Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Darwin Correspondence Project

I wasn’t quite sure where to post this now that classes are over, but I thought it might be appropriate here instead of WebCT since it regards a digitization project. In case you didn’t catch it, this article regarding opening public access to the Darwin Correspondence Project was in today’s top science and nature stories on BBC: Darwin's letters archived on web
The database contains complete, searchable, texts of some 5,000 letters written by and to Charles Darwin during the Beagle voyage and publication of the Origin of the Species.
Wow. Remember when people actually wrote letters?!
Now, most of us just blog.
(Along with email and IM).

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Linus Pauling and the Nature of The Chemical Bond: A Documentary History

”Linus Pauling and the Nature of The Chemical Bond: A Documentary History” is a digital collection from the Valley Library at Oregon State University. This is a very specific collection dealing with the scientist Linus Pauling. A donated collection to library contains a variety of primary sources about Pauling and his research. Published works, manuscripts, audio and video files, and others are all included. The site indicates that the intention was to digitize all of these document types, though at this time audio and video files are not available.

The main page of the site is well laid out and attractive. A link to an introduction to the man, his research, and the collection is provided as well as a variety of links to access the digitized documents. Documents are arranged by format type and type of work (published/unpublished, etc.) Another interesting feature is the “day by day” feature that allows the user to select manuscript pages by date to get a timeline on how the research progressed.

Very specific collections like this typically have a small audience. The interesting original features and document views as well as the attractiveness of the site overall will help to pique the interest of casual viewers. The documents are all digitized well and are accompanied by good metadata. The site does everything it can to attract users and does an excellent job doing so.


Scribd is an exciting new digital collection that epitomizes the user-created digital collection. Scribd allows for easy uploading of a variety of document types such as PDF files, Microsoft Word documents, text files, and others. Users can create a profile that will identify the creator of the work or they can remain anonymous if they wish.

Documents are made available on the site through a search engine and by browsing category listings. Documents are placed in categories by creator chosen tags. Selecting a tag on any document links to a listing of all the documents with that tag. Users also have the option of rating works. Visitors to the site can see the average rating of each document as well as search the highest rated documents.

The topics and subjects of the documents range widely. The central theme is that the same people reading and rating documents are creating them. The information found in these documents may or may not be accurate; the site is more artistic than informational in nature. The variety of search options and document formats are impressive, as are the sheer number of documents and users on the site. I look forward to seeing more user-created collections emerge.


EcoAccess is a site that contains a variety of resources concerning environmental quality in North Carolina. This site is spearheaded by an individual and is supported by ibiblio, a group that works with UNC to manage similar small digital collections.

This site is just starting out with only about two dozen works available. Due to a lack of institutional funding the documents in the collection are mostly city or county documents that are publicly available elsewhere. Documents are available in HTML format, which appears to be the native format of the works. These works are typically annual reports or worksheets that give North Carolina residents information about environmental quality in their area or tips on how to maintain this quality during the home building process.

The site is intended to be primarily a community site. As such, the functions within the site that are the most promising relate to community interaction. An FAQ, while currently limited, will serve as an excellent resource for those looking for basic information about environmental issues. Also, the basic search interface on the site includes an option to give the owner feedback about the site or to submit your own documents for inclusion in the collection.

The site is too new to get a real sense of its quality but it certainly has potential. These sorts of smaller community based collections are something I think digital libraries are well suited for. Users can find a variety of local information easily and can contribute their own to add to the overall knowledge base. Given the proper amount of community input this site could bee a valuable local resource in the future.

KMODDL – Kinematic Models for Design Digital Library

The KMODDL – Kinematic Models for Design Digital Library is a project of Cornell University. Its purpose is to educate users in the science of kinematics; the interaction of forces without the interference of friction or gravity. This science was popular in the nineteenth century in designing machines (e.g. Examining how forces travel through a series of gears.) Not only is this science interesting from a historical aspect, but the advances in modern technology have minimized the effects of the external forces mentioned earlier. This makes the study of kinematics more relevant for contemporary scientists.

From my point of view, however, the best part about this collection is the beauty of its objects. Models of different types of gears are shown as photographs of actual models and as virtual objects in Quicktime's VR format. The VR models move so that you can see how they work! Many of the objects also have video associated with them (also Quicktime) that allow the user to watch the physical models in action. Scanned versions of books on kinematics are also available. These scans are viewable as HTML files is three different scales. Chapters and the table of contents are available for download as PDF file as well.

Overall this is an excellent site. Unlike many digital libraries, this appears to be truly geared towards the user. The variety of formats items are available in and the interactivity of some of the items increases the usability of the objects and enhances the overall user experience.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Virtual Museums

Virtual museums enable institutions to expand their audience not only to the items within their exhibits, but to recreate or invent new exhibits within an interactive space. Normally only a small percentage of an institution’s existing collection is viewable on exhibit to the public and virtual collections expand access to display pieces in storage. There are many challenges and limitations to the creation and success of virtual collections including 3-dimensional object capture and the requirement of downloaded client-side plug-ins, which users may be reluctant to do or take the time to do. As for development, updates and changes may be more difficult. And for users, navigation may be unfamiliar and confusing.

Online virtual museums are limited or rudimentary. If virtual exhibits do exist, they are primarily limited to kiosks and DVDs at this point. Interestingly, the efforts I did discover were from institutions abroad.

Louvre, Imaginary Exhibitions
Paris, France
The only collection included is an “imaginary” exhibition to honor Jean-Honoré Fragonard, a notable 18th century French painter and one of the first curators at the Louvre. The Virtuools plug-in is required to view this exhibit. Along the bottom are navigation instructions, a description along the right, and the navigable 3-D space at the left. Beginning with an overview of the complete map, the user can select a room to enter. Navigation can be confusing and sluggish or unresponsive. Confusion may also result in the difference of key locations between countries because the “z” is used to navigate up, but on the US keyboard “z” is located below the other keys. Artworks can be clicked on to view descriptions.

Van Gogh 3D Exhibition
Amsterdam, Netherlands
The 3D Van Gogh Museum requires a Windows machine and a client-side downloaded program, however it no longer seems to be supported. Research into the project revealed that the 3D Van Gogh Exhibit recreated the first floor exhibit space of the Van Gogh Museum which users could navigate through the space, zoom into details of any painting and then “step” into a simulation of two of Van Gogh's works, The Bedroom and The Yellow House for further insight into the artist’s life and work. An interesting feature was the multi-user mode, which allowed users to chat with other users through real-time text messaging or with audio chat.

Here is link to the D-Lib article, “The Museum and the Media Divide: Building and Using Digital Collections at the Instituto de Cultura Puertorriquena” which presents the efforts to build an interactive virtual exhibit within a 3D environment.

As the technology continues to develop, we may see digital collections contained within virtual spaces in the future. Future generations, such as the Millennials, are comfortable navigating within these virtual 3-D spaces through gaming and virtual environments such as Second Life. Networked exhibits create further opportunities in creating interactive virtual exhibits with user participation such as special exhibits curated by users.

Louvre, A Closer Look

Jean Friestad’s previous posting of the Louvre focused on the Thirty-five Thousand Works of Art digital collection. In searching for projects creating virtual museum spaces, I discovered the Louvre’s A Closer Look studies based on two series: the Palettes documentary series and the Art on Stage conferences.

Selected items open in a pop-up window which fills the screen. Interactive elements include the ability to zoom into details of the artworks, and historical and artistic analysis through audio commentaries, video and text.

In a closer look at items from this digital collection, a video with voiceover introduces the object within its exhibition space and zooms into a close-up of the object. Video overlays on the image, synchronized with the audio, animate and focus on object details. Other analysis features focus to notable areas of the object and mark symbolic features for interpretation. Users can view theses symbolic interpretations by rolling over the marked features.

Although the number of items covered by A Closer Look is rather small and limited, this digital collection provides a detailed interactive contextual story of selected significant pieces within the Louvre’s collections. The extremely rich historical and artistic interpretations and analysis is provided for such masterpieces as the Mona Lisa, the Seated Scribe, the Romanesque Virgin, and the Code of Hammurabi.

An example of a bad use of Flash technology:
Some common mistakes in designing with Flash technology are the misuse of irrelevant animations and effects. One example, I encountered was at the “Exposición interactiva de la nueva museografía del Museo de Arte Religioso Porta Coeli” (My search for the virtual museum projects originates from an article I read about the process of one such project created for the Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña. I don’t actually read Spanish which made my ability to navigate the site somewhat limited.) The use of Flash capabilities was poorly selected, including the distracting mirrored effect of image and text, and too small text and images that cannot scale. What is interesting is that some works of art are shown in their context of their physical gallery space. If noticed, buttons scroll through images of an object enabling users to view the object in closer detail. Lastly, fade transitions between images are too slow.

Open Library

Free access to rare book collections from around the world. Books can be read for free or, if requested, they can be bound and mailed for a fee. The site is part of Open Content Alliance. A consortium of colleges, museums, search engine providers, and gardens.

The books are from well known authors such as Harriet Beecher Stowe, Henry James, and Horatio Alger. Some books have audio capabilities so that you can listen to the story instead of reading. Ones can upload a book that may be added to the site in the future. The scanned material is of a high quality so reading the books are not difficult to read under normal circumstance and it is not straining. The site is beautifully done.

The titles can be a little hard to read, but by hovering the cursor over a book a tagline appears with easier to read information. To access more books and other media, click on the Internet Archive. There you will find a large collection of other media to view for free as well. There are movies, other audio, web content and software.

The Intellectual Property Digital Library

“The Intellectual Property Digital Library Web site provides access to intellectual property data collections hosted by the World Intellectual Property Organization.”
The site provides databases on domestic and international laws concerning patents, designs, copyright, article 6ter, trademarks and more.

Drop down boxes appear when you hover your mouse over the headings. The audience for the site can be anyone needing one stop for intellectual property information, especially international intellectual property questions. There is also an extensive list of resources as needed. You register to receive RSS feed and as a frequent user.

The Persus Digital Library

The goal of the library is to bring a wide range of source materials to as large an audience as possible. It is a project of the Department of Classics at Tufts University. It was launched in 1987 and has been under continuous development since that time.

The project started out devoted exclusively to ancient Greek culture, but has since begun expanding into other areas of the humanities. As for the intended audience, they; “try ... to avoid drawing lines between general and specialist, research and pedagogical, disciplinary and interdisciplinary. Even if we cannot be all things to all people, we in the humanities can certainly be more things to more people than we have been in recent times.”

The interactive search tools serve to enhance the site. The site looks a bit raw, not as polished as one would expect. That does not detract from the rich content though. The content of the site are easily navigated and policies are easy to find and use.

Questia – The Online Library of Books and Journals

Tag line: Faster, easier research.
It is advertised as: The world’s largest online library of books plus tens of thousands of journal articles. That includes magazine and newspaper articles as well.
Questia has the advantages of:
-bringing a large library to those that would normally not have access to a convenient, extensive collection of scholarly content
-more than 67, 000 full content books and 1.5 million full context articles
-automatic bibliography creation
-offering a range of search, notetaking and writing tools.

For full access to the site you must subscribe. You have options to pay on monthly, quarterly, or annual basis. Prices range from 19.95 per month to 99.95 per year.

The privacy policy and terms of agreement policy are solid in content.
The library is the brain child of founder Troy Williams. Site was launched in 1999 and now has subscribers in 187 countries. The site was designed to support undergraduate study in the humanities and social sciences. The titles are selected by professional librarians based on set criteria. Preservation and collection development are also taken into account.

American Journeys

In 2003, the Wisconsin Historical Society and National History Day teamed up to create a fantastic “Digital Library and Learning Center” called American Journeys: Eyewitness Accounts of Early American Exploration and Settlements. The collection consists of more than 150 books, manuscripts and travel narratives containing first-hand accounts of exploration and early settlement across North America, beginning over 1000 years ago. Explorers included in this collection range from Eric the Red to Christopher Columbus to Lewis and Clark.

To access the materials, users can browse or search in a number of different ways. Find a Document produces a chronological list of titles, which can then be narrowed down geographically or by expedition. Images allows a guided search of all the illustrations included in the documents. An Advanced Search can be done across the collection within the bibliographic data or the full text of the materials. Even with the Help feature, searching this site is complicated. For those who find searching the collection to be a daunting task, there is also a Highlights feature (again in chronological order) which picks out about 40 key moments in the history of North American exploration.

The amount of work that must have gone in to producing this digital collection is mind-boggling. The About section informs us that “every page of every document was read and indexed by a historian or librarian.” In addition, each document’s entry includes a background summary of several paragraphs, notes about the author(s) (even those authors who are unknown) and notes about the document itself, and links to other internet reference sources that relate in some way to that document. And this does not include the work that went into creating the digital images of the items. The people who contributed to this project must really love what they do! (To see an example of just how thorough these entries are, take a look at the Adventures of Nicolas Perrot, 1665-1670.)

The project, as noted on the home page, was created for students and centered around a specific theme of National History Day, “Exploration, Encounter & Exchange.” There are also abundant resources for teachers, including suggested topics, lesson plans, and information about sensitive content. I think anyone with a passion for history will find this to be a worthwhile learning tool.

This is also a good resource for anyone who might be interested in how a massive digitization project is put together. The About section has fairly detailed descriptions of various aspects of the whole project, including the Scope and Content, and Indexing and Metadata. A list of staff involved in the project is also included, and the number of people who participated points once again to the enormous effort that was put into this digital collection.

Making the most of the collection
On the homepage of the American Journeys website, users will find the minimum requirements for using the site. Java Script is necessary for page images to display correctly, and Adobe Acrobat Reader 5.0 (or higher) is required to download and print. When a person wants to print or download a specific item, the website indicates how many pages and roughly how big (MBs) the document is. While the site is complex and almost overwhelming at times, it is clear that the creators wanted to make the site as helpful and informational as possible.

Vivarium, Hill Museum & Manuscript Library

The Vivarium is a collection maintained by the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library (HMML) at Saint John's University in Collegeville, Minnesota. The collection contains digitized manuscripts, art, rare books, photographs, audio, video, and other resources from two Benedictine monastic and educational communities in central Minnesota.

The Vivarium brings together an impressive collection of digitized manuscript, rare books, art, newspapers, etc. creating the world largest manuscript image collection, with over 90,000 manuscripts. They also worked but more than a dozen international institutions to preserve fragile artifacts.

What was digitized?
The collection mainly focuses on the religious content, but also art, literature, philosophy, music, and history. The manuscripts are grouped into two big groups, in western manuscripts and Eastern Christian manuscripts, and they predate 1550.

How are the digital assets presented?
And the images are listed in simple clean list with a thumbnail of the image, the title, subject and a short description. By clicking on the thumbnail, a new window will open with function buttons on the top, the actual picture, and detailed description of to picture on the bottom. I found interesting that they allowed the users to rotate picture and also to crop it, then save, print or email the selection.

Search function
The collection her has a very complex, but very simple and self explanatory search interface. The collection can be searched by keyword, exact phrase or text string, illuminated capital letters (which can be very useful considering ancient manuscripts), type of materials, and of course advanced search.

The collection focuses on the needs of the students, researchers and visitors of this school, but also for anybody around the world.

Overall Comments
That the collection illustrates the museum’s 40 years of dedicated work to try to create a very focused, but also very complete collection. The collection brings together unique documents from around the world, and shares them with high quality images and in detail descriptions. I consider it as a great resource for research and general interest.

Scottish Resources Archival Network (SCRAN)

Scran is a charity and online learning resource base with 336,500 images, movies and sounds from museums, galleries, archives and the media. The Scottish Executive funds Scran which you can either use at different levels according to your subscription. There is “basic free access” or you can subscribe to an enhanced access designed for educational institutions including “over 3,500 professionally written concise illustrated histories on events, people, places and a wealth of other topics.” Subscribers can also access copyright cleared resources and view full captions on all records and use learning packs.Basic Access:I reviewed the Basic Access which included a basic and advanced search, fielded search and revised search capabilities. Upon locating a record, you could view the thumbnail image and a short description of the image. For example, “Title: The East of Scotland Cycling Club at Cramond Inn, Cramond Glebe Road, Cramond, Edinburgh Scran ID: 000-299-992-136-C Image Rights Holder: Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland”. According to the web site an enhanced subscription would deliver ‘full captions’ on the records which I presume meant the full metadata for the record. It would have been interesting to compare the level of metadata that you could view for each, as I thought the metadata was sufficient in the basic access.

Scran utilises open source software and runs on a cluster server configuration with MySQL and PHP under Linux. The searchable database is over 1.5Gb and total storage including all assets is over 4Tb. Sixty additional websites are hosted as linked services. I found the aesthetics of the site slightly cluttered and confusing to navigate at first, I think a simpler interface would suit the educational focus they want to present.

I liked the fact that the site was free for Scottish schools and provided free basic access via the Web. However, I thought it was ‘a bit mean’ that they restricted content to the copyright cleared material; but then I checked how much the online subscriptions were which changed my mind as the charges were nominal and were only there to supplement the funding they received as a charity. For example, a Subscription for Home User for 1 Year is £29.99 inc VAT.

The fact that SCRAN obviously has a lot of support Nationally also impressed me with over 300 partner organisations. It seems a very stable and accepted resource in Scottish educational facilities which showed to me that it had marketed itself to a specific audience and created 'added value' packages for learning to encourage use which was highly beneficial to the project.

Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library

at Yale University

Beinecke's Digital Images Online offers more than 70,000 images of great variety of topics and material types. The Collection is a continuously growing collection, as 1200 pictures are added every second week.

What is digitized
The Digital Images Online contains only documents from the Beinecke collection, presenting scanned images of photos, manuscripts, correspondences, artworks, objects, and illustrations, but also selected pages from printed works.

How are the digital assets presented?
The images are scanned in full 24-bit color, and they are displayed in thumbnails with description, save, and zoom options in the list. As a click and see item you can see the full size picture with complete description (title, description, subject headings, notes, and etc.) with printing option.

Search function
The collection only allows search, and we have the option to search three main collections together (Photonegatives, Beinecke Digital Collection and Marinetti Libroni scrapbook) The collection can be searched by keyword and exact phrase with Boolean search options.

The audience of the collection is mainly to university’s students, faculty, and researchers, but anybody who is interested can use this online digital collection for free.

Overall Comments
the collection's website interface is simple and user-friendly. Next to every search window there is an easy access to knowledge and detailed help menu. The collection also has useful features as an option to create groups and to order prints of the selected images. This online collection competes mechanically the great variety of online resources provided by Yale University to do research community.

Victorian women writers Project

at the Indiana University

The Victorian Women Writers Project must thought it by the Indiana University, and the project scope is to produce highly accurate transcriptions of works by British women writers of the 19th century, and the project will embrace works of different genres. The goal is to create a great resource for students and professors teaching English literature.

What is digitized
The collection will cover great variety of research or genre, like anthologies, novels, political pamphlets, religious tracts, children's books, and volumes of poetry and verse drama. The collection already couple of hundreds of digitized work from more than 50 women author.

Search functions
The collection can be searched in two different ways; one simple search, and one which enables Boolean search. We have the options to search for keywords or exact phrase.

How are the digital assets presented
As the click on the search result, we can access the HTML transcript of the work. There is no option to see the original view of the digitized material.

This collection was created to support the study of the English women literature of the 19th century. This collection provides access to accurate and complete collection of works of more than 50 women author.

Overall comments
The collection aims to cover a great number of author's and their work, and its goal is to provide accurate transcripts of these works. However it would be important to show where these works can be found. None of the digitized works have citations or details about the resource they used to get the information from. This makes me wonder if to have the accurate and complete collection of work is enough to support a valuable academic research. I would recommend as improvement to this collection to give references about the digitized materials source. This would add value to the collection and ease the usability of it.

Digital Video Library

at Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

The Science Media Group, part of the Science Education Department at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and producer of A Private Universe, has built an extensive collection of digital video materials supporting science, technology, engineering, and mathematics(STEM) education reform.

The collection’s goal is to create an online resource for teachers of K-12 to teach sciences. The collection has more than 1020 videos available for K-12 students, cross-referenced and also matched with the state educational standards.

What is the digitized
The collection presents short video clips in very specific science questions. Some of the videos shows national educational benchmarks, others gives ideas to teachers how they can better illustrate what the student learn.

Search functions
The collection can be accessed in seven different ways. The first one is a quick search option, where the user searches by keyword or phrase and can apply limits based on benchmarks and grade level. The second option is, when the user can search by State standard map or learning goals. This can be very useful when a teacher was to get a better idea how to meet an educational standard in a particular topic. The third option is to search with the graphical map, where the user can see how different topics relate to each other. The user can also search by custom criteria or can just simply choose to see it all.

How are the digital assets presented
After we made a search we will receive a list of hits. By choosing the a record new window will open with the description of the clip (title, description, standard, program ) where the presentation was performed, copyrights, and the publisher), an embedded window with the movie and also a transcript of the movie in PDF.

The collection was created with the needs of the K-12 teachers in mind. It is very simple to search through the collection, as the topic, standard and grade level is clearly marked.

Overall comments
This collection can be a great online resource for teachers finding new ideas to illustrate basic, but also very abstract science issues. The collection aims to cover all the topics for K-12 graders.

Provincetown Advocate Live!

Advocate live! Get the project done by the Provincetown public Library in collaboration with several other institutions in the town of Provincetown, MA. The scope of the project was to make the out of copyright issues of the Provincetown Advocate, currently Provincetown Banner newspaper available online by using Olive software and also to preserve this valuable newspaper, as the original copies got damaged. This collection was only available in one copy, on microfilm at the library, and it was accessible only by appointment. This project makes available issues from 1918, 1931 to 1934, and 1936 to 1967.

What is digitized
The collection contains the issues of the Provincetown Advocate a weekly newspaper from 1918 to 1967 with a couple of years missing, due to lack of a copy that could have been digitized or the condition of the copy was extremely bad.

Search functions
The collection can be searched and browsed. The search engine supports Boolean search, and there's an option to which fields do we want to search (article, picture, and ads). They can also apply limits to our search, if you want to search a particular time. The browse option gives an easy overview of the collection.

How are the digital assets presented
The content is presented in the original view of the newspaper, but it gave us the option of a full-text search as well. The software gives us the possibility to create groups of articles we thought are interesting for us, and also they can e-mail the results. The smart print option is a great feature of the collection. As we press the print button the software will send the whole article to the printer although, the article may be on different pages of the newspaper.

The collection can be useful for local history or genealogy researchers, but the general public may find this collection interesting as well.

Overall comments
The collection is a great resource for research, but in the same time it's a great way to preserve and create access to a very scarce information resource. The project brought together several local institutions, which recognized the importance of this unique collection. Although the project was the short term one, it required across institutional collaboration and teamwork to make it happen.

ALA Archives Digital Collections

at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

This project aims to make available a chance and documents from the American Library Association's archive. The project was started from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The project has two main groups, one focusing on features and documents related to the American Library Association's history, the other one which showcases pictures about library buildings. The library building project is an ongoing project, till now three states have been covered.

What is digitized
The collection contains photographs, postcards, photo negative, posters and manuscripts representing events and groups of people relevant to the American Library Association's history.

Search functions
The collection can be searched by keyword, the name of the librarian, time period and also the type of the material. If they choose to advanced search we have the option to search the American Library Association's archive together with the University of Illinois’ other digital collections.

How are the digital assets presented
The project uses CONTENTdm digital collection software, which allows their listing of the results with the thumbnail, title, and a short description of the item. If you click on the item we will see the picture in its full size, and the options to rotate, crop and zoom in the picture. On the bottom of the page you can find a description of the big chair in great detail.

This collection will be useful for anybody who's interested in the history of the American Library Association, but also who is looking for images of a librarian or library.

Overall comments
Porto this project is still an ongoing; it is already a valuable resource for research of the American Library Association's history. Also a great preservation project which tries to make available unique and scarce resource.

The European Library Project

This project was initiated by a noncommercial organization that the scope to create one search interface for 23 national library’s digital collections. The European Library Project created axis two over 150,000 entries across Europe, and this number is still growing as new members’ collections are added. The collection contains documents in more than 20 languages.

What is digitized
The collection embraces all the digital contents created by national libraries in Europe. This means that the cover her unique, National Heritage artifacts and treasures preserved in more than a dozen type of materials. The project also features unique national treasures group by countries.

Search functions
The searching the collection is interesting as it has to meet the search challenge of the multilingual content. Such search feature can be an example for a possible world digital collection. As he enters search keyword the search engine will searched the subject heading, titles, author and return the results for the exact matches, but in the same time will use truncation and "wild cards” to find other possible matches in all the other collections. This is made possible with the Z39.50 protocol and the advantages of XML. Although the result list shows all of the results found in different connections on one page, as they click on the “see online” button, these will be lead to the home page of the institution who owns the digital copy of that particular item.

How the digital assets are presented
The way how the results are displayed is also interesting as it accommodates and makes visually easy to navigate in the great variety of results. The main results list will show the exact matches with the keyword, the sidebar we will show the number of hits grouped by the institutions, and we also have the options see only the items available online in full text. The results list will show the title and author and by clicking the ”see online” button, new window will open with the full text.

This collection aims to ease the way he begins search the European written cultural heritage. No one shared interface to the collection is available to anybody who wants to get a complete set of results from several, otherwise independent institution.

Overall comments
I believe project like days are a great example for professional collaboration and significant preservation effort across institutions. It is also a very nice way to promote digital collections and increase the number of users visiting these collections. This collection on one hand promotes the value of unique national treasures, on the other hand and forces a shared European identity across nations.


Matapihi is described as a ‘window onto the online collections of a number of New Zealand cultural organisations’ which links to over 80,000 multiple format items including pictures, objects, sounds, movies and texts. While not a stand alone digitisation project in the usual sense, I thought I would include it as it shows how many different digital collections can be organised onto one web site in a successful way using a metadata repository. It is this metadata repository hosted by the National Library which is the integral part of this collection, as the images themselves are hosted by their respective partner organisations. A key driver for this project was the New Zealand National Digital Forum (NDF) which “is a coalition of museums, archives, art galleries, libraries and government departments working together to enhance electronic access to New Zealand’s culture and heritage”. The NDF is in my opinion a key organisation which develops and instigates digital change and discussion in New Zealand.

Metadata standards:
For Matapihi to be successful, the National Library had to set stringent metadata standards. They chose the Dublin Core Metadata Element Set which the partner organisations either input from scratch or adapted/mapped from their own metadata systems. Organisations then supplied metadata as eXtensible Markup Language (XML) files using the Resource Description Framework (RDF) syntax.

This site is bilingual in Maori and English.

Benefits of Matapihi:
Matapihi not only benefits the user who only has to go to a ‘one-stop-shop’ to access a number of key collections, but also the partner organisations who benefit in terms of publicity of their collections, and learning new skills supported by the National Library. I think this partnership on a National level is key to the development of New Zealand digital collections, and it is to the National Libraries credit that they have provided a environment in New Zealand where the sharing of collections and information is supported by many key parties including the Government, partner organisations, the public, researchers, etc.

Searching and Functionality:
Users can perform Basic or Advanced searchers and also contains special collections ‘showcases’ and a ‘lucky dip’ function for casual browsers of the site. Thumbnails and short descriptions of the results of your search are available, unless there are copyright restrictions on the image. You can view the full Dublin Core record (which is cool for us nerdy library studies types :) ) and also ‘Find out more’ about using or ordering the image in terms of specific copyright restrictions and links to the owning library or archive. I found the site easy and intuitive to use which would be simple enough for primary school students to navigate.

I think Matapihi is a wonderful National level project which has many tangible benefits not only to the user who no longer have to repeat their searches in many different repositories, but also for the partner organisations involved who develop their digitisation projects based on Internationally accepted standards. Very Cool!

The John Adams Library

at the Boston Public Library

The Collection
Before his death, John Adams donated his personal library to the town of Quincy, MA, specifically to be used for educational purposes at a school. The uniqueness of this project stems from the contextual information of the collection associated to John Adams at a personal level. Many of the volumes include notations regarding when, where and for how much the book was purchased, and includes handwritten personal annotations by John Adams. The most heavily annotated volumes were given priority for digitization and in consultation with an advisory board of leading scholarly authorities on John Adams. Users can explore the collection using the Timeline interface or Search.

The timeline is an educational digital exhibit of collection highlights displayed in a beautifully designed Flash interface and a virtual companion to the John Adams Unbound physical gallery exhibition. The timeline, as the name suggests, enables users to browse through the collection by a timeline. Selected items are grouped by when they were acquired during John Adam’s lifetime. The timeline is broken into five periods (education and law, revolution, diplomacy, executive office, and retirement) and contextual information from these different periods includes highlights of John Adams’ life and the world events. Within each time period, users scroll through screenshots of the available documents and its title is visible when users rollover the image. Along the header, a portrait of John Adams ages as the user moves through the timeline. Entering into the collection, users are presented with contextual information and scalable images of the book. Not all pages are viewable, but rather certain highlighted pages supplemented with detailed background and historical information.

Search enables researchers to search through the collection, including non-digitized items. Methods include searching the entire collection by book (keyword, title, author and category) or browsing books by category; search, limited to the digitized volumes, is of the handwritten annotations by keywords. Annotation search results link to a catalog record with a scalable image. Users can also search within the selected book and navigate through pages of the book in traditional linear fashion or through a drop-down page menu with annotated pages marked by an asterisk. Images of the original annotations are scalable so users can read the handwritten text from the original document and transcriptions of the annotations are also provided, easing legibility. Annotation search enables researchers to catch previously missed references and discover new connections in volumes that they previously would not have examined.

Additional Information
Other primary materials related to John Adams are contained within other collections located at the Mass Historical or the Homestead in Quincy. Certain personal items, such as the papers of Abigail Adams, are not included in this particular collection because of their lack of association in the education of students. This project was funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the General Services Administration. As a result of the digitization of the collection, Beth Prindle, the project manager and lead curator, noticed an increased access to the collection by patrons seeking materials not necessarily associated with John Adams.

The Open Library

The Open Library is a demonstration by the Internet Archives, an Open Content Alliance member, of one way in which books can be represented online. On its home page, the Open Library takes a rather different approach with an interface limited to visual browsing. Users select books by its cover. Rather than grouping books by content or publishing date, a screenshot of book covers are randomly collaged on the page. Missing book covers are represented by a solid color graphic with the title visible on the rollover.

Navigating through the pages is animated and each book has a number of features including search, print, details, magnify and listen. Search is limited to a simple search and the terms are tagged within the document are highlighted in yellow. Print allows user to download a PDF, a interactive file for a client-side reader (DjVu) or print-on-demand. Details open a pop-up window within the browser window to limited metadata regarding the book including the title, author, average rating, reviews, collection, contributor, publisher, language, public date, and more details link. Logged-in users can add and read reviews.

Additional Information
The home page also links to: Table of Contents and The Vision.
Table of Contents is slightly misleading; it is not an index of website content, but rather provides information regarding the Open Library, the Internet Archive and the Open Content Alliance described in more detail in The Vision.

Through a virtual book format, the Vision describes the initiatives by the Open Content Alliance (OCA). Digitization efforts are automated using the Scribe system and image standards selected to maintain quality regardless of the size of the original physical object. Images are all searchable, legible, printable and downloadable. Digitized books included in this collection are within the public domain and the OCA relies on Creative Commons licenses to encourage greatest degree of access and reuse.

For long-term archiving and preservation to support current and future formats, uncompressed original images are saved. The storage capacity required for these uncompressed images is impressive:
They estimated an uncompressed page image = 20 MB, 300 pages = 6 GB, a million books = 6 petabytes (Meta -> Giga -> Tera -> Peta). The OCA is working with a system designed specifically for preservation and access at the petabyte level called the Petabox manufactured by Capricorn Technologies. Their data preservation policy is to migrate data every 3 years and to replicate in multiple locations.

Other interesting efforts include print-on-demand and Internet bookmobiles. Print-on-demand through enables single books to be printed and shipped at a reasonable price, comparable to larger scale publishers. OCA is partnered with partnered with Europe and Egypt and developing Internet bookmobiles which allow distribution of downloadable, printed and bound books at a lower cost than book lending.


Since this site is a demonstration, rather than a fully developed site, there are a number of flaws including with navigation and with the search and audio features. When the user clicks into a book, there is no universal global menu on the interface to enable users to link to another book or return to the homepage.

Search is not effective. Sample searches based on existing words either were not returned or is too precise and will not search results based on stemming (i.e. A search will not include plurals. For example, “edition” will not return “editions”).

The audio format has to be downloaded (at least on a Mac) and audio files inform users the lack of audio associated with the book. Users should not have to download audio to be informed of non-existing audio and streaming audio would create a more seamless experience.

Japanese Historical Maps, UC Berkeley East Asian Library

The East Asian Library (EAL) at the University of California Berkeley houses the second largest academic East Asian collection in the United States. East Asian collections are composed of Chinese, Japanese, Korean and other East Asian language materials. The Japanese collection is notable as the largest among academic institutions, the only institution along with the LOC which functions as a depository for Japanese government publications and for its almost unrivaled, even in Japan, Murakami Library composed of first edition writings from the Meiji period (1868-1912). The current EAL Director, Mr. Zhou was able to secure funding and project management from Cartography Associates to digitize its Japanese historic maps.

Included in the collection acquired by from the Mitsui family in 1949 are maps from a variety of sources including screens, manuscript maps, most unique is the early Japanese woodblock-print maps; maps of Japan and the world. The earliest Japanese city and world maps date back from the Tokugawa period (1600-1867); among the earliest maps are those dating back to the mid-1600s. Also part of the collection are maps from the Meiji period, mostly dated before 1890. Many are printed on handmade paper and a considerable number printed from woodblocks. This digital collection presents over 1,110 maps (out of 2,300) from the EAL collection curated by Yuki Ishimatsu, the Head of Japanese Collections. Within the last year, 206 maps were added to the digital collection.

Items from the collection can be viewed in three different formats: the inSight Browser, the inSight Java Client and the GIS browser. The inSight Browser launches in a new window, which fills the screen and displays thumbnails against a black background. A features menu along the left provides users the ability to group images, to view metadata of the original source material and the digital surrogate, to search images, to print images and information, and to view help. In addition to keyword search, the search feature enables users to browse the collection by Country, State/Province, or author that provides a list of terms from which the user can select from. The list is a great feature to enable browsing, improve search success by avoiding transliteration inconsistencies. Users can choose to print thumbnails, metadata or a larger resolution image. Double-clicking on a thumbnail opens another pop-up window into the “image workspace” with a detailed image of the map enabling user to zoom in and out and other features.

The inSight Java Client requires a download to the client-side advanced viewer and in additional to the features described above enables users to export to PowerPoint and HTML. The GIS browser places selected content from the collection into detailed overlays of historical maps and current geospatial data of Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto.

Additional Information
Under About, detailed descriptive technology information is provided regarding the hardware and software used in the creation of this digital collection. Copyright of the images are owned by the Regents of the University of California. David Rumsey, the founder of Cartography Associates, has a long connection with maps and initially digitized his personal map collection. His company has been involved in the development of the digitization of other map collections. To view these other digitized map collections by Cartography Associates, visit

Te Ao Hou The New World

Te Ao Hou The New World is a New Zealand publication which was published from 1952 to 1976 by the Māori Affairs Department. It is a bilingual journal which contains articles from a range of topics including literature, traditional arts, contemporary issues and obituaries. The digitisation project was managed by the National Library of New Zealand in collaboration with “the Māori Purposes Fund Board for its support in granting permission to digitise, the University of Waikato Library, which supplied records from its Te Ao Hou index database and the New Zealand Electronic Text Centre.”

Technical Expertise:
The digitisation project was developed with the help of several key external companies. The scanning process was done by New Zealand Micrographic Services which consisted of bitonal scans from microfilm producing 300dpi TIFFs plus front and back covers done in full colour. The metadata was produced by the New Zealand Electronic Text Centre using the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) guidelines. Additional information was extracted from MARC records in the University of Waikato's index to Te Ao Hou. This information was added to the TEI headers and also used to construct browse lists of authors and subject headings. See more for National Digital Forum information.

This project is one of my favourite digitisation projects in terms of its functionality, search capabilities and design of its web site. It is really easy to use and perform searches based on text in the content of articles because of the way they implemented TEI. The dual aspect of the scanned image and the searchable text is really helpful for research and contextual purposes. You can browse by issue, A-Z authors/subjects, and perform a basic or advanced search. The National Library have also standardised the view of their web-sites for many other digital projects in the same way, such as the Transactions and Proceedings of the Royal Society of New Zealand 1868-1961, so you get a continuity within different collections which is really great. This to me is a good example of a successful digitisation project which used the expertise of a few key external companies to get a professional and worthwhile result.

Cover Image used with permission from the National Library of New Zealand, Te Ao Hou, No. 8 (Winter 1954).

Early Manuscripts at Oxford University

This digital collection contains over eighty early manuscripts which are contained in institutions associated with the University of Oxford. These seven separate collections are separated by their lodgings which include the Balliol College, Bodleian College, Corpus Christi College, Jesus College, Magdalen College, Merton College and St. John’s College.

This digital project was completed in September 2000 but seems to have had a rocky life as it states that in “January 2001, the web server providing access to the images failed, and interim responsibility was taken up by the Oxford University Libraries Automation Service's R&D section. In relocating the web site we also undertook a complete redesign of the web site, as well as correcting a number of broken links in the original site.” It seems that the original imaging project had a lot of errors and technical problems which shows in the functionality of the current completed project.

The main problem I have with the Early Manuscripts project is its functionality to search and use the manuscripts which have been imaged. There is no search function which leads one to browse the collection by college. Also the Metadata about each manuscript is uneven and in some cases very limited. For example, it ranges from “MS.315 Eusebius/Jerome, Chronicon, 9th century.” to “MS.248 Sermons and other texts collected by John Sheppey OSB, Bishop of Rochester (d. 1360), mostly in Latin, including his own sermons in the form of fables, sermons by contemporary Oxford preachers incorporating items of Middle English verse, and excerpts, notes and tables concerning classical and later writers, 13th and 14th centuries. Given to Merton College by William Rede, d. 1385.”
This leads me to presume that these collections have been produced for specialised use by certain scholars and not for general World Wide Web use for preservation reasons. Another issue is the way the document displays and is manoeuvred on the page, when you click into the desired manuscript, the prevailing information is that of copyright (which I don’t have a problem with) however, the small thumbnail picture expands exponentially when clicked on which can’t be manipulated in any way on the screen which is frustrating.

Overall, I can see that it was important to digitise these manuscripts in terms of preservation, however I don’t think that the resulting web site is intuitive or of educational value to any but a few specialised scholars. I think they may have to re-digitise in the future to make up for the projects short-comings which will be time consuming and expensive.

Pioneering the Upper Midwest

I decided to look for digitization projects pertaining to my home state of Wisconsin. I found this collection, Pioneering the Upper Midwest, Books from Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, ca. 1820-1920, which is part of the Library of Congress’ American Memory Projects. The collection consists of 138 items (primarily books) which together portray life in this region between the 17th and the early 20th century. A number of the items are collected works from the Historical Societies of these three states.

The materials included in the collection were digitized, and can be viewed, in two ways: as scanned reproductions of individual pages, and as searchable full-text transcriptions. As it is pointed out in the Building the Digital Collection section, this has added value for researchers, as they can first search the full texts of the materials for specific information and then can verify that the transcription is correct (the project claims 99.95% accuracy) by reading through the digital images of the text, in addition to seeing any accompanying visuals. The Building the Digital Collection section also has a detailed account of the phases of digitization and the equipment used.

The website for this collection is thorough and quite well put-together. Users can easily browse the materials by author, subject or title, or search the collection. The search mechanism is quite complex, though not difficult to use, which should be helpful to researchers. Users can search the bibliographic records or the full texts of the materials and users can narrow or broaden the search by toggling several search options. One aspect of the website that I found problematic is the navigation system. Navigation is not intuitive here, and I found myself generally using the back button to find my way to and fro. Usually there is at least a link back to the main page of the collection, but that link frustratingly disappears when viewing the images of books.

There are a couple of extra features that add educational value to this collection, including a special presentation called “The History of the Upper Midwest: An Overview,” and a listing of Related Resources. I think the targeted audience for this digital collection is researchers and historians. Older children would be able to use the site fairly easily, but may not find the content very interesting. But it may find a niche with Midwesterners (like me) who are simply curious about the places they come from.

Casglu'r Tlysau : Gathering the Jewels

This digital collection of Welsh cultural history displays "over 20,000 images of objects, books, letters, aerial photographs and other items from museums, libraries and record offices in Wales". The collaborative effort was established by a number of key Welsh organisations including the National Library of Wales, National Museums and Galleries of Wales, Archives Council Wales and the Royal Commission of Ancient and Historic Monuments Wales, to name but a few. The project was launched in September 2002 and has continued to grow with the format of objects being very diverse and interesting including "historic letters, paintings, documents, artefacts and photographs, encompassing everything from well known items to the rare and little seen". I think the diversity of this collection is its key feature and strength as it gives the project a real depth and led me to be drawn in by curiosity to browse the collection.

Goal of the Project:
The goal of this project is termed very broadly as "to put the cream of Wales' cultural history, from repositories throughout Wales, on the Internet for people to learn from and enjoy”. I like how it describes its targeted audience as "people" without any other limitations which shows how this project to be a wonderful resource not only for Welsh people to learn and discover Welsh history, but as an International resource to represent the history of Wales, from authoritative sources.

This site can be read in either Welsh or English, noting that for Metadata however “certain Welsh fields are required. However, contributors are not required to fill in the Welsh fields, but any Welsh metadata provided will be used by GTJ.”

This digitisation project was supported by “ the New Opportunity Fund (NOF)” and as such bases its digitisation standards upon the nof-digitise technical standards and guidelines.

Gathering the Jewels supplied a “Guidance Document for Metadata and Imaging” which included sections on the life-cycle approach, Digital Imaging and QC Guide, Metadata Guidelines and Controlled Vocabularies. I found these pages very useful in documenting and helping to explain the process of this project which I think all digitisation projects should provide, as it helps both those interested in digitisation and educates users of the site on the authority and how much work goes into a successful digital collection.

Features I liked:
I like how the resource is organised so that it can be especially helpful as a educational resource. There is a Learning Zone section which provides packages of information for teachers and pupils which gave a lot of added value to the site.

A History of Native Nevadans through Photography

The website, A History of Native Nevadans through Photography, attempts to digitally replicate a physical exhibit on the same subject that was curated and shown at the Nevada Historical Society in 1997. The digital exhibit, by necessity, has cut down on the number of images digitized and displayed, from over 100 in the physical exhibition to only 54 in the online exhibit.
However, some additional materials, which did not appear in the original exhibit, have been added to the digital version. In my opinion, the most notably useful of these to helping viewers understand the exhibit in its entirety are the supplemental materials that can be accessed from the exhibit’s first page. Altogether, these include a map of Native American Nevada, an index to all the photographs in the exhibit, a short description of the types of photographs, ranging from the earliest daguerreotypes to the more recent photo post cards, found in the exhibit, and a list of additional Nevada Native American websites and resources.

In terms of presentation, it is very apparent that the creators of this online exhibition envisioned an audience that would interact with a digital exhibition in the same way that audiences typically view physical museum exhibits. Basically, this means that the online exhibit was also designed to be viewed in a temporally linear manner, where one display follows another in a prearranged order. Subsequently, the online exhibit itself consists of a sequential series of 68 web pages with no more than one image displayed on a page and some pages devoted solely to explanatory text. Indeed, a great deal of text is provided, in line with the museum exhibit format, to contextualize the images and work them into the historical narrative reflected by the exhibition as a whole.

Since this website acts more as an exhibit put together from key items in a larger collection than as a collection in itself, searching capabilities appear to be sacrificed. There is no search box incorporated into the site. However, the index to all the photographs in the exhibit includes a picture caption, a Nevada Historical Society inventory number, and a link to the appropriate exhibit webpage for each image. Due to the small number of images included in the exhibit, this index, while not searchable, still retains some usefulness. Unfortunately, some of the links to exhibit webpages currently appear to be broken. Additionally, since this is a small production created by a historical society, it is also probable that lack of money contributed to the absence of searching capabilities.

One thing I particularly appreciated in this exhibit was a statement made in the “Introduction” about potential gaps in both the exhibit and Nevada Historical Society photographic collections:

“Our collections have many important gaps, which hinder us in telling a more complete story. We invite Nevadans -- Native Americans and others -- who have their own photographs that could fill in these gaps to contact our staff.”

I both felt that this was a very effective point to be performing this type of outreach and liked how the coupling of an admission of possible incompleteness or inaccuracy and a request for assistance prefaced the exhibit for viewers. Similarly, the Nevada Historical Society also uses this section of the exhibit to acknowledge the gaps that may have originated from the Euro-American viewpoint of the photographs, particularly in terms of their urban focus. By placing these points in the exhibit introduction rather than a separate “about” section, the exhibit designers have basically ensured that users will read and been given some context and qualifiers prior to viewing the exhibit.

Ansel Adam’s Photographs of Japanese-American Internment at Manzanar

The digital collection, Ansel Adam’s Photographs of Japanese-American Internment at Manzanar, is part of the Library of Congress’ American Memory project, which endeavors to “provide free and open access through the Internet to written and spoken words, sound recordings, still and moving images, prints, maps, and sheet music that document the American experience.” Basically, through the creation of a searchable collection and slide by slide digital presentation of all the images in the series: “'Suffering under a Great Injustice:'” Ansel Adams's Photographs of Japanese-American Internment at Manzanar," this site attempts to provide access to both Adam’s book, "Born Free and Equal," and an assortment of other images that Adams took while visiting the Manzanar internment camp.

Specifically, the material digitized for this collection consists of scans made of a relatively small number – 242 negatives and 209 prints – of original negatives and photographic prints. In addition to the digital reproduction of Adam’s book essay, "Born Free and Equal," some supplemental information about Ansel Adams is also included on this website in the form of a timeline of his life. For the most part, the site appears to focus on the immediate historical context of Adams’ work at Manzanar; no comprehensive, broad, overarching overview of Japanese-American internment during WWII seems to be provided and the assumption seems to be made that the audience will come to this collection with at least some historical background already in place.

In terms of searching, this site provides both a highly visible basic search option for simple queries and a clear path to an advanced search for more specific queries. The basic search box, which is visible near top left hand corner of screen, searches the following metadata fields in the bibliographic record: Collection, Item Title, Creator, Date, Item Summary, Notes, Assigned LC subject headings, Format, Medium, Related Names, and Repository. Metadata associated with Call number, Reproduction number, and Digital ID, on the other hand, appears to be cataloged but not searched. Common words like “and,” “the” and “not” seem to be disregarded by the search.

Additionally, a link labeled, “More search options,” appears below the basic search box and leads to an advanced search option. This search allows limits to be set in place to search specific metadata fields. These search options for metadata fields include: a search through all core fields (creator, subject, title, and item ID field) combined or a search in any single one of the above core fields. Also, searches can be specified to match any of the words, all of the words, or the exact phrase used in the search box and can be set to include word variants or match words exactly. Overall, I found the format of the advanced search to be helpful, to not be overwhelming and to be fairly easy to use. Users can also choose to specify the number of results to be displayed on a page.

I was also fairly impressed by the “Collection Highlights” located in the site’s “Gallery.” These covered the subject areas of “Daily Life,” “Portraits,” “Agricultural Scenes,” and “Sports and Leisure Activities,” and provided a very coherent introduction to Adams’ work at Manzanar. In particular, they give users new to Adams’ photography a great idea of the different types of photographs he took at Manzanar. Furthermore, after exploring the “Collection Highlights,” users should have a good idea of the different genre types of photographs that are located in the digital collection.

Vermont Landscape Change

The Vermont Landscape Change project is an effort to document changes to the Vermont landscape in the last 200 years through historical images. In this website, working collaboratively with towns and local historical societies, the University of Vermont attempts to provide both historic and recent photographs of aspects and places in the Vermont landscape in order to show the changes that have occurred over time. Additionally, this website also presents “focused modules” that concentrate on specific subjects such as landscape change in Shelburne specifically.

Images included are drawn both from University of Vermont collections and local historical societies and organizations from across the state. Additionally, submission of historical and current photos by individuals, schools, historical societies, or other institutions is also encouraged and made possible through this site. However, as such, the Vermont Landscape Change project relies on individuals and organizations submitting photographs to provide a fair amount of, hopefully accurate, required (title, description, town, photodate, photosource, photographer, media) and optional (latitude and longitude) information.

Furthermore, I am unable to locate any information or instructions given to those submitting photos about establishing and proving copyright clearance for the images they may wish to add to the database. There is a copyright statement included as part of the site’s “Mission,” which references the fact that the various contributing institutions own the rights to the images they have allowed to be included and lists the contributing historical societies. Still, no similar measure appears that may be applied to individuals or other organizations that wish to contribute images, though a separate page of contributors does list the names of schools and individuals involved in the program. Also, although the names of individual contributors are supposed to link to the images that they have submitted, none of these pathways seem to yield any actual results at the moment.

Overall, the options for searching this online collection are pretty diverse and powerful. A basic “quick image search,” which searches all images in the database, appears as part of the header on all pages of this website. Additionally, the quick search box is also accompanied by links to an “advanced search” and a “map search.” The advanced search option allows users to search for results that either “have” or “don’t have” their search terms in a selected field. Also, searchers can limit results to photographs that were taken before, after, or between specific dates, that don’t have a known date, that are either “at least” or “at most” a specified number of pixels wide, or that have “multiple images” (e.g. an image pair of a historic and recent photograph of a single location), “known locations on a map,” or “additional resources” (like PDFs or URLs) associated with them. The map search also appears on the advanced search page and allows searching by county.

Additionally, users can also control how search results are viewed. Results can be displayed by geographic distribution, using a map and a table to show the number of related photographs that can be found within the boundaries of a specific county. This might prove helpful to someone looking for a specific phenomenon like say, quarries, across the whole state or in a particular area. Results can also be viewed to show full images details one photograph at a time or to display multiple thumbnails together on the same page. Alternatively, there is also a viewing option that shows results in a list format with title, date, town, county, source, and LS number all displayed.

Vermont Landscape Change

The Vermont Landscape Change project is an effort to document changes to the Vermont landscape in the last 200 years through historical images. In this website, working collaboratively with towns and local historical societies, the University of Vermont attempts to provide both historic and recent photographs of aspects and places in the Vermont landscape in order to show the changes that have occurred over time. Additionally, this website also presents “focused modules” that concentrate on specific subjects such as landscape change in Shelburne specifically.

Images included are drawn both from University of Vermont collections and local historical societies and organizations from across the state. Additionally, submission of historical and current photos by individuals, schools, historical societies, or other institutions is also encouraged and made possible through this site. However, as such, the Vermont Landscape Change project relies on individuals and organizations submitting photographs to provide a fair amount of, hopefully accurate, required (title, description, town, photodate, photosource, photographer, media) and optional (latitude and longitude) information.

Furthermore, I am unable to locate any information or instructions given to those submitting photos about establishing and proving copyright clearance for the images they may wish to add to the database. There is a copyright statement included as part of the site’s “Mission,” which references the fact that the various contributing institutions own the rights to the images they have allowed to be included and lists the contributing historical societies. Still, no similar measure appears that may be applied to individuals or other organizations that wish to contribute images, though a separate page of contributors does list the names of schools and individuals involved in the program. Also, although the names of individual contributors are supposed to link to the images that they have submitted, none of these pathways seem to yield any actual results at the moment.

Overall, the options for searching this online collection are pretty diverse and powerful. A basic “quick image search,” which searches all images in the database, appears as part of the header on all pages of this website. Additionally, the quick search box is also accompanied by links to an “advanced search” and a “map search.” The advanced search option allows users to search for results that either “have” or “don’t have” their search terms in a selected field. Also, searchers can limit results to photographs that were taken before, after, or between specific dates, that don’t have a known date, that are either “at least” or “at most” a specified number of pixels wide, or that have “multiple images” (e.g. an image pair of a historic and recent photograph of a single location), “known locations on a map,” or “additional resources” (like PDFs or URLs) associated with them. The map search also appears on the advanced search page and allows searching by county.

Additionally, users can also control how search results are viewed. Results can be displayed by geographic distribution, using a map and a table to show the number of related photographs that can be found within the boundaries of a specific county. This might prove helpful to someone looking for a specific phenomenon like say, quarries, across the whole state or in a particular area. Results can also be viewed to show full images details one photograph at a time or to display multiple thumbnails together on the same page. Alternatively, there is also a viewing option that shows results in a list format with title, date, town, county, source, and LS number all displayed.

Novia Scotia Historical Vital Statistics

Nova Scotia Historical Vital Statistics Online is a fully searchable database of births, occurring between 1864 and 1877, marriages, occurring between 1864 and 1930, and deaths, occurring both between 1864 and 1877 and from 1908 to 1955. These records all originate from Nova Scotia Archives & Records Management or NSARM. Basically, civil registration, which has been a legal requirement for reporting births, marriages, and deaths, to varying degrees of actual compliance, in Nova Scotia since 1864, has resulted in the archival records that are indexed and digitized on this site. Also, registration, while technically mandatory, was not strictly enforced until well into the 20th century, so NSARM does include a sort of disclaimer, as part of the site’s searching tips, that some births, marriages, and deaths from the years covered are not included simply because they were never recorded.

According to the website, the records available on Nova Scotia Historical Vital Statistics Online are all digitized from microfilm that was taken of the records for preservation purposes. However, since the vital statistics on this site originally appeared as entries on a list in a paper registry, the database consists of index entries showing the name or names, place, and year of each life event listed in the digitized records. From an index entry, an image of the page where a specific event is recorded can be viewed but an electronic version of the record has to be purchased and downloaded in order for a user to be able to print.

A basic search on the site’s main page allows users to search by last and first name. However, once a user has entered names as search terms and pressed the search button a “Terms and Conditions of Access to and Use of the Nova Scotia Historical Vital Statistics Online Service” appears. This must be read and accepted before search results can be viewed. This statement, while somewhat lengthy, is actually a rather articulate expression of policy and includes not only restrictions on use to solely “valid historical and genealogical research” as a main point but also addresses fees and payment, refunds, and privacy and security concerns.

Search results for a specific name appear so that births, marriages, and deaths are displayed on separate tabs. Alternatively, users can also limit their initial search to look for just births, deaths, or marriages. Additionally, entries are sorted alphabetically by name. Essentially, this means that the first letter of the middle name or initial will usually determine the order of entries listed in cases where both a last and given name is provided by the searcher. Rather logically, although searches can be run using just a last name, the opposite is not true for given names as last name is a required field. Only from the search results pages, can a more advanced search option be accessed that allows users to limit their searches to a year range, specific year, or particular county. Overall, this site seems to represent a powerful resource for those interested in genealogy in Nova Scotia.

Internet Archive: University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

After looking at Google partner libraries throughout the semester, for my last post I wanted to take a look at an alternative mass digitization project, the Internet Archive.
The Internet Archive is building a digital library of Internet sites and other cultural artifacts in digital form. Like a paper library, we provide free access to researchers, historians, scholars, and the general public.

In February, the University of Illinois announced their participation in this large scale digitization project.

I was curious to see if there were any differences between Google's library digitization and the Internet Archive's, and they were apparent immediately. While books that are digitized through the Google project are just absorbed into the larger book collection, the University of Illinois is more of an actual destination on the Internet Archive. When I checked there were 725 items available on the site, and they are spotlighting a collection of works about Abraham Lincoln, including this one called Abe Lincoln's Yarns and Stories. You'll notice they include copyright information in each of the records, including a field called "copyright evidence."

Most interesting to me was that you can actually search for books scanned from a particular source on the Internet Archive, something I haven't found a way to do on Google. Just go to Advanced Search and then choose Contributor as a custom field. When using a book scanned from the University of Illinois collection, you are repeatedly reminded that this is where the book originally came from. At Google Books this evidence was no where to be found. It seems to me that the Google partner libraries should be insisting on being recognized for their collections, at least making searches by "Contributor" possible.

American Indians of the Pacific Northwest Collection

American Indians of the Pacific Northwest Collection is a digital collection containing a sampling of materials relating to the Northwest Coast and Plateau American Indian cultures. Digitized materials consist mainly of primary source photographs and documents such as the Annual Reports of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs to the Secretary of the Interior from 1851 to 1908 or the six Indian treaties negotiated in 1855. However, some secondary source articles from either the University of Washington Anthropology department or Pacific Northwest Quarterly are also included. Additionally, several essays on specific tribal/cultural groups or cross-cultural subjects also appear on the site in order to establish context for users.

I appreciated the fact that selection criteria for materials to be digitized were clearly explained on the site. Basically, since the aim of the digital collection is to prove helpful to educators in K-12 classrooms, no photographs were included that were not believed to have usefulness to K-12 teachers and students in reflecting the related history and culture. Similarly, and for the same reasons, care was taken not to include duplicate or very similar images. Additionally, unless copyright was determined not to be a problem, no photographs taken after 1920 were placed in the digital collection. Like the photographs, text also had to be both relevant and free of copyright and other rights restrictions in order to be digitized and included in the collection. Overall, selection of the content seemed very focused towards providing a resource to K-12 teachers specifically.

I also particularly liked the copyright statement included on the site. A part of this statement acknowledged the difficulty involved in establishing copyright and invited corrections and concerns:

“The nature of historical archival photograph collections means that copyright or other information about restrictions may be difficult or even impossible to determine, the owning repository would like to hear from anyone who may have additional information regarding the images found in this collection. The owning repository is listed in the "Repository" field of the metadata for each photograph.”

As is apparent from this statement, each “repository” contributing to the project owns the rights to the materials that they have allowed to be included in the collection.

In terms of searching capabilities, on the main site page, four different basic search options appear. Three are all keyword searches but one searches keyword images & text while another searches keywords for images only, and the last option only searches text. The final search option on this page allows users to browse the collection by category (arts, work, transportation, dwellings, potlaches, documents, and education). Additionally, a link leading to “Other Search Options” allows users to choose to search for “all of the words,” “the exact phrase,” “any of the words,” or “none of the words.” Searching in specific individual contributing collections is also possible.

Japanese American Relocation Digital Archives

The Japanese American Relocation Digital Archives or JARDA is a digitization program that makes available primary source material, including photographs, paintings, letters, U.S. War Relocation materials, camp newsletters, other documents, and oral histories, about the experience of Japanese Americans in internment camps during WWII. Essentially, the wide variety of different types of resources found at JARDA reflects the mentality of its hosting and supporting institution, the Online Archive of California (OAC), which defines itself as “a digital information resource that facilitates and provides access to materials such as manuscripts, photographs, and works of art held in libraries, museums, archives, and other institutions across California.” In line with this mission, JARDA attempts to provide “a single point of access” to the people, places, daily life and personal experiences associated with Japanese American internment. Broad and thematically organized, JARDA covers wide range of primary source material about Japanese American internment and is large collection of over 10,000 digital images and 20,000 pages of complementary electronic text. Furthermore, the site also includes a wealth of supplemental information, such as historical context, timeline, background, and potential K-12 lesson plans, for a wide audience.

Both exact phrase searching using quotes and truncation will work in the basic search box that appears on JARDA’s main page. Searches with multiple keywords will also only return results where both those terms appear. However, the Boolean operators AND, OR, and NOT do not appear to function in JARDA’s search and there is no more advanced search option available.

There are, however, some interesting browsing options. The collection can be browsed alphabetically by subject or by the “JARDA Themed Topics” of “People,” “Places,” “Daily Life,” and “Personal Experiences.” All of these “themed topics” read like a document that provides an overview of historical background and context followed by links to selected browse pathways or terms. These are generally divided into groups of broader, more general categories, like, in the case of “Places,” “Before Evacuation,” “Relocation during Crisis,” “Assembly Centers,” “Internment Camps,” “Effect on Japanese American Communities and Property,” Resettlement After the War,” “Selected California Cities,” and “Repatriation to Japan.” Overall, JARDA’s format and browse options appeal to an audience of students, who are learning about this period in history and may need some grounding in the subject prior to being fully able to utilize the collection.