When Parker on the Web 2.0 launched in 2018, it was the culmination of a long-term development plan to host an international collaborative project on sustainable infrastructure at no cost to the user. The engineering effort was immense, and that effort paid off: we saw a nearly 10-fold increase in visitors to the site, and the incorporation of IIIF functionality to the Parker manuscript content allowed the digital objects to be used in a myriad of new projects, from AI-driven initiatives like handwritten text recognition and feature recognition, to crowdsourcing transcription projects, and aggregation and reuse across multiple platforms. While Parker 2.0 was a technical success, the intellectual content of the site - the painstakingly-crafted descriptive metadata produced in the late 2000s that drove Parker on the Web 1.0 - was not fully added to the new platform. Thanks to the encouragement of dedicated Parker on the Web users and scholars, we were able to prioritize a large-scale reassessment of the project descriptive metadata, identify gaps, and restore the manuscript descriptions to their full glory - improving the discovery functionality for the site and providing users with rich descriptions for every manuscript in the collection. Parker on the Web 2.1, released on March 3, 2021, finally completes the migration of the project from a stand-alone site built on bespoke software and using a customized and unique metadata structure to a sustainable and extensible collaboration built on open source software and common metadata standards.
Blog topic: Rare books
A view of New Haven, 1786
Guest blogger: Matthew Gilbert
This month Stanford Libraries is launching a collaborative project to expand access to our extensive holdings of American dime novels from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Dime novels, which flourished in the United States in the second half of the 19th century and the early 20th century, featured an ever-evolving array of popular fiction genres: frontier stories modeled on the work of James Fenimore Cooper, detective stories, westerns, romances, sports stories. Widely read in their day, dime novels provided cheap fiction for an expanding reading public. Today, many dime novels are in particularly fragile condition due to the cheap nature of the paper used in their production, and collections are spread across the country with few institutions holding complete runs of major dime novel series.
In recent years, Prof. Elizabeth Kessler’s American Studies course, “StarStuff: Space and the American Imagination,” brought students into our Special Collections Barchas Room for hands-on viewings of antiquarian astronomy texts, 19th century lithographs and planispheres, scientific literature, and contemporary fine art photography.
Stanford Special Collections & University Archives share statement on potentially harmful language in cataloging and archival description
Stanford Libraries’ Department of Special Collections and University Archives has published a Statement on Potentially Harmful Language in Cataloging and Archival Description. The statement was developed by staff across the department over the past two months, with additional input from staff in Stanford Libraries’ Metadata Development Unit...
Welcome to Part 2 of our blog post series, Metal, paper, glass. As Elizabeth Ryan noted in her blog post, subtitled Perspectives on a stained glass panel and other objects in Stanford Libraries Special Collections, we were inspired by this striking stained-glass object to explore how we each interact with a variety of unusual materials in our collections, and to share our different perspectives.
Metal, paper, glass: perspectives on a stained glass panel and other objects in Stanford Libraries Special Collections
Left, Buckminster Fuller bronze life mask by Ruth Asawa, circa 1992, M1823; Center, [Die ghetijden van onser lieuer vrouwe[n] : fragment]. Paris: Widow of Thielman Kerver, 1533?]; Right, Leaded stained glass plate of St. Eustache, late 19th or early 20th century, M2336
Rare book cataloging activities are somewhat limited during shelter-in-place, since without the books in hand, we cannot create complete and accurate catalog records for them. We may do some preliminary cataloging of some new acquisitions based on dealer descriptions and other information, but for the time being, we have been focusing our efforts on editing existing metadata for rare books. In this post, I'll describe a project that has been completed; in part 2, I'll describe a large, on-going metadata cleanup project.