Tuesday, December 9, 2014

New Collections in MWDL for November and early December!

Here is a quick summary of the great new collections that we've been adding to the MWDL over the past few weeks!

From Salt Lake Community College, we have the Salt Lake Community College Audiovisual Archives and the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art Collection.

SLCC: The Bottom Line Advertisement


We've added new collections from Utah State University, the Barre Toelken Fieldwork Image Collection and a oral history collection, Central Utah Project: Capturing Utah's Share of the Colorado River. This collection nicely complements the other water-related collections we have in MWDL.

Bob Bennett Interview, May 10, 2013


We also recently added three new collections from the Arizona Memory Project, Marshall Trimble on Arizona, Southwest Airways and Thunderbird Field #1, and Civilian Conservation Corp in Patagonia, Arizona.

School Canyon Looking from Top of Earthen Dam to the West


MWDL is getting even more jazzy with new collections from the University of Idaho, including the Al Grey and Rosalie Soladar Memorial Collection, Ray Brown Collection, and the Leonard Feather Jazz Collection.You can also explore some wonderful photos of Idaho with the Stonebraker Photograph Collection.

Pack train near Monumental Creek
If you're curious about what we've been working on recently and our upcoming projects, you can check out the MWDL ingestion queue page.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

UVU's Pioneers in Your Attic Collection


Last fall, many of the people in the MWDL network participated in the Pioneers in Your Attic project. The premise of the project was to have representatives from different digital libraries take their scanners on the road and encourage people to bring their family histories out of their attics to be scanned and added to online library collections. Over the course of several months, members of the MWDL network held 42 scanning events all around Utah.

I had the chance to participate in four different events, and it was a librarian's dream to see the items that came through: old photographs, letters, a boat ticket from Europe to America, pioneer journals, and maps of the Mormon trail. Donors would come in with items and tell family stories that have been passed down from generation to generation.

Two of my favorites at the Spanish Fork PIYA event


Of course we all eagerly awaited having some of these items available online so I was thrilled when Utah Valley University had their first 29 items from PIYA go live a few months ago. Pioneers in Your Attic by Utah Valley University is a collection of items -- mostly photographs and journal entries -- scanned by Catherine McIntyre and Brent Seavers at UVU. For anyone that doubts the quality of items you can get from mobile scanning projects, I encourage you to check out the gems in their collection.

Snippet of homepage for UVU's PIYA collection

One of my favorite items in the collection is "Briggs, Rachel Amelia Tuttle, Remembrances" which is a series of captured recollections from Rachel Briggs, particularly about the many serious injuries she incurred throughout her life. Rachel's parents were among the early settlers in Utah, and she was born in Bountiful in 1858. Among her many accidents, Rachel was hooked by cow horns twice, burned severely in a fire, run over by a double-bed wagon, she fell through a trap door and broke three ribs, and was partially blinded while chopping wood. Although the tone is somewhat humorous, it also emphasizes how difficult life was for early Utah settlers.

Opening paragraph from the remembrances of Rachel Amelia Tuttle Briggs

Another interesting item from UVU's PIYA collection is the hand-written journal of Daniel Crook, an early convert to the Mormon church. Daniel joined the LDS Church in England and sailed to America with the hopes of making his home in Salt Lake City, UT. Unfortunately for Daniel, he was a skilled wheelwright and was asked by Church authorities to stay in Council Bluffs, Iowa to help others prepare for their journey to Salt Lake City rather than travel there himself. Daniel Crook never made it to Utah and his family said that because of this, he died of a broken heart.

In one of his drawings, Daniel shows how to tell time by holding a stick in your hand. 

I hope you enjoy Utah Valley University's well-curated collection of PIYA items and, like me, eagerly await everyone else's PIYA collections!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Congratulations to University of Nevada Reno on their Digital Collections Redesign!

Digital Collections at MWDL Partner University of Nevada Reno have a new site! Check out the new portal and explore their great digital resources.

I was interested to see some of the new ways UNR is encouraging users to interact with their digital collections.

You can help identify people in photos on a Pinterest page with the UNR Photo Who's Who Project.

There's a new crowd-sourced transcription project available too. You can click and transcribe a page from the University of Nevada Reno Summer School Diary. I have to admit, as I was composing this blog post, I clicked over and transcribed a page. It is quick and easy to do!

I was also interested to see the new Reno Historical exhibit from UNR Special Collections, built in Omeka.

Congrats to UNR!

Friday, November 14, 2014

MWDL Collections Word Cloud with Voyant Cirrus tool

I'm thinking a bit about the subject coverage across MWDL collections, and the patterns that emerge when we get collections on the same topics across the different states that MWDL serves. I'm just starting to explore the idea of doing some work with visualization tools, and I thought I would put up my first try at using Voyant's Cirrus, which is a tool for working with text. Documentation on Voyant is available at http://docs.voyant-tools.org/. I'm interested in exploring more about the tools used in digital humanities work, and how that might also help us engage with digital collections in new ways. So, here's my first, very simple word cloud! To get the data to run through Voyant, I exported all the MWDL collection names I have saved in the handy tracking spreadsheet that I use for my ingestion work. I added the words "collection" and "collections" to Voyant's pre-populated list of stop words. Here's a link to the MWDL collections information loaded into Voyant.



I'll post more as I continue to work with these ideas, I'm just getting started!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Treats from the University of Idaho Digital Library

This Halloween MWDL is bringing you treats in the form of three newly added collections from the University of Idaho Digital Library. The three new collections are:

The Lewiston Orchards Life Newsletter - This newsletter from the 1900s provides a window into the lives of a unique community. This newsletter from October 1913 covers topics such as homes in the area, fruit crop production, travels of the community members, alfalfa crops, the value of cooperation, and using evergreens for lawn planting. Browse all the records from this collection.

The Idaho Historic Aerial Photographs Collection features over 2,000 photos taken from the 1930s-1940s.

J3940 - Aerial Photograph of the St. Joe National Forest
Browse all the photos in the Idaho Historic Aerial Photographs collection.

The Robert E. Higgins Collection contains representative photographs from a professor of plant science at the University of Idaho from 1946 to 1999. During his lifetime, Professor Higgins’ photographs were accepted in over 70 juried international salons, and he had one-artist exhibitions in Idaho, Washington, and California.

Hill City Elevator from the Robert E. Higgins Collection

Browse all the photos in the Robert E. Higgins Collection.

Monday, October 27, 2014

MWDL Primo Outage November 1st and 2nd

There is a service upgrade to Primo happening over the weekend of November 1st and 2nd, which will result in the MWDL search being taken offline temporarily. The outage will start at approximately 9:00 pm on Saturday November 1st, and may last as long as 20 hours. Thank you for your patience during the brief outage. Please feel free to e-mail Anna Neatrour at anna.neatrour@utah.edu if you have any questions or concerns.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

MWDL Ingestion Update

Things have been busy here on the metadata side of MWDL! We recently hit a nice milestone and are now harvesting 701 collections!

MWDL got a big numbers bump when we added over 14,000 items in the Montana State Publications collection. We are also actively working on adding government publications from Idaho through the Idaho Commission for Libraries.

From the Arizona Memory Project, our recently added collections include historic photographs from the Petrified Forest (tip: look for Albert Einstein)  and photographs documenting the Merci Train of 1949.


We've recently added 11 new collections from the University of Idaho Library. They have wonderfully eclectic collections. I greatly enjoy the fact that in one batch I was able to ingest items as varied as a sweater from the Dizzy Gillespie collection:

Sweater, from the University of Idaho Library Dizzy Gillespie Collection

Reports from the Intermountain Forest Tree Nutrition Cooperative.

The Kooskia Internment Camp Scrapbook, which complements many other existing collections in the MWDL that document Japanese-American Internment during World War II

Men Walking Outside Building, Kooskia (Idaho) from the Kooskia Internment Camp Scrapbook collection

And the Taylor Ranch Log Books, which capture daily life at the Taylor Wilderness Research Station.

I'm working on testing additional repositories as well, so look forward to even more collections in the coming months! As always if you want a snapshot of what is happening with the ingestion process, you can take a look at the Ingestion Status page. If you have a new collection to add, you can let me know through the New Collection Form.



Monday, October 6, 2014

Clowns in the Mountain West Digital Library

Clowns! Does the idea of clowns fill you with happy thoughts of your childhood visit to the circus, or do you have Coulrophobia or the fear of clowns? Are the clowns in the MWDL happy or terrifying? Let's find out!

It will be no surprise that the Mountain West Digital Library has photographs of rodeo clowns.

This Rodeo Clown from the late 1930s is carrying a doll. From the Uintah County Library Thorne Photograph Collection

This clown photo from the Scottsdale Public Library is rather adorable:
Clowns in the 1995 Parada del Sol Parade. From the Scottsdale (AZ) Remembers: Recollections of our Past collection via the Arizona Memory Project



This clown looks very very sad:

Circus Clowns P.1 From the Utah State Historical Society Classified Photograph Collection

Here is a clown musical band!


Clown Musical Band, from the University of Nevada Las Vegas Southern Nevada: The Boomtown Years Collection

What happened to this student at the University of Nevada Reno? Did she make it to Clown College? It looks like she would be a perfect candidate for clown-related higher education.

Betty Dittmer, business major who planned to attend Clown College, from the University of Nevada Reno Campus Images collection


Have we inspired any clown related Halloween costumes? What's your favorite clown photo from a digital collection?

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Leveraging Wikipedia as a Digital Library


There was a time not too long ago when librarians would snarl and hiss at the mention of Wikipedia. Thankfully, that time has passed. Wikipedia has gained credibility over the years and is now credited as a realistic and reliable place to begin your research and a democratic tool to spread information. Librarians are even relying on DBpedia as a resource in building their own linked open data. 

What you may not know is that many digital libraries are also using Wikipedia to draw more eyes to their digital library collections. It's no surprise that the vast majority of researchers start their search in Wikipedia, and librarians are levying that to draw more users into their own digital content. 


Back in 2011, Insider Higher Ed had an article "Wielding Wikipedia" that discussed how Wikipedia quickly became the #1 driver of traffic to their website once they hired a student to add relevant links to their content throughout Wikipedia. Many other librarians are also hiring "Wikipedians-in-residence" to generate meaningful links to their digital libraries. For instance, the University of Houston added a photo to Hakeem Olajuwon's WIkipedia page of the day the basketball star signed with the Houston Rockets in 1984. According to the site, that page was viewed 50,000 times within 30 days. 


MWDL is just starting to leverage the power of Wikipedia by working with an outside party to create our own MWDL page (Wikipedia is suspect of organizations that create their own pages for ethical reasons). We then linked to Wiki pages that already mentioned MWDL such as the Marriott Library, Louis L. Madsen, and Adoration of the Magi of 1475. In these cases, we didn't even add our content to the pages, we simply linked the existing text for Mountain West Digital Library back to our new Wikipedia page


Is your library using Wikipedia? How? Has it driven more traffic to your site? 


Monday, September 29, 2014

Cool New DPLA Apps

I'm always interested to see new items pop up on DPLA's App Library. Here are some new apps that deal with data visualization in interesting ways:

DPLA Frequency Map - you can use this to see how the frequency of terms varies from state to state. It would be interesting to use this to search for regional language or foodways!

DPLA Visual Search Prototype - This visual search prototype assigns colors to facets like subject heads and also provides a timeline of term frequency.

DPLA Licenses - This grid provides an overview of the top 575 licenses assigned to materials in DPLA. It is interesting to see the variation of licenses available, and it makes me think more about how confusing it must be to library users when they need to figure out how they can use digital collections materials.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Arrrrrrr! Pirates in the Mountain West Digital Library!

The Mountain West Digital Library might be made of digital collections from land lubbers, but we still have some Pirate themed items to celebrate that most solemn occasion.

Ahoy! It is the Pirates Baseball Team from Vernal, Utah!

Pirates Baseball Team from the Vernal Express Photograph Collection
When I think of Pirates, my thoughts immediately turn to Operetta. How fortunate it is that we have many photographs of a production of Pirates of Penzance from Southern Utah University.

Pirates of Penzance from the College of Southern Utah Photograph Collection
In 1922 Murray High School put on a Junior Opera entitled "Love Pirates of Hawaii".

Love Pirates of Hawaii from the Murray Museum
This picture features a real pirate. It is Vernon Law, former Pittsburgh Pirate!

Recipients of the David O. McKay Award for Athletic Excellence, March 9, 1970 from the Brigham Young University Campus Photographs Collection 

Lastly, let's pretend to sail the Seven Seas in this impressive example of casino architecture from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Photograph of a Showboat Hotel and Casino restaurant (Atlantic City), 1987 from Dreaming the Skyline: Resort Architecture and the New Urban Space collection.



Monday, September 15, 2014

Creative Commons at MWDL


Last month Jane Park from Creative Commons did a webinar for our network about Creative Commons tools and resources for librarians. Creative Commons licenses are tools that maximize digital sharing and innovation while mitigating risk for institutions and users of content alike.

Access to such tools is imperative for libraries because we make scholarly resources available to the public, often without a lot of clarity for what downstream users can do with the content. Can students repurpose an image for a PowerPoint presentation? Combine datasets to ask new and interesting questions? Create a funny meme of a historic photograph? 

Funny meme created from USU Historical Meme contest http://digital.lib.usu.edu/cdm/ref/collection/USU_Photos/id/1911

Creative Commons licenses work within copyright law to encourage sharing and reuse of materials. They provide clarity to users about who holds copyright of an item and what rights the copyright owner would like to retain. For example, when I create a PowerPoint, I don't mind if other people reuse slides from my presentation so long as they credit me as the creator. 

My PowerPoints in SlideShare. Reuse away! 
In Creative Commons parlance, my PowerPoints would be available under a CC BY license. That means, as an author, I would be retaining my right to get credit for my work, but forgoing other rights, like the sole right to profit commercially from my PowerPoint slides. I'm just fine with that since I don't think my slides have a lot of commercial value. But I think they are valuable in other ways, like scholarly value, which is why it's important to share them as freely as possible. 

Jane gave four examples of ways that librarians can use Creative Commons in archiving and sharing their content:
Four ways librarians can use CC by Jane Park

The first way, using CC0 for library metadata, is something that MWDL already does when we share our metadata with the Digital Public Library of America. Any MWDL partner that does not want to share their metadata CC0 has the right to opt-out of sharing their metadata with DPLA, but no one has chosen to opt out yet.

As for the second way libraries can use CC, tagging resources with rights info, MWDL is going to start sharing our webinars CC BY on our website. Of course, we also encourage MWDL partners to add rights info in their metadata fields as well!

How is your library using Creative Commons licenses to make your content more open?