Category Archives: Announcements

Introducing the J. Walter Thompson Newsletters Digital Collection

The JWT Newsletters digital collection consists of over 1,600 newsletters of the J. Walter Thompson Co. advertising agency from 1916 to 1986.  These internally distributed newsletters touch on myriad topics of interest to the company such as account and client news; general and client-specific marketing surveys; developments in print, radio, and television advertising and marketing research; as well as personnel news such as new hires, transfers, promotions, and brief biographical sketches.

Digital Projects and Production Services have been excited to digitize and provide access to the JWT Newsletter digital collection (see more information about the collection on one of our sister blogs, the Devil’s Tale).  We recently started using OCLC’s CONTENTdm (an access tool used by many libraries to provide access to digitized materials) as part of our public interface in July with the Duke Chronicle digital collection.  Incorporating CONTENTdm with our public interface has allowed us to provide new services to our patrons using collections like the JWT Newsletters.  These include:

  • Full text search of the JWT Newsletters – you can see your search results highlighted in the scanned images!
  • Patrons can download a PDF of any item
  • Advanced search by date range and/or full text
  • Use a page Flip View to turn the pages of a newsletter.

We have more projects planned in the future to take advantage of these exciting features.  In the meantime, please enjoy perusing the JWT Newsletter and learn more about one of the oldest and most prominent advertising agencies.


A page from a 1986 newsletter in the page flip interface.
A page from a 1986 newsletter in the page flip interface.


Russian Posters Collection, 1919-1989 and undated

We are happy to announce the publication of the Russian Posters Collection, 1919-1989 and undated. The collection consists of 75 Russian posters, documenting almost 60 years of Communist political advertising.

The digitization and publication of this collection is timed to coincide with two public events, both of which involve Duke faculty using library holdings:

  1. The ongoing Nasher Museum exhibit Machine, Mother, Mannequin: The Good Woman in Soviet Propaganda, created by Prof. Beth Holmgren (Chair, of Slavic and Eurasian Studies Dept) and Angela Linhardt (M.A. candidate, Slavic and Eurasian Studies).
  2. The “World View Spring Seminar: Understanding Russia and Its Neighbors,” an event specifically for K-12 and community college teachers co-sponsored by the joint Duke-UNC Center for Slavic, Eurasian, and East European Studies (a Federal Title VI Center).  Specifically, the images will be used today in a presentation called “Posters, Propaganda, and Perestroika,” to be given by Prof. Pamela Kachurin, Art, Art History, and Visual Studies/Slavic and Eurasian Studies, Duke University.

This is our first project to be completed using our new suite of tools for creating digital collections at Duke, including our newly redesigned web interface.  We will introduce some enhancements to the Russian Posters site over the next few weeks.

Please feel free to leave feedback and suggestions for this collection in the comments.

Change Blog Readers Can Believe In – Tell Us What You Think!

The Duke Digital Collections Blog has been a bit quiet lately while our team has been concentrating most of its efforts on infrastructure building.  Now that we’re moving back into production mode, with lots of new digital collections and content coming very soon, we’ll be blogging more frequently, too.  So this seems like a good time for the Digital Collections Blog to gather information from you, our reader, in our first-ever feedback poll!

This is your chance to tell us a little bit about your blog-reading habits and what you’d like to see when you visit the Digital Collections Blog.  In the sidebar you’ll see an orange button that links to our short survey – we hope you’ll take a few minutes to help us learn how to create a better, more informative, and more entertaining blog. Of course, your responses and comments will be submitted anonymously, so click away!

We’ll be gathering responses through Friday, April 15th, and we’ll be sure to let you know what we’ve learned once the results are tabulated.

All of the other Duke University Libraries blogs will be running the exact same poll, so head over to the other blogs that you read and leave some feedback for them, too.


–Digital Collections Blog Team

Try Our New Digital Collections Site (Now in Beta)

I’m happy to announce the availability of a beta version of our new Digital Collections web interface, the result of the Tripod2 project at Duke. Try it now! It will be available “in beta” for a few weeks at so you can give it a spin and tell us what you think.

Over the next few weeks, we will be tying up loose ends so we can replace the existing site at


34,000 items from 22 digitized collections, cross-searchable in a common index. Includes a wide range of formats: photographs, advertisements, books, sheet music and more.

PDF export for items

Save or print a PDF of any item. Especially useful for our sheet music collections.

Zooming & Panning

Zoom in close on images to see the smaller details or read the fine print.

Continue reading Try Our New Digital Collections Site (Now in Beta)

AdViews in the Classroom at Duke

Duke University Markets and Management Professor George Grody used vintage commercials in the AdViews collection in his Fall 2009 course, “Marketing Across Borders.” In this video, five students from the course discuss their experiences using AdViews in their class.

In addition to to the Marketing Across Borders feature, we’ve also published our fourth and final batch of newly digitized content: [reposted from The Devil’s Tale]

Continue reading AdViews in the Classroom at Duke

Style on Screen: the Diamonstein-Spielvogel Video Archive


The Diamonstein-Spielvogel Video Archive was one of our first video digitization projects. Available free in both YouTube and iTunes U, the collection features interviews Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel conducted with prominent artists, musicians, architects, designers, photographers, directors, actors, writers, and art collectors, documenting the arts world during the nineteen seventies and the nineteen eighties.

We were delighted when the Atlanta Decorative Arts Center (ADAC) and Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles magazine found these interviews and planned a series of screenings for design professionals, entitled “Style on Screen: Films of Design Icons.” The first event is planned for tonight, June 17, 2010. If you can’t make it to Atlanta for the event, the three designers featured in the screening are…
Continue reading Style on Screen: the Diamonstein-Spielvogel Video Archive

Secrets of Duke Digital Collections … Revealed!

Her secret is glamour

How do we make Duke Digital Collections happen?  Well, obviously, our secret is glamour, which comes as no surprise to those of you who know us.  But as with Miss Denney in this advertisement from our Ad*Access collection, there’s a bit more to it than that, and it takes a lot of work to get there, especially since we try to avoid disturbing fatigue lines and “crepey throat” along the way.  (We know this ad is tiny here, but trust us, it’s worth clicking on to experience its full glory.)

We were recently asked to write about the Duke Digital Collections program for the Duke University Libraries Magazine.  The results appear in five articles in the Fall 2009 issue of the magazine, and you can read them online here.  Among other things, you can read about the history of digitization at Duke, the global reach of our digital collections, the creative interfaces we use to open the doors to our collections, the behind-the-scenes steps in the creation of a new digital collection, and how our digital collections are being used in the classroom.

Thanks to our friends at the magazine for giving us the opportunity to talk about the Duke Digital Collections program!

AdViews: 3,000 New Commercials, Improved Access

AdViews: American Dental AssociationI’m excited to announce that we’ve launched 3,000 new commercials in the AdViews digital collection on iTunes U.

This includes over 50 new products and brands, such as the American Association of Railroads, Burma Shave, Bounce, Eastern Airlines, Folgers, Glade, Pepto-Bismol, Prell, Sanka, and Zest. We’ve also added many new commercials for Crest, some fantastic Hasbro toy commercials from the 1970s, and much more.

The AdViews Highlights album now features over 40 commercials with closed captioning and audio descriptions created by the National Center for Accessible Media for users with hearing or vision impairments. Users can take advantage of these accessibility features using the Preferences and Controls menus in iTunes. We’ve also improved the indexing of the collection, making it easier to search for and discover AdViews content from the Libraries website.

Many thanks to Duke Libraries staff and interns, to Duke OIT, and to A/V Geeks for their excellent contributions to the project.

The digital collections team will promote some new AdViews commercials during the next few weeks on Twitter — follow us!

The Classical String Quartet, 1770-1840

The Magic FluteNote: This is a guest post by Tom Moore, Head of the Music Library and Music Media Center at Duke. Tom is also the editor of the Music Library blog, Biddle Beat.

The award-winning Historic American Sheet Music Project of the Duke Libraries Digital Collections provides access to images of more than three thousand pieces of early American sheet music. Almost all of this music is popular vocal music intended for voice with piano accompaniment, and virtually none belongs to the genres of classical or concert music, which are also richly represented in the collections of the Duke Libraries. The Classical String Quartet, 1770-1840, begins to explore this area, and makes available the contents of about forty collections from the period when the string quartet was at its peak, when the works of the Viennese masters for the genre were created, many of them unavailable previously in any form since their original publication. Of particular interest are the various arrangements of operas for string quartet, including Joseph and his Brothers by Méhul, and the famous Magic Flute of Mozart. This resource will be highly valuable to scholars of the period, providing primary sources for study, and to string quartets, with a wealth of new repertoire.

AdViews: Don’t Touch That Dial!

AdViews Logo

The Duke Digital Collections team is excited to announce our newest project: AdViews, a digital archive of vintage television commercials. Our first batch of commercials went live in iTunes U last night (July 20, 2009), and we’ll continue to add thousands of historic commercials to the collection through the rest of 2009. By year’s end, the collection will contain over 10,000 digitized TV commercials from the archives, all available for FREE from Duke’s iTunes U site.

AdViews will provide students, teachers, and researchers access to a wide range of vintage brand advertising from the first four decades of mainstream commercial television. The collection will support interdisciplinary research, not only in marketing and advertising history, but also in visual studies, communication, women’s studies, public health, cultural anthropology, nutrition, technology, and more.

AdViews currently features commercials from the ad agency D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles (DMB&B), a New York advertising firm founded in 1929. The DMB&B archives are held at Duke in the Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History, a research center in the Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library.

Stay tuned! We’ll be right back with more AdViews updates and behind-the-scenes information…