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Digital library services news – spring 2020

Welcome to the Spring 2020 Digital Library Services Newsletter, prepared by the Product and Service Management team! This newsletter includes contributions from: Cathy Aster, Hannah Frost, Dinah Handel, Sarah Seestone, Andrew Berger, Jacob Hill, and Michael Olson. 

Digital Library of the Middle East homepage

The Digital Library of the Middle East 

The Digital Library of the Middle East (DLME), which aims to become one of the world’s largest online archives of Middle Eastern and North African artifacts, is now operating as an ongoing service. The DLME currently brings together some 120,000 digital records of materials held in museums, libraries, and archives worldwide. A team of developers and managers in DLSS are responsible for establishing partnerships with data providers around the world and developing the application. New data and incremental improvements to the application will continue be added.

"Image from Marvin Minsky Society of Mind interactive software – Mac CD Software”

Software Preservation and Emulation Symposium

On May 11, 2020 Digitization Services staff facilitated a half-day symposium on software preservation. The symposium highlighted the work of Stanford Libraries as a test node for the Scaling Emulation as a Service Infrastructure grant lead by Yale University Libraries. As part of the symposium Stanford Libraries and the Stanford University Press presented three use cases from our collections or catalog: The International Monetary Fund CD-ROMs, Bob Stein’s Archive, and Filming Revolution. The symposium attracted interest from roughly forty attendees interested in emulation as an access/preservation technology and the complete video for the proceedings is available here.

Google-Digitized Books in SDR

At the end of March, Stanford Libraries launched a new automated pipeline for depositing Google-scanned books into the SDR. The result of a three-month engineering workcycle, this pipeline retrieves each scanned book from Google’s storage, matches it to library catalog records, and deposits it into the SDR. In addition to the scanned images for each page, the deposits also include OCR text and additional metadata generated by Google. As of 2020, Google has scanned over 3 million books from the library’s collections; running 24/7, the download process is expected to take multiple years to complete. For more information on Google-scanned books at Stanford, please see this FAQ.

Screenshot of the Mapping the Global Imaginary exhibit home page

105 Spotlight at Stanford exhibits published

Please join us in celebrating the continued success of Spotlight at Stanford as a publication platform for digital showcases that support research and teaching at Stanford and beyond. The 100th Spotlight exhibit, Opening Night! consists of a searchable, metadata-only database, and was recognized in the following digital library blog post. Five additional exhibits have since been published, including Mapping the Global Imaginary, 1500-1900, which exemplifies another Spotlight use case – showcasing the highlights of a conference so that scholars can reap the benefits even after the event has passed. Check out the other exhibits published since April 1st: Carleton Watkins at Stanford Libraries, Hopkins Marine Station, The David Bacon Photography Archive at Stanford, and The Super-Enlightenment.

Enhancing Repository Services for the Stanford Community  

Digital Library Systems and Services has launched an initiative focused on enhancing Stanford Digital Repository (SDR) services for faculty, researchers, and students. Designated as a Stanford Libraries’ priority, the primary thrust of the effort is to implement a new web application and supporting infrastructure for depositing and managing research data, code, publications, and a variety of other forms of scholarly work produced by the Stanford community. The new solution, which will replace the system available at in production since 2013, will have more modern features, and will be more integrated with SUL’s broader digital library environment as well as other services available to the Stanford research community. Guided by the newly formed SDR Steering Group, work began in May and will continue into 2022, thus marking the next big stage of SDR’s “evolution” which has been underway since 2018. Check out this presentation for more information about this effort.
Stanford students using special collections materials
Special Collections Explore Project

After a strong start in the winter but necessary delays due to shelter-in-place orders, we’re looking forward to restarting work on the Special Collections Explore project. Spec Explore is a discovery effort to understand user and staff needs as they request, route, and use special collections materials. Project members include staff from Special Collections and University Archives, David Rumsey Map Center, East Asia library, Archive of Recorded Sound, Preservation, and the Digital Production Lab, Stanford Media Production Lab, and the Access team in DLSS. Project goals include improved patron service, increased staff efficiency, and better item security and tracking. At the end of our discovery phase, we’ll deliver recommendations on how to proceed, potential tools (like the Aeon request management system), a timeline for implementation, and a cost estimate.  Inquiries about the project can be sent to Sarah Seestone.

photo of empty digitization lab space in Green Library
Digitization Services to Resume Production in July

Pictured above is the emptied Green 341 scanning lab on on March 16 immediately before everyone went home to SIP. Some 3.5 months later, with the phased reopening of library services as part of Stanford’s Research Recovery, Digitization Services will begin phasing back into production at last. All three digitization service arms — the Digital Production Group, the Stanford Media Preservation Lab, and the Born Digital Lab — will be staffed in their respective lab locations (Green Library and Academy Hall at Stanford Redwood City) starting on Monday, July 6, 2020. Due to the ongoing imperative to prevent the spread of COVID-19, we will take all required measures to protect the health of staff while at work. To achieve social distancing, lab staffing levels at any given time will be reduced by necessity. Stay tuned for more information about changes to our service operations in general, and for any specific scheduling adjustments for collection projects underway or planned to begin in 2020. Questions may be directed to Dinah Handel or

Highlighting of the new social justice tag on the Spotlight exhibits landing page
Social justice tab now available for Spotlight exhibits

We’re pleased to share a result of a recent brainstorming session on antiracism and social justice at the monthly meeting of the Spotlight at Stanford service team. With a minimum of time and effort, we were able to add a new exhibit tag to Spotlight called “Social justice” where you will see many exhibits now gathered. Please go to Spotlight at Stanford and click on the Social justice tab to view the offerings. We hope this one small step will join the many that we can make together, to elevate and include marginalized voices in our work. Thank you to the Spotlight at Stanford Service Team and the DLSS Access Team for proposing and bringing this idea to fruition.

Digitization Services from Home

Although our physical lab spaces in Green and at Stanford Redwood City have been quiet, digitization services staff have been hard at work at home during shelter in place. Stanford Media Preservation Lab has been accessioning digitized content at a breakneck speed, as well as working on workflow documentation, born-digital video and audio processing, and exploring captioning workflows for audiovisual materials. The Born Digital Forensics Lab has also been hard at work, creating workflow documentation, overseeing the description of digital video collections like Silicon Genesis, and continuing work on the Bob Stein collection and the Emulation as a Service project. The Digital Production Group has been focusing on accessioning content into the repository, undertaking a documentation migration, and finding work opportunities for our seven lab assistants. Please check out the wonderful blog post by lab assistants Tati Scutelnic and Laura Nguyen, which highlights the work of the team!
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