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XOXO, Digital Library Services


University of Iowa student with bow and arrow, mid-1920s

Whether you are single, happily attached, or somewhere in between, we in Digital Library Services offer you a historical perspective of that sometimes treacherous holiday lurking just around the corner: St. Valentine’s Day.

My Heart Pants

“My heart pants 4 u, ” Aug. 1, 1907

The February 14, 1961 Daily Iowan reminds readers to send a card to their favorite boy or girl because “Valentine’s Day does make for that special feeling.”

The Daily Iowan Valentine reminder

Daily Iowan, Feb. 14, 1961

A Vidette-Reporter article from 1891 tells a freshman student’s cautionary tale about the last valentine he ever sent. (Spoiler alert! After choosing the wrong card, he finds himself hiding in the mud under his intended sweetheart’s front porch.)

Pansies Valentine

“I send you my love and a pansy smile, ” Jan. 27, 1921

And who wouldn’t love a slice of Pink February Pie?

Pink Februrary Pie recipe

Up a country lane scrapbook, vol. 06: Jan. 1, 1974 – Dec. 25, 1978

Enjoy more romantic artifacts: http://digital.lib.uiowa.edu/valentines

–Joanna Lee
Digital Projects Librarian


250,000 items and counting

This past week, the Iowa Digital Library surpassed 250,000 items. There has been much to celebrate since the 100,000th item was added just a little over a year ago, as several new collections have been released. They range from historical photographs of the UI’s trendsetting physical education program for women to material related to Abraham Lincoln to photographs and oral history accounts of last year’s flood.

The 250,000th item represents an upcoming collection of 18th-century sheet music by French composer and publisher Ignaz Pleyel (1757-1831). Most of these scores were published within his lifetime and a handful were issued by Pleyel’s own publishing house.

Printed around 1790, Pleyel arranged this collection of songs for voice and keyboard. These melodies originally appeared in some of his many string quartets.

12 elegant ballads

12 elegant ballads


Shy of a dozen

This semester, DLS is happily hosting eleven SLIS digital librarianship fellows. Some faces are familiar ones, as several fellows from the first cohort have stayed on to either finish up previous projects or embark on new digital adventures. Many second-cohort fellows have begun their assignments, as well, making the DLS project room full of bodies hard at work!

As the newest staff member in Digital Library Services, being surrounded by a veritable army of fellows seems quite normal. It’s already clear to me that each individual’s unique set of skills and qualities have helped DLS grow in ways far beyond staff numbers. Instead of pondering implications of the inevitable fellow exodus after they all graduate, for now we’ll just enjoy their dedication and cooperation in helping DLS staff curate the Iowa Digital Library.

Experience each fellow’s trials, tribulations, and triumphs along with them through their weblogs:

Name: Mark Anthoney
Projects: Flood of 2008 photographs and audio; Fanzine collection
Blog: Virtually a Librarian

Name: Shawn Averkamp
Projects: Institutional repository implementation; Political election videos
Blog: Digital Library Seminar

Name: Chris Ehrman
Projects: Daily Iowan images; Geological research slides
Blog: IMLS Project Blog

Name: Elizabeth Hoover de Galvez
Project: Iowa rural women photographs and documents
Blog: A Student’s Perspective

Name: Amber Jansen
Project: Medieval manuscript images
Blog: Fuzzy Technowledge

Name: Joanna Lee
Project: E-journal hosting implementation
Blog: Digital Cardigan

Name: Ian Mason
Project: Geological research slides
Blog: Ian’s Digital Weblog

Name: Rebecca Ramsey
Project: UI musical recordings
Blog: Rebecca’s Digital Library Adventures

Name: Amber Skoglund
Project: Rare medical images
Blog: SLIS Fellowship Blog

Name: Bryan Stusse
Project: Oral history migration
Blog: IMLS Fellowship Blog

Name: Minglu Wang
Projects: Federal government poster images; Medieval manuscript images
Blog: Learning to be a Digital Librarian

Anne Shelley, Digital Projects Librarian




Home-grown global awareness


DLS is pleased to announce a new digital collection in the Iowa Digital Library featuring the Iowa City Foreign Relations Council. As one who worked closely with these video presentations, SLIS Digital Librarianship Fellow Chris Ehrman provides some background on the collection:

The Iowa City Foreign Relations Council Presentations is a collection of 71 videos, spanning 2004 to the present, of presentations given to the Iowa City Foreign Relations Council by experts from around the world on a extensive range of subjects, available through the Iowa Digital Library. The Iowa City Foreign Relations Council is a non-profit organization that is interested in learning about U.S. Foreign Policy, world affairs and current global issues. Each year the Iowa City Foreign Relations Council invites experts in these fields who are visiting The University of Iowa or Iowa City area. The Iowa City Foreign Relations Council Presentations collection provides access to this interesting and unique resource to a wide on-line audience.

A highlight of this collection is presentations given by participants in the University of Iowa International Writing Program. These presentations contain insight into their writing process and how they interpret the world around them.

-Chris Ehrman
Digital Librarianship Fellow


Lessons learned as a DLS intern

I have been working for many years in the Libraries’ technical services division as a cataloger, and more recently as a supervisor and trainer of other catalogers. As a consequence of supervising and of being involved in an arduous, and apparently never-ending reorganization of technical services, I had begun attempting to take the long view, asking myself what my job might evolve, or devolve, into as a result of such forces as outsourced cataloging, straitened budgets, the introduction of FRBR and metadata schemes other than MARC, the shift of researchers’ attention from the library catalog to the larger and more agile world of the Internet, and the Libraries’ desire to support digitization projects, perhaps at the expense of traditional cataloging operations.

Serendipitously, as I considered my situation the University’s internship program came to my attention and I found a ready-made means to explore other venues for my experience and interests. My proposal to work part-time as in intern in the Libraries’ newly-formed Digital Library Services department was welcomed both by my cataloging supervisor and the DLS staff. Library administration was supportive as well and expedited my request. My aim was to gain some understanding of the many facets of digital library services, and in particular, to focus on the cataloging of digital objects, with the goal of eventually assisting in training and dissemination of such work to other catalogers in technical services.

What has struck me most in the course of my internship is the energy, adaptability and inventiveness of the small DLS staff. The current staff of two, Jennifer Wolfe and Mark Anderson, with support from the former director of DLS and current head of Library Information Technology, Paul Soderdahl, have educated themselves in the technology, best practices, possibilities and pitfalls of digitization projects, have reached out to potential partners within the Libraries and the University, have struggled with problematic software, and have undertaken an astonishing number of projects, given their resources.

I have been patiently introduced to scanning, preservation issues, image editing and storage, metadata principles, practice, and resources, and some of the delicate politics of negotiating with other parties for content to be digitized and published on the Internet. I have been included in departmental meetings, in which issues about collaboration, scalability of tools and projects, and future directions for DLS have been discussed. Most importantly, my work with DLS staff has helped loosen my hold on long-treasured beliefs about cataloging priorities (e.g. perfection and thoroughness of records) and the role of the library catalog in the lives of its users (as opposed to its architects).

–Christine Tade
Intern, Digital Library Services