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!

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!