With IIIF the Library offers Unprecedented Access to Digital Archives

The Library is making it easier to study archives at UVA and other institutions by providing access to images that had once been viewable only with locally built applications. UVA’s participation in the International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) means that scholars at UVA can now more fully compare editions of books and maps, study differences in artistic style, and analyze the complete manuscripts and correspondence of writers, statesmen, philosophers, and theologians—getting closer to collections that had been essentially locked away.

The goal of IIIF (pronounced “Triple-Eye-Eff”) is to develop a common set of APIs that work together, allowing scholars to virtually hold versions of the same document from different archives side by side for minute comparison. Imagine the potential for discovery in being able to simultaneously view printings of books at UVA with other printings at different institutions, or the insights scholars might derive by having access to letters that fill gaps in Jefferson’s correspondence.

With IIIF’s Mirador, comparing images is as simple as dragging and dropping:

1. Find an image in Virgo from the Library’s digital collection—a 1755 version of Joshua Fry’s and Peter Jefferson’s A Map of the Most Inhabited Part of Virginia, for example. Click the IIIF icon to open the image in Mirador.

2. To compare the 1755 with the 1753 version of the same map, click the grid icon in Mirador to create another viewing slot.

3. Open the 1753 version in another browser window, click the “share” icon under the image, then click the IIIF icon and drag the image to the Mirador viewer.

4. Zooming in to the western region for a side-by-side comparison shows that the 1755 printing was changed to include the words “Irish track” under “Beverley Mannor,” and shows the road “thro Virginia to Philadelphia”—also called the “Indian Road by the Treaty of Lancaster.”

Click to enlarge.

But Mirador isn’t limited to a collections at UVA. From Stanford’s catalog you can use the same drag-and-drop process to pull a similar map into Mirador and compare it to the Fry-Jefferson map in UVA’s Special Collections. The interoperable standards developed by the IIIF community, of which Stanford and UVA are a part, means there is no proprietary wall to breach.

UVA’s Fry-Jefferson map (left), Stanford’s “A Map of Virginia and Maryland (right)

Bibliographical Society announces Battestin Fellowships—Applications due February 1st

The Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia is pleased to announce its sixth round of Battestin Fellowships, a program of summer fellowships in bibliographical and textual studies, named in honor of Martin Battestin, former professor of English at UVA, and his wife Ruthe, a literary scholar and member of the Society’s Council. The fellowships are intended to support research in the collections of the UVA Library by UVA graduate students, with an emphasis on physical or textual bibliography. The Society is prepared to award up to three fellowships of $3,500 each for the summer of 2018.

Proposals may concern books and documents in any field as long as the primary focus is the physical object (in whatever form) as historical evidence. Potential fellowship topics include studies in the history of book production, publication, distribution, reception, or reading; the history of collecting or bibliographical scholarship; and the tracing of a work’s textual history or the establishment of its text from the extant witnesses. Projects that incorporate the application of digital methodologies to the study of books and documents, and their texts, are also encouraged. Please note: these fellowships do not support projects of enumerative bibliography (i.e. the preparation of lists).

Awards are limited to current UVA students, that is, students who will be continuing their graduate studies at UVA in the following fall semester.

Students interested in applying for a Battestin Fellowship are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the profile of the BSUVA and the fellowship guidelines at www.bsuva.org.

Applications are due February 1, 2018, and should consist of the following: an application (available at www.bsuva.org), a project proposal of no more than 1,000 words, the applicant’s Curriculum Vitae, and two signed letters of recommendation.

Questions about the Battestin Fellowships should be sent to Anne Ribble at bibsoc@virginia.edu.

Winners will be announced at the Society’s Annual Meeting on March 23, 2018.

Reaxys, the One-stop Chemistry Database for Chemistry Literature and Data

Whether you’re an experienced chemist, a faculty member, or an undergrad just getting into in the field of Chemistry, Elsevier’s Reaxys database has something for you. The new Library resource has 500 million published experimental facts and potential access to 16,000 journals and periodicals, as well as data on 105 million organic, inorganic, organometallic compounds, and 42 million chemical reactions.

Undergrads can feel comfortable using natural language to enter keyword searches into the intuitive Reaxys user interface. For instance, if you type in the common term “opioid,” you’ll get more than 92,000 hits. Filtering to include only the latest Publication Year “2017” and Document Type “article” narrows results to 2,654. Sort by the number times the article’s been cited and you’ll find a toxicology report, “Loperamide Abuse Associated With Cardiac Dysrhythmia and Death,” at the top of the list—cited 20 times. More practiced students and chemists may also search using structure drawing and molecular formula building.

Researchers can use Reaxys to look up chemical properties, cross-check experimental data with Reaxys data to establish the identity of unknown compounds, synthesize derivatives from unknown compounds, verify the originality of experiments, check for possible reactions, design compounds and propose synthesis routes, and find citations and patents. Reaxys is a valuable tool for teaching, used worldwide by undergraduate and post-graduate programs to prepare students for their careers.

Please check the Library’s list of online resources regularly; it’s updated daily!

Colonial America—Files of the British Colonial Office now Online from the Library!

The files of the British Colonial Office in London’s National Archive have long been available in the Library on microfilm rolls of variable quality. However, the days of juggling rolls and threading film in readers is over. The Library has Modules I & II in the Colonial America online resource—pristine, archival quality images of letters, legal documents, orders, printed pamphlets, maps, and other material types, downloadable as PDFs and fully searchable for easy reference. Online publisher Adam Matthew is delighted to be able to deliver groundbreaking Handwritten Text Recognition (HTR) technology for keyword searching of manuscripts.

Modules I & II give researchers access to an invaluable collection covering colonial affairs of the 17th and 18th centuries—the first Anglo settlements, colonial charters, reaction to England’s Glorious Revolution, piracy and the rivalry with France and Spain for control of the Atlantic, military records from the French and Indian War, the social and political protests that led to the Declaration of Independence, the legal aftermath of the Boston Tea Party, and a wealth of information on military affairs and Native Americans.

The files cover events both momentous and small. For instance, clicking the “Not sure where to start” button, selecting “captive” from the list of popular searches, and filtering the search by Document Type “correspondence”; Colony/Region “Virginia”; Module “Towards Revolution”; and Theme “American Indians” takes you to a July 12, 1768 letter from Virginia Representative John Blair to Lord Hillsborough “touching on a boundary with the Indians,” but also on the story of “an unfortunate young Algerian.” The seventeen-year-old was sailing to Fez but was captured by a French ship, transported to North America, and taken to live among Native Americans for 3 years. He made his escape and found his way to a frontier settlement in Augusta County, and eventually home—just one of many nuggets of life in the files that enrich and humanize the study of History. Please read the brochure.

Page of a letter from Virginia Representative John Blair relating the story of a Muslim man and his adventure in the American wilderness.

Sounds You can Take out of the Library—the Thomas Rex Beverly Sound Files!

What does distance sound like—a bird calling in a desert valley? Does loneliness sound like the ring of a hammer against stone? If you need just the right sound to go in a video, in a musical composition, an image slideshow, or to enhance narration, you may be able to find it in the Thomas Rex Beverly sound files—available from the Library for any media production that “contains at least one additional media element to the Sounds (music, voice, image, etc.).”

The files includes the beat of wings, birds calling, mule deer snorting, and rivers flowing through the American Southwest in a collection of “High Desert Ambiences.” You’ll also find the nuances of “High Desert Thunderstorms,” the blustery qualities in “High Desert Winds,” and the rushing torrents of “New York Gorges and Waterfalls.” Machine sounds include the violence of a “High Desert Chainsaw” and the speed and power of “High Desert Trains.” In “Ringing Rocks,” Beverly explores the tonal possibilities of stone, playing on it like the classically trained musician he is.

To get to the files:

  1. Click a category (e.g. High Desert Ambiences).
  2. Choose “Open” in the dialogue box and click OK. Be patient; the containing folder takes a while to load.
  3. Click the containing folder, then double click the sub-folder.
  4. Inside will be a zip folder that contains another folder with audio files you can copy and use in your project.

You may get an error message, but be persistent. The sounds are worth the trouble it takes to get to them!

Get out to vote on November 7!

There’s no national election this year, but all eyes are on Virginia: our races for Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and state Attorney General are being watched across the nation.

Need some information before you vote?


The Virginia Department of Elections makes it easy to:

Don’t forget to request your absentee ballot by 5:00pm on October 31! If you’re a student away from home or will be out of town on November 7, you’re probably eligible. Plus you can apply online!


Voting locally? Email ubike@virginia.edu by Nov. 6 for a free 48-hour bike pass!

Done with all of that and want to dig more into election information? The Library’s Elections Guide is full of resources about election returns, fact-checking, and historical elections.

Our Political, Election, and Polling databases can help you dig into the nitty gritty: campaign finance, election data, polling analytics… perhaps you can use what you learn to write the next blockbuster musical about American democracy!

Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Software Preservation coming in 2018

Our cultural heritage is in danger. Not only are digital files decaying, the software that was created to access older files is often out of print and in need of preservation. There are limits, however, to what institutions like UVA can legally do to preserve software that’s protected by copyright.

To ensure that older forms of software will continue to exist and future generations will be able to experience electronic media as it was at the beginning of the digital age, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation has awarded $315,000 to the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) for the purpose of developing and disseminating a Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Software Preservation.

UVA Library’s Director of Information Policy, Brandon Butler, is part of the team that’s developing the Code to establish clear guidelines guaranteeing that cultural heritage institutions will not have to spend time and money seeking unnecessary permission to preserve and archive copyrighted software, either for its own sake or to support fair use of other electronic holdings.

The team is researching and consulting with software preservation experts and other stakeholders this fall and plans to release a report on the effects of copyright uncertainty in winter of 2017–2018. The Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Software Preservation will be published the following fall, and will be supported throughout 2018 and into 2019 by webinars, workshops, online discussions, and educational materials.

Stay up-to-date on news about this project by watching the ARL website, following the ARL on Facebook or Twitter, and subscribing to our email news lists.

Students, Let the SourceDorks Help You with Research—They’re not Librarians, They’re your Peers!

Think it’s too early to start on your term paper? It’s mid-semester and the clock is ticking. So why wait until the panic sets in? Come to Clemons Library and let the SourceDorks help you get started right.

The SourceDorks are peer councilors that the Library makes available to help students with paper writing and research. They know the Library and love sharing what they’ve learned. So, before you get lost groping for sources in cyberspace, come to the front desk of the the 4th floor in Clemons Library Monday–Wednesday from 7–9 p.m. and let the SourceDorks help you painlessly refine your topic and get the best articles to support your thesis. With a major grade at stake, why take a chance? Find sources that will impress your instructors!

Drop in soon; Abby, Maliha, and Nathan are waiting to help you! You can also use Ask a Librarian to get answers to your research questions, and if you don’t have time to meet with a SourceDork, you can check out this quick list of useful resources. If you still have questions, come in an let the SourceDorks bring it all together for you.

Experience Sounds of “The Library at Night” with Guitarist Colin McAllister, Music Library October 27

The Music Library is out to debunk the myth that libraries are quiet zones where librarians shush patrons. On Friday, October 27, from 6:30 p.m.–8:30 p.m. the Music Library’s performance series Making Noise presents the eclectic sounds of renowned classical guitarist Colin McAllister as he performs a program of Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, and Latin American music, and a newly commissioned piece “Spines” by composer Christopher Adler.

The program takes its name and inspiration from Alberto Manguel’s book The Library at Night—essays on the idea of the library—and will engage the ear with music and readings of poetry, and the eye with historical vignettes and imagery to illustrate the author’s visions of “The Library as Imagination,” “The Library as Space,” “The Library as Oblivion.”

Come and feast your senses! A reception will be held at 6:30 p.m. followed by the performance at 7:30. This event is underwritten by the UVA Arts Council.