Wednesday, November 8, 2017 - 00:00
We are proud to announce that beginning Fall 2018, partners at the University of Maryland, the University of South Carolina and the University of Toronto Scarborough will begin work on a prototype for the Early Modern Songscapes platform. The project is hosted at UTSC Library’s Digital Scholarship Unit and represents a development partnership between the DSU and the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities. This first phase of the project will launch early in 2019, to correspond with the annual conference at the U of T Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies.           The Early Modern Songscapes project aims to develop an intermedia online platform to support scholarly investigations early modern English song. The project has three primary goals: 

 To provide tangible insight into the flexibility of song as a genre by tracing individual lyrics and musical settings that moved through different textual and performance contexts in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century England; 

 To develop a digital interface that can productively animate the acoustic and visual facets of early modern English songs; and 

 To generate an interdisciplinary and collaborative hub for scholars, students, and performers of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century English songs that can also function as a resource for the music-loving general public. 
   While there is a great richness, elusiveness, and ambiguity of the term “song” as a generic category in the period, Early Modern Songscapes will focus on “ayres,” songs composed with a primary vocal line and usually performed with instrumental accompaniment. Popularized in the late sixteenth century with the published lute song collections of John Dowland and Thomas Campion, the ayre evolved in the first half of the seventeenth century into the declamatory vocal style perfected by Henry Lawes. The genre’s emphasis on clear communication of text makes it an ideal case study for the rich interplay between music and poetry in early modern England. 

   Although the ayre was a vital component of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century musical soundscapes, surprisingly few studies have attempted to use intermedia resources to capture the performance-based dimensions of the genre.    
Our platform aims to complement and build on comprehensive databases such as The Early British Broadside Ballad by providing an online “songscape” that animates the ayre’s multi-dimensionality by juxtaposing archival sources, contextual essays, and audio and video clips. An intermedia approach to the early modern ayre will make the facets of song that often seem the most intangible—its sonic fleetingness, its movement through varied textual and social settings, its connection to the performing body—a tangible focus for critical discussion. Early Modern Songscapes also aims to provide a centralized and methodologically playful forum for performance- and sound-oriented conversations about song that are currently taking place in literary and historical studies, in musicology, and in gender and cultural studies.

   Questions about the project may be directed to:    Katie Larson  UTSC English Department   Scott Trudell  University of Maryland   
Sarah Williams University of South Carolina
Wednesday, October 25, 2017 - 09:17

The Digital Scholarship Unit is very supportive of open access movements and open source software. We prioritize publication in Open Access journals such as Code4Lib  and use and develop Open Source software on Github

So, here’s to Open Access Week and all those celebrating and promoting resource sharing as the best way to create and share knowledge. The ideological links between Open Source and Open Access are well served by Open Access Week, which takes place at the same time as Hacktoberfest

Wednesday, October 11, 2017 - 11:26

The Digital Scholarship Unit is happy to promote the University of Toronto's campaign for Cyber Security Month. A page with resources for staying safe in the Uof T context is available online.  Our colleagues in IITS are always a great source of information for Information Security on the Scarborough Campus. The DSU is always happy to work with you and your subject liaison to create more secure workflows and backup strategies. Please contact us if you are interested in learning more about our preservation and security strategies for the special digital collections held at the UTSC Library.​

Thursday, September 28, 2017 - 15:44

The 16th Tamil Internet Conference was held at UTSC in late August, and two DSU personnel gave presentations on Digital Scholarship Tools and Techniques and Towards Building Ontologies for Linked Open Data in the Tamil Context (presentation in Tamil). Learn more by accessing the slides via these links in Tspace. 



Wednesday, September 13, 2017 - 13:57

We are always excited to see the students return to campus for the start of fall term. This fall, the DSU is involved in several pedagogical intiatives in the classroom. We're proud to support the Nearby Studies initative through Chris Berkowitz by maintaining a custom course website, through which students submit Oral Histories to a growing corpus of material covering the lives of locals as well as write and comment in a cross-disciplinary space. We are also happy to be present in Anne Milne's English courses this fall, through the DSU-hosted Hogarth Project. This project will be adding another set of images for students to annotate. Jayeeta Sharma will also be using materials hosted on her EHRN site in the classroom this fall. We have also heard from others who are using the materials from our Pedagogy Project in the classroom this year. We are grateful to the UTSC Library Liaisons for all of their hard work making these collaborations a success. If you are interested in seeing how DSU infrastructure or materials can help further digital pedagogy in the classroom, contact your Liaison Librarian.


Wednesday, August 30, 2017 - 10:37

The DSU have been collaborating with the Islandora CLAW team by taking part in the discussions, providing use cases, participating in the sprints and contributing to testing. For the last two weeks, Natkeeran and Marcus have also been taking part in the Islandora CLAW Sprint.


During the spring, Nat developed an ansible role in order to install activemq for the claw-playbook that's used to easily install Islandora CLAW.


About Islandora and Islandora CLAW

Islandora is a Free and Open Source Software that several institutions, companies and individuals collaboratively build.  If you are interested in learning more about the platform or contributing to its development, please contact us or the CLAW team.   


Islandora CLAW (CLAW Linked Asset WebFramework) is a next generation digital repository platform.  It is being designed to work with Drupal 8, Fedora 4, Apache Solr, Blazegraph and other related technologies.  It is a full fledged Linked Data application platform.


Tuesday, August 15, 2017 - 12:35

We are very excited to see the initial release of the Move to Islandora Kit tool (v0.9.0). Our very own developer Marcus Barnes along with Mark Jordan from Simon Fraser University are the current maintainers for this module.

The Move to Islandora Kit is an extensible PHP command-line tool for converting source content and metadata into packages suitable for importing into Islandora (or other digital repository and preservations systems). We find it to be a very powerful, extensible tool with a lot of potential applications and uses for migrations across many different systems.

Release page:

Cite the code:


Thursday, July 20, 2017 - 12:40

The unit is proud to announce that we have an article published in the most recent issue of Code4lib (37). Our Article is titled Annotation-based enrichment of Digital Objects using open-source frameworks and describes the technical details of the Unit's work on the Web Annotation Utility Module in more detail. This software supports several projects for the library, and has benefited from the support and use of UTSC Faculty. 

Wednesday, July 5, 2017 - 15:44

There is now a release of our Oral History Module and Web Annotation Utility Module compliant with the 7.x-1.9 version of Islandora - Take a look, and let us know if you notice any issues.

Oral History Module

Project page Release page On Github

Web Annotation Utility Module

Project page Release page On Github
Wednesday, June 21, 2017 - 10:53

This week we're attending the Joint Conference on Digital Libraries, an international conference jointly sponsored by IEEE-CS and ACM. This year, the conference is being held at the University of Toronto. Kim served on the organizing committee as Tutorial Chair to evaluate and select tutorial proposals for the conference. The schedule is packed with a number of interesting sessions with great topics such as web archiving, indexing and enhancing digital collections. Check out the schedule here.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017 - 15:43

We're back from IslandoraCon in Hamilton, ON and had a great time collaborating with over 100 local and international library and memory institution colleagues. Our presentations on the Oral History Solution Pack and Web Annotation Solution Pack are now in Tspace. Thanks as always to our UTSC Faculty collaborators for providing the use cases for this software. There is a lot to look forward to in Islandora, including a Fedora 4 compliant version that is now in alpha!  

Wednesday, May 10, 2017 - 13:25

If you're looking for Library DSU members next week, most of us are out of the office at IslandoraCon in Hamilton, Ontario from May 15-19th. We'll be hacking at the Hackfest, Presenting on both the Web Annotation Utility Module and Oral History Solution Pack, and generally meeting and greeting the librarians, developers, and systems administrators we work with all the time and rarely get to see face to face. 

Wednesday, April 26, 2017 - 14:10

If you are at the University of Toronto and attending this year’s TechKnowFile conference (“everything IT at U of T”) then we'll be presenting on the unit in IC 212 (4-4:50).

If you’d like to see our slide deck from the presentation, we’ll upload it this week to our Tspace collection

Wednesday, April 12, 2017 - 11:19

We’re in full on Islandora testing mode in preparation for the upcoming 7.x - 1.9 release and the release of our Web Annotation Utility Module and our Oral History Solution Pack prior to IslandoraCon.

As part of our testing, we found we needed the ability to have multiple users simultaneously accessing the same VM. Our systems administrator showed us a neat trick for those of you using Islandora VMs for testing and development. So, here it is:

Irfan's cool trick for letting others into your VM: With your Virtual Machine off, go to settings/network. There are slots for 4 adapters. By default the drop-down is set to "Nat." Change this to "Bridged Adapter" and start machine.  Login to the machine using the interface provided by the VM and find your IP address by running ifconfig -a | grep inet Provide this address to others. The IP + :8000 is Drupal for the VM provided by the Islandora release team (for example, Note the following: You now login (ssh) at vagrant@IPaddress (like vagrant@ Your IP might change, and you may to have to find the address again  Your network may change, causing you to have to run sudo /etc/init.d/networking and restart to update the machine's IP address This may have some unintended affects when performing Drupal functions

Overall, YMMV, but this has been very useful to us when testing. 

Wednesday, March 29, 2017 - 14:51

Our own Kim Pham has returned from Code4Lib 2017 in Los Angeles, where she presented a unit poster describing our work on the Web Annotation Framework (a solution pack with a release coming soon!). You can view the Poster in Tspace.