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Emory University - Emory University Libraries
Report to the Digital Library Federation
July 15, 2000


  • Collections, Services, and Systems
  • Specific Digital Library Challenges

    I. Collections, Services, and Systems

    A. Collections

    Many units within Emory's libraries are engaged in designing and developing digital collections. Most collections are developed to support campus teaching and research initiatives or as larger preservation and access efforts for the scholarly community at large.

    The main units involved in development of digital initiatives within the Emory libraries are:
    • The Beck Center for Electronic Collections and Services - focusing primarily on texts in the humanities
    • The Electronic Data Service - focusing primarily on the manipulation and analysis of numeric data sets in the social sciences
    • Hugh MacMillan Law Library - serving as the official digitizing and service point Federal Court Finder, the electronic full text archive of decisions handed down by Federal Circuit Court s of Appeals
    • Health Sciences Center Library - focuses on MedWeb, a widely acclaimed gateway to biomedical Internet sites
    • Pitts Theology Library - serving as the digital archive for the SELA Full text journal project (now serving as the foundation for the expanded ATLAS full text e-journal collection being developed by the American Theological Library Association)
    • Preservation and Conservation - focusing on both print and non-print materials, including audio and video, held in the Emory libraries
    • Special Collections and Archives - focusing on print and non-print materials in its collections, notably in Irish and American literature

    Among the digital collections currently in development are:

    Electronic Data Sets
    The General Libraries Electronic Data Service is in the process of mounting popular data sets in a variety of subject areas. These sets, searchable using an HTML template format which allows novice data users to identify, can be used to analyze and extract numeric data from files that are relevant, reliable and useful for research in the social sciences and other disciplines. Among the large commercial data sets currently mounted and searchable are the Cross-National Time Series (1800-1994), European Community Studies (1970-1992), and US Trade Summaries (1989-1996).

    Electronic Poetry Collection
    An indexed, keyword searchable collection of both commercially available electronic poetry collections and a compilation of manuscript poems of the Belfast Group, led by Seamus Heaney, and owned by the Emory libraries. New commercial and unique manuscript works are being continually added to this digital collection, mounted and maintained by Emory's Beck Center for Electronic Collections and Services. (See Poetry Portal, below

    Emory Research Archives
    A searchable collection of research data files compiled by selected Emory faculty as part of their research and teaching efforts is under development. It allows for customized extraction and analysis of both publicly-held and privately collected numeric data. Among the first files to be included in this digital archive will be selected data collections from Emory's International Development Project, collaboratively sponsored by Emory's Departments of Political Science and Sociology.

    Emory Women Writers Resource Project
    Working with faculty and graduate students for Emory's English Department, the Beck Center is creating both HTML and SGML versions of selected works by American and British women. Spanning the 17th - 20th centuries, many of these digital versions include have been edited and annotated for in-depth analysis and scholarly research.

    Federal Court Finder
    An electronic full text collection of decisions handed down by various Federal Circuit Courts of Appeal. This site serves both as an full-text archive for decisions handed down in many of the Federal Circuit Courts back to 1994, and adds current decisions within 24 hours of their public release. In addition to the courts digitally maintained on Emory's servers, hyperlinks to Chicago-Kent College of Law provide expanded access to additional court decisions including the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.

    Film Preservation
    Funded by the National Film Preservation Foundation, this project provides access to digital editions of Charles Forrest Palmer's 1936 film collection, World War Against Slums and a series of films, also created in the 1930's, which document the history and early research done by Dr. Robert Yerkes on primate behavior. Additional non-print media preservation efforts are underway though Emory's Preservation and Conservation Department.

    Irish Poetry Project
    A subset of the larger Electronic Poetry Project, this collection brings together original worksheets, manuscripts and related materials from repositories all over the world, documenting the emergence of this new generation of poets from Northern Ireland

    Legacy Finding Aids Scanning Project
    Containing more than 60 scanned, edited, and reformatted finding aids to significant text and image collections held in Emory's Special Collections.

    MedWeb, is a catalog of health related web sites, maintained And updated by the Emory Health Sciences Center Library. Searchable by more than 100 broad subject headings, focusing primarily on biomedical information. Each Internet site is regularly reviewed and audited by HSCL staff for content and reliability.

    Merton Diaries Project
    As part of a larger project to digitize the personal papers of Thomas Merton, Emory's Pitts Theology Library and the General Libraries Beck Center have mounted a browseable HTML version and a searchable SMGL version of Merton's Red Diary

    The Martyred President: Sermons Given on the Occasion of the Assassination of Abraham Lincoln
    A browseable and searchable database of 57 sermons on the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, based on collections held in Emory's Pitts Theology Library.

    The Poetry Portal (under development 2000-2001)
    The Beck Center for Electronic Collections and services is developing an electronic gateway which will support cross-database searching of multiple commercial and in-house digital collections of poetry by author, subject, keyword, and time period. Local programming efforts will support easy access to extensive digital poetry collections held in the Emory libraries, providing easier and more direct access to these works by students and scholars.

    SAGE: Selected Archives at Georgia Tech and Emory
    A collaborative digital project initially undertaken by the Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University, the SAGE Project is digitizing selected texts, photographs, and audio/video recordings from several collections held in full or in part by both institutions. Among the collections covered are the Sam Nunn Papers, the Ralph McGill papers, the Witness to the Holocaust project Files, and the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) of greater Atlanta records. New files are being added periodically.

    St. Aubin (abbey, Angers, France) Cartulaire de l'abbaye de Saint-Aubin d'Angers
    Searchable versions this 12th century cartulary (769-1175) which was published in 1903 by A. Picard, Paris. SGML versions of both Tome I and II are available, as well as an HTML browseable version of Tome I.

    Sam Nunn Letters (under development 2000-2001)
    A searchable data set of constituent and other letters received by Sam Nunn (US Senator for Georgia 1972-1997, Chair, Senate Armed Forces Committee 1987-1994) During his extended term as Senator and as a leading authority on US military affairs, former Senator Nunn received a vast amount of correspondence from around the world on a wide variety of domestic and international issues. This database, currently under development, will support searching of this extensive archive by correspondent, by subject, by keyword, and by date.

    Southern Changes
    A searchable database of Southern Changes, published by the Southern Regional Council. Vol. 4 - 12 (1982-1990) are available. This is the major house organ of the SRC, a leading force in the Civil Rights Movement. Retrospective and current issues continue to be added.

    B. Services

    Emory Center for Interactive Teaching (ECIT)
    Emory's Center for Interactive Teaching (ECIT) provides support personnel and facilities to assist Emory faculty with incorporating interactive multimedia technologies into the teaching experience. Since its inception in 1996, a wide array of primarily Web-based technologies have been explored, including: Web site authoring, digital audio and video editing, electronic bulletin boards, virtual collaboration spaces, Web-based testing/student tracking and various video-conferencing and teleconferencing systems. In 1999 ECIT relocated to larger quarters in the new Center for Library and Information Resources, as a joint initiative of Emory's Information Technology Division and the General Libraries. The Center's combination of technology-based learning systems and support from its knowledgeable staff continue to enhance the teaching experience in new and exciting ways.

    Beck Center for Electronic Collections and Services
    The Lewis H. Beck Center for Electronic Collections and Services promotes and supports the use of scholarly electronic collections by Emory University faculty, students and staff. To this end, the Beck Center actively acquires and makes available for research and instructional purposes the rapidly expanding corpus of full-text databases, electronic journals, numerical datafiles, and multimedia titles which comprise electronic collections. The Beck Center also seeks to provide leadership in the realm of electronic collections by identifying new technologies in support of the scholarly research process and by serving as an advocate for the Emory community's needs.

    Electronic Data Center
    Emory's Electronic Data Center provides researchers and students with access to over 5000 data sets covering diverse subjects such as Criminal Justice, Urban Renewal, Health Policy, International Relations, Political Behavior and Economic Development. Interested Emory Researchers may access our online collection anytime or request that EDC acquire data from ICPSR, the US Government, and many other data providers. In some instances users can even analyze the data online using applications developed in partnership with Emory's Information Technology Division. A cluster of high-end workstations equipped with the latest software applications is located in the EDC to facilitate research.

    Electronic Document Delivery
    Beginning in Fall 2000, EDD will provide digital copies of journal articles or tables of contents from materials in the Emory libraries off-site storage facility, the Materiel Center. Digital copies will be made available to users on a library web server in the Adobe PDF format. The hardware component consists of a Xerox Document Center utilizing Adobe Acrobat for converting files from various image formats to PDF. (See also under Systems, ILLiad.)

    Electronic Reserves
    The General Libraries' Electronic Reserves Project seeks to expand the scope of the traditional reserve reading list to include both print and electronic formats, and provide a single, comprehensive list for all materials needed for a particular course. Electronic reserve materials can include class Web sites, Web-based conferences, electronic journal articles, or scanned images of course-related documents. These electronic materials can be accessed directly through WebCat, the web based version of the library catalog, EUCLID. Students search for their reserve list in the library catalog, and when an electronic version of the material is available, can click on a hyperlink within the reserve record to access that material. Electronic access to reserve material offers greater convenience in that students can access this material at any hour using the Internet, regardless of Access Services/Reserve Desk hours or the availability of print materials held at the Reserve desk.

    The InfoCommons is both a desktop and a service environment supporting users in locating, collecting, and manipulating information. The space and service supports collaborative learning and research and are adaptable and expandable to accommodate changes in technology. The InfoCommons currently provides 24-x access to more than 200 workstations, both PC and Mac, incorporating both dedicated lines and wireless technology utilizing DHCP and Macintosh Airport Bases. The InfoCommons software suite provides access to library catalog, email, WWW and GALILEO, conferencing systems such as BlackBoard and FirstClass, and host of MS Office applications.

    Language Classrooms
    This collaborative project of Emory College, Emory's Information Technology Division and the General Libraries will design several new state-of-the-art multimedia language classrooms and install them in renovated seminar rooms located in the stacks of the Woodruff Library, opening for use in the Fall semester of the 2000-2001 academic year. These new facilities will offer a wide range of hardware and software systems in support both in-class language courses and student practice and study outside of class.

    Marian K. Heilbrun Music and Media Library
    Located on the fourth floor of the Center for Library and Information Resources of the General Libraries, this new facility (under development, 2000-2001) will greatly expand and enhance music and media study, providing access to both print and electronic information resources, audio and video streaming, language labs, and research and classroom facilities.

    Multimedia Center and Distance Learning
    Located in the Technology Centers of Woodruff Library and run by Emory's Information Technology Division, the Multimedia Center offers students several resources for creating multimedia-based projects free of charge. Students receive free training and support with Center resources, including flatbed scanners, digital video systems, and desktop publishing stations. The Center is an ideal resource for assistance in designing presentations, creating web pages, or editing audio and video. Also located in this facility is a state-of-the-art Distance Learning facility used regularly for coursework and videoconferencing by Emory's undergraduate and professional schools.

    Online Journals
    The Emory libraries have undertaken a major effort to provide direct hypertext links via its online catalog to all journals that also are available in electronic form. Wherever possible, this seamless link from bibliographic record to online issue is being implemented, allowing for 24x7 access to both current and (where available) backfile issues of subscribed journals. In addition to loading individual URLs for individual titles, aggregator services such as EBSCO Online and Ovid Technologies OpenLink services are being implemented to ensure direct access to online editions of print subscriptions. (See Research Central.)

    Online Reference
    The Reference, Information, and Consultation Department of the General Libraries provides online reference services to all Emory users via email. Email is checked several times a day and responses are guaranteed within 24 hours.

    An attempt to provide more streamlined access to the numerous electronic and print information sources available to Emory students, Research Central brings together key resources by broad topic (e.g. Electronic Journals), by subject (e.g. resources in Anthropology), as well as general guides to effectively searching the Web and online lists of instructional sessions and workshops. ResearchCentral serves both as a gateway and a filtering service for Emory students, faculty, and scholars.

    Wireless Networks in the Library
    As part of our continuing effort to provide easy access to information resources, the General Libraries, in collaboration with Emory's Information Technology Division, is experimenting with both DHCP and wireless technology utilizing the Macintosh Airport Base. More than 30 DHCP connections and Mac workstations have been successfully tested during 1999-2000. In 2000-2001 the number of wireless links will be expanded in the General Libraries and testing will begin on similar wireless technology campus-wide.

    C. Systems

    The Emory libraries will be installing the OCLC/Atlas Systems' ILLiad interlibrary loan system this Fall. This new system will store and search all data concerning interlibrary loan requests and processing, allowing users to check on the status of their orders via the Web at any time. Copyright clearance also will be automatically generated. ILLiad encompasses virtually every action in the ILL process, producing a highly efficient and effective work environment enhancing customer service while significantly reducing costs and staff workloads. Future enhancements will include a document delivery module

    LIBNET represents a way of remotely accessing a set of core library electronic resources from anywhere on the Internet. It is a software application with minimal requirements for hardware and network/modem speed, which means that the software can run on many older, less powerful workstations. LIBNET runs at no cost to the user and the LIBNET software is free. LIBNET utilizes CITRIX server software and is maintained by the General Libraries in collaboration with Emory's Information Technology Division, for the use of the Emory campus

    II. Specific Digital Library Challenges

    General Libraries Reorganization
    During the academic year 2000-2001 the General Libraries will implement a major reorganization of its services and operating structure. One important facet of this reorganization is an effort to mainstream digital initiatives, to move them from project-based (and typically externally funded) efforts to program-based services. Among the many changes being proposed is the integration of the Electronic Data Center into the User Services wing of the libraries, the integration of the Beck Center for Electronic Collections and Services into the Information Services wing of the libraries, and the closing of the Virtual Library Project initiative.

    Server Security
    In 2000-2001 the General Libraries will implement a server security system which will ensure not only routine backups of all servers (including those storing electronic text and data files), but also provide a first line of defense against unauthorized intrusions from outside the library network. In 1999-2000 the General Libraries servers were inadvertently hacked into on several occasions, negatively affecting many of our digital collections. We anticipate our new server security measures will greatly reduce this threat in the future.

    Develop integrated access to our digital collections
    Programming currently is underway to support cross-database, cross-platform searching of various digital collections (see Emory Research Archives and Poetry Portal) If this initiative proves as successful as we hope, we expect to apply such interoperability across many subject areas, including both locally-developed and commercially-produced text databases.

    Long term preservation of digital information
    Through various library initiatives, including the SAGE Project and the Emory libraries new responsibility for University Records Management, we will be exploring ways to ensure long term preservation of digital files created locally, including email, text, and data files.

    Please send comments or suggestions.
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    © 2000 Council on Library and Information Resources

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