Monday, January 26, 2015

January Harvesting Update

We've been adding a bunch of new collections in January and have a few more on track to be added this week! Here's what we've added recently:


From Salt Lake Community College:

Salt Lake Community College Culinary Arts Program Archives - There are over 800 menus in this impressive archive!

From the Montana Memory Project:

Books, Pamphlets and Ephemera from the University of Montana 
Bud Moore Photographs and Sound Recordings - experience the Montana landscape
Char-Koosta News - Local newspaper from the Flathead Indian Reservation
Chipppewa Cree Tribe Water Rights Settlement Record
Diaries, Letters and Ledgers from the University of Montana
Charles M. Russell Research Materials from the James B. Rankin Collection
Justice Under the Big Sky
Bozeman and Gallatin Valley (MT) Photographs 
Northern Montana College (Montana State University Northern) Yearbooks 
Missoula County High School - The Bitterroot Yearbooks 
John J. Powers Safety Poster Collection - Great examples of graphic design in this collection!

From the Arizona Memory Project:

Town of Carefree, Arizona - Check out the photos of their landmark sundial!

From the American Fork City Public Library, working with Utah Valley University, we have our first PLPP collection:

American Fork City (UT) Royalty

As always, if you are curious about what we've been working on, you can check out our ingestion status page. Feel free to submit any new collections you have to add to MWDL too!




Friday, January 23, 2015

Diversity of cultural heritage items: We can do better


We have done some good

Our colleagues at the Digital Public Library of America reviewed harvesting statistics from 2014 in a recent post, "Tracking DPLA’s growth in 2014." 
See full-sized graph.
Of the hubs serving up metadata to the DPLA, the Mountain West Digital Library had the largest number of cultural heritage materials about diverse groups in America (see graph). With over 30,000 items from MWDL representing America's underrepresented groups, we can be proud to be reflecting some of the diversity of our region and its history. Thanks to our many collection partners who are building these collections and sharing them with MWDL and DPLA.

We can do better

With access to almost 1 million items in MWDL, however, the number of items about diverse groups ought to be much higher. Do you have collections of photographs, diaries, films, oral histories, books, and artifacts from any of these groups in the Mountain West? If so, we encourage you to work with one of our partners -- a library, museum, or archive in any of the six states of the region -- to digitize and share unique perspectives of our history, from all our region's citizens, including these groups identified in the DPLA review:
  • historically non-white racial and ethnic groups
  • cultural/religious minority groups (Jews, Muslims, Hindus, etc.)
  • women
  • LGBTQ communities
  • disabled communities (including the physically, sensorily, and developmentally disabled)
  • rural communities
  • populations with lower socioeconomic status (focusing on poverty, working class issues, labor issues)
  • elderly populations
Let's keep working together to reflect the full history and heritage of the Mountain West.

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.