Category Archives: Blog

Partner Spotlight: Salt Lake Community College

Featured Collection: Utah Museum of Contemporary Art

Analogital – Exhibition Views

In this week’s partner spotlight, we would like to take the time to acknowledge our wonderful partners over at Salt Lake Community College. SLCC’s digital libraries contain a variety of collections, but the featured collection for this week is the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art collection. In this collection, you can find the many different exhibitions, galleries, etc. that have been held, and artists who have been highlighted in the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art. If you have time please feel free to browse this collection; there are many intriguing sub-collections from over the years, and a lot of the art is unique and local.

Aside from exhibit/art collections, SLCC also provides many different collections used for research purposes. You can use their database to search for various books, journal articles, digital archives, online videos, etc. Feel free to browse the featured collection Utah Museum of Contemporary Art here, or directly on Utah Museum of Contemporary Art’s website.

Not Just Another Pretty Face (2009) – Exhibition Views

The picture above is taken from the featured collection. It shows three paintings from the exhibition Not Just Another Pretty Face (2009). This exhibition occurs annually and encourages new individuals to think of themselves as patrons/artists supporting contemporary art. Please go check out this exhibition and more at our partner’s website!

Partner Spotlight: University of Utah

Featured Collection: Photo Archives

View of a cabin at Brighton Resort in 1932

With Thanksgiving the next day, we wanted to take the time to give thanks to our partner at the University of Utah, our home. The J. Willard Marriott Library is in our partner spotlight for this week as we give thanks to all they do for us, and for the many amazing collections they give us access too. Among these, is a Photo Archives collection that contains pictures of everything that has been happening at the University of Utah, but Salt Lake City in general. These pictures range from headshots of different officials, to gymnastic meets at the University of Utah back from the 1980s. With ski season right around the corner as well, one of the favorites in this collection are the series of pictures from Brighton resort back in 1930. Anytime you are missing the slopes, head over to Marriott Library’s photo archives and check out the action shots of various skiers throughout the years.

The image above is another one of my favorite in this collection. This was taken in June of 1931, and we are still thankful for this view today. Please feel free to checkout our partner at the University of Utah, J. Willard Marriott Library. You can also access their amazing collection which the images in this post came from here. Take some time today and tomorrow to think about all the great things in your life to be thankful for, and happy holidays!

Partner Spotlight: Utah State Archives

Featured Collection: Utah State Historical Society World War Military Listings

Names of the people who served from Utah WWII

In this week’s Partner Spotlight, we want to highlight our partner here locally, Utah State Archives, or more formally known as Utah Division of Archives and Records Service. With it being Veterans Day, we wanted to take the time to remember and thank our military veterans all across the nation, living and dead, who fought for our freedom and freedom of others all around the world. The picture above shows a list of names of some of the brave men and women from Utah who served in WWII. In the featured collection, you can browse through several historical images of records consisting of Utahns who were killed, reported missing, or discharged from both WWI and WWII. With all that is going on in the world, MWDL would like to show immense gratitude to all those who lost their lives in these wars, those who still are impacted from the tragedies that war brings, and those who continue to serve to protect our country and the people within it. From MWDL, we would like to send a huge thank you to all our veterans out there!

Please be sure to check out our wonderful partners and their collections like this one and more. Feel free to contact Utah State Archives for any record or archive requests you may have as well. Visit their website at https://archives.utah.gov/, and be sure to check out the featured collection over on our website with the link here: Utah State Historical Society World War Military Listings. Happy Veterans Day to all! Be sure to take the time today and thank a veteran for their service!

Partner Spotlight: University of Nevada – Las Vegas

Featured Collection: Menus: The Art of Dining

This week’s Partner Spotlight shines bright on our partners at UNLV, University Libraries Digital Collection! We all know the city they are from, but the Digital Collections’ library at UNLV is full of historic and interesting collections. The collection highlighted today is their “Menus: The Art of Dining” collection. This collection features many pictures of various menus, from Wine menus at hotels, to lunch/dinner menus at some of the most historically respected restaurants around the world. This is a great resource to get an idea of the cultures the menus are from, but also what the trendy aesthetics were at the time the menu was created. As you go back further in time, you may notice that calligraphy as well as intricate detail to the art on the menu were heavily focused on. More recently, simplicity and minimalism is the focus. Below are a few favorites in the collection, but in order to get the importance of this collection feel free to browse it yourself!

To the left, you can see the cover of the wine menu at the hotel El Rancho Vegas. This menu cover is from some time between 1950-1960, about 75 years ago.

El Rancho Vegas was a hotel on the “Strip” in Vegas that was opened in 1941, and was short-lived as the owner, Beldon Katleman, knocked it down just 19 years in 1960.









Another favorite from this collection is the lunch menu cover from the Piccadilly Hotel, located in Paris, France. This menu cover dates all the way back to 1889. The artwork and calligraphy were hand-drawn, which speaks for itself.










Once we are able to travel freely again, or the next time you are at a restaurant, pay close attention to the menus, or lists, that you order from. See how times have changed as you compare the menus from today to those of the past from this amazing collection. Feel free to check out our partners’ website, Digital Library, UNLV. You can also head to this collection at the link at the top of the page!

Partner Spotlight: Southern Utah University

Featured Collection: Dixie National Forest (UT) Photographs

This week in our Partner Spotlight, we will be highlighting our partners at Southern Utah University, Sherratt Library as well as U.S. Forest Service, who provides all the photographs of this collection. One of the many interesting collections they supply is the Dixie National Forest Photographs, which include over 8,000 photos of Utah’s largest national forest. These pictures in the collection were provided by the US Forest Service. The picture above shows the road perpendicular to the entrance to one of the many campsites in the forest, Red Canyon Campground.

Browsing through this collection, you can expect to see various images of the lakes, reservoirs, campgrounds, and beautiful still scenes from everywhere around the forest.


Shown to the left is a scene from Panguitch Lake, one of the personal favorites from this collection. Depicted is a group of people lowering their boat at one of the docks on the 10 miles of shoreline that surround the lake. The word “Panguitch” comes from the local Native Americans and means “big fish”. This name seems to be very fitting as the lake is as good as any for year-round fishing.

Here is another look at Panguitch lake showing the large amount of shoreline in the background on a bright, clear day.






You can head to our partners’ websites at Sherratt Library, Southern Utah University, and to U.S. Forest Service, Dixie National Forest. For more of this collection specifically, please check out the link below, which takes you to the MWDL page for this collection:

Dixie National Forest (UT) Photographs

mwdl blog header

New Collections Showcase Content on Pandemics, Voting Rights

While many new collections have joined MWDL in 2020, we’re going to highlight four in this post. Three pertain to pandemics both past and present, and the fourth to the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage. These are all wonderful examples of MWDL partners using digital libraries to document present history, aggregating existing collections to provide new historical context, and contextualizing local events on the national and global stage.

We hope these few examples demonstrate the amazing work MWDL partners continue to do despite hardship. These collections joined DPLA as they came online and represent the intermountain West in a nationwide pool of resources. The DPLA Black Women’s Suffrage Collection also launched earlier in September and we’re excited to dig into it!

Utah Valley University’s Fulton Library COVID-19 Collection

This new collection features diverse materials from the Fulton Library community. Images, documents, promotional materials, social media posts, and surveys contributed by staff members, students, and other Fulton Library-community members detail life as we all adjusted to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A Fulton Library feline work-from-home companion

Utah COVID-19 Collection (University of Utah)

Have you ever heard of a quaranzine? Neither have we! This is but one of the unique items submitted to J. Willard Marriott Library’s crowd-sourced Utah COVID-19 collection. Beginning in late March, Marriott Library invited submissions from Utahns to document their pandemic experiences. At nearly 800 items and counting, this collection includes photographs, oral histories, protest flyers, digital performance art and more.

1918 Flu Pandemic Newspapers (University of Utah)

Hand The Flu A Lemon !

– Headline of folk remedy article in Salt Lake Telegram, October 9, 1918

Looking back to our last global pandemic, the 1918 Flu Pandemic Newspapers collection gathers articles published between 1918-20 in Utah newspapers on the topic of the Spanish flu. These articles are sourced from Utah Digital Newspapers. A brand-new digital exhibit launched September 28 and adds more context to the story!

Suffrage and Stories of Utah Women

Finally, Utah State Archives mounted a new collection and online exhibit about the history of women’s suffrage in Utah! As the United States celebrates the centennial of women’s suffrage throughout 2020, Utah celebrates 150 years of suffrage. Utah women gained suffrage in 1870 when it was still a territory, a full 25 years ahead of statehood.

mwdl traffic by geography

Analytics: Users find MWDL in all sorts of ways!

Happy Autumn 2020! We previously looked at where MWDL users are located and learned MWDL has global reach. But have you ever wondered how all those users find MWDL in the first place? We recently looked at traffic acquisition from June through mid-September and have some interesting trends to share.

Google Analytics segments traffic into 4 channels (or buckets) by default: Referral, Organic Search, Direct, and Social. There are additional default channels such as Email, Affiliates, and Paid Advertising, but MWDL doesn’t currently use (or track) any of these. Looking at the channels in this period:

ChannelPercent of Total
(8,320 users)
Pages/SessionAverage Duration (min:sec)
Referral57%1.431:02
Organic Search26%1.751:09
Direct16%2.221:17
Social1%3.362:22
MWDL Traffic Channels (June-September 15, 2020)

Does the distribution of traffic by channel surprise you? A few things stood out to us. First, the majority of traffic reaches MWDL by referral. We’ll look closer at referral sources in a moment. The next two channels (organic, direct) combined don’t equal the amount of referral traffic; social comes in last with just 1% of all users!

The picture gets more interesting when we consider the number of pages per session and the average duration. Referral, organic, and direct search users all stayed around 1 minute. Despite being the smallest channel, social had the longest session duration with over two minutes — double as long as any of the other channels.

So what are sources for these channels? A view of the top ten sources offers more detail:

Source/MediumPercent of Total
(8,320 users)
Pages/SessionAverage Duration(min:sec)
google/organic21%1.761:08
dp.la/referral21%1.502:08
MWDL search portal (Primo)/referral16%1.380:50
direct/none14%2.221:17
mwdl.org/referral11%1.580:30
omnia.ie/referral6%1.532:14
mwdl-org (AMP pages)/referral2%1.220:05
onlinelibrary.uen.org/referral1%1.971:23
baidu.com/referral1%1.01<0:01
bing/organic1%1.631:14
Top 10 MWDL Traffic Sources (June-September 15, 2020)

Search engines like Google and Bing accounted for the majority of the organic search traffic (and Yahoo ranks 19th on the list of sources with <0.25% of MWDL traffic). The picture looks more interesting when we consider the top external referral sources – Digital Public Library of America (DPLA), Omnia, and Utah Education Network (UEN).

DPLA not only accounts for a large percentage (21%) of total referrals in this period, but the average session duration is much longer–almost twice as long!– as those of the organic sources. While it accounts for a smaller percentage of referrals, Omnia also enjoys the longest average session duration (2:14). [Omnia is a digital humanities project by Niall O’Leary that aggregates records from Europeana and DPLA to offer a hybrid cultural heritage search portal.]

To see what social channels drive traffic to MWDL, we have to consider the next five top referrers:

Source/MediumPercent of Total
(8,320 users)
Pages/SessionAverage Duration(min:sec)
history.utah.gov/referral0.42%1.681:17
gongu.copyright.or.kr/referral0.40%1.190:33
m.facebook.com/referral0.27%5.461:59
umbrasearch.org/referral0.26%1.130:06
t.co/referral0.22%1.660:44
MWDL Traffic Sources #11-15 (June-September 15, 2020)

While Facebook only accounts for a fraction of a percent of traffic, these users have the highest number of pages viewed per session (5.46!) and a relatively long session duration. Twitter (t.co is a URL wrapper) also makes up just a small percentage in this period.

We have a few takeaways from these numbers. First: community is good! Projects that aggregate MWDL content (DPLA, Omnia, Utah Education Network, UmbraSearch) help drive traffic to us. Next, the high number of direct users (14%) suggests MWDL is a known resource and users are visiting without needing to search. Finally, while the overall traffic from social media sites is very small, those referrals were “sticky” with longer session durations and a high number of page views.

Finally — we didn’t forget to look where users are located! We look forward to being able to travel in 2021 and completing more of the map! Happy searching, everyone!

MWDL traffic by geographic location, June-September 15, 2020
MWDL traffic by geographic location (June-September 15, 2020)

September Partner Spotlight: University of Utah

A picture of the University of Utah Willard J. Marriott Library from the Southeast.

Welcome to MWDL’s first partner spotlight! We’ll be writing one of these overviews for each of our partners over the coming months so be on the lookout for an email from our metadata assistant, Keegan Dohm.

In late summer I met with Jeremy Myntti, Head of Digital Library Services at the U, to talk about what new projects, directions, and transitions are being embarked on at the Marriott Library. We discussed new data visualization projects, collection acquisitions, new mindsets for approaching data, and the books Jeremy recently edited (The Sudden Position Guide to Cataloging & Metadata and Digital Preservation in Libraries).

New Methods, New Mindset

The U’s Digital Library Services and Digital Matters departments have been developing several small pilot projects exploring the concept of “Collections as Data”. That’s the moniker given to the new-ish approach to digital collections and metadata that arose in response to the somewhat widespread digitization of records and the rise of computational research methods in the humanities over the past couple of decades.

A problem emerges however, because we began digitizing records long before computational methods became commonplace, our digital archives are still closer to the traditional library model. Since we haven’t caught up with all the social and historical scientists turned programmers, they resort to reverse engineering ‘web scraping’ programs that automatically download records one at a time, or else give up and find other data sets. “Collections as Data” is about figuring out how to prepare and present these collections in ways they can be engaged by data visualization tools and analysis.

In their first project, members of the U’s Digital Library Services and Digital Matters teams (Rebekah Cummings, Anna Neatrour, Rachel Wittmann, and Lizzie Callaway) went deep into collections of mining oral histories, a primary focus of many Utah collections. They struck gold with the project title, dubbing it “Text Mining Mining Texts”.

Word cloud of terms that appeared frequently in the collections of mining oral histories

The word cloud above is a topic model produced by scanning through text from a portion of the mining oral histories. The topic model can provide really profound insight into what’s really going on in these historical periods. For example, it spurred the team to inquire about the usage of ‘strike’ in the histories; they discovered that it referred to not just miners striking, but striking out racist real estate laws as well. Though only a test case, this project certainly illustrates the benefits of making collections easier to access in bulk formats. A determined researcher with enough time might observe generational language variations using network analysis on the syntactic structures in each document and comparing them to more recently recorded interviews. This project along with other Collections as Data projects will be discussed in an article to be published in Information Technology and Libraries (ITAL) this December.

New Collections

In the meantime the team at the University of Utah is continuing to engage in projects like this. Recently, Rachel Wittmann incorporated location metadata from their brand new Harold Stanley Sanders Matchbooks collection into an interactive map using ArcGIS. Rachel also wrote an excellent newsletter about the collection here.

Check out the interactive version of this map here!

Ongoing Work

Alongside all these new approaches the Special Collections and Digital Library Services teams are continuing the ongoing work of preserving and processing new and old collections. Of note, the Manuscripts Division of Special Collections was awarded a grant from Utah State Archives to finish processing the materials in the Kennecott Copper Corporation records. The last couple of months saw the completion of that project with the remaining 189 cartons of materials successfully organized. These records give researchers access to stories of the numerous ethnic communities who migrated to Utah over time, seeking the opportunity of the mining industry. Now Anna Neatrour has been awarded funding from the U’s Digital Matters to begin transcribing the text from these records to make them more accessible.

Another large undertaking that could eventually tie back into the Collections as Data concept is the captioning and transcribing of the Audio Visual collections. Even for collections with only a few videos, this can be a daunting task as timing video captions can be a time-consuming process. Jeremy Myntti and Molly Steed have been heading this project with funding from the Marriott Library’s Jumpstart Grant Program.

Thanks for reading our first partner spotlight and be on the lookout for the sequel posts in the coming months!

MWDL Fall Update

With most schools and universities back in session the summer is quickly coming to an end, but before we fall off daylight savings time, we have a few noteworthy MWDL items for you.

DPLA

Our August DPLA harvest completed several weeks ago and we are up to 1,086,044 records in their portal. Thanks to everyone who has submitted new collections and continually added records to existing ones. Our fourth and final harvest of 2019 will be in November.

If you’re interested in an account for DPLA’s Analytics Dashboard, please let us know. The dashboard gives you access to usage and metadata statistics about your records in DPLA! The ability to make user accounts was rolled out earlier this year, and many of you are already taking advantage of this feature.

Harvest Requests

We have updated our harvest request form to send an auto-response to you. Now when you submit a collection, you’ll receive an email to the address you specify with the details of your request.

Webinars

We’ve hosted two webinars so far this year to hear from University of Nevada, Reno and University of Nevada, Las Vegas about their Islandora migration projects. Thanks to Emily Boss, Nathan Gerth, Emily Lapworth, and Seth Shaw for giving such great presentations! If you missed these, you can still view the Zoom recordings:

University of Nevada, Reno Islandora migration

University of Nevada, Las Vegas Islandora 8 project update

In the week of November 11,  we’re looking forward to MWDL alum Rebekah Cummings sharing more about the J. Willard Marriott Library’s work inspired by the Collections as Data project. Look for more details shortly.

If you’d like to present an upcoming webinar, please let us know and we can get that scheduled. We’re looking for one more 2019 presentation and 2020 is wide open!

Upcoming Conferences

Finally, if you’re headed to the Utah State Historical Society Conference on September 26-28, we’ll be there! Stop by our table and say hi.