Digital Research & Publishing Category


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




New arrivals

Congratulations to Jen Wolfe, and welcome to the world, Audrey and Calvin!!!

Born: Sunday, Aug 17th, 10:23 am/10:24 am


Calvin James, 6lbs. 13 oz

Audrey Claire, 4lbs. 7oz


–Mark F. Anderson

Digital Initiatives Librarian


Nurturing a sustainable program

As I prepare to go on leave for the next few months, I’ve been relieved to see how well we’ve been able to plan for my absence, thanks to the Libraries’ ongoing commitment to growing a sustainable digital initiatives program. While a leave of this length would have been detrimental to our progress back when DLS was in its infancy, investments in cross-training and position reallocation over the past couple of years have given us the flexibility to increase the distribution of metadata duties throughout the library.

Within DLS, new staff members Wendy Robertson and Anne Shelley provide specialized cataloging expertise gained from their backgrounds in serials and electronic resources management and in music librarianship. Thanks to the University’s internal internship program, Christine Tade from Central Technical Services and Ellen Jones from Circulation have received training on all aspects of digital library work, with a particular forcus in metadata. Cataloging staff from CTS have added production work on metadata projects to their other duties. And we’re even delegating assistance with metadata training and support within the Digital Library Fellowship program, with plans to capitalize on the hard-won expertise of last year’s fellows by pairing them with members of this fall’s incoming cohort.

Together, these staff and students will be taking good care of Iowa Digital Library and its users by continuing to create resources that are easy to find, manage and share.

–Jen Wolfe
Metadata Librarian, 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


New staff member

Digital Library Services welcomes Keo Hoang as its new Digital Initiatives Support Specialist.  Keo comes to DLS from Hardin Library for the Health Sciences and the Information Arcade, and he returns to the third floor of Main Library where he spent several years with Desktop Support.

Keo will be providing 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.

He is an avid gardener whose home is included in this year’s Project GREEN Garden Tour.  Welcome, Keo!

–Mark F. Anderson
Digital Initiatives Librarian


Making tracks at Indy

Just returned from Indianapolis and Midwest Users Group Conference for CONTENTdm, the digital asset management software that we use to power the Iowa Digital Library.  This was the third annual meeting, but really the first year that it’s been truly regional, attendance-wise.  It was really positive to hear how numbers had grown in those three years.  In ’06, there were 30 attendees, and 60 last year.  This year, 101.  It shows a growing user base that will hopefully have a greater influence on the system’s growth and development.  More regional meetings are planned for this year including ones in the southeast and mid-Atlantic.

We received an update from Claire Cocco, CONTENTdm’s product manager on some exciting enhancements to expect later this year, and Glee Willis delivered a great keynote on day two, encouraging digital libraries to stretch the system through customizations in order to best serve information users, showing examples from some of the leaders in the CONTENTdm community.

I particularly enjoyed the University of Louisville’s session on using the MyMaps feature of Google Maps to add overlays as browse interfaces through which to enter cartographic resources in CONTENTdm.  DLS’s own Wendy Robertson spoke at a presentation about workflows for migrating MARC catalog records to CONTENTdm, which was well received by the audience.

I participated on panels discussing digitizing scrapbooks and yearbooks and using CONTENTdm for art collections, and also brought along Jen Wolfe’s eye-catching poster depicting how DLS handles scrapbooks.  Nicole Saylor served on the conference’s planning committee and Brian Thompson attended the meeting as a way to become more familiar with the system and its community of users.  So, LIT was well represented.

There was even talk of an upper-Midwest CONTENTdm users group getting together later this year.  It’s nice to see this kind of organization, but my hope is that CONTENTdm users can maintain a similar level of activity and working together between meetings, perhaps by blowing the dust off the user group wiki, which can help all levels of implementation make the best use of the system.

One of the most beneficial pieces of the meeting was meeting new people and talking about the different ways in which we’re using the system for digital library activities.  We enjoyed some good food and a great record store in downtown Indianapolis (sorry Jen, never made it to Trader Joe’s), but now it’s back to work.

–Mark F. Anderson
Digital Initiatives Librarian