Time to rethink an old workflow

Hemispheric Institute Digital Video Library home page.

Though my involvement as project manager of NYU’s Hemispheric Institute Digital Video Library dates from 2004, this project is even older than that. And we continue to add new materials and provide new services to this collection. Over the 10+ years that this archive has been under development, we’ve seen so many of the technologies mature and change, and many of our workflows and services have evolved to accommodate new video formats, bandwidth capacity, video streaming standards, and video player functionality.

In addition to updating the technologies used in a long-term project, sometimes you also need to step back and take a look at your whole production workflow –from submission through publication–to identify legacy practices and suss out inefficiencies. That’s exactly what we’re doing this semester for the HIDVL project. We’ll spend the next few months implementing a new video submission and editing workflow that should make publishing much more efficient and allow us to get more video onto the HIDVL website more quickly.

That way we can get you faster to Reverend Billy and all that other HIDVL goodnessRevBilly

Judson collection is live!

judsonItems from the Judson Memorial Church Archive – over 10,000 images – are now live and available to the public. This collection from Fales Library spans nearly two centuries (1839-2001). During that time, Judson Memorial Church was a center of worship and of social activism such as civil rights, anti-war, reproductive rights, and the women’s movement. In addition, it became a center for avant-garde art ranging from its role in the artistic revolt against Abstract Expressionism, to postmodern dance at the Judson Dance Theater, to the Judson Poets Theater.

Open Access Books

oabooks copyWe have launched a Web site for NYU Press to provide open access to some of their books. The site, located at openaccessbooks.nyupress.org, offers several dozen books for reading on a computer, tablet, or phone. It’s powered by Readium, a javascript-based, open-source package for handling EPUB files in a browser. The requirements for this project were interesting: we needed to provide a good online reading experience for users without allowing them to download the books. As it turns out, we don’t know of anyone else who has a project quite like this one. Most EPUB-related software is focused on allowing users to read the books they have on their devices (i.e., books they have downloaded). Even Readium was designed originally for this purpose, but it’s flexible enough that we were able to use it for our project. We will be adding features to the site over the next few months, and NYU Press intends to add more books over time. We have also built the site in such a way that we can use the EPUB-reading platform more generally. If other EPUB collections come along, we will be ready to receive them.

Take-Down Policy

mss100_ref47_n000005_sCertain collections contain materials with multiple copyright holders. Even if NYU Libraries owns a collection, we may or may not be able to make all of its materials available to the public online. For this reason, Special Collections developed a take-down policy. At long last, thanks to the tenacity of several individuals (not least of whom was Michael Stoller), the policy has been approved and posted on the Fales Web site.

This means that some collections, including the very extensive Judson Memorial Church Archive as well as the Mendez Mural Community Garden Archive, can be made available. We are very excited to move these collections forward. Watch this space for an update when these collections are live!

ACO Update

ACO Book CoverAs many of you may know, the Arabic Collections Online project is the largest digitization effort DLTS has ever undertaken. Ultimately, it will include over 10,000 books. We are pleased to report that the wheel is turning and we have digitized several hundred titles over the past few months. The digitization, QC, and ingest process are mature at this point and so we expect a steady stream of content to be moved through that process. We still need to finalize our workflows for publication and cataloging, but work in these areas is ongoing.

Updates on the Afghanistan Digital Library project

home_booksThe Afghanistan Digital Library project, begun at NYU in 2003, was designed to digitize and make available on the web as many Afghan publications as possible from the period 1871–1930, the first sixty years of Afghanistan’s published cultural heritage. Users can browse through the books on the website or download complete PDF copies of every volume on the site. The ADL works are in the public domain and all images may be freely reproduced, distributed and transmitted by anyone for any purpose, commercial or non-commercial.


  • There are currently 574 titles on the ADL website. We will soon publish another set of books scanned by the British Library.
  • Most months we get between 2000-3000 unique visitors to the site. We are also contacted regularly via email by users thanking us for making these books available. Sometimes they even offer to contribute new materials.
  • Over the coming year we will migrate the ADL website, built in the mid-2000s, to a new website with an updated book viewer.

Learn more about the Afghanistan Digital Library, including funders, related projects, and bibliographies of printed works during the target period.

Questions? Email us at afghanistandl@nyu.edu