Friday, January 12, 2018

Japanese Press Translations

Not long ago, I wrote about food shortages described in the Japanese Press Translations.  At the time, I was trying to improve discoverability of the collection by linking to relevant topics in online encyclopedias.  Now my work continues on a more technical level.  My current project involves mining the collection for key words and phrases.  This has been done by extracting subject headings derived from TEI text forms of the pieces and running them through a program called Voyant Tools.

Each individual document within the Japanese Press Translation is divided into articles, and each article is given a separate item heading within the TEI text.  Mina Rakhra provided me with a list of item headings derived from the Japanese Press Translation TEI text, which allows for machine-readable texts.  I removed all data from these headings aside from the titles themselves, and used a program called Voyant Tools to export a list of terms featured most frequently.  Some results are shown below.

Some Keyword Mining results

Voyant tools provides a useful and user-friendly interface to interact with text.  It allows the user to view the text in many different ways, including lists of words and phrases, word clouds, and even line graphs.  I had some fun selecting different terms, seeing how frequently each appeared over the year covered, and trying to determine some correlation between changes.  Even in just a short time working with the data, I noticed some trends in the text.  Terminology and topics discussed changed over time, partially corresponding with the Japanese general election of 1946.  Although historical analysis is not the goal of this project, these tools could be useful for a scholar interested in exploring a text at a deeper level.  It may be worth exploring for both students and professional academics.

Voyant tools UI

Graph of term frequency

What is the purpose of this endeavor?  The primary benefit is the use of these keywords for aid in searching the collection.  As it stands, the pieces are all titled by topic and number alone.  From a browsing page, the individual documents are difficult to distinguish and potentially intimidating to the casual user.  The collection can be searched by term through the TEI text, which is excellent for a user with a specific topic in mind but less useful to the casual user.  The keywords collected through this project could be displayed on a browsing page or otherwise, allowing for easier and faster movement through documents.

In addition to the potential UI benefits of this project, the keywords produced can be reconciled with the Library of Congress's FAST system.  The FAST system (or Faceted Application of Subject Terminology) is derived from the Library of Congress's subject headings of LCSH.  It attempts to make the LCSH more accessible and usable, and reconciling our system with FAST could improve compatibility with other systems.

As the project stands, I have some raw data and a basic understanding of the work needed for LCSH reconciliation.  I will be meeting with Mina, Bill Ghezzi, and Shaun Akhtar over the coming months to discuss possible implementation of work.  Hopefully, we'll be able to integrate it into the user interface and search functionality of the Japanese Press Translations as we develop the library's display platforms in the future.

Written by Kevin Warstadt

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Happy New Year!

After a lovely holiday break, we here in the Library braved temperatures in the negative 20s this morning to return to work ensuring access to collections for our students, faculty, staff and community. We accomplished some great things in 2017...

We started the year with a little disaster recovery following a flood in the Paddock Music Library

Later in January we collaborated with the art history department and hosted an Islamic-world paper making workshop with Radha Pandey.

This year saw the completion of a major project to conserve a large Antiphonal from Rauner Library...

...As well as the end of a 5 year project to digitize the Dartmouth College Photographic Files Collection.

We had an amazing summer intern, Linnea Vegh, who taught us about Spine Re-Engineering.

And we reflected on the benefits of our summer internship program, both for the interns and for the Library.

In preparation for a large photographic negatives digitization project, we improved our negative digitization workflow, and shared what we learned in the process with our dedicated readers.

Finally, Brian Markee took us on some amazing hikes throughout the Upper Valley.

We hope you keep reading about our adventures here, and check out our instagram feed. Here's looking forward to 2018 and all of the conserving, preserving, recovering and digitizing to come!

Friday, December 15, 2017

The Joy of Sharing:

It all started with Becki, a friend of mine in Chicago who worked for Aikos.  When the store closed she didn't know quite what to do, and mentioned to me she would love to get some experience in book conservation in order that she could find a position doing just that.  This request prompted me to investigate the feasibility of hiring an enthusiastic individual during the summer months in order to provide needed training and experience.  It was a win win idea, we would get additional work done 
Our first intern, Becki.
and the intern would be exposed to the dynamics of a working lab, along with learning techniques in book conservation.  After a successful summer, Becki returned to Chicago and worked for both the Art Institute's Ryerson Library and the Newberry Library as a conservation technician.

Since that time, we have hosted numerous interns, both as short summer positions as well as full year.  I established a liaison with a professor at the University of Texas in the Master of Science in Information Studies and Certificate in Conservation graduate program.  Through that program, we hosted two graduate students for a full year.  This was especially rewarding as they were able to become integrated into the department.  They participated in the Library's orientation for new employees, met individually with the Dean of Libraries, and other administrators.  One of the interns was hired here after her term was over to assist in our blossoming digital program.

Since the demise of the Texas program, I developed a relationship with North Bennet Street School in Boston, Massachusetts for bookbinding students who are interested in conservation.  We are able to offer an eight week internship during the summer.  Though shorter in length, many of the essential elements, such as learning the role of a preservation unit within the library organization and meetings with library leadership, are core components.

One of our interns, Mckey, from North Bennet, worked on our scrap book from Robert May, the creator of Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer.  Each intern is given a special project to help enhance their portfolio and to give them a challenge in expanding their skills.  This was a very successful project
and it is now used without further damage.
Mckey, North Bennet intern.

Cover of scrapbook from Robert May.
Inside page from Robert May's scrapbook, before treatment

Looking at the treated scrapbook.

Another North Bennet intern, Lizzie Curran, is now our Assistant Conservator.  Just shows you how good things come back to you!

This year, I am excited to say that we will be hosting a student from Bennington College who will be doing her field work term during January and February 2018.  This will be a new venue for us and I am pleased that we are able to offer such a position to someone who is very young in entering the field.

Bennington College, Bennington VT.

So, what is the point of going on about all the wonderful people we have had as interns?
The point is, that as an institution of higher learning, we have been able to contribute to the field of book conservation by offering these opportunities and in return we are rewarded with new insights and new shared techniques that interns bring.  So, I encourage those who think they may be able to provide such opportunities to explore the options.  The end results are very gratifying.

Written by Deborah Howe

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Digital Library Program (DLP) Project Update (11/22/2017)

 New Collection

David Brainard Diary - The David Brainard Diary is now available online.  The site has been added to the Digital by Dartmouth Manuscripts collections.  David Brainard was a member of the ill-fated Lady Franklin Bay Expedition (1881-1884), also known as the Greely Expedition.  It resulted in the tragic loss of all but six of the men.  One of the survivors, David Brainard, kept a diary of the expedition that we have in our collections.  The diary is written in pencil in a small notebook along with his record of stores issued during the last winter of the expedition.  David Brainard's Camp Clay diary is a meticulously kept account of the daily happenings at Cape Sabine on the Ellesmere Island coast, where the men of the Lady Franklin Bay Expedition lived as castaways through the long and desperate winter of 1883-1884.

View the David Brainard Diary HERE

 Ongoing Projects

Oversized Photographic Files -- The Digital Production Unit has completed imaging the Oversize Photographic Files.  This collection of approximately 650 photographs is an extension of the Dartmouth Photographic Files Collection.  Photographs include images of alumni associations, faculty and staff, college events, student life, athletics, student clubs, buildings and grounds, and campus scenes.  The images span the years circa 1853-2000.  Moving forward with digitizing the oversized photographs will provide researchers, community members, alumni, faculty, staff and remote users with a complete collection of digital photographs.  Cataloging and Metadata Service continues to work enhancing the metadata for the entire collection.  We anticipate this work to be completed early in 2018.

View Dartmouth Photographic Files oversize images HERE 


Miraculously Builded in Our Hearts: A Dartmouth Reader -- This Reader, addressed particularly to Dartmouth graduates, student, and friends, will also appeal to others interested in the history of higher education in America.  "While preparing this volume," the editors write, "we developed fresh appreciation for that peculiar slice of humankind known as the men and women of Dartmouth, who in Hanover learn to analyze the verse of Milton, explore fluid dynamics, wrestle with Lu Xun, confront Aquinas, discover radiogenic isotope geochemistry, climb Moosilauke, build their own kayaks, sharpen an ax with a dual-grip handstone, and slip across a snowy campus on cross-country skis to an early morning class on Flaubert."

Written by Bill Ghezzi


Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Mt. Kearsarge North

This fall I decided to join some friends from the seacoast at a midway point for a day hike, Mt. Kearsarge in Bartlett, N.H.  This 3,268ft. mountain is only a short 1.5 mile drive east on Hurricane Rd. off Rt. 302/16, and is very near the resort town of North Conway, N.H.  The trailhead parking is limited, but cars are able to use the roadside as this is quite the popular trail, even during our midweek hike.

The hike begins with very moderate elevation gain for perhaps a mile while walking through a beautiful wooded area on the well-worn trail.  After this easy-ish introduction, a change in the trail composition and its difficulty are noticeable, becoming far more rocky than in the woods and the
pitch increases to moderately difficult.  The trail continues for another mile at this pace before a rocky outcrop with a small clearing allows for a limited view to the south.

Continuing back into the woods, the trail alternates between moderate and difficult for the last mile, mainly hugging the north side of the summit cone, where the trees get noticeably shorter and the trail even more rocky.  Once the summit area is reached, the trees thin and an inactive fire tower (one of the last in New Hampshire) comes into view.
Fire Tower

It was my first trip to this summit and I was extremely pleased once we climbed up the stairs into the towers protected confines as the views were spectacular in all directions.  On this day, we didn't need
much protection from the elements as you will see from my photos.  I might add there was even a restroom just a few yards below the summit area opening for those in need.
Flush, please

I should end my blog here and let all enjoy the 360 degree summit view, looking east into Maine, west to the Franconia Range, south towards Conway and the Moat Mt. chain, and north to Mt. Washington and the Carter Notch area.

North view

South view

East view

West view

Written by Brian Markee

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Tips for Capturing Photographic Negatives

Much like any other digitization project, capturing photographic negatives can be relatively straightforward or complex, depending on the tools you have available and the level of accuracy you're working towards.

The most important difference between scanning negatives and positives is that negatives require backlighting in some form or another.  While there is some flexibility in how you achieve this, it's always a requirement.  Here I'll examine three methods of capturing negatives, and their respective advantages and disadvantages.

Method 1: Feed Scanner

Pictured: Epson Workforce ES-400
Feed scanners are very common at the consumer level, as they are often the easiest to use in a hands-off manner.  As you can probably guess, they are called "feed scanners" because the images are fed through the top.  A major advantage of these kinds of scanners is their ability to scan both sides of an image at the same time (provided they are designated "duplex," a standard setting on this kind of scanner).  This removes the need for backlighting, as the object is always being "lit" on both sides whenever it is fed through.

The biggest disadvantages to a feed scanner are its lack of flexibility, its rough treatment of the item, and its tendency to attract dust in its interior.  Many such scanners require a proprietary software to capture images, which can vary quite a bit in quality and flexibility (an upside to this is the software can sometimes be more user-friendly than programs such as Capture One).  The rollers these scanners use to pull the object through can easily be damaging to a fragile object such as a brittle older negative.  And finally, you'll want to clean and dust the inside of your feed scanner regularly to prevent streaks across your images.

Method 2: Flatbed Scanner with Backlight

Epson Expression V700

Flatbed scanners are what we commonly picture as a "scanner," but not all are able to handle photo negatives.  Be sure to check the model's description and make sure that it's equipped for the job.  For the Epson Expression V700 model we have at the Digital Production Lab, the top panel can be detached and reattached for normal or backlit scanning.

The advantages to a flatbed scanner are its flexibility and consistency.  It will need precious little cleaning or calibration, and it is compatible with many different kinds of scanning software.  The biggest drawback is the speed; it's the slowest of the three options and requires a good bit of hands-on fiddling, especially if you opt to use negative holders to keep your items in place.  They are optional, but often helpful.  All the tips provided here for slide scanning also apply to photo negatives.

Method 3: Camera with Lightbox

The Dartmouth Digital Production camera and lightbox
While simply pointing a camera at the lightbox may seem like the simplest option, it is actually the most complex, but with several distinct advantages.  The biggest advantages are speed and accuracy; a good digital camera will easily outclass the best flatbed or feed scanner in both these categories.  Additionally, the camera itself will produce a digital negative (which is actually a "negative" in name only) that can be edited far more extensively than a typical .tiff or .jpeg file.

However, the drawbacks of this method are significant.  You must be ready to setup automated editing of the images (or be ready to tediously edit each individual image).  You must also recalibrate your lighting setup to accommodate the backlighting of the lightbox, including refocusing your lens and checking your color balance.  Often this also requires turning off your camera's flash and lowering your shutter speed.  However, if you have the equipment and inclination to do it, the camera/lightbox setup will give you the greatest control over your finished product, and once the setup is complete the images can be captured very quickly.

Whatever equipment you use for your negative scanning project, it's important to know what problems you might come across and prepare for them as best you can.

Written by Ryland Ianelli

Friday, October 13, 2017

Today in the Lab

For this post, I wanted to share some images of a particularly memorable item I had recently on my bench.  As a conservator, I get to see a lot of very interesting items in Dartmouth's collections in addition to the mundane (though they are never really that mundane).  There are always items that are historically relevant, have expensive materials, or belonged to someone very important-and sometimes there are things that are inexplicably sweet and funny, or just seem to have a personality all their own without significant provenance.

This particular object in Rauner's collection needed to be rehoused: which is library speak for needing a more appropriate box.  The item itself is a little wooden box with a screw-top that contains discs with an image on one side and words on the other.  The box top is appropriately labeled "Pretty Pictures with Easy Reading."  The detail of the painted box and each of the little images is really lovely, and we admittedly got a good laugh out of the purported "easy reading."


Written by Lizzie Curran