CLIR Issues Number 84
Number 84 • November/December 2011
ISSN 1944-7639 (online version)
CLIR Issues is produced in electronic format only. To receive the newsletter electronically, please sign up at https://clir.wordpress.clir.org/pubs/issues/signup.html. Content is not copyrighted and can be freely distributed.
By Julie Sweetkind-Singer
“Digital philanthropy” is a term being used at the Stanford University Libraries (SUL) to describe an emerging partnership between the Libraries and collectors willing to donate access to their unique and interesting map collections so that they can be scanned for broader viewing.* The idea grew out of a discussion three years ago between some SUL librarians and map collector David Rumsey as work was underway to bring his collection to Stanford. (Rumsey has pledged his entire physical collection, as well as his digital library, to Stanford over time.) The idea was that many map collectors would be interested in sharing their collections with scholars, but lack the ability, resources, or time to mount an intensive digitization effort. SUL, working with the collector, could use its scanning facilities, cataloging support, and expertise to integrate the materials into a website or library catalog. The idea has since become a reality, and SUL staff members are working with map collectors throughout California to create access to 500 years of cartographic information.
At a project’s outset, we typically hold several meetings with the collector to define the goals of the project and how we will achieve them. We agree upon what will be scanned, look at the cataloging information (of which there is often a great deal) to see what remediation is needed, and discuss logistics. Moving materials is a significant part of the challenge. The items may be fragile, rare, or expensive, requiring special packaging and handling. We bring the collection in pieces, based upon the value of the individual items—the higher the value, the fewer we bring. Detailed notes are taken as the materials are transferred from the donor to the movers and from the movers to the lab. At each step, the materials must be tracked. Before work begins, we negotiate rights with the collector. Although the materials are all in the public domain, it is still necessary to agree on rights to access and reproduction for the online images. Management of the commercial rights may stay with the donor or be handled by the library. These details, and many more, are laid out in a signed contract.
Since the program’s inception there have been many hurdles to jump. Things that seem simple, such as tracking exactly what has been scanned and what will come to the labs next, become complex when materials are dispersed throughout a collector’s house or reside in a variety of containers (as a single sheet, inside a folded cover, framed, or part of an atlas or book). Many maps are large in size, requiring the photographers to think creatively about how to scan an item measured in feet rather than inches. We have improved our processes over time. We have created sophisticated workflows to track the digital files and correctly match them with their metadata, and we are developing visualization environments designed specifically with cartographic content in mind.
Metadata remediation is a significant component of the projects. It requires input from the Metadata Unit, the map librarians, the donor, and the technical staff in the Digital Library Systems and Services group. The cataloging done by the donors often needs enhancement, most typically to add coordinate data, which allows for geographic searching in catalogs designed specifically with this functionality in mind. These records, created in MODS, will be loaded into Stanford’s new library catalog, Searchworks, using non-MARC metadata. Being able to ingest non-MARC metadata directly into our library’s OPAC is a big step forward in SUL’s ability to integrate a wide variety of content into one search interface.
The program, named Project Ortelius, has proven beneficial on many fronts. Within SUL, it has provided a solid test bed for which an end-to-end workflow has been developed. The workflow starts at the point of identifying content to put into the stream and ends with the materials available for use and preserved in the Stanford Digital Repository. The maps are by no means the only content going through the workflow, but they are one of the more complex non-book formats to be handled on a systematic basis. The project has also created strong ties across the organizational units that must work collaboratively to efficiently and effectively plan, manage, and execute the work.
Externally, the most significant impact of Project Ortelius is that faculty and students of Stanford and beyond will be able to easily access rare materials research and teaching. Through the generosity of the donors, collections that typically move from private hands to private hands are now visible to a wide range of users, be they scholars in an academic environment, an artist looking for creative inspiration, or a school child interested in sea monsters.
The map collections with which we have been working are just now starting to be available online. They may be viewed at http://collections.stanford.edu/images and include the Maps of Africa Collection and the Barry Lawrence Ruderman Collection.
* The term “digital philanthropy” is evolving. Here it describes an arrangement between a group of donors and a specific institution, but it can also refer to creating endowments or other large-scale funding efforts to support humanities in a digital era. CLIR will be exploring this topic further in the coming year. —Ed.
Julie Sweetkind-Singer is assistant director of geospatial, cartographic and scientific data & services, and acting head of the Branner Earth Sciences Library & Map Collections at Stanford University Libraries and Academic Information Resources.
CLIR’s DLF Program is coordinating and cochairing the Content & Scope Workstream for the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA). Content & Scope is one of six workstreams established in October to define consensus-driven next steps for the DPLA. The other five workstreams are Audience & Participation, Financial/Business Models, Governance, Legal Issues, and Technical Aspects.
The Content & Scope Workstream will identify content and articulate a collection development policy for the DPLA by confronting questions regarding management of and access to distributed materials, research, and data curation. Some of this work will be done in periodic workshops, but the process encourages broad input via listserv. Listserv discussions on Content & Scope have focused mainly on what types of materials should be included (public domain, in-copyright materials, user created content), how to move that discussion forward, and what strategies might be used to obtain the desired materials. Individuals who wish to add to the Content & Scope Workstream discussion can join the listserv at https://cyber.law.harvard.edu/lists/subscribe/dpla-content.
Listservs have also been established for each of the other workstreams. To join a listserv, click on the workstream link provided above, then click on “listserv.” The DPLA blog now posts listserv recaps at least once a month for all six of the workstreams.
The CLIR Board has elected new members Leslie Weir, chief librarian at the University of Ottawa, and Herman Pabbruwe, chief executive officer of Brill. Their terms will begin April 2012.
Mr. Pabbruwe has a distinguished career in academic publishing. Before joining Brill he worked as a consultant with Book-Ties, and in various capacities at Wolters Kluwer. Mr. Pabbruwe also previously served on the CLIR Board.
Ms. Weir has served as university librarian at the University of Ottawa since 2003. She was president of the Canadian Association of Research Libraries from 2007-2009. Ms. Weir also served as chair of the Ontario Council of University Libraries, and has chaired the Scholars Portal Operations and Development Committee.
“I’m delighted by these appointments,” said CLIR President Chuck Henry. “Mr. Pabbruwe and Ms. Weir bring exceptional talent and experience to our work, and the Board is honored to welcome them.”
Carole Moore, former chief librarian at the University of Toronto, retired from the CLIR Board in November after six years of service.
The Scholarly Communication Institute (SCI), based at the University of Virginia Library and led by Abby Smith Rumsey and Bethany Nowviskie, has announced plans for the next phase of its work. With continued funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the SCI will, over the next two years, focus on scholarly production, graduate education, and philanthropic support of the humanities in and for the digital age.
The Institute will undertake concentrated work in three program areas:
- further developing new-model scholarly authoring and production processes;
- rethinking and redesigning the methodological training of humanities scholars and scholarly communication professionals for the digital age; and
- building support for the humanities in and for the digital age by articulating the case for expanding the pool of humanities funding. The case will be presented in a report that CLIR will publish and that will be available on the SCI website.
These program areas evolved from conversations at recent SCI institutes, including the latest session in July 2011. Participants’ attention reflected a growing sense of urgency felt by scholars and their scholarly societies, by presses and academic publishers, and by research libraries. The urgency is not only to understand the rapidly evolving landscape of scholarly communication, but to shape it by enacting a clear vision for scholarly communication in and for the digital age, a vision that carries forward centuries-long traditions of humanities scholarship.
More information on the SCI’s new agenda is available at http://www.uvasci.org/current-work/.
The Strategic Content Alliance (SCA) and the Collections Trust (CT) seek respondents for the Orphan Works Survey: Bring light into the digital ‘black hole’ of the 20th and 21st centuries at http://1686881.polldaddy.com/s/orphan-works-survey. The survey will take just a few minutes. The closing date for the survey is Friday 30th December 2011, and the results will be published in January 2012. As a thank you the consortia will enter each respondent’s name to the prize draw, for a chance to win a new Kindle.
In 2009 the SCA and the CT published one of the few empirical pieces of evidence, In From the Cold, on the scale and impact of orphan works (works for which the rights holders are unknown or cannot be traced) on galleries, archives, and libraries specifically and other organizations more broadly.
In 2011, the SCA and CT have been joined by Eblida, LIBER, Museums Galleries Scotland, Scottish Library and Information Council, Research Libraries UK (RLUK) and SCONUL in an attempt to gauge the changes, through this online survey, that have occurred since the original report was published.
Nineteen institutions have been selected to receive 2011 Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives awards:
American Geographical Society Library, University of Milwaukee
Providing Access to the Archives of the American Geographical Society
Amistad Research Center
Increasing Access to Africana Collections: The American Committee on Africa and The Africa Fund Records
Brown University Library
The Gordon Hall and Grace Hoag Collection of Dissenting and Extremist Printed Propaganda, Part II
Center for Jewish History
Illuminating Hidden Collections at the Center for Jewish History
Dance Heritage Coalition
Foundations of Dance Research (Foundations)
Fray Angélico Chávez History Library
Mapas históricos de Nuevo México = Historic New Mexico Maps
Georgetown University, Lauinger Library
Undiscovered Printmakers: Hidden Treasures in Georgetown University’s Library
History San Jose
Documenting Technology Innovation: Perham Collection of Early Electronics
Maine Maritime Museum
Merchant Mariners Muster: Cataloging Crew Manuscripts
Mennonite Heritage Center
The Pennsylvania German Textiles of the Goshenhoppen Historians, the Mennonite Heritage Center and the Schwenkfelder Library & Heritage Center
Museum of Vertebrate Zoology
Cataloging Hidden Archives of the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology: Increasing Integration and Accessibility for Interdisciplinary Research
The New York Archival Society
Cataloging Artifacts and Related Records of the World Trade Center Attack on September 11, 2001
New-York Historical Society
The New-York Historical Society American Almanac Collection
North Carolina State University Libraries
Acting for Animals: Revealing the Records of Animal Rights and Animal Welfare Movements
Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey
Cataloging Women in Jazz Collections at the Institute of Jazz Studies
San Diego Museum of Man
Capturing History: Cataloging the San Diego Museum of Man’s Photographic Collection
Smithsonian Institution, Archives of American Art
Uncovering Hidden Audio Visual Media Documenting Post-Modern Art at the Archives of American Art
Texas A&M University, Cushing Memorial Library & Archives
Discovering a New World: Cataloging Old and Rare Imprints from Colonial and Early Independent Mexico
University of California, Santa Barbara, University Art Museum
Cataloguing Southern California’s Architectural History
More detail on this year’s funded projects can be found at https://clir.wordpress.clir.org/hiddencollections/awards/index2011.html.
The next funding cycle for Hidden Collections will open in 2012. An announcement requesting proposals for the grant will be issued in January.
Created in 2008 and supported by ongoing funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives awards program supports the identification and cataloging of special collections and archives of high scholarly value that are difficult or impossible to locate. Award recipients create Web-accessible records according to standards that enable the federation of their local cataloging entries into larger groups of related records, enabling the broadest possible exposure to the scholarly community.
In coordination with this program CLIR keeps a registry of hidden collections and archives, based on information supplied by applicants.
Charles Henry Named Honorary Consultant to KIT
Charles Henry was recently awarded the title of Honorary Consultant to the Kanazawa Institute of Technology’s (KIT) International Roundtable for Information, acknowledging his many years as a conference speaker and planner, and the support CLIR has given to this program. Dr. Henry will continue to advise the Roundtable, helping to identify complex topics of wide interest and inviting prominent speakers to explore them.
Each year for the past 30 years, leading librarians, scholars, and administrators from the United States have been invited to give papers on important library-related topics at the KIT Roundtable. Conference themes vary; during the final years of the twentieth century, the focus was digital library development. More recently, the theme has been e-science—reflecting on how technology has changed the conduct of scientific research and the emerging opportunities for librarianship in developing new services and programs. E-publishing has lately attracted the attention of the Roundtable participants, and has been discussed from the perspective of scholars, librarians, for-profit publishers of academic journals, and university press administrators. New forms of scholarly communication and emerging research methodologies have been parcel to these presentations.
2010-2011 Annual Report Available
CLIR’s 2010-2011 Annual Report is available at https://clir.wordpress.clir.org/pubs/annual/annual.html. The report includes an overview of CLIR’s programmatic work and finances from July 1, 2010 to June 30, 2011. It is available in electronic format only.