Digital Library for International Research Unveils New Website

Written by Diane Ryan Monday, 15 November 2010 16:11

The Council of American Overseas Research Centers (CAORC) and its Digital Library for International Research (DLIR) are pleased to announce the new DLIR website, which offers scholars around the world improved access to free digital resources and objects in the library collections of participating American Overseas Research Centers and their international partners.

The new website utilizes two powerful open source content management systems (Omeka and Joomla!) to support a seamless and uniform environment for research. The website brings together the various collections by integrating databases and making search and discovery much easier. The new site is available at www.dlir.org.

The transition to this new site is part of a longer term plan to build the infrastructure and meet the technical needs of partner American Overseas Research Centers so they can more easily deliver high quality digital objects for research to U.S., host country, and international scholars. The American Institute for Yemeni Studies and the American Center for Mongolian Studies are currently spearheading this initiative by working with the DLIR to host center resources within the growing DLIR infrastructure. The objective is to find ways to reduce costs and increase production of digital objects for the centers and DLIR itself. By centralizing the maintenance and storage of digital objects and content, DLIR and partners will be able to do more with less.

The cost-effective Digital Library for International Research continues to create wide accessibility to high-quality scholarly resources in humanistic studies for scholars around the world, stimulate collaborations among U.S. and local scholars and scholarly institutions, and use technology to speed up scholarly research, open new perspectives, and make international research possible for scholars who would otherwise have no access to these resources.

The DLIR is funded by a variety of private foundations and government agencies, including the U.S. Department of Education’s program for Technological Innovation and Cooperation for Foreign Information Access.

About CAORC: CAORC’s mission is to promote international scholarly research, particularly in the humanities and social sciences, by U.S. scholars and academic institutions. For almost 30 years, CAORC has worked to support the activities of American Overseas Research Centers around the world. CAORC represents the consolidated international interests of more than 400 American universities, colleges, museums, and research institutes that hold more than 1,100 institutional memberships in CAORC’s centers. CAORC currently includes 23 member centers in 25 countries throughout the Near and Middle East, Europe, Central America, West Africa, and South, Southeast, and Inner Asia. CAORC provides this network of Overseas Research Centers with administrative, financial, legal, and policy guidance, promotes communication and cooperation among the centers, coordinates multi-center and multinational activities, sponsors regional research projects, and facilitates the creation of new centers. One of the most important functions CAORC and the centers provide is an institutional network to connect U.S. academics to local scholars and resources in areas of the world where research access is difficult to obtain.

   

Cooperative Digitization of International Research Materials

Written by Diane Ryan Tuesday, 29 September 2009 19:00

The American Institute of Yemeni Studies (AIYS) and the Council of American Overseas Research Centers (CAORC) have been awarded a four-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Technological Innovation and Cooperation for Foreign Information Access (TICFIA) program to catalog and digitize photographic, ethnographic, archaeological, cartographic, and other scholarly research support materials from a variety of international locations. This is the third TICFIA grant AIYS and CAORC have received: the first, in 1999, helped establish the union catalog (CAORC’s Digital Library for International Research; www.dlir.org); the second, in 2005, helped American overseas research centers in several countries partner with local archival and library collections to provide access to a rich vein of previously inaccessible scholarly material (www.lalorc.org).

The current project, the Cooperative Digitization of International Research Materials (CDIRM, www.cdirm.org), will utilize participating American overseas research centers’ connections to collaborate with foreign archives and special collections that hold unique and rare research materials. Selected materials from Guatemala, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Israel, Palestine, Yemen, and Mongolia will be made easily and freely available over the Internet to American and international scholars and students. Not only are most of these materials uncataloged, unavailable, or unknown to scholars, most are extremely difficult to access (because of location, unsettled political conditions, privacy issues, or bureaucratic procedures). The Coordinator of the Digital Library for International Research, located at the Center for Research Libraries, will act as program manager.

This collaborative technology-based project provides new, shared electronic access to detailed descriptive information about selected archive and rare collections in a unified online finding aid; online union catalogs of holdings with consolidated item-level bibliographic searching; and full-text and image online access for prioritized subsets of the collections. Additionally the current project will disseminate many resources in non-Roman language alphabets (primarily various Arabic dialects, Tibetan, and Hebrew, but potentially also Ottoman Turkish and Mongolian) and help teachers of less commonly taught languages acquire materials for classroom use electronically.

These cost-effective projects through the Digital Library for International Research continue to create wide accessibility to high-quality scholarly resources in humanistic studies for scholars around the world, stimulate collaborations among U.S. and local scholars and scholarly institutions, and use technology to speed up scholarly research, open new perspectives, and make international research possible for scholars who would otherwise have no access to these resources.

   

New Catalog for Digital Library for International Research

Written by Diane Ryan Monday, 09 February 2009 19:00

The Council of American Overseas Research Centers (CAORC) and its Digital Library for International Research (DLIR) program are pleased to announce a new, improved Web site for the catalog representing the libraries of CAORC member centers and their local overseas partners. The new catalog operates in conjunction with the catalog of the Center for Research Libraries (CRL). This improved version of the DLIR catalog (http://catalog.crl.edu/search~S6) offers more specific online searching of library collections at individual overseas research centers in the CAORC consortium and at many of their local partners' libraries. These collections include books, e-books, journals, maps, images, and archival collections. Through the DLIR, CAORC provides leadership and technical expertise to its member centers and their local partners in managing their library and information resources. By centralizing project coordination and facilitation through the DLIR, and by collaborating with organizations sharing similar goals, the program maximizes public access to the overseas centers' and their partners' resources for teaching, research, and public information through the DLIR union catalog and its digital library (http://www.dlir.org).

Through a grant from the Getty Foundation, in 2008 the DLIR program migrated the union catalog from the University of Utah's Marriott Library to the CRL. By working with CRL's technical staff, DLIR staff developed public access pages for each participating library in the consortium. In addition, DLIR staff developed public access pages for the overseas research centers' partner libraries, including the American Board Center (Istanbul, Turkey), the Beit Al-Banani private library (Tunis, Tunisia), and the Hasna Daoud private library (Tetouan, Morocco). The Getty Foundation grant also funded training in online searching and cataloging procedures for overseas centers' library staff. In 2008, library staff from 14 CAORC member centers convened in Chicago to gain expertise in using OCLC's and the Library of Congress's online cataloging tools, JSTOR, standards for bibliographic classification and description, and specialized instruction in describing archives and using international scripts and diacritical marks in catalog records.