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.
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!
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!
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!
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.
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!