Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Iowa Heritage Digital Collections

This online collection consists of “documents, images, maps, finding aids, interpretive and educational materials, and other media,” brought together with the goal of documenting the historical and cultural heritage of the state. In the “about” section specific details about the collection are revealed. For example, the selected materials were chosen based on their organizational roots: schools, colleges, historical societies, museums, archives and others. These organizations were chosen from around the state, with the aim of having a more centralized digital location for these cultural resources. For specific digital objects, no selection criteria has been made available. However, the digital collection is organized into four subject areas, which appear to be driving the collection’s thematic objectives: maps, aviation, football, and “highlights.” The individual contributing organizations can be searched.

The collection-level metadata can also be found on the “About” page. The digital project committee has made available its goals for the project, which include “to create an open, publicly accessible virtual collection relating to Iowa history and culture,” and “to establish basic criteria and standards based on best practices.” The management software is ContentDM. What’s wonderful about this collection is the additional information provided. In addition to the goals, the team also provides site visitors with access to collection’s initial planning documents, including meeting minutes. There are also links to funding sources. Because of the collaborative nature of the project, multiple servers are used in sustaining the digital content.

Each individual image contains basic metadata components, such as title, creator, date, and location. Additionally, there are key subject terms and the file number, taking the form of a JPG. There is also information about the rights/terms of use. One perceived set back of this collection is the quality of the image-viewing tool. The digital objects cannot be manipulated to a great extent. It appears that the only manipulation is the resizing feature, and the rotation.

Since the images come from throughout the state and from many different repositories, the audience for the collection may be very broad. It has the potential to serve research and colloquial uses.

No comments:

Post a Comment