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 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

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?

Friday, September 5, 2014

Historical Image Sets on Flickr

It seems like every other month, someone releases a large set of images into the public domain! These efforts often get great publicity and word of mouth, and it is interesting to see the activity that springs up around these collections.

Here is a recent Washington Post article about efforts to pull out images from books digitized by the Internet Archive and share them on Flickr.

There's also a BBC News article about the project.

You can browse through the Internet Archive book images at the Flickr page.

The British Library has also released a large set of images from books on Flickr. You can take a look at the favorites page to see ways that users have remixed these images. These photos were also used as the basis for an art exhibit at Burning Man.

You can play metadata games with the collections of portraits and naval images from the British Library.

Flickr Commons launched with a pilot project from the Library of Congress. Crowdsourced comments from users have helped the Library of Congress get more useful information about many images. You can check out a set of images with crowdsourced comments here.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

A Library of Digital Training

One of the benefits of webinars is the ability to record them and view them at a later date. The Mountain West Digital Library has been recording and archiving webinars for over a year and now has 25 different videos available in our training library.

If you would like to brush up on a digital library topic or share a video with someone who may be interested, we encourage you to check out the MWDL video archive which is available in the "Previous Webinars and Training Events" section of our Event page. Some of the topics covered include:

Understanding Rights for Cultural Heritage Content
Assigning Creative Commons Licenses
MWDL Application Profile
Geospatial Discovery: Initial Recommendations from the Task Force
Digital Asset Management System Options
Harvesting Using the Open Archives Initiative Protocol
and much more!

Is there a training topic you would like to see that's not in our library? Leave it in the comment box below!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Is your library a Thing?

Check out this open access article:
Demonstrating Library Value at Network Scale: Leveraging the Semantic Web With New Knowledge Work by Kenning Arlitsch, Patrick O'Brien, Jason A. Clark, Scott W. H. Young & Doralyn Rossmann for an interesting overview of what the Library can provide a University by offering assistance with Semantic Web and Search Engine Optimization services. There's an interesting case study to read about Google indexing of the Montana State University Library before and after semantic identity was established, as well as the need for libraries to be more active with Wikipedia, in order to get libraries and library services established as Things within Dbpedia, and thus able to be interpreted with greater detail by search engines.

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!