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.

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