Data Analysis of Library Data

Anusha Ravi, a Scholars Lab Graduate Research Assistant (GRA), is entering her second year in the School of Information Science, specializing in Data Science and Analytics. During the last academic year, she undertook a Digital Scholarship Project as part of her GRA position. Collaborating with the Collection Development team, she cleaned, analyzed, and visualized data they had collected over the past few years.

I am a passionate data analyst with a keen interest in leveraging data to drive meaningful insights and decisions. My recent work at Scholars Lab Graduate Research Assistant(GRA) has given me a valuable opportunity to apply my skills in a real-world setting, addressing practical challenges and contributing to the enhancement of our informational resources present at the library. My journey in data science is driven by a curiosity to explore data intricacies and a commitment to using technology for the greater good. As part of my responsibilities, I have to complete a digital scholarship project.

The data points in this graph have been anonymized to safeguard confidentiality.

As my digital scholarship project, I worked with the Collection Development team on improving the process of handling suggested purchase requests. These requests are crucial as their analysis would help them understand and enhance the breadth and depth of the collections available in the library. My role involved exploring historical data to identify gaps and understand its structure thoroughly for future enhancements. Collaborating with the Collection Development team who are my stakeholders, I ensured their needs were clearly understood and actionable. This collaborative approach not only enriched my perspective but also aligned our efforts with the library’s strategic goals.

The data points in this graph have been anonymized to safeguard confidentiality.

Using Python, I undertook the task of cleaning and anonymizing the data. Fixing missing values and ensuring data confidentiality was challenging, yet automating these processes was a significant achievement. Python’s versatility and powerful libraries were instrumental in this endeavor. Looking ahead, I aim to deepen my expertise in Python to automate more complex data workflows and improve efficiency further. Learning to automate this process was a big challenge, but overcoming it was a significant achievement. I had to code with a future use case in mind, which proved to be very insightful and thereby allowed me to improve my skills.

For data visualization, I turned to Tableau, known for its user-friendly interface and powerful visualization capabilities. Creating interactive and simple charts made it easier to communicate complex data insights to non-technical stakeholders. This was confirmed on presenting this dashboard to the Collection Development team who praised the simple but effective dashboard.  Additionally, based on their feedback, I plan to create documentation on using Tableau to ensure easy navigation for future use of the team. 

The Scholars Lab provided invaluable support, offering resources and expert advice that enhanced my analysis. Presenting my findings at a poster session was a highlight, showcasing the success and the practical recommendations for better data organization and future collection improvements. This project taught me the importance of stakeholder collaboration, secure data practices, and the continuous quest for automation and efficiency in data processes. 

Expanding Discoverability for Architecture Treasures

Zoe Grout is a Graduate Student at UT Austin working toward an MA in English and an MS in Information Studies, with a focus on library and archival sciences. She currently works as an Archival Processing Graduate Research Assistant in the Alexander Architectural Archives.

This past year as the Alexander Architectural Archive’s GRA, I’ve published finding aids for six separate collections to Texas Archival Resources Online (TARO). Those collections are: the Boone Powell collection, the Ford, Powell & Carson collection, the Mardith Schuetz-Miller collection, the Nancy Kwallek collection, the John Covert Watson collection, and the Richard Cleary collection.

The first two collections’ finding aids are the culmination of several years’ work by myself, my GRA predecessors, and the entire AAA staff. Boone Powell is a noted architect in San Antonio. His collection includes records documenting his personal and professional life, such as his work on community projects such as Design San Antonio. Ford, Powell & Carson is likewise a noted architectural firm in San Antonio, known for the construction of the Tower of the Americas for the 1968 World’s Fair and its development of the San Antonio Riverwalk. Records in this collection consist primarily of files and drawings related to major projects conducted over the last fifty years. Pictured below is one such example, a photo of a sketch for the San Antonio River Grotto from the Ford, Powell & Carson collection.

The remaining four finding aids are provisional. These collections have not been processed, and their finding aids, while shortened, are intended to boost accessibility to our collections in the backlog. Mardith Schuetz-Miller is an anthropologist and historian who earned her PhD in American Civilization at UT, and her collection contains publication drafts and drawings, specifically concerning the architecture of Spanish Colonial sites in the American Southwest and Guam. Professor Emeritus Nancy Kwallek is a former director of the interior design program at UT, and was a major contributor to the program’s move to the School of Architecture. Her collection documents the history of the interior design program, as well as some of the works of interior designer Everett Brown. John Covert Watson is a noted Austin architect, known for his residences in the Austin area, especially around Lake Travis and West Lake Hills. His collection consists of architectural drawings for a selection of his projects. Finally, Richard Cleary is a Professor Emeritus in the School of Architecture here at UT, and his collection includes records from his own research and publication processes, as well as materials from courses he taught at UT.

Open Education Fellows Launch Cost-Free Italian Language Textbook

Exemplifying an embrace of affordable education, 2023 Open Education Fellows Dr. Amanda Bush and Silvia Luongo have successfully completed their fellowship project by creating Giornate Italiane, an Italian language textbook now available on Pressbooks. 

Authored entirely by Dr. Bush and Professor Luongo, this textbook carries a Creative Commons license, providing students with free access and eliminating the need to purchase a paid resource. Consequently, their course is now cost-free in terms of course materials, offering substantial financial relief to students.

The Open Education Fellows program, supported by the University of Texas Libraries, encourages faculty to develop open educational resources (OER) that enhance learning accessibility and affordability. 

The creation of OER textbooks ensures that all students, regardless of their financial situation, have equal access to essential learning materials. This initiative aligns with broader efforts to alleviate the financial burden of higher education and supports a more equitable academic environment.

Walter Ducloux Collection Now Accessible on Texas ScholarWorks

A collection of conductor, composer and educator Walter Ducloux is now discoverable on Texas ScholarWorks, the digital repository of The University of Texas at Austin.

Born in Germany in 1912, Ducloux immigrated to the United States in 1933. He held various teaching positions, including as a music professor at The University of Texas at Austin for 28 years. Ducloux was the co-founder of Austin Lyric Opera, and served as the director of the Austin Symphony Orchestra from 1972 to 1980. His contributions to the musical world were vast, influencing countless students and musicians through his work.

The Walter Ducloux collection is comprised of reel-to-reel tapes of historical recordings of operatic and orchestral works dated from 1949 to 1983. The recordings primarily feature performance ensembles from the University of Southern California and The University of Texas at Austin.

The initiative to enhance access to the Ducloux materials was spearheaded by Librarian for Performing Arts Molly Roy, who earlier this year proposed a new workflow to expedite the revelation of previously hidden materials in the Historical Music Recording Collection (HMRC). Roy’s innovative approach not only enhances accessibility but also facilitates the transition of these materials to more appropriate storage at the LSF.

The finding aid can be viewed here, and the bibliographic record is now searchable through the university’s catalog here. These resources enable users to find specific recordings by keyword and determine their exact locations within the Library Storage Facility (LSF).

Researchers and music enthusiasts alike will greatly benefit from this improved discovery of the rich recordings within the Walter Ducloux Collection. This milestone underscores the university’s commitment to preserving and promoting its valuable historical resources.

The successful implementation of this project is a testament to the collaborative efforts of several departments, with key contributions from staff across the Libraries, including Whit Williams and Marjie Lawrence from Content Management, Brittany Centeno and Joey Marez from Preservation and Colleen Lyon from Scholarly Communication. The collective efforts have been crucial in bringing this project to fruition.