Latest Headlines
0

DRP welcomes Rob Shepard!

Digital Research & Publishing is pleased to announce that Rob Shepard has accepted our offer to be the new Geospatial Information Systems (GIS) Librarian for the UI Libraries. Rob comes to us from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln where he is pursuing a Ph.D. in Geography.

University of Iowa campus map, ca. 1943

University of Iowa campus map, ca. 1943

We at DRP are looking forward to the talents and experience Rob brings that will further enhance the accessibility and usability of geospatial resources (everything’s spatial!) in the Iowa Digital Library.  Rob will also be working on cross-campus coordination of GIS and support for faculty research and other Libraries partners.

Moving items into Main Library, the University of Iowa, 1951

Moving items into Main Library, the University of Iowa, 1951

Welcome, Rob!

0

IRO November 2014 Usage

We regularly look at usage information for Iowa Research Online. The software shows us the 10 items receiving the most downloads overall (total use is averaged out across how long the item has been publicly (freely) available), which allows new items to enter the top ten. However, this list tends to remain similar from month to month (and day to day). Looking at the number of downloads for a specific month sometimes highlights different items, but typically the most used items remain similar across months.

The most used items for November were:

Other than the first item, they all appear on the most popular papers list.

In order to find other items that are seeing an increase in their usage, we have begun comparing the use of an item with the previous month. These items may not have had the largest use overall, but the number of downloads was quite a bit higher in November than in October.

Congratulations to the authors of the works!

0

Contributing in code

University of Iowa Libraries at GitHub.com

University of Iowa Libraries at GitHub.com

For librarians, particularly those in academic settings, an important part of the job is contributing to the development of the profession; traditionally, this has included tasks such as giving presentations at conferences and publishing articles in scholarly journals. But thanks to the evolving nature of our work and to innovations on the part of our developers, the University of Iowa Libraries has become active in a new area of professional development: sharing code for re-use and adaptation by other institutions.

When George Mason University’s Center for History and New Media launched Scripto, an NEH-funded open-source tool for transcription crowdsourcing projects, we were eager to adopt it for DIY History to replace our existing makeshift and labor-intensive system. Once it was installed, we became even more eager to make extensive changes to Scripto. While the tool was designed to treat transcription as an add-in activity for digital exhibits, we needed it front and center for DIY History.

DRP’s developers, Shawn Averkamp (now at New York Public Library) and Matthew Butler, solved this problem by adding new features to Scripto and creating a simple-to-use theme that focuses exclusively on the act of transcription. Other enhancements included a progress system for tracking completion status, as well as various scripts for migrating mass quantities of objects and metadata from our digital library to DIY History and back again. As it turned out, we weren’t the only ones looking for these functionalities. In the open source spirit of sharing work for the good of the community, Shawn and Matthew made their enhancements and related code available online, where it’s been reused by a number of other institutions [see below].

As we prepare to launch a redesigned and streamlined DIY History soon, we’re grateful for the open source tools that have allowed us to make progress on our own project, and thrilled to have contributed to the development of crowdsourcing sites at other libraries and museums.

“DIY History and similar projects are about community” says Matthew Butler, the Libraries’ Multimedia Consultant. “They succeed because of the collaborative efforts of transcribers, developers, librarians, and curators to make the content and tools as accessible as possible.”

DIY History | University of Iowa Libraries

DIY History | University of Iowa Libraries

The Civil War in Letters | The Newberry Library

The Civil War in Letters | The Newberry Library

Making History | Library of Virginia

Making History | Library of Virginia

Jones' Icones Online | University of Oxford

Jones’ Icones Online | University of Oxford

Virtual Volunteering | Carnamah Historical Society & Museum

Virtual Volunteering | Carnamah Historical Society & Museum

0

DIY History celebrates 50,000th transcription!

cake5

As DIY History, the University of Iowa’s transcription crowdsourcing site, has inched toward its 50,000th submission, we’ve been looking forward to reaching such an amazing milestone — hence the queued-up cake gif.

But as it turned out, we weren’t quite prepared for how it went down today. On the heels of some high-profile attention from BuzzFeed and NBC News in October, DIY History just hit the big time with a Tumblr post from Kate Beaton of Hark! A Vagrant fame, which was reblogged by John Green, of The Fault in Our Stars and many other things. Once a portion of their millions of devoted followers visited our site, the 50K achievement was immediately unlocked — along with a fair amount of panic among library staff about insufficient server bandwith and a dearth of untranscribed pages (plus Colleen wept with joy)(although low threshold)(we love you Colleen!).

We are humbled and gratified by the dedication of all our volunteer transcribers — those of you who have just joined us, and those who have been with us from the beginning. Since the Libraries put its first batch of Civil War diaries up in the spring of 2011, you have fought a brave battle against inaccessibility and illegibility, rescuing the first-hand accounts of soldiers, cooks, students, railroad barons, farmers, artists, suffragists, and so many others. In lieu of the celebratory cake we wish we could give you, here is a comprehensive list of the Libraries’ hundreds of historic handwritten cake recipes. An unthinkingly time-consuming task pre-crowdsourcing, the compilation of such a list now happens almost instantly, thanks to the magic of fully-searchable transcribed text. Happy baking, and don’t forget to stock up on lard.

While you’re busy with that, we’ll be powering up our scanners to get new content on the site as quickly as possible, so please stop back soon and often. The next 50,000 pages starts now!

0

Four Million Downloads!

Items in Iowa Research Online have been downloaded more than four million times! This means that scholarship created by University of Iowa faculty, researchers and students is being read around the world. We crossed the three million mark in late January 2014; it is so very exciting to have had such an increase in just over nine months that we are dancing in our cubicles.

ancers at a party at Esther Walls' apartment, New York, N.Y., 1960s

Our theses and dissertation make up over half the use, which is great evidence of the fantastic scholarship done by our graduates. The journals Walt Whitman Quarterly Review and Medieval Feminist Forum each have had two-three hundred thousand downloads. Congratulations to the editors of these journals for producing such quality publications.

Walt Whitman Quarterly Review

If you would like your scholarship in Iowa Research Online, please contact your subject specialist for more information.

0

Historically mustachioed

In celebration of Movember and of Digital Research & Publishing’s sometimes very hirsute new department head, we’re reprising a few of last year’s Great Mustaches of the Iowa Digital Library:

UI President Charles A. Schaeffer, 1893 | University of Iowa Yearbooks

UI President Charles A. Schaeffer, 1893 | University of Iowa Yearbooks

J.L. Small, 1885 | Dentistry College Class Photographs

J.L. Small, 1885 | Dentistry College Class Photographs

L.K. Fullerton, 1885 | Dentistry College Class Photographs

L.K. Fullerton, 1885 | Dentistry College Class Photographs

Find your own favorites! Probably here: digital.lib.uiowa.edu/dentistry

0

Tom Keegan named Head of Digital Research & Publishing

The University of Iowa Libraries has hired Tom Keegan as Head of Digital Research & Publishing. A Rhetoric faculty member and co-director of the IDEAL (Iowa Digital Engagement & Learning) initiative, Keegan has a partial appointment with the Libraries until January, when he will assume full-time duties leading DRP.

In this position Keegan will build on the Libraries’ work leveraging digital collections, resources, and expertise to support faculty and student Tom Keeganscholars. Founded in 2006, Digital Research & Publishing coordinates and maintains the Iowa Digital Library, a million-object database of digitized special collections and archival materials, plus digital content from campus and community partners such as the UI Museum of Art, the Office of the State Archaeologist, and the Writing University. DRP also offers hosting and management of the University’s scholarly output via its institutional repository, Iowa Research Online, and journal publishing services for the Walt Whitman Quarterly Review and other titles. Additional projects include DIY History, a participatory archives initiative, and University of Iowa Press Digital Editions, a collaboration between the Libraries and the Press to provide free online access to select UIP books.

Before joining the Libraries, Keegan taught at the University beginning in 2003, most recently as a lecturer for the Department of Rhetoric. His teaching and research address the use of digital humanities and publicly engaged pedagogies across a variety of curriculums. With Matt Gilchrist, he co-directs IDEAL, which encourages assignment innovation and fosters expanded access to TILE learning spaces. One such assignment, Archives Alive!, incorporates DIY History to engage undergraduate students with digital scholarship practices in learning research, writing, and presentation skills. Keegan received his Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of Iowa, and his undergraduate degrees in English Literature and Bioethics from the University of Virginia.

The new position in the Libraries allows Keegan to remain connected to the innovative teaching and curriculum projects he’s developed in partnership with the Rhetoric Department, Tippie College of Business, the UI Honors Program, the College of Education, the UI Graduate School, ITS and SITA, the Studio, the Center for Teaching, the English Department, Hancher, the Iowa City Downtown District, Public Space One, and a variety of other people and units within the UI and Iowa City communities. He is also continuing his humanities scholarship by collaborating with Libraries’ staff to develop a digital project based on spatial rhetoric in the works of James Joyce.

“I’m thrilled to be working with such innovative and talented people,” says Keegan. “Digital Research & Publishing plays a crucial role in bringing together a variety of audiences for research and learning in the 21st century.”

0

Science fiction fanzines planned for DIY History

Selected fanzines from the Hevelin Collection, featuring hectographed and hand-colored covers and writing from early science fiction fans. Images courtesy of UI Libraries and Special Collections.

Selected fanzines from the Hevelin Collection, featuring hectographed and hand-colored covers and writing from early science fiction fans. Images courtesy of UI Libraries and Special Collections.

The University of Iowa Libraries has announced a major digitization initiative, in partnership with the UI Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development. 10,000 science fiction fanzines will be digitized from the James L. “Rusty” Hevelin Collection, representing the entire history of science fiction as a popular genre and providing the content for a database that documents the development of science fiction fandom…

Science fiction fanzines are amateur publications made by individuals or groups that discuss books, films, politics, and many other public and personal matters. They were initially written for a limited audience and distributed via personal connections and gatherings, beginning in the 1930s in the United States and Europe. Within the pages of science fiction fanzines lies previously inaccessible and unstudied primary documentation of the social history and popular culture of the 20th century.

Science fiction fanzine writers were intimately involved with many aspects of science fiction literature during the golden years of its development. The list of names is impressive: Ray Bradbury, Robert Heinlein, Arthur C. Clark, Robert Bloch, Leigh Brackett, Frederik Pohl, Harlan Ellison, Joe Haldeman, Michael Moorcock, Roger Zelazny, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Robert Silverberg, Roger Ebert, George R.R. Martin, Forrest Ackerman, and many others were actively involved in fanzine culture….

Once digitized, the fanzines will be incorporated into the UI Libraries’ DIY History crowdsourcing site, where a select number of interested fans (up to 30) will be provided with secure access to transcribe, annotate, and index the contents of the fanzines. This group will be modeled on an Amateur Press Association (APA) structure, a fanzine distribution system developed in the early days of the medium that required contributions of content from members in order to qualify for, and maintain, membership in the organization. The transcription will enable the UI Libraries to construct a full-text searchable fanzine resource, with links to authors, editors, and topics, while protecting privacy and copyright by limiting access to the full set of page images.

Read full press release

0

Use of Older Theses

By far the most heavily used collection in Iowa Research Online are our theses and dissertations. Most of the items in the collection are from the last decade, either from graduates who voluntarily submitted their thesis electronically or dating from after December 1999 graduation when electronic submission required by the Graduate College for all non-M.F.A graduates. All of them are freely available worldwide (after an embargo period, if requested).

We have also digitized a small number of older theses. We digitize items when requested by an interested reader, with the copyright holder’s permission. We are also posting digitized out of copyright theses as time allows. As one would expect, these items do not receive nearly as much use as the newer theses. However, we are pleased to see that they are receiving steady use, far more than the print theses circulated.

In all, these 217 theses have been downloaded 20,966 times, used on average once every 5 days. In fact, six items have averaged more than 1.2 uses/day, including two that have been downloaded more than 1000 times!  In early May 2010 we ran a report to count circulation of theses, with data covering the previous five years. The highest use of any thesis was 60 circulations. The 2nd highest number was 16. Only 5,695 showed any circulations (average circulations 2.6 for those that circulated and 0.7 overall). 

Graduation Year Title Author Degree Use/Day Total Downloads
1914 Morphology of cannabis sativa L Reed, Joyce Master of Science 2.023 534
1921 The development of Milton’s prosody Hunter, Grace Eva Master of Arts 1.204 236
1931 The catenary Kacmarynski, J. P. Master of Science 1.521 1,217
1949 A formal analysis of Hawthorne’s The Blithedale romance Levang, Lewis Dwight Master of Arts 2.024 498
1961 The Production book of “The Diary of Anne Frank” Longacre, Allan Kurtz II Master of Arts 1.219 1,403
2008 Teacher-initiated talk and student oral discourse in a second language literature classroom : a sociocultural analysis Thoms, Joshua J Doctor of Philosophy 1.320 545

If you are interested in having your thesis digitized and added to our open access collection, please let us know by submitting this permission form (PDF).

0

Crowdsourcing soldiers on

George C. Burmeister diary, 1861 | Civil War Diaries and Letters

George C. Burmeister diary, 1861 | Civil War Diaries and Letters

While our long-delayed launch of World War I & II documents at DIY History continues to be long delayed, there are still plenty of items currently available for transcription, including several new additions to our original crowdsourcing collection: Civil War Diaries and Letters.

Among these are four diaries written by Muscatine, Iowa, native George C. Burmeister, a schoolteacher turned Civil War captain. From his first, optimistic entry on January 1, 1861 (“Once more we look with anxious expectations into the future, and fondly cherish this day as a harbinger of anticipated fortune”) to his 1864 newspaper obituary (“Let his memory be cherished as one who died that liberty might live”), Burmeister’s story unfolds in the diaries as he enlists in the First Iowa Infantry, musters out, studies business and law, applies to the UI, rejoins the army as a captain, and dies in the Battle of Yellow Bayou.

Please visit DIY History to help preserve and improve access to the stories of Captain Burmeister and his fellow soldiers.

Burmeister image via Ancestry.com and the Muscatine in the Civil War Facebook group

Burmeister image via Ancestry.com and the Muscatine in the Civil War Facebook group