MWDL has been a Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) Service Hub since 2013. We are proud to be one of DPLA’s first service hubs and have been providing content ever since. With nearly 45 million items now available through DPLA, you might wonder which MWDL items rise to the top. Here are the six most-viewed MWDL items for the past six months. These range from the Middle Ages to the 21st century and demonstrate the breadth of material available from the MWDL network.
March 2022 – Utah Government Digital Library (Utah State Library): Affordable housing options (2007). This factsheet on affordable housing was contributed by the Olene Walker Housing Fund.
February 2022 – Brigham Young University Harold B. Lee Library: Nativity and Annunciation to the Shepherds (1302-1310). Giovanni Pisano carved this Nativity and Annunciation to the Shepherds for the pulpit of Pisa Cathedral. Giovanni’s father, Nicola Pisano, had created a pulpit for the baptistery of Pisa Cathedral about forty years before Giovanni made this work. While Nicola Pisano was heavily influenced by ancient Etruscan, Roman, and Early Christian ruins for his carvings, Giovanni Pisano chose to depict his figures in the Gothic style of the day. Giovanni Pisano’s looser, dynamic composition, sinuous lines, and lean elegant figures all reflect the Gothic tastes of the reigning French court.
January 2022; November 2021 – Brigham Young University Harold B. Lee Library: Sioux Indians in Ghost Dance regalia (ca. 1880). This photograph is so popular, it appears twice on our list! Charles R. Savage was a preeminent photographer working out of the Salt Lake Valley in the late 19th century.
December 2021 – Utah State Archives: 1916; Women’s Suffrage (1916). This correspondence hails from Governor Spry’s records and reflects the Governor’s involvement in a wide range of important administrative matters, including suffrage for women.
October 2021 – University of Utah, J. Willard Marriott Library: A trip across the plains, and life in California (1851). This memoir of Dr. George Keller, physician to the Wayne County (Ohio) Company during its 1849 journey to California, includes a guide to the trail and detailed description of California.
We’re back with more details on new collections added from Oregon Digital, University of Utah- J. Willard Marriott Library, and Utah Valley University – Fulton Library and City of Orem (UT). With International Women’s Day coming right up on Tuesday March 8, we’d especially like to highlight collections with content on women’s history and contributions throughout our region.
Twelve collections from University of Oregon Libraries joined MWDL via Oregon Digital in January.
The Eugene Lesbian Oral History Project documents the longtime lesbian community in Eugene (OR) and was conducted by Professor Judith Raiskin of the University of Oregon Department of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies and Linda Long, Curator of Manuscripts in the University of Oregon Libraries in 2018. The Lord & Schryver landscape architectural records, 1929-1970, showcase the work of two pioneering female architects, Elizabeth Lord (1887-1976) and Edith Schryver (1901-1984), who founded the Lord & Schryver landscape architecture firm in 1929 in Salem (OR). Laura J. Bock was a student at the University of Oregon during the 1960s who took part in civil rights activism and anti-Vietnam protests at the university. The Laura J Bock Papers (1962–1969) contains political ephemera such as flyers and posters, memos, buttons, and underground newsletters and publications, as well as Bock’s personal notes, correspondence, and an oral history (with transcript).
A number of collections detail work by illustrators, artists and architects. First, the Chester E. Corry Papers document Corry’s work as a prominent landscape architect, particularly in the southern Oregon towns of Medford and Ashland. The Edward Tunis papers offer manuscripts and illustrations for children’s books. The Ellis Fuller Lawrence papers, 1901–1929 includes correspondence, architectural drawings and photographs relating to projects undertaken by Lawrence as architect from 1908–1958, mainly in Oregon and Washington. (Though Lawrence became the Dean of University of Oregon’s School of Architecture & Environment in 1914, records and correspondence by Lawrence as Dean of the School of Architecture are not included in this collection.) John Yeon architectural drawings, 1934-1976 document Yeon’s work in the Pacific Northwest as an architect, landscape architect, and conservationist. The Kurt Werth papers consists of Werth’s original children’s book illustrations and manuscripts, other artwork and manuscripts, personal papers, artifacts, personal and professional correspondence, and papers of his wife, Margaret Werth. The Kurt Wiese papers is primarily comprised of children’s book production material including original drawings, sketches, proofs, manuscripts, and correspondence. Other artwork and personal papers are also included. Finally, the Quincy Scott Political Cartoons collection includes original artwork produced during his tenure at The Oregonian (1931–49), comprised of over 5,000 almost daily political cartoons.
Last but not least, the University Archives sound recordings collection, 1933-1995, contains historical sound recordings—cylinders, discs, wires, and tapes—that document the history of the university and of individuals and organizations documented in its special collections. Many of these recordings are unique, and as primary source materials offer different perspectives on the historical record. John Edward Tysell Sr. trained as a doctor in Chicago before serving in the Pacific Theatre during World War II. The Tysell papers consists of correspondence, photographs and slides, ephemera and artifacts relating to Tysell’s service in WWII.
University of Utah – J. Willard Marriott Library
Nine new collections from UU-Marriott Library joined MWDL in January, representing a broad array of topics including contemporary oral history projects, Mormon settlement in Arizona, American involvement in the Spanish-American War in the Philippines, home videos, and the Japanese-American experience.
In particular, the Women in STEM Oral Histories contain video and text transcripts of interviews of women working in Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) fields. The histories belong to the Aileen H. Clyde 20th Century Women’s Legacy Archive.
The Isaac K. Russell papers offer a unique resource: issues of The American Soldier, a newspaper founded by Russell during the Spanish-American War in the Philippines. The Allen H. Lundgren papers contain correspondence between Lundgren and his wife during his LDS missionary service in Sweden and military service in World War II in France & Germany.
Two collections joined MWDL via Utah Valley University – Fulton Library; one is from UVU and the other, from City of Orem (UT) Public Library.
Orem (UT) Timpanogos Storytelling Festival collection documents the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival, held in Orem, Utah. The collection covers materials from 1990 through 2016. Festival founder Karen Ashton held the Festival in her backyard from 1990-1995. As attendance increased the Festival location changed three more times, from the Olmstead Power Plant at the mouth of the Provo Canyon, to Orem’s Mt. Timpanogos Park, and finally, in 2017, to Ashton Gardens at Thanksgiving Point in Lehi, Utah.
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!
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!