University of Southern California
Report to the Digital Library Federation
January 15, 2001


  • Collections, Services, and Systems
  • Projects and Programs

    I. Collections, Services, and Systems

    Integrated Digital Archive (IDA)
    IDA provides access to digital images of photographs, maps, manuscripts, records, texts, and a growing number of other digital formats, from USC and its partners' collections, with particular emphasis on materials related to Southern California. USC is developing a "regional meta-collection" of Digital Archival materials to unite and provide access to information owned and housed by many different regional institutions. Current partners include the Automobile Club of Southern California, the Chinese Historical Society of Southern California, the Los Angeles City Archives, and the Huntington Library. The current system uses USC's online catalog system, SIRSI, to provide access to IDA but a project is underway to migrate the digital archive to a new system (described below under Collection Information System project). Enhancements to the interim IDA interface will continue including integrated searching across all collections. (Further enhancements are described below under Spatial/Temporal Information System project). Approximately 10,000 digital objects, mostly photographs, are currently available, with new collections to be added including the following.

    • Korean-American Digital Archive
      Funded through a California State Library LSTA grant, the archive includes over 10,000 document images and over 1,300 photographs relating to the "first wave" Korean-American community in the United States. The documents center on the organization of resistance to Japanese rule over the immigrants' homeland of Korea as well as on family and social life of Korean-Americans in the period prior to 1965. The archive will be accessible through IDA by the end of 2000 and additionally, during the first quarter of 2001, from the Korean Heritage Library Web site and the Korean Resources of the Council on East Asian Libraries Web sites.

    • East Asian Library Map Collection
      182 color pre-20th century maps focusing on Korea, China and Japan are being converted to high-resolution MrSID images with zoom and pan capabilities and enriched metadata descriptions.

    • Greene and Greene Digital Archive
      The archive is collaborative project between USC, UC Berkeley, and Columbia whose holdings include thousands of architectural drawings, photographs of works, and other documents related to the Greene and Greene architectural firm (1894-1922). The two-year project is funded through a Getty grant and will enable the digitization and cataloging of a selection of the most important and frequently requested images from these collections as well as architectural details and decorative arts from the Gamble House, and make them available via the Web using California Digital Library standards.

    • Japanese American Relocation Digital Archive
      USC Special Collections is a participant in the Japanese American Relocation Digital Archive, a state-wide project of the California Digital Library designed to improve access to materials related to the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. USC has contributed 220 digitized and catalogued photographs from its collection of the Los Angeles Herald Examiner, as well as a digitized copy of its complete run of the "Information Bulletin" published by the Japanese-American Relations Committee of the Pacific Coast Branch of the American Friends Service Committee between February 1942 and February 1946 in Pasadena, California.

    • 1939 LA WPA Household Survey cards
      In 1939, the Los Angeles Work Projects Administration conducted a household census to profile each residence in the county. The 450,000 survey cards, which are now part of USC Regional History Collection, record the address, type of structure, condition, monthly rent or property value, number of rooms, and occupant demographics. The first 100,000 cards have been scanned and metadata is being created for retrieval via address and spatial coordinates. Additionally, as a companion to the cards, the WPA 1930's Land Use Survey, prepared for the Los Angeles Department of City Planning to map 460 square miles within the City's boundaries, are also being digitized and described. Approximately 350 images have been completed. This WPA material will also be retrievable via the spatial/temporal search interface being developed (described below under Spatial/Temporal Information System project).

    • Historic Newspapers
      Through a partnership with the Huntington Library, two historic Southern California newspapers, the Los Angeles Star and El Clamor Publico, which were published in Los Angeles between 1851-1879 will be added to IDA. Coverage includes local, national, and international news items, autobiographies, fiction, poetry, reviews of cultural events, letters to the editor and advertisements. The creation of metadata records is underway. Access is planned by date and by keywords from the headlines. MrSID images of the newspaper pages will provide zoom and pan capabilities later in 2001.

    Metadata Ingest System
    Facilitates catalogers to login, create, modify and delete qualified Dublin Core metadata for digital objects in IDA and aid in quality assurance. Some features include: field modifiers (drop-down menus containing term lists), sticky fields (memory of the "last" record created), history drop-down menus (memory of the last 10 records created), live URL links, thumbnail of images, insertion of new fields, and submission preview.

    A distributed data and image base system of ancient inscriptions and material culture archives from the Near Eastern and the Mediterranean World. The initial participants include West Semitic Research (WSR), the University of Southern California, and the University of Illinois, leaders in the application of photographic and computer imaging techniques to capture and analyze visual data of ancient texts. The image data include the Dead Sea Scrolls, Hebrew, Aramaic, and Canaanite texts from the biblical period and earlier, Mesopotamian documents and medieval Jewish manuscripts as well as the oldest biblical text currently extant and the oldest complete Hebrew bible in the world. These materials are scattered worldwide and consequently cannot be viewed together for detailed comparison and study. InscriptiFact will bring these scattered materials together virtually. Among InscriptiFact's features is a high-resolution viewer that enables side-by-side comparisons with high-resolution pan and zoom capabilities using Java, VC++, and LizardTech's Mr SID. The archive now contains about 100,000 high-resolution images and is growing. A working web-enabled database prototype of InscriptiFact will be available in 2001. - A view-only prototype of the system - Further information on the archive

    LA Comprehensive Bibliographic Database and Thesaurus
    Los Angeles and its Environs in the Twentieth Century: A Bibliography of a Metropolis (1973), along with its sequel, published in 1996, together constitute the most comprehensive and useful bibliography yet assembled for the study of Los Angeles, and are widely consulted. The first, however, has long been out of print and the second does not have a wide distribution. USC, in partnership with the Los Angeles City Historical Society, has brought these two volumes together in one Web-accessible edition of approximately 15,000 titles, which will be available in June 2001. The new resource is accessed by a newly created companion Los Angeles thesaurus, developed for USC by Lexicographer Linda Rudell-Betts which synthesizes the two separate print product subject indexes and is supplemented by other vocabularies including ERIC, LCSH, and UNESCO according to NISO guidelines. The Thesaurus will provide search and index terms for additional LA digital collections.

    LA As Subject Database
    L.A. as Subject was a four-year research project of the Getty Research Institute designed to facilitate the critical recovery of historical narratives about Los Angeles. Its goal was to illuminate diverse and unique archives and collections and examine their role in the transmission of cultural values through lectures, symposia, exhibitions, and public forums. A database describing almost 200 collections was also created as part of the project which will now be supported and expanded by USC and will be available from the USC Web site in the first quarter of 2001.

    Digital Archives Thematic Highlights and Online Exhibitions
    Selected USC Archival materials have been thematically compiled and distributed via HTML pages that demonstrate the value and possibilities of small, targeted digital presentations. Primarily focused on Los Angeles or topics of interest to the local community, they include compilations of public art in Los Angeles; primary documents related to the civil disturbances of 1992 and images of LA, past, and present. We are committed to enhancing and improving these small sites in the future and in using them to lead visitors to other primary and digital materials.

    Geospatial and statistical datasets support
    USC Information Services provides statistics consultant support on a wide range of statistics software on three platforms (UNIX, Windows, Mac), and maintains the university's Database Clearinghouse. The Clearinghouse lists all datasets to which university researchers have access and includes descriptions, location, access instructions and other information.

    Developing Collections of Electronic Resources
    USC continues its commitment to providing its students and researchers a large and varied collection of electronic resources, including a growing number of titles through its NetLibrary Collection. Additionally, USC is committed to electronic resource sharing through the Southern California Electronic Library Consortium (SCELC) which is developing a shared collection of NetLibrary e-books available to all participating institution's catalogs. - Electronic Resources - NetLibrary Collection

    II. Projects and Programs

    James Irvine Foundation Center for Scholarly Technology (CST)
    CST supports the faculty of the University of Southern California in the effective use of information technology in scholarly activities. CST is currently focused on enabling faculty to improve their instruction through the use of web-based course management systems and multimedia web sites. Programs include Quickstart (a set of faculty training and outreach activities), Jumpstart (a competitive grant program to put courses and content online), and Faculty Multimedia Development Facilities. Projects include the use of streaming video to support online exercises and instruction in a variety of disciplines such as television writing, history, exercise science, and English for non-native speaking teaching assistants. Technologies used include Blackboard, QuickTime, Flash, JavaScript, perl scripts, and open source software to manage databases and dynamically generated web sites.

    Information Commons
    At USC, Library and Information Technology activities are integrated within the Information Services Division (ISD) in response to today's research needs that require the combined expertise of Librarians and Information Technologists. One of the services provided by ISD is the Leavey Library's Information Commons, a place where students have 24x7 access to a core reference collection as well as to over 200 computers that offer a suite of both productivity and research tools. Workstations are spacious so as to encourage student collaboration, and students also have the option of reserving time to work together in one of forty group study rooms. And perhaps most importantly, the Information Commons staff of Librarians and student workers provides integrated assistance with both the research process and software applications.

    Spatial/Temporal Information Access System
    A project is currently underway to supplement search and retrieval of datasets and other digital resources in the USC Integrated Digital Archive (IDA) with spatial and temporal access points (maps, timelines, and gazetteers). This project is a partnership between USC's Information Services Division and GIS Lab, and ESRI, a GIS software developer. ESRI is integrating GIS components into the USC system while USC develops metadata standards, ingest methods, and appropriate LA maps and gazetteers. This project is a direct outgrowth of USC's ISLA (Information System of Los Angeles) demonstration project that began in 1994.

    Access to History: Cataloging the California Testimonies of the Holocaust
    USC's Information Services Division in partnership with the Shoah Foundation received a federal Library Services and Technology Act grant to fund a pilot project to catalog 160 testimonies from a collection of 3,300 uncataloged video interviews of Holocaust survivors and witnesses who reside in California. The goal of the collaborative project is to provide broader access to the Shoah Foundation's collection of over 50,000 eyewitness testimonies to schools, libraries and other centers of learning via high bandwidth networks.

    Web-based instruction
    Librarians and web developers are currently creating a web-based Instruction Gateway. The Gateway will provide users comprehensive documentation and tutorials on library research at USC. Accessible 24 hours a day to on and off campus users, the Gateway will complement in-person reference and instruction services.

    Electronic Reserves
    Electronic Reserves is currently a pilot project with a small, select group of faculty courses whose goal is to develop a scalable model for access and management to extend electronic reserves to the entire campus. It allows students to view, print, and save online class materials, whether they are working on campus or at a remote location. These materials are protected by instructor-assigned passwords and are thus accessible only by students enrolled in each course. Materials include but are not limited to course syllabi, book chapters, journal articles, homework solutions, lecture notes, and exams, generally converted to PDF format. Links to other electronic resources and to course web pages are also often included.

    Leavey Library, USC's Undergraduate Gateway Library, joined the Library of Congress Collaborative Digital Reference Project in June of 2000. The project currently has more than forty international members. Other libraries at USC are soon to join the project as well.

    Latin Americanist Research Resources Project
    This project is one of the original pilot projects of the AAU/ARL Global Resources Program and USC is one of forty-four ARL Library members, along with ARL, the Mellon Foundation and several non-ARL Libraries. The Latin Americanist project promotes a distributed interdependent approach to collecting scholarly materials from Latin America to ensure access to more resources for scholars. USC's contributions include serving as a Beta site for development, testing and implementation of the Web-based ingest system; coordination, evaluation and quality control review for the Mexican and Argentine Presidential Messages (150,000 TIFF and GIF files) and regular contributions of table of contents for specified journals. The project's major components include:

    • LAPTOC (Latin American Periodicals Table of Contents)
      A searchable Web database that provides access to more than 500 journals from Latin America, and their tables of contents. Participants select titles, acquire issues of assigned journals, input contents data, and provide access to the articles through inter-library loan.
    • Presidential Messages A Web database of digital images of presidential speeches from Mexican and Argentine presidents, from early 19th century to the present. Contains 75,000 pages in both GIFF and TIFF files.

    Collection Information System (CIS)
    The goal of the CIS project, getting underway this year, is to provide a robust, scalable, open- and standards-based information architecture to interactively deliver large numbers of digital objects via the web along with integrated access to existing catalogs and indexes of non-digital materials. Major components of the system will include content management, digital asset management, rights management, data repository, data ingest, and targeted user interfaces. It will also incorporate the spatial/temporal information system described above. Documents relating to the project will be made available via the USC Web site 2001, as the project progresses.