November 2007


In addition to the collections noted in the previous post, other Oklahoma libraries have digitized their archival collections and made them freely accessible online. The University of Oklahoma Library has many fascinating items in their digital collections. They have digitized title pages from the History of Science Collections that date back to the 16th century. This could be a real find for typography buffs or those interested in the historical author autographs. The Western History Collections is also accessible. This special collection is rich with transcripts of interviews with Oklahoma’s Native Americans about the history and culture of their tribes. In addition, there are interviews of Oklahomans from 1831-1936 regarding the settlement of Oklahoma and the Indian territories as well as the life conditions and conduct during this period. Although the Photograph Archives also has a heavy American Indian focus, it includes images of Oklahoma’s land run and lotteries, western outlaws, agriculture, and the petroleum industry as well.

Photos from the Western History Collections, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma.

rose1812.jpg Wyatt Earp 1866 jesse james 1875 Jesse James 1875

Geronimo 1900 Geronimo 1900 Cheyenne woman and child Cheyenne woman and child

The University of Tulsa McFarlin Library digital collections include Tulsa Race Riot images, maps of the American West, and resources for the study of the Creek (Muskogee) language. The Creek language resources offer a talking dictionary and written and spoken (recorded) versions of Creek folktales like “The Boy who Turned into a Snake,” and “The Origin of Corn.” The American West maps date back to Thomas Jeffreys’ 1776 American Atlas. Zebulon Montgomery Pike’s 1810 Chart of the Internal Part of Louisiana, from his expedition to find the headwaters of the “Arkansaw” and Red Rivers, can also be found here.

Images from Special Collections, University of Tulsa’s McFarlin Library, Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Creek drawing from 1736 titled “”Ta-fo-lope,” the Creek word for butterfly 1736 Creek drawing titled “Ta-fo-lope,” the Creek word for butterfly

Pike’s 1810 Chart of the Internal Part of Louisiana Pike’s 1810 Chart of the Internal Part of Louisiana

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In October, the Online Education Database listed 250+ Killer Digital Libraries and Archives. The resources are listed alphabetically by state and are mainly open access. There are two listings for Oklahoma: Electronic Publishing Center and Sooner Stories which is now Oklahoma Crossroads. The Oklahoma Department of Libraries (ODL) Sooner Stories Archive contains online exhibits titled “Rationing in World War II,” “Farm Security and Administration,” “Construction of the Oklahoma Governor’s Mansion,” and the “Oklahoma State Capitol.” My favorite items in this collection, though, are creepy Oklahoma stories and pictures in “Skeletons in our closet” and the great multimedia presentation of “Bonnie & Clyde in Oklahoma.” Among other rich resources, ODL’s newer service, Oklahoma Crossroads, links to the above exhibits as well as to collections including Tulsa Race Riot documents and images and a database of Oklahoma author profiles.

OSU’s Electronic Publishing Center digital collections include items like: the Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, the first fifty years of our state’s magazine, Oklahoma Today, From Warrior to Saint: The Journey of David Pendleton Oakerhater, Indian Claims Commission Decisions, and the Oklahoma Historical Society’s Chronicles of Oklahoma. Dating back to 1923, the Chronicles of Oklahoma contains colorful stories, excerpts from letters and diaries, and resident profiles. In Volume 2(1), the origins of county names in Oklahoma are explained. A born and raised Okie, I’m ashamed to admit that I wasn’t aware that Oklahoma is a combination of two Choctaw words, “Okla” meaning people and “Humma” meaning red. Another article‘s description of early Oklahoma folklore was particularly poignant. The author ends with, “I deem it one of my greatest privileges to teach my students that we must not let the first stories of our earliest people pass into oblivion; that we have one of the richest heritages on earth, the record of which is a combination composed of ballads and legends in which the heart beats of Indian warrior, man and maid, the roving cow man, the sturdy pioneer—all beat in steady succession to the music of life itself. The result of it all is the finished symphony—the symphony of Oklahoma itself.”

This 1917 photo, from ODL’s “Skeletons in our closet,” was taken of the newly finished rotunda in the Oklahoma Capitol building. phantom2_02.jpg

When I think about the semantic web, I think of a richer web that has meaning and shows relationships. This is probably a little too simplistic, but it’s easier for me to think of it in this way and then build on that definition. In this video, visionary Tim Berners-Lee provides more insight into the semantic web concept. He describes an interaction between humans and computers that allows for a greater manipulation of data. This in turn effects and enhances not only personal endeavors, but it also provides science and medicine with tools that will significantly advance treatments and discoveries. If I follow this correctly, human and computer interaction is what underlies the meaning and relationships that I previously considered the semantic web.

Discussions of the semantic web usually include RDF. In the video, Berners-Lee says (roughly speaking) that RDF is to data what HTML is to documents. Our class has collected a few resources on RDF at Diigo. It’s described here as a framework “created to provide a language for describing things on the web.” Despite the information that the class resources provide, I was still having trouble grasping how RDF metadata fit into the bigger picture of the semantic web. I found this ppt from a fellow Diigo user that describes RDF’s place in the architecture of the semantic web in a way that makes sense to me:

The first layer is RDF (metadata): allows facts to be asserted such as “person X is named ‘Drew.”

The second layer (here’s the meaning) is the RDF schema: lets you describe vocabularies and use them to describe things such as “person X is a living person.”

The third layer (here’s the relationships) is OWL (web ontology language-an acronym that makes sense to friends of Winnie the Pooh): which lets you describe the relationships between vocabularies such as “persons in schema A are the same thing as users in schema B.”

And so, I think, the point is that if all web documents (created by humans) adhered to this framework, computers could then bring all that information together at incredible speeds. All that information, located on the web, coordinated by computers for human consumption.

As Berners-Lee points out, this really has incredible implications for biomedicine, where different disciplines merge to prevent, treat, and cure disease. This article, in BMC Bioinformatics, illustrates a possible scenario where a semantic web is utilized in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. This sort of information is compelling because it shows a real use case that might just motivate institutions, groups, and individuals to adopt semantic web standards.

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I have been inundated with Google information this semester. I’ve read Battelle’s The Search, learned about online search using Google’s “advanced search” options, explored Google’s various business solutions, heard it both extolled (it does work, ya know) and bemoaned (are you listening Google?- privacy IS an issue), and looked at the job offerings in its new local data warehouse- alas, I lack the requirement of a “very good understanding of electrical and mechanical systems in use in a data center environment.” I got a little insider (well, myself and 240,000 other youtube viewers) Google “easter egg” information from my son this weekend. He’s a little information junkie like myself, and he shared this with me:

I particularly like the Elmer Fudd version. Are you feewing wucky?

I had the opportunity to attend the OK ACRL conference yesterday. It was my first professional conference in this field, and I’m so glad I went. I was able to meet some of my fellow classmates face to face and chat with my professor a bit. I laughed my way through Dr. Silver’s presentation as he contrasted 1.0 and 2.0, covered blogging aspects including Feevy, and provided other examples of 2.0 in action. His idea of using graphic novels for ESL patrons applies to a search I’ve been conducting for a “user” in another class. I learned about a couple of new OCLC projects, WorldCat’s Identities and FictionFinder, from Dr. Connaway. Overall, the impression I have from her review of the OCLC’s user study is that users feel pretty uncomfortable using libraries. If some of their discontent is about not being able to recognize a librarian (as was suggested), is it out of the realm of possibility that we make ourselves more recognizable? Maybe we could don something other than a name tag in order to encourage them to ask questions.

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Photo Credit: New Jersey State Library

Okay, not necessarily a cape, but you know what I mean.

Have you found that some words seem more attractive than others? Some words are just appropriate for their definition like onomatopoeias and the word “hubbub,” or they might be fun to say as in, well, onomatopoeia and tomfoolery. Maybe, they have warm connotations such as “hearth” and “home.” Like all good logophiles, I have developed a small bank of words that I like to use whenever I can fit them into a sentence. “Pathfinders” is one of my new favorites. While the term has been thrown around on occasion during the course of my graduate program, this semester I’ve had the chance to get to know pathfinders a little better. The Internet Public Library calls pathfinders “expert guides,” and in a way, they remind me a bit of mind-mapping in that a trail of links (thoughts) guides one to resources (ideas) on a particular subject. iLibrarian provides A Librarian’s Guide to Creating 2.0 Subject Guides that outlines a few different tools for creating online subject guides (Thanks, Lee!).

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