The California Digital Library’s (CDL) success in elevating the digital library to be expansively global and deeply local has been demonstrated this fall in its launching of an array of pioneering resources that support activities in all corners of research and scholarship.

Easier searching of digitized books

The University of California has reached a significant milestone in digitizing more than 3 million volumes from its libraries’ collections.

“In lean budget times, the UC libraries have made remarkable progress in getting our legacy print collections digitized,” said UC Berkeley University Librarian Thomas Leonard. “Search engines, especially Google, have funded this, and non-profits have also offered essential help. At every level of our library we have taken advantage of this opportunity at a pace that, only a few years ago, would have seemed impossible… Pooling our efforts with other universities in the U.S., we have together reached the 7 million mark for volumes digitized. This greater digital library represents a line of volumes stretching from San Francisco to Sacramento.”

These digitized works are also available via a national consortial partnership: the HathiTrust, which contains collections from libraries digitized by Google, the Internet Archive and other projects. To make the University of California’s digitized books more visible and to build services to support scholars across partner institutions, CDL’s mass digitization team has created an array of HathiTrust search boxes. These tools make it possible to search the digitized collections in the HathiTrust directly from Web pages, blogs, learning management systems and more.

In another initiative, CDL’s discovery and delivery group has created a way to link to HathiTrust digital resources using SFX with the broader HathiTrust partner community. HathiTrust partner libraries that use Ex Libris’ SFX scholarly linking and implement the new target will be able to include a link to HathiTrust books in their SFX menu window. The result is that UC library users will be able to see immediately whether a HathiTrust book is available electronically and if so, link to the full text in the HathiTrust Digital Library.

Local History Mapped

Students, teachers, and people interested in California history can explore an exciting new feature called Local History Mapped on Calisphere, the CDL’s free website of primary sources. A project of Digital Special Collections, Local History Mapped showcases hundreds of historical images on five maps of the state, along with current views of the same locations. Associated with each map is a selection of images and a historical essay with background on a theme. A “teacher’s toolbox” is also provided to help K-12 educators incorporate the maps into lesson plans and class activities.

“The mapping feature is wonderful,” said San Francisco volunteer-teacher Tammy McMillen. “I am working on a unit on bridges for second- and third-graders. They will be building and studying them. I love the idea of taking the kids to the library, where we have 20 computers, to let them explore the theme of transportation in California using the online maps. There are some great photos of bridges that will really augment the lesson.”

Calisphere includes more than 200,000 images and text from library, archive and museum collections across California.

A powerful access platform

In September, CDL’s publishing group launched the eXtensible Text Framework (XTF) website, making this service all the more accessible. XTF is an open source platform for institutions and individuals to provide access to digital content. It is used as the primary access technology for the CDL’s digital collections — including eScholarship and the Online Archive of California — and projects worldwide like the Encyclopedia of Chicago and Indiana University’s Chymistry of Isaac Newton.

“For the Digital Library of Georgia, XTF is the tool of choice for indexing, searching, and displaying text-based resources,” said P. Toby Graham, deputy university librarian and director, Hargrett Rare Book & Manuscript Library director. “The Digital Library of Georgia delivers 400,000 pages of historical newspapers via XTF. We have customized XTF databases to connect users to digital collections of historical maps, state publications, original documents, and historical broadsides… XTF is highly versatile, robust, and with features like faceted browsing of search results it meets visitors’ expectations for usability. The CDL’s ongoing development and support of XTF is a great service to the digital library community.”

XTF’s high degree of extensibility and performance, even for large documents and collections, frees implementers to focus on building sophisticated interfaces for their digital object collections.

A tutorial for XTF is available:

New digital curation tools

Another CDL group, the University of California Curation Center, also launched several new resources this fall. These include Merritt, EZID, JHOVE2 and Data Management Guidelines. Merritt, a nod to CDL’s Oakland neighbor, Lake Merritt, is a tool for members of the UC community to manage, archive and share their content safely, persistently and for the long term. EZID (pronounced “ee-zee-eye-dee”) provides researchers a way to persistently identify and access a scholar’s research, including datasets, which is critical to the long-term distribution and availability of the work. JHOVE2 is improved software for those managing digital repositories. Finally, UC Curation Center has created a detailed description of best practices for managing and sharing data and meeting funding agency requirements. UC campus colleagues have also contributed to the enhancements of these tools. Combined, these services allow researchers to deposit, save, share and discover their content and data.

These innovative CDL initiatives advance the ability of students, faculty, and teachers at UC and beyond to engage in work across the research spectrum.

This CDL press release was distributed on 11/10/10: