Major Scanning and Digitization Projects at the University of Minnesota

photoJohn T. Butler, Associate University Librarian for Data & Technology at the University of Minnesota, presented a seminar on the university’s involvement with two major scanning and digitization projects.

The first project involved the libraries of the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC), a consortium of the Big Ten member universities plus the University of Chicago. It provided Google with access to the libraries’ collections for digitization of items. Volumes from the member libraries’ collections were removed and shipped off-site to a location where each page was scanned. Items were selected based upon “collections of distinction.” For example, the University of Minnesota contributions included both local and Scandinavian works. The scanned items included those both inside and outside of copyright protections. The contribution from CIC libraries resulted in digitizing about 10 million volumes, but some items were rejected by Google based on their odd size or because they contained inserts.

The second project is the HathiTrust Digital Library. HathiTrust is an international community of 90 research libraries committed to the long-term preservation and availability of the cultural record. The files containing digitized versions of the items scanned from the CIC project that lie outside copyright protections were returned to the member libraries and were loaded onto HathiTrust’s site. Other HathiTrust members have added digitized records, which are online and publicly available.

Throughout his talk, Mr.Butler discussed some of the considerations that had to be resolved such as the (1) scanning project contract, (2) procedures for reviewing the digital files and comparing the images with the hard copies, and (3) standards used in the scanning project. Other interesting points included (1) how CIC and the HathiTrust fostered library cooperation and try to ensure long term access to both the digital and print versions and (2) the procedures for identifying items whose status under the copyright law were not initially known or are now outside copyright protections.

Link to the PowerPoint presentation:


Walk for Wellness & Bipartisan Bike Ride

Walk for Wellness
by Betsy Haugen

The NCSL Summit Walk for Wellness on August 21 got off to a slow start due to rain and lightning, but ended on a positive note. Held just blocks away from the conference center and hotels, at lovely Loring Park, the ninth annual fun 5k walk/run drew around 25 hardy participants. The event was started by a coalition of legislative caucuses to offer an opportunity for exercise during a long week of meetings.

photo of volunteers

Volunteers at the Walk for Wellness

I worked alongside two NCSL staff persons handing out t-shirts, water, and snacks. Participants, including librarians Sabah (CA) and Jennifer (CT), were great sports and cheerfully braved the rain and resulting puddles. It was a fun way to start the day—despite the weather!

Bipartisan Bike Ride
by Alyssa Novak

On Friday, I woke up at the crack of dawn and pedaled my green Nice Ride bike to the Minneapolis Convention Center. As I rode up in the early morning twilight, I saw a swarm of very enthusiastic NCSL attendees ready to embark on the 2014 Bipartisan Bike Ride.

Photo of green space near Minneapolis Convention Center

Gearing up for the Bipartisan Bike Ride

The ride was hosted by BikeTexas, an organization that brought 150 bikes up from the Lone Star State to outfit our ride across Minneapolis.

After getting outfitted with the appropriate helmets and bikes, we fueled up on some breakfast snacks and got ready to hit the road.

Photo of a bicycle

Bicycle provided by BikeTexas

Our ride first went through downtown Minneapolis with the helpful escort of the Minneapolis Police Department. Near Target Field baseball stadium we jumped on the Cedar Lake trail and then connected to the Grand Rounds National Scenic Byway along the Mississippi River.

Photo of Stone Arch Bridge

A view of the Stone Arch Bridge in Minneapolis by Paul VanDerWerf on flickr

The morning was cool and slightly overcast, perfect for enjoying a leisurely ride and viewing the great scenery along Minneapolis’ riverfront. At the Stone Arch Bridge we stopped to take a group picture, and then headed back toward the convention center to start our last day at the Legislative Summit.

The best part was the commemorative bike shirt that we got to take home!

Photo of bike shirt

Alyssa (MN) proudly displaying her NCSL 2014 Minneapolis Bike Shirt

Evening events

– by Elizabeth Lincoln

In addition to the legislative librarians’ dinner on Wednesday evening there were two other large evening gatherings that brought legislators and staff together from all fifty states.

Tuesday night’s reception was held in the Mill City Museum on the banks of the Mississippi.









One of the many reception areas in the museum was in the mill ruins area.








Thursday night’s event was held on Nicollet Island.   There were lots of Minnesota foods–including walleye cooked outdoors:








Minnesota’s favorite band, Soul Asylum, played:








Both large evening events utilized lots of Minnesota staff volunteers–including Library staff members Reed, Elizabeth, and Betsy–with enthusiastic Senate fiscal analyst Eric behind them.









Nicollet Island provides a great view of the city at night:








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Polls, Politics and What Americans Really Think

by David Schmidtke

On Thursday, I attended the General Session, “Polls, Politics and What Americans Really Think.” Neil Newhouse and Geoffrey Garin, each representing a different side of the political aisle, gave an interesting and humorous talk about political polling’s role in the last presidential election and what the polls say regarding the upcoming state elections. Polls indicate a deeply divided partisan electorate and a general unhappiness with elected leaders. While polls indicated indicate a certain political direction for the upcoming elections, Mr. Newhouse pointed out that nothing should be taken for granted. Campaigns can and do make a difference in both national and state elections. Regarding the 2012 election, Neil Newhouse quipped, that in retrospect, they realized that the votes of the unenthused voters count for as much as the enthused voters.

Afterwards, NCSL met with the speakers for a Q and A:

Tour of the Minnesota Legislative Reference Library (with a brief stop at the Minnesota Capitol)

by Elizabeth Lincoln

15036189215_6dfdffbf72_oThe librarians took a bus from the Minneapolis Convention Center to the Minnesota Legislative Reference Library in St. Paul the afternoon of August 21.  The bus driver seemed to be as unfamiliar with the Twin Cities as the visitors–rather than taking a straight shot from one city to the other he took a detour through several Minneapolis suburbs!

I gave the librarians an overview of the highlights of our collection and the services we provide to legislators and legislative staff.  We knew our time at LRL would be short so the librarians prepared display boards featuring some of the things we thought fellow legislative librarians would find most interesting.

I took a few of our guests over to the Capitol for a very quick peek at the Capitol.   Because the Capitol is under renovation we were unable to see the beautiful rotunda.  We were able to take a look at the Senate chamber through the gates.  Tim Johnson, of the House Chief Clerk’s office, graciously allowed us to get a closer view of the House chamber.  Eddie Weeks, Tennessee legislative librarian, enthusiastically served as the Speaker.


Dinner with Librarians

– by Elizabeth Lincoln

On Wednesday, many of the librarians gathered in Minneapolis for the Legislative Summit gathered at Spoonriver for dinner.  Many had walked a mile or so from the hotels to the location close to the Mississippi River, the Guthrie Theater, and the Mill City Museum so we were ready for an evening of good food and conversation.


Catherine (TX) and Jennifer (CT)


Sabah (CA), Peter (MN), and Tracey (MN)


Claire (HI), Carol (MN), and Julie (WI)


Christine (OK), Samantha (OK), and Betsy (MN)


Eddie (TN), David (MN), and Marget (MN)


Jeanne (CO) and Sonia (MT)


Andrew (MN) and Alyssa (MN)


Kristin (ID) and Mark (ID) debate dessert



Arts in Education & Workforce Luncheon

by Alyssa Novak

On Wednesday I attended the Arts in Education & Workforce Luncheon. The luncheon featured the Turnaround Arts program, an initiative of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. The panelists included Minnesota Senator Richard Cohen, documentary filmmaker Rachel Goslins, principal of ReNEW Cultural Arts Academy Ron Gubitz, and cellist Yo-Yo Ma.

Photo of Turnaround Arts Panelists

Turnaround Arts Panelists

Turnaround Arts focuses on the lowest 5% of schools in the country, which have little to no arts programs as part of the curriculum. Turnaround Arts incorporates fine arts across the school curriculum as a way of increasing student morale, engagement, and retention.

Program partners include many famous artists who serve as artists-in-residence at the turnaround schools.

Cellist Yo-Yo Ma serves as a Turnaround Artist in Boston-area Turnaround Arts schools. He commenced the presentation by demonstrating the power of music, performing the Prelude to Bach Cello Suite No. 3. Even in a conference room with poor acoustics, Ma’s sound was rich and mellifluous. It was truly an honor to be in the audience and hear him perform live from just a few feet away.

Rachel Goslins, the Executive Director of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, described the high-poverty schools that the Turnaround Arts program pinpoints as dark, bleak places to be.

This was a point seconded by ReNEW Cultural Arts Academy principal, Ron Gubitz. Prior to becoming a part of Turnaround Arts, the school was the single lowest-performing in Louisiana. After Turnaround Arts, Gubitz said that people started referring to the school environment as “warm.”

The following video shows a little bit more about the Turnaround Arts program:

Turnaround Arts is delivering promising results so far. Goslins said that the program helps to reestablish lost trust between students and adults. Significant gains are being made in student and parent engagement, retention, and test scores.

Panelists urged lawmakers to consider arts programs as an essential tool in education reform and to increase funding for fine arts in education. Senator Richard Cohen shared with the audience an example of how Minnesota was able to accomplish ongoing funding for the arts through the Legacy Amendment to the state constitution, which sets aside a portion of the state sales tax for arts and cultural heritage programs.