Digital Scholarship

Launching a Center for Digital Scholarship at the Library

The Changing Nature of Scholarship

The advent of digital technology has opened up new horizons that have inspired scholars to transform the nature of their scholarship. From the rapid analysis of a human genome to the sharing of social science data sets to data mining vast quantities of text—scholars are continually developing new digital approaches to creating, analyzing, and sharing their research.

Brenda L. Johnson, Library Director and University Librarian (Photo by John Zich)

While digital scholarship activity among the University of Chicago faculty is growing, this new kind of scholarship comes with a challenge. Researchers must master a dizzying array of computational tools and techniques, they must think about how to manage their data in ways that can be used by other researchers, and they must find solutions for archiving and sharing their data that meet the increasingly stringent requirements of funding agencies. As faculty and students increasingly incorporate computational and algorithmic methods (e.g., text mining, network analysis, GIS and geo-spatial mapping, image analysis, data analysis) into their research process, they are looking for partners to provide the technical and human resources necessary to support their research activities, foster innovation, and facilitate cross-divisional collaboration.

Digital scholarship encompasses all parts of this new life cycle of digital research, from the changing ways in which scholars collect and analyze data to their increased interest in new techniques for preserving and sharing that data. The Library is a natural hub for the exchange of ideas and the home of a great deal of expertise on archiving and sharing information. Accordingly, we are preparing to enhance our offerings and collaborations with faculty in each segment of this life cycle.

Envisioning a Center for Digital Scholarship at the University of Chicago Library

Faculty tell us that “a substantial barrier to the adoption of computational and digital methods at the University of Chicago has been the isolation of faculty members from colleagues who are experimenting with similar techniques. . . . A physical space designated for such inquiry could help bridge this knowledge gap by providing an environment in which to explore the application of these techniques, receive hands-on training through tutorials or workshops, and benefit from informal collaboration with colleagues in other disciplines.”

To meet this need, I am pleased to announce that we are beginning the work of launching a Center for Digital Scholarship at the Library, which will become a new nexus for intellectual energy and growth, providing a space that will support state-of-the-art technologies and services that facilitate the exploration of new methodologies, the analysis of complex data, the visualization of theoretical relationships, and the sharing of research results.

Establishing such a transformative center at the Library will require identifying high priority needs and thinking creatively about how to resource those needs. Thanks to the generosity of Robert, AM’64, and Carolyn Nelson, AM’64, PhD’67, we will soon be able to hire a Director for the Center for Digital Scholarship (CDS) who will develop a strategic vision, begin to build services, and coordinate with existing library staff. Our new CDS Director will jumpstart the process and position us to pursue additional funding to support a full suite of services. I am grateful to the Nelsons for their early support of the Library’s digital scholarship initiatives.

We are now beginning a search for this Director and look forward to having this position filled in the coming months. As the Center develops over time, we expect that we will be able to facilitate a wide range of activities. Possibilities fall into three categories.

  • Scholarly Exploration and Collaboration. A combination of intellectual programming (symposia to host international scholars, tutorials, brown-bag presentations, workshops, faculty lectures), services (project consultation, data archiving), and technology (scanning equipment, workstations equipped with GIS and other specialized software) will make the Center a hub that brings faculty, students, and scholars together in ways that spark interactions and facilitate cross-divisional collaborations.­
  • Graduate and Undergraduate Training.  Faculty turn to the Library as a partner to supplement classroom instruction with workshops, targeted training, and onsite training by embedded librarians who can teach the skills necessary for students to succeed. In addition to supporting initiatives across campus to develop courses and programs that integrate new computational methods and theories into a wide range of disciplines, the Library has partnered with UChicagoGrad to provide fundamental digital scholarship skills needed by graduate students to become the next generation of leaders in academia, industry, nonprofits, and government.
  • OCHRE database screenshot

    The OCHRE database allows users to view photographs of artifacts (here, Ras Shamra tablets) alongside associated machine-readable data such as descriptions, epigraphs, interpretive information, transliterations, and translations.

    Project Incubation and Execution. The Center for Digital Scholarship will provide services, such as project consultations, data acquisition and conversion, workshops in tools and techniques, and core technical infrastructure.  Researchers would benefit from guidance on strategies for organizing and executing digital project work and from assistance by staff with the experience and networks that can facilitate project components that are new to the researcher. Examples of such projects are the Library’s collaboration with Chicago Booth’s Richard Hornbeck on the location and digitization of 19th-century manufacturing data and with the Oriental Institute’s David Schloen on the OCHRE database system.

I look forward to being joined by the new Director of the Center for Digital Scholarship, who will collaborate with colleagues within the Library and across campus to develop a vision for the Center and plan for the rollout of services critical to digital research and teaching projects of many kinds.

 

Librarians and faculty collaborate on digital scholarship

Social scientists, humanists, and business faculty work with Library experts

Professor Hornbeck points to digitized census page during discussion with Kathleen Arthur and Sherry Byrne

Professor Hornbeck (center) discusses the digitization process for the Census of Manufacturers with Head of Digitization Kathleen Arthur (right) and Preservation Librarian Sherry Byrne. (Photo by Eddie Quinones)

Social scientists, humanists, and business faculty across the University of Chicago campus are rapidly adopting and inventing new digital tools and techniques. Whether they seek to analyze 19th-century American manufacturing, the ruins of the ancient walled city of Sam’al, or the transmission history of Hamlet, UChicago scholars and students are employing new digital approaches to gathering, analyzing, preserving and sharing their data and scholarly findings. As they do so, Library staff members with expertise in everything from digitization to GIS to digital data curation and archiving are developing innovative ways to collaborate with faculty to advance digital scholarship.

Gathering and digitizing data from the Census of Manufacturers

The U.S. Census of Manufacturers has the potential to be an internationally recognized resource, Professor of Economics Richard Hornbeck explains—as important for academic research as the census data on individuals available currently through IPUMs and Ancestry.com. Conducted every decade from 1850 to 1900, the Census of Manufacturers gathered firm names, product types, production quantities, and values for every establishment producing more than $500 worth of manufactured goods. Census takers also collected input data on capital stock, raw materials, power source, wages, and employment. If combined into a machine-readable format in one accessible location, the complete census data would become a powerful tool for understanding 19th-century manufacturing across the United States and in specific regions.

And yet, up to this point, the establishment-level data has never been accessible to researchers in one location. The Census Bureau has compiled and published county-level and county-by-industry summaries, but the firm-level data has been scattered across the country in different archives, libraries, and historical societies, in formats ranging from original handwritten records to microfilmed copies. That will change for data from 1850 to 1880, thanks to a collaborative digitization effort now underway, led by Professor Hornbeck, who has enlisted a team of professional and student research assistants, as well as Sherry Byrne, Preservation Librarian; Kathleen Arthur, Head of Digitization; Emily Treptow, Business and Economics Librarian for Instruction and Outreach; and Elisabeth Long, Associate University Librarian for IT and Digital Scholarship.

The project began in 2016. Early on, Hornbeck approached Treptow, Byrne, and Arthur with questions about how to digitize microfilm, including more than 100 rolls that Vanderbilt Professor Emeritus Jeremy Atack had been storing in his basement and more than 90 rolls located at a dozen archives, libraries, and historical societies across the country from the New Hampshire State Archives to the University of Arkansas and the Center for Research Libraries.

Although Hornbeck and research professional Julius Luettge located most of the microfilm themselves, the trusted relationships that the University of Chicago Library has established with other research institutions enabled Byrne to borrow and oversee the digitization of items that would not have been released to an individual researcher.

The Library’s experts have also advised on numerous matters along the way, such as how to create high-quality scans of manuscript materials and good metadata. “A project of this nature could easily be overwhelming,” Hornbeck said. “It’s great to have library professionals watching over this.”

Other faculty members pursuing complex digitization projects like this one are invited to contact the Library to discuss the possibility of collaborating. “Researchers benefit from guidance from Library staff on strategies for organizing and executing digital project work,” explained Long. “We can facilitate project components that are new to researchers.” Such cooperation has left Professor Hornbeck with more time to focus on analyzing his data. He is currently working with Martin Rotemberg at NYU to examine the substantial growth in American manufacturing from 1850 to 1880 and to estimate how the expanding railroad network impacted manufacturing productivity.

UChicago faculty, students, and staff working on the digitization of the U.S. Census of Manufacturers include, from left, Preservation Librarian Sherry Byrne, undergraduate research assistants Anselm Jia and Guozhen (Gordon) Ji, research professional Andrea Cerrato, Professor of Economics and Neubauer Family Faculty Fellow Richard Hornbeck, research professional Will Cockriel, undergraduate research assistants Gyeom Kim and David Ardila, and Head of Digitization Kathleen Arthur. (Photo by Eddie Quinones)

Teaching GIS

Taylor Hixson describes her job as “helping anyone who is new to the field of GIS.” Brought on board as the Resident Librarian for Geographic Information Systems in Fall 2016, she helps faculty and students find data sources and advises faculty on how they can organize, preserve, and share their geographic data with others: for instance, by creating metadata, by depositing data in the University’s digital repository, Knowledge@UChicago; and by making data accessible through the Big Ten Academic Alliance Geoportal at geo.btaa.org.

Hixson maintains office hours in the Maps Collection in Regenstein Library, offers GIS workshops throughout the academic year, and assists individuals by appointment. She also provides customized training for students in particular classes upon faculty request.

Last year, Susan Burns, Associate Professor of Japanese History, East Asian Languages and Civilizations, and the College, contacted Hixson as she was planning the GIS components of a course on Edo/Tokyo: Society and the City in Japan. Burns’s class attracted everyone from first-year College students to second-year graduate students, who entered with diverse backgrounds in Arc-GIS and historical research methods. Hixson was able to provide training for students at all levels.

After each of four class periods devoted to introducing basic Arc skills, Hixson held review sessions for students who wanted more help. She also worked individually with students on using the Esri Story Map platform for their final projects, mapping everything from schools to bathhouses to public protests. “Many students expressed to me how grateful they were for Taylor’s help, and of course, I am as well,” Burns said.

Hixson’s first year at the Library has proven that there is demand for GIS Services from faculty and students across schools and divisions. The demonstration of this need has confirmed the Library’s decision to hire a GIS and Maps Librarian who will continue to develop the Library’s GIS program.

OCHRE and the Library’s infrastructure for description, discovery, and archiving services

When archaeologist David Schloen and database specialist Sandra Schloen began working to create OCHRE—the Online Cultural and Historical Research Environment at the Oriental Institute—they knew they wanted to design a customized user interface to record, integrate, analyze, publish, and preserve texts from the Ancient Near East, including some of the most difficult ancient languages to model in a database environment. To fulfill their vision, they needed a partner who could provide an infrastructure that would power their project.

Map view of OCHRE interface

The map view interface in OCHRE, showing Tell Keisan excavation locations. (Courtesy of Miller Prosser)

The Schloens turned to Charles Blair, Director of the Digital Library Development Center, and ever since he has led the Library team that hosts OCHRE’s high-performance database system as it has grown to support roughly 30 projects in fields from philology to archaeology to history. Each has its own framework for organizing data that is tailored to the needs of the project. One project currently underway, Critical Editions for Digital Analysis and Research (CEDAR), will provide a single software environment where scholars can trace textual variants and explore the transmission of major literary traditions. Initial test cases will be the first eleven chapters of the Book of Genesis, the Sumerian copies of the Gilgamesh Epic, and the various early printings of Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

Blair and a Library Unix systems administrator, Fred Seaton, maintain the OCHRE database server and advise on archival procedures for the curation of project data. “Deeply rooted in the library tradition, Charles has a watchful eye on the future and is committed to helping the OCHRE Data Service devise and implement strategies to ensure the long-term viability and accessibility of our data,” said David Schloen, Professor of Near Eastern Archaeology.

“Charles and the Library are natural partners for the Schloens on the OCHRE Data Service because we all share a commitment to providing services and features that satisfy the full cycle of data management,” explained Long. Blair had already led the Library team that built an infrastructure to support Library databases such as the University of Chicago Photographic Archive and the Special Collections Finding Aids, and other University projects such as the Project for American and French Research on the Treasury of the French Language (ARTFL) and a collection of digital images for teaching, LUNA.

“OCHRE was able to leverage our existing infrastructure for description, discovery, and archiving services, and we would be happy to provide the same type of service to other University of Chicago faculty and staff who have their own development teams but need an infrastructure for their interface,” explained Blair.

OCHRE database screenshot

The OCHRE database allows users to view photographs of artifacts (here, Ras Shamra tablets) alongside associated machine-readable data such as descriptions, epigraphs, interpretive information, transliterations, and translations.

New librarians exploring new frontiers

The Library is taking numerous steps to expand its staff expertise and its work in digital scholarship in the coming months and years. Library Director and University Librarian Brenda Johnson recently announced the imminent launch of a Center for Digital Scholarship at the Library. In addition to hiring a Director for this new Center and a GIS and Maps Librarian, the Library is preparing to hire a Social Sciences Data Librarian, a Scholarly Communication Librarian, and a Biomedical Data Librarian who will increase the Library’s capacity to provide innovative digital research and teaching services. The Library is also proposing with the Energy Policy Institute at UChicago to bring on board a two-year Council on Library and Information Resources Postdoctoral Fellow who would focus on building the understanding and infrastructure necessary for managing data critical to the study of energy, environmental science, and climate change.

One of the services open to UChicago faculty in every field is Knowledge@UChicago, a digital repository that preserves and shares the scholarly, creative, and administrative assets of the University. Faculty are encouraged to deposit their scholarly articles and small data sets at this time, and plans will soon be made to expand the repository’s capacity when the new Scholarly Communication Librarian joins the Library. Visit knowledge.uchicago.edu for more information.

Digitized campus publications open a century of University history and debate to researchers

The Daily Maroon, October 1, 1902 (page 1)

October 1, 1902, seemed an auspicious day to the staff of the new University of Chicago student newspaper, the Daily Maroon. Its writers took great pride in a number of historic events occurring that day: the launch of their paper; the opening of the new Law School; the start of autumn quarter, featuring the largest attendance in University history to date; and even the prospects for “a successful and satisfactory foot-ball season.”

But in addition to conveying school pride, page 1 also reports on the controversies associated with student life. The founding of the Daily Maroon as “a self-supporting student activity” rather than a university-funded entity is reported to have occurred only after extensive debates among faculty, administration, students, alumni, and the owner of a preexisting literary magazine. And an article on autumn quarter registration reports that a newly segregated registration process—with women in Cobb Hall and men in the Press Building—had become “the subject for conjectures among the students as to whether or not it was a forerunner of separate instruction.”

Sexual segregation cartoon

Sexual segregation cartoon, Cap and Gown, 1903 (page 17).

Digitized copies of the first 20 years of the Daily Maroon have recently been added to the University of Chicago Campus Publications website. Launched in April 2017, the Campus Publications site allows researchers to readily explore history from 1892 to 1995. Beginning at launch, the site provided digital access to four periodicals: Cap and Gown, the College yearbook; the University of Chicago Magazine, the official alumni publication; Quarterly Calendar, an early omnibus publication; and the University Record, its successor.

Other campus publications, such as the Maroon, are being added on an ongoing basis as digitization continues, and additional issues of the Maroon are expected to be added over the coming academic year. Because Maroon student reporters covered campus events of all kinds, even when other press did not, the Maroon’s accounts of lectures by visiting scholars, faculty academic debates, and arts performances are sometimes the only surviving historical record.

Outgoing dean hands "grand master" key to incoming dean

The cover illustration of outgoing Dean Gerhard Casper handing the “Grand Master” key to incoming Dean Geoffrey Stone was drawn by David Rothman, JD’62. The Law School Record, vol. 33, no. 1 (Spring 1987)

By visiting campub.lib.uchicago.edu, members of the UChicago community and researchers around the world can conduct a simultaneous keyword search of all of the publications on the site, using an interface built and maintained by the University of Chicago Library. As a result, researchers can sometimes rapidly access the distinct voices and perspectives of faculty, administrators, students, alumni, and guest lecturers as they engage with the vital issues of the day. One example can illustrate the point: “sex segregation”—as alluded to in the first issue of the Daily Maroon—was a vital subject in the early 20th century, and the University briefly experimented with separate instruction for first and second year male and female undergraduates. A search for the word “segregation” on the site turns up more than 100 citations for the decade 1900-09, often connected with sex segregation. Searches on other topics such as war or urban renewal uncover campus debates and involvement in topics of vital local, national, and international importance.

The Law School’s scholarship repository, Chicago Unbound at chicagounbound.uchicago.edu also serves as a home to many historical publications and other materials of interest to the campus community, alumni, and outside scholars. Developed by the D’Angelo Law Library and the Law School’s Communications Department and launched in 2014, Chicago Unbound includes PDFs of all issues of the school’s alumni magazine, The University of Chicago Law School Record, from its original publication in 1951 to 2017. The site also makes available all issues of the Law School’s Announcements back to 1903-1904. An essential resource on the Law School’s history, the Announcements includes course descriptions and information on the faculty and administration. Chicago Unbound also has video and audio recordings for three notable lecture series: the Maurice and Muriel Fulton Lectureship in Legal History, the Coase Lecture in Law and Economics, and Chicago’s Best Ideas. The D’Angelo Law Library will continue to build Chicago Unbound as a digital repository for researchers to uncover the Law School’s past.

The Law School Record, vol. 35, no. 1 (Spring 1989), cover

Chicago Unbound provides access to some of the innumerable debates that have been central to the life of the Law School throughout its history. In the Fall 1999 issue of the Law School Record, for example, Law School faculty, deans, and alumni are shown to take pride in representing opposing parties in important cases “that unsettle precedent, fire policy debate, and advance new lines of legal analysis” on subjects ranging from anti-gang loitering ordinances to bankruptcy law to the constitutionality of same-sex marriage (Fall 1999, page 8).

UChicago faculty, students, staff, and everyone interested in University of Chicago history are encouraged to visit Campus Publications and Chicago Unbound to explore other campus debates and historic moments.

Publishers require ORCID iDs for submitting authors

ORCID logoWiley, the Royal Society of Chemistry, and the Publications Division of the American Chemical Society (ACS) have each signed ORCID’s Open Letter and announced their new requirement of an ORCID iD for all submitting authors as part of the manuscript submission process.

An ORCID id (Open Researcher and Contributor iD), is a persistent, unique, numeric identifier for individual researchers and creators. It distinguishes individual researchers with the same (or very similar) name and supports automated linkages between a researcher and their research activities. A researcher’s ORCID record, which includes their ORCiD identifier, holds non-sensitive information such as name, organization, and research activities.

Learn more about ORCID and how to create your
own ORCID iD at http://guides.lib.uchicago.edu/ORCID

Advancing digital scholarship

Researchers across the University of Chicago and their collaborators around the world are engaging in a rapidly expanding range of digital research and teaching projects.  The Library has already worked with faculty members on digital projects ranging from the management of archeological information from the site of ancient Ashkelon to the search for and discovery of the Higgs boson. We would like to invite additional faculty members to think of us as partners in digital scholarship and to contact us to discuss how we can collaborate to identify, obtain, disseminate, and preserve digital data.

Brenda L. Johnson, Library Director and University Librarian (Photo by John Zich)

Brenda L. Johnson, Library Director and University Librarian (Photo by John Zich)

Earlier this year, we released Library Strategic Directions, 2016-2019: Inquiry, Innovation, and Impact [PDF].  In it, we defined five directions that will guide the library’s efforts as we continue critical commitments and assume new roles that are vital to research, innovation, and learning at UChicago.  One of those directions focuses on advancing digital scholarship.  The Library is committed to increasing the scholarly impact of the University by building robust services and technology infrastructures to support emerging modes of research, innovation, and scholarship.

What does that mean for faculty and students at the University of Chicago?

A hub for digital scholarship

The Library will be a hub for digital scholarship by providing faculty and students with tools and services that strengthen the impact and visibility of their research and creative endeavors.

Today’s researchers and funders are increasingly interested in transparency, accessibility, and the reproducibility of data sources.  The Library can help you to save and publicly share data in ways that meet these growing demands.  Our new digital repository service for the campus community, Knowledge@UChicago (knowledge.uchicago.edu), is our first major step in that direction.  Built in partnership with IT Services and the Research Computing Center, Knowledge@UChicago can now accept finished research products and small data sets for archiving and sharing. We are currently developing Knowledge@UChicago into a more robust system and are eager to hear from researchers to ensure that we develop functionality that meets your needs.  I encourage you to read more about Knowledge@UChicago and to contact Amy Buckland (knowledge@lib.uchicago.edu) to discuss ways that this digital repository can serve you now and in the future.

Services for the life cycle of research data

The Library will develop an array of services to support the life cycle of research data from assistance with writing a data plan to managing, sharing, and preserving data.

ATLAS cavern at CERN Large Hadron Collider

View of the ATLAS cavern taken during technical stop. ATLAS is one of two general-purpose detectors at the CERN Large Hadron Collider (LHC). Librarians from UChicago and Notre Dame are collaborating with physicists to explore key issues that must be solved to preserve LHC data, software, and algorithms. (CERN-EX-1209198-02, courtesy of CERN).

The end of a digital project is not the only time librarians can assist you.  The Library is supporting faculty needs for research data management services through programs that include workshops on granting agency requirements and best practices for describing and managing research data.

The Library can be a particularly good partner for faculty involved in cross-disciplinary and inter-institutional projects. Librarians are skilled in determining how to make data interoperable, so that the data you have collected for one purpose can be reused by other researchers asking different questions or can be aggregated with colleagues’ data to reveal a larger picture.  The Library can also work with inter-institutional projects to determine sustainable long-term solutions for sharing and preserving their publications and data, engaging library partners as appropriate.

We are already working in this area.  For example, as part of the Data and Software for Open Science project, librarians from UChicago and Notre Dame are collaborating with physicists from around the world who are working with data produced by the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. Together, we are exploring the key issues that must be solved to provide preservation solutions not just for the high energy physics data, but also the software and algorithms associated with that data.

Elisabeth Long and colleagues (digitalscholarship@lib.uchicago.edu) can consult with you as you begin to write a data management plan or at various stages of your research as you consider sustainable data management practices, inter-operability, and long-term access and preservation.

Advancing open scholarship

The Library will take a leadership role in advancing open scholarship at the University by supporting and promoting open access, open data, open educational resources, and other forms of openness in the scholarly and research environment.

In addition to developing Knowledge@UChicago to support sharing of UChicago research, the Library has long supported open scholarship by digitizing items in our collections and making them freely available online.  The recently completed Goodspeed Manuscript project is one of many examples.  We also collaborate with libraries around the world on open access projects such as the South Asia Materials Project’s Open Archives Initiative.

If you are interested in making your research or course materials openly available, starting an open access journal, or working with the Library to make resources openly available, please contact Amy Buckland (open@lib.uchicago.edu).

Looking to the future

In the coming years, the Library seeks to make its digital scholarship services increasingly robust, ensuring students and faculty have access to spaces, technologies, and consultation services that support their exploration of new methodologies, analysis of complex data, and sharing of their research and creative endeavors through new publishing models.

There are many ways we can pursue this goal.  I look forward to learning more about how we can collaborate with you on digital scholarship.

 

Knowledge@UChicago preserves and shares scholarly and creative works

The University of Chicago Library has launched a new service for the campus community that will preserve and share the digital scholarly, creative, and administrative assets of researchers, instructors, and staff at the University. Built in partnership with IT Services and the Research Computing Center, Knowledge@UChicago is available at knowledge.uchicago.edu.

Knowledge@UChicago logoThis new digital repository service addresses the pressing need for a place for sharing and preserving data sets, providing open access options for scholarly articles and dissertations, and meeting public access requirements for grant-funded research. In this initial phase, it can accept small data sets; by summer it will accept large ones. Faculty who are interested in making these scholarly resources available in Knowledge@UChicago, as well as alumni interested in sharing their dissertations, should email us at knowledge@lib.uchicago.edu.

Ultimately, Knowledge@UChicago will:

  • assist researchers with funding agency requirements for deposit of research output;
  • aggregate collections of teaching and learning resources for use in the classroom and online learning;
  • increase the global accessibility and visibility of the intellectual output of the community, including the work that has been hidden until now;
  • archive recordings, photographs, and other multimedia that document the University’s events and activities, and make them discoverable; and
  • harness the linked data capabilities of the ORCID (orcid.org) and DOI (doi.org) systems to ensure our researchers, and their work, are part of the semantic web.

Capital funding from the Provost’s IT Committee will support our longer-term goal to build an infrastructure that will integrate seamlessly with researchers’ workflows, handle large data sets, and provide a variety of publication options suited to different types of materials, from subject-based research collections to student publications to audio and video created at various events on campus.  This will allow Knowledge@UChicago to capture and share the scholarly, creative, and administrative output of the university.

The work deposited in Knowledge@UChicago will be publicly available to all: anyone with an internet connection will have access. This will increase the visibility of the work done on campus, and truly “let knowledge grow from more to more, and so be human life enriched.”

To begin sharing and preserving your work with Knowledge@UChicago, please visit  http://knowledge.uchicago.edu or email knowledge@lib.uchicago.edu.

The art and science of bringing Asian resources online

Scholars and students at the University of Chicago and around the world have a fundamental need for access to digital Asian resources in all disciplines.  By collaborating with librarians, faculty, computer scientists, and other colleagues at libraries and universities around the world, the University of Chicago Library is expanding the size and range of Asian digital collections that are freely available and discoverable online, while developing sophisticated new approaches to presenting and connecting materials in a variety of sonic and visual formats.

The Bodhisattva Siddhartha

The Bodhisattva Siddhartha (Sakyamuni Buddha as a Prince). From a set of relief sculptures depicting the life of the Buddha at the Royal Bhutanese Monastery, Bodhgaya, India. 20th century. Photo by Eric Huntington (PhD’13), 2007.

Metadata for Huntington Photographic Archive of Buddhist and Asian Art

The University of Chicago has been awarded a $50,000 grant from the Henry Luce Foundation to improve the metadata for the John C. and Susan L. Huntington Photographic Archive of Buddhist and Asian Art currently at The Ohio State University. Our Library is collaborating with the Huntingtons to augment and improve access to the metadata for more than 27,500 photographs of the art of China, Korea, and Japan, as well as Thailand, Myanmar (Burma), and Indonesia for improved scholarly and public understanding of Asia from ancient to modern times.

The Huntington Archive represents the efforts of 45 years of field documentation photography by John and Susan Huntington, who visited sites in remote regions of Asia, photographing many works of art that had never been published. Since the time many of these photos were taken, in far too many cases, the works of art have since been lost through theft or have been destroyed through natural and man-made disasters. The photos comprise one of the most important sources of information about these works.

Sonic and Visual South Asia in Space and Time

Continuing work that first began with a grant from the Neubauer Family Collegium for Culture and Society in 2013, this summer, Laura Ring, Assistant Southern Asia Librarian, and I collaborated with faculty including Philip Bohlman, Kaley Mason, and Anna Lise Seastrand to lead a workshop in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on philosophical and practical considerations with metadata titled Sonic and Visual South Asia in Space and Time—Connecting Objects, Texts, People and Places.

Participants included ethnomusicologists, art historians, leaders of cultural heritage institutions, social historians, archeologists, media and industry experts, computational scientists, archivists, and librarians.  Our intention is to investigate over several years how the methods of science might elucidate and facilitate the humanistic understanding of the resources upon which we focus.

SAMP Open Archives Initiative

The South Asia Materials Project’s (SAMP’s) Open Archives Initiative, launched in April, is creating and maintaining a collection of open access materials for the study of South Asia.  Subject specialists focused on the South Asian subcontinent from university libraries across the U.S. and South Asia have begun to work together to set priorities for digitization of resources on South Asia in every discipline from the humanities to the sciences. Among the intended candidates for digitization are official publications from colonial British India, 19th– and 20th-century serials, newspapers and monographs, and manuscript collections such as the Muslim League papers and the Indian National Congress papers and official correspondence.