Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Drawings, Prints, and Graphic Design | Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum

Drawings, Prints, and Graphic Design | Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum

Office Map

This collection is home for more than 160,000 works of art from the Renaissance to the present concerning the history of European and American art and design. It includes works on paper featuring designs for architecture, decorative arts, gardens, interiors, ornament, jewelry, theater, textiles, graphic and industrial design, and fine arts.

The digital objects are listed for browsing and show thumbnails and titles. There is no search function so the user must click through the pages of images to find what they’re looking for. After choosing an image, the user can click on the image and view it one size larger. There is no zoom capability and the images, though very interesting, are small.

The metadata consists of the title, description, time period, creator, actual image size, the materials used to create the art, where it was purchased, where it was made, and the provenance. The metadata is good, but it would be nice if links were provided to art of the same type (architectural drawings, etc) so that they user could easily find more of the same.

The audience according to the Cooper-Hewitt website is designers, scholars, writers, and collectors. Anyone simply interested in design would enjoy the collection too, as well as any other collection part of the Cooper-Hewitt.

Though there is no denying the images are interesting, their digital representations leave something to be desired. They are small and do not zoom or enlarge enough to be truly appreciated. The site isn’t searchable and there are no links to the art by category of types of design. This seems to be a site based on getting people interested in viewing the physical exhibits in person. Something else to be noted is the word BETA just above the list of links to the site’s collections and this could be why the site isn’t quite up to par. Lastly, curatorial departments of the museum are closed until further notice due to renovations.

The Strachwitz Frontera Collection of Mexican and Mexican American Recordings

The Strachwitz Frontera Collection hosted by UCLA is an enormous resource for researchers interested in Mexican and Mexican-American recorded music.  The project is a joint effort sponsored by Los Tigres del Norte Fund, the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center, the Fund for Folk Culture, as well as support from the Arhoolie Foundation, NEH, NEA, Grammy 
Foundation, and even LucasFilm Foundation.  The point is, it has a lot of funding and is a very large project.  Initially, 30,000 recordings were made available (full access on UCLA campus, record images and samples available off campus).  The NEH grant allows for another 20,000 recordings to be made available, half of which are up already.  Overall, the entire collection contains over 130,000 individual recording son 78 rpm, 45 rpm, and 33 1/3 rpm discs.  

The site has some project information and The Arhoolie Foundation "Projects Funded" webpage hasa bit more about the Strachwitz Frontera Collection project.  The records date range is from 1905 to the 1990's.  As for copyright, the library offers to takedown materials at the request of owners.

Descriptive metadata is not as complete as one would hope.  Titles, subjects, record labels, etc. all appear in the full record, but dates do not on most records.  And sadly, for all the financial support, and for containing audio files in the collection, technical information is lacking.  Those of us interested in audio preservation are curious about what equipment and what standards were used to digitized the samples.  

The item records are fairly standard.  Images of both sides of the records are available.  Zoom options are great allowing for fine detail of the image of labels.  The audio samples are in Real Audio format, which makes them generally available to most Internet users.  Over all, this collection has a lot of potential.  As is, it is quite an interesting and wide-ranging collection.  But I cannot help but think much more background information or research into the recordings could be made available.

Historic Topographic Maps of California--San Francisco Bay Area

University of California Berkeley Historic Topographic Maps of California--San Francisco Bay Area

1. Selection Decisions
This project digitized topographic maps of the San Francisco Bay area from 1895 to the present (although the front page says it was last updated in 2007). The front page has a link to "information about this project" that very usefully lays out the selection decisions in an upfront, clear manner. The Berkeley team that did the project used the U.S. Geological Survey's topographic quadrangles of the San Francisco Bay region for digitization because they are in the public domain and were believed to be of most use to the Cal Berkeley community and to offsite users. The project includes 15- and 7.5-minute USGS topographic quadrangles that cover over 100 years of mapping of the region. The maps' coverage includes Point Reyes to Half Moon Bay (North to South) and the Pacific Ocean to Antioch, Livermore and San Jose (West to East). The summary of the selection decisions also includes a few sentences of justification why topographic maps are valuable, useful and worth digitizing in general, and notes that first edition maps were always used when more than one edition was available. As well, the selection decisions paragraph notes that the collection includes some editions of quadrangles published by the Corps of Engineers, the Army Map Service, or the Defense Mapping Agency. In all, "350 maps were carefully selected to represent a historic perspective of the changing landscape of the region from rural to densely urban. "

There are some problems with organization of the project that make nailing down metadata somewhat more difficult than it needs to be. Links to metadata are jumbled up and it is hard to tell what goes with what. However, when specific needed links can be sorted out from the bad formatting, there are useful metadata features, including a pop-up table a lot like our metadata tables in GreenStone, that show the map title, date (when survey was done), alternate date (printed), dimensions, publisher, scale, and notes. However, these appear not to be offered for each and every map. There were many that I viewed where I could not find any metadata at all, but maybe this isn't terribly important to the people that they think will use the maps, in that they know the year from the object title, can reasonably assume that the army or USGS did the survey, and probably just want the information contained in the actual map. It would make any authentication difficult, though. One great feature they have on metadata is a link to the map's MARC record in the Berkeley online library catalog, which would make it very easy to go retrieve the physical copy. There is also more information about the digitization process than I have seen in maybe any other collection I have viewed this semester. The "information about the project" page has two great paragraphs about how the maps were scanned (what equipment was used) and where they did it, what resolution, how they migrated and backed up the data, how the project was funded, how the database was built and by whom, and even how they made the thumbnails. In all, a lot of information. This section also documents one particular librarian's insistence that the images be of very high archival quality, showing compliance with the good practice of "if you're going to digitize, do it as if you will only ever digitize that object once." Contact information for all of the staff responsible for the project is offered at the bottom of the page for people who have questions.

The objects are high quality scanned maps. Links to all of the maps from different years of the same quadrangle are offered on the same page as the particular map you're looking at, so it is quick and easy to do comparison. One downside is that they seem to have gone with some kind of proprietary option for publishing the zoom-view images, through a company called lizardtech. So, the images are all in .sid format, which does not seem to be at all interoperable. I had to download and install a plugin from lizardtech's website to view the zoomable maps. This seems like it could be a big problem if that company disappears and no one can get the plug-in to view the digitized maps in a useable way (ie. not thumbnail sized). There are directions for saving the images in a tiff, gif, or jpg format for later use, though. That said, the images are FANTASTIC. One can zoom in close enough to very clearly pick up stray fibers in the paper or variations in ink thickness in the text on the maps. They are very, very nice, and would probably stand in just fine for the real thing if all you needed was the topographic information they contain.

I would assume this is for people who know a thing or two about topographic maps. I do not, and so the site was a little hard for me to navigate, but for people who know the terminology and the uses, it's probably no problem at all. To me it seems like city planners, geographers, historians, college students, and possibly even high school or middle school students could make great use of these maps.

The History of Medicine

The History of Medicine (IHM) has built a collection of about 70,000 images related to medical practice in several countries around the world. The collection contains images of portraits, photographs, caricatures, posters and graphic art. The images range in date from the 15th to 21st centuries and were gathered from the History of Medicine and the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

The images themselves are quite interesting and the interface is easy to use. Users are given the option to browse all the images and then narrow their browsing by selection a format, country or time period. When you select an item a small scale appears near the bottom which allows you to zoom in and out of the image. Although this is a really useful tool, it can be difficult to see on black and white images which make up a significant portion of the collection. Also, some of the images don’t hold up well when zooming in as close as possible.

The interface also allows many tools which allow you to share and interact with the images although some of these (such as creating a presentation) are only available to people with usernames and passwords.

Each image has a lot of metadata which is listed in a column on the left-hand side of the screen. They include information on copyright status but also make it clear that it is the user’s responsibility to determine whether or not they can use an item.

Although I didn’t use the tool, the collection is also searchable in Locator Plus which offers a completely different interface in which to display the results. Although I think this site is used primarily by people at IHM and NIH, they want the images to be useful for private study and research as well.

The interface looks really nice and is simple to use and the images themselves are really interesting. I would like a little more information on the collection itself however. Although the metadata includes information on which organizations publish the images, it’s unclear how they were used. I wanted more context for some of the images.

Monday, May 4, 2009

The Sheet Music Consortium is not a digital collection in the strictest sense; rather, it is an aggregate and possibly a standardizing measure of several different sheet music collections. However, it's aim, associated information and structure are all exceedingly similar to a digital collection--indeed the only difference is the lack of images stored on-site.

There is a wealth of material within this Consortium database. Almost 50,000 instances of sheet music from the Library of Congress are aggregated here. Additionally, the "about" page makes clear the Consortium's purpose as well as the different collections original creators and provenance. There is even a section explaining dublin core standard metadata tags and all the necessary steps to gain approval as a member of the Consortium--a boon to smaller institutions not knowing where to start with digitization and a great way to make sure everything is standardized. I could not find much in terms of linking or interoperability, but the Consortium does allow you to "collect" instances into your own "virtual collection", as well as view other's previously created virtual collection, a fascinating resource and about as close to "web 2.0" as I've seen a curated digital collection get. The search function is also fantastically robust, allowing searching in multiple fields and with several symbol-based search enhancers such as a # to search for prefixs (i.e. lov# returns loving, love, lover, etc.).

Since all of the collections have to conform to dublin core standards, there is a perfectly acceptable and standardized amount of metadata for all instances. Of course, the display of this metadata leaves something to be desired on some of the external sites, which is a problem when you need to move off-site to reach the actual instance. However, the rule of conformity means the metadata will be there, even if it requires a little more searching. The only field that is markedly absent involves metadata about technology and processes used.

I can't say much for the actual instances: for one, they are not actually hosted within the consortium and for another the quality and structure vary wildly depending on the individual collection they are held within. The Library of Congress, of course, has it done up right; I can't say the same for some of the others. There is also nothing about copyright upon the Consortium site itself. One must travel to the individual collection's pages to find this information.

Overall this Consortium is a great resource for sheet music scholars searching for information on a specific piece, as this aggregate seems to collect a whole lot of them--over 100,000! The intended audience is likely either researchers or fans of sheet music or the periods they came from. 

Lunar Orbiter Digitization Project
In 1966, there were five Lunar Orbiter missions launched which devoted to mapping potential lunar landing sites. Original Lunar Orbiter images were photographic images acquired during the mission period and be scanned into a series of strips on spacecraft and then transmitted back to earth. The images would be printed out in very high resolution.
This project provides more current updates which are available online. There are three sections: Global Status & Download; HiRes Status & Download and Pilot Project. I carefully reviewed Pilot Project part and found that this site is super enriched. There is a link to Lunar Orbiter Digitization Project Index where under parent directory, the images are listed with information about size and last modified time. Some of the images are in gif format while some are in tif format. Also there are html links. Comparing with other digitization project and comparing with their websites, this project seems complex by involving multiple image formats and due to the particular characteristic of the images, sophisticated digital technology was applied. Although there are relatively less images
Within Download part, there is a big star map pops out and users could select numbers in red italics to access data available for download. It is well virtualized. As if select a number, you could go further and access to downloadable images in a new window. The images are in low resolution jpeg format with rich medadata including which mission it was, size, frame number and so forth.
It is an amazing website and an awesome project.

Joseph Berry Keenan Digital Collection at Harvard Law Library

Joseph Berry Keenan was the director of the International Prosecution Section, a group of lawyers and law professionals that served during the war trials in Tokyo after World War II. As head of the IPS, he collected correspondence, much of which is important to understanding what went on during those trials. Harvard Law Library has digitized them and posted them on the Web here.

The scans themselves are very high quality, and very readable; unfortunately, there's pretty much no metadata at all for them. They're organized by boxes and in a series of sequences--like an archive, in other words, rather than a library per se. They're not searchable, even though there's a "search" button at the top. You can download papers as PDF files, though. I can imagine that this would be a valuable resource for historians, especially those interested in law and the Second World War, but unless you know the sequence you're looking for, it would be hard to locate anything specific. It's more browsable than searchable, I suppose.

Wonders: Images of the Ancient World, NYPL

This New York Public Library digital exhibition consists of over 1,700 images (paintings, engravings, photographs, etc.) depicting ancient civilizations (Egypt, Greece, Rome, etc.) taken from 18th to early 20th century. The collection is massive, and exploring it can be a bit overwhelming at first. The only options to browse through the collection are to display all the images at once (clicking through page after page, organized alphabetically by title) or by viewing parts of the collection grouped by subject headings. But since there are still a lot of different subject headings, this can still take some time. A general 'search' feature is also available, though you can't pick a specific category.

Pretty much all the metadata you could possibly want is provided with each image: creator (if known), format/medium, date produced, the original collection it was taken from, etc. The catalog number in the library is also provided, should you want to go and see that drawing of the kneeling Greek archer you like so much live and in person. Images can be enlarged to a degree, but zooming in is limited to roughly 5x the thumbnail size. A link located on the toolbar near each image lets you purchase a print, should you so desire.

The lack of browsing options would suggest that this is a site for people who know their subject (Classics Majors, I'm looking at you. Well, not at the moment. I'm typing, actually. But... never mind). And, with that in mind, this is a very successful collection. But people without a good background in Classics will have to be content to take their time to figure out the collection, or spend some time wandering around aimlessly (which, honestly, there's something to be said for. There are plenty of interesting things to discover here).

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Chicago State University

The Chicago State University Collection contains historical photographs of the University. The site uses CONTENTdm, and is not at all aesthetically appealing. The about page for the collection establishes the University as an important witness to the demographic shift that occurred in Chicago during the 20th century. The collection does not reflect this. It contains only 16 photographs, some of the school seal rather than the students. Whether these photographs were the only ones they had or why they were chosen about the rest and why so few were digitized is left to the viewer's imagination.
The metadata provided is very thorough, with more than 15 fields including one for all the notes they have on the object. Metadata varies from object to object, but the information about the objects is substantial. The image itself is only visible in thumbnail or a screen-view size. The original scan is not available for viewing. The site provides no information about the digital object or what kind of technologies were used in digitizing.
I would guess that this collection is aimed at people with a casual interest in the university. The collection as a whole is too small for any real research and it does little to show the demographic change discussed in the about page.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

The Pelican Project

This digital collection focuses on scans of book covers from Pelican Books, which was an offshoot of Penguin Books that was started in 1937.  Selection decisions aren’t listed, but looking through the collection, you can see that they made the choice to scan only front covers, which are in varying conditions.  Investigating further, I found out that it's not a complete collection, so it may be made up just of books they had access to, or perhaps just covers they liked.  There's no way to know, and the lack of information about selection decisions could be a missed opportunity.  If they let users know what books they were still looking for they could possibly elicit the help of other Pelican Book enthusiasts to lend books or send in scans to help complete the collection.  It’d also be interesting to know why the scans stopped in 1985.  Did the series end, or did they just not like the cover design styles of the late 1980’s?

Rights management isn't talked about, but I think it'd be safe to assume that they didn't get permission to post these.  Covers were scanned at 200ppi, which seems like a decent balance between not having high enough resolution that it would make rights owners feel threatened, but still displaying a quality image (though who knows really?).  At first glance, I thought they had added shadows around the books, which seems like it would be a bad choice for preservation.  On closer inspection, it looks like erasing the outer border of the scan is what gives the illusion of shadows.  This decision gives the collection a cohesive visual look, and displays great against the white background.   

The layout of the site is really clean.  Items are arranged by year, which is really the only metadata.  It's confusing that some books appear in two different years, and it would be helpful to know why that decision was made.  It would also be nice to know more about the graphic designers, although I don't know if that information was in the books.  Because of the emphasis on the visual design of the collection, I would say the collection is targeted towards fans of modernist design, or graphic design history.  The collection is a great representation of the changing eras of graphic design, but with even a little information about their selection decisions and collection, it could be a much better resource.

American Indians of the Pacific Northwest Collection

This collection is one of the University of Washington libraries’ special collections. The website provides an extensive digital collection of original photographs and documents about the Northwest Coast and Plateau Indian cultures, complemented by essays written by anthropologists, historians, and teachers about both particular tribes and cross-cultural topics. The digital databases includes over 2,300 original photographs as well as over 1,500 pages from the Annual Reports of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs to the Secretary of the Interior from 1851 to 1908 and six Indian treaties negotiated in 1855. Secondary sources include 89 articles from the Pacific Northwest Quarterly and 23 University of Washington publications in Anthropology.

It is easy to explore the collection. Users can browse by Images, Documents, Image Subjects and Image Subjects. For example, users can click the “Browse Images” button, and in the next webpage, the list of available items will appear in the dropdown box. When users find the image they want to see, they can click the thumbnail, and a large picture will load on the screen. Zoom in or out can change the view to see the big picture or to get in close. At the same time, users can use some special tools such as “Maximum Resolution”, “Fit in Window”, “Fit to width”, Rotate left, Rotate right, Hide/show thumbnail and Clip image in a new window. Especially, for “Clip image in a new window”, users can click the mouse and drag the box diagonally to select part of the image. In the new window, right-click to perform other browser functions, such as save, print and e-mail. The metadata will be found under the picture along with Title, Photographer, Date, Notes, Subjects, Location Depicted, Object Type, Negative Number, Collection, Repository, Restrictions and Transmission Data.

Like most online digital collections, the essays and digital databases may be accessed by using the keyword search at the top of pages throughout the site. Overall, this is a high – level digital collection, as part of the American Memory Historical Collections at the Library of Congress, it was 1997/98 Award Winner in Ameritech Digital Library Competition. The intended audience for this particular digital collection would definitely be K-12 teachers, researchers and anyone who may be interested in American Indians culture.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Kolloen Family Photo Collection

Recently a friend of mine discovered that his family is featured in a digital collection hosted by The University of Washington Libraries. The collection is only a sample of what the library/archive actually carries related to the Kolloen family. There is no explanation for why these specific images were chosen to be digitized but UW does offer some interesting background on the family, the historical context of the collection and the relevance for Seattle.

In total, the digital collection contains 34 images compiled in a ContentDM site. The images feature members of the family, the hotel they built and pictures of the Yukon Territory. The ContentDM format allows users to interact with the images in pretty interesting ways. The images can be viewed as many different sizes and rotated, although I'm not really sure why it would be useful to rotate the images as they are all right-side up. An interesting feature of the site allows you to select an area of the photo which then appears in a new browser window. The selected area does not show up any larger than the last view but it does allow you to crop the picture in the browser and then save the image as is. I think it's nice that you can interact with the images this way. I don't think I've seen any other digital collection that allows you to crop a photo within the browser.

Not surprisingly, UW does a nice job with the metadata which is displayed beneath each image. They provide detailed information about the image as well as hyperlinks in the title which allow users to view other images with the keywords in the title. The also provide information about the collection and the historical context. Users are able to save the images to their own computers as the copyright has expired on the images but they also have a service that allows you to order prints from the collection.

UW obviously has a great reputation and I like what they've done with this collection. I would like more information about why these items were selected over others but it's nicely done. Information is easy to find, images are clear and large and interactive. They really made the most of the ContentDM structure and put together an interesting collection that is important for the city of Seattle's history.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

A Taste of Horton

A Taste of Horton

A selection of items from the Horton Collection of Children's Material.

The Horton Collection was created by the Aberystwyth University in Aberystwyth, Wales, located in the Thomas Parry Library Rare Books Collection and contains over 800 items showing the development of children’s literature during the two hundred years from the mid-eighteenth century to 1913. The collection is intended to be a research into juvenile literature, historical and analytical bibliography, publishing, illustration, costume and drama.

The archive is arranged in both a gallery format and an index format, which is organized into author, bookseller, engraver, general, illustrator, printer, publisher, series, and title indexes. Each book has an extensive metadata list, containing, when applicable, the book's call number, author, title, edition imprint, page size, collation, the printer, illustration details, binding information, annotations, collections, references, contents, and tracings. The images scanned from the book, only a handful of each, may be seen at a higher resolution. The archive further contains links to other children's literature archives, libraries, projects, and collections.

The gallery display is very well organized, with the books being listed in alphabetical order by title. The scans of the books are displayed on one side of the main table, and the book title, author, and illustrator are on the other. A handful of the images have some distortion from the scanning process, but the pictures overall are very clear.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Ball State University Digital Media Repository

Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, uses CONTENTdm to create their Digital Media Repository, a resource housing 57 separate digital collections featuring a variety of materials. The repository's About page gives some information about the goals of this digital initiative (greater access, adding to international body of digital objects, etc.), but it also has a link to a video explaining the project from the perspective of those involved in its creation, maintenance, and use. I thought it was nice that the video conveniently had a link to the .wmv in Dial-Up or Broadband formats, by the way. The video does a good job of explaining the benefits of such an initiative to a relatively regional state school like Ball State, and to those outside of their community who may not get a chance, or may not think, to explore their collections.

Users can do a simple search of the collections or sort the collections by Subject/Geographic Area, Dept., Format, or Explore A-Z. Sorting by these categories brings up expandable mens from which you can further drill down to specifics. Two collections I enjoyed browsing were the Musical Instruments Collection and the Works Progress Administration Miniature Furniture collection. Both contain images, but also video and/or audio files to augment the item's display. As the repository uses CONTENTdm, the look and feel of browsing the items is relatively standardized. Each collection will display limited image thumbnails and descriptive information in sortable columns when listing the categories you are browsing. Metadata for each item in the collections is mostly descriptive with some administrative data. It is adequate despite a lack of technical data, which might be useful for the audio and video files. For all of the collections, audio files are Windows Media and videos are in Quicktime format.

The Musical Instruments Collection lists 141 objects to explore. The collection home page has very little background information about the collection or the intruments themselves. The images are simply digital photographs of the instruments. But each instrument image is accompanied by a short audio file of someone playing the instrument. In many cases, detail imags of parts of the instruments are available. When video is used, it is 3D rotation of the instruments with zoom functions. The audio files are great and let you hear everything from more cowbell to music boxes to didgeridoos. Fun.

The WPA miniture furniture was an unexpected find. This collections homepage has a link to an about page with a bit of background on the items. They come from an Indiana State Museum Project from the 1930's and 1940's centered in Evansville, Indiana, that sought to preserve in miniature typical furnishings of the era. The scale is reportedly 2 inches to 12 inches. The furniture was intended for display in libraries, museums, and schools throughout the state and the items were functional. The collection provide images of 33 objects and includes 3D rotating videos that you can manipulate, just like the musical instruments.

The repository contains several collections that include relative typical types of objects. The two particular collections above include 3D objects. Creating digital collections that come closest to recreating the experience of interacting with the real objects seems much more difficult with 3D objects. Augmenting with audio and video (especially that can be manipulated) is a step in the right direction.
The Massachusetts Historical Society's collection of the diaries of John Quincy Adams.

This collection is a digital representation of the entire collection of J. Q. Adams' diaries. He kept three simultaneously: a one-line diary (denoted "short"), a rough draft, and the final draft (denoted "long"), all of which are digitized. The site is somewhat curated as it does not allow searching of the text, but provides browsing by themes. The site states that "though every page is digitized, there is a curated selection of pages divided by people, events, topics, places, and career highlights." There is a slight attempt at a movement that might be in the direction of 2.0 with a link at the bottom of the front page to an "online feedback form." I was disappointed when I realized it said "form" and not "forum," which I believe would add tremendous value to the site.

The user is allowed to search by date, browse by volume (all 51 of them), or to browse a timeline based on the events recorded in the diaries. Specific dates (such as his inauguration) and "selected pages" from the diaries are highlighted for researchers.

The metadata is standardized but skimpy. Each digital page has a footer containing information regarding the physical diary and ownership, a persistent link, and credits to MHS and the digitization date.

The zoom function is powerful but does not offer much in the way of research beyond reading the text. The zoomed image is a JPEG and offers some unsightly but practical copyright information.

Page one of the long entry the day of Adams' inauguration.

“Reuter’s Seeds for the South”

This digital collection contains a series of catalog covers from Reuter’s Seeds Company. The collection is part of a larger digital library of Southeastern Architectural collections within the Special Collections division at Tulane University, though it is not exactly clear how these topics relate. The collection contains approximately 30 images dating from 1915 to 1966.

The collection level metadata provides surface detail about the materials. The librarian in the project is named, and contact information is provided. There is not any information related to the processes of implementing this collection. The selection criteria are vague, but it seems like the images were selected based on how well they reflect that particular genre. The description states “[the] covers reveal changing design styles, advances in hybridization (1927 brought "the new Wondermelon!"), and new approaches to advertising.”

Each individual object is described through title and date, and images are stored both in color, and black and white. The manipulation afforded through the site is the enlargement of scanned photos, but no other viewing option is available. The collection search capability includes the browsing feature, and a link to and from the home page of special collections.

The stated appeal of the collection is the “nostalgic, colorful, and very entertaining” nature of the materials, so they may be directed at a more general audience. The quality of the digital images afford only a limited view of the materials, making this a more casual experience for the site visitors.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The British Cartoon Archive

The British Cartoon Archive

Office Map

The current incarnation of The British Cartoon Archive’s site is a recent relaunch equipped with better functionality including the ability to zoom in on images. The archive is a part of the University of Kent’s Templeman Library and is a registered museum devoted to displaying the history of British cartooning over the last two hundred years. In includes over 130,000 original editorial, socio-political, and pocket cartoons as well as comic strips, newspaper cuttings, books and magazines. Some of these materials date as far back as 1904.

The objectives of the British Cartoon Archive are to conserve and catalogue cartoons, encourage research, plan and promote exhibitions of cartoon originals, and to service teaching. The audience is considered to be researchers, authors, teachers, the media and students.

The search function allows you to search the archive’s catalogue. There is no list of keywords provided or any sign of a browsing option besides the handful of “recently added records” which appear just below the search bar. An advanced search allows the user to input specific dates along with their text search. After searching “librarian,” two pages of results appeared including options to narrow the search by a list of provided artists and publishers. Beneath each thumbnail the title of the cartoon, its artist, where it was published, and the date of publication are listed. Selecting a cartoon yields an image with little metadata. A list of related terms occur under the heading thesaurus and the series title is displayed. Other than that there is only the reference number, the text of the cartoon’s caption, and whatever text is embedded within the cartoon itself. Clicking on “biography” leads you to a page describing the artist. There are also links on the side of the image to see more from the publication, more by the artist, to suggest an edit, and find more artwork from the same day. The touted “zoom” feature mentioned on the front page is an option but it does not load on my computer after repeated attempts.

This site, though clearly a work in progress, would benefit from adding more metadata to its images to give context to the cartoons. The artwork is engaging and interesting just as you’d expect such cartoons to be but they’d be far more useful if the information to which they were reacting was provided. They might also consider adding a function that allows users to browse by collection since currently the collections are listed on a separate page but there are no links to them. Also, the zoom feature does not work and needs to be fixed.

The Visual Front: Posters of the Spanish Civil War from UCSD's Southworth Collection

The Visual Front: Posters of the Spanish Civil War from UCSD's Southworth Collection is a cool digitization project designed to make availible to the public propoganda posters from one of the most harrowing conflicts of the 20th century. The site argues that the posters would have been a frequently encountered item in the wartime landscape as individuals struggled to go on with their daily lives. For all of their impact and motivations, these items are "vivid testimonies of the event." Given the scale of the tragedy and its historical importance, there is little question that the posters of the Spanish Civil War are important artifacts that would be of interest to everyone from scholars to average citizens. It is then all the more frustrating that all of the great information contained in this website is arranged in such an obtuse, unusuable fashion. Although there is a great deal of curation on the site, there does not appear to be any kind of ongoing curation.

For starters, there is no way to search the collection. The two access points for the information are 1) a list of the titles of the posters in Spanish and 2) an unlabeled visual index that provides a large list of thumbnails. Upon clicking on a thumbnail, the user is taken to a seperate page with the image, metadata including: the title and the title's translation, the artist, its source, medium, and size of the original poster. Underneath this information are well-written and information rich descriptions of the poster, the context of the imagery, and what details if any are known about the artist or specific subject matter. There is such a fascinating wealth of information here that it is just criminal that it is so cumbersome to access. The images of the posters themselves are enlargeable only once. To really represent the artifacts, they should have scanned them at a higher resolution. As it stands, they just aren't good for anything but looking at. This collection is a prime example of how terrific materials and great information can be rendered almost useless by a fundamental lack of understanding of how digital collections should be built and conveyed.

Van Gogh Museum of Amsterdam

The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam

The Van Gogh’s Museum houses a permanent collection that can be search by alphabetical list, landscapes, self-portraits, Portraits, Drawings, Peasant live Still Lifes, Van Gogh’s work in periods. The site provides a history of the collection. The largest collection of his work – more than 200 paintings, 437 drawings and 31 prints – can be found in the Van Gogh Museum. Many other drawings and paintings by Van Gogh can be found at the Kröller-Müller Museum in Otterlo (The Netherlands) and the Musée d’Orsay in Paris.The collection can be viewed in eight language; Edderlands, Espanol, Francais, Deutch, Italiano, Japanese and English.

In this website you will find a selection from these letters, including references to paintings on this website.
Vincent Van Gogh was a passionate and fairly good letter writer. He put his thoughts and ideas to paper in over 800 letters, some to fellow artists such as Emile Bernard and Paul Gauguin, but most to his brother Theo, who was Vincent’s greatest source of support. Most of the manuscripts are in the collection of the Van Gogh Museum; they form an indispensable source of information about the artist’s life and work.
For the time being, this site does not provide information on all of Van Gogh’s works. The museum does, however, aim to present its own complete Van Gogh collection on the Internet within the next few years. A complete catalog of Van Gogh’s entire oeuvre is available on a website launched a few years ago by David Brooks, in close cooperation with the Van Gogh Museum’s documentation center. The museum regards this site,, as a reliable source of information.

The site offers an video overview of Van Gogh’s life and each Van Gogh’s pieces can be zoomed in and panned depicting minute detail. The metadata is robust with interesting data provided.

Crime Broadsides

Harvard Law School Library's collection of crime broadsides spans the years 1707 to 1891 and includes more than 500 broadsides. Broadsides were sold in Great Britain at places of execution. In their time they were called both dying speeches and bloody murders. This collection takes the time to carefully explain the historical context of the broadsides, the origin of the collection at the law library and that their entire collection is online.
In addition to several pages about the collection, the site allows users to browse the collection, or search by category or keyword. The search features have a variety of drop down menus and are a bit overwhelming, but they are very through. The records that match the submitted query appear as a short list of metadata elements, without any thumbnails. By clicking "display full record" the user is taken to a page with all of the metadata elements visible, including title, creator, description, genre, subject, ID number and any notes they have about the item. However, the image of the object itself is still not visible. By clicking on another link, the image is pulled up in a special viewer in a new window. The number of clicks required make viewing an object cumbersome at best.
The images themselves can be viewed in great detail, allowing zooming all around the page, though figuring out how to use the special viewer might take an inexperienced user a little bit of time. The images are also easily converted to pdf for downloading. Information about the digital object was not listed on the site.
It seems this collection is for a user with a passing interest in the subject. While the site itself could have been designed better, a scholar would only be able to begin his research online. To acquire more information, I suspect they would have to go to the law library in person.

International Children's Digital Library

The International Children's Digital Library is a project that digitizes children's books from around the world. The books are uploaded as digital scans; since the library's obtained the rights from publishers to digitize these books, they don't allow you to download, copy, or print them, just view them online (although I'm sure someone can find a way around this). Books are searchable by keyword, age group, length, and even cover color (which I think is a fun category).

The metadata isn't all that detailed--it lists the author, the illustrator if there is one, the publication year, language, publisher, and a short summary. I don't think this is much of a problem, though, since the users they're targeting, kids and possibly their parents and teachers, aren't going to be really concerned about much beyond that; it's a lot like a listing for a kid's book in a public library system. Rights information shows up in the scans. Books aren't translated into other languages, but that's because the project was created in part for children coming from other countries to the States, so they can learn in their native language while they're still young. Overall, this is an interesting and fun resource, and hopefully they'll be able to expand it in the future.

Cad é mar atá tú?

For our final blog posts of the class, we were instructed to find digital libraries of video or audio files. I found this collection of Irish language lessons within the BBC's website.

The collection principles of the site are very specific: two series of 15 five-minute lessons in the Irish language that were originally broadcast on a weekly basis by BBC Northern Ireland. While the collection is small and specifically tailored, the site is thoroughly curated. The collection is divided into two series, conforming to the series format of the original broadcasts. Each series may be accessed in two separate ways: through web pages featuring streaming lessons and text or by downloading the entire series as mp3s. In addition to this, the site also links to a secondary collection of streaming sound files of other BBC broadcasts related to the Irish language, an online animated vocabulary quiz, and a more involved mini-game on the Irish language entitled "Colin and Cumberland Learn Irish." (One gets the feeling that Colin and Cumberland might be recurring characters on the BBC Northern Ireland.) All in all, the extra features provided by the site, more than make up for the small and specific nature of the collection.

The objects themselves are four to five minute audio clips. They are available in two separate formats. First, they are presented as streaming audio in the format of ram files that my computer opened with real media player. Secondly, each lesson may be downloaded as an mp3 and put on a portable player, which I find really cool. (The entire lesson series may be downloaded as mp3s at once.) I do wish the objects contained a bit more metadata. The site identifies the talent (Fearghal Mag Uiginn), the production company (BBC NI "Radio Ulster"), the titles of the series and lessons, the format of the files, and the fact that the original broadcasts aired on Wednesdays. Sadly, it does not indicate which Wednesdays.

Despite the limited metadata and specific nature of the collection, I found the BBC Northern Ireland's Learning Irish collection to be quite interesting.


Chicago Historical Society - The Haymarket Digital Collection

Chicago Historical Society - The Haymarket Digital Collection

The Chicago Historical Society decided to put together a digital collection that focused on a major event that occurred in the 19th century that redefined labor laws and established a political divide within the psyches of the American population: The Haymarket Riots of 1886.

The Chicago Historical Society thoughtfully provides an article about their selection criteria for digitizing the material for this collection. First and foremost the creators of this digital collection determined to establish the boundaries of this collection to consist of primary documents that stemmed from the Haymarket Riots. The Chicago Historical Society already had a large collection of primary materials. Then they decided take an inclusive approach by digitizing most of the material, however as the bulk of their collection are the 3. 323 page transcript of the witness testimony and cross examination in the trial and the accompanying evidence books. Since there was a lot of material within that pile of documents, they decided to only the material concerning the twelve candidates chosen to serve on the jury along with the text of discussion that arose during the trial to showcase the procedure and law. The creators of the digital collection also wanted the project to display a series of events and the fallout that occurred afterwards.

The metadata is rather scanty in this project. Each image is scanned beautifully and comes in with a zoom in feature and a higher resolution option; however only the basic metadata (not any kind of schema is observed) is included: the format, the measurements, the creator/s, date of publication, all of which is presented in a more of a "bibliographic" format. Search features are almost non-existent in this collection. The collection is grouped by types of documents, for example, broadsides or trial documents. There is a table of contents that lists the materials within the collection, but no keyword searches or any other method of information retrieval, other than scrolling down and clicking on the title of a collection and going through each "exhibit" until you find the one you want.

Despite the ineptitude of the search and metadata, the contents of the collections are quite interesting. The Chicago Historical Society has done a great job in procuring primary documents and other material to convey the events of the Haymarket Riot. The collection consists of broadsides, artifacts (banners, revolvers used by the police during the riot), phamplets, photographs, trial documents, prints, and letters and manuscripts written by those who were involved in the melee of the Haymarket Riot.

The intended audience is directly stated by the Chicago Historical Society: "in digitizing its collections the Chicago Historical Society seeks to make the primary materials of history available to the widest possible audience." With that being said, I believe this collection targets academia, more specifically history majors and maybe even high school students, with the intent of showing the usefulness of primary material research.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Dr. Walter Lindley's Scrapbooks

Dr. Walter Lindley's Scrapbooks is, naturally, a digitized collection of the scrapbooks compiled over the lifetime of Dr. Walter Lindley (1852-1922) who was an early resident of Los Angeles and a fairly prominent physician during his time. It is not, however, complete at the moment. Rather, it is a work in progress with Claremont College (CC) promising to add to the online collection in the coming months. Interestingly, CC divided the scrapbooks in its collection into series that appear to unify the scrapbooks thematically. For instance, those scrapbooks concerning Shakespeare are all combined into the Shakespeare series. Those dealing with Lindley's travels likewise are filed into the Travel series. In a bizarre twist, though, CC did not start their digitization project with the first series. They instead began, presumably, with the third and are now working through the second. No information is given as to which series will come next. Nor is any explanation given for why they began with the third series, which deals with Lindley's candidacy for mayor of Los Angeles. Perhaps, they did so thinking that series would draw more attention than any other series. Yet, no statement is given to explain if such was their reasoning or if, rather, they just haphazardly picked a series and began digitizing. Thus, one comes away with the impression that CC has, on one hand, taken the pain to exert some authority and intellectual control over this collection while, on the other hand, not taking the trouble to explain why they are putting up certain scrapbooks first.

Each digitized image in this collection is accompanied by a series of metadata fields that, together, remember the type of MARC record found in a regular online library catalog. The fields used are consistent over the entirety of the collection and include such unsurprising fields as Title, Creator, LCSH Subject Headings, and Date. There are, however, some unique fields. One such field is the Subjects - Local field which apparently contains information more pertinent to the specific document and, thus, less generic than those subjects found in the LCSH area. Another interesting use of a metadata field is how CC employs the Publisher field. Rather than having this field correspond to the publisher of the physical document, CC has instead used this field to declare the publisher to be the Special Collections department of its Honnold Mudd Library. This author sees no reason to fault CC for this as they do include the information of who created, for example, a newspaper article, but they put this information in the Creator field. Again, this makes a good deal of sense. It is only surprising and novel in the sense that this author does not believe he has seen the Publisher field used in this manner before.

One frustrating aspect of this collection is the ContentDM software it uses. This author is not a fan of ContentDM due to the fact that each iteration he has seen of it has not allowed a user to view an image in a standalone window. This collection is no different. An undeniably high-quality image - ostensibly a TIFF, although this is not quite certain - is displayed and the user is given a variety of options which include zooming to, but not beyond the image's full size, rotating the image clockwise or counterclockwise, panning in every direction, and choosing whether to have the image be displayed at maximum resolution or fitted to the screen or width. On paper, this may look like a plethora of options. This author, though, has always found these options in a ContentDM interface to be clunky and frustrating even if they are well-intended. Additionally, this author was puzzled as to whether these objects have persistent identifiers. It seems logical to suppose that the 'reference url' CC provides a link to is, in fact, this persistent identifier. Yet, there is no exact and unwavering statement to support this assumption. Thus, this too is a bit perplexing.

CC provides no precise declaration of who their intended audience for this collection is. However, one may suppose, given Dr. Lindley's apparent status in the burgeoning Los Angeles community just before and right at the turn of the 20th century, that this collection is aimed at a local constituency made up not only of scholars, but also citizens interested in exploring the influence and connections a prominent man had in the days before Los Angeles became the cultural and economic powerhouse it is today. It is hard for this author to judge how effective CC is and will be with respect to reaching these audiences. In spite of that, this author can attest that this collection is worth browsing simply for some of the fascinating newspaper clippings.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Lester S. Levy Collection of Sheet Music

The Lester S. Levy Collection of Sheet Music is a digital initiative by Johns Hopkins University.  As far as I can tell, everything from the physical collection was scanned, except perhaps material published after 1923.  It's sad to see "Images are restricted due to copyright and are unavailable for viewing” for many items published after 1923, but there is still a text record for those entries, and the selection decision is mentioned in the site's FAQ and search tips section.

The scans of sheet music collections are available as downloadable .pdf’s, which seems like a good choice for keeping sets of sheet music together.  I can’t figure out the resolution of the .pdf images, but they’re quite clear, and seem to be fairly large, with one 4 page grayscale .pdf having a file size of 2.88mb.  For black and white images, a choice was made to scan as grayscale, while color printing is scanned in color.

The metadata is fantastic, with notable fields such as the first line of the song and its chorus, as well as a field for listing the “Engraver, Lithographer, Artist”.  The naming for items is related to their box # in the archive, which is effective for locating the original artifacts.  It is slightly awkward when this same convention is used for browsing the collection, limiting the user to browsing one box at a time.  One feature that I really like is the “tours” section, which combines lectures from Lester S. Levy with images from the digital collection, and seems like a great way to show off and activate a digital collection.  The only thing lacking is a direct link to the item in the collection from the tour.

The New York Public Library Mid – Manhattan library Picture Collection Online

The Picture Collection Online presents more than 30,000 digitized images from books, magazines and newspapers as well as original photographs, prints and postcards, mostly created before 1923. I think it is mainly because the works published before 1923 are in public domain. Obviously, there are no copyright problems for the online picture collection. The Picture Collection Online includes the following subjects: African-Americans, American History, Animals, Army, Birds, Clothing & Dress, Costume, Design, Dragons, Exploration, Fashion Drawings, Fur Fashions, Gloves, Hats, Hairdressing, Hosiery, Insects, Native Americans, New York City, Pioneer, Life, Punishments, Reptiles, Shoes, Slave Ships, Slavery, Snakes, Textiles, Umbrellas and Parasols. From the subjects mentioned above, I find the website has a wide variety of collections.

Browsing the picture collection is very easy. Users can browse by Folder Titles, Image Titles, Names, Subjects, Source by Author, and Source by Title. Then click the dropdown button, the list of available items will appears. Users can select the item you want to watch. If users like to see a large picture, they can click the thumb sized picture. The Metadata is provided with Title, Image ID, Creators, Physical Description, Material Type, Subjects, Date Published, Barcode Number, Struc ID, Source and In Folder. The problem I encounter is some pictures can’t be uploaded correctly.

For searching function, the collection provides keywords searching. In addition, users can also use advanced searching function through using “Search in all fields”, “Match all of these words” and “Include word variants”.

Furthermore, the collection offers users the opportunity to save the items they like to “My Gallery”, and users can easily visit their own collection at any time. For the picture collection, the intended audience should be students, researchers and individual interested in history pictures.

Corey and Nate's Beer Labels

Cory and Nate have amassed over 4800 beer labels from around the world in their collection. On their "about us" page their beer label adventure began in college drinking bad beer until they discovered micro-breweries during their sophomore year. Nate created the website using Perl. There is a link to Pay Pal to support them.

The "beer label" page has labels listed alphabetically by brewery with a key of icons including: bold for a brewery with more than 5 labels in the collection, a red star for "especially yummy beers", a yellow-highlighted NEW for a recent update, a notepad for a write-up, a green dollar sign for purchasing info and a red circle with a white bar (like a do not enter sign) for a beer to avoid.

When you click on a brewery link, thumbnail images of beer bottles with labels appear with names the spelled out underneath. A row of five pint glasses is the rating scale for the tastiness of the beer. There is also information on the brewery. Clicking on the image thumbnail will enlarge the image with a big "Beer Label" watermark across it. There are also links for viewers to update information about the brewery or to contact Corey and Nate about trading labels and bottles. The amount of information about a beer depends upon either information they have gathered themselves or from visitors to the site. There isn't any information about where the image came from or how it was digitized.
They have some interesting legal information pertaining to the images they have water-marked, particularly their claim of "this is a not-for-profit hobby site clearly covered under the Fair Use portion of the Copyright Law" and a link the Standford Reference Site. They also request if you want something taken down, skip the cease and desist and just ask them.

Definitely a site for beer aficionados.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Life-Your World in Pictures

Live-Your World in Pictures

I had heard of this collection but had never had the opportunity to simply browse the site. There are so many options to browse including “Today’s Top Photos”, Editor’s Pick, Most Popular, Would You Rather See, and Did You miss This?

The Life Collection can be scanned by news, celebrity, travel animals, sports and other searches that you may request. Then your search can be refined by date, person, location, types. The Meta data is found below the image along with the photographers name and the date. The image can be enlarged. In addition, there are additional subjects of human interest, or current interest.

One example of a human interest collection is the collection of 18 “Colorful, Cute Frogs”. These images can be viewed as either a thumbnail or as an enlargement. Below the image is the photographer, the gallery name, and date.

Each Image may be e-mailed, shared, rated, printed, or linked to. When you click and read the license link a wealth of data is presented including the title, where and when the photograph was taken. Additional information is provided information about the finding in this case more of these frogs and about their habitat. The license type, copyright information as well as a statement about the company’s right to pursue unauthorized use. There is an additional statement stating the following: “Availability for this image cannot be guaranteed until time of purchase. Getty Images reserves the right to pursue unauthorized users of this image or clip. If you violate our intellectual property you may be liable for: actual damages, loss of income, and profits you derive from the use of this image or clip, and, where appropriate, the costs of collection and/or statutory damages up to $150,000 (USD).”


The POP-UP World of Ann Montanaro

This exhibit is the first online exhibit created, and maintained, by the Rutger's University Libraries, of Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. "The items in this collection were drawn from the collection of Ann Montanaro, who collaborated on the organization of this exhibit and authored its captions and discursive texts." (Source)

The "About POPUP World" section details the mechanics of how the exhibit was created, including the specific equipments used to record the images and be entered into the digital archive. The archive as a whole is extensively footnoted, and there are several pages of links to other pop-up archives and sources of information on pop-up books. There is also an extensive history of "mechanical books", the predessors of the pop-up.

The archive is organized into the following sections:
  • Past and Present I (1884-1949)
  • Past and Present II (1950-1993)
  • Images of Travel
  • Birds and Bees
  • Not for Children
  • Traditional Tales Reconstructed
  • The Miraculous and the Devout
  • Fanciful Beasts
  • The Beautiful and the Bizarre
  • Entertaining (and instructing) Children

Each image has extensive metadata attached, including the digital image size, book author, artist, paper engineer, publisher, source of specific book printing, book size, and number of pages in the book. The description then goes on to describe the text of the book and the content of the images and pop-ups. The specific pop-up photographed for the collection is then described in detail. Each image may be seen at a higher resolution by clicking on the link at the beginning of each image text.

Abraham Lincoln Paper Collection at the Library of Congress

The Abraham Lincoln Paper Collection at the Library of Congress is both a fascinating collection and an interesting digitizaiton project. The LOC's complete Lincoln paper collection consists of 20,000 seperate documents. The digitized part of the collection is a result of a collaboration between the LOC's Manuscript Division and the Lincoln Studies Center at Knox College. Altogether the digital collection includes about 61,000 images and 10,000 transcriptions. Each of these 61,000 images exists as a jpeg, a gif, and a tiff. The tiff masters were transferred to the National Digital Library Program (NDLP). The archival gif versions, however, are freely accessible online. The site design is very basic, and looks date. According to the homepage, the site was last updated March 21, 2002. I'm certain that the site is actively maintained, but the collection does not appear to be engagingly curated.

Before existing in a digital format, the Lincoln papers were captured on microfilm. The index created for this microfilm collection served as the backbone for the organization of the digital collection. The papers may be searched by keyword, or by textual content. It is also possible to browse the collection based on date. Upon retrieving an item, metadata is provided in the form of date, subject, to whom a paper was written (if it is correspondence), and series. The files enlarge very nicely so that you can really see all of the detail in the handwriting. This is a really superb collection, and is no doubt of great interest to historians, biographers, and other sorts of detail-oriented researchers.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

E. Azalia Hackley Collection of African American Sheet Music

The E. Azalia Hackley Collection of the Detroit Public Library was the first to showcase the contribution of African Americans in the performing arts.  The collection contains over 600 works that feature African American themes published between 1799 and 1922.  The digital form of the collection was created in 2003 and originally was to include just 19th century works.  Later, 20th century works were added up to 1922 because they were in the public domain.  The collection was started in 1943 and contains other 20th century works.  The site mentions that future evaluation of works that come into the public domain will determine whether to add them to the digital collection or not.

Materials can be searched or browsed by title, lyric first lines, composer, contributor, subject, and dates.  Search or browse results pages contain thumbnails and quick descriptive information. The description pages contain full metadata and links to view a larger version of the image in an external viewer, similar to the DSpace I saw in my example from last week.  The description pages also contain a digital ID number and OCLC number for further cross reference.

For the most part, the titles and images of the sheet music covers would be considered mildly to outrageously offensive today.  But it offers an incredible snapshot into the times.  Also interesting is that the site includes some audio examples of selected works.   However, they are in MIDI format.  The project info page explains that this is because of the small file size and the availability on the internet of files of public domain works.  Only 7 audio examples are provided.

The site is a nice example of a digital collection that uses Greenstone, but incorporates it into a conventional website.  Other examples simply try to incorporate style sheets into the Greenstone environment.  The Hackley Collection keeps its supplemental information pages on their main web server and link to the Greenstone server only for the items.  The supplemental pages are very informative and lead users to many sources to learn more.  The "Project Info" page very helpfully includes information about the project's history, funding, and selection process, but also tells us technical data about image creation and metadata standards used.  It also mentions the use of Greenstone software.

Huntington Archive Black and White Photograph Collection of Asian Art (1969-1984)

This collection of black and white photographs taken by Susan and John Huntington from 1969 to 1984 is a mixed bag. The collection's content is cool, and it is apparent from the intense level of metadata on each object and the quality of the images that the National Endowment of the Humanities grant funding received by the project supported it well. However, the functioning of the site is very clunky and not entirely useful in some respects, and while there is a lot of data on each object, there is very little information about the collection as a whole of the decisions that went into making it.

1. Collection Principles
The opening page for the digital archive of photography taken in South Asia of Buddhist and Hindu religious art, sculpture and monuments gives some background on the collection, including who the photographers were, when they took the photos, in which countries they photographed, and so on. It also notes that the project was funded by an NEH grant and that the Huntington Archive is in a consortium with Ohio State, who played a major role in the project. The page notes that 30,000 images are included in the digital collection, but says nothing about how that number relates to the physical collection of photographs or how selection decisions were made. Further, on the search page, there is a short note that tells that the number of hits returned for a search denotes the number of digital images available to the public, as not all images are available for public use, but says nothing more about how many or why. There is a rather lengthy paragraph at the bottom of the page about rights for the collection.

2. Objects
The images are searchable by entering descriptive terms in the search box, and browseable by
iconography, original location, current location, material type, dynasty/period, and religious category. There is very detailed information on the search page for optimizing searches, including how to do diacritic-format spelling for Sanskrit words, which is nice. One really annoying thing is that there seems to be no good way besides hit "back" over and over to get from a results page to the search page again. Another problem, and the collection addresses this with apologies written out all around, is that the image files are big, and they take a long time to load. I have decent internet connection and usually never encounter a problem with images, but even for me they took a pretty long time. Once they are open, though, they are pretty awesome. You can select from tabs above the image a larger or smaller size to view and a smaller or larger image to use for zooming. You can zoom really super close and still have the image come across totally clear. The number of images is pretty staggering, and in order to browse you would have to be somewhat familiar with Buddhist, Hindu, Sanskrit, Tamil, Hindi, and/or Telugu terms or you will be clicking around blindly. There are also no thumbnails on the browsing page, just lists of terms that are links, which is a problem, but if you actually enter a search term in the box, your results appear as thumbnails.

3. Metadata
This collection has a strength in metadata for individual objects. On one image, for instance, the fields Country, Site Name, Monument, Alternate Name, Subject of Photo, Photo Orientation, Dynasty/Period, Date, Material, Dimensions, Current Location, Copyright Holder, Photo Year, and Scan Number all appear. On others, even the asana (body position, as in yogic systems) demonstrated and other more religiously-specific information about how the figure in the sculpture is positioned or what they are wearing/holding/using and so on appear. In all, it is easy to get a lot of information about any one of the images. As with most collections I have looked at, though, no information on the scanning equipment used or the process involved there.

4. Audience
The introduction page explicitly states: "The goal of the digital project was to provide web access to the original images and accompanying text database for educators, scholars, and students interested in the visual arts and culture of Asia." Based on the amount of metadata on the objects, the quality of the images and the extent to which you can clearly zoom in on them, I wouldn't doubt that this could be used for scholarly purposes.

Liberian Law at Cornell University Library

Liberian law at Cornell University Library
This digital collection of manuscripts and legal documentation from the Cornell University library has as its mission statement on the home page : “Liberian Law contains documents dealing with the creation of the nation of Liberia and the laws enacted at its foundation. These materials include the Constitution and the Laws of the Commonwealth going back to the Colonization Society.” This is a very clear definition of what the collection contains and there are no documents that could be considered outside this selection criteria. The site is easy to navigate with few superfluous icons and visual adornments. A user may either browse or search the collection based on author, text, and title key words that use Boolean search logic. Within the search function there is an option to limit the search terms, but when I tried this function the page did not redirect. The site does link to outside pages that I believe are run on a different platform or software due to appearance and format of the pages that are linked. It was not clear from the two times I tried to access these outside pages if the trouble was caused by neglecting site maintenance or if the site is under construction. The documents are broken into six primary categories that are divided by date and subject matter (acts passed, statutes, and constitutions). The images may be seen either as an “online book” or downloaded as a PDF. The online book view has no zoom capabilities and only one size of the image is available. The images are also in TIFF format and this treatment of the images seems to indicate that the purpose of the collection is more of a finding aid than a primary resource as much of the text is illegible and there is no transcript. The metadata for this collection consists of the title of the original document, the author (in many cases this a governmental body or group), the date, and the collection the document belongs to. It would have been nice to have more description of the document and this lack suggests that users must know exactly what they are looking for. The selection criteria for this collection appears to be all the documents relating to Liberian law at the Cornell University library. The page explaining the creation of the collection provides the history of the documents which all appear to be from the same geographical area and dealing with similar issues of Liberian law. The collection appears to be the product of one of Cornell’s professors interests and there is no indication that this collection has not been fully digitized. This collection was digitized based on an increase in demands by scholarly researchers requesting Liberian law documents and inquiring about the size and scope of the physical collection. The site claims this increase in scholarly research in the humanities and interdisciplinary as the reason for the digitization effort.
Cornell University has other digital collections that may be of note including home economics and a history of math collection. They can be found here: