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Musings of a librarian, former archivist, musician, bibliophile, and tech-obsessed.

Entries in Digital Practices Committee (4)


Finishing Up for the Semester

Over the last month, I've been focusing on crossing things off my work and professional to-do list. My two SLIS practicum students have finished their projects, including a new finding aid that was posted today, and over 300 metadata records for the School of Music audio recordings, to be used in a future digital collection.

I also participated in a interviewing process for the consortium's new Digital Projects Coordinator, who was just hired (she starts in March). Until then, as the upcoming head of the Digital Practices Committee, I will be making sure that we have completed all of our initiatives for before the June deadlines, and that we have all of the documentation in place for the Coordinator when she starts; while I won't start until January, I've been reviewing all of the documentation that I might need. We have our last meeting of the year tomorrow, and we'll be mainly focusing on project plans.

In addition to my normal volume of "let me get this in before you close for the holidays" photo digitization requests, I also digitized a small, alumnus photo album in-house. He didn't want to donate it, yet, but is allowing us to use the images for projects (I sent a Deed of Gift requesting copyright of the digitized images). This is one of several digitized alumni albums that will definitely be useful in the upcoming year for the university's 125th anniversary.

I also wrote a third, shorter article for our annual newsletter, featuring photos from our collections used in the CUA photo history book and a Veteran's Day presentation by an alumnus.

The piles on my desk are decreasing as I put away the books and printed reference publications that I have used over the last few months. I'm clearing away the post-it note reminders stuck to my computer monitor. While I still have next week, I feel like I have almost everything settled before I leave for break.



As part of my work on the Digital Practices Committee, I have been researching several digital collection platforms to replace Greenstone as our viewer platform which sits over DSpace. Our group is jointly pursuing the initiative to create a better digital collections experience. At out meeting last week, we agreed that we would each pick one platform out of the possible platforms, and analyze the functionalities of the platform. I got VuDL, which was engineered by the Villanova Digital Library.

Doing some initial analyzing, it just looks amazing! The GUI is just phenomenal!

I do know that VuDL can also work as a back end (instead of DSpace or Fedora), but should work with them, as well. My biggest concern right now is trying to figure out if all of the amazing features I like are part of VuDL's structure, or if they are eXist and Oberon, which power VuDL.

I am also skeptical about VuDL's audiovisual capabilities. They say they can ingest the files, but according to the presentations online and the Google Group, they are still working on a plug-in for streaming files. However, the document and photo viewing system is very impressive. Its layout is similar to that of a pdf, where you can scroll through pages on a separate sidebar. Tabs separate the items in a document from the transcription files and metadata.

I'm also unsure of the metadata. The site says the are METS compliant, but there are other plug-ins being created. However, the metadata that appears in the upload and user views appears to be Dublin Core, though not qualified.

I have yet to further explore the system. I need to experiment with the live demo, and see if I can download it to my Mac (either at work or at home) to see if it is really as flexible as it seems. I still have to compare a few more capabilities to our committee's functionalities list, and look forward to doing more over the next three weeks before our next meeting!


Data Curation Lecture in the DC Area

The Digital Practices Committee of WRLC has organized this lecture by Scott Brandt. It has now be opened to all to encourage additional attendance in the area. From the WRLC Newsletter:

Event: Data Curation Profiles & Libraries 

Do you want to know more about cyber infrastructure and data management?  Are you curious about what the library’s role is in this burgeoning area?  How can librarians and researchers work together to make research outputs available?  How do researchers figure out who should share what with whom, and when? Then plan to attend:

Data Curation Profiles & Libraries,

presented by D. Scott Brandt
October 17, 2011
1:00 pm to 3:30 pm
Room 207, Gelman Library
George Washington University

Scott Brandt, Associate Dean for Research at the Purdue University Libraries, is an internationally acknowledged expert in data curation.  For additional information on this program hosted by The Washington Research Library Consortium (WRLC), please contact Martha Whittaker (  The program is open to all but space is limited.  Please RSVP to ( by October 7, 2011.

Scott Brandt is currently acting director of the Distributed Data Curation Center at Purdue (D2C2)  The D2C2 is the recipient of an Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) 21st Century Grant to create a Data Curation Profile Tool Kit.  The Tool Kit helps librarians work with scholars to capture general requirement for specific data generated by a researcher.  The profiles enable librarians and others to make informed decisions when managing research data. For more information, check out the Center’s website:

Outline of the Program
Data Curation Profiles & Libraries

  • Evolution of Scholarly Communication
  • New Role
  • Data Context

Dealing with Data: Deluge or Déjà vu?
Data Curation Basics
Data Curation Profiles:

  • Research Behind Them
  • DCP Toolkit
  • Examples

Going Forward:

  • Data Reference
  • Data Consulting
  • Data Instruction

Wrap-up and Q&A period


Amazing Digital Archives

One of the tasks the Digital Practices Committee has been asked to do is to examine platforms for our digital collections. We currently use Dublin Core in DSpace, and would like to keep that way for now to prevent additional migration issues, and use either Greenstone or Omeka as a front end. The problem is that we are no longer satisfied with the capabilities or user interaction of either.

The most recent platform I've discovered us extremely impressive. It's VuDL and was created by Villanova. The user view front page is extremely clean, and it provides a browse all collections function, as well as searching across collections, a function we currently do not have in either of our current platform. The design is very clean, and easy to interact with. The only downside for us is that it is based on a METS/XML platform and we're still using DC.

This will give us plenty to consider going forward with our task.