What We Do
Simply contact Devin, at firstname.lastname@example.org, if interested.
The Digital Initiatives department digitizes. That may not come as a surprise, but despite the fact that it is not all we do, digitization -- including the scanning of photographs, feed scanning of books, conversion of legacy files, batch processing of born-digital files, and other tasks -- is the foundation by which we build our collections and web sites and through which we digitally preserve institutional, local and scholarly material and resources.
But, again, digitizing is not all we do. We also work with departments, schools, librarians, citizens, machines, code, and each other to provide guidance on digital tools, projects and preservation, and to identify, acquire, and promote new collections.
The department was established in 2008 with an initial charge to digitize and make accessible the library's renowned International Jazz Collections. Material from the Jazz Collections continue to be added to this day, and the Collection was honored as the Digital Library of the Week in the summer of 2011.
We have since moved further out into the University and state as a whole, digitizing Idaho Agricultural Experiment Station and University of Idaho Extension Bulletins, Historical Photographs of the University of Idaho, Moscow, and the surrounding area, and historical newsletters from a Lewiston Neighborhood and the Potlatch Forests Incorporation, just to name a few.
In 2011, we redesigned the web portals for all of our collections with an emphasis on the dates and locations of our materials to make the collections more accessible and easier to use.
As the University of Idaho Library's Digital Initiatives department within the library, we will support and encourage scholarly and creative activity throughout the university by actively providing access to rare, archival and scholarly materials, keeping abreast on latest technologies, and actively providing strong and innovative services to members of the University of Idaho community and beyond.
The Digital Initiatives department seeks to create digital collections and make them available to enhance scholarship and research both within the university and with its external partners; to increase access to the libraries holdings, within the scope of Copyright Law; to support the teaching and learning activities of the university's faculty and students; to promote innovation to enhance learning; and to maintain and preserve these collections for future use.
Devin Becker, Digital Initiatives & Scholarly Communications Librarian
Intern: Kristyn Baker
Student Workers: Elizabeth Biancosino, Jordan Lynn, and Izzy (Elisabeth) Martin
Using the Map and Timeline Features
We create our maps and timelines using Google Fusion Tables and Simile Timeline web applications. The locations and dates have been assigned to these items with access in mind, not absolute accuracy, and should thus be regarded as approximate in most cases.
If you are interested in how accurate a date or location, click on the photo and check to see if the date or location is listed in the title or description field. If it is, you can be fairly confident in the date and/or location; if it's not, we have assigned that information using our own knowledge of the collection and the area.
If you notice any errors, please send an email with your correction(s) and the url of the problem image to email@example.com, or click on the link at the bottom of the information window that pops up when you click on a spot on the map. That link will take you to this form, where you can enter your information.
Library Presentations on Digital Tools
We have given several presentations on digital scholarship tools in the past. Below is a list of the most recent.
Digital Humanities and Wikileaks:
This website contains notes from a presentation given in the spring of 2011 that introduces some Digital Humanities/Web 2.0 tools one can use to clean and map data (in this case data from Wikileaks). This presentation has been turned into two tutorials that have been published by the Spatial Humanities Step by Step project at the University of Virginia:
Hack Your Phone Map Your Phone
This presentation, given at GIS Day in November 2011, examines how you can extract, read, and map the location data that your iPhone collects and stores onto your computer (and who knows where else!) each time your phone is synced with iTunes.
Collection Development Policy
New projects are currently considered by the Digital Initiatives Team. Projects are often determined by frequency of requests within a specific collection, special requests by professors,the physical condition of the materials, and through collaboration among departments across campus. There are several questions of viability and significance are considered before digitizing a collection.
Scanning and Preservation Procedures
Scans are performed and saved as non-compressed Tiffs and stored on two external hard drives, one of which resides in Moscow and one of which resides in Coeur D'Alene. TIFFs are also backed up to the internal hard drive of computers in the Lau Center for Digital Scholarship, room 211.
Variable scanning resolutions are described below. The primary purpose is to have approximately 4000 pixels across the top of the image for images smaller than 8 x 10, and 6000 pixels for images 8 x 10 and greater.
Photographs, Slides & Negatives:
Since we are using the CONTENTdm database access management system, Dublin Core Metadata Initiative (DCMI) is the primary source of our metadata standards. Metadata for objects begins following the needs of the collection. When ingested into CONTENTdm, those idiosyncratic standards are translated into Simple Dublin Core to enable the harvesting of that metadata into OCLC's WorldCat catalog and other aggregators.
The below sources guide our metadata, scanning, and preservation practices:
LCSH (Library of Congress Subject Headings)
AAT (Getty's Art and Architecture Thesaurus)
LCTGM (Library of Congress Thesaurus for Graphic Materials)
USGS (U.S. Geological Survey)
The majority of the scanning and computer work that we do in Digital Initiatives is done in the Lau Center for Digital Scholarship, Room 211, which is on the second floor of the library. Originally constructed as a space to support the research interests of the university -- David and Ann Lau donated funds in the 1990s to what was then the Lau Periodicals Service Center in honor of David's parents, Heber and Rhea -- the center was re-dedicated in April 2011 to acknowledge its function as the digital heart of the library.
For the rededication, the University of Idaho Library' Advisory Board meeting participants were given a tour of the facility and invited to interact with the online exhibits and the scanning equipment. The Digital Initiatives librarian was also asked to give some brief, formal remarks, which are reprinted below:
To get a look inside the Lau Center for Digital Scholarship, check out the panorama below.
Remarks at the Re-dedication of the Lau Center for Digital Scholarship
The double bind and opportunity of digital scholarship is that it must deal simultaneously with both the macro and the micro, uncovering both the emergent patterns of the everyday and the exceptional objects that accumulate into these patterns. As such, digital scholarship's mode, it's m.o., must be that of re-discovery, of uncovering that which has been here all along but which has been missed, forgotten, or at a scale too large or small for us to see.
The work that we do here then, in this "renewed" space, the Lau Center for Digital Scholarship, is important not only for the University but also for the State of Idaho and the Northwest generally, as the digitization that these exceptional objects undergo and the online access we provide to them allows all those interested in Idaho and our University, be they in Moscow or Pocatello, Seattle or Helena, the ability to uncover for themselves those objects and patterns that make our institution, our library, and our collections unique. I thank you for your support of this work. It is, in my admittedly biased opinion, integral to the uncovering of both the past and future of this Library and our University.
- Devin Becker
More about Digital Humanities (Projects, etc.)
People Involved in DH
More about Visualization and Data Journalism
(A Much bigger list like this - Digital Research Tools Wiki)
Related Digital Collections
Below are a list of links to other institutions with digital content relating to Idaho within their collections.
Archives West (formerly Northwest Digital Archives)