For another year in a row, DPS and a couple of other librarians from Phillips Memorial Library participated in DigiCamp, an annual unConference sponsored by the ACRL NEC Information Technology Interest Group (ITIG) that focuses on how libraries are using technology.
This year’s event was hosted at UMass Boston and the day began with a great presentation by Carolyn Goldstein and Andrew Elder on the Mass Memories Road Show, a state-wide digital history project that documents people, places, and events in Massachusetts history. The photographs and stories are preserved and publicly accessible in UMass Boston’s Open Archives.
The breakout session topics, collaboratively chosen by participants in advance of the event, included Technology for Users; Accessibility; Social Media/Marketing/Outreach; Digital Humanities, Preservation, and Pedagogy; VR/Video Games; Web/Course Guide Design and UX; Instructional Design/Teaching with Technology; OER, Open Access, and Altmetrics; Makerspaces; Interfaces & Collections; Cool Tools; and Assessment & Data. I attended the Technology for Users, VR/Video Games, and Makerspaces sessions, and got some great ideas for our MediaHub in Phillips Memorial Library.
The highlight of the day was a tour of and workshop in the UMass Boston MakerSpace lab, where we saw some 3D printing in action and learned the basics of 3D design, including a tutorial in Tinkercad, a free, web-based 3D design tool.
Looking forward to next year!
For another year in a row, DPS and a couple of other librarians from Phillips Memorial Library participated in DigiCamp, an annual... MORE
Providence College’s Digital Commons, an open-access repository of faculty and student scholarship, has been redesigned! The new homepage features a gallery of some of the collections that we are digitizing and journals we are publishing, including the archive of PC’s student newspaper, The Cowl and The Providence College Art Journal, which publishes the Art History and Studio Art senior theses along with original student artworks in a variety of media. Check it out at: http://digitalcommons.providence.edu/.
Providence College’s Digital Commons, an open-access repository of faculty and student scholarship, has been redesigned! The new homepage features a... MORE
Ever digitized an old print photo by taking a picture of it with your phone? In a pinch, it’s a quick-and-dirty solution that usually sacrifices image quality. The Google Photos team has responded with their new PhotoScan app, which harnesses the ease of using a phone camera, while also cleaning up the quality issue. A simple interface allows you to quickly scan multiple photos, while also guiding you through scanning different parts of each photo to produce a much higher-quality image that reduces glare and shadow. The app also offers automatic rotation, cropping, and color-correction. Naturally, PhotoScan seamlessly integrates with Google Photos, but you can also save your scans to your camera roll or share them in other apps.
Ever digitized an old print photo by taking a picture of it with your phone? In a pinch, it’s a... MORE
This past September was the 350th anniversary of the Great Fire of London, and the Museum of London has augmented its commemorative “Fire! Fire!” exhibit with a Minecraft map in which players explore the city and fight the fire as it occurs. (NYT article here – one Youtube video of gameplay can be watched here.) One stated goal of using games to convey historical information is to attract and engage children and non-traditional museum patrons — but it’s also interesting to think about ways in which the game might provide a new learning experience even for people with a more conventional history background. For instance, you might read in a book or article that the spread of the fire is partly attributed to the Mayor’s delay in ordering the destruction of houses to create firebreaks — but you could also, as in the gameplay video linked above, run a long way through confusing, similar-looking burning streets to find the Mayor and bring him to the site where the fire started, because your objective as a player is to get him to give the order, and then feel the frustration when he refuses! (Empathy is a subject that comes up in discussion of history-based and history education video games.)
Another video game-related map is Pudding Lane Productions’s 2013 Cryengine map of the area where the fire began, which won the “Off the Map” competition for developing 3D video game scenery based on maps from the British Library. The developers’ discussion of their process reveals some of the challenges that also face scholars working with historical documents. Using the maps as their source, they were able to lay out the streets and the footprints of the buildings, but found that the resulting model was not cramped enough and lacked vitality. Revisions increased the overhang of buildings’ upper stories into the streets, as well as adding crates, carts, vendors’ stalls, wares hung outside shops, washing lines, and other “props” that wouldn’t have made it onto maps, but that were nonetheless a part of London and people’s experience of life in the city. Additionally, they added as many real attested businesses as possible, using historical sources like Samuel Pepys’s diary; this lends the map a great deal of accuracy, but also highlights the gaps in our knowledge of day-to-day life, since most of the houses and businesses on the map did simply have to be generic and modular.
Interestingly, the Pudding Lane developers also mention that “[o]ne key issue caused by following the source material so closely was that a lot of seventeenth-century London looked very similar”. They addressed this by using different palettes in different areas. (This map doesn’t have any people on it, but if it had, perhaps the difference in areas would be established by populating them with different kinds of non-player characters going about their business.) This issue is very prominent in the less-sophisticated Minecraft map as well, but in that game it might be a feature instead of a bug.
This past September was the 350th anniversary of the Great Fire of London, and the Museum of London has augmented... MORE
It’s that time of year again- the campus is buzzing with beginning-of-semester activity and the library is no exception. As one of the library’s primary service areas, Digital Publishing Services is here to help the PC community with a variety of needs. Here are some areas that may be of use to you:
scholarly communication and copyright
personal digital archiving and digital asset management
scanning and digitization
text encoding and other digital humanities tools
For assistance contact email@example.com. We wish you all the best this academic year!
If you visit the second floor of the Phillips Memorial Library you’ll see an iPad kiosk across from the theology books. The kiosk presents the Theology Collections Portal, a tool designed to connect users browsing the theology collection with the library’s extensive electronic resources in theology. Using the touch interface, users can interact with the kiosk according to their research goals. Options include:
Find Scholarly Sources for a Paper (articles, ebooks, specific journal titles)
Explore Theology Topics (major religions, Thomas Aquinas, Catholicism and Catholic social thought)
Find Bibles and Biblical Commentary
Get Research Help
Kiosk content is presented via a content management system (CMS) called Scalar. Scalar provides a platform for the creation of rich, digital publications that integrate text and media using a variety of flexible templates. A signature design element in Scalar is the ability to create multiple narrative paths through a work. This path functionality made Scalar an ideal CMS for the creation of the theology kiosk content. Additionally, Scalar presents built-in visualization tools, which allow creators to explore and adjust the relationships between content in different ways. Scalar is supported by the Alliance for Networked Visual Culture.
You are welcome to explore the Theology Collections Portal online as well as at the iPad kiosk in the library. Please do contact us with questions or suggestions- our primary goal is to make the kiosk as helpful as possible for our researchers and your feedback is greatly valued!
If you visit the second floor of the Phillips Memorial Library you’ll see an iPad kiosk across from the theology... MORE
Funded by the Knight, Mellon, Shuttleworth, Sloan and Helmsley Foundations, Hypothes.is is an online tool that allows you to annotate online texts. The goal is to create “free, open, non-profit, neutral” (Hypothes.is, About us, 2016) tools to support the Annotator project, which is working to make the web and online resources easy for everyone to annotate. Annotations can be used to leave comments on specific lines of text (rather than in a comments section), provide citations, view what other researchers have commented, or take notes for personal use.
Hypothes.is is available as a bookmarklet, a Google Chrome extension, and as an addition to a website. For more information or to get started annotating, visit the Hypothes.is website.
[Invited guest post by Rebecca Pac] Funded by the Knight, Mellon, Shuttleworth, Sloan and Helmsley Foundations, Hypothes.is is an online... MORE
New technology has made it possible to read recycled fragments of Medieval manuscripts that have been hidden from view for centuries. Bindings made between the 15th and 18th centuries often (it is estimated 1 out of 5) contain hidden manuscript fragments that can be from much older texts. It was commons practice for bookbinders of the time to cut up and recycle handwritten books from the middle ages following the invention of printing. Thanks to macro x-ray fluorescence spectrometry (MA-XRF), it has become possible to read these older texts used to create 15th through 18th century manuscripts without removing the bookbindings.
As I’ve begun settling into Providence after my move from New York, I’m finally having some time to catch up on my library news. I had heard about NYPL’s recent release of more than 180,000 public domain items from their digital collections, including the first known photography by a woman and more than 40,000 stereoscopic views of the U.S., but as I delved deeper, I discovered all of the exciting tools and initiatives that they’ve integrated into the collections to encourage discovery, interaction, sharing, research, and reuse. In particular, I’ve been musing on the fantastic visual browsing tool. Data visualization is still often thought of simply as a graphic, sometimes interactive, representation of statistics and other data, but it also clearly has so much potential as a tool for discovery, by helping users to better understand the scope of the information that they’re searching or exploring.
Beyond content visualization, NYPL is championing active user/content engagement with the Digital Collections API, a Remix Residency program and other tools from the creative folks at NYPL Labs, like The Green Book trip planner, which uses “locations extracted from mid-20th century motor guides that listed hotels, restaurants, bars, and other destinations where Black travelers would be welcome.”
For those of us who spend most of our days in the weeds of content management, NYPL’s Digital Collections initiatives are a great reminder to think innovatively about how we can better connect and engage users with digital collections.
For some Friday fun, check out their Stereogranimator and create some 3D images!
As I’ve begun settling into Providence after my move from New York, I’m finally having some time to catch up... MORE
If you have not yet heard or made use of the Phillips Memorial Library+Commons’ MediaHub, we would like to take this opportunity to introduce you to the space and what it has to offer. The MediaHub is a multimedia center located on the first floor of the library, which aims to assist and inspire Providence College’s students, faculty, staff in their digital media-inclusive work. Stationary equipment is located within the space and loanable equipment is available upon request from the Circulation Desk, located next to the library’s front entrance. Specialized assistance is available from the Digital Publishing Services Lab.
Static equipment includes five high-end iMac computers, equipped with a variety of media hardware and software, including iMovie, Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere, Audacity, Lynda.com, and GarageBand; three lockboxes for equipment with plexiglass windows and multiple cable knockouts; specialized audio recording equipment; and Epson scanners. Loanable equipment includes video cameras, digital cameras, drawing tablets, green screen lighting kits, portable digital audio recorders, MIDI keyboards, and microphones, and peripherals to aid in use and storage including tripods, external hard drives, memory cards, headphones, and cables. Loanable equipment has a loan time of 7 days. For more information, please visit Digital Publishing Services’ MediaHub webpage, where you can view a comprehensive online catalog of equipment, listing of item availability, image gallery, and tutorials.
If you have not yet heard or made use of the Phillips Memorial Library+Commons’ MediaHub, we would like to take... MORE