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.

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