About Author: Nicole Saylor

Posts by Nicole Saylor


The Libraries announce the 2010 Creative Scholarship Innovation Award winners

The University of Iowa Libraries is pleased to announce the two winners of Creative Scholarship Innovation Awards, aimed at supporting significant digital humanities projects with the potential for national recognition. The award will fund hardware, software, and personnel; additionally, awardees will be paired with a team of librarians and technologists who will work as collaborators to develop the projects. Winners are:

  • Julie Hochstrasser, School of Art & Art History—$8,585 toward hiring a graduate assistant with subject matter expertise to work on a collection of documentary text, bibliography, photographs, and video accumulated during research, including travel to key sites of 17th century global Dutch trade and colonization.
  • William Davies, Linguistics –$2,080 to supplement other award monies toward hiring a graduate assistant with subject matter expertise to caption videos of Madurese storytellers and create a digital collection that includes Davies’ transcription of Madurese with interlinear English and Indonesian translations.

“University of Iowa librarians have a long history of close collaboration to support faculty who incorporate technology into their teaching and research, reaching as far back as the 1992 launch of the Information Arcade®,” said Library Director Nancy Baker. “This award is a continuation of our commitment to supporting digital scholarship.”

In late 2008, the Council on Library and Information Resources released “No Brief Candle: Reconceiving Research Libraries for the 21st Century.”  In this report, Rick Luce, Vice Provost and Director of Libraries at Emory University, notes that the e-research developments initially seen in the science, engineering, technology, and medicine disciplines are now penetrating the social sciences and the humanities.  Luce describes how e-research will profoundly shape the research libraries of tomorrow:  “Instead of simply storing objects of assorted types, researchers need libraries that reflect a Web 2.0 service environment in which communication is continuous and synchronous. This reality introduces significantly greater complexity to digital capture, curation, and preservation.”

To align with emerging e-research trends and the Libraries’ current strategic goals, the Libraries is transforming the Information Arcade space to reflect a renewed focus on faculty support for e-research, including but not limited to support for new forms of scholarly publishing, digital humanities, data curation, and open/linked data. Toward that end, Digital Library Services (DLS), in collaboration with ITS and the VPR’s office, hosted a series of AHI grant preparation workshops in January. DLS has also begun new collaborations with humanists and social scientists on projects ranging from capturing Twitter feeds in support of political science research to hosting peer-reviewed online journals such as the Walt Whitman Quarterly Review.

For more information, please contact Digital Library Services at lib-digital@uiowa.edu or call (319) 335-9275.


Iowa Poetry Prize added to UI Press collection

Laughing Africa book cover


Iowa Poetry Prize award winners through the year 2000 are now available online at http://ir.uiowa.edu/uipress/

This University of Iowa Press series is the latest addition in a collaborative effort between the Press and the University of Iowa Libraries to provide access to digital versions of books published by the Press. So far, we’ve made 91 titles, including many out of print volumes, fully searchable and freely available to readers and researchers around the world.  

The Prize was first awarded in 1990. Originally called the Edwin Ford Piper Poetry Award, the series was renamed with the 1993 award. Until 2001, the award honored only writers who had already published at least one book of poetry; the award is now open to new writers as well. Books in this series have also won the James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets and the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America.  

Print books may be purchased from the University of Iowa Press.
—Nicole Saylor
Head, Digital Library Services

Boynton project wins national award

Image from Capturing Tweets: Exploring the Impact of Microblogging poster by Lee & Boynton

Congratulations to Political Science Professor Bob Boynton. His New Media in Political Discourse project was selected by Center for Research Libraries to receive the 2010 Primary Source Award for research. CRL gives out just three Primary Source Awards annually, one each for teaching, research, and access.

Boynton studies the use of new media in political discourse. His current research compares micro-blogging (Twitter) with mainstream media coverage for global news events, and Joanna Lee in Digital Library Services worked with Prof. Boynton to build a system that captures live Twitter feeds for data analysis. Support was provided by Chris Clark, head of Desktop Support Services.

The project, which involved collecting Twitter data by constantly running The Archivist, a free tool for harvesting “tweets,” is explained in a poster created by Lee and Boynton.

See the DLS Web site for more on the Libraries’ involvement in this project.


Walt Whitman Quarterly Review goes digital


Walt Whitman Quarterly ReviewThe Walt Whitman Quarterly Review (WWQR), a literary quarterly sponsored by the University of Iowa Graduate College and the Department of English, is now available online at http://ir.uiowa.edu/wwqr/. The official journal of the Walt Whitman Studies Association is edited at Iowa by editor Ed Folsom and managing editor Blake Bronson-Bartlett. 

Less than a month after the site’s public launch, The Walt Whitman Recording, has already become the second-most accessed item in Iowa Research Online, the university’s institutional repository. The article, by Folsom, describes the rediscovery of the “tape-recording of what may be an 1889 or 1890 wax-cylinder recording of Walt Whitman reading four lines of his late poem ‘America.'” The audio has gained broad exposure recently in a Levi’s Go Forth commercial.

All journal back issues, beginning with the first volume in 1983, up to one year ago are full-text searchable from the site. Current issues are accessible to subscribers only. The site provides information about subscribing, announcements about Whitman-related matters, access to the searchable bibliography of everything written about Whitman from 1840 to the present, and up-to-date information on the census of the 1855 edition of Leaves of Grass. Soon, articles will also be available through bibliographic entries in the Walt Whitman Archive

WWQR is the latest journal to be added to Iowa Research Online, a dynamic archive of the research produced by faculty, researchers, and students, from published articles in peer-reviewed journals to presentations, theses, dissertations, and unpublished papers. WWQR is among four locally published e-journals hosted by the University of Iowa Libraries, with an additional two currently in production. To find out more about the Libraries support for locally journal publishing, see the Libraries e-journal hosting information. As with all efforts related to Iowa Research Online, this project was part of a broader Libraries initiative to support the transformation of scholarly communications.

—Nicole Saylor
Head, Digital Library Services


Digital Humanities Project Development Workshops

 Arts and humanities researchers interested in collaborating with campus technologists and librarians to develop innovative technology project proposals for the upcoming Arts & Humanities Initiative (AHI) grant cycle are encouraged to attend one of two workshops. While project consultations are geared toward AHI applicants, any researcher interested in getting a digital project off the ground is encouraged to attend.

Thursday, Jan. 21—1:30-2:15 at the Information Arcade, Main Library

Friday, Jan. 29—1:30-2:15 at the Information Arcade, Main Library

Please register for a workshop at http://survey.uiowa.edu/wsb.dll/848/ahiwkshp.htm

Digital specialists from the Libraries, ITS, and past AHI winners will discuss digital scholar-ship and examine how researchers, centers, and collaborative projects elsewhere are using technology to enhance their research, and how local scholars might leverage emerging digital humanities tools and resources locally.

The 45-minute workshops will be followed by individual project consultations.

AHI grants are awarded to projects that make a significant impact on scholarship in the proposed field. Proposals for digital arts and humanities projects and projects for which the applicant will seek external grant support are especially encouraged. Application deadline is February 9, 2010. For more details, see http://research.uiowa.edu/ifi//index.php?get=ahi

For more information about the upcoming workshops, please contact Digital Library Services at 335-9275.

–Nicki Saylor
Head, Digital Library Services


Fighting the evils of bit rot

This fun video from Digital Preservation Europe (DPE) was passed along this morning by our Preservation Librarian, Nancy Kraft. Who knew that the topic of digital preservation could be so entertaining? Enjoy!

–Nicole Saylor, Head
Digital Library Services


From trio to septet

1469.jpgToday the Digital Library Services staff page was updated. Wow. The department has grown from three full-time staff to seven in the past year.

The latest addition to our staff is Anne Shelley, a special projects librarian devoted to music and fine arts digital collection building. She started on July 1 and will spearhead work on the forthcoming Ignaz Pleyel digital collection, 200 works of historical sheet music by the famous 18th century composer whose scores are housed as the Rita Benton Music Library. She will also work to develop Iowa Sounds, a collection of audio recordings ranging from musical performances to radio shows with Iowa ties. Anne holds a B.M. in Music from Iowa State University (2004) and a M.A. in Library and Information Science from the University of Iowa (2008).

Last month, Keo Hoang joined the department to provide support for and supervision of the growing Digital Initiatives Project Room as the department this fall welcomes a new cohort of Digital Librarianship Fellowship Students from the School of Library and Information Science. Late last year, Wendy Robertson joined DLS to help expand support of electronic scholarship, including developing an infrastructure to support locally published e-journals and establishing a repository and streamlined workflows for faculty publications such as e-books. Wendy’s expertise in data analysis has allowed DLS to take a big leap forward on those digital collections that have required batch loading, migrating from one system to another, and aggregating with other information resources. Also last year, Bobby Duncan joined DLS to assist with image processing and quality control. Founding members of Digital Library Services include digital initiatives librarian Mark Anderson and metadata librarian Jen Wolfe.

With double the staff—and with the help of several digital librarianship fellows—we are working hard to develop the Iowa Digital Library into a robust repository.

—Nicole Saylor
Head, Digital Library Services


Mastering the meeting

Meeting in oval office, Gerald FordIn Digital Library Services, we are currently coordinating or consulting on more than 40 digital projects in various states of production. To ensure that these projects actually come to fruition during all parties’ lifetimes we must take a project-based approach to our work. This means insisting on project planning, setting target dates, and establishing checkpoints. This also means we must call or attend countless meetings.
To my mind, there is not greater work-related torture than sitting through a poorly-run meeting. I say that knowing that I still have plenty to learn about running a tight meeting myself. But during the American Library Association Midwinter Conference in Philadelphia earlier this month, I attended a one-day seminar by Pat Wagner called, “Mission Impossible: Practical Project Management,” that provided some great project meeting techniques. Here are just a few of my faves from Wagner, a consultant, trainer, and co-owner of Pattern Research, Inc.:



  • Meetings should start with plans–ground-rules pertaining to what will be accomplished, priorities, who is in charge of controlling the meeting, agreement that everyone speaks, no one dominates, and everyone listens respectfully, etc.
  •  Meetings should start on time.
  • Participants speak only to add new information.
  • Participants agree what will happen when projects miss deadlines or are not done correctly. (In other words, who can take a project away?)
  • Participants are “realistic and honest about what can be done with the people, time and resources we have. No martyrdom, no rescuing.”
  • “Age, credentials, tenure, education and other status do not give us privilege or protection from constructive criticism. Legitimate authority and universal respect is the key.”
  • “If the plan is in your head, there is no plan.”
  • No tangents/non-meeting business.
  • “Avoid the Victorian mindset. Instead, use technology, write in bullets, reduce useless ritual, speak concisely, avoid elitism, laugh lots.”

–Nicole Saylor, Head, Digital Library Services 



Ding Darling collection now bigger, better

political canoe cartoonThis week marks the 101st anniversary of the publication of Jay Norwood ‘Ding’ Darling’s first cartoon for the Des Moines Register.  To commemorate, UI Libraries has launched The Editorial Cartoons of J.N. ‘Ding’ Darling Digital Collection. The expanded collection now includes more than 10,000 Darling cartoons, a robust Web site contextualizing the collection, and audio recordings of Darling’s dictations that document his voice, vigor, and attitudes about issues ranging from politics to the environment. The collection was spearheaded by the UI Libraries Special Collections Department, which is home to the majority of Darling’s papers.

The Ding Darling Digital Collection is the latest enhancement to the Iowa Digital Library, which contains more than 95,000 digital objects —photographs, maps, sound recordings, and documents—from the holdings of the UI Libraries and numerous collaborators.

To commemorate the anniversary, Des Moines Register columnist Richard Doak wrote a piece in the Sunday newspaper highlighting Darling’s life and encouraging Iowan to make the state a place that Darling would have liked—”open, friendly, clean, teeming with wildlife—and they will come.”  Access the article at http://www.desmoinesregister.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2007712090315

University News Services Press release:

–Nicole Saylor, Head, Digital Library Services


Redesigns improve access, aesthetics

If you haven’t noticed already, two of Iowa’s largest digital libraries—Iowa Digital Library (IDL) and Iowa Heritage Digital Collections (IHDC)—have updated looks. The changes, put in place in July, are not just cosmetic; the improvements aim to increase access to a trove of unique documents from and about Iowa. IDL

First, a point of clarification. Ever since I arrived in April, I’ve found that many people use the terms Iowa Digital Library and Iowa Heritage Digital Collections interchangeably. They are, in fact, two separate digital libraries, even though some of the same UI collections (those with an Iowa history emphasis) can be accessed from both places. Iowa Digital Library contains digital collections generated at University of Iowa—primarily digitized artifacts from UI Libraries and UI faculty research. On the other hand, Iowa Heritage Digital Collections is a statewide consortium that encourages Iowa libraries, schools, historical societies, museums, archives, and other cultural heritage organizations to create and mount digital collections that highlight the state’s history and culture. UI Libraries helps provide server space and technical support for both efforts. Our unit manages the Iowa Digital Library while Nancy E. Kraft, the head of Preservation at UI Libraries, leads Iowa Heritage.

OK, back to the redesigns. The new Iowa Heritage Web site features rotating images from the collection along with a search box and allows users to search across collections. Some of the most popular search topics—aviation, football, and maps—are accessible with one click.

The new Iowa Digital Library Web site now includes a link from the main page to all digital collections. All collections, in turn, now have an introductory or “splash” page that provides a description of the digital collection and links to the content provider(s) and physical collection finding aids. Also, new collections get special prominence on the left side of the page while the DLS blog powers a News section where we push new developments about digital projects and related issues to interested parties. A new banner that will soon display offers not only a better look—out with the blue, in with gold—but better options to navigate between pages. Well-deserved credit for the Iowa Digital Library redesign goes to outgoing Web Services head Scott Fiddelke, DLS student worker Julie Bleecker, Webmaster Linda Roth, and DLS librarians Jen Wolfe and Mark Anderson. We hope you enjoy the changes!

—Nicki Saylor
Head, Digital Library Services