The UCL Digital Lab has been busy over the past several months digitizing new content and collections. While we are still curating some of that content, we wanted to share a few things in the meantime.
Ambrose Bierce letters to Myles Walsh, 1895-1911
The collection of the letters of Ambrose Bierce to Myles Walsh consists of the correspondence to Elizabeth (Lily) Walsh and Myles Walsh from 1895-1911. Myles Walsh’s sister, Lily, was a protege of Bierce and during her illness–and after her death in 1895–in young adulthood, the two men began writing to each other.
I know what you’re thinking: Indian botany, where did that come from? UC Libraries has a fantastic collection, some of our items are rare and unique. Occasionally these rare and unique items are requested through Interlibrary Loan. Unfortunately, frequently, due to their rarity and condition, we are not always able to fulfill the requests. We’ve embarked upon an effort to, when possible, digitized this content and make it available to the work in digital form.
Issue 41 describes a new addition to the instrument collection on the mezzanine of the chemistry-biology library. Dating from the early 1970s, this desktop Varian E-4 Electron Paramagnetic Resonance (EPR) Spectrometer was donated by Dr. Albert Bobst of the UC Chemistry Department.
Click here for all other issues of Notes from The Oesper Collections and to explore the Jensen-Thomas Apparatus Collection.
A constant challenge for digital archivists is identifying potentially sensitive material within born-digital archives. This content may be information that fits a known pattern (for example, a 3-2-4 number that likely indicates the presence of a social security number), or sensitive keywords that indicate the presence of a larger body of sensitive information (for example, the keywords “evaluation” and “candidate” in close proximity to each other may indicate the presence of an evaluation form for a possible job applicant).
Congratulations to Dr. Nan Niu and his research team!
Recently Dr. Nan Niu traveled to Beijing, China to attend the RE16 conference- Requirements Engineering16 http://re16.org/downloads/RE16%20program.pdf. He took with him high hopes for the requirements engineering research paper he and his team submitted together with Linda Newman, Head of Repositories and Digital Collections and Amy Koshoffer, Science Informationist. For the beginning of this story and more on the models created using Scholar@UC use cases, see the blog entry “Scholar@UC Goes to Class” (https://libapps.libraries.uc.edu/liblog/2016/01/scholaruc-goes-to-class/).
Dr. Niu has made all the research materials supporting this work available through Scholar@UC https://scholar.uc.edu/works/documents/wm117q084. Dr. Niu is making brilliant use of Scholar@UC as a teaching tool, a research subject, data preservation tool and an open data/access model. Again congratulations to Dr. Niu and the whole team!!
When archivists first make contact with a large group of records, they often perform some form of appraisal. You might think of appraisal as being the calling card of the much-loved PBS television show Antiques Roadshow, in which average people realize that Great Aunt Milly’s painting is a valued masterpiece – or a total dud.
~ 1. The process of identifying materials offered to an archives that have sufficient value to be accessioned. – 2. The process of determining the length of time records should be retained, based on legal requirements and on their current and potential usefulness. – 3. The process of determining the market value of an item; monetary appraisal.
Issue 40 outlines the history and importance of the chemical technique known as combustion analysis and highlights a reproduction of Liebig’s famous 1831 instrument for this purpose made by the late Dr. Melvyn Usselman of the University of Western Ontario and donated to our museum collections in 2005.
Click here for all other issues of Notes from the Oesper Collections and to explore the Jensen-Thomas Apparatus Collection.
So what does a digital archivist do? Every digital archivist’s responsibilities will look slightly different depending on institutional mission, priorities and resources. As the first link indicates, there isn’t even professional consensus whether a digital archivist is one who works with digitization of analog material (like paper documents and manuscripts, rare books, maps, etc), or someone who works with “born-digital” materials. In many institutions, both of those responsibilities may be within the Digital Archivist’s charge. As UC’s Digital Archivist/Records Manager, my responsibilities center on working with born-digital archives, digital preservation, and overseeing UC’s Records Management program. I also work closely with my colleagues in Digital Collections on digitization projects (http://digital.libraries.uc.edu/).