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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!


A Monument Man at SUI

Two collections in the Iowa Digital Library, University of Iowa Alumni Publications and University of Iowa Yearbooks include over 40,000 pages of campus history.  Locating a specific name or event would be a challenge, but Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology allows the collections to be full text searchable.

The name George Stout has been in the news a lot lately as the basis for the lead character in the movie Monuments Men.  A 1921 graduate of what was then the State University of Iowa (SUI), he also makes several other appearances in the both the yearbooks and alumni publications.

George Stout, Hawkeye Yearbook, 1921

George Stout, Hawkeye Yearbook, 1921

Stout is listed among the artists of the humor publication Frivol, which while unfortunately not digitized, is available in the University Archives’ Student-produced Publications and Newsletters Collection.

Frivol 1920

Frivol, 1920

Stout - Frivol

Frivol Staff, 1921

Stout is also mentioned in the March 1921 issue of the Iowa Alumnus for delivering a short address for Foundation Day, the UI’s 74th birthday.  While there’s no accompanying picture for this event, the IDL collection Iowa City Town and Campus Scenes includes several photographs from earlier Foundation Days.

Foundation Day speech, The University of Iowa, 1910s?

Foundation Day speech, The University of Iowa, 1910s?

Finding information in Iowa Digital Library text collections is made simple through OCR and word highlighting.

Iowa Digital Library Image & Text Viewer

Iowa Digital Library Image & Text Viewer

Enjoy more than a million digital objects created from the holdings of the University of Iowa Libraries and its campus partners. Included are illuminated manuscripts, historic maps, fine art, historic newspapers, scholarly works, and more. Digital collections are coordinated by Digital Research & Publishing.


Remembering the Gettysburg Address

Today is the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. The Iowa Digital Library includes over 1000 items digitized from the archives of Lincolniana collector James Wills Bollinger.

View additional items from the Bollinger-Lincoln digital collection.

This is Abraham Lincoln, Page 14

This is Abraham Lincoln, 1941, Page 14 | The James W. Bollinger Digital Collection

This is Abraham Lincoln, Page 15

This is Abraham Lincoln, 1941, Page 15 | The James W. Bollinger Digital Collection


Lincoln, a story in poster stamps, 1939 | The James W. Bollinger Digital Collection









The Gettysburg Speech, Bernard Wall etching, 1924 | The James W. Bollinger Digital Collection.


Bon Voyage, Christine!

We in Digital Research & Publishing sadly bid fond farewell to Christine Tade. Christine’s involvement in DRP extends back almost to the beginning of the department, to a 2006 professional development internship, where Christine learned the ins-and-outs of applying descriptive metadata to Iowa Digital Library materials. Afterward, Christine was the point person for digital collection metadata in the Cataloging department, training and supervising staff there, finding ways to bend the software to her will and making more archival collections usable online.

"A thoroughbred" 1907

Christine officially joined Digital Research & Publishing in 2012, six months after the launch of DIYHistory, the Libraries crowdsourcing transcriptions project. While continuing her digital collection work, Christine transitioned into the role of chief correspondent with transcribing participants, answering questions and also transcribing and reviewing many manuscripts herself. In July, DIYHistory reached a major milestonetemp, 35,000 pages transcribed.

Automobile crossing a bridge on a dirt road, Iowa, 1922

Christine has contributed greatly to the success of many projects and collection initiatives. We wish her the very best in her retirement!


Winet new director of Digital Studio for Public Humanities

Jon Winet, Director of the Digital Studio for Public Humanities at the University of Iowa

Jon Winet has been named the inaugural director of the Digital Studio for Public Humanities at the University of Iowa.

The new Studio is a campus-wide initiative based in the Main Library that will encourage and support public digital humanities research and scholarship by faculty, staff, and students, including those involved in “Public Humanities in a Digital World,” one of the interdisciplinary faculty “clusters” that have been established so far under the UI Cluster Hire Initiative.

Provost P. Barry Butler Professor stated in a note to faculty late last week:

“Winet has long been a strong advocate and practitioner of public digital humanities and art.  Many of you may know him as one of the driving forces behind the online art and literature project The Daily Palette.  He directs The University of Iowa UNESCO City of Literature Mobile Application Development Team, which last fall launched ‘City of Lit,’ an iPhone app that highlights Iowa City’s rich literary history.  He has engaged in a series of collaborative projects around politics, art, language, and image in the Information Age, including ‘Novel Iowa City,’ an experimental community writing project created and presented via Twitter during the 2011 Iowa City Book Festival.  He is currently in pre-production on ‘First in the Nation,’ a New Media documentary project on the run-up to the 2012 Iowa Caucuses.  In 2007, he received the UI President’s Award  for State Outreach and Public Engagement.”

The Libraries is excited to have the Digital Studio located on the first floor of Main Library and we look forward to partnering with Jon and others on this exciting initiative. You will hear more about the Digital Studio in the months ahead, as it gets up and running under Jon’s leadership. Welcome, Jon!


Digital humanities director search underway

"Plenty of talent. What they need is a director" (Nov. 20, 1917) Editorial Cartoons of J.N. "Ding" Darling

After a series of digital humanities faculty hires, the University is now seeking an internal candidate to head the new Digital Studio for Public Humanities, to be housed in Main Library. We in DLS are excited about this latest development, and we look forward to building on recent experimental digital project collaborations with faculty members and ITS staff through a more coordinated approach led by the Provost’s Office.

Call for Applications-Director of the Digital Studio for Public Humanities

The University of Iowa invites applications for director of the Digital Studio for Public Humanities that is being developed in conjunction with the “Public Humanities in a Digital World” faculty cluster.  We seek a distinguished, dynamic, and visionary senior University of Iowa faculty member whose experiences—including interdisciplinary collaborations, technological innovations, public engagement, research, and teaching—will help the University launch this exciting new venture.

The Office of the Provost—in collaboration with the Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR), the University Libraries, Information Technology Services (ITS), and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS)—is already at work creating and staffing the Studio in the Main Library.  The Provost will further support the Studio by providing three years of start-up funding, and the OVPR will offer competitive seed grants for faculty projects.  ITS and the Libraries also offer competitive awards to support imaginative uses of technology for teaching. The successful candidate will have expertise in the digital humanities, success in engaging public audiences, experience in administration, strong evidence of academic leadership, demonstrated ability to work effectively and inclusively with a wide range of constituencies including students, and an established research agenda.

For more information, contact the Office of the Provost.


Digital humanities faculty searches underway

At Digital Library Services we are excited to see the new job postings for four faculty positions in support of a cluster initiative in Public Humanities in a Digital World. The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences is searching for the first three of an eventual six positions under this initiative. The new School of Library and Information Science director will be an active participant in the initiative as well.

“All positions in this initiative require interest in engaging collaboratively with communities and organizations across and outside the university.  New hires under this initiative will actively participate in exploring the role of digital practices on the production of scholarship and creative work in projects central to the humanities,” according to the job descriptions.

 For more information on the cluster hires, see the recent news release.

—Nicole 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


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 



JPEG: The Next Generation

It’s early July, which in the library world means post-ALA.  I was one of over 21,000 attendees to descend on Washington D.C. and the American Library Association annual conference.  For a Digital Initiatives Librarian, the selection of sessions and meetings at the conference is not as broad as for public librarians, school librarians and other academic librarians, but one group I have enjoyed meeting with for the last two years is the JPEG2000 Interest Group.

  What is JPEG2000?  JPEG2000 (aka JP2 or J2K) is a digital image format developed to be the next generation image format.  Slow to be generally adopted, JP2 may not fully replace JPEG as the standard compressed image format or TIFF as the standard archival image format, but rather be a third option.  JP2’s strength is in its flexibility: it can be uncompressed like a TIFF or compressed like a JPEG, although when compressed, its quality is much higher than a JPEG due to the wavelet compression technology on which JP2 is based. 

OK, enough techno-speak.  The main topic of discussion at the interest group meeting was whether JPEG2000 should actually replace TIFF as the preferred archival image format for digital library initiatives.  Far from being a settled issue, some leading institutions such as the California Digital Library have made the switch completely, while the Digital Library Federation still recommends TIFF as the archival format.  Some attendees of the interest group such as Harvard weren’t even at liberty to discuss the decisions they’ve made due to their mass digitization program agreements with Google. 

A sub-issue was whether switching to JPEG2000 and its smaller file size would allow more full-color scanning of textual materials, which is central to the debate between the importance of the content vs. the artifact.  I.e., is it enough to scan a diary in grayscale to capture just the content, or should full-color scanning be employed to capture the color of the page, the color of the ink, and therefore a truer representation of the artifact.  There are those that feel strongly on both sides, but the adoption of JPEG2000 may allow content and artifact to live together in harmony.

An interesting side note to the discussion of digital images is that a motion JPEG2000 format has also been developed motion pictures, and the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) has already selected the format for direct transmission to cinemas. (No indication yet as to when we’ll say goodbye to film reels and hello to 1’s and 0’s).


Like many other digital libraries, here at Iowa, we have been using JPEG2000 primarily for map images, where we want to display a high resolution image at a smaller file size.  We may however be a long way off from adopting JPEG2000 as the archival format for all of our digitization activities and throwing away the TIFFs.

All in all, meeting with this small group of a dozen people and discussing how the slow adoption of JPEG2000 will impact our work was rewarding in ways that the huge lecture sessions at
ALA were not.  I hope future ALA conferences will include more of these interest groups for digital initiatives librarians, but I’ll always make room on my schedule for this one.

–Mark F. Anderson
Digital Initiatives Librarian