new interface for the Tufts Digital Library
Posted on December 21, 2012 by Deborah Kaplan | Categories: news | | |

Digital Collections and Archives, in conjunction with UIT Educational & Scholarly Technology Services, is pleased to announce the launch of our new interface for the Tufts Digital Library.

Our new interface is built entirely on FLOSS (Free, Libre, and Open Source Software). The underlying data storage is managed with the Fedora Commons Repository. Our user interface is developed using Blacklight and Hydra, with indexing powered by Solr.

Our old interface, an entirely homegrown product written in Java, served us well for nearly a decade, and we are thankful for the designers and developers who helped us bring our materials to the public as one of the earlier university digital libraries. Now we have a new design which brings a modern discovery interface to aid our users, and a broad community of developers with whom we can collaborate.

DCA is grateful for everyone who has helped us bring this new interface from design to fruition in one year.

Check out the new Tufts Digital Library!

Celebrating Children
Posted on December 14, 2012 by Veronica Martzahl | Categories: features | | |

So I was planning to do a post about Dr. Robert L. Nichols, but I think that will have to wait for another day. Today I think stop for a moment and think about how wonderful children are and how they need our love and protection. So here are some photos from the Tufts Digital Library highlighting the Eliot Pearson School and the Floating Hospital for Children.

Remembering Tufts WWII Veterans
Posted on December 7, 2012 by Veronica Martzahl | Categories: features | | |

On this day when we remember the attack on Pearl Harbor, I thought I would share some images from the Tufts’ Navy ROTC and V-12 memorabilia collection

This They Believe
Posted on November 6, 2012 by Deborah Kaplan | Categories: features | |  Tagged:  , |

As we near the end of one of the saddest side effect of our beloved democracy — the every-four-years cycle of Americans thinking the worst of one another — I found myself with the need to reassure myself about human nature.

This I Believe was a radio program that Edward R Murrow hosted from 1951 to 1955, in which both famous and everyday people recorded short essays about their personal belief systems. We have many audio recordings from This I Believe in the TDL, and I found myself listening to them. So here are the living philosophies of some thoughtful men and women from the 1950s, presented because at least for today, they helped my life be richer, fuller, happier.

(You can also view all of the interviews in our new, beta digital library which gives you the option of reading the transcript on its own or watching it scroll with the audio. For example, this is the current digital library recording of Mrs. Philip W Pillsbury, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America‘s statement of faith in God. Here is Mrs. Philip W Pillsbury in our beta digital library. Play around, see what you can see! This site is beta, of course, so not everything is going to work.)

Here are a few interviews that stood out for me, presented in the non-beta, stable digital library.

Milo Bekins

If I could sum up what I believe in a single sentence, I think it would this: I believe in the future. […] I believe in the youth of our nation. For three decades, I have devoted all I can of time, effort, and money to young people’s groups and youth organizations. I believe that they are our brightest hope and promise for the future of America. I therefore feel that I should dedicate myself to their training with unstinting devotion.

Nazrat Farooki

One can find among all people and all religions the same love of truth and of freedom which leads towards peace. I, therefore, believe that through mutual understanding and fellowship will come universal brotherhood. I believe in removing the mental barriers between peoples and bringing them close to each other’s heart. Common fear and mistrust only come from ignorance, and the gulf can be bridged only by knowledge. I believe greater knowledge can create new bonds of trust and friendship among all peoples.

Gaganvihari Lallubhai Mehta

We must therefore cultivate a sense of proportion about men and affairs.

This sense of proportion would teach us a certain degree of self-restraint, moderation, and even a spirit of resignation in respect of things which cannot change and which must be endured. We must not presume that whatever little we might have achieved, it could all have been the result of our own efforts. I’m all the time conscious of the fact that what little I know is insignificant compared to what I do not know. I am aware that we can, if we will, learn something from everyone, and that we should be somewhat modest in trying to teach and preach. We should be less strict in judging others and less lenient in judging ourselves.

Gerty Cori

Contemplation of the great human achievements through the ages is helpful to me in moments of despair and doubt. Human meanness and folly then seem less important. Humanity has but a short history of civilized life, and the hope for greater wisdom must resign itself to a fairly distant future. Gone are the somewhat Utopian hopes of my youth, the belief in rapid, continuous progress. Hope remains, but the timescale has widened.

Henderson Suplee, Jr.

As I think about it, I have realized that even my community activities have been motivated by a strong conviction of the part that opportunity plays in our way of life. For example, most people refer to hospitals and related social agencies as “charities.” Some time ago, I began to work for these institutions and they ceased to have, for me, the patronizing significance we associate with the term “charity.” Instead, I see them as necessary parts in the pattern of a community. Without them, a large city simply couldn’t cope with its human problems.

Through our great networks of privately supported agencies, opportunity is preserved for countless people to achieve normal and useful lives. Believing, as I do, that this preservation of opportunity is vital to our system, I not only feel a responsibility but find satisfaction in helping with such enterprises. Somehow there is ample reward from the sense of better balance in my personal life and a sense of belonging to my community.

Rose Alschuler

In our daily lives, we must earnestly try to replace the distrust and suspicion that are everywhere with trust and mutual confidence. We must remember that the hostilities and aggressions that flare so readily result from our tempo and our way of life, and we must try to meet them with understanding and constructive action.

Tingfu Tsiang

As I work in my office in the tallest building in New York, I feel that the architects of Manhattan have a lesson to teach to all men in all nations: We can and should expand skywards and not sideways. War and political domination are born of sideways expansion. Class strife, racketeering, and corruption are also born of sideways expansion. With the aid of modern science and technology, individuals and nations, by the proper development of their faculties and resources, can achieve a well being with the sky as the limit. I never cease admiring Switzerland and Denmark, countries which have managed to achieve not only a high standard of living, but a high standard of culture, in spite of material limitations.

In face of wars and rumors of wars, of the atomic bomb and Communism, I remain a moderate optimist. Without trying to prophesize that a third World War is out of the question, I believe that mankind has hopes for world peace—if not in the immediate future, then probably within a matter of decades. I watched the rise of the military clique in Japan and of the Nazis in Germany in the 30s. I derive some comfort from the fact that the Japanese militaries and the Nazis only succeeded in unleashing war after they have suppressed freedom at home. This fact points out to me that in the promotion of human freedom, we have a sure road to peace. As a diplomat, this I believe.

Doris Almy

Again I believe in the youth of our land, whose fearless courage is both stimulating and inspiring. I believe that they are a true reflection of the principles and teachings of America’s great heritage: the free public school. Because I believe that these young people have a right to expect to take their place in this complex world, free from all fear, I have dedicated myself to fight for the protection of this inalienable right, that I can and shall find real happiness in that service. I believe that in order to do this, one can never be too busy to be kind. Extending a warm hand of fellowship from an understanding heart to those who share the passage of this orbit with us.

I believe in people. I don’t know why, but I like to be with and to watch people.

So you want to write a policy
Posted on November 2, 2012 by Eliot Wilczek | Categories: features | | |

Acting president Leonard Chapin Mead, Tufts administrators John C. Palmer, Frank A. Tredinnick, with two other members of Tufts adminstration, 1966

Sometimes in the course of our work at Tufts we will run into situations where we think, “We need a new policy.” or “We really need to update this policy.” How do we move from these thoughts to actually developing and implementing a policy? The DCA has some basic advice on how to do this.

Not every problem needs a policy. Before diving head-first into writing a policy you should understand what policies can and cannot do:

  • Policies are written documents that declare our values, say what we do, or mandate actions or constraints.
  • Policies support consistent, logical, and fair decision making. Policies do not replace decision making.
  • Effective policies provide frameworks, they do not try to account for every detail or situation.
  • Not every problem needs a new policy. Tufts already has a substantial network of bylaws, policies, and procedures that may already address your concern.

The DCA also provides additional tools and advice for managing and developing policies, including a policy development tool, advice for developing IT or information policies, and a policy template.

To be clear, these are resources are just here to help you and their use is not mandatory.

Happy Open Access Week!
Posted on October 22, 2012 by Deborah Kaplan | Categories: news | |  Tagged:  , |

Happy Open Access Week! This week we celebrate open access scholarship, and remember that it is time to set the default to Open Access.

Our collection of open access scholarship in the Tufts Digital Library is small but growing, aided in a large part by our Provost’s Open Access Fund.

(This morning as I was walking around the office, cajoling my coworkers into labeling themselves with stickers that say “I Support Open Access”, I realized how many of us are employed in the business of creating open access to scholarship and research data. Just thinking about all of my colleagues who are digitizing the painstakingly gathered election data that comprise the “A New Nation Votes: American Election Returns 1787-1825” project makes me proud; we are creating a vital research collection for historians, and jobs for us. Huzzah for open access, I say!)

Open Access Week October 22-28: Set the Default to Open Access

Welcome, Erin!
Posted on October 18, 2012 by Anne Sauer | Categories: features | | |

We are extremely pleased to announce that Erin Faulder has joined the DCA staff full time through June 2013! Erin has been a valued member of our student staff since May 2011, providing support for a host of reference and processing activities. We are thrilled that Erin is willing to step in to assume many of the duties of our open Archivist for Digital Collections position while we continue to search for a permanent person to serve in this position.

Erin is focusing on preparation of digital objects for the Tufts Digital Library as well as finalizing the migration of all of our collection descriptions into our new collections management database, CIDER.

Welcome, Erin!


October is American Archives Month and the fate of the Georgia State Archives
Posted on October 4, 2012 by Veronica Martzahl | Categories: features | | 2 comments |

“American Archives Month is a collaborative effort by professional organizations and repositories around the nation to highlight the importance of records of enduring value. Archivists are professionals who assess, collect, organize,  preserve, maintain control of, and provide access to information that has lasting value, and they help people find and understand the information they need in those records.”

The above paragraph comes from a sample press release provided by the Society of American Archivists for use during American Archives month.  It is a nice, succinct summary of who archivists are, what archivists do, and the goals for this celebratory month. But it is perhaps lacking in some of the passion and fervor that is needed when discussing the importance of archives generally, and the impending loss of the Georgia State Archives specifically.

For those of you readers who don’t keep on top of all topics archival, Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp issued a press release on Thursday, September 13, 2012, announcing that the Georgia State Archives will be closed on November 1, 2012 due to budget cuts.  “After November 1st, the public will only be allowed to access the building by appointment; however, the number of appointments could be limited based on the schedule of the remaining employees.” There will only be three employees left. Hopes for a reprieve were raised when Governor Nathan Deal announced at an Archives Month event that he promised to keep the Archives open. However, he’s not in charge of the Archives, the Secretary of State is, and the Governor hasn’t been forthcoming with alternate ideas for funding.

You may be thinking, “wow, that’s sad for Georgia, but is doesn’t impact me.” Yes, actually it does because, as the Universal Declaration on Archives says:

Archives record decisions, actions and memories. Archives are a unique and irreplaceable heritage passed from one generation to another. Archives are managed from creation to preserve their value and meaning. They are authoritative sources of information underpinning accountable and transparent administrative actions. They play an essential role in the development of societies by safeguarding and contributing to individual and community memory. Open access to archives enriches our knowledge of human society, promotes democracy, protects citizens’ rights and enhances the quality of life.

To close a state archives is to make it that much harder for a child to learn about his or her family and heritage; that much easier for a government to hide its misdeeds; that much easier for us all to forget who and what went before us; and that much easier for it to happen here too. I would urge you to check out the Georgians Against closing the State Archives Facebook page and follow the link to their petition to keep the Georgia Archives open. And while you’re cruising the web, check out the Universal Declaration on Archives from the International Council on Archives.

I support our Georgia Archives

DCA graduate students at SAA
Posted on August 17, 2012 by Erin Faulder | Categories: features | |  Tagged:  , , , |

Last week was the Society of American Archivist’s annual conference. This year it was held in sunny San Diego where the fish tacos are plentiful, the weather was not the promised balmy 75 degrees, and playing spot the archivist among the tourists in the Gaslamp quarter was far too easy. Several staff members were able to attend this year, along with all of our graduate student workers. Although the DCA contingent was smaller than in previous years, we still had two session presenters.

Veronica Martzahl, records archivist
Lightning talk: Favorite Collaborative Tools in Preservation

Erin Faulder, graduate student worker
Session paper: Archival Practice Through a Social Justice Lens

At DCA, we graduate students perform a range of tasks related to processing collections and answering reference questions. As Simmons students, we are still learning what it means to be archivists and to do archival work. Attending conferences provides us with perspectives of our work beyond the classroom setting and beyond DCA’s environment.

Molly Bruce attended a session about addressing issues of privacy and confidentiality while providing access to legal records. Since she’s been processing a lawyer’s collection, the opportunity to hear how other archivists deal with the complex demands of opening records for access while protecting the privacy rights of individuals named in case files was invaluable.

Sarah Gustafson went to a donor relations lightning talk – a topic not covered in coursework but an important aspect of the work we do. Sarah also attended a session on outreach to undergraduate students which included talks by archivists who educate with primary sources and hire students to help with processing projects – two ways that DCA engages with undergraduate students at Tufts.

Erin Faulder presented her research as part of a panel on In Pursuit of the Moral Imperative: Exploring Social Justice and Archives. Being able to articulate the value of collections to social justice efforts is sometimes easy, such as in DCA’s recently processed papers of the Center for Health, Environment and Justice. Her paper examined two ways that social justice values are reflected in the hundreds of transactions documented by the records archivists work with every day.

Molly, Sarah, Erin

Attending and presenting at sessions is only one way graduate students learn about the profession. We also attend planning meetings that shape the direction of the profession.  Molly attended the Encoded Archival Description revision meeting where things got heated when discussing how the revision will structure data associated with relationships among collections, and between collections and their creators. As part of her collaborative efforts to form an Archivists without Borders organization, Erin met with other archivists interested in social justice to discuss the proposal thus far and future steps. These are all opportunities to meet other archivists who are passionate about the work we do, to bring back new information to apply to our work, and to geek out about the exciting possibilities for future endeavors.

Honoring Dr. Sally Ride, 1951-2012
Posted on July 30, 2012 by Deborah Kaplan | Categories: features, news | |  Tagged:  , , |

Close-up of Sally Ride's mission photo from the group photo presented to Jean MayerSally Ride died a week ago, after a battle with pancreatic cancer. She was amazing not only for being the first American woman in space, but for her career after her retirement from NASA. She (among many other achievements) founded Sally Ride Science, an organization dedicated to motivating both girls and boys to pursue their interests in science, technology, engineering, and math.

Since Apollo 10, NASA has used music to awaken astronauts on space missions. On her fifth morning in space, Dr. Ride — a Stanford alumna — was awoken by the “Stanford Hymn” (among other songs). But on her second morning in space Dr. Ride and the rest of the crew were awoken by an a cappella rendering of “Tuftonia’s Day” by our own Beelzebubs. Why? Because on Dr. Ride’s first flight, shuttle mission STS-7 from June 18-24, 1983, she was joined by pilot Rick Hauck, A62.

Dr. Hauck, an NROTC student, more recently served on the Board of Trustees from 1988 to 2002, and received an honorary Doctorate of Public Service. In 1985, Tufts awarded the Presidential Medal to Dr. Hauck, who presented then-president Dr. Jean Mayer with a patch and flag which had traversed the world in the space shuttle Challenger. That patch and flag — along with a photograph of the entire crew, including Dr. Ride — are pictured here.

Patch, Flag, and mission photograph presented to Jean Mayer

We mourn Dr. Ride and honor her life and achievements.

While we honor Sally Ride, we also remember the talented, qualified women who were kept from participating in the space program for its first two decades.