In January, Stanford launched Digging Deeper: Making Manuscripts, an online learning experience devoted to the technologies involved in creating and interpreting medieval manuscripts. We're off to a roaring start with thousands of enrolled participants across more than 90 countries (and it's not too late to sign up!). The creation of the course has been a truly collaborative experience: Stanford University faculty and library staff have worked closely with counterparts at Cambridge University, Stanford Academic Technology Specialists, graduate students, and a team from Stanford's Office of the Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning to produce a suite of learning materials that have become much richer than any of us envisaged at the beginning of the process in 2013!
Over the past several months, I have been blogging about rare Haydn materials held in the Department of Special Collections, Memorial Library of Music, including one autograph manuscript, one important letter, and nine first or early score editions. Each item was digitized for deep storage in the Stanford Digital Repository, and high-quality, downloadable images have been made available to the world via links in SearchWorks. Thanks go to Astrid Smith, Rare Book and Special Collections Digitization Specialist, and the Digital Production Group for their excellent efforts on behalf of this project in support of Haydn, Patronage, and the Enlightenment.
I am pleased to announce that all of the accessions in the United Nations 4th World Conference on Women, Beijing, Papers (M0876) are now described and available for research. The collection is 10 linear feet and consists of journals, pamphlets, press kits, conference papers and notes. The collection is ephemeral in nature and focuses on issues such as poverty, violence, armed conflict, education, economic advancement, and human rights.
Seven women who attended the conference assembled their papers together and donated the materials to Stanford's Special Collections. For several years, only one accession was described online but thanks to Melissa Pincus, who worked for Public Services this summer, and Lucia Ibarra, who was our summer Eastside High School student, the rest of the accessions now are open for research. An updated version of the collection's finding guide is available through the collection's catalog record:
As the CLIR postdoctoral fellow in Data Curation for Medieval Studies at Stanford I work primarily with data about large collections of digitized manuscripts and fragments. For example, I have helped to make our teaching collections more easily discoverable in Searchworks. I've also been bringing together partner institutions' descriptive metadata to feed a specialized manuscript search environment.
In practice, I write code to transform batches of 70, 300, 500, or 1000+ manuscripts at a time: I've gotten very comfortable thinking of medieval manuscripts in the tens, hundreds, and even thousands. But the truth is that these large batches of digital-medieval manuscripts I curate are built of unique, single objects. Single objects that, just like the physical objects they grow from, are made by individual people, in particular environments, under specific institutional, financial, and social pressures.
In order to better understand the process that leads to the creation of a digital-medieval book, I recently followed the digitization of a fifteenth-century book of hours, Stanford University Libraries, M0379, from the request for digitization, through the slow hard work of taking the images and hours of post-production labor, to its arrival in Stanford Digital Repository (SDR).
Divertimento 24o per il pariton [original manuscript, 1766]
Stanford University Libraries, Memorial Library of Music, MLM 491
The baryton [pariton] is a bass instrument in the viol family that may be simultaneously bowed and plucked. It features a double set of strings, the upper set gut, for bowing, the lower set metal, for sympathetic vibration and for plucked accompaniment. The metal strings run the length of the neck behind the fingerboard, which is hollowed in the back to allow the left hand to pluck the strings.
Loosely related to the lyra-viol, the baryton likely originated in seventeenth-century England. Its moment in the sun, however, came in ighteenth-century Austria, at the court of the barytonist Prince Nicholas Esterházy, with music supplied in abundance by his ambitious young Kappelmeister, Joseph Haydn.
While reading Sybil Schaefer's interview "We're All Digital Archivists Now," I was happy to see the following comment "we don’t all need to be digital archivists, but we do need to be archivists who work with digital materials. It’s not scalable to have one person, or one team, focus on the 'digital stuff.'"
I heartily agree with her statement. Since our involvement in the AIMS project, we have required that project archivists process both the analog and digital portions of a collection. And yet, it is apparent that there is a very important role for a digital archivist. Someone who will keep up with new tools and automated processing methods, be on hand to train these project archivists, support acquisition (curators, subject specialists, donors) and explore and assist with our efforts across a wide spectrum of new projects.
If you are interested in some of the details regarding the activities and functions of SUL's digital archivist, please read Peter Chan's recent article - "What Does it Take to Be a Well-rounded Digital Archivist?"
This summer, Public Services was delighted to have Lucia Ibarra, one of the Library's Eastside High School interns, work with us. Lucia's project was to rehouse a previously unprocessed collection of World War II letters and note any interesting observations or information along the way. The incredibly detailed notes she took will be used to create a finding guide (to be completed by December), but we wanted to share her description of her summer experience working with this archival collection:
I am pleased to announce that the Muñoz Family’s Atari Collection (M2010) is processed and open for research. The collection is 11 linear feet and consists of an Atari 800XL home computer, color monitor and complete set of peripherals. The collection also includes 127 consumer software titles published between 1980 and 1987.
The Muñoz Family’s Atari Collection is representative of early home computing in the 1980s when software and hardware manufacturers created products for nontechnical users wishing to use computing for entertainment (i.e. gaming) and practical uses in the home (i.e. personal finances and education). This collection compliments the Stephen M. Cabrinety Collection in the History of Microcomputing, ca. 1975-1995 (M0997) which contains software, computer hardware, peripheral devices, hand-held games, and computer industry literature documenting the microcomputing gaming industry during its formative years.
The Muñoz family generously gave their collection to Stanford University, Special Collections in 2012 and the collection was processed thanks to the efforts and talent of Melissa Pincus who worked for Public Services this summer. Melissa created the collection's finding guide which can be accessed through the collection's catalog record: