Monday, February 26, 2018

Staying Organized: Digital Folder Structure and Naming

There are millions of ways to stay organized, but only a few ways to mess it up.  If you've ever had to handle a project that involved numerous digital files, you're probably familiar with the issues that can arise: files in the wrong folders, files overwriting other files, files named in the wrong sequence.  While there is no universal standard to be followed, there are a few ways to make keeping track of your files as painless as possible.

The main principle of any folder structure and file naming system is consistency.  Before you begin any project, create a folder on the main hard drive of your computer.  Be sure to name it something simple and memorable.  If it can't be easily categorized, try using the date.

Most importantly, at this stage and at every stage, do not use periods, spaces, or punctuation in any file or folder naming.  A period can indicate file type, and it has the potential to trip up programs that try to access it.  Other punctuation like apostrophes and quote marks aren't perfectly shared across operating systems and programs.  Punctuation such as slashes can indicate command line functions.  It's best to stick to simple alphanumerics.

If you need to put some kind of punctuation in your file/folder names, use underscore ( _ ) or dash ( - ).  For example, if we needed to create a series of sequential names for a project, we might use something like this: "PROJECT-001".  You can mix it up as your project demands, ie: "PROJECT_subheader-001" so long as you keep it consistent.  As for capitalization, again, consistency is key.  Personally, for the sake of legibility I don't like to use both capital and lower-case letter in the same word, as they can potentially cause problems (lower case L and upper case I, for example).

For sequential naming you should ideally be able to set it up in whatever program you are using to create the files.  Here at Digital Production we photograph images in Capture One, and set a naming convention at capture that follows a simple counter.  Many other image capture programs will have similar functions; the most important one to look for is a sequential counter.  This will automatically name each image in sequence, saving you time and minimizing human error.

If you have a pile of images that need renaming the easiest option is Adobe Bridge's batch rename function.  Select the images in Bridge, then go to the Tools menu and find Batch Rename.  It will give you a nice suite of options for renaming your files, or even copying them to a new location.  However, this function won't help you if your files are already out of order.  You can use Bridge's view mode to examine your files and make sure they're in the correct order before renaming them.  Another way to rename files is by command line functions, but those are a bit advanced for this blog post.

Ultimately you will want to make sure your files all end up named and in the right place.  For this we use some good old-fashioned project tracking.  Early in the project we will create a spreadsheet for all the files, and as we capture and name images, we check our progress against it.  If you don't know exactly how many files you are supposed to end up with, fill out the spreadsheet as you go and do a check against it when you finish.

With these tips, regular storage backups, and a bit of diligence, you should be able to keep track of whatever is thrown at you.

Written by Ryland Ianelli

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Magic Box

A lot of what we do in Preservation Services, especially when it comes to treating the Special Collections at Rauner, is make custom housing.  This can mean a box, a wrapper, or some combination thereof.  As a conservator, I find engineering custom boxes particularly fun because I am always thinking about how the box can "explain" itself to the library patron.  Is it clear how it opens?  How to lift out the object?  Is it easy enough to put back together?  I've drawn diagrams and made labels in the past to make sure that the housing assembly is foolproof.

Recently in the lab, we had a very special "toy" that was a printed scroll depicting the coast of Rhode Island housed in a wooden box.  The box had turning knobs which move the scroll across the glass window on two sides.

 The way the wooden box was shaped, the knobs, and the glass sides made for an interesting box-making challenge!  I ended up choosing to make a box with two sides that drop down (and snap back into place with the help of some strategically placed magnets) with the whole interior lined in volara- an archival foam we use a lot in conservation.  I decided just to leave enough room for the wooden turning knobs and not do anything fancy for fear that it would be more harm than help.

The following photos show the box I constructed to house this item.  Be sure to visit the object in real life at Rauner in their Realia collection!

Written by Lizzie Curran

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