Thursday, February 21, 2019

We're Moving!

It is time for us to make a big change. We're leaving the blogger platform behind for greener pastures. From now on you'll be able to find us at

where we'll be posting plenty of content including new outreach programs, conference proceedings, and more!  Check out our first post celebrating Black History Month here!

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

MWDL's Year in Review!

What a year it's been! We started the year off big in January by welcoming Teresa K. Hebron as our fantastic new Metadata Librarian. Over the next several months we bade farewell to Avalon Snell and Jon Wiggins, and said hello to Arash Tadjiki and Keegan Dohm who became the new Web Software Developer and Metadata Assistant. We have formed taskforces, hosted conferences, traveled the world, seen usage globally, transferred to the new website, welcomed new members, and ingested thousands and thousands of new records.

On that last note, we are proud to announce...

MWDL Went Platinum this Year! 

That’s right, we crossed the 1 million record threshold. With the recent completion of DPLA's November harvest, we also have a 1 million-plus item representation in DPLA as well! 

The illustrious platinum record fictitiously awarded to MWDL after reaching 1 million records.

We’d like to thank our institutional members for their strong support and diverse content, and all our new and old team members who have striven to make Mountain West Digital Library the best it could be. We'd also like to give a special shout-out to all the people using MWDL! Check out their most popular searches for 2018 in the wordcloud below.

This wordcloud shows the top 25 search terms on during 2018.

With so much new content (and exciting outreach programs in the works), the 2019 wordcloud may take on a totally different shape.

We had a huge meeting over the internet!

Just last week, on Dec 14th, we held the MWDL Winter Hubs meeting. The meeting minutes are located here. Some highlights include info on the recent DPLA updates and Changes, lightning quick institutional updates, and status updates from Bulk Digitization (Specifications and metadata), Outreach, MAP revision, and Digital Preservation taskforces. For those interested, a Zoom recording is available as well.  

And a real-world conference in July!

J. Willard Marriott Library at University of Utah hosted the MWDL Summer Conference on July 10-11. It was wonderful seeing so many people from members and the general community for two packed days of presentations, updates, bingo, library tours and networking. 

In case you weren't able to join us, the proceedings will be online soon and we look forward to seeing you at the next meeting!

Shiny new promotional materials!

The front (left) and back (right) of MWDL's newest postcard.

Keegan Dohm, our Metadata Assistant, recently designed a striking new postcard for our promotional materials. With the new design and added features like space for writing, we think it turned out great! Of course, we've also added the new features to the backs of our old post cards. Feel free to let us know what you think and if you want to use this or other media, you can find them at the bottom of our get involved page.

Starting Off 2019 in Style!

Our student employees Arash Tadjiki and Keegan Dohm are working to set up a new MWDL Blog and Publishing site to be unveiled in 2019. The publishing portion of the site will host the publications presented at this year's summer conference and the blog section will replace this one. So get ready for a sleeker blog site with a totally new slate of posts and outreach!

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Giving Thanks to Veterans at Thanksgiving!

We’re now wading deep into the holiday season! In light of Veteran's Day last week and with Thanksgiving fast approaching, we think it's the perfect time to show thanks. So, as a thank you to both our readers and veterans, we're giving you something to get excited about: a collection highlight! Make the most of your holiday by looking through these resources related to military service throughout the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. One way to give thanks it is to remember and understand the stories and events that veterans experience. By delving into these collections you'll discover powerful insight into the stories of those touched by war: not just soldiers, but also nurses, doctors, mechanics, their family and friends. Since war touches everyone, you may even find a personal connection to yourself or someone you know. Give thanks to all those who came before you by exploring these heritage collections too. Some of our most extensive collections contain photographs and service listings from the world wars. You’ll find thousands of the documents and photographs left behind to tell those stories in the collections below. Taking the time to read and remember the lives and histories of our heritage is a great way to honor that heritage and show thanks to those that came before.

Utah State Historical Society World War Military Listings

Army nurses from Red Cross Files for World War 2
Here you'll encounter listings containing the basic information of thousands of volunteers in various roles, their families, those who perished, and those safely discharged.

World War I Service Cards

Service Card of William R. Holt
This collection contains the service cards of men and women from Weber County that served during World War I. They include their home address, next of kin, the branch of service, entrance date, discharge date, and remarks such as where they served and if killed in action. Included in this collection are notable names such as Browning, Scowcroft, Bernard DeVoto, Lawrence Dee, and Edmond Littlefield.

World War I Edmond (Ted) Littlefield

An officer standing next to an ambulance during WWI
This collection contains a diary, personal letters and photos of Edmond Arthur Littlefield principally from his service in the American Field Service during World War I. Other items include pre and post WWI letters and photos.

World War I Photographs

Troops in the July 4th armistice parade
A collection of photographs of the Armistice Parade that took place in Ogden, Utah in 1919. They include photographs of the troops returning from war, various women’s groups like the American Red Cross, and school children. These photographs were donated by Richard Roberts.

WorldWar II POW Camp Correspondence, Newsletters, Oral History and Photographs

POWs with the nurse
A collection of photographs and oral history quotes that document the history of the Prisoner of War camp at Defense Depot Ogden that opened in 1943 and closed in 1946. The oral histories were conducted with widows of German and Italian POWs, former guards, and community members that worked with the POWs.

World War II Photographs by J. Malan Heslop

Cocoa for All! A soldier lights another's cigarette across a table filled with cocoa mugs.
[John Hale, the Old Man of the Tennessee mountains, is shown a bazooka by Pfc. Alexander Hamilton. This photograph ran in the CUB, the official publication of the Army Division, February 25, 1944]
Containing more than 1,350 images scanned from negatives, original prints, and slides, J. Malan Heslop served in the U.S. Army and documented the final months of World War II in Austria, Belgium, France, Luxembourg, and Germany.

UO Veterans

Interview with Jack Heide discussing his experiences serving in the Army Reserves

The UO Veterans Oral History Project was established in 2012 with the aim of documenting the military experiences of men and women associated with the University of Oregon and the wider Oregon community. The project understands military experience broadly to include not just combat but all aspects of military service.

The UO Veterans Oral History Project rests on interviews with both veterans and active duty service men and women. Interviews are conducted and transcribed by University of Oregon students enrolled in a class designed to support the project. The interviews are permanently housed in the archive at the University of Oregon Libraries.

Utah State Historical Society World War I Service Questionnaires (New to MWDL!)

World War I service questionnaires | Fred R Davidson
This series contains military service questionnaires and photographs of Utah's World War I veterans compiled by the Utah State Historical Society shortly after the war. The forms were sent to veterans or their families to complete and return.

The survey was the result of a request by Utah Governor Bamberger to the State Council of Defense that a War History of the State be compiled. By 1920 when the Council had disbanded, the project was continued by the Utah State Historical Society who hired Dr. Andrew L. Neff to write the history. By 1926 the production of an all encompassing work proved overwhelming, and it was learned that the federal government was compiling similar information to be filed with the state adjutant general. Therefore the project was abandoned as infeasible and a duplication of effort.

 Utah National Guard 145th Field Artillery Scrapbook (New to MWDL!)

A terse memorandum informing a Captain that his troop would be parading through Salt Lake City on the 6th.
This series contains a scrapbook of the 145th Field Artillery of Utah explaining how President Wilson tried to persuade the nation into joining the war, how Utah's National Guard was mobilized, and the names of the Utah soldiers. The scrapbook was created by the Statistical Section of the Regiment.
The scrapbook has excerpts from: President Wilson's Address to Congress, 'The War Message and Facts Behind it', and the President's Flag Day Address. It also contains appointments and general orders made by President Wilson reorganizing Utah's 145th. It has the names of the soldiers who were ordered or drafted into the service, enlistments, promotions, transfers, and rosters.

UO Archives Photographs

The University Archives Photograph Collection contains modern and vintage photographic prints related to the University of Oregon. The photographs depict a variety of buildings, historic scenes, events, students, faculty and staff, and scenes of campus life. Additionally, photos of World War II-era events on campus and soldiers are also featured.

Utah State Historical Society WorldWar I Records Dead Roster

This series is an effort to preserve a history of the World War I war record of Utah. The task originally was begun by the State Council of Defense, part of the National Council of Defense created on August 29, 1916 by act of Congress. The State Councils were to assist the federal government in recruiting for the National Guard and armed forces, promoting agricultural and industrial production for the war effort, fundraising, and planning patriotic activities. The Council also responded to a request by Governor Bamberger to compile a War History of the state. With the end of the war, the State Council was dissolved, and the war history aspect was assumed by the Utah State Historical Society. Most of the series consists of rosters of one form or another, including the Dead Roster featured here.

Salt Lake Tribune Negative Collection

This collection contains over 171,000 images from the 1930s to the 1960s. It is unique in origin as it includes images taken by dozens of different photographers sent out by the newspaper to get the perfect shot, something newsworthy. This results in many "live action" images taken of everyday activities and includes photos of war-related parades and local servicemen.

UO Stock Photos

A wonderful resource for stock images of people, places, and happenings around the University of Oregon campus, this collection also contains a series of photos of a 2007 Iraq War Flag Memorial.

As always, we're thankful for all our partners who have contributed these collections: Brigham Young University, Utah Department of Heritage & Arts, Oregon Digital, Utah State Archives, and Weber State University! 

Happy Thanksgiving! 

Thursday, October 11, 2018

The Mountain West in Pop Culture

From the wild west to giant airplanes and the Las Vegas strip, Mountain West has it all. This week we want to point out which collections to peruse if you're looking for wild stories, movies, monsters and more.

Here's a highlight of some of the most poppin' cultural heritage collections in our library.

Buffalo Bill/Wild West traveling shows

A wild west battle reenactment involving horses an riders chaotically racing around a field.

Mountain West hosts more than 70 awesome collections from the Buffalo Bill Center of the West. Their records include the photographs, scrapbooks, newspaper clippings, and ephemera surrounding the true history of Buffalo Bill and the spirit of the American West. These are the real people and events that have inspired countless stories and movies.

Speaking of movies...

Movies Made in Utah

Scene of the meeting at the rails in Paramount's Union Pacific.

The Movies Made in Utah collection boasts 49 behind the scenes still images of classic western cinema, including Paramount's "Union Pacific" and MGM's "Billy the Kid". Unfortunately it doesn't include info about movies that are yet to be made, such as "The Bear Lake Monster".

Luckily, we've got you covered!

A painting of the serpentine Bear Lake Monster approaching the shore of the lake.

The Bear Lake Monster collection hosts a plethora of records pertaining to the Bear Lake monster, an infamous prank and local legend surrounding the lake in Northern Utah/Southern Idaho. This collection comes to us from Utah State University which, in Logan, UT, sits just an hour away from the monster. It's quite common for summer cabins and homes around bear lake to boast felt recreations of the scene above, or some other reference to this popular legend. 

Welcome Home, Howard!

The Spruce Goose floating atop the water before its flight.

The fabulously successful business magnate and record setting aviator and aircraft designer, Howard Hughes's personal story is as much a part of the popular culture of the west as his films. RKO, Hughes's production company produced classic films like Scarface and The Racket!. Meanwhile Hughes designed the largest aircraft ever flown (by wingspan). Though it only ever embarked on one flight, the story of the spruce goose is still taught in schools today. Through the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Mountain West has more than 800 records pertaining to Howard Hughes. Many of these can be read about in detail in UNLV's wonderful digital exhibit, "Welcome Home, Howard!".

Showgirls Collection

Pair of ballet-style dancers in white leotards with turquoise tights, capes and headpieces.

The Las Vegas Showgirl, and the shows which exemplified them, have a history all their own. From the distinct theatrical traditions of burlesque, vaudeville, dance and music halls, the French cancan, comic opera and operetta, Broadway, speakeasies and nightclubs, and movies, came a cosmopolitan adult entertainment popular in New York, Hollywood, Paris, Miami Beach, Rio, and ultimately Las Vegas. These records exhibit the designs and photographs that went into the colorful shows of quintessential Las Vegas.

Reno Street Art

This mural depicts a large brown octopus mixed with peacock feathers and a human-like figure.

Just as colorful is Reno's thriving street art scene, which the University of Nevada, Reno exhibits in this collection featuring hundreds of pieces created during competitions and festivals. Some of the murals date back as far as the 90s, though more are from recent years.Some are political statements. Some masterpieces. Some graffiti. All of them add to the vibrant atmosphere of both Reno's streets and our collections. 

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Where in the world is MWDL (being used)?

Have you ever wondered where MWDL users are? We naturally think of our own local user communities comprising students, researchers, genealogists, and the general public, but were you curious where else MWDL users might be located? 

Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) recently launched a new analytics dashboard for hubs. In addition to a variety of typical usage statistics like website use times, click-through stats, and counts of views from different sources, they also offer a view of users by location! This view displays the "[l]ocations of users who viewed or clicked through at least one of your items on the DPLA website. Equivalent to "location" or "geo network" in Google Analytics."

In August 2018, MWDL items in DPLA had views all across the United States:

August 2018 US users
Unsurprisingly, we had a large number of users in Utah and throughout the Intermountain West (with the highest number in California with 274!), but also across the rest of the United States. How does this compare with views globally in August?

August 2018 World users

Wow! While the numbers are certainly less concentrated, MWDL items in DPLA got views from places as diverse as Argentina (6 users) to Japan (24 users). 

If we look at 2018 year-to-date users, we can see users in a majority of countries: 

2018 YTD World users
Who wants to travel to Greenland, Papua New Guinea or Madagascar to help fill in a blank? Happy travels!

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Back-to-school News Roundup!

Arash Tadjiki -- Our new Web Developer.

Arash, thinking about web development.
We're excited to welcome Arash to the Mountain West team and back to the Marriott library. Arash worked at the Marriott Library in one of the computer support groups during his undergrad in CS. He recently returned to the University of Utah to start a Masters Degree in Entertainment Arts and Engineering (aka Video Game Design), and will work with us as a web software developer while he completes his program.

Article in Code4Lib Journal

Our very own Teresa Hebron, has published an article in Code4Lib about the MWDL metadata audit tool! In the article, Teresa discusses problems encountered during the successful project to adapt the Metadata Audit tools to work with the configuration of the OAI-PMH provision from Oregon Digital's Samvera repository. You can read it here!

MAP Revision Taskforce

Following the MWDL Summer Conference in July and building on the excellent MWDL Application Profile review done by the Bulk Digitization Task Force, the MWDL Metadata Application Profile (MAP) Revision Taskforce formed and began meeting in early August.

The MWDL MAP was last revised in 2011, so the taskforce has undertaken a comparison of MAPs from other digital libraries as well as DPLA and will be issuing a survey in the coming weeks to assess member needs. Be on the look out! Thanks to all the members of the taskforce:


Emily Boss (University of Nevada, Reno)
Lisa Chaufty (University of Utah, McKay Music Library)
Marina Georgieva (University of Nevada, Las Vegas)
Teresa Hebron (Mountain West Digital Library)
Becky McKown (Brigham Young University)
Darnelle Melvin (University of Nevada, Las Vegas)
Anna L Neatrour (University of Utah, Marriott Library)
Char Newbold (Utah State Library)
Cory Nimer (Brigham Young University)
Andrea Payant (Utah State University)
Gina Strack (Utah State Archives)
Rachel Jane Wittmann (University of Utah, Marriott Library)
Liz Woolcott (Utah State University)


(From Left) Kinza Masood [MWDL Director], Teresa Hebron [MWDL Metadata Librarian], Arash Tadjiki [MWDL Web Developer], Keegan Dohm [MWDL Metadata Assistant]

MWDL staff talked to over 100 participants at Marriott Library's annual fall welcome event. The whole MWDL team attended to represent Mountain West to the University of Utah student body. With candy, a clown game, and the combined charisma of a top-notch team we spoke with more than one hundred participants and saw MWDL alum Rebekah Cummings showcase some outstanding balloon sculpture skills.

Utah History Conference

Call for papers and award nominations for Utah's Annual State History Conference on Sept 27-28, 2018.
MWDL will be on site Sept 28 for the 66th Annual Utah History Conference in West Valley City, UT. We will have a table from 8am-4:30pm. During this year's conference, speakers will explore the ways that transportation and movement of ideas, people and goods has influenced the social and physical landscapes of the state over time. Check it out here.


We have completed our August harvest with a total of over 975K records! Congrats all for hard work. Keep an eye out for the big 1000K announcement when we hit a million records. Can digital libraries go platinum? If so, we'll be there soon!