Sunday, February 22, 2009

UCLA Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library AIDS Posters

The collection contains 625 posters from 45 different countries. All were issued by various organizations, health-care facilities, and other institutions for public education about HIV/AIDS and were created between 1985-2003. UCLA outlines its criteria for digital projects on its About the Digital Library Program.

The browsing feature allows users to scroll through countries, subjects, creators and title. A simple search can be done by keyword alone; advanced searching via Boolean search options includes keyword, title, description, creator, country and description. % is used for truncation or wildcard. Keywords are not limited to the primary images, theme or text. Background and secondary images can also be keywords. Results can be sorted by title or country with viewing options displaying 6 to 72 results to organize viewing order and groupings. UCLA uses Dublin Core, EAD. METS, and the Open Archive Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting.

Users can create their own virtual collections and allow others to view them or keep them private. If a user selects to register the a collection, the collection can be tailored to the user's specifications, such as adding personal notes or making the collection accessible to other users. A user does not have to register an individual collection, but there are no safeguards for its content and it may be changed by other users. The Full Record provides a zoom scale that allows 1.2x, 1.0x, 0.8x, 0.4x, 0.2x views. All images are JPEG. The 1.0x size is the native size of the image stored on the server. The Full Record also gives an English translation the poster's title and inscriptions. The "Help" feature does an excellent job of explaining how to conduct a Boolean search, create an individual collection, and use the search results.

This collection is varied enough to appeal to many different types of users, particularly those interested in poster art, health-care outreach, cultural mores, and the history of HIV/AIDs. "The collection is incredibly rich," said David Gere, director of the Art|Global Health Center at UCLA. "You can see some of the best graphic interventions in global health, as well as some of the worst, but the important thing is that all 619 posters are readily available at the touch of a button, to be seen and studied by any researcher with access to the net."

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