Read Source, the online newsletter, to learn more about the news, events, people and happenings in UC Libraries.
In this edition of Source we highlight some of the University of Cincinnati Libraries’ newest endeavors in digital collections. From the latest version of the university’s digital repository, Scholar@UC, to a new archive space for special collections, to our recent membership in the large-scale collaborative repository HathiTrust, UC Libraries has made great strides in increasing our digital footprint and exploring new ways to enhance our user’s scholarship and the ways they can access and utilize our collections.
The University of Cincinnati Libraries have joined HathiTrust, a partnership of major research institutions and libraries working to ensure that the cultural record is preserved and accessible long into the future by collaboratively collecting, organizing, preserving, communicating and sharing the record of human knowledge. UC Libraries joins more than 130 international research libraries in HathiTrust, and is the third Ohio library to join along with The Ohio State University and Case Western Reserve University.
“Membership in HathiTrust will enable the University of Cincinnati Libraries to partner with national and international collaborators with similar missions to preserve, protect and make accessible the scholarly record,” said Xuemao Wang, dean and university librarian. “Our membership will provide opportunities to enhance digital scholarship research like that done in our Digital Scholarship Center, as well as ensure the long-term digital preservation of our collections.”
HathiTrust began in 2008 as a collaboration of the universities of the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (now the Big Ten Academic Alliance) and the University of California system to establish a repository to archive and share their digitized collections. Today, the HathiTrust’s Digital Library catalog equals 16 million volumes digitized and deposited by member libraries.
As members of HathiTrust, the University of Cincinnati community will have full access to digital materials inputted by UC Libraries, as well as those items in the public domain and those for which there is permission. In addition, benefits of HathiTrust membership include digital content storage, cost-effective long-term preservation and access services for UC Libraries’ digitized content. Continue reading The University of Cincinnati Libraries Have Joined HathiTrust
On display on the 5th floor lobby of the Walter C. Langsam Library, the exhibit – The Lucille M. Schultz Archive of 19th-Century Composition – celebrates the recent donation to the university by professor emeritus Lucille M. Schultz of an archive of 19th-century textbooks collected while she researched her award-winning book The Young Composers. To write her book, which analyzes writing curriculum for children and demonstrates its continued relevance today, Lucy visited dozens of archives where she was fascinated by the lively illustrations and unusual writing prompts in the old textbooks. The exhibit features some of these writing prompts along with illustrations from the texts.
Lucy’s archive is available for viewing via the university’s digital repository Scholar@UC.
The creation of the exhibit was a collaboration between the Libraries and Kelly Blewett, a doctoral candidate in rhetoric and composition at UC, along with her colleague and fellow graduate student Ian Golding. It was designed by communications College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning (DAAP) design co-op student Sam Kane.
One of my internship projects this year is developing a digitization plan for the Cincinnati German Third Protestant Memorial Church Collection (Accession number GA-09-03). Acquired a decade ago, the Third German Protestant Memorial Church was formerly known as the Third German Protestant Memorial Church of Cincinnati, the German and Evangelical Lutheran and Reformed Church, and the North German Lutheran Church. This collection spans 1814 to 1982 and includes records of births, marriages, deaths, confirmations, along with financial records and a few photographs. For the most part, it has been used by family historians but once it is digitized and available as a global resource, the records can be used by urban historians, religious scholars, ethnicity and immigration researchers, and many others, as well as providing excellent primary resources in teaching.
The collection forms an important part of the University of Cincinnati’s German-Americana holdings but poses some challenges for digitization. The TPMC collection is composed primarily of handwritten German documents that need to be transcribed as well as scanned. Since transcribing foreign language documents adds an additional layer of processing, it is important to get a clear sense of the extent and composition of the collection. One of my first tasks in this project was creating a collection overview. Continue reading Developing Future Access to Cincinnati’s Third Protestant Memorial Church Collection
Preservation has always been central to the mission of research libraries, which are charged with preserving knowledge, in all its forms, for use. Digital material faces different preservation challenges than analog materials. Rapid changes in file formats, software and hardware mean that digital content created according to today’s best standards risks being unusable or degraded in the future.
At the University of Cincinnati Libraries, we have significant born-digital and digitized content. Much of this can be found in Scholar@UC, UCL Digital Collections, and Luna. Digital preservation refers to the various preservation measures undertaken to ensure long-term use and access of digital materials for enduring sustainable preservation. Archivists and librarians must make many key digital preservation decisions, such as whether to migrate old file formats to new ones, determining how and where to store files, and scheduling file integrity checks. Digital preservation is more than just backups, but storing extra copies of content is a critical component of a digital preservation strategy. To mitigate against complete loss, it is important to store extra copies in different locations. According to the National Digital Stewardship Alliance, increasingly enhanced levels of digital preservation emphasize greater geographic distribution of copies. Continue reading AP Trust Recap
A recent article by Danniah Daher, graduate assistant to the Graduate School Office, entitled Scholar@UC: The Archive You Need, talks about the need to preserve and protect scholarly work and research data by submitting it to the university repository. Linda Newman, head of digital collections and repositories, is quoted as saying, “The mission of Scholar@UC is to preserve the permanent intellectual output of UC…We are very serious about preservation. We’re also very serious about access. We want to make the content accessible—content that otherwise would just be sitting on someone’s hard drive in their office. We consider preservation and access our two most important jobs.”
Available at https://scholar.uc.edu/, Scholar@UC is a digital repository that enables the University of Cincinnati community to share its research and scholarly work with a worldwide audience. Faculty and staff can use Scholar@UC to collect their work in one location and create a durable and citeable record of their papers, presentations, publications, datasets, or other scholarly creations. Students, through an approved process, may contribute capstone projects such as senior design projects, theses, and dissertations.
The mission of Scholar@UC is to preserve the permanent intellectual output of UC, to advance discovery and innovation, to foster scholarship and learning through the transformation of data into knowledge, to collect a corpus of works that can be used for teaching and to inspire derivative works, and to enhance discoverability and access to these resources.
The transition from paper-based workflows to electronic records-based workflows has been one of the most profound ways in which work has changed over the last several decades. The “paperless revolution” has created many unanticipated challenges, but perhaps one of the more underrated ones is how it has affected institutional archives. Continue reading Out of Sight, Out of Mind
The UC Libraries strategic initiative, DigitizeUC, is working to grow in-house digitization capabilities at UC Libraries into a fully-fledged program. UC Libraries has a long history of digitization and even started a University of Cincinnati Digitial Press in the 1990s. However, we have had limited in-house equipment and relied heavily on grants and local vendors to carry out projects. While grants and vendors are still part of our program, we are beginning to expand our in-house capabilities.
Our first purchase is a significant investment that will serve UC Libraries for many years to come. We purchased a PhaseOne Reprographic System from Digital Transitions. This system includes a 60 MP PhaseOne digital back, DT RCam with electronic shutter, Schneider 72 mm lens, and motorized copy stand. This system will allow us to achieve rapid, high-quality digitization workflows and take on mass digitization projects with a high degree of color accuracy.
Our second purchase is a high-speed, duplex, automatic-sheet-feed Fujitsu scanner that will help us quickly digitize paper materials from the 20th-century and after. We are currently using it in a project to digitize the Lucy M. Shultz Archive held by the Department of English and Comparative Literature. The archive comprises of high-quality photocopies of 19th-century textbooks and handbooks for English composition and rhetoric.
The Digital Collections and Repositories department will be testing this new equipment with pilot projects the rest of this academic year. The DigitizeUC strategic initiative will be proposing a short-term (12-18 months) operations plan for next year that will help us focus our efforts next year and produce digital content.
These efforts and investments are aligned with the first and fourth pillars of UC Libraries strategic plan and would not be possible without the support and vision of Dean and University Librarian, Xuemao Wang, and his cabinet. This represents the first step towards a UC Libraries Digital Lab, a strong foundation for our expanding services to support digital scholarship at the University of Cincinnati.