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.
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.
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
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.
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:
Percent of Total (8,320 users)
Average Duration (min:sec)
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:
Percent of Total (8,320 users)
MWDL search portal (Primo)/referral
mwdl-org (AMP pages)/referral
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:
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!
Happy New Year, MWDL Network! On December 13, 2019, we announced the completion of a new metadata application profile. This post details the revision process and highlights the differences between MWDL MAP V2 ( 2011) and MWDL MAP V3 (2019). MAP V3 is effective January 1, 2020 for new collections harvested into MWDL.
Following the delivery of the Bulk Digitization Task Force’s MWDL Application Profile review report at the 2018 MWDL Summer Meeting, the MWDL Metadata Application Profile Revision Taskforce formed and began meeting. (Many thanks to Gina Strack, Cory Nimer, and Darnelle Melvin for their hard work on that report!) After a short time, the taskforce elected to survey the MWDL member network to better assess current metadata practices, understand pain points with the existing profile, and gather general feedback about the 2011 document. After clearing our survey instrument through University of Utah and Utah State University’s Institutional Review Boards (IRB), the taskforce launched the survey in January 2019.
After receiving 12 responses (out of 16 MWDL hubs, or 75% response rate), the taskforce set to analyzing the feedback. To our surprise, consensus was not as clear as we had imagined about removal or addition of elements. Rather, several broad themes emerged:
Members are using a broad range of platforms locally, not only CONTENTdm
Some members are describing collections using MODS instead of Dublin Core
Certain required fields were cumbersome for description of archival materials and presented barriers to harvesting
The taskforce also evaluated new platforms to host the updated MAP throughout April and May, including GoogleDocs, GitHub, WordPress, Confluence, and a wiki. We mocked up one element table (date) in each platform, held virtual open houses to show them off, and voted on the best choice. GitHub was selected because it best met the taskforce’s criteria: a flexible, web-based tool that allowed multiple editors and/or authors, comment functionality, and offered the ability to host a static downloadable document.
With our new platform decided, we began meeting regularly throughout August and October 2019 to review each element as a group and make updates. The taskforce quickly decided on several global changes to the MAP, including the addition of MODS mapping and linking to terms namespaces throughout. Another broad change was to revamp the levels of obligation for elements from 2011’s required, required-if-applicable, and optional to required, recommended, and optional. This reflects broader trends in metadata profiles observed by the DLF Metadata Quality Benchmarks Working Group as well as DPLA MAP V5. The table below summarizes the differences between the versions:
Required: date, description, format, identifier, rights, subject, title, type
Required: date, format, identifier, rights, title, type
After several rounds of editing and grooming to ensure consistency, the taskforce opened the final draft of the new MAP to public comment by the MWDL network, resulting in a few more revisions through late November. With the final-final draft in hand, we created the static document and placed it in our GitHub repository for download.
Another key change was the introduction of an annual issue review process. The taskforce agreed to review comments and issues annually in December, and feedback may be submitted either by emailing mountainwestdl[at]gmail.com or opening a new issue on GitHub.
We would like to offer a huge thanks to everyone who served on the 2018-19 taskforce! We had great representation from many institutions throughout the MWDL network that no doubt bolstered the quality of the work: Emily Boss (UNR), Lisa Chaufty (UU), Marina Georgieva (UNLV), Teresa Hebron (MWDL), Becky McKown (BYU), Darnelle Melvin (UNLV), Anna Neatrour (UU), Char Newbold (USL), Cory Nimer (BYU), Andrea Payant (USU), Gina Strack (USA), Rachel Jane Wittmann (UU), and Liz Woolcott (USU). Special thanks to Allyson Mower (UU) as well for reviewing copyright guidelines during the public review period in November 2019.
Please join us for a webinar on Thursday, March 12, 2020 to hear more about the new MAP from co-chairs Liz Woolcott and Teresa Hebron. Hope you can make it!
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”.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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:
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!
Gregory C. Thompson, Ph.D. is the Associate Dean of the University of Utah’s J. Willard Marriott Library for Special Collections and an Adjunct Assistant Professor of History. He received his Bachelor of Science degree from Colorado State University (1965), Bachelor of Arts degree from Fort Lewis College (1967), and his Master of Science (1971) and Doctoral (1981) degrees from the University of Utah. From 1967 to 1983, Greg, a historian of the American West, served on the staff of the University of Utah’s American West Center. During this time, he worked with and helped to develop tribal histories, tribal archives and oral history collections for fifteen tribes across the Western United States. His own research focused on the Ute tribes of Colorado and Utah and he served as a consultant to the San Juan County School District (Utah) and the Southern Ute Tribe of Ignacio, Colorado. Dr. Thompson has published several monographs on the Ute tribe including Southern Ute Lands, 1848-1899: The Creation of a Reservation (1972); The Southern Utes: A Tribal History (1972); and edited, with Floyd A. O’Neil, A History of the Indians of the United States: A Syllabus (1979)
In the 1980’s Greg co-founded, with the late Sue Raemer, the Marriott Library’s Utah Ski Archives Program. He grew up in Durango, Colorado and as a youngster skied and competed in Colorado and New Mexico. An original member of the Alf Engen Ski Museum Foundation Board and the Board of Trustees, Greg has been involved with skiing since the early 1950s as a participant and historian. He has lectured widely and published numerous articles on the history of skiing in the Intermountain area. His publication, with Alan K. Engen, First Tracks: A Century of Skiing (2001), focuses on the history of skiing in Utah. Greg is also the general editor for the Tanner Trust Publication Series, Utah, The Mormons, and the West. The latest publication in the series is David Bigler’s book, Confessions of a Revisionist Historian (2015). Greg and his wife, Karen, live in Salt Lake City with their two children, Anna and Patrick.
What do yellow mimosas, violets, and lily-of-the-valley have in common (aside from their perfumery nature)? Each is a symbol of International Women’s Day! Dozens of countries celebrate this holiday on March 8 every year and though it isn’t recognized as any sort of official holiday in the US, it’s the perfect excuse to highlight some of our collections’ notable figures in our March post. If you read along you might also learn something new about the history of the holiday, its controversies, and its setbacks.
The holiday finds its roots at the intersection between the global feminist and socialist movements of the early 20th century. In actuality, the first Woman’s day took place on February 23, 1909 and was organized by the Socialist party of America. In the following years, various other conferences and celebrations took place around the world on different dates, until February 23rd of the Julian calendar (March 8th of the Gregorian). On that day, women began demonstrating across Russia in front of factories and breadlines. The violent response from Czar Nicholas II on the 25th kicked off the February Revolution. After the czar’s abdication, the provisional government granted women the right to vote, the first major power to do so. A lot of this is paraphrased from this wonderful article by Temma Kaplan which I recommend reading.
Across the world, the holiday in the present appears to retain very slim connections to its roots. In Russia the holiday is celebrated through men giving gifts to the women in their lives and lacks any political context. At MWDL the holiday is celebrated through an end-of-March blogpost pointing out cool, relevant, collections and offering a little historical insight.
In the 1920’s Nell Shipman helped pioneer the film industry, creating some of the first outdoor adventure films while making a statement. She owned her own production company by the age of 28 and had already achieved major success as an actress in the silent films, “God’s Country and the Woman” and “Back to God’s Country”. According to the Canadian Encyclopedia, she even co-wrote and co-produced “Back to God’s Country”. On top of being a successful entrepreneur and something of a feminist icon, Nell Shipman was also very outspoken in favor of animal rights.
The Nell Shipman photographs collection comes to us from Boise State in Idaho which served as the setting for many of Shipman’s films. The photographs in the Nell Shipman digital collection were, with a few exceptions, donated to Boise State University by Shipman’s eldest son, Barry, in 1988. They date mainly from the latter years of her filmmaking career (1920-1924), but there is a sprinkling of earlier and later images. Particularly well represented by stills are her films The Girl From God’s Country (1921) and The Grub-Stake (1923). So too are her years at Priest Lake, Idaho, where she made several short films known collectively as The Little Dramas of the Big Places. No known copy of The Girl From God’s Country is known to survive, so the stills are all that remain to document that film.
Olga Reifschneider was a botanist and naturalist who contributed greatly to the documentation of native Nevadan flora. Alongside writing about desert biology she wrote about Nevada history, petroglyphs, and published a book biographing prominent botanists in Nevada.
This collection contains 275 images of plants and trees taken in northern Nevada and the Lake Tahoe region by botanist and nature writer Olga Reifschneider from the 1940s-70s, it presents an expansive view of the botanical life of this region and is exclusively devoted to native plants
Gertrude Bass Warner (1863-1951) was a wealthy American woman who fell in love with Asia. She first traveled there in 1904, married an American engineer in Shanghai, and spent the rest of her life collecting, studying, and promoting Asian art and culture. She was instrumental in building Asian programs at the University of Oregon, in addition to founding the art museum to house the Murray Warner Collection of Asian Art. Mrs. Warner traveled extensively to build her collection, to study, to learn about museum construction and management, and to promote multiculturalism and appreciation for Asian culture. The Gertrude Bass Warner papers, 1909-1923, collection consists primarily of travel diaries, notes, correspondence and ephemera related to research about shrines and religious ceremonies for several manuscripts that Gertrude Bass Warner (1863-1951) was working on. There is also correspondence about pieces of art that she and her husband were collecting to bring back to the United States for a museum exhibit. The bulk of the materials are about Japan during the time period of 1909-1923. Ms. Warner was the founder and director emeritus of the University of Oregon Fine Art Museum.
Ruth Mountaingrove (1923- ) is a photographer, writer, and artist who moved to Oregon in 1971, settling in communes and eventually co-founding Rootworks, a lesbian land in Southern Oregon. Rootworks was home to the Ovular workshops, which Ruth and Tee Corinne, another prominent lesbian photographer, and others, led. The workshops, which ran for six years, were an opportunity for women to learn photography in the context of the Women’s Movement, providing a means for the women to examine the differences between the way men pictured women and the way the women saw themselves. The feminist photography magazine, The Blatant Image, sprang from the Ovular workshops. The Ruth Mountaingrove collection consists of correspondence, diaries, ephemera, and photographs.
Trained as a pictorialist by Clarence White, Doris Ulmann’s early work includes a series of photographic portraits of prominent intellectuals, artists and writers: William Butler Yeats, John Dewey, Max Eastman, Sinclair Lewis, Lewis Mumford, Joseph Wood Krutch, Martha Graham, Anna Pavlova, Paul Robeson, and Lillian Gish. In 1932 Ulmann began her most important series, assembling documentation of Appalachian folk arts and crafts for Allen Eaton’s 1937 book, Handicrafts of the Southern Highlands. From 1927, Ulmann was assisted on her rural travels by John Jacob Niles, a musician and folklorist who collected ballads while Ulmann photographed. Doris Ulmann died on August 28, 1934.
Many, many more collections…
This list is by no means exhaustive so you are encouraged to go out and find more!
February is Black History Month and to help celebrate we’re going to throw a spotlight on some MWDL collections that highlight some important people, events, and experiences of Black communities in the Mountain West region. Celebrate with us by perusing the collections below!
This collection presenting the experience of African Americans in Las Vegas is a large scale project which led to the formation of the African American Community Advisory Board in Las Vegas, identified important cultural heritage organizations, and created a central portal to access their digitized materials.
We found it well worth the time to sit down and browse through this collection.
James H. Gillespie was a prominent Utah civil rights leader and World War II veteran. He served as president of the NAACP chapter in Ogden, UT for 33 years and passed away in 2009 at the age of 88 leaving behind a tremendous legacy of activism and struggle. We have found two extensive interviews with him in our collections. The one in the above link was recorded by a student at Weber state in 1971, and there is another performed more than a decade later by the University of Utah Oral Histories Project.
The Interviews with African Americans collection preserves and remembers the lives of people in Utah whose stories otherwise might have gone untold or been lost. The collection exists as a part of the Oral History Institute and includes the stories of many prominent civil rights activists in Utah including Albert B. Fritz and James H. Gillespie. There are 90 interviews in the collection and the stories relayed in each are raw and powerful.
The UN Reno Special Photographs Collections features an impressive array of photographs of Jack Johnson, an American boxer in the earlier 1900’s who became the first African American to win the world heavyweight championship, resulting in racial tensions and leading to the “fight of the century” wherein James J. Jeffries came out of retirement to fight him. Johnson’s win over Jeffries caused race riots to erupt across the nation that night (the 4th of July 1910) as white Americans felt enraged by the defeat. Johnson continued to play an important role in events until his death in 1946.