Our Current Work

DLSS provides services and supporting technology and tools to SUL archivists, curators, and selectors who create or acquire digital collections in support of scholarly research at Stanford and beyond. This page describes some of the key projects and development efforts underway. This page has two sections: Digital Collections Underway as well as Digital Library Technologies In Progress

Digital Collections Underway

Inspired by Stanford history professor Paula Findlen, Stanford University Libraries and the Biblioteca dell’Archiginnasio in Bologna are digitizing the archive of Bassi (1711-1778), a figure of great importance to the scientific culture of Enlightenment Italy. Noted Bassi scholar Findlen explains Bassi was the first woman to be offered an official teaching position in any European university, and the most prominent female member of Italy’s leading scientific society. Bassi also provides an interesting window into the life and business of a professional woman in 18th century Italy.
Project status: Complete
Key Stakeholder(s): Sarah Sussman (SUL Curator) with Paula Findlen as Stanford Faculty Advisor
Project manager: Cathy Aster with John Haeger as Project Director
Digital collections web site: Bassi-Veratti Collection
French Revolution Digital Archive (FRDA)
With enthusiastic support from Michael Keller and Bruno Racine (President, Bibliothèque nationale de France), this collaborative project is designed to ameliorate the complex and sometimes cumbersome research environment for studies of the French Revolution. Deliverables include the creation of searchable full-text and interoperable structural markup for 82 volumes of the Archives parlementaires, a (total) 101-volume compilation that is all scholars’ main point-of-entry into the record of the Revolutionary period, and to cross-walk the AP metadata with descriptive metadata from the Images de la Révolution française, a benchmark image-based project undertaken by the BnF on the occasion of the Revolution’s bicentennial in 1989.
Project status: Active
Key Stakeholder(s): Sarah Sussman (SUL Curator) with Dan Edelstein as Stanford Faculty Advisor
Project manager: Cathy Aster with John Haeger as Project Director
For more details: FRDA project page
Stephen J. Gould Rare Books
Stephen Jay Gould was a renowned evolutionary biologist, paleontologist, historian of science, educator, popular science author, polymath, and an enthusiastic collector. This project, focused on digitizing Gould's extensive holdings of rare books, is part of the Stephen Jay Gould Papers project that enables research and educational communities to discover and access this unique collection of materials. Books digitized under this project are also being sent to Google and will be visible in the Google Book Search.
Project status: Active
Service manager: Stu Snydman
The R. Stuart Hummel collection contains correspondence, diaries, photographs, artwork, audiovisual material, and ephemera documenting the Stuart and Hummel families' life and work in China as Methodist missionaries in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It also contains materials relating to Hummel's work as a cryptographer for the Navy and his work for the U.S. government. The Hummel family donated their collection to Stanford's Department of Special Collections in 2008, which included funding for the arrangement, description and digitization of the collection with the expectation that the archive would be made available online in Stanford's digital library.
Project status: Complete
Key Stakeholder(s): Glynn Edwards
Project manager: Cathy Aster
For more details: Hummel Collection at Online Archive of California
The Maps Program, named Ortelius, is an effort to build an end-to-end system for creating, managing, storing, providing access to and preserving digital map content. The program has numerous components that must work in concert to provide a seamless workflow; with this in mind. The components include: donor communication, physical movement of collections (onsite and from offsite), a fully functional digitization workflow, a descriptive metadata service & standards for digital maps, content accessioning, and dissemination. The program will work across numerous groups and projects requiring a great deal of coordination across DLSS, Collections (Branner and SPEC) and Technical Services staff. The functional goals for the program are to create a coordinated, cohesive, end-to-end workflow for digital map content, starting from the physical or digital acquisiton of materials through their accessioning, preservation and delivery. Two different disclivery sic mechanisms will be created: a Map Gallery (distinct from the Image Gallery) and the extension of SearchWorks to support specialized map views. The delivery / dissemination environment will also include specialized web pages featuring donor, collection and program web pages.
Project status: Active
Key Stakeholder(s): Julie Sweetkind-Singer, Branner Earth Sciences Library
Project manager: Michael Olson
Mechanical Engineering 310 Product Design class (ME310) is a long-running, well-known course in which student teams address real world design challenges proposed by corporate partners. At the request of faculty from ME310, 40+ years of student final presentations will be digitized in order to both preserve this rich teaching heritage as well as to make these materials more broadly usable and available for current ME310 students and corporate sponsors.
Project status: Active
Key Stakeholder(s): Helen Josephine, Terman Engineering Library
Project manager: Tony Navarrete
For more details: ME310 project page or ME310 website.
Revs Institute
The automobile has had an enormous impact on modern history, transforming how we live our daily lives. The Collier Collection at the Revs Institute houses over one million items that cover the history and development of the automobile and provides opportunities to discover connections between engineering, history, and the social sciences. It also includes many fully restored vehicles that act as living historical artifacts. Via the Revs at Stanford program, faculty work with these collections to understand their significance from historical, social, engineering and design perspectives. DLSS is digitizing the collection and creating tools to make it available to researchers and the general public.
Project status: Active
Key Stakeholder(s): The Revs Institute and The Revs Program at Stanford
Project manager: Peter Mangiafico
Riverwalk Jazz
In 2011 Stanford's Archive of Recorded Sound acquired the Riverwalk Jazz collection, a unique collection of traditional jazz radio programs. The shows feature live recordings performed by the Jim Cullum Jazz Band and many noteworthy guest musicians at the Landing in San Antonio, Texas. Riverwalk Jazz has a loyal following of listeners cultivated through the weekly programs aired on public radio and on the web. In January 2013, Stanford will assume the mantle of hosting the collection, making this resource available online for jazz lovers and music scholars alike, bringing heightened visibility to SUL's jazz holdings, and strengthening the online delivery infrastructure for media.
Project status: Active
Key Stakeholder(s): Jerry McBride, Archive of Recorded Sound
Project manager: Hannah Frost
More information about the project will be posted and available soon.
With support from the National Historic Publications and Records Commission, the Department of Special Collections is processing the STOP AIDS Project collection. To facilitate access to the content and preserve at-risk materials, DLSS is contributing to the effort by digitizing large-format posters and audiovisual recordings in the collection as well as preparing preservation-quality captures of the electronic records stored on floppy disks, CDs, and other storage media in the collection.
Project status: Complete
Key stakeholder(s): Roberto Trujillo, Special Collections
Project manager: Cathy Aster
For more details: STOP AIDS blog entry

Walters Art Museum
The Walters Art Museum holds one of the finest collections of medieval manuscripts in the country. This collaboration between Stanford and the Walters brings together our first-rate digital preservation and delivery resources with the Walters' vast collection of eastern and western books, including the now-famous Archimedes Codex.
Project status: Active
Key stakeholder(s): Mike Keller, head librarian
Project manager: Benjamin Albritton

Digital Library Technologies In Progress

Argo and Digital Accessioning Workflow
An administrative interface, Argo (access limited to authorized users) provides a dashboard and reporting interface for viewing, tracking and controlling digital content as it runs through the digital library ecosystem.
Project status: Active
Service manager: Lynn McRae
Digital Stacks
The Digital Stacks are SUL's online systems that house and deliver digital resources to patrons. They work together with discovery systems (such as Searchworks/SOLR, library search engine, finding aids, collection-specific apps etc.) to make up the Libraries' digital access services. Digital "stacks" is a convenient metaphor echoing the physical housing of books and other library material. The digital stacks are designed to be horizontally scalable, with systems appropriately tuned to the nature of the contents: files, images, media (audio/video) and geospatial data.
Project status: Active
Service manager: Stu Snydman
The Digital Manuscript Interoperability project, and the International Image Interoperability Framework are two distinct, though related, efforts which bring together SUL and multiple external institutional partners to prototype, define, and build technological bridges to allow the sharing of content between repositories, scholars, and tool developers. Taken together, they represent a SUL commitment to move "beyond the silo" and encourage use of our content in the broadest ways imaginable.
Project status: Active
Service manager: Benjamin Albritton
Stanford's GeoPortal is currently being developed based on the open source OpenGeoportal technology ( The GeoPortal will be a single web application that will allow for the discovery, preview and retrieval of geospatial data.
Project status: Active
Key Stakeholder(s): Julie Sweetkind-Singer
The "persistent URL" (PURL) service creates persistent identifiers to route web browsers to a resource, regardless of changes in the actual location of the object. This service is not only critical to providing stable access to resources over time, but also to enable appropriate citation of scholarly materials.
Project status: Active
Service manager: Stu Snydman
SearchWorks, SUL's next generation catalog, is constantly enhanced with new search and display functionality. Current features includes faceted search, relevance ranking, browse by call number, cover displays and many other highly-requested features. Upcoming priorities include expanding coverage to more resources (reviews, awards, tables of contents, full text, cover images, journal articles, etc.), as well as course reserves. Upcoming search enhancements include better searching of non-English materials (particularly Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Arabic, Hebrew). SearchWorks.
Project status: Active
Service manager: Tom Cramer
Stanford Digital Repository
The Stanford Digital Repository (SDR) is SUL's digital preservation service and underlying system. Currently we have two big projects underway. First, we are working on the design and implementation for versioning objects stored in the repository. Managing versions may sound like a simple problem to solve, but we have found that the existing solutions devised for use in other repository systems do not adequately meet our requirements. Support for versions is one of the final critical pieces in the build-out of SDR2, our second generation, Fedora-based system. With this in place, we'll begin important work like the ingest of versioned objects in the Parker collection. We are also developing a self-service deposit web application for use by Stanford faculty, students, administrators, librarians, archivists and other members of the community with digital content of enduring value to the institution. We are looking forward to a first release of the software in Fall 2012.
Project status: Active
Service manager: Hannah Frost
SUL Website Redesign
This project is a sweeping reimplementation of the SUL homepage designed to make our website a more effective resource for our patrons looking to understand and quickly navigate to the many services and tools SUL provides. This project, a collaboration with all parts of SUL, will enhance our existing Drupal environment and includes development of new templates and workflows for Subject Pages, Branch Pages, Administrative Pages, and Exhibit pages.
Project status: Active
Service manager: Stu Snydman
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