TEXAS TECH UNIVERSITY
For Immediate Release
Date: December 9, 2003
Re: TTU Libraries Archive Increasingly Utilized by Global Populations: Adds to Prestige of Texas Tech
Lubbock - Texas Tech University’s Archive of Turkish Oral Narrative (ATON) continues to report astounding electronic document delivery numbers and is getting noticed by organizations, media and scholars across the world.
ATON is one of the many sterling archives and research collections housed at Tech’s Southwest Collection/ Special Collections Library. It was founded in 1971 by the late Dr. Warren Walker, his wife and fellow researcher, Barbara Walker, and their co-founder Dr. Ahmet Uysal. The collection was donated to Texas Tech in 1980. But according to Dr. H.B. Paksoy, out-going Unit Head and Archivist for ATON, the archive has come a long way.
Evidently, the collection is being used by universities such as UC Berkeley, UCLA, Cornell, BYU and Ohio State in the US and overseas by Leiden, Netherlands; Ghent, Belgium; University of New England, Australia; and Medard, Czech Republic. All are using ATON for their formal coursework.
To date, more than 50 colleges and universities across the United States as well as overseas are not only accessing the ATON web site, but are using it.
"The website metrics continue to astound; we surpassed 500,000 documents delivered year to date, as of December 1, 2003," Paksoy said.
Paksoy states that "A perusal of the top web search engines reveals two sets of statistics: that ATON is number one on Google and on Yahoo; and that there are over 650 (six hundred fifty) links to the ATON website http://aton.ttu.edu from around the world".
(This number will fluctuate daily due to router and node clearances.)
"Information on these successes filtered back to Texas Tech, and inspired the Classical and Modern Languages and Literatures (CMLL) Department to seek funding to utilize ATON in their offerings", he said. "The Fulbright Program (funded by the US Congress) responded enthusiastically, and based on the ATON website holdings, a grant was received by the CMLL to offer two courses; one in Turkish language instruction, the other in Turkish culture".
Dr. Paksoy explained that ATON documents were electronically delivered to about 80% of all the countries on earth (according to US Department of State count), on all continents. The ATON users have utilized close to 15,000 distinct internet services access points for the purpose of reaching and obtaining documents.
"This can be summarized as ATON having a wide and deep user base globally, and not confined to a region or specific locality. ATON is thus waving the Texas Tech and the University Libraries flags in places where they were previously unknown".
Costs associated with document delivery are also tracked by ATON. Paksoy stated that, "We augmented the detailed user statistics with cost per click calculations. That is, we are keeping a tight control on the cost of delivering a document by ATON to a user. This reporting is achieved by calculating the total cost of digitizing all the materials on the website and dividing by the number of documents delivered (not ‘hits’ which contain quite a few fillers)". These ‘cost per click’ figures are also available online to campus users, immediately below the document delivery statistics. Dr. Paksoy noted that presently the cost of delivering one document by ATON appears to be $0.01. However, the statistics package employed for the purpose cannot go below that mark, and the real cost, he estimates is down to about half a penny.
The ATON website currently contains 15,000,000 (fifteen million) words, arranged in documents of varying lengths, mostly in .pdf format. These include Turkish Folktales and other literary materials. There are also over 40 hours worth of sound files in .mp3 format, and this latter category can be continuously growing, given that the original audio collection, donated by ATON founders has been digitized in its entirety.
In addition to universities, popular publications and news programs have reported on this collection. "ATON activities are gaining momentum across international platforms", said Paksoy.
The Voice of America (as mandated by the US Congress reflecting the official views of the US Government) conducted a telephone interview with him that was broadcast over eleven frequencies, covering the geographic territory from Bosnia in Eastern Europe to Baku in Asia.
Numerous articles have been written about ATON in publications such as The Chronicle of Higher Education, and the American Library Association’s College and Research Libraries publication.
Some of the largest professional groups in the world have also taken notice of ATON. Dr. Paksoy reported that groups such as the Middle East Studies Association, American Anthropological Association; American Folklore Society (Chartered by the US Congress), and specialized groups such as the Gutenberg Radio, Humanist Discussion Group (the largest one of its kind in the world) have all made mention of ATON.
For more information on the ATON and other Libraries Special Collections contact Dr. Bill Tydeman, Associate Dean of Libraries at 742-3749.