by Corrie Marsh, Dillon Wackerman, and Phil Reynolds (SFA Center for Digital Scholarship)
The Texas Conference on Digital Libraries 2015 (TCDL) was held April 27-28 in Austin. TCDL had 175 attendees, including representatives from 50 different institutions from across Texas and North America. A majority of attendees were from Texas, of course, but there were also representatives from Iowa, Ohio, Maryland, Florida, Massachusetts, Illinois, New Mexico, California, and Canada. A Pre-conference Workshop, “Karma: An Open Source Tool for Linked Data,” was held on the 26th at the UT Libraries instructed by Dr. Pedro Szekely of the USC Computer Science Department.
Day One – April 27, 2015
The attendees were welcomed by Liz Gushee, Program Planning Chair and Kristi Park, Interim Director of the Texas Digital Libraries who thanked their sponsors: University of Houston Libraries, The Digital Preservation Network, Amazon Web Services, DuraSpace, and the Public Knowledge Project. Presentations for the 2015 conference are posted at: https://conferences.tdl.org/tcdl/index.php/TCDL/TCDL2015 (and follow the links within the program sessions)
The Keynote address was delivered by Bess Sadler of Stanford University Libraries, who began by describing herself as an “open source evangelist”. Sadler pondered the fragility of knowledge and long term planning for digital collection curation (see Longnow.org). As Stanford’s Manager for Application Development she is co-founder of Blacklight and Project Hydra. She discussed means for managing GIS data in Stanford’s digital collections and demonstrated applications utilizing Blacklight and Hydra (https:earthworks.stanford.edu). Sadler announced a recent IMLS award for $2M to Stanford, DuraSpace, and the Digital Public Library of America to create a turnkey, cloud-based repository for collections and data, or “Hydra in a Box”. She discussed several examples of digital tools, such as Avalon for media streaming and customized collections, such as the Yale Musical Instrument Collection.
“Held Captive by Copyright” was presented by Elizabeth Gushee (Harry Ransom Center) and Amy Rushing (UT San Antonio). In 2014 the Harry Ransom Center’s Digital Initiatives Working Group (DIAG) was tasked with developing an open access policy for its corpus of materials believed to be in the public domain, but they discovered the process of identifying archival materials more complicated than expected. Also in 2014, the UTSA Libraries Special Collections Department in an effort to eliminate the permissions process, experienced more complicated issues regarding privacy, copyright, orphan works, and maintaining good donor relations.
“Beyond the Early Modern OCR Project” was presented by the project team, Matthew Christy, Elizabeth Grumback, and Laura Mandell (Texas A&M). The Early Modern OCR Project (eMOP), a Mellon Foundation grant funded project at the Initiative for Digital Humanities, Media, and Culture (IDHMC) at Texas A&M University. eMOP’s goal is to improve optical character recognition (OCR) output for early modern printed English-language texts by utilizing and creating open-source tools and workflows. The eMop team shared their open-source tools and experience.
Texas Digital Libraries (TDL) staffers Ryan Steans and Gad Krumholz, joined by previous director now DuraSpace CEO, Debra Hanken Kurtz, discussed the new TDL model for preservation and the implementation of DuraCloud: “DuraCloud and Flexible Preservation at TDL”. The new architecture, launched in 2015, provides for flexible solutions combining Amazon Web Services, Archivematica, a streaming service, and DuraCloud.
At “Using the DuraCloud REST Interface”, Michael Bolton of Texas A&M discussed his selection of the REST API in DuraCloud as a solution for customized curation tasks and customized output.
Lightening talks were described as 24 (slides) x 7 (minutes). Seven of the sessions described digital collections or oral histories and one segment by Archivematica describing their new product and services.
“Using Omeka and Neatline to Build an Interactive Campus Map” by Max King and Adam Strohm, Illinois Institute of Technology, described their experience using the Omeka software and plug-ins to create digital maps to showcase the historical architecture on campus. Of the several challenges the members of this project experienced, the most significant concerned the relationship between software choice, sustainability and technical knowledge.
“Enhancing Access to UT Libraries Digital Oral History Collection as a Mode of Undergraduate Education”, by Charlotte Nunes, Southwestern University reported on a unique collaboration among an undergraduate English class at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas, the Texas After Violence Project (TAVP), and the UT Libraries Human Rights Documentation Initiative (HRDI) and the transformative potential of digital archives in undergraduate education. The students, after analyzing oral histories and other materials, posted their reflections on a class blog.
A panel session was held about their doctorial research in open access issues and open educational resources with Daniel Gelaw Alemneh, Kris Helge, Ahmet Meti Tmava, Ida Fajar Priyanto (University of North Texas), “Emerging Trends and Evolving Issues in Open Access and Scholarly Communications”. The panelists agreed that many faculty they interviewed did not want to publish open access for fear their work would be plagiarized.
This was followed by “Introducing the Expanding Dataverse” by Elizabeth Quigley (Harvard) who discussed the Dataverse Project and the ten shared repositories with more than 55,000 datasets and 750,000 data files (see dataverse.org). Through preserving research data there is an increasing incentive to share Data Management Plans and datasets. She demonstrated the rigorous workflow, browsing facets, and detailed metadata support.
“Hitting the Road towards a Greater Digital Destination”, by Santi Thompson, Valerie Prilop, Rachel Vacek, Sean Watkins, Andrew Weidner, and Annie Wu, described their need for a digital asset management system (DAMS) that could facilitate large scale digitization, provide innovative features for users, and offer more efficient workflows for librarians and staff. They described their testing of the DSpace and Fedora systems and the importance of project collaboration in their team-based approach.
“Using Islandora for Open-Source Powered Digital Collections” was presented by Tommy Keswick of the Cherry Hill Company. He demonstrated how Islandora is a potential digital platform solution with simple file import and export processes and automatic OCR.
The “ArchivesDirect Pilot” was reviewed by Courtney Mumma (Archivematica) and Amy Rushing and Julianna Barrera-Gomez of UT San Antonio. The UTSA Library was one of 9 pilot partners who tested Archivematica hosted in DuraCloud over several months in the Fall/Winter of 2014/2015. They described the UTSA experience and the changes that had to be made to the software to allow for large-scale processing and hosting.
“Voices from Small Places” is a community =-based archival project designed by Kelley Snowden, Perky Beisel, and Linda Reynolds (Stephen F. Austin State University) that documents and preserves the history of towns or locations that have a population of 100 or less in East Texas. The project uses several methodologies to gather information including oral histories and historic site surveys and engages with the communities in which it works. The project is expected to take about a year and they plan to produce a documentary.
In “All in For the Bears: The History and Impact of the Baylor University Libraries Athletics Archive” Darryl B. Stuhr and Eric S. Ames described how the archive preserves university history, and promotes alumni morale and fund raising.
The first day ended with nine poster sessions during a lively all-conference reception.
Day Two April 28
A panel discussion, “Zine Party! Collaborating across UT libraries to Experiment with Methods, Workflows & Tools, Build Awareness of a Collection, and Teach Metadata Literacy” was held by
Jennifer Hecker, Aaron Choate, Laura Schwartz, Melanie Cofield, Ann Marchock, and Rebecca Pad. Recent donations of two large collections of magazines to UT’s Fine Arts Library emphasized the need to improve access to the zines and the staff became interested in exploring new ways to think about describing resources, crowdsourcing, metadata literacy, community engagement, software development, and gamification.
At “Piloting a Peer-Review Process for Trusted Digital Repositories” Laura Waugh, Hannah Tarver, Daniel Gelaw Alemneh, Mark Phillips, and Ana Krahmer described how the UNT Libraries began a collaborative process in 2014 with the University of Florida to complete a
self-audit using the Trusted Repository Audit Checklist (TRAC) for their institutions’ digital repositories. In addition to the self-audit, each institution agreed to participate in a peer-review process for evaluating and scoring each other’s self-audit and supplied documentation. The checklist can be found at www.crl.edu.
Santi Thompson, Andrew Krewer, Mary Manning, Rob Spragg, and Annie Wu presented “Putting the Puzzle Pieces Together: Forming UH Libraries Digital Preservation Landscape”
They described their 2014 project where the University of Houston Libraries established a Digital Preservation Task Force to create a digital preservation policy and identify strategies, actions, and tools needed to preserve digital assets maintained by UH Libraries.
“Automation, Virtualization, and integration of a Digital Repository Server Architecture or How to Deploy Three Production DSpaces in One Night and Be Home for Dinner” presented by James Creel, John Micah Cooper, and Jeremy Huff described their experience during a transition to automation and virtualization and their success with production DSpace deployments.
The Closing Plenary consisted of eight 24×7 sessions about digital collections, registering graduate students and faculty for ORCHID IDs, online journal production, digital project rubrics, and digital curation ( For slides see the abstracts at: https://conferences.tdl.org/tcdl/index.php/TCDL/TCDL2015/schedConf/program)
Special tutorials and workshops were held throughout the afternoon for:
- Archivematica with Courtney Mumma , Artefactual Systems, Inc.
- Metadata Workshop, Hannah Tarver, University of North Texas providing the opportunity to create live metadata records in The Portal to Texas History
- Sharing Your Data with Dataverse (v. 4.0) A Tutorial by Elizabeth Quigley
- Fedora 4 Workshop by David Wilcox & Andrew Woods of DuraSpace
- Alan Stanley from Discoverygarden held workshops for Islandora administrators and developers.