I continue to search digital collections of other university libraries to see the interesting things that they’re doing. Each university has unique items to feature, so it doesn’t benefit every collection to be presented in the exact same way. New and creative ways of displaying digital content at another institution might not necessarily be a good fit for our current collections, but they could help us think about possible projects to initiate in the future.
One feature I came across is only useful if you have multiple and different versions of a document. The University of Maryland Digital Collections includes poems by the Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven. Each poem has between two and seven versions since she kept her original manuscripts as she worked from her first draft through to the final, finished poem. They use a “Versioning Machine” which is an open source software that lets people view numbered line-by-line transcriptions of each version side-by-side for comparison. http://www.lib.umd.edu/dcr/collections/EvFL-class/?pid=umd:2257
Besides being able to view digital images of the manuscripts, the transcriptions of those pages help a researcher see the step-by-step changes the author made. It gives a person the ability to almost get inside the mind of the author from their first thoughts and throughout the creative process. While this tool would not be useful for most collections, it’s a very good example of a creative way to provide specific viewing platforms for unique collections.