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Digital library services news – fall 2021

Contributors to this issue: Cathy Aster,  Hannah Frost, Dinah Handel, Andria Olson and Michael Olson.
As always, we are grateful for our many collaborators! 

La Vois des Femmes - french newspaper cover shot

Suzanne Comhaire-Sylvain digitization project

In October, the Digital Production Group began a project to digitize a selection of materials from the Suzanne Comhaire-Sylvain papers. Comhaire-Sylvain was the first woman Haitian anthropologist, and conducted anthropological work around the world. She was part of a family of groundbreaking women: her sister, Yvonne Sylvain, was the first Haitian woman physician and the first gynecologist-obstetrician of the country, and her other sister, Madeleine Sylvain, was one of the founders of the “Ligue Feminine d’Action Sociale” (Feminine League for Social Action) which fought for women’s legal rights. Suzanne Comhaire-Sylvain’s anthropological work focused on women in Haiti and Africa, Haitian folklore, and Creole.

The items to be digitized include: the rare newspaper, “La Voix des Femmes”, which published many articles by Comhaire-Sylvain; field notes; family correspondence; photographs; and other materials. The project will also support an upcoming special journal issue led by Stanford faculty member Dr. Fatoumata Seck. The project was proposed by Regina Roberts and Sarah Sussman, and the project team also includes Kat Dimitruk, Lorna Corbetta, Kristen St. John, Jessica Cebra, and Arcadia Falcone. We are thrilled to work on this project and to support greater research and teaching about Suzanne Comhaire-Sylvain.


Kabir Hermon, one month on the job

At the start of fall quarter, we announced that Kabir Hermon joined SUL as the newest member of DLSS Digitization Services team. After his first month, we wanted to hear from Kabir about how it’s going.

What is different about working at SUL compared to your previous position at the Library of Congress?
I have agency to make changes and decisions without bureaucracy or having to convince a bunch of other audio engineers. I like working with Geoff, as it’s reassuring to have another set of eyes and ears on my work as I learn the ropes.

Interesting sound recordings that you have worked on here so far?
A Huey Newton radio broadcast calling for healthcare and equality, an Allen Ginsberg recording on the poetry of William Carlos Williams, and also the Ambassador Auditorium performances, because they are recorded really well and sound great!

What do you like about living in the Bay Area?
The weather of course, also being close to the water, and the dog parks. 


"Roti"-tō heiyō chishi shiryōzu -- 「ロティ」島兵要地誌資料圖

Massive map collection fully scanned!

The effort to compile, organize, catalog, and digitize 10,754 Japanese Imperial Maps captured during WWII has been no small feat that has spanned a decade. With the help of staff, students, scholars, and librarians from around the world, we are excited to share that the final part of our collections has been cataloged and digitized. Shizuka Nakazaki, our map assistant who has been at the forefront of processing and cataloging these maps for several years, will now work with David Medeiros, our GIS specialist, to continue creating online indexes for these digitized map sets.

View the completed online indexes to date and read more about the history of Stanford’s WWII Captured Maps project.


Hohbach wall screens to host new visual library experiences for visitors

In collaboration with multiple staff across Stanford Libraries, DLSS is creating a platform for preparing and hosting visually centric digital library content delivered as an onsite/interactive experience for visitors to Hohbach Hall when it opens in January 2022. The first instance for this platform will be available on two Hohbach wall screens, each representing a broad theme: Silicon Valley Archives and a yet-to be-named screen centered on diversity in Silicon Valley. Content from the Stanford Digital Repository will be showcased via different “experiences” featuring either images or video with accompanying text, as visitors to a museum might find. A cross-unit team from Humanities and Area Studies, Special Collections, SUL Communications, SUL Tech Support, and several DLSS units has been meeting for the past year to define, articulate and solidify project requirements. The project is currently in the application development stage with the DLSS Access and Discovery team. 


 Annie Schweikert with early era an Macintosh computer

Stanford’s very first webserver – our new Mac SE30

This summer the Born-Digital Preservation Lab received a gift of roughly a dozen early working Apple computers.  These are Stanford purchased legacy computers that were collected by our own, recently retired, Dean Steede in SUL Tech Support. These legacy computers are a great addition to our lab, providing working examples of Apple hardware we can use to read legacy digital content.  We were curious what one of these machines looked like with the cover off, so embarked on a simple disassembly to have a look inside. The first step was to remove the outer shell and gently pry the enclosure apart.  It sounds more difficult than it really was, which was a bit of a surprise since Apple products have never been engineered with consumer disassembly in mind.  

Before he left, Dean informed us this was Stanford’s very first webserver for a short period of time.  We’ll have Dean back in our lab soon, so we can interview him and gather a more detailed history of what could be a historically important computer.


Virtual Tribunals achieves a new Spotlight milestone


Stanford Libraries staff recently collaborated with Stanford’s Center for Human Rights and International Justice to add newly available content to the Virtual Tribunals exhibit. In early 2021, the International Court of Justice shared the digital images of over 5000 historical documents from the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg with Stanford Libraries for OCR processing and preservation in the Stanford Digital Repository. This collection, known as the Taube Archive of the International Military Tribunal (IMT) at Nuremberg (1945-1946) was added to Virtual Tribunals alongside additional explanatory text on 30 September 2021. Fueled by press coverage including an announcement on a German radio program, within a few days visits to Virtual Tribunals reached 50,000 users, with well over 200,000 page views.  Additional international tribunal records will be added over time, helping to establish Virtual Tribunals as a key resource for human rights research by scholars around the globe.


Operationalizing audiovisual transcripts and captions at Stanford Libraries

After the successful work to identify a transcript and captioning vendor, the AVTC (audiovisual transcripts and captions) team, consisting of Andrew Berger, Dinah Handel, and Geoff Willard, is beginning to develop and implement a workflow to have a limited number of media objects transcribed and caption files generated. Although the current media player does not support the option to display captions, we will be providing downloadable transcripts for media objects that are world-downloadable in the interim. Collection priorities for captions and transcriptions were identified by Special Collections, University Archives, and the Archive of Recorded Sound. The AVTC team also plans to accommodate any on-demand requests for transcripts that our patrons may make. In addition to sending out and accessioning caption and transcript files, the team is also hoping to learn more about the technical needs for a media player that can display captions alongside streaming media files. Outside of Stanford Libraries, the team has surveyed other institutions working on this same issue, and is planning to convene an informal discussion group this fall. Read more about the project in a prior Digital Library Blogpost


In case you missed it:

Digital Library Services News – Summer 2021

Digital Library Services News – Winter 2021

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