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Showing posts from 2015

Issues in digitizing newsprint- A day in the life of a digital librarian

We are currently working on the 1990 decade of the Daily Kent Stater, which will be live in the next few weeks. I wanted to write a post about what the work entails for this project, and how many different processes are involved to get a single page posted online.

This process involves using three outside vendors once we have prepped the materials for scanning in-house. We use on vendor to create high resolution scans, another vendor to encode the words on each page for a searchable database, and finally another vendor to host the content. Before we publish the content online, I do a spot check of the original scans from the first vendor, as well as a review of the decade on a test site from the hosting vendor. I look for any known issues that we noted during the preparation phase (such as torn pages, mis-numbered issues, inserted materials, etc.). This is a tedious process, but does ensure the quality of the scans online. While I am not able to check every page of the decade, I have…

New face for Special Collections and Archives digital collections

This week we rolled out a new face for the digital collections from the Special Collections and Archives department at the University Library. Some of the changes may seem subtle, but they will be crucial ones as we continue to build up our digital collections.

Our previous iteration was built on a home-grown service, and had some shortcomings. Our hope with this new interface is to provide a more fluid search and browse experience without losing any of the functionality of the old site. Previously, users were unable to search across all collections, and now we have a way to search three of the five collections. Two collections are hosted by outside vendors, but we are working on a way to also add these to the search functionality. We will also be sharing some important audio files from the May 4 collection in the coming weeks. Stay tuned! 

Metrics for digital collections

Next week I will be presenting a session at the annual ASIST conference on creating metrics for digital collections. My focus will be on how to apply a consistent set of metrics to collections, and also define multiple tools to gather information. For our pilot year, we'll be using Google Analytics, Webometric Analyst and Open Web Analytics (and, also currently doing a trial of alt-metrics, through PlumX). I'm excited to see how our digital collections are cited and linked to on the open web, and also if we can use this information to determine usage of particular collections. We've selected a mix of Special Collections and Archives content, and also image galleries from our Digital Commons instance. The following metrics below are the ones we have defined for the project. We will plan to publish the results next year after we have gathered after the pilot year.

Sustainability Web mention analysis Blog analysis Link Impact Report Audience Analysis Usage Pageviews Unique Pageviews …

Digital Daily Kent Staters- 1980s are now live

We have just loaded the digital issues of the Kent Stater from January 1980 to December 1989. This adds another 20,000 pages to the digital archive, and we are anticipating having the 1990s up before the end of the year. Check back for more updates, and enjoy gems like coverage of the Michael Stanley band from the spring of 1980.

Check it out here.

Russian doll effect in digital libraries

I've heard a few presentations from Jim Bradley (Head of Metadata and Digital Initiatives at Ball State) over the years on the idea of the Russian Doll effect in digital libraries. This has been an intriguing premise to me- How can we effectively assess and track how our digital collections are living beyond the scope of the repository, and further, how can we track this type of scholarship? Surely this process would display the value and importance of open digital collections, and also indicate how scholarship is influenced and created through these collections.

The elusiveness of digital media can be a curious one to try to ponder and capture effectively, but I think what is interesting to me, is how users can repurpose, repackage and bundle information into new contexts. Bradley has spoken about a project where students used drawings from the Pierre and Wright Architectural Records and created new designs and 3D objects from the original drawings. The digital library then soug…

Navigating the "if you build it, they will come" mentality in digital libraries

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about how users come to find our digital content, and how we can improve the ways users find, navigate and interact with our content. We are in the midst of a re-design of Digital Collections for Special Collections and Archives at Kent, moving to an open source Omeka option. I'm most excited about the enhanced search and browse features, and also in using OAI-PMH to further open our collections online. I will be tracking use over the next year and looking to see how users find our collections (open Google search? From our homepage?), and then what they do once they have found what they are looking for. But this all assumes that people have found a way to search the digital collections- how can we highlight certain features that are currently hidden and buried away?

Our staff and faculty have used some social media tools in the past, but are these a lasting mechanism? Omeka has a digital exhibit function, which I hope will be quite useful as t…

Digital Scholarship

Digital Scholarship is a term that could probably defined in a dozen different ways if you asked a group of people to define it. It's a somewhat elusive concept, but for me, it's finding new connections between ideas that were previously unknown, using a tools and techniques that were not previously available using a little expertise from programmers, digital librarians and an array of other folks. What does this look like?

I've put together a few samples below. Some make use of data analysis, while others apply newer metadata applications to bring an idea into a new level of understanding and research. This goes beyond a digital repository that simply provides access to material, but allows a whole new level of interpretation and use.

Here are a list of some of my favorites:

Belfast Group Poetry Networks: showing an interactive network of a group of writers, and how we can now make new mappings of the connections within the group

Linked Jazz: a research project that uses L…

Daily Kent Staters- 1950s are live!

We have recently added the 1950s to our online digital archive of the Kent State student newspaper, the Daily Kent Stater!

Please stop by the site and check out the new additions:

We've also added a feature to ask users to help us make text corrections to the project. More information here

We will continue to add more content later this year- Coming up will be the 1980s and 1990s!

History Pin and digital content

Recently, we have been working on creating a History Pin account to highlight some of our digital content, mainly from the May 4 image collection. This tool allows us to add geographic information to the images, as well as pinpoint exactly the time and place on campus. Now, users can browse the photographs through a map feature, which may be helpful when searching for photographs. Check out our current collection at:

Digital Daily Kent Staters

Recently, we've added the 1970s to our online collection of the student newspaper, the Daily Kent Stater. (Check out the digital archive here: )

This was an exciting project for our staff, in part due to the sheer volume of the decade, numbering just under 17,000 pages, as well as coverage of the May 4 shootings at Kent State during that time period. We've also added a new feature, to allow users to help with text correction.

Users may create an account with a valid email, and then help find any errors that result from the OCR process. This will help our digital archive improve the search accuracy and provide users a way to assist with text correction. You can register here, and then begin to search or browse the collection as you normally would. If you happen to notice any mistakes during your research, all you will need to do is edit the particular section and submit the changes.

We are currently working on some instructions that will help clarif…