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Princeton University Library

Report to the Digital Library Federation

Spring 2004




I. Collections, services, and systems

II. Projects and programs

III. Specific digital library challenges


An initiative to centralize and standardize digital library initiatives within the Princeton University Library began in earnest in Autumn 2003. Our digital library initiative was bolstered at this time with the hiring of our Digital Projects Photographer. A new digital production lab with new technology has just been completed, and digitization of various materials is underway. In the last year, we have also hired a Metadata Librarian to define the standards and conventions we will use for each digital collection.

The report in this newsletter will cover some of the standardization areas on which we are focusing. Pilot projects that have been developed under agreed upon principles of standardization are covered. Additionally, we are reporting projects and collections digitized over the past few years, most of which were developed prior to our current standardization initiatives.



I. Collections, services, and systems


A. Collections


EAD finding aids

EAD production began at Princeton in the last few months, and will be adopted on a full scale by summer. Finding aids from the Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library and Firestone Library's Manuscripts department are being produced in EAD v.2002. Finding aids are transformed to XHTML and PDF dynamically via XSL 2.0, Saxon, and Apache Tomcat Java Servlet Engine.



Records of Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory Regarding Project Matterhorn (forthcoming)

Digitzed versions of the declassified Project Matterhorn records, a secret Department of Energy and Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory project from the 1950s. The archival collection is marked up in EAD, with the container listing holding links to digital surrogates of the records. METS-based page-turning will be available for viewing the reports.



Marriage, Women, and the Law, 1815-1914 (Studies in Scarlet)

This unique digital collection is the result of a coordinated, transnational project, "Studies in Scarlet," sponsored by the Research Libraries Group (RLG). With a focus on family law and domestic relations in the 19th century, the collection provides scholars throughout the world with electronic access to materials supporting research on a broad range of topics, including marriage, divorce, adultery, miscegenation, polygamy, and birth control. The content of the collection, gleaned from case reports, statutes, novels, newspapers, diaries, and letters, is designed to support scholarship in disciplines including law, history, sociology, political science, women's studies, and criminology. Princeton University Library added a significant collection addressing issues associated with the practice of polygamy among members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints from 1852 through the end of the century.



The Princeton Shahnameh Project (link may be limited to Princeton domain)

The "Shahnameh" (The Book of Kings), the national epic of the Iranian people, was completed by the poet Ferdowsi in A.D. 1010. Its traditional 60,000 couplets outline the exploits of Persian heroes, legendary as well as historical, before the Islamic conquest. Hundreds of complete (or almost complete) manuscripts have been preserved in libraries all over the world. And no Persian text has been illustrated as often as the "Shahnameh." http://etcweb.princeton.edu/almagest2/display/projsplash.jsp?proj=SHAHNAMEH


Princeton University Library has five unique and illustrated manuscript copies of this text, which contain a total of 280 individual miniature illustrations. Digital images of these miniatures are currently available in an OIT based image database called Almagest. The site was created for a Princeton faculty member who used the images in his classes. The Library will be putting them up in our digital library collection as soon as all the software for that is in place.


Garrett Manuscript 158: Giovanni Marcanova "Collectio antiquitatum"

Garrett MS. 158 was probably made in Bologna in 1471 or after 1473. Its principal text is the Collectio antiquitatum that was the work of Giovanni Marcanova, who was born in Venice ca. 1410/1418 and died in Bologna on 31 July 1467. Garrett MS. 158 begins with 15 full-page drawings in brown ink with a golden-brown wash. The drawings show Roman antiquities, many of which are brought together or rendered in the manner of "fantasy architecture." The text of the Collectio antiquitatum describes and enumerates the monuments and places of ancient Rome, including temples, triumphal arches and columns, obelisks, palaces, public baths, gates, roads, bridges, fortifications, hills, and other points of historical interest. Drawings in the text (also in brown ink, some with a golden-brown wash) depict ancient monuments, sarcophagi, vases, aedicules, and stele with inscriptions, as well as several Renaissance seals with mottos. Some of these interior illustrations are accompanied by depictions of classical and mythological figures.



Arabic Manuscript Catalogs

Microfilm copies of three out of print Princeton-produced bibliographies of its Arabic manuscript collection were digitized and made available on the web. The three titles are:


      Descriptive Catalog of the Garrett Collection of Arabic Manuscripts in the Princeton University Library, by Philip K. Hitti, Nabih Amin Faris, Butrus `Abd-al-Malik. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1938. http://libweb2.princeton.edu/rbsc2/arabic/Hitti.pdf


      Handlist of Arabic Manuscripts (new series) in the Princeton University Library, by Rudolf Mach & Eric L. Ormsby. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1987. http://libweb2.princeton.edu/rbsc2/arabic/Mach_Ormsby.pdf


      Catalogue of Arabic Manuscripts (Yahuda Section) in the Garrett Collection, Princeton University Library, by Rudolf Mach. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1977. http://libweb2.princeton.edu/rbsc2/arabic/Mach_Yahuda.pdf


B. Services


Electronic Course Reserves and Online Reserve Requests Services (ORRS)

The library's electronic course reserves system is driven by an authenticated SQL Server database holding digitized versions of course materials, in DjVu or Adobe Acrobat format. ORRS enables faculty and their authorized designees to submit lists of books, packets and journal articles to be placed on reserve. Electronic Course Reserves can be linked directly to the University's Course Information System, Blackboard, and we have created a pass through authentication system so users do not need to log in twice.



Online Audio Reserves

This database contains RealMedia streaming music audio files, digitized by the Mendel Music Library staff to support classes in the School of Music and in other departments. The project is a joint collaboration between the Library, Office of Information Technology (OIT), and other campus units.



Online Video/Film Reserves

This service is provided by OIT's Language Resource Center to faculty who need films digitized for course presentations. The LRC houses the Library's collection of films and draws on them and the LRC collection for use. Library staff and LRC staff work closely together to meet the needs of all our film users.



Borrow Direct

Borrow Direct is a rapid book borrowing and delivery service offered by Princeton University Library and six partner libraries (Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Penn, and Yale). It uses a virtual catalog system centered at Yale and powered by Dynix's URSA software.



Article Express

A service available to Princeton University teaching faculty only. Article Express provides article-length copies from journals, books and other texts whether held at Princeton or at other institutions. Electronic delivery of articles is completed in most cases within 24 to 48 hours.


Digital Map and Geospatial Information Center

The Center provides access to geospatial data, digital map services and geographic information systems (GIS). In addition, it provides ongoing reference, research consultation and instruction to all levels of users. The Center is beginning to digitize many of the maps in its paper collections as an ongoing project.



Data and Statistical Services

Data and Statistical Services is part of Firestone Library's Social Science Reference Center. The Data Library is a collection of over 24,000 machine-readable files, primarily in the social sciences but also in the sciences and humanities. The DSS consulting lab offers hands-on assistance with data extraction and management and use of statistical software. Metadata for the files is provided in the Library's Main Catalog.




A library-hosted weblog focused on metadata, digital library and technology issues for the Princeton university community. RSS feed available.



C. Systems


Endeavor Voyager for integrated library system. Production system is version 2001.2. Production interfaces with GFA remote storage inventory system, Borrow Direct, campus accounts payable, campus bursar's office, and EDI with multiple vendors. Locally, extensive use of MacroExpress for productivity and workflow enhancement. We are currently testing UTF-8 Unicode support wihin the system.



ExLibris SFX (for context-sensitive OpenURL linking). MARCXML output from SFX is mapped with local stylesheets to enhance MARC records in Voyager to provide context-sensitive linking directly from online catalog records and electronic serials.



ILLIAD Inter-Library Loan and Document Delivery production system. Currently running version

Microsoft SQL, with Access staff front ends and web interfaces for several local databases, such as MASC (a catalog for manuscripts) and GEOMAP (a catalog of our map holdings).


Web interface to images of old Card Catalog system (pre-1980 cards).


Library Web Server running Apache version 1.3.22.


Apache Proxy Server for remote access users, version 2.0.42.


Prototyping two Metasearch vendor products, Metalib from ExLibris and WebFeat from the company of the same name.


PostgreSQL and SWISH-E (for object-oriented storage, indexing, retrieval of EAD and DDI)


Aware JPEG2000server software



ESRI ArcGIS/ArcInfo with JPEG2000



OAI 2.0 (in development; not yet registered at openarchives.org)



II. Projects and programs


A. Projects


Cultural Policy and the Arts National Data Archive (CPANDA)

CPANDA, the Cultural Policy & the Arts National Data Archive, is the world's first interactive digital archive of policy-relevant data on the arts and cultural policy in the United States. A collaborative effort of Princeton University Library and the Princeton Center for Arts and Cultural Policy Studies, CPANDA is funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts. Data delivered via DDI XML.



Free Voice of Greece Reel-to-Reel Tape Preservation Project

The Adamantia Pollis Papers include a collection of several hundred reel-to-reel audio tapes recorded from the late 1960s to the late 1970s that document the radio program Free Voice of Greece. This New York City-based cultural program broadcast both in Greek and in English and reported and commented upon the political situation, events and developments in Greece (and abroad) during the rule of the military junta (1967-74) and beyond. The purpose of this project was to preserve and convert a selection of these historical tapes to compact disk format for study purposes. Fifty-eight reels of programming were converted to 85 CDs using an outside magnetic tape restoration contractor. This resource is available only in the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.


Advanced Papyrological Information System (APIS)

Princeton was part of a six-member university consortium that has produced the Advanced Papyrological Information System. APIS is an integrated web-based information system for ancient papyri, ostraca (potsherds with writing), tablets, and similar artifacts. Through it you can find relevant texts by searching for names, key words, subjects, document references, or Greek words. It links together in a single virtual environment the various sources of information about texts written on papyrus and the society that produced them. It contains descriptions of the papyri and other written materials in the collections of the participating institutions, digital images of many of these texts, and connections to databases with the texts themselves in their original languages and with bibliography about the texts. Many of the descriptions include full translations into English. The user can move back and forth among text, translation, bibliography, description, and image. With the search engine many different types of searches can be carried out. APIS was made possible through grant support from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The Princeton University Library is pleased to be cooperating with the other members of the APIS Consortium.


Princeton's contribution:



Fitzgerald Scrapbook Digitization

The digitization of the scrapbooks of F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald was a component of Princeton University Library's Save America's Treasures grant to preserve the papers of F. Scott Fitzgerald. Eight scrapbooks were digitized and encompass more than 1000 images. At the present time copyright restrictions limit the use of this resource within the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.

Robert Louis Stevenson

The link following is to a digitized version of the Library's publication Robert Louis Stevenson : a catalogue of the Henry E. Gerstley Stevenson Collection, the Stevenson section of the Morris L. Parrish Collection of Victorian Novelists, and items from other collections in the Dept. of Rare Books and Special Collections of the Princeton University Library. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Library, 1971.



Marine Corps Chevron (link may be limited to Princeton domain)

The Library has carried out a small pilot project to digitize one volume of a World War II era U. S. Marine Corps camp newspaper Marine Corps Chevron. The digitized images of the original paper issues were processed by the Active Paper feature of Olive software to create an archive of the newspaper.



The Tradition of Princeton Collecting

The link following is to a digitized version of the Library's publication The Tradition of Princeton Collecting (Princeton, N.J.: Harvey S. Firestone Library, Princeton University, 1994). This booklet accompanied the 1994 Library exhibit "The Treasure Room Revisited." The exhibit and booklet "reintroduce[s] a selection of some of the most important of our early alumni donors to the Library. From the Class of 1840 to the Class of 1936."



Gender in the Academy: Women and Learning from Plato to Princeton

The link following is to a digitized version of the Library's publication Gender in the Academy: Women and Learning from Plato to Princeton: an Exhibition Celebrating the 20th Anniversary of Undergraduate Coeducation at Princeton University (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Library, 1990). The title summarizes the content of this booklet.


Experimental METS-based page turning view with Saxon 7.4 running as a servlet on Tomcat. XSL/XPath 2.0 is used for the dynamic transformation. A high resolution viewing environment is suggested.



III. Specific digital library challenges


Creating locally-developed software solutions by leveraging open source software along with buying commercial solutions.


Encouraging independent digitization efforts within the library to adhere to national standards, best practices, and workflows.


Developing an education process for non-technical staff to learn about metadata and new technologies.


Scaling up digital production to an appropriate level.


Creating an interoperable environment across library systems and other database systems in use across campus.

Please send comments or suggestions.
Last updated: April 18, 2004
© 2004, Digital library Federation, Council on Library and Information Resources