Archive for the 'Digital Archives and Special Collections' Category

Max Planck Institute Releases Best Practices for Access to Images: Recommendations for Scholarly Use and Publishing

Posted in Copyright, Digital Archives and Special Collections, Digitization, Open Access on January 26th, 2009

The Max Planck Institute for the History of Science has released Best Practices for Access to Images: Recommendations for Scholarly Use and Publishing.

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

The recommendations were prompted by the barriers encountered by those who wish to use and publish images of cultural heritage objects. High licence fees and complicated access regulations make it increasingly difficult for scholars in the humanities to work with digital images. It is true that the digitization of image collections has acted as a catalyst for scholarly research. However, archives, collections and libraries differ greatly with respect to the question of how, where and on what basis images may be used for scholarly purposes. Moreover, their policies in this regard are becoming increasingly restrictive, especially when it comes to new forms of e-publishing.

The MPIWG drew up its recommendations for facilitating the scholarly use of digital images following consultations with international experts which took place in January 2008. The recommendations call on curators and scholars to develop a mutually binding network of trust. The aim of the initiative is to encourage stakeholders jointly to address the current and future challenges raised by the digital age. The document urges curators to refrain from restricting the public domain arbitrarily and calls on them to accommodate the needs of scholars for reasonably-priced or freely-accessible high-resolution digital images—both for print publications and new Web-based forms of scholarly publishing. It exhorts scholars to recognise museums, libraries and collections as owners and custodians of physical objects of cultural heritage and to acknowledge their efforts in making digital images available. Moreover, it urges them to take their role as guarantors of authenticity and accurate attribution extremely seriously.

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    Archival Management Software: A Report for the Council on Library and Information Resources

    Posted in Digital Archives and Special Collections, Open Source Software on January 22nd, 2009

    The Council on Library and Information Resources has published Archival Management Software: A Report for the Council on Library and Information Resources by Lisa Spiro, Director of the Digital Media Center at Rice University.

    Here's an excerpt from the report's Web page:

    With generous support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Council on Library and Information Resources has launched a multiyear program that addresses the challenge of cataloging hidden collections—those materials held in special collections, archives, and other restricted or relatively inaccessible settings. The program has two major dimensions: first, to identify hidden collections of potential value to scholars; and second, to address the thorny issue of cataloging such materials efficiently, effectively, and in such a way that the catalog records are available to scholars through the Web. In this paper, Lisa Spiro describes and analyzes some of the major technologies that are available to librarians, curators, and archivists and the implications of deploying these systems for existing workflows.

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      Folger Shakespeare Library Provides Free Access to 20,000+ Images

      Posted in Digital Archives and Special Collections, Digitization on January 18th, 2009

      The Folger Shakespeare Library is now providing free access to over 20,000 images.

      Here's an excerpt from the press release:

      The digital image collection includes books, theater memorabilia, manuscripts, art, and 218 of the Folger’s pre-1640 quarto editions of the works of William Shakespeare. Users can now examine these collection items in detail while accessing the Folger’s rare materials from desktops anywhere in the world. . . .

      The Folger’s digital image collection provides resources for users to view multiple images side by side, save their search results, create permanent links to images, and perform other tasks through a free software program, Luna Insight.

      The Folger is also collaborating with the University of Oxford to digitize 75 quarto editions of Shakespeare’s plays and create the Shakespeare Quartos Archive, which will provide free online access to interactive, high-resolution images of the plays. The Shakespeare Quartos Archive is funded by a new Transatlantic Digitization Collaboration Grant awarded jointly by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Joint Information Systems Committee. In addition, Picturing Shakespeare will make 100,000 images from the Folger collection—including prints, unique drawings, and photography relating to Shakespeare—available to teachers, scholars, and the general public in 2010 through an initiative from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Both projects join a fast-growing body of podcasts, videos, and other online content produced by the library.

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        Library of Congress to Scan 25,000th Book in Digitizing American Imprints Program

        Posted in Digital Archives and Special Collections, Digital Curation & Digital Preservation, Digitization, Mass Digitizaton on January 14th, 2009

        The Library of Congress will scan the 25,000th brittle book in its Digitizing American Imprints Program, which is supported by a $2 million grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

        Here's an excerpt from the press release:

        The Library, which has contracted with the Internet Archive for digitization services, is combining its efforts with other libraries as part of the open content movement. The movement, which includes over 100 libraries, universities and cultural institutions, aims to digitize and make freely available public-domain books in a wide variety of subject areas.

        Books scanned in this pilot project come primarily from the Library’s local history and genealogy sections of the General Collections. For many of these titles, only a few copies exist anywhere in the world, and a reader would need to travel to Washington to view the Library’s copy. . . .

        All scanning operations are housed in the Library’s John Adams Building on Capitol Hill. Internet Archive staff work two shifts each day on 10 "Scribe" scanning stations. The operation can digitize up to 1,000 volumes each week. Shortly after scanning is complete, the books are available online at Books can be read online or downloaded for more intensive study. The Library of Congress is actively working with the Internet Archive on the development of a full-featured, open-source page turner. A beta version, called the Flip Book, is currently available on the Internet Archive site.

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          Open Source Archival Software: ICA-AtoM 1.0.4 Beta Released

          Posted in Digital Archives and Special Collections, Open Source Software on December 12th, 2008

          ICA-AtoM 1.0.4 beta has been released.

          Here's an excerpt from the What is ICA-AtoM? page:

          ICA-AtoM stands for International Council on Archives—Access to Memory. It is a web-based, open-source application for standards-based archival description in a multi-lingual, multi-repository environment.

          ICA-AtoM comprises:

          • HTML pages served to a web browser from a web server. Apache is used in development but ICA-AtoM is also compatible with IIS.
          • A database on a database server. MySQL is used in development but ICA-AtoM uses a database abstraction layer and is therefore also compatible with Postgres, SQLite, SQLServer, Oracle, etc.
          • PHP5 software code that manages requests and responses between the web clients, the application logic and the application content stored in the database.
          • The Symfony web framework that organizes the component parts using object-orientation and best practice web design patterns.
          • The Qubit Open Information Management toolkit, developed by the ICA-AtoM project and customized to make the ICA-AtoM application.
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            Europeana Digital Library Gets 10 Million Hits Per Hour, Crashes

            Posted in Digital Archives and Special Collections, Digital Libraries on November 24th, 2008

            Europeana, Europe's digital library, museum and archive, crashed after launch under a tsunami of hits, which reached 10 million per hour.

            Read more about it at "Europeana Website Killed on 1st day by Interest of Millions of Users" and "New European Online Library Crashes under Weight of Interest."

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              Manuscript Collections on the Web, SPEC Kit 307

              Posted in ARL Libraries, Digital Archives and Special Collections on November 17th, 2008

              The Association of Research Libraries has published Manuscript Collections on the Web, SPEC Kit 307.

              Here's an excerpt from the press release:

              This SPEC survey investigated how many manuscript collections are held in ARL member libraries; what percentage of these collections are represented on the Web; what types of information about the collections are available in finding aids and on the Web; what formats are used for finding aids on the Web; how many library staff are working on manuscript collections; the challenges and benefits of migrating collection information to the Web; and whether and how usage of manuscript collection information is tracked.

              Of the 123 ARL member libraries, 72 completed the survey by the March 2008 deadline for a response rate of 59%. All of the survey respondents indicated that they are managing to post at least some information about their manuscript collections on the Web. Most of the comments indicated that the respondents want to post more information online, but are unable to do so for a variety of reasons, primarily staff and time constraints. Almost all respondents are creating MARC records for their collections; fewer are creating EAD finding aids. A select few represent all of their manuscript collections on the Web in some way, either as MARC records, brief blurbs in HTML, or EAD finding aids.

              The survey results also show that librarians and archivists squeeze arrangement and description duties in between a multitude of other responsibilities. They are not the only staff in these institutions who perform these tasks, but they do spend larger percentages of their time than anyone else on actually adding information to the Web.

              This SPEC Kit includes documentation from respondents in the form of manuscript collection Web sites, finding aid Web sites, Web sites of collaborative online resources, arrangement and description guidelines, and Web processing procedures.

              The table of contents and executive summary from this SPEC Kit are available online at

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                Digital New Zealand's Coming Home Memory Maker: Users Remix Media to Create Digital Videos

                Posted in Digital Archives and Special Collections, Digital Media, Social Media/Web 2.0 on November 14th, 2008

                Digital New Zealand has released its Coming Home Memory Maker, which allows users to remix historic digital media.

                Here's an excerpt from the announcement:

                The Memory Maker is an interactive online video remix tool, that lets people mix historical film footage, digitised photographs and objects, and music/audio clips into a 60 second video that can then be saved, shared, and embedded on other sites.

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                  Digital Scholarship

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