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University of Washington Libraries
Report to the Digital Library Federation
July 1, 2001


  • Collections, Services, and Systems
  • Projects and Programs
  • Specific Digital Library Challenges
  • Announcements

    I. Collections, Services, and Systems

    A. Collections

    Digital Initiatives Faculty Collections
    The Digital Initiatives Program works with faculty members to create online collections of interest and value, which are made available through its web site. Faculty collections currently online include: the Cities and Buildings Database consisting of over 6,000 architecture images, Mt Saint Helens Plant Succession containing plot studies of plant regeneration after the volcano's explosion, and over 600 views of Plants of Western Washington with habitat information. Other collections are publicly viewable, on local servers, or are being developed. Using CONTENTdm software, searches can be made within or across collections. Metadata is Dublin Core compatible.

    Digital Initiatives Manuscripts Special Collections and University Archives Division Collections
    Material from this Libraries' division with a focus on the Pacific Northwest is being digitized to provide access for the wider scholarly community and the general public. Areas of strength are area photographers such as Asahel Curtis, local architecture, the gold rush, transportation, industry, and early history. Other materials, such as war posters and Boxer Rebellion images, reflect the division's diverse holdings. Several collections feature albums that use the CONTENTdm document handler as a page-turner. Dublin Core metadata and Library of Congress authorities are applied. Links to all collections have been integrated into the OPAC.

    American Indians of the Pacific Northwest.
    This award winning Library of Congress American Memory Ameritech project is a partnership with the Museum of History and Industry and the Eastern Washington State Historical Society. It contains 10 introductory essays, 2300 images, and 7500 pages of textual sources. Links to the 24 individual University of Washington Publications in Anthropology in the project have been incorporated into the OPAC.

    B. Services

    initiated in 1994, is a joint project of the University of Washington Health Sciences Libraries and IAIMS Program that supports students, faculty, and staff across Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho. Dublin Core Metadata is the underlying syntax for a Microsoft SQL Server database. Supplemental fields address local needs and an input guide ensures consistent data entry. Adding a resource to the database involves three links; the input form contains bibliographic information; the relation tree associates the resource with a page and location on the page; and the type builder identifies the resource type, format, and language. Core pages are generated using a template with an updated graphic design. Usability testing and user feedback guide an iterative improvement process.

    Is a locally developed electronic current awareness service. Patrons establish a subject profile, which is run against the online catalog each month, and against the Current Contents database each week. Results are sent to the patron by email.

    The Metadata Implementation Group
    Consisting of librarians and paraprofessionals was formed in March 1998 and works to identify appropriate metadata and coordinate consistent application of metadata across a many of software environments and resource types. This group has worked with a variety of members of the campus community, as well as outside partners. The Metadata Implementation Group develops and promotes metadata standards for digital projects, and provides data dictionaries and Dublin Core mappings for the Digital Initiative Program collections. The Libraries has been an active participant in the Dublin Core meetings and was invited to present a case study at the 5th Dublin Core Metadata Conference in Helsinki, Finland (1997).

    C. Systems

    MyGateway Digital Registry
    The Digital Registry is an SQL database currently containing about 10,000 records. Users can and do search the Registry directly, but the main use of the DR is to support Information Gateway services. In addition to supporting MyGateway, the DR is used to generate various resource lists for the Information Gateway, including lists of databases, e-journals, and other materials arranged by title and by subject. We currently generate subject lists for more than 270 subject nodes. In some subject areas, virtually all of the content is generated from the database, while in other areas the subject librarian has handcrafted some or all of the pages. DR-generated pages are hit 65,000 - 70,000 times each week on average, and account for about half the number of hits on the subject pages. The Registry is also used to generate the proxy automatic configuration files that support our proxy server. Finally, a locally developed URL checker iterates over a section of the database each night to verify that the URLs are valid.

    The University of Washington Information Literacy Learning program is comprised of web-based, interactive, multimedia learning tools, including tutorials and assessment instruments that address specific elements of information literacy from discipline-based perspectives. The goal of the UWill project is the transformation of the way in which the University of Washington and the Libraries provide information literacy instruction. In addition to providing tools for teaching information literacy within specific courses, UWill will provide guidance to instructors in designing assignments that address its component skill sets. The service is centrally managed within the UW Libraries, but developed through the partnership of librarians, departmental faculty, and regional employers and professionals. UWill will build the extended problem-solving skills articulated by the Fluency with Information Technology (FITness) vision.

    II. Projects and Programs

    A. Projects

    WTO History project
    The Center For Labor Studies, in a joint project with the Center for Communication and Civic Engagement, and the Manuscripts, Special Collections and University Archives division of the of the Libraries, is creating an online resource of WTO protest materials. The project's goals are to provide resources for research related to the anti-WTO protests in Seattle, to preserve historical documents and artifacts related to the anti-WTO protests, to collect a set of personal accounts of the protests, and to analyze the role of organized Labor in the event. The project includes or will include: an extensive series of interviews; an archive of materials and artifacts from the protests; and an historical account of the protests and the months of organizing that preceded them. Access to the archived material is being developed using CONTENTdm software. Digitized video and audio will follow. http://depts.washington.edu/pcls/WTO_History_Project.htm

    World Treaty Index
    The World Treaty Index is a comprehensive resource for treaty research currently containing about 70,000 treaties. Currently only available in older print editions, it is being converted to a publicly searchable database. Administration is by Glenda Pearson of the Libraries under the auspices of the Human Rights Education and Research Network An advisory board of renowned international law scholars, librarians and practitioners is participating in the evaluation of this unique resource, with the hope of creating a complete and searchable index of all 20th century treaties.

    The Central Eurasian Information Resource
    Is designed as a versatile, Web-based educational resource for Russian, East European and Central Asian studies, which will use geography as a graphic organizing structure to systematically provide access to existing online information and to incorporate substantial new digital information-statistics, maps, images, indexes, and full text-about the many regions of Eurasia, with initial focus on the Russian Federation. A consortium of Puget Sound educational institutions, including the UW, The Evergreen State College, and South Seattle Community College, guides development of the CEIR. Project funding through 2002 comes from a U.S. Department of Education grant for Technological Innovation and Cooperation in Foreign Information Access (TICFIA) and includes funding to support curricular development using the CEIR resources.

    Union List of South Asian Newspapers and Gazettes
    Compiled by Irene Joshi during her time with the University of Washington Libaries South Asia Section, this union list contains information on 3,000 newspapers and gazettes published in South Asia and abroad, including publications serving diaspora communities worldwide.

    B. Programs

    The Libraries is a founding partner of UWired, an innovative collaboration started in 1994 to bring technology into the service of teaching and learning. Several UWired facilities are located in the Odegaard Undergraduate Library, including two collaboratories (computer equipped classrooms) and the Center for Teaching Learning and Technology (CTLT). Librarians have actively partnered with faculty and computing professionals to bring information literacy instruction into disciplinary contexts. The Computing Commons provides high-level computing resources to students in select campus facilities, including the Undergraduate Library. To provide unified assistance, the undergraduate reference desk is collocated with the Commons help desk. In 2000, UWired became the first recipient of the EDUCAUSE Award for Systemic Progress in Teaching and Learning. UWired also received the Innovation in Instruction Award from the Association of College and Research Libraries in 1995.

    Digital Animation Laboratory
    The Odegaard Undergraduate Library has partnered with the Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) Department to create a "cultural laboratory" supporting digital animation. Animation professionals teach this nationally unique program, which brings together technical people, the artistically inclined, and librarians. All students learn every aspect of digital animation, and the class works together to produces a single animated short. The library provides the space and information specialists to research aspects of the animation subject. The Libraries and CSE imagine creating: a physical and electronic archive of PNW digital animation; an animation educational program; a public lecture series; and/or programs such as Cinema Studies and the Digital Arts Initiative.

    Digital Initiatives Program
    Since 1997, the program has collaborated with faculty, engineers, students, librarians and the public, building digital libraries from a user's perspective. The Program digitizes collections of scholarly and general interest, and by including faculty's personal curriculum collections, supports using multi-media in teaching and research. Many of the Digital Initiative's projects have been cooperative, especially with parties from the Pacific Northwest Region. Projects are selected which emphasize the Libraries' strengths, which provide technological or knowledge management challenges, or are of high scholarly value. Dublin Core is used to create basic object cataloging with CONTENTdm software providing a flexible template, which is customized for each collection. Collection specific fields are mapped to Dublin core. The Digital Initiatives program also provides guidance to other digitization projects on campus.

    III. Specific Digital Library Challenges

    Budget Transformation
    The Libraries stepped up efforts to acquire/license digital resources for our users intending to change our collections in addition to radically rethinking how we do business. As part of the process, we have established principles for moving more heavily into digital materials. These principles specify that If appropriate and required by budgetary constraints, the Libraries choose digital over print. Articles developed to alert faculty and other users about how our resources would be changing were published in the Library Directions newsletter (spring 2001, winter 2001). The Provost has become engaged with the efforts to transform the Libraries and the underlying structure of scholarly communication.

    Preservation Scans
    The Libraries is currently reviewing how to best incorporate into the OPAC and present online texts scanned created during preservation photocopying.

    Faculty Collection Creation
    Computing & Communications, The Center for Teaching Learning and Technology, The Libraries, and DiMeMa, Inc. are investigating methods to enable faculty to easily create digital collections supporting their research and specific curriculum needs. It is envisioned that the Libraries will supply training and metadata templates for collection creation.

    Digital Preservation
    A planning process for preserving the electronic administrative records of the University has been underway since the formation, in 1999, of a group with representatives from The University Archives, a division of the Libraries, and the campus offices of Computing & Communications, Records Management, Public Records, and Internal Audit. Initial efforts to establish standards, policies and procedures will focus on electronic records created for University of Washington administrative purposes, including email folders, flat files on desktop computers, departmental servers, or individual accounts on UW Uniform Access computers, databases, word or spread sheet documents, and transactional records.

    IV. Announcements

    Digital South Asia Library
    Allan Grosenheider, Head, South Asia Section of the Libraries, will be assuming management responsibilities for the Digital South Asia Library, assisting David Magier (Columbia) and James Nye (Chicago). DSAL provides or will provide full-text documents, statistical data, electronic images, cartographic representations, and pedagogical resources for language instruction, along with Internet-based indexes to highly select journals in the regional languages of South Asia.

    Please send comments or suggestions.
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