Digital library services news - fall 2018

Turk Murphy Band wearing circus outfits, ca. 1960

New digital project proposal form

The Product and Service Management (PSM) team is rolling out a new form for Digital Project proposals. Instead of an extensive application, we will have you fill out a short form and then pair you with a member of PSM to consult further on your project. You may (view the form here), and please note that you must be signed into your Stanford GoogleDocs account, and no other additional accounts, as the form is for Stanford only. Please direct feedback to


Spotlight at Stanford

The Spotlight service team is pleased to welcome two new members, Ryan Perkins, South Asian Studies Librarian and Zhaohui Xue, Chinese Studies Librarian. On behalf of current team members Gary Geisler, Amy Hodge, Doris Cheung-Wu and Josh Schneider, we are excited to work with you and look forward to the new perspectives you will share with us. Here’s to another great year of responsive support for Spotlight exhibit creators!

Please check out the newest Spotlight exhibit, the Andy Warhol Photography Archive. The exhibit was created by Amy DiPasquale, Project Archivist at the Cantor Arts Center, and it contains over 3,600 contact sheets of Warhol’s black and white photography from 1976-1987. The digital project was managed by Ben Albritton, and all contact sheet images have been preserved in the SDR. Don’t miss the companion physical exhibit at the Cantor Center, Contact Warhol: Photography Without End.

 Andy Warhol Online Exhibit homepage

At home in the SDR: campus content comes to SUL

Digital collections

The SDR is now home to three very cool collections from other collecting organizations at Stanford. In addition to the Cantor’s Warhol photos, Crown Law Library deposited a collection of digitized oral histories with pioneering lawyers known as the Women Trailblazers in the Law project. These items will be promoted for use through a forthcoming exhibit developed by Crown Library project staff.

The Graduate School of Business Library engaged DLSS services to digitize and stream videos of “View from the Top”, a speaker series hosted by the GSB since 1978 featuring student-led interviews with notable leaders.

Honors theses and other student works

As reported in a recent blog post, 2018 was another strong year for student deposits: fifteen new collections were created and populated for distinct programs of study; another 16 existing collections grew in size with additional content. In total 269 titles were deposited across 31 active collections, making for an overall total of 55 student collections containing 1,689 individual works in the SDR.

Up next: datasets from the field

Work is underway to bring in three impressive datasets developed through research led by Stanford faculty. The Çatalhöyük database contains all digital data produced through research carried out at this world heritage archeological site in Turkey between 1961 and 2017 led by Ian Hodder, Dunlevie Family Professor, Department of Anthropology. SUL’s Claudia Engel has been working diligently with project staff on the effort.

The Stanford Study of Writing is the result of research conducted in 2001-2005 by English professor emerita Andrea Lunsford. The database contains writings by students over the course of their undergraduate years at Stanford which were analyzed by the project team to better understand writing development and to inform writing instruction. The material, anonymized and coded, has been extracted from the original database and is now being prepped for accessioning.

Regina Roberts has been working with Department of Communication professor Cheryl Phillips on BigLocal News, an aggregation of open data collected from disparate local and regional government agencies across the US for use by data journalists to discover new insights resulting from analysis across the datasets. Over the next year or so, the SDR team will be collaborating to bring in these datasets and associated metadata in order that they may be served up through a dedicated portal developed by the BigLocal News project team.


New digital project underway

DLSS is pleased to be working with Ryan Perkins, South Asian Studies Librarian, to provide project management, SDR accessioning, Argo training and digitization standards guidance to an important new digital project. Over 10,000 19th and 20th century books in Urdu, Pashto, Arabic, Farsi, and Punjabi have been purchased by Stanford Libraries, and will be digitized by a vendor on-site in Pakistan. Once available in SearchWorks, several Stanford professors will have this significant research corpus at their fingertips, including Priya Satia (Modern British History), Alexander Key (Arabic Literature), Ali Yaycioglu (Ottoman History), Robert Crews (Afghan History), and Roann Kantor (Urdu/Hindi Literature).


Digital Library of the Middle East

About the project

Stanford Libraries is partnering with the Council on Libraries and Information Resources on to implement a sustainable, extensible platform and technical and curatorial processes for the Digital Library of the Middle East. The project is supported by a $1.12M grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and will focus on metadata aggregation and partnership development for cultural heritage collections in the Middle East and North Africa.

Welcome Jacob Hill

DLSS has recently hired Jacob Hill, who will be working remotely from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, for the position of Data Coordinator and Project Manager for DLME. Jacob has completed his onboarding and is getting up to speed on the project as it ramps up. Stay tuned for more updates.

CLIR names DLME curatorial advisors

The Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) has named five curatorial advisors to DLME. The curatorial advisors will help identify and prioritize records for federation during the continuing design phase of the DLME platform.

 Digital Library of the Middle East homepage


Full text search party

 A team in DLSS led by Josh Schneider is investigating requirements for SUL to more broadly enable library users to search within and across digital textual materials accessioned to the SDR that include full-text produced using optical character recognition (OCR). (To view a reference implementation of what that could look like, please explore the recently published Virtual Tribunals spotlight exhibit.) The work requires extensive coordination to better understand stakeholder needs and ascertain remediation required for legacy digitized texts. It may also include scoping out development work to extend our implementation of the IIIF content search API to support OCR in additional formats. We will reach out in the future with periodic updates, guidance for current and future projects, and opportunities to learn more and inform the process.


News from SMPL@RWC

The Stanford Media Preservation Lab (SMPL) continues to power through ongoing media collection reformatting efforts -- 30,000 items in SUL collections preserved and counting! -- as it prepares to move in to its new home on the Stanford Redwood City campus in 2019. In addition to supporting digitization requests from SUL patrons, SMPL is now extending its services to the Hoover Institution Library and Archives’ patron requests for audio recordings.

Also SMPL and ARS are in the final phase of a joint effort to digitize and preserve over 450 historic “Standard Hour” transcription discs funded by the Council on Library and Information Resources’ highly competitive “Recordings at Risk” program. We are proud of this very successful and important collaboration.


Digitization services

End of FY 2018 statistics

It was another busy year in our digitization labs! Over the course of the 2018 Fiscal Year, the digitization labs digitized nearly 10,000 objects, fulfilled over 200 patron requests, and worked on numerous large projects of diverse content and formats.

The Born Digital Forensics Lab had 490 objects processed, resulting in 386,108 files. Projects from FY 2018 included: Chiapas photography project, Peter Conn personal archive, Amos Gitai film Promised Land (2004), Felsenstein papers, Something Ventured collection, the Peter Cunningham INPUT records, and Chinese Americans in California, among others.

The Digital Production Group digitized 5,281 objects, resulting 293,607 files, and fielded 90 patron requests. Projects from FY 2018 included: lab notebooks and research data from early the CalCOFI (The California Cooperative Oceanic Fisheries Investigations) program; digitization of books from the Jarndyce Collection of British Novels, 1890-1920; notebooks from Regis McKenna and Richard Weiland (1990’s marketing and tech pioneers, respectively); Piano Rolls from the Archive of Recorded Sound; Dissertations from the Graduate School of Business; and Reports from the Institute for the Future, among others.

The Stanford Media Preservation Lab digitized 3,799 objects, and fielded 125 patron requests. Projects from FY 2018 included: ongoing work on the Buckminster Fuller, Allen Ginsberg, and Ambassador Auditorium collections; digitization of materials from the San Francisco Traditional Jazz Foundation; ongoing work on the Non-commercial Disc Collections; the View from the Top series, from the Graduate School of Business; and material from the Silicon Genesis and Something Ventured collections, among others.

Currently in the labs

Born Digital Forensics Lab:

The Digital Production Group:

The Stanford Media Preservation Lab