Thursday, August 14, 2014

Two new collections from the Utah State Historical Society

The Mountain West Digital Library recently added two great collections from the Utah State Historical Society.

The KUED Topaz Relocation Center Residents Collection contains images of Japanese Americans in the Topaz Internment Camp in Delta, Utah.

Topaz School Children

This collection joins many other digital collections the Mountain West Digital Library has on the topic of the Japanese American experience in the Western States. DPLA recently highlighted some of the many digital resources available for educators teaching the topic of Japanese American internment.

The Al Morton Collection 1930s-1950s features historic photographs of scenic Utah landscapes and national parks, which helped support the early tourism industry in Utah.

Glen Canyon

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Sharks in MWDL

It is Shark Week! What can we find in MWDL about sharks?

Here is a photo of a Man standing with dead shark from Brigham Young University's incredible Edward K. Bryant Photo Collection.

Man standing with dead shark
Here is a photo from University of Nevada Reno Special collections of crew members hoisting a shark during a Mexican fishing cruise.

Haida crew members hoisting a shark

Does this silverware from the University of Utah's College of Architecture and Planning collection remind you of sharks?

"Shark" Pattern silverware

Jack London took photos of sharks during his voyage on the Snark! You can see more information about Jack London materials in Utah State University Special Collections in this finding aid Guide to the Jack London photograph collection 1905-1955. Then take a look at some examples from the Jack London Collection!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Nice librarians featured on the Evil Librarian podcast

The staff of the Mountain West Digital Library were guests today on Dustin Fife's Evil Librarian podcast. For those of you know don't know Dustin Fife, he is our Utah Library Association President Elect, the Director of the San Juan County Library System, and a huge proponent of open access. He also occasionally reads stories in bathtubs and blows things up to instill a lifelong love of learning in children.  Needless to say, Dustin is well-loved by the Mountain West Digital Library.

Dustin is a huge advocate for the Mountain West Digital Library and the Digital Public Library of America, which is why he invited us to join him today on his Evil Librarian podcast to talk about MWDL's upcoming PLPP Workshops, our new collections, and our newest hire, Evan Young

To get the inside scoop on what is going on at MWDL, check out the podcast here

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

2014 Quarter 2 Usage Analysis Report

Over here at the Mountain West Digital Library, we have been crunching the numbers and have gathered the most interesting statistics together in our 2014 Quarter 2 Usage Analysis Report. Looking at this data has really given us some insight to the behavior of our visitors. As you can see in the graph below, we have not had the same amount of traffic as we did last year.

We attribute this to the media attention that the DPLA launch provided us with. However, the statistics do tell us that our patrons are spending more time on the website, viewing more pages, and are more likely to come back.


These statistics are exciting to us and we hope to further build this type of an audience.

Moving forward we are looking to find better ways to track the visitors to our website. We have two immediate goals for accomplishing this. First, we will be updating our Google Analytics to take advantage of Universal Analytics. This will allow us to view a more detailed report about where our users are coming to us from, what devices they are using, and how long they have been on our site. Second, we will be working with some of our partners to understand how many of our users are successfully arriving at their content. This will give us a more comprehensive understanding of the efficacy our website.

If you have any questions about this report please feel free to contact Evan Young at

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Celebrating Batman Day with Bat-themed items from MWDL

It is Batman Day today! Batman may be 75 years old but he can take out criminals with a car battery better than any other superhero. Let's celebrate this wonderful occasion by checking out some Bat-items from MWDL collections.

We might not have any pictures of Batman in our collections, but we do have a picture of Bat Masterson!

Photo from Arizona Memory Project, Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records
I am happy to see that some students at BYU have studied Batman as an academic focus. Check out these great items from the Brigham Young University Theses and Dissertations Collection:

The American Way: What Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, and the X-Men Reveal About America
Mythic Symbols of Batman
It's What You Do That Defines You: Batman as Moral Philosopher

Lastly, turn down the lights, listen to bat sounds from the Western Soundscape Archive, and pretend that you are Batman lurking in the Bat Cave.

Happy Batman Day!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

MWDL Fall Webinar Schedule Announced!

Greetings, information professionals! MWDL is pleased to announce the final schedule for the Fall Webinar Series. We hope many of you can join us in the upcoming weeks to learn about a variety of digital library topics. We have ten exciting sessions lined up this summer and fall and wonderful speakers from inside and outside our network.

Want to learn more about assigning something meaningful to that pesky rights field? Tune in to hear Amy Rudersdorf from the DPLA provide an overview of public domain, creative commons licenses, orphan works, and implications for take-down notices.

Want to learn about generating funding for your digital project? Join Tom Scheinfeldt from the University of Connecticut Digital Media Center to talk about the best ways to raise money (and garner support) for your digital collections.

Need to convey the impact of your online collections to administrators and funding agencies? MWDL's own Sandra McIntyre and Evan Young will teach you how to generate usage statistics for your collections using Google Analytics.

Mark your calendars for one or all of these online session. Our webinars are free and there is no password required. All you need is an Internet connection and an interest in digital library topics!

Tiny schedule available here
Or, for those of you with human eyes that can't read the tiny text above, check out our new webinar page for the full schedule of events.

Hope you can join us!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Great New Collections from Weber State University

We've added a large batch of new collections from the Weber State University Stewart Library recently! I knew that Weber State University had a series of name changes, but I hadn't realized how extensive the name changes were until I was working directly with these collections.

You can learn more about Weber State University's institutional history, read student literary publications, and learn more about the communities in Weber and Davis counties in the following recently harvested collections:

Weber College Whip Club
Weber and Davis Counties (UT) Community Oral History Project
Weber State College Catalog 1963-1991
Weber State University Student Master's Theses
Weber Bell Tower History
Weber Stake Academy Literary Magazine The Acorn 1904-1916
Weber State College Literary Magazine Scribulus 1935-1966
Weber Additional Literary Publications 1931-1980
Weber Literary Journal 1921-1926
Weber State University Catalog 1991-Present

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The new Web Development Assistant

Hi, my name is Evan Young, and I am the new MWDL web development assistant. Starting this month, I will be working with the MWDL team to maintain and enhance our website at I was born and raised in Oklahoma and have lived in Utah for 14 years now with my wife, Holly, and soon-to be four children.

I completed my undergraduate degree in Mathematics at the University of Utah and have stayed there to work on my Master of Science in Computational Engineering and Science.  My specialty is computational statistics and will be helping to analyze some of the usage statistics that we get from Google Analytics in addition to my other duties at MWDL.

I am very excited to be part of this preservation and digitization movement and am certain that this work will pave the way for more learning and study as the world moves toward a more electronic future.  If you need anything from me please feel free to email me at

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

How to Make Your Very Own DPLA Twitter Bot

When I saw that @HistoricalCats had launched as part of DPLA’s very nice App Library, I was a bit surprised that it wasn’t followed by a ton of other DPLA Twitter Bots. I had heard other people comment on the lack of a @HistoricalDogs twitter bot and thought that this would be a good project for me to try, especially since the examples in the @HistoricalCats source code pointed out the need for equal feline and canine representation. I thought I would write up my experiences adapting @HistoricalDogs for anyone else who needs a recipe to follow when adapting @HistoricalCats. Maybe we will soon see @HistoricalHats or @HistoricalBirds next!

Skills you need to do this:
I’m not a computer programmer, but I have some basic web administrative skills. I’ve installed mysql and php applications on a web server before. If you’re comfortable with doing some light editing (basically just copying and pasting) of php files it is easy to set up a twitter bot with the @HistoricalCats code that is provided. I did it in an hour or so one evening after work.

Things you need:

  • Web server space
  • A text editor
  • FTP program
  • Knowledge of how to set up cron jobs (optional)
First step: Get accounts and keys
Second step: Get all the files!

The Code for Historical Cats is available on GitHub (, just download the master zip file and open it.
Wow, that was fast and easy!

Third step: Modify the files for your new twitter bot and upload to your server space

Follow the instructions ( for modifying the historicalcat.php file and the keys.config.php files, adding in your own DPLA API key and Twitter consumer key, secret, access token, and access secret. If you look at the source code, you can see the cat phrases and the search terms that you can change to whatever you wish.

These are the only areas that you might need to modify in order to get your bot up and working. If you chose to, you can set up a sql database that will save your tweets and prevent tweet duplication. I didn’t set this up as part of my process, but if you have access to phpMyAdmin or something similar on your server, you can easily import the provided HistoricalCat.sql structure to a new database on your server. If you are using the database option when installing the code, you will also need to put this information into your config file.

Now you’re ready to upload the files! You should ftp these files up to your web server space. Note that you need to upload the twitteroath folder as well as historicalcat.php, config.php, and tweetcat.php to make everything run.

Visit to generate your first automatic tweet! If you don’t see any error messages you will see a tweet appear on your new twitter bot account. I didn’t have any problems getting this set up, except I needed to slightly adjust the filepath for twitteroath due to the way I uploaded my files. If you get error messages, they will specify the line of code in the file where the problem is. Most text editors will let you zero in on the line number where the problem is so you can do some troubleshooting.

Now, you could generate tweets automatically by just pointing your web browser at tweetcat.php whenever you want a post to appear, but if you want your twitter bot to run automatically, you will need to set up a cron job, so the page is just automatically visited at whatever times you want your tweets to be posted. Your web host may have some additional tools you can use to easily create a cron job for your new twitter bot.

Happy tweeting!!!!

Thanks very much to Adam Malantonio for creating the @HistoricalCats code, and for giving me feedback on this blog post.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Four great new collections from Utah State University

We recently added four great new collections from Utah State University! They are:

Historic Postcards of Utah - Browse great postcards of Utah from the early to mid 1900s.

Real photo postcard of Dave White on Headlight
Jack London Collection - View correspondence, book inscriptions, photos, book covers and more.

Alfred G. Erickson Photograph Collection - This collection includes photos from the 1940s and 1950s documenting military life as well as Jack London's California ranch.

Monumental Highway Collection - Take a virtual historic road trip to Monument Valley, Zion National Park, and the Colorado River.

Maxwell automobile in front of monument in Monument Valley

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

MWDL Statistics from DPLA

Here is some information sent our way from DPLA that gives us an idea of how popular our collections are. I've shared this information in some recent conference presentations and training sessions, but I thought it would be nice to put this out as a blog post too!

Top ten DPLA hubs by usage:

Top three most requested items, note that Cooking Supper from SUU is the most requested item:

MWDL has five partners in DPLA's top twenty-five partners by usage: