and analysis of image rendering problems for the web application. JP2 derivatives were generated by DLSS of the Cambridge-produced TIFF reshoot masters, but JPEGs were consistently not being rendered from the JP2s due to an unsupported bit depth error. Pair the resolution of this problem along with the complex interleaving and replacement of selected images -- along with detailed sequence file corrections -- and you have a set of interlocking issues that required lots of time and attention to detail to resolve.

Kudos for a job well done to Chris Jesudurai, Doris Cheung and Tony Calavano, along with Suzanne Paul from Corpus Christi College. A great team effort!

We've been examining whether or not to restore stopwords to the SearchWorks index. Stopwords are words ignored by a search engine when matching queries to results. Any list of terms can be a stopword list; most often the stopwords comprise the most commonly occurring words in a language, occasionally limited to certain functions (articles, prepositions vs. verbs, nouns).

The original usage of stopwords in search engines was to improve index performance (query matching time and disk usage) without degrading result relevancy (and possibly improving it!). It is common practice for search engines to employ stopwords; in fact Solr (, the search engine behind SearchWorks, has English stopwords turned on as the default setting.

In our implementation of SearchWorks, there was no compelling reason to change most of the default Solr settings; thus, since SearchWorks's inception we have been using the following stopword list: a, an, and, are, as, at, be, but, by, for, if, in, into, is, it, no, not, of, on, or, s, such, t, that, the, their, then, there, these, they, this, to, was, will, with.

What follows is an analysis of how stopwords are currently affecting SearchWorks, and what might happen if we restore stopwords to SearchWorks, making every word signficant for every search.

The Digital Production Group is very excited about an upcoming project featuring the personal papers of "Laura Bassi, a noted 18th-century Italian scientist and Europe's first female professor, " with Project Manager Cathy Aster at the helm.

More information to come, but in the meantime take a look at this recent article in the Stanford University News.