Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Cities and Buildings Database

Cities and Buildings Database is a project of the University of Washington Libraries. It uses CONTENTdm in managing the collection.

What was digitized
About 10,000 images of buildings and cities throughout the world are organized in this collection. It also includes conceptual sketches and models of Frank Gehry's Experience Music Project. Images resulted from scanned original slides and from other documents which are in public domain.

This database is intended for students, historians, researchers, and educators. I also thought that it could be an excellent source for architects, city and urban planners and developers, tourists or anyone who could be planning for a trip in that particular city, and any other individuals who may have interest in travel.

Within the search function is an alphabetical arrangement of countries. A user could easily point and click the country, and thumbnail images display. These are arranged alphabetically by title. Metadata is detailed with all the significant information about each image - title, architect, country, city, date of construction, building name, type, photographer, date of photograph, source, and copyright holder. Type refers to the type of the building like apartments, office buildings, libraries, etc.

Search function
Search could be done using different fields - by country, city, style, architect, date of construction and other options. When searching by country, user could select specific country.
Other search options refer to advanced search function where a user could search across all the digital collections at University of Washington Libraries or could select available collections.

One needs to know what he/she is looking for. An advantage in its search function though is that it allows searching of the terms that are in the database. For example, when a user selects 'type' as the search index, terms assigned to materials in the database could be selected.

Overall, this database is an excellent source for information on cities and buildings throughout the world. Images reflect that scanning was professionally done. Based on my evaluation, search function is customized to an experienced searcher.

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