Digital Research & Publishing Category


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.


Seeding digital humanities: UI Libraries offers start-up funds

Digital Library Services is pleased to invite applications for a total of $10,000 in one-time funds to support innovative research computing in the humanities and social sciences. The goal of the Creative Scholarship Innovation Award is to raise the level of digital scholarship at Iowa by supporting significant 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.

The Award is open to faculty researchers in the humanities and social sciences at The University of Iowa; the application deadline is April 2, 2010. Learn more.

“And some fell…” [detail] by J.N. “Ding” Darling, 1946


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

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

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

–Nicki Saylor
Head, Digital Library Services


A new view for IDL

We’ve added a new viewer to the item interface for the Iowa Digital LibrarydmMonicle is an image viewer that makes it easier to see detailed pictures with its click-and-drag capability (think Google Maps).  Another significant change is how you zoom.  Rather than having defined zoom levels, zooming is handled with a sliderbar.  It doesn’t look a whole lot different from the previous toolbar, but the usability is much improved!


A shout out to the development staff at the UNLV Libraries for making this terrific viewer!

–Mark F. Anderson
Digital Initiatives Librarian


Chicago bound

Congratulations to former DLS student assistant and recent library school grad Sarah Dorpinghaus on accepting her first professional position. Sarah was instrumental in helping us put together our Lincoln Digital Collection, so it’s fitting that she’ll relocate to the Land of Lincoln, where she’ll be working as a Project Archivist at the Chicago History Museum. Good luck, Sarah!

“City of Chicago” card catalog collage by Emma Waight, 2005

The Shields Trio of Chicago talent brochure, 1920s

“How Chicago Killed the Bear” editorial cartoon by Ding Darling, 1931

“1970 Biennial Convention of the MENC, Chicago, Illinois” album by The University of Iowa Band, 1970

Billy Dancy and her mother, Chicago, Ill., photograph, 1940s

 Lincoln Monument, Lincoln Park, Chicago, Ill., postcard, 1940


Bon Voyage, Anne!

This week, DLS bids farewell to Digital Projects Librarian Anne Shelley, who has accepted the position of assistant librarian with the Center for Transportation Studies at the University of Minnesota.  Anne started her tenure just last June amid the rising waters of the Iowa River flood.  Listing all of her accomplishments would cause the blog server to crash, so just a couple of highlights…

 She led the Ignaz Pleyel digital collection to fruition, a one-of-a-kind collection of over 200 early editions of Pleyel music scores.  The project required a great deal of coordination and planning, which Anne carried out successfully.

Anne also recorded several tutorials on using the Iowa Digital Library, helping users to navigate the sometimes-tricky interface of IDL. 

Good luck Anne!  We’ll miss you.

–Mark F. Anderson
Digital Initiatives Librarian


Good luck, Shawn!

In a parallel universe where the economy is in better shape, it would have been great to have temporary Digital Projects Librarian Shawn Averkamp moved to permanent staff. Alas in this universe, we have to say goodbye, as she leaves today to prepare for relocating to The University of Alabama Libraries, which has been lucky enough to hire her as a Metadata Librarian. From Shawn’s first digital fellowship project building the African American Women Students at the UI collection, to her recent duties helping to implement Iowa Research Online, Shawn has made her mark in DLS, and will be greatly missed personally as well as professionally.

In salute to Shawn, here are some artifacts from Traveling Culture, another collection she’s worked on. If it weren’t for the economy, we would have liked to hire an actual chorus of dancing men to see her off.


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


The big reveal



Welcome to the Iowa Digital Library home page version 2.0! We hope you enjoy the newly redesigned site as much as we do. The old page dated all the way back to 2006, making it 21 in dog years, and virtually ancient in digital library years. Designed in response to our rapid growth since then, the new site features improved scalability and browsability, allowing quicker and easier access to our ever-increasing number of digitized artifacts.

Special thanks to digital library graduate fellow Angela Murillo for spending much of last semester contributing to the project, and also to our colleagues in the Applications & Web Services department for assisting with design and functionality, to our colleagues at other institutions whose work inspired us, and to the users who provided us with valuable feedback. Please keep the comments and suggestions coming by filling out our user survey or e-mailing us at




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