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Pennsylvania State University
Report to the Digital Library Federation
July 1, 2001


  • Collections, Services, and Systems
  • Projects and Programs
  • Announcements

    I. Collections, Services, and Systems

    PALCI-Pennsylvania Academic Library Consortium, Inc.: Update
    In June of 1997, Penn State and four other academic institutions (the University of Pittsburgh, Lehigh University, Lafayette College and the Indiana University of Pennsylvania) signed a letter of intent with CPS, now Epixtech, and the Pennsylvania Academic Library Consortium, Inc. (PALCI) to test the Universal Resources Sharing Application (URSA) software. There are currently 24 colleges and universities participating in the project.

    This software is designed to permit a patron at one library to search for a title simultaneously in the other participating libraries' catalogues and then request the title be sent to his or her home library .The book then goes to the requesting library, which charges the patron through its circulation system. The project hoped to meet three goals: (1) to streamline and accelerate the process of sharing library materials among member institutions; (2) to leverage the investment in member library collections by making it easier for users in other institutions to locate and request materials unavailable in their home libraries; and (3) to develop for the PALCI membership a low-cost technology program that might be adapted by other academic consortia.

    Penn State sent and received its first request through PALCI in May of 1998. Since then, interest among our staff members has grown. They now show patrons how to order books on their own through P ALCI when Penn State does not own a title or it is otherwise unavailable, and our patrons seem to appreciate the ability to order materials on their own. Compared to the traditional Interlibrary Loan procedure, the main advantages this system offers is the reduced paper work and statistics keeping involved. We can see on-line what has been ordered, received and returned. We are notified immediately when an item is unavailable for borrowing, at which point we revert to Interlibrary Loan. The statistics are tallied automatically and are instantly retrievable. We have no need to keep track of overdue books because the on-line circulation system accomplishes that function.

    II. Projects and Programs

    A. Digital Library Projects at Penn State

    Penn State has developed digital project initiatives to provide a platform for developing our long-term strategic planning and to serve as the test bed for participation in national and international cooperative digital projects. These form an array of primary, rare, and often unique works and artifacts held in the Libraries.

    Alma Mahler-Werfel Letters Collection: Update
    Alma Mahler-Werfel was a highly talented artist whose life was surrounded by art and artists. She studied art and became friends with the painter Gustav Klimt, who made several portraits of her. Her primary interest however was in music. She was married for many years to Gustav Mahler and after his death in 1911 Alma had an affair with Oskar Kokoschka, who painted her many times. She then married the architect Walter Gropius and after their divorce she married the writer Franz Werfel in 1929. In her lifetime she also befriended the composer Arnold Schoenberg, the writer Gerhart Hauptmann, the composer Alban Berg, and the singer Enrico Caruso. As a 70th birthday gift to Mahler-Werfel, an illustrious group of some 80 friends (including Schoenberg and Thomas Mann), wrote individual birthday letters to her and had the letters decoratively bound in leather. This project includes the digitized manuscript letters as well as annotated commentary. (Project in process; because of technical issues and copyright restrictions access is currently restricted. Contact Special Collections for further information.)

    English Emblem Books Project and Caesar Ripa's "Iconologia, or Moral Emblems" (1995-1999): Update
    A collaborative project between the Arts and Humanities Library's Digital Resources Center, Special Collections, and the Preservation Department, the English Emblem Book Project digitizes and provides access to images and text from selected seventeenth- and eighteenth-century emblem books in the University Libraries' Rare Books Room collection. Research and design issues for this project include alignment of image and text; textual transcriptions; image preservation standards; and collaboration with teaching faculty in English and art history. The scope of this initiative comprises both enhanced access and preservation of collections.

    Geologic Maps of Pennsylvania Counties Collection: Update
    Maps scanned from the print publication: A geological hand atlas of the sixty-seven counties of Pennsylvania embodying the results of the fieldwork of the survey, from 1874 to 1884. By J.P. Lesley (Report of Progress, Geological survey, 1885). These maps have been scanned on a HP5100C color scanner at 300 dpi with color matching, then stored as JPEG images. Text was re-keyed from the original document. Descriptive text is also provided for each county.

    Penn State-University Park Campus History Digital Archives: Update
    This collection of primary source materials has been gathered and placed on the web to enable students and others to learn about the history of the Penn State-University Park campus, including its design and planning, as well as the individual buildings that comprise the campus' built environment. The digital archives is divided into five major categories of materials: the history of the campus, maps, development plans, buildings (including photographs, floor plans, statistical information, and news releases and articles), and campus landmarks (Historic Penn State brochure and references to the historical markers on campus).

    B. Arts and Humanities Library's Digital Resources Center

    John Updike's Buchanan Dying: A Digital Project for Enhanced Access (1999/2000): Update
    The University Libraries' Special Collections owns Updike's manuscripts, notes, and correspondence related to his play Buchanan Dying. In collaboration with the Rare Books Room, a graduate student in English digitized and marked up selected materials to provide networked access, and researched the work's evolution to elucidate Updike's creative process. Enhanced access and added research value are the focus of this digital initiative.

    Lorca Web (initiated 2000; in progress)
    The Lorca Web is being designed as a model for course-based projects incorporating student writing, library materials and new technologies. The site will integrate student papers, music files, film clips, translations, and drawings to explicate the life and works of Federico Garcia Lorca. Since he was a poet, dramatist, and artist, and one of the first Spanish intellectuals to take flamenco music seriously, his work lends itself to multimedia presentations. The structure of the web site encourages students to analyze his life and works in the context of the history, culture, and politics of Spain in the 1920s and 1930s. The focus of this digital project is support of learning and teaching with technology in the humanities.

    III. Announcements

    Partnership in Public Service: Update
    The Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the Institute for Museums and Libraries have funded a project led by Penn State that calls for new collaborative efforts among libraries, museums, and public television stations. The local project at Penn State is called "History Past, History Present: The Role of the Daguerreotype Portrait in America." It was developed around the Palmer Museum's Exhibition (January--May 2001) that focused on a signed daguerreotype of Mexican War hero Colonel James Duncan, listed as one of photographer Mathew Brady's 100 most illustrious Americans in 1851. The University Libraries, through its Special Collections, provided historical material and contributed a collection of daguerreotype portraits for the exhibit. The Pennsylvania Center for the Book, sponsored by the University Libraries, with the Palmer and WPSX Television created "Developing History," an outreach component that created a web site that examined the making of daguerrotypes and an historical context for famous people of the 1850's. Schools were invited to use the web site as background for lessons in history and early image technology and to participate in a photographic portrayal of the important people, places, and events in their communities. Technical issues of standardizing formats that can be used both for digital television distribution and the Internet are under investigation. Experimentation in accessing digitized visual images is also part of the project at Penn State. There will be seven additional sites around the United States with their own unique programming partnerships.

    Pennsylvania Center for the Book
    The Center was approved by the Library of Congress to begin operation on January 1, 2000, joining 42 other state centers for the book in the United States. The mission of the Pennsylvania Center for the Book is to study, honor, celebrate, and promote books, reading, libraries, and literacy to the citizens and residents of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Its first major project has been the creation of a web site that will serve as a reference and information tool for libraries and a pathfinder for anyone interested in the book, especially Pennsylvania book connections. A prominent feature of the web site will be the Literary Map of Pennsylvania. "Mouse-overs" linked to any county, town, or neighborhood that contains the birthplace or workplace of a writer connected to Pennsylvania will reveal facts about literary landmarks, writers, and their books.

    Visual Image User Study (VIUS)
    The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded $755,000 to The Pennsylvania State University Libraries to support an extensive study of digital image delivery. Leading the study, the Libraries will partner with other Penn State units, including the Center for Education Technology Services, the Center for Quality and Planning, Library Computing Services, and the School of Information Sciences and Technology. The Visual Image User Study (VIUS, pronounced "views") will examine the use of digital pictures at Penn State in the disciplines of the arts, environmental studies, and the humanities. The project includes the development and testing of a prototype system for image delivery.

    Phase one of the project will employ a variety of needs assessment methods and information retrieval studies to analyze current and future needs of teachers, learners, and collection managers. The second phase, based on results of phase one, will create the design and content of the prototype system. Reviewers of the plan praise its client-centered approach, interdisciplinary scope, institutional teamwork, and potential to contribute useful data to an important aspect of digital library development. Slated to begin in May 2001, activities will continue for twenty-six months.

    Please send comments or suggestions.
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