Saturday, May 2, 2009

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.

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