FIU, UM Join Statewide Effort to Raise Florida Presence in National Online Library

Sunshine State Digital Network Helps Organizations Around State Enlarge Access to their Digitized Collections

Souvenir of Miami, Miami Beach, Florida

Souvenir of Miami, Miami Beach, Florida from the University of Miami Special Collections.

Cultural, historical, and educational institutions throughout South and Central Florida can now share their digitized holdings with people across the United States and around the world with guidance from librarians and digital strategists at Florida International University (FIU) and the University of Miami (UM).

The two universities have partnered with Florida State University (FSU) in Tallahassee, FL, to create the Sunshine State Digital Network (SSDN), which serves as the state’s administrative and infrastructure portal to the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA).

The Boston-based DPLA is a public, open-source platform that connects users to digitized art works, artifacts, archival documents, and other materials from organizations ranging from modest community historical societies to massive cultural institutions. Assets contributed by Florida organizations to DPLA are displayed in search results alongside those from many other collections, fostering learning, research, tourism, business, and other endeavors.

The shared network roles of FIU and UM will be to help South and Central Florida organizations make sure that the metadata—information such as title, description, and copyright status—of each item in their collections conforms to DPLA standards. FIU and UM then transmit the optimized digital files to the SSDN hub at FSU, which gathers and prepares the files for quarterly “harvesting,” or uploading, by the DPLA. FIU and UM also collaborate with the SSDN on efforts to facilitate and expand the representation of Florida institutions in the rapidly growing national research resource.

“DPLA and SSDN offer a tremendous opportunity to share the depth and richness of our state’s digital collections,” said Anne Prestamo, Dean of Libraries at FIU. “We look forward to advising and assisting libraries, museums, and archives throughout South and Central Florida to fully leverage that potential.”

“Through SSDN, we are making it possible for archives, libraries, museums, and other collections across the state to publish their unique holdings on a global platform,” said Charles Eckman, Dean of University of Miami Libraries and University Librarian. “It’s all about fostering discovery and innovation through enhanced access, which is central to our mission and vision.”

By presenting search results aggregated from diverse sources, DPLA also creates new options and experiences for site visitors. “When people see items from Florida troves intermingled with those from other contributors, they are able to make novel connections that would have been extremely difficult to make otherwise,” said Sarah Shreeves, associate dean of digital strategies at UM Libraries.

“The community at large benefits from this increased ability to engage with cultural and historical content across multiple institutions,” noted Jamie Rogers, director of FIU’s Digital Collection Center.

Since FIU and UM have already uploaded a significant portion of their own digital collections to DPLA, the two universities are now prioritizing efforts to grow the number of Florida organizations participating in the initiative. A November series of introductory SSDN workshops attracted representatives from more than 30 public libraries, museums, academic libraries, library cooperatives, and other cultural heritage institutions.

Greater Miami: Guide Book and History to The Magic City

Greater Miami: Guide Book and History to The Magic City from the University of Miami Special Collections.

In addition to outreach and orientation, metadata experts at FIU Libraries and UM Libraries provide interested organizations with hands-on assistance as needed. Initial development of the universities’ SSDN planning, training, and metadata evaluation procedures was supported by a grant from the Knight Foundation.

SSDN goals for 2018 include bringing the State Library and Archives of Florida into the DPLA fold while mentoring the many smaller organizations, both public and private, that seek to share their digital holdings on DPLA.

DPLA is completely open to public and can be visited at dp.la. Items in its collections can be located via a standard search query, maps, timelines, or in special exhibitions, as well as through an array of independently developed extensions that allow highly customized searches.

To learn more about the SSDN, visit sunshinestatedigitalnetwork.org or explore the collections on the dp.la site.



Library Renovation Projects

Designing a Better Library for U: Renovation & Renewal at Richter

Building stronger connections with students, faculty, and our neighboring communities is essential to our ongoing mission at the University of Miami Libraries. Over the course of the past year, fostering new and deepened partnerships aimed at improving library spaces and programs has paved the way toward new and exciting projects. This page will serve to keep our community updated on the progress of two ongoing renovations on the first floor of the Otto G. Richter Library: the Kislak Center at the University of Miami and the UM Libraries Learning CommonsLearn more.



Interested in working with data?

These data analysis workshops will use a General Social Survey (GSS) to help interpret and form conclusions using three software programs. We will examine each software’s environment, data importing capabilities, statistical tests (including chi-square and t-tests), descriptive statistics, and transforming variables.

Students, faculty, and staff are welcome. No prior experience is necessary to attend.

November 8  | November 29  |  December 6

All sessions 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. | Richter Library, 3rd floor | Information Literacy Lab

Learn more: http://library.miami.edu/working-with-data

Questions? E-mail Cameron Riopelle at criopelle@miami.edu


UM is a smoke-free campus. Parking is available at the Pavia Garage near Stanford Drive.



Handle with Care | Preservation Strategies for Pan Am’s Digital Archive

Conservator Duvy Argandoña prepares a document in the Conservation Lab on the first floor of the Otto G. Richter Library.

By Cory Czajkowski

Repair and conserve: a phrase that drives a vast and complex component of University of Miami Libraries’ (UML) mission. Primary source materials and books are handled over years, decades, and even centuries; room conditions fluctuate, humidity falls and rises, and critters occasionally find their way to them for a snack. For the specialists that manage UML’s Preservation Strategies Department, “repair and conserve” holds a significance akin to a “search and rescue” operation—only rather than a search for people, it’s about the search for and provision of aid to materials that are in distress or imminent danger. As items become damaged and too fragile to handle, they require treatment and special care in order to ensure they can remain accessible by students and researchers in the future.

The grant from the National Historic Publications and Records Commission has allowed UML to sustain such specialized preservation efforts as the digitization of materials from the Pan American World Airways, Inc. Records collection continues. This ongoing project is now at a stage where a second group of images from the renowned aviation collection are in the process of being made accessible by keyword search. These brochures, timetables, directories, and other items require special treatment prior to any scans or photographs to ensure that the text in them can be recognized, or that they can even be handled for image capturing purposes.

Argandoña uses the hot spatula and tweezers to repair small tears in a Pan Am brochure.

Duvy Argandoña is the conservator at the Otto G. Richter Library. She spends a good portion of her workdays in the Conservation Lab repairing Pan Am materials before they can be scanned. The Lab, a brightly-lit, state-of-the-art equipped facility, is an infirmary for the collection’s torn or creased materials, where Argandoña uses specialized machines and tools to reconcile any damage that might interfere with digitization.

“The meticulous work done by Duvy is so important to the process, because it’s essentially our means of loss control—vetting and repairing the materials in a way that ensures we are able to capture the best scans possible,” says Gabriella Williams, who works closely with Argandoña and is managing this digitization project. Williams prepares and triages the materials before they are sent to the Lab. She flags each box, folder-by-folder, and creates a detailed, object-level spreadsheet of the items that require attention.

The humidification dome releases a mist of deionized water to relax a map’s paper fibers.

Argandoña then uses both basic and more complex techniques, depending on the level of damage, to repair the selected materials. “For mending small tears in brochures and timetables, I use the hot spatula tool and heat-set tissue paper,” says Argandoña. She first cuts the tissue paper into five millimeter strips and then uses tweezers to line up the strips with the seams of the torn documents. Carefully holding the tissue paper in place with tweezers, she applies soft pressure with the hot spatula until the paper adheres.

If a large map or fold-out is wrinkled or bent, Argandoña places it in a humidification dome for up to 15 minutes before any further repairs are made. “The dome uses a deionized water vapor mist to help the paper fibers relax, then the item is arranged between blotter paper sheets in the oversized book press for 24 hours, or until all the creases are gone,” says Argandoña.

Martha Horan, head of Preservation Strategies.

On October 17, UML welcomed new Head of Preservation Strategies Martha Horan, who is enthusiastic about working with the Pan Am materials under the NHPRC grant.

“Too often one does not consider the highly skilled, artisan-like techniques that go on behind-the-scenes in a library to stabilize and treat materials as part of preservation and digitization,” says Horan. “It’s an impressive operation here, with an even more impressive team behind it. It’s an exciting time to be a part of the Libraries.”

Digital images of these materials from the Pan American World Airways, Inc. Records—which date from the company’s inception in 1927 until it ceased operations in 1991—are now available to the public for browsing and research purposes on the University of Miami Libraries’ Digital Collections web site.

Photos by Brittney Bomnin





Adobe Creative Cloud is Here – And it’s FREE!

Click the image to learn more.

UMIT and UM Libraries have partnered with Adobe to provide free access to Adobe Creative Cloud (CC) for all University of Miami faculty, staff, and students starting on August 1, 2017. The Adobe CC suite includes Acrobat Pro, Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, InDesign, free mobile apps for designing on the go, and much more! For a full list of available programs, please click here.

Download Adobe CC anytime after August 1, 2017 using the following link: it.miami.edu/adobecc

Need some assistance:
Do you want to create a poster or brochure? Perhaps you want to make a video or simply enhance your photos? The Digital Media Lab located in the Learning Commons (at the Otto G. Richter Library) provides expert project-based support and consultation in the use of Adobe Creative Cloud.  Whether you are a novice or a long-time user our staff is here to assist you. During staff hours, we are available to work with you to find a solution for any creative project you may have. Drop-ins are welcome, but appointments are better if you are new to Adobe or need more extensive one-on-one help.

Faculty members who are interested in integrating a digital aspect into their classes or assignments should consult with Vanessa Rodriguez, Digital Media Lab manager. We are available to instruct small groups of students or can help you come up with ideas for developing a digital media project your students can create.

To make an appointment for software consultation or class instruction please contact us at medialab@miami.edu or 305-284-2548.



Mellon Grant Supports Library-Museum Collaboration

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (January 11, 2017)—The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded a $500,000 grant to the University of Miami to support collaboration between the Lowe Art Museum and UM Libraries on their joint effort to further faculty engagement with historical and artistic collections.

“This significant investment by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation is vitally important and recognizes the immense potential of a strong library-museum collection to enhance learning and stimulate innovative and collaborative scholarship,” said UM President Julio Frenk.

The grant will enable the Lowe and the Libraries to establish two new faculty fellowships—one devoted to campus engagement and the other to the conservation of art and archival works on paper. In addition, it establishes a new programming fund to incentivize faculty to engage with University collections and enable the development of joint public programs that highlight these collections.

“We could not be more thrilled to have received this remarkable gift, and we are deeply grateful to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for their generosity,” said Jill Deupi, Beaux Arts director and chief curator of the Lowe. “This transformative grant speaks to the value of higher education, the arts, and the humanities, generally. It equally affirms the power of collaboration and impact of leveraging resources for the benefit of a broad range of audiences.”

Charles Eckman, dean of the University of Miami Libraries, said the partnership was envisioned through the inaugural Academic Art Museum and Library Summit, held in January 2016, which brought together 14 pairs of library and museum directors from North American academic institutions to address opportunities for deep intra-institutional collaboration. “Through the support of the Mellon Foundation, the Lowe and Libraries will be able to work with faculty to carry out our vision for new curricular, interdisciplinary, and collaborative engagement and shared collection stewardship opportunities while providing invaluable experience to emerging professionals in the field,” Eckman said.

A white paper co-authored by Deupi and Eckman that reports on the findings of the 2016 AAML Summit is available in UM Libraries Scholarly Repository (scholarlyrepository.miami.edu).



Internationally Significant Collection Donated to UM, MDC

From left: Dr. Eduardo J. Padrón, Jay I. Kislak, and Dr. Julio Frenk

The internationally significant Jay I. Kislak Foundation collection will now have two permanent homes in South Florida – in the Special Collections Division of the University of Miami’s Otto G. Richter Library, in Coral Gables, and at Miami Dade College’s Freedom Tower, in downtown Miami. Assembled over the course of many decades, the Kislak collection includes some of the most important original source materials related to the history of the early Americas, such as two of the earliest published editions of the famous 1493 letter of Christopher Columbus.

The Jay I. Kislak Foundation, University of Miami (UM) and Miami Dade College (MDC) jointly announced the landmark donation of rare books, maps, manuscripts and other historic materials.

Jay Kislak, prominent collector, philanthropist and Miami resident for more than 60 years, has been a lifelong collector of rare books and historic artifacts focused particularly on Florida and the Caribbean, exploration, navigation and the early Americas. In 2004, he and the Jay I. Kislak Foundation donated more than 3,000 rare books, maps, manuscripts and objects to the Library of Congress, whose Kislak Collection now forms the basis of a major exhibition and extensive scholarly and public programs in Washington, D.C.

In UM and MDC, Kislak identified two local partners with the ability and desire to create similarly extensive educational and cultural programming in South Florida. The Kislak-MDC-UM partnership will encompass exhibitions, research, education and public outreach, all designed to serve MDC and UM students and faculty, residents of the local community, and a global scholarly network engaged in the study of Florida, early American history, and the cultures of the Caribbean and Latin America. Through an operating agreement, MDC and UM will collaborate on exhibits, collections care, and events and activities open to the public.

“I think this is an ideal partnership. We have the opportunity to combine the special resources of each institution and create exhibitions and programs that will be enjoyed by Miami-Dade residents and the millions of people who visit here from all over the world,” said Kislak.

“Miami Dade College is the largest and most diverse institution of higher education in the country, and is central to the educational, social, cultural and economic life of our community. Under the leadership of Dr. Eduardo J. Padrón, Miami Dade has emerged as a globally recognized institution,” he said.

“The University of Miami is among the nation’s top 50 research institutions, with a library that draws scholars from around the world. With the recent inauguration of Dr. Julio Frenk, this is an ideal time to establish the permanent repository in South Florida to conserve our collections and make them available to scholars and students for generations to come,” Kislak added.

The Kislak gift, representing a combined valuation of approximately $30 million, includes more than 2,300 rare books, maps, manuscripts, pre-Columbian artifacts and other historic materials.

UM and MDC will each receive a selection of important items. Each institution will receive a first edition of the famous 1493 letter of Christopher Columbus, in which the explorer described his New World discoveries to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain.

Other Kislak gift highlights include:

  • A 1486 edition of Ptolemy’s Cosmographia, among the most influential works in the history of cartography. A copy of this atlas was known to have been owned by Columbus.
  • A 1521 volume describing Cuba, by Italian historian Peter Martyr d’Anghiera, who wrote the first accounts of Spanish explorations in the Caribbean and Central and South America.
  • A 1589 volume, The Principal Navigations, Voiages and Discoveries of the English Nation, by English writer Richard Hakluyt, who was known for promoting the British colonization of North America.
  • A two-volume account of the 1804-1806 Lewis and Clark Expedition, commissioned by President Thomas Jefferson after the Louisiana Purchase.

The University of Miami’s share of the Kislak materials will become part of the Richter Library’s Special Collections Division, enhancing a collection highly regarded for its holdings of rare books and archives related to the cultural and political history of South Florida, the Caribbean Basin and South America, as well as its Cuban Heritage Collection of materials related to Cuba and the Cuban diaspora from colonial times to the present. The university is currently renovating its special collections center, which will be renamed the Kislak Center, envisioned as a hub of expanded educational and cultural programming, with lectures, fellowships, undergraduate and graduate courses utilizing the collection resources, and a new exhibit gallery featuring a broad range of materials from the Kislak collection.

“We are grateful to Jay Kislak for his extraordinary vision and lifelong devotion to creating a scholarly and culturally significant collection that showcases the rich history of Florida and the Caribbean,” said UM President Julio Frenk. “Our Special Collections will be home to these unique and exceptionally important materials from the Kislak Collection, and working with our partners at Miami Dade College, the University of Miami will have an unparalleled opportunity to engage our community in the history and culture of our hemisphere.”

Miami Dade College plans to create a permanent 2,600-square-foot public exhibition gallery in the Freedom Tower. The exhibit space will be located in the building’s main public area, adjacent to its ballroom and historic New World Mural, which celebrates Ponce de Leon’s 1513 discovery and naming of Florida.

“We are honored and privileged to receive such a significant gift and to work with such great partners. In a community as diverse as ours, we feel the responsibility to embrace and share the arts, culture and history with our students, faculty and residents,” said MDC’s President, Dr. Eduardo J. Padrón.

The two Miami institutions also expect to collaborate with the Library of Congress in studying and promoting all Kislak collections and making them accessible to audiences throughout Florida and the region.

“For 500 years, Florida has been a focal point of global exploration and cultural exchange,” Kislak said. “I’m thrilled that Miami’s top two institutions of higher education, along with the Library of Congress, will now be using our collections to reveal the fascinating and important role of our community in world history.