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Digital library services news – fall 2020

We are buzzing with activity ~ Read on for the details

Contributors to this issue are: Cathy Aster, Peter Chan, Nicole Coleman, Hannah Frost, Dinah Handel, and Annie Schweikert.  Thanks to our many collaborators!

BC100 Book scanner

New Book Scanner, New Possibilities

The Digital Production Group (DPG) has a new book scanner in its fleet of digitization equipment, enabling us to expand our capacity for scanning rare books. The BC100 was installed in the DPG labs in Green Library last month as a replacement for the book scanner in service at SUL for over a decade (and now out of warranty)! This new device is designed for the safe handling and high quality capture of historic and contemporary bound materials, and can capture larger page sizes than our old scanner. We are truly excited to ramp up production over the coming months!

835 Archived Websites Published 

Since Peter Chan took up the Web Archivist post in Special Collections in April 2020, he has worked to more than double the number of archived websites in SearchWorks, from 571 to 1406. You can find the archived websites in the Middle East Political Websites Collection, the Chinese Non-Governmental Organizations Web Archive Collection, the Virtual Worlds and MMOs Archive, and the Freedom of Information (FOIA) Collection. Thank you for bringing down the backlog and building up the digital library for SUL patrons, Peter!

Untitled 1997 by Clinton Hill

Busy Quarter for Digitization Services

The fall quarter has been an immensely productive time for the digitization program, in spite of the ongoing pandemic and library closures due to wildfires. In addition to digitizing nearly 100 items for fall course reserves, the Digital Production Group has made tremendous progress on all of the projects that were in the labs at the start of the pandemic, as well as started new ones. Recently digitized collections include Israeli Yiddish entertainment posters, theses from the School of Earth, student papers from Hopkins Marine Station, and works by the artist Clinton Hill. Next up for DPG will be an extensive collection of Silicon Valley newsletters, winter course reserves, and some exciting projects in the new year!

The Media Preservation Lab has also been hard at work, digitizing a number of researcher requests and items for fall course reserves. Current projects for SMPL include LaserDiscs from the Papers of Robert Stein, videos from the Ambassador Auditorium collection, cassettes and reels from the Gary Hickling Collection on Lotte Lehman and reels from the Mario and Ruth Chamlee Collection

Providing large scale text corpora for research

The Stanford RegLab and the Stanford Literary Lab have both been processing and analyzing large text corpora for many years now and both recently received a chunk of OCR content from Stanford Libraries thanks to work that DLSS has undertaken to retrieve the digital files of 3+ million items from the Stanford Libraries catalog that were scanned by Google.  (Read this blog for more about the corpus.) 

Making that trove of materials available for researchers includes considerations of digital discovery, delivery and preservation. The Stanford Digital Repository (SDR) was upgraded in the process to support the massive accessioning effort. And a critical new piece of infrastructure — a pipeline to automate retrieval from Google, then accessioning and deposit into the SDR — was built to make this possible.

Screenshot of "The Would Be Gentleman" viewed through an emulator

The Would-Be Emulator

As part of ongoing work with the Scaling Emulation as a Service Infrastructure grant lead by Yale University Libraries, the Born-Digital Preservation Lab worked with University Archives to emulate a software game from their collection. “The Would-Be Gentleman” (screenshot shown above) is a floppy disk simulation created by Stanford history professor Carolyn Lougee in 1985. Players must manage the economic and social life of a French bourgeois during the life and reign of Louis XIV of France, 1638–1715, by making decisions about income, properties, marriage, and alliances. The game was intended for undergraduates studying the economic life of the period, and ran on some of Apple’s first personal computers (Macintosh 128K through Macintosh Plus). Working with Ethan Gates at Yale, the BDPL successfully mounted a disk image of the original floppy disk into an environment that emulates, or recreates, the hardware and software of the mid-1980s. The next steps will be to add metadata about emulation requirements, and developing a way to deliver this content to researchers — once BDPL staff are done becoming 17th-century French gentlemen!  

Spotlight at Stanford development work kicking off in January 2021

The Spotlight at Stanford Service Team would like to thank and recognize Glynn Edwards and Andria Olson for leading the efforts of their colleagues to list, describe, and prioritize their feature requests and enhancements for the upcoming Exhibits development workcycle in early 2021. Your input is invaluable, and we’re thrilled to be able to take your concerns into account as we prioritize the consolidated wish list in December. The service team’s “business value prioritization” exercise is a key preparatory step in organizing the development work that will commence in January. We will keep everyone updated via group emails and additional communication venues. To all exhibit creators, congratulations – your hard work has resulted in 113 published Spotlight at Stanford exhibits to date! 

Now in the SDR: SITE Archives

Since 1989, the Department of Economics has hosted an annual series of workshops in economic theory and mathematical economics with the goal to advance cutting-edge scholarship in the field. This program, known as the Stanford Institute for Theoretical Economics (SITE), is moving their 30+ year archive to the Stanford Digital Repository for long-term preservation and access.  

The papers since 1993 are now indexed in SearchWorks; papers from 1989-1992 will be scanned and added in early 2021. An online exhibit is also in planning.

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