All posts by Molly Bragg

We are Hiring: 2 Repository Services Analysts

Duke University Libraries (DUL) is recruiting two (2) Repository Services Analysts to ingest and help collaboratively manage content in their digital preservation systems and platforms. These positions will partner with the Research Data Curation, Digital Collections, and Scholarly Communications Programs, as well as other library and campus partners to provide digital curation and preservation services. The Repository Services Analyst role is an excellent early career opportunity for anyone who enjoys managing large sets of data and/or files, working with colleagues across an organization, preserving unique data and library collections, and learning new skills.

DUL will hold an open zoom session where prospective candidates can join anonymously and ask questions. This session will take place on Wednesday January 12 at 1pm EST; the link to join is posted on the libraries’ job advertisement.

The Research Data Curation Program has grown significantly in recent years, and DUL is seeking candidates who want to grow their skills in this area. DUL is a member of the Data Curation Network (DCN), which provides opportunities for cross-institutional collaboration, curation training, and hands-on data curation practice. These skills are essential for anyone who wants to pursue a career in research data curation. 

Ideal Repository Services Analyst applicants have been exposed to digital asset management tools and techniques such as command line scripting. They can communicate functional system requirements between groups with varying types of expertise, enjoy working with varied kinds of data and collections, and love solving problems. Applicants should also be comfortable collaboratively managing a shared portfolio of digital curation services and projects, as the two positions work closely together. The successful candidates will join the Digital Collections and Curation Services department (within the Digital Strategies and Technology Division).

Please refer to the DUL’s job posting for position requirements and application instructions.

Wars of Aliens, Men, and Women: or, Some Things we Digitized in the DPC this Year

Post authored by Jen Jordan, Digital Collections Intern. 

As another strange year nears its end, I’m going out on a limb to assume that I’m not the only one around here challenged by a lack of focus. With that in mind, I’m going to keep things relatively light (or relatively unfocused) and take you readers on a short tour of items that have passed through the Digital Production Center (DPC) this year. 

Shortly before the arrival of COVID-19, the DPC implemented a folder-level model for digitization. This model was not developed in anticipation of a life-altering pandemic, but it was well-suited to meet the needs of researchers who, for a time, were unable to visit the Rubenstein Library to view materials in person. You can read about the implementation of folder-level digitization and its broader impact here. To summarize, before spring of 2020 it was standard practice to fill patron requests by imaging only the item needed (e.g. – a single page within a folder). Now, the default practice is to digitize the entire folder of materials. This has produced a variety of positive outcomes for stakeholders in the Duke University Libraries and broader research community, but for the purpose of this blog, I’d like to describe my experience interacting with materials in this way.

Digitization is time consuming, so the objective is to move as quickly as possible while maintaining a high level of accuracy. There isn’t much time for meaningful engagement with collection items, but context reveals itself in bits and pieces. Themes rise to the surface when working with large folders of material on a single topic, and sometimes the image on the page demands to be noticed. 

Even while working quickly, one would be hard-pressed to overlook this Vietnam-era anti-war message. One might imagine that was by design. From the Student Activism Reference collection: https://repository.duke.edu/dc/uastuactrc.

On more than one occasion I’ve found myself thinking about the similarities between scanning and browsing a social media app like Instagram. Stick with me here! Broadly speaking, both offer an endless stream of visual stimuli with little opportunity for meaningful engagement in the moment. Social media, when used strategically, can be world-expanding. Work in the DPC has been similarly world-expanding, but instead of an algorithm curating my experience, the information that I encounter on any given day is curated by patron requests for digitization. Also similar to social media is the range of internal responses triggered over the course of a work day, and sometimes in the span of a single minute. Amusement, joy, shock, sorrow—it all comes up.

I started keeping notes on collection materials and topics to revisit on my own time. Sometimes I was motivated by a stray fascination with the subject matter. Other times I encountered collections relating to prominent historical figures or events that I realized I should probably know a bit more about.

 

Image from the WPSU Scrapbook.

First wave feminism was one such topic that revealed itself. It was a movement I knew little about, but the DPC has digitized numerous items relating to women’s suffrage and other feminist issues at the turn of the 20th century. I was particularly intrigued by the radical leanings of the UK’s Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU), organized by Emmeline Pankhurst to fight for the right to vote. When I started looking at newspaper clippings pasted into a scrapbook documenting WSPU activities, I was initially distracted by the amusing choice of words (“Coronation chair damaged by wild women’s bomb”). Curious to learn more, I went home and read about the WSPU. The following excerpt is from a speech by Pankhurst in which she provides justification for the militant tactics employed by the WSPU:

I want to say here and now that the only justification for violence, the only justification for damage to property, the only justification for risk to the comfort of other human beings is the fact that you have tried all other available means and have failed to secure justice. I tell you that in Great Britain there is no other way…

Pankhurst argued that men had to take the right to vote through war, so why shouldn’t women also resort to violence and destruction? And so they did.

As Rubenstein Library is home to the Sallie Bingham Center, it’s unsurprising that the DPC digitizes a fair amount of material on women’s issues. To share a few more examples, I appreciate the juxtaposition of the following two images, both of which I find funny, and yet sad.

Source collection: Young woman’s scrapbook, 1900-1905 and n.d.

The advertisement to the right is pasted inside a young woman’s scrapbook dated 1900—1905. It contains information on topics such as etiquette, how to manage a household, and how to be a good wife. Are we to gather that proper shade cloth is necessary to keep a man happy?

In contrast, the image below and to the left is from the book L’amour libre by French feminist, Madeleine Vernet, describes prostitution and marriage as the same kind of prison, with “free love” as the only answer. Some might call that a hyperbolic comparison, but after perusing the young woman’s scrapbook, I’m not so sure. I’m just thankful to have been born a woman near the end of the 20th century and not the start of it.

From the book L’amour libre by Madeline Vernet

This may be difficult to believe, but I didn’t set out to write a blog so focused on struggle. The reality, however, is that our special collections are full of struggle. That’s not all there is, of course, but I’m glad this material is preserved. It holds many lessons, some of which we still have yet to learn. 

I think we can all agree that 2021 was, well, a challenging year. I’d be remiss not to close with a common foe we might all rally around. As we move into 2022 and beyond, venturing ever deeper into space, we may encounter this enemy sooner than we imagined…

Image from an illustrated 1906 French translation of H.G. Wells’s ‘War of the Worlds’.

Sources:

Pankhurst, Emmeline. Why We Are Militant: A Speech Delivered by Mrs. Pankhurst in New York, October 21, 1913. London: Women’s Press, 1914. Print.

“‘Prayers for Prisoners’ and church protests.” Historic England, n.d., https://historicengland.org.uk/research/inclusive-heritage/womens-history/suffrage/church-protests/ 

 

An Intern’s Investigation on Decolonizing Archival Descriptions and Legacy Metadata

This post was written by Laurier Cress. Laurier Cress is a graduate student at the University of Denver studying Library Science with an emphasis on digital collections, rare books and manuscripts, and social justice in librarianship and archives. In addition to LIS topics, she is also interested in Medieval and Early Modern European History. Laurier worked as a practicum intern with the Digital Collections and Curation Services Department this winter to investigate auditing practices for decolonizing archival descriptions and metadata. Laurier will complete her masters degree in the Fall of 2021. In her spare time, she also runs a YouTube channel called, Old Dirty History, where she discusses historic events, people, and places throughout history.

Now that diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are popular concerns for libraries throughout the United States, discussions on DEI are inescapable. These three words have become reoccurring buzzwords dropped in meetings, classroom lectures, class syllabi, presentations, and workshops across the LIS landscape. While in some contexts, topics in DEI are thrown around with no sincere intent or value behind them, some institutions are taking steps to give meaning to DEI in librarianship. As an African American MLIS student at the University of Denver, I can say I have listened to one too many superficial talks on why DEI is important in our field. These conversations customarily exclude any examples on what DEI work actually looks like. When Duke Libraries advertised a practicum opportunity devoted to hands on experience exploring auditing practices for legacy metadata and harmful archival descriptions, I was immediately sold. I saw this experience as an opportunity to learn what scholars in our field are actually doing to make libraries a more equitable and diverse place.

As a practicum intern in Duke Libraries’ Digital Collections and Curation Services (DCCS) department, I spent three months exploring frameworks for auditing legacy metadata against DEI values and investigating harmful language statements for the department. Part of this work also included applying what I learned to Duke’s collections. Duke’s digital collections boasts 131,169 items and 997 collections, across 1,000 years of history from all over the world. Many of the collections represent a diverse array of communities that contribute to the preservation of a variety of cultural identities. It is the responsibility of institutions with cultural heritage holdings to present, catalog, and preserve their collections in a manner that accurately and respectively portrays the communities depicted within them. However, many institutions housing cultural heritage collections use antiquated archival descriptions and legacy metadata that should be revisited to better reflect 21st century language and ideologies. It is my hope that this brief overview on decolonizing archival collections not only aids Duke, but other institutions as well.

Harmful Language Statement Investigation

During the first phase of my investigation, I conducted an analysis on harmful language statements across several educational institutions throughout the United States. This analysis served as a launchpad for investigating how Duke can improve upon their inclusive description statement for their digital collections. During my investigation, I created a list that comprises of 41 harmful language statements. Some of these institutions include:

  • The Walters Museum of Art
  • Princeton University
  • University of Denver
  • Stanford University
  • Yale University

After gathering a list of institutions with harmful language statements, the next phase of my investigation was to conduct a comparative analysis to uncover what they had in common and how they differed. For this analysis, 12 harmful language statements were selected at random from the total list. From this investigation, I created the Harmful Statement Research Log to record my findings. The research log comprises of two tabs. The first tab includes a list of harmful statements from 12 institutions, with supplemental comments and information about each statement. The second tab provides a list of 15 observations deduced from cross examining the 12 harmful language statements. Some observations made include placement, length, historical context, and Library of Congress Subject Heading (LCSH) disclaimers. It is important for me to note, while some of the information provided within the research log is based on pure observation, much of the report also includes conclusions based on personal opinions born from my own perspective as a user.

Decolonizing Archival Descriptions & Legacy Metadata

The next phase in my research was to investigate frameworks and current sentiments on decolonizing archival description and legacy metadata for Duke’s digital collections. Due to the limited amount of research on this subject, most of the information I came across was related to decolonizing collections describing Indigenous peoples in Canada and African American communities. I found that the influence of late 19th and early 20th centuries library classification systems can still be found within archival descriptions and metadata in contemporary library collections. The use of dated language within library and archival collections encourages the inequality of underrepresented groups through the promotion of discriminatory infrastructures established by these earlier classification systems. In many cases, offensive archival descriptions are sourced from donors and creators. While it is important for information institutions to preserve the historical context of records within their collections, descriptions written by creators should be contextualized to help users better understand the racial connotation surrounding the record. Issues regarding contextualizing racist ideologies from the past can be found throughout Duke’s digital collections.

During my investigation, I examined Duke’s MARC records from the collection level to locate examples of harmful language used within their descriptions. The first harmful archival description I encountered was from the Alfred Boyd Papers. The archival description describes a girl referenced within the papers as “a free mulatto girl”.  This is an example of when archival description should not shy away from the realities of racist language used during the period the collection was created in; however, context should be applied. “Mulatto” was an offensive term used during the era of slavery in the United States to refer to people of African and White European ancestry. It originates from the Spanish word “mulato”, and its literal meaning is “young mule”. While this word is used to describe the girl within the papers, it should not be used to describe the person within the archival description without historical context.Screenshot of metadata from the Alfred Boyd papers

When describing materials concerning marginalized peoples, it is important to preserve creator-sourced descriptions, while also contextualizing them. To accomplish this, there should be a defined distinction between descriptions from the creator and the institution’s archivists. Some institutions, like The Morgan Library and Museum, use quotation marks as part of their in-house archival description procedure to differentiate between language originating from collectors or dealers versus their archivists. It is important to preserve contextual information, when racism is at the core of the material being described, in order for users to better understand the collection’s historic significance. While this type of language can bring about feelings of discomfort, it is also important to not allow your desire for comfort to take precedence over conveying histories of oppression and power dynamics. Placing context over personal comfort also takes the form of describing relationships of power and acts of violence just as they are. Acts of racism, colonization, and white supremacy should be labeled as such. For example, Duke’s Stephen Duvall Doar Correspondence collection describes the act of “hiring” enslaved people during the Civil War. Slavery does not imply hired labor because hiring implies some form of compensation. Slavery can only equate to forced labor and should be described as such.

Several academic institutions have taken steps to decolonize their collections. At the beginning of my investigation, a mentor of mine referred me to the University of Alberta Library’s (UAL) Head of Metadata Strategies, Sharon Farnel. Farnel and her colleagues have done extensive work on decolonizing UAL’s holdings related to Indigenous communities. The university declared a call to action to protect the representation of Indigenous groups and to build relationships with other institutions and Indigenous communities. Although UAL’s call to action not only encompasses decolonizing their collections, for the sake of this article, I will solely focus on the framework they established to decolonize their archival descriptions.

Community Engagement is Not Optional

Farnel and her colleagues created a team called the Decolonizing Description Working Group (DDWG). Their purpose was to propose a plan of action on how descriptive metadata practices could more accurately and respectfully represent Indigenous peoples. The DDWG included a Metadata Coordinator, a Cataloguer, a Public Service Librarian, a Coordinator of Indigenous Initiatives, and a self-identified Indigenous MLIS Intern. Much of their work consisted of consulting with the community and collaborating with other institutions. When I reached out to Farnel, she was so kind and generous with sharing her experience as part of the DDWG. Farnel told me that the community engagement approach taken is dependent on the community. Marginalized peoples are not a monolith; therefore, there is no “one size fits all” solution. If you are going to consult community members, recognize the time and expertise the community provides. This relationship has to be mutually beneficial, with the community’s needs and requests at the forefront at all times.

For the DDWG, the best course of action was to start building a relationship with local Indigenous communities. Before engaging with the entire community, the team first engaged with community elders to learn how to proceed with consulting the community from a place of respect. Because the DDWG’s work took place prior to COVID-19, most meetings with the community took place in person. Farnel refers to these meetings as “knowledge gathering events”. Food and beverages were provided and a safe space for open conversation. A community elder would start the session to set the tone.

In addition to knowledge gathering events, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students and alumni were consulted through an informal short online survey. The survey was advertised through an informal social media posting. Once the participants confirmed the desire to partake in the survey, they received an email with a link to complete it. Participants were asked questions based on their feelings and reactions to potentially changing the Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) that related to Aboriginal content.

Auditing Legacy Metadata and Archival Descriptions

There is more than one approach an institution can take to start auditing legacy metadata and descriptions. In a case study written by Dorothy Berry, who is currently the Digital Collections Program Manager at Harvard’s Houghton Library, she describes a digitization project that took place at the University of Minnesota Libraries. The purpose of the project was to not only digitize African American heritage materials within the university’s holdings, but to also explore ways mass digitization projects can help re-aggregate marginalized materials. This case study serves as an example of how collections can be audited for legacy metadata and archival descriptions during mass digitization projects. Granted, this specific project received funding to support such an undertaking and not all institutions have the amount of currency required to take on an initiative of this magnitude. However, this type of work can be done slowly over a longer period of time. Simply running a report to search for offensive terms such as “negro”, or in my case “mulatto”, is a good place to start. Be open to having discussions with staff to learn what offensive language they also have come across. Self-reflection and research are equally important. Princeton University Library’s inclusive description working group spent two years researching and gathering data on their collections before implementing any changes. Part of their auditing process also included using a XQuery script to locate harmful descriptions and recover histories that were marginalized due to lackluster description.

Creators Over Community = Problematic

While exploring Duke’s digital collections, one problem that stood out to me the most was the perpetual valorization of creators. This is often found in collections with creators who are white men. Adjectives like “renowned”, “genius’, “talented”, and “preeminent” are used to praise the creators and make the collection more about them instead of the community depicted within the collection. An example of this troublesome language can be found in Duke’s Sidney D. Gamble’s Photographs collection. This collection comprises of over 5,000 black and white photographs taken by Sidney D. Gamble during his four visits to China from 1908 to 1932. Content within the photographs encompass depictions of people, architecture, livestock, landscapes, and more. Very little emphasis is placed on the community represented within this collection. Little, if any, historical or cultural context is given to help educate users on the culture behind the collection. And the predominate language used here is English. However, there is a
full page of information on the life and exploits of Gamble.

Screenshot of a description of the Sidney Gamble digital collection.

Describing Communities

Harmful language used to describe individuals represented within digital collections can be found everywhere. This is not always intentional. Dorothy Berry’s presentation with the Sunshine State Digital Network on conscious editing serves as a great source of knowledge on problematic descriptions that can be easily overlooked. Some of Berry’s examples include:

  • Class: Examples include using descriptions such as “poor family” or “below the poverty line”.
  • Race & Ethnicity: Examples include using dehumanizing vocabulary to describe someone of a specific ethnicity or excluding describing someone of a specific race within an image.
  • Gender: Example includes referring to a woman using her husband’s full name (Mrs. John Doe) instead of her own.
  • Ability: Example includes using offensive language like “cripple” to describe disabled individuals.

This is only a handful of problematic description examples from Berry’s presentation. I highly recommend watching not only Berry’s presentation, but the entire Introduction to Conscious Editing Series.

Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) Are Unavoidable

I could talk about LCSH in relation to decolonizing archival descriptions for days on end, but for the sake of wrapping up this post I won’t. In a perfect world we would stop using LCSH altogether. Unfortunately, this is impossible. Many institutions use custom made subject headings to promote their collections respectfully and appropriately. However, the problem with using custom made subject headings that are more culturally relevant and respectful is accessibility. If no one is using your custom-made subject headings when conducting a search, users and aggregators won’t find the information. This defeats the purpose of decolonizing archival collections, which is to make collections that represent marginalized communities more accessible.

What we can do is be as cognizant as possible of the LCSHs we are using and avoid harmful subject headings as much as possible. If you are uncertain if a LCSH is harmful, conduct research or consult with communities who desire to be part of your quest to remove harmful language from your collections. Let your users know why you are limited to subject headings that may be harmful and that you recognize the issue this presents to the communities you serve. Also consider collaborating with Cataloginglab.org to help design new LCSH proposals and to stay abreast on new LCSH that better reflect DEI values. There are also some alternative thesauri, like homosaurus.org and Xwi7xwa Subject Headings, that better describe underrepresented communities.

Resources

In support of Duke Libraries’ intent to decolonize their digital collections, I created a Google Drive folder that includes all the fantastic resources I included in my research on this subject. Some of these resources include metadata auditing practices from other institutions, recommendations on how to include communities in archival description, and frameworks for decolonizing their descriptions.

While this short overview provides a wealth of information gathered from many scholars, associations, and institutions who have worked hard to make libraries a better place for all people, I encourage anyone reading this to continue reading literature on this topic. This overview does not come close to covering half of what invested scholars and institutions have contributed to this work. I do hope it encourages librarians, catalogers, and metadata architects to take a closer look at their collections.

2020 Highlights from Digital Collections

Welcome to the 2020 digital collections round up!

In spite of the dumpster fire of 2020, Duke Digital Collections had a productive and action packed year (maybe too action packed at times). 

Per usual we launched new and added content to existing digital collections (full list below). We are also wrapping up our mega-migration from our old digital collections system (Tripod2) to the Duke Digital Repository! This migration has been in process for 5 years, yes 5 years. We plan to celebrate this exciting milestone more in January so stay tuned. 

A classroom and auditorium blueprint, digitized for a patron and launched this month.

The Digital Production Center, in collaboration with the Rubenstein Library, shifted to a new folder level workflow for patron and instruction requests. This workflow was introduced just in time for the pandemic and the resulting unprecedented number of digitization requests.  As a result of the demand for digital images, all project work has been put aside and the DPC is focusing on patron and instruction requests only. Since late June, the DPC has produced over 40,000 images!  

Another digital collections highlight from 2020 is the development of new features for our preservation and access interface, the Duke Digital Repository.  We have wasted no time using these new features especially “metadata only”  and the DDR to CONTENTdm connection

Looking ahead to 2021, our priorities will be the folder level digitization workflow for researcher and instruction requests. The DPC received 200+ requests since June, and we need to get all those digitized folders moved into the repository. We are also experimenting with preserving scans created outside of the DPC. For example Rubenstein Library staff created a huge number of access copies using reading room scanners, and we would like to make them available to others.  Lastly, we have a few bigger digital collections to ingest and launch as well. 

Thanks to everyone associated with Digital Collections for their incredible work this year!!  Whew, it has been…a year. 

One of our newest digital collections features postcards from Greece: Salonica / Selanik / Thessaloniki
One of the Radio Haiti photographs launched recently.

Laundry list of 2020 Digital Collections

New Collections

Digital Collections Additions

Migrated Collections

How to Videos for Using Digital Collections

With so much remote instruction and research happening due to the current global pandemic, more and more folks are dependent on Duke Libraries Digital Collections.  How can all these potentially new digital researchers learn how to use our interfaces?  Thanks to my colleagues in the Rubenstein Libraries Research Services department, there are now 4 short, how-to videos available to help users understand how to navigate digital collections.

I’ve linked to the videos below.  In just 15 minutes one will hear an introduction to Duke’s Digital Collections, learn how to search within the interface, and use and cite digital items.

If you use Duke Digital Collections regularly, what other topics would you like to see covered in future videos or documentation?

Announcing New Features in the Duke Digital Repository

Last week the Duke University Libraries (DUL) development team released a new version of the Duke Digital Repository (DDR), which is the preservation and access platform for digitized, born digital, and purchased library collections. DDR is developed and maintained by DUL staff and it is built using Samvera, Valkyrie and Blacklight components (read all about our migration to Valkyrie which concluded in early 2020).

Look at that beautiful technical metadata!

The primary goal of our new repository features are to provide better support for and access to born digital records. The planning for this work began more than 2 years ago, when the Rubenstein Libraries’ Digital Records Archivist joined the Digital Collections Implementation Team (DCIT) to help us envision how DDR and our workflows could better support born digital collections. Conversations on this topic began between the Rubenstein Library and Digital Strategies and Technology well before that.

Back in 2018, DCIT developed a list of user stories to address born digital records as well as some other longstanding needs. At the time we evaluated each need based on its difficult and impact and then developed a list of high, medium and low priority features.  Fast forward to late 2019, and we designated 3 folks from DCIT to act as product owners during development.  Those folks are our Metadata Architect (Maggie Dickson), Digital Records Archivist ([Matthew] farrell), and me (Head of Digital Collections and Curation Services). Development work began in earnest in Jan/February and now after many meetings, user story refinements, more meetings, and actual development work here we are!

Notable new features include:

  • Metadata only view of objects: restrict the object but allow the public to search and discover its metadata
  • Expose technical metadata for components in the public interface
  • Better access to full text search in CONTENTdm from DDR

As you can see above we were able to fit in a few non-born digital records related features. This is because one of our big priorities is finishing the migration from our legacy Tripod 2 platform to DDR in 2020. One of the impediments to doing so (in addition migrating the actual content) is that Tripod 2 connects with our CONTENTdm instance, which is where we provide access to digitized primary sources that require full text search (newspapers and publications primarily). The new DDR features therefor include enhanced links to our collections in CONTENTdm.

We hope these new features provide a better experience for our users as well as a safe and happy home for our born digital records!

Search full text link on a collection landing page.
Example of the search within an item interface

 

 

Digital Collections 2019

‘Tis the time of year for top 10 lists. Here at Duke Digital Collections HQ, we cannot just pick 10, because all our digital collections are tops!  What follows is a list of all the digital collections we have launched for public access this calendar year.

Our newest collections include a range of formats and subject areas from 19th Century manuscripts to African American soldiers photograph albums to Duke Mens Basketball posters to our first Multispectral Images of papyrus to be ingested into the repository.  We also added new content to 4 existing digital collections.  Lastly, our platform migration is still ongoing, but we made some incredible progress this year as you will see below.  Our goal is to finish the migration by the end of 2020.

New Digital Collections

Additions to Existing Collections

Migrated Collections into the Duke Digital Repository

 

 

 

 

New Digitization Initiative and Call for Proposals

Two years ago, Duke Libraries Advisory Council for Digital Collections launched a new process for proposing digitization projects.  Previously the group accepted new digitization proposals every month. We decided to shift to a “digitization initiative” approach where the Council issues a time-based call for proposals focusing on a theme or format. This new method has allowed staff across different departments to plan and coordinate their efforts more effectively.  

This Fall we are inviting DUL staff to propose Audio and Video (A/V) based collections/items for digitization. DUL staff are welcome to partner with Duke Faculty on their proposals. We chose to focus on A/V formats this year due to the preservation risks associated with the material. Magnetic tape formats are especially fragile compared to film given their composition, and the low availability of players for accessing content.  

The complete call for proposals including criteria and a link to the proposal form is online.  Proposals should be submitted on or before November 18

What about non-A/V digitization proposals? 

The Advisory Council is working on another call for digitization proposals, which is intended to include non-A/V formats (manuscripts, photographs, and more).  We should be able to announce the new call before the end of the calendar year.  Stay tuned!

DUL staff can also submit proposals for small digitization projects anytime as long as they fit the criteria for an “easy” project. Easy projects are small in size and scope and include a wide range of formats; complete guidelines are online along with the proposal form.

 

Just in time for Summer – New Digital Collections!

Looking for something to keep you company on your Summer vacation?  Why not direct your devices to a Duke Digital collections! Seriously! Here are a few of the compelling collections we debuted earlier this Spring, and we have have more coming in late June.

Hayti-Elizabeth Street renewal area

These maps and 2 volume report document Durham’s Hayti-Elizabeth st neighborhood infrastructure prior to the construction of the Durham Freeway, as well as the justifications for the redevelopment of the area.  This is an excellent resource for folks studying Durham history and/or the urban renewal initiatives of the mid-20th century. 

Map of the Hayti-Elizabeth Street renewal area
One map from “Hayti-Elizabeth Street renewal area : general neighborhood renewal plan, map 1”

African American Soldiers’ Photography albums

We launched 8 collections of photograph albums created by African American soldiers serving in the military across the world including Japan, Vietnam and Iowa.  Together these albums help “document the complexity of the African American military experience” (Bennett Carpenter from his blog post, “War in Black and White: African American Soldiers’ Photograph Albums”).  

One page from the African American soldier’s World War II photograph album of Munich, Germany

 

Sir Percy Moleworth Sykes Photograph Album

This photograph album contains pictures taken by Sir Percy Moleworth Sykes during his travels in a mountainous region of Central Asia, now the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China, with his sister, Ella Sykes.  According to the collection guide, the album’s “images are large, crisp, and rich with detail, offering views of a remote area and its culture during tensions in the decades following the Russo-Turkish War”.

A Sidenote

Both the Hayti-Elizabeth and soldiers’ albums collections were proposed in response to our 2017 call for digitization proposals related to diversity and inclusion.  Other collections in that batch include the Emma Goldman papers, Josephine Leary papers, and the ReImagining collection.  

Coming soon

Our work never stops, and we have several large projects in the works that are scheduled to launch by the end of June. They are the first batch of video recordings from the Memory Project. We are busy migrating the incredible photographs from the Sydney Gamble collection into the digital repository.  Finally there is one last batch of Radio Haiti recordings on the way.  

Advertisement for the American AirlinesKeeping in touch

We launch new digital collections just about every quarter, and have been investigating new ways to promote our collections as part of an assessment project.  We are thinking of starting a newsletter – would you subscribe? What other ways would you like to keep in touch with Duke Digital Collections? Post a comment or contact me directly

We are Hiring: Digital Repository Content Analyst

Duke University Libraries (DUL) is recruiting a Digital Repository Content Analyst to help us ingest and manage content in our digital preservation systems and platforms.  This position will partner with the Research Data Curation Program, Digital Collections Program, and various other departments around the Library and on campus to provide curation and preservation services.  This is an excellent entry level opportunity for anyone who enjoys managing large sets of data and/or files, working with colleagues across an organization, preserving essential data and library collections, and learning new technical skills.

Ideal applicants have been exposed to technical systems and file management techniques such as command line scripting, can communicate functional system requirements between groups with varying types of expertise, enjoys working with different types of data/collections, and loves solving problems.  The successful candidate will join the highly collaborative Digital Collections and Curation Services department (within the Digital Strategies and Technology Division) at DUL.

For a full job description please see https://library.duke.edu/about/jobs/digitalrepositorycontentanalyst. To apply, submit an electronic resume, cover letter, and list of 3 references: https://hr.duke.edu/careers/apply – refer to requisition #401537489. Review of applications will begin immediately and will continue until the position is filled.